Satyananda Yoga

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

In 1956, Swami Sivananda called Swami Satyananda and said, "Rishikesh is too small for you. You have to go out into the world and bring the message of yoga from door to door and shore to shore." Swami Satyananda said to Swami Sivananda, "You are giving me this order but I have no background in yoga." Swami Sivananda said, "I will teach you," and in fifteen minutes he gave shaktipat into the yoga tradition and culture. Only a capable guru can transmit knowledge to a capable disciple through shaktipat. Only the wire with the capacity to carry the highest electrical current without burning or fusing can be the recipient of high voltage.

A modern rishi

Armed with the grace and the shaktipat of Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda started the development of yoga. His contributions in the field of yoga are manifold. He systematized pranayama as vitalizing, tranquillizing and balancing practices. Previously, pranayama was taboo. People only knew about nadi shodhana which in traditional language was called anuloma viloma, inhalation and exhalation. He created a system to the practices of asanas, where one starts with pawanmuktasana, not with the headstand, and prepares the body to allow the vital energies to flow. He classified the techniques of pratyahara and developed the techniques of yoga nidra, antar mouna and ajapa japa. Swami Satyananda has redefined the yoga we know today, and history will consider him as a modern rishi of a greater calibre than Patanjali. Patanjali wrote only one thesis on raja yoga and Swatmarama wrote only one book on hatha yoga. Swami Satyananda was successful in presenting the whole system and tradition of yoga in a practical, understandable, modern and scientific manner.

In Bihar School of Yoga and Bihar Yoga Bharati, we experience the yoga developed by Swami Satyananda. I carried on with that development with the support and help of everyone. Ganga Darshan represents the commitment and dedication that Swami Satyananda had for his guru's order. Swami Satyananda did not want an ashram or an institution, or to become a teacher or guru. He did not want to deal with the eccentricities and hang-ups of people who come with their problems and difficulties. When Swami Sivananda told him to work for the development of yoga, Swami Satyananda put aside his personal aspirations and desires, and said, "This is the order and mandate of my guru and I will fulfil it." Ganga Darshan represents one-track, one-pointed devotion to the mandate of Swami Sivananda, where the personal aspirations of Swami Satyananda played no role whatsoever. He only worked to fulfil this command and thereby created a global yoga movement.

The aspiration of Swami Satyananda was to be and live like a sannyasin and achieve what every sannyasin tries to achieve - higher spiritual awareness.

A model sannyasin

For Swami Satyananda, sannyasa was not a stepping stone to become a holy prophet with eyes on profit. For him sannyasa was a sadhana to establish a link with the higher consciousness. In our life we only flirt and play with our aspirations. In his life there was no flirting and no playing, he was true to his aspirations.

When he realized that he had fulfilled the mandate of his guru and was free to live like a sannyasin, he left Ganga Darshan. He lived in solitude and isolation in Rikhia and there another set of mandates guided him to develop Rikhiapeeth.

Ganga Darshan represents his unwavering, unflinching commitment and dedication to the mandate of Swami Sivananda. I connect with yoga as taught here and also with that spirit, energy, unflinching devotion and dedication of Swami Satyananda, who set aside his personal aspirations and desires. Just to focus on the mandate of one's guru is something nobody can do. Even sannyasins make their own choices and express their desires. They have not surrendered, but still hold on to their concepts and ideas.

My model of a sannyasin is Swami Satyananda, who set aside his own ambitions and desires to fulfil a guideline and direction given to him by his guru. He has given each one an inspiration, but few have connected with it. I will connect with the mandate given to me and I will live it.

My association with him begins in 1958 before my birth. Before my birth it was clear that I would be his successor. At that time he was a wanderer without an institution or disciples. My succession was of sannyasa. Although I had many opportunities and roles to play in life, inside I knew that one day I would have to walk alone, without anybody.

No one is qualified or capable of experiencing spiritual life until and unless there is discipline, understanding and awareness as well as sanyam, restraint of the senses, mind, speech and behaviour. Without sanyam there cannot be an awareness or understanding of the deeper spiritual dimensions. Knowledge, wisdom or intellectual acumen is not the strength of a sannyasin, but the restraint and discipline which he cultivates.

People have been initiated in the sannyasa order but not in the sannyasa tradition. Sannyasa Peeth represents the continuation of the vision and mission of Swami Satyananda, where a person can learn to become the master of himself and not live a flirtatious life in the garb of a sannyasin. The next step

The next work will take place in Munger. Ganga Darshan represents the eye, and the symbol of yoga is ajna chakra. Chandi, the deity of Munger, is represented by her eyes, and ajna chakra is the third eye. Yoga ultimately helps in acquiring a harmonious and balanced vision between the outer and internal experiences, perceptions and dimensions. The deity or Shakti of Deoghar is represented by the heart, and the symbol of Sivananda Math is anahata chakra, the heart. In Ganga Darshan opening of the mind takes place and in Rikhia opening of the heart takes place. The third place, Sannyasa Peeth, represents qualified hands for people capable of undertaking any responsibility and risk with wisdom, spiritual understanding and the power to create something better with what is available. This will represent constructive hands. Head, heart and hands are the three aspects of Satyananda Yoga or the Satyananda tradition.