Febuary 5, 2013
Left to right: Swami Suddhananda of YSS; Swami Shashankananda, Secretary of Ramakrishna Mission-Ranchi; Sri Arjun Munda, Chief Minister of Jharkhand; Swami Smaranananda, General Secretary of YSS; and former ambassador of India, Sri K.N. Bakshi.
The first-ever Sanskrit edition of Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi, published by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India (YSS), was released by the Chief Minister (head of state) of Jharkhand, India, the Honorable Sri Arjun Munda, on November 17, 2012 at the YSS ashram in Ranchi (founded by Paramahansa Yogananda in 1918). The function, attended by more than 1,300 persons coming from several Indian states, included government officials, dignitaries, and representatives from other religious societies. In addition to Chief Minister Arjun Munda, speakers included YSS General Secretary Swami Smaranananda; Secretary of the Ramakrishna Mission in Ranchi, Swami Shashankananda; and former Indian Ambassador Sri Kamal N. Bakshi.
The Chief Minister, who was accompanied by the Principal Secretary of Jharkhand, Commissioner of Ranchi, and other state officials, was welcomed with bouquets at the entrance to the ashram by the YSS swamis. Since the event took place the day before the beginning of the YSS Sharad Sangam (Convocation) at Ranchi, YSS members from many of the states of India, as well as SRF devotees from Europe and North America, were present to greet the Chief Minister as he made his way through the grounds to the auditorium. Members from India were grouped together by their home state, attired in the colorful traditional garb distinctive to their particular region, along with a placard showing the name of their state. The Chief Minister was delighted to see this display of the far-reaching geographic spread of Paramahansaji's work since the early days of his Ranchi Ashram’s inception in 1918.
In a message delivered to the gathering, SRF/YSS President and Sanghamata Sri Mrinalini Mata said, “In spirit my heart and thoughts rejoice with you in this gathering to celebrate the publication, by Yogoda Satsanga Society of India/Self-Realization Fellowship, of the Sanskrit edition of Gurudeva Sri Sri Paramahansa Yogananda’s Autobiography of a Yogi. Having been published in more than 30 languages, Autobiography of a Yogi has introduced India’s sacred science of the soul to a universal audience....
Chief Minister Sri Arjun Munda is greeted by YSS swamis and members on the Ranchi Ashram grounds.
“Dr. Ashutosh Das, professor of philosophy at Kolkata University, wrote: ‘Autobiography of a Yogi is regarded as an Upanishad of the new age.’ Since its publication decades ago, this book has played a major role in spreading throughout this modern world the authentic yoga of Vedic times. How fitting that it should now be published in Sanskrit, the ancient tongue called ‘the language of the gods,’ in which eternal truth — Sanatana Dharma — was first expressed in India’s Golden Age of civilization. This new translation symbolically completes a circle that links past and present, East and West, and Gurudeva’s teachings with their source in the wisdom and God-realization of the rishis of old. It honors him as one who shared their divine consciousness, who lived their ideals, and was chosen by Mahavatar Babaji — an immortal rishi of this age — to spread around the world the special dispensation for our times: the science of Kriya Yoga.
“May the universal truths expressed in Autobiography of a Yogi, now also clothed in the pure, noble language in which India’s spiritual heritage has been conveyed from age to age, continue to reach receptive souls everywhere.”
Swami Shashankananda, head of the Ramakrishna Mission in Ranchi, was a guest of honor. He said in his address: “With utmost devotion I salute to all of you who have come to attend this release function of the book Yoginah Atmakatha (Autobiography of a Yogi). This text teaches the science of yoga to spiritual aspirants. This book illumines great truths, such as: the glory of a guru, the ultimate goal of human life, love of God, and the means to attain it. On the occasion of the release of this holy book, I feel blessed and sanctified; and I pray to Sri Ramakrishna to bless one and all.”
Sri Kamal N. Bakshi, Ambassador of India to several countries during a long and distinguished diplomatic career, said in his talk: “I used to be India's ambassador for many years, and in many countries. To the world, I was India’s ambassador. But, on looking back, I have come to the conclusion that the real ambassador of India is this great scripture called Autobiography of a Yogi, which has been representing the greatness of our country in all parts of the world for over 66 years.”
Partial view of audience attending release ceremony, which took place one day before the annual Sharad Sangam (the YSS equivalent of SRF’s Convocation).
Following are some excerpts from the inspiring address given by Chief Minister Arjun Munda: “In this 95th year of the Yogoda Satsanga Society of India, and on this most sacred occasion of the international release of the Sanskrit Edition of the world-renowned classic Autobiography of a Yogi, I offer, first and foremost, my devotion and respect at the holy feet of Gurudeva Paramahansa Yoganandaji. I consider it a great good fortune to release this Sanskrit edition, and feel proud to do so.
“Sanskrit is the ancient language of our sacred scriptures. These scriptures are normally translated from Sanskrit into other languages. This is a unique occasion when a modern Upanishad [the Autobiography] has been translated from English into Sanskrit. And I am proud that this historic celebration is taking place on the soil of Jharkhand, in Ranchi.
“ ‘Bhaasi Ratah Bharatah. That which is aglow with Light is Bharat (India). One enwrapped in the light of spiritual wisdom, of spiritual science, is a true Bharatiya (Indian).’ Sri Sri Paramahansa Yoganandaji is one of the most eminent waves of the great Vedic current of Indian Philosophy. Paramahansaji went to America in 1920, and, like Swami Vivekanandaji, awakened the Western world to India’s Vedic wisdom, creating new bridges of relationships with the Western nations. We also call him the Father of Yoga in the Western world.
“All of you who are present today at the Yogoda Satsanga ashram and are under the shelter of the Divine are very fortunate and blessed. May you continue moving forward. May the Divine Consciousness be awakened within you. May the nectar rain of Gurudeva Paramahansa Yoganandaji’s blessings ever shower upon you, and your body and souls be ever drenched in it. May you experience the highest Joy. These are my good wishes for you.”