The Healing Heat of BYB

Sannyasi Yogananda, Greece, BYB Diploma Course in Yogic Studies student, 1998–99

On the fifth of April, the Diploma course students had practical exams. The day before, I had received a parcel through the courier service and the delivery man had asked me for 1,580 rupees, which I refused to pay. In the practical class I experienced a semi-failure which brought out a feeling of disappointment, but I ignored it. As the day continued, it seemed to be really very hot!

Maybe all this sounds irrelevant, but it is not. I come from Greece where summer is the most favourable season of the year, not only for tourists, but for the Greeks as well. For me, however, summer is the worst season of the year! I feel terrified just at the thought. When summer is finally coming I 'surrender' in sorrow, grief, disappointment and with a lot of 'black' thoughts, mostly about death. In the last twenty-two years I have never truly enjoyed summer time.

A few weeks back, the heat started here in India. Everybody was mentioning that fact and when I whispered something about the heat, as a response I received the comment, “No, this is not hot. After the 15th of April, you'll see!” It was like a nightmare! I kept on observing my thoughts and feelings and the recurrent idea was death. Disappointment, sorrow, grief – and all this because of the heat.

At noon on the 5th of April, I was walking towards the library. The heat was strong – or strong for me – when all of a sudden the courier man again appeared in front of me. He demanded his money again and from the tone of his voice I understood that he was 'threatening' me. Furious, I entered the office where the situation was eventually cleared up after much discussion. As I entered the library, I felt that something was wrong with me. When I left the library, I found that I had lost my glasses. I started searching up and down and finally, emotionally exhausted, I gave up and left the building.

The heat, the sun in my eyes, the whole event created the most unpleasant feelings. My body felt blocked from mooladhara to vishuddhi and my breath was almost non-existent. I was feeling totally disappointed and abandoned and the idea of death came up once more. This time it was quite intense. When I entered my room I collapsed, and for the first time during my stay at Ganga Darshan I cried. Full of tears, I said to my roommate, “I want to die.” I cried for some time and it was really very difficult to understand why.

I did not want to 'surrender' to those feelings, so I decided to go to the afternoon yoga nidra class. I lay in shavasana, feeling, or trying to feel, my breath, which was very shallow, and trying to understand that blockage between mooladhara and vishuddhi. I closed my eyes and I slept.

A little later on, while I was coming out of that sleep, a glimpse of an old picture came like a vision. It is very difficult to describe, because at the same time I relived that scene once more with all the feeling of the event and I really don't know how long it took. But at the end of that experience it was very clear to me what had happened and how the samskara had been created in my pre-adolescent years.

Twenty-two years ago, in my city in Greece, a very strong earthquake took place. A building collapsed and people were killed. The government instructed the citizens to close their shops, leave their houses and apartments and to go either to the countryside or to a special camp that the army had prepared. The city, especially my area, seemed as if in the aftermath of a nuclear war. It was early summer, but very hot.

At that time, in my early teens, I was experiencing the most pessimistic thoughts and feelings about life. I felt like a prisoner in that young body and I was feeling that life had eluded me! Nothing was worth living for.

One morning, I found out that I had failed my school exams in maths and that made my disappointment even deeper. I decided to suicide because death seemed to be the only solution! That night I was wandering around the neigh-bourhood. The streets were empty, there was no one around, everything was closed and it was hot. As I strolled in the empty streets, I was sweating, my only company my black thoughts, and the chosen one of death.

All of a sudden, during that long hot walk, a young man appeared. I knew him. He was a student who lived two buildings away from me. I felt totally indifferent towards him, although I knew that he liked me. He approached me and expressed his desire to have sex with me. I remember that he was demanding and assiduous in his attentions.

After the end of yoga nidra, I felt light, cool, calm and free. My breath was also free and although it is difficult to describe, I felt that the emotions, the feelings and all the specific weight which that event had carried for so many years had vanished or, rather, evaporated.

I feel blessed, not only because I feel 'liberated' but most of all because this experience happened here in the ashram, in Swamiji's presence. I believe the original event was a landmark in my life – a negative one – and that liberation has established a new landmark in my life, in general, and my spiritual growth, in particular, and it is a positive one!