As the human being moves up the ladder of evolution, the center of his consciousness moves into successively higher bodies. Those of the lowest evolutionary status are aware only of their physical entity and live as though that alone were real. Simple survival and physical maintenance are their sole drives. It is these people who demand that their religion promise them earthly benefits, an opulent earth-type afterlife, and in some religions: the eventual resurrection of the body and its possession by them eternally.
In the next step of evolution the individual begins to identify intensely with his feelings, especially his emotions, and gauges all things by his emotional reaction to them. This person demands that his religion be a devotional one of inspiration and love of and for God.
On the next rung of the evolutionary ladder, the human being becomes identified with and absorbed in the senses, reaching out for more and novel sensory experiences. He demands that his religion be one of beautiful and impressive worship, and one which will take him to heaven where he will hear beautiful music, see beautiful scenes and eat of the fruits of paradise.
Stepping up to the next rung, the human being discovers the wonder of his intellect. Therefore he will demand of his religion that it explain everything to him through an elaborate and sophisticated system of philosophy and theology and make all mysteries known so that there is nothing he does not understand.
Finally spiritual intuition arises in him, and it dawns on him that involvement with all those ideas has not really produced any change or gotten him anywhere. He realizes that abstractions are not enough, that he needs a map to the realm of spirit.
And that is when Yoga begins, for Paramhansa Yogananda often said: “Yoga is the beginning of the end.”
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