An Introduction
to Yoga

by Annie Besant

The Meaning of the Universe

  • The Unfolding of Consciousness
  • The Oneness of the Self
  • The Quickening of the Process of Self-Unfoldment
  • Yoga is a Science
  • Man a Duality
  • States of Mind
  • Samadhi

The Literature of Yoga

  • Some Definitions
  • God Without and God  Within
  • Changes of Consciousness and Vibrations of Matter
  • Stages of Mind
  • Inward and Outward-turned Consciousness
  • The Cloud

Relation to Indian Philosophies

  • Mind
  • The Mental Body

Mind and Self

  • Methods of Yoga
  • To the Self by the Self
  • To the Self through the Not-Self

  • Yoga and Morality
  • Composition of States of the Mind

Pleasure and Pain

  • Inhibition of States of Mind
  • Meditation with and without Seed
  • The Use of Mantras


  • Obstacles to Yoga
  • Capacities for Yoga
  • Forthgoing and Returning
  • Purification of Bodies
  • Dwellers on the Threshold
  • Preparation for Yoga
  • The End
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Lessons in Gnani and Raja Yoga
The Yoga of Wisdom

by Yogi Ramacharaka


In our last lesson we gave you the Inner Teachings of the Yogi
Philosophy, relating to the real nature of the Universe, and all that
is therein contained. We trust that you have pondered well and
carefully the statements contained in that lesson, for in them is to be
found the essence of the highest Yogi teachings. While we have
endeavored to present these high truths to you in the simplest possible
form, yet unless your minds have been trained to grasp the thought, you
may have trouble in fully assimilating the essence of the teachings.
But, be not discouraged, for your mind will gradually unfold like the
flower, and the Sun of Truth will reach into its inmost recesses. Do
not be troubled if your comprehension seems dull, or your progress
slow, for all things will come to you in time. You cannot escape the
Truth, nor can the Truth escape you. And it will not come to you one
moment sooner than you are ready to receive it, nor will it be delayed
one moment in its coming, when you are ready for it. Such is the Law,
and none can escape it, nor alter it, nor modify it. All is Well, and
All is Under the Law--nothing ever "happens."

To many, the thought that the Universe and all that is therein
contained, are simply "Thought Forms" in the Infinite Mind--Mental
Creations of the Absolute, may seem startling, and a sense of unreality
may pervade one. This is inevitable, but the reaction will come. To
some who have grasped this mighty truth there has come a feeling that
"All is Nothing," which idea is embodied in their teachings and
writings. But this is merely the Negative Phase of the Truth--there is
a Positive Phase which comes as one advances.

The Negative Phase shows us that all that we have considered as real
and permanent--the foundations of the Universe itself--is but a mental
image in the mind of the Absolute, and therefore lacks the fundamental
reality that we had previously associated with it. And realizing this,
we are at first apt to feel that, indeed "all is nothing," and to fall
into a state of apathy, and lack of desire to play our part in the
world. But, then, happily the reaction sets in, sooner or later, and we
begin to see the Positive Phase of the Truth. This Positive Phase shows
us that while all the forms, shapes, and phenomena of the Universe are
but parts of a great show-world, still the essence of all must be
Reality, itself, else there would not be even the "appearance" of a
Universe. Before a thing can be a Mental Image, there must be a Mind to
hold that Mental Image, and a BEING to possess that Mind. And, the very
essence of that BEING must pervade and be immanent in every Image in
that Mind. Just as You are really in your Mental Images, as well as
they in You, so must the Absolute be in Its Mental Images, or
Creations, or Thought Forms, as truly as they are in the Mind of the
Absolute. Do you see this plainly? Think well over it--ponder it
well--for in it lies the Truth.

And so, this Positive Phase of the Truth, is far from depressing--it is
the most stimulating conception one can hold, if he but grasps it in
its entirety and fulness.  Even if it be true that all these shapes,
and forms, and appearances, and phenomena, and personalities, be but
illusion as compared to the inner Reality--what of it? Are you not then
assured that the Spirit within Yourself is the Spirit of the
Absolute--that the Reality within You is the Reality of the
Absolute--that you ARE, because the Absolute IS, and cannot be
otherwise? Does not the Peace, and Calm, and Security, and Bliss that
comes to you with this Realization, far more than counterbalance the
petty nothings that you have discarded? We think that there can be but
one answer to this, when you have fully Realized the Truth.

What gives you the greatest Satisfaction and Content in Life? Let us
see. Well, there is the Satisfaction of Immortality. The human mind
instinctively craves this. Well, what that even the highest finite
conceptions of Future Life have given you, can compare with the
assurance of Actual Being, in and of the Absolute? What are your petty
conceptions of "heavens," "paradises," "happy-hunting-grounds," "divine
regions of the blessed," and the other ideas of the various religious
sects, when compared with the conceptions of your Infinite and Eternal
Existence in Spirit--your relation with The One--that conception of
Infinite Wisdom, Being, and Bliss? When you grasp this truth, you will
see that you are "in Eternity right Now," and are Immortal even this
moment, as you have always been.

Now, what we have said above is not intended to deny the
"heaven-worlds," or planes. On the contrary, you will find much in the
teachings regarding these, which the Yogis enter into with much detail.
But, we mean that back of all the "heavens" and "celestial planes,"
there is a still higher state of being being--the "Absolute Being."
Even the "heavens," and "heaven-worlds," and regions of the Devas, or
Archangels, are but relative states--there is a state higher than even
these exalted relative states, and that is the State of the Conscious
Unity and Identity with the One. When one enters into that State, he
becomes more than Man--more than gods--he is then "in the bosom of the

And now, before proceeding to a consideration of the phenomenal
manifestation of the Absolute--the evolving of the Universe in the
Infinite Mind--we will again call your attention to the fact that
underlies all the Universe of forms, shapes and appearances, and that
is, as we stated in our last lesson:

All Manifestations and Emanations of the Absolute are Mental Creations
of the Absolute--Thought-Forms held in the Infinite Mind--the Infinite
Spirit in them--and they in the Infinite Spirit. And, the only 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."

And, now let us consider the Yogi Teachings regarding the creation of
the Universe, and the evolution of the living forms thereon. We shall
endeavor to give you the story as plainly as may be, holding fast to
the main thought, and avoiding the side-paths of details, etc., so far
as is possible.

In the first place, we must imagine ourselves back to the beginning of
a "Day of Brahm,"--the first dawn of that Day, which is breaking from
the darkness of a "Night of Brahm." Before we proceed further, we must
tell you something about these "Days and Nights of Brahm," of which you
have seen much mention in the Oriental writings.

The Yogi Teachings contain much regarding the "Days and Nights of
Brahm;" the "In-breathing and Out-breathing of the Creative Principle;"
the periods of "Manvantara," and the periods of "Pralaya." This
thought runs through all the Oriental thought, although in different
forms, and with various interpretations. The thought refers to the
occult truth that there is in Cosmic Nature alternate periods of
Activity and Inactivity--Days and Nights--In-breathings and
Out-breathings--Wakefulness and Sleep. This fundamental law manifests
in all Nature, from Universes to Atoms. Let us see it now in its
application to Universes.

At this point we would call the attention of the student that in many
of the presentations of the Hindu Teachings the writers speak as if the
Absolute, Itself, were subject to this law of Rhythm, and had Its
Periods of Rest and Work, like Its manifestations. This is incorrect.
The highest teachings do not so hold, although at first glance it would
so appear. The teaching really is that while the Creative Principle
manifests this rhythm, still even this principle, great though it be,
is a manifestation of the Absolute, and not the Absolute itself. The
highest Hindu teachings are firm and unmistakable about this point.

And, another point, in which there is much mistaken teaching. In the
periods of Creative Inactivity in a Universe it must not be supposed
that there is no Activity anywhere. On the contrary, there is never a
cessation of Activity on the part of the Absolute. While it is Creative
Night in one Universe, or System of Universes, there is intense
activity of Mid-Day in others. When we say "The Universe" we mean the
Universe of Solar Systems--millions of such systems--that compose the
particular universe of which we have any knowledge. The highest
teachings tell us that this Universe is but one of a System of
Universes, millions in number--and that this System is but one, in a
higher System, and so on and on, to infinity. As one Hindu Sage hath
said: "Well do we know that the Absolute is constantly creating
Universes in Its Infinite Mind--and constantly destroying them--and,
though millions upon millions of aeons intervene between creation and
destruction, yet doth it seem less than the twinkle of an eye to The
Absolute One."

And so the "Day and Night of Brahm" means only the statement of the
alternating periods of Activity and Inactivity in some one particular
Universe, amidst the Infinite Universality. You will find a mention of
these periods of Activity and Inactivity in the "Bhagavad Gita," the
great Hindu epic. The following quotations, and page references, relate
to the edition published by the Yogi Publication Society, which was
compiled and adapted by the writer of these lessons. In that edition of
the "Bhagavad Gita," on page 77, you will find these words attributed
to Krishna, the Absolute One in human incarnation:

"The worlds and universes--yea, even the world of Brahm, a single day
of which is like unto a thousand Yugas (four billion years of the
earth), and his night as much--these worlds must come and go... The
Days of Brahm are succeeded by the Nights of Brahm. In these Brahmic
Days all things emerge from invisibility, and become visible. And, on
the coming of the Brahmic Night, all visible things again melt into
invisibility. The Universe having once existed, melteth away; and lo!
is again re-created."

And, in the same edition, on page 80, we find these words, attributed
to the same speaker:

"At the end of a Kalpa--a Day of Brahm--a period of Creative
Activity--I withdraw into my nature, all things and beings. And, at the
beginning of another Kalpa, I emanate all things and beings, and
re-perform my creative act."

We may say here, in passing, that Modern Science now holds to the
theory of periods of Rhythmic Change; of Rise and Fall; of Evolution
and Dissolution.

It holds that, beginning at some time in the past aeons of time, there
was the beginning of an upward or evolutionary movement, which is now
under way; and that, according to the law of Nature, there must come a
time when the highest point will be reached, and then will come the
beginning of the downward path, which in time must come to an end,
being succeeded by a long period of inactivity, which will then be
followed by the beginning of a new period of Creative Activity and
Evolution--"a Day of Brahm."

This thought of this law of Rhythm, in its Universal form, has been
entertained by the thinkers of all times and races. Herbert Spencer
expressly held to it in his "First Principles," expressing it in many
ways akin to this: "Evolution must come to a close in complete
equilibrium or rest;" and again, "It is not inferable from the general
progress towards equilibrium, that a state of universal quiescence or
death will be reached; but that if a process of reasoning ends in that
conclusion, a further process of reasoning points to renewals of
activity and life;" and again, "Rhythm in the totality of
changes--alternate eras of evolution and dissolution." The Ancient
Western Philosophers also indulged in this idea. Heraclitus taught that
the universe manifested itself in cycles, and the Stoics taught that
"the world moves in an endless cycle, through the same stages." The
followers of Pythagoras went even further, and claimed that "the
succeeding worlds resemble each other, down to the minutest detail,"
this latter idea, however--the idea of the "Eternal Recurrence"--while
held by a number of thinkers, is not held by the Yogi teachers, who
teach infinite progression--an Evolution of Evolution, as it were. The
Yogi teachings, in this last mentioned particular, are resembled more
by the line of Lotze's thinking, as expressed in this sentence from his
Micro-cosmos: "The series of Cosmic Periods, ... each link of which
is bound together with every other; ... the successive order of these
sections shall compose the unity of an onward-advancing melody." And,
so through the pages of Heraclitus, the Stoics, the Pythagoreans,
Empedocles, Virgil, down to the present time, in Nietzsche, and his
followers, we find this thought of Universal Rhythm--that fundamental
conception of the ancient Yogi Philosophy.

And, now, returning to the main path of our thought--let us stand here
at the beginning of the dawn of a Day of Brahm. It is verily a
beginning, for there is nothing to be seen--there is nothing but Space.
No trace of Matter, Force or Mind, as we know these terms. In that
portion of Infinite Space--that is, of course, in that "portion" of the
Infinite Mind of the Absolute One, for even Space is a "conception" of
that Mind, there is "Nothing." This is "the darkest moment, just before
the dawn."

Then comes the breaking of the dawn of the Brahmic Day. The Absolute
begins the "creation" of a Universe. And, how does It create? There can
be no creation of something out of nothing. And except the Absolute
Itself there is but Nothing.

Therefore The Absolute must create the Universe out of Its own
"substance," if we can use the word "substance" in this connection.
"Substance" means, literally, "that which stands under," being derived
from the two Latin words, sub, meaning "under," and stare, meaning
"to stand." The English word "understand" means, literally, "to stand
under"--the two words really meaning the same. This is more than a

So the Absolute must create the Universe from its own substance, we
have seen. Well, what is this "substance" of the Absolute? Is it
Matter? No! for Matter we know to be, in itself, merely a manifestation
of Force, or Energy. Then, is it Force or Energy? No! because Force and
Energy, in itself, cannot possess Mind, and we must think of the
Absolute as possessing Mind, for it manifests Mind, and what is
manifested must be in the Manifestor, or Manifesting Agent. Then this
"substance" must be Mind? Well, yes, in a way--and yet not Mind as we
know it, finite and imperfect. But something like Mind, only Infinite
in degree and nature--something sufficiently greater than Mind as we
know it, to admit of it being the Cause of Mind. But, we are compelled
to think of it as "Infinite Mind," for our finite Minds can hold no
higher conception. So we are content to say that this "substance" from
which the Absolute must create the Universe is a something that we will
call Infinite Mind. Fix this in your mind, please, as the first step in
our conception.

But, how can the Infinite Mind be used to create finite minds, shapes,
forms, and things, without it being lessened in quantity--how can you
take something from something, and still have the original something
left? An impossibility! And, we cannot think of the Absolute as
"dividing Itself up" into two or more portions--for if such were the
case, there would be two or more Absolutes, or else None. There cannot
be two Absolutes, for if the Absolute were to divide itself so there
would be no Absolute, but only two Relatives--two Finites instead of
One Infinite. Do you see the absurdity?

Then how can this work of Creation be accomplished, in view of these
difficulties which are apparent even to our finite minds? You may
thresh this question over and over again in your minds--men have done
so in all times--and you will not find the answer except in the
fundamental Idea of the Yogi Teachings. And this Fundamental Idea is
that the creation is purely a Mental Creation, and the Universe is the
Mental Image, or Thought-Form, in the Mind of the Absolute--in the
Infinite Mind, itself. No other "creation" is possible. And so this,
say the Yogi Masters, this is the Secret of Universal Creation. The
Universe is of, and in, the Infinite Mind, and this is the only way
it could be so. So, fix in your mind this second step in our

But then, you ask us, from whence comes Force, Matter, and Finite Mind?
Well asked, good student--your answer shall be forthcoming. Here it is.

Finite Mind; Force or Energy; and Matter; in themselves have no
existence. They are merely Mental Images, or Thought-Forms in the
Infinite Mind of the Absolute. Their whole existence and appearance
depends upon their Mental Conception and Retention in the Infinite
Mind. In It they have their birth, rise, growth, decline and death.

Then what is Real about ME, you may ask--surely I have a vivid
consciousness of Reality--is this merely an illusion, or shadow? No,
not so! that sense of Reality which you possess and which every
creature or thing possesses--that sense of "I Am"--is the perception by
the Mental Image of the Reality of its Essence--and that Essence is the
Spirit. And that Spirit is the SUBSTANCE OF THE ABSOLUTE embodied in
Its conception, the Mental Image. It is the perception by the Finite,
of its Infinite Essence. Or, the perception by the Relative of its
Absolute Essence. Or, the perception by You, or I, or any other man or
woman, of the Real Self, which underlies all the sham self or
Personality. It is the reflection of the Sun, in the dew-drop, and
thousands of dew-drops--seemingly thousands of Suns, and yet but One.
And yet, that reflection of the Sun in the dewdrop is more than a
"reflection," for it is the substance of the Sun itself--and yet the
Sun shines on high, one and undivided, yet manifesting in millions of
dew-drops. It is only by figures of speech that we can speak of the
Unspeakable Reality.

To make it perhaps plainer to some of you, let us remind you that even
in your finite Mental Images there is evident many forms of life. You
may think of a moving army of thousands of men. And yet the only "I" in
these men is your own "I." These characters in your mind move and live
and have their being, and yet there is nothing in them except "You!"
The characters of Shakespeare, Dickens, Thackeray, Balzac, and the
rest, were such strong Mental Images that not only their creators were
carried away by their power, and apparent ability, but even you who
read of them, many years after, perhaps, feel the apparent reality, and
weep, or smile, or grow angry over their actions. And, yet there was no
Hamlet, outside of Shakespeare's mind; no Micawber outside of Dickens;
no Pere Goriot outside of Balzac.

These illustrations are but finite examples of the Infinite, but still
they will give you an idea of the truth that we are trying to unfold in
your mind. But you must not imagine that You and I, and all others, and
things, are but mere "imaginations," like our created
characters--that would be a most unhappy belief. The mental creations
held by You and I, and other finite minds, are but finite creations of
finite minds, while WE, ourselves, are the finite creations of an
INFINITE MIND. While our, and Dickens', and Balzac's, and Shakespeare's
creations live and move and have their being, they have no other "I"
than our Finite Minds, while we, the characters in the Divine Drama,
Story, or Epic, have for our "I"--our Real Self--the ABSOLUTE REALITY.
They have merely a background of our finite personalities, and minds,
before which they may desport themselves. until, alas! the very
background fades away to dust, and both background and shadows
disappear. But, we have behind our personalities the Eternal Background
of Reality, which changeth not, neither doth it Disappear. Shadows on a
screen though our Personalities may be, yet the Screen is Real and
Eternal. Take away the finite screen and the shadows disappear--but our
Screen remains forever.

We are Mental Images in the Infinite Mind--the Infinite Mind holds us
safe--we cannot be lost--we cannot be hurt--we can never disappear,
unless we be absorbed in the Infinite Mind itself, and then we STILL
ARE! The Infinite Mind never forgets--it never can overlook us--it is
aware of our presence, and being, always. We are safe--we are
secure--we ARE! Just as we could not be created from Nothing--so we
cannot be converted into Nothing. We are in the All--and there is no

At the dawn of the Brahmic Day, The Absolute begins the creation of a
new Universe, or the recreation of one, just as you may care to state
it. The highest Yogi Teachings inform us that the information relating
to this event (which is, of course, beyond the personal knowledge of
man as we know him) has been passed down to the race from teachers, who
have received it from still higher teachers, and so on, and on and on,
higher and higher, until it is believed to have originated with some of
those wonderfully developed souls which have visited the earth from
higher planes of Being, of which there are many. In these lessons we
are making no claims of this sort, but pass on the teachings to you,
believing that their truth will appeal to those who are ready for them,
without any attempt to attribute to them an authority such as just
mentioned. Our reference to this high source of the teachings was made
because of its general acceptance in the Eastern countries, and by
occultists generally.

The Yogi teachings inform us that, in the Beginning, The Absolute
formed a Mental Image, or Thought-Form, of an Universal Mind--that is,
of an Universal Principle of Mind. And here the distinction is made
between this Universal Mind Principle, or Universal Mind-Stuff, as some
have called it, and the Infinite Mind itself. The Infinite Mind is
something infinitely above this creation of the Universal Mind
Principle, the latter being as much an "emanation" as is Matter. Let
there be no mistake about this. The Infinite Mind is Spirit--the
Universal Mind Principle is "Mind-Stuff" of which all Finite Mind is a
part. This Universal Mind Principle was the first conception of The
Absolute, in the process of the creation of the Universe. It was the
"Stuff" from which all Finite Mind forms, and is formed. It is the
Universal Mental Energy. Know it as such--but do not confound it with
Spirit, which we have called Infinite Mind, because we had no other
term. There is a subtle difference here, which is most important to a
careful understanding of the subject.

The Yogi teachings inform us that from this Mental Principle there was
developed the Universal Principle of Force or Energy. And that from
this Universal Force Principle there developed the Universal Principle
of Matter. The Sanscrit terms for these Three Principles are as
follows: Chitta, or the Universal Mind Substance, or Principle;
Prana, or the Universal Energy Principle; and Akasa, or the
Universal Principle of Matter. We have spoken of these Three
Principles, or Three Great Manifestations, in our "Advanced Course" of
lessons, which followed our "Fourteen Lessons," several years ago, but
it becomes necessary for us to refer to them again at this place in
connection with the present presentation of the subject. As was stated
in the lessons just mentioned, these Three Manifestations, or
Principles, are really one, and shade into each other. This matter has
been fully touched upon in the concluding lessons of the aforesaid
"Advanced Course," to which we must refer you for further details, in
order to avoid repetition here. You will find a wonderful
correspondence between these centuries-old Yogi teachings, and the
latest conceptions of Modern Science.

Well, to return to the main path once more, the Teachings inform us
that The Absolute "thought" into being--that is, held the Mental Image,
or Thought-Form, of--Chitta, or Universal Mind Principle. This
Chitta was finite, of course, and was bound and governed by the Laws
of Finite Mind, imposed upon it by the Will of The Absolute. Everything
that is Finite is governed by Laws imposed by the great LAW which we
call The Absolute. Then began the Great INVOLUTION which was necessary
before Evolution was possible. The word "Involve," you know, means "to
wrap up; to cover; to hide; etc.;" and the word "Evolve" means "to
unwrap; to unfold; to un-roll; etc." Before a thing can be "evolved,"
or "unfolded," it must first have been "involved" or "folded-in, or
wrapped up, etc." Everything must be "involved" before it can be
"evolved;" remember this, please--it is true on all planes, mental,
physical, and spiritual. A thing must be "put in" before it may be
"taken out." This truth, if remembered and applied to metaphysical
problems, will throw the clearest light upon the darkest problems. Make
it your own.

Therefore before the process of Evolution from the gross forms of
Matter up to the higher, and then on to the Mental, from higher to
higher, and then on the Spiritual plane--that Evolution which we see
being performed before our sight today--before that Evolution became
possible there was a necessary Involution, or "wrapping-up." The Spirit
of the Absolute first "involved" itself in its Mental Image;
Thought-Form, or Creation, of the Mind Principle, just as you may
"involve" yourself in an earnest thought in deep meditation. Did you
never "lose yourself" in thought, or "forget yourself" in an idea? Have
you not spoken of yourself as having been "wrapped in thought?" Well,
then you can see something of what is here meant, at least so far as
the process of "involution" is concerned. You involve yourself in your
meditations--the Absolute involves Itself in Its Mental Creations--but,
remember the one is Finite, and the other Infinite, and the results are
correspondingly weak or strong.

Obeying the laws imposed upon it, the Mental Principle then involved
itself in the Energy Principle, or Prana, and the Universal Energy
sprang into existence. Then, in obedience to the same Laws, the Prana
involved itself in the Akasa, or Universal Matter Principle. Of
course each "involving" practically "created" the "wrapper," "sheath"
of the lower Principle. Do you see this? Each, therefore, depends upon
the Principle higher than itself, which becomes its "Parent Principle,"
as the Yogis express it. And in this process of Involution the extreme
form of Matter was reached before the process of Evolution became
possible. The extreme form of gross Matter is not known to us today, on
this planet, for we have passed beyond it. But the teachings inform us
that such forms were as much grosser that the grossest Matter that we
know today, as the latter is gross in comparison with the most ethereal
vapors known to Modern Science. The human mind cannot grasp this
extreme of the scale, any more than it can the extreme high degree of

At this point we must call your attention to certain occult teachings,
widely disseminated, which the highest Yogi teachers discountenance,
and contradict. We allude to the teaching that in the process of
Involution there was a "degeneration" or "devolution" from higher to
lower forms of life, until the gross state of Matter was reached. Such
a teaching is horrible, when considered in detail. It would mean that
The Absolute deliberately created high forms of life, arch-angels, and
higher than these--gods in fact--and then caused them to "devolve"
until the lowest state was reached. This would mean the exact opposite
of Evolution, and would mean a "going down" in accordance with the
Divine Will, just as Evolution is a "going up" in accordance with the
Divine Will.

This is contrary to man's best instincts, and the advanced Yogi
teachings inform us that it is but an illusion or error that men have
created by endeavoring to solve spiritual mysteries by purely
intellectual processes. The true teaching is that the process of
Involution was accomplished by a Principle involving itself in the
lower Principle created within itself, and so on until the lowest plane
was reached. Note the difference--"Principles as Principles" did this,
and not as Individual Forms of Life or Being. There was no more a
"devolution" in this process than there was in The Absolute involving
itself in the Mental Image of the Mind Principle. There was no
"devolution" or "going down"--only an "involution" or "wrapping up," of
Principle, within Principle--the Individual Life not having as yet
appeared, and not being possible of appearance until the Evolutionary
process began.

We trust that we have made this point clear to you, for it is an
important matter. If the Absolute first made higher beings, and then
caused them to "devolute" into lower and lower forms, then the whole
process would be a cruel, purposeless thing, worthy only of some of the
base conceptions of Deity conceived of by men in their ignorance. No!
the whole effort of the Divine Will seems to be in the direction of
"raising up" Individual Egos to higher and still higher forms. And in
order to produce such Egos the process of "Involution" of Principles
seems to have been caused, and the subsequent wonderful Evolutionary
process instituted. What that "Reason" is, is Unknowable, as we have
said over and over again. We cannot pry into the Infinite Mind of the
Absolute, but we may form certain conclusions by observing and studying
the Laws of the Universe, which seem to be moving in certain
directions. From the manifested Will of the Divine One, we may at least
hazard an idea as to its purposes. And these purposes seem to be always
in an "upward" lifting and evolution. Even the coming of the "Night of
Brahm" is no exception to this statement, as we shall see in future

From the starting of the process of Involution from the Mental
Principle, down to the extreme downward point of the grossest
Manifestation of Matter, there were many stages. From the highest
degree of the Finite Mind, down to lower and still lower degrees; then
on to the plane of Force and Energy, from higher to lower degrees of
Principle within Principle; then on to the plane of Matter, the
Involutionary urge proceeded to work. When the plane of Matter was
reached, it, of course, showed its highest degree of manifested
Matter--the most subtle form of Ether, or Akasa. Then down, down,
down, went the degrees of Matter, until the grossest possible form was
reached, and then there was a moment's pause, before the Evolutionary
process, or upward-movement, began. The impulse of the Original Will,
or Thought, had exhausted its downward urge, and now began the upward
urge or tendency. But here was manifested a new feature.

This new feature was "The Tendency toward Individualization." During
the downward trend the movement was en masse, that is, by Principle
as Principle, without any "splitting up" into portions, or centers.
But with the first upward movement there was evidenced a tendency
toward creating Centers of Energy, or Units of activity, which then
manifested itself, as the evolutionary movement continued, from
electrons to atoms; from atoms to man. The gross matter was used as
material for the formation of finer and more complex forms; and these
in turn combined, and formed higher, and so on, and on. And the forms
of Energy operated in the same way. And the manifestations of centers
of Mind or consciousness in the same way. But all in connection.
Matter, Energy and Mind formed a Trinity of Principles, and worked in
connection. And the work was always in the direction of causing higher
and higher "forms" to arise--higher and higher Units--higher and higher
Centers. But in every form, center or unit, there was manifested the
Three Principles, Mind, Energy, and Matter. And within each was the
ever present Spirit. For Spirit must be in All--just as All must be
in Spirit.

And, so this Evolutionary process has continued ever since, and must
continue for aeons yet. The Absolute is raising itself up into Itself
higher and higher Egos, and is providing them with higher and higher
sheaths in which to manifest. And, as we shall see in these lessons, as
we progress, this evolution is not only along the physical lines, but
also along the mental. And it concerns itself not only with "bodies,"
but with "souls," which also evolve, from time to time, and bodies are
given these souls in order that they may work out their evolution. And
the whole end and aim of it all seems to be that Egos may reach the
stage where they are conscious of the Real Self--of the Spirit within
them, and its relation to the Spirit of the Absolute, and then go on
and on and on, to planes of life and being, and activities of which
even the most advanced of the race may only dream.

As some of the Ancient Yogi Teachers have said: "Men are evolving into
super-men; and super-men into gods; and gods into super-gods; and
super-gods into Something still higher; until from the lowest bit of
matter enclosing life, unto the highest being--yea, even unto The
Absolute--there is an Infinite Ladder of Being--and yet the One Spirit
pervades all; is in all, as the all is in It."

The Creative Will, of which we have spoken in these lessons, is in full
operation all through Life. The Natural Laws are laws of Life imposed
by The Absolute in his Mental Image. They are the Natural Laws of this
Universe, just as other Universes have other Laws. But The Absolute
Itself has no Laws affecting It--It, in Itself is LAW.

And these Laws of Life, and Nature, along its varying planes, Material,
of Energy; and Mental; are also, in the Divine Mind, else they would
not be at all, even in appearance. And when they are transcended, or
apparently defied by some man of advanced development, it is only
because such a man is able to rise above the plane upon which such laws
are operative. But even this transcending is, in itself, in accordance
with some higher law.

And so, we see that All, high and low--good and bad--simple or
complex--all are contained Within the Mind of the One. Gods, angels,
adepts, sages, heavens, planes,--all, everything--is within the
Universe, and the Universe is Within the Mind of the One. And all is
proceeding in accordance with Law. And all is moving upward and onward,
along the lines of Evolution. All is Well. We are held firmly in The
Mind of the One.

And, just as the tendency was from the general Principle toward the
particular Individual Soul, so is there a Reconciliation later on, for
the Individual soul, as it develops and unfolds, loses its sense of
Separateness, and begins to feel its identity with the One Spirit, and
moves along the lines of unfoldment, until it becomes in Conscious
Union with God. Spiritual Evolution does not mean the "growth of the
Spirit," for the Spirit cannot grow--it is already Perfect. The term
means the unfoldment of the Individual Mind, until it can recognize the
Spirit Within. Let us close this lesson with the


There is but ONE. That ONE is Spirit. In the Infinite Mind of that ONE
SPIRIT there arose the Mental Image or Thought-Form of this Universe.
Beginning with the Thought of the Principle in Mind; and passing on to
the Principle of Energy; and then on to the Principle of Matter;
proceeded the Involutionary Process of Creation. Then, upward began the
Evolutionary Process, and Individual Centers or Units were formed. And
the tendency, and evolutionary urge is ever in the direction of
"unfolding" within the Ego of the Realization of the Indwelling Spirit.
As we throw off sheath after sheath, we approach nearer and nearer to
the SPIRIT within us, which is the One Spirit pervading all things.
This is the Meaning of Life--the Secret of Evolution. All the Universe
is contained Within the Mind of The One. There is Nothing outside of
that Infinite Mind. There is no Outside, for the One is All in All;
Space, Time, and Laws, being but Mental Images in that Mind, as are
likewise all shapes and forms, and phenomena. And as the Ego unfolds
into a realization of Itself--Its Real Self--so does its Wisdom and
Power expand. It thus enters into a greater and greater degree of its
Inheritance. Within the Mind of the One, is All there is. And I, and
Thou, and All Things are HERE within that Infinite Mind. We are always
"held in Mind" by The Absolute--are always safe here. There is nothing
to harm us, in Reality, for our Real Self is the Real Self of the
Infinite Mind. All is Within the Mind of the One. Even the tiniest atom
is under the Law, and protected by the Law. And the LAW is All there
Is. And in that Law we may rest Content and Unafraid. May this
Realization be YOURS.


Lessons in Gnani and Raja Yoga
The Yoga of Wisdom

by Yogi Ramacharaka