There comes a time, when one is able to stand aside and gaze with silent awe, and with a profoundly grateful heart, at the beauty of the mysterious grace that has coloured and shaped every moment of life. Today is such a time.
On this day we end our humble endeavour to tell the tale of how two very great men sanctified the land of Greece with a cornucopia of gifts and graces. This tale is told in two books; one describing the visits to Greece by Swami Satyananda, our guru, and the other the visits by his successor, Swami Niranjanananda. As I finish reading them, a feeling of overwhelming praise and thanks fills my soul and heart. What words can one find to adequately express appropriate gratitude, not only for that which they have given to me personally, but also for what they have so freely and selflessly given to an entire nation and its people? Swami Satyananda told us many times, 'The law of the Lord is love; the language of the Lord is silence." It is impossible for me to find the words to express the intensity of my feelings of gratitude to our guru, either on behalf of myself, or on behalf of the many Greek people who have been blessed to experience the presence and grace of both spiritual masters. I pray that the brevity of my words may allow the silence in my heart to reach the silence in the heart of my guru, whose law is always and only: love.
Today is also a time to thank the countless men, women, and children, from Greece and abroad, who have assisted and supported Satyanandashram Hellas, from the first day of my arrival in Kalamata until today, and those who will continue to do so in the future. To begin and encourage the growth of the yogic teachings in Greece, and to found an ashram and guide an umbrella organization of various yoga centres, was not my sole accomplishment. Far from it. The path of Satyanandashram Hellas is paved with a very beautiful mosaic full of vibrant colours and radiant jewels.
Each individual tile in the mosaic has its own shape, brilliance, and purpose in the overall design. Some are large, and others are tiny; some have a clear sheen, and others are rather cloudy; some tiles have equal sides, some are not quite so balanced, and others are a little quirky; some are glued well into the path, while others have gone missing; and some are very grandly placed near the centre of the mosaic, whereas others lie as close to the far edge as they can get. And yet each tile depends on the others to complete the whole, and to give meaning to the mosaic's existence, even those that are missing, have been stolen, or are badly chipped. Each tile is equal though not the same; each tile plays its part as only it can; and each tile, present or not present, is irreplaceable.
To name all the people who have contributed to the growth and development of Satyanandashram Hellas, and who have selflessly supported and assisted both myself and the ashram and yoga centres, would require a third book and an astounding memory. Some names were never known, as some who have helped gave what they had to give and quietly went on their way, without any of us noticing their arrival or departure. Some people have remained with us since the beginning, and others have played their part and moved on as was their role and destiny. There has never been a time, since 1976, when I have not been supported by many people, particularly in Greece, who have given selflessly and tirelessly in order to accomplish the mission of our guru. Some have given of their talents and labour; some have given money and other goods; some have freely given their counsel, specific knowledge, and advice; some have provided transport or accommodation; some have arranged lectures, workshops, seminars and other programs; some have taken care of those shy about visiting the ashram or learning yoga, while others have been hospitable to foreigners, visitors or people alone and in need; some have provided meals, sewn clothes, and spent seemingly endless hours cleaning or gardening with inadequate tools, and others have gained back pain from sitting in bad chairs while folding brochures and licking envelopes; and some have given their entire life in service to their guru and the accomplishment of his mission in this part of the world. To all, my thanks and the thanks of all who have, and are, and will be a part of Satyanandashram Hellas. There are also those who did not directly contribute to our development, but who cared for and supported those who did. To all husbands and wives, to all children and other family members, and to all partners, lovers, friends and colleagues, who endured long tedious hours of isolation, and who could never understand why their loved ones undertook seemingly pointless hours of seva yoga; to all, our thanks. Many people who work in the public service, and various government officials have also assisted us, as have others from the corporate world. Others from small businesses, from various trades, from the arts and crafts communities, from hotels, taxis, and restaurants, and from healthcare and educational institutions, have been exceedingly generous with their support, advice, gifts and time; again, our thanks to you.
As well as thanking all the Greek sannyasins, I would like to take this opportunity to thank the great number of swamis and sannyasins from other countries who have served their guru in Greece by contributing their skills, time and energy at Satyanandashram Hellas. Thank you.My family in Australia has always been exceedingly generous in their encouragement and support to both myself and Satyanandashram Hellas. To all family members, thank you.
There are many people who are responsible for the compilation and production of both of these books. Many who recorded their experiences some years ago and others more recently. To all involved, thank you.
And to all who may not be on the above list and who should be, our thanks to you also.
Finally, I would like to thank Swami Niranjanananda for giving us all, at Satyanandashram Hellas, this opportunity to recall the beautiful memories of the visits to Greece of our two beloved spiritual masters. The compilation of these two books has been a tremendous journey, and given us much joy, as the past resurfaced with fresh and deeper meanings that illustrated, over and over again, the abundant grace and blessings our gurus have showered upon us.
A new chapter, in the life of us all, has begun with the mahasamadhi of our beloved Swami Satyananda. I have not met any disciple who does not continue to feel his presence with them. Indeed, the spirit of our guru seems even more intimate and closer to us. It was a great honour for many Greek people to attend the Shodashi Pooja at Rikhiapeeth and the Shraddhanjali Saptah at Ganga Darshan, and be with other disciples from all over the world. Many memories of our guru came to mind: memories of humour, tenderness, wisdom and joy, as well as others of grief, sorrow, and yearning. But the most beautiful memory of all, was the memory of his instant smile of deep recognition and love, as he stepped on to the soil of Greece, and placed the first tile at the very centre of the dazzling and resplendent mosaic that became and is Satyanandashram Hellas.
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