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


As we have stated in previous Lessons, all philosophies which thinkers
have considered worthy of respect, find their final expression of Truth
in the fundamental thought that there is but One Reality, underlying
all the manifold manifestations of shape and form. It is true that the
philosophers have differed widely in their conception of that One, but,
nevertheless, they have all agreed upon the logical necessity of the
fundamental conception that there is, at least, but One Reality,
underlying All.

Even the Materialists have conceded this conclusion, and they speak and
think of a something called "Matter," as the One--holding that,
inherent in Matter, is the potentiality of all Life. The school of
Energists, holding that Matter in itself is non-existent, and that it
is merely a mode of manifestation of a something called "Energy,"
asserts that this something called Energy is One, fundamental, real,
and self-sufficient.

The various forms of Western religious thought, which hold to the
various conceptions of a Personal Deity, also hold to a Oneness,
inasmuch as they teach that in the beginning there was God, only, and
that all the Universe has been created by Him. They do not go into
details regarding this creation, and, unlike the Oriental teachers,
they fail to distinguish between the conception of the creation of
shape and form, on the one hand; and the creation of the substance of
these shapes and forms, on the other hand. But, even accepting the
premises of these people who hold to the Personal Deity conception, it
will be seen that the Reason requires the acceptance of one or two
ideas, viz., (1) That the Deity created the substance of these shapes
and forms from Nothing; or else (2) that he created them out of his
own substance--out of Himself, in fact. Let us consider, briefly,
these two conceptions.

In the first conception, i.e., Creation from Nothing, we are brought
face to face with an impregnable obstacle, inasmuch as the human reason
positively refuses to think of Anything coming from Nothing. While it
is perfectly true that the finite human mind cannot undertake to limit
the powers of the Infinite; or to insist that the possibilities of the
Divine Power must be measured and limited by the finite power of
Man--still it must hearken to the report of its own highest faculties,
and say "I cannot Think it," or else blindly accept the teachings of
other finite minds which are equally unable to "Think it," and which
have no superior sources of information. The Infinite Power has endowed
us with reasoning faculties, and evidently expects us to use them to
their full capacity--else the gift were a mockery. And in the absence
of information from higher sources than the Reason, we must use the
Reason in thinking of this matter, or else refuse to think of it at

In view of the above thought, let us then consider the report of the
Reason, regarding this matter, And then, after having done so, let us
apply the test of this report of the Reason, to the highest teaching of
the Yogi Philosophy, and see how the latter stands the test. And, after
having done this, we will apply the test of the Higher Consciousness to
the same teachings. Remember this always, that while there is knowledge
that transcends Reason--that is knowledge that comes from the Higher
Regions of the Mind--still even such information of the Spiritual Mind
does not run contrary to Reason, although it goes beyond it. There is
harmony between the Spiritual Mind and the Highest Reason.

Returning to the consideration of the matter of Creation of Substance
from Nothing, we again assert that the Reason is unable to think of
the creation of Something from Nothing. It finds the statement
unthinkable, and contrary to all the laws of thought. It is true that
the Reason is compelled to accept as a final truth, many things that it
cannot understand by reason of its finitude--but this is not one of
them. There is no logical necessity for the Reason to accept any such
conception as this--there is no warrant in the Reason for any such
theory, idea or conclusion. Let us stop here, for a moment, and examine
into this difference--it may help us to think clearer, hereafter.

We find it impossible to understand the fact of the Infinite Being
having always existed--and Being without Cause. We find it impossible
to conceive of the nature of an Eternal, Causeless, and Infinite
Being--to conceive the nature of, such a Being, remember.

But, while this is so, still our Reason, by its own laws, compels us to
think that there must be such a Being, so long as we think at all.
For, if we think at all, we must think of there being a Fundamental
Reality--and we must think of that Reality as being without Cause
(because there can be no Cause for the First Cause); and we must
think of that Reality as being Eternal (because It could not have
sprung into Being from Nothing, and therefore must have always been);
and we must think of that Reality as Infinite (because there is
nothing outside of Itself to limit It). Think over this statement for a
moment--until you grasp it fully.

But there is no such necessity, or compulsion, in the case of the
question of Creation from Nothingness. On the contrary, the necessity
and compulsion is all the other way. Not only is the Reason unable to
think of Creation from Nothing--not only does all its laws forbid it
to hold such a conception--but, more than this, it finds within itself
a conception, full-grown and potent, which contradicts this idea. It
finds within itself the strong certainty that Whatever Really Is has
Always Been, and that all transient and finite shapes, forms, and
manifestations, must proceed from that which is Real, Infinite,
Causeless, and Infinite--and moreover must be composed of the
substance of that Reality, for there is nothing else Real from which
they could have been composed; and their composition from Nothing is
unthinkable, for Nothing is Nothing, and always will be Nothing.
"Nothing" is merely a name of denial of existence--an absolute denial
of substantiality of any degree, kind or form--an absolute denial of
Reality. And from such could come only Nothing--from Nothing, Nothing

Therefore, finding within itself the positive report that All, and
Anything There Is, must be composed of the Substance of the Reality,
the Reason is compelled to think that the Universe is composed of the
Substance of the One Reality--whether we call that One Reality, by the
name of The Absolute; or whether we call it God. We must believe that
from this Absolute-God all things in the Universe have flown out, or
been emanated, rather than created--begotten, rather than "made."

This does not mean the Pantheistic idea that the Universe is God--but
rather that God, while existing separate and apart from His Universe,
in his Essence, and Being, is nevertheless in His Universe, and His
Universe in Him. And this, no matter what conception of God or Deity
is had--or whether one thinks of The Absolute as Principle. The Truth
is the same--Truth no matter by what names it is called, or by what
misconception it is surrounded. The Truth is that One is in All, and
All is in One--such is the report of the highest Reason of Man--such
is the report of the Illumined--such is the Highest Teachings that have
come down to the race from the great souls that have trodden The Path
of Attainment.

And now let us submit the Yogi Philosophy to these conceptions, and
reports of the Reason. And let us discover just what more the Yogi
Philosophy has to say concerning the nature of the Substance of the
Divine, which infills all Life--and how it solves the Riddle of the
Sphinx, concerning the One in All; and All in One. We hope to show you
that the Riddle is capable of solution, and that the old Yogi teachers
have long ago grasped that for which the human mind has ever sought.
This phase of the Teachings is the highest, and it is usually hinted
at, rather than expressed, in the writings on the subject--owing to
danger of confusion and misconception. But in these Lessons we shall
speak the Truth plainly, and without fear--for such is the Message
which has been given us to deliver to our students--and we will perform
the Right action, leaving the Result, or Fruits of the Action, where it
belongs, according to the higher teachings found in the "Bhagavad
Gita," and in the Higher Teachings of the Yogi Philosophy.

The fundamental Truth embedded in the Wisdom-Philosophies of the
East--the Higher Yogi Teachings--is the impregnable doctrine of the One
Self in the many selves--the many selves in the One Self. This
fundamental Truth underlies all the Oriental Philosophies which are
esoteric in their nature.

Notwithstanding the crude and often repulsive conceptions and practices
of the masses of the people who represent the exoteric, or popular,
phase of the teachings (and these two phases are to be found in all
regions) still there is always this Inner Doctrine of the One Self, to
be found to those who look for it.

Not only is this true among the Hindus; but even among the Mahommedans,
of all countries, there is an Inner Circle of Mystics, known as the
Sufis, holding to this Truth. And the inner teachings of the
philosophies of all ages and races, have held likewise. And the highest
thought of the philosophers of the Western races, has found refuge in
this idea of the Over-soul, or Universal Self. But, it is only among
the Yogis that we find an attempt made to explain the real nature of
the manifestation of the One in Many--the holding of the Many forms in
the One Self.

Before proceeding to the consideration of how the One becomes as
Many, as expounded by the Higher Yogi Teachings, it becomes necessary
to speak of a matter upon which there has been much confusion and
misunderstanding, not only on the part of the students of various
Oriental Philosophies, but also upon the part of some of the teachers
themselves. We allude to the connection between THE ONE--THE
ABSOLUTE--in Its ESSENCE--and that which has been called the One Life;
the Universal Life, etc.

Many writers have spoken of the Universal Life, and The One, as being
identical--but such is a grievous error, finding no warrant in the
Highest Yogi Teachings. It is true that all living forms dwell in, and
are infilled with the Universal Life--that All Life is One. We have
taught this truth, and it is indeed Truth, without qualification. But
there is still a Higher Truth--the Highest Truth, in fact--and that is,
that even this Universal Life is not the One, but, instead, is in
itself a manifestation of, and emanation from, THE ONE. There is a
great difference here---see that you perceive and understand it, before
proceeding further.

THE ONE--THE ABSOLUTE--according to the Highest Teachings, is Pure
Spirit, and not Life, Mind, or Being as we understand them in our
finite and mortal expressions. But, still all Life, Mind, and Being, as
we understand them, spring from, flow from, and emanate from, the
One--and more than this, may be spoken of as reflections of the Life,
Mind, and Being of The One, if we may be permitted to apply the names
of finite manifestations to the Infinite Reality.

So, the Highest Teaching is that the Universal Life infilling all
living things, is not, in itself, the Being and Life of THE ONE--but is
rather a great fundamental emanation of The One, the manner and nature
of which will be spoken of as we proceed. Remember this, please.

Leading up to the Supreme Idea of the One in All--All in One--let us
examine into the report of the Reason upon the nature of the
Substance--the Divine Substance--from which all living forms are
shaped; and from which all that we know as Finite Mind is likewise
composed. How can these imperfect and finite forms be composed of a
Divine and Perfect Substance? This is the question that must occur to
the minds of those who are capable of deep thought on the subject--and
it is a question that must be answered. And it can be answered--and
is answered in the Higher Yogi Philosophy. Let us examine the reports
of the Reason, a little further--then shall we be ready for the

Of what can the Substance of the Infinite be composed? Can it be
Matter? Yes, if you are satisfied with the reasoning of the
Materialists, and cannot see further into the Truth! These teach that
Matter is God, and that God is Matter. But if you be among those who
reject the Materialistic teachings, you will not be satisfied with this
answer. Even if you incline toward a Non-mental Infinite, still if you
are familiar with the results of modern scientific investigation, and
know that Science has seen Matter resolve itself into something like
Electric Energy, you will know that the Truth must lie behind and
beyond Matter.

Then is it Pure Energy? you may ask. Pure Energy? what's that? Can you
think of Energy apart from material manifestation? Have you ever known
of such a thing? Do you not know that even the Electron Theory, which
is attracting the attention of advanced Modern Science, and which holds
that all things are composed of minute particles of Electric Energy,
called Electrons, from which the Atoms are built--do you not know that
even this theory recognizes the necessity of a "something like Matter,
only infinitely finer," which they call the Ether, to enfold the
Electric Energy as a unit--to give it a body, as it were? And can you
escape from the fact that the most advanced scientific minds find
confronting them--the fact that in all Energy, and governing its
actions, there 'is manifested "something like Mind"?

And does not all this teach thinkers that just as Energy creates from
itself, that which is called Matter, and then uses it as a vehicle of
expression and action--so does this "Something like Mind" create from
itself that which we call Energy, and proceeds to use it, with its
accompanying phase of Matter, for its expression? Does not all advanced
research show us that in all Matter and Energy there are evidences of
the operation of this "Something like Mind"? And if this be so, are we
not justified as regarding Matter and Energy as mere Effects--and to
look to this "Something like Mind" as the more fundamental Substance?
We think so--and Science is beginning to think so, too. And soon will
Science be regarding with the most profound respect, the Metaphysical
axiom that "All is Mind."

You will see by reference to our "Advanced Course in Yogi Philosophy,
etc.," the general Yogi teachings regarding the Emanation of the One,
known respectively as Mind, Energy, and Matter. You will see that the
Yogis teach that Mind, Energy, and Matter comprise a threefold
emanation of the Absolute. You will also see that it is taught that
Mind was the Parent-Emanation--the Universal Mind; and that the
Universal Energy was the Second-Emanation (proceeding from Mind); and
that the Universal Matter was the Third Emanation (proceeding from
Energy) In the same book you will find that the Teaching is that above
Matter, Energy, and Mind, is the Essence of the Absolute, which is
called Spirit--the nature of which is non-understandable to the mind of
Man, the highest conception of which is the highest manifestation of
itself--Mind. But as we cannot comprehend spirit otherwise, we are
justified in thinking of it as Something like Infinite Mind--Something
as much higher than Finite Mind as that is higher than mere energy.

Now, then--we have seen the folly of thinking of the Divine Substance
as Matter or Energy. And we have come to know it as Spirit, something
like Mind, only infinitely higher, but which still may be thought of in
terms of Infinite Mind, for we can have no higher terms in our thinking
operations. So we may then assume that this Divine Nature or substance
is SPIRIT, which we will think of as Infinite Mind, for want of a
better form of conception.

We have seen the folly of thinking of the Divine Essential Substance as
the Body of God. We have likewise seen the folly of thinking of it as
the Vital Energy of God. And we have found that we could not escape
thinking of it as the Spirit, or infinite Mind of God. Beyond this we
cannot think intelligently.

But do you not see that all this exercise of the Reason has brought us
to the point where we must think that this Divine Substance, which the
Absolute-God uses in the manifestation of Universal Life; the Universe;
and all the forms, and shapes, and manifestations of life and things in
the Universe--this Divine Substance which must be in All Things--and
in which All Things must rest, even as the bubble rests on the
Ocean--that this can be nothing less than Spirit, and that this Spirit
can be thought of only as Infinite Mind?

And, if this be so, then indeed must All be Mind, and Mind be
All--meaning, of course, the Infinite Mind, not the finite
manifestation that we call Mind.

Then, if this reasoning has been correct, then must we think that All
Life--all the Universe--Everything except the Absolute itself--must be
held in the Infinite Mind of the Absolute!

And, so, by the exercise of our Reason--by listening to, and examining
its reports, we have been brought face to face--eye to eye--heart to
heart--with the Teaching of the Illumined Ones, which has come down to
us as the Highest Teaching of the Yogi Philosophy! For this, indeed, is
the highest conception of Truth in the Yogi Teachings--this, that ALL
Real Thing about Man is THE SPIRIT involved in the Thought-Form, the
rest is mere Personality, which changes and ceases to be. The Spirit in
the Soul of Man, is the SOUL OF THE SOUL, which is never born; never
changeth; never dieth--this is The Real Self of Man, in which, indeed,
he is "One with the Father."

This is the point where the Reasoning Mind of Man has come to a sense
of Agreement with the Highest Yogi Teachings. Let us now pass on to the
Teachings themselves--let us listen to The Message of Truth.

In this consideration of the Highest Yogi Philosophy, and its teaching,
we would again say to our students, that which we said to them in "The
Advanced Course"--that we do not attempt to teach the "why" of the
Manifestation of The Absolute, but rest content with delivering the
Message of the Yogi Sages, which deals with the "how." As we stated in
the lessons referred to, we incline to that school of the Higher
Teachings, which holds that the "Why" of the Infinite Manifestation
must, of necessity, rest with the Infinite alone, and that the finite
mind cannot hope to answer the question. We hold that in all the
Universal Mind, or in any of its Mind Manifestations, there is to be
found no answer to this question! Wrapped in the Essence of the
Absolute Spirit, alone, is this Final Answer!

The Sages, and Masters, from their high spiritual points of
observation, possess many truths regarding the "how" side of the
question that would appear almost like Infinite Wisdom itself, compared
with our puny knowledge. But even these great souls report that they do
not possess the answer to the Final Question--the "Why" of the Infinite
Manifestation. And so we may be excused from attempting to answer
it--and without shame or sense of shortcoming do we still say, to this
question, "We do not know!"

In order that the Final Question may be fully understood let us
consider it for a moment. We find the Question arising from the
following condition:

The human Reason is compelled to admit that there is an Infinite,
Eternal, Causeless REALITY underlying all forms of manifestation in the
phenomenal world. It is likewise compelled to admit that this REALITY
must comprise All that Really Is--and that there can be nothing Real
outside of Itself. Arising from this is the Truth, that all forms of
phenomenal manifestation, must emanate from the One Reality, for
there is nothing else Real from which they could emanate. And the
twin-Truth that these forms of manifestation, must also be in the
Being of the One Reality, for there is nowhere outside of the All
wherein they might find a place. So this One Reality is seen to be
"That from which All Things flow"; and "That in which All Things live,
and move and have their being."

Therefore All Things emanate from, and are contained in the One
Reality. We shall consider "just how" later on, but the question which
confronts us, and which has been called the "Final Question"--and that
which we pronounce unanswerable--is this: "Why has the Infinite
manifested and emanated Finite forms of being?" You will see the nature
of the question when you stop to consider: (1) The Infinite cannot have
Desire, for that is a Finite quality; (2) It cannot lack anything, for
that would take away from its Infinity; (3) and even if it did lack
anything, from whence could it expect to acquire it; for there is
nothing outside of itself--if It lacks anything, it must continue to
always lack it, for there is no outside source from which It could
obtain anything which it does not already possess. And Desire would be,
of course, a wanting for something which it lacked--so It could not
Desire unless it Lacked--and it would know that Desire would be
hopeless, even if indeed it did Lack.

So you see that if we regard the Infinite Reality as Perfect, we must
drop all ideas of It Desiring or Lacking--and of it Growing or
Improving--or of it obtaining more Power, or Knowledge. These ideas are
ridiculous, for an Absolute, Infinite Reality, must possess
All-Knowledge; All-Power; All-Presence, else it is not Absolute and
Infinite. And, if It does not possess these attributes of Being, then
It can never hope to acquire them, for there is Nowhere from whence
they could be acquired--there is no Source outside of the All-Source. A
Finite Thing, may lack, and desire, and improve and develop, for there
is the Universal Source from which it may draw. But the Infinite has no
Universal Source, for it is Its own Source. Do you see the nature of
the Final Question? If not we will again state it--it is this:

"Why should the Infinite Reality, which possesses all that may be
possessed, and which in itself is the only Source of Things--WHY should
It Desire to manifest a Universe from and within Itself?"

A little consideration will show you that there is no intelligent
answer to the "Why," either in your own minds, or in the writings and
teachings of the greatest minds. The matter is important, to those who
are confronted every day with some of the many attempts to answer this
Final Question--it is well that our students inform them regarding the
futility of such questioning. And with this end in view, we shall
herein give a few of the wise "guesses" at the answer, and our reasons
for considering them inadequate. We ask the student to consider
carefully these remarks, for by so doing he will post himself, and will
be saved much tedious and perplexing wandering along the dangerous
places in the Swamp of Metaphysics, following the will-o'-the-wisp of
Finite Mind masquerading as the Infinite Wisdom! Beware of the False
Lights! They lead to the quagmire and quicksands of thought!

Let us now consider some of these "guesses" at the answer to the Final
Question. Some thinkers have held that the Absolute was bound by a
Divine Necessity to manifest itself as Many. The answer to this is that
the Absolute could not be bound by anything, inner or outer, else it
would not be Absolute and Infinite, but would be Relative and Finite.
Another set of thinkers have held that the Absolute found within itself
a Desire to Manifest as Many. From whence could come such an
action-causing Desire? The Absolute could lack nothing, and there would
be nothing for it to desire to gain, other than that which It already
possessed. One does not desire things one already has, but only what he

Another school would tell us that the Infinite wished to Express
itself in the phenomenal world. Why? Such a phenomenal world could only
be reflection of Its power, witnessed only by Itself, and could contain
nothing that was not already contained in the All. To what end would
such a wish tend? What would be accomplished or gained? The Infinite
All could not become anything more than It already was--so why the wish
for expression? Some say that the whole phenomenal world is but Maya,
or Illusion, and does not exist at all. Then who else than the Infinite
caused the Illusion, and why the necessity? This answer only removes
the question back one point, and does not really answer it. Some would
say that the Universe is the "dream of the Infinite." Can we conceive
the Infinite Being as exercising the finite faculty of "dreaming"--is
not this childish?

Others would have us believe that the Absolute is indulging in a "game"
or "play," when he makes Universes, and those inhabiting them. Can
anyone really believe this of The Absolute--playing like a child, with
men and women, worlds and suns, as Its blocks and tin-soldiers? Why
should the Infinite "play"?--does It need amusement and "fun" like a
child? Poor Man, with his attempts to read the Riddle of the Infinite!

We know of teachers who gravely instruct their pupils in the idea that
the Absolute and Infinite One manifests Universes and Universal Life,
and all that flows from them, because It wishes to "gain experience"
through objective existence. This idea, in many forms has been so
frequently advanced that it is worth while to consider its absurdity.
In the first place, what "experience" could be gained by the Absolute
and Infinite One? What could It expect to gain and learn, that it did
not already know and possess? One can gain experience only from others,
and outside things--not from oneself entirely separated from the
outside world of things. And there would be no "outside" for the
Infinite. These people would have us believe that The Absolute emanated
a Universe from Itself--which could contain nothing except that which
was obtained from Itself--and then proceeded to gain experience from
it. Having no "outside" from which it could obtain experiences and
sentences and sensations, it proceeded to make (from Itself) an
imitation one--that is what this answer amounts to. Can you accept it?

The whole trouble in all of these answers, or attempted answers, is
that the answerer first conceives of the Absolute-Infinite Being, as a
Relative-Finite Man, and then proceeds to explain what this Big Man
would do. This is but an exaggerated form of anthropomorphism--the
conception of God as a Man raised to great proportions. It is but an
extension of the idea which gave birth to the savage conceptions of
Deity as a cruel chief or mighty warrior, with human passions, hates,
and revenge; love, passions, and desires.

Arising from the same cause, and akin to the theories advanced above
are similar ones, which hold that the Absolute cannot dwell alone, but
must forever bring forth souls from Itself--this was the idea of
Plotinus, the Greek philosopher. Others have thought that the
Infinite was possessed of such a consuming love, that It manifested
objects upon which it could bestow Its affections. Others have thought
that It was lonesome, and desired companionship. Some have spoken of
the Absolute as "sacrificing" itself, in becoming Many, instead of
remaining One. Others have taught that the Infinite somehow has become
entangled in Its Manifestations, and had lost the knowledge of Its
Oneness--hence their teachings of "I Am God." Others, holding to a
similar idea, tell us that the Infinite is deliberately "masquerading"
as the Many, in order to fool and mystify Itself--a show of Itself; by
Itself, and for Itself! Is not this Speculative Metaphysics run wild?
Can one in calm thought so regard the Infinite and Absolute
Lacking Nothing--Perfect One--as acting and performing thus, and from
these motives? Is not this as childish as the childishness of the
savage, and barbarians, in their Mumbo-Jumbo conceptions? Let us leave
this phase of the subject.

The Higher Yogi Teachings hold to no such ideas or theories. It holds
that the Answer to the Secret is vested in the Infinite alone, and that
finite "guesses" regarding the "Why" are futile and pitiful. It holds
that while one should use the Reason to the full, still there are
phases of Being that can be considered only in Love, Faith, and
Confidence in THAT from which All Things flow, and in which we live and
move and have our being. It recognizes that the things of the Spirit,
are known by the Mind. It explores the regions of the Universal Mind to
its utmost limits, fearlessly--but it pauses before the Closed Door of
The Spirit, reverently and lovingly.

But, remember this--that while the Higher Yogi Teachings contain no
"guess," or speculative theory, regarding the "Why" of the Divine
Manifestation, still they do not deny the existence of a "Why". In
fact, they expressly hold that the Absolute Manifestation of the Many
is in pursuance of some wondrous Divine Plan, and that the Unfoldment
of the Plan proceeds along well-established and orderly lines, and
according to Law. They trust in the Wisdom and Love of the Absolute
Being, and manifest a perfect Confidence, Trust and Peaceful Patience
in the Ultimate Justice, and Final Victory of the Divine Plan. No doubt
disturbs this idea--it pays no attention to the apparent contradictions
in the finite phenomenal world, but sees that all things are proceeding
toward some far-away goal, and that "All is Well with the Universe".

But they do not think for a moment, or teach in the slightest degree,
that all this Unfoldment, and Plan of the Universe, has for its object
any advantage, benefit or gain to the Absolute--such a thought would be
folly, for the Absolute is already Perfect, and Its Perfection cannot
be added to, or taken away from. But they do positively teach that
there is a great beneficial purpose in all the Plan, accruing in the
end to the developed souls that have evolved through the workings of
the plan. These souls do not possess the qualities of the
Infinite--they are Finite, and thus are capable of receiving benefits;
of growing, developing, unfolding, attaining. And, therefore, the Yogis
teach that this building up of Great Souls seems to be the idea of the
Infinite, so far as may be gained from an observation of the Workings
of the Plan. The Absolute cannot need these Great Souls for Its own
pleasure, and therefore their building-up must be for their own
advantage, happiness and benefit.

The Yogis teach, on this subject, that there can be only ONE Real
Perfect Being--Perfect without experience--Perfect from the
Beginning--but only ONE! In other words, they teach that there can be
no such thing as Absolute Perfection, outside of the Absolute
Itself--and that not even the Absolute Being can create another
Absolute Being, for in that case there would be no Absolute Being at
all, but only two Relative Beings.

Think over this for a moment, and you will see its truth. The ABSOLUTE
must always be "the One without a Second", as the Yogis express
it--there cannot be two Perfect ones. And so, all Finite Beings,
being Finite, must work their way up toward the plane of Perfection by
The Path of Life, with all of its lessons, tasks, cares, pains, and
strivings. This is the only way open to them--and even the Absolute
cannot have it otherwise, and still be the Absolute. There is a fine
point here--the Absolute is All-Powerful, but even that All-Power is
not sufficient to enable It to destroy Its Absolute Being. And so, you
who have wondered, perhaps you may now understand our words in the
First Lesson of this series, in which we said that the message of the
Absolute to some of the Illumined has been: "All is being done in the
best and only possible way--I am doing the best I can--all is well--and
in the end will so appear."

And, as we also said in that First Lesson: "The Absolute, instead of
being an indifferent and unmoved spectator to its own creation, is a
striving, longing, active, suffering, rejoicing, feeling Spirit,
partaking of the feelings of Its manifestations, rather than callously
witnessing them. It lives in us--with us--through us. Back of all the
pain in the world, may be found a great feeling and suffering love."
And in this thought there is comfort to the doubting soul--peace to the
troubled mind.

In the Sixth Lesson, we shall proceed to deliver to you the further
Message of Truth, concerning "how" the One Absolute manifests Its
Mental Images as Universe; Universal Life; and Forms and Shapes; and
Individualities, and Personalities. We had hoped to include the whole
Message in this Fifth Lesson, but now find that we have merely laid the
steps by which the student may reach the Essential Truth.

But, lest the student may be left in an uncertain state of mind,
awaiting the conclusion of the consideration of the subject--and lest
he may think that we intend teaching him that the Universe, and all in
it, including himself are "Dreams," because we have said that All
Things are Thought-Forms in the Mind of the Absolute--lest this
misunderstanding may arise, we wish to add a few parting words to what
we have said.

We wish to impress upon the mind of the student that though all Things
are but Thought-Forms in the Mind of the Absolute Being, and that while
it is true that the entire Universe of Universes is simply a
Thought-Form held in the Mind of the Absolute--still this fact does not
mean that all Things are "illusions" or "dreams." Remember this, now
and forever, O Student--that that which is held in the Absolute Mind as
a Thought-Form IS, and is all there IS, outside of the Absolute Itself.
When the Absolute forms a Thought-Form, It forms it out of Its own
mental substance--when the Absolute "holds anything in Its Mind," It
holds it in Itself--for the Absolute is ALL-MIND.

The Absolute is not a material Being, from which Material Beings are
created. It is a Spiritual Being--a Being whose Substance is akin to
that which we call "Mind," only raised to Infinity and Absolute
Perfection and Power. And this is the only way it can "create"--by
creating a Thought-Form in Its Mental, or Spiritual Substance. The
faintest "Thought" of the Absolute is more real and durable than
anything that man can create--in fact, man can "create" nothing, for
all the hard and real material he uses in his "creations," such as
steel, diamonds, granite, are but some of the minor Forms, "thought"
into being by the Absolute.

And also remember this, that the Absolute cannot "think" of anything,
without putting Itself in that thing, as its Essence. Just as a man's
Mental Images are not only in his mind, but his mind is in them,

Why, you doubting and timorous ones, does not even the finite
"thinking" of Man manifest itself in physical and material changes of
form and shape?--does not a man's every thought actually "create"
physical forms and shapes, in his brain-cells and physical tissue? You
who are reading these words--yea, while you are reading these
words--are "creating" changes of form and shape in your brain-cells,
and physical organism. Your mind is constantly at work, also, in
building up your physical body, along the lines of the Instinctive Mind
(see previous series of lessons)--you are mentally creating in a
miniature universe, every moment of your life. And yet, the idea of the
Absolute "creating" a Universe by pure Thought, in Its own Mind, and
thereafter causing the work of the Universe to proceed according to
Law, by simply "Willing" it so, causes you to wonder, and perhaps to

O, ye of little faith, you would deny to the Absolute even the power
you possess yourself. You plan things in your mind every day, and then
proceed to cause them to appear in material manifestation, and yet you
doubt the ability of the Absolute to do likewise. Why even the poets,
or writers of fiction, create characters in their minds--and these seem
so real, that even you imagine them to be actual entities, and you weep
over their pains, and smile at their joys--and yet all this is on the
finite plane. Why, even the "imaginations" of your petty finite,
undeveloped minds, have sufficient power to make your physical bodies
sick, or well, or even to cause you to "die," from some imagined
ailment. And yet you doubt the power of the Absolute, to "think" things
into being! You tiny students in the great Kindergarten of Life--you
must learn better lessons from your little blocks and games. And you
will--this is the Law.

And you who are filled with the sense of your smallness, and
"unreality"--know you that so long as you are "held in the Mind of
God," then so long are you "remembered" by Him. And so long as you are
remembered by Him, no real harm can befall you, and your Reality is
second only to His own. Even though you pass out of your mortal
frame--doth he remember you in His Mind, and keeping you there, he
holds you safe and unharmed. The greatest satisfaction that can come to
one, is to be able to fully realize that he, or she, is held firmly IN
THE MIND OF THE INFINITE BEING. To such comes the knowledge that in
THAT LIFE there can be NO DEATH.

Peace be with you in this Realization. May you make it your own!

Lessons in Gnani and Raja Yoga
The Yoga of Wisdom

by Yogi Ramacharaka