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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The Self of each of us has a vehicle of expression which we call the
Mind, but which vehicle is much larger and far more complex than we are
apt to realize. As a writer has said "Our Self is greater than we know;
it has peaks above, and lowlands below the plateau of our conscious
experience." That which we know as the "conscious mind" is not the Soul.
The Soul is not a part of that which we know in consciousness, but, on
the contrary, that which we know in consciousness is but a small part of
the Soul--the conscious vehicle of a greater Self, or "I."

The Yogis have always taught that the mind has many planes of
manifestation and action--and that many of its planes operated above and
below the plane of consciousness. Western science is beginning to realize
this fact, and its theories regarding same may be found in any of the
later works on psychology. But this is a matter of recent development in
Western science. Until very recently the text books held that
Consciousness and Mind were synonymous, and that the Mind was conscious
of all of its activities, changes and modifications.

Liebnitz was one of the first Western philosophers to advance the idea
that there were planes of mental activity outside of the plane of
consciousness, and since his time the leading thinkers have slowly but
surely moved forward to his position.

At the present time it is generally conceded that at least ninety per
cent of our mental operations take place in the out-of-conscious realm.
Prof. Elmer Gates, the well known scientist, has said: "At least ninety
per cent of our mental life is sub-conscious. If you will analyze your
mental operations you will find that conscious thinking is never a
continuous line of consciousness, but a series of conscious data with
great intervals of subconscious. We sit and try to solve a problem, and
fail. We walk around, try again, and fail. Suddenly an idea dawns that
leads to the solution of the problem. The subconscious processes were at
work. We do not volitionally create our own thinking. It takes place in
us. We are more or less passive recipients. We cannot change the nature
of a thought, or of a truth, but we can, as it were, guide the ship by a
moving of the helm. Our mentation is largely the result of the great
Cosmic Whole upon us."

Sir William Hamilton says that the sphere of our consciousness is only a
small circle in the center of a far wider sphere of action and thought,
of which we are conscious through its effects.

Taine says: "Outside of a little luminous circle, lies a large ring of
twilight, and beyond this an indefinite night; but the events of this
twilight and this night are as real as those within the luminous circle."

Sir Oliver Lodge, the eminent English scientist, speaking of the planes
of the mind, says: "Imagine an iceberg glorying in its crisp solidity,
and sparkling pinnacles, resenting attention paid to its submerged self,
or supporting region, or to the saline liquid out of which it arose, and
into which in due course it will some day return. Or, reversing the
metaphor, we might liken our present state to that of the hulls of
ships submerged in a dim ocean among strange monsters, propelled in a
blind manner through space; proud perhaps of accumulating many barnacles
as decoration; only recognizing our destination by bumping against the
dock-wall; and with no cognizance of the deck and cabins above us, or
the spars and sails--no thought of the sextant, and the compass, and
the captain--no perception of the lookout on the mast--of the distant
horizon. With no vision of objects far ahead--dangers to be
avoided--destinations to be reached--other ships to be spoken to by
means other than by bodily contact--a region of sunshine and cloud, of
space, or perception, and of intelligence utterly inaccessible to parts
below the waterline."

We ask our students to read carefully the above expression of Sir Oliver
Lodge, for it gives one of the clearest and most accurate figures of the
actual state of affairs concerning the mental planes that we have seen in
Western writings.

And other Western writers have noted and spoken of these out-of-conscious
realms. Lewes has said: "It is very certain that in every conscious
volition--every act that is so characterized--the larger part of it is
quite unconscious. It is equally certain that in every perception there
are unconscious processes of reproduction and inference. There is a
middle distance of sub-consciousness, and a background of

Taine has told us that: "Mental events imperceptible to consciousness are
far more numerous than the others, and of the world that makes up our
being we only perceive the highest points--the lighted-up peaks of a
continent whose lower levels remain in the shade. Beneath ordinary
sensations are their components, that is to say, the elementary
sensations, which must be combined into groups to reach our

Maudsley says: "Examine closely and without bias the ordinary mental
operations of daily life, and you will find that consciousness has not
one-tenth part of the function therein which it is commonly assumed
to have. In every conscious state there are at work conscious,
sub-conscious, and infra-conscious energies, the last as indispensable as
the first."

Oliver Wendall Holmes said: "There are thoughts that never emerge into
consciousness, which yet make their influence felt among the perceptible
mental currents, just as the unseen planets sway the movements of those
that are watched and mapped by the astronomer."

Many other writers have given us examples and instances of the operation
of the out-of-consciousness planes of thought. One has written that when
the solution of a problem he had long vainly dealt with, flashed across
his mind, he trembled as if in the presence of another being who had
communicated a secret to him. All of us have tried to remember a name
or similar thing without success, and have then dismissed the matter from
our minds, only to have the missing name or thought suddenly presented to
our conscious mind a few minutes, or hours, afterwards. Something in our
mind was at work hunting up the missing word, and when it found it it
presented it to us.

A writer has mentioned what he called "unconscious rumination," which
happened to him when he read books presenting new points of view
essentially opposed to his previous opinions. After days, weeks, or
months, he found that to his great astonishment the old opinions were
entirely rearranged, and new ones lodged there. Many examples of this
unconscious mental digestion and assimilation are mentioned in the books
on the subject written during the past few years.

It is related of Sir W. R. Hamilton that he discovered quarternions one
day while walking with his wife in the observatory at Dublin. He relates
that he suddenly felt "the galvanic circle of thought" close, and the
sparks that fell from it was the fundamental mathematical relations of
his problem, which is now an important law in mathematics.

Dr. Thompson has written: "At times I have had a feeling of the
uselessness of all voluntary effort, and also that the matter was working
itself clear in my mind. It has many times seemed to me that I was really
a passive instrument in the hands of a person not myself. In view of
having to wait for the results of these unconscious processes, I have
proved the habit of getting together material in advance, and then
leaving the mass to digest itself till I am ready to write about it. I
delayed for a month the writing of my book 'System of Psychology,' but
continued reading the authorities. I would not try to think about the
book. I would watch with interest the people passing the windows. One
evening when reading the paper, the substance of the missing part of the
book flashed upon my mind, and I began to write. This is only a sample of
many such experiences."

Berthelot, the founder of Synthetic Chemistry has said that the
experiments leading to his wonderful discoveries have never been the
result of carefully followed trains of thought--of pure reasoning
processes--but have come of themselves, so to speak, from the clear sky.

Mozart has written: "I cannot really say that I can account for my
compositions. My ideas flow, and I cannot say whence or how they come. I
do not hear in my imagination the parts successively, but I hear them, as
it were, all at once. The rest is merely an attempt to reproduce what I
have heard."

Dr. Thompson, above mentioned, has also said: "In writing this work I
have been unable to arrange my knowledge of a subject for days and weeks,
until I experienced a clearing up of my mind, when I took my pen and
unhesitatingly wrote the result. I have best accomplished this by leading
the (conscious) mind as far away as possible from the subject upon which
I was writing."

Prof. Barrett says: "The mysteriousness of our being is not confined to
subtle physiological processes which we have in common with all animal
life. There are higher and more capacious powers wrapped up in our human
personality than are expressed even by what we know of consciousness,
will, or reason. There are supernormal and transcendental powers of
which, at present, we only catch occasional glimpses; and behind and
beyond the supernormal there are fathomless abysses, the Divine ground of
the soul; the ultimate reality of which our consciousness is but the
reflection or faint perception. Into such lofty themes I do not propose
to enter, they must be forever beyond the scope of human inquiry; nor is
it possible within the limits of this paper to give any adequate
conception of those mysterious regions of our complex personality, which
are open to, and beginning to be disclosed by, scientific investigation."

Rev. Dr. Andrew Murray has written: "Deeper down than where the soul with
its consciousness can enter there is spirit matter linking man with God;
and deeper down than the mind and feelings or will--in the unseen depths
of the hidden life--there dwells the Spirit of God." This testimony is
remarkable, coming from that source, for it corroborates and reiterates
the Yogi teachings of the Indwelling Spirit Schofield has written: "Our
conscious mind as compared with the unconscious mind, has been likened
to the visible spectrum of the sun's rays, as compared to the invisible
part which stretches indefinitely on either side. We know now that the
chief part of heat comes from the ultra-red rays that show no light; and
the main part of the chemical changes in the vegetable world are the
results of the ultra-violet rays at the other end of the spectrum, which
are equally invisible to the eye, and are recognized only by their potent
effects. Indeed as these invisible rays extend indefinitely on both sides
of the visible spectrum, so we may say that the mind includes not only
the visible or conscious part, and what we have termed the sub-conscious,
that which lies below the red line, but the supraconscious mind that lies
at the other end--all those regions of higher soul and spirit life, of
which we are only at times vaguely conscious, but which always exist, and
link us on to eternal verities, on the one side, as surely as the
sub-conscious mind links us to the body on the other."

We know that our students will appreciate the above testimony of Dr.
Schofield, for it is directly in the line of our teachings in the Yogi
Philosophy regarding the Planes of the Mind (see "Fourteen Lessons").

We feel justified in quoting further from Dr. Schofield, for he voices in
the strongest manner that which the Yogi Philosophy teaches as
fundamental truths regarding the mind. Dr. Schofield is an English
writer on Psychology, and so far as we know has no tendency toward
occultism, his views having been arrived at by careful scientific study
and investigation along the lines of Western psychology, which renders
his testimony all the more valuable, showing as it does, how the human
mind will instinctively find its way to the Truth, even if it has to
blaze a new trail through the woods, departing from the beaten tracks
of other minds around it, which lack the courage or enterprise to strike
out for themselves.

Dr. Schofield writes: "The mind, indeed, reaches all the way, and while
on the one hand it is inspired by the Almighty, on the other it energizes
the body, all whose purposive life it originates. We may call the
supra-conscious mind the sphere of the spirit life, the sub-conscious the
sphere of the body life, and the conscious mind the middle region where
both meet."

Continuing, Dr. Schofield says: "The Spirit of God is said to
dwell in believers, and yet, as we have seen, His presence is not the
subject of direct consciousness. We would include, therefore, in the
supra-conscious, all such spiritual ideas, together with conscience--the
voice of God, as Max Muller calls it--which is surely a half-conscious
faculty. Moreover, the supra-conscious, like the sub-conscious, is, as we
have said, best apprehended when the conscious mind is not active.
Visions, meditations, prayers, and even dreams have been undoubtedly
occasions of spiritual revelations, and many instances may be adduced as
illustrations of the workings of the Spirit apart from the action of
reason or mind. The truth apparently is that the mind as a whole is an
unconscious state, by that its middle registers, excluding the highest
spiritual and lowest physical manifestations, are fitfully illuminated
in varying degree by consciousness; and that it is to this illuminated
part of the dial that the word "mind," which rightly appertains to the
whole, has been limited."

Oliver Wendell Holmes has said: "The automatic flow of thought is often
singularly favored by the fact of listening to a weak continuous
discourse, with just enough ideas in it to keep the (conscious) mind
busy. The induced current of thought is often rapid and brilliant in
inverse ratio to the force of the inducing current."

Wundt says: "The unconscious logical processes are carried on with a
certainty and regularity which would be impossible where there exists the
possibility of error. Our mind is so happily designed that it prepares
for us the most important foundations of cognition, whilst we have not
the slightest apprehension of the "modus operandi". This unconscious
soul, like a benevolent stranger, works and makes provisions for our
benefit, pouring only the mature fruits into our laps."

A writer in an English magazine interestingly writes: "Intimations reach
our consciousness from unconsciousness, that the mind is ready to work,
is fresh, is full of ideas." "The grounds of our judgment are often
knowledge so remote from consciousness that we cannot bring them to
view." "That the human mind includes an unconscious part; that
unconscious events occurring in that part are proximate causes of
consciousness; that the greater part of human intuitional action is an
effect of an unconscious cause; the truth of these propositions is so
deducible from ordinary mental events, and is so near the surface that
the failure of deduction to forestall induction in the discerning of it
may well excite wonder." "Our behavior is influenced by unconscious
assumptions respecting our own social and intellectual rank, and that
of the one we are addressing. In company we unconsciously assume a
bearing quite different from that of the home circle. After being raised
to a higher rank the whole behavior subtly and unconsciously changes in
accordance with it." And Schofield adds to the last sentence: "This is
also the case in a minor degree with different styles and qualities of
dress and different environments. Quite unconsciously we change our
behavior, carriage, and style, to suit the circumstance."

Jensen writes: "When we reflect on anything with the whole force of the
mind, we may fall into a state of entire unconsciousness, in which we not
only forget the outer world, but also know nothing at all of ourselves
and the thoughts passing within us after a time. We then suddenly awake
as from a dream, and usually at the same moment the result of our
meditations appears as distinctly in consciousness without our knowing
how we reached it."

Bascom says: "It is inexplicable how premises which lie below
consciousness can sustain conclusions in consciousness; how the mind can
wittingly take up a mental movement at an advanced stage, having missed
its primary steps."

Hamilton and other writers have compared the mind's action to that of a
row of billiard balls, of which one is struck and the impetus transmitted
throughout the entire row, the result being that only the last ball
actually moves, the others remaining in their places. The last ball
represents the conscious thought--the other stages in the unconscious
mentation. Lewes, speaking of this illustration, says: "Something like
this, Hamilton says, seems often to occur in a train of thought, one idea
immediately suggesting another into consciousness--this suggestion
passing through one or more ideas which do not themselves rise into
consciousness. This point, that we are not conscious of the formation of
groups, but only of a formed group, may throw light on the existence of
unconscious judgments, unconscious reasonings, and unconscious
registrations of experience."

Many writers have related the process by which the unconscious mentation
emerges gradually into the field of consciousness, and the discomfort
attending the process. A few examples may prove interesting and

Maudsley says: "It is surprising how uncomfortable a person may be made
by the obscure idea of something which he ought to have said or done, and
which he cannot for the life of him remember. There is an effort of the
lost idea to get into consciousness, which is relieved directly the idea
bursts into consciousness."

Oliver Wendell Holmes said: "There are thoughts that never emerge into
consciousness, and which yet make their influence felt among the
perceptive mental currents, just as the unseen planets sway the movements
of the known ones." The same writer also remarks: "I was told of a
business man in Boston who had given up thinking of an important question
as too much for him. But he continued so uneasy in his brain that he
feared he was threatened with palsy. After some hours the natural
solution of the question came to him, worked out, as he believed, in that
troubled interval."

Dr. Schofield mentions several instances of this phase of the workings of
the unconscious planes of the mind. We mention a couple that seem
interesting and to the point:

"Last year," says Dr. Schofield, "I was driving to Phillmore Gardens to
give some letters to a friend. On the way, a vague uneasiness sprang up,
and a voice seemed to say, 'I doubt if you have those letters.' Conscious
reason rebuked it, and said, 'Of course you have; you took them out of
the drawer specially.' The vague feeling was not satisfied, but could not
reply. On arrival I found the letters were in none of my pockets. On
returning I found them on the hall table, where they had been placed a
moment putting on my gloves."

"The other day I had to go to see a patient in Folkestone, in Shakespeare
Terrace. I got there very late, and did not stay but drove down to the
Pavilion for the night, it being dark and rainy. Next morning at eleven I
walked up to find the house, knowing the general direction, though never
having walked there before. I went up the main road, and, after passing
a certain turning, began to feel a vague uneasiness coming into
consciousness, that I had passed the terrace. On asking the way, I found
it was so; and the turning was where the uneasiness began. The night
before was pitch dark, and very wet, and anything seen from a close
carriage was quite unconsciously impressed on my mind."

Prof. Kirchener says: "Our consciousness can only grasp one quite clear
idea at once. All other ideas are for the time somewhat obscure. They are
really existing, but only potentially for consciousness, _i.e.,_ they
hover, as it were, on our horizon, or beneath the threshold of
consciousness. The fact that former ideas suddenly return to
consciousness is simply explained by the fact that they have continued
psychic existence: and attention is sometimes voluntarily or
involuntarily turned away from the present, and the appearance of former
ideas is thus made possible."

Oliver Wendell Holmes says: "Our different ideas are stepping-stones; how
we get from one to another we do not know; something carries us. We (our
conscious selves) do not take the step. The creating and informing
spirit, which is within us and not of us, is recognized everywhere in
real life. It comes to us as a voice that will be heard; it tells us what
we must believe; it frames our sentences and we wonder at this visitor
who chooses our brain as his dwelling place."

Galton says: "I have desired to show how whole states of mental operation
that have lapsed out of ordinary consciousness, admit of being dragged
into light."

Montgomery says: "We are constantly aware that feelings emerge
unsolicited by any previous mental state, directly from the dark womb of
unconsciousness. Indeed all our most vivid feelings are thus mystically
derived. Suddenly a new irrelevant, unwilled, unlooked-for presence
intrudes itself into consciousness. Some inscrutable power causes it to
rise and enter the mental presence as a sensorial constituent. If this
vivid dependence on unconscious forces has to be conjectured with regard
to the most vivid mental occurrences, how much more must such a
sustaining foundation be postulated for those faint revivals of previous
sensations that so largely assist in making up our complex mental

Sir Benjamin Brodie says: "It has often happened to me to have
accumulated a store of facts, but to have been able to proceed no
further. Then after an interval of time, I have found the obscurity and
confusion to have cleared away: the facts to have settled in their right
places, though I have not been sensible of having made any effort for
that purpose."

Wundt says: "The traditional opinion that consciousness is the entire
field of the internal life cannot be accepted. In consciousness, psychic
acts are very distinct from one another, and observation itself
necessarily conducts to unity in psychology. But the agent of this unity
is outside of consciousness, which knows only the result of the work done
in the unknown laboratory beneath it. Suddenly a new thought springs into
being. Ultimate analysis of psychic processes shows that the unconscious
is the theater of the most important mental phenomena. The conscious is
always conditional upon the unconscious."

Creighton says: "Our conscious life is the sum of these entrances and
exits. Behind the scenes, as we infer, there lies a vast reserve which we
call 'the unconscious,' finding a name for it by the simple device of
prefixing the negative article. The basis of all that lies behind the
scene is the mere negative of consciousness."

Maudsley says: "The process of reasoning adds nothing to knowledge (in
the reasoner). It only displays what was there before, and brings to
conscious possession what before was unconscious." And again: "Mind can
do its work without knowing it. Consciousness is the light that lightens
the process, not the agent that accomplishes it."

Walstein says: "It is through the sub-conscious self that Shakespeare
must have perceived, without effort, great truths which are hidden from
the conscious mind of the student; that Phidias painted marble and
bronze; that Raphael painted Madonnas, and Beethoven composed

Ribot says: "The mind receives from experience certain data, and
elaborates them unconsciously by laws peculiar to itself, and the result
merges into consciousness."

Newman says: "When the unaccustomed causes surprise, we do not perceive
the thing and then feel the surprise; but surprise comes first, and then
we search out the cause; so the theory must have acted on the unconscious
mind to create the feeling, before being perceived in consciousness."

A writer in an English magazine says: "Of what transcendent importance is
the fact that the unconscious part of the mind bears to the conscious
part such a relation as the magic lantern bears to the luminous disc
which it projects; that the greater part of the intentional action, the
whole practical life of the vast majority of men, is an effect of events
as remote from consciousness as the motion of the planets."

Dr. Schofield says: "It is quite true that the range of the unconscious
mind must necessarily remain indefinite; none can say how high or low it
may reach.... As to how far the unconscious powers of life that, as has
been said, can make eggs and feathers out of Indian corn, and milk and
beef and mutton out of grass, are to be considered within or beyond the
lowest limits of unconscious mind, we do not therefore here press. It is
enough to establish the fact of its existence; to point out its more
important features; and to show that in all respects it is as worthy of
being called mind as that which works in consciousness. We therefore
return to our first definition of Mind, as 'the sum of psychic action in
us, whether conscious or unconscious.'"

Hartmann calls our attention to a very important fact when he says: "The
unconscious does not fall ill, the unconscious does not grow weary, but
all conscious mental activity becomes fatigued."

Kant says: "To have ideas and yet not be conscious of them--therein seems
to lie a contradiction. However, we may still be immediately aware of
holding an idea, though we are not directly conscious of it."

Maudsley says: "It may seem paradoxical to assert not merely that ideas
may exist in the mind without any consciousness of them, but that an
idea, or a train of associated ideas, may be quickened into action and
actuate movements without itself being attended to. When an idea
disappears from consciousness it does not necessarily disappear entirely;
it may remain latent below the horizon of consciousness. Moreover it may
produce an effect upon movement, or upon other ideas, when thus active
below the horizon of consciousness."

Liebnitz says: "It does not follow that because we do not perceive
thought that it does not exist. It is a great source of error to believe
that there is no perception in the mind but that of which it is

Oliver Wendell Holmes says: "The more we examine the mechanism of thought
the more we shall see that anterior unconscious action of the mind that
enters largely into all of its processes. People who talk most do not
always think most. I question whether persons who think most--that is who
have most conscious thought pass through their mind--necessarily do most
mental work. Every new idea planted in a real thinker's mind grows when
he is least conscious of it."

Maudsley says: "It would go hard with mankind indeed, if they must act
wittingly before they acted at all. Men, without knowing why, follow a
course for which good reasons exist. Nay, more. The practical instincts
of mankind often work beneficially in actual contradiction to their
professed doctrines."

The same writer says: "The best thoughts of an author are the unwilled
thoughts which surprise himself; and the poet, under the influence of
creative activity, is, so far as consciousness is concerned, being
dictated to."

A writer in an English magazine says: "When waiting on a pier for a
steamer, I went on to the first, which was the wrong one. I came back and
waited, losing my boat, which was at another part of the pier, on account
of the unconscious assumption I had made, that this was the only place to
wait for the steamer. I saw a man enter a room, and leave by another
door. Shortly after, I saw another man exactly like him do the same. It
was the same man; but I said it must be his twin brother, in the
unconscious assumption that there was no exit for the first man but by
the way he came (that by returning)."

Maudsley says: "The firmest resolve or purpose sometimes vanishes
issueless when it comes to the brink of an act, while the true will,
which determines perhaps a different act, springs up suddenly out of the
depths of the unconscious nature, surprising and overcoming the

Schofield says: "Our unconscious influence is the projection of our
unconscious mind and personality unconsciously over others. This acts
unconsciously on their unconscious centers, producing effects in
character and conduct, recognized in consciousness. For instance, the
entrance of a good man into a room where foul language is used, will
unconsciously modify and purify the tone of the whole room. Our minds
cast shadows of which we are as unconscious as those cast by our bodies,
but which affect for good or evil all who unconsciously pass within their
range. This is a matter of daily experience, and is common to all, though
more noticeable with strong personalities."

Now we have given much time and space to the expressions of opinion of
various Western writers regarding this subject of there being a plane or
planes of the mind outside of the field of consciousness. We have given
space to this valuable testimony, not alone because of its intrinsic
value and merit, but because we wished to impress upon the minds of our
students that these out-of-conscious planes of mind are now being
recognized by the best authorities in the Western world, although it has
been only a few years back when the idea was laughed at as ridiculous,
and as a mere "dream of the Oriental teachers." Each writer quoted has
brought out some interesting and valuable point of the subject, and the
student will find that his own experiences corroborate the points cited
by the several writers. In this way we think the matter will be made
plainer, and will become fixed in the mind of those who are studying this
course of lessons.

But we must caution our students from hastily adopting the several
theories of Western writers, advanced during the past few years,
regarding these out-of-conscious states. The trouble has been that the
Western writers dazzled by the view of the subconscious planes of
mentation that suddenly burst upon the Western thought, hastily adopted
certain theories, which they felt would account for all the phenomena
known as "psychic," and which they thought would fully account for all
the problems of the subject. These writers while doing a most valuable
work, which has helped thousands to form new ideas regarding the nature
and workings of the mind, nevertheless did not sufficiently explore the
nature of the problem before them. A little study of the Oriental
philosophies might have saved them and their readers much confusion.

For instance, the majority of these writers hastily assumed that because
there _was_ an out-of-conscious plane of mentation, therefore all the
workings of the mind might be grouped under the head of "conscious" and
"sub-conscious," and that all the out-of-conscious phenomena might be
grouped under the head of "subconscious mind," "subjective mind," etc.,
ignoring the fact that this class of mental phenomena embraced not
only the highest but the lowest forms of mentation In their newly found
"mind" (which they called "subjective" or "sub-conscious"), they placed
the lowest traits and animal passions; insane impulses; delusions;
bigotry; animal-like intelligence, etc., etc., as well as the inspiration
of the poet and musician, and the high spiritual longings and feelings
that one recognizes as having come from the higher regions of the soul.

This mistake was a natural one, and at first reading the Western world
was taken by storm, and accepted the new ideas and theories as Truth. But
when reflection came, and analysis was applied there arose a feeling of
disappointment and dissatisfaction, and people began to feel that there
was something lacking. They intuitively recognized that their higher
inspirations and intuitions came from a different part of the mind than
the lower emotions, passions, and other sub-conscious feelings, and

A glance at the Oriental philosophies will give one the key to the
problem at once. The Oriental teachers have always held that the
conscious mentation was but a small fraction of the entire volume of
thought, but they have always taught that just as there was a field of
mentation below consciousness, so was there a field of mentation
above consciousness as much higher than Intellect as the other was
lower than it. The mere mention of this fact will prove a revelation to
those who have not heard it before, and who have become entangled with
the several "dual-mind" theories of the recent Western writers. The more
one has read on this subject the more he will appreciate the superiority
of the Oriental theory over that of the Western writers. It is like the
chemical which at once clears the clouded liquid in the test-tube.

In our next lesson we shall go into this subject of the above-conscious
planes, and the below-conscious planes, bringing out the distinction
clearly, and adding to what we have said on the subject in previous

And all this is leading us toward the point where we may give you
instruction regarding the training and cultivation--the retraining and
guidance of these out-of-conscious faculties. By retraining the lower
planes of mentation to their proper work, and by stimulating the higher
ones, man may "make himself over." mentally, and may acquire powers of
which he but dreams now. This is why we are leading you up to the
understanding of this subject, step by step. We advise you to acquaint
yourself with each phase of the matter, that you may be able to apply the
teachings and instructions to follow.
An Introduction to Yoga

by Yogi Ramacharaka

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