Spiritual Discovery

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

In continuation of the yoga yatras that started after the World Yoga Convention, a program was conducted in Nepal. This was a ground breaker and an eye opener, both. It was our first exposure to Nepal, and I had gone there not for the purpose of propagating yoga, but to pay my respects to the mother of Sri Swamiji, as she was Nepali. It was my intention for many years to go to Nepal to hoist the flag of Satyananda Yoga, more as an honour to Sri Swamiji's mother than for the purpose of propagating yoga. It was with this theme that the program started.

The venue of the program was in the middle of Kathmandu, at a huge ground, like the polo grounds of Munger, known as Tundi Khel, which is under the control of the army. A huge marquee was set up, in which twelve hundred people could easily lie down in shavasana. The number of people that was inside the pandal was doubled outside every day. The programs were from 5.30 to 7.30 in the morning and then from 5.30 to 7.30 in the evening.

Nepal itself is a peculiar place, since mythologically, it is the place where the ancient tribe of Kiratas used to live. It was the Kirata group that later was known and identified as the Gorkhas. In the past there were three kingdoms in Nepal: the group of Newaris, the group of Likshavis, and the group of Paalvansh. The unification of these three kingdoms gave birth to Nepal.

The word 'Nepal' also indicates the three groups or the three kingdoms: Newari, Ne; Paalvansh, Pa; and Likshavi, La; Ne-Pa-La. The three kingdoms were unified by the first group of Gorkhas.

Towards unity

When we met the president of Nepal, he mentioned that presently there are three major influences in Nepal: Indian, Russian and Chinese. For further education, many people come to India, a big group goes to China, and another big group goes to Russia. Wherever the students go, they come back to Nepal indoctrinated with the ideology of the country where they studied. The people who come to India go back indoctrinated with the democratic system. The people who come back from China come back with their ideology. Those who come from Russia come with that ideology. The political situation in Nepal is a mix of Indian, Chinese and Russian politics. On account of this, there is loss of cultural identity. People do not know where they belong.

Due to the political disturbances in the country for the last twelve years, people and the minds of people are disturbed; they are not at peace. There seems to be an identity crisis between the youth, the elders and the young children.

Looking at this disparity and crisis, the thought came strongly that Nepal can be unified, spiritually and culturally, with the proper implementation of the sadhu's principles. When I use the words 'sadhu's principles', I mean Swami Sivananda's principles: yoga along with seva. These are the two principles of a sadhu, for which a sadhu has to live, and these two principles will become useful in Nepal. Yoga, along with seva, can bring that focus and that balance back into their lives.

There are many yoga teachers in Nepal, however, for any substantial and right work to happen, it is dedicated sannyasins who must propagate, not teachers. Teachers have their own compulsions, families, responsibilities, needs, and financial requirements, therefore they cannot devote themselves totally to yoga. It is for this reason that I made the statement in Nepal that an ashram will open there directly under the guidance of BSY. It will be run by sannyasins, not by karma sannyasins, yoga teachers or householders who have their other priorities or convictions in life. It will be run by people who are totally focused on the development of yoga, and the unification of the culture. This will happen. It is the call of the land, and this call will be answered in the future. In four to eight years, we shall see the development of something beautiful in Nepal.

At the Indian Embassy

This yatra to Nepal happened at many levels. There was also a program at the Indian Cultural Centre, organized by the Indian Embassy and the Ambassador of India to Nepal. At the Indian Embassy, we met with many members of the Parliament of Nepal, ex-chief ministers of Nepal, and prime Ministers of Nepal, who showed a keen interest in bringing yoga to their country as a way to protect their culture and develop their community.

Before leaving Nepal we had already received a letter from a medical college which wants to open a department of yoga and do research on cardiovascular management. We had also received an invitation to bring yoga into a school and make it a model for applying the principles of yoga in schools. If it can become a model, in the course of time yoga education will also move into other schools of the country.

To bring the spark of life

I feel that the people are in need of something, something with which they can connect and feel fulfilled, feel complete. That sense of completeness was missing from the people in Nepal, even when I went to the rural areas. In the village areas people were living, yet the spark of life was missing. In Kathmandu people were living, yet the spark of life was missing. It was a strong feeling, the realization that they are becoming disconnected from their own natural and spiritual selves.

Whenever there is disconnection from the natural and spiritual self, a lot of distraction takes place, and these distractions divert the mental focus to some other area. Yoga, along with seva, can provide a way to again bring back that focus and balance into their life.

I feel that the time is now right for the spiritual awakening of Nepal. There used to be a slogan: Jaag Machhender, Gorakh aya – "Wake up, Matsyendranath, Gorakh has come." I modified that to: Jaag Nepal, Niranjan aya – "Wake up, Nepal, Niranjan has come!"

It was an inspirational journey and I can say clearly and openly that I have discovered the spiritual Nepal. Hippies had discovered the ganja Nepal, and I have discovered the spiritual Nepal.

—15 June 2014, Ganga Darshan, Munger