List Of Contents | Contents of An Introduction to Yoga
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is not the actor, but only a spectator. The actor is the
subjective part of nature, the mind, which is the reflection of
awareness in rhythmic matter. That with which it works--objective
nature, is the reflection of the other qualities of Purusha--life
and immutability--in the gunas, Rajas and Tamas. Thus we have in
nature everything that is wanted for the production of the
universe. The Putusha only looks on when the drama is played
before him. He is spectator, not actor. This is the predominant
note of the Bhagavad-Gita. Nature does everything. The gunas
bring about the universe. The man who says: "I act," is mistaken
and confused; the gunas act, not he. He is only the spectator and
looks on. Most of the Gita teaching is built upon this conception
of the Samkhya, and unless that is clear in our minds we can
never discriminate the meaning under the phrases of a particular

Let us now turn to the Vedantic idea. According to the Vedantic
view the Self is one, omnipresent, all-permeating, the one
reality. Nothing exists except the Self--that is the
starting-point in Vedanta. All permeating, all-controlling, all-
inspiring, the Self is everywhere present. As the ether permeates
all matter, so does the One Self permeate, restrain, support,
vivify all. It is written in the Gita that as the air goes
everywhere, so is the Self everywhere in the infinite diversity
of objects. As we try to follow the outline of Vedantic thought,
as we try to grasp this idea of the one universal Self, who is
existence, consciousness, bliss, Sat-Chit-Ananda, we find that we
are carried into a loftier region of philosophy than that
occupied by the Samkhya. The Self is One. The Self is everywhere
conscious, the Self is everywhere existent, the Self is
everywhere blissful. There is no division between these qualities
of the Self. Everywhere, all-embracing, these qualities are found
at every point, in every place. There is no spot on which you can
put your finger and say "The Self is not here." Where the Self
is--and He is everywhere--there is existence, there is
consciousness, and there is bliss. The Self, being consciousness,
imagines limitation, division. From that imagination of
limitation arises form, diversity, manyness. From that thought of
the Self, from that thought of limitation, all diversity of the
many is born. Matter is the limitation imposed upon the Self by
His own will to limit Himself. "Eko'ham, bahu syam," "I am one; I
will to he many"; "let me be many," is the thought of the One;
and in that thought, the manifold universe comes into existence.
In that limitation, Self-created, He exists, He is conscious, He
is happy. In Him arises the thought that He is Self-existence,
and behold! all existence becomes possible. Because in Him is the
will to manifest, all manifestation at once comes into existence.
Because in Him is all bliss, therefore is the law of life the
seeking for happiness, the essential characteristic of every
sentient creature. The universe appears by the Self-limitation in
thought of the Self. The moment the Self ceases to think it, the
universe is not, it vanishes as a dream. That is the fundamental
idea of the Vedanta. Then it accepts the spirits of the Samkhya--
the Purushas; but it says that these spirits are only reflections
of the one Self, emanated by the activity of the Self and that
they all reproduce Him in miniature, with the limitations which
the universal Self has imposed upon them, which are apparently
portions of the universe, but are really identical with Him. It
is the play of the Supreme Self that makes the limitations, and
thus reproduces within limitations the qualities of the Self; the
consciousness of the Self, of the Supreme Self; becomes, in the
particularised Self, cognition, the power to know; and the
existence of the Self becomes activity, the power to manifest;
and the bliss of the Self becomes will, the deepest part of all,
the longing for happiness, for bliss; the resolve to obtain it is
what we call will. And so in the limited, the power to know, and
the power to act, and the power to will, these are the
reflections in the particular Self of the essential qualities of
the universal Self. Otherwise put: that which was universal
awareness becomes now cognition in the separated Self; that which
in the universal Self was awareness of itself becomes in the
limited Self awareness of others; the awareness of the whole
becomes the cognition of the individual. So with the existence of
the Self: the Self-existence of the universal Self becomes, in
the limited Self, activity, preservation of existence. So does
the bliss of the universal Self, in the limited expression of the
individual Self, become the will that seeks for happiness, the
Self-determination of the Self, the seeking for Self-realisation,
that deepest essence of human life.

The difference comes with limitation, with the narrowing of the
universal qualities into the specific qualities of the limited
Self; both are the same in essence, though seeming different in
manifestation. We have the power to know, the power to will, and
the power to act. These are the three great powers of the Self
that show themselves in the separated Self in every diversity of
forms, from the minutes" organism to the loftiest Logos.

Then just as in the Samkhya, if the Purusha, the particular Self,
should identify himself with the matter in which he is reflected,
then there is delusion and bondage, so in the Vedanta, if the
Self, eternally free, imagines himself to be bound by matter,
identifying himself with his limitations, he is deluded, he is
under the domain of Maya; for Maya is the self-identification of
the Self with his limitations. The eternally free can never be
bound by matter; the eternally pure can never be tainted by
matter; the eternally knowing can never be deluded by matter; the
eternally Self-determined can never be ruled by matter, save by
his own ignorance. His own foolish fancy limits his inherent
powers; he is bound, because he imagines himself bound; he is
impure, because he imagines himself impure; he is ignorant,
because he imagines himself ignorant. With the vanishing of
delusion he finds that he is eternally pure, eternally wise.

Here is the great difference between the Samkhya and the Vedanta.
According to the Samkhya, Purusha is the spectator and never the
actor. According to Vedanta the Self is the only actor, all else
is maya: there is no one else who acts but the Self, according to
the Vedanta teaching. As says the Upanishad: the Self willed to
see, and there were eyes; the Self willed to hear, and there were
ears; the Self willed to think, and there was mind. The eyes, the
ears, the mind exist, because the Self has willed them into
existence. The Self appropriates matter, in order that He may
manifest His powers through it. There is the distinction between
the Samkhya and the Vedanta: in the Samkhya the propinquity of
the Purusha brings out in matter or Prakriti all these
characteristics, the Prakriti acts and not the Purusha; in the
Vedanta, Self alone exists and Self alone acts; He imagines
limitation and matter appears; He appropriates that matter in
order that He may manifest His own capacity.

The Samkhya is the view of the universe of the scientist: the
Vedanta is the view of the universe of the metaphysician. Haeckel
unconsciously expounded the Samkhyan philosophy almost perfectly.
So close to the Samkhyan is his exposition, that another idea
would make it purely Samkhyan; he has not yet supplied that
propinquity of consciousness which the Samkhya postulates in its
ultimate duality. He has Force and Matter, he has Mind in Matter,
but he has no Purusha. His last book, criticised by Sir Oliver
Lodge, is thoroughly intelligible from the Hindu standpoint as an
almost accurate representation of Samkhyan philosophy. It is the
view of the scientist, indifferent to the "why" of the facts
which he records. The Vedanta, as I said, is the view of the
metaphysician he seeks the unity in which all diversities are
rooted and into which they are resolved.

Now, what light does Theosophy throw on both these systems?
Theosophy enables every thinker to reconcile the partial
statements which are apparently so contradictory. Theosophy, with
the Vedanta, proclaims the universal Self. All that the Vedanta
says of the universal Self and the Self- limitation, Theosophy
repeats. We call these Self-limited selves Monads, and we say, as
the Vedantin says, that these Monads reproduce the nature of the
universal Self whose portions they are. And hence you find in
them the three qualities which you find in the Supreme. They are
units' and these represent the Purushas of the Samkhya; but with
a very great difference, for they are not passive watchers, but
active agents in the drama of the universe, although, being above
the fivefold universe, they are as spectators who pull the
strings of the players of the stage. The Monad takes to himself
from the universe of matter atoms which show out the qualities
corresponding to his three qualities, and in these he thinks, and
wills and acts. He takes to himself rhythmic combinations, and
shows his quality of cognition. He takes to himself combinations
that are mobile; through those he shows out his activity. He
takes the combinations that are inert, and shows out his quality
of bliss, as the will to be happy. Now notice the difference of
phrase and thought. In the Samkhya, Matter changed to reflect the
Spirit; in fact, the Spirit appropriates portions of Matter, and
through those expresses his own characteristics--an enormous
difference. He creates an actor for Self-expression, and this
actor is the "spiritual man" of the Theosophical teaching, the
spiritual Triad, the Atma-buddhi-manas, to whom we shall return
in a moment.

The Monad remains ever beyond the fivefold universe, and in that
sense is a spectator. He dwells beyond the five planes of matter.
Beyond the Atmic, or Akasic; beyond the Buddhic plane, the plane
of Vayu; beyond the mental plane, the plane of Agni; beyond the

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