Let us consider concentration. You ask a man if he can
concentrate. He at once says: "Oh! it is very difficult. I have
often tried and failed." But put the same question in a different
way, and ask him: "Can you pay attention to a thing?" He will at
once say: "Yes, I can do that."

Concentration is attention. The fixed attitude of attention, that
is concentration. If you pay attention to what you do, your mind
will be concentrated. Many sit down for meditation and wonder why
they do not succeed. How can you suppose that half an hour of
meditation and twenty- three and a half hours of scattering of
thought throughout the day and night, will enable you to
concentrate during the half hour? You have undone during the day
and night what you did in the morning, as Penelope unravelled the
web she wove. To become a Yogi, you must be attentive all the
time. You must practice concentration every hour of your active
life. Now you scatter your thoughts for many hours, and you
wonder that you do not succeed. The wonder would be if you did.
You must pay attention every day to everything you do. That is,
no doubt, hard to do, and you may make it easier in the first
stages by choosing out of your day's work a portion only, and
doing that portion with perfect, unflagging attention. Do not let
your mind wander from the thing before you. It does not matter
what the thing is. It may be the adding up of a column of
figures, or the reading of a book. Anything will do. It is the
attitude of the mind that is important and not the object before
it. This is the only way of learning concentration. Fix your mind
rigidly on the work before you for the time being, and when you
have done with it, drop it. Practise steadily in this way for a
few months, and you will be surprised to find how easy it becomes
to concentrate the mind. Moreover, the body will soon learn to do
many things automatically. If you force it to do a thing
regularly, it will begin to do it, after a time, of its own
accord, and then you find that you can manage to do two or three
things at the same time. In England, for instance, women are very
fond of knitting. When a girl first learns to knit, she is
obliged to be very intent on her fingers. Her attention must not
wander from her fingers for a moment, or she will make a mistake.
She goes on doing that day after day, and presently her fingers
have learnt to pay attention to the work without her supervision,
and they may be left to do the knitting while she employs the
conscious mind on something else. It is further possible to train
your mind as the girl has trained her fingers. The mind also, the
mental body, can be so trained as to do a thing automatically. At
last, your highest consciousness can always remain fixed on the
Supreme, while the lower consciousness in the body will do the
things of the body, and do them perfectly, because perfectly
trained. These are practical lessons of Yoga.

Practice of this sort builds up the qualities you want, and you
become stronger and better, and fit to go on to the definite
study of Yoga.

Obstacles to Yoga

Before considering the capacities needed for this definite
practice, let us run over the obstacles to Yoga as laid down by

The obstacles to Yoga are very inclusive. First, disease: if you
are diseased you cannot practice Yoga; it demands sound health,
for the physical strain entailed by it is great. Then languor of
mind: you must be alert, energetic, in your thought. Then doubt:
you must have decision of will, must be able to make up your
mind. Then carelessness: this is one of the greatest difficulties
with beginners; they read a thing carelessly, they are
inaccurate. Sloth: a lazy man cannot be a Yogi; one who is inert,
who lacks the power and the will to exert himself; how shall he
make the desperate exertions wanted along this line? The next,
worldly-mindedness, is obviously an obstacle. Mistaken ideas is
another great obstacle, thinking wrongly about things. One of the
great qualifications for Yoga is "right notion" "Right notion"
means that the thought shall correspond with the outside truth;
that a man shall he fundamentally true, so that his thought
corresponds to fact; unless there is truth in a man, Yoga is for
him impossible. Missing the point, illogical, stupid, making the
important, unimportant and vice versa. Lastly, instability: which
makes Yoga impossible, and even a small amount of which makes
Yoga futile; the unstable man cannot be a yogi.

Capacities of Yoga

Can everybody practise Yoga? No. But every well-educated person
can prepare for its future practice. For rapid progress you must
have special capacities, as for anything else. In any of the
sciences a man may study without being the possessor of very
special capacity, although he cannot attain eminence therein; and
so it is with Yoga. Anybody with a fair intelligence may learn
something from Yoga which he may advantageously practice, but he
cannot hope unless he starts with certain capacities, to be a
success in Yoga in this life. It is only right to say that; for
if any special science needs particular capacities in order to
attain eminence therein, the science of sciences certainly cannot
fall behind the ordinary sciences in the demands that it makes on
its students.

Suppose I am asked: "Can I become a great mathematician?" What
must be my answer? "You must have a natural aptitude and capacity
for mathematics to be a great mathematician. If you have not that
capacity, you cannot be a great mathematician in this life." But
this does not mean that you cannot learn any mathematics. To be a
great mathematician you must be born with a special capacity for
mathematics. To be born with such a special capacity means that
you have practiced it in very many lives and now you are born
with it ready-made. It is the same with Yoga. Every man can learn
a little of it. But to be a great Yogi means lives of practice.
If these are behind you, you will have been born with the
necessary faculties in the present birth.

There are three faculties which one must have to obtain success
in Yoga. The first is a strong desire. "Desire ardently." Such a
desire is needed to break the strong links of desire which knit
you to the outer world. Moreover, without that strong desire you
will never go through all the difficulties that bat your way. You
must have the conviction that you will ultimately succeed, and
the resolution to go on until you do succeed. It must be a desire
so ardent and so firmly rooted, that obstacles only make it more
keen. To such a man an obstacle is like fuel that you throw on a
fire. It burns but the more strongly as it catches hold of it and
finds it fuel for the burning. So difficulties and obstacles are
but fuel to feed the fire of the yogi's resolute desire. He only
becomes the more firmly fixed, because he finds the difficulties.

If you have not this strong desire, its absence shows that you
are new to the work, but you can begin to prepare for it in this
life. You can create desire by thought; you cannot create desire
by desire. Out of the desire nature, the training of the desire
nature cannot come.

What is it in us that calls out desire? Look into your own mind,
and you will find that memory and imagination are the two things
that evoke desire most strongly. Hence thought is the means
whereby all the changes in desire can be brought about. Thought,
imagination, is the only creative power in you, and by
imagination your powers are to be unfolded. The more you think of
a desirable object, the stronger becomes the desire for it. Then
think of Yoga as desirable, if you want to desire Yoga. Think
about the results of Yoga and what it means for the world when
you have become a yogi, and you will find your desire becoming
stronger and stronger. For it is only by thought that you can
manage desire. You can do nothing with it by itself. You want the
thing, or you do not want it, and within the limits of the desire
nature you are helpless in its grasp. As just said, you cannot
change desire by desire. You must go into another region of your
being, the region of thought, and by thought you can make
yourself desire or not desire, exactly as you like, if only you
will use the right means, and those means, after all, are fairly
simple. Why is it you desire to possess a thing? Because you
think it will make you happier. But suppose you know by past
experience that in the long run it does not make you happier, but
brings you sorrow, trouble, distress. You have at once, ready to
your hands, the way to get rid of that desire. Think of the
ultimate results. Let your mind dwell carefully on all the
painful things. Jump over the momentary pleasure, and fix your
thought steadily on the pain which follows the gratification of
that desire. And when you have done that for a month or so, the
very sight of those objects of desire will repel you. You will
have associated it in your mind with suffering, and will recoil
from it instinctively. You will not want it. You have changed the
want, and have changed it by your power of imagination. There is
no more effective way of destroying a vice than by deliberately
picturing the ultimate results of its indulgence. Persuade a
young man who is inclined to be profligate to keep in his mind
the image of an old profligate; show him the profligate worn out,
desiring without the power to gratify; and if you can get him to
think in that way, unconsciously he will begin to shrink from
that which before attracted him; the very hideousness of the
results frightens away the man from clinging to the object of
desire. And the would-be yogi has to use his thought to mark out
the desires he will permit, and the desires that he is determined
to slay.

The next thing after a strong desire is a strong will. Will is
desire. transmuted, its directing is changed from without to
within. If your will is weak, you must strengthen it. Deal with
it as you do with other weak things: strengthen it by practice.
If a boy knows that he has weak arms, he says: "My arms are weak,
but I shall practice gymnastics, work on the parallel bars: thus
my arms. will grow strong." It is the same with the will.
Practice will make strong the little, weak will that you have at

Resolve, for example, saying: "I will do such and such thing
every morning," and do it. One thing at a time is enough for a
feeble will. Make yourself a promise to do such and such a thing
at such a time, and you will soon find that you will be ashamed
to break your promise. When you have kept such a promise to
yourself for a day, make it for a week, then for a fortnight.
Having succeeded, you can choose a harder thing to do, and so on.
By this forcing of action, you strengthen the will. Day after day
it grows greater in power, and you find your inner strength
increases. First have a strong desire. Then transmute it into a
strong will.

The third requisite for Yoga is a keen and broad intelligence.
You cannot control your mind, unless you have a mind to control.
Therefore you must develop your mind. You must study. By study, I
do not mean the reading of books. I mean thinking. You may read a
dozen books and your mind may be as feeble as in the beginning.
But if you have read one serious book properly, then, by slow
reading and much thinking, your intelligence will be nurtured and
your; mind grow strong.

These are the things you want--a strong desire, an indomitable
will, a keen. intelligence. Those are the capacities that you
must unfold in order that the practice of Yoga may be possible to
you. If your mind is very unsteady, if it is a butterfly mind
like a child's, you must make it steady. That comes by close
study and thinking. You must unfold the mind by which you are to

Forthgoing and Returning

It will help you, in doing this and in changing your desire, if
you realise that the great evolution of humanity goes on along
two paths--the Path of Forthgoing, and the Path of Return.

On the Path, or marga, of Pravritti--forthgoing on which are the
vast majority of human beings, desires are necessary and useful.
On that path, the more desire a man has, the better for his
evolution. They are the motives that prompt to activity. Without
these the stagnates, he is inert. Why should Isvara have filled
the worlds with desirable objects if He did not intend that
desire should be an ingredient in evolution? He deals with
humanity as a sensible mother deals -with her child. She does not
give lectures to the child on the advantages of walking nor
explain to it learnedly the mechanism of the muscles of the leg.
She holds a bright glittering toy before the child, and says:
"Come and get it." Desire awakens, and the child begins to crawl,
and so it learns to walk. So Isvara has put toys around us, but
always just out of our reach, and He says: "Come, children, take
these. Here are love, money, fame, social consideration; come and
get them. Walk, make efforts for them." And we, like children,
make great efforts and struggle along to snatch these toys. When
we seize the toy, it breaks into pieces and is of no use. People
fight and struggle and toil for wealth, and, when they become
multi-millionaires, they ask: "How shall we spend this wealth?" I
read of a millionaire in America, who was walking on foot from
city to city, in order to distribute the vast wealth which he
accumulated. He learned his lesson. Never in another life will
that man be induced to put forth efforts for the toy of wealth.
Love of fame, love of power, stimulate men to most strenuous
effort. But when they are grasped and held in the hand, weariness
is the result. The mighty statesman, the leader of the nation,
the man idolised by millions--follow him home, and there you will
see the weariness of power, the satiety that cloys passion. Does
then God mock us with all the objects? No. The object has been to
bring out the power of the Self to develop the capacity latent in
man, and in the development of human faculty, the result of the
great lila may be seen. That is the way in which we learn to
unfold the God within us; that is the result of the play of the
divine Father with His children.

But sometimes the desire for objects is lost too early, and the
lesson is but half learned. That is one of the difficulties in
the India of today. You have a mighty spiritual philosophy, which
was the natural expression for the souls who were born centuries
ago. They were ready to throw away the fruit of action and to
work for the Supreme to carry out His Will.

But the lesson for India at the present time is to wake up the
desire. It may look like going back, but it is really a going
forward. The philosophy is true, but it belonged to those older
souls who were ready for it, and the younger souls now being born
into the people are not ready for that philosophy. They repeat it
by rote, they are hypnotised by it, and they sink down into
inertia, because there is nothing they desire enough to force
them to exertion. The consequence is that the nation as a whole
is going downhill. The old lesson of putting different objects
before souls of different ages, is forgotten, and every one is
now nominally aiming at ideal perfection, which can only be
reached when the preliminary steps have been successfully
mounted. It is the same as with the "Sermon on the Mount" in
Christian countries, but there the practical common sense of the
people bows to it and--ignores it. No nation tries to live by the
"Sermon on the Mount " It is not meant for ordinary men and
women, but for the saint. For all those who are on the Path of
Forthgoing, desire is necessary for progress.

What is the Path of Nivritti? It is the Path of Return. There
desire must cease; and the Self-determined will must take its
place. The last object of desire in a person commencing the Path
of Return is the desire to work with the Will of the Supreme; he
harmonises his will with the Supreme Will, renounces all separate
desires, and thus works to turn the wheel of life as long as such
turning is needed by the law of Life. Desire on the Path of
Forthgoing becomes will on the Path of Return; the soul, in
harmony with the Divine, works with the law. Thought on the Path
of Forthgoing is ever alert, flighty and changing; it becomes
reason on the Path of Return; the yoke of reason is placed on the
neck of the lower mind, and reason guides the bull. Work,
activity, on the Path of Forthgoing, is restless action by which
the ordinary man is bound; on the Path of Return work becomes
sacrifice, and thus its binding force is broken. These are, then,
the manifestations of three aspects, as shown on the Paths of
Forthgoing and Return.

Bliss manifested as desire is changed into will
Wisdom manifested as thought is changed into reason.
Activity  manifested as work  is changed into sacrifice.

People very often ask with regard to this: "Why is will placed in
the human being as the correspondence of bliss in the Divine?"
The three great Divine qualities are: chit or consciousness;
ananda or bliss; sat or existence. Now it is quite clear that the
consciousness is reflected in intelligence in man--the same
quality, only in miniature. It is equally clear that existence
and activity belong to each other. You can only exist as you act
outwards. The very form of the word shows It --"ex, out of"; it
is manifested life. That leaves the third, bliss, to correspond
with will, and some people are rather puzzled with that, and they
ask: "What is the correspondence between bliss and will?" But if
you come down to desire, and the objects of desire, you will be
able to solve the riddle. The nature of the Self is bliss. Throw
that nature down into matter and what will be the expression of
the bliss nature? Desire for happiness, the seeking after
desirable objects, which it imagines will give it the happiness
which is of its own essential nature, and which it is continually
seeking to realise amid the obstacles of the world. Its nature
being bliss, it seeks for happiness and that desire for happiness
is to be transmuted into will. All these correspondences have a
profound meaning if you will only look into them, and that
universal "will-to-live" translates itself as the "desire for
happiness" that you find in every man and woman, in every
sentient creature. Has it ever struck you how surely you are
justifying that analysis of your own nature by the way you accept
happiness as your right, and resent misery, and ask what you have
done to deserve it? You do not ask the same about happiness,
which is the natural result of your own nature. The thing that
has to be explained is not happiness but pain, the things that
are against the nature of the Self that is bliss. And so, looking
into this, we see how desire and will are both the determination
to be happy. But the one is ignorant, drawn out by outer objects;
the other is self-conscious, initiated and ruled from within.
Desire is evoked and directed from outside; and when the same
aspect rules from within, it is will. There is no difference in
their nature. Hence desire on the Path of Forthgoing becomes will
on the Path of Return.

When desire, thought and work are changed into will, reason and
sacrifice, then the man is turning homewards, then he lives by

When a man has really renounced, a strange change takes place. On
the Path of Forthgoing, you must fight for everything you want to
get; on the Path of Return, nature pours her treasures at your
feet. When a man has ceased to desire them, then all treasures
pour down upon him, for he has become a channel through which all
good gifts flow to those around him. Seek the good, give up
grasping, and then everything will be yours. Cease to ask that
your own little water tank may be filled, and you will become a
pipe, joined to the living source of all waters, the source which
never runs dry, the waters which spring up unfailingly.
Renunciation means the power of unceasing work for the good of
all, work which cannot fail, because wrought by the Supreme
Worker through His servant.

If you are engaged in any true work of charity, and your means
are limited and the wealth does not flow into your hands, what
does it mean? It means that you have not yet learnt the true
renunciation. You are clinging to the visible, to the fruit of
action, and so the wealth does not pour through your hands.

Purification of Bodies

The unfolding of powers belongs to the side of consciousness;
purification of bodies belongs to the side of matter. You must
purify each of your three working bodies--mental, astral and
physical. Without that purification you had better leave yoga
alone. First of all, how shall you purify the thought body? By
right thinking. Then you must use imagination, your great
creative tool, once more. Imagine things, and, imagining them,
you will form your thought-body into the organisation that you
desire. Imagine something strongly, as the painter imagines when
he is going to paint. Visualise an object if you have the power
of visualisation at all: if you have not, try to make it. It is
an artistic faculty, of course, hut most people have it more or
less. See how far you can reproduce perfectly a face you see
daily. By such practice you will be strengthening your
imagination, and by strengthening your imagination you will be
making the great tool with which you have to practice in Yoga.

There is another use of the imagination which is very valuable.
If you will imagine in your thought-body the presence of the
qualities that you desire to have, and the absence of those which
you desire not to have, you are half-way to having and not having
them. Also, many of the troubles of your life might be weakened
if you would imagine them on right lines before you have to go
through them. Why do you wait helplessly until you meet them in
the physical world. If you thought of your coming trouble in the
morning, and thought of yourself as acting perfectly in the midst
of it (you should never scruple to imagine yourself perfect),
when the thing turned up in the day, it would have lost its
power, and you would no longer feel the sting to the same extent.
Now each of you must have in your life something that troubles
you. Think of yourself as facing that trouble and not minding it,
and when it comes, you will be what you have been thinking. You
might get rid of half your troubles and your faults, if you would
deal with them through your imagination.

As the thought body, becomes purified in this way, you must turn
to the astral body. The astral body is purified by right desire.
Desire nobly, and the astral body will evolve the organs of good
desires instead of the organs of evil ones. The secret of all
progress is to think and desire the highest, never dwelling on
the fault, the weakness, the error, but always on the perfected
power, and slowly in that way you will be able to build up
perfection in yourself. Think and desire, then, in order to
purify the thought body and the astral body.

And how shall you purify the physical body? You must regulate it
in all its activities--in sleep, in food, in exercise, in
everything. You cannot have a pure physical body with impure
mental and astral bodies so that the work of imagination helps
also in the purification of the physical. But you must also
regulate the physical body in all its activities. Take for
instance, food. The Indian says truly that every sort of food has
a dominant quality in it, either rhythm, or activity, or inertia,
and that all foods fall under one of these heads. Now the man who
is to be a yogi must not touch any food which is on the way to
decay. Those things belong to the tamasic foods--all foods, for
instance, of the nature of game, of venison, all food which is
showing signs of decay (all alcohol is a product of decay), are
to be avoided. Flesh foods come under the quality of activity.
All flesh foods are really stimulants. All forms in the animal
kingdom are built up to express animal desires and animal
activities. The yogi cannot afford to use these in a body meant
for the higher processes of thought. Vitality, yes, they will
give that; strength, which does not last, they will give that; a
sudden spurs of energy, yes, meat will give that; but those are
not the things which the yogi wants; so he puts aside all those
foods as not available for the work he desires, and chooses his
food out of the most highly vitalised products. All the foods
which tend to growth, those are the most highly vitalised, grain,
out of which the new plant will grow, is packed full of the most
nutritious substances; fruits; all those things which have growth
as their next stage in the life cycle, those are the rhythmic
foods, full of life, and building up a body sensitive and strong
at the same time.

Dwellers on the Threshold

Of these there are many kinds. First, elementals. They try to bar
the astral plane against man. And naturally so, because they are
concerned with the building up of the lower kingdoms, these
elementals of form, the Rupa Devas; and to them man is a really
hateful creature, because of his destructive properties. That is
why they dislike him so much. He spoils their work wherever he
goes, tramples down vegetable things, and kills animals, so that
the whole of that great kingdom of nature hates the name of man.
They band themselves together to stop the one who is just taking
his first conscious steps on the astral plane, and try to
frighten him, for they fear that he is bringing destructiveness
into the new world. They cannot do anything, if you do not mind
them. When that rush of elemental force comes against the man
entering on the astral plane, he must remain quiet, indifferent,
taking up the position: "I am a higher product of evolution than
you are; you can do nothing to me. I am your friend, not your
enemy, Peace!" If he be strong enough to take up that position,
the great wave of elemental force will roll aside and let him
through. The seemingly causeless fears which some feel at night
are largely due to this hostility. You are, at night, more
sensitive to the astral plane than during the day, and the
dislike of the beings on the plane for man is felt more strongly.
But when the elementals find you are not destructive, not an
embodiment of ruin, they become as friendly to you as they were
before hostile. That is the first form of the dweller on the
threshold. Here again the importance of pure and rhythmic food
comes in; because if you use meat and alcohol, you attract the
lower elementals of the plane, those that take pleasure in the
scent of blood and spirits, and they will inevitably prevent your
seeing and understanding things clearly. They will surge round
you, impress their thoughts upon you, force their impressions on
your astral body, so that you may have a kind of shell of
objectionable hangers-on to your aura, who will much obstruct you
in your efforts to see and hear correctly. That is the chief
reason why every one who is teaching Yoga on the right-hand path
absolutely forbids indulgence in meat and alcohol.

The second form of the dweller on the threshold is the thought
forms of our own past. Those forms, growing out of the evil of
lives that lie behind us, thought forms of wickedness of all
kinds, those face us when we first come into touch with the
astral plane, really belonging to us, but appearing as outside
forms, as objects; and they try to scare back their creator. You
can only conquer them by sternly repudiating them: "You are no
longer mine; you belong to my past, and not to my present. I will
give you none of my life." Thus you will gradually exhaust and
finally annihilate them. This is perhaps one of the most painful
difficulties that one has to face in treading the astral plane in
consciousness for the first time. Of course, where a person has
in any way been mixed up with objectionable thought forms of the
stronger kind, such as those brought about by practicing black
magic, there this particular form of the dweller will be much
stronger and more dangerous, and often desperate is the struggle
between the neophyte and these dwellers from his past backed up
by the masters of the black side.

Now we come to one of the most terrible forms of the dwellers on
the threshold. Suppose a case in which a man during the past has
steadily identified himself with the lower part of his nature and
has gone against the higher, paralysing himself, using higher
powers for lower purposes, degrading his mind to be the mere
slave of his lower desires. A curious change takes place in him.
The life which belongs to the Ego in him is taken up by the
physical body, and assimilated with the lower lives of which the
body is composed. Instead of serving the purposes of the Spirit,
it is dragged away for tile purposes of the lower, and becomes
part of the animal life belonging to the lower bodies, so that
the Ego and his higher bodies are weakened, and the animal life
of the lower is strengthened. Now under those conditions, the Ego
will sometimes become so disgusted with his vehicles that when
death relieves him of the physical body he will cast the others
quite aside. And even sometimes during physical life he will
leave the desecrated temple. Now after death, in these cases, the
man generally reincarnates very quickly; for, having torn himself
away from his astral and mental bodies, he has no bodies with
which to live in the astral and mental worlds, and he must
quickly form new ones and come again to rebirth here. Under these
conditions the old astral and mental bodies are not disintegrated
when the new mental and astral bodies are formed and born into
the world, and the affinity between the old and new, both having
had the same owner, the same tenant, asserts itself, and the
highly vitalised old astral and mental bodies will attach
themselves to the new astral and mental bodies, and become the
most terrible form of the dweller on the threshold.

These are the various forms which the dweller may assume, and all
are spoken of in books dealing with these particular subjects,
though I do not know that you will find anywhere in a single book
a definite classification like the above. In addition to these
there are, of course, the direct attacks of the Dark Brothers,
taking up various forms and aspects, and the most common form
they will take is the form of some virtue which is a little bit
in excess in the yogi. The yogi is not attacked through his
vices, but through his virtues; for a virtue in excess becomes a
vice. It is the extremes which are ever the vices; the golden
mean is the virtue. And thus, virtues become tempters in the
difficult regions of the astral and mental worlds, and are
utilised by the Brothers of the Shadow in order to entrap the

I am not here speaking of the four ordinary ordeals of the astral
plane: the ordeals by earth, water, fire and air. Those are mere
trifles, hardly worth considering when speaking of these more
serious difficulties. Of course, you have to learn that you are
entirely master of astral matter, that earth cannot crush you,
nor water drown you, etc. Those are, so to speak, very easy
lessons. Those who belong to a Masonic body will recognise these
ordeals as parts of the language they are familiar with in their
Masonic ritual.

There is one other danger also. You may injure yourself by
repercussion. If on the astral plane you are threatened with
danger which belongs to the physical, but are unwise enough to
think it can injure you, it will injure your physical body. You
may get a wound, or a bruise, and so on, out of astral
experiences. I once made a fool of myself in this way. I was in a
ship going down and, as I was busy there, I saw that the mast of
the ship was going to fall and, in a moment's forgetfulness,
thought: "That mast will fall on me" that momentary thought had
its result, for when I came back to the body in the morning, I
had a large physical bruise where the mast fell. That is a
frequent phenomenon until you have corrected the fault of the
mind, which thinks instinctively the things which it is
accustomed to think down here.

One protection you can make for yourself as you become more
sensitive. Be rigorously truthful in thought, in word, in deed.
Every thought, every desire, takes form in the higher world. If
you are careless of truth here, you are creating a whole host of
terrifying and deluding forms. Think truth, speak truth, live
truth, and then you shall be free from the illusions of the
astral world.

Preparation for Yoga

People say that I put the ideal of discipleship so very high that
nobody can hope to become a disciple. But I have not said that no
one can become a disciple who does not reproduce the description
that is given of the perfect disciple. One may. But we do it at
our own peril. A man may be thoroughly capable along one line,
but have a serious fault along another. The serious fault will
not prevent him from becoming a disciple, but he must suffer for
it. The initiate pays for his faults ten times the price he would
have had to pay for them as a man of the world. That is why I
have put the ideal so high. I have never said that a person must
come utterly up to the ideal before becoming a disciple, but I
have said that the risks of becoming a disciple without these
qualifications are enormous. It is the duty of those who have
seen the results of going through the gateway with faults in
character, to point out that it is well to get rid of these
faults first. Every fault you carry through the gateway with you
becomes a dagger to stab you on the other side. Therefore it is
well to purify yourself as much as you can, before you are
sufficiently evolved on any line to have the right to say: "I
will pass through that gateway." That is what I intended to be
understood when I spoke of qualifications for discipleship. I
have followed along the ancient road which lays down these
qualifications which the disciple should bring with him; and if
he comes without them, then the word of Jesus is true, that he
will be beaten with many stripes; for a man can afford to do in
the outer world with small result what will bring terrible
results upon him when once he is treading the Path.

The End

What is to be the end of this long struggle? What is the goal of
the upward climbing, the prize of the great battle? What does the
yogi reach at last? He reaches unity. Sometimes I am not sure
that large numbers of people, if they realised what unity means,
would really desire to reach it. There are many "virtues" of your
ordinary life which will drop entirely away from you when you
reach unity. Many things you admire will be no longer helps but
hindrances, when the sense of unity begins to dawn. All those
qualities so useful in ordinary life--such as moral indignation,
repulsion from evil, judgment of others--have no room where unity
is realised. When you feel repulsion from evil, it is a sign that
your Higher Self is beginning to awaken, is seeing the dangers of
evil: he drags the body forcibly away from it. That is the
beginning of the conscious moral life. Hatred of evil is better
at that stage than indifference to evil. It is a necessary stage.
But repulsion cannot be felt when a man has realised unity, when
he sees God made manifest in man. A man who knows unity cannot
judge another. "I judge no man," said the Christ. He cannot be
repelled by anyone. The sinner is himself, and how shall he be
repelled from himself? For him there is no "I" or "Thee," for we
are one.

This is not a thing that many honestly wish for. It is not a
thing that many honestly desire. The man who has realised unity
knows no difference between himself and the vilest wretch that
walks the earth. He sees only the God that walks in the sinner,
and knows that the sin is not in the God but in the sheath. The
difference is only there. He who has realised the inner greatness
of the Self never pronounces judgment upon another, knows that
other as himself, and he himself as that other--that is unity. We
talk brotherhood, but how many of us really practice it? And even
that is not the thing the yogi aims at. Greater than brotherhood
are identity and realisation of the Self as one. The Sixth Root
Race will carry brotherhood to the highest point. The Seventh
Root Race will know identity, will realise the unity of the human
race. To catch a glimpse of the beauty of that high conception,
the greatness of the unity in which "I" and "mine," "you" and
"yours" have vanished, in which we are all one life, even to do
that lifts the whole nature towards divinity, and those who can
even see that unity is fair; they are the nearer to the
realisation of the Beauty that is God.

An Introduction to Yoga
An Introduction
to Yoga

by Annie Besant

The Meaning of the Universe

  • The Unfolding of Consciousness
  • The Oneness of the Self
  • The Quickening of the Process of Self-Unfoldment
  • Yoga is a Science
  • Man a Duality
  • States of Mind
  • Samadhi

The Literature of Yoga

  • Some Definitions
  • God Without and God  Within
  • Changes of Consciousness and Vibrations of Matter
  • Stages of Mind
  • Inward and Outward-turned Consciousness
  • The Cloud

Relation to Indian Philosophies

  • Mind
  • The Mental Body

Mind and Self

  • Methods of Yoga
  • To the Self by the Self
  • To the Self through the Not-Self

  • Yoga and Morality
  • Composition of States of the Mind

Pleasure and Pain

  • Inhibition of States of Mind
  • Meditation with and without Seed
  • The Use of Mantras


  • Obstacles to Yoga
  • Capacities for Yoga
  • Forthgoing and Returning
  • Purification of Bodies
  • Dwellers on the Threshold
  • Preparation for Yoga
  • The End
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An Introduction to Yoga
By  Annie Besant
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