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Samyama In-Depth

by Swami Sivananda


By Samyama on friendliness and other virtues comes the power (to transmit same to others.)


By the word 'Adishu' (and others), the other virtues Karuna, Mudita, etc., are included. By Samyama on these virtues, the Yogi develops these qualities to a very high degree and gets the power to infuse these qualities in others also. Yogis radiate these qualities on all sides.


By Samyama on the distinctive relation between Sattva (purity) and Purusha (the soul), come the powers of omnipotence and omniscience.


The relation between Sattva and Purusha is also taken as the relation between Prakriti and Purusha. This Siddhi is called as Visoka which means 'without sorrow.' The Yogi who has these Siddhis will have no sorrow in any condition.


By Samyama on the distinctions of the word, meaning and knowledge which are confused with one another and appear as one because of similarity, comes the knowledge of the sounds of all living beings.


In ordinary persons word, meaning and knowledge are mixed up together. But, the Yogi can separate them. By making Samyama on any sound he can understand the meaning of any sound. Sphota is something indescribable (state of sound) which eternally exists apart from the letters forming any word, and is yet inseparably connected with it, for it reveals itself on the utterance of that word. It is subtle. 'Sphota' means 'bursting like a bubble'. Sphota is of two kinds, viz., Patha Sphota and Vakhya Sphota. Patha Sphota is that power which brings out the knowledge of a word as soon as it is uttered. Vakhya Sphota is that power which brings knowledge of a sentence as soon as it is uttered. The Udana Vayu connects itself with the chest and other seven places viz., larynx, root of the tongue, teeth, lips, palate, nose and head and cause the arising of all letters. The Yogi can understand the meaning of the sounds uttered by animals, the language of animals and birds, the music of nature and the internal Anahata sounds.


Karmas (works) are of two kinds, viz., those that are to be fructified quickly and those that will bring fruits slowly (at a later date). By Samyama over these or by portents, the Yogi gets the knowledge of (the time of) his death.


A wet cloth, when well squeezed, dries up quickly. Similarly some Karmas bring fruits quickly. A wet cloth full of water dries up slowly. Similarly some Karmas bring fruits slowly. A Yogi by his Yogic power takes several bodies and exhausts all the Karmas that bring fruits slowly. Pattinattu Swami, a well-known Jnani, exhausted the influences of Saturn planet that would last for 7 1/2 years in 7 1/2 Naligas (3 hours). Portents (Arishta) are certain occurrences that cause fear.

They are of three kinds, viz., Adhyatmika, Adhibhautika and Adhidaivika. The Yogi will find out the exact date, hour and minute of his death by Samyama over the Karmas. Yoga is an exact science. In fact it is the Science of sciences. By the knowledge of the portents also, the Yogi can find out the date of his death.


(1) On Nabhi Chakra

By Samyama on the Chakra (plexus) of navel, comes the knowledge of the body.


Nabhi Chakra is known as Manipura Chakra according to Tantra Sastra. By practising Samyama on this Chakra, the Yogi gets the knowledge of the construction of the body, the seven Dhatus, etc. The description of different Chakras, their presiding deities, the number of petals in each, the functions of each Chakra are all given in my book 'Kundalini Yoga'.


By Samyama on (the Chakra at) the pit of the throat, comes the removal of hunger and thirst.


At the pit of the throat, there is Visuddha Chakra. By Samyama on this Chakra, the Yogi becomes free from the afflictions of hunger and thirst.


By Samyama on the light of the head, comes the Darshan of Siddhas.


Siddhas are those who move in space between earth and sky. Murdha is the crown of the head. Brahmarandhra or hole of Brahma is here. Coronal artery is connected with the Brahmarandhra. Just as the light leaks out through a hole in the door or window of a house, so also the light of Sattva leaks out through this hole of Brahma. Nirguna Upasakas select this place for their abstract meditation. This centre at the head is Sahasrara Chakra. Samyama at this Chakra will bring divine visions.


By Samyama on the heart, comes the knowledge of (the contents of) the mind.


At the heart the centre is Anahata Chakra. This is a very important centre for meditation.


By Samyama on the Kurma Nadi (the tube within the chest), comes the steadiness of the body.


Kurma is one of the five sub-Pranas. It shuts and opens the eyelids. The astral tube by which this sub-Prana passes is Kurma Nadi. This Nadi is in the chest below the throat. By Samyama on this Nadi, the Yogi gets steadiness of the body.


By Samyama on the inner light (of the lotus within the heart), comes the knowledge of the subtle, the obscured and the remote.


The inner light referred to here is already explained in Sutra I-36. The Yogi develops clairvoyance. He can see vividly hidden treasures. A Yogi who lives in a Himalayan cave can clearly see things in the United States of America. He can see the invisible electrons and atoms. He can read what is written in a sealed envelope.


Experience comes from the absence of discrimination between Sattva and Purusha that are absolutely distinct from each other. This (enjoyment) being for another (Purusha), knowledge of Purusha comes by Samyama on himself.


Purusha only can know Himself as He is Self-luminous. Buddhi, in the presence of Chaitanya Purusha, shines as intelligent through the Chaitanya of Purusha. Purusha is reflected in clear Sattva (Buddhi) and therefore he has energised and magnetised the Buddhi. Buddhi foolishly imagines that all experiences are its own acts. This confused identification of the two is the cause for experiences and enjoyment. The action of Sattva or Buddhi is for another (Purusha) and not for himself.


From that (Samyama) arises the knowledge of clairaudience, higher touch, clairvoyance, higher taste and higher smell through intuition.


The five kinds of knowledge derived from the functioning of the five Jnana Indriyas are now derived by the power of Pratibha without any Samyama (vide Sutra III-34). The Yogi gets the power of Sravana, the capacity to hear remote sounds; Vedana, the capacity to touch remote objects; Adarsha, the capacity to see remote objects; Asvada, the capacity to taste remote objects; and Varta, the capacity to sense the smell of remote objects, and other Siddhis through intuition. The fruits of Pratibha is explained in the Sutra III-34.


By the power of intuition, comes the knowledge of all knowledge.


If a Yogi has the power of Pratibha he gets all Siddhis and knowledge without practising Samyama at all. Pratibha is called Taraka Jnana, the knowledge that leads to Moksha or emancipation. Pratibha is prescience or intuition. When the mind becomes very, very pure and is filled with Sattva, spontaneous illumination dawns. The Taraka Jnana is explained in Sutra III-55.


The knowledge born of discrimination is Taraka, relating to all objects in every condition and without having any succession.


In Sutra III-34, a description is given of Taraka Jnana. The discriminative knowledge described in Sutra III-53 results into Taraka. It relates to all objects from Pradhana down to Bhutas and also all conditions of these objects. Further this knowledge is simultaneous. Everything is 'present' only. Past and future are blended in the present. Everything is 'now' only. There is no succession or order. The Yogi becomes a 'Sarvajna' and 'Sarva-vit' - all-knowing and all-understanding. Madhubhumi is a part of this Taraka Jnana only. Pratibha consists in the capacity to comprehend things which are hidden or veiled, remote or past or future or extremely subtle. The whole knowledge is revealed to the Yogi who has Pratibha.


(1) Mind Enters Another Body

The mind (of a Yogi) enters another body, by relaxation of the cause of bondage and by the knowledge of the method of passing.


On account of Karmas the mind is bound to a particular body. By the force of Samadhi, the Karmas which chain the mind to a body become loosened. By the destruction of the bonds imposed by Karma, and by knowing the passages through which he can re-enter his own body, the Yogi withdraws his mind from his body and enters another body. When the mind enters another body, the organs also follow the Indriyas, just as the common bees follow the queen bee. The knowledge of the passage for the mind helps the Yogi in entering another body and re-entering his own body. Sri Sankaracharya entered the dead body of the Rajah of Benares and his disciple Padmapada took care of his physical body. Vikramaditya also knew this Yogic process. He entered the body of others. A Rishi entered the body of a dead cowherd to look after the cows and had a new name Tirumular, the reputed author of Tirumantram in Tamil. Hastamalaka, disciple of Sri Sankaracharya, had another body previously. He entered the body of a small boy and remained silent on the banks of a river. Sri Sankara took him and made him as his disciple. A Yogi can enter the body of a living man and operate through his body and mind. Mind is Vibhu or all-pervading. Cosmic mind is Hiranyagarbha. When the individual mind is purified, it becomes one with the cosmic mind.


Created minds emanate from egoism alone.


The Yogi wants to exhaust all Karmas quickly. Therefore he multiplies himself and takes many bodies. He manufactures minds for these bodies out of Ahamkara, egoism. He may like to enjoy several things at the same time. For this simultaneous enjoyment he creates several bodies and several minds through his Yogic powers. The Yogi has full command over Mahat Tattva. Egoism proceeds from Mahat Tattva. So there is no difficulty for a Yogi to create many minds as he likes. He taps the source for all minds, and manufactures several minds from the great reservoir over which he has absolute control. These minds are called 'Nirmana Chittani - created minds.' These new manufactured bodies are called 'Kaya-vyuha'. The Yogi keeps with him the control for these bodies.


Though there is difference in various functions, the one mind (Yogi's original mind) is the director of the many (created minds).


The identity of one and the same individual is preserved in all these manufactured bodies (Nirmana-kayas) and minds (Nirmana-chittas). The Yogi draws in all the created bodies and minds into himself as the sun draws in his rays.


The transformation into another class (species) is by the flow of Prakriti (nature).


One body is changed into another of a different kind in the same existence by the flow of Prakriti. The process of changing the body is explained in the next Sutra.


The incidental causes do not move the Prakriti into action, but they remove the obstacles like a husbandman (in the field).


The husbandman removes the obstacles in the way of the water and the water then passes of itself from one field or bed to another field or bed. Even so, the virtuous deeds remove the obstacles that stand in the way of evolution of Prakriti (that stand in the way of getting another different body in the same existence). It is not the virtue that becomes the cause of the creative causes moving into action. Virtue becomes the cause of the removal of the vice, because they are diametrically opposed to each other.

Animal is hidden in vegetables; vegetable is hidden in minerals; man is hidden in animals; and God is hidden in man. When the obstacles are removed rapid evolution takes place.
Nature rushes in to work out the creative processes or evolution. Divinity is the very birth-right or heritage of man. When the obstacles are removed he becomes Purusha or Brahman or God. Ignorance and its effects, egoism, Raga, Dvesha, etc., act as barriers. Removal of these barriers allows the flow of knowledge, power and peace. All Yogic practices are best calculated to remove the barriers that stand in the way of the shutters of ignorance and egoism. The river of Jnana will flow by itself.


By Samyama on the gross form, substantive nature, subtle form, qualities and purposefulness of the elements, comes mastery over the elements.


The gross form is that which is seen by the naked eyes. Sabdha, Sparsa, Rupa, Rasa, Gandha are the Svarupa of the five elements. The Tanmatras are subtle forms. Qualities in them are the five general appearances, conditions or states for the fire, motion for air, all-pervading nature for the ether - these are the five unchanging, real essential nature (Yathartha Svarupa) of the five elements respectively. Anvaya means that which is interpenetrating in all objects i.e., the three Gunas. That Yogi who has mastery over the elements can command nature. He can create anything by taking up materials from the ocean of ether or Tanmatras. He can arrange and rearrange the atoms of his body. He can create as many bodies as he likes and work in all the bodies. Sri Jnana Deva had this Siddhi. He made the Masjid and the walls of his house to move. His sister, Mukta Bhai, prepared bread out of the fire that emanated from his back. Visvamitra also had this power. He created a third world for Trisanku. You can also have this power if you practise this special Samyama and understand the technique.


From that comes the attainment of the (eight major) Siddhis, Anima, etc., and the perfection of body, and non-obstruction of their functions.


It is stated that the Yogi attains the eight Siddhis and perfection of body by the practice of the Samyama explained in the previous Sutra. Here I will give a short description of the eight Siddhis and in the next Sutra the perfection of body is given.


(1) Anima: The power to make oneself as minute as an atom. (2) Mahima: The power to expand oneself into space, (becoming big as huge as a mountain). (3) Laghima: The power to become as light as cotton. (4) Garima: The power to become as heavy as iron hill. (5) Prapti: The power of reaching anywhere (power to approach distant things), even to the moon, to touch it with tip of finger. (6) Prakamya: The power of having all desires realised. (7) Ishatva: The power to create. (8) Vasitva: The power to command all or the perfect control over elements.

Although a Yogi possesses all powers, he will never interfere with the smooth running of the world. He will not set the objects of the world topsy-turvy.

The Dharmas of the elements do not obstruct him. The earth does not interfere by cohesion with the action of a Yogi's body. He can even pass within the water for months together. The late Trailinga Swami of Benares used to live for six months underneath the Ganga. The fire cannot burn him. The air cannot affect him. He can stand in Akasa.


The perfection of body is (when it has) beauty, gracefulness, strength and adamantine hardness.


The power to bear extreme heat and cold, the power to live without food and water (drawing the energy from his pure, strong, irresistible will), also come under the category 'Kaya-sampat.' As food is only a mass of energy, the body can be kept healthy and strong, if you can supply the body the energy from any other source such as sun, cosmic Prana, will, etc. Yogis know how to absorb the energy and utilise it for the economy of nature in the preservation of the body. Vayubakshana (eating or taking in air) is another way of maintaining the body. If the breath is stopped through Khechari Mudra, the Yogi can live by drinking the nectar that flows from Sahasrara Chakra.

Perfection of the body will come by the practice of Yoga systematically and by doing the Samyama described in Sutra III-45.


The Siddhis are obtained by birth, drugs, Mantras, Tapas or by Samadhi.


Devas get several Siddhis by birth. Kapila Muni was a born Siddha. Ashtavakra and Vama Deva spoke when they were dwelling in their mothers' wombs. Mandavya Muni who resided in Vindhya mountains acquired Siddhis by drugs and herbs called Rasayanas. The Yogis make Rasayanas and Siddha-kalpas and attain Kaya Siddhi by taking these preparations. They make Kalpas from sulphur, mercury, Nux-Vomica seeds, and Neem (Margosa) leaves, which possess wonderful powers.

By taking these Kalpas they can live as long as they like. There are certain herbs which stop hunger and thirst. In ancient days certain herbs had the power to talk with persons. Agastya Muni gave curse to these herbs and then they ceased talking. One can get Siddhis by repetition of Mantras. Visvamitra attained Siddhis by repetition of Mantras. For getting Siddhis, one must have Sraddha.

Tapas is mortification of the body. Tapasvins do Kaya-klesa. Practice of Hatha Yogic Kriyas like Khechari Mudra, etc., can give Siddhis. These come under the category of Tapas.

Yogis keep some mercury pills in their mouths and fly in the air. They prepare some ointment out of some herbs and apply it to their feet and move in the air. The Rasayanas can immortalise this physical body. They keep the physical body healthy and stronger in order to achieve the goal in this very life. Panchagni Tapas (sitting amidst five fires), standing on one leg with hands raised, living on Neem leaves, Krichara and Chandrayana Vrata are all forms of Tapas. They bring Siddhis. Standing in hot sun in summer, and in cold water in winter, living naked in ice are also a kind of Tapas. I met a Sadhu in Nimsar in 1932. He was standing on one leg from morning six o'clock till evening six o'clock. He had the help of a swing to lean upon occasionally.


(1) Gradual Practice
Its (Samyama's) practice is by stages.


It is difficult or impossible to ascend higher planes without mastering the lower planes. The Yogi knows the next stage himself. By conquest of one plane, he gets entry in the next stage. He who is carried away by the Siddhis cannot enjoy the happiness of Yoga. The image may be meditated with all parts; then without decorations or ornaments; then without limbs; then without any special identity; and lastly Abheda Dhyana, as not apart from the meditator or the 'Self.' The stages are those mentioned in Sutras II-27, I-17. No one who starts for Calcutta from Dehra Dun, reaches Calcutta without passing the intermediate stations. So is the case with Yoga also. One should practice Yoga stage by stage, step by step.


These Siddhis are obstacles in attaining Samadhi; but they are for the out-going mind.


Samadhi here means Asamprajnata Samadhi. The Siddhis of Pratibha, etc., are obstacles. He who wants Kaivalya should ruthlessly shun or reject all Siddhis, as absolutely useless. He may get higher Siddhis, but he cannot become a Kritakritya. These come in the way of meditation as by-products. They should be ignored.


By giving up even these (Siddhis) comes the destruction of the seed of bondage which brings Kaivalya or (independence).


That Yogi, who rejects omnipotence and other Siddhis as mere straw, can attain the highest state of Kaivalya. All the causes of bondage beginning with Avidya mentioned in Sutra II-3 are destroyed when the Yogi rejects ruthlessly even these higher Siddhis. What are these Siddhis, when compared with the state of Kaivalya? Siddhis are in Maya or Prakriti. They are unreal and non-eternal. They are playful things only. Bija are the Purva-karma-samskaras (Avidya). Kaivalya is also called 'Amanaska state' i. e., mindless condition. This Siddhi is called 'Samskara-sesha.'


The Yogi should give up attachment and smile or happiness when the celestial beings invite, as there is again the possibility of contact with undesirables.


There are four classes of Yogins. (1) Prathama-kalpika: He is just a beginner or neophyte. The light is just appearing. He is just practising. He has not attained any Siddhis. This Yogi is just practising 'Savitarka Samadhi'. (2) Madhu-bhumika: One who has entered 'Nirvitarka Samadhi' and who has attained 'Ritambara Prajna.' This stage is also called Madhu-mati, because it brings the knowledge that gives satisfaction, just as honey does. (3) Prajna Jyotis: The Yogi has attained mastery over elements and senses. He has attained the stage of Madhu-pratika. (4) Atikrantabhavaniya: This Yogi has attained the Bhumikas of Visoka and Samskara-sesha. He has attained Kaivalya. Vyasa describes: 'His sole object is to make the mind latent in the Pradhana.'

The dangers mentioned in this Sutra will affect the Yogi who has entered the second stage. Devatas place various sorts of temptations before him. Many kinds of desires will try to overpower him. The Yogi will become proud and haughty, as he thinks that even Devatas have come to invite him. A downfall is sure to come. He will lose the zeal and earnestness in Yogic practice. False satisfaction will creep in. He will give up all Sadhana. This Sutra gives caution for the Yogi. You are fully aware of the story of Visvamitra, how he was allured by the celestial lady sent by Indra. The Devatas are full of jealousy. They do not like anyone to become a perfect Yogi. They put all sorts of obstacles. They come and invite the Yogi with sweet, cunning words and smile.

Ride on this Vimana which will move in the Akasa. There are Kalpa Vriksha, Chintamani and Kamadhenu. There are beautiful, obedient nymphs. They will serve you nicely. Here are clairvoyance and clairaudience and a body of adamantine strength by drinking the nectar. You will not get old age and death. The Yogi, who is careful, who does not care a bit for these invitations and who has shunned all Siddhis can march direct to the goal and enjoy the Kaivalya or perfect Independence.

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