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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In lessons 1 and 2 we have initiated you into the mysteries of Will
and Mind-Force, the governing principles of the Universe and the laws
of their development. We have also taught you how to acquire absolute
control over Body and Mind. In these lessons we have striven to point
out to you the right "Mental Attitude" towards your daily life, so that
while mainly engaged in the task of Self-Culture you might also lend a
hand in the great work of strengthening the race. Moreover our
convictions, beliefs, and ideals are no mean, are insignificant factors
in the determination of our health and environmental conditions.

They react on our circumstances as well as on the WHOLE MAN. We have also
given you important points of instruction in Soul Unfoldment, Meditation,
Bramhacharya, Breathing, Fasting, Health-Culture, Body building
and shown you, as distinctly as we could, the exact process of developing
a single virtue in your self thereby you may master the process and
method of developing other virtues, the lines of action and thought being
well nigh similar in all, and foculising at certain common points of
primary importance. We have given the bare body of truth in connection
with the development, evolution and unfoldment of the body and the
soul, stripping of the metaphysical trappings and the theoretical
draperies in which they are clothed. We have had to literally rend
asunder the heavy wheel that had the divine face of truth. Hence our
lessons are brief and to the point. We have had to contend against and
overcome another serious difficulty. Expressed in the matter of fact
English language, these wondrous truths of mysticism cannot but lose the
air of profound solemnity and sanctity that pervades the subject of Yoga
in Sanskrit literature. The wise and thoughtful student and we certainly
do not write for light-headed and non-serious people, will not let their
apparent simplicity deceive him or throw him off his guard. Rather
let him realise that these lessons can be pressed into service in all
directions and in all spheres of life. Let him just put them into
practice and he will at once see their practical bearing on his daily
life. These lessons do not go into the "WHAT" but point out the "HOW" of
every thing. We leave every student to suit his individual case as to the
intellectual side of the ETERNAL PROBLEM. In conclusion we have to
say that this Course does not pretend to deal with the advanced stages
of Yoga, much less exhaust them. But they will, positively and decidedly
prepare him for those higher things by lifting the PALL OF DARKNESS
from his mind.

Quite a number of you there must be to whom the "Fearless" mind is not
only an enviable possession but something to which you are and have been
an utter stranger. You may not say it to others--confession may hurt your
pride--but secretly away deep in your heart, there resides strongly and
fiercely the desire to be a Fearless Individual. And it is a worthy
desire. To be able to wipe off all fearfulness, anxiety and worry from
your mental tablets is no easy task, but when once accomplished, it gives
you a glimpse of Heavenly Joy and Superhuman Strength. And, You can be
Fearless, I tell you--each one of you--you can be what you will to be. I
have seen it. I have done it. I am going to give you sound and positive
instructions in this paper so that you may forge ahead towards your goal.
These instructions are based upon good psychological grounds, have been
tested and proved by millions and proved a blessing to whoever took them
up in all earnestness and gave them a trial. If you want to be Fearless,
hesitate not to follow them to the very letter.

I shall not waste space telling you about the dire results of fear,
cowardice, worry, anxiety and the vile brood of negative thoughts
branching of FEAR. Physically, mentally and spiritually man is what he
thinks in his heart. As you think, so you are. Mind governs everything,
creates or destroys everything, on the physical as well as other planes.
Your thoughts affect your health, your circumstances, your environments;
those who come into daily contact with you, those who are separated
from you by space, those who are what you call "dead" but who are really
alive in spirit-life and bound to you more or less by mystic chords of
sympathy in thought and soul-life, affecting you and being affected by
you every minute. The range of influence exerted by a man's daily
thoughts is simply tremendous. Trees and animals, minerals and other
objects of material life absorb it. The walls of your room, the clothes
you wear, the letters you write are all being impressed by the aura of
your thought-force. If you go to a clairvoyant or a psychometerist
and put into his hands a letter, a lock of hair, a cloth-piece, or
anything else pertaining to one of your friends, he or she will
psychically trace out the personal appearance, temperament, past and
present history, and everything else in connection with that person.
Marvellous, 'Impossible' you cry in surprise. But it is done. Realise
through study and investigation the importance of your thought-life and
avoid vitiating it by fear-thoughts, hate-thoughts, sensual and sensuous
thoughts and vanity thoughts. Because, mark you, these four giant-weeds
poison the roots of the Tree of Life. All humanity suffers pain in
diverse ways, on account of these four bad thoughts and their millions of
off-springs. Now you will say this is all very well but:


That is just what I mean to teach you all along. I don't want to feed you
on mere empty theories, but I can and I will give you that knowledge
which when assimilated shall build up strong flesh, bone, muscle, tissue,
pith and marrow which will give you superb health, strength of mind and
spirit--all of which are necessary adjuncts to Spiritual Growth and
Happiness. Let me give you in detail methods and exercises. The ideal
fearless man has many qualities. I say the Ideal Hero--no imitation patch
work vulgarian. These qualities are in rough detail: (1) Devotion to God.
(2) Knowledge. (3) Concentration. (4) Will Power. (5) Energy and
Aspiration. (6) Health. (7) Self-Esteem. (8) Self-Control. (9) Love for
Humanity. (10) Chastity. There may be other qualities but you will do
well to build up the above and others will come to you by themselves. Let
me drop a few helpful suggestions on the above. Follow each sentence
The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga
by Swami Mukerji
The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga
by Swami Mukerji