In History today :: Birth of Satyananda Saraswati ( 25th of December 1923 )
Satyananda Saraswati (25 December 1923 – 5 December 2009), was a sannyasin, yoga teacher and guru in both his native India and the West. He was a student of Sivananda Saraswati, the founder of the Divine Life Society, and founded the Bihar School of Yoga in 1964. He wrote over 80 books, including Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha.
Satyananda Saraswati was born 1923 at Almora, Uttaranchal, into a family of farmers and zamindars.
At age eighteen, he left his home to seek a spiritual master. In 1943 at the age of twenty, he met his guru Sivananda Saraswati and went to live at Sivananda’s ashram in Rishikesh. Sivananda initiated him into the Dashnam Order of Sannyasa on 12 September 1947 on the banks of the Ganges and gave him the name of Swami Satyananda Saraswati. He stayed with Sivananda for a further nine years but received little formal instruction from him.
Bihar School of Yoga
In 1956, Sivananda sent Satyananda away to spread his teachings. Basing himself in Munger, Bihar, he wandered as a mendicant travelling through India, Afghanistan, Nepal, Burma and Ceylon for the next seven years (although on several occasions he said he travelled only through India ), extending his knowledge of spiritual practices and spending some time in seclusion.
In 1962 Satyananda established the International Yoga Fellowship Movement (IYFM) in Rajnandgaon.
IYFM inspired the establishment of ashrams and yoga centers spiritually guided by Swami Satyananda in India and all over the world.
In 1964, he founded the Bihar School of Yoga (BSY) at Munger, with the intention that it would act as a centre of training for future teachers of yoga as well as offer courses on yoga.
In 1988 Satyananda handed over the active work of his ashram and organisation to his spiritual successor, Niranjanananda Saraswati, and left Munger.
From September 1989 he was in Rikhia, Deoghar, Jharkhand. There he lived as a paramahamsasannyasin and performed vedic sadhanas including panchagni, an austerity performed before five blazing fires outdoors during the hottest months of the year. At Rikhia, Satyananda conducted a 12-year Rajasooya Yajna which began in 1995 with the first Sat Chandi Maha Yajna, invoking the Cosmic Mother through a tantric ceremony. During this event, Satyananda passed on his spiritual and sannyasa sankalpa to Niranjanananda.
Swami Satyananda attained mahasamadhi, a yogic accomplishment of duscarding the body at will to become one with the universal consciousness, in 2009 in the presence of his disciples.
Satyananda’s teachings emphasise an “Integral Yoga” with a strong emphasis on Tantra, known as the “Bihar Yoga” system or “Satyananda Yoga”. This system addresses the qualities of head, heart and hands – intellect, emotion and action – and attempts to integrate the physical, psychological and spiritual dimensions of yoga into each practice. His system of tantric yoga involves the practice of:
Kundalini Yoga, in the tradition following Sivananda’s explanation. Kundalini Yoga is the yoga of the evolutionary energy of the universe.
Kriya Yoga through the practices of pratyahara, dharana and dhyana, which are the three
components of Kriya yoga, in combination with other practices such as asana, pranayama, mudras and badhas. Kriya Yoga aims to awaken the dimensions of consciousness where our dormant potential and creativity lies.
Mantra Yoga, the repetition of sacred sounds.
Laya yoga, the practice of a state of absorption on an object of meditation.
The four advanced stages of the Eight Limbs of Yoga as codified by Patanjali: Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi.
Satyananda classified and expounded the techniques given in the tantras as a series of different stages and levels of pratyahara, such as antar mouna, and different stages of meditation. He invented a technique of yoga-nidra, now known worldwide as Satyananda Yoga Nidra, and defined and codified the different stages of the technique.
Satyananda wrote over 80 books, including Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha. Satyananda’s writings have been published by the Bihar School of Yoga and, since 2000, by the Yoga Publications Trust established by his disciple Niranjanananda to promote his teachings.