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Yoga’s Universality

“A spiritual blessing on humanity as a whole”

SRF’s president and spiritual head, Brother Chidananda, said while speaking in India in 2017: “India for millennia has been the steward of highest spiritual truth for all humanity. And it was the special dispensation of Paramahansaji to bring the best of India first to the West and then to the world, including back to his beloved India. He reached back to the higher ages, the golden age of India’s high civilization, and brought the essence of India’s universal spirituality in its pure form. That is yoga. It is a science, not a denomination or a sect of religion; and because of that, this spiritual dispensation—the light of yoga—can be a truly worldwide spiritual blessing on humanity as a whole.”

Paramahansa Yogananda often pointed out that one need not be of any specific nationality, race, or religion to practice yoga and receive its sublime benefits. Its true universality as a science lies in the fact that its results can be obtained by anyone of any nation, of East or West.

Through the steady practice of yoga meditation, we all can experience a deepening sense of joy, love, compassion, peace. And as these changes happen within ourselves, their influence also spreads outward, by an unseen law, first to our immediate family and community and then to the world at large. As Paramahansaji said, “Reform yourself and you will reform thousands.”

One great benefit of yoga is that a sense of oneness with all humanity develops in the meditator. Regardless of one’s spiritual beliefs, or lack thereof, whoever practices the science of yoga will eventually realize that the Divine is in everything—and everyone.

Hearts and minds that are imbued with such universality is truly the great need of our times, when our world has shrunk exponentially as a result of technological advances, placing us all at very close quarters. During an interview in 1951, Paramahansaji was asked to summarize his message to the world. He spoke of the fundamental need for humanity to recognize its essential unity—prophetic words that are just as vital today, or even more so, than when he first uttered them:

“My brothers and sisters of the world: Please remember that God is our Father and He is One. We are all His children, and as such we should adopt constructive means to help each other become physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually ideal citizens of a United States of the World. If in a community of one thousand persons each individual tries by graft, fighting, and chicanery to enrich himself at the expense of others, each person will have nine hundred and ninety-nine enemies; whereas, if each person cooperates with the others—physically, mentally, financially, and spiritually—each one will have nine hundred and ninety-nine friends. If all nations helped one another through love, the whole earth would live in peace with ample opportunity for promoting the well-being of all….

“Such media as radio and television and air travel have brought us all together as never before. We must learn that it can no longer be Asia for Asiatics, Europe for Europeans, America for Americans, and so on, but a United States of the World under God, in which each human being can be an ideal citizen of the globe with every opportunity for fulfillment in body, mind, and soul.

“That would be my message, my plea, to the world.”

The most profoundly impacting “constructive means” for helping one another grow as ideal world citizens in body, mind, and soul can be found in the universal science of yoga. 

Read Next: Patanjali's Systematic Eightfold Path of Raja Yoga

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