List Of Contents | Contents of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Charles
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this means jarring discord and inevitable death. But the psychical self
will breed a new psychical self, in a new birth, and so new sorrows in
a life not yet manifest.

13. From this root there grow and ripen the fruits of birth, of the
life-span, of all that is tasted in life.

Fully to comment on this, would be to write a treatise on Karma and
its practical working in detail, whereby the place and time of the next
birth, its content and duration. are determined; and to do this the
present commentator is in no wise fitted. But this much is clearly
understood: that, through a kind of spiritual gravitation, the
incarnating self is drawn to a home and life-circle which will give it
scope and discipline; and its need of discipline is clearly conditioned
by its character, its standing, its accomplishment.

14. These bear fruits of rejoicing, or of affliction, as they are sprung
from holy or unholy works.

Since holiness is obedience to divine law, to the law of divine
harmony, and obedience to harmony strengthens that harmony in the
soul, which is the one true joy, therefore joy comes of holiness:
comes, indeed, in no other way. And as unholiness is disobedience,
and therefore discord, therefore unholiness makes for pain; and this
two-fold law is true, whether the cause take effect in this, or in a yet
unmanifested birth.

15. To him who possesses discernment, all personal life is misery,
because it ever waxes and wanes, is ever afflicted with restlessness,
makes ever new dynamic impresses in the mind; and because all its
activities war with each other.

The whole life of the psychic self is misery, because it ever waxes and
wanes; because birth brings inevitable death; because there is no
expectation without its shadow, fear. The life of the psychic self is
misery, because it is afflicted with restlessness; so that he who has
much, finds not satisfaction, but rather the whetted hunger for more.
The fire is not quenched by pouring oil on it; so desire is not quenched
by the satisfaction of desire. Again, the life of the psychic self is
misery, because it makes ever new dynamic impresses in the mind;
because a desire satisfied is but the seed from which springs the desire
to find like satisfaction again. The appetite comes in eating, as the
proverb says, and grows by what it feeds on. And the psychic self,
torn with conflicting desires, is ever the house divided against itself,
which must surely fall.

16. This pain is to be warded off, before it has come.

In other words, we cannot cure the pains of life by laying on them any
balm. We must cut the root, absorption in the psychical self. So it is
said, there is no cure for the misery of longing, but to fix the heart
upon the eternal.

17. The cause of what is to be warded off, is the absorption of the
Seer in things seen.

Here again we have the fundamental idea of the Sankhya, which is the
intellectual counterpart of the Yoga system. The cause of what is to
be warded off, the root of misery, is the absorption of consciousness
in the psychical man and the things which beguile the psychical man.
The cure is liberation.

18. Things seen have as their property manifestation, action, inertia.
They form the basis of the elements and the sense-powers. They make
for experience and for liberation.

Here is a whole philosophy of life. Things seen, the total of the
phenomena], possess as their property, manifestation, action, inertia:
the qualities of force and matter in combination. These, in their
grosser form, make the material world; in their finer, more subjective
form, they make the psychical world, the world of sense-impressions
and mind-images. And through this totality of the phenomenal, the
soul gains experience, and is prepared for liberation. In other words,
the whole outer world exists for the purposes of the soul, and finds in
this its true reason for being.

19. The grades or layers of the Three Potencies are the defined, the
undefined, that with distinctive mark, that without distinctive mark.

Or, as we might say, there are two strata of the physical, and two
strata of the psychical realms. In each, there is the side of form, and
the side of force. The form side of the physical is here called the
defined. The force side of the physical is the undefined, that which has
no boundaries. So in the psychical; there is the form side; that with
distinctive marks, such as the characteristic features of mind-images;
and there is the force side, without distinctive marks, such as the
forces of desire or fear, which may flow now to this mind-image, now
to that.

20. The Seer is pure vision. Though pure, he looks out through the
vesture of the mind.

The Seer, as always, is the spiritual man whose deepest consciousness
is pure vision, the pure life of the eternal. But the spiritual man, as yet
unseeing in his proper person, looks out on the world through the eyes
of the psychical man, by whom he is enfolded and enmeshed. The task
is, to set this prisoner free, to clear the dust of ages from this buried

21. The very essence of things seen is, that they exist for the Seer.

The things of outer life, not only material things, but the psychic man
also, exist in very deed for the purposes of the Seer, the Soul, the
spiritual man Disaster comes, when the psychical man sets up, so to
speak, on his own account, trying to live for himself alone, and taking
material things to solace his loneliness.

22. Though fallen away from him who has reached the goal, things
seen have not alto fallen away, since they still exist for others.

When one of us conquers hate, hate does not thereby cease out of the
world, since others still hate and suffer hatred. So with other
delusions, which hold us in bondage to material things, and through
which we look at all material things. When the coloured veil of illusion
is gone, the world which we saw through it is also gone, for now we
see life as it is, in the white radiance of eternity. But for others the
coloured veil remains, and therefore the world thus coloured by it
remains for them, and will remain till they, too, conquer delusion.

23. The association of the Seer with things seen is the cause of the
realizing of the nature of things seen, and also of the realizing of the
nature of the Seer.

Life is educative. All life's infinite variety is for discipline, for the
development of the soul. So passing through many lives, the Soul
learns the secrets of the world, the august laws that are written in the
form of the snow-crystal or the majestic order of the stars. Yet all
these laws are but reflections, but projections outward, of the laws of
the soul; therefore in learning these, the soul learns to know itself. All
life is but the mirror wherein the Soul learns to know its own face.

24. The cause of this association is the darkness of unwisdom.

The darkness of unwisdom is the absorption of consciousness in the
personal life, and in the things seen by the personal life. This is the fall,
through which comes experience, the learning of the lessons of life.
When they are learned, the day of redemption is at hand.

25. The bringing of this association to an end, by bringing the
darkness of unwisdom to an end, is the great liberation; this is the
Seer's attainment of his own pure being.

When the spiritual man has, through the psychical, learned all life's
lessons, the time has come for him to put off the veil and disguise of
the psychical and to stand revealed a King, in the house of the Father.
So shall he enter into his kingdom, and go no more out.

26. A discerning which is carried on without wavering is the means of

Here we come close to the pure Vedanta, with its discernment
between the eternal and the temporal. St. Paul, following after Philo
and Plato, lays down the same fundamental principle: the things seen
are temporal, the things unseen are eternal.

Patanjali means something more than an intellectual assent, though
this too is vital. He has in view a constant discriminating in act as well
as thought; of the two ways which present themselves for every deed
or choice, always to choose the higher way, that which makes for the
things eternal: honesty rather than roguery, courage and not
cowardice, the things of another rather than one's own, sacrifice and
not indulgence. This true discernment, carried out constantly, makes
for liberation.

27. His illuminations is sevenfold, rising In successive stages.

Patanjali's text does not tell us what the seven stages of this
illumination are. The commentator thus describes them;

First, the danger to be escaped is recognized; it need not be
recognized a second time. Second, the causes of the danger to be
escaped are worn away; they need not be worn away a second time.
Third, the way of escape is clearly perceived, by the contemplation
which checks psychic perturbation. Fourth, the means of escape, clear
discernment, has been developed. This is the fourfold release
belonging to insight. The final release from the psychic is three-fold:
As fifth of the seven degrees, the dominance of its thinking is ended;
as sixth, its potencies, like rocks from a precipice, fall of themselves;
once dissolved, they do not grow again. Then, as seventh, freed from
these potencies, the spiritual man stands forth in his own nature as
purity and light. Happy is the spiritual man who beholds this
seven-fold illumination in its ascending stages.

28. From steadfastly following after the means of Yoga, until impurity
is worn away, there comes the illumination of thought up to full

Here, we enter on the more detailed practical teaching of Patanjali,
with its sound and luminous good sense. And when we come to detail
the means of Yoga, we may well be astonished at their simplicity.
There is little in them that is mysterious. They are very familiar. The
essence of the matter lies in carrying them out.

29. The eight means of Yoga are: the Commandments, the Rules,
right Poise, right Control of the life-force, Withdrawal, Attention,
Meditation, Contemplation.

These eight means are to be followed in their order, in the sense which
will immediately be made clear. We can get a ready understanding of
the first two by comparing them with the Commandments which must
be obeyed by all good citizens, and the Rules which are laid on the
members of religious orders. Until one has fulfilled the first, it is futile
to concern oneself with the second. And so with all the means of
Yoga. They must be taken in their order.

30. The Commandments are these: nom injury, truthfulness, abstaining
from stealing, from impurity, from covetousness.

These five precepts are almost exactly the same as the Buddhist
Commandments: not to kill, not to steal, not to be guilty of
incontinence, not to drink intoxicants, to speak the truth. Almost
identical is St. Paul's list: Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt
not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet. And in the same
spirit is the answer made to the young map having great possessions,
who asked, What shall I do to be saved? and received the reply: Keep
the Commandments.

This broad, general training, which forms and develops human
character, must be accomplished to a very considerable degree, before
there can be much hope of success in the further stages of spiritual
life. First the psychical, and then the spiritual. First the man, then the
angel. On this broad, humane and wise foundation does the system of
Patanjali rest.

31. The Commandments, not limited to any race, place, time or
occasion, universal, are the great obligation.

The Commandments form the broad general training of humanity.
Each one of them rests on a universal, spiritual law. Each one of them
expresses an attribute or aspect of the Self, the Eternal; when we
violate one of the Commandments, we set ourselves against the law
and being of the Eternal, thereby bringing ourselves to inevitable con
fusion. So the first steps in spiritual life must be taken by bringing
ourselves into voluntary obedience to these spiritual laws and thus
making ourselves partakers of the spiritual powers, the being of the
Eternal Like the law of gravity, the need of air to breathe, these great
laws know no exceptions They are in force in all lands, throughout al
times, for all mankind.

32. The Rules are these: purity, serenity fervent aspiration, spiritual
reading, and per feet obedience to the Master.

Here we have a finer law, one which humanity as a whole is less ready
for, less fit to obey. Yet we can see that these Rules are the same in
essence as the Commandments, but on a higher, more spiritual plane.
The Commandments may be obeyed in outer acts and abstinences; the
Rules demand obedience of the heart and spirit, a far more awakened
and more positive consciousness. The Rules are the spiritual
counterpart of the Commandments, and they have finer degrees, for
more advanced spiritual growth.

33. When transgressions hinder, the weight of the imagination should
be thrown' on the opposite side.

Let us take a simple case, that of a thief, a habitual criminal, who has
drifted into stealing in childhood, before the moral consciousness has
awakened. We may imprison such a thief, and deprive him of all
possibility of further theft, or of using the divine gift of will. Or we
may recognize his disadvantages, and help him gradually to build up
possessions which express his will, and draw forth his self-respect. If
we imagine that, after he has built well, and his possessions have
become dear to him, he himself is robbed, then we can see how he
would come vividly to realize the essence of theft and of honesty, and
would cleave to honest dealings with firm conviction. In some such
way does the great Law teach us. Our sorrows and losses teach us the
pain of the sorrow and loss we inflict on others, and so we cease to
inflict them.

Now as to the more direct application. To conquer a sin. let heart and
mind rest, not on the sin, but on the contrary virtue. Let the sin be
forced out by positive growth in the true direction, not by direct
opposition. Turn away from the sin and go forward courageously,
constructively, creatively, in well-doing. In this way the whole nature
will gradually be drawn up to the higher level, on which the sin does
not even exist. The conquest of a sin is a matter of growth and
evolution, rather than of opposition.

34. Transgressions are injury, falsehood, theft, incontinence, envy;
whether committed, or caused, or assented to, through greed, wrath,
or infatuation; whether faint, or middling, or excessive; bearing
endless, fruit of ignorance and pain. Therefore must the weight be cast
on the other side.

Here are the causes of sin: greed, wrath, infatuation, with their effects,
ignorance and pain. The causes are to be cured by better wisdom, by
a truer understanding of the Self, of Life. For greed cannot endure
before the realization that the whole world belongs to the Self, which
Self we are; nor can we hold wrath against one who is one with the
Self, and therefore with ourselves; nor can infatuation, which is the

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