April 15, 2024
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Searching for the truth? Author Hari-kirtana das sheds light on his book “In search of the Highest Truth: Adventures in Yoga Philosophy”.

Searching for the truth? Author Hari-kirtana das sheds light on his book “In search of the Highest Truth: Adventures in Yoga Philosophy”.
Photo Courtesy: Hari-kirtanta das

By Ananta Ripa Ajmera, Founder, SoulWisdom Press & PR, Co-founder and Director, The Ancient Way 

Immerse yourself in this powerful guide to discovering the truth about ancient healing rituals. Many people practice yoga, but few understand the reasons for the methods. Author, yoga teacher, and spiritual mentor, Hari-kirtana das takes readers on an explorative journey to finding the highest truth within themselves by providing answers to life’s most important questions. In his compelling spiritual book about yoga philosophy “In search of the Highest Truth”, readers will find practical solutions to life’s greatest challenges and radically transform their experience of the world. 

With over 40 years of practice in yoga disciplines, we are delighted to have Hari discuss his knowledge and real-life experiences to truth seekers who wish to gain a deeper understanding of yoga philosophy.  

What has In Search of the Highest Truth meant to you personally?

This was a project of personal and professional growth. Although I’d been teaching yoga philosophy for many years, I never thought that I’d tackle such a complex and vast subject matter by writing and publishing a book.

Writing is obviously very different from in-person teaching. Since there’s no opportunity for the readers to get a nuance of tone or body language, you have to be crystal clear with every single word. There were certainly times in the process when I wondered what I had gotten myself into. But the great thing about yoga wisdom is that because it comes from a tradition, I merely tried to repeat what I have heard from my teachers to the extent that I have realized it, to the extent that I have been able to make it experiential knowledge. 

Luckily, I’ve had wonderful teachers and they were very generous with what they gave me. And so the pressure is off. I don’t really have to come up with any new ideas. All I have to do is share what I’ve heard in my own words. 

And since the reason that I wrote this book in the first place was because I thought it would be helpful for all the students in yoga teachers trainings, it’s been really great to hear from so many people around the world that my book is being used by teachers leading yoga teacher trainings. That was one of my primary hopes for the book was that it would be used in yoga teacher trainings, and I’m happy to see that it is.

What exactly is “the highest truth”?

There’s a famous yoga wisdom text called the Bhagavat Purana, also known as the Srimad Bhagavatam, which gives a very specific definition. It defines the highest truth as “reality, distinguished from illusion for the benefit of all.” From my point of view, it’s hard to argue with that.

How can you say that something is “the highest”? What makes it the highest?

Yoga posits that there is actually a hierarchy to reality. Of course, this is not a very modern idea. In modern and postmodern thinking, we like everything to be on the same level. But yoga is not modern, and it presents us with different levels of states of being and different categories of being. 

Many people think of yoga as just a physical practice.  But yoga is so much more than that. The project of yoga is the project of elevating consciousness from lower modes of being to higher modes of being and ultimately to the highest state of being. And the interesting thing about what makes the highest state of being the highest is that it’s unlimited and ever-expanding. So it’s getting higher all the time.

What makes it the highest in bhakti-yoga, the yoga that I practice, is the feeling of an exchange of love. And in yoga wisdom texts like the Bhagavad-gita, that is the highest truth and the highest state of consciousness: the exchange of love between the soul and the Supreme Being, between the energy and the source of the energy, the infinitesimal part and the infinite and complete whole. 

What is the benefit of learning all this? Why should anybody care about yoga philosophy?

The reason to care about yoga philosophy is because it gives us tools and a framework for doing the most important work we can do, which is come to know and understand who we really are, what the world is, and how we should respond to it.

How did you learn enough about yoga philosophy to be able to write a book about it?

I began reading a wide variety of yoga wisdom texts when I was a teenager.  Then, in my early twenties, I lived in a devotional yoga ashram for five years, where study and practice were all we did 24/7. That was where my formal training took place and where the foundation of my understanding was established. Although I left ashram life and moved on to have a professional career, I have always tried to stay connected to that foundation in yoga wisdom through study and practice. The fact that I’ve been trying to live this philosophy in my personal and professional life while continually pursuing a deeper understanding of it under the guidance of my very learned and generous teachers is my real qualification for publishing this book.

 You can learn more about Hari-kirtanta das here and find his book on Amazon.


Published by Khy Talara

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