List Of Contents | Contents of An Introduction to Yoga
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unimportant for the Yogi. On the contrary, it is all-important.
It is absolutely necessary in the first stages of Yoga for
everyone. But to a Yogi who has mastered these, it is not
necessary, if he wants to follow the left-hand path. For you must
remember that there is a Yoga of the left-hand path, as well as a
Yoga of the right-hand path. Yoga is there also followed, and
though asceticism is always found in the early stages, and
sometimes in the later, true morality is absent. The black
magician is often as rigid in his morality as any Brother of the
White Lodge.[FN#8: Terms while and black as used here have no
relation to race or colour.] Of the disciples of the black and
white magicians, the disciple of the black magician is often the
more ascetic. His object is not the purification of life for the
sake of humanity, but the purification of the vehicle, that he
may be better able to acquire power. The difference between the
white and the black magician lies in the motive. You might have a
white magician, a follower of the right-hand path, rejecting meat
because the way of obtaining it is against the law of compassion.
The follower of the left-hand path may also reject meat, but for
the reason that be would not be able to work so well with his
vehicle if it were full of the rajasic elements of meat. The
difference is in the motive. The outer action is the same. Both
men may be called moral, if judged by the outer action alone. The
motive marks the path, while the outer actions are often

It is a moral thing to abstain from meat, because thereby you are
lessening the infliction of suffering; it is not a moral act to
abstain from meat from the yogic standpoint, but only a means to
an end. Some of the greatest yogis in Hindu literature were, and
are, men whom you would rightly call black magicians. But still
they are yogis. One of the greatest yogis of all was Ravana, the
anti-Christ, the Avatara of evil, who summed up all the evil of
the world in his own person in order to oppose the Avatara of
good. He was a great, a marvellous yogi, and by Yoga he gained
his power. Ravana was a typical yogi of the left-hand path, a
great destroyer, and he practiced Yoga to obtain the power of
destruction, in order to force from the hands of the Planetary
Logos the boon that no man should be able to kill him. You may
say: "What a strange thing that a man can force from God such a
power." The laws of Nature are the expression of Divinity, and if
a man follows a law of Nature, he reaps the result which that law
inevitably brings; the question whether he is good or bad to his
fellow men does not touch this matter at all. Whether some other
law is or is not obeyed, is entirely outside the question. It is
a matter of dry fact that the scientific man may be moral or
immoral, provided that his immorality does not upset his eyesight
or nervous system. It is the same with Yoga. Morality matters
profoundly, but it does not affect these particular things, and
if you think it does, you are always getting into bogs and
changing your moral standpoint, either lowering or making it
absurd. Try to understand; that is what the Theosophist should
do; and when you understand, you will not fall into the blunders
nor suffer the bewilderment many do, when you expect laws
belonging to one region of the universe to bring about results in
another. The scientific man understands that. He knows that a
discovery in chemistry does not depend upon his morality, and he
would not think of doing an act of charity with a view to finding
out a new element. He will not fail in a well-wrought experiment,
however vicious his private life may be. The things are in
different regions, and he does not confuse the laws of the two.
As Ishvara is absolutely just, the man who obeys a law reaps the
fruit of that law, whether his actions, in any other fields, are
beneficial to man or not. If you sow rice, you will reap rice; if
you sow weeds, you will reap weeds; rice for rice, and weed for
weed. The harvest is according to the sowing. For this is a
universe of law. By law we conquer, by law we succeed. Where does
morality come in, then? When you are dealing with a magician of
the right-hand path, the servant of the White Lodge, there
morality is an all-important factor. Inasmuch as he is learning
to be a servant of humanity, he must observe the highest
morality, not merely the morality of the world, for the white
magician has to deal with helping on harmonious relations between
man and man. The white magician must be patient. The black
magician may quite well be harsh. The white magician must be
compassionate; compassion widens out his nature, and he is trying
to make his consciousness include the whole of humanity. But not
so the black magician. He can afford to ignore compassion.

A white magician may strive for power. But when he is striving
for power, he seeks it that he may serve humanity and become more
useful to mankind, a more effective servant in the helping of the
world. But not so the brother of the dark side. When he strives
for power, he seeks if for himself, so that he may use it against
the whole world. He may be harsh and cruel. He wants to be
isolated; and harshness and cruelty tend to isolate him. He wants
power; and holding that power for himself, he can put himself
temporarily, as it were, against the Divine Will in evolution.

The end of the one is Nirvana, where all separation has ceased.
The end of the other is Avichi--the uttermost isolation--the
kaivalya of the black magician. Both are yogis, both follow the
science of yoga, and each gets the result of the law he has
followed: one the kaivalya of Nirvana, the other the kaivalya of

Composition of States of the Mind

Let us pass now to the "states of the mind" as they are called.
The word which is used for the states of the mind by Patanjali is
Vritti. This admirably constructed language Sanskrit gives you in
that very word its own meaning. Vrittis means the "being" of the
mind; the ways in which mind can exist; the modes of the mind;
the modes of mental existence; the ways of existing. That is the
literal meaning of this word. A subsidiary meaning is a "turning
around," a "moving in a circle". You have to stop, in Yoga, every
mode of existing in which the mind manifests itself. In order to
guide you towards the power of stopping them--for you cannot stop
them till you understand them--you are told that these modes of
mind are fivefold in their nature. They are pentads. The Sutra,
as usually translated, says " the Vrittis are fivefold
(panchatayyah)," but pentad is a more accurate rendering of the
word pancha-tayyah, in the original, than fivefold. The word
pentad at once recalls to you the way in which the chemist speaks
of a monad, triad, heptad, when he deals with elements. The
elements with which the chemist is dealing are related to the
unit-element in different ways. Some elements are related to it
in one way only, and are called monads; others are related in two
ways, and are called duads, and so on.

Is this applicable to the states of mind also? Recall the shloka
of the Bhagavad-Gita in which it is said that the Jiva goes out
into the world, drawing round him the five senses and mind as
sixth. That may throw a little light on the subject. You have
five senses, the five ways of knowing, the five jnanendriyas or
organs of knowing. Only by these five senses can you know the
outer world. Western psychology says that nothing exists in
thought that does not exist in sensation. That is not true
universally; it is not true of the abstract mind, nor wholly of
the concrete. But there is a great deal of truth in it. Every
idea is a pentad. It is made up of five elements. Each element
making up the idea comes from one of the senses, and of these
there are at present five. Later on every idea will be a heptad,
made up of seven elements. For the present, each has five
qualities, which build up the idea. The mind unites the whole
together into a single thought, synthesises the five sensations.
If you think of an orange and analyse your thought of an orange,
you will find in it: colour, which comes through the eye;
fragrance, which comes through the nose; taste, which comes
through the tongue; roughness or smoothness, which comes through
the sense of touch; and you would hear musical notes made by the
vibrations of the molecules, coming through the sense of hearing,
were it keener. If you had a perfect sense of hearing. you would
hear the sound of the orange also, for wherever there is
vibration there is sound. All this, synthesised by the mind into
one idea, is an orange. That is the root reason for the
"association of ideas". It is not only that a fragrance recalls
the scene and the circumstances under which the fragrance was
observed, but because every impression is made through all the
five senses and, therefore, when one is stimulated, the others
are recalled. The mind is like a prism. If you put a prism in the
path of a ray of white light, it will break it up into its seven
constituent rays and seven colours will appear. Put another prism
in the path of these seven rays, and as they pass through the
prism, the process is reversed and the seven become one white
light. The mind is like the second prism. It takes in the five
sensations that enter through the senses, and combines them into
a single precept. As at the present stage of evolution the senses
are five only, it unites the five sensations into one idea. What
the white ray is to the seven- coloured light, that a thought or
idea is to the fivefold sensation. That is the meaning of the
much controverted Sutra: "Vrittayah panchatayych," "the vrittis,
or modes of the mind, are pentads." If you look at it in that
way, the later teachings will be more clearly understood.

As I have already said, that sentence, that nothing exists in
thought which is not in sensation, is not the whole truth. Manas,
the sixth sense, adds to the sensations its own pure elemental
nature. What is that nature that you find thus added? It is the

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