List Of Contents | Contents of An Introduction to Yoga
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

outer world, to evoke his aspect of activity.

The next function of pain is the organisation of the vehicles.
Pain makes the man exert himself, and by that exertion the matter
of his vehicles gradually becomes organised. If you want to
develop and organise your muscles, you make efforts, you exercise
them, and thus more life flows into them and they become strong.
Pain is necessary that the Self may force his vehicles into
making efforts which develop and organise them. Thus pain not
only awakens awareness, it also organises the vehicles.

It has a third function also. Pain purifies. We try to get rid of
that which causes us pain. It is contrary to our nature, and we
endeavour to throw it away. All that is against the blissful
nature of the Self is shaken by pain out of the vehicles; slowly
they become purified by suffering, and in that way become ready
for the handling of the Self.

It has a fourth function. Pain teaches. All the best lessons of
life come from pain rather than from joy. When one is becoming
old, as I am and I look on the long life behind me, a life of
storm and stress, of difficulties and efforts, I see something of
the great lessons pain can teach. Out of my life story could
efface without regret everything that it has had of joy and
happiness, but not one pain would I let go, for pain is the
teacher of wisdom.

It has a fifth function. Pain gives power. Edward Carpenter said,
in his splendid poem of "Time and Satan," after he had described
the wrestlings and the overthrows: 'Every pain that I suffered in
one body became a power which I wielded in the next." Power is
pain transmuted.

Hence the wise man, knowing these things, does not shrink from
pain; it means purification, wisdom, power.

It is true that a man may suffer so much pain that for this
incarnation he may be numbed by it, rendered wholly or partially
useless. Especially is this the case when the pain has deluged in
childhood. But even then, he shall reap his harvest of good
later. By his past, he may have rendered present pain inevitable,
but none the less can he turn it into a golden opportunity by
knowing and utilising its functions.

You may say: "What use then of pleasure, if pain is so splendid a
thing?" From pleasure comes illumination. Pleasure enables the
Self to manifest. In pleasure all the vehicles of the Self are
made harrnonious; they all vibrate together; the vibrations are
rhythmical, not jangled as they are in pain, and those rhythmical
vibrations permit that expansion of the Self of which I spoke,
and thus lead up to illumination, the knowledge of the Self. And
if that be true, as it is true, you will see that pleasure plays
an immense part in nature, being of the nature of the Self,
belonging to him. When it harmonises the vehicles of the Self
from outside, it enables the Self more readily to manifest
himself through the lower selves within us. Hence happiness is a
condition of illumination. That is the explanation of the value
of the rapture of the mystic; it is an intense joy. A tremendous
wave of bliss, born of love triumphant, sweeps over the whole of
his being, and when that great wave of bliss sweeps over him, it
harmonises the whole of his vehicles, subtle and gross alike, and
the glory of the Self is made manifest and he sees the face of
his God. Then comes the wonderful illumination, which for the
time makes him unconscious of all the lower worlds. It is because
for a moment the Self is realising himself as divine, that it is
possible for him to see that divinity which is cognate to
himself. So you should not fear joy any more than you fear pain,
as some unwise people do, dwarfed by a mistaken religionism. That
foolish thought which you often find in an ignorant religion,
that pleasure is rather to be dreaded, as though God grudged joy
to His children, is one of the nightmares born of ignorance and
terror. The Father of life is bliss. He who is joy cannot grudge
Himself to His children, and every reflection of joy in the world
is a reflection of the Divine Life, and a manifestation of the
Self in the midst of matter. Hence pleasure has its function as
well as pain and that also is welcome to the wise, for he
understands and utilises it. You can easily see how along this
line pleasure and pain become equally welcome. Identified with
neither, the wise man takes either as it comes, knowing its
purpose. When we understand the places of joy and of pain, then
both lose their power to bind or to upset us. If pain comes, we
take it and utilise it. If joy comes, we take it and utilise it.
So we may pass through life, welcoming both pleasure and pain,
content whichever may come to us, and not wishing for that which
is for the moment absent. We use both as means to a desired end;
and thus we may rise to a higher indifference than that of the
stoic, to the true vairagya; both pleasure and pain are
transcended, and the Self remains, who is bliss.



In dealing with the third section of the subject, I drew your
attention to the states of mind, and pointed out to you that,
according to the Samskrit word vritti, those states of mind
should be regarded as ways m which the mind exists, or, to use
the philosophical phrase of the West, they are modes of mind,
modes of mental existence. These are the states which are to be
inhibited, put an end to, abolished, reduced into absolute
quiescence. The reason for this inhibition is the production of a
state which allows the higher mind to pour itself into the lower.
To put it in another way: the lower mind, unruffled, waveless,
reflects the higher, as a waveless lake reflects the stars. You
will remember the phrase used in the Upanishad, which puts it
less technically and scientifically, but more beautifully, and
declares that in the quietude of the mind and the tranquility of
the senses, a man may behold the majesty of the Self. The method
of producing this quietude is what we have now to consider.

Inhibition of States of Mind

Two ways, and two ways only, there are of inhibiting these modes,
these ways of existence, of the mind. They were given by Sri
Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita, when Arjuna complained that the
mind was impetuous, strong, difficult to bend, hard to curb as
the wind. His answer was definite: " Without doubt, O
mighty-armed, the mind is hard to curb and restless; but it may
be curbed by constant practice (abhyasa) and by dispassion
(vai-ragya)."[FN#9: loc. cit., VI. 35, 35]

These are the two methods, the only two methods, by which this
restless, storm-tossed mind can be reduced to peace and quietude.
Vai-ragya and abhyasa, they are the only two methods, but when
steadily practiced they inevitably bring about the result.

Let us consider what these two familiar words imply. Vai-ragya,
or dispassion, has as its main idea the clearing away of all
passion for, attraction to, the objects of the senses, the bonds
which are made by desire between man and the objects around him.
Raga is "passion, addiction," that which binds a man to things.
The prefix "vi"--changing to "vai" by a grammatical rule --means
"without," or "in opposition to". Hence vai-ragya is
"non-passion, absence of passion," not bound, tied or related to
any of these outside objects. Remembering that thinking is the
establishing of relations, we see that the getting rid of
relations will impose on the mind the stillness that is Yoga. All
raga must be entirely put aside. We must separate ourselves from
it. We must acquire the opposite condition, where every passion
is stilled, where no attraction for the objects of desire
remains, where all the bonds that unite the man to surrounding
objects are broken. "When the bonds of the heart are broken, then
the man becomes immortal."

How shall this dispassion be brought about? There is only one
right way of doing it. By slowly and gradually drawing ourselves
away from outer objects through the more potent attraction of the
Self. The Self is ever attracted to the Self. That attraction
alone can turn these vehicles away from the alluring and
repulsive objects that surround them; free from all raga, no more
establishing relations with objects, the separated Self finds
himself liberated and free, and union with the one Self becomes
the sole object of desire. But not instantly, by one supreme
effort, by one endeavour, can this great quality of dispassion
become the characteristic of the man bent on Yoga. He must
practice dispassion constantly and steadfastly. That is implied
in the word joined with dispassion, abhyasa or practice. The
practice must be constant, continual and unbroken. "Practice"
does not mean only meditation, though this is the sense in which
the word is generally used; it means the deliberate, unbroken
carrying out of dispassion in the very midst of the objects that

In order that you may acquire dispassion, you must practice it in
the everyday things of life. I have said that many confine
abhyasa to meditation. That is why so few people attain to Yoga.
Another error is to wait for some big opportunity. People prepare
themselves for some tremendous sacrifice and forget the little
things of everyday life, in which the mind is knitted to objects
by a myriad tiny threads. These things, by their pettiness, fail
to attract attention, and in waiting for the large thing, which
does not come, people lose the daily practice of dispassion
towards the little things that are around them. By curbing desire
at every moment, we become indifferent to all the objects that
surround us. Then, when the great opportunity comes, we seize it
while scarce aware that it is upon us. Every day, all day long,
practice--that is what is demanded from the aspirant to Yoga, for
only on that line can success come; and it is the wearisomeness
of this strenuous, continued endeavour that tires out the
majority of aspirants.

I must here warn you of a danger. There is a rough-and- ready way
of quickly bringing about dispassion. Some say to you: "Kill out
all love and affection; harden your hearts; become cold to all

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: