Since I was very young, I dreamed of a modern-day mystery school. I dreamed of studying applied mysticism; understating true (and tested) practices of inner alchemy and transformation; and following in the foot-steps of a Teacher that embraces universal truth and a spirituality for all— a Teacher that doesn't say "Follow me, blindly," but "Test this path, for yourself."
I felt, intuitively, that I was a being (as we all are) full of profound, untapped (and perhaps misunderstood) potential. I felt so close to the truths of this mysterious existence, and yet so very far away at the same time. I thirsted for help, for a Guide that had walked through the fires of transmutation, and could stand as a light-house in the unknown, often turbulent waters of Self-mastery.
I began reading books on spirituality, meditation, and purification. I found immense inspiration through the poetry of the mystics, and explored various contemplative practices. But, I yearned for a path of progression—a daily, dedicated road to awakening that fostered gradual and continual growth. A road with a map, and yet no pressure to reach any destination before the appropriate (and safe) time.
I was first taught and introduced to Arhatic Yoga through the founder, Master Choa Kok Sui. I knew from our first moment of meeting that he was not an ordinary soul. At this particular event, I sat among a gathering of hundreds in India. When I glanced around the hall, my eyes fell upon people of varying faiths, ages, backgrounds, and ethnicities. On the first row were a few Buddhist monks, draped in their deep red and gold. Behind them sat a devoted Catholic nun. The room was full of Hindus; Jains; Mystics; Christians; Buddhists, and in his presence, none were welcomed any more than any other.
The word “Arhat” comes from the ancient, Pali language. It is often translated to mean, “one who is worthy” or “perfected person.” Arhatic Yoga is nothing more (and nothing less) than a path to perfection or soul-realization. It is not based upon a single, specific tradition. Rather, it is a synthesis of practices from various yogic traditions, and is based upon a universal spirituality that embraces (rather than denounces) modern life.
When I learned the system, and placed two feet upon the path by practicing regularly, I began to notice the genius of what I had been given. It was the answer to my early longings. I became a student of applied mysticism and inner magic. If I had to summarise the immeasurable treasures of the Arhatic Yoga path into three jewels, they would be: (1) balance (2) applied practices (3) and progression.
A Path of Balance & Integration
Arhatic Yoga has five pillars. (1) Devotion (2) Purification (3) Meditation (4) Service & Tithing and (5) Study. From its very foundation, it creates a path of balance—a path that is set up to integrate various practices, which enhance one another. For example, if one does advanced meditation without adequate purification, the weaknesses of the person can be magnified. If one enters the spiritual path without serving, the aspirant will be challenged with self-centered motivation, and have no outlet for the accumulation of energy and inner resources. The pillars create a foundation of balance, a foundation that ensures integration, and safe, spiritual progression.
The pillars also build a foundation for true self-mastery. Arhatic Yoga is not a path paved only of roses and butterflies, set up to make one feel good. Of course, there are sufficient experiences of bliss and love, but the Arhatic Yogi is also challenged to cultivate a deep level of self-honesty, and work in the weeds. The dark places or tendencies within us are not neglected or ignored, but consciously tended to, and energetically addressed. One cannot reach Soul-realization without turning the loving, internal gaze to where we have faltered. (While, of course, also recognising where we have triumphed.)
Many schools emphasise the mastery of the mind. Others, the mastery of emotions. But in the first module of Arhatic Yoga, the promises are outlined, and they reveal an emphasis of balance, integrating our various levels of being. An Arhatic Yogi can expect the development of his/her intuition; a sharp, intelligent mind; refined emotions; and a life of discipline and service.
Magnificent inner beauty (and power) is revealed through the intentional combination of these aspects.
A Path of Applied Practices
It is one thing to study spiritual truths. It is quite another to have applied practices, which foster a spirituality of experience. Arhatic Yoga is full of fascinating information, but under each pillar, the student is given a series of applied practices.
Under Pillar One (devotion), we are taught a specific invocation and encouraged to develop inner conductivity.
Under Pillar Two (purification), we are taught physical exercises, breathing exercises, and energetic techniques to remove unwanted tendencies or energies within ourselves. We are encouraged to understand our character deeply and devote ourselves to true inner transformation.
Under Pillar Three (meditations), we are taught four various meditations, each which each represent a ‘yoga’ necessary for our even development.
Under Pillar Four (service & tithing), we are encouraged to foster a life in which the benefits of our spiritual practice are taken out into the world for the benefit of all. We deeply understand (and practice) universal spiritual laws, such as karma.
Under Pillar Five (study), we are encouraged to read and study various books, which guide us to a deeper understanding of ourselves, the divine plan, and the miraculous world in which we live. We become active participants in our development of knowledge and wisdom.
A Path of Progression
What many people do not understand is that Arhatic Yoga is not a single, weekend course. Everything outlined in this article is taught in the foundational level, also known as Arhatic Yoga Preparatory Level. Some students take this course and feel satisfied for the rest of their lives, and feel no pull to take the higher levels. This is more than ok. It is welcomed.
However, there are higher levels of Arhatic Yoga available once one has developed the energetic conditions (and pillars) to a sufficient degree. Usually, each level is given after a certain number of years practicing the previous level.
This provides a chance for students to progress, slowly, gradually, and under guidance; to continue learning; and to access a true system of self-mastery. I can honestly say that each level reveals (more deeply) the unbelievable genius of this school, and Master Choa.
This article is not a sales-pitch for Arhatic Yoga. Very, very, very far from that. It is simply an offering, which will help reveal some of what this path has offered to me. The question I get most often from students is, “What is Arhatic Yoga?” and so this is a short attempt at my answer. If I had to answer that in one sentence, I would simply say:
Arhatic Yoga is path that has answered my deepest longings, satisfied my insatiably curious mind, and whispered to my heart the secrets it has always searched for.
And I imagine that to each, the answer would be different, and yet hold hues of sacred similarity.
With tremendous love, Deborah Anne Quibell