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Biography of a Russian Yogi

By Keith Simons

This is not an ordinary biography. It is as much an inner story as an outer one. And someone who has an inner life as rich as Yogi does, naturally provides teachings through the telling of the outer biography. Yogi has dedicated his life to a deep and enthusiastic pursuit of the ancient path of Yoga and Tantra. Unlike many Western interpretations that trivialise these topics, Yogi presents a profound and illuminating journey through this mystical terrain. Yogi Matsyendranath is the Western world's spiritual leader of the Nath Yoga tradition. Born in Bryansk in the USSR, he graduated from Youngdong University in South Korea and trained in Shri Vidya and Shakta Tantra of Nepal. As well as the Nath tradition, he is an expert in Tantric Puja and Hatha Yoga practice. Author Keith Simons embarked on a personal and interpersonal journey with Yogi in a collaborative creative process. He asked, how did someone born and raised in communist Soviet Union become a leader of Nath Yoga, one of India’s oldest spiritual traditions? How did Yogi Matsyendranath become a resident in Australia? After-all, growing up in the atheistic environment of the Soviet Union wasn’t exactly conducive to a deep interest and practice of any spiritual path. And Australia is a long way from Russia. I soon began to realise how unusual Yogi’s life story was. Interspersed between his life in Russia and becoming a resident of Australia, there were years in other countries, mainly India and South Korea. Yogi is not only an authentic spiritual teacher but also a cosmopolitan citizen in the truest sense. The impressive authenticity and gentle kindness of his character embedded themselves into my daily rhythms of working with him. He was always natural, easygoing and relaxed about how and when we would next meet and so we met as many times as felt necessary to capture the main features of his life story and teachings. I’d never before worked on a draft in this way. There were many challenges in crafting a story in the first person, but on the other hand, the natural empathy I experienced with Yogi helped me to forge ahead with confidence. His aura of fine spiritual qualities never diminished. He was consistently conveying and manifesting authenticity, integrity, wisdom and compassion, and often a delightful childlike humour. His words were penetrating in their simplicity but he could also share difficult and subtle areas of teaching. Such an uprightness and noble persona did Yogi emanate that others often felt in awe of him. His presence naturally and without intention drew attention. This book is dedicated to the spirit of open-minded spiritual research and practice. It is also an example of following one’s heart. It is one person’s story but in many ways our story too, ordinary and extraordinary at the same time.

Electronic version will be available at the end of October.

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