Editor’s Note: The Mother says that when one enters yoga, one has to leave all the mental buildings, clingings, past self and bondage and look straight towards the future where only the Divine is our religion, country, family, everything. Describing the difference between religion and yoga, she explains that the religion and yoga do not belong to the same plane of being.
Step back and choose your religion
If you want to appraise the real value of the religion in which you are born or brought up or to have a correct perspective of the country or society to which you belong by birth, if you want to find out how relative a thing the particular environment is into which you happened to be thrown and confined, you have only to go round the earth and see that what you think good is looked upon as bad elsewhere and what is considered as bad in one place is welcomed as good in another.
All countries and all religions are built up out of a mass of traditions.
In all of them you will meet saints and heroes and great and mighty personalities as well as small and wicked people. You will then perceive what a mockery it is to say, “Because I am brought up in this religion, therefore it is the only true religion; because I am born in this country, therefore it is the best of all countries”. . .
Things have an inner value and become real to you only when you have acquired them by the exercise of your free choice, not when they have been imposed upon you.
If you want to be sure of your religion, you must choose it; if you want to be sure of your country, you must choose it; if you want to be sure of your family, even that you must choose. . . If you accept without question what has been given you by Chance, you can never be sure whether it is good or bad for you, whether it is the true thing for your life.
Step back from all that forms your natural environment or inheritance, made up and forced upon you by Nature’s blind mechanical process; draw within and look quietly and dispassionately at things. Appraise them, choose freely. Then you can say with an inner truth, “This is my family, this my country, this my religion.”
If we go a little way within ourselves, we shall discover that there is in each of us a consciousness that has been living throughout the ages and manifesting in a multitude of forms. Each of us has been born in many different countries, belonged to many different nations, followed many different religions. Why must we accept the last one as the best?
The experiences gathered by us in all these many lives in different countries and varying religions, are stored up in that inner continuity of our consciousness which persists through all births. There are multiple personalities there created by these past experiences, and when we become aware of this multitude within us, it becomes impossible to speak of one particular form of truth as the only truth, one country as our only country, one religion as the only true religion.
There are people who have been born into one country, although the leading elements of their consciousness obviously belong to another. I have met some born in Europe who were evidently Indians; I have met others born in Indian bodies who were as evidently Europeans. . .
Leave all the bondage of your past
If your aim is to be free, in the freedom of the Spirit, you must get rid of all the ties that are not the inner truth of your being, but come from subconscious habits. If you wish to consecrate yourself entirely, absolutely and exclusively to the Divine, you must do it in all completeness; you must not leave bits of yourself tied here and there.
You may object that it is not easy to cut away altogether from one’s moorings. But have you never looked back and observed the changes that have taken place in you in the course of a few years?
When you do that, almost always you ask yourself how it was that you could have felt in the way you felt and acted as you did act in certain circumstances; at times, even, you can no longer recognise yourself in the person you were only ten years ago. How can you then bind yourself to what was or to what is or how can you fix beforehand what may or may not be in the future?
All your relations must be newly built upon an inner freedom of choice. The traditions in which you live or are brought up have been imposed on you by the pressure of the environment or by the general mind or by the choice of others. There is an element of compulsion in your acquiescence.
Religion – Helper or an Obstacle to Spiritual Life?
Religion itself has been imposed on men; it is often supported by a suggestion of religious fear or by some spiritual or other menace. There can be no such imposition in your relation with the Divine; it must be free, your own mind’s and heart’s choice, taken up with enthusiasm and joy.
What union can that be in which one trembles and says, “I am compelled, I cannot do otherwise”?
Truth is self-evident and has not to be imposed upon the world. It does not feel the need of being accepted by men. For it is self-existent; it does not live by what people say of it or on their adherence.
But one who is founding a religion needs to have many followers. The strength and greatness of a religion is adjudged by men according to the number of those that follow it, although the real greatness is not there.
The greatness of spiritual truth is not in numbers.
[. . .]
When you come to the Yoga, you must be ready to have all your mental buildings and all your vital scaffoldings shattered to pieces.
You must be prepared to be suspended in the air with nothing to support you except your faith. You will have to forget your past self and its clingings altogether, to pluck it out of your consciousness and be born anew, free from every kind of bondage.
Think not of what you were, but of what you aspire to be; be altogether in what you want to realise. Turn from your dead past and look straight towards the future. Your religion, country, family lie there; it is the DIVINE.
~ The Mother (CWM, Vol. 3, p. 80-84)
The difference between yoga and religion
Religion and Yoga do not belong to the same plane of being and spiritual life can exist in all its purity only when it is free from all mental dogma.
– The Mother (CWM, Vol. 10, p. 96)
Sweet Mother, what is the difference between yoga and religion?
Ah! my child… it is as though you were asking me the difference between a dog and a cat!
Imagine someone who, in some way or other, has heard of something like the Divine or has a personal feeling that something of the kind exists, and begins to make all sorts of efforts: efforts of will, of discipline, efforts of concentration, all sorts of efforts to find this Divine, to discover what He is, to become acquainted with Him and unite with Him. Then this person is doing yoga.
Now, if this person has noted down all the processes he has used and constructs a fixed system, and sets up all that he has discovered as absolute laws―for example, he says: the Divine is like this, to find the Divine you must do this, make this particular gesture, take this attitude, perform this ceremony, and you must admit that this is the truth, you must say, “I accept that this is the Truth and I fully adhere to it; and your method is the only right one, the only one which exists”― if all that is written down, organised, arranged into fixed laws and ceremonies, it becomes a religion.
– The Mother (CWM, Vol. 8, p. 146)
Religion, Yoga of Bhakti and the Conception of the Divine
~ Design: Raamkumar