Yoga and Vedanta
Swami Chidananda

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Blessed Divinities! Sadhaks and seekers! From your ancient, effulgent past, as your heritage and birthright, you have inherited two great treasures—Yoga and Vedanta. Vedanta is divine wisdom, knowledge of the Divine Reality, the great Reality. Yoga is the science of entering into a conscious relationship with that knowledge, experiencing that knowledge, realising that knowledge.

The quintessence, the principal essence of these two great treasures is the proclamation of Vedanta that you are divine. You are not human, you are not limited, you are not imperfect, you are essentially divine. The truth about you is divinity. Your human nature is a passing, temporary added factor to your identity. It is, however, an invaluable added factor, an unparalleled, unique, most precious added factor.

Divinity is all-pervading, It is everywhere. It is hidden in all names and forms; It is the heart-centre of all creatures. There are countless beings existing with us, outnumbering us, as companions upon this planet earth, which is our home. Nevertheless, their status—the bird status, worm status, reptile status, insect status, fish status, animal status—has not in it the necessary mechanism to enable them to realise their essential divinity. Whereas it is the uniqueness of the

human status that it is provided with these tools for Self-realisation, atma-jnana, because it contains the rare faculties of thinking, feeling, reasoning and purposeful activity directed towards this end.

Man was made in the image of God. So, already he has in him the God-essence or God-principle or God-nature and the God-abilities and capacities, the God-beauty, the God-sublimity, the God-perfection, the God-wholeness. This is the uniqueness of the human being. He is made in the image of the Maker, the supreme, almighty Cosmic Being, the Universal Spirit.

Therefore, this essential divinity of man is an experienceable or an attainable state of consciousness, and man has been given full adequate tools for this attainment. It is the utilisation of these faculties in the right direction, in a systematic manner, with full knowledge of the way to apply them for attaining the supreme state, that is the concern of Yoga Sastra or the science of Yoga.

So, the heart of Vedanta is your divinity, that you are unborn, imperishable, all-perfect. You are of the nature of existence, consciousness, bliss absolute—sat-chit-ananda atman. You exist, therefore you are sat. And your existence is not a dull, insentient existence, an unconscious, inert existence. You are filled with a luminous awareness, an effulgent awareness of your own existence, of your own being. You know that you are. You are conscious that “I am.” Therefore you are chit. You are not what is seen as the outer person. That is only nama and rupa—name and form. Within this name and form, which is the apparent man, which is the false man, which is the temporary, ever-changing mask which passes away—behind, beyond and hidden in this name and form, you exist as a radiant centre of luminous consciousness. And in that pure state, you are totally free from all imperfect experiences that pertain to this physical and psychological consciousness, totally free—no anxiety, no pain, no suffering, no worry, no bondage, no grief, no delusion, no fear. You are in a state of serene, unbroken, continuous, perennial joy, a peaceful, calm bliss that is your essential nature, your ananda svarupa atma (blissful essential self). Sat-chit-ananda—existence, consciousness and bliss, that is your true being. Realise this and be free. Attain this knowledge and become free. This is Vedanta. The essence of Vedanta is your divinity, and the practice of Vedanta is to be constantly aware of your divinity—atmachintan.

And the essence of Yoga is a continuous contact with the Divine within, which is the source and origin of your being, the all-pervading Spirit, Brahman, the inner Self, the unchanging. Yoga is constant, continuous, unbroken remembrance, an unbroken, conscious connection, a constant, living relationship with the Divine. To cultivate it by the various means is also Yoga.

Gurudev’s concept of divine life combines both the practice of Yoga and the spirit of Vedanta. Live in the awareness of your divinity, and live to utilise every conscious moment, every breath to be continuously, unbrokenly in close contact with the cosmic source of your divinity, with your divine origin, with your eternal divine ground, your divine abode.

Yoga and Vedanta form the two ingredients that go to make up the divine life of service, devotion, meditation and Self-realisation. Boldly Vedanta proclaims and wants you to know: “ahamatma nirakarah sarvavyapi svabhavatah (I am the Atman that is formless, all-pervading by nature).” “Beyond sense, beyond mind, I am the quintessence of luminous wisdom consciousness”—this is the awareness that Vedanta grants you and wants you to practise. And Yoga is continuous, unbroken, conscious, purposeful contact and relationship, ever progressive relationship with the Divine.

This article has been reproduced from "Ponder These Truths"  by Swami Chidananda

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