There is a particular need for yoga today. The stress and tension of life is often beyond the ordinary human being’s control. So many millions of people are living on tranquillisers, sleeping pills, alcohol, junk food, pills and more pills. They are unable to cope with the stress. Yoga helps to bring stress under control, not only on a physical level but on a mental and spiritual level as well. Even when a person has a job and a certain amount of physical and financial security still there is a vacuum, a feeling of emptiness within. This vacuum is caused by a lack of inner peace, due to a lack of discipline, too much stimulation, excitement. Television, bars, advertising…all these excite, excite.
‘Yoga’ means union, and shows us how to unite all our life forces, our mental forces, our rational and abstract thought by directing them INWARD. The goal is happiness and happiness lies within. You can go anywhere in the world, to night clubs and restaurants, to London or Paris and still not find happiness. If happiness were to be found in Paris then all Parisians would be happy. If happiness is at home with the family then you must all be happy— but are you? It doesn’t matter what your living conditions are. Happiness does not exist outwardly, even in an ashram. Happiness lies within.
The world crisis is but a reflection of the chaotic state of the collective con- sciousness. The most positive action we can perform to contribute to the momentous task of bringing our planet back into balance is to start changing ourselves. Positive, focused thoughts are much more powerful than negative, confused thoughts. No external technology can control surging emotions and imaginations. No type of alcohol, drugs or anything else can offer a long-term solution to endemic mental weakness. These chemicals destroy not only the bodies and minds of the users, but also those of their offspring, creating genetic disturbances and unbalancing the mental vibration.
Real peace comes to those who can control the body and mind with proper self-discipline. Yoga is a complete science of self-discipline. Yoga balances, harmonises, purifies and strengthens the body, mind and soul of the practitioner. It shows the way to perfect health, perfect mind control and perfect peace with one’s Self, the world, nature and God. I have studied the mind since I was seventeen years old. Watching how it reacts to life in a cave, to wandering as a penniless monk, to people throwing stones and spitting at me, to days of constant meditation, asana, pranayama. And, in contrast, how it reacts to sitting in a maharajah’s palace. I have achieved a certain state of peace and I know that it can be achieved by everyone, even if the advanced stages of yoga are beyond them.
By closely observing the life-style and needs of modern men and women I have synthesised the ancient wisdom of yoga into five basic principles which can be easily incorporated into everyone’s own pattern of life. Yoga is a life of self-discipline built upon the tenets of simple living and high thinking. If you follow the five points of yoga—proper exercise, breathing, relaxation, diet and positive thinking & meditation—which comprise a holistic approach to our whole system of body, mind and soul, you will gain strength and balance to face this life. When body, mind and soul are healthy and harmonious the higher mind can easily triumph over the vicious instinctive lower mind. Obstacles become stepping stones to success and we begin to understand that life is a school for the development of character, compassion and realisation of the divine all-pervading Self. You will gain a new angle of vision of health and positivity. If you can heal your own body and mind you will be capable of healing and taking care of the planet. I have been religiously true to the ancient teachings of all forms of yoga. I have invented nothing new, only presented this perfect science of self-development in a form comprehensible for an analytically-minded era.