4. What is yoga?
The whole universe is created from the same thing. That means the apparent difference between any two objects in the world is only superficial. Deep down they are identical.
That means you and me, the towel and the trees, the moon and the cockroach are exactly the same thing. The differences in the size, shape, color, location etc are nothing but illusions.
There is agreement about this fact between science and religion. The big bang theory suggests that the whole universe came into existence from a point of infinite density, called singularity. Since everything in this universe came from that same point, they are essentially the same.
Likewise all the religions in the world for a long time have been telling us that god is everywhere, everything is the same.
The singularity described by science can be understood intellectually and the god proposed by religion can be believed as the truth.
But there is another mean of knowing it other than the intellect and belief. It can be experienced.
Thousands of years ago some Indians discovered that by gradually concentrating the mind they could attain a supreme state of being. At that state they could experience the identity of their mind and body with the rest of the universe. It was a state of ultimate liberation and complete self knowledge. This state has been described by different words like nirvana, moksha or enlightenment.
The attainment of nirvana, although possible, was extremely difficult. Thus, they developed a step by step method to achieve it. Although a long path, if one is diligent and persistent, it can be achieved.
This path toward nirvana by increasing consciousness, self awareness and concentration is called yoga. The word itself means “union”.