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14 Yoga (III)

XIV. Yoga  (III)

The five ethereal currents of sensation are focused in the brain, and motion is transmitted to the mental principle from these five centers of force. These various foci serve a connecting links between the mental and the life-principles. The visual currents produce in the mind the capability of becoming conscious of color. In other words, they produce eyes in the mind. Similarly, the mind gets the capability of receiving the impressions of the four remaining sensations. This capability is acquired after the exposure of ages. Cycles upon cycles pass, and the mind is not yet capable of receiving these tatwic vibrations. The wave of life begins its organized journey upon earth with vegetable forms. Since that time external currents begin to affect the vegetable organism, and this is the beginning of what we call sensation. The modifications of the external tatwas through the individualized vegetable life strike the chords of the latent mind, but it will not yet respond. It is not in sympathy. Higher and higher through vegetable forms the life-wave travels; greater and greater is the force with which it strikes the mental chords, and better and better is the capability of that principle to respond to the tatwic calls of life. When we reach the animal kingdom the external tatwic foci are just visible. These are the sensuous organs, each of which has the capability of focusing its own peculiar tatwic rays into itself. In the lowest forms of animal life they are just visible, and this is a sign that the mental principle is then in a comparatively high state of perfection: it has begun to respond somewhat to the external tatwic call. It might be remarked here that this is the superposed relative mind, and not the absolute original mental truti, both of which I have already described. It is the uprising of this evolutionary finite structure on all the planes of life that has led a German philosopher to the conclusion that God is Becoming. This is true of course, but it is only true of the finite Universe of names and forms and not of the absolute towards which it is moving.

To resume: The exposure of this animal life to the external tatwas is longer and longer, and the strength becomes greater and greater in their various foci, the formation of these foci becomes higher and higher, the external call upon the mind is stronger and stronger, and the mental response is more and more perfect. A time comes in the progress of this mental evolution when the five mental senses are perfectly developed, as is marked by the development of the external senses. We call the action of the five mental senses the phenomenon of perception. On the manifestation of this perception is raised the mighty fabric of perception of those mental manifestations that I have discussed in the essay on Mind. The way in which this evolution takes place is sketched there too.

The external tatwas of gross matter create gross foci in a gross body from whence to send their currents. The soul does the same. The tatwic currents of the external soul, Iswara, create similar centers of action in connection with the mind. But the tatwic vibrations of the soul are finer than those of the life-principle. The mental matter takes a longer time to respond to the call of Iswara than it does to answer to the call of Prana. It is not till the life-wave reaches humanity that the vibrations of the soul begin to show themselves in the mind. The foci of psychic currents are located in what is called the vijnana maya kosha, the psychic coil. At the time of the beginning of human life, the psychic foci go on gaining strength, race after race, till we reach the point that I have called the awakening of the soul. That process ends in the confirmation of the state of paravairagya. From this state there are only a few steps to the power of what has been called ulterior or psychic perception. Our former perception may now be called animal perception. And just as the mighty fabric of inference and verbal authority has been raised on the basis of animal perception, a more mighty fabric of inference and verbal authority has been raised on the basis of psychic perception by ancient Aryan sages. We shall come to that by and bye.

As practice confirms the state of paravairagya in the Yogi’s mind, it gets the most perfect calm. It is open to all sorts of tatwic influences, without any sensuous disturbance. The next power that consequently shows itself is called samapatti. I define this word as that mental state in which it becomes capable of receiving the reflection of the subjective and the objective worlds, and the means of knowledge at the slightest motion, however imparted.

Intuition has four stages:

  1. Sa vitarka, verbal,
  2. Nir vitarka, wordless,
  3. Sa vichara, meditative,
  4. Nir vichara, ultra-meditative.

The state of intuition has been likened to a bright, pure, transparent, colorless crystal. Place whatever you will behind such a crystal, and it will show itself in the color of that object. And so does the mind behave in this state. Let the tatwic rays that constitute the objective world fall on it, and it shows itself in the colors of the objective world. Remove these colors, and it is again as pure as crystal, ready to show in itself any other colors that might be presented to it. Think of the elementary forces of Nature, the tatwa, think of the gross objects where they work, think of the organs of sense and their genesis and the method of their operations, think of the soul, liberated or bound, and the mind readily falls into each of these states. It retains no particular color that might oppose or vitiate any other color entering it. The first stage of intuition is verbal. It is the most common in this age and therefore the most easily intelligible. Let the reader think of a mind in which no color is evoked at the sound of scientific words. Let him think of thousands of those men in whose minds the sounds of their own language, full of high and great ideas, is as strange as Hebrew. Take an uneducated English peasant and teach him to read Comus. Do you think those beautiful words will carry to him all they are intended to convey? But why an uneducated peasant? Did the great Johnson himself understand the beauties of Milton? Take again a common schoolboy, and read to him in his own language the truths of philosophy. Does that language, even if you gave him its lexicographic meaning, convey any idea to his mind? Take the Upanishad, and read it to any pandit who can understand Sanskrit reasonably well. Does anyone doubt (I do not) that he does not understand all that those noble words convey? With such a mind, let him compare the mind of a really educated man, a mind that almost intuitively takes in the true sense of words. To take in the full sense that words are intended to convey is not an easy task, even for the highly educated. Prejudice, deep-seated antagonistic theories, the strength of one’s own convictions, and perhaps some other characteristics of the mind prove to be an insurmountable obstacle. Even a John Stuart Mill could not properly understand the philosophy of Sir William Hamilton. One of the greatest Oriental scholars says that Patanjali’s system is no philosophy at all! Another has expressed himself to the effect that Patanjali’s Aphorisms on Yoga are mere fanaticism! There are many tantrasof which, though we might translate them into any language, very few of us really know the meaning. This is a very grave shortcoming, and sometimes much to be regretted. It disappears only with the manifestation of verbal intuition. In this state the Yogi is at once en rapport with the author of the book, and this is because his mind is free from every blinding prejudice, and is in fact a pure, bright, colorless crystal, ready to show any phase of color that might come in contact with it.

The next stage of intuition is wordless. In this you no longer stand in need of books to initiate yourself into the secrets of nature. Your mind becomes capable of serving these truths from their fountainhead: true pictures of everything in every state of the objective word which through the agency of prana are represented in the universal mind, pictures that are the souls of these things, their own true selves, pregnant with every state in which the thing has passed, or has to pass, the realities of the various and varying phases of the phenomenal world, the thing which in a table, a glass, a pen, and in fact any and every thing, is hard or soft, long or short, white or black.

These state have for their object the gross phenomenal world. The next two stages of intuition have for their object the world of forces that lies at the root of the changes of the gross world, the world of subtle bodies. The meditative intuition has for its object only the present manifestation of the currents of the subtle body, the forces that are already showing or going to show themselves. In this state, for example, the Yogi knows intuitively the present forces of the atmospheric Prana as they are gathering strength enough to give us a shower of rain or snow, but he does not know what has given them their present activity, or whether the potential will ever become the actual, and if yes, to what extent. He knows the forces that are working at the present moment in that tree, that horse, that man, the powers that keep these things in the state they are in, but he does not know the antecedents and consequents of that state.

The next state has for its object all the three states of subtle bodies. The present state is know of course, but with it the Yogi draws in the whole history of the object from beginning to end. Place before him a rose, and he knows its subtle principle in all this states, antecedents and consequents. He is familiar with the little beginnings of the bush and its growth in various stages; he knows how the budding began, how the bud opened, and how it grows into a beautiful flower. He knows what its end shall be, and when. Put before him a closed letter, and he knows not only what that letter contains, but he can trace those thoughts to the brain whence they proceeded, to the hand that wrote the letter, to the room in which they were written, and so on. It is in this state too that the mind knows mind, without the medium of words.

These four states constitute what is called the objective trance (savija samadhi).

Occasionally these powers show themselves in many minds. But that simply shows that the favored mortal is on the right track. He must make sure of the point if he would win.

When the last stage of this samadhi is confirmed in the mind, our psychic senses gain the power of that amount of certain knowledge which is the portion of our animal senses. The authority of these senses is supreme with us, so far as the gross world is concerned. In a similar way there is no room left for us to doubt the truth of the knowledge that our psychic senses bring us. The high power of knowing every supersensuous truth with perfect certainty is known as Ritambhara, or psychic perception.

The knowledge that psychic perception gives us is by no means to be confounded with the knowledge obtained through inference, imagination, or the records of others’ experience.

Inference, imagination, and verbal authority, based on animal perception, can only work upon knowledge obtained through animal senses. But psychic perception and inference based upon that has for its object things of the supersensuous world, the realities that underlie the phenomenal existence with which we are familiar. That perception takes in the fact of the existence and the nature of Prakriti, the most subtle state of matter, just as animal perception takes in gross matter.

Animal perception draws the mind towards gross matter, the world that has given it birth. So does psychic perception draw the mind towards the soul. The practice of objective samadhi destroys itself. The mind takes in so much of the higher energy of the soul that it loses its mental consistency. Down goes the entire structure of unreal names and forms. The soul lives in herself, and not in the mind as now.

With this the greater part of my work is done. It is now clear that what we call man lives chiefly in the mind. The mind has two entities to affect it. The one is the life-principle, the other the psychic principle, the once producing certain changes in the mind from below, the other from above. These changes have been recorded, and it has been found that the dominion of the soul is more desirable than that of the life principle. When the mind loses itself entirely in the soul, man becomes God.

The object of these essays has been roughly to portray the nature, function and mutual relation of the principles; in other words, to trace the operation of the universal tatwic law on all the planes of existence. This has been briefly done. A good deal more remains to be said about the powers latent in the Prana and the mind, which show themselves in special departments of the progress of man. That need not, however, form part of the present series, and therefore I close this series with some description of the first and last principle of the cosmos: the Spirit.