The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga

The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga

The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga

The True Path: Western Science and the Quest for Yoga


The transformative power of spiritual experiences is well known -- drug addicts have recovered after them, and hardened criminals have reformed. But is there a scientific explanation for this phenomenon, which Indians call "yoga"? Although Eastern traditions have long pondered this mystery, Western science has tended to dismiss spiritual experiences as whimsy on the part of believers.

In The True Path, Roy J. Mathew draws on his own extensive knowledge of neuroscience to prove the age-old Indian idea that spirituality is a state of mind, a higher form of consciousness. He shows how the latest brain research supports the idea that quieting the neurons that control everyday activities allows for a more spiritual contemplation of life. As this part of the brain slows down, other parts become more freely expressed, promoting relaxation and pleasure in one's surroundings. With scientific evidence that this "pure consciousness" truly exists, Mathew shows readers how to use meditation, yoga, and other traditional Indian methods of contemplation to achieve this spiritual state of mind.


Since I came to the West, one of the questions I am asked most often is why I have a name like Roy Mathew. Many suspect that my family converted into Christianity under the influence of the British when they were in India, but this is not correct. We have been Christians for more than 1,500 years, long before the British arrived in India. Syrian Christians, as we are called, believe the apostle St. Thomas came to India after the crucifixion to bring the news of the long‐ awaited Messiah to the Jewish community in southern India. Some Christian families accompanied Thomas, and several more came a few hundred years later. Thomas was also successful in converting some of the locals into the new faith. When the Europeans first arrived in India, they were surprised to find crosses and churches.

The Europeans did successfully attempt to convert some of the original Christians to Catholicism and the other European Christian factions. However, many families remained faithful to their ancient tradition. Our family was among them. Under the English influence, our names, which were originally closer to Jewish names, were Anglicized. My baptismal name, Yakob, became Jacob in official records, and after I came to the United States, it shrank into a "J" as my middle initial.

India is a mosaic of different faiths and traditions. Hinduism, the most popular religion—if it can be called one—is remarkable for its diversity. It has never been a single, homogeneous entity. It com-

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