Bihar Yoga Bharati has its roots in the ancient past. Thousands of years ago, the state of Bihar was the home of two great spiritual universities. The university at Nalanda at one time housed more than 10,000 students, monks and scholars, many coming from far off lands to study there. It was also famous for its library, which was ten storeys high. The university at Vikramshila, near Bhagalpur, emphasized the study of tantra. Swami Sivananda first had the vision of a yoga institute when he established the Yoga Vedanta Forest Academy in Rishikesh. This inspiration was carried forward by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who established Bihar School of Yoga (BSY) in 1963, followed by the Ganga Darshan complex in Munger. Under the banner of BSY, he propagated yoga for people of all ages from all countries, races, religions and cultures. Under his guidance, the ancient science of yoga was taught on a scientific basis with clarity and vision.
After Swami Satyananda Saraswati entered the stage of kshetra sannyasa (renunciation of the establishment) in 1988, the responsibility of realizing the vision of Swami Sivananda and Swami Satyananda was passed on to Swami Niranjanananda. For five years he developed Ganga Darshan and laid the groundwork for the realization of his guru’s vision. In 1994 he founded and established Bihar Yoga Bharati (BYB) as a registered and accredited institution for advanced studies in yogic sciences at Ganga Darshan. This gurukul based institute, the first of its kind in the world to impart a comprehensive yogic education, is currently undergoing course restructuring and presently offers fully residential courses in Yogic Studies, of four months duration. BYB has been established along the lines of Nalanda and Vikramshila, two great spiritual centres of learning. It will continue the work started by these ancient centres as a path-finder for the current and future spiritual awakening of people throughout the world, in the spheres of Yoga, Vedanta, Tantra and other allied subjects. It is dedicated to the Indian Rishi tradition, Vedic lifestyle and Sanatan Sanskriti (the eternal culture) of yoga.
Features of Course in Yogic Studies
The Four Month course in Yogic Studies is conducted three times a year, in English and Hindi medium. BYB seeks to admit a diversity of students with a broad range of interests and backgrounds. Combining academic studies with the gurukul lifestyle and discipline will be positively challenging and all aspirants must be open for this approach to yogic studies.
The gurukul disciplines are designed to create an atmosphere in which the yogic life and spirit can be experienced at a subtle level. Alongside yogic education, the life and spirit of seva (selfless service), samarpan (dedication) and karuna (compassion) will be imbibed by the students (shataks).
A residential course to provide basic training in the practical and theoretical aspects of yoga and ashram life based on the ancient gurukul system. Upon completion of the course, a Certificate in Yogic Studies is awarded to those who are successful in the written and practical examinations.
Along with yogic education, the spirit of seva (selfless service), samarpan (dedication) and karuna (compassion) is imbibed by the students. As this gurukul-based institute is an experiment in combining academic studies with ashram lifestyle and discipline, aspirants must be prepared for this approach to yogic study.
All courses are fully residential. The rules and regulations for the students, teachers and other residents are designed to make the yogic lifestyle smooth and simple, creating an atmosphere in which the yogic spirit can be imbibed at a subtle level. It will be helpful to consider residing in the ashram whilst undertaking academic study as a retreat during which time interactions with the outside world are minimised in order to better experience yogic and ashram lifestyle and derive maximum benefit.
The average daily schedule begins at 4.00 am. Asana and pranayama class starts at 5.00 am; breakfast at 6.30 am; general and departmental seva yoga continue until lunchtime. Lunch is at 11.00 am; after lunch is either rest, study or personal time; afternoon tea is at 1.30 pm, followed by lectures or practical meditation / yoganidra classes. The evening program varies according to the course, with gardening or kitchen seva yoga at 4.30 pm; dinner at 5.30 pm; evening program from 6.30–7.30 pm; lights out at 9.00 pm. Timings may, however, change from time to time as the summer and winter timetables are adjusted.
Attendance and participation in all classes, seva yoga and all ashram activities in general is compulsory and is assessed at the end of each term. At least 90% attendance is required from all students in order to appear at the final examinations. Mouna (silence) is practised in the Jyoti Mandir (temple), at meals and tea times in kitchen areas, and from 5.30 pm through to 7.00 am in all areas of the ashram. This practice develops greater thought management, and helps create space for the different people who have come from all around the world to discover their own deeper intrinsic identity.
Location - Bihar Yoga Bharati is located at Ganga Darshan in Munger, Bihar, 175 km from Patna, the state capital, and 500 km from Calcutta.
Transportation - Munger is accessible by train from Delhi, Kolkata (Calcutta) and Mumbai (Bombay), which stop at Jamalpur Junction (Bihar). BYB, Ganga Darshan campus, is approximately 9 km from Jamalpur Railway Station and can be reached by taxi or trekker.
The following trains stop at Jamalpur Junction:
From Kolkata (Calcutta)
3071 Jamalpur Express – dep 21.40.
3133 Sealdah Varanasi Express – dep Sealdah 20.55.
4056 Brahmaputra Mail – dep Old Delhi 21.00.
2368 Vikramsheela Express – dep New Delhi 15.00.
Alternatively catch any Express, Superfast or Deluxe train from Kolkata (Calcutta) or New Delhi stopping at Kiul Junction. Kiul is about one and a half hours from Ganga Darshan by taxi, or you can take another connecting train from Kiul to Jamalpur, and then take a taxi to Ganga Darshan (Munger) which is only 9 kms from the station.
These train times are correct as at April 2006. Check for any changes before travelling. The Indian Railways web site will feature the latest information. As the gates close at 5.00 pm students are requested to arrive at Ganga Darshan before that time.
Board & Lodging - Bihar Yoga Bharati campus comprises five residential buildings set amidst terraced gardens and lawns, with broad steps leading up to the Main Building, which sits on top of the hill. The Main Building houses the offices and classrooms, the indoor auditorium and the Research Library, as well as residential accommodation for professors, scholars, administrators and guests of the Institute. Students will be accommodated at the Ganga Darshan or at one of the other campuses. The residential buildings contain rooms with light fixtures, windows and fans. The rooms are clean, airy and simple with double or triple occupancy and shared bath and toilet facilities.
Library Facilities - The library specializes in spiritual literature from a wide range of traditions and presently houses some 30,000 books, periodicals and journals.
To meet the needs of BYB students the library is divided into two sections:
Student Library - The General Library is available to all BYB students. It contains a spacious reading room in which students are able to read in the allocated study time. There is no lending facility from the Student Library.
Research Library - The Research Library is available for research, project work and for teaching staff support. The lending facility is available for teaching and faculty staff and in-house research and reference only.
Meals - All residents of the Ganga Darshan campus are expected to take their meals in the kitchen area and not in their rooms. The ashram diet is simple, Indian style vegetarian food.
Sita Kalyanam - It is the reminiscence of a sacred event of the distant past, it celebrates the day Sri Ram and Sita entered into matrimony. The original event took place many aeons ago, but is still remembered on the 5th day of the sacred month of Margashirsha as per the Indian lunar calendar. This correlates approximately with November / December of the Gregorian calendar. Sita Kalyanam is a time to give and share joy, happiness and wealth with our needy and deserving relatives in human society.
Overseas Students - Overseas candidates applying for the one year courses who have no prior (or insufficient) ashram life experience, are strongly advised to spend some time in any of the Satyananda Yoga centres/ashrams around the world in order to gain essential ashram life experience. This will give some exposure to the lifestyle that will be experienced at Ganga Darshan.Overseas applicants are supposed to arrive at Ganga Darshan one week prior to the Selection Test and Adaptability to Ashram Life Interview in order to acclimatize to the weather and the environment. In Munger a bank account must be opened to receive any money from abroad. As bank transfers can take two to four months and encashment of cheques can take three to six months, such arrangements are not a viable option. In general you are advised not to rely on bank transfers and encashment of cheques either for payment of your course fees or for your personal financial needs while in Munger. It is essential to bring sufficient cash or travellers cheques for your individual needs. Overseas students will be provided with a mattress, pillow and mosquito net. A sheet and pillow case will also be provided for a short period upon request, until they can purchase their own from the local markets. Students are advised to bring their own bed linen wherever possible. It is important to bring a sleeping bag that will provide enough warmth during the winter and any other bedding considered necessary.
Overseas students must present the following upon arrival at the Institute:
Visa valid for the full duration of the course, without which they will not be admitted.
Be aware that admitted students are expected to remain on campus for the full period of the course and there is no opportunity for personal travel during this time.
Furthermore, if a candidate’s visa has been endorsed for study at this Institute, they are required to register with the local authorities within 2 weeks of entry to the country, and also to depart India within 2 weeks of departure from the campus (at the conclusion of the course). In addition, this endorsement will preclude the candidate touring or travelling as a tourist on that visa.
Return airline ticket to the student’s own country or proof of a bank fund to cover the same.
The following four international Satyananda Yoga information centres may be contacted for information about the closest centre to you: For all Asian countries contact:
Satyananda Yoga Academy Australasia, 300 Mangrove Creek Road, Mangrove Creek, NSW 2250, Australia. Tel: +61 2 43771171; Fax: +61 2 43771219 Web site: www.satyananda.net
For all European countries contact:
Satyanandashram Hellas, PO Box 171, 19400 Koropi, Greece Tel: +30 210 6644189; Fax:+30 210 6644048 Web site: www.satyanandashram.gr
For USA and Canada contact:
Satyananda Yoga North America, c/- The Atma Center, 2319 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights, OH 4418, USA Tel: +216 371 9760; Fax: +216 371 9780 Web site: www.atmacenter.com
For all South American countries contact:
Satyananda Yoga South America, Calle 124, No 8–21, Bogota, Colombia. Tel: 2149597, 2149769; Fax: 2156484 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Clothing - Munger is a place of extreme climatic conditions. In the summer peak temperatures can be as high as 48°C and in the winter, temperatures may drop as low as 5°C. There is no heating or air conditioning in the classrooms and bedrooms other than electric ceiling fans. Students are, therefore, advised to bring loose, light clothing for summer and sufficient warm clothing for winter. Students are required to appear in all classes and activities (except seva yoga) according to the BYB dress code: For all students - A cotton yoga practice outfit is available for purchase from a local stockist and there is a range of sizes. Cost: approx. Rs. 350 per set.
Bedding - Indian nationals will need to bring their own pillow case, bed sheets, sleeping bag or rajai, blankets, mosquito net and anything else they require. Adequate winter bedding is needed in the winters as as the temperature during winter can drop to 5°C at night. The Institute cannot provide winter bedding to students. Blankets and rajais (lightweight quilts) are available locally for purchasing; however sleeping bags are not sold locally.
Computers - Bihar Yoga Bharati does not provide any facilities for computer users. Extra Passport-Size Photographs - Students are advised to bring extra photos to cover any eventuality. Indian students: 4 extra photos and overseas students: 8 extra photos.
Miscellaneous items - Students are responsible for providing their personal toiletries, torch (for when no power is available), notebooks, pens, portable typewriter, batteries, books, rechargeable emergency lamp, musical instruments etc. Many of these items can be purchased locally in Munger.