The Foundation Day of Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS) – which falls on March 22 – is also an occasion that is celebrated as the annual function of Children Satsanga of NCR, bringing together children from YSS Noida ashram, Delhi Kendra, Gurgaon Kendra and Paramahansa Yogananda Swarna Bal Vatika (PYSBV) in Noida.
This year, on account of the two Noida sangams scheduled during March 2018, Foundation Day celebrations for children were conducted on April 8, 2018 at the Pandal of YSS Noida Ashram. Drawing nearly 150 children along with about 75 parents, this programme was blessed by the presence of Swamis Lalitanandaji, Vasudevanandaji and Sadanandaji as well as Brahmachari Vinayanandaji.
Swami Lalitanandaji opened the programme by lighting an incense in front of the beautifully adorned palki of Gurudeva Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda, and praying to the Divine Masters with the little ones in tow. He led the Prabhat Pheri through the Ashram grounds, accompanied by the other monastics and the young devotees. With the chanting of God and Guru’s name, the palanquin with Gurudeva’s picture was passed from one set of children to the otheras it made its way around the ashram ground and pandal.
The next event of the day was the release of balloons to commemorate the Foundation Day of the spiritual organization founded by Yoganandaji in 1917 in Ranchi, Jharkhand. All the children were provided with balloons in either of the three colours – blue, white and yellow. These were then released by them, in a sequence – first, the blue, then, white and eventually, yellow. Looking up, one could see the army of balloons soaring into the light blue skies – a scene to behold, as the ground was awash with the jaikara of our Gurudeva’s name.
Following this, the attendees were ushered inside the pandal where a cultural programme awaited them. Beginning with a brief session of chanting and meditation session led by the children satsanga of YSS Gurgaon Kendra, attendees could get a glimpse of the regular activity conducted by Children Satsangas of all YSS centres.
The satsanga for children opens with a prayer, chanting of ‘Brahmanandam,’ and the chanting of a cosmic chant such as ‘I am Aum,’ relaxing exercises of ‘6-6-6’ and double breathing with tension followed by meditation. This was repeated during this function where attendees joined in radiating calmness and peace – a by-product of their regularity at their respective Children Satsangas.
The programme also included the ‘Guru Vandana’ performed by children from YSS Delhi Kendra. A monologue on Guruji’s samadhi experience with divine light was enacted by another girl participant from YSS Noida Ashram. A devotional prayer ‘Daata, pyar de’ was sung by a group of children followed by an enthralling skit on Guruji’s meeting with lady saints by girls of PYSBV. Two little girls performed a dance on Gauri Ma’s stuti. The programme also included two other skits on Guru Ji’s life transforming “from Mukunda to Yogananda,” and ‘Dashavatar.’
The annual reports of all the centres were presented on this occasion, which outlined the special activities taken up by them throughout the YSS Centenary Year. One of the common features was the study of Gurudeva Paramahansa Yoganananda’s best-selling spiritual classic ‘the Autobiography of a Yogi’ during the Sunday classes of children satsanga. Wrist watches as rewards for regular attendance were presented to the regular attendees of Children Satsanga by Swami Vasudevanandaji. He laid emphasis on the need for daily meditation by children at their homes.
As the monastic incharge of Children Satsanga, Swami Sadanandaji explained its vision to the devotees present in the pandal: “The main objectives are to develop love for God and Guru, to feel security and happiness, the harmonious development of body, mind and soul, and to ‘learn to behave’.” He highlighted the point “remembrance of Guru” by sharing an anecdote of his journey to a pilgrimage spot in the Himalayas, where he and his companion were stranded in a dangerous situation in the cold, rescued only upon surrendering to Gurudeva. He also demonstrated the correct posture for meditation sitting on a cushion (which was being presented to the children as a gift for the Foundation Day. He urged the attendees to make good use of this gift – “but only for meditation and not for sleeping!”
The manual for Children Sunday Satsanga prepared at YSS Ranchi Ashram, was presented by Swami Lalitanandaji to the programme coordinators from YSS Noida Ashram, YSS Delhi Kendra and YSS Gurgaon Kendra.
Concluding the programme with a closing prayer, pushpanjali was offered at the feet of beloved Gurudeva, followed by gift distribution. The attendees were served Guru Langar after the programme. The participating children made their way back with beautiful memories of this day’s blend of spiritual entertainment filled with inspiration.