Swami Niranjan's Next Steps

Swamiji is no longer a yoga teacher. He is now a developer of yoga, a visionary, an inspirer. That was clear the first day itself. In the programs he has done so far, he usually bears the responsibility of the entire program on his shoulders; he teaches asana, pranayama, yoga nidra and meditation, gives satsangs, but this time he told some of the sannyasins to teach the classes. He was still around in the class sessions, observing and noticing everything. At the end, he summarized the session by shedding light on some little-known aspects of hatha yoga or elucidating his concept of the ideal yoga class: a balanced combination of asana, pranayama, relaxation and meditation. In his sterling satsangs he expounded the vision of yoga which he has now. That was something that the people, who were receptive and in tune, just lapped up. It was something totally new and extraordinary for most of the people.

City people, accustomed to the modern brands of commercialised yoga, just cannot see beyond the body. They may dabble with a few breathing or meditation techniques, but that is the limit of yoga for them. When they heard Swamiji talk about managing the moods of the mind, improving one's character and the personality traits that we have, they were spellbound. No yoga teacher mentions such aspects, let alone discusses them, whereas these are the aspects of our personality that affect our lives directly. "Yoga is all about handling and managing the mind," Swamiji declared emphatically and that is the central theme he kept returning to time and again. It is the core message, the vision, the inspiration that Swamiji is trying to get across to people, and now we can see that it is beginning to take root.

Kindling the flame of inspiration

In one of the afternoon satsang programs, I came in a little late. As I entered the program venue, I could hear kirtan going on. The kirtan would usually be conducted by Amargeet and Shivankari, the extremely talented young girls who had accompanied us, but as I walked in, the kirtan felt different. The voices were not the ones I was used to. As I came closer to the stage I saw a group of local school children singing kirtan. They were singing the same kirtans that we sing in the ashram like Tripura Sundari Kamakshi Ma and Charano se hamko laga lai ho Rikhia wale Baba, and singing it with real bhav. The kids themselves were playing the harmonium, manjira and dholak.

I sat behind them. For a while they seemed and sounded just like the BYMM kids back at Ganga Darshan, except for one difference: they were all blind. These children from a local blind school had been trained by a devotee of our tradition; someone who had taken the labour, the pains to teach them and inspire them. The result was remarkable. The children sang such beautiful soul-stirring kirtans that it was hard to imagine that they had never seen the light of day.

That is what Swamiji's role as an inspirer is about. Swamiji cannot possibly go to each and every place physically – well, to be honest he could, in his subtle body, and he probably does, but physically at least, he can't go everywhere – but his inspiration can go everywhere and touch people's lives everywhere. This is what is happening. The blind children are but one example. Someone took inspiration from the work with children that is happening in Munger and Rikhia, took that concept to a school in their own neighbourhood, and you see the wonderful result.

At one level Swamiji was speaking, but at another level he was also transmitting. Swamiji is a magician really, what he says is just the tip of the iceberg, the ten percent. The rest happens behind the scenes and that is what really affects people. Swamiji was conquering the hearts of people and that is what makes him a digvijayi. Let us hope and pray that his digvijaya takes him to greater and greater glories and heights in his mission of bahujan hitaya, bahujan sukhaya – "For the welfare and happiness of many."

Swami Sivadhyanam, Ganga Darshan