5 Steps to a Superhuman State of Mind, From One of the Great Indian Masters

Man has evolved through aeons. In order to quicken his evolution–his involution back to God–he has to make an effort to stimulate the process of natural evolution. He does this outwardly to better his physical existence. For example, man was created by nature to use his feet for locomotion. The process was too slow and too limited in distance, so he used animals to ride on. Then he invented the car, and the airplane, and so on. Now, why shouldn’t we likewise accelerate our soul’s evolution? The soul of man has to ascend through the five states, or stages of evolution, previously described, before he gets back to God: mineral, plant, animal, man, and superman. He is to accumulate unto himself the divine qualities inherent in each stage.

1. He must be transparent like the gems, without spots of defective perception. He has to develop their crystalline character, by removing the mental blemishes in his otherwise sparkling mentality. His thinking and perception should have gemlike clarity that will undistortedly reflect the Divine Mind. This means his sensations must be pure. Misuse or overindulgence of any sense creates flaws in sensibilities. But if the gem of one’s sentient mentality is unclouded, one then develops spiritual sensitivity.

2. The spiritually progressive man is consciously sensitive to life and his surroundings, like the sensitive response of plants to their environment. But as the sensitivity of plants abhors harshness, the spiritually sensitive being shuns the coarsness of material things and finds himself gravitating toward God, as plants turn toward the sun.

3. Then comes the vitality of animals. Though they may have great strength and will power, they do not know how to use these energies intelligently. The progressive man must be full of vitality like the animal, but employ the animal’s strong will, not for avaricious purposes, but to govern activity with self-control and to have mastery over the life force. When the life force is always engaged in something good and worthwhile, and it is not dissipated in bad habits or the abuse of sex, then man is going toward God. But as soon as he gives in plainly to indiscriminate animalistic instincts, he is going toward matter. That is the common happening we see everywhere. The yogi, on the other hand, learns how to use vitality and will with wisdom. He is not weak. He is a master of self-control. He knows how to relax and throw the searchlight of vitality within to reveal the presence of Spirit. The reversal of the life force from matter to Spirit is called pranayama. By withdrawing the life-current from the externals through Kriya Yoga, the consciousness begins inwardly to awaken to its higher nature in God.

4. The rational man thereby becomes a thoughtful, dsicriminative being, ever progressive in his power to think and reason clearly. He develops pure reason, or discrimination, in which his rationality is no longer mixed up with doubt and misconception. He learns to reason with the wise men and to understand the truths they express and exemplify. If you reason with people who are always in doubt or confused, and especially if your own consciousness is not yet firm in true understanding, your brain will also become infected in doubt and confusion. So many people try to win their points by argument, but I let them have a sense of victory right away. There is no use talking to them. “Fools argue, wise men discuss.” When we conversed with Master [Swami Sri Yukteswar] it was communion bound by pure reason and blessed by his wisdom. The masters cling to truth, not theories. But most people are enslaved by emotion and circumscribed by their own opinions. If two people really want to find truth, they can agree very quickly.

It is only by developing both pure reason and pure feeling that you can reach God and truth. In the ordinary man, reason is the uppermost and feeling is hidden, in the average woman, feeling is uppermost with reason hidden. If you have too much feeling, it becomes emotion and will take you into the meshes of matter; and too much reason becomes rationalization which also takes you into delusive matter. When you balance reason and feeling by meditation, you will come to God and truth perceptions. By an interchange of these qualities, man and woman can help to balance in each other pure reason and pure feeling, thus helping each other toward union with God. But marriage is not the only way. By successful meditation one attains this balance within himself, or herself, for it is already there, hidden in the soul.

5. After developing the balanced reason and feeling of the discriminative stage, the last stage of involution is to be attained: the pure intuition and omniscience of the superhuman. He is intuitively progressive in feeling his soul and Spirit. He must then fully lift his consciousness from the body and materiality to his original omnipresent state. The freed soul is back once more with God.

Source: “Journey To Self-Realization“, Paramahansa Yogananda, pages 59-61. Thanks to The Self-Realization Fellowship for permission to post.