All agree that Yoga originally is a part of such specific religious/ spiritual traditions and practices which mainly have originated from Asia. And, above all, it embodies or represents the religious and spiritual techniques of Buddhism and Hinduism. Modern Yoga, however, has become a universal phenomenon, virtually found everywhere and connected with many religious traditions in one form or another, quite indiscriminately and therefore unambiguously.
This study is not universal, but at least typical in its focus, since the Yoga Trust, founded by Swami Narayanananda of Rishikesh and Coorg and Gylling (just to mention three of his main centers) is a typical model of the important mission from the Neo-Hindu renewal movements, which have found fertile ground in the Western world with their emphasis on universal religion.
Swamiji is the name the disciples of Swami Narayanananda preferred for him. Swamiji is also the general term for most Westernized gurus who operate as missionaries for Neo-Hindu movements. They want to present the universal religion as a new religion, but based on the three concepts: karma, samsara, maya, and with a very weak concept of God, which is simply the human maximum, called "the divine".
This study presents Narayanananda as the prototype for the successful modern guru, who in his twilight language seems to offer the definite synthesis of all religions, but who reacts when the clear light of analysis reveals his inner ambiguity. Narayanananda is still alive in his many disciples who try to actualize the sanatana dharma as "the new time religion of the modern world".
Narayanananda, however, should not be studied in isolation from his context within guruism in concreto and within spiritualism and theosophy in general terms. This single guru can be seen as a focus for the general movement of New Age which has taken the whole world by surprise.
There is much more to be said, not least about the parallel movements within and out of Buddhism, which has its own esoteric and occult experiments.
It is interesting and important to notice that these esoteric movements do relate so little to the religious traditions of the "children of Abraham" (Jewish, Christian and Muslim religions).
It is often maintained that religions now join and communicate with one another. In fact the world religions in general and their leaders and masters know very little about one another, and therefore end up in a dialogue of silence when it comes to it. The authors of these studies come from two different worlds: One out of the Hindu-Tantric tradition, and the other from the Christian tradition. Both of us are, however, participants in the common search for Truth, which follows mankind as its eternal shadow.
Finally, it gives us pleasure to express our thanks to Birger Langkjaer for giving the final shape to the text on his computer. Also we are thankful to our publishers, Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers, for undertaking the publication of the book.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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