List Of Contents | Contents of An Introduction to Yoga
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Knowing that the Self is within him, he tries to strip away
vesture after vesture, envelope after envelope, and by a process
of rejecting them he reaches the glory of the unveiled Self. To
begin this, he must give up concrete thinking and dwell amidst
abstractions. His method, then, must be strenuous,
long-sustained, patient meditation. Nothing else will serve his
end; strenuous, hard thinking, by which he rises away from the
concrete into the abstract regions of the mind; strenuous, hard
thinking, further continued, by which he reaches from the
abstract region of the mind up to the region of Buddhi, where
unity is sensed; still by strenuous thinking, climbing yet
further, until Buddhi as it were opens out into Atma, until the
Self is seen in his splendour, with only a film of atmic matter,
the envelope of Atma in the manifested fivefold world. It is
along that difficult and strenuous path that the Self must be
found by way of the Self.

Such a man must utterly disregard the Not-Self. He must shut his
senses against the outside world. The world must no longer be
able to touch him. The senses must be closed against all the
vibrations that come from without, and he must turn a deaf ear, a
blind eye, to all the allurements of matter, to all the diversity
of objects, which make up the universe of the Not-Self. Seclusion
will help him, until he is strong enough to close himself against
the outer stimuli or allurements. The contemplative orders in the
Roman Catholic Church offer a good environment for this path.
They put the outer world away, as far away as possible. It is a
snare, a temptation, a hindrance. Always turning away from the
world, the Yogi must fix his thought, his attention, upon the
Self. Hence for those who walk along this road, what are called
the Siddhis are direct obstacles, and not helps. But that
statement that you find so often, that the Siddhis are things to
be avoided, is far more sweeping than some of our modern
Theosophists are apt to imagine. They declare that the Siddhis
are to be avoided, but forget that the Indian who says this also
avoids the use of the physical senses. He closes physical eyes
and ears as hindrances. But some Theosophists urge avoidance of
all use of the astral senses and mental senses, but they do not
object to the free use of the physical senses, or dream that they
are hindrances. Why not? If the senses are obstacles in their
finer forms, they are also obstacles in their grosser
manifestations. To the man who would find the Self by the Self,
every sense is a hindrance and an obstacle, and there is no
logic, no reason, in denouncing the subtler senses only, while
forgetting the temptations of the physical senses, impediments as
much as the other. No such division exists for the man who tries
to understand the universe in which he is. In the search for the
Self by the Self, all that is not Self is an obstacle. Your eyes,
your ears, everything that puts you into contact with the outer
world, is just as much an obstacle as the subtler forms of the
same senses which put you into touch with the subtler worlds of
matter, which you call astral and mental. This exaggerated fear
of the Siddhis is only a passing reaction, not based on
understanding but on lack of understanding; and those who
denounce the Siddhis should rise to the logical position of the
Hindu Yogi, or of the Roman Catholic recluse, who denounces all
the senses, and all the objects of the senses, as obstacles in
the way. Many Theosophists here, and more in the West, think that
much is gained by acuteness of the physical senses, and of the
other faculties in the physical brain; but the moment the senses
are acute enough to be astral, or the faculties begin to work in
astral matter, they treat them as objects of denunciation. That
is not rational. It is not logical. Obstacles, then, are all the
senses, whether you call them Siddhis or not, in the search for
the Self by turning away from the Not-Self.

It is necessary for the man who seeks the Self by the Self to
have the quality which is called "faith," in the sense in which I
defined it before--the profound, intense conviction, that nothing
can shake, of the reality of the Self within you. That is the one
thing that is worthy to be dignified by the name of faith. Truly
it is beyond reason, for not by reason may the Self be known as
real. Truly it is not based on argument, for not by reasoning may
the Self be discovered. It is the witness of the Self within you
to his own supreme reality, and that unshakable conviction, which
is shraddha, is necessary for the treading of this path. It is
necessary, because without it the human mind would fail, the
human courage would be daunted, the human perseverance would
break, with the difficulties of the seeking for the Self. Only
that imperious conviction that the Self is, only that can cheer
the pilgrim in the darkness that comes down upon him, in the void
that he must cross before--the life of the lower being thrown
away--the life of the higher is realised. This imperious faith is
to the Yogi on this path what experience and knowledge are to the
Yogi on the other.

To the Self Through the Not-self

Turn from him to the seeker for the Self through the Not- Self.
This is the way of the scientist, of the man who uses the
concrete, active Manas, in order scientifically to understand the
universe; he has to find the real among the unreal, the eternal
among the changing, the Self amid the diversity of forms. How is
he to do it? By a close and rigorous study of every changing form
in which the Self has veiled himself. By studying the Not-Self
around him and in him, by understanding his own nature, by
analysing in order to understand, by studying nature in others as
well as in himself, by learning to know himself and to gain
knowledge of others; slowly, gradually, step by step, plane after
plane, he has to climb upwards, rejecting one form of matter
after another, finding not in these the Self he seeks. As he
learns to conquer the physical plane, he uses the keenest senses
in order to understand, and finally to reject. He says: "This is
not my Self. This changing panorama, these obscurities, these
continual transformations, these are obviously the antithesis of
the eternity, the lucidity, the stability of the Self. These
cannot be my Self." And thus he constantly rejects them. He
climbs on to the astral plane and, using there the finer astral
senses, he studies the astral world, only to find that that also
is changing and manifests not the changelessness of the Self.
After the astral world is conquered and rejected, he climbs on
into the mental plane, and there still studies the ever-changing
forms of that Manasic world, only once more to reject them:
"These are not the Self." Climbing still higher, ever following
the track of forms, he goes from the mental to the Buddhic plane,
where the Self begins to show his radiance and beauty in
manifested union. Thus by studying diversity he reaches the
conception of unity, and is led into the understanding of the
One. To him the realisation of the Self comes through the study
of the Not-Self, by the separation of the Not-Self from the Self.
Thus he does by knowledge and experience what the other does by
pure thinking and by faith. In this path of finding the Self
through the Not-Self, the so-called Siddhis are necessary. Just
as you cannot study the physical world without the physical
senses, so you cannot study the astral world without the astral
senses, nor the mental world without the mental senses.
Therefore, calmly choose your ends, and then think out your
means, and you will not 'be in any difficulty about the method
you should employ, the path you should tread.

Thus we see that there are two methods, and these must be kept
separate in your thought. Along the line of pure thinking--the
metaphysical line--you may reach the Self. So also along the line
of scientific observation and experiment--the physical line, in
the widest sense of the term physical--you may reach the Self.
Both are ways of Yoga. Both are included in the directions that
you may read in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Those directions
will cease to be self-contradictory, if you will only separate in
your thought the two methods. Patanjali has given, in the later
part of his Sutras, some hints as to the way in which the Siddhis
may be developed. Thus you may find your way to the Supreme.

Yoga and Morality

The next point that I would pause upon, and ask you to realise,
is the fact that Yoga is a science of psychology. I want further
to point out to you that it is not a science of ethic, though
ethic is certainly the foundation of it. Psychology and ethic are
not the same. The science of psychology is the result of the
study of mind. The science of ethic is the result of the study of
conduct, so as to bring about the harmonious relation of one to
another. Ethic is a science of life, and not an investigation
into the nature of mind and the methods by which the powers of
the mind may be developed and evolved. I pause on this because of
the confusion that exists in many people as regards this point.
If you understand the scope of Yoga aright, such a confusion
ought not to arise. The confused idea makes people think that in
Yoga they ought to find necessarily what are called precepts of
morality, ethic. Though Patanjali gives the universal precepts of
morality and right conduct in the first two angas of Yoga, called
yama and niyama, yet they are subsidiary to the main topic, are
the foundation of it, as just said. No practice of Yoga is
possible unless you possess the ordinary moral attributes summed
up in yama and niyama; that goes without saying. But you should
not expect to find moral precepts in a scientific text book of
psychology, like Yoga. A man studying the science of electricity
is not shocked if he does not find in it moral precepts; why then
should one studying Yoga, as a science of psychology, expect to
find moral precepts in it? I do not say that morality is

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