by Swami Krishnananda
My main purpose in the foregoing chapters has been to take the reader along the difficult labyrinth of the practical side of Yoga. All that I have tried to expound is nothing but the practice of Yoga according to the system of Patanjali. He has many other things to say as his school of thought, as a system of philosophy, into which I have not digressed much, inasmuch as I have addressed my words to spiritual seekers, and not to academicians or theoretical philosophers. Because, there are many knotty metaphysical themes which Patanjali introduces in the various chapters of his system, especially in the third and the fourth chapters. I do not think there is any point in discussing in detail the theoretical metaphysics of the Samkhya and the Yoga, since, together with the exposition of the practical processes of Yoga, I have attempted to touch upon these metaphysical principles also, in some way, without actually mentioning that it is philosophy.
To rouse our spirits into a mood of intense satisfaction, and to force our spirits into the practice of Yoga, Patanjali gives us a long list of the attainments automatically following the Samyamas or the Samapattis. Powers known as Siddhis, after which many are these days, seem to be the spontaneous consequences of communion with Reality. It is useless to run after powers. When one runs after a power, it cannot be acquired, because it remains an outside something. And capacity, or power, or Siddhi as it is called, is an automatic consequence that follows the communion of the Yogi with a stage of Reality, because he then has a complete control over that with which he has identified himself, which he himself has become for all practical purposes, which cannot be differentiated from his being in essence. A person can lift his hand at his will, and it may be called a power, because an ant, for instance, cannot lift his hand. To a small weakling like an ant or a crawling insect, a feat of lifting a heavy thing like the human hand will be a Siddhi, no doubt. An elephant lifts its heavy leg or its own body, which even a dozen persons cannot lift with all their strength. How does the elephant lift itself while nobody can lift it? Because, its consciousness is identical with its form. Even the heaviest or the stoutest person can lift his own body, but another cannot lift that body. This is because the consciousness of that heavy or weighty person is identical with the form or the very being of that form. So, when the consciousness of being is identified with the being itself, the control over that being follows spontaneously. A man may be able to lift even a mountain, if he himself is that mountain. If an elephant can walk, why should not a mountain walk? But, while we are not able to enter into the principles and policies behind the attainments known as these powers or Siddhis, we get enamoured of them, and we want only the profits without the efforts that are required for the enjoyment of these profits. When we think of a power or a gain or a Siddhi, it shall run away from us. Anything that we consider as outside ourselves cannot become our possession. There is an eternal saying in a famous Upanishad known as the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. Sarvum tam paradat yo-nyatra atmanah sarvam veda – Nothing will, or can, become our friend, if it stands outside us. Anything that we consider as external to us cannot become our possession, cannot become our object of enjoyment. We cannot have any control or say over it. But, the extent to which we identify our being with that particular object will be the extent of our control over that object, or our Siddhi over it, as we may call. Omnipresence is followed at once, simultaneously, by omnipotence. So, our capacity depends upon the extent of our union with things. And the lesser we are in communion, the lesser is our strength, the greater is our weakness.
So, various types of Samyama are delineated in the different aphorisms of Patanjali in the third chapter known as the Vibhuti Pada, based on the philosophical principles he describes in the fourth chapter. Anything can be under our control, provided we are one with that thing. But, our mind revolts against union with things on account of an egoism that it maintains, a principle of self-assertion which follows our existence always. We are always some individuals, and therefore, there is a clash of our individuality with other individualities. There is a conflict between egos, and therefore, no one can have control over anything. Everything is self-existent and independent by itself. But, this independence is a falsity in the light of the ultimate structure of things. There is no independence of anything, because everything belongs to everything else on account of the very nature of Prakriti itself. So, the Siddhis or the powers are attainments that follow a communion of oneself with the stages of Prakriti, ultimately aiming at union with the whole of Prakriti itself. We need not bother about the powers or the Siddhis. They are spontaneous results that must follow when we succeed in our practice of Yoga Samyama, as attainment, as communion, as Samadhi, as Realisation. Thus, as we proceed higher and higher, we become more and more self-contented, because we seem to realise that we are in union with more things than we could imagine earlier. Our world looks larger than it appeared before. We are no more denizens of a particular realm, but a permeating principle through not merely this particular realm, but also other realms beyond the physical. The super-physical realms also begin to open up their eyes before us and we begin to gaze at them. We are stupefied by the picture that is presented before us as a vast conspectus of inter-related regions, so that we seem to be at once in earth and in heaven, why, in all the realms of being. These few words that I have placed before the reader should be able to give him an idea as to the grandeur and the majesty of Yoga, and the super-religious character of this practice, and the inviolability of its requirements, and the impossibility of any person not to be a student of Yoga one day or the other. So, here is Yoga before the reader, and here I conclude.