Yoga has nothing to do with Islam, Hinduism, Jainism or any other religion. But Jesus or Mohammed or Zarathustra or Buddha or Mahavira – or anyone who has realized the truth – has not realized it without passing through yoga. Except for yoga in its widest dimensions, there is no way for life to rise to the state of inner bliss. The so-called religions are nothing but belief systems, but yoga is not. Yoga is a systematic methodology of scientific experimentation in the search for the truth of life.
Hence, the first thing that I would like to say to you is that yoga is a science, not a belief. For experiencing yoga, one need not have faith of any kind; to experiment with yoga, superstitious belief of any kind is not needed. An atheist can enter into its experiments as much as a theist can. Yoga does not bother whether you are an atheist or a theist.
Science does not depend on your beliefs. On the contrary, you have to change your beliefs because of science. Science does not expect you to have any kind of prior reasoning or any accepted beliefs, it only expects you to experiment. Science says: Do and see. Because scientific truths are real truths, they do not require any faith whatsoever. Two and two make four; it is not an assumption. And if someone doesn’t accept it, he is the one who will be in trouble; it is not that the truth of two and two making four will be in trouble.
Science does not begin with assumptions, it begins with investigation. In the same way, yoga does not begin with assumptions, it begins with a search, a quest and an investigation. Hence, all that is required is the capacity to experiment. Only the capacity to experiment is needed, only courage to search is needed – nothing else.
When I say yoga is a science, I would like to talk to you about some key points that form the fundamental basis of the science of yoga. These key points, these sutras, have nothing to do with any one religion, but without them no religion can stay alive. These sutras do not need the support of any of the religions, but without their support religion as such cannot exist even for a single moment.
The first sutra of yoga is:
Life is energy.
For a long time science did not agree with this, but now it does. For a long time science thought that the universe is matter. But thousands of years before science discovered this, those who declared that matter is an untruth, a lie, an illusion, did not mean that it does not exist. By illusion they meant that it is not as it appears, or that it does not appear as it really is.
But in the last thirty years, science has in every single step been in accord with yoga. In the eighteenth century, the declaration of the scientists was that God is dead, that the soul has no existence, and that matter is all there is. In the past thirty years the situation has been reversed: science has had to say that matter does not exist, it only appears to exist; that energy alone is the truth. It is only because of the fast movement of this energy that matter appears to exist.