Choosing a Path (Intellect, Action, Devotion, Meditation, Fusion, Primal, Force, Tantra)

Choosing a Path (Intellect, Action, Devotion, Meditation, Fusion, Primal, Force, Tantra)

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Item Code: NAG202
Author: Sri Swami Rama
Publisher: Himalayan Institute
Language: English
Edition: 2011
ISBN: 9780893890773
Pages: 214
Cover: Paperback
Other Details: 8.5 inch X 5.5 inch
Weight 280 gm

About the Book


The search for truth alone provides a ray of hope for the individual and for humanity as a whole. We have done so in much research on matter, mind, and energy, yet we have not discovered the ways and methods of attaining happiness and loving others selflessly. This book gives a glimpse and creates a provocative atmosphere for the intelligent and learned so that will begin studying their inclination to follow a particular path, and so that they don't waste time and energy in the prevailing confusion of our times, but choose a definite path for themselves. With these views in mind and to serve the needs of the aspirants and free thinkers, I present this book.


About the Author


One of the greatest adepts, teachers, writers, and humanitarians of the 20th century, Swami Rama is the founder of the Himalayan Institute. Born in Northern India, he was raised from early childhood by a Himalayan sage, Bengali Baba. Under the guidance of his master he traveled from monastery to monastery and studied with a variety of Himalayansaints and sages, including his grandmaster who was living in a remote region of Tibet. In addition to this intense spiritual training, Swami Rama received higher education in both India and Europe. From 1949 to 1952, he held the prestigious position of Shankaracharya of Karvirpitham in South India. Thereafter, he returned to his master to receive further training at his cave monastery, and finally in 1969, came to the United States where he founded the Himalayan Institute. His best known work, Living with the Himalayan Masters, reveals the many facets of this singular adept and demonstrates his embodiment of the living tradition of the East.




This book is a practical guide that describes all the major paths of enlightenment. Though various are the paths, the goal is only one. Every human being has a unique quality, and every seeker is gifted with something extraordinary. Everyone is unique in his or her own way. After realization of that extraordinary quality, one can tread the path and not waste his or her time and energy window-shopping in the market of spirituality.


This book is organized into seven main chapters. The first one prepares the student for choosing a path, and the remaining ones describe the major paths of yoga: jnana, bhakti, karma, raja, laya, and the various methods of kundalini awakening, including tantra. After becoming aware of one's natural tendencies and talents, one can select and practice the path that is best suited to his or her inclinations and situation.


Swarniji's clear and profound descriptions of these paths will inspire and guide sincere students in their efforts for attainment. The information and understanding provided in Swarniji's descriptions of the paths of yoga come from his own direct experience, for he was trained from childhood in all the yogic disciplines, and his burning desire to understand the reality and know the truth motivated him to personally examine and experience all the methods reported. Having traversed the entire terrain, he can provide a broad perspective and a detailed knowledge that helps the student see his or her way more clearly and avoid pitfalls and detours. Such a wealth of information is extremely rare; that it is being shared so openly is a great gift of love. May all aspirants be open to receiving, understanding, and utilizing these precious teachings, and may they be inspired to learn more and work eagerly for their self-enlightenment.




All the great religions of the world fundamentally are one and the same. They serve the different groups in certain ways to some extent, but do not satisfy the intellectuals. Therefore, it becomes important for everyone to have freedom from religious dogmas so that all may search for truth and understand the various paths followed by the great men in the past. In choosing a path, three considerations seem to be important: time, training, and desire.


Time here means that if the seeker at a proper time starts practicing and following a particular path, he can surely complete the voyage in this lifetime. When the mind is clouded and congested by the suggestions found in books, the seeker rarely gets an opportunity to study his own abilities. A time comes when he desires to attain something higher, but he doesn't find himself capable because he has become too old. The body does not function according to his desire, the mind slips to the old grooves of past habits, and practice remains a haunting dream for him.


Religions teach us to have faith in God but the mind cannot stop questioning. Even though one has faith in God, the mysteries of life still remain veiled and the prime questions of life remain unanswered. All the philosophies and religions have one and the same aim, and that is to know himself. But the training that is imparted in our childhood does not seem to have any such educational program that really helps us in Self-realization. Comforts we obtain, pleasures we experience, but the questions still remain unanswered.


The question, "Do the existing religions serve the purpose of modern man or do they create more obstacles for him?" should carefully be examined. I am not against any religion as such, but if there is no freedom of thinking, it is not possible for individuals to understand the way of life nor to attain its purpose. Therefore the first requisite is mental freedom, and that is possible only when one has the opportunity to contemplate on the prime questions of life: Who am I? From where have I come? What is the purpose of my existence here? Where will I go from here'? The religious bibles of the world have their conclusions based solely on faith. But blind faith is more dangerous than being an atheist. Having faith in God is wonderful, but the way it is explained to us is shallow and does not satisfy the curiosity of the learned aspirants. Suppose one does not believe in God, and yet there are those who believe. What difference does it make in either case? Intellectual curiosity is not at all satisfied with believing or not believing. The existing bibles of the world finally instruct their followers to study the book of life-the very Self-on all levels: external environment, body. Senses. Breath. Conscious mind, unconscious mind and that which exists behind all these levels of life. Modern science says that a human being is made out of certain material components and that there is no proof of any self existent reality or God as described by religionists. But there is another group of researchers who have researched the interior life in its totality and have come out with a definite conclusion that ultimate Truth-the center of cosmic Consciousness-exists eternally, and that when one turns within he can experience peace, happiness, and bliss. He can know himself and come out with the answers for the questions he has been brooding upon. He ultimately finds that his self is the Self of all and his individuality is a superimposition created by his ignorance. When he crosses the mire of delusion created by his mind, he obtains freedom. He is free from all pains, fears, and miseries.


The religionists out of fear believe in God; the modern scientists out of ignorance do not believe in the existence of the ultimate Reality; the atheists out of disgust do not want to search for the Truth because they see that religionists have been exploiting human beings in the name of God for ages. But atheists have no philosophy to support their belief. Agnosticism and atheism are alike in a certain respect. I am with them as far as not being influenced by formulas, dogmas, and doctrines. But I take one step ahead and say that interior research should be continued. Scientists and atheists have no proof that the ultimate Reality does not exist. And religionists cannot prove that it does because they lead their followers through that faith which remains unexamined.


There is a vast difference between religion and spirituality. A religion is a set of dogmas, doctrines, and rituals. A student of religion is not allowed to think or search beyond these sets of rules. But in spirituality, all the human resources are directed toward the search for the spirit only-the ultimate Truth. In religion, faith is never challenged, but in the path of spirituality, faith is established with the help of reasoning based upon direct experience. A spiritual human being can be religious, but a religious human being is not necessarily spiritual. This book does not offer religious rules, dogmas, or rituals but leads the seeker to choose a path for him by examining his potentials and abilities. As all jackets do not fit one person, so is the case with religious beliefs. Religious beliefs are engrained in the tender and innocent soil of human hearts and minds. These may create serious barriers in the search for and the exploration of Truth. Real spirituality dawns through self effort, sincerity, and inner wisdom.


When, with the help of direct experience, we examine the sayings of the great sages and closely study their lives, we find that they have touched that peak of enlightenment. As a result they became totally selfless, serving others and loving others without any self interest. These great men, though having trodden different paths, attained one and the same goal which is freedom, happiness, and bliss.


Some of these paths will be explained in this book in order to inspire seekers to choose for themselves. The desire for seeking should not die. When the seeking dies a human being still remains alive, but such a state of complacency is injurious for his growth and ultimately for humanity. In such a case prolonging the span of life becomes worthless. The search for truth alone provides a ray of hope for the individual and for humanity as a whole. Do we not realize that this generation of ours is in a state of stagnation and that we are not attaining the ext step of civilization? We have done so much research on matter, mind, and energy, yet we have not discovered the ways and methods of attaining happiness and loving others selflessly. Though we all know that the life span here is brief, yet we do not make efforts and apply all our resources to know life and its purpose. This book gives a glimpse and creates a provocative atmosphere for the intelligent and learned so that they will begin studying their inclination to follow a particular path, and so that they don't waste time and energy in the prevailing confusion of our times, but choose a definite path for themselves.


As an observer and student of philosophy and religions, I would like to mention that the trends of Western religions today are more toward intellectualization, and little effort is being made in the interior research of spiritual life. For lack of spiritual practicality in their religious and cultural training, when Western students try to follow the inner paths, they suffer and waste time in experimenting on one path and then another rather than following one path consistently. Western students, though having immense emotional, methodical, and intellectual abilities, suffer because of their limited cultural and educational background, which is externally oriented. This does not provide them with the opportunity to search independently within the interior levels of their beings.


Another factor which is noticeable is that Western students shun discipline. All modern students lack patience. They want to have results quickly without making sincere efforts. These cultural weaknesses are deep-rooted in the habits of Western students. In Western culture, no one is allowed to think freely about the spiritual dimensions of life. They are rigid in their religious beliefs, though they are free to think the way they want in leading their external lives. Those who want to seek the path of inner life are made to think that they are heathens, that they cannot be saved, and that they will go to hell. The guilt and fear created by such doctrines cripple the talents of western aspirants. They are forced to believe that anything outside their religion is not authentic.


Westerners often compare the technological advancements of the East and West and conclude that because the East is not technologically advanced, the spirituality of the East is worthless and invalid. This prejudice does not allow Western students to study the spiritual paths sincerely. The younger generation today is longing to seek something new and afresh, out it is torn by the conflicts created by guilt and fear. With these views in mind and to serve the needs of aspirants and free-thinkers, I present this book.














Preparation for choosing a path



Jnana Yoga



The Path of knowledge and Intellect



Bhakti Yoga



The path of love and devotion



Karma Yoga



The path of action and selfless service



Raja Yoga



The path of discipline and meditation



Laya Yoga



The path of fusion



Kundalini Yoga



The path of primal force



Awakening Kundalini through Hatha Yoga



Awakening Kundalini through Tantra Yoga






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