by Octavio Salvado.
Parampara means ‘from one to another’ and speaks to an essential aspect of the Yogic path: Tradition. These days there are many new innovations within the field of Yoga and although innovation has its place, it cannot, it must not drive the chariot. We are evolving as a species, no denying that and therefore certain elements of spiritual practice must likewise evolve, however, when innovation usurps lineage-based knowledge the wheels fall off the chariot.
We rely on the evolution of knowledge for all of our sciences, why should it be different for the science of Yoga, the science of awakening? To cut away from the wisdom gained over thousands of years of data-driven enquiry is akin to throwing ourselves into the ocean minus a life-vest, worse, covered in blood. The situation is that dire.
There are two fundamental reasons why Tradition is indispensible. One is practical and the other, mysterious.
On the practical front, the ancient Yogis took a lot of care encoding, encrypting and straight-up concealing a lot of the deeper insights and teachings of Yoga, lest it fall into the wrong hands. Yoga is power and power corrupts those who are not yet whole enough to wield it skillfully and in the spirit of Dharma.
What many don’t realize is that of all the knowledge that has come down to us through the sutras and sacred texts, much of the more valuable (and potent) information was held back, communicated orally, from master to student, from one to another. In this way, sacred knowledge was brought forward through time and protected. The bones of the information we can find in books, but bones are lifeless and useless unless accompanied with heart. Tradition is the heart. Tradition brings practice to life in a meaningful, time-tested way, a way that we can depend upon for our own personal evolution.
In this morally-degraded time, even Google has become a Guru. Google is not our Guru in the same way that Google is not our doctor and our Facebook friends count for sweet Fanny Apple. If even the information expressed through sacred Sanskrit, Pali or Hindi texts is portioned out, can you imagine the corruptions birthed through the process of translation into English and then further dissected by any Tom, Dick or Harry before being uploaded?
So find out not who your teacher’s teacher is, but their Grand-teacher, their own teacher’s teacher. This will give you insight into your lineage. If you can’t find that information because your teacher doesn’t know or because it does not exist, then perhaps it’s a good idea to question the philosophies, practices and insights being offered to you.
The second reason explaining the value of Tradition is harder to communicate, particularly to a rational mind unversed in the subtle language of the soul. Nevertheless, this is how it is, so take it or leave it. Tradition provides an avenue for transmission to take place. It provides a way for us to ‘plug into’ the energy field of the Ancients who birthed this knowledge into being.
As science now affirms, the nature of reality is vibratory. Life is a play of energy posing as matter and as energy never dies, the field of Yoga, through the connective wire of Tradition can be harnessed. Having this kind of support backing our personal, spiritual endeavors is a gift that cannot be expressed in words, not only because English does not provide a sufficient word for it, but also because the magnitude of the gift is profound beyond the scope of everyday gratitude. Only tears can express it, seconded by an indestructible commitment to personal practice.
Why re-invent the wheel when the wheel worked perfectly in the first place? Yoga is a flawless science and the only reason it is no longer fulfilling its promise of waking people up, is because we are no longer practicing or teaching it in a way that’s aligned to its original blueprint. Instead, we are looking to innovation over legacy and trend over true tapas and this is why we are circling instead of spiraling upwards.
Now is the time. We are being called to action – to keep Tradition alive. Are we willing to sacrifice into the blazing fires of spiritual-integrity whatever mod-cons, perks and popularity contests are necessary to ensure that Tradition keeps burning bright as we march forward into the uncertain years ahead?
We are all being asked to wake up, stand up and move to the frontlines of the revolution, the battlefield of human evolution, bayonets in hand, ready to do whatever it takes. As Krishna says in the Bhagavad Gita, “Life and death are not nearly as important as how we live. Only dharma gives our life meaning.”
So stand up, Yogis, stand up and fight for this great Tradition. If you do, I promise you, this great Tradition with its vast and inexhaustible etheric armies of Dharma will stand up and fight for you.