List Of Contents | Contents of An Introduction to Yoga
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Jivatmas, are as Himself, and they only unfold their powers in
matter as conditions around them draw those powers forth. If you
realize the unity of the Self amid the diversities of the
Not-Self, then Yoga will not seem an impossible thing to you.

The Quickening of the Process of Self-unfoldment

Educated and thoughtful men and women you already are; already
you have climbed up that long ladder which separates the present
outer form of the Deity in you from His form in the dust. The
manifest Deity sleeps in the mineral and the stone. He becomes
more and more unfolded in vegetables and animals, and lastly in
man He has reached what appears as His culmination to ordinary
men. Having done so much, shall you not do more ? With the
consciousness so far unfolded, does it seem impossible that it
should unfold in the future into the Divine?

As you realize that the laws of the evolution of form and of the
unfolding of consciousness in the universe and man are the same,
and that it is through these laws that the yogi brings out his
hidden powers, then you will understand also that it is not
necessary to go into the mountain or into the desert, to hide
yourself in a cave or a forest, in order that the union with the
Self may be obtainedÄHe who is within you and without you.
Sometimes for a special purpose seclusion may be useful. It may
be well at times to retire temporarily from the busy haunts of
men. But in the universe planned by Isvara, in order that the
powers of the Self may be brought outÄthere is your best field
for Yoga, planned with Divine wisdom and sagacity. The world is
meant for the unfolding of the Self: why should you then seek to
run away from it? Look at Shri Krishna Himself in that great
Upanishad of yoga, the Bhagavad-Gita. He spoke it out on a
battle-field, and not on a mountain peak. He spoke it to a
Kshattriya ready to fight, and not to a Brahmana quietly retired
from the world. The Kurukshetra of the world is the field of
Yoga. They who cannot face the world have not the strength to
face the difficulties of Yoga practice. If the outer world
out-wearies your powers, how do you expect to conquer the
difficulties of the inner life? If you cannot climb over the
little troubles of the world, how can you hope to climb over the
difficulties that a yogi has to scale? Those men blunder, who
think that running away from the world is the road to victory,
and that peace can be found only in certain localities.

As a matter of fact, you have practised Yoga unconsciously in the
past, even before your self- consciousness had separated itself,
was aware of itself. Sand knew itself to be different, in
temporary matter at least, from all the others that surround it.
And that is the first idea that you should take up and hold
firmly: Yoga is only a quickened process of the ordinary
unfolding of consciousness.

Yoga may then be defined as the "rational application of the laws
of the unfolding of consciousness in an individual case". That is
what is meant by the methods of Yoga. You study the laws' of the
unfolding of consciousness in the universe, you then apply them
to a special caseÄand that case is your own. You cannot apply
them to another. They must be self-applied. That is the definite
principle to grasp. So we must add one more word to our
definition: "Yoga is the rational application of the laws of the
unfolding of consciousness, self-applied in an individual case."

Yoga Is a Science

Next, Yoga is a science. That is the second thing to grasp. Yoga
is a science, and not a vague, dreamy drifting or imagining. It
is an applied science, a systematized collection of laws applied
to bring about a definite end. It takes up the laws of
psychology, applicable to the unfolding of the whole
consciousness of man on every plane, in every world, and applies
those rationally in a particular case. This rational application
of the laws of unfolding consciousness acts exactly on the same
principles that you see applied around you every day in other
departments of science.

You know, by looking at the world around you, how enormously the
intelligence of man, co-operating with nature, may quicken
"natural" processes, and the working of intelligence is as
"natural" as anything else. We make this distinction, and
practically it is a real one, between "rational" and "natural"
growth, because human intelligence can guide the working of
natural laws; and when we come to deal with Yoga, we are in the
same department of applied science as, let us say, is the
scientific farmer or gardener, when he applies the natural laws
of selection to breeding. The farmer or gardener cannot transcend
the laws of nature, nor can he work against them. He has no other
laws of nature to work with save universal laws by which nature
is evolving forms around us, and yet he does in a few years what
nature takes, perhaps, hundreds of thousands of years to do. And
how? By applying human intelligence to choose the laws that serve
him and to neutralize the laws that hinder. He brings the divine
intelligence in man to utilise the divine powers in nature that
are working for general rather than for particular ends.

Take the breeder of pigeons. Out of the blue rock pigeon he
develops the pouter or the fan-tail; he chooses out, generation
after generation, the forms that show most strongly the
peculiarity that he wishes to develop. He mates such birds
together, takes every favouring circumstance into consideration
and selects again and again, and so on and on, till the
peculiarity that he wants to establish has become a well-marked
feature. Remove his controlling intelligence, leave the birds to
themselves, and they revert to the ancestral type.

Or take the case of the gardener. Out of the wild rose of the
hedge has been evolved every rose of the garden. Many-petalled
roses are but the result of the scientific culture of the
five-petalled rose of the hedgerow, the wild product of nature. A
gardener who chooses the pollen from one plant and places it on
the carpers of another is simply doing deliberately what is done
every day by the bee and the fly. But he chooses his plants, and
he chooses those that have the qualities he wants intensified,
and from those again he chooses those that show the desired
qualities still more clearly, until he has produced a flower so
different from the original stock that only by tracing it back
can you tell the stock whence it sprang.

So is it in the application of the laws of psychology that we
call Yoga. Systematized knowledge of the unfolding of
consciousness applied to the individualized Self, that is Yoga.
As I have just said, it is by the world that consciousness has
been unfolded, and the world is admirably planned by the LOGOS
for this unfolding of consciousness; hence the would-be yogi,
choosing out his objects and applying his laws, finds in the
world exactly the things he wants to make his practice of Yoga
real, a vital thing, a quickening process for the knowledge of
the Self. There are many laws. You can choose those which you
require, you can evade those you do not require, you can utilize
those you need, and thus you can bring about the result that
nature, without that application of human intelligence, cannot so
swiftly effect.

Take it, then, that Yoga is within your reach, with your powers,
and that even some of the lower practices of Yoga, some of the
simpler applications of the laws of the unfolding of
consciousness to yourself, will benefit you in this world as well
as in all others. For you are really merely quickening your
growth, your unfolding, taking advantage of the powers nature
puts within your hands, and deliberately eliminating the
conditions which would not help you in your work, but rather
hinder your march forward. If you see it in that light, it seems
to me that Yoga will be to you a far more real, practical thing,
than it is when you merely read some fragments about it taken
from Sanskrit books, and often mistranslated into English, and
you will begin to feel that to be a yogi is not necessarily a
thing for a life far off, an incarnation far removed from the
present one.

Man a Duality

Some of the terms used in Yoga are necessarily to be known. For
Yoga takes man for a special purpose and studies him for a
special end and, therefore, only troubles itself about two great
facts regarding man, mind and body. First, he is a unit, a unit
of consciousness. That is a point to be definitely grasped. There
is only one of him in each set of envelopes, and sometimes the
Theosophist has to revise his ideas about man when he begins this
practical line. Theosophy quite usefully and rightly, for the
understanding of the human constitution, divides man into many
parts and pieces. We talk of physical, astral, mental, etc. Or we
talk about Sthula-sarira, Sukshma-sarira, Karana-sarira, and so
on. Sometimes we divide man into Anna-maya-kosa, Prana-maya-kosa,
Mano-maya-kosa, etc. We divide man into so many pieces in order
to study him thoroughly, that we can hardly find the man because
of the pieces. This is, so to say, for the study of human anatomy
and physiology.

But Yoga is practical and psychological. I am not complaining of
the various sub-divisions of other systems. They are necessary
for the purpose of those systems. But Yoga, for its practical
purposes, considers man simply as a dualityÄmind and body, a unit
of consciousness in a set of envelopes. This is not the duality
of the Self and the Not-Self. For in Yoga, "Self" includes
consciousness plus such matter as it cannot distinguish from
itself, and Not-Self is only the matter it can put aside.

Man is not pure Self, pure consciousness, Samvid. That is an
abstraction. In the concrete universe there are always the Self
and His sheaths, however tenuous the latter may be, so that a
unit of consciousness is inseparable from matter, and a Jivatma,
or Monad, is invariably consciousness plus matter.

In order that this may come out clearly, two terms are used in
Yoga as constituting manÄPrana and Pradhana, life-breath and

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