The Melody of Saraswati

Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati

Today we celebrate the 57th Foundation Day of Bihar School of Yoga. It has been a long journey which has crossed many stations. In 57 years, yoga has changed many definitions from a subject of body and health, to meditation, to the exploration of psychic discoveries, to stress management, to therapy. Each change has defined an aspect of yoga where it can be effectively utilized, and now these various components of a fragmented yoga have to come together to become part of our lifestyle. That is the theme of Bihar School of Yoga and of the presentation of the children today.

When Sri Swami Satyananda established the Bihar School of Yoga 57 years ago, it was not to propagate or teach people the health benefits of hatha yoga, asana or pranayama, as everyone is doing today. It was to create a fellowship of spiritual-minded and yoga-minded people, who would live the principles of yoga and go deeper into the experience of yoga. Bihar School of Yoga became the nucleus of the International Yoga Fellowship which represented the vision of Paramahamsaji for people who do not practise but live yoga.

What he established 57 years ago is taking shape now. Fifty years was the period of propagating yoga, and it became globally known. When Bihar School of Yoga started yoga training and programs, there were hardly any yoga teachers in the world. Fifty years later there were thousands of yoga teachers in practically every country and city. Then it was time that the aspiration of Sri Swamiji to establish the International Yoga Fellowship was put in place with the emergence of the second chapter of yoga which allows people to deepen their awareness, understanding and experience of yoga.

Other than the people who are part of that second chapter effort the main recipients and beneficiaries are the children. They are adopting the yogic thought in their life. For them, yoga is a way of life; for you, it is a practice. For them, yoga is a way of thinking and living; for you, it is only intervention to manage some stress, anxiety and problem in life. There is a big difference between what you go through and what children are going through. For them, yoga deals with their personality; for you, yoga only deals with your body and mind. This was coming out in the statement of the children in their presentation.

Sonu of BYMM gave a beautiful example of this under- standing. When he is travelling, he tries to live some inspirational sentences of Paramahamsaji. These sentences change his whole perspective, understanding and vision of life and interaction with people. It really made me happy, to see that children are becoming aware, not of the asana or pranayama component of yoga but of something which helps them achieve better understanding and deeper experience of life and a more integrated awareness of life.

Today children have conducted the Basant Panchami program. In the past, the tradition was that a few people come to speak on how good the institution is for the community and to thank the institution for its presence. That used to be the celebration of the Foundation Day. Today, that convention is broken. Children have come up with a statement for they realize that yoga is not practice but a way of living. Their statement was, ‘Life is what you live in your mind’. If you live with a positive and happy mind, life is positive and happy. If you live with a problematic, critical and negative mind, life becomes problematic, critical and negative. Then to manage the negative, critical and diseased life, we come to yoga. However, if we can make the effort to cultivate the positive, like the children are doing at present, we won’t have to face the negatives or the big impact of the negatives, rather we shall sail through life with happiness, wisdom and clarity.

That is the message of the children – yoga is not only for emancipation, enlightenment, health and mental peace. Yoga is also connection with the environment and nature. It is about our interaction with our environment, nature, society and the universe. Therefore, positive steps have to be taken to improve not only our quality but also the quality of our environment and society. For this everybody has to take a sankalpa, a resolve, a firm determination, which if you are interested you will be able to do and achieve. The choice of taking this firm resolution is up to you. It has to come up from your own inner depth and you have to have a feeling for it, the desire to achieve the best, purity, simplicity, wisdom and clarity. We should not only achieve our sankalpa, but also apply it in our interaction, behaviour, to make our immediate world a little bit better. In this manner, keep on increasing the percentage of positivity one percent at a time. Do not try to spread positivity ten, twenty or one hundred percent. One percent, if attainable on a daily basis, will make us ultimately win the race.

Best wishes to the efforts of yoga, to the efforts of aspirants in yoga on this day of Basant Panchami when wisdom and action come together to create a beautiful melody of Saraswati.

30 January 2020, Basant Panchami, Ganga Darshan, Munger