Translated by T. Danilevich
To approach God we, first of all, have to possess the developed ability to love “from the heart”. What can unite one consciousness with another? — Only love.
It is love that unites a man with a man and a man with God. Therefore, it is most essential to develop the ability to love in every possible way.
In order to come to God one has to learn to love the elements of His Creation first: people, all living beings, and all other components of the “manifested” world.
“Learn first to love Me in My “manifested” (in the material Creation) form”—so God teaches us in the Bhagavad Gita.
Start mastering Love through loving people—all of them, as they are—and only after that you will be able to love God—emphasizes Jesus Christ.
It is impossible to come to Love God at once. First, we have to develop the ability to love “from the heart”.
Moreover, we must be capable of loving passionately. We have to be able to fall in love—so that at some time in the future we could find ourselves capable of falling in love with God.
Being in love with God is the essence of Sufism, it is the highest bhakti-yoga, it is what composes the core of all “wholesome” religions.
Yes, we have to be capable of being passionate. We develop this ability here, on Earth—it is a dramatic and very long process. We fall in Love with each other, with our cars, our academic papers, earthly titles and degrees, idols, etc. Objectively, this is not bad (as a temporary phenomenon, as a stage of development), though quite painful, because the fruit of earthly passions is suffering.
Earthly passions are rajas. But it is impossible to enter the sattva guna, bypassing rajas. Only that sattvic state is firm and steadfast, which is based on personal power developed in the rajas guna.
Let me draw your attention to the fact that Krishna referred to three classes of people as the righteous ones: those striving to break away from suffering, those who seek personal achievements, and the wise. In other words, those suffering and seeking personal achievements in rajas guna—they are not wise as yet, but unlike people of demoniac nature, they are on the path to Perfection.
So we must become passionate in our love so that when we mature, we could re-direct this passion towards God. “To mature” means to reach that stage, when mastering buddhi-yoga becomes an urgent task for us. Buddhi-yoga techniques will allow us to become facing God in reality. And it is passionate love to Him that will enable us to win a foothold in this state and to advance further.
Various religious books deal with impassivity. Much attention is given to it in the Bhagavad Gita. But in Sanskrit this word bears a somewhat different meaning as compared with that which it has the Russian language. In the Bhagavad Gita, “impassivity” implies, first, elimination of negative emotions, such as various kinds of anger, grief, etc; second, abandonment of lust, i.e. sexual passion that enslaves a man; third, refraining from fervent expression of positive emotions (for example, exultation); what is true—is the maintaining of an even, positive, and loving emotional state of the mind. This is one of the goals on the path of self-transforming, which is quite difficult for a beginner to attain.
The question may arise: what is this needed for? It is required for directing one's love-passion, all power of one's emotions, without wasting them for other things,—to the only Object of one's love, to Ishvara.
There are a lot of esoteric methods of preparing oneself for acquiring the ability to ascend to the highest stages of religious practice. Those are asanas, pranayamas, work with images (visualization), special kinds of dancing, meditative running, yantras, and so forth. Ignorant people combine all this under the term “yoga”. But this is incorrect. Even those who diligently practice asanas of hatha-yoga are not necessarily yogis; for occultists or undisguised black magicians can practice then.
So who can be called a true yogi? What are the criteria?
The criteria are two. The first one is religiousness. Yoga is the Path to God, to merging with Him. The second criterion is Love, an aspiration to cultivate, to develop it in oneself.
Those who practice asanas, pranayamas, and so on for the sake of spiritual perfection, with the aim of approaching God,—those people are yogis, though their task for now is rather minor—to improve their physical health. But those who do the same exercises, but do not meet the criteria mentioned above,—those can be called occultists, magicians, sportsmen, but not yogis. Atheist yoga, as well as yoga without love, does not exist.
These words do not mean that atheists must not do asanas. Let them do them—and they will benefit from this. But practicing mystical non-spiritual pseudo-yoga can result is a gravest spiritual degradation. Such pseudo-yogis can be easily recognized. Their characteristic feature is that they radiate a coarse, harsh bioenergy, and, as a rule, that they cultivate ethical vices. These are demoniac people in the literal meaning of these words, because they are preparing themselves for hell, for the role of demons.
Let us remember: only in case everything we do either in our everyday life or when following special esoteric systems of training, is inspired by Love and aspiration to God—only then is this a true yoga.
The principal role in the process of cultivating Love is played by development of the spiritual heart, which is also called the anahata chakra or the middle dantyan. First, this “organ” of emotional love must be cleansed and expanded within the body, then—as “crystallization” of consciousness proceeds—one should learn to expand oneself as consciousness from the spiritual heart over the entire space that surrounds one’s body both on the material plane and in other—the highest—spatial dimensions. God called the latter process the “Correct Meditation of Primordial Peace and Dissolution”. It is only by means of this meditation one can perceive not empty space inside the highest spatial dimensions, but Divine Consciousness that abides in them, and later—master the Mergence with Him.
In this way we can cognize God “in our heart”: in the “heart”—expanded in the universe in the Abode of the Holy Spirit, and then also in the Abode of the Creator.