THINKING AND DESTINY
Harold W. Percival
The system of Patanjali. His eight steps of yoga. Ancient commentaries. Review of his system. Inner meaning of some Sanskrit words. The ancient teaching of which traces survive. What the West wants.
Different systems of yoga are spoken of in Eastern philosophy. Raja yoga is that system which aims to train the disciple by the regulation of his thinking. Raja yoga in its best sense is a method to clear the mental atmosphere and thereby the psychic atmosphere of the human by a system of thinking.
Patanjali unites the Indian systems of yoga. He is the authority to which most yogis look. He gave a set of rules on the practice of raja yoga, probably the most valuable which have been transmitted on the subject. His rules should cover the period from the purification of the morals, through the various stages of thinking, to the attainment of liberation of feeling from nature. But feeling is by him identified as a fifth sense, and he calls the conscious something in the body by another name or names. Instead of liberating feeling from nature, Patanjali would chain the doer to nature by dealing with feeling as a part of nature, that is, as a fifth sense, instead of as an aspect of the conscious self, the doer-in-the-body. At best that goes only a short way towards the end, which should be union of feeling-and-desire of the doer, and then union of the doer with the thinker and knower. He treats of eight stages through which one must pass. These stages he calls yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara, dharana, dhyana, and samadhi.
Yama means morality towards others and cutting oneself off from dependence upon them. It is mastering the desires to be unchaste, to hurt anyone, to speak falsely and to receive what belongs to others. Niyama consists of cleanliness in body and thought, religious observances including the repetition of the name of God, and asceticism. It is a self-discipline irrespective of others. Asana is sitting in a place free from disturbance, with the spine straight and the head erect. This posture allows the breath to flow easily along the spinal cord and to any part of the body to which it may be directed. These three stages are preparatory and designed to free the would-be yogi from worldly attachment, to purify, change and strengthen his body and desires, and to bring his body into a condition where he can engage safely in the practices of the fourth stage.
Pranayama, the fourth, is the regulation and control of the breath so that it flows as it ordinarily would not. It is not likely that Patanjali himself gave any rules concerning this practice; perhaps it was not of much moment to him, any more than asana was. But later yogis have developed a science of the breath including some eighty postures.
Prana means the force that guides the four forces of nature and is Light of the Intelligence tied up with nature-matter that has been in the mental atmosphere of human beings. The four forces are the active expressions of the elements fire, air, water and earth; they come to a human through his breath, which is the active side of the breath-form; they go back to nature through his breath, and coming and going they are guided by prana, which may be controlled by the breath. Yama means a change from the old way of the prana to the new way. The old way is a going out of the prana into nature, the new way is the return of the prana to the human without bringing with it impressions from the objects of nature through the four senses.
Particles of nature-matter come through the four senses and their systems and bodies, the breath-form and feeling-and-desire into the mental atmosphere. There they mix with matter of the mental atmosphere and are affected by diffused Light of the Intelligence. They go back into nature with feeling-and-desire as thoughts. They go through the breath-form, the four senses and their systems and bodies, borne by prana. They go out while a human thinks; thinking lets them out. They are carriers of Light of the Intelligence which they take with them from the mental atmosphere, are the prana that underlies the four active forces of nature, and cause all action in nature.
These particles of nature-matter are what is in Sanskrit called chitta. This chitta is understood and translated as mind matter or mind stuff; this shows that matter in the mental atmosphere is what is meant by mind matter or mind. Chitta is the matter in the mental atmosphere with which a mind works and which it sends back into nature; it is the building stuff of that mind. The Sanskrit manas, mind, is used, even among philosophers, just as the West commonly uses the term mind; that is, the body-mind, not distinguishing between the doer and nature and not knowing what the real Intelligence is, or the functions of its faculties, or the relation which the Intelligence bears to what are here called the seven minds of the Triune Self.
Pratyahara is the name given by Patanjali to the fifth stage, the one of turning powers inward toward the doer instead of outward, and thereby giving calmness to the psychic and the mental atmospheres of the doer in the human. Out of the many ways in which the would-be yogi can use the powers that come with a controlled breath the raja yoga system requires that they be used in pratyahara. This is the suppression of the flow of the breath whereby the influences that come from nature through the four systems and bodies and the four senses, are prevented from reaching the breath-form; the object of this suppression is to prevent interference with thinking.
In pratyahara nothing from the outside can make an impression on the breath-form, and so on feeling. The senses and exterior nature are, thus far, conquered. But the doer can still make impressions on the breath-form. The psychic breath, which is not mentioned by Patanjali, continues to flow and, since there is no longer an interference by nature, develops psychic nature powers, such as to see objects at a distance or to hear whatever is said anywhere. In raja yoga these powers are not turned outward but are used to strengthen the efforts at thinking. The body-mind is used to think of nature only, but inwardly instead of outwardly.
Dharana is the first of three stages in yoga mentioned by Patanjali and is translated as attention, intention or concentration. Dharana he gives as the first stage in active thinking. To accomplish dharana in the full sense the practitioner must have perfected himself in the preceding four stages. By pratyahara he must have removed the rajas and the tamas gunas from the chitta, which is then sattva, and the Light of the Intelligence in the mental atmosphere is made clear. That is, by turning inward the powers of the breath the influences of the inactive form world (tamas) in the psychic atmosphere and the turbulent actions of the mental atmosphere of the human, due to matter of the life world (rajas), are removed, and the clear matter of the light world (sattva) in the noetic atmosphere of the human acts without hindrance. Only when the admixture of tamas and rajas is removed can the chitta, which is then of the quality of sattva, be steady. Patanjali speaks of dharana as holding the mind, manas, fixedly on some particular subject. By mind is generally meant what is here called the body-mind. What he says sometimes refers to the feeling-mind and desire-mind, controlled by the body-mind, but he does not indicate any distinction.
Dhyana is Patanjali’s second stage in yoga. It is the continuation of the first stage of concentration and is called contemplation or meditation by the translators. In this stage one develops the power to keep on thinking. It is an exercise of thinking, continuous thinking with the effort to get a right focus for the Light which is held on the subject.
Samadhi is with Patanjali the third stage in yoga. It is translated as absorption or trance. It means absorption of the mind into the subject to which the body-mind was turned, focused and held. Therewith is obtained knowledge of the subject, that is, union with the subject.
The three stages together are called samyama. Samyama is the power of directing the mind, usually in the sense of manas or body-mind, to any subject and having knowledge of that subject, that is, having it, being it, having its powers and its knowledge, if it has any.
These are Patanjali’s eight stages of yoga. He does not explain them in this way. He consolidates the statements about yoga found in the Upanishads and puts them into his system. This was not intended for the public, but only for the elect who qualified under a teacher and wanted to become liberated and united with the “self,” Brahman. But what the “self” or Brahman is, is not made clear. It refers to the “universal self” or Brahman of the Hindus.
His system is written as if in a code language. Without a key and familiarity with the philosophy, the words transmitted as the famous sutras, are insufficient to permit an insight into his system. Patanjali’s writing is too sketchy to be followed without the commentators. There are ancient commentaries, which modern commentators merely paraphrase without giving much, if any, further information. This much, however, appears, that when the yogi can perform samyama he goes through most of the eight stages which he should have passed through. And it appears that so he obtains knowledge of all things, states, places, conditions, past and future, and has the powers which that knowledge gives him. He is said to have innumerable powers of which some are given, as: knowing the time when he or any person will die; knowing his own past lives or those of others; knowing the motions of the stars and what the clusters of the stars are; making himself invisible, immovable and invincible; becoming acquainted with celestial beings; walking on the water; rising in the air; surrounding himself with fire; prolonging his life to any age; isolating himself and living consciously apart from the body. But this does not free the practitioner from nature. The fact is that he is more securely bound to nature than he formerly was, because every stage in the accomplishments is connected with nature.
Patanjali, however, does not deal with the different minds and the knower and thinker as spoken of in this book. He does not carry through any certain distinction between nature-matter and intelligent-matter. He deals with the liberation of the feeling, which he names “purusha,” meaning the embodied portion of the passive side of the doer of the Triune Self, not the entire doer. What he calls manas, translated as mind, he looks upon as connecting the feeling-and-desire of the doer with nature. It is sometimes the body-mind, and sometimes he speaks of manas as performing the functions of the breath-form. This is shown, for example, by the comment made that the samskaras are impressions in the mind stuff (chitta) that produce habits. The two minds, the feeling-mind and the desire-mind, which would give knowledge of the doer, are not mentioned.
His observations on “purusha,” taken in the sense of feeling, are usually in accord, but in his book which deals with the desires he fails to show proper ways to change them, so that they will let go of their attachments to objects of nature. He teaches much of the isolation of feeling, which he speaks of as “purusha,” but he does not show how the desires are to be changed and how desire is to be isolated. Desire cannot be killed; yet, the commentators say that there cannot be isolation until the last vestiges of desire are destroyed.
The doer as feeling-and-desire is the only conscious self in the body. This is so because nothing but feeling and desire is conscious of the body, or of anything that happens to the body, or of the senses or organs in the body. In evidence of these facts anyone may understand that you as feeling-and-desire are conscious of the body and of what happens to it, but the body is not conscious of itself or of what happens to it; and, that while you are in deep sleep, you are not conscious of the body or of yourself as feeling-and-desire until you return to the body and wake up. Further, feeling-and-desire (you), are conscious of seeing and hearing and tasting and smelling; but these senses are not conscious of themselves as organs or as instruments, or of what they are, or of what they see, or hear, or taste, or smell.
But although you, the doer as feeling-and-desire, are the only conscious self in the body, you are not conscious as yourself because you are so dispersed in the nerves and blood throughout the entire body that you are unable to collect yourself and distinguish yourself from the body and the senses through which you operate. You are conscious of the body and of the impressions through the senses; but you are so entangled, enmeshed, confused, that you are unable to disengage and detach yourself from the things that bewilder you, so that you can be conscious as what you are. This is the actual situation of you, the doer, as the conscious self in the body. The important problem is: How to detach yourself from your entanglements and free yourself, so that you will know yourself to be what you are, and know the body of nature to be what that body is.
The philosophy or system of yoga is supposed to show how this can be done. The books on yoga do not state this situation as it is; they do not show why or how you got into the body or how you can free yourself from the illusion of the senses of the body, and they do not dispel the delusion of your thinking with your body-mind. The books say that there is a Universal Self, which they name Brahman; that there is an embodied conscious self (you), which they name purusha or atman; and, that the embodied self (you) is a part or fragment of the Universal Self. They say that the embodied self (you) must continue to be re-embodied life after life until you free yourself from bondage and reunite yourself with the Universal Self.
But if you, the embodied conscious self, were part of the Universal Self, and could reunite with that Self, what the books say would make it impossible for the embodied self (you) to free itself. The teaching given would free the conscious self (you) from gross illusions and delusions, only for you to be conscious in and of finer and finer illusions and delusions. The books do not show what happens when the conscious self is said to be “isolated.”
If, as the books say, feeling were a fifth sense of nature, there would be nothing left of you, the doer, that could be isolated, because the desire side of you is supposed to be “killed out, until the last vestiges of desire are destroyed.” Therefore, if feeling were a part of nature and if desire were destroyed, and since you as feeling-and-desire are the conscious self in the body, there is nothing left of you to be isolated and freed.
The books do not show what the difference is between the Universal Self and nature; they do not show any purpose in having innumerable parts of the Universal Self encased in bodies; they do not show what advantage there can be in having you as a part of the Universal Self continuing your re-embodiments in order to rebecome the Universal Self. The statement is made that the embodied self (you) gets experience; that nature furnishes the experience. But it is not shown how the experience is really of any benefit to you or to the Universal Self. No benefits accrue to nature; and no benefit to the Universal Self. The entire process seems to be without purpose.
There must have been some reasonable purpose, and a system by which the purpose was to be achieved. But that does not appear today.
Mention of the self by the commentators really refers to desires, higher or good desires and lower or evil desires. They are the “God” and the “Devil” in man; that is, the desire for Self-knowledge as the good; and the desire for sex as the evil. The union, yoga, concerning the desires is, that the lower desires must change themselves and unite with the desire for Self-knowledge, that is, knowledge of the Triune Self. There can be no yoga until there is a willing devil, a devil willing to subordinate itself to and become one with the desire for Self-knowledge. After this union of desires there comes another union, the union of feeling-and-desire, but Patanjali does not mention it. It has been forgotten or suppressed.
Patanjali speaks of manas sometimes as a “thinking principle” which should be trained and purified, so that the yogi can perform the three stages of yoga. The yogi is a human, though with fewer limitations than the majority. He should achieve yoga, the union of the feeling-and-desire of the doer, through training and purification of his manas, his body-mind, which is called meditation by translators. The three stages of yoga called dharana, dhyana and samadhi, represented as one in samyama, refer to efforts to hold the Light of the Intelligence steady on the subject of the thinking. The body-mind is the one mostly used, because it deals with matters of the body and of outside nature. The feeling-mind and the desire-mind must be in complete control of the body-mind.
Names do not make much difference. What Patanjali predicates as the result of the practices determines what subject he refers to. Patanjali does not go beyond feeling-and-desire in the human in his use of at most three minds and their thinking. The most that is done by the doer, as feeling-and-desire, with these minds, in Patanjali’s system, is limited. One may gain all the powers over nature that Patanjali mentions and even many more. He may isolate feeling and control or suppress the many desires by the desire for liberation. By isolating feeling, desire is cut off from nature; but desire is not isolated. And if feeling is temporarily liberated from the body it does not know what it is, because it was identified with nature and does not distinguish itself as feeling. But it seems that Patanjali did not realize this.
When a doer reaches this yoga it cannot go into moksha, which is a state in the purified psychic atmosphere of the doer, entirely cut off from nature. It does not become a “free soul” or “self.” The knower and the thinker of the Triune Self are always free. When a doer is alleged to have isolated itself, according to Patanjali’s method, it does not go any further; it does not obtain the union with the thinker and with the knower, because it still has the desire for liberation, for sat-chit-ananda, translated as “Being, Consciousness and Bliss” but which is only—being conscious bliss. This desire for liberation has temporarily become master of all the other desires, even the desire for sex, but not with the consent or by the agreement of those desires. They are merely suppressed. This is extreme selfishness of one of the desires, though it seems to have renounced everything. If the dominating desire were the desire for Self-knowledge, the case would be different, because then the other desires would have changed themselves and would be in agreement and one with the desire for Self-knowledge.
The feeling of the doer in moksha or nirvana, which is a psychic condition, though called “spiritual,” does not become an Intelligence. It does not even become a perfected doer. It does not raise its aia. After having remained in that state for a period not measured by human time, it must leave it. It was partly because of its aia that the doer was able to advance. If the doer goes into Nirvana, temporarily, it repudiates what it owes to the aia. The aia, inert and without dimension, goes with the doer and will ultimately, together with the suppressed desires and the unbalanced thoughts, be the means of bringing the doer back to earth and other earth lives.
When yoga is practiced merely for the purpose of isolation, liberation and absorption, it is extreme selfishness. In India it has been practiced for centuries in this way. The ideal of the religious life there is to obtain liberation. The decadence of India is largely due to this refined selfishness by which the knowledge of noetic things which priests and yogis may still have, is turned into a practice to obtain liberation rather than a larger field for service. They try to get liberation from nature without seeing the real distinctions between nature and the Triune Self, the purpose of the Universe, and the relation and duty of the doer to nature.
The priests and yogis have gradually shut themselves off from the inner meaning of the words they have. Many names commonly used suggest the high development reached by Indian philosophy in the past. The ancient language, it would appear, had a large vocabulary to cover noetic, mental and psychic conditions for which there are as yet no names in Western languages. The following examples will illustrate this with regard to some phases of what is here called an Intelligence.
Brahm. A complete Triune Self which has become an Intelligence. It has no contact with the four worlds of nature and is alone in its own light in the fire sphere.
Brahma (neuter). The same Intelligence, which has raised the aia to be a Triune Self. The passive and the active sides are equal and it is alone with the Triune Self it has raised. Brahma (neuter) in the spheres signifies the Intelligence whose Triune Self—later, in the worlds—maintains its sexless and perfect physical body in the Realm of Permanence, the Eternal.
Brahmâ (active). The same Intelligence, but the circumflex accent over the a in Brahmâ signifies that it has become active. This means that the doer of its Triune Self has separated its perfect sexless physical body and has procreated a new universe for itself, a man body and a woman body. Therefore the doer has exiled itself from its thinker and knower and is no longer conscious of the Realm of Permanence, the Eternal; it is conscious only of this man and woman world of time. Here it must continue periodically through life and death to re-exist in a man body or in a woman body, until it regenerates and restores its physical body to its original state of perfection, that is, balances its feeling-and-desire in permanent union and unites with its thinker and knower; and, by so doing, again becomes conscious of and regains its place in the Realm of Permanence, the Eternal. By so doing it will free the Intelligence (Brahma) and complete its Triune Self by being itself free.
Brahman. The same Intelligence, to which its Triune Self has restored all the Light loaned and whose Triune Self is now itself a Brahm. A Brahman is freed from all connections with nature and is a free Intelligence.
Parabrahm. The same Intelligence, which has become Supreme Intelligence.
Parabrahman. That Supreme Intelligence, which includes or is the representative of all other freed Intelligences.
Purusha (unqualified). (1) The knower of the Triune Self in its noetic atmosphere. (2) The thinker of the Triune Self in its mental atmosphere. (3) The doer of the Triune Self in its psychic atmosphere. In none of these cases is purusha connected with nature.
Mula Prakriti. General nature. In its highest state the element earth of the spheres, from which the four elements of the worlds are drawn, to be the matter of the four worlds, by individual:
Prakriti, which is (1) the matter of which the human body is composed; (2) outside nature making up the four worlds.
Purusha-Prakriti (unqualified). The doer living in its immortal fourfold physical body in the Realm of Permanence.
Ishwara. (1) An active aspect of the Supreme Intelligence, to which correspond: (2) the light-and-I-am faculties of an Intelligence; and, (3) the I-ness-and-selfness of the knower of the Triune Self. All three are called Ishwara. A certain light, breath, and power aspect of the Intelligence manifesting to the Triune Self as a being.
A O M. The name of Ishwara, to the proper thinking and sounding of which Ishwara responds. When it is used as the name of the Triune Self, A is the doer; O is the thinker and doer joined; M is the knower with A O joined in it. For a human the sounding should be I A O M.
Sat (unqualified). Truth as a self-perpetuating Light of Parabrahman, Brahman, Brahma (neuter), Brahmâ (active), and Brahm. Truth as the Light of the Intelligence in the atmospheres of the Triune Self. It is the Conscious Light within, which shows all things as they are. Truth is of the degree in which one has that Conscious Light.
Sattva. In nature, the matter of the light world which is made light by the Light of the Intelligences in the noetic atmospheres of their Triune Selves. In the human the matter of the light world which is in his psychic atmosphere.
Rajas. In nature, the matter of the life world made active by the mental atmospheres of human beings and the acting desires which in thinking and thoughts enter into these atmospheres. In the human, the matter of the life world in his psychic atmosphere.
Tamas. In nature, the matter of the form world, which is without light and therefore dull and heavy. In the human the matter of the form world in his psychic atmosphere. Sattva, rajas, and tamas are the three gunas, which are said to be qualities, attributes, of nature, one of which rules the other two in the psychic atmosphere of the human.
Atma. The Light of an Intelligence; the Conscious Light within a human, by the use of which he thinks and creates thoughts.
Atman. The Triune Self (as the knower) in the Light of the Intelligence; the portion of that Light which the Triune Self (as the thinker) allows its human being to use. Jivatma. Every living thing in physical nature, which is given its being by the atma (Light) which the human thinks into nature.
Mahat. The nature-matter which had been in and is sent out again from the mental atmosphere of a doer or of all doers. It is nature, but made intelligent by the Light of the Intelligence used by the body-mind, which is sometimes assisted by the feeling-mind and the desire-mind, when these are used by the doer in the body.
Manas. The body-mind, sometimes aided by the use of the feeling-mind and the desire-mind.
Ahankara. Egoism or egotism, as the doer’s distinctive feeling of the presence of the I-ness of the knower.
Antaskarana. The thinking which the doer does, (1) by the use of the body-mind, connecting feeling with its physical body and so with nature; (2) by the use of the feeling-mind or of the desire-mind to identify itself as feeling or as desire, and so to feel itself as distinct from nature.
Chitta. The matter of the life world or life planes which has been impressed by the diffused Light of the Intelligence in the mental atmosphere of a human. It may still be in the mental atmosphere or it may act in forms of nature.
Chitt. (1) The Light of the Intelligence in the mental atmosphere of a human; (2) “Consciousness,” used in the sense of being conscious of; and, (3) “Consciousness,” in the sense of being conscious that one is conscious.
Chitti. The actions in the mental atmosphere, of matter that is impressed with Light of the Intelligence.
Chittakasa. (1) The nature-matter which is in the mental atmosphere; (2) the disturbance it makes there; (3) the disturbance it makes in nature when it is sent back there.
Vritti. Waves or whirls of nature-matter in the mental atmosphere. They attract the attention of or cause activity of the body-mind which produces actions and objects in physical nature.
Samskaras. Habits of thinking. Impressions made on the breath-form before death, which are passed on by the aia to the new breath-form as habits, instincts and inhibitions. Jagrata. The waking or outermost state, in which the doer is conscious of the appearances of objects.
Svapna. Dreaming or the inner state, in which the doer is conscious of the appearances of objects as forms.
Sushupti. The state of dreamlessness, in which the doer is not in contact with the four senses and is conscious of objects and forms only as subjects.
Turiya. The state of the doer of the human as self-knowledge, where all other states are included and vanish in the Light.
Ananda. Joy or bliss, a certain state of feeling which is produced when feeling uses the feeling-mind, independently of the body-mind.
Maya. The screen as nature and the everchanging objects on it, made by feeling-and-desire when thinking with the body-mind according to the senses.
Karma. The action and the result of the action of the Light of the Intelligence and desire; the exteriorization of a thought.
Many such suggestive terms are to be found in Sanskrit. The ancient teaching was most likely based on what is intelligent-matter (the Triune Self) and what is unintelligent-matter, that is, nature. The true teaching is that intelligent-matter works in nature-matter and thereby perfects both itself and nature.
Prakriti, universal, is nature as the four worlds. It comes out of mulaprakriti, which is inertia, avyaktam or pradhana, the earth sphere. Prakriti, individual, is the human body, which is of the four worlds and keeps the human world of time in circulation. Purusha is the Triune Self in its threefold aspects as parts, breaths and atmospheres. Purusha is also each of its three parts. Two of the three parts, the knower and the thinker, distinguish themselves from prakriti. But the purusha as the doer portion in the human cannot do this while it is connected with prakriti, as the body in which it lives and in which it is under illusion, and while it does not distinguish itself from the body.
The purusha performs functions which are reflected as the Trimurti. Prakriti is periodically created, preserved and destroyed by Brahmâ, active, Vishnu and Shiva. These are names for the doer, thinker and knower acting in nature, where they create, preserve and destroy universal and individual prakriti. The individual prakriti as the human body is created, preserved and destroyed by the doer alone, acting as Brahmâ, Vishnu and Shiva. Brahmâ, Vishnu and Shiva are nature and the Gods in nature, as acted upon by the Triune Self. So they are Brahmâ the form world, Vishnu the life world, and Shiva the light world. They are as Gods, the Creator, the Preserver and the Destroyer of the physical world of time, kept going by individual prakriti, the human body. The pattern set by individual prakriti of the continual creation, preservation and destruction is followed by prakriti in outside nature. When the body is perfected so as to be two-columned in which is embodied the complete Triune Self, the individual prakriti is permanent. Then it is no longer the source from which purusha as the Trimurti, creates, preserves and destroys the universe.
Then the purusha as the doer, thinker, and knower, becomes Brahm, by the power of the word. This word is A O M. Brahmâ, active, is A; Brahmâ and Vishnu joined are O; Shiva is M with A O joined in it. A O M, thus made up of the three purushas acting as the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer, and breathed by its Intelligence, which is B R, becomes B R A O M, which is called Brahm. The H may have been substituted for the U, to shield this great teaching of the translation of a Triune Self into an Intelligence. Then the Intelligence which is Brahman, freed by and from its Triune Self, becomes a Parabrahm, an Intelligence united with or under the Supreme Intelligence. The Supreme Intelligence is the Parabrahman.
A O M is the Word of the Triune Self, of the Intelligence and of the Supreme Intelligence. It is the Word only if one knows its meaning and is able to think it, sense it, and breathe it. Merely sounding or singing it amounts to little. The Word represents the Triune Self, or the Intelligence. It expresses what the One is. It shows the nature, functions and relations of that One. It is the One.
Applied to the Triune Self, A is feeling-and-desire, O rightness-and-reason, and M I-ness-and-selfness. A O M shows the relation of the three to each other. The sound is the expression of the Triune Self as its three beings, when it has called them into being. The Triune Self has no sound, but these beings sound: the being for the doer, as A, the being for the thinker, A U as O, and the being for the knower, as M. Therefore this Word, when one thinks and senses and breathes it, puts him into communication with the One, his own Triune Self. What does he want to say to his thinker and knower? and what does he want his thinker and knower to say to him? when he has called it by its secret name? The Word of one’s Triune Self remains secret until he knows its meaning. Why does he call on his Triune Self? What does he want from it? Usually he does not know. Therefore the Word has little effect, even if spoken a thousand times. “I am A O M,” “I am Brahm,” amounts to nothing if the person does not know what he is thinking or talking about. The fact that people do use the Word is evidence that there is a secret, an unknown desire which urges them. This desire is the beginning of the A and it seeks to know, it seeks union with the thinker and the knower of its Triune Self that do know.
How to sound the Word is therefore a secret in the doer. The secret cannot be divulged, however much is revealed about it. One must be ready for the secret; he must have made himself ready. He makes himself ready by thinking. When by continued effort to think about it he has prepared himself, the thinking makes an inaudible sound which he perceives and senses. Then he breathes in consonance with the sound. This puts him into communication. His Triune Self instructs him in what he has prepared himself to know about it.
The sounding of A O M relates the doer with the thinker and the knower. If continued, this would take the doer out of the body. To remain in the body and to have the doer manifest in the body, the body should be included in the sound. The secret letter of the individual prakriti is I. Therefore human beings, if they are that far advanced, should say, while thinking the vowel sounds, I A O M and stop when the M is sounded. I is the geometrical symbol for the upright body; A is the creative beginning of the Word; O is the continuation and rounding out; and M is the fullness and completion of the Word, resolved into itself. The M is the point within the fullness of itself in the circle.
From these fundamentals remain only limited teachings of nature in the physical world, and of the doer in the human under the Light of the Intelligence. What remains relates only to the Light of the Intelligence as it, atma, is with atman, the Triune Self, and in nature, as jivas, having come through the doer. The information about the Intelligence itself in its own state, that is, in its three spheres, is lost. Traces that there were teachings concerning the Intelligences may be seen in the references to everything that is beyond the Triune Self, as being para: parabrahm, paramatma, stand for Intelligence; and paravidya is the knowledge beyond the Triune Self; that is, knowledge as Intelligence in the spheres, as distinguished from knowledge as the Triune Self in the worlds. The distinction made that everything is purusha, the Triune Self, or prakriti, nature, shows not only the ancient plan handed down, but also that little more of it remains than what relates to the doer in a human, which is to them the Triune Self, and to the human physical world of time, which is to them the universe as a whole. Everything that has passed into nature is made by manas, ahankara, chitta; that is, by the doer through thinking and thoughts.
Lost is the teaching that there are Intelligences from which the Triune Selves receive the Light by which they think.
Lost also is the teaching that there are the spheres, in which the Brahms or Intelligences are, and the worlds, in which the purushas or complete Triune Selves are; and that different from these there is the human world of time, with its manvantaras and pralayas for re-existing doers throughout their series of lives.
Lost is the teaching that a human is a representative of the intelligent-side and of the nature-side of the Universe. The Bhagavad Gita treats of this, but in the present form of this great little book the characters of the epic cannot be recognized. The Kurus are desire as a whole. It is divided into two branches, the Kurus who are the sensuous, selfish desires for bodily things, and the Pandavas who are desires for knowledge of the Triune Self. The blind king Dritarashtra is the body, and his generals are the four senses. Arjuna, one of the Pandava princes, represents the desire for Self-knowledge. Another of the Kurus represents sexual desire. The better desires have been driven from the body Kurukshetra, the plane of the Kurus. The capital, Hastinapura, is the heart, the seat of government, where the lower desires rule. This is the case with the run of human beings. The Bhagavad Gita shows an extraordinary human being, Arjuna, who is determined to regain control over the body and to have knowledge of the Triune Self and the Light of the Intelligence. To him comes Krishna, his thinker, with the Light of the Intelligence, speaking as reason through the mind of reason. His instruction is intuition, which is the true teaching (tuition) from within.
The names show much about the nature of the Triune Self and its three parts, together with the powers and workings and results of some of the minds, on none of which subjects the West has anything definite. There is much in the ancient literature of the East for anyone who approaches it not only with sympathy but with the understanding that he himself must find the accurate information it contains. No one can get anything of definite value out of these scriptures, unless he has some knowledge to begin with, and unless he understands that neither the scriptures nor the commentaries discriminate as to the relative values of what they transmit to him. Accurate information can be obtained only if, in addition, he can distinguish it in the Eastern dress, in which it appears amidst superstition, ignorance, idolatry and the incrustations of time.
The average person does not find enough in this literature to reward him for all these difficulties. Therefore the study is neglected. But what does attract most people in the West who become interested, is the promise of the powers to be gained by the Eastern breathing exercises. So the Eastern missionaries supply the demand by teaching yoga. Even if they start with raja yoga they abandon it because Western disciples do not qualify in the angas of yama and niyama. So the yoga, as union: first, union of feeling-and-desire, and then union with one’s Self, turns into a yoga designed to give lower psychic powers, beauty and strength of body and a long life. This is what the disciples expect. The results that come to them if they actually practice pranayama are very different, and their teachers, who must share their destiny, cannot guard them against it.
Copyright 1974 by The Word Foundation, Inc.