Question: Do those who follow your path have to give up their religion?

Sri Chinmoy: Never! My disciples do not have to give up their religion. Religion is no obstacle to the spiritual life. Yoga or spiritual discipline will never find fault with any religion. Yoga means union with God, conscious union with God. I can pray to God in my own way; you pray to God in your own way. God is pleased with both of us. This is religion. Then, when we realise God, we become one with His creation, with His universe. At that time we feel that we are inside the Heart of God. When I realise God, I feel myself inside the Heart of God. You will also do the same.

Religion is like a house. Everybody has to live in a house; we can't live in the street. Again, we have to enlarge our outlook about religion. If we feel that our religion is by far the best and that somebody else's religion is the worst, then we are making a mistake. We have to feel that our religion is good and other religions are also good. Your house is good for you; my house is good for me. Your religion will certainly help you to reach the Highest and my religion will help me to reach the Highest. All the religions are one. God is the tree and the religions are the branches of the tree.

So we must not criticise any religion. But when it is a matter of Yoga, we have to know that Yoga transcends all religions. Here we don't want to be satisfied only with my house or your house. We want to claim all the houses of the world as our very own because God is inside all of them. In Yoga, all religions become ours, because Yoga means union with God. When we have this union, we transcend our limited feeling of "my" and "mine", my religion, your religion. At that time, we go beyond the boundaries of religion.

All religions are true. But when we enter into the spiritual life, we go one step beyond religion. At that time, only God is our aim, our goal. If we enter into Him, we enter into the infinite Consciousness. If we pray and we meditate, we accept all religions as our very own and place them in the very Heart of God.