In my early days, many people tried to tempt me to become a sannyasin. I said, ‘No, I will marry. I will see the struggles and the upheavals of the world, and I will practice.’ So I am an old soldier. I have six children and still I practice yoga. I have not abandoned my responsibilities towards other people. I can live in life as a witness without being part and parcel of the action.

I did not neglect my practice, nor did I neglect my family. The problem with many of us is ambition. You want to perform the asanas as you see me perform them, but you forget that I have been practicing yoga for more than fifty years, whereas you are just beginning. An ambitious or impatient approach will bring you illness–physical illness or mental illness. So treat the practice of yoga as part of your life, allowing it space within your normal activities.

As I have said, there is a culmination in self-realization. The end goal is the sight of the soul. If one had no end in view, one would not do the work. We can reach the infinite, but we must do so with the finite means at our disposal. Anything done spasmodically has only a spasmodic effect. If you only practice spasmodically, you cannot expect to maintian the sensitivity of intelligence nor the maturity in the effort required to progress towards the ultimate goal. You must cultivate a certain discipline so that you can maintain that creative sensitivity. Instead of working as and when you feel, it is better to work regularly every day in order to maintain the quality of the effects.

Do not have it in your mind that you should have something extraordinary to show to other people. If you put a seed in the ground today and say, ‘In ten days I want fruit,’ does it come? The fruit comes naturally, does it not? When the tree is ready to bear fruit, it comes. Even if you say, ‘I want it, I want it!’ it does not come any sooner. But when you think that the tree is not going to give you any fruit at all, all of a sudden you see the fruit grow. It has to come naturally, not artificially. So work, and let it come or let it not come, but continue your practice. Then, even if you have a family life and family commitments, there are no problems.