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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 2 - The Steps to Union
18. That which is perceived has three qualities, sattva, rajas and tamas (rhythm, mobility and inertia); it consists of the elements and the sense organs. The use of these produces experience and eventual liberation.

This is one of the most important sutras in the book for in a few concise words we have summed [154] up for us the nature of substance, its constitution, its purpose and reason. Much time might be given to a consideration of each sentence, and the words, "the qualities," "the elements," "the senses," "evolution" and "liberation" express the sum total of the factors concerned in the growth of man. These five are that with which the human unit is the most concerned and cover his career from the moment when he first took incarnation and throughout the long cycle of lives until he passes through the various gates of initiation out into the larger life of the cosmos.

First inertia distinguishes him, and his forms are of so heavy and gross a nature that many and violent contacts are needed before he becomes aware of his surroundings and later intelligently appreciates them. The great elements of earth, water, fire and air play their part in the building of his forms and are incorporated into his very being. His various sense organs slowly become active; first, the five senses and then when the second quality of rajas or activity is firmly established, the sixth sense or the mind begins to develop also. Later he begins to perceive in all around him in the phenomenal world, the same qualities and elements as in himself, and his knowledge rapidly grows. From that he passes to a distinction between himself as the Perceiver and that which he perceives as his forms and their world of being. The sixth sense becomes increasingly dominant and is eventually controlled by the true man who passes then into the sattvic state where he is harmonized in himself and [155] consequently with all around him. His manifestation is rhythmic and in tune with the great whole. He looks on at the spectacle and sees to it that those forms through which he is active in the world of phenomena are duly controlled and that all his activities are in harmony with the great plan.

When this is so, he is part of the whole yet freed and liberated from the control of the world of form, of the elements and of the senses. He uses them; they no longer use him.

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