Nowadays pranayama is taught as exercise of physical breath. Many different exercises, they are an essential preparation, as the body preparations are essential for sitting correctly and going into meditation but there are subtler, deeper aspects.
The thing is that the modern scientists explain the “how.” The spiritual scientists explain the “why.” And the “how” and the “why” have to combine to produce you, okay? The understanding of “why” does not cancel out the understanding of “how.” Nor should the understanding of “how” ridicule the understanding of “why.” Nor should the understanding of “why” make you so “holy” that you lose all understanding of “how.” You see?
He had three shocks in his life: when the Buddha was born his mother was on a journey. Swamiji, our guru, says, "The Buddha was born under a tree, was enlightened under a tree, and, though a prince, he died under a tree."
This was a peculiar time in the history of the world. It was a time, sixth century B.C., when the Buddha, the Enlightened One, was teaching in India, and Lao-tse was teaching his message of the Tao and wrote the Tao Te Ching in China. It was the time when Pythagoras established the first philosophical academy in the West. He founded the Western system of philosophy, music and mathematics, initiated Western civilization. He also taught reincarnation. It was a time Pythagoras, first founder of western metaphysics.
The only competitiveness is in the story, a very well-known story of Akbar and Birbal. Akbar is a great Mogul, the emperor of India, and he administered very, very intelligently, wise and witty, wise and witty; and a minister named Birbal. There are all sorts of anecdotes about them.
The next thousand years will be whatever you have chosen today to make of them.
Uproot the thornbushes now; plant the lilies instead and the time paths of your generations will be paved with soft fragrant petals, each petal an achievement from your labour at interior purifications.
Once upon a time there were two donkeys. The first one going in front was carrying a load of salt on its back. Crossing the river it lolled about in the water for a long time and would not leave despite all tail-twisting, ear-twisting and even a whack or two from the owner.
Meditation is a feeding of the mind, resting of the mind, washing of the mind. For 5 minutes, 10 minutes, 15 minutes a day, rest your mind. Step off the whirling wheel of your problems, expectations and frustrations of the day. Step off. Step off and stop this constant, continuous stimulus and response. Something touches you. You react. Somebody looks at you. You react. Somebody in a room full of people, in a party, somebody at the other end of the hall whispers your name to somebody else and in all that noise, your ears perk up. You react.