List Of Contents | Contents of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Charles
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Therefore there is a spiritual consciousness higher than this. For those
of weak will, there is this counsel: to be faithful in obedience, to live
the life, and thus to strengthen the will to more perfect obedience. The
will is not ours, but God's, and we come into it only through
obedience. As we enter into the spirit of God, we are permitted to
share the power of God.

 Higher than the three stages of the way is the goal, the end of the

23. Or spiritual consciousness may be gained by ardent service of the

If we think of our lives as tasks laid on us by the Master of Life, if we
look on all duties as parts of that Master's work, entrusted to us, and
forming our life-work; then, if we obey, promptly, loyally, sincerely,
we shall enter by degrees into the Master's life and share the Master's
power. Thus we shall be initiated into the spiritual will.

24. The Master is the spiritual man, who s free from hindrances,
bondage to works, and the fruition and seed of works.

The Soul of the Master, the Lord, is of the same nature as the soul in
us; but we still bear the burden of many evils, we are in bondage
through our former works, we are under the dominance of sorrow.
The Soul of the Master is free from sin and servitude and sorrow.

25. In the Master is the perfect seed of Omniscience.

The Soul of the Master is in essence one with the Oversoul, and
therefore partaker of the Oversoul's all-wisdom and all-power. All
spiritual attainment rests on this, and is possible because the soul and
the Oversoul are One.

26. He is the Teacher of all who have gone before, since he is not
limited by Time.

From the beginning, the Oversoul has been the Teacher of all souls,
which, by their entrance into the Oversoul, by realizing their oneness
with the Oversoul, have inherited the kingdom of the Light. For the
Oversoul is before Time, and Time, father of all else, is one of His

27. His word is OM.

OM: the symbol of the Three in One, the three worlds in the Soul; the
three times, past, present, future, in Eternity; the three Divine Powers,
Creation, Preservation, Transformation, in the one Being; the three
essences, immortality, omniscience, joy, in the one Spirit. This is the
Word, the Symbol, of the Master and Lord, the perfected Spiritual

28. Let there be soundless repetition of OM and meditation thereon.

This has many meanings, in ascending degrees. There is, first, the
potency of the word itself, as of all words. Then there is the manifold
significance of the symbol, as suggested above. Lastly, there is the
spiritual realization of the high essences thus symbolized. Thus we rise
step by step to the Eternal.

29. Thence come the awakening of interior consciousness, and the
removal of barriers.

Here again faith must be supplemented by works, the life must be led
as well as studied, before the full meaning can be understood. The
awakening of spiritual consciousness can only be understood in
measure as it is entered. It can only be entered where the conditions
are present: purity of heart, and strong aspiration, and the resolute
conquest of each sin.

This, however, may easily be understood: that the recognition of the
three worlds as resting in the Soul leads us to realize ourselves and all
life as of the Soul; that, as we dwell, not in past, present or future, but
in the Eternal, we become more at one with the Eternal; that, as we
view all organization, preservation, mutation as the work of the Divine
One, we shall come more into harmony with the One, and thus remove
the barrier' in our path toward the Light.

In the second part of the first book, the problem of the emergence of
the spiritual man is further dealt with. We are led to the consideration
of the barriers to his emergence, of the overcoming of the barriers,
and of certain steps and stages in the ascent from the ordinary
consciousness of practical life, to the finer, deeper, radiant
consciousness of the spiritual man.

30. The barriers to interior consciousness, which drive the psychic
nature this way and that, are these: sickness, inertia, doubt,
lightmindedness, laziness, intemperance, false notions, inability to
reach a stage of meditation, or to hold it when reached.

We must remember that we are considering the spiritual man as
enwrapped and enmeshed by the psychic nature, the emotional and
mental powers; and as unable to come to clear consciousness, unable
to stand and see clearly, because of the psychic veils of the
personality. Nine of these are enumerated, and they go pretty
thoroughly into the brute toughness of the psychic nature.

Sickness is included rather for its effect on the emotions and mind,
since bodily infirmity, such as blindness or deafness, is no insuperable
barrier to spiritual life, and may sometimes be a help, as cutting off
distractions. It will be well for us to ponder over each of these nine
activities, thinking of each as a psychic state, a barrier to the interior
consciousness of the spiritual man.

31. Grieving, despondency, bodily restless ness, the drawing in and
sending forth of the life-breath also contribute to drive the psychic
nature to and fro.

The first two moods are easily understood. We can well see bow a
sodden psychic condition, flagrantly opposed to the pure and positive
joy of spiritual life, would be a barrier. The next, bodily restlessness,
is in a special way the fault of our day and generation. When it is
conquered, mental restlessness will be half conquered, too.

The next two terms, concerning the life breath, offer some difficulty.
The surface meaning is harsh and irregular breathing; the deeper
meaning is a life of harsh and irregular impulses.

32. Steady application to a principle is the way to put a stop to these.

The will, which, in its pristine state, was full of vigour, has been
steadily corrupted by self-indulgence, the seeking of moods and
sensations for sensation's sake. Hence come all the morbid and sickly
moods of the mind. The remedy is a return to the pristine state of the
will, by vigorous, positive effort; or, as we are here told, by steady
application to a principle. The principle to which we should thus
steadily apply ourselves should be one arising from the reality of
spiritual life; valorous work for the soul, in others as in ourselves.

33. By sympathy with the happy, compassion for the sorrowful,
delight in the holy, disregard of the unholy, the psychic nature moves
to gracious peace.

When we are wrapped up in ourselves, shrouded with the cloak of our
egotism, absorbed in our pains and bitter thoughts, we are not willing
to disturb or strain our own sickly mood by giving kindly sympathy to
the happy, thus doubling their joy, or by showing compassion for the
sad, thus halving their sorrow. We refuse to find delight in holy things,
and let the mind brood in sad pessimism on unholy things. All these
evil psychic moods must be conquered by strong effort of will. This
rending of the veils will reveal to us something of the grace and peace
which are of the interior consciousness of the spiritual man.

34. Or peace may be reached by the even sending f orth and control
of the life-breath.

Here again we may look for a double meaning: first, that even and
quiet breathing which is a part of the victory over bodily restlessness;
then the even and quiet tenor of life, without harsh or dissonant
impulses, which brings stillness to the heart.

35. Faithful, persistent application to any object, if completely
attained, will bind the mind to steadiness.

We are still considering how to overcome the wavering and
perturbation of the psychic nature, which make it quite unfit to
transmit the inward consciousness and stillness. We are once more
told to use the will, and to train it by steady and persistent work: by
"sitting close" to our work, in the phrase of the original.

36. As also will a joyful, radiant spirit.

There is no such illusion as gloomy pessimism, and it has been truly
said that a man's cheerfulness is the measure of his faith. Gloom,
despondency, the pale cast of thought, are very amenable to the will.
Sturdy and courageous effort will bring a clear and valorous mind.
But it must always be remembered that this is not for solace to the
personal man, but is rather an offering to the ideal of spiritual life, a
contribution to the universal and universally shared treasure in heaven.

37. Or the purging of self-indulgence from the psychic nature.

We must recognize that the fall of man is a reality, exemplified in our
own persons. We have quite other sins than the animals, and far more
deleterious; and they have all come through self-indulgence, with
which our psychic natures are soaked through and through. As we
climbed down hill for our pleasure, so must we climb up again for our
purification and restoration to our former high estate. The process is
painful, perhaps, yet indispensable.

38. Or a pondering on the perceptions gained in dreams and dreamless

For the Eastern sages, dreams are, it is true, made up of images of
waking life, reflections of what the eyes have seen and the ears heard.
But dreams are something more, for the images are in a sense real,
objective on their own plane; and the knowledge that there is another
world, even a dream-world, lightens the tyranny of material life. Much
of poetry and art is such a solace from dreamland. But there is more
in dream, for it may image what is above, as well as what is below; not
only the children of men, but also the children by the shore of the
immortal sea that brought us hither, may throw their images on this
magic mirror: so, too, of the secrets of dreamless sleep with its pure
vision, in even greater degree.

39. Or meditative brooding on what is dearest to the heart.

Here is a thought which our own day is beginning to grasp: that love
is a form of knowledge; that we truly know any thing or any person,
by becoming one therewith, in love. Thus love has a wisdom that the
mind cannot claim, and by this hearty love, this becoming one with
what is beyond our personal borders, we may take a long step toward
freedom. Two directions for this may be suggested: the pure love of
the artist for his work, and the earnest, compassionate search into the
hearts of others.

40. Thus he masters all, from the atom to the Infinite.

Newton was asked how he made his discoveries. By intending my
mind on them, he replied. This steady pressure, this becoming one
with what we seek to understand, whether it be atom or soul, is the
one means to know. When we become a thing, we really know it, not
otherwise. Therefore live the life, to know the doctrine; do the will of
the Father, if you would know the Father.

41. When the perturbations of the psychic nature have all been stilled,
then the consciousness, like a pure crystal, takes the colour of what it
rests on, whether that be the perceiver, perceiving, or the thing

This is a fuller expression of the last Sutra, and is so lucid that
comment can hardly add to it. Everything is either perceiver,
perceiving, or the thing perceived; or, as we might say, consciousness,
force, or matter. The sage tells us that the one key will unlock the
secrets of all three, the secrets of consciousness, force and matter
alike. The thought is, that the cordial sympathy of a gentle heart,
intuitively understanding the hearts of others, is really a manifestation
of the same power as that penetrating perception whereby one divines
the secrets of planetary motions or atomic structure.

42. When the consciousness, poised in perceiving, blends together the
name, the object dwelt on and the idea, this is perception with exterior

In the first stage of the consideration of an external object, the
perceiving mind comes to it, preoccupied by the name and idea
conventionally associated with that object. For example, in coming to
the study of a book, we think of the author, his period, the school to
which he belongs. The second stage, set forth in the next Sutra, goes
directly to the spiritual meaning of the book, setting its traditional
trappings aside and finding its application to our own experience and

The commentator takes a very simple illustration: a cow, where one
considers, in the first stage, the name of the cow, the animal itself and
the idea of a cow in the mind. In the second stage, one pushes these
trappings aside and, entering into the inmost being of the cow, shares
its consciousness, as do some of the artists who paint cows. They get
at the very life of what they study and paint.

43. When the object dwells in the mind, clear of memory-pictures,
uncoloured by the mind, as a pure luminous idea, this is perception
without exterior or consideration.

We are still considering external, visible objects. Such perception as
is here described is of the nature of that penetrating vision whereby
Newton, intending his mind on things, made his discoveries, or that
whereby a really great portrait painter pierces to the soul of him whom
he paints, and makes that soul live on canvas. These stages of
perception are described in this way, to lead the mind up to an
understanding of the piercing soul-vision of the spiritual man, the

44. The same two steps, when referring to things of finer substance,
are said to be with, or without, judicial action of the mind.

We now come to mental or psychical objects: to images in the mind.
It is precisely by comparing, arranging and superposing these
mind-images that we get our general notions or concepts. This
process of analysis and synthesis, whereby we select certain qualities
in a group of mind-images, and then range together those of like
quality, is the judicial action of the mind spoken of. But when we
exercise swift divination upon the mind images, as does a poet or a
man of genius., then we use a power higher than the judicial, and one
nearer to the keen vision of the spiritual man.

45. Subtle substance rises in ascending degrees, to that pure nature
which has no distinguishing mark.

As we ascend from outer material things which are permeated by
separateness, and whose chief characteristic is to be separate, just as
so many pebbles are separate from each other; as we ascend, first, to
mind-images, which overlap and coalesce in both space and time, and
then to ideas and principles, we finally come to purer essences,
drawing ever nearer and nearer to unity. 

Or we may illustrate this principle thus. Our bodily, external selves are
quite distinct and separate, in form, name, place, substance; our
mental selves, of finer substance, meet and part, meet and part again,
in perpetual concussion and interchange; our spiritual selves attain
true consciousness through unity, where the partition wall between us
and the Highest, between us and others, is broken down and we are
all made perfect in the One. The highest riches are possessed by all
pure souls, only when united. Thus we rise from separation to true
individuality in unity.

46. The above are the degrees of limited and conditioned spiritual

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