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|The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 3 - Union achieved and its Results|
|13. Through this process the aspects of every object
are known, their characteristics (or form), their symbolic nature, and their specific use
in time-conditions (stage of development) are known and realized.
It should here be borne in mind that every form of divine manifestation has three aspects and hence is made truly in the image of God with all divine potentialities. In the human kingdom this is recognized. It is equally true of all forms. This triple nature is grasped by the truly concentrated yogi and the three are seen as they exist and yet are recognized as constituting one whole. In his commentary, Johnston gives us a picture of the ideas involved, in the following words:
In a curious way these three aspects cover the three aspects of the time equation or of the relationship of the object to its environment.
1. Characteristics of the form. In this phrase the tangible outward aspects of the form are seen. The matter-side of the manifesting idea is dealt with, and that which can be contacted through the medium of the senses is first considered and dismissed. This form is the result of the past, and the limitations due to the point in evolution are recognized. Every form carries in itself the evidence of the previous cycles and this can be seen in:
2. Symbolic nature. Every object is but the symbol of a reality. The difference in the development of the forms which symbolize or embody that reality is the guarantee that at some future date all the symbols will achieve the fruition of their mission. A symbol is an embodied idea, the working out in objective existence of some life. This is the consciousness aspect and two great revelations are latent in every symbol or form. 
This symbolic aspect of forms is true of all, and whether the symbol is the atom of substance, the mineral, or a tree, an animal or the "form of the Son of God" the jewel of the first aspect will be found hidden. It will make its presence known through the quality of consciousness in one or other of its many states.
3. Specific use in time conditions. As the yogi one-pointedly concentrates on the form, or object, meditates on its quality (the subjective aspect or symbolic nature), and contemplates the life veiled by the form but testified to by the factor of consciousness, he becomes aware of the present stage  of development, and thus the future, past and present, stand revealed to his intuition.
It will be apparent therefore to even the casual reader, that if meditation in its three above mentioned stages is carried forward correctly, all knowledge becomes possible to the yogi, the Eternal Now is a realized fact in nature and intelligent cooperation with the evolutionary plan becomes possible. Service is then based on complete understanding.
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