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Chapter 5: The Eight Limbs of Yoga

So when I say renounce the impurities, I don’t mean that your body is impure, I don’t mean that your mind is impure, I don’t mean even that your feeling is impure. Nothing is impure - but when you get identified, in that identification is impurity. Everything is pure. Your body is perfect if it functions on its own and you don’t interfere. Your consciousness is pure if it functions on its own and the body does not interfere. If you live in a noninterfering existence you are pure. Everything is pure. I’m not condemning the body. I never condemn anything. Make it a point to be remembered always: I am not a condemner. Everything is beautiful as it is. But identification creates the impurity.

When you start thinking you are the body, you have intruded upon the body. And when you intrude upon the body, the body immediately reacts and intrudes upon you. Then there is impurity.

Says Patanjali, “By practicing the different steps of yoga for the destruction of impurity..” For the destruction of identity, identification; for the destruction of the mess that you have got in - the chaos, where everything has become everything else. Nothing is clear. No center is functioning on its own; you have become a crowd. Everything goes on interfering into each other’s nature. This is impurity.

.for the destruction of impurity, there arises a spiritual illumination. And once the impurity is destroyed, suddenly there is illumination. It doesn’t come from outside; it is your innermost being in its purity, in its innocence, in its virginity. A luminosity arises in you. Everything is clear: the crowds of confusion gone, the clarity of perception arises. Now you can see everything as it is: there are no projections, there is no imagination, there is no perversion of any reality. You simply see things as they are. Your eyes are vacant, your being silent. Now, you don’t have anything in you, so you cannot project. You become a passive onlooker, a witness, a sakshin - and that is the purity of being. .there arises spiritual illumination which develops into awareness of reality.

Then, the eight steps of yoga. Follow me very slowly, because here is the central teaching of Patanjali:

Yam, niyam, asan, pranayam, pratyahar, dharana, dhyan. samadhiya ashto angani.

The eight steps of yoga are: yom, self-restraint; niyam. Fixed observance; asan, posture; pranayam, breath regulation; pratyahar, abstraction; dharana, concentration; dhyan, contemplation; samadhi, trance.

The eight steps of yoga. This is the whole science of yoga in one sentence, in one seed. Many things are implied. First, let me tell you the exact meaning of each step. And remember, Patanjali calls them steps and limbs, both. They are both. Steps they are because one has to be followed by another, there is a sequence of growth. But they are not only steps: they are limbs of the body of yoga. They have an internal unity, an organic unity also, that is the meaning of limbs.

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