Introduction to Sannyasa Peeth
Swami Niranjan Saraswati
Sri Swamiji had a vision which was inspired by his guru and also by his destiny. Sri Swamiji always had in mind to propagate the teachings of sannyasa, as it was the sannyasa ideals that had guided him to his Guru. Yet when Swami Sivananda told Sri Swamiji that he had to work and to spread yoga from door to door, Swamiji followed his Guru’s mandate. That was the samarpan, surrender and commitment of Sri Swamiji for the mandate of Sri Swami Sivananda.
Sri Swamiji, after having accomplished the mandate, was free to now follow his own inspiration. He left Munger, travelled and settled in Rikhia. In Rikhia he started living the higher spiritual teachings which he had received from his guru. Sri Swamiji never wanted the trappings of an institution, he did everything as his kartavya, as his duty. In his life there was never any personal ambition or aspiration, all was his Guru’s will.
Today everybody wants to live their ambition and believe that they are doing it for their Guru. That characteristic was never there in Sri Swamiji. He came here and established himself in the higher spiritual sadhanas. He always had in mind the upliftment of society, not only through yoga, not only spiritually but also physically and materially. Therefore, the three cardinal principles of Swami Sivanandaji, were made the foundation of Rikhiapeeth; Serve, Love and Give. Swami Satsangi is carrying on that tradition in Rikhiapeeth.
Sri Swamiji also wants that people be exposed to a lifestyle where they can be complete in their own character, nature, behaviour and personality. For that he inspired and guided the establishment of Sannyasa Peeth.
From 1963 to 1984, Sri Swamiji travelled all over the world for yoga. From 1989 to 2009 he established the spiritual life, tradition and ideas. Then his last instruction was the formation of Sannyasa Peeth where people can imbibe a particular lifestyle, which is not based on social values, but on spiritual values and principles.
Social values are not balanced values, rather they are one sided values. In life we are guided to live artha, kama, dharma and moksha. Today’s society lives artha and kama and the renunciants live dharma and moksha. Artha and kama is acquisition and fulfillment of personal desires and aspirations. The renunciants, the sannyasins, are living dharma and moksha, connection and upliftment. The essence of the teachings of the tradition of Sri Swami Sivananda, of Sri Swamiji is that we should be able to integrate artha and kama with dharma and moksha.
Sannyasa represents the lifestyle where one is enabled and empowered to come out of the shell of limited individual existence and connect. In the modern context sannyasa has to be interpreted in a practical, logical and systematic way. The purpose of sannyasa is not moksha, not emancipation, that is the outcome of a balanced lifestyle. The purpose of sannyasa is to cultivate and to live the higher spiritual qualities. That means changing the entire software of material life. The system that changes the gross software into more transformative, transcendental software is the guidelines given in the sannyasa tradition.
Therefore, sannyasa should not be seen as leaving the society, but becoming aware of the bigger society and reaching out to them. Our individual society is limited to our own friends and family and social circles. For example, if you were living in a Rikhia village, what type of society will you have? Five, ten, fifteen likeminded people. But the sannyasins and the ashram at Rikhia have a huge society, 60,000 families, 80,000 families are connected.
Sannyasins also need to be brainwashed. They are intellectuals. They can speak on Vedanta, Gita, Puranas, Upanishads, scriputres and have different activities like schools and hospitals, yet they confine themselves to cities. Very few come to rural areas. Sri Swamiji says if one sannyasi lives in every village in India, a total transformation for peace and prosperity will take place in the country. After all, what has happened here in Rikhia is the work of one sannyasi, the presence of one sannyasi. The presence of one sannyasi has touched so many lives at a very physical, material, grassroot level and uplifted them.
Gurudom and sannyasa are two different things. Today every sannyasi thinks that they have become gurus. It is like every medical student in the college thinks they have become the MD, specialist doctor. Few people realize that they may also fail in the test and many sannyasins do fail.
Sannyasa is a simple and pure tradition with appropriate teachings to bring out the best in a person’s life. There can be thousands and thousands of people and children can have that samskara, that inspiration to live a proper life. They don’t have to shave their head or renounce anything; they can still be a sannyasin in their own right with the appropriate, attitude, samskaras, behavior, mentality and motivation.
Ganga Darshan Yogapeeth, Rikhiapeeth and Sannyasa Peeth are extensions of one vision of our Guru, that’s all. After all, all those people who live the spiritual sannyasa samskara will become extension of Rikhia wherever they are, will become extension of Munger wherever they are. In Rikhia, this is the fourth generation of children that you are seeing, about 10,000, 15,000 children have gone through Rikhia till today. In Munger we have a group of 35,000 children who have gone through the yogic process. These children, once they grow and go into different areas of the society they will have a samskara, they will have a thought, they will have an inspiration and creativity to perform their duties in the best manner possible. As there is dedication to earning and surviving in material life, in spiritual life we integrate and uplift. It is a lifestyle of dedication, it is a lifestyle of service, and it is a lifestyle of knowing what we can do.