A New Beginning

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, Presentation of certificates and diplomas to Bihar Yoga Bharati students at Ganga Darshan on 25 May 1999

Today we are coming to the conclusion of your stay in this ashram and I am very happy that you are going. Now we will see how much you are able to face life outside with restraint of the emotions, thoughts and behaviour. That has been the teaching of yoga which now you have to try to convey.

You have received your certificates and diplomas as a mark, not of having completed your yoga learning, but of the new beginning you will start once you leave the ashram. So, the certificate is an indication that the actual performance of yoga begins once you jump into the waters of life in the world. Whether or not you practise asana and meditation is up to you, it is everybody's choice. The main thing is to incorporate the yogic ideas and attitudes into your life.

There are only three areas where you can incorporate the yogic principles: intellect, feeling and action – head, heart and hands. One can practise asanas, other meditation programs and other techniques of yoga for years and years, but if the concept of yoga does not take firm root in the intellect or in the heart or in the actions, then one is never considered to be a yogi or a follower of yoga.

Remember that asanas, or the physical dimension of yoga, constitutes a very minor part of yoga. Yoga is an item of practical sadhana, but at the same time it is an item of incorporation of ideas, views, concepts and beliefs into one's life structure. More than the physical part of yoga, you should concentrate on how yoga can become part of your life – in your beliefs, attitudes, thoughts and performance. That is the real training for which you are both the teacher and the student. You have to receive it from yourself once you leave the gates of the ashram.

In a nursery all the plants are grown together, but each one has to be planted separately in order to see the individual beauty. In the same way, you have grown here together through all the joy and pain, through all the happiness and suffering, through all the conflict and pleasure. Let the pleasure and happiness that you have received here be an inspiration in your life and let the pain and suffering to which you have been exposed be a process of learning in your life.

It is with this spirit that you leave the ashram. Remember that the ashram is yours. You are welcome to return anytime for a short or a long stay, to share your sorrows and to share your happiness, both are accepted. It is in the spirit of yoga that we wish you all success, peace, plenty and prosperity in your lives. I am sure that no matter where you may be in the world, the ashram will have a place in your memories and in your hearts, in your thoughts and in your feelings. Keep alive the inspiration that you have received here. We wish you all the best in your lives and look forward to seeing you whenever our paths cross again, in the near or in the distant future.