Peace to you!
In our material world everything would be ordinary if there was no death…
Presence of death makes our existence mysterious. Death sums up the life on Earth and opens the door to the life on "the other bank".
I write this note to pay your attention to the role of afterlife and meaning of life in understanding of the conception of yoga.
Understanding of yoga can’t be deep without connection with afterlife. When people forget about presence of death… they used to start thinking about their yoga practice in a surface way such like: “I practise yoga to relieve the stress” or "I vist classes because they improve my health".
There is no doubt that yoga improves health... but the role of yoga is much more serious than physical health. It is preparion of us to this life after death – i.e. "afterlife".
Some of us might say: "we do not know what awaits us there!". In such cases, I would pay attention of such people to the other side of this situation and say: "but you perfectly know with what you will come into afterlife!". Our inner qualities, our life knowledge… after all, our sense of humor – all these we take "there" with ourselves.
Now lets slightly touch methodology of yoga which starts not from any meditation but… from understanding the meaning of life.
What — objectively — is the most important thing in the life of every man on the Earth? It is the understanding, from the philosophical standpoint, of the meaning of one’s own life and the ways of its realization. Without knowing this fundamental aspect of our existence, one cannot develop a correct worldview, and therefore cannot plan strategically one’s own life!
Also, I should note here that all attempts to define "the meaning of life" only in borders of material plane through, for example, various ideas of society/state etc… still can’t explain existence of human being in general… or why we are born on Earth and are involved in all these "events" around us.
Some other humans (who didn’t possess deep knowledge about "eternal truths" but tried to understand them) were speaking about meaning of life as "self-development and helping others in this". Yes, for many spiritual people this would be enough good "philosophical" foundation for a whole life…
But still, the idea of self-development doesn’t answer on questions like: "why?", "what is aim of all this?" etc.
Answers on such fundamental questions we can find in wisdom of those, who people used to call as "Messiahs", "Avatars", and "Christs" (all these words mean the same in different languages).
Throughout the entire history of mankind these Humans were speaking about the same but were using slightly different words what could be understood by people of that society and age where they were working as "messengers of God".
The answer consists in the following. The infinite in space and time Universal Consciousness, which abides in the subtlest stratum (spatial dimension, eon, loka) of the multidimensional universe and is called the Creator, God-the-Father, the Primordial Consciousness, and by other different names in different human languages — this Consciousness constantly develops, that is evolves. And we, souls (individual consciousnesses) incarnated in material bodies, have to be the main elements of this Evolutionary Process.
That is, we, according to the commandment of Jesus Christ, have to strive to become perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect (Matt 5:48 ). If we fulfill this — with His help and due to our own efforts — then we infuse into Him enriching Him with ourselves. It is thanks to this mergence of individual human consciousnesses, who achieved Perfection, with Him — that His Evolution goes on!
This is why He is interested in spiritual growth of every one of us. This is why He treats us as His Children.
And the wellbeing of every one of us depends, first of all, on our love for Him. This love has to be manifested both in the emotions of love directed to Him and in our efforts on self-development and service to Him.
Thus it should be clear that a real service to God consists not in reading prayers and making certain bodily movements; it consists in helping other incarnated beings in their advancement toward our common Goal.
Also, dear readers! It is not possible to describe in detail the spiritual path in few posts... Much more information can be found in the books of those who were cognizing God and reached great spiritual achievements.
I recommend to read, for example:
"Ecopsychology" by Vladimir Antonov
"Autobiography of Yogi" by Paramhansa Yogananda
"Initiation" by Elisabeth Haich
"Life and Teaching of the Masters of the Far East" by Baird T. Spalding
Those who are interested in knowledge about "afterlife" may read, for example:
"My travels in the spirit world" by Caroline Larsen.
Texts of these books can be found free in pdf in Internet.
"Help everyone in everything good!" — let this motto become a credo (main principle of life) for every one of us!