The contemplation ''Case Closed'' in the Contemplationam series was concluded with the prayer that our cases may be closed.1 The word 'cases' there was used figuratively to refer to the soul-holding bodies.
One may ask what was exactly meant with the expression 'closing the body', and the answer is that it denoted the closing off of the body from the world in which it is placed. In Hinduism ten senses, indriyas, are mentioned, five senses of knowledge, the jnanendriyas, through which the psyche is impressed by the world, and five senses of action, the karmendriyas, through which the psyche expresses itself in the world,2 and the shutting of these may be considered as the closing of the body or the closing of the case.
This corresponds to the phase of pratyahara in the ashtanga or raja yoga of Patanjali.3 In this eightfold yoga pratyahara is preceded by yama (renouncing vice), niyama (conducting virtue), asana (posturing) and pranayama (breathing) and succeeded by dharana (concentration), dhyana (meditation) and samadhi (bliss). Pratyahara therein regards the withdrawing of the senses of perception and the withholding of the senses of action. This shutting off of the senses then enables the raja yogi to shift his attention towards the soul inside. The peripheric body is closed in order to close in to the central soul.
This closing in to the soul is however not the final stage of the path of the mystic. In the first stage the mystic is still in the physical world. In the second stage he is withdrawn from it and has entered the divine world. But in the following third stage the mystic returns from the divine world into the physical world to sanctify it.4
These three moments correspond to the Hegelian threefold archetype of thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis.5 In the first moment the mystic is lost in the physical world on itself (an sich). In the second moment he is taken back from the physical world and placed before himself (für sich). And in the third moment he returns to the physical world again but without losing himself in it (an und für sich).
In this threefold scheme the closing of the body, or the case, is the second moment, the moment where the raja yogi closes his senses off from the world, where the mystic seeks to close in to his soul.
May we thus indeed close off and close in as part of the mystic path.