THE LARGER CONSCIOUSNESS
Annie Besant (1904)
This year we are going to study together a subject of vital importance to the thoughtful, to the earnest, to those who desire to serve humanity, to those who wish to help the race forward in its evolution. The subject of my discourses I have called “The Laws of the Higher Life”, because so many people in dealing with religion, that has to do with the Higher Life, seem inclined to remove it from the realm of law, and to bring it into some strange region of arbitrary whim, into some strange region of results without endeavour, of failure without weakness. This idea that spirituality is not subject to Law is an idea that is natural at the first sight; for we find a corresponding analogy in the way in which the laws of the physical plane have been overlooked, just in proportion as they have been unstudied and unknown.
We glance for a moment at some sudden eruption of natural forces, some tremendous explosion which throws up perhaps in a few hours a mighty mountain, or we see crags and rocky peaks where before there was verdure, and in a valley which was a plain we discern the outlines of swelling hills. In such an eruption, man once saw something arbitrary, something catastrophic, something disorderly, something unexpected, something outside the orderly growth of evolution. But we know from further study that there is nothing more disorderly in the outburst of a volcano than there is in the slow growth of the sea-bottom, until at last, after tens of thousands of years, that bottom becomes a range of mountains. The one was thought orderly, the other cataclysmic. But now we know that all natural processes, sudden or slow, unexpected or predicted, come within the realm of Law, and are utterly orderly in their happenings.
It is the same in the Spiritual World. We may sometimes see apparently sudden eruptions of the forces of the spiritual realm, a sudden change, for instance, of the whole life of a man; we may see the character wholly altered to all appearance; we may see the whole nature of the man changed even in an hour. But we have learned to understand that here also Law is supreme; that in this also there is nothing disorderly, although much that many do not yet understand. And we are beginning to realise that in the spiritual, as in the physical universe, there is the one Supreme Life, manifesting in an infinite diversity of ways, and that that Life is ever orderly in its workings, no matter how strange, no matter how wonderful, no matter how unexpected, they may seem to be to our dim and purblind eyes.
So we shall rest for a moment on the idea of Law, and see what it means. Then after explaining what I mean by “Law”, I shall try to show you that, without a possibility of doubt, even apart from religion and religious thought, there is a larger consciousness than that which works in the brain and the nervous system, a larger consciousness than that which we call the waking consciousness of a man. Then tomorrow afternoon, I shall try to show you how that consciousness may begin to unfold and grow by the full recognition of the Law of Duty, by the attempt to fulfill perfectly every obligation of life. In the third and last lecture, I shall pass on to that loftier and sublimer region where the inner law takes the place of the law of outer obligation, where instead of duty, which means the payment of debt, there is sacrifice, which is the outpouring of life, where everything is done gladly, everything is done willingly, in perfect self-surrender, where the man does not need to ask: “What have I to do? What is my duty?” but where he works because the Divine outwelling finds its channel in his life, and he needs no outer compulsion because of the perfection of the inner law. Then he grows by the Law of Sacrifice, which is the Law that rules the universe as well as the hearts of men, the Sacrifice which is a faint reflection of the Divine Sacrifice by which the worlds were made, that Sacrifice which finds its small reflection, its petty, minute reproduction, wherever the heart of man throws itself at the Lotus Feet of the Lord of Sacrifice, and thus becomes a channel of the Divine outpouring, however small and insignificant at first, a channel of the life of the Logos, filled not by the little that is given, but by the great outpouring that uses man as its channel.
Now let us then try to understand what we mean by the term “Law”. I have found over and over again confusion of thought on this question of what is meant by “Law”, and this lands the student in many perplexities and confusions. When we speak of the law of the land you know very well what is meant thereby. The law of the land is an ever-changing thing, changing with the change of ideas in the authority that makes the law, whether that authority comes from the mouth of an autocratic Monarch, or from the voice of a Legislative Assembly, whether it is proclaimed in the name of the Sovereign; or of the community in which the law has to act and rule. A law is always a thing which is made, a command issued, and the authority that makes the law can change the law, the authority that creates it can annul it also. Nor is this the only thing that we may observe about the law of the land. The laws are commands: “Do this”, “Do not do that”; and the commands are enforced by penalty. If you break such and such a command, such and such a punishment will follow.
Further, when we study the penalties attached to laws in different countries, the punishments for one and the same breach of the command, we find that they are as arbitrary and changing as the laws themselves. They are not the results, in any sense, of the act which has broken the law. But the penalty in every case is artificially attached to the breaking of the law, and it can be changed at any time. For instance, a man steals; one nation will punish that act with the gaol, another with the whip, another with the knife that cuts off the offending hand; another with the rope that ends the life. In every case; the penalty attached has nothing in common with the offence. But when we speak of the Laws of Nature, we do not mean any one of the things that we have taken as characteristic of the laws of man. The Law of Nature is not a command issued by any authority.
It is a statement of the conditions under which a certain thing invariably happens; not a command, but a statement of conditions. Wherever those conditions are found, there will follow a certain event; it is the declaration of a sequence, a succession, unchanging, immutable, unrepealable, because these laws are expressions of the Divine Nature, in which there is no change, nor shadow of turning, The Law of Nature is not a command: “Do this”, “Do not do that”. It is a statement: “If such and such conditions are present, such and such results will happen”; if the conditions change, the results will change with them.
Nor is there any arbitrary penalty attached to the Law of Nature. Nature does not punish. You have in Nature the statement of the conditions, the sequence of happening, and nothing more. Given such a condition, such and such will follow; the result is an inevitable sequence or succession, it is not an arbitrary infliction or punishment.
But the contrast of the Law of Nature and the law of man may be carried further. The law of man can be broken, but no Law of Nature can be broken. Nature knows no violation of her Laws. You may break the law of man; you cannot break the Law of Nature. The Law remains the same whatever you may do. You may break yourself to pieces against it, but the Law will remain unchanged; you may shatter and shiver yourself against it, but the Law remains firm as a rock, against which the billows break themselves. They are unable to shake it or move it by a hair’s-breadth; they can only fall into shattered foam at its base.
Such is the Law of Nature – a statement of conditions, of invariable sequences, of inviolable, unbreakable happenings; such is the Law. Thus must you think of it, when you come to deal with the higher as with the lower life.
Then there comes to you a sense of perfect security, of infinite power, of unbounded possibilities. You are not in a region of arbitrary whims, where one day this may follow, another day that. You can work with absolute certainty of results. Your own fancies will not change the Law; your ever-changing emotions will not touch the Eternal Will; you can work with a confidence of result, for you are resting on the Reality, the one Reality which is the one Law in the Universe.
But there is something wanted to work in peace and security in a realm of Law – the thing that is wanted is Knowledge.
The laws which, so long as we are ignorant of them, may toss us from place to place, may break our plans, may frustrate our endeavours, may bring our hopes to ruin, may lay us level with the dust – those same laws, which treat us thus while we are ignorant, become our servants, our helpers, and our uplifters, when knowledge has replaced ignorance. How often have I quoted in this land, as well as in others, those pregnant and significant words, spoken by an English scientist – words that ought to be engraven in letters of gold – “Nature is conquered by obedience”!
Know the Law, obey it, work with it, and it lifts you up with its infinite strength, and carries you to the goal that you desire to reach. The Law which is a danger when not known, becomes a saviour when known and understood. See how physical Nature has taught you more and more, through the years that lie behind us, this wonderful fact. You see the lightning blaze from the stormy sky, and it flashes down, strikes a turret or a tower, and behold! they fall in ruins, destroyed by the uncurbed and unbridled flash of fire. How dangerous, how terrific, how mysterious! How shall poor man face the fire of the skies? But man has now learned to harness the same fire to his service; he has yoked it by the yoke of knowledge. And behold, the same force now carries his messages over seas and lands, and joins the father to the son who has travelled thousands of miles away, in the loving bond of sympathy and communication; the lightning that destroyed becomes the electric fluid that gives hope and life to the anxious parent, and carries messages of love and goodwill over land and sea. Nature is conquered and her forces are our servants, when we learn to work in her way.
So with all other forces, above and below; so in every field of the universe, visible and invisible. You must know the Laws of the Higher Life, if you would live it. Know them, and they will carry you onward to your goal; be ignorant of them, and your efforts will be frustrated and all your endeavours will be as though they had not been.
I now pass on to speak on what I have called the Larger Consciousness. I want to speak of it today from two standpoints: from the familiar standpoint of the East, which has learned to study consciousness from within, and which regards consciousness, working in the body, as the lowest manifestation of consciousness, a limited representation of the higher and larger consciousness. I want to speak of it, not only from that standpoint, but from the standpoint of the West as well. Chiefly for this reason; as Western thought and Western science have spread in this country, there is such an apparent certainty about them, such a glamour, that sometimes the Western thought will win a hearing when the familiar Eastern presentation of it may miss its road to the mind. I, therefore, want to show you how, among many persons trained in the habits of the materialistic thinking and materialistic science of the West; there is now a recognition that there is a consciousness larger than the brain consciousness, a recognition of a consciousness which transcends the body, and which is a matter of wonder and puzzlement, a matter of controversy and widespread dispute, on which men of science are experimenting, which they are trying to understand, which they are trying, as it were, to reduce into some familiar form within the realm of Law.
The investigation is leading them by scientific experiments on the physical plane, to the same results which we find in Eastern teachings, results obtained in the East by the practice of Yoga and the consequent development of the Higher Consciousness, that looks from the higher downwards on to the physical plane. Eastern Psychology – starting from the fact of the Higher Self, and seeing that Self working in various upadhis – traces out deductively its workings on the physical plane. Western Psychology – starting on the physical plane, studying the upadhi first and then the consciousness in it – is slowly climbing up step by step, until compelled to transcend ordinary bodily conditions, until, by its own artificial methods, it is producing states of consciousness long familiar in the East, and trying, in a vague and groping fashion, to work out some theory which will make the facts intelligible and coherent. The long road is somewhat strange and unpromising, but is nevertheless coming to a similar goal to that found out long ages since by the spiritual insight of the Seer.
That is the line along which I propose to travel this afternoon. We need not delay on the subject of what is called waking consciousness – the mental faculties, emotions, etc., that you find around you in ordinary daily life. The West began to study these through the brain and nervous system. There was a time, some twenty-five years ago, when no Psychology was considered sound, which was not based on the knowledge of Physiology. The dictum was: “You must begin by studying the body, and the nervous system, and the laws of its working, and the conditions of its activities. As you know those, you will understand the workings of thought, and the activities of the mind; and thus base a sound rational Psychology on your physiological knowledge.”
I do not think that you would find that idea so completely endorsed among the most advanced students in the West today. But none the less, studying along those physiological lines, they came to very remarkable results, as men always will, when they honestly interrogate Nature.
First, they noticed that man’s consciousness was not restricted to the waking state. They began to study dreams. They began to try to analyse and understand the working of consciousness when the body was asleep. They tabulated the facts after collecting a vast number of them. But they found their investigation was unsatisfactory, because it was difficult to shut out all the conditions that they did not want to study. Sometimes a dream was produced by a disorder in some organ of the body; sometimes it would be produced by over-eating or indigestion. They wanted to eliminate these conditions. Gradually they came to the idea, to try to study the workings of this dream-consciousness by inducing artificial trance, a trance which would be a dream state under certain definite conditions, which could be produced at will, and which was not the result of the disturbance of any organ of the body.
On this we have all the researches of Hypnotism, experiments repeated over and over again; that you can read in the books specially devoted to these studies. What was the net result of these widespread, oftenrepeated experiments? This: that under conditions in which normal thinking was impossible, because the brain was in a lethargic condition, badly supplied with bad blood, under conditions wherein coma ought to have resulted, an entirely unexpected set of results appeared. The mental qualities did not lessen in power; on the contrary, the faculties of the mind became sharper, keener, subtler, more powerful in every way, when the brain was paralysed. To their surprise they found the memory in the trance state reached back over the forgotten years of life, and gave up incidents of childhood long forgotten; not only memory, but the powers of reasoning, arguing, judging, all became stronger, more easily used, more effective in their working; under conditions wherein the senses were locked as in sleep, the functions of the senses were carried on more effectively through organs other than the ordinary ones.
The eye which did not respond to the flash of the electric lamp would pierce distances that in the waking state it did not measure, read books that were kept closed, cut its way through the sheaths of flesh to the interior of the body, and describe diseases were hidden under flesh and skeleton. Similarly with the ear. The ear could hear a sound taking place far beyond the limit of the waking state of hearing, and answer questions addressed from afar, where the ordinary ear could not respond to the faint and delicate vibrations.
These results made men pause, and they began to ask questions: What is this consciousness which sees without eyes, which hears without ears, which remembers when the organ of memory is paralysed, and which reasons when the instrument of reasoning is in lethargy? What is this consciousness, and what are its instruments?
It was not only that in this trance state these strange results came about. It was found that the deeper the trance, the loftier the consciousness. That was the next step. The trance which is not very deep will only show a certain quickening of faculties. Increase the depth of the trance, and the results of consciousness shine out more brilliantly. Facts were collected which showed that man had not one consciousness, but many consciousnesses, so far as their separate working was concerned. They tried experiments with an ignorant peasant woman who in her normal state was dull, stupid, and heavy. They put her into trance, and in trance she became more intelligent; and what was stranger still, she looked down with contempt at her own consciousness in the waking state, criticised its workings, spoke disdainfully of its limitations, uttering harsh phrases, such as, “That creature”, when referring to it.
Still deeper trance, still profounder slumber, and there emerged from that deeper trance a loftier consciousness, a consciousness dignified, grave, sober, looking down upon both the other manifestations, and criticising them with sternness and separation and distance, criticising their actions, blaming their faults, rising above their limitations. Thus in this peasant woman three stages of consciousness were seen, and the deeper the trance the higher the manifested consciousness.
One other strange fact appeared. In her waking state the peasant woman knew nothing of the second or the third consciousness. For her, they did not exist. The second consciousness knew the one below it, but did not know the one above it. The third looked down upon the two, but knew nothing higher than itself. Out of this there came another idea: that not only could the consciousness show higher powers than in the waking state, but that the limited consciousness could not know the larger consciousness which was beyond its own limitations. The higher knew the lower, the lower knew not the higher. The ignorance of the lower was then no proof of the non-existence of the higher. The limitations that bound the lower consciousness could not be used as arguments against the higher condition, which it could not appreciate because of its limitations. Such are some of the results of Western science and its investigations.
Now come we to another line of study. Men, materialistic in their thought, studying carefully the mechanism of the brain, came to certain conclusions as to the kind of brain in which abnormal results of consciousness were manifested, apart from all states of artificially induced trance. That School of thinkers may be summed up in the declaration of Lombroso, a great Italian scientist. He declared that the brain of the man of genius is abnormal and diseased. “Genius is allied to madness”; wherever you find brains in which abnormal happenings are seen, you are there on the lines of disease, and the natural goal of that as insanity.
There was some such idea current even before the days of Lombroso, for we know the line of Shakespeare: “Great wits to madness near allied.”
In itself this statement need not have done very much harm, had it not reached the length to which it is carried by the School of Lombroso. But as applied there, it became a weapon of terrible keenness against all religious experiences. You find men of this School basing their conclusions on physiological facts, and saying that the brain becomes abnormal when responding to certain stimuli to which the normal brain does not respond. As that idea gradually spread, they took the next step and said: “Here is the explanation of all religious experiences. We have always had visions and mystics and seers. Every religion contains testimony of abnormal happenings, declarations of visions, and of things normally invisible to the sound, to the balanced, to the rational brain. A man who sees visions is a man whose brain is diseased; he is a neuropath, he is diseased, be he a Saint or a Sage. All the experiences of the Saints and Sages, all their testimony to the phenomena of the invisible worlds – all these are dreams of disordered intellect, working in the brain which had become overstrained and diseased.”
Religious people, startled by such a statement, scarce knew how to answer it. Stunned at what seemed to them the blasphemy which regarded all religious experiences as neuropathic, the Saints as nothing but neuropaths, victims of a diseased nervous system, sufferers from obscure troubles of the nerves, they knew not what to say. The idea seemed to strike at the very root of hopes of humanity, to take away in one fell swoop the worldwide testimony to the reality of the unseen worlds.
There is one answer that might easily be given to this bold statement. I shall make the answer in the broadest possible form, before explaining the conditions under which it may be made. Suppose it were utterly true; suppose that all humanity’s greatest geniuses in religion, science, and literature were all and every one of them neuropaths, diseased as to their brains: What then?
When we judge the value of what a man gives to the world, we do not judge it by the state of his brain, but by its results on the hearts, the consciences; and the actions of men. If every genius were the twinbrother of a lunatic, if every Saint were diseased as to his brain, if every vision of the Supreme and of the Devas and Saints came through a diseased brain in contact with something: WHAT THEN?
The value of what these have given us, that is the measure by which we measure them. When a man’s life is utterly changed by coming into the presence of a Saint, have we explained the change by saying that the Saint’s brain is diseased? If so, then the disease of the Saint is better than the health of the average plodder; the overstrained brain of the genius is a thousand times more precious to humanity than the normal brain of the man in the street. I ask what these men gave us; and I find that every highest truth that stimulates human endeavour and that has come from God to man, every truth which comforts us in our sorrows, which lifts us above the fear of death, which makes us know ourselves immortal; has come from such neuropaths. What care I for the label you fasten to their brains in your physiology? I worship those who gave to humanity these truths whereby it lives.
My second answer is: Let us consider how far there is proof for truth in this statement of the School of Lombroso. I am prepared to admit that, so far as the physiological conditions are concerned, Lombroso is to some extent right; and it is natural that it should be so. The normal brain of man, the result of man’s evolution up to the present stage, is the brain which can deal best with the ordinary matters of the world, with buying and selling, cheating and swindling, getting the better of the weaker, and trampling down the feeble. The normal brain of man has to deal with the rough and tumble of life and the tug of the world; it has to do with the ordinary events of life; you cannot expect the manifestations of the Higher Consciousness through a brain nourished on unclean food, made the slave of passion, and the handmaid of selfishness and cruelty. Why expect from that brain any response to the spiritual impulses of the Higher Consciousness, or any sensitiveness to the keener vibrations of the higher worlds? It is the product of past evolution, and it represents the past.
But what of the other brain, the brain that responds to the subtler vibrations? These are the brains that have the promise of the future. They tell us of the evolution that shall be, not of the evolution that has been. Those who are in the front of evolution are likely, with their subtler, more evolved nature, to be far more easily upset by the coarser vibrations of the lower world than those adapted to it; and the very fact that their brains are responsive to the subtler; will render them less fitted to answer to the coarser vibrations of the lower world.
We have two very different conditions to consider; first, the more highly evolved brain, normally sensitive and ready to respond to subtle vibrations, in a state of very delicate equilibrium; that is the brain of the genius – spiritual, artistic, literary. Secondly, the normal brain under stress of keen emotion, rendered thereby abnormally sensitive and tense, and thrown more or less out of gear; that is the brain of the ordinary religious mystic and seer.
The first will be normally healthy and sane, but not well adapted to meet the demands of the lower life, and careless of ordinary affairs; it will be easily jarred by violent vibrations, and hence often irritable and impatient; and it will be more or less easily thrown off its balance. The delicate equilibrium of its complicated nervous machinery will be far more readily disturbed than the rough self-adjusting mechanism of the less evolved brain. Later in evolution, such brains will have gained stability and elasticity; at present, they easily lose equilibrium.
The second, normally unfit to respond to subtle vibrations, can only be raised to a sufficient point of tension by a strain that injures its mechanism and shows itself as nervous disorder. Strong emotion; intense desire to reach the Higher Life, prolonged fasting and prayer, anything, in fact, that overstrains the nerves, will, for the time, render the brain sufficiently sensitive to answer vibrations from the subtler planes of being.
Then visions and other abnormal happenings will occur. The super-physical consciousness finds, for a brief time, a vehicle sufficiently sensitive to receive and answer to its impulses. The neuropathic brain does not make the vision; that belongs to the super-physical world: but the neuropathic brain affords the conditions necessary for the vision to impress itself on the physical consciousness. Hysteria and other nervous diseases will, in thee cases, frequently accompany such phenomena.
It is true that where evolution is understood and wisely guided, it is not necessary that disease should be the condition of these higher experiences. But it is not unnatural that, in many cases, such men and women – unevolved and untrained, with no habit of introspection and self-analysis, and no knowledge of the working of the laws of consciousness, plunged in the ordinary conditions of life – should be less rational on the physical plane than their fellows, caring less for the things of this world because they care so much for the things of the Higher Life.
For a moment let us see why there should be this danger. The reason is simple. Take a string which, when loose, will not give out any musical note. Make it tense, and the note will sound out from the tightened string. It is only when stretched that it will give the musical note. But also, it is then that it is exposed to the danger of snapping. So with the brain. While it is what may be called slack, it simply responds to the slow vibrations of the physical plane; no note of heavenly music can sound out through that brain, because its nervous matter is not sufficiently tense to respond to the more rapid vibrations. It is only when the nervous matter is made tense by strong emotion, or by a great strain of some kind, that the ordinary brain can answer to them. Hence the strain which shows itself as nervous excitement, as hysteria, in daily life, does afford the condition of nervous matter capable of responding to more rapid and subtle vibrations than those of the physical plane.
The tension of the nervous state is a necessary condition for the showing out of the Higher Life and Consciousness. When you understand this fact well, the great attack of the School of Lombroso on all religious experiences loses all its power and menace. The disease, the neuropathy, is natural – for you are dealing with vehicles in the ordinary stage of evolution, unfit for subtle vibrations. You have to refine them, to make them more tense, in order that they may respond to higher vibrations. In our present state of evolution, surrounded as we are by unclean circumstances, impure magnetisms, disturbing influences of every kind, it is no wonder that the unfit brain, in straining itself to answer to the higher, should be upset by the lower, and become discordant among the rough tones of earth.
Look to the East, and see how this danger has been understood and guarded against and avoided. Eastern psychology postulates a Self that gathers round him upadhi after upadhi, vehicle after vehicle, a Self which gradually shapes his own instruments. He shapes a mental body, that by that his powers of thinking may come into touch with the outer world; he shapes an astral body, that by that his powers of emotion may be expressed in the outer world; he shapes a physical body, in order that by that his aspect of activity may work in the outer world. In Eastern psychology, we are dealing with a consciousness which shapes bodies according to its needs.
Now, how shall the bodies be shaped to the needs of the Higher Consciousness? By gradually refining them and bringing them under the control of the Higher: and hence meditation is ordained as the means. But where a man wished to make very rapid progress, it was found easier to go to the jungle and temporarily isolate himself from the lower world. Thus he escaped the coarser magnetisms of the outer world, and put himself in a place in which the rougher vibrations did not reach him; hence he was less likely to be upset by these harsher and rougher vibrations. There in the jungles and forests such men began to meditate. They made the brain tense and refined by the concentration of the mind, by the gradual restraint of the lower faculties, and fixed it in rapt attention on the higher.
The consciousness working from above played on the physical brain through this fixed attention, and gradually made it more tense, and tuned it to respond safely to the higher vibrations. Then it strove to draw the lower upwards, until it answered no longer to the stimuli of the outer world. The same insensitiveness to the outer vibrations that hypnotism gains by artificial means, is gained in Yoga by complete withdrawal of the consciousness from the Indriyas.
The next step, after closing the senses, was to hold quiet the powers of the mind, to make the mind steady, so that it might cease vibrating and become still, able to answer the vibrations coming from above. When the mind was made tranquil and quiet, when no desire was allowed to trouble its serenity, as a lake in perfect calm, on that mind at peace was thrown the reflection of the Self; the man saw in the tranquillity of the mind and the silence of the sense, the majesty; the glory, of the Self. That is the Eastern way.
Let us understand from this standpoint how the brain has to be changed, how it has to be refined; and how it has to be improved, how all its connecting links have to be fashioned and manufactured for the purposes of the expression of the Higher Consciousness. Following along this line of self-discipline, or Yoga, what are the conditions of brain evolution? First, purity of body; secondly, refinement of body, and increased complexity of brain. These are essential.
Do not suppose that whilst your passions are still ruling you, whilst their demands can upset the mind, whilst the body is unrestrained, you are ready to receive on the mind the reflection of the Self. You must learn to rule the body, to keep it under control, by giving it proper sleep, and proper exercise, and proper food, satisfying all its needs, so as to keep it in health, not as a master, but as the obedient servant of consciousness. Hear what Shri Krishna says: “Verily Yoga is not for him who eateth too much, nor who abstaineth to excess, nor who is addicted to too much sleep, nor even to wakefulness, O Arjuna.”* [ * Bhagavad Gita, vi 16.]
There is to be no extreme on either side; no torturing of the body that is to be the instrument, but also no yielding to the body that it may imagine itself the master of the Self. Where this training is followed, the brain becomes able to receive the subtler vibrations, without loss of equilibrium, and health is not sacrificed to gain delicacy and sensitiveness. The yogi is most exquisitely sensitive, but perfectly sane.
Having controlled and purified the body, we can make it sensitive to the higher vibrations, responsive to the sounding of the sublimer notes. But to do this, we must lose our interest in the lower, and become indifferent to the attractions of the outer life. Vairagya, dispassion, we must have, for that is a condition of the Higher Consciousness revealing itself in the lower world. While you love the lower things of the world, the Higher Consciousness cannot use this upadhi as its vehicle. One-pointed devotion to the Supreme, a clear, well-balanced, intelligent development of the intellect and emotions, this is the road along which we must tread, if the Higher Consciousness is to be manifested on earth. We must be pure in life, compassionate, and tender; we must learn to see the Self in every one around us, in the ugly as well as in the beautiful, in the low as well as in the high, in the plant as well as in the Deva. He who sees the Self in everything, and all things in the Self, he seeth verily, he seeth.