Yoga and Magick
by Aleister Crowley
(annotated by Marcelo Motta with additional notes by David Bersson)


Introduction by David Bersson

Cover Introduction by Marcelo Motta

A Note

Aha   (excerpt)

Preliminary Remarks


Pranayama and Mantrayoga

Yama and Niyama






Introduction to Book Four, Part I Commented

Written by David Bersson on February 22nd, 2014 e.v.. An CX

Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the Law

In the history of religious – mystical – magical – spiritual enlightenment no similar elaboration on comparative attainments has ever been clearly presented. This book was ground breaking in spite of its claim to be written for the commonweal. Certainly, its study shows you something important occurs for the aspirant in all systems – and something similar will awaken on all Paths. Yet, although we seem to realize this unconsciously - such a thesis carefully gives examples where clarity of correspondence of enlightenment is systematically laid down.

We grit our teeth as A.C. uses the examples of Buddha and other manifestations of those who are cursed as dead currents trying to grasp the point with a clear head. The more advanced aspirant might object to using the leaders of those old Aeon currents in this book as an example of such similarities of enlightenment – and to a certain extent the point is taken as I remember how free I was from the issues of Eastern old Aeon Currents I was prior to embracing Yoga.

I began asana shortly after I arrived in Nashville as a Probationer of the A∴A∴ in 1976 e.v.. Prior to this, my Path had been reading and ceremonial magick where Yoga seemed to be out of touch with the reality of my Path. (Prior to arrival to Nashville from New Orleans I was involved in the occult movement & scene in the French Quarter in New Orleans where an Adept named Mary Oneida Toups was my mentor. She covered a lot of ground presenting much unique material & work with magick but Yoga was never a part of her teaching – at least for me.)

In short, I was trying to follow the Path of western esoteric magick and initiation mainly regarding Yoga as a path that had no bearing on the issue of my aspiration. Yet, I accepted the addition of Yoga to my work knowing that it would increase my concentration with magick – and began the work by choosing dragon asana. After several months of doing asana daily where the pain did not cease I informed my Instructor to find out what the problem was. I was informed that I should keep going until I was beyond the pain. I was also informed that partial rigidity had been achieved – and of course, asana was now a part of my daily practice. Another month passed where nothing was occurring to ease the pain. By now, I had made it to ten minutes of asana with partial rigidity. It was definitely assisting my concentration with magick. Finally, in a casual conversation to Richard Gernon (Frater 831) I told him that I was still struggling with the dragon asana. He asked me to touch my toes. I tried and could barely bend. You see, (he said), if you add stretching exercises where your hamstrings are stretched and you can touch your toes you will progress faster. He was not only correct and I improved - I was inspired to begin pranayama where the pain seemed too oppressive to move to breathing exercises. (I did have a tough beginning to Yoga where others seem to be succeeding much more quickly than myself.) To this day, I recommend stretching exercises right from the start when a student begins asana. It is curious that this volume and others do not touch upon this. I take it that such an instruction is supposed to be common sense or so simple to be seen to be obvious.

It is ironically an awkward state of affairs, don't you think? When you are faced with this dilemma of having to deal with students “whoring after strange Gods” or having to clarify the dangers of old Aeon Currents that are used in such a thesis as this one that would use the example of cursed, dead Aeon failures such as Buddha, Mohammad and Jesus! Having to sweep the arm downward with a banishing as you read I should suppose is a discipline in itself. As for “Whoring after strange Gods”, my advice is to replace in such an adapted ceremony with the words: “There is no part of me that is not part of the Gods”, with “There is no part of me that is not part of the Gods that cluster to exalt Ra-Hoor-Khuit”which will align yourself with the New Aeon in addition with “help & hope in other spells.”

Another point which as the New Aeon progresses should be meditated upon: that new terms and definitions must be developed that are either equivalent or otherwise aligned to Trance as We understand it from the Book of the Law. This work has begun – of course, and yet how many have attained in Our System? For only the raw experience of the Path can unfold those yet unknown Trances that exist and await future Adepts and Masters.

Meanwhile, it all begins with a careful study of what we have already placed before the aspirant - and this book will be only the beginning of a climb to the Starry Beyond we have chosen to call the Great Work.

“Who knows on what day a flower shall bloom?”

Love is the law, love under will

This is the simplest and least pretentious account of the discipline of Yoga ever published anywhere. Crowley studied Yoga in the East, with true masters; and he managed to transmit it in language intelligible to Western minds. The approach is rigorously skeptical and scientific: no claims are made or allowed that cannot be verified by experiment.
Marcelo Motta was a personal pupil of Crowley's heir and successor, Karl Johannes Germer. He is the only person alive who can show evidence of a right to represent the movements initiated by Crowley and continued by Germer. His notes aim chiefly at explaining how the peculiar psychological states produced by the practice of Mysticism may lead the mystic of whatever sect either to great wisdom, personal fulfilment and social usefulness or to spiritual insanity and religious persecution of people of other faiths.

(Note by David Bersson) This comment by Mr. Motta comes from the original edition as an introduction. It is written very well. I am only in objection to the use of the word “faiths” with the last sentence. It was the Church who invented this title to create it as a definition of religion. Of course, a “faith” is not a religion at all but an implication of its weakness to produce spiritual experience without the crutch of “belief”. It is clearly stated in the Book of the Law that “certainty” and not faith is possible with our path – and the invention or implications that every religion should be defined as a faith is another propaganda by the Church showing its internal spiritual absence right from the start. It should be otherwise pertinent to good sense to look at those words which would imply such a propaganda. The Jews used the word “kids” for “children” for obvious reasons – and such acts of treason to history, religion and spiritual enlightenment have to seen with open eyes. Other examples of such acts of propaganda which are meant to sway the unwary from the truth is the word “Pagan” (it really means “country”) which the Church started using after numerous murders of polytheists: drove them into the forest and the mountains.






Volume VI no. 1)

An. LXXIX Sol in O degrees 0' 0" Cancer
21 June 1982 e.v.
15h 35m Greenwich Time.
Second edition 17 February 2014 e.v. by David Bersson


THIS book is intentionally "not" the work of Frater Perdurabo. Experience shows that his writing is too concentrated, too abstruse, too occult, for ordinary minds to apprehend. It is thought that this record of disjointed fragments of his casual conversation may prove alike more intelligible and more convincing, and at least provide a preliminary study which will enable the student to attack his real work from a standpoint of some little general knowledge and understanding of his ideas, and of the form in which he figures them. Part II, "Magick," is more advanced in style than Part I; the student is expected to know a little of the literature of the subject, and to be able to take an intelligent view of it. This part is, however, really explanatory of Part I, which is a crude outline sketch only.

If both parts are thoroughly studied and understood, the pupil will have obtained a real grasp of all the fundamentals and essentials of both Magick and Mysticism.

I wrote this book down from Frater Perdurabo's dictation at the Villa Caldarazzo, Posilippo, Naples, where I was studying under him, a villa actually prophesied to us long before we reached Naples by that Brother of the A∴A∴ who appeared to me in Zurich. Any point which was obscure to me was cleared up in some new discourse (the discourses have consequently been re-arranged). Before printing, the whole work was read by several persons of rather less than average intelligence, and any point not quite clear even to them has been elucidated.

May the whole Path now be plain to all!

Frater Perdurabo is the most honest of all the great religious teachers. Others have said: "Believe me!" He says:"Don't believe me!" He does not ask for followers; would despise and refuse them. He wants an independent and self-reliant body of students to follow out their own methods of research. If he can save them time and trouble by giving a few useful "tips," his work will have been done to his own satisfaction.

Those who have wished men to believe in them were absurd. A persuasive tongue or pen, or an efficient sword, with rack and stake, produced this "belief," which is contrary to, and destructive of, all real religious experience.

The whole life of Frater Perdurabo is now devoted to seeing that you obtain this living experience of Truth for, by, and in yourselves!

SOROR VIRAKAM (Mary d'Este Sturges).

There is little doubt that the above may have been written in Ms. Sturge's hand, but was dictated by Aleister Crowley, whose style is unmistakeable.

Frater Perdurabo is always ready to give personal instruction, free of all charge, to any person who may appy to him. Letters should be registered, and addressed to him, care of the publishers.


Editorial Note by Marcelo Motta: For reasons of historical and bibliographical interest we left the above address as given. However, we have occasionally received communications from would be students complaining that they wrote to it and nobody answered!!!
Blessed are the poor of spirit - without them, how would religion wax fat? Be then warned: that address is now almost a century out of date. If you want to hear unpleasant truths about yourselves, write to our present address.

P.O. Box 59326
Pittsburgh, PA. 15210

Still allowing for the wonderful effects of stupidity, one will notice that Crowley often speaks in the text of "Jesus' as if that had been an actual historical person, with definite personal doctrines. This is due to the fact that he was trying to write a primer, addressed to what he fondly believed were poorly educated, average people, and he did not want to step on the ears of prejudice, which, as anybody who has dealt with them knows, are very long, and usually flop around the owner several feet in every direction. We believe this was a definite mistake on his part, since it gave - and still gives - occasion to theological protestations on the part of hopeful minions of Christism.
By everybody knows he was an incorrigible optimist.
As usual, the original text goes in common type, and ours in italics.

THERE are seven keys to the great gate,
Being eight in one and one in eight.
First, let the body of thee be still,
Bound by the cerements of will,
Corpse-rigid; thus thou mayst abort
The fidget-babes that tease the thought.
Next, let the breath-rhythm be low,
Easy, regular, and slow;
So that thy being be in tune
With the great sea's Pacific swoon.
Third, let thy life be pure and calm,
Swayed softly as a windless palm.
Fourth, let the will-to-live be bound
To the one love of the profound.
Fifth, let the thought, divinely free
From sense, observe its entity.
Watch every thought that springs; enhance
Hour after hour thy vigilance!
Intense and keen, turned inward, miss
No atom of analysis!
Sixth, on one thought securely pinned
Still every whisper of the wind!
So like a flame straight and unstirred
Burn up thy being in one word!
Next, still that ecstasy, prolong
Thy meditation steep and strong,
Slaying even God, should He distract
Thy attention from the chosen act!
Last, all these things in one o'erpowered,
Time that the midnight blossom flowered!
The oneness is. Yet even in this,
My son, thou shall not do amiss
If thou restrain the expression, shoot
Thy glance to rapture's darkling root,
Discarding name, form, sight, and stress
Even of this high consciousness;
Pierce to the heart! I leave thee here:
Thou art the Master. I revere
Thy radiance that rolls afar,
O Brother of the Silver Star!




EXISTENCE, as we know it, is full of sorrow. To mention only one minor point: every man is a condemned criminal, only he does not know the date of his execution. This is unpleasant for every man. Consequently every man does everything possible to postpone the date, and would sacrifice anything that he has if he could reverse the sentence.

Practically all religions and all philosophies have started thus crudely, by promising their adherents some such reward as immortality.

No religion has failed hitherto by not promising enough; the present breaking up of all religions is due to the fact that people have asked to see the securities. Men have even renounced the important material advantages which a well-organized religion may confer upon a State, rather than acquiesce in fraud or falsehood, or even in any system which, if not proved guilty, is at least unable to demonstrate its innocence.

Being more or less bankrupt, the best thing that we can do is to attack the problem afresh without preconceived ideas. Let us begin by doubting every statement. Let us find a way of subjecting every statement to the test of experiment. Is there any truth at all in the claims of various religions? Let us examine the question.

Our original difficulty will be due to the enormous wealth of our material. To enter into a critical examination of all systems would be an unending task; the cloud of witnesses is too great. Now each religion is equally positive; and each demands faith. This we refuse in the absence of positive proof. But we may usefully inquire whether there is not any one thing upon which all religions have agreed: for, if so, it seems possible that it may be worthy of really thorough consideration.

It is certainly not to be found in dogma. Even so simple an idea as that of a supreme and eternal being is denied by a third of the human race.

Buddhism, for instance, does not admit the existence of "God" in the sense this is understood in Judeo-Christist dogma. Although most people, many Buddhists included, ignore this fact, the Buddha was an atheist.

Legends of miracle are perhaps universal, but these, in the absence of demonstrative proof, are repugnant to common sense.

But what of the origin of religions? How is it that unproved assertion has so frequently compelled the assent of all classes of mankind? Is not this a miracle?

There is, however, one form of miracle which certainly happens, the influence of the genius. There is no known analogy in Nature. One cannot even think of a "super-dog" transforming the world of dogs, whereas in the history of mankind this happens with regularity and frequency. Now here are three "super-men," all at loggerheads. What is there in common between Christ, Buddha, and Mohammed? Is there any one point upon which all three are in accord?

Serious readers should keep in mind that by "Christ" is not meant here the imaginary "Jesus" of the forged Christist gospels, but Dionysus the Magus, the founder of true Christianity. Cf. Letter to a Brazilian Mason.

No point of doctrine, no point of ethics, no theory of a "hereafter" do they share, and yet in the history of their lives we find one identity amid many diversities.

Buddha was born a Prince, and died a beggar.

Mohammed was born a beggar, and died a Prince.

Christ remained obscure until many years after his death.

Elaborate lives of each have been written by devotees, and there is one thing common to all three -- an omission. We hear nothing of Christ between the ages of twelve and thirty. Mohammed disappeared into a cave. Buddha left his palace, and went for a long while into the desert.

Each of them, perfectly silent up to the time of the disappearance, came back and immediately began to preach a new law.

This is so curious that it leaves us to inquire whether the histories of other great teachers contradict or confirm.

Moses led a quiet life until his slaying of the Egyptian. He then flees into the land of Midian, and we hear nothing of what he did there,

The many legends about Moses's "initiation" into this or that "occult order" during this interval are shameless lies, invented to promote this or that gang of charlatans interested in getting more money. Very probably, Moses was an Egyptian; the name "Moses" was common in Egypt, as any egyptologist knows.

yet immediately on his return he turns the whole place upside down. Later on, too, he absents himself on Mount Sinai for a few days, and comes back with the Tables of the Law in his hand.

St. Paul (again), after his adventure on the road to Damascus,

Also this "St. Paul" was a Roman-Alexandrine invention. His so-called "Epistles" are forgeries, complilations based on several different documents by the hand of several disciples of Dionysus. Again, cf. Letter to a Brazilian Mason.

goes into the desert of Arabia for many years, and on his return overturns the Roman Empire. Even in the legends of savages we find the same thing universal; somebody who is nobody in particular goes away for a longer or shorter period, and comes back as the "great medicine man"; but nobody ever knows exactly what happened to him.

Making every possible deduction for fable and myth, we get this one coincidence. A nobody goes away, and comes back a somebody. This is not to be explained in any of the ordinary ways.

There is not the smallest ground for the contention that these were from the start exceptional men. Mohammed would hardly have driven a camel until he was thirty-five years old if he had possessed any talent or ambition. St. Paul had much original talent; but he is the least of the five. Nor do they seem to have possessed any of the usual materials of power, such as rank, fortune, or influence.

Moses was rather a big man in Egypt when he left; he came back as a mere stranger.

Christ had not been to China and married the Emperor's daughter.

Mohammed had not been acquiring wealth and drilling soldiers.

Buddha had not been consolidating any religious organizations.

St. Paul had not been intriguing with an ambitious general.

Each came back poor; each came back alone.

What was the nature of their power? What happened to them in their absence?

History will not help us to solve the problem, for history is silent.

We have only the accounts given by the men themselves.

It would be very remarkable should we find that these accounts agree.

Of the great teachers we have mentioned Christ is silent; the other four tell us something; some more, some less.

Buddha goes into details too elaborate to enter upon in this place; but the gist of it is that in one way or another he got hold of the secret force of the World and mastered it.

Of St. Paul's experiences, we have nothing but a casual allusion to his having been "caught up into Heaven, and seen and heard things of which it was not lawful to speak."

Very convenient for Christists, this discretion! But, as reads the A∴A∴ History Lection, "Mystery is the enemy of Truth".

Mohammed speaks crudely of his having been "visited by the Angel Gabriel," who communicated things from "God."

Moses says that he "beheld God."

Diverse as these statements are at first sight, all agree in announcing an experience of the class which fifty years ago would have been called supernatural, to-day may be called spiritual, and fifty years hence will have a proper name based on an understanding of the phenomenon which occurred.

Theorists have not been at a loss to explain; but they differ.

The Mohammedan insists that God is, and did really send Gabriel with messages for Mohammed: but all others contradict him. And from the nature of the case proof is impossible.

The lack of proof has been so severely felt by Christianity

We have been replacing "Christianity" in the original text by the neologism "Christism", invented by the great Portuguese poet and Thelemite, Fernando Pessoa, in order to make quite clear the difference between the false christianity of the roman-alexandrines and the legitimate christianity of the Gnostics. Again, cf. Letter to a Brazilian Mason.

Note by David Bersson: I retain skepticism after reading some of the translations of the so-called ancient Gnostic texts whether they could be legitimately named “christianity”. This statement “legitimate christianity of the Gnostics” from my Superior is not relevant in any way to what those who are called Thelemites magick and manifestation from the Gnostic Catholic Mass called Liber XV. This ceremony is considered “purged by the prophet” and its use in various Thelemic organizations is neither encouraged nor discouraged. If it is your will to do Liber XV – then do your will. The ceremony at least includes a Priestess making it manifest a greater balance of spiritual and magical energy than anything the ancient Gnostics devised. The Curses in the Book of the Law name “Jesus” as cursed as a crapulous creed.
Fernando Pessoa as a Master created a magical gesture after partaking of what He interpreted as this current of the Gnostics - and acted upon this with the improper perceptions of why the ancient Gnostic current was showing positive manifestations. You must realize that Liber XV is the origin of the present state of purity of the Gnostic Current. It is absolutely a delusion that the ancient Gnostic current is anything but old Aeon. The Manifestation BEGINS from Liber XV – NOT ancient Gnostic texts which are questionable or the ancient Gnostic Priests. Fernando Pessoa as Master of the Temple has given a magical gesture that was not observed in its true light from my Superior. My main objections are such magical gestures not approved by the normal Authority and the improper of use of a magical link. To partake of the essence of All or to partake of the Spiritual Essence of All to awaken or make clear the Path of Love to the Magus is normal for in every case Instruction from the Necessity of All is naturally given. This naturally results in a magical gesture that involves progress on some plane – and it can be personal initiation, racial initiation, or any of the surprises that would be given as specialized Holy Tasks for the Master. His magical gesture of using “Christist” was a personal reaction that ignores which end of the Manifestation He observed – and in this particular case he did not understand how to adjust his Magical Gesture by magical link or corrections. Fernando Pessoa should of tended his Garden of Disciples. Yet, He moved in a manner where his magical gestures were not efficient enough to manifest properly. Had He gotten Instruction from Authority through the Path of Love from the Magus He could of corrected his error and assisted the New Aeon. Instead, of hearing the Truth of the Magus He went ahead with Magical Gestures that dissolved before they could manifest properly. He was sent forth Illusion and Delusion on a magical gesture involving magical links and crapulous creeds. I will not go any further into this suffice to state it is mainly beyond the comprehension of most members and warn everyone severely that no Master of the Temple should ignore the planting and tending of the Garden of Disciples or those clear instructions that are emphasized in ONE STAR IN SIGHT.

(and in a much less degree by Islam) that fresh miracles have been manufactured almost daily to support the tottering structure. Modern thought, rejecting these miracles, has adopted theories involving epilepsy and madness. As if organization could spring from disorganization! Even if epilepsy were the cause of these great movements which have caused civilization after civilization to arise from barbarism, it would merely form an argument for cultivating epilepsy.

Of course great men will never conform with the standards of little men, and he whose mission it is to overturn the world can hardly escape the title of revolutionary. The fads of a period always furnish terms of abuse. The fad of Caiaphas was Judaism, and the Pharisees told him that Christ "blasphemed." Pilate was a loyal Roman; to him they accused Christ of "sedition." When the Pope had all power it was necessary to prove an enemy a "heretic." Advancing to-day towards a medical oligarchy, we try to prove that our opponents are "insane," and (in a Puritan country) to attack their "morals." We should then avoid all rhetoric, and try to investigate with perfect freedom from bias the phenomena which occurred to these great leaders of mankind.

There is no difficulty in our assuming that these men themselves did not understand clearly what happened to them. The only one who explains his system thoroughly is Buddha, and Buddha is the only one that is not dogmatic. We may also suppose that the others thought it inadvisable to explain too clearly to their followers; St. Paul evidently took this line.

Our best document will therefore be the system of Buddha; *

* We have the documents of Hinduism, and of two Chinese systems. But Hinduism has no single founder. Lao Tze is one of our best examples of a man who went away and had a mysterious experience; perhaps the best of all examples, as his system is the best of all systems. We have full details of his method of training in the Khang Kang King, and elsewhere. But it is so little known that we shall omit consideration of it in this popular account.

Cf. EQUINOX V 3, The Chinese Texts of Magick and Mysticism.

but it is so complex that no immediate summary will serve; and in the case of the others, if we have not the accounts of the Masters, we have those of their immediate followers.

The methods advised by all these people have a startling resemblance to one another. They recommend "virtue" (of various kinds), solitude, absence of excitement, moderation in diet, and finally a practice which some call prayer and some call meditation.
(The former four may turn out on examination to be merely conditions favourable to the last.)

On investigating what is meant by these two things, we find that they are only one. For what is the state of either prayer or meditation? It is the restraining of the mind to a single act, state, or thought. If we sit down quietly and investigate the contents of our minds, we shall find that even at the best of times the principal characteristics are wandering and distraction. Any one who has had anything to do with children and untrained minds generally knows that fixity of attention is never present, even when there is a large amount of intelligence and good will.

If then we, with our well-trained minds, determine to control this wandering thought, we shall find that we are fairly well able to keep the thoughts running in a narrow channel, each thought linked to the last in a perfectly rational manner; but if we attempt to stop this current we shall find that, so far from succeeding, we shall merely bread down the banks of the channel. The mind will overflow, and instead of a chain of thought we shall have a chaos of confused images.

This mental activity is so great, and seems so natural, that it is hard to understand how any one first got the idea that it was a weakness and a nuisance. Perhaps it was because in the more natural practice of "devotion," people found that their thoughts interfered. In any case calm and self-control are to be preferred to restlessness. Darwin in his study presents a marked contrast with a monkey in a cage.

Generally speaking, the larger and stronger and more highly developed any animal is, the less does it move about, and such movements as it does make are slow and purposeful. Compare the ceaseless activity of bacteria with the reasoned steadiness of the beaver; and except in the few animal communities which are organized, such as bees, the greatest intelligence is shown by those of solitary habits. This is so true of man that psychologists have been obliged to treat of the mental state of crowds as if it were totally different in quality from any state possible to an individual.

It is by freeing the mind from external influences, whether casual or emotional, that it obtains power to see somewhat of the truth of things.

Let us, however, continue our practice. Let us determine to be masters of our minds. We shall then soon find what conditions are favourable.

There will be no need to persuade ourselves at great length that all external influences are likely to be unfavourable. New faces, new scenes will disturb us; even the new habits of life which we undertake for this very purpose of controlling the mind will at first tend to upset it. Still, we must give up our habit of eating too much, and follow the natural rule of only eating when we are hungry, listening to the interior voice which tells us that we have had enough.

The same rule applies to sleep. We have determined to control our minds, and so our time for meditation must take precedence of other hours.

We must fix times for practice, and make our feasts movable.

In short, act as anybody with the slightest sense acts in reference to normal daily work. Most "occultists" find in occultism" an excuse to loaf.

In order to test our progress, for we shall find that (as in all physiological matters) meditation cannot be gauged by the feelings, we shall have a note-book and pencil, and we shall also have a watch. We shall then endeavour to count how often, during the first quarter of an hour, the mind breaks away from the idea upon which it is determined to concentrate. We shall practice this twice daily; and, as we go, experience will teach us which conditions are favourable and which are not. Before we have been doing this for very long we are almost certain to get impatient, and we shall find that we have to practice many other things in order to assist us in our work. New problems will constantly arise which must be faced, and solved.

For instance, we shall most assuredly find that we fidget. We shall discover that no position is comfortable, though we never noticed it before in all our lives!

This difficulty has been solved by a practice called "Asana," which will be described later on.

Memories of the events of the day will bother us; we must arrange our day so that it is absolutely uneventful. Our minds will recall to us our hopes and fears, our loves and hates, our ambitions, our envies, and many other emotions. All these must be cut off. We must have absolutely no interest in life but that of quieting our minds.

This is the object of the usual monastic vow of poverty, chastity, and obedience. If you have no property, you have no care, nothing to be anxious about; with chastity no other person to be anxious about, and to distract your attention; while if you are vowed to obedience the question of what you are to do no longer frets: you simply obey.

There are a great many other obstacles which you will discover as you go on, and it is proposed to deal with these in turn. But let us pass by for the moment to the point where you are nearing success.

In your early struggles you may have found it difficult to conquer sleep; and you may have wandered so far from the object of your meditations without noticing it, that the meditation has really been broken; but much later on, when you feel that you are "getting quite good," you will be shocked to find a complete oblivion of yourself and your surroundings. You will say: "Good heavens! I must have been to sleep!" or else "What on earth was I meditating upon?" or even "What was I doing?" "Where am I?" "Who am I?" or a mere wordless bewilderment may daze you. This may alarm you, and your alarm will not be lessened when you come to full consciousness, and reflect that you have actually forgotten who you are and what you are doing!

This is only one of many adventures that may come to you; but it is one of the most typical. By this time your hours of meditation will fill most of the day, and you will probably be constantly having presentiments that something is about to happen. You may also be terrified with the idea that your brain may be giving way; but you will have learnt the real symptoms of mental fatigue, and you will be careful to avoid them. They must be very carefully distinguished from idleness!

At certain times you will feel as if there were a contest between the will and the mind; at other times you may feel as if they were in harmony; but there is a third state, to be distinguished from the latter feeling. It is the certain sign of near success, the view-halloo. This is when the mind runs naturally towards the object chosen, not as if in obedience to the will of the owner of the mind, but as if directed by nothing at all, or by something impersonal; as if it were falling by its own weight, and not being pushed down.

In short, as a body in free fall in space.

Almost always, the moment that one becomes conscious of this, it stops; and the dreary old struggle between the cowboy will and the buckjumper mind begins again.

Like every other physiological process, consciousness of it implies disorder or disease.

In analysing the nature of this work of controlling the mind, the student will appreciate without trouble the fact that two things are involved -- the person seeing and the thing seen -- the person knowing and the thing known; and he will come to regard this as the necessary condition of all consciousness. We are too accustomed to assume to be facts things about which we have no real right even to guess. We assume, for example, that the unconscious is the torpid; and yet nothing is more certain than that bodily organs which are functioning well do so in silence. The best sleep is dreamless. Even in the case of games of skill our very best strokes are followed by the thought, "I don't know how I did it;" and we cannot repeat those strokes at will. The moment we begin to think consciously about a stroke we get "nervous," and are lost.

In fact, there are three main classes of stroke; the bad stroke, which we associate, and rightly, with wandering attention; the good stroke which we associate, and rightly, with fixed attention; and the perfect stroke, which we do not understand, but which is really caused by the habit of fixity of attention having become independent of the will, and thus enabled to act freely of its own accord.

This is the same phenomenon referred to above as being a good sign.

Finally something happens whose nature may form the subject of a further discussion later on. For the moment let it suffice to say that this consciousness of the Ego and the non-Ego, the seer and the thing seen, the knower and the thing known, is blotted out.

There is usually an intense light, an intense sound, and a feeling of such overwhelming bliss that the resources of language have been exhausted again and again in the attempt to describe it.

It is an absolute knock-out blow to the mind. It is so vivid and tremendous that those who experience it are in the gravest danger of losing all sense of proportion.

By its light all other events of life are as darkness. Owing to this, people have utterly failed to analyse it or to estimate it. They are accurate enough in saying that, compared with this, all human life is absolutely dross; but they go further, and go wrong. They argue that "since this is that which transcends the terrestrial, it must be celestial." One of the tendencies in their minds has been the hope of a heaven such as their parents and teachers have described, or such as they have themselves pictured; and, without the slightest grounds for saying so, they make the assumption "This is That."

In the Bhagavadgita a vision of this class is naturally attributed to the apparation of Vishnu, who was the local god of the period.

Anna Kingsford, who had dabbled in Hebrew mysticism, and was a feminist, got an almost identical vision; but called the "divine" figure which she saw alternately "Adonai" and "Maria."

Now this woman, though handicapped by a brain that was a mass of putrid pulp, and a complete lack of social status, education, and moral character, did more in the religious world than any other person had done for generations. She, and she alone, made Theosophy possible, and without Theosophy the world-wide interest in similar matters would never have been aroused. This interest is to the Law of Θελημα what the preaching of John the Baptist was to Christianity in the "Gospels".

We are now in a position to say what happened to Mohammed. Somehow or another his phenomenon happened in his mind. More ignorant than Anna Kingsford, though, fortunately, more moral, he connected it with the story of the "Annunciation," which he had undoubtedly heard in his boyhood, and said "Gabriel appeared to me." But in spite of his ignorance, his total misconception of the truth, the power of the vision was such that he was enabled to persist through the usual persecution, and founded a religion to which even to-day one man in every eight belongs.

The history of Christianity shows precisely the same remarkable fact.

This, however, was involuntary on the part of the forgers: they unconsiously included the facts of normal psychologial processes. It was indeed the contradiction between these processes and the lies they told that caused Christism's present discredit and ruin.

Jesus Christ was brought up on the fables of the "Old Testament," and so was compelled to ascribe his experiences to "Jehovah," although his gentle spirit could have had nothing in common with the monster who was always commanding the rape of virgins and the murder of little children, and whose rites were then, and still are, celebrated by human sacrifice. *

* The massacres of Jews in Eastern Europe which surprise the ignorant, are almost invariably excited by the disappearance of "Christian" children, stolen, as the parents suppose, for the purposes of "ritual murder."

We are skeptical of such accounts, which were invariably followed by some pogrom at the end of which Jews were pushing daisies and Christist clergy and rulers were pushing money lately to found in Hebrew coffers.

It is immaterial that the many legends of Jews slaying "Christian" children ritually are obvious lies; the entire concept of Judeo-Christism not only permits but even encourages the idea that the many can be "saved" by the sacrifice of one (particularly if this one is the very person whom common sense would indicate as the only one worth surviving!), or that "God" is pleased or appeased by ritual murder.

Similarly the visions of Joan of Arc were entirely Christian; but she, like all the others we have mentioned, found somewhere the force to do great things. Of course, it may be said that there is a fallacy in the argument; it may be true that all these great people "saw God," but it does not follow that every one who "sees God" will do great things.

This is true enough. In fact, the majority of people who claim to have "seen God," and who no doubt did "see God" just as much as those whom we have quoted, did nothing else.

But perhaps their silence is not a sign of their weakness, but of their strength. Perhaps these "great" men are the failures of humanity; perhaps it would be better to say nothing; perhaps only an unbalanced mind would wish to alter anything or believe in the possibility of altering anything; but there are those who think existence even in heaven intolerable so long as there is one single being who does not share that joy. There are some who may wish to travel back from the very threshold of the bridal chamber to assist belated guests.

Such at least was the attitude which Gotama Buddha adopted. Nor shall he be alone.

This reference indicates that Crowley accepted Blavatsky's thesis that the Buddha refused final dissolution in order to help humankind. The reader does not have to believe such things unless he or she will. However, it is quite obvious to sane minds that human progress has always come from the scientific spirit of free inquiry and free exchange of information; never from the ecclesiastic policy of hiding truth from the many in benefit of a privileged few.

Blavatsky like Fernando Pessoa were both Masters of the Temple that we can study and see how these two Masters accomplishments with regards to a Great Work or Magical Gesture attempting to learn from what they did or did not do. My objections or observations with regards to Blavatsky are completely different than with Pessoa. Her attempt to unite east and west as a magical gesture has been magically dissolved with the Curses in the Book of the Law where crapulous creeds are dealt with in no uncertain terms. If anything, her trek to the East for spiritual enlightenment was not balanced properly by a proper search in the West for Initiates of the western esoteric system. The English and the Americans are especially notorious for running to the Eastern Gurus permitting themselves to be conned by the propaganda in the favor of the Eastern Gurus. Yet, magick is older than Yoga & much more exists than the “passive indifference” type of spiritual enlightenment that is falsely promoted by the Eastern Gurus as being “civilized”. The Zen Gurus who are supposed to be Masters go so far as to castrate parts of themselves in meditation which has been found to be counterproductive to any further spiritual Trance. The Thelemic perceptions of dissolution have nothing to do with Blavatsky's thesis on the Buddha. The Buddha did not help humanity at all & created a magical current that is contrary to the natural evolutionary wave of the Aeons. I will not doubt he stated he refused final dissolution and yet I retain my skepticism on whether it wasn't from the fear of death not being sure what would become of him when he moved into such a dissolution. This terrifying observation for the Eastern Gurus (and everyone) that shows My estimation of the Buddha to be a “black brother” will evidently send a shock wave throughout the Mystical East.

Again it may be pointed out that the contemplative life is generally opposed to the active life, and it must require an extremely careful balance to prevent the one absorbing the other.

As it will be seen later, the "vision of God," or "Union with God," or "Samadhi," or whatever we may agree to call it, has many kinds and many degrees, although there is an impassable abyss between the least of them and the greatest of all the phenomena of normal consciousness. To sum up, we assert a secret source of energy which explains the phenomenon of Genius.* We do not believe in any supernatural explanations, but insist that this source may be reached by the following out of definite rules, the degree of success depending upon the capacity of the seeker, and not upon the favour of any Divine Being. We assert that the critical phenomenon which determines success is an occurrence in the brain characterized essentially by the uniting of subject and object.

We propose to discuss this phenomenon, analyse its nature, determine accurately the physical, mental and moral conditions which are favourable to it, to ascertain its cause, and thus to produce it in ourselves, so that we may adequately study its effects.

* We have dealt in this preliminary sketch only with examples of religious genius. Other kinds are subject to the same remarks, but the limits of our space forbid discussion of these.

This note should certainly be a serious inducement for rigorous scientific research of Crowley's proposed methods of self-development.


THE problem before us may be stated thus simply. A man wishes to control his mind, to be able to think one chosen thought for as long as he will without interruption.

As previously remarked, the first difficulty arises from the body, which keeps on asserting its presence by causing its victim to itch, and in other ways to be distracted. He wants to stretch, scratch, sneeze. This nuisance is so persistent that the Hindus (in their scientific way) devised a special practice for quieting it.

The word Asana means posture; but, as with all words which have caused debate, its exact meaning has altered, and it is used in several distinct senses by various authors. The greatest authority on "Yoga"  1.

1.  Yoga is the general name for that form of meditation which aims at the uniting of subject and object, for "yog" is the root from which are derived the Latin word Jugum and the English word Yoke.

The word religion comes from the Latin religare, "reconnect", and contains the same concept.

is Patanjali. He says, "Asana is that which is firm and pleasant." This may be taken as meaning the result of success in the practice. Again, Sankhya says, "Posture is that which is steady and easy." And again, "any posture which is steady and easy is an Asana; there is no other rule." Any posture will do.

In a sense this is true, because any posture becomes uncomfortable sooner or later. The steadiness and easiness mark a definite attainment, as will be explained later on. Hindu books, such as the "Shiva Sanhita," give countless postures; many, perhaps most of them, impossible for the average adult European. Others insist that the head, neck, and spine should be kept vertical and straight, for reasons connected with the subject of Prana, which will be dealt with in its proper place. The positions illustrated in Liber E (Equinox I and VII) form the best guide.  2.

2.  Here are four:
1. Sit in a chair; head up, back straight, knees together, hands on knees, eyes closed. ("The God.")
2. Kneel; buttocks resting on the heels, toes turned back, back and head straight, hands on thighs. ("The Dragon.")
3. Stand; hold left ankle with right hand (and alternately practise right ankle in left hand, etc.), free forefinger on lips. ("The Ibis.")

In our experience, and according to Crowley's own words, it is counterproductive to change from foot to foot in such a position. The position is also anatomically unbalanced and not helpful for Pranayama.

4. Sit; left heel pressing up anus, right foot poised on its toes, the heel covering the phallus; arms stretched out over the knees: head and back straight. ("The Thunderbolt.")

In EQUINOX I 7 he allowed himself to be photographed in a series of more comfortable positions, none of which, as he himself admitted, was good for Pranayama. If the Aspirant intends to conquer Pranayama a position should be chosen in which the upper body is left unrestricted. It is also useful to have the spine erect.

The extreme of Asana is practised by those Yogis who remain in one position without moving, except in the case of absolute necessity, during their whole lives. One should not criticise such persons without a thorough knowledge of the subject. Such knowledge has not yet been published.

However, one may safely assert that since the great men previously mentioned did not do this, it will not be necessary for their followers. Let us then choose a suitable position, and consider what happens. There is a sort of happy medium between rigidity and limpness; the muscles are not to be strained; and yet they are not allowed to be altogether slack. It is difficult to find a good descriptive word. "Braced" is perhaps the best. A sense of physical alertness is desirable. Think of the tiger about to spring, or of the oarsman waiting for the gun. After a little there will be cramp and fatigue. The student must now set his teeth, and go through with it. The minor sensations of itching, etc., will be found to pass away, if they are resolutely neglected, but the cramp and fatigue may be expected to increase until the end of the practice. One may begin with half an hour or an hour. The student must not mind if the process of quitting the Asana involves several minutes of the acutest agony.

The practice of "Yoga" as a system of gymnastics, so common in the United States and other Western countries, has nothing to do with the true practice of Hatha Yoga; the 'sris', 'mahatmas' and 'gurus' who run "Yoga Academies" are, in the worst cases, con-men, and in the best cases amateurs without serious qualifications.

It will require a good deal of determination to persist day after day, for in most cases it will be found that the discomfort and pain, instead of diminishing, tend to increase.

On the other hand, if the student pay no attention, fail to watch the body, an opposite phenomenon may occur. He shifts to ease himself without knowing that he has done so. To avoid this, choose a position which naturally is rather cramped and awkward, and in which slight changes are not sufficient to bring ease. Otherwise, for the first few days, the student may even imagine that he has conquered the position. In fact, in all these practices their apparent simplicity is such that the beginner is likely to wonder what all the fuss is about, perhaps to think that he is specially gifted. Similarly a man who has never touched a golf club will take his umbrella and carelessly hole a putt which would frighten the best putter alive.

In a few days, however, in all cases, the discomforts will begin. As you go on, they will begin earlier in the course of the hour's exercise. The disinclination to practise at all may become almost unconquerable. One must warn the student against imagining that some other position would be easier to master than the one he has selected. Once you begin to change about you are lost.

Perhaps the reward is not so far distant:

Frequently, the worse the pain and discomfort of the position, the closer we are to success in the practice.

it will happen one day that the pain is suddenly forgotten, the fact of the presence of the body is forgotten, and one will realize that during the whole of one's previous life the body was always on the borderland of consciousness, and that consciousness a consciousness of pain; and at this moment one will further realize with an indescribable feeling of relief that not only is this position, which has been so painful, the very ideal of physical comfort, but that all other conceivable positions of the body are uncomfortable. This feeling represents success.

There will be no further difficulty in the practice. One will get into one's Asana with almost the same feeling as that with which a tired man gets into a hot bath; and while he is in that position, the body may be trusted to send him no message that might disturb his mind.

Other results of this practice are described by Hindu authors, but they do not concern us at present. Our first obstacle has been removed, and we can continue with the others.

However, we should try to keep a sense of perspective. The agony one suffers conquering Asana is so great that many lazy people believe the relief when they conquer the practice means they attained Samadhi!!! One such was the late Arnold Krumm-Heller, Frater Huiracocha VIII° O.T.O. Clearly, if you delude yourself into thinking you achieved total liberation merely because you conquered Asana, you will never achieve total liberation. You become one of those "professional soldiers" who play instead of fighting, mentioned in Liber AL.


THE connection between breath and mind will be fully discussed in speaking of the Magick Sword, but it may be useful to premise a few details of a practical character. You may consult various Hindu manuals, and the writing of Kwang Tze,

Chuang Tse in the old orthography. Zhuang Zi was the most popular of all Chinese Daoist writers, and was believed to have been a personal disciple of Lao Zi (Lao Tse). This, however, was probably not true. Zhuang Zi talked too much, and frequently falsified historical data to serve his doctrinal ends.

for various notable theories as to method and result.

But in this sceptical system one had better content one's self with statements which are not worth the trouble of doubting.

The ultimate idea of meditation being to still the mind, it may be considered a useful preliminary to still consciousness of all the functions of the body. This has been dealt with in the chapter on Asana. One may, however, mention that some Yogis carry it to the point of trying to stop the beating of the heart. Whether this be desirable or no it would be useless to the beginner, so he will endeavour to make the breathing very slow and very regular. The rules for this practice are given in Liber CCVI.

The best way to time the breathing, once some little skill has been acquired, with a watch to bear witness, is by the use of a mantra. The mantra acts on the thoughts very much as Pranayama does upon the breath. The thought is bound down to a recurring cycle; any intruding thoughts are thrown off by the mantra, just as pieces of putty would be from a fly-wheel; and the swifter the wheel the more difficult would it be for anything to stick.

This is the proper way to practise a mantra. Utter it as loudly and slowly as possible ten times, then not quite so loudly and a very little faster ten times more. Continue this process until there is nothing but a rapid movement of the lips; this movement should be continued with increased velocity and diminishing intensity until the mental muttering completely absorbs the physical. The student is by this time absolutely still, with the mantra racing in his brain; he should, however, continue to speed it up until he reaches his limit,

This limit is always personal, and varies from one practitioner to another. "You will never know what is enough unless you know what is too much." (William Blake)

at which he should continue for as long as possible, and then cease the practice by reversing the process above described.

Any sentence may be used as a mantra, and possibly the Hindus are correct in thinking that there is a particular sentence best suited to any particular man.

Such a phrase expresses the person's True Will, and must be discovered by each of us for himself or herself. Certain false masters affirm they can give their pupils this Key Mantra. In this way they hypnotize the unwary and subject them to the control of the diseased currents to which such "masters" belong. Recently a self-styled "Maharishi" grew fat on the land offering a system of "transcendental meditation" that costs thousands of dollars, promising that each customer would learn his or her "personal mantra". Actually, his system is based on the 'tattwa' that corresponds to the astrological sign of the person's birth, and there are only four mantras being distributed to the credulous "chelas". But since the faithful are sternly told to keep their "personal" mantra under the greatest secrecy, or it will lose its "mystical effects", the majority do not even know they are being duped, and probably would get indignant if told so. Of course, the cunning "Maharishi" has become a multimillionaire.

Some men might find the liquid mantras of the Quran slide too easily, so that it would be possible to continue another train of thought without disturbing the mantra; one is supposed while saying the mantra to meditate upon its meaning. This suggests that the student might construct for himself a mantra which should represent the Universe in sound, as the pantacle  *

*  See Part II.

should do in form. Occasionally a mantra may be "given," "i.e.," heard in some unexplained manner during a meditation. One man, for example, used the words: "And strive to see in everything the will of God;" to another, while engaged in killing thoughts, came the words "and push it down," apparently referring to the action of the inhibitory centres which he was using. By keeping on with this he got his "result."

It is unnecessary to postulate either "God" or "Guru" in such cases: frequently, the sentence expresses in language the sum of the entire experience in psychosomatic control previously acquired by a particular individual, and thus puts one's volition in tune with the faculties one's volition is trying to discipline.

The ideal mantra should be rhythmical, one might even say musical; but there should be sufficient emphasis on some syllable to assist the faculty of attention. The best mantras are of medium length, so far as the beginner is concerned. If the mantra is too long, one is apt to forget it, unless one practises very hard for a great length of time. On the other hand, mantras of a single syllable, such as Aum,  *

*   However, in saying a mantra containing the word "Aum," one sometimes forgets the other words, and remains concentrated, repeating the "Aum" at intervals; but this is the result of a practice already begun, not the beginning of a practice.

are rather jerky; the rhythmical idea is lost. Here are a few useful mantras:

1. Aum.

2. Aum Tat Sat Aum. This mantra is purely spondaic.

{illustration: line of music with: Aum Tat Sat Aum under it}

3. Aum mani padme hum; two trochees between two caesuras.

{illustration: line of music with: Aum Ma-ni Pad-me Hum :under it}

4. Aum shivaya vashi; three trochees. Note that "shi" means rest, the absolute or male aspect of the Deity; "va" is energy, the manifested or female side of the Deity. This Mantra therefore expresses the whole course of the Universe, from Zero through the finite back to Zero.

{illustration: line of music with: Aum shi-va-ya Va-shi Aum shi-va-ya Vashi under it}

5. Allah. The syllables of this are accented equally, with a certain pause between them; and are usually combined by fakirs with a rhythmical motion of the body to and fro.

6. Hua allahu alazi lailaha illa Hua.

Here are some longer ones:

7. The famous Gayatri.

Aum! tat savitur varenyam
Bhargo devasya dimahi
Dhiyo yo na pratyodayat.

Scan this as trochaic tetrameters.

This mantra is said to the Moon by Thelemites, whenever the Moon is seen on any day or night. Pseudo-occultists translate Savitri as a masculine noun, but the word refers to the female counterpart of the three "male" members of the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu. In the case of Shiva, this goddess is sometimes worshipped as Kali. We cannot go further into this subject here.

Note by David Bersson: Not all of those who are called Thelemites will do the above Moon Mantra which has too many old Aeon currents in its implication or application. I have never recommended it to students and it is best replaced with an Adoration to the complementary Horus Deity of the Moon named Hoor Iah Ka and Menhit who is sacred to the rising Moon. Note that Hoor Iah Ka (Hawk head) is male, and Menhit is female (Lion Head).

Hail to thee Hoor Iah Ka who is the first born Moon God of Khem and Menhit, the rising Moon who clusters to exalt Ra-Hoor-Khuit who Sits Upon the Throne of Ra.

8. Qol: Hua Allahu achad; Allahu Assamad; lam yalid walam yulad; walam yakun lahu kufwan achad.

9. This mantra is the holiest of all that are or can be. It is from the Stele of Revealing.  *

In this Aeon, of course.

*   See Equinox I 7.

A ka dua
Tuf ur biu
Bi aa chefu
Dudu ner af an nuteru.

illustration: two lines of music with: A ka du - a Tuf ur bi - u Bi A'a che - fu Du - du ner af an nu - te -ru under them

Such are enough for selection.  *

*  Meanings of mantras:

1    Aum is the sound produced by breathing forcibly from the back of the throat and gradually closing the mouth. The three sounds represent the creative, preservative, and destructive principles. There are many more points about this, enough to fill a volume.

2.   O that Existent! O! -- An aspiration after realty, truth.

3.   O the Jewel in the Lotus! Amen! -- Refers to Buddha and Harpocrates; but also the symbolism of the Rosy Cross.

4.   Gives the cycle of creation. Peace manifesting as Power, Power dissolving in Peace.

5.   God. It adds to 66, the sum of the first 11 numbers.

6.   He is God, and there is no other God than He.

7.   O! let us strictly meditate on the adorable light of that divine Savitri (the interior Sun, etc.). May she enlighten our minds!

8.   Say:
He is God alone!
God the Eternal!
He begets not and is not begotten!
Nor is there like unto Him any one!

Unity uttermost showed!
I adore the might of Thy breath,
Supreme and terrible God,
Who makest the Gods and Death
To tremble before Thee: -
I, I adore Thee!

There are many other mantras. Sri Sabapaty Swami gives a particular one for each of the Cakkras. But let the student select one mantra and master it thoroughly.

You have not even begun to master a mantra until it continues unbroken through sleep. This is much easier than it sounds.

It is the simple consequence of persistence in the practice.

Some schools advocate practising a mantra with the aid of instrumental music and dancing. Certainly very remarkable effects are obtained in the way of "magic" powers; whether great spiritual results are equally common is a doubtful point. Persons wishing to study them may remember that the Sahara desert is within three days of London; and no doubt the Sidi Aissawa would be glad to accept pupils.

The Sidi Aissawa, at the time, had gained a reputation of sorts by claiming to eat live scorpions without harm to himself. Nothing was said of the scorpions.

This discussion of the parallel science of mantra-yoga has led us far indeed from the subject of Pranayama.

Pranayama is notably useful in quieting the emotions and appetites; and, whether by reason of the mechanical pressure which it asserts, or by the thorough combustion which it assures in the lungs, it seems to be admirable from the standpoint of health. Digestive troubles in particular are very easy to remove in this way. It purifies both the body and the lower functions of the mind,  *

*  Emphatically. Emphatically. Emphatically. It is impossible to combine Pranayama properly performed with emotional thought. It should be resorted to immediately, at all times during life, when calm is threatened.

On the whole, the ambulatory practices are more generally useful to the health than the sedentary; for in this way walking and fresh air are assured.

This, of course, presupposes one is walking in the country, and not in the "fresh air" of polluted cities!

But some of the sedentary practice should be done, and combined with meditation. Of course when actually "racing" to get results, walking is a distraction.

and should be practised certainly never less than one hour daily by the serious student.

If practiced only for one hour daily, it is useful to begin a little before sunrise, in order to take advantage of the change in the electromagnetic atmosphere that then occurs, and to adapt the electromagnetic field of one's body to the potential of the day. This potential always varies from place to place and day to day.

Four hours is a better period, a golden mean; sixteen hours is too much for most people.

YAMA  1.

THE Hindus have place these two attainments in the forefront of their programme. They are the "moral qualities" and "good works" which are supposed to predispose to mental calm.

1.  "Yama" literally means "control". Cf. Part II of this BOOK FOUR on the Wand.

Yama consists of non-killing, truthfulness, non-stealing, continence, and non-receiving of any gift.

In the Buddhist system, Sila, "Virtue," is similarly enjoined. The qualities are, for the layman, these five: Thou shalt not kill. Thou shalt not steal. Thou shalt not lie. Thou shalt not commit adultery. Thou shalt drink no intoxicating drink. For the monk many others are added.

The commandments of Moses are familiar to all;

However, gentile readers should keep strictly in mind that when Moses talked about "thy neighbor" he meant another Jew. The purpose of the Commandments was merely to keep peace among Jews. The Gentiles - these were to be treated in the regular biblical form that any idiot can read in the "Old Testament"; the same form in which Zionists treated the Arabs and the English in order to reoccupy the "Promised Land", and the form in which "Israel" keeps treating the Palestines today.

they are rather similar; and so are those given by Christ  2.

2.   Not, however, original. The whole sermon is to be found in the Talmud.

Of which there are copies extant more than a century older than the pretended date of birth of "Jesus". Cf. Letter to a Brazilian Mason.

in the "Sermon on the Mount."

Some of these are only the "virtues" of a slave, invented by his master to keep him in order. The real point of the Hindu "Yama" is that breaking any of these would tend to excite the mind.

Subsequent theologians have tried to improve upon the teachings of the Masters, have given a sort of mystical importance to these virtues; they have insisted upon them for their own sake, and turned them into puritanism and formalism. Thus "non-killing," which originally meant "do not excite yourself by stalking tigers," has been interpreted to mean that it is a crime to drink water that has not been strained, lest you should kill the animalcula.

When Crowley wrote this, viruses were still unknown. Nowadays the "true Yogi" would die of thirst, since there are many viruses that cannot be filtered. As to vegetarians, who unctuously consider themselves holier than meat eaters, who told them it is holier to eat vegetable corpses than to eat animal flesh? Just because vegetals do not speak, do they not feel?...In the Universe nothing is lost, nothing is created; everything is transformed.

But this constant worry, this fear of killing anything by mischance is, on the whole, worse than a hand-to-hand conflict with a griesly bear. If the barking of a dog disturbs your meditation, it is simplest to shoot the dog, and think no more about it.

Provided, of course, the dog is masterless, or you aren't the kind of person who would feel remorseful shooting the animal. Otherwise, you had better shift your local of meditation, or have your home soundproofed!

A similar difficulty with wives has caused some masters to recommend celibacy. In all these questions common sense must be the guide. No fixed rule can be laid down. The "non-receiving of gifts," for instance, is rather important for a Hindu, who would be thoroughly upset for weeks if any one gave him a coconut: but the average European takes things as they come by the time that he has been put into long trousers.

The only difficult question is that of continence, which is complicated by many considerations, such as that of energy; but everybody's mind is hopelessly muddled on this subject, which some people confuse with erotology, and others with sociology. There will be no clear thinking on this matter until it is understood as being solely a branch of athletics.

We may then dismiss Yama and Niyama with this advice: let the student decide for himself what form of life, what moral code, will least tend to excite his mind; but once he has formulated it, let him stick to it, avoiding opportunism; and let him be very careful to take no credit for what he does or refrains from doing -- it is a purely practical code, of no value in itself.

The cleanliness which assists the surgeon in his work would prevent the engineer from doing his at all.

(Ethical questions are adequately dealt with in "Then Tao" in "Konx Om Pax," and should be there studied. Also see Liber XXX of the A∴A∴. Also in Liber CCXX, the "Book of the Law," it is said: "Do what thou shall be the whole of the Law."

Remember that for the purpose of this treatise the whole object of Yama and Niyama is to live so that no emotion or passion disturbs the mind.)

It is obvious folly to choose the reactions of some other mind than ours as parameters. For instance, "Christ" might have been the type of person who, if someone slapped his or her face, would turn the other cheek, and thus keep his or her mind serene. Another person, trying to follow this prescription, might spend days, perhaps years, in self-recriminating anger and shame. This latter person, therefore, would do better to react to the slap with a blow. His or her chances of having a serene mind a few moments later would be greater this way.
The idea that "Christ's" attitude is "better" from some super-natural point of view than the attitude of a more combative temperament is rubbish. This is the type of argument theologians put up in order to establish psychological domination - consequently, financial domination - over the devotees of some individual considered a "saint".
A person deserves admiration insofar as he or she fulfills, in his or her deeds, his or her thoughts and intentions. If "Christ" really believed in cheek-turning, he would deserve respect for turning his cheek. But the man or woman who should simply annihilate the aggressor and go on would be equally deserving of respect, provided such a deed were the fruit of his or her convictions.
This is the Thelemic point of view. And to us there is nothing mor deserving of scorn than a person who does not react out of sheer cowardice, yet hides his or her convictions under the mask of "Christian virtue". As it is written in the Book of the Law, "veil not your vices in virtuous words"! Whoever you are, "thou hast no right but to do thy will". This means your will - not someone else's!


PRATYAHARA is the first process in the mental part of our task. The previous practices, Asana, Pranayama, Yama, and Niyama, are all acts of the body, while mantra is connected with speech: Pratyahara is purely mental.

And what is Pratyahara? This word is used by different authors in different senses. The same word is employed to designate both the practice and the result. It means for our present purpose a process rather strategical than practical; it is introspection, a sort of general examination of the contents of the mind which we wish to control: Asana having been mastered, all immediate exciting causes have been removed, and we are free to think what we are thinking about.

A very similar experience to that of Asana is in store for us. At first we shall very likely flatter ourselves that our minds are pretty calm; this is a defect of observation. Just as the European standing for the first time on the edge of the desert will see nothing there, while his Arab can tell him the family history of each of the fifty persons in view, because he has learnt how to look, so with practice the thoughts will become more numerous and more insistent.

As soon as the body was accurately observed it was found to be terribly restless and painful; now that we observe the mind it is seen to be more restless and painful still. (See diagram opposite.)

A similar curve might be plotted for the real and apparent painfulness of Asana.

Conscious of this fact, we begin to try to control it: "Not quite so many thoughts, please!" "Don't think quite so fast, please!" "No more of that kind of thought, please!" It is only then that we discover that what we thought was a school of playful porpoises is really the convolutions of the sea-serpent. The attempt to repress has the effect of exciting.

When the unsuspecting pupil first approaches his holy but wily Guru, and demands magical powers, that Wise One replies that he will confer them, points out with much caution and secrecy some particular spot on the pupil's body which has never previously attracted his attention, and says: "In order to obtain this magical power which you seek, all that is necessary is to wash seven times in the Ganges during seven days, being particularly careful to avoid thinking of that one spot." Of course the unhappy youth spends a disgusted week in thinking of little else.

diagram on page 26, with a graph with following text beneath:

BD shows the Control of the Mind, improving slowly at first, afterwards more quickly. It starts from at or near zero, and should reach absolute control at D.

EF shows the Power of Observation of the contents of the mind, improving quickly at first, afterwards more slowly, up to perfection at F. It starts well above zero in the case of most educated men.

The height of the perpendiculars HI indicates the dissatisfaction of the student with his power of control. Increasing at first, it ultimately diminishes to zero.

It is positively amazing with what persistence a thought, even a whole train of thoughts, returns again and again to the charge. It becomes a positive nightmare. It is intensely annoying, too, to find that one does not become conscious that one has got on to the forbidden subject until one has gone right through with it. However, one continues day after day investigating thoughts and trying to check them; and sooner or later one proceeds to the next stage, Dharana, the attempt to restrain the mind to a single object.

Before we go on to this, however, we must consider what is meant by success in Pratyahara. This is a very extensive subject, and different authors take widely divergent views. One writer means an analysis so acute that every thought is resolved into a number of elements (see "The Psychology of Hashish," Section V, in Equinox II).

Others take the view that success in the practice is something like the experience which Sir Humphrey Davy had as a result of taking nitrous oxide, in which he exclaimed: "The universe is composed exclusively of ideas."

Others say that it gives Hamlet's feeling: "There's nothing good or bad but thinking makes it so," interpreted as literally as was done by Mrs. Eddy.

Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of that naive movement called "Christian Science".

However, the main point is to acquire some sort of inhibitory power over the thoughts. Fortunately there is an unfailing method of acquiring this power. It is given in Liber III. If Sections 1 and 2 are practised (if necessary with the assistance of another person to aid your vigilance) you will soon be able to master the final section.

In some people this inhibitory power may flower suddenly in very much the same way as occurred with Asana. Quite without any relaxation of vigilance, the mind will suddenly be stilled. There will be a marvellous feeling of peace and rest, quite different from the lethargic feeling which is produced by over-eating. It is difficult to say whether so definite a result would come to all, or even to most people. The matter is one of no very great importance. If you have acquired the power of checking the rise of thought you may proceed to the next stage.


NOW that we have learnt to observe the mind, so that we know how it works to some extent, and have begun to understand the elements of control, we may try the result of gathering together all the powers of the mind, and attempting to focus them on a single point.

We know that it is fairly easy for the ordinary educated mind to think without much distraction on a subject in which it is much interested. We have the popular phrase, "revolving a thing in the mind"; and as long as the subject is sufficiently complex, as long as thoughts pass freely, there is no great difficulty. So long as a gyroscope is in motion, it remains motionless relatively to its support, and even resists attempts to distract it; when it stops it falls from that position. If the earth ceased to spin round the sun, it would at once fall into the sun.

The moment then that the student takes a simple subject -- or rather a simple object -- and imagines it or visualizes it, he will find that it is not so much his creature as he supposed. Other thoughts will invade the mind, so that the object is altogether forgotten, perhaps for whole minutes at a time; and at other times the object itself will begin to play all sorts of tricks.

Suppose you have chosen a white cross. It will move its bar up and down, elongate the bar, turn the bar oblique, get its arms unequal, turn upside down, grow branches, get a crack around it or a figure upon it, change its shape altogether like an Amoeba, change its size and distance as a whole, change the degree of its illumination, and at the same time change its colour. It will get splotchy and blotchy, grow patterns, rise, fall, twist and turn; clouds will pass over its face. There is no conceivable change of which it is incapable. Not to mention its total disappearance, and replacement by something altogether different!

Any one to whom this experience does not occur need not imagine that he is meditating. It shows merely that he is incapable of concentrating his mind in the very smallest degree.

That is to say, his capacity of self-observation is insufficient to perceive the changes that take place even when his attention relaxes flagrantly. I have had the experience of lazy people - sometimes, also, lying people - coming to me, declaring loudly that they are meditating very well after a quarter of an hour of a first attempt - and then demanding some Grade. Usually, one above mine...

Perhaps a student may go for several days before discovering that he is not meditating. When he does, the obstinacy of the object will infuriate him; and it is only now that his real troubles will begin, only now that Will comes really into play, only now that his manhood is tested. If it were not for the Will-development which he got in the conquest of Asana, he would probably give up. As it is, the mere physical agony which he underwent is the veriest trifle compared with the horrible tedium of Dharana.

For the first week it may seem rather amusing, and you may even imagine you are progressing; but as the practice teaches you what you are doing, you will apparently get worse and worse.

Please understand that in doing this practice you are supposed to be seated in Asana,

If you chose a seated Asana, of course. There are others - one at least in Liber E itself. Socrates, for instance, spent twenty four hours on his feet meditating during one of the wars of Athens against neighboring states, as Plato recalls in his Dialogues. Nevertheless, it is a fact that if you practice Pranayama while in Asana, postures that will put no unusual strain on your thorax are the easiest, as we have already said.

and to have note-book and pencil by your side, and a watch in front of you. You are not to practise at first for more than ten minutes at a time, so as to avoid risk of overtiring the brain. In fact you will probably find that the whole of your will-power is not equal to keeping to a subject at all for so long as three minutes, or even apparently concentrating on it for so long as three seconds, or three-fifths of one second. By "keeping to it at all" is meant the mere attempt to keep to it. The mind becomes so fatigued, and the object so incredibly loathsome, that it is useless to continue for the time being. In Frater P.'s record we find that after daily practice for six months, meditations of four minutes and less are still being recorded.

That is, in a period of thirty minutes, or one hour, or more of practice, he managed to keep his mind concentrated only at intervals, one of those intervals being four minutes long. But in that stage, a concentration of four minutes is more intense than two hours, or more, of the attempt of a beginner.

The student is supposed to count the number of times that his thought wanders; this he can do on his fingers or on a string of beads.  *

*  This counting can easily become quite mechanical. With the thought that reminds you of a break associate the notion of counting.
The grosser kind of break can be detected by another person. It is accompanied with a flickering of the eyelid, and can be seen by him. With practice he could detect even very small breaks.

If these breaks seem to become more frequent instead of less frequent, the student must not be discourage; this is partially caused by his increased accuracy of observation. In exactly the same way, the introduction of vaccination resulted in an apparent increase in the number of cases of smallpox, the reason being that people began to tell the truth about the disease instead of faking.

Soon, however, the control will improve faster than the observation. When this occurs the improvement will become apparent in the record. Any variation will probably be due to accidental circumstances; for example, one night your may be very tired when you start; another night you may have headache or indigestion. You will do well to avoid practising at such times.

Beware, however, of another trick of the mind: it will incite you to abuse your health in order to have an excuse not to practice!...

We will suppose, then, that you have reached the stage when your average practice on one subject is about half an hour, and the average number of breaks between ten and twenty. One would suppose that this implied that during the periods between the breaks one was really concentrated, but this is not the case. The mind is flickering, although imperceptibly. However, there may be sufficient real steadiness even at this early stage to cause some very striking phenomena, of which the most marked is one which will possibly make you think that you have gone to sleep. Or, it may seem quite inexplicable, and in any case will disgust you with yourself. You will completely forget who you are, what you are, and what you are doing. A similar phenomenon sometimes happens when one is half awake in the morning, and one cannot think what town one is living in. The similarity of these two things is rather significant. It suggests that what is really happening is that you are waking up from the sleep which men call waking, the sleep whose dreams are life.

There is another way to test one's progress in this practice, and that is by the character of the breaks.

Breaks are classed as follows:

Firstly, physical sensations. These should have been overcome by Asana.

Secondly, breaks that seem to be dictated by events immediately preceding the meditation. Their activity becomes tremendous. Only by this practice does one understand how much is really observed by the sense without the mind becoming conscious of it.

Thirdly, there is a class of breaks partaking of the nature of reverie or "day-dreams." These are very insidious -- one may go on for a long time without realizing that one has wandered at all.

Fourthly, we get a very high class of break, which is a sort of aberration of the control itself. You think, "How well I am doing it!" or perhaps that it would be rather a good idea if you were on a desert island, or if you were in a sound-proof house, or if you were sitting by a waterfall. But these are only trifling variations from the vigilance itself.

A fifth class of breaks seems to have no discoverable source in the mind. Such may even take the form of actual hallucination, usually auditory. Of course, such hallucinations are infrequent, and are recognized for what they are; otherwise the student had better see his doctor. The usual kind consists of odd sentences or fragments of sentences, which are heard quite distinctly in a recognizable human voice, not the student's own voice, or that of any one he knows. A similar phenomenon is observed by wireless operators, who call such messages "atmospherics."

As far as we were able to ascertain from our own experience, the phenomenon is one of random telepathy. But since it is not what we want - we want to concentrate ourselves - (and even if we were interested in telephathy, randomness surely would not be desirable!) it is just another annoying break. Eventually this stage also passes.

There is a further kind of break, which is the desired result itself. It must be dealt with later in detail.

Now there is a real sequence in these classes of breaks. As control improves, the percentage of primaries and secondaries will diminish, even though the total number of breaks in a meditation remain stationary. By the time that you are meditating two or three hours a day, and filing up most of the rest of the day with other practices designed to assist, when nearly every time something or other happens, and there is constantly a feeling of being "on the brink of something pretty big," one may expect to proceed to the next state -- Dhyana.


THIS word has two quite distinct and mutually exclusive meanings. The first refers to the result itself. Dhyana is the same word as the Pali "Jhana." The Buddha counted eight Jhanas, which are evidently different degrees and kinds of trance. The Hindu also speaks of Dhyana as a lesser form of Samadhi. Others, however, treat it as if it were merely an intensification of Dharana. Patanjali says: "Dhrana is holding the mind on to some particular object. An unbroken flow of knowledge in that subject is Dhyana. When that, giving up all forms, reflects only the meaning, it is Samadhi." He combines these three into Samyama.

We shall treat of Dhyana as a result rather than as a method. Up to this point ancient authorities have been fairly reliable guides, except with regard to their crabbed ethics; but when they get on the subject of results of meditation, they completely lose their heads.

They exhaust the possibilities of poetry to declare what is demonstrably untrue. For example, we find in the Shiva Sanhita that "he who daily contemplates on this lotus of the heart is eagerly desired by the daughters of Gods, has clairaudience, clairvoyance, and can walk in the air." Another person "can make gold, discover medicine for disease, and see hidden treasures." All this is filth. What is the curse upon religion that its tenets must always be associated with every kind of extravagance and falsehood?

The main reason seems to be that the experience is still very rare, and generally is obtained without the benefit of systems or comparison with analogous experiences. The A∴A∴ was founded precisely to apply the method of science to the study of religion.

There is one exception; it is the A∴A∴, whose members are extremely careful to make no statement at all that cannot be verified in the usual manner; or where this is not easy, at least avoid anything like a dogmatic statement. In Their second book of practical instruction, Liber O, occur these words:

"By doing certain things certain results will follow. Students are most earnestly warned against attributing objective reality or philosophical validity to any of them."

Those golden words!

In discussing Dhyana, then, let it be clearly understood that something unexpected is about to be described.

We shall consider its nature and estimate its value in a perfectly unbiassed way, without allowing ourselves the usual rhapsodies, or deducing any theory of the universe. One extra fact may destroy some existing theory; that is common enough. But no single fact is sufficient to construct one.

It will have been understood that Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi form a continuous process, and exactly when the climax comes does not matter. It is of this climax that we must speak, for this is a matter of experience, and a very striking one.

In the course of our concentration we noticed that the contents of the mind at any moment consisted of two things, and no more: the Object, variable, and the Subject, invariable, or apparently so. By success in Dharana the object has been made as invariable as the subject.

Now the result of this is that the two become one. This phenomenon usually comes as a tremendous shock. It is indescribable even by the masters of language; and it is therefore not surprising that semi-educated stutterers wallow in oceans of gush.

All the poetic faculties and all the emotional faculties are thrown into a sort of ecstasy by an occurrence which overthrows the mind, and makes the rest of life seem absolutely worthless in comparison.

Good literature is principally a matter of clear observation and good judgment expressed in the simplest way. For this reason none of the great events of history (such as earthquakes and battles) have been well described by eye-witnesses, unless those eye-witnesses were out of danger. But even when one has become accustomed to Dhyana by constant repetition, no words seem adequate.

One of the simplest forms of Dhyana may be called "the Sun." The sun is seen (as it were) by itself, not by an observer; and although the physical eye cannot behold the sun, one is compelled to make the statement that this "Sun" is far more brilliant than the sun of nature. The whole thing takes place on a higher level.

Also the conditions of thought, time, and space are abolished. It is impossible to explain what this really means: only experience can furnish you with apprehension.

(This, too, has its analogies in ordinary life; the conceptions of higher mathematics cannot be grasped by the beginner, cannot be explained to the layman.)

A further development is the appearance of the Form which has been universally described as human; although the persons describing it proceed to add a great number of details which are not human at all. This particular appearance is usually assumed to be "God."

This apparition is a projection in the mind of the microcosm of cells that compose the seer - that is to say, it is an Image of himself or herself. Sometimes it is modified by telepathic contact of the seer with the thoughts or conceptions of another person. In any case, it is dangerous to allow oneself to be obsessed by this mental projection, for it then becomes identical to the Father Image (or Mother Image!) of the psychoanalysts. The psychic umbilical cord is strengtened, instead of being destroyed. The individual becomes more enslaved, instead of becoming freer. Mystics who allow themselves to be obsessed by this experience often become extremely dangerous, for their impact over their fellowbeings is always mixed with intolerance and dogmatism, that is to say, with moral infantilism.

But, whatever it may be, the result on the mind of the student is tremendous; all his thoughts are pushed to their greatest development. He sincerely believes that they have the divine sanction; perhaps he even supposes that they emanate from this "God." He goes back into the world armed with this intense conviction and authority. He proclaims his ideas without the restraint which is imposed upon most persons by doubt, modesty, and diffidence;  *

*  This lack of restraint is not to be confused with that observed in intoxication and madness. Yet there is a very striking similarity, though only a superficial one.

while further there is, one may suppose, a real clarification.

In any case, the mass of mankind is always ready to be swayed by anything thus authoritative and distinct. History is full of stories of officers who have walked unarmed up to a mutinous regiment, and disarmed them by the mere force of confidence. The power of the orator over the mob is well known. It is, probably, for this reason that the prophet has been able to constrain mankind to obey his law. I never occurs to him that any one can do otherwise. In practical life one can walk past any guardian, such as a sentry or ticket-collector, if one can really act so that the man is somehow persuaded that you have a right to pass unchallenged.

This power, by the way, is what has been described by magicians as the power of invisibility. Somebody or other has an excellent story of four quite reliable men who were on the look-out for a murderer, and had instructions to let no one pass, and who all swore subsequently in presence of the dead body that no one had passed. None of them had seen the postman.

The thieves who stole the "Gioconda" from the Louvre were probably disguised as workmen, and stole the picture under the very eye of the guardian; very likely got him to help them.

It is only necessary to believe that a thing must be to bring it about. This belief must not be an emotional or an intellectual one. It resides in a deeper portion of the mind, yet a portion not so deep but that most men, probably all successful men, will understand these words, having experience of their own with which they can compare it.

The most important factor in Dhyana is, however, the annihilation of the Ego.

This annihilation, however, should not be confused with that genuine annihilation which occurs in the higher forms of Samadhi. For instance, the seer who "abolishes" his or her Ego and identifies himself or herself with the Father Image (or Mother Image) merely transfers his or her selfishness to a stronger bulwark, and becomes more dangerous, not less, as a result.

Our conception of the universe must be completely overturned if we are to admit this as valid;

Because for the average person the Universe is merely a reflexion of his or her Ego. The average person is unaware of his or her naive egocentricity only because her or she has never taken the trouble to investigate his or her mind.

and it is time that we considered what is really happening.

It will be conceded that we have given a very rational explanation of the greatness of great men. They had an experience so overwhelming, so out of proportion to the rest of things, that they were freed from all the petty hindrances which prevent the normal man from carrying out his projects.

Worrying about clothes, food, money, what people may think, how and why, and above all the fear of consequences, clog nearly every one. Nothing is easier, theoretically, than for an anarchist to kill a king. He has only to buy a rifle, make himself a first-class shot, and shoot the king from a quarter of a mile away. And yet, although there are plenty of anarchists, outrages are very few. At the same time, the police would probably be the first to admit that if any man were really tired of life, in his deepest being, a state very different from that in which a man goes about saying he is tired of life, he could manage somehow or other to kill someone first.

Please notice that this paragraph was written fifty years ago!

Now the man who has experienced any of the more intense forms of Dhyana is thus liberated. The Universe is thus destroyed for him, and he for it. His will can therefore go on its way unhampered. One may imagine that in the case of Mohammed he had cherished for years a tremendous ambition, and never done anything because those qualities which were subsequently manifested as statesmanship warned him that he was impotent. His vision in the cave gave him that confidence which was required, the faith that moves mountains. There are a lot of solid-seeming things in this world which a child could push over; but not one has the courage to push.

Let us accept provisionally this explanation of greatness, and pass it by. Ambition has led us to this point; but we are now interested in the work for its own sake.

If love of wisdom is more important to us than worldly ambition!

A most astounding phenomenon has happened to us; we have had an experience which makes Love, fame, rank, ambition, wealth, look like thirty cents; and we begin to wonder passionately, "What is truth?" The Universe has tumbled about our ears like a house of cards, and we have tumbled too. Yet this ruin is like the opening of the Gates of Heaven! Here is a tremendous problem, and there is something within us which ravins for its solution.

Let us see what what explanation we can find.

The first suggestion which would enter a well-balanced mind, versed in the study of nature, is that we have experienced a mental catastrophe. Just as a blow on the head will made a man "see stars," so one might suppose that the terrific mental strain of Dharana has somehow over-excited the brain, and caused a spasm, or possibly even the breaking of a small vessel. There seems no reason to reject this explanation altogether, though it would be quite absurd to suppose that to accept it would be to condemn the practice. Spasm is a normal function of at least one of the organs of the body. That the brain is not damaged by the practice is proved by the fact that many people who claim to have had this experience repeatedly continue to exercise the ordinary avocations of life without diminished activity.

We may dismiss, then the physiological question. It throws no light on the main problem, which is the value of the testimony of the experience.

Now this is a very difficult question, and raises the much larger question as to the value of any testimony. Every possible thought has been doubted at some time or another, except the thought which can only be expressed by a note of interrogation, since to doubt that thought asserts it. (For a full discussion see "The Soldier and the Hunchback," "Equinox," I.) But apart from this deep-seated philosophic doubt there is the practical doubt of every day. The popular phrase, "to doubt the evidence of one's senses," shows us that that evidence is normally accepted; but a man of science does nothing of the sort. He is so well aware that his senses constantly deceive him, that he invents elaborate instruments to correct them. And he is further aware that the Universe which he can directly perceive through sense, is the minutest fraction of the Universe which he knows indirectly.

For example, four-fifths of the air is composed of nitrogen. If anyone were to bring a bottle of nitrogen into this room it would be exceedingly difficult to say what it was; nearly all the tests that one could apply to it would be negative. His senses tell him little or nothing.

Argon was only discovered at all by comparing the weight of chemically pure nitrogen with that of the nitrogen of the air. This had often been done, but no one had sufficiently fine instruments even to perceive the discrepancy. To take another example, a famous man of science asserted not so long ago that science could never discover the chemical composition of the fixed stars. Yet this has been done, and with certainty.

If you were to ask your man of science for his "theory of the real," he would tell you that the "ether," which cannot be perceived in any way by any of the senses, or detected by any instruments, and which possesses qualities which are, to use ordinary language, impossible, is very much more real than the chair he is sitting on.

Since the time when Crowley dictated the above the theory of the "ether" fell into discredit in favor of the wave theory and the theory of the quanta. Ironically enough, scientists now begin to accept again something quite like the idea of the "ether" in order to unify the two theories of waves and quanta.

The chair is only one fact; and its existence is testified by one very fallible person. The ether is the necessary deduction from millions of facts, which have been verified again and again and checked by every possible test of truth. There is therefore no "a priori" reason for rejecting anything on the ground that it is not directly perceived by the senses.

To turn to another point. One of our tests of truth is the vividness of the impression. An isolated event in the past of no great importance may be forgotten; and if it be in some way recalled, one may find one's self asking: "Did I dream it? or did it really happen?" What can never be forgotten is the catastrophic. The first death among the people that one loves (for example) would never be forgotten; for the first time one would realize what one had previously merely known. Such an experience sometimes drives people insane. Men of science have been known to commit suicide when their pet theory has been shattered. This problem has been discussed freely in "Science and Buddhism," "Time,"* "The Camel," and other papers. This much only need we say in this place that Dhyana has to be classed as the most vivid and catastrophic of all experiences.

That is to say, up to now. Samadhi is even more impressive. But when the mind experiences Samadhi it is already strengthened by the previous training. It is possible that the average mind would be disintegrated if by chance it experienced the equivalent of Samadhi. Perhaps many incurable madmen and madwomen have become so through the unhappy random occurence of such an experience, and cannot be treated because psychiatrists do not understand what happened to them.

This will be confirmed by any one who has been there.

*  See Crowley, "Collected Works."

It is, then, difficult to overrate the value that such an experience has for the individual, especially as it is his entire conception of things, including his most deep-seated conception, the standard to which he has always referred everything, his own self, that is overthrown; and when we try to explain it away as hallucination, temporary suspension of the faculties or something similar, we find ourselves unable to do so. You cannot argue with a flash of lightning that has knocked you down.

Any mere theory is easy to upset. One can find flaws in the reasoning process, one can assume that the premises are in some way false; but in this case, if one attacks the evidence for Dhyana, the mind is staggered by the fact that all other experience, attacked on the same lines, will fall much more easily.

In whatever way we examine it the result will always be the same. Dhyana may be false; but, if so, so is everything else.

Now the mind refuses to rest in a belief of the unreality of its own experiences. It may not be what is seems; but it must be something, and if (on the whole) ordinary life is something, how much more must that be by whose light ordinary life seems nothing!

The ordinary man sees the falsity and disconnectedness and purposelessness of dreams; he ascribes them (rightly) to a disordered mind. The philosopher looks upon waking life with similar contempt; and the person who has experienced Dhyana takes the same view, but not by mere pale intellectual conviction. Reasons, however cogent, never convince utterly; but this man in Dhyana has the same commonplace certainty that a man has on waking from a nightmare. "I wasn't falling down a thousand flights of stairs, it was only a bad dream."

Similarly comes the reflection of the man who has had experience of Dhyana: "I am not that wretched insect, that imperceptible parasite of earth; it was only a bad dream." And as you could not convince the normal man that his nightmare was more real than his awakening, so you cannot convince the other that his Dhyana was hallucination, even though he is only too well aware that he has fallen from that state into "normal" life.

It is probably rare for a single experience to upset thus radically the whole conception of the Universe, just as sometimes, in the first moments of waking, there remains a half-doubt as to whether dream or waking is real. But as one gains further experience, when Dhyana is no longer a shock, when the student has had plenty of time to make himself at home in the new world, this conviction will become absolute.  *

*  It should be remembered that at present there are no data for determining the duration of Dhyana. One can only say that, since it certainly occured between such and such hours, it must have lasted less than that time. Thus we see, from Frater P.'s record, that it can certianly occur in less than an hour and five minutes.

Another rationalist consideration is this. The student has not been trying to excite the mind but to calm it, not to produce any one thought but to exclude all thoughts; for there is no connection between the object of meditation and the Dhyana. Why must we suppose a breaking down of the whole process, especially as the mind bears no subsequent traces of any interference, such as pain or fatigue? Surely this once, if never again, the Hindu image expresses the simplest theory!

That image is that of a lake into which five glaciers move. These glaciers are the senses. While ice (the impressions) is breaking off constantly into the lake, the waters are troubled. If the glaciers are stopped the surface becomes calm; and then, and only then, can it reflect unbroken the disk of the sum. This sun is the "soul" or "God."

We should, however, avoid these terms for the present, on account of their implications. Let us rather speak of this sun as "some unknown thing whose presence has been masked by all things known, and by the knower."

It is probable, too, that our memory of Dhyana is not of the phenomenon itself, but of the image left thereby on the mind. But this is true of all phenomena, as Berkeley and Kant have proved beyond all question. This matter, then, need not concern us.

We may, however, provisionally accept the view that Dhyana is real; more real and thus of more importance to ourselves than all other experience. This state has been described not only by the Hindus and Buddhists, but by Mohammedans and Christians. In Christian writings, however, the deeply-seated dogmatic bias has rendered their documents worthless to the average man. They ignore the essential conditions of Dhyana, and insist on the inessential, to a much greater extent than the best Indian writers. But to any one with experience and some knowledge of comparative religion the identity is certain. We may now proceed to Samadhi.


MORE rubbish has been written about Samadhi than enough; we must endeavour to avoid adding to the heap. Even Patanjali, who is extraordinarily clear and practical in most things, begins to rave when he talks of it.

Crowley here means the Siddhas, or "magickal powers", that Patanjali describes and declares are obtained through Samyama: the combination of Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi.

Even if what he said were true he should not have mentioned it; because it does not sound true, and we should make no statement that is à priori improbable without being prepared to back it up with the fullest proofs. But it is more than likely that his commentators have misunderstood him.

The most reasonable statement, of any acknowledged authority, is that of Vajna Valkya, who says: "By Pranayama impurities of the body are thrown out; by Dharana the impurities of the mind; by Pratyahara the impurities of attachment; and by Samadhi is taken off everything that hides the lordship of the soul." There is a modest statement in good literary form. If we can only do as well as that!

In the first place, what is the meaning of the term? Etymologically, "Sam" is the Greek συν - the English prefix "syn-" meaning "together with." Adhi means "Lord," and a reasonable translation of the whole word would be "Union with God," the exact term used by Christian mystics to describe their attainment.

Now there is great confusion, because the Buddhists use the word Samadhi to mean something entirely different, the mere faculty of attention. Thus, with them, to think of a cat is to "make Samadhi" on that cat. They use the word Jhana to describe mystic states. This is excessively misleading, for as we saw in the last section, Dhyana is a preliminary of Samadhi, and of course Jhana is merely the wretched plebeian Pali corruption of it.  1.

1.   The vulgarism and provincialism of the Buddhist canon is infinitely repulsive to all nice minds; and the attempt to use the terms of an ego-centric philosophy to explain the details of a psychology whose principal doctrine is the denial of the ego, was the work of a mischievous idiot.

Here Crowley is referring to the fact that the majority of Buddhist texts written in Pali use the words of Sanskrit, and in an adulterated sense to boot. Sanskrit philosophy hinges on the nature of Atman, a theoretically eternal and immutable Being. But the Buddha denied the existence of Atman - the central word of his philosophy was Anatta, that is, Inexistence. Trying to interpret the Buddha, Buddhists created a canon full of concepts totally at variance with the philosophy of that great man. The result was the rise of a dogmatic religion making of the Buddha a "savior". Parallels in Daoism and Christism will occur instantly to any intelligent student. The Greek word anathema is etymologically connectable with the word of the Buddha, Anatta, and it is interesting to see it used by the Roman Catholic Church to curse persons who reject the cruelties and absurbities of that con-game.

Let us unhesitatingly reject these abominations, these nastinesses of the beggars dressed in rags that they have snatched from corpses, and follow the etymological signification of the word as given above!

There are many kinds of Samadhi.  2.

2.  Apparently. That is, the obvious results are different. Possibly the cause is only one, refracted through diverse media.

This extremely important point will only be ascertained when a great number of investigators follow the path of Mysticism employing the Method of Science.

"Some authors consider Atmadarshana, the Universe as a single phenomenon without conditions, to be the first real Samadhi." If we accept this, we must relegate many less exalted states to the class of Dhyana. Patanjali enumerates a number of these states: to perform these on different things gives different magical powers; or so he says. These need not be debated here. Any one who wants magic powers can get them in dozens of different ways.

Power grows faster than desire. The boy who wants money to buy lead soldiers sets to work to obtain it, and by the time he has got it wants something else instead -- in all probability something just beyond his means.

Such is the splendid history of all spiritual advance! One never stops to take the reward.

That is, Crowley never stopped, and neither did a few other great men and women. But the great majority of this minority of seekers become content with the first toy and spend the remainder of their lifetime playing with it. There is no law beyond Do what thou wilt.

We shall therefore not trouble at all about what any Samadhi may or may not bring as far as its results in our lives are concerned. We began this book, it will be remembered, with considerations of death. Death has now lost all meaning. The idea of death depends on those of the ego, and of time; these ideas have been destroyed; and so "Death is swallowed up in victory."

Not so fast! The idea of death is abolished in Samadhi; this does not mean that the body indwelt by the mind in which the idea of death is abolished will not die - and perhaps the mind along with it. It would be interesting to establish scientifically whether some field, or point, of consiousness survives material change. This question, no matter what spiritualists, resurrectionists and reincarnationists may opine, remains wide open. But in view of the vast improvement in mere material consciousness still to be done, does its answer demand urgent priority? If death be not the end, we cannot lose immortality; if death be the end, had we not better improve what we know we have, rather than fret over the inevitable? Should the journey be short, wise to improve its qualities of joy and beauty! Should the journey be long, or even eternal, still what can we lose in increasing its beauty and joy? This is the point of view of the scientist.

We shall now only be interested in what Samadhi is in itself, and in the conditions which cause it.

Let us try a final definition. Dhyana resembles Samadhi in many respects. There is a union of the ego and the non-ego, and a loss of the senses of time and space and causality. Duality in any form is abolished. The idea of time involves that of two consecutive things, that of space two non-coincident things, that of causality two connected things.

These Dhyanic conditions contradict those of normal thought; but in Samadhi they are very much more marked than in Dhyana. And while in the latter it seems like a simple union of two things, in the former it appears as if all things rushed together and united.

Crowley is here describing Atmadarshana, that first higher stage of Samadhi he mentioned before. There is a posterior state, Shivadarshana (which he mentions further on), in which all things are annilhilated. It is very likely that Shivadarshana is the same experience the Buddha described as Nirvana, and which led him to make of the word Anatta the axis of his doctrine.

One might say that in Dhyana there was still this quality latent, that the One existing was opposed to the Many non-existing; in Samadhi the Many and the One are united in a union of Existence with non-Existence. This definition is not made from reflection, but from memory.

Further, it is easy to master the "trick" or "knack" of Dhyana. After a while one can get into that state without preliminary practice; and, looking at it from this point, one seems able to reconcile the two meanings of the word which we debated in the last section. From below Dhyana seems like a trance, an experience so tremendous that one cannot think of anything bigger, while from above it seems merely a state of mind as natural as any other. Frater P., before he had Samadhi, wrote of Dhyana: "Perhaps as a result of the intense control a nervous storm breaks: this we call Dhyana. Samadhi is but an expansion of this, so far as I can see."

Five years later he would not take this view.

That is, after reaching Samadhi several times.

He would say perhaps that Dhyana was "a flowing of the mind in one unbroken current from the ego to the non-ego without consciousness of either, accompanied by a crescent wonder and bliss." He can understand how that is the natural result of Dhyana, but he cannot call Dhyana in the same way the precursor of Samadhi. Perhaps he does not really know the conditions which induce Samadhi. He can produce Dhyana at will in the course of a few minutes' work; and it often happens with apparent spontaneity: with Samadhi this is unfortunately not the case. He probably can get it at will, but could not say exactly how, or tell how long it might take him; and he could not be sure of getting it at all.

One feels sure that one can walk a mile along a level road. One knows the conditions, and it would have to be a very extraordinary set of circumstances that would stop one. But though it would be equally fair to say: "I have climbed the Matterhorn and I know I can climb it again," yet there are all sorts of more or less probable circumstances any one of which would prevent success.

Now we do know this, that if thought is kept single and steady, Dhyana results. We do not know whether an intensification of this is sufficient to cause Samadhi, or whether some other circumstances are required.

One of the necessary additional conditions is to will to obtain Samadhi. This is not as simple as it may seem. Dhyana glorifies the Ego; Samadhi destroys it. Many people avoid obtaining Samadhi while pretending (to themselves as to others) they they seek it passionately. Doubtlessly there are other conditions, not necessarily subjective ones. Only the systematic experience of a great number of researchers will clarify the present "state of the science".

One is science, the other empiricism.

One author says (unless memory deceives) that twelve seconds' steadiness is Dharana, a hundred and forty-four Dhyana, and seventeen hundred and twenty-eight Samadhi. And Vivekananda, commenting on Patanjali, makes Dhyana a mere prolongation of Dharana; but says further: "Suppose I were meditating on a book, and I gradually succeeded in concentrating the mind on it , and perceiving only the internal sensation, the meaning unexpressed in any form, that state of Dhyana is called Samadhi."

Other authors are inclined to suggest that Samadhi results from meditating on subjects that are in themselves worthy. For example, Vivekananda says: "Think of any holy subject:" and explains this as follows: "This does not mean any wicked subject."(!)

Frater P. would not like to say definitely whether he ever got Dhyana from common objects. He gave up the practice after a few months, and meditated on the Cakkras, etc. Also his Dhyana became so common that he gave up recording it. But if he wished to do it this minute he would choose something to excite his "godly fear," or "holy awe," or "wonderment."  *

*  It is rather a breach of the scepticism which is the basis of our system to admit that anything can be in any way better than another. Do it thus: "A., is a thing that B. thinks 'holy.' It is natural therefore for B. to meditate on it." Get rid of the ego, observe all your actions as if they were another's, and you will avoid ninety-nine percent. of the troubles that await you.

There is no apparent reason why Dhyana should not occur when thinking of any common object of the sea-shore, such as a blue pig; but Frater P.'s constant reference to this as the usual object of his meditation need not be taken au pied de la lettre. His records of meditation contain no reference to this remarkable animal.

It will be a good thing when organized research has determined the conditions of Samadhi; but in the meantime there seems no particular objection to our following tradition, and using the same objects of meditation as our predecessors, with the single exception which we shall note in due course.

The first class of objects for serious meditation (as opposed to preliminary practice, in which one should keep to simple recognizable objects, whose definiteness is easy to maintain) is various parts of the body. The Hindus have an elaborate system of anatomy and physiology which has apparently no reference to the facts of the dissecting-room. Prominent in this class are the seven Cakkras, which will be described in Part II. There are also various "nerves", equally mythical.

The second class is objects of devotion, such as the idea or form of the Deity, or the heart or body of your Teacher, or of some man whom you respect profoundly. This practice is not to be commended, because it implies a bias of the mind.

You can also meditate on your dreams. This sounds superstitious; but the idea is that you have already a tendency, independent of your conscious will, to think of those things, which will consequently be easier to think of than others. That this is the explanation is evident from the nature of the preceding and subsequent classes.

You can also meditate on "anything that especially appeals to you."

Here, however, again there is danger of strengthening bias instead of getting rid of it.

But in all this one feels inclined to suggest that it will be better and more convincing if the meditation is directed to an object which in itself is apparently unimportant. One does not want the mind to be excited in any way, even by adoration. See the three meditative methods in Liber HHH (Equinox VI.).  1.

It was never issued. It will be issued in the next Period of Speech of the A∴A∴, starting on April 8 Noon, Cairo, Egypt, 1986 e.v.

1.  These are the complements of the three methods of Enthusiasm (A∴A∴ instruction not yet issued up to March 1912 e.v..)

At the same time, one would not like to deny positively that it is very much easier to take some idea towards which the mind would naturally flow.

The easiest way not always is the best. In the present case, we, also, would advise practitioners to choose subjects that do not specially awaken their interest or their enthusiasm. Samadhi does not transmute the mind except taking as point of departure that state in which the mind is in the moment when you obtain Samadhi. To fortify our strong points is easy; in proportion, our weak points become even weaker. Fortifying our weak points perhaps we would profit more from concentration in our strong points when eventually we started concentrating on those.

The Hindus assert that the nature of the object determines the Samadhi; that is, the nature of those lower Samadhis which confer so-called "magic powers." For example, there are the Yogapravritti. Meditating on the tip of the nose, one obtains what may be called the "ideal smell"; that is, a smell which is not any particular smell, but is the archetypal smell, of which all actual smells are modifications. It is "the smell which is not a smell." This is the only reasonable description; for the experience being contrary to reason, it is only reasonable that the words describing it should be contrary to reason too.  2.

2.  Hence the Athanasian Creed. Compare the precise parallel in the Zohar: "The Head which is above all heads; the Head which is not a Head.'

The "Athanasian Creed" was the basis of the infamous Nicene Creed (Cf. Letter to a Brazilian Mason). Athanasius defended the doctrine, apparently illogical, that the three persons of the Christian Trinity were equally archetypical, that is to say, eternal, immutable, and of the same essence - in short, simultaneously "identical and diverse". The entire tragedy of Christism began with the fact that this purely mystical perception was enforced as dogma.

Similarly, concentration on the tip of the tongue gives the "ideal taste"; on the dorsum of the tongue, "ideal contact." "Every atom of the body comes into contact with every atom in the Universe all at once," is the description Bhikku Ananda Metteya gives of it. The root of the tongue gives the "ideal sound"; and the pharynx the "ideal sight."  1.

1.  Similarly Patanjali tells us that by making Samyama on the strength of an elephant or a tiger, the student acquires that strength. Conquer "the nerve Udana," and you can walk on the water; "Samana," and you begin to flash with light; the "elements" fire, air, earth, and water, and you can do whatever in natural life they prevent you from doing. For instance, by conquering earth, one could take a short cut to Australia; or by conquering water, one can live at the bottom of the Ganges. They say there is a holy man at Benares who does this, coming up only once a year to comfort and instruct his disciples. But nobody need believe this unless he wants to; and you are even advised to conquer that desire should it arise. It will be interesting when science really determines the variables and constants of these equations.

The Samadhi par excellence, however, is Atmadarshana, which for some, and those not the least instructed, is the first real Samadhi; for even the visions of "God" and of the "Self" are tainted by form.

That is, by Rupa. Such visions may lead to fanaticism and religious persecution. Cf. the flagrant example of Christism.

In Atmadarshana the All is manifested as the One: it is the Universe freed from its conditions. Not only are all forms and ideas destroyed, but also those conceptions which are implicit in our ideas of those ideas.  2.

2.  This is so complete that not only "Black is White," but "The Whiteness of Black is the essential of its Blackness." "Naught = One = Infinity"; but this is only true because of this threefold arrangement, a trinity or "triangle of contradictories."

Compare with the controversies around the Christist concept of the "Trinity". Religious persecutions are always due to the fact that people incapable of genuine mystical insights but politically and financially attached to some dogma try to interpret experiences that transcend "normal" mind-states in terms of their wordly convenience. This limits the very current of enthusiasm that inspired that particular religious movement, thus diminishing, and even neutralizing, the contact of the devotees with the Instructor whose experience gave impulse to the current. This problem will only decrease in frequency and seriousness as more and more human beings research those still poorly-known functions of thier own minds.

Each part of the Universe has become the whole, and phenomena and noumena are no longer opposed.

But it is quite impossible to describe this state of mind. One can only specify some of the characteristics, and that in language which forms no image in mind.

To attempt more in this present stage of the evolution of humankind is frustrating. Also, it may be socially pernicious. The Athanasian Creed, for instance, after describing in language as adequate as possible the experience of Atmadarshana when speaking of the "Trinity", proceeds to deduct the silliest "logical" consequences from an experience that totally transcends logic. Theurgy is debased to dogma, and rupa-attachment breeds intolerance, cruelty, the complex of inferiority and then, naturally, the complex of guilt.
But it is more than probable that Athanasius did not experience Atmadarshana, and merely plagiarized the description of some genuine mystic, perhaps even a member of his own congregation; this is as common in Christism as in other forms of dog-eat-doggism.

It is impossible for anyone who experiences it to bring back any adequate memory, nor can we conceive a state transcending this.

There is, however, a very much higher state called Shivadarshana, of which it is only necessary to say that it is the destruction of the previous state, its annihilation ; and to understand this blotting-out, one must not imagine "Nothingness" (the only name for it) as negative, but as positive.

A mind that struggles to obtain mystical experiences often has intuitions or premonitions of such Samadhi before actually experiencing them. The foreshadowing of Shivadarshana in minds too attached to the Ego produces the belief in "Absolute Evil".

The normal mind is a candle in a darkened room. Throw open the shutters, and the sunlight makes the flame invisible. That is a fair image of Dhyana.  *

*  Here the dictation was interrupted by very prolonged thought due to the difficulty of making the image clear. Virakam.

But the mind refuses to find a simile for Atmadarshana. It seems merely ineffective to say that the rushing together of all the host of heaven would similarly blot out the sunlight. But if we do say so, and wish to form a further image of Shivadarshana, we must imagine ourselves as suddenly recognizing that this universal blaze is darkness; not a light extremely dim compared with some other light, but darkness itself. It is not the change from the minute to the vast, or even from the finite to the infinite. It is the recognition that the positive is merely the negative. The ultimate truth is perceived not only as false, but as the logical contradictory of truth. It is quite useless to elaborate this theme, which has baffled all other minds hitherto. We have tried to say as little as possible rather than as much as possible..  *

*  Yet all this has come of our desire to be as modest as Yajna Valkya!

Still further from our present purpose would it be to criticise the innumerable discussions which have taken place as to whether this is the ultimate attainment, or what it confers. It is enough if we say that even the first and most transitory Dhyana repays a thousandfold the pains we may have taken to attain it.

And there is this anchor for the beginner, that his work is cumulative: every act directed towards attainment builds up a destiny which must some day come to fruition. May all attain!



What is genius, and how is it produced?


Let us take several specimens of the species, and try to find some one thing common to all which is not found in other species.


Is there any such thing?


Yes: all geniuses have the habit of concentration of thought, and usually need long periods of solitude to acquire this habit. In particular the greatest religious geniuses have all retired from the world at one time or another in their lives, and begun to preach immediately on their return.


Of what advantage is such a retirement? One would expect that a man who so acted would find himself on his return out of touch with his civilization, and in every way less capable than when he left.


But each claims, though in different language, to have gained in his absence some superhuman power.


Do you believe this?


It becomes us ill to reject the assertions of those who are admittedly the greatest of mankind until we can refute them by proof, or at least explain how they may have been mistaken. In this case each teacher left instructions for us to follow. The only scientific method is for us to repeat their experiments, and so confirm or disprove their results.


But their instructions differ widely!


Only in so far as each was bound by conditions of time, race, climate and language. There is essential identity in the method.

Q. Indeed!


It was the great work of the life of Frater Perdurabo to prove this. Studying each religious practice of each great religion on the spot, he was able to show the Identity-in-diversity of all, and to formulate a method free from all dogmatic bias, and based only on the ascertained facts of anatomy, physiology, and psychology.


Can you give me a brief abstract of this method?


The main idea is that the Infinite, the Absolute, God, the Over-soul, or whatever you may prefer to call it, is always present; but veiled or masked by the thoughts of the mind, just as one cannot hear a heart-beat in a noisy city.




Then to obtain knowledge of That, it is only necessary to still all thoughts.


But in sleep thought is stilled?


True, perhaps, roughly speaking; but the perceiving function is stilled also.


Then you wish to obtain a perfect vigilance and attention of the mind, uninterrupted by the rise of thoughts?




And how do you proceed?


Firstly, we still the body by the practice called Asana, and secure its ease and the regularity of its functions by Pranayama. Thus no messages from the body will disturb the mind.

Secondly, by Yama and Niyama, we still the emotions and passions, and thus prevent them arising to disturb the mind.

Thirdly, by Pratyahara we analyse the mind yet more deeply, and begin to control and suppress thought in general of whatever nature.

Fourthly, we suppress all other thoughts by a direct concentration upon a single thought. This process, which leads to the highest results, consists of three parts, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi, grouped under the single term Samyama.


How can I obtain further knowledge and experience of this?


The A∴A∴ is an organization whose heads have obtained by personal experience to the summit of this science. They have founded a system by which every one can equally attain, and that with an ease and speed which was previously impossible.

The first grade in Their system is that of


A Student must possess the following books:

The Equinox, all volumes to the present.
Konx Om Pax.
Collected Works of A. Crowley; Tannhauser, The Sword of Song, Time, Eleusis. 3 vols.
Raja Yoga, by Swami Vivekananda.

(Still the most intelligent and least biased general work on the subject.)

The Shiva Sanhita, or the Hathayoga Pradipika.
The Tao Teh King and the writings of Kwang Tze: S.B.E. xxxix, xl.
The Spiritual Guide, by Miguel de Molinos.
Rituel et Dogme de la Haute Magie, by Eliphas Levi, or its translation by A. E. Waite.

(Unfortunately there is no decent English translation extant of this work. the Waite version is a scandal of nonsense and malapropism, and was rightly denounced by Crowley fifty years ago. Naturally, it has enjoyed several successive printings. The O.T.O. is now preparing a new translation annotated by Marcelo Motta. Until this is available, however, students are advised to read the work in the original French.)

History of Western Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell.

(This excellent work of Lord Russell's may usefully replace Erdman's, which has now become rare, costly and dated.)

The Goetia of the Lemegeton of Solomon the King.

These books should be well studied in any case in conjunction with the second part -- Magick -- of this Book IV.

Study of these books will give a thorough grounding in the intellectual side of Their system.

After three months the Student is examined in these books, and if his knowledge of them is found satisfactory, he may become a Probationer, receiving Liber LXI and the secret holy book, Liber LXV. The principal point of this grade is that the Probationer has a master appointed, whose experience can guide him in his work.

He may select any practices that he prefers, but in any case must keep an exact record, so that he may discover the relation of cause and effect in his working, and so that the A∴A∴ may judge of his progress, and direct his further studies.

After a year of probation he may be admitted a Neophyte of the A∴A∴, and receive the secret holy book Liber VII.

These are the principal instructions for practice which every probationer should follow out:


Any person of any sex, race, religion, social status or political persuasion may become an A∴A∴ candidate. However, the Order is now in its Period of Silence, and will only start accepting Probationers again at Noon (Cairo astronomical time, Egypt), April 8 1986 e.v.. Readers may, nevertheless, study the Curriculum if they so will, with the purpose of becoming Probationers on that date or during the five years following it.
The general public is sternly warned that any persons who "accept" Probationers in the name of the A∴A∴ before that date do not, and could not, under any circumstances, represent the Order.