THE EARLY BRITISH YOGI A LOOK BACK AT ERNEST WOOD

THE EARLY BRITISH YOGI  A LOOK BACK AT ERNEST WOOD

“Man has in himself great potentialities for unfoldment, when he tries.”

Shortly after arriving in India at the turn of the twentieth century, Ernest Wood encountered a man who was locally known as someone with a powerful ability to focus his mind and affect  the thoughts of other people. When Wood asked him for a demonstration, the man wrote something down on a piece of paper, gave it to Woods instructing him to put it in his pocket. Then he presented Wood with a deck of cards asking him to shuffle  them and place them face down on the table. Finally, he invited wood to select any single card. After Wood randomly picked a card, the man instructed: “Now look at the card and the piece of paper I gave you earlier.” Wood was astonished to see that written on the paper was the name of the card he selected. The man then repeated the same demonstration with several other people were standing nearby observing.

Expanding that incident, Wood said that the man was not  a magician using sleight of hand, or illusion, or a deck of cards specially crafted for magic tricks. The man was a
Yogi who had developed an impressive capacity to control thought. Wood asked the man if he would be willing to explain how was able to do this. Without hesitation, the man said there were two steps.

First, he visualized a card in his mind and then wrote that card down on a piece of paper. Secondly, he transferred his thought into Wood’s subconscious mind prompting him to select the  card written on the note. The Yogi said that his method seldom failed in this “game.” Ernest Wood was one of the earliest British Yogis. He was born in Manchester, England on August 18, 1883. In his teens he became intrigued with Buddhism, Yoga, Vedic teachings and Sanskrit. Seeking deeper learning, he moved to India in 1908 and would remain there for more than four decades. For employment, Wood served as  headmaster at several schools and colleges where he also taught physics.

In India, he continued studying yoga and Sanskrit learning from highly established Vedic teachers who were impressed with both his desire and his discipline. Wood began translating and publishing some of the earliest English versions of the Bhagavad Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. He also authored several books dealing with Eastern spiritual practices. Some of his titles include Practical Yoga: Ancient and Modern; Concentration: An

Approach To Meditation; Great Systems of Yoga. He also published a popular Dictionary of Yoga offering definitions and explanations of Yogic concepts with penetrating
insight and impressive clarity. Under the entry ‘Bhagavad Gita’ he offers this description: “A great scripture of India, in  which a divinely illuminated spiritual teacher is presented as teaching a very eminent man of the military caste the art of spiritual living.” Explaining the Eastern view of peace, he writes: “That state of mind in which there is no internal conflict and all outer things are received equally and equably.

It is possible for the yogi to be at peace with the world in the midst of activity, and whether the world is at peace with him or not.” And, his definition of yoga is concise and precise: “Literally union. The state of a man when his life of action and thought is entirely in harmony with the very source or root of his being.” Wood and his wife, Hilda, became acquainted with educator Dr. Maria Montessori who was then living in India.

Impressed by her philosophy of education, Wood and Hilda, moved to the United States where they established the country’s first Montessori school in Houston, Texas
(1962). Ernest Wood died in Houston on September 17, 1965 just a fews days after he completed his translation of a philosophical writing by the 8th century Indian sage,
Shankara. It was posthumously published and entitled The Pinnacle of Indian Thought.

 

WRITTEN BY

VICTOR M. PARACHIN
VICTOR IS A YOGA AND MEDITATION
TEACHER IN THE USA. HE IS ALSO
THE AUTHOR OF NUMEROUS BOOKS
ON EASTERN SPIRITUAL PRACTICES.
HIS LATEST BOOK ‘U BUDDHA’ IS
AVAILABLE FROM ULYSSESPRESS.
COM AND AMAZON

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