Bihar School of Yoga Programs

New Year's Day

Following the tradition of Ganga Darshan, the chanting of Hanuman Chalisa 108 times took place on the main lawn. Sannyasins and children of BYMM chanted continuously for seven hours.

Poornahuti

On 2nd January, poornahuti of the year-long anushthana was conducted by Swami Niranjan and Swami Satsangi. Chanting of Durgasahasranamavali was followed by other stotras, including the Durga Sahasranam Stotra – the original hymn from which the thousand names of the goddess Durga are derived – the Durga Mahimna Stotra and the Bhagavati Stotra. Aarti of Ma Durga was conducted at the culmination of this sacred anushthana.

Following poornahuti, kanya poojan and kanya bhoj were organized in the second floor hall of Ganga Darshan Main Building. The joyful event was organized and conducted by BYMM children. After the ritual worship, 52 kanyas, representing one week of the year-long anushthana, one batuk (young boy) and one suvasini (married lady), were fed a sumptuous meal in the presence of Swami Niranjan and Swami Satsangi.

5th and 6th Mahasamadhi

The mahasamadhi of Swami Satyananda is being observed on 5th and 6th of every month in the Akhara of Ganga Darshan with Rudrabhisheka and Sri Yantra abhisheka performed by Swami Niranjanananda, Swami Suryaprakash and sannyasins.

Makar Sankranti

The Sanskrit term sankramana means ‘to begin to move'. The day on which the sun begins to move northwards is called Makar Sankranti. It usually falls in the middle of January. The sun, symbolizing wisdom, divine knowledge and spiritual light, which receded from you when you reveled in the darkness of ignorance, delusion and sensuality, now joyously turns on its northward course and moves towards you to shed its light and warmth in greater abundance, and to infuse into you more life and energy.

The day prior to Makar Sankranti, old, worn-out and dirty objects are discarded and burnt. Homes are cleaned and white-washed. Even the roads are swept clean and lovely designs are drawn with rice-flour. These practices have their own significance from the point of view of health, but, it will not do to attend to these external things alone. Cleaning the mind of its old dirty habits of thought and feeling is more urgently needed. Therefore, burn them up with a wise and firm resolve to tread the path of truth, love and purity from this holy day onwards. This is the significance of Makar Sankranti in the life of the spiritual aspirant.

—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

On 14th January, Makar Sankranti was celebrated in Yajnashala at Ganga Darshan. Residents and guests were seated around the havan kund. Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Suryaprakash performed the havan to the chanting of the Gayatri mantra and the 108 names of Lord Surya.

Basant Panchami

On 28th January, Basant Panchami, the fifth day of spring, was celebrated at Ganga Darshan. Basant Panchami is the foundation day of Bihar School of Yoga.

Swami Niranjan initiated 495 aspirants into mantra, 129 into jignasu sannyasa and 53 into karma sannyasa.

In the afternoon, Swami Shankarananda and Swami Suryaprakash spoke on the history and present activities of Bihar School of Yoga, which aims to fulfil the purpose of propagating yogic vidya, vijnana and sanskriti – yogic knowledge, science and culture.

Swami Niranjan spoke on the three aspects of Ganga Darshan: teaching and learning yoga, living ashram life, and maintaining the tradition of sannyasa.

Akshay Titriya

On 24th April, residents, students and guests observed the auspicious day of Akshay Tritiya by chanting five times the Vishnusahasranama Stotra.

Guru Poornima

The guru who has already trodden the path will guide the aspirants safely and remove all sorts of obstacles and difficulties. A personal guru is therefore necessary. I came to Rishikesh in June 1924 and found my destination. My guru gave me initiation and enough spiritual strength and blessings. Gurus can do this much only.

—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Guru alone can break the binding cords of attachment, and release the aspirant from the trammels of earthly existence. Guru is God himself. He guides and inspires us from the innermost core of our being. He is the supreme spirit everywhere.

—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

On 3rd July, Guru Poornima was celebrated at Ganga Darshan. A thousand local devotees from Munger paid their respect to the guru. Many had come to just pass a short moment in the ashram but decided to stay and join in the wonderful chanting of bhajans, kirtans and stotras. 450 BYMM children participated adding a touch of youthful joy.

Swami Suryaprakash and Swami Shankarananda spoke on the guru-disciple relationship and the need for surrender in spiritual life. The organization of the program was managed with great care and skill by the BYMM children and a team of YYMM.

Diwali

Diwali means ‘a row of lights'. The light of lights, the self-luminous inner light of the Self is ever shining steadily in the chamber of your heart. Therefore, sit quietly, close your eyes, withdraw the senses, fix the mind on this supreme light and enjoy the real Diwali, by attaining illumination of the soul. Celebrate the real Diwali by living in Brahman, and enjoy the eternal bliss of the soul. The sun does not shine there, nor do the moon and stars, nor do lightnings shine and much less fire. All the lights of the world cannot be compared even to a ray of the inner light of the Self. Merge yourself in this light of lights and enjoy the supreme Diwali.

—Swami Sivananda Saraswati

Lakshmi is the goddess of prosperity. There is a difference between riches and prosperity. Money does not last but prosperity is everlasting. From a seed, sprout grows, then a plant, a tree with twigs, branches, flowers and fruits and every year and every year and every year. This is the example of prosperity not only in relation to money but to to every sphere of life, in relation to health, mental peace, relationships and everything else. Diwali is the day of Lakshmi, the day of feasting, not of fasting. It is a day of joy.

—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

In preparation for Diwali, the ashram was cleaned from top to bottom by residents and guests. Once spotless, three thousand candles were laid in a single line which snaked throughout the grounds. The candles were lit shortly after dusk and twinkled into the night.

The Diwali celebrations took place in Ganga Darshan's sparkling new amphitheatre, inaugurated by Swamiji on 12th November. This new venue in the teak garden, constructed in just seven months, can accommodate 450 people. Its tiered seating was a big hit with its first ever audience who all had an excellent view of the action on stage.

The children of BYMM started proceedings with a havan chanting the Ram Gayatri and the 108 names of Lakshmi. This was followed by some rousing kirtans, before students from the Yogic Studies course performed a Ram bhajan and dance to a haunting Sufi song.

A group of sannyasa trainees concluded the show with a theatrical tribute to Swamiji, which drew from the music of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. Footage from the film was projected while a voice-over told the story of Swamiji's life. The new stage proved to be a perfect showcase for the performances, which included singing, dancing and juggling.

After the program, everyone was invited to the candlelit Akhara and offered firecrackers and a cup of hot chocolate on finishing their parikrama.

Christmas

Supposing there is a parliament of Indian gods. Christ will not be there. However, if it is the will of the people of India, anyone who is divine can be elected to this parliament.

I believe that foolish people exclude good things if it doesn't please them. Wise people include all good things even if they don't like it. The wisdom and truth is God has given himself to humankind to guide it from time to time. During the moments of crisis God has given himself some form. Christ was certainly a gift of God to humankind just as Rama, Krishna, Buddha and many others. In India we do not want to miss these great men, no matter where they were born or what was their ancestor's religion.

—Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Christmas celebrations at Ganga Darshan began on the evening of 24th December. A beautiful atmosphere was created as the sannyasins and sannyasa trainees sang various English songs and kirtan. On Christmas morning sannyasins conducted havan to the chanting of the 108 names of Jesus and the 108 names of Swami Satyananda. This was followed by the chanting of Satyam Chalisa which, as for the 108 names, describes the qualities of Sri Swamiji, the various stages of his life and the achievements within his lifetime. In the evening, Christmas carols were sung by the sannyasins, sannyasa trainees and Yogic Studies course participants. German, Swedish and Bulgarian songs brought the cultural diversity of the ashram community to the forefront. The evening ended with joyous kirtan and dance.

New Year's Eve

The year ended with a beautiful program to the chanting of the Ganesha Mahimna Stotra, followed by havan to the Vishnusahasranamavali. Joyous kirtans ended the evening with everyone dancing into the new year.