By AIF Staff

We are all parts and parcels, divine children of God. We thus have an eternal relationship with Him, and to reawaken this relationship is the eternal principle of yoga or religion. Religion comes from the Greek word “religio,” which means to connect back. Yoga means to reunite. Thus they mean exactly the same thing. Religion or yoga cannot be limited to the boundaries of sectarian beliefs. When we try to limit religion to our own sectarian concepts, we wall ourselves within our own ego, and we are thus deprived of the real understanding of the truth of God. Religion is that sacred science which has been presented throughout the ages, in different ways and different languages, to reawaken or redevelop the natural love of God within us, and within every creature. The animals, the insects, even the trees and grass, all in different unique types of bodies, are as much the children of God as we are. As soon as we discriminate between one creature and another, we are cheating ourselves of the capability to see God everywhere; God is everywhere and is present in everything.

As soon as you discriminate that this person is a man or this person is a woman, or this person is black or white or red or yellow, or this person is from India or Russia or Iran or Israel or America, or this person is illiterate or literate, or this person is wealthy or this person is living on the streets, or this person is a dog or a cat or a monkey or a dragonfly, even if this person may happen to be a mosquito— and there are many of these people around—you must know that each of these creatures that are living and trying to find pleasure and happiness in their life is as much a part of God as you and I. They have as much right to their pursuit of happiness as we do. Therefore ahimsa or nonviolence means to recognize life in a humble state of mind. In a humble state of mind you feel that, “Every creature is equal to or better than me. I am better than none.” As soon as you think yourself superior to anyone or anything, you cheat yourself from the glorious right to see God within their hearts.

Religion does not mean being a Hindu, a Christian, Jew or Muslim, or a Zoroastrian, a Jain or a Buddhist. Religion means to learn how to see God in everyone’s heart, and to serve the Lord with love and devotion wherever He appears. That is religion. As Lord Jesus Christ has said, “We should love the Lord with all our heart, all our minds and all our soul.” He does not say that you should love the Lord with some of your heart and some of your mind. He doesn’t even say most of your heart or most of your mind or most of your soul. He says all of your heart, all of your mind and all of your soul. Our problem is that we always want to keep a little back for something else. Religion is that science that teaches us how to love God with everything. Krishna explains in the Bhagavad-Gita the same principle, “All that you do, all that you eat, all that you say, all that you offer and give away, any austerities or penances you perform, everything should be done as an offering of love to Me.” This is religion. This is spiritual life:

sarva-dharman parityajya
mam ekam saranam vraja

“Abandon all varieties of religion.” (Bhagavad-gita 18.66)

This verse is the conclusion of the Bhagavad-Gita. Abandon all other varieties of religion and just surrender to the Supreme Truth.

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