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
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
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 volumes.
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 be transformed.
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 and wisdom.
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
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.
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