Namaste Divine beings, It has been brought to my attention that the article I posted previously about a seemingly progressive Pope may or may not be true. I apologize for the confusion. This is however, mostly irrelevant to the message I was trying to convey.
What I stated before still holds: the truth is that love binds us all together. I stated previously: “The illusion that we are separate and because you’re a “member” of a certain religion, you’re going to Heaven and “everyone else” is going to “hell” is a fallacy. This notion is caused by ignorance and a lack of understanding of the true wisdom mind that pervades everything. There are many paths up the same mountain and yoga instructs that it is about union. Nothing else. Union with Divinity. Union with your body, breath, others.”
These are the teachings of ancient yogis and gurus that predate Buddhism, Christianity, and most other religions and practices. (I say practice because Buddhism is technically not a religion.) Yoga has been practiced on the Indian subcontinent for “well over four thousand years” (Bryant, xx). The origins of yoga are focused around meditation, not the asanas (postures like downward facing dog for example) as a means of discovering the timeless, the changeless. We do yoga, or meditation, as defined by Patanjali, in order to come into contact with Purusha, the observer or innermost conscious self.
Integral yoga, the yoga of Satchidananda, one of the disciples of Sivananda, posits that we all come from Brahman as spiritual beings, put here on earth to come into contact with our divine nature. This is called the divine play, or lila, in Sanskrit. This information is from my own spiritual discipline and time spent at Aurovalley Ashram, in Raiwala, India. Ghandi supports this idea:
Ghandi said: “Everyone has faith in God though everyone does not know it. For everyone has faith in himself and that multiplied to the nth degree is God. The sum total of all that lives is God. We may not be God, but we are of God, even as a little drop of water is of the ocean.” and
“I came to the conclusion long ago … that all religions were true and also that all had some error in them, and whilst I hold by my own, I should hold others as dear as Hinduism. So we can only pray, if we are Hindus, not that a Christian should become a Hindu … But our innermost prayer should be a Hindu should be a better Hindu, a Muslim a better Muslim, a Christian a better Christian.” (Young India: January 19, 1928)
“True religion is not a narrow dogma. It is not external observance. It is faith in God and living in the presence of God. It means faith in a future life, in truth and Ahimsa [non harming]…. Religion is a matter of the heart. No physical inconvenience can warrant abandonment of one’s own religion.”
To pull from my BA in Anthropology (UCLA), religion serves a cultural purpose in every society. It is dogma, rites and rituals created by humans as a means to get to this inner place of peace and love that meditation (yoga) prescribes. Like Ghandi said, It is not external observance. It is, rather, an internal observance of all that is timeless. Anything external eventually goes away. Zen Master Guishan said in his poem called “Encouraging Words”: “Impermanence does not hesitate. Still your mind, end wrong perceptions, concentrate and do not run after the objects of your senses.” When we think we are separate from others, “chosen,” or that you are right and others are wrong simply based on your chosen religion, these are the wrong perceptions the Master speaks of. When we come to a place of stillness, equanimity, and connection with Purusha or Ishvara and see that all beings are divine and special regardless of their religion (is a dog any lesser than us as a soul because he cannot choose a religion? Serious yogis everywhere understand that is is absurd), we can start to undo the veils of illusion that come from being in a human body.
Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu. May all beings be happy and free.
Sources: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Bryant, Edwin F.
Photo credit: City Data
Jenna Pacelli is a Holistic Health Coach and yoga teacher. She coaches yoga practitioners in the San Francisco Bay Area and all over the world. She assists her clients in having more energy, curbing cravings naturally, losing weight and keeping it off without dieting, reducing stress levels, and living from a place of joy and authenticity. Her clients create lasting change and fully embodied health and wellbeing