This is all taken from Supernormal: Science, Yoga, and the evidence for extraordinary psychic abilities’ by Dean Radin PhD, Deepak Chopra books, 2013 (Radin), and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, BookRix, Munich (Patanjali). I have interspersed the list with my own interpretations in bold and reflections in italics, and am coming back to it as I work through them throughout 2015. (Thanks to my friend Bodhi Saiyan for recommending the book to me.)
First posted: 31 Dec 2014. Latest update: 04 Mar 2015.
‘Approximately twenty-five siddhis are listed in the third book of the Yoga Sutras…”
PADA iii, Sutra 16: Knowledge of the past, present and future, resulting from samyana on the nature of change (Radin) or ‘By self-control over these three-fold changes (of property, character and condition), knowledge of the past and future arises’.
My own interpretation: Being in a state of Oneness, having a single-pointedness of mind, and thus having outside of time awareness beyond your own conditions character or properties you can turn inquisitively to an object or a being. Permitting yourself to see its character in this moment, to see its properties or formation in this moment, and to see its condition as having been something and becoming something else (samyana on the nature of change), patterns emerge. From those patterns can arise knowledge of the future. (When those future events come to pass could be near- or far- future.)
Meditating and observing my cat, I foresaw three movements. Two of those movements came to pass in the immediate future.
iii.17: Knowledge of the meaning of sounds produced by all beings, resulting from samyana on the ‘third ear’ or the concept of sound (clairaudience).
Yes. On a couple of occasions (one at a Zen retreat) I have heard birdsong spoken like English.
iii.18: Knowledge of previous births and arising of future births, resulting from sampan on one’s latent or inherited tendencies.
Interpretation: Single-pointed mind, and thus Being without thought, seeing thoughts arise and noticing simultaneous arising of language descriptions, formations, opinions. Then permitting oneself to see an earlier or later formation of one’s self.
I had the impression of previously having been an Octopus. Being a vision, it doesn’t matter whether or not I actually was an Octopus in the past. What came strongest was the sense of having a mouth at the centre of my body; a mouth that was in insatiable need of feeding, and arms constantly selecting and dropping food into the mouth. And a sense of being able to simply slip away from any situation that felt disagreeable.
Reflecting on this, I considered what the karmic pattern might be from the vision, and I considered my continuing insatiability as well as my continuing need to slip away from situations without facing up to the consequences of my own actions. Also how with observation that insatiability is declining here and there, and that constant slipping away from consequences is also slipping away. Being so, there’s a lot in my life right now that’s hard to face up to – purely because it’s stuff I would have slipped away from in the past (through avoidance or lies), but now I’m choosing not to slip away.
iii.19-20: Knowledge of minds, resulting from samyama on one’s own mind or another’s mind (telepathy)
In Zen this is called ‘knowing the minds of others’ and is written about by Dogen (Zen’s founder). Yes. But it seems to me to be only available in a certain instant. The mind seen only shows what the person is doing and focusing on, or seeing, and perhaps a little of what they are thinking. But it is not a free ticket into all of another person’s mind or memories. It is momentary.
iii.21: Disappearance of the body from view, as a result of looking at the body with the inner eye.
iii.22: Foreknowledge of birth, harm, or death, resulting from samyama on sequences of events in one’s past and present.
iii.23: Loving-kindness in all, resulting in samyama on friendliness, compassion, or sympathetic joy. (Fieldlike psychokinesis.)
iii.24: Extraordinary strength, resulting from samyama on the concept of physical strength. (Lightenning or making yourself heavy.)
Yes. I have recently begun to be able to ‘think myself lighter’.
iii.25: Knowledge at a distance, resulting from samyama on the ‘inner light’ (the light body, clairvoyance)
I have seen my light body once during meditation, but this has not given knowledge at a distance.
iii.26: Knowledge of the outer universe, resulting from samyama on the solar plexus
I have only experienced this through shamanic techniques.
iii.27-28: Knowledge of the inner universe, resulting on the samyama on the ‘pole star’ (microscopic knowledge)
iii.29: Knowledge of the composition and coordination of bodily energies through samyama on the navel chakra (self healing).
Yes. I can sometimes transmute viruses into harmless energy simply by resting as soon as the body becomes aware of the virus entering the body and focusing on the power chakra. I’ve done this twice.
iii.30: Liberation from hunger and thirst through samyama on the throat.
iii.31: Exceptional stability, balance, or health, through samyama on the root of the tongue (kurma nadi)
iii.32-26: Vision of higher beings, knowledge of everything that is knowable, knowing the origins of all things/ the true self, through samyama on the crown of the head. (Clairvoyance).
Yes. The state of ‘Oneness’ incorporates this for meditators in general doesn’t it?
iii.37: Siddhis may appear to be supernormal, but are normal.
iii.38: Influencing others. (Transmit spiritual energy to others through presence and concentration/ distant mental interactions with living systems/ cessation of hostilities for example.)
Yes. I once helped save two adults and two children from attempted manslaughter. A part of this experience involved transmitting peace to the attacker. It was not premeditated, it just happened.
iii.39 and 42: Levitation through samyama on the feeling of lightness. Psychokinesis.
If only! Bus tickets would be much cheaper.
iii.40: Blazing radiance through samyama on inner fire.
Yes. Strangely when I was still professing to be a Christian, and was concentrating on ‘surrender to God’. And once or twice when meditating in a dojo.
iii.41: Clairaudience, through samyama on the area behind the ear.
iii.43: Freedom from bodily awareness and temporal attachments.
Zen focuses on this. The dropping away of body and mind. That said, I’ve encountered it rarely!
iii.44-45: Mastery over the elements through samyama on the elements. (Psychokinesis).
iii.46: Perfection of the body (perhaps incorruption of the body after death).