Day Four

Early Morning Session

Laya Yoga

The early morning session was conducted by Paramahamsa Niranjanananda. He gave the next three practices of laya yoga for developing mooladhara and ajna awareness. The first practice was Aum chanting with mooladhara-ajna awareness, the second was mooladhara breathing, and the third was mooladhara breathing with visualization.

Following the practices he gave a short talk in which he said that the practices which have been introduced here are just a glimpse into this system or aspect of yoga. Through laya yoga, the mental conditioning has to be broken. Going beyond the mooladhara reality must become a part of our sadhana and, therefore, the mental conditioning has to change. The practices of laya yoga are not aimed at inducing and maintaining a state of concentration, as are practices for the other states of pratyahara, dharana and dhyana, but to break the pattern of mooladhara chakra, which is holding the consciousness down at that level.

Mid-Morning Session

Yoga for the Handicapped

Swami Anandananda Saraswati was the first speaker of the day. He heads the movement of yoga in his own country, Italy. He has been a tireless worker in the yogic mission of our guru, Paramahamsa Satyananda. He spoke about his own experiences while teaching yoga to the physically and mentally handicapped.

He said, "In 1981 I went for the first time to a social centre where physically and mentally handicapped persons were gathered, to try an experiment in yoga. There were people from 12 years of age up to 50 or 60 years, with different kinds of handicaps, all mixed in together. Definitely, my first class with them was not a typical yoga class. I had to become like a child and speak to them in their own language. Gradually I introduced a few techniques to them, like the pawanmuktasana and shakti bandha series.

"It has now been proved after nine years of experience, that the pawanmuktasana practices allow the handicapped people to start to discover their physical body and to acquire knowledge about their physical existence. They become aware of legs and arms and head. A person who is handicapped has many more pranic blockages in the system. That is where the techniques of shakti bandha prove extremely useful, because they unblock the system and redistribute the energies".

Yogic Treatment of Mental Illness

The next speaker was Dr Swami Vivekananda (Brian Thompson) from Australia. He is a brilliant psychiatrist, yoga teacher and intellectual. Seventeen years ago he assumed the role of doctor swami and at the time of his initiation Paramahamsaji told him one thing, "Just as in the past, Swami Vivekananda carried the message of yoga and spirituality to the far corners of the world, in the same way, in this present age, you have to carry the message of yoga and science to every part of the world."

He spoke on the topic of yogic treatment of mental illness. He said that the people whom we call patients are now quite amenable to yoga practices, because they are looking for something. What they are looking for is self mastery. "They don't want me to give them a pill, but to give them the power, and that is important. Once they get the power to defeat their own emotional problems and pains, that power then has a positive effect. It gives them confidence and self-esteem. If you have confidence, you are not anxious. 11 you have self-esteem, you are not depressed. So, this is where yoga comes in, because it gives the patient power over his own problems and pain."

Purpose of the Yoga Sammelan

The fourth speaker of this session was Swami Nishchalananda Saraswati, the Director of Satyananda Ashram in Wales, which has centres and teachers throughout France and other European countries. He gave a beautiful, poetic and inspiring presentation in fluent Hindi about the purpose of the Yoga Sammelan.

He said, "Why have we come to this Convention? We have come to learn something. Why have we come into this world? We have come to learn something. Learning is the purpose of life. Those who claim to have learned everything are duping themselves and others, because the process of learning never stops. The learning process is a spiritual process, a continuous process of self-evolution with spirituality at its base."

Integration of Mind and Energy

The last speaker of the session was Dr Swami Bhikshananda Saraswati (Hari Lal Bhika) from South Africa. He first came to the Bihar School of Yoga in 1977 and he was initiated into sannyasa in 1987. He specializes in yoga therapy in his practice in Durban.

He said that life is meant for enjoyment, no one can deny it. No one takes advice on how to enjoy life. It comes naturally to everyone. By enjoying life and enjoying life and enjoying life, you begin to get some aches and pains, and you begin to feel unhappy. You begin to feel dissipated within. The remedy for this is to introduce the practice of yoga with a little yogic philosophy into your life. In this way, you will find that you are able to enjoy life with fewer aches and pains, and that you are slowly stabilizing and enriching your enjoyment. In fact, you will have more enjoyment because you will be more sensitive and harmonious within yourself. This is the secret of life.

Mid Day Session

Therapeutic Aspects of the Yogic Scriptures

The first speaker was Dr G. Sahay, Research Officer of the Literary Research Unit of Kaivalyadhama, Lonavala, Pune. He discussed yoga therapy with reference to the yogic texts.

The claim of many yoga therapists to cure various ailments had inspired him to search the ancient authoritative literatures of yoga to find out which ones actually discuss ailments and cures. He has classified the diseases and cures discussed in 25 yogic texts according to their curative power and therapeutic value, and is preparing a pharmacopoeia to enable yoga therapists to prescribe yogic practices with accuracy.

Science, the Human Being and Yoga

The second speaker of the session was Dr N. R. Mitra, who is a retired physicist from Bhagalpur University. He has carried out research on the subject of human brain consciousness and behaviour in which he has explained human behaviour in the light of the formulae or theories of physics.

He spoke about the interaction of energy at various levels in the universe, and of the fact that as human beings we are a part of nature. The laws of physics are applicable to human beings but operate differently in every individual because they are controlled by the mind which varies from person to person.

The Ayurveda of Australian Aborigines

The third speaker was Dr Swami Karmananda Saraswati from Australia, who stayed with Paramahamsa Satyananda at the Bihar School of Yoga from 1975 to 1985. Presently, he is with the Aboriginal Community Health Service in rural outback Australia, living and working with the Aboriginal people and observing their problems from a yogic point of view.

He said that Aboriginal culture has been traced back at least 40,000 years. The history and beliefs of that culture have continued until the present time. The Aboriginal people feel that they belong to the land, not that the land belongs to them. They believe in a Dreamtime, an ancient time when every person belonged to a race which was half animal and half human. Their spirituality consists of living in their land in relation to the Dreamtime. If the land and the dreaming are broken, then nothing will mend their spirit or soul.

Awareness of Cultural Conditioning

The fourth speaker was Dr G. Chattopadhay, who has been a professor and independent consultant in business management.

He spoke from a cultural perspective and said that cultural conditioning creates three main problems. Firstly, it puts a boundary on the behavioural repertoire, thus severely curtailing our potential. Secondly, it teaches us to discriminate between human beings, and thirdly, it emphasizes the irrational so that the original rationality of the mind is lost. Further, we carry in our heads ideas about how we should relate to people. Some of them we are aware of, and some of them we are not aware of. We take these ideas to our workplaces so that the necessary task-based relationships that ought to develop outside the family are not there. A garbled version of family relationships is imposed.

Dr Chattopadhay concluded by saying that yoga could give us an awareness of how we build up a strong identity, so that we could begin to do something about it and merge with that which is beyond identity.

The Impact of Alternate Nostril Breathing on Patterns of Performance

The final speaker of this scientific session was Dr Ganesh Shankar, who is the head of the Department of Yogic Science at Hari Singh Gore University, Sagar, M. P., the only government sponsored Yoga Department in India.

He spoke about a preliminary study designed to discover if there are any differences between the performance scores on such factors as power, strength and endurance in a group of adolescent school boys under two experimental conditions : the right nostril-dominated phase and the left nostril-dominated phase of breathing.

An analysis of the data indicates that the subjects gave better performances in the areas of power and strength during the dominance of the right nostril breathing phase. However, better performances on the speed factor under the dominance of the left nostril breathing phase is an unexpected finding. Although the results of this study need further verification there are many implications not only for sportsmen but for normal and ill persons as well.

Afternoon Session

The Path of Yoga

Paramahamsa Niranjanananda introduced the final session of the Convention. He said that in the last four days the 'Ganga of Yoga' had been flowing in Munger and would continue to flow in the future, to contribute to the welfare of the people. Man is always searching for peace, but that search is externally oriented. As long as we are engrossed in worldliness and our behaviour is directed towards the fulfillment of selfish motives and not towards evolution, we can never be healthy, contented, balanced and at peace, physically, mentally and spiritually. Therefore, for the alleviation of suffering we will have to adopt the path of yoga.

The Atmic Age

The next speaker was the King of Puri, Gajapati Maharaj Sri Divya Singh Dev, the first devotee of Lord Jagannath. He said that through Paramahamsa Satyananda we had been knitted together into a spiritual family. The only true and lasting relationship that would give us eternal peace was with the soul. So we now had to progress from the atomic age to the 'atmic' age.

Return to Munger

Sri Ramananda Brahmachari of Agni Akhara, Varanasi was the third speaker. He recalled that he had been in Munger a long time ago in 1942, when at the age of ten years he had been jailed for two years for telling the British Collector to leave India. Paramahamsa Niranjanananda had requested him to organize Swami Vidyanandaji's visit to Munger for the Convention and he had returned.

The Necessity of Renunciation

Swami Parameshwarananda, the President of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Acharya Sri Vidyananda Giri Maharaj of Kailash Ashram, Rishikesh, spoke next. He expressed his great pleasure at seeing the Silver Jubilee of Swami Vidyanandaji and the Golden Jubilee of Paramahamsa Satyananda occurring simultaneously, just as the rivers Ganga and Jamuna flow into each other. At the age of eight years, Swami Vidyanandaji renounced his home and traveled barefoot the length of India; by divine coincidence this was the same year as Paramahamsaji renounced his own family ties.

Swami Parameshwarananda explained that renunciation is the only way to attain immortal bliss. This realization of the relationship between oneself and the inner being is yoga, material accumulation can never lead to yoga. For those who have realized the truth of their inner nature, pain and suffering have no place. As Paramahamsa Satyananda has said, "There is no peace in the Himalayas and no noise in the world, it is all within you". So we were invited to join the yogic path shown by the saints.

Spiritual Wealth

Sri Vidyananda Giriji addressed the Convention again at this closing session. He said that Munger is surrounded by the Ganga on all three sides, just as a mother cuddles her precious child. Bihar has been a playground of incarnations, yogis, realized saints and siddhas since the time of the Vedas. Paramahamsa Satyananda realized this auspicious heritage and due to his wise and creditable decision the name of Bihar is known throughout the entire world. On behalf of all present, Sri Swami Vidyananda Giriji paid homage with all reverence at his holy feet.

Unlike many of the materially oriented, ''rich" countries, India is rich with the ancient knowledge of sense control. Whilst everyone else is engaged in business, the yogi of India gives selflessly, just wishing for universal well-being.

Such a great son of India is Paramahamsa Satyananda who has made his knowledge available to all. Swami Vidyanandaji likened Paramahamsaji to a mountain of 'malayagiri' on which even bitter neem trees become sandalwood. Why should we appreciate mountains of silver and gold if the trees on them stay just trees? Similarly, this great master and his successor, Paramahamsa Niranjanananda, have dedicated their lives to transforming the lives of thousands by showing the right path.

He reminded us that we can only experience our true divinity through our guru. The sun of sadhana has just risen in our lives, and we should now pledge to walk this path, spreading yoga worldwide.

Yogic Blueprint for the Future

In an inspiring final address to the Convention delegates, Paramahamsa Niranjanananda unveiled a charter of yoga.

He said that although the origins of yoga were lost in the mists of time, we could infer that yoga began when the first person on planet Earth started to question his identity and the nature of the universe. Thus a seed, in the form of a samskara, was planted in the personality and handed down to all of us today. Once we realize that there is a higher awareness beyond the material world, beyond the manifest dimension, that is the discovery of the Self.

Yoga is a world culture, but the credit goes to the Indian culture for preserving it against the test of time. The development of an integrated, broad vision of life and liberation of the dormant potential of human personality is the meaning of tantra and the meaning of yoga.

Today, a yogic revolution is necessary to create a feeling of universal brotherhood. Therefore, a yoga charter has been prepared to co-ordinate the yogic activities that are happening all over the world and to create a silent revolution. Paramahamsa Niranjanananda then read the mission statement of the charter:

"We, the sannyasin disciples of Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati who are spread all over the globe, on the eve of the fiftieth year of sannyasa celebration of our guru and master, hereby dedicate ourselves to work with determination, sincerity, love and compassion to spread the message of the ancient yogic tradition, to uplift the global and individual consciousness for a better tomorrow. In order to work harmoniously for a spiritual tomorrow, we hereby adopt this charter, which will provide us with a direction for the fulfillment of our guru's yogic and humanitarian mission. Imbued with love for our guru and compassion for mankind, we pledge to carry the light of yoga from door to door and from shore to shore".

Paramahamsa Niranjanananda then appointed Swami Gyanprakash Saraswati as the Acharya of the Bihar School of Yoga. Although many people had given blood, sweat and tears to work for the mission of yoga, she was the most outstanding.

In conclusion, he said, "Our aim is to dedicate ourselves, not to chase after achievements. Prior to the Convention, Paramahamsa Satyananda had sent this message, 'Niranjan, Namo Narayan. I send my good wishes for the Convention. You call it Tyag Jayanti, I call it Samarpan Muhurat, the moment of dedication. It was that time, an auspicious moment in my life, which I experienced fifty years ago in the presence of my Guru, Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj. To this day, I have always remembered it as a great dedication.'

"It is to our Guru, Paramahamsa Satyananda Saraswati, who has brought the light of yoga and truth and bliss into our lives that we bow our heads and to whose memory of dedication this Convention is dedicated."

A Garland of Thanks

The closing speech of the Convention was given by Sri Mahavir Prasad, the District Magistrate of Munger. He said that the Convention was important because it celebrated the renunciation of Paramahamsa Satyananda, it was being celebrated on the banks of the Ganga, it was organized in the month of Kartika, an auspicious lunar constellation, and it happened in the land of Munger.

He delivered thanks to mother nature, the saints and gurus who came with blessings, God, the delegates from India and abroad, the Bihar School of Yoga, the members of the International Yoga Fellowship Movement, the citizens of Munger, everyone who helped with the organization of the program and, finally, to Paramahamsa Niranjanananda.