1 Vasishta, continued:—
Now hear me now tell you how yogis are able to expand and contract their bodies at will, reducing to atomic proportions and expanding to gross dimensions.
2 Above the lotus-like partition of the heart, there is a blazing fire emitting its sparks, like gold colored butterflies flirting about it, flaring like flashes of lightning in the evening clouds. 3 The fire is aroused and fanned by the animal spirit that blows over it like a breath of wind. This fire pervades the entire body without burning it. It shines as brightly as the sun in the form of our consciousness. 4 It lights into a blaze in an instant, like the early rising of the sun gleams upon morning clouds. The fire melts down the whole body, like a burning furnace melts gold in a crucible. 5 Being inextinguishable by water, the fire burns the whole outer body down to the feet. Then it coils inside the body, remaining in the form of the mind in man’s spiritual body. 6 Having reduced the inner body, it becomes lifeless of itself, as extinct as frost when the winds blow.
7 The kundalini force, being reduced to the fundamental nadi at the base of the spine, remains in the emptiness of the spiritual body like a shadow of smoke from fire. 8 This shade of smoke parades over the heart like a dark colored maiden and encloses in her bosom the subtle body composed of its mind and understanding, the living principle and its egoism. 9 It has the power to enter into the porous fibers of lotuses, to penetrate rocks, to stretch over grass, to pop into houses and stones, to pry in the sky and ply in the ground, and to remain and move about everywhere in whatever manner it likes of its own will. 10 This power produces consciousness and the physical senses by the sap which it supplies to the whole body. It also is filled with juice, like a leather bag dipped in water. 11 This great kundalini artery, filled with gastric fire, forms the body in any shape it likes, just as an artist draws the lines of a picture in any form pictured in his mind. 12 It supplies the embryonic seed placed in the fetus of the mother with the power of its evolution into the fleshy and bony parts of its future body, just as the tender sprout of a plant seed grows in time into a hard woody tree.
13 Rama, know this certain truth acknowledged by the wise, that the living principle acquires whatever state and stature it desires, be that of a mountain or bit of straw. 14 Rama, you have heard of certain powers attainable by the practice of yoga, such as the powers of diminishing and increasing the bulk and stature of the body. Now listen as I give you an interesting lecture on how to attain these powers through knowledge (jnana).
15 Know for certain that there is only one intelligent principle of Consciousness which is inscrutable, pure and most charming, more minute that the minutest, perfectly tranquil, and is nothing of the mundane world or any of its actions or properties. 16 The same Consciousness (chit), being collected in itself into an individuality from the undivided whole and assuming the power of will or volition itself, becomes the living soul by transformation of its pure nature to an impure one.
17 The will is a fallacy and the body is a mistake. Only the ignorant distinguish between the living soul and the Universal Spirit, just like an ignorant child sees a demon in a shadow. 18 When the lamp of knowledge brings the mind to the full light of truth, then the error of will is removed from the living soul, just as the clouds of rainy weather dissipate in autumn. 19 The body rests after wishes have subsided in the mind, just as the lamp is extinguished after its oil is exhausted. 20 The soul that sees the truth has no more knowledge of his body than the man awakened from his sleep has his dream appearing before him. 21 The mistake of the unreal for the real or, what is the same, ascribing reality to unreality is what gives the color of reality to false material bodies. The knowledge of truth removes the error of the physical body and restores the soul to its accustomed splendor and true joy.
22 The error of taking the material body for the immaterial soul is so deeply rooted in the mind that it is as difficult to remove as it is for the strongest sunbeams to penetrate the mental gloom of men. 23 This impenetrable darkness of the mind can only be seen through the sunshine of knowledge that our soul is the seat of the immaculate and all pervading spirit of God, and that I myself am no other than the pure consciousness which is in me.
24 Those who have known the Supreme Soul meditate on it in this manner in their own souls until they find themselves to be assimilated to Supreme Soul by their intense thought of it. 25 Therefore, O Rama, some men convert the deadly poison to sweet ambrosial food, and others change delicious nectar into bitter gall. 26 So whatever is thought upon with intensity in any manner and on any occasion, the same comes to take place. We can see many examples of this. 27 The body seen in the light of a reality is found to be a real existence, but looked upon as an unreality, it vanishes into nothing.
28 O righteous Rama, you have heard talk about the theory of attaining the powers of magnifying and minimizing one’s body at will. Now I will tell you of another method of gaining these powers, to which you shall have now to attend.
29 You can practice exhaling your rechaka breath to extract your vital energy from the cell of your kundalini nadi and infuse it into another body, just as the winds of the air carry the fragrance of flowers into the nostrils. 30 The former body is left lifeless like a log of wood or a block of stone. Such is the relationship between the body and life, like that of a bucket and its water poured out to enliven plants. 31 Thus life is infused in all movable and immovable things in order to enjoy the pleasures of their particular states at its pleasure. 32 The living soul, having tasted the bliss of its complete state, returns to its former body if it is still in existence, or it goes and settles somewhere else, as it may best suit its taste.
33 In this way yogis pass into all bodies and lives with their conscious souls and fill the world by magnifying their spirits over all space. 34 The yogi who is lord of himself by his enlightened understanding, and through his knowledge of all things and their accompanying evils, in an instant obtains whatever he wants and which is present before the brightness of divine light.