Purpose of the Yoga Sammelan

Swami Nischalananda Saraswati, from Yoga Sagar – 1993 Commemorative Volume. Excerpt from the talk delivered during the World Yoga Convention, 4 November, 1993

I have been thinking about the word sammelan. What happens at a sammelan? Sam means ‘together', milan means ‘meeting'. We are all here to get to know each other. We talk to others, we listen to others. We have our own little world here, which is a spiritual world.

This sammelan gives us a spiritual glimpse into human life. Here we get an inspiration. We learn how to speak, how to behave, how to listen, how to convey words charged with love. We are people from various walks of life, from various countries and followers of various religions. We sit together with mutual love. This is something extraordinary in today's world, but it should be natural, as we have descended from a common root. This convention sets an example. We shall return home with inspiration and this inspiration has to be given to others, and we have to teach yoga to them.

There is another word that comes from the word sammelan and that is mela, which means ‘fair'. This is a spiritual fair. This world is also a fair. From mela comes the word lila, play. We are enacting a play here just like we are enacting a role in the world. Why have we come to this convention? We have come to learn. Why have we come into this world? We have come to learn. Therefore, this convention is a representative body of the universe. This convention is a bindu, a focal point of the universe, and also of this world. Just like there is a spark in our heart, there is a spark within the heart of the world.

What do we need to learn? Our karmas and the karmas of others have no difference; in fact, it is a joint venture. It is an egoistic expression when we say this is our karma and that is his karma. It is not true. Our karma is the karma of all, it is a collective affair. We need to be taught constantly in this modern world the lesson of learning to respect others. Without this, the world is moving towards destruction. We are living a materialistic life. There is no spirituality in our actions or thoughts, that is why everything is going topsy-turvy in the world, and that is why yoga is necessary in this world. Yoga sows the seeds of respect for others within us.

Each one of us is a microcosm, and modern science has begun to understand this peculiarity. People who are making deep studies on matter were surprised. The deeper they went into matter, the more they discovered their innate spirituality. That is consciousness. People who are known as atomic physicists are becoming saints nowadays. They are becoming seers as they are discovering spiritual roots within the matter.

By understanding this we can change our lives. The more we reform ourselves, the more effectively we can influence the lives of others. If we practise yoga, if we teach yoga, we can make this world a paradise. It shall become a heaven. We have an opportunity to change ourselves and to reform the whole world. Are we going to do it? This is the question.