Chapter 6: The Purity of Yoga
The grossest is the body and the subtlest is the mind. Don’t start from the subtle because it will be more difficult. It is vague, you cannot grasp it. Start with the body. That’s why Patanjali starts with body postures.
You may not have observed, because we are so unalert in life, that whenever you have a certain mood in the mind you have a certain body posture associated with it. If you are angry, can you sit relaxed? - impossible. If you are angry your body posture will change, if you are attentive then your body posture will change, if you are sleepy your body posture will change.
If you are completely silent you will sit buddha-like, you will walk buddha-like. If you walk buddha-like, you will feel a certain silence merging within your heart. A certain silent bridge is being created by your buddha-like walk. Just sit under a tree like a buddha. Just sit, just the body: suddenly you will see that your breathing is changing - it is more relaxed, it is more harmonious. When the breathing is harmonious and relaxed, you will feel the mind is less tense. There are less thoughts, less clouds, more space, more sky. You will feel a silence in and out, flowing.
Hence I say Patanjali is scientific. If you want to change the body posture, Patanjali will say change your food habits, because every food habit creates subtle body postures. If you are a meat-eater you cannot sit buddha-like. If you are non-vegetarian your posture will be different, if you are vegetarian your posture will be different - because the body is built by your food. It is not an accident. Whatsoever you are putting in the body, the body will reflect it.
So for Patanjali vegetarianism is not a moralist cult, it is a scientific method. When you eat meat you are not only taking food, you are allowing a certain animal from which the meat has come to enter in you. The meat was part of a particular body, the meat was part of a particular instinct pattern. The meat was the animal just a few hours before, and that meat carries all the impressions of the animal, all the habits of the animal. When you are eating meat your many attitudes will be affected by it.
And if you are sensitive you can become aware that whenever you eat certain things, certain changes immediately come. You can take alcohol and then you are not the same, immediately a new personality has come in. Alcohol cannot create a personality but it changes your body pattern, the body chemistry is changed. With the change of the body chemistry the mind has to change its pattern, and when the mind changes pattern a new personality has come in.
I have heard one of the oldest Chinese parables that once it happened: a bottle of whisky fell down from a table, just by accident - a cat might have jumped. The bottle was broken and the whisky was spilled all over the floor. In the night three mice lapped at the whisky. One mouse immediately said, “Now I am going to the king, to the palace, to put him right in his place.”