Michael Volin was born and educated in China where his grandfather, a Russian Czarist general, had been stationed at the turn of the last century. Perhaps, because of his grandmother’s deep interest in spiritual matters (she was an acquaintance of Madam Blavatsky), Volin got deeply interested in Yoga and philosophy. He travelled extensively acrpss China, India and Tibet and after studying with a series of Masters in those countries, he became known as a Master himself. In the late 1930’s he joined the famous yoga teacher, Indra Devi in the first yoga school established in China, succeeding her as a director. Later, he established yoga schools in Australia and New Zealand.
I reproduce here below an interesting chapter in the life of Michael Volin in his own words:
“Many years ago in China, my Taoist teacher, to test my inner strength and my willingness to further my studies, sent me to a remote ashram. Following tradition, I walked all the way, begging for food and refusing any kind of transportation. The distance from my home to the ashram was about 300 miles through the rough and wild parts of China infested by runaway soldiers who had turned into bandits. During the two months that it took me to complete the journey, I almost lost my life on two occasions.
Once, for a week, I was marooned beside a flooded river without food. Later I was caught by bandits who kept me for several days in a pit. It took all my eloquence and perseverance to talk them into setting me free without cropping my ears, which they threatened to do if a ransom was not paid. In fact, I was so persuasive that the head of the band provided me with an escort the rest of the way to my destination. He told me that the next region was controlled by his brother, who was not as kind as him and would surely chop off my head and not just my ears unless I was protected. With his help, I arrived at my destination, much thinner and a lot wiser than when I started on the journey. There I was admitted into the ashram and settled into the corner of the community room, which became my home for the next several months.
After days of waiting (things were not rushed in China then), I enquired very humbly about the master. I was told that he was not available. I could hardly conceal my disappointment. Kind brothers, knowing my story of quest, said I could wait until the master returned. They finally volunteered, rather casually, an explanation for his absence: “He is growing a new body.” They said he would be only too glad to see me when the right Karmic time came.
I settled down to wait and in the meantime, fell into the strict routine of the monastery, where time passed uneventfully until the unforgettable arrival of the master. The kind, all knowing eyes of a sage looked out of an ageless, strangely immobile face. He was slender, of middle height, and his skin looked remarkably youthful, as if untouched by time. He hardly looked forty, yet I was told that he was well over ninety when he started rejuvenation seven years ago.
For a time, he moved in silence, slowly and with deliberation, as he passed among us in the ashram. Finally, he began to take more notice of the events around him. His eyes stopped at me more and more often. One morning, he gestured to me to come closer. “Little brother, I learned all about you,” he said smiling. “Sit down with me for a while.” We experienced a sensation of great mutual rapport, and I felt great joy when he accepted me as a student.
As I look back, I think now that my encounter with this master was perhaps the greatest experience of my life. I may have been the first Westerner to witness the remarkable result of one person’s ‘growing a new body’. I was in my twenties at that time and in excellent physical condition. At that time I did not need a new body. Nevertheless, I made it a point to learn as much as possible about the Master’s mysterious methods, as well as many techniques of Chinese yoga related to controlling and reversing the ageing process.
The branch of Rejuvenating Yoga emphasised longevity, reverence for old age and the nurturing of a long, healthy and creative winter of life. Later, spending time in ashrams throughout the remote parts of China, India and Tibet, I had opportunities to learn many more yoga practices designed to gain mastery over time.” Unquote.
Traditional scriptures of the East allude to at least eighty methods of rejuvenation. Some of these methods have been lost forever, others are little known but some of the most effective ones have been kept secret, passed on to chosen disciples in the mouth-to-ear tradition.