"This study is the report of a Westerner who has practised Yoga under a teacher in India. The primary purpose of the investigation was to test by personal experience the techniques of Hatha Yoga. For this purpose I went to India and Tibet. I submitted to a course of traditional training in Hatha Yoga, taking notes and making critical observations in order to appraise the results in the light of experience rather than of theory. To this end I became the sincere disciple of a highly esteemed teacher and settled down at his retreat in the hills near Ranchi. I adhered to the rigid discipline imposed upon one who wishes to practice Hatha Yoga. In order to further my studies, it was suggested by my teacher that I go to Tibet. According to him, what has become mere tradition in India is still living and visible in the ancient monasteries of that isolated land of mysteries. Immediately I set forth." --Book introduction
About the Author
Born on December 10, 1908, in Los Angeles, Theos Bernard graduated from the University of Arizona first in 1931 with a LLB (Bachelor of Law) degree and again in 1934 with a BA degree prior to entering Columbia University in that same year. Receiving an MA in philosophy in 1936, Bernard embarked on an expedition first to India and then to Tibet. Over the course of 16 months Bernard studied and learned both literary and spoken Tibetan, negotiated the acquisition of a complete set of the Tibetan Buddhist canon and other books, participated in some of the highest religious rituals in Tibet, and met with senior Tibetan lamas and officials, all the while documenting his experiences on paper, in photographs, and on film. Upon returning to New York in 1937, Bernard wrote and published several books both chronicling his experiences and setting forth the fundamental principles of Indian and Tibetan philosophies. In 1942, he entered Columbia University for a second time to pursue his PhD. Completed less than a year later, his dissertation Hatha Yoga: The Report of a Personal Experience, was subsequently published and served to introduce the practices of yoga to an American audience. He went on to found the short-lived Tibetan Text Society in Santa Barbara, California, prior to returning to the Indian subcontinent in search of additional resources. In 1947, Bernard launched a second expedition into the Himalayas, this time to Spiti, and entered the Punjab in 1947. Theos Bernard disappeared on his way to the Ki Monastery in Western Tibet. The circumstances surrounding his disappearance remain a mystery, although it was rumoured that he was murdered, along with his Moslem guides, by Hindus. Neither his body nor any of his possessions were ever recovered. This closed the final chapter on a fascinating journey, both inward and outward, of one of the most influential Western Yogis of the twentieth century, whose guiding light was to know the truth, free from the trappings and tapestries of illusion.