Chapter 1


by Patanjali Icon

1 OM: Here are the Instructions for Union.

Union [yoga] means union of:

  • the individual soul with the Oversoul
  • the personal consciousness with the Divine Consciousness

In union, the mortal becomes immortal, and enters the Eternal.

Therefore, salvation is:

  • first, freedom from sin and the sorrow which comes from sin
  • then a divine and eternal well-being, wherein the soul partakes of the being, the wisdom and glory of God.

2 Union, spiritual consciousness, is gained through control of the versatile psychic nature.

The goal is the full consciousness of the spiritual man, illumined by the Divine Light. Nothing except the obdurate resistance of the psychic nature keeps us back from the goal.

The psychical powers are spiritual powers run wild, perverted, drawn from their proper channel. Therefore our first task is, to regain control of this perverted nature, to chasten, purify and restore the misplaced powers.

3 Then the Seer comes to consciousness in his proper nature.

  • Egotism is but the perversion of spiritual being.
  • Ambition is the inversion of spiritual power.
  • Passion is the distortion of love.
  • The mortal is the limitation of the immortal.

When these false images give place to true, then the spiritual man stands forth luminous, as the sun, when the clouds disperse.

4 Heretofore, the Seer has been enmeshed in the activities of the psychic nature.

The power and life which are the heritage of the spiritual man have been caught and enmeshed in psychical activities.

  • Instead of pure being in the Divine, there has been fretful, combative, egotism, its hand against every man.
  • Instead of the light of pure vision, there have been restless senses nave been re and imaginings.
  • Instead of spiritual joy, the undivided joy of pure being, there has been self-indulgence of body and mind.

These are all real forces, but distorted from their true nature and goal.

  • They must be extricated, like gems from the matrix, like the pith from the reed, steadily, without destructive violence.

Spiritual powers are to be drawn forth from the psychic meshes.

5 There are psychic activities. They are either subject or not subject to the five hindrances (Book 2, 3).

The psychic nature is built up through the image-making power, the power which lies behind and dwells in mind-pictures.

These pictures do not remain quiescent in the mind. They are kinetic, restless, stimulating to new acts.

Thus the mind-image of an indulgence suggests and invites to a new indulgence; the picture of past joy is framed in regrets or hopes. And there is the ceaseless play of the desire to know, to penetrate to the essence of things, to classify. This, too, busies itself ceaselessly with the mind-images. So that we may classify the activities of the psychic nature thus:

6 These activities are:

  • sound intellection
  • unsound intellection
  • predication
  • sleep
  • memory

We have here a list of mental and emotional powers; of powers that picture and observe, and of powers that picture and feel.

But the power to know and feel is spiritual and immortal. What is needed is, not to destroy it, but to raise it from the psychical to the spiritual realm.

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