Developing the Power of the Body to Bear and Hold the Higher Forces of Consciousness and Will

There is a well-known story in the yogic tradition used to illustrate the need to solidify the base and create a firm foundation for the action of the higher powers of consciousness. It is told that one must develop such a solid foundation, both physically as well as in the vital, nervous body and the mentality, that any action of the higher force of consciousness can be held and not “spilled”. This is the story of the unbaked jar. If one tries to pour liquid into an unbaked jar, it will be lost. Similarly if the higher forms of knowledge, will, Ananda enter into an unprepared physical or vital frame, it will break that frame or be “spilled” in various forms of imbalanced action, spurred by the undue power that is coursing through an unprepared being. Therefore, it is one of the very first, and as Sri Aurobindo notes, the “most important Siddhi or perfection of the body”, required in the development and preparation of the physical instrument for the higher action.

“And finally the body must develop a perfect power to hold whatever force is brought into it by the spirit and to contain its action without spilling and wasting it or itself getting cracked. It must be capable of being filled and powerfully used by whatever intensity of spiritual or higher mind or life force without any part of the mechanical instrument being agitated, upset, broken or damaged by the inrush or pressure,–as the brain, vital health or moral nature are often injured in those who unwisely attempt Yogic practice without preparation or by undue means or rashly invite a power they are intellectually, vitally, morally unfit to bear,–and, thus filled, it must have the capacity to work normally, automatically, rightly according to the will of that spiritual or other now unusual agent without distorting, diminishing or mistranslating its intention and stress.”

We see some of the types of preparation required in the Rajayogic injunctions (the “8 limbs” of yoga) called yamas and niyamas, along with the practices of Asana and Pranayama, followed by the various stages of mental concentration and ability to hold the mind steady. These are frequently described as physical, moral and mental preparation, but they have a much deeper sense to purify and solidify the basis for holding the higher energies. The goal is not, per se, to develop “morality”, but to ensure that the body, life-energy, emotional nature and the mind are capable of holding the yogic force when it manifests. Otherwise, as Sri Aurobindo has alluded to, the being loses balance and is either deranged or broken by the yogic force.

Sri Aurobindo, The Synthesis of Yoga, Part Four: The Yoga of Self-Perfection, Chapter 14, The Power of the Instruments, pg. 703

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