CONCENTRATION AND THOUGHT-CONTROL.
Student! Your life is your own. You have only yourself to thank for what
you are, have been and will be. Take your present into your own hand.
Consciously shape out of it your future. Direct your forces along lines
of study and endeavour that have the strongest attraction for you. Such
attraction is the indication of need. It is the hand pointing out your
Life-purpose. What your heart desires earnestly and clamours for
incessantly is attracted to you out of the invisible supply, i.e.,
the means, the environments, the right sort of persons, books and
thought-forces are drawn to you and then you are expected to work out
This is in perfect accord with the great Law of
Attraction. Some call it God: since it answers all sincere prayers.
Prayer, remember, is the sincere desire of the heart. I take it that you
hunger for Truth and Spiritual Growth--else you and I would not be here.
The instructions given you hereunder are meant to give you a strong body
and a strong will. They will also tend to your Soul-Unfoldment. Talk not
of them. Keep your mouth closed. Be serious, earnest and thoughtful. Then
work at them confidently and with perseverance. Do not be daunted by
apparent failures. Failure is the stepping-stone to Success. He fails who
gives up a thing in final despair. Go on, I say. You will improve from
the very first day, and in a short time you will be another man. All the
leaders of humanity, past or present, have studied and investigated with
tireless zeal along the special lines and, in Spiritual culture, you must
do the same. But you must have health, a strong will and a steady brain,
and I will enable you to have these positively. Keep these instructions
strictly privately. Master them by constant meditation upon same.
Concentration signifies the state of being at a centre (con and
centrum). Applied to thought, it is the act of bringing the mind to a
single point. Each human being must practise concentration subjectively
and objectively. In other words, each human being aims with more or
less precision at concentration on a point within and a point without
his own world. Concentration "without" is illustrated when you devote all
your attention upon Nature, such as learning a trade, a profession, a
science, an art or some form of business. This is Evolution, outgoing
or positive mental energy. I shall call this Objective Concentration.
Concentration "within" implies the withdrawing of attention from the
external world and the placing of mind on "God," "Spirit," "Heaven,"
"Religion," "Peace," "Nirvana," "Eternity," etc. This is Involution,
i.e., incoming or negative energy.
When Objective Concentration alone is practised, you develop into a
hard-headed, practical man of the world or a successful man of business.
You are keen and shrewd. The world is a very matter-of-fact thing to
you. You cannot think of anything else beyond money-making and pleasures
and worldly affairs. You are a "worldling of the world," very clever,
rich, and a master along your own lines. But spiritually you are an
imbecile, worse than a baby. This is the Objective Mind--the "deepest
immersed in matter, literally made of the dust." "It is the brain of
worldly wisdom, common sense, prudence, methodical arrangement, order,
discipline, classification, the skill and knowledge of the expert in any
branch or department of art or science." This side of the mind is well
developed in Scientists, Mathematicians and Businessmen, etc. Where
it is not guided by the Subjective Mind, it can only see diversity and
difference and is the slave of Maya--the slayer of the Real.
Subjective Concentration is seeking the Kingdom of Heaven within
you. "God is Spirit and they that worship Him must worship in Spirit
and Truth." LAPLACE, the great astronomer, asserted that he had swept
the heavens with his telescope and found neither God nor Heaven. Yes,
poor LAPLACE! He looked for God objectively instead of subjectively.
The Kingdom of God comes not with 'observation' but it is 'within' you.
The be-all and the end-all of religion is the practice of Subjective
Concentration. The performance of objective work by the human organism
necessitates expenditure of energy and at last death, because all
Objective Concentration means 'going from' the Absolute centre--God--and
hence it expends Spiritual Energy. Subjective Concentration means 'coming
to' the centre and hence it husbands and recuperates this energy. Now
nature is motion to and from, and Spirit--the centre of Life. This
two-fold motion constitutes what is known as polarity--Evolution and
Involution--negative and positive. At the negative pole life becomes
involved, i.e., 'wrapped up' in form. At the positive pole life
'evolves' or becomes expressed in nature. In Subjective Concentration you
return for fresh supplies to the inexhaustible storehouse of force--the
Absolute Will. Jesus healed the sick, exhibited control over external
nature by raising the dead, because his chaste soul could receive nothing
negatively from God and could give it out positively to the objective
world. All power comes from God. I would impress upon you the
all-important necessity of placing yourself in a magnetically passive
attitude towards the Universal Will and then of taking up a calm,
positive attitude towards the phenomenal world--which is a projection of
the lower nature and hence must be handled masterfully, fearlessly and
confidently. Be positive to the external world. Be negative and receptive
to the Lord's Will-force. Remember this. This brings me to the supremest
and most solid truth contained in the Science of prayer. The praying
mind, by its mere attitude of faith and earnest expectation, opens itself
out to the tremendous inflow of Divine Energy. It draws close to the
centre of all-power, wisdom and love, and drinks deep of the living
waters of life so that even the very face or flesh begins to shine under
the influence of this self-polarization--if I may be permitted to use
this word--through prayer. Here is the causa nuxus between a prayer and
its sure reply. Do you remember what Lord Rosebery said of the great
Puritan Mystic Oliver Cromwell? If not, please let me quote: "The secret
of his extraordinary success--he was a practical mystic--the most
formidable and terrible of all combinations. The man who combines
inspiration, apparently derived--in my judgment, really derived--from
close communion with the Supernatural and the Celestial, a man who has
that inspiration and adds to it the energy of a mighty man of action,
such a man as that lives in communion on a Sinai of his own; and when
he pleases to come down to this world below, seems armed with no less
than the terrors and decrees of the Almighty Himself." Now both forms of
concentration must be practised so as to hold the two poles in the even
balance of harmonious growth.
You will perform the daily work to which you are naturally adapted in the
common weal (Objective Concentration) and after the daily task is
finished, retire to the bosom of the Universal Spirit by the regular
practice of Subjective Concentration.
Now will you realise the ideal of peace in the very midst of the toil
and sweat of the day.
The foregoing diagram, if closely and thoughtfully studied, will show the
stages the mind has to 'grow into' in objective and subjective
In order to acquire knowledge of the laws of external nature the mirror
you require is accurate observation and you must focus your attention and
push objective concentration to its final stage of perfect knowledge or
illumination in order to master any special branch of science.
In Objective Concentration, Pratyahara and Dharana are the
preparatory stages. Take a scientist, for instance. He knows that when
the mind is engaged with several things, mind force is scattered. He
cannot be a politician, a musician, etc., and at the same time an expert
scientist. He gradually abstracts his attention from all other subjects
and pauses it on one subject or one set of subjects.
Pratyahara is the continued effort of the mind to so abstract itself.
Dharana is reached when this effort is finally successful and the
mind becomes steadfast and one-pointed. Dhyana is an extension of
this steadfastness. When Dhyana is reached, the student is beyond the
range of books. His mind is occupied with original researches and
experiments and his knowledge becomes more and more definite. Going on
and on always on the one line complete knowledge of that subject is
attained. This is the objective view of Samadhi. All these stages when
completed make one Samayana. The subjective view of Samadhi no books
or writings can teach you. As you go deeper and deeper into Yoga, you
will understand these things in the light of your Soul-Vision. It will
come to you if you follow my subsequent instructions. Despair not.
WHAT IS MAYA?
Now, first of all, what is Maya (ignorance of the real)? Take the
dial-plate of a watch. You know quite well that the hands of the watch
are governed by the mechanism behind. Both are necessary. Ignorance
exists in thinking that the hands of the watch move by themselves. This
visible universe is the dial-plate of the Invisible. Maya (ignorance)
blinds you to this fact, i.e., mere objective knowledge blinds you to
the subjective side of life and you see nothing beyond a material
universe. But you, who realize both, objective as well as subjective,
need not be afraid of such a danger. For a danger it is to develop the
objective mind die neglect of the subjective. In order to round yourself
out, practise both. But first, last and always, let the subjective
guide, govern and illumine the objective. Also remember this: If your
mind is at all attached to the objective world, try your very best to
disattach it and fix it on the subjective side of life, else will you
bring untold suffering on yourself. The half-wordly and half-spiritual
man who wants to lead a spiritual sensual life eventually brings about a
conflict between the laws and forces of the two planes of being. He is
overwhelmed with pain and at last with cries of suffering, disease and
loss, he is made to open his eyes. Understand the world for what it is
but do not lower your soul to the point of being attached to its small
thoughts, things and ways.
HOW TO CONCENTRATE OBJECTIVELY.
(a) In all undertakings whether of small or great importance shut
off all thoughts and ideas except such as have any immediate and direct
bearing upon the thing in hand. Pay attention. Bend all the energies
of your mind and will upon it till it is completed to your satisfaction.
Divert your attention from one thing to another only when you sanction
by a resolve and understand why you do so. Your daily work which you
must choose according to the special bent of your mind, will present you
(b) Control impulse. Suppose an idea enters your mind. Compose
yourself quietly before carrying out its purport. Consider it. Turn
it over in your mind. Contemplate it. Weave your mental energies
around it, as it were, till at last the idea with your final decision
stands out clear-cut and well-defined. Then proceed to act it out
physically with your mental concentration cutting a way for you straight
on to the execution of your designing. This is forethought.
(c) In perfect concentration time vanishes. In working out a
design on which you have set your heart dispense altogether with the
element of time and work at it concentratedly for days, months and
years with confident expectation of success.
(d) Take a picture, representing a landscape, the interior of a
building, an assembly of persons, a square, a triangle or a more
complicated geometrical figure. Look at it well. Then lay it aside. Close
your eyes. Reproduce the picture mentally in detail. Then repose your
mind on the same image to the exclusion of all other thoughts. This is
a more fixed and meditative method and will sharpen the mind wonderfully.
It will also develop the power of conscious Mental Imagery. The
key to Objective Concentration is Conscious Attention, remember.
ACTIVE AND PASSIVE MENTATION.
These terms imply two different distinct functions of the human
mind. The active function performs the volitional, voluntary thinking.
It is the conscious focusing of the mind on some mental problem.
Banishing from the mind all thoughts and ideas not in harmony with your
special subject of study implies Active Mentation. This function is used
by the active, wide-awake man in his busy and energetic moments. It
is the key to the development of Will-Power and a vigorous intellect.
You are conscious of effort when you are exercising this function. The
mind becomes exhausted after a great deal of such effort and cries out
for rest, because conscious attention implies close concentration of
thought and can be exercised only by the conscious use of Will-Power. You
ought to be able to concentrate upon one subject of thought, study and
observation with undivided attention and then take your mind off that
subject and put it on something else, at your will. Train your mind to
'give' perfect attention to any subject you like and also to 'shut off'
or inhibit all attention on that subject. The mind is a restless thing
darting from one thing to another, and, like a spoilt child, tiring of
continued attention. But you must, by Will-Exercise, get control over
this tendency. 'Exercise develops power. Practice makes perfect.' This
you must bear in mind and, by patience and perseverance, train your mind
to 'pay attention' where it ought to do so and not to pay attention where
it ought not to. At first your mind will rebel like an unbroken horse
at the imposition of such restraint. But really all greatness results
from mind-control. Remember active mentation is conscious, deliberate
concentration. Passive mentation represents automatic, involuntary
thinking. This includes the subconscious or 'habit' mind. When a certain
thought-groove has been formed in your mind, energy flows into it
involuntarily, i.e., by itself and without any conscious effort on your
This is passive mentation. It is automatic mental activity. Take an
example. Some school-boys find Mathematics, Science and Geography
easy to master from the very start. They feel quite in sympathy with the
teacher of Mathematics. But History and Language are their abomination.
There are others who simply cannot 'take an interest' in any
Mathematics but who shine brilliantly in Language, Recitation,
Composition, History. As a matter of fact neither of these students is
superior to the other, but each is great in his own line. In one set, you
have an example of automatic mentation in Mathematics, Science and
Geography; in the other in Literature and Art. But suppose the first set
tried to master Literature and Art and the second grappled with
Mathematics and Science, each would then be practising actual
concentration. In each set the active function would be exercised and
will-power would develop on both sides. Do you see? Occultists say that
all power results from the continual exercise of active mentation
and all weak-mindedness is the direct outcome of this wool-gathering,
castle-building, inattentive habit which is an extension of passive
mentation into useless channels of thought-force. Conscious attention
concentrates and even specializes mental energy as the sun-glass
concentrates and intensifies the heat of the rays of the sun. Focus your
full attention upon the thing to be done, take a keen interest in its
accomplishment to the exclusion of all else, and you will obtain
wonderful results. The man of developed, concentrative power holds in his
hand the key to success, with the results that all his actions, voluntary
or involuntary, are pointed to the accomplishment of his object. Remember
therefore in conclusion:
(1) Concentration is perfect attention consciously directed to a
given point of achievement either objectively or subjectively.
(2) Concentration is consecration.
"What ever you do, do it with all your might. Do one thing at a time and
do it well." By concentration is meant the directing of all your energies
along a special line of achievement. For instance, if you would be a
perfect Yogi, you must concentrate, concentrate, morning, noon and night,
at all times, along that line of endeavour. You must study all the vast
literature on Yoga, Psychology, Metaphysics, Mentalism, etc., and form
your own synthesis on same. You must think hard and work hard for Yoga.
"Genius is the power to bear infinite pain." Nothing ought to be too
great a sacrifice, including your own life, for the right understanding
and achievement of Yoga.
All half-heartedness, all insincerity, weakens your nature, and
weakness has no place either in heaven or in hell. For the half-hearted
man is a traitor unto the Divine within him and must pay dearly for
SUBJECTIVE CONCENTRATION--HOW PRACTISED.
This is a vast subject. If you practise earnestly my instructions on
Thought-Control, Will-Culture, and take the Meditation Exercise I am
going to give you, you will realize greater strength than average
humanity. But you must study and think hard for yourself before any
considerable benefit can be derived from even these. Remember please, you
alone can teach yourself through intuition. Intuition is tuition from
within. Follow strictly the general rules I give you and you cannot but
unfold your Inner Soul Vision which includes intuition in its fullest
(a) What is Thought-Force?
"Thoughts are things." Thought is a dynamic energy. Just as the food that
you eat feeds your body, exactly similarly your thoughts and feelings
nourish your soul. Matter is nothing but a concentration of Thought-Force
or Mind-Substance. The entire universe is seen objectively. This is on
the cosmic scale. On the individual scale--"As a man thinketh in his
heart, so he is." This is a literal truth. Your body is nothing but a
Thought-Form. Control your modes of thinking and shape them to lofty
ideals. So will you infallibly, positively and immediately control your
destiny. Control your thoughts and you can control the thoughts of all
other men. The tone of your thoughts must always be lofty. You must
change your Thought-Habits and shift your plane of consciousness from the
lower to the higher life. I am going to give you hints on same. Pay
Every one of us, as he thinks, feels and wills, sends forth Thought-Forms
and Thought-Waves of greater or lesser intensity. This force once set
into motion persists, for a greater or lesser period of time, in
Ether. Thought-Force is the concentration of a high form of vibratory
energy in the Akasa (universal ether) and the ether, as you know,
permeates all space, interpenetrates and pervades all forms of matter,
from atom to the sun and the stars. Just as the light-waves of a star
exist and move on centuries after the star has ceased to be, just as the
heat-vibrations remain in a room even after the producing cause has been
removed, similarly mentative energy and its corresponding Thought-Forms
persist in the ether even after the originating impulse has been
In this way places, houses, cities and temples have peculiar
Thought-Atmospheres of their own, imparted by those living there,
exerting an influence upon every one living or going there. These are
positive, animating, purifying and exalting Thought-Atmospheres, and
there are negative, weakening and unholy, morbid Thought-Atmospheres.
The higher and loftier your tone of general Thought-Activity, the
finer and more powerful the vibrational nature of the energy emanating
from you. The quality of the thought determines the rate of vibration.
For instance, photographs have been taken through highly-sensitized
plates, indicating the nature of the energy generated. Tongues of flame,
brilliant and flashing with golden-yellow, were photographed from prayer
and devotion. Rotary forms spreading out in ever widening circles of
intense power appeared from lofty enthusiasm in a noble cause. Dark,
murky, cloudy forms resulted from fear, morbidness and worry, and so on.
(d) The Human Aura.
Similarly each human organism has an 'Aura' of Thought-Force around it,
having its own peculiar rate of vibration, its peculiar forms of colour,
etc. This 'Aura' is an extension of our physical, mental and spiritual
(e) The Adductive Power of Thought.
Now as you think, the quality of your thoughts and feelings sets up
a magnetic centre within your Aura, vortices are created, attracting to
yourself similar forms of thought and mentative energy and combining
with other similar forms of energy, reacting upon you and your
circumstances and also wielding an influence upon all such as may come
within its area, radius or field of Force. Thus you see thoughts of the
'I can and I will', 'I do and I dare' type draw similar ones to you, ever
increasing your own stock and at the same time stimulating and energising
all others vibrating in the same key throughout the world. Hence you see
we owe it to ourselves as well as to humanity in general to generate only
positive, loving and lofty thoughts. Just brace up and send forth
fearless, 'I can and I will' thoughts into the world's great reservoir of
thought forces, and you will be surprised at your power to attract
influence, and energise others.
There are four special classes of thoughts that are poisoning the
lives of almost all humanity. They are:--(1) Fear-thoughts, (2)
Hate-thoughts, (3) Sensual-thoughts, (4) Selfish-thoughts. All worry,
doubt, timidty, lack of self-respect, jealousy, spite, malice, envy,
slander, dirty, vicious, will-weakening, health-destroying,
poverty-breeding, soul-killing influences radiate from one or all of
these four. You must cut at their roots and utterly destroy them. In your
efforts follow assiduously the following four rules. They alone can give
you absolute thought-control. They are infallible:
(1) You can break up old thought-habits and build up new ones
by sheer force of Will.
(2) You can easily become great by associating with some strong-willed,
holy, wisdom-steeped soul. This is absolutely necessary and
means the finding of your Guru.
(3) By auto-suggestion, i.e., by impressing upon your passive
mind the particular change you would have it work out.
(4) By thought-absorption, i.e., by constant meditation on that
one line of thinking.
Now let me give you a few valuable hints on the above four in detail:
(1) & (3). Character Building.
You can accomplish this result by tensing the will and by strengthening
the active function of your mind and thus enabling it to "step in"
and simply 'command' the passive function to drop the old thought-habit
and take up the new one. This is a magnificent feat and in it only the
strongest succeed. You can obtain good results by combining this with
auto-suggestion. Silently concentrate upon your passive mind and impress
upon it your order. Say to it earnestly, confidently, and masterfully:
'You, my mind, I want you to be fearless, pure, loving and unselfish!'
Picture to yourself in imagination as if you were already these,
and again command and impress your will upon your mind. Do so silently
and constantly and never neglect a chance of expressing these qualities
in action because, at first your mind will rebel, but if 'you' keep up
your efforts determinately and firmly and avail yourself of all
opportunities to 'act out' your will, your mind will end up by accepting
your suggestion and manifesting same naturally as a habit. Some of you
will actually go out of your way to 'act out' a thought when you realise
that the easiest and surest way to check and utterly 'destroy' a
thought-habit is to refuse deliberately to let it manifest in action and
to 'create' a new one all you have got to do is to equally deliberately
'express' it in action and thus clinch it into permanent strength. Also
you must aim at 'thoroughness' and guard against all compromise with your
lower nature. Chastity must be perfect chastity and nothing short of
that, and so on in all development.
i. Go away by yourself to some place where you will not be disturbed.
Of course, not always and very rarely can you obtain this condition.
Never mind. Do your best where you are and the great law will at least
find for you all necessary conditions. Shut out all distracting
conditions and impressions from the outer world. After a little effort
you will be able to do so anywhere, at any time, and under any condition.
All mental disturbance is within you.
ii. Now relax, go passive, and draw off all tension from your nerves.
Just you relax your mind and your body will follow suit. A few deep slow
breaths will help the beginner.
iii. Concentrate upon your mind inward steadily, calmly and with
iv. Fix your thought firmly upon your passive mind and mentally
say, 'You, my mind, are quite pure.' Think of this word (with all the
ideas associated therewith) as sinking deeply into your mind and making
a deep impress upon it as a die upon a wax. Let the outward form of
the words 'pure,' 'fearless,' etc., sink into your mind.
v. Form a mental picture of yourself as if you already possessed
all 'purity' and 'courage' and act them out in imagination. Make of it
a pleasant 'day dream.'
vi. Intensify your relaxed condition of mind. Grow as 'limp' as a
rag. Then mentally open yourself out to the inrush of all the
Thought-Forces existing in the ether and connected with positive
thoughts. The effort of this imagination to see this tremendous force
pouring into your brain and body will actually put you en rapport with
vii. Now change from negative to a positive condition and say
vigourously I am 'pure' and 'strong' Say it distinctly several times.
Actually speak them out.
viii. Then go out and live your thoughts out. This last is the most
ix. Practise this daily at the same hour and if possible at the same
place, morning and evening. In fact hold the thought in your mind as
often as possible till it becomes second Nature.
x. Use your power for good or you shall weep eternally. To misuse
occult powers for mean, selfish, or low ends and to prostitute it into
enslaving others weaker than yourselves mentally and physically is the
greatest 'sin' man can commit against man.
(2) Guru Worship.
You grow by absorption and assimilation. In order to quicken your
progress you need abstract as well as concrete ideals. The secret of all
rapid and startling spiritual development is man-worship. By man-worship
I mean devotion to, reverence, and intense and all-absorbing passion for
the perfect individual man of realization--a Mahapurusha. Christ, Buddha
and Vivekananda were all such-type men. You must constantly and
thoughtfully meditate upon the lives and writings of saints and heroes.
The formative influence and valuable powers of study and meditation upon
lofty ideas and ideals are incalculable. Man grows by the deepening of
consciousness and the acquirement of wisdom. All study, subjective and
objective, is a Tapashya or Austerity directed to the acquirement of
wisdom. It is the worship of Saraswati--the Goddess of Wisdom. This
worship is definable as perfect emotional solitude, close study, absolute
chastity and celibacy, and at last the merging of the personal into the
impersonal. This austere life is the secret of all greatness. You know
how Archimedes when threatened with death by the vandalistic invaders of
his country raised his head and said 'Please do not disturb my circles'
and nothing more. This man was practising Yoga unconsciously. You must be
able to lose all consciousness of this relative personality, the sure
victim of death and impermanence. You must give up the personal ego that
in the words of Walt Whitman 'is contained within your hat and boots' and
then alone will you realise an infinite individuality. Truly in losing
himself man finds Himself. 'Ye must be born anew'. Herein, apart from its
formative and moulding influence lies the greatest value of study. Study
and direct aural influence of a perfected soul are the two objective
means of instilling powerful suggestions into the subjective self or the
All knowledge is within the deeps of the eternal subjective.
But the gate is locked. Your Guru gives you the master-key with which to
unlock the door and enter the gate of wisdom and power. Once you are
there all pain and death shall be conquered. You can then help yourself.
Man can only worship such a God as is greater than himself in degree and
not in kind. Such a God he can "grow into." It is the impersonal God of
the Hindu Philosophy that gives you the abstract ideas and the living
Guru (God) in human form that gives you the concrete ideal. The one is
necessary for the soaring intellect; the other for the rousing and
enkindling of tremendous and indomitable motive-power. Seek both and when
you find them worship and serve them with all your heart and soul. 'My
worship for my master is the worship of a dog. I do not seek to
understand his nature. It ever startles with its newness and profound
depth'. So spoke Vivekananda of Ram Krishna. Need I tell you of the
tremendous and world-conquering power that awoke in Vivekananda through
mere Guru worship? In India the Guru asks for nothing short of absolute
worship, obedience, and submission to his will although none values and
appreciates individual freedom more than the master. So long as you are
at the feet of your master be as submissive as a lamb. So will you open
yourself to his great batteries of inner power. Serve him. Please him.
Obey him. Be his slave. No matter what contradictions you may see.
A great and profound nature is full of contrary ways and his character
is a paradox impossible for you to read through reason and observation.
You can only understand him by having perfect faith in him, loving
and serving him like a faithful dog. So will you tap on to his inner
forces. And when he sends you away into the broad world to live out the
great ideal he has set before you, you shall be astonished at your
courage and power. You shall take fearless possession of this world
and every minute you shall realise how only he can command who has
learnt to obey. By commanding I do not mean dominating any one and
forcing your views on others. This is the sign of fools. But you will
find your influence radiating and circling out naturally and
irresistibly, winning souls to the higher life, and you yourself shall
thus stand as a tower of strength, a redeemer of the race, an inspiration
and a living benediction unto humanity. Peace be with you! May you
realise strength of soul!