excerpts from Kriya Yoga, Divine Dispensation for Our Awakening Age, Brother Anandamoy DVD/mp3 download, listen to excerpt
You know that civilization did not gradually evolve to this present day, not at all. There are cycles of ascending and descending ages of civilization. There were in the past civilizations that were far superior than the present one. Those were the ancient enlightened ages in India and in other places in the world. Then in the descending ages, when we reached Kali Yuga, the dark age, the materialistic age, the deeper truth of the enlightened ages was lost and forgotten. And particularly I want to say that the ancient science of Yoga was lost and forgotten. Why? Because with the dark ages man lost the knowledge of the subtle forces in creation, lost the knowledge of the principle of energy, electricity, atomic energy and so on. And because of this loss of knowledge, the deeper science of Yoga was lost. ….
This is a Universal Teaching–the underlying esoteric aspect of all the great religions
Guruji said, now you have come in your spiritual evolution where you find the highest truth is to be found within yourself. And you find it through, not just belief, but through practice of the science of yoga. …I want to stress this, that you all understand that this teaching is not a new sect, an exclusive sect. It is a universal teaching. Actually it is the underlying esoteric aspect of all the great religions. And most people today still do not know even that there IS an esoteric aspect of religion. They know only the external. The external, exoteric religion. And there you have differences, of course, naturally so… But UNDERNEATH is the esoteric aspect. That is the science of Yoga.
Guruji explained it this way, he gave an illustration. He said suppose there is a mountain somewhere, and there is only one path leading up to the top of that mountain. And now people are traveling from different countries and different continents toward that mountain. And as they are traveling through different routes they have different experiences, they see different scenery and all that. But when they come to the foot of the mountain they are all going up the mountain the same way. And so he said the outward, exoteric aspect of religion is the different ceremonies and rituals, different dogmas, different terminology and all that. But when they come to the mountain, that is, when they come to the esoteric aspect of their religion, they go within and ascend the spine and the chakras and there they have the SAME experience. Perfect Unity.
…That was a hundred years ago when Mahavatar Babaji met Swami Sri Yukteswarji at the Kumbha Mela in Allahabad. He said to him, ‘Will you not write a short book on the underlying harmony between Christian and Hindu scriptures? Their basic unity is now obscured by man’s sectarian differences. Show by parallel references that the inspired great ones have spoken the same truth.’ And then Sri Yukteswarji wrote that book, Holy Science, and he wrote, ‘The purpose of this book is to show as clearly as possible that there is an essential unity in all religions, that there are no differences essentially in the truths inculcated by the various faiths.’ He said, ‘The object of this book is to point out the HARMONY underlying the various religions, AND to help in binding them together’–meaning peace, brotherhood, unity. ‘I was chosen to remove the barriers and to help in establishing the basic truths in all religions.’
And when we look in the various scriptures, the various religions, you find exact harmony.
A few examples of the Universality of Religion…
I want to give you just a few examples. … in the Bhagavatam, [it is] said ‘The sacred word AUM is one with God and indeed IS God.’ In the Bible, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and Word was God.’ The same wording, same truth.
Patanjali gave the definition of Yoga–Yoga meaning union with God, knowledge of God, experience of God–it comes through stilling the waves of consciousness. In the Bible it says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Same thing.
Samadhi means literally ‘to direct together.’ To direct together what? The various faculties–the mind, the emotions, feeling, the prana, the energy all directed inward toward the perception of God and Oneness with God. The highest commandment in the Bible is “Love God with all your heart, all your mind, all your soul, all your strength.” That is in one sentence the whole principle of Raja Yoga. …How to love God with all your strength, what does it mean? … It is pranayam, exactly the same. This is what Jesus taught to his disciples. …
In the Gita it says, God speaking, ‘Give me thy heart.’ In the Bible it says, God speaking, ‘Give me thy heart.’ Exactly the same.
No Image of the Deity on the SRF/YSS altar–Two Reasons
Now I want to point out something else, another principle. And that may be surprising to you. But I want to clarify that. Last time I was here, in Ranchi, a man came to me and said, We are praying to God the Father. We are praying to the Mother aspect of God, Divine Mother. Shouldn’t we therefore have an image of the Divine Mother on our altar? And I said no. He said why not? I said, two reasons. One is, we do not have a deity on our altar. ‘Oh, yes, we have those great masters, pictures of those great masters. They are all divine.’ But, we do not have the deity on our altar–symbol or image of the deity, we don’t.
Why? Two reasons. If we had a deity, it would reinforce the old habit of external worship, that means directing the energy into the senses and the mind going out toward that image. And the great saints of all the great religions have all said, the human senses and the human sensory mind cannot perceive God because these instruments are too dull, too limited, too coarse. Our gurus taught, just like Jesus Christ taught, Lord Krishna taught, search God within through the science of yoga techniques. Go within, and you will find in the inner stillness the experience of your ishta [Yogananda Site: personal object of worship]. The senses, the human mind, cannot perceive God.
Now there is another reason why we don’t have an image, a deity on our altar in our temples. Why? because if we had a deity it would DESTROY the universality of our teaching. Why? they would fight with each other. One group would want this deity, another group this deity, another one this one. And there are religions who do not believe in any symbol of deity. It would completely destroy the unity of our teaching.
And I will tell you, I know from experience, every year in Los Angeles, we have a convocation, worldwide convocation. And our members comes from all over the world. Thousands of them. And they come from any possible religious background. We have Buddhists, we have Hindus, we have Moslems, we have Christians, we have Jews, we have Sikhs, we have Parsees, we have Jains, and whatever. Perfect unity. Perfect brotherhood. Why? Because through these teachings they are practicing the essence of their own esoteric aspect of religion. With these techniques they are going inside, reversing the flow of energy, reversing their thoughts, their consciousness. Going inside with the yoga techniques. And in the inner stillness they find first AUM, cosmic vibration. The name, the Word. It’s mentioned in all the great religions.
And, then you go deeper. Aum leads to Tat, and Tat leads to Sat. And Sat is that One infinite, eternal bliss consciousness which is beyond the duality and relativity of Maya. That is the Absolute Truth. That is the Absolute, the final experience. It is that consciousness, divine consciousness, divine spirit, who has sent all the various religions to the world, who is the goal of all the great religions in the world, who cannot be pinned down by mortal thought or mortal language, but who can be known, who can be experienced, through the science of Kriya Yoga. Do you understand that?
This is Unity. This is the goal–not only of all the great religions–that divine bliss consciousness is the goal of all life… Someone asked Guruji, is there an end of evolution? And Guruji said, no, because in the end you become Endlessness, you become One with the Infinite Consciousness of God.
See also~ BRO. ANANDAMOY TALKS and STORIES