Old civilizations, like the current ones, had their own concepts of what the highest life on earth could be and advocated their own approaches, techniques and methods. It is perhaps simplistic to call that hallowed goal enlightenment but the ways to reach there are not comparable as the brief conversation between a Guru and his disciple show.
An imaginary conversation between an enlightened yogi (Nirankar Baba) and his disciple (Dev):
Dev: You say there are others ways and methods to prepare yourself to enter the subconscious mind. How would you compare these with pranayama? What about methods from other civilizations?
Nirankar Baba: I am speaking from man`s quest for understanding spiritualism and mysticism through the history of civilization. The earliest efforts to delve in the working of the mind were motivated by either a desire to explain nature`s cataclysmic phenomena`s or healing and finding cures to diseases or establish hegemony of the ruling or the priestly class or even statecraft. But, I am quite certain that earliest methods and techniques had healing considerations or statecraft.
Dev: Let us assume that similar practices in other civilizations have the same terminal objective i.e. moksha, enlightenment or liberation.
Nirankar Baba: Comparing pranayama, meditation and contemplation from the Vedic civilization with similar and near similar methods is not exactly right. The correct way of practicing say pranayama is really one and has only one major intention that is to prepare one for meditation. While for meditation and contemplation you could begin with one from a few techniques but after a certain amount of time or practice and experimentation and intuition the practitioner will arrive at the right method or will be wasting his or her time and only a wise teacher could show the way. Undoubtedly meditation and similar practices have been spoken of in other old civilizations, that is where it ends and there are no comparisons. I would think that whatever be the practices from other civilizations they will be equal tough to practice and require more if not the same amount of discipline, energy and effort.
Dev: Have you found any practice which can be compared to pranayama?
Nirankar Baba: Unlike other similar method pranayama has a strong healing and strengthening effect on the physical body. When correctly done preliminary and necessary requirements for a spiritual life begin to take root by itself in the aspirant. The gradual spiritual enfoldment is noticeable to the aspirant. Practices like hatha yoga, concentration, meditation, pranayama gives beauty of body, speech and disposition. I would recommend pranayama to any able bodied man or woman for spiritual development.
Nirankar Baba: I think we should not spend our time on trying to find out the practices of other civilizations for moksha and enlightenment. We do not have the time for it and I am never in favor of such comparison though I promote study of similar practices of other civilizations.
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