The spiritual quest
begins with an awakening to the fact that the sense-perceived world of
fleeting enjoyments is the abode of sorrow—where everything is uncertain
and where a person finds nobody to call his or her own. The seeker feels
intensely restless for the vision of Reality and struggles hard to reach
The spiritual quest, from the point of view of yoga, is an inward
journey—a journey through the layers of our mind, through
the wilderness of temptations, desires, and delusions. The journey
has its peaks and valleys, hopes and despairs. The journey is a solitary
one, and the seeker's only companion is his or her own mind,
known for its proverbial instability and restlessness. The seeker is
required to train and educate the mind, distinguish between the
facts and myths of life, and prepare for facing temporary setbacks
common on the path. The yoga scriptures give us signposts on the
path, by which we can judge our progress toward the goal. The
Bhagavad Gita tells us that yoga puts an end to all sorrows of life
when it is rightly practiced, and practice becomes right when it is
steadfast, unbroken, and sincere. Yoga is both light and fire. Before
it brings enlightenment, it burns everything false and imaginary.
All our desires, enchantments, delusions, and attachments are consumed
by that fire. Yoga is raising the blaze of Self-awareness.
About the author:
Swami Adiswarananda, a senior monk of the Ramakrishna Order of India, is
the Minister and Spiritual Leader of the Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Center
of New York. A noted writer and speaker, he is the author of The
Vedanta Way to Peace and Happiness and Meditation and Its Practices: A Definitive Guide to
Techniques and Traditions of Meditation in Yoga and Vedanta (both SkyLight Paths). He is also the editor of Sri Ramakrishna, the Face
of Silence and Sri Sarada Devi, The Holy Mother: Her Teachings
and Conversations (SkyLight Paths).
"Swami Adiswarananda's discussion of the
yogic paths, and the goals and milestones on the journey to
self-realization, is a must read for any person with a sincere interest
in the perennial spiritual wisdom. Both scholarly and accessible, it is
truly a guidebook to liberation.
—Joan Borysenko, PhD,
author of Minding the Body, Mending the Mind
Woman's Journey to God
accessible account of Hindu spirituality, rendered profound by the
insights of Swami Adiswarananda. Both instructive and highly readable, I
commend it to anyone with an interest in searching for a path toward
answers to the timeless questions of human existence."
the United Nations
and author of The Great Indian Novel
Midnight to the Millennium
"I recommend this wonderful book to all
seekers of spiritual quest. It defines
Yoga as a `Light of Fire.'
I as a rabbi define Torah
the same way. People reading this book will find joy, love, wisdom
and many blessings."
Joseph H. Gelberman,
senior rabbi of the New Synagogue of New York,
founder of the All Faiths Seminary International