The Yogi Self-Developer
[This is taken from Swami Mukerji’s The Doctrine and Practice of Yoga.]
In lessons 1 and 2 we have initiated you into the mysteries of Will and Mind-Force, the governing principles of the Universe and the laws of their development. We have also taught you how to acquire absolute control over Body and Mind. In these lessons we have striven to point out to you the right “Mental Attitude” towards your daily life, so that while mainly engaged in the task of Self-Culture you might also lend a hand in the great work of strengthening the race.
Moreover our convictions, beliefs, and ideals are no mean, are insignificant factors in the determination of our health and environmental conditions. They react on our circumstances as well as on the WHOLE MAN. We have also given you important points of instruction in Soul Unfoldment, Meditation, Bramhacharya, Breathing, Fasting, Health-Culture, Body building and shown you, as distinctly as we could, the exact process of developing a single virtue in your self thereby you may master the process and method of developing other virtues, the lines of action and thought being well nigh similar in all, and focalizing at certain common points of primary importance.
We have given the bare body of truth in connection with the development, evolution and unfoldment of the body and the soul, stripping of the metaphysical trappings and the theoretical draperies in which they are clothed. We have had to literally rend asunder the heavy wheel that had the divine face of truth. Hence our lessons are brief and to the point. We have had to contend against and overcome another serious difficulty. Expressed in the matter of fact English language, these wondrous truths of mysticism cannot but lose the air of profound solemnity and sanctity that pervades the subject of Yoga in Sanskrit literature.
The wise and thoughtful student and we certainly do not write for light-headed and non-serious people, will not let their apparent simplicity deceive him or throw him off his guard. Rather let him realize that these lessons can be pressed into service in all directions and in all spheres of life. Let him just put them into practice and he will at once see their practical bearing on his daily life. These lessons do not go into the “WHAT” but point out the “HOW” of every thing. We leave every student to suit his individual case as to the intellectual side of the ETERNAL PROBLEM. In conclusion we have to say that this Course does not pretend to deal with the advanced stages of Yoga, much less exhaust them. But they will, positively and decidedly prepare him for those higher things by lifting the PALL OF DARKNESS from his mind.
LESSONS III AND IV.
Quite a number of you there must be to whom the “Fearless” mind is not only an enviable possession but something to which you are and have been an utter stranger. You may not say it to others—confession may hurt your pride—but secretly away deep in your heart, there resides strongly and fiercely the desire to be a Fearless Individual. And it is a worthy desire. To be able to wipe off all fearfulness, anxiety and worry from your mental tablets is no easy task, but when once accomplished, it gives you a glimpse of Heavenly Joy and Superhuman Strength. And, You can be Fearless, I tell you—each one of you—you can be what you will to be. I have seen it. I have done it. I am going to give you sound and positive instructions in this paper so that you may forge ahead towards your goal. These instructions are based upon good psychological grounds, have been tested and proved by millions and proved a blessing to whoever took them up in all earnestness and gave them a trial. If you want to be Fearless, hesitate not to follow them to the very letter.
I shall not waste space telling you about the dire results of fear, cowardice, worry, anxiety and the vile brood of negative thoughts branching of FEAR. Physically, mentally and spiritually man is what he thinks in his heart. As you think, so you are. Mind governs everything, creates or destroys everything, on the physical as well as other planes. Your thoughts affect your health, your circumstances, your environments; those who come into daily contact with you, those who are separated from you by space, those who are what you call “dead” but who are really alive in spirit-life and bound to you more or less by mystic chords of sympathy in thought and soul-life, affecting you and being affected by you every minute.
The range of influence exerted by a man’s daily thoughts is simply tremendous. Trees and animals, minerals and other objects of material life absorb it. The walls of your room, the clothes you wear, the letters you write are all being impressed by the aura of your thought-force. If you go to a clairvoyant or a psychometerist and put into his hands a letter, a lock of hair, a cloth-piece, or anything else pertaining to one of your friends, he or she will psychically trace out the personal appearance, temperament, past and present history, and everything else in connection with that person. Marvelous, ‘Impossible’ you cry in surprise. But it is done. Realize through study and investigation the importance of your thought-life and avoid vitiating it by fear-thoughts, hate-thoughts, sensual and sensuous thoughts and vanity thoughts. Because, mark you, these four giant-weeds poison the roots of the Tree of Life. All humanity suffers pain in diverse ways, on account of these four bad thoughts and their millions of off-springs. Now you will say this is all very well but:
That is just what I mean to teach you all along. I don’t want to feed you on mere empty theories, but I can and I will give you that knowledge which when assimilated shall build up strong flesh, bone, muscle, tissue, pith and marrow which will give you superb health, strength of mind and spirit—all of which are necessary adjuncts to Spiritual Growth and Happiness. Let me give you in detail methods and exercises. The ideal fearless man has many qualities. I say the Ideal Hero—no imitation patch work vulgarian. These qualities are in rough detail: (1) Devotion to God. (2) Knowledge. (3) Concentration. (4) Will Power. (5) Energy and Aspiration. (6) Health. (7) Self-Esteem. (8) Self-Control. (9) Love for Humanity. (10) Chastity. There may be other qualities but you will do well to build up the above and others will come to you by themselves. Let me drop a few helpful suggestions on the above. Follow each sentence closely.
1. DEVOTION TO THE ABSOLUTE WILL.
I have always said, written, observed and felt that the most courageous individuals are devoted to God. Such men are rare. You all understand the meaning of “Fearlessness” in its fullest sense. It means absolute independence—in two words, he is the FEARLESS man who “fears-nothing,” and “faces-everything.” That everything includes everyone. That nothing excludes no one. Viewed from this standpoint is not the fearless man rarely to be met with? You may come across degrees of fearlessness. Now the man who possesses this quality in the “highest degree” has faith in this God. Everyone has his conception of God. Everyone sees the absolute from his individual plane of vision.
That conception which you have of God will do for you. I say, it will do for you and you alone. Don’t force it upon others. Keep it for yourself. If you want to improve this conception of God pray in the Silence thus: “O, THOU, I UNDERSTAND NOT THY NATURE. I KNOW NOT—YET I YEARN TO KNOW. DO THOU REVEAL THYSELF UNTO MY SOUL. DO THOU OPEN MY SPIRITUAL EYES AND LEAD ME ON.” Student, don’t treat this lightly. Listen not to that conceited or blinded brother of yours who says he does not care for God—who says he can go on without the aid of God. Listen not. Listen not.
The strongest and greatest pray often. Only they do not talk of this to others. They never make a show of their devotion. But they have all prayed and do all pray. They believe in personal effort—they also believe in Divine leading and guidance. Learn to be “lead by the Spirit.” Everything shall come to you in this way. You will also notice that the Fearless Man is not a mere God-fearing man. He is a God-loving Individual. He loves God for God’s sake largely. That man who is fearful in spite of his devotion to God is a sham devotee. But the grace of the LORD’S name is such that it shall purify the most impure of heart. It shall build up even a sham devotee into a real devotee who in time shall transcend all limitation.
Therefore have faith in God. “Be regular” in your devotions. Also remember that each trial is a pain accompanying spiritual regeneration—each pain a process of strengthening the herald of a mere glorious dawn of wisdom. Hence give up a grumbling. The great God whose Infinite power regulates the motions of planets and yet takes note of the sparrow’s fall has your soul’s best interest at heart. All you do, all you say, all you feel, all you hope, all your experiences—all, all is His will. Man’s Will is God’s Will. God’s Will is Man’s Will. And who can define God? God alone has the power to define Himself. He has defined Himself as the Universe—Bramhanda. Nothing is impossible for the devotee of God. Let him but be willing to work and God shall give him everything. Regular devotion to God will surely develop extreme Fearlessness. “God is Love.”
(2). KNOWLEDGE (Gnayanam).
Fear is due to ignorance. When in the dark of night you mistook the rope for a snake, you shrieked out in terror. Cause? IGNORANCE. But when you saw the rope as a rope, you laughed out in amusement. Cause? KNOWLEDGE. All your fear is due to your ignorance of your real nature. All the fear at the last is fear of death. You have to realize through knowledge of the Vedanta that you are birthless, deathless. You have to unfold by meditation a consciousness of your Real Self. I give you hereunder a meditation exercise that will help you in this direction.
MEDITATION EXERCISE NO. 1.
Retire into the SILENCE. Shut off all thoughts and purposes relating to the external world. Try to realize that you, the Real Ego are not the body but that it is a mere garment you have put on for functioning on the physical plane and which you shall put off some day. Try to realize that you are immortal and that although a thousand bodies might come and go, you, the Ego, shall be as alive as ever. These are your shadows—your personalities. What dies and is born is a mirage—a mere phantasm—which you materialize for certain purposes. All these purposes centralize in one POTENTIALISED PURPOSE—the conquest of matter.
Realize that you the Ego, have your dwelling in Supernal Regions—on the spiritual plane—with your Father-in-Heaven—but that you have come down into matter that you may find the fullest possible objective expression. Realize that you, the Ego, are a differentiated centre of consciousness in the Great Consciousness—THE ABSOLUTE—EGO—SUM of the entire Universe with all its gross and subtle manifestations—that you are endowed with all the powers and attributes of the Absolute Self. Realize that you are not the emotional and passional manifestations—surging up in your personality. These are subject to the law of Flux and Rhythm and must be brought under the control of Reason and Will—the balancing, equating principle of mind.
Realize that you are not the mind nor the intellect, but that you exercise this function in order to analyze the external manifestations of nature and study same. Realize that you are pure Consciousness, Bliss and Existence in your essential nature—on with the all-life. Realize that the form side of manifestation is but a concentration, a precipitation within you. Your subjective nature is one with the subjective self of others—an inlet for the influx and efflux of the GREAT SUB-CONSCIOUS.
Realize thus your Unity with All-Life-manifesting objectively as Universal Brotherhood of all living beings and the perfect recognition of the All-Father-Mother, the Great Cosmic Power and Intelligence known as God whose intelligence all-blissfulness and existence are ever pouring into each Unit of Individualized Divine Energy and evolving through nature. And, student, when you meditate daily that you are neither the body nor the emotions nor the mind, you shall then unfold the consciousness of the “I am I” that which rules the personality that which has been called Soul-Consciousness. You shall then be Chaitanya-Spiritually awake.
You shall then know no Fear. Fear shall drop away like a worn-out sheath. All fear-thoughts are due to undeveloped race-consciousness which reacts upon individual consciousness and is stamped more or less upon every atom of matter. You ‘fear’ because you think you are the body. When you realize that you can command as many bodies for your use as you like; when you realize in your heart of hearts that you are a Spiritual Being expressing and energizing through material personalities; when you realize that you cannot die, fear shall be afraid of you and drop tormenting and teasing you. Fear resides in the matter-fed mind—that mind which has been grown and matured by the reception and re-action upon external sensations and stimuli—what has been called the objective mind.
This mind identifies itself with the form, the body. It has an incorrigible determination towards the form-side, the concrete-side of existence. It sees nothing but the body and is darkened by the forces of Maya. It sees nothing but separation. Yes, it is the matter-fed mind. People with a development of this side of consciousness are invariably selfish; have generally small, conical eyes, understand nothing, but the welfare of the body. They are subject to the fear and the delight in making others fear them. This mind needs illumination from the soul, the Subjective Man, the “I am I” side of consciousness. It is not that you are a body and have a soul—this is the dirty conviction of the matter-fed mind—but you are a soul and have a body.
The dawn of Soul-Consciousness makes a man a Force for good. He himself is Fearless. His is the voice of strength that does not crush and dominate but that puts warmth, life, energy, hope and indomitable courage into cold and despairing hearts. Some are born with this Soul-Consciousness. Do not think that I am feeding with the theories of eccentricity. Often when a boy playing with others the thought would strike me hard, “Are you the same that is running and jumping and shouting.” I would stop, looking blankly ahead. A feeling of confusion would come over me and I would forget everything. I could recall the feeling distinctly and vividly. Now I understand.
These were flashes of Soul-Consciousness unfolded in a past life and struggling for “recognition” in this life. Such men face DEATH for themselves calmly. They know they can’t die. Such men are incapable of sustained hatred. They too have their physiognomical signs and distinctions. They represent an advanced order of intellect. And, lastly, when the full blaze of realization comes, your one object in life shall be to bestow your sense of freedom on others. You shall not be able to mock and smile calmly at the pain, the ignorance to imperfections of your brother-man. You shall realize what it is to ‘feel’ for humanity, yea, even for animals.
You shall glimpse, in some measures, the great feeling of pain that rent the hearts of the Buddhas, the Christs, the Ramakrishnas, the Vivekanandas of this world. They suffered, they felt for humanity. And when undeveloped humanity forced them to the Cross; they bore it in the same spirit in which the gentle nurse bears the blows and abuses of the disease-racked patient. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Verily to know all is to forgive all. This Soul-Consciousness is as much yours as that of anyone. It comes through meditation on the Infinite, and the Formless Absolute—the Over-soul of the universe—the Brahman of the Vedanta—the Self of the philosophers—the Atman of the Yogis—the personal—impersonal God of the devotee—and, last, but not least, the humanity of the humanitarian.
The mind can think of one thing only. Fear is an acute form of negative concentration—worry its chronic form. If you learn how to place your mind upon a particular subject and inhibit or “shut off” all other thoughts, the fascination of fear and worry shall have no power over you. Most of the things you fear never happen—others can be routed by a bold front. Even if something ugly does befall you, you have the power within to enable you to ‘bear up’ heroically.
Fear is a mere negative thought-habit. It is a negative tendency in the mind. You can best eradicate this weed from your mind by cultivating the positive attitude of Courage. There are particular sets of brain-cells being created or destroyed by particular types of thoughts. The best way to destroy negative brain-cells is to develop positive brain-cells. If you want to Kill off Fear-thoughts, do not fight them. That would be like trying to realize how dark a place is and then starting to pitch it out by the handful. You know you cannot do it. Just open the blinds and let in sunshine and the place will be flooded with light.
The mind hypnotized by negative thoughts has been compared by a mental scientist to a dirty wash-bowl full of dirty water. Take the wash-bowl near a tap and turn the tap on. The steady pour of clean water will soon wash off all the dirty water and fill the wash-bowl with clear water. So the only way to root out and destroy evil thoughts is to turn a steady stream of positive thoughts to overcome all fear thoughts, you should think courage-thoughts. Don’t crawl on your belly; don’t call upon Heaven to witness that despicable creature you are. No—a thousand times—no. Act Courage. Think Courage. Say Courage. That’s the way. Turn your face towards the rising sun. Take “Courage” for your watchword. Affirm it as far as you can. Fasten it deep and strong in your mind. Always tell yourself that you are full of courage, morning, noon and night; never tell yourself that you are weak.
Now, in order to inhibit fear-thoughts and exhibit Courage-thoughts, you must possess CONCENTRATION. You should be able to take your mind off a certain subject and put it on something else at your will. Do you know what Concentration means? Let me give you in my own words something I remember reading about Napoleon. When banished to St. Helena and suffering from disease, one day his doctor expressed his curiosity as to the secret of his success and astonishing power. Napoleon replied “Doctor, there are drawers in my brain. When I want to think of politics I pull out the drawer of politics, when I want to think of Josephine, I pull out the drawer of Love, and so on; and when I shut all these drawers, I can go to sleep.”
The doctor smiled incredulity blandly. “Doctor, I can show you this minute. Doctor, I shut all drawers”—even while saying this, Napoleon fell with a thud on his pillow. He was fast asleep. The man of science and medicine examined him in all ways, but Napoleon had fallen actually fast asleep. This is Concentration and Mind-Control. I don’t admire men of Napoleon’s selfish types. Their place is in dark hell. They use their power for preying upon others. But that his powers of mind were great, I don’t deny. Napoleon in his past life had been a great Yogi, but the remnants of self and cumulative force of bad Karma precipitated the bloody results you all know in connection with Napoleon’s career. No doubt, this man was only a means used by God to bring about certain changes and revolutions.
To develop Concentration, pay attention to the daily work of your life. Don’t neglect small things. Put interest and attention into whatever you think, say, or do. Be a wide-awake man. Don’t go about your work half-asleep. Wake up and display a few signs of life. Be progressive. Think much and to the purpose.
You all understand this. It is that aspect of your make-up that enables you to make your mind and body obey you. The true principle of Will is closely interlocked with the “I am I” as I have already explained it. Resolve at the start to do one thing once in 24 hours that you would do if you were not afraid. Face fear and it is your slave. Your Will-power enables you to prove things practically to yourself and to the world; to make actions match-thoughts. Give your Will much exercise in the right direction. Without Will a man is no better than a log of wood. Keep your Will strong by auto-suggestion and exercise. Try the powers of your Will on your personality till you can do anything and be anything. Say “I can and I will” in a thousand different ways and prove it too. The requisite qualities that form valuable adjuncts to Will-power are:
1. Determination. 2. Stick-to-it-ive-ness. 3. Perseverance. 4. Invincible and indomitable courage. 5. Non-attachment. 6. Faith in yourself. 7. Faith in God. 8. I can and I will. Repeat this affirmation often till it becomes a constant mental trait.
1. I am fearless. I am full of courage. There is nothing to fear. I say courage, I think, I act courage.
2. Courage is my distinct and leading trait. Everyone knows me as a man of Indomitable courage. The criticisms and opinions of others cannot affect me the least.
3. I am part of the Divine Self. I harm none. My nature knows no harm. Hence no harm comes to me.
4. I am equal to anything. Nothing can crush my spirit. I can face everything. I can face everybody.
5. My powers of resistance are strong, strong, strong. I use them never for the aggression of others. They are for my self-defense.
6. I am absolutely fearless morally and physically.
7. I stand for absolute truthfulness and justice and manifest them in myself.
8. Work with this affirmation. Strongly implant it in your mind.
The use of strong, positive Affirmation in the Silence is valuable in that it gives you a firm hold of your thought so that you can “carry the thought” mentally. The value of expressing thought in act and speech lies in this that it clinches your thought into a permanent habit. Remember this psychological axiom: 1. Thoughts take form in action. 2. Action induces thought and corresponding habits. Therefore act out the part physically. If you want a courageous mind—“act out” the part physically, in your daily life, on suitable occasions, in all earnestness as you would in a theatre or drama.
In a very short time it shall become a confirmed habit. Force yourself to it. Take an interest in what you do and say. Have confident expectations of SUCCESS. Never be daunted and cowed down by initial difficulties and failures. Never say die. If you go down—don’t remain lying and moaning. Never, I say, never. Get up. Shake yourself up free and say, like the royal lion “Come one, come all, this rock shall fly sooner from its base than I.” Have a will of your own and be a force for good. Exercise your Will-power. Be something. Do something.
LOVE FOR HUMANITY, ENERGY, ASPIRATION, SELF-ESTEEM.
I cannot too strongly emphasize the difference between Self-Esteem and Self-Conceit. I wish to drive and thoroughly pound this difference into your brain. Self-Esteem is decidedly a manly trait. It is based upon a conviction of the Kingship of God and the Sonship of Man. Man is a dignified being with divine attributes. He should not disgrace his Maker by crawling on the ground. This is Self-Esteem. Self-Esteem does not lower itself. It never lowers others.
You shall never see a leader of mankind without tremendous faith in himself. But equally truly you shall never see a true man or woman taking delight in having others crawl to dust before them. They feel pained and shocked at such a sight. There is infinite humiliation to them hi this sorry spectacle. But Self-Conceit is that original obliquity that leads a man to make a hog of himself. It is the old, dirty, unmanly “I-am-greater-than-you” feeling. Such men are hogs, hogs, hogs. They are not the true sons of their mothers. They are bastards and imbeciles.
If you come across this type and get a chance to deal with him on your private strength open his eyes to his hoggishness. If he has any manly stuff in himself, he shall reform. If not, let him sizzle in his fat. Nature and its rigorous Laws will rub the lesson home some day. But don’t you stand their nonsense for want of moral backbone. And the “I am” in you shall revolt against any such meanness and smallness in yourself. Encourage it not. Revere God. Revere yourself. Revere others. Next, as to energy and aspiration—these two characteristics transmute your mind from a negative into a positive type. They give you an aura of thought-force such as never knows fear. In point of fact fear is starved off to death.
Be progressive. Take an interest in the affairs of this world and be a force for good. Raise yourself first. Then give others a lift. Have an Increasing Purpose in your life. Work towards its accomplishment. The man who renounces the world does not become a burden unto others. He helps others to shoulder their responsibilities. Nature aids at building up strong individuals. It has no use for barnacles and is always scraping them off. Nature does not tolerate leeches, vampires and parasites. Aspire to do something great in life “for the good of many, for the happiness of many.”
Live to some purpose. When you have a positive life-purpose, your tone of mind shall be dominant and positive and your thoughts shall match. All-strength shall come to you. Bad health, fear, worry and the whole array of disintegrating forces are set into active motion by a purposeless life. The Purposeful Man has no time to bother about them. Understand clearly, spirituality is not laziness, whatever else it may be.
1. I have perfect Self-Confidence. I am a Divine Being. I lower not myself—I lower not others.
2. My Life-Purpose is Constructive—not Destructive.
3. I will be great spiritually and mentally. I will make others great. I am an irresistible force for good.
4. I live to some great purpose. I am an Individual. I recognize the Fatherhood of God and the Brotherhood of man.
HEALTH, CHASTITY AND SELF-CONTROL.
Chastity and Self-Control bring to you a clean healthy physique. Strong health means strong brain. And strong brain means abounding vitality, magnetism and ambition. Remember our aim is the development of courage. The Chaste brain has tremendous energy. You should observe Bramhacharya—the conservation of vital energy in the body. You should acquire control over your passions and appetites. The energy generated in your body should not be drawn off at the lower end of your being, but should be transmuted into creative activity mentally and spiritually. Get a clean body, first. You can get it by fasting, breathing and exercise.
FASTING AND SELF-CONTROL.
If you feel heavy in body and brain, if you feel mentally sluggish it is a sure indication that your system is “clogged” with waste matter, due to partial or total inactivity of the physical channels of elimination. You have been indulging in high living and gluttony or you have been indulging in physical gratifications and have thus exhausted the vital fibers of your body. Perhaps you have drunk very little water which is nature’s demand for cleaning the vessels of the body. Perhaps you have exercised little and thus the supply of oxygen required for burning off carbon and energizing the blood has been rather limited. Mental depression, ‘weak nerves,’ melancholy, despair, fear, lack of concentration and lots of other mental weakness are due to a clogging of the system with accumulated refuse.
In brief, the following are a few of the benefits derivable from scientific fasting:–(1) It gives nature a chance to “Clean Up.” The day of fasting is a day of physical “house cleaning.” (2) Like the galvanic battery the body “recuperates” its energies. Strength is invariably rested to one’s powers of digestion after a careful fast. No case of dyspepsia, constipation, etc., there is, but can benefit or be totally and radically cured by fasting. Fasting will increase powers of assimilation, quicken hunger, purify and strengthen the nerves and raise your health in all ways. (3) By gaining control over appetite you gain control over your lower nature. It is a splendid drill for your Will. You shall gain in spiritual strength. You shall grow positive to your flesh and its cravings. Jesus Christ fasted for 40 days in order to prepare himself to face his great trial and temptation. Our Yogis are all great fasters.
HOW TO FAST.
Don’t undertake too much. If you have never observed a fast begin with a 24 hour fast. Drink at least 5, if possible, 8 tumblers of pure water at frequent intervals slowly. Keep yourself gently active and occupied the whole day, mentally and physically. You may feel a feeling of faintness, all-goneness and an irresistible craving for food. These are mischievous pranks of a cultivated and pampered and artificial appetite. Drink water slowly but don’t give your body anything else. Always keep before yourself the distinction between the regal “I—am—I” the soul and the carnal, sensating animal known as the body. The great point of achievement during a fast lies in thinking high thoughts and forgetting the demands of the flesh. Don’t think of your fast. If you do think say to yourself “this is to develop my will.” Breathe plenty of fresh air. Exercise gently and walk. I have seen educated men afraid to go out for a walk during a day’s religious fast “lest they should feel hungry.” O shame! You can’t control a little hunger! You should bathe daily thoroughly early in the morning, fast or no fast.
And don’t be afraid. “Man liveth not by bread alone but by very word that proceeds from the mouth of God”—said Christ. Starvation may kill off your body but not fasting. Deny the power of all disease and weakness over yourself. Your mind is master of your body. Assert this mental control. Lastly, during a fast, your body is sensitive to your suggestions. Fill your mind with incessant affirmations of courage. Think courage, say courage, act courage. Take time by the forelock.
Force your suggestions upon body and brain right now.
HOW TO BREAK A FAST.
When breaking a fast, be sure to control reaction. Eat very lightly and only sensible food. Now that you have a clean body, stay clean You can train yourself to fast for 40 days at a stretch.
Here is some sensible advice from a leading thinker and teacher:
To be a perfect Bramhacharin (a regenerate).
1. You must have a clean, healthy body; 2. Good breathing capacity and some control over same; 3. A strong will such as can move body and mind;
4. Assiduous cultivation of the intellectual side; 5. Control over emotions; 6. A fearless mind; 7. Great determination; 8. and abstemious living and high thinking.
The Yogis possess great knowledge regarding the use and abuse of the reproductive principle in both sexes. Some hints of this esoteric knowledge have filtered out and have been used by Western writers on the subject, and much good has been accomplished in this way. In this little book we cannot do more than touch upon the subject, and omitting all except a bare mention of theory, we will give a practical breathing exercise whereby the student will be enabled to transmute the re-productive energy into vitality for the entire system, instead of dissipating and wasting it in lustful indulgence in or out of the marriage relations. The reproductive energy is creative energy, and may be taken up by the system and transmuted into strength and vitality, thus serving the purpose of regeneration instead of generation. If the young men of the Western world understood these underlying principles they would be saved much misery and unhappiness in after years, and would be stronger mentally, morally and physically.
This transmutation of the reproductive energy gives more vitality to those practicing it. They will be filled with great vital force, which will radiate from them and will manifest in what has been called “personal magnetism.” The energy thus transmuted may be turned into new channels and used to great advantage. Nature has condensed one of its most powerful manifestations of prana into productive energy, as its purpose is to create. The greatest amount of vital force is concentrated in the smallest area. The re-productive organism is the most powerful storage factory in animal life, and its force can be drawn upward and used, as well as expended in the ordinary functions of reproduction, or wasted in vicious lust. The majority of our students know something of the theories of regeneration, and we can do little more than to state the above facts, without attempting to prove them.
The Yogi exercise for transmuting re-productive energy is simple. It is coupled with rhythmic breathing, and can be easily performed. It may be practiced at any time, but is especially recommended when one feels the instinct more strongly, at which time the re-productive energy is manifesting and may be most easily transmuted for regenerative purpose. The exercise is as follows:–
Keep the mind fixed on the idea of energy, and away from ordinary sexual thoughts and imaginings. If these thoughts come into the mind do not be discouraged, but regard them as manifestations of a force which you intend using for the purpose of strengthening the body and mind.
Lie passively or sit erect, and fix your mind on the idea of drawing the re-productive energy upward to the Solar Plexus, where it will be transmuted and stored away as a reserve force of vital energy. Then breathe rhythmically, forming the mental image of drawing up the re-productive energy with each inhalation. With each inhalation make a command of the Will that the energy be drawn upward from the re-productive organization to the Solar Plexus. If the rhythm is fairly established and the mental image is clear, you will be conscious of the upward passage of the energy, and will feel its stimulating effect. If you desire an increase in mental force, you may draw it up to the brain instead of to the Solar Plexus, by giving the mental command and holding the mental image of the transmission to the brain.
The man or woman doing mental creative work, or bodily creative work will be able to use this creative energy in their work by following the above exercise, drawing up the energy with the inhalation and sending it forth with the exhalation. In this last form of exercise only such portions as are needed in the work will pass into the work being done, the balance remaining stored up in the Solar Plexus.
You will understand, of course, that it is not the reproductive fluids which are drawn up and used, but the etheric prana energy which animates the latter, the soul of the reproductive organism, as it were. It is usual to allow the head to bend forward easily and naturally during the transmuting exercise.
Practice this Breathing Exercise sturdily. Be heroic. Learn to make 100 Pranayams at a sitting, but do not rush things. Deep breathing exercise, Will-Culture, regular Meditation and a clean normal mode of living when combined with much thinking will surely awaken your Latent Powers. Be not worried if progress be a bit slow at first. Keep up cheerful and work patiently. Things cannot but come your way if you don’t give up but preserve to the last. Have infinite and unbounded faith in yourself. And, lastly, if you want to grow space in Wisdom and Power, persevere in deep breathing. Pranayam is the key to all spiritual success. “Spirituality is fullness of Breath.” Almost all forms or Mental and physical weakness are due to imperfect and shallow breathing. Of all these instructions you practice nothing but the Breathing Exercise, your gain shall be great but in order to get all the results you must practice all the instructions regularly and methodically.
Your sex-force is under the direction of your sub-conscious mind which is quite amenable to your authoritative suggestions. Get control through your sub-consciousness. All you have to do is to let it to do its own work without adverse and negative suggestions and fear-thoughts. Say “No” vigorously to all adverse thoughts and shake them off from you. All health comes by letting nature alone.
Find a quiet place as far as possible, where the air is pure and the surroundings soothing and pleasant. After a bath or a thorough rubbing of the body from top to toe, with a wet towel, on an empty stomach, take this exercise: Send a current of holy thought to everyone, on planes seen and unseen, north and south, east and west, engage in meditation—take anyone of the meditation exercises you like. When you are perfectly calm and relaxed, seat yourself cross-legged, assuming any posture that comes easiest to you, with head, neck and chest held in a straight line and the weight of the upper parts of the body resting on ribs. Keep the region about the waist quite free. Loosen the cloth there out and out. Now inhale air slowly and steadily through right nostril after closing left nostril with your finger as long as it takes to count sixteen mentally. Close both nostrils, holding the inspired air within and count sixty-four. Then very slowly exhale the air through the left nostril for as long as it takes to count thirty-two.
You must begin with a 4 second inhalation, 16 second retention and 8 second exhalation. Instead of dry counting you might improve yourself decidedly by repeating the word “Fearless” as many times holding mentally that dominant idea back of the word. Practice 5 pranayamas mornings and evenings for one week daily. Increase to 10 next week. Work up to 20. Go slowly. Practice as long as you like, but not less than 6 months. Be serious and earnest. This is not for non-serious minds. This exercise will augment digestive power, steady heart-action, make the body light and the mind calm. It shall help also miraculously in your Soul-Unfoldment. During this practice be pure in all ways. Observe Bramhacharya. Practice mental concentration and spiritual meditation. Don’t talk much with others. Don’t encourage any but holy society. Don’t sleep much. Don’t work very hard. Keep your emotions well-in-hand. Be always engaged mentally and physically. Be hopeful and cheerful. Never encourage negative thinking. It shall do wonders for you.
Exercise No. 1.
Stand straight, facing a corner of the room with bare feet about 14 or 15 inches from the corner itself, arms straight out, even with shoulders or perhaps two inches below, hands resting on the two-side walls, chest out, abdomen in. Now lean forward towards the corner, without moving the feet or bending the knees. Aim lightly to touch the corner with the chest, while holding the head and abdomen as far back from the corner as possible, arms and hands slipping forward on the walls in a straight line with shoulders. Resume first position without moving the feet or lowering the arms, and repeat. Make the forward movement slowly, at the same time inhaling through nostrils a slow, full breath; put your whole effort into stretching the chest forward and upward (careful not to bruise yourself against wall) and head and abdomen backward, thus straightening the back at the shoulders.
Hold the chest to the corner a moment, holding the breath likewise, then slowly resume original upright position, slowly exhaling through slightly open lips at the same time bending the head forward towards the chest. As you lean forward toward the corner, mentally keep count of your exercise one, two, three, etc. As you resume the upright position, exhaling and bending the head forward mentally, affirm “I am fearless, pure, strong.” Make these movements always slowly, deliberately, with the closest attention. Begin with 5 or 6 movements and raise to 20 at a time.
Exercise No. 2.
Stand straight about two feet from the wall. Place the palms on the wall-level with the shoulders. Without moving the feet or bending the body, lean forward slowly, inhaling slowly as you do so, until the chest touches the wall, head back; then push yourself slowly to an upright position slowly exhaling as you do so. Repeat 10 times or more.
Exercise No. 3.
Clasp the hands behind. As you slowly inhale extend the clasped hand slowly downwards as far as possible, straightening arms at elbow and lowering shoulders as much as possible, at the same time extending and lifting the chest as far as you can. Hold the breath and the position a moment only, shoulders down, chest out and up, abdomen in, then release the hand and slowly exhale. A rather vigorous exercise. So go slowly.
Exercise No. 4.
Stand straight, arms extended even with the shoulders, head up; tense muscles of right arm doubling slowly at elbow and hand only, until the clenched fist touches the shoulders; at the same time tensing the neck muscles, chin up, and turning the head slowly to face the clenched fist. Repeat with the left arm. The arms from shoulder to elbow must be kept in a horizontal position.
Exercise No. 5.
Stand straight, hands at sides. Bend as far over to the right as possible, slowly; then to the left as far as possible. Repeat 10 times.
Exercise No. 6.
Stand straight, arms at sides. Lean as far forward as you can without bending the knees and roll the body clear around in a circle to the right, arms and body as limp as possible. Repeat 5 times. Then roll five times to the left.
Exercise No. 7.
Stand straight. Extend arms easily in front. Wave them backwards and upwards in a sort of reversed swimming movement, until they meet overhead; at the same time bending backward as far as possible slowly inhale a full breath. Now bend forward, exhaling breath, taking care not to bend the knees, until your fingers touch your toes, head hanging as low as possible, toes and head as limp as possible, fingers reaching towards the floor. Repeat upright position. Keep the knees straight throughout. Aim to stretch the entire body and hands upward and backward as far as possible, with the upward motion of the arms. If you can’t touch the floor without bending the knees, just come as near it as you can. Practice will limber you up until you can touch it.
Exercise No. 8.
Lie full length on the back of the floor, hands clasped under head. Tense the muscles of the right leg, raising the knee slowly until it touches or almost touches the body, at the same time bending the foot downward as far as possible, stretching the toes towards the floor. Now slowly lower the right leg, still tense, towards the floor, straightening the knee and turning the toe upward towards the body. As the right leg is being lowered, raise the left one upward in the same way tensing the muscles, knee to chest, toes stretching upward; as the left leg goes down, point the toes and foot toward the knee 5 times, increasing gradually to 10 times.
(1) Extend the arms straight out in front of you, on the level of the shoulder, with palms of the hand touching each other; (2) swing back the hands until the arms stand out straight, sideways, from the shoulders or even a little further back if they will go there easily without forcing; return briskly to position 1, and repeat several times. The arms should be swung with a rapid movement and with animation and life. Do not go to sleep over the work or rather play. This exercise is most useful in developing the chest, muscles of the shoulders, etc. In swinging the hands backward, it is an improvement if you will rise on your toe during the backward sweep; sinking on your heels as you move the arms forward again. The repeated movements should be rhythmical, backward and forward, like the swinging of a quick pendulum.
(1) Extend the arms straight in front of you, letting the little fingers of each hand touch each other, the palms being upward; (2) then keeping the little fingers still touching, bring the hands straight up in a curved circular movement, until the tips of the fingers of both hands touch the top of the head back of the forehead, the backs of the fingers touching, the elbows swinging out as the movement is made until (when the fingers touch the head, with thumbs pointing the rear) they point out straight sideways; (3) let the fingers rest on the top of the head a moment, and then with the elbows pressing back (which forces the shoulders back) force the arms backward with an oblique motion until they reach the sides at full length, as in the standing position.
(1) Extend the arms straight out, sideways, from the shoulders;
(2) then, still keeping the upper arms extended in same position, bend the arms at the elbow and bring the forearm upward with a circular movement, until the tips of the extended fingers lightly touch the tops of the shoulders; (3) then with fingers in the last position, force the elbows out to the front until they touch, or nearly go (a little practice will enable you to touch them together); (4) then, keeping the fingers still lightly touching the tops of the shoulders, swinging the elbows as far back as you can get them. (A little practice will enable you to get them much farther back than at the first attempt.) (S) Swing the elbows to the front position and then back to the rear position, several times.
(1) Place the hands on the hips, thumbs to the rear, and elbows pressed back; (2) bend the body forward, from the hips as far as you can, keeping the chest protruding and the shoulders pressed back; (3) raise the body to the original standing position (hands still at the hips) and then bend backward. In these movements the knees should not be bent and the motions should be made slowly and gently; (4) then (hands still on the hips) bend gently to the right, keeping the heels firmly on the ground, knees unbent and avoid twisting the body; (5) resume original position, and then bend the body gently to the left, observing the precautions given in the last movement. This exercise is somewhat fatiguing and you should be careful not to overdo it at the start. Proceed gradually; (6) with hands in same position on the hips, swing the upper part of the body around in a circle, from the waist-up, the head describing the largest circle, of course. Do not move the feet or bend the knees.
(1) Standing erect, with hands on hips, raise yourself on the balls of the feet several times, with sort of a springing motion. Pause a moment after you have raised upon your toes, then let the heels sink to the floor, then repeat, as above suggested. Keep the knees unbent and the heels together. This exercise is specially beneficial in developing the calf of the leg, and will make it sure the first few times it is tried. If you have an undeveloped calf here is the exercises for you; (2) with hands still on hips place your feet about two feet apart, and then cover the body into a “squatting” position, pausing a moment and then resuming original position. Repeat several times, but not too often at the first, as it will make the thighs feel a little sore at the beginning. This exercise will give one well developed thighs. This last movement may be improved upon by sinking down with the weight resting upon the balls of the foot, instead of upon the heel.
(1) Stand erect with hands on hips; (2) keeping the knee straight, swing the right leg out about fifteen inches (keeping the toe turned a little out and the sole flat)–then swing back to the rear until the toe points straight to the ground, keeping the knee stiff all the time; (3) repeat the swinging backward and forward several times; (4) then do the same with the left leg; (5) with hands still on hips, raise the right leg up, bending the knee, until the upper-leg (thigh) stands straight out from the body (if you can raise it still higher, you may do so); (6) place your foot again on the ground, and go through the same motion with the left leg; (7) repeat several times, first one leg and then the other, moving slowly at first and gradually increasing your speed until you are executing a slow trot without moving from the over spot.
(1) Stand erect, with the arms extended straight in front of you, from the shoulders, and of course on a level with the shoulders—the palms must be down, fingers straight out, thumbs folded under and the thumb side of hands touching each other; (2) bend the body forward from the hips, stooping forward as far as possible and at the same time swing the arms forward with a sweeping movement, sending them down, backward and upward at the back, so that when the body has reached the limit of the bending forward movement the arms are extended back and over the body—keep the arms stiff and do not bend the knees; (3) resume standing position and repeat several times.
(1) Extend the arms straight, sideways, from the shoulder and hold them there stiff and rigid with hands open; (2) close the hands forcibly with a quick motion, pressing the fingers well into the palm; (3) open the hands forcibly and quickly, spreading out the fingers and thumbs as widely as possible forming a fan shaped hand; (4) close and open the hands as above stated, several times, as rapidly as possible. Put life into the exercise. This is a splendid exercise for developing the muscles of the hand and for acquiring manual dexterity.
(1) Lie upon your stomach, extending your arms above your head and then bowed upward and your legs stretched out full length and raised backward and upward. The correct position may be carried in the mind by imagining a watch—crystal or a saucer resting on the table on its middle, with both ends turning upward; (2) lower and raise the arms and legs, several times; (3) then turn over on your back and lie extended at full length, with arms extended straight out upwards over the head, with back of fingers touching the ground; (4) then raise up both legs from the waist until they stand straight up in the air, like the mast of a ship, your upper-body and arms remaining in the last position named. Lower the legs and raise them several times; (5) resume position 3, lying flat upon the back at full with arms extended straight out upward, over the head, with backs of fingers touching the ground; (6) then gradually raise body to sitting position, with arms projecting straight in front of the shoulders. Then go back gradually to the lying down position, and repeat the raising and lowering several times; (7) then turn over on the face and stomach again and assume the following position:–Keeping the body rigid from head to foot, raise your body until its weight rests upon your palms (the arms being stretched out straight in front of you) at one end, and upon your toes at the other end. Then gradually bend arms at the elbow, allowing your chest to sink to the floor; then raise up your chest and upper-body by straightening out your arms, the entire weight falling upon the arms, with the toes as a pivot—this last is a difficult motion, and should not be overdone at first.
This exercise is for those troubled with a too large abdomen, which trouble is caused by too much fat gathering there. The abdomen may be materially reduced by a reasonable indulgence in this exercise—but always remember “moderation in all things” and do not overdo matters, or be in too much of a hurry. Here is the exercise: (1) exhale the breath (breathe out all the air in the lungs, without straining yourself too much) and then draw the abdomen in and up as far as you can, then hold for a moment and let it resume its natural position. Repeat a number of times and then take a breath or two and rest a moment. Repeat several times, moving it in and out. It is surprising how much control one may gain over these stubborn muscles with a little practice. This exercise will not only reduce the fatty layers over the abdomen, but will also greatly strengthen the stomach muscles. (2) Give the abdomen a good but not rough kneading and rubbing.
The exercise is as follows:–Follow it carefully. (1) stand erect, with heels together, toes slightly pointed outward; (2) raise the arms up by the sides (with a circular movement) until the hands meet over the head, thumbs touching each other; (3) keeping the knees stiff; the body rigid;
the elbows unbent; (and shoulders bent well back as the movement is made); bring down the hands, slowly, with a sideway circular motion, until they reach the sides of the legs the little finger and the inner-edge (the “chopping-edge”) of the hand alone touching the legs, and palms of the hands facing straight to the front. The shoulder gets the right position by touching the little finger of each hand to the seam of the trousers. (4) Repeat several times, slowly remember. With the hands in the last position, having been placed there by the motion stated, it is very difficult for the shoulders to warp forward. The chest is projected a little; the head is erect; neck is straight, the back straight and hollowed a little (the natural position); and the knees are straight. In short, you have a fine, erect carriage–now keep it.
SEVEN MINOR BREATHING EXERCISES.
(1) Stand erect with hands at sides. (2) Inhale complete breath. (3) Raise the arms slowly, keeping them rigid until the hands touch over head. (4) Retain the breath a few minutes with hands over head. (5) Lower hands slowly to sides exhaling slowly at the same time. (6) Practice cleansing breath.
(1) Stand erect with arms straight in front of you. (2) Inhale complete breath and retain. (3) Swing arms back as far as they will go; then back to first position; then repeat several times, retaining the breath all the while. (4) Exhale vigorously through mouth. (5) Practice cleansing breath.
(1) Stand erect with arms straight in front of you. (2) Inhale complete breath. (3) Swing arms around in a circle, backward, a few times. Then reverse a few times retaining the breath all the while. You may vary this by rotating them alternately like the sails of a wind-mill. (4) Exhale the breath vigorously through the mouth. (5) Practice cleansing breath.
(1) Lie on the floor with your face downward, and palms of hands flat upon the floor by your sides. (2) Inhale complete breath and retain.
(3) Stiffen the body and raise yourself up by the strength of your arms until you rest on your hands and toes. (4) Then lower yourself to original position. Repeat several times. (5) Exhale vigorously through the mouth. (6) Practice cleansing breath.
(1) Stand erect with your palms against the wall. (2) Inhale complete breath and retain. (3) Lower the chest to the wall, resting your weight on your hands. (4) Then raise yourself back with the arm muscles alone, keeping the body stiff. (5) Exhale vigorously through the mouth. (6) Practice cleansing breath.
(1) Stand erect with arms “akimbo” that is with hands resting around the waist and elbows standing out. (2) Inhale complete breath and retain. (3) Keep legs and hips stiff and bend well forward, as if bowing, at the same time exhaling slowly. (4) Return to first position and then take another complete breath. (5) Then bend backward exhaling slowly. (6) Return to first position and take a complete breath. (7) Then bend sideways exhaling slowly (vary by bending to right and then to left). (8) Practice cleansing breath.
(1) Stand erect or sit erect with straight spinal column. (2) Inhale a complete breath but instead of inhaling on a continuous steady stream, take a series of short, quick “sniffs” as if you were smelling aromatic salts and ammonia and did not wish to get too strong a “whiff.” Do not exhale any of these little breaths, but add one to the other until the entire lung space is filled. (3) Retain for a few seconds. (4) Exhale through the nostrils in a long restful breath. (5) Practice cleansing breath.
WHEN YOU ARE IN TRAINING.
Do not attempt to take all the above exercises at one and the same time. Take them several times in the day. Never exercise immediately after a meal or before it. Do not try to force development as you will be apt to suffer from re-action. Slow and steady wins the race. Gentle and persistent exercises are advisable. That will lead to permanent development.
EFFECT OF MIND AND BODY.
It has been proved conclusively even on the physical plane that a “a Man thinketh in his heart so is he.” The great thing to avoid is Fear and Worry thoughts. These and all other undesirable thoughts are due to bad health partially but it is even a greater truth that physical degeneration is due to bad thinking. Fear affects the heart. During epidemics such as plague, cholera, etc., you generally first project the deadly germs of Fear-Thoughts upon yourself and thus by weakening your mind you weaken your body and expose yourself to disease influence. Again, if you have some hereditary disease and if you accept adverse suggestions from ignorant people and keep telling yourself that such and such a disease has taken shelter in you and your body as its “fixed abode” you simply hasten your own end.
The body and mind are interrelated. Thoughts materialize themselves in your body. You should get as far away from the idea of disease and old age and weaknesses as possible and hold the health-thoughts steadily before your mind. The only way in which to be quite immune from Disease is to Deny the Power of Disease on yourself. Say “I cannot be ill,” “I will not admit disease.” Health and strength are in the unyielding will. De-hypnotize yourself of that superstition that God sends disease. Your body is yours to control and keep healthy. God will give you–(He has already given you rather)–the Power to control your body. Remember always; you alone can save yourself. All Power and Wisdom are potentially resident in you. Have confidence and set that thing in motion, exercise it constantly and persistently and it shall grow and unfold. God is in you and you are in God. When you pray you are simply, although often unconsciously, helping that Latent Power to uncoil itself. Remember again: God will grant you the opportunity, the means, the wisdom, the ability to accomplish a thing, but You Shall Have to do the work yourself. Hence, you see, the illumined mind is quite necessary for perfect health. Get rid of all weak thoughts. Have a strong mind. Remember lastly:
MIND ACTS UPON BODY IN ALL WAYS.
Make your mind positive to your body. I have told you how to do so. Physical exercise plus Mental Exercise will put you on the road to Power and Poise. And side by side with this follow health-laws. But bear in mind that if you assert your power on your mind and body confidentially, they cannot but obey your commands. The body has an intelligence of its own. This intelligence knows its work perfectly. It is what you call Instinct. It digests your meals; assimilates and eliminates; repairs wastes; works the heart and controls the circulation; heals wounds and presides over all other natural and involuntary processes in the body. This Instinctive mind knows its work perfectly. But, mark you, this intelligence in the cells and nerve-centers of your body is negative to the Central Intelligence in the brain—the controlling centre—the “I Am” and is affected by suggestions, beliefs and thoughts in your brain. All you have got to do is to avoid projecting negative thoughts from your mind and let it alone.
But suppose you have by violation of the Laws of Nature disturbed the action of the Instinctive Mind, disease results. Disease is simply the effect of nature to throw off unnatural conditions and re-assert natural conditions. In such a case all you have got to do is to re-establish natural states. You can do so by simply increasing the general vitality of the body and by changing your Mental Attitude. For instance, if you somehow or other have accepted the “belief” that your stomach is weak or your heart is weak or your liver is slow or your circulation is bad or your vitality is low, etc., your instinctive Mind will take up your Beliefs and work them out in no time physically.
The Instinctive Mind—which is the same as the sub-conscious Mind working in the body–never reasons. It is on the plane of Automatism. Therefore, if you have done any such negative thinking your first step is to wipe out these noxious mental weeds by the Positive Denial. Say “No, No, No, my body is strong; my stomach is strong, my heart is strong, etc.” In this form of suggestion you use positive Denial as well as Positive Affirmation. The former is destructive of evil if rightly applied, the latter is constructive of good. Belief and confident expectation are mighty forces. Be sure you apply them wisely. The power of mind over matter is supreme and a Proven Reality.
Here I should like to draw your attention to the Reserve Power existing in your body. Of course there are soul-powers existing potentially within YOU which leap into brilliant expression as you succeed in developing and expanding your brain to a state of perfect responsiveness to the touch of your will. For really and truly your will, forming as it does the divine part of yourself, is always strong and must unfold “as a rose” by exercising itself, in the field of matter, force and mind;–all of which are subordinate to YOU and the real aim of human evolution is actually to place in your hands the wand of power.
What is within your body is sure to find its correspondent outside in Nature. Control nature inside and you will move as a master out in this universe.
Now without going into details let me tell you—if you do not know it already—that mind is the finest form of matter, and matter the grossest form of mind, and there is a constant interaction between the two poles. But since mind represents the positive end and matter the negative, the former can dominate the latter. You can evoke states of consciousness by applying stimulus to the periphery and again mental states evoke corresponding vibrations in the cellular life of body and brain.
Hence you see your mind controls and forms your body. Also your body reacts upon your brain and affects that part of your mind which has to operate through the brain, which is matter pure and simple. So to keep aright the polarities of your brain and body a constant adjustment of forces is needed and thus you can establish POISE.
In order always to be in a state of perfect health two things are necessary. Deny the power of disease over yourself. In the unyielding will is health. In the weak, vacillating, fearful mind is disease and death. At the same time always be in perfect magnetic trim with the physical laws of health. A knowledge of the latter and the ascension of a fearless mental attitude will open up hitherto unrecognized channels of physical and mental expression.
Physiological researches have led sincere investigators to the inevitable conclusion that there is subtle, refined, dynamic substance, a reality that binds up the reorganization, causes growth, vitality and motion; repairs injuries; makes up losses; overcomes and cures diseases. Von Helment called it “Archeus”; Stahl called it “Anima;” Whytt called it the “sentiment principle;” Dr. Cullen called it “Caloric;” Dr. Darwin called it “Sensorial energy”; Rush called it “Occult cause;” and many other names such as “Vital Principle,” “Living power,” “Conservative Power,” “Odic Force,” etc., etc., have been given to it. We of India have recognized it and devised Yoga methods for controlling it; we call it Prana and only in India do you come across men who possess pranic control or control over universal energy.
There exists in your physical organism reserve stores of vital energy stored away for your use, particularly in that central ganglion of your vital battery known as the Solar Plexus and generally in the chain of ganglia or storage batteries along and up your spine and elsewhere in other nerve-centers. The solar plexus is also known as the Abdominal Brain and your brain depends and draws upon this vital centre for its energies. You will find after the prolonged concentration and brain-work that this part of your body—at the back of pit of stomach—becomes warm.
Now when you engage in physical exercise, for instance, you must have noticed how at first you soon get tired and all done up. But if you wait a little and then start again, you will find how the sense of fatigue has quite passed away and you can run your body under full pressure for a very long time, and the more you exert yourself the greater and more powerful the surging up of your vital energy. With each new exertion you seem to acquire a fresh start. This has puzzled physiologists. You will find a parallel phenomenon in mental work. You may experience a sense of weariness and fatigue in some brain-work which demands close thinking and attention, but if you attack your work a little later after the first effort you will do your work a surprising degree of freshness, vigor, and enthusiasm far surpassing the original attempt.
Again everyone can and does put forth universal energy under pressure of some urgent necessity, which will startle even himself. No matter who you are and what your physical condition, there is an enormous amount of power in your body that has never been drawn upon at all and impatiently waiting for up-call. We go on in ordinary dog trot pace, resting, limping, “taking care of our health,” and then we think we are doing our best. Do not permit your mind to be self-hypnotized into a false sense of being “exhausted” and “old.” Neither of them is a fact except in your thought of yourself. All your powers are lying dormant. All your latent energies are lying unused. Back of your conscious mentality are tremendous energies awaiting the pull of your will. When your brain conceives of being something unusually great, at least so it may appear from your view-point, do not question your strength but go ahead unhesitatingly, fearlessly and steadily.
Assert your life-force. Feel that you are young, strong and healthy and fit. Live in mental consciousness of power and never think of weakness. Keep your grip and run right along. Nature is sure to honor your draft. Nature is sure to give you strength, energy and vim, in boundless measure. Just try this my friends, you, who write me of “there being a serious lack of vitality” in your system and hence your inability to grapple with the occult. No such thing. Fact is you lack courage and initiative, pluck and “go” and you are laboring under the hypnotism of weakening thoughts. Just change your thoughts, and your reserve forces will rush out into activity and you will be a changed man in no time.
HOW TO EXERCISE.
In exercising aim at rhythm of motion. Let your movements be easy, regular, rhythmic and graceful. Take an interest in your work. Do pay attention. Put Will-Power and Mind into your work. Think of all it means. Do not fatigue yourself unduly. After exercise toweling or a spray-bath is advisable. Wet your towel, pass it over your body, rubbing thoroughly. Raise the towel and repeat. After exercise and toweling, you should be in a splendid glow. Be sure to keep the windows open when exercising. Fresh air is an absolute necessity. Never mind about cold and so forth. Remember the Positive Denial will fill you with Power of Resistance. Say “Cold cannot affect my body” and believe what you say. You can face anything in this way and remain untouched.
BATHING AND LINEN.
The student should bathe daily, using plenty of water, rubbing and cleaning the body from top to toe. I myself bathe very early in the morning, in all seasons, in cold water. Cold water stimulates circulation and is a wonderful tonic internally and externally. Warm water is soothing and relaxing in its effect. If you can bathe in the flowing water of a river, so much the better. Swimming is a wonderful bracer, besides being an enjoyment in itself. There is Prana in water and your body extracts this Prana from air, water and food. I cannot give you instructions as to different forms of bathing, as this is not a “doctor” book. As far as possible bathe twice a day, mornings and evenings; if not, once in the morning, using the towel at other times. Bathing is not merely pouring water on body but cleansing it out and out with water rubbing and scrubbing with hands and towels. Aim at perfect cleanliness. Cleanliness is Godliness and Health is Holiness.
Then again while bathing if you let the water flow over your body and try to “appreciate the sensation” and dwell on the idea of Prana-absorption from water, you shall get double benefit.
About linen–Be neat, for God’s sake. I have seen orthodox people who bathe twice and wash their hands hundreds of times in the day, but whose clothes are sticky with dirt, sweat and oil. Whatever else it may mean, Religion does not mean squalor, offensive odors in body and clothes and general neglect of external clean linen and dirt. The Yogi is a man of supreme REFINEMENT. Read that word and understand all it means. The clothes you wear in day-time should not be worn at night. Be clean internally as well externally. Be clean. Be clean. Be clean, within as well as without.
DRINKING WATER AND SWALLOWING AIR.
Your body needs a reasonable supply of water and air. Water is used by nature in different ways. Form the habit of drinking pure water from 5 to 8 tumblers a day. Drink slowly and form a mental image of Prana-absorption from the water.
The student needs fresh air too in plenty. If your heart and lungs are in sound condition they will draw in air naturally and extract oxygen in proper quantities. If not, perform the following exercises carefully one by one in the open air every day. They are quite reliable.
THE YOGI CLEANSING BREATH.
(1) Inhale a complete breath. (2) Retain the air a few seconds.
(3) Pucker up the lips as if for a whistle (but do not swell out the cheeks) then exhale a little air through the opening with considerable vigor. Then stop for a moment retaining the air and then exhale a little more air. Repeat until the air is completely exhaled. Remember that considerable vigor is to be used in exhaling air through the opening in the lips. This breath will be found quite refreshing when one is tired and generally “used up.” A trial will convince the student of its merits. This exercise should be practiced until it can be performed naturally and easily, as it is used to finish up a number of other exercises given in this book and it should be thoroughly understood.
NERVE VITALIZING BREATH.
(1) Stand erect. (2) Inhale a complete breath and retain same. (3) Extend the arms straight in front of you, letting them somewhat limp and relaxed, with only sufficient nerve force to hold them out. (4) Slowly draw the hands back towards the shoulders gradually, contracting the muscles and putting force into them, so that when they reach the shoulders the fists will be so tightly clenched that a tremulous motion is felt. (5) Then keeping the muscles tense push the fists slowly out and then draw them back rapidly (still tense) several times. (6) Exhale vigorously through the mouth. (7) Practice the cleansing breath. (8) The efficiency of this exercise depends greatly upon the speed of the drawing back of the fists, and the tension of the muscles, and, of course upon the full lungs. This exercise must be tried to be appreciated. It is without equal as a “bracer” as our western friends put it.
THE VOCAL BREATH.
(1) Inhale a complete breath very slowly, but steadily, through the nostrils, taking as much time as possible in the inhalation. (2) Retain for a few seconds. (3) Expel the air vigorously in one great breath, through the wide-opened mouth. (4) Rest the lungs by the cleansing breath. This would give you a good, rolling voice.
THE RETAINED BREATH.
(1) Stand erect. (2) Inhale a complete breath. (3) Retain the breath as long as you can comfortably. (4) Exhale vigorously through the open mouth. (5) Practice the cleansing breath. At first you will be able to retain the breath only a short time, but a little practice will also show a great improvement. Time yourself with a watch, if you wish to note your progress.
(1) Stand erect with hands in sides. (2) Breathe in very slowly and gradually. (3) While inhaling, gently tap the chest with the fingertips, constantly changing position. (4) When the lungs are filled, retain the breath and the chest with the palms of the hands. (5) Practice the cleansing breath.
(1) Stand erect. (2) Place the hands one on each side of the body as high up in the armpits as convenient, the thumbs reaching towards the back, the palms on the side of the chest and the fingers to the front over the breast. (3) Inhale a complete breath. (4) Retain the air for a short time. (5) Then gently squeeze the sides at the same time slowly exhaling. (6) Practice the cleansing breath.
(1) Stand erect. (2) Inhale a complete breath. (3) Retain the air. (4) Extend both arms forward and bring the two clenched fists together on a level with the shoulder. (5) Then swing back the fists vigorously until the arms stand out straight side-ways from the shoulders. (6) Then bring back to position (4) and swing to position (5). Repeat several times. (7) Exhale vigorously through the open mouth. (8) Practice the cleansing breath.
(1) Walk with head up, chin drawn slightly in, shoulders back, and with measured tread. (2) Inhale a complete breath, counting (mentally) 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, one count to each step making the inhalation extend over the eight counts. (3) Exhale slowly through the nostrils, counting as before 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, one count to a step. (4) Rest between breaths, continuing, walking and counting 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, one count to a step. (5) Repeat until you begin to feel tired. Then rest for a while and resume at pleasure. Repeat several times a day. You may vary the exercise by retaining the breath during a 1, 2, 3, 4, count and then exhale in an eight-step count. Practice whichever plan seems most agreeable to you.
(1) Stand erect in a military attitude, head up, eyes front, shoulders back, knees stiff, hands at sides. (2) Raise body slowly on toes, inhaling a complete breath, steadily and slowly. (3) Retain the breath for a few seconds, maintaining the same position. (4) Slowly sink the first position at the same time slowly exhaling the air through the nostrils. (5) Practice cleansing breath. (6) Repeat several times, varying by using right leg alone, then left leg alone.
(1) Stand erect. (2) Inhale a complete breath and retain. (3) Bend forward slightly and grasp a stick or cane steadily and firmly, and gradually exerting your entire strength upon the grasp. (4) Relax the grasp, return to first position, and slowly exhale. (5) Repeat several times. (6) Finish with the cleansing breath.
MEDITATION EXERCISE No. I.
Retire into the silence. Say: I AM FEARLESS. Concentrate calmly on that idea. Think it out in all its bearings. See yourself in your mind’s eye as possessing the desired quality and acting it out in actual life. Let your mind indulge in a good, strongly-dramatized day-dream. Only insist upon its sticking to the particular text of thought and always showing you successful at the end. Finish up with a vigorous affirmation of the “I am.” Practice at the same hour daily for 6 months at least.
Exercise No. II.
Retire into the silence. Concentrate earnestly thus: I send out strong, positive, healing thought-waves of love to all mankind. Let the disease-ridden become healthy. Let the weak become strong. Let the needy ones become prosperous and happy. Let the fearful ones become filled with courage. Let the cruel become kind and merciful. Let the hateful and hating ones become loving. Let the impure ones become pure. Let the bereaved, deserted, sorrow-stricken ones become soothed and comforted.
Picture to yourself strong waves of Thought-Force passing out of you and encircling the whole world. Picture the world as peopled with men and women manifesting the desired conditions.
The more friends sit together in union of will and soul concentrating as above-indicated the better. Practice alone if you can find no earnest and serious-minded ones to join you.
Believe in your power to so help humanity. The power of thought is unlimited. In blessing others bless yourself. The effect of this exercise will be far-reaching. It shall follow and be a blessing to you even after death. Practice regularly at the same place and time as far as possible.
Be earnest in your work.
Do not talk of your exercises to others.
The above exercises will wonderfully develop and strengthen anyone who tries them. The deep breathing exercise already given is known as Pranayama or Controlling the Psychic Breath. Its main purpose is to give you control over your Prana and unfold the Psychic Force latent in you. Practiced on an impure body and weak lungs it may do harm. Hence students are advised to undergo the above 10 breathing exercises first and then, when their lungs have developed the power of endurance, they should take that up. It will take time, patience, and serious work. But if the student is sufficiently energetic he will perfect all these exercises in six months. But follow nature’s plan and be slow and steady.
You all know that pure food brings pure blood. You should avoid the two extremes of gluttony and daily fasting and abstemiousness. You should know (1) What to eat (2) How to eat (3) When to eat.
Concentrated food such as contains the maximum amount of nourishment in a minimum quantity should be used. The student should study some reliable hand book on the relative values of food and use his judgment. We ourselves use nuts, milk, fruits, whole wheat bread, rice in very small quantity, pulse, etc. Those who are non-meat eaters—and we advise it strongly—will do well to see to it that their menu has a good supply of albuminous food, as vegetarians often run the risk of being overfed as to starch and underfed in nitrogenous foods.
(2) Chew and masticate properly so as to extract the food-Prana in full and break up the food-substance into very small bits, reducing it to pulp. Do not be in a hurry to bolt your food but let it linger in your mouth so as to be properly insalivated and so that the nerves of the tongue, cheek, etc., may all absorb energy from food. Remember your stomach is not lined with rows of teeth. This will give you double the nourishment you get ordinarily, avoid constipation, prevent malnutrition, non-assimilation and over-eating. Out of a very small quantity of food you can extract perfect nourishment and thus you avoid loading and “stuffing” the stomach with unnecessary food. It is also economical in case you are a thrifty soul! Eat to live. Don’t live to eat.
(3) Eat when you are hungry. That cultivated “appetite” that craves for satisfaction at certain stated intervals of the day and brings on an “all-gone” fainting, nauseating sensation in the stomach is not real “hunger.” In real hunger there is absolutely no sensation in the stomach but there is a rich and continuous flow of saliva in the mouth and that sort of thing makes you enjoy the plainest of fares. Even a dry crust of bread will taste sweet as Manna. Cut off your breakfasts. Drink cold water instead. Eat one good, nourishing meal at 12 A. M., and one light meal in the evening.
Lastly, students, let plain living and high thinking be your motto. Do not be afraid to eat when you are hungry and so long as you exercise and work with brain and body even two square meals a day are permissible. Do not grow ethereal and airy, because then you will not amount to much in the world’s work. Students, who are perfect Brahmacharies, will not care half as much for lots of food as ordinary folk do. A constant feeling of satisfaction and fullness is present in such. But hard workers must never present in such. But hard workers must never be under-nourished and they require more food than others.
It is the depth and relaxation in sleep that counts. High-strung people find it hard to relax and keep tossing on their pillows. Bathe your feet in cold water in hot season and in cool water in cold season. That will draw off the surplus blood gurgitating in your brain. Also bathe the nape of the neck. The student should engage in meditation before falling to sleep, as during sleep the Man leaves the physical form and goes to super-physical planes and it is the last train of thought in your mind that determines and conforms you to the special super-physical influence you are to obtain. The physical benefits too shall be great. You will feel more rested in this way and your sleep will be sleeping a sounder and more refreshing sleep than otherwise. One of the chief signs of success in Mental and Physical Control is that your sleeps are undisturbed and peaceful.
During sleep you are in a passive, relaxed condition and all sorts of unseen influences play around you. It is good therefore to enclose yourself in an Astral Shell. Concentrate upon your aura and picture it as extending some 18 inches all around you and forming a shell around you. Now take this affirmation to concentrate your mind.
1. I am charging my aura with my Will-Force.
2. It is strong, strong, strong and can and will resist, repel and drive off all bad influences and admit only pure and holy influence.
3. It will remain around me right along the period of my sleep.
The student is advised to surround himself in this “auric Shell” even when awake so that it may beat off all malign and harmful thought-forces. As he grows in Will-Power and Self-Confidence, a Protective Aura will form around him naturally and will be felt by others.
RELAXATION VERSUS CONTRACTION.
The student should learn to relax his body completely so that it shall lie still and limp and soft as cotton. He should be able to tense and contract his muscles so that they will become hard as iron. In all the physical exercises you will find two special actions (1) Muscle contraction (2) Stretching. When you contract muscle and harden it, you have sent currents of nerve-force and will to that part; when you relax it, you “let go” completely. What we want is Strength in Repose ready to leap into action in the flash of an eye. We have taught you how to relax in Lesson 2 on Will-Force. You all have noticed a cat crouching for its prey. How intensely still it is; yet you know what such stillness means. It is very far from laziness. Relaxation husbands and conserves nerve-force. It is a great thing to be calm and silent. Calmness is the centralization of tremendous power. Practice being calm, as far as you can.
There is great electrical and thermal power in the sun’s rays. If the human body be properly exposed to the sun during the first five hours in the morning and the evening, the body would absorb energy therefrom and gain in strength. Do not over do this, especially you of the warm climate.
LAST WORD ON HEALTH.
Trust Nature. It is her office to keep your body-machine running in perfect order. “Prevention is better than cure”—they say. Observe the healthy man. See how he lives and follow his example. But note that body is yours to control and God will not do that work for you. Also get rid of the stupidity that God sends diseases. Think, study and observe and you will know what Health Laws are.
Student, I have indicated the lines along which you are to seek the way to Spiritual Independence. I cannot run your life-affairs, solve your life-problems, do your work for you. I have pointed out a few principles, observe, think and complete your knowledge. You must climb the steps of the ladder of attainment and Self-Perfection yourself.
Fear is a great stumbling-block in the way. Fight it down. Starve it out. Be earnest. Be thorough. Live your life silently and earnestly. Give others a helping hand whenever you can without that patronizing air of superiority so characteristic of the modern snobs passing for “gentlemen.” Be proud that you are an “Indian.” Follow Indian ideals of greatness. Consider it a privilege to help deserving souls. We all need help, encouragement and guidance to some extent. Co-operation, interdependence are the basic foundations of human well-being. Be strong. Be manly. Be courageous. Be great and good. Take your place in the world’s evolutionary progress and lend your hand in turning the wheel of life. In the same measure that you help others, shall you yourself be helped on all planes of life. Be reasonable. Be just and fair unto others. Be a source of blessing unto others. So long as you labor under the vitiating influence of negative thoughts, you cannot achieve much in any direction. I have told you “how” you are to proceed.
May God bless you. May he guide, help and strengthen where I have failed.