RAMA PRASAD, M.A., F.T.S.
Psychic Force is the form of matter known as vijnana in active connection with the mental and life matters. In the quotation given above from the Ishnopnishat, it has been said that the deva – the macrocosmic and microcosmic manifestations of prana – do not reach the atma, inasmuch as it moves faster than even the mind. The tatwas of prana move with a certain momentum. The mind has greater velocity, and psychic matter greater still. In the presence of the higher, the lower plane always appears to be at rest, and is always amenable to its influence. Creation is a manifestation of the various macrocosmic spheres with their various centers. In each of these spheres – the prana, the manas, and the vijnana – the universal tatwic rays give birth to innumerable individualities on their own planes. Each truti on the plane of prana is a life-coil (prana maya kosha). The rays that give existence to each of these truti come from each and all of the other truti, which are situated in the space allotted to each of the five tatwas and their innumerable admixtures, and which represent therefore all the possible tatwic manifestations of life.
On the plane of manas each mental truti represents an individual mind. Each individual mind is given birth to by mental tatwic rays from the other quarter. These rays came from all the other truti situated under the dominion of each of the five tatwas and their innumerable admixtures and representing therefore all the possible tatwic phases of mental life.
On the psychic plane, each truti represents an individual soul brought into existence by the psychic tatwas flying from every point to every other point. These rays come from every truti situated under the dominion of each of the five tatwas and their innumerable admixtures, and thus representing all the possible manifestations of psychic life.
The latter class of truti on the various planes of existence are the so-called gods and goddesses. The former class are coils that manifest themselves in earthly life.
Each psychic truti is thus a little reservoir of every possible tatwic phase of life that might manifest itself on the lower planes of existence. And so, sending its rays downward just like the sun, these truti manifest themselves in the truti of the lower planes. According to the prevalent phase of tatwic color in these three sets of truti, the vijana (psychic) selects its mind, the mind selects its coil, and in the end the life-coil creates its habitation in the earth.
The first function of the individual truti vijana is to sustain in the life of the mental truti just as the macrocosmic vijana sustains the life of the macrocosmic mind. And so also does the mental truti sustain the life of the individual truti of prana. In this state, the souls are conscious only of their subjectivity with reference to the mind and the prana. They know that they sustain the lower truti, they know themselves, they know all the other psychic truti, and they know the whole of the macrocosm of Iswara, the tatwic rays reflecting every point into their indvidual consciousness. They are omniscient; they are perfectly happy because they are perfectly balanced.
When the prana maya kosha enters the habitation of earth, the soul is assailed by finitude for the first time. This means a curtailment, or rather the creation of a new curtailed consciousness. For long ages the soul takes no note of these finite sensations, but as the impressions gain greater and greater strength they are deluded into a belief of identity with these finite impressions. From absolute subjectivity consciousness is transferred to relative passivity. A new world of appearances is created. This is their fall. How these sensations and perceptions, etc., are born, and how they affect the soul, already has been discussed. How the soul is awakened out of this forgetfulness and what it does then to liberate itself will come further on.
It will be seen at this stage that the soul lives two lives, an active and a passive. In the active capacity it goes on governing and sustaining the substantial life of the lower truti. In the passive capacity it forgets itself and deludes itself into identity with the changes of the lower truti imprinted upon them by the external tatwas. The consciousness is transferred to finite phases.
The whole fight of the soul upon reawakening consists in the attempt to do away with its passive capacity and regain this pristine purity. This fight is yoga, and the powers that yoga evokes in the mind and the prana are nothing more than tatwic manifestations of the psychic force, calculated to destroy the power of the external world on the soul. This constant change of phase in the new unreal finite coils of existence is the upward march of the life current from the beginnings of relative consciousness to the original absolute state.
There is no difficulty in understanding the how of these manifestations. They are there in the psychic reservoir, and they simply show themselves when the lower trutis assume the state of sympathetic polish and tatwic inclination. Thus the spectrum only shows itself when certain objects assume the polish and form of a prism.
Ordinarily the psychic force does not manifest itself either in the prana or the mind in any uncommon phase. Humanity progresses as a whole, and whatever manifestations of this force take place, they take in races as a whole. Finite minds are therefore slow to recognize it.
But all the individuals of a race do not have the same strength of tatwic phase. Some show greater sympathy with the psychic force in one or more of its component tatwic phases. Such organisms are called mediums. In them the particular tatwic phase of psychic force with which they are in greater sympathy than the rest of their mind, makes its uncommon appearance. This difference of individual sympathy is caused by a difference of degree in the commissions and omission of different individuals, or by the practice of yoga.
In this way, this psychic force might manifest itself in the shape of all the innumerable possibilities of tatwic combination. So far as theory is concerned, these manifestations might cover the whole domain of tatwic manifestations in the visible macrocosm (and also in the invisible, which, however, we do not know). These manifestations may violate all our present notions of time and space, cause and effect, force and matter. Intelligently utilized, this force might very well perform the functions of the vril of “The Coming Race”. The following essays will trace some of these manifestations on the plane of the mind.
I have described two principles of the human constitution: prana and manas. Something also has been said about the nature and relations of the soul. The gross body was omitted as needing no special handling.
The five manifestations of each of the two principles (the prana and the manas), it may be mentioned, may be either fortunate or unfortunate. Those manifestations are fortunate which are consonant with our true culture, which lead us to our highest spiritual development, the summum bonum of humanity. Those that keep us chained to the sphere of recurring births and deaths may be called unfortunate. On each of the two planes of life (prana and manas) there is a possibility of double existence. We might have a fortunate and an unfortunate prana, a happy and an unhappy mind. Considering these two to be four, the number of principles of the human constitution might be raised from five to seven. The unhappy intelligences of the one plane ally themselves with the unhappy ones of the other, the happy ones with the happy, and we have in the human constitution an arrangement of principles something like the following:
(1) The gross body (sthula sarira), (2) the unhappy prana, (3) the unhappy mind, (4) the happy prana, (5) the happy mind, (6) the soul (vijana), and (7) the spirit (ananda).
The fundamental division in the fivefold division is upadhi, the particular and distinct state of matter (prakriti) in each case; in the sevenfold division it is the nature of Karma with reference to its effect upon human evolution.
Both the sets of these powers, the blessed and the unhappy, work upon the same plane, and although the blessed manifestations tend in the long run towards the state of moksha, that state is not reached unless and until the higher powers (the siddhi) are induced in the mind by the exercise of yoga. Yoga is a power of the soul. Therefore it is necessary to say something about the soul and Yoga before the higher powers of the mind can be intelligibly described. Yoga is the science of human culture in the highest sense of the word. Its purpose is the purification and strengthening of the mind. By its exercise is filled with high aspirations, and acquires divine powers, while the unhappy tendencies die out. The second and third principles are burnt up by the fire of divine knowledge, and the state of what is called salvation in life is attained. By and bye the fourth principle too becomes neutralized, and the soul passes into a state of manwantaric moksha. The soul may pass higher still according to the strength of her exercise. When the mind too is at rest, as in sound sleep (sushupti) during life, the omniscience of the vijnana is reached. There is still a higher state: the state of ananda. Such are the results of yoga. I must now describe the nature of the thing and the process of acquirement.
So far as the nature of Yoga is concerned, I may say that mankind has reached its present state of development by the exercise of this great power. Nature herself is a great Yogi, and humanity has been, and is being, purified into perfection by the exercise of her sleepless will. Man need only imitate the great teacher to shorten the road to perfection for his individual self. How are we to render ourselves fit for that great imitation? What are the steps on the great ladder of perfection? These things have been discovered for us by the great sages of yore, and Patanjali’s little book is only a short and suggestive transcript of so much of our past experiences and future potentialities as is recorded in the book of nature. This little book uses the word Yoga in a double signification. The first is a state of the mind otherwise called samadhi; the second is a set of acts and observances that induce that state in the mind. The definition given by the sage is a negative one, and is applicable only on the plane of the mind. The source of the positive power lies in the higher principle; the soul Yoga (it is said) is the keeping in check of the five manifestations of the mind. The very wording of the definition is involved in the supposition of the existence of a power that can control and keep the mental manifestations in check. This power is familiar to us as freedom of the will. Although the soul is deluded by the manifestations of egoism (asmita) on the mental plane into regarding herself as a slave of the second and third principles, that is not the fact, and the awakening takes place as soon as the chord of egoism is slackened to a certain extent. This is the first step in the initiation by nature herself of the race of man. It is a matter of necessity. The side-by-side working with each other of the second and third and the fourth and fifth principles weakens the hold of natural mental asmita upon the soul. “I am these, or of these mental manifestations”, says Egoism. Such a state of affairs, however, cannot last long. These manifestations are double in nature; the one is just the reverse of the other. Which of them is one with the ego: the unhappy or the blessed? No sooner is this question asked than the awakening takes place. It is impossible to answer any of these questions in the affirmative, and the soul naturally ends in discovering that she is a separate thing from the mind, and that although she has been the slave, she might be (what she naturally is) the Lord of the mind. Up to this time the soul has been tossed this way or that in obedience to the tatwic vibrations of the mind. Her blind sympathy with the mental manifestations gives her unison with the mind, and hence the tossing. The chord of sympathy is loosened by the waking. The stronger the nature, the greater the departure from unison. Instead of the soul being tossed by the mental vibrations, it is now time that the mind should vibrate in obedience to the vibrations of the soul. This assumption of lordship is the freedom of the will, and this obedience of the mind to the vibrations of the soul is Yoga. The manifestations evoked in the mind by the external tatwas must now give way to the stronger motion coming from the soul. By and bye the mental colors change their very nature, and the mind comes to coincide with the soul. In other words, the individual mental principle is neutralized, and the soul is free in her omniscience.
Let us now trace the acquirements of the mind step by step up to samadhi.
Samadhi, or the mental state induced by the practice of Yoga, has two descriptions. As long as the mind is not perfectly absorbed in the soul the state is called samprajnata. That is the state in which the discovery of new truths follows labor in every department of nature. The second is the state of perfect mental absorption. It is called asamprajnata. In this there is no knowing, no discovering of unknown things. It is a state of intuitive omniscience. Two questions are naturally suggested at the awakening stage:
“If I am these manifestations, which of them am I? I think I am none of them. What am I then? What are these?”
The second question is solved in the samprajnata samadhi, the first in the other. Before entering further into the nature of samadhi, a word about habituation and apathy. These two are mentioned by Patanjali as the two means of checking mental manifestation, and it is very important to understand them thoroughly The manifestation of apathy is the reflection in the mind of the color of the soul when she becomes aware of her free nature and consequently is disgusted at the mastery of the passions. It is a necessary consequence of the awakening. Habituation is the repetition of the state so as to confirm it in the mind.
The confirmation of the mind in this state means a state of ordinary mental inactivity. By this I mean that the five ordinary manifestations are at rest for the first time. This being so, the mind is for the time being left free to receive any influences. Here for the first time we see the influence of the soul in the shape of curiosity (Vitarka). What is this? What is that? How is this? How is that? This is the form in which curiosity shows itself in the mind. Curiosity is a desire to know, and a question is a manifestation of such a desire. But how does man become familiar with questions? The mental shape of curiosity and question will be understood easily by paying a little attention to the remarks I have made on the genesis of desire. The process of the birth of philosophical curiosity is similar to that of the birth of desire. In the latter the impulse comes from the external world through Prana, and in the former, directly from the soul. The place of pleasure in this is supplied by the reflection into the mind of the knowledge of the soul that self and independence are better than non-self and the enslaving cords thereof. The strength of the philosophical curiosity depends upon the strength of this reflection, and as this reflection is rather faint in the beginning (as it generally is in the present state of the spiritual development), the hold of philosophical curiosity upon the mind bears almost no comparison in strength with the hold of desire.
Philosophical curiosity is then the first step of mental ascent towards Yoga. To begin with, we place before our mind every possible manifestation of nature, and try to fit in every possible phase of it with every related manifestation. In plain language, it is to apply ourselves to the investigation of all the branches of natural science one by one.
This is the natural result of curiosity. By this attempt to discover the relations already existing or possible, essential or potential, among the phenomena of nature, another power is induced in the mind. Patanjali calls this power vichara, meditation. The radical idea of the word is to go among the various relations of the portions that make up the whole subject of our contemplation. It is only a deeper hold on the mind of the philosophical curiosity noticed above. The third state of this samadhi is what is called ananda, happiness or bliss. As long as there is curiosity or meditation, the mind is only assuming the consistency of the soul. This means to say that as yet the vibrations of the soul are only making way into the mind; they have not yet entirely succeeded. When the third stage is arrived at, however, the mind is sufficiently polished to receive the full and clear image of the sixth coil. The mind is conscious of this image as bliss. Every man who has devoted himself to the study of nature has been in that coveted state for however short a time. It is very difficult to make it intelligible by description, but I am sure that the majority of my readers are not strangers to it.
But whence does this bliss come? What is it? I have called it a reflection of the soul. But first of all, what is the soul? From what I have written up to this time, the reader will no doubt surmise that I understand the soul to be only a picture of the gross body, the prana, and the mind, so far only as its constitution is concerned.
I have mentioned that in the macrocosm the sun is in the center, the prana the atmosphere of the second principle, and that the ecliptic marks the shape of this principle. I have also mentioned that the individual human principle is only a picture of this macrocosmic whole. I have mentioned again that in the macrocosm virat is the center and manu the atmosphere of second principle. This atmosphere is made of the five universal tatwas, just like prana, the only difference being that the mental tatwas undergo a greater number of vibrations per second than the tatwas of prana. I have also said that the individual mind is an exact picture of the macrocosmic mind, the aspect differing with the surroundings of time, just as in the case of prana.
Now I have to say the same with regard to the soul. In the macrocosm there is Brahma for the center, and vijana for the atmosphere of this principle. As the earth moves in prana, as the sun moves in manu, as the manu (or virat) breathes in vijana, so the soul breathes in the highest atmosphere of ananda. Brahma is the center of spiritual life, as the sun is the center of prana, and virat the center of mental life. These centers are similar in luminosity to the sun, but ordinary senses cannot perceive them because the number of tatwic vibrations per second is beyond their power.
The soul of the universe (the vijana maya kosha), with Brahma for its center, is our psychic ideal.
The tatwic wires of this sphere extend over what we call a Brahmanda. This they do in a way similar to the tatwic rays of prana with which we are familiar through the medium of gross matter. This center with this universe forms the self-conscious universe. All the lower centers exist within the bosom of this atmosphere.
Under the influence of gross matter the mental macrocosm registers the external pictures; that is to say, it gains the power of manifesting itself in the five ways I have described in the essay on mind. Under the Brahma, however, the mental macrocosm (Manu) attains the higher powers under discussion. This double influence changes, after a time, the nature of Manu itself. The universe has, as it were, a new mind after every manwantara. This change is always for the better. The mind is ever spiritualizing. The later the Manu the more spiritual. A time will come when the present macrocosmic mind will be entirely absorbed into the soul. The same is the case with the microcosm of man. Thus Brahma is by nature omniscient. He is conscious of a self. The types of everything that was or is to be in the process of time are but so many varying compositions of his tatwas. Every phase of the universe, with its antecedents and consequents, is in him. It is himself, his own self-consciousness. One mind is absorbed in him in the space of fourteen manwantara. The motion of the mental tatwas is so much accelerated that they become spiritual. By the time that this takes place in the Universe the vibrations of the tatwas of prana too are being accelerated under the influence of Manu until the prana itself is turned into the Manu of the next period. And again, while this is being done, the gross matter is similarly developing itself into prana.
This is the process of involution, but for the present let us leave it here and resume the subject.
The human soul is an exact picture of this macrocosmic principle. It is omniscient like its prototype, and has the same constitution. But the omniscience of the human soul is yet latent on account of her forgetfulness. The sixth principle (absolute) has developed only a little. Humanity in general has only a very dim notion of infinity, of Godhead, and of all such subjects. This means that the rays of the infinite are only just evoking our sixth principle into active life at this stage of our progress. When in the process of time the rays of the infinite gather sufficient strength, our soul will come out in her true light. We might accelerate this process by vairagya (apathy), which gives strength to Yoga, as we have seen.
The means of strengthening Yoga deserve separate consideration. Some of them help to remove those influences and forces that are antagonistic to progress; others, such as the contemplation of the divine principle, accelerate the process of development of the human soul, and the consequent absorption of the mind in the soul. At present I have simply to discover the nature of the blissful samadhi, which I spoke of as being caused by the reflection of the soul in the mind.
This reflection simply means the assumption by the mind of the state of the soul. The mind passes from its own ordinary state to the state of the higher energy of the soul. The greater number of tatwic vibrations per second make their way in the matter of a lower number of tatwic vibrations per second. The English language recognizes this rising up of the mind, this passing out of itself, as elation, and this is the meaning of the word ananda as qualifying the third state of the samprajnata samadhi. The ananda maya kosha takes its name from its being the state of the highest upheaval. Every moment of ananda is a step towards the absorption of the mind as it changes its nature, passing forever into a higher state of consistency. That state which in ananda only appeared in the moment of triumph now becomes part and parcel of the mind. This confirmation of the higher energy is known by the name of Asmita, which may be translated by the word egoism, but means making part and parcel of self.
The object in view in this article is to mark the stages along the road of mental matter to its final absorption in the soul. In the last essay I brought the mind to the state of samprajnata samadhi. It is in this state that the mind acquires the power of discovering new truths, and seeing new combinations of things existent. As this state has been attained in the long cycle of bygone ages, man has acquired a knowledge of science to its present stage of development, and the attainment of this quantum of knowledge has been the means of raising our minds to our present pitch of perfection, when we have learned to say that these great powers are native to the human mind. As I have shown, these powers have become native to the mind only after long submission of the mind to the influence of the soul.
By the constant exercise of this samadhi the mind learns to incline towards those cosmic influences that are in their very nature antagonistic to those bad powers of our constitution that check our progress. These powers tend to die out naturally. The ultimate goal of this march is that the state of mind when its manifestation become entirely potential. The soul, if she pleases, might propel them by her inherent power into the domain of the actual, but they lose all power to draw the soul after them.
When this state is reached, or when it is about to be reached, certain powers begin to show themselves in the mind, which in the present cycle are by no means common. This state is technically called paravairagya, or the Higher Apathy.
The word vairagya usually is rendered into English as apathy, and is looked upon with disfavor by modern thinkers. This is, I believe, owing to a misconception of the meaning of the word. It is generally understood that misanthropy is the only indication, or perhaps the highest perfection, of this mental state. Nothing can be further from the intention of those sages who put vairagya down as the highest means of the attainment of bliss. Vairagya or apathy is defined by Vyasa in his commentary on The Aphorisms of Yoga as the “final state of perfected knowledge”. It is that state in which the mind, coming to know the real nature of things, would no longer be deluded into false pleasure by the manifestations of avidya. When this upward inclination becomes confirmed, when this habit of soaring towards the divine becomes second nature, the name of paravairagya is given to the complementary mental state.
This state is reached in many ways, and the road is marked by many clearly defined stages. One way is the practice of samprajnata samadhi. By the constant practice of this samadhi, to which the mind runs of itself when it once tastes the bliss of the fourth stage of that state, the mind is habituated to a state of faith in the efficacy of the pursuit. This faith is nothing more than a state of mental lucidity in which the yet unknown truths of nature begin to throw their shadows before them. The mind begins to feel truth in any and every place, and drawn by the taste of bliss (ananda), sets to work out the process of its evolution with greater and greater zeal. This faith has been called Sraddha by Patanjali, and he calls the consequent zeal Virya.
Confirmed in this zeal and working on, the manifestation of memory comes in naturally. This is a high state of evolution. Every truth becomes present before the mind’s eye at the slightest thought, and the four stages of samadhi make their appearance again and again till the mind becomes very nearly a mirror of Nature.
This corresponds to the state of paravairagya, which in the second place would also be attained by the contemplation of the High Prototype of the Soul. This is the Iswara of Ptanjali, the macrocosmic soul that remains forever in that entity’s soul of pristine purity. It is this Iswara of that I have spoken as the self-conscious universe.
This Iswara, as I conceive it, is only a macrocosmic center, similar in nature to the sun, though higher in function.
As the sun with his ocean of Prana is the prototype of our life-principle, prana maya kosha, so Iswara is the great prototype of our souls. What is the sixth principle of not only a phase of the existence of this great being prolonged as a separate phase into the lower principles, yet destined to emerge again into its own true self? Just as I have shown that the principles of life live in the sun after our terrestrial death, to recur again and again into actual life, so too the soul lives in the Iswara in a similar fashion. We may look upon this entity as being the group of all the liberated souls, but at the same time we must remember that the unliberated souls also are his undeveloped reflections, destined in the long run to attain their original state. It is therefore necessary to assume the independent existence of Iswara, and of other souls in Iswara.
This macrocosmic psychic center, this ideal of the sixth principle in man, is the great reservoir of every actual force in the universe. He is the true type of the perfection of the human soul. The incidents of mental and physical existence which, however perfect in themselves, are to His more comprehensive nature mere imperfections, find no place in Him. There is no misery for Him – the five comprehensive miseries of Patanjali are enumerated above – for misery can arise only in the retrograde process of the first awakening of the mind, only being caused by sensation, and the human sixth principle not yet gaining sufficient strength in the process of time to draw the mind towards itself and out of the domain of the senses, to make it what its prototype originally is, the rod of dominion, and not as sensation has made it, the instrument of slavery.
By this conemplation of the sixth principle of the Universe, a sympathy is established naturally between it and the human soul. That sympathy is only necessary for the Universal Tatwic Law to work with greater effect. The human soul begins to be cleansed of the dust of the world and in its turn affects the mind in a similar way, and therein the yogi becomes conscious of this influence by the slackening of the fetters forged by Prakriti, and a daily, hourly strengthening of heavenward aspirations.
The human soul then begins to become a center of power for its own little universe, just as Iswara is the center of power in His universe. The microcosm then becomes a perfect little picture of the macrocosm. When perfection is attained, all the mental and physiological tatwas of the microcosm, and to a certain extent of the surrounding world, become the slaves of the soul. Whitherso it may incline, the tatwas are at its back. He may will, and the atmospheric Vayu tatwa, with any amount of strength he pleases or is capable of centering, will set in motion any piece of furniture within the reach of his will. He may will, and at the instant the apas tatwa will slake your thirst, cure your fever, or in fact wash off the germs of any disease. He may will, and any and every tatwa on either of the lower planes will do its work for him. These high powers do not wait to come in all of a sudden, but show themselves gradually, and according to the special aptitudes in special forms.
But a description of these powers is not my present business. My only purpose is to show in what way, according to the universal law of nature, by contemplation of the macrocosmic sixth principle, that the human soul becomes the means for the mind attaining the state called paravairagya.
Besides these two, the author of The Aphorisms of Yoga enumerates five more ways in which the minds of those who are already by the power of previous karma inclined towards the divine, are seen to work out their way to the sate of paravairagya.
This first way is the habituating of the mind to the manifestations of pleasure, sympathy, elation, and pity toward the comfortable, the miserable, and the vicious respectively. Every good man will tell us that the manifestation of joy at the comfort of another is a high virtue. Why, what harm is there in jealousy? I think no other science except the philosophy of the tatwas explains with any amount of satisfaction the reason why of such questions.
We have seen that in a state of enjoyment, comfort, pleasure, satisfaction, and the like, the prithivi or the apas tatwa prevails in the prana and the mind. It is evident that if we put our minds in the same, we induce either of the two tatwas in our life and mental principles. What will be the result? A process of purification will set in. Both the principles will being to be cleansed of any trace of defect that the excess of any remaining tatwas may have given to our constitution.
All those physiological or mental causes that induce inattention in the mind are removed. Bodily distempers take their leave for they are the result of the disturbance of the balance of the physiological tatwas, and comfort, pleasure and enjoyment are foreign to these. The one induces the other. As the balance of the tatwas brings comfort and enjoyment of life, so the sense of comfort and enjoyment that colors our prana and mind when we put ourselves in sympathy with the comfortable, restores the balance of our tatwas.
And when the balance of tatwas is restored, what remains? Disinclination to work, doubt, laziness and other feelings of that kind can no longer stand, and the only result is the restoration of the mind to perfect calmness. As Vyasa says in his commentary, the White Law makes its appearance in the mind. Such and in a similar way is the result of the manifestation of the other qualities. But for such a result to beachieved, there must be long and powerful application.
The next method is Pranayama, deep expiration and inspiration. This too conduces to the same end and in the same way. The drawing of deep breaths in and out has to some extent the same effect as running and other hard exercise. The heat that is produced burns down certain elements of disease, which if it desirable should be burnt. But the practice in its effects differs for the better from hard exercise. In hard exercise the susumna begins to play, and that is not good for physiological health. Pranayama, if properly performed, however, is beneficial from a physiological as well as from a mental point of view. The first effect that is produced in pranayama is the general prevalence of the prithivi tatwa. It is unnecessary to remind the reader that the apas tatwa carries the breath lowest down, and that the Prithivi is the next. In our attempt to draw deeper breaths than usual, the prithivi tatwa cannot but be introduced, and the general prevalence of this tatwa, with the consequent golden tinge of the circle of light round our heads, can never fail to cause fixity of purpose and strength of attention. The apas tatwa comes in next. This is the silvery hue of innocence that encircles the head of a saint and marks the attainment of paravairagya.
The next is the attainment of the two-fold lucidity – the sensuous and the cardiac. The sensuous lucidity is the power of the senses to perceive the changes of prana. The previously trained attention, according to special aptitudes, is centered on any one of the five senses or more. If centered in the eyes, one can see the physiological and atmospheric colors of prana. I can affirm this by personal experience. I can see the various colors of the seasons. I can see the rain coming an hour, two hours, and sometimes even two days before an actual shower. Bright sheets of the green washed into coolness and purity by the white make their appearance anywhere about me – in the room, in the heavens, on the table before me, on the wall in front. When this happens, I am sure that rain is in the air and will come down soon. If the green is streaked with red, it takes some time to come, but it is surely preparing.
These remarks are enough for color. The power can be made to show itself by a sustained attempt to look into space, or anything else, as the moon, a star, a jewel, and so on. The remaining four senses also attain similar powers, and sounds, smells, tastes and touches that ordinary humanity cannot perceive begin to be perceived by the Yogi.
The cardiac lucidity is the power of the mind to feel and also that of the senses to perceive thoughts. In the article on Prana, I have given a chart of the head, specifying the places and giving the colors of the various kinds of mental manifestations. These colors are seen by anyone who has or acquires the power, and they constitute the surest book in which to read the thoughts of any man. By sustained practice one will recognize the finest shades.
One can also feel these thoughts. The modifications of thought moving along the universal tatwic wires affect any and every man. They each impart a distinct impulse to the prana maya kosha, and thus a distinguishable impulse to the throbs of the brain and the more easily perceivable throbs of the heart. A man who studies these throbs of the heart and sits with his attention centered into the heart (while it is of course open to every influence) learns to feel every influence there. The effect on the heart of the mental modifications of other people is a fact that, so far as quality is concerned, may be verified by the commonest experience.
This sensuous or cardiac lucidity, as the case may be, once attained kills skepticism, and in the end conduces to the state of paravairagya.
In the next place, says Patanjali, one may rely upon the knowledge obtainable through dreams and sleep. But this will do for the present.
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 tantras of 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.
This is the anandamaya kosha, literally the coil of bliss of the Vedantins. With the power of psychic perception, the soul knows the existence of this entity, but in the present stage of human development it has hardly made its presence directly felt in the human constitution. The characteristic difference between the soul and the spirit is the absence of the “I” in the latter.
It is the dawn of the day of evolution. It is the first setting-in of the positive current of the great breath. It is the first state of cosmic activity after the night of Mahapralaya. As we have seen, the breath in every state of existence has three states: the positive, the negative, and the susumna. The susumna is pregnant with either of the two states. This is the state that is described in the Parameshthi sukta of the Rig Veda as neither Sat (positive) nor Asat (negative). This is the primary state of parabrahma, in which the whole universe lies hidden like a tree in the seed. As billows rise and lose themselves in an ocean, the two states of evolution and involution take their rise in this state, and in due time are lost in the same. What is Prakriti itself in this state of potential omnipotence? The phenomena of Prakriti owe their origin and existence to the modifications of the great breath. When that great breath is in the state of susumna, can we not say that Prakriti itself is held in that state by susumna? It is in fact parabrahma that is all in all. Prakriti is only the shadow of that substance, and like a shadow it follows the modifications of His great breath. The first modification of the great breath is the setting in of the evolutionary (positive) current) In this state, Prakriti is ready to modify into the ethers of the first degree, which make up the atmosphere from which Iswara draws life. In the first state of evolution, the Subject (parabrahma) whose breath causes these modifications of Prakriti, is known as Sat, the fountainhead of all existence. The I is latent in this state. Naturally enough, because it is the differentiation that gives birth to the I. But what is this state? Must man be annihilated before he reaches this state of what from the standpoint of man is called nirvana or paranirvana? There is no reason to suppose that it is the state of annihilation any more than a certain amount of latent heat is annihilated in water. The simple fact is that the color that constitutes the ego becomes latent in the spirit’s higher form of energy. It is a state of consciousness or knowledge above self, not certainly destroying it.
The individual spirit bears the same relation to the Sat which the individual soul bears to the Iswara, the individual mind to the Virat, and the individual life-principle to the Prana. Each center is given birth to by the tatwic rays of that degree. Each is a drop in its own ocean. The Upanishad explains this state under many names. The Chhandogva, however, has a very comprehensive dialogue on this subject between Uddalaka and his son Shwetakete.
Professor Max Muller has made some very questionable remarks on certain assertions in this dialogue, calling them “more or less fanciful”. These remarks could never have fallen from so learned a man had he known and understood something of the ancient Science of Breath and the Philosophy of the Tatwas. The Upanishad can never be very intelligible without this comprehensive science. It must be remembered that the Upanishads themselves have in many places clearly laid down that a teacher is wanted for the proper understanding of these divine words. Now the teacher taught nothing else but the Science of Breath, which is said to be the secret doctrine of all secret doctrines. It is, in fact, the key to all that is taught in the Upanishad. The little book that tries to explain these essays to the world appears from its very arrangement to be a compilation of various couplets on the same subject, inherited from various esoteric circles. In fact, this handful of stanzas has its chief value as a key to Aryan philosophy and occult science, but even this little book will hardly serve to dispel the gloom of ages.
To return, however, to the dialogue between the father and the son: it is contained in the sixth Prapathaka of the Chhandogya Upanishad.
“In the beginning, my dear, there was only that which is one only, without a second. Others say in the beginning there was that only, which is not one only, without a second, and from which is not, that which is was born.”
This is the translation of Professor max Muller. Notwithstanding the authority of his great name, and real scholarship, I venture to think that the sense of the Upanishad is totally lost sight of in this translation. The words of the original are:
“Sad eva saumyedamagre asit."
I cannot find any word in the translation giving the sense of the word idam in the original. Idam means “this”, and it has been explained as meaning the phenomenal world. This that is perceived, etc. Therefore real translation of the text would be:
“This (world) was Sat alone in the beginning.”
Perhaps in the translation of Professor Muller the word “there” is printed by mistake for “this”. If this is the case, the defect in the translation is at once cured.
The text means that the first state of the world before differentiation was the state known as Sat. From what comes afterwards, it appears that this is the state of the Universe in which all its phenomena, material, mental and psychic, are held in posse. The word eva, which in the translation stands for the word “alone” or “only”, signifies that in the beginning of the Day of Evolution the universe had not all the five, or even two or more of the five planes of existence together. Now such is the case, but in the beginning the Sat existed alone.
The Sat is one only, without a second. There is no qualification of time in these two epithets. The Sat is one alone, not like the Prana, the Virat, and Iswara, having all three existing simultaneously, a shadowy side of existence.
The next sentence goes on to say that in the beginning there was Asat alone. As Professor Muller renders it, “There [?] was that only which is not.”
Now this carries no meaning, notwithstanding the Greek accompaniment. That the word Asat is used in the sense of “that which is not” or briefly “nothing”, there is no doubt. But there is also no doubt that such is not the meaning of the Upanishad. The words are used here in the same sense in which they are used in the “Nosad asit” hymn of the Rigveda.
“Then there was neither the Sat nor the Asat.”
This of course is a state quite other than the Sat of the Upanishad. It is nothing more than the susumna of the Brahmic breath. After this in the beginning of evolution the Brahma became Sat. This is the positive potential phase. The Asat is nothing more than the cooler negative life current that rules during the night of Maha pralaya. When the shadowy Prakriti has undergone the preparatory influence of the negative current, the day of evolution sets in with the beginning of the positive current. The dispute as to beginning is merely of a technical nature. In reality there is no beginning. It is all a motion in the circle, and from this point of view we may put whatever state we like in the beginning.
But the Asat philosopher argues that unless the Maya undergo the preparatory influence of the Night, there can be no creation. Hence, according to him, we must put Asat at the beginning.
The sage Uddalaka would not consent to this. According to him, the active impressive force is in the Sat, the positive state, just as all the life-forms take their origin from Prana (the positive life matter) and not from Rayi (the negative life matter) – see the Prasnopnishat. It is only impressibility that exists I the Asat; the real names and forms of the phenomenal Universe do not exist there. In fact, the name Asat has been given to the primary state of the evolving universe for this very reason. If we would translate these two words into English, we would have to coin two very unique compounds: Sat (that-in-which-is) and Asat (that-in-which-is-not).
It is only such a rendering that would carry the true idea, and hence it is advisable to retain the Sanskrit words and explain them as well as one can.
That actually existing state in which the names and forms do not exist cannot very properly stand as the cause of the names and forms that do not exist. Hence the Sat alone was in the beginning, etc.
The individual spirit has the same relation to the Sat as the soul has to the Iswara.
That will do for now. It is enough to show that there is no annihilation anywhere in the Universe. Nirvana simply means the enlightenment (which is not extinction) of the phenomenal rays.