Yoga Vasistha [English], Volume 1-4

by Vihari-Lala Mitra | 1891 | 1,121,132 words | ISBN-10: 8171101519

The English translation of the Yoga-vasistha: a Hindu philosophical and spiritual text written by sage Valmiki from an Advaita-vedanta perspective. The book contains epic narratives similar to puranas and chronologically precedes the Ramayana. The Yoga-vasistha is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, an...

Chapter XIV - The different degrees of perfection

The Eight perfections.  ~~

"The supernatural faculties" says Wilson, "are acquired in various degrees according to the greater or lesser perfection of the adept." H. Rel. p. 131. These perfections are commonly enumerated as eight in number ( ~~), and are said to be acquired by the particular mode in which the devotee concentrates himself in the Divine spirit or contemplates it within himself.

 

1.  Microcosm or Anima.

The specific property of the minuteness of the soul or universal spirit, that it is minuter than the minutest ( ~~). By thinking himself as such, the yogi by a single expiration of air, makes his whole body assume a lank and lean appearance, and penetrates his soul into all bodies.

 

2.  Macrocosm or Mahima.

This also is a special quality of the soul that it fills the body, and extends through all space and encloses it within itself ( ~~); by thinking so, the yogi by a mere respiration of air makes his body round and turgid as a frog, and comprehends the universe in himself.

 

3.  Lightness or Laghima.

From thinking on the lightness of the soul, the yogi produces a diminution of his specific gravity by swallowing large draughts of air, and thereby keeps himself in an aerial posture both on sea and land. This the Sruti says as ( ~~).

 

4.  Gravity or Garima.

This practice is opposed to the above, and it is by the same process of swallowing great draughts of air, and compressing them within the system, that the yogi acquires an increase of his specific gravity or garima  ~~. Krishna is said to have assumed his  ~~ in this way, which preponderated all weights in the opposite scale.

 

5.  Success or Prapti.

This is the obtaining of desired objects and supernatural powers as by inspiration from above. The yogi in a state of trance acquires the power of predicting future events, of understanding unknown languages, of curing divers diseases, of hearing distant sounds, of divining unexpressed thoughts of others, of seeing distant objects, or smelling mystical fragrant odours, and of understanding the language of beasts and birds. Hence the prophets all dived into futurity, the oracles declared future events, Jina understood pasubhasha, and Christ healed diseases and infirmities. So also Sanjaya saw the battles waged at Kurukshetra from the palace of king Dhritarashtra.

 

6.  Overgain—Prakamya

Prakamya is obtaining more than one's expectations, and consists in the power of casting the old skin and maintaining a youth-like appearance for an unusual period of time, as it is recorded of king Yayati (Japhet or Jyapati); and of Alcibiades who maintained an unfading youth to his last. By some writers it is defined to be the property of entering into the system of another person; as it is related of Sankaracharya's entering the dead body of prince Amaru in the Sankara Vijaya.

 

7.  Subjection Vasitwam.

This is the power of taming living creatures and bringing them under control. It is defined also to be the restraint of passions and emotions as  ~~  ~~, and likewise the bringing of men and women under subjection. This made Orpheus tame the wild animals and stop the course of rivers by the music of his lyre, and gave Pythagoras (who derived it from India) the power of subduing a furious bear by the influence of his will or word, as also of preventing an ox from eating his beans, and stopping an eagle in its flight. It was by this that Prospero subdued the elements and aerial spirits with his magic wand, and Draupadi and Mohammed obtained the powers of stopping the courses of the sun and moon. The Magis of Persia are said to have derived their magical powers from the Mayis of India who first cultivated the magical art.

 

8.  Dominion or Ishitwam.

It is the obtaining of universal dominion either in this life or next by means of yoga, as it is recorded of Ravana, Mandhata and others in the traditions. It is also said to be the attainment of divine powers, when the yogi finds himself in a blaze of light.