This book entitled "Practical Lessons in Yoga" consists of twelve easy and interesting Lessons. The First Lesson deals with Yoga and Its Objects. The Second Lesson treats of Yoga Sadhana or the practice of Yoga and contains a clear and lucid description of the four important paths viz., Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga. One can easily choose for himself a path according to his particular taste, temperament and capacity by a close study of this Lesson. I firmly hold that no one wishing to become a perfect Yogi can realise his wish, if he does not begin his Yogic practices with Karma Yoga or doing actions for actions' sake, without the idea of agency and without expectation of the fruits of his actions. I have also made passing references to the various other forms of Yoga such as Hatha Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Kundalini Yoga.
In the Third Lesson on Yogic Discipline I have clearly and expressly stated that the practice of Yoga is rooted in the cultivation of virtues and the eradication of negative qualities, and have also stated in detail what virtues should of necessity be cultivated and what vices are to be eradicated, and through what means.
Yogic Diet forms the subject-matter of the Fourth Lesson. It should be distinctly borne in mind that mind is made up of the fine particles of food that we take, and we are what we eat. If the student of Yoga who is a neophyte desires to lay a firm, sure and sound foundation in his practices, he should take care to eat only such foods that are conducive to his spiritual advancement and progress, and avoid all others. A list of the various articles of diet, prescribed and prohibited, is also given.
In the Fifth Lesson I have taken all care to collect the various stumbling blocks in the way of the aspirant and the various means of overcoming them. I strongly advise the student to read and re-read this Lesson a number of times in order that he may be cautious in moments of temptation.
Then in the Sixth Lesson I have dealt with Yogasanas or Yogic postures. It is very necessary for the would-be Yogi to maintain a sound and vigorous body and mind to achieve success in his undertaking, and in order that he might achieve this end, a number of simple and easy exercises, physical and consequently mental, have been prescribed. These exercises were practiced by Yogins and Rishis of yore and are still being practiced in India and other countries with astonishing results.
The Seventh Lesson treats of Pranayama or regulation of breath. Simple and practical exercises have been prescribed for the regulation and control of breath. which will ultimately result in the control of the mind. These exercises in breath-control are not merely for enhancing the soundness and control of the mind, but they also play a vital part in ensuring a sound body. The student of Pranayama who attains perfection in it will have various psychic powers.
Regulation of breath and control of mind lead to concentration. So concentration is the topic of the next lesson. I have dealt at length with the nature of the mind and the methods through which it can he controlled. Some practical exercises are given to attain success in concentration.
The Ninth Lesson deals with Meditation because the fruit of concentration is meditation. A number of easy and interesting exercises have been described. The fruit of meditation is Samadhi and this forms the subject-matter of the next lesson. Samadhi is superconscious state, wherein the Yogi gets superintuitional or supersensual knowledge and supersensual bliss. In Samadhi the Yogi communes with the Lord and enjoys Absolute Independence. He has reached the Goal now.
In the Eleventh Lesson I have dealt with the Serpentine Power or the mighty pristine Force underlying all organic and inorganic matter. This Force is in a dormant state and is sleeping a sleep-trance in almost all persons in the basal Muladhara Chakra. When this sleeping Force is roused to action, it pierces through the various centres of spiritual energy in the human body and reaches the crown of the head or the Sahasrara Chakra where She is united with Her Consort, Lord Siva. That Yogi who has taken the sleeping Kundalini to the Sahasrara Chakra and united Her with Lord Siva alone has attained the Goal, not others. The process by which this sleeping Power can be roused to action and taken to the top of the head has also been described with beautiful illustrations. The Yogi who has succeeded in achieving this union becomes the Lord of all powers and knowledge.
In the last Lesson on Spiritual Vibrations and Aura I have stated what vibration and aura mean and various means of producing vibrations of love, joy, peace, mercy sympathy and purity, and developing the spiritual aura. I have also stated in brief that the human aura has various colours according to the growth and development of a person physically, mentally, morally and spiritually, and that each colour has got its own significance and meaning. The would-be Yogi should dispel all other colours and develop the particular spiritual aura, the colour of which is yellow.
At the end of the book an Appendix has been added and a Glossary of Sanskrit terms given. In Appendix I a daily routine for aspirants has been chalked out, one for the beginner, another for the intermediate student and a third for the advanced Yogi. I believe that if a similar routine chalked out according to one's own necessity and convenience is followed regularly and systematically, nothing would stand in the way of the aspiring Yogi to achieve success in Yoga. Moreover, he should also maintain a Spiritual Diary similar to the one given in the Appendix realising the importance and benefits of such a discipline. In Appendix II an interesting article on Yoga and Science has also been added in the belief that it would be read with considerable interest.
I appeal to the students of Yoga in the East and the West to start doing some spiritual and Yogic practice in right earnest after digesting and assimilating the truths and ideals inculcated herein and I hope they would be immensely benefited by this book.
Thou art, O Lord! the Creator of this universe. Thou art the Protector of this world. Thou art in the grass and the rose. Thou art in the sun and the stars. Salutations unto Thee, O Destroyer of the cycle of births and deaths! Salutations unto Thee, O Bestower of Bliss and immortality!
0 sweet Lord! May I be free from the bonds of Death. May I never again forget my immortal nature. May I be able to look upon all with equal vision. May I attain the Supreme Seat of Brahman. May I be free from impurity and sin. May I know my real essential nature.
Adorations to the Supreme Being who dwells in the hearts of all beings, who is in the fire and water who is in the plants, herbs and trees, who is in the stones, bricks and iron-bars and who has pervaded the whole universe.
1 bow to Thee, O Secret of secrets! I bow to Thee, O Indweller of our hearts! I bow to Thee, O Silent Witness of all activities of all minds! I bow to Thee, O Inner Ruler of all beings! I bow to Thee, O Thread-Soul who connects all beings, who pervades and permeates and interpenetrates all things of this universe!
Salutations to Thee, the Supreme Lord. Thou art without beginning and end. Thou art the flower; Thou art the bee; Thou art woman; Thou art man; Thou art the sea; Thou art the waves; Thou art the old man tottering with a stick; Thou art the saint; and Thou art the rogue.
Thou art Light Divine. Thou art Light of Knowledge. Thou art the Dispeller of darkness. Thou art the Supreme Guru. Thou art beyond the reach of mind and speech. Thou art beyond any kind of limitation. Thou art the Oversoul. Thou art the Self of this universe.
Thou art Self-luminous. Thou art without parts, without actions, without limbs, without any taint of fault, without birth and death. Thou art our Father, Mother, Brother, Friend, Guru, Relative and sole Refuge. Thou art the embodiment of Peace, Bliss, Knowledge, Power, Strength and Beauty.
O All-merciful Lord! Through Thy Grace, may I realise Truth. May I always entertain sublime thoughts. May I realise myself as the Light Divine. May I behold the one sweet immortal Self in all beings. May I realise Brahman with pure understanding.
May that Light of lights ever guide me. May He cleanse my mind of all impurities. May He inspire me. May He bestow on me Power, Courage and Strength. May He remove the veil in the mind. May He remove all obstacles in the Spiritual Path. May He make my life happy and fruitful. I bow to Thee O Lord of lords, O God of gods, O Deva of devas, O Brahman of the Upanishads, the Support for Maya and Isvara, the Supreme Bridge to Immortality!
Om Peace! Peace! Peace!
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