Questioner: Namaskaram Sadhguru. In classical yoga, why are there exactly 84 yogasanas?
Sadhguru: All these practices, any yogic practice for that matter, is rooted in a fundamental system, called the Bhuta Shuddhi. It’s called the Bhuta Shuddhi. Bhuta Shuddhi essentially means to cleanse the elements in your system. There are five elements, but there are only four which need to be cleansed. The fifth one – you know what the elements are, earth, water, wind, fire, and space. There is no cleaning to be done with the space. It is only these four which need to be attended to.
72% of your body is actually water, you know. Another 12% is earth, another 6% is air, another 4% is fire, the remaining is space
Your body is a play of these five elements, the earth is a play of these five elements, the whole creation is a play of these five elements. So, the yogic system essentially is about handling the elements right. If these four or five elements behave well within the system everything about you will be fine. 72% of your body is actually water, you know. Another 12% is earth, another 6% is air, another 4% is fire, the remaining is space. This is how the body is constructed. So, for these elements there are different types of sadhanas, for all the four elements. And for the fifth one too, to influence it, not to cleanse it.
So if you do sufficient Bhuta Shuddhi, that is if you cleanse this element substantially, then you attain your state called bhuta siddhi, that means you have mastery over these five elements. If the water in you behaved well, if the water within you turned sweet, you would be very sweet, 72% at least sweet. If you work with earth, another 12% turn sweet – 84. If you do the air, which is very easy to do 6% – 90% . The fire – you’re living in society, you’re also married, you need little fire. You need to burn somebody a little bit. So 4% fire, we’ll leave it. The remaining 6% is space. Only when you want to do Bhuta Siddhi it becomes relevant, for Bhuta Shuddhi it is not relevant.
In our experience, this is the 84th creation. 83 times it’s happened, and demolished itself. This is the 84th time
84 is a significant number in the way the creation is right now. Now, you don’t have to believe this, but this is our inner experience. In our experience, this is the 84th creation. 83 times it’s happened, and demolished itself. This is the 84th time. It will happen for 112 times, and the final one that happens will not be physical in nature. So, it is based on this that you have 112 chakras, and 84 are the most important, and there are 84 asanas in yoga.
The basic asanas are 84 in number. Because, when you want to do Bhuta Shuddhi you want to cleanse the elements – what are you cleansing it off, is the previous memory. If you look deep into the system, you will see the memory of everything, the way this existence happened is right here. If it was not here certain things could not have been said in the past, before all this modern science is talking about these things.
For example have you heard, heard of Paul Steiner. Paul Steiner wrote a book, which became very famous in the last three years or so. This book is called as the endless universe. Till recently modern science believed that universes began somewhere and it ends somewhere. For the first time they’re putting out a theory saying it’s endless. Always in the yogic system, we’ve been saying the cosmos is ever expanding. Have you seen the symbol, the Saligram symbol, that is the symbol of an ever expanding cosmos.
So he went through this, and I you know I’ve been in conversation with him for some time for the last few years, and he had he was presenting a computer simulated images of how the big bang happened. And I asked him – he said there’s more than one bang. Many things have been said in the yogic system as to how this is the 84th. There are many many symbols, or the many many aspects in the body, which clearly say that the memory of these 84 creations are still there in your body. It is there in every atom in the existence. So what you’re trying to cleanse is, you want to cleanse it from the memory, because this memory binds you, this memory gives you a sense of belonging, at the same time this memory binds you, it doesn’t let you go.
See, whether you like it or you don’t like it, your great grandfather who died long time ago, he’s right now living through you in some way at least – in the shape of your nose, the way you think, the way you say it, the way you stand, isn’t it? Yes or no? You might have thought you buried him, but he’s popped up inside of you and living. If you look deep enough the memory goes way back. If you want to evolve, you have to cleanse yourself of the memory which is imprinted on the elements in your system. If the elements do not lose their memory, they will not behave the way you want, they will keep on repeating the old cycles. You may think your forefathers are dead, no those guys are living through you.
You don’t want to be influenced by your genetics. Because if you’re influenced by your genetics, you’ll just become a cyclical process
You know Jesus said, leave the dead to the dead. This is the reason, when somebody takes sannyas, the first thing that we do is, they do karmas to their own their parents, who are still living. The intention is not that they should die, the intention is you want to cleanse your memory. You don’t want to be influenced by your genetics. Because if you’re influenced by your genetics, you’ll just become a cyclical process. You will not go anywhere, you’ll be going in circles thinking you’re going somewhere.
So one level is on the chemistry the genetics, another level the deeper level is on the elemental level – we want to cleanse that. If you do not cleanse that, this memory will bind you, the memory will make you go in circles. Based on this, 84 asanas, 84 creations, all these things are connected – you don’t have to go by that. Anyway because of this 84, out of this 84 asanas that are created, these 84 – when we say 84 asanas do not think of them as just 84 postures. These are 84 systems of attaining. A yogi masters only one asana, he does not practice 84 or 600, as people are doing. In America they come and tell me, I am doing 320 asanas. I said what – every idiot is doing thousands of asanas, whichever way they sit it’s an asana only. One asana is all that’s needed, you just have to master that.
So 84 ways to attain, this is what 84 asanas are, and these 84 are pertaining to the four elements, 21 each. There are many other aspects to this, but without a certain dimension of experience within you, I will be taking you into belief which I don’t want to do.