The goal of yoga


I was very dedicated to meditation and Kriya Yoga. I am also a member of SRF. I learned yoga from my father, but about a year ago I learned about Scientology. They see yoga as not a correct way of path because it withdraws you from the material world. They say that the goal of the spirit is survival and that the goal of yoga is the opposite thing, which leads you to death. I am very confused and would like to have your guidance.

—Hiram, Puerto Rico


Dear Hiram,

Thank you for your request for spiritual guidance and sorry to hear of your confusion. If you are a disciple of Paramhansa Yogananda and want to follow the path of Kriya Yoga, it would be wise for you to avoid “spiritual indigestion,” by trying to follow more than one path. Pick out the one which touches your heart the most and go for it.

I am somewhat familiar with Scientology, but not their exact teachings. However, I can say without question through my own 30 years of practice, that yoga, especially Kriya Yoga, is a very correct path. It never suggests that you withdraw from the material world, but rather equips you, though the peace you experience in daily meditation, to deal with everthing and everyone much better ways – such as the ability to remain centered and calm in the midst of stress, craziness, or conflict happening all around you.

The goal of yoga is not to leave the material world, but to learn to meditate so deeply that your whole life becomes a meditation. Meaning that you can do anything you feel God wants you to do in the outward world, but never lose your inner connection to Spirit.

It would not be correct to say that the goal of the spirit is survival, because the spirit (our soul) can never die. It has always existed and will always exist, for it is a part of the greater Spirit, or God. The goal of everyone, whether they realize it yet or not, is to merge into oneness with God. The techniques we use to do that may vary, but the goal cannot vary.

Kriya yoga could never lead you to death, but rather it will lead you, step by step, day by day, into perfect self- or God-realization. This means realization in body, mind, and soul of who and what you really are – not this material body, not your thoughts, personality, emotions, but the eternal spirit united with the Divine Spirit.

Blessings and joy to you.