The Yogi philosophy comprises the teachings which have come down the centuries of thought, investigation, experiment and demonstration on the part of the advanced minds of the Yogi Masters of India, Chaldea. Persia, Egypt and Ancient Greece-down to the present time-from Master to Student-Guru to Chela. It is the oldest philosophy in the world, although to the western world it comes as a new message – a Message from the East.
There have been in all ages certain highly developed, advanced and exalted souls in the flesh, known as the Yogi Masters and Adepts, although many of the tales told concerning them are myths, or pure fiction originating in the minds of some modern sensational writers.
The Master Yogis have passed from lower to higher planes of consciousness, thus gaining wisdom, power and qualities that seem almost miraculous to the man of the ordinary consciousness. A Hindu writer speaking of them has said: “To him who hath travelled far along The Path, sorrow ceases to trouble; fetters cease to bind, obstacles cease to hinder. Such a one is free. For him there is no more trouble or sorrow. For him there are no more unconscious rebirths. His old Karma is exhausted, and he creates no new Karma. His heart is freed from the desire for future life. No new longings arise within his soul. He is like a lamp which burneth from the oil of the Spirit, and not from the oil of the outer world.
The Master Yogis are able to pass through material obstacles, walls, ramparts, etc.; he is able to throw his phantasmal appearance in many places at once. He acquires the power of hearing the sounds of the unseen world as distinctly as those of the phenomenal world, more distinctly in point of fact. Also by his power he is able to read the most secret thoughts of others, and to tell their characters.” Such are the Yogi Masters.
THE REAL AND THE IMITATION.
The Western student is apt to be somewhat confused in his ideas regarding the Yogis and their philosophy and practice. Travelers to India have written great tales about the hordes of fakirs, mendicants and mounte banks who infest the great roads of India and the streets of its cities, and who impudently claim the title “Yogi.”
The Western student is scarcely to be blamed for thinking of the typical Yogi as an emaciated, fanatical, dirty, ignorant Hindu, who either sits in a fixed posture until his body becomes ossified, or else holds his arm up in the air until it becomes stiff and withered and for ever after remains in that position, or perhaps clenches his fist and holds it tight until his fingernails grow through the palm of his hands. That these people exist is true, but their claim to the title “Yogi” seems as absurd to the true Yogi as does the claim to the title “Doctor” on the part of the man who pares one’s corns seem to the eminent surgeon, or as does the title of “Professor,” as assumed by the street corner vendor of worm medicine, seem to the President of Harvard or Yale.
THE SCIENCE OF YOGA.
There have been for ages past in India and other Oriental countries Yogi Masters who devoted their time and attention to the development of Man, physically, mentally and spiritually. The experience of generations of earnest seekers has been handed down for centuries from teacher to pupil, and gradually a definite Yoga science was built up. To these investigations and teachings was finally applied the term “Yogi,” from the Sanscrit word ” Yug,” meaning ” to join.”