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The Ghats at Benares, 1922 (Public Domain Image)
The Ghats at Benares, 1922 (Public Domain Image)

Yoga Lessons for Developing Spiritual Consciousness

by A.P. Mukerji


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This is one of the Yogi Publication Society (YPS) titles, which may have been in part or whole written by William Walker Atkinson. At the very least, this volume seems to have been padded out a bit. The first few chapters are consistent in tone and style, and discuss basics of Hindu (or perhaps Theosophist) thought in very general terms, with lots of italics and small caps for emphasis. There is even a realistic description of a saddhu and a fishmarket in Benares (p. 25 ff), local color which you don't typically find in the YPS series. Hindu technical terms are used correctly (and spelled correctly).

At or about page 88 ('Constructive Idealism') the book veers off into what appears to be New Thought. The second half of the book has a lot more typos, including some spectacular mangling of Hindu proper names, and a lot less italics. My guess is that this is a conflation of a short manuscript written by an Indian, and some 'Mental Focus' lessons that Atkinson recycled from a correspondence course. There is some effort to maintain the Hindu theme in the second half, but by pages 127-8 he's quoting Hiram Butler and William James.

This is not one of the better-known YPS titles; it isn't mentioned on Atkinson's Wikipedia page (at least not at the time I write this). In spite of the big seam running down the middle of this book, there is some good material in here, but it is sort of scattershot.--J.B. Hare, May 23rd, 2008.

Title Page
Chapter I. The Yogi Conception of Life
Chapter II. The Ideal and the Practical
Chapter III. Read and Reflect
Chapter IV. Man: Animal and Divine
Chapter V. Double Consciousness
Chapter VI. Spiritual Unfoldment
Chapter VII. Cause and Effect
Chapter VIII. Man—the Master
Chapter IX. Self-Development
Chapter X. Developing the Spiritual Consciousness
Chapter XI. Who Can Be a Yogi?
Chapter XII. Constructive Idealism
Chapter XIII. Higher Reason and Judgment
Chapter XIV. Conquest of Fear
Chapter XV. The Role of Prayer
Chapter XVI. Thought: Creative and Exhaustive
Chapter XVII. Meditation Exercise
Chapter XVIII. Self-de-Hypnotisation
Chapter XIX. Self-de-Hypnotisation—II
Chapter XX. Character-Building