The Chapter of the Self2 min read

This book presents an ancient Sanskrit text dealing with self-realization, God-realization and yoga, aiming at a radical and permanent change of the individual consciousness, which as it stands is limited by a sort of illusion. It is the kind of illusion experienced by a man dreaming of a terrifying lion whose roars are in fact his own snoring, or by people who faint at u2018Draculau2019, or grip their seats in panic at a Cinerama.

The texts of realization may not dispel illusion if the mind that receives them is clouded and only partially attentive; the methods of making it clear and effortlessly one-pointed are called, collectively, yoga.

Realization is its own goal, but yoga is a means.

As a means, yoga can be used fractionally to acquire some imagined advantages in life as it now is, But these are temporary, and do not confront the ultimate problem. They correspond to improving the circumstances of a dream. Isolated yogic methods can be used to give some calmness, or improve health, or produce vigour. One who is prepared to practise hard can make the mind and memory brilliant. But if these seeming advantages are in the service of a fundamental illusion, there is no lasting peace; and in a disturbed mind, the temporary gains arouse waves of excitement which in the end destroy the yoga practice itself.

Many presentations of the ancient teachings concentrate on only one part: philosophy alone, or yoga practice alone. Pure scholars ignore the yoga practices and religious devotions which appear in the texts; to them yoga is in the same category as Chinese acupuncture until a few years ago u2013 something was known about it, but it never occurred to anyone that it might be worth investigating. On the other hand, those interested in yogic exercises give no attention to the texts which say clearly that exercises alone will merely reinforce the illusion which is the cause of all manu2019s frustrations.