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a. Consciousness and form.

b. Union or at-one-ment.

Topic:  Isolated unity.





1. The higher and lower siddhis (or powers)  are gained by incarnation, or by drugs, words of power, intense desire or by meditation.

2. The transfer of the consciousness from a lower vehicle into a higher is part of the great creative and evolutionary process.

3. The practices and methods are not the true cause of the transfer of consciousness but they serve to remove obstacles, just as the husbandman prepares his ground for sowing.

4. The "I am" consciousness is responsible for the creation of the organs through which the sense of individuality is enjoyed.

5. Consciousness is one, yet produces the varied forms of the many.

6. Among the forms which consciousness assumes, only that which is the result of meditation is free from latent karma.

7. The activities of the liberated soul are free from the pairs of opposites.  Those of other people are of three kinds.

8. From these three kinds of karma emerge those forms which are necessary for the fruition of the effects.

9. There is identity of relation between memory and the effect-producing cause, even when separated by species, time and place.

10. Desire to live being eternal, these mind-created forms are without known beginning.


11. These forms being created and held together through desire, the basic cause, personality, the effective result, mental vitality or the will to live, and the support of the outward going life or object, when these cease to attract then the forms cease likewise to be.

12. The past and the present exist in reality.  The form assumed in the time concept of the present is the result of developed characteristics and holds latent seeds of future quality.

13. The characteristics, whether latent or potent, partake of the nature of the three gunas (qualities of matter).

14. The manifestation of the objective form is due to the one-pointedness of the effect-producing cause (the unification of the modifications of the chitta or mind stuff).

15. These two, consciousness and form, are distinct and separate; though forms may be similar, the consciousness may function on differing levels of being.

16. The many modifications of the one mind produce the diverse forms, which depend for existence upon those many mind impulses.

17. These forms are cognized or not, according to the qualities latent in the perceiving consciousness.

18. The Lord of the mind, the perceiver, is ever aware of the constantly active mind stuff, the effect-producing cause.

19. Because it can be seen or cognised it is apparent that the mind is not the source of illumination.

20. Neither can it know two objects simultaneously, itself and that which is external to itself.

21. If knowledge of the mind (chitta) by a remoter mind is postulated, an infinite number of knowers must be inferred, and the sequence of memory reactions would tend to infinite confusion.

22. When the spiritual intelligence which stands alone and freed from objects, reflects itself in the mind stuff, then comes awareness of the Self.

23. Then the mind stuff, reflecting both the knower and the knowable, becomes omniscient.


24.  The mind stuff also, reflecting as it does an infinity of mind impressions, becomes the instrument of the Self and acts as a unifying agent.

25. The state of isolated unity (withdrawn into the true nature of the Self) is the reward of the man who can discriminate between the mind stuff and the Self, or spiritual man.

26. The mind then tends towards discrimination and increasing illumination as to the true nature of the one Self.

27. Through force of habit, however, the mind will reflect other mental impressions and perceive objects of sensuous perception.

28. These reflections are of the nature of hindrances, and the method of their overcoming is the same.

29. The man who develops non-attachment even in his aspiration after illumination and isolated unity, becomes aware, eventually, through practised discrimination, of the overshadowing cloud of spiritual knowledge.

30. When this stage is reached then the hindrances and karma are overcome.

31. When, through the removal of the hindrances and the purification of all the sheaths, the totality of knowledge becomes available, naught further remains for the man to do.

32. The modifications of the mind stuff (or qualities of matter) through the inherent nature of the three gunas come to an end, for they have served their purpose.

33. Time, which is the sequence of the modifications of the mind, likewise terminates, giving place to the Eternal Now.

34. The state of isolated unity becomes possible when the three qualities of matter (the three gunas or potencies of nature) no longer exercise any hold over the Self.  The pure spiritual consciousness withdraws into the One.




1. The higher and lower siddhis (or powers) are gained by incarnation, or by drugs, words of power, intense desire or by meditation.

We have now come to the fourth book in which the powers and the results gained by the practice of Raja Yoga are carried forward into group realization and it is seen that they produce universal consciousness and not simply self-consciousness.  It seems the part of wisdom to protest here against the use of the words "cosmic consciousness" as untrue and misleading, for even the highest adept (note this term with care) is only gifted with solar consciousness and has no contact with that which is outside our solar system.  The planetary Logoi (the seven Spirits before the Throne), and the Lords of Karma (the "four wheels" of Ezekiel) have a realization beyond that of our solar system.  Lesser existences may sense it as a possibility but it is not yet part of their experience.


The powers gained fall into two main groups called:

a. Lower psychic powers, the lower siddhis.

b. Spiritual powers or the higher siddhis.

The lower powers are the result of the consciousness of the animal soul in man being en rapport with the anima mundi or the soul of the world, the subjective side of all forms in the three worlds, of all bodies in the four kingdoms of nature.  The higher powers are the result of the development of group consciousness, of the second aspect of divinity.  They not only include the lesser powers but put a man en rapport with those existences and forms of life which are to be found in the spiritual realms, or, as the occultist would  say, on those two planes which are beyond the three worlds, and which cover the entire scale of man's evolution, human and superhuman.

The goal of the true aspirant is the unfoldment of these higher powers which can be covered by the terms direct knowledge, intuitive perception, spiritual insight, pure vision, the attainment of the wisdom.  They are different from the lower powers, for they abrogate them.  These latter are accurately described for us in Book III, Sutra 37:

"These powers are obstacles to the highest spiritual realization, but serve as magical powers in the objective worlds."

These higher powers are inclusive and are distinguished by their accuracy and infallibility when rightly employed.  Their working is as instantaneous [379] as a flash of light.  The lower powers are fallible, the time element is present in its sequential sense and they are limited in their working.  They form part of the great illusion and to the true aspirant constitute a limitation.

In the sutra we are considering, five means are given whereby the psychic powers are developed and it is interesting to note that we have in these words an instance of the fact that the Yoga Sutras can still be the study and teaching manual of even such advanced aspirants as the Masters of the Wisdom.  These five methods are capable of application upon all the five planes of human evolution, which include the two higher planes whereon initiates of the Mysteries function.


1. Incarnation

The physical plane method.

2. Drugs

The release of the astral consciousness.

3. Words of Power

Creation by speech, or the method of the mental plane.

4. Intense desire

The sublimation of aspiration or the 
method of the buddhic plane, the sphere of spiritual love

5. Meditation

The method of the atmic plane, the sphere of spiritual will.


In this enumeration, it might be noted that just as intense desire of a spiritual kind is a sublimation of astral or emotional desire, so meditation, as practised by the initiates, is the sublimation of all the mental processes.  Therefore the two final methods given as resulting in the unfoldment of the siddhis are the only ones that are practised by [380] initiates, being the synthesis and sublimation of the realizations achieved on the astral and mental planes.

It might, therefore, be observed that (for the seeker after truth) incarnation, intense desire and meditation are the three permissible methods, and the only ones to be practised; drugs and words of power or mantric incantations are the tools of black magic and concern the lower powers.

The question might here be asked, is it not true that words of power and the use of incense form part of the ceremonies of initiation and therefore are used by initiates and aspirants.  Certainly, but not in the sense understood here, or for the purpose of developing psychic powers.  The Masters and their disciples use words of power in order to deal with the non-human existences, to invoke the aid of the angels, and to manipulate the building forces of nature, and they employ herbs and incenses in order to purify conditions, eliminate undesirable entities and so make it possible for those higher upon the ladder of evolution to make their presence felt.  This is, however, a very different thing to their use in order to become psychic.

It is interesting to note here that the first cause producing the unfoldment of soul powers, whether higher or lower, is the great wheel of rebirth.  This must ever be taken into account.  Everyone is not yet at the stage where it is possible for him to unfold the powers of the soul.  The soul aspect is still dormant for many because full experience and development of the lower nature has not yet [381] been undergone.  The forty years' wandering in the wilderness with the Tabernacle and the conquest of Canaan, had to precede the rule of the kings and the building of the Temple of Solomon.  Lives must be passed before the body, or the Mother aspect, is so perfected that the Christ Child can be formed within the prepared vessel.  It should also be remembered that the possession of the lower psychic powers is in many cases a symptom of a low stage of evolution and of the close association of their owner with the animal nature.  This has to be outgrown before the higher powers can blossom forth.

It is needless to point out that the use of alcohol and of drugs can and does release the astral consciousness, as also the practice of sex magic, but this is astralism pure and simple and with this the true student of Raja Yoga has naught to do.  It is part of unfoldment on the left-hand Path.  The gaining of the soul powers by intense desire (or fervent aspiration) and by meditation has been covered in the other books and need not be enlarged upon here.

2. The transfer of the consciousness from a lower vehicle into a higher is part of the great creative and evolutionary process.

This is a very free translation but conveys a clear interpretation of the truth to be grasped.  The evolution of consciousness and the effect of that evolution upon the vehicles in which the conscious entity functions, is the sum total of the [382] processes of nature and from the standpoint of the intelligent human unit, three words cover the process and the result.  These words are, transfer, transmutation, and transformation.

One of the basic laws in occult development and in spiritual unfoldment is given in the words "As a man thinketh, so is he," and to it one can link the oriental truism, "Energy follows thought" as an explanation.  As a man changes his desires, so he changes himself; as he shifts his consciousness from one objective to another, so he alters himself, and this is true in all realms and states, higher or lower.

The effect of the transference of our conscious thinking state from a low objective to a high one produces a flow of energy of a vibratory quality equivalent to the higher objective.  This produces a change or a mutation in the vestures of the thinking entity, and they become transmuted and brought to a condition where they are adequate to the thought or desire of the man.  Carried to their conclusion, a transformation is produced, and the words of St. Paul become therefore clear:  "Be ye therefore transformed by the renewing of your mind."

Change your line of thought and you will change your nature.  Desire that which is true and right, pure and holy, and your consciousness of these things will create out of the old a new vehicle or new man, an "instrument meet for use."

This transfer, transmutation and eventual transformation is due to one of two methods:


1. A slow method, that of repeated lives, experiences and physical incarnation until eventually the driving force of the evolutionary process brings a man, stage by stage, up the great ladder of evolution.

2. A more rapid process, wherein through such a system as outlined by Patanjali and as taught by all the custodians of the mysteries of religion, a man definitely takes himself in hand, and through conformity to the rules and the laws laid down, brings himself, by his own effort, to a state of spiritual unfoldment.  It might be noted here that these three processes bring a man to that initiation called the Transfiguration.

3. The practices and methods are not the true cause of the transfer of consciousness, but they serve to remove obstacles, just as the husbandman prepares his ground for sowing.

This is one of the simplest and clearest of the sutras and needs but little comment.

The practices refer primarily to:

1. The means for removing obstacles.  (See Book I.  Sutras 29 to 39.)  This is affected, we are told earlier, by:

a. Steady application to a principle,

b. Sympathy with all beings,

c. Regulation of the prana or life-breath,

d. Steadiness of the mind,

e. Meditation upon light,

f. Purification of the lower nature,

g. The understanding of the dream state,


h. The way of devotion.

2. The way of eliminating obstructions.  (See Book II.  Sutras 2 to 33.)  These obstructions are eliminated by:

a. An opposing mental attitude,

b. Meditation,

c. The cultivation of right thought.

They concern more specifically the life preparation for the true training in yoga practice, and when practiced, bring the entire lower nature into such a condition that the more drastic methods can produce rapid effects.

The methods refer to the eight means of yoga or union, enumerated as follows:  the commandments, the rules, posture or attitude, right control of the life force, abstraction, attention, meditation and contemplation.  (See Book II, Sutras 29 to 54, and Book III.  Sutras 1 to 12.)

The Commandments, the Rules, posture or attitude, right control of the life force, abstraction, attention, meditation and contemplation.

It might be noted, therefore, that we could refer the practices more specifically to that stage in the life of the aspirant in which he is upon the probationary path, the path of purification, whilst the methods relate to the final stages of that path, and to the path of discipleship.  When the practices and methods are followed they bring about certain changes within the forms occupied by the real or spiritual man, but are not the main cause of the transfer of his consciousness to the soul aspect and away from the body aspect.  That great change is the result of certain causes, extraneous [385] to the body-nature, such as the divine origin of the man, the fact that the Christ or the soul consciousness is found latent within those forms, and the urge of the evolutionary process which carries the life of God within all forms onward into ever fuller expression.  It should be remembered that as the one Life in Whom we live and move and have our being, moves on to greater achievement, so the cells and atoms in His body are correspondingly influenced, stimulated and developed.

4. The "I am" consciousness is responsible for the creation of the organs through which the sense of individuality is enjoyed.

Here we have the key to manifestation itself and the reason for all appearances.  Just as long as the consciousness of any entity (solar, planetary or human) is outward going towards objects of desire, towards sentient existence, towards individual experience, and towards the life of sensuous perception and enjoyment, just so long will the vehicles or organs be created whereby desire can be satisfied, materialized existence can be enjoyed, and objects perceived.  This is the great illusion by which consciousness is glamoured, and as long as the glamour exerts any power, just so long will the Law of Rebirth bring the outward-going consciousness into manifestation upon the plane of materiality.  It is the will-to-be and desire for existence that swings outward into the light both the cosmic Christ, functioning [386] on the material plane through the medium of the solar system, and the individual Christ, functioning through the medium of the human form.

In the early stages the "I am" consciousness creates forms of matter inadequate for the full expression of the divine powers.  As evolution proceeds these forms become increasingly suitable until the "organs" created enable the spiritual man to enjoy the sense of individuality.  When this stage is arrived at, there comes the great realization of illusion.  The consciousness awakes to the fact that in form and sense perception, and in the outward going tendency, lie no real joy or pleasure, and there starts a new effort which is characterized by a gradual withdrawal of the outward-going tendency and an abstraction of the spirit from out of the form.

5. Consciousness is one, yet produces the varied forms of the many.

Here Patanjali lays down a basic formula which serves to explain not only the purpose and reason of manifestation itself but covers in one short phrase the state of being of God, man and atom.  Behind all forms is found the one Life; within every atom (solar, planetary, human and elemental) is found the one sentient existence; back of objective nature, the sum total of all forms in all the kingdoms of nature is found the subjective reality which is essentially a unified whole or unity, producing the diversified many.  [387] The homogeneous is the cause of the heterogeneous, unity produces diversity, the One is responsible for the many.  This the student can appreciate more intelligently if he follows the golden rule which reveals the mystery of creation and studies himself.  The microcosm reveals the nature of the macrocosm.

He will find that he, the real or spiritual man, the thinker, or the one life in his tiny system, is responsible for the creation of his mental, emotional and physical bodies, his three lower aspects, the "shadow" of the Trinity, just as his spirit, soul and body are the reflections of the three divine aspects, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  He will find that he is responsible for the formation of all the organs in his body, and for all the cells of which they are composed and as he studies his problem more closely he will become aware that his consciousness and life pervades, and is therefore responsible for, myriads beyond number of tiny infinitesimal lives; that he is the cause of their aggregation into organs and forms, and the reason those forms are held in being.  Gradually there dawns on him a true understanding of the significance of the words "made in the image of God." His "consciousness is one and yet has produced the varied forms of the many" within his little cosmos, and what is true of him is true of his great prototype, the Heavenly Man, the planetary Logos, and true again of the prototype of his prototype, the Grand Man of the Heavens, the solar Logos, God in manifestation through the solar system.


6. Among the forms which consciousness assumes, only that which is the result of meditation is free from latent karma.

Forms are the result of desire.  Meditation of the right kind is a purely mental process and into it desire enters not.   Forms are the result of an outward-going urge or tendency.  Meditation is the result of an inward-turning tendency, of the capacity to abstract the consciousness from form and substance and to centre it within itself.

Form is an effect produced by the love or desire nature of the conscious one; meditation is a producer of effects and relates to the will or life aspect of the spiritual man.

Desire produces effects, and the organs of sentient consciousness then come inevitably the law of cause and effect, of karma, which governs the relation of form—consciousness.  The meditation process, when rightly understood and carried on, necessitates the withdrawal of the consciousness of the spiritual man from all forms in the three worlds, and his abstraction from all sense perception and tendencies.  Thus he stands at the moment of pure meditation free from that aspect of karma which deals with the producing of effects.  Temporarily, he is so abstracted that his thought, perfectly concentrated and having no relation to aught in the three worlds, produces no outward-going vibration, relates to no form, affects no substance.  When this concentrated meditation becomes a habit and is the normal daily attitude of his life, then the man becomes free from the law [389] of karma.  He becomes aware then of the effects still remaining to be worked off, and learns to avoid the creation of new ones, initiating no actions which will "create organs" in the three worlds.  He dwells on the plane of mind, persists in meditation, creates by an act of will and not through the helplessness of desire, and is a "free soul," a master and a liberated man.

7. The activities of the liberated soul are free from the pairs of opposites.  Those of other people are of three kinds.

This sutra expresses the teaching in connection with the law of karma in such a strictly oriental manner as to confuse the western student considerably.  An analysis of the significance of these words and a study of the commentary of the great teacher Vyasa may serve to elucidate the meaning.  It should also be borne in mind that in the fourth book we are dealing with the exalted stages of consciousness reached by those who have followed the eight means of yoga and have experienced the effects of meditation, detailed in Book III.  The yogi is now a liberated man, freed from form conditions and focussed in his consciousness outside the bounds of the three worlds of human endeavor.  He has reached the realm of pure thought and can hold his consciousness untrammelled and free from desire.  Therefore, though he formulates ideas and though he can carry on powerful meditations and though he can direct and control the "modifications of the thinking [390] principle," he creates no conditions which can serve to draw him back into the vortex of lower plane existence.  He is freed from karma and originates nothing and no effects can serve to attach him to the wheel of rebirth.

Vyasa in his commentary points out that karma (or action) is of four kinds which are expressed for us as follows:

1. That type of activity which is evil, wicked and depraved.  This is called black.  This class of action is the product of the deepest ignorance, of the densest materiality, or of deliberate choice.  Where it is the result of ignorance, the development of knowledge will gradually bring about a state of consciousness where this type of karma is no longer known.  Where dense materiality produces what we call wrong action, the gradual development of the spiritual consciousness will change darkness to light and karma again is obviated.  Where, however, it is the result of deliberate choice, or of preference for wrong action, in spite of knowledge and in defiance of the voice of the spiritual nature, then this type of karma leads to what the oriental occultist called "avitchi" or the eighth sphere,—a term synonymous with the Christian idea of the condition of being a lost soul.  These cases are, however, exceedingly rare, and have relation to the left hand path, and the practice of black magic.  Though this condition involves the severing of the highest principle (that of pure spirit from its two expressions, the soul and the body, or from the six lower principles), yet the life itself remains, and after the [391] destruction of the soul in avitchi, a fresh cycle of becoming will again be offered.

2. That type of activity which is neither all good nor all bad, which is spoken of as the black-white.  It concerns the karmic activity of the average man, who is governed by the pairs of opposites, and whose life experience is characterized by a swinging back and forth between that which is kindly, harmless, and the result of love, and that which is harsh, harmful, and the result of hate.  Vyasa says:

"The black-white is brought about by external means, as in this, the vehicle of actions grows by means of causing pain to, or acting kindly towards others."

It becomes apparent therefore that the growth of the human unit and his record are dependent upon his attitude towards others and the effect he has upon them.  Thus is the return to group consciousness brought about and thus is karma generated or offset.  Thus, also, is the swing of the pendulum between these pairs of opposites gradually adjusted until the point of equilibrium is reached, and man acts rightly because the law of love or of the soul, directs from above, and not because either good or bad desire attract him on either hand.

3. That type of activity which is called white.  This is the type of living thought, and work, practised by the aspirant and the disciple.  It characterizes the stage of the Path prior to liberation.  Vyasa explains it thus:


"The white is of those who resort to the means of improvement, of study and meditation.  This is dependent upon the mind alone.  It does not depend upon external means, it is not, therefore, brought about by injuring others."

It will be apparent now that these three types of karma have direct reference to:

a. The plane of materiality....................the physical plane.

b. The plane of the pairs of opposites...the astral plane.

c. The plane of one-pointed thought......the mental plane.

Those whose karma is white are those who, having made progress in balancing the pairs of opposites, are now engaged in the process of conscious intelligent emancipation of themselves from the three worlds.  This they do through:

a. Study, or mental development, through an appreciation of the law of evolution and an understanding of the nature of consciousness and its relation to matter on the one hand and to spirit on the other.

b. Meditation, or mind control and thus the creation of that mechanism which renders to the soul the control of the lower vehicles, and makes possible the revelation of the soul realm.

c. Non-injury.  No word, thought or deed brings harm to any form through which the life of God is expressing itself.

4. The final type of karma is described as neither black nor white.  No karma of any kind is engendered; no effects are set up through causes initiated by the yogi that can serve to hold him to the form side of manifestation.  Acting as he does from the standpoint of non-attachment, desiring [393] nothing for himself, his karma is nil, and his acts produce no effects upon himself.

8. From these three kinds of karma emerge those forms which are necessary for the fruition of effects.

In every life, as it comes into physical manifestation, are latent those germs or seeds which must bear fruit, and it is these latent seeds which are the efficient cause of the appearance of the form.  Those seeds have been sown at some time and must come to fruition.  They are the causes or skandas which produce those bodies in which the effects are to work themselves out.  They are the desires, impulses and obligations which keep a man upon the great wheel, which ever turning, carries a man down into physical plane existence, there to bring to fruition as many of those seeds, as under the law, he can handle or deal with in any one life.  These are the subjective germs which produce the form in which they fructify, mature and come to completion.  If the karmic seeds are black, the man will be grossly selfish, material, and inclined to the left hand path; if black-white, they will carry him into a form suitable for the working out of his obligations, of his debts, duties and interests and the fulfilling of his desires; if they are white they tend to build that body which is the final one to be destroyed, the causal body, the temple of Solomon, the karana sarira of the occultist.  That body, at the final liberation, is itself destroyed and [394] naught then separates the man from his Father in Heaven, and nothing keeps him linked to the lower material plane.

9, There is identity of relation between memory and effect producing cause, even when separated by species, time and place.

A paraphrase of the sutra might serve to elucidate, and might be expressed as follows:  No matter what the race may have been, no matter in what continent, past or present, a life may have been passed, and no matter how distant that life may be or how many millenia of years may have elapsed, the memory remains with the ego or soul.  In due time, under proper adjustment, every cause then initiated must inevitably work out into effects and those effects will appear, working out in some one life.  Nothing can prevent it, nothing can stop it.  Charles Johnston expresses it in his commentary in the following words:  "In like manner, the same over-ruling selective power, which is a ray of the Higher Self, gathers together from different births and times and places those mind-images which are conformable, and may be grouped in the frame of a single life or a single event.  Through this grouping, visible bodily conditions or outward circumstances are brought about, and by these the soul is taught and trained.

Just as the dynamic mind-images of desire ripen out in bodily conditions and circumstances, so the far more dynamic powers of aspiration, [395] wherein the soul reaches toward the Eternal, have their fruition in a finer world, building the vesture of the spiritual man."

10. Desire to live being eternal, these mind-created forms are without known beginning.

Another term which might be used in connection with the words "desire to live" is "the will to experience."  Inherent in the informing self-conscious lives of our system (those existences who are superhuman and human) is this desire to be, this longing to become, this urge to contact the unknown and the distant.  The explanation of this urge, being cosmic and dependent upon the evolutionary standpoint of that great Life in whom we live and move and have our being and in Whose body every form is but a cell or atom, is impossible for us to comprehend.   All that a man can do is to build the mechanism which will make this comprehension possible, and to develop those powers which will enable him to contact and thus be en rapport with that which lies both without and within him.   When this becomes possible he awakes to the realization that those desires which drive and impel him to action, those longings which force him into varied activities are something which are not only personal and real, but which are also part of the activity of the whole of which he is a tiny part.  He discovers that the stream of desire-impelled mind images which occupy his attention and form the motive power of his life are formulated by himself, [396] but are also part of a stream of cosmic mind images arising in the Universal Mind, as the result of the activity of that cosmic Thinker who functions as the Life of our solar system.

Thus the truth and teaching which has been formulated in the three previous books is lifted from the realm of the personal and the individual, and becomes wider, broader and more general.  For the human unit the mind images, the result of desire and of thought action are therefore without known beginning.  They surround him on all sides, the stream of their activity beats upon him at all times and draws forth from him that response which bears witness to the existence of desire within himself.

Therefore for him there must come two new activities; first, that of transmuting and transcending those desires and longings for sensuous perception which are found within himself, and secondly the task of insulating himself or isolating himself from the allure and influence of those greater streams of mind images which eternally exist.  Thus only can he achieve the "condition of Isolated Unity" described in Book III.  Sutra 50.

11. These forms, being created and held together through desire, the basic cause, personality, the effective result, mental vitality or the will to live, and the support of the outward-going life or object, when these cease to attract, then the forms cease likewise to be.

This sutra expresses a law of nature, and is so clear that but little explanation is needed.   It [397] might be of value, however, if we analyzed briefly the teaching given here.

We learn that four factors contribute to the existence of mind-images, or the forms which come into being as the result of the desire nature.

1. The basic cause......................desire

2. The effect or result...................personality.

3. The will to live.........................mental vitality.

4. The outward going life..............the object.

When the cause, desire, has produced its effect, the personality or form aspect of man, then as long as the will to live exists, so long will the form persist.  It is kept in manifestation through mental vitality.  This has been demonstrated time and again in the annals of medicine, for it has been proven that as long as the determination to live persists so will be the probable duration of the physical plane life, but that the moment that will is withdrawn, or the interest of the dweller in the body is no longer centered upon personality manifestation, death ensues and the disintegration of that mind-image, the body, takes place.

It is interesting to note the occult meaning conveyed in the words "the support of the outward going life, or object" for it substantiates the occult teaching that the life stream passes downward from the originating cause and finds its object or final manifestation in the vital or etheric body which is the true substance of every form, and which constitutes the support or scaffold of the dense physical vehicle.

These four factors can be well divided into [398] two groups or pairs of opposites, the cause and the effect, the will to be and the true form or object.

For a long period in the evolutionary process the object or form-existence is the sole interest of the indweller, and the outward going life becomes the sole centre of attraction.

But as the wheel turns and experience after experience is entered into, the desire nature reaches satiety and is satisfied, and little by little the formulating of mind images and the production of their effects come to an end.  Form consequently ceases, objective manifestation is no longer sought after, and liberation from maya or illusion takes place.

12. The past and the present exist in reality.  The form assumed in the time concept of the present is the result of developed characteristics, and holds latent seeds of future quality.

In this sutra the three aspects of the Eternal Now are formulated for us and it is seen that what we are today is the product of the past, and that what we shall be in the future is dependent upon the seeds either latent and hidden, or sown in the present life.  That which has been sown in the past exists and nothing can arrest or stop those seeds from coming to fruition.  They must bear fruit in this present life or be concealed until a more favorable soil and more suitable condition can cause them to germinate, unfold, grow and flower forth into the clear light of day.  There [399] is nothing hidden or concealed which shall not be revealed nor anything secret which shall not be made known.  The sowing of fresh seeds, and the originating of activities which must bear fruit at a later date is, however, a different matter and one more completely under the control of the man.  By the practice of dispassion and of non-attachment, and by the strenuous control of the desire nature it becomes possible for the man to re-orient himself so that his attention is no longer attracted outward by the stream of mind-images but is withdrawn, and fixed one-pointedly upon reality.

This is first attempted through the control of the vehicle of thought, the mind, and the conquest of the modifications of the thinking principle, and then the work of using that mechanism and its employment in right directions and for the achieving of knowledge of the soul-realm instead of the matter realm proceeds.  Thus again liberation is brought about.

13. The characteristics, whether latent or potent, partake of the nature of the three gunas (the three qualities of matter).

The characteristics are in reality the qualities, capacities and faculties which the man is manifesting or can manifest (given the right conditions).  These are, as we have seen, the result or the effects of his entire past experience carried over the entire cycle of lives up to date.  The product of the contacts, unfoldments and developments which have governed him from the earliest [400] dawn of his individuality until the present life-cycle, produce what he is and has, in the present.  It must be borne in mind that all these factors which are summed up under the general title of "characteristics" are concerned with the form and its responsiveness to the indwelling spiritual life.

They are produced just as rapidly as the spiritual Indweller can set his impress upon the substance of those forms, bend them to his will, control and subject them.  Form has certain vibratory activities of its own, inherent in its own nature.  By identification with the form and utilization of it, the Indweller develops a dual set of characteristics.  One set demonstrates in the form of the lower self and concerns the adaptability of the form to inner influence, and to outer environment.  The other concerns tendencies, impulses and desires which tend to affect permanently the body of the higher, or causal Self.  Hence these characteristics are in both cases concerned with the rhythm or gunas of matter.

It might be said that what we are is the product of the past and shows as the characteristics of the form of the personality.  What we shall be in the next incarnation is decided by the ability of the true man to influence that personal self, bend it to the higher ends and raise its rate of vibration.  Man is one thing when he enters into incarnation; he is another when he passes out of incarnation, for he is then the product of the past, plus the achievement of the present life, and that achievement under the great evolutionary urge inevitably has carried him forward towards [401] a sattvic or rhythmic, harmonious condition, and away from the tamasic condition of inertia, of immobility.  This is achieved through the imposition of the characteristics of activity, the middle guna, and that which predominantly controls the outward-going activity and drives the man into sensuous experience.

14. The manifestation of the objective form is due to the one-pointedness of the effect-producing cause (the unification of the modifications of the chitta or mind stuff).

The urge towards involution or towards form taking is so dominant and so one-pointedly the result of the egoic thought that it makes objective manifestation inevitable.  The chitta or mind stuff (in the great process of form appropriation) is so thoroughly unified and the desire to experience through physical plane contacts is so dominant, that the many modifications of the mind are all turned towards the same object.

When the condition is reversed and the man on the physical plane effects his own liberation, it is also by the same method, one-pointedness and unification.  The old commentary makes this clear in certain lines found in relation to the symbolism of the five-pointed star.  They are as follows:

"The plunge is downward into matter.  The point descends, darts through the watery sphere and pierces into that which looms inert, immobile, darkling, silent and remote.  The point of fire and stone unite, and harmony and union on the downward path are reached.


"The flight is upward into spirit.  The point ascends, lifting the two behind and reaching out the three and four towards that which lies behind the veil.  The water fails to quench the point of fire; thus fire meets fire and blends.  Harmony, union on the upward arc are reached.  Thus shall the sun move northward."

15. These two, consciousness and form, are distinct and separate; though forms may be similar, the consciousness may function on differing levels of being.

This sutra should not be considered apart from the succeeding one, which predicates the fact of the one Mind, or the one Life being the potent cause of all differentiated lesser minds and lives.  This must ever be realized.  Three main thoughts therefore lie involved in this sutra.

First, that there are two main lines of evolution, that which concerns matter and form, and that which concerns the soul, the consciousness aspect, the thinker in manifestation.  For each of these the path of progress differs and each pursues its course.  As has been noted, for a long period of time, the soul identifies itself with the form aspect and endeavors to follow the "Path of Death" for that is what the dark path is in fact to the thinker.  Later, through strenuous effort, this identification ceases; the soul becomes aware of itself, and of its own path, or dharma, and follows then the way of light and of life.  It should ever be borne in mind, however, that for the two aspects their own path is the right path and that the impulses which lie hidden in the physical vehicle [403] or in the astral body are not in themselves wrong.  They became wrong from certain angles when twisted from their right use, and it was this realization that led the disciple in the Book of Job to cry out and say "I have perverted that which was right."  The two lines of development are separate and distinct, and this every aspirant has to learn.

When this is grasped, he seeks to aid the evolution of his forms in two ways; first by refusing to identify himself with them, and secondly, by stimulating them.

Through the bringing in of spiritual force, he will also realize the point in evolution at which his brothers stand, and cease to criticize them for what may be to him wrong action, but which is for them the natural activity of the form during the cycle wherein form and soul are identified and considered the same.