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- An Introduction to Yoga - 5/18 -

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,

An Introduction to Yoga - 5/18

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