The physical side includes menial service of the teacher and the yoga, but in yoga, the central drive must be for transcendence. Without that, it is not yoga but a personal or social activity of some kind. There are those who believe that there is a sort of side entrance: for instance that they can somehow attain by slavish service.
There is an external physical side to three yoga procedures: sitting-in-meditation, controlling the vital forces by breathing, and repeating a mantram. But the physical is to make the mental process easier, not to distract from it. We know this in daily life, when we find we are tired and suddenly determine to go to bed.
Till the depths of the mind have been partially pacified, attempts to force them to be calm, by a more or less complete long isolation, will energize them, as Saint Anthony found. Humankind is naturally gregarious; Dr. Shastri said that one who likes to live alone is either a superman or less than human. The Gita makes one of the conditions for acquiring knowledge: ‘resort to solitary places and no liking for the society of men’.
The Self is felt to be entangled in the world; it is entangled because it does not know, vitally and consciously, that the world is illusion. The appearance of bondage is caused equally by attraction – belief that pleasure-in-restriction is real, and by repulsion – certainty that the restriction of pain is real.
The whole world is gradually to be realized as an illusion, but it is not an illusion projected by the Cosmic Self, full of beauty and meaning.That Self is seen at first more clearly in certain forms. When meditated upon with devotion, and finally felt as the inner life, they become radiant, then gradually dissolve as the Self shines more and more through them.
Yoga practice is a way through the world-illusion; though the path itself is part of the illusion, it contains indications of how to get out. In the same way, when an official, say a Mayor, is going to resign from his onerous position after long years of service, he signs the various documents and goes through the formalities.. These are still actions as Mayor. But they are actions, which free him from Mayoral status. They are actions which end action.
In ordinary speech, realism is opposed to idealism; objects truly exist – they are not mental creations. But as a matter of fact, scientific experiments done on the basis of realism, become self-contradictory.Bertrand Russell pointed out, in a remark which impressed Einstein: ‘Naive realism, if true, is false; therefore it is false.’ But find it difficult to live up to this conclusion. When it was put to this same Russell that consciousness has to be taken as ever-present, he replied: No. I find no difficulty in imagining a time when the earth was a mass of blazing rocks, with no consciousness present whatever.’ He did not realize that in using terms like ‘blazing’ and ‘rocks’, he was assuming the presence of consciousness, and moreover human consciousness equipped with sense organs.
Many people confuse joy with blessedness, but in fact in the world joy is often the accompaniment of triumph. The Psalm which runs ‘He will prepare a table before me against those that trouble me, and my cup shall be full’ is often understood – like a number of other well-known passages – as a vague assurance of blessedness.
From the high point of view, merit is a binding force if it localizes the great Self to a conviction of individuality.As an example: if he founds a school or hospital, and puts his name to it, he is a good man but not yet a yogin; if he does it anonymously, he has made a step in yoga; if he soon forgets that he has done so, he is a jnanin or truth-Knower; if it all took place without any sense of an ‘I’, that is direct action of the supreme Self.
Political freedom gives chances to express the soul of a people, but, as Dr. Shastri often pointed out, it has also the dangers of self-destruction, when quarrelling parties struggle for power. In such cases, rule by a foreigner can be an advantage, because the foreigner is impartial.
While it goodness is a conscious process, it is still a binding force. It can be compared to breathing. Most people breathe badly, but they can be taught to breathe with the whole lung. For a time the correct breathing has to be practised consciously, and to some extent this means taking the attention away from normal activity. But when it is established, it is forgotten. The benefits in the form of improved health and vigour continue, but the process is natural.
The evil man naturally assumes that most others are like himself, so he suspects everybody.Then he tries to strike first, to double-cross even kill his allies before they can double-cross him.In the end he cannot even trust himself; he sees that in some obscure way he is destroying himself but he cannot find out how this happens.Both Hitler and Stalin massacred former close associates.
The word which our teacher here translates as ‘duty’ is dharma, which means what-is-to-be-done according-to-tradition. We cannot extract moral principles by reasoning about them, because ultimate goals are indefinite. In his persistent attempts to do this during his long life, Russell changed his position repeatedly. In fact he held, one after another, all the main positions except religious revelation. His last conclusion was, that right action was that which leads to ‘the maximum possible satisfaction of desire’
The wings are the powers of steadying and concentrating the purified mind; flying is rising above the body-consciousness, and consciousness of time and space, in samadhi meditation. Gita IV… on meditation: sarvaani indriya karmaani praana-karmaani ca-apare aatma samyama yoga-agnau juhvati – jnaana-diipite.All the activities of the senses, and activities of prana (vital currents), Others pour as a sacrifice into the yoga fire of self-control, which has been lit by Knowledge.
It must happen, because it is the Self which is calling – from beyond the known – to the same self, now almost ready to throw off its imprisonment in its little known.But still, it takes courage to face vastness, even the vastness of its own Self.