List Of Contents | Contents of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali by Charles
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seeking for the happiness of the All in some limited part of it, survive
the knowledge that we are heirs of the All. Therefore let thought and
imagination, mind and heart, throw their weight on the other side; the
side, not of the world,.but of the Self.

35. Where non-injury is perfected, all enmity ceases in the presence of
him who possesses it.

We come now to the spiritual powers which result from keeping the
Commandments; from the obedience to spiritual law which is the
keeping of the Commandments. Where the heart is full of kindness
which seeks no injury to another, either in act or thought or wish, this
full love creates an atmosphere of harmony, whose benign power
touches with healing all who come within its influence. Peace in the
heart radiates peace to other hearts, even more surely than contention
breeds contention.

36. When he is perfected in truth, all acts and their fruits depend on

The commentator thus explains: If he who has attained should say to
a man, Become righteous! the man becomes righteous. If he should
say, Gain heaven ! the man gains heaven. His word is not in vain.

Exactly the same doctrine was taught by the Master who said to his
disciples: Receive ye the Holy Ghost: whose soever sins ye re mit they
are remitted unto them; and whose soever sins ye retain, they are

37. Where cessation from theft is perfected, all treasures present
themselves to him who possesses it.

Here is a sentence which may warn us that, beside the outer and
apparent meaning, there is in many of these sentences a second and
finer significance. The obvious meaning is, that he who has wholly
ceased from theft, in act, thought and wish, finds buried treasures in
his path, treasures of jewels and gold and pearls. The deeper truth is,
that he who in every least thing is wholly honest with the spirit of Life,
finds Life supporting him in all things, and gains admittance to the
treasure house of Life, the spiritual universe.

38. For him who is perfect in continence, the reward is valour and

The creative power, strong and full of vigour, is no longer dissipated,
but turned to spiritual uses. It upholds and endows the spiritual man,
conferring on him the creative will, the power to engender spiritual
children instead of bodily progeny. An epoch of life, that of man the
animal, has come to an end; a new epoch, that of the spiritual man, is
opened. The old creative power is superseded and transcended; a new
creative power, that of the spiritual man, takes its place, carrying with
it the power to work creatively in others for righteousness and eternal

One of the commentaries says that he who has attained is able to
transfer to the minds of his disciples what he knows concerning divine
union, and the means of gaining it. This is one of the powers of purity.

39. Where there is firm conquest of covetousness, he who has
conquered it awakes to the how and why of life.

So it is said that, before we can understand the laws of Karma, we
must free ourselves from Karma. The conquest of covetousness brings
this rich fruit, because the root of covetousness is the desire of the
individual soul, the will toward manifested life. And where the desire
of the individual soul is overcome by the superb, still life of the
universal Soul welling up in the heart within, the great secret is
discerned, the secret that the individual soul is not an isolated reality,
but the ray, the manifest instrument of the Life, which turns it this way
and that until the great work is accomplished, the age-long lesson
learned. Thus is the how and why of life disclosed by ceasing from
covetousness. The Commentator says that this includes a knowledge
of one's former births.

40. Through purity a withdrawal from one's own bodily life, a ceasing
from infatuation with the bodily life of others.

As the spiritual light grows in the heart within, as the taste for pure
Life grows stronger, the consciousness opens toward the great, secret
places within, where all life is one, where all lives are one. Thereafter,
this outer, manifested, fugitive life, whether of ourselves or of others,
loses something of its charm and glamour, and we seek rather the
deep infinitudes. Instead of the outer form and surroundings of our
lives, we long for their inner and everlasting essence. We desire not so
much outer converse and closeness to our friends, but rather that quiet
communion with them in the inner chamber of the soul, where spirit
speaks to spirit, and spirit answers; where alienation and separation
never enter; where sickness and sorrow and death cannot come.

41. To the pure of heart come also a quiet spirit, one-pointed thought,
the victory over sensuality, and fitness to behold the Soul.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, who is the
supreme Soul; the ultimate Self of all beings. In the deepest sen se ,
purity means fitness for this vision, and also a heart cleansed from all
disquiet, from all wandering and unbridled thought, from the torment
of sensuous imaginings; and when the spirit is thus cleansed and pure,
it becomes at one in essence with its source, the great Spirit, the
primal Life. One consciousness now thrills through both, for the
psychic partition wall is broken down. Then shall the pure in heart see
God, because they become God.

42. From acceptance, the disciple gains happiness supreme.

One of the wise has said: accept conditions, accept others, accept
yourself. This is the true acceptance, for all these things are what they
are through the will of the higher Self, except their deficiencies, which
come through thwarting the will of the higher Self, and can be
conquered only through compliance with that will. By the true
acceptance, the disciple comes into oneness of spirit with the
overruling Soul; and, since the own nature of the Soul is being,
happiness, bliss, he comes thereby into happiness supreme.

43. The perfection of the powers of the bodily vesture comes through
the wearing away of impurities, and through fervent aspiration.

This is true of the physical powers, and of those which dwell in the
higher vestures. There must be, first, purity; as the blood must be
pure, before one can attain to physical health. But absence of impurity
is not in itself enough, else would many nerveless ascetics of the
cloisters rank as high saints. There is needed, further, a positive fire of
the will; a keen vital vigour for the physical powers, and something
finer, purer, stronger, but of kindred essence, for the higher powers.
The fire of genius is something more than a phrase, for there can be
no genius without the celestial fire of the awakened spiritual will.

44. Through spiritual reading, the disciple gains communion with the
divine Power on which his heart is set.

Spiritual reading meant, for ancient India, something more than it does
with us. It meant, first, the recital of sacred texts, which, in their very
sounds, had mystical potencies; and it meant a recital of texts which
were divinely emanated, and held in themselves the living, potent
essence of the divine.

For us, spiritual reading means a communing with the recorded
teachings of the Masters of wisdom, whereby we read ourselves into
the Master's mind, just as through his music one can enter into the
mind and soul of the master musician. It has been well said that all
true art is contagion of feeling; so that through the true reading of true
books we do indeed read ourselves into the spirit of the Masters, share
in the atmosphere of their wisdom and power, and come at last into
their very presence.

45. Soul-vision is perfected through perfect obedience to the Master.

The sorrow and darkness of life come of the erring personal will
which sets itself against the will of the Soul, the one great Life. The
error of the personal will is inevitable, since each will must be free to
choose, to try and fail, and so to find the path. And sorrow and
darkness are inevitable, until the path be found, and the personal will
made once more one with the greater Will, wherein it finds rest and
power, without losing freedom. In His will is our peace. And with that
peace comes light. Soul-vision is perfected through obedience.

46. Right poise must be firm and without strain. Here we approach a
section of the teaching which has manifestly a two-fold meaning. The
first is physical, and concerns the bodily position of the student, and
the regulation of breathing. These things have their direct influence
upon soul-life, the life of the spiritual man, since it is always and
everywhere true that our study demands a sound mind in a sound
body. The present sentence declares that, for work and for meditation,
the position of the body must be steady and without strain, in order
that the finer currents of life may run their course.

It applies further to the poise of the soul, that fine balance and stability
which nothing can shake, where the consciousness rests on the firm
foundation of spiritual being. This is indeed the house set upon a rock,
which the winds and waves beat upon in vain.

47. Right poise is to be gained by steady and temperate effort, and by
setting the heart upon the everlasting.

Here again, there is the two-fold meaning, for physical poise is to be
gained by steady effort of the muscles, by gradual and wise training,
linked with a right understanding of, and relation with, the universal
force of gravity. Uprightness of body demands that both these
conditions shall be fulfilled.

In like manner the firm and upright poise of the spiritual man is to be
gained by steady and continued effort, always guided by wisdom, and
by setting the heart on the Eternal, filling the soul with the atmosphere
of the spiritual world. Neither is effective without the other.
Aspiration without effort brings weakness; effort without aspiration
brings a false strength, not resting on enduring things. The two
together make for the right poise which sets the spiritual man firmly
and steadfastly on his feet.

48 The fruit of right poise is the strength to resist the shocks of
infatuation or sorrow.

In the simpler physical sense, which is also coveted by the wording of
the original, this sentence means that wise effort establishes such
bodily poise that the accidents of life cannot disturb it, as the captain
remains steady, though disaster overtake his ship.

But the deeper sense is far more important. The spiritual man, too,
must learn to withstand all shocks, to remain steadfast through the
perturbations of external things and the storms and whirlwinds of the
psychical world. This is the power which is gained by wise,
continuous effort, and by filling the spirit with the atmosphere of the

49. When this is gained, there follows the right guidance of the
life-currents, the control of the incoming and outgoing breath.

It is well understood to-day that most of our maladies come from
impure conditions of the blood. It is coming to be understood that
right breathing, right oxygenation, will do very much to keep the
blood clean and pure. Therefore a right knowledge of breathing is a
part of the science of life.

But the deeper meaning is, that the spiritual man, when he has gained
poise through right effort and aspiration, can stand firm, and guide the
currents of his life, both the incoming current of events, and the
outgoing current of his acts.

Exactly the same symbolism is used in the saying: Not that which
goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but that which cometh out of the
mouth, this defileth a man.... Those things which proceed out of the
mouth come forth from the heart . . out of the heart proceed evil
thoughts, murders, uncleanness, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.
Therefore the first step in purification is to keep the Commandments.

50. The life-current is either outward, or inward, or balanced; it ;is
regulated according to place, time, number; it is prolonged and subtle.
The technical, physical side of this has its value. In the breath, there
should be right inbreathing, followed by the period of pause, when the
air comes into contact with the blood, and this again followed by right
outbreathing, even, steady, silent. Further, the lungs should be evenly
filled; many maladies may arise from the neglect and consequent
weakening of some region of the lungs. And the number of breaths is
so important, so closely related to health, that every nurse's chart
records it.

But the deeper meaning is concerned with the currents of life; with
that which goeth into and cometh out of the heart.

51. The fourth degree transcends external and internal objects.

The inner meaning seems to be that, in addition to the three degrees
of control already described, control, that is, over the incoming
current of life, over the outgoing current, and over the condition of
pause or quiesence, there is a fourth degree of control, which holds in
complete mastery both the outer passage of events and the inner
currents of thoughts and emotions; a condition of perfect poise and
stability in the midst of the flux of things outward and inward.

52. Thereby is worn away the veil which covers up the light.

The veil is the psychic nature, the web of emotions, desires,
argumentative trains of thought, which cover up and obscure the truth
by absorbing the entire attention and keeping the consciousness in the
psychic realm. When hopes and fears are reckoned at their true worth,
in comparison with lasting possessions of the Soul; when the outer
reflections of things have ceased to distract us from inner realities;
when argumentative - thought no longer entangles us, but yields its
place to flashing intuition, the certainty which springs from within;
then is the veil worn away, the consciousness is drawn from the
psychical to the spiritual, from the temporal to the Eternal. Then is the
light unveiled.

53. Thence comes the mind's power to hold itself in the light.

It has been well said, that what we most need is the faculty of spiritual
attention; and in the same direction of thought it has been eloquently
declared that prayer does not consist in our catching God's attention,
but rather in our allowing God to hold our attention.

The vital matter is, that we need to disentangle our consciousness
from the noisy and perturbed thraldom of the psychical, and to come
to consciousness as the spiritual man. This we must do, first, by
purification, through the Commandments and the Rules; and, second,
through the faculty of spiritual attention, by steadily heeding endless
fine intimations of the spiritual power within us, and by intending our
consciousness thereto; thus by degrees transferring the centre of
consciousness from the psychical to the spiritual. It is a question, first,
of love, and then of attention.

54. The right Withdrawal is the disengaging of the powers from
entanglement in outer things, as the psychic nature has been
withdrawn and stilled.

To understand this, let us reverse the process, and think of the one
consciousness, centred in the Soul, gradually expanding and taking on

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