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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 3 - Union achieved and its Results
44. One-pointed meditation upon the five forms which every element takes, produces mastery over every element. These five forms are the gross nature, the elemental form, the quality, the pervasiveness and the basic purpose.

It should be remembered that this will have a dual reference, to the macrocosm and to the microcosm. It can refer to the five planes of monadic evolution, or to the five forms which every [342] element takes on each and every plane, bearing in mind that this is the case as regards the mind apprehension and the modifications of the thinking principle, for mind is the fifth principle, and man is the five pointed star and therefore can (as man) achieve only a fivefold illumination. There are, however, two higher forms and two other modes of perception, i.e., the intuitional and spiritual realization. With these, however, the present sutra has not to do. The head center is dual in itself and is composed of the center between the eyebrows and the highest chakra, the thousand petalled lotus.

The study and understanding of this sutra would result in the complete equipping of the white occultist for all forms of magical work. Students must remember that this does not refer to the elements as we have them, but has relation to the elemental substance out of which all gross forms are made. According to the Ageless Wisdom there are five grades of substance having certain qualities. These five grades of substance form the five planes of monadic evolution; they compose the five vibratory spheres in which man and superhuman man are found. These five planes have each an outstanding quality, of which the five physical senses are the correspondence.

Plane Nature Sense Center
Earth Physical Smell Base of the spine
Astral Emotional Taste Solar Plexus
Manasic Mental Sight Head
Buddhic Intuitional Touch Heart
Atmic Spiritual Sound Throat
[342] As pointed out in A Treatise on Cosmic Fire, these senses and their correspondences are dependent upon the point in evolution of the man, just as H. P. Blavatsky stated in connection with the enumeration of the principles.

The above sutra therefore can be applied to the mastery of each plane as well as to the mastery of elements composing that plane. It has reference to the mastery and utilization of all the subtler sheaths through which a man contacts a plane or peculiar rate of vibration.

Ganganatha Jha in his able commentary says: "The specific qualities, sound and the rest belonging to the earth, together with the properties of shape and the rest, are named 'gross.' This is the first form of the elements. The second form is their respective generic characteristic: Shape for the earth, viscidity for the water, heat for fire, velocity for air and omnipresence for the akasha. The specific forms for these generic ones are sound and the rest." He gives a translation of this fourty-fourth sutra which is analogous to all the others with the exception of Johnston's, and which runs as follows:

"Mastery over the elements, from the sanyama with the reference to grossness, character, subtlety, concomitance and usefulness."

  1. Grossness, gross nature. Sound and the other senses as they show forth on the physical plane. We must bear in mind that this plane is the gross summation of all the others. Spirit is matter at its lowest point.
  2. Character, elemental form. [344] The nature of the specific characteristics of the elements.
  3. Subtlety, or quality. The basic atomic substance of any one element. That which produces its phenomenal effect. It is that which lies back of all sense perception, and of all the five senses. Another word for this "subtle" form is tanmatra.
  4. Concomitance, or pervasiveness. This is the all-pervasive nature of every element; its inherence. It is the sum total of the three gunas, tamas, rajas and sattva. Every element according to its place in the manifested scheme is characterized by inertia, activity or rhythm. It is inherent in substance. Only the rate of vibration differs. There is the correspondence to every element on every plane.
  5. Usefulness, or basic purpose. This is the right use of every element in the great work of evolution. It is literally the power hidden in every atom of substance which drives it on (through all the kingdoms of Nature) to self expression, and enables it to perform its work in time and space and to proceed towards eventual fruition.

When, through concentrated meditation upon the five distinctive forms of all the elements, the knower has arrived at a knowledge of all their qualities, characteristics and nature, he can then cooperate intelligently in the plan and become a white magician. For the majority it is as yet only possible for us to arrive at three of the forms, and this is touched upon in Light on the Path in [345] the words: "Inquire of the earth, the air and the water, of the secrets they hold for you. The development of your inner sense will enable you to do this."

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