The central figure and the pivot of this dynamic institution, Swami Satyananda, is a man of rare qualities. Many outstanding qualities are centred in one single individual. He is an intellectual giant, a man of high spiritual attainments, a philosopher, a great psychiatrist, physical culturist and at the same time a loveable, affectionate and jovial companion. Whatever he preaches, he has literally translated into his own life. He sees himself in everybody and everybody in himself. Due to this great realization, he is fired with the spirit of selfless service and is engaged in the gigantic task of uplifting suffering humanity. The emergence of the yoga institution is one such attempt in that direction.
This institution is the first and only one of its kind established in India for the propagation of this great yogic culture, which is the only remedy for the great ills – mental, moral and physical – we are suffering from. Besides asanas and pranayama, directions for meditation and the higher practices of kriya yoga are taught. Any deserving person can get anything he wants from Sri Swamiji, who is ever ready to give away whatever he knows, most liberally and generously.
I can say from personal experience that what I learnt about spiritualism in these fifteen days, from 15–30 December 1966, was more than in sixty-four years. The personal behaviour of Sri Swamiji is so educative, so instructive, so inspiring and penetrating that whoever comes in contact with him is bound to be affected. He is extremely simple, humble and childlike, most unassuming, accessible to any and everybody, ever smiling and laughing. He is never tired of answering questions, replying to the queries of sadhakas and is never seen annoyed or irritated. Although he has formally entrusted the work of giving instructions to sadhakas to Swami Atmananda, his disciple, he himself looks into every detail, even the menu of the kitchen, the cleanliness of the ashram and the requirements of every sadhaka in all respects.
Every worker in the ashram is a devotee of Sri Swamiji. The whole ashram looks like a flower garden in full bloom, each face smiling, laughing, ever ready to serve each other and full of affection and love. During these fifteen days, not once was an outburst of temper seen or a complaining attitude. Everything is fully disciplined and well arranged. Punctuality to the minute is the law of the ashram. The timings for meals at the ashram are 9.30 in the morning and 4.30 in the evening. At 7.30 a.m. and at 3 p.m. dalia water is given. The food is at once simple and without any spices. I and other companions in the ashram, even in so short a time, have benefited immensely from this change, and our minds have been set to thinking how to effect a change in our food habits. About sixty people who attended the fifteen-day course did shankhaprakshalana kriya under the direct guidance of Sri Swamiji. It benefited everybody.
In short, the benefits – mental, spiritual and physical – that have accrued to me and the others in this session are too numerous to mention. Everyone left the institution with some change according to their own receptivity. The institution is rendering the most invaluable service to the cause of humanity, and its dynamic head, Swami Satyananda, who is untiringly devoting all his energies to this great movement of spreading the yogic culture, is going to be the man of the era.