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Mind Beyond Mind: [02.01] Season the Body (1)

Published: 04.05.2007
Updated: 06.08.2008

We must first construct a powerhouse before we could generate electricity. Then we must spread a network of wires through which electric current could pass. Lastly, we must fix up a bulb in order that it may burn and produce light. The bulb is as important as the wires and the powerhouse.

The human body is like the bulb. It is a marvellous medium of the manifestation of various kinds of powers. Some of the powers it manifests are almost miraculous and people are carried away by them. They, however, forget that these powers could not have manifested themselves except through the human body. The practitioner of Yoga must first ascertain whether his body is strong enough to sustain the impact of the energies it is called upon to manifest. A frail body will not be able to manifest any kind of energy whatsoever. It can do so only if the energy centres in it are strong and active.

We can in no way afford to be indifferent to the body. We should rather learn to love it. It is a very valuable means of success in many fields of life. Human life depends on the body. It is not a loathsome entity. We should try to understand it and all the centres of psychosomatic energy it contains.

What is the human body? Some say that it is a stinking heap of flesh and blood, bones, fat, marrow and all kinds of repulsive things. The stuff of which it is made is perishable. This is, however, the ascetic's view of the human body. It is not a wholly wrong view. However, it is a one sided view. There are other points of view also. A biased, rigid and narrow view produces wrong notions. We can understand reality only when we take a comprehensive view of things. This means that we should see things from different angles, under different conditions and in different relations. Darsana (insight) is the result of a many sided approach to the problem of understanding reality.

There is another way of looking at the human body besides the ascetic view. The body is the most essential thing for us. God or Power or Consciousness cannot manifest itself except through the medium of the human body. All the ancient seers who attained the state of Kevala Jnana (pure knowledge) possessed exceptionally strong bodily structures. Kevala Jnana is the power of the soul. It is a state in which the soul discards its relatedness and in which consciousness begins to shine in its fullness. This state of the soul can be attained only if one important condition has been fulfilled. Every body cannot bear the weight of Kevala Jnana. Only an exceptionally strong body is capable of sustaining its impact. The bodily structure of the Kevala Jnani is an abnormally strong structure.

You may wonder why I am giving so much importance to the body. You may say that knowledge is concerned with the soul and that it is attained by the purity of the heart. It is attained by the complete disappearance of attachments and aversions. How then is it that an exceptionally strong body alone can manifest pure knowledge? Kevala Jnana is said to be the result of the emergence of pure consciousness. How does the body come into the picture? I can very well understand such a query.

If you seated twenty persons on a bench capable of seating only ten, it will break under their weight. If you try to hold a very heavy weight in a piece of very thin cloth, the latter will give way, because it does not have the strength to hold more than a limited weight. In the same way a body with a very frail structure will not be able to sustain the weight of Kevala Jnana. It will burst under its weight. Leave alone Kevala Jnana, the impact of even a smaller weight will force it to break. There is a Cakra in the body called the Sahasrara Cakra (the pineal gland). It is a centre of' energy. If it is activated by meditation, it will produce strong electric currents. A frail body cannot contain them. They will make you insane.

It is sometimes recommended to the novice that he should begin meditating straight on this Cakra. This is a very dangerous step. Meditation has to be accomplished through various stages. The practitioner has to pass through these stages one by one. He should know which Cakra to begin with. He should in no case begin with a Cakra belonging to a higher stage, he should begin with the lowest grade and then pass over to the next higher and then to the still higher and so on. Otherwise the consequences may be dangerous. The body has got to be trained to develop the requisite propensity by first concentrating on the Ajna Cakra. Only after his body has been seasoned should he tackle the Cakras belonging to the higher orders. If he does not do so, the excessive heat generated by meditation may shock him and instead of realising his own mistake, he may begin to blame meditation itself.

There is a complete course for the development of the body and of training it for meditational purposes. The powers of the body have to be developed slowly and gradually. The first prerequisite of all kinds of meditation is how to sit. This is a very important thing. It is the base on which a whole complex of Asanas (physical postures) has been built. There are thousands of physical postures and the practitioner should very carefully understand their implications. The purpose of the postures, particularly of the sitting postures, is to prepare the body for manifesting particular kinds of energy.

The practitioner should sit with the spinal cord from its lowest to the highest point kept straight. This is a step in sadhana and it calls for a lot of exertion. The purpose is to train breathing apparatus to function smoothly. There is a channel in the spinal cord known as the Susumna channel. The vital energy of the body flows through this channel. The flow becomes obstructed if you do not sit straight. The spinal cord and the channel in it are highly valuable not only for sadhana but also for the general health of the body. A slight turn or curve in the spinal cord obstructs breathing. The practitioner should always keep his spinal column straight. It should in no case be bent. The Acaryas of Yoga have enjoined upon the practitioner that even while taking a meal he should keep the spinal column straight. A healthy functioning of the spinal cord is essential for health. A slight defect in it affects the whole body and becomes the cause of many ailments. If the right kind of treatment is given to the spinal cord of a patient, his ailment will be automatically cured. It is the base of the human body and its health.

The spinal cord and the channel in it are highly valuable for sadhana. A correct understanding of their functions is the secret of success in sadhana.

The human body contains a number of psychic centres through which consciousness manifests itself. The psychosomatic centres generate energy. We should develop these centres and take advantage of them. If properly developed, they can give us a knowledge of the past, present and future. By bringing them into operation you can make your body so strong and stiff that heavy transport vehicles and even elephants can pass over your body without doing it the least harm. One who has learnt how to manipulate his vital energy can produce physical miracles. Let us, however, remember that these miracles are physical and not spiritual phenomena. The body is like a raw material and it has to be seasoned before the psychosomatic centres in it can be fully activated. Seasoning the body is the first step in a sadhana.


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Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acaryas
  2. Asanas
  3. Body
  4. Cakra
  5. Cakras
  6. Consciousness
  7. Darsana
  8. Jnana
  9. Kevala Jnana
  10. Meditation
  11. Pineal Gland
  12. Psychic Centres
  13. Sadhana
  14. Soul
  15. Susumna
  16. Yoga
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