Who are we?
ahaṁ brahmāsmi – I am the spirit soul.
This famous quote from the yogīc scriptures often repeated by yogīc masters explains that we are spirit souls in a material body. As the famous saying goes, “We are not humans undergoing a spiritual experience, but we are spirit souls undergoing a human experience.”
Just what is the soul? What is our nature?
A soul is a conscious person whose essential quality is pure blissful consciousness. He is eternal, full of knowledge, and full of bliss. He is ever youthful — one whose nature is to be always blissful. The soul’s real place is the eternal, joyful, and beautiful kingdom of God. In the kingdom of God, which lies in the spiritual sky, the soul does not need a material body, the mind, or intelligence. He is situated in a spiritual body. The soul has its senses, which are designed to experience bliss.
Why does the soul need a material body then?
The “Root” of the soul’s existence is “Desire” as long as the soul has spiritual desires in relation to God or Īśvara the soul remains in the spiritual world or the kingdom of God, whenever the soul desires to be independent of God, wants to enjoy in that manner God or īśvara arranges for a material body for this soul so that he can hide his real identity as the soul and take on a different identity like a theatre actor in various roles. He then enjoys or suffers in different bodies based on his activities.
The pure soul does not mix with material nature, then how does he touch the matter?
The soul cannot exist with is a spiritual body in the material atmosphere. Therefore the soul is provided with a subtle ego called ahaṅkāra and gets connected to matter. He forgets his identity as a soul, and he takes on an identity based on the body.
For, e.g., If the soul takes on the body of a frog, he thinks he is a frog. If he takes on the body of a cow, he thinks he is a cow, etc. The false ego subtly connects to the gross body in five layers, explained in chapter pañcha kośa.
An analogy :
When entering space, human beings need spacesuits. They can- not go there with the bare body. Similarly, when the soul enters the material atmosphere, he needs a temporary subtle and gross covering to experience this world.
Concept of God
Well, for me, this was the defining moment to understanding yoga. To know that there is life beyond this planet, even life beyond this universe, and that life is beyond matter and blissful. The scientists can only learn so much, but one who sees through the eyes of scripture knows everything. The yogīc masters who have explained God’s science have done so based on the scripture and their realizations.
Yoga is a theistic science. The Yoga sūtras refer to God as īśvara (the controller). God is the Origin of everything. He is limitless and possesses unlimited love, and this is what a yogī ultimately seeks, everlasting love. He is situated everywhere; more importantly, He is located within the heart as our guide and best friend.
īśvara is the seed of unlimited knowledge, beyond time and is the Spiritual master of everyone. īśvaraḥ or the Supreme Lord is free from all material qualities and, hence, free from all worldly desires, activities, and results.
His body is transcendental, which is called as Ānandamaya or blissful. When we connect with him, we also become Ānandamaya or blissful. One who connects with Him achieves infinite bliss. The process of samādhi is where one gets reconnects with God and experiences the real eternal bliss.
The process of yoga is meant to understand our relationship with God and love him. There are many religions in this world, and all are looking for the same God, but He is addressed by different names in different religions, but they all address the same person. The Bhagavad-Gītā calls Him Kåñëa the all attractive. We are all attracted to richness, fame, beauty, love, knowledge, renunciation and power. Someone who has all these qualities in unlimited quantity is called God or Kåñëa.
Our book Kåñëa Yoga
To see God realize Him and love Him is the essence of all religions. He cannot be understood if we do not purify ourselves. He is close. He is right within our heart, yet He is far. This distance between God and us is the extent of the impurities within our hearts called anartha. Artha means meaning and anartha, meaning meaningless. Yoga fills up our life with meaning and purpose, with extraordinary qualities. When we purify our hearts, the connection with God gradually strengthens. At the stage of complete purification, we can see Him face to face right within our hearts, where He accompanies the soul in his journey.
Our book Kåñëa Yoga is meant for this purpose, to understand the true meaning and the practice of yoga to reach the ultimate goal of yoga.
I was attracted when I realized that God is our best friend and that the practice of yoga is a means to connect with Him.
The practice of yoga is universal, and it benefits everyone. The yoga method can help people from all castes/race/creed and color and attain stability of the body and mind and the purification of the heart.