After coming to Rikhia I received the divine command that sannyasins must do penance to atone for past deeds. So I undertook panchagni, the sadhana of the five fires, a very rigorous penance undertaken to wash off the karma collected during a sannyasin’s mission phase. In Munger the wheel of karma was set in motion with great momentum. To become stained with soot was inevitable. Panchagni is meant either for one who is beyond all cares and concerns, or a rajarishi, a royal rishi.
For six months, from January 14th to July 16th, morning till evening, I would sit surrounded by four fires in four directions, the fifth fire being the sun overhead. I faced the heat for five years. I chose Tulsi as the presiding deity of the Akhara and prayed to her daily. I didn’t pray for money, an ashram, magical arts, erudition, siddhis or yogic powers, but for sound health, and she kept me in perfect health.
This only happens by the grace of God. The five internal fires are kama, lust, krodha, anger, lobha, greed, mada, arrogance, and moha, delusion. These five fires inside the subtle body dry up the being of a person. Only one who can face the five inner fires can face the five external fires. Otherwise a sadhaka doing panchagni sadhana is sure to die. I did it for five years. Now I sit in bliss.
As the culmination of my panchagni sadhana, I undertook an anushthana of 10,800,000 repetitions of the mantra of my ishta devata. It was done without any personal desire or resolve, without any expectation or demand. It was done for its own sake, as an obligatory act, that being a reward in itself.
After coming to Rikhia my cataracted vision was corrected. Slowly all the unnecessary things, the intellectual knowledge and academic information, began to drop away. Life became simpler. My mind became totally and singularly absorbed only in Ramacharitamanas.
Now I make no prayers to God because He knows what I need. I do not need anything. I do not have to run an institution. I have no dreams, no ambitions. I am God’s servant. God has asked me to do the work that is being done in the villages of Rikhia, so I am doing it. He provides me with the means, and as long as He asks me, as long as I live, I will do it. When God wants it to happen, it will. I am only the medium, the agent. Swami Satyananda is a servant. Whatever is done, it is not he but God who does it. I did whatever God inspired me to, and that inspiration came from my innermost being, not from my mind. I heard the voice with my own ears. God told me what to do, and I did it.