Interviewer: Why is it that Westerners are leaving their own religion and going to Indian or Eastern spiritual Masters? What is wrong with the churches?

Sri Chinmoy: There is nothing wrong with the churches, but our human belief in religion is very peculiar. When we stick to religion, we feel that our own religion is by far the best. Always there is a kind of competition in the religious world. But by involving ourselves in competition, we don’t make any progress. The real spiritual Masters have not come here to preach the Hindu religion. No, no. We have come here to share with you the message of Yoga. Yoga means union with God. Ours is not a religion. Ours is just a path. Now, you can have a path of your own and I can have a path of my own. I won’t say that my road is the only correct road and that your road is all wrong. No, all the roads lead to Rome. We will never say that Christianity is bad or Judaism is bad or Islam is bad. Never, never, never! We will say that all religions are equally good, but we have to go beyond religion. A religion is like a house. You will remain in your house, I will remain in my house and someone else will remain in his house. But we will all go to the same school. So here, Yoga is the school where people get inner knowledge and inner wisdom.

Unfortunately, here in the West, we give too much importance to religion. When we give too much importance to religion, we are confined to our own room, to our own house. We do not want to look around and see what is happening. But Yoga means going deep within. When we go deep within, we see that the world around us is not as bad as we think and that it is not inferior to us. I have imperfections, you have imperfections, he has imperfections. The spiritual world accepts us with our imperfections and then it tries to perfect us. But each religion claims that it is already perfect. Hinduism will feel that Hinduism is perfect, Christianity will feel that Christianity is perfect and so on. If we are perfect, then we do not have to learn anything. But a seeker of the highest Truth feels that he has many things to learn, many things to discover. When he comes to religion and religion tells him, “I am perfect, others are all imperfect,” then naturally he is hesitant to follow religion. He observes the priest or some other member of the church and he sees tremendous imperfections in that individual. So, when the religions claim that they are all perfect, naturally the seeker hesitates to follow them. But when we follow the spiritual path, first of all we confess that we are full of imperfections. We have so many things wrong in our life, but we are trying to perfect ourselves. We are running towards our goal and that is perfection. But we ourselves are not the goal. That is why people here find it difficult to go to church and follow their own religion. It is because their religion claims that it itself is the goal. But Yoga never claims that. Yoga says it is a road that will take you to the ultimate Goal.