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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"Karma" is a Sanscrit term for that great Law known to Western thinkers
as Spiritual Cause and Effect, or Causation. It relates to the
complicated affinities for either good or evil that have been acquired
by the soul throughout its many incarnations. These affinities manifest
as characteristics enduring from one incarnation to another, being
added to here, softened or altered there, but always pressing forward
for expression and manifestation. And, so, it follows that what each
one of us is in this life depends upon is what we have been and how we
have acted in our past lives.

Throughout the operations of the Law of Karma the manifestation of
Perfect Justice is apparent. We are not punished for our sins, as the
current beliefs have it, but instead we are punished by our sins. We
are not rewarded for our good acts, but we received our reward
through and by characteristics, qualities, affinities, etc., acquired
by reason of our having performed these good acts in previous lives. We
are our own judges and executioners. In our present lives we are
storing up good or bad Karma which will stick to us closely, and which
will demand expression and manifestation in lives to come. When we
fasten around ourselves the evil of bad Karma, we have taken to shelter
a monster which will gnaw into our very vitals until we shake him off
by developing opposite qualities. And when we draw to ourselves the
good Karma of Duty well performed, kindness well expressed, and Good
Deeds freely performed without hope of reward, then do we weave for
ourselves the beautiful garments which we are destined to wear upon the
occasion of our future lives.

The Yogi Teachings relating to the Law of Karma do not teach us that
Sin is an offense against the Power which brought us into being, so
much as it is an offense against ourselves. We cannot injure the
Absolute, nor harm It in any way. But we may harm each other, and in so
doing harm ourselves. The Yogis teach that Sin is largely a matter of
ignorance and misunderstanding of our true nature, and that the lesson
must be well learned until we are able to see the folly and error of
our former course, and thus are able to remedy our past errors and to
avoid their recurrence. By Karma the effects arising from our sins
cling to us, until we become sick and weary of them, and seek their
cause in our hearts. When we have discovered the evil cause of these
effects, we learn to hate it and tear it from us as a foul thing, and
are thence evermore relieved of it.

The Yogis view the sinning soul as the parent does the child who will
persist in playing with forbidden things. The parent cautions the child
against playing with the stove, but still the child persists in its
disobedience, and sooner or later receives a burn for its meddling. The
burn is not a punishment for the disobedience (although it may seem
so to it) but comes in obedience to a natural law which is invariable.
To child finds out that stoves and burns are connected, and begins to
see some sense and reason in the admonitions of the parent. The love of
the parent sought to save the child the pain of the burn, and yet the
child-nature persisted in experimenting, and was taught the lesson. But
the lesson once thoroughly learned, it is not necessary to forbid the
child the stove, for it has learned the danger for itself and
thereafter avoids it.

And thus it is with the human soul passing on from one life to another.
It learns new lessons, gathers new experiences, and learns to recognize
the pain that invariably comes from Wrong Action, and the Happiness
that invariably comes from Right Action. As it progresses it learns how
hurtful certain courses of action are, and like the burnt child it
avoids them thereafter.

If we will but stop to consider for a moment the relative degrees of
temptation to us and to others, we may see the operations of past Karma
in former lives. Why is it that this thing is "no temptation" to you,
while it is the greatest temptation to another. Why is it that certain
things do not seem to have any attraction for him, and yet they attract
you so much that you have to use all of your will power to resist them?
It is because of the Karma in your past lives. The things that do not
now tempt you, have been outlived in some former life, and you have
profited by your own experiences, or those of others, or else through
some teaching given you by one who had been attracted to you by your
unfolding consciousness of Truth.

We are profiting to-day by the lessons of our past lives. If we have
learned them well we are receiving the benefit, while if we have turned
our backs on the words of wisdom offered us, or have refused to learn
the lesson perfectly, we are compelled to sit on the same old
school-benches and hear the same old lesson repeated until it is fairly
driven into our consciousness. We wonder why it is that other persons
can perform certain evil acts that seem so repulsive to us, and are apt
to pride ourselves upon our superior virtue. But those who know,
realize that their unfortunate brethren have not paid sufficient
attention to the lesson of the past, and are having it repeated to them
in a more drastic form this time. They know that the virtuous ones are
simply reaping the benefit of their own application in the past, but
that their lesson is not over, and that unless they advance and hold
fast to that which they have attained, as well, they will be
outstripped by many of those whose failure they are now viewing with
wonder and scorn.

It is hard for us to fully realize that we are what we are because of
our past experiences. It is difficult for us to value the experiences
that we are now going through, because we do not fully appreciate the
value of bitter experiences once lived out and outlived. Let us look
back over the experiences of this present life, for instance. How many
bitter episodes are there which we wish had never happened, and how we
wish we could tear them out of our consciousness. But we do not realize
that from these same bitter experiences came knowledge and wisdom that
we would not part with under any circumstances. And yet if we were to
tear away from us the cause of these benefits, we would tear away the
benefits also, and would find ourselves back just where we were before
the experience happened to us. What we would like to do is to hold on
to the benefits that came from the experience---the knowledge and
wisdom that were picked from the tree of pain. But we cannot separate
the effect from the cause in this way, and must learn to look back upon
these bitter experiences as the causes from which our present
knowledge, wisdom and attainment proceeded. Then may we cease to hate
these things, and to see that good may come from evil, under the
workings of the Law.

And when we are able to do this, we shall be able to regard the painful
experiences of our present day as the inevitable outcome of causes away
back in our past, but which will work surely toward increased
knowledge, wisdom and attainment, if we will but see the Good
underlying the working of the Law. When we fall in with the working of
the Law of Karma we recognize its pain not as an injustice or
punishment, but as the beneficent operation of a Law which, although
apparently working Evil, has for its end and aim Ultimate Good.

Many object to the teachings of the Law of Karma by saying that the
experiences of each life not being remembered, must be useless and
without value. This is a very foolish position to take concerning the
matter. These experiences although not fully remembered, are not lost
to us at all--they are made a part of the material of which our minds
are composed. They exist in the form of feelings, characteristics,
inclinations, likes and dislikes, affinities, attractions, repulsions,
etc., etc., and are as much in evidence as are the experiences of
yesterday which are fresh in our memory. Look back over your present
life, and try to remember the experiences of the past years. You will
find that you remember but few of the events of your life. The pressing
and constant experiences of each of the days that you have lived have
been, for the most part, forgotten. Though these experiences may have
seemed very vivid and real to you when they occurred, still they have
faded into nothingness now, and they are to all intents and purposes
lost to you. But are they lost? Not at all. You are what you are
because of the results of these experiences. Your character has been
moulded and shaped, little by little, by these apparently forgotten
pains, pleasures, sorrows and happinesses. This trial strengthened you
along certain lines; that one changed your point of view and made you
see things with a broader sweep of vision. This grief caused you to
feel the pain of others; that disappointment spurred you on to new
endeavors. And each and every one of them left a permanent mark upon
your personality--upon your character. All men are what they are by
reason of what they have lived through and out. And though these
happenings, scenes, circumstances, occurrences, experiences, have faded
from the memory, their effects are indelibly imprinted upon the fabric
of the character, and the man of to-day is different from what he would
have been had the happening or experience not entered into his life.

And this same rule applies to the characteristics brought over from
past incarnations. You have not the memory of the experiences, but you
have the fruit in the shape of "characteristics," tastes, inclinations,
etc. You have a tendency toward certain things, and a distaste for
others. Certain things attract, while others repel you. All of these
things are the result of your experiences in former incarnations. Your
very taste and inclination toward occult studies which has caused you
to read these lessons is your legacy from some former life in which
some one spoke a word or two to you regarding the subject, and
attracted your interest and desire. You learned some little about the
subject then--perhaps much--and developed a desire for more knowledge
along these lines, which manifesting in your present life has brought
you in contact with further instruction. The same inclination will lead
to further advancement in this life, and still greater opportunities in
future incarnations. Nearly every one who reads these lines has felt
that much of this occult instruction imparted is but a "re-learning" of
something previously known, although many of the things taught have
never been heard before in this life. You pick up a book and read
something, and know at once that it is so, because in some vague way
you have a consciousness of having studied and worked out the problem
in some past period of your lives. All this is the working of the Law
of Karma, which caused you to attract that for which you have an
affinity, and which also causes others to be attracted to you.

Many are the reunions of people who have been related to each other in
previous lives. The old loves, and old hates work out their Karmic
results in our lives. We are bound to those whom we have loved, and
also to those whom we may have injured. The story must be worked out to
the end, although a knowledge of the Law undoubtedly relieves one of
many entangling attachments and Karmic relationships, by pointing out
the nature of the relation, and enabling one to free himself mentally
from the bond, which process tends to dissolve much of the Karmic

Life is a great school for the learning of lessons. It has many grades,
many classes, many scales of progress. And the lessons must be learned
whether we will or no. If we refuse or neglect to learn the lesson we
are sent back to accomplish the task, again and again, until the lesson
is finally learned. Nothing once learned is ever forgotten entirely.
There is an indelible imprint of the lesson in our character, which
manifests as predispositions, tastes, inclinations, etc. All that goes
to make up that which we call "Character" is the workings of the Law of
Karma. There is no such thing as Chance. Nothing ever "happens." All is
regulated by the Law of Cause and Effect or Karma. As a man sows so
shall he reap, in a literal sense. You are what you are to-day, by
reason of what you were in your last life. And in your next life you
will be what you are making of yourself to-day. You are your own judge,
and executioner--your own bestower of rewards. But the Love of the
Absolute is ever working to lead you upward to the Light, and to open
your soul to that knowledge that, in the words of the Yogis, "burns up
Karma," and enables you to throw off the burden of Cause and Effect
that you have been carrying around with you, and which has weighted you

In the Fourteen Lessons we quoted from Mr. Berry Benson, a writer in
the Century Magazine for May, 1894. The quotation fits so beautifully
into this place, that we venture to reproduce it here once more, with
your permission. It reads as follows:

"A little boy went to school. He was very little. All that he knew he
had drawn in with his mother's milk. His teacher (who was God) placed
him in the lowest class, and gave him these lessons to learn: Thou
shalt not kill. Thou shalt do no hurt to any living thing. Thou shalt
not steal. So the man did not kill; but he was cruel, and he stole. At
the end of the day (when his beard was gray--when the night was come)
his teacher (who was God) said: Thou hast learned not to kill, but the
other lessons thou hast not learned. Come back tomorrow.

"On the morrow he came back a little boy. And his teacher (who was God)
put him in a class a little higher, and gave him these lessons to
learn: Thou shalt do no hurt to any living thing. Thou shalt not steal.
Thou shalt not cheat. So the man did no hurt to any living thing; but
he stole and cheated. And at the end of the day (when his beard was
gray--when the night was come) his teacher (who was God) said: Thou
hast learned to be merciful. But the other lessons thou hast not
learned. Come back tomorrow.

"Again, on the morrow, he came back, a little boy. And his teacher (who
was God) put him in a class yet a little higher, and gave him these
lessons to learn: Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not cheat. Thou
shalt not covet. So the man did not steal; but he cheated and he
coveted. And at the end of the day (when his beard was gray--when the
night was come) his teacher (who was God) said: Thou hast learned not
to steal. But the other lessons thou hast not learned. Come back, my
child, tomorrow.

"This is what I have read in the faces of men and women, in the book of
the world, and in the scroll of the heavens, which is writ with stars."

Under the operation of the Law of Karma every man is master of his own
destiny--he rewards himself--he punishes himself--he builds, tears down
and develops his character, always, however, under the brooding
influence of the Absolute which is Love Infinite and which is
constantly exerting the upward spiritual urge, which is drawing the
soul toward its ultimate haven of rest. Man must, and does, work out
his own salvation and destiny, but the upward urge is always
there--never tiring--never despairing--knowing always that Ultimate
Victory belongs to the soul.

Under the Law of Karma every action, yea, every thought as well, has
its Karmic effect upon the future incarnations of the soul. And, not
exactly in the nature of punishment or rewards, in the general
acceptation of the term, but as the invariable operation of the Law of
Cause and Effect. The thoughts of a person are like seeds which seek to
press forward into growth, bud, blossom and fruit. Some spring into
growth in this life, while others are carried over into future lives.
The actions of this life may represent only the partial growth of the
thought seed, and future lives may be necessary for its full blossoming
and fruition. Of course, the individual who understands the Truth, and
who has mentally divorced himself from the fruits of his actions--who
has robbed material Desire of its vital force by seeing it as it is,
and not as a part of his Real Self--his seed-thoughts do not spring
into blossom and fruit in future lives, for he has killed their germ.
The Yogis express this thought by the illustration of the baked-seeds.
They show their pupils that while ordinary seeds sprout, blossom and
bear fruit, still if one bakes the seeds their vitality is gone, and
while they may serve the purposes of a nourishing meal still they can
never cause sprout, blossom or fruit. Then the pupil is instructed in
the nature of Desire, and shown how desires invariably spring into
plant, blossom and fruit, the life of the person being the soil in
which they flourish. But Desires understood, and set off from the Real
Man, are akin to baked-seeds--they have been subjected to the heat of
spiritual wisdom and are thus robbed of their vitality, and are unable
to bear fruit. In this way the understood and mastered Desire bears no
Karmic fruit of future action.

The Yogis teach that there are two great principles at work in the
matter of Karmic Law affecting the conditions of rebirth. The first
principle is that whereby the prevailing desires, aspirations, likes,
and dislikes, loves and hates, attractions and repulsions, etc., press
the soul into conditions in which these characteristics may have a
favorable and congenial soil for development. The second principle is
that which may be spoken of as the urge of the unfolding Spirit, which
is always urging forward toward fuller expression, and the breaking
down of confining sheaths, and which thus exerts a pressure upon the
soul awaiting reincarnation which causes it to seek higher environments
and conditions than its desires and aspiration, as well as its general
characteristics, would demand. These two apparently conflicting (and
yet actually harmonious) principles acting and reacting upon each
other, determine the conditions of rebirth, and have a very material
effect upon the Karmic Law. One's life is largely a conflict between
these two forces, the one tending to hold the soul to the present
conditions resulting from past lives, and the other ever at work
seeking to uplift and elevate it to greater heights.

The desires and characteristics brought over from the past lives, of
course, seek fuller expression and manifestation upon the lines of the
past lives. These tendencies simply wish to be let alone and to grow
according to their own laws of development and manifestation. But the
unfolding Spirit, knowing that the soul's best interests are along the
lines of spiritual unfoldment and growth, brings a steady pressure to
bear, life after life, upon the soul, causing it to gradually kill out
the lower desires and characteristics, and to develop qualities which
tend to lead it upward instead of allowing it to remain on its present
level, there to bring to blossom and fruit many low thoughts and
desires. Absolute Justice reigns over the operations of the Law of
Karma, but back of that and superior even to its might is found the
Infinite Love of the absolute which tends to Redeem the race. It is
that love that is back of all the upward tendencies of the soul, and
which we all feel within our inner selves in our best moments. The
light of the Spirit (Love) is ever there.

Our relationship to others in past lives has its effect upon the
working of the Law of Karma. If in the past we have formed attachments
for other individuals, either through love or hate; either by kindness
or cruelty; these attachments manifest in our present life, for these
persons are bound to us, and we to them, by the bonds of Karma, until
the attachment is worn out. Such people will in the present life have
certain relationships to us, the object of which is the working out of
the problems in which we are mutually concerned, the adjustment of
relationship, the "squaring up" of accounts, the development of both.
We are apt to be placed in a position to receive hurts from those whom
we have hurt in past lives, and this not through the idea of revenge,
but by the inexorable working out of the Law of Compensation in Karmic
adjustments. And when we are helped, comforted and receive favors from
those who we helped in past lives, it is not merely a reward, but the
operation of the same law of Justice. The person who hurts us in this
way may have no desire to do so, and may even be distressed because he
is used as an instrument in this way, but the Karmic Law places him in
a position where he unwittingly and without desire acts so that you
receive pain through him. Have you not felt yourselves hurting another,
although you had no desire and intention of so doing, and, in fact,
were sorely distressed because you could not prevent the pain? This Is
the operation of Karma. Have you not found yourself placed where you
unexpectedly were made the bestower of favors upon some almost unknown
persons? This is Karma. The Wheel turns slowly, but it makes the
complete circle.

Karma is the companion law to Metempsychosis. The two are inextricably
connected, and their operations are closely interwoven. Constant and
unvarying in operation, Karma manifests upon and in worlds, planets,
races, nations, families and persons Everywhere in space is the great
law in operation in some form. The so-called mechanical operations
called Causation are as much a phase of Karma as is the highest phases
manifest on the higher planes of life, far beyond our own. And through
it all is ever the urge toward perfection--the upward movement of all
life. The Yogi teachings regard the Universe as a mighty whole, and the
Law of Karma as the one great law operating and manifesting through
that whole.

How different is the workings of this mighty Law from the many ideas
advanced by man to account for the happenings of life. Mere Chance is
no explanation, for the careful thinker must inevitably come to the
conclusion that in an Universe governed by law, there can be no room
for Chance. And to suppose that all rewards and punishments are
bestowed by a personal deity, in answer to prayers, supplications, good
behavior, offerings, etc., is to fall back into the childhood stage of
the race thought. The Yogis teach that the sorrow, suffering and
affliction witnessed on all sides of us, as well as the joy, happiness
and blessings also in evidence, are not caused by the will or whim of
some capricious deity to reward his friends and punish his enemies--but
by the working of an invariable Law which metes out to each his measure
of good and ill according to his Karmic attachments and relationships.

Those who are suffering, and who see no cause for their pain, are apt
to complain and rebel when they see others of no apparent merit
enjoying the good things of life which have been denied their
apparently more worthy brethren. The churches have no answer except "It
is God's will," and that "the Divine motive must not be questioned."
These answers seem like mockery, particularly when the idea of Divine
Justice is associated with the teaching. There is no other answer
compatible with Divine Justice other than the Law of Karma, which makes
each person responsible for his or her happiness or misery. And there
is nothing so stimulating to one as to know that he has within himself
the means to create for himself newer and better conditions of life and
environment. We are what we are to-day by reason of what we were in our
yesterdays. We will be in our tomorrows that which we have started into
operation to-day. As we sow in this life, so shall we reap in the
next--we are now reaping that which we have sown in the past. St. Paul
voiced a world truth when he said: "Brethren, be not deceived. God is
not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap."

The teachers divide the operation of Karma into three general classes,
as follows:
(1) The Karmic manifestations which are now under way in our lives,
producing results which are the effects of causes set into motion in
our past lives. This is the most common form, and best known phase of
Karmic manifestation.

(2) The Karma which we are now acquiring and storing up by reason of
our actions, deeds, thoughts and mental and spiritual relationships.
This stored up Karma will spring into operation in future lives, when
the body and environments appropriate for its manifestation presents
itself or is secured; or else when other Karma tending to restrict its
operations is removed. But one does not necessarily have to wait until
a future life in order to set into operation and manifestation the
Karma of the present life. For there come times in which there being no
obstructing Karma brought over from a past life, the present life Karma
may begin to manifest.

(3) The Karma brought over from past incarnations, which is not able to
manifest at the present time owing to the opposition presented by other
Karma of an opposite nature, serves to hold the first in check. It is a
well known physical law, which likewise manifests on the mental plane,
that two opposing forces result in neutralization, that is, both of the
forces are held in check. Of course, though, a more powerful Karma may
manage to operate, while a weaker is held in check by it.

Not only have individuals their own Karma, but families, races, nations
and worlds have their collective Karma. In the cases of races, if the
race Karma generated in the past be favorable on the whole, the race
flourishes and its influence widens. If on the contrary its collective
Karma be bad, the race gradually disappears from the face of the earth,
the souls constituting it separating according to their Karmic
attractions, some going to this race and some to another. Nations are
bound by their Karma, as any student of history may perceive if he
studies closely the tides of national progress or decline.

The Karma of a nation is made up of the collective Karma of the
individuals composing it, so far as their thoughts and acts have to do
with the national spirit and acts. Nations as nations cease to exist,
but the souls of the individuals composing them still live on and make
their influence felt in new races, scenes and environments. The ancient
Egyptians, Persians, Medes, Chaldeans, Romans, Grecians and many other
ancient races have disappeared, but their reincarnating souls are with
us to-day. The modern revival of Occultism is caused by an influx of
the souls of these old peoples pouring in on the Western worlds.

The following quotation from The Secret Doctrine, that remarkable
piece of occult literature, will be interesting at this point:

    "Nor would the ways of Karma be inscrutable were men to work
    in union and harmony instead of disunion and strife. For our
    ignorance of those ways--which one portion of mankind calls
    the ways of Providence, dark and intricate, while another
    sees in them the action of blind fatalism, and a third simple
    Chance with neither gods nor devils to guide them--would
    surely disappear if we would but attribute all these to their
    correct cause. With right knowledge, or at any rate with a
    confident conviction that our neighbors will no more work
    harm to us than we would think of harming them, two-thirds of
    the world's evil would vanish into thin air. Were no man to
    hurt his brother, Karma-Nemesis would have neither cause to
    work for, nor weapons to act through ... We cut these
    numerous windings in our destinies daily with our own hands,
    while we imagine that we are pursuing a track on the royal
    road of respectability and duty, and then complain of those
    ways being so intricate and so dark. We stand bewildered
    before the mystery of our own making and the riddles of life
    that we will not solve, and then accuse the great Sphinx of
    devouring us. But verily there is not an accident in our
    lives, not a misshapen day or a misfortune, that could not be
    traced back to our own doings in this or another life ...
    Knowledge of Karma gives the conviction that if--

         'Virtue in distress and vice in triumph
         Makes atheists of Mankind,'

    it is only because that mankind has ever shut its eyes to the
    great truth that man is himself his own savior as his own
    destroyer; that he need not accuse heaven, and the gods,
    fates and providence, of the apparent injustice that reigns
    in the midst of humanity. But let him rather remember that
    bit of Grecian wisdom which warns man to forbear accusing
    THAT which 'Just though mysterious, leads us on unerring
    Through ways unmarked from guilt to punishment'--which are
    now the ways and the high road on which move onward the great
    European nations. The Western Aryans have every nation and
    tribe like their eastern brethren of the fifth race, their
    Golden and their Iron ages, their period of comparative
    irresponsibility, or the Satya age of purity, while now
    several of them have reached their Iron Age, the Kali Yuga,
    an age black with horrors. This state will last ... until we
    begin acting from within instead of ever following impulses
    from without. Until then the only palliative is union and
    harmony--a Brotherhood in actu and altruism not simply in

Edwin Arnold, in his wonderful poem, "The Light of Asia," which tells
the story of the Buddha, explains the doctrine of Karma from the
Buddhist standpoint. We feel that our students should become acquainted
with this view, so beautifully expressed, and so we herewith quote the
passages referred to:

    "Karma--all that total of a soul
      Which is the things it did, the thoughts it had,
    The 'self' it wove with woof of viewless time
      Crossed on the warp invisible of acts.

      *       *       *       *       *

    "What hath been bringeth what shall be, and is,
      Worse--better--last for first and first for last;
    The angels in the heavens of gladness reap
      Fruits of a holy past.

    "The devils in the underworlds wear out
      Deeds that were wicked in an age gone by.
    Nothing endures: fair virtues waste with time,
      Foul sins grow purged thereby.

    "Who toiled a slave may come anew a prince
      For gentle worthiness and merit won;
    Who ruled a king may wander earth in rags
      For things done and undone.

    "Before beginning, and without an end,
      As space eternal and as surety sure,
    Is fixed a Power divine which moves to good,
      Only its laws endure.

    "It will not be contemned of any one:
      Who thwarts it loses, and who serves it gains;
    The hidden good it pays with peace and bliss,
      The hidden ill with pains.

    "It seeth everywhere and marketh all:
      Do right--it recompenseth! Do one wrong--
    The equal retribution must be made,
      Though DHARMA tarry long.

    "It knows not wrath nor pardon; utter-true
      Its measures mete, its faultless balance weighs;
    Times are as naught, to-morrow it will judge,
      Or after many days.

    "By this the slayer's knife did stab himself;
      The unjust judge hath lost his own defender;
    The false tongue dooms its lie; the creeping thief
      And spoiler rob, to render.

    "Such is the law which moves to righteousness,
      Which none at last can turn aside or stay;
    The heart of it is love, the end of it
      Is peace and consummation sweet. Obey!

      *       *       *       *       *

    "The books say well, my brothers! each man's life
      The outcome of his former living is;
    The bygone wrongs bring forth sorrow and woes,
      The bygone right breeds bliss.

    "That which ye sow ye reap. See yonder fields!
      The sesamum was sesamum, the corn
    Was corn. The silence and the darkness knew;
      So is a man's fate born.

    "He cometh, reaper of the things he sowed,
      Sesamum, corn, so much cast in past birth;
    And so much weed and poison-stuff, which mar
      Him and the aching earth.

    "If he shall labor rightly, rooting these,
      And planting wholesome seedlings where they grew,
    Fruitful and fair and clean the ground shall be,
      And rich the harvest due.

    "If he who liveth, learning whence woe springs,
      Endureth patiently, striving to pay
    His utmost debt for ancient evils done
      In love and truth always;

    If making none to lack, he thoroughly purge
      The lie and lust of self forth from his blood;
    Suffering all meekly, rendering for offence
      Nothing but grace and good:

    "If he shall day by day dwell merciful,
      Holy and just and kind and true; and rend
    Desire from where it clings with bleeding roots,
      Till love of life have end:

    "He--dying--leaveth as the sum of him
      A life-count closed, whose ills are dead and quit,
    Whose good is quick and mighty, far and near,
      So that fruits follow it.

    "No need hath such to live as ye name life;
      That which began in him when he began
    Is finished: he hath wrought the purpose through
      Of what did make him man.

    "Never shall yearnings torture him, nor sins
      Stain him, nor ache of earthly joys and woes
    Invade his safe eternal peace; nor deaths
      And lives recur. He goes

    "Unto NIRVANA. He is one with Life
      Yet lives not. He is blest, ceasing to be.
    OM, MANI PADME OM! the dewdrop slips
      Into the shining sea!

    "This is the doctrine of the Karma. Learn!
      Only when all the dross of sin is quit,
    Only when life dies like a white flame spent.
      Death dies along with it."

And so, friends, this is a brief account of the operations of the Law
of Karma. The subject is one of such wide scope that the brief space at
our disposal enables us to do little more than to call your attention
to the existence of the Law, and some of its general workings. We
advise our students to acquaint themselves thoroughly with what has
been written on this subject by ourselves and others. In our first
series of lessons--the "Fourteen Lessons"--the chapter or lesson on
Spiritual Cause and Effect was devoted to the subject of Karma. We
advise our students to re-study it. We also suggest that Mr. Sinnett's
occult story entitled "Karma" gives its readers an excellent idea of
the actual working of Karma in the everyday lives of people of our own
times. We recommend the book to the consideration of our students. It
is published at a popular price, and is well worth the consideration of
every one interested in this wonderful subject of Reincarnation and

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