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Most critics and many readers have complained about what they called "the fault of wearisome repetition" in The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga and The Wisdom of the Overself. I am well aware that the modern mind dislikes it and prefers terseness, but this is one instance where I consider the ancient Oriental mind was a little wiser. Whether or not this is a fault depends upon the circumstances under which the repetition occurs. The recorded conversations and addresses of Buddha are chock-full of repetitions, for example. The Yoga Vasistha repeats scores of times most of its leading ideas. Why then did the ancient Orientals use this device--for so it really is? The answer may be partly given by one of them in his own words: "Repetition either of thought or language is no fault in this study. Repetition serves to bring out and give us mental practice in the great truths." These words were written by Suresvara, the personal and chief disciple of the illustrious Shankaracharya. The second part of the answer is that the more important tenets of higher philosophy are intellectually extremely subtle, so subtle as not to be apparent at first contact with them, and extremely difficult to realize. The repeated contact with them, however, acts as a kind of indirect meditation and removes their unfamiliarity, renders them understandable, and causes them little by little to sink into the emotional consciousness. Alas! my scattered warnings in The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga did not prevent certain misconceptions from being quickly born. They arose out of the want of completeness in the part which was first made available. The separate publication of the two parts with some interval of time between them made it advisable to omit treatment of the most advanced elements in this teaching: they were based upon the mentalistic doctrine to which I had first to lead readers by dealing only with the more elementary topics. But in refusing to pluck the fruit of this teaching prematurely and in setting aside as not being ready for consideration such subjects as the genuine intuition, the higher or ultramystic experience, the nature of Deity, and the mystery of the Overself, I apparently laid myself open to the misconception that I now regard them as unimportant or unphilosophical. Consequently, some who had formerly complimented me now rained criticisms down upon my head--and wasted their time in asserting what I have never denied!

That such incompleteness inconvenienced several classes of readers must now be admitted. The proper place for The Hidden Teaching Beyond Yoga is alongside The Wisdom of the Overself, and in the supplementary appendix to that book I pleaded guilty of premature publication. I deeply regret the impatience and irritation which this act caused many readers, although it was done at the importunity of not a few readers themselves. An endeavour to anticipate and appease critics was made by writing an appendix to the book and distributing it in the form of a supplementary booklet, to be incorporated later at the end of any further editions that might be called for. This certainly helped a little to put right the principal misinterpretations, but it could not in so short a space either do so adequately enough or cover the less important ones which had to be omitted. No! The only way to mollify those who--making a quick judgement on what was after all only a preliminary work--wrongly thought that I had openly deserted mysticism and yoga, was to set down the actual teachings which supplement them and thus controvert these misconceptions. So, although I had formerly hoped to leave the task until after the war, I immediately took up work on the second span of this two-arched bridge and pushed ahead with it as quickly as possible under the unsettled circumstances which then prevailed.

The Wisdom of the Overself is the fruit of that labour, and those who have the patience to read it to the end will discover their reward in the doing of it.


-- Notebooks Category 12: Reflections > Chapter 5: The Literary Work > # 114






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