iii. 38-45 Ascending the Rūpakaya
3.38 Liberation from bondage to the Rūpakaya, the yogin is freed to merge with another mind-essence.
Freed from exclusive samsaric incarceration, the citta has the ability to link with the subtle nerve-channels (nadis) of another citta. An interesting cultural reference that comes to mind is episode sequences from the old 60’s Gothic-Soap, Dark Shadows. The sequences referenced occurred during the 1897 (Quentin Collins) storyline when the infamous Count Petofi, through esoteric means, transferred the essence of his citta to the citta (mind) of Quentin—in essence, Petofi was Quentin and Quentin was Petofi—great gothic and occult drama!
3.39 Through mastery of udāna (the life-force breath rising from the body), the yogin can levitate over material matter.
Another reference for the Yoga Sutras is a highly esoteric (occult) text, “The Light of the Soul, Its Science and Effect”, by Alice A. Bailey. Although too occult in nature for the present series, the following from her writing is apropos given the extrasensory siddhic powers in these given sutras:
Pervading the whole body is that sum total of nervous force, called by the Hindu, prana. It is controlled by the mind via the brain; it is the vitality which brings into activity the sense-organs and produces the outward-going life of the man; its medium of distribution is the nervous system through certain great distributing centres called plexi, or lotuses. The nerve ganglia known to orthodox medicine, are the reflections or shadows of the more vital plexi. The student will not go far astray if he regards the sum total of prana in the human body as constituting the vital or etheric body. This etheric body is formed entirely of energy currents, and is the substratum of living substance which underlies the dense physical form.
One term applied to this energy is the “vital airs.” Prana is fivefold in its manifestation, thus corresponding to the five states of mind, the fifth principle and to the five modifications of the thinking principle. Prana in the solar system works out as the five great states of energy which we call planes, the medium of consciousness; these are:
1. The atomic or spiritual plane,
2. The buddhic or intuitional plane,
3. The mental plane,
4. The emotional, astral or karmic plane,
5. The physical plane.
The five differentiations of prana in the human body are:
1. Prana, extending from the nose to the heart and having special relation to the mouth and speech, the heart and lungs.
2. Samana extends from the heart to the solar plexus; it concerns food and the nourishing of the body through the medium of food and drink and has a special relation to the stomach.
3. Apana controls from the solar plexus to the soles of the feet; it concerns the organs of elimination, of rejection and of birth, thus having special relation to the organs of generation and of elimination.
4. Vpana is found between the nose and the top of the head; it has a special relation to the brain, the nose and the eyes, and when properly controlled produces the coordination of the vital air~ and their correct handling.
5. Vyana is the term applied to the sum total of pranic energy as it is distributed evenly throughout the entire body. Its instruments are the thousands of nadis or nerves found in the body, and it has a peculiar definite connection with the blood channels, the veins and arteries.
In this sutra we are told that by mastery of the fourth of these vital airs, certain definite results can be achieved and it will be interesting to note what they are. This mastery only becomes possible as the Raja Yoga system is understood and mastered, for it involves the capacity to function in the head and to control the entire nature from the point within the brain. When a man becomes polarised there, then the nervous force or energy found in the top of the head becomes active and through its correct control and through mastery of it, the right direction of the pranas of the body becomes possible and man reaches liberation; through it, noncontact in the three worlds is brought about. The language used is necessarily symbolic and its meaning must not be lost through a materializing of its real significance. Levitation, the power to walk on water, and ability to withstand the gravitational pull of the earth is its lowest and least important significance.
1. Freedom from water is a symbolic way of stating that the astral nature is subjugated and the great waters of illusion can no longer hold the emancipated soul. The energies of the solar plexus no longer dominate.
2. Liberation from the thorny path refers to the path of physical life, and is nowhere more beautifully referred to than by the Christ in His parable of the Sowers, where some of the seed fell among thorns. The explanation is given that the thorns are the cares and troubles of worldly existence which succeed in choking the spiritual life and in veiling the true man for so long. The thorny path must lead to the northern path and that in turn to the Path of Initiation. In one of the old books in the Archives of the Lodge, are found these words:
“Let the seeker after truth escape from drowning and climb the river’s bank. Let him turn towards the northern star and on firm ground stand, his face directed towards the light. Then let the star lead.”
3. Liberation from the mire refers to that mixed nature of kama-manas, desire and lower mind, which causes the unique problem of humanity. It is a symbolic way also of referring to the great illusion which snares the pilgrim for so long. When the aspirant can walk in the light, having found the light (the Shekinah) within himself in the Holy of Holies, then the illusion is dissipated. It is of value to the student to trace the analogy between the three parts of Solomon’s Temple, and that of the “Temple of the Holy Spirit,” the human frame.
The outer court corresponds to those energies and their corresponding organs found below the diaphragm. The Holy Place is the centres and organs in the upper part of the body from the throat to the diaphragm. The Holy of Holies is the head where is the throne of God, the Mercy Seat, and the overshadowing glory. When these three aspects of freedom have been gained and the man is no longer dominated by the water, the mire or physical plane life, then “the power of ascension” is gained and he can ascend into heaven at will. The Christ or spiritual man can stand upon the mountain of ascension, having passed through the four crises or points of control from the birth to the crucifixion. Thus the “udana” or upward life becomes the controlling factor and the downward life no longer dominates. [From the Twenty-four books of Esoteric Philosophy, Lucis Trust, 1998)
For our purposes this is a good example of the eclectic nature of Patañjali’s Yoga Sutras, in particular through the shared-usage of these siddhic-tools. Jesus walking across water is a good example. Paramahansa Yogananda in his work, The Yoga of Jesus: Understanding the Hidden Teachings of the Gospels, is an excellent resource to discover these parallel siddhic states within many diverse spiritual traditions.
3.40 Once Samāna (the nerve that properly controls breath) is activated, mastery of the radiant inner-fire is assured.
This is akin to the process within Tibetan Buddhism wherein the adept is empowered, through mystical means, of generating the “Inner-Fire” Effect. For a more detailed account of this type of method, read the blog Mystaogia.
3.41 Through sanyama on the relationship between the ear and the ākāsha substance, enhanced hearing is won.
Ether (ākāsha) is the element associated with Spirit. Through proficient meditation on the Dharmasota Chakra (throat), the yogin develops hearing that is not privy to this samsaric realm, but rather an intimate acquisition of the Spiritual Deathless Sound (Parato ghosa) of the Tathagatas.
3.42 Through sanyama on the inter-dimensionality of the rūpakaya and ākāsha, the astral realm can be accessed.
This is when the yogin can access the astral-body at will. What is known as the astral body is like an invisible twin who lives within the recesses of one’s spirit and manifests itself oftentimes through dreams and quite frequently through what many refer to on the material plane as a near-death experience. It can also be accessed at will when one becomes familiar with certain arcane techniques that help to unlock the subconscious parameters that fully constitute this astral-essence; this is in reference to those who have the ability to experience the phenomenon known as astral-projection. Astral-projection can be experienced directly, through consciously triggering those arcane techniques, or indirectly, when one’s subconscious mind turns inwards upon itself and fully expresses the less dense variables that are part and parcel of the wider astral quintessence, or plane. This is quite a freeing experience as many within the familiar material plane are now free to transcend the barriers of physics and are now directly empowered to create their own reality as it were; like the ability to fly, to produce sensational geometrical shapes and colors, and even to interact with denizens from the far reaches of the universe who also are able to access and populate this astral playground.
There are even deeper-material-density worlds than the ones we normally inhabit; and so for some incarnating here from that world would find our own dimension lighter and freer—like an astral plane. In point of interest, there are those from these deep and dense domains that can actually astral-project themselves into our present dimension; but usually these ghostly apparitions are those within our customary astral plane who have played all their cards exclusively on the belief that our material plane is all there is; and so, they are literally trapped here although now in the form of their astral-self.
Just as there are countless varieties of material worlds like our own, there are also an inestimable number of these deeper-material-density worlds as well; in like fashion, there are also an immeasurable multitude of astral planes that exist concurrently with both our accustomed material and astral planes; some of these astral planes are so densely acute that the creatures that inhabit them are referred to as astral-leeches. These astral-leeches often create great havoc as they need to subsist on the energies of lighter dimensions. They can even feed on human emotions—draining the energy level of their host to the point of complete emotional, mental, and physical exhaustion. It’s unfortunate, but these astral-leeches are descending on our world like a swarm of bees—invited in through portals opened unintentionally by the ignorant, or even more nefariously, by the dark magicians of our saha-world.
Returning now exclusively to our own customary astral plane, it’s important to note that when one accesses this plane, whether through those arcane techniques or via the route of physical death, everything that is experienced there is still enveloped with material-associations that were familiar during one’s earthly sojourn. People can envision themselves meeting their departed loved ones; they even maintain a semblance of their physical body since the reference point is still based on physical phenomena. And so, although more imaginarily free in essence, the astral plane is the ultimate fata morgana. Some apparent “Ascended Masters” are in actuality personas originating from the astral plane; their trademark is their excessive and all-too familiar physicality. Notice the contemporary artwork depicting these “Masters”, as if the only “ascended beings” are exclusively perfected humanoids in form. That’s all well and good, yet it is prudent to be aware that they are an astral spectral and do not fully project the wider multidimensional and Universal Collective that is also represented by unknown (within our usual frame of reference) modes of being; beings who, gifted with wisdom, have risen above any conceited and immature notions of mastership…
3.43 The operations of the citta outside the constraints of the body-consciousness is termed mahāvidehā, or the great state beyond the body.
What Patañjali is referencing here is akin to the notion within Mahayana Buddhism as the manomakaya-body. This term has been referenced on numerous occasions within the blogs, like the following from the Lanka Series:
A study on the Lanka would be remiss without focusing on one of its more prominent terms: manomakaya. Red Pine describes it as, “a projection body—because it travels quickly and without obstruction, like a thought…endowed with higher powers and spiritual masteries obtained in the Samadhi of the Illusory, the different projection bodies of bodhisattvas appear simultaneously, like unobstructed projections, in whatever realms they recall having vowed to bring those beings to perfection who delight in the personal realization of Buddha knowledge.” Once again, his over-reliance on the word “projection” essentially “projects” a misleading understanding as to the nature of the term…like it’s some kind of an “astral-projection” appearing at will wherever it desires. Suzuki translates it as, “Mind-made body”, or “Will” body; I believe that he’s closer to the mark because the manomakaya is a manifested Mind-Body of undivided awareness power that is revealed only through a perfected state of Samadhi. Manomakaya is essentially a Mind-revelation initiating creative vibratory nodes within an otherwise constricted body-consciousness. It is not a ghost or an apparition or a corporal entity nor a spirit, and certainly NOT the stuff that dreams are made of—but rather an awakened resonance that emanates from the dark and luminous body of the Tathagatas.
3.44 One-pointed attentiveness on the gross and subtle elements assures the yogin some measure of ascendancy over them.
Charles Johnson’s version of the Yoga Sutras translates thus:
Mastery of the elements comes from perfectly concentrated Meditation on their five forms: the gross, the elemental, the subtle, the inherent, and the purposive. These five forms are analogous to those recognized by modern physics: solid, liquid, gaseous, radiant and ionic. When the piercing vision of the awakened spiritual man is directed to the forms of matter, from within, as it were, from behind the scenes, then perfect mastery over the "beggarly elements" is attained. This is, perhaps, equivalent to the injunction: "Inquire of the earth, the air, and the water, of the secrets they hold for you. The development of your inner senses will enable you to do this." [Patañjali (2011-03-24). The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali: the Book of the Spiritual Man (p. 43). . Kindle Edition.]
3.45 Once power over the elements have been mastered, then the yogin can develop the ability to become as small as an atom as well as attaining perfection in the psychophysical form and also attain immunity from all disease.
Incredible siddhis are described here. The Yogin has gained total control over the entire psychophysical as well as psychochemical dimensions within the Rūpakaya, thus total spiritual ascension from all its limitations.