Yoga does not mean a change of faith
To revere the faith of others is as much a duty as to revere one’s own.
If the faith of others is studied deeply, and practised, the yogin will recognize through the differences of expression, the essence of his own.
A modern Zen teacher said that when he first read the Bible, he came to the passage in Exodus where Moses receives the commission to go to Pharaoh, and says: ‘Who shall I say has sent me?’ Now he thought: ‘We are going to hear the name of God, which we haven’t heard so far’. But the text went on: ‘I AM WHAT I AM. Say I AM has sent you.’
The Zen master commented said that he was first surprised, and then filled with admiration. He thought to himself: ‘Why, this is pure Zen’.
Dr. Shastri said that yoga does not mean a change of faith: yoga is a method by which belief, in any traditional faith, becomes a certainty. He said that in Britain, yoga must be presented alongside Christianity, and not in contrast to it. He recommended to yogins especially the Fourth Gospel, where the mystical teachings are most clear.
John 14.16 “I will pray to the Father and he will give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever the spirit of truth …the world does not know him, but you know him, for he dwells with you, and shall be in you”.
This is like an Upanisadic text: If the Lord in human form does not go, the spirit of truth will not come to the disciple.
But it also says: “You know him, because he dwells with you, and shall be in you. John 16,7: If I do not go, the Holy Spirit will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send him to you”.
This seems to be a puzzle; unless the human form departs, the holy spirit will not come. Yet it is already with you. The Upanisadic text explains that the supreme Self is in everyone and everything, and is known immediately and directly; but because it is subtle, it is difficult to make out.
We can compare with this example from ordinary life. Suppose someone is asked to describe everything in a room on a winter’s day. He lists all the furniture, the carpets, the questioner, the mirror, the reflections, and so on. But he often forgets to list himself. Finally he includes himself also, with his clothes.
But the questioner still says: ‘Something missing’. He goes into more detail, but always the answer comes: ‘Something missing’. Finally he gives up. Then the other says: ‘You never mentioned the light. There is a diffused light in this room, but you did not mention it. And in fact everything you did mention, is in fact light.’
The light, though immediate and directly seen, is somehow overlooked. It is the same with the Self.