656 – Swami Sivananda’s divine gift

An ashram develops with the blessings of the Guru and his Guru’s august presence. Swami Sivananda was a Ram Bhakta and like Hanuman he always chanted the name of Rama. The Bihar School of Yoga Ashram was established by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, and all his Gurubhais established ashrams wherever they were, when Swami Sivananda left his body.

In 1963, 19th January, Swami Satyananda established the Sivananda Ashram in a tiny building near the Ganga at Lal Darwaja (red door), Munger. In the first years of its existence, the facilities were very simple, there were no single rooms. Everybody meditated and slept in the Sadhana Hall. There was just one hall. Blankets were put out at night and Swamiji lived in a mud hut and it was called his kutir. Devotees and seekers would come to the ashram with the idea of learning yoga and getting spiritual sustenance.

Gradually more rooms were built and in 1965, an annex to the main hall were constructed. The two rooms were called Panchvati and Yoga Nidra Vihar. In 1967 this annex was further enlarged to include a third room called Ganga Sagar and a small room just below it for Swamiji’s sadhana. People started coming in droves and they all left feeling lighter, and spiritually alert. Many came seeking a miracle but he was very clear that he was not a miracle worker. He expected individuals to be realistic and to perform concrete tasks. Then only could they be called sadhaks.

Yoga everywhere

People flocked to the ashram and when they left, they were changed persons. This reflected in their behavior and soon persons were coming from all over the world. Teachers training courses were held and attended by international participants. The students were encouraged to open their own centers. Swamiji’s objective was, Yoga from door to door and from shore to shore.

In 1968, Swamiji went to Rishikesh to visit Swami Sivananda’s samadhi, with 70 disciples. He fasted for a week and remained in seclusion in the Samadhi room. Swamiji came out after a week and said that he had received his Guru’s blessings to travel overseas. He went for five months and his disciples had vowed to build a three-story building in his absence. When he returned the sannyasins and disciples were living in the building.

Swamiji felt that there was a growing demand for experienced Yoga teachers and Sannyasins who could guide people in their own neighbour hoods. In 1970, he organized an International Sannyasa training course for three years. There were 108 participants under Swamiji’s direct guidance. And the story of expansion of the Bihar School of Yoga continued.

I am writing the story of Swamiji quest to enable people to lead a Satvik life. He was born in 1923, he joined Swami Sivananda in 1943 and in 1963 he started his own ashram. It was subsequently renamed the Bihar School of Yoga and in 1983 he stepped down and handed the Ashram to Swami Niranjananda.

As Hanuman always has the name of Rama on his lips so the Gurubhais of Swami Satyananda, repeated Swami Sivananda’s name until their passing. This tradition continues and we all chant our Guru’s name and his Guru’s name.

Aim Hrim Klim


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