Go with the Force

Paramahamsa Niranjanananda Saraswati, Satsang at Ganga Darshan 22.11.94

You have asked me why Paramahamsaji has called you for darshan. I am sure that you will all be able to pick up the reason according to your own thoughts, ideas, beliefs and receptivity. You are trying to find out the how and why of a connection that is actually a transmission from the heart, not a transmission from the mind.

Externally there can be many reasons why Paramahamsaji has called you. One reason could be that he has completed five years of his Panchagni sadhana, the sadhana of five fires. In the higher vedic tradition, the five fires are the fires which burn internally in the form of anger, attachment, passion, desire, ego, etc. Human beings are constantly being burned by these fires. It has been stated in the scriptures, more specifically in the tantric than the vedic traditions, that those people who have gone beyond the mind, can subdue the five fires, internal and external, and gain command over the elements of nature.

Paramahamsaji is a person who always used to avoid heat and always lived in a very comfortable environment. But when he started to perform his sadhana he had to handle the heat of the fires with temperatures ranging beyond eighty degrees Celsius. And he does that in summer, from January until the end of June, in the hottest part of the year. In these extreme climatic conditions he sits with four fires around him and the fire actually scorches his body.

Many times after performing his sadhana, his body is like burnt copper. But while he is sitting there for eight hours he is totally oblivious to everything that is happening around him. Funnily enough, there is no dehydration, no negative symptoms of this extreme exposure to the heat. It we tried to sit in the sun for even three hours, we would have high blood pressure and dehydration.

So how can a person have such an ability to sustain heat, to absorb heat and not be affected by it? Definitely there must be some form of control of the elements, of the tattwas. It has been stated in the scriptures that only when a person is able to manage the heat of the fires externally, does it become possible to transcend the mind. So from his type of sadhana it can be said that he has mastery over the natural elements.

Symbol of spirit

In the process of this Panchagni sadhana, the body eventually converts into light. Sadhus and swamis usually identify with fire more than with any other element. You will find very few sadhus who identify with earth because earth has a very strong attraction or pull for mooladhara. You will find very few sadhus who identify with water because water is never stable; it always flows from top to bottom. It represents the transformation of the divine nature into the mundane, manifest nature.

Very few sadhus and swamis identify with air because air is never stable, and to become as vast as the sky is the last stage of infinity. All the sadhus, from the beginning of the tradition, have worshipped fire. Not because of some mystical or religious belief, but because fire is one element which is pure in essence, luminous, warm, bright. Fire has the ability to consume everything and remain unaffected. So in the sannyasa tradition, fire or flame is generally seen as a symbol of spirit. Once you identify with the nature, the symbol of spirit, then the total identification helps one to transcend the physical, material dimension.

For the past five years, Paramahamsaji has just been adapting himself to this sadhana which he is doing now. It has been a rehearsal for a bigger sadhana which is yet to come. We do not know what the new sadhana will be. There is a possibility that Paramahamsaji will take a sankalpa and not see anyone at all for some time. It could be three years, ten years, fifteen years. That sankalpa will be as per his choice. Since people know where he is, they try to go there whenever possible and that disturbs him. Although he does not see anyone, still the disturbance is there. So another reason he has allowed you this darshan could be in order to pacify your minds so that once again he can isolate himself and go into a deeper sadhana.

Reading the environment

Paramahamsaji has always had the ability to pick up the environment of the world and he has instinctively reacted to the demands of the environment, to the necessities of the present day life. Even his desire, or his mission to teach yoga was due to the necessities that humanity could face in the future, because thirty years ago, nobody, even in India, accepted yoga as we accept it today. In fact I could say that there was even greater resistance to yoga in India than there was in other countries. Overseas countries could identity with yoga as a physical or mental practice. However, in India, people identified yoga with something mystical, which would isolate them from society, and nobody wanted to be isolated. But Paramahamsaji was a visionary and he was able to assess the needs of people in the future. He worked instinctively for the propagation of yoga and now he must see a different need for people in the future.

In fact this has been my experience too. This year, for the first time in eleven years, I travelled outside India and I noticed a big change in the mentality. Whether in Australia or Europe, people who once looked to yoga as a physical system, are now looking to yoga to take them beyond the concepts and identity of the body.

No doubt there are many people still attracted to Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga, but there is an increasing interest in the deeper aspect of yoga, which goes beyond the physical. I felt very strongly that people needed a clearer direction by which they could come to understand and utilise their inner faculties more and more. Not faculties in the form of siddhis or psychic powers, but the normal day-to-day human qualities of caring, of nurturing and sustaining, of understanding and of being at peace with oneself and with others.

Love, affection, compassion and devotion

From the past five years I have noticed that in Paramahamsaji's sadhana the concept of how to incorporate the qualities of love, affection, compassion and devotion are very subtly coining to the forefront. In his own way he is trying to teach us how to develop these four qualities, so that we can be more at peace with ourselves, and more creative in our lives. When we say develop love, develop compassion, develop this, develop that, the question always arises, "How do we do it?" The love that we are expressing now, is it not enough? The affection or compassion that we are expressing now, is it not enough? Even in these expressions, we tend to involve our egos, attachments, ambitions and desires, and the purity of the quality is never experienced. Rather, the more we worry about it, it seems the more we distance ourselves from the purity. There is too much ego-identification.

As part of our training, I believe that Paramahamsaji is trying to teach us, by being an example, by being the symbol, how we can cultivate these qualities within us, so that eventually we can make this world a better place for ourselves and for future generations to come. So, if you can pick up what he is trying to give you on a subtle level, you will see that it is very similar to what I have just said. I am not going to say that it will be the same because it is my understanding and feeling; yours may be different. What I have picked up is according to my nature, what you will pick up will be according to your nature.

We have identified and linked ourselves emotionally with a person having or representing some state which we want to achieve in life. We have identified with a body, an image, a concept. I feel that now he is trying to make us identify with the essence which has kept him ticking all this time. So it is like he is saying, "Don't look at the body, but look at the force which has kept this body going in a particular direction, in a particular path, and identify with that force rather than with a personality."

God as the universal force has two powers. One is maya which takes us away from the nature of God and one is bhakti which brings us closer to the nature of God. Many of us come to sannyasa because of the force of maya. But sannyasa offers an opportunity, because even though you may come with an ambition, whether for power or wisdom, at the same time you should be aware that there is a higher force guiding you. And when the awareness of that higher force comes, then the process of bhakti begins.