On the occasion of Holi, 1st March, Sri Swamiji gave darshan in the form of Chaitanya jyoti for the benefit of devotees. This divine manifestation brought infinite blessings to us all and made the Holi celebrations even more special than usual. The whole day had a most special vibration that was uplifting and inspiring. The presence of Sri Swamiji was felt strongly by all present and the kirtans sung by the kanyas of Rikhia took everyone to new heights of bhakti and bliss.

The worship began with guru pooja at the Samadhi Sthal of Swami Satyananda. After invoking the grace of guru, the kanyas and batuks of Rikhia performed the traditional ceremony of Rudrabhishek. This pooja was extra special as the Shiva lingam was worshipped by applying sandalwood, kumkum, haldi and many colours as a way to invite Lord Shiva to the festivities. The padukas of Sri Swamiji were also worshipped by the offering of colours by devotees who had come to Rikhiapeeth to celebrate this special day.

After the worship a jyoti, a translucent and luminous divine light, appeared between his padukas. This light entered the frame from the top and positioned itself between the padukas. This sequence of events, which were captured on mobile by Swami Satyasangananda, was the first darshan of Swami Satyananda since his Maha Samadhi. Such were the great spiritual powers of Swami Satyananda, that even after leaving his physical body he manifested as Chaitanya jyoti so that devotees may continue to receive his abundant and eternal blessings.

Chaitra Navaratri

Navaratri anushthana is observed twice a year at Rikhiapeeth, in Chaitra (March) and Ashwin (October to November), in worship of Shakti for the spiritual upliftment of aspirants. The sacred Chaitra Navaratri anushthana conducted from 16th to 24th March at Rikhiapeeth, included the chanting of Ramacharitamanas, satsang, seva, prayer, darshan, havan and kirtan. It was an excellent opportunity for aspirants to experience the power of this worship, in the divine and spiritual vibrations that abound at Rikhiapeeth.

This was the first Navaratri since Sri Swami Satyananda took samadhi and all sannyasins, residents and guests agreed that Sri Swamiji's presence was felt as strongly as ever! The powerful mantras and chanting of the Ramayana created a highly charged energy field in which it was possible to connect with the atman of Sri Swamiji and the all pervading guru shakti.

The beginning of summer and the beginning of winter are two very important junctions of climatic and solar influence. These two periods are considered very favourable times for the worship of the Divine Mother, who is nature incarnate. During these periods, nature is in transition and our bodies and minds also undergo a considerable transformation on account of the changes in nature. The worship of Devi during the Navaratri anushthana was worship of God's glory and greatness.

Sri Rama was also worshipped during Navaratri by the chanting of the entire Ramacharitamanas by all participants. The daily path was led confidently by the kanyas, who once again displayed their impeccable pronunciation and rhythm in chanting this ancient text. Sannyasi Mantranidhi and the Ramayana Mandali from Munger were also invited to join the kanyas in the chanting.

Each evening throughout the anushthana, thousands of guests, residents, kanyas and batuks and local villagers gathered in Tapovan for various chants led by the kanyas to praise the Divine Mother, including the entire Saundarya Lahari, which is considered one of the highest sadhanas. Krishna Devi from Bhagalpur, who is also fondly known as Manas Kokila, enthralled the audience with Rama Katha. Under an open sky filled with stars, the air was filled with bhajans, bhakti and an atmosphere of peace descended as the tales of the Ramayana were brought to life.

As a culmination of the Navaratri anushthana, on the auspicious occasion of Ramanavami, the kanyas of Rikhiapeeth performed a beautiful traditional Bharata Natyam dance as a special offering to Lord Rama. After the final chanting of Ramayana, bhoj was conduct for over 2,000 people, including the kanyas and batuks, gramins and senior citizens of Rikhia panchayat.

The birth of Sri Rama was celebrated by Swami Satyasangananda and Swami Niranjanananda at 12.00 midday at the Samadhi Sthal of Swami Satyananda. All present were most fortunate to witness this most sacred worship.

The Navaratri anushthana was full of bliss, joy, happiness and devotion. Rama, Sita, Hanuman, Ganesha, Durga and all the Devis and Devatas, who were sakshi or witness to the anushthana, showered their blessings on one and all. By performing this anushthana in the tapobhoomi of Swami Satyananda, in the presence of the Devis and Devatas, we can attain peace, plenty and prosperity.