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What is Yoga?
From an essay by Shri Brahmananda Sarasvati

“Yoga means union, the union of individual existence with cosmic existence, union of the individual “I –am” with the cosmic “I-am”. This union is eternal. You do not have to create it. You cannot create it, because it always exists. You have to feel it. How? Not by an emotional feeling of the thinking mind, but by feeling the original mind, the silent mind with which you are born.

No individual is independent from the rest of existence. We depend on food for eating, on water for drinking, on space for dwelling, on air for breathing. We depend on nature every moment. As a matter of fact, the individual is in everyway the manifestation of nature. There is no distinction between outer and inner nature. The universe is like an organic living tree, and the sun, moon, stars, zodiac signs, human kind and all creatures are it leaves flowers and fruits.

The mind is the world, and the world is the mind. All problems, all wars-weather individual, domestic, social, national, international, political, religious or economic- are the results of the disturbed mind. Thus, the mind is the cause of our happiness and unhappiness.

What is the cause of the crisis and lawlessness present throughout the world? It is lack of union between the body, mind and soul [spirit]. No doubt, the United Nations exists as a symbol of our unity, but its works is limited to politics and economics. The United Nations serves to protect the sovereignty of all nations, but not their meditative unity. For that, we exist. We need to change our hearts. This is the work of Yoga, which means the holistic union of the body, mind and self with our hearts by means of love, without regard for caste, high or low, gender, creed, color, or country.

Is Yoga a religion? No. What is the religion of earth, water, fire, air, the sun, moon, stars and space? They have no particular religion. They belong to everybody, to the religious and nonreligious alike. Similarly, Yoga is beyond religion and politics.

Electricity belongs to everybody, because everyone can use it. In the same way, Yoga belongs to everybody. Yoga is cosmic…Yoga deals directly with ultimate reality, pure awareness, pure consciousness beyond the body and mind, beyond time and space…

Yoga is the holistic way of life, in which union and harmony of the body, the mind and the soul [spirit] or consciousness, “I-Am,” are fundamental. Accordingly, Yoga has many branches, including physical, mental and spiritual forms and disciplines. In fact, each of life’s activities is Yoga when performed in a natural, harmonious way, attentively, to balance and unite the body, mind and spirit. Yoga is balance of the mind.”



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