Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Floating around in outer space

Question - "How was the yoga master able to visit all the galaxies in the known universe?"

Answer - "He decided to see the universe one siddhi (city) at a time."


You have to be a devout student of Yoga Philosophy to get that joke. You see - Siddhis (pronounced "sid-ease" or cities) are the "magical powers" described in the third book of Patanjali's Yoga Sutras.

When a yogi - a yoga practitioner - becomes strong in his/her practice - he or she may acquire "magical powers." These are described at length in the Sutras of Pantajali and may include:

  1. Ability to be in two places at once
  2. Ability to become as small as an atom or as large as the universe
  3. Ability to levitate over water, thorns, swamps
  4. Ability to read people's minds
  5. Ability to see things across the universe or in the other room
  6. Ability to hear things near or far (like a conversation happening in Japan when you're in Oakland).
  7. Ability to enter some one's body at will and animate through that person's body
  8. Ability to keep light from bouncing off your body - thus appearing invisible
  9. Ability to precisely know the future and the exact time of your death
  10. Ability to talk all languages and to all animals (think Dr. Doolittle)
  11. Ability to conquer the "ether" of space (thus the yogi doesn't need air to breathe)
  12. Ability to travel anywhere in the universe instantaneously (quantum mechanics)

And many, many more.

However - while these "special powers" are "cool" and would definitely win you a spot on David Copperfield's next tour in Vegas - the Sutras WARN that when any of these or any other "powers' begin to manifest - that the student should go DEEPER into his or her practice and not get "swept up" in the POWER that seemingly comes from these Siddhis.

The Siddhis' are actually our birthright - but they can become distractions to practice as they FEED THE EGO which is what you don't want to have happen.

The Siddhi's tell us we are on the path to ultimate liberation in our yoga practice - but they must not be given special attention. The ego needs to remain humble and always in a position and attitude of SERVICE to God (Ishvara Pranidhana) - this is what will take us to ultimate freedom - freedom from the self.

Keep practicing!

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