Powers of Spirit


Blue Medicine Buddha by Sally Gradle

iii. 35-37 Spiritual Gnosis

3.35 A bifurcation exists between puruṣa (spirit) and the phenomenal worlds. Objective formalities exist only for utilization by the spiritually advanced yogin.

Even for the advanced yogin/yogini corporeal bondage will remain a certainty unless one comes to the realization that all material phenomenalizations are mutable, while the Spiritual Reality of the Dharmadhatu is immutable. Gnosis of the Spirit is not realized through conventional means. This includes sitting in zazen indefinitely. That only procures a deep-seated attachment to the false material-self. Materiality, in any form, exists as a utility, no more. The sad fact is that today Pseudo-Spiritual Utilitarianism is normative in this spiritually-degrading material environment.

Sola Spiritus is normative in the Dharmadhatu. To be a Self-Realized practitioner of the Buddhadharma is the badge of entrance into this august Buddhaic Truth Realm. The old adage is still quite applicable, “To Thine Own True Self Be True.” Tozen’s own adaptation of this adage goes even one step further, “Know Thyself before the Arisal and Cessation of All Things.” This motto needs to be ingrained into the Deepest-Self of the yogic practitioner. When the Spiritual-Self Recollects that Its heightened powers are always greater and prior to phenomena, then all within the realm of the materialistic Karmadhatu is secondary to the primordial readiness of the Dharmadhatu.

3.36 From this heightened Spiritual Gnosis, there arises supernal-intervention upon the ordinary senses: supernal hearing, seeing, touching, tasting and smelling; also thought-transmissions.

Through supernal hearing, the yogin develops the power of clairaudience, and is thus empowered to hear far and beyond the normative range of perception; this includes a greater sense of being empowered to “listen” to all things from higher spiritual realities. Through supernal seeing, the yogin develops the power of clairvoyance—being empowered to perceive objects, events and even transcendent exposures far and beyond the ordinary faculty of sight; this includes all the three times (past, present, future) and beyond—even into neighboring parallel dimensions. Through supernal touching, the yogin can develop psychometry; this includes the power of intuitively knowing all about an event or person simply by touching an object that is connected to them. Through supernal tasting, the yogin develops the power of clarigustance; this entails the capacity to taste a given substance without physically putting the object into the mouth. This also covers the capacity to taste a substance originating from spiritual or ethereal realms. Through supernal smelling, the yogin develops the power of clairalience; with this ability, the Yogin can directly perceive smells originating from spiritual, astral, or even from different neighboring dimensions; also they can detect ordinary olfactory events that are not registered by the majority of people. Through supernal thought-transmissions, the yogin develops the power of telepathy. Perhaps the best known of all ESP events, the advanced yogin can communicate directly to another without the usual norms of communication—it’s a direct *implanting* of one thought pattern into another. This can also include an “overlapping of thought-transferences” that can disrupt the receivers sequential mode of thought with the yogin’s own interjections; this usually occurs to confuse or dissuade those (even animals) that are trying to inflict harm.      

3.37 These Powers can be obstacles on the path towards Samādhi.

Jaganath Carrea wonderfully delineates this disturbance:

These extrasensory powers are expressions of great mental power, but they still exist in the realm of relativity and are obstacles to the interiorization of mind needed for Self-realization. Actually, it’s not the powers themselves that are obstacles; it’s the attachment to them that obstructs progress. Under the influence of attachment, these powers can tempt egos that are not yet cleansed of selfishness and become a major obstruction to the experience of the highest samadhi.

Why, then, would Sri Patanjali bother to enumerate these extraordinary attainments? One reason is that they are a natural byproduct of the search for Self-realization, and it is his responsibility to present the entirety of the spiritual experience. Another reason is that perhaps in his day, seekers might have been dazzled or frightened by charismatic individuals who exhibited these capabilities. Some of these miracle workers, abusing these powers for self-aggrandizement, would have attracted followers who wished to develop those abilities for themselves. Sri Patanjali would not have wanted to see seekers distracted from the path of Self-realization by a search for supernormal powers. So he demonstrates that the basis for these powers is a natural outcome of a clear and deeply focused mind intent on peeling back layers of nature, continually looking for the cause (the more subtle) behind the effect (the more gross). The essential principle is that mind is subtler than other objects, and the subtle is the cause and controller of the more gross.

Since every individual’s path to Self-realization is unique in many ways, not all Self-realized individuals attain these powers. However, when they do manifest in the enlightened, it is a case of the Divine Will working through these great souls to accomplish some good.[Carrera, Jaganath (2012-06-22). Inside The Yoga Sutras: A Comprehensive Sourcebook for the Study and Practice of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras (pp. 188-189). BookMasters. Kindle Edition.]

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