The celebration of Sivananda Janmotsav from 1st to 8th September at Satyananda Yoga Centre, Triplicane, had given me and all disciples abundant opportunities to offer our seva and connect with the Guru Parampara.
On 19th October, five of us from the Chennai delegation were informed that we would be offering our seva in the Akhara for the Satyam Yoga Yajna that was to be conducted by pandits from Varanasi as part of the Munger Yoga Symposium.
On 23rd morning as we were cleaning the seating area, Swamiji walked towards our group and greeted to us with “Vanakyam.” Swamiji was delighted to see all of them wearing the t-shirt that had been given as prasad. Swamiji asked me, “Where is your t-shirt? You know, there is one t-shirt, with words: 'To achieve God, Goodness and Greatness plant the seeds of love'.
I could not contain my delight any more and explained to Swamiji about the seed balls that we had given as prasad for Sivananda Janmotsav Celebration in Chennai. I explained how it works. Swamiji expressed his delight through his mesmerizing smile, “This is beautiful, wonderful, such a lovely idea, we have to do something.” I asked Swamiji if the seed balls should be arranged to be given as prasad to all the participants of the symposium. Swamiji approved the idea.
It was 23rd morning around 7 am. I realized that we had only five days to make the seed balls and get them delivered to Ganga Darshan. It was humanly impossible to make the number of seed balls required within five days, leave alone transport them from Cuddalore to Ganga Darshan. We needed 2,400 seed balls.
As soon as we walked out of the Akhara, I rushed to make a call to Dr Elanthirayan, who lives in Cuddalore. He was one of my students who did not make it to the symposium. Now I was really happy that Dr Elanthirayan had not come to Ganga Darshan as a delegate.
To tell you a little bit of a flashback, after Sivananda Janmotsav, in September, I had expressed the desire to arrange 2,000 seed balls for the ashram. I had asked Dr Elanthirayan to arrange for them and have them delivered by the end of September. Due to some situations and other developments, Dr Elanthirayan could not arrange the seeds and on 17th October I told him not to pursue.
Within a week on 23rd October, I urged him to organize the seed balls. Dr Elanthirayan spoke to four different sources and had arranged for supply. But the balls were wet, very heavy, not ready to be sent. Even if they were ready, neither courier services nor the postal department were ready to undertake the transport of 1,500 seed balls, as we were asking delivery of the material at Ganga Darshan, latest on 27th.
When I spoke to Dr Elanthirayan, he expressed that all the conventional transport options were not possible. He was arranging to send his hospital assistant on a train to deliver the seed balls directly. Finally, on 25th October, the assistant, Mr Sekar, started on his first journey to Ganga Darshan with 1,500 Seeds of Love! When I got the message I conveyed the development to Swamiji. I was still keeping my fingers crossed.
Mr Sekar came by train and within two days the Seeds of Love arrived. At every stage grace was guiding and supporting his travel. He had left without a train ticket, yet to everyone’s surprise he got a reserved tatkal ticket to travel from Chennai to Howrah! While he was still on the train, the ticket to travel from Howrah to Jamalpur was yet to be made and again at the last minute he got the confirmation. On 27th morning the Seeds of Love had reached the ashram around 9 am.
The blessings of Guru have the power to make miracles happen naturally. The consignment was heavy, almost 200 kg, yet without much of a hassle, Mr Sekar could bring the consignment all alone.
One can do anything to bring joy to Guru! This time I was fortunate to offer something like a squirrel did to Sri Rama. I picked up a cotton pouch, the accompanying guideline card and kept three seed balls in the pouch. I couldn’t wait to meet Swamiji and show it. Swamiji was conducting the class for the blue group. I had to take Mr Sekar to his accommodation. Once he settled in his room, it was time for me to return to seva in the Akhara.
I showed Swamiji the pouch with the card and Seeds of Love. Swamiji read the guidelines, the words on the pouch, and gently opened the pouch. Those were moments of total silence and stillness. I thanked Swamiji for giving me an opportunity to bring the Seeds of Love all the way from Tamil Nadu, the motherland of Swami Sivananda.
On the last day of the symposium, the Seeds of Love were given as prasad to every participant of the symposium. After doing parikrama every delegate and saha yogi received a pouch containing Seeds of Love.
Swamiji beautifully explained the yama and niyama in a totally new context. Every system of yoga has yamas and niyamas and the sadhana cannot be complete without them as they fine-tune life and lead the sadhaka to a higher dimension of life. I felt in Swamiji’s expositions that yamas and niyamas are essential to maintain the purity and continuity of sadhana and to help us to have extended experiences. Asana and pranayama do not improve the quality of life. Yama and niyama improve the quality of life by embedding positivity in our thoughts. Without them, practising asana and pranayama, mudra, bandha for years will lead us to be the same ordinary being as we are not able to direct the harmony created in the body and mind towards the positivity. The dissipation of mind continues. The sattwic state is not attained permanently and the majority of our life remains in the clutches of tamas.
Now I have a glance of how ancient yogic seers imparted the secret and sacred knowledge, the vidya, orally to their disciples as we have a yogi in our time. We are fortunate enough to have the presence of Swamiji in this materialistic age. This is the divine blessing. He is always with us in the form of divine inspiration. His childlike simplicity appealed to me very much. The uniqueness of the symposium was that the abstract ideas of spiritual teachings have been transformed into practical ways and methods that can be implemented in daily life. Awareness is the great key to spiritual success. As mentioned by Swamiji, to develop and maintain the seer’s attitude is the key to spiritual success for the spiritual sadhaka and at the same time it is the aim.
Swamiji’s satsang after the beginning of the 2nd Chapter is like a revelation of a vidya that was kept secret for 50 years waiting for the right time to come for sincere spiritual seekers. Swamiji amazingly maintains the continuity of thought in his expositions right from the beginning with the blend of the most simple and relevant logic, stories, analogy and living examples. He let us come easily from the gross to the subtle aspects of life in a very simple manner. I bow to this amazing superhuman.
The Munger Yoga Symposium 2018 has been a historical, memorable and magic event. We are all very fortunate to have participated and witnessed such a unique event and it has left a deep impression. It has had an impact which we are unable to comprehend or understand but which I am certain will show in our lives in the years to come.
Swamiji gave us his thoughts on yoga with crystal clarity and simplicity, with unique humour and a way with words that only he has. He is the alchemist turning mercury into gold, the magician pulling treasure after treasure out of his hat, the mathematician giving the proof of the highest truth in the most simple, pure and beautiful equation.
A word that comes to mind is alignment. When all the planets are aligned a very special event occurs. Through the practices we experienced the inner alignment of body, prana, mind, emotions which gave the sense of deep relaxation, balance, harmony, peace, contentment and ananda. Externally everything was aligned, the work behind the scenes, the seva, the different events, programs, music, performances - all flowed flawlessly in perfect harmony.
Swami Maitreyi, Sweden
One could feel a divine and intense surge of energy and power to help us embark on a new, holistic journey. The impact was TOTAL, with the new mission statement ‘yoga from moment to moment’ engulfing, encompassing and embracing us all. The feeling of fellowship was intense and intimate despite the many people, the varied backgrounds. This was like a trip to another whole new universe. I am blessed, overwhelmed and happy - and very fortunate - to be at the symposium, with my Guruji leading us to the new light of wisdom and goodness.
The way the symposium was planned it seemed like a wonderland! The manner in which it was executed was so perfect, with every detail taken care of by the BSY team.
Sannyasi Gyandeva, Kolkata
The immaculately conducted Munger Yoga Symposium was a milestone in the history of yoga. It was akin to opening a door to show us the yogic path of life, which would be spiritually enriching, full of abundance, peace and joy.
The clear message of Swamiji brought home emphatically that the time has come to truly understand, imbibe and explore the wisdom of yoga in our lives. True knowledge is that which can be put into action in life. Hence, in the spirit of the Satyananda Yoga tradition the message of following the yogic lifestyle was coupled with practical sessions. Swamiji himself handheld us and guided us how to deepen the experience by widening the horizon.
It was divine blessings to be part of this symposium which was full of vibrant pure energy of love. In the benign presence of Swamiji we were witness to his (Swamiji’s) turning the wheels of yoga.
Two decades later this symposium will reverberate all round the world.
Sannyasi Dharmaprem, New Delhi