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- An Introduction to Yoga - 6/18 -

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 Samadhi.

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

An Introduction to Yoga - 6/18

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