Specific Influence Of The Tattvas
( Originally Published 1908 )
IN the invariability of those characteristics of every Tattva which differentiate one from an-other, we find the reason for the force of habits, and the clue to that inexorable law of like seeking like. This law is set forth in the Bible with stern realism, appearing as so manifest an injustice that to many souls it is a hopeless stumbling block.
What are habits? The established periodicity of a certain vibration, or vibrations; for all forces in nature by an inherent law of their being, come back to their source. This tendency in atom, molecule, and cell to repetition of motion is due to the unvarying law of rhythm. All examinations of molecules prove that their movements are periodical, and when normal rhythmical. All life is a matter of vibration, every act, every thought, is a Tattvic vibration,— and once a given vibration has occurred, not only is it apt to recur, come back to its source, but every repetition increases that liability and its facility of action, because, it cuts deeper its channel through the directing brain or nerve substance. The great law of rhythm is the director, incentive, or cause of all automatisms. For this reason, also, consonance of action draws similar vibrations .together. The way is made and invites that vibration.
Thus, on the mental plane, similar thoughts flash from one receptive mind to another as the needle is drawn to a magnet. On the gross material plane, water mingles with water, oil with oil; and every one knows how all tangible things of like nature are drawn together, and similar events occur in groups whether they be tragedies or festivals. But knowledge of the underlying cause puts in our hands a weapon of defence against the seeming cruelty and hardship of this law. We must ban the thoughts which cut the channels for unfavorable vibrations, and avoid the deeds which deepen and make more permanent their impression.
Ignorance is described in Sanskrit as darkness — called Avidyâ - and is considered a very dark state of Akâsha. The gross vibrations have be-come " set," as it were, through the non-reception of other vibrations —meaning fresh ideas; and as the victim of mental inactivity grows older this Avidyâ (uh-veed-yah) state renders it ever harder to make an impression upon such a brain. Every new thought makes a new channel in the brain, which explains the high average of conservatism in the human race. People are prone to follow ruts; it is harder to make new roads, which is evidenced in our idiomatic expression, to break a road." The fewer channels there have been in a brain the less yielding is the substance — " darkness " well describes it — and the more difficult it is to penetrate it with new ideas which must thread their way through. Swami Vivekânanda ex-pressed this in a graphic figure of speech:
" The more thoughtful the man the more complicated will be the streets in his brain, and the more easily he will take to new ideas, and under-stand them." It is not the mere bulk of a brain but the character of its cells, its atomic structure, that makes the intellectual giant.
This follows the law of the whole physical economy, that parts or organs which are kept in a state of activity are more pliable and respond to unusual demands upon their strength or endurance exactly in the measure that they have been exercised. Nothing in the universe is in a state of permanence or stands still as it were. Everything is either improving, building up, or disintegrating; and the atoms in our bodies follow the Tattvic laws of universal motion.
But, never forget, you are free to choose what the motion shall »e; whether harmonious, building up, or discordant, which is disintegrating.
For the physiological plane is a reflection of the mental plane, and your own thoughts can be made paramount in influence, protecting the body from unfavorable vibrations which otherwise would find entrance. So all-pervading, so deep-lying is this law of like seeking like that we gain in health as we promote the health of others; and our happiness is increased in the direct ratio that we make others happy. That is the line of least resistance; and the easiest way to win all benefits, guerdons, or material success whatsoever, is to seek those blessings for others.
The mind which is stirred to emotional excitement by the trifling annoyances and perplexities of the average daily life, plunging into wordy conflicts upon the slightest provocation, is wooing every and any physical disorder, makes rhythmic harmony of physical functions impossible, and invites the disturbance of the Tejas Tattva,— a most dangerous vibration when thrown out of balance, disturbing its legitimate functions. Every reaction in the form of hatred or evil — even repugnance of the intense sort, the deep revulsions that stir up whirlpools of emotion — disturbs the balance of Tejas and weakens the mind, exposing it to be more easily stirred; for every unhappy thought is responded to by an unhappy, disordered vibration. We contribute our mite towards universal harmony by cultivating indifference to evils which we have no power to remedy or alleviate. Every manifestation of control in such cases, by which we retain our poise and, therefore, our judgment, also strengthens the mind and increases our power. The energy thus gained and stored is converted to a higher power.
Tantrik philosophy explains minutely the effect of the different Tattvas upon human life, health, and happiness, prophesying good or bad fortune for many of the habitual acts of daily life, ac-cording as they are performed with one or the other current of Pratt, or during the prevalence of certain Tattvas. While some of this detail is more curious than practical, and part of it is obsolete, not applying to conventions of modern life, there is much that is fundamental; much which can be proved in many experiences; and is constantly corroborated in every system of mental therapeutics.
The all-pervading Akâsha has centers of dominant influence in the brain and ears; and there are periods when it is prevalent in the throat, spine, heart, and anus. Always active in the exercise of thought, and becoming predominant during in-tense mental application and in meditation, brooding and melancholy induce its excess, and, in con-sequence, affect the general health. Knowing this, we must utilize the normal and fortunate powers of Akâsha, and inhibit its malefic influences by changing our vibrations when they manifest their presence.
The natural corrective of happy thoughts is beneficent because they encourage the flow of Prithivi,— the extreme of the Tattvic scale from Akâsha. Not rose-colored spectacles but yellow ones should be given to people addicted " to the blues," and they should be kept in the sunshine when possible and be surrounded by floods of golden light, living in yellow-hung rooms. Hysteria and lunacy indicate the disastrous preponderance. of 1 kâsha and call for the yellow treatment, and every influence possible that will reduce the Akâshic vibrations to their lowest normal flow. The consideration of Prithivi, which must come in its natural sequence will develop more details.
Remember that as the foreshadower of every other Tattva all possibilities can be developed from the Akâsha. That is the form of its mental prevalence. It is for us to choose the ingredients and do the mixing! It is the stagnation and misuse of .Akâsha which are to be shunned. The taste of A kâsha is said to be bitter, but I believe it can also be proved to be salt. It is the lightest of the Tattvas. Taking ten as the unit of Akâsha, they increase in weight by ten in natural order from Pâyu twenty to Prithivi fifty.
Pâyu is only less unfortunate when excessively predominant than Akâsha; and, as their relations are close, the presence of one in excess indicates a preponderance of the other, or is apt to be accompanied by it. In speaking of the manifestations of Yâyu or its centers of dominant influence, the reader is cautioned against confounding the Yâyu Tattva with another Sanskrit use of the word which has entirely misled some students. The word is derived from the root va, to move, and signifies a motive-power. Certain organic functions of the body, which are considered as so many manifestations of Prâna, are generically called Yâyus, though having specific names. In this sense, Yâyus are nothing more than forces of Prâna; or it would be clearer to say they are evidences of Prânic power. In only one of these so-called "Vayas"— the function of breathing — is the Yâyu Tattva prevalent. To avoid confusion, I shall restrict the use of the word to its Tattvic sense. It is much clearer to know these manifestations of Prâna by their specific names, when we come to them.
You have learned that the sense of touch is stimulated by the Yâyu Tattva, and that a specific field of its gross activities is to furnish the thin, elastic sheath-garment that protects the sensitive flesh,— the skin of the body. The two phases, positive and negative, of Yâyu, form the positive and the negative skin, each of which has five layers in which the other Tattvas mingle, one after the other, with the Yâyu, and disclose their influence by the modifications in the forms of the cells. An illustration of a magnified section of skin betrays all these Tattvic activities in oblong, squared, and triangulated spheres and dotted circles. In a single layer of the cuticle, it is computed there are a billion scale-like cells to the square inch.
Every movement of the body is a manifestation of Vâyu, and acts of levitation are exhibitions of supreme mastery of this Tattva. It is more than probable that it is an excess of Pâyu which gives people sometimes in dreams the sensation of flying; and deep breathing when walking almost literally gives wings to the feet, so lithe and buoy-ant does it make the body.
Yâyu has an acid taste, and the acidity of the stomach which accompanies most gastric disturbances is unmistakable proof that this Tattva is flowing in excess. All the exercises in alternate breathing, and the Held-breath especially, are of great benefit in all gastric disorders; and I know of nothing else that can give so speedy relief to intense suffering in acute attacks. Four or five repetitions of the Held-breath exercise are sufficient at one practice, but the intervals of practice may be every hour if the need be urgent. Do not confound Prânâyâma with the exercise; that is, do not say you take a Prânâyâma. You take an exercise — the Held-breath — to acquire Prânâyâma — the control of Prâna. Always clear speaking promotes clear thinking and facile doing.
You will understand now that it is the law of periodicity which makes it so important that periods of practice, both for the breathing exercises and for concentration be observed regularly; that is, at as nearly the same hour every day as possible. Regularity in this greatly promotes the harmony and ease of the doing, and increases the benefits proportionally. No ordinary interruptions should be permitted to interfere with this, especially during the first months of practice.
The attitude of mental serenity gained in meditation upon the Higher Self, when we come into a consciousness of inward power from our union with the great Central Dynamo of life itself, gives us a physical poise which is invaluable in meeting the vicissitudes of daily activities and lessens the friction beyond compare. And the benefit is not merely personal. The serenity and physical harmony of one such well-poised person will impart its benison to a whole group.