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Title: An Introduction to Yoga
Author: Besant, Annie
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Introduction to Yoga" ***

                    An Introduction to Yoga

                          Annie Besant


These lectures[FN#1: Delivered at the 32nd Anniversary of the
Theosophical Society held at Benares, on Dec. 27th, 28th, 29th,
and 30th, 1907.] are intended to give an outline of Yoga, in
order to prepare the student to take up, for practical purposes,
the Yoga sutras of Patanjali, the chief treatise on Yoga. I have
on hand, with my friend Bhagavan Das as collaborateur, a
translation of these Sutras, with Vyasa's commentary, and a
further commentary and elucidation written in the light of
Theosophy.[FN#2: These have never been finished or printed.] To
prepare the student for the mastering of that more difficult
task, these lectures were designed; hence the many references to
Patanjali. They may, however, also serve to give to the ordinary
lay reader some idea of the Science of sciences, and perhaps to
allure a few towards its study.

Annie Besant

                       Table of Contents

Lecture I.     The Nature of Yoga
     1.  The Meaning of the Universe
     2.  The Unfolding of Consciousness
     3.  The Oneness of the Self
     4.  The Quickening of the Process of Self-Unfoldment
     5.  Yoga is a Science
     6.  Man a Duality
     7.  States of Mind
     8.  Samadhi
     9.  The Literature of Yoga
     10. Some Definitions
     11. God Without and God Within
     12. Changes of Consciousness and Vibrations of Matter
     13. Mind
     14. Stages of Mind
     15. Inward and Outward-turned Consciousness
     16. The Cloud

Lecture II.    Schools of Thought
     1. Its Relation to Indian Philosophies
     2. Mind
     3. The Mental Body
     4. Mind and Self

Lecture III.   Yoga as Science
     1.  Methods of Yoga
     2.  To the Self by the Self
     3.  To the Self through the Not-Self
     4.  Yoga and Morality
     5.  Composition of States of the Mind
     6.  Pleasure and Pain

Lecture IV.    Yoga as Practice
     1.  Inhibition of States of Mind
     2.  Meditation with and without Seed
     3.  The Use of Mantras
     4.  Attention
     5.  Obstacles to Yoga
     6.  Capacities for Yoga
     7.  Forthgoing and Returning
     8.  Purification of Bodies
     9.  Dwellers on the Threshold
     10. Preparation for Yoga
     11. The End

Lecture I


In this first discourse we shall concern ourselves with the
gaining of a general idea of the subject of Yoga, seeking its
place in nature, its own character, its object in human

The Meaning of the Universe

Let us, first of all, ask ourselves, looking at the world around
us, what it is that the history of the world signifies. When we
read history, what does the history tell us? It seems to be a
moving panorama of people and events, but it is really only a
dance of shadows; the people are shadows, not realities, the
kings and statesmen, the ministers and armies; and the eventsÄ
the battles and revolutions, the rises and falls of states Äare
the most shadowlike dance of all. Even if the historian tries to
go deeper, if he deals with economic conditions, with social
organisations, with the study of the tendencies of the currents
of thought, even then he is in the midst of shadows, the illusory
shadows cast by unseen realities. This world is full of forms
that are illusory, and the values are all wrong, the proportions
are out of focus. The things which a man of the world thinks
valuable, a spiritual man must cast aside as worthless. The
diamonds of the world, with their glare and glitter in the rays
of the outside sun, are mere fragments of broken glass to the man
of knowledge. The crown of the king, the sceptre of the emperor,
the triumph of earthly power, are less than nothing to the man
who has had one glimpse of the majesty of the Self. What is,
then, real? What is truly valuable? Our answer will be very
different from the answer given by the man of the world.

"The universe exists for the sake of the Self."  Not for what the
outer world can give, not for control over the objects of desire,
not for the sake even of beauty or pleasure, does the Great
Architect plan and build His worlds. He has filled them with
objects, beautiful and pleasure-giving. The great arch of the sky
above, the mountains with snow-clad peaks, the valleys soft with
verdure and fragrant with blossoms, the oceans with their vast
depths, their surface now calm as a lake, now tossing in
furyÄthey all exist, not for the objects themselves, but for
their value to the Self. Not for themselves because they are
anything in themselves but that the purpose of the Self may be
served, and His manifestations made possible.

The world, with all its beauty, its happiness and suffering, its
joys and pains" is planned with the utmost ingenuity, in order
that the powers of the Self may be shown forth in manifestation.
From the fire-mist to the LOGOS, all exist for the sake of the
Self. The lowest grain of dust, the mightiest deva in his
heavenly regions, the plant that grows out of sight in the nook
of a mountain, the star that shines aloft over us-all these exist
in order that the fragments of the one Self, embodied in
countless forms, may realize their own identity, and manifest the
powers of the Self through the matter that envelops them.

There is but one Self in the lowliest dust and the loftiest deva.
"Mamamsaha"ÄMy portion,Ä" a portion of My Self," says Sri
Krishna, are all these Jivatmas, all these living spirits. For
them the universe exists; for them the sun shines, and the waves
roll, and the winds blow, and the rain falls, that the Self may
know Himself as manifested in matter, as embodied in the

The Unfolding of Consciousness

One of those pregnant and significant ideas which Theosophy
scatters so lavishly around is thisÄthat the same scale is
repeated over and over again, the same succession of events in
larger or smaller cycles. If you understand one cycle, you
understand the whole. The same laws by which a solar system is
builded go to the building up of the system of man. The laws by
which the Self unfolds his powers in the universe, from the
fire-mist up to the LOGOS, are the same laws of consciousness
which repeat themselves in the universe of man. If you understand
them in the one, you can equally understand them in the other.
Grasp them in the small, and the large is revealed to you. Grasp
them in the large, and the small becomes intelligible to you.

The great unfolding from the stone to the God goes on through
millions of years, through aeons of time. But the long unfolding
that takes place in the universe, takes place in a shorter
time-cycle within the limit of humanity, and this in a cycle so
brief that it seems as nothing beside the longer one. Within a
still briefer cycle a similar unfolding takes place in the
individualÄ rapidly, swiftly, with all the force of its past
behind it. These forces that manifest and unveil themselves in
evolution are cumulative in their power. Embodied in the stone,
in the mineral world, they grow and put out a little more of
strength, and in the mineral world accomplish their unfolding.
Then they become too strong for the mineral, and press on into
the vegetable world. There they unfold more and more of their
divinity, until they become too mighty for the vegetable, and
become animal.

Expanding within and gaining experiences from the animal, they
again overflow the limits of the animal, and appear as the human.
In the human being they still grow and accumulate with
ever-increasing force, and exert greater pressure against the
barrier; and then out of the human, they press into the
super-human. This last process of evolution is called "Yoga."

Coming to the individual, the man of our own globe has behind him
his long evolution in other chains than oursÄthis same evolution
through mineral to vegetable, through vegetable to animal,
through animal to man, and then from our last dwelling-place in
the lunar orb on to this terrene globe that we call the earth.
Our evolution here has all the force of the last evolution in it,
and hence, when we come to this shortest cycle of evolution which
is called Yoga, the man has behind him the whole of the forces
accumulated in his human evolution, and it is the accumulation of
these forces which enables him to make the passage so rapidly. We
must connect our Yoga with the evolution of consciousness
everywhere, else we shall not understand it at all; for the laws
of evolution of consciousness in a universe are exactly the same
as the laws of Yoga, and the principles whereby consciousness
unfolds itself in the great evolution of humanity are the same
principles that we take in Yoga and deliberately apply to the
more rapid unfolding of our own consciousness. So that Yoga, when
it is definitely begun, is not a new thing, as some people

The whole evolution is one in its essence. The succession is the
same, the sequences identical. Whether you are thinking of the
unfolding of consciousness in the universe, or in the human race,
or in the individual, you can study the laws of the whole, and in
Yoga you learn to apply those same laws to your own consciousness
rationally and definitely. All the laws are one, however
different in their stage of manifestation.

If you look at Yoga in this light, then this Yoga, which seemed
so alien and so far off, will begin to wear a familiar face, and
come to you in a garb not wholly strange. As you study the
unfolding of consciousness, and the corresponding evolution of
form, it will not seem so strange that from man you should pass
on to superman, transcending the barrier of humanity, and finding
yourself in the region where divinity becomes more manifest.

The Oneness of the Self

The Self in you is the same as the Self Universal. Whatever
powers are manifested throughout the world, those powers exist in
germ, in latency, in you. He, the Supreme, does not evolve. In
Him there are no additions or subtractions. His portions, the
Jivatmas, are as Himself, and they only unfold their powers in
matter as conditions around them draw those powers forth. If you
realize the unity of the Self amid the diversities of the
Not-Self, then Yoga will not seem an impossible thing to you.

The Quickening of the Process of Self-unfoldment

Educated and thoughtful men and women you already are; already
you have climbed up that long ladder which separates the present
outer form of the Deity in you from His form in the dust. The
manifest Deity sleeps in the mineral and the stone. He becomes
more and more unfolded in vegetables and animals, and lastly in
man He has reached what appears as His culmination to ordinary
men. Having done so much, shall you not do more ? With the
consciousness so far unfolded, does it seem impossible that it
should unfold in the future into the Divine?

As you realize that the laws of the evolution of form and of the
unfolding of consciousness in the universe and man are the same,
and that it is through these laws that the yogi brings out his
hidden powers, then you will understand also that it is not
necessary to go into the mountain or into the desert, to hide
yourself in a cave or a forest, in order that the union with the
Self may be obtainedÄHe who is within you and without you.
Sometimes for a special purpose seclusion may be useful. It may
be well at times to retire temporarily from the busy haunts of
men. But in the universe planned by Isvara, in order that the
powers of the Self may be brought outÄthere is your best field
for Yoga, planned with Divine wisdom and sagacity. The world is
meant for the unfolding of the Self: why should you then seek to
run away from it? Look at Shri Krishna Himself in that great
Upanishad of yoga, the Bhagavad-Gita. He spoke it out on a
battle-field, and not on a mountain peak. He spoke it to a
Kshattriya ready to fight, and not to a Brahmana quietly retired
from the world. The Kurukshetra of the world is the field of
Yoga. They who cannot face the world have not the strength to
face the difficulties of Yoga practice. If the outer world
out-wearies your powers, how do you expect to conquer the
difficulties of the inner life? If you cannot climb over the
little troubles of the world, how can you hope to climb over the
difficulties that a yogi has to scale? Those men blunder, who
think that running away from the world is the road to victory,
and that peace can be found only in certain localities.

As a matter of fact, you have practised Yoga unconsciously in the
past, even before your self- consciousness had separated itself,
was aware of itself. Sand knew itself to be different, in
temporary matter at least, from all the others that surround it.
And that is the first idea that you should take up and hold
firmly: Yoga is only a quickened process of the ordinary
unfolding of consciousness.

Yoga may then be defined as the "rational application of the laws
of the unfolding of consciousness in an individual case". That is
what is meant by the methods of Yoga. You study the laws' of the
unfolding of consciousness in the universe, you then apply them
to a special caseÄand that case is your own. You cannot apply
them to another. They must be self-applied. That is the definite
principle to grasp. So we must add one more word to our
definition: "Yoga is the rational application of the laws of the
unfolding of consciousness, self-applied in an individual case."

Yoga Is a Science

Next, Yoga is a science. That is the second thing to grasp. Yoga
is a science, and not a vague, dreamy drifting or imagining. It
is an applied science, a systematized collection of laws applied
to bring about a definite end. It takes up the laws of
psychology, applicable to the unfolding of the whole
consciousness of man on every plane, in every world, and applies
those rationally in a particular case. This rational application
of the laws of unfolding consciousness acts exactly on the same
principles that you see applied around you every day in other
departments of science.

You know, by looking at the world around you, how enormously the
intelligence of man, co-operating with nature, may quicken
"natural" processes, and the working of intelligence is as
"natural" as anything else. We make this distinction, and
practically it is a real one, between "rational" and "natural"
growth, because human intelligence can guide the working of
natural laws; and when we come to deal with Yoga, we are in the
same department of applied science as, let us say, is the
scientific farmer or gardener, when he applies the natural laws
of selection to breeding. The farmer or gardener cannot transcend
the laws of nature, nor can he work against them. He has no other
laws of nature to work with save universal laws by which nature
is evolving forms around us, and yet he does in a few years what
nature takes, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of years to do. And
how? By applying human intelligence to choose the laws that serve
him and to neutralize the laws that hinder. He brings the divine
intelligence in man to utilise the divine powers in nature that
are working for general rather than for particular ends.

Take the breeder of pigeons. Out of the blue rock pigeon he
develops the pouter or the fan-tail; he chooses out, generation
after generation, the forms that show most strongly the
peculiarity that he wishes to develop. He mates such birds
together, takes every favouring circumstance into consideration
and selects again and again, and so on and on, till the
peculiarity that he wants to establish has become a well-marked
feature. Remove his controlling intelligence, leave the birds to
themselves, and they revert to the ancestral type.

Or take the case of the gardener. Out of the wild rose of the
hedge has been evolved every rose of the garden. Many-petalled
roses are but the result of the scientific culture of the
five-petalled rose of the hedgerow, the wild product of nature. A
gardener who chooses the pollen from one plant and places it on
the carpers of another is simply doing deliberately what is done
every day by the bee and the fly. But he chooses his plants, and
he chooses those that have the qualities he wants intensified,
and from those again he chooses those that show the desired
qualities still more clearly, until he has produced a flower so
different from the original stock that only by tracing it back
can you tell the stock whence it sprang.

So is it in the application of the laws of psychology that we
call Yoga. Systematized knowledge of the unfolding of
consciousness applied to the individualized Self, that is Yoga.
As I have just said, it is by the world that consciousness has
been unfolded, and the world is admirably planned by the LOGOS
for this unfolding of consciousness; hence the would-be yogi,
choosing out his objects and applying his laws, finds in the
world exactly the things he wants to make his practice of Yoga
real, a vital thing, a quickening process for the knowledge of
the Self. There are many laws. You can choose those which you
require, you can evade those you do not require, you can utilize
those you need, and thus you can bring about the result that
nature, without that application of human intelligence, cannot so
swiftly effect.

Take it, then, that Yoga is within your reach, with your powers,
and that even some of the lower practices of Yoga, some of the
simpler applications of the laws of the unfolding of
consciousness to yourself, will benefit you in this world as well
as in all others. For you are really merely quickening your
growth, your unfolding, taking advantage of the powers nature
puts within your hands, and deliberately eliminating the
conditions which would not help you in your work, but rather
hinder your march forward. If you see it in that light, it seems
to me that Yoga will be to you a far more real, practical thing,
than it is when you merely read some fragments about it taken
from Sanskrit books, and often mistranslated into English, and
you will begin to feel that to be a yogi is not necessarily a
thing for a life far off, an incarnation far removed from the
present one.

Man a Duality

Some of the terms used in Yoga are necessarily to be known. For
Yoga takes man for a special purpose and studies him for a
special end and, therefore, only troubles itself about two great
facts regarding man, mind and body. First, he is a unit, a unit
of consciousness. That is a point to be definitely grasped. There
is only one of him in each set of envelopes, and sometimes the
Theosophist has to revise his ideas about man when he begins this
practical line. Theosophy quite usefully and rightly, for the
understanding of the human constitution, divides man into many
parts and pieces. We talk of physical, astral, mental, etc. Or we
talk about Sthula-sarira, Sukshma-sarira, Karana-sarira, and so
on. Sometimes we divide man into Anna-maya-kosa, Prana-maya-kosa,
Mano-maya-kosa, etc. We divide man into so many pieces in order
to study him thoroughly, that we can hardly find the man because
of the pieces. This is, so to say, for the study of human anatomy
and physiology.

But Yoga is practical and psychological. I am not complaining of
the various sub-divisions of other systems. They are necessary
for the purpose of those systems. But Yoga, for its practical
purposes, considers man simply as a dualityÄmind and body, a unit
of consciousness in a set of envelopes. This is not the duality
of the Self and the Not-Self. For in Yoga, "Self" includes
consciousness plus such matter as it cannot distinguish from
itself, and Not-Self is only the matter it can put aside.

Man is not pure Self, pure consciousness, Samvid. That is an
abstraction. In the concrete universe there are always the Self
and His sheaths, however tenuous the latter may be, so that a
unit of consciousness is inseparable from matter, and a Jivatma,
or Monad, is invariably consciousness plus matter.

In order that this may come out clearly, two terms are used in
Yoga as constituting manÄPrana and Pradhana, life-breath and
matter. Prana is not only the life-breath of the body, but the
totality of the life forces of the universe or, in other words,
the life-side of the universe.

"I am Prana," says Indra. Prana here means the totality of the
life-forces. They are taken as consciousness, mind. Pradhana is
the term used for matter. Body, or the opposite of mind, means
for the yogi in practice so much of the appropriated matter of
the outer world as he is able to put away from himself, to
distinguish from his own consciousness.

This division is very significant and useful, if you can catch
clearly hold of the root idea. Of course, looking at the thing
from beginning to end, you will see Prana, the great Life, the
great Self, always present in all, and you will see the
envelopes, the bodies, the sheaths, present at the different
stages, taking different forms; but from the standpoint of yogic
practice, that is called Prana, or Self, with which the man
identifies himself for the time, including every sheath of matter
from which the man is unable to separate himself in
consciousness. That unit, to the yogi, is the Self, so that it is
a changing quantity. As he drops off one sheath after another and
says: " That is not myself," he is coming nearer and nearer to
his highest point, to consciousness in a single film, in a single
atom of matter, a Monad. For all practical purposes of Yoga, the
man, the working, conscious man, is so much of him as he cannot
separate from the matter enclosing him, or with which he is
connected. Only that is body which the man is able to put aside
and say: "This is not I, but mine." We find we have a whole
series of terms in Yoga which may be repeated over and over
again. All the states of mind exist on every plane, says Vyasa,
and this way of dealing with man enables the same significant
words, as we shall see in a moment, to be used over and over
again, with an ever subtler connotation; they all become
relative, and are equally true at each stage of evolution.

Now it is quite clear that, so far as many of us are concerned,
the physical body is the only thing of which we can say: " It is
not myself "; so that, in the practice of Yoga at first, for you,
all the words that would be used in it to describe the states of
consciousness, the states of mind, would deal with the waking
consciousness in the body as the lowest state, and, rising up
from that, all the words would be relative terms, implying a
distinct and recognisable state of the mind in relation to that
which is the lowest. In order to know how you shall begin to
apply to yourselves the various terms used to describe the states
of mind, you must carefully analyse your own consciousness, and
find out how much of it is really consciousness, and how much is
matter so closely appropriated that you cannot separate it from

States of Mind

Let us take it in detail. Four states of consciousness are spoken
of amongst us. "Waking" consciousness or Jagrat; the "dream"
consciousness, or Svapna; the "deep sleep" consciousness, or
Sushupti; and the state beyond that, called Turiya[FN#3: It is
impossible to avoid the use of these technical terms, even in an
introduction to Yoga. There are no exact English equivalents, and
they are no more troublesome to learn than any other technical
psychological terms.] How are those related to the body?

Jagrat is the ordinary waking consciousness, that you and I are
using at the present time. If our consciousness works in the
subtle, or astral, body, and is able to impress its experiences
upon the brain, it is called Svapna, or in English, dream
consciousness; it is more vivid and real than the Jagrat state.
When working in the subtler form--the mental body--it is not able
to impress its experiences on the brain, it is called Sushupti or
deep sleep consciousness; then the mind is working on its own
contents, not on outer objects. But if it has so far separated
itself from connection with the brain, that it cannot be readily
recalled by outer means, then it is, called Turiya, a lofty state
of trance. These four states, when correlated to the four planes,
represent a much unfolded consciousness. Jagrat is related to the
physical; Svapna to the astral; Sushupti to the mental; and
Turiya to the buddhic. When passing from one world to another, we
should use these words to designate the consciousness working
under the conditions of each world. But the same words are
repeated in the books of Yoga with a different context. There the
difficulty occurs, if we have not learned their relative nature.
Svapna is not the same for all, nor is Sushupti the same for

Above all, the word samadhi, to be explained in a moment, is used
in different ways and in different senses. How then are we to
find our way in this apparent tangle? By knowing the state which
is the starting-point, and then the sequence will always be the
same. All of you are familiar with the waking consciousness in
the physical body. You can find four states even in that, if you
analyse it, and a similar sequence of the states of the mind is
found on every plane.

How to distinguish them, then ? Let us take the waking
consciousness, and try to see the four states in that. Suppose I
take up a book and read it. I read the words; my eyes arc related
to the outer physical consciousness. That is the Jagrat state. I
go behind the words to the meaning of the words. I have passed
from the waking state of the physical plane into the Svapna state
of waking consciousness, that sees through the outer form,
seeking the inner life. I pass from this to the mind of the
writer; here the mind touches the mind; it is the waking
consciousness in its Sushupti state. If I pass from this contact
and enter the very mind of the writer, and live in that man's
mind, then I have reached the Turiya state of the waking

Take another illustration. I look at any watch; I am in Jagrat. I
close my eyes and make an image of the watch; I am in Svapna. I
call together many ideas of many watches, and reach the ideal
watch; I am in Sushupti. I pass to the ideal of time in the
abstract; I am in Turiya. But all these are stages in the
physical plane consciousness; I have not left the body.

In this way, you can make states of mind intelligible and real,
instead of mere words.


Some other important words, which recur from time to time in the
Yoga-sutras, need to be understood, though there are no exact
English equivalents. As they must be used to avoid clumsy
circumlocutions, it is necessary to explain them. It is said:
"Yoga is Samadhi." Samadhi is a state in which the consciousness
is so dissociated from the body that the latter remains
insensible. It is a state of trance in which the mind is fully
self-conscious, though the body is insensitive, and from which
the mind returns to the body with the experiences it has had in
the superphysical state, remembering them when again immersed in
the physical brain. Samadhi for any one person is relative to his
waking consciousness, but implies insensitiveness of the body. If
an ordinary person throws himself into trance and is active on
the astral plane, his Samadhi is on the astral. If his
consciousness is functioning in the mental plane, Samadhi is
there. The man who can so withdraw from the body as to leave it
insensitive, while his mind is fully self-conscious, can practice

The phrase "Yoga is Samadhi" covers facts of the highest
significance and greatest instruction. Suppose you are only able
to reach the astral world when you are asleep, your consciousness
there is, as we have seen, in the Svapna state. But as you slowly
unfold your powers, the astral forms begin to intrude upon your
waking physical consciousness until they appear as distinctly as
do physical forms, and thus become objects of your waking
consciousness. The astral world then, for you, no longer belongs
to the Svapna consciousness, but to the Jagrat; you have taken
two worlds within the scope of your Jagrat consciousness--the
physical and the astral worlds--and the mental world is in your
Svapna consciousness. "Your body" is then the physical and the
astral bodies taken together. As you go on, the mental plane
begins similarly to intrude itself, and the physical, astral and
mental all come within your waking consciousness; all these are,
then, your Jagrat world. These three worlds form but one world to
you; their three corresponding bodies but one body, that
perceives and acts. The three bodies of the ordinary man have
become one body for the yogi. If under these conditions you want
to see only one world at a time, you must fix your attention on
it, and thus focus it. You can, in that state of enlarged waking,
concentrate your attention on the physical and see it; then the
astral and mental will appear hazy. So you can focus your
attention on the astral and see it; then the physical and the
mental, being out of focus, will appear dim. You will easily
understand this if you remember that, in this hall, I may focus
my sight in the middle of the hall, when the pillars on both
sides will appear indistinctly. Or I may concentrate my attention
on a pillar and see it distinctly, but I then see you only
vaguely at the same time. It is a change of focus, not a change
of body. Remember that all which you can put aside as not
yourself is the body of the yogi, and hence, as you go higher,
the lower bodies form but a single body and the consciousness in
that sheath of matter which it still cannot throw away, that
becomes the man.

"Yoga is Samadhi." It is the power to withdraw from all that you
know as body, and to concentrate yourself within. That is
Samadhi. No ordinary means will then call you back to the world
that you have left.[FN#4: An Indian yogi in Samadhi, discovered
in a forest by some ignorant and brutal Englishmen, was so
violently ill used that he returned to his tortured body, only to
leave it again at once by death.] This will also explain to you
the phrase in The Secret Doctrine that the Adept " begins his
Samadhi on the atmic plane " When a Jivan-mukta enters into
Samadhi, he begins it on the atmic plane. All planes below the
atmic are one plane for him. He begins his Samadhi on a plane to
which the mere man cannot rise. He begins it on the atmic plane,
and thence rises stage by stage to the higher cosmic planes. The
same word, samadhi, is used to describe the states of the
consciousness, whether it rises above the physical into the
astral, as in self-induced trance of an ordinary man, or as in
the case of a Jivan-mukta when, the consciousness being already
centred in the fifth, or atmic plane, it rises to the higher
planes of a larger world.

The Literature of  Yoga

Unfortunately for non-Sanskrit-knowing people, the literature of
Yoga is not largely available in English. The general teachings
of Yoga are to be found in the Upanishads, and the Bhagavad-Gita;
those, in many translations, are within your reach, but they are
general, not special; they give you the main principles, but do
not tell you about the methods in any detailed way. Even in the
Bhagavad-Gita, while you are told to make sacrifices, to become
indifferent, and so on, it is all of the nature of moral precept,
absolutely necessary indeed, but still not telling you how to
reach the conditions put before you. The special literature of
Yoga is, first of all, many of the minor Upanishads, "the
hundred-and-eight" as they are called. Then comes the enormous
mass of literature called the Tantras. These books have an evil
significance in the ordinary English ear, but not quite rightly.
The Tantras are very useful books, very valuable and instructive;
all occult science is to be found in them. But they are divisible
into three classes: those that deal with white magic, those that
deal with black magic, and those that deal with what we may call
grey magic, a mixture of the two. Now magic is the word which
covers the methods of deliberately bringing about super-normal
physical states by the action of the will.

A high tension of the nerves, brought on by anxiety or disease,
leads to ordinary hysteria, emotional and foolish. A similarly
high tension, brought about by the will, renders a man sensitive
to super-physical vibrations Going to sleep has no significance,
but going into Samadhi is a priceless power. The process is
largely the same, but one is due to ordinary conditions, the
other to the action of the trained will. The Yogi is the man who
has learned the power of the will, and knows how to use it to
bring about foreseen and foredetermined results. This knowledge
has ever been called magic; it is the name of the Great Science
of the past, the one Science, to which only the word " great "
was given in the past. The Tantras contain the whole of that; the
occult side of man and nature, the means whereby discoveries may
be made, the principles whereby the man may re-create himself,
all these are in the Tantras. The difficulty is that without a
teacher they are very dangerous, and again and again a man trying
to practice the Tantric methods without a teacher makes himself
very ill. So the Tantras have got a bad name both in the West and
here in India. A good many of the American " occult " books now
sold are scraps of the Tantras which have been translated. One
difficulty is that these Tantric works often use the name of a
bodily organ to represent an astral or mental centre. There is
some reason in that because all the centres are connected with
each other from body to body; but no reliable teacher would set
his pupil to work on the bodily organs until he had some control
over the higher centres, and had carefully purified the physical
body. Knowing the one helps you to know the other, and the
teacher who has been through it all can place his pupil on the
right path; but it you take up these words, which are all
physical, and do not know to what the physical word is applied,
then you will only become very confused, and may injure yourself.
For instance, in one of the Sutras it is said that if you
meditate on a certain part of the tongue you will obtain astral
sight. That means that if you meditate on the pituitary body,
just over this part of the tongue, astral sight will be opened.
The particular word used to refer to a centre has a
correspondence in the physical body, and the word is often
applied to the physical organs when the other is meant. This is
what is called a " blind," and it is intended to keep the people
away from dangerous practices in the books that are published;
people may meditate on that part of their tongues all their lives
without anything coming of it; but if they think upon the
corresponding centre in the body, a good dealÄmuch harmÄmay come
of it. " Meditate on the navel," it is also said. This means the
solar plexus, for there is a close connection between the two.
But to meditate on that is to incur the danger of a serious
nervous disorder, almost impossible to cure. All who know how
many people in India suffer through these practices,
ill-understood, recognize that it is not wise to plunge into them
without some one to tell you what they mean, and what may be
safely practiced and what not. The other part of the Yoga
literature is a small book called the sutras of Patanjali. That
is available, but I am afraid that few are able to make much of
it by themselves. In the first place, to elucidate the Sutras,
which are simply headings, there is a great deal of commentary in
Sanskrit, only partially translated. And even the commentaries
have this peculiarity, that all the most difficult words are
merely repeated, not explained, so that the student is not much

Some  Definitions

There are a few words, constantly recurring, which need brief
definitions, in order to avoid confusion; they are: Unfolding,
Evolution, Spirituality, Psychism, Yoga and Mysticism.

"Unfolding" always refers to consciousness, "evolution" to forms.
Evolution is the homogeneous becoming the heterogeneous, the
simple becoming complex. But there is no growth and no
perfectioning for Spirit, for consciousness; it is all there and
always, and all that can happen to it is to turn itself outwards
instead of remaining turned inwards. The God in you cannot
evolve, but He may show forth His powers through matter that He
has appropriated for the purpose, and the matter evolves to serve
Him. He Himself only manifests what He is. And on that, many a
saying of the great mystics may come to your mind: "Become," says
St. Ambrose, "what you are"--a paradoxical phrase; but one that
sums up a great truth: become in outer manifestation that which
you are in inner reality. That is the object of the whole process
of Yoga.

"Spirituality" is the realisation of the One. "Psychism" is the
manifestation of intelligence through any material vehicle.[FN#5:
See London Lectures of 1907, "Spirituality and Psychism".]

"Yoga" is the seeking of union by the intellect, a science;
"Mysticism" is the seeking of the same union by emotion.[FN#6:
The word yoga may, of course, be rightly used of all union with
the self, whatever the road taken. I am using it here in the
narrower sense, as peculiarly connected with the intelligence, as
a Science, herein following Patanjali.]

See the mystic. He fixes his mind on the object of devotion; he
loses self-consciousness, and passes into a rapture of love and
adoration, leaving all external ideas, wrapped in the object of
his love, and a great surge of emotion sweeps him up to God. He
does not know how he has reached that lofty state. He is
conscious only of God and his love for Him. Here is the rapture
of the mystic, the triumph of the saint.

The yogi does not work like that. Step after step, he realises
what he is doing. He works by science and not by emotion, so that
any who do not care for science, finding it dull and dry, are not
at present unfolding that part of their nature which will find
its best help in the practice of Yoga. The yogi may use devotion
as a means. This comes out very plainly in Patanjali. He has
given many means whereby Yoga may be followed, and curiously,
"devotion to Isvara'' is one of several means. There comes out
the spirit of the scientific thinker. Devotion to Isvara is not
for him an end in itself, but means to an endÄthe concentration
of the mind. You see there at once the difference of spirit.
Devotion to Isvara is the path of the mystic. He attains
communion by that. Devotion to Isvara as a means of concentrating
the mind is the scientific way in which the yogi regards
devotion. No number of words would have brought out the
difference of spirit between Yoga and Mysticism as well as this.
The one looks upon devotion to Isvara as a way of reaching the
Beloved; the other looks upon it as a means of reaching
concentration. To the mystic, God, in Himself is the object of
search, delight in Him is the reason for approaching Him, union
with Him in consciousness is his goal; but to the yogi, fixing
the attention on God is merely an effective way of concentrating
the mind. In the one, devotion is used to obtain an end; in the
other, God is seen as the end and is reached directly by rapture.

God Without and God Within

That leads us to the next point, the relation of God without to
God within. To the yogi, who is the very type of Hindu thought,
there is no definite proof of God save the witness of the Self
within to His existence, and his idea of finding the proof of God
is that you should strip away from your consciousness all
limitations, and thus reach the stage where you have pure
consciousness--save a veil of the thin nirvanic matter. Then you
know that God is. So you read in the Upanishad: "Whose only proof
is the witness of the Self." This is very different from Western
methods of thought, which try to demonstrate God by a process of
argument. The Hindu will tell you that you cannot demonstrate God
by any argument or reasoning; He is above and beyond reasoning,
and although the reason may guide you on the way, it will not
prove to demonstration that God is. The only way you can know Him
is by diving into yourself. There you will find Him, and know
that He is without as well as within you; and Yoga is a system
that enables you to get rid of everything from consciousness that
is not God, save that one veil of the nirvanic atom, and so to
know that God is, with an unshakable certainty of conviction. To
the Hindu that inner conviction is the only thing worthy to be
called faith, and this gives you the reason why faith is said to
be beyond reason, and so is often confused with credulity. Faith
is beyond reason, because it is the testimony of the Self to
himself, that conviction of existence as Self, of which reason is
only one of the outer manifestations; and the only true faith is
that inner conviction, which no argument can either strengthen or
weaken, of the innermost Self of you, that of which alone you are
entirely sure. It is the aim of Yoga to enable you to reach that
Self constantly not by a sudden glimpse of intuition, but
steadily, unshakably, and unchangeably, and when that Self is
reached, then the question: "Is there a God?" can never again
come into the. human mind.

Changes of Consciousness and Vibrations of Matter

It is necessary to understand something about that consciousness
which is your Self, and about the matter which is the envelope of
consciousness, but which the Self so often identifies with
himself. The great characteristic of consciousness is change,
with a foundation of certainty that it is. The consciousness of
existence never changes, but beyond this all is change, and only
by the changes does consciousness become Self-consciousness.
Consciousness is an everchanging thing, circling round one idea
that never changes--Self-existence. The consciousness itself is
not changed by any change of position or place. It only changes
its states within itself.

In matter, every change of state is brought about by change of
place. A change of consciousness is a change of a state; a change
of matter is a change of place. Moreover, every change of state
in consciousness is related to vibrations of matter in its
vehicle. When matter is examined, we find three fundamental
qualities--rhythm, mobility, stability--sattva, rajas, tamas.
Sattva is rhythm, vibration. It is more than; rajas, or mobility.
It is a regulated movement, a swinging from one side to the other
over a definite distance, a length of wave, a vibration.

The question is often put: "How can things in such different
categories, as matter and Spirit, affect each other? Can we
bridge that great gulf which some say can never be crossed?" Yes,
the Indian has crossed it, or rather, has shown that there is no
gulf. To the Indian, matter and Spirit are not only the two
phases of the One, but, by a subtle analysis of the relation
between consciousness and matter, he sees that in every universe
the LOGOS imposes upon matter a certain definite relation of
rhythms, every vibration of matter corresponding to a change in
consciousness. There is no change in consciousness, however
subtle, that has not appropriated to it a vibration in matter;
there is no vibration in matter, however swift or delicate, which
has not correlated to it a certain change in consciousness. That
is the first great work of the LOGOS, which the Hindu scriptures
trace out in the building of the atom, the Tanmatra, " the
measure of That," the measure of consciousness. He who is
consciousness imposes on his material the answer to every change
in consciousness, and that is an infinite number of vibrations.
So that between the Self and his sheaths there is this invariable
relation: the change in consciousness and the vibration of
matter, and vice versa. That makes it possible for the Self to
know the Not-Self.

These correspondences are utilised in Raja Yoga and Hatha Yoga,
the Kingly Yoga and the Yoga of Resolve. The Raja Yoga seeks to
control the changes in consciousness, and by this control to rule
the material vehicles. The Hatha Yoga seeks to control the
vibrations of matter, and by this control to evoke the desired

changes in consciousness. The weak point in Hatha Yoga is that
action on this line cannot reach beyond the astral plane, and the
great strain imposed on the comparatively intractable matter of
the physical plane sometimes leads to atrophy of the very organs,
the activity of which is necessary for effecting the changes in
consciousness that would be useful. The Hatha Yogi gains control
over the bodily organs with which the waking consciousness no
longer concerns itself, having relinquished them to its lower
part, the " subconsciousness', This is often useful as regards
the prevention of disease, but serves no higher purpose. When he
begins to work on the brain centres connected with ordinary
consciousness, and still more when he touches those connected
with the super-consciousness, he enters a dangerous region, and
is more likely to paralyse than to evolve.

That relation alone it is which makes matter cognizable; the
change in the thinker is answered by a change outside, and his
answer to it and the change in it that he makes by his. answer
re-arrange again the matter of the body which is his envelope.
Hence the rhythmic changes in matter are rightly called its
cognizability. Matter may be known by consciousness, because of
this unchanging relation between the two sides of the manifest
LOGOS who is one, and the Self becomes aware of changes within
himself, and thus of those of the external words to which those
changes are related.


What is mind ? From the yogic standpoint it is simply the
individualized consciousness, the whole of it, the whole of your
consciousness including your activities which the Western
psychologist puts outside mind. Only on the basis of Eastern
psychology is Yoga possible. How shall we describe this
individualized consciousness? First, it is aware of things.
Becoming aware of them, it desires them. Desiring them, it tries
to attain them. So we have the three aspects of consciousness--
intelligence, desire, activity. On the physical plane, activity
predominates, although desire and thought are present. On the
astral plane, desire predominates, and thought and activity are
subject to desire. On the mental plane; intelligence is the
dominant note, desire and activity are subject to it. Go to the
buddhic plane, and cognition, as pure reason, predominates, and
so on. Each quality is present all the time, but one
predominates. So with the matter that belongs to them. In your
combinations of matter you get rhythmic, active, or stable ones;
and according to the combinations of matter in your bodies will
be the conditions of the activity of the whole of these in
consciousness. To practice Yoga you must build your bodies of the
rhythmic combinations, with activity and inertia less apparent.
The yogi wants to make his body match his mind.

Stages of  Mind

The mind has five stages, Patanjali tells us, and Vyasa comments
that "these stages of mind are on every plane". The first stage
is the stage in which the mind is flung about, the Kshipta stage;
it is the butterfly mind, the early stage of humanity, or, in
man, the mind of the child, darting constantly from one object to
another. It corresponds to activity on the physical plane. The
next is the confused stage, Mudha, equivalent to the stage of the
youth, swayed by emotions, bewildered by them; he begins to feel
he is ignorant--a state beyond the fickleness of the child--a
characteristic state, corresponding to activity in the astral
world. Then comes the state of preoccupation, or infatuation,
Vikshipta, the state of the man possessed by an idea--love,
ambition, or what not. He is no longer a confused youth, but a
man with a clear aim, and an idea possesses him. It may be either
the fixed idea of the madman, or the fixed idea which makes the
hero or the saint; but in any case he is possessed by the idea.
The quality of the idea, its truth or falsehood, makes the
difference between the maniac and the martyr.

Maniac or martyr, he is under the spell of a fixed idea. No
reasoning avails against it. If he has assured himself that he is
made of glass, no amount of argument will convince him to the
contrary. He will always regard himself as being as brittle as
glass. That is a fixed idea which is false. But there is a fixed
idea which makes the hero and the martyr. For some great truth
dearer than life is everything thrown aside. He is possessed by
it, dominated by it, and he goes to death gladly for it. That
state is said to be approaching Yoga, for such a man is becoming
concentrated, even if only possessed by one idea. This stage
corresponds to activity on the lower mental plane. Where the man
possesses the idea, instead of being possessed by it, that
one-pointed state of the mind, called Ekagrata in Sanskrit, is
the fourth stage. He is a mature man, ready for the true life.
When the man has gone through life dominated by one idea, then he
is approaching Yoga; he is getting rid of the grip of the world,
and is beyond its allurements. But when he possesses that which
before possessed him, then he has become fit for Yoga, and begins
the training which makes his progress rapid. This stage
corresponds to activity on the higher mental plane.

Out of this fourth stage or Ekagrata, arises the fifth stage,
Niruddha or Self-controlled. When the man not only possesses one
idea but, rising above all ideas, chooses as he wills, takes or
does not take according to the illumined Will, then he is
Self-controlled and can effectively practice Yoga. This stage
corresponds to activity on the buddhic plane.

In the third stage, Vikshipta, where he is possessed by the idea,
he is learning Viveka or discrimination between the outer and the
inner, the real and the unreal. When he has learned the lesson of
Viveka, then he advances a stage forward; and in Ekagrata he
chooses one idea, the inner life; and as he fixes his mind on
that idea he learns Vairagya or dispassion. He rises above the
desire to possess objects of enjoyment, belonging either to this
or any other world. Then he advances towards the fifth stage--
Self-controlled. In order to reach that he must practice the six
endowments, the Shatsamapatti. These six endowments have to do
with the Will-aspect of consciousness as the other two, Viveka
and Vairagya, have to do with the cognition and activity aspects
of it.

By a study of your own mind, you can find out how far you are
ready to begin the definite practice of Yoga. Examine your mind
in order to recognize these stages in yourself. If you are in
either of the two early stages, you are not ready for Yoga. The
child and the youth are not ready to become yogis, nor is the
preoccupied man. But if you find yourself possessed by a single
thought, you are nearly ready for Yoga; it leads to the next
stage of one-pointedness, where you can choose your idea, and
cling to it of your own will. Short is the step from that to the
complete control, which can inhibit all motions of the mind.
Having reached that stage, it is comparatively easy to pass into

Inward and Outward-Turned Consciousness

Samadhi is of two kinds: one turned outward, one turned inward.
The outward-turned consciousness is always first. You are in the
stage of Samadhi belonging to the outward-turned waking
consciousness, when you can pass beyond the objects to the
principles which those objects manifest, when through the form
you catch a glimpse of the life. Darwin was in this stage when he
glimpsed the truth of evolution. That is the outward-turned
Samadhi of the physical body.

This is technically the Samprajnata Samadhi, the "Samadhi with
consciousness," but to be better regarded, I think, as with
consciousness outward-turned, i.e. conscious of objects. When the
object disappears, that is, when consciousness draws itself away
from the sheath by which those objects are seen, then comes the
Asamprajnata Samadhi; called the "Samadhi without consciousness".
I prefer to call it the inward-turned consciousness, as it is by
turning away from the outer that this stage is reached.

These two stages of Samadhi follow each other on every plane; the
intense concentration on objects in the first stage, and the
piercing thereby through the outer form to the underlying
principle, are followed by the turning away of the consciousness
from the sheath which has served its purpose, and its withdrawal
into itself, i.e., into a sheath not yet recognised as a sheath.
It is then for a while conscious only of itself and not of the
outer world. Then comes the "cloud," the dawning sense again of
an outer, a dim sensing of "something" other than itself; that
again is followed by the functioning of the nigher sheath and the
Recognition of the objects of the next higher plane,
corresponding to that sheath. Hence the complete cycle is:
Samprajnata Samadhi, Asamprajnata Samadhi, Megha (cloud), and
then the Samprajnata Samadhi of the next plane, and so on.

The Cloud

This term--in full, Dharma-megha, cloud of righteousness, or of
religion--is one which is very scantily explained by the
commentators. In fact, the only explanation they give is that all
the man's past karma of good gathers over him, and pours down
upon him a rain of blessing. Let us see if we cannot find
something more than this meagre interpretation.

The term "cloud" is very often used in mystic literature of the
West; the "Cloud on the Mount," the "Cloud on the Sanctuary," the
"Cloud on the Mercy-Seat," are expressions familiar to the
student. And the experience which they indicate is familiar to
all mystics in its lower phases, and to some in its fullness. In
its lower phases, it is the experience just noted, where the
withdrawal of the consciousness into a sheath not yet recognised
as a sheath is followed by the beginning of the functioning of
that sheath, the first indication of which is the dim sensing of
an outer. You feel as though surrounded by a dense mist,
conscious that you are not alone but unable to see. Be still; be
patient; wait. Let your consciousness be in the attitude of
suspense. Presently the cloud will thin, and first in glimpses,
then in its full beauty, the vision of a higher plane will dawn
on your entranced sight. This entrance into a higher plane will
repeat itself again and again, until your consciousness, centred
on the buddhic plane and its splendouis having disappeared as
your consciousness withdraws even from that exquisite sheath, you
find yourself in the true cloud, the cloud on the sanctuary, the
cloud that veils the Holiest, that hides the vision of the Self.
Then comes what seems to be the draining away of the very life,
the letting go of the last hold on the tangible, the hanging in a
void, the horror of great darkness, loneliness unspeakable.
Endure, endure. Everything must go. "Nothing out of the Eternal
can help you." God only shines out in the stillness; as says the
Hebrew: "Be still, and know that I am God." In that silence a
Voice shall be heard, the voice of the Self, In that stillness a
Life shall be felt, the life of the Self. In that void a Fullness
shall be revealed, the fullness of the Self. In that darkness a
Light shall be seen, the glory of the Self. The cloud shall
vanish, and the shining of the Self shall be made manifest. That
which was a glimpse of a far-off majesty shall become a perpetual
realisation and, knowing the Self and your unity with it, you
shall enter into the Peace that belongs to the Self alone.

Lecture II


In studying psychology anyone who is acquainted with the Sanskrit
tongue must know how valuable that language is for precise and
scientific dealing with the subject. The Sanskrit, or the
well-made, the constructed, the built-together, tongue, is one
that lends itself better than any other to the elucidation of
psychological difficulties. Over and over again, by the mere form
of a word, a hint is given, an explanation or relation is
suggested. The language is constructed in a fashion which enables
a large number of meanings to be connoted by a single word, so
that you may trace all allied ideas, ,or truths, or facts, by
this verbal connection, when you are speaking or using Sanskrit.
It has a limited number of important roots, and then an immense
number of words constructed on those roots.

Now the root of the word yoga is a word that means " to join,"
yuj, and that root appears in many languages, such as the
English--of course, through the Latin, wherein you get jugare,
jungere, "to join"--and out of that a number of English words are
derived and will at once suggest themselves to you: junction,
conjunction, disjunction, and so on. The English word "yoke"
again, is derived from this same Sanskrit root so that all
through the various words, or thoughts, or facts connected with
this one root, you are able to gather the meaning of the word
yoga and to see how much that word covers in the ordinary
processes of the mind and how suggestive many of the words
connected with it are, acting, so to speak, as sign-posts to
direct you along the road to the meaning. In other tongues, as in
French, we have a word like rapport, used constantly in English;
" being en rapport," a French expression, but so Anglicized that
it is continually heard amongst ourselves. And that term, in some
ways, is the closest to the meaning of the Sanskrit word yoga;
"to be in relation to"; "to be connected with"; "to enter into";
"to merge in"; and so on: all these ideas are classified together
under the one head of "Yoga". When you find Sri Krishna saying
that "Yoga is equilibrium," in the Sanskrit He is saying a
perfectly obvious thing, because Yoga implies balance, yoking and
the Sanskrit of equilibrium is "samvata--togetherness"; so that
it is a perfectly simple, straightforward statement, not
connoting anything very deep, but merely expressing one of the
fundamental meanings of the word He is using. And so with another
word, a word used in the commentary on the Sutra I quoted before,
which conveys to the Hindu a perfectly straightforward meaning:
"Yoga is Samadhi." To an only English-knowing person that does
not convey any very definite idea; each word needs explanation.
To a Sanskrit-knowing man the two words are obviously related to
one another. For the word yoga, we have seen, means "yoked
together," and Samadhi derived from the root dha, "to place,"
with the prepositions sam and a, meaning "completely together".
Samadhi, therefore, literally means " fully placing together,"
and its etymological equivalent in English would be " to compose
" (com=sam; posita= place). Samadhi therefore means "composing
the mind," collecting it together, checking all distractions.
Thus by philological, as well as by practical, investigation the
two words yoga and samadhi are inseparably linked together. And
when Vyasa, the commentator, says: "Yoga is the composed mind,"
he is conveying a clear and significant idea as to what is
implied in Yoga. Although Samadhi has come to mean, by a natural
sequence of ideas, the trance-state which results from perfect
composure, its original meaning should not be lost sight of.

Thus, in explaining Yoga, one is often at a loss for the English
equivalent of the manifold meanings of the Sanskrit tongue, and I
earnestly advise those of you who can do so, at least to acquaint
yourselves sufficiently with this admirable language, to make the
literature of Yoga more intelligible to you than it can be to a
person who is completely ignorant of Sanskrit.

Its Relation to Indian Philosophies

Let me ask you to think for a while on the place of Yoga in its
relation to two of the great Hindu schools of philosophical
thought, for neither the Westerner nor the non-Sanskrit-knowing
Indian can ever really understand the translations of the chief
Indian books, now current here and in the West, and the force of
all the allusions they make, unless they acquaint themselves in
some degree with the outlines of these great schools of
philosophy, they being the very foundation on which these books
are built up. Take the Bhagavad-Gita. Probably there are many who
know that book fairly well, who use it as the book to help in the
spiritual life, who are not familiar with most of its precepts.
But you must always be more or less in a fog in reading it,
unless you realise the fact that it is founded on a particular
Indian philosophy and that the meaning of nearly all the
technical words in it is practically limited by their meaning in
philosophy known as the Samkhya. There are certain phrases
belonging rather to the Vedanta, but the great majority are
Samkhyan, and it is taken for granted that the people reading or
using the book are familiar with the outline of the Samkhyan
philosophy. I do not want to take you into details, but I must
give you the leading ideas of the philosophy. For if you grasp
these, you will not only read your Bhagavad-Gita with much more
intelligence than before, but you will be able to use it
practically for yogic purposes in a way that, without this
knowledge, is almost impossible.

Alike in the Bhagavad-Gita and in the Yoga-sutras of Patanjali
the terms are Samkhyan, and historically Yoga is based on the
Samkhya, so far as its philosophy is concerned. Samkhya does not
concern itself with, the existence of Deity, but only with the
becoming of a universe, the order of evolution. Hence it is often
called Nir-isvara Samkhya, the Samkhya without God. But so
closely is it bound up with the Yoga system, that the latter is
called Sesvara Samkhya, with God. For its understanding,
therefore, I must outline part of the Samkhya philosophy, that
part which deals with the relation of Spirit and matter; note the
difference from this of the Vedantic conception of Self and
Not-Self, and then find the reconciliation in the Theosophic
statement of the facts in nature. The directions which fall from
the lips of the Lord of Yoga in the Gita may sometimes seem to
you opposed to each other and contradictory, because they
sometimes are phrased in the Samkhyan and sometimes in the
Vedantic terms, starting from different standpoints, one looking
at the world from the standpoint of matter, the other from the
standpoint of Spirit. If you are a student of Theosophy, then the
knowledge of the facts will enable you to translate the different
phrases. That reconciliation and understanding of these
apparently contradictory phrases is the object to which I would
ask your attention now.

The Samkhyan School starts with the statement that the universe
consists of two factors, the first pair of opposites, Spirit and
Matter, or more accurately Spirits and Matter. The Spirit is
called Purusha--the Man; and each Spirit is an individual.
Purusha is a unit, a unit of consciousness; they are all of the
same nature, but distinct everlastingly the one from the other.
Of these units there are many; countless Purushas are to be found
in the world of men. But while they are countless in number they
are identical in nature, they are homogeneous. Every Purusha has
three characteristics, and these three are alike in all. One
characteristic is awareness; it will become cognition. The second
of the characteristics is life or prana; it will become activity.
The third characteristic is immutability, the essence of
eternity; it will become will. Eternity is not, as some
mistakenly think, everlasting time. Everlasting time has nothing
to do with eternity. Time and eternity are two altogether
different things. Eternity is changeless, immutable,
simultaneous. No succession in time, albeit everlasting--if such
could be--could give eternity. The fact that Purusha has this
attribute of immutability tells us that He is eternal; for
changelessness is a mark of the eternal.

Such are the three attributes of Purusha, according to the
Samkhya. Though these are not the same in nomenclature as the
Vedantic Sat, Chit, Ananda, yet they are practically identical.
Awareness or cognition is Chit; life or force is Sat; and
immutability, the essence of eternity, is Ananda.

Over against these Purushas, homogeneous units, countless in
number, stands Prakriti, Matter, the second in the Samkhyan
duality. Prakriti is one; Purushas are many. Prakriti is a
continuum; Purushas are discontinuous, being innumerable,
homogeneous units. Continuity is the mark of Prakriti. Pause for
a moment on the name Prakriti. Let us investigate its root
meaning. The name indicates its essence. Pra means "forth," and
kri is the root "make". Prakriti thus means "forth-making ".
Matter is that which enables the essence of Being to become. That
which is Being--is-tence, becomes ex-is-tence--outbeing, by
Matter, and to describe Matter as "forth-making" is to give its
essence in a single word. Only by Prakriti can Spirit, or
Purusha, "forth-make" or "manifest" himself. Without the presence
of Prakriti, Purusha is helpless, a mere abstraction. Only by the
presence of, and in Prakriti, can Purusha make manifest his
powers. Prakriti has also three characteristics, the well-known
gunas--attributes or qualities. These are rhythm, mobility and
inertia. Rhythm enables awareness to become cognition. Mobility
enables life to become activity. Inertia enables immutability to
become will.

Now the conception as to the relation of Spirit to Matter is a
very peculiar one, and confused ideas about it give rise to many
misconceptions. If you grasp it, the Bhagavad-Gita becomes
illuminated, and all the phrases about action and actor, and the
mistake of saying "I act," become easy to understand, as implying
technical Samkhyan ideas.

The three qualities of Prakriti, when Prakriti is thought of as
away from Purusha, are in equilibrium, motionless, poised the one
against the other, counter-balancing and neutralizing each other,
so that Matter is called jada, unconscious, "dead". But in the
presence of Purusha all is changed. When Purusha is in
propinquity to Matter, then there is a change in Matter--not
outside, but in it.

Purusha acts on Prakriti by propinquity, says Vyasa. It comes
near Prakriti, and Prakriti begins to live. The "coming near" is
a figure of speech, an adaptation to our ideas of time and space,
for we cannot posit "nearness" of that which is timeless and
spaceless--Spirit. By the word propinquity is indicated an
influence exerted by Purusha on Prakriti, and this, where
material objects are concerned, would be brought about by their
propinquity. If a magnet be brought near to a piece of soft iron
or an electrified body be brought near to a neutral one, certain
changes are wrought in the soft iron or in the neutral body by
that bringing near. The propinquity of the magnet makes the soft
iron a magnet; the qualities of the magnet are produced in it, it
manifests poles, it attracts steel, it attracts or repels the end
of an electric needle. In the presence of a postively electrified
body the electricity in a neutral body is re-arranged, and the
positive retreats while the negative gathers near the electrified
body. An internal change has occurred in both cases from the
propinquity of another object. So with Purusha and Prakriti.
Purusha does nothing, but from Purusha there comes out an
influence, as in the case of the magnetic influence. The three
gunas, under this influence of Purusha, undergo a marvellous
change. I do not know what words to use, in order not to make a
mistake in putting it. You cannot say that Prakriti absorbs the
influence. You can hardly say that it reflects the Purusha. But
the presence of Purusha brings about certain internal changes,
causes a difference in the equilibrium of the three gunas in
Prakriti. The three gunas were in a state of equilibrium. No guna
was manifest. One guna was balanced against another. What happens
when Purusha influences Prakriti? The quality of awareness in
Purusha is taken up by, or reflected in, the guna called Sattva--
rhythm, and it becomes cognition in Prakriti. The quality that we
call life in Purusha is taken up by, or reflected, in the guna
called Rajas--mobility, and it becomes force, energy, activity,
in Prakriti. The quality that we call immutability in Purusha is
taken up by, or reflected, in the guna called Tamas--inertia, and
shows itself out as will or desire in Prakriti. So that, in that
balanced equilibrium of Prakriti, a change has taken place by the
mere propinquity of, or presence of, the Purusha. The Purusha has
lost nothing, but at the same time a change has taken place in
matter. Cognition has appeared in it. Activity, force, has
appeared in it. Will or desire has appeared in it. With this
change in Prakriti another change occurs. The three attributes of
Purusha cannot be separated from each other, nor can the three
attributes of Prakriti be separated each from each. Hence rhythm,
while appropriating awareness, is under the influence of the
whole three-in-one Purusha and cannot but also take up
subordinately life and immutability as activity and will. And so
with mobility and inertia. In combinations one quality or another
may predominate, and we may have combinations which show
preponderantly awareness-rhythm, or life- mobility, or
immutability-inertia. The combinations in which awareness-rhythm
or cognition predominates become "mind in nature," the subject or
subjective half of nature. Combinations in which either of the
other two predominates become the object or objective half of
nature, the " force and matter " of the western scientist.[FN#7:
A friend notes that the first is the Suddha Sattva of the
Ramanuja School, and the second and third the Prakriti, or
spirit-matter, in the lower sense of the same.]

We have thus nature divided into two, the subject and the object.
We have now in nature everything that is wanted for the
manifestation of activity, for the production of forms and for
the expression of consciousness. We have mind, and we have force
and matter. Purusha has nothing more to do, for he has infused
all powers into Prakriti and sits apart, contemplating their
interplay, himself remaining unchanged. The drama of existence is
played out within Matter, and all that Spirit does is to look at
it. Purusha is the spectator before whom the drama is played. He
is not the actor, but only a spectator. The actor is the
subjective part of nature, the mind, which is the reflection of
awareness in rhythmic matter. That with which it works--objective
nature, is the reflection of the other qualities of Purusha--life
and immutability--in the gunas, Rajas and Tamas. Thus we have in
nature everything that is wanted for the production of the
universe. The Putusha only looks on when the drama is played
before him. He is spectator, not actor. This is the predominant
note of the Bhagavad-Gita. Nature does everything. The gunas
bring about the universe. The man who says: "I act," is mistaken
and confused; the gunas act, not he. He is only the spectator and
looks on. Most of the Gita teaching is built upon this conception
of the Samkhya, and unless that is clear in our minds we can
never discriminate the meaning under the phrases of a particular

Let us now turn to the Vedantic idea. According to the Vedantic
view the Self is one, omnipresent, all-permeating, the one
reality. Nothing exists except the Self--that is the
starting-point in Vedanta. All permeating, all-controlling, all-
inspiring, the Self is everywhere present. As the ether permeates
all matter, so does the One Self permeate, restrain, support,
vivify all. It is written in the Gita that as the air goes
everywhere, so is the Self everywhere in the infinite diversity
of objects. As we try to follow the outline of Vedantic thought,
as we try to grasp this idea of the one universal Self, who is
existence, consciousness, bliss, Sat-Chit-Ananda, we find that we
are carried into a loftier region of philosophy than that
occupied by the Samkhya. The Self is One. The Self is everywhere
conscious, the Self is everywhere existent, the Self is
everywhere blissful. There is no division between these qualities
of the Self. Everywhere, all-embracing, these qualities are found
at every point, in every place. There is no spot on which you can
put your finger and say "The Self is not here." Where the Self
is--and He is everywhere--there is existence, there is
consciousness, and there is bliss. The Self, being consciousness,
imagines limitation, division. From that imagination of
limitation arises form, diversity, manyness. From that thought of
the Self, from that thought of limitation, all diversity of the
many is born. Matter is the limitation imposed upon the Self by
His own will to limit Himself. "Eko'ham, bahu syam," "I am one; I
will to he many"; "let me be many," is the thought of the One;
and in that thought, the manifold universe comes into existence.
In that limitation, Self-created, He exists, He is conscious, He
is happy. In Him arises the thought that He is Self-existence,
and behold! all existence becomes possible. Because in Him is the
will to manifest, all manifestation at once comes into existence.
Because in Him is all bliss, therefore is the law of life the
seeking for happiness, the essential characteristic of every
sentient creature. The universe appears by the Self-limitation in
thought of the Self. The moment the Self ceases to think it, the
universe is not, it vanishes as a dream. That is the fundamental
idea of the Vedanta. Then it accepts the spirits of the Samkhya--
the Purushas; but it says that these spirits are only reflections
of the one Self, emanated by the activity of the Self and that
they all reproduce Him in miniature, with the limitations which
the universal Self has imposed upon them, which are apparently
portions of the universe, but are really identical with Him. It
is the play of the Supreme Self that makes the limitations, and
thus reproduces within limitations the qualities of the Self; the
consciousness of the Self, of the Supreme Self; becomes, in the
particularised Self, cognition, the power to know; and the
existence of the Self becomes activity, the power to manifest;
and the bliss of the Self becomes will, the deepest part of all,
the longing for happiness, for bliss; the resolve to obtain it is
what we call will. And so in the limited, the power to know, and
the power to act, and the power to will, these are the
reflections in the particular Self of the essential qualities of
the universal Self. Otherwise put: that which was universal
awareness becomes now cognition in the separated Self; that which
in the universal Self was awareness of itself becomes in the
limited Self awareness of others; the awareness of the whole
becomes the cognition of the individual. So with the existence of
the Self: the Self-existence of the universal Self becomes, in
the limited Self, activity, preservation of existence. So does
the bliss of the universal Self, in the limited expression of the
individual Self, become the will that seeks for happiness, the
Self-determination of the Self, the seeking for Self-realisation,
that deepest essence of human life.

The difference comes with limitation, with the narrowing of the
universal qualities into the specific qualities of the limited
Self; both are the same in essence, though seeming different in
manifestation. We have the power to know, the power to will, and
the power to act. These are the three great powers of the Self
that show themselves in the separated Self in every diversity of
forms, from the minutes" organism to the loftiest Logos.

Then just as in the Samkhya, if the Purusha, the particular Self,
should identify himself with the matter in which he is reflected,
then there is delusion and bondage, so in the Vedanta, if the
Self, eternally free, imagines himself to be bound by matter,
identifying himself with his limitations, he is deluded, he is
under the domain of Maya; for Maya is the self-identification of
the Self with his limitations. The eternally free can never be
bound by matter; the eternally pure can never be tainted by
matter; the eternally knowing can never be deluded by matter; the
eternally Self-determined can never be ruled by matter, save by
his own ignorance. His own foolish fancy limits his inherent
powers; he is bound, because he imagines himself bound; he is
impure, because he imagines himself impure; he is ignorant,
because he imagines himself ignorant. With the vanishing of
delusion he finds that he is eternally pure, eternally wise.

Here is the great difference between the Samkhya and the Vedanta.
According to the Samkhya, Purusha is the spectator and never the
actor. According to Vedanta the Self is the only actor, all else
is maya: there is no one else who acts but the Self, according to
the Vedanta teaching. As says the Upanishad: the Self willed to
see, and there were eyes; the Self willed to hear, and there were
ears; the Self willed to think, and there was mind. The eyes, the
ears, the mind exist, because the Self has willed them into
existence. The Self appropriates matter, in order that He may
manifest His powers through it. There is the distinction between
the Samkhya and the Vedanta: in the Samkhya the propinquity of
the Purusha brings out in matter or Prakriti all these
characteristics, the Prakriti acts and not the Purusha; in the
Vedanta, Self alone exists and Self alone acts; He imagines
limitation and matter appears; He appropriates that matter in
order that He may manifest His own capacity.

The Samkhya is the view of the universe of the scientist: the
Vedanta is the view of the universe of the metaphysician. Haeckel
unconsciously expounded the Samkhyan philosophy almost perfectly.
So close to the Samkhyan is his exposition, that another idea
would make it purely Samkhyan; he has not yet supplied that
propinquity of consciousness which the Samkhya postulates in its
ultimate duality. He has Force and Matter, he has Mind in Matter,
but he has no Purusha. His last book, criticised by Sir Oliver
Lodge, is thoroughly intelligible from the Hindu standpoint as an
almost accurate representation of Samkhyan philosophy. It is the
view of the scientist, indifferent to the "why" of the facts
which he records. The Vedanta, as I said, is the view of the
metaphysician he seeks the unity in which all diversities are
rooted and into which they are resolved.

Now, what light does Theosophy throw on both these systems?
Theosophy enables every thinker to reconcile the partial
statements which are apparently so contradictory. Theosophy, with
the Vedanta, proclaims the universal Self. All that the Vedanta
says of the universal Self and the Self- limitation, Theosophy
repeats. We call these Self-limited selves Monads, and we say, as
the Vedantin says, that these Monads reproduce the nature of the
universal Self whose portions they are. And hence you find in
them the three qualities which you find in the Supreme. They are
units' and these represent the Purushas of the Samkhya; but with
a very great difference, for they are not passive watchers, but
active agents in the drama of the universe, although, being above
the fivefold universe, they are as spectators who pull the
strings of the players of the stage. The Monad takes to himself
from the universe of matter atoms which show out the qualities
corresponding to his three qualities, and in these he thinks, and
wills and acts. He takes to himself rhythmic combinations, and
shows his quality of cognition. He takes to himself combinations
that are mobile; through those he shows out his activity. He
takes the combinations that are inert, and shows out his quality
of bliss, as the will to be happy. Now notice the difference of
phrase and thought. In the Samkhya, Matter changed to reflect the
Spirit; in fact, the Spirit appropriates portions of Matter, and
through those expresses his own characteristics--an enormous
difference. He creates an actor for Self-expression, and this
actor is the "spiritual man" of the Theosophical teaching, the
spiritual Triad, the Atma-buddhi-manas, to whom we shall return
in a moment.

The Monad remains ever beyond the fivefold universe, and in that
sense is a spectator. He dwells beyond the five planes of matter.
Beyond the Atmic, or Akasic; beyond the Buddhic plane, the plane
of Vayu; beyond the mental plane, the plane of Agni; beyond the
astral plane, the plane of Varuna; beyond the physical plane, the
plane of Kubera. Beyond all these planes the Monad, the Self,
stands Self-conscious and Self-determined. He reigns in
changeless peace and lives in eternity. But as said above, he
appropriates matter. He takes to himself an atom of the Atmic
plane, and in that he, as it were, incorporates his will, and
that becomes Atma. He appropriates an atom of the Buddhic plane,
and reflects in that his aspect of cognition, and that becomes
buddhi. He appropriates an atom of the manasic plane and
embodies, as it were, his activity in it, and it becomes Manas.
Thus we get Atma, plus Buddhi, plus Manas. That triad is the
reflection in the fivefold universe of the Monad beyond the
fivefold universe. The terms of Theosophy can be easily
identified with those of other schools. The Monad of Theosophy is
the Jivatma of Indian philosophy, the Purusha of the Samkhya, the
particularised Self of the Vedanta. The threefold manifestation,
Atma-buddhi-manas, is the result of the Purusha's propinquity to
Prakriti, the subject of the Samkhyan philosophy, the Self
embodied in the highest sheaths, according to the Vedantic
teaching. In the one you have this Self and His sheaths, and in
the other the Subject, a reflection in matter of Purusha. Thus
you can readily see that you are dealing with the same concepts
but they are looked at from different standpoints. We are nearer
to the Vedanta than to the Samkhya, but if you know the
principles you can put the statements of the two philosophies in
their own niches and will not be confused. Learn the principles
and you can explain all the theories. That is the value of the
Theosophical teaching; it gives you the principles and leaves you
to study the philosophies, and you study them with a torch in
your hand instead of in the dark.

Now when we understand the nature of the spiritual man, or Triad,
what do we find with regard to all the manifestations of
consciousness? That they are duads, Spirit-Matter everywhere, on
every plane of our fivefold universe. If you are a scientist, you
will call it spiritualised Matter; if you are a metaphysician you
will call it materialised Spirit. Either phrase is equally true,
so long as you remember that both are always present in every
manifestation, that what you see is not the play of matter alone,
but the play of Spirit-Matter, inseparable through the period of
manifestation. Then, when you come, in reading an ancient book,
to the statement "mind is material," you will not be confused;
you will know that the writer is only speaking on the Samkhyan
line, which speaks of Matter everywhere but always implies that
the Spirit is looking on, and that this presence makes the work
of Matter possible. You will not, when reading the constant
statement in Indian philosophies that "mind is material," confuse
this with the opposite view of the materialist which says that
"mind is the product of matter"--a very different thing. Although
the Samkhyan may use materialistic terms, he always posits the
vivifying influence of Spirit, while the materialist makes Spirit
the product of Matter. Really a gulf divides them, although the
language they use may often be the same.


"Yoga is the inhibition of the functions of the mind," says
Patanjali. The functions of the mind must be suppressed, and in
order that we may be able to follow out really what this means,
we must go more closely into what the Indian philosopher means by
the word "mind".

Mind, in the wide sense of the term, has three great properties
or qualities: cognition, desire or will, activity. Now Yoga is
not immediately concerned with all these three, but only with
one, cognition, the Samkhyan subject. But you cannot separate
cognition, as we have seen, completely from the others, because
consciousness is a unit, and although we are only concerned with
that part of consciousness which we specifically call cognition,
we cannot get cognition all by itself. Hence the Indian
psychologist investigating this property, cognition, divides it
up into three or, as the Vedanta says, into four (with all
submission, the Vedantin here makes a mistake). If you take up
any Vedantic book and read about mind, you will find a particular
word used for it which. translated, means "internal organ". This
antah-karana is the word always used where in English we use
"mind"; but it is only used in relation to cognition, not in
relation to activity and desire. It is said to be fourfold, being
made up of Manas, Buddhi, Ahamkara, and Chitta; but this fourfold
division is a very curious division. We know what Manas is, what
Buddhi is, what Ahamkara is, but what is this Chitta? What is
Chitta, outside Manas, Buddhi and Ahamkara? Ask anyone you like.
and record his answer; you will find that it is of the vaguest
kind. Let us try to analyse it for ourselves, and see whether
light will come upon it by using the Theosophic idea of a triplet
summed up in a fourth, that is not really a fourth, but the
summation of the three. Manas, Buddhi and Ahamkara are the three
different sides of a triangle,' which triangle is called Chitta.
The Chitta is not a fourth, but the sum of the three: Manas,
Buddhi and Ahamkara. This is the old idea of a trinity in unity.
Over and over again H. P. Blavatsky uses this summation as a
fourth to her triplets, for she follows the old methods. The
fourth, which sums up the three but is not other than they, makes
a unity out of their apparent diversity. Let us apply that to

Take cognition. Though in cognition that aspect of the Self is
predominant, yet it cannot exist absolutely alone, The whole Self
is there in every act of cognition. Similarly with the other two.
One cannot exist separate from the others. Where there is
cognition the other two are present, though subordinate to it.
The activity is there, the will is there. Let us think of
cognition as pure as it can be, turned on itself, reflected in
itself, and we have Buddhi, the pure reason, the very essence of
cognition; this in the universe is represented by Vishnu, the
sustaining wisdom of the universe. Now let us think of cognition
looking outwards, and as reflecting itself in activity, its
brother quality, and we have a mixture of cognition and activity
which is called Manas, the active mind; cognition reflected in
activity is Manas in man or Brahma, the creative mind, in the
universe. When cognition similarly reflects itself in will, then
it becomes Ahamkara, the "I am I" in man, represented by Mahadeva
in the universe. Thus wee have found within the limits of this
cognition a triple division, making up the internal organ or
Antahkarana--Manas, plus Buddhi, plus Ahamkara--and we can find
no fourth. What is then Chitta? It is the summation of the three,
the three taken together, the totality of the three. Because of
the old way of counting these things, you get this division of
Antahkarana into four.

The Mental Body

We must now deal with the mental body, which is taken as
equivalent to mind for practical purposes. The first thing for a
man to do in practical Yoga is to separate himself from the
mental body, to draw away from that into the sheath next above
it. And here remember what I said previously, that in Yoga the
Self is always the consciousness plus the vehicle from which the
consciousness is unable to separate itself. All that is above the
body you cannot leave is the Self for practical purposes, and
your first attempt must be to draw away from your mental body.
Under these conditions, Manas must be identified with the Self,
and the spiritual Triad, the Atma-buddhi-manas, is to be realised
as separate from the mental body. That is the first step. You
must be able to take up and lay down your mind as you do a tool,
before it is of any use to consider the further progress of the
Self in getting rid of its envelopes. Hence the mental body is
taken as the starting point. Suppress thought. Quiet it. Still
it. Now what is the ordinary condition of the mental body? As you
look upon that body from a higher plane, you see constant changes
of colours playing in it. You find that they are sometimes
initiated from within, sometimes from without. Sometimes a
vibration from without has caused a change in consciousness, and
a corresponding change in the colours in the mental body. If
there is a change of consciousness, that causes vibration in the
matter in which that consciousness is functioning. The mental
body is a body of ever-changing hues and colours, never still,
changing colour with swift rapidity throughout the whole of it.
Yoga is the stopping of all these, the inhibition of vibrations
and changes alike. Inhibition of the change of consciousness
stops the vibration of the mental body; the checking of the
vibration of the mental body checks the change in consciousness.
In the mental body of a Master there is no change of colour save
as initiated from within; no outward stimulus can produce any
answer, any vibration,ùin that perfectly controlled mental body.
The colour of the mental body of a Master is as moonlight on the
rippling ocean. Within that whiteness of moon-like refulgence lie
all possibilities of colour, but nothing in the outer world can
make the faintest change of hue sweep over its steady radiance.
If a change of consciousness occurs within, then the change will
send a wave of delicate hues over the mental body which responds
only in colour to changes initiated from within and never to
changes stimulated from without. His mental body is never His
Self, but only His tool or instrument, which He can take up or
lay down at His will. It is only an outer sheath that He uses
when He needs to communicate with the lower world.

By that idea of the stopping of all changes of colour in the
mental body you can realise what is meant by inhibition. The
functions of mind are stopped in Yoga. You have to begin with
your mental body. You have to learn how to stop the whole of
those vibrations, how to make the mental body colourless, still
and quiet, responsive only to the impulses that you choose to put
upon it. How will you be able to tell when the mind is really
coming under control, when it is no longer a part of your Self?
You will begin to realise this when you find that, by the action
of your will, you can check the current of thought and hold the
mind in perfect stillness. Sheath after sheath has to be
transcended, and the proof of transcending is that it can no
longer affect you. You can affect it, but it cannot affect you.
The moment that nothing outside you can harass you, can stir the
mind, the moment that the mind does not respond to the outer,
save under your own impulse, then can you say of it: "This is not
my Self." It has become part of the outer, it can no longer be
identified with the Self.

From this you pass on to the conquest of the causal body in a
similar way. When the conquering of the causal body is complete
then you go to the conquering of the Buddhic body. When mastery
over the Buddhic body is complete, you pass on to the~conquest of
the Atmic body.

Mind and Self

You cannot be surprised that under these conditions of continued
disappearance of functions, the unfortunate student asks: " What
becomes of the mind itself? If you suppress all the functions,
what is left?" In the Indian way of teaching, when you come to a
difficulty, someone jumps up and asks a question. And in the
commentaries, the question which raises the difficulty is always
put. The answer of Patanjali is: "Then the spectator remains in
his own form." Theosophy answers: "The Monad remains." It is the
end of the human pilgrimage. That is the highest point to which
humanity may climb: to suppress all the reflections in the
fivefold universe through which the Monad has manifested his
powers, and then for the Monad to realise himself, enriched by
the experiences through which his manifested aspects have passed.
But to the Samkhyan the difficulty is very great, for when he has
only his spectator left, when spectacle ceases, the spectator
himself almost vanishes. His only function was to look on at the
play of mind. When the play of mind is gone, what is left? He can
no longer be a spectator, since there is nothing to see. The only
answer is: " He remains in his own form." He is now out of
manifestation, the duality is transcended, and so the Spirit
sinks back into latency, no longer capable of manifestation.
There you come to a very serious difference with the Theosophical
view of the universe, for according to that view of the universe,
when all these functions have been suppressed, then the Monad is
ruler over matter and is prepared for a new cycle of activity, no
longer slave but master.

All analogy shows us that as the Self withdraws from sheath after
sheath, he does not lose but gains in Self- realisation.
Self-realisation becomes more and more vivid with each successive
withdrawal; so that as the Self puts aside one veil of matter
after another, recognises in regular succession that each body in
turn is not himself, by that process of withdrawal his sense of
Self-reality becomes keener, not less keen. It is important to
remember that, because often Western readers, dealing with
Eastern ideas, in consequence of misunderstanding the meaning of
the state of liberation, or the condition of Nirvana, identify it
with nothingness or unconsciousness--an entirely mistaken idea
which is apt to colour the whole of their thought when dealing
with Yogic processes. Imagine the condition of a man who
identifies himself completely with the body, so that he cannot,
even in thought, separate himself from it--the state of the early
undeveloped man--and compare that with the strength, vigour and
lucidity of your own mental consciousness.

The consciousness of the early man limited to the physical body,
with occasional touches of dream consciousness, is very
restricted in its range. He has no idea of the sweep of your
consciousness, of your abstract thinking. But is that
consciousness of the early man more vivid, or less vivid, than
yours? Certainly you will say, it is less vivid. You have largely
transcended his powers of consciousness. Your consciousness is
astral rather than physical, but has thereby increased its
vividness. AS the Self withdraws himself from sheath after
sheath, he realises himself more and more, not less and less;
Self-realisation becomes more intense, as sheath after sheath is
cast aside. The centre grows more powerful as the circumference
becomes more permeable, and at last a stage is reached when the
centre knows itself at every point of the circumference. When
that is accomplished the circumference vanishes, but not so the
centre. The centre still remains. Just as you are more vividly
conscious than the early man, just as your consciousness is more
alive, not less, than that of an undeveloped man, so it is as we
climb up the stairway of life and cast away garment after
garment. We become more conscious of existence, more conscious of
knowledge, more conscious of Self-determined power. The faculties
of the Self shine out more strongly, as veil after veil falls
away. By analogy, then, when we touch the Monad, our
consciousness should be mightier, more vivid, and more perfect.
As you learn to truly live, your powers and feelings grow in

And remember that all control is exercised over sheaths, over
portions of the Not-Self. You do not control your Self; that is a
misconception; you control your Not-Self. The Self is never
controlled; He is the Inner Ruler Immortal. He is the controller,
not the controlled. As sheath after sheath becomes subject to
your Self, and body after body becomes the tool of your Self,
then shall you realise the truth of the saying of the Upanishad,
that you are the Self, the Inner Ruler, the immortal.

Lecture III


I propose now to deal first with the two great methods of Yoga,
one related to the Self and the other to the Not-Self. Let me
remind you, before I begin, that we are dealing only with the
science of Yoga and not with other means of attaining union with
the Divine. The scientific method, following the old Indian
conception, is the one to which I am asking your attention. I
would remind you, however, that, though I am only dealing with
this, there remain also the other two great ways of Bhakti and
Karma. The Yoga we are studying specially concerns the Marga of
Jnanam or knowledge, and within that way, within that Marga or
path of knowledge, we find that three subdivisions occur, as
everywhere in nature.

Methods of Yoga

With regard to what I have just called the two great methods in
Yoga, we find that by one of these a man treads the path of
knowledge by Buddhi--the pure reason; and the other the same path
by Manas--the concrete mind. You may remember that in speaking
yesterday of the sub- divisions of Antah-karana, I pointed out to
you that there we had a process of reflection of one quality in
another; and within the limits of the cognitional aspect of the
Self, you find Buddhi, cognition reflected in cognition; and
Ahamkara, cognition reflected in will; and Manas, cognition
reflected in activity. Bearing those three sub-divisions in mind,
you will very readily be able to see that these two methods of
Yoga fall naturally under two of these heads. But what of the
third? What of the will, of which Ahamkara is the representative
in cognition? That certainly has its road, but it can scarcely be
said to be a "method". Will breaks its way upwards by sheer
unflinching determination, keeping its eyes fixed on the end, and
using either buddhi or manes indifferently as a means to that
end. Metaphysics is used to realise the Self; science is used to
understand the Not-Self; but either is grasped, either is thrown
aside, as it serves, or fails to serve, the needs of the moment.
Often the man, in whom will is predominant, does not know how he
gains the object he is aiming at; it comes to his hands, but the
"how" is obscure to him; he willed to have it, and nature gives
it to him. This is also seen in Yoga in the man of Ahamkara, the
sub-type of will in cognition. Just as in the man of Ahamkara,
Buddhi and Manas are subordinate, so in the man of Buddhi,
Ahamkara and Manas are not absent, but are subordinate; and in
the man of Manas, Ahamkara and Buddhi are present, but play a
subsidiary part. Both the metaphysician and the scientist must be
supported by Ahamkara. That Self-determining faculty, that
deliberate setting of oneself to a chosen end, that is necessary
in all forms of Yoga. Whether a Yogi is going to follow the
purely cognitional way of Buddhi, or whether he is going to
follow the more active path of Manas, in both cases he needs the
self-determining will in order to sustain him in his arduous
task. You remember it is written in the Upanishad that the weak
man cannot reach the Self. Strength is wanted. Determination is
wanted. Perseverance is wanted. And you must have, in every
successful Yogi, that intense determination which is the very
essence of individuality.

Now what are these two great methods? One of them may be
described as seeking the Self by the Self; the other may be
described as seeking the Self by the Not-Self; and if you will
think of them in that fashion, I think you will find the idea
illuminative. Those who seek the Self by the Self, seek him
through the faculty of Buddhi; they turn ever inwards, and turn
away from the outer world. Those who seek the Self by the
Not-Self, seek him through the active working Manas; they are
outward-turned, and by study of the Not-Self, they learn to
realise the Self. The one is the path of the metaphysician; the
other is the path of the scientist.

To the Self by the Self

Let us look at this a little more closely, with its appropriate
methods. The path on which the faculty of Buddhi is used
predominantly is, as just said, the path of the metaphysician. It
is the path of the philosopher. He turns inwards, ever seeking to
find the Self by diving into the recesses of his own nature.
Knowing that the Self is within him, he tries to strip away
vesture after vesture, envelope after envelope, and by a process
of rejecting them he reaches the glory of the unveiled Self. To
begin this, he must give up concrete thinking and dwell amidst
abstractions. His method, then, must be strenuous,
long-sustained, patient meditation. Nothing else will serve his
end; strenuous, hard thinking, by which he rises away from the
concrete into the abstract regions of the mind; strenuous, hard
thinking, further continued, by which he reaches from the
abstract region of the mind up to the region of Buddhi, where
unity is sensed; still by strenuous thinking, climbing yet
further, until Buddhi as it were opens out into Atma, until the
Self is seen in his splendour, with only a film of atmic matter,
the envelope of Atma in the manifested fivefold world. It is
along that difficult and strenuous path that the Self must be
found by way of the Self.

Such a man must utterly disregard the Not-Self. He must shut his
senses against the outside world. The world must no longer be
able to touch him. The senses must be closed against all the
vibrations that come from without, and he must turn a deaf ear, a
blind eye, to all the allurements of matter, to all the diversity
of objects, which make up the universe of the Not-Self. Seclusion
will help him, until he is strong enough to close himself against
the outer stimuli or allurements. The contemplative orders in the
Roman Catholic Church offer a good environment for this path.
They put the outer world away, as far away as possible. It is a
snare, a temptation, a hindrance. Always turning away from the
world, the Yogi must fix his thought, his attention, upon the
Self. Hence for those who walk along this road, what are called
the Siddhis are direct obstacles, and not helps. But that
statement that you find so often, that the Siddhis are things to
be avoided, is far more sweeping than some of our modern
Theosophists are apt to imagine. They declare that the Siddhis
are to be avoided, but forget that the Indian who says this also
avoids the use of the physical senses. He closes physical eyes
and ears as hindrances. But some Theosophists urge avoidance of
all use of the astral senses and mental senses, but they do not
object to the free use of the physical senses, or dream that they
are hindrances. Why not? If the senses are obstacles in their
finer forms, they are also obstacles in their grosser
manifestations. To the man who would find the Self by the Self,
every sense is a hindrance and an obstacle, and there is no
logic, no reason, in denouncing the subtler senses only, while
forgetting the temptations of the physical senses, impediments as
much as the other. No such division exists for the man who tries
to understand the universe in which he is. In the search for the
Self by the Self, all that is not Self is an obstacle. Your eyes,
your ears, everything that puts you into contact with the outer
world, is just as much an obstacle as the subtler forms of the
same senses which put you into touch with the subtler worlds of
matter, which you call astral and mental. This exaggerated fear
of the Siddhis is only a passing reaction, not based on
understanding but on lack of understanding; and those who
denounce the Siddhis should rise to the logical position of the
Hindu Yogi, or of the Roman Catholic recluse, who denounces all
the senses, and all the objects of the senses, as obstacles in
the way. Many Theosophists here, and more in the West, think that
much is gained by acuteness of the physical senses, and of the
other faculties in the physical brain; but the moment the senses
are acute enough to be astral, or the faculties begin to work in
astral matter, they treat them as objects of denunciation. That
is not rational. It is not logical. Obstacles, then, are all the
senses, whether you call them Siddhis or not, in the search for
the Self by turning away from the Not-Self.

It is necessary for the man who seeks the Self by the Self to
have the quality which is called "faith," in the sense in which I
defined it before--the profound, intense conviction, that nothing
can shake, of the reality of the Self within you. That is the one
thing that is worthy to be dignified by the name of faith. Truly
it is beyond reason, for not by reason may the Self be known as
real. Truly it is not based on argument, for not by reasoning may
the Self be discovered. It is the witness of the Self within you
to his own supreme reality, and that unshakable conviction, which
is shraddha, is necessary for the treading of this path. It is
necessary, because without it the human mind would fail, the
human courage would be daunted, the human perseverance would
break, with the difficulties of the seeking for the Self. Only
that imperious conviction that the Self is, only that can cheer
the pilgrim in the darkness that comes down upon him, in the void
that he must cross before--the life of the lower being thrown
away--the life of the higher is realised. This imperious faith is
to the Yogi on this path what experience and knowledge are to the
Yogi on the other.

To the Self Through the Not-self

Turn from him to the seeker for the Self through the Not- Self.
This is the way of the scientist, of the man who uses the
concrete, active Manas, in order scientifically to understand the
universe; he has to find the real among the unreal, the eternal
among the changing, the Self amid the diversity of forms. How is
he to do it? By a close and rigorous study of every changing form
in which the Self has veiled himself. By studying the Not-Self
around him and in him, by understanding his own nature, by
analysing in order to understand, by studying nature in others as
well as in himself, by learning to know himself and to gain
knowledge of others; slowly, gradually, step by step, plane after
plane, he has to climb upwards, rejecting one form of matter
after another, finding not in these the Self he seeks. As he
learns to conquer the physical plane, he uses the keenest senses
in order to understand, and finally to reject. He says: "This is
not my Self. This changing panorama, these obscurities, these
continual transformations, these are obviously the antithesis of
the eternity, the lucidity, the stability of the Self. These
cannot be my Self." And thus he constantly rejects them. He
climbs on to the astral plane and, using there the finer astral
senses, he studies the astral world, only to find that that also
is changing and manifests not the changelessness of the Self.
After the astral world is conquered and rejected, he climbs on
into the mental plane, and there still studies the ever-changing
forms of that Manasic world, only once more to reject them:
"These are not the Self." Climbing still higher, ever following
the track of forms, he goes from the mental to the Buddhic plane,
where the Self begins to show his radiance and beauty in
manifested union. Thus by studying diversity he reaches the
conception of unity, and is led into the understanding of the
One. To him the realisation of the Self comes through the study
of the Not-Self, by the separation of the Not-Self from the Self.
Thus he does by knowledge and experience what the other does by
pure thinking and by faith. In this path of finding the Self
through the Not-Self, the so-called Siddhis are necessary. Just
as you cannot study the physical world without the physical
senses, so you cannot study the astral world without the astral
senses, nor the mental world without the mental senses.
Therefore, calmly choose your ends, and then think out your
means, and you will not 'be in any difficulty about the method
you should employ, the path you should tread.

Thus we see that there are two methods, and these must be kept
separate in your thought. Along the line of pure thinking--the
metaphysical line--you may reach the Self. So also along the line
of scientific observation and experiment--the physical line, in
the widest sense of the term physical--you may reach the Self.
Both are ways of Yoga. Both are included in the directions that
you may read in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Those directions
will cease to be self-contradictory, if you will only separate in
your thought the two methods. Patanjali has given, in the later
part of his Sutras, some hints as to the way in which the Siddhis
may be developed. Thus you may find your way to the Supreme.

Yoga and Morality

The next point that I would pause upon, and ask you to realise,
is the fact that Yoga is a science of psychology. I want further
to point out to you that it is not a science of ethic, though
ethic is certainly the foundation of it. Psychology and ethic are
not the same. The science of psychology is the result of the
study of mind. The science of ethic is the result of the study of
conduct, so as to bring about the harmonious relation of one to
another. Ethic is a science of life, and not an investigation
into the nature of mind and the methods by which the powers of
the mind may be developed and evolved. I pause on this because of
the confusion that exists in many people as regards this point.
If you understand the scope of Yoga aright, such a confusion
ought not to arise. The confused idea makes people think that in
Yoga they ought to find necessarily what are called precepts of
morality, ethic. Though Patanjali gives the universal precepts of
morality and right conduct in the first two angas of Yoga, called
yama and niyama, yet they are subsidiary to the main topic, are
the foundation of it, as just said. No practice of Yoga is
possible unless you possess the ordinary moral attributes summed
up in yama and niyama; that goes without saying. But you should
not expect to find moral precepts in a scientific text book of
psychology, like Yoga. A man studying the science of electricity
is not shocked if he does not find in it moral precepts; why then
should one studying Yoga, as a science of psychology, expect to
find moral precepts in it? I do not say that morality is
unimportant for the Yogi. On the contrary, it is all-important.
It is absolutely necessary in the first stages of Yoga for
everyone. But to a Yogi who has mastered these, it is not
necessary, if he wants to follow the left-hand path. For you must
remember that there is a Yoga of the left-hand path, as well as a
Yoga of the right-hand path. Yoga is there also followed, and
though asceticism is always found in the early stages, and
sometimes in the later, true morality is absent. The black
magician is often as rigid in his morality as any Brother of the
White Lodge.[FN#8: Terms while and black as used here have no
relation to race or colour.] Of the disciples of the black and
white magicians, the disciple of the black magician is often the
more ascetic. His object is not the purification of life for the
sake of humanity, but the purification of the vehicle, that he
may be better able to acquire power. The difference between the
white and the black magician lies in the motive. You might have a
white magician, a follower of the right-hand path, rejecting meat
because the way of obtaining it is against the law of compassion.
The follower of the left-hand path may also reject meat, but for
the reason that be would not be able to work so well with his
vehicle if it were full of the rajasic elements of meat. The
difference is in the motive. The outer action is the same. Both
men may be called moral, if judged by the outer action alone. The
motive marks the path, while the outer actions are often

It is a moral thing to abstain from meat, because thereby you are
lessening the infliction of suffering; it is not a moral act to
abstain from meat from the yogic standpoint, but only a means to
an end. Some of the greatest yogis in Hindu literature were, and
are, men whom you would rightly call black magicians. But still
they are yogis. One of the greatest yogis of all was Ravana, the
anti-Christ, the Avatara of evil, who summed up all the evil of
the world in his own person in order to oppose the Avatara of
good. He was a great, a marvellous yogi, and by Yoga he gained
his power. Ravana was a typical yogi of the left-hand path, a
great destroyer, and he practiced Yoga to obtain the power of
destruction, in order to force from the hands of the Planetary
Logos the boon that no man should be able to kill him. You may
say: "What a strange thing that a man can force from God such a
power." The laws of Nature are the expression of Divinity, and if
a man follows a law of Nature, he reaps the result which that law
inevitably brings; the question whether he is good or bad to his
fellow men does not touch this matter at all. Whether some other
law is or is not obeyed, is entirely outside the question. It is
a matter of dry fact that the scientific man may be moral or
immoral, provided that his immorality does not upset his eyesight
or nervous system. It is the same with Yoga. Morality matters
profoundly, but it does not affect these particular things, and
if you think it does, you are always getting into bogs and
changing your moral standpoint, either lowering or making it
absurd. Try to understand; that is what the Theosophist should
do; and when you understand, you will not fall into the blunders
nor suffer the bewilderment many do, when you expect laws
belonging to one region of the universe to bring about results in
another. The scientific man understands that. He knows that a
discovery in chemistry does not depend upon his morality, and he
would not think of doing an act of charity with a view to finding
out a new element. He will not fail in a well-wrought experiment,
however vicious his private life may be. The things are in
different regions, and he does not confuse the laws of the two.
As Ishvara is absolutely just, the man who obeys a law reaps the
fruit of that law, whether his actions, in any other fields, are
beneficial to man or not. If you sow rice, you will reap rice; if
you sow weeds, you will reap weeds; rice for rice, and weed for
weed. The harvest is according to the sowing. For this is a
universe of law. By law we conquer, by law we succeed. Where does
morality come in, then? When you are dealing with a magician of
the right-hand path, the servant of the White Lodge, there
morality is an all-important factor. Inasmuch as he is learning
to be a servant of humanity, he must observe the highest
morality, not merely the morality of the world, for the white
magician has to deal with helping on harmonious relations between
man and man. The white magician must be patient. The black
magician may quite well be harsh. The white magician must be
compassionate; compassion widens out his nature, and he is trying
to make his consciousness include the whole of humanity. But not
so the black magician. He can afford to ignore compassion.

A white magician may strive for power. But when he is striving
for power, he seeks it that he may serve humanity and become more
useful to mankind, a more effective servant in the helping of the
world. But not so the brother of the dark side. When he strives
for power, he seeks if for himself, so that he may use it against
the whole world. He may be harsh and cruel. He wants to be
isolated; and harshness and cruelty tend to isolate him. He wants
power; and holding that power for himself, he can put himself
temporarily, as it were, against the Divine Will in evolution.

The end of the one is Nirvana, where all separation has ceased.
The end of the other is Avichi--the uttermost isolation--the
kaivalya of the black magician. Both are yogis, both follow the
science of yoga, and each gets the result of the law he has
followed: one the kaivalya of Nirvana, the other the kaivalya of

Composition of States of the Mind

Let us pass now to the "states of the mind" as they are called.
The word which is used for the states of the mind by Patanjali is
Vritti. This admirably constructed language Sanskrit gives you in
that very word its own meaning. Vrittis means the "being" of the
mind; the ways in which mind can exist; the modes of the mind;
the modes of mental existence; the ways of existing. That is the
literal meaning of this word. A subsidiary meaning is a "turning
around," a "moving in a circle". You have to stop, in Yoga, every
mode of existing in which the mind manifests itself. In order to
guide you towards the power of stopping them--for you cannot stop
them till you understand them--you are told that these modes of
mind are fivefold in their nature. They are pentads. The Sutra,
as usually translated, says " the Vrittis are fivefold
(panchatayyah)," but pentad is a more accurate rendering of the
word pancha-tayyah, in the original, than fivefold. The word
pentad at once recalls to you the way in which the chemist speaks
of a monad, triad, heptad, when he deals with elements. The
elements with which the chemist is dealing are related to the
unit-element in different ways. Some elements are related to it
in one way only, and are called monads; others are related in two
ways, and are called duads, and so on.

Is this applicable to the states of mind also? Recall the shloka
of the Bhagavad-Gita in which it is said that the Jiva goes out
into the world, drawing round him the five senses and mind as
sixth. That may throw a little light on the subject. You have
five senses, the five ways of knowing, the five jnanendriyas or
organs of knowing. Only by these five senses can you know the
outer world. Western psychology says that nothing exists in
thought that does not exist in sensation. That is not true
universally; it is not true of the abstract mind, nor wholly of
the concrete. But there is a great deal of truth in it. Every
idea is a pentad. It is made up of five elements. Each element
making up the idea comes from one of the senses, and of these
there are at present five. Later on every idea will be a heptad,
made up of seven elements. For the present, each has five
qualities, which build up the idea. The mind unites the whole
together into a single thought, synthesises the five sensations.
If you think of an orange and analyse your thought of an orange,
you will find in it: colour, which comes through the eye;
fragrance, which comes through the nose; taste, which comes
through the tongue; roughness or smoothness, which comes through
the sense of touch; and you would hear musical notes made by the
vibrations of the molecules, coming through the sense of hearing,
were it keener. If you had a perfect sense of hearing. you would
hear the sound of the orange also, for wherever there is
vibration there is sound. All this, synthesised by the mind into
one idea, is an orange. That is the root reason for the
"association of ideas". It is not only that a fragrance recalls
the scene and the circumstances under which the fragrance was
observed, but because every impression is made through all the
five senses and, therefore, when one is stimulated, the others
are recalled. The mind is like a prism. If you put a prism in the
path of a ray of white light, it will break it up into its seven
constituent rays and seven colours will appear. Put another prism
in the path of these seven rays, and as they pass through the
prism, the process is reversed and the seven become one white
light. The mind is like the second prism. It takes in the five
sensations that enter through the senses, and combines them into
a single precept. As at the present stage of evolution the senses
are five only, it unites the five sensations into one idea. What
the white ray is to the seven- coloured light, that a thought or
idea is to the fivefold sensation. That is the meaning of the
much controverted Sutra: "Vrittayah panchatayych," "the vrittis,
or modes of the mind, are pentads." If you look at it in that
way, the later teachings will be more clearly understood.

As I have already said, that sentence, that nothing exists in
thought which is not in sensation, is not the whole truth. Manas,
the sixth sense, adds to the sensations its own pure elemental
nature. What is that nature that you find thus added? It is the
establishment of a relation, that is really what the mind adds.
All thinking is the "establishment of relations," and the more
closely you look into that phrase, the more you will realise how
it covers all the varied processes of the mind. The very first
process of the mind is to become aware of an outside world.
However dimly at first, we become aware of something outside
ourselves--a process generally called perception. I use the more
general term "establishing a relation," because that runs through
the whole of the mental processes, whereas perception is only a
single thing. To use a well-known simile, when a little baby
feels a pin pricking it, it is conscious of pain, but not at
first conscious of the pin, nor yet conscious of where exactly
the pin is. It does not recognise the part of the body in which
the pin is. There is no perception, for perception is defined as
relating a sensation to the object which causes the sensation.
You only, technically speaking, "perceive" when you make a
relation between the object and yourself. That is the very first
of these mental processes, following on the heels of sensation.
Of course, from the Eastern standpoint, sensation is a mental
function also, for the senses are part of the cognitive faculty,
but they are unfortunately classed with feelings in Western
psychology. Now having established that relation between yourself
and objects outside, what is the next process of the mind?
Reasoning: that is, the establishing of relations between
different objects, as perception is the establishment of your
relation with a single object. When you have perceived many
objects, then you begin to reason in order to establish relations
between them. Reasoning is the establishment of a new relation,
which comes out from the comparison of the different objects that
by perception you have established in relation with yourself, and
the result is a concept. This one phrase, "establishment of
relations," is true all round. The whole process of thinking is
the establishment of relations, and it is natural that it should
be so, because the Supreme Thinker, by establishing a relation,
brought matter into existence. Just as He, by establishing that
primary relation between Himself and the Not-Self, makes a
universe possible, so do we reflect His powers in ourselves,
thinking by the same method, establishing relations, and thus
carrying out every intellectual process.

Pleasure and Pain

Let us pass again from that to another statement made by this
great teacher of Yoga: "Pentads are of two kinds, painful and
non-painful." Why did he not say: "painful and pleasant"? Because
he was an accurate thinker, a logical thinker, and he uses the
logical division that includes the whole universe of discourse, A
and Not-A, painful and non-painful. There has been much
controversy among psychologists as to a third kind --indifferent.
Some psychologists divide all feelings into three: painful,
pleasant and indifferent. Feelings cannot be divided merely into
pain and pleasure, there is a third class, called indifference,
which is neither painful nor pleasant. Other psychologists say
that indifference is merely pain or pleasure that is not marked
enough to be called the one or the other. Now this controversy
and tangle into which psychologists have fallen might be avoided
if the primary division of feelings were a logical division. A
and Not-A--that is the only true and logical division. Patanjali
is absolutely logical and right. In order to avoid the quicksand
into which the modern psychologists have fallen, he divides all
vrittis, modes of mind, into painful and nonpainful.

There is, however, a psychological reason why we should say
"pleasure and pain," although it is not a logical division. The
reason why there should be that classification is that the word
pleasure and the word pain express two fundamental states of
difference, not in the Self, but in the vehicles in which that
Self dwells. The Self, being by nature unlimited, is ever
pressing, so to say, against any boundaries which seek to limit
him. When these limitations give way a little before the constant
pressure of the Self, we feel "pleasure," and when they resist or
contract, we feel "pain". They are not states of the Self so much
as states of the vehicles, and states of certain changes in
consciousness. Pleasure and pain belong to the Self as a whole,
and not to any aspect of the Self separately taken. When pleasure
and pain are marked off as belonging only to the desire nature,
the objection arises: "Well, but in the exercise of the cognitive
faculty there is an intense pleasure. When you use the creative
faculty of the mind you are conscious of a profound joy in its
exercise, and yet that creative faculty can by no means be
classed with desire." The answer is: "Pleasure belongs to the
Self as a whole. Where the vehicles yield themselves to the Self,
and permit it to 'expand' as is its eternal nature, then what is
called pleasure is felt." It has been rightly said: "Pleasure is
a sense of moreness." Every time you feel pleasure, you will find
the word "moreness" covers the case. It will cover the lowest
condition of pleasure, the pleasure of eating. You are becoming
more by appropriating to yourself a part of the Not-Self, food.
You will find it true of the highest condition of bliss, union
with the Supreme. You become more by expanding yourself to His
infinity. When you have a phrase that can be applied to the
lowest and highest with which you are dealing, you may be fairly
sure it is all-inclusive, and that, therefore, "pleasure is
moreness" is a true statement. Similarly, pain is "lessness".

If you understand these things your philosophy of life will
become more practical, and you will be able to help more
effectively people who fall into evil ways. Take drink. The real
attraction of drinking lies in the fact that, in the first stages
of it, a more keen and vivid life is felt. That stage is
overstepped in the case of the man who gets drunk, and then the
attraction ceases. The attraction lies in the first stages, and
many people have experienced that, who would never dream of
becoming drunk. Watch people who are taking wine and see how much
more lively and talkative they become. There lies the attraction,
the danger.

The real attraction in most coarse forms of excess is that they
give an added sense of life, and you will never be able to redeem
a man from his excess unless you know why he does it.
Understanding the attractiveness of the first step, the increase
of life, then you will be able to put your finger on the point of
temptation, and meet that in your argument with him. So that this
sort of mental analysis is not only interesting, but practically
useful to every helper of mankind. The more you know, the greater
is your power to help.

The next question that arises is: "Why does he not divide all
feelings into pleasurable and not-pleasurable, rather than into
'painful and not-painful'?" A Westerner will not be at a loss to
answer that: "Oh, the Hindu is naturally so very pessimistic,
that he naturally ignores pleasure and speaks of painful and
not-painful. The universe is full of pain." But that would not be
a true answer. In the first place the Hindu is not pessimistic.
He is the most optimistic of men. He has not got one solitary
school of philosophy that does not put in its foreground that the
object of all philosophy is to put an end to pain. But he is
profoundly reasonable. He knows that we need not go about seeking
happiness. It is already ours, for it is the essence of our own
nature. Do not the Upanishads say: "The Self is bliss"? Happiness
exists perennially within you. It is your normal state. You have
not to seek it. You will necessarily be happy if you get rid of
the obstacles called pain, which are in the modes of mind.
Happiness is not a secondary thing, but pain is, and these
painful things are obstacles to be got rid of. When they are
stopped, you must be happy. Therefore Patanjali says: "The
vrittis are painful and non-painful." Pain is an excrescence. It
is a transitory thing. The Self, who is bliss, being the
all-permeating life of the universe, pain has no permanent place
in it. Such is the Hindu position, the most optimistic in the

Let us pause for a moment to ask: "Why should there be pain at
all if the Self is bliss?" Just because the nature of the Self is
bliss. It would be impossible to make the Self turn outward, come
into manifestation, if only streams of bliss flowed in on him. He
would have remained unconscious of the streams. To the infinity
of bliss nothing could be added. If you had a stream of water
flowing unimpeded in its course, pouring more water into it would
cause no ruffling, the stream would go on heedless of the
addition. But put an obstacle in the way, so that the free flow
is checked, and the stream will struggle and fume against the
obstacle, and make every endeavour to sweep it away. That which
is contrary to it, that which will check its current's smooth
flow, that alone will cause effort. That is the first function of
pain. It is the only thing that can rouse the Self. It is the
only thing that can awaken his attention. When that peaceful,
happy, dreaming, inturned Self finds the surge of pain beating
against him, he awakens: "What is this, contrary to my nature,
antagonistic and repulsive, what is this?" It arouses him to the
fact of a surrounding universe, an outer world. Hence in
psychology, in yoga, always basing itself on the ultimate
analysis of the fact of nature, pain is the thing that asserts
itself as the most important factor in Self-realisation; that
which is other than the Self will best spur the Self into
activity. Therefore we find our commentator, when dealing with
pain, declares that the karmic receptacle the causal body, that
in which all the seeds of karma are gathered Up, has for its
builder all painful experiences; and along that line of thought
we come to the great generalisation: the first function of pain
in the universe is to arouse the Self to turn himself to the
outer world, to evoke his aspect of activity.

The next function of pain is the organisation of the vehicles.
Pain makes the man exert himself, and by that exertion the matter
of his vehicles gradually becomes organised. If you want to
develop and organise your muscles, you make efforts, you exercise
them, and thus more life flows into them and they become strong.
Pain is necessary that the Self may force his vehicles into
making efforts which develop and organise them. Thus pain not
only awakens awareness, it also organises the vehicles.

It has a third function also. Pain purifies. We try to get rid of
that which causes us pain. It is contrary to our nature, and we
endeavour to throw it away. All that is against the blissful
nature of the Self is shaken by pain out of the vehicles; slowly
they become purified by suffering, and in that way become ready
for the handling of the Self.

It has a fourth function. Pain teaches. All the best lessons of
life come from pain rather than from joy. When one is becoming
old, as I am and I look on the long life behind me, a life of
storm and stress, of difficulties and efforts, I see something of
the great lessons pain can teach. Out of my life story could
efface without regret everything that it has had of joy and
happiness, but not one pain would I let go, for pain is the
teacher of wisdom.

It has a fifth function. Pain gives power. Edward Carpenter said,
in his splendid poem of "Time and Satan," after he had described
the wrestlings and the overthrows: 'Every pain that I suffered in
one body became a power which I wielded in the next." Power is
pain transmuted.

Hence the wise man, knowing these things, does not shrink from
pain; it means purification, wisdom, power.

It is true that a man may suffer so much pain that for this
incarnation he may be numbed by it, rendered wholly or partially
useless. Especially is this the case when the pain has deluged in
childhood. But even then, he shall reap his harvest of good
later. By his past, he may have rendered present pain inevitable,
but none the less can he turn it into a golden opportunity by
knowing and utilising its functions.

You may say: "What use then of pleasure, if pain is so splendid a
thing?" From pleasure comes illumination. Pleasure enables the
Self to manifest. In pleasure all the vehicles of the Self are
made harrnonious; they all vibrate together; the vibrations are
rhythmical, not jangled as they are in pain, and those rhythmical
vibrations permit that expansion of the Self of which I spoke,
and thus lead up to illumination, the knowledge of the Self. And
if that be true, as it is true, you will see that pleasure plays
an immense part in nature, being of the nature of the Self,
belonging to him. When it harmonises the vehicles of the Self
from outside, it enables the Self more readily to manifest
himself through the lower selves within us. Hence happiness is a
condition of illumination. That is the explanation of the value
of the rapture of the mystic; it is an intense joy. A tremendous
wave of bliss, born of love triumphant, sweeps over the whole of
his being, and when that great wave of bliss sweeps over him, it
harmonises the whole of his vehicles, subtle and gross alike, and
the glory of the Self is made manifest and he sees the face of
his God. Then comes the wonderful illumination, which for the
time makes him unconscious of all the lower worlds. It is because
for a moment the Self is realising himself as divine, that it is
possible for him to see that divinity which is cognate to
himself. So you should not fear joy any more than you fear pain,
as some unwise people do, dwarfed by a mistaken religionism. That
foolish thought which you often find in an ignorant religion,
that pleasure is rather to be dreaded, as though God grudged joy
to His children, is one of the nightmares born of ignorance and
terror. The Father of life is bliss. He who is joy cannot grudge
Himself to His children, and every reflection of joy in the world
is a reflection of the Divine Life, and a manifestation of the
Self in the midst of matter. Hence pleasure has its function as
well as pain and that also is welcome to the wise, for he
understands and utilises it. You can easily see how along this
line pleasure and pain become equally welcome. Identified with
neither, the wise man takes either as it comes, knowing its
purpose. When we understand the places of joy and of pain, then
both lose their power to bind or to upset us. If pain comes, we
take it and utilise it. If joy comes, we take it and utilise it.
So we may pass through life, welcoming both pleasure and pain,
content whichever may come to us, and not wishing for that which
is for the moment absent. We use both as means to a desired end;
and thus we may rise to a higher indifference than that of the
stoic, to the true vairagya; both pleasure and pain are
transcended, and the Self remains, who is bliss.



In dealing with the third section of the subject, I drew your
attention to the states of mind, and pointed out to you that,
according to the Samskrit word vritti, those states of mind
should be regarded as ways m which the mind exists, or, to use
the philosophical phrase of the West, they are modes of mind,
modes of mental existence. These are the states which are to be
inhibited, put an end to, abolished, reduced into absolute
quiescence. The reason for this inhibition is the production of a
state which allows the higher mind to pour itself into the lower.
To put it in another way: the lower mind, unruffled, waveless,
reflects the higher, as a waveless lake reflects the stars. You
will remember the phrase used in the Upanishad, which puts it
less technically and scientifically, but more beautifully, and
declares that in the quietude of the mind and the tranquility of
the senses, a man may behold the majesty of the Self. The method
of producing this quietude is what we have now to consider.

Inhibition of States of Mind

Two ways, and two ways only, there are of inhibiting these modes,
these ways of existence, of the mind. They were given by Sri
Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, when Arjuna complained that the
mind was impetuous, strong, difficult to bend, hard to curb as
the wind. His answer was definite: " Without doubt, O
mighty-armed, the mind is hard to curb and restless; but it may
be curbed by constant practice (abhyasa) and by dispassion
(vai-ragya)."[FN#9: loc. cit., VI. 35, 35]

These are the two methods, the only two methods, by which this
restless, storm-tossed mind can be reduced to peace and quietude.
Vai-ragya and abhyasa, they are the only two methods, but when
steadily practiced they inevitably bring about the result.

Let us consider what these two familiar words imply. Vai-ragya,
or dispassion, has as its main idea the clearing away of all
passion for, attraction to, the objects of the senses, the bonds
which are made by desire between man and the objects around him.
Raga is "passion, addiction," that which binds a man to things.
The prefix "vi"--changing to "vai" by a grammatical rule --means
"without," or "in opposition to". Hence vai-ragya is
"non-passion, absence of passion," not bound, tied or related to
any of these outside objects. Remembering that thinking is the
establishing of relations, we see that the getting rid of
relations will impose on the mind the stillness that is Yoga. All
raga must be entirely put aside. We must separate ourselves from
it. We must acquire the opposite condition, where every passion
is stilled, where no attraction for the objects of desire
remains, where all the bonds that unite the man to surrounding
objects are broken. "When the bonds of the heart are broken, then
the man becomes immortal."

How shall this dispassion be brought about? There is only one
right way of doing it. By slowly and gradually drawing ourselves
away from outer objects through the more potent attraction of the
Self. The Self is ever attracted to the Self. That attraction
alone can turn these vehicles away from the alluring and
repulsive objects that surround them; free from all raga, no more
establishing relations with objects, the separated Self finds
himself liberated and free, and union with the one Self becomes
the sole object of desire. But not instantly, by one supreme
effort, by one endeavour, can this great quality of dispassion
become the characteristic of the man bent on Yoga. He must
practice dispassion constantly and steadfastly. That is implied
in the word joined with dispassion, abhyasa or practice. The
practice must be constant, continual and unbroken. "Practice"
does not mean only meditation, though this is the sense in which
the word is generally used; it means the deliberate, unbroken
carrying out of dispassion in the very midst of the objects that

In order that you may acquire dispassion, you must practice it in
the everyday things of life. I have said that many confine
abhyasa to meditation. That is why so few people attain to Yoga.
Another error is to wait for some big opportunity. People prepare
themselves for some tremendous sacrifice and forget the little
things of everyday life, in which the mind is knitted to objects
by a myriad tiny threads. These things, by their pettiness, fail
to attract attention, and in waiting for the large thing, which
does not come, people lose the daily practice of dispassion
towards the little things that are around them. By curbing desire
at every moment, we become indifferent to all the objects that
surround us. Then, when the great opportunity comes, we seize it
while scarce aware that it is upon us. Every day, all day long,
practice--that is what is demanded from the aspirant to Yoga, for
only on that line can success come; and it is the wearisomeness
of this strenuous, continued endeavour that tires out the
majority of aspirants.

I must here warn you of a danger. There is a rough-and- ready way
of quickly bringing about dispassion. Some say to you: "Kill out
all love and affection; harden your hearts; become cold to all
around you; desert your wife and children, your father and
mother, and fly to the desert or the jungle; put a wall between
youself and all objects of desire; then dispassion will be
yours." It is true that it is comparatively easy to acquire
dispassion in that way. But by that you kill more than desire.
You put round the Self, who is love, a barrier through which he
is unable to pierce. You cramp yourself by encircling yourself
with a thick shell, and you cannot break through it. You harden
yourself where you ought to be softened; you isolate yourself
where you ought to be embracing others; you kill love and not
only desire, forgetting that love clings to the Self and seeks
the Self, while desire clings to the sheaths of the Self, the
bodies in which the Self is clothed. Love is the desire of the
separated Self for union with all other separated Selves.
Dispassion is the non-attraction to matter--a very different
thing. You must guard love--for it is the very Self of the Self.
In your anxiety to acquire dispassion do not kill out love. Love
is the life in everyone of us, separated Selves. It draws every
separated Self to the other Self. Each one of us is a part of one
mighty whole. Efface desire as regards the vehicles that clothe
the Self, but do not efface love as regards the Self, that
never-dying force which draws Self to Self. In this great
up-climbing, it is far better to suffer from love rather than to
reject it, and to harden your hearts against all ties and claims
of affection. Suffer for love, even though the suffering be
bitter. Love, even though the love be an avenue of pain. The pain
shall pass away, but the love shall continue to grow, and in the
unity of the Self you shall finally discover that love is the
great attracting force which makes all things one.

Many people, in trying to kill out love, only throw themselves
back, becoming less human, not superhuman; by their mistaken
attempts. It is by and through human ties of love and sympathy
that the Self unfolds. It is said of the Masters that They love
all humanity as a mother loves her firstborn son. Their love is
not love watered down to coolness, but love for all raised to the
heat of the highest particular loves of smaller souls. Always
mistrust the teacher who tells you to kill out love, to be
indifferent to human affections. That is the way which leads to
the left-hand path.

Meditation With and Without Seed

The next step is our method of meditation. What do we mean by
meditation? Meditation cannot be the same for every man. Though
the same in principle, namely, the steadying of the mind, the
method must vary with the temperament of the practitioner.
Suppose that you are a strong-minded and intelligent man, fond of
reasoning. Suppose that connected links of thought and argument
have been to you the only exorcise of the mind. Utilise that past
training. Do not imagine that you can make your mind still by a
single effort. Follow a logical chain of reasoning, step by step,
link after link; do not allow the mind to swerve a hair's breadth
from it. Do not allow the mind to go aside to other lines of
thought. Keep it rigidly along a single line, and steadiness will
gradually result. Then, when you have worked up to your highest
point of reasoning and reached the last link of your chain of
argument, and your mind will carry you no further, and beyond
that you can see nothing, then stop. At that highest point of
thinking, cling desperately to the last link of the chain, and
there keep the mind poised, in steadiness and strenuous quiet,
waiting for what may come. After a while, you will be able to
maintain this attitude for a considerable time.

For one in whom imagination is stronger than the reasoning
faculty, the method by devotion, rather than by reasoning, is the
method. Let him call imagination to his help. He should picture
some scene, in which the object of his devotion forms the central
figure, building it up, bit by bit, as a painter paints a
picture, putting in it gradually all the elements of the scene He
must work at it as a painter works on his canvas, line by line,
his brush the brush of imagination. At first the work will be
very slow, but the picture soon begins to present itself at call.
Over and over he should picture the scene, dwelling less and less
on the surrounding objects and more and more on the central
figure which is the object of his heart's devotion. The drawing
of the mind to a point, in this way, brings it under control and
steadies it, and thus gradually, by this use of the imagination.
he brings the mind under command. The object of devotion will be
according to the man's religion. Suppose--as is the case with
many of you--that his object of devotion is Sri Krishna; picture
Him in any scene of His earthly life, as in the battle of
Kurukshetra. Imagine the armies arrayed for battle on both sides;
imagine Arjuna on the floor of the chariot, despondent,
despairing; then come to Sri Krishna, the Charioteer, the Friend
and Teacher. Then, fixing your mind on the central figure, let
your heart go out to Him with onepointed devotion. Resting on
Him, poise yourself in silence and, as before, wait for what may

This is what is called "meditation with seed". The central
figure, or the last link in reasoning, that is "the seed". You
have gradually made the vagrant mind steady by this process of
slow and gradual curbing, and at last you are fixed on the
central thought, or the central figure, and there you are poised.
Now let even that go. Drop the central thought, the idea, the
seed of meditation. Let everything go. But keep the mind in the
position gained, the highest point reached, vigorous and alert.
This is meditation without a seed. Remain poised, and wait in the
silence and the void. You are in the "cloud," before described,
and pass through the condition before sketched. Suddenly there
will be a change, a change unmistakable, stupendous, incredible.
In that silence, as said, a Voice shall be heard. In that void, a
Form shall reveal itself. In that empty sky, a Sun shall rise,
and in the light of that Sun you shall realise your own identity
with it, and know that that which is empty to the eye of sense is
full to the eye of Spirit, that that which is silence to the ear
of sense is full of music to the ear of Spirit.

Along such lines you can learn to bring into control your mind,
to discipline your vagrant thought, and thus to reach
illumination. One word of warning. You cannot do this, while you
are trying meditation with a seed. until you are able to cling to
your seed definitely for a considerable time, and maintain
throughout an alert attention. It is the emptiness of alert
expectation. not the emptiness of impending sleep. If your mind
be not in that condition, its mere emptiness is dangerous. It
leads to mediumship, to possession, to obsession. You can wisely
aim at emptiness, only when you have so disciplined the mind that
it can hold for a considerable time to a single point and remain
alert when that point is dropped.

The question is sometimes asked: "Suppose that I do this and
succeed in becoming unconscious of the body; suppose that I do
rise into a higher region; is it quite sure that I shall come
back again to the body? Having left the body, shall I be certain
to return?" The idea of non-return makes a man nervous. Even if
he says that matter is nothing and Spirit is everything, he yet
does not like to lose touch with his body and, losing that touch,
by sheer fear, he drops back to the earth after having taken so
much trouble to leave it. You should, however, have no such fear.
That which will draw you back again is the trace of your past,
which remains under all these conditions.

The question is of the same kind as: "Why should a state of
Pralaya ever come to an end, and a new state of Manvantara
begin?" And the answer is the same from the Hindu psychological
standpoint; because, although you have dropped the very seed of
thought, you cannot destroy the traces which that thought has
left, and that trace is a germ, and it tends to draw again to
itself matter, that it may express itself once more. This trace
is what is called the privation of matter-- samskara. Far as you
may soar beyond the concrete mind, that trace, left in the
thinking principle, of what you have thought and have known, that
remains and will inevitably draw you back. You cannot escape your
past and, until your life-period is over, that samskara will
bring you back. It is this also which, at the close of the
heavenly life, brings a man back to rebirth. It is the expression
of the law of rhythm. In Light on the Path, that wonderful occult
treatise, this state is spoken of and the disciple is pictured as
in the silence. The writer goes on to say: "Out of the silence
that is peace a resonant voice shall arise. And this voice will
say: 'It is not well; thou hast reaped, now thou must sow.' And
knowing this voice to be the silence itself, thou wilt obey."

What is the meaning of that phrase: "Thou hast reaped, now thou
must sow?" It refers to the great law of rhythm which rules even
the Logoi, the Ishvaras --the law of the Mighty Breath, the
out-breathing and the in-breathing, which compels every fragment
which is separated for a time. A Logos may leave His universe,
and it may drop away when He turns His gaze inward, for it was He
who gave reality to it.

He may plunge into the infinite depths of being, but even then
there is the samskara of the past universe, the shadowy latent
memory, the germ of maya from which He cannot escape. To escape
from it would be to cease to be Ishvara, and to become Brahma
Nirguna. There is no Ishvara without maya, there is no maya
without Ishvara. Even in pralaya, a time comes when the rest is
over and the inner life again demands manifestation; then the
outward turning begins and a new universe comes forth. Such is
the law of rest and activity: activity followed by rest; rest
followed again by the desire for activity; and so the ceaseless
wheel of the universe, as well as of human lives, goes on. For in
the eternal, both rest and activity are ever present, and in that
which we call Time, they follow each other, although in eternity
they be simultaneous and ever-existing.

The Use of Mantras

Let us see how far we can help ourselves in this difficult work.
I will draw your attention to one fact which is of enormous help
to the beginner.

Your vehicles are ever restless. Every vibration in the vehicle
produces a corresponding change in consciousness. Is there any
way to check these vibrations, to steady the vehicle, so that
consciousness may be still? One method is the repeating of a
mantra. A mantra is a mechanical way of checking vibration.
Instead of using the powers of the will and of imagination, you
save these for other purposes, and use the mechanical resource of
a mantra. A mantra is a definite succession of sounds. Those
sounds, repeated rhythmically over and over again in succession,
synchronise the vibrations of the vehicles into unity with
themselves. Hence a mantra cannot be translated; translation
alters the sounds. Not only in Hinduism, but in Buddhism, in
Roman Catholicism, in Islam, and among the Parsis, mantras are
found, and they are never translated, for when you have changed
the succession and order of the sounds, the mantra ceases to be a
mantra. If you translate the words, you may have a very beautiful
prayer, but not a mantra. Your translation may be beautiful
inspired poetry, but it is not a living mantra. It will no longer
harmonise the vibrations of the surrounding sheaths, and thus
enable the consciousness to become still. The poetry, the
inspired prayer, these are mentally translatable. But a mantra is
unique and untranslatable. Poetry is a great thing: it is often
an inspirer of the soul, it gives gratification to the ear, and
it may be sublime and beautiful, but it is not a mantra.


Let us consider concentration. You ask a man if he can
concentrate. He at once says: "Oh! it is very difficult. I have
often tried and failed." But put the same question in a different
way, and ask him: "Can you pay attention to a thing?" He will at
once say: "Yes, I can do that."

Concentration is attention. The fixed attitude of attention, that
is concentration. If you pay attention to what you do, your mind
will be concentrated. Many sit down for meditation and wonder why
they do not succeed. How can you suppose that half an hour of
meditation and twenty- three and a half hours of scattering of
thought throughout the day and night, will enable you to
concentrate during the half hour? You have undone during the day
and night what you did in the morning, as Penelope unravelled the
web she wove. To become a Yogi, you must be attentive all the
time. You must practice concentration every hour of your active
life. Now you scatter your thoughts for many hours, and you
wonder that you do not succeed. The wonder would be if you did.
You must pay attention every day to everything you do. That is,
no doubt, hard to do, and you may make it easier in the first
stages by choosing out of your day's work a portion only, and
doing that portion with perfect, unflagging attention. Do not let
your mind wander from the thing before you. It does not matter
what the thing is. It may be the adding up of a column of
figures, or the reading of a book. Anything will do. It is the
attitude of the mind that is important and not the object before
it. This is the only way of learning concentration. Fix your mind
rigidly on the work before you for the time being, and when you
have done with it, drop it. Practise steadily in this way for a
few months, and you will be surprised to find how easy it becomes
to concentrate the mind. Moreover, the body will soon learn to do
many things automatically. If you force it to do a thing
regularly, it will begin to do it, after a time, of its own
accord, and then you find that you can manage to do two or three
things at the same time. In England, for instance, women are very
fond of knitting. When a girl first learns to knit, she is
obliged to be very intent on her fingers. Her attention must not
wander from her fingers for a moment, or she will make a mistake.
She goes on doing that day after day, and presently her fingers
have learnt to pay attention to the work without her supervision,
and they may be left to do the knitting while she employs the
conscious mind on something else. It is further possible to train
your mind as the girl has trained her fingers. The mind also, the
mental body, can be so trained as to do a thing automatically. At
last, your highest consciousness can always remain fixed on the
Supreme, while the lower consciousness in the body will do the
things of the body, and do them perfectly, because perfectly
trained. These are practical lessons of Yoga.

Practice of this sort builds up the qualities you want, and you
become stronger and better, and fit to go on to the definite
study of Yoga.

Obstacles to Yoga

Before considering the capacities needed for this definite
practice, let us run over the obstacles to Yoga as laid down by

The obstacles to Yoga are very inclusive. First, disease: if you
are diseased you cannot practice Yoga; it demands sound health,
for the physical strain entailed by it is great. Then languor of
mind: you must be alert, energetic, in your thought. Then doubt:
you must have decision of will, must be able to make up your
mind. Then carelessness: this is one of the greatest difficulties
with beginners; they read a thing carelessly, they are
inaccurate. Sloth: a lazy man cannot be a Yogi; one who is inert,
who lacks the power and the will to exert himself; how shall he
make the desperate exertions wanted along this line? The next,
worldly-mindedness, is obviously an obstacle. Mistaken ideas is
another great obstacle, thinking wrongly about things. One of the
great qualifications for Yoga is "right notion" "Right notion"
means that the thought shall correspond with the outside truth;
that a man shall he fundamentally true, so that his thought
corresponds to fact; unless there is truth in a man, Yoga is for
him impossible. Missing the point, illogical, stupid, making the
important, unimportant and vice versa. Lastly, instability: which
makes Yoga impossible, and even a small amount of which makes
Yoga futile; the unstable man cannot be a yogi.

Capacities of Yoga

Can everybody practise Yoga? No. But every well-educated person
can prepare for its future practice. For rapid progress you must
have special capacities, as for anything else. In any of the
sciences a man may study without being the possessor of very
special capacity, although he cannot attain eminence therein; and
so it is with Yoga. Anybody with a fair intelligence may learn
something from Yoga which he may advantageously practice, but he
cannot hope unless he starts with certain capacities, to be a
success in Yoga in this life. It is only right to say that; for
if any special science needs particular capacities in order to
attain eminence therein, the science of sciences certainly cannot
fall behind the ordinary sciences in the demands that it makes on
its students.

Suppose I am asked: "Can I become a great mathematician?" What
must be my answer? "You must have a natural aptitude and capacity
for mathematics to be a great mathematician. If you have not that
capacity, you cannot be a great mathematician in this life." But
this does not mean that you cannot learn any mathematics. To be a
great mathematician you must be born with a special capacity for
mathematics. To be born with such a special capacity means that
you have practiced it in very many lives and now you are born
with it ready-made. It is the same with Yoga. Every man can learn
a little of it. But to be a great Yogi means lives of practice.
If these are behind you, you will have been born with the
necessary faculties in the present birth.

There are three faculties which one must have to obtain success
in Yoga. The first is a strong desire. "Desire ardently." Such a
desire is needed to break the strong links of desire which knit
you to the outer world. Moreover, without that strong desire you
will never go through all the difficulties that bat your way. You
must have the conviction that you will ultimately succeed, and
the resolution to go on until you do succeed. It must be a desire
so ardent and so firmly rooted, that obstacles only make it more
keen. To such a man an obstacle is like fuel that you throw on a
fire. It burns but the more strongly as it catches hold of it and
finds it fuel for the burning. So difficulties and obstacles are
but fuel to feed the fire of the yogi's resolute desire. He only
becomes the more firmly fixed, because he finds the difficulties.

If you have not this strong desire, its absence shows that you
are new to the work, but you can begin to prepare for it in this
life. You can create desire by thought; you cannot create desire
by desire. Out of the desire nature, the training of the desire
nature cannot come.

What is it in us that calls out desire? Look into your own mind,
and you will find that memory and imagination are the two things
that evoke desire most strongly. Hence thought is the means
whereby all the changes in desire can be brought about. Thought,
imagination, is the only creative power in you, and by
imagination your powers are to be unfolded. The more you think of
a desirable object, the stronger becomes the desire for it. Then
think of Yoga as desirable, if you want to desire Yoga. Think
about the results of Yoga and what it means for the world when
you have become a yogi, and you will find your desire becoming
stronger and stronger. For it is only by thought that you can
manage desire. You can do nothing with it by itself. You want the
thing, or you do not want it, and within the limits of the desire
nature you are helpless in its grasp. As just said, you cannot
change desire by desire. You must go into another region of your
being, the region of thought, and by thought you can make
yourself desire or not desire, exactly as you like, if only you
will use the right means, and those means, after all, are fairly
simple. Why is it you desire to possess a thing? Because you
think it will make you happier. But suppose you know by past
experience that in the long run it does not make you happier, but
brings you sorrow, trouble, distress. You have at once, ready to
your hands, the way to get rid of that desire. Think of the
ultimate results. Let your mind dwell carefully on all the
painful things. Jump over the momentary pleasure, and fix your
thought steadily on the pain which follows the gratification of
that desire. And when you have done that for a month or so, the
very sight of those objects of desire will repel you. You will
have associated it in your mind with suffering, and will recoil
from it instinctively. You will not want it. You have changed the
want, and have changed it by your power of imagination. There is
no more effective way of destroying a vice than by deliberately
picturing the ultimate results of its indulgence. Persuade a
young man who is inclined to be profligate to keep in his mind
the image of an old profligate; show him the profligate worn out,
desiring without the power to gratify; and if you can get him to
think in that way, unconsciously he will begin to shrink from
that which before attracted him; the very hideousness of the
results frightens away the man from clinging to the object of
desire. And the would-be yogi has to use his thought to mark out
the desires he will permit, and the desires that he is determined
to slay.

The next thing after a strong desire is a strong will. Will is
desire. transmuted, its directing is changed from without to
within. If your will is weak, you must strengthen it. Deal with
it as you do with other weak things: strengthen it by practice.
If a boy knows that he has weak arms, he says: "My arms are weak,
but I shall practice gymnastics, work on the parallel bars: thus
my arms. will grow strong." It is the same with the will.
Practice will make strong the little, weak will that you have at

Resolve, for example, saying: "I will do such and such thing
every morning," and do it. One thing at a time is enough for a
feeble will. Make yourself a promise to do such and such a thing
at such a time, and you will soon find that you will be ashamed
to break your promise. When you have kept such a promise to
yourself for a day, make it for a week, then for a fortnight.
Having succeeded, you can choose a harder thing to do, and so on.
By this forcing of action, you strengthen the will. Day after day
it grows greater in power, and you find your inner strength
increases. First have a strong desire. Then transmute it into a
strong will.

The third requisite for Yoga is a keen and broad intelligence.
You cannot control your mind, unless you have a mind to control.
Therefore you must develop your mind. You must study. By study, I
do not mean the reading of books. I mean thinking. You may read a
dozen books and your mind may be as feeble as in the beginning.
But if you have read one serious book properly, then, by slow
reading and much thinking, your intelligence will be nurtured and
your; mind grow strong.

These are the things you want--a strong desire, an indomitable
will, a keen. intelligence. Those are the capacities that you
must unfold in order that the practice of Yoga may be possible to
you. If your mind is very unsteady, if it is a butterfly mind
like a child's, you must make it steady. That comes by close
study and thinking. You must unfold the mind by which you are to

Forthgoing and Returning

It will help you, in doing this and in changing your desire, if
you realise that the great evolution of humanity goes on along
two paths--the Path of Forthgoing, and the Path of Return.

On the Path, or marga, of Pravritti--forthgoing on which are the
vast majority of human beings, desires are necessary and useful.
On that path, the more desire a man has, the better for his
evolution. They are the motives that prompt to activity. Without
these the stagnates, he is inert. Why should Isvara have filled
the worlds with desirable objects if He did not intend that
desire should be an ingredient in evolution? He deals with
humanity as a sensible mother deals -with her child. She does not
give lectures to the child on the advantages of walking nor
explain to it learnedly the mechanism of the muscles of the leg.
She holds a bright glittering toy before the child, and says:
"Come and get it." Desire awakens, and the child begins to crawl,
and so it learns to walk. So Isvara has put toys around us, but
always just out of our reach, and He says: "Come, children, take
these. Here are love, money, fame, social consideration; come and
get them. Walk, make efforts for them." And we, like children,
make great efforts and struggle along to snatch these toys. When
we seize the toy, it breaks into pieces and is of no use. People
fight and struggle and toil for wealth, and, when they become
multi-millionaires, they ask: "How shall we spend this wealth?" I
read of a millionaire in America, who was walking on foot from
city to city, in order to distribute the vast wealth which he
accumulated. He learned his lesson. Never in another life will
that man be induced to put forth efforts for the toy of wealth.
Love of fame, love of power, stimulate men to most strenuous
effort. But when they are grasped and held in the hand, weariness
is the result. The mighty statesman, the leader of the nation,
the man idolised by millions--follow him home, and there you will
see the weariness of power, the satiety that cloys passion. Does
then God mock us with all the objects? No. The object has been to
bring out the power of the Self to develop the capacity latent in
man, and in the development of human faculty, the result of the
great lila may be seen. That is the way in which we learn to
unfold the God within us; that is the result of the play of the
divine Father with His children.

But sometimes the desire for objects is lost too early, and the
lesson is but half learned. That is one of the difficulties in
the India of today. You have a mighty spiritual philosophy, which
was the natural expression for the souls who were born centuries
ago. They were ready to throw away the fruit of action and to
work for the Supreme to carry out His Will.

But the lesson for India at the present time is to wake up the
desire. It may look like going back, but it is really a going
forward. The philosophy is true, but it belonged to those older
souls who were ready for it, and the younger souls now being born
into the people are not ready for that philosophy. They repeat it
by rote, they are hypnotised by it, and they sink down into
inertia, because there is nothing they desire enough to force
them to exertion. The consequence is that the nation as a whole
is going downhill. The old lesson of putting different objects
before souls of different ages, is forgotten, and every one is
now nominally aiming at ideal perfection, which can only be
reached when the preliminary steps have been successfully
mounted. It is the same as with the "Sermon on the Mount" in
Christian countries, but there the practical common sense of the
people bows to it and--ignores it. No nation tries to live by the
"Sermon on the Mount " It is not meant for ordinary men and
women, but for the saint. For all those who are on the Path of
Forthgoing, desire is necessary for progress.

What is the Path of Nivritti? It is the Path of Return. There
desire must cease; and the Self-determined will must take its
place. The last object of desire in a person commencing the Path
of Return is the desire to work with the Will of the Supreme; he
harmonises his will with the Supreme Will, renounces all separate
desires, and thus works to turn the wheel of life as long as such
turning is needed by the law of Life. Desire on the Path of
Forthgoing becomes will on the Path of Return; the soul, in
harmony with the Divine, works with the law. Thought on the Path
of Forthgoing is ever alert, flighty and changing; it becomes
reason on the Path of Return; the yoke of reason is placed on the
neck of the lower mind, and reason guides the bull. Work,
activity, on the Path of Forthgoing, is restless action by which
the ordinary man is bound; on the Path of Return work becomes
sacrifice, and thus its binding force is broken. These are, then,
the manifestations of three aspects, as shown on the Paths of
Forthgoing and Return.

Bliss manifested as desire is changed into will
Wisdom manifested as thought is changed into reason.
Activity  manifested as work  is changed into sacrifice.

People very often ask with regard to this: "Why is will placed in
the human being as the correspondence of bliss in the Divine?"
The three great Divine qualities are: chit or consciousness;
ananda or bliss; sat or existence. Now it is quite clear that the
consciousness is reflected in intelligence in man--the same
quality, only in miniature. It is equally clear that existence
and activity belong to each other. You can only exist as you act
outwards. The very form of the word shows It --"ex, out of"; it
is manifested life. That leaves the third, bliss, to correspond
with will, and some people are rather puzzled with that, and they
ask: "What is the correspondence between bliss and will?" But if
you come down to desire, and the objects of desire, you will be
able to solve the riddle. The nature of the Self is bliss. Throw
that nature down into matter and what will be the expression of
the bliss nature? Desire for happiness, the seeking after
desirable objects, which it imagines will give it the happiness
which is of its own essential nature, and which it is continually
seeking to realise amid the obstacles of the world. Its nature
being bliss, it seeks for happiness and that desire for happiness
is to be transmuted into will. All these correspondences have a
profound meaning if you will only look into them, and that
universal "will-to-live" translates itself as the "desire for
happiness" that you find in every man and woman, in every
sentient creature. Has it ever struck you how surely you are
justifying that analysis of your own nature by the way you accept
happiness as your right, and resent misery, and ask what you have
done to deserve it? You do not ask the same about happiness,
which is the natural result of your own nature. The thing that
has to be explained is not happiness but pain, the things that
are against the nature of the Self that is bliss. And so, looking
into this, we see how desire and will are both the determination
to be happy. But the one is ignorant, drawn out by outer objects;
the other is self-conscious, initiated and ruled from within.
Desire is evoked and directed from outside; and when the same
aspect rules from within, it is will. There is no difference in
their nature. Hence desire on the Path of Forthgoing becomes will
on the Path of Return.

When desire, thought and work are changed into will, reason and
sacrifice, then the man is turning homewards, then he lives by

When a man has really renounced, a strange change takes place. On
the Path of Forthgoing, you must fight for everything you want to
get; on the Path of Return, nature pours her treasures at your
feet. When a man has ceased to desire them, then all treasures
pour down upon him, for he has become a channel through which all
good gifts flow to those around him. Seek the good, give up
grasping, and then everything will be yours. Cease to ask that
your own little water tank may be filled, and you will become a
pipe, joined to the living source of all waters, the source which
never runs dry, the waters which spring up unfailingly.
Renunciation means the power of unceasing work for the good of
all, work which cannot fail, because wrought by the Supreme
Worker through His servant.

If you are engaged in any true work of charity, and your means
are limited and the wealth does not flow into your hands, what
does it mean? It means that you have not yet learnt the true
renunciation. You are clinging to the visible, to the fruit of
action, and so the wealth does not pour through your hands.

Purification of Bodies

The unfolding of powers belongs to the side of consciousness;
purification of bodies belongs to the side of matter. You must
purify each of your three working bodies--mental, astral and
physical. Without that purification you had better leave yoga
alone. First of all, how shall you purify the thought body? By
right thinking. Then you must use imagination, your great
creative tool, once more. Imagine things, and, imagining them,
you will form your thought-body into the organisation that you
desire. Imagine something strongly, as the painter imagines when
he is going to paint. Visualise an object if you have the power
of visualisation at all: if you have not, try to make it. It is
an artistic faculty, of course, hut most people have it more or
less. See how far you can reproduce perfectly a face you see
daily. By such practice you will be strengthening your
imagination, and by strengthening your imagination you will be
making the great tool with which you have to practice in Yoga.

There is another use of the imagination which is very valuable.
If you will imagine in your thought-body the presence of the
qualities that you desire to have, and the absence of those which
you desire not to have, you are half-way to having and not having
them. Also, many of the troubles of your life might be weakened
if you would imagine them on right lines before you have to go
through them. Why do you wait helplessly until you meet them in
the physical world. If you thought of your coming trouble in the
morning, and thought of yourself as acting perfectly in the midst
of it (you should never scruple to imagine yourself perfect),
when the thing turned up in the day, it would have lost its
power, and you would no longer feel the sting to the same extent.
Now each of you must have in your life something that troubles
you. Think of yourself as facing that trouble and not minding it,
and when it comes, you will be what you have been thinking. You
might get rid of half your troubles and your faults, if you would
deal with them through your imagination.

As the thought body, becomes purified in this way, you must turn
to the astral body. The astral body is purified by right desire.
Desire nobly, and the astral body will evolve the organs of good
desires instead of the organs of evil ones. The secret of all
progress is to think and desire the highest, never dwelling on
the fault, the weakness, the error, but always on the perfected
power, and slowly in that way you will be able to build up
perfection in yourself. Think and desire, then, in order to
purify the thought body and the astral body.

And how shall you purify the physical body? You must regulate it
in all its activities--in sleep, in food, in exercise, in
everything. You cannot have a pure physical body with impure
mental and astral bodies so that the work of imagination helps
also in the purification of the physical. But you must also
regulate the physical body in all its activities. Take for
instance, food. The Indian says truly that every sort of food has
a dominant quality in it, either rhythm, or activity, or inertia,
and that all foods fall under one of these heads. Now the man who
is to be a yogi must not touch any food which is on the way to
decay. Those things belong to the tamasic foods--all foods, for
instance, of the nature of game, of venison, all food which is
showing signs of decay (all alcohol is a product of decay), are
to be avoided. Flesh foods come under the quality of activity.
All flesh foods are really stimulants. All forms in the animal
kingdom are built up to express animal desires and animal
activities. The yogi cannot afford to use these in a body meant
for the higher processes of thought. Vitality, yes, they will
give that; strength, which does not last, they will give that; a
sudden spurs of energy, yes, meat will give that; but those are
not the things which the yogi wants; so he puts aside all those
foods as not available for the work he desires, and chooses his
food out of the most highly vitalised products. All the foods
which tend to growth, those are the most highly vitalised, grain,
out of which the new plant will grow, is packed full of the most
nutritious substances; fruits; all those things which have growth
as their next stage in the life cycle, those are the rhythmic
foods, full of life, and building up a body sensitive and strong
at the same time.

Dwellers on the Threshold

Of these there are many kinds. First, elementals. They try to bar
the astral plane against man. And naturally so, because they are
concerned with the building up of the lower kingdoms, these
elementals of form, the Rupa Devas; and to them man is a really
hateful creature, because of his destructive properties. That is
why they dislike him so much. He spoils their work wherever he
goes, tramples down vegetable things, and kills animals, so that
the whole of that great kingdom of nature hates the name of man.
They band themselves together to stop the one who is just taking
his first conscious steps on the astral plane, and try to
frighten him, for they fear that he is bringing destructiveness
into the new world. They cannot do anything, if you do not mind
them. When that rush of elemental force comes against the man
entering on the astral plane, he must remain quiet, indifferent,
taking up the position: "I am a higher product of evolution than
you are; you can do nothing to me. I am your friend, not your
enemy, Peace!" If he be strong enough to take up that position,
the great wave of elemental force will roll aside and let him
through. The seemingly causeless fears which some feel at night
are largely due to this hostility. You are, at night, more
sensitive to the astral plane than during the day, and the
dislike of the beings on the plane for man is felt more strongly.
But when the elementals find you are not destructive, not an
embodiment of ruin, they become as friendly to you as they were
before hostile. That is the first form of the dweller on the
threshold. Here again the importance of pure and rhythmic food
comes in; because if you use meat and alcohol, you attract the
lower elementals of the plane, those that take pleasure in the
scent of blood and spirits, and they will inevitably prevent your
seeing and understanding things clearly. They will surge round
you, impress their thoughts upon you, force their impressions on
your astral body, so that you may have a kind of shell of
objectionable hangers-on to your aura, who will much obstruct you
in your efforts to see and hear correctly. That is the chief
reason why every one who is teaching Yoga on the right-hand path
absolutely forbids indulgence in meat and alcohol.

The second form of the dweller on the threshold is the thought
forms of our own past. Those forms, growing out of the evil of
lives that lie behind us, thought forms of wickedness of all
kinds, those face us when we first come into touch with the
astral plane, really belonging to us, but appearing as outside
forms, as objects; and they try to scare back their creator. You
can only conquer them by sternly repudiating them: "You are no
longer mine; you belong to my past, and not to my present. I will
give you none of my life." Thus you will gradually exhaust and
finally annihilate them. This is perhaps one of the most painful
difficulties that one has to face in treading the astral plane in
consciousness for the first time. Of course, where a person has
in any way been mixed up with objectionable thought forms of the
stronger kind, such as those brought about by practicing black
magic, there this particular form of the dweller will be much
stronger and more dangerous, and often desperate is the struggle
between the neophyte and these dwellers from his past backed up
by the masters of the black side.

Now we come to one of the most terrible forms of the dwellers on
the threshold. Suppose a case in which a man during the past has
steadily identified himself with the lower part of his nature and
has gone against the higher, paralysing himself, using higher
powers for lower purposes, degrading his mind to be the mere
slave of his lower desires. A curious change takes place in him.
The life which belongs to the Ego in him is taken up by the
physical body, and assimilated with the lower lives of which the
body is composed. Instead of serving the purposes of the Spirit,
it is dragged away for tile purposes of the lower, and becomes
part of the animal life belonging to the lower bodies, so that
the Ego and his higher bodies are weakened, and the animal life
of the lower is strengthened. Now under those conditions, the Ego
will sometimes become so disgusted with his vehicles that when
death relieves him of the physical body he will cast the others
quite aside. And even sometimes during physical life he will
leave the desecrated temple. Now after death, in these cases, the
man generally reincarnates very quickly; for, having torn himself
away from his astral and mental bodies, he has no bodies with
which to live in the astral and mental worlds, and he must
quickly form new ones and come again to rebirth here. Under these
conditions the old astral and mental bodies are not disintegrated
when the new mental and astral bodies are formed and born into
the world, and the affinity between the old and new, both having
had the same owner, the same tenant, asserts itself, and the
highly vitalised old astral and mental bodies will attach
themselves to the new astral and mental bodies, and become the
most terrible form of the dweller on the threshold.

These are the various forms which the dweller may assume, and all
are spoken of in books dealing with these particular subjects,
though I do not know that you will find anywhere in a single book
a definite classification like the above. In addition to these
there are, of course, the direct attacks of the Dark Brothers,
taking up various forms and aspects, and the most common form
they will take is the form of some virtue which is a little bit
in excess in the yogi. The yogi is not attacked through his
vices, but through his virtues; for a virtue in excess becomes a
vice. It is the extremes which are ever the vices; the golden
mean is the virtue. And thus, virtues become tempters in the
difficult regions of the astral and mental worlds, and are
utilised by the Brothers of the Shadow in order to entrap the

I am not here speaking of the four ordinary ordeals of the astral
plane: the ordeals by earth, water, fire and air. Those are mere
trifles, hardly worth considering when speaking of these more
serious difficulties. Of course, you have to learn that you are
entirely master of astral matter, that earth cannot crush you,
nor water drown you, etc. Those are, so to speak, very easy
lessons. Those who belong to a Masonic body will recognise these
ordeals as parts of the language they are familiar with in their
Masonic ritual.

There is one other danger also. You may injure yourself by
repercussion. If on the astral plane you are threatened with
danger which belongs to the physical, but are unwise enough to
think it can injure you, it will injure your physical body. You
may get a wound, or a bruise, and so on, out of astral
experiences. I once made a fool of myself in this way. I was in a
ship going down and, as I was busy there, I saw that the mast of
the ship was going to fall and, in a moment's forgetfulness,
thought: "That mast will fall on me" that momentary thought had
its result, for when I came back to the body in the morning, I
had a large physical bruise where the mast fell. That is a
frequent phenomenon until you have corrected the fault of the
mind, which thinks instinctively the things which it is
accustomed to think down here.

One protection you can make for yourself as you become more
sensitive. Be rigorously truthful in thought, in word, in deed.
Every thought, every desire, takes form in the higher world. If
you are careless of truth here, you are creating a whole host of
terrifying and deluding forms. Think truth, speak truth, live
truth, and then you shall be free from the illusions of the
astral world.

Preparation for Yoga

People say that I put the ideal of discipleship so very high that
nobody can hope to become a disciple. But I have not said that no
one can become a disciple who does not reproduce the description
that is given of the perfect disciple. One may. But we do it at
our own peril. A man may be thoroughly capable along one line,
but have a serious fault along another. The serious fault will
not prevent him from becoming a disciple, but he must suffer for
it. The initiate pays for his faults ten times the price he would
have had to pay for them as a man of the world. That is why I
have put the ideal so high. I have never said that a person must
come utterly up to the ideal before becoming a disciple, but I
have said that the risks of becoming a disciple without these
qualifications are enormous. It is the duty of those who have
seen the results of going through the gateway with faults in
character, to point out that it is well to get rid of these
faults first. Every fault you carry through the gateway with you
becomes a dagger to stab you on the other side. Therefore it is
well to purify yourself as much as you can, before you are
sufficiently evolved on any line to have the right to say: "I
will pass through that gateway." That is what I intended to be
understood when I spoke of qualifications for discipleship. I
have followed along the ancient road which lays down these
qualifications which the disciple should bring with him; and if
he comes without them, then the word of Jesus is true, that he
will be beaten with many stripes; for a man can afford to do in
the outer world with small result what will bring terrible
results upon him when once he is treading the Path.

The End

What is to be the end of this long struggle? What is the goal of
the upward climbing, the prize of the great battle? What does the
yogi reach at last? He reaches unity. Sometimes I am not sure
that large numbers of people, if they realised what unity means,
would really desire to reach it. There are many "virtues" of your
ordinary life which will drop entirely away from you when you
reach unity. Many things you admire will be no longer helps but
hindrances, when the sense of unity begins to dawn. All those
qualities so useful in ordinary life--such as moral indignation,
repulsion from evil, judgment of others--have no room where unity
is realised. When you feel repulsion from evil, it is a sign that
your Higher Self is beginning to awaken, is seeing the dangers of
evil: he drags the body forcibly away from it. That is the
beginning of the conscious moral life. Hatred of evil is better
at that stage than indifference to evil. It is a necessary stage.
But repulsion cannot be felt when a man has realised unity, when
he sees God made manifest in man. A man who knows unity cannot
judge another. "I judge no man," said the Christ. He cannot be
repelled by anyone. The sinner is himself, and how shall he be
repelled from himself? For him there is no "I" or "Thee," for we
are one.

This is not a thing that many honestly wish for. It is not a
thing that many honestly desire. The man who has realised unity
knows no difference between himself and the vilest wretch that
walks the earth. He sees only the God that walks in the sinner,
and knows that the sin is not in the God but in the sheath. The
difference is only there. He who has realised the inner greatness
of the Self never pronounces judgment upon another, knows that
other as himself, and he himself as that other--that is unity. We
talk brotherhood, but how many of us really practice it? And even
that is not the thing the yogi aims at. Greater than brotherhood
are identity and realisation of the Self as one. The Sixth Root
Race will carry brotherhood to the highest point. The Seventh
Root Race will know identity, will realise the unity of the human
race. To catch a glimpse of the beauty of that high conception,
the greatness of the unity in which "I" and "mine," "you" and
"yours" have vanished, in which we are all one life, even to do
that lifts the whole nature towards divinity, and those who can
even see that unity is fair; they are the nearer to the
realisation of the Beauty that is God.

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "An Introduction to Yoga" ***

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