by Jenness Cortez Perlmutter ©2007
Putting Death To
Life of a Spiritual Warrior
Perlmutter (Ram Lev)
This may be called the computer age, but it could as aptly be called an
age of death. If you honestly examine your own world, you'll observe
many ways that death hangs heavy in the air.
The twenty-four hour news business and the mind's lack of detachment and
discrimination have combined to make the fear of death and loss a
cultural obsession. The media's constant coverage of terrorism, domestic
violence, recession, war, disease, natural and man-made calamities, the
ineptitude of government and the decrepitude of old age serves up
endless, disturbing reminders of our own mortality. Generally, when
faced with this relentless barrage, our automatic response is to avoid
any thoughtful examination of the issue. Instead, we tend to distract
ourselves with some short-term pleasurable experience that consumes our
attention. But this diversion from examining the hard facts of life also
leaves unintended painful consequences in its wake.
Because death plays a part in so many important relationships in our
lives, there is an imperative to confront and examine our notion of what
death really means. As response-able individuals we need to consider how
we will act when finally we must face the prospect of our own
death. Yoga Science does not segregate us from death. Instead, it
provides both a science and a philosophy that teach us how to become
spiritual warriors. Yoga instructs us how to do battle with the very concept
of death, and ultimately, to put death itself to death. In the process,
we are rewarded by becoming exquisitely skilled in the art of living.
More than two thousand years ago this noble confrontation with death
helped transform Prince Siddhartha Gautama into the Compassionate
Buddha. According to legend, Prince Siddhartha was sheltered as a youth
in a palace of luxury and pleasure by his father, the king. When
Siddhartha, at age 29, ventured out of the palace for the first time
with his charioteer Channa, he came upon an old man. When the prince
asked about the decrepit condition of this person, Channa replied that
aging was something that happened to every human being. For the pampered
prince, the sight was thought-provoking.
Siddhartha next came upon a sick person suffering from a disease. The
prince was again surprised at the sight. Channa told him that everyone
is subject to disease and pain. This second sight further troubled the
Then Siddhartha saw a corpse lying on the side of the road. Channa
explained that death is the inevitable fate that comes to everyone.
After viewing these sights the young prince grew quiet, sorrowful and
contemplative about the sufferings that have to be endured in life.
As he pondered these three sobering sights, Siddhartha encountered an
ascetic who had devoted himself to finding a way beyond human suffering.
Hearing of such a possibility, the compassionate prince felt an inward
call. For Siddhartha the experience of these four sightings was
profound. The curtain that had once limited his consciousness was torn
open, and as a result, he set out on a quest to discover for himself how
a human being can become free from decay and death.
After years of study and experiments with Truth, the answer came to him
in the climax of meditation called samadhi. Blessed with clear
vision, the Buddha--now a reflection of the Supreme Physician--saw death
as a terminal illness of the body, an illness that can be conquered.
Through his earnest practice of Yoga Science, he finally knew that death
of the body is a process that begins at birth. As Prince Siddhartha, he
had suffered from the emotional pain of this terminal illness because of
his identification with the body. But he was cured through the practice
of meditation. Then, as a teacher relying on personal experience, he
could prescribe a treatment for anyone who believes that death of the
body is annihilation.
Your own all-consuming desire to conquer death can lead you to
experience the great adventure that beckons with the promise: "You
were born to put death to death." You don't need to buy or find
anything. You don't need to travel to far-off lands. You need only to
remove the veil of ignorance that now conceals the real, eternal You.
Death, like birth, the sages say, is simply a habit of the body. For
those who have the will to undertake the supreme scientific experiment
in the laboratory of their own mind, with their own mind, it is possible
to go beyond death--not after physical death, but here and now, in this
very lifetime. As the great mystical poet Kabir wrote, "O
Friend, know Him and be one with Him while you live. Don't dream that
your soul will be united with Him because the body-house is demolished
by death. If He is realized now, He is realized then too; if not, you
but go to live in the Land of Death."
When the mind is swept away by the media's fear-mongering, we must never
forget that the goal of human life is nothing less than the conquest of
death. There is no more monstrous superstition on the face of the earth
than the belief that, "I am the body; I am the mind." In the
Judeo-Christian-Muslim traditions this phenomenon is referred to as The
Fall. It is a forgetting and forsaking of the Truth that the
"Real I" is immortal and eternal in favor of the delusion that
"I am the mortal and separate body that some day must die."
The great value of this human life is that it provides both the capacity
and the means to end our suffering. We no longer have to remain victims
of the pernicious superstition that "I am the body; when the body
dies, I die." Right now we have a human body, mind and
discriminative faculty--all the requisites for making the transition
from the mortal to the immortal. The sages promise that we can be free
from death in this very lifetime. Further, they urge us not to postpone
the endeavor. "Enlightenment," Swami Rama of the Himalayas
said, "is our birth right--a state free from pains, miseries and
bondages. It is not something to be acquired or something new. It is
already within us." Each of us can realize this eternal state by
becoming spiritual warriors, bravely transforming our habits and
purifying our personalities. Providence has granted us this rare
opportunity to make ourselves fit to receive our full inheritance. This
is our primary challenge as human beings.
To be free from all limitations--including death--and to fulfill the
purpose of your life, you must recognize that you are a citizen of two
worlds. Clearly, you are a citizen of the ever-changing material world
of animal, vegetable and mineral matter. In this familiar environment,
the body is your vehicle for action and the mind is your most powerful
instrument. For every action your body-mind-sense complex takes, a
consequence results that can lead us toward happiness and security or
toward unhappiness and insecurity.
You are also a citizen of the distinctly non-material, yet profoundly
real world of consciousness. Within this subtle world exists an
intuitive library of knowledge that unerringly identifies which of your
possible actions will lead you to victory over death, and to peace,
happiness and freedom from fear in life.
When, as a citizen of the material world, your outer actions reflect the
perfection of your inner, quantum wisdom, you will be led for your
highest and greatest good. The choice to base your outer action on your
own inner wisdom is the essence of all forms of Yoga Science. Yoga means
union, and the heart and science of Yoga provides a reliable blueprint
for building a trustworthy, ever-accessible bridge to the super
conscious portion of the mind. As you rely more completely on your own
inner wisdom, you enhance your confidence and skill in dealing with
common, everyday situations and effectively remove death's sword of
mortality that now dangles over your head.
Contemplating "Who am I?"
present desire for unbounded peace and security--even through the great
transition of death--can be fulfilled if you earnestly contemplate the
question "Who am I?" This inquiry, called vichara in
ancient yogic texts, has been esteemed for thousands of years as a
reliable method of knowing the true Self. If you are sincere and
persistent in posing this question to yourself, the answer will come.
And, as the truth of that answer motivates you to steward the energy of
your innumerable desires, large and small, you will begin to experience
freedom from your fear, anger, anxiety and dis-ease.
This process occurs differently for each human being. Guided by the
teachings of Yoga Science, you will begin to follow your own distinct
path to Self-realization and freedom from death. Each of us has been
born with a unique body-mind-sense complex, and through this vehicle
each of us experiences a different reality. Yet, through that ephemeral
individuality, each human being has the capacity to know union with the
Absolute peace is the fruit of earnestly seeking the answer to the
profound question "Who am I?" The contemplation of this
question begins the systematic, step-by-step procedure that focuses your
mind. With this focus, you can transcend the indiscriminate call of the
senses and the ego's fascination with the past or future. Then, as your
mind becomes ever more focused, you will enter a timeless state as you
become present to the joyful and creative oneness of your own true
Begin this practice by repeatedly asking yourself the question: Who am
I? During the contemplation, remember this: I have a body. I am aware
of the body, but I am not the body. I have a mind. I am aware of the
mind, but I am not the mind. I have thoughts. I am aware of thoughts,
but I am not the thoughts. I have desires. I am aware of desires, but I
am not the desires. I have emotions. I am aware of emotions, but I am
not the emotions. Who, then, is aware of the body? Who is aware of the
mind? Who is aware of the thoughts, desires and emotions? Who is the
thinker of every thought? Who is the experiencer of every experience?
Who is asking these questions? Who am I?
Beginning today, and for the rest of your life, contemplate the question
"Who am I?" If you are earnest in your effort--allowing
consciousness to observe consciousness--the wordless answer will appear,
because the question and the answer are two sides of the same coin.
If you find consternation in your mind, you are reacting from the
limited perspective of the personality. It's a clear indication that the
ego--not the Eternal You--has its hands on the wheel of the bus. When
thoughts, desires and emotions arise in your awareness, do not
automatically pursue them with your attention, but rather, inquire:
"To whom did this thought arise?" It doesn't matter how many
thoughts arise. As each thought arises, inquire with diligence: "To
whom has this thought arisen?" The answer that will emerge is:
"To me." If you earnestly inquire "Who am I?" at
this point, the mind will go deeper to consider its Source, and the
thought that arose will become less seductive. Seeking the answer to the
question "Who am I?" will eventually give rise to the
realization that within you dwells an Eternal Witness which is the
This dialogue requires attentive introspection. Be sensitive and patient
as you consider your feelings and thoughts. Be gentle with yourself, as
you would with any good friend. Don't condemn yourself or be judgmental,
and you will begin to trust your inner Self and realize that there is a
constantly faithful companion and guide residing within.
Twentieth century sage Eknath Easwaran referred to the ancient Katha
Upanishad as "the perfect medical manual of immunology against
death." In this scripture the King of Death himself provides us the
instruction to begin the conquest of death. "You are neither the
body nor the mind, which are subject to change and death,"?he says.
"Both are given to you for the purpose of discovering the seed of
immortality which is in you--which is the Real You--having
a human experience."
For the man or woman who puts death to death, all the debilitating
limitations of age, race, gender, family, tribe, religion, country and
species lose their power. You are neither elated by good fortune nor
depressed by bad. You are grateful for support but are not fearful or
agitated when you encounter opposition. You do not allow your vital
energy to be sapped or misdirected by stress, anxiety, doubt, greed,
guilt, depression, fear or anger. Such is the spiritual warrior.
When you accept the challenge of putting death to death through the
daily practice of Yoga Science as mind-body medicine, you receive
immense motivation to keep the mind and body healthy, happy, free and
active so that both can serve skillfully and lovingly in every
relationship. When you have slain the dragon of death, you, like St.
Francis of Assisi, spontaneously sow love where there is hatred, pardon
where there is injury, faith where there is doubt, hope where there is
despair, light where there is darkness and joy where there is sadness.
In medical terms, your life becomes a living testament to the fact that
"death" is a disease against which we can all build up
Finally, after a life of sacrificing attachments and of selfless
service, the man or woman who has conquered death can gracefully pass
from this world into the next. At the time of that great transition the
spiritual warrior can depart with a gentle exhalation--free of
attachment and fear. At that auspicious moment, without the slightest
break in consciousness, you will know that as life's mission in the
world of time and death has been completed, the Supreme Reality remains
Here is the way Sufi mystic Al-Ghazali explained his impending death to
his students nine hundred years ago: "Say to my brethren when they
see me dead and weep for me, lamenting in sadness: 'Do you really think
I am this corpse you are about to bury? I swear by God, this dead body
is not I. Know that when I walked with you, this body merely served as
my garment that I wore for a while.'"
Speaking as the Lord, Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita reminds us that time
is the destroyer of all. Everything manifest in the material world will,
at some time, pass away. Time is death. It pursues each of us from the
moment we are born. As we grow older and watch family and friends pass
away, we can no longer deny that life and death are two sides of the
same coin. And every death we experience reminds us of our own
inevitable passing. As seventeenth century writer John Donne wrote,
"Ask not for whom the bell tolls. It tolls for thee."
If you are among those who are sensitive to this Truth, it means that
Grace has already provided you the infinitely powerful motivation to
become the spiritual warrior who is destined to compassionately put
death to death. Are you ready to fulfill your destiny?
Leonard is a philosopher, educator, author and
founder of the American Meditation Institute.
To arrange a
workshop or speaking engagement call (518) 674-8714.
"This is no exaggeration:
you were born to put death to death."
"Death is a habit of the soul," Swami Rama often told us.
"Just as you change your clothing each day, your soul also
changes its garment. The body is subject to disease, death and decay.
But the inner dweller is an ancient traveler who continues on its
Swami Rama should know. He was one of the greatest yogis of the 20th
century, a full fledged mahasiddha (highest caliber adept) who
was rumored to leave his body at will to check up on students on the
other side of the planet. I'm not normally a credulous person, but I'm
inclined to believe those tall-sounding tales. I myself have observed
Swami Rama in advanced yogic states, where he sat motionless for
hours, incredibly without any perceptible sign of breathing.
"All of the body is in the mind, but not all of the mind is in
the body," he explained to us. After years of intense spiritual
practice, yogis like him learned to put their bodies into a death-like
state of suspended animation. In one notorious true episode, Swami
Rama left his body in the house of a devotee who promised to look
after it. While the devotee was at work however, a relative stumbled
across the apparently lifeless body. Swamiji actually woke up in the
All this talk about the physical body simply being a garment is very
consoling. We're not really going to die. We'll just discard the body
like a worn out pantsuit but we, the real inner person, will be fine.
We may in fact soon find ourselves reincarnating in a new physical
form, perhaps a healthier or better looking one. Death will be as easy
as trading in our old car for a new model. Whether we trade up to a
Lexus or down to Chevy two-door, the driver at the steering wheel
remains the same.
But then Swami Rama would continue, "At the time of death, the
body, breath and conscious mind fall away." What? That can't be
right! But I am my conscious mind! If my conscious self
perishes, in what sense do I even continue to exist? Many of us raised
in the West believe that "I," the personality I am now, will
continue on forever in some higher world (heaven hopefully). Though
we'll be disembodied, we'll still recognize our family members and
friends when they join us on the other side. We'll be able to shake
Elvis Presley's hand and tell him how much we loved his music. We may
even be able to ask John Kennedy who he thinks really shot him. (It
might be even more interesting to ask Lee Harvey Oswald, but most of
us doubt he'll be living in our neighborhood.)
We may even be able to follow current events in newspapers printed
back on Earth. After all, the obituary sections contain loving
messages to departed relations, as if the dead check the paper every
year on their birthday to see if there's a picture of them with a note
from those left behind, assuring them they still think of them and
miss them."At death, the conscious mind passes away and the
unconscious mind comes forward," Swamiji went on, confusingly. I
didn't like the sound of that. Aren't we supposed to simply "go
into the light" and live happily ever after?
As he explained further, I began to understand a little better. Much
of what we think of as waking consciousness is in fact the activity of
the manas, one function of the mind. Manas sorts and
coordinates the massive amount of sensory data input downloading into
our nervous system every moment, and determines what to call to our
attention. As we step into the street we note that an oncoming truck
will hit us if it doesn't slow down or if we don't speed up. Manas
gives lower priority to the florist shop two blocks from the corner.
We may walk through this neighborhood hundreds of times and never even
notice the shop.
Manas is our work-a-day practical awareness, operating almost
instinctively. Sometimes it seems as if we're sleepwalking through
life, driving to work, doing our job, going home and making supper,
all on automatic, without necessarily being lucidly aware of what
we're doing. Manas is regulating this entire process. We have
to be intensely alert in order to learn to drive, but once we're
comfortable driving, manas takes over so that we can turn our
attention to gossiping on the cell phone as we commute. It controls
sensory and motor function, two functions we no longer need when we
At death, Swamiji was saying, this work-a-day level of consciousness,
so intimately tied into the wiring of our brain, becomes useless and
dissolves with the body. Now another level of our being, which we may
be less familiar with, comes to the forefront of our awareness. As we
lose our ability interact with the external world, or even perceive
it, we enter the inner universe of chitta, the unconscious
This is a sobering thought. You know the Viking in the TV commercial
who demands, "What's in your wallet?" A more pertinent
question is, "What's in your unconscious?" As you move into
the after-death state, what images from the unconscious will command
the field of your awareness? Images of ghosts and ghouls from horror
movies you used to enjoy? Images of people you hate so intensely, you
couldn't stop obsessing about them in life? All the hurt and pain you
weren't able to let go of? Or beautiful memories of those you love, or
images of saints and angels from your childhood?
Shockingly, Swami Rama insisted there is no heaven or hell but the one
we carry around inside ourselves. Without the distraction of the
external world provided by our physical senses, the dream-like world
of the unconscious will fill the screen of our awareness in the
disembodied state. That's when it will really matter whether we used
our meditation time to distinguish between the silent inner witness
and the vast field of mental content within it. Were we able to defuse
the bombs in our unconscious by maintaining a serene state of mental
balance and calmly letting go of inner imagery that disturbed,
frightened, angered or saddened us? We all have thoughts and memories
we wouldn't want to meet alone in a dark alley, or in the state after
Fascinatingly, in some ancient cultures people practiced their death
in advance, in hopes of making the actual experience less onerous. In
Egypt people learned complex formulas and detailed visualizations
involving familiar deities. During the destabilizing process of
leaving the body, they would call these visualizations to mind and
inwardly chant hymns they had carefully memorized. This created a
stable mental world in the out-of-body state.
Today we plunge fearfully into death as if we were being thrown into
the deep end of the pool without having first learned how to swim.
Buddhists initiated in texts like the Tibetan Book of the Dead were
ready for what comes after. Hindu aspirants also visualized elaborate yantras
peopled by caring deities; this is what their unconscious was
conditioned to project for them after death.
Swami Rama constantly insisted that our mantra is the only friend that
will accompany us through the after-death experience. If we have made
it a prominent feature of our spiritual life, it acts as a sounding
beacon after death to call us back to our meditative center-this is
especially useful when scary or upsetting images emerge from the chitta.
The mantra becomes an anchor to stabilize our awareness in the choppy
seas of subconscious imagery.
In a very real sense, our meditation practice is a dress rehearsal for
death. We slow down our breath (yogis stop theirs almost completely),
withdraw our awareness from our limbs, from our energy state, from our
usual mental preoccupations, and calmly abide in the witnessing
consciousness that adepts tell us survives both death and birth.
This insistence that we ourselves are responsible for our state after
death is very different from the New Age view where, like Patrick
Swayze in Ghost, we say a temporary goodbye to the people we
love and then walk into the light. Swami Rama told us this inner light
really exists; when yogis withdraw their awareness through the anandamaya
kosha (the subtlemost sheath of the soul), they too see that
light. Numbers of people who've had near-death experiences report
seeing a light that beams at them with unconditional love and wisdom.
They want to merge in the light, but then remember unfinished business
on Earth and return to their bodies.
We assume everyone else simply enters the light. Not so, according to
the yogis. The vast majority of people have unfinished business-it's
just that their body is no longer viable so they need to be reborn in
order to fulfill their desires and learn the lessons they need to
learn. They never do enter the light-not till they're ready to freely
and completely let go of everything below. Early Christian literature
exhaustively described this transition, as we see from the many
ancient Christian texts discovered at Nag Hammadi in Egypt in 1945.
Modern religion rarely focuses on this aspect of spiritual life
anymore, nor surprisingly does the New Age movement.
Sometimes people who survive a potentially fatal experience report
they saw their entire life flash in front of their eyes in a second.
Suddenly everything came together-they understood how the pieces all
fit, what they were being taught, where they were being led. In the
Indian tradition it's said that at the moment of enlightenment all our
past lives flash in front of our eyes. Suddenly even the tragedies,
even the injustice, all makes sense. The enlightened one learns, and
Today though, we're carefully shielded from the reality of death.
Cosmeticians in funeral homes make our loved ones look as if they're
"only sleeping," so we the survivors are partially spared
the grim starkness of decay and death. People who once refused to eat
food with preservatives are now pumped full of preservatives
themselves, packed in a box, and stored in the root cellar of the
In the Katha Upanishad, a young boy approaches the King of Death,
determined to both understand and master the process of immortality.
Perhaps we modern yoga students too should look to the lesson of our
mortality with a similar innocent and eager sense of inquiry. The
ancient traveler within us is not our work-a-day conscious mind, nor
is it the vast churning sea of our unconscious. Beyond the waking,
dreaming, and deep sleep states, beyond embodied life and disembodied
being, lies the true Self Swami Rama encouraged us all to get to know.
Linda Johnsen, M.S., is a regular contributor to Transformation and
author of eight books, including Lost Masters: The Sages of Ancient
Greece, which describes the amazingly Yoga-like teachings of many
ancient Western spiritual teachers like Empedocles and Plotinus.
Purposefully and Dying Gracefully
by Swami Rama of
spite of all the wealth and ease of modern life, people are not
content. They are not happy because of their attitude toward the
objects of the world and toward their relationships with others.
Throughout their lives they uphold the notion that they must have more
and more possessions. They have a similar notion about relationships
and maintain that something is to be received from a relationship
rather than given. Instead of simply enjoying the objects and people
in their lives, they cling to them, own them, and fear losing them.
Over the course of a lifetime of needing, having and clinging, the
fear of death grows and hovers, creating a spiral of more need,
greater fear and inescapable pain. In this way life cannot be lived
effectively and is merely squandered. Death is feared, denied, and
pushed as far away from consciousness as possible instead of being
accepted as a natural and inevitable part of human experience. Thus,
no one is prepared for death.
To understand death, a person must try to understand the purpose of
life and the relationship between life and death. The two are
partners, each providing a context for the other. Death is not a
period, but merely a pause on a long journey. When life and death are
accepted as having real meaning and purpose, and death is understood
and accepted as part of the human journey, then the fear of death
disappears and life can be lived fully.
Out of the tumult of human life eventually comes the decision to look
for lasting peace and joy within. This real treasure, the Eternal
Witness (Atman), is buried under layers of ego, desires, emotions,
habits and other imbedded thought patterns.
But peeling away the layers of ego, emotions and habit patterns is not
so easy. All that is heaped over the buried treasure must be removed.
The decision to look for the treasure is only the beginning of the
hunt. The debris that covers the treasure is identified as the
illusion called maya. On account of the attraction and charms
of the world, one is not conscious of the Real Eternal Self. To
experience that truth the seeker must begin the digging in earnest.
This excavation process is the reason for worldly human existence.
Knowing which tools to use and when to use them is the art of living.
This work is life, and it is a magnificent adventure with our true
Eternal Self as the treasure and goal.
We learn as we gradually dig, scrape, and peel off the layers of what
is not our real and permanent nature, until finally the work is done
and we know who our true Self is. This is why we come to this world,
why we create it and why we compose the dramas that are enacted across
The goal of life is not the drama being played, but the lessons that
it offers. Every human being is the playwright of her or his own
drama. Unfortunately, they fail to remember that the drama of life is
just that, a play that is momentarily being acted out for the desired
result of Self-realization. Instead of understanding life as a play,
they take life to be the ultimate. Then the lessons promised by the
drama are missed and a great deal of pain and sorrow is experienced.
But finally the day dawns when we turn our attention inward to create
a stage, a laboratory and a drama that can penetrate the barriers and
dis-cover our eternal Self. In that process death itself is defeated.
Reprinted from "Sacred Journey, Living Purposefully and
Dying Gracefully" by Swami Rama, ©1996, Himalayan
International Institute, India.
This book is available through the AMI bookstore or www.swamiramasociety.org.
Even dearer are the
devotees who seek Me with faith and love as life's goal.
They go beyond death to eternal life. -- Chapter 12, Verse 20 of the
by Eknath Easwaran
the Rig Veda, one of the most ancient of the Indian scriptures, there is
a prayer that must still find a response in every heart: Lead me from
the unreal to the real. Lead me from darkness to light. Lead me from
death to immortality.
This is the central theme of mysticism in all religions: the quest for
deathlessness, for everlasting life.
Until I took to the practice of meditation, it never occurred to me that
immortality could be any more than a figure of speech--a rhetorical
device that can strengthen and inspire us, but nothing that could be
literally true. It was only by observing my Granny's attitude towards
death that I began to understand that the quest for deathlessness was
real-a living search that any person with drive and enthusiasm could
undertake, not after death but in this very life. In both East and West
there have been rare men and women who have been able to transcend the
conditioning of time, place, and the physical body. For people like
this, there is no death. The body dies, of course; but there is no
interruption of consciousness when the body falls away, because their
identification with the body has already been severed.
In deep meditation, when consciousness is withdrawn from the body and
senses, there actually come a few moments when you go beyond the body
and you are able to rest in your real Eternal Nature. That is a taste of
immortality right on earth, and there is such joy in it, such a deep
sense of peacefulness and rest, that afterwards you will be willing to
give everything to extend those moments into the full twenty-four hours
of the day.
When that is done, the ties of identification with the body are severed
once and for all. You know at the deepest level that you are not the
body but the Self, and when death comes, it is simply a matter of
hanging up this particular body-jacket for the last time. As al-Ghazzali
asks, where is the cause for grief in this? Is consciousness ruptured
when you take off your shirt at night?
There are no words to describe this state, but the mystics of all
religions say quietly, "It's like waking up." Before
Self-realization, we are living in our sleep-dreaming that we are
separate fragments of life, small enough to be satisfied with wisps of
experience that come and go. Aren't the experiences of a dream real
while we are dreaming? Yet when we wake up, the dream falls away. And
the mystics ask a very simple question: when you have been dreaming that
you are Marco Polo, and you wake up, are you a different person? Do you
grieve that Marco Polo is gone? He isn't gone: you were dreaming that
you were he; now you wake up, the dream is forgotten, and you remember
who you really are.
In the Katha Upanishad, there is a daring teenager named Nachiketa who
goes straight to the King of Death for the secret of immortality.
"I have heard," he tells Death, "from the illumined sages
that there is a kingdom where one lives free from death in everlasting
joy." There is such a kingdom, but it is not outside us. In the
early part of our lives, most of us are off on an external journey,
looking for Shangri-la in the lands of the senses. But to those who are
sensitive, there comes more and more insistently a sense of
homesickness, of being wanderers on the earth; and finally there comes a
point where we throw aside all the travel brochures of the sense-world
and turn inwards to find our real home. Then the quest for deathlessness
begins in earnest.
Reprinted from "Like a Thousand Suns," Petaluma,
California by Eknath Easwaran, ©1979, Nilgiri Press. www.easwaran.org
Available at the AMI bookstore.
BOOK REVIEW: By Youngbear Roth
Heart and Science of Yoga:
A Blueprint for Peace,
Happiness and Freedom from Fear
never heard of Mr. Perlmutter or his work except in a magazine
advertisement and I make it a point to pay no attention to such
advertising. However, browsing in a book shop, I picked the volume
up off the shelf and read enthusiastic endorsements by Dean Ornish,
M.D., Dr. David Frawley, Mehmet Oz, M.D., Lilias Folan and others.
Still suspect, I decided to take a chance. I flipped to the rear
flyleaf where I examined the photograph of an unassuming yogi; a
meditation teacher who had been studying Yoga Science for thirty
years. The author studied as a direct disciple of Shri Swami Rama
along with being degreed in political science, international
relations, and attending the George Washington University School
of Law. Finally, in 1996 Mr. Perlmutter founded the American
Meditation Institute and became an adjunct professor at the
College of St. Rose in Albany, teaching yoga and meditation while
continuing to give lectures, teach classes, and offer retreats at
his institute. This is why I had not heard of Mr. Perlmutter--he
simply hadn't the time to author a work covering in every detail
an exacting applicable guide to the living transformative power of
yoga, yet here it is.
The Heart and Science of Yoga, by Leonard Perlmutter is an
encyclopedic "how and why does it work" guide concerning
all phases of yoga as a thoroughly consciousness transformative
force for living a dynamic life. Most often publishers execute
covers that oversell the applicable content of a book. However, I
have studied Leonard Perlmutter's book from cover to cover and
find it to exceed the dust jacket's claim of The Heart and Science
of Yoga being "A Blueprint for Peace, Happiness and Freedom
The book is presented in twelve parts, each one delving into the
how and why of a specific aspect of yoga science and living
philosophy. The prose is as clear as water bubbling up from a very
deep well; without trying one's patience, and humble under the
weight of its own wisdom, the book moves yoga ever fresh and
forward easily into our daily living experience. As a yoga
professional, I have found The Heart and Science of Yoga by
Leonard Perlmutter to be of inestimable value to my
transformational psychotherapeutic yoga practice and I highly
recommend it to yoga therapists and patients alike.
Youngbear Roth is a registered research scientist in mental health
with the National Association for the Advancement of
Psychoanalysis (NAAP) and a registered yoga therapist with the
International Association of Yoga Therapists.
Youngbear Roth, Helium.com
AMI Founder and Director
Member: International Association of Yoga Therapists
Yoga Self-Therapy is
based on the perennial psychology of yoga science. Each
individual counseling session will teach you how to free
yourself from habits and expectations that cause stress and
give rise to illness. By observing and training your internal
processes, you can become creative in all relationships while
establishing a state of personal contentment. By learning to
rely on your own Divine inner wisdom you become free to make
choices in life that continually improve your physical, mental
and emotional well-being.
AMI Home Center, 60 Garner Road, Averill Park
By appointment only. $125/hour
The Heart and Science of Yoga:
A Blueprint for Peace, Happiness and Freedom from Fear
Review by Gregg St. Clair, Healing Springs Journal
We live in
glorious times don't we? We have information available to us
today that we never transferred to only an inner circle of top
students. This usually involved years of dedication proving
your desire to learn, followed by years of practice in the
more external realms of knowledge, and only then would a
master be willing to share the deepest levels of their art,
most highly guarded secrets. But today every esoteric subject
matter is available through books or just a quick click away
on the world wide web.
Everything has pluses and minuses and this is no exception.
Yes, it is all right there for us, but so is fast food. So how
do we discriminate what is valuable or not for our total well
being? Trial and error is, of course, an option, and something
most people have to go through on their path--be it with diet,
exercise or meditation. But when you find the right thing you
know it. This is how I felt when I read The Heart and
Science of Yoga: A Blueprint for Peace, Happiness and Freedom
from Fear by Leonard Perlmutter. I keep wanting to call it
the "Art" instead of the "Heart," probably from being
conditioned by other book titles, but "Heart" definitely works
better. Why? Because you can tell that that is where the book
comes from and that is where it is aimed.
The Heart and Science of Yoga is a manual showing how
ancient wisdom can help us with life today in an increasingly
chaotic world. No longer does one need to travel to India to
learn the deepest secrets of yoga for it is all contained in
this one book. Some might claim that there is too much
information (and at 538 pages they may be right), but not me.
It is written in a style so easy to read and so relevant to
spiritual development today that its information will be
beneficial, almost crucial, for everyone, not just yoga
Leonard Perlmutter has something rare among yoga practitioners
and meditation instructors today, not only a blessing from his
famous teacher Swami Rama, but a direct request to pass on the
knowledge he transferred to him and to become a full time
teacher. Leonard and his wife Jenness have founded and operate
the American Meditation Institute in Averill Park, New York--a
short drive from the capital city of Albany. A tranquil oasis,
the Perlmutters are dedicating their lives to creating
positive change in the world based on the teachings of yoga
with meditation as the key.
The book covers in detail the eight limbs of yoga is of course
more than different contortionist postures and includes a
blueprint for spiritual growth including, proper disciplines,
proper conduct, proper exercise, proper breathing, proper
control of the senses, proper concentration, proper meditation
and finally self realization. I particularly like how they use
quotations and references from all of the worlds religions,
including literature and even current sources (did you know
Elvis was a guru?), making the book very accessible if not
down right enjoyable to read.
With the invention of the airplane, the telephone and now the
world wide web, it has become obvious that it is one world and
we must act together if there is going to be hope for the
future. Unfortunately people become so caught up in their own
realities that they fail to see the bigger picture. But we are
spiritual beings, and as we busy ourselves with the illusions
of the world it separates us from our spirit, creating a
source of suffering that is only going to continue. I take
comfort in the fact that yoga has an 8000 year old history and
though I am a scientist, I don't need another double blind
study to know that it works. The key is, we have to practice
something to take control of our mind & lives, or they will
take control of us. If you are looking for a tried and true
system that has helped millions of people, then The Heart
and Science of Yoga is the perfect companion. I recommend
it for everybody.
All events are held at the AMI Home Center in Averill Park unless
SUNDAY MEDITATION & SATSANG, FREE
Every Sunday 9:30-11:00 AM. Love donations accepted.
NOVEMBER 1 - DECEMBER 6:
with Kathleen Fisk
Monday nights, 6:30 - 8:00 PM (6 wks)
AMI Meditation: The Heart and Science of Yoga™
Thursday night, 6:30 - 7:30 PM
with Mary Holloway & Doreen Howe
FALL CLEAN-UP DAY
(Rain or Shine)
AMI could use your help in preparing
our beautiful meditation grounds for the winter ahead. Come for
a few hours or all day. 674-8714
Saturday, 9:30AM - 2:00 PM (lunch provided)
NOVEMBER 16 - DECEMBER 21:
The Heart and Science of Yoga™
Comprehensive training in holistic
Tuesday nights, 6:30 - 9:00 PM (6 wks)
with AMI founder Leonard Perlmutter
Saturday evening, 6:00 - 10:00 PM
Pitch-in Dinner and Movie
DECEMBER 4 & 11:
Saturday mornings, 10:00 AM - 12:00 PM (2 weeks)
with Leonard Perlmutter
DECEMBER 6 - JANUARY 10:
Monday nights, 6:30 - 8:30 PM (6 week Gita Study)
class is also available by Computer Distance Learning (CDL)
THE ETERNAL (VIDEO)
Thursday night, 6:30 - 8:30 PM
DECEMBER 13 - JANUARY 17: EASY-GENTLE
with Kathleen Fisk
Monday nights, 6:30 - 8:00 PM (6 wks)
AMI Meditation: The Heart and Science of Yoga™
Thursday night, 6:30 - 7:30 PM
with Mary Holloway & Doreen Howe
DECEMBER 28 - FEBRUARY 1:
The Heart and Science of Yoga™
Comprehensive training in holistic
Tuesday nights, 6:30 - 9:00 PM (6 wks)
with AMI founder Leonard Perlmutter
Friday evening, 6:30 PM
Pitch-in Dinner, Movie, Satsang, Meditation & Fire Ceremony
a Friend about AMI
If you know someone who might benefit from
our American Meditation class, let them know about the AMI
program, or click
here to send us their name and address and we'll send them a
brochure with our current class schedule.
Karma Yoga --- the practice of selfless and skillful action
If, as part of your practice, you have a few extra hours during the week
and are interested in helping grow the American Meditation Institute, we need your
dedicated, volunteer energy. As a student of yoga science, you are already familiar with
the kinds of practical services the Institute provides. Every other month we write, edit and
publish this newsletter, teach an average of thirty new meditation students and present
stress-reduction seminars to various businesses and organizations. We also invite visiting
speakers of interest to our area, organize seminars on yoga science and do continuing
Our immediate needs include press relations, seminar management,
clerical assistance and general delivery work.
Remember, whatever time or talents you
possess will be put to meaningful, productive use.
If you have the time, please call the Institute at (518) 674-8714.
American Meditation Institute for Yoga Science & Philosophy. All