Does not the concept of God and an after life only strengthen the ego?
—Ray Huxley, USA
Thank you for writing. I suppose the concept of God could strengthen the ego if one became dogmatic. Throughout history religious people have carried on wars and inquisitions in the name of God. But the name for God in India is Satchidananda, which translates as Ever-existing, Ever-conscious, Ever-new Joy.
At Ananda we honor this concept of God and believe that that consciousness underlies every atom of creation, and every creature. We also believe that there is no one right way of worshipping God, but honor everyone’s individual path. By loving the Creator and wanting to experience His presence more deeply as divine Joy, one softens the ego instead of strengthening it.
Again, a view of the after life could strengthen the ego if one got into planning all the good things he will receive as a reward when he gets to heaven. We believe, instead, that the soul is on a long journey toward Self-realization — toward oneness with that Satchidananda. That journey involves growing in humility, love and acceptance of all, and divine joy.
The philosophy of Yoga does not depend on belief in God or the after life, however. These are names and concepts. The purpose of yoga is to experience the deeper peace, love, and joy of one’s own higher self. Yoga says: believe whatever you wish, but experiment — try these practices and see how you feel. In this way one’s faith is built by personal experience and not by philosophical belief.
In divine friendship,