Yoga is the seeking for the inner Self in man. This capacity to turn the consciousness inward determines largely success in Yoga. In the Upanishads, we find for the first time in the human history the most systematic formulation of the philosophy and practice of the inward movement in Yoga.The Katha Upanishads sets-out in a beautifully cryptic and pregnant verse, the psychological foundation of this inward movement:
“The self-born has set the doors of the body to face outwards, therefore the soul of a man gates outward and not at the Self within, hardly a wise man here and there, desiring immortality turns his eyes inward and see the Self within him”.
The first part of the verse says very clearly why the ordinary man never turns his gate within. The natural constitution of our “normal” surface conscious being made of the Chitta-Manas-Budhi, the sensational, emotional and mental being is turned outward towards the external world. The psychological energy of our natural personality leaps spontaneously outwards and not inwards. And the next verse in the Katha Upanishads gives the reason why it is so:
“The rest childishly follow after desire and enjoyment kama and walk into the snare of Death that gapes wide of them. But calm souls, having learned of immortality, seek not for permanence in the things of this world that pass and not”.
So the force that prevents the psychological energies of the ordinary man from turning inward is kama the vital desire of the life-force in man for the enjoyment of the outer world of perishable objects. This may be necessary upto a certain stage in human evolution. But the spiritually mature foul awakened to the eternal Self within him conquers attraction and attachment for the transient objects of the outer world, turns his gaze within and directs his Tapas or energy of his consciousness towards the eternal and internal Self. The capacity to do this comes not by killing desire as such but by conquering the attraction and attachment of the energy of desire to outward forms and objects and turning the same energy towards the immortal inner essence.
Now we have to examine what is the inner discipline by which this inward movement is effected for Upanishadic psychology is predominantly a practical and not an academic discipline. All the broad principles of this practice are laid down with a pregnant and luminous brevity in the Upanishadic texts.