From the Jacket
Born in October, 1927, Mr. J.C. Singhal, author of this book hails from Shahbad Markanda, as modest but flourishing town in Kurukshetra district of the state of Haryana, India. Having done his matriculation from the local DAV high school, he prosecuted his further studies at the D.A.V College Lahore and later at the D.A.V College Jalandhar city in Punjab, from where he did his Master of Arts in Sanskrit at Punjab University. Thereafter he taught Sanskrit to undergraduates at the A.S. College, Khanna (Punjab) for three years.
Mr. Singhal was keenly desirous of prosecuting further studies at the Oxford University in the United Kingdom; but circumstances refused to oblige him toward the fulfillment of this consuming passion. Much against his natural inclination he then decided to compete for the Central Civil Services of the Government of India. He succeeded therein and joined the Indian Railways as an officer of the Indian Railway Accounts Service. Having served the Railways for about 33 years, he finally retired from the post of Financial Adviser and Chief Accounts Officer of the Northern Railway, New Delhi.
Mr. Singhal served as President of various Welfare Associations such as Indian Railway Accounts Service Officers’ Association, Federation of Railway Officers Associations and All- India Confederation of Central Government Officers Association with remark- able success.
During his Railway service Mr. Singhal also took the law degree from Deliri University. After retirement he. In this book Shri Singhal has brought together an impressive corpus of information on theories aspects of Yoga. A Evidently he has studied this topic in great depth, and this book will, I am sure, be a trove of valuable information for students and practitioners of Yoga not only in India but around the world.
I commend the author for his profound study and am happy to present this, book to all those who realize the deep significance of Yoga and its capacity to help us face the unique challenge and opportunities that lie before us in the rapidly globalising world.
practiced as an advocate in the High Court of Delhi and the Supreme Court A of India. He also served as President of the Bar Association of the Central Administrative Tribunal, Principal Bench, New Delhi.
During the span of Railway service he spent a good deal of leisure time in the study Western literature. After his retirement, he once again devoted himself to the study of ancient Indian literature in Sanskrit, both Vedic and classical. During the last about 4-5 decades, Yoga has gained popularity virtually throughout the Globe. But, Mr. Singhal felt a keen disappointment and anguish over the erroneous impression of Yoga perpetrated by those (mostly Indians) interested in the commercial exploitation of this unique gift of India to humanity at large. It is this anguish which has ultimately resulted in the writing of this book which presents an authentic and holistic view of Yoga as expounded by the ancient sages of India.
Apart from Yoga, Mr. Singhal has done serious study of Indian astrology and the Biochemic system of medicine. Occasionally, he diverts himself by v penning pieces of Urdu poetry. Divine Grace has also blessed him with the gift of oratory.
Yoga is one of the glories of India’s civilisation, a profound concept involving multiple methodologies for joining the Ataman and the Brahman, the divine within and the all pervasive divine. In fact, the word Yoga comes from the same root as the English word Yoke which implies joining. The physical exercises and asanas that are popularly known as Yoga around the world are indeed very helpful for maintaining good health and a supple body, but they represent only a small part of Hatha Yoga which itself is one of several major yogic methodologies.
As the learned author of this book Shri J .C. Singhal points out, Yoga goes all the way back to the Upanishads, and has been developed and rearticulated by great masters from age to age down to the present day. In this book Shri Singhal has brought together an impressive corpus of information on theories aspects of Yoga. Evidently he has studied this topic in great depth, and this book will, I am sure, be a trove of valuable information for students and practitioners of Yoga not only in India but around the world.
An interesting aspect of the book is that he has referred not only to classical commentators such as Adi Shankracharya A but also to more recent scholars and spiritual leaders such as Prof. Max Mueller, Swami Shivananda, Swami Vivekananda and Sri Aurobindo. I commend the author for his profound study and am happy to present this book to all those who realize the deep significance of Yoga and its capacity to help us face the unique challenge and opportunities that lie before us in the rapidly globalising world.
The market-both Indian and global-is flooded with books on Yoga, displaying fancy titles. Where, then, is the need to add to such a glut? This is further accentuated by the fact that I do not even claim to be a Yogi! On the face of it, the superfluity seems obvious. But a deeper probe will reveal that this is not so. While it is true that in the market there is a glut of books on Yoga, it is also equally true that there are hardly any books on Yoga which have dealt with the subject comprehensively. By now it should be common knowledge that there are several paths to Yoga; but the books available in the market deal only with a few aspects of Yoga, not all. As such the reader only gets a partial view of the subject. There are some books, for example, which deal with the Path of Action (Karma Yoga); others deal with the aspect of the Path of Knowledge (Jnana Yoga), and so on.
The bulk of the books available, however, deal with that aspect of Yoga called Astanga Yoga (Yoga of Eight Parts). It also goes by the name of Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, it is noticed that the nomenclature has been employed rather indiscriminately.
Having said all this, it must be noted that there are some excellent books which have dealt with the subject comprehensively. The masterly treatment given to the subject of Yoga by Swami Vivekananda and Maharsi Aurobindo is unmatched. It is unique. But here, it may be humbly stated, the practical details required by the beginner are not to be found. For example, both the masters have extensively dealt with Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga, but they do not give the practical details of Asanas, Pranayama, Mudras, etc. This is one reason for writing this book.
Thanks to the efforts of some Indian enthusiasts, Yoga has become as popular in the West as it is in India. But what sort of Yoga is it that has become so popular? It is not the Yoga of Knowledge-(Jnana). It is also not the Yoga of Devotion (Bhakti). Nor is it the Yoga of Action (Karma). Overwhelmingly, it is the Astanga Yoga-the Eight Part Yoga. It would be a boon for humanity, if this Astanga Yoga to practiced in right earnest and to its logical end. The Eight Part Yoga begins from Yama and traverses through the various stages culminating in Samadhi the eighth and last part. In the popular zeal, the first two parts viz Yama and Niyama have virtually vanished. Yoga aims high i.e., virtual release of every individual human being from misery and unhappiness. The aspirant who decides to follow this course requires a lot of determination and will power to mould himself mentally in a way which becomes conducive in that progress. The first two stages are meant just for that preparation. The five constituents of Yama are- (i) Non-violence (ii) Truth (iii) Non-stealing (iv) Celibacy or at least controlled and regulated sex sanctioned by religious command and (v) Non-grabbing or non avariciousness.
All these are to be practiced in right earnest. But who is doing it? These can be skipped?
The same is the case with the second part i.e, Niyamas, which has five constituents, viz, (i) Personal cleanliness (ii) Contentment (iii) Imposition self-control like fasting, etc. (ri), (iv) Study of religions and similar literature, which purifies the self and finally (v) Complete surrender to the Will to God.
All the above are necessary adjuncts to achieving the most difficult stage of utter emptiness of he Mind.
Man is in a hurry. He wants a 'quick fix.' The Yoga enthusiast, therefore, loves to ignore the above mentioned first two stages and jumps to the third stage viz, Asana - postures of physical exercise-promising perfect health. Here is a miraculous system of achieving perfect health from the Mystic East! Grab it. The eastern practitioner claiming to be Master of Yoga assesses the Western psyche and seizes the opportunity to fully exploit its commercial potential. In due course a plethora of books on Yoga with title pages displaying all sorts of complicated Asanas-physical postures including that of Nataraja have entired the market. Thus, Yoga has been successfully reduced to the level of ultimate system of physical exercise, one which can cure all conceivable diseases of the world. The curious and gullible practitioner is highly impressed. Combine with it a few breathing exercises to relieve the mental stress. And the picture is complete.
Our ancient sages, who expounded Yoga never claimed that the Yogic exercises are a perfect substitute for medicine, ancient or modern, to cure diseases. If that were so, the highly advanced ancient system of medicine, i.e., Ayurveda, would not have been found. There is, therefore, no need to make tall claims they do go a long way in keeping diseases at bay, when the practitioner chooses to observe a proper diet regime and a conducive lifestyle.
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