This morning at 4:21 PDT the Sun entered the sign of Virgo for a month long stay. Virgo is an earth sign ruled by the planet Mercury. The symbol for Virgo is a virgin holding sheaves of grain, representing the wisdom that is harvested in the fields of experience. During the Sun’s transit of Virgo we seek knowledge that will bring matter under the control of the mind. The two aspects of our lives that are emphasized during this transit are work and health. Virgo gives us good attention to detail in our work but can make us over analytical and hypercritical. This is a time to learn to discriminate between what is essential and what is trivial and to learn to be more dispassionate when evaluating both our own performance and the performance of others. Our bodies become very sensitive to whatever we put into them during this time. Virgo is associated with our intestinal tract and our ability to assimilate food. It is a good time to emphasize a pure diet and reduce our intake of toxic substances. In general, it is a time to turn up our self-discipline a notch to foster greater physical and mental purity.
II.40 “Sauca svanga jugupsa pariah asamsargah.” Purity protects one’s body and cultivates nonphysical relationships with others. Sauca (purity) is the first of the five Niyamas listed by Patanjali. It has two aspects—physical purity and mental purity. This sutra stresses the importance of bodily purity to maintain health and establish appropriate relationships with others. Our bodies require constant care because they are subject to toxicity, illness, aging and death. The implication of this sutra is that through physical purity we learn to discern between what is transient and needs to be maintained and what is eternal and needs no maintenance. Once we develop this discernment, our relationships with others are less physical and more spiritual.
II.41 “Sattva suddhi saumanasya ekagrya indriya jaya atma darsana yogyatvani ca.” Then clarity, purity, cheerfulness, single mindedness, mastery of the sense organs and perception of the Soul come into being. This sutra lists the fruits of mental purity. It is an impressive list, qualities that we would all like to cultivate.
So we begin by observing good personal hygiene, eating a pure diet, practicing asanas and pranayama and getting plenty of rest. Our health and our perspective both improve. Physical purity is the foundation that allows the continued evolution of saucha in the realm of the Mind and the Spirit. Gradually our Tamasic and Rajasic qualities begin to diminish and we become more Sattvic—letting go of inertia and agitation and embracing well being and peace of mind.
Mercury is still in retrograde until Friday and the New Moon is Sunday, so I may postpone my new program of increased self-discipline to promote the cultivation of saucha until Monday.
Have a great week.