Yoga and personal satisfaction

You may open millions of hospitals, that will not prevent people getting ill. On the contrary, they will have every facility and encouragement to fall ill. We are steeped in ideas of this kind.

This puts your conscience at rest: “I have come to the world, I must help others.” One tells oneself: “How disinterested I am! I am going to help humanity.” All this is nothing but egoism.

In fact, the first human being that concerns you is yourself.

You want to diminish suffering, but unless you can change the capacity of suffering into a certitude of being happy, the world will not change. It will always be the same, we turn in a circle—one civilisation follows another, one catastrophe another; but the thing does not change, for there is something missing, something not there, that is the consciousness. That’s all.

At least, that’s my opinion. I am giving it to you for what it is worth. If you want to build hospitals, schools, you may do so; if that makes you happy, so much the better for you. It has not much importance. When I saw the film Monsieur Vincent, I was very interested. He found out that when he fed ten poor men, a thousand came along. That was what Colbert told him: “It seems you create them, your poor ones, by feeding them!” And it is not altogether false. However! If it is your destiny to found schools and give instruction, to care for the sick, to open hospitals, it is good, do it. But you must not take that very seriously. It is something grandiose you are doing for your own pleasure. Say: “I am doing it because it gives me pleasure.”

But do not speak of yoga. It is not yoga you are doing. You believe you are doing something great, that’s all, and it is for your personal satisfaction.

Ref: Questions and Answers 1953