INTRODUCTION to Fundamentals of Yoga: A Handbook of Theory, Practice, and Application

by Rammurti S. Mishra, M.D. (first published 1972 and by Doubleday in 1974)

Introduction by Paul Brunton

Dr. Mishra is a successful physician and surgeon, professor of medicine in M. A. Podar Medical College, Bombay, India, and chief physician to M. A. Podar Hospital, attached to the same medical college. To interpret yogic anatomy and physiology, yogic psychology, and the psychic centers ( chakras) in modern terminology, he has performed 1,348 autopsies.

In addition he has done research work in endocrinology, modern psychology, and other branches of medicine in European and American medical institutions as well as in those of India, his own country. All this has been linked to the expert knowledge of raja Yoga, of which he is both a theoretical student and a working practitioner. He has used it to illuminate references in the Yoga texts dealing with such anatomic and physiologic obscurities as kundalini, sushumna, pingala, etc. He has brilliantly joined together the deep relaxation techniques of Yoga with the therapeutic and psychological techniques of the art of suggestion, which was made familiar to us by Coue and the New Thought cults. He has effected a similar conjunction between Yoga and Vedanta. He has explained simply and directly the breathing, gazing, and other exercises used as aids to mind control.

Two famous teachers exerted a profound influence on Dr. Mishra’s spiritual perceptions: Shankaracharya Shri Shankara, Purushottama Teerthaji, Leader of Sahja Yoga Movement, Sidha Yogashram, Banaras; and Baba Soma Natha, Leader of Radha-Swami Movement, Bombay.

Subsequently, still in search of his ultimate guru, he traveled around the circle of Indian ashrams, but, until he met a mysterious person who disdained publicity, deliberately confined his instruction to a few selected students, and was known only to a small circle, did not feel himself in the presence of a Yogi whose development was full enough. In this great man, whose name was Bhagavandas, Dr. Mishra found the full vision of nirvanam and an inexpressible magnetic influence radiating from him. He chose him as his teacher. The guru’s original home is still unknown. In his younger days he was in Karachi, but during the violent upheaval that separated Pakistan from India he came to visit his beloved disciples in India and at their earnest request was persuaded to remain there. When he left his body in 1957, in Bombay, he was over 100 years old but looked much younger.

In admirable contrast to much of the excessively theoretical, mainly metaphysical, or merely platitudinous writing in this field, these pages abound in working methods and exercises for use by the earnest student who seeks to spiritualize himself. Altogether, they constitute a fascinating volume for all those interested in the subject.

Dr. Mishra, in the Acknowledgements wrote this about Paul Brunton:

“I am especially grateful to The Reverend Dr. Paul Brunton for his gracious introduction of me to Western readers and for reading this book in manuscript. The gentle and wise Dr. Brunton has definitely inherited the mantle of his guru, the great Ramana Maharshi.”