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

establishment of a relation, that is really what the mind adds.
All thinking is the "establishment of relations," and the more
closely you look into that phrase, the more you will realise how
it covers all the varied processes of the mind. The very first
process of the mind is to become aware of an outside world.
However dimly at first, we become aware of something outside
ourselves--a process generally called perception. I use the more
general term "establishing a relation," because that runs through
the whole of the mental processes, whereas perception is only a
single thing. To use a well-known simile, when a little baby
feels a pin pricking it, it is conscious of pain, but not at
first conscious of the pin, nor yet conscious of where exactly
the pin is. It does not recognise the part of the body in which
the pin is. There is no perception, for perception is defined as
relating a sensation to the object which causes the sensation.
You only, technically speaking, "perceive" when you make a
relation between the object and yourself. That is the very first
of these mental processes, following on the heels of sensation.
Of course, from the Eastern standpoint, sensation is a mental
function also, for the senses are part of the cognitive faculty,
but they are unfortunately classed with feelings in Western
psychology. Now having established that relation between yourself
and objects outside, what is the next process of the mind?
Reasoning: that is, the establishing of relations between
different objects, as perception is the establishment of your
relation with a single object. When you have perceived many
objects, then you begin to reason in order to establish relations
between them. Reasoning is the establishment of a new relation,
which comes out from the comparison of the different objects that
by perception you have established in relation with yourself, and
the result is a concept. This one phrase, "establishment of
relations," is true all round. The whole process of thinking is
the establishment of relations, and it is natural that it should
be so, because the Supreme Thinker, by establishing a relation,
brought matter into existence. Just as He, by establishing that
primary relation between Himself and the Not-Self, makes a
universe possible, so do we reflect His powers in ourselves,
thinking by the same method, establishing relations, and thus
carrying out every intellectual process.

Pleasure and Pain

Let us pass again from that to another statement made by this
great teacher of Yoga: "Pentads are of two kinds, painful and
non-painful." Why did he not say: "painful and pleasant"? Because
he was an accurate thinker, a logical thinker, and he uses the
logical division that includes the whole universe of discourse, A
and Not-A, painful and non-painful. There has been much
controversy among psychologists as to a third kind --indifferent.
Some psychologists divide all feelings into three: painful,
pleasant and indifferent. Feelings cannot be divided merely into
pain and pleasure, there is a third class, called indifference,
which is neither painful nor pleasant. Other psychologists say
that indifference is merely pain or pleasure that is not marked
enough to be called the one or the other. Now this controversy
and tangle into which psychologists have fallen might be avoided
if the primary division of feelings were a logical division. A
and Not-A--that is the only true and logical division. Patanjali
is absolutely logical and right. In order to avoid the quicksand
into which the modern psychologists have fallen, he divides all
vrittis, modes of mind, into painful and nonpainful.

There is, however, a psychological reason why we should say
"pleasure and pain," although it is not a logical division. The
reason why there should be that classification is that the word
pleasure and the word pain express two fundamental states of
difference, not in the Self, but in the vehicles in which that
Self dwells. The Self, being by nature unlimited, is ever
pressing, so to say, against any boundaries which seek to limit
him. When these limitations give way a little before the constant
pressure of the Self, we feel "pleasure," and when they resist or
contract, we feel "pain". They are not states of the Self so much
as states of the vehicles, and states of certain changes in
consciousness. Pleasure and pain belong to the Self as a whole,
and not to any aspect of the Self separately taken. When pleasure
and pain are marked off as belonging only to the desire nature,
the objection arises: "Well, but in the exercise of the cognitive
faculty there is an intense pleasure. When you use the creative
faculty of the mind you are conscious of a profound joy in its
exercise, and yet that creative faculty can by no means be
classed with desire." The answer is: "Pleasure belongs to the
Self as a whole. Where the vehicles yield themselves to the Self,
and permit it to 'expand' as is its eternal nature, then what is
called pleasure is felt." It has been rightly said: "Pleasure is
a sense of moreness." Every time you feel pleasure, you will find
the word "moreness" covers the case. It will cover the lowest
condition of pleasure, the pleasure of eating. You are becoming
more by appropriating to yourself a part of the Not-Self, food.
You will find it true of the highest condition of bliss, union
with the Supreme. You become more by expanding yourself to His
infinity. When you have a phrase that can be applied to the
lowest and highest with which you are dealing, you may be fairly
sure it is all-inclusive, and that, therefore, "pleasure is
moreness" is a true statement. Similarly, pain is "lessness".

If you understand these things your philosophy of life will
become more practical, and you will be able to help more
effectively people who fall into evil ways. Take drink. The real
attraction of drinking lies in the fact that, in the first stages
of it, a more keen and vivid life is felt. That stage is
overstepped in the case of the man who gets drunk, and then the
attraction ceases. The attraction lies in the first stages, and
many people have experienced that, who would never dream of
becoming drunk. Watch people who are taking wine and see how much
more lively and talkative they become. There lies the attraction,
the danger.

The real attraction in most coarse forms of excess is that they
give an added sense of life, and you will never be able to redeem
a man from his excess unless you know why he does it.
Understanding the attractiveness of the first step, the increase
of life, then you will be able to put your finger on the point of
temptation, and meet that in your argument with him. So that this
sort of mental analysis is not only interesting, but practically
useful to every helper of mankind. The more you know, the greater
is your power to help.

The next question that arises is: "Why does he not divide all
feelings into pleasurable and not-pleasurable, rather than into
'painful and not-painful'?" A Westerner will not be at a loss to
answer that: "Oh, the Hindu is naturally so very pessimistic,
that he naturally ignores pleasure and speaks of painful and
not-painful. The universe is full of pain." But that would not be
a true answer. In the first place the Hindu is not pessimistic.
He is the most optimistic of men. He has not got one solitary
school of philosophy that does not put in its foreground that the
object of all philosophy is to put an end to pain. But he is
profoundly reasonable. He knows that we need not go about seeking
happiness. It is already ours, for it is the essence of our own
nature. Do not the Upanishads say: "The Self is bliss"? Happiness
exists perennially within you. It is your normal state. You have
not to seek it. You will necessarily be happy if you get rid of
the obstacles called pain, which are in the modes of mind.
Happiness is not a secondary thing, but pain is, and these
painful things are obstacles to be got rid of. When they are
stopped, you must be happy. Therefore Patanjali says: "The
vrittis are painful and non-painful." Pain is an excrescence. It
is a transitory thing. The Self, who is bliss, being the
all-permeating life of the universe, pain has no permanent place
in it. Such is the Hindu position, the most optimistic in the

Let us pause for a moment to ask: "Why should there be pain at
all if the Self is bliss?" Just because the nature of the Self is
bliss. It would be impossible to make the Self turn outward, come
into manifestation, if only streams of bliss flowed in on him. He
would have remained unconscious of the streams. To the infinity
of bliss nothing could be added. If you had a stream of water
flowing unimpeded in its course, pouring more water into it would
cause no ruffling, the stream would go on heedless of the
addition. But put an obstacle in the way, so that the free flow
is checked, and the stream will struggle and fume against the
obstacle, and make every endeavour to sweep it away. That which
is contrary to it, that which will check its current's smooth
flow, that alone will cause effort. That is the first function of
pain. It is the only thing that can rouse the Self. It is the
only thing that can awaken his attention. When that peaceful,
happy, dreaming, inturned Self finds the surge of pain beating
against him, he awakens: "What is this, contrary to my nature,
antagonistic and repulsive, what is this?" It arouses him to the
fact of a surrounding universe, an outer world. Hence in
psychology, in yoga, always basing itself on the ultimate
analysis of the fact of nature, pain is the thing that asserts
itself as the most important factor in Self-realisation; that
which is other than the Self will best spur the Self into
activity. Therefore we find our commentator, when dealing with
pain, declares that the karmic receptacle the causal body, that
in which all the seeds of karma are gathered Up, has for its
builder all painful experiences; and along that line of thought
we come to the great generalisation: the first function of pain
in the universe is to arouse the Self to turn himself to the

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: