One of the greatest powers in all fields of life is unity. But there is a fundamental problem – that there are so many diversified distinctions between living beings. Everyone has their own conception of their identity, and this creates a natural conflict amongst those who look different from one another, think differently, or act differently. There has always been conflict between the castes, not only in India but all over the world. They may go by different names. There is the educational class, administrative class, working class, and there is the class of trade and agriculture. There has always been distinctions and conflict between nationalities, races, religions, generations of people’s ages, sexes, and philosophers. On practically every level of the world, there is reason for conflict. Even within a family, there’s the older brother and the younger brother, and that creates conflict because everyone has their separate, independent interests.

Yet when things are unified, they’re beautiful. What makes music beautiful? Harmony. And what is harmony? Unity. It’s not that the violin is playing one thing and then the flute is playing whatever it wants and the drums, guitar and organ are playing whatever. When all the instruments are trying to combine together, unified, to make one sound, then that harmony creates such beauty.

What is the meaning of yoga? Yoga means unity. What is the meaning of religion? Religion comes from the Greek word religio, which means to bind back, to be in harmony, to be in unity. Every living being has a body, has a mind, and has a consciousness, and the consciousness is the energy emanating from the soul, the atma. So to harmonize the body, the mind, and the soul is the art of yoga. If we don’t have unity within ourselves, then is it possible for us to create unity in the world around us?

That is what yoga means, simply to unite. To unite the body with nature, that is hatha yoga. To create unity within the mind and the body, that is pranayama. To create unity with the mind and the atma, that is jnana.  To create unity between the soul and God, that is bhakti.  That is the complete yoga system—unity.  And in that unified condition, we can actually express that natural innate love that we have found in our own life in everything we do in the world.

Therefore, there is a simple universal principle by which we can eradicate envy within ourselves, as well as envy of God and envy of all other living being – because it is really this principle of ego and envy that is the problem. We must therefore clean the heart, and the simple process of cleaning the heart is chanting the names of the Lord. All the various names of God revealed through the holy scriptures in this world have the power and potency to clean our hearts if they are chanted with a proper state of mind. Therefore, the prime benediction for all humanity, which can create peace and unity on a spiritual level that extends to every other level of the world, is the congregational chanting of God’s names.      —Radhanath Swami