A Guru's Wish

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

In 1963, when Swami Sivananda had left his body, I went to Rishikesh and then came back to Munger. One night while I was asleep in Ananda Bhavan (now Paduka Darshan), I found that my room was open and the tall figure of Swamiji came there in flesh and blood. There was no doubt about it. Swamiji spoke to me in Tamil, not English, "What program have you decided upon for yourself?" I told him, "Swamiji, I have no program at all." He said, "Why don't you light a lamp and carry on the work according to the plan we made in 1943?"

In 1943, the foundation of the Sivananda Ashram (Rishikesh) was laid for only one purpose. It was the blueprint, the master plan to prepare teachers of different nationalities to be experts in yoga, not just disciples. He wanted them to be able to deal with every aspect of yoga thoroughly, but what happened was that he had many disciples and no experts. There were many reasons for this. Swami Sivananda did not have much money and he was faced with many difficulties. So, he said to me, "Why don't you continue the work according to our plan?" I said, "Yes, if that is your wish, I will do it."

The second thing he said was, "You do not have to take charge of Sivananda Ashram in Rishikesh." After Swamiji's samadhi, the trustees of the Divine Life Society had called some prominent disciples, like Swami Chidananda, Swami Venkateshananda, Swami Vishnudevananda, Swami Satchidananda and others, to the trustees' meeting to elect the in-charge in place of Swamiji.

A letter had come to me also. Of course, it was clear in my mind that I would not take up that work; it was just a great headache. Swamiji said to me, "No, you need not go to Rishikesh; you remain in Munger. In Rishikesh you will always remain a bonsai, here you will become the ashwattha."

When I saw Swami Sivananda's body before me, I kept looking, but I could not discover which point of his body was unreal. I saw absolutely the same face, the same clothes, the same brightly polished head. There was no difference in his way of talking, in his tone or anything. Nothing about him was unreal. Which part seemed to be materialized, I could not say. He opened the door and walked into my room. When he left, he walked out through the door.

This happened in 1963, in the month of August, after I returned from Rishikesh, having attended Swamiji's samadhi ceremony. Five months later, on 19 January 1964, we had the opening ceremony of the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, and things have been developing rapidly since.