List Of Contents | Contents of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Charles
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consciousness enters into, and knows, the All consciousness. This is
a being, a being in immortality, rather than a knowing; it is free from
mental analysis or mental forms. It is not an activity of the higher
mind, even the mind of the spiritual man. It is an activity of the soul.
Had Newton risen to this higher stage, he would have known, not the
laws of motion, but that high Being, from whose Life comes eternal
motion. Had Darwin risen to this, he would have seen the Soul, whose
graduated thought and being all evolution expresses. There are,
therefore, these two perceptions: that of living things, and that of the
Life; that of the Soul's works, and that of the Soul itself.

9. One of the ascending degrees is the development of Control. First
there is the overcoming of the mind-impress of excitation. Then comes
the manifestation of the mind-impress of Control. Then the perceiving
consciousness follows after the moment of Control.

This is the development of Control. The meaning seems to be this:
Some object enters the field of observation, and at first violently
excites the mind, stirring up curiosity, fear, wonder; then the
consciousness returns upon itself, as it were, and takes the perception
firmly in hand, steadying itself, and viewing the matter calmly from
above. This steadying effort of the will upon the perceiving
consciousness is Control, and immediately upon it follows perception,
understanding, insight.

 Take a trite example. Supposing one is walking in an Indian forest. A
charging elephant suddenly appears. The man is excited by
astonishment, and, perhaps, terror. But he exercises an effort of will,
perceives the situation in its true bearings, and recognizes that a
certain thing must be done; in this case, probably, that he must get out
of the way as quickly as possible.

Or a comet, unheralded, appears in the sky like a flaming sword. The
beholder is at first astonished, perhaps terror-stricken; but he takes
himself in hand, controls his thoughts, views the apparition calmly,
and finally calculates its orbit and its relation to meteor showers.

These are extreme illustrations; but with all knowledge the order of
perception is the same: first, the excitation of the mind by the new
object impressed on it; then the control of the mind from within; upon
which follows the perception of the nature of the object. Where the
eyes of the spiritual man are open, this will be a true and penetrating
spiritual perception. In some such way do our living experiences come
to us; first, with a shock of pain; then the Soul steadies itself and
controls the pain; then the spirit perceives the lesson of the event, and
its bearing upon the progressive revelation of life.

10. Through frequent repetition of this process, the mind becomes
habituated to it, and there arises an equable flow of perceiving

Control of the mind by the Soul, like control of the muscles by the
mind, comes by practice, and constant voluntary repetition.

As an example of control of the muscles by the mind, take the
ceaseless practice by which a musician gains mastery over his
instrument, or a fencer gains skill with a rapier. Innumerable small
efforts of attention will make a result which seems well-nigh
miraculous; which, for the novice, is really miraculous. Then consider
that far more wonderful instrument, the perceiving mind, played on by
that fine musician, the Soul. Here again, innumerable small efforts of
attention will accumulate into mastery, and a mastery worth winning.
For a concrete example, take the gradual conquest of each day, the
effort to live that day for the Soul. To him that is faithful unto death,
the Master gives the crown of life.

11. The gradual conquest of the mind's tendency to flit from one
object to another, and the power of one-pointedness, make the
development of Contemplation.

As an illustration of the mind's tendency to flit from one object to
another, take a small boy, learning arithmetic. He begins: two ones are
two; three ones are three-and then he thinks of three coins in his
pocket, which will purchase so much candy, in the store down the
street, next to the toy-shop, where are base-balls, marbles and so on,
-and then he comes back with a jerk, to four ones are four. So with us
also. We are seeking the meaning of our task, but the mind takes
advantage of a moment of slackened attention, and flits off from one
frivolous detail to another, till we suddenly come back to
consciousness after traversing leagues of space. We must learn to
conquer this, and to go back within ourselves into the beam of
perceiving consciousness itself, which is a beam of the Oversoul. This
is the true onepointedness, the bringing of our consciousness to a
focus in the Soul.

 12. When, following this, the controlled manifold tendency and the
aroused one-pointedness are equally balanced parts of the perceiving
consciousness, his the development of one-pointedness.

This would seem to mean that the insight which is called
one-pointedness has two sides, equally balanced. There is, first, the
manifold aspect of any object, the sum of all its characteristics and
properties. This is to be held firmly in the mind. Then there is the
perception of the object as a unity, as a whole, the perception of its
essence. First, the details must be clearly perceived; then the essence
must be comprehended. When the two processes are equally balanced,
the true onepointedness is attained. Everything has these two sides,
the side of difference and the side of unity; there is the individual and
there is the genus; the pole of matter and diversity, and the pole of
oneness and spirit. To see the object truly, we must see both.

13. Through this, the inherent character, distinctive marks and
conditions of being and powers, according to their development, are
made clear.

By the power defined in the preceding sutra, the inherent character,
distinctive marks and conditions of beings and powers are made clear.
For through this power, as defined, we get a twofold view of each
object, seeing at once all its individual characteristics and its essential
character, species and genus; we see it in relation to itself, and in
relation to the Eternal. Thus we see a rose as that particular flower,
with its colour and scent, its peculiar fold of each petal; but we also
see in it the species, the family to which it belongs, with its relation to
all plants, to all life, to Life itself. So in any day, we see events and
circumstances; we also see in it the lesson set for the soul by the

14. Every object has its characteristics which are already quiescent,
those which are active, and those which are not yet definable.

Every object has characteristics belonging to its past, its present and
its future. In a fir tree, for example, there are the stumps or scars of
dead branches, which once represented its foremost growth; there are
the branches with their needles spread out to the air; there are the
buds at the end of each branch and twig, which carry the still closely
packed needles which are the promise of the future. In like manner,
the chrysalis has, as its past, the caterpillar; as its future, the butterfly.
The man has, in his past, the animal; in his future, the angel. Both are
visible even now in his face. So with all things, for all things change
and grow.

15. Difference in stage is the cause of difference in development.

This but amplifies what has just been said. The first stage is the
sapling, the caterpillar, the animal. The second stage is the growing
tree, the chrysalis, the man. The third is the splendid pine, the
butterfly, the angel. Difference of stage is the cause of difference of
development. So it is among men, and among the races of men.

16. Through perfectly concentrated Meditation on the three stages of
development comes a knowledge of past and future.

We have taken our illustrations from natural science, because, since
every true discovery in natural science is a divination of a law in
nature, attained through a flash of genius, such discoveries really
represent acts of spiritual perception, acts of perception by the
spiritual man, even though they are generally not so recognized. So
we may once more use the same illustration. Perfectly concentrated
Meditation, perfect insight into the chrysalis, reveals the caterpillar
that it has been, the butterfly that it is destined to be. He who knows
the seed, knows the seed-pod or ear it has come from, and the plant
that is to come from it. So in like manner he who really knows today,
and the heart of to-day, knows its parent yesterday and its child
tomorrow. Past, present and future are all in the Eternal. He who
dwells in the Eternal knows all three.

17. The sound and the ob ject and the thought called up by a word are
confounded because they are all blurred together in the mind. By
perfectly concentrated Meditation on the distinction between them,
there comes an understanding of the sounds uttered by all beings.

It must be remembered that we are speaking of perception by the
spiritual man.

Sound, like every force, is the expression of a power of the Eternal.
Infinite shades of this power are expressed in the infinitely varied
tones of sound. He who, having entry to the consciousness of the
Eternal knows the essence of this power, can divine the meanings of
all sounds, from the voice of the insect to the music of the spheres.

In like manner, he who has attained to spiritual vision can perceive the
mind-images in the thoughts of others, with the shade of feeling which
goes with them, thus reading their thoughts as easily as he hears their
words. Every one has the germ of this power, since difference of tone
will give widely differing meanings to the same words, meanings
which are intuitively perceived by everyone.

18. When the mind-impressions become visible, there comes an
understanding of previous births.

This is simple enough if we grasp the truth of rebirth. The fine harvest
of past experi ences is drawn into the spiritual nature, forming, indeed,
the basis of its development. When the consciousness has been raised
to a point above these fine subjective impressions, and can look down
upon them from above, this will in itself be a remembering of past

19. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on mind-images is gained
the understanding of the thoughts of others.

Here, for those who can profit by it, is the secret of thought-reading.
Take the simplest case of intentional thought transference. It is the
testimony of those who have done this, that the perceiving mind must
be stilled, before the mind-image projected by the other mind can be
seen. With it comes a sense of the feeling and temper of the other
mind and so on, in higher degrees.

20. But since that on which the thought in the mind of another rests
is not objective to the thought-reader's consciousness, he perceives the
thought only, and not also that on which the thought rests.

The meaning appears to be simple: One may be able to perceive the
thoughts of some one at a distance; one cannot, by that means alone,
also perceive the external surroundings of that person, which arouse
these thoughts.

21. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the form of the body, by
arresting the body's perceptibility, and by inhibiting the eye's power of
sight, there comes the power to make the body invisible.

There are many instances of the exercise of this power, by mesmerists,
hypnotists and the like; and we may simply call it an instance of the
power of suggestion. Shankara tells us that by this power the popular
magicians of the East perform their wonders, working on the
mind-images of others, while remaining invisible themselves. It is all
a question of being able to see and control the mind-images.

22. The works which fill out the life-span may be either immediately
or gradually operative. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on these
comes a knowledge of the time of the end, as also through signs.

A garment which is wet, says the commentator, may be hung up to
dry, and so dry rapidly, or it may be rolled in a ball and dry slowly; so
a fire may blaze or smoulder. Thus it is with Karma, the works that fill
out the life-span. By an insight into the mental forms and forces which
make up Karma, there comes a knowledge of the rapidity or slowness
of their development, and of the time when the debt will be paid.

23. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on sympathy, compassion
and kindness, is gained the power of interior union with others.

Unity is the reality; separateness the illusion. The nearer we come to
reality, the nearer we come to unity of heart. Sympathy, compassion,
kindness are modes of this unity of heart, whereby we rejoice with
those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. These things are
learned by desiring to learn them.

24. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on power, even such power
as that of the elephant may be gained.

This is a pretty image. Elephants possess not only force, but poise and
fineness of control. They can lift a straw, a child, a tree with perfectly
judged control and effort. So the simile is a good one. By detachment,
by withdrawing into the soul's reservoir of power, we can gain all
these, force and fineness and poise; the ability to handle with equal
mastery things small and great, concrete and abstract alike.

25. By bending upon them the awakened inner light, there comes a
knowledge of things subtle, or concealed, or obscure.

As was said at the outset, each consciousness is related to all
consciousness; and, through it, has a potential consciousness of all
things; whether subtle or concealed or obscure. An understanding of
this great truth will come with practice. As one of the wise has said,
we have no conception of the power of Meditation.

26. By perf ectly concentrated Meditation on the sun comes a
knowledge of the worlds.

This has several meanings: First, by a knowledge of the constitution
of the sun, astronomers can understand the kindred nature of the stars.
And it is said that there is a finer astronomy, where the spiritual man
is the astronomer. But the sun also means the Soul, and through
knowledge of the Soul comes a knowledge of the realms of life.

27. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the moon comes a
knowledge of the lunar mansions.

Here again are different meanings. The moon is, first, the companion
planet, which, each day, passes backward through one mansion of the
stars. By watching the moon, the boundaries of the mansion are
learned, with their succession in the great time-dial of the sky. But the
moon also symbolizes the analytic mind, with its divided realms; and
these, too, may be understood through perfectly concentrated

28. By perfectly concentrated Meditation on the fixed pole-star comes
a knowledge of the motions of the stars.

Addressing Duty, stern daughter of the Voice of God, Wordsworth
finely said:

     Thou cost preserve the stars from wrong,
     And the most ancient heavens through thee are fresh and strong - 

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