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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Sadhana - The Realisation of Life
We come now to the eternal problem of co-existence of the
infinite and the finite, of the supreme being and our soul.
There is a sublime paradox that lies at the root of existence.
We never can go round it, because we never can stand outside the
problem and weigh it against any other possible alternative.  But
the problem exists in logic only; in reality it does not offer us
any difficulty at all.  Logically speaking, the distance between
two points, however near, may be said to be infinite because it
is infinitely divisible.  But we do cross the infinite at every
step, and meet the eternal in every second.  Therefore some of our
philosophers say there is no such thing as finitude; it is but a
māyā, an illusion.  The real is the infinite, and it is only
māyā, the unreality, which causes the appearance of the finite.
But the word māyā is a mere name, it is no explanation.  It is
merely saying that with truth there is this appearance which is
the opposite of truth; but how they come to exist at one and the
same time is incomprehensible.

We have what we call in Sanskrit dvandva, a series of opposites
in creation; such as, the positive pole and the negative, the
centripetal force and the centrifugal, attraction and repulsion.
These are also mere names, they are no explanations.  They are
only different ways of asserting that the world in its essence is
a reconciliation of pairs of opposing forces.  These forces, like
the left and the right hands of the creator, are acting in
absolute harmony, yet acting from opposite directions.

There is a bond of harmony between our two eyes, which makes them
act in unison.  Likewise there is an unbreakable continuity of
relation in the physical world between heat and cold, light and
darkness, motion and rest, as between the bass and treble notes
of a piano.  That is why these opposites do not bring confusion
in the universe, but harmony.  If creation were but a chaos, we
should have to imagine the two opposing principles as trying to
get the better of each other.  But the universe is not under
martial law, arbitrary and provisional.  Here we find no force
which can run amok, or go on indefinitely in its wild road, like
an exiled outlaw, breaking all harmony with its surroundings;
each force, on the contrary, has to come back in a curved line to
its equilibrium.  Waves rise, each to its individual height in a
seeming attitude of unrelenting competition, but only up to a
certain point; and thus we know of the great repose of the sea to
which they are all related, and to which they must all return in
a rhythm which is marvellously beautiful.

In fact, these undulations and vibrations, these risings and
fallings, are not due to the erratic contortions of disparate
bodies, they are a rhythmic dance.  Rhythm never can be born of
the haphazard struggle of combat.  Its underlying principle must
be unity, not opposition.

This principle of unity is the mystery of all mysteries.  The
existence of a duality at once raises a question in our minds,
and we seek its solution in the One.  When at last we find a
relation between these two, and thereby see them as one in
essence, we feel that we have come to the truth.  And then we
give utterance to this most startling of all paradoxes, that the
One appears as many, that the appearance is the opposite of truth
and yet is inseparably related to it.

Curiously enough, there are men who lose that feeling of mystery,
which is at the root of all our delights, when they discover the
uniformity of law among the diversity of nature.  As if
gravitation is not more of a mystery than the fall of an apple,
as if the evolution from one scale of being to the other is not
something which is even more shy of explanation than a succession
of creations.  The trouble is that we very often stop at such a
law as if it were the final end of our search, and then we find
that it does not even begin to emancipate our spirit.  It only
gives satisfaction to our intellect, and as it does not appeal to
our whole being it only deadens in us the sense of the infinite.

A great poem, when analysed, is a set of detached sounds.  The
reader who finds out the meaning, which is the inner medium that
connects these outer sounds, discovers a perfect law all through,
which is never violated in the least; the law of the evolution of
ideas, the law of the music and the form.

But law in itself is a limit.  It only shows that whatever is can
never be otherwise.  When a man is exclusively occupied with the
search for the links of causality, his mind succumbs to the
tyranny of law in escaping from the tyranny of facts.  In
learning a language, when from mere words we reach the laws of
words we have gained a great deal.  But if we stop at that point,
and only concern ourselves with the marvels of the formation of a
language, seeking the hidden reason of all its apparent caprices,
we do not reach the end--for grammar is not literature, prosody
is not a poem.

When we come to literature we find that though it conforms to
rules of grammar it is yet a thing of joy, it is freedom itself.
The beauty of a poem is bound by strict laws, yet it transcends
them.  The laws are its wings, they do not keep it weighed down,
they carry it to freedom.  Its form is in law but its spirit is
in beauty.  Law is the first step towards freedom, and beauty is
the complete liberation which stands on the pedestal of law.
Beauty harmonises in itself the limit and the beyond, the law and
the liberty.

In the world-poem, the discovery of the law of its rhythms, the
measurement of its expansion and contraction, movement and pause,
the pursuit of its evolution of forms and characters, are true
achievements of the mind; but we cannot stop there.  It is like a
railway station; but the station platform is not our home.  Only
he has attained the final truth who knows that the whole world is
a creation of joy.

This leads me to think how mysterious the relation of the human
heart with nature must be.  In the outer world of activity nature
has one aspect, but in our hearts, in the inner world, it
presents an altogether different picture.

Take an instance--the flower of a plant.  However fine and dainty
it may look, it is pressed to do a great service, and its colours
and forms are all suited to its work.  It must bring forth the
fruit, or the continuity of plant life will be broken and the
earth will be turned into a desert ere long.  The colour and the
smell of the flower are all for some purpose therefore; no sooner
is it fertilised by the bee, and the time of its fruition
arrives, than it sheds its exquisite petals and a cruel economy
compels it to give up its sweet perfume.  It has no time to
flaunt its finery, for it is busy beyond measure.  Viewed from
without, necessity seems to be the only factor in nature for
which everything works and moves.  There the bud develops into
the flower, the flower into the fruit, the fruit into the seed,
the seed into a new plant again, and so forth, the chain of
activity running on unbroken.  Should there crop up any
disturbance or impediment, no excuse would be accepted, and the
unfortunate thing thus choked in its movement would at once be
labelled as rejected, and be bound to die and disappear post-
haste.  In the great office of nature there are innumerable
departments with endless work going on, and the fine flower that
you behold there, gaudily attired and scented like a dandy, is by
no means what it appears to be, but rather, is like a labourer
toiling in sun and shower, who has to submit a clear account of
his work and has no breathing space to enjoy himself in playful

But when this same flower enters the heart of men its aspect of
busy practicality is gone, and it becomes the very emblem of
leisure and repose.  The same object that is the embodiment of
endless activity without is the perfect expression of beauty and
peace within.

Science here warns us that we are mistaken, that the purpose of a
flower is nothing but what is outwardly manifested, and that the
relation of beauty and sweetness which we think it bears to us is
all our own making, gratuitous and imaginary.

But our heart replies that we are not in the least mistaken.  In
the sphere of nature the flower carries with it a certificate
which recommends it as having immense capacity for doing useful
work, but it brings an altogether different letter of
introduction when it knocks at the door of our hearts.  Beauty
becomes its only qualification.  At one place it comes as a
slave, and at another as a free thing.  How, then, should we give
credit to its first recommendation and disbelieve the second one?
That the flower has got its being in the unbroken chain of
causation is true beyond doubt; but that is an outer truth.  The
inner truth is: Verily from the everlasting joy do all objects
have their birth. 

A flower, therefore, has not its only function in nature, but has
another great function to exercise in the mind of man.  And what
is that function?  In nature its work is that of a servant who
has to make his appearance at appointed times, but in the heart
of man it comes like a messenger from the King.  In the
Rāmāyana, when Sītā, forcibly separated from her husband, was
bewailing her evil fate in Ravana's golden palace, she was met
by a messenger who brought with him a ring of her beloved
Rāmachandra himself.  The very sight of it convinced Sītā of
the truth of tidings he bore.  She was at once reassured that he
came indeed from her beloved one, who had not forgotten her and
was at hand to rescue her.

Such a messenger is a flower from our great lover.  Surrounded
with the pomp and pageantry of worldliness, which may be linked
to Ravana's golden city, we still live in exile, while the
insolent spirit of worldly prosperity tempts us with allurements
and claims us as its bride.  In the meantime the flower comes
across with a message from the other shore, and whispers in our
ears, "I am come.  He has sent me.  I am a messenger of the
beautiful, the one whose soul is the bliss of love.  This island
of isolation has been bridged over by him, and he has not
forgotten thee, and will rescue thee even now.  He will draw thee
unto him and make thee his own.  This illusion will not hold thee
in thraldom for ever."

If we happen to be awake then, we question him: "How are we to
know that thou art come from him indeed?"  The messenger says,
"Look!  I have this ring from him.  How lovely are its hues and

Ah, doubtless it is his--indeed, it is our wedding ring.  Now all
else passes into oblivion, only this sweet symbol of the touch of
the eternal love fills us with a deep longing.  We realise that
the palace of gold where we are has nothing to do with us--our
deliverance is outside it--and there our love has its fruition
and our life its fulfilment.

What to the bee in nature is merely colour and scent, and the
marks or spots which show the right track to the honey, is to the
human heart beauty and joy untrammelled by necessity.  They bring
a love letter to the heart written in many-coloured inks.

I was telling you, therefore, that however busy our active nature
outwardly may be, she has a secret chamber within the heart where
she comes and goes freely, without any design whatsoever.  There
the fire of her workshop is transformed into lamps of a festival,
the noise of her factory is heard like music.  The iron chain of
cause and effect sounds heavily outside in nature, but in the
human heart its unalloyed delight seems to sound, as it were,
like the golden strings of a harp.

It indeed seems to be wonderful that nature has these two aspects
at one and the same time, and so antithetical--one being of
thraldom and the other of freedom.  In the same form, sound,
colour, and taste two contrary notes are heard, one of necessity
and the other of joy.  Outwardly nature is busy and restless,
inwardly she is all silence and peace.  She has toil on one side
and leisure on the other.  You see her bondage only when you see
her from without, but within her heart is a limitless beauty.

Our seer says, "From joy are born all creatures, by joy they are
sustained, towards joy they progress, and into joy they enter."

Not that he ignores law, or that his contemplation of this
infinite joy is born of the intoxication produced by an
indulgence in abstract thought.  He fully recognises the
inexorable laws of nature, and says, "Fire burns for fear of him
(i.e. by his law); the sun shines by fear of him; and for fear of
him the wind, the clouds, and death perform their offices."  It
is a reign of iron rule, ready to punish the least transgression.
Yet the poet chants the glad song, "From joy are born all
creatures, by joy they are sustained, towards joy they progress,
and into joy they enter."

The immortal being manifests himself in joy-form.  [Footnote:
Ānandarūpamamritam yad vibhāti.]  His manifestation in creation
is out of his fullness of joy.  It is the nature of this
abounding joy to realise itself in form which is law.  The joy,
which is without form, must create, must translate itself into
forms.  The joy of the singer is expressed in the form of a song,
that of the poet in the form of a poem.  Man in his rôle of a
creator is ever creating forms, and they come out of his
abounding joy.

This joy, whose other name is love, must by its very nature have
duality for its realisation.  When the singer has his inspiration
he makes himself into two; he has within him his other self as
the hearer, and the outside audience is merely an extension of
this other self of his.  The lover seeks his own other self in
his beloved.  It is the joy that creates this separation, in
order to realise through obstacles of union.

The amritam, the immortal bliss, has made himself into two.
Our soul is the loved one, it is his other self.  We are
separate; but if this separation were absolute, then there would
have been absolute misery and unmitigated evil in this world.
Then from untruth we never could reach truth, and from sin we
never could hope to attain purity of heart; then all opposites
would ever remain opposites, and we could never find a medium
through which our differences could ever tend to meet.  Then we
could have no language, no understanding, no blending of hearts,
no co-operation in life.  But on the contrary, we find that the
separateness of objects is in a fluid state.  Their
individualities are even changing, they are meeting and merging
into each other, till science itself is turning into metaphysics,
matter losing its boundaries, and the definition of life becoming
more and more indefinite.

Yes, our individual soul has been separated from the supreme
soul, but this has not been from alienation but from the fullness
of love.  It is for that reason that untruths, sufferings, and
evils are not at a standstill; the human soul can defy them, can
overcome them, nay, can altogether transform them into new power
and beauty.

The singer is translating his song into singing, his joy into
forms, and the hearer has to translate back the singing into the
original joy; then the communion between the singer and the
hearer is complete.  The infinite joy is manifesting itself in
manifold forms, taking upon itself the bondage of law, and we
fulfil our destiny when we go back from forms to joy, from law to
the love, when we untie the knot of the finite and hark back to
the infinite.

The human soul is on its journey from the law to love, from
discipline to liberation, from the moral plane to the spiritual.
Buddha preached the discipline of self-restraint and moral life;
it is a complete acceptance of law.  But this bondage of law
cannot be an end by itself; by mastering it thoroughly we acquire
the means of getting beyond it.  It is going back to Brahma, to
the infinite love, which is manifesting itself through the finite
forms of law.  Buddha names it Brahma-vihāra, the joy of living
in Brahma.  He who wants to reach this stage, according to Buddha,
"shall deceive none, entertain no hatred for anybody, and never
wish to injure through anger.  He shall have measureless love for
all creatures, even as a mother has for her only child, whom she
protects with her own life.  Up above, below, and all around him
he shall extend his love, which is without bounds and obstacles,
and which is free from all cruelty and antagonism.  While
standing, sitting, walking, lying down, till he fall asleep, he
shall keep his mind active in this exercise of universal goodwill."

Want of love is a degree of callousness; for love is the
perfection of consciousness.  We do not love because we do not
comprehend, or rather we do not comprehend because we do not
love.  For love is the ultimate meaning of everything around us.
It is not a mere sentiment; it is truth; it is the joy that is at
the root of all creation.  It is the white light of pure
consciousness that emanates from Brahma.  So, to be one with this
sarvānubhūh, this all-feeling being who is in the external sky,
as well as in our inner soul, we must attain to that summit of
consciousness, which is love: Who could have breathed or moved
if the sky were not filled with joy, with love?  [Footnote: Ko
hyēvānyāt kah prānyāt yadēsha ākāça ānandō na syāt.]  It is
through the heightening of our consciousness into love, and
extending it all over the world, that we can attain
Brahma-vihāra, communion with this infinite joy.

Love spontaneously gives itself in endless gifts.  But these
gifts lose their fullest significance if through them we do not
reach that love, which is the giver.  To do that, we must have
love in our own heart.  He who has no love in him values the
gifts of his lover only according to their usefulness.  But
utility is temporary and partial.  It can never occupy our whole
being; what is useful only touches us at the point where we have
some want.  When the want is satisfied, utility becomes a burden
if it still persists.  On the other hand, a mere token is of
permanent worth to us when we have love in our heart.  For it is
not for any special use.  It is an end in itself; it is for our
whole being and therefore can never tire us.

The question is, In what manner do we accept this world, which is
a perfect gift of joy?  Have we been able to receive it in our
heart where we keep enshrined things that are of deathless value
to us?  We are frantically busy making use of the forces of the
universe to gain more and more power; we feed and we clothe
ourselves from its stores, we scramble for its riches, and it
becomes for us a field of fierce competition.  But were we born
for this, to extend our proprietary rights over this world and
make of it a marketable commodity?  When our whole mind is bent
only upon making use of this world it loses for us its true
value.  We make it cheap by our sordid desires; and thus to the
end of our days we only try to feed upon it and miss its truth,
just like the greedy child who tears leaves from a precious book
and tries to swallow them.

In the lands where cannibalism is prevalent man looks upon man as
his food.  In such a country civilisation can never thrive, for
there man loses his higher value and is made common indeed.  But
there are other kinds of cannibalism, perhaps not so gross, but
not less heinous, for which one need not travel far.  In
countries higher in the scale of civilisation we find sometimes
man looked upon as a mere body, and he is bought and sold in the
market by the price of his flesh only.  And sometimes he gets his
sole value from being useful; he is made into a machine, and is
traded upon by the man of money to acquire for him more money.
Thus our lust, our greed, our love of comfort result in
cheapening man to his lowest value.  It is self deception on a
large scale.  Our desires blind us to the truth that there is
in man, and this is the greatest wrong done by ourselves to our
own soul.  It deadens our consciousness, and is but a gradual
method of spiritual suicide.  It produces ugly sores in the body
of civilisation, gives rise to its hovels and brothels, its
vindictive penal codes, its cruel prison systems, its organised
method of exploiting foreign races to the extent of permanently
injuring them by depriving them of the discipline of self-
government and means of self-defence.

Of course man is useful to man, because his body is a marvellous
machine and his mind an organ of wonderful efficiency.  But he is
a spirit as well, and this spirit is truly known only by love.
When we define a man by the market value of the service we can
expect of him, we know him imperfectly.  With this limited
knowledge of him it becomes easy for us to be unjust to him and
to entertain feelings of triumphant self-congratulation when, on
account of some cruel advantage on our side, we can get out of
him much more than we have paid for.  But when we know him as a
spirit we know him as our own.  We at once feel that cruelty to
him is cruelty to ourselves, to make him small is stealing from
our own humanity, and in seeking to make use of him solely for
personal profit we merely gain in money or comfort what we pay in

One day I was out in a boat on the Ganges.  It was a beautiful
evening in autumn.  The sun had just set; the silence of the sky
was full to the brim with ineffable peace and beauty.  The vast
expanse of water was without a ripple, mirroring all the changing
shades of the sunset glow.  Miles and miles of a desolate
sandbank lay like a huge amphibious reptile of some antediluvian
age, with its scales glistening in shining colours.  As our boat
was silently gliding by the precipitous river-bank, riddled with
the nest-holes of a colony of birds, suddenly a big fish leapt up
to the surface of the water and then disappeared, displaying on
its vanishing figure all the colours of the evening sky.  It drew
aside for a moment the many-coloured screen behind which there
was a silent world full of the joy of life.  It came up from the
depths of its mysterious dwelling with a beautiful dancing motion
and added its own music to the silent symphony of the dying day.
I felt as if I had a friendly greeting from an alien world in its
own language, and it touched my heart with a flash of gladness.
Then suddenly the man at the helm exclaimed with a distinct note
of regret, "Ah, what a big fish!"  It at once brought before his
vision the picture of the fish caught and made ready for his
supper.  He could only look at the fish through his desire, and
thus missed the whole truth of its existence.

But man is not entirely an animal.  He aspires to a spiritual vision, which is
the vision of the whole truth.  This gives him the highest
delight, because it reveals to him the deepest harmony that
exists between him and his surroundings.  It is our desires that
limit the scope of our self-realisation, hinder our extension of
consciousness, and give rise to sin, which is the innermost
barrier that keeps us apart from our God, setting up disunion and
the arrogance of exclusiveness.  For sin is not one mere action,
but it is an attitude of life which takes for granted that our
goal is finite, that our self is the ultimate truth, and that we
are not all essentially one but exist each for his own separate
individual existence.

So I repeat we never can have a true view of man unless we have a
love for him.  Civilisation must be judged and prized, not by the
amount of power it has developed, but by how much it has evolved
and given expression to, by its laws and institutions, the love
of humanity.  The first question and the last which it has to
answer is, Whether and how far it recognises man more as a spirit
than a machine?  Whenever some ancient civilisation fell into
decay and died, it was owing to causes which produced callousness
of heart and led to the cheapening of man's worth; when either
the state or some powerful group of men began to look upon the
people as a mere instrument of their power; when, by compelling
weaker races to slavery and trying to keep them down by every
means, man struck at the foundation of his greatness, his own
love of freedom and fair-play.  Civilisation can never sustain
itself upon cannibalism of any form.  For that by which alone man
is true can only be nourished by love and justice.

As with man, so with this universe.  When we look at the world
through the veil of our desires we make it small and narrow, and
fail to perceive its full truth.  Of course it is obvious that
the world serves us and fulfils our needs, but our relation to it
does not end there.  We are bound to it with a deeper and truer
bond than that of necessity.  Our soul is drawn to it; our love
of life is really our wish to continue our relation with this
great world.  This relation is one of love.  We are glad that we
are in it; we are attached to it with numberless threads, which
extend from this earth to the stars.  Man foolishly tries to
prove his superiority by imagining his radical separateness from
what he calls his physical world, which, in his blind fanaticism,
he sometimes goes to the extent of ignoring altogether, holding
it at his direst enemy.  Yet the more his knowledge progresses,
the more it becomes difficult for man to establish this
separateness, and all the imaginary boundaries he had set up
around himself vanish one after another.  Every time we lose some
of our badges of absolute distinction by which we conferred upon
our humanity the right to hold itself apart from its surroundings,
it gives us a shock of humiliation.  But we have to submit to
this.  If we set up our pride on the path of our self-realisation
to create divisions and disunion, then it must sooner or later
come under the wheels of truth and be ground to dust.  No, we are
not burdened with some monstrous superiority, unmeaning in its
singular abruptness.  It would be utterly degrading for us to
live in a world immeasurably less than ourselves in the quality of
soul, just as it would be repulsive and degrading to be surrounded
and served by a host of slaves, day and night, from birth to the
moment of death.  On the contrary, this world is our compeer, nay,
we are one with it.

Through our progress in science the wholeness of the world and
our oneness with it is becoming clearer to our mind.  When this
perception of the perfection of unity is not merely intellectual,
when it opens out our whole being into a luminous consciousness
of the all, then it becomes a radiant joy, an overspreading love.
Our spirit finds its larger self in the whole world, and is
filled with an absolute certainty that it is immortal.  It dies a
hundred times in its enclosures of self; for separateness is
doomed to die, it cannot be made eternal.  But it never can die
where it is one with the all, for there is its truth, its joy.
When a man feels the rhythmic throb of the soul-life of the whole
world in his own soul, then is he free.  Then he enters into the
secret courting that goes on between this beautiful world-bride,
veiled with the veil of the many-coloured finiteness, and the
paramatmam, the bridegroom, in his spotless white.  Then he
knows that he is the partaker of this gorgeous love festival, and
he is the honoured guest at the feast of immortality.  Then he
understands the meaning of the seer-poet who sings, "From love the
world is born, by love it is sustained, towards love it moves, and
into love it enters."

In love all the contradictions of existence merge themselves and
are lost.  Only in love are unity and duality not at variance.
Love must be one and two at the same time.

Only love is motion and rest in one.  Our heart ever changes its
place till it finds love, and then it has its rest.  But this
rest itself is an intense form of activity where utter quiescence
and unceasing energy meet at the same point in love.

In love, loss and gain are harmonised.  In its balance-sheet,
credit and debit accounts are in the same column, and gifts are
added to gains.  In this wonderful festival of creation, this
great ceremony of self-sacrifice of God, the lover constantly
gives himself up to gain himself in love.  Indeed, love is what
brings together and inseparably connects both the act of
abandoning and that of receiving.

In love, at one of its poles you find the personal, and at the
other the impersonal.  At one you have the positive assertion--
Here I am; at the other the equally strong denial--I am not.
Without this ego what is love?  And again, with only this ego how
can love be possible?

Bondage and liberation are not antagonistic in love.  For love is
most free and at the same time most bound.  If God were
absolutely free there would be no creation.  The infinite being
has assumed unto himself the mystery of finitude.  And in him who
is love the finite and the infinite are made one.

Similarly, when we talk about the relative values of freedom and
non-freedom, it becomes a mere play of words.  It is not that we
desire freedom alone, we want thraldom as well.  It is the high
function of love to welcome all limitations and to transcend
them.  For nothing is more independent than love, and where else,
again, shall we find so much of dependence?  In love, thraldom is
as glorious as freedom.

The Vaishnava religion has boldly declared that God has bound
himself to man, and in that consists the greatest glory of human
existence.  In the spell of the wonderful rhythm of the finite he
fetters himself at every step, and thus gives his love out in
music in his most perfect lyrics of beauty.  Beauty is his wooing
of our heart; it can have no other purpose.  It tells us
everywhere that the display of power is not the ultimate meaning
of creation; wherever there is a bit of colour, a note of song, a
grace of form, there comes the call for our love.  Hunger compels
us to obey its behests, but hunger is not the last word for a man.
There have been men who have deliberately defied its commands to
show that the human soul is not to be led by the pressure of wants
and threat of pain.  In fact, to live the life of man we have to
resist its demands every day, the least of us as well as the
greatest.  But, on the other hand, there is a beauty in the world
which never insults our freedom, never raises even its little
finger to make us acknowledge its sovereignty.  We can absolutely
ignore it and suffer no penalty in consequence.  It is a call to
us, but not a command.  It seeks for love in us, and love can
never be had by compulsion.  Compulsion is not indeed the final
appeal to man, but joy is.  Any joy is everywhere; it is in the
earth's green covering of grass; in the blue serenity of the sky;
in the reckless exuberance of spring; in the severe abstinence of
grey winter; in the living flesh that animates our bodily frame;
in the perfect poise of the human figure, noble and upright; in
living; in the exercise of all our powers; in the acquisition of
knowledge; in fighting evils; in dying for gains we never can
share.  Joy is there everywhere; it is superfluous, unnecessary;
nay, it very often contradicts the most peremptory behests of
necessity.  It exists to show that the bonds of law can only be
explained by love; they are like body and soul.  Joy is the
realisation of the truth of oneness, the oneness of our soul with
the world and of the world-soul with the supreme lover.

Realisation in Love
Sadhana -The Realisation of Life
By  Rabindranath Tagore
Realisation in Love
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