Thank You Munger, City of Yoga

On 24 June 2015, Swami Niranjanananda invited citizens of Munger to Ganga Darshan to express his gratitude and joy. For truly, Munger, the City of Yoga, had shown the world the yoga of the future: a lifestyle and path of transformation towards peace and harmony.

Children, ladies and villages

I not only thank everyone who contributed their efforts towards organizing this immensely successful program on the occasion of the International Day of Yoga, I salute them all. You are aware of the manner in which Sri Swami Satyananda fulfilled his guru's mandate of taking yoga 'from door to door and shore to shore'. Swami Niranjan has taken this message even further into the very hearts of people.

I have been associated with the ashram since 1965 and been witness to three world yoga conventions. The unstinting support and enthusiasm that I have seen in the past few days from people who have been coming to the ashram frequently, who have come once in a while and even those who have never come to the ashram has been truly astounding.

The ashram has been receiving requests for programs from the people of Munger who were eagerly offering to host yoga sessions in hotels, their homes, community spaces and many other places. People have come forward on their own accord and shown great support towards achieving what Swamiji had in mind for this day. There can be no better tribute we can offer to the mission of Sri Swami Satyanandaji than to wholeheartedly do whatever we can and participate in such endeavours.

Our children from the Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal (BYMM) conducted classes under the open sky with the sun blazing above their heads. Some venues fell short of space and people were gladly practising even on the streets. Many people asked that such programs be conducted regularly and for longer periods of time.

Munger truly lived up to the honour bestowed upon it by our late President Sri A.P.J. Abdul Kalam who conferred the title 'City of Yoga'. On 21 June it was proved without any doubt that the people of Munger have great faith, trust and fully support the mission of yoga. Everyone contributed in their own way, and so did the villages of Suryagadha, Khadagpur, Tarapur and many more.

I wonder if such a successful program has ever been carried out in such an easy and simple manner where people came forward spontaneously and everything came together in this beautiful way. There was no major show or propaganda, people just came forward and became part of this effort on their own. It is certainly laudable.

Our dedicated band of BYMM children and the extraordinary sense of commitment they showed on 21 June left a very deep impression on all of us. From the early hour of 4 a.m., over one hundred of them started arriving at the ashram gates though the time they were given was 5 am when they would be taken to the various centres where they were to conduct yoga sessions.

These children who usually wake up by 5 or 6am had all come here without having had their breakfast. Each and every child who was selected as a yoga teacher came on time, there was 100% attendance. It was also a very heartening sight to see that the people who had undertaken to host sessions at the various centres were all there by 5.30am to transport their 'teachers' to the venue by car, rickshaw, motorcycle and some by foot. The children were not only taken to the centres and dropped back to their homes after the session but they were welcomed at many places with such respect and warmth, it made us all wish we could also have been children ourselves!

One of the most amazing things that happened was that the Ramayana Mandali organized more than 30 such sessions on their own steam without asking for teachers from the ashram or any of the mitra mandals. The members of the Ramayana Mandali attended the intensive three-day training program to prepare teachers for conducting yoga sessions in their own homes and also in many other places – over 30 venues! I personally believe that they deserve the top honour for that day.

The lamps of yoga that have been lit by all of you to spread this mission must continue to burn bright and I request you to keep coming to the ashram and renew this flame. You will receive renewed inspiration and the enthusiasm you all have shown will grow from strength to strength. Hari Om.

—Swami Shankarananda

All eyes were upon our city of Munger

As the preparations for the International Day of Yoga celebrations commenced all over the world, everyone was wondering how it would be observed here at BSY in Munger.

According to Swamiji's instructions, it was to be observed in a peaceful manner without any pomp or propaganda. Swamiji was clear about adopting an unassuming manner. He wanted programs to be conducted from the ashram courtyard to the rooftops and courtyards of homes all over the city. A meeting was convened with the citizens of Munger who willingly offered their homes, courtyards, rooftops, schools and other venues, each according to the means at their disposal and several such centres were set up. The children of Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal (BYMM), members of Yuva Yoga Mitra Mandal (YYMM), Ramayana Mandali and eminent citizens of Munger decided that centres would be established by them in their own homes.

Though yoga teachers were present in most homes, a concern was expressed to the BYMM, YYMM and Ramayana Mandali by those people who did not have the privilege of an 'in-house' teacher. What was to be done? The three groups dealt with the question beautifully. An intensive three-day training program was organized which gave detailed instructions about the overall plan for the International Day of Yoga program, the specific set of practices for that day were carefully taught to everyone so that the same program would be conducted in each and every place.

After this three-day training on 20 June, the places where classes were to be conducted were visited to see what might be required. When we went to the various venues, we saw people enthusiastically engaged in cleaning and arranging everything for the next day. Neighbours came to see what was happening.

On 21 June, venues that seemed capable of accommodating about 30 participants were packed to the limit and people were seen practising outside as well. Rooftops were full and maidans were packed with people practising yoga. In over 108 centres there were more than 7,500 participants, in almost 2,000 homes yoga was being practised by the whole family. Everywhere the same yoga practices were conducted – from Paduka Darshan to the many centres and innumerable homes of people who are associated with the ashram through BYMM, YYMM and other groups.

To all those who have been instrumental in making this program a resounding success, whether their help was offered in person or with the spirit of support, we extend our heartfelt congratulations and offer our deepest thanks.

—Swami Shashwatananda