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48. As a result of this perfection, there comes rapidity of action like that of mind, perception independent of the organs, and mastery over root substance.

We have been considering the many results of [353] the meditation process when carried forward to perfection and we are now reaching a climax.  The seer has achieved the consummation of the alignment process.  His triple personal self has been purified, adjusted and controlled.  Each of the three bodies is vibrating in tune with the note of the ego or higher self, which in turn is in process of synchronizing with the Monad or divine self, the spirit on its own plane.  The great "Son of Mind," the thinker on the higher levels of the mental plane, is the dominating factor now, and the result of this domination is triple, each effect manifesting on all planes yet primarily on one or another.  These results are:

1. Rapidity of action like that of the mind.  The term "swift as a thought" is frequently used when an expression of the intensest rapidity is required.  In the yogin his acts on the physical plane are so synchronized with his thought processes, his decisions are so instantaneous and his ends so swiftly achieved that his physical plane life is characterized by a most startling activity and most amazing results.  Of him it can be said in degree as is said of the Creator:  "God meditated, visualized, spoke, and the worlds were made."

2. Perception independent of organs.  The adept is not dependent upon the organs of sense for the acquiring of knowledge, nor is he dependent upon the sixth sense, the mind.

With him, the intuition has been developed into a usable instrument, and direct apprehension of all knowledge, independently of the reasoning faculty [354] or rationalizing mind is his privilege and right.  The mind need no longer be used to apprehend reality, the senses need no longer be employed as mediums of contact.  He will employ all six but in a different manner.  The mind will be utilized as a transmitter to the brain of the wishes, and plans and purposes of the one Master, the Christ within; the five senses will be transmitters of different types of energy to the chosen objectives, and herein opens up a vast field of study for the interested investigator.  The eye is one of the most potent transmitters of energy, and it was the knowledge of this in the olden days which gave rise to the belief anent the evil eye.  There is much to be discovered concerning sight for this study will include not only physical vision, but the development of the third eye, clairvoyance, perfect spiritual vision and on up to that inconceivable mystery covered by the terms the "All-seeing Eye" and the "Eye of Shiva."  The hands are potent factors in all magical work of healing and utilization of the sense of touch is an esoteric science.  The sublimation of the sense of hearing and its utilization to hear the Voice of the Silence, or the music of the spheres, is a department of occult teaching of the most profound kind and those adepts who have specialized in the science of sight, and the science of sound are some of the most erudite and advanced in the hierarchy.

The other senses are capable too of profound unfoldments, but they are peculiarly hidden in [355] the mysteries of initiation, and more anent them is not possible here.  The three senses of hearing, touch and sight are the three characteristics of the three human races and the three planes in our three worlds.


1. Hearing


Physical plane


Response to sound.

2. Touch


Astral plane


Response to touch or vibration.

3. Sight


Mental body


Response to vision.


This third sense primarily affects our race and hence the word of the prophet "Where there is no vision the people perish."  The development of sight and the achievement of spiritual insight is the great objective of our race, and the objective of all Raja Yoga work.  This may be called "illumination" by the mystic or "pure vision" by the occultist but it is one and the same thing.

The two other senses are as yet veiled; their true significance will be unfolded in the sixth or seventh races which are to succeed ours, and their true relation is to the buddhic or intuitional and the atmic or spiritual planes.

3. Mastery over root substance.  This root substance is the pradhana and is sometimes called the root of all, primordial substance, and root matter.  Rama Prasad in his translation and commentary has these words:  "Mastery over the Pradhana means the power of control over all [356] the modifications of the Prakriti.  These three attainments  .  .  .  are obtained by conquering the substantive appearance of the five instruments of sensation."

It is interesting to note that these three attainments demonstrate:

a. The inability of matter and form to hold the yogi confined,

b. The powerlessness of substance to prevent the yogi cognizing any aspect of manifestation he desires,

c. The helplessness of matter to withstand the will of the yogi.

These three factors explain how it is that the adept can create at will and his freedom from the limitations of matter forms the basis of all white magic.

It might be noted in conclusion that this capacity is in itself relative, for the adept is freed from limitation in the three worlds of human endeavour.  The Master has perfect freedom of action in the three worlds plus the buddhic realm, whilst the Christ and those of similar initiation have this freedom in the five worlds of human evolution.

49. The man who can discriminate between the soul and the spirit achieves supremacy over all conditions and becomes omniscient.

The condition of the man who can do this has been well described in the comment of Charles Johnston on this sutra and the beauty of his [357] thought will be seen by the study of his words as follows:

"The spiritual man is enmeshed in the web of the emotions; desire, fear, ambition, passion; and impeded by the mental forms of separateness and materialism.  When these meshes are sundered, these obstacles completely overcome, then the spiritual man stands forth in his own wide world, strong, mighty, wise.  He uses divine powers, with a divine scope and energy, working together with divine Companions.  To such a one it is said:  'Thou art now a disciple, able to stand, able to hear, able to see, able to speak, thou hast conquered desire and attained to self-knowledge, thou hast seen thy soul in its bloom and recognized it, and heard the voice of the silence.'"

The wonderful synthesis of the teaching is nowhere more apparent than in this sutra, for the point reached here is of a higher order again than the one referred to in Book II.  Sutra 45, and intermediate to the condition mentioned there and that referred to in Book IV.  Sutra 30 to 34.

In Book I.  Sutra 4, we find the true man entangled in the meshes of the psychic nature and the light in him veiled and hidden.  By learning to discriminate between the true self and the lower personal self he disentangles himself, the light which is in him is seen and he is liberated.  Having achieved liberation, developed the soul-powers and attained mastery, there opens up before him a still vaster and wider experience and realization.  He can begin to expand his consciousness from the planetary to the solar, and group consciousness [358] can be developed into God consciousness.  The first step towards this is stated in the sutra we are now considering, which is more fully dealt with and hinted at in the final book.  The rules for this expansion are not given, for they concern the development of the Master and the unfoldment of the Christ into that higher state of being which is for Him possible, but the fourth book touches on the preparatory stages and hints at further possibilities.  Here the first basic requirement is touched upon, discrimination between the soul, the Christ within and the spirit or Father aspect.  Intelligent activity has been demonstrated, based upon an unfoldment of the love nature.  With safety now the spirit or will aspect can be developed and power delivered into the hands of the Christ.

Three terms serve to throw light on this process of unfoldment.

The first great realization which the aspirant has to achieve is that of omnipresence; he has to realize his unity with all, and the oneness of his soul with all other souls.  He has to find God in his own heart and in every form of life.  Then, as an initiate, he arrives at omniscience or all-knowledge, and the Halls of Learning and of Wisdom render up to him their secrets.  He becomes a Christ, a knower of all things, knowing what is in the heart of the Father and in the hearts of men.  Finally, he can eventually achieve omnipotence or all-power, when the keys of Heaven will be handed to the Son of Man and all power will be his.


50. By a passionless attitude towards this attainment and towards all soul-powers, the one who is free from the seeds of bondage, attains the condition of isolated unity.

The isolated unity referred to here is that of complete separation from all form aspects and the achievement of spiritual Oneness.  It is aloofness from the material consciousness and a living in the spiritual consciousness.  It is harmony with the spirit and disharmony with matter.  It involves identification with the Father in Heaven, and a true understanding of the word of the Master of all the Masters, "I and My Father are one." A proper sense of values has been established and the powers which have been developed, and the perceptions which have been gained are seen as having in them the "seeds of bondage" and therefore with them the true yogin does not concern himself.  At will and in service he will perceive that which is needed; at will and in service he will employ the occult powers, but he himself remains detached, and freed from all karmic limitations.

51. There should be entire rejection of all allurements from all forms of being, even the celestial, for the recurrence of evil contacts remains possible.

Rama Prasad's translation is illuminating and should be quoted here.  It runs as follows:

"When the presiding deities invite, there should [360] be no attachment and no smile of satisfaction, contact with the undesirable being again possible."

And Dvivedi's interpretation gives still another angle:

"There should be entire distinction of pleasure or pride in the invitations by the powers of various places, for there is possibility of the repetition of evil."

The yogin or disciple has achieved his objective.  He has (through dispassion and discrimination) freed himself from the trammels of form and stands free and liberated.  But he needs to be on his guard for "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall."  Form life ever beckons, and the allurements of the great illusion are ever present.  The emancipated soul must turn his eyes away from the invitation of the "presiding deities" (those lives who in the three worlds form the sum total of plane life) and fix them on those more spiritual aspects which constitute the life of God Himself.

Even the realm of the soul itself, and the "Voice of the Gods," as it is called, are seen to have latent in them the seeds of attachment; therefore, turning his back upon all that he has gained, and putting behind him all thought of the perfections achieved and the powers developed, the Son of God, the Christ in manifestation, again presses forward towards a higher goal.  At every stage of the path, the injunction sounds forth:  "Forgetting the things which are behind, press forward" (Phil: IV.), and every new initiation but marks [361] the commencement of a new cycle of endeavour.

Commentators upon this sutra point out that there are four classes of chelas or disciples.  These are:

1. Those whom the light is just beginning to illumine.  They are called "observant of practice," and are those who are just entering the Path.  These are the probationers, the aspirants.

2. Those whose intuition is awakening and who demonstrate a corresponding development of psychic power.  This is a stage of great danger for such disciples are apt to be allured by the possibilities of power which the possession of psychic faculty opens up.  They are apt to be deluded and to consider that psychic power is an indication of spiritual growth and unfoldment.  Such is not the case.

3. Those disciples who have overcome all sense attractions and cannot be deluded by the form aspect in the three worlds.  They have conquered the senses and are victors over the form nature.

4. Those who have passed beyond all the above and who stand firm in the true spiritual consciousness.  These are the illuminated ones, who have progressed through the seven stages of illumination.  See Book II., Sutra 27.

If the student will here study Book III.  Sutra 26, and the commentary upon it, he will gain some idea of the nature of these worlds of form and their presiding deities whose voices seek to lure the aspirant off the path into the realm of illusion.  He will find it also of interest to contrast and compare the first four classes of spirits enumerated [362] there with these four types of disciples.  Everything in the three worlds is a reflection of that which is found in the heavenly realms and much may be gained through a comprehension of the great Hermetic aphorism, "As above, so below."  That reflection is what constitutes evil; that reverse aspect of reality forms the great illusion, and with these the sons of God have no concern.  It is evil where they are concerned but in no other sense.  The forms of life in these worlds, and the lives animating those forms are good and right in themselves and are pursuing their own evolutionary path, but their immediate objective and their state of consciousness is not synchronized with that of the evolving disciple and therefore with them there must be no trafficking.

52. Intuitive knowledge is developed through the use of the discriminative faculty when there is one-pointed concentration upon moments and their continuous succession.

It has been said that a complete understanding of the Law of Cycles would bring man to a high degree of initiation.  This Law of Periodicity underlies all the processes of nature and its study would lead a man out of the world of objective effects into that of subjective causes.  It has also been said that time itself is simply a succession of states of consciousness and this is true of an atom, a man or a God.  It is this truth which underlies the great systems of mental science and Christian Science in the occident, and many of the [363] oriental philosophies.  This sutra gives the key to the relation between matter and mind, or between substance and its informing soul, and this can be realized when the words of a Hindu commentator are considered.  He says:

"As an atom is a substance in which minuteness reaches its limit, so a moment is a division of time in which minuteness reaches its limit.  Or a moment is that much of time which an atom takes in leaving the position in space it occupies and reaching the next point.  The succession of moments is the non-cessation of the glow thereof."

When we can realize that an atom and a moment are one and the same, and that back of these lies the Realizer or Cognizer of both, we have got the clue to all states of consciousness itself, and to the nature of energy.  We shall also have reached a true understanding of the Eternal Now, and a just appreciation of the significance of the past, the present, and the future.  This, we are told here, can be gained by concentrated meditation upon time and its units.

It might be appropriate here to point out that the various kinds of concentration dealt with in this third book are not applicable or appropriate to all types of aspirants.  Men are found to exist in seven main types, with distinguishing characteristics and natures and with definite qualities predisposing them to certain definite aspects of the Path of Return.  Certain types with mathematical bent and with a tendency to divine geometry and space and time concepts, will with wisdom follow the method of developing intuitive [364] knowledge, dealt with in this sutra; others will find it of great difficulty and would wisely turn to other forms of concentrated meditation.

53. From this intuitive knowledge is born the capacity to distinguish (between all beings) and to cognize their genus, qualities and position in space.

The difficulty of this sutra will be obviated if a free paraphrase is here given.

"Through the development of the intuition there will arise exact knowledge of the sources of the manifested life, of its characteristics or qualities, and of its location within the whole."

Right through the Yoga Sutras it has been made apparent that the divine triplicities are everywhere to be found, and that every form ensouling a life (and there is naught else in manifestation) is to be known as:

1. Life.  The life of God emanates from its source in seven streams, emanations or "breaths," and every form in the objective world is the expression of a life as breathed forth on one or other of these streams.  The development of the intuition enables the seer to know the nature of the life atom.  This is inferred in the word "genus." The modern occultist might prefer the word "ray," and the Christian "pneuma" or spirit, but the thought is one.

2. Consciousness or soul.  All these living forms of divine life are conscious, even though all states of consciousness are not the same but range from the life of the atom of substance, limited [365] and circumscribed as it may be, to that of a solar Logos.  The state of the conscious response of all forms to their environment, exoteric and unseen, produces the varying characteristics plus the distinction produced by:

a. Ray,

b. Plane of manifestation,

c. Rate of vibration,

d. Point of development,

and these characteristics form the quality referred to in the sutra.  This is the subjective aspect in contradistinction to the objective and the essential.

3. Form or body.   This is the exoteric aspect, that which emerges from the subjective as a result of spiritual urge.  The position in space is that part of the body of the Heavenly Man in which any atom or form has its locale.  Here it should be remembered that according to the occult student "space is an entity" (Secret Doctrine I. 583), and this entity is one and the same as the cosmic Christ, the "body of Christ," referred to by St. Paul in I. Cor.  XII.

In this sutra, therefore, it is made apparent that the liberated yogi who has developed the intuition can know all things about all forms of life, and this involves a knowledge of:


1. Genus.

2. Quality.

3. Position in Space



 Place in body of Heavenly Man.




Life aspect




Subjective nature

Objective form.



Of this knower we can apply the words of the teacher whose works are found in the archives of the Lodge:

"To him, standing before the Spark, the flame and the smoke are equally to be seen.

To him, the shadow veils the reflection and yet the light is seen.

To him, the tangible but demonstrates the intangible, and both reveal the spirit, whilst form, color and number speak aloud the word of God."

54. This intuitive knowledge, which is the great Deliverer, is omnipresent and omniscient and includes the past, the present and the future in the Eternal Now.

The only part of this sutra which is not clear even to the superficial reader is the significance of the words Eternal Now, and these it is not possible to comprehend until soul-consciousness is developed.  To say that time is a succession of states of consciousness and that the present is lost in the past instantaneously, and merged in the future as it is experienced, is of small avail to the average student.  To say that there is a time when sight is lost in vision, when the sum total of life anticipations are realized in a moment of accomplishment and that this persists for ever, and to point to a state of consciousness in which there is no sequence of events and no succession of realizations is to speak in a language of mystery.  Yet so it is and will be.  When the aspirant has reached his goal he knows the true significance of his immortality and the true nature of his liberation.  [367] Space and time become for him meaningless terms.  The only true Reality is seen to be the great central life force, remaining unchanged and unmoved at the centre of the changing evanescent temporal forms.

"I am," says the human unit and regards himself as the self, and identifies himself with the changing form.  Time and space are for him the true realities.  "I am That," says the aspirant and seeks to know himself as he truly is, a living word, part of a cosmic phrase.  For him space no longer exists; he knows himself as omnipresent.  "I am That I am," says the freed soul, the liberated man, the Christ.  Neither time nor space exist for him, and omniscience and omnipresence are his distinctive qualities.

In his comment upon this sutra, Charles Johnston quotes from St. Columba and says:

"Some there are, though very few, to whom divine grace has granted this:  that they can clearly and most distinctly see, at one and the same moment, as though under one ray of the sun, even the entire circuit of the whole world with its surroundings of ocean and sky, the innermost part of their mind being marvellously enlarged."

It might be helpful also if the brief comment of Dvivedi were quoted here as it is well put, and the state  of  consciousness arrived at concisely summed up:

"In aphorism XXXIII. of this section we have already described the nature of taroka-jnana—the knowledge that saves from the bonds of the world.  The discriminative knowledge described [368] here results in taraka, the knowledge which is the end and aim of yoga.  It relates to all objects from the pradhana (spirit-matter.  A.B.) to the bhutas (elements.  forms.  A.B.), as also to all conditions of these objects.  Moreover it produces knowledge of all things simultaneously, and is quite independent of the ordinary rules of cognition.  Hence it is the highest knowledge which can be desired by the yogin, and it is a sure index of Kaivalya (state of absolute oneness.  A. B.) to be described in the following aphorism as its result."

55. When the objective forms and the soul have reached a condition of equal purity, then is At-one-ment achieved and liberation results.

That which veils the light of the soul has been rendered pure, and thus the light of God streams forth.  That which proved a hindrance and an obstacle to the full expression of divinity in manifestation has been so dealt with that now it serves as an adequate expression and means of service.  The soul can now function freely and intelligently in the three worlds because complete unity has been reached between the lower and the higher man.

The soul and its vehicles form a unit and are at one; complete alignment of the bodies has been achieved and the Son of God can function freely on earth.  Thus has the great objective been reached and through a following of the eight means of yoga the soul can manifest through the [369] lower threefold man, and in its turn form a medium of expression for the spirit.  Matter has been brought into a state where its vibration can synchronise with that of the soul, and the result is that—for the first time—spirit can make its presence felt, for "matter is the vehicle for the manifestation of soul on this plane of experience and the soul is the vehicle for the manifestation of spirit on a higher turn of the spiral.  These three are a trinity synthesized by life which pervades them all."  To the man who has achieved this there is no rebirth.  He is free and liberated, and can say with full conscious realization of the significance of the words:

"My life (the lower physical life) is hid with Christ (the soul life) in God (the spirit)."  (Col:  III.  3.)