Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras are among the most important writings of the Yoga school, and have remained relevant for 2,300 years because of their wisdom and inspiration. In this webinar course, Ravi Ravindra will explore the heart and purpose of yoga as expressed in the Yoga Sutras, with special emphasis on section 2.2 which states that the true purpose of yoga is the cultivation of Samadhi, meaning freedom from the ego-self, and the diminishing of the kleshas, that are the impediments standing in the way of achieving this goal.
The course will be based on Ravi Ravindra’s book The Wisdom of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Ravi Ravindra is a professor emeritus at Dalhousie University, in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he served as professor in comparative religion, philosophy and physics. A lifetime member of the Theosophical Society, Ravi has taught many courses in The School of the Wisdom in Adyar and at the Krotona Institute in Ojai, Calif. He was a member of the Institute of Advanced Study in Princeton, a fellow of the Indian Institute of Advanced Study in Shimla, and the founding director of the Threshold Award for Integrative Knowledge. His last book was The Pilgrim Soul: A Path to the Sacred Transcending World Religions and his new book on the Bhagavad Gita will be published by Shambhala Publications in the spring of 2017. For more information visit www.ravindra.ca .
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(1886-1983). A theosophical author and international lecturer, occultist and superphysical researcher, Liberal Catholic priest, Co-Freemason (32°) and humanitarian.
Hodson was born in 1886 in Wainfleet St. Mary’s, Lincolnshire, England, and subsequently naturalized as a New Zealand citizen. He came from a family of gentlemen farmers and landowners and was born with a strong and healthy body which he maintained by sporting activity, pure food and an ethical lifestyle. He also experienced a happy, loving and harmonious childhood. All these were important factors which assisted him to cope with the practice and strain of yogic development which was to underpin much of his life’s work. He had a good secondary education at Bishop’s Stortford Grammar School in Hertfordshire but was unable to go on to university because of a loss in the family fortune. He grew up with strong conventional Christian beliefs (Anglican) but at the age of twenty-four years commenced a search for deeper meaning after having realized that parts of the Bible could not be literally true. He read Annie BESANT’s Esoteric Christianity which satisfied his deeper aspirations. Right to the end of his long life and even with subsequent expansions of consciousness he never lost his love for the Christian faith and he was inspired to write several books and many journal articles dealing with the inner occult and spiritual side of Christianity. Notable amongst such books were The Hidden Wisdom in the Holy Bible (4 Vols. 1963, 67, 71, 80), The Inner Side of Church Worship (1930), The Christ Life from Nativity to Ascension (1975), "Clairvoyant Examination of Christian Ritual and Ceremonial(1977) and The Priestly Ideal (1971). He was ordained as a priest in the Liberal Catholic Church by its co-founding Bishop, James I. WEDGWOOD.
He experienced some remarkable psychic and spiritual experiences in his childhood and young manhood because he had been born with a natural psychic ability. When he came to join the Theosophical Society in his early twenties his psychic nature seemed to expand and he claimed to be able to see the auras around people and experience various other forms of superphysical reality. His lecturing career commenced with the Theosophical Society’s Manchester Lodge. When the first World War broke out in 1914, although believing deeply in ahimsa (Sk. not-hurting), he decided after much heart-searching to go to war out of a sense of deep pity for the Belgian people. He was commissioned as a lieutenant in the British Army and due to his efficiency was chosen for an important and difficult mission involving a breakthrough of the enemy lines using a tank, which was at that time still a secret weapon. He was so successful that he was presented to Field Marshal Haig on the battlefield and his name was put forward for the Military Cross, which was given instead to his company commander who was not involved in the action. During his wartime career he said that his superphysical powers were inhibited for the most part. When he returned after the war he thought that the trauma he had suffered would prevent further spiritual progress, but he again took up the practice of yoga and was amazed to find that after a short time his former powers came back to him so that he again claimed to see the human aura and communicate with the higher beings — the Angelic Host. Based upon this latter contact he wrote several books on the subject of angels and their teachings. The introduction to the first of these books, The Brotherhood of Angels and of Men (1927), received a foreword from the President of the Theosophical Society of the time, Annie Besant. The other major book on the angels which is still in print is The Kingdom of the Gods (1952).
With the support of his first wife, Jane, after the war, Hodson worked for the Y.M.C.A. as an organizer. He became increasingly involved with Theosophy and started to lecture around the world for the Theosophical Society. His wife became ill and eventually died of multiple sclerosis having been nursed by a friend and keen Theosophist, Sandra Chase, who eventually became the second Mrs. Hodson.
Hodson’s style of lecturing was clear and structured along the lines of basic teachings as popularized by Besant and Leadbeater, but illuminated by vignettes and witty anecdotes. He also gave many radio broadcasts in various places in the world but particularly in Australia when the Sydney Radio Station 2GB was under theosophical control. His main intent was to pitch his message so that it could reach and inspire as many people as possible. It would seem that his own personal insight often extended greatly beyond what he spoke about in public where he concentrated on what he called “Basic Theosophy.” Some of his deeper research faculties were utilized in work with scientists and doctors who sought his help in various superphysical investigations. He conducted the SCHOOL OF WISDOM session at The Theosophical Society’s International Headquarters at Adyar, Madras, India, in 1953-54 and again in 1954-55. He was awarded the Society’s SUBBA ROW MEDAL for his contributions to Theosophy. Hodson died January 23, 1983, in New Zealand.
Having a powerful oratorical style and a commanding presence with a straight military appearance described by one journalist as having “the stiff carriage of an old world English colonel,” he was, nevertheless, extremely modest in his own personal claims, only allowing to be known what was necessary for him to perform his work and preferring to deal instead with theosophical principles. During his lifetime most of his rich inner life was unknown to any outside of his immediate family and possibly to a few very close spiritual colleagues and collaborators. Some of this information about his inner life is contained in the posthumous work Light of the Sanctuary, The Occult Diary of Geoffrey Hodson (1988) which was compiled by his wife Sandra Hodson as were two other posthumous books, The Yogic Ascent to Spiritual Heights (1991) and Illuminations of the Mystery Tradition (1992).