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


In our first lesson of this series, we stated that among the other
qualities and attributes that we were compelled, by the laws of our
reason, to think that the Absolute possessed, was that of Omnipotence
or All-Power. In other words we are compelled to think of the One as
being the source and fount of all the Power there is, ever has been, or
ever can be in the Universe. Not only, as is generally supposed, that
the Power of the One is greater than any other Power,--but more than
this, that there can be no other power, and that, therefore, each and
every, any and all manifestations or forms of Power, Force or Energy
must be a part of the great one Energy which emanates from the One.

There is no escape from this conclusion, as startling as it may appear
to the mind unaccustomed to it. If there is any power not from and of
the One, from whence comes such power, for there is nothing else
outside of the One? Who or what exists outside of the One that can
manifest even the faintest degree of power of any kind? All power must
come from the Absolute, and must in its nature be but one.

Modern Science has recognized this truth, and one of its fundamental
principles is the Unity of Energy--the theory that all forms of Energy
are, at the last, One. Science holds that all forms of Energy are
interchangeable, and from this idea comes the theory of the
Conservation of Energy or Correlation of Force.

Science teaches that every manifestation of energy, power, or force,
from the operation of the law of gravitation, up to the highest form of
mental force is but the operation of the One Energy of the Universe.

Just what this Energy is, in its inner nature, Science does not know.
It has many theories, but does not advance any of them as a law. It
speaks of the Infinite and Eternal Energy from which all things
proceed, but pronounces its nature to be unknowable. But some of the
latter-day scientists are veering around to the teachings of the
occultists, and are now hinting that it is something more than a mere
mechanical energy. They are speaking of it in terms of mind. Wundt, the
German scientist, whose school of thought is called voluntarism,
considers the motive-force of Energy to be something that may be called
Will. Crusius, as far back as 1744 said: "Will is the dominating force
of the world." And Schopenhauer based his fascinating but gloomy
philosophy and metaphysics upon the underlying principle of an active
form of energy which he called the Will-to-Live, which he considered to
be the Thing-in-Itself, or the Absolute. Balzac, the novelist,
considered a something akin to Will, to be the moving force of the
Universe. Bulwer advanced a similar theory, and made mention of it in
several of his novels

This idea of an active, creative Will, at work in the Universe,
building up; tearing down; replacing; repairing; changing--always at
work--ever active--has been entertained by numerous philosophers and
thinkers, under different names and styles. Some, like Schopenhauer
have thought of this Will as the final thing--that which took the place
of God--the First Cause. But others have seen in this Will an active
living principle emanating from the Absolute or God, and working in
accordance with the laws impressed by Him upon it. In various forms,
this latter idea is seen all through the history of philosophical
thought. Cudsworth, the English philosopher, evolved the idea of a
something called the "Plastic Nature," which so closely approaches the
Yogi idea of the Creative Will, that we feel justified in quoting a
passage from his book. He says:

"It seems not so agreeable to reason that Nature, as a distinct thing
from the Deity, should be quite superseded or made to signify nothing,
God Himself doing all things immediately and miraculously; from whence
it would follow also that they are all done either forcibly and
violently, or else artificially only, and none of them by any inward
principle of their own.

"This opinion is further confuted by that slow and gradual process that
in the generation of things, which would seem to be but a vain and idle
pomp or a trifling formality if the moving power were omnipotent; as
also by those errors and bungles which are committed where the matter
is inept and contumacious; which argue that the moving power be not
irresistible, and that Nature is such a thing as is not altogether
incapable (as well as human art) of being sometimes frustrated and
disappointed by the indisposition of matter. Whereas an omnipotent
moving power, as it could dispatch its work in a moment, so would it
always do it infallibly and irresistibly, no ineptitude and
stubbornness of matter being ever able to hinder such a one, or make
him bungle or fumble in anything.

"Wherefore, since neither all things are produced fortuitously, or by
the unguided mechanism of matter, nor God himself may be reasonably
thought to do all things immediately and miraculously, it may well be
concluded that there is a Plastic Nature under him, which, as an
inferior and subordinate instrument, doth drudgingly execute that part
of his providence which consists in the regular and orderly motion of
matter; yet so as there is also besides this a higher providence to be
acknowledged, which, presiding over it, doth often supply the defects
of it, and sometimes overrules it, forasmuch as the Plastic Nature
cannot act electively nor with discretion."

The Yogi Philosophy teaches of the existence of a Universal Creative
Will, emanating from the Absolute--infilled with the power of the
Absolute and acting under established natural laws, which performs the
active work of creation in the world, similar to that performed by
"Cudsworth's Plastic Nature," just mentioned. This Creative Will is not
Schopenhauer's Will-to-Live. It is not a Thing-in-itself, but a vehicle
or instrument of the Absolute. It is an emanation of the mind of the
Absolute--a manifestation in action of its Will--a mental product
rather than a physical, and, of course, saturated with the life-energy
of its projector.

This Creative Will is not a mere blind, mechanical energy or force--it
is far more than this. We can explain it only by referring you to the
manifestation of the Will in yourself. You wish to move your arm, and
it moves. The immediate force may seem to be a mechanical force, but
what is back of that force--what is the essence of the force? The Will!
All manifestations of energy--all the causes of motion--all forces--are
forms of the action of the Will of the One--the Creative Will--acting
under natural laws established by the One, ever moving, acting,
forcing, urging, driving, leading. We do not mean that every little act
is a thought of the moment on the part of the Absolute, and a reaching
out of the Will in obedience to that thought. On the contrary, we mean
that the One set the Will into operation as a whole, conceiving of laws
and limitations in its action, the Will constantly operating in
obedience to that conception, the results manifesting in what we call
natural law; natural forces, etc. Besides this, the Absolute is
believed to manifest its Will specially upon occasions; and moreover
permits its Will to be applied and used by the individual wills of
individual Egos, under the general Law and laws, and plan of the One.

But you must not suppose that the Will is manifested only in the form
of mechanical forces, cohesion, chemical attraction, electricity,
gravitation, etc.

It does more than this. It is in full operation in all forms of life,
and living things. It is present everywhere. Back of all forms of
movement and action, we find a moving cause--usually a _Pressure_. This
is true of that which we have been calling mechanical forces, and of
all forms of that which we call Life Energy. Now, note this, this great
Pressure that you will observe in all Life Action, is the Creative
Will--the Will Principle of the One--bending toward the carrying out of
the Great Plan of Life.

Look where we will, on living forms, and we may begin to recognize the
presence of a certain creative energy at work--building up; moulding,
directing; tearing down; replacing, etc.--always active in its efforts
to create, preserve and conserve life. This visible creative energy is
what the Yogi Philosophy calls "the Creative Will," and which forms the
subject of this lesson. The Creative Will is that striving, longing,
pressing forward, unfolding, progressing evolutionary effort, that all
thoughtful people see in operation in all forms of life--throughout all
Nature. From the lowest to the highest forms of life, the Effort,
Energy, Pressure, may be recognized in action, creating, preserving,
nourishing, and improving its forms. It is that Something that we
recognize when we speak of "Nature's Forces" at work in plant growth
and animal functioning. If you will but keep the word and
idea--"NATURE"--before you, you will be able to more clearly form the
mental concept of the Creative Will. The Creative Will is that which
you have been calling "Nature at Work" in the growth of the plant; the
sprouting of the seed; the curling and reaching of the tendril; the
fertilization of the blossoms, etc. You have seen this Will at work, if
you have watched growing things.

We call this energy "the Creative Will," because it is the objective
manifestation of the Creative Energy of the Absolute--Its visible Will
manifested in the direction of physical life. It is as much Will in
action, as the Will that causes your arm to move in response to its
power. It is no mere chance thing, or mechanical law--it is life action
in operation.

This Creative Will not only causes movement in completed life, but all
movement and action in life independent of the personal will of its
individual forms. All the phenomena of the so-called Unconscious belong
to it. It causes the body to grow; attends to the details of
nourishment, assimilation, digestion, elimination, and all of the rest.
It builds up bodies, organs, and parts, and keeps them in operation and

The Creative Will is directed to the outward expression of Life--to the
objectification of Life. You may call this energy the "Universal Life
Energy" if you wish, but, to those who know it, it is a Will--an
active, living Will, in full operation and power, pressing forward
toward the manifestation of objective life.

The Creative Will seems to be filled with a strong Desire to manifest.
It longs to express itself, and to give birth to forms of activity.
Desire lies under and in all forms of its manifestations. The ever
present Desire of the Creative Will causes lower forms to be succeeded
by higher forms--and is the moving cause of evolution--it is the
Evolutionary Urge itself, which ever cries to its manifestations, "Move
on; move upward."

In the Hindu classic, the "Mahabarata," Brahma created the most
beautiful female being ever known, and called her Tillotama. He
presented her in turn to all the gods, in order to witness their wonder
and admiration. Siva's desire to behold her was so great that it
developed in him four faces, in succession, as she made the tour of the
assembly; and Indra's longing was so intense that his body became all
eyes. In this myth may be seen exemplified the effect of Desire and
Will in the forms of life, function and shape--all following Desire and
Need, as in the case of the long neck of the giraffe which enables him
to reach for the high branches of the trees in his native land; and in
the long neck and high legs of the fisher birds, the crane, stork,
ibis, etc.

The Creative Will finds within itself a desire to create suns, and they
are formed. It desired planets to revolve around the suns, and they
were thrown off in obedience to the law. It desired plant life, and
plant life appeared, working from higher to lower form. Then came
animal life, from nomad to man. Some of the animal forms yielded to the
desire to fly, and wings appeared gradually, and we called it
bird-life. Some felt a desire to burrow in the ground, and lo! came the
moles, gophers, etc. It wanted a thinking creature, and Man with his
wonderful brain was evolved. Evolution is more than a mere survival of
the fittest; natural selection, etc. Although it uses these laws as
tools and instruments, still back of them is that insistent urge--that
ever-impelling desire--that ever-active Creative Will. Lamark was
nearer right than Darwin when he claimed that Desire was back of it
all, and preceded function and form. Desire wanted form and function,
and produced them by the activity of the Creative Will.

This Creative Will acts like a living force--and so it is indeed--but
it does not act as a reasoning, intellectual Something, in one
sense--instead it manifests rather the "feeling," wanting, longing,
instinctive phase of mind, akin to those "feelings" and resulting
actions that we find within our natures. The Will acts on the
Instinctive Plane.

Evolution shows us Life constantly pressing forward toward higher and
still higher forms of expression. The urge is constantly upward and
onward. It is true that some species sink out of sight their work in
the world having been done, but they are succeeded by other species
more in harmony with their environment and the needs of their times.
Some races of men decay, but others build on their foundations, and
reach still greater heights.

The Creative Will is something different from Reason or Intellect. But
it underlies these. In the lower forms of life, in which mind is in but
small evidence, the Will is in active operation, manifesting in
Instinct and Automatic Life Action, so called. It does not depend upon
brains for manifestation--for these lowly forms of life have no
brains--but is in operation through every part of the body of the
living thing.

Evidences of the existence of the Creative Will acting independently of
the brains of animal and plant life may be had in overwhelming quantity
if we will but examine the life action in the lower forms of life.

The testimony of the investigators along the lines of the Evolutionary
school of thought, show us that the Life Principle was in active
operation in lowly animal and plant life millions of years before
brains capable of manifesting Thought were produced. Haekel informs us
that during more than half of the enormous time that has elapsed since
organic life first became evident, no animal sufficiently advanced to
have a brain was in existence. Brains were evolved according to the law
of desire or necessity, in accordance with the Great Plan, but they
were not needed for carrying on the wonderful work of the creation and
preservation of the living forms. And they are not today. The tiny
infant, and the senseless idiot are not able to think intelligently,
but still their life functions go on regularly and according to law, in
spite of the absence of thinking brains. And the life work of the
plants, and of the lowly forms of animal life, is carried on likewise.
This wonderful thing that we call Instinct is but another name for the
manifestation of the Creative Will which flows from the One Life, or
the Absolute.

Even as far down the scale of life as the Monera, we may see the
Creative Will in action. The Monera are but tiny bits of slimy,
jelly-like substances--mere specks of glue without organs of any kind,
and yet they exercise the organic phenomena of life, such as nutrition,
reproduction, sensation and movement, all of which are usually
associated with an organized structure. These creatures are incapable
of thought in themselves, and the phenomenon is due to the action of
the Will through them. This Instinctive impulse and action is seen
everywhere, manifesting upon Higher and still higher lines, as higher
forms of organisms are built up.

Scientists have used the term, "Appetency," defining it as, "the
instinctive tendency of living organisms to perform certain actions;
the tendency of an unorganized body to seek that which satisfies the
wants of its organism." Now what is this tendency? It cannot be an
effort of reason, for the low form of life has nothing with which to
reason. And it is impossible to think of "purposive tendency" without
assuming the existence of mental power of some kind. And where can such
a power be located if not in the form itself? When we consider that the
Will is acting in and through all forms of Life, from highest to
lowest--from Moneron to Man--we can at once recognize the source of the
power and activity. It is the Great Life Principle--the Creative Will,
manifesting itself.

We can perhaps better form an idea of the Creative Will, by reference
to its outward and visible forms of activity. We cannot see the Will
itself--the Pressure and the Urge--but we can see its action through
living forms. Just as we cannot see a man behind a curtain, and yet may
practically see him by watching the movements of his form as he presses
up against the curtain, so may we see the Will by watching it as it
presses up against the living curtain of the forms of life. There was a
play presented on the American stage a few years ago, in which one of
the scenes pictured the place of departed spirits according to the
Japanese belief. The audience could not see the actors representing the
spirits, but they could see their movements as they pressed up close to
a thin silky curtain stretched across the stage, and their motions as
they moved to and fro behind the curtain were plainly recognized. The
deception was perfect, and the effect was startling. One almost
believed that he saw the forms of formless creatures. And this is what
we may do in viewing the operation of the Creative Will--we may take a
look at the moving form of the Will behind the curtain of the forms of
the manifestation of life. We may see it pressing and urging here, and
bending there--building up here, and changing there--always acting,
always moving, striving, doing, in response to that insatiable urge and
craving, and longing of its inner desire. Let us take a few peeps at
the Will moving behind the curtain!

Commencing with the cases of the forming of the crystals, as spoken of
in our last lesson, we may pass on to plant life. But before doing so,
it may be well for us to take a parting look at the Will manifesting
crystal forms. One of the latest scientific works makes mention of the
experiments of a scientist who has been devoting much attention to the
formation of crystals, and reports that he has noticed that certain
crystals of organic compounds, instead of being built up symmetrically,
as is usual with crystals, were "enation-morphic," that is, opposed to
each other, in rights and lefts, like hands or gloves, or shoes, etc.
These crystals are never found alone, but always form in pairs. Can you
not see the Will behind the curtain here?

Let us look for the Will in plant-life. Passing rapidly over the
wonderful evidences in the cases of the fertilization of plants by
insects, the plant shaping its blossom so as to admit the entrance of
the particular insect that acts as the carrier of its pollen, think for
a moment how the distribution of the seed is provided for. Fruit trees
and plants surround the seed with a sweet covering, that it may be
eaten by insect and animal, and the seed distributed. Others have a
hard covering to protect the seed or nut from the winter frosts, but
which covering rots with the spring rains and allows the germ to
sprout. Others surround the seed with a fleecy substance, so that the
wind may carry it here and there and give it a chance to find a home
where it is not so crowded. Another tree has a little pop-gun
arrangement, by means of which it pops its seed to a distance of
several feet.

Other plants have seeds that are covered with a burr or "sticky"
bristles, which enables them to attach themselves to the wool of sheep
and other animals, and thus be carried about and finally dropped in
some spot far away from the parent plant, and thus the scattering of
the species be accomplished. Some plants show the most wonderful plans
and arrangements for this scattering of the seed in new homes where
there is a better opportunity for growth and development, the
arrangements for this purpose displaying something very much akin to
what we would call "ingenuity" if it were the work of a reasoning mind.
There are plants called cockle-burs whose seed-pods are provided with
stickers in every direction, so that anything brushing against them is
sure to pick them up. At the end of each sticker is a very tiny hook,
and these hooks fasten themselves tightly into anything that brushes
against it, animal wool, hair, or clothing, etc. Some of these seeds
have been known to have been carried to other quarters of the globe in
wool, etc., there to find new homes and a wider field.

Other plants, like the thistle, provide their seed with downy wings, by
which the wind carries them afar to other fields. Other seeds have a
faculty of tumbling and rolling along the ground to great distances,
owing to their peculiar shape and formation. The maple provides its
seed with a peculiar arrangement something like a propeller screw,
which when the wind strikes the trees and looses the seed, whirls the
latter through the air to a distance of a hundred yards or more. Other
seeds are provided with floating apparatus, which enables them to
travel many miles by stream or river, or rain washes. Some of these not
only float, but actually swim, having spider-like filaments, which
wriggle like legs, and actually propel the tiny seed along to its new
home. A recent writer says of these seeds that "so curiously lifelike
are their movements that it is almost impossible to believe that these
tiny objects, making good progress through the water, are really seeds,
and not insects."

The leaves of the Venus' Fly-trap fold upon each other and enclose the
insect which is attracted by the sweet juice on the leaf, three
extremely sensitive bristles or hairs giving the plant notice that the
insect is touching them. A recent writer gives the following
description of a peculiar plant. He says: "On the shores of Lake
Nicaragua is to be found an uncanny product of the vegetable kingdom
known among the natives by the expressive name of 'the Devil's Noose.'
Dunstan, the naturalist, discovered it long ago while wandering on the
shores of the lake. Attracted by the cries of pain and terror from his
dog, he found the animal held by black sticky bands which had chafed
the skin to bleeding point. These bands were branches of a
newly-discovered carnivorous plant which had been aptly named the 'land
octopus.' The branches are flexible, black, polished and without
leaves, and secrete a viscid fluid."

You have seen flowers that closed when you touched them. You remember
the Golden Poppy that closes when the sun goes down. Another plant, a
variety of orchid, has a long, slender, flat stem, or tube, about
one-eighth of an inch thick, with an opening at the extreme end, and a
series of fine tubes where it joins the plant. Ordinarily this tube
remains coiled up into a spiral, but when the plant needs water (it
usually grows upon the trunks of trees overhanging swampy places) it
slowly uncoils the little tube and bends it over until it dips into the
water, when it proceeds to suck up the water until it is filled, when
it slowly coils around and discharges the water directly upon the
plant, or its roots. Then it repeats the process until the plant is
satisfied. When the water is absent from under the plant the tube moves
this way and that way until it finds what it wants--just like the trunk
of an elephant. If one touches the tube or trunk of the plant while it
is extended for water, it shows a great sensitiveness and rapidly coils
itself up. Now what causes this life action? The plant has no brains,
and cannot have reasoned out this process, nor even have acted upon
them by reasoning processes. It has nothing to think with to such a
high degree. It is the Will behind the curtain, moving this way and
that way, and doing things.

There was once a French scientist named Duhamel. He planted some beans
in a cylinder--something like a long tomato can lying on its side. He
waited until the beans began to sprout, and send forth roots downward,
and shoots upward, according to nature's invariable rule. Then he moved
the cylinder a little--rolled it over an inch or two. The next day he
rolled it over a little more. And so on each day, rolling it over a
little each time. Well, after a time Duhamel shook the dirt and growing
beans out of the cylinder, and what did he find? This, that the beans
in their endeavor to grow their roots downward had kept on bending each
day downward; and in their endeavor to send shoots upward, had kept on
bending upward a little each day, until at last there had been formed
two complete spirals--the one spiral being the roots ever turning
downward, and the other the shoots ever bending upward. How did the
plant know direction? What was the moving power. The Creative Will
behind the curtain again, you see!

Potatoes in dark cellars have sent out roots or sprouts twenty and
thirty feet to reach light. Plants will send out roots many feet to
reach water. They know where the water and light are, and where to
reach them. The tendrils of a plant know where the stake or cord is,
and they reach out for it and twine themselves around it. Unwind them,
and the next day they are found again twined around it. Move the stake
or cord, and the tendril moves after it. The insect-eating plants are
able to distinguish between nitrogenous and non-nitrogenous food,
accepting the one and rejecting the other. They recognize that cheese
has the same nourishing properties as the insect, and they accept it,
although it is far different in feeling, taste, appearance and every
other characteristic from their accustomed food.

Case after case might be mentioned and cited to show the operation of
the Will in plant-life. But wonderful as are many of these cases, the
mere action of the Will as shown in the _growing_ of the plant is just
as wonderful. Just imagine a tiny seed, and see it sprout and draw to
itself the nourishment from water, air, light and soil, then upward
until it becomes a great tree with bark, limbs, branches, leaves,
blossoms, fruit and all. Think of this miracle, and consider what must
be the power and nature of that Will that causes it.

The growing plant manifests sufficient strength to crack great stones,
and lift great slabs of pavement, as may be noticed by examining the
sidewalks of suburban towns and parks. An English paper prints a report
of four enormous mushrooms having lifted a huge slab of paving stone in
a crowded street overnight. Think of this exhibition of Energy and
Power. This wonderful faculty of exerting force and motion and energy
is fundamental in the Will, for indeed every physical change and growth
is the result of motion, and motion arises only from force and
pressure. Whose force, energy, power and motion? The Will's!

On all sides of us we may see this constant and steady urge and
pressure behind living forces, and inorganic forms as well--always a
manifestation of Energy and Power. And all this Power is in the
Will--and the Will is but the manifestation of the All-Power--the
Absolute. Remember this.

And this power manifests itself not only in the matter of growth and
ordinary movements, but also in some other ways that seem quite
mysterious to even modern Science. How is it that certain birds are
able to fly directly against a strong wind, without visible movement of
their wings? How do the buzzards float in the air, and make speed
without a motion of the wing? What is the explanation of the movements
of certain microscopic creatures who lack organs of movement? Listen to
this instance related by the scientist Benet. He states that the
Polycystids have a most peculiar manner of moving--a sort of sliding
motion, to the right or left, upward, backward, sideways, stopping and
starting, fast or slow, as it wills. It has no locomotive organs, and
no movement can be seen to take place in the body from within or
without. It simply slides. How?

Passing on to the higher animal life--how do eggs grow into chickens?
What is the power in the germ of the egg? Can the germ think, and plan,
and move, and grow into a chicken? Or is the Will at work there? And
what is true in this case, is true of the birth and growth of all
animal life--all animal life develops from a single germ cell. How, and

There is a mental energy resident in the germ cell--of this there can
be no doubt. And that mental energy is the Creative Will ever
manifesting. Listen to these words from Huxley, the eminent scientist.
He says:

"The student of Nature wonders the more and is astonished the less, the
more conversant he becomes with her operations; but of all the
perennial miracles she offers to his inspection, perhaps the most
worthy of his admiration is the development of a plant or of an animal
from its embryo. Examine the recently laid egg of some common animal,
such as a salamander or a newt. It is a minute spheroid in which the
best microscope will reveal nothing but a structureless sac, enclosing
a glairy fluid, holding granules in suspension. But strange
possibilities lie dormant in that semi-fluid globule. Let a moderate
supply of warmth reach its watery cradle, and the plastic matter
undergoes changes so rapid, and so purposelike in their succession,
that one can only compare them to those operated by a skilled modeller
upon a formless lump of clay. As with an invisible trowel, the mass is
divided and subdivided into smaller and smaller portions, until it is
reduced to an aggregation of granules not too large to build withal the
finest fabrics of the nascent organism. And, then, it is as if a
delicate finger traced out the line to be occupied by the spinal
column, and moulded the contour of the body; pinching up the head at
one end, the tail at the other, and fashioning flank and limb into due
salamanderine proportions, in so artistic a way that, after watching
the process hour by hour, one is almost involuntarily possessed by the
notion that some more subtle aid to vision than the achromatic lens
would show the hidden artist, with his plan before him, striving with
skilful manipulation to perfect his work.

"As life advances and the young amphibian ranges the waters, the terror
of his insect contemporaries, not only are the nutritious particles
supplied by its prey (by the addition of which to its frame growth
takes place) laid down, each in its proper spot, and in due proportion
to the rest, as to reproduce the form, the color, and the size,
characteristic of the parental stock; but even the wonderful powers of
reproducing lost parts possessed by these animals are controlled by the
same governing tendency. Cut off the legs, the tail, the jaws,
separately or all together, and as Spallanzani showed long ago, these
parts not only grow again, but the new limb is formed on the same type
as those which were lost. The new jaw, or leg, is a newt's, and never
by any accident more like that of a frog's."

In this passage from Huxley one may see the actual working of the
Creative Will of the Universe,--moving behind the curtain--and a very
thin curtain at that. And this wonderful work is going on all around
us, all the time. Miracles are being accomplished every second--they
are so common that we fail to regard them.

And in our bodies is the Will at work? Most certainly. What built you
up from single cell to maturity? Did you do it with your intellect? Has
not every bit of it been done without your conscious knowledge? It is
only when things go wrong, owing to the violation of some law, that you
become aware of your internal organs. And, yet, stomach and liver, and
heart and the rest have been performing their work steadily--working
away day and night, building up, repairing, nourishing, growing you
into a man or woman, and keeping you sound and strong. Are you doing
this with your reason or with your personal will? No, it is the great
Creative Will of the Universe, Universe,--the expression of the purpose
and power of the One, working in and through you. It is the One Life
manifesting in you through its Creative Will.

And not only is this all. The Creative Will is all around us in every
force, energy and principle. The force that we call mental power is the
principle of the Will directed by our individual minds. In this
statement we have a hint of the great mystery of Mental Force and
Power, and the so-called Psychic Phenomena. It also gives us a key to
Mental Healing. This is not the place to go into detail regarding these
phases--but think over it a bit. This Will Power of the Universe, in
all of its forms and phases, from Electricity to Thought-power, is
always at the disposal of Man, within limits, and subject always to the
laws of the Creative Will of the Universe. Those who acquire an
understanding of the laws of any force may use it. And any force may be
used or misused.

And the nearer in understanding and consciousness that we get to the
One Life and Power, the greater will be our possible power, for we are
thus getting closer and closer to the source of All Power. In these
lessons we hope to be able to tell you how you may come into closer
touch with this One Life of which you and all living things are but
forms, shapes and channels of expression, under the operation of the
Creative Will.

We trust that this lesson may have brought to your minds the
realization of the Oneness of All--the fact that we are all parts of
the one encircling unity, the heart-throbs and pulsations of which are
to be felt even to the outer edge of the circle of life--in Man, in
Monad, in Crystal, in Atom. Try to feel that inner essence of Creative
Will that is within yourselves, and endeavor to realize your complete
inner unity in it, with all other forms of life. Try to realize, as
some recent writer has expressed it, "that all the living world is but
mankind in the making, and that we are but part of the All." And also
remember that splendid vistas of future unfoldment spread themselves
out before the gaze of the awakened soul, until the mind fails to grasp
the wondrous sight.

We will now close this lesson by calling your attention to its


There is but One Power in the Universe--One Energy--One Force. And that
Power, Energy and Force is a manifestation of the One Life. There can
be no other Power, for there is none other than the One from whom Power
may come. And there can be no manifestation of Power that is not the
Power of the One, for no other Power can be in existence. The Power of
the One is visible in its manifestations to us in the natural laws and
forces of Nature--which we call the Creative Will. This Creative Will
is the inner moving power, urge and pressure behind all forms and
shapes of Life. In atom, and molecule; in monad, in cell, in plant, in
fish, in animal, in man,--the Life Principle or Creative Will is
constantly in action, creating, preserving, and carrying on life in its
functions. We may call this Instinct or Nature, but it is the Creative
Will in action. This Will is back of all Power, Energy, or Force--be it
physical, mechanical or mental force. And all Force that we use,
consciously or unconsciously, comes from the One Great Source of Power.
If we could but see clearly, we would know that back of us is the Power
of the Universe, awaiting our intelligent uses, under the control of
the Will of the All. There is nothing to be afraid of, for we are
manifestations of the One Life, from which all Power proceeds, and the
Real Self is above the effect, for it is part of the Cause. But over
and above--under and behind--all forms of Being, Matter, Energy, Force
and Power, is the ABSOLUTE--ever Calm; ever Peaceful; ever Content. In
knowing this it becomes us to manifest that spirit of absolute Trust,
Faith and Confidence in the Goodness and Ultimate Justice of That which
is the only Reality there is.

Peace be with you.

Lessons in Gnani and Raja Yoga
The Yoga of Wisdom

by Yogi Ramacharaka