Stilling People's Thirst and Hunger

It is a treat to be traveling with Swamiji because every moment he is teaching something; the way he conducts himself, the way he lives, the way he talks, behaves, sits, eats – everything is a learning. Throughout the program Swamiji maintained his enthusiasm and love and never stopped inspiring everyone who came into his presence.

When we reached the venue at Swabhoomi Rangamanch in Salt Lake City, the hall was so packed that instead of having the yoga mats spread out, each participant had to fold their yoga mats back into the asana size and people were sitting. It was a huge hall and even then it was jam-packed before the starting time. People were sitting all over the stage. During each session, there was pin drop silence. Nobody left the hall halfway through or five minutes early; everybody waited until Swamiji went out. That was a discipline I have never ever seen in any of the other programs I attended. If a program goes a little beyond time or comes to the end, people start leaving to reach their offices, their workplaces and they start leaving, but in Kolkata nobody left. With rapt attention, whether in the morning session or evening session, people were completely attentive for two hours. Psychologists say that the attention span of a person is not more than one hour; usually it is forty-five minutes. Then people start moving, fanning themselves, looking here and there. In Kolkata everybody was fully focused on Swamiji's presence on the dais.

All felt that they were receiving something really big. It is not easy to keep lecturing; it is demanding on one's prana. At the end of one hour of talking, one feels drained for everybody is looking and somehow taking one's prana. However, Swamiji kept going with a thousand people, and not only for two hours. Many sessions lasted for three hours or even longer. The last question and answer session started ninety minutes before the scheduled time. Swamiji would just go on continuously with such a beautiful flow.

One theme ran through most of Swamiji's talks: yoga as experience and expression. The two aspects are necessary to have complete yoga in one's life. Swamiji looked at this theme from many angles so that it became clear and applicable for all. It was beautiful to have Swamiji teach the morning class and watch him 'get back to basics' with such simplicity and clarity.

The question and answer sessions covered the whole world. People are thirsty, hungry; they are starving and then suddenly they meet somebody like Swamiji. In this program more than eighty percent were new faces. To have such a strong, positive and dedicated response from new people, the credit goes to the speaker, to the main person who holds them and binds them together.

Swami Nirmalananda, Ganga Darshan