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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 2 - The Steps to Union
13. So long as the roots (or samkaras) exist, their fruition will be birth, life, and experiences resulting in pleasure or pain.

The predominant work of the occult student is the manipulation of force, and the entering of that world wherein forces are actively set in motion which result in phenomenal effects. He has to study and comprehend practically and intelligently the working of the law of Cause and Effect, and he leaves off dealing with effects and centers his attention on their producing causes. In relation to himself, he comes to realize that the primary cause of the phenomenon of his objective existence in the three worlds is the ego itself, and that the secondary causes are the aggregate of those fundamental egoic impulses which have led to the development of response to sense contacts on the three planes. These impulses have produced effects which (being under the law) must work out into objectivity on the physical plane. Therefore there is much importance attached to the necessity for establishing direct egoic contact, via the thread or sutratma, for only in this way can the aspirant ascertain the causes lying back of the present manifestations of his life, or begin to deal with the samkaras or seeds of his future activities. These seeds are kama-manasic (or partially emotional and partially mental) in nature, for desire is potent in its effects and produces the physical vehicle in its two aspects.

  1. Lower manas, or concrete mind is the basic factor in the production of the etheric body. [145]
  2. Kama, or desire is the prime factor in calling the dense physical vehicle into being.

The two together are responsible for manifested existence.

It is well known that the tree of life is depicted with the roots above and the flowering leaves downwards. In the tiny tree of life of the ego the same symbolic presentation holds true. The roots are found on the mental plane. The flowering forth into objectivity and fruition is to be seen on the physical plane. Therefore it is necessary for the aspirant to lay the axe to the root of the tree, or to deal with the thoughts and desires which produce the physical body. He must enter the subjective realm if he wants to deal with that which will continue to keep him on the wheel of rebirth. When the seeds are eradicated, fruition is not possible. When the root is separated from its externalities on any of the three planes, then the life-energy no longer flows downwards. The three words birth, life and experience sum up human existence, its object, method and goal and with them we need not deal. The whole subject of karma (or the law of Cause and Effect) is dealt with in this sutra, and is of too vast a subject to be enlarged upon here. Suffice it to say that, from the standpoint of the Yoga Sutras, karma is of three kinds:

  1. Latent Karma. Those seeds and causes which are yet undeveloped and inactive and must work out to fruition in some part of the present or subsequent lives.
  2. Active Karma. Those seeds or causes [146] which are in process of fruition and for which the present life is intended to provide the needed soil for the flowering forth.
  3. New Karma. Those seeds or causes which are being produced in this life, and which must inevitably govern the circumstances of some future life.

The beginner in this science of yoga can begin dealing with his active karma, interpreting each life-event and every circumstance as providing conditions wherein he can work off a certain specified series of effects. He can endeavor so to watch his thoughts that new seeds are not sown so that no future karma can be brought to fruition in some later life.

The seeds of latent karma are more difficult for the neophyte to work with and it is here that his Master can help him - manipulating his circumstances and dealing with his surroundings in the three worlds in order that this type of karma may more quickly work out and be done with.

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