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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 2 - The Steps to Union
43. Through fiery aspiration and through the removal of all impurity, comes the perfecting of the bodily powers and of the senses.

Though the two causes of the perfecting process are aspiration and purification, yet these two form really only one and are the two aspects of the discipline of the Probationary Path. The old commentary which forms the esoteric basis of the inner teaching on Raja Yoga has some sentences which will be found of value here in conveying the correct concept:

"As the breath of fire streams upward through the system, as the fiery element makes its presence felt, that which is hindering is seen to disappear, and that which was obscure becomes illuminated.

The fire ascends and barriers are burned; the breath expands, and limitations disappear. The seven, hitherto quiescent, stir to life. The ten portals, sealed and closed or partially ajar, swing wide.

The five great means of contact rush into activity. Obstacles are overcome, and barriers no longer hinder. The purified one becomes the great receiver and the One is known."

In these words the purification by fire and by air is dealt with and this is the purification undergone on the path of yoga. Purification by water has been submitted to in the later stages of the life of the highly evolved man, prior to treading the Path of Discipleship, and is hinted at in the words "waters of sorrow" so often used. Now the fiery ordeal is undergone and the entire lower nature is passed through the fire. This is the first meaning and the one with which the aspirant [209] is most concerned. It is called forth when he can, from his heart, send forth the call for fire, embodied in the words:

'I seek the Way; I yearn to know. Visions I see, and fleeting deep impressions. Behind the Portal, on the other side, lies that which I call home, for the circle hath been well-nigh trod, and the end approacheth the beginning.

I seek the Way. All ways my feet have trod. The Way of Fire calls me with fierce appeal. Naught in me seeks the way of peace; naught in me yearns for earth.

Let the fire rage, the flames devour; let all the dross be burnt; and let me enter through that Gate, and tread the Way of Fire."

The breath of God is felt as the cleansing breeze also and is the response of the soul to the aspiration of the disciple. The soul then "inspires" the lower man.

The secondary meaning has of course direct reference to the work of the kundalini or serpent fire at the base of the spine as it responds to the soul vibration (felt in the head, in the region of the pineal gland, and called "the light in the head"). Mounting upward, it burns out all obstructions in the spinal etheric channel and vitalizes or electrifies the five centers up the spine and the two in the head. The vital airs within the ventricles of the head are also swept into activity and produce a cleansing, or rather eliminating effect therein. With this the student has as yet nothing to do, beyond seeing to it that as far as in him lies, the aspiration of his heart is of the needed "fiery" character, and that the steady purification of his physical, emotional and mental [210] nature, proceeds as desired. When this is the case, the response of the soul will be effective and the consequent reactions within the etheric centers will take place safely, under law, and normally.

The three verses quoted above deal with,

  1. The seven centers, hitherto quiescent,
  2. The ten closed portals, the ten orifices of the physical body,
  3. The five senses, through which contact with the physical plane takes place,

and in these terms the entire outgoing and ingoing activities of the physical plane man are comprehended.

When these have all been brought under the direction of the soul, or inner ruler, then unity with the soul is effected, and consequently identification with that one in whom we live and move and have our being.

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