Science and Practice of Yoga & Yoga and the Christian Mystics

Jul 25, 2012 by

An EXACT reproduction in one text of two original books SCIENCE AND PRACTICE OF YOGA (1918) & YOGA AND THE CHRISTIAN MYSTICS (1915) both by Swami Paramananda.

Here are a few paragraphs from the beginning of SCIENCE AND THE PRACTICE OF YOGA by Swami Paramananda:

             “As physical science strives to demonstrate the laws of the material universe before it accepts them, so the science of Yoga seeks to prove the laws of the spiritual world. The one is the science of the seen, the other the science of the unseen. The aim of both is knowledge, but the processes employed necessarily differ. When people out of spiritual yearning want to prove the deeper facts of existence, Yoga offers them certain methods by which the revelation of these facts can be gained. The word means literally “union” — union between subject and object. Knowledge takes place through this union. There must always be some point of contact. We cannot know Truth from a distance. We may make a mental picture of it, but it cannot be exact. For precise knowledge there must be contact and this contact is Yoga. There are, however, certain qualifications which we must possess before we can gain this union. First of all we must gather up our scattered forces and establish perfect unity in our own organism, between body, mind and soul. The Yoga system is not limited to the spiritual. It applies equally to all planes of activity. Its practices are directed along three distinct lines, — physical, mental and spiritual. The first step deals with that which is most immediate to us — our body. This special branch is known in India as Hatha Yoga. Its chief aim is to establish a healthy balanced condition in the body through physical exercises, postures and by regulating the functions of the breath. It teaches us how to control every muscle, how to command all our energy, so that this physical organism which is now so often a drawback may become a powerful instrument for higher investigation.
Through its practices we learn to carry ourselves with lightness and balance. A systematic knowledge of this branch of Yoga also helps us to prevent disease and decay. Longevity is one of the natural results of its study. Yogis live long because they know the laws of life and do not go against them, but we do not obey them because we are ignorant of them. People become nervous wrecks and invalids wholly because they transgress these laws. Yoga helps us to discover them and shows us how to obey them. We imagine that we are born with certain tendencies and that these compel us to act in a certain way; but a Hatha Yogi — one who has attained absolute mastery over his body — claims that this is a mistake, that we have hypnotized ourselves into this negative thought, that there is no reason why we should follow blindly all our physical instincts. He tells us that we have latent powers within us, by awakening which we can unite our forces and gain all the strength necessary for complete mastery.
Now we rush headlong, impelled by our self-imposed desires, until utterly exhausted we reach a state which we call old age. Yoga teaches that this is due wholly to our limited apprehension of the laws of life ; that if we will but study our organism and learn to use it with moderation and understanding, we may make of this body a most efficient and valuable instrument. There are people who live long yet never appear aged or worn out. This is because the Spirit within is beyond all time, space and causation ; and as man is able to turn his thoughts to that Spirit it brings him an ever fresh supply of Prana or Life-Force. “

AND a few paragraphs for you from the introduction to YOGA AND THE CHRISTIAN MYSTICS also by Swami Paramananda: “The origin of mysticism is to be found in the human heart, for it is the natural tendency of every living creature to try to unravel whatever is hidden from him. Being impelled by this tendency, some, braver than others, have been able to penetrate the depths of the Unseen, and such people are called Mystics. They use a language with which the world is not acquainted, they perceive truths which to them are more real than what we see in the external universe, but because these do not coincide with the experiences of everyday life, the common mind cannot comprehend their visions or understand their words, and therefore it looks upon them as mysterious. Anything that is out of the ordinary course of events is always so regarded, and it is for this reason that the things of the spiritual realm are believed to be so full of mystery. As it is said in the Bhagavad-Gita :
“That which is night to all beings, therein the self- subjugated remains awake; and there where all beings are awake, that is night for the knower of Truth. ” This shows the two poles of existence. The spiritual plane, which to the wordly minded is darkness, seems like bright daylight to the wise; while the sense plane, where ordinary mortals are awake and active, appears as dark night to the wise man who has realized the unreality and fleeting character of the sense world. If we recognize this and try to grasp the true meaning of what the highly evolved ones bring to us, we shall find that they are talking of another sphere of existence as yet unexplored by us. Each one of us possesses a certain understanding, but it is at present very limited; as our knowledge grows, however, perhaps the very things which now we cannot accept, because they seem unreal and impossible, will become realities to us. “
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