The Abhisheka of Swami Niranjanananda

Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati

Toady is the fifteenth Sat Chandi Mahayajna and I welcome you all here on behalf of Poojya Gurudev, Swami Satyananda. All the fourteen Sat Chandi Mahayajnas held at Rikhiapeeth have been very special and important, and this fifteenth Sat Chandi Mahayajna is as special, if not more, than all the others that preceded it. It falls on the exact day that Swami Satyananda took Maha Samadhi. And that is no coincidence. Swami Satyananda's whole life was an expression of auspiciousness. Everything he did, everything he said and everything he thought was auspicious. Nothing inauspicious happened around him. Everything connected to him had the fragrance of auspiciousness, and this occasion, too, has that fragrance. For the Sat Chandi Mahayajna to have started on the exact day he took Maha Samadhi is no ordinary coincidence. This Sat Chandi Mahayajna is a part of his sadhana and sankalpa.

He is definitely present here. If we can't see him, that is our limitation, and we are unfortunate not to have that vision. A blind person cannot see the sun, no matter how hard he tries, but he can definitely know of the sun by experiencing the warmth. In the same way, we can experience his presence through the divine fragrance and divine light that we experience here. The quality of the atma is that it pervades everywhere. On 6th December 2009 Swami Satyananda became cosmic. He left his body, but that did not mean the end. He became one with the divine energy, one with the divine awareness. That is the quality of the atma.

Having no feet, no eyes to see, no ears to hear, the atma knows everything, sees everything and pervades everywhere. If it is true what our scriptures say and what Swami Satyananda told us throughout his life, then today he is here. If you cannot see him, it does not matter because he can see you, and that is what matters.

Divine atmas come to such a divine event. It is said in the Puranas that when such events take place, divine souls appear and shower nectar, amrita, on us. A divine event is going to take place here, and surely they have come to shower us with nectar, and we will all be blessed. For that we have to thank our beloved Swami Niranjanananda. If Swami Satyananda was declared the Emperor of all hearts, then today we should declare Swami Niranjan the Prince Charming of all hearts.

A sannyasin of caliber

Today in front of your very eyes, Swami Niranjan will receive the traditional worship which a sannyasin of his caliber receives. When I say `his caliber', I mean that he has upheld the ideals of sannyasa, not from today, but from birth, for the past fifty years. The ideals of sannyasa are tyaga, sacrifice, vairagya and samarpan, surrender. He has lived his life in that manner right from birth.

At the age he took sannyasa, children do not think of such high ideals. They think of fulfilling desires. Instead he renounced the desires and walked on the path shown to him by his guru. In the face of difficulties and ordeals, he still upheld those values; he did not renounce them or give them up. When we face difficulties, we renounce our ideals and beliefs and we change our mind. But he did not do that. And that requires a certain caliber, a certain personality, a certain character and a certain spiritual power which he has been endowed with from before his birth. It is that caliber which will be worshiped today.

In 1995, at the first Sat Chandi Mahayajna, in front of all of you, Swami Niranjan was ordained the spiritual successor of Swami Satyananda by Poojya Gurudev himself. And today during the fifteenth Sat Chandi Mahayajna, he is going to be worshipped by the pandits who will perform the Sat Chandi Mahayajna. On our behalf they will be worshipping and sanctifying him with mantras, with herbs, and then he will enter into the sannyasa tradition.

There is a difference between a sannyasa order and a sannyasa tradition. Those who enter the sannyasa order and live the life of sannyasa with sincerity, truth, honesty and integrity enter into the sannyasa tradition. They are very few because sannyasa life is not an easy life. Maintaining those values in the face of all those difficulties, you acquire a certain caliber And that is going to be recognized today.

Today is also important because it is the fiftieth year of Swami Niranjan on this earth. Just as Swami Satyananda, after leaving Munger, came to Rikhia and entered traditional sannyasa and lived the traditional life of a paramahamsa, in the same way, after the ceremony today, Swami Niranjanananda will also enter that tradition. Just as Swami Satyananda established the Rikhia Peeth as a centre for higher learning, in the same way, Swami Niranjan has been ordained by Poojya Gurudev to establish the Sannyasa Peeth, a centre for higher learning, of higher values, of higher lifestyle, which is very important for society especially in these times.

The ritual

The ceremony had a very auspicious beginning, the abhisheka of Poojya Gurudev's paduka at the Samadhi Sthal, at his Panchagni Vedi, and after that the abhisheka of Sri Swamiji's successor Swami Niranjanananda. During the abhisheka, the water, herbs, saffron and mantras, all those things which grant lustre to the jiva, the individual soul, were offered to him. That is called abhisheka. The mantras you heard the learned pandits from Varanasi reciting are very important in abhisheka.

You may wonder what the importance of this ritual is, because in our eyes and to our minds, Swami Niranjan has reached that status. We already regard him as that. Many people may have this question in their minds. What is the need for this ritual, because in 1993, he had pattabhisheka (acceptance by the luminaries of sannyasa tradition) in Munger during the Tyaga Golden Jubilee World Yoga Convention, and in 1995 Swami Satyananda also declared him as his spiritual successor during the first Sat Chandi Mahayajna in Rikhia.

To that I have to say that ritual is an integral part of life. At every step rituals are conducted - at birth, as you turn into a young adult, as you go to school, upanayana samskaras. Just as samskaras are given during the course of life to an individual, in the same way there are samskaras for a sannyasin. These samskaras are given for the benefit of those who are observing, for the benefit of devotees, so that you too can participate and receive the blessings of this event.

As stated in the Puranic literature, when such events take place, due to the purity of the event, due to the devotion, due to the surrender, due to the vairagya, divine souls descend in subtle form and shower amrita, nectar, and bless all who are present. In the Jain tradition when an individual renounces and becomes a bhikshu, the entire community comes out to salute, and it is a great event, because they know that at that time they too will get a bit of that divinity in their lives. So today Rikhiapeeth is indeed blessed.

The abhisheka signifies a very important moment in time. Swami Niranjan's birth was ordained by a yogi, a siddha, a perfected being, Swami Satyananda. Swami Niranjan was not just born like we are born. His birth had a purpose, which was much more than just teaching yoga or running an institution or meeting all of you. That purpose was a divine one, and therefore the abhisheka is truly a blessing for the yajna, for Rikhiapeeth and for all of us, because it marks a moment in time when the purpose for which he was born will commence in the true sense of the word. We are all very blessed and fortunate to have witnessed it. You can tell your children and your grandchildren fifty years later that you were there on that day.

On your behalf and on behalf of everyone who has not been able to come here today, I wish all the very best to Swami Niranjan.

—Rikhiapeeth, 6 December 2010