Yoga and Spirituality
By: Sri Chinmoy
I found this explanation by Sri Chinmoy and it, like many of the articles on my website, resonated with me.
Spirituality is a vast field. You can regard spirituality as a body. Inside the body is the heart. Yoga is the heart of the spiritual body.
Yoga is a Sanskrit word. It means union with God. This union is a conscious union. We are all united with God but we are not aware of it. When we practice Yoga, we become conscious of our union with God.
Why practice Yoga? There are millions and billions of people who are not practicing Yoga. We want to practice Yoga in order to be satisfied. If we are sincere to ourselves, we know that we have everything except satisfaction. Some seekers feel that everything in life has meaning only when God comes first. They feel that God is the root. When they become one with the root, the source, then everything has meaning and everything is satisfaction. The practice of Yoga can lead us to this goal.
When we enter into the field of Yoga, a few significant questions arise. Is Yoga something normal? Is Yoga something natural? Is Yoga something practical? Is Yoga something attainable? Yoga deals with God. What can be more natural and normal than dealing with God, our very creator? Yoga is something practical. Yoga is inevitable, for God will not allow any human being to remain unrealized forever. We are all seekers. Some of us are at the foot of the tree, some of us are climbing, some have already reached a great height. But we all have to climb up to the Highest, and from there we can bring down the fruit to the world at large. If we eat and do not offer the fruit to others, then God will not be satisfied.
Some seekers want God only for themselves, but this is not the highest attitude. After we have realized God, we have to do something more. We have to reveal God to the world at large. Then God wants us to do something even more significant. He wants us to manifest Him. God realization, God revelation and God-manifestation: these are the three goals that each seeker must eventually reach. Today God realization, tomorrow God-revelation, the day after tomorrow God-manifestation.
Again, God realisation has no end, God-revelation has no end, God manifestation has no end. We are aspiring to realise the highest Absolute, but the Absolute can never be bound by anything. The Absolute Supreme is always transcending His own highest transcendental Height. When we go deep within, we see that He is not satisfied with His transcendental Height. It is in self-transcendence only that He gets real satisfaction. In our case also, it is in self-transcendence that we will achieve satisfaction.
Yoga is a subject, an inner subject, This subject has to be taught and loved. In this subject, an inner cry is of paramount importance. With our outer cry we try to possess earthly material objects. With our inner cry we try to transcend the earth bound consciousness, and enter into the Heaven free consciousness.
Yoga is a subject that has to be studied. When we study, there is a student and a teacher. There are many sincere seekers who are reluctant to have a teacher. They say that God is inside the heart, so it is not necessary to have a teacher. The Master says, “True, God is inside you. He is inside everything. God is also inside the books that you can read in the library. Why, then, do you go to the university and study under the guidance of a teacher? You study with the help of a teacher because you feel that when you study with him you will learn faster and you will be sure that what you learn is correct, whereas if you study alone, you will go slowly and doubt may assail you and make you think that you are not learning the right thing. In the spiritual life also, a teacher is necessary.
The spiritual teacher is not like an ordinary teacher who gives examinations and passes or fails the student. Rather, he is like a private tutor. The spiritual teacher expedites our journey and increases our thirst for Truth, Light and Bliss. In the spiritual life, the teacher and the student have a relationship founded upon mutual faith and trust. The student feels that the teacher has the capacity to illumine him. The teacher feels that the student is sincere and aspiring.
No human being can be the real Master. The real Master, the real spiritual teacher, the real Guru is not a human being at all. The real Guru is the Absolute Supreme. The human being who is a spiritual teacher is like the elder member of the family. The Father has taught the eldest son a few things about inner height and inner power. The Father has told the eldest son, “I have taught you. Now it is your duty to be of service to Me, to help your younger brothers come to Me so that I can also share with them My infinite Wisdom and Light.” The eldest son listens to the dictates of the Father and takes the younger brothers who are meant to listen to him to their common Father, the real Guru, who is God Himself.
There are sincere teachers and false teachers, just as there are real coins and false coins. How can we recognise a false teacher? If a teacher says he will give God-realization or a spiritual experience in the twinkling of an eye, then rest assured that he is a false teacher. The teacher who says that he will give you God realization if you give him a large amount of money is a false teacher.
Creator and creation. We are fond of the creation but not of the Creator. But inside the creation is the Creator. Again, if we are afraid of the creation and run toward the Creator, that is also a mistake. If we feel that the creation does not have anything to offer, we are making a mistake. Real Yoga will never ask us to renounce the world. We have to accept, transform and divinise the world and bring perfect Perfection onto this earth.
The world has everything except peace of mind. We get peace of mind when we feel that the world can go on without us, but that we cannot go on without the world. We have to know that we are not indispensable; only God is indispensable. When we come to this realization, only then can we have peace of mind. When we have peace of mind, we love humanity, we expand and spread our wings. When we love humanity, we are satisfied because we have satisfied God.
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