In the late 1950’s, Dr. King went to India to study the precepts of non-violent social change. These were the same Yogic philosophies that Mahatma Gandhi had put in place in the 1940’s, when he led his own successful peaceful revolution for India’s independence.
Dr. King embodied the four paths of Yoga described in the Bhagavad Gita. These four paths are:
Raja Yoga – The path of meditation.
Jnana Yoga – The path of intense self-inquiry. This is the most difficult path.
Bhakti Yoga – The path of devotion. This is the easiest and safest path.
Karma Yoga – The path of selfless service.
Martin Luther King was clearly a Karma Yogi. He dedicated his life to the service of others. He understood that the suffering of one is the suffering of all, and to harm another harms oneself and all others.
Dr. King said, “We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline.” This embodies true Yogic philosophy.