Message for the Swamis

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

As sannyasins, you are dedicated to the dissemination and propagation of yoga, irrespective of caste, colour, creed, religion and politics. This is a very difficult task; it is easy to say, but hard to do. You will have to leave your personal life behind, even as a caterpillar breaks out of the cocoon and transforms itself into a grand butterfly, wafting through the air freely. In the same way, you will have to understand that a sannyasin has no personal life, no personal relationships, no personal love or hatred, no private property or assets, no personal religion or politics.

We have chosen to wear this robe not for our salvation, emancipation or the growth of our spirit, but in the language of Buddha, “To keep on moving as a mendicant for the good of many, for the happiness of many, for the welfare of all human beings.” For you there are no frontiers, no continents, no differences. You may get disciples, but you are not a guru. You may get money, but that is not for you. You may get a home, an ashram or a school, but that is not your property. You work not for the fulfilment of ego, nor the accomplishment of name and fame, but because you are the one who can dedicate yourself completely. You are the full-time servant of mankind. The one duty that is left upon you is to promote yoga, to teach yoga, to talk yoga.

Day by day, let this cloak of avidya fall away and the dross of ignorance be cleansed from your personality. The pure spirit must shine through in this frame. For you there is no wife, son, sister or mother. For you there is nothing that could be called mine. For you there is only one thing – yoga: yoga for health, yoga for mental peace, yoga for spiritual illumination, yoga for mankind. Your heart must be filled with compassion for all living beings, because everybody is your sister and brother; everybody is your relative, and as long as these people do not understand how to live the life of yoga, your sannyasa is not complete.

I am not a guru. I am dedicated to the promotion of yoga because I am under an instruction, and the moment that work is finished I will not be with you. For me greatness is of no consequence and name has no relevance, because many great people have come and gone. Sweeping time has removed them from history. There are millions and millions of great people in history. I may be one among them, but who is going to care for my name? The one satisfaction that I’ll get at the time of departing from this body is that I have finished this job, and the job of a sannyasin is just four letters - YOGA.

October 1980, International Festival for Yoga and Health, Bogotá, Colombia, printed in Teachings of Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Volume II