Universe’s Secrets: How do Yogis know?

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Yogic Physiology


Sadhguru gives an insight into yogic physiology. There are five layers or sheaths of the body. Sadhguru also explains how the number of breath one takes, is directly related to perception.


Duration: 8 min


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6 min read

Universe’s Secrets: How do Yogis know?

The following is an unedited transcript of Sadhguru's video. For better readability, breaks and highlights have been added by the editors.

In the yogic system we look at the human mechanism like this. There are five dimensions to this – these are the five layers to this. Usually it’s referred to as sheaths – urai it’s called – that means sheath, one inside the other.

One is the physical body, which is referred to as the food body, because this is essentially a heap of food that we have gathered over a period of time.

The next is known as the mental body, because we ascribe intelligence to every cell in the body. There is more memory and intelligence in each molecule of DNA than you can decipher through your brain – that much of intelligence and memory is sitting right here.

The third layer is called as the energy body, There are three fundamental aspects to it, but it’s the first two which normally are experienced by most people. The right and the left, which has thirty-six thousand on the right and thirty-six thousand on the left – pathways or channels, which are described as nadis, which meet in one-hundred-and-fourteen different major points, and these points are seen as possibilities. So mysticism identifies these one-hundred-and-fourteen, the geography, the energy geography of the body, and how you could exploit this to transcend the limitations of the human mechanism.

Now, the fourth layer is called as vigyanamaya kosha. What the word vigyana means is – it is coming from two different words – Vishesh Gyan. Gyan means knowing or knowledge. Vishesh means an extraordinary way of knowing. So whatever you cannot perceive through five senses, if you perceive that, then that is called as vishesh gyan or extraordinary knowledge. So, we are talking about a transitory dimension which is transiting from physical to non-physical. This is in, whatever, in the New Age language in America they’re saying this is etheric body. It’s not an appropriate description. It is a transitory state, where physical is fading out into non-physical nature.

The fifth dimension is referred to as anandamaya kosha, which literally translates as bliss body. This does not mean there’s a bubble of bliss or something inside. It is purely non-physical in nature. Because it is non-physical, we do not know how to define or describe it, there is no definition to it, there is no description to it. We’re only talking about it from our experience. Whenever we touch it, we feel blissed out. So like children we are calling it bliss body, because we do not know what is the nature of what it is, and it is not physical in nature, so we cannot put it into definition of words or descriptions or whatever.

Now, to enter into this dimension is the whole process of mysticism, because this non-physical nature is further classified in terms of our experience, how profoundly you involve in it. They talk like this – you can be in a fine spray of shower from this non-physical, and how you will be. Or you can be drenched with it, and how you will be. Or you can soak yourself in it, and how you will be. Like this it is described. In this context… here I have to surrender my logic a little bit, because that’s how far my logic will go.

What this means is – these are referred to as different dimensions of stillness. How can stillness be of different dimensions? For example, in our experience – normally a human being is breathing somewhere twelve to fifteen times per minute. Breath is very directly connected to how the mental fluctuations happen. I don’t know if science has explored this, but in our experience it’s very much there.

Suppose naturally, not by effort, by doing the right kind of things with your system, naturally if your breath drops below eleven, then you begin to understand various reverberations that are happening around you. In terms of all the subsonic sounds in which the animals are communicating becomes very obvious to you.

If your breath drops below nine, naturally, without controlling it, then, what the plants are exuding, the plant life, what it is doing, becomes very obvious to you.

If your breath drops below six, then what the inanimate things, how they’re reverberating – this is known as ritambhara pragna – that means the reverberations of every form and the sounds attached to it become very clear to you. Or in other words, the nature of the universe can be grasped, if you know the language of the inanimate, every form, how it is made, what is its nature, what it is right now, and what it will evolve into or what it was yesterday, and what it has evolved into – all this is becoming apparent to you.

As the concerns of survival recede, human beings will naturally evolve into perceiving higher things. But the important thing is the level of static, because breath is a survival process. If you sit still it goes down, the more still your body becomes, the less you breathe. If you bring your whole system to a certain level of stillness, not being in a hyper ventilated state, then your perception goes on increasing.

So as the stillness deepens – these are referred to as, you know, traditionally there are various ways in which it is presented. It is usually called as Rudra, Hara and Sadashiva. One is still but he is vibrant, he is roaring. Another is still but he is in activity still. Another is absolutely still. Now, always that which is absolutely still is referred to be as the ultimate intelligence. Everything else in its anxiety to be active, it is sacrificing its intelligence at a certain level, to be in a state of action. But that which is absolutely still is considered the highest intelligence.

It is only in eastern mysticism the source of Creation is been always celebrated as the highest intelligence. This is the biggest mistake I think modern societies have made is, people were told God is compassion, God is love, God is generosity, these things mean something to you, only when you don’t have them. If you are not loved, you will look up, God should love you. If you are not fed well, you want a generous God. If you are down in some way, you want a compassionate God.

But if you don’t make any assumptions, if you look at a blade of grass, if you look at a flower, if you just look at the structure of an atom, one thing is the source of creation is the highest level of intelligence that you can ever recognize anywhere. If you look at the Creation it is smack with intelligence, all over the place. If we had only told people God is intelligence, we would have a more sensible world. That’s what I’m thinking and that’s what I’m trying to bring it into people’s experience, that the source of creation is the intelligence. If you recognize that, you would try to emulate that.

Yogic Physiology

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