Speech of Welcome
July 9, 1969
My dear daughters and sons of America, most Honorable Shri H.M. Patel, President of Kayavarohan Tirtha Seva Samaj, other office bearers and workers of the Samaj, honored guests, ladies and gentlemen and my loving disciples; My loving Jai Bhagwan to you all.
Dear Children: The village of Malav has already given you a warm welcome on the day of your arrival. Today you are being welcomed by the Kayavarohan Tirtha Samaj. Just as I am connected with the Yoga Society of America, I am also the founder of the Kayavarohan Tirtha Samaj here. The most honored president of this institution Shri H.M. Patel is one of the most famous politicians of India. He is very firm, honest, quiet, brave, generous, clever, and a lover of truth and a patriot. These facts are not unknown to you because all the activities of the Kayavarohan Tirtha Samaj appear in the Samsara, the monthly magazine printed by the Yoga Society. Shri Amrit Desai is the link in the chain of affection. He is one of my main (loving) disciples. I have nothing to say about the Kayavarohan Tirtha Samaj as the other speakers have already expounded fully on them.
On this auspicious day I believe, it is just befitting that I should tell you all something about Shri Amrit Desai, the founder, the director and the main teacher (acharya) of your Yoga Society.
I was residing in Halol the birthplace of Shri Amrit Desai when he was only fifteen years old. He used to come to me regularly. He was very simple, (honest), affectionate, handsome, shy, ambitious and guileless with full faith in the Lord. Due to (t)his (I) nature (naturally) loved him. He was one of (my) pet sons. He, himself, loved me much.
Once I was coming down the staircase at my residence and I say Amrit doing (practicing) asanas in the room downstairs while his friends looked on. I also stood on the staircase (stairway) and watched the performance of the asanas. I took a fancy for (was fascinated by) his distinct and attractive performance of (yoga) asanas. At the time I has just started on the path of (Kundalini) Yoga. I was practicing since five or six months. No one knew whether I had any such knowledge or was practicing asanas or other Yogic Kriyas. Today I have passed nearly nineteen years in Yoga Upesans (sadhana). I have followed a solitary path. (Higher practices of yoga are practiced secretly and shown only to the deserving disciples). I have (not) allowed only (any of my disciples except) Amrit to sit, in my presence and that he only for fifteen minutes, in my (upesans) meditation room during my (upesans) sadhana (yoga practices.) On that day, nineteen years back, for the first time I knew of Amrit’s inclination for the practice of yoga. I was very much pleased with Amrit. Next day I took him upstairs to my room and gave him practical demonstration of how to do asanas, mudras, pranayama, bhajans, dhyana etc. during upesans (yoga practice). Amrit was thrilled and very much impressed. This incident took deep root in his mind. I faintly recollect that this incident took place in about October of Samvet 2006 (towards the end of 1950). Three years later my book: Asanas and Mudras was published.
I grew fond of Amrit’s sturdy physique and innocent nature. One day I put may hand affectionately on his head and asked him if he would grant a request of mine. He agreed readily. I advised him to postpone his marriage for five years. He went home and talked to his parents about this. Next day his good parents came to me and said, “Swamiji, Amrit is not our son but yours. We will get him married when you wish it.”
I was touched and pleased by their implicit faith for the holy man and for their humility. They respected my wishes and Amrit married late. This accounts for the fact that thirty eight years old Amrit looks only like a youth of twenty five. My Gurudev with his good wishes for my welfare had advised me to resort to purity of mind, purity of food and celibacy. These same principles I give as my heritage to my sons who want to follow me, Amrit, being one of the few, has inherited these three principles.
Amrit could not meet me for several years. During the period of separation we could not forget each other. He had gone to the States and acquired the B.A. degree (in drawing). But his inclination towards yoga led him to open classes (centers) to teach yoga. Within a short time his classes gained recognition and popularity. In 1966 when I was in Bombay, he returned from the States. We met each other with feelings of deep affection an he told me about this activities of yoga. During these intermediary years he had read many (books) volumes (of knowledge,yoga and devotion) on Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and general books on yoga. Knowing about his activities and his mental (mentally inspired) condition my heart leapt with joy. He was initiated by me at Bhiwandi in Thans District near Bombay. He, then stayed with me for about a fortnight when I taught him some techniques of yoga and gave him some knowledge of the Shastras.
He went to the States and founded the Yoga Society and started serving the public. His activities received good response. The Yoga Society sent him (sponsored his trip) to me to further and widen his knowledge of yoga. I, too, have put aside my important writing work to teach him yoga – practically and academically. He is to stay with me till the end of August.
I have given him the initiative to start a College of Yoga in the States. According to my opinion it should be a five years course giving degrees of (1) Glimpses of yoga (Yoga Darshan) (2) Quest of yoga (Yoga Jignyasu) (3) Lover of yoga (Yoga Premi) (4) The yoga aspirant (Yoga Sadhak) (5) Yogi
The first course is already in existence there. According to Amrit’s information, I gather that there are already eighty (centers) classes in the States. About 2000 ladies and gentlemen are connected with these (centers) classes. Four other (centers) classes are to be started gradually. Here preliminary lessons of knowledge, yoga and devotion will be imparted. Here the eleven main Upanishads and Brahma Sutra should be taught from the Shastras to the seeker of knowledge.
(Just as Gheranda Samhita, Shiva Samhita, Yogi Yagnsvelkya, Goraxe System, Hatha Yoga System and yoga Darshans should be taught to the seeker of yoga for complete knowledge so also the devoted sadhaks should know about Narad Bhakti Sutra. Shri Mad Bhagwan and Ramayana.) Moreover Indian dancing and music, an integral part of devotion, should be taught systematically from any part of the world, will be able to come and join us for the study of yoga. Many loving disciples from America have expressed their wishes to come and study yoga with me and serve the Vishwa Yoga Vidhyalay. Amrit has aspired for this goal. He wishes to organize the College of Yoga and return to India after leaving it in able hands of some Yogi (deserving yoga practitioner and teacher). He wishes to come here to practice yoga and serve the institution.
I end my speech here invoking the shower of blessings of the Lord on this noble aspiration.
Yours loving Bapuji