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Purification and Forgiveness: What Is the Yoga View?

Forgive: Blessed are the pure in heart

Q: If we try to follow the Yama and Niyama prescriptions and do Soham Yoga is that sufficient to purify ourselves in order to be forgiven?
How can God forgive our sins?
How can we forgive ourselves?

The word use in the Gospels translated “forgive” is aphiemi. It comes from two words put together: apo and hiemi. It means literally to send something away, to lay something aside, to separate something, and to leave something behind–to depart from it. It also means to cease or reverse something–to turn around.

This all takes place in our consciousness. It has nothing to do with the dualistic religious idea of God forgiving us for our sins.

The Bhagavad Gita (which I have found for over sixty years to be the most reliable statement of spiritual truth), speaking of yama and niyama and all spiritual disciplines, says:

“Thus shall you be freed from the bonds of actions producing both good and evil fruits. Steadfast in the yoga of renunciation and totally liberated, you shall come to me.

“I am the same to all beings. There is no one who is disliked or dear to me. But they who worship me with devotion are in me, and I am also in them.

“If even an evildoer worships me single-heartedly, he should be considered righteous, for truly he has rightly resolved. Quickly he becomes a virtuous soul and goes to everlasting peace. Understand: no devotee of me is ever lost” (9:28-31).

We release or free ourselves from our negative karmas and samskaras by the purification resulting from yama, niyama and other spiritual actions. But supreme among these is meditation. It is done by us, not by God. But it does involve our own personal “Father” aspect of our being, since we, too, are a trinity.

“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). The final authority is our own divine Self whose consciousness is one with Soham.

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