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The essence of yoga By Swami Venkatesananda

March 11, 2012

Asanas and pranayama have almost come to be regarded as mere physical exercises; and the other practices of yoga are found in religious traditions all over the world. But, what is a ‘spiritual’ practice? A practice becomes spiritual only when it is full of the spirit of yoga, full of the spirit of God.

Gurudev pointed out that if this spirit is present, all activities of one’s lifebecome spiritual; minus this spirit even what looks great on the surface is worthless show. Yet it will not do to ignore the traditional spiritual practices (like prayer and meditation) in the belief that our whole life is spiritual! If it is, it

will itself demand regular periods of renewal in japa, meditation, prayer and worship. And these too will be full of the spirit of God.

Gurudev asked us to ‘see God in all’, ‘to serve the Lord in all’. How do we see God in all, who sees God in all? As long as we see only with the physical eye, we shall see only physical bodies. With our mind we see (try to understand) others’ minds or ideas: we ‘see’ them as intelligent or dull beings and so on. Feeling responds to others in sympathy. But none of these can see God. Only

God can see God. Flesh sees flesh, mind sees mind, heart sees heart, and God sees God.

All the yoga practices are meant to purify the body, mind and heart, so that the transparent inner instruments might reveal the indwelling presence of God. Yoga does not create anything new. Meditation is the intensest form of self purification.

When our whole being is pure we realise the great truth expressed with great beauty in Baba Muktananda’s great message: “Be God to one another”. This is not as much a commandment as a simple statement of truth: when your

own heart is pure, the God within you sees God within all.

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By the Ananda Kutir Ashrama in Cape Town | www.anandakutir.org.za

Image: httpwww.facebook.compages%E0%A5%90-Open-Your-Mind-%E0%A5%90180165568665343

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