The Amazing Secrets of the
Masters of The Far East
by Robert Collier
Order in Adobe PDF eBook or printed form for $9.95 (+ printing charge)
or click here to order in printed form from Amazon.com for $15.50
Robert Collier wrote this book in 1956 long before the world of self help books. It contains valuable lessons presented in simple and plain english. It is a light read and straight to the point. It is also an interesting read because it will make you pause and think twice and will make you reflect on certain points in life.
You can become a Positive Individual -- one who demands and gets the best things in life: money, love, travel, education, happiness, and health! After twenty years of study and research, Robert Collier wrote this book.
Read and learn how the ancient Yogis of India acquired the wisdom by which they manipulate the invisible forces of Nature; how they draw power from the Universal Storehouse of Energy and become Centers of Radiant Magnetism; how they retain buoyant health, rugged strength, and charm of personality; and how they postpone old age, decay, and even death.
Here is the accumulated wisdom of 4,000 years of experience by the Masters of the Far East! The methods of the Yogis can be readily applied by you in your everyday life. All it takes is a few minutes of daily practice. You no longer need to experiment. You no longer need to speculate or guess. You can immediately find your way to the Great Storehouse of Wealth that is awaiting you -- to turn the tide of failure into Success!
Learn the Method of the Masters -- the Seven Secret Steps to Dharana, or concentration -- making the most of the mental ability you were born with. Nothing is impossible for one who regularly practices concentration!
POWER WITHIN YOUR GRASP
The world is ready to give up its secrets if we only know how to knock, how to give it the necessary blow . . . There is no limit to the power of the human mind. —SWAMI VIVEKANANDA
For century upon century men have spent their strength and their substance in pursuit of a golden dream. Each age has had a different name for that dream: in olden days it was the philosopher's stone, the Fountain of Youth, Eldorado, the Seven Cities of Cibola; in our own time we call it success, or happiness. Today more millions seek it than ever before, yet in the competitive jungle only a handful seem to be able to find it. Whenever we draw close it melts away, to reappear in the distance, a tantalizing, unattainable will-o'-the-wisp.
Must contentment forever elude us while incessantly it beckons us on? Is this a world where the few are favored and the many are doomed to waste their lives in self-doubt and despair?
Truly our days are passed in worry and trembling. In the summer of our lives we toll mightily, for we know the winter will come. Yet, however hard we labor, our supply does not grow. We are as diligent as ants; and as helpless and obscure in the face of adversity.
We are small; still, inside our hearts each of us has a dream of greatness. It whispers to us that we have tremendous potentialities stored up within, and that, if we knew how to bring them forth, we should be able to rise above our circumstances.
Perhaps it is more than a dream. Sometimes It seems so strong and deep that surely a power mightier than ourselves must have put it there to remind us that we need not be the humble creatures we were born—that security and happiness are our birthright. If only we could find a way to realize our dream of fortune and achievement! If only somehow, somewhere, there were some method, that, faithfully persevered in, would help us to find ourselves and make ourselves the men and women we want to be!
AN ANCIENT METHOD OF MASTERY
Is such a method a fantasy, a mythical philosopher's stone? Yes, says the cynic. But, throughout the East, and in enlightened quarters in the West, loud and numerous are the voices that answer with a resounding no! No, a wonderful method definitely exists, and has existed for thousands of years! It was discovered by the Masters of the Far East, the devout holy men dwelling in the remote vastnesses of India and Tibet, in Ceylon and China.
Ages ago the Ancients probed into the heart of Nature and came to understand its innermost mysteries. Not only did the Masters peer through the very fabric of the Universe, animate and inanimate, but they also uncovered the secret principles that rule men's lives. The lore of these Masters enabled them to perform almost incredible feats and attain Heaven on earth. Even today their disciples can gain all the good things a mortal could hope for, drive sickness from their bodies and prolong their youth for great spans of years, win freedom from fear and worry, and lead supremely blissful lives.
MYSTIC CIRCLES OF THE ORIENT
Until the present time, those who wished to learn the method of the Masters had to travel to Asia and find a guru, or teacher from whose lips they might receive the sacred wisdom of the ancients. Most of these seekers of the truth have met with disappointment, for the gurus are not many in number and each may instruct only a few pupils; the hard-won secrets of the seers may not be passed on to anyone like common merchandise. The man or woman who is accepted for initiation into the mystic circles of the Orient must first acquire a sound knowledge of Sanskrit, the ancient Asiatic language in which the lore of the yogis is taught; the pupil must be pure in heart, and must be willing to undergo a long period of preparation for receiving the secrets of Universal Power.
With the help of this book, however, you can learn the secrets of the Masters without years of study in a foreign land. In only a short while you can hold in your hands the key to powers so amazing that in ages past they were regarded as nothing short of magical. For this book offers you the practices of yoga simplified and brought into conformity with Western ways of thinking, with applications to practical, everyday matters. It follows the principle of the Svetasvatara Upanishad: "Devotion is to be paid to numerous schools and teachers, and the nectar is to be drawn from each of them, as the bee takes nectar from many flowers." It is based upon the teachings of Raja, Karma, and Hatha Yoga as they appear in the Sacred Books of the East, and embodies the profoundest lessons of Gautama Buddha, Patanjali, Swami Vivekananda, Ramakrishna, Mahatma Gandhi, and other Great Masters of the Orient who have lighted torches of wisdom to guide man's faltering footsteps to knowledge and happiness.
RESULTS COME QUICKLY
By applying the wisdom of the Far East, as expounded in this book, you have within your grasp the means to make all of your dreams come true. You can learn to invoke the Law of Supply so that your pockets will never be empty. You can learn to tap immeasurable resources of genius that lie hidden in your subconscious mind—resources that will enable you to forge ahead in your job and increase your earnings tenfold, or found a new business that will bring you success beyond your fondest hopes. You can gain wealth and health and social success; all you want and more.
And don't think there is anything magical involved in acquiring these powers for yourself. It is simply a matter of learning the hidden principles that the Masters have discovered through thousands of years of research and meditation, and applying them for yourself. Results will come quickly as you grow in your powers. You will have immediate, incontrovertible evidence that you can make yourself the happy, effective person you want to be.
The powers of the Master Yogins can easily be yours, if you proceed along the safe and tested ways explained in this book. Here you will find no abracadabra or hocus-pocus, for it is the author's intention to help the reader; not to mystify him. You will not be taught how to charm snakes or do the Indian rope trick, for these are for the most part frauds; practiced by simple tricksters in the hope of earning a few annas. But you will learn the laws of psychic energy and mental control that have made the seers of the Far East masters of men since time immemorial.
YOGIC POWERS BRING FAME AND HEALTH
I know of many renowned persons who have learned some of the lore of the Masters and are practicing it right in our own country, and winning fabulous success. One is Yehudi Menuhin, a great concert violinist whose name is world-famous; his concerts are sold out weeks in advance when he appears at Carnegie Hall in New York City. Several of America's favorite screen stars would not think of going on a Hollywood set without practicing meditation as it will be explained in later chapters; for this preparation permits them to enter into their roles as though they were actually the persons whose parts they are playing. The famed screen actress Gloria Swanson, a woman who has reached the middle years, still has the charm, beauty, and suppleness of body of a young girl; thanks to her participation in yogic practices.
Living in the United States today are several famous British novelists—Aldous Huxley, Christopher Isherwood, and Gerald Heard—men whose books have sold millions of copies and whose scenarios bring fabulous prices from the motion picture studios. Some of the novels they have written have been translated into a dozen foreign languages, and are recognized as world classics in the authors' own lifetimes. These men are profound students of Vedanta, one of the great branches of the wisdom of the Masters of the Far East; the inner enlightenment they derive from their studies has enabled them to release their powers fully and completely, and gain not merely self-fulfillment, but universal acclaim.
RESCUED FROM FAILURE
I could cite many instances of businessmen who have been helped to success through a knowledge of the wisdom of the Orient, but I shall content myself to mention just one who is known to me personally. This man is a publisher with offices located in New York City. The incredibly successful concern he heads grosses millions of dollars annually, and his biography appears in the current issue of Who's Who; yet only ten years ago this man's business did not exist and he was an obscure individual in the employ of another. When this publisher went into business, he was dismayed by the obstacles that blocked his path. His capital was small and his competitors were big. He was worried about losing the little he possessed, and when a decision had to be made, either momentous or trivial, he did not know which way to turn. He was so disturbed that he frequently suffered from digestive upsets and could not sleep at night.
One year he made a business trip to California, and it changed his life. There he was introduced to a swami—not a smooth-tongued fraud but one of the genuine Masters of Oriental Wisdom in the tradition of Sri Aurobindo, Vivekananda, and Ramakrishna, who are revered by millions in India today. This swami did not advertise his wisdom or exact a high price for it; he offered simply to teach a few disciplines of the East because, like all true yogis, he was pledged to the service of his fellow man.
The publisher placed himself in the swami's hands for a few weeks. He learned a number of simple meditative postures and exercises such as will be explained later in this book; the principles of dharana, or the Indian technique of concentration, were taught him, and he was given an insight into certain methods of controlling his emotions and releasing latent thought power. When he returned to New York City, he continued to practice these disciplines and soon mastered them. All his worries fell away from him. What had seemed hard had now become easy. His nights and days were suddenly untroubled, and he was able to attack his work with new gusto. He never lacked for ideas or the wisdom to make decisions.
Recently I had lunch with this publisher. In the past he had always complained of the state of his health or of business conditions. But now, on the contrary, he exuded confidence and good cheer. He told me that the banks were only too eager to invest money in his enterprise; successful authors were coming to him from all over the country and begging him to take their books, for they knew he could make more money for them than their present publishers.
A man in his early sixties, he had the vigor and the clear visage of a youth in his twenties. He declared that he could never repay his debt to the swami, but that each year he sent a tithe of his earnings to the holy man in India, where he had his ashram, or spiritual retreat; the holy man distributed this money to the poor.
A SCIENCE ANYONE CAN MASTER
Some people are fortunate enough to discover a few of the secrets of the Masters by themselves, through intuition. The results are often stupendous. Every now and then you will hear of somebody who goes into Wall Street with a few hundred dollars and in a matter of months is a wealthy man. Or there is the case of the young man who is still at college, yet is able to make a scientific discovery or an invention that his professors never even conceived was possible, and reaps a harvest of gold while contributing benefits for all mankind. A middle-aged lady who never put pen to paper earnestly before, suddenly writes a play that stays on Broadway for years, achieving a success that wrings feelings of envy from authors who have written thirty plays, all of which never earned as much in royalties as her single drama.
You can equal or surpass the accomplishments of these happy people without relying upon a chance discovery or an accidental stroke of luck. Long ago the Masters of the Far East reduced luck to a science—a science that anyone can master if he applies himself to it diligently and persistently, and in the right spirit. "Infinite energy," said the Swami Vivekananda, "is at the disposal of everyone, if he only knows how to, get it. The yogi has discovered the science of getting it."
No—you need not dread the future, or run before misfortune like an ant scurrying for cover. Peace of mind, financial security, and contentment can be yours almost for the asking, once you know the rules of the Masters and observe them faithfully.
Follow the guidance of the Masters of the Orient, and you can be the architect of your own circumstances. Cement and bricks are nothing but bricks and cement until the architect makes them something more than that. Yesterday, knowing little, with the building materials that were given to you, you could make only a hovel. Tomorrow, knowing much, you will be able to build a stately palace that towers to the skies!
THE WISDOM OF THE MASTERS
We are born out of and always remain part of a universe which is a living universe and animated with Spirit . . . at the core is Spirit. That dynamic urge which permeates the universe from centre to circumference we have in ourselves and by it we are continually being acted upon. It burns within us.
—SIR FRANCIS YOUNGHUSBAND, K.C.S.I., K.C.I.E.
Many conquerors have stamped across the soil of the subcontinent of India. Two thousand years ago, it was Alexander the Great, who, in 327 B.C., thrust into western India and set up Greek fortresses there. Later Tamerlane and the Moguls came; then the French, the Dutch, and the British, who warred with one another for the rich spoils of India. For a long time the conquerors held sway. But, as all history relates, not one of them lasted. In the end the ancient faith corroded the chains of the enslavers; their armed might and materialistic beliefs dissolved like a mist in the morning sun.
The strength of the Orient is the strength of the spirit. We Westerners place our reliance in cannon and aircraft and atomic bombs; the Oriental leans confidently upon the resources of his soul. His victories are greater than ours, even though his means appear invisible. The people of India, by a massive effort of the spirit, were able to compel the British to leave their shores. Their leader was no general, but a holy man, a mahatma, and the doctrine he preached was one of the purest spirituality. Mahatma Gandhi was able to free 400,000,000 Indians from almost two centuries of British rule.
The psychic force of the Hindus is difficult for us to understand, for we Westerners, though we pay lip-service to spirituality, believe primarily in things that we can see and feel. Ours is the cult of the concrete; we worship machines and money and science. In our society the high priests are the technical specialists, the experts who are the masters of our machines, our finances, and our science.
EXPERTS IN THE SPIRITUAL
The Hindus are specialists, too. They are experts in the spiritual as we are in the material. For four thousand years they have been studying the spirit and the unseen forces that make and mold the universe. They have discovered hidden laws and powers whose existence our most advanced scientists have only begun to suspect. They have achieved a degree of control over their bodies and spirits that has been possible only to a handful of men in the West.
Reports of the incredible powers of the yogis, or sages of India, appear often in the daily press of the United States and Europe. We have all heard of holy men who are able to lie upon beds of nails for days and then arise with their flesh uncut. We read of Indian holy men who allow themselves to be completely buried, without air, food, or drink for days; when they are exhumed, they soon come back to life, apparently unharmed by their superhuman experience.
YOGIS ARE LONG-LIVED
If you go to India, you may see for yourself the accomplishments of its seers. On some of the holy days, fairs are held in many sections of India. At these celebrations, anyone is welcome to converse with the sages who are present, surrounded by hordes of adulants who have come from near and far to pay their respects to these saintly figures.
These seers, whose lives are devoted to the cultivation of the spirit, are often women as well as men. Some of them, you will learn, are, despite their youthful appearance and well-developed bodies, persons of great age. It is not unusual to see a sage who hardly looks more than forty years of age, yet is reported to be well past the century mark. These gifted people look forward with confidence to many more years of life. They believe that with purity of spirit they gain great power over their physical bodies.
In India, you will hear reports of persons who have lived as much as two hundred years or possibly longer, vying with the patriarchs of the Old Testament in longevity. These persons have withdrawn from ordinary life, and spend their days in meditation. Many are said to dwell in caves in the Himalayas. They are considered the most knowledgeable of gurus, or teachers, and it is related that they possess the power to foretell and to control the future, and also to transfer their thoughts.
YOGA IS SOUL CONTROL
Some readers will naturally greet such stories with skepticism, nor can I blame them. We are prone to disbelieve things that are in contradiction to the evidence of our own senses. Still, one should not rule out the possibility of truth here. People pooh-poohed Edison's statement that he would one day be able to light up a whole city simply by throwing a switch. Today the truth of his assertion is so manifest that nobody bothers to think twice about the wonder of electricity. Our recently discovered ability to send words and pictures in full color through the air would probably have struck our forebears as witchcraft of a high order. The yogis, by the way, do not lay claim to supernatural powers; on the contrary, they merely state that they have mastered the scientific control of the psyche or soul—in their own language, katvalya.
YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI
One of the most significant books of the Orient is called the Yoga Sutras or Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali. Patanjali, a deeply revered teacher of the Far East, lived before the birth of Christ. Although his very identity is obscured by the mists of time, his brief book shows perennial vigor. It has been studied by millions in India, and has shown them the way to greater power. We shall have occasion to refer to it again and again in the course of this work, for it is both profound and to the point.
BRAHMA, SOUL OF THE UNIVERSE
The word yoga means "yoke"—the yoking of the individual to the great forces of Nature and the Universe. Patanjali, Shankara, and other Masters of the Far East teach that all the Universe is one. In the words of the Upanishads, the sacred Vedic books of ancient India, "There is one Ruler, the Spirit that is in all things, who transforms his one form into many." This Ruler we of the West call God, the Hindus Brahma. In the Hindu view, He is not only the Master of the Universe—He is the Universe itself, and all things in it. The Judaeo-Christian Scriptures, which describe God as the Creator of all things, are in fundamental agreement with this concept.
The Masters of the East teach that the Universe is an infinite reservoir of power and energy. Its force and persistence blaze forth in the eternally burning sun and stars, in the millions of giant galaxies and nebulae that illuminate the endless stretches of space. Not only does this vast Power show itself to us in heavenly bodies of enormous magnitude; if we look at the smallest thing that is, the atom, we observe in the ceaseless motion of its protons and electrons the same boundless, inexhaustible energy, the soul of Brahma. We discover it wherever we turn: in the blade of grass and in the flower that grows from a tiny, life-laden seed, flourishes for a season, then dies, and is born again. We see this regenerative force in the life of man, who, though he is born to die, can create other creatures in his image. It is with Brahma, the Soul of the Universe, that the yogis seek union.
THE POWER OF SUPPLY IS IN MAN
The Universe is Brahma, but man, being part of the Universe is Brahma, too, once he can realize the potentially divine within him.
The yogis say—to quote one of the greatest of them, the Swami Vivekananda—that "desires and wants are in man, that the power of supply is also in man." The Yoga Sutras and the other Sacred Books of the East lay down a system for achieving union with the Infinite and drawing upon this infinite treasure-house of supply. They teach that the subtle or refined has great power over the gross, or, as we would say it, that mind has power over matter. This we observe every moment of our lives. It is the mind that regulates and commands the body. It is our organized thought processes, converted into dynamos, steamshovels, locomotives, airplanes, tractors and other mechanical contrivances, that have subdued Nature and made her obedient to our beck and call.
But the Masters of the Far East go even further. They declare that by refining our minds, we can become capable of direct contact with prana, or Infinite Energy, which science tells us is the true essence of matter. Drawing upon the Energy of the Universe, not only does our mind become capable of infinitely greater performance—unleashing energies we never dreamed we possessed—but we can bend matter to our will.
POWERS EASILY ACHIEVED
We have already seen that yoga, as practiced by the Masters, is no easy discipline. It has many branches, and one has to devote a lifetime to its study if he would perfect himself in it. (For that matter, perfection cannot be absolutely attained, although the greatest of the Masters have come close to it.)
The arduousness of yoga need not discourage us, however. We shall content ourselves in this book to gain only some of the minor powers. They are easily achieved and are enough to bring the fulfillment of most earthly wishes. True, what we shall attempt would be little to one of the Master Yogins of the Far East—but it will be much for us if it brings us happiness and the realization of long-cherished dreams.
For the Masters, the ability to wrest of life the physical things they want of it is only the first step. As they proceed in their studies, over the years, they go much further than we who live amid the hustle and bustle of a materialistic culture can ever hope to. They learn, through purification of the body and control of the mind, to transcend human consciousness and to achieve union with Brahma. They acquire powers that they term siddhis, and that we in the West have traditionally considered occult. Most Americans have heard of these powers and are curious about them, so we shall glance at them before launching directly into our study of the method of the Masters.
As a fine magnifying glass concentrates the rays of the sun and produces a fire, so the refined mind of the yogi concentrates the Infinite Energy of the Universe and causes it to do his bidding. Through meditation and soul control, he becomes a channel of Universal Power, which he is able to regulate and make flow where he will. In the language of India, this ability is known as samyama. The true Masters learn, by degrees, to make samyama upon all of Nature or any part of it.
The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali tell us that by making samyama upon the hollow of his throat, a yoga can cause hunger to disappear. When a yogi makes samyama upon udana, the Hindu name for a vital nerve-current in the lungs, he can make his body lighter and perform many remarkable feats. This, the Masters tell us, was the power exercised by Jesus when He walked upon the waters. It is the way they explain the well-known ability of the holy men of the Far East to rest upon a bed of nails for long periods of time or walk along a pathway strewn with hot coals. Many of the Masters have been able to foretell the hour of their death; according to Patanjali's Sutras, through control of the nerve-current udana a yogi can die at will.
FORCE OF THE SPIRIT
A great variety of other samyamas lie at the disposal of the adept, according to Patanjali. A certain form of the body is known as akasa; this is its immaterial form, or, as we would put it, the astral body. By making samyama upon the akasa, the yogi is able to separate this spiritual body from the body of flesh, bone, and blood; he now has the power to travel where he will, in the spirit.
In recent years a number of Europeans have come to India and scaled Everest, Annapurna, Godwin Austen, and other great mountains that tower over 25,000 feet to the sky in the north of that ancient land. Possibly you have read of the intrepid men who toiled up the craggy sides of those stony giants. Marvel as we will at the heroism and fortitude of the mountain climbers—their achievements are regarded as epochal in the West—the holy men of northern India and Tibet find them not only unimpressive, but hardly worthy of comment. They declare that they have been to the summits of these mountains on countless occasions, and offer detailed descriptions of the peaks and their surrounding area as evidence. They say that the efforts expended by the Westerners were praiseworthy, yet completely unnecessary—an astral body is considerably lighter than a physical one, and travels so much faster!
THE QUALITY OF QUIETNESS
The Masters of the Far East also possess the ability to make themselves invisible. When the Tashi Lama, one of the great religious leaders of Tibet, passed some time in India, he gave a remarkable demonstration of his supernormal abilities.
Oddly enough, he had been asked by some visitors whether he possessed any supernatural powers, and his only reply had been a smile. Not long afterward, the gentlemen of his household and his personal bodyguard, who had been standing all about him, suddenly became aware that he had disappeared. Terror gripped their hearts, for they were entrusted with his safety; if any harm came to him, they would have to answer with their lives.
Now began a mad search. Every inch of the garden, the house, and the surrounding grounds was ransacked, yet no trace of the missing lama could be found. Many minutes passed as the soldiers milled about, looking for their lost leader, when suddenly one of the officers perceived that the Tashi Lama was sitting in the midst of the wild melee, a smile of playful amusement on his benign features.
Had the lama actually vanished? Not really; but he had, by the exercise of yogic powers, obliterated his form so that his followers could not see him. Patanjali has said that "by making samyama on the shape or outline of the body, its form becomes impossible to perceive, and the eye is deprived of its capacity for seeing." We of the West might ascribe it to the superb quietness that the yogi is capable of; he can all at once sink into such immobility that his presence is lost, blending indestinguishably with his surroundings. In this state of quietness, he refreshes his mind and body.
THOUGHT TRANSFERENCE AND YOGA
By making samyama on the "light of the heart," says Patanjali—that is, by the use of psychic powers which have been the property of gifted or saintly persons in all ages—the yogi gains a knowledge of the remote or faraway. He is able to observe events that are occurring in other cities or even in countries on the other side of the world.
Yogis can also telegraph mental messages to people in distant places. This, of course, is the power we know as telepathy. In the West telepathy is now receiving serious scientific study and the experiments of Professor J. B. Rhine of Duke University have satisfied many that telepathy is a distinct possibility; in the Orient it is taken for granted, and proofs of its reality have been offered for thousands of years.
Telepathy or thought transference is also an instance of samyama—in this case, samyama upon the mind of another. Most well-read persons are familiar with the writings of Maxim Gorky, one of Russia's outstanding novelists of the early twentieth century; his books The Lower Depths and Mother have been made into masterful motion pictures. Gorky was fond of relating an experience he once had with a Hindu, in Caucasia. The Indian showed the novelist an album with metallic pages that were quite blank. As Gorky examined the pages, shapes and colors began to appear on them. As he looked, they took definite forms, and he realized he was beholding the great cities of India, just as though their pictures were actually printed on the pages.
Gorky, you may recall, was a died-in-the wool materialist, and he examined the book to see if it had been treated with chemicals that would make the pictures appear when the book was opened. He was convinced that he had encountered an authentic case of thought transference.
MIRACLE OF TELEKINESIS
The Yoga Sutras state that telekinesis also becomes possible as one's mastery grows. Telekinesis (derived from two Greek words signifying "far motion") is the moving or control of objects at a distance, without recourse to physical means. The Army is now able, by radio, to guide unmanned robot aircraft and aerial torpedoes to a selected goal. The yogi, according to Patanjali, can achieve the same result by concentration.
That the brain does produce electrical energy is a well-known fact. Every day, in their examining rooms, brain specialists measure the electrical charges within the craniums of their patients to determine whether any pathological condition is present. Can we say it is inconceivable that certain gifted persons, through secret techniques, should be able to amplify the discharge of electricity in their brains and bring it to bear upon objects outside their bodies? The great electrical wizard Charles Steinmetz has said: "The most important advance in the next fifty years will be in the realm of the spiritual—dealing with the spirit—thought."
THE SADDHU AND THE TRAIN
The Hindus offer many evidences of the reality of telekinesis. Take, for example, the case of the saddhu, or holy man, who stopped a train.
In India it is common to see saddhus, who, following the example of Buddha and other Eastern saints, have renounced all worldly possessions, and gain their livelihood by teaching and begging alms; they are profoundly revered by the populace. Railroads, however, take a different view of such penniless folk, and, one day, when a saddhu climbed aboard a train, it was promptly discovered that he had no ticket, and he was put off.
The engineer then began to start the locomotive. He whipped up the steam, but the train refused to roll. A quick inspection revealed there was nothing mechanically wrong. The engineer took his seat again and did all that was necessary to put the train in motion. Still the great wheels refused to turn.
Now the passengers, who were persons of simple faith and great understanding, began to call: "The saddhu! The saddhu! The train will not move until he is back aboard." The conductor got down and fetched the holy man, who had been standing quietly beside the track. No sooner was he aboard than the train gave a lurch and began to move forward.
Is telekinesis unbelievable? Perhaps so. But so were television, teletypewriters, and the telephone before they were invented. Perhaps tomorrow the General Electric research laboratories will issue a report declaring that their engineers have developed a method for making psychic energy effective at a distance. Then "black magic" will become "white."
THE CLOUD OF VIRTUE
These powers, and many others described in the Yoga Sutras, remarkable though they are, are not the ultimate goal of the yogi. They are high, but they are not the highest achievement of which he is capable. As a matter of fact, they are a hindrance to the yogi; after he has mastered the samyamas and other siddhis, he must compel himself to renounce them as well as all earthly wishes, and take the next step. The Sacred Books of the East refer to this as kaivalya, liberation, or "the cloud of virtue." It is defined as true spiritual consciousness—a state of infinite freedom. In this condition the Master has all knowledge within his grasp, and has reached a state of self-realization and sublimity that can only be compared to that of the angels.
The Masters of the Far East cultivate their powers only for good purposes. Their hearts are set upon the welfare and progress not only of man, but of all living things. All the teachings of the East—the words of the Bhagavad Gita, the Rigvedas, of Buddha, Confucius, and other great teachers—lay great emphasis upon the cultivation of kindliness, upon striving for perfection in the highest terms conceived of in Western religion. The Hindu seers discovered the moving force of the Universe thousands of years ago, and they say that it tends toward good, and that only the good are in tune with it. The man whose thoughts and aspirations are wicked will never attain to the higher powers.
THE MASTERS AND CHRISTIANITY
"I am realizing every day," wrote Mahatma Gandhi, "that the search for truth is vain unless it is founded on love . . . To injure a single human being is to injure those divine powers within us, and thus the harm reaches not only that one human being, but with him the whole world." This passage, like many other utterances and aphorisms of the seers of the Orient, is remarkably reminiscent of the sayings of Jesus.
Indeed, there is nothing in the wisdom of the Orient, in its purest form, as taught by the Masters of the East, that is repugnant to Christianity. The Masters have always shown the greatest sympathy for Christianity; many Hindus even go so far as to claim Jesus for their own, pointing out that he was born in Palestine, which is a part of Asia, and not in Europe. They remind us that the Three Magi, or Wise Kings of the East, were Asiatics, and were singled out by God to have foreknowledge of the birth of Jesus, and followed the Star across distant deserts until they found Him in Bethlehem.
The Masters of the Far East discovered, untold ages ago, that there is but one God. The simple people of India may pay reverence to many deities—Brahma, Vishnu, Siva, and others—but all represent various aspects of the Great Force That Moves the Universe. The Masters say that God is known to the different peoples of the earth in many different shapes and under many different names, but that He is always the same God and is absolutely One. They point out that the saints and sages of all lands and times draw their strength and power from Him, no matter by what name He is known—Brahma to the Hindus, Ahura Mazda to the Persians, Manito to the American Indians, Allah to the Mohammedans, Jehovah to the Jews. Mahatma Gandhi said: "I can detect no inconsistency in declaring that I can, without in any way whatsoever impairing the dignity of Hinduism, pay equal homage to the best of Islam, Christianity, Zoroastrianism, and Judaism."
"Even as a tree has a single trunk, but many branches and leaves," declared the Mahatma on another occasion, "so is there one true and perfect religion, but it becomes many, as it passes through the human medium. The one religion is beyond all speech. Imperfect men put it into such language as they can command and their words are interpreted by other men equally imperfect. Whose interpretation is to be held to be the right one? . . . . True knowledge of religion breaks down the barriers between faith and faith."
RAMAKRISHNA'S VISION OF JESUS
The Masters of the East, as already suggested, feel a special affinity to Jesus. Many of them place him with Buddha in the hierarchy of Master Yogins, worshipping him with a fervor that has been equalled only by the saints. To some He has come in visions, as He did to Paul in the desert. Sir Francis Younghusband, who spent many years in the Orient, gives us a deeply moving account of how Kamakrishna, one of India's holiest men, after long purification of his soul, came face to face with Jesus:
"On the fourth day he was walking in the grove when he suddenly saw an extraordinary-looking person of serene aspect approaching with his gaze intently fixed on him. He knew at once that he was not a Hindu. He had large, beautiful eyes, and, though the nose was different from an Indian's, it in no way marred the comeliness of his face. Ramakrishna was charmed, and wondered who it might be. Presently the figure drew near. Then, from the inmost recesses of Ramakrisiina's heart there went up the note, 'This is Christ who poured out His heart's blood for the redemption of mankind and suffered agonies for its sake. It is none else than that Master Yogin, Jesus, the embodiment of Love.'
"Then the Son of Man embraced Ramakrishna and became merged in him. Ramakrishna lost outward consciousness . . .
"After some time he came back to normal consciousness and was convinced that Jesus Christ was an Incarnation of the Lord."
JESUS IN THE ORIENT
The life of Gautama Buddha, the Enlightened One of the East, reveals incredible parallels with the life of Jesus. Like Jesus, Buddha devoted his life to wandering across the face of the land, teaching immortal truths to the people and healing the sick. The Abbe Hue, who over a century ago provided us with our first reliable account of life in Tartary and Tibet, says that on his journey through the holy land of the lamas he found that they readily accepted the sayings of Jesus for they already knew things very much like them from the Buddhist Scriptures. In the Potala, the palace of the Dalai Lama, the Abbe conferred with the Regent of Tibet. "Thy faith," the Regent told him, "is like unto ours. Our difference is only in the explanations."
Some of the lamas, who hand down ancient traditions, say that it is a historical fact that Jesus actually visited India and Tibet. In the language of the Orient His name is transcribed as Issa. The lamas say that Issa, as a youth, left Joseph and Mary for a while and journeyed with some merchants of Jerusalem in the direction of the Indus. They relate that He sowed His words at Benares, in Nepal, and in the Himalayas. In Tibet the Buddhist monks welcomed Him as a teacher of the divine truths, and the wretched and miserable flocked about Him wherever He appeared; His minstrations brought miraculous recovery to the lame, the halt, and the blind.
Concerning the oriental travels of Jesus the New Testament is silent. Still, it is undeniable that the four Gospels offer us only a fragmentary account of the Greatest Life Ever Lived; little that tells of His early years has come down to us, if indeed it was ever recorded by the humble folk that knew Him.
Of the few white persons who have visited Tibet, several have noted that the fish is often seen as a decoration on religious objects and buildings; this same symbol, carved out by the early Christian martyrs, may be viewed in the catacombs where they hid in Rome, during the years of persecution. The fish was used by the early Christians as a symbol of their faith because the word in Greek—ichthys—has in it the first letters of the Greek words for "Jesus Christ, Son of God."
There are many other echoes of Jesus and His followers in the lands of the East. Westerners who have been permitted to enter the great lamaseries of Tibet, where the ancient wisdom of the Masters is taught, have been struck by the similarity of these oriental monasteries to those of the West. In them one observes the same piety, the same worship of goodness and devotion to God. The holy men fast and live in retirement from the world; their benedictions, their sacred songs, their religious services are not unlike those observed in a European or American cathedral.
TSONG-KAPA'S MYSTERIOUS TEACHER
In the east of Tibet stands the huge Kumbum lamasery, the dwelling place of thousands of yellow-cap lamas. One of the most sacred religious centers of all Tibet, Kumbum is especially renowned as the birthplace of Tsong-Kapa, a major seer and lama of five centuries ago. It was Tsong-Kapa who breathed fresh vitality into the old teachings of Buddha, when there was a danger that they might become lost in empty ritual. And the monks of Kumbum tell that Tsong-Kapa drew his wisdom and courage from a stranger who had come from the West. They say this teacher was a man of great piety and learning, with flashing eyes and a large nose, such as one does not see in the highlands of Tibet. Some of the monks believe it may have been an incarnation of Jesus Himself, or one of His followers, that showed Tsong-Kapa the way.
THE KINSHIP OF EAST AND WEST
The faiths of the East and West are closely allied, just as their political destinies are destined to be in the years ahead. The Sacred Books of the East and the profound and inspiring thoughts they express are not alien to us, for we knew them of old.
Thousands of years ago, the peoples of the East and West were one, dwelling in the same habitations and speaking the same tongue. The great folk stocks of Europe and America and the Aryans of India once dwelt together in eastern Europe. From their prehistoric home some groups of these Indo-European peoples moved westward in great migratory waves, while others journeyed to the East. For almost a thousand years, starting in 2,000 B.C., tides of them swept into the Greek mainland, where they built marvelous temples and palaces. Numbers went into the valley of the Danube and then spread to the north and the west, bringing with them herds of cattle and flocks of sheep, and their belief in a God in the sky. These people became the ancestors of the Celts, the Scandinavians, the Germans, and other European groups. Others invaded Italy, where their descendants built the Roman Empire. Yet another wave of Indo-Europeans poured down upon the subcontinent of India. These we know as the Aryans. They came about 2,500 B.C.
UNDERSTANDING THE HINDUS
The native people of India were a dark-skinned race, the Dravidians. Although they had achieved a good degree of civilization, they could not withstand the onslaught of the invading Indo-Europeans. In time the Dravidians were subdued by them and became their serfs.
Ages ago, the famed castes of India began to arise. Highest of all were the priests, or Brahmins, who interpreted the ancient Sacred Books, the Vedas. Next were the warriors, or Kshatriya caste, the nobles who ruled the land. After these came the Vaisyas—the merchants, propertied farmers, herdsmen, artisans, and lenders of money. Last of the four castes was the Sudra, who were serfs and servants. Outside the castes were the persons of no caste—the pariahs. Castes came to be hereditary. It is interesting to note that the Hindu word for caste is varna, or "color"; the ancient system doubtless was based upon the color differences between Aryans and Dravidians, but the color line became obscured as they intermarried.
Over the centuries the castes divided and subdivided again and again. Today there are no fewer than seven thousand. The pariahs, of whom there are more than 50,000,000 in India today, have up till the present led wretched lives, without hope of improvement. But things are looking up for them now. The government of modern India, much like our own government, is working to eradicate caste and color lines, and alleviate the lot of the untouchables. It has taken to heart the thought of Gandhi, the Master Yogin, who said: "It has always been a mystery to me how men can feel themselves honored by the humiliation of their fellow beings."
BROTHERS IN LANGUAGE AND THOUGHT
The people of India and the people of Europe and America are very different in appearance and culture—they have been separated for thousands of years—but a fundamental kinship of thought and language still survives. The ancient Hindus spoke Sanskrit, the tongue of the Vedas and the Masters of the Far East. But their word matr is still recognizably our word mother. The Hindu word for a potentate is rajah; the Romans used the same word, changed a bit—rex; it still survives for us in the related word In our language, rich, and the German word Reich. Their ancient writings of holy wisdom, the Vedas, bear in their name the same root as our word wits. The word sutras, which now means "aphorisms," originally meant a "thread" and then a "string of rules"; scholars tell us it is closely related to our word "sew." Many other words have the same fraternal relationship. But stronger than the kinship of language is that of thought and religion. The ancient Aryans, like Americans and Europeans today, believed in a Heavenly Father, whom they called in their language Dyaush pitar (the name is closely related to that of Jupiter, supreme deity of the Romans). As the distinguished Orientalist, Professor F. Max Müller, has written:
"Thousands of years have passed since the Aryan nations separated to travel to the north and the south, the west and the east; they have each formed languages, they have each founded empires and philosophies, they have each built temples and razed them to the ground; they have all grown older, and it may be wiser and better; but when they search for a name for what is most exalted and yet most dear to every one of us, when they wish to express both awe and love, the infinite and the finite, they can but do what their old fathers did when gazing up to the eternal sky, and feeling the presence of a Being as far as far, and as near as near can be, they can but combine the selfsame words, and utter once more the primeval Aryan prayer, Heaven-Father, in that form which will endure forever: 'Our Father which art in heaven.' "
We are bound to the East by innumerable ties; in pages of history yet to be written, we shall be bound still more closely. One of the transcendental values the Orient can give us is her wisdom, which she has kept pure and undefiled. The teachings of her wise men can show us not only the way to health and prosperity, but to spiritual contentment as well. For the Masters of the Far East teach us that each soul is divine, and they show us a method for manifesting the divine that dwells inside each of us, by controlling Nature in ourselves and in the world about us. They show us the way to freedom and greater power.
Order the complete book in Adobe PDF eBook or printed form for $9.95 (+ printing charge)
or click here to order in printed form from Amazon.com for $15.50