In preparation for the sacred Guru Pooja, a Nada Yoga Course (English) was conducted at Rikhiapeeth from 15th to 20th July 2010. This advanced course gave participants from all around the world the unique opportunity to experience the ancient tantric technique of penetrating the deeper layers of the mind, utilizing sound as a medium. These ancient techniques have been revealed by Swami Satyananda and are particularly powerful when practiced in the spiritually charged atmosphere of Rikhiapeeth. Sincere participants greatly benefited from this unique course, which was skillfully led by Swami Anandananda from Italy, as it offered advanced practical and theoretical classes along with ashram life experience and featured inspiring satsang with Swami Satyasangananda.
Guru Poornima was extra special this year as it was conducted for the first time in Rikhiapeeth, in honour of `the disciple of disciples', Swami Satyananda, who lived and breathed only for his guru, Swami Sivananda Saraswati. It was also most important as it was the first Guru Poornima after Swami Satyananda attained Maha Samadhi.
Before attaining Maha Samadhi, Swami Satyananda had said, "If you call me I will come." Guru Poornima at Rikhiapeeth was testimony to this truth as the presence of our beloved Gurudev was felt as strongly as ever throughout the entire program and beyond.
The sacred day of Guru Poornima was preceded by a two day anushthana during which the tapobhoomi of Swami Satyananda was alive with kirtans, prayers and havan led by the kanyas in their renowned impeccable style. Devotees flocked from every corner of the globe as well as from the length and breadth of India to offer their love and devotion to guru and invoke the grace and blessings of guru shakti into their lives. The unprecedented crowds surpassed even the huge numbers that attend the annual Sat Chandi Mahayajna and Yoga Poornima celebrations at Rikhiapeeth.
On 23rd July, participants were taken on a tour of the newly completed Annapoorna Kanya Kitchen, which was inaugurated this year on Diwali, the day of Lakshmi pooja. They also visited Patanjali Ashram, the new mammoth ashram complex that has developed at Rikhia.
On 24th July devotees had the rare opportunity to have darshan of Tulsi Kutir, the place where Swami Satyananda left his body and attained Maha Samadhi, which was opened to the public for the first time, giving devotees the rare darshan of the personal dwelling of Swami Satyananda during the last year of his life.
During the anushthana the talented kanyas of Rikhiapeeth impressed the audience with a wide variety of traditional and modern dances. The climax was a new modern dance inspired by the renowned culture icon _ Michael Jackson. This dance was an offering by the kanyas to Sri Swamiji who often told them, "One day you should dance like Michael Jackson." They also performed an impressive Bharata Natyam dance to Guru Stotramwhich left everyone spellbound. This was a most powerful tribute on their behalf to beloved Gurudev on Guru Poornima.
During the two day anushthana all the energies were focused towards guru and when the sacred day of Guru Poornima dawned spiritual vibrations flowed in abundance. Each and every person was swept off their feet by the stunning presence of guru shakti which pervaded Rikhiapeeth. Darshan of the lifelike pratima, statue, of Swami Satyananda, as he entered the Yajnashala accompanied by all the sannyasins, took everyone's breath away. The sense of déjà-vu was astonishing! Everyone rose to their feet in stunned silence to pay their respects to their beloved Paramahamsaji. The kirtan of the kanyas, "Namo Narayan Swamiji", really took off at that point and there was absolutely no doubt in anyone's mind that they were having the darshan of Sri Swamiji. Guru Paduka Pooja was performed by Swami Niranjan and Swami Satsangi, which had a very profound and deep effect as devotees once again had the familiar sight of both of them sitting beside Swamiji, a sight that is firmly imprinted in everyone's psyche.
Another highlight of Guru Poornima was the soul stirring satsang of Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda, which filled the hearts of all and brought them peace and solace.
During their satsang there was pin drop silence amongst the immense crowd as people were uplifted by the words of the two flowers whom Swami Satyananda has left to inspire and guide us on our spiritual paths.
To honour Swami Satyananda's mandate to "give, give and give", the kanyas and batuks, numbering over 1,600, all received special Guru Poornima prasad of a beautiful outfit which they wore for the sacred Guru Pooja. Nearly 100 bicycles were distributed to deserving kanyas on behalf of Sivananda Math which had been generously donated by Salman Khan!
An extraordinarily large number of aspirants received initiation into mantra, jignasu and karma sannyasa from Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda at the Samadhi Sthal of Swami Satyananda, receiving untold blessings for their spiritual journey.
When Swami Satyananda abandoned his body in Rikhiapeeth, his tapobhoomi, he immortalized this sacred place and left a legacy of tremendous tejas or spiritual strength. During Guru Poornima thousands of devotees benefited from this legacy by having darshan of the Samadhi Sthal, which just like Swami Satyananda emits spiritual luminosity, warmth, love, joy, compassion, kindness, and spiritual strength. The Samadhi Sthal was opened for the first time for public darshan since the completion of its major transformation into the sublime divya loka that is truly befitting of the magnificence of Swami Satyananda.
During this grand event there was a unified experience of bliss, joy and unlimited grace. Every corner of Rikhiapeeth became a temple, a place of worship, as the thousands of participants remembered guru with every breath, while walking, talking, eating and sleeping! A powerful vibration was created as worship was dedicated to Sadguru Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda as well as all gurus of the universe who inspire our lives.
Each and every person who came to Rikhiapeeth, whether for the three day anushthana or only for a moment, left with a smile on their face and that familiar sense of fullness, contentment, joy and bliss that comes after being in the presence of Swami Satyananda.