This chapter has always been the most controversial in the Yoga sutras.
Patanjali, being un-judgmental and honest down to bare-bone truth, did not hide any knowledge as it is loved to do so in our times, where truths are held back from people, by a few ‘chosen ones’ in order for them to gain power over others, which makes them feel special and godly.
Patanjali was more a scientist, but not one of the secret sects working in an underground lab, but one of the kind in its true sense, one that goes along with the thought of the ‘Free Information’, ‘Free Software’ movement and the ‘Sharing’ ideas that pop up everywhere now as a sign of the rising consciousness in the world.
By giving away for free what you can easily give away, you make this world a better place for others, and thereby in return, a better world for you to live in.
Patanjali is not judging, he is just surveying the terrain, creating a map of the mind. And as such he is showing us in this chapter what so many streams in the so called ‘New Age’ have come to realize now:
We are the creators of our own reality. And not only do we create it before we come down to this planet, we actually can alter the reality on this planet afterwards, by realizing the power of our intentions and by putting our attention to just what we want to experience.
Thoughts have power. In finer bodies, not made of flesh and bones, a thought may get immediate results. There is no hindrance like on this very dense and thick plane of corporeal beings. On the current vibrational pattern of Earth, a thought is embedded in time, and takes therefore time to materialize, to show itself in the outside world of your experience.
But this ‘taking time’ of thoughts to show up as experiencable is not due to the fact, that our bodies are so clumsy. No actually our bodies and minds have all the capabilities to become conscious and responsible creators of our reality, of our realm of experience. We are just not aware of it, and have been constantly kept away from this realization. Some men have put in place organizations again and again to centralize power. They have just one purpose, to hide your creatorship from you, to make you feel inferior.
People in this positions know this perfectly well, and they don’t like you to realize that. But there’s nothing wrong with that either. You yourself probably have tendencies of the same kind in you. Become aware of this tendencies, bless them and turn your attention to the thoughts and feelings you actually want to nurture and share. By doing so, you respect others to be of the same nature than you, made of consciousness, brothers and sisters of you. By realizing, that you are all participating in the same experience – an experience that thinks at its extremities (which is your body/mind) that it is separate from others – you recognize that you will always hurt yourself by hurting others.
This chapter ‘About Supernatural powers’ is actually wrongly titled in all translations of the Yoga Sutras I know about, just because there is no such thing as something being supernatural, never can be.
Every thought, even the unconscious one, is forming your reality anyway and always.
By getting the awareness of this, and by being able to think a thought in a silenced mind, this thoughts just become more powerful. That’s basically all there is to it.
Suspicious of the translation ‘Supernatural’, I checked the possible translations of ‘Vibhūti’ in the accessible online version of the Monier Williams Sanskrit dicitonary, and it came up with the following meanings for Vibhuti:
• penetrating, pervading
• abundant, plentiful
• mighty, powerful
• presiding over
Type ‘Vibhuuti’ in the citation field and choose ITRANS as input)
The translation ‚abundant, plentiful‘ is marked as RV, which means, this meaning occurs in the Rig Veda, one of the oldest texts that we know of so far.
I think all the meanings above come into play in this single word. And I assume that Patanjali was consciously choosing this word (assuming that the chapter headings are from him and not a later addition), being well aware in his time of all this meanings and tastes associated with this word.
So I guess, going down that path, the title could be more:
“About abundance and plenty”
in order to highlight the result of the practice of Samyama. Samyama is the name Patanjali is giving to the practice of thinking consciously, in a very tender way, in the emptiness of mind, something every experienced meditator is probably aware of.
Thats what it is all about. Once you are able to form your experience in life consciously by simple attention and conscious thoughts on that silent level of awareness, you are living indeed a life of abundance, as you are consciously creating your reality as you like to live it, and there is virtually no limit to this.
One more thing needs to be said though:
You are not separated from the whole. So however deep your silence and focused your attention is, you are embedded in the vibration of this planet, and therefore you won’t be able to stick your head out too much. Which just means, the vibration of the general consciousness of all people on earth will pull you back. You may not like that, but there is actually nothing wrong with that, thats why you are probably here. To stick your nose out, raise your vibration and then to come back to share it with others, thereby doing a beautiful task of helping others.
By repeating this over and over again, by many, many people, we indeed can make this place a world, that breaks its shackles of exploitation that it is subdued to, since thousand of years.
Some people may want to learn this Yoga technique, just because of this so called ‘supernatural’ powers. OK, this ‘powers of abundance‘ might be great, but nevertheless, how can you think of taking responsibility for even greater abundance, freedom and power, if you cannot even handle your current ones?
Think of this!
Why do you want to have more powers?
You already have powers. Use them wisely and selflessly.
This system is kind of self protecting, you will get more powers as you advance on the path, egoless.
If you take your ego with you, shun society, and put a lot of will into it, you might enjoy some powers earlier, but on the cost of falling down again sooner or later, inevitably, as you are separating yourself from the wholeness of experience on the cost of self gratification.
And this falling down is very, very hurtful. You can only stay on this higher levels of reality and vibration safely, if, and only if, you develop a sense of communion and sharing.
When you identify with greater powers, greater creativity, you become just another oppressor on this planet, with more powers though. And more powers means more potential to misuse. Don’t deceive yourself, that you can use this powers for the good of mankind. It’s a self-betrayal.
Remember Boromir in Tolkien’s novel ‘Lord of the Rings’ where he wants the ring from Frodo to do good and save his people, not realizing, that by taking this great power unto him, he is doomed do identify with it and do even greater evil.
Only a childlike mind like Frodo can really handle the power in this ring, but as the powers in this ring are not his own, he is wise not to use them.
Abundance comes to you, when you don’t need it anymore and have lost any desire for more power.
This is a paradox, but true. Then, and only then, can you handle them safely for the good of all.
Before that, when you already misuse the powers you have now, in this present moment in your life, you are guaranteed to mishandle greater powers as well.
There is no excuse.
Just check your surroundings, your wife, your kids, your friends, your colleagues. You are responsible for a great deal of their well being. And you are equipped with all that you need and with the powers to do that by sharing all the vibhuti/abundance you have right now.
Are you doing that? Are you happy? Or are you hiding, seeking an excuse, that one day, when you are big and strong, you will make good of everything.
This time will never come, it only can come at the present moment, NOW.
Methodically as Patanjali is, he therefore states clearly, that this powers are a hindrances on the path to Kaivalya, final liberation.
If you desire them, you are standing in your own way.
But nevertheless, do you want to get liberated right now?
Be honest, most likely you enjoy this life to a great deal and don’t want to leave.
If not, its just because you currently have a tough life and bad experiences.
But, as soon as you gain some abundance in your life, some power and freedom of choice of what you want to experience, which is inevitable after learning how to put your mind at rest, you will realize that life is actually wonderfully swell.
Life is abundance, when there is no perpetrator/victim duality anymore. The offender is always depending on taking his power from other people, thereby sucking them out like a vampire. Having power over other people is like a substitute to hide the fact, that he is not aware of the in-borne powers he has over his realm of experience. Once you realize your own inner abundance, you won’t allow yourself to be a victim anymore, and those vampire kind of people, will naturally have to realize their abundance too, or go elsewhere.
Life is endless possibilities, to explore and to enjoy, and most of its joys comes from sharing with fellow souls. When you are alone, watching a beautiful sunset is kind of numb, compared to sharing it with people you love.
Therefore, you most probably did not come here to buzz off at the first opportunity to become enlightened and say goodbye!
OK that was a bit judgmental on my side, but I mean it.
Most people claiming to look for enlightenment are actually just seeking an excuse to piss off.
Be aware of that tendencies in yourself.
So don’t deny the power you actually have already, they are your birthright as a soul, as spark of the fire that is called consciousness that is pervading the universe, IS the universe, and more than that.
Nevertheless, when Patanjali says, that this abundant powers are a hindrance to Kaivalya, he is true. When you are doing good and you feel well and find life is joy, you do not want to end this experience. So the more abundant your life is, the less likely you want it to end.
It is, when you are fed up with all experiences you can make, that you are more likely to fall into Kaivalya. I use the word fall, as you cannot experience it, as there is no one left to experience this in the first place.
Also, every experience is bound to end, and therefore Kaivalya, the aim of Yoga is actually not something that can exist in time. Actually seeking it, is bound to fail as the very act of seeking is bound to happen in time and space, and there you will find only more and more experiences, but not the essence of experience.
Kaivalya is something you actually experience all the time, you can’t exist without it, you are just not conscious of it.
Our mind is so much grounded in the concept of space and time, that we think of Yoga as a linear, time-bound process, but it is not.
Patanjali just has to use words to describe something in terms of our space-time experience-realm that actually transcends it.
Every single moment of your life is a moment of Kaivalya. Every single moment of your life can be your rebirth and you are completely freshly new!
Between one moment and the next you enter that state which is your source many thousand times. In and out and in and out. What is seen on the outside is just the pattern, the vibration of the concept of this information that weaves in and out of the time stream.
Your enlightenment is not in the future, it is NOW, never can be at any other moment.