Swami Satyananda Saraswati

In 1968 I went on a world tour for the first time. I soon realized that people everywhere in the world are searching for themselves. At that time the whole West was passing through a phase of transition. The transition was the result of great frustration. After a century and a half or even more of the industrial revolution, people in the West were facing a great crisis in their personal lives.

Initially they had great faith in technology. They thought it would bring them nearer to peace and happiness. They anticipated that this would bring nations and families closer, that this technology would bring people into one fold, but all their dreams appeared to be shattered. Technology brought them stress and strain, split families, disturbed the social system, took man far away from himself, created turbulence in his mind, made him more selfish and more self-centred.

It was at that time that the hippie wave erupted and rebelled against society. The repressed society exploded all at once and the whole technological West was waiting for direction. When western society could not give direction, nor the politicians, nor religion, then there was a social revolution. Hippies and the drug cult were products of that revolution.

Nobody makes hippies, nobody takes drugs – we do it. If your family is in a state of disturbance, the same thing will happen. The world is a very big family. Your family is a microscopic family. The whole world is a macroscopic family. It does not merely subsist on prosperity, or on a political system, or on a good market. It has to rely on a sound philosophy, which is not the philosophy people talk about around a table.

Everybody has to be intimate with this philosophy. Not only your monk or your priest but also your father has to become a philosopher. Even a criminal has to become a philosopher, a politician, an ordinary labourer in the street or a scavenger has to become a philosopher. If you have monks and priests who are masters of philosophy, that has nothing to do with society and if you do not have a philosophy of your own, then your children will revolt.

During that period of revolt, I was touring the world. I sensed that the whole modern world was undergoing a state of frustration. At this time, what had India to offer? Of course, the western culture has offered a lot of things, but whatever it has offered has been to the external man. It has offered him a nice bed and bedroom but no sleep; it has offered social security but no emotional security. There are two parts to your life – external and internal. All your external necessities are looked after by the modern culture, but the soul, the inner man, is completely and totally ignored.

So I began to question what India had to offer to western people. I travelled far in eastern countries and in Australia, Fiji, New Zealand, Tahiti, Hawaii, North and South America, Africa, Middle Eastern and European countries, and I came to a conclusion. That conclusion was that India has perhaps the most important thing, known as yoga. If India could give this yogic way of life to the rest of the world, there would be great satisfaction. My calculation turned out to be precise.