“After comparing all these mystic yoga-siddhis to materialistic perfections it is found that the materialistic scientists try for the same perfections. So actually there is no difference between mystic perfection and materialistic perfection.” (The Nectar of Devotion, Ch 1)
Bhoga. This is the initial pursuit, upon exiting the womb. Enjoy through the senses. There are five of them, so plenty of variety is possible. Within a single path there are likes and dislikes. One prefers to eat pizza every day. Another likes vegetables. The two have different tastes, but the pursuit is the same, to reach a certain taste at the end.
The same holds true with preferences in music, art and clothes. The path of bhoga is considered materialistic, as there is interaction with physical objects. More important to the classification is the duration of the enjoyment: temporary.
Coupled with bhoga is tyaga, which is renunciation. One day I am so excited to join the gym. I am going to work out, get in shape, and feel better about myself. A few months later, after sparse attendance, I am desperate to cancel the membership, to save money that is otherwise being wasted. At some point I might have the urge to join a gym again.
The cycle continues, described by Prahlada Maharaja as chewing the chewed. Real yoga is supposed to be different. It is a way of detaching the spirit from the body. Spirit is capable of amazing things. Just see what it can do to something that is otherwise lifeless. The automobile is a marvel, but without fuel it cannot do much. Fuel is placed in a single source, and it provides energy to the entirety of the machine.
“The Supreme Lord is situated in everyone’s heart, O Arjuna, and is directing the wanderings of all living entities, who are seated as on a machine, made of the material energy.” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 18.61)
The living entities are also seated as on a machine. They make the decision to act. The spirit within animates, but there is a higher spirit also residing internally. That higher power gives sanction to the results to action. Mystic yoga at the highest level brings connection with that other spirit.
In the meantime there are amazing abilities that arrive along the way. These are known as siddhis, or perfections. When considering only the siddhis mystic yoga is really not much different from material life.
1. The anima-siddhi has been accomplished to some degree
The siddhis seem like magic, but many people have witnessed the successful achievement and subsequent exercise of the ability. In the anima-siddhi a yogi can become very small and thus enter other spaces. In the Ramayana there is the example of Shri Hanuman shrinking his size to that of a cat in order to search clandestinely in a hostile, foreign territory.
“At night, on the sun having set, Maruti [Hanuman] contracted his body. Becoming the size of a cat, he was a wonderful sight to behold.” (Valmiki Ramayana, Sundara Kand, 2.49)
Without factoring in consciousness the ability is not entirely spiritual. We know this because materialists have discovered a similar ability. Without working so hard in yoga, they are able to dig into the ground, creating underground tunnels, subways and the like. They can enter into mountains to get minerals and jewels.
2. The laghima-siddhi has also been accomplished to some degree
With this mystic perfection a person can become light enough to float on air or water. Breaking the rules of gravity facilitates travel to different places for the yogi. We know that modern science has been able to accomplish something similar with airplane travel, underwater excursions, and hovercrafts.
3. Deriving great amounts of temporary happiness
You put in the necessary work to reach a siddhi. You acquire a new ability. Flying through the air, reading minds, touching different planets – even going beyond what has been discovered through the materialistic path. What is the end result? There is temporary happiness. The quantity can be great, similar to a person winning the lottery or coming into great wealth through success in business.
Real yoga is entirely spiritual. It is meant to connect the individual seated on the machine with the Supreme Individual directing all machines. Work in material life, mysticism, or even study of higher topics can help to bring one closer to this connection, but the highest goal is never dependent on any external factor.
These reasons give birth to the need for another term: bhakti-yoga. This is connection with the Divine through love and devotion. There can be meditation, work, or study, but the key is the change in consciousness. Simply thinking of God the person brings so much happiness, and the results are not limited to the temporary manifestation. The connection can stay through many lifetimes, eternally even, since the primary desire is to see the enjoyment of someone whose body and spirit are identical and who forever remains in His supreme position.
Yogi minds of others to know,
To small spaces, other planets to go.
In a second becoming light,
Or as heavy as the moon bright.
Materialistic since others the same thinking,
Machines in outer space or into water sinking.
Connection to God mark of yoga real,
Bringing lasting happiness to feel.
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