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Modern Psychology: C. G. Jung’s Lectures at the ETH Zürich, 1933-1941

Lecture VII 9th June, 1939

You will remember that I read you a long passage from Meister Eckhart’s sermon on “Detachment” at the end of the last lecture.

This is, as we saw, a western conception of the separation between the Purusha and sattvam.

He says that to leave things you must leave yourself for he saw that the ego was inseparably bound to, what the East calls, Prakriti and that the two were really synonymous.

Before bringing the discussion of the Purusha-sattvam passage in the Yoga Sutra to a close, I should like to remind you of what the Purusha means to India by reading you a few more passages.

An Upanishad says:

“He who is this (Brahman) in man, and the One who is that (Brahman) in the sun, are both one.”

The man in the sun and the small figure we see in the pupil of man’s eye are one and the same.

In another Upanishad we find the prayer of one dying:

“The countenance of truth (of Brahman) is covered by a golden disc. Open this, 0 Pushan (Savitir, sun), that we may behold the nature of truth. Unfold and assemble thy holy rays, 0 Pushan, thou only seer, Yama, Surya (sun), son of Prajapati. I behold the light, thy loveliest semblance. What he is, I am.”

That is the man in the sun.

In the Khandogya-Upanishad we find the following passage:

“And this light, which spreadeth above this heaven higher than all, higher even than those in the highest world, above and beyond which there are no more worlds, this is the same light that burneth in the inner world of man. Whereof we have this visible token; only to feel warmth and perceive bodies.”

And in another text:

“As a grain of rice, or barley, or millet, yea like even unto the kernel of a millet-seed, is this spirit in the inner Self, golden, like a flame without smoke; and greater is it than the heavens, vaster than space, greater than this earth, surpassing all beings. It is the soul of life, it is my own soul: departing hence, into this soul shall I enter.”

You can see from these texts how the Purusha was understood in India in the classical time.

There are western parallels to this identification of the soul of man with the universal being.

We will turn again to Meister Eckhart:

“Again must ye understand the soul as the Kingdom of God. For the soul is of like nature roith Divinity. All that was here spoken of God’s Kingdom, so far as God himself is this Kingdom, may be truly said in like manner of the soul. All things came to pass through Him, saith St. John. This must be understood of the soul, since the soul is the All. Such it is as an image of God. But as such is it also the Kingdom of God. So deeply, saith one master, is God in the soul, that His whole Divine nature resteth up on it. That God is in the soul is an higher estate than that the soul is in God: when the soul is in God, it is not blessed therein, but blessed indeed is the soul which God inhabits. Of this be ye certain: God is Himself blessed in the soul!”

This is certainly one of the passages which led to Meister Eckhart’s persecution by the Inquisition.

He was sent for to Rome to answer the charges against him, but died on the way there, so the persecution took place after his death.

His writings were condemned and practically disappeared for six hundred years, though here and there we hear of a fragment which was preserved in some library.

They remained quiescent till the middle of the 1 9th century, when Pfeiffer collected a great many of his writings and published them, partly in Latin and partly in middle high German.

Another and fuller edition is in course of preparation.

We are fortunate enough to have one of his manuscripts in Basel.

He says further:

“If one asketh me ‘Wherefore do we pray, wherefore fast, wherefore do we perform all manner of good works, wherefore are we baptized, wherefore did God become Man?’
I would answer ‘For that God might be born in the soul and the soul again in God. Therefore is the Holy Script written. Therefore hath God created the whole world, that God might be
born in the soul and the soul again in God. The innermost nature of all corn meaneth wheat, and of all metal, gold, and of all birth, man!’

This is one of the most important passages in the writings of Meister Eckhart.

In a sense his ideas were born again in the 19th century and we begin to understand them, largely because we have studied eastern texts.

His idea of the Kingdom of God in the soul of man is synonymous with the eastern idea of the Purusha, the man within.

We find the same idea in the earliest Christian records, as Adam Cadman in the soul, but such texts are mainly Gnostic.

In the Codex Brucianus, a Coptic Gnostic treatise, he is the dweller in the Monad, and in some recently discovered texts he is represented as the Kingdom of God.

I would like to quote another remarkable person, Angelus Silesius, who lived in the seventeenth century.

Though he lived much later he had some heretical ideas similar to those we found in Meister Eckhart.

He had a curious fate and was at first Protestant, and wrote “Der cherubinische Wandersmann” [The Cherub Wayfarer) in naive and touching verse.

He was a poet and philosopher but above all an original, who created out of himself and did not borrow from other sources.

I will read you a few of his verses:

“I know that without me
God can no oement live;
Were I to die, then He
No longer could survive.

God cannot without me
A single worm create
Did I not share with Him
Destruction were its fate.

I am as great as God,
And he is small like me;
He cannot be above,
Nor I below him be.

In me God is a fire
And I in Him its glow;
In common is our life
Apart we cannot grow.

God loves me more than Self
My love doth give His weight,
Whate’er He gives to me
I must reciprocate.

He’s God and man to me,
To Him I’m both indeed;
His thrist I satisfy,
He helps me in my need.

This God, who feels for us,
Is to us what we will;
And woe to us, if we
Our part do not fulfil.

God is whate’er He is,
I am what I must be;
If you know one, in sooth,
You know both Him and me.

I am not outside God,
Nor leave I Him afar;
I am His grace and light,
And He my guiding star.

I am the vine, which He
Doth plant and cherish most;
The fruit which grows from me
Is God, the Holiy Ghost.

I am God’s child, His son,
And He too is my child;
We are the two in one,
Both son and father mild.

To illuminate my God
The sunshine I must be;
My beams must radiate
His calm and boundless sea.”

‘The whole disposition of ‘this mystic is revealed in these few verses, and we can see that he expresses the central idea of eastern Yoga in western medieval language.

How this could happen is a different question and for the moment we must content ourselves with the fact that it is so.

We will return to the Yoga Sutra, I have picked out some more sentences so that you can get an idea of the central problem of this Yoga.

“Practising general discipline on perception, quality, ego-consciousness, dependence (on the Gunas), and on definiteness of purpose (of the sense’ organs) leads to controlling the sense organ:”

Our sense organs are the mechanisms by which we realise the outer world.

The meaning of this sentence is clear, that we must learn through Yoga to control all our psychological activities aird to separate these from the world.

Everything which occurs is entitled to its due share of attention and no more.

Our senses are continually running away from us, we stream out into people and things through the concupiscentia.

But practising general discipline, as recommended in this sentence, would free us from slavery to the object!

Patanjali also says that this same control must be practised or the moment of time.

This is particularly interesting, the fettering of time is a very important idea.

It is a peculiar formulation for becoming independent of things and for freeing ourselves from confusion with them.

We are exceedingly “time conscious” in Europe, and live with our watch in our hand; the more things we have to fit in, the more aware we are of time passing.

The East is far less “time conscious” and sets a lower value on it and the primitive has really no sense of time.

A primitive does not even know how old he is.

If you ask him how long it will take you to walk to a certain place he is just as likely to say twenty hours as two.

He really knows how far it is but he cannot reckon it in terms of time.

The culture of India has given the Indians some sense of time and because of this Yoga insists on the fettering of time even though they are not bewitched by it as we are.

In order to realise our relations to people and things we must be able to separate ourselves from them, and be able to distinguish between ourselves and the Prakriti.

And we must also be able to separate ourselves from time and to live as if we had centuries at our disposal instead of the usual span of man’s life.

We get this idea in the story of the primitive who spent so many years in carving his canoe that the stern had rotted before the bow was finished!

But this did not disturb him in the least, because it was very pleasant to carve and surely one could allow ones elf that pleasure.

Patanjali continues:

“Then a swiftness of thought arises, which is independent of the sense organs and which controls the Prakriti.”

He is speaking of a fast and smooth functioning of the mind, [independent of the sense organs that bind us to the things of the world), which enables us to control Prakriti.

It is the existence of this function which leads to the idea of miracles, Yogins sitting in the air, leaving their bodies, etc.

But, when we regard it from a psychological standpoint, we see that it is a condition of consciousness where one is no longer bound to the things of the Prakriti.

This frees a process in oneself which works fast and smoothly and gives one a feeling of ruling the world.

Such a person actually has a strong effect on his surroundings, a special influence on other people, because they are attracted by one who is liberated from the things which bind and fetter them.

Patanjali says further:

“then general discipline is practised on the moment of time and its connections; the knowledge, which springs from discrimination, arises.”

If you could stop time and live as if you had hundreds or even thousands of years at your disposal, you would reach a certain knowledge which raises you above the things belonging to the Prakriti.

There are many traces of such a state to be found in Indian philosophy.

Patanjali continues:

“Then you become aware of two things, so similar that the difference does not allow itself to be clearly defined in terms of ordinary experience.”

What are these two things which we cannot tell apart and which we can yet reach and discriminate one from the other?

The two we found in the earlier passage, sattvam and the Purusha.

We saw then that the Purusha could be described as the man within and that sattvam, though arising from Prakriti, is a result of her connection with the Purusha and the lightest thing which she produces.

Or to put it differently the two similar things are the Self and the ego.

This differentiation is exceedingly important in Yoga.

It is reached by meditation and has a goal: Kaivalyam, absoluteness, but which is perhaps better translated by detachment.

Patanjali says later:

“Who sees the difference [between Purusha and Cittam) loses the illusion that it [Cittam) is the Atman.”

Cittam is practically the same as sattvam.

It can, as we saw before, be translated by consciousness.

This sentence really means that the man, who can discriminate between the Purusha and consciousness, no longer falls into the illusion that he is the Self, the Atman.

“Der Zweck der Uebung” [the purpose of the exercise) is to avoid this inflation.

This is why people are so afraid of a technique of separation from the world.

You constantly hear it called morbid, ego-centric, etc.

But this is a superficial judgement arising from the illusion alluded to in our passage.

Yoga does not lead to the ego but to the knowledge that the ego is only a phenomenon, it is the face, skin or symptom of an incomprehensible being.

But when we come to Yoga with a western consciousness, which never knew or has forgotten that the Self exists, then we mistake the Self for the ego and become morbidly self-important.

It is really dangerous if you do not realise that the ego is only a phenomenon, which accounts for the prejudice against such exercises.

Our Christian upbringing is not much help to us in this, because the Purusha is invested in Christ, it is exteriorised, so naturally the Self means the ego to us.

The Church condemned the views of Meister Eckhart as we saw; history, till quite recently, judged him very negatively.

Patanjali continues:

“Through this discrimination the Cittam is liberated and streams down the mountain side of redemption.”

When consciousness is separated from the Self the condition of Kaivalyam sets in.

The image of the mountain side provides us with a vivid picture.

When the ego is identified with the Atman it goes up on to a height where it does not belong, and when the two are separated the ego rolls down the hill.

Meister Eckhart would say: “Leave yourself “, and then the Purusha would remain free and the ego roll away down into the Prakriti.

After the Purusha and sattvam have been divided Patanjali says:

“And then the changes in the Gunas come to an end, for they have fulfilled their purpose.”

The purpose of the energetic process of the Gunas is to accomplish the world process.

When sattvam or cittam sinks back into the Prakriti, the Purusha is left in his primordial, super-human condition, and their purpose is fulfilled.

Patanjali continues:

“Then, when the changes have finally ended, the sequence of time will be grasped as a whole which is in contrast to the moment’s detachment from the moment, one has learnt to live as if one had thousands of years at one’s disposal.

An eternal state has been attained, there is no longer any moment, one is in Kaivalyam, the world process has stopped.

This is an ecstatic state.

Patanjali continues, and this is the last of the passages which I want to read you from the Yoga Sutra:

“The flowing back of the Gunas, freed from the compulsion of having to fulfill the purposes of the Purusha, is absoluteness (Kaivalyam); or it is also the strength of the spirit remaining in its own nature.”

This sentence will explain what happens to sattvam or cittam when it flows down the mountain side of redemption.

The Gunas flow back into the Prakriti, into their original condition.

They. persist but the Spirit has been freed. It has been separated from matter, it is no longer bound but exists in its own strength and remains in its own nature.

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali is exceedingly difficult to study but I have given you its main content on broad lines.

I will now read you a passage from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad:

  1. “On this there are these verses: The small old path”

This is the path of Yoga.

“stretching far. away has been found by me. On it sages who know Brahman move on to the Svarga-loka [heaven]. And thence higher on, as entirely free.

  1. On that path they say that there is white, or blue, or yellow, or green, or red;”

Here is the color motif which we met last Semester in the Buddhist texts.

Colours are always to be found on the path, wherever it it.

The four colours stand for the four elements of which the Self is composed.

The white represents the unity, the totality.

The central light in the Tibetan Book of the· Dead is the “Clear Light of Reality”, the light of the Dharma Kaya.

The Dharma Kaya: is hard to translate adequately, perhaps the law of perfection.

“that path was found by,’Brahmah,”

Here the Yogin identifies himself with Brahman, for he said before that he had found the path.

“and’ on it goes whoever knows Brahman, and who has done good, and obtained splendor

  1. Whoever has found and understood the Self that has entered into this patched-together hiding-place, he indeed is the creator, for he is the maker of everything, his is the world, and he is the world itself.

  2. While we are here, we may know this; if not, I am ignorant, and there is great destruction. Those who know it become immortal, but others suffer pain indeed.

  3. If a man clearly beholds this Self as God, and as the lord of all that is and will be, then he is no more afraid.

  4. He behind whom the year revolves with the days, him the gods worship as the light of lights, as immortal time.”

The Yogin has become the Self, immortal time, for he has separated himself from the Prakriti and no longer dances with it.

This text gives the whole aim and sense of Yoga in a few words.

Before concluding my remarks on Yoga I should like to read you one more passage, this time from Chinese Yoga.

Chinese Yoga is divided into two separate parts, one is bound up with alchemical philosophy; and· the ‘other became Zen Buddhism, and is mainly to be found in Japan.

Zen is a very peculiar Yoga and l do not want to speak of it here as though it is very interesting, it is exceedingly difficult.

Those of you who are interested can read Prof. Suzuki’s books on the subject; he is Japanese and a professor at Kyoto.

Prof. Zimmer has recently translated one of his books into German and I wrote the commentary.

I The passage I am going to read comes· from “The· Secret of the Golden Flower.”

For a long· time this book was only transmitted orally, later in M.S. form, and was interpreted for the first time in the eighteenth century.

A thousand copies were reprinted in Peking in 1920, so Wilhelm was able to obtain a copy.

He translated it and I wrote the ‘psychological’ commentary.

It belongs to Chinese Taoist Yoga, and is still valued in China today, though in a rapidly diminishing degree; or China is now forced to cope with modern warfare and no longer has time to live in eternity.

It is exceedingly Chinese and forms an important parallel to the Indian texts we have been reading.

You will see how different this in feeling and how laconic it is in style.

“Emptiness comes as the first of the three contemplations. All things are looked up on as empty. Then follows delusion. Although it is known that they are empty, things are not destroyed, but a man attends to his affairs in the midst of the emptiness. But though one does not destroy things, neither does one pay attention to them; this is contemplation of the c entre. While practising contemplation of the empty, one also knows that one cannot destroy the ten thousand things, and still one does not notice them. In this way the three contemplations fall together. But, after all, strength is in visioning the empty. Therefore, when one practises contemplation of emptiness, emptiness is certainly empty, but delusion empty also; and the centre is empty. It needs a great· strength to to practise contemplation of delusion; then delusion is really delusion, but ·emptiness is also delusion, arid the centre is also delusion. Being on the way of the centre, one also creates images of the emptiness, but they are not called empty, but are called central. One practises also contemplation of delusion, but one does not call it delusion, one calls it central. As to what has to do with the centre, more· need not be said. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lectures; Pages 132-139.