Practical Application Of These Laws
( Originally Published 1908 )
THE first application of the Tattvic Law is to realize that you are yourself responsible for the character of the forces active within. There is not an act of life nor a thought to which the Law does not apply; it expresses it-self in the form of like vibrations everywhere and in everything. The forces of the Universe are playing upon and around you, and what you think and feel determines what sort shall find affinity within. But knowledge alone of the Law does not enable us to apply it,— does not give us the power to use the master key. That is gained only by steadfast determination and faithful practice of all means to the end. If one thing has been emphasized more than another in these lessons upon the Evolution of the Self through Health to Freedom and Power, it is the need of harmony from the foundation upward.
The perfect life -which can be made the common life not the exceptional one — permitting the unfolding of undreamed of powers of mind and soul, requires for its foundation a strong body whose equilibrium is maintained by the rhythmic functioning of all its complex organs, under the control of a sane, wholesome mind. Rid your-self right here and now of any belief you may have in the body itself being sinful. " Matter is not in itself evil. On the contrary, it comes forth from God, and consists of that whereof God's Self consists, Spirit. It is Spirit by the force of the Divine will subjected to conditions and limitations, and made externally cognizable" (Perfect Way, p. 41) .
The whole end and aim of humanity's trials and experiences is to educate souls to overcome, to gain the Will-power " to escape the limitations of matter and return to the condition of pure Spirit." Remember the distinction I pointed out to you between the will at the beck and call of desire, and a Will which is the handmaid of Soul-consciousness and holds every thought under control. In the latter case only is the Will strong and really free.
To ignore the body and affirm that " mind is all," is both unscientific and a grave mistake; for while mind is ensheathed in the body all the vehicles through which consciousness manifests are efficient in proportion as their activities work together in rhythmic harmony for the good of all. Each must sound its own perfect note, just as the various organs of the body should; all together forming a harmonious chord. Only perfect health, with subordination of every organ to its legitimate function — as well-trained soldiers work together -- permits the freedom and enjoyment of this condition.
" The aim of all endeavor," says Anna Kings-ford, " should be to bring the body into subjection to, and harmony with the Spirit, by refining and subliming it; and so heightening its powers as to make it sensitive and responsive to all the motions of the Spirit." The Law of the Rhythmic Breath is the only explanation of Kosmic Forces which teaches how to " sublime " the body, and " make it sensitive and responsive " to the Spirit. A sound mind in a perfectly controlled body is indispensable for progress in the refinement and development of all the sheaths which leads to consciousness on all planes and to soul-knowledge.
As Annie Besant says: All that is needed to be in Heaven [now] is to become conscious of those vibrations " ; — that is, vibrations of soul consciousness, higher states latent in all; but which require for their forth-coming conditions of peace, confidence, serenity, and poise. These are impossible in a pain-racked body, or in one heavy with the impurities of gross living and discordant thinking.
When the Spirit is deeply involved in matter (lower vibrations), inertia is manifested. We speak of being "heavy-hearted," depressed in spirits," " sleepy," yet prolonged sleep brings no rest; under such influences, we are literally weighted down by the gross, heavy states of the physical atoms. As the Spirit, through the purification of matter, evolves out of it, the vibrations increase in refinement; and lightness, exhilaration, and elasticity are increasingly apparent. In such states we bring enthusiasm to bear upon all that we do, and every activity is a joy; work ceases to be labor. We have connected ourselves with higher and purer sources of energy.
Epictetus reminds us: " Men are distracted not by the things which happen but by their opinions about things." To consistently apply the Tattvic Law and reap the advantage from the knowledge of it which is possible for every earnest and determined soul, there is in most cases an imperative need to change the whole tenor of customary thought,— often, indeed, the order of the life; to purify the mind and body through whole-some thinking and living, with faith, charity, love, and truth, and effacement of all petty self-interests as the basis of daily activities.
The cheerfulness and joy resulting promote a state of harmony, for happiness, confidence, and courage are upbuilding forces ; fear, anxiety, petty animosities, intolerance, resentment, and cowardice are disintegrating and discordant, because they dis turb the balance of the Tattvas, and greatly in-crease the preponderance of those which in excess are disastrous. The physical and mental peril of indulgence in these latter emotions and thoughts, is not half-understood; but here, again, the Tattvic Law clearly explains cause and effect, warns of the danger, and places responsibility. We must learn to direct our activities and govern our lives systematically, refusing longer to be the playthings of chance. We must think clearly and plan our days so they shall be filled with the things worth the doing.
As a primary condition of peace, happiness, and health, you must rule your own forces. If you would attract harmonious conditions, your own mood must be harmonious and confident. When we recognize that we live in a world of forces of which we are a part, and that the soul-governed-and-directed will can control these forces, we realize our responsibility for the proper exercise of that control, through the right use and direction of the Power of Thought.
It seems the most stupendous blindness that men have gone on for centuries delving into this world of Effects — the earth and the life thereon — and persistently denied that the world of Cause could be anything outside of the unit under examination,— that they could dream of accurate re-suits in studying one Unit of the macrocosm as an isolated world of Effect revolving upon itself.
Only the all-compelling Sun has forced man to recognize something of its influence; but so little does he comprehend it that he hesitates not to bar out its beneficent rays entirely from his dwelling, nor to build great factories and office-hives where' thousands of helpless human workers are immured," delving by artificial light throughout the Long Day! Oh, the pity of it !
Since you know that the nature of certain thoughts must inevitably produce unfavorable vibrations, is it not as rank injustice to yourself and those affected by your mental or physical condition to indulge in them as it would be to take poison? As all vibrations can be controlled by thought, you must think the vibrations which you desire to be most active in your body. Not denial of pain and weakness, but conscious thought-construction of the conditions you would manifest in your life -- just as the artist bodies forth on his canvas the picture his imagination has conceived — is the sure method to hasten the fulfillment of your strongest desires and aims. You must control your thoughts for they are always creating something. " The imaginative power in man is the reflection of the power that in God created the Universe " (Evolution of Life and Form, Annie Besant).
Râma Prasâd says: " As the balance of the Tattvas brings comfort and enjoyment of life, so the sense of comfort and enjoyment which colors our Prana and mind when we put ourselves in sympathy with the comfortable restores the balance of the Tattvas. And when the balance of the Tattvas is restored what remains? Disinclination to work, doubt, laziness and other feelings of that kind can no longer stand, and the result is the restoration of the mind to perfect calmness.
. But, for such a result to be achieved there must be long and powerful application (Nature's Finer Forces).
See to it that you contribute no discord to your environment; if so unfortunate as to come in contact with it, be no party to it. By every act of your life set the example of poise, serenity, and happy confidence in ultimate good. Oppose passion and pessimism with silent thoughts of their opposites. There is much comfort in the knowledge that through beneficent suggestion we may often influence for good a nature which can hear no arguments nor opposing opinions without being stirred to excited antagonism. A mental atmosphere of love and confidence, protects us from all evil thought-waves.
It is necessary to give final emphasis to the fact that the exercises in Yoga breathing are not methods of regular, still less of rhythmic, breathing, but, as stated in the first chapter, are scientifically designed to restore the balance of the positive and negative currents which in normal breathing flow rhythmically and alternately, one after the other, at regular periods down the right and left sides of the spine; the right (positive) and left (negative) lungs being correspondingly charged. The excess of one current, or the undue preponderance of a Tattva causes disorder; then, if order be not restored, disease. It is the inception of all disease, organic as well as functional.
The normal order of God's vast Universe is based upon rhythmic harmony, and the healthful functioning of all his creatures upon this terrestrial globe is a reflection upon the gross, or visible, plane of activity of that perfect, harmonious rhythm. Mark well that I say healthful functioning. We all know that this normal condition is the blessing enjoyed by not more than one person in five hundred, if so many.
The present age not only suffers from many weaknesses resulting from the ignorance and wrong-doing of past generations, but has involved itself deeper and deeper in materialism, separating itself from the beneficent spiritual plane of its being, which has developed hitherto unknown diseases encroaching upon and impairing, more and more with the progress of this thing mis-called civilization, the channels of vital force, the nervous system.
The corrective exercises are designed to restore divine order, no function of life having been so misunderstood and neglected during centuries as the vital one of breathing. The difference between the two exercises is very great. They supplement each other. Alternate breathing renews and freshens the human battery, undoing the mis-chief created through having employed one cur-rent too long; it is nerve-calming and equalizing; for it restores the atoms to harmonious activity, when before they were all struggling for their individual " breath of life."
The Held-Breath describes itself, for though the breaths are taken alternately as in the other exercises, the holding is the important part. It is nerve-energizing to a greater degree — and acts more promptly — than any other remedy for nerve-exhaustion yet devised; because the thought, concentrating Prana in different plexuses, polarizes the electro-chemical action, refines the Tattvic vibrations, and raises them to inconceivably higher power. This exercise for Prânayama (control of Prana) thus electrifies all the nerves of the body and stimulates all the organic functions to their highest activity. I have had many proofs of its wonderfully purifying, renewing, and invigorating power when practiced regularly and faithfully.
Since we are human electric batteries, there is no slightest doubt in my mind that we can accomplish more for the regeneration of our bodies in this way — the force being infinitely finer — than can be done by the application of high-power cur-rents from electrical machines. D'Arsonval's new apparatus (designed to destroy the " germs of old age ") gives an alternating current of one thousand million vibrations per second. But the mind gains nothing by this treatment beyond having its house put in order for it. Without belittling that, I must remind you that the mind still remains the mischief-maker, which, uncontrolled, draws discordant vibrations that will quickly undo the good. Where the will-power is lacking to gain the necessary mental control, by all means try the electric-battery. That is the next best thing, but remember that it is only man's clever device to replace Divine methods, therefore in-complete.
This explanation amply refutes the charge that an " unnatural method of breathing is taught by Yoga exercises." Instead of " reversing the natural circulation of the blood, bringing abnormal pressure upon psychic centers in the brain," as one critic charges, the exercises, if directions for practice be followed, have none but the most beneficial and stimulating effect upon both the blood circulation and the circulation of Prâna (vital force) in the nerves.
Long experience has proved to me beyond the shadow of a doubt that these corrective exercises successfully effect a purification and regulation of the Kosmic currents flowing over the nerves which, through restoring the normal balance of the vital-currents, restores harmony and consequently strength where heretofore discord and disease have held high carnival mainly because of the disordered and unnatural breathing which has become the rule among mankind instead of the exception.
Instances of harm resulting from Yoga exercises can always be traced to injudicious practice, be-cause of ignorance of the forces used — the two phases of the vital-current and the Tattvic vibrations composing the currents. All wholesale condemnation and denunciation are based also upon ignorance, but are due to observed results of malpractice. Unfortunately, this very practice has been sanctioned and directed sometimes by those who command confidence because supposedly having been trained themselves in the oldest Eastern systems.
But I would caution you that no one who under-stands the Science of Breath would dream of instructing students to practice the Held-Breath exercise for long periods of thirty to forty-five minutes. The conditions thus produced are " unnatural and destroy all normal activity. They are exactly what is described in the picturesque phraseology of the Shivâgama as the state when the fires of death burn." The enthusiasts who thus at-tempt to develop psychic powers by a tour de force, to break into heaven, as they perhaps suppose, by scaling its walls, are hopelessly defeating any spiritual aspirations they may have. You cannot burst through the sheaths without shattering them; each must be refined in turn.
Again I say : Evolution is the reverse process of involution. We must begin with the body and its directing mind. Soul-consciousness is gained in no other way; and psychic powers are but a source of danger and tribulation, of weakness to the body and mind, until both mental sheaths are developed, the higher, sufficiently to recognize its power.
Here, again, Anna Kingsford indicates the Perfect Way: It is vain to seek the inner chamber without first passing through the outer."
Concentration is not a practice to be restricted to the special periods devoted to it; but as facility and power are gained to hold the mind under control, the law of effective thinking and doing should be applied in all the affairs of life. It should become the fixed habit to concentrate the mind upon the affair of the moment no matter how trivial it may be. Only thus can the pernicious trick of mind-wandering be overcome; only thus can the mind be trained to efficient service at all times. And as it — the mind — is making you, hour by hour, what you are, is it not really the most important task in life to learn to direct its activities in ways beneficent instead of ways pernicious?
It is only when we can attain inward calm, can free ourselves from the tangle of the common daily perplexities and avocations, that we gain a true perspective of the things that so absorb us; realize the pettiness of most of them, separate the wheat from the tares ; and cultivate a judgment that will successfully guide us and bring order and peace.
There can be no final word on this vast subject. Its profound importance has been made clear to all who are sufficiently interested to think. To such there will be no fruitless moments of thought and endeavor. Ever, as they-seek, will the Path be-come more illuminated; and they and I must continue to learn as long as we strive for " More Light."
May God's blessing bring to every reader of this book enlightenment and ever-increasing under-standing of Nature's Laws, which are inseparable from the Truth of Being.