2008 Year of Transition from the Second Generation to the Third

Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati, Pithadhishwari, Rikhiapeeth

The year 2008 has marked an important phase in the yoga mission of Swami Satyananda. Swami Suryaprakash Saraswati assumed the office of Presidency of Bihar School of Yoga on Basant Panchami, the 11th of February 2008, after Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, just as Swami Niranjanananda became the President of Bihar School of Yoga in 1983 after Swami Satyananda.

The coming of Swami Suryaprakash to the Presidency of Bihar School of Yoga was foreseen by Swami Satyananda and Swami Niranjan when Swami Suryaprakash was of a tender age. Swami Suryaprakash was born on 1st of August 1982 in San Francisco (USA) to Indian parents and raised in an environment that encouraged a deep sense of spiritual commitment. Born in the United States, educated in Europe, now in India, Swami Suryaprakash is fluent in English and Spanish and has a flair for many languages including Catalan, French, Italian, Greek and now Hindi and Sanskrit.

His grandparents, Siru and Savitri Nainani came to India from Sindh at the time of partition, and settled in Ranchi (India) where they met Swami Satyananda and later travelled to France and settled in Spain. His mother Kamal and father Jivat Mukhi, aunt Shaku and sister Sanyam are dedicated disciples of Swami Satyananda. On his frequent travels to Europe, Swami Satyananda would stay in their home whenever he visited Spain. No matter which part of Europe Swami Satyananda was visiting, his food was cooked at their home and flown to Sri Swamiji. His aunt Shaku Nainani, was married to Cristobal during the Sita Kalyanam ceremony in the year 1999. In fact, you may say that the entire family is part and parcel of Swami Satyananda’s mission.

Swami Suryaprakash’s birth took place with the blessings of Swami Satyananda when Swami Niranjan was touring in the USA and was a frequent visitor to his home. So, it was not a surprise that in 1999, after completing his education in the USA and Spain, Swami Suryaprakash joined the ashram permanently to serve in the guru’s mission. On 14th January 2000, he was initiated into Dashnami sannyasa by Swami Niranjan. From that time he has been undergoing intense training in ashram and spiritual life in order to prepare himself for further responsibilities.

Swami Suryaprakash oversees the management of ashram activities and is a shining example of unswerving commitment to the guru’s mission. A disciple should be able to follow every command of his guru, verbal or otherwise. He should be able to anticipate and remain constantly alert to every need of the guru. Only then can the guru transmit his knowledge and guidance to the disciple and continue his mission through him. Swami Suryaprakash has the high ideals and standards of such a disciple.

Swami Satyananda has often mentioned that it is necessary for the head of an institution to step down and install the next head elected during his lifetime, so that the succeeding person may be able to master the work thoroughly. This is especially relevant in a sannyasa institution, where nothing belongs to any particular individual. Often jivanmuktas, liberat-ed beings, who have functioned dynamically during their lifetime, have been unable to leave behind disciples of adequate knowledge, experience and strength to continue their mission.

The inability of spiritual or temporal leaders to step down while living has been instrumental in the downfall of many institutions. Therefore, it is very important to give the responsibility of leadership and administration to others while the master is still living and thus able to guide and inspire them. This decision to pass over the responsibility must be taken at the correct time, when it is neither too early nor too late.

Swami Niranjan has been the President of Bihar School of Yoga for 25 years, and has played the dual role of guru and administrator with remarkable skill. He has inspired, instructed and been the guiding light for thousands of yoga aspirants and devotees world-wide. His decisions as an administrator have been flawless and his guidance to the people illuminating. In 2008, Swami Niranjan reached a turning point in his life and retired as an administrator although he will continue to guide and inspire the people for as long as he lives.

The yoga mission has a definite purpose and vision for the greater benefit and upliftment of humanity, which should be felt not only in this generation, but for many generations to come. The yogic culture, way of life, philosophy and practices must not become extinct or adulterated with the ravages of time or restricted to only a limited sector of people. Rather, the mission must diversify and spread the systems of yoga to all corners of the world to elevate every sphere of life. For the continuous and harmonious flow of these resolves, a strong foundation and external support for the yoga mission are required.

Swami Niranjan will continue to reside in Ganga Darshan for a specific time to guide and ensure the transition of the yoga mission from the second to the third generation, before moving on his destined path. The vast numbers of well-wishers, devotees and disciples of Bihar School of Yoga have always extended their help to the mission in every way possible. The future will be strengthened by the continuation of their support. Now that Swami Niranjan is no longer at the helm of administration, his scope and range of spiritual inspiration will increase considerably. In the words of his guru, he will further the command to take yoga from ‘door to door and from shore to shore’.