Yoga, a Non-Dogmatic Spiritual Path
Although we speak a lot of God and say that yoga is the way to God, yoga is not a religion nor a religious sect. God is a universal principle, cosmic light, eternally awake consciousness which pervades all existence. This God is one, and dwells in all. We gave Him different names and images - we call Him Holy Father, Allah, Ishwara, Divine Will, Love, the highest Self and so on. There are as many images of God as there are people on the face of the earth. Everyone creates one’s own image of God and opinion on God according to the level of one’s spiritual development. Who imagines God according to prescriptions of others, has only a "borrowed" picture of Him and no own living vision.
The essence of yoga and all religions is actually the same - spiritual development of the person and the realisation of the Self and God as the final goal. Unfortunately, with all religions this goal somehow faded through time and got nearly lost: simplicity and directness were replaced by mysteriousness and inapproachability, God became something distant, limited by systems of dogmas. On the other hand, the knowledge of yoga is always transferred from people who realised God themselves to those who are still searching for Him. Such people, the real spiritual masters, can still be found nowadays. But we must be very cautious who we give our confidence to, for there are individuals who just imitate spiritual master's behaviour on the outside, but do not have the highest knowledge and their teachings are incomplete or even misleading. We can recognise a real spiritual master not by his looks, but we must listen to our heart.
Yoga teaches that everybody can attain and realise God. There is of course no universal recipe, everybody must find his own way. Yoga can help and guide us in our search, it offers to a seeker many thousand years of experiences and living examples of holy men and sages who attained this highest goal.
It is not important which religious belief (or none of them) we belong to, for yoga will support us in every kind of positive thinking and way of life. Yoga unites positive principles of all world religions: non-violence, understanding, help, forgiving, charity.
As such, yoga is a universal spiritual path, which is based on one’s own experience and not on the experiences and regulations of others, the meaning of which is changed and lost in the course of time.
Sri Deep Narayan Mahaprabhuji says:
"Brothers, you are mistaken if you think that you contradict each other by belonging to different religions! Instead of this you should live next to each other as brothers, for we are all children of one divine father. God is in all of us. It is not important whether you are Moslem, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist or Jain - if you really live according to your religion, you will all realise God."
Author: Paramhans Swami Maheshwarananda