This book is a comprehensive work – the work of a lifetime. A concise and yet far – reaching text pieced together like a mosaic over a period of thirty years by the author, Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda (Swamiji). The book’s approach is holistic and therefore the word “system” is included in the title. This word is used when an author is certain that readers are presented with a complete mosaic of valuable resources.

In one of his many books, Swamiji defined his personal vow as this: “The sole purpose of my life is to teach people to accept themselves; to help them discover why they were born and what is the meaning of life; to teach them respect for others; to help them feel and understand another’s sadness or pain”.

This represents an enormous and sometimes difficult task for any spiritual teacher, as the frequent gaps between the words of a teacher and the actions of his students, are bridged by few individuals. Great words can be written and voiced in many ways. But to live in agreement with these words, to actively put them into practice, requires enormous strength and discipline. One of the many thousands of Swamiji's students worldwide wrote: “Love, trust and effort are the three qualities which lead a student to success. A teacher is not judged only by his actions but also by the actions of his students”. As an example of “students' actions” the following analogy is made: “A strong wind plays with a boat, and there are boats at play in the wind; what separates them is the ocean of ignorance”. It is the love and trust that students have for Swamiji, as well as their varied personal achievements, that allows them to share in his life-mission, and this should be kept in mind when considering the success of “The System Yoga in Daily Life”.

Focusing on the book itself the following points stand out:

  1. The book, or rather the textbook, displays exceptional pedagogic and didactic sensitivity and target-orientation towards the spiritual dimensions of the western reader.

  2. An observant reader can discover throughout the text, the author's humanitarian principles such as: love and help for all living beings; respect for life; peace, for which we all should strive; protection of nature and the environment; tolerance among people, countries, cultures and religions; and the importance of a positive mind and way of life.

The author is convinced (and we can more than agree with him) that the system he presents in this book can be utilised by all people in most of life's circumstances – regardless of one’s age, gender, profession, education, marital status, health, culture or religion. The text also includes special instructions relevant to specific health problems.

As the Dean of the Faculty of Sport at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, my colleagues and I systematically study the current orientations of sport and the possible visions and perspectives of programme orientation in the coming decades. Among the current studies we have at hand is data that relates to the physical exercise patterns of Slovenia’s adult population. This data reveals that more than 60,000 citizens of Slovenia participate in Yoga (individually or within an institution). It also shows that interest in Yoga is growing and that, generally, this interest is increasing within sports where the focal point is more than simply scoring in competition. Similarly in other countries, especially within Europe, 1.0% - 1.5% of the population practice Yoga. Sport is becoming a chosen element to improve quality of life for more and more people, as there is on awareness that sport enriches human life, integrates the physical and spiritual dimensions in daily life, opens cultural horizons, and develops abilities and opportunities for genuine human communication.

A person can perhaps be evaluated according to the number of medals, awards and letters of thanks he has received. The author of this book has certainly received many exceptionally high awards within India and also from many other countries. Awards, in general, tend to gloss over a personality rather than reveal one's humanitarian dimensions. However, out of all the medals, awards and accolades bestowed on the author from various countries and their statesmen, it is perhaps appropriate to mention here just one, due to the commendable merit of the author's life. The Czech President and writer, Václav Havel, forwarded a personal letter of genuine thanks in acknowledgement of the author’s high spiritual values and selfless work displayed while pursuing his life-mission in the Czech Republic throughout the last twenty years.

Due to my personal experience while working in the field with athletes, coupled with the fact that more and more professional and regular athletes have included Yoga as an integral part of their training, is the reason that I decided to evaluate this book within my competencies.

Ljubljana, May 2000

Univ. Prof. Kresimir Petrovic PhD., Dean of the Faculty of Sport, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia