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Past Masters of Pranayama and the Lessons Their Lives Teach Us

Unrecognized by society in general, ours is a world which worships the Yogis. No matter what religion one professes, you will unvariably find at the core of any religious teachings the personal experiences of the Divine through the agency of a Yogi. Even cult followers who worship a mad-man follow their leader because he poses as a Yogi. Krishna and the incarnations of the Hindu gods, Abraham, Moses and the Hebrew prophets of the Jews, Buddha and the Zen Buddhist masters, Nanak and his line of Sikh gurus, Mahavira and the Jaina ascetics, Christ and the Christian saints and mystics, and Muhammad and the Islamic Sufis were all Yogis to one degree of realization or another. If there was only one message that their lives teach us it would be that there is one goal or purpose to all life, and that goal is to reunite with the creator of life. Yogis claim that even the blades of grass must one day evolve in consciousness to become human and unite with cosmic Bliss. If there were only one injunction that the Yogis of all history gave to humanity it would be to love that Bliss within with all our hearts and souls and turn away from the lure of the material world.

Yogis like the Buddha taught that compassion toward all creation as means toward uniting with all things was necessary in order to free oneself from selfishness and egoity which kept one's consciousness chained to the wheel of birth and rebirth. Many think that the Buddha was atheistic. The truth, however, is that the Buddha, like all Yogis, emphasized the negative attainment of an existence free from all desire and pain. Right action coupled with right meditation invariably lead one to a state of Nirvana Bliss which was far superior to the pleasure/pain experiences of the senses. Nirvana was not a new concept during the time of the Buddha but was rather a state of consciousness spoken of in the hoary Vedas and other earlier remembered lore of ancient India. The sublime Yogi Gautama the Buddha instructed people in the ancient science of Yoga which describes this world as a creation of suffering, which points to our desires as the cause of suffering, and which places as the goal a state of consciousness beyond duality. The attainment of this goal or Paramartha is the universal truth of Yoga, true Buddhism, and the religions and spirituality of the world. Any path which does not in some way speak of the removal of all suffering and the possibility of its return is not a path worth treading.

The real jihad or holy war that Muhammad spoke of was the war against the nafs, or ego. Though many Muslims take this to mean war against the infidel nations, countless Muslims understand the deep significance of Muhammad's Yogic message and, like the Sufis, live according to his example. However, those who sincerely practice Yoga fight a battle against the materialistic trends of the world with more arsenal than any bomb or gun. Those who do not believe in the supreme and absolute unity of the infinite Bliss, but rather run to other "gods" or wealth, fame, material possessions, etc., are the enemies of happiness to themselves and others. Bliss must be sought with all earnestness. Become a slave to nothing, but give your self and soul in eternal servitude to the Infinite Bliss within. Fight the holy war against the ego and through your positive vibrations do battle with the materially-minded individual. Make no graven image of Bliss but rather worship that Bliss with love and devotion and let no one nor anything stand in your way.

The New Testament does not recount over fifteen years of Christ's life. For those years Jesus, known in Hebrew as Yeshu (NOT Yeshua), was in northern India in present day Kashmir practicing Pranayama. Millions of Eastern Hindus, Muslims, and Christians are aware of this and believe in this fact with all their heart. To this day a shrine stands where he is believed to have practiced meditation. All of his miraculous abilities are nothing more than the powers of advanced Yogis. Nothing he said or did was out of keeping with the life of a Yogi united to the Infinite. Documents detailing his presence and activities in India have been found and have been verified with regard to their authenticity. His life is an example to us all of the possibilities that each one of can realize if we apply the techniques of Pranayama in our daily lives. He, like the other Hebrew Prophets, was a practitioner and master of Yoga for the world to emulate. His life exemplified the ideal of loving the Bliss Father from which we came and merging ourselves with that Bliss until we can also say, "I and the Father are one." Love only that Bliss but give that love impersonally to all of humanity.

The message of Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita is perhaps the greatest exposition on Yoga the world has to date. Krishna, the ultimate prince of Yoga, details every aspect of the Yogic path to those who have an ear to listen. An avatar, Krishna is loved and revered by millions, if not billions, worldwide of almost every religious tradition for the perfect example of Yoga for the world to aspire toward. He was both a master of Yoga and an exemplar of right living in the world. The Yogi, he counsels, must see no difference between one human being and another or even between the animals and humanity. All should be perceived as an expression of the one eternal Bliss. The Yogi must go beyond the senses and realize the one real essence behind all names and forms. The Yogi is greater than the ascetic, the wise, the one who does great deeds, and the religious. Truest in the eyes of Bliss are those who can go within, turn off the senses, and realize their oneness with the Omnipresent.

To practice Pranayama means to be a true follower and disciple of Krishna, Jesus, Moses, Buddha, Muhammad, Nanak, and Mahavira. Follow the path of Pranayama. Fight the little ego and its selfish ways. Learn to see all of creation with an impartial eye. Practice detachment. Free yourself from all suffering. Love all equally. Seek Bliss and Bliss alone. Lessen your worldly desires and go deeply within. Make Pranayama your only religious duty.