Purification Is the Condition for Liberation

The goal of spiritual liberation cannot realistically be achieved as long as the individual is bound to and driven by the habits of the vital, emotional, mental and physical being. Each aspect of purification that is achieved, releases one of the ties that bind the being down to the outer forms and habitual patterns of action, and thus, prepares the way for the yet greater liberation of the spirit. The Upanishad speaks of the two birds, one of which eats of the sweet fruit of the tree, while the other watches and does not partake. “The Soul upon a common tree is absorbed and because he is not lord, grieves and is bewildered; but when he sees and cleaves to that other who is the Lord, he knows that all is His greatness and his sorrow passes away from him.” (Sri Aurobindo, The Upanishads, Shwetashwatara Upanishad, Ch. 4, V. 7)

Sri Aurobindo observes: “The purification of the mental being and the psychic Prana, we will leave aside for the time the question of the physical purification, that of the body and physical Prana, though that too is necessary to an integral perfection,–prepares the ground for a spiritual liberation. … All purification is a release, a delivery; for it is a throwing away of limiting, binding, obscuring imperfections and confusions: purification from desire brings the freedom of the psychic Prana, purification from wrong emotions and troubling reactions the freedom of the heart, purification from the obscuring limited thought of the sense-mind the freedom of the intelligence, purification from mere intellectuality the freedom of the gnosis. But all this is an instrumental liberation. The freedom of the soul, mukti, is of a larger and more essential character; it is an opening out of mortal limitation into the illimitable immortality of the Spirit.”

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 8, The Liberation of the Spirit, pg. 647

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