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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 2 - The Steps to Union
28. When the means to Yoga have been steadily practised and when impurity has been overcome, enlightenment takes place leading up to full illumination.

We now come to the practical part of the book, wherein instruction is given as to the method to pursue if full yoga, union, or at-one-ment is to be achieved. The work might be described as twofold:

  1. The practice of the right means whereby union is brought about,
  2. The discipline of the lower threefold man so that impurity in any of the three bodies is eradicated.

This steadfast application to the twofold work produces two corresponding results, each dependent upon its cause:

  1. Discrimination becomes possible. The practice of the means, leads the aspirant to a scientific understanding of the distinction existing between the self and the not-self, between spirit and matter. This knowledge is no longer theoretical and that to which the man aspires, but is a fact in the experience of the disciple and one upon which he bases all his subsequent activities.
  2. Discernment takes place. As the purificatory process is carried on, the sheaths or bodies which veil the reality become attenuated and no longer act as thick veils, hiding the soul, and the world wherein the soul normally moves. The aspirant becomes aware of a part of himself, [179] hitherto hidden and unknown. He approaches the heart of the mystery of himself and draws closer to the "Angel of the Presence" which can only be truly seen at initiation. He discerns a new factor and a new world and seeks to make them his own in conscious experience upon the physical plane.

It should be noted here that the two causes of revelation, the practice of the eight means to yoga and the purification of the life in the three worlds, deal with the man from the standpoint of the three worlds and bring about (in the man's physical brain) the power to discriminate between the real and the unreal and to discern the things of the spirit. They cause also certain changes of conditions within the head, reorganize the vital airs and act directly upon the pineal gland and the pituitary body. When these four:

  1. Practise,
  2. Purification,
  3. Discrimination,
  4. Discernment,

are part of the life of the physical plane man, then the spiritual man, the ego or thinker on his own plane attends to his part of the liberating process and the final two stages are brought about from above downwards. This sixfold process is the correspondence upon the Path of Discipleship, of the individualizing process, wherein animal man, the lower quaternary (physical, etheric, astral and lower mental) received that twofold expression of spirit, atma-buddhi, spiritual will and spiritual love, which completed him and made him [180] truly man. The two stages of development which are brought about by the ego within the purified and earnest aspirant, are:

1. Enlightenment. The light in the head, which is at first but a spark, is fanned to a flame which illumines all things and is fed constantly from above. This is progressive (see previous sutra), and is dependent upon steadfast practise, meditation and earnest service.

2. Illumination. The gradually increasing downpour of fiery energy increases steadily the "light in the head," or the effulgence found in the brain in the neighborhood of the pineal gland. This is to the little system of the threefold man in physical manifestation what the physical sun is to the solar system. This light becomes eventually a blaze of glory and the man becomes a "son of light" or a "sun of righteousness." Such were the Buddha, the Christ, and all the great Ones who have attained.

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