The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali
Book III: Siddhis
We have arrived at a most fascinating junction in this Yoga Sutras series; we shall be exploring the Heightened Mystical Powers, or more commonly known as the Siddhis. Firstly, it is critical that one understands that these Powers should not be approached unless what has been covered in Books I & II has been thoroughly digested. When Yoga’s Eight Limbs and its accompanying Principles, along with one’s experiences in league with those principles, have been faithfully attended, then one will have earned a most astute foundation in which to build upon before one dare enter into these Powers. In this fashion, separated from the skandhic-chains that keep one bound to the powers of Mara’s materially-spawned minions, the yogin is now freed to engage in these spiritual techniques. Unless this foundation is laid, then one is still in danger from these negative forces that will, in effect, be accompanying you throughout your sojourn into these mystical forays. Indeed, they will use these self-same techniques to bind you ever deeper into their nefarious designs for your spirit. So, Caveat Spiritus—let your spirit beware!
3.1 Fixing one’s attention on one concentrated point.
This is the first discipline that needs to be acquired before entering the door into limitless mystical-ability. Mircea Eliade elucidates this in fine fashion:
[Yogic Concentration], sitting motionless, breathing rhythmically, eyes and attention fixed on a single point, the yogin experiences a passing beyond the secular modality of existence. He begins to become autonomous in respect to the cosmos; external tensions no longer trouble him (having passed beyond “the opposites”, he is equally insensible to heat and cold, to light and darkness, etc.); sensory activity no longer carries him outward, toward the objects of the senses; the psychomental stream in no longer either invaded or directed by distractions, automatisms, and memory: it is “concentrated,” “unified.” This retreat outside the cosmos is accompanied by a sinking into the self, progress in which is directly proportional to progress in the retreat. The yogin returns to himself, takes, so to speak, possession of himself, surrounds himself with increasingly stronger “defenses” to protect him against invasion from without—in a word, he becomes invulnerable. (Yoga: Immortality and Freedom, pg 66)
An outstanding example of this in film is a scene from Hammer Films 1957, The Abominable Snowman of the Himalayas, with Peter Cushing and Forrest Tucker. This film is not your typical horror flick; in my opinion it is one of the most intellectually-designed horror films of all time. Not to be a spoiler, but the revelation of what the “Yeti” looks like truly expands one vision into the very heart of the mystical. The scene in question concerns one of the male leads approaching the Lama of a monastery in the Himalaya-region. The scene begins at 30:35: