Will you or any of your readers enlighten me on the following points:
- What is a Yogi?
- Can he be classed with a Mahatma?
- Can Visvamitra, Valmiki, Vasistha and other Rishis be classed with
the Yogis and the Mahatmas?
- Or with the Mahatmas only?
- Or with the Yogis only?
- Did the Yogis know Occult Science?
- Is vegetarianism necessary for the study and development of Occult
- Did our Rishis know Occult sciences?
By throwing some light on the above questions you will oblige.
H. N. VAKIL
Bombay, 30th April 1883,
161, Malabar Hill.
1. A Yogi in India is a very elastic word. It now serves generally to
designate a very dirty, dung-covered and naked individual, who never cuts
nor combs his hair, covers himself from forehead to heels with wet ashes,
performs Pranayam, without realizing its true meaning, and lives
upon alms. It is only occasionally that the name is applied to one who is
worthy of the appellation. The real meaning however, of the word when analysed
etymologically, will show that its root is "yug" to join and
thus will yield its real significance. A real Yogi is a person who, having
entirely divorced himself from the world, its attractions and pleasures,
has succeeded after a more or less long period of training, to re-unite
his soul with the "Universal Soul" or to "join" with
Parabrahm. If by the word "Yogi" our correspondent means the latter
individual, viz., one who has linked his 7th and 6th principles or Atman
and Buddhi and placed thereby his lower principles or Manas (the animal
soul and the personal ego) en rapport with the Universal Principle,
2. He may be classed with the Mahatmas, since this word means simply
a "great soul." Therefore query 3 is an idle question to make.
The Rishis at any rate those who can be proved to have actually lived (since
many of those who are mentioned under the above designation are more or
less mythical) were of course "Mahatmas," in the broad sense of
the word. The three Rishis named by our questioner were historical personages
and were very high adepts entitled to be called Mahatmas.
4. They may be Mahatmas (whenever worthy of the appellation),
and whether married or celibates, while they can be called
5. "Yogis" only when remaining single, viz., after devoting
their lives to religious contemplation, asceticism and celibacy.
6. Theoretically every real Yogi knows more or less the Occult
sciences; that is to say, he must understand the secret and symbolical meaning
of every prescribed rite, as the correct significance of the allegories
contained in the Vedas and other sacred books. Practically, now-a-days
very few, if any, of those Yogis whom one meets with occasionally are familiar
with occultism. It depends upon their degree of intellectual development
and religious bigotry. A very saintly, sincere, yet ignorantly pious ascetic,
who has not penetrated far beyond the husks of his philosophical doctrine
would tell you that no one in Kali-Yug is permitted to become a practical occultist; while an initiated Yogi has to be an occultist; at any rate,
he has to be sufficiently powerful to produce all the minor phenomena
(the ignorant would still call even such minor manifestation "miracles")
of adeptship. The real Yogis, the heirs to the wisdom of the Aryan Rishis,
are not to be met, however, in the world mixing with the profane and allowing
themselves to be known as Yogis. Happy are they to whom the whole world
is open, and who know it from their inaccessible ashrums; while the
world (with the exception of a very few) knowing them not, denies their
very existence. But, it really is not a matter of great concern with them
whether people at large believe in, or even know of them.
7. The exposition of "Occultism" in these columns has been
clear enough to show that it is the Science by the study and practice of
which the student can become a MAHATMA. The articles
"The Elixir of Life" and the Hints on Esoteric Theosophy are
clear enough on this point. They also explain scientifically the necessity
of being a vegetarian for the purposes of psychic development. Read and
study, and you will find why Vegetarianism, Celibacy, and especially total
abstinence from wine and spirituous drink are strictly necessary for "the
development of Occult knowledge" see "Hints on Esoteric Theosophy,"
No. 2. Question 8th being unnecessary in view of the aforesaid, we close
Theosophist, June, 1883