Destiny smiled upon me the day my path aligned with that of the yoga master, Dr. George King. I was immersed in the wisdom of the East – wonderful gurus like Swami Vivekananda, Paramhansa Yogananda and the Yogi Ramacharaka – when the distinctive teaching of Dr. King was clearly presented to me by a guest speaker during a Buddhist and Vedanta Society meeting at my university. I was searching the spiritual treasure troves of Asia only to discover the jewel I sought had already been revealed on these shores by an Englishman who would later become my personal teacher and very close friend.
In the 1970s it was “trendy” to take up yoga and meditation, though my interest did not fade with the fashion, growing ever deeper over the years. But for Dr. King in the post-war London of the 1940s it was anything but the “done thing”. He threw himself into the practice of yoga disciplines, including those of Raja, Gnani and Kundalini, with a will I have never encountered anywhere else. As a young man in the prime of his life rather than pursuing wealth, personal relationships or just plain fun, he chose to practise advanced yoga techniques for eight hours a day for ten years, as well as working to earn a living. No wonder he achieved his goal and mastered this ancient science by the age of 35.
Nowadays yoga is generally seen as a programme of physical exercise for health and fitness. For many it has become more about their outer appearance than the path to inner realisation it was originally intended to be. The ancient Rishis, who graced the caves and forests of Himalayan regions thousands of years ago, gave the student who was ready a sure-fire, practical route to a blissful realisation of their inner potential at the deepest spiritual level.
Two things have changed. One is that over the last hundred years or so some of this knowledge has travelled to the West and become widely available to all, ready or not. But something else has happened too which has been championed by Dr. George King more than any other, and encapsulates his yoga. This is no longer a time for personal development above all else. Today it is service, service, and then more service. Karma Yoga, or selfless action, has always existed. Now it has been dusted off, enhanced and turbo-charged with rocket propulsion units to take us into the stratosphere of world salvation. “You too can heal” proclaimed Dr. King more than 50 years ago, when even leading healing organisations believed that healing could only be done by those with a special gift.
He took prayer out of the cloisters of the anointed and into the everyday habitats of ordinary people, empowering them to radiate boundless spiritual energy wherever it is most needed. He combined eastern mantras and mudras with western prayers and affirmations and produced karmic gold.
Into the spiritual drought which has reaped bare harvests for our world, new seeds have been sown, which sooner or later must bring positive results. Karma is not always as instant as John Lennon sang, but we are creating it twenty-four hours a day. They say that what goes around comes around and, sooner or later, it must. Even though our motive is to serve others, in doing so we will discover our own heritage of inner peace and true enlightenment. Dr. King said:
Of all the yogas I have studied, Karma Yoga is the greatest yoga of all! It is Karma Yoga which will save the world! The other yogas are necessary to obtain the powers and to get the inspiration, but then you must use your powers and inspiration for the benefit of all. They must be brought in to living manifestation in order to be of any good to the world.
This could be the manifesto for his last book, Realize Your Inner Potential, which I was honoured to co-author with him in 1997, and which contains many of his core teachings and practices. I know they work because I have practised them all and have used some of them daily for over 40 years. Thousands of others have done so too, with wonderful results. At that university meeting we were given a spiritual practice to perform, in which we raised our hands so that they were facing forwards. We visualised white light coming down from above the head, flowing along the arms, through the palms and out to the world as love energy. We also visualised it flowing through the heart centre. Afterwards we sealed the flow by passing our palms across each other. I tried it after the talk and the powerful tangible effect of the energy flowing through me was undeniable.
It was not a matter of faith, but of fact. The speaker, John Holder, and I formed a group at university performing this exercise hundreds of times for absent and world healing. This is just one of the spiritual weapons in the life-giving armoury in the yoga of Dr. George King. At its heart is service which, according to his classic book, The Nine Freedoms, is: the jewel in the rock of attainment. I found this jewel that day I discovered my destiny for, as the great humanitarian Dr. Albert Schweitzer said: I don’t know what your destiny will be, but one thing I do know: the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.
Richard Lawrence is an international best-selling author, spiritual teacher and Executive Secretary for The Aetherius Society in Europe. www.richardlawrence.co.uk