Swamiji, what is the future of yoga?
The question should have been, what is the future of the science of yoga, not of yoga. Yoga has existed eternally and will continue to do so. Every human being wants and needs yoga even if they do not use the term yoga. When you are unhappy and distressed, you wish to be relieved of your predicament. So you resort to medicine, alcohol or yoga in an attempt to be free of the sorrow. The effort to come to a balanced state of mind is yoga. Yoga redresses your pain, it delivers you from hopelessness. No one wants misery, depression or mental disturbance. Everyone wants peace of mind. This is yoga. Therefore, I am not speaking of yoga, but of the science of yoga.
We opened the Munger ashram over thirty-five years ago. In this period yoga has been emerging in the form of a science, vidya. What is the meaning of vidya? In the same way that there is the faculty of mathematics, physics and chemistry, there is the science of yoga.
Yoga was always there, it was there before my time. Yoga is eternal. I am not the founder of yoga, no one is the founder of yoga. It is as old as civilization. It is possible that it was called by some other name. However, I am discussing yoga in the form of a science. For over thirty-five years Bihar School of Yoga has been engaged in the work of promulgation of the science of yoga. Earlier the knowledge of yoga was limited, therefore the demand for yoga was also limited. So, for twenty to twenty-five years I travelled around the world. I visited universities and hospitals, met doctors, psychologists, political leaders, engineers and artists. I also met the Pope. I wrote, spoke and explained to people that yoga should be studied as a science.
Today, scientists, doctors, people of different religions, theists and atheists, drinkers and non-vegetarians all agree that the personality of man can evolve through yoga. Whatever be the kind of personality, it will blossom through yoga. Along with this, yoga will also improve the EQ, emotional quotient. I am not speaking of IQ, intelligence quotient, but of EQ, the level of emotions.
There are people whose IQ is very high. Writers, poets, artists, political leaders and thinkers all possess great intellects. This has been the gift of the last century. The last century also gave birth to many big problems, and now people have started thinking that along with intellectual evolution, emotional evolution is also necessary.
What is EQ? The quality of thought: high thinking and low thinking. Compassion, mercy and non-violence fall under the category of high thinking, they constitute a high EQ.
For example, I am riding a bicycle and so are you. We accidentally bump into each other and get into fisticuffs over it. I am a professor and you are an engineer. Both have high IQs. However, at the level of emotions, we are dwarves. We should have said sorry to each other, expressed regrets and carried on. This is called high thinking or high EQ. Emotion is natural to man. It belongs to the mind and to the heart. It is what you experience for your son, daughter or wife. Do you love your wife intellectually? Do you ever hate anyone intellectually? No. You hate with the mind and you also love with the mind.
Today, everyone has realized that man has become very intelligent, but not wise. To acquire wisdom there is only one way before him: yoga. Yoga should be taught in schools and colleges in the way that it is taught at BYB in the certificate and diploma courses. In the future, in every governmental department, in every area of the country, whether railways, security forces, etc. there will be a requirement for basic, medium and high ranks of yoga teachers and acharyas. This may take fifteen to twenty years in India because things move at a snails pace here. This is the future of yoga.
Had anyone heard of psychology a hundred years ago? Sigmund Freud established the principles of psychology. People criticized him and later accepted him. Within a hundred years, psychology has become a faculty of study. Clinical psychology, industrial psychology, student psychology, female psychology so many categories and sub-categories have been created. This has become the future of psychology. So, if someone had asked me about yoga in the eighteenth century, I would have said exactly what I am saying now.
In the century that we have stepped into, man will have to become very vigilant for society to be balanced. The police and political leaders cannot control society. Parents are not able to control children. No one is ready to listen to anyone else. Everyone thinks, I know everything. IQs have risen so high. If the accelerator is pressed too hard there should be brakes as well, or else an accident will take place. Yoga works as the speed breaker, as the force of restraint, as wisdom.
In the last century man was taught the science of enhancing the intellect. In this century he will have to be taught to enhance wisdom. Children will have to be taught this in school. Until now they were only teaching three plus three equals six, not wisdom. Until now there was the faculty of science algebra, biology, physics that would enhance the intellect. This is called apara vidya, worldly knowledge. Now, in this century, para vidya, higher knowledge, will be taught. Yoga is para vidya through which man recognizes the shakti, force, hidden within him. Within us lies the energy of paramatma, supreme spirit. We hold the flame of the supreme spirit within us. We have light within us, we have infinite power. The Bhagavad Gita calls this vibhooti. Vibhooti means higher genius, spiritual genius. Everyone possesses genius, but it blossoms only in a few. In some it blossoms at birth. Their mother and father united at such a moment, in such conditions, such mental states that the child that was born became Krishna. So, genius is awakened at birth or with mantras, austerity, herbs, drugs and yogic practices.
You will have to pick one of the many methods. If you were not born a genius, that opportunity is gone. So take the help of mantra, austerity and restraint the way Buddha did, Mahavira did, Saint Francis did and I did. It is possible to acquire genius through drugs also. There are herbs that bring about a transformation in the consciousness. Hashish, cannabis, cocaine and opium do not fall in that category. During the period of the Rig Veda, there was soma or soma rasa. This medicinal drink was made by crushing the soma creeper. Now it has become obsolete.
The last method is samadhi. Samadhi is to focus all your senses, all your thoughts, to concentrate your entire personality on one point. That point can be shoonya, void, light, circle, gods and goddesses, God, guru, word, pulse, a shiver or thought whatever your mind can be fixed on. This is called pratyaya, the base of the mind. The mind needs a base to be focused. It is said:
Yatra yatra mano yaati, tatra tatra samaadhih
Wherever the mind is fixed, there is samadhi.
So, the science of yoga is gaining great momentum as a faculty of study. BYB has engaged the railways and the para-military forces on how to introduce yoga in the academic syllabus. All such places will soon require yoga teachers and those of you who qualify will be able to offer your services to society and the nation.
—24 May, 2000