Namaste

Peace and blessings. My name is Pete Russell, and I practice Siddha Yoga Meditation. Siddha Yoga is the Spiritual path to union of the individual and divine that begins with shaktipat, the initiation given by the grace of a Siddha Guru.

Everything happens for a reason. I discovered Siddha Yoga in 2003 when I came to death row. I had just received a death sentence and instantly, my world turned upside down, and to make matters worse, my mother fainted outside of the courthouse. Everything was happening so fast. My heart was broken and I was in pain. There are no words in the English language to describe how I was feeling.
The bailiff immediately removed me from the courtroom and sent me back to my cell. I felt abandoned. The next morning, the guards came to my cell and I was placed in handcuffs, shackles, and heavy chains, and placed inside a white van.
Destination: "Death Row".

It took about two hours to drive from Houston to the infamous Polunsky Unit, where inmates are housed in Solitary Confinement for 23 hours a day. In the back of the van I was able to shed a few tears and collect my thoughts. I was an emotional wreck. I didn't know what to expect.

We pulled up at the back gate (12-Building) and guards were running around screaming "Death Row, Death Row". The back door of the van opened and I saw guards waiting on me. I guess they were the welcome party. They had to help me get out the van because I had so many heavy chains on me that I could barely walk or stand. The whole process is meant to break you down and to dehumanize you. You should have seen how I was walking. I had to take baby steps all the way to my cell. People were standing around looking at me like I was a captured animal. I couldn't wait to get to my cell, so that I could take these chains off. Little did I know my spiritual journey would begin. I remember my great grandmother telling me that "God works in mysterious ways", and that "There is no such thing as coincidence."

My neighbor next to me was cleaning his cell and threw away a lot of books. Some of those books were in good condition, others were badly torn. I had just arrived on Death Row and I didn't have anything to read. So I asked a guard to hand me one of the books on the floor. He kicked several books to my cell so that I could stick my hand out and get them. (NOTE: "There is a small opening at the bottom of the door we call a rat hole. That's how I was able to get the books.) I'll never forget, I picked up this book called Mukteswari, and started to read. "ONENESS: The world is God." The teachings in this book were very powerful and profound. The Guru was talking to me. I could feel the magnetic pull drawing me in; something was happening. I wanted to learn more. There was an address in the back of this book offering free meditation courses. I signed up and that's how I started practicing Siddha Yoga Meditation.

The Purpose of Siddha Yoga Meditation is to:

  1. Bring Self-Knowledge and balance to a person's life.

  2. Experience one's own inner wisdom through the practice of meditation.

  3. Transform a person's understanding of themselves and the world around them.

Fifteen years have passed and in that time I can honestly tell you that I have changed for the betterment of myself, my family and humanity. Spiritually speaking I have become more conscious, and universal in my thinking. Through meditation and chanting, I have discovered an inner peace. I recall a Muslim brother telling me that "Every man is a book, because every man has a story to tell."

This book, "Texas Death Row Yogi", is a Spiritual Autobiography. It is a testimony and mirror reflection of not only my life, but my spiritual growth and development. It is a blueprint for people in the world, especially for inmates incarcerated in Solitary Confinement. I was inspired and motivated to write this book after reading Russell Simmons book, "Do You."

Russell Simmons said "Do You." So, I did me; I did me by acknowledging that I needed to change. When I stepped on the path of Siddha Yoga, that was the best choice that I ever made in my life. Soon after, my Spiritual Journey took off very fast, and my practice and understanding of Siddha Yoga began to deepen.

Texas Death Row Yogi is more than just a book. It is a testimony of inner change. I have purposely written this book in a way to connect with the individual seeker. Each chapter in the book is designed in a way to make you think. I am not asking anyone to believe in anything. All I ask is for you to read the book with an open mind. When you begin to think, you will begin to ask questions, and when you ask questions you begin to look for answers. All of my questions were answered when I received shaktipat.

In this book, I share my story and experience with the world. I'm sure it will inspire someone, and for those who are receptive to the truth, I'm sure they will enjoy it. Some people say we are living in the age of Aquarius. There is a shift in consciousness that is taking place. Plainly speaking, we are living in the age of Yoga, and in this age, each individual has the opportunity to turn within and reconnect with God. This is why Yoga is spreading like wildfire around the world. The 'Shift' is really happening. The stars and planets that Astronomers talk about are our chakras realigning themselves along our spine. There is a spiritual cleansing taking place on the planet. If we could only embrace this truth, I believe the world would be a better place.

Relax, open your mind, and breath... Meditate! I close, as I came:

NAMASTE.

Pete Russell #999443
Polunsky Unit

3872 F.M.350 South
Livingston, Texas 77351