List Of Contents | Contents of An Introduction to Yoga
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matter. Prana is not only the life-breath of the body, but the
totality of the life forces of the universe or, in other words,
the life-side of the universe.

"I am Prana," says Indra. Prana here means the totality of the
life-forces. They are taken as consciousness, mind. Pradhana is
the term used for matter. Body, or the opposite of mind, means
for the yogi in practice so much of the appropriated matter of
the outer world as he is able to put away from himself, to
distinguish from his own consciousness.

This division is very significant and useful, if you can catch
clearly hold of the root idea. Of course, looking at the thing
from beginning to end, you will see Prana, the great Life, the
great Self, always present in all, and you will see the
envelopes, the bodies, the sheaths, present at the different
stages, taking different forms; but from the standpoint of yogic
practice, that is called Prana, or Self, with which the man
identifies himself for the time, including every sheath of matter
from which the man is unable to separate himself in
consciousness. That unit, to the yogi, is the Self, so that it is
a changing quantity. As he drops off one sheath after another and
says: " That is not myself," he is coming nearer and nearer to
his highest point, to consciousness in a single film, in a single
atom of matter, a Monad. For all practical purposes of Yoga, the
man, the working, conscious man, is so much of him as he cannot
separate from the matter enclosing him, or with which he is
connected. Only that is body which the man is able to put aside
and say: "This is not I, but mine." We find we have a whole
series of terms in Yoga which may be repeated over and over
again. All the states of mind exist on every plane, says Vyasa,
and this way of dealing with man enables the same significant
words, as we shall see in a moment, to be used over and over
again, with an ever subtler connotation; they all become
relative, and are equally true at each stage of evolution.

Now it is quite clear that, so far as many of us are concerned,
the physical body is the only thing of which we can say: " It is
not myself "; so that, in the practice of Yoga at first, for you,
all the words that would be used in it to describe the states of
consciousness, the states of mind, would deal with the waking
consciousness in the body as the lowest state, and, rising up
from that, all the words would be relative terms, implying a
distinct and recognisable state of the mind in relation to that
which is the lowest. In order to know how you shall begin to
apply to yourselves the various terms used to describe the states
of mind, you must carefully analyse your own consciousness, and
find out how much of it is really consciousness, and how much is
matter so closely appropriated that you cannot separate it from

States of Mind

Let us take it in detail. Four states of consciousness are spoken
of amongst us. "Waking" consciousness or Jagrat; the "dream"
consciousness, or Svapna; the "deep sleep" consciousness, or
Sushupti; and the state beyond that, called Turiya[FN#3: It is
impossible to avoid the use of these technical terms, even in an
introduction to Yoga. There are no exact English equivalents, and
they are no more troublesome to learn than any other technical
psychological terms.] How are those related to the body?

Jagrat is the ordinary waking consciousness, that you and I are
using at the present time. If our consciousness works in the
subtle, or astral, body, and is able to impress its experiences
upon the brain, it is called Svapna, or in English, dream
consciousness; it is more vivid and real than the Jagrat state.
When working in the subtler form--the mental body--it is not able
to impress its experiences on the brain, it is called Sushupti or
deep sleep consciousness; then the mind is working on its own
contents, not on outer objects. But if it has so far separated
itself from connection with the brain, that it cannot be readily
recalled by outer means, then it is, called Turiya, a lofty state
of trance. These four states, when correlated to the four planes,
represent a much unfolded consciousness. Jagrat is related to the
physical; Svapna to the astral; Sushupti to the mental; and
Turiya to the buddhic. When passing from one world to another, we
should use these words to designate the consciousness working
under the conditions of each world. But the same words are
repeated in the books of Yoga with a different context. There the
difficulty occurs, if we have not learned their relative nature.
Svapna is not the same for all, nor is Sushupti the same for

Above all, the word samadhi, to be explained in a moment, is used
in different ways and in different senses. How then are we to
find our way in this apparent tangle? By knowing the state which
is the starting-point, and then the sequence will always be the
same. All of you are familiar with the waking consciousness in
the physical body. You can find four states even in that, if you
analyse it, and a similar sequence of the states of the mind is
found on every plane.

How to distinguish them, then ? Let us take the waking
consciousness, and try to see the four states in that. Suppose I
take up a book and read it. I read the words; my eyes arc related
to the outer physical consciousness. That is the Jagrat state. I
go behind the words to the meaning of the words. I have passed
from the waking state of the physical plane into the Svapna state
of waking consciousness, that sees through the outer form,
seeking the inner life. I pass from this to the mind of the
writer; here the mind touches the mind; it is the waking
consciousness in its Sushupti state. If I pass from this contact
and enter the very mind of the writer, and live in that man's
mind, then I have reached the Turiya state of the waking

Take another illustration. I look at any watch; I am in Jagrat. I
close my eyes and make an image of the watch; I am in Svapna. I
call together many ideas of many watches, and reach the ideal
watch; I am in Sushupti. I pass to the ideal of time in the
abstract; I am in Turiya. But all these are stages in the
physical plane consciousness; I have not left the body.

In this way, you can make states of mind intelligible and real,
instead of mere words.


Some other important words, which recur from time to time in the
Yoga-sutras, need to be understood, though there are no exact
English equivalents. As they must be used to avoid clumsy
circumlocutions, it is necessary to explain them. It is said:
"Yoga is Samadhi." Samadhi is a state in which the consciousness
is so dissociated from the body that the latter remains
insensible. It is a state of trance in which the mind is fully
self-conscious, though the body is insensitive, and from which
the mind returns to the body with the experiences it has had in
the superphysical state, remembering them when again immersed in
the physical brain. Samadhi for any one person is relative to his
waking consciousness, but implies insensitiveness of the body. If
an ordinary person throws himself into trance and is active on
the astral plane, his Samadhi is on the astral. If his
consciousness is functioning in the mental plane, Samadhi is
there. The man who can so withdraw from the body as to leave it
insensitive, while his mind is fully self-conscious, can practice

The phrase "Yoga is Samadhi" covers facts of the highest
significance and greatest instruction. Suppose you are only able
to reach the astral world when you are asleep, your consciousness
there is, as we have seen, in the Svapna state. But as you slowly
unfold your powers, the astral forms begin to intrude upon your
waking physical consciousness until they appear as distinctly as
do physical forms, and thus become objects of your waking
consciousness. The astral world then, for you, no longer belongs
to the Svapna consciousness, but to the Jagrat; you have taken
two worlds within the scope of your Jagrat consciousness--the
physical and the astral worlds--and the mental world is in your
Svapna consciousness. "Your body" is then the physical and the
astral bodies taken together. As you go on, the mental plane
begins similarly to intrude itself, and the physical, astral and
mental all come within your waking consciousness; all these are,
then, your Jagrat world. These three worlds form but one world to
you; their three corresponding bodies but one body, that
perceives and acts. The three bodies of the ordinary man have
become one body for the yogi. If under these conditions you want
to see only one world at a time, you must fix your attention on
it, and thus focus it. You can, in that state of enlarged waking,
concentrate your attention on the physical and see it; then the
astral and mental will appear hazy. So you can focus your
attention on the astral and see it; then the physical and the
mental, being out of focus, will appear dim. You will easily
understand this if you remember that, in this hall, I may focus
my sight in the middle of the hall, when the pillars on both
sides will appear indistinctly. Or I may concentrate my attention
on a pillar and see it distinctly, but I then see you only
vaguely at the same time. It is a change of focus, not a change
of body. Remember that all which you can put aside as not
yourself is the body of the yogi, and hence, as you go higher,
the lower bodies form but a single body and the consciousness in
that sheath of matter which it still cannot throw away, that
becomes the man.

"Yoga is Samadhi." It is the power to withdraw from all that you
know as body, and to concentrate yourself within. That is
Samadhi. No ordinary means will then call you back to the world
that you have left.[FN#4: An Indian yogi in Samadhi, discovered
in a forest by some ignorant and brutal Englishmen, was so
violently ill used that he returned to his tortured body, only to
leave it again at once by death.] This will also explain to you
the phrase in The Secret Doctrine that the Adept " begins his

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