The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga
Including the Practices and Exercises of Concentration, both Objective and Subjective, and Active and Passive Mentation, an Elucidation of Maya, Guru Worship, and the Worship of the Terrible, also the Mystery of Will-Force
BY SWAMI MUKERJI YOGI OF THE SOUTH INDIA ORDER
In studying these Lessons please remember 3 points:—
1. Not one useless or superfluous sentence is written. Every word is full of meaning. They are highly condensed. Think deeply over them.
2. They are meant as a practical supplement to the 'Spiritual Consciousness,' 'Soul-Force' and 'Inner Forces.' Studied side by side, these lessons will yield a great deal of benefit. You are expected to think hard and long.
3. Let none expect speedy or miraculous results. All spiritual training calls for infinite patience and deep reverence unto the Guru. Constant rise and fall accompanies all progress.
CONCENTRATION AND THOUGHT-CONTROL.
Student! Your life is your own. You have only yourself to thank for what you are, have been and will be. Take your present into your own hand. Consciously shape out of it your future. Direct your forces along lines of study and endeavour that have the strongest attraction for you. Such attraction is the indication of need. It is the hand pointing out your Life-purpose. What your heart desires earnestly and clamours for incessantly is attracted to you out of the invisible supply, i.e., the means, the environments, the right sort of persons, books and thought-forces are drawn to you and then you are expected to work out your desire. This is in perfect accord with the great Law of Attraction. Some call it God: since it answers all sincere prayers. Prayer, remember, is the sincere desire of the heart. I take it that you hunger for Truth and Spiritual Growth—else you and I would not be here. The instructions given you hereunder are meant to give you a strong body and a strong will. They will also tend to your Soul-Unfoldment. Talk not of them. Keep your mouth closed. Be serious, earnest and thoughtful. Then work at them confidently and with perseverance. Do not be daunted by apparent failures. Failure is the stepping-stone to Success. He fails who gives up a thing in final despair. Go on, I say. You will improve from the very first day, and in a short time you will be another man. All the leaders of humanity, past or present, have studied and investigated with tireless zeal along the special lines and, in Spiritual culture, you must do the same. But you must have health, a strong will and a steady brain, and I will enable you to have these positively. Keep these instructions strictly privately. Master them by constant meditation upon same.
Concentration signifies the state of being at a centre (con and centrum). Applied to thought, it is the act of bringing the mind to a single point. Each human being must practise concentration subjectively and objectively. In other words, each human being aims with more or less precision at concentration on a point within and a point without his own world. Concentration "without" is illustrated when you devote all your attention upon Nature, such as learning a trade, a profession, a science, an art or some form of business. This is Evolution, outgoing or positive mental energy. I shall call this Objective Concentration. Concentration "within" implies the withdrawing of attention from the external world and the placing of mind on "God," "Spirit," "Heaven," "Religion," "Peace," "Nirvana," "Eternity," etc. This is Involution, i.e., incoming or negative energy.
When Objective Concentration alone is practised, you develop into a hard-headed, practical man of the world or a successful man of business. You are keen and shrewd. The world is a very matter-of-fact thing to you. You cannot think of anything else beyond money-making and pleasures and worldly affairs. You are a "worldling of the world," very clever, rich, and a master along your own lines. But spiritually you are an imbecile, worse than a baby. This is the Objective Mind—the "deepest immersed in matter, literally made of the dust." "It is the brain of worldly wisdom, common sense, prudence, methodical arrangement, order, discipline, classification, the skill and knowledge of the expert in any branch or department of art or science." This side of the mind is well developed in Scientists, Mathematicians and Businessmen, etc. Where it is not guided by the Subjective Mind, it can only see diversity and difference and is the slave of Maya—the slayer of the Real.
Subjective Concentration is seeking the Kingdom of Heaven within you. "God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship in Spirit and Truth." LAPLACE, the great astronomer, asserted that he had swept the heavens with his telescope and found neither God nor Heaven. Yes, poor LAPLACE! He looked for God objectively instead of subjectively.
The Kingdom of God comes not with 'observation' but it is 'within' you. The be-all and the end-all of religion is the practice of Subjective Concentration. The performance of objective work by the human organism necessitates expenditure of energy and at last death, because all Objective Concentration means 'going from' the Absolute centre—God—and hence it expends Spiritual Energy. Subjective Concentration means 'coming to' the centre and hence it husbands and recuperates this energy. Now nature is motion to and from, and Spirit—the centre of Life. This two-fold motion constitutes what is known as polarity—Evolution and Involution—negative and positive. At the negative pole life becomes involved, i.e., 'wrapped up' in form. At the positive pole life 'evolves' or becomes expressed in nature. In Subjective Concentration you return for fresh supplies to the inexhaustible storehouse of force—the Absolute Will. Jesus healed the sick, exhibited control over external nature by raising the dead, because his chaste soul could receive nothing negatively from God and could give it out positively to the objective world. All power comes from God. I would impress upon you the all-important necessity of placing yourself in a magnetically passive attitude towards the Universal Will and then of taking up a calm, positive attitude towards the phenomenal world—which is a projection of the lower nature and hence must be handled masterfully, fearlessly and confidently. Be positive to the external world. Be negative and receptive to the Lord's Will-force. Remember this. This brings me to the supremest and most solid truth contained in the Science of prayer. The praying mind, by its mere attitude of faith and earnest expectation, opens itself out to the tremendous inflow of Divine Energy. It draws close to the centre of all-power, wisdom and love, and drinks deep of the living waters of life so that even the very face or flesh begins to shine under the influence of this self-polarization—if I may be permitted to use this word—through prayer. Here is the causa nuxus between a prayer and its sure reply. Do you remember what Lord Rosebery said of the great Puritan Mystic Oliver Cromwell? If not, please let me quote: "The secret of his extraordinary success—he was a practical mystic—the most formidable and terrible of all combinations. The man who combines inspiration, apparently derived—in my judgment, really derived—from close communion with the Supernatural and the Celestial, a man who has that inspiration and adds to it the energy of a mighty man of action, such a man as that lives in communion on a Sinai of his own; and when he pleases to come down to this world below, seems armed with no less than the terrors and decrees of the Almighty Himself." Now both forms of concentration must be practised so as to hold the two poles in the even balance of harmonious growth.
You will perform the daily work to which you are naturally adapted in the common weal (Objective Concentration) and after the daily task is finished, retire to the bosom of the Universal Spirit by the regular practice of Subjective Concentration.
Now will you realise the ideal of peace in the very midst of the toil and sweat of the day.
The foregoing diagram, if closely and thoughtfully studied, will show the stages the mind has to 'grow into' in objective and subjective concentration.
In order to acquire knowledge of the laws of external nature the mirror you require is accurate observation and you must focus your attention and push objective concentration to its final stage of perfect knowledge or illumination in order to master any special branch of science.
In Objective Concentration, Pratyahara and Dharana are the preparatory stages. Take a scientist, for instance. He knows that when the mind is engaged with several things, mind force is scattered. He cannot be a politician, a musician, etc., and at the same time an expert scientist. He gradually abstracts his attention from all other subjects and pauses it on one subject or one set of subjects.
Pratyahara is the continued effort of the mind to so abstract itself.
Dharana is reached when this effort is finally successful and the mind becomes steadfast and one-pointed. Dhyana is an extension of this steadfastness. When Dhyana is reached, the student is beyond the range of books. His mind is occupied with original researches and experiments and his knowledge becomes more and more definite. Going on and on always on the one line complete knowledge of that subject is attained. This is the objective view of Samadhi. All these stages when completed make one Samayana. The subjective view of Samadhi no books or writings can teach you. As you go deeper and deeper into Yoga, you will understand these things in the light of your Soul-Vision. It will come to you if you follow my subsequent instructions. Despair not.
WHAT IS MAYA?
Now, first of all, what is Maya (ignorance of the real)? Take the dial-plate of a watch. You know quite well that the hands of the watch are governed by the mechanism behind. Both are necessary. Ignorance exists in thinking that the hands of the watch move by themselves. This visible universe is the dial-plate of the Invisible. Maya (ignorance) blinds you to this fact, i.e., mere objective knowledge blinds you to the subjective side of life and you see nothing beyond a material universe. But you, who realize both, objective as well as subjective, need not be afraid of such a danger. For a danger it is to develop the objective mind die neglect of the subjective. In order to round yourself out, practise both. But first, last and always, let the subjective guide, govern and illumine the objective. Also remember this: If your mind is at all attached to the objective world, try your very best to disattach it and fix it on the subjective side of life, else will you bring untold suffering on yourself. The half-wordly and half-spiritual man who wants to lead a spiritual sensual life eventually brings about a conflict between the laws and forces of the two planes of being. He is overwhelmed with pain and at last with cries of suffering, disease and loss, he is made to open his eyes. Understand the world for what it is but do not lower your soul to the point of being attached to its small thoughts, things and ways.
HOW TO CONCENTRATE OBJECTIVELY.
(a) In all undertakings whether of small or great importance shut off all thoughts and ideas except such as have any immediate and direct bearing upon the thing in hand. Pay attention. Bend all the energies of your mind and will upon it till it is completed to your satisfaction. Divert your attention from one thing to another only when you sanction by a resolve and understand why you do so. Your daily work which you must choose according to the special bent of your mind, will present you opportunities.
(b) Control impulse. Suppose an idea enters your mind. Compose yourself quietly before carrying out its purport. Consider it. Turn it over in your mind. Contemplate it. Weave your mental energies around it, as it were, till at last the idea with your final decision stands out clear-cut and well-defined. Then proceed to act it out physically with your mental concentration cutting a way for you straight on to the execution of your designing. This is forethought.
(c) In perfect concentration time vanishes. In working out a design on which you have set your heart dispense altogether with the element of time and work at it concentratedly for days, months and years with confident expectation of success.
(d) Take a picture, representing a landscape, the interior of a building, an assembly of persons, a square, a triangle or a more complicated geometrical figure. Look at it well. Then lay it aside. Close your eyes. Reproduce the picture mentally in detail. Then repose your mind on the same image to the exclusion of all other thoughts. This is a more fixed and meditative method and will sharpen the mind wonderfully. It will also develop the power of conscious Mental Imagery. The key to Objective Concentration is Conscious Attention, remember.
ACTIVE AND PASSIVE MENTATION.
These terms imply two different distinct functions of the human mind. The active function performs the volitional, voluntary thinking. It is the conscious focusing of the mind on some mental problem. Banishing from the mind all thoughts and ideas not in harmony with your special subject of study implies Active Mentation. This function is used by the active, wide-awake man in his busy and energetic moments. It is the key to the development of Will-Power and a vigorous intellect. You are conscious of effort when you are exercising this function. The mind becomes exhausted after a great deal of such effort and cries out for rest, because conscious attention implies close concentration of thought and can be exercised only by the conscious use of Will-Power. You ought to be able to concentrate upon one subject of thought, study and observation with undivided attention and then take your mind off that subject and put it on something else, at your will. Train your mind to 'give' perfect attention to any subject you like and also to 'shut off' or inhibit all attention on that subject. The mind is a restless thing darting from one thing to another, and, like a spoilt child, tiring of continued attention. But you must, by Will-Exercise, get control over this tendency. 'Exercise develops power. Practice makes perfect.' This you must bear in mind and, by patience and perseverance, train your mind to 'pay attention' where it ought to do so and not to pay attention where it ought not to. At first your mind will rebel like an unbroken horse at the imposition of such restraint. But really all greatness results from mind-control. Remember active mentation is conscious, deliberate concentration. Passive mentation represents automatic, involuntary thinking. This includes the subconscious or 'habit' mind. When a certain thought-groove has been formed in your mind, energy flows into it involuntarily, i.e., by itself and without any conscious effort on your part. This is passive mentation. It is automatic mental activity. Take an example. Some school-boys find Mathematics, Science and Geography easy to master from the very start. They feel quite in sympathy with the teacher of Mathematics. But History and Language are their abomination. There are others who simply cannot 'take an interest' in any Mathematics but who shine brilliantly in Language, Recitation, Composition, History. As a matter of fact neither of these students is superior to the other, but each is great in his own line. In one set, you have an example of automatic mentation in Mathematics, Science and Geography; in the other in Literature and Art. But suppose the first set tried to master Literature and Art and the second grappled with Mathematics and Science, each would then be practising actual concentration. In each set the active function would be exercised and will-power would develop on both sides. Do you see? Occultists say that all power results from the continual exercise of active mentation and all weak-mindedness is the direct outcome of this wool-gathering, castle-building, inattentive habit which is an extension of passive mentation into useless channels of thought-force. Conscious attention concentrates and even specializes mental energy as the sun-glass concentrates and intensifies the heat of the rays of the sun. Focus your full attention upon the thing to be done, take a keen interest in its accomplishment to the exclusion of all else, and you will obtain wonderful results. The man of developed, concentrative power holds in his hand the key to success, with the results that all his actions, voluntary or involuntary, are pointed to the accomplishment of his object. Remember therefore in conclusion:
(1) Concentration is perfect attention consciously directed to a given point of achievement either objectively or subjectively.
(2) Concentration is consecration.
"What ever you do, do it with all your might. Do one thing at a time and do it well." By concentration is meant the directing of all your energies along a special line of achievement. For instance, if you would be a perfect Yogi, you must concentrate, concentrate, morning, noon and night, at all times, along that line of endeavour. You must study all the vast literature on Yoga, Psychology, Metaphysics, Mentalism, etc., and form your own synthesis on same. You must think hard and work hard for Yoga. "Genius is the power to bear infinite pain." Nothing ought to be too great a sacrifice, including your own life, for the right understanding and achievement of Yoga.
All half-heartedness, all insincerity, weakens your nature, and weakness has no place either in heaven or in hell. For the half-hearted man is a traitor unto the Divine within him and must pay dearly for his treachery.
SUBJECTIVE CONCENTRATION—HOW PRACTISED.
This is a vast subject. If you practise earnestly my instructions on Thought-Control, Will-Culture, and take the Meditation Exercise I am going to give you, you will realize greater strength than average humanity. But you must study and think hard for yourself before any considerable benefit can be derived from even these. Remember please, you alone can teach yourself through intuition. Intuition is tuition from within. Follow strictly the general rules I give you and you cannot but unfold your Inner Soul Vision which includes intuition in its fullest sense.
(a) What is Thought-Force?
"Thoughts are things." Thought is a dynamic energy. Just as the food that you eat feeds your body, exactly similarly your thoughts and feelings nourish your soul. Matter is nothing but a concentration of Thought-Force or Mind-Substance. The entire universe is seen objectively. This is on the cosmic scale. On the individual scale—"As a man thinketh in his heart, so he is." This is a literal truth. Your body is nothing but a Thought-Form. Control your modes of thinking and shape them to lofty ideals. So will you infallibly, positively and immediately control your destiny. Control your thoughts and you can control the thoughts of all other men. The tone of your thoughts must always be lofty. You must change your Thought-Habits and shift your plane of consciousness from the lower to the higher life. I am going to give you hints on same. Pay attention please.
Every one of us, as he thinks, feels and wills, sends forth Thought-Forms and Thought-Waves of greater or lesser intensity. This force once set into motion persists, for a greater or lesser period of time, in Ether. Thought-Force is the concentration of a high form of vibratory energy in the Akasa (universal ether) and the ether, as you know, permeates all space, interpenetrates and pervades all forms of matter, from atom to the sun and the stars. Just as the light-waves of a star exist and move on centuries after the star has ceased to be, just as the heat-vibrations remain in a room even after the producing cause has been removed, similarly mentative energy and its corresponding Thought-Forms persist in the ether even after the originating impulse has been withdrawn.
In this way places, houses, cities and temples have peculiar Thought-Atmospheres of their own, imparted by those living there, exerting an influence upon every one living or going there. These are positive, animating, purifying and exalting Thought-Atmospheres, and there are negative, weakening and unholy, morbid Thought-Atmospheres.
The higher and loftier your tone of general Thought-Activity, the finer and more powerful the vibrational nature of the energy emanating from you. The quality of the thought determines the rate of vibration. For instance, photographs have been taken through highly-sensitized plates, indicating the nature of the energy generated. Tongues of flame, brilliant and flashing with golden-yellow, were photographed from prayer and devotion. Rotary forms spreading out in ever widening circles of intense power appeared from lofty enthusiasm in a noble cause. Dark, murky, cloudy forms resulted from fear, morbidness and worry, and so on.
(d) The Human Aura.
Similarly each human organism has an 'Aura' of Thought-Force around it, having its own peculiar rate of vibration, its peculiar forms of colour, etc. This 'Aura' is an extension of our physical, mental and spiritual energies.
(e) The Adductive Power of Thought.
Now as you think, the quality of your thoughts and feelings sets up a magnetic centre within your Aura, vortices are created, attracting to yourself similar forms of thought and mentative energy and combining with other similar forms of energy, reacting upon you and your circumstances and also wielding an influence upon all such as may come within its area, radius or field of Force. Thus you see thoughts of the 'I can and I will', 'I do and I dare' type draw similar ones to you, ever increasing your own stock and at the same time stimulating and energising all others vibrating in the same key throughout the world. Hence you see we owe it to ourselves as well as to humanity in general to generate only positive, loving and lofty thoughts. Just brace up and send forth fearless, 'I can and I will' thoughts into the world's great reservoir of thought forces, and you will be surprised at your power to attract influence, and energise others.
There are four special classes of thoughts that are poisoning the lives of almost all humanity. They are:—(1) Fear-thoughts, (2) Hate-thoughts, (3) Sensual-thoughts, (4) Selfish-thoughts. All worry, doubt, timidty, lack of self-respect, jealousy, spite, malice, envy, slander, dirty, vicious, will-weakening, health-destroying, poverty-breeding, soul-killing influences radiate from one or all of these four. You must cut at their roots and utterly destroy them. In your efforts follow assiduously the following four rules. They alone can give you absolute thought-control. They are infallible:
(1) You can break up old thought-habits and build up new ones by sheer force of Will.
(2) You can easily become great by associating with some strong-willed, holy, wisdom-steeped soul. This is absolutely necessary and means the finding of your Guru.
(3) By auto-suggestion, i.e., by impressing upon your passive mind the particular change you would have it work out.
(4) By thought-absorption, i.e., by constant meditation on that one line of thinking.
Now let me give you a few valuable hints on the above four in detail:
(1) & (3). Character Building.
You can accomplish this result by tensing the will and by strengthening the active function of your mind and thus enabling it to "step in" and simply 'command' the passive function to drop the old thought-habit and take up the new one. This is a magnificent feat and in it only the strongest succeed. You can obtain good results by combining this with auto-suggestion. Silently concentrate upon your passive mind and impress upon it your order. Say to it earnestly, confidently, and masterfully: 'You, my mind, I want you to be fearless, pure, loving and unselfish!' Picture to yourself in imagination as if you were already these, and again command and impress your will upon your mind. Do so silently and constantly and never neglect a chance of expressing these qualities in action because, at first your mind will rebel, but if 'you' keep up your efforts determinately and firmly and avail yourself of all opportunities to 'act out' your will, your mind will end up by accepting your suggestion and manifesting same naturally as a habit. Some of you will actually go out of your way to 'act out' a thought when you realise that the easiest and surest way to check and utterly 'destroy' a thought-habit is to refuse deliberately to let it manifest in action and to 'create' a new one all you have got to do is to equally deliberately 'express' it in action and thus clinch it into permanent strength. Also you must aim at 'thoroughness' and guard against all compromise with your lower nature. Chastity must be perfect chastity and nothing short of that, and so on in all development.
i. Go away by yourself to some place where you will not be disturbed. Of course, not always and very rarely can you obtain this condition. Never mind. Do your best where you are and the great law will at least find for you all necessary conditions. Shut out all distracting conditions and impressions from the outer world. After a little effort you will be able to do so anywhere, at any time, and under any condition. All mental disturbance is within you.
ii. Now relax, go passive, and draw off all tension from your nerves. Just you relax your mind and your body will follow suit. A few deep slow breaths will help the beginner.
iii. Concentrate upon your mind inward steadily, calmly and with undivided attention.
iv. Fix your thought firmly upon your passive mind and mentally say, 'You, my mind, are quite pure.' Think of this word (with all the ideas associated therewith) as sinking deeply into your mind and making a deep impress upon it as a die upon a wax. Let the outward form of the words 'pure,' 'fearless,' etc., sink into your mind.
v. Form a mental picture of yourself as if you already possessed all 'purity' and 'courage' and act them out in imagination. Make of it a pleasant 'day dream.'
vi. Intensify your relaxed condition of mind. Grow as 'limp' as a rag. Then mentally open yourself out to the inrush of all the Thought-Forces existing in the ether and connected with positive thoughts. The effort of this imagination to see this tremendous force pouring into your brain and body will actually put you en rapport with same.
vii. Now change from negative to a positive condition and say vigourously I am 'pure' and 'strong' Say it distinctly several times. Actually speak them out.
viii. Then go out and live your thoughts out. This last is the most important condition.
ix. Practise this daily at the same hour and if possible at the same place, morning and evening. In fact hold the thought in your mind as often as possible till it becomes second Nature.
x. Use your power for good or you shall weep eternally. To misuse occult powers for mean, selfish, or low ends and to prostitute it into enslaving others weaker than yourselves mentally and physically is the greatest 'sin' man can commit against man.
(2) Guru Worship.
You grow by absorption and assimilation. In order to quicken your progress you need abstract as well as concrete ideals. The secret of all rapid and startling spiritual development is man-worship. By man-worship I mean devotion to, reverence, and intense and all-absorbing passion for the perfect individual man of realization—a Mahapurusha. Christ, Buddha and Vivekananda were all such-type men. You must constantly and thoughtfully meditate upon the lives and writings of saints and heroes. The formative influence and valuable powers of study and meditation upon lofty ideas and ideals are incalculable. Man grows by the deepening of consciousness and the acquirement of wisdom. All study, subjective and objective, is a Tapashya or Austerity directed to the acquirement of wisdom. It is the worship of Saraswati—the Goddess of Wisdom. This worship is definable as perfect emotional solitude, close study, absolute chastity and celibacy, and at last the merging of the personal into the impersonal. This austere life is the secret of all greatness. You know how Archimedes when threatened with death by the vandalistic invaders of his country raised his head and said 'Please do not disturb my circles' and nothing more. This man was practising Yoga unconsciously. You must be able to lose all consciousness of this relative personality, the sure victim of death and impermanence. You must give up the personal ego that in the words of Walt Whitman 'is contained within your hat and boots' and then alone will you realise an infinite individuality. Truly in losing himself man finds Himself. 'Ye must be born anew'. Herein, apart from its formative and moulding influence lies the greatest value of study. Study and direct aural influence of a perfected soul are the two objective means of instilling powerful suggestions into the subjective self or the inner soul. All knowledge is within the deeps of the eternal subjective. But the gate is locked. Your Guru gives you the master-key with which to unlock the door and enter the gate of wisdom and power. Once you are there all pain and death shall be conquered. You can then help yourself. Man can only worship such a God as is greater than himself in degree and not in kind. Such a God he can "grow into." It is the impersonal God of the Hindu Philosophy that gives you the abstract ideas and the living Guru (God) in human form that gives you the concrete ideal. The one is necessary for the soaring intellect; the other for the rousing and enkindling of tremendous and indomitable motive-power. Seek both and when you find them worship and serve them with all your heart and soul. 'My worship for my master is the worship of a dog. I do not seek to understand his nature. It ever startles with its newness and profound depth'. So spoke Vivekananda of Ram Krishna. Need I tell you of the tremendous and world-conquering power that awoke in Vivekananda through mere Guru worship? In India the Guru asks for nothing short of absolute worship, obedience, and submission to his will although none values and appreciates individual freedom more than the master. So long as you are at the feet of your master be as submissive as a lamb. So will you open yourself to his great batteries of inner power. Serve him. Please him. Obey him. Be his slave. No matter what contradictions you may see. A great and profound nature is full of contrary ways and his character is a paradox impossible for you to read through reason and observation. You can only understand him by having perfect faith in him, loving and serving him like a faithful dog. So will you tap on to his inner forces. And when he sends you away into the broad world to live out the great ideal he has set before you, you shall be astonished at your courage and power. You shall take fearless possession of this world and every minute you shall realise how only he can command who has learnt to obey. By commanding I do not mean dominating any one and forcing your views on others. This is the sign of fools. But you will find your influence radiating and circling out naturally and irresistibly, winning souls to the higher life, and you yourself shall thus stand as a tower of strength, a redeemer of the race, an inspiration and a living benediction unto humanity. Peace be with you! May you realise strength of soul!
PERSONAL MAGNETISM, WILL-CULTURE, SELF-CONTROL.
Personal Magnetism is the individual expression of a subtle irresistible and dynamic Force in man, which enables him to exert an unusual influence upon others. You all have come into contact with men of this type. They are endowed with marvelous, almost miraculous powers of influencing, persuading, attracting, fascinating, ruling and bending to their own Will-Force men of widely varying mental peculiarities and temperaments. Men actually go out of their way to please them. They attract others without any visible effort and others feel drawn to them in spite of themselves. Various are the examples of such power as afforded by history.
Now what is this power due to? How to develop it within yourself? Is it possible for everyone to acquire it? Has it or can it be put to any higher and nobler use than merely to enslave others' minds in order to make them subservient to your selfish purposes on the relative plane of existence? If so, what is that higher use? I know of a Christian gentleman, Mr. K. by name, who had been smitten with the young governess of a Magistrate in Benares. This grown-up man sought out a young College student who was a born leader of men and who was adored, admired and universally respected by all students, teachers and professors. "I wish you would teach me Mesmerism so that I may fascinate that girl"—this was the application of Mr. K. Well, the upshot of it all was that Mr. K. got a severe and stern rebuke from the young mesmerist, who in all truth was a born Yogi and cared not for the petty ways and small thoughts and attainments of men of this world. I find that nearly all modern Western writers on and teachers of this subject are much, in fact solely, taken up with the idea of sensationalism through Occultism, so much so that when a really thoughtful man investigates their writings he feels utterly disgusted, repelled and horrified at the very name of Occultism. "It is sin to manifest power," said Vivekananda. The man who studies Yoga and Occultism simply with a view to develop, display and demonstrate Psychic and Super-normal Powers and Siddhies always ends in Lust and is caught up in a psychic machinery of law and destructive thought forces that effectually grind him to pieces. His spiritual progress is thrown back over ages and he is made to retrace his steps slowly and painfully. I cannot too strongly condemn the modern tendency to "impress" others, to "strike terror" into others, to "psychologize" others towards the accomplishment of our personal motives. If you are one such, do, for heaven's sake, open your eyes to your gross ignorance and low propensities or be not surprised if one day you find yourself face to face with some powerful scoundrel who would not scruple to crush you in all possible ways. "Harm watch, harm catch." I am going to give you in practical form what constitute the real cause at the back of a "Magnetic" personality—that which when developed makes a god-like man of any human weakling.
This power is by no means the especial and peculiar possession of some divinely gifted individuals. Everyone can cultivate it. It is in you and needs vigorous stirring up as a condition of its awakening. There are some men who are born great; others are made so by certain unforeseen circumstances; a third class becomes great through conscious and intelligent effort.
Now, what are the causes behind Personal Influence?
(1) Some say that the right control of the Sex-Force or Celibacy is the cause.
(2) Others say that vegetarianism leads to it.
(3) Still others assert that it is physical energy and nerve force.
(4) A fourth class has it that there emanates a current of magnetism from the human body and influences everyone coming within its "Magnetic field".
Taking the last view point first, I should say, with certain other leading mental Scientists, that the human dynamic force is different from "magnetism" as the latter bears direct reference to the loadstone.
Again, my own personal observations as well as those of others prove conclusively that although "magnetic" personalities have remarkably well-disciplined and highly trained physical energies, it is rarely or never a huge gigantic physique with large, unsightly muscles that exerts this force. No, it is decidely something other than mere physical energy and brute strength. A light, active, vigorous physique is desirable and any one can have it. Again, the principle value of a non-flesh diet lies in the fact that fruits, nuts, corn and vegetables are possessed of rhythmic qualities and go to build up a fine, sensitive physique capable of greater powers of endurance and sustained mental effort than the 'carcass' of any animal ever can. Matter does affect mind in the lower stages of organic evolution but the process is largely reversed as soon as CONSCIOUS evolution commences. Therefore vegetarianism, although highly commendable, from a strictly scientific point of view for the development of an active and energetic, refined organism, is by no means a rigid and indispensable necessity in this respect. In fact, some most "magnetic" individuate make 'graveyards of their stomachs' as a Mental Scientist puts it.
Lastly, Bramhacharya or Celibacy, as practised by Sannyasis in India, has a strictly spiritual significance although it certainly has much as everything to do with Personal Magnetism. To the average man I would say: "Strive for CONTINENCE, chastity and control in this direction." Do not emasculate, as that would be a waste of force. The stronger this force, the better. All Sannyasis learn consciously or unconsciously to transmute this energy into mental and spiritual force and generally their minds dwell on a plane of mental and spiritual effort where there cannot be even a breath of sensuality or grossness. They have gone beyond such things utterly; the same statement applies to all advanced thinkers, philosophers and workers, whether married or unmarried. To me the very name of philosophy carries with it an atmosphere of Chastity, Solemnity, and Divinity.
But although there is some measure of truth in all the above four statements, they all miss the real thing. The question resolves itself into this: "What makes one man superior to another?" The study of nature shows us that the higher form of intelligence controls the lower. All leaders of mankind, such as Napoleon, Alexander, etc., were clearly ahead of the times. But they strove for low things and their SUCCESS from our point of view is doubtful. Let us take higher ground. Buddha, Christ, Zoroaster, etc., etc., of ancient times and Vivekananda and a few others in modern times exhibited tremendous powers of influencing men. You study their lives and writings and try to find out just those things that constituted the basic cause of their heroic fibre.
If I were asked to sum up the secrets of their Power I would say: 1. "Their Intelligence and Thought-Power. 2. Awakened Will-Power and Self-Control."
1. It was by their intelligence that they could take fearless possession of the world, handle men and women easily, read human nature at a glance and "be all things to all men," i.e.., put their fingers direct on the spiritual, mental, and physical necessities of widely varying temperaments and help each right where he stood in the ladder of evolution.
2. It was by their developed thought-force that they drew the whole world to themselves. The positive thinker generates a force that draws all such as are negative to him. Nearly the whole world was negative to these Masters and hence felt attracted to them. These were the human touchstones.
3. It was by their strong, manly, marvellous Will-Power that they drove their suggestions into other minds and gained an immediate ascendency over whatever environments they were placed in. The whole man is summed up in his Will. Every other power in man is subservient to the Will. And say what you will, it is this power more than any other that we respect in others. It is the central staff in our character. Intelligence is the directive energy. Will-Power is the propulsive energy. And the latter when wielded under the guidance of the former makes of man a veritable God.
4. It was by their unusual power of Self-control that they could stand square upon their feet and could remain unshaken by the waves of conflicting opinions and the hostile attacks that continually dashed up against them. Master yourself, i.e., your personal, relative and lower self, and beyond the shadow of a doubt, the mastery of others is already yours. But the world will teach you bitter lessons and rend you to pieces if you try consciously to control it while you are still a slave to your lower self. Be great. Strive for Perfection. So will you be recognised by others. And according to the transcendent energy of the highest law of our Being it is the consciousness of heights scaled, accomplishments achieved and consequent dawning of a Loftier Ideal upon our intellectual horizon that fills us with Strength and Peace rather than the recognition of our worth by others. It is a serious mistake to care for fame, praise and admiration. You get them only when you do not care for them in the least, when your soul has outgrown all such clinging to the relative in the light of eternal thought, when you have risen to the Absolute and learnt to read the meaning of the "LARGER WORLD" of life. Do not pass by this lightly. In it is the key to Peace, Power and Poise. All that is Real and Permanent, is on the plane of the Absolute.
Now we are drawing to the practical side of our Lesson. The four principal points, you will please remember, are: (1) Intelligence. (2) Thought-Force. (3) Will-Power. (4) Self-Control. You might feel surprised at my retailing this "ancient history" instead of teaching you how to approach a man, make him your slave and command him to fall down at your feet and do your bidding. Perhaps you expected me to tell you how to sail through the air, pass through solid walls, materialize and dematerialize at will and like Appolonius of Tyana vanish in the flash of an eye from the court of Ionysius and appear elsewhere at a distance of 19,000 miles at the same moment. No, no. I will take it for granted that you are made of different stuff and an earnest seeker after the truth. If you strive to build yourself on the basis of the simple principles as laid down in this series of lessons you will in time grow into the Higher Self and at last become one with it. Moreover, your daily life will be the Occasion for the practical application of these principles, thus enabling you to pursue your way through life calmly, earnestly, independently and with the quiet dignity of a man "who knows what he is about". I cannot and would not speak of "get-rich-quick" methods of self-development because they are the veriest rot imaginable.
Now then: (1) Intelligence and (2) Thought-Force are the natural results of an organised brain.
Concentration is the key to such development. Concentration has been fully explained in Lesson No. 1. By the constant exercise of concentration, objectively and subjectively, in your daily life you will in a short time become conscious of growing Strength. The exercises I give you in this lesson on Self-Control, Will-Culture and Memory-Culture if gone through with perseverance will further develop Concentrative ability. In fact, this entire series of lessons will call for Effort and Concentration. "Rome was not built in a day"—nor can you achieve real greatness in a few months. No. All I can do is to indicate the line and the nature of the effort required of you and if clearly followed, Progress and Growth will commence from the first day. In connection with this, a little digression would be necessary. The Occultist says: Nature, unaided, fails. The purposiveness of Deity, manifesting in nature an evolution, is present in all individual centres but it has the way to full expression opened out to itself only when the more evolved centres of life consciously cooperate with it. Evolution is started and carried only by the creation of centres within the GREAT CONSCIOUSNESS and by preserving and enlarging or expanding these centres. So long as the race had not reached "SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS" (see Yoga Lessons) the sub-conscious forces of nature had entire control over evolutionary processes, but this stage was reached by the race according to the LAW OF AVERAGES in the seventeenth century and you are now expected to take your progress in your hands and consciously direct your inner forces along such lines as best correspond to the stage of your growth. So independent study and steady thinking form the secrets of a keen and broad intelligence. You will always find that the man who is more powerful than yourself and moves you at his will has an intelligence and understanding far superior to yours and he can read your whole nature as he would an open book, although you find him quite beyond your depth. Learn to regard earnestly the workings of different mentalities around you. Become a student of human nature. To you, each man ought to be only a partial expression of his mind. Examine closely into the motives acting behind each personality. Learn to respond more quickly to the Thoughts and Feelings of a man than to his outer speech and action. The latter are objective expressions of the subjective self. The study of Phrenology and Physiognomy are good things to start with in your efforts to acquire knowledge of human nature. Mind is One and at the same time, Many. Subjectively, it is ONE. Objectively; many. So by looking impartially into "yourself" in the calm light of the intellect and through silent introspection, you will always find a clue to the working bases of other minds. Each man is a puzzle and most of all are YOU a puzzle unto yourself. Solve either and you have solved both. "MAN, KNOW THYSELF."
THE MYSTERY OF THE WILL-FORCE.
Will-Force is the power of Re-action. It can render all the other mental functions _active_ or _passive_. It is the DETERMINATIVE faculty and is affected most of all by the JUDGMENT. On the lower plane of mind, Will-Power manifests as Desire and is reciprocally influenced by outside attractions as well as repulsions. On this plane the Will is not free. But when it draws the volition for externalizing itself from _Within_ in the light of the Higher Reason, then indeed is it _Will-Power. On the material the human will is a slave; on the spiritual plane it is the sovereign. It may then be called the "awakened" will_. It is my conviction that the eternal crossing of swords between the Determinists and the Libertarians can be set at rest only by a right understanding of the _spiritual_ makeup of man, otherwise the arguments of both sets of thinkers are equally strong. Each side has got hold of half the truth, but requires the reconciling light of transcendental Psychology in order to enable us to see the _whole_ truth as it is. However, the point I am driving at is that your will is free only when it is _self-determined_ i.e., when it has risen above the impulses of the Lower Personal Self and acts under the direction of the Higher Impersonal Self_. In order to fix this most important truth in your mind, let us give you a brief idea of the "I AM" consciousness. Do not pass this by as so much dry rot. No one will ever or can ever manifest genuine Will-Force of a distinctly spiritual type who does not understand the "I AM" consciousness. So please listen attentively and think over the following.
THE "I AM" CONSCIOUSNESS.
If you just turn in and examine the report of your consciousness regarding the self-dwelling within, you will become conscious of the "I". But if you press your examination a little closer you will find that this "I" may be split up into two distinct aspects which, while working in unison and conjunction, may nevertheless be set apart in thought. There is an "I" function and there is a "me" function and these mental twins develop distinct phenomena. The first is the "MASCULINE" principle; the second is the "FEMININE" principle. Other terms used in current writings on New Psychology are Conscious Mind, Active Mind, Voluntary Mind, Objective Mind and so forth. These all refer to the "I" principle. And the "me" form of mind corresponds to the Sub-Conscious Mind, Passive Mind, Involuntary Mind, Subjective Mind and so on. Ninety-nine p. c. of humanity mean this "me" when they say "I". Now let us examine what this "me" implies. It consists largely of our consciousness, of our body and physical sensations as associated with touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing. The consciousness of some of us is largely bound up in the physical and carnal side of life. We "live there." There are some men who consider their "clothes" too as being a part of themselves. But as consciousness rises in the scale of evolution, man begins to "dissociate" his idea of "me" from the body and he begins to regard his body as a beloved companion and as "belonging to" him. He then identifies himself with his mental states, emotions, feelings, likes and dislikes, habits, qualities and characteristics. But, by and by, he begins to realize how even these moods also are subject to change, born and die and are subject to the Principles of Rhythm and Polarity. He realizes faintly that he can change them by an effort of will and "transmute" them into mental states of an exactly opposite nature. Then he again begins to "dissociate" himself from his emotions and feelings and at last through mental analysis, introspection and concentration, he sets them apart into the "not I" collection. He begins then to realize that he is something above his body and emotions. So also with the intellectual functions. The intellectual man is very apt to think that although his physical and emotional selves are something different from him and under his control, still his intellect is himself. This is the stage of "Self-Consciousness". "I control my body and emotions." But as consciousness unfolds intellectual man finds that he can practically stand aside and see (mentally, of course) his mind going through various processes of intellection. Study of Psychology and Logic will enable you to see how all your intellectual processes may be held at arm's length, examined, analysed, labelled and discussed quite with the same ease as the professor talks of a solid, liquid and acriform substances in his laboratory. So at last he finds that even the wonderful powers of the Intellect must go into the "not I" collection. This is almost as far as the average man can realize. You can realize and say "I am not the body, not the emotions, not the intellect." Therefore you see, that side of consciousness which is the sum-total of your physical, emotional and intellectual functions comprises the "me" or Feminine or Passive mental principle. That which can separate itself in thought from all the above is the "I" or the Masculine Function. But another step must be taken. That which you have been taught to regard as the Spiritual Consciousness (see "Spiritual Consciousness") will also eventually go into the "Not-I" or "me" collection. In brief, the spiritual mind may be said to comprise all that is GOOD, NOBLE and GREAT in the field of consciousness. It is the "Super-Conscious" mind, just now. But, mark this, when through further evolution, the "I" has mastered this field of consciousness also and is able to regard it as being the last of the "me" collections, then it will lose its sense of relativity and separation and the real individuality, the "I AM" consciousness, will have been realized. What do I mean? This "I AM" is not the petulant self-assertion of the relative ego. "I" but really means GOD CONSCIOUSNESS as perfect Existence, perfect Knowledge or perfect Bliss. It means the realization of an Infinite and Eternal Self or Individuality. "He that has lost the self has gained the SELF". Here is the explanation: this little self or "I" so long as it is attached to the PERSONALITY which is the product of the "me" consciousness is bound down to the relative plane. It can think only through only one brain, enjoy through one body and such happiness as it gets is transitory, short-lived and impermanent because this world of relative existence is itself essentially changeable. It is permanent only in its impermanence. So long as the "I" thinks and while only for the benefits of its personal self, both thinking and willing are limited and not free. But when it has succeeded in joining itself to the Spiritual mind and works for, aspires after the Larger Self—the "I AM"—it has to renounce or "disattach" itself from the personal self and work under the guidance of the impersonal Higher Self. "I refuse to be contained within my hat and boots," said Walt Whitman. When the Vedantist says "Aham Brahmasmi"—"I am the absolute"—he does not mean this lower "I". No, no. He is not built that way. For him the moorings of self-consciousness are out. He has lost all sense of his particular relative "I" and has one-d himself with the absolute "I AM"—the impersonal, intangible, immortal, omnipotent Self of and over all. This "I am" is Spirit or Atman. There can be but one Individuality—that of the Absolute. It becomes objectively expressed in man as Cosmic Consciousness. Subjectively it is God. Now then you have an idea of the "I am" Consciousness. Hold fast to it. It is your real, Larger Self. In the understanding and the exercise of the Will-Power the "I" or the Positive Mental Principle is the chief factor. To use the one you must understand the other. Will is a Soul-Power. This "I"—as I have explained it above—is negative to the "I AM" or God—both meaning the same thing. It is positive in relation to the Higher Self. This "I" is the future promise of the "I AM". It is true it shall lose itself in finding its Self, but so does the child when it grows into full manhood. Christ was one with his Father-in-Heaven (i.e., on the spiritual plane) and therefore he could still the waves and raise the dead. Yet just you examine the nature of Lord Christ's Will-Force. Think of his constant retirement into the Silence in order to obtain inspiration for his work in the objective universe. Again, note his utter indifference to and absolute control over his personal self. Did he care whether his body would live or die? Did he live for the enjoyments of the flesh? Did he "play to the gallery" and act and speak for any worldly gain or low considerations? No! He had forgotten the interests of the flesh in his earnest enthusiasm in the cause of the Eternal Spirit. He was not moved by any dammed sense of prudence and caution. He drew the "Motives" that energised his Will-Power in the life of Action from Within. Nothing from outside, nothing from the world of lower attractions could in the least swerve his inner determination or unbalance his brain. Do you or can you prepare yourself to follow in his steps? Then my first point and the most infallible method of awakening your Will-Power is this:
(a) Teach Thy Will to "Resist and Renounce." Strengthen your Will-Power by Renunciation. By Resistance is not meant outer resistance or aggressiveness. I find that all the modern teachers of Hypnotism advise their students to develop Will-Power by exercising it upon others. This is placing the cart before the horse. We Hindus know better. No; by Resistance to and Repression of your lower Desire-Nature is meant letting the more difficult choice exercise its compelling and restraining power over the easier one. Says Sister Nivedita: "The Indian ideal is that man whose lower mind is so perfectly under control that he can at any moment plunge into the thought-ocean and remain there at will without the least possibility of a sudden break and unexpected return to the life of the senses." Yes, your interests should be within and not without. You must rise above all personal impulse. Even in this world you find that men of distinction, fame and honour have achieved recognition by practising a little self-denial, which is a "milder" form of absolute Renunciation as practised by true Sanyasis. The man who can work at his aim with perseverance and denies himself the mess of pottage of present indulgence in view of some future gain develops Will-Power. So in training your Will to 'resist', you must, as a first step, sternly refuse to indulge impulses, desires and tendencies not in consonance with the dictates of your Higher Self. You must actually go out of your way and "deny" yourself the little or great "comforts" to which you are or have been accustomed. The strongest-willed man is he who has the greatest control over his inclinations, and who can 'force' himself to do such things as he is naturally most inclined to do. This is a characteristic which cannot be developed in a day. There are some children and even grown-up men and women who mistake their 'obstinacy' for Will-Power. They want a thing and when they do not get it they tear their hair, gnash their teeth, stamp their feet and fly into a terrible passion. Since people think that these uncontrolled creatures are strong-willed while all that you could say about them is that they are utter slaves to their desires. You must practise self-denial in fifty different ways and force yourself to do certain things, 'little and big,' every day purely for developing this power of Resistance. No short-cut to this. Some children develop it unconsciously by 'forcing' themselves to study when they might play, and by applying themselves to such studies as are dry and uninteresting to them they thus practise voluntary Concentration. Practise self-denial in every possible way. Cut off such luxuries as you think "you must have." "Take a cold bath when you would prefer a warm one. Arise promptly in the morning. Make yourself call upon people you have avoided. Stand up in a street car when you would prefer sitting; walk when it is convenient to ride. Make engagements with yourself and keep them. Promise yourself that when you see something to be done you will spring at once to it however strong may be the inclination to put it off awhile" and back of it all let there be the auto-suggestion: "I am doing all these hard things in order to build up my Will-Power and each time 'I' succeed in forcing 'my mind' to do a thing or not to do it I make the next victory easier and my Will-Power stronger." Of course the above is only a hint as to your line of practise.
(b) You must not give yourself such hard tasks of Self-Development as might be too heavy and beyond the present strength of your Will. In denying yourself you develop self-control. In forcing yourself to do certain things you develop powers of Self-Expression. In one the Will moves along negative lines. In the other along positive lines. Both are necessary. The man who cannot control and command himself can never develop and express Himself. But be sure to begin with easy things and then as you gain in confidence you may attempt more difficult feats.
(c) The faculties of Courage and Confidence are essentially important. Nothing weakens the will so much as Fear and lack of Self-Confidence. Self-Confidence is not blustering self-conceit. That within you which says "I CAN" when calmly and doggedly backed by your "I Will" when deliberately translated into action develops Will-Force and commands startling results.
(d) Always hold these words before your passive Mind:
1. Earnestness. 2. Determination. 3. Courage. 4. Confidence. 5. Stick-to-it-ive-ness. 6. Patience. 7. I can and I will.
(e) The tendency of the Masculine function of your mind to "I" is towards giving, expressing or projecting energy; that of the Feminine is towards generating and creating mental progeny such as thoughts, mental energy, new habits, etc. It is why the Feminine Principle has been called the "mental womb" by ancient philosophers. It comprises also the faculty of Imagination. The Masculine function does the work of the 'Will' in its varied phases. The Feminine function receives impressions and generates mental offspring in the form of new thoughts, ideas, concepts, thought-habits and so forth. Its powers of creative energy are strikingly marvellous and have been proved and attested to in Psychological experiments conducted by the best known mental scientists of the day. But "positive" mental energy must be projected by the 'I' into the Passive Mind through concentration, suggestion and willing before the latter can be started to work along any line of creative effort. This suggestion may be given by you to your sub-conscious mind or it may come as an outer impression. Unless you control your Passive Mind, it is sure to be controlled by others. Then you are a slave. Now in cultivating the above seven qualities, you should take up one word at a time and let the outer form sink into your mind. Place yourself in a relaxed and passive condition. Close your eyes and picture the form of the word to yourself, for instance, D-E-T-E-R-M-I-N-A-T-I-O-N. Employ the Imagination and visualize mentally. This done, i.e., when the word-picture is well photographed upon your mind and fastened in place, your next step will be to picture yourself the Ideas, qualities, physical and mental characteristics, etc., associated with the word. Your third step is to calmly, concentratedly and confidently command your Passive Mind to generate that quality. Remember, your mind will at first rebel, but a very little persistence will lead to complete success. Repeat the auto-suggestions daily at the same time. See that it manifests in Action. Act it out as often as possible. Of course your efforts will be imperfect to begin with, but, never mind, go ahead, keeping firm hold on your "I can and I will" in spite of all things and success is quite certain. Once you have developed these seven qualities, you can do anything.
(f) Do not let your friends or anyone—no matter who!—deflect you from your resolutions. "Let not thy right hand know what thy left hand does." Talk never. Let results show. The Lord has hidden himself best and His work is wonderful beyond compare! Your very friends and relatives will spit upon you for lacking any of these qualities. Do not ever impose your will upon others, but never let others to impose upon you against the sanction of your own judgment. In fact, none can unless you are a weakling and fickle-minded.
(g) Frequent the company of chaste, strong-willed men and you cannot but grow strong.
(h) Read Literature on this subject and obtain all possible aid through Knowledge.
(i) If your faculty of imagination and idealism are undeveloped, cultivate them, because it is these two that make a god of a man. Philosophers, scholars, poets and musicians have them well-developed. But where imagination is uncontrolled by higher reason and where idealism is not backed by a strong will, there you have the idle 'dreamer of dreams' and such a state of mind is reprehensible and pitiable indeed!
(j) Will-Power grows by faith in one's ability by exercise; by devotion to the UNCONDITIONED SPIRIT.
(k) In your efforts to develop Will-Power, be not afraid that your health will break down. In fact, Perfect Health is the result of a perfect Will. Deny the power of disease and weakness over yourself. "I can never be ill. My body is my slave. It shall always manifest perfect health." Convince your passive mind—which has charge of your body—of this by repeated commands, demands and assertions. Always think of your body as being as strong as adamant. Never talk of either health or disease or weakness. You must be above caring for these. They are your Natural rights. Only when you lower yourself they have power to trouble you. Go beyond the lower self. Your business is to care for the Higher-Self—that in which "You" live, move, and have your being. Also teach and train your Will to move along negative lines of self-repression as well as along positive lines of Self-Expression. Balance both. The former precedes the latter. Now I will pass on to the subject of SELF-CONTROL, with the distinct understanding that Self-Control and Will-Power are inextricably bound up in each other. You Get the real "practical work" in the endeavour for Self-Control.
Rightly has it been remarked that is easy to talk of and write upon this subject but most difficult to possess it. Perfect Self-Control means infinite power. Only the Buddas and the Christs of this World manifested Perfect Self-Control. "Anything short of the absolute control of thought, word and deed is only sowing wild oats," said Vivekananda. It is with no little diffidence that I approach this subject as whoever handles this subject is rightly culpable as being a "Do-as-I-say-and-not-as-I-do" class of writers. Still you can make appreciable progress in this direction by mastering these instructions, going through the exercises and last but most important by "carrying the principles in your mind" and applying them as far as you can in your daily life. Nothing is more conducive to rapid growth and development as the making of the "little and big" affairs in your work-a-day life, the occasion for the practical expression and conscious translation of your ideals. We all are guilty of a serious mistake in setting apart our higher ideals for regular 'practice' hours and leading a life of low and quite different ideals in our ordinary life. The natural process, as you can see, is to LIVE OUT your highest ideals every minute of your life. Nothing is more important than the daily occupation of a man and if he fails to bring his ideals right into these little things, then Success will ever elude him. A mental scientist has summed up the entire secret of Character-Building in this valuable advice on Objective Concentration: the simple task of mental concentration on whatever task, business or profession a man is engaged in is the beginning of the mastery which is the perfection of Objective Concentration. Whatever you are doing be master of your work. If you are a cobbler mend shoes in a perfect manner; if a barber keep your razors and scissors in a state that will excite the admiration of your customers; if a tailor make the coat fit like a glove; if a clerk keep your accounts in apple-pie order; if a builder scorn your jerry-brother; if a singer enchant the listener with a concord of sweet sounds; if an actor enter into the spirit of the character and make the play-goer feel that
"All the world's a stage And all the men and women merely players, They have their exits and their entrance And one man in his time plays many parts."
If a leader in any department of thought or action, remember that if to you much is given, from you also much is required, for the responsibility of the lives and happiness of your fellows rests heavy on your shoulders, whether you know it or not and thousands may secretly curse your incapacity and bungling. It is infinitely better to be a good cobbler than a bad ruler.
I believe the above advice if followed conscientiously by you would go to make you really fit for initiation into the more advanced stages of mastery. Take it to heart by all means. Be convinced, the man who looks for quick results and a royal road to the mastery of Mental Science breaks down in frequent despair at apparent failures and neglects his daily work will never go far. In fact, his very impatience will lead to failure. No individual life is fully rounded out unless some useful work forms part of it. The Yogi who has renounced the world has already done his work and is ahead of the times. The real hermit and the saint are the Pillars of Strength on which this world stands. I cannot repeat this too often. The mere fact of their breathing the same atmosphere as you is a benediction and an inestimable boon unto the race.
"The first requisite," says Mr. Atkinson, "of concentering is the ability to shut out outside thoughts, sights and sounds; to conquer inattention; to obtain perfect control over the body and mind. The body must be brought under the control of the mind; the mind under the direct control of the Will. The Will is strong enough, but the mind needs strengthening by being brought under the direct influence of the will. The mind, strengthened by the impulse of the will, becomes a much more powerful projector of thought vibrations than otherwise and the vibrations have much greater force and effect."
The first four exercises are meant to train the mind to readily obey the commands of the mind. Take them in the privacy of your own room and never talk of them to others. Also do not let their apparent simplicity lead you to neglect them. If you are one of those empty-brained men who go about talking of their exercises hoping in this way to win praise, you will never succeed. Be serious, earnest and sincere in your work. Give up, once for ever, all fickle-mindedness and learn to accumulate Power in silence and through work. Prayer gives you strength to "work"—the answer comes from your Larger Self—which is the Spirit of God "brooding" over all and pouring strength into all. But do not fly in the face of DEITY by expecting it to "do the work" for you while you go about loafing after offering your prayer. Nonsense. That man prays who works constantly, silently, patiently, unceasingly and intelligently.
Sit still; relax your body all over and then neck, chest, and head held in a straight line; legs crossed one under the other and weight of the body resting easily upon the ribs; right hand on right leg, left hand on left leg. There should not be a single movement of the muscles in any part of the body. Mind, you must avoid all rigidness and tension of the body. There should not be the least strain on muscles. You should be able to "relax" completely. Start with 5 minutes. Continue till you can accomplish the 5 minutes sitting without any conscious effort, increase to 15 minutes which is about all you need. The aim is to give you absolute dominion over all involuntary muscular movements. It is also an ideal "rest-cure" after fatiguing physical and mental exercise or exertion. The principal thing is "STILLNESS" and you can, if you like, practise it even sitting on a chair or anywhere else; the idea is one of "relaxation" and physical and mental quietude. Let not the apparent simplicity of this exercise deceive you. It is not so very easy after all. You will find that by concentrating the mind upon a particular train of thoughts or ideas or by joining the mind to the Larger Self, you can easily lose all idea of the body and thus maintain this stillness for a considerable length of time. Genius, inspiration and intuition are more or less the scientific and psychological results of self-forgetfulness. "When he sits down to meditate," it was said of Vivekananda, "in 10 minutes he becomes quite unconscious of the body although it may be black with mosquitoes." Do you understand now? Absolute physical self-forgetfulness is essential to deep concentration. Dr. Fahnestock called it the "STATUVOLIC" condition or that state in which the Will-Power is really active and the 'outer-self' is totally in abeyance and forgotten.
Cultivate a self-poised attitude and demeanour in your everyday life. Avoid a tense, strained, nervous, fidgety manner and an over-anxious appearance. Be easy, self-possessed and dignified in your bearing. Be courteous, thoughtful and quiet. Mental exercise and Will-Culture will enable you to acquire the proper carriage and demeanour. Stop swinging your feet and moving your hands or rocking your self backwards in your chair while talking or sitting. Stop biting your nails, chewing your moustaches, rolling your tongue in your mouth or any other unnecessary movement such as may have become "second nature" with you while studying, reading or writing. Never twitch or jerk your body. Never wink your eyes or look blank. Train yourself to stand sudden and loud noises with equanimity and composure. Such things betray lack of control. Do not let anything outside (or even within you) disturb your composure. When engaged in conversation let your speech be calm and measured and your voice well-controlled and even. A certain degree of reserve should always be observed. In short, keep yourself well under control on all occasions. You can acquire this poise by always carrying the thoughts of "Firmness," "Self-Control", and "Self-Respect" in your mind and letting these express themselves in your outward bearing. Avoid bluster, self-assertion, gossip, levity or light talk, too much laughter, excitement and so forth. Too much laughter weakens the will. Be a quiet, earnest-thinking being. Be serious. Regard "solitude" as the greatest medium of self-development.
Fill a wine glass full of water and taking the glass between the fingers, extend arm directly in front of you. Fix your eyes upon the glass and endeavour to hold your arm so steady that no quiver will be noticeable. Commence with one minute exercise and increase until the 5 minutes limit is reached. Alternate right and left arms. Increase to 15 minutes.
Sit erect in your chair, with your head up, chin out and shoulders back. Raise your right arm until it is level with your shoulders, pointing to the right. Turn your head and fix your gaze on your hand and hold the arm perfectly steady for one minute. Repeat with left arm. Increase the time gradually to 5 minutes. The palms of the hands should be turned downwards.
The following exercises are meant to aid you in getting under control, such mental faculties will produce voluntary movements.
Sit in front of a table, placing your hands upon the table, the fists clinched and lying with the back of the hand upon the table, the thumb being doubled over the fingers. Fix your gaze upon the fist for awhile and then slowly extend the thumb, keeping your whole attention fixed upon the act, just as if it was of the greatest importance. Then slowly extend your first finger, then your second and so on, until they are all open and extended. Then reverse the process, closing first the little finger and continuing the closing until the fist is again in its original position, with the thumb closed over the fingers. Repeat with left hand. Continue this exercise 5 times at a sitting, then increase to 10 times. Don't forget to keep your attention closely fixed upon the finger movements. That is the main point.
Place the fingers of one hand between the fingers of the other, leaving the thumbs free. Then slowly twirl the thumbs one over the other, with a circular motion. Be sure to keep the attention firmly fixed upon the end of the thumbs.
N.B. Exercises Nos. 3, 4, 5 and 6 have been culled (with slight modifications by me) from the works of Yogi Ramacharaka.
Forty-eight hours after the full moon in each month, go by yourself into a darkened chamber and quietly concentrate your mind upon one thing. Do this as long as possible without allowing other thoughts to enter your mind. At first you will find that your thoughts will fly from one thing to another and it will be hard for you to accomplish this, but by continued practice you will be able to think of one thing for a long time. This should be continued for 5 nights in succession and one hour each night.
Go out into the open air each evening when the sky is clear and see how many stars you can count without allowing any other thoughts to enter your mind. The more stars you can count without thinking of anything the greater the degree of development produced. Quite an interesting exercise.
Take 12 ordinary pebbles. Place them in your left hand. Then with your right hand pick up one pebble, hold it at arm's length and concentrate your mind thereupon without allowing other thoughts for full 60 seconds. So with all the pebbles. Then start picking up with left hand. Do this for one hour daily.
Concentrate your mind determinedly upon some one at a distance without allowing other thoughts. Will that he do get strong, healthy and spiritual. Get up a mental picture of your subject as if sitting before you. Then give earnest, positive, forceful suggestions to his sub-conscious mind. Will that he get into sympathy with you, write you on the subject and earnestly co-operate with you in his spiritual regeneration. Do it calmly and earnestly.
Get some moistened sand spread over the surface about a yard square. Make it perfectly smooth. Then with your index finger draw any characters or pictures in the sand. For instance, a square, a triangle or any other figure. Fasten your gaze upon this figure. Concentrate your mind calmly thereupon and will that the thought-form so created by your concentration be transmitted to someone (whom you know to be sensitive to your will). Do this for 15 minutes daily at the same time till your subject gets the impression. Ask him to sit relaxed at the same time in the silence in a receptive mental attitude. Face the direction, North, South, East or West in which you send your thought. Imagine a psychic wire connecting you with your subject and aim straight. Remember, the Will-Power is represented in symbology by a straight line because it goes straight to its mark.
Every night before retiring, concentrate upon your passive mind: "When I get up in morning, my Will-power and Thought-Force will have increased. I expect you to bring about a thorough change in my Will-Force. It will gain in vigour, resolution, firmness and confidence. It must grow strong, strong, strong." Project these positive suggestions into your subjective self earnestly, confidently and concentratedly. You will progress quickly by leaps and bounds. Every morning shall find you stronger and full of vim, sap and energy. Persevere, persevere. In following up such ideals to a successful conclusion you must have an (i) overpowering desire; (ii) a strong belief in your ability to accomplish anything; (iii) an invincible determination not a backboneless 'I will try to'; (iv) earnest expectation. This is an important and an infallible method in Will-development.
Go by yourself into a room where you will not be disturbed. At the beginning 'relax' all over. Then count from one to ten without allowing any other thoughts. As soon as you accomplish this, your mind is in a receptive state. Concentrate as before and order your sub-conscious self to evolve a strong, infallible memory. Form your own auto-suggestions.
Pick out half a dozen unfamiliar faces. Vividly impress them upon your subjective mind. Then recall them at least once each day for full one year, each day impressing at least one more new face. Should you find you are forgetting any of your older faces, do not add new ones but firmly fix the other old faces in your mind through concentration. This is a very interesting exercise. Memory belongs to the sub-conscious mind, remember.
Concentrate the mind on a paragraph in some holy book and commit to memory. Learn by heart one paragraph daily taking care not to forget the old ones. In time, you will improve wonderfully.
People with weak memories always lack concentrative ability. Concentration is the key to all mind-power. You will find the above exercises quite 'tedious' and monotonous. But you can train your 'attention' only by giving it trivial and 'dry' exercises. The strong will can cope with the most 'monotonous' and uninteresting tasks without experiencing fatigue. You must set yourself such tasks as might seem like 'work' to your attention. Remember, the effort required to concentrate attention voluntarily on uninteresting, dry and monotonous works strengthens and develops Will-Power and gives you 'mental muscle.' You will thereby acquire firm control over mind and body and be 'Master' over your lower impulses. Power over self will express outwardly as power over others. If you can control yourself, you will find no difficulty in impressing your will on others. But, mark you, this sacred power should be used only to elevate, stimulate and strengthen others. Try your Will upon your personality in all possible ways and be satisfied with nothing short of perfect control. The absolute mastery of 'self' ought to be your aim. I have given you the real secrets. You must exercise your own ingenuity and intelligence in utilising them towards your Self-development. I leave you to finish the fight for yourself. Get up and start in to work at your task from to-day and not to-morrow. Back of all efforts, always have this positive incentive and auto-suggestion:
"THIS IS TO DEVELOP MY WILL-POWER AND NO TEMPORARY PAIN CAN EQUAL THE POWER AND HAPPINESS ARISING OUT OF SELF-CONTROL."
Get firm control over your emotions. Use this natural force but be not used by it. Control over speech will lead to Emotion-control. Always talk to the point. Cultivate silence. Repress volubility. Be brief in speech and writing. Keep a cool head. Be level-headed and concentrative.
GLEANINGS FROM PROFESSOR JAMES ON THE LAW OF HABIT.
An acquired habit, from the physiological point of view, is nothing but a new pathway of discharge formed in the brain, by which certain incoming currents ever often tend to escape.
The great thing is to make our nervous system our ally instead of our enemy.—Guard against ways that are likely to be disadvantageous to us, as we should guard against the plague.
The more of the details of our daily life we can hand over to the effortless custody of automatism, the more our higher powers of mind will be set free for their own proper work. There is no more miserable human being than one in whom nothing is habitual but indecision and for whom (every act) the time of rising and going to bed, the beginning of every bit of work, are subjects for express volitional deliberation.
Maxim I. In the acquisition of a new thought or the leaving off of an old one we must take care to launch ourselves with as strong and decided initiative as possible.
Maxim II. Never suffer an exception to occur until the new habit is securely rooted in your life.
Each lapse is like letting fall a ball of string which one is carefully winding up; a single slip means more than a great many turns will wind again.
Continuity of training is the great means of making the nervous system act infallibly right. It is necessary above all things never to lose a battle. Every gain on the wrong side undoes the effect of many conquests on the right.
The essential precaution is to so regulate the opposing powers that the one may have a series of uninterrupted success, until repetition has fortified it to such a degree as to enable it to cope with the opposition under any circumstances.
The need of securing success at the outset is imperative. To be habitually successful is the thing.
Be careful not to give the will such a task as to insure its defeat at the outset, but provided one can stand it, a sharp period of suffering, and then a free time is the best to aim at, whether in giving up the opium habit or in simply changing one's hours of rising or of work.
It is surprising how soon a desire will die of inanition if it be never fed.
Without unbroken advance there is no such thing as accumulation of the ethical forces possible, and to make this possible and to exercise and habituate us in it is the sovereign blessing of regular work. Maxim III. Seize the very first possible opportunity to act on every resolution you make and on every emotional prompting you may experience in the direction of habits you aspire to gain.
It is not the moment of their forming but in the moment of their producing motor effects, that resolves and aspirations communicate the new 'set' to the brain.
The actual presence of the practical opportunity alone furnishes the fulcrum upon which the lever can rest, by means of which the moral will may multiply its strength and raise itself aloft. He who had no solid ground to press against will never get beyond the stage of empty gesture making.
When a resolve or a fine glow of feeling is allowed to evaporate without bearing practical fruit, it is a waste and a chance lost; it works so as positively to hinder future resolutions and emotions from taking the normal path of discharge.
If we let our emotions evaporate, they get in a way of evaporating.
WORSHIP OF THE TERRIBLE.
The attitude of the soul which is not to be baffled by the lower nature or the "Personal Self" should be to seek Death and not life, to hurl oneself upon the sword's point and become one with the terrible. Those who are commissioned by the Lord to bear aloft the torch of spirit are fated to see every joy of the senses turn to ashes and crushing blows upon their eyes to the unsubstantially of the relative life of Maya.
The lion when stricken to the heart gives out his loudest roar, When smitten on the head the cobra lifts its hood And the majesty of the Soul comes out only when a man is wounded to his depths.
The Western ideal is to be doing: the Eastern to be suffering. The perfect life would be a harmony between (selfless or non-attached) doing and suffering. Worship the terrible. Worship Death, for its own sake; despair for its own sake; pain for its own sake. Yet this is not the coward's or the suicide's or the weakling's morbid love of Death, but it is the cry of the philosopher who has sounded everything to its depths and knows intensely the vanity of the desire for happiness on the relative plane of limitations. Remember the triumphant cry of St. Francis of Assisi: "WELCOME, SISTER DEATH!" "Be witness"—of all that goes on but be not entangled. Reserve to yourself the power to remain unattached at all times. Accept nothing however pleasant, if it conceals a fetter into thy Soul. At a word stand ready to sever any connection that gives a hint of soul-bondage. Keep thy mind clear. Keep thy will pure. Attain the Impersonal Standpoint, O you man! there alone canst thou quench thy thirst for happiness never on the plane of personal. Who and what dies and is reborn?—Your lower self, your personality.
"Sometimes naked, sometimes mad, Now as a scholar, again as a fool Here a rebel, there a saint, Thus they appear on the earth —the Perfect Ones. Paramhamsas"—Viveka Chudamani.
If you accept the report of the senses as final, you will say "soul for nature"—but if you can gain the spiritual point of view, you will say "no-nature for soul." Evolution, devolution and involution are all in nature and will go on cyclically and eternally. All this is merely due to the wish of the soul to manifest itself. But such expression can come only when the soul lives on its plane. Say "Money is my slave, not I." Say "Nature is my slave, not I". Give up life, give up body, give up all desire for enjoyment on the relative plane. So shall you transcend all limitation. Your real nature is Infinite and Absolute. Only when you lower your nature by limiting it to the "particular self," do you become bound and unhappy. On the relative plane, you are a slave to the pair of opposites—life and death, pleasure and pain, and so on. Here is limitation. Here you are a slave to competition, and "Survival of the Fittest" is the law. Be not blinded by the flashing light of the glare of modern civilization. Every morsel you eat is ground out of your brother's blood. Slave to a breath of air, slave to food, slave to life, slave to Death, slave to a word of praise, slave to a word of blame—"Slave—Slave—Slave"—that is your condition. The Soul cannot stoop to any compromise. It refuses to conquer nature by obedience. It will conquer nature by renouncing the body and by knowing itself. Find thyself bodiless. Power felt within is soul; without, nature. "We must crush Law (nature) and become outlaws."