Experimental religion is the method of Self-realization presented in the ancient sacred text called Bhagavad Gītā. Here faith is not blind. Its conclusions, provisional at first, are to be confirmed fractionally in the early experiments; on that basis, faith stretches out to further experiments, in the reasonable expectation that these too can bring confirmations. The method is called yoga, and one who practises it is a Gītā yogin. The practice centres round mind-control in outer life, and meditation within. In time, there is a general inner tranquillization; automatic reactions become fewer and fewer. Free from the tangle of fruitless associations, feelings are integrated, thought and action become clear-cut and effective.
Yoga is a religion in that, at the beginning, God is a hypothesis, not known definitely as either existent or non-existent. He is revered on the authority of others, sometimes reinforced by an obscure inner stirring on rare occasions. After some time, he is dimly perceived as the Universal Lord, a friend and helper of those who worship with faith and purity. After what is usually long practice, he begins to show himself as the essence of man also. First signs are temporary inspiration and then continuous intuition, in daily life as well. It is not necessarily something spectacular. Known or unknown to others, the yogin sees what he is to do in the cosmic purpose, and finds in himself the cosmic joy and energy to do it.
It is easy, and it is not easy. It is easy because the supreme Self is already there. In the depths, beyond local thinking and feeling, beyond the potentialities of local thinking and feeling, there is something calm, immortal and, ultimately, cosmic. That consciousness is called the Supreme Self. It is easy to realize because it is merely a questior of getting through unreal obstacles.
It is difficult because these obstacles are felt to be one’s very self.
It is easy because a one-pointed devotee is helped by the universal Lord.
It is not easy, because the time comes when that Lord will say to that devotee: ‘Give up seeking help from outside. Find Me in your own being, and take your stand there.’
The arrow of the local self has to be shot beyond the gloom of the Unknown into the supreme cosmic Self. The Muṇḍaka Upaniṣad gives the blessing: Glory to you in your flight beyond darkness!
© Trevor Leggett