Question: What is the purpose of yoga?1

Sri Chinmoy: From yoga and the spiritual life we can derive peace of mind, divine joy, divine love and a sense of true accomplishment. On earth we do many things and feel that we have accomplished something. Then, a few years later, we feel that our accomplishment was only the fulfilment of some desires, which did not give us total satisfaction. But if we follow the spiritual life and the inner discipline of yoga, then at each moment we feel a true sense of satisfaction no matter what we achieve outwardly. Outwardly we may not achieve anything or receive any recognition, but inwardly we feel that our prayer-life and our meditation-life is itself a real achievement and accomplishment.

In the outer life, if we see that the results of our actions are successful, then we feel that we have accomplished something. If we have not achieved success, then we feel that we did not accomplish something. But in the spiritual life, failure as well as success are both accomplishments since they are both a form of experience. Yoga is a continuous inner march, and each moment that we are marching towards our goal we are accomplishing something for God and for ourselves which will last permanently in our inner being.

The ultimate purpose of yoga is to receive the truth and light here on earth. Man and God are one, but right now man is not conscious of his inner divinity. We love and need God, but our love and need for God are not constant and conscious, despite the fact that we are studying and practising spirituality. We have read dozens of books dealing with God’s existence, but God is not a living reality for us yet. We are all instruments of God, but we are unconscious instruments.

When we practise yoga, we dive deep within and see and feel firsthand our relation with God. If we practise yoga, we come to feel that God is first and foremost in our lives. Inside God, we come to see humanity and, inside humanity, we come to see God. Inside Divinity, we see the aspiring humanity and, inside humanity, we see the manifesting Divinity. This is what yoga does for us. It elevates our consciousness to the highest plane and brings down infinite light, peace and bliss from Above so that our life of obscurity, impurity and imperfection can be elevated, illumined, perfected.

Yoga means conscious oneness with God or God-realisation. That is the goal of yoga. A God-realised soul is he who is consciously aware of God and God’s Reality at every moment in his life. He is consciously aware of his oneness with God even while carrying out his multifarious activities. In his case, God is a constant, practical Reality.

  1. MUN 428. 13 June 1975.