List Of Contents | Contents of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Charles
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the greater way.

The means for this transfer are described as the weakening of the
causes of bondage, and an understanding of the method of passing
from the one consciousness to the other. The first may also be
described as detach meet, and comes from the conquest of the
delusion that the personal self is the real man. When that delusion
abates and is held in check, the finer consciousness of the spiritual
man begins to shine in the background of the mind. The transfer of the
sense of individuality to this finer consciousness, and thus to the
spiritual man, then becomes a matter of recollection, of attention;
primarily, a matter of taking a deeper interest in the life and doings of
the spiritual man, than in the please ures or occupations of the
personality. Therefore it is said: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures
upon earth, where moth and rust cloth corrupt, and where thieves
break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven,
where neither moth nor rust cloth corrupt, and where thieves do not
break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your
heart be also."

39. Through mastery of the upward-life comes freedom from the
dangers of water, morass, and thorny places, and the power of
ascension is gained.

Here is one of the sentences, so characteristic of this author, and,
indeed, of the Eastern spirit, in which there is an obvious exterior
meaning, and, within this, a clear interior meaning, not quite so
obvious, but far more vital.

The surface meaning is, that by mastery of a certain power, called here
the upward-life, and akin to levitation, there comes the ability to walk
on water, or to pass over thorny places without wounding the feet.

But there is a deeper meaning. When we speak of the disciple's path
as a path of thorns, we use a symbol; and the same symbol is used
here. The upward-life means something more than the power, often
manifested in abnormal psychical experiences, of levitating the
physical body, or near-by physical objects. It means the strong power
of aspiration, of upward will, which first builds, and then awakes the
spiritual man, and finally transfers the conscious individuality to him;
for it is he who passes safely over the waters of death and rebirth, and
is not pierced by the thorns in the path. Therefore it is said that he
who would tread the path of power must look for a home in the air,
and afterwards in the ether.

Of the upward-life, this is written in the Katha Upanishad: "A hundred
and one are the heart's channels; of these one passes to the crown.
Going up this, he comes to the immortal." This is the power of
ascension spoken of in the Sutra.

40. By mastery of the binding-life comes radiance.

In the Upanishads, it is said that this binding-life unites the upward-life
to the downward-life, and these lives have their analogies in the "vital
breaths" in the body. The thought in the text seems to be, that, when
the personality is brought thoroughly under control of the spiritual
man, through the life-currents which bind them together, the person
ality is endowed with a new force, a strong personal magnetism, one
might call it, such as is often an appanage of genius.

But the text seems to mean more than this and to have in view the
"vesture of the colour of the sun" attributed by the Upanishads to the
spiritual man; that vesture which a disciple has thus described: "The
Lord shall change our vile body, that it may be fash toned like unto his
glorious body"; perhaps "body of radiance" would better translate the

In both these passages, the teaching seem. to be, that the body of the
full-grown spiritual man is radiant or luminous,-for those at least, who
have anointed their eyes wit! eye-salve, so that they see. 

41. From perfectly concentrated Meditation on the correlation of
hearing and the ether, comes the power of spiritual hearing.

Physical sound, we are told, is carried by the air, or by water, iron, or
some mediun on the same plane of substance. But then is a finer
hearing, whose medium of transmission would seem to be the ether;
perhaps no that ether which carries light, heat and magnetic waves,
but, it may be, the far finer ether through which the power of gravity
works. For, while light or heat or magnetic waves, travelling from the
sun to the earth, take eight minutes for the journey, it is
mathematically certain that the pull of gravitation does not take as
much as eight seconds, or even the eighth of a second. The pull of
gravitation travels, it would seem "as quick as thought"; so it may well
be that, in thought transference or telepathy, the thoughts travel by the
same way, carried by the same "thought-swift" medium.

The transfer of a word by telepathy is the simplest and earliest form
of the "divine hearing" of the spiritual man; as that power grows, and
as, through perfectly concentrated Meditation, the spiritual man comes
into more complete mastery of it, he grows able to hear and clearly
distinguish the speech of the great Companions, who counsel and
comfort him on his way. They may speak to him either in wordless
thoughts, or in perfectly definite words and sentences.

42. By perfectly concentrated Meditation em the correlation of the
body with the ether, and by thinking of it as light as thistle-down, will
come the power to traverse the ether.

It has been said that he who would tread the path of power must look
for a home in the air, and afterwards in the ether. This would seem to
mean, besides the constant injunction to detachment, that he must be
prepared to inhabit first a psychic, and then an etheric body; the
former being the body of dreams; the latter, the body of the spiritual
man, when he wakes up on the other side of dreamland. The gradual
accustoming of the consciousness to its new etheric vesture, its
gradual acclimatization, so to speak, in the etheric body of the
spiritual man, is what our text seems to contemplate.

43. When that condition of consciousness s reached, which is
far-reaching and not con- fined to the body, which is outside the body
and not conditioned by it, then the veil which conceals the light is
worn away.

Perhaps the best comment on this is afforded by the words of Paul: "I
knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body,
I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth
;) such a one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man,
(whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth
;) how that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable
[or, unspoken] words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."

The condition is, briefly, that of the awakened spiritual man, who sees
and hears beyond the veil.

44. Mastery of the elements comes from perfectly concentrated
Meditation on their five forms: the gross, the elemental, the subtle, the
inherent, the purposive. These five forms are analogous to those
recognized by modern physics: solid, liquid, gaseous, radiant and
ionic. When the piercing vision of the awakened spiritual man is
directed to the forms of matter, from within, as it were, from behind
the scenes, then perfect mastery over the "beggarly elements" is
attained. This is, perhaps, equivalent to the injunction: "Inquire of the
earth, the air, and the water, of the secrets they hold for you. The
development of your inner senses will enable you to do this." 

45. Thereupon will come the manifestation of the atomic and other
powers, which are the endowment of the body, together with its
unassailable force.

The body in question is, of course, the etheric body of the spiritual
man. He is said to possess eight powers: the atomic, the power of
assimilating himself with the nature of the atom, which will, perhaps,
involve the power to disintegrate material forms; the power of
levitation; the power of limitless extension; the power of boundless
reach, so that, as the commentator says, "he can touch the moon with
the tip of his finger"; the power to accomplish his will; the power of
gravitation, the correlative of levitation; the power of command; the
power of creative will. These are the endowments of the spiritual man.
Further, the spiritual body is unassailable. Fire burns it not, water wets
it not, the sword cleaves it not, dry winds parch it not. And, it is said,
the spiritual man can impart something of this quality and temper to
his bodily vesture.

46. Shapeliness, beauty, force, the temper of the diamond: these are
the endowments of that body.

The spiritual man is shapely, beautiful strong, firm as the diamond.
Therefore it is written: "These things saith the Son of God, who hath
his eyes like unto a flame of fire, and his feet are like fine brass: He
that overcometh and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I
give power over the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron;
and I will give him the morning star."

47. Mastery over the powers of perception and action comes through
perfectly concentrated Meditation on their fivefold forms; namely,
their power to grasp their distinctive nature, the element of
self-consciousness in them, their inherence, and their purposiveness.

Take, for example, sight. This possesses, first, the power to grasp,
apprehend, perceive; second, it has its distinctive form of perception;
that is, visual perception; third, it always carries with its operations
self-consciousness, the thought: "I perceive"; fourth sight has the
power of extension through the whole field of vision, even to the
utmost star; fifth, it is used for the purposes of the Seer. So with the
other senses. Perfectly concentrated Meditation on each sense, a
viewing it from behind and within, as is possible for the spiritual man,
brings a mastery of the scope and true character of each sense, and of
the world on which they report collectively.

48. Thence comes the power swift as thought, independent of
instruments, and the mastery over matter.

We are further enumerating the endowments of the spiritual man.
Among these is the power to traverse space with the swiftness of
thought, so that whatever place the spiritual man thinks of, to that he
goes, in that place he already is. Thought has now become his means
of locomotion. He is, therefore, independent of instruments, and can
bring his force to bear directly, wherever he wills.

 49. When the spiritual man is perfectly disentangled from the psychic
body, he attains to mastery over all things and to a knowledge of all.

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."

50. By absence of all self-indulgence at this point, when the seeds of
bondage to sorrow are destroyed, pure spiritual being is attained.

The seeking of indulgence for the personal self, whether through
passion or ambition, sows the seed of future sorrow. For this self
indulgence of the personality is a double sin against the real; a sin
against the cleanness of life, and a sin against the universal being,
which permits no exclusive particular good, since, in the real, all
spiritual possessions are held in common. This twofold sin brings its
reacting punishment, its confining bondage to sorrow. But ceasing
from self-indulgence brings purity, liberation, spiritual life.

51. There should be complete overcoming of allurement or pride in
the invitations of the different realms of life, lest attachment to things
evil arise once more.

The commentator tells us that disciples, seekers for union, are of four
degrees: first, those who are entering the path; second, those who are
in the realm of allurements; third, those who have won the victory
over matter and the senses; fourth, those who stand firm in pure
spiritual life. To the second, especially, the caution in the text is
addressed. More modern teachers would express the same truth by a
warning against the delusions and fascinations of the psychic realm,
which open around the disciple, as he breaks through into the unseen
worlds. These are the dangers of the anteroom. Safety lies in passing
on swiftly into the inner chamber. '`Him that overcometh will I make
a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out."

52. From perfectly concentrated Meditatetion on the divisions of time
and their succession comes that wisdom which is born of discernment.

The Upanishads say of the liberated that "he has passed beyond the
triad of time"; he no longer sees life as projected into past, present and
future, since these are forms of the mind; but beholds all things spread
out in the quiet light of the Eternal. This would seem to be the same
thought, and to point to that clear-eyed spiritual perception which is
above time; that wisdom born of the unveiling of Time's delusion.
Then shall the disciple live neither in the present nor the future, but in
the Eternal.

53. Hence comes discernment between things which are of like nature,
not distinguished by difference of kind, character or position. Here, as
also in the preceding Sutra, we are close to the doctrine that
distinctions of order, time and space are creations of the mind; the
threefold prism through which the real object appears to us distorted
and refracted. When the prism is withdrawn, the object returns to its
primal unity, no longer distinguishable by the mind, yet clearly
knowable by that high power of spiritual discernment, of illumination,
which is above the mind.

54. The wisdom which is born of discerns ment is starlike; it discerns
all things, and all conditions of things, it discerns without succession:

That wisdom, that intuitive, divining power is starlike, says the
commentator, because it shines with its own light, because it rises on
high, and illumines all things. Nought is hid from it, whether things
past, things present, or things to come; for it is beyond the threefold
form of time, so that all things are spread before it together, in the
single light of the divine. This power has been beautifully described by
Columba: "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 inmost part of their mind being marvellously enlarged."

55. When the vessture and the spiritual man are alike pure, then
perfect spiritual life is attained.

The vesture, says the commentator, must first be washed pure of all
stains of passion and darkness, and the seeds of future sorrow must be

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