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Purity and Purification Summary

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Read more about Purity and Purification from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.

What is Purity and Purification?


Purity means freedom from soil or mixture. The divine Purity is that in which there is no mixture of the turbid ignorant movements of the lower nature. Ordinarily purity is used to mean (in the common language) freedom from vital passion and impulse. [1]

This is purity, to accept no other influence but only the influence of the Divine. [2]

If one lives only for the Divine and by the Divine, there follows a perfect purity. [3]

As soon as one speaks of purity, we get an image of a saintly moralism amounting to “doing all the right things”. However, purity has nothing to do with righteousness and asceticism. Purity is simply the quality of the soul and purification the process of taking up the ordinary habitual surface movements of the instruments of the being - vital, mental and physical - and vital movements and turning them towards the Divine. [4]


Purification is the removal of all aberrations, disorders, obstructions brought about by the mixed and irregular actions of the energy of the being in our physical, moral and mental system. [5]

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. [6]

Why is Purification Important?

The world will be made better only in proportion as we make ourselves better. The ills that humanity suffers from - collectively and individually - stem from the errors that lie at the roots of our ignorant nature. [7] Thus, purification of our nature is central to making the world better.

We are the deforming intermediary between the purity of the animal and divine purity of the gods. [8] Thus, the process of purification is central to our evolution.

Purification and calm are the first needs in the Yoga. One may have a great wealth of experiences of that kind (worlds, visions, voices etc.) without them, but these experiences occurring in an unpurified and troubled consciousness are usually full of disorder and mixture. [9]

With inner liberation, total sincerity and perfect purity, all sufferings ends because they will no longer be required for the progress of consciousness. [10]

Purification and Traditional Yoga

From a yogic perspective, purification is of utmost importance. All yoga proceeds in its methods by three principles of practice - purification, concentration and consummation. [11]

The importance of purification also emerges from the Gita and Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras. The Gita sees the darkness of ignorance is the cause of all stumblings and purification through Self-knowledge as the most sovereign purity. [12]

Patanjali’s Yoga-sutras insists first on a moral purification of the mentality - divided into yamas (self-discipline by which rajasic egoism and it's passion and desires are conquered and quieted) and niyamas (discipline of the mind by regular practice of meditation). [13]

How to Purify Oneself?

Purification of the Mental Being

The most effective way for purification for the mental being is to draw back, to stand as the passive witness and observe and know himself and the workings of Nature in the lower, the normal being; but this must be combined, for perfection, with a will to raise the purified nature into the higher spiritual being. [14]

Purification of the Vital Being

The first step in purification is to rid the prana of desire and turn the vital being from dominant power to obedient instrument of free mind. [15] Purification of experience means to make it sincere and motiveless (i.e. to take away motives of ambition and vanity of desires and power). [16]

The most important thing for purification of the heart is absolute sincerity - no pretence with oneself, no concealment from the Divine or oneself, a straight look at oneself, a straight will to make them straight. [17]

If you are in confusion, if there is a vital upsurge, the fact of compelling yourself to put it on paper already quietens you, it begins the work of purification. [18]

Release from Ego

The ego is by its nature a smallness of being; it brings contraction of the consciousness and with the contraction limitation of knowledge, disabling ignorance,—confinement and a diminution of power and by that diminution incapacity and weakness,—scission of oneness and by that scission disharmony and failure of sympathy and love and understanding,—inhibition or fragmentation of delight of being and by that fragmentation pain and sorrow. To recover what is lost we must break out of the walls of ego. The ego must either disappear in impersonality or fuse into a larger I: it must fuse into the wider cosmic “I” which comprehends all these smaller selves or the transcendent of which even the cosmic self is a diminished image. [19]

Integral Purification

Purification to be effective must be integral. It must take along all parts of being. For instance, purification of understanding shall open the door of Truth but it cannot happen if no purification of other members of the being has been initiated. Love is the purifier of the heart, however, this heart’s love of man may lead to distortion and exaggeration in feelings, actions and knowledge which have to be corrected and prevented by purification of understanding. Purification of understanding is the most potent cleanser of the turbid and disordered being. [20]

Purification in Integral Yoga

A certain amount of purification is necessary before there can be any realisation of the Divine. [21]

There are two possibilities, one of purification by personal effort which takes a long time, another by a direct intervention of the Divine Grace which is usually rapid in its action. [22] In both instances, the fire of purification must be lit into which all is thrown with the Divine Name on it. [23]

Purification, in integral yoga, is to make oneself a clear mirror in which the divine reality can be reflected, a clear vessel and an unobstructing vessel into which the divine presence and through which the divine influence can be poured. [24] It means a bringing down of the Divine Consciousness static and dynamic into all parts of the being and the entire replacement of the present consciousness by that. Integral purification, in integral yoga,  enables perfect reflection of the divine being in ourselves and perfect outpouring of Truth and law in us. [25]

Content curated by Aditi Nayan

Read more about Purity and Purification from the works of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo.