After five years of intensive sadhana, Swami Satyananda Saraswati
emerged from seclusion in November 1994. Thousands of spiritual
seekers from all over the world travelled to Rikhia, India, to be in his
presence and to hear him speak on bhakti. Shakti Yoga Sagar Volume I
presents a selection of Swami Satyananda's talks and answers to
tjuestions during that time. Topics include spiritual life, developing
one's relationship with God, the science of bhakti, sannyasa, his
mission, projects in the local villages and the direction of yoga in the
21 st century. These revelations from a spiritual master have the power
to transform one's life.
Swami Satyananda was born at Almora, Uttar Pradesh, in Sivananda in rishikesh, where he lived as sannyasin for the next 12 years.
Swami Satyananda founded the International Yoga Fellowship in 1956 and the Bihar School of Yoga in 1963. Over the next 20 years he toured internationally and authored over 80 book.
In 1984 he founded Sivananda Math, a Charitable institution for aiding rural development, and the Yoga Research foundation.
In 1988 he adopted kshtra Sannyasa and settled in Rikhia, Jharkhand, where he now lives as a paramahamsa Sannayasin.
In order for one to attain success in yoga, as well as in
life, personal attainment and prosperity are not enough.
For success, just three ingredients are required: commitment,
dedication and devotion to that which is beyond oneself.
Unless we are able to develop these three qualities in our
yoga and in our life, we can never find satisfaction or
fulfilment. Real success is not measured by status, monetary
gain or any personal achievement, but by how much one is
able to offer others in theirtime of need, for their upliftment
and for the removal of their distress.
Man is not an island or a separate unit unto himself. We
are all part and parcel of this world, of this vast universe. We
are in the universe, and the universe is in us. No one is in any
way different from another. All are comprised of the same
consciousness and energy, the same five elements. All breathe
the same air, drink the same water, eat the same food, walk the
same earth. All feel the same emotions and think the same
thoughts. So, what is it that makes us feel different from each
other? Our illusion about self, our sense of individuality, of
self-importance, of egocentricity, which blocks our vision of
totality, of oneness with humanity and with the entire creation.
When will we be free? Freedom is not a commodity which
can be purchased politically, socially or professionally.
Freedom is an understanding of oneself in relation to others,
the part in relation to the whole. We will never be free until we
learn to share with others. There is always someone with less
than us, no matter how little we have. There are thousands of
ways to share our knowledge, abilities, facilities, experience,
faith, belief, money, property, food, clothes, books, ideas.
It is not by accumulating and enriching ourselves that we
become free. We become free by giving what we have to
others. The different ways and forms of our sharing are the
measure of our freedom, of our capacity to realize God. By
God, I do not mean that Holy Father who lives up somewhere
in heaven, but that divinity which resides in us and in all
beings, sentient and insentient, in equal measure.
It is of no use to build up anything for ourselves. All these
accumulations become our bondage, our barrier. They keep
us fenced off from the higher reality, the vision of totality.
The more we give, the greater we become, because we learn
to see ourselves in others. Their suffering becomes our
suffering and their joy our joy.
A life of selfish acquisition and material satisfaction is not
worth living or dying for. At the end of it, what will we have
that is still ours? Nothing. No money, no possessions, no
property, no house, no car, no job, no relation, no friend will
ever pass out of this life with us. The only thing that will go
with us on that last day will be our karmas, our deeds, whether
positive or negative, selfish or unselfish, and nothing else.
That is why in this life it is very, important to always be on
the lookout for opportunities to give, to serve and to contribute
something for the welfare and betterment of another. This is
the way to attain happiness, fulfillment and transcendence in
this life and in the life to come. With every positive deed, we
remove the shackles of ten years of negative deeds. We become
brighter, younger, healthier and more vital.
What is it that makes us dull, old, sick and oppressed?
The cause is not external; it is our internal limitations which
bind us to a narrow, selfish view of life. That is the cause of all
our suffering. In order to remove our suffering we must
remove our limitations. We must live to help and serve others
and not ourselves. We must reach beyond our immediate
family and our personal needs, and develop a broader identity
that encompasses the entire humanity, the entire creation,
the entire cosmos. This is freedom; not any political, social or
Nowadays, people in the West have forgotten the spirit in
which yoga first came to them from this land. They have made
their own yoga federations and associations, and erected high
fences around them. Each says, "This is our yoga. No other
yoga is permitted here. Learn our way, teach our way, or get
out." So we find British yoga, French yoga, Greek yoga, German
yoga, Swedish yoga, Italian yoga, Japanese yoga, USA yoga,
but these are not the yogas that I teach or ever taught.
I have taught only one yoga, that which leads to freedom.
All others are paths of bondage. Please do not think that I am
speaking against any yoga teacher or institution, but I feel
that the present concept and direction of yoga must change.
Yoga must be unified, freed of separate ideals, power struggles
and narrow concepts of spiritual attainment.
Attitudes must change, barriers must come down, so that
a new yoga can emerge. This will be the yoga of unity, of
giving, sharing and uplifting as one team. As organs and parts
of one body, we must work together in one connected and
concerted effort to serve humanity, to share our knowledge,
our gifts, our capacities, our labour, for the common good, for
a better world.
When we are able to see the disease, disharmony and
distress of others as our own, and begin to alleviate and
remove it by our united effort, then our yoga will need only
one banner. Call it freedom, call it mukti, call it bliss. If we
are involved in any yoga for our personal development,
knowledge and evolution, that yoga is not going to help us.
Finally we will have to leave it and search for another path.
The ways of the world are many, but the way to God, to
spirit, to divinity, is one. Dedication to the upliftment of others,
seeing others in oneself and one self in others; this is the ultimate
yoga. There is no other way to change our limited, egocentric
vision to a cosmic vision. This is the path and this is the yoga
of the next century; call it 'freedom yoga.
There is no need to waste time in practising other yogas.
Life does not have enough days, hours and minutes to perform
all the good deeds that need to be done in order to balance
the bad deeds that were done before. In this birth, we have
the opportunity to serve the poor and downtrodden by offering
food, clothes, money, medicine, books, toys, tools, building
materials, bicycles, cows, bullocks, and other things which
can help to remove distress from the lives of individuals,
families and communities.
This is my path, and this is the yoga that I wish to propogate in the coming century for the benefit of all mankind
and the highest attainment of yoga. There is no other nirvana,
no other enlightenment. This is the way to freedom.
It is not my intention to insult or offend anyone's view,
concept or practice of yoga. However, we must bear in mind
that the yogas expounded in the twentieth century were suited
to the needs and evolution of humanity for that period.
Therefore," the form of yoga was limited to self-discipline,
self-introspection and self-improvement.
Now, yoga is taking another step forward. It is expanding
beyond the personal, selfish and narrow confines of individual
practice, teachings and ideals, to encompass a broad spectrum
of devotion, dedication and integral participation in human
This is not my order. It has been decided by forces which
are beyond me. There will be no other way to evolve through
yoga. All will eventually have to pull down their separate
fences and signboards and begin to work together in one
united, consecutive effort to uplift and free humanity from
all forms of deprivation and degradation.
The misery of others is our misery. To free another of their
misery is our freedom, our happiness and our fulfillment. Not
to speak of freeing whole families, communities, states, nations
and worlds. Freedom is infinite for those who walk in the light
of this yoga, who take up the path of giving and sharing, and
who devote their time and their money to the upliftment of
Bhakti Yoga Sagar Volume 2 includes further inspiring talks
and answers to questions given by Swami Satyananda
Saraswati in December 1994 when he emerged from
seclusion after five years of intensive yogic sadhana. Sub-
jects include his sannyasa life and mission, experiences in
Rikhia, aspects of bhakti, discovering one's relationship
with God, bhakti as the science of the 21 st century, the
work of Sivananda Math in the local villages of Rikhia, and
many other topics of interest to all spiritual seekers.
In 1994, during the auspicious month of Marga Sheersha
J from 18th November to 17th December, darshan was
given by Sri Swamiji at the Sri Panchdashnam Paramahamsa
Alakh Bara in Rikhia, Deoghar District. During this month
the ocean of bhakti yoga swelled over the crowds that had
gathered for this occasion from all corners of India and the
world. Multitudes of devotees, disciples and admirers
poured in like a river making its way towards the sea, during
this period when Sri Swamiji had consented to give darshan
for the first time in over five years.
During this darshan, the treasure of seven decades of
spiritual experience began to flow from Sri Swamiji like a
stream of compassion, and it became difficult to bind this
flow in words. However, the first collection of satsangs from
the 1994 darshan was published on the occasion of the Sat
Chandi Maha Yajna in November 1995 under the title
Bhakti Yoga Sagar - Volume One.
Since discovering that his relationship with God is one
of master and servant, Sri Swamiji has faithfully followed
the orders of his master with complete devotion and dedication. Obedience and service to the Lord in the form of
the master and servant relationship have become his way of
life, and in 1992, he received the following mandate from
Bhakti Yoga Sagar Volume 3 consists of satsangs given by Swami
Satyananda Saraswati at the first Sat Chandi Mahayajna conducted at Rikhiapeeth in November 1995. During the nine days
of this unique event, Sri Swamiji enlightened one and all on the
significance of worshipping the Divine Mother, the purpose of
yajna, kanya kumari pooja, the role of women in modern society,
practical measures to uplift the underprivileged villagers,
shaktipat and the tantric initiation of Swami Niranjanananda
Saraswati. This book is a powerful message to open the heart.
The Sat Chandi Maha Yajna was a totally new exposure for
most of the yoga aspirants, devotees, disciples and even the
sannyasins of Bihar School of Yoga. Until now we have been'
involved with the yoga practices. However, the yajna as a
tantric ceremony, the meaning of which very few people
know about. The yajna also represented another step in the
life of an individual to understand or to communicate with
the higher nature. This yajna was held in Rikhia because
Swami Satyananda wished that the hitherto unknown aspects
of tantra should be slowly brought out. At present the science
of tantra is misunderstood by many people who regard it as
a means of magic or manipulation, rather than as an
The science of tantra is based on the three aspects of
mantra, yantra and mandala. When sadhana is performed
utilizing these three tools, the higher mental faculties are
awakened and the mind becomes powerful. The actual aim
of tantric sadhana is not to utilize these powers for personal
motives or material gain, but to propitiate and harmonize
the energies which at present are unharnessed and
uncontrolled in the individual as well as in the external
nature and in the cosmos. Throughout the ten days of the
yajna, different mantras were chanted for the propitiation
of Devi or Chandi by a specially selected group of Brahmin
pandits who had come from such distant places as Madras,
Varanasi and Kanchipuram, and whose pronunciation, swara
and metre were a special experience to hear.
Just as the Bhagavad Gita has 700 slokas in which the
wisdom of yoga is transmitted by Sri Krishna to his cousin
and disciple Arjuna, similarly, Durga Saptashati, the text
which was chanted during each day of the yajna, contains
700 slokas about the Cosmic Mother. Durga Saptashati is a
very important tantric text which is traditionally chanted
twice every year during the period of Navaratri, the nine
days dedicated to the worship of the Cosmic Mother. It is a
dialogue between Sage Markandeya, one of the greatest
thinkers of the ancient spiritual tradition, and the warrior
King Sural. Markandeya tells Surat about the different aspects
of the Mother Goddess, her powers, omnipresence and
creation. The beeja, or seed, mantras contained within these
slokas awaken the energies within the individual as well as
the environment. The chanting of each verse is chorused by
a combination of three beeja mantras: Aim Hreem Kleem. Aim
is the beeja mantra of Saraswati, Hreem of Lakshmi, and
Kleem of Durga or Kali.
Mandalas and yantras were made on the tables inside
the yajna mandap, and on top of each mandala and yantra
was placed a symbolic image of the deity to be invoked.
Deities were invoked in each pillar, corner, mandala and
yantra. The pots on each side of the gate inside the yajna
mandap were the ten kshetrapals, or protectors, and inside
them was water brought from various rivers. The water that
was used inside the mandap was brought from Gangotri, the
origin of the Ganga, high in the Himalayas. On the last day
of the yajna, after the havan, all these deities were asked to
leave, because when you invoke a higher power, you also
have to release it. This was the concept of bringing down the
cosmic forces to be with us, and then releasing them after
the work was over.
The success of a yajna such as this is not measured by the
expenditure incurred or the number of people who came to
participate in it. The success depends on each individual, on
how much each one has offered of body, mind and spirit.
Industrialists can spend millions organizing a beautiful yajna,
but if the feeling of devotion is not present, the yajna will not
be effective. The special aspect of this yajna was the shraddha,
the faith, and bhakti, the devotion, of the devotees from all
castes, creeds and religions who gathered in Rikhia from all
parts of the world. Although they could not understand any
of the rituals and chanting, they sat with eyes closed from
morning until evening and tuned into the divine vibrations
present in the environment.
The yajna was a unique and special event in many ways,
the main one being that a siddha saint was present as a
guiding force during every moment. The teaching that he
gave to all the participants through his personal example
was to see the divinity in everyone and everything around
you. Do not think of God as something far away. Do not be
afraid of God, rather, try to understand the divine nature,
the divine force which is inherent in each and everyone. The
absence of that force is death. God is present in each and
every aspect of creation. God is not formless. Maybe one of
the attributes of God is formlessness, but definitely God has
form. Each individual is a symbol of that form. The
recognition of that divine nature in each and everyone is the
sadhana which was given by Sri Swamiji during the yajna. It
is not only a recognition, but also a feeling of oneness with
other beings, identifying with their suffering and also with
their happiness. Let everyone take a sankalpa to preserve
this gift from Paramahamsaji for times to come.
Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati
Bhakti Yoga Sagar Volume-4, consists of satsangs by Sri Swami Satyananda Sraswati in Rikhia, India during the Ram Naam Aradhana, held during the month of Marga shirsha (Novermber-December) 1996. During this festival, devoted to the worship of Sri Rama, Sri Swamiji expounded on the benefits of singing God’s name as the easiest sadhana to purity the heart and mind. He also said that compassion is the highest virtue and can be developed b contributing selflessly to the welfare of others. Soritual sekers should look for God among the poor and needy, as to see God in human form is the greatest sadhana in life.
Bhakti Yoga Sagar Volume 5 consists of sastrangs vigven by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in 1997 during the sita Kalyanam festival in Rikhia. India during this festiva, organized for the welfare of the newly wed bribes from the local villages, Sri Swamiji answered questions on such topics as how to develop love and compassion for others through giving and serving, how to manage the mind and emotions through devotion to God, the guru-disciple relationship, his work to to uplift the needy villagers living in his neighborhood, the position of women in society, marriage, family life and education.
With his incomparable wisdom and humour, Sri Swamiji explain how and why people must change and adapt in order to meet the needs of the 21st century.
Bhakti Yoga Sagar Volume Six consists of Satsangs given by Swami Satyananda Saraswati during the Sita kalyanam festivals in Rikhia, India, from 1998 to 2000. Sri Swamiji’s love and respect for the divine Mother and all her children is transparently clear. His practical help to all needing spiritual guidance and particularly for the needy villagers, women, and those willing to dedicate their lives to God is heart warming. Through the Vedic and Transric traditions of yajna, mantra repetition seva and sharing wealth, he gives effective practices for the spiritual, social and ecological needs of today.
With his characteristic blend of wisdom, humour, compassion and pragmatism, Swami Satyananda’s dynamic message of hope continues to inspire people around the world.
Bhakti Yoga Sagar Volume 7 is a collection of satsangs given by Swami
Satyananda Saraswati in Rikhia, India, during the Sita Kalyanam festival
and Sat Chandi Mahayajna in December 2001 . During this time Sri
Swamiji inaugurated the Rajasooya Yajna. The speciality of the Rajasooya
Yajna is the art of giving and receiving and this is exemplified in Sri
Swamiji's emphasis on providing practical assistance for those in need,
as well as encouraging an attitude of giving and sharing in life.
With an all-encompassing vision that is both pragmatic and compassionate, Sri Swamiji addresses the spiritual and social needs of the 21 st century and resents a path for the peace and wellbeing of all.
The Sat Chandi Mahayajna at Rikhia in 2001 attracted
thousands of people from all parts of the world. It
meant so many things to so many people. The magnanimity
of the event was awesome. The multitudes of people, the
diversity of events, the profundity of the sacred rituals, the
participation of people from so many different nationalities,
religions, and diverse classes, colours and creeds, the enrapturing melodies and mantras all blended perfectly with
But above an it was the uninterrupted presence f Swami
Satyananda that added the final touch to the event by giving
it a spiritual vibrancy that was unmatched. One can certainly
say that apart from attracting thousands of people, the yajna
also attracted the divine forces to grace us with their luminous
presence. The smoothness, ease and splendour with which it
was carried out only points a finger in that direction. No
human effort could have made it so attractive.
The most significant part of the yajna was the sankalpa of
Rajasooya Yajna made by Sri Swamiji. After twelve years of
rigorous and arduous panchagni and allied sadhanas, which
he commenced in 1990, Sri Swamiji inaugurated the Rajasooya
Yajna and said that it will continue for the next twelve years.
The only difference is that he did panchagni in total isolation
whereas the Rajasooya Yajna will be done in the presence of
everyone, with their participation and involvement.
The Rajasooya is a yajna which can be held only by a
chakravarti, or one who is recognized as a conqueror. Ordinarily when we speak of conquest we attribute it to territories,
kingdoms and countries. But this is not necessarily so. One
who conquers the world through an idea, a thought or a
philosophy can also be proclaimed a chakravarti.
A conqueror of hearts is a chakravarti too. Krishna,
although he was a conqueror in every sense of the word, did
not perform the Rajasooya Yajna. He did preside over the
Rajasooya Yajna held by Yudhishthira though, which became
famous mainly because at this yajna Krishna washed the feet
of all the guests and the plates as well.
As it is the custom for a chakravarti to declare what he has
conquered, Sri Swamiji pronounced that fixing the flag of
yoga in all corners of the world was his conquest. To take
yoga out of the caves of hermits and present it to the people
in a manner most beneficial to them was also a conquest.
Although he did not say this, we all know that to make it
useful for society and mankind was solely his conquest. N0
wonder then that he found a place in their hearts also. When
you uplift others you find a place in their hearts as well.
There was a time when yajnas were a part of the day-to-day
culture of this land. Rishis and munis performed yajnas of all
kinds. It was quite common to drop in at the hermitage of a
rishi and discover them in the midst of a yajna. The chanting
of vedic mantras abounded in the atmosphere. The fragrance
of horn a and the tranquil resonance of sattwic vibrations filled
the air. It felt as if beauty and auspiciousness had made their
permanent abode there. The seasons were always kind and
benevolent. Fruits and flowers adorned the trees. Birds chirped
merrily. Deer and wild beasts frolicked around, not at all wary
of humans. The water and air was pure and invigorating.
Peace and tranquility pervaded the surroundings.
Imagine that picturesque scene - the simplicity and
richness of that event; the surcharged energy and feeling of
unity that it generates; the willpower and stamina that it
creates; the immense satisfaction and joy that is felt; the
dynamism and power of the mantras which forbid any negative
vibrations to enter that sphere; the love and compassion that
arises from within; the profound understanding that develops
of the role of each and every speck of creation and one's own
place within that.
That is the purpose of a yajna. Yajna is no different from
yoga. Asanas, pranayama, dharana and dhyana are not the
only forms of yoga. Yajna is also a form of yoga. Asanas
discipline and regulate the body to function in its optimum
condition. Dharana and dhyana train the mind to focus and
concentrate. Those forms of yoga are for the body and mind,
the physical attributes of man. Yajnas are more than that,
they are esoteric yoga. They deal with a part of you that you
do not know, have never experienced and can never see.
Yajnas communicate with the hidden part of you. It is not the
language of words, it is pure experience. Therefore, your
conscious mind cannot understand it nor is it even necessary
for your mind to comprehend all that is happening.
The mind simply does not have the faculty to know that
dimension because it functions in the realm of intelligence.
Even your buddhi, the discriminating aspect of mind, cannot
take you there because buddhi is governed by intellect. Beyond
intelligence and intellect there is a much greater power and
that is intuition or prajna. Yajnas alter the state of mind and
buddhi to give an experience of that. The esoteric nature of
a yajna draws out eternal archetypes that are embedded in.
us. Without our knowledge, with ease and comfort great
transformations take place within us. Samskaras from the
causal body get a chance to express themselves and thus
blockages and obstacles are removed.
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