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Lesson 266 - Harvesting the Best from India (Audio)
AYP Plus Additions:
266.1 - India: Distortions and Truths (Audio)
Date: Sat Jun 18, 2005 9:30 pm
New Visitors: It is recommended you read from the beginning of the archive, as previous
lessons are prerequisite to this one. The first lesson is, "Why
Q: Yoga originated in ancient India. It is well known that in ancient India
the predominant religion was Hinduism (as it is even today). As per Indian
mythology also all sages of the ancient past were Hindus. While yoga is
based on broad thinking and the golden principle of `do unto others as you
want it done to you,' we find that Hinduism is very mean in its thinking --
encouraging caste system, oppression of women, even animal sacrifices. Even
in Indian mythology many of the sages were provoked at the slightest offence
and cursed people to death.
My question is, if yogic practices originated in ancient India why we don't
find examples of good yogis? And if a large number of yogis did exist at
that time, then there is no room for the heinous rules of Hinduism, right?
The biggest irony is that, as per Hindu scriptures, the golden period was in
the ancient times, and our present society is the worst one. But it is
during those ancient times, all ugly things such as caste system got
Historically thinking, it is very difficult to assume that the same ancient
Indian people followed the yoga and the crude Hinduism. I don't have any
exaggerated vengeance against India or Hinduism. I myself am an Indian, and
born in a Hindu family, but personally I'm an atheist. You are not a
historian but what in your opinion could explain this?
A: Of course, in all times religion is a mixture of culture, politics and
spirituality, and every time has had many enlightened beings - the vast
majority of them we never hear of. We all know a few saintly people, yes? It
is not a matter of reputation. It is only the simple acts of giving that are
the divine in action on earth. Yoga is very quiet that way, even as human
interiors are opening to infinity!
In so-called "enlightened" times (which have undoubtedly been idealized),
the struggles for survival have been going on also, and there have always
been blind prejudices lurking. This has nothing to do with the inherent
potential for rising human spirituality, except that these obstructions
lodged in the nervous system yielding ignorance have always been obstacles
to be dissolved and transformed to higher expression in every individual.
Nothing has changed, except now we have much better communications, which
gives us an edge.
Religious institutions have always used the devotion of their followers for
ill-advised ventures, giving religion as a whole a poor moral track record.
Even so, that takes nothing away from the potential for human spiritual
transformation, which is an observable experience in anyone who makes the
effort to utilize the practical methods of transformation first uncovered in
ancient times, and rediscovered many times since. Let's face it, the methods
have come to us from the religions, or at least from their founders and most
serious practitioners, so there is something there to be harvested. But we
have to learn to separate the wheat of sound practices from the chaff of
blind ritual and misguided dogma.
While the realms of human spiritual transformation and organized religion
have important intersections on the possibilities we all share, and methods
of practice especially, due to political and cultural elements, they do not
have much else in common overall. It is a key point.
A sage once said that it is good to be born in a religion, but not good to
die in one. This makes sense. We all need a starting benchmark -- exposure
to our possibilities and the means for developing our full spiritual
potential. This we can get from the scriptures and a few knowledgeable
souls. Interestingly, we also have to move beyond the distortions of
organized religion (and maybe beyond the knowledgeable souls too) to achieve
it. This is true in all times, past and present.
There is an old saying: "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water." When
we throw out the bath water of organized religion, let's make sure to hang
on to the baby of effective spiritual practices. Nowhere is this more true
than in India, where the baby was born. I hope that educated Indians will
come back to the important truths of their heritage. We in the West can help
with the distillation of ancient truths via the no-nonsense practical
methods of scientific observation, integration and implementation. This is
what AYP is.
There is no doubt that we owe much to the many seers of India who found out
the truths of human spiritual transformation and took the trouble to pass
them on to us as best they could. May we continue to do the same for the
benefit of present and future generations.
Thank you, India!
The guru is in you.
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