Inspired by Sri Gurudev Swami Satchidananda’s example, some of his senior students have made a formal commitment to a life of selfless service to humanity.
Some students have chosen the path of sannyas or monasticism. They have the title of “Swami” and are similar to monastics of other traditions. Sannaysis observe vows of renunciation and dedicated service to all. Fully-ordained monks wear orange robes, a symbol of this renunciation. Pre-sannyasis have the title, “Brother” or “Sister,” similar to novices in other traditions. They wear white clothes as a symbol of purity, with an orange scarf indicating they are training in renunciation.
Other students of Sri Gurudev, while moved to dedicate themselves formally, did not feel that the monastic path was best suited for them. Therefore, in 1980, Sri Gurudev initiated the Order of Integral Yoga Ministers. These ministers, given the title “Reverend,” may marry and have families if they wish. When performing formal ministry functions, they wear white robes with a gold sash. An Integral Yoga minister vows to grow and serve through living a yogic life-style under the spiritual guidance and teachings of Sri Gurudev. The ministers and sannyasis of Integral Yoga serve the public in many ways such as performing ceremonies like weddings, blessings for newborns, and memorial services. The Integral Yoga Ministry is an interfaith ministry. All faiths are respected and all people are served as children of the One God.
The Integral Yoga Ministry is twofold. New ministers take a vow of commitment to the personal daily practice of Integral Yoga as taught by Sri Gurudev. An Integral Yoga Minister vows to grow and serve through living a yogic lifestyle under the spiritual guidance and teachings of Sri Gurudev. Secondly, ministers may serve the greater community through teaching the branches of Integral Yoga, lecturing, giving workshops, spiritual counseling, participation in interfaith services, performing weddings, blessings, memorial services and other ministerial functions.
As Ministers of Integral Yoga you should set an example. Just because you are going to be called “ordained ministers” does not automatically mean you become ministers. You can be ordained, but the only way you can be a minister is to live, love, and serve like one. Don’t think it’s simply that you have the position to perform some functions. Once you put on a robe or a scarf, people will know you are trying to follow a commitment. You have the responsibility to live according to the commitment you’ve made. If this is kept in mind, then there is nothing more you need to do.
—Sri Swami Satchidananda
If we embrace Sri Gurudev’s teachings that each individual is a masterpiece of spiritual potential and that the earth is a learning center where Spirit interacts with matter and illusion, then it is a great gift to be allowed to serve, because it affirms, and finally teaches us, our interconnectedness.
—Rev. Dhyani Simonini
The essence of Sannyas is renunciation. When you have renounced, you are free to serve others totally with love and compassion. When there are no physical, mental, or emotional binds to restrain you, you are free to live a life of dedicated service, and to share the teachings of our Beloved Gurudev with all you meet.
Please contact integralyogaministry[at]yogaville.org for additional information on the Integral Yoga Ministry or to locate an Integral Yoga Minister.