WHAT IS yoga? Is it a series of exercises in the Indian way, practiced to improve the body, to cure diseases, to get a certain tranquility so necessary in this rushing world? Is it thought control, silencing the mind, attaining certain powers by manipulation? Is yoga confined to the Hindus?
No. Yoga is a junction, a meeting with the Lord, with the Universal Consciousness, with the Supreme Self or one's own highest self. Any effort or method that brings about this union, this inner harmony, knowledge, love or understanding is yoga. To aspire for perfection, as Christ said, is yoga.
Who was a greater teacher of yoga than Christ? Did he not want a transformation of nature? Did he not preach love, tolerance, humility? After all, did he not teach by example rather than precept?
Yoga is not an oriental art of making money or making faces and practicing postures. There is no shortcut in yoga. Yoga is a lifelong discipline. Yoga is a way of life. Yoga is the highest life possible for mankind.
In the Gita, Sri Krishna says:
The virtuous men who worship me on earth
Are of four kinds: He who's a derelict;
He who prays for a boon; He who is a seeker
Of the mystic lore and, lastly, the man of wisdom."*
*Translated by Dilip Kumar Roy
In the modern world a fifth approach has come into existence. It seems to be a very popular approach too-not to bother about the Master at all but simply to forge one's own letters of recommendation. This is the approach of the professional yogis, the fortune hunters, the quacks. But then there are quacks in every walk of life, so why should one be surprised to find them in the field of spirituality? One thing which we often miss or ignore is that the very presence of quacks, imitations, frauds, only points up the existence of true yogis and saints. There would be no quack physicians if there had never been any authentic doctors. These men do debase the currency, but then that is what the majority of people want and so are attracted to them. The few who want the Truth get the Truth. "Ask and it shall be given to you, seek and you shall find, knock and the door will open" - as Christ said so beautifully.
The fundamental requirement of yoga is the same in all religions, that is, the transformation of our lower nature. If you have read all the scriptures in the world, mastered all asanas and postures, learned to sit still for hours, fasted for days, lived in sackcloth and ashes and suppressed all normal desires for joy-and yet your bigotry is intact, your personal ego has only bloated as part of a collective ego, you feel other religions, other prophets, other modes of worship are wrong and only your way is right, then you may be anything but you are not a yogi. A yogi is above religious chauvinism, narrowness and pettiness.
- excerpt from the book :
"Pilgrims of the Stars"..An Autobiography of two Yogis.
By Sri Dilip Kumar Roy and Smt Indira Devi.