Table of Contents
Part I — The three bodies: physical, subtle and causal
- Question: For what purpose do we have a physical body?
- Question: What is the difference in physical appearance between the physical body and the subtle physical?
- Question: Do you mean that the subtle body is a less dense form of matter? Does it interpenetrate or live within the physical body?
- Question: Which of these three bodies gets psychic experiences?
- Question: Is it possible for the physical form to live in two worlds at once?
- Question: Can the subtle body appear in other places?
- Question: Is it possible to see the causal or subtle body?
- Question: Do the causal and subtle bodies last longer than the physical, or are they all impermanent?
- Question: How do you develop consciousness in your subtle body?
- Question: Is it true that all diseases begin in the subtle body and then manifest in the physical body?
Part II — Hatha Yoga (postures) and physical fitness
- Question: Is Hatha Yoga necessary in concentration, meditation and contemplation? Is it indispensable for realising God?
- Question: What is the importance of physical fitness?
- Question: Would you say that the asanas are needed more in the West to help people relax, because people from India and the Orient already have more peace of mind than we do?
- Question: If you want to meditate as well as do Hatha Yoga, should you meditate before doing the exercises?
- Question: I have difficulty sitting in the lotus position.
- Question: When we are meditating, is it necessary to place our hands in any special position?
- Question: What is the spiritual purpose of competitive sports?
- Question: Can Pratyahara be practised independently of other sadhanas?
Part III — Pranayama and yogic breathing
- Question: What is prana?
- Question: How can we get the most out of prana?
- Question: Could you speak a little about the secret of yogic breathing or Pranayama?
- Question: Is the breathing process you described absolutely essential in the opening of the third eye?
- Question: Could the power of Kundalini be restored to a person who was about to attain it at one time?
- Question: Is this breathing technique widely known in India, and do people breathe better there than we do here?
- Question: What is the role of Pranayama in the spiritual life?
- Question: I have been given to understand that in normal breathing we breathe in through both nostrils and then the energy goes down one side of the spine for two hours and then it goes down the other side for two hours; but that when we do alternate breathing, this changes. Is it true?
- Question: Could you speak about the different aspects of the Divine that can be invoked when one breathes through the left and right nostrils?
- Question: How do the outgoing breath and the incoming breath meet together?
- Question: When I am trying to go deep within, my breath cuts my concentration. How can I control my breath?
Part IV — Sleep and the body-consciousness
- Question: I feel that I am losing a battle with my vital in the morning when I want to get up and meditate and I can't get up.
- Question: If we don't drink coffee or tea, what can we do if we start feeling drowsy while driving late at night, or if we get little sleep and find it difficult to get up in the morning?
- Question: How can we stay conscious when we're sleeping?
- Question: Could you speak a little more about how the soul flies to different planes during sleep?
- Question: Is there some way that we can use the time when we are sleeping to further our progress, so that we can carry our day's consciousness through the night with us?
- Question: As your disciples, how many hours of sleep do you feel we should have each night?
- Question: Some nights I find I am not tired and I just lie in bed full of joy. Should I meditate at that time?
- Question: What is the best position to sleep in?
Part V — Diet and fasting
- Question: Isn't it true that the body affects our ability to concentrate? Wouldn't some kind of diet and purification be helpful?
- Question: I find that when I eat meat I cannot meditate very well; I feel restless. But if I don't eat meat, I feel very weak.
- Question: How do the animal qualities that we get from meat actually affect us? What is the process?
- Question: So a vegetarian diet is not necessary in order to realise God?
- Question: When a person knows that he is on the path of God, won't meat automatically become repulsive to him from within?
- Question: From the spiritual point of view, is eating fish as harmful as eating meat?
- Question: What about eggs and milk and other dairy products?
- Question: I read in a macrobiotic book that potatoes and tomatoes are bad to eat. I wonder if you could tell me if this is true.
- Question: What kind of food should we eat to achieve purity?
- Question: What is the best way to become a vegetarian if one is accustomed to eating meat and fish?
- Question: Please tell me if we are in better contact with the Divine when we are fasting, drinking only juice and water. Does fasting help us to realise God?
- Question: If fasting really helps us to purify ourselves, then why shouldn't we fast more often than once or twice a month?
- Question: I can't meditate unless my body is satisfied. When I am hungry or upset, I really can't meditate.
- Question: How soon should one eat before and after meditating?.
- Question: They say that Yogis in India eat soma and get some insight.
Part VI — Transformation and perfection of the body
- Question: How can we use the senses properly?
- Question: Could you say something about self-control in the body?
- Question: How can I conquer my physical desires?
- Question: What is the highest kind of purity I can aspire to?
- Question: Does your philosophy say that the body always has to be an obstacle in the communication with God and can never be a part of our self-offering to God?
- Question: How can one divinise the human body?
- Editor's introduction to the first edition