The original meaning of Yoga


Question: You say that you teach Yoga. Could you please explain what Yoga is?

Sri Chinmoy: Yoga means union, man’s conscious union with God. Yoga is the spiritual science that teaches us how the ultimate Reality can be realised in life itself.

Yoga is the language of God. If we wish to speak to God, we have to learn His language.

Yoga tells us that we have a divine quality called aspiration within us, and that God has a divine quality called Compassion. Yoga is the common link between our aspiration and God’s Compassion.

Our human life is full of doubt, fear and frustration. Yoga helps us to replace fear with indomitable courage, doubt with absolute certainty, and frustration with golden achievement.

Yoga is not something unnatural, abnormal or unearthly. It is something practical, natural and spontaneous. Right now we do not know where God is or what God looks like, but by practising Yoga, we see God at first hand. As in the physical world we achieve success in an activity by constant practice, so also in the spiritual world, by practising Yoga we achieve the goal of goals: God-realisation.

Yoga is neither a philosophy nor a religion. Yoga houses both philosophy and religion and, at the same time, it transcends them. Religion and philosophy can lead a human being up to God’s Palace, but Yoga leads the aspirant right up to God’s Throne.

Yoga does not interfere with any religion. The real aspirant who has launched into spirituality and Yoga will find no difficulty in remaining in his own religion. I have disciples who are Catholics, Protestants, Jews and so forth. I tell them not to give up their own religion. It is always easier and safer in the beginning for one to remain in his own religion while he practises Yoga. But once he realises God, he transcends all religions. When one goes deep within and realises God, he sees that the whole universe belongs to him, and this realisation transcends all religions.

Religion is inspiration. Yoga is aspiration. Divinity is perfection. Inspiration, aspiration and perfection can easily and fruitfully blossom here on earth in transcendental harmony.