Written by Mouni Sadhu
Excerpted from www.hinduism.co.za
The great Rishi, Bhagawan Sri Ramana Maharshi – unlike most yogis and many saints of the present day, does not recommend yogic practices as a condition for the highest and perennial spiritual achievement, called by him ‘Self-realisation’. He dismisses from that aim, all the cumbersome postures, breathing exercises, control of the pranic-currents (currents of the Prana in the human body and so of Nature itself), and so on. In fact, he seldom even mentioned them in his talks.
So the Direct Path to spiritual attainment, as shown by the Maharshi, does not require any unnatural body postures, often so difficult to perform for the majority of people; none of the efforts of Hatha Yoga, which can be dangerous unless practised under the direct supervision of a competent teacher, and no artificial mental practices of concentration. All such things lead nowhere unless accompanied by the elements of spiritual enlightenment, a fact which is firmly underlined by Sri Shankaracharya in his ‘Viveka Chudamani’.
Now I see clearly that these things belong to a closed and bewitched circle. For years, I and some of my closest occult friends practised many kinds of ‘outer-yogas’ but without any results worthy of our efforts. Of course, some of these exercises were good for our physical health, especially for stilling the nerves, cultivating a beautiful voice, and so forth. But these advantages only remained with us as long as we continued regularly to perform the exercises. A pause for even a few weeks deprived us of all the hard earned benefits we had gained at the cost of such effort and waste of time. No true and permanent peace of mind could be obtained, although for that purpose I made intense use of Japa (repetition) with the best mantras.