788 – A Prayer and a Promise

Swami Satyananda asked God to help him only twice.

In 1963 and in 1989, he asked for help from the Divine. He had been told by Swami Sivananda to spread the message of Yoga and to present it in a logical and effective way. From 1956 to 1963 he travelled all over Asia as a wandering sannyasin. On his travels he found that it was almost impossible to become a Seer.

In 1963, he went to Trayambakeshwar, which has a three-faced Linga, embodying Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Shiva was Swamiji’s Ishta devata (cherished divinity). He prayed to Mrityunjay (Lord Shiva who is represented as the conqueror of death) and said,

Lord, I cannot fulfil the mission my guru gave me without your help. I will work with whatever inspiration you may give me for twenty years after which I will renounce everything and come to you.

Lord Shiva heard his request and from 1964, he toured the world like a whirlwind because Shiva was speaking, writing and teaching through him. The Ashram came up and disciples from India and all over the world came.

In 1983, Swamiji had made Yoga a household word. He had developed a system of Yoga which gained universal acceptance. Now twenty years had passed. Swamiji went back to Trayambakeshwar to have darshan of his Ishta devata. He was reminded of his vow. He had become Maya’s captive and the name and fame had held him. So, he bid farewell to Munger and pronounced Swami Niranjananda, his successor and President of the Bihar School of Yoga.

According to Swamiji, a prayer is a seed, a Sankalpa, a resolve. The resolve is buried in the mind. Praying for the fulfillment of a wish is very powerful if done properly. However, when one makes a wish, one must promise to renounce something. The Divine made Swamiji victorious globally and he had to return to him. One must give something in return because one’s destiny is fixed. This is the karmic law. When prays for something, one must make a promise and that promise has to be hidden, even from the Divine.

His extraordinary humility

Swami Satyananda externally lived like a Guru, but in his mind and heart he never considered himself to be a Guru, according to Swami Niranjananda. I received mantra diksha from Swamiji in 1979. He was always accessible and would answer all my questions. I organized a Yoga Conference in Chennai for Swamiji. People flocked to his lectures and he hardly had a moment to rest. He gave a lecture at the Sanskrit College in Sanskrit. He was given thunderous applause by the scholars. His humility was extraordinary, he never got upset.

The crowds held up the train at the Chennai central station. They all wanted diksha. The guard wanted the train to leave, I requested him to wait as Swamiji’s dinner had not come. Finally, the train left without his dinner. In those days, we did not have mineral water and food would be available only at the next station. He smiled and waved from the window. The dinner arrived ten minutes later. The driver had been caught in a traffic jam.

Aim Hrim Klim

Image by Abhideo21 – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

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