The practice of yoga in the West is limited to its physical benefits, with the spiritual realms remaining widely unexplored. The reason for this may be the fact that while the physical benefits of yoga are easy to understand and practice, the spiritual ones are much more profound and subjective. The ancient scriptures repeatedly mention the powers that yoga practitioners in the past attained, right from clairvoyance to the power of healing. However, the attainment of psychic powers or ‘siddhis’, has a cloud of doubt lurking over it, with many questioning their authenticity.
Before we talk about how one can attain these powers and what their significance is, here is a look at what these powers are, as described in the Patanjali Yoga Sutras:
This refers to the ability to shrink one’s size to the extent of invisibility, becoming as small as an atom. Evidence of the power lies in Indian mythology, whereby one of the character Hanumana was able to transform into a tiny creature, who could enter the kingdom of Ravana (represents negative force) without being noticed.
This is the power underlying the most popular psychic power of levitation. Laghima refers to the achievement of a weightless state, having attained which, one can walk over water, or float in the air, by defying gravity. The link between the elevation of stress and yoga has been a long established one, in which practitioners often try to attain Laghima.
Mahima can be described as the ability to transform oneself into a mighty creature. Referring to the size of the universe, this power has also been demonstrated in the tale of epic ‘Ramayana’, whereby Hanumana (character representing positive energy) transformed himself into a powerful form, while he battled his foes.
Garima can be considered to be the opposite of Laghima. While Laghima helps one to attain weightlessness, Garima is associated with becoming heavy, and hence powerful. Evidence of this lies in the epic ‘Mahabharata’, in which one of the Pandavas (brothers representing truth), Bhima, would become very heavy, when confronted by his enemies, and would thus be indestructible.
Prapti is the ability of being able to reach any desired place within the blink of an eye. This power has been of particular scientific interest, and is currently the subject of research.
Prakamya is the power of getting whatever one desires. This can be anything from everlasting youth to indestructibility.
This is the ability to gain control over both living creatures and inanimate objects. With the help of this power, one attains the status of a supreme leader being able to influence the human mind, as well as all other worldly objects.
Equated to the power of all mighty, Ishtatva is considered to be the mightiest of all the powers. This power enables one to create and recycle objects in the universe as desired.
Even though all these powers may sound impractical and unattainable our present lives, there has to be some truth underlying them, since they are mentioned in scriptures of undoubted authenticity, and have been demonstrated in the past. So how can one attain even a fragment of these psychic powers? The trick lies in gaining mastery over the mind. Once your mind is in your control, you shall be able to achieve the most supreme benefits of yoga.
However, gaining control over the mind is not as easy as it sounds. It comes after years of persistence and dedicated practice. By applying breathing techniques and chanting mantras, one can resonate the body with the mind, hence achieving empowerment. As you practice yoga diligently, you shall experience the opening of higher chakras, which will lead to the attainment of a state of high awareness and a total relief from stress. As your body, mind and soul begin to get integrated; the practice of yoga shall gradually and naturally give way to the development of psychic powers, with you barely noticing it!
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