About fifteen years ago, when I was in my late teens and in college, I read the teachings of Swami Satyananda with great interest. Little did I know then that my mother intentionally left those six volumes within arm’s reach for my sister and me. I had the opportunity to speak with him only once soon after, when, very reluctantly, on the insistence of my grandmother, I accompanied my mother to Rikhia. That meeting became a most awesome experience – one that only Sri Swamiji could make possible. This was during the period of his panchagni sadhana, when he wore only a kaupin. My first impression was one of fascination, as I observed his striking, flowing beard and piercing eyes. We were a small group attending a satsang outside Ganesh Kutir, where he sat on a simple charpai. Swami Niranjan introduced us one by one. As he nodded to each of us in turn, it suddenly felt like we became completely transparent to him. When my turn came, I was taken aback by his questions regarding computers and his genuine interest in them.
At the time I was just starting off on my present career (with software) and things were not going well. I was in a dilemma with one client in particular who was breathing down my neck over a problem in software development. I had become despondent. The first words Sri Swamiji said were, “It is important to remember that other people’s problems are not your problems, but their own.” Those words were like an awakening! Instantly I knew they were meant for me. The enormous weight on my back melted away and I became devoid of worry, completely quiet! I had an experience of truthful joy in his name: Satya-Ananda!
Thereafter, I listened in rapt attention, spellbound by his personality and knowledge on all issues. The satsang was to be an hour long and we had tickets back to Kolkata for a train at noon. I glanced at my watch, “Will Swamiji remember to stop?” He was like clockwork – no sooner was it 10 o’clock, he said “Okay, now you must go.” The experience I had on that day is not comprehensible – for me the words he spoke were not words, but mandate. I would have done anything that Sri Swamiji had said at that point. That was the power that I will forever remember as only Sri Swamiji’s!