University that is Preserving and Spreading Yoga Vidya

Dr Swanand Ghatpande. Reprinted from Maharashtra Herald 16.11.2000

Like the rays of the moon
The light of yoga is expanding.
All religions, beliefs and sects
Are receiving shelter
Under the kalpataru (wish-fulfilling tree) of yoga.
Towards the evolution of consciousness
Yoga has done unforgettable work.
Yoga will become the culture of tomorrow
And will show a new way of life for mankind.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Bihar Yoga Bharati (BYB) has been rightly honoured by the Government of India as a University of Yoga. Bihar Yoga Bharati, which has preserved the ancient discipline of yoga, is now the only institute of its kind in India. This is a good start to building up modern India's progress in the 21st century. It is strange that this has occurred in Rabri Devi's Bihar (at a place known as Munger near Patna).

In ancient days, Takshashila, Nalanda and Vikramshila, the oldest institutes of knowledge, existed in Bihar and spread their knowledge throughout the world. Perhaps the same tradition is being maintained and continued by Bihar Yoga Bharati and hence the Central Government has allotted the status of university to this world-renowned institute. Bihar Yoga Bharati has not only preserved the ancient discipline of yoga, but propagated yogic knowledge from shore to shore and from door to door and has become our nation's pride. Its President, Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, is the guiding force of Bihar Yoga Bharati and is ably taking yoga to different frontiers of modern science.

Bihar Yoga Bharati is the offspring of Bihar School of Yoga (BSY). Swami Satyananda Saraswati (who is also 'guru' to Swami Niranjanananda) decided to teach yoga and relieve mankind of the agonies of ill-health. Swami Satyananda founded BSY in 1963 in gratitude to his guru Swami Sivananda.

The sannyasis include not only Indians but people from Italy, Germany, France, Norway, USA, England and other countries throughout the world. All these doctors, psychiatrists, teachers turned-sannyasis have dedicated themselves to the sacred cause of developing awareness about yoga in their respective countries. Yoga from door to door and yoga from shore to shore is the achievement of these dedicated sannyasis. Particularly in Australia there is widespread acceptance of yoga. To guide the ordinary person and also the elite, BSY has published more than 100 books on yoga.

When Swami Niranjan was four-years-old, his mother dedicated him to Swami Satyananda. Through the medium of yoga nidra, Swami Satyananda taught him Sanskrit, English, the Vedas, Ramayana and Mahabharata. At the age of ten Swami Satyananda conferred Dashnami Sannyasa diksha on Swami Niranjan. Since the age of eleven Swami Niranjan has visited many countries throughout the world to propagate yoga and has founded ashrams in various countries abroad. He was nominated President of BSY in 1983.

In 1990 he achieved Paramahamsa status, and in 1994 established BYB to impart knowledge of yoga at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. It has proved very successful in the medical stream. In this government recognized university, courses like Yoga Philosophy, Yoga Psychology, Applied Yogic Science and Yogic Ecology are conducted in the light of advanced medical science. BYB stands as an ideal of coordination between yoga and science in 21st century India.