PURITY and HUMILITY
Excerpts from Discourse 26, The Second Coming of Christ
by Paramahansa Yogananda
Purity of Heart
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
The consummate religious experience is direct perception of God, for which the purification of the heart is requisite. On this, all scriptures agree. The Bhagavad Gita, India's immortal scripture of yoga, the science of religion and God-union, speaks of the blessedness and divine perception of one who has attained this inner purification:
The yogi who has completely calmed the mind and controlled the passions and freed them from all impurities, and who is one with Spirit—verily, he has attained supreme blessedness.
The yogi, free from all impurities, ceaselessly engaging the Self thus in the activity of yoga (divine union), readily attains the blessedness of continuous mergence in Spirit.
With the soul united to Spirit by yoga, with a vision of equality for all things, the yogi beholds his Self (Spirit-united) in all creatures and all creatures in the Spirit.
He who perceives Me everywhere and beholds everything in Me never loses sight of Me, nor do I ever lose sight of him.
—The Bhagavad Gita VI:27-30
Since ancient times, the rishis of India have scrutinized the very core of truth and detailed its practical relevance to man. Patanjali, the renowned sage of the yoga science, begins his Yoga Sutras by declaring: Yoga chitta vritti nirodha— Yoga (scientific union with God) is the neutralization of the modifications of chitta (the inner 'heart' or power of feeling; a comprehensive term for the aggregate of mind-stuff that produces intelligent consciousness)." Both reason and feeling are derived from this inner faculty of intelligent consciousness.
My revered guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar, one of the first in modern times to reveal the unity of Christ's teachings with India's Sanatana Dharma, wrote profoundly about how man's spiritual evolution consists of the purification of the heart. From the state in which consciousness is completely deluded by maya ("the dark heart"), man progresses through the successive states of the propelled heart, the steady heart, the devoted heart, and ultimately attains the clean heart, in which, Sri Yukteswarji writes, he "becomes able to comprehend the Spiritual Light, Brahma [Spirit], the Real Substance in the universe." (p.439)
Transparency to Truth
Purity of heart (sattva-samshuddhi) means transparency to truth. One's consciousness should be free from the distortions of attachment and repulsion to sense objects. Likes and dislikes for externals taint the heart with gross vibrations. The heart or chitta should not be influenced by the pairs of opposites; only thus may it enter the divine bliss of meditation. (The Soul Qualities That Make Man God-like, Chapter XVI, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita by Paramahansa Yogananda)
Humility has nothing in common with putting on an outward show of piety; it means being able to take all of life's experiences with the right attitude, even when we are reviled with unkind words. St. Francis expressed it beautifully: "Learn to accept blame, criticism, and accusation silently and without retaliation, even though untrue and unjustified." In trying to defend ourselves against criticism, we become mired in self-pity and self-righteousness. Real humility, on the other hand, enables us to stand strong, because it is God we are seeking to please, not man. In being true to Him, we will become the kind of person whose qualities may also be more pleasing to man. (from THE PERFECT JOY by Sri Daya Mata)