A holy text leads us on the way.

Question: Sometimes a single phrase, such as the saying of Jesus: "Neither do I condemn you" can bring a great relief and peace. It is repeated for days and months, but the effect gradually falls off, till they are mere words. What goes wrong? Why does it not still...

Why do I have to study Sanskrit words and Indian ideas?

Question: Why do I have to study Sanskrit words and Indian ideas in order to practice the traditional yoga? It claims to be an experimental science and method and experiments should not depend on any particular language. Answer: One answer is to look at the example of...

The words in the old texts are not simply old things

Question: The words in the old texts are simply old things even supposing they once had a living meaning for those who heard them, today they are empty. So why should I study them? Answer: Because you yourself as a separate individuality are equally empty. The empty...

When desire is not subject to control it is an obstacle

Question: When is it wrong to desire - how does one know? To desire a scarf in the cold, a meal when hungry, a place to rest when tired - what is wrong with these? Answer: It is when the desire is not subject to control that it is an obstacle. When it is cold, there...

The self ought to be more apparent

Question: If the universal Atman Self were the natural form of the Self, and the localized individual egoistic self were something superimposed, then the natural form ought to be more apparent. In Nature, the basic form is frequently seen, and the unusual form, being...

Why are we expected to study philosophy of yoga?

Qustion: Why are we expected to study philosophy of yoga as well as doing the practices? Surely philosophy will be a distraction and it would be better just to practice without bothering about the theoretical background?    Answer: Experience over the centuries has...

Trevor Leggett answers questions about Japan in 1985

Q: May I ask, what was the Japanese opinion of the spread of Judo, and the popularity of Judo, in the West, and the standards of the West? A: They rather deplore the fact that it's become a sort of sport in that way. Q: What was it before it was a sport? A: It was a...

Do not see causality in the events of the world

QUESTION: There are ridiculous things in some of the ecstatic utterances of Mahatmas, which we have to assume are somehow metaphorical or maybe just poetic fancies. After a bit, they no longer make an impression; they get shifted onto a siding well away from the main...

How can anyone believe that?

QUESTION: Yoga claims to be based on experiments on consciousness over thousands of years, but the claimed results of the experiments are not believable. It is said, for instance, that the inmost consciousness of man is experienced directly to be the universal...

Why haven’t we been converted to good thinking and behaviour?

QUESTION:  If there is a benevolent God or a Vairochana Buddha endowed with compassion and skilful means, how is it that we human beings have not been simply converted to good thinking and behaviour? ANSWER:  If these transcendent powers symbolised with the various...

Is Zen Buddhism is against life?

QUESTION:  Buddhism, and especially Zen Buddhism is against life. If we look at the recent English translation autobiography of the great 17th century Zen Master Hakuin we find that he was not often with other people. Nearly all his serious practice was done alone, on...

Are old texts are simply old things

QUESTION:  The words in the old texts are simply old things even supposing they once had a living meaning for those who heard them, today they are empty. So why should I study them? ANSWER:  Because you yourself as a separate individuality are equally empty. The empty...

Does one has to have faith?

QUESTION:  I get dissatisfied when I'm told that at the beginning of the training one has to have faith. It seems to me that one is being asked to believe something at the beginning that they admit is only proved at the end. If indeed, it is going to be proved at all,...

Isn’t there a danger of getting stale?

QUESTION:  After a year practising on one line isn't there a danger of getting stale? Surely it's best to make a change in the practice and try on a different line so the mind gets some fresh stimulation.   ANSWER:  There was a training centre in mediaeval China near...

Why worship a God ?

QUESTION:  Why worship a God who is simply a projection of the parental image by people who cannot grow up?   ANSWER:  The bible statement that God made man in his own image is ridiculed and reversed by so-called rationalists who say: On the contrary, man made God in...

Dealing with karmic consequence

QUESTION:  We are told sometimes to accept the events of our lives whether as karmic consequence, or perhaps the will of God. Now, I find that very often I cannot do this. An illness or an accident - yes, perhaps with a struggle I can try to accept these things; but...

Is it dangerous to practice Yoga?

QUESTION:  Is it dangerous to practice Yoga?   ANSWER:  Yes, but not nearly so dangerous as not to practice Yoga. Disappointment, disaster, disease, and death are rushing towards us like an express train. Yoga is the means of getting out of the way. And if we get an...

Instructions give different numbers

QUESTION:  I get irritated by the differing numbers given in the instructions. They tell you: do this six times, do this nine times, do this 21 times and so on. There are bigger numbers such as 108 beads on a rudraksha rosary, which makes me think, Why not just 100, a...

Some meditations on detachment seem ridiculous

QUESTION:  Some of the yogic meditations on detachment seem to me ridiculous; they are quite unreal, and nothing to do with life. We are told, for instance, to meditate that we set fire to our home and sit in the middle of the fire, watching everything burn, and...

Dates for the creation of the universe

QUESTION:  In the traditional Indian Scriptures there are given some dates for the creation of the universe, and these dates conflict. For instance, there is one view that the life of the universe is 8,640 million years, but there are other calculations which make it...

Why have all these Sanskrit words?

QUESTION:  Why have all these Sanskrit words such as dharma and guru? Why not translate them into English, easy to follow? The constant Sanskrit words could put an inquirer off, perhaps for ever.   ANSWER:  Some of these words - for instance dharma and guru - are...

A minimum of material prosperity

QUESTION:  The worship of God, and of his saints, is liable to degenerate into a sickly sentimental worship of relics, or just pictures and charms. It is true that many people are attracted to this sort of thing, but it is often because they have quite unreal...

How can books do anything for spiritual hunger?

QUESTION:  How can books do anything for spiritual hunger? Words cannot fill the empty stomach. ANSWER: True. But words correspond to the smell of cooking which tells us that there is food available and if we follow the smell we shall come to the actual food which...

Why is there no mention of reincarnation in Christianity?

Question Please explain how “the soul returns to the world in a new body after death and will continue to do so until it has reached the goal of spiritual evolution called liberation (moksha).” Why does Christ—one of the “ Incarnations of God on earth ”—preach no such...

Why don’t Avatars of God present a common message to mankind ?

Question Please explain this statement “ Not only Jesus Christ, but also Ramachandra, Krishna, Gautama Buddha and others have been Incarnations of God on earth . . .While allowing for the differing traditions, rituals and beliefs of different peoples in different...

How can I feel the force of Knowledge-Devotion

The wind of Knowledge-Devotion blows from the mountains of the Unconscious - today here, tomorrow there. Those who unfurl the sails of their boat, and crush under their feet desire and aversion, both being unnatural and harmful, are caught by the wind and are borne to...

How can we spare time for spiritual advancement?

The question put the other day was: “Can a man realize Vedanta in this age?” And it was suggested by someone that a man must leave this or that in order to realize Vedanta, and retire to the forest of the Himalayas. But Rama says, “No, no, you need not retire into the...

If the world is an illusion where is reality?

If the world is an illusion, as you say, and there is no reality attached to it, then we can do what we like, being bound by no moral law, no duty and no conception of good or evil. Whatever we do is an illusion—then why prefer one inclination to another? Illusory...

Is the misery of man due to original sin?

For some  Christians the misery of man is due to original sin, not to avidya (nescience), as Adwaitins say. There is only one way to redemption and it is to be a sheep in the fold of Jesus. He has said: ‘All those who came before Me were thieves and robbers'. Stop...

What is moksha?

Moksha is destruction of nescience. The result of moksha is cosmic consciousness. Ishvara (God) is never in bondage, so the word moksha does not apply to Him. He is the Lord of maya (the cosmic illusion); though conditioning Himself, He is unconditioned, because His...

What does “ spiritual ” mean in Yoga ?

Question. What does “ spiritual ” mean in Yoga ? Answer. There are three realms in which each being lives : the gross physical plane of three dimensions, the higher plane of subtle matter which is the mental plane, and that in which these two inhere, which is not...

How is detachment related to inter-dependence?

Question. How is detachment related to inter-dependence of different individuals upon each other ? Answer. When we speak of detachment we mean detaching of the mind from the idea that it is the body, and the detaching, finally, of his very feeling of limitations by...

Does Yoga inhibit people from producing great art?

Question. In view of the fact that many of the greatest works of art have been produced by people in a state of emotional stress and troubled mind, would not the practice of Yoga by such people inhibit them from producing such works of art ? Answer. The great works of...

Are there two kinds of Yoga, spiritual and physical ?

Question. Are there two kinds of Yoga, spiritual and physical ? Answer. The Adhyatma Yoga taught here is purely a spiritual teaching. It has nothing to do with the practice of physical exercises or breathing. These things are a separate teaching altogether and are not...

Does Yoga make people more selfish ?

Question. Does Yoga make people more selfish ? Answer. If it makes you more selfish to be more tolerant, to be more compassionate and understanding, to realise that your own essence is the same as everyone else, to help where you can, to practise universal love, to...

What is the Yogic definition of wisdom ?

Question. What is the Yogic definition of wisdom if there is such a definition ? Answer. A quick definition is  enlightened action. It implies many of the things one has tried to convey in the talk, namely a broadening of the outlook and a broadening of the vision,...

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