List Of Contents | Contents of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Charles
< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

history of the personal man, is a part of the mechanism which the Self
employs, to mirror itself in a reflection, to embody its powers in an
outward form, to the end of self-expression, selfrealization,
self-knowledge. Therefore the initial impulse behind these dynamic
mind- images comes from the Self and is the descending ray of the
Self; so that it cannot be said that there is any first member of the
series of images, from which the rest arose. The impulse is
beginningless, since it comes from the Self, which is from everlasting.
Desire is not to cease; it is to turn to the Eternal, and so become

11. Since the dynamic mind-images are held together by impulses of
desire, by the wish for personal reward, by the substratum of mental
habit, by the support of outer things desired; therefore, when these
cease, the self reproduction of dynamic mind-images ceases.

We are still concerned with the personal life in its bodily vesture, and
with the process whereby the forces which have upheld it are
gradually transferred to the life of the spiritual man, and build up for
him his finer vesture in a finer world.

How is the current to be changed ? How is the flow of
self-reproductive mind-images, which have built the conditions of life
after life in this world of bondage, to be checked, that the time of
imprisonment may come to an end, the day of liberation dawn?

The answer is given in the Sutra just translated. The driving-force is
withdrawn and directed to the upbuilding of the spiritual body.

When the building impulses and forces are withdrawn, the tendency
to manifest a new psychical body, a new body of bondage, ceases with

12. The difference between that which is past and that which is not yet
come, according to their natures, depends on the difference of phase
of their properties.

Here we come to a high and difficult matter, which has always been
held to be of great moment in the Eastern wisdom: the thought that
the division of time into past, present and future is, in great measure,
an illusion; that past, present, future all dwell together in the eternal

The discernment of this truth has been held to be so necessarily a part
of wisdom, that one of the names of the Enlightened is: "he who has
passed beyond the three times: past, present, future."

So the Western Master said: "Before Abraham was, I am"; and again,
"I am with you always, unto the end of the world"; using the eternal
present for past and future alike. With the same purpose, the Master
speaks of himself as "the alpha and the omega, the beginning and the
end, the first and the last."

And a Master of our own days writes: "I feel even irritated at having
to use these three clumsy wordsÄpast, present, and future. Miserable
concepts of the objective phases of the subjective whole, they are
about as ill adapted for the purpose, as an axe for fine carving."

In the eternal Now, both past and future are consummated.

Bjorklund, the Swedish philosopher, has well stated the same truth: 

"Neither past nor future can exist to God; He lives undividedly,
without limitations, and needs not, as man, to plot out his existence in
a series of moments. Eternity then is not identical with unending time;
it is a different form of existence, related to time as the perfect to the
imperfect ... Man as an entity for himself must have the natural
limitations for the part. Conceived by God, man is eternal in the divine
sense, but conceived ., by himself, man's eternal life is clothed in the
limitations we call time. The eternal is a constant present without
beginning or end, without past or future."

13. These properties, whether manifest or latent, are of the nature of
the Three Potencies.

The Three Potencies are the three manifested modifications of the one
primal material, which stands opposite to perceiving consciousness.
These Three Potencies are called Substance, Force, Darkness; or
viewed rather for their moral colouring, Goodness, Passion, Inertness.
Every material manifestation is a projection of substance into the
empty space of darkness. Every mental state is either good, or
passional, or inert. So, whether subjective or objective, latent or
manifest, all things that present themselves to the perceiving
consciousness are compounded of these three. This is a fundamental
doctrine of the Sankhya system.

14. The external manifestation of an object takes place when the
transformations ore in the same phase.

We should be inclined to express the same law by saying, for example,
that a sound is audible, when it consists of vibrations within the
compass of the auditory nerve; that an object is visible, when either
directly or by reflection, it sends forth luminiferous vibrations within
the compass of the retina and the optic nerve. Vibrations below or
above that compass make no impression at all, and the object remains
invisible; as, for example, a kettle of boiling water in a dark room,
though the kettle is sending forth heat vibrations closely akin to light.

So, when the vibrations of the object and those of the perceptive
power are in the same phase, the external manifestation of the object
takes place.

There seems to be a further suggestion that the appearance of an
object in the "present," or its remaining hid in the "past," or "future,"
is likewise a question of phase, and, just as the range of vibrations
perceived might be increased by the development of finer senses, so
the perception of things past, and things to come, may be easy from
a higher point of view.

15. The paths of material things and of states of consciousness are
distinct, as is manifest from the fact that the same object may produce
different impressions in different minds.

Having shown that our bodily condition and circumstances depend on
Karma, while Karma depends on perception and will, the sage
recognizes the fact that from this may be drawn the false deduction
that material things are in no wise different from states of mind. The
same thought has occurred, and still occurs, to all philosophers; and,
by various reasonings, they all come to the same wise conclusion; that
the material world is not made by the mood of any human mind, but
is rather the manifestation of the totality of invisible Being, whether
we call this Mahat, with the ancients, or Ether, with the moderns.

16. Nor do material objects defend upon a single mind, for how could
they remain objective to others, if that mind ceased to think of them?

This is but a further development of the thought of the preceding
Sutra, carrying on the thought that, while the universe is spiritual, yet
its material expression is ordered, consistent, ruled by law, not subject
to the whims or affirmations of a single mind. Unwelcome material
things may be escaped by spiritual growth, by rising to a realm above
them, and not by denying their existence on their own plane. So that
our system is neither materialistic, nor idealistic in the extreme sense,
but rather intuitional and spiritual, holding that matter is the
manifestation of spirit as a whole, a reflection or externalization of
spirit, and, like spirit, everywhere obedient to law. The path of
liberation is not through denial of matter but through denial of the
wills of self, through obedience, and that aspiration which builds the
vesture of the spiritual man.

17. An object is perceived, or not perceived, according as the mind is,
or is not, tinged with the colour of the object.

The simplest manifestation of this is the matter of attention. Our minds
apprehend what they wish to apprehend; all else passes unnoticed, or,
on the other hand, we perceive what we resent, as, for example, the
noise of a passing train; while others, used to the sound, do not notice
it at all.

But the deeper meaning is, that out of the vast totality of objects ever
present in the universe, the mind perceives only those which conform
to the hue of its Karma. The rest remain unseen, even though close at

This spiritual law has been well expressed by Emerson:

"Through solidest eternal things the man finds his road as if they did
not subsist, and does not once suspect their being. As soon as he
needs a new object, suddenly he beholds it, and no longer attempts to
pass through it, but takes another way. When he has exhausted for the
time the nourishment to be drawn from any one person or thing, that
object is withdrawn from his observation, and though still in his
immediate neighbourhood, he does not suspect its presence. Nothing
is dead. Men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and
mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window,
sound and well, in some new and strange disguise. Jesus is not dead,
he is very well alive: nor John, nor Paul, nor Mahomet, nor Aristotle;
at times we believe we have seen them all, and could easily tell the
names under which they go."

18. The movements of the psychic nature are perpetually ob jects of
perception, since the Spiritual Man, who is the lord of them, remains

Here is teaching of the utmost import, both for understanding and for

To the psychic nature belong all the ebb and flow of emotion, all
hoping and fearing, desire and hate: the things that make the multitude
of men and women deem themselves happy or miserable. To it also
belong the measuring and comparing, the doubt and questioning,
which, for the same multitude, make up mental life. So that there
results the emotion-soaked personality, with its dark and narrow view
of life: the shivering, terror driven personality that is life itself for all
but all of mankind.

Yet the personality is not the true man, not the living soul at all, but
only a spectacle which the true man observes. Let us under stand this,
therefore, and draw ourselves up inwardly to the height of the
Spiritual Man, who, standing in the quiet light of the Eternal, looks
down serene upon this turmoil of the outer life.

One first masters the personality, the "mind," by thus looking down on
it from above, from within; by steadily watching its ebb and flow, as
objective, outward, and therefore not the real Self. This standing back
is the first step, detachment. The second, to maintain the
vantage-ground thus gained, is recollection.

19. The Mind is not self-luminous, since it can be seen as an object.

This is a further step toward overthrowing the tyranny of the "mind":
the psychic nature of emotion and mental measuring. This psychic self,
the personality, claims to be absolute, asserting that life is for it and
through it; it seeks to impose on the whole being of man its narrow,
materialistic, faithless view of life and the universe; it would clip the
wings of the soaring Soul. But the Soul dethrones the tyrant, by
perceiving and steadily affirming that the psychic self is no true self at
all, not self-luminous, but only an object of observation, watched by
the serene eyes of the Spiritual Man.

20. Nor could the Mind at the same time know itself and things
external to it.

The truth is that the "mind" knows neither external things nor itself.
Its measuring and analyzing, its hoping and fearing, hating and
desiring, never give it a true measure of life, nor any sense of real
values. Ceaselessly active, it never really attains to knowledge; or, if
we admit its knowledge, it ever falls short of wisdom, which comes
only through intuition, the vision of the Spiritual Man.

Life cannot be known by the "mind," its secrets cannot be learned
through the "mind." The proof is, the ceaseless strife and contradiction
of opinion among those who trust in the mind. Much less can the
"mind" know itself, the more so, because it is pervaded by the illusion
that it truly knows, truly is.

True knowledge of the "mind" comes, first, when the Spiritual Man,
arising, stands detached, regarding the "mind" from above, with quiet
eyes, and seeing it for the tangled web of psychic forces that it truly
is. But the truth is divined long before it is clearly seen, and then
begins the long battle of the "mind,' against the Real, the "mind"
fighting doggedly, craftily, for its supremacy.

21. If the Mind be thought of as seen by another more inward Mind,
then there would be an endless series of perceiving Minds, and a
confusion of memories.

One of the expedients by which the "mind" seeks to deny and thwart
the Soul, when it feels that it is beginning to be circumvented and seen
through, is to assert that this seeing is the work of a part of itself, one
part observing the other, and thus leaving no need nor place for the
Spiritual Man.

To this strategy the argument is opposed by our philosopher, that this
would be no true solution, but only a postponement of the solution.
For we should have to find yet another part of the mind to view the
first observing part, and then another to observe this, and so on,

The true solution is, that the Spiritual Man looks down upon the
psychic nature, and observes it; when he views the psychic pictures
gallery, this is "memory," which would be a hopeless, inextricable
confusion, if we thought of one part of the "mind," with its memories,
viewing another part, with memories of its own.

The solution of the mystery lies not in the "mind" but beyond it, in the
luminous life of the risen Lord, the Spiritual Man.

22. When the psychical nature takes on the form of the spiritual
intelligence, by reflecting it, then the Self becomes conscious of its
own spiritual intelligence.

We are considering a stage of spiritual life at which the psychical
nature has been cleansed and purified. Formerly, it reflected in its
plastic substance the images of the earthy; purified now, it reflects the
image of the heavenly, giving the spiritual intelligence a visible form.
The Self, beholding that visible form, in which its spiritual intelligence
has, as it were, taken palpable shape, thereby reaches self-recognition,
self-comprehension. The Self sees itself in this mirror, and thus
becomes not only conscious, but self-conscious. This is, from one
point of view, the purpose of the whole evolutionary process.

23. The psychic nature, taking on the colour of the Seer and of things
seen, leads to the perception of all objects.

In the unregenerate man, the psychic nature is saturated with images
of material things, of things seen, or heard, or tasted, or felt; and this
web of dynamic images forms the ordinary material and driving power
of life. The sensation of sweet things tasted clamours to be renewed,
and drives the man into effort to obtain its renewal; so he adds image
to image, each dynamic and importunate, piling up sin's intolerable

Then comes regeneration, and the washing away of sin, through the
fiery, creative power of the Soul, which burns out the stains of the
psychic vesture, purifying it as gold is refined in the furnace. The
suffering of regeneration springs from this indispensable purifying.

Then the psychic vesture begins to take on the colour of the Soul, no
longer stained, but suffused with golden light; and the man red
generate gleams with the radiance of eternity. Thus the Spiritual Man

< < Previous Page     Next Page > >

Other sites: