Any instruction given in books and periodicals is only meant to give a guideline. The author always tries to explain the practices as well as possible, but still it is necessary to learn the techniques from a guru who has had personal experience with the techniques. This is not only so in yoga, but with most sciences.
Throughout history the yogic tradition and, of course, many other sciences, have been passed on from guru to disciple. However, there have been political upheavals, migrations and destruction, and in many cases, these traditions have been interrupted. Therefore, it is important that we do not rely only on the guru-disciple tradition, but we should also have a scriptural tradition.
By scriptural tradition I mean the yoga that was recorded in the tantric scriptures. Today we are able to translate the teachings contained in these scriptures into the language of modern day man. Maybe after a hundred years or so, the writings of today will again be recast in another fashion according to the nature of the people who will exist then.
In the past, however, many scriptures have been destroyed. In the Sun Temple of the Incas, thousands of books were reduced to ashes. Books in other parts of the world have met with the same fate, so we cannot rely on the scriptural tradition alone, nor can we only rely on the guru-disciple relationship. Therefore, a third tradition has to be established – the guru/student tradition.
I teach yoga to my disciples and they teach others. I write books on yoga which are read today and which will be rewritten after a few centuries. I am teaching yoga to you, and you will carry on the name of yoga for centuries and centuries, not the practices, not the science as a whole, but just the name of yoga. This is how the spiritual tradition of yoga has to be kept alive, keeping in mind that accidents can take place in history.
On 19th January 1964, the auspicious day of Basant Panchami and Saraswati Pooja, the ashram was inaugurated in Munger and the akhanda jyoti lit. Swamiji also inaugurated the ‘Satyananda Yoga Research Library’ on this occasion.
In 1970, Guru Poornima was celebrated on 18th July in Munger in the presence of thousands of devotees from India and abroad. Sri Swamiji also inaugurated the ‘International Yoga Library’ on the occasion. It will be used for the three-year sannyasa training course beginning on 8th September this year. In the near future it will become the largest library of its kind in the world.
—From Mere Aradhya, Swami Dharmashakti Saraswati
The library’s comprehensive collection of books covers a wide array of subjects ranging from original texts of rare and ancient wisdom to the latest research in the fields of quantum physics, psychology, neuroscience, ecology and the arts.
The sections catalogued cover an impressive and varied arena of knowledge: original texts of the vedas, upanishads, puranas and tantras along with authoritative commentaries by masters, both historical and contemporary; Classical epics in their various editions and translations like the Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Bhagavad Gita; yoga, yogic practices and application, as well as yoga philosophy; tantra and mysticism; comparative religion and mythology; social sciences; medicine and health, traditional and modern pharmacology and therapeutics; natural sciences; psychology, parapsychology and occultism; astrology; ecology and environmental studies; art and culture, and a wide selection of biographies.
There is a large section devoted to research and studies in the fields relating to yoga and management of physical and emotional health, community development, ecology, organisational work in defence and industry.
The library also houses publications from major institutions in the field of spirituality, yoga, culture and social research eg. Divine Life Society, Ramakrishna Mission, Aurobindo Ashram, and the Bhandarkarkar Institute of Oriental Studies.
Encyclopaedias, journals and magazines form an integral part of the library’s collection, both classical and contemporary, from the Encyclopaedia Britannica to journals from philosophical and cultural societies, research foundations in the areas of yoga, health, sociology and cultural studies. Dictionaries of several Indian as well as foreign languages are also part of the collection.
An extensive reference section has material on all the subjects available in the library and has been a rich source of rare and authentic material for scholars and research students from India and overseas.
Currently the library houses 24,570 books in English, 2,500 in Hindi, 700 in Sanskrit and over 500 books in 25 languages.
The archive of periodicals consists of 961 issues in English, 230 in Hindi, 23 in Hindi and English and 6 in Sanskrit.
The number of titles for periodicals is 69 for English, 10 for Hindi and 1 in Sanskrit.