Week 18: The Truth That Your Pure Self Cannot Be Corrupted (Sutra 24)

“Isvara is the supreme Purusa (pure self), unaffected by any afflictions, actions, fruits of actions or by any inner impressions of desires.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Sutra (Thread) or Lesson 24: Klesa Karma Vipakasayairaparamrstah Purusavisesa Isvarah

Klesa: afflictions | Karma: actions | Asayaih: storehouse of impressions left by desires | Aparamrstah: unaffected by | Purusa: self, soul | Visesah: distinction | Isvarah: supreme God


Isvara, the pure self, Patanjali writes, is not affected by worldly things, nor is it affected by life itself.

Neither great suffering, one’s actions, the outcome of one’s actions, nor any thoughts, memories, nor past experiences can alter, distort, impact, or touch, the pure self.

Isvara (what Patanjali calls your true self) connected to/undistinguished from the source of your full “I-am” presence, is pure, and unchanging.

Your true self cannot suffer, nor can it be corrupted by desire nor past expressions or states of being.

Isvara cannot be improved upon, nor diminished by actions or (as a) result of one’s actions. And nothing can override the pure self. Not even past impressions of false self-expressions in the form of ego-overidentification and articulation can alter the truth of this pure, untroubled presence.

Isvara, therefore, is your truest and purest expression, and is naturally in a state of eternal peace that cannot be disturbed, wounded, scarred, or valuated by, or in, the world.

To Isvara, all maladies and experiences are like bacteria on the human skin that, when left to multiply in suitable areas, can create unpleasant odors that offend the senses, and all pleasures are like external perfumes that can be temporarily sprayed onto one’s body to create a fading, but pleasant, scent. When these foreign substances are washed completely from the body, however, all that is left is the pure, clean, and fresh, presence of one’s full physical expression, which has no innate “smell” in and of itself.

FUN FACT! Did you know that, according to some findings, the human body has no natural smell? All smells that emanate from a human body is the result of the growth, digestion, and excretion process of bacterial and other organisms living on the skin and in different parts of the body. While humans do give off pheromones and other internally generated chemicals and substances that can be picked up by the brain, there is no “smell,” per say, without the help of our companion microbes…To learn more, check out Ed Yong’s I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us And A Grander View Of Life. And the next time that you are tempted to state that you or anyone else “stinks,” remember that it is more accurate to say that your, or their, microbes stink instead!

In the same way that bacteria or fragrances can be washed off of one’s physical body with soap and water, all false-selves, distortions, memories, actions, and so forth, can be washed off of your true-self through meditation.

Through meditation, aimed at obtaining Samadhi, you can reveal your true essence, untouched and unafflicted, by the “funk” of your ego and earthly experience.


Brainwashing, which is rightfully known as a devious tactic used by manipulators to destroy a person’s sense of identity in order to create a new one that feels inadequate and inferior in order to force victims to remanufacture a new pseudo-self that is suitable for a cult leader or abuser to control, for example, is often used by narcissists and psychopaths to engage their victims in a cycle of sexual, social, physical, financial, spiritual, and/or emotional abuse.

If humans can so easily destroy their past ego-expressions in order to be manipulated, however, it is clear to see how they can also do the same in order to become more true to who they really are as well.

So, if a person chooses to, with their own free will and discernment, intentionally deconstruct an old identity in order to call in more of their truest and fullest self expression using the same process that can be triggered by others to manipulate them, he/she can more fully understand the power of their mind and ability to change, and effect internal growth.

While brainwashing, in the manipulative sense of identity deconstruction and re-creation may be devious and damaging to affected individuals, and you are best served with always standing in your power and using discernment when it comes to exploring new ideas, thoughts, identities, etc, (always testing these new concepts against your truest values and convictions), giving your brain a little cleaning/scrub of past negativity, false-overidentifications and so forth, through conscious and intentional choice, can be a good thing for you if it helps with getting you closer to fully being all that you are in your true, full, expression.

If you can remember that you are not your thoughts, not your body, not your past, not your ideas, not your conditioning, not your society, not the roles that you take on, etc, you can then more fully see how free you are to be who you truly are in any given moment and context, and this will empower you to step into your full strength and presence in life.


So, this week’s exercise is to picture yourself entering an illuminated room that exists in front of an “all-seeing” mirror that will show you all of your false self-expressions which, like layers of dirt, cover up your true and pure self in the world.

Ensure that you drop all of the mental distortions that come in the form of overidentifying with what other people, society, and even your own distorted-ego is telling you that you are before entering the room.

While in this illuminated room, picture yourself walking over to, and submerging your entire being in, the cleansing waters that are bubbling up in a tub of foamy purifying “soap” before you. Submerge yourself in the purifying bath and intentionally touch, and look at, each distortion/dirty area that is not representative of who you are in your truest and purest expression, before using the restoring loofah of light that is present in your tub to wash your distortions away from your being to be dissolved in the purifying water that you are bathing in.

Engage in this cleansing ritual for several minutes each day as this week unfolds, and be sure to write down, or draw, your insights and understandings in your journal.

For This Exercise, Ask Yourself:

What are some of the things that I am washing away in order to more fully express my true, and pure, self, unaffected by any externally corrupting forces?

Where might I have picked up these distortions/corruptions that I am washing away?

What is left behind after I am done washing myself clean?


Suggested Reading:

I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us And A Grander View Of Life

Psychopath Free (Expanded Edition): Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships With Narcissists, Sociopaths, and Other Toxic People

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