Copyright Himalayan Institute
For years I was searching for a book that gave simple answers to questions on Spirituality. I loved the questions & answer column in the magazine Yoga International (www.yimag.org) & wondered why they had not thought of clubbing together the Q & A’s into a book. The publishers of the magazine, probably, heard me and came out with this beautiful book ‘Inner Quest’.
I have taken excerpts from the book that to my mind are most relevant. If you like to buy the book mail Payal Sehgal: firstname.lastname@example.org. The book is dedicated to Panditji’s gurudeva Swami Rama of the Himalayas. Please bless my colleague Ajay for patiently typing in 60 word pages. The piece is divided into 8 chapters. Every chapter has sub sections. The paras below give examples of questions answered within each sub section.
‘Through this book may you become connected with the Source – the spirit of the scriptures and the learned masters – for answers to all questions come from this Source alone’.
1. Introduction - foreword by the editor of Yoga International Magazine.
2. Setting Out - has three parts. One ‘Exploration & commitment’ e.g. what is spirituality? Two is ‘The External teacher & the teacher Within’ e.g. how do I know which of the many paths of yoga is best for me? How can I find a teacher? Three is ‘Taming the mind & the senses’ e.g. I want to practice non-attachment, but I am distracted by the world’s pleasure. What can I do?
3. Clearing the Hurdles – has three parts. ‘One is Purifying the Ego’ e.g. Isn’t a strong ego necessary to live successfully in the world? Don’t I also need a strong ego to do spiritual practice? How can one purify the ego? Two is ‘Fear of losing the World’ e.g. Can you give me more practical advice about how to live in the world while growing spiritually? What constitutes a spiritual environment and how can we maintain one in our home? Three is ‘Overcoming obstacles’ e.g. Are there techniques that can help me overcome procrastination? There are so many obstacles on the spiritual path that it seems like overcoming them one at a time will take forever. Is there an all-purpose remedy?
4. Moving Inward – has two parts. One ‘Consists of breathing Lessons’ e.g. What creates blocks in the Energy body, How can I prepare myself to practice yoga beyond working with the body and breath? Two is ‘The practice of Meditation’ e.g. What is meditation? Why is it important? Why is it so important to sit with your head, neck, and trunk straight when you meditate?
5. Unlocking the Secret - has two parts. One is ‘The Sacred Sound’ e.g. Why is a mantra considered to be Divine? Two ‘Techniques for practicing Mantra’ e.g. Is a mantra effective even if it is repeated without feeling? How do you get the feeling if you don’t know what the feeling is?
6. Breaking the Cycle - has two parts. One is ‘Karma: the maker of Destiny’ e.g. how does karma come into being? Two is ‘Outrunning Death’ e.g. If the soul doesn’t go through the cycle of birth and death, then what does? And why? Once you have a direct experience of Truth, are you really free from the bondage of birth and death? Do you become immortal, as the scriptures say?
7. Establishing a Personal Practice - has two parts. One is ‘The Starting Point’ e.g. how can I turn my mind inward, what is the key to a fruitful practice of yoga postures? I’m under so much pressure that I rarely even have time to sleep enough at night, let alone time to do any hatha yoga practices. What do you suggest? Two is ‘Advancing on the Path’ e.g. Can you give me specific instructions on how to do a meditation practice? I’ve read that meditation deepens in stages. Can you tell me what they are?
8. The Journey’s End – covers finding a focus and traveling in stages.
Excerpts - Written by an experienced traveler in the spiritual realm, Inner Quest maps out the journey and provides systematic instructions for meeting and overcoming the obstacles that lie ahead. In these years of working with student, Pandit Rajmani Tigunait has found that those who embark on the spiritual quest ask the same basic questions regardless of their cultural background. So he has collected the questions students have brought to him through the years and arranged them to address the issues that come up as a seeker journeys inward. They run the gamut from straightforward questions about diet and exercise to metaphysical queries about the nature of reality and how karma comes into existence.
If you start at the beginning of Inner Quest and read straight through to the end, you will come away with a clear picture of what the spiritual journey entails and how to find your way to the heart of the inner realm. On the other hand, you may prefer to consult the Table of Contents and go right to the questions that address your most pressing concerns. Or you may choose to browse, leafing through the chapters and reading the answers to the questions that catch your eye. However you first approach it, you will reach for this little book again and again. And as your inward journey progresses and you being to master your body, breath, and mind, you will find yourself rereading certain sections, finding answers to questions you didn’t know you had.
I say this because this book has already served me in this way. Much of it first appeared as a question-and-answer column in the magazine, Yoga International. Pandit Tigunait has since written the last two chapters specifically for this volume and added other questions to the body of the book to close any gaps that remained after the columns had been compiled. I worked with much of the material in its first incarnation and revisited it all while editing it in its present form. I hadn’t seen some of the columns in more than four years, and if asked, I probably would have said I understood them then, thinking I had nothing further to learn from them. But as I went through the material again, I found much that I had understood only superficially the first time around (and some things I hadn’t even remembered) because at the time I originally edited the columns, my own experience had not yet reached the point at which they resonated for me. And as I thumb through this volume in the future, I know I’ll find answers to questions I don’t have even now.
So, like any guidebook, Inner Quest can be used in whatever way suits you-as an overall guide, as a quick reference, or as an inexhaustible treasury that will hasten your journey and keep you on a clear path.
Deborah Willough by, Editor, Yoga International Magazine, January 1995