(Spoken on June 30, 1973.)
Our various performances in this world are always attended with a sense of duty. We regard our action as an obligatory attitude on our part towards our own selves as well as the world in which we are situated. Thus, the concept of duty becomes an inseparable concomitant of the actions which we regard as necessary, actions which are often identified with the very principle of life itself. The necessity for activity is being felt to such an extent that it has become inseparable from our very existence. Life is activity, and this aspect of necessity that is involved in the principle of action is what goes by the name of duty.
But what is duty? A duty is that which one has to perform, must undertake, and cannot avoid under any condition or circumstance. That is what is meant by duty. But the compulsiveness or the necessity of a particular action or a performance is naturally dependent upon the aim to which it is directed. An aimless activity cannot be regarded as a duty. The action that is identical with an obligatory necessity on the part of our personality and setup is connected with a purpose. We act with a destination in view. Whatever be the end in view, whether it is rationally intelligible or not, we seem to discover a purposiveness in all our action. There seems to be an intention hidden behind the movement of everything in the world. The planets move towards the sun wherever they be placed. The rivers flow towards the ocean. Air moves from one centre of pressure to another centre of pressure according to a law. The five elements have their own principles of movement and operation. Everything seems to be connected to an intention, a purpose, an aim, which need not necessarily be intelligible to the human system of understanding or logic.
We thus seem to land ourselves in the position that while activity can become a duty, duty is connected with a purpose, and there seems to be an aim and purpose in our life. A purposeless or aimless life is an unintelligible kind of living. We are endowed with a faculty called rationality, the power to understand what is and what is not, what ought to be and what ought not to be. That is the discriminative faculty with which we seem to be born as Homo sapiens, as human beings. The power of our understanding is a very peculiar faculty which is embedded in us. We cannot define what understanding is. It is so much a part of us that we cannot think without it – and without it, existence itself is unthinkable. A peculiarity in us is called understanding, which describes and defines the character of the aim and purpose of our life. We cannot always explain what the aim of our activity or existence is, but we feel in our own selves an urge towards a particular destination in our activities.
Now, this destination is a very difficult thing to understand even for our own selves. Though a river is ultimately destined to unite itself with the ocean, the various tributaries and streams meander from the mountaintops so that the original source of the stream may not appear to be moving in the direction of the ocean. It is directed to some other place, and when it reaches that place, it is directed to another place. Likewise, it may move toward hundreds of places which may not be directly connected with the ocean, but this series of activities and movements are ultimately a movement towards the ocean.
Likewise, it is not possible to connect our simple activities of daily life to an ultimate purpose. Just as a finger-width stream thousands of feet above sea level is not moving directly towards the ocean – it may move towards a village below or just sink down into the earth to later emerge and join another slightly bigger stream – our immediate destination is often visible to our eyes but the ultimate destination cannot be comprehended.
Even as the movements of water are ultimately towards the joining of the waters to the ocean, we seem to be connected with an aim which is to be intelligible in order that our activities may be intelligible. What we dislike and resent and cannot appreciate is irrationality of any kind. That which we cannot understand, we cannot also appreciate. We cannot perform an action if we do not understand the connection with our life. We will not like to do an activity or undertake a particular type of performance if we cannot appreciate or recognise its meaning. That means to say, our happiness is connected with our rationality. Anything that is irrational is also illogical, unintelligible, meaningless, and causes unhappiness. If we are asked to do something without understanding its purpose, then we resent doing that work: “Why should I do this work like a drudge?” But if we are told that the meaning of this particular undertaking is for a particular purpose, or a purpose which is connected to another purpose, and so on, which is finally intelligible to us, we will say, “Oh, I see. That is all right. I shall do it.” Hence, understanding the rational implication of an action is also an implied part of the concept of duty in our life.
Now, the aim or purpose towards which we are working or directing ourselves is very mysteriously connected with the circumstances under which we live. Your aim or your purpose or your intention has a connection with the atmosphere in which you are placed. It may be a cold place or a hot place; it may be a friendly atmosphere or an inimical one. It may be of a particular description, whatever it be, and your aim, the purpose of your particular conduct under those circumstances, is connected with those circumstances themselves. This means to say, you act in different ways under different conditions of life, and the conditions of life act as a determining factor in directing the course of your action. The atmosphere, the circumstance, the environment in which you are placed determines to a large extent the kind of life that you live and the nature of the purpose which you entertain in your heart.
Now we come to the question of environment because slowly we are led from one link to another link of the chain of the development of our thought so that everything may become intelligible to us, and thus we may live a happy life of understanding and purposiveness. The environment is also not easily understandable. The atmosphere is the air that surrounds us, but the air that surrounds us has also a metaphorical meaning. The air is the type of atmosphere in which we are living, and the type of atmosphere may be geographical, social, political, psychological, and many other implications may be connected with this atmosphere. “My atmosphere is not good.” Sometimes we make such statements. Well, we can mean many things when we say that. We may intend that the people around us are not congenial, or the political conditions may not be good. We may be in a very insecure state, or it may be a very stuffy atmosphere. It may be very cold, chilly, at 12,000 feet above sea level. Many such things could be implied.
But when we deeply consider the meaning of an atmosphere, we go even beyond and deeper than these meanings. Everything that is around us is an atmosphere, but what is it that is around us? Just here, at this very moment, the four walls of this room are around us, but the four walls are also in an atmosphere. They are situated in a municipal locality and so the municipal laws may be governing the existence and the structure of this building. The atmosphere of the municipal locality is situated in a district and so the laws and administration of the district may be determining the function of the municipal area. The district is governed by the state government, the state by the central order, and the national setup itself may be governed by an international situation. Thus, the world system ultimately governs even the small atmosphere of a hut or a hamlet in which we are living in a particular corner of the world.
But even this is not a sufficient explanation. Our international setup is also governed by the particular order or the system which the planet or the Earth follows. There are certain laws which the Earth follows, and if we are against those laws, well, our nation will be nowhere. The international set-up which we are talking about in such big terms, which we regard as the finale of all our activities and our purpose in life, is itself governed by astronomical laws. There are planetary regulations, stellar limitations. Powerful laws of such a nature are governing the very movement of this planet Earth. I need not go on explaining how we are controlled entirely by the interstellar system of the astronomical universe.
Our very existence here is conditioned by the interstellar laws operating in the astronomical cosmos. If something happens in a particular star millions of light years away, we will be shaken from the very ground we are sitting upon. Such is the atmosphere in which we are living and the atmosphere that governs the intention and purpose of our activities and duties in life, so that we cannot know the meaning of our action unless we know the structure of the universe.
Thus, it all boils down to this fact that our duty in life is determined by an aim or a purpose. The purpose, again, is determined by the structure of the environment which, unfortunately for us, seems to be so vast, as large as the cosmos, so that our mind is incapable of comprehending it. Therefore, on account of the unintelligibility of the structure of the atmosphere in which we are living, we are also not clear about the aim and purpose of our life.
Therefore, as a consequence, we do not know what our duty is in this world. We have peculiar notions of duty, parochial notions, purely private concepts of our obligation to life which are tentatively valid, meaningful only for a few days, and with these notions of law, order, regularity and duty, we seem to be living a child’s life in this world of vast implications and enormous profundities.
Ignorance of law is no excuse. We cannot tell it, “Oh, it is so difficult! I cannot understand.” If we cannot understand, we have to pay the price. Laws are laws whether we know them or not. There is only one thing in this world which has no mercy, and that is law. Law has no pity upon any person. We cannot plead ignorance, “Oh, my dear, I cannot understand you. Please excuse me.” He will punish us for ignorance of the law, and then from today onwards we will not be ignorant of it. So nature, the structure of the universe, the law that operates around us as our mysterious atmosphere, controls us, and the proportion of the perfection which we can achieve in our life depends upon the extent of our knowledge of the universe of which we are citizens.
The Bhagavadgita may be said to be an elaborate enunciation of the constitution of the cosmos. When we study the constitution of the universe as elaborated in the Bhagavadgita, for instance, we are lifted up to an empyrean of a vast knowledge which will make us feel giddy due to the heights which we have reached, due to the delight that we feel at the magnificence of this law and the ecstasy into which we will be taken when we know our own power.
Fortunately or unfortunately for us, to know the universe is to know our own selves. If we know ourselves, we know the universe; and if we know the universe, we also know our own self because the structure of the universe is inseparable from the structure of our own individual makeup. That is why it is said that the universe, while it is a brahmanda, or a cosmic macrocosmic enlargement, the individual that we are is a microcosmic pindanda, which is a cross-section of the cosmos. We can understand the meaning of the universe and the nature of the constituents of the universe by a study the human personality, for example. Etad vai tat (Katha 2.2.1) says the Kathopanishad: This is that. This that you see as the individual is also that which you observe as the cosmos outside. To study the contents of a drop is to study what is contained in the whole ocean, to give an analogy.
The universe is made up of various forces, to come to the point of our discussion today, and to think along the lines of the Bhagavadgita especially, which will profit us immensely, we may hold, for our practical purposes, that there is a dichotomy of two forces in the world among the many which it enshrines in its bosom. Among the many forces of which the universe may be said to be constituted, the primary are what we call the subject and the object. The entire set of forces can be classified into two groups, like the army of the Pandavas and the Kauravas. The Kaurava army or the Pandava army is made up of many small units such as the Draupadeya, Virata and Kannauja forces, and all these forces combined make the Pandava force. Likewise, many smaller units of force constitute the Kaurava force, but yet we say there were only two forces fighting in the Mahabharata battle: the Pandavas and the Kauravas. Many smaller units are clubbed together into the final category of the opposition which decides the fate of the war that has been undertaken.
While the universe is constituted of umpteen types of forces, they are primarily classifiable into the subjective forces and the objective forces. The Bhagavadgita calls these the Daiva and the Asura Sampat. The Asura forces are the objective side and the Daiva forces are the subjective side. It will take years for us to understand what these Daiva and the Asura forces are. I am only trying to give a small conspectus of what it can be and how it could help us in our daily life. Why we call the subjective side as the Daiva and the objective side as the Asura may be a theme we can discuss another day.
The two forces, the subjective and the objective, are called by many names. Sometimes they are called the force of purusha and the force of prakriti, of consciousness and matter, of chit and achit, of the knower and the known, of the positive and the negative, of the divine and the undivine, and so on. The whole of the Mahabharata, the whole of the Bhagavadgita description is a long narration of this series of conflicts between the two forces – the divine and the undivine.
This conflict takes place in any walk of life because these two forces operate in every field of life; there is no setup or circumstance in the life of any person in which these two forces are not involved within and without at the same time. Wherever these two forces are involved, there is friction, struggle, conflict and opposition. The whole world is a field of activity in this sense. All activity is friction of some kind. It is combat with an opposing force. Our activities, whatever they be in any field or under any profession, are our attempt to overcome a particular situation. That is the meaning of an activity. If an occasion or a particular set of circumstances were not to be overcome, changed, transformed or brought into a different condition, activity itself would not be necessary. We feel that something is inadequate, and to make that inadequate condition a more adequate one, we struggle, and we struggle in every atom of the cosmos. In this sense the whole universe is a Kurukshetra, a dharma kshetra. Dharmakṣetre kurukṣetre samavetā yuyutsavaḥ (Gita 1.1): In this wonderful field of activity which is Kurukshetra, this field of righteousness which is dharma kshetra, the Pandava and the Kaurava forces, the subjective and the objective powers are perpetually contending among themselves to overcome each other so that they may transcend themselves in a higher purpose.
This Mahabharata takes place outwardly as well as inwardly, in the open field as well as covertly in our own selves. It takes place in the house, in the family, in society everywhere, in the stars in the heavens, in the sun and the moon and the nether regions. Everywhere this conflict takes place, which is an eternal warfare, and no one can escape it. This is the meaning of Bhagavan Sri Krishna saying that no one can escape action. Na hi kaścit kṣaṇam api jātu tiṣṭhaty akarmakṛt, kāryate hy avaśaḥ karma sarvaḥ prakṛtijair guṇaiḥ (Gita 3.5): Compelled by the contending forces of nature, everyone is perforce straight into this activity because everyone is taking part in the Mahabharata war. No soldier can stand quiet. Everyone has to take up arms and do his duty to play his own role or part in that war.
Now, a war is compulsive and we cannot escape it. That is very clear, but it is not that everyone has the same role, does the same kind of action in the same way, just as every soldier has a different duty in on a battlefield. Different soldiers, different commandants have different duties to perform under different sets of circumstances; similarly, our activity also is not uniformly governed by private laws. While the ultimate intention of the war is generally determined by a system that is laid down by the commander-in-chief, the individual duties are allocated according to the necessities, circumstance or locality in which one is placed. Your position in life will tell you what your duty is. While the ultimate duty is to win the war, the immediate duty is to contribute to the winning of the war. You may be performing a particular duty in the war field. You may be in the engineering cadre, an active member in the fighting forces, or in the medical wing. Well, you may be doing so many things, yet they are all contributory to a single purpose of the war. Likewise, the universe has a single purpose, and it is compelling you to contribute your own might to its own purpose which is, unfortunately, at the present moment, not clear.
What the universe is ultimately aiming at, we do not know; we cannot understand because we seem to be far away in the rear of the field of activity. “March!” says the commander-in-chief, but you do not know why or in which direction you should march. You march in this direction. Why? He says so, and therefore, you go. But the commander-in-chief knows why the marching is to be done, and why it is in that direction alone.
While this is our situation and position, and we are helplessly driven, as it were, into a sort of activity by the laws of the cosmos, we do not understand the implications of all these actions. That is why we suffer in it. As I mentioned already, an activity which is not coupled with understanding becomes a suffering but when it is coupled with understanding, it becomes a source of joy. When every soldier in the field knows why he is doing a particular thing in a particular manner, he will be enthused by a satisfaction from within. “Oh, wonderful! I am doing it for a wonderful cause.” Similarly, when karma, action, is based on buddhi or understanding, to speak in the language of the Bhagavadgita, you become a source of satisfaction to your own self and also a source of joy and peace to others who are around you.
Thus, understanding comes first, and action comes afterwards. Knowledge precedes action. When action precedes knowledge, you become a drudge, suffering the life that you live in the world, but when knowledge precedes action, you become a master. This action that is preceded by knowledge or rooted in knowledge is what goes by the name of karma yoga in the Bhagavadgita. In the structure of the cosmos, the two contending forces are aiming at a purpose, and this purpose is the harmonisation of the forces. The harmony is achieved either when the two parties make peace between themselves or one destroys the other. There are only two ways of achieving peace. Either you harmonise with the opposing element in all the aspects of its purpose or you swallow it and absorb it into your own self. This means to say that when there are opposing forces there cannot be peace. Peace is harmony, and not opposition.
The two forces of life are trying to achieve a higher harmony. The intention of the cosmos is harmonisation of elements – physically, psychologically, socially, astronomically, cosmically. In every level or field of life the universe is trying to achieve a harmony, which is its ultimate purpose. The universe does not achieve merely at this end; it has another purpose behind it. It has a double purpose, if it all we can boil down all its purposes into simpler principles: an understanding of its own Self. Everything tries to achieve a harmony with the outside forces. This is one purpose in life. The other thing is, everything tends to a Self-recognition of itself. Everything moves towards an understanding of its own self in larger and larger manners. You want to know your own self in deeper and deeper ways because when you cannot understand your own self properly, you also cannot understand what emanates from you in the form of action. Your activities and conducts become blind movements without any intelligence behind them when there is no understanding connected with the Self itself, which is a source of this action. It is not enough if you merely recognise your own Self; you have also to achieve harmony with other centres of force in the world. So the double purpose of the cosmos is Self-realisation and achievement of a harmony of forces.
The harmony is connected with the recognition of one’s own self. The purpose of the universe is expansion as well as intensification – expansion until it reaches infinitude, and intensification until it reaches the depth of its own Self. These are the two purposes of the cosmos. It goes wider and wider in one direction, and goes deeper and deeper in another direction. Therefore, it is not enough if you move only in one direction. Your knowledge should be wide and also deep. You may have wide knowledge without depth. That is no good. Or you may have deep knowledge of every particular minute field without any width about it. The universe is not satisfied with any kind of finitude. That is why there is a struggle present in every part of the universe. What the universe presents and cannot accommodate is finitude of every kind. It wants to exceed every kind of limitation.
There were two kinds of limitation: quantitative and qualitative. The universe wants to overcome both these limitations – quantitative limitation as well as qualitative limitation. There is quantitative limitation when there is no width and qualitative limitation when there is no depth. When you are perfect both in quality and quantity, you are wide as well as deep. While the quantitative expanse is called the infinite, the qualitative expanse is called the eternal. So the universe is seeking the infinite and the eternal – at one stroke and at once – to achieve both.
We speak of the infinite and the eternal as if they are two different aims, but they are not two different aims; they are two aspects of the single aim of the cosmos. The infinitude which the universe is aiming at is connected with the spatial aspect of its action, while the eternity that it is aiming at is connected with the temporal aspect of its movement. The whole universe is spatial and temporal. It is in space and in time. What the universe tries to exceed, overcome and defeat is spatial limitation and temporal limitation, and so there is evolution of the cosmos.
Scientists, biologists and geologists tell us of what is called the evolution of the cosmos. Evolution is a movement in a particular direction for the achievement of a higher purpose and integration of value. Evolution is towards a purpose, as we know very well, and the purpose is very simple, very clear to understand. It goes from the lower to the higher. The meaning of evolution is growth from the lower status to the higher one, and growth means improvement both in quantity and in quality. We grow both in power and knowledge when we evolve in the cosmic process.
We are told that we have moved from the inanimate matter to the plants, from the plants we have come to the animal kingdom, from the animals we have become human beings, and so on. Well, this is a growth both in quantity and quality. Our power has increased, and our knowledge also has increased. The human character transcends the power and the knowledge of the lower fields or organisms. Our capacity and knowledge is much more than that of the animals, the plants and the inorganic stuff, but evolution is not complete yet. It would be idle on our part to think that we have reached the purpose and aim of our existence. There are people who think that humanity is the final aim of life, so we can drink nectar having reached the human state of life. Nothing doing. The human state of existence is as much a step in the process of the evolution of the cosmos as was the animal or the plant level. That is why we are as restless in the human level of existence as we might have been in the lower levels.
Evolution does not end it as long as activity continues. The urge towards action is an indication that evolution is not yet complete because an urge towards a forward movement through action, movement, or evolution mean one and the same thing. We are not yet complete, and we are trying to achieve a higher completeness. Though we act without an understanding of what it all means, the universe drags us towards this action. But the Bhagavadgita warns us: Can you perform this obligatory action with understanding, or do you want to go on working like a slave under the orders of nature?
When we act as slaves, we are samsarins. When we act as masters knowing what we do, we are liberated. The action of the karma yogin and the action of the bound soul are outwardly the same in their nature, character and form, but the one acts without knowing, and the other acts with knowing. There is nothing wrong with action, nothing wrong with the world, nothing wrong with anything, for the matter of that, but the wrong is with the state of our mind. Stone walls do not a prison make, as the proverb says. Prison is not four walls constructed around you. The consciousness with which you are living in a particular locality will determine whether you are living in a palace or in a jail. As far as the outer form is concerned, the jail also may look like a palace, but one is called a jail and the other a palace. The consciousness differs; the liberty of the person differs. The consciousness and the liberty of action make all the difference between the action of a master and of a slave – karma yoga and bundaka karma.
The liberation of the spirit is the purpose of the cosmos. Liberation from what? Liberation from the bondage of unintelligence. Bondage is identical with ignorance. Bondage is not physical. It is not something you can physically see with your eyes. It is a state of mind, a state of consciousness. Your happiness depends on the kind of consciousness that you are entertaining in your mind, in your heart. Life is consciousness. Your unhappiness is determined by the kind of consciousness that you have, and your happiness also is conditioned by the kind of consciousness which is in you. So the purpose of the universe is to blossom this consciousness into its fullest perfection and pristine purity. The purusha should recognise himself and free himself from the bondage of objective forces which is matter. The Kauravas have to be completely overthrown and their dominion has to be extended to the Pandavas. The spirit has to rule the cosmos. This is the millennium which Christ promised perhaps, or Ramraja which we are speaking of – spirit ruling the cosmos, which means to say, knowledge ruling everything, not ignorance binding things.
The purpose of life is, therefore, the achievement of this ultimate knowledge, the unfoldment of the spark of consciousness that is within us into its deeper and deeper implications both quantitatively and qualitatively. It is for this purpose that we are struggling and fighting the Mahabharata battle. Until the ultimate purpose of this consciousness is reached, life is incomplete. You will not be satisfied with anything that is given to you until this purpose is achieved. Kings are not happy, beggars are not happy. Both the rich and the poor are unhappy, but for different reasons. When everything is provided to you, death may snatch away your enjoyments.
There are many obstacles to the enjoyment of life, and the one thing that we have not yet been able to solve to the satisfaction of our heart is the mystery of death. Why do we die, and why is it that everyone is compelled to undergo this process, king and beggar included? We are frightened by the eventuality of what we know as death because of the ignorance of what it means. Death is nothing but a reshuffling of the conditions of evolution, and it appears to be unpalatable and frightening because of consciousness getting smothered by this process of what is called death. If consciousness had been attended with it, we would not be frightened so much.
The locality, the condition, the position of the consciousness which acts in a particular way in this world of physical realm changes when there is a jump from, or rather, a movement from one link in the process of evolution to another link. That is called birth and death. There is nothing peculiar about it, nothing to fear. The only thing that makes us fear it is that we do not know what is happening. As I mentioned, irrationality frightens us very much. If we knew what is happening, we would not be worried about this to such an extent. We are not told when we will die or to where we will be taken, so we are anxious about it.
There is also another reason why we are afraid of death. We have mistaken our physical existence for the entire reality, and death seems to be a cutting off of our existence from what we call reality. Therefore, we feel that reality itself is removed and completely abolished from its relationship with us. So death is frightening.
But the physical realm of life is not the whole of reality. The manifestation of life in the form of physicality is one stage in the process of evolution. From matter we go to life, from life to mind, from mind to intellect, from intellect to spirit. Now we are in the state of intellect only. We have not yet reached the spirit. That is why the scriptures tell us that beyond the human there is the superhuman. In its own symbolic language, the Taittiriya Upanishad tells us that beyond the man’s realm of enjoyment there is the Gandharva type of enjoyment, beyond the Gandharvas there are the Pitris, beyond the Pitris there are the Devas, beyond the Devas there is Indra, beyond Indra there is Brihaspati, beyond Brihaspati there is Prajapati, Brahma, and beyond him is the Virat, Hiranyagarbha, Ishvara, the Absolute.
This is to give you an idea in a pictorial language of the various stages that we have to traverse yet. We are still in a very low stage of evolution. That is why both the width and depth of our understanding are incomplete. When we proceed higher and higher we expand both inwardly and outwardly. Self-consciousness deepens and mastery over the forces of nature increases. Mastery over the forces of nature is sometimes called yoga shakti. This shakti comes of its own accord without our wanting it. We know our power is more than the animals’. It is a kind of yoga shakti itself. We are stronger than the plants and the animals. We can control hundreds of elephants, tigers and lions because we have increased the capacity of our knowledge and, therefore, the extent of our power also.
Likewise, when we go higher and higher into what the Upanishad calls the Gandharvas, the Pitris, Indra, Brihaspati, Virat, Hiranyagarbha, Ishvara, etc., our knowledge deepens and our power increases automatically, so that yoga shakti is not something that we have to work for or pray for but something that automatically befalls us when we evolve spontaneously.
Conscious evolution is called the practice of yoga, whereas unconscious movement is called evolution. We are asked to practise yoga in the sense that we can accelerate this process or become more happy about it. Yoga is a conscious and deliberate participation in the evolutionary activity of the universe. Yoga is not an individual affair that we perform inside our room, as there is no such thing. Yoga is a cosmic process. When we practise yoga, we move the whole universe. We are not ordinary human beings. Wonderful is yoga; magnificent is its concept. We cannot contain it even when we understand it.
In every step in the practice of yoga we combine forces and elements that are present in every nook and corner of the world. Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj was never tired of saying that we have to practise integral yoga, and not be lopsided. The universe is integral, and therefore, we cannot afford to ignore any side of life or any aspect of the universe.
The student of yoga is a small, cosmic individual, a seed of the universe walking towards the Self-realisation of its own Self. Self-realisation means deepening and widening, as I mentioned, so when the pinnacle of this evolution is reached, when we reach the apex of this evolution, we become a cosmic existence. That cosmic existence attended with a cosmic consciousness and a cosmic thought is called God. The term ‘God’ used in religions is indicative of this imminent potentiality of the cosmos, towards which the realisation each one of us is moving – men, animals, and so on – so that we may say safely that the universe has a single purpose, and in this sense at least we should say that we are all brothers working for a common cause. Not merely human beings, but also subhuman beings are working for the same cause and moving towards the single definition of the Self-realisation of the cosmos. It is towards Ishvarahood that we are moving. It may be even an ant, a worm or an insect, but it is tending towards its realisation through the evolutionary process. God-realisation is the goal of life, says Swami Sivanandaji Maharaj in every one of his writings. God-realisation is the goal of life. All our activities in life are a preparation for this realisation. All dharmas are contributory to the execution of the supreme dharma of the realisation of God.
God is not in the seventh heaven. He is implied, hidden as the element in our very state of existence like the tree is imminent in the seed. The tree is present in the seed even now, and it only manifests itself more and more later on. Similiarly, the God of the cosmos is imminently hidden in our hearts even at this very moment. He does not come afterwards. God-realisation is not an event that will take place in the future, but an unfoldment of the consciousness of what all this is and eternally persists. God is infinite and eternal. There is no kind of achievement or creation of a circumstance of godliness, because a God that is created is a perishable God. He cannot be called the eternal. The evolution of the universe is towards the recognition of eternality that is present in it, the infinitude hidden within it, so that the practice of yoga is a gradual and systematised adjustment of personality, an ordering of life in a methodical manner so that we cooperate with the cosmos, and the universe cooperates with us in return.
Thus, there is the universal march towards Godhead. Yoga is the march of the universe toward this Self-realisation.