Bal Yoga Diwas

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Today globally, people are celebrating Valentine’s Day. Valentine was a saint. He was a compassionate, kind and loving person, who used to look after each and every thing in nature, from bird to animal to poor person to rich person. He was a person who had equal vision for everybody, atmabhav, as Sri Swamiji had said. It is in his memory that we celebrate this day as Saint Valentine’s Day, so that we too can connect with the feeling of love, compassion and kindness. It is a day when we are able to connect with the purity of our spirit, which is expressed as love for all.

Practice and shiksha

In Munger, we have changed the purpose of Saint Valentine’s Day a little bit. We celebrate it as the Children’s Yoga Day on 14th February. If it is to experience compassion, beauty and kindness inside, it should also be connected with the yogic principles which can help us attain that experience. The way of teaching yoga to children and the way of teaching yoga to adults are totally different. When we teach yoga to adults, it is for their need. Stress management, back ache, knee ache, head ache, sinus, abdomen, lungs, liver, kidney, joints, anything. People want to learn how to be rid of their pain. That is the yoga taught to grown-ups.

For children the approach of yoga is creative. Learning and imbibing are two different things. Listening and hearing are two different things. One can hear many things, but not listen, however, what one listens to, one understands.

In the same manner, abhyas, practice, and shiksha, education, are two different things. Practice is for grown-ups, and yoga education is for children. It allows them to bring out the positive traits of their nature. Elders have a hard time; they are all hard-baked in the fires of the world. They have a difficult time changing the stereotype of their mind. It is hard to be happy, difficult to smile and to let go.

Children fight in one moment and are friends again the next moment. They don’t carry the grief, the anger, hatred in them like adults do. They have the resilience of mind which can change instantly from good to bad, from bad to good. Adults cannot change the mind as children can. For an adult bad remains bad and good is somewhere in the background. Good only becomes a philosophy, yet the behaviour remains hard. Children pick up the ability to convert their bad into good. This happens through a simple education in which there is feeling, trust, belief and respect for the other person.

From somewhere inside

People say that I was taught in yoga nidra. I don’t remember anything. I have to accept it for elders are saying it, yet as far as I am concerned, I was fast asleep. The shiksha of yoga which I received from my guru, Sri Swami Satyananda, was not in the form of asana, pranayama or other practices. My education started not with A, B, C, D. My education started with pratyahara and dharana.

Yoga nidra is pratyahara. If I was given something, it is in me. I feel that something is there. I don’t know what, I have not been able to put my finger on it, but definitely something is there which I can tap into from time to time.

Once, at the age of ten I had to give a lecture to the medical fraternity at the Charing Cross Medical Hospital in London, England. I did not know what to speak on. I went to sleep at night and in my dream I saw myself giving the lecture. When I woke up, I remembered the points which I wrote down and four hours later I gave the lecture to the medical fraternity.

They said, “Swamiji, where have you learnt medicine? Do you know what you were talking about?” Although I had no idea, but to save face, I said, “Well if I have spoken, I should know.” The medical officer said, “You have spoken on the biofeedback system, which we are only developing now.”

From where did that knowledge come? It was not logical, not conscious; it came from the depth of my mind in my dream. When time demands, something happens, something comes. I don’t know from where it comes or how it happens, yet it is an indication that there is an aspect inside everyone which is craving for expression, for positive expression, and we have to allow that to happen with yoga.

To move forward in life

The children who come to Ganga Darshan do their little bit of asana, pranayama, but they do it in such a perfect manner, even grown-ups cannot do. They can do headstand without the help of a blanket on the bare floor. That is the level of perfection and mastery which they have. And they do it in a happy, joyful manner.

Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal is celebrating its Foundation Day today. The uniqueness of this date is the Bal Yoga Diwas, which is not celebrated anywhere else in the world except in Munger. This is the achievement of the children. Twenty years have gone by and many generations of children have come and gone.

There is a level of feeling and trust. It is that simplicity and innocence, purity of thought and intention which will always make these children move forward in life.

One day people will acknowledge that Bal Yoga Mitra Mandal and Yuva Yoga Mitra Mandal are the best gifts that Munger can give to the world.

—14 February 2016, Ganga Darshan, Munger