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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Lessons in Gnani and Raja Yoga
The Yoga of Wisdom

by Yogi Ramacharaka


One of the things that repel many persons who have had their attention
directed to the subject of Metempsychosis for the first time, is the
idea that they have evolved as a soul from individual lowly forms,
for instance that they have at one time been an individual plant, and
then an individual animal form, and then an individual higher animal
form, and so on until now they are the particular individual human form
contemplating the subject. This idea, which has been taught by many
teachers, is repellent to the average mind, for obvious reasons, and
naturally so, for it has no foundation in truth.

While this lesson is principally concerned with the subject of the
Spiritual Evolution of the human soul, since it became a human soul,
still it may be as well to mention the previous phase of evolution,
briefly, in order to prevent misconception, and to dispel previously
acquired error.

The atom, although it possesses life and a certain degree of mind, and
acts as an individual temporarily, has no permanent individuality that
reincarnates. When the atom is evolved it becomes a centre of energy in
the great atomic principle, and when it is finally dissolved it
resolves itself back into its original state, and its life as an
individual atom ceases, although the experience it has gained becomes
the property of the entire principle. It is as if a body of water were
to be resolved into millions of tiny dew-drops for a time, and each
dew-drop was then to acquire certain outside material in solution. In
that case, each dew-drop when it again returned to the body of water,
would carry with it its foreign material, which would become the
property of the whole. And subsequently formed dew-drops would carry in
their substance a particle of the foreign matter brought back home by
the previous generation of dewdrops, and would thus be a little
different from their predecessors. And this process, continuing for
many generations of dew-drops, would ultimately cause the greatest
changes in the composition of the successive generations.

This, in short, is the story of the change and improving forms of life.
From the atoms into the elements; from the lower elements into those
forming protoplasm; from the protoplasm to the lower forms of animal
life; from these lower forms on to higher forms--this is the story. But
it is all a counterpart of the dew-drop and the body of water, until
the human soul is evolved.

The plants and the lower forms of animal life are not permanent
individual souls, but each family is a group-soul corresponding to
the body of water from which the dew-drop arose. From these family
group-souls gradually break off minor groups, representing species, and
so on into sub-species. At last when the forms reach the plane of man,
the group-soul breaks itself up into permanent individual souls, and
true Metempsychosis begins. That is, each individual human soul
becomes a permanent individual entity, destined to evolve and perfect
itself along the lines of spiritual evolution.

And from this point begins our story of Spiritual Evolution.

The story of Man, the Individual, begins amidst humble surroundings.
Primitive man, but little above the level of the lower animals in point
of intelligence, has nevertheless that distinguishing mark of
Individuality--"Self-Consciousness," which is the demarkation between
Beast and Man. And even the lowest of the lowest races had at least a
"trace" of this Self-Consciousness, which made of them individuals, and
caused the fragment of the race-soul to separate itself from the
general principle animating the race, and to fasten its "I" conscious
upon itself, rather than upon the underlying race-soul, along
instinctive lines. Do you know just what this Self-Consciousness is,
and how it differs from the Physical Consciousness of the lower
animals? Perhaps we had better pause a moment to consider it at this

The lower animals are of course conscious of the bodies, and their
wants, feelings, emotions, desires, etc., and their actions are in
response to the animating impulses coming from this plane of
consciousness. But it stops there. They "know," but they do not "know
that they know"; that is, they have not yet arrived at a state in which
they can think of themselves as "I," and to reason upon their thoughts
and mental operations. It is like the consciousness of a very young
child, which feels and knows its sensations and wants, but is unable to
think of itself as "I," and to turn the mental gaze inward. In another
book of these series we have used the illustration of the horse which
has been left standing out in the cold sleet and rain, and which
undoubtedly feels and knows the unpleasant sensations arising
therefrom, and longs to get away from the unpleasant environment. But,
still, he is unable to analyze his mental states and wonder whether his
master will come out to him soon, or think how cruel it is to keep him
out of his warm comfortable stable; or wonder whether he will be taken
out in the cold rain again tomorrow; or feel envious of other horses
who are indoors; or wonder why he is kept out cold nights, etc., etc.
In short, the horse is unable to think as would a reasoning man under
just the same circumstances. He is aware of the discomfort, just as
would be the man; and he would run away home, if he were able, just as
would the man. But he is not able to pity himself, nor to think about
his personality, as would a man--he is not able to wonder whether life
is worth the living, etc., as would a man. He "knows" but is not able
to reflect upon the "knowing."

In the above illustration, the principal point is that the horse does
not "know himself" as an entity, while even the most primitive man is
able to so recognize himself as an "I." If the horse were able to think
in words, he would think "feel," "cold," "hurt," etc., but he would be
unable to think "I feel; I am cold; I am hurt," etc. The thought
"I" would be missing.

It is true that the "I" consciousness of the primitive man was slight,
and was but a degree above the Physical Consciousness of the higher
apes, but nevertheless it had sprung into being, never again to be
lost. The primitive man was like a child a few years old--he was able
to say "I," and to think "I." He had become an individual soul.

And this individual soul inhabited and animated a body but little
removed from that of an ape. But this new consciousness began to mould
that rude body and the ascent was begun. Each generation showed a
physical improvement over that of the preceding one, according to the
lines of physical evolution, and as the developing soul demanded more
perfect and developed bodies the bodies were evolved to meet the
demand, for the mental demand has ever been the cause of the physical

The soul of the primitive man reincarnated almost immediately after the
death of the physical body, because the experiences gained were mostly
along the lines of the physical, the mental planes being scarcely
brought into play, while the higher and spiritual faculties were almost
entirely obscured from sight. Life after life the soul of the primitive
man lived out in rapid succession. But in each new embodiment there was
a slight advance over that of the previous one. Experience, or rather
the result of experiences, were carried over, and profited by. New
lessons were learned and unlearned, improved upon or discarded. And the
race grew and unfolded.

After a time the number of advancing souls which had outstripped their
fellows in progress became sufficiently large for sub-races to be
formed, and so the branching off process began. In this way the various
races and types were formed, and the progress of Mankind gained
headway. At this point we may as well consider the history of the Races
of Mankind, that we may see how the great tide-wave of Soul has ever
pressed onward, marking higher and still higher stages of progress, and
also how the various minor waves of the great wave pushed in and then
receded, only to be followed by still higher waves. The story is most

The Yogi Teachings inform us that the Grand Cycle of Man's Life on the
Earth is composed of Seven Cycles, of which we are now living in the
third-seventh part of the Fifth Cycle. These Cycles may be spoken of as
the Great Earth Periods, separated from each other by some great
natural cataclysm which destroyed the works of the previous races of
men, and which started afresh the progress called "civilization,"
which, as all students know, manifests a rise and fall like unto that
of the tides.

Man in the First Cycle emerged from a gross animal-like state into a
condition somewhat advanced. It was a slow progress, but nevertheless a
distinct series of advances were made by the more progressive souls who
passed over on to the Second Cycle, embodying themselves as the ruling
races in the same, their less progressive brothers incarnating in the
lower tribes of the Second Cycle. It must be remembered that the souls
which do not advance during a Cycle reincarnate in the next Cycle among
the lower races. So that even in this Fifth Cycle we have remnants of
the previous cycles, the lives of the members of which give us an idea
of what life in the earlier cycles must have been.

The Yogi Teachings give us but little information regarding the people
of the First and Second Cycles, because of the low state of these ages.
The tale, if told, would be the story of the Cave-dweller, and
Stone-age people; the Fire-peoples, and all the rest of savage,
barbarian crew; there was but little trace of anything like that which
we call "civilization," although in the latter periods of the Second
Cycle the foundations for the coming civilizations were firmly laid.

After the cataclysm which destroyed the works of Man of the Second
Cycle, and left the survivors scattered or disorganized, awaiting the
touch of the organizing urge which followed shortly afterward, there
dawned the first period of the Third Cycle. The scene of the life of
the Third Cycle was laid in what is known to Occultists as Lemuria.
Lemuria was a mighty continent situated in what is now known as the
Pacific Ocean, and parts of the Indian Ocean. It included Australia,
Australasia, and other portions of the Pacific islands, which are in
fact surviving portions of the great continent of Lemuria, its highest
points, the lower portion having sunk beneath the seas ages and ages

Life in Lemuria is described as being principally concerned with the
physical senses, and sensual enjoyment, only a few developed souls
having broken through the fetters of materiality and reached the
beginnings of the mental and spiritual planes of life. Some few indeed
made great progress and were saved from the general wreck, in order to
become the leaven which would lighten the mass of mankind during the
next Cycle. These developed souls were the teachers of the new races,
and were looked upon by the latter as gods and supernatural beings, and
legends and traditions concerning them are still existent among the
ancient peoples of our present day. Many of the myths of the ancient
peoples arose in this way.

The Yogi traditions hold that just prior to the great cataclysm which
destroyed the races of the Second Cycle, there was a body of the Chosen
Ones which migrated from Lemuria to certain islands of the sea which
are now part of the main land of India. These people formed the nucleus
of the Occult Teachings of the Lemurians, and developed into the Fount
of Truth which has been flowing ever since throughout the successive
periods and cycles.

When Lemuria passed away, there arose from the depths of the ocean the
continent which was to be the scene of the life and civilization of the
Fourth Cycle--the continent of Atlantis. Atlantis was situated in a
portion of what is now known as the Atlantic Ocean, beginning at what
is now known as the Caribbean Sea and extending over to the region of
what is now known as Africa. What are now known as Cuba and the West
Indies were among the highest points of the continent, and now stand
like monuments to its departed greatness.

The civilization of Atlantis was remarkable, and its people attained
heights which seem almost incredible to even those who are familiar
with the highest achievements of man in our own times. The Chosen Ones
preserved from the cataclysm which destroyed Lemuria, and who lived to
a remarkably old age, had stored up within their minds the wisdom and
learning of the races that had been destroyed, and they thus gave the
Atlanteans an enormous starting-advantage. They soon attained great
advancement along all the lines of human endeavor. They perfected
mechanical inventions and appliances, reaching far ahead of even our
present attainments. In the field of electricity especially they
reached the stages that our present races will reach in about two or
three hundred years from now. Along the lines of Occult Attainment
their progress was far beyond the dreams of the average man of our own
race, and in fact from this arose one of the causes of their downfall,
for they prostituted the power to base and selfish uses, and Black

And, so the decline of Atlantis began. But the end did not come at
once, or suddenly, but gradually. The continent, and its surrounding
islands gradually sank beneath the waves of the Atlantic Ocean, the
process occupying over 10,000 years. The Greeks and Romans of our own
Cycle had traditions regarding the sinking of the continent, but their
knowledge referred only to the disappearance of the small
remainder--certain islands--the continent itself having disappeared
thousands of years before their time. It is recorded that the Egyptian
priests had traditions that the continent itself had disappeared nine
thousand years before their time. As was the case with the Chosen Ones
of Lemuria, so was it with the Elect of Atlantis, who were taken away
from the doomed land some time prior to its destruction. The few
advanced people left their homes and migrated to portions of what are
now South America and Central America, but which were then islands of
the sea. These people have left their traces of their civilization and
works, which our antiquaries are discovering to-day.

When the Fifth Cycle dawned (our own cycle, remember) these brave and
advanced souls acted as the race-teachers and became as "gods" to those
who came afterward. The races were very prolific, and multiplied very
rapidly under the most favorable conditions. The souls of the
Atlanteans were pressing forward for embodiment, and human forms were
born to supply the demand. And now begins the history of our own
Cycle--the Fifth Cycle.

But before we begin a consideration of the Fifth Cycle, let us consider
for a moment a few points about the laws operating to cause these great

In the first place, each Cycle has a different theatre for its work and
action. The continent of Lemuria was not in existence during the Second
Cycle, and arose from the ocean bed only when its appointed time came.
And, likewise the continent of Atlantis reposed beneath the waves while
the Lemurian races manifested during the Third Cycle, rising by means
of a convulsion of the earth's surface to play its part during its own
period--the Fourth Cycle--only to sink again beneath the waves to make
way for the birth of the Fifth Cycle with its races. By means of these
cataclysms the races of each Cycle were wiped out when the time came,
the few Elect or Chosen ones, that is those who have manifested the
right to live on, being carried away to some favorable environment
where they became as leaven to the mass--as "gods" to the new races
that quickly appear.

It must be remembered, however, that these Chosen Ones are not the only
ones saved from the destruction that overtakes the majority of the
race. On the contrary a few survivors are preserved, although driven
away from their former homes, and reduced to "first principles of
living" in order to become the parents of the new races. The new races
springing from the fittest of these survivors quickly form sub-races,
being composed of the better adapted souls seeking reincarnation, while
the less fit sink into barbarism, and show evidences of decay, although
a remnant drags on for thousands of years, being composed of the souls
of those who have not advanced sufficiently to take a part in the life
of the new races. These "left-overs" are in evidence in our own times
in the cases of the Australian savages, and some of the African tribes,
as well as among the Digger Indians and others of similar grade of

In order to understand the advance of each race it must be remembered
that the more advanced souls, after passing out of the body, have a
much longer period of rest in the higher planes, and consequently do
not present themselves for reincarnation until a period quite late when
compared with the hasty reincarnation of the less advanced souls who
are hurried back to rebirth by reason of the strong earthly attachments
and desires. In this way it happens that the earlier races of each
Cycle are more primitive folk than those who follow them as the years
roll by. The soul of an earth-bound person reincarnates in a few years,
and sometimes in a few days, while the soul of an advanced man may
repose and rest on the higher planes for centuries--nay, even for
thousands of years, until the earth has reached a stage in which the
appropriate environment may be afforded it.

Observers, unconnected with Occultism, have noted certain laws which
seem to regulate the rise and fall of nations--the procession of ruling
races. They do not understand the law of Metempsychosis that alone
gives the key to the problem, but nevertheless they have not failed to
record the existence of the laws themselves. In order to show that
these laws are recognized by persons who are not at all influenced by
the Occult Teachings, we take the liberty of quoting from Draper's
"History of the Intellectual Development of Europe."

Dr. Draper writes as follows: "We are, as we often say, the creatures
of circumstances. In that expression there is a higher philosophy than
might at first appear. From this more accurate point of view we should
therefore consider the course of these events, recognizing the
principle that the affairs of men pass forward in a determinate way,
expanding and unfolding themselves. And hence we see that the things of
which we have spoken as if they were matters of choice, were in reality
forced upon their apparent authors by the necessity of the times. But
in truth they should be considered as the presentation of a certain
phase of life which nations in their onward course sooner or later
assume. To the individual, how well we know that a sober moderation of
action, an appropriate gravity of demeanor, belonging to the mature
period of life, change from the wanton willfulness of youth, which may
be ushered in, or its beginnings marked by many accidental incidents;
in one perhaps by domestic bereavements, in another by the loss of
fortune, in a third by ill-health. We are correct enough in imputing to
such trials the change of character; but we never deceive ourselves by
supposing that it would have failed to take place had these incidents
not occurred. There runs an irresistible destiny in the midst of these
vicissitudes. There are analogies between the life of a nation, and
that of an individual, who, though he may be in one respect the maker
of his own fortunes, for happiness or for misery, for good or for evil,
though he remains here or goes there as his inclinations prompt, though
he does this or abstains from that as he chooses, is nevertheless held
fast by an inexorable fate--a fate which brought him into the world
involuntarily, so far as he was concerned, which presses him forward
through a definite career, the stages of which are absolutely
invariable,--infancy, childhood, youth, maturity, old age, with all
their characteristic actions and passions,--and which removes him from
the scene at the appointed time, in most cases against his will. So
also is it with nations; the voluntary is only the outward semblance,
covering but hardly hiding the predetermined. Over the events of life
we may have control, but none whatever over the law of its progress.
There is a geometry that applies to nations an equation of their curve
of advance. That no mortal man can touch."

This remarkable passage, just quoted, shows how the close observers of
history note the rise and fall of the tides of human race progress,
although ignorant of the real underlying causing energy or force. A
study of the Occult Teachings alone gives one the hidden secret of
human actions and throws the bright light of Truth upon the dark
corners of phenomena.

At the beginning of the Fifth Cycle (which is the present one), there
were not only the beginnings of the new races which always spring up at
the beginning of each new cycle and which are the foundations for the
coming races which take advantage of the fresh conditions and
opportunities for growth and development--but there were also the
descendants of the Elect Saved from the destruction of Atlantis by
having been led away and colonized far from the scene of danger. The
new races were the descendant of the scattered survivors of the
Atlantean peoples, that is, the common run of people of the time. But
the Elect few were very superior people, and imparted to their
descendants their knowledge and wisdom. So that we see at the beginning
of the Fifth Cycle hordes of new, primitive people in certain lands,
and in other places advanced nations like the ancestors of the Ancient
Egyptians, Persians, Chaldeans, Hindus, etc.

These advanced races were old souls--advanced souls--the progressed and
developed souls of Ancient Lemuria and Atlantis, who lived their lives
and who are now either on higher planes of life, or else are among us
to-day taking a leading part in the world's affairs, striving mightily
to save the present races from the misfortunes which overtook their

The descendants of the people were the Assyrians and Babylonians. In
due time the primitive new races developed and the great Roman,
Grecian, and Carthaginian peoples appeared. Then came the rise of other
peoples and nations down to the present time. Each race or nation has
its rise, its height of attainment, and its decline. When a nation
begins to decline it is because its more advanced souls have passed on,
and only the less progressive souls are left. The history of all
nations show the truth of the Occult the term. Men are forsaking old
ideals, creeds and dogmas, and are running hither and thither seeking
something they feel to be necessary, but of the nature of which they
know nothing. They are feeling the hunger for Peace--the thirst for
Knowledge--and they are seeking satisfaction in all directions.

This is not only the inevitable working of the Law of Evolution, but is
also a manifestation of the power and love of the great souls that have
passed on to higher planes of existence, and who have become as angels
and arch-angels. These beings are filled with the love of the race, and
are setting into motion influences that are being manifest in many
directions, the tendency of which are to bring the race to a
realization of its higher power, faculties, and destiny.

As we have said in other places, one of the greatest difficulties in
the way of the seeker after Truth in his consideration of the question
of Spiritual Evolution is the feeling that rebirth is being forced upon
him, without any say on his part, and against his desires. But this is
far from being correct. It is true that the whole process is according
to the Great Law, but that Law operates through the force of Desire and
Attraction. The soul is attracted toward rebirth by reason of its
desire or rather the essence of its desires. It is reborn only because
it has within itself the desire for further experience, and opportunity
for unfoldment. And it is reborn into certain environments solely
because it has within itself unsatisfied desires for those
environments, etc. The process is just as regular and scientific as is
the attraction of one atom of matter for another.

Each soul has within itself certain elements of desire and attraction,
and it attracts to itself certain conditions and experiences, and is in
turn attracted by these things. This is the law of life, in the body
and out of it. And there is no injustice in the law it is the essence
of justice itself, for it gives to each just what is required to fill
the indwelling desires, or else the conditions and experiences designed
to burn out the desires which are holding one back, and the destruction
of which will make possible future advancement.

For instance, if one is bound by the inordinate desire for material
wealth, the Law of Karma will attract him to a rebirth in conditions in
which he will be surrounded by wealth and luxury until he becomes
sickened with them and will find his heart filled with the desire to
flee from them and toward higher and more satisfying things. Of course
the Law of Karma acts in other ways, as we shall see in our next
lesson--it deals with one's debts and obligations, also. The Law of
Karma is closely connected with Metempsychosis, and one must be
considered in connection with the other, always.

Not only is it true that man's rebirths are in strict accordance with
the law of Attraction and Desire, but it is also true that after he
attains a certain stage of spiritual unfoldment he enters into the
conscious stage of rebirth, and thereafter he is reborn consciously and
with full foreknowledge. Many are now entering into this stage of
development, and have a partial consciousness of their past lives,
which also implies that they have had at least a partial consciousness
of approaching rebirth, for the two phases of consciousness run

Those individuals of a race who have outstripped their fellows in
spiritual unfoldment, are still bound by the Karma of the particular
race to which they belong, up to a certain point. And as the entire
race, or at least a large proportion of it, must move forward as a
whole, such individuals must needs wait also. But they are not
compelled to suffer a tiresome round of continued rebirths amid
environments and conditions which they have outgrown. On the contrary,
the advanced individual soul is allowed to wait until the race reaches
its own stage of advancement, when it again joins in the upward
movement, in full consciousness, however. In the interim he may pass
his well earned rest either on some of the higher planes of rest, or
else in conscious temporary sojourn in other material spheres helping
in the great work as a Teacher and worker for Good and Spiritual
Evolution among those who need such help. In fact there are in the
world to-day, individual souls which have reached similar stages on
other planets, and who are spending their rest period here amidst the
comparatively lower Earth conditions, striving to lift up the Earth
souls to greater heights.

So long as people allow themselves to become attached to material
objects, so long will they be reborn in conditions in which these
objects bind them fast. It is only when the soul frees itself from
these entangling obstructions that it is born in conditions of freedom.
Some outgrow these material attachments by right thinking and
reasoning, while others seem to be compelled to live them out, and thus
outlive them, before they are free. At last when the soul realizes that
these things are merely incidents of the lower personality, and have
naught to do with the real individuality, then, and then only, do they
fall from it like a wornout cloak, and are left behind while it bounds
forward on The Path fresh from the lighter weight being carried.

The Yogi Philosophy teaches that Man will live forever, ascending from
higher to higher planes, and then on and on and on. Death is but the
physical symbol of a period of Soul Rest, similar to sleep of the tired
body, and is just as much to be welcomed and greeted with thanks. Life
is continuous, and its object is development, unfoldment and growth. We
are in Eternity now as much as we ever shall be. Our souls may exist
out of the body as well as in it, although bodily incarnation is
necessary at this stage of our development. As we progress on to higher
planes of life, we shall incarnate in bodies far more ethereal than
those now used by us, just as in the past we used bodies almost
incredibly grosser and coarser than those we call our own to-day. Life
is far more than a thing of three-score and ten years--it is really a
succession of such lives, on an ascending scale, that which we call our
personal self to-day being merely the essence of the experiences of
countless lives in the past.

The Soul is working steadily upward, from higher to higher, from gross
to finer forms and manifestations. And it will steadily work for ages
to come, always progressing, always advancing, always unfolding. The
Universe contains many worlds for the Soul to inhabit, and then after
it has passed on to other Universes, there will still be Infinitude
before it. The destiny of the Soul of Man is of wondrous promise and
possibilities--the mind to-day cannot begin to even dream of what is
before the Soul. Those who have already advanced many steps beyond
you--those Elder Brethren--are constantly extending to you aid in many
directions. They are extending to you the Unseen Hand, which lifts you
over many a hard place and dangerous crossing--but you recognize it not
except in a vague way. There are now in existence, on planes infinitely
higher than your own, intelligences of transcendent glory and
magnificence--but they were once Men even as you are to-day. They have
so far progressed upon the Path that they have become as angels and
archangels when compared with you. And, blessed thought, even as these
exalted ones were once even as you, so shall you, in due course of
Spiritual Evolution, become even as these mighty ones.

The Yogi Philosophy teaches that You who are reading these lines have
lived many lives previous to the present one. You have lived in the
lower forms, and have worked your way arduously along the Path until
now you are reaching the stage of Spiritual Consciousness in which the
past and future will begin to appear plain to you for the first time.
You have lived as the cave-man--the cliff-dweller--the savage--the
barbarian. You have been the warrior--the priest--the Medieval scholar
and occultist--the prince--the pauper. You have lived in Lemuria--in
Atlantis--in India--in Persia--in Egypt--in ancient Rome and
Greece--and are now playing your part in the Western civilization,
associating with many with whom you have had relations in your past

In closing this lesson, let us quote from a previous writing from the
same pen that writes this lesson:

"Toward what goal is all this Spiritual Evolution tending? What does it
all mean? From the low planes of life to the highest--all are on The
Path. To what state or place does The Path lead? Let us attempt to
answer by asking you to imagine a series of millions of circles, one
within the other. Each circle means a stage of Life. The outer circles
are filled with life in its lowest and most material stages--each
circle nearer the Centre holds higher and higher forms--until Men (or
what were once Men) become as gods. Still on, and on, and on. does the
form of life grow higher, until the human mind cannot grasp the idea.
But what is the Centre? The MIND of the entire Spiritual Body--the
ABSOLUTE! And we are traveling toward that Centre!"

And again from the same source:

"But beyond your plane, and beyond mine, are plane after plane,
connected with our earth, the splendors of which man cannot conceive.
And there are likewise many planes around the other planets of our
chain--and there are millions of other worlds--and there are chains of
universes just as there are chains of planets--and then greater groups
of these chains--and so on greater and grander beyond the power of man
to imagine--on and on and on and on--higher and higher--to
inconceivable heights. An infinity of infinities of worlds are before
us. Our world and our planetary system and our system of suns, and our
system of solar systems, are but as grains of sand on the beach of the
mighty ocean. But then you cry, 'But what am I--poor mortal thing--lost
among all this inconceivable greatness?' The answer comes that You are
that most precious thing--a living soul. And if you were destroyed the
whole system of universes would crumble, for you are as necessary as
the greatest part of it--it cannot do without you--you cannot be lost
or destroyed--you are a part of it all, and are eternal. 'But,' you
ask, 'beyond all of this of which you have told me, what is there--what
is the Centre of it All?' Your Teacher's face takes on a rapt
expression--a light not of earth beams forth from his countenance.
'THE ABSOLUTE!' he replies.

Lessons in Gnani and Raja Yoga
The Yoga of Wisdom

by Yogi Ramacharaka