SIDDHIS - powers

In the 1st chapter of the sutras, Patanjali gives us the aim of yoga in a theoretical way, explaining it is the mastery of the thought forms. The rest of the chapter can be classified into :

  • The different kinds of thought forms

  • The practice to control them 

  • The different kinds of super conscious experience, culminating in samadhi

 

However, it is not that easy to get to samadhi so in chapter 2 he guides the student to lay the proper foundation and build until the level is reached. For this Patanjali gives a number of simple directions and details limbs 1 - 5 (yama, niyama, asana, pranayama, pratyahara)

Patanjali spends much of Chapter 3 of the Sutras describing the accomplishments which come as by-products of your yoga practice. These accomplishments are also called siddhis or super natural powers. (The word siddhi is a Sanskrit noun which means accomplishment / powers.) 

 

They are awakened naturally, through spiritual maturity along the yogic path, with the practice of the final 3 limbs: (dharanadhyana, samadhi.) The practice of these 3 upon one object is called samyamah. Patanjali describes various samyamah's and the sidhis that result.

These abilities do little to help one achieve enlightenment. In fact, an interest in developing these powers is sometimes seen as a dangerous distraction that leads the seeker astray. 

 

3.37 Te samadhav upasarga vyutthane siddhayah. (Siddhis: accomplishments, powers; vyutthana: in outward going, in worldly persuits; te: these; upasargas: obstacles [(or) secondary]; samadhi: contemplation.) These (super physical senses) are obstacles to samadhi but are siddhis (powers or accomplishments) in the worldly pursuits.

Nevertheless, in the Yoga Sutras, the powers are : (among others)

  • ANIMA: miniaturisation - to become very small 

  • MAHIMA: magnification - to become very big

  • GARIMA: to become very heavy

  • LAGHIMA: to become very light 

  • PRAPTI: to reach anywhere, teleportation. 

  • PRAKAMYA: to achieve or realise whatever one desires.

  • VASITVA: mastery, the ability to command and control everything

  • ISTVA: the ability to create anything

“All the siddhis are beautiful, but they will bind us, because siddhis are the outcome of mind. The mind wants something. It wants to achieve this or that. What for? To be proud of itself. It develops ego ... 

... they are good when they come to you... When you run after them they are bad. that’s all the difference... 

 

... even in the Bible you come across these powers. Everything will come to you when you seek the kingdom. “Seek ye first the kingdom of Heaven; everything else will be added unto you.” 

 

... You don’t need to run after them one by one... Not only these siddhis are like that, but everything is like that: beauty, money, power, strength, scientific knowledge. All these things become misused and the world is trembling with fear. Why? Because we have not sought God first. What is God? Peace, contentment, egolessness. So, we are not really condemning siddhis. They are God’s powers, by-products of the search for God. Let them come after you..

 

... When your mind is that clean and calm, then you will be able to handle them well for good purposes, not for your ego ...

 

... But it is not that he is encouraging you to acquire siddhis. That is the beauty of Patanjali. He is not hiding anything. He says, these are all the possibilities, no doubt, but don’t run after them. You may get hurt by them. Let them run after you.” - Swami Satchidananda

3.51 Tad-vairagyad api dosha-bija-kshaye kaivalyam. (Api: and; tad-vairagya: non-attachment to that; dosha-bijas: defect-seeds; kshaya: withered; kaivalya: freedom.) By non attatchment even to that (siddhi's), the seed of bondage is destroyed and thus follows kaivalya (independance) 

 

3.56 Sattva-purushayoh shuddhi-samye kaivalyam iti. (Shuddhi-samya: pure equality; sattva: mind; purusha: self; iti: is called; kaivalya: freedom.) When the tranquil mind attains purity equal to that of the Self there is Absolutness 

Chapter 4 of the sutras further talks about an experience of absoluteness , unlimitedness. 

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