Paramahamsa Niranjanananda, the message given in satsang at Ganga Darshan, February 14, 1995

You always say that you have the right to celebrate my birthday. There is no fault in celebrating a birthday certainly, but why do you celebrate the wrong day? The fault is in celebrating the wrong birthday. You are celebrating the birthday of someone who died twenty-five years ago, and this person has taken birth again in the form of a sannyasin.

In the tradition of sannyasa, it is said that when one takes sannyasa and one goes though the renewing fire of the viraj homa, one leaves this world and the Guru gives a new birth through initiation, So actually you are celebrating today on behalf of someone who has died, not someone who is alive. If you want to celebrate the birth of' the living person, then I will also take part and the day for that is the 11th of January.

This year on the 11th of January, it was my twenty-fifth year of sannyasa. On that day I had a unique experience. We travelled from here for the Rajnandgaon Yoga Convention and were in transit in Calcutta. For many years I had been in Calcutta when our ashram was there. I have also visited Calcutta many times. I know all the lanes and avenues and people there, but the call never came from Mother Kali and I never went to a temple. But this time an inner inspiration came, the experience that the Mother was calling, and I went to her temple with Swami Yogavijay.

There was a big crowd. I did not think we would have darshan. But while we were standing there, an unknown person inside, in the sanctum sanctorum stretched out his hand, took my hand and pulled me inside. To which place did he pull me? Just two inches away from the statue, just in front of the statue. Then we did pooja and gave offerings, etc. and came out. That was a divine event.

When we were standing there, having darshan of that giant statue, one thought came in the form of a sankalpa; on the twenty-fifth anniversary of sannyasa there is just one sankalpa remaining.

When I first took sannyasa I thought that we should do meditation or sadhana, or try to attain a higher state, or try to become a self-realised person. Everybody has these ambitions but, that day, I had the experience that every desire or ambition was finished. There is nothing left to do. I have no desire to progress in spiritual life or in sadhana. There is no desire for japa or meditation.

At that moment I experienced intense detachment, I felt that there is no meaning in all these things. After that moment an inspiration came that for the rest of my time, even if it is thousands of years, I just have to do seva, service. Seva for mankind, Guru and God. I don't have any attachment to asana, dhyana, sadhana, talking to people, satsang, or meeting people. I feel that I am doing it in the form of seva. At first I used to think that if I did all these things then people would know me, but not now. I do not have that desire for myself now. I am doing all this with the mental attitude of seva.

This change in my life on the 11th January was something I felt very intensely, and it is still with me today. It was a 360 degree turn, a full circle. After this an inspiration also came that I should give this message to those people who are helping me, who are my guru brothers or sannyasins or karma sannyasins and well-wishers. There has been a change in my mentality and my concepts and maybe in my habits and behaviour also. Maybe in the thought patterns there is some change. After deep reflection on this, I came to the conclusion that the reason for the change is due to the Mother's inspiration and darshan. And I want to share with you that message that I received.

You see, the yoga darshan, theories and sadhanas all have their own place or function. We must follow these paths but we should also have one more aim because due to his narrow-mindedness and selfishness, man always tries to fulfil his own desires. And desires are never ending. There is one desire today, another tomorrow and another the day after. We spend our whole lives fulfilling these desires. We cannot transcend these desires. Maybe it is our destiny or it is our karma or maybe it is our nature. Whatever it may be we are not renouncing desire, but in order to transform or direct our desires we can take a sankalpa. That sankalpa is, perform seva for mankind with your full ability.

In life, when the attitude of seva comes then the perspective changes. You can say that you are already doing service through Yoga. To try and cure a sick person is service, to try to give peace to an unbalanced person is also service. Definitely these are forms of seva, but seva is not limited to this. The area of seva is very broad. Seva is certainly an ideal and also a dharma, and it is even a practical difficulty.

I am saying 'practical difficulty' because we do not know how to do seva. We try to do service according to our desire and we limit the field of service to one level. Because of this limitation I consider seva as a practical difficulty. When seva is taken as a limitless field and there is preparation for service emotionally, theoretically, intellectually, socially, physically and mentally, then seva is successful in uplifting humanity.

To our sannyasins I want to say that in order to perfect seva there should be preparation. To perfect seva you should be healthy, and for that you should practise whatever yoga is needed. Asana, mantra japa, meditation, tapas, self-study, devotion, action should all be done with the aim of self-realisation.

Now, there is a need to live that aim, because already a lot of water has flowed under the bridge. In this age, the scriptures say that there are only two ways to attain God. One way is through karma and the other way is through bhakti, devotion. In this age we cannot just do sadhana and manifest a new creation and a new heaven like Visvamitra did. In this age we cannot relate ourselves to divine beings just by doing japa and meditation. That is not the need of this age.

The need of this age is to have an attitude of seva towards others. When there is an attitude of seva then compassion, affection, Jove and devotion happen spontaneously. I believe that if it happens, and continues, then one day seva will become the new dharma. My belief is that going to temples and having darshan of divine beings is not real darshan. The actual darshan lies within mankind itself. Why can't we have the attitude that the woman who sweeps the roads and cleans the shit is our Lakshmi, our Parvati and our Uma? And that the man who works, who begs, who has no place to live, is our Narayana, Vishnu, Shiva and Indra.? If we can awaken this attitude then our life will definitely be fulfilled and if we can't become a sun, at least we can become a candle flame.

In Paramahamsaji's old diary there is a story. Once, when the sun was setting, he was feeling a bit sorrowful and was thinking, "When I have gone, there will be darkness in the world. Who will give them Light?" Then he saw that in one corner of the earth a small flame was shining. The flame said to the sun, "Oh God, I can see your concern clearly in your face. Even though I am very small, I can definitely try, in your absence, to always shine according to my ability. I will try to fight the darkness." When the sun heard this he blessed the flame and said, "Whenever you shine you will spread light."

We can try to illumine ourselves and we can fight the darkness which is spreading nowadays in society and the world, which is not only ignorance but also a darkness of the emotions of mankind. In this progression there is only one way to give light, and that is seva. This is the inspiration that I received.

Now we shall see how successful we can be. I want to say clearly to the sannyasins that if they have come here for sadhana or if they are staying here for sadhana then they can find another place. This place is not for sadhana. If they want to relate themselves with God or with mankind, then they should be ready to renounce everything and just keep seva in their lives.

The day a man receives the inspiration to follow a new path is the day of his rebirth. Gurudev Paramahamsa Satyanandaji gave me the inspiration to follow this path at the time of my sannyasa initiation. Maybe at that time it was in the form of a seed and on the 11th of January this year, this seed became a small seedling. It took twenty-five years to sprout. Maybe it will take another twenty-five years to become a sapling. Maybe it will take another hundred years for it to become a tree, but the ground is broken, the process has begun. That is why I said you are not celebrating the birthday of the living person. The day you do celebrate the birthday of the living person, then I will definitely participate with my whole heart.