The house took shape in three distinct stages. In the first stage it existed only as a thought pattern. An electrical impulse in the brain is all what it was. The consciousness of house existed but it could not be felt by the five senses. This was the causal body stage of my home. In the second stage my house consciousness took a more visible shape. Everything I wanted was constructed on a sheet of paper. The house existed but not in the physical form. It was in an intermediate stage. This was the astral body stage of my house.
Finally in the third stage, the builder converted the blue print to reality and I had a home that I could see, touch and feel. This was the physical body stage of my home.
This whole creation is a dream of God. There is nothing real to it. What appears to be tangible to our senses is in reality a frozen form of energy which is held in place by the will of God. Scientists have a problem with this conception as their intellect can only operate with in the three dimensional world and can not accept the existence of anything which can not be measured and reproduced. It is only now in the post Einstein and the quantum physics era where neither experimental measurement nor reproduction is possible that the modern scientist is dimly grasping the existence of a divine intelligence.
The physical world is essentially inert matter. The life force and movement that we see all around us comes from the astral world. This is as true of the dancing electrons as of a singing bird. The subtle forces of the astral world which animate our world themselves draw energy from the still finer forces of the causal or ideational world. These fine and subtle forces are the vibratory thought emanating from the consciousness of God. We know it more popularly as Aum.The whole of the creation is totally dependent upon the life forces emanating from the causal and astral bodies. The physical body is created and sustained by the astral body which supplies the life current called Prana to the fertilized egg, nourishes it and makes it grow into an embryo and eventually into a human being. Without the nourishing energy coming from the astral body and without the intelligence of the causal body telling the cell when to subdivide and how, the living creatures will not sustain life.Prana flows down into the physical body through seven cerebro-spinal centers in the brain and the spine. The physiology of the astral body energizes the physical body.
At the time of death, only the outermost physical body is destroyed. The soul, and the two other bodies which envelope it are indestructible and escape to the astral world.
Sometimes when death takes place suddenly and the astral body doesn’t get time to prepare to leave this world, it lingers on. We then sometimes see it as a ghost. It is for this reason that all religions have some ceremony to facilitate the soul on its way to the astral world.
After spending some time in the astral world, a soul must return to earth to enjoy or suffer the Karma that it generated during its past life. This it does thousands of time until the sheer monotony of the experiences on earth induces it to seek freedom from being recycled again and again.
The ancient sages of India discovered the science of Raja Yoga to get freedom from this cycle of birth and rebirth. This was handed down from generation to generation until it was codified by sage Patanjali as Yoga Sutras.
Our physical body is quite similar to a cell phone. Even a brand new phone with a full battery will not function until it is connected to the phone company providing the service. The same is true of our body too. We can have a perfectly healthy body but it will live only so long as it is connected to the source. Just as the microwaves connect the cell phone to the nearest antenna, a force called Prana connects our body to the universal intelligence or God. Prana is the nurturing force that enters our body from the top and travels downwards, providing the necessary energy to various body organs to carry out their task. There are seven main Chakras along the spine which are like electric transformers. They regulate and distribute Prana to each and every cell of our body through a network of other smaller Chakras. When a Chakra becomes weak because of some reason, a disease results in the body part connected to it.
Vedic philosophy regards time as being part of the grand delusion called Maya. We measure the length of our life in years. A year is a span of time in which earth goes around the sun and comes back to the starting point. What if we left the solar system and went to another galaxy? Would we live according to day and night happening there or will we die after a given number of earth years have passed?
Our longevity does not depend upon anything but our breathing rate. If we breathe slowly we live longer. Rapid breathing reduces the life span. This is true of not only man but all creatures. Dogs breathe very rapidly and so last about twelve years. Elephants, crocodiles and whales live much longer because their breathing is much slower.
In emotionally charged states our breathing rate climbs up as we use our energy reserves at a rapid rate. We then resemble a revved up car engine. The wear and tear and the energy consumption in our body increases, resulting in a wastage of energy resources.
Breath is the only cord which ties the physical and the other two bodies together. Once breath goes away permanently – something that happens when Prana is withdrawn - we die. Through breath control, we can increase our life span, use body resources wisely and live a happy life. Many Yogis in India have lived for hundreds of years by controlling their breath.
Vedic theory says that depending upon the past Karma, each person gets a fixed number of breaths allotted to him. Breathing at the rate of about ten breaths a minute, one will live for a given number of years. By controlling the breathing rate it is possible to increase one’s life span. It is similar to getting the best gas mileage from a car by driving carefully. This is the reason why Hatha Yoga is a better way of exercising the body than other methods like aerobics and jogging which need intensive breathing. It allows us to draw energy from the universe without depleting the energy reserves of the body.
Raja Yoga is all about control of the breath and reduction of energy consumption. The energy thus saved can then be used for more productive purposes.
There are a number of scientific techniques available for breath control. They all involve dedication and constant practice. Once the breathing rate begins to fall, the five senses slowly become less distracting during meditation. Increased concentration brings about very interesting results.
Sage Patanjali, the celebrated author of “Yoga Sutras”, describes in detail the changes that take place in the inner and outer world of a person engaged in this effort. Each step gives the person involved a Siddhi or a special power which tells him that he has successfully crossed a landmark. These Siddhis give total control over Maya or creation based delusion around us. A person can thus control every event around him just as a video game player controls the game environment on the game monitor. There are a total of Eight Siddhis described in the Yoga Sutras. These are anima, Mahima, Laghima, Garima, Prapti, Vashitwa, Prakamya, and Ishatwa. Please see the foot note for details.
This journey can take twelve, or its multiples, depending upon the evolution of the soul in the body. If a person has been practicing meditation in past lives, he will be able to finish the process rather quickly. A novice will take more time.
At this stage of soul development, a person has total control over his physical, astral and ideational bodies. He can thus uncork the bottles of ignorance and free his soul to merge with the universal soul. This stage is called Moksha or emancipation. The Hindu scriptures describe God as the ultimate happiness or Sachchidananda (Sat+Chit+Ananda) which translates as ever present, ever continuous, ever new bliss. Having tasted that, all other pleasures of this earth appear paltry and unattractive. The payoff at the end of the long journey surpasses everything that the human mind can ever imagine. This is the reason why many self realized masters in India renounce everything except the loin cloth.
Through meditation a human being becomes God. Isn’t that the Ultimate happiness that all of us are looking for?
*Anima: The power of making anything as small as one likes, even tinier than an atom. The power of magnifying anything as large as one wants.
Laghima: The power of making anything as light as one wants.
Garima: The power of making anything as heavy as one wants.
Prapti: Manifesting anything that one wants.
Vashitwa: Bringing anything under control.
Prakamya: The power of satisfying all desires through irresistible will power.
Ishatwa: The power of lordship over anything.
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