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from The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga, chapter 7(North Atlantic Books, 2015)

The tool with which a philosopher must needs work is his mind. The ancient sages did not permit a man to begin philosophic studies until he had put his mind into proper shape so that it could function efficiently (p.156) ….Western thinkers have made admirable attempts but they have failed to win success partly because they lacked this tool of a yoga-equipped, ego-purified and body-subdued mentality with which to force open the shut gate of truth (p.157).

The success of the ancient sages did not come from blindly believing the words of some personage; it did not come from yielding to the consolations of some religious book; it did not come from mystic intuition, that appeared suddenly and involuntarily; it did not come from the satisfactions of elementary yoga alone but also after long-laboured metaphysical thinking followed by the supreme yoga which swept the ego into the Universal All and stilled both thinking and feeling (p. 164) .

He (the philosopher) seeks a rock-like impregnable position. He rejects nothing in advance but he questions everything in the end to enquire if it be true, whereas unenlightened men deliberately divorce intuition from any contact with reason whilst unenlightened mystics deliberately refuse to submit their “truth” to any test. He will not be so foolish as to repel an intuition, for instance, but he will be ready to accept it only after he has controlled, examined and confirmed it.Thus mentally fortified he will so use his own intuitions or expert authorities that they may become a most useful help (p. 164).

Fidelity to reason does not debar but admits faith therefore, only it demands that we should test our beliefs and discover if they be true. It likewise accepts the existence of spontaneous intuition but asks that we check our intuitions and ascertain whether they be correct, not hesitating to reject them where found unsatisfactory. It unhesitatingly admires the unusual tranquility to be found in mystic meditations but counsels that we enquire rigorously whether the feeling of reality which it gives us be reality. It always approves of the exercise of logic in the organization of thinking but it points out that the operations of logic are strictly limited by the amount of available data and that at best logic can only rearrange in an orderly manner what we already explicitly or implicitly know. In short, it seeks firm verification (pp.164-165).

Now how can we test our beliefs, check our intuitions, enquire into the reality of meditation experience, know whether our logic is dealing with all possible facts or not and eliminate the errors of every one of these methods? There is but a single answer to all these queries, a single means of satisfying our doubts concerning them, and that is – we must begin and end with the canons of reason as the sole criterion of judgment. For it is only by critically reasoning upon them that such examinations can be fruitfully carried out (p.165).

A thorough conviction and an unassailable grasp of true principles can only be reached through the adequate exercise of thinking power intently concentrated and raised to its highest degree. No other method of approach can yield such an enduring correctness in every instance. And it will eventually be the sole means of obtaining world-wide agreement amongst all peoples and in all places on this globe, because reason cannot vary in its conclusions about truth; it is universally verifiable and will remain so a hundred thousand years hence. Such variations will however belong to what pretends to be reason. And they will also exist whenever reason is unjustifiably limited to the experience of waking state alone (p.165).