Philosophy, spirituality and yoga1

Philosophy is God-speculation. Spirituality is God-expectation. Yoga is God-union. God-speculation, God-expectation and God-union.

Philosophy most of the time operates on the mental plane. Spirituality operates most of the time in the outer being. Yoga operates in the oneness heart and in the perfection-life.

Philosophy has come to the conclusion that God is stupendous. Spirituality has come to the conclusion that God is glorious. Yoga has come to the conclusion that God is gracious, loving, compassionate, illumining and fulfilling.

God says to philosophy, “My child, you have known Me as something stupendous, and I shall make you stupendous.” God says to spirituality, “You have known Me, My child, as someone glorious. I shall grant you all My Glory.” To Yoga God says, “My child, you have known Me as someone gracious. Of all My qualities, My most treasured quality is Grace. You are also aware of My Love. Nothing is equal to My Love. Because you are aware of My Compassion and Illumination I shall bestow My choicest blessingful Compassion and Illumination on you in infinite measure. And not only that, but also I shall eventually fulfil you by making you another God.”

A student of philosophy studies in the mind school. He wants to measure God’s Infinity. A student of spirituality studies in the body, vital, mind and nature schools. He wants to reach God’s Eternity. A student of Yoga studies in the heart school and in the soul school. In the heart school he studies for liberation from ignorance-night, and in the soul school he studies for the perfect perfection of life here on earth.

Who can measure God’s Infinity? It is absurd to think of trying. Who can catch God’s Eternity? Nobody. But who can try to become liberated? Who can try to become perfect? Everybody. You, he, I, everybody. Everybody in God’s Creation can make a soulful attempt to be freed from the meshes of ignorance and to be perfect. In the heart school and the soul school the student of Yoga learns something else: he learns how to become an unconditional instrument of God. He learns to live on earth only to please God in God’s own Way.

The student of philosophy is puzzled. The student of spirituality is astonished. The student of Yoga is awakened, totally awakened. The student of philosophy wants to address the world assembly. He wants to prove that God does exist. The student of spirituality wants to carry God’s Light to the length and breadth of the world. The student of Yoga has been commissioned by the infinite Bounty of God Himself to embody, reveal and manifest God in God’s own Way.

Philosophy and spirituality belong to the domain of knowledge, whereas Yoga belongs to the domain of wisdom. I am extremely happy to learn that the motto of this august university is “Sweet Wisdom”. When a seeker practices true Yoga, he comes to realise that there can be nothing more important in his life than wisdom-light. He discovers that there is a vast difference between knowledge and wisdom. Knowledge is nothing more than the accumulation of world-facts and information. These facts and information do not and cannot illumine his aspiring consciousness. But wisdom-light can and does illumine his entire being, his earthly life and his earth-bound reality. What is proper wisdom? Proper wisdom is the realisation that God is at once One and many, the Creator and the Creation. In the inner world He is Silence and in the outer world He is Sound. The seeker also realises that God needs him as much as he needs God.

Each individual can launch into the path of the spirit. He can start as a philosophy student. Then he can become a spirituality student. Then he can become a student of Yoga. The most important thing for each human being is to start the journey. There is no end to our journey. There is no end to our goal. One should consciously start, even if he starts only out of curiosity. If he has even a little thirst for God-discovery, let him start with curiosity. Naturally, there will come a time when mere curiosity will not satisfy him. He will try to go deeper. Then he will resort to imagination. Let him try to imagine God in whatever way he wants to. Soon there will come a time when he will no longer be satisfied with his imagination. Then he will go one step ahead. He will knock at the door of inspiration. He will continue his journey with inspiration, and for some time he will go on using all his inspiration.

But there will come a time when the seeker will realise that imagination and inspiration cannot carry him far enough. Then he will try to go deep within to discover if there is anything else that he needs for his inner journey. He will discover that he is missing something, and that thing is aspiration. Once he has discovered aspiration in the inmost recesses of his heart, all his problems are solved. All past, present and future problems put together are helpless in the face of aspiration, for aspiration is the burning, glowing flame within — a birthless and endless flame. This flame mounts high, higher, highest. It purifies the things that have to be purified in our unlit, obscure, impure nature and, while illumining the unlit, obscure, impure qualities in us, it immortalises the divine qualities in us: faith in God, love of God, and surrender, unconditional surrender, which says to God, “Let Thy Will be done.”


  1. University of Western Australia, Winthrop Hall Perth, Australia, 3 March 1976