Yogadrishti (Yogavision) Satsang Series

The Yogadrishti (Yogavision) series of satsang consists of discourses given by Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati in Ganga Darshan, Munger. The first series started in 2010 with eight satsang series on topics pertaining to yoga and spiritual life. They are part of the new phase of sannyasa life that Swamiji has embarked upon since 2009. Each topic is developed in a unique way, linking the ancient tradition and understanding with a new vision of yoga for the present and coming age. Theories are explained with the help of stories and parables, and clear guidelines encourage and inspire one and all to practise and apply the teaching that has been heard.

The programs were organized and conducted by the children of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal (Children’s Yoga Fellowship) and included chanting, kirtan and havan. Their skill and contagious enthusiasm had everyone join in with an open heart, joy and dance.

2nd to 6th January – Sannyasa

In the first Satsang Series of 2011, Swamiji spoke on the tradition and ideals of sannyasa. He outlined the four stages of life and the path to cultivate spiritual awareness through the ‘ashtanga yoga of sannyasa’, and explained the basis of Sannyasa Peeth. Over five hundred residents from Munger attended the daily satsang.

On 6th January, Swami Niranjan­ananda initiated thirty-eight aspirants into mantra, ten into spiritual name, twenty-four into jignasu and sixteen into karma sannyasa.

5th to 7th February – Satyananda Yoga

Leading up to the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami, the second Yogadrishti Satsang Series was dedicated to the development of yoga as conceived since ancient times and the tradition of Satyananda Yoga. Swamiji described yoga in its widest sense as the contemplation and worship of life, as a sadhana to rediscover and enhance the qualities of one’s nature, leading to the experience of poornata, fullness or completeness. He described the ashramas, or stages of life, as traditional spiritual systems to develop this completeness. Swamiji discussed the ‘Divine Life’ as conceived by Swami Sivananda and carried forward by Swami Satyananda, who developed the ancient concept of yoga as a way to rediscover and awaken the spiritual individual.

Sri Vidya pooja: Throughout the period of the Satsang Series, the yoginis from the Sri Lalita Mahila Samajam, Thirueengoimala, Tamil Nadu, conducted havan and the ancient and sacred Sri Vidya pooja in the Yajnashala. Led by Swami Vidyamba Saraswati, the acharya of the ashram, the yoginis chanted sacred and sublime Devi mantras and performed pooja and havan daily from 7.00 to 9.00am and 12.00 to 1.30pm.

On 6th February, the sannyasins of the ashram chanted the entire Saundarya Lahari.

5th to 9th March – Divine Life

During this satsang series, the morning satsangs were held in English at Ganga Darshan and the afternoon satsangs were held in Hindi at Baidyanatheshwar Shankarbagh (Shivalaya).

The theme was living a divine life. Swamiji explained how a life of dharma may be lived by imbibing samskaras and developing awareness of the aim of life. He elucidated on shatvikaras, six causes of disturbance in life, and gave practical sadhanas to overcome them. He also spoke on sadhana chatushtaya, the four-fold sadhana a spiritual aspirant must follow. Swamiji clarified the mandate of Sannyasa Peeth which will introduce a new lifestyle based on the understanding and application of dharma.

5th to 8th April – Sadhana

During Chaitra Navaratri, the morning satsangs were held in English at Ganga Darshan and the afternoon satsangs in Hindi were held at Chandhisthan and Dashbhujisthan.

The theme of the satsang was sadhana. Swamiji explained sadhana as the attainment of perfection in all one does, and the fulfillment of the aim of life which is to move from tamas to sattwa. Swamiji spoke on the process of sadhana and the different sadhanas for householders and for sannyasins.

Every evening, Navaratri was observed with the chanting of Devi stotras.

12th to 15th May – Jnana Yoga

In May, the morning satsangs were conducted in Hindi at Ganga Darshan and the English satsangs at Ganga Darshan and Paduka Darshan in the evenings.

The theme was jnana yoga. Swamiji explained the four steps leading to jnana and spoke on the natural sequence of the four maha vakyas, the great statements. In these inspiring satsangs, he developed a new understanding of the classical components of jnana yoga – mumukshutva, viveka, vairagya and shadsampatti.

12th to 15th July – Tradition of Sannyasa

The July Satsang Series was held at Paduka Darshan Ashram as part of the celebration of Guru Poornima.

The theme of the Satsang Series was the tradition of sannyasa. Swamiji spoke on the origins and development of the sannyasa parampara, describing the lives, inspirations and teachings of eminent sages and gurus from ancient times, including Dattatreya, Adi Guru Shankaracharya, Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda, who were major forces in preserving, continuing and developing the spiritual current of India. While describing these great personalities, Swamiji elucidated on the essence of the guru tattwa.

19th to 22nd August – Yoga Sadhana

In this satsang series, Swami Niranjan spoke on the purpose of yoga in one’s life and the practical integration of the various systems for body, mind and spirit. He gave a detailed description of the yoga capsules that everyone can include in their daily life. As in previous Yogadrishti satsangs, Swamiji spoke on the spiritual sciences and traditions in a classical and deep yet light manner, bringing to life the insight and wisdom of the ancient seers and the scriptures.

Krishna Janmashtami: The final day of the satsang series was Krishna Janmashtami, the birthday of Sri Krishna. In the evening, after a day of satsang, chanting and havan, a program full of kirtan and bhajan was held at Paduka Darshan in the presence of Swami Niranjan.

29th September to 2nd October – Tantra

Swamiji spoke on tantra, on the eternal principles of energy and consciousness, the twofold purpose of life, bhukti and mukti, enjoyment and freedom. He explained the two major paths of tantra, namely the path of transformation and transmutation, or dakshinachara and vamachara. Swamiji also covered other aspects of tantra: the concept of pati, pashu and pasha, the master, the animal and the leash; Maya and her five limiting attributes (kalaa, vidya, raga, kaal, niyati, restriction, knowledge, attachment, time, destiny); and the five functions of Shiva (creation, maintenance, transformation, tirobhava, the diversionary tactics, and grace). On the last day, Swamiji spoke on the nine acharas or classes of tantra and said that it is one’s samskaras and personality that define which achara to be practised.

Swamiji said that the first lesson of tantra was to move from pashu to veera to divya bhava, from the instinctual to the rajasic, desire motivated, and finally to the divine state. The second lesson is to loosen the noose of maya, by practising sadhana, working with the mind and altering one’s lifestyle.

Navaratri: The Navaratri sadhana was conducted from 28th September to 5th October. In the morning the children of BYMM conducted havan and chanted uplifting stotras followed by beautiful kirtan. In the afternoon of 29th and 30th September the program took place in Chandisthan and on 1st and 2nd October in the Dashbhuji temple in Munger town.

In the evening, the participants went to Paduka Darshan where the BYMM children delighted everyone with their expertise in chanting Sanskrit slokas. Swamiji gave a summary in English of the afternoon talks. The setting under the starlit night was breathtaking and everyone left full of joy and inspiration.

15th to 21st December – Tantra

The highlight of the Ashram Life Yoga Satsang Week was the December Yogadrishti satsang series at Ganga Darshan. The children of BYMM conducted havan and chanted the Sanskrit stotras to perfection. The days were dedicated to Devi, Shiva and Narayana. The joy expressed in the children’s kirtan was contagious and had everyone up and dancing.

In the morning and afternoon sessions Swami Niranjan spoke on tantra. He explained its origin, the concept of pashu, pasha and pati, the animal, the leash and the master. He gave an in-depth description of the conducts (acharas) and showed how they are relevant to people living in the 21st century. Tantra advocates that everyone has to fulfil their karma in order to evolve. The main tools of tantra are mantra, yantra and mandala. However, they need to be complemented with regular sadhana, rituals (upasana) and a balanced lifestyle (vyavahara).