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Yogic Sadhan 2/3

Jul 29, 1996 09:45 AM
by Maxim Osinovsky


     What is knowledge? In what does it consist? We must distinguish
between knowledge in itself and the means of knowledge. Again, among
the means we must distinguish between the instruments and the operations
performed with the instruments.

     By Knowledge we mean awareness, taking a thing into active [29]
consciousness, into our Chaitanyam. But when we say, taking it  into our
Chaitanyam, what do we imply? Whence do we take it? The European
says from outside, we say from inside, from Chaitanyam itself. In other
words, all knowledge is an act of consciousness operating on something in
the consciousness itself. In the first place everything we know exists in
Parabrahman, that is, in our indivisible, universal` self-existence. It is
there, but not yet expressed, not vyakta. Then it exists in pure Chit, which
is the womb of things as an idea of form, name and quality. It has name,
form and quality in the Karana or Mahat, the causal, typal and ideal state
of consciousness. Then it gets the possibility of change, [30] development
or modification in the Sukshma, the subtle, mental or plastic state of
consciousness. Finally it gets the actual change, development,
modification or evolution in the Sthula, the material of evolutionary state
of consciousness. In the Karana there is no evolution, nothing ever
changes, all is eternal. The Karana is Satyam. In the Sukshma all is
preparation of change; it is full of imagination or anritam, therefore it is
Swapna, not really false, but not immediately applicable to the Karana or
Sthula. In the Sthula all evolves. It is partial satyam developing by the
turning of old satyam into anritam, which is called destruction, and the
turning of new anritam into new satyam, which is called creation. In the
Karana there [31] is no creation, no birth, no death, all exists for 
only change is from type to type, from fulfilment to fulfilment.

     Therefore to know is really to be conscious of the thing in any or all
of these three states. The knowledge of the Sthula is science. The
knowledge of the Sukshma is philosophy, religion and metaphysics. The
knowledge of the Karan is Yoga. When a man knows the Sthula, he
knows it with his senses, that is, with the Manas, he knows the Sukshma
with reason or the inspired intellect, he knows the Karana with the
Jnanam or spiritual realisation. Therefore complete knowledge consists of
three operations, first, objective Upalabdhi or experience, secondly,
intellectual [32] statement of your understanding of the thing, thirdly,
subjective Upalabdhi or spiritual experience. The scientist begins from the
bottom and climbs if he can, to the top. The Yogin begins from the top
and descends for perfect proof to the bottom. You are not scientists, you
are sadhakas. Therefore, when you speak of knowledge you must
understand the process; you realise a thing by subjective experience,
Bhava, then, think about it and formulate your experience in Artha and
Vak, the combination which forms thought; you verify or test your
experience by physical or objective experience.

     For instance you see a man. You want to know what he is, what he
thinks and what he does. How does [33] the scientist or the material man
do it? He watches the man, he notes what he says, what are his
expressions of speech and face, what are his actions, what sort of people
he lives with etc. All this is objective. Then he reasons from his objective
experience. He says "The man says this or that, so he must think so and
so or he must have such and such a character; his actions show the same,
his face shows the same," and so he goes on reasoning. If he does not get
all the necessary facts, he fills them up from his imagination or from his
memory, that is his experience of other men, of himself or of human life
as read of in books or heard of from other people. He perceives, he
observes, contrasts, [34] compares, deduces, infers, imagines, remembers
and the composite result he calls reason, knowledge, fact. In reality he has
arrived at a probability, for it is impossible for him to be sure that his
conclusions are correct or anything indeeed correct in his thought, except
the actual observation, perceptions of his eye, ear, nose, touch, and taste.
Anything beyond this the material man distrusts. Nothing is true to him
except what he observes with his senses or what agrees with his sensory

     Now what does the Yogin do? He simply puts himself into relation
with the thing itself. Not with its form, name or quality, but with itself.
He may never have seen the form, heard the name or had experience of
[35] the quality, but still he can know the thing. Because it is the thing
itself and it is in himself and one with himself, that is in the Mahakarana
in a man. There all meet the Atman and are so entirely one with the
Atman that by merely being in contact with it, I can know everything
about it. Few Yogins reach that state. But all the same, even in the
Karana I can put myself in relation with the thing and know it by Bhava.
I put myself, my soul, into relation with the soul of the man I study or the
thing I study; Prajna in me becomes one with the Prajna in him or it. How
do I do this? Simply by becoming passive and facing him or it in my
Buddhi. If my Buddhi is quite pure or fairly purified, if my Manas is
shanta, then [36] I get the truth about him. I get it by Bhava, by spiritual
or subjective realisation.

     Then I have to make the thing I have got clear and precise. To do that
I must state it intellectually to my mind, that is, I must think about 
it. I
have these ideas I am telling you in myself as unexpressed knowledge;
they shape themselves in words, Vak, and take on a precise meaning,
Artha. That is thought. Most people think vaguely; half expressing the
thing in an imperfect Vak and a partial Artha. The Yogin must not do
that. His thoughts must express themselves in clear and perfect sentences.
He may know a thing without thinking it out, but if he thinks, he must
think clearly and perfectly.

     [37] The Yogin reasons when necessary, but not like the man of
science. He sees the thing with his prophetic power interpreting the truth
into thought; the pratyaksha gives him the Artha, the inspiration gives him
the Vak, the intuition gives him the right conclusion about it, the right
siddhanta, the Viveka guards him from error. Behold the truth by these
four simple operations perfectly thought out. If he has to argue, then the
intuitions give him the right arguments. He had not to proceed painfully
from one syllogism to another as the logician does.

     Finally, he verifies his knowledge by the facts of the objective world.
He has seen the truth about the man by merely looking at him or at the
[38] idea of him; he has thought it out clearly and now he compares his
idea with the man's actions, speech etc. Not to test his truth; for he knows
that a man's action, speech etc. only partially express the man and mislead
the student; but in order to see how the truth he knows from the Karana is
being worked out in the Sthula. He trusts the man's objective life only so
far as it is in agreement with the deeper truth he has gained by Yoga.

     You see the immense difference. The only difficulty is that you have
been accustomed to use the senses and the reason to the subordination and
almost to the exclusion of the higher faculties. Therefore you find it
difficult to make the higher faculties active.

     [39]  If only you could start from the beginning, with the Bhava, the
Atmajnana, how easy it would be! That will yet happen. But first, you
have to get rid of the lower Buddhi, of the Indriyas in the manas, and
awaken the activity of the higher faculties. They will see for you, hear for
you, as well as think for you.

     First, then, get your sankaras right. Understand intellectually what I
have told you and will yet tell you. Then by use of the Will, keep the
reason, imagination, memory, thought, sensations sufficiently quiet for the
higher Buddhi to know itself as separate and different from these lower
qualities. As the higher separates  itself and becomes more and more
active, the lower, already dis[40]couraged, will become less and less
active and finally trouble you no more. 

     Therefore Will first, then by Will, by Shakti, the Jnanam. First Kali,
then Surya. I shall explain the various faculties when I have finished with
the rest of the system.


     If men were satisfied with indulging in reason, memory and
imagination, the purification of the Buddhi and the development of the
higher faculties would be an easy matter. But there is another means of
thought which they habitually indulge in and that is Manas. The Manas is
a receptive organ; it receives the images expressed on the eye, the ear
etc., [41] and turns them into what the Europeans call the percepts, that is,
things perceived. Besides,  it receives the ideas, images etc., sent down
from the Vijnana into the Chitta and passes them on to the latter organ. In
this passage these things become what are called concepts, that is, things
conceived or thought of. For instance, when the mind sees the image of a
book and says "A book," it has hold of a percept the name of which it
conceives; that is sensational thought. When it says "A book contains
language" that is a remoter concept, intellectual thought. One merely puts
things sensed into words, the other puts things thought into words. Percept
and concept together make what is called understanding. [42] Reason,
according to the European idea, merely arranges percepts and concepts
and draws from this arrangement fresh and more elaborate concepts.
Many believe that concepts are merely percepts put together and
converted into what is called thought. According to this idea, all thought
is merely the arrangement of sensation in the terms of language. Even
when I imagine an angel, I merely put a human figure and the wings of a
bird together and give the combination a name, angel. Even when I talk of
abstract qualities, for example, virtue, courage etc., I am not thinking of
anything beyond sensation, but merely a classification of virtuous and
courageous sensations and actions put [43] together and labelled with the
name virtue or courage.

     All these ideas are correct so far as the Manas or understanding is
concerned. The Manas is an organ of sensation, not of thought. It catches
thoughts on their way from the Buddhi to the Chitta, but in catching them
it turns them into the stuff of sensations, as described above.

     It regards them from the point of view of sensations. Animals think
with their Manas and animals are not able to form ideas that do not relate
themselves to some image, form, sound, smell, touch, taste etc. They are
bound by their sensations. That is why in animals the Buddhi is dormant;
so far as it acts, it acts behind the veil.

     [44] But man can become aware of things which the senses cannot
grasp, *buddhi-gr^ahyam at^indriyam*. The proof of that you can get
daily, when the Yogic power is developed. This single fact that man can
see with his Buddhi the truth about a thing he has never seen or known
before, is enough to destroy the materialistic idea of thought.

     That idea is only true of the Manas. The Manas responds to the
senses and is always forming percepts and concepts about the sensations it
receives. These ideas it sometimes gets from the outside world, sometimes
from the passive memory in the Chitta, sometimes from the Buddhi. But it
tries to impose them all on the Buddhi. It tests everything which it [45]
does not take for granted by reference to the senses. "I saw that," "I heard
that," therefore it is true, that is the reasoning of the Manas. That is why
people who have a poorly developed Buddhi, attach so much importance
to what they have seen or read. "I have seen it in print" says the just
literate man, and he thinks he has closed the argument.

     What are we to do with the Manas? Get it to be still, says the Yogin.
While it is busy, knowledge is impossible. You can get only fragments of
knowledge. That is true and the quiet mind is no doubt essential to the
Yogin. But what of the senses? Concepts in the Manas you may get rid
of, but what are you to do with the percepts? You cannot [46] stop seeing,
hearing etc., except when you are in Samadhi. That is why the Vedantin
attaches so much importance to samadhi. It is the only condition in which
he is safe from the persistent siege of the percepts of the senses.

     But if you can only exercise knowledge when you are in Samadhi,
then you will have to become an ascetic or recluse, a man who gives up
life or thought. That is a necessity which cuts the unity of God's world
into two and makes an unnatural division in what should be indivisible.
The Tantric knows that this is not necessary, that Samadhi is a great
instrument, but not the only instrument. He so arranges his antahkarana
that he can know he is walking, talking, [47] acting, sleeping, whatever he
is doing. How? By not only stilling the conceptual activity of the Manas
but by transferring to the Buddhi its perceptual activity.

     In other words he sees, hears etc., not with the senses in the manas,
but with the Indriya in the Buddhi. You will find what a difference this
makes. Not only do you see much more perfectly, minutely, accurately
than before, but you are able to appreciate colours, forms, sounds etc., in
a way you never did before. And besides you are able to catch the soul,
the Guna, the essential quality and emotion of a thing, the moment you
are aware of it. This is a part of what the Yoga calls Prakamya, the
absolute and sovereign activity of the Indriya. 

     [48] Therefore when the Yoga is perfect, you will not be troubled by
the Manas. It will cease to perceive. It will be merely a passage, a
channel for things from the Buddhi to the Chitta. There are many ways of
bringing this about, but most of them suffer from this defect, that you get
the thinking part of the Manas still, but the perceiving part retains its
inferior and hampering activity. The best way is to use the Will
simultaneously for awaking the Jnanam and for stilling the Manas. This
method has two advantages. First, you do not, as in the ordinary method,
have to make your mind a blank. That is a powerful but very difficult and
trying discipline or Tapasya. You simply replace by degrees the activity
[49] of the lower reason by the activity of the higher thought, the activity
of the mind by the activity of the same organ and the sense-perceptions
by the activity of the Prakamya. This process is less painful and more
easy. Secondly, you cannot stop perceiving so long as you are not in
Sushupti, you only stop thinking. So you cannot make your mind blank.
Unless you make the Jnanam first, how are you going to get rid of this
intrusive element? The Prakamya must be there already active before the
ordinary perceptions can stop work.

     This then is the third operation of the Tantric method. You develop
the Will, you use the Will to awaken the Jnanam, you use the Will to still
[50] the mind and the lower Buddhi and you use the Jnanam to replace


     I come next to Chitta. There are two layers in the Chitta, one for the
emotions, the other for passive memory. In the lower layer of the Chitta,
the impressions of all things seen, thought, sensed, felt are recorded and
remain until the Jiva leaves the body. Even afterwards all these
impressions are taken up with the Sukshma body and go with the Jiva into
the other worlds. When he is born again, they are brought with him as
latent samskaras in the Muladhara; that is why people do not remember
their past births, but can get back the memory by awakening [51] the
Kundalini in the Muladhara. These impressions are latent in the Chitta
until the active memory in the Buddhi calls for them. Those which are
continually brought to the Buddhi have a habit of recurring even when not
wanted, habitual thoughts, ideas, sentiments, opinions etc., which are the
Yogin's chief trouble until the Manas in which they occur becomes quiet.

    The second and the upper layer is that of emotion. The emotions are
the acts of Will sent down into the Chitta and there assuming the form of
impulses. There are three divisions, thought-impulses, impulses of feeling,
and impulses of action. The first are called by various names, instincts,
inspirations, insights, intuitions etc. [52] They are really messages sent
down by the Jiva from the Sahasradala into the Chitta, they pass
unobserved through the Buddhi, lodge in the Chitta and, whenever excited
by any contact  external or internal, start up suddenly and strike the
Buddhi with the same force as the real inspirations etc., which come down
direct from the Vijnana to the Buddhi. But they come up colored by
emotions, distorted by associations and memories in the Chitta, perverted
by the imagination which brings them up. Much of what is called faith,
Bhakti, genius, poetic inspiration etc., come from this source. It is useful
to the ordinary man, all important to the animal, but a hindrance to the

     The impulses of feeling are what [53] are ordinarily called emotions.
The emotions are of two kinds, natural or eternal, artificial or Vikaras.
Love is natural, it proceeds from Jnanam and tends to endure in the
evolution; hatred is a Vikara from love, a distortion or reaction caused by
Ajnanam. So courage is eternal, fear is Vikara; compassion is eternal,
ghrina or weak pity, repulsion, disgust etc., are Vikaras. Those which are
natural and eternal, love, courage, pity, truth, noble aspirations, are
Dharma; the others are Adharma. But this is from the eternal standpoint
and has nothing to do with Samajic or Laukic or temporary Dharma or
Adharma. Moreover, Adharma is often necessary as a passage or
preparation for passing from an undeveloped to a developed, [54] a lower
to a higher Dharma. The Yogin has to get rid of Vikaras, but not of
Sanatan Dharmas.

     The third kind of impulse is the impulse to action. Its presence in the
Chitta is a temporary arrangement due to the rajasic development of the
human being. The asuddha rajasic man cannot easily be stirred into action,
except through two forces, desire or emotion. Love, hatred, ambition, rage
etc., must stir in him or he cannot act, or acts feebly. He cannot
understand shuddha pravritti, action without desire and independent of
emotion. Emotion should only give a colour to the man's swabhava or
temperament. He should be habitually full of feelings of love, courage,
honour, true ambition, self-reliance [55] etc., but he should not act from
any individual impulse of however noble a character. He should act in
obedience to the impulse from the Will in direct communication with
Purusha in the Vijnana, understanding with the Buddhi why the Will acts
in that particular way and colouring the act with the emotion appropriate
to his Swabhava. But neither the Buddhi nor the emotion should directly
interfere with or try to determine his action. The Buddhi is for thought
and the Chitta for emotion. Neither of them nave anything to do with
action in the shuddha state. The intellectual Asura determines his actions
by his reason or his ideal, the emotional Asura by his feelings. But the
shuddha determines them by the higher inspiration [56] proceeding from
the divine existence in the Vijnana. That is what people often call the
Adesha. Only the shuddha can safely rely on having this kind of Adesha,
the asuddha Yogin often mistakes his own ideas, imaginations, emotions
or even desires for the Adesha.

     Therefore what the Yogin must aim at, is to get rid of the activity of
his lower Chitta or the old impressions by stilling the Manas as described
in my last lecture; get rid of his instinctive thought or 
thought-impulses by
the same means; get rid of the habit of acting on his emotions by allowing
the will to silence his impulses and purify his emotions. He should
prohibit and inhibit by the Will all action or speech that starts [57] 
from the passions or emotions surging in his heart. The emotion, will then
become quiet and must be habituated to come as a sort of wave falling
into a sea, instead of surging furiously into action. These quiet waves
which are satisfied with existing and do not demand satisfaction in action
or seek to dominate the life or the ideas, are the purified emotions. Those
which rise upward into the Buddhi and try to sharp [shape?] the thought
or opinion, those which move outward into speech or action, are asuddha
motions [emotions?]. What I mean is that the emotions in the Chitta are
for enjoyment only; the action must be dominated by a higher principle.

     There again it is the Will that must purify, govern and renew the [58]
heart. Only, it has the best chance of doing it if the knowledge has first
become active and the mind is still. A still mind means a heart easily


     I come next to Prana, the nervous or vital element in man which is
centralised below the Manas and Chitta in the subtle body and connected
with the navel in the Sthula Deha. There I must distinguish between the
Sukshma Prana and the Sthula Prana, the former moving in the nervous
system of the subtle body as prescribed in the Yogic books, the latter in
the nervous system of the gross body. The two are closely con[59]nected
and almost always act upon each other. The prana forms the link between
the physical and the mental man. I must here warn you against stumbling
into the error of those who try to harmonise Yogic Science with the
physical science of the Europeans and search for the Yogic Nadis and
Chakras in the physical body. You will not find them there. There are
certain centres in the physical nervous system with which the Chakras
correspond, otherwise Hatha-yoga would be impossible. But the Chakras
are not these centres. The Europeans are masters in their own province of
knowledge and there you need not hesitate to learn from them, but for
God's sake do not subject your higher knowledge to their power; you will
[60] only create a most horrible confusion. Develop your higher
knowledge first, then study their sciences and the latter will at once fall
into their place.

     It is with the Sukshma Prana that I am principally concerned; for the
Sthula Prana belongs to the Annam rather than to the Antahkarana and I
will speak of it in connection with the Annam. The Sukshma Prana is the
seat of desire and its purification is of the utmost importance to the
Yogin. Until you have got rid of desire, you have accomplished nothing
permanent. When you have got rid of desire, you are sure of everything
else. That is why the Gita says "Get rid of desire first." Only until you
have got knowledge and can learn to use your will to still the mind and
purify [61] the emotions, you cannot utterly get rid of desire. You may
drive it out by Samyama, you may hold it down by Nigraha but
eventually it is of no use, for it will return. "Prakritim y^anti bh^utani
nigrahah kim karishyati." Creatures follow after nature; what is the use of
coercion? That is to say, it has a temporary result and the coerced desires
come back revenging and more furious than before. That was what Christ
meant by the parable of the devil, the unclean spirit, who is driven out of
a man, only to return with seven spirits worse than himself. For it is the
nature of things, the unalterable nature of things, that unpurified emotion
must clamour after desire, an unstilled Manas give it harbourage [62]
whenever it returns, an unilluminated Buddhi contain the seed of it ready
to sprout up at the first opportunity. Therefore unless the whole
Antahkarana is purified, unless you get a new heart and a new mind,
desire cannot be got rid of; it returns or it remains. When however an
illuminated understanding lighting up the action of a strengthened Will
and supported by a pure heart, casts desire into the Sukshma Prana and
attacks it there in its native place, it can be utterly destroyed. When you
have a visuddha Buddhi you will be able to distinguish these various
organs and locate all your mental activities. Desire can then be isolated in
the Prana and the heart and mind kept pure of its insistent inroads. For
[63] desire is only effective when it can get hold of the Chitta and
Buddhi, generating Vikaras of emotions and perversions of knowledge
which give it strength to impose itself on the Will and so influence
internal and external action. It is most powerful in the higher kind of
human being when it masks itself as a principle or ideal or as a justifiable

     Remember moreover that all desires have to be got rid of, those
which are called good, as well as those which are called bad. Some
people will tell you, keep the good desires and drive out the bad. Do not
listen to that specious piece of ignorance. You can use the good desires to
drive out the bad on condition that immediately after you drive out the
good [64] also by the one desire of Mumukshutwa, liberation and union
with God. And even that last desire finally you must renounce and give
yourself up wholly to God's will, even in that last and greatest matter,
becoming utterly desireless, nishk^ama nishpriha. Otherwise you will find
yourself travelling in a vicious circle. For if you keep desire at all, 
he is
such a born traitor that he will eventually open the door to your enemies.
When the unclean spirit returned to his house, he found it swept and
garnished, that is, purified of bad thoughts and adorned with good desires,
and immediately he got in and made the last state of that man worse than
his first. So get rid of all desires utterly, good, bad and in[65]different.
Get beyond virtue as well as beyond vice. Be satisfied with no bondage
even though the fetters be of pure gold. Admit no guide or master but
God, even though they be gods or angels who claim your homage.

     Desire is composed of three elements, attachment or Asakti, longing
or Kamana, and preference or Ragadwesha. Get rid of attachment first.
Use your will and purified Antahkarana to throw out that clinging and
insistence on things, which says "I must have that, I cannot do without
that," and returns on the idea of it, even when it is persistently denied.
When the emotions are quiet, this Asakti will of itself die away, but for a
time it will rage a great deal and try to get the emotions [66] active again.
Apply the Will steadily and patiently and do not get disturbed by failure;
for desire is a terrible thing, as difficult to get rid of as a leech. It is
indeed the daughter of the horseleech crying "Give, give." Do not
violently silence the cry; ignore it and use your Will to get rid of the
clamourer. When Asakti becomes weak, Kamana loses nine-tenths of its
force and you can easily throw it off. Still for some time, out of sheer
habit, the longing for certain things will come, not in the heart or Buddhi,
but in the Prana; only if Asakti is gone, the refusal of the thing craved
will not leave behind it a permanent grief or continual hunger. There will
only be temporary disturbance of the peace of the heart. When you have
got rid of [67] the Kamana, even then Raga may remain, and if Raga is
there, Dwesha is sure to come in. You will not ask or crave for anything;
for Kamana is gone; but when some things come, you will not like them;
when some things come, you will feel glad and exultant. You will not
rebel or cling to what you have, but you will not like the coming of the
evil, you will not like the loss of your joy, even though you say "Very
good" and submit. Get rid of that Raga and Dwesha and have perfect

     When you have perfect Samata, then either you will have perfect
Shanti, divine peace, or else perfect or Shuddha Bhoga, divine enjoyment.
Shanti is the negative Ananda and [68] those have it who rest in the
Nirguna Brahman. Shuddha Bhoga is the positive Ananda and those have
it who rest in the Trigunatita Ananta Brahman. You can have both and it
is best to have both. God enjoys the world with Shuddha Bhoga based on
the perfect Shanti. Most people cannot imagine Bhoga without Kama,
enjoyment without desire. It is a foolish notion, none the less foolish
because it is natural and almost universal. It is Ajnanam, a fundamental
part of ignorance. Enjoyment does not really begin until you get rid of
desire. That which you get as the result of satisfied desire is troubled,
unsafe, feverish, or limited, but Shuddha Bhoga is calm, self-possessed,
victorious, unlimited, with[69]out satiety and Vairagya, immortally
blissful. It is in a word, not Harsha, not Sukha, but Ananda. It is Amrita,
it is divinity and immortality, it is becoming of one nature with God. It
has been no kama but pure Lipsa, an infinite readiness to take and enjoy
whatever God gives it. Grief, pain, disgrace, everything that is to rajasic
men a torture, changes then to bliss. Even if such a soul were to be cast
into hell, it would not feel hell, but heaven. It would not only say with the
Bhakta "This is from the beloved" but with the perfect Jnani "This is the
Beloved; this is the Anandam Brahman: this is the Kantam, the Shivam,
Shubham, Sundaram."

     I need not repeat the process by which this purification is 
effected. I
[70] have indicated it sufficiently. This Tantric process is the same
throughout, the reliance on the Shakti, the divine Will working in the
Adhar, without any effort on the part of the Purusha, who remains Akarta 
throughout the sadhana, but still Ishwara, the source of the command and
the sanction, the ruler dispossessed by his subjects and gradually
recovering control of his rebellious and disordered kingdom.

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