One established in Yoga is purified through victory over the power of the senses, and sees themself in all beings. This person is not tainted even when acting.
“Established in Yoga”
This verse tells us what it is to be established in Yoga by giving us these sign-posts: purity, victory over the power of the senses, and the realization of all-pervasiveness. In this state, we are not affected by action.
‘Purified’ is not meant as ridding oneself of toxins, but that when something is out of place it is returned to its natural order. My favorite metaphor is pepper in the salt shaker: there’s nothing wrong with pepper it’s just in the wrong place, so the salt is not pure salt. Take the pepper out of the salt shaker, and the salt has been purified.
“Victory over the power of the senses”
This is usually translated as “victory over the senses”, but the real meaning here has to do with their power over us. This has been spoken of in these verses as desires and dislikes. In verse three, we talked about the extreme polarities of opposites as being the cause of our becoming attracted to, and attached to, either having or avoiding something the senses perceive.
It is not that the senses, or their activities, or what they get attracted to, are bad, just that they have an enormous influence over us from which we must free ourselves. This is achieved through Yoga practiced with the understanding that Lord Krishna has been teaching Arjuna in this dialogue.
“Seeing oneself in all beings”
If one persists in Yoga, there will come a time that it is obvious through personal experience that what we are is not located somewhere, but is everywhere, in all beings, and that this is true of everyone, whether they realize it or not. Each of us, in what it is that we really are, is all-pervasive. With sufficient purification and indifference (‘victory over the power of the senses’) one comes to realize this by experiencing it for themself.
“Not tainted even when acting”
The payoff for reaching this state is that we will not acquire more karma, even when acting. The next verse explains this…
8 – 9
Thus established in Yoga, the knower of Truth sees themself as not doing anything—whether seeing, hearing, touching, smelling, eating, walking, sleeping, breathing; talking, excreting, grasping, opening and closing the eyes—but understands that these abilities are merely fulfilling their purpose.
This makes it clear that all the organs of sense and action, and even ordinary activities of the body, such as walking and sleeping, are included in this statement (“This person is not tainted even when acting”). Thus established in Yoga, this person knows what is really going on—the senses are just doing their job. This person knows that he or she is not nature, is everywhere in everyone, is pure and eternally free of any domination by any force.
The senses act among the objects of sense and send their perceptions into your mind, making it seem as though you are involved in these actions, and that you are attracted to these objects. But now you know that it is not you, but the senses themselves that act and are attracted, and you are no longer fooled.
Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
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