By Daniel Tipton*
QUOTES From “THE YOGA SUTRAS OF PATANJALI”*
I thought I’d share some of my favorite quotes from a book that has brought me clarity on many things.
Like A Course in Miracles, this one really seems to get to the core of things.
While the Course is poetic at times, this book seems to offer slightly more practical
or straight-forward advice. However, the themes are identical if you break them down.
I will share the quote and then offer my take on it.
“The purpose of life, therefore, is the realizing of that prophesy; the unveiling of the immortal man; the birth of the spiritual from the physical, whereby we enter our divine inheritance and come to inhabit Eternity. This is, indeed, salvation, the purpose of all true religion in all times.” (Book 1, Intro.)
I often ponder the “meaning of life”. I have had inclinations to the above quote but have never really been able to put it into words. So the purpose of human life is to awaken as a human and end the karmic cycle of rebirth. We are to awaken to the point that human incarnations are no longer necessary. The key to this is meditation (as the commenter states repeatedly). The wisdom that I have been picking up lately is to meditate, meditate, meditate. Meditation can save you thousands of incarnations.
“We are to think of ourselves as immortals, dwelling in the Light, encompassed and sustained by spiritual powers. The steady effort to hold this thought will awaken dormant and unrealized powers, which will bring us to the nearness of the Eternal” (Book I, Sutra 13)
Like the Course tells us, we are to keep the spark of Christ in our minds, and he will do the rest to unveil our hidden powers and potential. The practice of the Course is to teach us to steadily remember who we are and what we are.
“Rightly understood, the desire for sensation is the desire of being, the distortion of the soul’s eternal life. The lust of sensual stimulus and excitation rests on the longing to feel one’s life keenly, to gain the sense of being really alive. This sense of true life comes only with the coming of the soul, and the soul comes only in silence, after self-indulgence has been courageously and loyally stilled, through reverence before the coming soul.” (Book I, Sutra 15)
Life is one pursuit of a temporary feeling of being alive after another. The only way to sustainably obtain it is to go within and courageously and loyally renounce the mind-clouding desires of the material world. We seek stimulus in many forms but underneath, we are only longing to experience the divine.
“Those who have died, entered the paradise between births, are in a condition resembling meditation without an external object. But in the fullness of time, the seeds of desire in them will spring up, and they will be born again into this world.” (Book I, Sutra 19)
Desire is what keeps us coming back to Earth life. Until we vanquish earthly desires, we will continue the life-death cycle. We are to learn to not be tempted by the sweet fruits nor disturbed by the bitter ones; to only crave the divine presence within us.
“It is not enough to have intuitions; we must act on them; we must live them.” (Book I, Sutra 21)
Like the Course tells us, we must experience to truly know.
“The will, which, in its pristine state, was full of vigor, has been steadily corrupted by self-indulgence, the seeking of moods and sensations for sensation’s sake. Hence come all the morbid and sickly moods of the mind. The remedy is a return to the pristine state of the will, by vigorous, positive effort; or, as we are here told, by steady application to a principle. The principle to which we should thus steadily apply ourselves should be one arising from the reality of spiritual life; valorous work for the soul, in others as in ourselves.” (Book I, Sutra 32)
We have corrupted our true nature by seeking earthy pleasure. In their emptiness, we find misery. We must seek only the Divine.
“By sympathy with the happy, compassion for the sorrowful, delight in the holy, disregard of the unholy, the psychic nature moves to gracious peace.” (Book I, Sutra 33)
Remembering these rules will help us move in grace.
“A man’s cheerfulness is a measure of his faith” (Book I, Sutra 36)
A truly cheerful person has but his/her trust in God and has no reason to feel fear in all its forms. Imperturbable joy is a sign of and the reward to an awakened person.
“As we climbed down-hill for our pleasure, so must we climb up again for our purification and restoration to our former high estate. The process is painful, perhaps, yet indispensable.” (Book I, Sutra 37)
In the world of duality, no pleasure comes without a hangover. The more we self-indulge, the harder it is for us to give up those indulgences. The deeper we fall into the abyss of illusion, the longer the journey back.
“It is, therefore, vital for us to realize that the Yoga system, like every true system of spiritual teaching, rests on this broad and firm foundation of honesty, truth, cleanness, obedience. Without these, there is no salvation; and he who practices these, even though ignorant of spiritual things, is laying up treasures against the time to come” (Book II, Intro.)
We must be pure to maintain a real practice but even without practicing, upholding these virtues reaps great rewards.
“Here is, in truth, the whole secret of Yoga, the science of the soul. The active turnings, the strident vibrations, of selfishness, lust and hate are to be stilled by meditation, by letting heart and mind dwell in spiritual life, by lifting up the heart to the strong, silent life above, which rests in the stillness of eternal love, and needs no harsh vibration to convince it of true being.” (Book II, Sutra 11)
Mediation and spiritual life centers us and removes the desire for harsh distractions to convince us of our being.
“The husbandman tills his field, breaking up the clods of earth into fine mould, penetrable to air and rain; he sows his seed, carefully covering it, for fear of birds and the wind; he waters the seed-laden earth, turning the little rills from the irrigation tank now this way and that, removing obstacles from the channels, until the even How of water vitalizes the whole field. And so the plants germinate and grow, first the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. But it is not the husbandman who makes them grow. It is, first, the miraculous plasmic power in the grain of seed, which brings forth after its kind; then the alchemy of sunlight which, in presence of the green colouring matter of the leaves, gathers hydrogen from the water and carbon from the gases in the air, and mingles them in the hydro-carbons of plant growth; and, finally, the wholly occult vital powers of the plant itself, stored up through ages, and flowing down from the primal sources of life. The husbandman but removes the obstacles. He plants and waters, but God gives the increase.
So with the finer husbandman of diviner fields. He tills and sows, but the growth of the spiritual man comes through the surge and flow of divine, creative forces and powers. Here, again, God gives the increase. The divine Self puts forth, for the manifestation of its powers, a new and finer vesture, the body of the spiritual man.” (Book IV, Sutra 3)
We prepare the temple but God performs the miracles. The farmer plants the seed, but God performs the miracle of its growth.
“For it is not ordained for the Spiritual Man that, finding his high realm, he shall enter altogether there, and pass out of the vision of mankind. It is true that he dwells in heaven, but he also dwells on earth. He has angels and archangels, the hosts of the just made perfect, for his familiar friends, but he has at the same time found a new kinship with the prone children of men, who stumble and sin in the dark. Finding sinlessness, he finds also that the world’s sin and shame are his, not to share, but to atone; finding kinship with angels, he likewise finds his part in the toil of angels, the toil for the redemption of the world.” (Book IV, Sutra 24)
As we are healed we become healers. This is a major theme in the Course.
“The battle is long and arduous. Let there be no mistake as to that. Go not forth to this battle without counting the cost. Ages have gone to the strengthening of the foe. Ages of conflict must be spent, ere the foe, wholly conquered, becomes the servant, the Soul’s minister to mankind.
And from these long past ages, in hours when the contest flags, will come new foes, mind-born children springing up to fight for mind, reinforcements coming from forgotten years, forgotten lives. For once this conflict is begun, it can be ended only by sweeping victory, and unconditional, unreserved surrender of the vanquished.” (Book IV, Sutra 27)
Awakening is no easy task. It takes consistent and dedicated practice. We have given much to illusions and will need to give much to awake from them. There will be obstacles all along the way but there is no other goal than complete atonement. The Course is very clear in that the the atonement is not complete until every last soul has completely awakened.
“It is the very nature of the Soul to be unconquerable” (Book IV, Sutra 28)
It is our destiny to awaken. We have no path but to realize and remember again who we really are. However, there are ways to quicken the process and the greatest of these is meditation. No obstacle can sway us from our path if we realize that the soul is unconquerable. We can choose to be distracted by obstacles or we can do our best to quickly remember that we are on the path no matter what. We can let the pendulum of emotion swing but it will always gravitate to the truthful center.
*Daniel Tipton resides in Omaha, NE and is a member of the Course in Miracles Society study group. He is enrolled in the ACIM Ministerial Program offered by the Community Miracles Center and attended the 2011 Annual ACIM Conference in San Francisco.