Paramahamsaji's Golden Jubilee of Sannyasa

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Yesterday was the day when our Guru completed 50 years of sannyasa. It was his golden jubilee of sannyasa. A celebration was organised by the Yoga Mitra Mandals of Munger. It was a function in which respectful, thankful and grateful feelings were offered, not to the person, but to the ideal to which the person has dedicated his life. That dedication, in the life of Paramahamsaji is towards sannyasa.

Sannyasa can mean many things to many people: a way of life; a system of thought; a way of perfecting one's own sadhana and convictions. It can be that, but sannyasa is something which grows internally. Fifty years ago when Paramahamsaji was given sannyasa initiation by his guru Swami Sivananda, he was just a single person, an ordinary person, like all of us. He had the same aspirations, thoughts and desires we all have. However the day he took sannyasa he took a sankalpa, a resolution, “Since I have embarked on this path I will not become slack, I will keep on trotting, I shall do my best to attain a state of sannyasa.”

After all, when the guru gives any form of initiation it is always with the hope that you will be the winner in your life. It is a preparation for war against negativity, prejudice, anger, all the negative qualities. We also have very solid companions who help us in the fight: That is the support of other people; that is willpower; that is the feeling of love and compassion; and that is the feeling of optimism. Positive things are our army and negative things are what we fight against with our army. Normally in our life we feel that we have to fight on so many different fronts against our personal prejudices, negativities, hatred, jealousy, competitiveness and frustrations. We find ourselves totally isolated and when we find ourselves isolated we sink, we go down. Depression, neurosis, insecurity, fear, all these things come up. But we also have to realise that we have our own army. We have our own strengths which can help us in this process of transformation. Then we can become a universal person from a selfish person or self-oriented person. These things have to be understood from a positive perspective by understanding personal nature.

So we are offering our respect to the ideal which came alive in the life of a person. Anybody can wear geru, anybody can be initiated into sannyasa, but that does not make them a sannyasin. There has to be a specific mindframe which has to be developed. You see, when you go to war you prepare your gear before going to the war. You make sure that you have all your arms and munitions. You don't go to a war with nothing, because other people can shoot you easily; and even when you are fully prepared you have to follow the rules of the war. You don't just go there and not use any of your weapons, and so your body ends up riddled with thirty shots! You don't even have the opportunity to fire a single bullet! Generally this happens to us in our life. We are at war with ourselves, but continuously we are unprepared for it; and we get hurt mentally, sentimentally, emotionally, intellectually – and we lose.

Sannyasa is a war in which you go onto the field with all your guns firing, not physically, but internally – and being victorious is the aim of life.

—Ganga Darshan, 13th September, 1997