You don’t need to do anything or go anywhere to become peaceful. There’s no need to go live in a cave or somewhere in the forest. And then how many people would lose their peace when they become very excited about living in the cave itself? Just be as you are. You don’t need to go anywhere, but if the desire arises, okay, you should go just to learn something, and then come back to where you are now. But even better than changing your situation is to just stop doing anything that will disturb your equanimity. It is for this reason that we have all the different spiritual practices, rituals, techniques, and philosophies—they are all there to help you stop doing things that would disturb your peace. You don’t need to get peace; it is already within you.

The mind, if left undisturbed is peaceful by nature, but you do many things to disturb it. Great prophets, saints, and sages have said, “Stop doing all those things. Follow these truths.” The Bible’s Ten Commandments are very similar to the ten Yamas and Niyamas in Yoga. Yama and Niyama are part of a system of eight limbs and in Buddhism they also have a set of eight called the Eight-fold path. Buddhists also have ten precepts. All these systems have the same or very similar precepts for us to follow so that our minds remain peaceful, pure, and calm. Why else do we have the commandment, “Thou shalt not lie?” If you lie, your mind will get disturbed. Don’t think that you are going to really enjoy your life if you are untruthful. You’re going to be disturbed. Your own conscience will say, Hey, you are a liar. You cannot escape from that.

In the name of Yoga, we are not saying anything new. Yoga is not a new religion and we don’t ask you to leave your religion. But please, instead of simply talking about differences between various faiths, go deep. Get into your own faith. See the foundation on which your religion was built and follow that. God asks us to go deep. See the word God: Go and D-eep. Unless you understand the depth, you won’t be able to enjoy the superficial differences. The differences are there for us to appreciate and enjoy. So keep your mind serene and pure.

If you keep your mind clean, you will know your Self. Normally, If you want to know yourself or see yourself, you go in front of a mirror, but do you really see yourself? No. What you see is your reflection, but not the real you. You can never see yourself because you are the seer, the subject. As a subject, you can never see yourself. But if you look into a mirror, you will see your reflection, your image. Now, what kind of mirror do you need to see your reflection clearly? Imagine that you are standing in front of a very crooked and dusty mirror. You will see yourself as a crooked and dirty. So, if you want to see yourself clearly, you need a clean mirror, not a crooked, dirty mirror. Now suppose that while you are standing in front of a clean mirror, something happens to the mirror and it becomes full of cracks. Will you still be seeing your beautiful face? No. So, when the mirror loses its pureness you see a distorted image of yourself. But you don’t run to a doctor because you know that it is the mirror that has the problem and not you.

If you keep this mind then you can understand what I am going to say about your true Self. In front of a physical mirror you see your physical body, but to see your subtle Self—your spiritual Self—you need a very subtle mirror. And you have been given that kind of mirror as your own mind. When you were born, your mind was given to you in a very clean condition; it was a serene, tranquil mirror. How beautiful and serene babies are. Their minds are peaceful, their faces are beautiful. The face is beautiful because of the mental beauty, the mental serenity. When you see the beauty in a face, it’s not just the physical face that you see, it is the beauty of the mind that is expressed through the face. That’s why the Bible says, “The kingdom of God is among the children.” We don’t need go and see God somewhere else. You see God among the babies because their minds are still undisturbed, tranquil, and clean. Their bodies are still clean; there are no toxins in the body so it is flexible and easeful. You can see the ease in the body of a baby and a peace in the mind.

But this ease and peace doesn’t stay like that for very long. Why? We don’t allow it to be like that. teach the babies to lose their tranquility and equal vision as they grow: “That is good; this is bad. That’s gold; this is clay. That’s a rich man; this is poor man. That’s white; that’s black.” You point out all the differences and inject all your ideas of separateness. This all gets recorded in the mind of the child and that mind slowly becomes changed; it loses its tranquility. Probably that is the reason why they don’t even want to come into this world. No baby comes without crying. It says, “God, why are you pushing me into this asylum? I don’t want to go.” When the baby comes crying, what do we do? We laugh, “Hey, here comes one more into our club.” We distribute candies and are very happy because we know positively that very soon it is going to be a very good member—once we educate it about our ways.

After living for a number of years and undergoing a lot of turmoil, toward the end of life, that child—now an old man or woman—has had enough and wants to say goodbye. They are ready to leave this asylum and one day they leave and are liberated. With joy, they leave. But what do you do? You cry Oh, we lost one of our members from the asylum.” When the baby came crying, you laughed, when the baby went laughing, you cried. I am not just talking philosophy, I am just telling you what happens in our daily life.

That’s why the scriptures say, “The real kingdom of God lies with the children.” We could learn lessons from those children but, instead, we teach them to be like us. That’s why all the great sages have said we should learn to be as children—not to be childish but be childlike. That means to have equanimity, equal vision like very young children who enjoy everything equally. They don’t differentiate. That kind of equanimity is Yoga. It is purity of heart that does not discriminate nor divide people. So we must keep our minds pure and learn to be as the beautiful young children. That is Yoga.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda