The tendency in life is to use exclusively those faculties which are most developed. We can see this when untrained people try to handle heavy things. They try to do all with their arms, of which they are most conscious. Proper training consists in getting them to attend to the legs and trunk, which are much stronger than the arms. Left alone, such people never get into the way of using the body properly, hands and arms for delicate operations, legs and trunks for the heavy work. On the contrary they more and more rely on the arms, because if they try the other method they at first get inferior results. This confirms their belief that the job can only be done with the arms. Only faith in a teacher will break the circle.
So in Yoga the intellectual attempts to grasp Yoga intellectually, the gregarious join Yoga simply to be in a group with some common aim, the intuitive hopes for flashes of inspiration which reveal a truth beyond knowledge or work. Each tries to use still further the strong faculty, and part of the teacher’s task is to correct this one-sidedness. The intellectual has to learn to work in a group and co-operate, and at the time of meditation he has to “burn his books” and try to make a leap beyond the discursive mind. When he finally does learn these things, he is more balanced and effective than those who take to them naturally. He does not make the group a battle-ground for stubborn insistence on his own ideas, as many so-called group-minded people do-nor does he think his baby intuitions are complete visions of truth, immune from criticism in the light of yogic tradition.
Similarly the gregarious person learns to find satisfaction and support from within instead of relying on the herd. He actually attains convictions of his own instead of simply picking up convictions which are around.
The intuitive learns to free his faculty from the terrible ego-centredness which nearly always vitiates the inspiration of the untrained. And he acquires accurate Knowledge and living practice through which he can bring his intuitive attempts into harmony with his every-day life.
When the physical instruments are thus developed in harmony, the student begins to be capable of real tranquillity. Before that, apparent tranquillity is only superficial, masking deep inner tension. In most people even sleep is not real tranquillity, the turmoil continues below the surface.
When real tranquillity begins to manifest itself, the latent faculties beyond the mind unfold gradually, which Patanjali calls Ritambhara and others Prajna or wisdom. There are still reactions, but not from individuality or its functions seeking to preserve separate existence; the reactions are promptings of the cosmic urges which are called collectively the Lila or sport of the Lord. Those such as Christ or Socrates, Hallaj in Arabia and Daito in Japan, gave up all human rights because they no longer felt the imperative obligation to preserve the physical body at all costs. From the ordinary human standpoint the life of Holy Christ was a failure, because he was executed as a criminal; but, from the cosmic point of view it partially civilized the West, and it can be expected that newer and fuller manifestations of Christ’s teachings are still to appear.
© Trevor Leggett