Newsletter August 2013
Ammaji's Last Breath
On February 12th, 12 noon, Swami Dharmashakti Saraswati, fondly known to many as Ammaji, took her last breath. She was the first disciple of Parmahamsaji Swami Satyananda and the mother of Swami Niranjanananda (Swamiji), the Guru and spiritual successor to Swami Satyananda. Anahata’s Swami Karma Karuna was in Munger during this very auspicious time and wrote to us of the event.
She left the body, in divine timing, with the Yoginis (female yogis) performing yajna (vedic fire ritual) and at the beginning of the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Bihar School of Yoga (BSY). Swami Niranjan and Swami Satsangi had just inaugurated the new history park of BSY, which details the history of Munger and Bihar School of Yoga, and the incredible contributions BSY has been making in all sectors of society over the last 50 years. Ammaji represents an important part of that history, having been instrumental in Swami Satyananda’s mission of spreading yoga from “door to door and shore to shore”, as well as giving life to his successor, Swami Niranjan, who carries on this mission.
Swamiji said that we should not be sad, but rather feel blessed to have known someone who was always positive, hopeful, faithful and who demonstrated unflinching devotion to her Guru. He said that we should try to cultivate these qualities within us and expressed how proud he was to have had such a mother. Swamiji demonstrated for us a balanced attitude, to face life and death with the same mind. He said,
“I do not take this as an inauspicious moment, No! but rather a blessing. Of course it is the end of a chapter, in the history of yoga, but at the same time it is a blessing because that strength of conviction, which is the meaning of the name Dharmashakti, should be alive within each one of us.”
On February 13th, the Bhu Samadhi of Swami Dharmashakti was performed by the yoginis, Swami Niranjan and Swami Satsangi, in which Abishek was performed (offerings were poured over her body) and with the chanting of mantras she was given back to Mother Earth. Swamiji himself delivered Ammaji to her new resting place within the earth along with sacred items such as a Sri Yantra (geometrical form of the divine mother), a Shiva Lingam (symbol of consciousness) and photos of her Guru. Chanting of mantras continued for 16 days at Ammaji’s Samadhi sthal, the place of her burial.
On the full moon of February, Swami Niranjan and Swami Satsangi travelled with a small group of representatives from Bihar School of Yoga and Rikhia Peeth to the Kumbha Mela (a huge festival held every 12 years, at each of 4 auspicious places on the river Ganges in India) where they performed final rites for Swami Dharmashakti. Swamiji explained that the Kumbha Mela is the most auspicious time to perform these rites for a Swami.
On the 28th of February, a special puja (worship or offerings) of Shiva (highest consciousness) Abhishek as well as Sri Yantra Puja took place along with chanting to end the Shodasi (16-day) period. There was also satsang (sharing of truth) describing the incredible personality of Ammaji and stories of her inspiring life. The rituals ended with bhoj – a meal with the feeding of more than 1000 local people by the Sannyasins, and an important part of the ritual. After the completion, a sense of peace and generosity of heart descended upon the whole environment.
It has been an incredibly powerful time, which I feel very grateful to have been present for, at the transition into this new chapter in the epic of the Bihar school of Yoga.
Om Tat Sat
Swami Karma Karuna