My Lifeline Forever

Nalini Sahay, Delhi

I am who I am today because of Sri Swamiji’s blessings. Whatever he said to me I am slowly understanding. I do not feel that he has gone. His presence is palpable in my daily life, now, as it has been every day since 1976, when I first went to Ganga Darshan.

I started classes initially for my arthritis, and they changed me. I felt that I was on another plane. Just through the pawanmuktasana series, I could not believe what was happening to me. It was an experience of illumination and I felt that my life had a purpose.

I used to spend every day at the ashram and have Sri Swamiji’s darshan. He had all the time in the world for me. I felt renewed with energy and at the same time like a child being held by her mother. He was tireless and always smiling. I would ask him a new question daily. His satsangs were like a feast as they eliminated all doubts.

Nothing can last forever. When I found out that we were moving from Munger to Chennai I told Sri Swamiji. His response was, “This is very good news, now you will become a yoga acharya. You will spend the day here taking classes and then you will teach yoga.” I was dumbstruck as I had never thought of it; I had a different image of myself. I loved the idea and I took to my classes like a duck takes to water. The days just flew by. I learnt and learnt and it was the most enjoyable process. I went through Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha and Meditations from the Tantras. I sat in the library and read all the texts. I made copious notes as I could not afford to buy all the books. During darshan Sri Swamiji never asked about my progress. I had so many questions and he answered them patiently. He spoke about the guru-disciple relationship at length. I listened but did not understand everything as I do now. It was as if I was star-struck and the wisdom was seeping into me.

On the last day I received my certificate and I was given all the books published by BSY. I could not believe that I had been given this cache of treasure. I had hungered for them and now I had all this precious knowledge within my reach.

Sri Swamiji said the guru was always there for you and the lifeline never disconnected. From the first day of interacting with Swamiji I felt that my umbilical cord was connected to him. He said that when he thought of his guru, he would think of his slippers on his head - Swami Sivananda had huge feet. Whenever I was distressed I would see Sri Swamiji’s face and my angst would be reduced.

I went to Chennai in 1979 and started teaching yoga with Sri Swamiji’s blessings. I never looked back and specialized in teaching therapeutic yoga to women and creative yoga to children.

I organized two yoga conferences in Chennai and the doors just opened for us. The conference was a success and people were clamouring for more from Sri Swamiji. People came to hear him in their hundreds. He lectured at the Sanskrit College in Sanskrit and the audience was spellbound.

I returned to Munger three times. In 1980 I attended the kriya course which a hundred Colombians had come for. They brought their own coffee and we got sweet, black coffee every morning and evening. Sri Swamiji would sit in his tent and I spent every afternoon there. I pressed his feet which was such an honour as he did not like people to touch him. He would tell us stories every afternoon and always answered our queries. For my sons he gave me boxes of cookies to take back. Every visit Sri Swamiji just gave and gave.

Sri Swamiji’s inspiration and guidance have enabled me to accomplish many things. At every seminar I conduct I can feel Swamiji’s presence. If I falter I just pray to him and I remain connected. Today, I bow my head and fold my hands humbly in gratitude.