1. Sadasiva BrahmanSri Sadasiva Brahman, a reputed Yogi, lived in Nerur, near Karur, in Trichinopolly district, some one
hundred and twenty years ago. He was the author of ‘Atma Vilas’, ‘Brahma Sutras’ and various other works. Once he was in Samadhi. The floods in the Cauveri river covered him up with mud. For some months his body remained buried underneath the earth. The agriculturists tilled the land and injured the head of the Yogi. Some blood oozed out. They were quite astonished. They dug out the earth. Sadasiva Brahman got up from his Samadhi and walked away. Once some rude people came with sticks to beat him. They raised their hands, but they were not able to move them. They remained like statues. At some other time he entered the Zenana of a Nawab quite naked while he was roaming about as an Avadhuta. The Nawab got enraged and cut off his hand with a big knife. Sadasiva Brahman went away with a laugh. The Nawab thought that the man should be a great Sage. He took the maimed hand and followed the Sage. On the third day the Nawab said: “O my Lord! I cut off your hand due to my foolishness. Kindly forgive me.” Sadasiva simply touched the cut portion with the other hand. There was a new hand. Sadasiva forgave the Nawab and blessed him.
2. JnanadevSri Jnanadev is also known as Jnaneswar. He was the greatest Yogin the world has ever produced. He was born in Alandi, 7 miles from Poona. His Samadhi is there even now. If anybody reads the Gita written by him by the side of the Samadhi all the doubts are cleared. He is regarded as an Avatara of Lord Krishna. When he was a boy he simply touched a buffalo. It repeated the Vedas. He ha
d full control over the elements. When there was no vessel to prepare food, his sister prepared bread on his back. He entered Samadhi while alive at the age of 22. He drew up all the Prana to the Brahmarandhra and gave up the physical body. When he was a boy of 14 years, he began to write commentary on Gita. His commentary on Gita is considered one of the best. In a big assembly of Sanskrit Pandits in Benares, he was selected President.
3. Trilinga SwamiSri Trilinga Swami of Benares, born in Andhra Desa, lived some fifty years ago. He lived for 280 years. He made his Tapas in Manasarovar (Tibet). Once Ramakrishna Paramahamsa also saw him at Benares. He brought some money to Benares when he first came in for Tapas. He opened a milk-shop and distributed milk free to poor persons, Sadhus and Sannyasins. He used to live underneath the Ganga water even for six months continuously. He used to sleep in Kashi Visvanath’s Temple keeping his feet over the Sivalinga. Once he caught hold of the sword of the Governor and threw it into the Ganges. When the Governor demanded it back, he dived into the water and brought back two swords and the Governor was unable to find out his own sword. Some mischief-makers poured some lime-water in his mouth. He at once pumped it out through the anus by Sang Pachar Kriya.
Sri Gorakhnath was a great Yogi like Sri Jnanadev of Alandi. In Chandragiri village on the banks of the Godavari, there was a Brahmin named Suraj. His wife’s name was Sarasvati. They had no children. Yogi Matsyendranath went for Bhiksha in the house of Suraj. Sarasvati entertained the Yogi with good food, with Sraddha. She wept before him for not having a child. Yogi Matsyendranath gave her a pinch of holy ash with blessings for a child. Some time later, she had a son. Matsyendranath came back to Sarasvati and took the boy with him when he was twelve years of age. He sent the boy to Badrinarayan for doing Tapas. Apsaras and other Devatas came to molest him. He stood firm and tided over all temptations. He got tremendous Siddhis. Matsyendranath also imparted all his powers and Vidyas to the boy, his disciple, Gorakhnath.
Sri Gorakhnath in his 12th year went to Badrinarayan and performed Tapas for 12 long years, living on air alone. Gorakhnath had tremendous Yogic powers. When his Guru Matsyendranath entered the dead body of a Raja (Parakaya Pravesh) to obey the orders of Sri Hanuman to produce an offspring for a certain Rani, Gorakhnath assumed the form of a lady through his Yogic powers and entered the inner apartments of the palace (Kamarupa Siddhi). At some other instance he made a toy child out of clay and gave this as a play-mate for the children of a certain village. He converted a portion of a mountain into gold and reconverted it to its former condition. He passed urine on a rock. It became gold. Once in a Kumbhamela on the banks of the Godavari, he gave food to all by spreading only leaves but offered different rich meals to the liking of everyone. In the same Mela he slowly reduced himself in bulk and assumed the form of a mosquito (Anima Siddhi). Through his own Yogic power he burnt himself to ashes and again assumed his original form. He did Akasagamanam (walking in the sky). In this way he performed many Siddhis. Raja Bhartrihari was his disciple.
5. Swami Krishna AshramSwami Krishna Ashram is a living saint at Daroli village, 14 miles below Gangotri, the origin of the Ganges. He has been living there for the last eight years in an absolutely nude state, in an icy region, where an ordinary man may require a woollen sweater, a Gothma and half a dozen blankets. He was a Siva Bhakta. He threw away all his Puja-vessels, went to Varanasi, took Sannyasa and lived there for a year. Then he went to Hardwar, threw off the Danda and became an Avadhuta. He was in Uttarkashi also. When sharp, big flies were biting his body, when blood was emerging profusely, he would never disturb the flies. Such was his power of endurance. Once in the Kshetra an arrogant servant insulted him for not bringing any vessel for Dhal and poured very hot Dhal on his hands. Swami Krishna Ashram drank the Dhal though his lips and hands were scalded. There is another Swami by name Bhuma Ashram, living at Daroli in a nude state. He is a friend of Krishna Ashram.
Titiksha, the power of endurance, is an essential attribute of all Sadhakas. This is one of the sixfold virtues of Sadhana Chatushtaya. Read Slokas 14 and l5 of the Gita, chapter II. You will understand the importance of this virtue, Titiksha.
6. Yogi BhusundaYogi Bhusunda is one of the Chiranjivis amongst the Yogins. He was the master in the science of Pranayama. It is said that a big nest, like a mountain, was built by him on the southern branch of the Kalpa Vriksha, situated at the northern summit of the Mahameru. Bhusunda lived in this nest. He was a Trikala Jnani. He could sit in Samadhi for any length of time. He was desireless. He had obtained supreme Santi and Jnana. He was there enjoying the bliss of his own Self and he is still there being a Chiranjivi. He had the full knowledge of the five Dharanas. He had rendered himself proof against the five elements by practising the five methods of concentration. It is said that when all the twelve Adityas scorch the world with their burning rays, he would, through his Apas Dharana, reach up the Akasa. When fierce gales arise splintering up the rocks to pieces, he would be in the Akasa through Agni Dharana. When the world together with the Mahameru would be under water, he would float on them through Vayu Dharana.
7. Tirumula NayanarTirumula Nayanar was a great Yogi in Kailas. He had all the 8 major Siddhis through the grace of Nandi, the Vahana of Lord Siva. He was a friend of Agastya Muni. He came from Kailas and stayed in Varanasi. Then he went to Chidambaram and Tiruvavaduturai and other places near Madras. He worshipped Lord Siva in the temple at Tiruvavaduturai and stayed there for some time. Once he went to a garden on the banks of the river Cauveri. There he saw the dead body of a caretaker of a herd of cows. He noticed that all the cows surrounded the dead body of the cowherd and were crying bitterly. This touched the heart of Tirumular. He pitied the cows very much. He left his body in a certain place and entered the dead body of the cowherd. He looked after the cows throughout the day and sent them back to their respective houses. The wife of the cowherd, who was not aware of the death of her husband, invited Tirumular who was wearing the physical body of her husband. Tirumular refused. He wanted to enter his own body. When he searched for his body, it was not found in the original place. Then he thought it was all the grace of Lord Siva. Then with the body of the cowherd, he went to Avaduturai and sat underneath an Asvattha tree on the western side of the temple and wrote a valuable book called “Tirumantram” in Tamil. It is a book of 3000 verses which contain the essence of the Vedas.
8. MansoorMansoor was a Sufist Brahma-Jnani. He lived in Persia, some four hundred years ago. He was repeating always “Anal-haq! Anal-haq!” This corresponds to “Soham” or “Aham Brahma Asmi” of the Vedantins. People reported to the Badshah that Mansoor was an atheist (Kafir) and that he was always uttering “Anal-haq.” The Badshah was quite enraged. He ordered that Mansoor must be cut into pieces. His orders were obeyed. Even then the pieces of flesh were uttering “Anal-haq.” He felt no pain as he was a full-blown Samadhi Jnani and as he had full identification with Brahman. He was above body-consciousness. Then they put the pieces of flesh and bones in the fire and reduced them into ashes. Even then the ashes uttered “Anal-haq.” During his life-time he performed many miracles. Even Jnanis can do miracles if they desire and if they find it necessary for the occasion. Sadasiva Brahman and other Jnanis did wonders. Remember the lives of great men daily. You will advance in the spiritual path.
9. MilarepaMilarepa was one who had been profoundly impressed from his youth by the transient and impermanent nature of all conditions of worldly existence and by the sufferings and wretchedness in which he saw all beings immersed. To him existence seemed like a huge furnace where all living creatures were roasting. With such piercing sorrow did this fill his heart that he was unable to feel even any of the celestial felicity enjoyed by Brahma and Indra in their heavens, much less of the earthly joys and delights afforded by a life of worldly greatness.
On the other hand, he was so captivated by the vision of immaculate purity, by the chaste beauty in the description of the state of perfect freedom and omniscience associated with the attainment of Nirvana, that he cared not even though he might lose his very life in the search on which he had set out, endowed as he was with full faith, keen intellect and a heart overflowing with all-pervading love and sympathy to all.
Having obtained transcendental knowledge in the control of the ethereal and spiritual nature of the mind, he was enabled to furnish demonstration thereof by flying through the sky, by walking, resting and sleeping on the air. Likewise he was able to produce flames of fire and springs of water from his body and to transform his body at will into any object desired, thereby convincing unbelievers and turning them towards religious pursuits.
He was perfect in the practice of the four stages of meditation and thus he was able to project his subtle body so as to be present as the presiding Yogi in twenty-four holy places where gods and angels assemble, like clouds for spiritual communion.
He was able to dominate gods and elementals and make them carry out his commands instantaneously, in the fulfilment of all duties. He was a perfect adept in supernatural powers. He was able to transverse and visit all the innumerable sacred paradises and heavens of the Buddhas, where by virtue of his all-absorbing acts of unsurpassed devotion the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas presiding therein favoured him with discourses on Dharma and listened to his in return, so that he sanctified the heaven-worlds by his visits and sojourns there.
10. Napoleon BonaparteNapoleon Bonaparte was a man of great concentration. His success was all due to the power of concentration. He suffered from various diseases as epileptic fits, Brady cardia, etc. But for these maladies, he would have proved still more powerful. He could sleep at any time he liked. He would snore
the very moment he retired to bed. He would get up at the very second of the appointed time. This is a kind of Siddhi. He had no Vikshepa or shilly-shallying. He had the highly developed Ekagrata of a Yogi. He could draw, as it were, any single thought from the brain pigeon-hole, dwell on it as long as he liked and could shove it back when finished. He would sleep very soundly at night amidst busy war, would never worry a bit at night. This was all due to his power of concentration. Concentration can do anything. Without concentration of mind nothing can be achieved.
Messrs. Gladstone and Balfour had a great deal of concentration of mind. The very moment they retired to bed, they would get sleep. Mark the word “very moment”. They would never toss about for 15 or 20 minutes in the bed as in the case of the worldly persons. Think how difficult it is to enter into deep sleep the very moment you lie down. They had perfect control over sleep. They could also get up from bed at any time they wished without any alarm time-piece. Sleeping and getting up at the appointed second is only an example to show the power of concentration to a certain degree. There are people who, after a day’s hard work, can sleep the very moment they go to bed; but they cannot get up at the appointed time. This is only an example on a very ordinary thing. People of concentration can work wonders and miracles.
11. Teachings Of KabirOnce Kabir tied a stout pig to the front post in the verandah of his house. An orthodox Brahmin Pundit came to Kabir’s house for discussing a philosophical problem. He saw the pig in front of the house. He was much upset, irritated and annoyed. He asked Kabir:—“Dear Sir, how is it you have tied a nasty animal that eats the excreta of human beings, very close to your house. You have no Achara. You are a dirty man. You do not know the Shastras. You are ignorant”. Kabir replied:—“O Shastriji, you are more dirty than myself. I have tied the pig to the front post outside my house, whereas you have tied the pig to the mind”. The Brahmin was very much vexed and went away without telling a word. Man changa katorie me ganga: “If the mind is pure, you will find the Ganges in the cup”. Purification of mind is of paramount importance. Without this nothing can be achieved in the spiritual path.
12. A Sham Latin ScholarA certain man went to a Latin teacher to learn Latin. He stayed with the teacher for a week. He noticed that most of the words ended in ‘o’. He thought that he must add the letter ‘o’ to the end of each word. He knew English well. He told the teacher that he knew Latin and with the permission of the teacher, he went back to his native place. He reached his house and tapped the door uttering these words:—“O, dear-o, wife-o, open-o, door-o”. He thought this was all Latin.
There are very many scholars in Yoga and Vedanta also similar to the learned Latin scholar, above narrated. They stay for a few days in Ram Ashram Library or with some Sadhus, learn the names Kundalini, Mula Chakra, Nadi, Pranayama, Maya, or Pratibimbavada and move from place to place. Yoga and Vedanta are philosophies that are to be studied under a Guru with great interest for a period of 12 years. Then only one can master the subjects. Yoga and Vedanta should not be used as a means for livelihood. After learning a few words in Yoga and Vedanta, one should not go about and mix with the worldly people. Attaining perfection in Yoga requires a long practical experience under a perfect guide.
13. Story Of An AspirantAn aspirant went to a Mahant of Gorakhnath Panth. Gorakhnath-followers are those who wear either big black celluloid or glass earrings. The Mahant bored the aspirant’s ears, inserted big earrings and gave him a beautiful name also, Yogi Ishvarananda. He remained in the Ashram for three months. He did not get any spiritual progress. He thought to himself:—“This is not the proper path. Let me try another path.” He left the Ashram immediately, wandered through thick jungles, came across a Fakir and implored for initiation. The Fakir circumcised, gave him a Mantra and asked him to have a long beard. This also did not satisfy him. Now look at the pitiable condition of this poor aspirant. The ulcers in the ears had not healed up properly. He had considerable pain through septic inflammation. There was profuse discharge of pus. He had already a disturbed state of mind and this state of affairs augmented his mental worries. He seriously reflected that this was not the way of seeking the Guru. He made a strong determination that he must not roam about, must stick firmly to one solitary place and must perform there Tapas with constant prayers to God. He selected a place and performed Tapas with all sincerity. This purified him and made him fit for higher steps. After a period of two years, a Guru appeared before him, initiated him into deep mysteries of Yoga. Present-day aspirants also are running like this from place to place in search of a Guru. It is of no use. They should purify themselves for a Yogic life. By chance, even if they come in contact with an Avatara, they will not be benefited much if they have not a strong foundation for a Yogic life.
14. Other YoginsThe yogi by means of various practices establishes a conscious control over the organs and functions of the body. He moulds his body like steel. One Swami in London had a demonstration of stopping his heart before the King. Many able physicians were present on the occasion and examined him. Desabandhu in 1926 stopped the radial and temporal pulses on both sides at will and stopped the beatings of the heart also for a short time. He showed a demonstration in the Bombay Medical Union. In Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s Court in Lahore, Hatha Yogi Hari Das who buried himself underneath the ground for forty days after tightly closing his nose, mouth, ears and eyes with wax came back alive. The Mohammedan Yogi, Gunangudi Mastan, was buried in Madras. Some Yogins fly in the air. This is due to Khechari Mudra.
Yogi Pratap was in the posture of doing Viparitakarani Mudra. He asked the onlookers to cover his head with clay on all sides. He remained in that position for full 2 hours. Paul Deussen, the German traveller, personally witnessed this in Varanasi. Sri Swami Vishuddhananda of Varanasi once gave life to a dead sparrow. Nothing is impossible for a real Yogi.