The mass awakening of consciousness and spiritual revolution, that was the life mission of the great spiritual luminary, Swami Satyananda, continues to become a reality at Rikhiapeeth, day by day. One such event held annually at Rikhiapeeth since 2003 is the Sivananda Janmotsav.
This year too, from 1st to 8th September, this sacred event was observed at Rikhiapeeth with Bhagavata Katha, as it is a well known belief that the Bhagavata Katha grants bliss and moksha to saints, knowledge to scholars, and showers blessings upon householders. This year was extra special for us all as it was the first katha after the Maha Samadhi and was dedicated to both Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda.
The inspiring Bhagavata Katha, presided over by Peethadhishwari, Swami Satyasangananda, was narrated by renowned Pandit Akhilananda Shastri and Bhaktikiran Shastri, of Benares, who held the audiences spellbound with their fresh and inspiring insight into the colourful stories.
Each day, devotees from across India and the world gathered in large numbers to soak in the uplifting and captivating stories of Sri Krishna which were brought to life in an original way. The stories were complemented by wonderful bhajans and kirtans which created an atmosphere of devotion.
A daily highlight of the program was the kanyas and batuks enacting the incarnations of Lord Krishna being described during the katha. The definite favourites were the Rasa Lila, which was depicted by the kanyas dancing as Gopis with Lord Krishna, the wedding of Krishna and Rukmini and the darshan of Lord Vishnu on the final day. Modern dances performed by the kanyas depicting the divine love of Radha and Krishna were also loved by all.
This unique event culminated with the birth celebrations of Paramguru Swami Sivananda on 8th September. Havan, pooja, vedic mantras filled the air and a sense of peace and joy prevailed. On this day, the Peethadhishwari, Swami Satyasangananda, commenced for the first time the traditional pooja of Swami Sivananda's statue which had been installed at the akhara in 1990. Until now no pooja had been done and this new beginning will only reinforce the strong guru shakti prevailing at Rikhiapeeth.
During the sacred havan, diksha was given by Swami Satyasangananda to aspirants from India and abroad into mantra and jignasu. To mark this occasion the old age pensioners, the elderly gramins, the labourers and kanyas and batuks of Rikhia panchayat received clothing, vegetables, grains, cooking oil and other household amenities. Mass scale bhoj for over 3,000 people, for gramins from neighbouring villages as well as the kanyas and batuks of Rikhia, was conducted daily. In fact, constant giving or daan, which is the fundamental teaching of Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda, was the hallmark of this event.
The Bhagavata Katha week at Rikhiapeeth was full of bliss, joy, happiness, devotion and was a worthy dedication to our beloved Swami Satyananda, whose grace, presence and blessings flowed in abundance and was experienced by all present. This event reinstated that Swami Satyananda's sankalpa for peace, well being, plenty and prosperity of all continues to manifest at Rikhiapeeth for the spiritual and material prosperity of all.
This day is most important for all disciples and spiritual aspirants as it was on this day, 12th September 1947, that Sri Swamiji received initiation from Swami Sivananda into the Dashnami Order of Sannyasa, on the banks of the Ganga. Swami Satyananda did not call this Sannyasa Diwas, he called it Samarpan Diwas, the day when he surrendered.
This auspicious day was celebrated at Rikhiapeeth with havan, kirtans and prayers dedicated to Sri Swamiji. The sacred worship was an opportunity for all present to renew dedication, faith and love for him. On this day we acknowledged that the life of Swami Satyananda was one of total surrender and dedication to the guru and upholding the tradition of sannyasa. On this day we sought his blessings and prayed that his life may continue to be a source of inspiration for each and every one of us in our spiritual journey.
After the final kirtan, all present were guided for Samadhi Darshan. As the darshan began light, gentle rain began to fall and there was the feeling that it was the blessings of Sri Swamiji showering upon one and all.
23rd September was a very special day for Rikhiapeeth, because on this very day 21 years ago the fortune of Rikhia changed forever. In 1989, Swami Satyananda set foot in Rikhia on 23rd September at midday and in the short span of time everything has prospered here. The 23rd September is also special because it is the day of the vernal equinox, when night and day are in total balance and nature is in harmony.
As this auspicious day also happened to be Poornima, Sundarkand Path was conducted at the Samadhi Sthal of Swami Satyananda after the daily Guru Pooja. This sacred chanting which brings auspiciousness and good health to all was dedicated to Sri Swamiji and the place he loved - Rikhiapeeth.