RELIGION AND YOGA
In ordinary religion this adoration wears the form of external worship and that again develops a most external form of ceremonial worship. This element is ordinarily necessary because the mass of men live in their physical minds, cannot realise anything except by the force of a physical symbol and cannot feel that they are living anything except by the force of a physical action... It is evident that even real religion, — and Yoga is something more than religion, — only begins when this quite outward worship corresponds to something really felt within the mind, some genuine submission, awe or spiritual aspiration, to which it becomes an aid, an outward expression and also a sort of periodical or constant reminder helping to draw back the mind to it from the preoccupations of ordinary life. But so long as it is only an idea of the Godhead to which one renders reverence or homage, we have not yet got to the beginning of Yoga. The aim of Yoga being union, its beginning must always be a seeking after the Divine, a longing after some kind of touch, closeness or possession. When this comes on us, the adoration becomes always primarily an inner worship; we begin to make ourselves a temple of the Divine, our thoughts and feelings a constant prayer of aspiration and seeking, our whole life an external service and worship. It is as this change, this new soul-tendency grows, that the religion of the devotee becomes a Yoga, a growing contact and union. It does not follow that the outward worship will necessarily be dispensed with, but it will increasingly become only a physical expression or outflowing of the inner devotion and adoration, the wave of the soul throwing itself out in speech and symbolic act.
The Divine Truth is greater than any religion or creed or scripture or idea or philosphy — so you must not tie yourself to any of these things.
In order to exceed our Nature and become divine, we must first get God; for we are the lower
imperfect term of our being, He its higher perfect term. The finite, to become infinite, must know, love and touch
infinity; the symbol being in order to become its own reality, must know, love and perceive that Reality. This
necessarily is the imperative justification of religion, not of a church, creed or theology; — for all these things
are religiosity not religion, — but that personal and intimate religious temper and spirit which moves man to worship,
to aspire to or to pant after his own idea of the Supreme; for without such worship in the heart or such aspiration
in the will or such thirst in the emotions, we shall not have the impulse or the strength for this great difficult
effort of human nature to transcend itself and climb to its super-nature. Therefore have the prophets spoken and the Avatars come to inspire man to that great call upon his upward straining energies. The aim of rationalism and Science is to make man content with his humanity and thus contradict Nature, baffling her evolution; the aim of religion, — but not unhappily of the creeds and churches, — is to further the great aim of Nature by pushing man towards his evolution.
For Truth is wider, greater than her forms.
A thousand icons they have made of her
And find her in the idols they adore;
But she remains herself and Infinite.