Newsletter December 2013
An experience of World Yoga Convention - India 2013
by Sannyasin Yogasarita
I arrived smoothly at Ganga Darshan three days prior to the World Yoga Convention. My first experience of the build up to WYC and the Golden Jubilee of the Bihar School of Yoga was the large number of people and the noise as I walked about. People of all nations, cultures and languages; the energy was high as you can imagine. Swami Satsangi later referred to it as the ‘magic’, a unified energy field generated by the force of like-minded people.
That evening was blissful as we sat together in satsang with Swami Niranjan and Swami Satsangi. Swami Niranjan spoke of spirituality as bringing out the best in ourselves which he extended later in the convention, to be the expression of creativity- satyam, shivam, sundaram- truth, auspiciousness and beauty.
We were entertained and enthusiastically joined in singing the Golden Jubilee song set to the tune of Yellow Submarine. Swami Satsangi and Swami Niranjan joked mysteriously about KAC (Kundalini Awakening Centre) with Swami Satsangi referring to Ganga Darshan as the ‘high tech’ ashram. Later I got to experience KAC which was a little like a yogic Disneyland complete with 3D and special effects as we journeyed through the sushumna passing through the chakras to enlightenment.
The WYC began, and the magnitude of the undertaking was apparent firstly in the size and construction of the adjoining dome like tents with green felt covering the ground. (The WYC was held outside the ashram at the old polo fields.) Secondly, that these tents were filled by 20,000 delegates from all corners of the earth. 36 were speakers and there were a further 15000 watching on the internet. You can imagine that this would be the pinnacle of event management and Ganga Darshan carried it out with the pomp and splendor requested by Paramahamasaji. Somehow, it doesn’t surprise me that Swami Niranjan came up with the plan during Yoga Nidra which he later dictated to his assistant over 3 hours. Then the well-oiled yogi cogs of Ganga Darshan sprang into action.
Ok, there were a lot of people, but spaciousness, comfort and friendliness featured strongly during WYC. Even when there were queues for prasad, people waited patiently (mostly) under the umbrellas also given as prasad. Did I mention the bed linen, towel, cap, bags, and not to forget the incredible generosity of book, cd and dvd prasad (as much as we could carry) all with the Golden Jubilee logo. This was generosity to the max.
Now I get to the point; the speakers, workshop presenters and the gems spoken. The theme of the WYC was Seriousness, Sincerity and Commitment. The speakers displayed all three of these qualities. Each day of WYC was dedicated to a field of involvement of BSY over the past 50 years: Health, Science and Research, Education and Yogic lifestyle. The topics were as diverse as the application of yoga for specific mental and physical conditions, such as cancer, diabetes, sleep disorders and psychological issues, to the advancement of the mind of the modern sportsperson, and to the application of yogic philosophy and psychology in education and lifestyle for the evolution of us all.
These are just a few examples. Sannyasi Muditachitta spoke of her 12 week research study investigating the effects of a Satyananda Yoga intervention for women with breast cancer. Swami Pragyamurti brought the audience to its feet with her heartfelt account of her work with male prisoners in London and people with HIV/AIDS and TB in Africa. Dr. Swami Mudraroopa fascinated us with the application of Raja Yoga techniques in modern sport relating sporting terms such as ‘zone or flow’ to vyanavayu, ‘mental rehearsal’ to visualization and ‘error parking’ to antar mouna. Dr Alex Hanky mind-boggled us with the relationship between modern science and the Vedas. He says the Vedas are superior because they are the sciences of the sukshma. To be able to control the controller is more powerful than controlling the physical. However, he suggested that complexity biology may contain the key to understand how nature can bring about transcendence. A bit of light reading, perhaps?
Swami Satsangi reminded us that Satyananda Yoga is the way to accelerate and enhance evolution by journeying within the self to connect with Guru. Swami Niranjan added that yoga is the means to stop the distractions of the mind. When distraction becomes a habit, distress and suffering come into life. In relation to education, Swami Niranjan indicated that schooling is falling short because it is only intellectual. We have samskaras from our families which make up our personality and who we become in life. Therefore it is the samskaras which are the deeper level of education. He says,”educate the chitta. Educate the mind to respond accurately, creatively and effectively to situations in life. When we are aware of the aspiration to express the best, and the creative force, every action will lead to illumination.” Swami Yogabhakti, among other dedicated swamis, elaborated on the ways she is applying these concepts in schools in France.
Then came lifestyle with numerous gems on how yoga can develop a lifestyle which is an expression of the maturity of mind and emotions, through the processes of becoming (the adoption of new qualities), and being (the expression of the best we have to offer) - Swami Niranjan. Swami Sivamurti reminded us of a simple and effective way to reprogramme our minds to bring out the best: the application of Swami Sivanananda’s 18 –ities. She showed how the –ities give us an aim, a philosophy and a discipline in life. What was most impressive though about WYC was Swami Niranjan’s ability to translate the gist of each talk into English or Hindi as required. He didn’t appear to be making notes either. A wonderful example of what being present can do.
Back at Ganga Darshan, the Golden Jubilee celebrations were distinguished by their creativity: akhanda kirtan, havan and musical presentations of the lives of Swami Sivananda, Swami Satyananda and Swami Niranjanananda, along with the showing of a movie of Swami Satyananda’s life. The highlights for me were the blissful moments backing the NZ group in kirtan, potent meditation during the havan listening to the pandits chanting, and the beauty of the sannyas trainees’ presentations of our inspirers’ lives: truly an expression of spirituality.
I came home with a multi-layered experience which I will be unpacking for many years to come. Overall, the purity and sanctity of the Satyananda Yoga tradition stands out. To maintain the tradition in its current pristine condition Swami Niranajan says we must be serious, sincere and committed. I met a lot of people and made some new friends who are all of those.
Hari Om Tat Sat