India's Gift to the World
By Robert Arnett - author of the book India
India's spiritual heritage is legendary. Throughout the
millenniums, India has been blessed with more masters (rishis) - persons who
during their lives on earth have merged their souls with God - than any other
country in the world. There are many well-documented stories of their
The famous master
Trailanga Swami, who lived in Banaras during the late 19th century, displayed
miraculous powers that cannot be dismissed as myth. Until recently, there were
living witnesses to his amazing feats. Many persons witnessed him drink the most
deadly poison with no ill effects. thousands of people saw him levitating in a
sitting position on the surface of the Ganges for days at a time. He would even
disappear under the waves for long periods, finally to reappear unharmed. Though
Trilanga seldom ate, he weighed over 300 pounds. The yogi never wore any
clothing and was arrested by the police for his nudity on several occasions, and
locked in a cell. Each time, even with posted guards, he unexplainably escaped
and could be seen walking on the prison roof, his cell still locked. The police
had no clue as to how he did it.
For over 2,300 years, travelers from the most powerful
countries on earth have come to India in search of her priceless spiritual
wisdom. When Alexander the Great returned to Persia after his unsuccessful
invasion of India, the most valueld treasure that he brought back was not gold,
jewels, silks or spices - but his guru (spiritual teacher), the yogi Kalyana,
callled "Kalanos" by the Greeks.
On a designated day in Susa, Persia, the sage Kalanos
gave up his aged body by entering a funeral pyre in view of the entire
Macedonian army. The soldiers were amazed that the yogi had no fear of pain or
death and never once moved from his position as he was being consumed by flames.
Kalanos embraced many of his close companions before leaving for his cremation
but refrained from bidding farewell to Alexander, to whom simply remarked:
" I shall see you later in Babylon." Alexander died a year later in
Babylon. The Indian guru's prophecy was his way of saying that he would be with
Alexander both in life and death.
When the Chinese traveler Hiuen Tsang attended a huge
religious gathering, the Kumbha Mela, in Allahabad in 544 A.D., he recounts that
Harsha, king of Northern India, gave away the entire wealth of his royal
treasury to monks and pilgrims attending the event. When Hiuen Tsang prepared to
return to China, he declined Harsha's offerings of jewels and gold.
Understanding that his spiritual development was more valuable than worldly
wealth, he accepted, instead, 657 religious manuscripts. Likewise, through the
science of yoga, India has given the West a far more valuable gift than all the
material wealth or technology the West could give in return. Even today, India
offers great inspiration to those persons who are seeking a oneness with God,
and through yoga anyone can find the direction he or she needs to succeed.
That is India's gift to the World