Yoga has long been associated with physical and mental well-being, but it also holds a mystical dimension that has captivated the imagination of many over the centuries. Siddhis, or yogic powers, are extraordinary abilities achieved through dedicated yogic practice called samyama. In this blog, we delve into the realm of yogic powers Siddhis, focusing on the teachings of Ajayan, a renowned Western yogi with in-depth esoteric knowledge in this area. For more information on Ajayan’s courses on the siddhis, see Effortless Mind Meditation Siddhis Course 1: The enlightened approach to manifesting your desires.
Understanding yogic powers siddhis
Siddhis are often the byproducts of advanced yogic and meditation practices and deep spiritual experiences. They encompass a wide range of abilities, such as telepathy, clairvoyance, levitation, materialization, and healing. While the pursuit of siddhis is not the primary goal of yoga, some practitioners naturally develop these powers as they progress on their spiritual path. Ajayan, a respected yogi and teacher, has gained attention for his in-depth teachings on how siddhis develop, especially through the advanced meditation practice known as samyama.
Samyama and developing yogic powers siddhis
The entire third chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras focuses on developing the siddhis through what Patanjali calls samyama. Samyama is a practice that combines three mental processes:
- Dharana: steady, unwavering focus.
- Meditation: a flow of attention within that steady focus.
- Samadhi: intense, concentrated absorption such that even the thought of self is absent.
When you combine these three mental processes simultaneously on a specific object, your consciousness blossoms into a result as predicted by Patanjali in his Yoga Sutras. That result is known as a siddhi.
Patanjali’s formulas for yogic powers siddhis
Patanjali reveals a number of formulas for developing specific siddhis. Some of these are basic but very important, such as developing qualities of friendliness and compassion. Others are more fantastic. Here are just a few examples.
- Friendliness or compassion yields strength in those qualities.
- Physical strength yields great strength, such as the strength of an elephant.
- The effulgent light of higher perception yields knowledge of subtle objects or things hidden or at a distance.
- The sun or solar entrance yields knowledge of the cosmic regions.
- Bronchial tube yields calmness.
- Relationship between space and the power of hearing yields divine hearing.
- Relationship between the body and space and concentrating on lightness of cotton wool yields lightness and even levitation.
- Coronal light yields vision of the siddhas.
- The appearance of the body when it is out of view, yields invisibility.
Why should I care about the yogic powers siddhis?
The siddhis are often misunderstood as sensationalistic and only an object of pursuit for misguided or egoistic yogis. Yet why would Patanjali waste a full chapter of his great Yoga Sutras, which only consists of 4 chapters, on them?
To thoughtful aspirants this seems a great puzzle. Surely Patanjali was not drawn to the sensational, nor was he misguided. Only by digging deeper into the value of the siddhis can we discover the answer to this mystery.
The result of samyama is not just the predicted results of the yogic powers siddhis described by Patanjali. In the 5th verse of the third chapter, Patanjali reveals that by mastering samyama, the light of knowledge, prajña, dawns. The dawning of prajña is so important to Patanjali’s discussion that he mentions it immediately after defining samyama. He specifies the dawning of prajña as the primary result of samyama before talking about any of the specific yogic powers siddhis. That is because the dawning of prajña is ultimately the highest result of mastering samyama.
This often-missed point is crucial to understanding why samyama is considered by Patanjali to be so important. Prajña is why he dedicates fully one-fourth of his Sutras to samyama and the siddhis.
What is prajña?
Prajña is the light of pure knowledge, supreme knowledge gained by a super-purified state of buddhi or intellect. Samyama is not just for developing siddhis, but also for opening and purifying the subtle body. That is, for removing the veil of rajas and tamas so the light of knowledge dawns.
Through this profound purification, the mind-stuff is freed from rajas and tamas and then knowledge becomes unlimited as a result of pure sattva. From this state of the infinitude of knowledge, you can achieve Liberation much more easily in this very life. Patanjali discusses the steps of this progression in detail in his fourth chapter.
Unveiling this light of pure knowledge, prajña, as quickly as possible, is the true significance of samyama. The siddhis are thereby a stepping stone to liberation. They only become an obstacle when attachment to them develops. Such attachment is due to ego grasping, not the practice of samyama. In fact, ego grasping interferes with samyama, so siddhis will not likely develop if you are so attached.
Ethical implications of yogic powers siddhis
Siddhis are intriguing, but it should be clear by now you cannot pursue them for personal gain or to feed egoic desires. Patanjali describes dharana, dhyana, and samadhi as more advanced than what he discusses earlier in his Yoga Sutras. This includes the yamas, niyamas, asanas, pranayama, and pratyahara. He only puts nitya or seedless samadhi as superior to these three components of samyama.
So samyama is actually an advanced yogic practice on the path to liberation. You cannot practice it out of attachment to siddhis, but only from the desire for liberation itself. Thus, indeed, any aspirant should regard the siddhis as a natural outcome of spiritual growth and deepening self-realization.
Ajayan emphasizes the importance of cultivating humility, compassion, and detachment while navigating the realm of siddhis through samyama. He encourages seekers to focus on the true essence of yoga, which is self-discovery, inner transformation, and the realization of unity and interconnectedness.
Integrating siddhis into Life
Ajayan teaches that siddhis should not become distractions or detours on the spiritual journey. Instead, you can integrate them into your life with responsibility and discernment, as tools for healing, guidance, and the upliftment of others. If you anchor these abilities in selfless service, they can become expressions of love and compassion.
Indeed, Ajayan teaches over and over that the most important of all the siddhis are the development of friendliness, compassion, and happiness (for the virtue and dharmic accomplishments of others). He emphasizes that only through these qualities can we become real lights in this world. If we gain other siddhis, it is only as a sign of our developing consciousness towards our ultimate goal of liberation. They should never become a source of spiritual pride.
Yogic powers siddhis do indeed exist. They are extraordinary abilities that you can develop through deep spiritual practice and inner realization. Ajayan’s experiences and teachings provide insights into these mystical phenomena, reminding us of the importance of ethical conduct, humility, and selfless service on the path of self-discovery and spiritual growth.
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