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2. Desire for freedom.  The result of experience and of the investigations which the soul carries on in its manifold life-cycles is to cause a great longing for a different condition and a great desire for liberation and for freedom from the wheel of rebirth.

3. Desire for happiness.  This is a basic quality of all human beings, though it shows itself in many different ways.  It is based upon an inherent faculty of discrimination and upon a deep seated capacity to contrast the "Father's" home and the Prodigal's present condition.  It is this inherent capacity for "bliss" or happiness which produces that restlessness and urge to change which lies back of the evolutionary urge itself.  It is the cause of activity and progress.  Dissatisfaction with the present condition is based upon a dim memory of a time of satisfaction and of bliss.  This has to be regained before peace can be known.

4. Desire to do one's duty.  The first three modifications of the thinking principle eventually bring evolving humanity to the state where the [174] motive for life comes to be simply the fulfillment of one's dharma.  The longing for knowledge, for freedom, and for happiness has brought the man to a state of utter dissatisfaction.  Nothing brings him any true joy or peace.  He has exhausted himself in the search for joy for himself.  Now he begins to widen his horizon and to search where (in the group and in his environment), what he seeks may lie.  He awakens to a sense of responsibility to others and begins to seek for happiness in the fulfillment of his obligations to his dependents, his family, friends and all whom he contacts.  This new tendency is the beginning of the life of service which leads eventually to a full realization of the significance of group consciousness.  H.P.B. has said that a sense of responsibility is the first indication of the awakening of the ego or the Christ principle.

5. Sorrow.  The greater the refinement of the human vehicle, the greater the response of the nervous system to the pairs of opposites, pain and pleasure.  As a man progresses and rises on the ladder of evolution in the human family it becomes apparent that his capacity to appreciate sorrow or joy is greatly increased.  This becomes terribly true in the case of an aspirant and of a disciple.  His sense of values becomes so acute and his physical vehicle so sensitized that he suffers more than the average man.  This serves to drive him forward with increasing activity in his search.  His response to outer contacts is ever more rapid and his capacity for pain, physical and  emotional,  becomes greatly increased.  [175] This is apparent in the fifth race and particularly in the fifth subrace in the increasing frequency of suicide.  The capacity of the race to suffer is due to the development and refinement of the physical vehicle and to the evolution of the body of feeling, the astral.

6. Fear.  As the mental body develops and the modifications of the thinking principle become more rapid, fear and that which it produces begin to demonstrate.  This is not the instinctual fear of animals and of the savage races, which is based upon the response of the physical body to physical plane conditions, but the fears of the mind, based upon memory, imagination and anticipation, and the power to visualize.  These are difficult to overcome and can only be dominated by the ego or soul itself.

7. Doubt.  This is one of the most interesting of the modifications for it concerns causes more than effects.  The man who doubts can be described perhaps as doubting himself as an arbiter of his fate, his fellowmen as to their nature and reactions, God, or the first cause as witnessed by the controversies built up around religion and its exponents, nature itself, which doubt urges him on to constant scientific investigation and finally, the mind itself.  When he begins to question the capacity of the mind to explain, interpret and comprehend, he has practically exhausted the sum total of his resources in the three worlds.

The tendency of these seven states of mind, produced through the experience of the man upon the Wheel of Life is to bring him to the point [176] where he feels that physical plane living, sentiency and mental processes have nothing to give and utterly fail to satisfy him.  He reaches the stage which Paul refers to when he says "I count all things but loss that I may win Christ."

The seven stages of illumination have been described by a Hindu teacher as follows:

1. The stage wherein the chela realizes that he has run the whole gamut of life experience in the three worlds and can say "I have known all that was to be known.  Nothing further remains to know."  His place on the ladder is revealed to him.  He knows what he has to do.  This relates to the first modification of the thinking principle, desire for knowledge.

2. The stage wherein he frees himself from every known limitation, and can say "I have freed myself from my fetters."  This stage is long but results in the attainment of freedom and relates to the second of the modifications dealt with above.

3. The stage wherein the consciousness shifts completely out of the lower personality and becomes the true spiritual consciousness, centered in the real man, the ego or soul.  This brings in the consciousness of the Christ nature which is love, peace and truth.  He can say now "I have reached my goal.  Nothing remains to attract me in the three worlds."  Desire for happiness is satisfied.  The third modification is transcended.

4. The stage wherein he can say with truth "I have fulfilled my dharma, and accomplished my whole duty."  He has worked off karma, and [177] fulfilled the law.  Thus he becomes a Master and a wielder of the law.  This stage has relation to the fourth modification.

5. The stage wherein complete control of the mind is achieved and the peer can say "My mind is at rest."  Then and only then, when complete rest is known can the true contemplation and samadhi of the highest kind be known. Sorrow, the fifth modification, is dispelled by the glory of the illumination received.  The pairs of opposites are no longer at war.

6. The stage wherein the chela realises that matter or form have no longer any power over him.  He can then say "The gunas or qualities of matter in the three worlds no longer attract me; they call forth no response from me."  Fear therefore is eliminated for there is nothing in the disciple which can attract to him evil, death or pain.  Thus equally the sixth modification is overcome and realisation of the true nature of divinity and utter bliss takes its place.

7. Full self-realisation is the next and final stage.  The initiate can now say, with full conscious knowledge, "I am that I am" and he knows himself as one with the All-Self.  Doubt no longer controls.  The full light of day or completed illumination takes place and floods the whole being of the seer.

These are the seven stages upon the Path, the seven stations of the cross as the Christian puts it, the seven great initiations and the seven ways to bliss.  Now the "Path of the just shineth ever more and more until the perfect day."



28. When the means to Yoga have been steadily practised and when impurity has been overcome, enlightenment takes place leading up to full illumination.

We now come to the practical part of the book, wherein instruction is given as to the method to pursue if full yoga, union, or at-one-ment is to be achieved.  The work might be described as twofold:

1. The practice of the right means whereby union is brought about,

2. The discipline of the lower threefold man so that impurity in any of the three bodies is eradicated.

This steadfast application to the twofold work produces two corresponding results, each dependent upon its cause:

1. Discrimination becomes possible.  The practice of the means, leads the aspirant to a scientific understanding of the distinction existing between the self and the not-self, between spirit and matter.  This knowledge is no longer theoretical and that to which the man aspires, but is a fact in the experience of the disciple and one upon which he bases all his subsequent activities.

2.  Discernment takes place.  As the purificatory process is carried on, the sheaths or bodies which veil the reality become attenuated and no longer act as thick veils, hiding the soul, and the world wherein the soul normally moves.  The aspirant becomes aware of a part of himself, [179] hitherto hidden and unknown.  He approaches the heart of the mystery of himself and draws closer to the "Angel of the Presence" which can only be truly seen at initiation.  He discerns a new factor and a new world and seeks to make them his own in conscious experience upon the physical plane.

It should be noted here that the two causes of revelation, the practice of the eight means to yoga and the purification of the life in the three worlds, deal with the man from the standpoint of the three worlds and bring about (in the man's physical brain) the power to discriminate between the real and the unreal and to discern the things of the spirit.  They cause also certain changes of conditions within the head, reorganize the vital airs and act directly upon the pineal gland and the pituitary body.  When these four:

1. Practise,

2. Purification,

3. Discrimination,

4. Discernment,

are part of the life of the physical plane man, then the spiritual man, the ego or thinker on his own plane attends to his part of the liberating process and the final two stages are brought about from above downwards.  This sixfold process is the correspondence upon the Path of Discipleship, of the individualizing process, wherein animal man, the lower quaternary (physical, etheric, astral and lower mental) received that twofold expression of spirit, atma-buddhi, spiritual will and spiritual love, which completed him and made him [180] truly man.  The two stages of development which are brought about by the ego within the purified and earnest aspirant, are:

1. Enlightenment.  The light in the head, which is at first but a spark, is fanned to a flame which illumines all things and is fed constantly from above.  This is progressive (see previous sutra), and is dependent upon steadfast practise, meditation and earnest service.

2. Illumination  The gradually increasing downpour of fiery energy increases steadily the "light in the head," or the effulgence found in the brain in the neighborhood of the pineal gland.  This is to the little system of the threefold man in physical manifestation what the physical sun is to the solar system.  This light becomes eventually a blaze of glory and the man becomes a "son of light" or a "sun of righteousness."  Such were the Buddha, the Christ, and all the great Ones who have attained.

29. The eight means of yoga are:  the Commandments or Yama, the Rules or Nijama, posture or Asana, right control of life-force or Pranayama, abstraction or Pratyahara, attention or Dharana, meditation or Dhyana, and contemplation or Samadhi.

It will be noted that these means or practices are apparently simple, but it must be carefully remembered that they do not refer to anything accomplished on one or other plane in some one body, but to the simultaneous activity and practice of these methods in all three bodies at once, [181] so that the entire threefold lower man practices the means as they refer to the physical, the astral, and the mental vehicles.  This is often forgotten.  Therefore, in the study of these various means to yoga or union, we must consider them as they apply to the physical man, then to the emotional man and then to the mental man.  The yogi, for instance, has to understand the significance of right breathing or of posture as they relate to the triple aligned and coordinated lower man, remembering that it is only as the lower man forms a coherent rhythmic instrument that it becomes possible for the ego to enlighten and illuminate him.  The practise of breathing exercises, for instance, has led the aspirant frequently to concentrate upon the physical apparatus of breath to the exclusion of the analogous practice of rhythmic control of the emotional life.

It may be of use here if (before we take up the consideration of the means, one by one) we tabulated them carefully, giving their synonyms where possible:

Means I.

The Commandments.  Yama.  Self-control or forbearance.  Restraint.  Abstention from wrong acts.  These are five in number and relate to the relation of the disciple (or chela) to others and to the outside world.

Means II

The Rules.  Nijama.  Right observances.  These are likewise five in number and are frequently [182] called the "religious observances" because they relate to the interior life of the disciple and to that tie, the sutratma or link which relates him to God, or to his Father in Heaven.  These two, the five Commandments and the five Rules are the Hindu correspondence to the ten Commandments of the Bible and cover the daily life of the aspirant, as it affects those around him, and his own internal reactions.

Means III.

Posture.  Asana.  Right Poise.  Correct attitude.  Position.  This third means concerns the physical attitude of the disciple when in meditation, his emotional attitude towards his environment or his group, and his mental attitude towards ideas, thought currents and abstract concepts.  Finally, the practice of this means coordinates and perfects the lower threefold man so that the three sheaths can form a perfect channel for the expression or manifestation of the life of the spirit.

Means IV.

Right control of the life-force.  Pranayama.  Suppression of the breath.  Regulation of the breath.  This refers to the control, regulation and suppression of the vital airs, the breath and the forces or shaktis of the body.  It leads in reality to the organization of the vital body or the etheric body so that the life current or forces, emanating from the ego or spiritual man on his own plane, [183] can be correctly transmitted to the physical man in objective manifestation.

Means V.

Abstraction.  Pratyahara.  Right withdrawal.  Restraint.  Withdrawal of the senses.  Here we get back of the physical and the etheric bodies, to the emotional body, the seat of the desires, of sensory perception and of feeling.  Here can be noted the orderly method which is followed in the pursuit of yoga or union.  The physical plane life, external and internal is attended to; the correct attitude to life in its triple manifestation is cultivated.  The etheric body is organized and controlled and the astral body is re-oriented, for the desire nature is subdued and the real man withdraws himself gradually from all sense contacts.  The next two means relate to the mental body and the final one to the real man or thinker.

Means VI.

Attention.  Dharana.  Concentration.  Fixation of the mind.  Here the instrument of the Thinker, the Real Man, is brought under this control.  The sixth sense is coordinated, understood, focussed and used.

Means VII.

Meditation.  Dhyana.  The capacity of the thinker to use the mind as desired and to transmit to the brain, higher thoughts, abstract ideas, and idealistic concepts.  This means concerns higher and lower mind.


Means VIII.

Contemplation.  Samadhi.  This relates to the ego or real man and concerns the realm of the soul.  The spiritual man contemplates, studies or meditates upon the world of causes, upon the "things of God."  He then, utilizing his controlled instrument, the mind (controlled through the practise of concentration and meditation) transmits to the physical brain, via the sutratma or thread which passes down through the three sheaths to the brain, that which the soul knows, sees and understands.  This produces full illumination.


30. Harmlessness, truth to all beings, abstention from theft, from incontinence and from avarice, constitute yama or the five commandments.

These five commandments are simple and clear and yet, if practised, would make a man perfect in his relationships to other men, to supermen and to the subhuman realms.  The very first command to be harmless is in reality a summation of the others.  These commandments are curiously complete and cover the triple nature; in studying all these means we shall note their relation to one or other part of the lower threefold manifestation of the ego.

I. Physical Nature.

1. Harmlessness.  This covers a man's physical acts as they relate to all forms of divine manifestation [185] and concerns specifically his force nature or the energy which he expresses through his physical plane activities.  He hurts no one, and injures nobody.

2. Truth.  This concerns primarily his use of speech and of the organs of sound, and relates to "truth in the inmost part" so that truth in externality becomes possible.  This is a large subject, and deals with the formulation of a man's belief regarding God, people, things and forms through the medium of the tongue and voice.  This is covered in the aphorism in Light on the Path.  "Before the voice can speak in the presence of the Master it must have lost the power to wound."

3. Abstention from theft.  The disciple is precise and accurate in all his affairs and appropriates nothing which is not rightly his.  This is a large concept covering more than the fact of actual physical appropriation of others' possessions.

II. Astral Nature.

4. Abstention from incontinence.  This is literally desirelessness and governs the out-going tendencies to that which is not the self, which finds physical plane expression in the relation between the sexes.  It must be remembered here, however, that this expression is regarded by the occult student as only one form which the out-going impulses take, and a form which allies a man closely with the animal kingdom.  Any impulse which concerns the forms and the real man [186] and which tends to link him to a form and to the physical plane is regarded as a, form of incontinence.  There is physical plane incontinence and this should have been left behind by the disciple long ago.  But there are also many tendencies towards pleasure seeking with consequent satisfaction of the desire nature and this, to the true aspirant, is likewise regarded as incontinence.

III. Mental Nature.

5. Abstention from avarice.  This deals with the sin of covetousness which is literally theft upon the mental plane.  The sin of avarice may lead to any number of physical plane sins and is very powerful.  It concerns mental force and is a generic term covering those potent longings which have their seat not only in the emotional or kamic (desire) body, but in the mental body also.  This commandment to abstain from avarice is covered by St. Paul when he says "I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content."  That state has to be attained before the mind can be so quieted that the things of the soul can find entrance.

31. Yama (or the five commandments) constitutes the universal duty and is irrespective of race, place, time or emergency.

This sutra makes clear the universality of certain requirements, and by a study of these five commandments which form the basis of what the Buddhist calls "right conduct," it will be seen [187] that they form the basis of all true law and that their infringement constitutes lawlessness.  The word translated duty or obligation, could well be expressed by that comprehensive term dharma in respect to others.  Dharma means literally the proper working out of one's obligations (or karma) in the place, surroundings and environment where fate has put one.  Certain governing factors in conduct must be observed and no latitude is permitted in these respects no matter what one's nationality, no matter what the locality in which one finds oneself, and no matter what age one may be or what emergency may arise.  These are the five immutable laws governing human conduct and when they are followed by all the sons of men, the full significance of the term "peace to all beings" will be comprehended.


32. Internal and external purification, contentment, fiery aspiration, spiritual reading and devotion to Ishvara constitutes nijama (or the five rules).

As said above, these five rules govern the life of the lower personal self and form the basis of character.  The yoga practices which so much interest the western thinker and aspirant, and which lure him on with their apparent ease of accomplishment and richness of reward (such as psychic unfoldment) are not permitted by the true guru or teacher until yama or nijama have [188] been established as controlling factors in the daily life of the disciple.  The commandments and the rules must first be kept, and when his outer conduct to his fellowmen and his inner discipline of life is brought into line with these requirements, then he can safely proceed with the forms and rituals of practical yoga, but not till then.

It is the failure to recognize this that leads to so much of the trouble among students of yoga in the west.  There is no better basis for the work of Eastern occultism than strict adherence to the requirements laid down by the Master of all the Masters in the Sermon on the Mount, and the self-disciplined Christian, pledged to purity of life and unselfish service, can take up the practise of yoga much more safely than his more worldly and selfish yet intellectual brother.  He will not run the risks that his unprepared brother takes.

The words "internal and external purity" relate to the three sheaths in which the self is veiled and must be interpreted in a dual sense.  Every sheath has its densest and most tangible form and this must be kept clean, for there is a sense in which the astral and mental bodies can be kept cleansed from impurities coming to them from their environment, just as the physical body must be kept cleansed from similar impurities.  The subtler matters of those bodies must be kept equally cleansed and this is the basis of that study of magnetic purity which is the cause of so many observances in the East which seem inexplicable to the Westerner.  A shadow cast upon food by [189] a foreigner produces impure conditions; this is based upon the belief that certain types of force emanations produce impure conditions and though the method of counteracting these conditions may savour of dead letter ritual yet the thought back of the observance remains still the truth.  So little is as yet known about force emanations from the human being, or acting upon the human mechanism, that what may be called "scientific purification" is as yet in its infancy.

Contentment is productive of conditions wherein the mind is at rest; it is based upon the recognition of the laws governing life and primarily the law of karma.  It produces a state of mind wherein all conditions are regarded as correct and just, and as those in which the aspirant can best work out his problem and achieve the goal for any specific life.  This does not entail a settling down and an acquiescence producing inertia, but a recognition of present assets, an availing oneself of one's opportunities and letting them form a background and a basis for all future progress.  When this is done rightly the three remaining rules can be more easily kept.

Fiery aspiration will be dealt with more fully in the next book, but it is well to point out here that this quality of "going forth" towards the ideal or of straining towards the objective must be so profound in the aspirant to yoga that no difficulties can turn him back.  Only when this quality has been developed and proved and when it is found that no problem, no darkness and no [190] time element can hinder, is a man permitted to become the disciple of some Master.  Fiery effort, steady persistent longing and enduring faithfulness to the ideal visioned are the sine qua non of discipleship.  These characteristics must be found in all three bodies, leading to the constant disciplining of the physical vehicle, the steady orientation of the emotional nature and the mental attitude which enables a man to "count all things but loss" if he can only arrive at his goal.

Spiritual reading will be found to concern the development of the sense of subjective realities.  It is fostered by study as understood in the physical sense, and by the endeavour to arrive at the thoughts which words convey.  It is developed by a close scrutiny of the causes which lie back of all desires, aspirations and feelings, and thus is related to the desire or astral plane.  It deals with the reading of symbols or geometrical forms ensouling an idea or thought and this concerns the mental plane.  This will be dealt with later in Book III.

Devotion to Ishvara may be briefly stated to constitute the attitude of the lower threefold self to the service of the ego, the inner ruler, the God or Christ within.  This will be triple in its manifestation, bringing that lower personal self into a life of obedience to the Master within the heart; eventually bringing the aspirant into the group of some adept or spiritual teacher, and leading him also into devoted service to Ishvara or the divine Self as found in the hearts of all men and back of all forms of divine manifestation.


33. When thoughts which are contrary to yoga are present there should be the cultivation of their opposite.

The translation by Johnston gives the same idea in very beautiful words and the method is adequately brought out.  He says:

"When transgressions hinder, the weight of the imagination should be thrown upon the opposite side."

The entire science of the balancing of the pairs of opposites is given in these two translations, neither one being fully complete without the other.  It is often difficult to translate the ancient Sanskrit terms by one word or phrase, for in that language a term will stand for an entire idea and will require several phrases in order to convey the true meaning in the more limited English tongue.

Certain basic concepts are embodied in this sutra and for the sake of clarity might be tabulated as follows:

1. As a man thinketh so is he.  That which works out into physical objectivity is always a thought, and according to that thought or idea so will be the form and life-purpose.

2. Thoughts are of two kinds; those tending to form-building, to limitation, to physical plane expression; those tending away from the lower three planes and therefore from the form aspect as we know it in the three worlds, and leading to union (yoga or at-one-ment) with the soul, the Christ aspect.


3. When it is found that the thoughts habitually cultivated are productive of astral and physical reactions and results it must be realized that they are inimical to yoga; they hinder the at-one-ing process.

4. Contrary thoughts to these must then be cultivated; these can be easily ascertained for they will be the direct opposite of the inhibiting thoughts.

5. The cultivation of the thoughts which will tend to yoga and lead a man to a knowledge of his real self and consequent union with that self involves a triple process:

a. The new thought concept, definitely formulated and found to be contrary to the old thought current, must be ascertained and considered.

b. The use of the imagination comes next in order to bring the thought into manifestation.  This brings in the realm of desire and consequently the astral or emotional body is affected.

c. Then follows definite visualization of the effect of that which has been thought and imagined, as it will manifest in the physical plane life.

This will be found to generate energy.  This means consequently that the etheric body becomes vitalized or energized by the new thought current and certain transformations and re-organizations take place which eventually cause a complete change in the activities of the physical plane man.  The constant cultivation of this effects an entire transformation in the threefold lower man, and eventually the truth of the Christian phraseology [193] becomes apparent, "only Christ is seen and heard," only the real or spiritual man can be seen expressing himself through a physical medium, as Christ did through His instrument and disciple, Jesus.

34. Thoughts contrary to yoga are harmfulness, falsehood, theft, incontinence, and avarice, whether committed personally, caused to be committed or approved of, whether arising from avarice, anger or delusion (ignorance); whether slight in the doing, middling or great.  These result always in excessive pain and ignorance.  For this reason, the contrary thoughts must be cultivated.

It will be noted that the five Commandments deal specifically with those "thoughts contrary to yoga" or union, and that the keeping of the Commandments will bring about:

a. Harmlessness instead of harmfulness,

b. Truth instead of falsehood,

c. Abstention from theft instead of stealing,

d. Self-control instead of incontinence,

e. Contentment instead of avarice or covetousness.

No excuse is left to the aspirant, and the truth is borne in on him that transgression of the Commandments is equally productive of results whether the violation is trifling or very great.  A "contrary thought" must produce its effect and the effect is dual; pain, and ignorance or delusion.  There are three words which the occult student associates ever with the three worlds:


1. Maya or illusion, having reference to the world of forms in which the true self finds itself when in incarnation, and with which it ignorantly identifies itself for long aeons;

2. Delusion, the process of wrong identification, in which the self deludes itself, and says "I am the form;"

3. Ignorance or avidya, the result of this wrong identification and at the same time the cause of it.

The self is clothed in form; it is deluded in the world of illusion.  Every time, however, that "thoughts contrary to yoga" are knowingly entertained, the self submerges itself still more in the illusory world and adds to the veil of ignorance.  Every time that the "weight of the imagination" is thrown on the side of the real nature of the self and turned away from the world of the not-self, the illusion is lessened, the delusion becomes weakened, and ignorance is gradually superseded by knowledge.

35. In the presence of him who has perfected harmlessness, all enmity ceases.

This sutra demonstrates to us the working out of a great law.  In Book IV.  Sutra 17, Patanjali tells us that the perception of a characteristic, of a quality and of an objective form is dependent upon the fact that in the perceiver similar characteristics, qualities and objective capacity are to be found.  This similarity is the basis of perception.  The same truth is hinted at in the first [195] Epistle of St. John where the words are found "We shall be like Him for we shall see Him as He is."  Only that can be contacted which is already present or partially present in the perceiver's consciousness.  If enmity and hatred are therefore to be found by the perceiver, it is because in him the seeds of enmity and hatred are present.  When they are absent naught but unity and harmony exists.  This is the first stage of universal love, the practical endeavour on the part of the aspirant to be at one with all beings.  He begins with himself and sees to it that the seeds of harmfulness in his own nature are eradicated.  He deals, therefore, with the cause which produces enmity towards him and others.  The natural result is that he is at peace and others are at peace with him.  In his presence even wild beasts are rendered impotent and this by the condition of the mind-state of the aspirant or yogin.

36.  When truth to all beings is perfected, the effectiveness of his words and acts is immediately to be seen.

This question of truth is one of the great problems which the aspirant has to solve, and he who attempts to speak only that which is entirely accurate will find himself confronted by very definite difficulties.  Truth is entirely relative whilst evolution proceeds, and is progressive in its manifestation.  It might be defined as the demonstration on the physical plane of as much of the divine reality as the stage in evolution and the medium [196] employed permit.  Truth, therefore, involves the ability of the perceiver or aspirant to see correctly the amount of the divine which a form (tangible, objective, or of words) clothes.  It involves, therefore, the capacity to penetrate to the subject and to contact that which every form veils.  It involves also the ability of the aspirant to construct a form (tangible, objective, or of words) which will convey the truth as it is.  This is in reality the first two stages of the great creative process:

1. Correct perception,

2. Accurate construction, and it leads on to the consummation dealt with in the sutra under consideration—the effectiveness of all words and acts to convey reality or truth as it is.  This sutra gives the clue to the work of the magician and is the basis for the great science of mantras or of words of power which are the equipment of every adept.

Through an understanding of,

a. The law of vibration,

b. The science of sound,

c. The purpose of evolution,

d. The present cyclic stage,

e. The nature of form,

f. The manipulation of atomic substance, the adept not only sees truth in all things but comprehends how to make truth visible, thus aiding the evolutionary process and "casting images upon the screen of time."  This he does through certain words and acts.  For the aspirant, the development of this capacity comes through a constant [197] effort to fulfill the following requirements:

1. Strict attention to every formulation of words used,

2. The wise use of silence as a factor of service,

3. The constant study of the causes lying back of every act so that the reason for the effectiveness or non-effectiveness of action is understood.

4. A steady endeavour to see the reality in every form.  This literally involves a study of the law of cause and effect, or karma, the object of the karmic law being to bring the opposite pole of Spirit, matter, into strict conformity with the requirements of spirit so that matter and form can perfectly express the nature of spirit.

37. When abstention from theft is perfected, the yogi can have whatever he desires.

In this is to be found the clue to the great law of supply and demand.  When the aspirant has learned to "desire nothing for the separated self" he can then be trusted with the riches of the universe; when he makes no demand for the lower nature and claims nothing for the threefold physical man, then all that he desires comes to him unasked and unclaimed.  In some translations the words are found "all jewels are his."

It must be remembered with care that the theft referred to has reference not only to the taking of things tangible and physical, but has reference also to abstention from theft on the emotional or mental planes.  The aspirant takes nothing; [198] emotional benefits, such as love and favor, dislike or hatred are not claimed by him and absorbed when they do not belong to him; intellectual benefits, the claiming of a reputation not warranted, the assumption of some one else's duty, favour or popularity are all equally repudiated by him and he adheres with strictness to that which is his own.  "Let every man attend to his own dharma" and fulfill his own role, is the Eastern injunction.  "Mind your own business" is the Western attempt to teach the same truth and convey the injunction that we each of us must not steal from another the opportunity to do right, to measure up to responsibility and to do his duty.  This is the true abstention from theft.  It will lead a man perfectly to meet his own obligations, to shoulder his own responsibility and to fulfill his own duty.  It will lead him to refrain from appropriating anything that belongs to his brother in the three worlds of human endeavour.

38. By abstention from incontinence, energy is acquired.

Incontinence is usually regarded as the dissipation of the vitality or the virility of the animal nature.  The power to create upon the physical plane and to perpetuate the race is the highest physical act of which man is capable.  The dissipation of the vital powers through loose living and incontinence is the great sin against the physical body.  It involves the failure to recognize the importance of the procreative act, the inability to [199] resist the lower desires and pleasures, and a loss of self control.  The results of this failure are apparent throughout the human family at this time in the low health average, in the full hospitals, and the diseased, enfeebled and anemic men, women and children everywhere to be found.  There is little conservation of energy, and the very words "dissipation" and dissipated men" carry a lesson.

The first thing a disciple has to do is to learn the true nature of creation and to conserve his energy.  Celibacy is not enjoined.  Self-control is.  In the relatively short cycle of lives, however, in which the aspirant fits himself to tread the path, he may have to pass a life or maybe several in a definite abstention from the act of procreation in order to learn complete control and to demonstrate the fact that he has completely subdued the lower sex nature.  The right use of the sex principle along with entire conformity to the law of the land is characteristic of every true aspirant.

Apart from a consideration of this along the lines of the conservation of energy, there is another angle from which the aspirant approaches the problem and that is the transmutation of the vital principle (as manifested through the physical organism) into the dynamic demonstration of it as manifested through the organ of sound, or creation, through the word, the work of the true magician.  There is as all students of occultism know, a close connection between the organs of generation and the [200] third major centre, the throat centre.  This is apparent physiologically in the change of voice seen during the adolescent period.  Through the true conservation of energy and abstention from incontinence, the yogi becomes a creator on the mental plane through the use of the word and of sounds, and the energy which can be dissipated through the activity of the lower centre is concentrated and transmuted into the great creative work of the magician.  This is done through continence, pure living and clean thinking, and not through any perversions of occult truth such as sex magic and the enormities of the sex perversions of various so-called occult schools.  The latter are on the black path and do not lead to the portal of initiation.

39. When abstention from avarice is perfected, there comes an understanding of the law of rebirth.

This sutra gives in unequivocal terms the great teaching that it is desire for form of some kind which brings the spirit into incarnation.  When desirelessness is present, then the three worlds can no longer hold the yogi.  We forge our own chains in the furnace of desire and of a various longing for things, for experience and for form life.

When contentment is cultivated and present, gradually these chains drop off and no others are forged.  As we disentangle ourselves from the world of illusion, our vision becomes cleared, and [201] the laws of being and of existence become apparent to us and are little by little understood.  The how and the why of life are answered.  The reason for and the method of physical plane existence is no longer a problem, and the yogi understands why the past has been and what its characteristics are; he understands the reason for the present life cycle and experience and can make practical application of the law each day, and he knows well what he has to do for the future.  Thus he frees himself, desires nothing in the three worlds and re-orients himself to the conditions in the world of spiritual being.

In these qualities we have the carrying out of the five Commandments.

40. Internal and external purification produces aversion for form, both one's own and all forms.

This paraphrase of Sutra 40 does not adhere to the technical translation of the Sanskrit words on account of the misunderstanding of the words used.  Literally the translation runs "internal and external purification produces hatred for one's own body and non-intercourse with all bodies."  The tendency of students in the West to interpret literally necessitates a somewhat freer translation.  The Eastern student, more versed in the symbolic presentation of truth is not so liable to make mistakes along this line.  In considering this sutra it should be remembered that purity is a quality of spirit.


Purification is necessarily of various kinds and relates to the four vehicles (the physical body, the etheric body, the emotional body and the mental body) through which man contacts the three worlds of his endeavor.  We might, therefore, distinguish between them as follows:


a. External purity

physical vehicle

dense body,

b. Magnetic purity

etheric vehicle

internal purity,

c. Psychic purity

astral vehicle

emotional purity,

d. Mental purity

mental vehicle

purity of the concrete mind.


It should be most carefully borne in mind that this purity concerns the substance out of which each of these vehicles is composed.  It is attained in three ways:

1. Elimination of impure substance or of those atoms and molecules which limit the free expression of spirit, and which confine it to the form so that it can have neither free ingress nor egress;

2. Assimilation of those atoms and molecules which will tend to provide a form through which spirit can adequately function;

3. The protection of the purified form from contamination and deterioration.

On the Path of Purification or of Probation, this eliminative process is commenced; on the Path of Discipleship, the rules for the constructive or assimilative process are learnt and on the Path of Initiation (after the second initiation,) the protective work is begun.

In the occident the rules of external purification, of sanitation and of hygiene are well known and largely practised.  In the orient, the rules [203] of magnetic purification are better known and when the two systems are synthesized and mutually recognized, the physical sheath in its dual nature will eventually be brought to a high degree of refinement.

In this cycle, however, the interest of the Hierarchy is being largely centred on the question of psychic purity and this is the reason for the trend of the occult teaching at present developing.  It is away from what is commonly understood by psychic development, lays no emphasis on the lower psychic powers and seeks to train the aspirant in the laws of the spiritual life.  This produces a realization of the nature of the psyche or soul, and a control of the lower psychic nature.  The great "push" of the hierarchical endeavour for this century, 1926-2026, will be along these lines, combined with a dissemination of the laws of thought.  Hence the necessity for the promulgation of the teaching given in the Yoga Sutras.  They give the rules for mind control but the nature of the psychic powers and the development of the psychic consciousness are also largely dealt with.

The entire third book deals with these powers and the theme of the sutras as a whole might be briefly stated to be the development of mind control with a view to soul-contact and the consequent control of the lower psychic powers, their unfoldment paralleling that of the higher powers.  This should be emphasized.  Aversion for form or "desirelessness," which is the generic term covering this condition of mind, is the great impulse [204] which eventually leads to complete liberation from form.