Religion, Spirituality and Yoga

A lecture by Sri Chinmoy
in Hendricks Chapel, Syracuse University


Religion is the house, spirituality is the living room, Yoga is the prayer and meditation room. The house is beautiful, the living room is meaningful, the prayer and meditation room is fruitful.

When seekers come to the house they feel a divine vibration. If they are really sincere seekers, they will look for the living room. Otherwise, they will go away from the house. Only the sincere seekers feel God's presence there. It gives them tremendous joy, so they want to see God and speak to God. For this they enter into the living room, where they try to lead a divine life. And from there, when they begin to feel the necessity of fulfilling their aspiration in a most significant way, they enter into the prayer and meditation room in order to achieve satisfaction in their inner life.

Sincere seekers feel that only seeing God and speaking to God is not enough. They feel that it is of utmost importance to pray to God and meditate on God so that they can be divinely and supremely satisfied. They cry to God in their prayer and meditation room for boundless Peace, Light and Bliss so that they can fulfil God on earth. They meditate on God so they can manifest His perfect Perfection in and through themselves.

Human religion and divine religion. Human religion says, "God is everywhere." Divine religion says, "God is everywhere, I don't deny it. I fully subscribe to this view. But I want a living God with whom I can talk and mix at every moment. I want to feel Him. I want to see Him. I want to speak to Him. I want a living God." This is the soulful need of divine religion.

Human spirituality and divine spirituality. Human spirituality says, "God is above, in the highest realm of consciousness. He is only in Heaven. Here in this world of imperfection God is not to be seen, not to be found, not to be expected." Divine spirituality does not see eye-to-eye with human spirituality. It says, "God is everywhere. He is on the highest plane of consciousness and again He is on the lowest plane, in the lowest chasm. He is everywhere. If God is not here on earth, then I do not need that kind of God. My God is within, He is without, He is below, He is above. He is everywhere. He has to be with me, even on earth, one hundred percent of the time." Divine spirituality does not care for the God who stays only in Heaven.

Human Yoga and Divine Yoga. Human Yoga is all about the body, the perfection of the body and the perfection of the physical consciousness. In human Yoga the body is all. If the body can live without food, then the body is perfect. If the body can live without sleep, then the body is perfect. If the body can walk on water without sinking or walk on fire without being burned, then the body is perfect. But divine Yoga is totally different. Divine Yoga wants the real, integral perfection of the body and the soul. It feels that each limb has to aspire to receive light from above. The physical has to be a perfect receptacle. The capacity of receptivity must grow inside the physical along with the growing capacity of the soul. In divine Yoga perfection lies in receiving light from above and also in bringing to the fore the light, peace and bliss that are inherent in the soul.

The divine Yoga says, "The smile of the soul has to be manifested here on earth, but first the cry of the body, vital, mind and heart have to reach the highest transcendental Source. The union of the soul's manifestation-smile and the body's aspiration-cry is what the divine Yoga needs. Aspiration for the highest and manifestation of the highest are what the divine Yoga needs. When we aspire we discover how we shall consciously reach the plane which we eternally need, and when we manifest we feel that we are offering the highest to all of God's creation.

Here on earth we practise religion, spirituality and Yoga in a human way. Religion says, "I am great. Why? I can exercise God's Justice. I can punish the rest of the world if so is the Will of God. I am great because I can tolerate the world. The world is full of imperfections, the world is constantly rejecting and distorting me, but in spite of that I can tolerate the world. Also, although the world is unforgiveable, I have the capacity to forgive the world; therefore, I am great."

Spirituality says, "I am good. I try to love mankind. Although mankind and I have countless limitations and imperfections, according to my power of receptivity and capacity I try to love mankind. I am imperfect and the world is imperfect, but with all my imperfections I try to love the imperfect world as my own, my very own; therefore, I am good."

Yoga says, "I do not know whether I am great or good. But whether I am great or small, whether I am good or bad, I am what God wants me to be and I will become what He wants me to become. I do not want to be caught by the snares of either bad propensities or good capacities. I want only to be the devoted, dedicated, soulful and self-giving instrument of God."

Religion speaks to the sleeping world: "Wake up! Can't you see that God is standing at your door? It is high time for you to wake up. God is standing at your door waiting for you. He has come to you out of His infinite Bounty."

Spirituality speaks to the awakening world: "Look, look! Your Eternal Friend is waiting for you. Look at Him, smile at Him, talk to Him. He is your Eternal Friend."

Yoga speaks to the awakened seeker: "Why are you such a fool? Why can't you recognise your own self, the real in you? The highest in you, the real Reality in you is right in front of you. Claim yourself. Claim unreservedly and wholeheartedly what you really and eternally are."

Religion says to the seeker, "O seeker, I can tell you who God is. I can tell you all about God in unmistakable terms." Spirituality says to the seeker, "O seeker, I can do something more for you. Religion says it knows who God is, and it can tell you all about God. But I can tell you where God is. I can show you where He is and what He is doing. I will be able to establish a free access for you to God." Yoga says to the seeker, "O seeker, I can not only tell you about God and show you where God is, but I can make you another God."

Religion, spirituality and Yoga. Religion tries to do the right thing precisely because it is afraid of God. It loves God, but it is afraid of God and does not want to displease God in any way; therefore, it tries to please God. It feels that by pleasing God it can fulfil itself.

Spirituality feels that it is its bounden duty to please God precisely because God is its Source, its perennial Source, and eventually it has to go back to the Source and claim the Source as its very own.

Yoga knows and feels that God is omnipresent. On the strength of its oneness with God, Yoga feels that it can do nothing but please God in every way, at every moment.

Each individual human being has religion in him, has spirituality in him, has Yoga in him. When he uses his religious power, he is blessed with God's infinite Greatness-Light. When he uses his spiritual power, he is blessed with God's infinite Goodness-Power. When he uses his Yogic power, God blesses him with what He has and what He is. What He has and what He is far transcends His Greatness-Light and Goodness-Power. It is something beyond our human comprehension. It is something a Yogi grows into and eventually becomes. It is something that transcends both greatness and goodness, a Reality which perfectly houses God's ever-transcending Height and God's ever-manifesting Vision-Delight.

Published in AUM – Vol.2, No.10, October 27, 1975


Twenty Poems (131-150)

by Sri Chinmoy
at ​the Osaka Grand Hotel in Osaka, Japan


131. When I am on God's side

When I am on God’s side
My love becomes fast speed,
My devotion becomes lasting energy
My surrender becomes final victory.

132. All I want

All I wanted
Was freedom-supremacy
In my desire-life.

All I want now
Is surrender-ecstasy
In my aspiration-life.

133. God's Love-Call

God’s Love-Call
Has transformed my animal past.

God’s Love-Call
Is illumining my human present.

God’s Love-Call
Will immortalise my divine future.

134. A deathless future

What belongs
To a deathless future?
A gratitude-flame.
What else belongs
To a deathless future?
A tiny surrender-seed.

135. A new discovery

I can’t wait until tomorrow
To be blessed with
A new discovery:
My love is my heart’s beauty,
My devotion is my life’s duty,
My surrender is my victory’s satisfaction.

136. How little I know

How little I know
Of man’s gratitude-drop!

How little I know
Of God’s Forgiveness-Sea!

137. America's special strength

America’s special strength
Lies not in frightening the weak
And challenging the strong,
But in strengthening the weak
Illumining the strong.

138. Oneness-land

That is where he always belongs.
That is the place where
The Creator in him
The creation in him
Enjoy each other.

139. The longest road

The longest road in the world:
To see others’ faults
To enjoy others’ faults

140. Three kinds of givers

Three kinds of givers:
A giver who gives only to receive
Ten times more in return,
A giver who wants to prove
That he has a giant heart,
A giver who gives to become.
This giver
Has discovered the secret art
Of true satisfaction.

141. Someday, somehow, somewhere

His confiscated body,
His frustrated vital,
His humiliated head,
His elevated heart,
His unlimited soul
Will grant him
Someday, somehow, somewhere
An emancipated life.

142. A God-Heart

How can America afford
To ignore world-problems
When God, out of His infinite Bounty,
Has given America
A heart similar to His own?

143. One heart in two bodies

One heart in two bodies:
A self-offering God-lover.

Two hearts in one body:
A soulless earth-lover.

144. An overnight success

An overnight success
Is possible only when
I can make myself feel
That I am of God alone.

An ever-transcending progress
Is not only possible but inevitable
When I succeed in convincing myself
That I live for God
And God alone.

145. If you suffer

If you suffer, thank God.
For nothing abides
Away from His Vision-Eye
His Compassion-Heart.

146. A great teacher

A great teacher inspires
The seeker.

A great teacher aspires
In and through the seeker.

A great teacher knows
That he is the journey’s soul of the seeker
And also his journey’s goal.

147. Each opportunity

Intense longing creates opportunity.
Each opportunity
Is more than a blessing.
It is a miniature goal itself.

148. God is always watching us

God is always watching us,
Even when we worship Him.
Because He knows that sincere sincerity
Is yet to be born.

149. Humour and rumour

Heaven cannot afford
To enjoy humour,
For it is dying
Of earth’s unending rumour.

150. To frighten and enlighten

To frighten the animal in me
My God is all Justice.

To enlighten the human in me
My God is all Compassion.

Published in Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, part 2