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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 2 - The Steps to Union
40. Internal and external purification produces aversion for form, both one's own and all forms.

This paraphrase of Sutra 40 does not adhere to the technical translation of the Sanskrit words on account of the misunderstanding of the words used. Literally the translation runs "internal and external purification produces hatred for one's own body and non-intercourse with all bodies." The tendency of students in the West to interpret literally necessitates a somewhat freer translation. The Eastern student, more versed in the symbolic presentation of truth is not so liable to make mistakes along this line. In considering this sutra it should be remembered that purity is a quality of spirit. [202]

Purification is necessarily of various kinds and relates to the four vehicles (the physical body, the etheric body, the emotional body and the mental body) through which man contacts the three worlds of his endeavor. We might, therefore, distinguish between them as follows:

a. External purity physical vehicle dense body,
b. Magnetic purity etheric vehicle internal purity,
c. Psychic purity astral vehicle emotional purity,
d. Mental purity mental vehicle purity of the concrete mind.
It should be most carefully borne in mind that this purity concerns the substance out of which each of these vehicles is composed. It is attained in three ways:
  1. Elimination of impure substance or of those atoms and molecules which limit the free expression of spirit, and which confine it to the form so that it can have neither free ingress nor egress;
  2. Assimilation of those atoms and molecules which will tend to provide a form through which spirit can adequately function;
  3. The protection of the purified form from contamination and deterioration.

On the Path of Purification or of Probation, this eliminative process is commenced; on the Path of Discipleship, the rules for the constructive or assimilative process are learnt and on the Path of Initiation (after the second initiation,) the protective work is begun.

In the occident the rules of external purification, of sanitation and of hygiene are well known and largely practised. In the orient, the rules [203] of magnetic purification are better known and when the two systems are synthesized and mutually recognized, the physical sheath in its dual nature will eventually be brought to a high degree of refinement.

In this cycle, however, the interest of the Hierarchy is being largely centered on the question of psychic purity and this is the reason for the trend of the occult teaching at present developing. It is away from what is commonly understood by psychic development, lays no emphasis on the lower psychic powers and seeks to train the aspirant in the laws of the spiritual life. This produces a realization of the nature of the psyche or soul, and a control of the lower psychic nature. The great "push" of the hierarchical endeavor for this century, 1926-2026, will be along these lines, combined with a dissemination of the laws of thought. Hence the necessity for the promulgation of the teaching given in the Yoga Sutras. They give the rules for mind control but the nature of the psychic powers and the development of the psychic consciousness are also largely dealt with.

The entire third book deals with these powers and the theme of the sutras as a whole might be briefly stated to be the development of mind control with a view to soul-contact and the consequent control of the lower psychic powers, their unfoldment paralleling that of the higher powers. This should be emphasized. Aversion for form or "desirelessness," which is the generic term covering this condition of mind, is the great impulse [204] which eventually leads to complete liberation from form.

It is not that form or form taking is in itself evil. Both forms and the process of incarnation are right and proper in their place but for the man who has no further use for experience in the three worlds, having learnt the needed lessons in the school of life, form and rebirth become evil and must be relegated to a position outside the life of the ego. That the liberated man may choose to limit himself by a form for specific purposes of service is true, but this he does through an act of the will and self-abnegation; he is not impelled thereto by desire but by love of humanity and a longing to stay with his brothers till the last of the sons of God has reached the portal of liberation.

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