Some of the terms used in Yoga are necessarily
to be known. For Yoga takes man for a special purpose and studies
him for a special end and, therefore, only troubles itself about
two great facts regarding man, mind and body. First, he is a unit,
a unit of consciousness. That is a point to be definitely grasped.
There is only one of him in each set of envelopes, and sometimes
the Theosophist has to revise his ideas about man when he begins
practical line. Theosophy quite usefully and rightly, for the understanding
of the human constitution, divides man into many parts and pieces.
We talk of physical, astral, mental, etc. Or we talk about Sthula-sarira,
Sukshma-sarira, Karana-sarira, and so on. Sometimes we divide man
into Anna-maya-kosa, Prana-maya-kosa, Mano-maya-kosa, etc. We divide
man into so many pieces in order to study him thoroughly, that we
can hardly find the man because of the pieces. This is, so to say,
for the study of human anatomy and physiology.
But Yoga is practical and psychological.
I am not complaining of the various sub-divisions of other systems.
They are necessary for the purpose of those systems. But Yoga, for
its practical purposes, considers man simply as a dualityÄmind
and body, a unit of consciousness in a set of envelopes. This is
not the duality of the Self and the Not-Self. For in Yoga, "Self"
includes consciousness plus such matter as it cannot distinguish
from itself, and Not-Self is only the matter it can put aside.
Man is not pure Self, pure consciousness,
Samvid. That is an abstraction. In the concrete universe there are
always the Self and His sheaths, however tenuous the latter may
be, so that a unit of consciousness is inseparable from matter,
and a Jivatma, or Monad, is invariably consciousness plus matter.
In order that this may come out clearly,
two terms are used in Yoga as constituting manÄPrana and Pradhana,
life-breath and matter. Prana is not only the life-breath of the
body, but the totality of the life forces of the universe or, in
other words, the life-side of the universe.
"I am Prana," says Indra. Prana
here means the totality of the life-forces. They are taken as consciousness,
mind. Pradhana is the term used for matter. Body, or the opposite
of mind, means for the yogi in practice so much of the appropriated
matter of the outer world as he is able to put away from himself,
to distinguish from his own consciousness.
This division is very significant and useful,
if you can catch clearly hold of the root idea. Of course, looking
at the thing from beginning to end, you will see Prana, the great
Life, the great Self, always present in all, and you will see the
envelopes, the bodies, the sheaths, present at the different stages,
taking different forms; but from the standpoint of yogic practice,
that is called Prana, or Self, with which the man identifies himself
for the time, including every sheath of matter from which the man
is unable to separate himself in consciousness. That unit, to the
yogi, is the Self, so that it is a changing quantity. As he drops
off one sheath after another and says: " That is not myself,"
he is coming nearer and nearer to his highest point, to consciousness
in a single film, in a single
atom of matter, a Monad. For all practical purposes of Yoga, the
man, the working, conscious man, is so much of him as he cannot
separate from the matter enclosing him, or with which he is connected.
Only that is body which the man is able to put aside and say: "This
is not I, but mine." We find we have a whole series of terms
in Yoga which may be repeated over and over again. All the states
of mind exist on every plane, says Vyasa,
and this way of dealing with man enables the same significant words,
as we shall see in a moment, to be used over and over again, with
an ever subtler connotation; they all become relative, and are equally
true at each stage of evolution.
Now it is quite clear that, so far as many
of us are concerned, the physical body is the only thing of which
we can say: " It is not myself "; so that, in the practice
of Yoga at first, for you, all the words that would be used in it
to describe the states of consciousness, the states of mind, would
deal with the waking consciousness in the body as the lowest state,
and, rising up from that, all the words would be relative terms,
implying a distinct and recognisable state of the mind in relation
to that which is the lowest. In order to know how you shall begin
apply to yourselves the various terms used to describe the states
of mind, you must carefully analyse your own consciousness, and
find out how much of it is really consciousness, and how much is
matter so closely appropriated that you cannot separate it from
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