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The predominant work of the occult student is the manipulation of force, and the entering of that world wherein forces are actively set in motion which result in phenomenal effects.  He has to study and comprehend practically and intelligently the working of the law of Cause and Effect, and he leaves off dealing with effects and centres his attention on their producing causes.  In relation to himself, he comes to realise that the primary cause of the phenomenon of his objective existence in the three worlds is the ego itself, and that the secondary causes are the aggregate of those fundamental egoic impulses which have led to the development of response to sense contacts on the three planes.  These impulses have produced effects which (being under the law) must work out into objectivity on the physical plane.  Therefore there is much importance attached to the necessity for establishing direct egoic contact, via the thread or sutratma, for only in this way can the aspirant ascertain the causes lying back of the present manifestations of his life, or begin to deal with the samkaras or seeds of his future activities.  These seeds are kama-manasic (or partially emotional and partially mental) in nature, for desire is potent in its effects and produces the physical vehicle in its two aspects.

a. Lower manas, or concrete mind is the basic factor in the production of the etheric body.


b. Kama, or desire is the prime factor in calling the dense physical vehicle into being.

The two together are responsible for manifested existence.

It is well known that the tree of life is depicted with the roots above and the flowering leaves downwards.  In the tiny tree of life of the ego the same symbolic presentation holds true.  The roots are found on the mental plane.  The flowering forth into objectivity and fruition is to be seen on the physical plane.  Therefore it is necessary for the aspirant to lay the axe to the root of the tree, or to deal with the thoughts and desires which produce the physical body.  He must enter the subjective realm if he wants to deal with that which will continue to keep him on the wheel of rebirth.  When the seeds are eradicated, fruition is not possible.  When the root is separated from its externalities on any of the three planes, then the life-energy no longer flows downwards.  The three words birth, life and experience sum up human existence, its object, method and goal and with them we need not deal.  The whole subject of karma (or the law of Cause and Effect) is dealt with in this sutra, and is of too vast a subject to be enlarged upon here.  Suffice it to say that, from the standpoint of the Yoga Sutras, karma is of three kinds:

1. Latent Karma.  Those seeds and causes which are yet undeveloped and inactive and must work out to fruition in some part of the present or subsequent lives.

2. Active Karma.  Those seeds or causes [146] which are in process of fruition and for which the present life is intended to provide the needed soil for the flowering forth.

3. New Karma.  Those seeds or causes which are being produced in this life, and which must inevitably govern the circumstances of some future life.

The beginner in this science of yoga can begin dealing with his active karma, interpreting each life-event and every circumstance as providing conditions wherein he can work off a certain specified series of effects.  He can endeavor so to watch his thoughts that new seeds are not sown so that no future karma can be brought to fruition in some later life.

The seeds of latent karma are more difficult for the neophyte to work with and it is here that his Master can help him—manipulating his circumstances and dealing with his surroundings in the three worlds in order that this type of karma may more quickly work out and be done with.

14. These seeds (or samskaras) produce pleasure or pain according as their originating cause was good or evil.

It might be noted that good is that which relates to the one principle, to the reality indwelling all forms, to the Spirit of man as it reveals itself through the soul, and to the Father as He manifests through the Son.  Evil relates to the form, to the vehicle, and to matter and really concerns the relation of the Son to his body of manifestation.  If the Son of God (cosmic or human) is [147] limited, and imprisoned and blinded by his form, that is the power of evil over him.  If he is aware of his own self, unfettered by forms, and free from the thralldom of matter that is the power of good.  Complete freedom from matter causes bliss or pleasure—the joy of realisation.  Evil causes pain, for just in so far as the Inner Ruler is limited by his body of manifestation just so far does he suffer.

15. To the illuminated man all existence (in the three worlds) is considered pain owing to the activities of the gunas.  These activities are threefold, producing consequences, anxieties and subliminal impressions.

The three "gunas" are the three qualities of matter itself, sattva, raja and tamas, or rhythm, activity and inertia, and are inherent in all forms.  The student needs to remember that every form on every plane is thus characterised, and this is true of the highest form as of the lowest, the manifestation of these qualities only differing in degree.

To the man who is achieving perfection it becomes increasingly apparent how every form through which he, the divine spiritual man is manifesting, causes limitation and difficulty.  The physical vehicle of the adept, though constructed of substance predominatingly sattvic in nature, equilibrised and rhythmic, yet serves to confine him to the world of physical endeavor and limits the powers of the true man.  Speaking generally it might be said that:


1. The attribute of inertia (or tamas) characterises the lower personal self, the sheaths of the threefold lower man.

2. The attribute of activity is the prime characteristic of the soul, and it is this quality which causes the intense activity and constant labor of the man as he seeks experience and later, as he seeks to serve.

3. The attribute of rhythm, or balance, is the quality of the spirit or monad and it is this tendency to perfection which is the cause of man's evolution in time and space and the factor which carries all life through all forms to the consummation.  Let us bear in mind here, however, that these three qualities are the qualities of the substance through which the triple spirit is manifesting in this solar system.  The nature of spirit itself we know not as yet, for we cannot think except in terms of form, however, transcendental those forms may be.  Only those souls who have attained the highest initiation and can pass beyond our solar ring-pass-not know somewhat of the essential nature of that which we call spirit.

Coming to the practical manifestation of the gunas in the three worlds (in relation to man) it can be noted that:

1. The attribute of balance or rhythm distinguishes the mental vehicle.  When the mental body is organized and man is being directed by his mind, his life becomes stabilised and organized also and the direction of his affairs proceeds in a balanced manner.

2. The quality of activity or mobility is the [149] characteristic of the emotional or astral nature and, when this is dominant the life is chaotic, violent, emotional and subjected to every mood and feeling.  It is primarily the quality of the desire life.

3. Inertia is the quality dominating the physical body and the whole objective of the ego is to break down that inertia and drive its lowest vehicle into an activity which will bring about the desired ends.  Hence the use and necessity for the guna of mobility and the full play of the emotional or desire nature in the earlier stages of endeavor.

Pain is the product of these form activities, for pain is the result of the inherent difference between the pairs of opposites, spirit and matter.  Both the factors are "at peace" essentially until brought into conjunction and both resist each other and produce friction and suffering when united in time and space.

Patanjali points out that this pain is comprehensive, covering past, present and future.

1. Consequences.  Pain is brought about through the activity of the past and the working out of karma as it is expressed in the adjusting of mistakes, the paying of the price of error.  The settling of past obligations and debts is ever a sorrowful process.  Certain past eventualities necesitate present conditions both of heredity, environment and type of body, and the form, both of vehicle and group relations, is painful to the soul, who is confined thereby.

2. Anxieties.  This concerns the present and [150] is sometimes translated—apprehensions.  If the student will study this term he will note that it covers not only the fear of evil in suffering, but also the fear of failure in the spiritual body in service.  These equally cause pain and distress and parallel the awakening of the real man to a realisation of his heritage.

3. Subliminal impressions, has relation to the future and concerns those forebodings as to death, suffering and need which dominate so many of the sons of men.  It is the unknown and its possibilities that we fear both for ourselves and others, and this in its turn produces pain.

16. Pain which is yet to come may be warded off.

The Sanskrit words here give a twofold idea.  They infer first of all that certain types of coming "misery" (as some translations give it) may be avoided by a right adjustment of a man's energies so that through his changed attitude of mind, painful reactions are no longer possible, and through the transmutation of his desires old "pains" are impossible.  It infers secondly that life will be so lived in the present that no causes will be set in motion along the line of pain-producing effects.  This dual inference will cause in the life of the yogi a dual discipline involving a set determination to practise non-attachment, and a steady discipline of the lower nature.  This will bring about a mental activity of such a nature that old tendencies, longings and desires no longer [151] attract, and no activities are indulged in which can produce later karma, or results.

That which is past can only now be worked out, and that type of karma, bringing pain, sorrow and misery in its train must be allowed to follow out its course.  Present karma, or that precipitation of effects which the ego plans to disperse in the present life-cycle must equally play its part in the emancipation of the soul.  It is, however, possible for the spiritual man so to govern the lower man that the happenings of karma (or the effects as they work out into the physical objective world) may cause no pain or distress, as they will be seen and met by the non-attached yogi.  Nor will further pain-producing causes be allowed to be set in motion.

17. The illusion that the Perceiver and that which is perceived are one and the same, is the cause (of the pain-producing effects) which must be warded off.

This sutra brings us right back to the great basic duality of manifestation, the union of spirit and matter.  It is their interplay which produces all the form-producing modifications or activities on the various planes and which is the cause of the limitations which pure consciousness has imposed upon itself.  In a small commentary such as this it is impossible to enter with any fullness into this subject.  All that it is possible to do is to touch upon the subject as it affects man himself.  It might be summed up as follows:—All pain and [152] sorrow is caused by the spiritual man identifying himself with his objective forms in the three worlds and with the realm of phenomena in which those forms have their activities.  When he can detach himself from the kingdom of the senses and know himself as the "one who is not that which is seen and touched and heard" then he can free himself from all form-limitations and stand apart as the divine perceiver and actor.  He will use forms as he desires in order to attain certain specific ends but is not deluded into regarding them as himself.  Students would do well to learn to hold the consciousness that in the three worlds (which is all that concerns the aspirant at this stage) he is the highest factor in the well-known triplicities:


The Perceiver


That which is perceived,

The Thinker


Thought forms,

The Knower


The field of knowledge,

The Seer


That which is seen,

The Observer


That which is observed,

The Spectator


The Spectacle,


and many others equally well known.

The great objective of Raja Yoga is to free the thinker from the modifications of the thinking principle so that he no longer merges himself in the great world of thought illusions nor identifies himself with that which is purely phenomenal.  He stands free and detached and uses the world of the senses as the field of his intelligent activities and no longer as the field of his experiments and experience-gaining endeavours.


It must be remembered that the means of perception are the six senses; i.e. hearing, touch, sight, taste, smell and the mind, and that these six must be transcended and known for what they are.  The means of perception reveal the great maya or world of illusion which is composed of forms of every kind, built of substance which must be studied as to its atomic and molecular construction and as to the basic elements which give to that substance its specific differentiations and qualities.  For purposes of study the student will do well to remember that he must investigate the nature of the following factors in the polar opposite to spirit which we call matter:

1. Atoms,

2. Molecular matter,

3. The elements,

4. The three gunas or qualities,

5. The tattvas or force differentiations in their seven forms.

Through an understanding of the nature and distinctions of matter he will come to a comprehension of the world of form which has held his spirit a prisoner for so long.  This Patanjali points out in the next sutra.

18. That which is perceived has three qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas (rhythm, mobility and inertia); it consists of the elements and the sense organs.  The use of these produces experience and eventual liberation.

This is one of the most important sutras in the book for in a few concise words we have summed [154] up for us the nature of substance, its constitution, its purpose and reason.  Much time might be given to a consideration of each sentence, and the words, "the qualities," "the elements," "the senses," "evolution" and "liberation" express the sum total of the factors concerned in the growth of man.  These five are that with which the human unit is the most concerned and cover his career from the moment when he first took incarnation and throughout the long cycle of lives until he passes through the various gates of initiation out into the larger life of the cosmos.

First inertia distinguishes him, and his forms are of so heavy and gross a nature that many and violent contacts are needed before he becomes aware of his surroundings and later intelligently appreciates them.  The great elements of earth, water, fire and air play their part in the building of his forms and are incorporated into his very being.  His various sense organs slowly become active; first, the five senses and then when the second quality of rajas or activity is firmly established, the sixth sense or the mind begins to develop also.  Later he begins to perceive in all around him in the phenomenal world, the same qualities and elements as in himself, and his knowledge rapidly grows.  From that he passes to a distinction between himself as the Perceiver and that which he perceives as his forms and their world of being.  The sixth sense becomes increasingly dominant and is eventually controlled by the true man who passes then into the sattvic state where he is harmonised in himself and consequently [155] with all around him.  His manifestation is rhythmic and in tune with the great whole.  He looks on at the spectacle and sees to it that those forms through which he is active in the world of phenomena are duly controlled and that all his activities are in harmony with the great plan.

When this is so, he is part of the whole yet freed and liberated from the control of the world of form, of the elements and of the senses.  He uses them; they no longer use him.

19. The divisions of the gunas (or qualities of matter) are fourfold; the specific, the non-specific, the indicated and the untouchable.

It is interesting to note here that the gunas or qualities (the sum total of the attributes or aspects of the substance of our solar system) are fourfold.  In this septenary division we have an analogy to the septenates found throughout our manifested universe.  First we have the major three aspects of thought-substance:


1. Sattvic substance

rhythm, equilibrium, harmony,

2. Rajasic substance

mobility, activity,

3. Tamasic substance

inertia, stability.


These three are divided into:


1. The specific

manifested elements, form,

2. The unspecific

the senses, force reactions, the tanmatras,

3. The indicated

primary substance...the tattvas, atomic matter,

4. The untouchable

the great Existence who is the sum total of all these.



This sutra is intended to cover the technicalities of the form aspect of manifestation whether referring to the manifestation of a human atom or of a solar deity, and simply indicates the natural triplicity of substance, its septenary nature, and its various mutations.  It expresses the nature of that aspect of divine life which is called Brahma by the Hindu, and the Holy Spirit by the Christian.  This is the third aspect of the Trimurti or Trinity, the aspect of active intelligent matter, out of which the body of Vishnu or of the cosmic Christ is to be built in order that Shiva, the Father or the spirit may have a medium of revelation.  It might therefore be of use if the nature of the four divisions of the three gunas were indicated, after giving the synonyms for these gunas.

The three gunas:

1. The qualities of matter,

2. The aspects of thinking substance, or of the universal mind,

3. The attributes of force-matter,

4. The three potencies.

These triplicities should be carefully studied as it is through them that consciousness in its various degrees becomes possible.  We are here dealing with the great illusion of forms with which the Real Man identifies himself to his sorrow and pain throughout the long cycle of manifestation and from which he must eventually be liberated.  [157] A still vaster thought is also involved:  the imprisoning of the life of a solar Logos in the form of a solar system, its evolutionary development through the medium of that form and the eventual perfection and release of that life from the form at the conclusion of a great solar cycle.  The lesser cycle of man is involved in the greater and his attainment and the nature of his liberation is only relative to the greater whole.

1. The specific division of the gunas.

This specific or particularised division of the gunas is divided into sixteen parts which deal primarily with man's reaction to the tangible objective world.

a. The five elements:  ether, air, fire, water and earth.  These are the directly involved effects of the unspecific or subjective sound or word.

b. The five sense organs:  the ear, the skin, the eye, the tongue and the nostrils, those physical organs or channels through which identification with the tangible world becomes possible.

c. The five organs of action:  voice, hands, feet, the excretory organs and the organs of generation.

d. The mind.  This is the sixth sense, the organ which synthesises all the other sense organs and eventually will make their use a thing of the past.

These sixteen means of perception and activity in the phenomenal world are channels for the real thinking man; they demonstrate his active reality and are the sum total of the physical facts relating to every incarnated son of God.  Similarly [158] in their cosmic connotation, they are the sum total of the facts demonstrating the reality of a cosmic incarnation.  "The Word is made flesh" both individually and in a cosmic sense.

2. The unspecific division of the gunas.

These are six in number and concern that which lies back of the specific; they deal with that which is subjective and intangible, and with the force display which produces the specific forms.

Technically these are called in the Hindu books the tanmatras.  They have to do with consciousness more than form and are the "special modifications of buddhi or consciousness" (Ganganatha Jha).  They are:

I. The element of hearing, or that which produces the ear,—the rudiment of hearing,

2. The element of touch or that which produces the mechanism of touch, the skin, etc.,—the rudiment of touch,

3. The element of sight, or that which produces the eye,

4. The element of taste, or that which produces the mechanism of taste.

5. The element of smell, or that which produces the mechanism of smell.

Back of these five lies the sixth tanmatra or modification of the consciousness principle, the "feeling of personality" as it has been called, the "I am I" consciousness, the ahamkara principle.  It is this which produces the sense of personal reality and of one's being a separated unit of consciousness.  It is the basis of the great "heresy of [159] separateness" and the cause of the real or spiritual man being lured into the great illusion.  It is this which forces man for long aeons to identify himself with the things of the senses and it is this too which eventually brings him to the position where he seeks liberation.

3. The indicated.

Back of the sixteen specialized divisions and back of the six unspecialized, lies that which is the cause of them all, which is called in the Hindu books Buddhi, or pure reason, the intellect apart from the lower mind, sometimes called the intuition, whose nature is love-wisdom.  This is the Christ-life or principle, which in the process of taking incarnation or form, as we know it, manifests forth as the specific and the unspecific.  It is as yet for the majority only "indicated."  We surmise it is there.  The work of Raja Yoga is to bring forth into full knowledge this vague surmise so that theory becomes fact and that which is latent and believed to exist may be recognized and known for what it is.

4. The untouchable.

Finally we come to the fourth division of the gunas or aspects, that "in which we live and move and have our being," the untouchable or unknown God.  This is the great form of existence in which our little forms are found.  This is the sum total of the thinking substance of which our little minds are part; this is the whole manifestation of God through the medium of the cosmic Christ of which each little Son of God is a [160] part.  Of this untouchable and unknown the mind of man cannot as yet conceive.

20. The seer is pure knowledge (gnosis).  Though pure, he looks upon the presented idea through the medium of the mind.

Reference has already been made to the excellent translation of this sutra as given by Johnston which runs as follows:  "The seer is pure vision.  Though pure, he looks out through the vesture of the mind."  Ganganatha Jha throws still further light upon it in the words "The spectator is absolute sentience, and though pure, still beholds intellected ideas."  The thought conveyed is that the true man, the spectator, perceiver or thinker is the sum total of all perception, be it through the avenues of the senses or of the lower mind; he is in himself knowledge, clear vision or true perception.  All that exists in the three worlds exists because of and for him; he is the cause of its being and when he no longer seeks it or endeavours to vision it, for him it exists not.  This sutra is one of the key verses in the book, and gives the clue to the entire science of yoga.  Certain thoughts lie hid in its formulation which cover the whole ground of this science and students would do well to give much attention to this.  It has a mantric effect and if stated as an affirmation and used constantly by the aspirant will eventually demonstrate to him the truth of the statement that "as a man thinketh, so is he."

"I am pure knowledge.  Though pure, I look [161] upon presented ideas through the medium of the mind."

We have here:

1. The seer or the one who looks on and considers (from his divine standpoint) this world of effects, this great maya of illusion,

2. The presented idea.  The thought conveyed here is that every form which passes before the spectator in the great panorama of life in the three worlds is a "presented-idea," and that these presented ideas are therefore embodied thoughts of some kind and must be regarded as such.  The task of the occultist is to work with the force which lies back of every form and not so much with the form which is but the effect of some cause.  This method of endeavour can only be developed gradually.  The spectator passes gradually from the forms and their true significance in his own immediate environment and in his own tiny world, through the various forms of the world process until the world of causes stands revealed to him, and the world of effects assumes a secondary position.

He perceives first the forms in the three worlds.  Gradually then he becomes aware of that which caused them and of the type of force which brought them into being.  Later he discovers the idea which they embody and, tracing them progressively onward or back to their originating source, he comes into touch with the great lives which are the cause of manifestation.  He thus passes out of the realm of objectivity, out of the mental, emotional and physical worlds into the [162] realm of the soul or of the subjective cause of this triple manifestation.  This is the world of ideas and therefore of pure knowledge, pure reason and divine mind.  Later, at a very advanced stage he touches the one Life which synthesises the many lives, the one Purpose which blends the many ideas into one homogeneous plan.

3. The mind.  This is the instrument which the seer employs in order to perceive presented ideas or thought forms.  For purposes of clarification it might be noted that the presented ideas fall into five groups of thought forms:

a. The tangible objective forms in the physical world of every day.  With these the seer has for long identified himself in the earlier and more savage stages of human existence.

b. The moods, feelings and desires, which all have form in the astral world, the world of the emotions.

c. The thought forms in their myriad distinctions which crowd the mental world.

Through these "presented ideas," the seer achieves knowledge of the not-self.

d. The thought forms which he can create himself after he has learned to control his instrument the mind and can discriminate between the illusory world of present ideas and those realities which constitute the world of spirit.

Through this process he arrives at a knowledge of himself.  Throughout the great experience of knowing the not-self and knowing himself, he uses the mind as his medium of search, of explanation and of interpretation, for the senses and [163] all his channels of contact, telegraph constant information and reactions to the mind via the lower instrument of the brain.  Having reached this stage the seer is then able to use the mind in a reverse manner.  Instead of turning his attention to the not-self or the illusory world of effects and instead of studying his own lower nature, he can now, owing to the mental control achieved, arrive at the fifth stage:

e. The ideas presented by the world of spiritual life, the realm of spiritual knowledge, and the kingdom of God in the truest sense.

Through this, the seer arrives at a knowledge of God as He is and comes to an understanding of the nature of spirit.  The mind then serves a triple purpose:

a. Through it, the seer looks out upon the realm of causes, the spiritual realm.

b. By its means, the world of causes can be interpreted in terms of the intellect.

c. By using it correctly, the seer can transmit to the physical brain of the lower personal self (the reflection in the world of effects of the true man) that which the soul sees and knows.  This triangle is then formed and comes into working activity:  The seer or spiritual man, the mind, his medium of investigation, or the window through which he looks out (whether upon the world of effects, upon himself, or upon the world of cause) and the brain, which is the receiving plate upon which the seer can impress his "pure knowledge" using the mind as an interpreter and transmitting agency.


21. All that is exists for the sake of the soul.

Man in his arrogance should not take this sutra to mean that all that is created exists for him.  The sense is much wider than this.  The soul referred to is that of the Supreme Being of which the soul of man is but an infinitesimal part.  Man's tiny world, his small environment and contacts, exist for the sake of the experience they bring him and the final liberation they bring about; he is the cause of their manifestation and they are the result of his own thought power.  But around him and through him is to be found that greater whole of which he is a part, and the entire vast universe, planetary and solar, exists for the sake of the vaster Life in whose body he is but an atom.  The whole world of forms is the result of the thought activity of some life; the whole universe of matter is the field for the experience of some existence.

22. In the case of the man who has achieved yoga (or union) the objective universe has ceased to be.  Yet it existeth still for those who are not yet free.

This sutra holds the germ of the entire science of thought.  Its premise is based upon the realisation that all that we behold are modifications of thought substance, that the thinker creates his own world, whether he be God or man.  When a man through the science of yoga (that science which deals with the "suppression of the activities [165] of the thinking principle" or with mind control), has achieved full power over the mind and over mental substance or thought matter, he is freed from the control of those forms which hold the majority of men captive in the three worlds.

He stands then apart from the great illusion; the bodies which have hitherto held him no longer do so; the great currents of ideas and thoughts and desires which have their origin through the "modifications of the thinking principle" of men imprisoned in the three worlds no longer sway or affect him; and the myriad thought forms which are the result of these currents in the mental, astral and physical worlds no longer shut him away from the realities or from the true subjective world of causes, and of force emanations.  He is no longer deceived and can discriminate between the real and the unreal, between the true and the false, and between the life of the spirit and the world of phenomena.  He becomes subject then to the currents of thought, and the world of ideas emanating from great spiritual entities, from spiritual lives, and the great plan of the Architect of the Universe can unroll itself before him.  He is liberated and free and subject only to the new conditions of the life of the man who has made the great at-one-ment.  The laws of the three worlds are not superseded but are transcended, for the greater always includes the lesser and though—for purposes of service—he may choose to limit himself to a seemingly three dimensional life, yet he goes forth into the world of higher dimensions at his pleasure, and [166] when needed for the extension of the kingdom of God.

The object of this science of yoga is to reveal to man the mode of this liberation and how he can free himself.  Hence the trend of Patanjali's teaching up to this point has been to indicate man's place in the scheme, to put his finger upon the basic cause of man's restlessness and urge towards activity of one kind or another; to show the reason for the existence of the great world of effects and to tempt the aspirant to an investigation of the world of causes; and so to demonstrate the need for further unfoldment and the nature of the hindrances to that unfoldment that the man will be ready to say:  If this is all so, what are the means whereby this union with the real and this dispersal of the great illusion may be brought about?  This second book presents the eight great means of yoga, giving thus a clear and concise outline of the exact steps to be followed for the needed regulation of the physical, psychic and mental life.

23. The association of the soul with the mind and thus with that which the mind perceives, produces an understanding of the nature of that which is perceived and likewise of the Perceiver.

In this sutra the attention of the student is drawn to the primary quality which he must develop, that of discrimination.  Its meaning is therefore very clear.  The pairs of opposites, spirit and matter, purusha and prakriti.  are [167] brought into close association and that union must come to be recognised by the soul, the perceiving consciousness.  Through the process of this blending of the dualities, the soul, the thinker, comes to a comprehension of the nature which is his very own, the spiritual nature, and the nature of the phenomenal world which he perceives, contacts and uses.  The organ of perception is the mind and the five senses, and from the standpoint of the soul, they form one instrument.  For a long period and through many incarnations the soul or thinker identifies himself with this organ of perception and in the earlier stages with that also which he perceives through its use.  He regards the phenomenal body he uses, the physical body, as himself, as witness the expression:  "I am tired" or "I am hungry."  He identifies himself with his body of feeling or desire, and says "I am cross," or "I want money."  He identifies himself with the mental vehicle and regards himself as thinking thus and so.  It is this identification which results in the theological differences, and the doctrinal and sectarian diversities everywhere to be found, and in this fifth root race and particularly in this fifth subrace this identification reaches its apotheosis.  It is the era of the personal self, not of the spiritual Self.  This realisation of the lower nature is part of the great evolutionary process but must be followed by a realization of the other polar opposite, the spiritual Self.  This is brought about by the soul beginning to practise discrimination, at first theoretically and intellectually (hence the great value [168] of the present era of criticism and polemical discussion, as it forms part of the planetary discriminative process) and later experimentally.  This discrimination leads eventually to three things:

1. An understanding of the distinction between spirit and matter,

2. A comprehension of the nature therefore of the soul which is the product of this union, and is the son, produced by the union of the father-spirit and of the mother-matter,

3. A development whereby the soul begins to identify itself with the spiritual aspect and not with the phenomenal world of forms.  This later stage is greatly aided and hastened through the practice of Raja Yoga and hence the determination of the Hierarchy to give this science to the critical discriminating West.  It should be borne in mind that the soul passes through great stages in the unifying process and that the word yoga covers the evolutionary development of the human Monad.

1. The union of the soul with the form and its identification with the matter aspect,

2. The union of thinking man or the self-conscious reflection in the three worlds with the spiritual man on its own plane,

3. The union of the spiritual man or divine thinker with its Father in Heaven, the Monad or spirit aspect.  Stage I covers the period from the first incarnation up to the treading of the Probationary Path.  Stage II covers the period of the Probationary Path up to the third initiation [169] upon the Path of Discipleship.  Stage III covers the final stages of the Path of Initiation.

24. The cause of this association is ignorance or avidya.  This has to be overcome.

Ignorance of the real nature of the soul and an urge to find out its own nature and its powers is the cause of the soul's identifying itself with the organs of perception, and with that which they perceive or bring within the consciousness of the soul.  When through this ignorance and its consequences, the soul fails to find what it is seeking, there comes the stage when the search takes on a different form and the soul itself searches for reality.  It might be expressed thus.

Identification with the phenomenal world and the use of the outgoing organs of perception covers the period which the real man spends in what is called the Hall of Ignorance.  Satiety, restlessness and a search for the knowledge of the self or soul characterises the period spent in the Hall of Learning.  Realization, expansion of consciousness and identification with the spiritual man cover the period spent in the Hall of Wisdom.  The terms human life, mystic life and occult life apply to these three stages.

25. When ignorance is brought to an end through non-association with the things perceived, this is the great liberation.

During the process of incarnation, the seer, the soul, is submerged in the great maya or illusion.  He is imprisoned by his own thought forms and [170] thought creations and in those of the three worlds also.  He regards himself as part of the phenomenal world.  When, through experience and discrimination, he can distinguish between himself and those forms, then the process of liberation can proceed and eventually culminate in the great renunciation which once and for all sets a man free from the three worlds.

This process is a progressive one and cannot be effected all at once.  It covers two stages:

1. The stage of probation, or, as the Christian expresses it, the Path of Purification,

2. The stage of discipleship in two parts:

a. Discipleship itself or the steadfast training and discipline administered to the personal lower self by the soul, directed by his guru or master,

b. Initiation, or the progressive expansions of consciousness through which the disciple passes under the guidance of the master.

Certain words describe this dual process:

a. Aspiration,

b. Discipline,

c. Purification,

d. The practice of the means of yoga or union,

e. Initiation,

f. Realisation,

g. Union.

26. The state of bondage is overcome through perfectly maintained discrimination.

A word here on discrimination will be of value as it is the first great method of attaining liberation [171] or freedom from the three worlds.  Based as it is on a realisation of the essential duality of nature, and regarding nature as a result of the union of the two polarities of the Absolute All, spirit and matter, discrimination is at first an attitude of mind and must be sedulously cultivated.  The premise of the duality is admitted as a logical basis for further work and the theory is tested out in an effort to prove the truth.  The aspirant then definitely assumes the attitude of higher polarity (that of spirit, manifesting as the soul or inner ruler) and seeks in the affairs of every day to discriminate between the form and the life, between the soul and the body, between the sum total of the lower manifestation (physical, astral and mental man) and the real self, the cause of the lower manifestation.

He seeks in the affairs of every day to cultivate a consciousness of the real and a negation of the unreal and this he carries into all his relationships and into all his affairs.  He accustoms himself, through persistent unbroken practise, to distinguish between the self and the not-self, and to occupy himself with the affairs of spirit and not with those of the great maya or world of forms.  This distinction is at first theoretical, then intellectual but later assumes more reality and enters into the happenings of the emotional and physical world.  Finally the following of this method eventuates in the entrance of the aspirant into an entirely new dimension and his identification with a life and a world of being dissociated from the three worlds of human endeavour.


When this is so the new environment becomes familiar to him so that he knows not only the form but the subjective Reality which produces or causes the existence of the forms.

Then he passes on to the cultivation of the next great quality which is dispassion or desirelessness.  A man may be able to distinguish between the real and the true, between the substance and the Life which animates it and yet desire or "go out" towards the form existence.  This too must be overcome before perfect liberation, emancipation or freedom is attained.  In one of the old commentaries in the archives of the Lodge of Masters, the following words are found:

"It suffices not to know the way nor to feel the force which serveth to extract the life from out of the forms of maya.  A moment of great portent must take place wherein the chela breaketh by one act and through a word of Power the illusory sutratma which bindeth him to form.  Like the spider which gathereth up the thread again within himself whereby he ventured forth into unknown realms, so the chela withdraweth himself from all the forms in the three realms of being which have hitherto enticed."

The above merits close consideration and can be linked to the thought embodied in the occult phrase:  "Before a man can tread the Path, he must become that Path himself."

27. The knowledge (or illumination) achieved is sevenfold, and is attained progressively.

The Hindu teaching holds that the states of mind-consciousness are seven in number.  The [173] sixth sense and its use bring about seven modes of thought, or—to put it more technically—there are seven major modifications of the thinking principle.  These are:

1. Desire for knowledge.  It is this which drives forth the Prodigal Son, the soul into the three worlds of illusion, or (to carry the metaphor further back still) it is this which sends forth the Monad or Spirit into incarnation.  This basic desire is what causes all experience.