The Moving Spirit

Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Bihar School of Yoga, 1968

The most important person in every organisation, whether spiritual, political or otherwise, is always one man. You can consider him to be the spirit behind the whole drama. As long as he is alive, his personality is the moving spirit. After he dies, it is his philosophy which is the moving spirit. Therefore, in order to perpetuate the organisation, it has always been a tradition to accept a moving spirit, whether he is living or dead. When the philosophy of the moving spirit disintegrates, not only a small organisation, but even nations disintegrate.

The moving spirit of an organisation is the person who has realised the vision, who has a plan, who wants to do certain kinds of things. The moving spirit is not a guardian, not a member, not a director, not a toiler, he is only the inspirer. The moving spirit should have one important quality – the capacity to inspire. With absolute patience and perseverance, he should bring the necessity and utility of what he has been thinking to the people. It is also very necessary for the moving spirit to move physically for some time amongst different people and inspire them to understand what he wants to fulfil.

The moving spirit should always have a master plan, however difficult it may be for him to implement and put into practice. Swami Vivekananda was a moving spirit and therefore he could do great things. He opened a small Vedanta centre, but more than that he inspired people to something which he had realised In the same manner, many missionaries who go to underdeveloped countries to open hospitals, schools and the like are inspired by the moving spirit of Christ. That spirit in which they believe inspires them so much that they in turn inspire others to believe. As a result this inspiration becomes epidemic.

There are many things in this world which are epidemic, but inspiration is most epidemic. You know how the Christian missionaries have spread Christianity throughout the world, how it has taken everybody into its fold. In the same way, the inspiration which you give to people in regard to yoga will also become epidemic. That is one of the most important points which the moving spirit has to take up first. He should not limit himself to a group of four or five members. He has a different duty to perform. He has the ideas and the plan and in order to fulfil them, he must keep inspiring people.

That inspiration which he gives to people is not the common type. It is to arouse in them an abiding desire to lead a higher life. Supposing I go to Gondia and stop at Muzaffarpur on the way. There are hundreds of people there who want to learn asana and pranayama. I cannot teach all of them, so what do I do? I inspire them; I awaken their dormant desire for spiritual life. This is one of the most important tasks of the moving spirit.

In the beginning when I moved from place to place, I used to think, “What is this?” I go from Gondia to Calcutta, Calcutta to Bombay, Bombay to Madras, Madras to Nagpur, Nagpur to Delhi, Delhi to Allahabad, Allahabad to Benares, Benares to Munger, Munger to Bhagalpur, to meet people. I give classes for three days and so many people come. After I go, many more people come to know because the inspiration continued in my absence. But at first I did not know this. I thought it was just a show and sometimes I did not like this show. But when I realised its after effects on the human personality and on human behaviour within the family and the society, I understood the importance of inspiring people. Even though they learned very little yoga, only a few asanas, a little pranayama and dhyana, and all that imperfectly, still that brought about a change in their life.

It used to happen and it happens even now. After I leave a place, a man comes to know that I was leading a small class and says, “Why didn’t you tell me?” Until then his spiritual desire was dormant. The moment he heard of the class for which I was the instrument as well as the efficient cause, his sleeping spiritual desire woke up and he became a seeker. So this moving spirit in the mission of yoga should be one who can awaken a spiritual thirst, who can inspire a band of seekers, because the purpose is to awaken the seeker in man.

Everybody is a seeker. That particular desire will have to be aroused, and this is the master key of your mission. Unless the moving spirit fulfils this one condition, all is useless. He won’t be able to do anything. Because it is through these seekers, it is for these seekers, it is with these seekers that the movement will flourish. If they are seekers, they will come to you, they will learn. If they are seekers, they will call you and you will teach them. If they are seekers, they will sympathise with your mission and they will help you.

The first and foremost thing that comes to you after receiving information that you are the moving spirit is a band of seekers who seek the knowledge which you are propagating. Therefore, when you have developed a kind of inspiring ideal for yourself, the first thing you should do is to clarify the mission. It must be clear to people wherever you go.

If this kind of sincere and earnest idea is imparted to them, then they will become seekers. But if you get ten such seekers and decide to go ahead with them, giving them a blueprint and layout for their search, then your mission will be blocked. If you sacrifice the seeking spirit of those ten and go on to inspire many more, then the general interest in yoga will grow. Those ten may lose the spiritual chance you could give them, but always remember that the search begins, continues and concludes almost independently. It is the inspirer who is important in this field, and therefore you have to do everything to inspire more and more people to the path of yoga and then give them guidance also.