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An Interpretation 


New York 

Copyright 1912, by 
Charles Johnston. 



Charles Rockwell Lanman 




Introduction to Book I 

T HE Yoga Sutras of Patanjali are in themselves exceed¬ 
ingly brief, less than ten pages of large type in the 
original. Yet they contain the essence of practical 
wisdom, set forth in admirable order and detail. The 
theme, if the present interpreter be right, is the great regenera¬ 
tion, the birth of the spiritual from the psychical man: the same 
theme which Paul so wisely and eloquently set forth in writing 
to his disciples in Corinth, the theme of all mystics in all lands. 

We think of ourselves as living a purely physical life, in 
these material bodies of ours. In reality, we have gone far 
indeed from pure physical life; for ages, our life has been 
psychical, we have been centered and immersed in the psychic 
nature. Some of the schools of India say that the psychic 
nature is, as it were, a looking-glass, wherein are mirrored the 
things seen by the physical eyes, and heard by the physical ears. 
But this is a magic mirror; the images remain, and take a cer¬ 
tain life of their own. Thus within the psychic realm of our 
life there grows up an imaged world wherein we dwell; a 
world of the images of things seen and heard, and therefore 
a world of memories; a world also of hopes and desires, of 
fears and regrets. Mental life grows up among these images, 
built on a measuring and comparing, on the massing of images 
together into general ideas; on the abstraction of new notions 
and images from these; till a new world is built up within, full 
of desires and hates, ambition, envy, longing, speculation, curi¬ 
osity, self-will, self-interest. 


The teaching of the East is, that all these are true powers 
overlaid by false desires; that though in manifestation psy¬ 
chical, they are in essence spiritual; that the psychical man is 
the veil and prophecy of the spiritual man. 

The purpose of life, therefore, is the realising of that 
prophecy; the unveiling of the immortal man; the birth of the 
spiritual from the psychical, whereby we enter our divine in¬ 
heritance and come to inhabit Eternity. This is, indeed, sal¬ 
vation, the purpose of all true religion, in all times. 

Patanjali has in mind the spiritual man, to be born from 
the psychical; or in another sense, veiled by the psychical. His 
purpose is, to set in order the practical means for the unveiling 
and regeneration, and to indicate the fruit, the glory and the 
power, of that new birth. 

Through the Sutras of the First Book, Patanjali is 
concerned with the first great problem, the emergence of the 
spiritual man from the veils and meshes of the psychic nature, 
the moods and vestures of the mental and emotional man. 
Later will come the consideration of the nature and powers of 
the spiritual man, once he stands clear of the psychic veils and 
trammels, and a view of the realms in which these new spiritual 
powers are to be revealed. 

At this point may come a word of explanation. I have 
been asked why I use the word Sutras, for these rules of 
Patanjali’s system, when the word Aphorism has been con¬ 
nected with them in our minds for a generation. The reason 
is this: the name Aphorism suggests, to me at least, a pithy 
sentence of very general application; a piece of proverbial wis¬ 
dom that may be quoted in a good many sets of circumstance, 
and which will almost bear on its face the evidence of its truth. 
But with a Sutra the case is different. It comes from the same 
root as the word “sew,” and means, indeed, a thread, suggest¬ 
ing, therefore, a close-knit, consecutive chain of argument. 
Not only has each sutra a definite place in the system, but 
further, taken out of this place, it will be almost meaningless, 
and will by no means be self-evident. So I have thought best 
to adhere to the original word. The Sutras of Patanjali are 
as closely knit together, as dependent on each other, as the 



propositions of Euclid, and can no more be taken out of their 
proper setting. 

In the second part of the first book, the problem of the 
emergence of the spiritual man is further dealt with. We are 
led to the consideration of the barriers to his emergence, of the 
overcoming of the barriers, and of certain steps and stages in 
the ascent from the ordinary consciousness of practical life, 
to the finer, deeper, radiant consciousness of the spiritual man. 



i. OM: Here follows Instruction in Union. 

Union, here as always in the Scriptures of India, means 
union of the individual soul with the Oversoul; of the personal 
consciousness with the Divine Consciousness, whereby the 
mortal becomes immortal, and enters the Eternal. Therefore, 
salvation is, first, freedom from sin and the sorrow which comes 
from sin, and then a divine and eternal well-being, wherein the 
soul partakes of the being, the wisdom and glory of God. 

2. Union, spiritual consciousness, is gained through control 
of the versatile psychic nature. 

The goal is the full consciousness of the spiritual man, 
illumined by the Divine Light. Nothing except the obdurate 
resistance of the psychic nature keeps us back from the goal. 
The psychical powers are spiritual powers run wild, perverted, 
drawn from their proper channel. Therefore our first task is, 
to regain control of this perverted nature, to chasten, purify 
and restore the misplaced powers. 

3. Then the Seer comes to consciousness in his proper 

Egotism is but the perversion of spiritual being. Ambi¬ 
tion is the inversion of spiritual power. Passion is the distor¬ 
tion of love. The mortal is the limitation of the immortal. 
When these false images give place to true, then the spiritual 
man stands forth luminous, as the sun, when the clouds dis¬ 



4 . Heretofore the Seer has been enmeshed in the activities 
of the psychic nature. 

The power and life which are the heritage of the spiritual 
man have been caught and enmeshed in psychical activities. 
Instead of pure being in the Divine, there has been fretfu], 
combative egotism, its hand against every man. Instead of the 
light of pure vision, there have been restless senses and imagin¬ 
ings. Instead of spiritual joy, the undivided joy of pure being, 
there has been self-indulgence of body and mind. These are 
all real forces, but distorted from their true nature and goal. 
They must be extricated, like gems from the matrix, like the 
pith from the reed, steadily, without destructive violence. 
Spiritual powers are to be drawn forth from the psychic 

5. The psychic activities are five; they are attended by 
pleasure or pain. 

The psychic nature is built up through the image-making 
power, the power which lies behind and dwells in mind-pic¬ 
tures. These pictures do not remain quiescent in the mind; 
they are kinetic, restless, stimulating to new acts. Thus the 
mind-image of an indulgence suggests and invites to a new in¬ 
dulgence ; the picture of past joy is framed in regrets or hopes. 
And there is the ceaseless play of the desire to know, to pene¬ 
trate to the essence of things, to classify. This, too, busies it¬ 
self ceaselessly with the mind-images. So that we may classify 
the activities of the psychic nature thus: 

6. These activities are: Sound intellection, unsound intel** 
lection, phantasy, dream, memory. 

We have here a list of mental and emotional powers; of 
powers that picture and observe, and of powers that picture 
and feel. But the power to know and feel is spiritual and im¬ 
mortal. What is needed is, not to destroy but to raise it from 
the psychical to the spiritual realm. 


B O O K I 

7. The elements of sound intellection are: direct observa¬ 
tion, inductive reason, and trustworthy testimony. 

Each of these is a spiritual power, thinly veiled. Direct 
observation is the outermost form of the Soul's pure vision. 
Inductive reason rests on the great principles of continuity and 
correspondence; and these, on the supreme truth that all life is 
of the One. Trustworthy testimony, the sharing of one soul 
in the wisdom of another, rests on the ultimate oneness of all 

8. Unsound intellection is false understanding, not resting 
on a perception of the true nature of things. 

The great example of unsound intellection is materialism, 
whereby to the reality and eternity of the soul is attributed the 
evanescence and perishableness that really belong to material 
things. This false reasoning, therefore, rests on a reversal of 
the true nature of things. 

9. Phantasy is a fiction of mere words, with no underly¬ 
ing reality. 

One may say, perhaps, that there is this difference between 
imagination and fancy: imagination is the image of unseen 
things, which are real; fancy is the imaging of unseen things 
which are unreal. The power of phantasy has a wide scope 
and range. Ambition, whereby a man sets up within his mind 
an image of himself, great, rich, admired, to which all men 
shall bow down, is a form of phantasy. The pursuit of wealth 
is largely phantasy, for men seek not commodities but food for 
their cowardice and conceit. The fear of death is a phantasy, 
nourished on images of tombs and funerals and black robes. 
All these are fictions, with no underlying reality. 




io. Dream is the psychic condition which rests on mind 
states, all material thinge being absent. 

In waking life, we have two currents of perception; an 
outer current of physical things seen and heard and perceived; 
an inner current of mind-images and thoughts. The outer cur¬ 
rent ceases in sleep; the inner current continues, and watching 
the mind-images float before the field of consciousness, we 

ii. Memory is the holding fast to mind=images of things 

Here, as before, the mental power is explained in terms of 
mind-images, which are the material of which the psychic 
world is built. Therefore the sages teach that the world of 
our perception, which is indeed a world of mind-images, is 
but the wraith or shadow of the real and everlasting world. 
In this sense, memory is but the psychical inversion of the 
spiritual, ever-present vision. That which is ever before the 
spiritual eye of the Seer needs not to be remembered. 

12. The control of these psychic activities comes through 
the right use of the will, and through ceasing from self=indulg= 

If these psychical powers and energies, even such evil 
things as passion and hate and fear, are but spiritual powers 
fallen and perverted, how are we to bring about their release 
and restoration? Two means are presented to us: the awaken¬ 
ing of the spiritual will, and the purification of mind and 



13. The right use of the will is the steady effort to stand 
in spiritual being. 

We have thought of ourselves, perhaps, as creatures mov¬ 
ing upon this earth, rather helpless, at the mercy of storm and 
hunger and our enemies. We are to think of ourselves as 
immortals, dwelling in the Light, encompassed and sustained 
by spiritual powers. The steady effort to hold this thought will 
awaken dormant and unrealised powers, which will unveil to 
us the nearness of the Eternal. 

14. This becomes a firm resting=place, when followed long, 
persistently, with righteousness. 

We must seek spiritual life in conformity with the laws 
of spiritual life, with righteousness, humility, gentle charity, 
which is an acknowledgement of the One Soul within us all. 
Only through obedience to that shared Life, through perpetual 
remembrance of our oneness with all Divine Being, our noth¬ 
ingness apart from Divine Being, can we enter our inheritance. 

15. Ceasing from self=indugence is conscious mastery over 
the thirst for sensuous pleasure here or hereafter. 

Rightly understood, the desire for sensation is the desire 
of being, the distortion of the soul’s eternal life. The lust of 
sensual stimulus and excitation rests on the longing to feel 
one’s life keenly, to gain the sense of being really alive. This 
sense of true life comes only with the coming of the soul, and 
the soul comes only in silence, after self-indulgence has been 
courageously and loyally stilled, through reverence before the 
coming soul. 




16. The consummation of this is freedom from thirst for 
any mode of psychical activity, through the establishment of the 
spiritual man. 

In order to gain a true understanding of this teaching, 
study must be supplemented by devoted practice, faith by 
works. The reading of the words will not avail. There must 
be a real effort to stand as the Soul, a real ceasing from self- 
indulgence. With this awakening of the spiritual will, and 
purification, will come at once the growth of the spiritual man 
and our awakening consciousness as the spiritual man; and 
this, attained in even a small degree, will help us notably in our 
contest. To him that hath, shall be given. 

17. That spiritual vision which is conditioned and limited 
takes the form first of exterior reasoning, then of interior judg¬ 
ment, then of happiness, then of realisation of individual being. 

In spiritual consciousness, there are two clearly marked 
stages. The first is spiritual consciousness expressing itself 
through the psychical, through reason and feeling. The second 
is spiritual consciousness clear of the psychical, and shining 
forth luminous, in its own proper being. The first is here de¬ 
fined in its ascending stages, as first the right training and dis¬ 
position of the reason; next, the finer perception of intuition; 
next the joy and exaltation which comes with the realisation of 
spiritual life; and then the awakening to the being of the soul, 
though not yet to the knowledge of the soul’s oneness with the 

18. Spiritual consciousness unlimited is the final state led 
up to by the right practice of spiritual Silence. 

Spiritual Silence is the crown and end of purification. It 
is the stilling of all passional and psychic storms, those dramatic 
fictions through which we seek the sense of real life, which 
needs no storm to reveal it, but is innate in the soul, and made 
manifest through Silence. 



19. The external world still dominates those who have con¬ 
quered bodily lusts, but are immersed in the sense of separate¬ 

There is an asceticism that is but a new form of ambition, 
a desire to gain spiritual power or grace for oneself, ignorant 
that spiritual power and grace belong only to all united. Those 
who seek thus, have not yet conquered the world. 

20. For the others, there is spiritual consciousness, led up 
to by faith, valor, right mindfulness, one-pointedness, perception. 

It is well to keep in mind these steps on the path to illumi¬ 
nation: faith, valor, right mindfulness, one-pointedness, per¬ 
ception. Not one can be dispensed with; all must be won. 
First faith; and then from faith, valor; from valor, right mind¬ 
fulness ; from right mindfulness, a one-pointed aspiration 
toward the soul; from this, perception; and finally full vision 
as the soul. 

21 . Spiritual consciousness is nearest to those of keen, 
intense will. 

The image used is the swift impetus of the torrent; the 
kingdom must be taken by force. Firm will comes only 
through effort; effort is inspired by faith. The great secret is 
this: it is not enough to have intuitions; we must act on them ; 
we must live them. 

22 . The will may be weak, or of middle strength, or in¬ 

For those of weak will, there is this counsel: to be faithful 
in obedience, to live the life, and thus to strengthen the will to 
more perfect obedience. The will is not ours, but God's, and 
we come into it only through obedience. As we enter into the 
spirit of God, we are permitted to share the power of God. 




23. The will may be gained by ardent service of the 

If we think of our lives as tasks laid on us by the Master 
of Life, if we look on all duties as parts of that Masters work, 
entrusted to us, and forming our life-work; then, if we obey, 
promptly, loyally, sincerely, we shall enter by degrees into the 
Master’s life and share the Master’s power. Thus we shall be 
initiated into the spiritual will. 

24. The Master is the spiritual man, who has conquered 
sorrow, bondage to works, and the accumulation of evils. 

The soul of the Master, the Lord, is of the same nature as 
the soul in us; but we still bear the burden of many evils, we 
are in bondage through our former works, we are under the 
dominance of sorrow. The soul of the Master has conquered 
sin and made an end of servitude and sorrow. 

25. In the Master is the seed of perfect Omniscience. 

The Soul of the Master is in essence one with the Over¬ 
sold, and therefore partaker of the Oversoul’s all-wisdom and 
all-power. All spiritual attainment rests on this, and is possible 
because the soul and the Oversoul are One. 



26. He is the Teacher of all who have gone before, since 
he is not limited by Time. 

From the beginning, the Oversoul has been the Teacher of 
all souls, which, by their entrance into the Oversoul, by realis¬ 
ing their oneness with the Oversoul, have inherited the king¬ 
dom of the Light. For the Oversoul is before Time, and Time, 
father of all else, is one of His children. 

27. His word is OM. 

Om : the symbol of the Three in One, the three worlds in 
the Soul; the three times, past, present, future, in Eternity; the 
three Divine Powers, Creation, Preservation, Transformation, 
in the one Being; the three essences, immortality, omniscience, 
joy, in the one Spirit. This is the Word, the Symbol, of the 
Master and Lord, the perfected Spiritual Man. 

28. Let there be soundless repetition of OM and medita= 
tion thereon. 

This has many meanings, in ascending degrees. There is, 
first, the potency of the word itself, as of all words. Then there 
is the manifold significance of the symbol, as suggested above. 
Lastly, there is the spiritual realisation of the high essences 
thus symbolised. Thus we rise step by step to the Eternal. 



29. Thence come the awakening of interior consciousness, 
and the removal of barriers. 

Here again faith must be supplemented by works, the life 
must be led as well as studied, before the full meaning can be 
understood. The awakening of spiritual consciousness can 
only be understood in measure as it is entered. It can only be 
entered where the conditions are present: purity of heart and 
strong aspiration and the resolute conquest of each sin. 

This, however, may easily be understood: that the recog¬ 
nition of the three worlds as resting in the Soul leads us to 
realise ourselves and all life, as of the Soul; that, as we dwell, 
not in past, present or future, but in the Eternal, we become 
more at one with the Eternal; that, as we view all organization, 
preservation, mutation as the work of the Divine One, we shall 
come more into harmony with the One, and thus remove the 
barriers in our path toward the Light. 

In the second part of the first book, the problem of the 
emergence of the spiritual man is further dealt with. We are 
led to the consideration of the barriers to his emergence, of the 
overcoming of the barriers, and of certain steps and stages in 
the ascent from the ordinary consciousness of practical life, 
to the finer, deeper, radiant consciousness of the spiritual man. 



30. The barriers to interior consciousness, which drive the 
psychic nature this way and that, are these: sickness, inertia, 
doubt, light-mindedness, laziness, intemperance, false notions, 
inability to hold the ground gained, unsteadiness. 

We must remember that we are considering the spiritual 
man as enwrapped and enmeshed by the psychic nature, the 
emotional and mental powers; and as unable to come to clear 
consciousness, unable to stand and see clearly, because of the 
psychic veils of the personality. Nine of these are enumerated, 
and they go pretty thoroughly into the brute toughness of the 
psychic nature. 

Sickness is included rather for its effect on the emotions 
and mind,, since bodily infirmity, such as blindness or deafness, 
is no insuperable barrier to spiritual life, and may sometimes 
be a help, as cutting off distractions. It will be well for us to 
ponder over each of these nine activities, thinking of each as a 
psychic state, a barrier to the interior consciousness of the 
spiritual man. 

31. Grieving, despondency, bodily restlessness, the draw¬ 
ing in and sending forth of the life-breath, also contribute to 
drive the psychic nature to and fro. 

The first two moods are easily understood. We can well 
see how a sodden psychic condition, flagrantly opposed to the 
pure and positive joy of spiritual life, would be a barrier. The 
next, bodily restlessness, is in a special way the fault of our 
day and generation. When it is conquered, mental restlessness 
will be half conquered, too. 

The next two terms, concerning the life-breath, offer some 
difficulty. The surface meaning is harsh and irregular breath¬ 
ing; the deeper meaning is a life of harsh and irregular im¬ 



32 . Steady application to a principle is the way to put a 
stop to these. 

The will, which, in its pristine state, was full of vigor, has 
been steadily corrupted by self-indulgence, the seeking of 
moods and sensations for sensations’ sake. Hence come all the 
morbid and sickly moods of the mind. The remedy is a return 
to the pristine state of the will, by vigorous, positive effort; or, 
as we are here told, by steady application to a principle. The 
principle to which we should thus steadily apply ourselves 
should be one arising from the reality of spiritual life; valorous 
work for the soul, in others as in ourselves. 

33. By sympathy with the happy, compassion for the sor¬ 
rowful, delight in the holy, disregard of the unholy, the psychic 
nature moves to gracious peace. 

When we are wrapped up in ourselves, shrouded with the 
cloak of our egotism, absorbed in our pains and bitter thoughts, 
we are not willing to disturb or strain our own sickly mood by 
giving kindly sympathy to the happy, thus doubling their joy, 
or by showing compassion for the sad, thus halving their sor¬ 
row. We refuse to find delight in holy things, and let the mind 
brood in sad pessimism on unholy things. All these evil psychic 
moods must be conquered by strong effort of will. This rend¬ 
ing of the veils will reveal to us something of the grace and 
peace which are of the interior consciousness of the spiritual 

34. Or peace may be reached by the even sending forth 
and control of the life-breath. 

Here again we may look for a double meaning: first, that 
even and quiet breathing which is a part of the victory over 
bodily restlessness; then the even and quiet tenor of life, with¬ 
out harsh or dissonant impulses, which brings stillness to the 


B O 0 K I 

35. Faithful, persistent application to any object, if com¬ 
pletely attained, will bind the mind to steadiness. 

We are still considering how to overcome the wavering 
and perturbation of the psychic nature, which make it quite 
unfit to transmit the inward consciousness and stillness. We 
are once more told to use the will, and to train it by steady and 
persistent work: by “sitting close” to our work, in the phrase 
of the original. 

36. As also will a joyful, radiant spirit. 

There is no such illusion as gloomy pessimism, and it has 
been truly said that a man’s cheerfulness is the measure of his 
faith. Gloom, despondency, the pale cast of thought, are very 
amenable to the will. Sturdy and courageous effort will bring 
a clear and valorous mind. But it must always be remembered 
that this is not for solace to the personal man, but is rather an 
offering to the ideal of spiritual life, a contribution to the 
universal and universally shared treasure in heaven. 

37. Or the purging of self indulgence from the psychic 

We must recognize that the fall of man is a reality, 
exemplified in our own persons. We have quite other sins than 
the animals, and far more deleterious; and they have all come 
through self-indulgence, with which our psychic natures are 
soaked through and through. As we climb down hill for our 
pleasure, so must we climb up again for our purification and 
restoration to our former high estate. The process is painful, 
perhaps, yet indispensable. 




38. Or a pondering on the perceptions gained in dreams 
and dreamless sleep. 

For the Eastern sages, dreams are, it is true, made up of 
images of waking life, reflections of what the eyes have seen 
and the ears heard. But dreams are something more, for the 
images are in a sense real, objective on their own plane; and 
the knowledge that there is another world, even a dream-world, 
lightens the tyranny of material life. Much of poetry and art 
is such a solace from dream-land. But there is more in dream, 
for it may image what is above, as well as what is below; not 
only the children of men, but also the children by the shore of 
the immortal sea that brought us hither, may throw their images 
on this magic mirror. So, too, of the secrets of dreamless 
sleep with its pure vision, in even greater degree. 

39. Or meditative brooding on what is dearest to the heart. 

Here is a thought which our own day is beginning to 
grasp: that love is a form of knowledge; that we truly know 
any thing or any person, by becoming one therewith, in love. 
Thus love has a wisdom that the mind cannot claim, and by this 
hearty love, this becoming one with what is beyond our per¬ 
sonal borders, we may take a long step toward freedom. Two 
directions for this may be suggested: the pure love of the 
artist for his work, and the earnest, compassionate search into 
the hearts of others. 

40. Thus he masters all, from the atom to the Infinite. 

Newton was asked how he made his discoveries. By 
intending my mind on them, he replied. This steady pressure, 
this becoming one with what we seek to understand, whether 
it be atom or soul, is the one means to know. When we be¬ 
come a thing, we really know it, not otherwise. Therefore live 
the life, to know the doctrine; do the will of the Father, if you 
would know the Father. 



41. When the perturbations of the psychic nature have all 
been stilled, then the consciousness, like a pure crystal, takes 
the color of what it rests on, whether that be the perceiver, per= 
ceiving, or the thing perceived. 

This is a fuller expression of the last Sutra, and is so lucid 
that comment can hardly add to it. Everything is either per¬ 
ceiver, perceiving, or the thing perceived; or, as we might say, 
consciousness, force, or matter. The sage tells us that the one 
key will unlock the secrets of all three, the secrets of conscious¬ 
ness, force and matter alike. The thought is, that the cordial 
sympathy of a gentle heart, intuitively understanding the hearts 
of others, is really a manifestation of the same power as that 
penetrating perception whereby one divines the secrets of 
I planetary motions or atomic structure. 

42 . When the consciousness, in perceiving, is successively 
occupied by the name, the idea, and the understanding of what 
it is dwelling on, this is the distributive action of the mind. 

We are now to trace the ascending stages of perception, 
from the most external observation to pure intuitive vision. 
We begin with the perception of gross substance, or as we 
might say, external and objective things, observed by the 
physical senses. In perceiving these external things, the mind’s 
action may be either distributive and analytical, or non-dis¬ 
tributive and intuitive, the second being the higher, as nearer to 
unity. Thus we may think analytically of something, say, a 
cow, first by name, then according to its appearance, and then 
through what we know of its nature; or we may think non- 
distributively, entering into the idea of the cow, as a famous 
painter of the Netherlands entered into the inmost being of the 
sheep he so lovingly depicted. 




43. When the object dwells in the mind, clear of memory- 
pictures, devoid of any form, as a pure luminous idea, this is non¬ 
distributive perception. 

We are still considering external, visible objects. Such 
perception as is here described is of the nature of that penetrat¬ 
ing vision whereby Newton, intending his mind on things, 
made his discoveries, or that whereby a really great portrait 
painter pierces to the soul of him whom he paints, and makes 
that soul live on canvas. These stages of perception are de¬ 
scribed in this way, to lead the mind up to an understanding of 
the piercing soul-vision of the spiritual man, the immortal. 

44. The same two steps, when referring to things of finer 
substance, are said to be with, or without, judicial action of the 

We now come to mental or psychical objects: to images 
in the mind. It is precisely by comparing, arranging and 
superposing these mind-images that we get our general notions 
or concepts. This process of analysis and synthesis, whereby 
we select certain qualities in a group of mind-images, and then 
range together those of like quality, is the judicial action of the 
mind spoken of. But when we exercise swift divination upon 
the mind-images, as does a poet or a man of genius, then we 
use a power higher than the judicial, and one nearer to the 
keen vision of the spiritual man. 



45. Subtle substance rises in ascending degrees, to that 
pure nature which has no distinguishing mark. 

As we ascend from outer material things which are per¬ 
meated by separateness, and whose chief characteristic is to 
be separate, just as so many pebbles are separate from each 
other; as we ascend, first, to mind-images, which overlap and 
coalesce in both space and time, and then to ideas and princi¬ 
ples, we finally come to purer essences, drawing ever nearer 
and nearer to unity. 

Or we may illustrate this principle thus. Our bodily, 
external selves are quite distinct and separate, in form, name, 
place, substance; our mental selves, of finer substance, meet 
and part, meet and part again, in perpetual concussion and 
interchange; our spiritual selves attain true consciousness 
through unity, where the partition wall between us and the 
Highest, between us and others, is broken down and we are 
all made perfect in the One. The highest riches are possessed 
by all pure souls, only when united. Thus we rise from separa¬ 
tion to true individuality in unity. 

46. The above are the degrees of limited and conditioned 
spiritual consciousness, still containing the seed of separateness. 

In the four stages of perception above described, the 
spiritual vision is still working through the mental and psychi¬ 
cal, the inner genius is still expressed through the outer, per¬ 
sonal man. The spiritual man has yet to come completely to 
consciousness as himself, in his own realm, the psychical veils 
laid aside. 



47. When pure perception without judicial action of the 
mind is reached, there follows the gracious peace of the inner 

We have instanced certain types of this pure perception: 
the poet's divination, whereby he sees the spirit within the sym¬ 
bol, likeness in things unlike, and beauty in all things; the pure 
insight of the true philosopher, whose vision rests not on the 
appearances of life, but on its realities; or the saint’s firm per¬ 
ception of spiritual life and being. All these are far advanced 
on the way; they have drawn near to the secret dwelling of 

48. In that peace, perception is unfailingly true. 

The poet, the wise philosopher and the saint not only 
reach a wide and luminous consciousness, but they gain certain 
knowledge of substantial reality. When we know, we know 
that we know. For we have come to the stage where we know 
things by being them, and than being nothing can be more true. 
We rest on the rock, and know it to be rock, rooted in the very 
heart of the world. 

49. The object of this perception is other than what is 
learned from the sacred books, or by sound inference, since this 
perception is particular. 

The distinction is a luminous and inspiring one. The 
Scriptures teach general truths, concerning universal spiritual 
life and broad laws, and inference from their teaching is not 
less general. But the spiritual perception of the awakened seer 
brings particular truth concerning his own particular life and 
needs, whether these be for himself or others. He receives 
defined, precise knowledge, exactly applying to what he has at 


50. The impress on the consciousness springing from this 
perception supersedes all previous impressions. 

Each state or field of the mind, each field of knowledge, so 
to speak, which is reached by mental and emotional energies, 
is a psychical state, just as the mind picture of a stage with 
the actors on it is a psychical state or field. When the pure 
vision, as of the poet, the philosopher, the saint, fills the whole 
field, all lesser views and visions are crowded out. This high 
consciousness displaces all lesser consciousness. Yet, in a cer¬ 
tain sense, that which is viewed as part, even by the vision of 
a sage, has still an element of illusion, a thin psychical veil, 
however pure and luminous that veil may be. It is the last 
and highest psychic state. 

51. When this impression ceases, then, since all impres¬ 
sions have ceased, there arises pure spiritual consciousness, with 
no seed of separateness left. 

The last psychic veil is drawn aside, and the spiritual man 
stands with unveiled vision, pure, serene. 


Introduction to Book II. 

The first book of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras is called the 
Book of Spiritual Consciousness. The second book, which we 
now begin, is the Book of the Means of Soul Growth. And 
we must remember that soul growth here means the growth 
of the realization of the spiritual man, or, to put the matter 
more briefly, the growth of the spiritual man, and the disen¬ 
tangling of the spiritual man from the wrappings, the veils, 
the disguises laid upon him by the mind and the psychical 
nature, wherein he is enmeshed, like a bird caught in a net. 

The question arises: By what means may the spiritual man 
be freed from these psychical meshes and disguises, so that he 
may stand forth above death, in his radiant etemalness and 
divine power? And the second book sets itself to answer this 
very question, and to detail the means in a way entirely prac¬ 
tical and very lucid, so that he who runs may read, and he who 
reads may understand and practise. 

The second part of the second book is concerned with 
practical spiritual training, that is, with the earlier practical 
training of the spiritual man. 

The most striking thing in it is the emphasis laid on the 
Commandments, which are precisely those of the latter part of 
the Decalogue, together with obedience to the Master. Our 
day and generation is far too prone to fancy that there can be 
mystical life and growth on some other foundation, on the 
foundation, for example, of intellectual curiosity or psychical 
selfishness. In reality, on this latter foundation the life of the 
spiritual man can never be built; nor, indeed, anything but a 
psychic counterfeit, a dangerous delusion. 




Therefore Patanjali, like every great spiritual teacher, 
meets the question: What must I do to be saved? with the 
age-old answer: Keep the Commandments. Only after the 
disciple can say: These have I kept, can there be the further 
and finer teaching of the spiritual Rules. 

It is, therefore, vital for us to realize that the Yoga system, 
like every true system of spiritual teaching, rests on this broad 
and firm foundation of honesty, truth, cleanness, obedience. 
Without these, there is no salvation; and he who practises 
these, even though ignorant of spiritual things, is laying up 
treasure against the time to come. 



i. The practices which make for union with the Soul are: 
fervent aspiration, spiritual reading, and complete obedience to 
the Master. 

The word which I have rendered “fervent aspiration” 
means primarily “fire”; and, in the Eastern teaching, it means 
the fire which gives life and light, and at the same time the fire 
which purifies. We have, therefore, as our first practice, as 
the first of the means of spiritual growth, that fiery quality of 
the will which enkindles and illumines, and, at the same time, 
the steady practice of purification, the burning away of all 
known impurities. Spiritual reading is so universally accepted 
and understood, that it needs no comment. The very study of 
Patanjali’s Sutras is an exercise in spiritual reading, and a 
very effective one. And so with all other books of the soul. 
Obedience to the Master means, that we shall make the will of 
the Master our will, and shall conform in all ways to the will 
of the Divine, setting aside the wills of self, which are but 
psychic distortions of the one Divine Will. The constant effort 
to obey in all the ways we know and understand, will reveal 
new ways and new tasks, the evidence of new growth of the 
soul. Nothing will do more for the spiritual man in us than 
this, for there is no such regenerating power as the awakening 
spiritual will. 



2. Their aim is, to bring soul«vision, and to wear away 

The aim of fervor, spiritual reading and obedience to the 
Master, is , to bring soul-vision, and to wear away barriers. 
Or, to use the phrase we have already adopted, the aim of 
these practices is, to help the .spiritual man to open his eyes; 
to help him also to throw aside the veils and disguises, the en¬ 
meshing psychic nets which surround him, tying his hands, as 
it were, and bandaging his eyes. And this, as all teachers 
testify, is a long and arduous task, a steady up-hill fight, de¬ 
manding fine courage and persistent toil. Fervor, the fire of 
the spiritual will is, as we said, two-fold: it illumines, and so 
helps the spiritual man to see; and it also burns up the nets 
and meshes which ensnare the spiritual man. So with the 
other means, spiritual reading and obedience. Each, in its 
action, is two-fold, wearing away the psychical, and upbuilding 
the spiritual man. 



3. These are the barriers: the darkness of unwisdom, self- 
assertion, lust, hate, attachment. 

Let us try to translate this into terms of the psychical 
and spiritual man. The darkness of unwisdom is, primarily, 
the self-absorption of the psychical man, Jiis complete preoccu¬ 
pation with his own hopes and fears, plans and purposes, 
sensations and desires, so that he fails to see, or refuses to see, 
that there is a spiritual man; and so doggedly resists all efforts 
of the spiritual man to cast off his psychic tyrant and^set him¬ 
self free. This is the real darkness; and all those who deny 
the immortality of the soul, or deny the soul's existence, and 
so lay out their lives wholly for the psychical, mortal man and 
his ambitions, are under this power of darkness. 

Born of this darkness, this psychic self-absorption, is the 
dogged conviction that the psychic, personal man has separate, 
exclusive interests, which he can follow for himself alone; and 
this conviction, when put into practice in our life, leads to 
contest with other personalities, and so to hate. This hate, 
again, makes against the spiritual man, since it hinders the 
revelation of the high harmony between the spiritual man and 
his other selves, a harmony to be revealed only through the 
practice of love, that perfect love which casts out fear. 

In like manner, lust is the psychic man's craving for the 
stimulus of sensation, the din of which smothers the voice of 
the spiritual man, as, in Shakespeare's phrase, the cackling 
geese would drown the song of the nightingale. And this crav¬ 
ing for stimulus is the fruit of weakness, coming from the 
failure to find strength in the primal life of the spiritual man. 

Attachment is but another name for psychic self-absorp¬ 
tion; for we are absorbed, not in outward things, but rather 
in their images within our minds; our inner eyes are fixed on 
them; our inner desires brood over them; and so we blind 
ourselves to the presence of the prisoner, the enmeshed and 
fettered spiritual man. 



4. The darkness of unwisdom is the field of the others. 
These barriers may be dormant, or worn thin, or suspended, or 

Here we have really two sutras in one. The first has been 
explained already: in the darkness of unwisdom grow the 
parasites, hate, lust, attachment. They are all outgrowths of 
the self-absorption of the psychical self. 

Next, we are told that these barriers may be either dor¬ 
mant, or suspended, or expanded, or worn thin. Faults which 
are dormant will be brought out through the pressure of life, 
or through the pressure of strong aspiration. Thus expanded, 
they must be fought and conquered, or, as Patanjali quaintly 
says, they must be worn thin,—as a veil might, or the links of 

5. The darkness of ignorance is: holding that which is 
unenduring, impure, full of pain, not the soul, to be eternal, pure, 
full of joy, the soul. 

This we have really considered already. The psychic man 
is unenduring, impure, full of pain, not the soul, not the real 
Self. The spiritual man is enduring, pure, full of joy, the real 
Self. The darkness of unwisdom is, therefore, the self-absorp¬ 
tion of the psychical, personal man, to the exclusion of the 
spiritual man. It is the belief, carried into action, that the per¬ 
sonal man is the real man, the man for whom we should toil, 
for whom we should build, for whom we should live. This is 
that psychical man of whom it is said: he that soweth to the 
flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption. 




6. SeIf=assertion comes from thinking of the Seer and the 
instrument of vision as forming one self. 

This is the fundamental idea of the Sankhya philosophy, 
of which the Yoga is avowedly the practical side. To translate 
this into our terms, we may say that the Seer is the spiritual 
man; the instrument of vision is the psychical man, through 
which the spiritual man gains experience of the outer world. 
But we turn the servant into the master. We attribute to the 
psychical man, the personal self, a reality which really belongs 
to the spiritual man alone, and so, thinking of the quality of the 
spiritual man as belonging to the psychical, we merge the 
spiritual man in the psychical; or, as the text says, we think of 
the two as forming one self. 

7. Lust is the resting in the sense of enjoyment. 

This has been explained again and again. Sensation, as, 
for example, the sense of taste, is meant to be the guide to 
action; in this case, the choice of wholesome food, and the 
avoidance of poisonous and hurtful things. But if we rest in 
the sense of taste, as a pleasure in itself; rest, that is, in the 
psychical side of taste, we fall into gluttony, and live to eat, 
instead of eating to live. So with the other great organic 
power, the power of reproduction. This lust comes into being, 
through resting in the sensation, and looking for pleasure from 

8. Hate is the resting in the sense of pain. 

Pain comes, for the most part, from the strife of per¬ 
sonalities, the jarring discords between psychic selves, each of 
which deems itself supreme. A dwelling on this pain breeds 
hate, which tears the warring selves yet further asunder, and 
puts new enmity between them, thus hindering the harmony 
of the Real, the reconciliation through the soul. 




9. Attachment is the desire toward life, even in the wise, 
carried forward by its own energy. 

The life here desired is the psychic life, the intensely 
vibrating life of the psychical self. This prevails even in those 
who have attained much wisdom, so long as it falls short of the 
wisdom of complete renunciation, complete obedience to each 
least behest of the spiritual man, and of the Master who guards 
and aids the spiritual man. 

The desire of sensation, the desire of psychic life, repro¬ 
duces itself, carried on by its own energy and momentum; and 
hence comes the circle of death and rebirth, death and rebirth, 
instead of the liberation of the spiritual man. 

10. These subtle barriers are to be removed by a counter- 

The darkness of unwisdom is to be removed by the light 
of wisdom, pursued through fervor, spiritual reading of holy 
teachings and of life itself, and by obedience to the Master. 

Lust is to be removed by pure aspiration of spiritual life, 
which, bringing true strength and stability, takes away the 
void of weakness which we try to fill by the stimulus of sensa¬ 

Hate is to be overcome by love. The fear that arises 
through the sense of separate, warring selves is to be stilled by 
the realization of the One Self, the one soul in all. This 
realization is the perfect love that casts out fear. 

11. Their active turnings are to be removed by meditation. 

Here is, in truth, the whole secret of Yoga, the science of 
the soul. The active turnings, the strident vibrations, of self¬ 
ishness, lust and hate are to be stilled by meditation, by letting 
heart and mind dwell in spiritual life, by lifting up the heart 
to the strong, silent life above, which rests in the stillness of 
eternal love, and needs no harsh vibration to convince it of 
true being. 



12. The burden of bondage to sorrow has its root in these 
barriers. It will be felt in this life, or in a life not yet man¬ 

The burden of bondage to sorrow has its root in the dark¬ 
ness of unwisdom, in selfishness, in lust, in hate, in attachment 
to sensation. All these are, in the last analysis, absorption in 
the psychical self; and this means sorrow, because it means 
the sense of separateness, and this means jarring discord and 
inevitable death. But the psychical self will breed a new 
psychical self, in a new birth, and so new sorrows in a life not 
yet manifest. 

13. From this root there grow and ripen the fruits of birth, 
of the life-span, of all that is tasted in life. 

Fully to comment on this, would be to write a treatise on 
Karma and its practical working in detail, whereby the place 
and time of the next birth, its content and duration, are de¬ 
termined ; and to do this the present commentator is in no wise 
fitted. But this much is clearly understood: that, through a 
kind of spiritual gravitation, the incarnating self is drawn to 
a home and life-circle which will give it scope and discipline; 
and its need of discipline is clearly conditioned by its character, 
its standing, its accomplishment. 

14. These bear fruits of rejoicing or of affliction, as they 
are sprung from holy or unholy works. 

Since holiness is obedience to divine law, to the law of 
divine harmony, and obedience to harmony strengthens that 
harmony in the soul, which is the one true joy, therefore joy 
comes of holiness: comes, indeed, in no other way. And as 
unholiness is disobedience, and therefore discord, therefore 
unholiness makes for pain; and this two-fold law is true, 
whether the cause take effect in this, or in a yet unmanifested 



15. To him who possesses discernment, all personal life is 
misery, because it ever waxes and wanes, is ever afflicted with 
restlessness, makes ever new dynamic impresses in the mind; 
and because all its activities war with each other. 

The whole life of the psychic self is misery, because it ever 
waxes and wanes; because birth brings inevitable death; be¬ 
cause there is no expectation without its shadow, fear. The life 
of the psychic self is misery, because it is afflicted with restless¬ 
ness ; so that he who has much, finds not satisfaction, but 
rather the whetted hunger for more. The fire is not quenched 
by pouring oil on it; so desire is not quenched by the satisfac¬ 
tion of desire. Again, the life of the psychic self is misery, 
because it makes ever new dynamic impresses in the mind; 
because a desire satisfied is but the seed from which springs the 
desire to find like satisfaction again. The appetite comes in 
eating, as the proverb says, and grows by what it feeds on. 
And the psychic self, torn with conflicting desires, is ever the 
house divided against itself, which must surely fall. 

16. This pain is to be warded off, before it has come. 

In other words, we cannot cure the pains of life by laying 
on them any balm. We must cut the root, absorption in the 
psychical self. So it is said, there is no cure for the misery of 
longing, but to fix the heart upon the eternal. 

17. The cause of what is to be warded off, is the absorp¬ 
tion of the Seer in things seen. 

Here again we have the fundamental idea of the Sankhya, 
which is the intellectual counterpart of the Yoga system. The 
cause of what is to be warded off, the root of misery, is the 
absorption of consciousness in the psychical man and the things 
which beguile the psychical man. The cure is liberation. 



18. Things seen have as their property manifestation, act= 
ion, inertia. They form the basis of the elements and the sense- 
powers. They make for experience and for liberation. 

Here is a whole philosophy of life. Things seen, the total 
of the phenomenal, possess as their property manifestation, 
action, inertia: the qualities of force and matter in combination. 
These, in their grosser form, make the material world; in their 
finer, more subjective form, they make the psychical world, the 
world of sense-impressions and mind-images. And through 
this totality of the phenomenal the soul gains experience, and 
is prepared for liberation. In other words, the whole outer 
world exists for the purposes of the soul, and finds in this its 
true reason for being. 

19. The grades or layers of the Three Potencies are the 
defined, the undefined, that with distinctive mark, that without 
distinctive mark. 

Or, as we might say, there are two strata of the physical, 
and two strata of the psychical realms. In each, there is the 
side of form, and the side of force. The form side of the 
physical is here called the defined. The force side of the 
physical is the undefined, that which has no boundaries. So 
in the psychical; there is the form side, that with distinctive 
marks, such as the characteristic features of mind-images; and 
there is the force side, without distinctive marks, such as the 
forces of desire or fear, which may flow now to this mind- 
image, now to that. 

20. The Seer is pure vision. Though pure, he looks out 
through the vesture of the mind. 

The Seer, as always, is the spiritual man whose deepest 
consciousness is pure vision, the pure life of the eternal. But 
the spiritual man, as yet unseeing in his proper person, looks 
out on the world through the eyes of the psychical man, by 
whom he is enfolded and enmeshed. The task is, to set this 
prisoner free, to clear the dust of ages from this buried temple. 




21 . The very essence of things seen is, that they exist for 
the Seer, 

The things of outer life, not only material things, but the 
psychic man also, exist in very deed for the purposes of the 
Seer, the soul, the spiritual man. Disaster comes, when the 
psychical man sets up, so to speak, on his own account, trying 
to live for himself alone, and taking material things to solace 
his loneliness. 

22 . Though fallen away from him who has reached the 
goal, things seen have not altogether fallen away, since they still 
exist for others. 

When one of us conquers hate, hate does not thereby 
cease out of the world, since others still hate and suffer hatred. 
So with other delusions, which hold us in bondage to material 
things, and through which we look at all material things. 
When the colored veil of illusion is gone, the world which we 
saw through it is also gone, for now we see life as it is, in the 
white radiance of eternity. But for others the colored veil 
remains, and therefore the world thus colored by it remains 
for them, and will remain till they, too, conquer delusion. 

23 . The association of the Seer with things seen is the 
cause of the realizing of the nature of things seen, and also of 
the realizing of the nature of the Seer. 

Life is educative. All life’s infinite variety is for dis¬ 
cipline, for the development of the soul. So passing through 
many lives, the soul learns the secrets of the world, the august 
laws that are written in the form of the snow-crystal or the 
majestic order of the stars. But all these laws are but reflec¬ 
tions, but projections outward, of the laws of the soul; there¬ 
fore in learning these, the soul learns to know itself. All life 
is but the mirror wherein the soul learns to know its own face. 




24 . The cause of this association is the darkness of un¬ 

The darkness of unwisdom is the absorption of conscious¬ 
ness in the personal life, and in the things seen by the personal 
life. This is the fall, through which comes experience, the 
learning of the lessons of life. When they are learned, the day 
of redemption is at hand. 

25 . The bringing of this association to an end, by bringing 
the darkness of unwisdom to an end, is the great liberation; this 
is the Seer’s attainment of his own pure being. 

When the spiritual man has, through the psychical, learned 
all life’s lessons, the time has come for him to put off the veil 
and disguise of the psychical and to stand revealed a King, in 
the house of the Father. So shall he enter into his kingdom, 
and go no more out. 

26 . A discerning which is carried on perpetually is the 
means of liberation. 

Here we come close to the pure Vedanta, with its dis¬ 
cernment between the eternal and the temporal. St. Paul, 
following after Philo and Plato, lays down the same funda¬ 
mental principle: the things seen are temporal, the things 
unseen are eternal. 

Patanjali means something more than an intellectual 
assent, though this too is vital. He has in view a constant dis¬ 
criminating in act as well as thought; of the two ways which 
present themselves for every deed or choice, always to choose 
the higher way, that which makes for the things eternal: 
honesty rather than roguery, courage and not cowardice, the 
things of another rather than one’s own, sacrifice and not in¬ 
dulgence. This true discernment, carried out constantly, 
makes for liberation. 



27. The soul vision which is the final goal of liberation is 

The sevenfold consciousness of the spiritual man, who 
stands forth liberated from psychic trammels, is more fully set 
forth in the later sutras. It is a consciousness of the eternal, 
the blissful, the pure. In the text, we are not told what the 
seven qualities of this consciousness are, so that for explana¬ 
tion we must have recourse to the commentary. There we are 
told that the temporal mind, not yet liberated, has these seven 
characteristics: first, the desire to know; second, the desire to 
be free; third, the desire of bliss; fourth, the desire to fulfill all 
duties; fifth, the quality of sorrow; sixth, the touch of fear; 
seventh, the chill paralysis of doubt. 

These are the shadows of the sevenfold consciousness, of 
the liberated spiritual man, who, instead of the first, has firmly 
established wisdom; instead of the second, realized liberation; 
instead of the third, a deep and ever increasing delight; instead 
of the fourth, the certainty that all duties are fulfilled: I have 
finished the work which thou gavest me to do; and, for the 
fifth, sixth and seventh, joy, fearlessness and the firm-set being 
of the Eternal. 

28. From steadfastly following after the means of Yoga, 
until impurity is worn away, there comes the light of wisdom in 
full discernment. 

Here, we enter on the more detailed practical teaching of 
Patanjali, with its sound and luminous good sense. And, 
when we come to detail the means of Yoga, we shall be aston¬ 
ished at their simplicity. There is little that is mysterious in 
them. They are very familiar. The essence of the matter lies 
in carrying them out. 



29. The eight means of Yoga are: the Commandments, the 
Rules, right Poise, right Control of the life-force, Withdrawal, 
Concentration, Meditation, Illumination. 

These eight means are to be followed in their order, in 
the sense which will immediately be made clear. We can get 
a ready understanding of the first two, by comparing them with 
the Commandments which must be obeyed by all good citizens, 
and the Rules which are laid on the members of religious 
orders. Until one has fulfilled the first, it is futile to concern 
oneself with the second. And so with all the means of Yoga. 
They must be taken in their order. 

30. The Commandments are these: non-injury, truthful¬ 
ness, abstaining from stealing, from impurity, from covetousness. 

These five precepts are almost exactly the same as the 
Buddhist Commandments: not to kill, not to steal, not to be 
guilty of incontinence, not to drink intoxicants, to speak the 
truth. Almost identical is St. Paul's list: Thou shalt not com¬ 
mit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt 
not covet. And in the same spirit is the answer made to the 
young man having great possessions, who asked, What shall 
I do to be saved, and received the reply: Keep the Command¬ 

This broad, general training, which forms and develops 
human character, must be accomplished to a very considerable 
degree, before there can be much hope of success in the further 
stages of spiritual life. First the psychical, and then the 
spiritual. First the man, then the angel. 

On this broad, humane and wise foundation does the sys¬ 
tem of Patanjali rest. 



31. The Commandments are not limited to any race, place, 
time or age. They are universal; they are the great obligation. 

The Commandments form the broad general training of 
humanity. Each one of them rests on a universal spiritual 
law. Each one of them expresses an attribute or aspect of the 
Self, the Eternal; when we violate one of the Commandments, 
we set ourselves against the law and being of the Eternal, 
thereby bringing ourselves to inevitable confusion. So the first 
steps in spiritual life must be taken by bringing ourselves into 
voluntary obedience to these spiritual laws, and thus making 
ourselves partakers of the spiritual powers, the being of the 
Eternal. Like the law of gravity, the need of air to breathe, 
these great laws know no exceptions. They are in force in all 
lands, throughout all times, for all mankind. 

32 . The Rules are these: purity, serenity, fervent aspira¬ 
tion, spiritual reading, and perfect obedience to the Master, 

Here we have a finer law, one which humanity as a whole 
is less ready for, less fit to obey. Yet we can see that these 
Rules are the same in essence as the Commandments, but on a 
higher, more spiritual plane. The Commandments may be 
obeyed in outer acts and abstinences; the Rules demand obed¬ 
ience of the heart and spirit, a far more awakened and more 
positive consciousness. The Rules are the spiritual counter¬ 
part of the Commandments; and they themselves have finer 
degrees, for more advanced spiritual growth. 



33. To conquer transgressions, the weight of the imagina¬ 
tion should be thrown on the opposite side. 

Let us take a simple case, that of a thief, a habitual crim¬ 
inal, who has drifted into stealing in childhood, before the 
moral consciousness has awakened. We may imprison such 
a thief, and deprive him of all possibility of further theft, or 
of using the divine gift of will. Or we may recognize his dis¬ 
advantages, and help him gradually to build up possessions 
which express his will, and draw forth his self-respect. If we 
imagine that, after he has built well, and his possessions have 
become dear to him, he himself should be robbed, then we can 
see how he would come vividly to realize the essence of theft 
and of honesty, and would cleave to honest dealings with firm 
conviction. In some such way does the great Law teach us. 
Our sorrows and losses teach us the pain of the sorrow and 
loss we inflict on others, and so we cease to inflict them. 

Now as to the more direct application. To conquer a sin, 
let heart and mind rest, not on the sin, but on the contrary 
virtue. Let the sin be forced out by positive growth in the 
true direction, not by direct opposition. Turn away from the 
sin and go forward courageously, constructively, creatively, in 
well-doing. In this way the whole nature will gradually be 
drawn up to the higher level, on which the sin does not even 
exist. The conquest of a sin is a matter of growth and evolu¬ 
tion, rather than of opposition. 



34. Transgressions are injury, falsehood, theft, incon¬ 
tinence, envy, whether committed, or caused, or assented to, 
through greed, wrath, or infatuation; whether faint, or middling, 
or excessive; bearing endless fruit of ignorance and pain. There¬ 
fore must the weight be cast on the other side. 

Here are the causes of sin: greed, wrath, infatuation, with 
their effects, ignorance and pain. The causes are to be cured 
by better wisdom, by a truer understanding of the Self, of Life. 
For greed cannot endure before the realization that the whole 
world belongs to the Self, which Self we are; nor can we hold 
wrath against one who is one with the Self, and therefore with 
ourselves; nor can infatuation, which is the seeking for the 
happiness of the All in some limited part of it, survive the 
knowledge that we are heirs of the All. Therefore let thought 
and imagination, mind and heart, throw their weight on the 
other side; the side, not of the world, but of the Self. 

35. Where non-injury is perfected, all enmity ceases in the 
presence of him who possesses it. 

We come now to the spiritual powers which result from 
keeping the Commandments; from the obedience to spiritual 
law which is the keeping of the Commandments. Where the 
heart is full of kindness which seeks no injury to another, either 
in act or thought or wish, this full love creates an atmosphere 
of harmony, whose benign power touches with healing all who 
come within its influence. Peace in the heart radiates peace 
to other hearts, even more surely than contention breeds con¬ 



36. Where truth is perfected, it brings the reward of all 

Here is implied the belief that all sacrificial rites and acts 
of worship win a necessary reward from the celestial powers; 
and we are told that he who is perfected in truth wins these 
rewards without rites. The power of truth in his soul, his 
oneness with the truth and reality of things, is a strong, inev¬ 
itable force, to which all things respond, as he who has faith 
can remove mountains. 

37. Where cessation from theft is perfected, all treasures 
present themselves to him who possesses it. 

Here is a sentence which may warn us that, beside the 
outer and apparent meaning, there is in many of these sentences 
a second and finer significance. The obvious meaning is, that 
he who has wholly ceased from theft, in act, thought and wish, 
finds buried treasures in his path, treasures of jewels and gold 
and pearls. The deeper truth is, that he who in every least 
thing is wholly honest with the spirit of Life, finds Life sup¬ 
porting him in all things, and gains admittance to the treasure 
house of Life, the spiritual universe. 

38. For him who is perfect in continence, the reward is 
valor and virility. 

The creative power, strong and full of vigor, is no longer 
dissipated, but turned to spiritual uses. It upholds and endows 
the spiritual man, conferring on him the creative will, the 
power to engender spiritual children instead of bodily progeny. 
An epoch of life, that of man the animal, has come to an end; 
a new epoch, that of the spiritual man, is opened. The old 
creative power is superseded and transcended; a new creative 
power, that of the spiritual man, takes its place, carrying with 
it the power to work creatively in others for righteousness and 
eternal life. 



39. Where there is firm conquest of covetousness, he who 
has conquered it awakes to the how and why of life. 

So it is said that, before we can understand the laws of 
Karma, we must free ourselves from Karma. The conquest of 
covetousness brings this rich fruit, because the root of covet¬ 
ousness is the desire of the individual soul, the will toward 
manifested life. And where the desire of the individual soul is 
overcome by the superb, still life of the universal Soul welling 
up in the heart within, the great secret is discerned, the secret 
that the individual soul is not an isolated reality, but the ray, 
the manifest instrument of the Life, which turns it this way 
and that until the great work is accomplished, the age-long 
lesson learned. Thus is the how and why of life disclosed by 
ceasing from coveteousness. 

40. Through purity comes a withdrawal from one’s own 
bodily life, a ceasing from infatuation with the bodily life of 

As the spiritual light grows in the heart within, as the 
taste for pure Life grows stronger, the consciousness opens 
toward the great, secret places within where all life is one, 
where all lives are one. Thereafter, this outer, manifested, 
fugitive life, whether of ourselves or of others, loses something 
of its charm and glamor, and we seek rather the deep infini¬ 
tudes. Instead of the outer form and surroundings of our 
lives, we long for their inner and everlasting essence. We 
desire not so much outer converse and closeness to our friends, 
but rather that quiet communion with them in the inner cham¬ 
ber of the soul, where spirit speaks to spirit, and spirit answers; 
where alienation and separation never enter; where sickness 
and sorrow and death cannot come. 



41. To the pure of heart come also a quiet spirit, one- 
pointed thought, the victory over sensuality, and fitness to behold 
the Soul. 

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, who 
is the supreme Soul; the ultimate Self of all beings. In the 
deepest sense, purity means fitness for this vision, and also a 
heart cleansed from all disquiet, from all wandering and un¬ 
bridled thought, from the torment of sensuous imaginings; 
and when the spirit is thus cleansed and pure, it becomes at 
one in essence with its source, the great Spirit, the primal Life. 
One consciousness now thrills through both, for the psychic 
partition wall is broken down. Then shall the pure in heart 
see God, because they become God. 

42 . From acceptance, the disciple gains happiness supreme. 

One of the wise has said: accept conditions, accept others, 
accept yourself. This is the true acceptance, for all these 
things are what they are through the will of the higher Self, 
except their deficiencies, which come through thwarting the 
will of the higher Self, and can be conquered only through 
compliance with that will. By the true acceptance, the disciple 
comes into oneness of spirit with the overruling Soul; and, 
since the own-nature of the Soul is being, happiness, bliss, he 
comes thereby into happiness supreme. 



43. The perfection of the powers of the bodily vesture 
comes through the wearing away of impurities, and through 
fervent aspiration. 

This is true of the physical powers, and of those which 
dwell in the higher vestures. There must be, first, purity; as 
the blood must be pure, before one can attain to physical health. 
But absence of impurity is not in itself enough, else would 
many nerveless ascetics of the cloisters rank as high saints. 
There is needed, further, a positive fire of the will; a keen vital 
vigor for the physical powers, and something finer, purer, 
stronger, but of kindred essence, for the higher powers. The 
fire of genius is something more than a phrase, for there can 
be no genius without the celestial fire of the awakened spiritual 

44. Through spiritual reading, the disciple gains communion 
with the divine Power on which his heart is set. 

Spiritual reading meant, for ancient India, something 
more than it does with us. It meant, first, the recital of sacred 
texts, which, in their very sounds, had mystical potencies; and 
it meant a recital of texts which were in themselves divinely 
emanated, and held in themselves the living, potent essence of 
the divine. 

For us, spiritual reading means a communing with the 
recorded teachings of the Masters of wisdom, whereby we read 
ourselves into the Master’s mind, just as through his music one 
can enter into the mind and soul of the master musician. It 
has been well said that all true art is contagion of feeling; so 
that through the true reading of true books we do indeed read 
ourselves into the spirit of the Masters, and share in the atmo¬ 
sphere of their wisdom and power. 




45. Soul=vision is perfected through perfect obedience to 
the Master. 

The sorrow and darkness of life come of the erring per¬ 
sonal will which sets itself against the will of the Soul, the one 
great Life. The error of the personal will is inevitable, since 
each will must be free to choose, to try and fail, and so to find 
the path. And sorrow and darkness are inevitable, until the 
path be found, and the personal will made once more one with 
the greater Will, wherein it finds rest and power, without losing 
freedom. In His will is our peace. And with that peace comes 
light. Soul-vision is perfected through obedience. 

46. Right poise must be firm and without strain. 

Here we approach a section of the teaching which has 
manifestly a two-fold meaning. The first is physical, and con¬ 
cerns the bodily position of the student, and the regulation of 
breathing. These things have their direct influence upon soul- 
life, the life of the spiritual man, since it is always and every¬ 
where true that our study demands a sound mind in a sound 
body. The present sentence declares that, for work and for 
meditation, the position of the body must be steady and with¬ 
out strain, in order that the finer currents of life may run their 

It applies further to the poise of the soul, that fine balance 
and stability which nothing can shake, where the consciousness 
rests on the firm foundation of spiritual being. This is indeed 
the house set upon a rock, which the winds and waves beat 
upon in vain. 



47. Right poise is to be gained by steady and temperate 
effort, and by setting the heart upon the everlasting. 

Here again, there is the twofold meaning, for physical 
poise is to be gained by steady effort of the muscles, by gradual 
and wise training, linked with a right understanding of, and 
relation with, the universal force of gravity. Uprightness of 
body demands that both these conditions shall be fulfilled. 

In like manner the firm and upright poise of the spiritual 
man is to be gained by steady and continued effort, always 
guided by wisdom, and by setting the heart on the Eternal, 
filling the soul with the atmosphere of the spiritual world. 
Neither is effective without the other. Aspiration without 
effort brings weakness; effort without aspiration brings a false 
strength, not resting on enduring things. The two together 
make for the right poise which sets the spiritual man firmly 
and steadfastly on his feet. 

48. The fruit of right poise is the strength to resist the 
shocks of infatuation or sorrow. 

In the simpler physical sense, which is also covered by the 
wording of the original, this sentence means that wise effort 
establishes such bodily poise that the accidents of things cannot 
disturb it, as the captain remains steady, though disaster over¬ 
take his ship. 

But the deeper sense is far more important. The spiritual 
man too must learn to withstand all shocks, to remain steadfast 
through the perturbations of external things and the storms 
and whirlwinds of the psychical world. This is the power 
which is gained by wise, continuous effort, and by filling the 
spirit with the atmosphere of the Eternal. 




49. When this is gained, there follows the right guidance 
of the life=currents, the control of the incoming and outgoing 

It is well understood to-day that most of our maladies 
come from impure conditions of the blood. It is coming to 
be understood that right breathing, right oxygenation, will do 
very much to keep the blood clean and pure. Therefore a right 
knowledge of breathing is a part of the science of life. 

But the deeper meaning is, that the spiritual man, when 
he has gained poise through right effort and aspiration, can 
stand firm and guide the currents of his life, both the incoming 
current of events, and the outgoing current of his acts. 

Exactly the same symbolism is used in the saying: Not 
that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which 
cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man. . . . Those 

things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the 
heart . . . out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, 

uncleanness, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. Therefore the 
first step in purification is to keep the Commandments. 

50. The life=current is either outward, or inward, or bal= 
anced; it is regulated according to place, time, number; it is 
either long or short. 

The technical, physical side of this has its value. In the 
breath, there should be right inbreathing, followed by the 
period of pause, when the air comes into contact with the 
blood, and this again followed by right outbreathing, even, 
steady, silent. Further, the lungs should be evenly filled; 
many maladies may arise from the neglect and consequent 
weakening, of some region of the lungs. And the number of 
breaths is so important, so closely related to health, that every 
bulletin records it. 

But the deeper meaning is concerned with the currents of 
life; with that which goeth into, and cometh out of the heart. 




51. The fourth degree is concerned with external and in¬ 
ternal objects. 

The traditional interpretation of this is, that it is concerned 
with the relation of the breath to certain centers in the body, in 
which are nerve-forces related to exceptional astral powers; 
and the commentators detail the centers and their forces. 

The inner meaning seems to be that, in addition to the 
three degrees of control already described, control, that is, over 
the incoming current of life, over the outgoing current, and 
over the condition of pause or quiesence, there is a fourth 
degree of control, which holds in complete mastery both the 
outer passage of events and the inner currents of thoughts and 
emotions; a condition of perfect poise and stability in the midst 
of the flux of things outward and inward. 

52 . Thereby is worn away the veil which covers up the 

The veil is the psychic nature, the web of emotions, desires, 
argumentative trains of thought, which cover up and obscure 
the truth by absorbing the entire attention and keeping the con¬ 
sciousness in the psychic realm. When hopes and fears are 
reckoned at their true worth, in comparison with lasting pos¬ 
sessions of the Soul; when the outer reflections of things have 
ceased to distract us from inner realities; when argumentative 
thought no longer entangles us, but yields its place to flashing 
intuition, the certainty which springs from within, then is the 
veil worn away, the consciousness is drawn from the psychical 
to the spiritual, from the temporal to the Eternal. Then is the 
light unveiled. 

5 2 



53. Thence conies the mind’s power to hold itself in the 

It has been well said, that what we most need is the faculty 
of spiritual attention; and, in the same direction of thought it 
has been eloquently declared that prayer does not consist in 
our catching God's attention, but rather in our allowing God 
to hold our attention. 

The vital matter is, that we need to disentangle our con¬ 
sciousness from the noisy and perturbed thraldom of the 
psychical, and to come to consciousness as the spiritual man. 
This we must do, first, by purification, through the Command¬ 
ments and the Rules; and, second, through the faculty of 
spiritual attention, by steadily heeding endless fine intimations 
of the spiritual power within us, and by intending our con¬ 
sciousness thereto; thus by degrees transferring the center of 
consciousness from the psychical to the spiritual. It is a ques¬ 
tion, first, of love, and then of attention. 



54. The right Withdrawal is the disengaging of the powers 
from entanglement in outer things, and their return to the quality 
of consciousness. 

To understand this, let us reverse the process, and think 
of the one consciousness, centered in the Soul, gradually ex¬ 
panding and taking on the form of the different perceptive 
powers; the one will, at the same time, differentiating itself 
into the varied powers of action. 

Now let us imagine this to be reversed, so that the spiritual 
force, which has gone into the differentiated powers, is once 
more gathered together into the inner power of intuition and 
spiritual will, taking on that unity which is the hall-mark of 
spiritual things, as diversity is the seal of material things. 

It is all a matter of love for the quality of spiritual con¬ 
sciousness, as against psychical consciousness, of love and at¬ 
tention. For where the heart is, there will the treasure be also; 
where the consciousness is, there will the vesture with its 
powers be developed. 

55. Thereupon follows perfect mastery over the powers. 

When the spiritual condition which we have described is 
reached, with its purity, poise, and illuminated vision, the 
spiritual man is coming into his inheritance, and gaining com- I 
plete mastery of his powers. 

Indeed, much of the struggle to keep the Commandments 
and the Rules has been paving the way for this mastery; 
through this very struggle and sacrifice the mastery has become 
possible; just as, to use Saint Paul's simile, the athlete gains 
the mastery in the contest and the race, through the sacrifice 
of his long and arduous training. Thus he gains the crown. 


Introduction to Book III. 

The third book of the Sutras is the book of Spiritual 
Powers. In considering these spiritual powers, two things 
must be understood and kept in memory. The first of these is 
this: These spiritual powers can only be gained when the 
development described in the first and second books has been 
measurably attained; when the commandments have been kept, 
the rules faithfully followed, and the experiences which are 
described have been passed through. For only after this, is the 
spiritual man so far grown, so far disentangled from the 
psychical bandages and veils which have confined and blinded 
him, that he can use his proper powers and faculties. For this 
is the secret of all spiritual powers: they are in no sense abnor¬ 
mal or supernatural overgrowth upon the material man, but are 
rather the powers and faculties inherent in the spiritual man, 
entirely natural to him, and coming naturally into activity, as 
the spiritual man is disentangled and liberated from psychical 
bondage, through keeping the commandments and rules already 
set forth. 

As the personal man is the limitation and inversion of the 
spiritual man, all his faculties and powers are inversions of the 
powers of the spiritual man. In a single phrase, his self-seeking 
is the inversion of the Self-seeking which is the very being of 
the spiritual man: the ceaseless search after the divine and 
august Self of all beings. This inversion is corrected by keep¬ 
ing the commandments and rules, and gradually, as the in¬ 
version is overcome, the spiritual man is extricated, and comes 
into possession and free exercise of his powers. 



The spiritual powers, therefore, are the powers of the 
grown and liberated spiritual man. They can only be developed 
and used as the spiritual man grows and attains liberation 
through obedience. This is the first thing to be kept in mind, 
in all that is said of spiritual powers in the third and fourth 
books of the Sutras. The second thing to be understood and 
kept in mind is this: 

Just as our modern sages have discerned and taught that 
all matter is ultimately one and eternal, definitely related 
throughout the whole wide universe; just as they have dis¬ 
cerned and taught that all force is one and eternal, so co¬ 
ordinated throughout the whole universe that whatever affects 
any atom measurably affects the whole boundless realm of mat¬ 
ter and force to the most distant star or nebula on the dim con¬ 
fines of space; so the ancient sages had discerned and taught 
that all consciousness is one, immortal, indivisible, infinite; so 
finely correlated and continuous that whatever is perceived by 
any consciousness is, whether actually or potentially, within the 
reach of all consciousness, and therefore within the reach of 
any consciousness. This has been well expressed by saying 
that all souls are fundamentally one with the Oversoul; that 
the Son of God, and all Sons of God, are fundamentally one 
with the Father. When the consciousness is cleared of psychic 
bonds and veils, when the spiritual man is able to stand, to see, 
then this superb law comes into effect: whatever is within the 
knowledge of any consciousness, and this includes the whole 
infinite universe, is within his reach, and may, if he wills, be 
made a part of his consciousness. This he may attain through 
his fundamental unity with the Oversoul, by raising himself 
toward the consciousness above him, and drawing on its re¬ 
sources. The Son, if he would work miracles, whether of per¬ 
ception or of action, must come often into the presence of the 
Father. This is the birthright of the spiritual man; through 
it, he comes into possession of his splendid and immortal 

Let it be clearly kept in mind that what is here to be 
related of the spiritual man, and his exalted powers, must in 



no wise be detached from what has gone before. The being, 
the very inception, of the spiritual man depends on the purifi¬ 
cation and moral attainment already detailed, and can in no 
wise dispense with these or curtail them. 

Let no one imagine that the true life, the true powers of 
the spiritual man, can be attained by any way except the hard 
way of sacrifice, of trial, of renunciation, of selfless self-con- 
quest and genuine devotion to the weal of all others. Only 
thus can the golden gates be reached and entered. Only thus 
can we attain to that pure world, wherein the spiritual man 
lives, and moves, and has his being. Nothing impure, nothing 
unholy can ever cross that threshold, least of all impure motives 
or self-seeking desires. These must be burnt away, before an 
entrance to that world can be gained. 

But where there is light, there is shadow; and the lofty 
light of the soul casts upon the clouds of the mid-world the 
shadow of the spiritual man and of his powers; the bastard 
vesture and the bastard powers of psychism are easily attained; 
vet, even when attained, they are a delusion, the very essence 
of unreality. 

Therefore ponder well the earlier rules, and lay a firm 
foundation of courage, sacrifice, selflessness, holiness. 



i. The binding of the perceiving consciousness to a certain 
region is Attention (dharana). 

Emerson quotes Sir Isaac Newton as saying that he made 
his great discoveries by intending his mind on them. That is 
what is meant here. I read the page of a book while thinking 
of something else. At the end of the page, I have no idea of 
what it is about, and read it again, still thinking of something 
else, with the same result. Then I wake up, so to speak, make 
an effort of attention, fix my thought on what I am reading, 
and easily take in its meaning. The act of will, the effort of 
attention, the intending of the mind on each word and line of 
the page, just as the eyes are focussed on each word and line, 
is the power here contemplated. It is the power to focus the 
consciousness on a given spot, and hold it there. Attention is 
the first and indispensable step in all knowledge. Attention to 
spiritual things is the first step to spiritual knowledge. 



2. A prolonged holding of the perceiving consciousness in 
that region is Contemplation (dhyana). 

This will apply equally to outer and inner things. I may 
for a moment fix my attention on some visible object, in a 
single penetrating glance, or I may hold the attention fixedly 
on it until it reveals far more of its nature than a single glance 
could perceive. The first is the focussing of the searchlight 
of consciousness upon the object. The other is the holding of 
the white beam of light steadily and persistently on the object, 
until it yields up the secret of its details. So for things within; 
one may fix the inner glance for a moment on spiritual things, 
or one may hold the consciousness steadily upon them, until 
what was in the dark slowly comes forth into the light, and 
yields up its immortal secret. But this is possible only for the 
spiritual man, after the commandments and the rules have been 
kept; for until this is done, the thronging storms of psychical 
thoughts dissipate and distract the attention, so that it will not 
remain fixed on spiritual things. The cares of this world, the 
deceitfulness of riches, choke the word of the spiritual message. 

3. When the perceiving consciousness, in this contempla¬ 
tion, is wholly given to illuminating the essential meaning of the 
object contemplated, and is freed from the sense of separateness 
and personality, this is Meditation (samadhi). 

Let us review the steps so far taken. First, the beam of 
perceiving consciousness is focussed on a certain region or sub¬ 
ject, through the effort of attention. Then this attending con¬ 
sciousness is held on its object. Thirdly, there is the ardent will 
to know its meaning, to illumine it with comprehending 
thought. Fourthly, all personal bias, all desire merely to in¬ 
dorse a previous opinion and so prove oneself right, and all 
desire for personal profit or gratification must be quite put 
away. There must be a purely disinterested love of truth for 
its own sake. Thus is the perceiving consciousness made void, 
as it were, of all personality or sense of separateness. The 
personal limitation stands aside, and lets the All-consciousness 
come to bear upon the problem. The Oversoul bends its ray 
upon the object, and illumines it with pure light. 




4. When these three, Attention, Contemplation, Medita¬ 
tion, are exercised at once, this is perfectly concentrated Medi¬ 
tation (sanyama). 

When the personal limitation of the perceiving conscious¬ 
ness stands aside, and allows the All-conscious to come to bear 
upon the problem, then arises that real knowledge which is 
called a flash of genius; that real knowledge which makes dis¬ 
coveries, and without which no discovery can be made, how¬ 
ever painstaking the effort. For genius is the vision of the 
spiritual man, and that vision is a question of growth rather 
than present effort; though right effort, righjtly continued, 
will in time infallibly lead to growth and visiorf. Through the 
power thus to set aside personal limitation, to push aside petty 
concerns and cares, and steady the whole nature and will in 
an ardent love of truth and desire to know it; through the 
power thus to make way for the All-consciousness, all great 
men make their discoveries. Newton, watching the apple fall 
to the earth, was able to look beyond, to see the subtle waves 
of force pulsating through apples and worlds and suns and 
galaxies, and thus to perceive universal gravitation. The Over¬ 
soul, looking through his eyes, recognized the universal force, 
one of its own children. Darwin, watching the forms and 
motions of plants and animals, let the same august conscious¬ 
ness come to bear on them, and saw infinite growth perfected 
through ceaseless struggle. He perceived the superb process 
of evolution, the Oversoul once more recognizing its own. 
Fraunhofer, noting the dark lines in the band of sunlight in 
his spectroscope, divined their identity with the bright lines in 
the spectra of incandescent iron, sodium and the rest, and so 
saw the oneness of substance in the worlds and suns, the unity 
of the materials of the universe. Once again, the Oversoul, 
looking with his eyes, recognized its own. So it is with all 
true knowledge. But the mind must transcend its limitations, 
its idiosyncracies; there must be purity, for to the pure in heart 
is the promise, that they shall see God. 


5 . By mastering this perfectly concentrated Meditation, 
there comes the illumination of the perceiving consciousness. 

The meaning of this is illustrated by what has been said 
before. When the spiritual man is able to throw aside the tram¬ 
mels of emotional and mental limitation, and to open his eyes, 
he sees clearly, he attains to illuminated perception. A poet 
once said that Occultism is the conscious cultivation of genius; 
and it is certain that the awakened spiritual man attains to the 
perceptions of genius. Genius is the vision, the power, of the 
spiritual man, whether its possessor recognizes this or not. 
All true knowledge is of the spiritual man. The greatest in all 
ages have recognized this and put their testimony on record. 
The great in wisdom who have not consciously recognized it, 
have even been full of the spirit of reverence, of selfless devo¬ 
tion to truth, of humility, as was Darwin; and reverence and 
humility are the unconscious recognition of the nearness of the 
.Spirit, that Divinity which broods over us, a Master o’er a 



6 . This power is distributed in ascending degrees. 

It is to be attained step by step. It is a question, not of 
miracle, but of evolution, of growth. Newton had to master 
the multiplication table, then the four rules of arithmetic, then 
the rudiments of algebra, before he came to the binomial 
theorem. At each point, there was attention, concentration, 
insight; until these were attained, no progress to the next point 
was possible. So with Darwin. He had to learn the form and 
use of leaf and flower, of bone and muscle; the characteristics 
of genera and species; the distribution of plants and animals, 
before he had in mind that nexus of knowledge on which the 
light of his great idea was at last able to shine. So is it with 
all knowledge. So is it with spiritual knowledge. Take the 
matter this way: The first subject for the exercise of my 
spiritual insight is my day, with its circumstances, its hin¬ 
drances, its opportunities, its duties. I do what I can to solve 
it, to fulfill its duties, to learn its lessons. I try to live my day 
with aspiration and faith. That is the first step. By doing 
this, I gather a harvest for the evening, I gain a deeper insight 
into life, in virtue of which I begin the next day with a certain 
advantage, a certain spiritual advance and attainment. So 
with all successive days. In faith and aspiration, we pass from 
day to day, in growing knowledge and power, with never more 
than one day to solve at a time, until all life becomes radiant 
and transparent. 



7. This threefold power, of Attention, Contemplation, 
Meditation, is more interior than the means of growth previously 

Very naturally so; because the means of growth prev¬ 
iously described were concerned with the extrication of the 
spiritual man from psychic bondages and veils; while this 
threefold power is to be exercised by the spiritual man thus 
extricated and standing on his feet, viewing life with open eyes. 

8. But this triad is still exterior to the soul vision which 
is unconditioned, free from the seed of mental analysis. 

The reason is this: The threefold power we have been 
considering, the triad of Attention, Contemplation, Meditation 
is, so far as we have yet considered it, the focussing of the 
beam of perceiving consciousness upon some form of manifest¬ 
ing being, with a view of understanding it completely. There 
is a higher stage, where the beam of consciousness is turned 
back upon itself, and the individual consciousness enters into, 
and knows, the All-consciousness. This is a being, a being in 
immortality, rather than a knowing; it is free from mental 
analysis or mental forms. It is not an activity of the higher 
mind, even the mind of the spiritual man. It is an activity of 
the soul. Had Newton risen to this higher stage, he would 
have known, not the laws of motion, but that high Being, from 
whose Life comes eternal motion. Had Darwin risen to this, 
he would have seen the Soul, whose graduated thought and 
being all evolution expresses. There are, therefore, these two 
perceptions: that of living things, and that of the Life; that of 
the Soul’s works, and that of the Soul itself. 



9. One of the ascending degrees is the development of 
Control. First there is the overcoming of the mind-impress of 
excitation. Then comes the manifestation of the mind-impress 
of Control. Then the perceiving consciousness follows after the 
moment of Control. This is the development of Control. 

This is a difficult sentence. Its meaning seems to be this: 
Some object enters the field of observation, and at first 
violently excites the mind, stirring up curiosity, fear, wonder; 
then the consciousness returns upon itself, as it were, and takes 
the perception firmly in hand, steadying itself, and viewing the 
matter calmly from above. This steadying effort of the will 
upon the perceiving consciousness is Control, and immediately 
upon it follows perception, understanding, insight. 

Take a trite example. Supposing one is walking in an 
Indian forest. A charging elephant suddenly appears. The 
man is excited by astonishment, and, perhaps, terror. But he 
exercises an effort of will, perceives the situation in its true 
bearings, and recognizes that a certain thing must be done; 
in this case, probably, that he must get out of the way as 
quickly as possible. 

Or a comet, unheralded, appears in the sky like a flaming 
sword. The beholder is at first astonished, perhaps terror- 
stricken; but he takes himself in hand, controls his thoughts, 
views the apparition calmly, and finally calculates its orbit and 
its relation to meteor showers. 

These are extreme illustrations; but with all knowledge, 
the order of perception is the same: first, the excitation of the 
mind by the new object impressed on it; then the control of the 
mind from within; upon which follows the perception of the 
nature of the object. Where the eyes of the spiritual man are 
open, this will be a true and penetrating spiritual perception. 
In some such way do our living experiences come to us; first, 
with a shock of pain; then the Soul steadies itself and controls 
the pain; then the spirit perceives the lesson of the event, and 
its bearing upon the progressive revelation of life. 



10. Through frequent repetition of this process, the mind 
becomes habituated to it, and there arises an equable flow of 
perceiving consciousness. 

Control of the mind by the Soul, like control of the muscles 
by the mind, comes by practice, and constant voluntary repeti¬ 

As an example of control of the muscles by the mind, take 
the ceaseless practice by which a musician gains mastery over 
his instrument, or a fencer gains skill with a rapier. Innumer¬ 
able small efforts of attention will make a result which seems 
well-nigh miraculous; which, for the novice, is really mirac¬ 
ulous. Then consider that far more wonderful instrument, the 
perceiving mind, played on by that fine musician, the Soul. 
Here again, innumerable small efforts of attention will accu¬ 
mulate into mastery, and a mastery worth winning. For a 
concrete example, take the gradual conquest of each day, the 
effort to live that day for the Soul. To him that is faithful 
unto death, the Master gives the crown of life. 

11. The gradual conquest of the mind’s tendency to flit 
from one object to another, and the power of one^pointedness, 
make the development of Meditation. 

As an illustration of the mind’s tendency to flit from one 
object to another, take a small boy, learning arithmetic. He 
begins: two ones are two; three ones are three—and then he 
thinks of three coins in his pocket, which will purchase so much 
candy, in the store down the street, next to the toy-shop, where 
are base-balls, marbles and so on,—and then he comes back 
with a jerk, to four ones are four. So with us also. We are 
seeking the meaning of our task, but the mind takes advantage 
of a moment of slackened attention, and flits off from one friv¬ 
olous detail to another, till we suddenly come back to consci¬ 
ousness after traversing leagues of space. We must learn to 
conquer this, and to go back within ourselves into the beam of 
perceiving consciousness itself, which is a beam of the Over¬ 
soul. This is the true one-pointedness, the bringing of our 
consciousness to a focus in the Soul. 



12 . When, following this, the controlled manifold tendency 
and the aroused one=pointedness are equally balanced parts of 
the perceiving consciousness, this is the development of one- 

This would seem to mean that the insight which is called 
one-pointedness has two sides, equally balanced. There is first, 
the manifold aspect of any object, the sum of all its charac¬ 
teristics and properties. This is to be held firmly in the mind. 
Then there is the perception of the object as a unity, as a 
whole, the perception of its essence. First, the details must be 
clearly perceived; then the essence must be comprehended. 
When the two processes are equally balanced, the true one- 
pointedness is attained. Everything has these two sides, the 
side of difference and the side of unity; there is the individual 
and there is the genus; the pole of matter and diversity, and 
the pole of oneness and spirit. To see the object truly, we 
must see both. 

13. Through this, the inherent character, distinctive marks 
and conditions of being and powers, according to their develop= 
ment, are made clear. 

By the power defined in the preceding sutra, the inherent 
character, distinctive marks and conditions of beings and 
powers are made clear. For through this power, as defined, 
we get a twofold view of each object, seeing at once all its in¬ 
dividual characteristics and its essential character, species and 
genus; we see it in relation to itself, and in relation to the 
Eternal. Thus we see a rose as that particular flower, with its 
color and scent, its peculiar fold of each petal; but we also see 
in it the species, the family to which it belongs, with its relation 
to all plants, to all life, to Life itself. So in any day, we see 
events and circumstances; we also see in it the lesson set for 
the soul by the Eternal. 



14. Every object has its characteristics which are already 
quiescent, those which are active, and those which are not yet 

Every object has characteristics belonging to its past, its 
present and its future. In a fir tree, for example, there are the 
stumps or scars of dead branches, which once represented its 
foremost growth; there are the branches with their needles 
spread out to the air; there are the buds at the end of each 
branch and twig, which carry the still closely packed needles 
which are the promise of the future. In like manner, the 
chrysalis has, as its past, the caterpillar; as its future, the but¬ 
terfly. The man has, in his past, the animal; in his future, the 
angel. Both are visible even now in his face. So with all 
things, for all things change and grow. 

15. Difference in stage is the cause of difference in de¬ 

This but amplifies what has just been said. The first stage 
is the sapling, the caterpillar, the animal. The second stage is 
the growing tree, the chrysalis, the man. The third is the 
splendid pine, the butterfly, the angel. Difference of stage is 
the cause of difference of development. So it is among men, 
and among the races of men. 



16. Through perfectly concentrated Meditation on the 
three stages of development comes a knowledge of past and 

We have taken our illustrations from natural science, 
because, since every true discovery in natural science is a 
divination of a law in nature, attained through a flash of 
genius, such discoveries really represent acts of spiritual per¬ 
ception, acts of perception by the spiritual man, even though 
they are generally unconscious. 

So we may once more use the same illustration. Perfectly 
concentrated Meditation, perfect insight into the chrysalis, 
reveals the caterpillar that it has been, the butterfly that it is 
destined to be. He who knows the seed, knows the seed-pod 
or ear it has come from, and the plant that is to come from it. 

So in like manner, he who really knows to-day, and the 
heart of to-day, knows its parent yesterday, and its child to¬ 
morrow. Past, present and future are all in the Eternal. He 
who dwells in the Eternal knows all three. 



17. Sound and meaning and the thought called up by a 
word are confounded because they are all blurred together in the 
mind. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on each separately, 
there comes an understanding of the sounds uttered by all beings. 

It must be remembered that we are speaking of perception 
by the spiritual man. 

Sound, like every force, is the expression of a power of the 
Eternal. Infinite shades of this power are expressed in the 
infinitely varied tones of sound. He who, having entry to the 
consciousness of the Eternal knows the essence of this power, 
can divine the meanings of all sounds from the voice of the 
insect to the music of the spheres. 

In like manner, he who has attained to spiritual vision can 
perceive the mind-images in the thoughts of others, with the 
shade of feeling which goes with them, thus reading their 
thoughts as easily as he hears their words. Everyone has the 
germ of this power, since difference of tone will give widely 
differing meanings to the same words, meanings which are 
intuitively perceived by everyone. 

18. When the mind-impressions become visible, there 
comes an understanding of previous births. 

This is simple enough, if we grasp the truth of rebirth. 
The fine harvest of past experiences is drawn into the spiritual 
nature, forming, indeed, the basis of its development. When 
the consciousness has been raised to a point above these fine 
subjective impressions, and can look down upon them from 
above, this will in itself be a remembering of past births. 



19. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on mind=images 
is gained the understanding of the thoughts of others. 

Here, for those who can profit by it, is the secret of 
thought-reading. Take the simplest case, of intentional thought 
transference. It is the testimony of those who have done this, 
that the perceiving mind must be stilled, before the mind- 
image projected by the other mind can be seen. With it comes 
a sense of the feeling and temper of the other mind and so on, 
in higher degrees. 

20. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the form of 
the body, by arresting the body’s perceptibility, and by inhibiting 
the eye’s power of sight, there comes the power to make the 
body invisible. 

There are many instances of the exercise of this power, by 
mesmerists, hypnotists and the like; and we may simply call it 
an instance of the power of suggestion. Shankara tells us that 
by this power the popular magicians of the East perform their 
wonders, working on the mind-images of others, while them¬ 
selves remaining invisible. It is all a question of being able to 
see and control the mind-images. 

31. The works which fill out the life=span may be either 
immediately or gradually operative. By perfectly concentrated 
Meditation on these comes a knowledge of the time of the end, 
as also through signs. 

A garment which got wet, says the commentator, may be 
hung up to dry, and so dry rapidly, or it may be rolled in a ball 
and dry slowly; so a fire may blaze or smoulder. Thus it is 
with Karma, the works that fill out the life-span. By an in¬ 
sight into the mental forms and forces which make up Karma, 
there comes a knowledge of the rapidity or slowness of their 
development, and of the time when the debt will be paid off. 



22. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on sympathy, 
compassion and kindness, is gained the power of interior union 
with others. 

Unity is the reality; separateness the illusion. The nearer 
we come to reality, the nearer we come to unity of heart. 
Sympathy, compassion, kindness are modes of this unity of 
heart, whereby we rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep 
with those who weep. These things are learned by desiring to 
learn them. 

23. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on power, even 
such power as that of the elephant may be gained. 

This is a pretty image. Elephants possess not only force, 
but poise and fineness of control. They can lift a straw, a 
child, a tree with perfectly judged control and effort. So the 
simile is a good one. By detachment, by withdrawing into the 
soul's reservoir of power, we can gain all these, force and fine¬ 
ness and poise; the ability to handle with equal mastery things 
small and great, concrete and abstract alike. 

24. By bending upon them the awakened inner light, there 
comes a knowledge of things subtle, or obscure, or remote. 

As was said at the outset, each consciousness is related 
to all consciousness; and, through it, has a potential conscious¬ 
ness of all things; whether subtle or obscure, or remote. An 
understanding of this great truth will come with practice. As 
one of the wise has said, we have no conception of the power 
of Meditation. 



25. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the sun comes 
a knowledge of the worlds. 

This has several meanings: First, by a knowledge of the 
constitution of the sun, astronomers can understand the kin¬ 
dred nature of the stars. And it is said that there is a finer 
astronomy, where the spiritual man is the astronomer. But 
the sun also means the Soul, and through knowledge of the 
Soul comes a knowledge of the realms of life. 

26. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the moon 
comes a knowledge of the lunar mansions. 

Here again are different meanings. The moon is, first, 
the companion planet, which, each day, passes backward 
through one mansion of the stars. By watching the moon, the 
boundaries of the mansion are learned, with their succession in 
the great time-dial of the sky. But the moon also symbolises 
the analytic mind, with its divided realms; and these, too, may 
be understood through perfectly concentrated Meditation. 

27. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the fixed pole- 
star comes a knowledge of the motions of the stars. 

' Addressing Duty, stern daughter of the Voice of God, 
Wordsworth finely said: 

Thou dost preserve the stars from wrong, 

And the most ancient heavens through thee are fresh and 

thus suggesting a profound relation between the moral powers 
and the powers that rule the worlds. So in this sutra, the fixed 
pole-star is the eternal spirit about which all things move, as 
well as the star toward which points the axis of the earth. 
Deep mysteries attend both, and the veil of mystery is only to 
be raised by Meditation, by open-eyed vision of the awakened 
spiritual man. 



28. Perfectly concentrated Meditation on the center of 
force in the lower trunk brings an understanding of the order of 
the bodily powers. 

We are coming to a vitally important part of the teaching 
of Yoga: namely, the spiritual man’s attainment of full self- 
consciousness, the awakening of the spiritual man as a self- 
conscious individual, behind and above the natural man. In 
this awakening, and in the process of gestation which precedes 
it, there is a close relation with the powers of the natural man, 
which are, in a certain sense, the projection outward and 
downward, of the powers of the spiritual man. This is notably 
true of that creative power of the spiritual man which, when 
embodied in the natural man, becomes the power of generation. 
Not only is this power the cause of the continuance of the 
bodily race of mankind, but further, in the individual, it is the 
key to the dominance of- the personal life. Rising, as it were, 
through the life-channels of the body, it flushes the personality 
with physical force, and maintains and colors the illusion that 
the physical life is the dominant and all-important expression 
of life. In due time, when the spiritual man has begun to take 
form, the creative force will be drawn off, and become opera¬ 
tive in building the body of the spiritual man, just as it has 
been operative in the building of physical bodies, through 
generation in the natural world. 

Perfectly concentrated Meditation on the nature of this 
force means, first, that rising of the consciousness into the 
spiritual world, already described, which gives the one sure 
foothold for Meditation; and then, from that spiritual point of 
vantage, not only an insight into the creative force, in its spirit¬ 
ual and physical aspects, but also a gradually attained control 
of this wonderful force, which will mean its direction to the 
body of the spiritual man, and its gradual withdrawal from the 
body of the natural man, until the overpressure, so general and 
such a fruitful source of misery in our day, is abated, and 
purity takes the place of passion. This overpressure, which is 
the cause of so many evils and so much of human shame, is 
an abnormal, not a natural, condition. It is primarily due to 
spiritual blindness, to blindness regarding the spiritual man, 



and ignorance even of his existence; for by this blind ignorance 
are dosed the channels through which, were they open, the 
creative force could flow into the body of the spiritual man, 
there building up an immortal vesture. There is no cure for 
blindness, with its consequent over-pressure and attendant mis¬ 
ery and shame, but spiritual vision, spiritual aspiration, sacri¬ 
fice, the new birth from above. There is no other way to 
lighten the burden, to lift the misery and shame from human 
life. Therefore let us follow after sacrifice and aspiration, let 
us seek the light. In this way only shall we gain that insight 
into the order of the bodily powers, and that mastery of them, 
which this sutra implies. 



29. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the center of 
force in the well of the throat, there conies the cessation of 
hunger and thirst. 

We are continuing the study of the bodily powers and 
centers of force in their relation to the powers and forces of 
the spiritual man. We have already considered the dominant 
power of physical life, the creative power which secures the 
continuance of physical life; and, further, the manner in which, 
through aspiration and sacrifice, it is gradually raised and set 
to the work of upbuilding the body of the spiritual man. We 
come now to the dominant psychic force, the power which 
manifests itself in speech, and in virtue of which the voice may 
carry so much of the personal magnetism, endowing the orator 
with a tongue of fire, magical in its power to arouse and rule 
the emotions of his hearers. This emotional power, this dis¬ 
tinctively psychical force, is the cause of “hunger and thirst,” 
the psychical hunger and thirst for sensations, which is the 
source of our two-sided life of emotionalism, with its hopes 
and fears, its expectations and memories, its desires and hates. 
The source of this psychical power, or, perhaps we should say, 
its center of activity in the physical body is said to be in the 
cavity of the throat. Thus, in the Taittiriya Upanishad it is 
written: “There is this shining ether in the inner being. 
Therein is the spiritual man, formed through thought, im¬ 
mortal, golden. Inward, in the palate, the organ that hangs 
down like a nipple,—this is the womb of Indra. And there, 
where the dividing of the hair turns, extending upward to the 
crown of the head.” 

Indra is the name given to the creative power of which 
we have spoken, and which, we are told, resides in “the organ 
which hangs down like a nipple, inward, in the palate.” 



30. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the center of 
force in the channel called the “tortoise-formed,” comes stead¬ 

We are concerned now with the center of nervous or 
psychical force below the cavity of the throat, in the chest, in 
which is felt the sensation of fear; the center, the disturbance of 
which sets the heart beating miserably with dread, or which 
produces that sense of terror through which the heart is said 
to stand still. 

When the truth concerning fear is thoroughly mastered, 
through spiritual insight into the immortal, fearless life, then 
this force is perfectly controlled; there is no more fear, just 
as, through the control of the psychic power which works 
through the nerve-center in the throat, there comes a cessation 
of “hunger and thirst.” Thereafter, these forces, or their 
spiritual prototypes, are turned to the building of the spiritual 

Always, it must be remembered, the victory is first a 
spiritual one; only later does it bring control of the bodily 



31. Through perfectly concentrated Meditation on the 
light in the head comes the vision of the Masters who have at¬ 

The tradition is, that there is a certain center of force in 
the head, perhaps the “pineal gland/’ which some of our West¬ 
ern philosophers have supposed to be the dwelling of the 
soul,—a center which is, as it were, the doorway between the 
natural and the spiritual man. It is the seat of that better and 
wiser consciousness behind the outward looking consciousness 
in the forward part of the head; that better and wiser con¬ 
sciousness of “the back of the mind/’ which views spiritual 
things, and seeks to impress the spiritual view on the outward 
looking consciousness in the forward part of the head. It is 
the spiritual man seeking to guide the natural man, seeking to 
bring the natural man to concern himself with the things of his 
immortality. This is suggested in the words of the Upanishad 
already quoted: “there, where the dividing of the hair turns, 
extending upward to the crown of the head”; all of which may 
sound very fantastical, until one comes to understand it. 

It is said that when this power is fully awakened, it brings 
a vision of the great Companions of the spiritual man, those 
who have already attained, crossing over to the further shore 
of the sea of death and rebirth. Perhaps it is to this divine 
sight that the Master alluded, who is reported to have said: 
“I counsel you to buy of me eye-salve, that you may see.” It 
is of this same vision of the great Companions, the children of 
light, that a seer wrote: 

“Though inland far we be. 

Our souls have sight of that immortal sea 
Which brought us hither, 

Can in a moment travel thither, 

And see the Children sport upon the shore 
And hear the mighty waters rolling evermore.” 



32 . Or through the divining power of intuition he knows 
all things. 

This is really the supplement, the spiritual side, of the 
sutra just translated. Step by step, as the beter conscious¬ 
ness, the spiritual view, gains force in the back of the mind, 
so, in the same measure, the spiritual man is gaining the power 
to see: learning to open the spiritual eyes. When the eyes are 
fully opened, the spiritual man beholds the great Companions 
standing about him; he has begun to “know all things.” 

This divining power of intuition is the power which lies 
above and behind the so-called rational mind; the rational mind 
formulates a question and lays it before the intuition, which 
gives a real answer, often immediately distorted by the rational 
mind, yet always embodying a kernel of truth. It is by this 
process, through which the rational mind brings questions to 
the intuition for solution, that the truths of science are reached, 
the flashes of discovery and genius. But this higher power 
need not work in subordination to the so-called rational mind, 
it may act directly, as full illumination, “the vision and the 
faculty divine.” 

33. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the heart, the 
interior being, conies the knowledge of consciousness. 

The heart here seems to mean, as it so often does in the 
Upanishads, the interior, spiritual nature, the consciousness 
of the spiritual man, which is related to the heart, and to the 
wisdom of the heart. By steadily seeking after, and finding, 
the consciousness of the spiritual man, by coming to con¬ 
sciousness as the spiritual man, a perfect knowledge of con¬ 
sciousness will be attained. For the consciousness of the 
spiritual man has this divine quality: while being and remain¬ 
ing a truly individual consciousness, it at the same time flows 
over, as it were, and blends with the Divine Consciousness 
above and about it, the consciousnes of the great Companions; 
and by showing itself to be one with the Divine Consciousness, 
it reveals the nature of all consciousness, the secret that all 
consciousness is One and Divine. 



34. The persona! self seeks to feast on life, through a fail¬ 
ure to perceive the distinction between the personal self and the 
spiritual man. All personal experience really exists for the sake 
of another: namely, the spiritual man. 

By perfectly concentrated Meditation on experience for the 
sake of the Self, comes a knowledge of the spiritual man. 

The divine ray of the Higher Self, which is eternal, 
impersonal and abstract, descends into life, and forms a per¬ 
sonality, which, through the stress and storm of life, is ham¬ 
mered into a definite and concrete self-conscious individuality. 
The problem is, to blend these two powers, taking the eternal 
and spiritual being of the first, and blending with it, trans¬ 
ferring into it, the self-conscious individuality of the second; 
and thus bringing to life a third being, the spiritual man, who 
is heir to the immortality of his father, the Higher Self, and 
yet has the self-conscious, concrete individuality of his other 
parent, the personal self. This is the true immaculate concep¬ 
tion, the new birth from above, “conceived of the Holy Spirit^; 
of this new birth it is said: “that which is born of the Spirit is 
spirit: ye must be born again.” 

Rightly understood, therefore, the whole life of the per¬ 
sonal man is for another, not for himself. He exists only to 
render his very life and all his experience for the building up 
of the spiritual man. Only through failure to see this, does he 
seek enjoyment for himself, seek to secure the feasts of life for 
himself; not understanding that he must live for the other, live 
sacrificially, offering both feasts and his very being on the 
altar; giving himself as a contribution for the building of the 
spiritual man. When he does understand this, and lives for the 
Higher Self, setting his heart and thought on the Higher Self, 
then his sacrifice bears divine fruit, the spiritual man is built 
up, consciousness awakes in him, and he comes fully into being 
as a divine and immortal individuality. 



35. Thereupon are born the divine power of intuition, and 
the hearing, the touch, the vision, the taste and the power of 
smell of the spiritual man. 

When, in virtue of the perpetual sacrifice of the personal 
man, daily and hourly giving his life for his divine brother the 
spiritual man, and through the radiance ever pouring down 
from the Higher Self, eternal in the Heavens, the spiritual man 
comes to birth, there awake in him those powers whose physical 
counterparts we know in the personal man. The spiritual man 
begins to see, to hear, to touch, to taste. And, besides the 
senses of the spiritual man, there awakes his mind, that divine 
counterpart of the mind of the physical man, the power of 
direct and immediate knowledge, the power of spiritual intu¬ 
ition, of divination. This power, as we have seen, owes its 
virtue to the unity, the continuity, of consciousness, whereby 
whatever is known to any consciousness, is knowable by any 
other consciousness. Thus the consciousness of the spiritual 
man, who lives above our narrow barriers of separateness, is in 
intimate touch with the consciousness of the great Companions, 
and can draw on that vast reservoir for all real needs. Thus 
arises within the spiritual man certain knowledge which is 
called intuition, divination, illumination. 



36. These powers stand in contradistinction to the highest 
spiritual vision. In manifestation they are called magical powers. 

The present translator is not quite certain of the meaning 
of the difficult sentence of which the above is offered as a 
translation. It appears to be this: The divine man is destined 
to supersede the spiritual man, as the spiritual man supersedes 
the natural man. Then the disciple becomes a Master. The 
opened powers of the spiritual man, spiritual vision, hearing, 
and touch, stand, therefore, in contradistinction to the higher 
divine power above them, and must in no wise be regarded as 
the end of the way, for the path has no end, but rises ever to 
higher and higher glories; the soul’s growth and splendor have 
no limit. So that, if the spiritual powers we have been con¬ 
sidering are regarded as in any sense final, they are a hindrance, 
a barrier to the far higher powers of the divine man. But 
viewed from below, from the standpoint of normal physical 
experience, they are powers truly magical; as the powers 
natural to a four-dimensional being will appear magical to a 
three-dimensional being. 



37. Through the weakening of the causes of bondage, and 
by learning the method of passing, the consciousness is trans¬ 
ferred to the other body. 

In due time, after the spiritual man has been formed and 
grown stable through the forces and virtues already enu¬ 
merated, and after the senses of the spiritual man have awaked, 
there comes the transfer of the dominant consciousness, the 
sense of individuality, from the physical to the spiritual man. 
Thereafter the physical man is felt to be a secondary, a subordi¬ 
nate, an instrument through whom the spiritual man works; 
and the spiritual man is felt to be the real individuality. This 
is, in a sense, the attainment to full salvation and immortal life; 
yet it is not the final goal or resting place, but only the begin¬ 
ning of the greater way. 

The means for this transfer are described as the weak¬ 
ening of the causes of bondage, and an understanding of the 
method of passing from the one consciousness to the other. 
The first may also be described as detachment, and comes from 
the conquest of the delusion that the personal self is the real 
man. When that delusion abates and is held in check, the finer 
consciousness of the spiritual man begins to shine in the back- ' 
ground of the mind. The transfer of the sense of individuality 
to this finer consciousness, and thus to the spiritual man, then 
becomes a matter of recollection, of attention; primarily, a 
matter of taking a deeper interest in the life and doings of the 
spiritual man, than in the pleasures or occupations of the per¬ 
sonality. Therefore it is said: “Lay not up for yourselves 
treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and 
where thieves break through and steal: but lay up for your¬ 
selves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth 
corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for 
where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” 



38. Through mastery of the upward=life comes freedom 
from the dangers of water, morass, and thorny places, and the 
power of ascension is gained. 

Here is one of the sentences, so characteristic of this 
author, and, indeed, of the Eastern spirit, in which there is an 
obvious exterior meaning, and, within this, a clear interior 
meaning, not quite so obvious, but far more vital. 

The surface meaning is, that by mastery of a certain power, 
called here the upward-life, and akin to levitation, there comes 
the ability to walk on water, or to pass over thorny places with¬ 
out wounding the feet. 

But there is a deeper meaning. When we speak of the 
disciple’s path as a path of thorns, we use a symbol; and the 
same symbol is used here. The upward-life means something 
more than the power, often manifested in abnormal psychical 
experiences, of levitating the physical body, or near-by physical 
objects. It means the strong power of aspiration, of upward 
will, which first builds, and then awakes the spiritual man, and 
finally transfers the conscious individuality to him; for it is 
he who passes safely over the waters of death and rebirth, and 
is not pierced by the thorns in the path. Therefore it is said 
that he who would tread the path of power must look for a 
home in the air, and afterwards in the ether. 

Of the upward-life, this is written in the Katha Upanishad: 
“A hundred and one are the heart’s channels; of these one 
passes to the crown. Going up this, he comes to the immortal.” 
This is the power of ascension spoken of in the sutra. 



39. By mastery of the binding-life comes radiance. 

In the Upanishads, it is said that this binding-life unites 
the upward-life to the downward-life, and these lives have their 
analogues in the 'Vital breaths” in the body. The thought in 
the text seems to be, that, when the personality is brought 
thoroughly under the control of the spiritual man, through the 
life-currents which bind them" together, the personality is en¬ 
dowed with a new force, a strong personal magnetism, one 
might call it, such as is often an appanage of genius. 

But the text seems to mean more than this, and to have in 
view the "vesture of the color of the sun” attributed by the 
Upanishads to the spiritual man; that vesture which a disciple 
has thus described: "The Lord shall change our vile body, 
that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body”; perhaps 
"body of radiance” would better translate the Greek. 

In both these passages, the teaching seems to be, that the 
body of the full-grown spiritual man is radiant or luminous,— 
for those, at least, who have anointed their eyes with eye-salve, 
so that they see. 



40. From perfectly concentrated Meditation on the corre¬ 
lation of hearing and the ether, comes the power of spiritual 

Physical sound, we are told, is carried by the air, or by 
water, iron, or some medium on the same plane of substance. 
But there is a finer hearing, whose medium of transmission 
would seem to be the ether; perhaps not that ether which car¬ 
ries light, heat and magnetic waves, but, it may be, the far 
finer ether through which the power of gravity works. For, 
while light or heat or magnetic waves, travelling from the sun 
to the earth, take eight minutes for the journey, it is mathe¬ 
matically certain that the pull of gravitation does not take as 
much as eight seconds, or even the eighth of a second. The 
pull of gravitation travels, it would seem “as quick as thought” ; 
so it may well be that, in thought transference or telepathy, the 
thoughts travel by the same way, carried by the same “thought- 
swift” medium. 

The transfer of a word by telepathy is the simplest and 
earliest form of the “divine hearing” of the spiritual man; as 
that power grows, and as, through perfectly concentrated 
Meditation, the spiritual man comes into more complete mastery 
of it, he grows able to hear and clearly distinguish the speech 
of the great Companions, who counsel and comfort him on his 
way. They may speak to him either in wordless thoughts, or 
in perfectly definite words and sentences. 



41. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the correla¬ 
tion of the body with the ether, and by thinking of it as light as 
thistle-down, will come the power to traverse the ether. 

It has been said that he who would tread the path of power 
must look for a home in the air, and afterwards in the ether. 
This would seem to mean, besides the constant injunction to 
detachment, that he must be prepared to inhabit first a psychic, 
and then an etheric body; the former being the body of dreams ; 
the latter, the body of the spiritual man, when he wakes up on 
the other side of dreamland. The gradual accustoming of the 
consciousness to its new etheric vesture, its gradual acclima¬ 
tisation, so to speak, in the etheric body of the spiritual man, is 
what our text seems to contemplate. 

42. When that condition of consciousness is reached, 
which is far-reaching and not confined to the body, which is out¬ 
side the body and not conditioned by it, then the veil which 
conceals the light is worn away. 

Perhaps the best comment on this is afforded by the words 
of Paul: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, 
(whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the 
body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such a one caught up to 
the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the 
body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) how 
that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable 
words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.” 

The condition is, briefly, that of the awakened spiritual 
man, who sees and hears beyond the veil. 



43 • Mastery of the elements comes from perfectly con¬ 
centrated Meditation on their five forms: the gross, the elemen¬ 
tal, the subtle, the pervading, the essential or objective. 

These five forms are analogous to those recognized by 
modern physics: solid, liquid, gaseous, radiant and ionic. 
When the piercing vision of the awakened spiritual man is 
directed to the forms of matter, from within, as it were, from 
behind the scenes, then perfect mastery over the “beggarly 
elements” is attained. This is, perhaps, equivalent to the in¬ 
junction: “Inquire of the earth, the air, and the water, of the 
secrets they hold for you. The development of your inner 
senses will enable you to do this.” 

44. Thereupon will come the manifestation of the atomic 
and other powers, which are the endowment of the body, together 
with its unassailable force. 

The body in question is, of course, the etheric body of the 
spiritual man. He is said to possess eight powers: the atomic, 
the power of assimilating himself with the nature of the atom, 
which will, perhaps, involve the power to disintegrate material 
forms; the power of levitation; the power of limitless ex¬ 
tension ; the power of boundless reach, so that, as the commen¬ 
tator says, “he can touch the moon with the tip of his finger”; 
the power to accomplish his will; the power of gravitation, the 
correlative of levitation; the power of command; the power 
of creative will. These are the endowments of the spiritual 
man. Further, the spiritual body is unassailable. Fire burns 
it not, water wets it not, the sword cleaves it not, dry winds 
parch it not. And, it is said, the spiritual man can impart 
something of this quality and temper to his bodily vesture. 



45. Shapeliness, beauty, force, the temper of the diamond: 
these are the endowments of that body. 

The spiritual man is shapely, beautiful, strong, firm as the 
diamond. Therefore it is written: ‘‘These things saith the 
Son of God, who hath his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his 
feet are like fine brass: He that overcometh and keepeth my 
works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: 
and he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and I will give him 
the morning star.” 

46. Mastery over the powers of perception and action „ 
comes through perfectly concentrated Meditation on their five® 
fold forms; namely, their power to grasp, their distinctive nature, 
the element of self-consciousness in them, their pervasiveness, 
and their objectivity. 

Take, for example, sight. This possesses, first, the power 
to grasp, apprehend, perceive; second, it has its distinctive form 
of perception; that is, visual perception; third, it always carries 
with its operations self-consciousness, the thought: “I per¬ 
ceive” ; fourth, sight has the power of extension through the 
whole field of vision, even to the utmost star; fifth, it presents 
its reports as something objective to consciousness. So with 
the other senses. Perfectly concentrated Meditation on each 
sense, a viewing it from behind and within, as is possible for 
the spiritual man, brings a mastery of the scope and true 
character of each sense, and of the world on which they report 

47. Thence come the power swift as thought, independence 
of instruments, and mastery over matter. 

We are further enumerating the endowments of the 
spiritual man. Among these is the power to traverse space 
with the swiftness of thought, so that whatever place the 
spiritual man thinks of, to that he goes, in that place he already 
is. Thought has now become his means of locomotion. He is, 
therefore, independent of instruments, and can bring his force 
to bear directly, wherever he wills. 



48. When the spiritual man is perfectly disentangled from 
the psychic body, he attains to mastery over all things and to a 
knowledge of all. 

The spiritual man is enmeshed in the web of the emotions; 
desire, fear, ambition, passion; and impeded by the mental 
forms of separateness and materialism. When these meshes 
are sundered, these obstacles completely overcome, then the 
spiritual man stands forth in his own wide world, strong, 
mighty, wise. He uses divine powers, with a divine scope and 
energy, working together with divine Companions. To such 
a one it is said: “Thou art now a disciple, able to stand, able 
to hear, able to see, able to speak, thou hast conquered desire 
and attained to self-knowledge, thou hast seen thy soul in its 
bloom and recognized it, and heard the voice of the silence.” 

49. By absence of all self=indulgence at this point, also, the 
seeds of bondage to sorrow are destroyed, and pure spiritual 
being is attained. 

The seeking of indulgence for the personal self, whether 
through passion or ambition, sows the seed of future sorrow. 
For this self-indulgence of the personality is a double sin 
against the real; a sin against the cleanness of life, and a sin 
against the universal being, which permits no exclusive par¬ 
ticular good, since, in the real, all spiritual possessions are held 
in common. This twofold sin brings its reacting punishment, 
its confining bondage to sorrow. But ceasing from self- 
indulgence brings purity, liberation, spiritual life. 



50. There should be complete overcoming of allurement 
or pride in the invitations of the different regions of life, lest 
attachment to things evil arise once more. 

The commentator tells us that disciples, seekers for union, 
are of four degrees: first, those who are entering the path; 
second, those who are in the realm of allurements; third, those 
who have won the victory over matter and the senses; fourth, 
those who stand firm in pure spiritual life. To the second, 
especially, the caution in the text is addressed. More modern 
teachers would express the same truth by a warning against 
the delusions and fascinations of the psychic realm, which open 
around the disciple, as he breaks through into the unseen 
worlds. These are the dangers of the anteroom. Safety lies in 
passing on swiftly into the inner chamber. “Him that over- 
cometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he 
shall go no more out.” 

51. From perfectly concentrated Meditation on the divis¬ 
ions of time and their succession comes that wisdom which is 
born of discernment. 

The Upanishads say of the liberated that “he has passed 
beyond the triad of time”; he no longer sees life as projected 
into past, present and future, since these are forms of the 
mind; but beholds all things spread out in the quiet light of 
the Eternal. This would seem to be the same thought, and to 
point to that clear-eyed spiritual perception which is above 
time; that wisdom born of the unveiling of Time’s delusion. 
Then shall the disciple live neither in the present nor the future, 
but in the Eternal. 



52. Hence comes discernment between things which are 
of like nature, not distinguished by difference of kind, character 
or position. 

Here, as also in the preceding sutra, we are close to the 
Kantian doctrine that distinctions of order, time and space are 
creations of the mind; the threefold prism through which the 
thing-in-itself appears to us distorted and refracted. When 
the prisim is withdrawn, the thing-in-itself returns to its primal 1 
unity, no longer distinguishable by the mind, yet clearly know- 
able by that high power of spiritual discernment, of illumina¬ 
tion, which is above the mind. 

53. The wisdom which is born of discernment is starlike; 
it discerns all things, and all conditions of things, it discerns 
without succession: simultaneously. 

That wisdom, that intuitive, divining power is starlike, 
says the commentator, because it shines with its own light, 
because it rises on high, and illumines all things. Nought is 
hid from it, whether things past, things present, or things to ( 
come; for it is beyond the threefold form of time, so that all 
things are spread before it together, in the single light of the 
divine. This power has been beautifully described by Co- | 
lumba: “Some there are, though very few, to whom Divine 
grace has granted this: that they can clearly and most dis- 1 
tinctly see, at one and the same moment, as though under one 
ray of the sun, even the entire circuit of the whole world with 
its surroundings of ocean and sky, the inmost part of their 
mind being marvelously enlarged.” 

54. When the vesture and the spiritual man are alike pure, 
then perfect spiritual life is attained. 

The vesture, says the commentator, must first be washed 
pure of all stains of passion and darkness, and the seeds of 
future sorrow must be burned up utterly. Then, both the 
vesture and the wearer of the vesture being alike pure, the 
spiritual man enters into perfect spiritual life. 


Introduction to Book IV. 

The Third Book of the Sutras has fairly completed the 
history of the birth and growth of the spiritual man, and the 
enumeration of his powers; at least so far as concerns that 
first epoch in his immortal life, which immediately succeeds, 
and supersedes, the life of the natural man. 

In the Fourth Book, we are to consider what one might 
call the mechanism of Salvation, the ideally simple working 
of cosmic law which brings the spiritual man to birth, growth, 
and fullness of power, and prepares him for the splendid, toil¬ 
some further stages of his great journey home. 

The Sutras are here brief to obscurity; only a few words, 
for example, are given to the great triune mystery and illusion 
of Time; a phrase or two indicate the sweep of some universal 
law. Yet it is hoped that, by keeping our eyes fixed on the 
spiritual man, remembering that he is the hero of the story, and 
that all that is written concerns him and his adventures, we 
may be able to find our way through this thicket of tangled 
words, and keep in our hands the clue to the mystery. 

The last part of the last book needs little introduction. In 
a sense, it is the most important part of the whole treatise, 
since it unmasks the nature of the personality, that psychical 
“mind,” which is the wakeful enemy of all who seek to tread 
the path. Even now, you can hear it whispering the doubt 
whether that can be a good path, which thus sets “mind” at 

If this, then, be the most vital and fundamental part of 
the teaching, should it not stand first at the very beginning? 
It may seem so at first; but had it stood there, you would not 
have comprehended it. The riddle of personality cannot be so 
lightly read. If you have faithfully followed what has gone 



before, and wrought it, as you would be wise to do, into the 
fabric of your life, then you have already come to grips with 
personality, and gained, let us hope, some preliminary victories. 

If you have done this, you are now in a position to un¬ 
derstand the broad outlines of the teaching now set before you. 
If not, go back over it, for the record of the teaching is extant, 
and ready to your hand; and the task and the foe are also 
ready to your hand; likely, indeed, so to remain for some time 
yet. Therefore you can set about your lesson, and wage your 
fight. And thus you will truly learn. For he who would know 
the doctrine must lead the life, doing the will of his Father 
which is in Heaven. 



i. Psychic and spiritual powers may be inborn, or they 
may be gained by the use of drugs, or by incantations, or by 

Spiritual powers have been enumerated and described in 
the preceding sections. They are. the normal powers of the 
spiritual man, the antetype, the divine edition, of the powers of 
the natural man. Through these powers, the spiritual man 
stands, sees, hears, speaks, in the spiritual world, as the physical 
man stands, sees, hears, speaks in the natural world. 

There is a counterfeit presentment of the spiritual man, in 
the world of dreams, a shadow lord of shadows, who has his 
own dreamy powers of vision, of hearing, of movement; he 
has left the natural without reaching the spiritual. He has set 
forth from the shore, but has not gained the further verge of 
the river. He is borne along by the stream, with no foothold 
on either shore. Leaving the actual, he has fallen short of the 
real, caught in the limbo of vanities and delusions. The cause 
of this aberrant phantasm is always the worship of a false, 
vain self, the lord of dreams, within one’s own breast. This 
is the psychic man, lord of delusive and bewildering psychic 

Spiritual powers, like intellectual or artistic gifts, may be 
inborn: the fruit, that is, of seeds planted and reared with toil 
in a former birth. So also the powers of the psychic man may 
be inborn, a delusive harvest from seeds of delusion. 

Psychical powers may be gained by drugs, as poverty, 
shame, debasement may be gained by the self-same drugs. In 
their action, they are baneful, cutting the man off from con¬ 
sciousness of the restraining power of his divine nature, so 


that his forces break forth exuberant, like the laughter of 
drunkards, and he sees and hears things delusive. While sink¬ 
ing, he believes that he has risen; growing weaker, he thinks 
himself full of strength; beholding illusions, he takes them to 
be true. Such are the powers gained by drugs, psychic wholly, 
since the real powers, the spiritual, can never be so gained. 

Incantations are affirmations of half-truths concerning 
spirit and matter, what is and what is not, which work upon 
the mind and slowly build up a wraith of powers and a delusive 
well-being. These, too, are of the psychic realm of dreams. 

Lastly, there are the true powers of the spiritual man, built 
up and realized in Meditation, through reverent obedience to 
spiritual law, to the pure conditions of being, in the divine 


2. The transfer of powers from one plane to another comes 
through the flow of the natural creative forces. 

Here, if you can perceive it, is the whole secret of spiritual 
birth, growth and life. Spiritual being, like all being, is but 
an expression of the Self, of the inherent power and being of 
Atma. Inherent in the Self are consciousness and will, which 
have, as their lordly heritage, the wide sweep of the universe 
throughout eternity, for Self is one with the Eternal. And the 
consciousness of the Self may make itself manifest as seeing, 
hearing, tasting, feeling, or whatsoever perceptive powers there 
may be, just as the white sunlight may divide into many- 
colored rays. So may the will of the Self manifest itself in 
the uttering of words, or in handling, or in moving, and what¬ 
ever powers of action there are throughout the seven worlds. 
Where the Self is, there will its powers be. It is but a ques¬ 
tion of the vesture through which these powers shall shine 
forth. And wherever the consciousness and desire of the ever- 
creative Self are fixed, there will a vesture be built up; where 
the heart is, there will the treasure be also. 

Since through ages the desire of the Self has been toward 
the natural world, wherein the Self sought to mirror himself 
that he might know himself, therefore a vesture of natural 
elements came into being, through which blossomed forth the 
Self’s powers of perceiving and of will: the power to see, to 
hear, to speak, to walk, to handle; and when the Self, thus 
come to self-consciousness, and, with it, to a knowledge of his 
imprisonment, shall set his desire on the divine and real world, 
and raise his consciousness thereto, the spiritual vesture shall 
be built up for him there, with its expression of his inherent 
powers. Nor will migration thither be difficult for the Self, 
since the divine is no strange or foreign land for him, but the 
house of his home, where he dwells from everlasting. 




3. The apparent, immediate cause is not the true cause 
of the creative nature=powers; but, like the husbandman in his 
field, it takes obstacles away. 

The husbandman tills his field, breaking up the clods of 
earth into fine mould, penetrable to air and rain; he sows his 
seed, carefully covering it, for fear of birds and the wind; he 
waters the seed-laden earth, turning the little rills from the 
irrigation tank now this way and that, removing obstacles 
from the channels, until the even flow of water vitalizes the 
whole field. And so the plants germinate and grow, first the 
blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. But it is not 
the husbandman who makes them grow. It is, first, the 
miraculous plasmic power in the grain of seed, which brings 
forth after its kind; then the alchemy of sunlight which, in 
presence of the green coloring matter of the leaves, gathers 
hydrogen from the water and carbon from the gases in the 
air, and mingles them in the hydro-carbons of plant-growth; 
and, finally, the wholly occult vital powers of the plant itself, 
stored up through ages, and flowing down from the primal 
sources of life. The husbandman but removes the obstacles. 
He plants and waters, but God gives the increase. 

So with the finer husbandman of diviner fields. He tills 
and sows, but the growth of the spiritual man comes through 
the surge and flow of divine, creative forces and powers. 
Here, again, God gives the increase. The divine Self puts 
forth, for the manifestation of its powers, a new and finer 
vesture, the body of the spiritual man. 



4. Vestures of consciousness are built up in conformity 
with the position of the feeling of selfhood. 

The Self, says a great Teacher, in turn attributes itself to 
three vestures: first, to the physical body, then to the finer 
body, and thirdly to the causal body. Finally it stands forth 
radiant, luminous, joyous, as the Self. 

When the Self attributes itself to the physical body, there 
arise the states of bodily consciousness, built up about the 
physical self. 

When the Self, breaking through this first illusion, begins 
to see and feel itself in the finer body, to find selfhood there, 
then the states of consciousness of the finer body come into 
being; or, to speak exactly, the finer body and its states of 
consciousness arise and grow together. 

But the Self must not dwell permanently there. It must 
learn to find itself in the causal body, to build up the wide and 
luminous fields of consciousness that belong to that. 

Nor must it dwell forever there, for there remains the 
fourth state, the divine, with its own splendor and everlasting¬ 

It is all a question of the states of consciousness; all a 
question of raising the sense of selfhood, until it dwells forever 
in the Eternal. 



5. In the different fields of manifestation, the Conscious¬ 
ness, though one, is the effective cause of many states of con¬ 

Here is the splendid teaching of oneness that lies at the 
heart of the Eastern wisdom. Consciousness is ultimately One, 
everywhere and forever. The Eternal, the Father, is the One 
Self of All Beings. And so, in each individual who is but a 
facet of that Self, Consciousness is One. Whether it breaks 
through as the dull fire of physical life, or the murky flame of 
the psychic and passional, or the radiance of the spiritual man, 
or the full glory of the Divine, it is ever the Light, naught but 
the Light. The one Consciousness is the effective cause of all 
states of consciousness, on every plane. 

6. Among states of consciousness, that which is born of 
Meditation is free from the seed of future sorrow. 

Where the consciousness breaks forth in the physical body, 
and the full play of bodily life begins, its progression carries 
with it inevitable limitations. Birth involves death. Meetings 
have their partings. Hunger alternates with satiety. Age 
follows on the heels of youth. So do the states of conscious¬ 
ness run along the circle of birth and death. 

With the psychic, the alteration between prize and penalty 
is swifter. Hope has its shadow of fear, or it is no hope. 
Exclusive love is tortured by jealousy. Pleasure passes through 
deadness into pain. Pain’s surcease brings pleasure back again. 
So here, too, the states of consciousness run their circle. In 
all psychic states there is egotism, which, indeed, is the very 
essence of the psychic; and where there is egotism there is ever 
the seed of future sorrow. Desire carries bondage in its womb. 

But where the pure spiritual consciousness begins, free 
from self and stain, the ancient law of retaliation ceases; the 
penalty of sorrow lapses and is no more imposed. The soul 
now passes, no longer from sorrow to sorrow, but from glory 
to glory. Its growth and splendor have no limit. The good 
passes to better, best. 




7. The works of followers after Union make neither for 
bright pleasure nor for dark pain. The works of others make 
for pleasure or pain, or a mingling of these. 

The man of desire wins from his works the reward of 
pleasure, or incurs the penalty of pain; or, as so often hap¬ 
pens in life, his guerdon, like the passionate mood of the lover, 
is part pleasure and part pain. Works done with self-seeking 
bear within them the seeds of future sorrow; conversely, 
according to the proverb, present pain is future gain. 

But, for him who has gone beyond desire, whose desire is 
set on the Eternal, neither pain to be avoided nor pleasure to 
be gained inspires his work. He fears no hell and desires no 
heaven. His one desire is, to know the will of the Father and 
finish his work. He comes directly in line with the divine 
Will, and works cleanly and immediately, without longing or 
fear. His heart dwells in the Eternal; all his desires are set 
on the Eternal. 



8 . From the force inherent in works comes the manifesta¬ 
tion of those dynamic mind-images which are conformable to the 
ripening out of each of these works. 

We are now to consider the general mechanism of Karma, 
in order that we may pass on to the consideration of him who 
is free from Karma. Karma, indeed, is the concern of the 
personal man, of his bondage or freedom. It is the succession 
of the forces which built up the personal man, reproducing 
themselves in one personality after another. 

Now let us take an imaginary case, to see how these forces 
may work out. Let us think of a man, with murderous intent 
in his heart, striking with a dagger at his enemy. He makes a 
red wound in his victim’s breast; at the same instant he paints, 
in his own mind, a picture of that wound: a picture dynamic 
with all the fierce will-power he has put into his murderous 
blow. In other words he has made a deep wound in his own 
psychic body; and, when he comes to be born again, that body 
will become his outermost vesture, upon which, with its wound 
still there, bodily tissue will be built up. So the man will be 
born maimed, or with the predisposition to some mortal injury; 
he is unguarded at that point, and any trifling accidental blow 
will pierce the broken joints of his psychic armor. Thus do 
the dynamic mind-images manifest themselves, coming to the 
surface, so that works done in the past may ripen and come to 



9. Works separated by different births, or place, or time, 
may be brought together by uniformity of memory or dynamic 

Just as, in the ripening out of mind-images into bodily 
conditions, the effect is brought about by the ray of creative 
force sent down by the Self, somewhat as the light of the 
magic lantern projects the details of a picture on the screen, 
revealing the hidden, and making secret things palpable and 
visible, so does this divine ray exercise a selective power on 
the dynamic mind-images, bringing together into one day of 
life the seeds gathered from many days. The memory con¬ 
stantly exemplifies this power; a passage of poetry will call 
up in the mind like passages of many poets, read at different 
times. So a prayer may call up many prayers. 

In like manner, the same over-ruling selective power, 
which is a ray of the Higher Self, gathers together from dif¬ 
ferent births and times and places those mind-images which 
are conformable, and may be grouped in the frame of a single 
life or a single event. Through this grouping are visible bodily 
conditions or outward circumstances brought about, and by 
these the soul is taught and trained. 

Just as the dynamic mind-images of desire ripen out in 
bodily conditions and circumstances, so the far more dynamic 
powers of aspiration, wherein the soul reaches toward the 
Eternal, have their fruition in a finer world, building the ves¬ 
ture of the spiritual man. 




10. The series of dynamic mind-images is beginningless, 
because Desire is everlasting. 

The whole series of dynamic mind-images, which make 
up the entire history of the personal man, is a part of the 
mechanism which the Self employs, to mirror itself in a reflec¬ 
tion, to embody its powers in an outward form, to the end of 
self-expression, self-realization, self-knowledge. Therefore 
the initial impulse behind these dynamic mind-images comes 
from the Self, and is the descending ray of the Self; so that 
it cannot be said that there is any first member of the series of 
images, from which the rest arose. The impulse is beginning¬ 
less, since it comes from the Self, which is from everlasting. 
Desire is not to cease; it is to turn to the Eternal, and so 
become aspiration. 

11. Since the dynamic mind-images are held together by 
impulses of desire, by the wish for personal reward, by the sub¬ 
stratum of mental habit, by the support of outer things desired; 
therefore, when these cease, the self-reproduction of dynamic 
mind-images ceases. 

We are still concerned with the personal life in its bodily 
vesture, and with the process whereby the forces, which have 
upheld it, are gradually transferred to the life of the spiritual 
man, and build up for him his finer vesture in a finer world. 

How is the current to be changed? How is the flow of 
self-reproductive mind-images, which have built the conditions 
of life after life in this world of bondage, to be checked, that 
the time of imprisonment may come to an end, the day of 
liberation dawn? 

The answer is given in the sutra just translated. The true 
driving-force is withdrawn and directed to the upbuilding of 
the spiritual body. 

When the building impulses and forces are withdrawn, the 
tendency to manifest a new physical body, a new body of 
bondage, ceases with them. 



12. The difference between that which is past and that 
which is not yet come, according to their natures, depends on 
the difference of phase of their properties. 

Here we come to a high and difficult matter, which has 
always been held to be of great moment in the Eastern wisdom: 
the thought that the division of time into past, present and 
future is, in great measure, an illusion; that past, present, 
future all dwell together in the eternal Now. 

The discernment of this truth has been held to be so 
necessarily a part of wisdom, that one of the names of the 
Enlightened is: “he who has passed beyond the three times: 
past, present, future.” 

So the Western Master said: “Before Abraham was, I 
am”; and again, “I am with you alway, unto the end of the 
world”; using the eternal present for past and future alike. 
With the same purpose, the Master speaks of himself as “the 
alpha and the omega, the beginning and the end, the first and 
the last.” 

And a Master of our own days writes: “I feel even irri¬ 
tated at having to use these three clumsy words—past, present, 
and future. Miserable concepts of the objective phases of the 
subjective whole, they are about as ill-adapted for the purpose, 
as an axe for fine carving.” One feels that there must be 
something woefully wrong with words that can so far disturb 
that high, urbane serenity. 

In the eternal Now, both past and future are consummated. 

Bjorklund, the Swedish philosopher, has well stated the 
same truth: 

“Neither past nor future can exist to God; He lives undi- 
videdly, without limitations, and needs not, as man, to plot out 
his existence in a series of moments. Eternity then is not 
identical with unending time; it is a different form of exist¬ 
ence, related to time as the perfect to the imperfect. . . . 

Man as an entity for himself must have the natural limitations 
for the part. Conceived by God man is eternal in the divine 
sense, but conceived by himself man’s eternal life is clothed in 
the limitations we call time. The eternal is a constant present 
without beginning or end, without past or future.” 




13. These properties, whether manifest or latent, are of 
the nature of the Three Potencies. 

The Three Potencies are the three manifested modifica¬ 
tions of the one primal material, which stands opposite to 
perceiving', consciousness. These Three Potencies are called 
Substance, Force, Darkness; or viewed rather for their moral 
coloring, Goodness, Passion, Inertness. Every material man¬ 
ifestation is a projection of substance into the empty space of 
darkness. Every mental state is either good, or passional, or 
inert. So, whether subjective or objective, latent or manifest, 
all things that present themselves to the perceiving conscious¬ 
ness are compounded of these three. 

14. The external manifestation of an object takes place 
when the transformations are in the same phase. 

We should be inclined to express the same law by saying, 
for example, that a sound is audible, when it consists of vibra¬ 
tions within the compass of the auditory nerve; that an object 
is visible, when either directly or by reflection, it sends forth 
luminiferous vibrations within the compass of the retina and 
the optic nerve. Vibrations below or above that compass make 
no impression at all, and the object remains invisible; as, for 
example, a kettle of boiling water in a dark room, though the 
kettle is sending forth heat vibrations closely akin to light. 

So, when the vibrations of the object and those of the 
perceptive power are in the same phase, the external manifesta¬ 
tion of the object takes place. 

There seems to be a further suggestion that the appear¬ 
ance of an object in the “present,” or its remaining hid in the 
“past,” or “future,” is likewise a question of phase, and, just 
as the range of vibrations perceived might be increased by the 
development of finer senses, so the perception of things past, 
and things to come, may be easy from a higher point of view. 



15. The paths of material things and of states of conscious¬ 
ness are distinct, as is manifest from the fact that the same 
object may produce different impressions in different minds. 

Having shown that our bodily condition and circumstances 
depend on Karma, while Karma depends on perception and 
will, the sage recognizes the fact that from this may be drawn 
the false deduction that material things are in no wise different 
from states of mind. The same thought has occurred, and still 
occurs, to all philosophers; and, by various reasonings, they 
all come to the same wise conclusion; that the material world 
is not made by the mood of any human mind, but is rather the 
manifestation of the totality of invisible Being, whether we call 
this Mahat, with the ancients, or Ether, with the moderns. 

16. Nor do material objects depend upon a single mind, 
for how could they remain objective to others, if that mind 
ceased to think of them? 

This is but a further development of the thought of the 
preceding sutra, carrying on the thought that, while the 
universe is spiritual, yet its material expression is ordered, con¬ 
sistent, ruled by law, not subject to the whims or affirmations 
of a single mind, unwelcome material things may be escaped 
by spiritual growth, by rising to a realm above them, and not 
by denying their existence on their own plane. So that our 
system is neither materialistic, nor idealistic in the extreme 
sense, but rather intuitional and spiritual, holding that matter 
is the manifestation of spirit as a whole, a reflection or exter- 
nalization of spirit, and, like spirit, everywhere obedient to law. 
The path of liberation is not through denial of matter but 
through denial of the wills of self, through obedience, and that 
aspiration which builds the vesture of the spiritual man. 



17. An object is perceived, or not perceived, according as 
the mind is, or is not, tinged with the color of the object. 

The simplest manifestation of this is the matter of atten¬ 
tion. Our minds apprehend what they wish to apprehend; all 
else passes unnoticed, or, on the other hand, we perceive what 
we resent, as, for example, the noise of a passing train; while 
others, used to the sound, do not notice it at all. 

But the deeper meaning is, that out of the vast totality of 
objects ever present in the universe, the mind perceives only 
those which conform to the hue of its Karma. The rest re¬ 
mains unseen, even though close at hand. 

This spiritual law has been well expressed by Emerson: 

“Through solidest eternal things the man finds his road as 
if they did not subsist, and does not once suspect their being. 
As soon as he needs a new object, suddenly he beholds it, and 
no longer attempts to pass through it, but takes another way. 
When he has exhausted for the time the nourishment to be 
drawn from any one person or thing, that object is withdrawn 
from his observation, and though still in his immediate neigh¬ 
borhood, he does not suspect its presence. Nothing is dead. 
Men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and 
mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the 
window, sound and well, in some new and strange disguise. 
Jesus is not dead, he is very well alive: nor John, nor Paul, nor 
Mahomet, nor Aristotle; at times we believe we have seen 
them all, and could easily tell the names under which they go.” 



18. The movements of the psychic nature are perpetually 
objects of perception, since the Spiritual Man, who is the lord of 
them, remains unchanging. 

Here is teaching of the utmost import, both for under¬ 
standing and for practice. 

To the psychic nature belong all the ebb and flow of 
emotion, all hoping and fearing, desire and hate: the things 
that make the multitude of men and women deem themselves 
happy or miserable. To it also belong the measuring and com¬ 
paring, the doubt and questioning, which, for the same multi¬ 
tude, make up mental life. So that there results the emotion- 
soaked personality, with its dark and narrow view of life: the 
shivering, terror-driven personality that is life itself for all 
but all of mankind. 

Yet the personality is not the true man, not the living soul 
at all, but only a spectacle which the true man observes. Un¬ 
derstand this, therefore, and draw yourself up inwardly to the 
height of the Spiritual Man, who, standing in the quiet light 
of the Eternal, looks down serene upon this turmoil of the 
outer life. 

One first masters the personality, the “mind,” by thus 
looking down on it from above, from within; by steadily watch¬ 
ing its ebb and flow, as objective, outward, and therefore not 
the real Self. This standing back is the first step, detachment. 
The second, to maintain the vantage-ground thus gained, is 



19. The Mind is not self-luminous, since it can be seen as 
an object. 

This is a further step toward overthrowing the tyranny 
of the “mind”: the psychic nature of emotion and mental 
measuring. This psychic self, the personality, claims to be 
absolute, asserting that life is for it and through it; it seeks to 
impose on the whole being of man its narrow, materialistic, 
faithless view of life and the universe; it would fain clip the 
wings of the soaring Soul. But the Soul dethrones the tyrant, 
by perceiving and steadily affirming that the psychic self is no 
true self at all, not self-luminous, but only an object of obser¬ 
vation, watched by the serene eyes of the Spiritual Man. 

20. Nor could the Mind at the same time know itself and 
things external to it. 

The truth is that the “mind” knows neither external things 
nor itself. Its measuring and analysing, its hoping and fear¬ 
ing, hating and desiring, never give it a true measure of life, 
nor any sense of real values. Ceaselessly active, it never really 
attains to knowledge; or, if we admit its knowledge, it ever 
falls short of wisdom, which comes only through intuition, the 
vision of the Spiritual Man. 

Life cannot be known by the “mind,” its secrets cannot 
be learned through the “mind.” The proof is, the ceaseless 
strife and contradiction of opinion among those who trust in 
the mind. Much less can the “mind” know itself, the more so, 
because it is pervaded by the illusion that it truly knows, 
truly is. 

True knowledge of the “mind” comes, first, when the 
Spiritual Man, arising, stands detached, regarding the “mind” 
from above, with quiet eyes, and seeing it for the tangled web 
of psychic forces that it truly is. But the truth is divined long 
before it is clearly seen, and then begins the long battle of the 
“mind” against the Real, the “mind” fighting furiously, 
craftily, for its supremacy. Its honor rooted in dishonor 
stands, and faith unfaithful makes it falsely true. 



2i. If the Mind be thought of as seen by another more 
inward Mind, then there would be ah endless series of perceiv¬ 
ing Minds, and a confusion of memories. 

One of the expedients by which the “mind” seeks to deny 
and thwart the Soul, when it feels that it is beginning to be 
circumvented and seen through, is to assert that this seeing is 
the work of a part of itself, one part observing the other, and 
thus leaving no need nor place for the Spiritual Man. 

To this strategy the argument is opposed by our philos¬ 
opher, that this would be no true solution, but only a post¬ 
ponement of the solution. For we should have to find yet 
another part of the mind to view the first observing part, and 
then another to observe this, and so on, endlessly. 

The true solution is, that the Spiritual Man looks down 
upon the psychic nature, and observes it; when he views the 
psychic picture-gallery, this is “memory,” which would be a 
hopeless, inextricable confusion, if we thought of one part of 
the “mind,” with its memories, viewing another part, with 
memories of its own. 

The solution of the mystery lies not in the “mind” but 
beyond it, in the luminous life of the risen Lord, the Spiritual 

22 . When the pure Spiritual Consciousness, which is free 
from all succession or change, takes form in the Spiritual Man, 
then does Consciousness realize its own luminous being. 

True individuality is never reached in the “mind,” the 
psychic being, with its ceaseless ebb and flow, its hating and 
desiring, fearing and hoping, mapping and measuring. The 
fluctuating being is no real self. The man is not yet born. 

But when the Spiritual Man wins his long battle against 
the “mind,” and the mind's world-view, and, rising, stands 
firm in his own might, then true life and individuality begin. 
Abstract spiritual Consciousness comes to a focus, as it were, 
in a real being, a true individuality, who neither fears nor 
hopes, but knows himself immortal, one of the Children of 



23. The psychic nature, universally adaptive, takes on the 
color either of things seen, or of the Seer. 

In the unregenerate man, the psychic nature is saturated 
with image^of material things, of things seen, or heard, or 
tasted, or felt; and this web of dynamic images forms the ordi¬ 
nary material and driving power of life. The sensation of 
sweet things tasted clamors to be renewed, and drives the man 
into effort to obtain its renewal; so he adds image to image, 
each dynamic and importunate, piling up sin’s intolerable 

Then comes regeneration, and the washing away of sin, 
through the fiery, creative power of the Soul, which burns out 
the stains of the psychic vesture, purifying it as gold is refined 
in the furnace. The suffering of regeneration springs from 
this indispensable purifying. 

Then the psychic vesture begins to take on the color of 
the Soul, no longer stained, but suffused with golden light; 
and the man regenerate gleams with the radiance of eternity. 
Thus the Spiritual Man puts on fair raiment; for of this cleans¬ 
ing it is said: Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be 
white as snow; though they be as crimson, they shall be as 



24. The psychic nature, which has been printed with mind- 
images of innumerable material things, exists now for the Spirit¬ 
ual Man, subordinate to him. 

The “mind,” once the tyrant, is now the slave, recognized 
as outward, separate, not-Self, a well-trained instrument of 
the Spiritual Man. 

For it is not ordained for the Spiritual Man that, finding 
his high realm, he shall enter altogether there, and pass out of 
the vision of mankind. It is true that he dwells in heaven, but 
he also dwells on earth. He has angels and archangels, the 
hosts of the just made perfect, for his familiar friends, but he 
has at the same time found a new kinship with the prone chil¬ 
dren of men, who stumble and sin in the dark. Finding sin¬ 
lessness, he finds also that the world’s sin and shame are his, 
not to share, but to atone; finding kinship with angels, he like¬ 
wise finds his part in the toil of angels, the toil for the redemp¬ 
tion of the world. 

For this work, he, who now stands in the heavenly realm, 
needs his instrument on earth; and this instrument he finds, 
ready to his hand, and fitted and perfected by the very strug¬ 
gles he has waged against it, in the personality, the “mind” of 
the personal man. This once tyrant is now his servant and 
perfect ambassador, bearing witness, before men, of heavenly 
things, and even in this present world doing the will and work¬ 
ing the works of the Father. 



25. For him who discerns between the Mind and the Spirit¬ 
ual Man, there comes perfect fruition of the longing after the 
real being of the Self. 

How many times in the long struggle have the Soul’s 
aspirations seemed but a hopeless, impossible dream, a mad¬ 
man’s counsel of perfection. Yet every finest, most impossible 
aspiration shall be realized, and ten times more than realized, 
once the long, arduous fight against the “mind,” and the mind’s 
world-view is won. And then it will be seen that unfaith and 
despair were but weapons of the “mind,” to daunt the Soul, 
and put off the day when the neck of the “mind” shall be put 
under the foot of the Soul. 

Have you aspired, well-nigh hopeless, after immortality? 
You shall be paid by entering the immortality of God. 

Have you aspired, in misery and pain, after consoling, 
healing love? You shall be made a dispenser of the divine love 
of God Himself to weary souls. 

Have you sought ardently, in your day of feebleness, after 
power? You shall wield power immortal, infinite, with God 
working the works of God. 

Have you, in lonely darkness, longed for companionship 
and consolation? You shall have angels and archangels for 
your friends, and all the immortal hosts of the Dawn. 

These are the fruits of victory. Therefore overcome. 
These are the prizes of regeneration. Therefore die to self, 
that you may rise again to God. 



26. Thereafter, the whole personal being bends toward 
illumination, full of the spirit of Eternal Life. 

This is part of the secret of the Soul, that salvation means, 
not merely that a soul shall be cleansed and raised to heaven, 
but that the whole realm of the natural powers shall be re¬ 
deemed, building up, even in this present world, the kingly 
figure of the Spiritual Man. 

The traditions of the ages are full of his footsteps; 
majestic, uncomprehended shadows, myths, demi-gods, fill the 
memories o.f all the nobler peoples. But the time cometh, 
when he shall be known, no longer demi-god, nor myth, nor 
shadow, but the ever-present Redeemer, working amid men for 
the life and cleansing of all souls. 

27. In the intervals of the battle, other thoughts will arise, 
through the impressions of the dynamic mind=images. 

The battle is long and arduous. Let there be no mistake 
as to that. Go not forth to this battle without counting the 
cost. Ages have gone to the strengthening of the foe. Ages 
of conflict must be spent, ere the foe, wholly conquered, be¬ 
comes the servant, the Soul's minister to mankind. 

And from these long past ages, in hours when the con¬ 
test flags, will come new foes, mind-born children springing 
up to fight for mind, reinforcements coming from forgotten 
years, forgotten lives. For once this conflict is begun, it can 
be ended only by sweeping victory, and unconditional, unre¬ 
served surrender of the vanquished. 



28. These are to be overcome as it was taught that sorrows 
should be overcome. 

These new enemies and fears are to be overcome by cease¬ 
lessly renewing the fight, by a steadfast, dogged persistence, 
whether in victory or defeat, which shall put the stubbornness 
of the rocks to shame. For the Soul is older, more invincible 
than all things; it is of the very nature of the Soul to be un¬ 

Therefore fight on, undaunted; knowing that the spiritual 
will, once awakened, will, through the effort of the contest, 
come to its full strength; that ground gained can be held per¬ 
manently ; that great as is the dead-weight of the adversary, it 
is yet measurable, while he who fights for you, he for whom 
you fight, is in might immeasurable, invincible, everlasting. 

29. He who, after he has attained, is wholly free from self, 
is set in a cloud of holiness which is called illumination. This is 
the true spiritual consciousness. 

It has been said that, at the beginning of the way, we 
must kill out ambition, the great curse, the giant weed which 
grows as strongly in the heart of the devoted disciple as in the 
man of desire. The remedy is sacrifice of self, obedience, hu¬ 
mility; that purity of heart which gives the vision of God. 
Thereafter, he who has attained is wrapt about with holiness, 
as with a cloud; he has that perfect illumination which is the 
true spiritual consciousness. Through obedience to the will 
of God, he comes into oneness of being with God; he is initi¬ 
ated into God's view of the universe, seeing all life as God 
sees it. 



30. Thereon comes surcease from sorrow and the burden 
of toil. 

Such a one, it is said, is free from the bond of Karma, 
from the burden of toil, from that debt to works which comes 
from works done in self-love and desire. Free from self-will, 
he is free from sorrow, too, for sorrow comes from the fight of 
self-will against the divine will, through the correcting stress 
of the divine will, which seeks to counteract the evil wrought 
by disobedience. When the conflict with the divine will 
ceases, then sorrow ceases, and he who has grown into obed¬ 
ience, thereby enters into joy. 

31. When all veils are rent, all stains washed away, his 
knowledge becomes infinite; little remains for him to know. 

The first veil is the delusion that thy soul is in some per¬ 
manent way separate from the great Soul, the divine Eternal. 
When that veil is rent, thou shalt discern thy oneness with 
everlasting Life. The second veil is the delusion of enduring 
separateness from thy other selves, whereas in truth the soul 
that is in them is one with the soul that is in thee. The world's 
sin and shame are thy sin and shame: its joy also. 

These veils rent, thou shalt enter into knowledge of divine 
things and human things. Little will remain unknown to thee. 

11 7 


32 . Thereafter comes the completion of the series of trans¬ 
formations of the three nature-potencies, since their purpose is 

It is a part of the beauty and wisdom of the great Indian 
teachings, the Vedanta and the Yoga alike, to hold that all life 
exists for the purposes of Soul, for the making of the Spiritual 
Man. They do not teach a salvation which is preternatural, 
a seeming violation of the course of nature, nor a salvation 
which comes through a divine decree, almost a divine whim. 
They teach rather that all nature is an orderly process of evolu¬ 
tion, leading up to this, designed for this end, existing only for 
this: to bring forth and perfect the Spiritual Man. He is the 
crown of evolution; at his coming, the goal of all development 
is attained. 

33. The series of transformations is divided into moments, 
and is to be regarded as the culmination of nature. 

This is, perhaps, a philosophical subtlety, later inserted in 
the teaching, in fuller expansion of the words “series of trans¬ 
formations” in the last sutra. The idea, however, is clear, and 
is wholly in harmony with the rest of the teaching. There are 
two kinds of eternity, says the commentary: the eternity of im¬ 
mortal life, which belongs to the Spirit, and the eternity of 
change, which inheres in Nature; in all that is not Spirit. 
While we are content to live in and for Nature, in the Circle of 
Necessity, Sansara, we doom ourselves to perpetual change. 
That which is born must die, and that which dies must be re¬ 
born. It is change evermore, a ceaseless series of transfor¬ 

But the Spiritual Man enters a new order; for him, there 
is no longer eternal change, but eternal Being. He has entered 
into the joy of his Lord. This spiritual birth, which makes 
him heir of the Everlasting, sets a term to change; it is the 
culmination, the crowning transformation, of the whole realm 
of change. 



34. Pure spiritual life is, therefore, the inverse resolution 
of the potencies of Nature, which have emptied themselves of 
their value for the Spiritual man; or it is the return of the power 
of pure Consciousness to its essential form. 

Here we have a splendid generalization, in which our wise 
philosopher finally reconciles the naturalists and the idealists, , 
expressing the crown and end of his teaching, first in the terms 
of the naturalist, and then in the terms of the idealist. 

The birth and growth of the Spiritual Man, and his entry 
into his immortal heritage, may be regarded, says our philoso¬ 
pher, either as the culmination of the whole process of natural 
evolution and involution, where “that which flowed from out 
the boundless deep, turns again home”; or it may be looked at, 
as the Vedantins look at it, as the restoration of pure spiritual 
Consciousness to its pristine and essential form. There is no 
discrepancy or conflict between these two views, which are but 
two accounts of the same thing. Therefore those who study 
the wise philosopher, be they naturalist or idealist, have no 
excuse to linger over dialectic subtleties or disputes. These 
things are lifted from their path, lest they should be tempted 
to delay over them, and they are left facing the path itself, 
stretching upward and onward from their feet to the everlast¬ 
ing hills, radiant with infinite Light. 

You, too, reader, who have followed the thoughts of the 
wise philosopher, be persuaded to take to your heart a like 
counsel and admonition. The path is for you. The Spiritual 
Man waits to be revealed in you, to initiate you into immor¬ 
tality, setting you amid the Children of Light. Be persuaded, 
then, since the truth is before you, the holy message has come 
to your ears. Heed the message, know that through it alone 
is life, leave the shadows of yourself behind, enter the Light, 
and hear the ringing Welcome that awaits you. 


H 153 82 




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