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- An Introduction to Yoga - 18/18 -

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 unwary.

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.

An Introduction to Yoga - 18/18

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