If there is a change of heart, and a change of values, then our daily life itself becomes divine life. ‘Normally’ we live in a fool’s paradise, with our scale of values tilted in favor of sense pleasures.
These evanescent objects of pleasure are often referred to as illusory. They are part of an illusion which is so, not because it does not exist at all, but because it appears to be what it is not. The world is not false, but the ‘world-appearance’ is false. Matter exists; and both vedanta and science agree that this matter itself is not what it appears to be, but a universal system of light-sound-waves – energy. But it is ignorant man who perceives in them, here an object of enjoyment which attracts him, and there a painful object which repels him.
Of this ignorance, the first-born is egoism – the feeling ‘I am this’, and the second offspring is selfishness – which manifests itself as desire and possessiveness – ‘this is mine’. If a man is able to overcome these two, by removing ignorance which enshrouds the soul, then his scale of values also changes, he perceives the reality of the universe. It then appears to him as it is. At present, we see the world outside as we like or dislike. The world outside is but a projection of our own wishful thinking. A toy is a companion to a child, a marketable commodity to a businessman, and a piece of delicate workmanship to an artist. It is an item of expenditure to the buyer, and of income to the seller! These are relative, changeable values. But, hidden within, there is a real value. What is it? That is what the yogi, the man of wisdom, asks himself all the time.
When these false values disappear, the world does not disappear too. A swimming pool does not become the Himalayas to a yogi or a sage. These remain as they truly are, not as they appear to be in the eyes of an ignorant man, who perceives in them an object of pleasure or pain, profit or loss, good or evil. It is then that the animal instincts are sacrificed at the altar of truth, reality, or God, and man shines as a real human being, the crown of God’s creation, made in the image of God!
This is the object of creation, and the purpose of human birth. But, this animal to be sacrificed is not outside us; it is inside us. The world of matter includes our own body; and, what applies to the objects of this world, applies to our body – which is also perishable, etc. Therefore, the yogi who knows that the objects of sense-pleasure are deceptive, also knows that his own senses, which experience pleasure in them, are also deceptive. It is only when we finally overcome even the sensations of pleasure and pain in us, that we are truly above the illusion of phenomena, and close to the reality that is God.
To the yogi who has arrived at this sublime state of consciousness, all life is sacred, all life is divine, all life is yoga. He lives in God, for God, and as God, and he sees the whole universe – including his body – as the body of God; he sees that it moves and lives according to God’s Will. Such a life is yoga.