Crowley on Yoga

EIGHT LECTURES ON YOGA
BY ALEISTER CROWLEY

[EXCERPT]
(12) Having now understood that Yoga is the essence of all phenomena whatsoever, we may ask what is the special meaning of the word in respect of our proposed investigation…

(13) All this Yoga that we know and practice, this Yoga that produced these ecstatic results that we call phenomena, includes among its spiritual emanations a good deal of unpleasantness. The more we study this universe produced by our Yoga, the more we collect and synthesize our experience, the nearer we get to a perception of what the Buddha declared to be characteristic of all component things: Sorrow, Change, and Absence of any permanent principle. We constantly approach his enunciation of the first two ‘Noble Truths,’ as he called them. ‘Everything is Sorrow’; and ‘The cause of Sorrow is Desire.’ By the word ‘Desire’ he meant exactly what is meant by ‘Love’ in ‘The Book of the Law’ which I quoted a few moments ago.

‘Desire’ is the need of every unit to extend its experience by combining with its opposite.

(14) It is easy enough to construct the whole series of arguments which lead up to the first ‘Noble Truth.’ Every operation of Love is the satisfaction of a bitter hunger, but the appetite only grows fiercer by satisfaction; so that we can say with the Preacher: ‘He that increaseth knowledge increaseth Sorrow.’ The root of all this sorrow is in the sense of insufficiency; the need to unite, to lose oneself in the beloved object, is the manifest proof of this fact, and it is clear also that the satisfaction produces only a temporary relief, because the process expands indefinitely. The thirst increases with drinking. The only complete satisfaction conceivable would be the Yoga of the atom with the entire universe. This fact is easily perceived, and has been con- stantly expressed in the mystical philosophies of the West; the only goal is ‘Union with God.’ Of course, we only use the word ‘God’ because we have been brought up in superstition, and the higher philosophers both in the East and in the West have preferred to speak of union with the All or with the Absolute. More superstitions!

(15) Very well, then, there is no difficulty at all; since every thought in our being, every cell in our bodies, every electron and proton of our atoms, is nothing but Yoga and the result of Yoga. All we have to do to obtain emancipation, satisfaction, everything we want is to perform this universal and inevitable operation upon the Absolute itself.

(18) I want you therefore to see the nature of the obstacles to union with the Absolute.

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