What is this Yoga which Shri Dadaji introduced to the people of Britain, hoping that, acquiring spiritual strength and refinement of heart, they would carry the torch of Eternal Light to the people of the West ? Shri Dada knew the great role played by the people of Britain in the fourth and seventh centuries in carrying the light of Christianity to the Saxons of Northern Europe. He knew of the labours of Boniface, Wilfrid and many others who left the shores of Britain to preach the holy Truth, undergoing immense sacrifices and without counting the cost involved.
The holy Yoga is not different in any substantial point from true Christianity, which aims at the establishment of a Kingdom of Heaven on earth—the Kingdom which each man already has within him. What is this Kingdom ? It is the domain of Love—Love based on a first-hand direct knowledge of Christ abiding in His fulness in each one of us.
It is not the corporeal Christ—though the divinity of His corporeal aspect is affirmed—but the spiritual Christ, the immortal essence, the Lord above time and space, who is the substratum of the human personality. In His Kingdom there is no strife, no disorder, no struggle ; but Peace and Light, eternal and waveless. It is the Kingdom of bliss and beauty, truth and knowledge, in which each spirit, seeing his full manifestation in others, abides in a state of non-duality.
Let it be understood that this is a state of consciousness, potential in every being, to which Christ came to show the way through love of our fellow men, prayer, devotion to God and meditation. Christ was born of the Holy Virgin : the birth of the Kingdom of Heaven within is through innocence, purity, love of the ideal and obedience to the Lord. The Manger in which the divine Child was laid symbolizes the desireless heart, free from all love of pomp and fame, egoity and self-love.
It was to manifest the Christ principle in his nature that Shri Dada renounced his great wealth and his illustrious family; for the goal of the holy Adhyatma Yoga, as summarized by Shri Krishna in the Gita, is to acquire the divine state called by Him “My state”.
A great and holy philosopher has called this state “ the acquisition of Universal Empire (Samrajya-siddhi) ”.
“ The knots of the heart are loosened ;
All doubts melt away ;
All sins and virtues dissolve When the great Truth is seen.”
This subjective experience of the identity of one’s self with the all-pervading spirit of God is called release, salvation. Thus we see that the goals of the holy Yoga and Christianity are identical.
Among the means to be adopted in order to realise the goal, both in the holy Yoga of the Gita and in the teachings of Christ, Faith is assigned the foremost place. Then, the holy Yoga and the holy writ of Christ both enjoin a life of purity, prayer and meditation. Purity of heart, without which none can see God, means the eradication of worldly desires and dedication of the heart to the Lord. Only those worldly desires are legitimate which facilitate one’s own spiritual life as well as that of others.
Christianity recommends daily prayer and the holy Yoga provides the science of prayer. As to meditation, the Christian Saints in the Catholic Church demonstrate its great value ; but here, just as in the case of prayer, no definite instructions are laid down. The holy Yoga comes to the help of Christians in advocating a gradual progressive course in meditation.
The teachings of Christ are divine and everlasting ; and they are meant for everybody.
Has not the Lord Himself said that His sheep do not belong to any special fold ? No church and no other organised body can justly claim to be the sole custodian of Christ’s teachings. In the Gita also, the Lord’s teachings are said to be universal and the Yoga, on the authority of the Gita, points to incarnation of the Lord in all ages :
“For the protection of the righteous ;
For the destruction of the evil-doers ;
And to restore virtue ;
I am born in different ages.”
(Bhagavadgita IV: 8).
Jesus Christ was one incarnation of God but it is not reasonable to consider Him as the only incarnation. True devotion to one incarnation implies devotion to all. The Divine essence in Christ and Krishna was one and the same : a Yogi worships God in both and also in other incarnations. In its early stages Christianity was free from narrow fanaticism : to St. Paul, every man was entitled to worship God.
As known through the Gospels, the basic teachings of Christ are monastic ; they emphasise the value of renunciation, celibacy and living a sheltered life in a spiritual community. In this respect Christianity is like Hinayana Buddhism, according to which no one but a monk is entitled to Nirvana. That part of the teachings of Christ which assured salvation to laymen—men and women engaged in normal mundane pursuits—is lost ; but it should not be forgotten that the Gospels are fragmentary and did not assume their present form until long after Our Lord’s death. Christ was the holy Finger which pointed to the Lord omniscient and omnipotent and, in the Gita, Shri Krishna promises release to anyone who comes to the Lord with devotion and lives for the spiritual good of all.
Christ was universal, but so many of His followers have been local. Europe was kept in darkness for three hundred years in the name of Christ. How many of the noblest and holiest men were burnt alive in the name of Christ because they did not subscribe to the narrowness of Church dogma ! The practice of the holy Adhyatma Yoga gives a true understanding of the Christ-ideal.
Who is a true follower of Christ ? He who worships God with all his heart, mind and soul, and loves all living beings as his own Self. Nowhere is it taught that he who clings fanatically to the word ‘ Christ’ is a Christian. In fact, the teachings of the Lord Isa were not even called ‘ Christian ‘ in His lifetime : it was only afterwards that the word ‘ Christian’ was used—as a term of contempt.
The word ‘ Christ’ comes from a Greek root, while the language of Isa was Aramaic—a very poor and primitive language. Why, then, do men quarrel over a word of doubtful origin and forget the divine truth taught by the Lord ?
If the holy and divine teachings, meant for the release of the soul, are attributed solely to one individual, be he Christ or Krishna, the Truth faces a danger. If, by any chance, doubt is cast on the historicity of the Teacher of the Truth by what is called * the higher criticism ’ the whole fabric of the Truth—moral, spiritual and mystic—may fall to the ground. The Yoga is universal and eternal and it is a disservice to call it the monopoly of either Christians, Hindus or Buddhists. It is based on the Veda and Veda means the Eternal Truth.
“ The Veda is without end “ says the Shatapatha Brahmana : to a Yogi the spiritual part of the Holy Bible, the Quran, the Gita and the Zend-Avesta is Veda. God is a respecter neither of personalities, nor of peoples ; only, “ Those who do not forget Me, I do not forget them ”.
There have been more than a thousand forms of Christianity which are now called heresies. To a Nestorian, or an Arian, the doctrine of the Trinity is heretical. Catholics and Protestants differ on many vital questions: what one calls Christianity is paganism to another. Swedenborg repudiates the writings of St. Paul; the Fourth Gospel is rejected as an ‘interpolation’ by several theologians. Who are we to be fanatical about the Gospels ? Our God is Truth— the divine Christos made manifest as Buddha, Krishna and Jesus.