A definition is the expounding of the most comprehensive concept regarding a truth with a minimum of precise words. A definition is the proof of perfect knowledge. Until we can define the truths of our beliefs, our knowledge about them is superficial, vague and incomplete. We must know exactly what we believe in. We must possess the clearest concept of the fundamental principles upon which we are to build our spiritual life. Bigotry and intolerance are the inevitable consequences of ignorance and especially false knowledge. In ignorance truth is concealed from our vision. False knowledge destroys our ability to perceive the truth. Belief without right knowledge is emotional and sentimental self-submission. Under all circumstances, especially in our spiritual life, we must seek with utmost devotion and sincerity, the enlightened knowledge of the truths which are to illumine our inner life and guide our outer conduct. Knowledge of truth is wisdom. The path of God is illumined by wisdom.
Yoga is the realization of God. It is the attainment of soul’s absolute oneness with the supreme Spirit. It is the revelation of the transcendental nature of the highest Self of man. Self-realization is Yoga. The attainment of the complete conscious cognition of his highest Self is the culmination of the knowledge of man. Self-knowledge is wisdom. Yoga recognizes man as a spiritual being, a divine entity. Man is a soul, the immortal, eternal, ever-seeking, ever-revealing and ever-realizing spirit. Truth is not only the ideal of man, it is also his essential nature. It is true that divinity is the supreme goal of man but it is equally true that the reality and the attributes of the Deity constitute the substance of his soul. Yoga seeks to awaken man to the realization of his spiritual self. It points out to him that he is a son of God, a light which is illumined by the absolute Light. He is a universal soul, an infinite spirit and an eternal being.
My Guru, Swami Premananda Giri of India, came to America in 1928 at the behest of his Guru, Swami Yogananda Paramhansa, to perpetuate the specific philosophy which is called Absolute Monism. As ordained spiritual ministers they were members of a religious order, The Ancient Swami Order of India, which has existed from the 8th century to serve the understanding of the beliefs of Absolute Monism—beliefs which had been propounded in texts preexisting the Order itself by several more millenniums. The contributions of the Swamis to spiritual thought in America are inestimable—distinct as according to the heritage and wisdom of the great Gurus (masters of God-Realization) of India, yet sharing the same stream of Light and Wisdom as the saviors and prophets of all times and all lands who have bowed before the altar of Universal Truth. Inspired by their blessings of self-dedication to God, the one Soul of all, “I am an Absolute Monist.”