Secrets of our destiny

April 15, 2012 By François Gautier
The mainspring of every race lies in its spirituality, and the death of that race begins the day that spirituality wanes and materialism gains ground,” said Swami Viv-ekananda more than a hundred years ago.

India is a vast and ancient land, which till now has managed to keep within herself, by the stubborn will of her people and the silent tapasayas of her yogis hidden in her Himalayan caves, the ultimate knowledge — the secret of our destinies.

At a time when the world has never been feeling so lost, when man has forgotten the why and how of his existence and all religions seem to have failed, India may hold the key to man’s future.

What is this knowledge? Take pranayama for instance. This extraordinary technique brings, very quickly, wonderful results in both the well-being of the body and the quietude of the mind. Pushed to perfection, it gives to the disciple deep spiritual experiences and a true inner perception of the world.

Sri Sri Ravi Shankar has revitalised pranayama with his Sudarshan Kriya technique and repackaged it in simple but powerful forms that can be practised daily by anybody, whatever their origin and religion.

And what about hata-yoga, also a 5,000-year-old technique, which has inspired all kinds of aerobic, so-called yoga techniques and gymnastic drills around the world today? Practised properly, it brings health, strength and endurance to the body. It was the secret of the Indian yogi’s incredible longevity. And like in pranayama, its exercises, results and particularities are so well documented that there is a solution for each problem of the human body, an application for each part of the human anatomy.

That brings us to meditation — the queen of all the yogic sciences. That which is above everything, which interiorises us, carries us within ourselves, to the discovery of our true soul and nature.

There are hundreds of different meditation techniques, simple, easy to practice, which have been devised by the Indian sages since the dawn of time. Each one has its own characteristics, each one gives particular results. India is full of ashrams, of yogis, of masters, who are still keeping all those amazing sciences alive. From the tip of Cape Comorin to Kashmir, you cannot go to a place in this country without finding some spiritual locale, some sadhu practising a particular tapasaya, some course in meditation for householders. You have just to step out of the big cities, the five star hotels, the mad traffic and enter India’s countryside and you will again experience India’s immortal dharma.

Yet, sadly, the leaders of independent India never integrated this knowledge into the social fabric of the country. What do you think would happen if these ancient arts, still alive in India, were officially recognised and utilised in everyday life? What do you think would happen for instance if pranayama was systematically taught to sportsmen from the beginning of their training? It would be difficult to beat Indian athletes, because through this marvellous technique they could achieve perfect concentration. What would happen if Indian businessmen used pranayama? It would double their capacity for work and endow them with enthusiasm for their tasks. Or if schoolchildren were taught — at a very early age — the combined techniques of pranayama, hata-yoga, meditation and Ayurveda?

India’s spirituality must not come under attack as Swami Vivekananda had predicted it could be — at the expense of materialism. Thank God, India’s yogis, gurus and teachers are going all around the world to spread this wonderful knowledge and there are more and more people in the West who are interested in Indian sciences, who practiSe pranayama, hata-yoga, or meditation. And perhaps India may well officially recognise its spiritual inheritance because the West will become more and more enamoured of it. Just like Japan began, in the late forties, to hark back to its martial art techniques, Zen Buddhism, or Ikebana, when America began to take a great liking to them.

Contact the writer at francoisgautier@


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