Religion, Yoga and Love

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

In the Catholic religion, it is said that the enemies of man are the world, the demon and the flesh. What do you think of these beliefs?

It is not only said in the Catholic religion, but also in yoga. In yoga we do not use the word enemy. We say that there are three obstacles on the path of the divine. Maya is one obstacle, mind is another obstacle and the physical, material need is the third obstacle. When you sit for meditation, the mind creates all kinds of games. You have to fight with it all the time. For years and years, you keep wrestling with the mind in all sorts of ways.

Then again you are in the body. The problem of sleep, hunger and exhaustion or fatigue is there. Then there are physical urges. Food is one urge, sleep another, fear is the third and the sexual urge is the fourth. So whatever is said in Catholicism is true and is also said in yoga. It is a matter of common sense. Those, who have been practising bhakti and trying to come closer to their own selves or to God, have to face these three forms of sickness, in spite of all sincerity, honesty and truthfulness. The world, the devil and the flesh are in my words – maya, the mind and physical awareness.

What is divine love?

Love is twofold. One is to love the mundane, and the other is to love the transcendental. Transcendental love is known as divine love and bhakti. Bhakti is translated as devotion, but it is love. When you love the higher being, and your mind is completely saturated in him, it is known as divine love.

When the mind and emotions are directed towards the mundane objects of the world, when the emotions run after transient things and the mind after the trifling matters of life, then that is known as mundane love. It is worldly attachment. Worldly love pacifies the body and disturbs the mind. Worldly love breaks the heart.

On the other hand, divine love fulfils inner happiness. It gives peace to the heart, brings concentration to the mind and ultimately purifies the whole body. When your mind is directed to God, guru, the creation of God, the disciples of your guru and the suffering people, then it is the enactment of divine love. When you love and enjoy yourself, your wife, children and your own things, when the purpose of love is self enjoyment, that is called worldly love. In yoga bhakti is the higher love.

9 January 1981, satsang with a group from Colombia