We must now deal with
the mental body, which is taken as equivalent to mind for practical
purposes. The first thing for a man to do in practical Yoga is to
separate himself from the mental body, to draw away from that into
the sheath next above it. And here remember what I said previously,
that in Yoga the Self is always the consciousness plus the vehicle
from which the consciousness is unable to separate itself. All that
is above the body you cannot leave is the Self for practical purposes,
and your first attempt must be to draw away from your mental body.
Under these conditions, Manas must be identified with the Self,
and the spiritual Triad, the Atma-buddhi-manas, is to be realised
as separate from the mental body. That is the first step. You must
be able to take up and lay down your mind as you do a tool, before
it is of any use to consider the further progress of the Self in
getting rid of its envelopes.
Hence the mental body
is taken as the starting point. Suppress thought. Quiet it. Still
it. Now what is the ordinary condition of the mental body? As you
look upon that body from a higher plane, you see constant changes
of colours playing in it. You find that they are sometimes initiated
from within, sometimes from without. Sometimes a vibration from
without has caused a change in consciousness, and a corresponding
change in the colours in the mental body. If there is a change of
consciousness, that causes vibration in the matter in which that
consciousness is functioning. The mental body is a body of ever-changing
hues and colours, never still, changing colour with swift rapidity
throughout the whole of it. Yoga is the stopping of all these, the
inhibition of vibrations and changes alike. Inhibition of the change
of consciousness stops the vibration of the mental body; the checking
of the vibration of the mental body checks the change in consciousness.
In the mental body of
a Master there is no change of colour save as initiated from within;
no outward stimulus can produce any answer, any vibration,ùin
that perfectly controlled mental body. The colour of the mental
body of a Master is as moonlight on the rippling ocean. Within that
whiteness of moon-like refulgence lie all possibilities of colour,
but nothing in the outer world can make the faintest change of hue
sweep over its steady radiance. If a change of consciousness occurs
within, then the change will send a wave of delicate hues over the
mental body which responds only in colour to changes initiated from
within and never to changes stimulated from without. His mental
body is never His Self, but only His tool or instrument, which He
can take up or lay down at His will. It is only an outer sheath
that He uses when He needs to communicate with the lower world.
By that idea of the stopping
of all changes of colour in the mental body you can realise what
is meant by inhibition. The functions of mind are stopped in Yoga.
You have to begin with your mental body. You have to learn how to
stop the whole of those vibrations, how to make the mental body
colourless, still and quiet, responsive only to the impulses that
you choose to put upon it. How will you be able to tell when the
mind is really coming under control, when it is no longer a part
of your Self? You will begin to realise this when you find that,
by the action of your will, you can check the current of thought
and hold the mind in perfect stillness. Sheath after sheath has
to be transcended, and the proof of transcending is that it can
no longer affect you. You can affect it, but it cannot affect you.
The moment that nothing outside you can harass you, can stir the
mind, the moment that the mind does not respond to the outer, save
under your own impulse, then can you say of it: "This is not
my Self." It has become part of the outer, it can no longer
be identified with the Self.
From this you pass on
to the conquest of the causal body in a similar way. When the conquering
of the causal body is complete then you go to the conquering of
the Buddhic body. When mastery over the Buddhic body is complete,
you pass on to the~conquest of the Atmic body.
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