You cannot be surprised
that under these conditions of continued disappearance of functions,
the unfortunate student asks: " What becomes of the mind itself?
If you suppress all the functions, what is left?" In the Indian
way of teaching, when you come to a difficulty, someone jumps up
and asks a question. And in the commentaries, the question which
raises the difficulty is always put. The answer of Patanjali is:
"Then the spectator remains in his own form." Theosophy
answers: "The Monad remains." It is the end of the human
pilgrimage. That is the highest point to which humanity may climb:
to suppress all the reflections in the
fivefold universe through which the Monad has manifested his powers,
and then for the Monad to realise himself, enriched by the experiences
through which his manifested aspects have passed. But to the Samkhyan
the difficulty is very great, for when he has only his spectator
left, when spectacle ceases, the spectator
himself almost vanishes. His only function was to look on at the
play of mind. When the play of mind is gone, what is left? He can
no longer be a spectator, since there is nothing to see. The only
answer is: " He remains in his own form." He is now out
of manifestation, the duality is transcended, and so the Spirit
sinks back into latency, no longer capable of manifestation. There
you come to a very serious difference with the Theosophical view
of the universe, for according to that view of the universe, when
all these functions have been suppressed, then the Monad is ruler
over matter and is prepared for a new cycle of activity, no
longer slave but master.
All analogy shows us
that as the Self withdraws from sheath after sheath, he does not
lose but gains in Self- realisation. Self-realisation becomes more
and more vivid with each successive withdrawal; so that as the Self
puts aside one veil of matter after another, recognises in regular
succession that each body in turn is not himself, by that process
of withdrawal his sense of Self-reality becomes keener, not less
keen. It is important to remember that, because often Western readers,
dealing with Eastern ideas, in consequence of misunderstanding the
meaning of the state of liberation, or the condition of Nirvana,
with nothingness or unconsciousness--an entirely mistaken idea which
is apt to colour the whole of their thought when dealing with Yogic
processes. Imagine the condition of a man who identifies himself
completely with the body, so that he cannot, even in thought, separate
himself from it--the state of the early undeveloped man--and compare
that with the strength, vigour and lucidity of your own mental consciousness.
The consciousness of
the early man limited to the physical body, with occasional touches
of dream consciousness, is very restricted in its range. He has
no idea of the sweep of your consciousness, of your abstract thinking.
But is that consciousness of the early man more vivid, or less vivid,
than yours? Certainly you will say, it is less vivid. You have largely
transcended his powers of consciousness. Your consciousness is
astral rather than physical, but has thereby increased its vividness.
AS the Self withdraws himself from sheath after sheath, he realises
himself more and more, not less and less; Self-realisation becomes
more intense, as sheath after sheath is cast aside. The centre grows
more powerful as the circumference becomes more permeable, and at
last a stage is reached when the centre knows itself at every point
of the circumference. When that is accomplished the circumference
vanishes, but not so the centre. The centre still remains. Just
as you are more vividly conscious than the early man, just as your
consciousness is more alive, not less, than that of an undeveloped
man, so it is as we climb up the stairway of life and cast away
garment after garment. We become more conscious of existence, more
conscious of knowledge, more conscious of Self-determined power.
The faculties of the Self shine out more strongly, as veil after
veil falls away. By analogy, then, when we touch the Monad, our
consciousness should be mightier, more vivid, and more perfect.
As you learn to truly live, your powers and feelings grow in strength.
And remember that all
control is exercised over sheaths, over portions of the Not-Self.
You do not control your Self; that is a misconception; you control
your Not-Self. The Self is never controlled; He is the Inner Ruler
Immortal. He is the controller, not the controlled. As sheath after
sheath becomes subject to your Self, and body after body becomes
the tool of your Self, then shall you realise the truth of the saying
of the Upanishad,
that you are the Self, the Inner Ruler, the immortal.