The Ideal of All Yogas

Swami Turiyananda

[Swami Turiyanandaji Maharaj was a Disciple of Sri Ramakrishna. A Brahmajnani, the knower of Brahman, Swami Turiyananda is considered to be the personification of the teachings of the Bhagavadgita. He worked in the USA also, spreading the message of Vedanta.]


No worshipper worships matter. The infinite Consciousness, which is Being-knowledge-Bliss [Sat-chit-ananda], is  the one object of worship of all devotees.  The enjoyment of heaven and such other objectives are low. Only those who arc full  of desires pray for the enjoyment of heavenly pleasures, heaven and such other objectives.

However, they have to come back to the miserable world soon.

te tam bhuktvā svarga-lokam vishālam

kshîne punye martya-lokam vishanti

evam trayî-dharmam anuprapannāḥ

gatāgatam kāma-kāmā-labhante

‘‘Having enjoyed  the vast Swarga [heaven]-world they enter the  mortal world again, on the exhaustion of their  merits. Thus, abiding by the work-portions of the Vedas [which are for those who wish to enjoy pleasures],  and desiring enjoyments,  such people constantly come and go.” (Gita  9.21). This is for those who arc devoted  to practices with a motive to attain heaven.

But there are the others.

The attainment of heaven,  etc., is not the goal of the true worshippers (Upasakas).

To them the question is about the Atman, which is Being-Knowlcdge-Bliss — which is of  the nature of wisdom. The worshippers according to their inherent tendencies (samskaras) look upon this one  Atman or Brahman Itself as different objects  of worship. Some see Him as the whole and themselves as parts of Him.  Some again see Him as non-different  from themselves. Some others again see Him as the Great Lord different from themselves. But even they do not think of themselves as inert matter, but as Consciousness. Therefore we find the question of inertness with respect to the worshipper never arises at all.

The  worshipper and worshipped both are Consciousness, but only according to differences  in the inherent tendencies of the worshipper,  their mutual relationship also differs. What does this mean?

देहबुद्ध्या तु दासो`स्मि जीवबुद्ध्या त्वदंशकः

आत्मबुद्ध्या त्वमेवाहम्  इति मे निश्चिता मतिः

deha-buddhyā tu dāso’smi jîva-buddhyā tvadamshakaḥ |
ātma-buddhyā tvamevāham iti me nishcitā matiḥ ||

Once Sri  Rama seeing Hanumān amongst the  sages that had assembled before him,  in order to satisfy all his devotees, asked  him, “Well, how do you look upon  me?” Hanuman, the best of the illumined ones [jnānis], seeing some great purpose  behind this question, replied, “When  I think of myself as the body, then I  am Thy servant, when I think of myself  as the Jivātman (the individual soul),  I am Thy part. And when I think of  myself as the Atman, I am Thyself —  this is my conclusive opinion.” Thus  Hanuman happened to express the attitude of all the devotees. This is the  essence of Vedanta.