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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Introductory Remarks
Introductory Remarks

The Science of Raja Yoga, or the "Kingly Science of the Soul," as laid down by its main exponent, Patanjali, will eventually find its greatest demonstration in the West. This is owing to the fact that - under cyclic law - the fifth root race (in its fifth subrace) must inevitably touch its highest point. That point, in the economy of the races, is seen exemplified in the right use of the mind and its utilization by the soul for the achievement of group objectives and the development of group consciousness upon the physical plane.

Hitherto the mind has either been prostituted to material ends or has been deified. Through the science of Raja Yoga, the mind will be known as the instrument of the soul and the means whereby the brain of the aspirant becomes illuminated and knowledge gained of those matters which concern the realm of the soul.

Under the law of evolution likewise, the mind, being the fifth principle, the fifth root race must be intimately concerned with it, and its corresponding fifth subrace more intimately than any other. Students would do well to bear in mind the following correspondences:

 
1. The fifth root race Aryan.
2. The fifth subrace Anglo-Saxon.
3. The fifth principle manas, or mind.
4. The fifth plane the mental.
5. The fifth ray concrete knowledge. [viii]
 
All the various Yogas have had their place in the unfoldment of the human being. In the first purely physical race, which is called the Lemurian, the Yoga at that time imposed upon infant humanity was Hatha Yoga, the Yoga of the physical body, that Yoga which brings into conscious use and manipulation the various organs, muscles, and parts of the physical frame. The problem before the adepts of that time was to teach human beings, who were then little more than animals, the purpose, significance and use of their various organs, so that they could consciously control them, and the meaning of the symbol of the human figure. Therefore, in those early days, through the practice of Hatha Yoga, the human being reached the portal of initiation. At that time the attainment of the third initiation, resulting in the transfiguration of the personality, was the highest initiation that man was capable of achieving.

In Atlantean days, the progress of the sons of men was procured through the imposition of two Yogas. First, the Yoga which is called by the name of Laya Yoga, the Yoga of the centers which produced a stabilizing of the etheric body and of the centers in man and the development of the astral and psychic nature. Later on, Bhakti Yoga, growing out of the development of the emotional or astral body, was incorporated with Laya Yoga and the foundation of that mysticism and devotion, which has been the underlying incentive during our particular Aryan root race, was laid. The fourth initiation was at that time the objective. [ix] The subject of these great initiations has been discussed more at length in my previous volume, Initiation, Human and Solar.

Now, in the Aryan race, the subjugation of the mental body and the control of the mind is brought about through the practice of Raja Yoga, and the fifth initiation, that of adept, is the goal for evolving humanity. Thus, all the Yogas have had their place and served a useful purpose and it will become apparent that any return to Hatha Yoga practices or those practices which deal specifically with the development of the centers, brought about through various types of meditation practices and breathing exercises, is, from a certain aspect, a retrogression. It will be found that through the practice of Raja Yoga, and through assuming that point of directional control which is to be found by the man who centers his consciousness in the soul, the other forms of Yoga are unnecessary, for the greater Yoga automatically includes all the lesser in its results, though not in its practices.

When these are studied, it will become apparent why the day of opportunity has only just arrived. The East has preserved rules for us since time immemorial. Here and there Orientals (with a few Western adepts) have availed themselves of those rules and have submitted to the discipline of this exacting science. Thus has been preserved for the race the continuity of the Secret Doctrine, of the Ageless Wisdom, and thus has been gathered together the personnel of the Hierarchy of our planet. In the time of the Buddha and [x] through the stimulation He produced there was a great gathering in of Arhats. These were men who had achieved liberation through self-initiated effort. This period, in our Aryan race, marked a climax for the East. Since then the tide of spiritual life has steadily flowed westward, and we may now look for a corresponding climax in the West, which will reach its zenith between the years 1965 and 2025. Towards this end the adepts of the East and of the West are unitedly working, for they follow always the Law.

This coming impulse is (as was that in the time of the Buddha) a second Ray impulse, and has no relation to any first Ray impulse, such as that which brought forth H. P. Blavatsky. First Ray impulses rise in the first quarter of each century and reach their climax on the physical plane during the last quarter. The interest now shown in Raja Yoga and the study of this science and the rules it provides for man's unfoldment, is indicative of the general trend of this rising second Ray impulse. This interest will be increasingly shown. Thus comes the day of opportunity.

There are three books which should be in the hands of every student, the Bhagavad Gita, the New Testament, and the Yoga Sutras, for in these three is contained a complete picture of the soul and its unfoldment.

In the Gita we have given us (in its eighteen chapters) a description of the soul, of Krishna, the second aspect, in his true nature as God in manifestation, culminating in that marvellous chapter where he reveals himself to Arjuna, the aspirant, [xi] as the soul of all things, and the point of glory behind the veil of every form.

In the New Testament there is depicted for us the life of a Son of God in full manifestation, wherein, freed from every veil, the soul in its true nature walks the earth. It becomes apparent to us, as we study the life of Christ, what it means to develop the powers of the soul, to attain liberation, and become, in full glory, a God walking on earth.

In the Yoga Sutras there are embodied for us the laws of that becoming, and the rules, methods, and means which - when followed - make a man "perfect even as your Father in Heaven is perfect." Step by step there is unfolded for us a graded system of development, leading a man from the stage of average good man, through those of aspirant, initiate and master on to that exalted point in evolution at which the Christ now stands. John, the beloved disciple, has said that "we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is" and the revelation of the soul to man in physical plane incarnation works ever the great transformation. Christ himself has said that "Greater works than I do shall ye do," holding out to us the promise of the "kingdom, the power and the glory" provided our aspiration and endurance suffice to carry us along the thorny way of the Cross, and enable us to tread that path which "leads up hill all the way" to the summit of the Mount of Transfiguration.

How is this great change brought about? How does man, the victim of his desires and lower [xii] nature become man, the victor, triumph over the world, the flesh and the devil? It is brought about when the physical brain of the incarnated man becomes aware of the self, the soul, and this conscious awareness only becomes possible when the true self can "reflect itself in the mind-stuff." The soul is inherently freed from objects and stands ever in the state of isolated unity. Man, however, in incarnation has to arrive, in his physical brain consciousness, at a realization of these two states of being; he has consciously to free himself from all objects of desire and stand as a unified whole, detached and liberated from all veils, from all forms in the three worlds. When the state of conscious being, as known by the spiritual man, becomes also the condition of awareness of the man in physical incarnation then the goal has been reached. The man is no longer what his physical body makes him, when identified with it, the victim of the world. He walks free, with shining face (I. Cor. 3) and the light of his countenance is shed abroad upon all he meets. No longer do his desires swing the flesh into activity, and no longer does his astral body subjugate him and overcome him.

Through dispassion and the balancing of the pairs of opposites he has freed himself from the moods, feelings, longings, desires, and emotional reactions which characterize the life of the average man and has arrived at the point of peace. The devil of pride, the personification of the misused mental nature and the distorted perceptions of the mind, are overcome and he stands liberated [xiii] from the three worlds. The nature of the soul, the qualities and activities inherent in the love nature of the Son of God, and the wisdom which demonstrates when love and activity (the second and third aspects) are brought together, characterize his life on earth, and he can say as did the Christ, "It is finished."

The date of the birth of Patanjali is unknown and there is a good deal of controversy upon this matter. Most of the occidental authorities ascribe a date between the years 820 B. C. to 300 B. C., though one or two place him after Christ. The Hindu authorities themselves, however, who may be supposed to know something about the matter, ascribe a very much earlier date, even as far back as 10,000 B.C. Patanjali was a compiler of teaching which, tip to the time of his advent, had been given orally for many centuries. He was the first to reduce the teaching to writing for the use of students and hence he is regarded as the founder of the Raja Yoga School. The system, however, has been in use since the very beginning of the Aryan race. The Yoga Sutras are the basic teaching of the Trans-Himalayan School to which many of the Masters of the Wisdom belong, and many students hold that the Essenes and other schools of mystical training and thought, closely connected with the founder of Christianity and the early Christians, are based upon the same system and that their teachers were trained in the great Trans-Himalayan School.

It should be stated here that the Sutras have [xiv] been dictated and paraphrased by the Tibetan Brother and the commentary upon them has been written by myself, and subjected to revision and comment by the Tibetan. It should be noted that the translation is not literal, and is not an exact definition of each original Sanskrit term. It is an attempt to put into clear and understandable English the exact meaning, insofar as it is possible to do so through the medium of that non-elastic and unimaginative tongue. The student may find it of use in the study of these sutras to compare the rendition here given, with the various other procurable translations.

Alice A. Bailey, New York, May, 1927.

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