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
Add this page to your favorites.
Invest in YOU! Discover the ten most downloadable books on our CBMall
Invest in YOU! Discover the ten most downloadable books on our CBMall in the following subjects



In this, the last lesson of this series, we wish to call your attention
to a variety of subjects, coming under the general head of the Yogi
Philosophy, and yet apparently separated from one another. And so we
have entitled this lesson "Occult Miscellany," inasmuch as it is made
up of bits of information upon a variety of subjects all connected with
the general teaching of the series. The lesson will consist of answers
to a number of questions, asked by various students of the courses in
Yogi Philosophy coming from our pen. While these answers, of necessity,
must be brief, still we will endeavor to condense considerable
information into each, so that read as a whole the lesson will give to
our students a variety of information upon several important subjects.

QUESTION 1: "Are there any Brotherhoods of Advanced Occultists in
existence, in harmony with the Yogi Teachings? And if so, what
information can you give regarding them?"

ANSWER: Yes, there are a number of Occult Brotherhoods, of varying
degrees of advancement, scattered through the various countries of the
earth. These Brotherhoods agree in principle with the Yogi Teachings,
although the methods of interpretation may vary somewhat. There is but
one TRUTH, which becomes apparent to all deep students of Occultism,
and therefore all true Occultists have a glimpse of that Truth, and
upon this glimpse is founded their philosophies and teachings. These
Occult Brotherhoods vary in their nature. In some, the members are
grouped together in retired portions of the earth, dwelling in the
community life. In others the headquarters are in the large cities of
the earth, their membership being composed of residents of those
cities, with outlying branches. Others have no meeting places, their
work being managed from headquarters, their members being scattered all
over the face of the earth, the communication being kept up by personal
correspondence and privately printed and circulated literature.
Admission to these true Occult Brotherhoods is difficult. They seek
their members, not the members them. No amount of money, or influence,
or energy can gain entrance to these societies. They seek to impart
information and instruction only to those who are prepared to receive
it--to those who have reached that stage of spiritual unfoldment that
will enable them to grasp and assimilate the teachings of the Inner
Circles. While this is true, it is also true that these Societies or
Brotherhoods are engaged in disseminating Occult Knowledge, suited to
the minds of the public, through various channels, and cloaked in
various disguises of name, authority and style. Their idea is to
gradually open the mind of the public to the great truths underlying
and back of all of these various fragmentary teachings. And they
recognize the fact that one mind may be reached in a certain way, and
another mind in a second way, and so on. And, accordingly, they wrap
their teachings in covers likely to attract the attention of various
people, and to cause them to investigate the contents. But, under and
back of all of these various teachings, is the great fundamental TRUTH.
It has often been asked of us how one might distinguish the real
Brotherhoods from the spurious ones which have assumed the name and
general style of the true societies, for the purpose of exploiting the
public, and making money from their interest in the great occult
truths. Answering this, we would say that the true Occult Brotherhoods
and Societies never sell their knowledge. It is given free as water
to those who seek for it, and is never sold for money. The true adept
would as soon think of selling his soul as selling Spiritual Knowledge
for gain. While money plays its proper place in the world, and the
laborer is worthy of his hire; and while the Masters recognize the
propriety of the sale of books on Occultism (providing the price is
reasonable and not in excess of the general market price of books) and
while they also recognize the propriety of having people pay their part
of the expenses of maintaining organizations, magazines, lecturers,
instructors, etc., still the idea stops there--it does not extend to
the selling of the Inner Secrets of Occultism for silver or gold.
Therefore if you are solicited to become a member of any so-called
Brotherhood or Occult Society for a consideration of money, you will
know at once that the organization is not a true Occult Society, for it
has violated one of the cardinal principles at the start. Remember the
old occult maxim: "When the Pupil is ready, the Master appears"--and so
it is with the Brotherhoods and Societies--if it is necessary for your
growth, development, and attainment, to be connected with one of these
organizations then, when the time comes--when you are ready--you will
receive your call, and then will know for a certainty that those who
call are the true messengers of Truth.

QUESTION II: "Are there any exalted human beings called Masters, or
Adepts, or are the tales regarding them mere fables, etc?"

ANSWER: Of a truth there are certain highly developed, advanced and
exalted souls in the flesh, known as Masters and Adepts, although many
of the tales told concerning them are myths, or pure fiction
originating in the minds of some modern sensational writers. And,
moreover, these souls are members of the Great Lodge, an organization
composed of these almost super-human beings--these great souls that
have advanced so very far on THE PATH. Before beginning to speak of
them, let us answer a question often asked by Western people, and that
is, "Why do not these people appear to the world, and show their
powers?" Each of you may answer that question from your own
experiences. Have you ever been foolish enough to open your soul to the
crowd, and have it reveal the sacred Truth that rests there? Have you
ever attempted to impart the highest teachings known to you, to persons
who had not attained sufficient spiritual development to even
understand the meaning of your words? Have you ever committed the folly
of throwing spiritual pearls to material swine? If you have had these
experiences, you may begin to faintly imagine the reasons of these
illumined souls for keeping away from the crowd--for dwelling away from
the multitude. No one who has not suffered the pain of having the
vulgar crowd revile the highest spiritual truths to him, can begin to
understand the feelings of the spiritually illumined individuals. It is
not that they feel that they are better or more exalted than the
humblest man--for these feelings of the personality have long since
left them. It is because they see the folly of attempting to present
the highest truths to a public which is not prepared to understand even
the elementary teachings. It is a feeling akin to that of the master of
the highest musical conceptions attempting to produce his wonderful
compositions before a crowd fit only for the "rag-time" and slangy
songs of the day.

Then again, these Masters have no desire to "work miracles" which would
only cause the public to become still more superstitious than they now
are. When one glances back over the field of religions, and sees how
the miraculous acts of some of the great leaders have been prostituted
and used as a foundation for the grossest credulity and basest
superstition, he may understand the wisdom of the masters in this
respect. There is another reason for the non-appearance of the Masters,
and that is that there is no occasion for it. The laws of Spiritual
Evolution are as regular, constant and fixed as are the laws of
Physical Evolution, and any attempt to unduly force matters only
results in confusion, and the abortive results soon fade away. The
world is not ready for the appearance of the Masters. Their appearance
at this time would not be in accordance with The Plan.

The Masters or Adepts are human beings who have passed from lower to
higher planes of consciousness, thus gaining wisdom, power and
qualities that seem almost miraculous to the man of the ordinary
consciousness. A Hindu writer speaking of them has said: "To him who
hath traveled far along The Path, sorrow ceases to trouble; fetters
cease to bind; obstacles cease to hinder. Such an one is free. For him
there is no more fever or sorrow. For him there are no more unconscious
re-births. His old Karma is exhausted, and he creates no new Karma. His
heart is freed from the desire for future life. No new longings arise
within his soul. He is like a lamp which burneth from the oil of the
Spirit, and not from the oil of the outer world." Lillie in his work on
Buddhism, tells his readers: "Six supernatural faculties were expected
of the ascetic before he could claim the grade of Arhat. They are
constantly alluded to in the Sutras as the six supernatural
faculties, usually without further specification.... In this transitory
body the intelligence of Man is enchained. The ascetic finding himself
thus confused, directs his mind to the creation of Manas. He
represents to himself, in thought, another body created from this
material body,--a body with a form, members and organs. This body in
relation to the material body is like a sword and the scabbard, or a
serpent issuing from a basket in which it is confined. The ascetic
then, purified and perfected, begins to practice supernatural
faculties. He finds himself able to pass through material obstacles,
walls, ramparts, etc.; he is able to throw his phantasmal appearance
into many places at once. He acquires the power of hearing the sounds
of the unseen world as distinctly as those of the phenomenal
world--more distinctly in point of fact. Also by the power of Manas
he is able to read the most secret thoughts of others, and to tell
their characters."

These great Masters are above all petty sectarian distinctions. They
may have ascended to their exalted position along the paths of the many
religions, or they may have walked the path of no-denomination, sect,
or body. They may have mounted to their heights by philosophical
reasoning alone, or else by scientific investigation. They are called
by many names, according to the viewpoint of the speaker, but at the
last they are of but one religion; one philosophy; one belief--TRUTH.

The state of Adeptship is reached only after a long and arduous
apprenticeship extending over many lives. Those who have reached the
pinnacle were once even as You who read these lines. And some of
you--yes, perhaps even You who are now reading these words may have
taken the first steps along the narrow path which will lead you to
heights equally as exalted as those occupied by even the highest of
these great beings of whom we are speaking. Unconsciously to yourself,
the urge of the Spirit has set your feet firmly upon The Path, and will
push you forward to the end. In order to understand the occult custom
that finds its full fruit in the seclusion of the Masters, one needs to
be acquainted with the universal habit among true occultists of
refraining from public or vulgar displays of occult power. While the
inferior occultists often exhibit some of the minor manifestations to
the public, it is a fact that the true advanced occultists scrupulously
refrain from so doing. In fact, among the highest teachers, it is a
condition imposed upon the pupil that he shall refrain from exhibitions
of his developing powers among the uninitiated public. "The Neophyte is
bound over to the most inviolable secrecy as to everything connected
with his entrance and further progress in the schools. In Asia, in the
same way, the chela, or pupil of occultism, no sooner becomes a
chela than he ceases to be a witness on behalf of the reality of
occult knowledge," says Sinnett in his great work on "Esoteric
Buddhism," And he then adds: "I have been astonished to find, since my
own connection with the subject, how numerous such chelas are. But it
is impossible to imagine any human act more improbable than the
unauthorized revelation by any such chela, to persons in the outer
world, that he is one; and so the great esoteric school of philosophy
guards its seclusion."

QUESTION III: "Does the Yogi Philosophy teach that there is a place
corresponding to the 'Heavens' of the various religions? Is there any
basis for the belief that there is a place resembling 'Heaven'?"

ANSWER: Yes, the Yogi Philosophy does teach that there is a real
basis for the popular religious beliefs in "Heaven," and that there are
states of being, the knowledge of which has filtered through to the
masses in the more or less distorted theories regarding "heavens."

But the Yogis do not teach that these "heavens" are places at all.
The teaching is that they are planes of existence. It is difficult to
explain just what is meant by this word "plane." The nearest approach
to it in English is the term or word "State." A portion of space may be
occupied by several planes at the same time, just as a room may be
filled with the rays of the sun, those of a lamp. X-rays, magnetic and
electric vibrations and waves, etc., each interpenetrating each other
and yet not affecting or interfering with each other.

On the lower planes of the Astral World there are to be found the
earth-bound souls which have passed out from their former bodies, but
which are attracted to the earthly scenes by strong attractions, which
serve to weight them down and to prevent them from ascending to the
higher planes. On the higher planes are souls that are less bound by
earthly attractions, and who, accordingly, are relieved of the weight
resulting therefrom. These planes rise in an ascending scale, each
plane being higher and more spiritual than the one lower than itself.
And dwelling on each plane are the souls fitted to occupy it, by reason
of their degree of spiritual development, or evolution. When the soul
first leaves the body it falls into a sleep-like stage, from which it
awakens to find itself on the plane for which it is fitted, by reason
of its development, attractions, character, etc. The particular plane
occupied by each soul is determined by the progress and attainment it
has made in its past lives. The souls on the higher planes may, and
often do, visit the planes lower in the scale than their own, but those
on the lower planes may not visit those higher than their own. Quoting
from our own writings on this subject, published several years ago, we
repeat: This prohibition regarding the visiting of higher planes is not
an arbitrary rule, but a law of nature. If the student will pardon the
commonplace comparison, he may get an understanding of it, by imagining
a large screen, or series of screens, such as used for sorting coal
into sizes. The large coal is caught by the first screen; the next size
by the second; and so on until the tiny coal is reached. Now, the large
coal cannot get into the receptacle of the smaller sizes, but the small
sizes may easily pass through the screen and join the larger sizes, if
force be imparted to them. Just so in the Astral World, the soul with
the greatest amount of materiality, and gross nature, is stopped by the
spiritual screen of a certain plane, and cannot pass on to the higher
ones, while other souls have cast off some of the confining and
retarding material sheaths, and readily pass on to higher and finer
planes. And it may be readily seen that those souls which dwell on the
higher planes are able to re-visit the lower and grosser planes, while
the souls on the grosser cannot penetrate the higher boundries of their
plane, being stopped by the spiritual screen. The comparison is a crude
one, but it almost exactly pictures the existing conditions on the
spiritual world.

Souls on the upper planes, may, and often do, journey to the lower
planes for the purpose of "visiting" the souls of friends who may be
dwelling there, and thus affording them comfort and consolation. In
fact, the teaching is that in many cases a highly developed soul visits
souls on the lower planes in whom it is interested, and actually
imparts spiritual teaching and instruction to those souls, so that they
may be re-born into much better conditions than would have been the
case otherwise. All of the planes have Spiritual Instructors from very
high planes, who sacrifice their well-earned rest and happiness on
their own planes in order that they may work for the less-developed
souls on the lower planes.

As we have said, the soul awakens on the plane to which it is suited.
It finds itself in the company of congenial souls, in whose company it
is enabled to pursue those things which were dear to its heart when
alive. It may be able to make considerable advancement during its
sojourn in "heaven," which will result to its benefit when it is reborn
on earth. There are countless sub-planes, adapted to the infinite
requirements of the advancing souls in every degree of development, and
each soul finds an opportunity to develop and enjoy to the fullest the
highest of which it is capable, and to also perfect itself and to
prepare itself for future development, so that it may be re-born under
the very best possible conditions and circumstances in the next earth
life. But, alas, even in this higher world, all souls do not live up to
the best that is in them, and instead of making the best of their
opportunities for development, and growing spiritually, they allow the
attractions of their material natures to draw them downward, and too
often spend much of their time on the planes beneath them, not to help
and assist, but to live the less spiritual lives of their friends on
the lower planes. In such cases the soul does not reap the benefit of
the sojourn in the "after-life," but is born again according to the
attractions of its lower, instead of its higher nature, and is
compelled to learn its lesson over again.

The Yogi teachings inform us that the lower planes of the Astral World
are inhabited by souls of a very gross and degraded type, undeveloped
and animal-like. These low souls live out the tendencies and
characteristics of their former earth lives, and reincarnate rapidly in
order to pursue their material attractions. Of course, there is slowly
working even in these undeveloped souls an upward tendency, but it is
so slow as to be almost imperceptible. In time these undeveloped souls
grow sick and tired of their materiality, and then comes the chance for
a slight advance. Of course these undeveloped souls have no access to
the higher planes of the Astral world, but are confined to their own
degraded plane and to the sub-planes which separate the Astral World
from the material world. They cling as closely as possible to the
earthly scenes, and are separated from the material world by only a
thin screen (if we may use the word). They suffer the tantalizing
condition of being within sight and hearing of their old material
scenes and environments, and yet unable to manifest on them. These
souls form the low class of "spirits" of which we hear so much in
certain circles. They hang around their old scenes of debauchery and
sense gratification, and often are able to influence the minds of
living persons along the same line and plane of development. For
instance, these creatures hover around low saloons and places of
ill-repute, influencing the sodden brains of living persons to
participate in the illicit gratifications of the lower sensual nature.

Souls on the higher planes are not bound by these earthly and material
attractions, and take advantage of their opportunities to improve
themselves and develop spiritually. It is a rule of the Astral World
that the higher the plane occupied by a soul, the longer the sojourn
there between incarnations. A soul on the lowest planes may reincarnate
in a very short time, while on the higher planes hundreds and even
thousands of years may elapse before the soul is called upon to
experience re-birth. But re-birth comes to all who have not passed on
to other spheres of life. Sooner or later the soul feels that inward
urge toward re-birth and further experience, and becomes drowsy and
falls into a state resembling sleep, when it is caught up in the
current that is sweeping on toward re-birth, and is gradually carried
on to re-birth in conditions chosen by its desires and characteristics,
in connection with the operation of the laws of Karma. From the
soul-slumber it passes through what may be called a "death" on the
Astral plane, when it is re-born on the earth plane. But, remember
this, the soul, when it is re-born on earth, does not fully awaken from
its Astral sleep. In infancy and in early childhood the soul is but
slowly awakening, gradually from year to year, the brain being built to
accommodate this growth. The rare instances of precocious children, and
infant genius are cases in which the awakening has been more rapid than
ordinary. On the other hand, cases are known where the soul does not
awaken as rapidly as the average, and the result is that the person
does not show signs of full intellectual activity until nearly middle
age. Cases are known when men seemed to "wake up" when they were forty
years of age, or even later in life, and would then take on a freshened
activity and energy, surprising those who had known them before.

On some of the planes of the Astral world the souls dwelling there do
not seem to realize that they are "dead," but act and live as if they
were in the flesh.

They have a knowledge of the planes beneath them, just as we on earth
know of conditions beneath us (spiritually), but they seem to be in
almost absolute ignorance of the planes above them, just as many of us
on earth cannot comprehend the existence of beings more highly
developed spiritually than ourselves. This, of course, is only true of
the souls who have not been made acquainted with the meaning and nature
of life on the Astral Plane. Those who have acquired this information
and knowledge readily understand their condition and profit thereby. It
will be seen from this that it is of the greatest importance for
persons to become acquainted with the great laws of Occultism in their
present earth life, for the reason that when they pass out of the body
and enter some one of the Astral Planes they will not be in ignorance
of the condition, but will readily grasp the meaning and nature of
their surroundings and take advantage of the same in order to develop
themselves more rapidly.

It will be seen from what has been written by us here and elsewhere
that there are planes after planes on the Astral side of life. All that
has been dreamt of Heaven, Purgatory or Hell has its correspondence
there, although not in the literal sense in which these things have
been taught. For instance, a wicked man dying immersed in his desires
and longings of his lower nature, and believing that he will be
punished in a future life for sins committed on earth--such a one is
very apt to awaken on the lower planes or sub-planes, in conditions
corresponding with his former fears. He finds the fire and brimstone
awaiting him, although these things are merely figments of his own
imagination, and having no existence in reality. Murderers may roam for
ages (apparently) pursued by the bleeding corpses of their victims,
until such a horror of the crime arises in the mind that at last
sinking from exhaustion into the soul-sleep, their souls pass into
re-birth with such a horror of bloodshed and crime as to make them
entirely different beings in the new life. And, yet the "hell" that
they went through existed only in their imaginations. They were their
own Devil and Hell. Just as a man in earth life may suffer from
delirium tremens, so some of these souls on the Astral plane suffer
agonies from their delirium arising from their former crimes, and the
belief in the punishment therefor which has been inculcated in them
through earth teachings. And these mental agonies, although terrible,
really are for their benefit, for by reason of them the soul becomes so
sickened with the thought and idea of crime that when it is finally
re-born it manifests a marked repulsion to it, and flies to the
opposite. In this connection we would say that the teaching is that
although the depraved soul apparently experiences ages of this torment,
yet, in reality, there is but the passage of but a short time, the
illusion arising from the self-hypnotization of the soul, just as
arises the illusion of the punishment itself.

In the same way the soul often experiences a "heaven" in accordance
with its hopes, beliefs and longings of earth-life. The "heaven" that
it has longed for and believed in during its earth-life is very apt to
be at least partially reproduced on the Astral plane, and the pious
soul of any and all religious denominations finds itself in a "heaven"
corresponding to that in which it believed during its earth-life. The
Mohammedan finds his paradise; the Christian finds his; the Indian
finds his--but the impression is merely an illusion created by the
Mental Pictures of the soul. But the illusion tends to give pleasure to
the soul, and to satisfy certain longings which in time fade away,
leaving the soul free to reach out after higher conceptions and ideals.
We cannot devote more space to this subject at this time, and must
content ourselves with the above statements and explanations. The
principal point that we desire to impress upon your minds is the fact
that the "heaven-world" is not a place or state of permanent rest and
abode for the disembodied soul, but is merely a place or temporary
sojourn between incarnations, and thus serves as a place of rest
wherein the soul may gather together its forces, energies, desires and
attractions preparatory to re-birth. In this answer we have merely
limited ourselves to a general statement of the states and conditions
of the Astral World, or rather of certain planes of that world. The
subject itself requires far more extensive treatment.

QUESTION IV: "Is Nirvana a state of the total extinction of
consciousness; and is it a place, state or condition?"

ANSWER: The teaching concerning Nirvana, the final goal of the soul,
has been much misunderstood, and much error has crept into the teaching
even among some very worthy teachers. To conceive of Nirvana as a
state of extinction of consciousness would be to fall into the error of
the pessimistic school of philosophy which thinks of life and
consciousness as a curse, and regards the return into a total
unconsciousness as the thing to be most desired. The true teaching is
that Nirvana is a state of the fullest consciousness--a state in
which the soul is relieved of all the illusion of separateness and
relativity, and enters into a state of Universal Consciousness, or
Absolute Awareness, in which it is conscious of Infinity, and
Eternity--of all places and things and time. Nirvana instead of being
a state of Nothingness, is a state of "Everythingness." As the soul
advances along the Path it becomes more and more aware of its
connection with, relation to, and identity with the Whole. As it grows,
the Self enlarges and transcends its former limited bounds. It begins
to realize that it is more than the tiny separated atom that it had
believed itself to be, and it learns to identify itself in a constantly
increasing scale with the Universal Life. It feels a sense of Oneness
in a fuller degree, and it sets its feet firmly upon the Path toward
Nirvana. After many weary lives on this and other planets--in this
and other Universes--after it has long since left behind it the scale
of humanity, and has advanced into god-like states, its consciousness
becomes fuller and fuller, and time and space are transcended in a
wonderful manner. And at last the goal is attained--the battle is
won--and the soul blossoms into a state of Universal Consciousness, in
which Time and Place disappear and in which every place is Here; every
period of Time is Now; and everything is "I." This is Nirvana.

QUESTION V: "What is that which Occultists call 'an Astral Shell,' or
similar name? Is it an entity, or force, or being?"

ANSWER: When the soul passes out from the body at the moment of death
it carries with it the "Astral Body" as well as the higher mental and
spiritual principles (see the first three lessons in the "Fourteen
Lessons"). The Astral Body is the counterpart of the material or
physical body, although it is composed of matter of a much finer and
ethereal nature than is the physical body. It is invisible to the
ordinary eye, but may be seen clairvoyantly. The Astral Body rises from
the physical body like a faint, luminous vapor, and for a time is
connected with the dying physical body by a thin, vapory cord or
thread, which finally breaks entirely and the separation becomes
complete. The Astral Body is some time afterward discarded by the soul
as it passes on to the higher planes, as we have described a few pages
further back, and the abandoned Astral Body becomes an "Astral Shell,"
and is subject to a slow disintegration, just as is the physical body.
It is no more the soul than is the physical body--it is merely a cast
off garment of fine matter. It will be seen readily that it is not an
entity, force or being--it is only cast off matter--a sloughed skin. It
has no life or intelligence, but floats around on the lower Astral
Plane until it finally disintegrates. It has an attraction toward its
late physical associate--the physical body--and often returns to the
place where the latter is buried, where it is sometimes seen by persons
whose astral sight is temporarily awakened, when it is mistaken for a
"ghost" or "spirit" of the person. These Astral Shells are often seen
floating around over graveyards, battlefields, etc. And sometimes these
shells coming in contact with the psychic magnetism of a medium become
"galvanized" into life, and manifest signs of intelligence, which,
however, really comes from the mind of the medium. At some seances
these re-vitalized shells manifest and materialize, and talk in a
vague, meaningless manner, the shell receiving its vitality from the
body and mind of the medium instead of speaking from any consciousness
of its own. This statement is not to be taken as any denial of true
"spirit return," but is merely an explanation of certain forms of
so-called "spiritualistic phenomena" which is well understood by
advanced "spiritualists," although many seekers after psychic phenomena
are in ignorance of it.

QUESTION VI: What is meant by "the Days and Nights of Brahm"; the
"Cycles"; the "Chain of Worlds", etc., etc.?

ANSWER: In Lesson Sixth, of the present series, you will find a brief
mention of the "Days and Nights of Brahm"--those vast periods of the
In-breathing and Out-breathing of the Creative Principle which is
personified in the Hindu conception of Brahma. You will see mentioned
there that universal philosophical conception of the Universal Rhythm,
which manifests in a succession of periods of Universal Activity and

The Yogi Teachings are that all Time is manifested in Cycles. Man calls
the most common form of Cyclic Time by the name of "a Day," which is
the period of time necessary for the earth's revolution on its axis.
Each Day is a reproduction of all previous Days, although the incidents
of each day differ from those of the other--all Days are but periods of
Time marked off by the revolution of the earth on its axis. And each
Night is but the negative side of a Day, the positive side of which is
called "day." There is really no such thing as a Day, that which we
call a "Day" being simply a record of certain physical changes in the
earth's position relating to its own axis.

The second phase of Cyclic Time is called by man by the name "a Month,"
by which is meant certain changes in the relative positions of the moon
and the earth. The true month consists of twenty-eight lunar days. In
this Cycle (the Month) there is also a light-time or "day," and a
dark-time or "night," the former being the fourteen days of the moon's
visibility, and the second being the fourteen days of the moon's

The third phase of Cyclic Time is that which we call "a Year," by which
is meant the time occupied by the earth in its revolution around the
sun. You will notice that the year has its positive and negative
periods, also, known as Summer and Winter.

But the Yogis take up the story where the astronomers drop it, at the
Year. Beyond the Year there are other and greater phases of Cyclic
Time. The Yogis know many cycles of thousands of years in which there
are marked periods of Activity and Inactivity. We cannot go into detail
regarding these various cycles, but may mention another division common
to the Yogi teachings, beginning with the Great Year. The Great Year is
composed of 360 earth years. Twelve thousand Great Years constitute
what is known as a Great Cycle, which is seen to consist of 4,320,000
earth years. Seventy-one Great Cycles compose what is called a
Manwantara, at the end of which the earth becomes submerged under the
waters, until not a vestige of land is left uncovered. This state lasts
for a period equal to 71 Great Cycles. A Kalpa is composed of 14
Manwantaras. The largest and grandest Cycle manifested is known as the
Maya-Praylaya, consisting of 36,000 Kalpas when the Absolute
withdraws into Itself its entire manifestations, and dwells alone in
its awful Infinity and Oneness, this period being succeeded by a period
equally long--the two being known as the Days and Nights of Brahm.

You will notice that each of these great Cycles has its "Day" period
and its "Night" period--its Period of Activity. and its Period of
Inactivity. From Day to Maya-Praylaya, it is a succession of Nights and
Days--Creative Activity and Creative Cessation.

The "Chain of Worlds," is that great group of planets in our own solar
system, seven in number, over which the Procession of Life passes, in
Cycles. From globe to globe the great wave of soul life passes in
Cyclic Rhythm. After a race has passed a certain number of incarnations
upon one planet, it passes on to another, and learns new lessons, and
then on and on until finally it has learned all of the lessons possible
on this Universe, when it passes on to another Universe, and so on,
from higher to higher until the human mind is unable to even think of
the grandeur of the destiny awaiting each human soul on THE PATH. The
various works published by the Theosophical organizations go into
detail regarding these matters, which require the space of many volumes
to adequately express, but we think that we have at last indicated the
general nature of the question, pointing out to the student the nature
of the subject, and indicating lines for further study and


And now, dear students, we have reached the end of this series of
lessons. You have followed us closely for the past four years, many of
you having been with us as students from the start. We feel many ties
of spiritual relationship binding you to us, and the parting, although
but temporary, gives a little pang to us--a little pull upon our heart
strings. We have tried to give to you a plain, practical and simple
exposition of the great truths of this world-old philosophy--have
endeavored to express in plain simple terms the greatest truths known
to man on earth to-day, the Yogi Philosophy. And many have written us
that our work has not been in vain, and that we have been the means of
opening up new worlds of thought to them, and have aided them in
casting off the old material sheaths that had bound them for so long,
and the discarding of which enabled them to unfold the beautiful
blossom of Spirituality. Be this as it may, we have been able merely to
give you the most elementary instruction in this world-philosophy, and
are painfully conscious of the small portion of the field that we have
tilled, when compared with the infinite expanse of Truth still
untouched. But such are the limitations of Man--he can speak only of
that which lies immediately before him, leaving for others the rest of
the work which is remote from his place of abode. There are planes upon
planes of this Truth which every soul among you will some day make his
or her own. It is yours, and you will be impelled to reach forth and
take that which is intended for you. Be not in too much haste--be of
great patience--and all will come to you, for it is your own.


We have here to make an announcement that will please our readers,
judging from the many letters that we have received during the several
years of our work. We will now enter upon a new phase of our work of
presenting the great truths underlying life, as taught by the great
minds of centuries ago, and carefully transmitted from master to
student from that time unto our own. We have concluded our presentation
of the mystic teachings underlying the Hindu Philosophies, and shall
now pass on to a consideration and presentation of the great Mystic
Principles underlying that great and glorious creed of the Western
world--the religion, teachings, and philosophy of JESUS THE CHRIST.
These teachings, too, as we should remember, are essentially Eastern in
their origin, and source, although their effects are more pronounced in
the Western world. Underlying the teaching and philosophy of the Christ
are to be found the same esoteric principles that underlie the other
great systems of philosophies of the East. Covered up though the Truth
be by the additions of the Western churches and sects, still it remains
there burning brightly as ever, and plainly visible to one who will
brush aside the rubbish surrounding the Sacred Flame and who will seek
beneath the forms and non-essentials for the Mystic Truths underlying

We realize the importance of the work before us, but we shrink not from
the task, for we know that when the bright Light of the Spirit, which
is found as the centre of the Christian philosophy, is uncovered, there
will be great rejoicing from the many who while believing in and
realizing the value of the Eastern Teachings, still rightly hold their
love, devotion and admiration for Him who was in very Truth the Son of
God, and whose mission was to raise the World spiritually from the
material quagmire into which it was stumbling.

And now, dear pupils, we must close this series of lessons on the Yogi
Philosophy. We must rest ere we so soon engage upon our new and great
work. We must each take a little rest, ere we meet again on The Path of
Attainment. Each of these temporary partings are milestones upon our
Journey of Spiritual Life. Let each find us farther advanced.

And now we send you our wishes of Peace. May The Peace be with you all,
now and forever, even unto NIRVANA, which is PEACE itself.

Lessons in Gnani and Raja Yoga
The Yoga of Wisdom

by Yogi Ramacharaka
Lessons in Gnani and Raja Yoga
The Yoga of Wisdom

by Yogi Ramacharaka
Most Popular Search Terms:

Yoga      Reiki    Tarot       Astrology
Psychics         Diet              Fitness
Spiritual Health      Love & Romance
Most Popular Search Terms:

Yoga      Reiki    Tarot       Astrology
Psychics         Diet              Fitness
Spiritual Health      Love & Romance