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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 1 - The Problem of Union
28. Through the sounding of the Word and through reflection upon its meaning, the Way is found.

This is a very general paraphrase but conveys nevertheless the correct significance of the terms used in the Sanskrit. Only Vivekananda, among the many translators, gives this interpretation, putting it as follows:

"The repetition of the OM and meditating upon its meaning (is the Way)."

The other translators omit the final three words, though the inference is clear.

The expression "the sounding of the Word" must not be too literally interpreted; the esoteric "sounding forth" is based upon a study of the Law of Vibration, and the gradual tuning of the lower vibrations of the sheaths or vestures of consciousness so that they synchronize with the note or sound of the conscious indweller. Speaking correctly, the Word is to be sounded by the soul or the ego on its own plane, and the vibration will subsequently affect the various bodies or vehicles which house that soul. The process is therefore a mental one and can only really be done by those who - through meditation and discipline, coupled with service - have made a conscious at-one-ment with the soul. Aspirants to this condition have to [59] utilize the potent factors of the imagination, visualization and perseverance in meditation to reach this initial stage. It should be noted that this stage has to be reached, even if only in a relatively small degree, before the aspirant can become an accepted disciple.

The process of sounding the Word is dual, as is emphasized here.

There is, first of all, the act of the ego, solar angel, higher self or soul, as he sounds out the Word from his own place, on the abstract levels of the mental plane. He directs that sound, via the sutratma and the vestures of consciousness to the physical brain of the man in incarnation, the shadow or reflection. This "sounding forth" has to be constantly repeated. The Sutratma is that magnetic link, spoken of in the Christian Bible as the "silver cord," that thread of living light which connects the Monad, the Spirit in man, with the physical brain.

Secondly, there is the earnest reflection of the man in his physical brain upon that sound as he recognizes it. The two poles of being are hinted at here: the soul and the man in incarnation, and between these two is found the thread, along which the Pranava (or word) vibrates. Students of the esoteric science have to recognize the technique of the processes outlined. In the case of the sounding forth of the Word we have the following factors:

  1. The soul who sends, or breathes it forth,
  2. The sutratma or thread along which the sound vibrates, is carried or transmitted, [60]
  3. The vestures of consciousness, mental, emotional and etheric which vibrate in response to the vibration or breath and are stimulated thereby,
  4. The brain which can be trained to recognize that sound and vibrate in unison with the breath,
  5. The subsequent act of the man in meditation. He hears the sound (called sometimes the "still small Voice," or the "Voice of the Silence"), he recognizes it for what it is and in deep reflection he assimilates the results of his soul's activity.

Later when the aspirant has passed on into the mysteries and has learnt how to unify the soul and the lower man so that they function as a coordinated unit on earth, the man learns to sound the Word on the physical plane with the object of awakening the forces which are latent within him and thereby arouse the centers. Thus he participates increasingly in the creative, magical and psychical work of manifestation, with the object ever in view of benefiting his fellow men and thus furthering the plans of the planetary hierarchy.

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