Welcome Address from
M. Govindan Satchidananda
President of Babaji's Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas,
Co-Sponsor of the Yoga Siddha Research Centre
January 9, 2005
Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum.
Distinguished scholars, foreign visitors,
lovers of Tamil and of Yoga Siddhantham,
It is indeed an honor for me to welcome
you to this auspicious function. I never dreamed that such
an event might occur when Neelakantan and myself began our
search for Tamil scholars of Yoga Siddhantham, back in January
1999. We had come across a book review in the Hindu, for Professor
Annamalai's new Tamil language edition of the Tirumandiram,
and traced out its publisher in Adyar. There, Dr. S.P. Sabarathanam,
agreed to work with us according to a Research Plan which
I submitted to him shortly thereafter. This plan included
the following four studies:
The first study, "An Inventory and
Preservation in Magnetic Format of the Manuscripts Associated
with Yoga contained in Libraries and Private Collections of
Tamil Nadu", is referred to hereafter as "Study
number 1". And Dr. Ganapathy has described to you its
results, and our ongoing efforts.
The second study, "Translation into
English with Commentary and Publication of Selected Manuscripts
related to the Tamil Yoga Siddhas", is referred to hereafter
as "Study number 2" This study has resulted in one
of the publications today: "The Yoga of Siddha Avvai."
Much more is expected from this study as we identify and select
the "gems" among the manuscripts copied and transcribed
in Study number 1.
The third study, "Translation with
Commentary of an Anthology of Selected Works of the 18 Siddhas,"
is referred to as "Study number 3", and was originally
the subject of a separate contract dated February 15, 2000,
between the YREC and BKYOA and Dr. S.P. Sabharathanam, who
I am pleased to see, is here today. It was originally intended
to be our first publication. However, because of the magnitude
and difficulty of this study, responsibility for it was passed
to Dr. T.N. Ganapathy in January, 2001, and with the collaboration
of several scholars and yogis, it has been completed today,
with the release of "The Yoga of the 18 Siddhas: An Anthology."
The fourth study, "Translation with
Commentary of Selected Poems on Yoga by Siddhar Boganathar",
is referred to as "Study number 4". It resulted
in the publication, in July 2003, of volume 1 of "The
Yoga of Siddha Boganathar," and today, with the publication
of volume 2. At a later date, we hope to publish Boganathar's
poem of 7,000 verses, and other works by him, in subsequent
As you can see today, we have, over the
past six years, remained faithful to this Study Plan, which
like many things in my life, came in a stroke of inspiration
from my guru, Kriya Babaji Nagaraj, in early 1999. I am happy
to say that all of the collaborators in this project have
also remained faithful to this dream, including my wife Smt
Durga Ahlund, our ashram director in Bangalore, Sri Neelakantan,
and above all Dr. Ganapathy and his deputy director, Dr. Arumugam.
I would like to remove from your minds any
doubts or wonder as to why you are being addressed by a Canadian.
How is it that such a meeting has been sponsored by foreigners?
It goes back to the solemn task which my satguru, Kriya Babaji
Nagaraj gave to Yogi S.A. A. Ramaiah, my guru, nearly 50 years
ago. He asked him to gather the palm leaf manuscripts of the
18 Tamil Yoga Siddhas, and to preserve, transcribe and publish
them. During the 1960's he wandered all over Tamil Nadu collecting
and carefully preserving them against the white ants. From
1972, when I began to spend some years in Tamil Nadu, particularly
in Kanadukathan at his ashram, I assisted him in this task,
and in the late 1970's we printed the first volumes of the
complete works of Boganathar, in Tamil, in more than 1800
pages, in Chidambaram.. I spent many days in the printers
overseeing the typesetting and adminstration of those early
publications. The volumes one and two of "The Yoga of
Boganathar," which you see here today, are based upon
these works. Throughout the 18 years I studied with Yogi Ramaiah,
his favorite activity was to teach us to sing and meditate
on these verses. He taught us a powerful meditation technique
which has enabled us to understand much of the hidden meaning
locked in them. My wife Durga and I have use this method to
contribute to the commentaries in the works released today.
As predicted by him many years ago, only an multi-disciplinary
team of scholars and yogis would be able to bring out these
works adequately. It has indeed been a team effort, and I
am happy that as sponsors, we have been able to serve as a
catalyst, bringing the right people together.
In 1981, I had a vision of the Siddha Avvai,
who told me: "If you remain faithful to us, we will work
through you." In 1988, I was inspired to establish a
publishing company, Babaji's Kriya Yoga and Publications,
which would specialize in the publication of the works of
the Yoga Siddhas. In 1991, it published "Babaji and the
18 Siddha Kriya Yoga Tradition," now in its 7th edition,
and in 13 foreign languages; in 1992, the first International
edition of an english translation of : the "Tirumandiram,"
and in 2000, "The Kriya Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and
the Siddhas.," now in 5 foreign languages. These books
have attracted many persons to this field. Not as many scholars
perhaps as I would like, but students: from 1990 to present
I have initiated nearly 10,000 persons in more than 20 countries,
into the practice of Babaji's Kriya Yoga, which is a scientific
art of God Truth union, which crystallizes the wisdom of the
Tamil Yoga siddhas. Many of these persons have contributed
financially to this project, through our charitable organizations
registered in Canada, the USA and in Bangalore, India: Babaji's
Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas, Inc.
In February 1999, I invited Dr. Georg Feuerstein,
who unfortunately, is not here today, perhaps the leading
scholar in the field of Yoga, in the West, to co-sponsor the
Research plan which I outlined above. He was the founder and
President of the Yoga Research and Education Center, a non-profit
organization, based in California, which is dedicated to research
in the field of Yoga. However, what we can accomplish is to
some extent limited by our funding. So, I would like to urge
all of you, in the audience, to support the Yoga Siddha Research
Centre's future work by not only purchasing the publications
here today, but also by making a charitable contribution to
Babaji's Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas Trust, in Bangalore.
To do so, please see one of our representatives at the bookstall.
Your contribution will ensure the future preservation and
publication in many languages, of this great heritage, the
works of the Tamil Yoga Siddhas.
You may still be wondering why would I have
dedicated so many years, so much of effort to such a task?
To quote Swami Hariharananda Aranya, the commentator of the
Yoga Sutras: "If the purpose of human knowledge is the
elimination of human suffering, then that knowledge which
removes it completely is the greatest knowledge." My
study of Yoga has taught me that "swadhya" or self-study,
is an essential part of yogic sadhana. One may have the best
methods or kriyas, but if one does not a access to the texts
of the yogic adepts, it is like I driver without a road map,
or a person without a mirror. However, as you know, scholars
with a few exceptions, like Dr. Ganapathy have avoided the
works of the Yoga siddhas, because of their difficulty. At
the Tamil conferences which I attended, for example in Madurai,
over 20 years ago, for example, many scholars told me this.
By working closely with translators and scholar philosophers
like Dr. Ganapathy and his team, however, we have been able
to discover much of their meaning hidden in the twilight language.
These works have been a great source of inspiration for me,
and I believe they will be so for future generations.
Babaji's Kriya Yoga is a crystallized or
condensed form of Yoga Siddhantham, the teachings of the 18
Siddha tradition. Babaji was a disciple of two of its most
illustrious members, Agastyar and Boganathar. When students
of Kriya Yoga read their verses, they recognize many descriptions
of kundalini yoga which coincide with what they are taught
in their initiations in Babaji's Kriya Yoga. It is informed
and inspired however, by the teachings of the Yoga Siddhas.
Yoga is enjoying world wide popularity today, mostly as a
form of physical development, but a growing number of its
practioners are seeking to understand its spiritual origins.
I can assure you that sincere students of Yoga, all over the
world, will read and apply the teachings found in these works
with enthusiasm and in increasing numbers. By returning to
its roots, as presented in these works today, many lives will
The world is living in a time of unprecedented
challenges and fear. I believe that Yoga is our greatest defense
against terrorism. We live in a period of history wherein
the interdependence of everyone on the planet has never been
so great. This social crisis, wherein a flu epidemic or an
act of suicide in one part of the world, can instantly affect
the economy and political stability of society on the other
side of the planet, requires nothing less than the discipline
of Yoga by millions of inspired practitioners. The media has
become the greatest tool of those who would seek to terrorize
society. The greatest defense against terrorism is Yoga, for
it strikes down at its source the fear which permits terrorism
to be effective This requires mental discipline, courage,
the practice of detachment, and the calm clear thinking, which
Yoga inspires. Furthermore, the societal effect of one Yogi's
positive thinking or blessing, is much more powerful than
the dispersed negative thinking of a thousand ordinary folk.
Such a person can and will act as a powerful agent for the
Good, solving the problems of this world in a spirit of compassion
Yoga is a social movement, for it seeks
to awaken and to transform one human being at a time from
the ordinary egoistic state. Our modern pluralistic culture
is largely inspired by the principles of individualism, materialism
and consumerism, which amount to a recipe for egoism. To the
extent that one practices Yoga, beginning with the restraints
or yamas (non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, chastity
and greedlessness) and observances, the niyamas (purity, contentment,
self-study, intense practice, and devotion to the Lord) one
is engaged in a revolution against the prevailing culture.
The word "culture" is derived from the Latin word
"culte" which means "worship." So, in
our modern materialistic, consumer, individualistic culture,
most members of society worship or value, above all, those
things which are material, which can be consumed and which
enhance their feeling of being special.
A Yogi on the other hand values or worships
the Lord, the Absolute Reality, and this is found within,
in the spiritual plane of existence, initially, until, in
the enlightened state, one begins to perceive it in everything
transcendentally. He does not feel that he is anything special,
and does not even see himself as the "doer." The
Yogi recognizes the hand of the Lord guiding and empowering
at every stage.
While most persons begin the practice of
Yoga merely as a physical exercise, this does not mean that
the influence of Yoga is limited only to the fields of health
or physical fitness. If one continues to practice Yoga, the
effects begin to include the nervous system and the mind,
and consequently there is an expansion of consciousness into
the spiritual dimension. What begins as a physical need, or
a means to control the effects of stress, eventually becomes
a very personal spiritual path. A spiritual path leads one
to increasing levels of personal freedom from the round of
habitual tendencies fostered by our social conditioning. As
we begin the constant practice of detachment (vairagya) we
begin to let go of what we are not, including our social conditioning,
and experience who we truly are. The experience of Self-realization
replaces the confusion of egoism, the habit of identifying
with what we are not: thoughts, emotions, memories, habits,
sensations. As our consciousness expands we become a witness,
and perhaps the Witness. "I am a man, a professional,
black, white or Asian" says the ego. "I am That
I am" says the awakened Yogi. The social implications
of such a change in consciousness is profound and wide-ranging.
Not only does the Yogi become a source of peace and well-being
for those who enjoy his or her company, but a dynamo of energy,
guided by unusual clarity and insight.
May Yoga practitioners all come to recognize
the power that they have to bring peace and enlightened solutions
to the world's diverse problems, in every moment and every
situation. The Yoga Siddhas had a great social concern, which
they referred to as "arrupadai.," or "showing
the path to others." This included teaching people what
not to do, through moral precepts, as in the case of Avvai,
as well as how to practice such esoteric arts as kundalini
yoga, which brings absolute bliss and Self-realization.
This has been my experience over the past
36 years of intensive practice of Babaji's Kriya Yoga, and
it is why as the co-sponsor of the Yoga Siddha Research Centre,
I am pleased to recommend it to you this day, as we celebrate
the publication of these works of the Yoga Siddhas. I am deeply
grateful to Satguru Kriya Babaji Nagaraj for allowing me to
be instrumental in supportiing the work of these scholars,
and for his grace in bringing out these great works for the
benefit of all lovers of Yoga and seekers of Truth. Om Tat
Sat. Om Kriya Babaji Nama Aum.
Marshall Govindan Satchidananda.