Day 5

Polo Ground – Sunday, 27th October 2013

Vision of Yoga as the Global Culture of Tomorrow

Closing Session: 11 a.m. to 3 p,m,

  • Introduction and felicitations by Swami Niranjanananda
  • Address by Rishi Vasishthananda, Acharya, Satyananda Ashram, Canada
  • Felicitations to Swami Satyasangananda on her shashtabda­purti (sixty years) by Swami Niranjanananda and senior sannyasins, and release of the book Sankalpa Putri which is dedicated to her
  • Vote of thanks by Minhaz Alam, Commissioner, Munger
  • Address by Swami Satyasangananda Saraswati, Peethadhishwari
  • Closing message by Swami Niranjanananda
  • Golden Jubilee song by sannyasins of BSY
  • Shanti Path
  • Swasti Vandana prayer by Swami Niranjanananda

A Touch of Splendour

Sannyasi Pragyadhara, New Zealand

How did we manage to store, pack, shift and distribute the ashram prasad? The process became yoga for us, an expression of yoga in action, as we focused on perfecting the science and art of giving.

The science of giving involved clear and proper planning to ensure order and discipline. We had to standardize the layout, arrange items in a practical manner, and pay attention to small details like the direction of the logo or image within each individual bag.

The art of giving included finding creative and positive solutions; staying buoyant through positivity; creating the placement and orchestration of people and objects in order to facilitate the beauty that unfolds in the exchange of giver and receiver.

On arrival delegates received an official 'Welcome Pack', and on a daily basis a prasad pack was given to complement the items delegates had chosen for themselves at Satyam Yoga Prasad.

Each day around 1,200 delegates came to receive their Convention prasad. The operation consisted of: 62 sevaks to manoeuvre, poised to make it happen; 20 YUVAs shifting, passing prasad and guiding people in an orderly way; 30 sevaks coordinating stores, traffic flow, swiping and the stage area; 15 BYMM children took turns giving the prasad. Through the children, as mediums of the spirit of unconditional giving, the sanctity of prasad was maintained as grace from a higher power.

When everything was in synch, each part seamlessly linked without effort to the next. This created a ceaseless flowing river of blessings to fill the current of our minds and hearts for a long time to come.

Global Tribute – Uruguay

Sannyasi Janardana

We have come from Uruguay to participate in the celebrations of the Golden Jubilee of the Bihar School of Yoga, and to express our solidarity with the mission of Sri Swami Sivananda, Sri Swami Satyananda and Sri Swami Niranjanananda, and the yogic vision that they have propagated through the Bihar School of Yoga.

Thank you to the Gurus for making this possible. It is like a new Big Bang when we come together from far and wide, exchange ideas and feelings and then explode back to our countries, families and work with renewed inspiration and energy!

There is a saying that everything gets to Uruguay twenty years later and Sri Swamiji also talked about twenty year cycles, so here are the twenty year cycles of Satyananda Yoga in Uruguay.

In 1973 a sannyasin from the Satyananda tradition came to Uruguay and that was the first step. In 1993 a group from Uruguay visited Munger for the first time and met Swami Niranajanananda, who filled our hearts with inspiration. This was followed by the Bogota Yoga Convention in 1995. And now in 2013 we are preparing to take Satyananda Yoga to schools, universities and into the work space. With the immense inspiration we have received from our time in Rikhia and here at the Convention, we return with the goal of spreading the teachings of this great tradition. We are proud and grateful to be part of this yogic family and offer our pranams to Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda, Swami Niranjanananda and Swami Satyasangananda. Thank you for this new Big Bang.

Hari Om Tat Sat

Behind the Scenes at the Kumbha of Yoga

Jignasu Akashmurti, Delhi

Yoga prepares one to face the challenges of life with equanimity. Nearly ten thousand delegates from the length and breadth of India were expected to come to the Convention. Their accommodation arrangements were made in all the hotels, dharmashalas, community centres, and schools of Munger. My seva was to plan and execute the travel logistics for bringing the delegates everyday to the Convention venue, the Polo Ground, and then dropping them back. Arranging safe transportation for ten thousand people from fifty different places in the city! Initially, just thinking about the whole thing made one break into a sweat, but Swamiji's training turned this challenge into an unforgettable adventure.

Preparation

Planning for this project started five months in advance. The whole city was surveyed, and road conditions were inspected – where a bus could reach, and where only a smaller vehicle could enter. The city was divided into seven parts, and a transport route was chalked out for each part. Constant coordination and communication was maintained with the local administration and police. At the planning stage, each aspect of the project was analyzed from different angles, and the minutest details were taken into consideration. In case it rained, a 'Plan B' was prepared.

After getting things right on paper, the next challenge was to actually arrange for the vehicles. An event of this magnitude had never happened in history, and making transport agencies and drivers understand our requirements was an uphill task. Finally, a caravan of one hundred big and small vehicles fulfilled the mission. A big credit for making the operations successful goes to volunteers from the local Youth Yoga Federation (Yuva Yoga Mitra Mandal). A team of forty sevaks ensured that from morning till night, the transportation system ran smoothly.

Yoga-yajna

Convention preparations happened at a war-footing, and sometimes in the midst of it all, one feared getting swept away by this hurricane of ceaseless activity. However, Sri Swamiji's inspiration and Swamiji's guidance always stayed with us as pillars of strength. Working under Swamiji's guidance, I witnessed a rare coexistence of farsightedness and on-the-ground practicality.

During the Convention my day started at four in the morning, going to the car park and waking up all the drivers, and ended at ten at the night after noting down the kilometre readings of all the vehicles. The surprise element of my seva was the bond that evolved between the vehicle drivers and myself. People in the transport business, especially drivers, are notorious for their uncouth ways. However, after they had spent a week, working day and night in the yoga energy field, there was a visible difference in their mannerisms. Life had presented them an opportunity to lower their rough defences, and the soft side of their personality was emerging. On the last day, as they received prasad and walked down the annals of yoga in Satyam Vatika, their eyes were gleaming, and mine were trying to hold back their tears.

To contribute to this historic event, old and new members of the Satyananda Yoga family congregated at the Ganga Darshan ashram from every corner of the world. Seeing several generations of the Satyananda Yoga Tradition work side-by-side was an experience in itself. Working day and night, all volunteers seemed to be immersed in the guru tattwa, the guru-element, as if they had a vast ocean of energy within.

I consider myself extremely blessed to have received an opportunity to take a dip in this Kumbha of yoga. Participating in this yoga-yajna, I witnessed such depths of and such potential for transformation of human consciousness as I could not have experienced even if I had spent my whole life in the outside world.

Golden Jubilee Song

(Sung to the tune of the Beatles song Yellow Submarine)

In the town, where I reside, lived a man, Sri Swamiji.
And he told us of a life, that would lead to the light.

So we set out on this path, yoga, ashram and sannyasa.
And we lived, in harmony, with beloved Swamiji . . .

We're all here for the Golden Jubilee,
The Golden Jubilee, the Golden Jubilee.

He gave us hope, he gave us joy, he gave us wisdom to live the life.
With his grace and his love, we're all happy to be alive.

We're all here for the Golden Jubilee,
The Golden Jubilee, the Golden Jubilee.

Yoga is a way of life, that brings us closer to the light.
If you're after inner peace, we may just have, what you need . . .

We're all here for the Golden Jubilee,
The Golden Jubilee, the Golden Jubilee.

Yoga went from shore to shore, from door to door to every home.
And it shines within our hearts, as inspiration for everyone.

We're all here for the Golden Jubilee,
The Golden Jubilee, the Golden Jubilee.

What's the purpose of this life, oh I wonder, I wonder why.
To discover who we are, is the aim of BSY.

We're all here for the Golden Jubilee,
The Golden Jubilee, the Golden Jubilee.

Satyam – Life, Mission and Sankalpa

Sannyasi Raam Sharan, Mumbai

How does one define an experience that transcends all definitions, where even the attempt to capture those treasured moments in words seems limiting and quite frankly beyond me? Still, I shall try my best.

My journey with making a film on the life of Sri Swamiji began with a small seed – an intention rather; to use the skills God has graced me with – to contribute to the ashram, to Swamiji's mission, in a meaningful way. I had no idea as to how to translate this intention into action and my first impulse was to conduct film-making workshops with the children of Rikhia.

It was Sannyasi Ramnavmi from Mumbai who actually asked me to make a film for the Convention and even formally introduced me to Swami Satsangi. My connection with Swami Satsangi was instant and spontaneous, and she immediately agreed with the idea of making a film on the life of Sri Swamiji and opened up the channel for me to meet Guruji, Swami Niranjan, in order to discuss it further.

In retrospect, we are all amazed at the ease and pace with which things took place. It was almost like it was pre-ordered and right from the beginning, I knew and felt very deeply that I was a medium, a channel for an already conceived plan to manifest; and Sri Swamiji was the engineer.

According to plan

I met Swamiji during Akshaya Tritiya 2012, in Rikhia and on the last day he gave me directions to develop the script. He said, "Think of it in four parts – Rishikesh, Parivrajaka, Munger and Rikhia as the creation and consolidation of his mission." It was a clear direction, but I was still stumped. Where to begin? How does one transcribe such a monumental journey into a befitting script? Once again, I received guidance this time from Ammaji.

I had received Mere Aradhya as prasad, it was Ammaji's beautiful and sublime Guru Gita that became the foundation of my script. For days, it must have been almost a month, I was immersed in first the book and then scripting feverishly. I had lost the concept of time, rest, leisure and the outside world itself! All I could think of was various points of Sri Swamiji's life, the incidents that made him come alive, and that gave me glimpses of his divine personality. I felt him, very tangibly, not only through scripting, but verily at every stage of making this film. Not only I but everybody who was part of the film, including Guruji and Swami Satsangi felt Sri Swamiji's presence as a living force present amidst us.

Whether it was coincidence or ordinance I don't know but even our shooting began on the 5th and 6th April in Tryambakeshwar and ended on the 5th and 6th May in Rikhia. The last patch of voice overs we had to record of Swamiji and Swami Satangi were done on the 23rd September – the day Sri Swamiji arrived in Rikhia. Just like his life, everything with regards to the film too occurred in an auspicious and benevolent manner. In fact, the actor who played Sri Swamiji on the Rikhia section one day said, "All this while I kept hearing 'divine grace', 'divine grace', and I never understood it, but now I am feeling it and I don't know how to define it." He said this, after we had shot the panchagni scene. So I'd like to once again stress that all of us who came together to make this film, were mediums in Sri Swamiji's grand plan.

Anything is possible

All I did from my end was surrender, and that too was effortless! I can say that I experienced three things through this process very clearly – a feeling of oneness, union with the guru tattwa, an unbroken and constant awareness of guru and the strength and power of the guru's energy which makes even the seemingly impossible, eerily manageable.

There were times when we were working really hard and shooting from 5 am to 12 at night. Our schedule spanned a month, divided between Rishikesh, Munger and Rikhia. Every day we were on our toes, but if there was a moment of exhaustion it never showed. The crew was always happy, always willing to stretch and everything happened in a very smooth and positive manner.

In the last two weeks of editing, colour grading, music and sound design I was sleeping for hardly three hours a day, but my mind was still active, still happy, almost elevated! In those moments too I felt this shakti, Sri Swamiji's shakti, that had possessed me and was making everything happen. If we look at it practically it is impossible to score music and sound, design and mix a two hour film in barely a week and a half. This itself usually takes anything between three to five months, but again we all learnt practically that with guru's grace nothing is impossible.

Words are too limiting to describe the huge role that Guruji and Swami Satsangi played in this whole process. They have been pillars of support and it is their grace, blessings and of course participation that inspired, enabled and paved the way for the film being all that it is. I received from them 'complete cooperation' and 'complete trust' and it was this trust that made me jump over my own limitations to create a film worthy of Sri Swamiji.

Must be a hit

Having Guruji with us both as a performer and as a guide was of course a treat, but I must say that his keen observations and guidance on the finer details of recreating scenes brought them to life. Even the archival footage that we used was handpicked by him!

At no point did I feel lost or a lack of anything. Guruji and Swami Satsangi were like my 'kalpavriksha'. They opened up all the doors to help us accomplish this unified vision. All the memories of time spent with them are imprinted like snapshots on my consciousness, however, I have no way of translating them into words.

This film has been the most uplifting, enriching and amazing experience of my life. I have witnessed the magic of guru's strength and power on so many levels and through innumerable instances – that my only prayer now is to continue to be used as a channel, a medium, to manifest his will – as there is no greater joy in life.

The response to the film at the World Yoga Convention has been overwhelming and far exceeded expectations. Then again, that has been the case at every point in this journey, whether it was the support we received from the ashrams, Guruji's personal involvement, finding the actors or even the music composed. At every stage I felt Sri Swamiji giving me more than I had asked for, anticipated or planned. Everyone had been coming up to me congratulating, thanking and praising me. Honestly I don't know where to hide in those moments – for as I've said a fair few times now – yes I gave my skill, my time, my mind and all of my heart – but the work, the creation, the manifestation was done by somebody else, I have no part in the credit!

Everybody has been saying "The film is a hit!" I smile, and in response say, "Well, it is Sri Swamiji's film . . . it has to be!"

Evening Program

The evening started with an explosive modern dance performed by Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal (BYMM) girls, followed by both boys and girls participating in a lively display of martial arts, accompanied by narration and interjections from Swamiji, creating a light and enchanting atmosphere.

The traditional dance performed by the older girls of BYMM was beautiful and full of grace, demonstrating how creative, positive and inspiring the ashram youth is. All were captivated by the gentle movements and stunning choreography.

The stage was set for the sannyasa trainee presentation on the life of Swami Niranjanananda. Using the story of a seagull by the name of Jonathan Livingston, Swamiji's favourite book as a child, the audience was taken on a journey through Swamiji's life and philosophy for living. Using their talents of song and dance, the sannyasa trainees presented an energetic and heartfelt musical. An inspiring and amusing collection of slides accompanied the presentation.

Swamiji highlighted that this was not a part of the official celebrations, but all present had the feeling that it was a perfect end to the five days of celebration and joy.

A Humble Thank You

Swami Prembhav, Ganga Darshan

It is a month since the World Yoga Convention of 23 to 27th October 2013 and Ganga Darshan still bathes in the divine warmth and light of WYC. The gardens shine with a new beauty, filled with new species of birds, animals and flowers. They remind me that I did not dream of a place and time of celestial beauty, where nature and human beings united in divine inspiration and happiness. The World Yoga Convention was real, it did happen here at Ganga Darshan, Munger!

I feel the memories slipping from me, and I want to keep them, in a place where I can find them, whenever required, to uplift me and remind me that it is possible for true divinity to be experienced. For my beloved guru did it. He was able to lift us all out of our mundane existence and for five days we all danced, worked hard and felt such happiness, joy and unity, it hardly seems possible.

Behind it all, behind my guru, behind the sevaks and delegates, there was the force of our parampara, the tradition, established by Swami Sivananda and Sri Swami Satyananda. Their vision and inspiration became manifest during the months of preparation, and during the activities and events of the Convention. Their teachings were alive in the spirit of 'serve, love and give' as karma yogis from all corners of India and the globe gathered to make a dream become reality. The year 2013 saw the Fellowship of Satyananda yogis and the universality of Satyananda Yoga bloom and blossom at Ganga Darshan and Munger.

The joy and smiles on the faces of the participants was an acknowledgement of the tradition and the desire and good will to uphold the mission of Swami Sivananda and Sri Swami Satyananda whose blessings and presence were felt by one and all.

One man show

I am not talking about the inspiring lectures, workshops, Prasad, or kirtan, they were the medium for the grace to flow. I am talking of one person alone; it is of our Guru, our beloved Swamiji. For it is his brilliance and ability to, invoke, inspire, create and give, that made the WYC the most incredible program ever in the history of the Bihar School of Yoga and maybe even the history of Yoga!

I am a sannyasin of the Bihar School of Yoga, living at Ganga Darshan Campus, Munger. For the last few years we had been hearing about the 'convention' and it was all we were working for. Every action of everyday was 'for convention', we created and produced so much 'for convention'. Honestly, I never really understood what this 'convention' was, I had no idea how 20,000 people would come to Munger and what we would do. Swamiji spoke about the 'convention' and we listened and worked as hard as we could. Actually never really knowing what was going to happen!

The weeks before the Convention were the most intense time of our lives. We were planning and arguing among ourselves with the usual headtrips and power trips that sannyasins go through under pressure. Swamiji watched the dramas and with his skill and understanding, knew exactly what had to be done and how. He managed us all with such expertise and skill, and like a master conjurer everything planned fell exactly into place. It was Swamiji who planned everything; from every stitch and pole in the pandal, every page of every book, every musical note on every audio CD, every name on every badge, and every mattress on the floor, all were planned, executed and managed by him. It was a one man show. We were only the means for it all to happen. By observing him and through this training, he gave us understanding and tools that would assist us for the rest of our lives. It was an intense time of learning and growth and we were pushed to see our strengths and overcome our weaknesses.

Guru's grace

In spite of us and our limitations, the 'convention' formed around us, and before we knew it we were receiving our 'convention' prasad and skipping like children with joy in the sunshine singing We're all here for the Golden Jubilee, the Golden Jubilee, the Golden Jubilee. The Convention was upon us. Thousands of people were descending on Ganga Darshan and I still didn't know what 'convention' was. There was only one person who had the vision and understanding of 'convention', and through that, Swamiji guided us through our muck and negativity to come out shining, smiling and living life to the fullest.

The Convention' started, and the world changed for us. The fighting stopped, the heart opened, and high spiritual energy flowed everywhere. The Convention was a shining success, not thanks to all of us with all our limitations and human failings but thanks to one man alone – Swami Niranjan, who miraculously used whoever and whatever he had (like Rama who used the monkeys, bears and little squirrels to build the bridge to Lanka) to create not only a program but a vortex of energy beyond this world that shone with such grace and light, it became a beacon to all aspects of nature, from the gross to the sublime, all were attracted to the shining divinity that illuminated the whole of Munger.

I want to thank my Guru. For it is Swamiji, who showed us that divinity is real, it is not a concept or an experience only for the churches, saints and gods. It is here with us now and it IS possible to create heaven here on earth. Swamiji did it during the Convention simply by connecting everyone together with the source of their divine inspiration – guru tattwa. It is this source of inspiration that enabled people from all over the world, of all ages, religions and cultures to come together and join as one, with renewed strength, conviction and inspiration to keep working for yoga, sannyasa and spiritual life. The guru tattwa permeated the entire World Yoga Convention and continues to flow through every part of our being. When we can tune into that force there is nothing in this world that cannot be achieved . . . nothing!