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The goal of Yoga is to realize the Divinity within. This can be explained in different ways. A devotee will say, I want to know God. I want to commune with God.” The jnani will say, “Tat Tvam Asi. I am That. I want to know this Truth—this Self or Cosmic Consciousness—fully.”

These are different pathways to God, to the one Truth. Pathways are like escalators or ladders. To go up, we make use of the escalator, but once we go up, we no longer need it. Pathways help to raise us up. That is the very idea of spirituality and religion. Religion means to bind back or to go back from where we came. We came from God; we are to go back to God.

Or, if you do not believe in the word God, think of yourselves as parts of the whole universe. We have forgotten and we think that we are just individual separate selves. We need to remember the Oneness. You may ask, Why am I separated now? Why am I calling myself an individual? What separates me from other individuals?” The answer will be, “My body and mind, which are different from another’s body and mind.”

So in what way we can become one? We can try to transcend the different bodies and minds, but ultimately, we must realize they are all one and the same. That is our goal: to realize that Divinity, that God is within us and everybody. When we realize that Divinity in us, we will be able to see the same Divinity in everyone and everything and thus feel the Oneness. That is the real communion, the real Yoga. Only in that way will the entire world become one family.

That doesn’t mean that we should discard all these differences. The differences will be there, but we discard the idea that they are permanent differences. They are only temporary and ever-changing. That which always remains, that which never changes is the pure Divinity.

Differences are necessary but the point we put the stress on is the universal, the common thing that unites us. When we remember the Oneness, we can enjoy the many, the variety. Then the differences become a nice flower garland, a flower bouquet of multivarious flowers. We are all flowers that make up one beautiful bouquet. We are all the different jewels to make up one beautiful necklace.

If we forget our essential Oneness, we focus on the differences and distinctions and then we fight and make ourselves unhappy. So let us be rooted in that unity to enjoy the diversity. That is the goal of life. The aim of Yoga, and all the different spiritual paths, is to see and, even more so, to experience the same Truth that underlies all these different philosophies and teachings. Let us enjoy the Oneness of our shared Divinity now and always. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti.

By Sri Swami Satchidananda