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
Lessons in Gnani and Raja Yoga
The Yoga of Wisdom

by Yogi Ramacharaka


In India, the Candidates for Initiation into the science of "Raja Yoga,"
when they apply to the Yogi Masters for instruction, are given a series
of lessons designed to enlighten them regarding the nature of the Real
Self, and to instruct them in the secret knowledge whereby they may
develop the consciousness and realization of the real "I" within them.
They are shown how they may cast aside the erroneous or imperfect
knowledge regarding their real identity.

Until the Candidate masters this instruction, or at least until the truth
becomes fixed in his consciousness, further instruction is denied him,
for it is held that until he has awakened to a conscious realization of
his Actual Identity, he is not able to understand the source of his
power, and, moreover, is not able to feel within him the power of the
Will, which power underlies the entire teachings of "Raja Yoga."

The Yogi Masters are hot satisfied if the Candidate forms merely a clear
intellectual conception of this Actual Identity, but they insist that he
must feel the truth of the same--must become aware of the Real
Self--must enter into a consciousness in which the realization becomes a
part of his everyday self--in which the realizing consciousness becomes
the prevailing idea in his mind, around which his entire thoughts and
actions revolve.

To some Candidates, this realization comes like a lightning flash the
moment the attention is directed toward it, while in other cases the
Candidates find it necessary to follow a rigorous course of training
before they acquire the realization in consciousness.

The Yogi Masters teach that there are two degrees of this awakening
consciousness of the Real Self. The first, which they call "the
Consciousness of the 'I'," is the full consciousness of real existence
that comes to the Candidate, and which causes him to know that he is a
real entity having a life not depending upon the body--life that will go
on in spite of the destruction of the body--real life, in fact. The
second degree, which they call "the Consciousness of the 'I AM'," is
the consciousness of one's identity with the Universal Life, and his
relationship to, and "in-touchness" with all life, expressed and
unexpressed. These two degrees of consciousness come in time to all who
seek "The Path." To some it comes suddenly; to others it dawns gradually;
to many it comes assisted by the exercises and practical work of "Raja

The first lesson of the Yogi Masters to the Candidates, leading up to the
first degree, above mentioned, is as follows: That the Supreme
Intelligence of the Universe--the Absolute--has manifested the being that
we call Man--the highest manifestation on this planet. The Absolute has
manifested an infinitude of forms of life in the Universe, including
distant worlds, suns, planets, etc., many of these forms being unknown to
us on this planet, and being impossible of conception by the mind of the
ordinary man. But these lessons have nothing to do with that part of the
philosophy which deals with these myriad forms of life, for our time will
be taken up with the unfoldment in the mind of man of his true nature and
power. Before man attempts to solve the secrets of the Universe without,
he should master the Universe within--the Kingdom of the Self. When he
has accomplished this, then he may, and should, go forth to gain the
outer knowledge as a Master demanding its secrets, rather than as a slave
begging for the crumbs from the table of knowledge. The first knowledge
for the Candidate is the knowledge of the Self.

Man, the highest manifestation of the Absolute, as far as this planet is
concerned, is a wonderfully organized being--although the average man
understands but little of his real nature. He comprises within his
physical, mental and spiritual make-up both the highest and the lowest,
as we have shown in our previous lessons (the "Fourteen Lessons" and the
"Advanced Course"). In his bones he manifests almost in the form of
mineral life, in fact, in his bones, body and blood mineral substances
actually exist. The physical life of the body resembles the life of the
plant. Many of the physical desires and emotions are akin to those of the
lower animals, and in the undeveloped man these desires and emotions
predominate and overpower the higher nature, which latter is scarcely in
evidence. Then Man has a set of mental characteristics that are his own,
and which are not possessed by the lower animals (See "Fourteen
Lessons"). And in addition to the mental faculties common to all men, or
rather, that are in evidence in a greater or lesser degree among all men,
there are still higher faculties latent within Man, which when manifested
and expressed render Man more than ordinary Man. The unfoldment of these
latent faculties is possible to all who have reached the proper stage of
development, and the desire and hunger of the student for this
instruction is caused by the pressure of these unfolding latent
faculties, crying to be born into consciousness. Then there is that
wonderful thing, the Will, which is but faintly understood by those
ignorant of the Yogi Philosophy--the Power of the Ego--its birthright
from the Absolute.

But while these mental and physical things belong to Man, they are
not the Man himself. Before the Man is able to master, control, and
direct the things belonging to him--his tools and instruments--he must
awaken to a realization of Himself. He must be able to distinguish
between the "I" and the "Not I." And this is the first task before the

That which is the Real Self of Man is the Divine Spark sent forth from
the Sacred Flame. It is the Child of the Divine Parent. It is
Immortal--Eternal--Indestructible--Invincible. It possesses within
itself Power, Wisdom, and Reality. But like the infant that contains
within itself the sometime Man, the mind of Man is unaware of its latent
and potential qualities, and does not know itself. As it awakens and
unfolds into the knowledge of its real nature, it manifests its
qualities, and realizes what the Absolute has given it. When the Real
Self begins to awaken, it sets aside from itself those things which
are but appendages to it, but which it, in its half-waking state, had
regarded as its Self. Setting aside first this, and then that, it finally
discards all of the "Not I," leaving the Real Self free and delivered
from its bondage to its appendages. Then it returns to the discarded
appendages, and makes use of them.

In considering the question: "What is the Real Self?" let us first stop
to examine what man usually means when he says "I."

The lower animals do not possess this "I" sense. They are conscious of
the outer world; of their own desires and animal cravings and feelings.
But their consciousness has not reached the Self-conscious stage. They
are not able to think of themselves as separate entities, and to reflect
upon their thoughts. They are not possessed of a consciousness of the
Divine Spark--the Ego--the Real Self. The Divine Spark is hidden in the
lower forms of life--even in the lower forms of human life--by many
sheaths that shut out its light. But, nevertheless, it is there, always.
It sleeps within the mind of the savage--then, as he unfolds, it begins
to throw out its light. In you, the Candidate, it is fighting hard to
have its beams pierce through the material coverings When the Real Self
begins to arouse itself from its sleep, its dreams vanish from it, and it
begins to see the world as it is, and to recognize itself in Reality and
not as the distorted thing of its dreams.

The savage and barbarian are scarcely conscious of the "I." They are but
a little above the animal in point of consciousness, and their "I" is
almost entirely a matter of the consciousness of the wants of the body;
the satisfaction of the appetites; the gratification of the passions; the
securing of personal comfort; the expression of lust, savage power, etc.
In the savage the lower part of the Instinctive Mind is the seat of the
"I." (See "Fourteen Lessons" for explanation of the several mental planes
of man.) If the savage could analyze his thoughts he would say that the
"I" was the physical body, the said body having certain "feelings,"
"wants" and "desires." The "I" of such a man is a physical "I," the body
representing its form and substance. Not only is this true of the savage,
but even among so-called "civilized" men of to-day we find many in this
stage. They have developed powers of thinking and reasoning, but they do
not "live in their minds" as do some of their brothers. They use their
thinking powers for the gratification of their bodily desires and
cravings, and really live on the plane of the Instinctive Mind. Such a
person may speak of "my mind," or "my soul," not from a high position
where he looks upon these things from the standpoint of a Master who
realizes his Real Self, but from below, from the point-of-view of the man
who lives on the plane of the Instinctive Mind and who sees above
himself the higher attributes. To such people the body is the "I."
Their "I" is bound up with the senses, and that which comes to them
through the senses. Of course, as Man advances in "culture" and
"civilization," his senses become educated, and are satisfied only with
more refined things, while the less cultivated man is perfectly satisfied
with the more material and gross sense gratifications. Much that we call
"cultivation" and "culture" is naught but a cultivation of a more refined
form of sense gratification, instead of a real advance in consciousness
and unfoldment. It is true that the advanced student and Master is
possessed of highly developed senses, often far surpassing those of the
ordinary man, but in such cases the senses have been cultivated under the
mastery of the Will, and are made servants of the Ego instead of things
hindering the progress of the soul--they are made servants instead of

As Man advances in the scale, he begins to have a somewhat higher
conception of the "I." He begins to use his mind and reason, and he
passes on to the Mental Plane--his mind begins to manifest upon the plane
of Intellect. He finds that there is something within him that is higher
than the body. He finds that his mind seems more real to him than does
the physical part of him, and in times of deep thought and study he is
able almost to forget the existence of the body.

In this second stage, Man soon becomes perplexed. He finds problems that
demand an answer, but as soon as he thinks he has answered them the
problems present themselves in a new phase, and he is called upon to
"explain his explanation." The mind, even although not controlled and
directed by the Will, has a wonderful range, but, nevertheless, Man finds
himself traveling around and around in a circle, and realizes that he is
confronted continually by the Unknown. This disturbs him, and the higher
the stage of "book learning" he attains, the more disturbed does he
become. The man of but little knowledge does not see the existence of
many problems that force themselves before the attention of the man of
more knowledge, and demand an explanation from him. The tortures of the
man who has attained the mental growth that enables him to see the new
problems and the impossibility of their answer, cannot be imagined by one
who has not advanced to that stage.

The man in this stage of consciousness thinks of his "I" as a mental
thing, having a lower companion, the body. He feels that he has advanced,
but yet his "I" does not give him the answer to the riddles and questions
that perplex him. And he becomes most unhappy. Such men often develop
into Pessimists, and consider the whole of life as utterly evil and
disappointing--a curse rather than a blessing. Pessimism belongs to this
plane, for neither the Physical Plane man or the Spiritual Plane man have
this curse of Pessimism. The former man has no such disquieting thoughts,
for he is almost entirely absorbed in gratifying his animal nature, while
the latter man recognizes his mind as an instrument of himself, rather
than as himself, and knows it to be imperfect in its present stage of
growth. He knows that he has in himself the key to all knowledge--locked
up in the Ego--and which the trained mind, cultivated, developed and
guided by the awakened Will, may grasp as it unfolds. Knowing this the
advanced man no longer despairs, and, recognizing his real nature, and
his possibilities, as he awakens into a consciousness of his powers and
capabilities, he laughs at the old despondent, pessimistic ideas, and
discards them like a worn-out garment. Man on the Mental Plane of
consciousness is like a huge elephant who knows not his own strength. He
could break down barriers and assert himself over nearly any condition or
environment, but in his ignorance of his real condition and power he may
be mastered by a puny driver, or frightened by the rustling of a piece of

When the Candidate becomes an Initiate--when he passes from the purely
Mental Plane on to the Spiritual Plane--he realizes that the "I," the
Real Self--is something higher than either body or mind, and that both of
the latter may be used as tools and instruments by the Ego or "I." This
knowledge is not reached by purely intellectual reasoning, although such
efforts of the mind are often necessary to help in the unfoldment, and
the Masters so use it. The real knowledge, however, comes as a special
form of consciousness. The Candidate becomes "aware" of the real "I," and
this consciousness being attained, he passes to the rank of the
Initiates. When the Initiate passes the second degree of consciousness,
and begins to grow into a realization of his relationship to the
Whole--when he begins to manifest the Expansion of Self--then is he on
the road to Mastership.

In the present lesson we shall endeavor to point out to the Candidate the
methods of developing or increasing the realization of this "I"
consciousness--this first degree work. We give the following exercises or
development drills for the Candidate to practice. He will find that a
careful and conscientious following of these directions will tend to
unfold in him a sufficient degree of the "I" consciousness, to enable him
to enter into higher stages of development and power. All that is
necessary is for the Candidate to feel within himself the dawn of the
awakening consciousness, or awareness of the Real Self. The higher stages
of the "I" consciousness come gradually, for once on the Path there is no
retrogression or going backward. There may be pauses on the journey, but
there is no such thing as actually losing that which is once gained on
The Path.

This "I" consciousness, even in its highest stages, is but a preliminary
step toward what is called "Illumination," and which signifies the
awakening of the Initiate to a realization of his actual connection with
and relation to the Whole. The full sight of the glory of the "I," is but
a faint reflected glow of "Illumination." The Candidate, once that he
enters fully into the "I" consciousness, becomes an "Initiate." And the
Initiate who enters into the dawn of Illumination takes his first step
upon the road to Mastery. The Initiation is the awakening of the soul to
a knowledge of its real existence--the Illumination is the revelation of
the real nature of the soul, and of its relationship with the Whole.
After the first dawn of the "I" consciousness has been attained, the
Candidate is more able to grasp the means of developing the consciousness
to a still higher degree--is more able to use the powers latent within
him; to control his own mental states; to manifest a Centre of
Consciousness and Influence that will radiate into the outer world which
is always striving and hunting for such centres around which it may

Man must master himself before he can hope to exert an influence beyond
himself. There is no royal road to unfoldment and power--each step must
be taken in turn, and each Candidate must take the step himself, and by
his own effort. But he may, and will, be aided by the helping hand of the
teachers who have traveled The Path before him, and who know just when
that helping hand is needed to lift the Candidate over the rough places.

We bid the Candidate to pay strict attention to the following
instruction, as it is all important. Do not slight any part of it, for we
are giving you only what is necessary, and are stating it as briefly as
possible. Pay attention, and follow the instruction closely. This lesson
must be mastered before you progress. And it must be practiced not only
now, but at many stages of the journey, until full Initiation and
Illumination is yours.


The first instruction along the line of Initiation is designed to awaken
the mind to a full realization and consciousness of the individuality of
the "I." The Candidate is taught to relax his body, and to calm his mind
and to meditate upon the "I" until it is presented clearly and sharply
before the consciousness. We herewith give directions for producing the
desired physical and mental condition, in which meditation and
concentration are more readily practiced. This state of Meditation will
be referred to in subsequent exercises, so the Candidate is advised to
acquaint himself thoroughly with it.

STATE OF MEDITATION. If possible, retire to a quiet place or room, where
you do not fear interruption, so that your mind may feel secure and at
rest. Of course, the ideal condition cannot always be obtained, in which
case you must do the best you can. The idea is that you should be able to
abstract yourself, so far as is possible, from distracting impressions,
and you should be alone with yourself--in communion with your Real Self.

It is well to place yourself in an easy chair, or on a couch, so that you
may relax the muscles and free the tension of your nerves. You should be
able to "let go" all over, allowing every muscle to become limp, until a
feeling of perfect peace and restful calm permeates every particle of
your being. Rest the body and calm the mind. This condition is best in
the earlier stages of the practice, although after the Candidate has
acquired a degree of mastery he will be able to obtain the physical
relaxation and mental calm whenever and wherever he desires.

But he must guard against acquiring a "dreamy" way of going around,
wrapped in meditation when he should be attending to the affairs of life.
Remember this, the State of Meditation should be entirely under the
control of the Will, and should be entered into only deliberately and at
the proper times. The Will must be master of this, as well as of every
other mental state. The Initiates are not "day dreamers," but men and
women having full control of themselves and their moods. The "I"
consciousness while developed by meditation and consciousness, soon
becomes a fixed item of consciousness, and does not have to be produced
by meditation. In time of trial, doubt, or trouble, the consciousness may
be brightened by an effort of the Will (as we shall explain in subsequent
lessons) without going into the State of Meditation.

THE REALIZATION OF THE "I." The Candidate must first acquaint himself
with the reality of the "I," before he will be able to learn its real
nature. This is the first step. Let the Candidate place himself in the
State of Meditation, as heretofore described. Then let him concentrate
his entire attention upon his Individual Self, shutting out all thought
of the outside world, and other persons. Let him form in his mind the
idea of himself as a real thing--an actual being--an individual
entity--a Sun around which revolves the world. He must see himself as the
Centre around which the whole world revolves. Let not a false modesty, or
sense of depreciation interfere with this idea, for you are not denying
the right of others to also consider themselves centres. You are, in
fact, a centre of consciousness--made so by the Absolute--and you are
awakening to the fact. Until the Ego recognizes itself as a Centre of
Thought, Influence and Power, it will not be able to manifest these
qualities. And in proportion as it recognizes its position as a centre,
so will it be able to manifest its qualities. It is not necessary that
you should compare yourself with others, or imagine yourself greater or
higher than them. In fact, such comparisons are to be regretted, and are
unworthy of the advanced Ego, being a mark and indication of a lack of
development, rather than the reverse. In the Meditation simply ignore all
consideration of the respective qualities of others, and endeavor to
realize the fact that YOU are a great Centre of Consciousness--a Centre
of Power--a Centre of Influence--a Centre of Thought. And that like the
planets circling around the sun, so does your world revolve around YOU
who are its centre. It will not be necessary for you to argue out this
matter, or to convince yourself of its truth by intellectual reasoning.
The knowledge does not come in that way. It comes in the shape of a
realization of the truth gradually dawning upon your consciousness
through meditation and concentration. Carry this thought of yourself as a
"Centre of Consciousness--Influence--Power" with you, for it is an
occult truth, and in the proportion that you are able, to realize it so
will be your ability to manifest the qualities named.

No matter how humble may be your position--no matter how hard may be your lot--no matter how deficient in educational advantages you may be--still
you would not change your "I" with the most fortunate, wisest and highest
man or woman in the world. You may doubt this, but think for a moment and
you will see that we are right. When you say that you "would like to be"
this person or that, you really mean that you would like to have their
degree of intelligence, power, wealth, position, or what not. What you
want is something that is theirs, or something akin to it. But you would
not for a moment wish to merge your identity with theirs, or to
exchange selves. Think of this for a moment To be the other person
you would have to let yourself die, and instead of yourself you would
be the other person. The real you would be wiped out of existence, and
you would not be you at all, but would be he.

If you can but grasp this idea you will see that not for a moment would
you be willing for such an exchange. Of course such an exchange is
impossible. The "I" of you cannot be wiped out. It is eternal, and will
go on, and on, and on, to higher and higher states--but it always will be
the same "I." Just as you, although a far different sort of person from
your childhood self, still you recognize that the same "I" is there, and
always has been there. And although you will attain knowledge,
experience, power and wisdom in the coming years, the same "I" will be
there. The "I" is the Divine Spark and cannot be extinguished.

The majority of people in the present stage of the race development have
but a faint conception of the reality of the "I." They accept the
statement of its existence, and are conscious of themselves as an eating,
sleeping, living creature--something like a higher form of animal. But
they have not awakened to an "awareness" or realization of the "I," which
must come to all who become real centres of Influence and Power. Some men
have stumbled into this consciousness, or a degree of it, without
understanding the matter. They have "felt" the truth of it, and they have
stepped out from the ranks of the commonplace people of the world, and
have become powers for good or bad. This is unfortunate to some extent,
as this "awareness" without the knowledge that should accompany it may
bring pain to the individual and others.

The Candidate must meditate upon the "I," and recognize it--feel it--to
be a Centre. This is his first task. Impress upon your mind the word "I,"
in this sense and understanding, and let it sink deep down into your
consciousness, so that it will become a part of you. And when you say
"I," you must accompany the word with the picture of your Ego as a Centre
of Consciousness, and Thought, and Power, and Influence. See yourself
thus, surrounded by your world. Wherever you go, there goes the Centre of
your world. YOU are the Centre, and all outside of you revolves around
that Centre. This is the first great lesson on the road to Initiation.
Learn it!

The Yogi Masters teach the Candidates that their realization of the "I"
as a Centre may be hastened by going into the Silence, or State of
Meditation, and repeating their first name over slowly, deliberately and
solemnly a number of times. This exercise tends to cause the mind to
centre upon the "I," and many cases of dawning Initiation have resulted
from this practice. Many original thinkers have stumbled upon this
method, without having been taught it. A noted example is that of Lord
Tennyson, who has written that he attained a degree of Initiation in this
way. He would repeat his own name, over and over, and the same time
meditating upon his identity, and he reports that he would become
conscious and "aware" of his reality and immortality--in short would
recognize himself as a real center of consciousness.

We think we have given you the key to the first stage of meditation and
concentration. Before passing on, let us quote from one of the old Hindu
Masters. He says, regarding this matter: "When the soul sees itself as a
Centre surrounded by its circumference--when the Sun knows that it is a
Sun, and is surrounded by its whirling planets--then is it ready for the
Wisdom and Power of the Masters."


Many of the Candidates find themselves prevented from a full realization of the "I" (even after they have begun to grasp it) by the confusing of the reality
of the "I" with the sense of the physical body. This is a stumbling block
that is easily overcome by meditation and concentration, the independence
of the "I" often becoming manifest to the Candidate in a flash, upon the
proper thought being used as the subject of meditation.

The exercise is given as follows: Place yourself in the State of
Meditation, and think of YOURSELF--the Real "I"--as being independent of
the body, but using the body as a covering and an instrument. Think of
the body as you might of a suit of clothes. Realize that you are able to
leave the body, and still be the same "I." Picture yourself as doing
this, and looking down upon your body. Think of the body as a shell from
which you may emerge without affecting your identity. Think of yourself
as mastering and controlling the body that you occupy, and using it to
the best advantage, making it healthy, strong and vigorous, but still
being merely a shell or covering for the real "You." Think of the body as
composed of atoms and cells which are constantly changing, but which are
held together by the force of your Ego, and which you can improve at
Will. Realize that you are merely inhabiting the body, and using it for
your convenience, just as you might use a house.

In meditating further, ignore the body entirely, and place your thought
upon the Real "I" that you are beginning to feel to be "you," and you
will find that your identity--your "I"--is something entirely apart from
the body. You may now say "my body" with a new meaning. Divorce the idea
of your being a physical being, and realize that you are above body. But
do not let this conception and realization cause you to ignore the body.
You must regard the body as the Temple of the Spirit, and care for it,
and make it a fit habitation for the "I." Do not be frightened if, during
this meditation, you happen to experience the sensation of being out of
the body for a few moments, and of returning to it when you are through
with the exercise. The Ego is able (in the case of the advanced Initiate)
of soaring above the confines of the body, but it never severs its
connection at such times. It is merely as if one were to look out of the
window of a room, seeing what was going on outside, and drawing in his
head when he wishes. He does not leave the room, although he may place
his head outside in order to observe what is doing in the street. We do
not advise the Candidate to try to cultivate this sensation--but if it
comes naturally during meditation, do not fear.


While the majority accept on faith the belief in the Immortality of the Soul, yet
but few are aware that it may be demonstrated by the soul itself. The
Yogi Masters teach the Candidates this lesson, as follows: The Candidate
places himself in the State of Meditation, or at least in a thoughtful
frame of mind, and then endeavors to "imagine" himself as "dead"--that
is, he tries to form a mental conception of himself as dead. This, at
first thought, appears a very easy thing to imagine, but as a matter of
fact it is impossible to do so, for the Ego refuses to entertain the
proposition, and finds it impossible to imagine it. Try it for yourself.
You will find that you may be able to imagine your body as lying still
and lifeless, but the same thought finds that in so doing You are
standing and looking at the body. So you see that You are not dead at
all, even in imagination, although the body may be. Or, if you refuse to
disentangle yourself from your body, in imagination, you may think of
your body as dead but You who refuse to leave it are still alive and
recognize the dead body as a thing apart from your Real Self. No matter
how you may twist it you cannot imagine yourself as dead. The Ego
insists upon being alive in any of these thoughts, and thus finds that
it has within itself the sense and assurance of Immortality. In case of
sleep or stupor resulting from a blow, or from narcotics or anaesthetics,
the mind is apparently blank, but the "I" is conscious of a continuity of
existence. And so one may imagine himself as being in an unconscious
state, or asleep, quite easily, and sees the possibility of such a state,
but when it comes to imagining the "I" as dead, the mind utterly refuses
to do the work. This wonderful fact that the soul carries within itself
the evidence of its own immortality is a glorious thing, but one must
have reached a degree of unfoldment before he is able to grasp its full

The Candidate is advised to investigate the above statement for himself,
by meditation and concentration, for in order that the "I" may know its
true nature and possibilities, it must realize that it cannot be
destroyed or killed. It must know what it is before it is able to
manifest its nature. So do not leave this part of the teaching until you
have mastered it. And it is well occasionally to return to it, in order
that you may impress upon the mind the fact of your immortal and eternal
nature. The mere glimmering of this conception of truth will give you an
increased sense of strength and power, and you will find that your Self
has expanded and grown, and that you are more of a power and Centre than
you have heretofore realized.

The following exercises are useful in bringing about a realization of the
invincibility of the Ego--its superiority to the elements.

Place yourself in the State of Meditation, and imagine the "I" as
withdrawn from the body. See it passing through the tests of air, fire
and water unharmed. The body being out of the way, the soul is seen to
be able of passing through the air at will--of floating like a bird--of
soaring--of traveling in the ether. It may be seen as able to pass
through fire without harm and without sensation, for the elements affect
only the physical body, not the Real "I." Likewise it may be seen as
passing through water without discomfort or danger or hurt.

This meditation will give you a sense of superiority and strength, and
will show you something of the nature of the real "I." It is true that
you are confined in the body, and the body may be affected by the
elements, but the knowledge that the Real "I" is superior to the
body--superior to the elements that affect the body--and cannot be
injured any more than it can be killed, is wonderful, and tends to
develop the full "I" consciousness within you. For You--the Real "I"--are
not body. You are Spirit. The Ego is Immortal and Invincible, and cannot
be killed and harmed. When you enter into this realization and
consciousness, you will feel an influx of strength and power impossible
to describe. Fear will fall from you like a worn-out cloak, and you will
feel that you are "born again." An understanding of this thought, will
show you that the things that we have been fearing cannot affect the Real
"I," but must rest content with hurting the physical body. And they may
be warded off from the physical body by a proper understanding and
application of the Will.

In our next lesson, you will be taught how to separate the "I" from the
mechanism of the mind--how you may realize your mastery of the mind, just
as you now realize your independence of the body. This knowledge must be
imparted to you by degrees, and you must place your feet firmly upon one
round of the ladder before you take the next step.

The watchword of this First Lesson is "I." And the Candidate must enter
fully into its meaning before he is able to progress. He must realize his
real existence--independent of the body. He must see himself as
invincible and impervious to harm, hurt, or death. He must see himself as
a great Centre of Consciousness--a Sun around which his world revolves.
Then will come to him a new strength. He will feel a calm dignity and
power, which will be apparent to those with whom he comes in contact. He
will be able to look the world in the face without flinching, and without
fear, for he will realize the nature and power of the "I." He will
realize that he is a Centre of Power--of Influence. He will realize that
nothing can harm the "I," and that no matter how the storms of life may
dash upon the personality, the real "I"--the Individuality--is unharmed.
Like a rock that stands steadfast throughout the storm, so does the "I"
stand through the tempests of the life of personality. And he will know
that as he grows in realization, he will be able to control these storms
and bid them be still.

In the words of one of the Yogi Masters: "The 'I' is eternal. It passes
unharmed through the fire, the air, the water. Sword and spear cannot
kill or wound it. It cannot die. The trials of the physical life are but
as dreams to it. Resting secure in the knowledge of the 'I,' Man may
smile at the worst the world has to offer, and raising his hand he may
bid them disappear into the mist from which they emerged.
Blessed is he who can say (understandingly) 'I'."

So dear Candidate, we leave you to master the First Lesson. Be not
discouraged if your progress be slow. Be not cast down if you slip back a
step after having gained it. You will gain two at the next step. Success
and realization will be yours. Mastery is before. You will Attain. You
will Accomplish. Peace be with you.


"I" am a Centre. Around me revolves my world.

"I" am a Centre of Influence and Power.

"I" am a Centre of Thought and Consciousness.

"I" am Independent of the Body.

"I" am Immortal and cannot be Destroyed.

"I" am Invincible and cannot be Injured.