Karma (or effects)

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft


III-22. Karma (or effects) are of two kinds: immediate karma or future karma. By perfectly concentrated meditation on these, the yogi knows the term of his experience in the three worlds. This knowledge comes also from signs.

This sutra can be somewhat elucidated if read in connection with Sutra 18 of Book III. The karma referred to here deals primarily with the present life of the aspirant or seer. He knows that every event in that life is the effect of a previous cause, initiated by himself in an early incarnation; he knows also that every act of the present life must produce an effect (to be worked [285] out in another life) unless it is done in such a way that:

  1. The effect is immediate and culminates within the scope of the present life time,
  2. The effect involves no Karma, for the act has been done from a selfless motive and carried out with complete detachment. He then produces the effect desired in accordance with the law but it carries no consequences for himself.

When the seer enters into incarnation in a life wherein only a few more effects remain to be worked out, and when all that he initiates is freed from karma, then he can set a term to his life experience and he knows that the day of liberation is at hand. Through meditation and ability to function as the ego {soul} he can arrive at the world of causes, and he knows therefore what acts must be performed to release the few remaining effects. Through strict attention to the motive underlying every act of the present life he obviates the necessity for their effects to tie him in any way to the wheel of rebirth. Thus he consciously and intelligently nears his goal and every deed, act and thought is governed by direct knowledge, and in no way chains him.

The signs or portents referred to, relate primarily to the mental world, where the real man dwells. Through an understanding of three things:

  1. Numbers,
  2. Colors,
  3. Vibrations,

the seer becomes aware of the freedom of his [286] aura from “death producing” effects. He knows there is nothing more written, symbolically, in the records which can bring him back to the three worlds, and therefore “by signs” his path is seen to be clear.

This has been expressed for us in the ancient writings found in the Masters’ archives as follows:

“When the star with five points shines with clarity and no forms are seen within its points, the way is clear.

When the triangle encloses naught but light, the path is freed for the passing of the pilgrim.

When within the aura of the pilgrim the many forms die out and colors three are seen, then the road is freed from that which might obstruct.

When thoughts call not to forms and when no shadows are reflected, the thread provides a way direct from the circle to the center.”

From that point of rest, no return is possible. The term of necessary experience in the three worlds is at an end. No karma then can draw the freed spirit back to earth for further lessons, or the working out of prior causes. He may, however, continue or resume his work of service in the three worlds, without ever really leaving his true home in the subtler realms and higher spheres of consciousness.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

Viparyayah mithya jnanam – selective perception

Book 1:8

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft


Incorrect knowledge is based upon perception of the form and not upon the state of being.

This sutra is somewhat difficult to paraphrase. Its significance consists in this: Knowledge, deduction and a decision which is based upon externals, and upon the form through which any life in any kingdom of nature is expressing itself, is false and untrue knowledge. At this stage in the evolutionary process no form of any kind measures up to, or is an adequate expression of, the indwelling life. No true adept judges any expression of divinity through its third aspect. Raja Yoga trains a man to function in his second aspect and through that second aspect to put himself en rapport with the “true nature” latent in any form. It is the “being” that is the essential reality, and all beings are struggling toward true expression. All knowledge therefore which is acquired through the medium of the lower faculties and which is based upon the form aspect is incorrect knowledge.

The soul alone perceives correctly; the soul alone has the power to contact the germ or the principle of Buddhi (in the Christian phraseology, the Christ principle) to be found at the heart of every atom, whether it is the atom of matter as studied in the laboratory of the scientist, whether it is the human atom in the crucible of daily experience, whether it is the planetary atom, within whose ring-pass-not all our kingdoms of nature are found, or the solar atom, God in manifestation through the medium of a solar system. Christ “knew what was in man” and therefore could be a Saviour.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul


Earlier in the blog I mentioned getting the wrong end of the stick and the idea of selective perception, but these are only touching the tip of the iceberg {see above}. So many times, and so very often we interact almost entirely through our selective perceptions. When one selective perception attempts to communicate with another, is it any wonder that confusion abounds?

If one perception is located in ambition, which is another way of saying desire-mind, that colours pretty much everything they observe. I have used the analogy of lens, previously. No matter how clear they think they are, desire-mind occludes. It fails to see the scope of what actually is. This is partially because it selects or chooses not to. It negates possible consequences which might interfere with the fulfilment of ambition or desire. It explains them or justifies them away in order to satiate the ambition. It may even be blind to things which would further the ambition, if they look somehow “wrong”.

Here is the really weird bit. People will go to great lengths to defend their selective perceptions, their false knowledge, even after they have an inkling it may be off. Once they start down such a track it gets messy very quickly. Here Face lends a hand. And people will carry on digging a hole for themselves, they may even snatch the shovel out of your hands in haste, so to do.

Hooked to the social face value, the being is forgotten. All notion of true nature flies out the window and it gets personal. It descends into personality spats so quickly. Before long there is a veritable morass and much drama. If for example you knew someone who spoke a lot of sense and they said something you did not like or agree with, in an instant prior knowledge flies out the window and that person might become at least for a few minutes or hours, your perceived mortal enemy. Your selective perception has changed a sage into a ninja assassin armed with poison tipped shuriken.

There is a lot of false “knowledge” out there, it is also propagated when others share of their own selective perceptions. This simple sutra, only a few words long, has behind it a vast amount of human folly. It is both very sad and very beautiful at the same time.

Misperception is false knowledge, not based on what actually is.

Distraction or Eternal Now?

I have selected various key quotes from the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali and put them up here, for reference purposes, they can be found under the Patanjali tag. They are pretty old but demonstrate that even then and preceding the science of psychology by millennia, some were very interested in the workings of human mind. In fact, they go beyond psychology which deals mainly with internal dialogue and societal angst. The sutras suggest a path away from a full engagement with the deep involvement in the “concerns” of society. Not all paths point in the same direction. If one seeks to be a “success” in the world of power, position, money and fame; these sutras will not help overmuch. The trappings of society are, in such a yoga context, something of a distraction and to be seen as such. Much of these fall under the generic heading of “mind stuff”.  Most are uninterested in a yoga of this kind. But I’ll bet that the vast majority of humanity could benefit from more peace of mind than it currently has. Peace of mind comes from perspective, the width of which varies. Things out of proportion are unsettling. How far one walks along any given path, is a personal thing. That is unless the sat. nav. tells us. 😉 It is fair to say that some paths diverge markedly. Others appear to diverge but ultimately point at the same things.

Insofar as one can be sure about anything, looking too deeply is not to the predilection of the majority. Such a thing is not on the radar and like all things there can be a time and a place for it. Until one has sufficient life experience, there is a lack of data to work with. One needs to experience life in order to understand it, one can do the theory but without some experiments, living; the theory cannot be understood in any meaningful way.

It is not rocket science to suggest that being fully present in the moment could reap benefits. Modern life is full of distraction. I have on occasion been tempted not to take evasive action when a walking ‘phone zombie approaches along the pavement. The rate of change of momentum they might experience from my stationary 95kg being, on impact, could be interesting to observe. But so far, I have taken the view that I should get out of the way. One of us needs to be partially awake. If one is distracted now whizzes by. There is a growing interest in mindfulness and this is good. It is the doorway to the vast planes of Eternal Now. If one takes a view from space, we might see three countries; the land of if only, the land of now and the land of what if. These are the past, the present and the future. If your mind is in the land of what if or the land of if only, the beauty of now is neither appreciated or engaged with fully. This distraction impinges heavily on the awareness of what is actually transpiring.

The ability to be fully present, wanes in our times. This now is the aim of zen, the concentration, the absorption, the Qualität of living in the moment. This does not need to be reckless or impulsive. One can be a joined up being, having an eye to the future and advised by the past, yet still be now. “What you do in the now creates the future, stepwise”. If you are distracted then you may walk, zombie like, into all sorts of situations. I have mentioned the word focus from time to time and being now is a kind of focus. The zone of the competitive athlete, the fighting awareness of the martial artist are both examples of being fully present at full awareness in the moment. This gives an edge to both awareness, perception and the cognitive assimilation of event flow. Even in the now there are degrees. To sustain these heightened states 24/7 is not possible, but one could be less zombie more zone, rather easily. It takes a little concentration, that is all…

Eternal Now – The Concluding Sutras

Book IV


When, through the removal of hindrances and the purifications of the sheaths, the totality of knowledge becomes available, naught further remains for the man to do.

The dual work is accomplished. Those hindrances which are the result of ignorance, blindness, environment and activity have been done away with; the grossness of the sheaths has been corrected and because of this, and through following the means of yoga, all knowledge becomes available. The yogi is now aware of his essential omnipresence or that his soul is one with all souls and part therefore of the one essential unity, the one all-pervading life, the boundless immutable principle which is the cause of all manifestation. He is likewise omniscient, for all knowledge is his and all avenues of knowledge are open to him. He stands free of the field of knowledge, yet can function in it; he can utilize the instrument of knowledge and ascertain all that he seeks to know, but is himself centered in the consciousness of the knower. Neither space nor time can hold him, nor can the material form imprison him, and there comes for him the grand consummation given to us by Patanjali in his three concluding sutras:

The modifications of the mind stuff (or qualities of matter), through the inherent nature of the three gunas come to an end, for they have served their purpose.

Time, which is the sequence of the modifications of the mind, likewise terminates, giving place to the Eternal Now.

The state of isolated unity becomes possible when the three qualities of matter (the three gunas or potencies of nature) no longer exercise any hold over the Self. The pure spiritual consciousness withdraws into the One.


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 4 – Illumination

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul


The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft



Isolated Unity – Illuminated Union

IV 25

As soon as one can distinguish between consciousness and awareness, the ongoing construction of the self ceases.

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft

Note: Atma can mean essence which has a different meaning to self as we understand it now. There is a difference between self and Self, one is “lower” than the other.


The state of isolated unity (withdrawn into the true nature of the Self) is the reward of the man who can discriminate between the mind stuff and the Self, or spiritual man.

This state of isolated unity must be regarded as the result of the attainment of a particular state of mind, rather than as a separative reaction. All meditation work, all moments of reflection, all affirmative exercises, all hours of recollection of one’s true nature are means employed to detach the mind from the lower reactions and tendencies, and build in the habit of a constant realization of one’s true divine nature. When this realization is achieved, the need for such exercises ceases and one enters into one’s heritage. The isolation referred to is the detachment of the self from the field of knowledge, the involving of the refusal of the self to seek outward-going sensuous experience and its standing firm in the state of spiritual being.

The man becomes conscious of himself as the knower and is no longer primarily concerned with the field of knowledge, as in the early stages of his unfoldment; neither is he engaged with knowledge itself, as during the stage of mental development either as an advanced man or as a disciple. He can discriminate between all three, and identifies himself henceforth neither with the field of knowledge, life in the three worlds through the medium of his three vehicles, and the five senses plus the mind, nor with the knowledge gained nor the experience undergone. He knows the self; he identifies himself with the true knower, and thus sees things as they are, dissociating himself entirely from the world of sensuous perception.

He does this, however, whilst functioning as a human being on earth. He participates in earth experience; he involves himself in human activities; he walks among men, eating and sleeping, working and living. Yet all the time he “is in the world, yet not of the world,” and of him it can be said as it was said of the Christ,

    “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” (Phil., II, 6, 7, 8.)

He is at-one with the soul of all, but isolated off, separated from all that concerns the form or material nature. The next three sutras should be read as one, giving as they do a picture of the gradual growth of the spiritual nature in the man who has arrived at the state of discriminating detachment, and through utter dispassion, knows the meaning of isolated unity.


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 4 – Illumination

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul


The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft

Oneness and a Warning


Once one just sees the distinction between pure awareness and the luminous aspect of the phenomenal world, all conditions are known and mastered.

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft


By a passionless attitude towards this attainment and towards all soul-powers, the one who is free from the seeds of bondage, attains the condition of isolated unity.

The isolated unity referred to here is that of complete separation from all form aspects and the achievement of spiritual Oneness. It is aloofness from the material consciousness and a living in the spiritual consciousness. It is harmony with the spirit and disharmony with matter. It involves identification with the Father in Heaven, and a true understanding of the word of the Master of all the Masters, “I and My Father are one.”

A proper sense of values has been established and the powers which have been developed, and the perceptions which have been gained are seen as having in them the “seeds of bondage” and therefore with them the true yogin does not concern himself. At will and in service he will perceive that which is needed; at will and in service he will employ the occult powers, but he himself remains detached, and freed from all karmic limitations.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul



When one is unattached even to this omniscience and mastery, the seeds of suffering wither, and pure awareness knows it stands alone.

The Yoga-Sûtra of Patañjali translated by Chip Hartranft


There should be entire rejection of all allurements from all forms of being, even the celestial, for the recurrence of evil contacts remains possible.


Rama Prasad’s translation is illuminating and should be quoted here. It runs as follows:


    “When the presiding deities invite, there should be no attachment and no smile of satisfaction, contact with the undesirable being again possible.”


And Dvivedi’s interpretation gives still another angle:


    “There should be entire distinction of pleasure or pride in the invitations by the powers of various places, for there is possibility of the repetition of evil.”


The yogin or disciple has achieved his objective. He has (through dispassion and discrimination) freed himself from the trammels of form and stands free and liberated. But he needs to be on his guard for “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” Form life ever beckons, and the allurements of the great illusion are ever present.


The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali – Book 3 – Union achieved and its Results

Alice Bailey & Djwhal Khul

Selective Perception

Having cued up this with some quotes from Patanjali translations I am now going to turn to a favourite topic of mine. To kick off, if you do a Google or Bing image search for yoga, who will get images of young, white, lithe and perhaps attractive women in various poses. If you search for yogi, you will get images of Indian men in orange robes, yogi bear or somewhat emaciated older Indian men with beards in poses. You will not get a hefty middle aged white guy, I don’t have a groovy beard, and I cannot do any but the most basic asana. If you get my drift, even by naming the blog in the way I have done, it is in slight contrast to the search engine perceptions. There is a perception, a view of what yoga is.

According to Wiki:

“The ultimate goal of Yoga is moksha (liberation), although the exact definition of what form this takes depends on the philosophical or theological system with which it is conjugated.”

This brings things perhaps a little more in line with what I have been banging on about here.

With some inevitability, each of us carry some preconceptions. This statement is logically accurate, for all but genuinely omniscient or liberated beings. Yet most forget or act as if they have no preconceptions whatsoever. The inevitability of preconception is neglected and remains not factored in to world view or world-version. This means that because there are preconceptions, the perception is likely to be coloured by these and therefore selective. Semantically any selective perception cannot cover all the set of possible perceptions and is therefore not objective. Selective perception looks at only one part of the wider picture.

People can feel affronted if one suggests that their perception is selective and not comprehensive. It is somehow an attack on intellect or something else, maybe their self-image, in which they have sage-like neo-omniscient understanding. Maybe they are expert and erudite scholastic geniuses who are clever and smart. To be affronted at a suggestion of selective perception is to demonstrate the validity and applicability of the suggestion in the first place, Q.E.D.

I don’t believe it possible for a human being to live and not to have at least one episode of miscommunication. In this someone might say something, and we take it in an entirely different way than it was intended. We get the wrong end of the stick, so to speak. We have selected the wrong perception and maybe gotten all huffy or sad. Selective perception is all around us. And there is no guarantee whatsoever, that I am effectively communicating here, because you as the reader will select some perception or other from what I am writing. I cannot control this sat here this windy November morning.

It is not possible for the human mind to hold all possible perceptions. Even were we able to hold many, we would still have select some operative perception, in order to function. Cognitively we would have to act from a perception of the world, which if we are honest, might be our best guess as to what is transpiring. What we can do is to try to develop our accuracy and acuity of perception by being inclusive and by understanding the observational instrument, which makes the perception, ourselves. Even should we do this we will still have to select a perception from which to operate.

The more open-minded we are, the greater our self-knowledge is, the better that perception is likely to be. If you are awake you will notice that I used the word better which is slightly conditional as opposed to the less coloured, accurate. I did this to demonstrate how comparison and ranking is introduced by our cognitive and social apparatus. Who is to say what is better? Is it consensus?

Our perception is filtered not only through our preconceptions but our baggage, our emotional baggage. It is also coloured by mood. If we are anxious then a simple word can send us into fight or flight mode. If we are self-righteous we can become indignant and offended at the drop of a hat. None of which may have anything to do with what is transpiring. If there is at least some detachment, then the emotive colouration can be lessened.

Pure awareness is just seeing, itself; although pure, it usually appears to operate through the perceiving mind.

I like to think of the perceiving instrument, which is both our biological apparatus, the sum total of our experiences and our own personal predilections. Each instrument has a cognitive apparatus and an intellect, the ability and capacity of these has variance in the population. Accurate perception is the signal and everything else is the noise. To extract the signal one has to work at increasing the signal to noise ratio. How does one do that? Well by calming the mind, reducing the chitta or internal dialogue and by becoming much less attached. Strangely in being less attached one can perceive more accurately and in greater depth. If we are prone to fly of the handle, our perceptions are unlikely to have acuity. Though we may demonstrated our love of drama, sometimes for all to see.

When you buy a computer or some other device, they can go wrong. The favoured method of fixing something with software is to turn it off and reboot. This means you have one control parameter. If you can’t turn off your mind, what can you do about any wayward software running? Not a lot. But if you can silence your mind, turn it off, you at least have a chance of a reboot and the ability to treat again whatever is transpiring

When one can select, with awareness that one is doing just that, selecting, one from any number of perceptions, there is a modicum of control over how we choose to interact with the world. Choice has more freedom than Pavlovian reflex or reaction. More choice in behaviour, leads to more freedom, which will point at moksha in the fullness of time.