Yoga Practice



We have thought it well to make a slight change in the arrangement of these lessons--that is, in the order in which they should appear. We had contemplated making this Seventh Lesson a series of Mental Drills, intended to develop certain of the mental faculties, but we have decided to postpone the same until a later lesson, believing that by so doing a more logical sequence or order of arrangement will be preserved.

In this lesson we will tell you of the unfoldment of consciousness in Man, and in the next lesson, and probably in the one following it, we shall present to you a clear statement regarding the states of mind, below and over consciousness--a most wonderful region, we assure you, and one that has been greatly misunderstood and misinterpreted. This will lead up to the subject of the cultivation of the various faculties--both conscious and outside of consciousness, and the series will be concluded by three lessons going right to the heart of this part of the subject, and giving certain rules and instruction calculated to develop Man's wonderful "thought-machine" that will be of the greatest interest and importance to all of our students. When the lessons are concluded you will see that the present arrangement is most logical and proper.

In this lesson we take up the subject of "The Unfoldment of Consciousness"--a most interesting subject. Many of us have been in the habit of identifying "consciousness" with mind, but as we proceed with this series of lessons we will see that that which is called "consciousness" is but a small portion of the mind of the individual, and even that small part is constantly changing its states, and unfolding new states undreamed of.

"Consciousness" is a word we use very often in considering the science of the Mind. Let us see what it means. Webster defines it as one's "knowledge of sensations and mental operations, or of what passes in one's own mind." Halleck defines it as "that undefinable characteristic of mental states which causes one to be aware of them." But, as Halleck states, "Consciousness is incapable of definition. To define anything we are obliged to describe it in terms of something else. And there is nothing else in the world like consciousness, hence we can define it only in terms of itself, and that is very much like trying to lift one's self by one's own boot straps. Consciousness is one of the greatest mysteries that confronts us."

Before we can understand what Consciousness really is, we must know just what "Mind" really is--and that knowledge is lacking, notwithstanding the many injenious theories evolved in order to explain the mystery. The metaphysicians do not throw much light on the subject, and as for materialistic science, listen to what Huxley says: "How it comes about that anything so remarkable as a state of consciousness comes about by the result of irritating nervous tissue, is just as unaccountable as the appearance of the genie when Aladdin rubbed his lamp."

To many persons the words "consciousness" and "mental process," or "thought" are regarded as synonymous. And, in fact, psychologists so held until quite recently. But now it is generally accepted as a fact that mental processes are not limited to the field of consciousness, and it is now generally taught that the field of sub-consciousness (that is, "under" conscious) mentation, is of a much greater extent than that of conscious mentation.

Not only is it true that the mind can hold in consciousness but one fact at any one instant, and that, consequently, only a very small fraction of our knowledge can be in consciousness at any one moment, but it is also true that the consciousness plays but a very small part in the totality of mental processes, or mentation. The mind is not conscious of the greater portion of its own activities--Maudsley says that only ten per cent comes into the field of consciousness. Taine has stated it in these words: "Of the world which makes up our being, we only perceive the highest points--the lighted up peaks of a continent whose lower levels remain in the shade."

But it is not our intention to speak of this great subconscious region of the mind at this point, for we shall have much to do with it later on. It is mentioned here in order to show that the enlargement or development of consciousness is not so much a matter of "growth" as it is an "unfoldment"--not a new creation or enlargement from outside, but rather an unfoldment outward from within.

From the very beginning of Life--among the Particles of Inorganic Substance, may be found traces of something like Sensation, and response thereto. Writers have not cared to give to this phenomenon the name of "sensation," or "sensibility," as the terms savored too much of "senses," and "sense-organs." But Modern Science has not hesitated to bestow the names so long withheld. The most advanced scientific writers do not hesitate to state that in reaction, chemical response, etc., may be seen indications of rudimentary sensation. Haeckel says: "I cannot imagine the simplest chemical and physical process without attributing the movement of the material particles to unconscious sensation. The idea of Chemical Affinity consists in the fact that the various chemical elements perceive the qualitative differences in other elements and experience 'pleasure' or 'revulsion' at contacts with them, and execute their specific movements on this ground." He also speaks of the sensitiveness of "plasm," or the substance of "living bodies," as being "only a superior degree of the general irritability of substance."

Chemical reaction, between atoms, is spoken of by chemists as a "sensitive" reaction. Sensitiveness is found even in the Particles of Inorganic Substance, and may be regarded as the first glimmerings of thought. Science recognizes this when it speaks of the unconscious sensation of the Particles as _athesis_ or "feeling," and the unconscious Will that responds thereto, as _tropesis_, or "inclination." Haeckel says of this that "Sensation perceives the different qualities of the stimuli, and feeling the quantity," and also, "We may ascribe the feeling of pleasure and pain (in the contact with qualitatively differing atoms) to all atoms, and so explain the elective affinity in chemistry (attraction of loving atoms, inclination; repulsion of hating atoms, disinclination)."

It is impossible to form a clear or intelligent idea of the phenomenon of chemical affinity, etc., unless we attribute to the Atoms something akin to Sensation. It is likewise impossible to understand the actions of the Molecules, unless we think of them as possessing something akin to Sensation. The Law of Attraction is based upon Mental States in Substance. The response of Inorganic Substance to Electricity and Magnetism is also another evidence of Sensation and the response thereto.

In the movements and operations of crystal-life we obtain evidences of still a little higher forms of Sensation and response thereto. The action of crystallization is very near akin to that of some low forms of plasmic action. In fact, the "missing link" between plant life and the crystals is claimed to have been found in some recent discoveries of Science, the connection being found in certain crystals in the interior of plants composed of carbon combinations, and resembling the inorganic crystals in many ways.

Crystals grow along certain lines and forms up to a certain size. Then they begin to form "baby-crystals" on their surfaces, which then take on the growth--the processes being almost analogous to cell-life. Processes akin to fermentation have been detected among chemicals. In many ways it may be seen that the beginning of Mental Life must be looked for among the Minerals and Particles--the latter, be it remembered, composing not only inorganic, but also Organic Substance.

As we advance in the scale of life, we are met with constantly increasing unfoldment of mentation, the simple giving place to the complex manifestations. Passing by the simple vital processes of the monera, or single-celled "things," we notice the higher forms of cell life, with growing sensibility or sensation. Then we come to the cell-groups, in which the individual cells manifest sensation of a kind, coupled with a community-sensation. Food is distinguished, selected and captured, and movements exercised in pursuit of the same. The living thing is beginning to manifest more complex mental states. Then the stage of the lower plants is reached, and we notice the varied phenomena of that region, evidencing an increased sensitiveness, although there are practically no signs of special organs of sense. Then we pass on to the higher plant life, in which begin to manifest certain "sensitive-cells," or groups of such cells, which are rudimentary sense organs. Then the forms of animal life, and considered with rising degrees of sensations and growing sense apparatus, or sense organs, gradually unfolding into something like nervous systems.

Among the lower animal forms there are varying degrees of mentation with accompanying nerve centers and sense-organs, but little or no signs of consciousness, gradually ascending until we have dawning consciousness in the reptile kingdom, etc., and fuller consciousness and a degree of intelligent thought in the still higher forms, gradually increasing until we reach the plane of the highest mammals, such as the horse, dog, elephant, ape, etc., which animals have complex nervous systems, brains and well developed consciousness. We need not further consider the forms of mentation in the forms of life below the Conscious stage, for that would carry us far from our subject.

Among the higher forms of animal life, after a "dawn period" or semi-consciousness, we come to forms of life among the lower animals possessing a well developed degree of mental action and Consciousness, the latter being called by psychologists "Simple Consciousness," but which term we consider too indefinite, and which we will term "Physical Consciousness," which will give a fair idea of the thing itself. We use the word "Physical" in the double sense of "External," and "Relating to the material structure of a living being," both of which definitions are found in the dictionaries. And that is just what Physical Consciousness really is--an "awareness" in the mind, or a "consciousness" of the "external" world as evidenced by the senses; and of the "body" of the animal or person. The animal or person thinking on the plane of Physical Consciousness (all the higher animals do, and many men seem unable to rise much higher) identifies itself with the physical body, and is conscious only of thoughts of that body and the outside world. It "knows," but not being conscious of mental operations, or of the existence of its mind, it does not "know that it knows." This form of consciousness, while infinitely above the mentation of the nonconscious plane of "sansation," is like a different world of thought from the consciousness of the highly developed intellectual man of our age and race.

It is difficult for a man to form an idea of the Physical Consciousness of the lower animals and savages, particularly as he finds it difficult to understand his own consciousness except by the act of being conscious. But observation and reason have given us a fair degree of understanding of what this Physical Consciousness of the animal is like--or at least in what respect it differs from our own consciousness. Let us take a favorite illustration. A horse standing out in the cold sleet and rain undoubtedly _feels_ the discomfort, and possibly pain, for we know by observation that animals feel both. But he is not able to analyze his mental states and wonder when his master will come out to him--think how cruel it is to keep him out of the warm stable--wonder whether he will be taken out in the cold again tomorrow--feel envious of other horses who are indoors--wonder why he is compelled to be out cold nights, etc., etc.,--in short, he does not think as would a reasoning man under such circumstances. He is aware of the discomfort, just as would be the man--and he would run home if he could just as would the man. But he is not able to pity himself, nor to think about his personality as would the man, nor does he wonder whether such a life is worth living, after all. He "knows," but is not able to think of himself as knowing--he does not "know that he knows," as we do. He experiences the physical pain and discomfort, but is spared the mental discomfort and concern arising from the physical, which man so often experiences.

The animal cannot shift its consciousness from the sensations of the outer world to the inner states of being. It is not able to "know itself." The difference may be clumsily illustrated by the example of a man feeling, seeing or hearing something that gives him a pleasurable sensation, or the reverse. He is conscious of the feeling or sensation, and that it is pleasurable or otherwise. That is Physical Consciousness, and the animal may share it with him. But it stops right there with the animal. But the man may begin to wonder _why_ the sensation is pleasurable and to associate it with other things and persons; or speculate _why_ he dislikes it, what will follow, and so on--that is Mental Consciousness, because he recognizes an inward self, and is turning his attention _inward_. He may see another man and experience a feeling or sensation of attraction or aversion--like or dislike. This is Physical Consciousness, and an animal also may experience the sensation. But the man goes further than the animal, and wonders just what there is about the man he likes or detests, and may compare himself to the man and wonder whether the latter feels as he does, and so on--this is Mental Consciousness.

In animals the mental gaze is freely directed outward, and never returns upon itself. In man the mental gaze may be directed inward, or may return inward after its outward journey. The animal "knows"--the man not only "knows," but he "knows that he knows," and is able to investigate that "knowing" and speculate about it. We call this higher consciousness Mental Consciousness. The operation of Physical Consciousness we call Instinct--the operation of Mental Consciousness we call Reason.

The Man who has Mental Consciousness not only "feels" or "senses" things, but he has words or mental concepts of these feelings and sensations and may think of himself as experiencing them, separating himself, the sensation or feeling, and the thing felt or sensed. The man is able to think: "I feel; I hear; I see; I smell; I taste; I desire; I do," etc., etc. The very words indicate Mental Consciousness recognizing mental states and giving them names, and also recognizing something called "I" that experiences the sensations. This latter fact has caused psychologists to speak of this stage as "Self-consciousness," but we reserve this idea of the "I" consciousness for a higher stage.

The animal experiences something that gives it the impressions or feeling that we call "pain," "hurt," "pleasant," "sweet," "bitter," etc., all being forms of sensation, but it is unable to think of them in words. The pain seems to be a part of itself, although possibly associated with some person or thing that caused it. The study of the unfoldment of consciousness in a young baby will give one a far better idea of the grades and distinctions than can be obtained from reading mere words.

Mental Consciousness is a growth. As Halleck says, "Many persons never have more than a misty idea of such a mental attitude. They always take themselves for granted, and never turn the gaze inward." It has been doubted whether the savages have developed Self-consciousness, and even many men of our own race seem to be but little above the animals in intellect and consciousness. They do not seem able to "know themselves" even slightly. To them the "I" seems to be a purely physical thing--a body having desires and feeling but little more. They are able to feel an act, but scarcely more. They are not able to set aside any physical "not--I," being utterly unable to think of themselves as anything else but a Body. The "I" and the Body are one with them, and they seem incapable of distinguishing between them.

Then comes another stage in which mental-consciousness proper sets in. The man begins to realize that he has "a mind." He is able to "know himself" as a mental being, and to turn the gaze inward a little. This period of development may be noticed in young children. For a time they speak of themselves as a third person, until finally they begin to say "I." Then a little later comes the ability to know their own mental states as such--they know that they have a mind, and are able to distinguish between it and the body. It is related that some children experience a feeling of terror when they pass into this stage. They exhibit signs of bashfulness and what is commonly termed "self-consciousness" in that sense. Some tell us in after years that when they became aware of themselves as an entity they were overcome with alarm, as if by a sense of loneliness and apartness from the Universe. Young people often feel this way for several years. There seems to be a distinct feeling that the Universe is antagonistic to and set apart from them.

And, although this feeling of separateness and apartness grows less acute as the man grows older, yet it is always present to a greater or less degree until a still higher stage--the Ego-consciousness is reached, when it disappears as we shall see. And this mental-conscious stage is a hard one for many. They are entangled in a mass of mental states which the man thinks is "himself," and the struggle between the real "I" and its confining sheaths is painful. And it becomes still more painful as the end is neared, for as man advances in mental-consciousness and knowledge he feels more keenly and suffers accordingly. Man eats the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge and begins to suffer, and is driven out of the Garden of Eden of the child and primitive races, who live like the birds of the air and concern themselves not about mental states and problems. But there is deliverance ahead in the shape of a higher consciousness, although but few realize it and still fewer have gained it. Perhaps this lesson may point out the way for you.

With the birth of mental-consciousness comes the knowledge that there is a mind in others. Man is able to speculate and reason about the mental states of other men, because he recognizes these states within himself. As man advances in the Mental Consciousness he begins to develop a constantly increasing degree and grade of Intellect, and accordingly he attaches the greatest importance to that part of his nature. Some men worship Intellect as a God, ignoring its limitations which other thinkers have pointed out. Such people are apt to reason that because the human intellect (in its present state of development) reports that such a thing _must_ be, or _cannot_ possibly be, that the matter is forever settled. They ignore the fact that it is possible that Man's Intellect, in its present state of unfoldment, may be able to take cognizance of only a very small part of the Universal Fact, and that there may be regions upon regions of Reality and Fact of which he cannot even dream, so far are they removed from his experience. The unfoldment of a new sense would open out a new world and might bring to light facts that would completely revolutionize our entire world of conceptions by reason of the new information it would give us.

But, nevertheless, from this Mental Consciousness has come the wonderful work of Intellect, as shown in the achievements of Man up to this time, and while we must recognize its limitations, we gladly join in singing its praises. Reason is the tool with which Man is digging into the mine of Facts, bringing to light new treasures every day. This stage of Mental Consciousness is bringing to Man knowledge of himself--knowledge of the Universe--that is well worth the price he pays for it. For Man _does_ pay a price for entrance into this stage--and he pays an increasing price as he advances in its territory, for the higher he advances the more keenly he feels and suffers, as well as enjoys. Capacity for pain is the price Man pays for Attainment, up to a certain stage. His pain passes from the Physical to the Mental consciousness, and he becomes aware of problems that he never dreamt existed, and the lack of an intelligent answer produces mental suffering. And the mental suffering that comes to him from unsatisfied longings, disappointment, the pain of others whom he loves, etc., is far worse than any physical suffering.

The animal lives its animal life and is contented, for it knows no better. If it has enough to eat--a place to sleep--a mate--it is happy. And some men are likewise. But others find themselves involved in a world of mental discomfort. New wants arise, and the lack of satisfaction brings pain. Civilization becomes more and more complex, and brings its new pains as well as new pleasures. Man attaches himself to "things," and each day creates for himself artificial wants, which he must labor to meet. His Intellect may not lead him upward, but instead may merely enable him to invent new and subtle means and ways of gratifying his senses to a degree impossible to the animals. Some men make a religion of the gratification of their sensuality--their appetites--and become beasts magnified by the power of Intellect. Others become vain, conceited and puffed up with a sense of the importance of their Personality (the false "I"). Others become morbidly introspective, and spend their time analyzing and dissecting their moods, motives, feelings, etc. Others exhaust their capacity for pleasure and happiness, but looking outside for it instead of within, and become _blase_, bored, _ennuied_ and an affliction to themselves We mention these things not in a spirit of Pessimism but merely to show that even this great Mental Consciousness has a reverse and ugly side as well as the bright face that has been ascribed to it.

As man reaches the higher stages of this Mental Consciousness, and the next higher stage begins to dawn upon him, he is apt to feel more keenly than ever the insufficiency of Life as it appears to him. He is unable to understand Himself--his origin, destiny, purpose and nature--and he chafes against the bars of the cage of Intellect in which he is confined. He asks himself the question, "Whence come I--Whither go I--What is the object of my Existence?" He becomes dissatisfied with the answers the world has to give him to these questions, and he cries aloud in despair--and but the answer of his own voice comes back to him from the impassable walls with which he is surrounded. He does not realize that his answer must come from Within--but so it is.

Psychology stops when it reaches the limits of Mental Consciousness, or as it calls it "Self-Consciousness," and denies that there is anything beyond--any unexplored regions of the Mind. It laughs at the reports that come from those who have penetrated farther within the recesses of their being, and dismisses the reports as mere "dreams," "fantasies," "illusions," "ecstatic imaginings," "abnormal states," etc., etc. But, nevertheless, there are schools of thought that teach of these higher states, and there are men of all ages and races that have entered them and have reported concerning them. And we feel justified in asking you to take them into consideration.

There are two planes of Consciousness, of which we feel it proper to speak, for we have obtained more or less information regarding them. There are still higher planes, but they belong to higher phases of life than are dealt with here.

The first of these planes or states of Consciousness, above the "Self-Consciousness" of the psychologists (which we have called "Mental Consciousness") may be called "Ego-consciousness," for it brings an "awareness" of the Reality of the Ego. This "awareness" is far above the Self-consciousness of the man who is able to distinguish "I" from "You," and to give it a name. And far above the consciousness that enables a man, as he rises in the scale, to distinguish the "I" from faculty after faculty of the mind, which he is able to recognize as "not--I," until he finds left a mental something that he cannot set aside, which he calls "I"--although this stage alone is very much higher than that of the average of the race, and is a high degree of Attainment itself. It is akin to this last stage, and yet still fuller and more complete. In the dawning of Ego Consciousness the "I" recognizes itself still more clearly and, more than this, is fully imbued with a sense and "awareness" of its own _Reality_, unknown to it before. This awareness is not a mere matter of reasoning--it is a "consciousness," just as is Physical Consciousness and Mental Consciousness something different from an "intellectual conviction." It is a Knowing, not a Thinking or Believing. The "I" _knows_ that it is Real--that it has its roots in the Supreme Reality underlying all the Universe, and partakes of its Essence. It does not know what this Reality is, but it knows that it is Real, and something different from anything in the world of name, form, number, time, space, cause and effect--something Transcendental and surpassing all human experience. And knowing this, it knows that it cannot be destroyed or hurt; cannot die, but is immortal; and that there is Something which is the very essence of Good behind of, underneath and even _in_ itself. And in this certainty and consciousness is there Peace, Understanding and Power. When it fully bursts upon one, Doubt, Fear, Unrest and Dissatisfaction drop from him like wornout garments and he finds himself clothed in the Faith that Knows; Fearlessness; Restfulness; Satisfaction. Then he is able to say understandingly and with meaning "I AM."

This Ego Consciousness is coming to many as a dawning knowledge--the light is just rising from behind the hills. To others it has come gradually and slowly, but fully, and they now live in the full light of the consciousness. Others it has burst upon like a flash, or vision--like a light falling from the clear sky, almost blinding them at first, but leaving them changed men and women, possessed of that something that cannot be understood by or described to those who have not experienced it. This last stage is called "Illumination" in one of its forms.

The man of the Ego Consciousness may not understand the Riddle of the Universe or be able to give an answer to the great Questions of Life--but he has ceased to worry about them--they now disturb him not. He may use his intellect upon them as before, but never with the feeling that in their intellectual solution rests his happiness or peace of mind. He knows that he stands on solid rock, and though the storms of the world of matter and force may beat upon him, he will not be hurt. This and other things he knows. He cannot prove these things to others, for they are not demonstrable by argument--he himself did not get them in that way. And so he says but little about it--but lives his life as if he knew them not, so far as outward appearances go. But inwardly he is a changed man--his life is different from that of his brothers, for while their souls are wrapped in slumber or are tossing in troubled dreams, his Soul has awakened and is gazing upon the world with bright and fearless eyes. There are, of course, different stages or degrees of this Consciousness, just as there are in the lower planes of consciousness. Some have it to a slight degree, while others have it fully. Perhaps this lesson will tell some of its readers just what is the thing that has "happened" to them and which they hesitate to speak of to their closest friend or life companion. To others it may open the way to a fuller realization. We sincerely trust so, for one does not begin to Live until he knows the "I" as Reality.

There is a stage still higher than this last mentioned but it has come to but very few of the race. Reports of it come from all times, races, countries. It has been called "Cosmic Consciousness," and is described as an awareness of the Oneness of Life--that is, a consciousness that the Universe is filled with One Life--an actual perception and "awareness" that the Universe is full of Life, Motion and Mind, and that there is no such thing as Blind Force, or Dead Matter, but that All is alive, vibrating and intelligent. That is, of course, that the _Real Universe_, which is the Essence or background of the Universe of Matter, Energy and Mind, is as they describe. In fact, the description of those who have had glimpses of this state would indicate that they see the Universe as All Mind--that All is Mind at the last. This form of consciousness has been experienced by men here and there--only a few--in moments of "Illumination," the period lasting but a very short space of time, then fading away, leaving but a memory. In the moment of the "Illumination" there came to those experiencing it a sense of "intouch-ness" with Universal Knowledge and Life, impossible to describe, accompanied by a Joy beyond understanding.

Regarding this last, "Cosmic Consciousness," we would state that it means more than an intellectual conviction, belief or realization of the facts as stated, for an actual _vision_ and _consciousness_ of these things came in the moment of Illumination. Some others report that they have a deep abiding sense of the reality of the facts described by the report of the Illumined, but have not experienced the "vision" or ecstasy referred to. These last people seem to have with them always the same mental state as that possessed by those who had the "vision" and passed out of it, carrying with them the remembrance and feeling, but not the actual consciousness attained at the moment. They agree upon the essential particulars of the reports. Dr. Maurice Bucke, now passed out of this plane of life, wrote a book entitled "Cosmic Consciousness," in which he describes a number of these cases, including his own, Walt Whitman's and others, and in which he holds that this stage of consciousness is before the race and will gradually come to it in the future. He holds that the manifestation of it which has come to some few of the race, as above stated, is but the first beams of the sun which are flashing upon us and which are but prophecies of the appearance of the great body of light itself.

We shall not here consider at length the reports of certain great religious personages of the past, who have left records that in moments of great spiritual exaltation they became conscious of "being in the presence of the Absolute," or perhaps within the radius of "the light of Its countenance." We have great respect for these reports, and have every reason for believing many of them authentic, notwithstanding the conflicting reports that have been handed down to us by those experiencing them. These reports are conflicting because of the fact that the minds of those who had these glimpses of consciousness were not prepared or trained to fully understand the nature of the phenomena. They found themselves in the spiritual presence of Something of awful grandeur and spiritual rank, and were completely dazed and bewildered at the sight. They did not understand the nature of the Absolute, and when they had sufficiently recovered they reported that they had been in the "presence of God"--the word "God" meaning their particular conception of Deity--that is, the one appearing as Deity in their own particular religious creed or school. They saw nothing to cause them to identify this Something with their particular conception of Deity, except that they thought that "it _must_ be God," and knowing no other God except their own particular conception, they naturally identifying the Something with "God" as they conceived Him to be. And their reports naturally were along these lines.

Thus the reports of all religions are filled with accounts of the so-called miraculous occurrences. The Catholic saint reports that he "saw of light of God's countenance," and the non-Catholic reports likewise regarding God as he knows him. The Mohammedan reports that he caught a glimpse of the face of Allah, and the Buddhist tells us that he saw Buddha under the tree. The Brahman has seen the face of Brahma, and the various Hindu sects have men who give similar reports regarding their own particular deities. The Persians have given similar reports, and even the ancient Egyptians have left records of similar occurrences. These conflicting reports have led to the belief, on the part of those who did not understand the nature of the phenomena, that these things were "all imagination" and fancy, if indeed not rank falsehood and imposture. But the Yogis know better than this. They know that underneath all these varying reports there is a common ground of truth, which will be apparent to anyone investigating the matter. They know that all of these reports (except a few based upon fraudulent imitation of the real phenomenon) are based upon truth and are but the bewildered reports of the various observers. They know that these people were temporarily lifted above the ordinary plane of consciousness and were made aware of the existence of a Being or Beings higher than mortal. It does not follow that they saw "God" or the Absolute, for there are many Beings of high spiritual growth and development that would appear to the ordinary mortal as a very God. The Catholic doctrine of Angels and Arch-angels is corroborated by those among the Yogis who have been "behind the Veil," and they give us reports of the "Devas" and other advanced Beings. So the Yogi accepts these reports of the various mystics, saints and inspired ones, and accounts for them all by laws perfectly natural to the students of the Yogi Philosophy, but which appear as supernatural to those who have not studied along these lines.

But we cannot speak further of this phase of the subject in this lesson, for a full discussion of it would lead us far away from the phase of the general subject before us. But we wish to be understood as saying that there are certain centers in the mental being of Man from which may come light regarding the existence of the Absolute and higher order of Beings. In fact, from these centers come to man that part of his mental "feelings" that he calls "the religious instinct or intuition." Man does not arrive at that underlying consciousness of "Something Beyond" by means of his Intellect--it is the glimmer of light coming from the higher centers of the Self. He notices these gleams of light, but not understanding them, he proceeds to erect elaborate theological and creedal structures to account for them, the work of the Intellect, however, always lacking that "feeling" that the intuition itself possesses. True religion, no matter under what name it may masquerade, comes from the "heart" and is not comforted or satisfied with these Intellectual explanations, and hence comes that unrest and craving for satisfaction which comes to Man when the light begins to break through.

But we must postpone a further discussion of this part of the subject for the present. We shall consider it again in a future lesson in connection with other matters. As we have said, our next two lessons will take upon the inquiry regarding the regions outside of the consciousness of the ordinary man. You will find it a most fascinating and instructive inquiry and one that will open up new fields of thought for many of you.


I Am a Being far greater and grander than I have as yet conceived. I am unfolding gradually but surely into higher planes of consciousness. I am moving Forward and Upward constantly. My goal is the Realization of the True Self, and I welcome each stage of Unfoldment that leads me toward my aim. I am a manifestation of REALITY. I _AM_.

Suggestions for Further Reading

Source: A Series of Lessons in Raja Yoga, by Yogi Ramacharaka( 1862-1932). This text is in public domain and reproduced and reformatted by Jayaram V for While we have made every effort to reproduce the text correctly we do not accept any responsibility for any errors or omissions or inaccuracies in the reproduction of this text.

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