In an important ruling the Supreme Court India adjudged that Hinduism is a Dharma or a way of life, not a Religion.
Alexander meets the Yogi – A tale of whose greater
Alexander was a brilliant warrior and military genius. He had a bright and subtle mind. His tutor was the great Greek philosopher Aristotle, whose thoughts and writings have had a huge influence on western thoughts concerning ethics, beauty, and politics.
Alexander created a huge army and invaded Persia, of which he conquered along with Egypt, Phoenicia, Palestine, Babylonia, Assyria, and Asia Minor. Alexander now commanded a vast empire but was not satisfied so went on to invade India. When he was making his way through India he came to the Indus Valley. Whilst there, he encountered a small group of yogi’s who were sitting in meditation on the banks of the river.
Alexander’s party of soldiers was trying to get through but the meditating yogis were blocking their way and were refusing to move. One of Alexander’s Lieutenants started shouting at one of the yogi’s, “This man has conquered the world! What have you accomplished?” The yogi looked up calmly and replied, “I have conquered the desire to conquer the world” and upon hearing these words Alexander laughed; he admired the wisdom of the yogi.
Plutarch further speaks of the wit and character of Indian Yogis in these terms:
“Alexander summoned ten of the wise men of the country, which men do all go naked, and are called philosophers of India. They had made the tribe of Sabbas to rebel and fight against Alexander and had thereby greatly hurt him. These philosophers were taken to be the sharpest and readiest of answer Alexander put them, as he thought many hard questions. He told them that he would put the first man to death that answer his question worst and likewise all others in this order. He made the eldest among them the judge of their answers.
“The question that he asked the first man was:
“Whether the dead or the living, were the greater number”. He answered, “the living…’For, the dead are no more man.’”
‘He asked the second man, “Whether the earth or the sea brought forth most creatures”.
‘The man answered, “The earth ‘for the sea is but a part of the earth.”
‘To the third man he asked, “Which of all beasts was the subtlest”.
‘The answered given was, “That which man hitherto never knew”.
‘To the fourth, question put was, “why did you make king of Sabbas rebel against him (Alexander)?”
‘The answered received was, “Because he should live honorably, or die vilely”.
‘To the fifth he asked, “Which you thought was the first- the day or the night?”
‘The answer given was, “the day, by a day”.
‘Alexander finding this strange answer said, “Strange questions must of necessity receive strange answers.”
‘Coming to the sixth he asked, “How a man should come to be beloved?”
‘He got this answer, “If he be a good man and not terrible”.
‘To the seventh he put the question, “how a man should be a god?”
“In doing a thing that is impossible for a man”, was the received answer.
“Which was stronger, life or death?” was the question put by him to the eighth.
‘And he received this answer, “life that suffers so many troubles.”
‘To the last ninth Yogi, he put this question, “How long a man should live?”
‘The answer was, “until the man thinks it better to die, than to live.”
‘After hearing these answers, Alexander turned to the tenth yogi and asked him to give his judgment upon them.
‘The judge said, “They had all answered one worse than another.”
‘Thereupon, Alexander said, “then you shall be made to die first, because you have given such a judgment.”
‘He replied promptly to Alexander, “It cannot be so, 0 king, unless you be a liar, because you said that you would kill him first, that answered the worst.”
‘Alexander gave them rewards and allowed them to go.”
“When Alexander the Great was busy conquering the world far and wide, he came at last to India.
When he was about to return to his country, he remembered that his
people had asked him to bring to them an Indian yogi. They had heard
a lot about yogis and were very desirous of seeing one, meeting him,
hearing him speak and receiving his blessings. Alexander was told
that the yogis dwelt in the forest.
In quest of a yogi he went to a forest. Sure enough, he found one
sitting underneath a tree, in deep meditation. He waited patiently
until the yogi opened his eyes. They shone with a strange, mystic
Reverently, Alexander requested the yogi to accompany him to Greece,
“I will give you everything you need or ask for. But, pray, do come
with me. My people would love to meet you!”
The yogi quietly answered, “I need nothing, I am happy where I am.”
This was the first time that anyone had turned down Alexander’s
request. He could not control himself. He flew into a rage.
And unsheathing his sword, he thundered, “Do you know who is
speaking to you? I am the great king Alexander. If you will not listen to me. I shall
kill you- cut you into pieces!”
Unperturbed, the yogi answered. “You cannot kill me. You can only
kill my body. And the body is but a garment I have worn. I am not
the body. I am that which dwells within the body.”
The yogi continued, “You say you are a king. May I tell you, who you
are? You are a slave of my slave!”
Stunned. Alexander asked. “How am I a slave of your slave?”
In a voice tender with compassion, the yogi explained. “I have
mastered anger. Anger is my slave. See, how easily you gave way to anger. You are a slave of anger, and, therefore, a slave of my slave!”
EPISODE 4 (even though technically this is episode 3, I switched the order, wanted to save the best for the last)
Aristotle the teacher and guide of Alexander had told him that, in India lived great mystical, intellectual, and spiritual super beings called Yogis. He told Alexander if he ever got the opportunity, to go and meet a Yogi SPECIFICALLY DANDAMIS, and if possible to even bring one back to Greece for Aristotle to meet.
Upon inquiry, whilst in India, Alexander learned about the great and wise Sanyasi, Yogi Dandamis, of Taxila who dwelled deep in a forest.
Alexander sent numerous summons to Dandamis, which he promptly ignored. Alexander who could strike fear in the hearts and minds of great armies and kings was intrigued. He became desperate to meet this being who assigned no importance to Alexander.
Alexander next sent messengers with lavish gifts and an invitation to Dandamis for discourse and discussion on philosophy. Dandamis politely declined both the gifts and the invitation.
Though angry Alexander, a pupil of the great philosopher and teacher Aristotle, knew very well that, great beings could rarely be lured or coerced.
Finally, Alexander sent a messenger, his helmsman, Onesicritus a disciple of the Hellenic school of Diogenes to invite Dandamis. When Onesicritus met Dandamis, he lavished praise and gifts on him. When Dandamis declined his invitation and gifts, Onesicritus threatened Dandamis. He said that Alexander had ordered the beheading of Dandamis should the orders of the emperor be disobeyed.
Dandamis remained unperturbed, stating, he had no fear of death. Onesicritus couldn’t muster the courage to kill Dandamis, and, instead, paid his respects to Dandamis and went back to report the incident to Alexander.
Livid at being rejected by a naked forest-dweller, Alexander decided to go to Dandamis himself. With his Marshal and a large entourage, Alexander made his way deep into the forest. Even though he experienced the powerful aura of Dandamis, Alexander grew furious when the sage did not get up to welcome him.
Dandamis Yogi ji
“How dared you refuse my gifts?” Alexander demanded.
“They were smeared in blood,” replied Dandamis.
The chilling truth, and fearless conviction in Dandamis’s voice, rattled Alexander. Alexander could not let his men overhear the embarrassing exchange, so he ordered them to move some distance away.
Then, when he was alone with Dandamis, Alexander dismounted from his horse, walked towards the sitting sage, and menacingly stood over him.
“Do you know who I am?” Alexander roared.
“I don’t think even you know, who you are,” replied Dandamis.
Alexander felt deeply insulted. He drew his sword and swung it at Dandamis, stopping just before it struck Dandamis’s neck.
“I am Alexander, the world conqueror,” he shouted.
“You are sitting on my land. Submit or I’ll kill you … ”
“Your land?” Dandamis chuckled as he cut him off. “The land belongs to no one, O King!”
“Before you, there were others who claimed it as theirs,” he continued. “After you, there’ll be others who will say it’s theirs.
All creation belongs to the Creator alone, Alexander. And no one has any right to destroy what they haven’t created. You have blood on your hands, O Emperor! You may have a temporary claim on the land, but you have permanent scars on your soul.”
Clearing his throat, a flustered and uncomfortable Alexander lowered his sword and adjusted his posture.
“The whole world is mine, Dandamis,” Alexander exclaimed. “History will remember me as the mightiest king! My men will die for me!”
“What good is your ambition or their remembrance, O King? You drown yourself in alcohol every evening so you may forget about your crimes and sins. These men who surround you, they are tired of you. You will see it, they’ll give up on you one day, in fact very soon.”
“Besides,” Dandamis continued, “what will you do with the world? All you need is two yards. Two yards long and two yards deep. Ultimately that’s all that will belong to you.”
Alexander sheathed his sword and sat at the feet of Dandamis for a long while. After a rather long discourse, a humbled Alexander bowed his head before Dandamis and left.
Gurukul – The Ancient Place for learning yoga and other universal truths
Gurukul is the world’s first system of education in the world. It is important to know what was taught in the Gurukuls.
- अग्नि विद्या ( metallergy )
2 वायु विद्या ( flight )
3 जल विद्या ( navigation )
4 अंतरिक्ष विद्या ( space scienc)
5 पृथ्वी विद्या ( environment )
6 सूर्य विद्या ( solar study )
7 चन्द्र व लोक विद्या ( lunar study )
8 मेघ विद्या ( weather forecast )
9 पदार्थ विद्युत विद्या ( battery )
10 सौर ऊर्जा विद्या ( solar energy )
11 दिन रात्रि विद्या
12 सृष्टि विद्या ( space research )
13 खगोल विद्या ( astronomy)
14 भूगोल विद्या (geography )
15 काल विद्या ( time )
16 भूगर्भ विद्या (geology and mining )
17 रत्न व धातु विद्या ( gems and metals )
18 आकर्षण विद्या ( gravity )
19 प्रकाश विद्या ( solar energy )
20 तार विद्या ( communication )
21 विमान विद्या ( plane )
22 जलयान विद्या ( water vessels )
23 अग्नेय अस्त्र विद्या ( arms and amunition )
24 जीव जंतु विज्ञान विद्या ( zoology botany )
25 यज्ञ विद्या ( material Sc)
वाणिज्य ( commerce )
कृषि (Agriculture )
पशुपालन ( animal husbandry )
पक्षिपलन ( bird keeping )
पशु प्रशिक्षण ( animal training )
यान यन्त्रकार ( mechanics)
रथकार ( vehicle designing )
रतन्कार ( gems )
सुवर्णकार ( jewellery designing )
वस्त्रकार ( textile)
कुम्भकार ( pottery)
वास्तुकार ( architect)
नदी प्रबन्धक (water management)
सुचिकार (data entry)
गोशाला प्रबन्धक (animal husbandry)
उद्यान पाल (horticulture)
वन पाल (horticulture)
These types of teachings were given in the Gurukulas. But with time the Gurukulas disappeared and with them these teachings also disappeared. Re-establishment of Gurukuls is very important for Vedic science and education.
Yoga – What Went Wrong
This blog by a western practionar of yoga and fond lover of Mother India (Jack Blaylock) who aims to bring to light the vast difference between the debauched, heretic, and disrespectful Western “yoga” and real genuine Indian yoga.
The very aims of these two schools are completely in opposite directions. One celebrates the sensual, the other teaches ways to cease identifying with Maya. Many self-proclaimed yogis today post articles comparing Western Yoga to India Yoga and in most cases, these articles do more harm than good to understanding real yoga, because it gives the impression that the similarities are much more than they really are. That should not be surprising, many Indians under 30 nowadays don’t even believe in reincarnation, and are ignorant about their own great spiritual traditions. The author of this should read the Gita, “Autobiography of a Yogi”, “Raja Yoga” by Vivekananda, and of course Patanjali yoga sutras, etc, etc.
Let’s talk about the celebrated BKS Iyengar. He was a very successful businessman who gave his Western customers what they expected to find: stretching exercises mostly, with a little pranayama thrown in. Iyengar’s teacher, Krishnamacharya, seems very much to have been a liar (yes! Jack went there, TOUCHE) who fabricated a story about rediscovering an ancient document chock full of unknown postures. No one has ever seen that document, which they called the “Yoga Korunta”. On top of that, Patabi Joise (Krishnamacharya’s other famous disciple) intimated to some of his closest disciples this document never actually existed. There is some interesting evidence though, that Krishnamacarya’s so-called “ancient, lost asanas” were actually inspired by a textbook of British gymnastics that is still in the library of the palace of Mysore.
Try reading the great Yoga Texts: The Hatha Yoga Pradipika,
The Gerhana Samhita, and others. There are almost no postures in them. Stretching exercises were never a crucial part of Yoga and still are not, for the vast majority of Yogis of India even today. Most of them can’t even touch their toes, never could, and don’t particularly care to. 150 years ago, just like today, the vast majority of Yogis in India did not do many asanas (postures) at all, and many of them do absolutely none. Be brave, read the great Yogis of India’s works, teachings, commentaries, and see right through these two “yogi” businessmen of Iyengar and Joise and help the West stop capitalizing on the tradition of another culture by misrepresenting it. Krishnamacharya, Joise, and Iyengar made up the claim that mastering all those other asanas were necessary in order to sit in padmasana well for long periods of time. Clever marketing that. It made them millions. I have no problem with making big money teaching stretching exercises. But you cannot find their claims supported in ANY of the great Yoga texts.
If you wander around India and meet the Yogis who are not trying to make money off the Western spiritual seeker, you’ll find that they generally agree with all that has been written. If you don’t know where to start, I’ll post again, and suggest some places. I’ve spent many many months in India, on many different trips, doing exactly that.
Parting advice for the yoga practitioners across the globe, go and meet members of Shankara’s Order of Swamis. You know, the organization of Swamis with its 10 branches, with countless lineages, that has been around for many hundreds of years now. These monks are the real torch bearers of Yoga in India today. They’ll tell you if hearing all this from a Westerner doesn’t do it for you. I have yet to meet a Western Yoga teacher who even knows this organization exists…
Hari Om Tat Sat
Om Namah Shivay
What Yoga means for a Real Yogi ॐ
Yoga is definitely not what you want it to be, there is a specific prescribed path with rules and observances and various other guidelines. Yoga is a big part of Sanatan Dharm (what the west and modern people call the Hindu religion). There is a whole branch of dedicating oneself to God, called bhakti and it’s an integral part of yoga without which yoga just cant be yoga. Another 2nd important branch of yoga which is called karma yoga is based upon the morals and guidelines laid down in manu Shastra (read it). Then it’s Gyan/jnan yoga which is based upon all the holy books like Ved – Upanishad – Ramayan – Mahabharat – Holy Shrimad Bhagavad Gita.
Asans just make you healthy so that you can pursue the other higher goals of yoga- which is to connect to Bhagavan Vishnu Narayan Ji or Bhagavan Shiv Ji. Just by changing the perception about Yoga and view in its true essence, that Bhagavan Shiv Ji is considered as the giver of yoga to this world and later Bhagavan Krishna summarised the knowledge of yoga in the holy Shrimad Bhagavad Gita should end all disputes regarding this. But time and time again someone comes and tries to take this validation more like a factual statement out, take religion out of yoga and you’re left with an exercise regiment which is closer to gymnastics.
Most yogis become yogis to connect with Bhagavan Shiv Ji or Bhagavan Vishnu Narayan Ji (not the western and modern Instagram self-proclaimed yogis) Everything you do in yoga has the purpose to connect the human to the soul and then connect the soul to shiv consciousness, and the end goal is to liberate yourself and become free from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
Again we emphasize that the whole knowledge of yoga has been given to the world first by Bhavan Shiv Ji and then later summarized by Bhagavan Krishan Ji should end any doubt, this is why a yogi is given initiation by a guru and has to complete a mentorship program of 12 years which starts at Mauni Amavasya at Mahakumbh and not some 200 or 300 or 500-hour teacher training program. Yoga itself is a much larger term that can only be formulated with a combination of various elements and branches, asanas or Pranayam itself is not yoga, and yoga is not just asanas and Pranayam only. When you want to talk about your commercial interests what you should do, is mention asanas only because that would not come under religious or other guidelines.
“Cultural appropriation is a term that defines the adoption of a minority’s culture by the dominant culture. The dominant culture takes the minority’s culture, or a part of it, and makes it seem menial, without any of the significance that it was supposed to have.
Even though many people think that adopting aspects of another culture can be thought of as “sharing,” that doesn’t justify not respecting what that object means in the actual culture it was stolen from. And the reason it is so frustrating is that the dominant culture does not have to suffer any racism because of it. The argument that people are just “honoring” them is ridiculous because, at one time in history, the natives were considered filth and slaves as the hero of England douchelord Winston Churchill said.
Trying to adopt the Indian culture while not understanding the significance of that culture is wrong. It is important to think twice before wearing garments and practicing traditions of another culture; it is necessary to understand that these items can really mean something to the people of that culture and this must be respected and followed.” – Fatima Farha
When Swami Vivekananda, the man credited with bringing yoga to the West, said that all the mud on the bottom of the Indian Ocean could not balance the filth that had been thrown at India, it was not an exaggeration. In order to justify their colonization of India, the British employed racist and orientalist narratives that created a social, cultural, political, and religious hierarchy with European Christians on top, and Indian ‘heathens’ at the bottom. Years of political, cultural, and religious humiliation, and yet, what a day we live in, defending myself from a colonial hangover and clutches is called arrogance and judgment and ego…
Please spread the right and complete knowledge
OM NAMAH SHIVAY