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The following is a translation of "Practical Course of Advanced Yoga and elements of medical diagnostics and healing" published in 1991 in Russian in Vestnik magazine (www.vestnik.com). This course is based on methods and lectures of V.I.Orlov. In addition, this course draws on the experience and the publications of V.Antonov, G.Statsenko, Ya.Koltunov, S.Mitrofanov, B.Sakharov, V.R.B. and author's own experience.

Vadim Finn



Yoga is not a religion. You are not required to believe in what the teacher tells you; follow the technique and you will be convinced in his correctness. Yoga is a summarization of two thousand years of experience in psychophysical training. Try to rid of skepticism with time though, you can't learn everything on your own, by trial and error - that takes energy and time; believing the teacher shortens the path.

* * *

Let's begin by looking at the basic ethical principles of Yoga, known as Yama.

The first and foremost Yama principle is Ahimsa – causing no harm. The most complete formulation of Ahimsa sounds like this:

Do not cause harm to live creatures in your actions, words, thoughts, feelings and subconscious impulses.

The immediate corollary of Ahimsa is vegetarian, or, more precisely, an egg-dairy-vegetable diet. Historically the Ahimsa principle was numerously debated and "corrected". For instance, Mahatma Gandhi spoke of Ahimsa of kshatriya (warrior), who ought to impassively carry out his military duty without fear, anger or hatred. Even in one of the fundamental texts of Yoga, "Bhagavad Gita", Krishna inspires kshatriya Arjuna for participation in the battle. In reality, this question is not so simple. To fully observe the letter of Ahimsa it would be necessary to amend it in almost every particular instance. The essential part here is that Ahimsa has to be followed, within the limits of the possible, as some ideal principle. However - without the unnecessary fanaticism, that in itself would surely result in violation of Ahimsa.

The second ethical principal is Satya - truthfulness. The only permissible violation of Satya is when it comes in contradiction with the more important principle - Ahimsa.

The third principle - Asteya - the lack of aspiration for possessing things and titles, not earned by the sweat of one's brow.

The fourth principle - Aparigraha - do not aspire for possessing things and titles, which aren't absolutely necessary.

The fifth and last principle - Brahmacharya is sexual physical, intellectual and emotional continence (celibacy). If you can't observe Brahmacharya for an extended period of time, say, several months, you can not expect good results.

The traits of character, necessary for observing Yama, are:

Kshama - tolerance to any heterodoxy;

Daya - profound benevolence;

Arjava - utmost simplicity, straightforwardness in personal contacts;

Hri - humbleness, humility, lack of pride or arrogance.

* * *

The following group of six principles, joined under one name - Niyama, have a far lower priority than the principles of Yama:

Shaucha - keep your body and bowels clean;

Mitahara - eat clean food, do not use tea, coffee, alcohol;

Santosha - keep a positive emotional disposition;

Svadhyaya - conduct philosophical reflections, conversations and readings, directed toward comprehension of life's purpose and self-perfection;

Tapas - observe self-restraint;

Ishvara Pranidhana - experience constant feeling of presence of higher wisdom and higher power in life.

* * *

This group of eleven principles - Yama-Niyama - is fundamental and the most important part of Yoga. Without proficiency in this stage of Yoga it is useless to go any further.

Yama-Niyama is usually acquired through regular extensive lessons of the teacher with the disciples, when there is a feed-back. A preliminary introduction to Yama-Niyama typically takes a year of serious work with the teacher. This work does not stop with moving on to next stages of Yoga. The serious problem with Yoga is that Yoga without a teacher is simply impossible. One, who is not wholly evolved, generally speaking, can't have an impartial detached view of oneself. It's important to note that not everyone familiar with the general principles (of Yoga) can conduct lessons without assistance, be a teacher. I think that besides good schooling under his belt and at least 20 years of "being on the path" a teacher should have the ability to confidently see color aura of all (subtle) bodies of the disciple including the auras of astral and mental bodies, should be capable of reconstructing the outline of aura using handwriting, photograph and/or the style of writing.

Yama-Niyama is learned through examples. Here are three abbreviated cases in point, derived from the answers to questions from the last in-person session.

* * *

In U.S. we easily lose old friends. For instance, you believe your friend has let you down, deceived you, acted unethically towards you. And you, naturally, got offended. Ten years has passed and you still maintain your distance. So, for ten years you eat no meat and think that you conduct yourself in a righteous manner. However, in reality all these ten years you flagrantly violate the Yama-Niyama laws.

So, how does one behave in a case like this? To start with – do not judge, and you will not be judged. If your friend is – let’s put it this way – from you camp, i.e. his ideology, his principles are not foreign to yours, those minor mistakes that you thought you saw should’ve been simply ignored. Firstly, because those mistakes were in all likelihood a figment of your imagination. Secondly, because they were most likely forced by his circumstances, for you are not privy to someone else’s mind. And thirdly, your anger and intolerance make your own life useless and unsuccessful, and this once exhibited intolerance will fill your existence with constant disappointments.

How long does it take to mend a transgression like that? Generally, for not very serious offences your “term” is said to be a half of the period during which you behaved improperly. In this case you will be a debtor for about five years. This is why it’s so important to immediately resolve any possible problems.

* * *

In U.S., a certain stratification easily occurs: you begin to maintain contacts only with people of a similar income level and also enjoy giving advice to newly arrived immigrants. This stratification is certainly a transgression, a sin of arrogance and selfishness. But if you don’t offend anybody personally, it is a rather minor failing that in the first degree of approximation does not violate so called karmic laws which we will discuss later. You have a right to and you ought to limit your social circle. But limit it not to individuals of the same income, but – to subtle, spiritually inclined people.

* * *

In U.S. we turn into more honest businessmen, but, because of a greater dissociation, in general, we become more deceitful in personal communications; we are more inclined to brag about our real and imaginary achievements. For example, you, unemployed, meet a successful colleague and, trying to end your conversation quicker, casually mention that you are disillusioned about the academic career and now work for a company. It appears as if you didn’t offend anyone and everybody will forgive such an untruth, but a lie is a lie, it creates unnatural, unhealthy relations and, of course, a lie is absolutely unacceptable for someone striving towards spirituality. It is better to err on a humble side than to show off.

* * *

If you analyze your life, you can find numerous examples of Yama-Niyama violations. The more of these you can find, the more adequately you can evaluate them, the more precisely you will make up a plan to correct them and the more consistently you will realize that plan - the sooner you will cleanse yourself. Write to me using the magazine’s general address, ask questions. I will not be able to provide personal replies to most letters, but I will respond to all the questions, directly or indirectly, in the lectures.

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