RE: [bn-study] Re: romanticizing the Red Indian
Jul 25, 2004 04:47 AM
by Dallas TenBroeck
July 25 2004
May I break in and offer:
One of the purposes of this chat-group is to discuss what Theosophy teaches
-- and then, to compare it with the views of writers, enquirers and
specifically, with the frame-work erected by modern “psychology.”
It does not try to employ terms that are identical with our modern
psychologists, for the reason that any one who reviews the progress made by
its science over the past 100 years, notices vast changes in its speculative
systems and definitions. Theosophy adheres to the ancient system of human
psychology which does not alter.
Allow me to first attend to a few questions:
If we are able to perceive thought at one or two, or more levels, then what
makes the difference?
How are those levels designated? What determines them?
If we PERCEIVE these levels then WHO ARE “WE” ?
I would say: we are independent and superior to the “power of thinking.”
And, to the Mind considered as the generator of thoughts, their
consideration, analysis, and recording.
We notice that at will, [ what is the “will?”] we can direct our mind to
areas where we want it to “perceive, remember, build a new concept, analyse,
review,” and, in general, function according to the restraints we place,
partially place, or do not place at all, upon it. [Some, who are called
“weak willed,” are fund to be at times temporarily overwhelmed by their
emotions and feelings. In such cases they say they were “obsessed,” or
“taken over.” How is this possible if this is true?]
Then, there are our “inclinations, talents and desires.” Can they not be
viewed as separate from the purely mental working and tools we can command.
They appear to have their own existence and come and go in successive waves
of emotion. We then say: “We feel (or life / dislike) – this, or that.”
Since we can alter the strength and direction of our feelings, desires,
wants, needs, etc.. are we not their CONTROLLER ?
If it is agreed that they have great strength, but the DO NOT CONTROL us
unless we allow them to do so. In such cases we have expressions as “ I was
besides myself.” What does this mean? [Note: in law, this factor of a
temporary loss of control, does not mitigate the fact that evil actions have
been committed. The cause for such overwhelming event is however unclear.
In such case “mental disease” – which is usually quite vague, is mentioned
as a cause.]
What has Theosophy to say about this?
What does ancient psychology say?
For those who would like to see an ancient a text, then use a translation of
PATANJALI’s YOGA APHORISMS. (partially appended).
It places the “REAL HUMAN” in the entity it calls the immortal SPIRIT. [or
Atma]. This is unalterable and undying. [Hence, reincarnation is posited as
a fact. The successive use of many ‘bodies’ enables the “Mind / Soul” to
acquire over a long period the experience and information to “grow, to
analyse, to verify,” and intellectually, to gradually ‘illuminate’ itself.]
The word “individuality” is employed technically to designate the
imperishable Monad [or ATMA-BUDDHI.]
Specifically, it views this immaterial force, the individual SPIRIT, as
resident in any and all forms or substances, or any “material” with which it
surrounds itself and, this tenuous and highly refined group of atoms
(substance) is called collectively “wisdom” [or Buddhi]. The “Monad” (or
Real Man) is thus defined as “ATMA-BUDDHI,” or SPIRIT, and its permanent
vehicle of pure substance.
Next comes the link, or bridge between this Duad and the functioning
personality. And this is designated the “Mind.” [or Manas]. [The word
“personality” is derived from ‘persona’ meaning a mask – and is in continual
evolution and change.]
Since the personality consists of emotion, desires, passions, life-force,
and their envelope – a form named “astral,” and, the physical body --it,
the mind is viewed as a duality.
One part is attached to WISDOM and is named BUDDHI-MANAS or the “wise Mind.”
The other part is the “Lower mind” [or Kama-Manas – the desire-mind].
If one considers this table and its use (see SECRET DOCTRINE Vol. I 157-8)
The reasoned approach to our “psychology,” and present existence becomes
accessible and is made reliable.
Here are some important passages from PATANJALI’s Introduction
It should be ever borne in mind that Patanjali had no need to assert or
enforce the doctrine of reincarnation. That is assumed all through the
Aphorisms. That it could be doubted, or need any restatement, never occurred
to him, and by us it is alluded to, not because we have the smallest doubt
of its truth, but only because we see about us those who never heard of such
Without Reincarnation Patanjali's Aphorisms are worthless.
The manifestation, in any incarnation, of the effects of mental deposits
made in previous lives, is declared to ensue upon the obtaining of just the
kind of bodily and mental frame, constitution and environment as will bring
them out. Where were these deposits received if not in preceding lives on
earth . And so on all through the Aphorisms this law is tacitly admitted.
[This might apply to the case of the Egos now incarnating in the remnants of
the “Red-Indian” tribes.]
In order to understand the system expounded in this book it is also
necessary to admit the existence of “soul,” and the comparative unimportance
of the body in which it dwells.
Patanjali holds that Nature exists for the Soul's sake, taking it for
granted that the student believes in the existence of Soul. … And, as he
lays down that the real experiencer and knower is the Soul and not the Mind,
it follows that the Mind, designated either as "Internal Organ," or
"Thinking Principle," while higher and more subtle than the body, is yet
only an instrument used by the Soul in gaining experience, just in the same
way as an astronomer uses his telescope for acquiring information respecting
But the Mind is a most important factor in the pursuit of concentration; one
indeed without which concentration cannot be obtained, and therefore we see
... that to this subject Patanjali devotes attention. He shows that the
[embodied] mind is, as he terms it, "modified" by any object or subject
brought before it, or to which it is directed...so the manifesting Internal
Organ having gone through the sight, or other channel, to where there is one
object, -- for instance, water in a jar, [becomes modified and adapts to
the form of the jar.]
It is this altered state of the Internal Organ— or Mind— that is calledits
modification.'" While the Internal Organ thus molds itself upon the object
it at the same time reflects it and its properties to the Soul.
The channels by which the Mind is held to go out to an object or subject,
are the organs of sight, touch, taste, hearing, and so on. Hence by means of
hearing it shapes itself into the form of the idea which may be given in
speech, or by means of the eye in reading, it is molded into the form of
that which is read; again, sensations such as heat and cold modify it
directly and indirectly by association and by recollection, and similarly in
the ease of all senses and sensations.
It is further held that this Internal Organ, while having an innate
disposition to assume some modification or other depending upon constantly
recurring objects— whether directly present or only such as arise from the
power of reproducing thoughts, whether by association or otherwise, may be
controlled and stilled into a state of absolute calmness.
This is what he means by "hindering the modifications." And just here it
seen that the theory of the Soul's being the real experiencer and knower is
necessary. For if "we" are but Mind, or slaves of Mind, we never can attain
real knowledge because the incessant panorama of objects eternally modifies
that Mind which is uncontrolled by the Soul, always preventing real
knowledge from being acquired.
But as the Soul is held to be superior to Mind, it has the power to grasp
and hold the latter if we but use the Will to aid it in the work, and then
only the real end and purpose of Mind is brought about.
These propositions imply that the Will is not wholly dependent on the mind,
but is separable from it; and, further, that knowledge exists as an
The Will and Mind are only servants for the Soul's use, but so long as we
are wrapped up in material life and do not admit that the real knower and
only experiencer is the Soul, just so long do these servants remain usurpers
of the Soul's sovereignty. Hence it is stated in old Hindu works, that "the
Soul is the friend of Self and also its enemy; and, that a man should raise
the self by the self." [ B. Geeta, Chapter 6, 7, 8, ]
In other words there is a constant struggle between the “lower” and the
“Higher Self,” in which the illusions of matter always wage war againstthe
Soul, tending ever to draw downward the inner principles which, lying midway
between the upper and the lower, are capable of reaching either salvation or
There is no reference in the Aphorisms to the Will… Many old Hindu writers
hold, that Will is a spiritual power, function or attribute constantly
present in every portion of the Universe.
It is a colorless power, to which no quality of goodness or badness is to be
assigned, but which may be used in whatever way man pleases. When considered
as that which in ordinary life is called "Will," we see its operation only
in connection with the material body and Mind guided by desire; looked at in
respect to the hold by man upon life it is more recondite, because its
operation is beyond the ken of the Mind; analyzed as connected with
reincarnation of man or with the persistence of the manifested universe
throughout a Manvantara, it is found to be still more removed from our
comprehension and vast in its scope.
In ordinary life it [Mind] is not man's servant, but, being then guided
solely by desire, it makes man a slave to his desires. Hence the old
cabalistic maxim, "Behind Will stands Desire."
The desires always drawing the man hither and thither, cause him to commit
such actions and have such thoughts as form the cause and mold for numerous
reincarnations, enslaving him to a destiny against which he rebels, and that
constantly destroys and recreates his mortal body…
To say that in one there is good [Will], and in the other evil Will is
manifestly erroneous and due to mistaking will, the instrument or force, for
desire that sets it in motion toward a good or bad purpose.
The system postulates that "Ishwara," the Spirit in man, is untouched by any
troubles, works, fruit of works, or desires, and when a firm position is
assumed with the end in view of reaching union with Spirit through
concentration, He [the Higher SELF] comes to the aid of the lower self and
raises it gradually to higher planes.
In this process the Will, by degrees, is given a stronger and stronger
tendency to act upon a different line from that indicated by passion and
Thus it is freed from the domination of desire and at last subdues the
[lower] Mind itself. But before the perfection of the practice is arrived
at, the Will still acts according to desire, only that the desire is for
higher things and away from those of the material life.
[ The perfected state, is denominated "Isolation."]
Isolation of the Soul in this philosophy does not mean that a man is
isolated from his fellows, becoming cold and dead, but only that the Soul is
isolated or freed from the bondage of matter and desire, being thereby able
to act for the accomplishing of the aim of Nature and Soul, including all
Souls of all men.
...many superficial readers and thinkers, … assert that Jivanmuktas or
Adepts remove themselves from the life of men, from all activity, and any
participation in human affairs, and isolate themselves on inaccessible
mountains where no human cry can reach their ears.
Such a charge is directly contrary to the tenets of the philosophy which
prescribes the method and means for reaching such a state.
These Beings are certainly removed from human observation, but, as the
philosophy clearly states, they have the whole of nature for their object,
and this includes all living men. They may not appear to take any interest
in transitory improvements or ameliorations, but they work behind the scenes
of true enlightenment until such times as men shall be able to endure their
appearance in mortal guise.
The term "knowledge" ...has a greater meaning ... It implies full
identification of the mind, for any length of time, with whatever object or
subject it is directed to.
Modern science and metaphysics do not admit that the mind can cognize
outside of certain given methods and distances, and for most ... the
existence of Soul is denied or ignored. It is held, for instance, that one
cannot know the constituents and properties of a piece of stone without
mechanical or chemical aids applied directly to the object; and that nothing
can be known of the thoughts or feelings of another person unless they are
expressed in words or acts.
Where metaphysicians deal with Soul they are vague and appear to be afraid
of science, because it is not possible to analyse it and weigh its parts in
a balance. Soul and Mind are reduced to the condition of limited instruments
which take note of certain physical facts spread before them through
mechanical aids. …
But this system declares that the practitioner who has reached certain
stages, can direct his mind to a piece of stone, whether at a distance or
near by, or to a man or class of men, and by means of concentration, cognize
all the inherent qualities of the objects as well as accidental
peculiarities, and know all about the subject. … In the ease of the
...practitioner he becomes, through the power of concentration, completely
identified with the thing considered, and so in fact experiences in himself
all the phenomena exhibited by the object as well as all its qualities.
To make it possible to admit all this, it is first required that the
existence, use and function of an ethereal medium penetrating everywhere,
called Astral Light or Akasa by the Hindus, should be admitted.
The Universal distribution of this as a fact in nature is metaphysically
expressed in the terms "Universal Brotherhood" and "Spiritual Identity."
In it, through its aid, and by its use, the qualities and motions of all
objects are universally cognizable.
It is the surface, so to say, upon which all human actions and all things,
thoughts and circumstances are fixed. …The ascetic in concentration, fixes
his attention upon this, and then reads the record lost to Science.
[For example] Every thought of Herbert Spencer, Mill, Bain, or Huxley is
fastened in the Astral Light together with the respective systems of
Philosophy formulated by them, and all that the ascetic has to do is to
obtain a single point of departure connected with either of these thinkers,
and then to read in the Astral Light all that they have thought out. By
Patanjali and his school, such feats as these relate to matter and not to
In the things of the spirit and of the mind, the modern schools seem, to the
sincere student of this Philosophy, to be woefully ignorant. What Spirit may
be is absolutely unknown, and indeed, it cannot yet be stated what it is
not. Equally so with mental phenomena.
W Q J -- Translator
From: PATANJALI -- BOOK ONE
2. Concentration, or Yoga, is the hindering of the modifications of the
[…the want of concentration of thought is due to the fact that the [lower]
here called "the thinking principle"— is subject to constant modifications
by reason of its being diffused over a multiplicity of subjects.
So "concentration" is equivalent to the correction of a tendency to,
diffuseness, and to the obtaining of …"one-pointedness," or the power to
apply the mind, at any moment, to the consideration of a single point of
thought, to the exclusion of all else.
Upon this Aphorism, the method of the system hinges.
The reason for the absence of concentration at any time is, that the [lower]
Mind is modified by every subject and object that comes before it; it is, as
it were, transformed into that subject or object.
The [lower] Mind, therefore, is NOT the supreme or highest power; it is only
a function, an instrument with which the Soul [Higher Mind -- Buddhi-Manas]
works, feels sublunary things, and experiences.
The Brain, however, must not be confounded with the [lower] Mind, for the
brain is in its turn but an instrument for the Mind.
It therefore follows that the [lower] Mind has a plane of its own, distinct
from the Soul [higher Mind] and the brain, -- and what is to be learned is,
to use the Will, which is also a distinct power from the [lower] Mind and
brain, in such a way that instead of permitting the Mind to turn from one
subject or object to another just as they may move it, we shall apply it as
a servant at any time and for as long a period as we wish, to the
consideration of whatever we have decided upon.
3. At the time of concentration the Soul [higher Mind] abides in the state
of a spectator without a spectacle. [ The "Soul" [Buddhi-Manas] here
referred to, is not Atma, which is Spirit.]
4. At other times than that of concentration, the Soul is in the same form
as the modification of the Mind.
[This refers to …the Soul [Budhi-Manas] in ordinary life, when concentration
is not practised, and means that, when the internal organ, the Mind, is
through the senses affected or modified by the form of some object, the Soul
also— viewing the object through its organ, the [lower] Mind— is, as it
were, altered into that form…]
5. The modifications of the [lower] Mind are of five kinds, and they are
either painful or not painful;
6. They are,
7. Correct Cognition results from Perception, Inference, and Testimony.
8. Misconception is Erroneous Notion arising from lack of Correct Cognition.
9. Fancy is a notion devoid of any real basis and following upon knowledge
conveyed by words. [A person hearing the expression …of the sun's: "rising"
and "setting," … knows it is false because they know it is the Earth that
10. Sleep is that modification of the mind which ensues upon the quitting of
all objects by the Mind, by reason of all the waking senses and faculties
sinking into abeyance.
11. Memory is: the not letting go of an object that one has been aware of.
12. The hindering of the modifications of the mind … is to be effected by
means of Exercise and Dispassion.
13. Exercise is the uninterrupted, or repeated, effort that the [lower] Mind
shall remain in its unmoved state. […in order to acquire concentration we
must, [repeatedly] make efforts to obtain such control over the [lower] Mind
that we can, at any time when it seems necessary, reduce it to an unmoved
condition or apply it to any one point to the exclusion of all others. ]
14. This exercise is a firm position, observed out of regard for the end in
view, and perseveringly adhered to for a long time without intermission.
[The student must conclude…the words "without intermission" apply but to the
length of time that has been set apart for the practice. ]
15. Dispassion is the having overcome one's desires. […the attainment of a
state of being in which the consciousness is unaffected by passions,
desires, and ambitions, which …cause modifications of the [lower] Mind].
16. Dispassion, carried to the utmost, is indifference regarding all else
than Soul, [Higher Mind -- Buddhi-Manas] and this indifference arises from a
knowledge of Soul as distinguished from all else.
17. There is a meditation of the kind called "that in which there is
distinct cognition," and which is of a four-fold character because of
[This … meditation … is a pondering wherein the nature of that which isto
be pondered upon is well known, without doubt or error, and it is a distinct
cognition which excludes every other modification of the [lower] Mind than
that which is to be pondered upon.]
1. The Argumentative division of this meditation is a pondering upon a
subject with argument as to its nature in comparison with something else;
as, for instance, the question whether [the lower] Mind is the product of
matter or precedes matter.
2. The Deliberative division is a pondering in regard to whence have come,
and where is the field of action, of the subtler senses and the Mind.
3. The Beatific condition is that in which the higher powers of the [lower]
Mind, together with truth in the abstract [ATMA-BUDDHI], are pondered upon.
4. The Egoistic division is one in which the meditation has proceeded to
such a height that all lower subjects and objects are lost sight of, and
nothing remains but the cognition of the SELF, which then becomes a
stepping-stone to higher degrees of meditation.
The result of reaching the fourth degree, called Egoism, is that a distinct
recognition of the object or subject with which the meditation began is
lost, and Self-Consciousness alone results; but this "Self-Consciousness"
does not include the consciousness of the Absolute or Supreme Soul.
18. The meditation just described is preceded by the exercise of "thought
without argumentation." Another sort of meditation is in the shape of the
"self-reproduction of thought," after the departure of all "objects" from
the field of the mind.
19. The meditative state attained by those whose discrimination does not
extend to Pure Spirit, depends upon the phenomenal [material, sensual]
20. In the practice of those who are, or may be, able to discriminate as to
pure Spirit, their meditation is preceded by
Intentness (upon a single point), and
Discernment, or, thorough discrimination of that which is to be known.
[ Or: "in him who has Faith there arises Energy, or perseverance in
meditation," and, thus persevering, the memory of past subjects springs up,
and his mind becomes absorbed in Intentness, in consequence of the
recollection of the subject, and he whose Mind is absorbed in meditation
arrives at a thorough discernment of the matter pondered upon." ...
22. Because of the mild, the medium, and the transcendent nature of the
methods adopted, there is a distinction to be made among those who practise
23. The state of "abstract meditation" may be attained by profound devotion
to the Supreme Spirit considered in its comprehensible manifestation as
Ishwara [the Higher SELF -- the "Spirit in the body"] .
[It is said that this profound devotedness is a preeminent means of
attaining abstract meditation and its fruits... ]
24. Ishwara is a Spirit [within each man -- [a "Ray" of the universal
ATMAN]... It is untouched by
fruits of works, or
25. In Ishwara, that omniscience becomes infinite, which in man exists but
as a germ.
26. Ishwara is the preceptor of all, even of the earliest of created beings,
for He is not limited by time. [He is immortal. Viewed as a group, it is the
primordial body of the Teachers of mankind. (see S D I 272-3)]
27. His name is "OM."
[OM is the first letter of the Sanscrit alphabet. It's utterance involves
three sounds, those of long "au," short "u," and the "stoppage" or labial
To this tripartness is attached deep mystical symbolic meaning. It denotes,
as distinct yet in union, Brahma, Vishnu, and Siva, or Creation,
Preservation, and Destruction.
As a whole, it implies "the Universe."
In its application to man, "au" refers to the spark of Divine Spirit that
is in every member of humanity; "u," to the body through which the Spirit
manifests itself; and "m," to the death of the body, or its resolvement to
its material elements. ...
29. From this repetition and reflection on its significance, there come a
knowledge of the Spirit [ATMA-BODH]...
30. The obstacles in the way of him who desires to attain concentration are
Addiction to objects of sense,
Failure to attain any stage of abstraction, and
Instability in any stage when attained.
31. These obstacles are accompanied by grief, distress, trembling, and
32. For the prevention of these, one truth should be dwelt upon. [Any
accepted truth (a tenet of Divine Wisdom) of which one approves is here
33. Through the practising of
Disregard for objects of happiness, grief, virtue, and vice, the mind
The chief occasions for distraction of the mind are
It...means that virtue and vice should not be viewed with indifference by
the student, but he should not fix his [lower] Mind with pleasure upon
happiness or virtue, nor with aversion upon grief or vice, in others, but
should regard all with an equal mind; and the practice of Benevolence,
Tenderness, and Complacency brings about a cheerfulness of the Mind, which
tends to strength and steadiness.
34. Distractions may be combated by regulated control or management of the
[life activities, and the senses] ...
35. A means of procurement of steadiness of the [lower] Mind may be found in
an immediate cognition [of a carefully selected sense object];
36. Or, an immediate cognition of a spiritual subject...
37. Or, the thought, taking as its object, someone devoid of passion -- as,
for instance, an ideally pure character -- may find that will serve as a
38. Or, by dwelling on knowledge that presents itself in a dream-vision,
steadiness of mind may be procured;
39. Or, it may be effected by pondering upon anything that ones Higher Self
and BUDDHI-MANAS would approve.
40. The student whose mind is thus steadied obtains a mastery which extends
from the Atomic to the Infinite.
41. The [lower] Mind that has been so trained, that the ordinary
modifications of its action are not present, but only those which occur upon
the conscious taking up of an object for contemplation, is changed into the
likeness of that which is pondered upon, and enters into full comprehension
of the being thereof.
42. This change of the mind into the likeness of what is pondered upon, is
technically called the "Argumentative" condition. When (in that state) ...
there is any mixing-up of the title of the thing, the significance and
application of that title, and the abstract knowledge of the qualities and
elements of the thing per se.
43. On the disappearance, from the plane of contemplation, of the title and
significance of the object selected for meditation; when the abstract thing
itself, free from distinction by designation, is presented to the mind only
as an entity, ...the "Non-Argumentative" condition of meditation is present.
[These describe the first and second stages of meditation, in the mind still
intent upon objects of a ...material nature...]
44. The "Argumentative" and "Non-Argumentative" conditions of the mind,
described in the preceding two aphorisms, also obtain when the object
selected for meditation is subtile, or of a higher nature than a sensuous
45. That meditation which has a subtile object in view ends with the
indissoluble element called "primordial matter" [Suddha Sattva,
Mulaprakriti, Mahabuddhi, etc.].
46. The mental changes described in the foregoing, constitute "meditation
with its seed." ["Meditation with its seed" is that kind of
meditation in which there is still present before the mind a distinct object
to be meditated upon.]
47. When Wisdom has been reached, through acquirement of the
non-deliberative mental state, there is Spiritual Clarity. [The "Nidana," or
chain of Karmic "cause and effect" is clearly seen.]
48. In that case, there is "Knowledge which is absolutely free from Error."
49. This kind of knowledge differs from the "knowledge due to testimony and
inference;" because, in knowledge based upon those, the [lower] Mind has to
consider many particulars, and is not engaged with the "general field of
50. The train of self-reproductive thought resulting from this puts a stop
to all other trains of thought.
[It is held that there are two main "trains of thought;"
(a) that which depends upon suggestion made either by the words of another,
or by impression made upon the senses or mind, or, upon association;
(b) that which depends altogether upon itself, and reproduces from itself
the same thought as before.
And when the second sort is attained, its effect is to act [while all the
time under the control of the Inner Self] as an obstacle to all other
"trains of thought," for it is of such a nature that it repels or expels
from the mind any other kind of [material or sense limited] thought.
As shown in Aphorism 48, the mental state called "Non-Argumentative" is
absolutely free from error, since it has nothing to do with testimony or
inference, but is Knowledge Itself, and therefore from its inherent nature
it puts a stop to all other trains of thought.]
51. This train of thought itself, with but one object, may also be stopped,
in which case "meditation without a seed" is attained.
["Meditation without a seed" is that in which the brooding of the mind has
been pushed to such a point that the object selected for meditation has
disappeared from the mental plane, and there is no longer any recognition of
it, but consequent progressive thought upon a higher plane. ]
I hope this will help,
Subject: Re: romanticizing the Red Indian
I believe you are approaching the deeper understanding and heart of the
matter. There is the "bridge" or "gap" between the linear and non-linear to
be thought about and answered to give birth to the complete understanding as
Do you have any insights in this respect?
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