All the information that I will present tonight comes from the Vedic scriptures. The Vedas are very ancient scriptures. Actually, they were written down 5,000 years ago, but the knowledge itself is eternal. Prior to being written down, it was passed down orally from one perfect master to the next, such a line of perfect teachers is known as a disciplic succession, or parampara. The parampara is necessary for the truth to descend in its pure form. We are in the parampara known as the Brahma Sampradaya and we feel very fortunate to receive our knowledge through this lineage. This is not my opinion; I am just passing on this eternal science.
In the world today yoga is becoming more and more popular; hardly any country or any town doesn’t have yoga of some type. In America it’s basically mainstream. When we think of yoga, normally we think of Hatha yoga or the yoga of different bodily asanas or poses, or physical exercise, and certainly this is very beneficial.
I remember quite a few years ago when yoga wasn’t so well known, I was in Russia in Sochi on the Black Sea. It was very early in the morning and I went out to the beach. It was still dark and I was doing some Hatha yoga and there was nobody on the beach, it was completely empty. Then I realized there was someone there. I looked out of the corner of my eye (I was in a pose where I wasn’t standing, I was laying down, feet over my head) and I saw an old Russian man. He was just sitting there looking at me, so I didn’t say anything, I kept doing what I was doing. After a short while he said, “Yoga, huh?” then he just walked off into the dark. I thought, “Ah, even here, the old Russian man, he knows what I’m doing.”
A lot of people know about yoga and a lot of people do yoga, but again, mostly in the category of Hatha yoga. But there’s much, much more to yoga than that. Hatha yoga is just a tiny little part of a big system of yoga and as I said, there are different yoga systems that comprise the overall system.
It is a philosophy, but more than just a philosophy it is a way of life. It is a complete way of life; you can make it so that every aspect of your life is a part of yoga. The teaching of yoga applies to everything we do, from our eating to our sleeping, to our exercise, to our work, to our meditations, to our goals in life, to the whole life that we lead. If we follow these yoga teachings, then it will be guaranteed that we will be living our life correctly.
I can say this with absolute assurance because all of this yoga knowledge originates from the Supreme Lord Himself. He is the original Spiritual Master. From the original Spiritual Master comes all the original Truth and it passes down through perfect mediums; representatives of the Perfect Master. The reality is: there is only one true Spiritual Master, and all other true masters are simply representatives of the One.