are largely similar. But their colors are different and of innumerable variety, according to the spiritual position of different individuals. Consciousness gets committed to some illusion or other, owing to these mental impressions, which are ever active in spite of the daily respite of dream and sleep. The gross consciousness of the physical body gets dissolved in the dream-state of the subtle body; and the dream-state, in its turn, gets dissolved in the sleep state of the mental body. But this daily dissolution of illusion is temporary. After some time the impressions again begin to prick and clamour, "Spend us! Spend us!" Thus latent consciousness is again brought back to its gross illusion.
If the whole world were to go to sleep, it would be the great dissolution of the entire world. All the individuals would recede into their mental bodies and be absorbed in utter oblivion for some time until they reenter the panorama of the three-fold world in a new cycle of existence. The impressions of the unrealized individuals remain exactly the same even during this universal dissolution, which takes place by the Divine Will. In the new cycle they take up their evolution where they had left it. Universal dissolution is not without some purpose. The usual theories of evolution advanced by scientists are based only upon intellectual data. They never do justice to God's hand in the game.
When the world is put to sleep with all its current ideas, theories, beliefs, ideals and models of individual and collective life, it is easier for the world to change its direction of search and fulfillment in the next cycle of creation. It has to start where it left off, but it can reorient itself in a new direction from the place where things had previously stopped. This means that in the new cycle of existence, the ideas, theories, beliefs and ideals and modes of individual and collective life begin to develop entirely on new lines, according to what has been planned by the Truth-realized Masters. The old modes disappear, yielding place to new ones. The Masters plan not only for humanity in general, but also for the new Circle-to-be,* for which the seeds are sown hundreds of years before the time when they actually manifest themselves.
The physical body is nothing but the gross form of impressions. The mental impression in the mind of the male parent first takes a subtle form, which then is released in the gross form of mating. The mass of sanskaras or impressions thus released ultimately reaches the mind of the female parent; and it is from the mind of the female parent that the process of physical incarnation starts. The soul, which is awaiting reincarnation in the gross body, can descend only if, during the process of sanskaric or impressional exchange between the male and the female, their minds have come as near to stopping as possible. The physical body is produced by the working of many impressions and is the result of their very embodiment. It is therefore no wonder that it has a tendency to bind the soul which inhabits it. Love for the physical body is only a form of deep ignorance. Swine take delight in refuse — and so do the ignorant ones take delight in the body.
From the spiritual point of view, there is nothing more pitiable than slavish submission to the desires and demands of the physical body. Because of its incessant claims on the attention of the mind, the physical body often becomes a hindrance to real life; it is like a cage to the soul. But the soul cannot find its real freedom by putting an end to the physical body. The physical body itself has to be intelligently used and made to subserve spiritual ends. What is the use of a body which resists the dictates of the mind? It is no use clinging to the comforts of the body, which one day must be given up. It is only an instrument, and one should make the maximum use of it.
Impressions are contagious. Eating meat is prohibited in many spiritual disciplines because the person thereby catches the impressions of the animal, thus rendering himself more susceptible to lust and anger. Sometimes, innumerable strong impressions are
*See discourse on 'The Circle', Awakener, Vol. 3, No. 1.