In our first three lessons of this series, we have endeavored to bring into realization within your mind (1) the consciousness of the “I”; its independence from the body; its immortality; its invincibility and invulnerability; (2) the superiority of the “I” over the mind, as well as over the body; the fact that the mind is not the “I,” but is merely an instrument for the expression of the “I”; the fact that the “I” is master of the mind, as well as of the body; that the “I” is behind all thought; that the “I” can set aside for consideration the sensations, emotions, passions, desires, and the rest of the mental phenomena, and still realize that it, the “I,” is apart from these mental manifestations, and remains unchanged, real and fully existent; that the “I” can set aside any and all of its mental tools and instruments, as “not I” things, and still consciously realize that after so setting them aside there remains something–itself–the “I” which cannot be set aside or taken from; that the “I” is the master of the mind, and not its slave; (3) that the “I” is a much greater thing than the little personal “I” we have been considering it to be; that the “I” is a part of that great One Reality which pervades all the Universe; that it is connected with all other forms of life by countless ties, mental and spiritual filaments and relations; that the “I” is a Centre of Consciousness in that great One Reality or Spirit, which is behind and back of all Life and Existence, the Centre of which Reality or Existence, is the Absolute or God; that the sense of Reality that is inherent in the “I,” is really the reflection of the sense of Reality inherent in the Whole–the Great “I” of the Universe.
The underlying principle of these three lessons is the Reality of the “I,” in itself, over and above all Matter, Force, or Mind–positive to all of them, just as they are positive or negative to each other–and negative only to the Centre of the One–the Absolute itself. And this is the position for the Candidate or Initiate to take: “I am positive to Mind, Energy, and Matter, and control them all–I am negative only to the Absolute, which is the Centre of Being, of which Being I Am. And, as I assert my mastery over Mind, Energy, and Matter, and exercise my Will over them, so do I acknowledge my subordination to the Absolute, and gladly open my soul to the inflow of the Divine Will, and partake of its Power, Strength, and Wisdom.”
In the present lesson, and those immediately following it, we shall endeavor to assist the Candidate or Initiate in acquiring a mastery of the subordinate manifestations, Matter, Energy, and Mind. In order to acquire and assert this mastery, one must acquaint himself with the nature of the thing to be controlled.
In our “Advanced Course” we have endeavored to explain to you the nature of the Three Great Manifestations, known as Chitta, or Mind-Substance; Prana, or Energy; and Akasa, or the Principle of Matter. We also explained to you that the “I” of man is superior to these three, being what is known as Atman or Spirit. Matter, Energy, and Mind, as we have explained, are manifestations of the Absolute, and are relative things. The Yogi philosophy teaches that Matter is the grossest form of manifested substance, being below Energy and Mind, and consequently negative to, and subordinate to both. One stage higher than Matter, is Energy or Force, which is positive to, and has authority over, Matter (Matter being a still grosser form of substance), but which is negative to and subordinate to Mind, which is a still higher form of substance. Next in order comes the highest of the three–Mind–the finest form of substance, and which dominates both Energy and Matter, being positive to both.
Mind, however is negative and subordinate to the “I,” which is Spirit, and obeys the orders of the latter when firmly and intelligently given. The “I” itself is subordinate only to the Absolute–the Centre of Being–the “I” being positive and dominant over the threefold manifestation of Mind, Energy, and Matter. The “I,” which for the sake of the illustration must be regarded as a separate thing (although it is really only a Centre of Consciousness in the great body of Spirit), finds itself surrounded by the triple-ocean of Mind, Energy and Matter, which ocean extends into Infinity.
The body is but a physical form through which flows an unending stream of matter, for, as you know the particles and atoms of the body are constantly changing; being renewed; replaced; thrown off, and supplanted. One’s body of a few years ago, or rather the particles composing that body, have passed off and now form new combinations in the world of matter. And one’s body of to-day is passing away and being replaced by new particles. And one’s body of next year is now occupying some other portion of space, and its particles are now parts of countless other combinations, from which space and combinations they will later come to combine and form the body of next year.
There is nothing permanent about the body–even the particles of the bones are being constantly replaced by others. And so it is with the Vital Energy, Force, or Strength of the body (including that of the brain). It is constantly being used up, and expended, a fresh supply taking its place. And even the Mind of the person is changeable, and the Mind-substance or Chitta, is being used up and replenished, the new supply coming from the great Ocean of Mind, into which the discarded portion slips, just as is the case with the matter and energy.
While the majority of our students, who are more or less familiar with the current material scientific conceptions, will readily accept the above idea of the ocean of Matter, and Energy, and the fact that there is a continual using up and replenishing of one’s store of both, they may have more or less trouble in accepting the idea that Mind is a substance or principle amenable to the same general laws as are the other two manifestations, or attributes of substance. One is so apt to think of his Mind as “himself”–the “I.” Notwithstanding the fact that in our Second Lesson of this series we showed you that the “I” is superior to the mental states, and that it can set them aside and regard and consider them as “not-I” things, yet the force of the habit of thought is very strong, and it may take some of you considerable time before you “get into the way” of realizing that your Mind is “something that you use,” instead of being You–yourself.
And yet, you must persevere in attaining this realization, for in the degree that you realize your dominance over your mind, so will be your control of it, and its amenability to that control. And, as is the degree of that dominance and control, so will be the character, grade and extent of the work that your Mind will do for you. So you see: Realization brings Control–and Control brings results. This statement lies at the base of the science of Raja Yoga. And many of its first exercises are designed to acquaint the student with that realization, and to develop the realization and control by habit and practice.