Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Blessings from Arunachala..

6 months ago i had no awareness of even the word Arunachala. But then so much information mysteriously came my way, including generous offers from near and far ones to help me go there and arrange accomodations for me. I then learnt that Bhagawan Sri Sathya Sai Baba had asked a few of His youths to make a pilgrimage to this sacred place and do Giripradakhshina. A few days later my friends at Devasunlimited ( Dr Srikant and Shivani Sola ) posted an note revealing interesting information about this very mountain. I could no longer ignore these obvious promptings from the inner Divine to learn more about and go to this sacred place. And when i began my research on what Arunachala was all about, this is what i learnt :

"Once Vishnu and Brahma fell to disputing which of them was the greater. Their quarrel brought chaos on earth, so the Devas approached Siva and besought him to settle the dispute. Siva thereupon manifested himself as a column of light from which a voice issued declaring that whoever could find its upper or lower end was the greater. Vishnu took the form of a boar and burrowed down into the earth to find the base, while Brahma took the form of a swan and soared upwards to seek its summit. Vishnu failed to reach the base of the column but “beginning to see within himself the Supreme Light which dwells in the hearts of all, he became lost in meditation, oblivious to his form and even unaware of himself, the one who sought”.  Brahma saw the flower of an alse plant falling through the air and, thinking to win by deception, returned with it and declared he had plucked it from the summit.

Vishnu admitted his failure and turned to the Lord in praise and prayer: “You are Self-knowledge. You are OM. You are the beginning and the middle and the end of everything. You are everything and illuminate everything.” He was pronounced great while Brahma was exposed and confessed his fault.

In this legend, Vishnu represents 
the intellect, and Brahma the mind while Siva is Atma, the spirit.

The story continues that, because the lingam or column of light was too dazzling to behold, Siva manifested himself instead as the Arunachala hill, declaring: 

“As the moon derives its light from the sun, so other holy places shall derive their sanctity from Arunachala. This is the only place where I have taken this form for the benefit of those who wish to worship me and obtain illumination. Arunachala is OM itself. I will appear on the summit of this hill every year at Kartigai in the form of a peace-giving beacon.” This refers not only to the sanctity of Arunachala itself but also to the pre-eminence of the doctrine of Advaita and the path of Self-enquiry of which Arunachala is the center. One can understand this meaning in Sri Bhagavan’s saying, “In the end everyone must come to Arunachala.”


Ramana Maharshi said that other holy places such as Kailas, Kasi and Chidambaram are sacred because they are the abodes of Lord Siva whereas Arunachala is Lord Siva himself.


"All stones in that place [Arunachala] are lingams. All trees are the wish-granting trees of Indra's heaven. Its rippling waters are the Ganges, flowing through our Lord's matted locks. The food eaten there is the ambrosia of the Gods. When men move about in that place it is the earth performing pradakshina around it. Words spoken there are holy scripture, and to fall asleep there is to be absorbed in samadhi, beyond the mind's delusion. Could there be any other place which is its equal?" -: Arunachala Puranam


"The supreme knowledge (Self-knowledge), the import of Vedanta, which cannot be attained without great difficulty, can easily be attained by anyone who sees the form of this hill from wherever it is visible or who even thinks of it by mind from afar." : Lord Siva in the Arunachala Mahatmyam


In the Golden Age (Sat Yuga), many rishis and saints who have hidden themselves away from the public eye will again become available. A few days ago the Devas showed us a vision of Arunachalam, the sacred hill in Tamil Nadu, south India which is famous for its ancient Shiva temple as well as the ashram of the venerable Sri Ramana Maharshi. Many, many siddha purushas (perfected beings) are ensconced away within the bosom of the sacred hill, silently doing their tapasya for hundreds and even thousands of years.

Some of these rishis, the Devas told us, come into the world only during each Sat Yuga. Others hid themselves away so as to be unaffected by the onslaught of Dwapara and Kali Yugas.

In the years to come, many of these rishis will awaken from their Samadhi and become available to us. Some will form new spiritual centers of learning. Others will go about quietly meeting and teaching those souls who are ready for advanced lessons. And still others will simply vibrate at a high rate of consciousness, silently blessing all those around.

We cannot go and interact with these rishis just yet, as the depth of their Samadhi does not permit communication with us. However, we can go near and attune our awareness to theirs, allowing us to benefit from their presence.

: Devas Unlimited


'Bhagavan, who scarcely ever gave advice to devotees unless asked, wholeheartedly encouraged their going round the hill as conducive to progress in sadhana,' : A book


The importance of pradakshina became evident to him 'from the frequent references by Bhagavan himself to its great significance, and from the fact that thousands of people do it, including almost all the close disciples of Bhagavan, even those who may be considered the most advanced among them.' 

Though comparatively little has been recorded of what Sri Bhagavan used to say about the power of pradakshina, there is no doubt that he considered it to be an act having great spiritual efficacy. In fact he used to say that the benefits which can be gained by meditation and various other forms of mind-control only after great struggle and effort, will be effortlessly gained by those who go round the hill. 
'Bhagavan often said that those unable to meditate would succeed in their endeavour by circumambulating Arunachala.'  


Sri Bhagavan said to Kunju Swami, 'This hill is the storehouse of all spiritual power. Going round It benefits you in all ways'.


To even think of Arunachala, let alone perform giri valam, one must have lots of good karma in his or her spiritual bank account, say the Siddhas.


What is the difference between Mt Kailash and Arunachala? How is it that the glories of Arunachala, the embodiment of Siva Himself is known only to a few in the south yet Mt Kailash, His abode attracts all attention?

Mji: Mt Kailash is like a junction of divine energies. One feels those and is uplifted by their intense presence. Arunachala is Supreme Stillness it self. One does not feel stillness. Stillness is Nothingness. Nothingness is everything.


The Maharshi encouraged all of his devotees to make the nine-mile circuit, even those who were infirm, knowing for certain that the spiritual benefits of giripradakshina far outweighed any physical hardships.

Arunachala Mahatmyam says:

"By seeing Chidambaram, by being born in Tiruvarur, by dying in Kasi, or by merely thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation."

Through Divine grace i, along with my mother and a Sai sister was able to visit Tiruvanamalai and perform the Giri pradakshina last Thursday, 25th Oct. In my conversation with Dr Srikant before leaving, he had suggested that i go into an inner communion with the various Siddhas within the holy mountain and also with the Devi of the mountain, who i understand is its presiding diety. 

On Thursday morning as i woke at 4 for my meditation, i was surprised by the effortlessness with which i was able to still myself just thinking of the Arunachala. My mind didn't rebel, as if it ceased to exist. My attempts at connecting with God in various forms seemed unnecessary as the feeling of Oneness overwhelmed me. I could have continued, i think for hours but for the fact that we had to begin out Giripradakshina by 6 and so i got up. While doing the circumambulation of the sacred mountain an inspiration occurred to me to carry and spread the blessings of the mountain to fellow souls. 

During the journey, i found myself a large rock of the mountain and seated myself on it to be in contact with the mountain and while so in contact wrote the following : 

" Om Namah Shivaya

Beloved Shiva, my Supreme Atma Self, Dear Siddha's, Dear Devi, in contact with Thee i invoke Thy blessings - Bless that whosoever may read this, understanding the glory of this sacred Arunachala; may receive Thy grace of enlightenment and eternal freedom in the Self.

Om Guru
Om Sairam. "

Dear Reader, having read the above and if it be your sweet will - then keeping in mind the sacred promise given above that - "by merely thinking of Arunachala, one will surely attain Liberation" i suggest you to close your eyes for one minute and put all you mind, thoughts and heart on thinking of the Arunachala mountain that is nothing but the Supreme Shiva, your Supreme Self.

The sacred Arunachala

May all blessings be yours...

Samastha Loka sukhino bhavantu..
My mother, the Sacred Arunachala & i
Beautiful Peacocks amply found around there

Related Posts -

An Encounter at Neelkanth

Tapasviji - A timeless Mahatma

Why should I be spiritual?

Understanding Meditation -1

Mothering God - Harbans Ma

On the spiritual path

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Krishna's protection

" During the Mahabharata war Krishna was the charioteer of Arjuna. Krishna diverted all the arrows aimed at Arjuna towards Himself protecting Arjuna in the process. As a result every arrow wounded Krishna and He was bleeding profusely. 

As Krishna was the charioteer, He had to receive instructions from Arjuna regarding the direction in which the chariot should move. In those days there were no indicators like left and right as we have today. Therefore, Arjuna had to press the region beside the right eye of Krishna with his iron boot to indicate that the chariot should move to the right. Similarly, he had to press the region beside the left eye to indicate to Krishna to turn the chariot to the left. As a result Krishna's face was also bleeding. The whole body of Krishna was drenched in blood. No one observed this, as it was wartime and all were busy in discharging their duties and also due to the fact that Krishna was seated at a height much lower than that of Arjuna.

Therefore, only Arjuna could be seen and not Krishna. Krishna protected Arjuna as promised by Him earlier. When Arjuna and Duryodhana approached Krishna for help before the war, Duryodhana opted for Krishna's seven lakh strong army, whereas Arjuna preferred Krishna to the army.

Then Krishna assured him "Arjuna, you don't need to fear. The army is comparable to the compartment of a chariot whereas I am the Horse. Compartments can move only when the Horses  pulls them. So, do not worry, the engine is with you, Arjuna". Arjuna also responded saying "Krishna, it is enough if you are with me."
Therefore, all the dangers that were to befall Arjuna were taken upon himself by Krishna. Many such incidents of God protecting His devotees have taken place in all the ages."

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Lord of Valour and compassion!

We know the story of how Surpnakha had her ears and nose cut off by Laxman. Furious and distressed she went to her step brothers Khara and Dooshana.

These two were the step brothers of Ravana, who was the Emperor of the region. Surpnakha did not feel the need to approach Ravana. He was an Emperor and not to be disturbed for such small matters.

Khara and Dooshana were no easy foes. The had an invincible army of 14000 valiant and fierce rakshasa that had never tasted defeat yet. They had fought the Gods and vanquished them. To them Rama and Laxmana were two ordinary human princes who could be easily disposed.

Looking at the plight of their sister, they sent a small batch of brave soldiers to deal with Rama. But when for a long time they heard of no news of the soldiers they feared the worst and so gathered their army to wage a battle against Rama. Surpnakha kept warning them that though they seemed human, the two princes had an aura about them that made them look like Gods.

The rakshasa army was always hungry for a battle.. They were fearless and delighted in fighting and killing. Infuriated at the treatment of their emperors sister.. the army marched in fury trampling anything in their path. Birds and beasts flew and ran in despair at the approach of the army.

Back in panchvati Sri Rama felt the tremors on the earth and sensed trouble approaching. He instructed Laxman to take a reluctant Sita away to safety. Laxman would have loved to be with his brother and give him aid in battle, but he had long vowed to obey every single command of his dear brother and so took Sita away all along instilling faith in her and speaking of his brothers prowess.

Soon the massive army reached the place.. The clangs and battle drum along with war cries rant the air. The Earth shook in terror. Gods came out to witness the battle of Him whom many claimed was the Divine element and a yet undefeated army of 14000 fierce rakshasa at whose hands the demi-gods had suffered defeat.

Sri Rama having prayed to His weapons, strung His bow, the Kodanda, and twanged it. The sound reverberating from the bow struck the hearts of the rakshasa who became aware of their foe, as if luring them to a fight.

Then something strange happened.

Now Rama was a fighter of unmatched valor. In the Kshatriya traditions none matched Him and Sri Krishna in the art of archery. The likes of Arjuna, Bhishma, Karna, Parshurama.. were considered a distant second. Yet more then that Sri Rama was considered the embodiment of compassion and beauty. His Divine form affected even beasts and stones.

The rakshasa couldn't believe their eyes as they saw Rama. They became acutely aware of His Divine form and began wondering..: who is he?  is this our foe?. Having become aware of Him the rakshasas felt an acute distaste for their own ugliness which up until then they delighted in. They felt that life was worth living only if one is in presence of such beauty. These emotions were new to the rakshasas. They couldn't make sense of it. But they did not feel like fighting Rama anymore and so some began to walk away.

Seeing this Khara and Dooshana warned them that if anyone withdrew they would be instantly slain on the spot.

Imagine the state of mind of the Rakshashas.. for them a battle field was their playground. They loved slaughtering and killing and lived for it. Their inner nature provoked them to fight. Even though they didn't want to fight Rama, the warning and provocation by their General made them take out their weapons again.. Many of them were also keen to interact with Rama in some way even if in form of a battle. Many felt it was much better to die at the hands of Rama then die at the hands of their Generals. The cocktail of varying emotions within them gave rise to a frenzy and they entered the battlefield with war cries.

What followed was an intense battle. Arrows issued from Rama's bow killing hundreds. Each slain rakshsa felt it a blessing to be killed by the Divine hands and beholding His form. The battle between Rama and khara was very fierce. Khara managed to break the armour of Sri Rama, Sri Rama responded by slaying him with the Vaishnava arrow. When the battle had gone on long enough, Rama decided to end it all. He issued a weapon which put all enemies into a stupor. Each rakshasa saw a Rama standing next to him, and shouting " Here is Rama, kill him kill him!!" they began killing each other.

The invincible army thus tasted defeat. The Gods witnessed lights emerging from the bodies of the slain Rakhshsas and merging into Sri Rama's form. Gods grace is not just for those who he gives life to, but also for those whose life He takes.

When Laxman returned, the compassionate Lord took his help to dispose the bodies of his foes in fire, who in their last moments had entertained the feelings of devotion, rather then be left as food to vultures and beasts.

Association with the Lord in anyways is a blessing. Radha, gopikas and the likes merged in Him because they thought of Him day and night with Love. But even Kansa, Ravana, Sisupala merged in Him, because they too thought of Him day and night, even though in hatred. Whether you hold a flower lovingly or crush it, the flower will only release its fragrance in both cases.

Love God or Hate Him, but be with Him in life and death, no matter what.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


In the Treta (Silver) age when Lord Rama, with the help of his army, was building the bridge across the ocean towards Lanka, He issued instructions that hills and boulders from all over be used to construct the mammoth bridge.

Giant monkeys of the army would leap towards north, west and east of India to collect such hills and boulders. Once the construction was complete, Lord Ram issued orders that those hills that have been plucked be put back in their places respectfully.

Hanuman was returning from North India carrying a huge hill. Enroute he was informed of Sri Rama's command. He immediately returned the hill to its place. There upon he saw a strange sight. He saw streams of hot water pouring out from the hill. Upon looking closely He found the hill weeping streams of tears. Hanuman addressed the hill asking it why it wept? The hill lamented -

“O mighty Hanuman! When you plucked me from my place to use me in the construction of the bridge, I considered it my great fortune that I would be used in the service of Lord Rama and if perchance His divine feet touched me then even I, a hill, would stand a chance of attaining liberation. Alas! I have that privilege no more.” 

Hanuman felt sad in sympathy and returned.

On seeing Hanuman looking sad Lord Rama inquired the reason and Hanuman narrated the plight of the hill. Lord Ram then said “Hanuman go to that hill and assure it that I will definitely grace it with a chance of service in the future.” With joy Hanuman leapt across to tell the hill this good news.

Days passed turning into months, months into years, years into ages!

It was now the Dwapara age. The hill had waited patiently for ages.

It was a stormy night. Rains hit the earth in torrents threatening to swallow land, man and animal. It was then that Lord Rama appeared now incarnated in  form of a cowherd boy, Krsna, and He held this very mountain of the tip of His fingers for 7 days to protect the village of Gokul.

This hill was called Govardhan.

All the hill had desired was the touch of the Lords feet, the Lord in all his grace held the hill up on his fingers and for seven days. Whats more, Lord Krishna was named ‘Giridhari’ thereafter.

Such is the power of faith and devotion, such the Lords grace!

The next time you pray to God and begin doubting whether He will respond to your prayers, remember the Govardhan hill.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

An evening with the Nature Devas !

An evening with the Nature Devas: How old are they?

The nature Devas in our garden are a jovial, giggly lot. They range in size from a few centimeters (the flower devas) to a foot or two (the elementals) to ten feet in height (the grand Deva of the sacred campus on which we reside in Bangalore).

Yesterday I asked them "How old are you?"

They looked at me quizzically, and then nodded happily in understanding when I added, "In human years?"

Some of the smaller ones seemed to concentrate hard, as if they were doing a long calculation in their head. Then they started chirping out:

"A hundred years!"

"Five hundred years!"

I asked "How old would the youngest of you be?"

"Oh, about 79 years," one of the elementals added. "Only mature Devas are allowed into this garden to work with you humans. But our aging system is very different from yours."

Intrigued, I asked "And how old would the grand Deva of our campus be?" The question was greeted by giggles from the smaller Devas (they tend to laugh constantly anyway).

"Ohhhh, he is very old," said one. Immediately I felt the presence of the grand Deva. As is my habit now, I merged my consciousness into his. This allows a much deeper level of understanding than the two way communication that most of us are used to. I was engulfed by a Divine presence that felt IMMENSE love and concern for every being and thing - big and small - inside the area this Deva was responsible for.

The deep booming voice of the grand Deva said with both gentleness and power, "I am five hundred thousand years old by your count."

Yesterday evening I sat outside in the garden and greeted the Nature Devas a good evening. As usual they gathered around, as excited as little children. I asked them for any suggestions they would like to give me. "I'm open to anything," I said. 

The replies came quickly:

"Spend more time in Nature!"

"Spend less time on your computer."

"Do more yoga."

"Breathe more deeply."

"Use your mobile phone less." (The Deva who said this wrinkled her nose when making this comment)

"Be happy!" (The smaller ones giggled at this)

"Eat more food from the garden. It's vibration will nourish you."

Then the senior most Deva, the one who oversees the overall area in which we live, spoke. "Work with us Devas to get your work done. We will help you in everything that you do. Consult us Devas (angels) before you start a project. Make us your partners. Consult us for every stage of planning, implementation, and follow up. Sit down with a paper and pen, and ask us what we think. Ask us even the most basic of questions. If you've had a project in mind but have been postponing it because you're not sure how to go about it, ask us! Form a partnership with us. We will be happy to be consultants for you."

From - devasunlimited.com

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Ascension : Will I Ascend?

What is Ascension?

Many dwelling on earth today have been made aware in various ways, of the coming Golden Age , the Sat yuga as described in the Hindu scriptures. This is an age of higher living. Life then will be of a much higher dimension and frequency, more in tune with Gods plan of love and harmony ; a stark contrast to the times we are living in today. Our gross bodies will over a period of time become ethereal in essence. The freedom and lifestyle we will enjoy then is beyond our current imagination. It will be paradise or heaven on earth. A Belgium mystic, Master Duono, described the coming times  in 1917 :

"All saints, adepts and Masters from time immemorial will come. Their mighty spirit will direct all awakened souls throughout the earth and all of these together will establish perfect order and harmony in the world "

“there will be a new heaven and a new earth, and a New Humanity. In that new age, everyone “will have such freedom as when God first gave it to them.” 

“When we enter [the New Epoch], we will be as free as those who are our Advanced Brothers: the Angels, the Archangels, the Cherubim and the Seraphim"

“The houses will not be constructed as they are now, but will be built several kilometers away from one another. The animals will be given rest from the people. To the artists, musicians and other people of the arts, the best conditions for work will exist.  …

“The inner wealth, the knowledge which a person possesses, will be available to all. Now you are provided with air, light and water. One day the bread too will be given to you like the air, the water and the light. …

“People will have bread in abundance. Everyone will have a home, a garden and fruit trees. When you pass through a place that is new to you, you will be asked from all sides to come in for a visit.

“In the new Order, everything old will disappear and all things will be completely new. …

“Somebody may say, ‘When we are perfect, what will we do?’ ............We will then begin to live!!"

To make the transition from our current times to the higher times is what is Ascension.

Many ask the question: “Will I ascend?”

This is not something that anyone can answer. It depends purely on our intent and actions.

Several actions must occur.

The first is that we have to want to ascend and be serious about it. We can’t simply be mouthing the words.
The eye cannot be double, with one eye on matters relevant to the Third Dimension and one eye on matters relevant to the Fifth Dimension; the eye must be single.

If we don’t want to ascend, the ascended masters, celestials, and galactics will allow us our choice and see that we go to a carefully-prepared place with no remembrance of the events preceding that transition.

We are reminded: “Ascension is not simply an automatic ‘take it or leave it offer’ and it comes to those who are consciously looking for a way to embrace a higher path. The precise details as to how you may achieve it are not so important, as your serious intent to find a pathway out of duality.”

Words like “not automatic” and “serious intent” are there to make the same point made earlier: thine eye must be single. You cannot serve Maya (in this case, the Third Dimension) and God (in this case, the Fifth) at the same time.

In readying ourselves, we will have the committed partnership of our guides and mentors. “Once you place yourself on that path [of Ascension] you will draw [towards you] more spiritual help.

Then the real work begins. In the last analysis, the heavy lifting for Ascension falls on our shoulders. Most everyone who comments on the matter agrees on what needs to be done.

Archangel Michael puts it this way: “You must clear out your emotional storehouse of the past, the old emotional grudges and self-judgment that lower your self-esteem and empowerment.”

Or again: “Ascension requires each person to heal the past or, in other words, to clear the major discordant vibrational patterns within.”

SaLuSa makes the same point: “It has never been as important as now that you clear your Karma before 2012, and you are helped by many souls travelling with you.”

Saying “clear your karma” is no different than saying “heal the past.”

The Guardians go so far as to say: “The Ascension process is 99% emotional and fear program clearing.”

Solara says that circumstances are combining to raise just the issues designed to push us through the eye of the needle. She warns us against resisting:
“It is at the Crossroads where numerous old issues reach their crisis point. All of these issues are specifically designed to help push us through, to bring us to the point of having a quantum breakthrough.

“Here at the center of the Crossroads, we are beset with challenge after challenge. … The more we resist and fight, the longer we prolong the agony. All the while, more issues keep coming in to be dealt with.”

A group called “the Angels” warns that us that, if we’ve been resisting completing our issues, we may be in for a rough ride: “The emergence of truth can be graceful. However, if you have been ignoring it or stuffing it [down], it can be very awkward, sudden and upsetting. … The more you search within to acknowledge it, bring it with love to the surface of your lives, and then express it with kindness, the more easy your transitions will be.”

A consistent picture should be emerging.

If we are nursing grudges, harboring resentments, cursing our parents, acquaintances, events, we need to do a thorough housecleaning. This is a time for clearing, completion, emergence.

But clear ourselves of the past we must. Ascension is in the timeless Now. Our baggage holds us back to the dimension of time. Ascension is in the fertile Present. Our issues anchor us in the past.

The Golden age will dawn within us. We need not wait for 2012. If we give up our emotional baggage and clutter today we will find ourselves already living in the Golden Age. The key is : dealing with your mind, which will tell you again and again that its difficult, impossible or that you are right to hold on to your pains and grudges. Beware of it and let go.. be free.

Love and Light
God Bless you..

Monday, October 1, 2012


My first encounter with yogic powers was in my early twenties. I had gone to Atlanta with some friends for a rock festival and we had slipped into some shops on Peach Street. This was the late sixties and although the flower era had ended in San Francisco, it had just caught up with Atlanta. Day-glow colored buildings, tie-dyed shirts and psychedelic rock abounded.

One of my compatriots wanted to check out a really weird shop with clouds of incense that would shame any Catholic church. At the time, the music sounded really, really strange to this southern boy from Virginia. The music? Sitars. The shelves were filled with books about yoga and other exotic things. Then, as we were leaving, my eyes caught a book entitled Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda. A photo of him adorned the cover; our eyes met and the world instantly changed. I stood transfixed and was unable to move. It was like I was suddenly transported into a dream, those strange dreams where you can’t move. My friend called out to me as he started to leave. I turned around in really, really slow motion. And it seemed that the book was pulling at me, drawing me over to its shelf. With extraordinary will power, I forced myself away from the book and pulled myself out of the shop. Only when I had gotten out the door and onto the street did the strange powers of the book stop affecting me.

I did not know it at the time, for I had no context for such an experience, but I had experienced yogic power first hand. When I finally read the book, a few years later, I understood the strange affect it had on me.

Reading Yogananda’s words activated memories from my many past lives in India, and they reconnected me with one of my primary spiritual lineages. His yogic powers (siddhis) were considerable and everything he touched or wrote carried some of his energy. This is a typical trait, I later discovered, of all accomplished yogis and yoginis (women yogis), as well as certain saints and mystics.

Several years ago, I had an experience with the siddhis of a mystic in one of the most unlikely places on earth–Kodiak, Alaska.

I had been invited to teach a series of workshops in Anchorage and the following weekend I taught a workshop on Kodiak Island. After the final workshop on the island, I had a few days off. My organizer gave me a few options, and I chose the boat ride to a small island inhabited by Russian Orthodox monks where an Orthodox saint had lived. I was told that visitors more often than not, had to turn back due to rough seas. In fact, I was told the prelates of the Church in charge of the monastery had never been able to see it, as every time they went for a visit, high seas forced them back.

This was a source of immense humor among the native peoples. We took a small airplane ride to a nearby island and landed on a spit of land that ended abruptly into turbulent and frigid waters. We were greeted by a local fisherman’s wife driving a pickup truck, and I hopped in the back of the Ford. My organizer got in the front. It was summer, but there was a light snowfall as we headed for her house by the sea. I remember feeling quite cold and wondering how in the hell people survived here in the winter. We pulled up to a small house surrounded by cedar trees and went inside. Sitting by a large wooden table we sipped tea. Now anyone who has been to northern Alaska knows that time is a strange bird in these parts. We just sat and sat, talking a little here and there, waiting it seemed for some opportune time to leave. Finally, our host announced that it was time to go, and we piled back into the Ford pickup, and headed for the dock where her husband was waiting with a fishing trawler.

We took off across an amazingly placid sea. Our host sat next to a boom, knitting, and commented how unusual it was to have such a calm passing. I sat looking out at the rich unbelievably beautiful landscape of the neighboring islands as our boat chugged along at a fairly crisp pace. Seals followed us part way.

Passing an outcropping of boulders, we came into a small natural harbor. The water was too shallow for the trawler, so we got into a dinghy and headed to shore. The scene was like something out of the Middle Ages. A group of men were on the beach burning brush, the air thick with billows of white smoke which swirled in eddies against a stark blue sky. The monks wore long beards, typical of Russian and Greek Orthodox clerics, and they were wearing long grey robes with thin ropes tied about the waist. Each one of them also wore a crucifix.

Stepping out of the boat onto the sand, we were greeted by someone who appeared to be in his early thirties and had the air of authority about him. Our host explained that I had come from Washington State to visit. The Abbott smiled approvingly and proceeded to take us on a tour of the small monastery, which consisted of perhaps a dozen men or so. As we headed up a path into the shade of cedars, he noted that the monastery did not often get to host pilgrims.

He took us to several spots including the small hut where the saint lived. I recall the air being musty from the old manuscripts and pictures of icons that had been in the saint’s possession. But there was also an unmistakable sense of serenity. The Abbott also took us to a sacred spring reputed to have healing powers. Finally he took us to the small chapel where the saint had been previously buried. His body had since been removed, but the site was still considered holy.

The Abbott caught me staring at a corner of the chapel. He asked me what I was seeing, and I said I was seeing a column of white light coming out of the floor and going up through the roof. The Abbott seemed to smile a bit and said that the saint had been buried in that corner of the church. Then he said something in a somewhat dreamy voice as if he were part way into another world, I remember his words because they sounded so odd to me at the time, “would that we were all so sensitive.”

Seeming to rouse himself from his reveries, the Abbott said, “There is one more thing I would like to show you.” He guided us back down the hill to a very small chapel that had obviously just recently been built. It was quite unusual in that it was perhaps nine feet square and some twenty feet tall. The inside of the building glowed from the gold pigments of recently painted icons. They depicted the life of Saints along with other prominent figures of the Russian Orthodox Church. In the back of the chapel there was a very small altar with a Bible in Russian. The Abbott pointed out the various icons and their meanings and then said that the tour had come to an end. He motioned us out of the chapel and closed the door behind us. I remember suddenly having a question about mysticism I thought the Abbott might be able to clarify. I knocked at the door, but there was no answer. I knocked again, still no sign of anyone inside.

Gingerly I opened the door to find the chapel completely empty. For a moment I stood in shock. Then my ever-skeptical mind came in, and I began to search for trap doors or other entrances. I even picked up the small frayed rug on the floor to see if there was a secret exit. Nothing.

Still in a kind of shock, I wandered out the door and on to the beach where our party was waiting. There, clearly in view was the Abbott. He was talking to my host, and as I stepped up he nodded his head with a distinct twinkle in his eyes. We boarded the dinghy and headed back to trawler. The sun was low in sky, and I stood on the deck looking over the stern as we headed back into the sea. I was very quiet.

As I write these words I am caught up in the feelings of awe and wonder I felt then. I had known the siddhis existed, had studied the physics of them, and had made it a hobby of mine to collect stories and documentations. But here on a small island off Kodiak, a humble contemplative had shown me the mystery of yogic powers firsthand.

Halfway through the ride back, the fisherman’s wife turned from her knitting and said, “You know, they do things like that all the time!” “Things like what, I asked?” “Oh, you know, teleporting, bilocating… things like that.” “Really,” I said. “Yes,” she replied, not taking her eyes off her knitting. “That island is a remote place. There is no mail service. We see them sometimes in town picking up their mail and buying things. And…” she said in a most conspiratorial tone, “they don’t have any way of getting there!”

The powers of consciousness, or siddhis, range from what are called the lesser siddhis to what are termed the greater siddhis. The lesser siddhis include such psychic abilities as clairvoyance (inner seeing), clairaudience (inner hearing), clairsentience (inner feeling), as well as clairgnosis (inner knowing), as in knowing something, but not knowing how you know it. The first three, clairvoyance, clairaudience and clairsentience, are refinements of the physical senses.

As psychic powers unfold, they often tend to present themselves in one of these three forms, or in combination. Thus one might begin to see things in the mind’s eye that can’t be physically seen. These visual impressions manifest as a subtle sense of seeing something that cannot be seen physically (i.e., auras, guides, etc.). In scientific studies involving remote viewing, this siddhi is most often used.

Studies show that persons can, under the right conditions (i.e. mental relaxation), accurately report visual impressions of objects or locations hundreds of miles away with no previous knowledge of them. The reception of such visual information must presumably come from some other source than that of physical sight since the viewers were nowhere near the locations they described.

Many yogis/yoginis, saints and mystics have reported that they could often see their disciples in distant locations when it was called for. In one account, the yogi Neem Karoli Baba suddenly asked for large amounts of food to be brought to him. Those present report that he consumed a mind-boggling amount of food before going into samadhi (yogic meditation). When the yogi came out of meditation, his disciples asked him what had happened. He reported that he had suddenly seen one of his disciples dying in the desert. The last desire of the dying man was to eat. Baba said that the student had reached a level of attainment where there was no further need to reincarnate. But with the desire for food on his mind, he would have been brought back into the wheel of birth and death merely through the power of this one unfulfilled desire! Baba had taken upon himself the task of fulfilling the man’s last wish for food, and using his yogic powers, he transmuted the desire.

When psychic information is received auditorially, the person is called clairaudient. Such persons have subtle impressions of hearing sounds and/or voices. The inner realms of consciousness are filled with sounds and music that are incredibly beautiful. It has been suggested by some that many of the great composers actually heard the music of these realms and that this music of the spheres greatly influenced their compositions.

Some individuals feel things at a very subtle level and these persons are called clairsentients. There is often a fine line between a clairsentient and an empath. Empaths have highly developed sensitivities and often feel other people’s feelings, especially those around them. Clairsentients may also be empathic, but in addition, they receive psychic impressions in the form of subtle feelings, which are often physical

Clairgnosis is one of the more fascinating siddhis. When you have a hunch about something, but have no idea how you might know such a thing, this is clairgnosis. (That is, if your hunch turns out to be true. If it turns out to be false, we call that delusion.) Some have suggested that clairgnosis is an attribute of pure consciousness which is omniscient and omnipresent. As one rises higher up the ladder of consciousness, one’s own personal awareness takes on some of these qualities and episodes of clairgnosis increase.

The lesser siddhis also include such things as healing abilities and limited powers of prophecy. This class of yogic powers also includes the ability for awareness to become very small or very large, in other words, not confined by the limitations of the body.

The greater siddhis include such things as levitation (in which the body floats or hovers in air). Again this siddhi is not confined to Indian yogis or yoginis as some believe. There are well-documented sightings of St. Francis of Assisi, for one, hovering in the air. St. Francis exhibited other siddhis as well. In fact, his physical remains have spiritual powers even after his death. While visiting his shrine in Assisi, I was transported into the spiritual realms through the emanations from his crypt! I heard a sound like wind blowing through Aspen trees whenever I stood near his body, and when I returned to my hotel room my skin was red, as if I had a mild sunburn.

The greater siddhis also include such remarkable abilities such as teleportation (like the Abbott I mentioned earlier) and bi-location (being in two places at once). There are other abilities that fall under this category, but they are too numerous to list here.

Siddhis or yogic powers are attained as a natural consequence of spiritual development. There is, however, a very real dilemma with the siddhis. If not tempered with wisdom, the premature attainment of yogic powers can lead to karmic entanglements.

A short anecdote about a well-known yogi may help to make this clear. He is quite an extraordinary being, and many years ago, I had the wonderful experience of studying with him during a weeklong retreat. According to a close disciple of his, whom I came to know, the yogi had gone to India for a spiritual retreat in his early twenties, having attained some of the siddhis. He was resting against a tree listening to the beautiful music of a master musician who was caught up in the fervor of bhakti (Divine Love), and due to the intensity of devotion within the music, our yogi was transported into a deep state of samadhi and experienced great ecstasies and bliss.

The concert abruptly ended when it started to rain and the musician rushed indoors. Using his siddhic powers, the yogi caused the rain to stop, and the musician returned to his kirtans (sacred singing). Very quickly our yogi was transported back into samadhi, but his bliss was rudely ended by an old man kicking him in the side. The man was also a yogi, and in a furor he continued to kick the younger yogi, yelling obscenities at him.

“What are you doing?” he asked. “Don’t you realize this area has been suffering from a drought? And you, you stopped the rains for your own selfish desires.” The ancient yogi raised his staff in the air and pointed it at his younger peer. “Mark my words, if you don’t stop this, you will pay a great karmic debt. You will spend a thousand lifetimes as a sea creature!” The old yogi then kicked some dust in the direction of the young man and left before he could respond.

Immediately the younger yogi went into meditation and through his siddhic powers returned the rains. He fervently prayed to God to take away his siddhis, and miraculously they left him. But over the years they slowly returned to a much wiser and less flamboyant man. Generally speaking, the siddhis are looked upon, by most people, as being more magical and exotic than practical. Part of this is due, no doubt, to a pervasive misunderstanding about their place among other human abilities, such as the ability to reason and to make language, both of which we take for granted.

The siddhis are inherent human abilities, but they only show up when consciousness has reached a certain level of development. When this level has been attained, the siddhis or yogic powers, spontaneously appear. They are like fruits on a tree.

Although one may have an apple tree in one’s yard, only when it has reached a certain level of maturity and development is it capable of manifesting the fruits of its nature. This is also true of the powers of consciousness. We all possess them, in potential, but not all of us will demonstrate them in actuality.

As I said earlier, the siddhis are a natural expression of human evolution. They unfold as a consequence of spiritual growth and they are, I believe, one of our next evolutionary benchmarks. The greater siddhis (such as levitation, bi-location and teleportation) rarely manifest except in the advanced stages of spiritual development. The lesser siddhis, however, can develop quite quickly. The development of these lesser siddhis, has a generally enhancing effect on creativity and intelligence. And, for this reason alone, they are well worth exploring.

Recently, there have been reports from around the world about some children possessing extraordinary powers. These children are not undergoing years of rigorous yogic training. They are, in fact, spontaneously demonstrating the siddhis. This points to the fact, I believe, that the siddhis are a natural part of human evolution, albeit unusual.

These children are at the forefront of the human race in terms of mental abilities. As time moves forward, their numbers will presumably grow until the majority of mankind possesses these inherent powers of consciousness.

As I wrote that last sentence, I remembered the Mayan calendar and its prediction regarding the powers of consciousness. According to some translations of the Mayan prophesies, at the year 2012A.D. we will depart from the Age of the Intellect and time, as we know it. If they are correct, we will pass through a collective planetary portal on that date and enter the Age of the Gods.

Indeed, if the majority of humanity reaches the level of attaining siddhic powers, we would be very much in the Age of the Gods. In point of fact, it would not take a majority of humanity to express the siddhis in order to usher in a new Age of the Gods. It would only take a small percentage of individuals to tip the scales, so to speak.

Those of us engaged in spiritual practices to accelerate personal evolution are, I believe, making a tangible contribution to the future destiny of this world. Consciousness has a subtle, yet potent affect upon the environment. Numerous scientific studies have demonstrated this.

I am thinking, in particular, about experiments on the effects of prayer conducted by Larry Dossey, M.D. There have also been extensive studies conducted by Maharishi International University on the effects of the siddhis on the environment. Specifically, when a group of individuals enters a high state of coherency, as in yogic meditation, there are distinct positive influences on the environment. These include such things as increased wellness of the individuals, decreased psychological stress and a decrease in crime. This is very interesting stuff. It shows that we don’t live in a vacuum, that our thoughts and experiences have measurable effects on the world around us.

One reason I wrote this article is to bring the concept of the siddhis to a larger audience outside the traditional yogic circles. My motivation for this? I believe that more and more of us are experiencing spontaneous arisings of the siddhis, especially the lesser siddhis. I am already seeing this happen, and suspect there will be an even greater increase as we pass through the next ten years. Knowing that they are a natural part of spiritual evolution may, perhaps, make it easier for you to accept them when they arise.

In closing, I would like to address a couple of ideas in regards to the siddhis. The first is what I call the myth of happiness. The delusion here is that by developing yogic powers we will be happy. In point of fact, these powers have very little to do with happiness. They are simply expressions of consciousness and its inherent abilities, like, for instance, the ability to speak.

Talking does not, necessarily produce happiness. It can just as easily produce conflict. It’s what we say to ourselves and to each other that determines whether it is a contribution or a distraction to our happiness. The same is true for the siddhis or yogic powers. It’s what we do with them that counts. If you think that your problems will magically disappear as a result of cultivating the powers of consciousness you will be sorely disappointed. But if your consciousness gets stronger, you certainly have the possibility of making better and more creative choices for yourself. This is, I believe, one of the major benefits for cultivating the powers of consciousness.

The second point concerns spiritual enlightenment. Attaining yogic powers does not necessarily mean that one is enlightened, or even spiritually mature. It simply means that these powers are manifesting due to either cultivation or spontaneous unfoldment. Don’t, in other words, be mesmerized by those who demonstrate such powers, and don’t delude yourself when they start showing up in you.

Spiritual attainment often causes the siddhis to spontaneously manifest. A quick look at the lives of saints throughout the world will demonstrate this quite clearly.

I believe that those of us working with spiritual technologies need to understand the potential of what we are dealing with. And I believe that we would be well advised to enter this mysterious realm of human potential with the three jewels of wisdom, compassion and humor. Yes… humor. Seriousness is, after all, the death-knell to liberating spirituality.

On that note, I will leave you with this final thought… What did the Buddhist monk say to the hot dog vendor? “Make me one with everything!”

Tom Kenyon