What is Siddha Yoga
Siddha Yoga is based on the philosophy of Yoga as propounded by ancient sage Matsyendra Nath and codified later by another sage Patanjali in a treatise titled 'Yoga Sutra' several thousand years ago. Mythology has it that Matsyendra Nath was the first human to learn of Yoga from Lord Shiva, who is the embodiment of the eternal supreme consciousness, in the latter's celestial abode in the Himalayas. The sage was asked to gift the knowledge of Yoga to mankind for its salvation. The knowledge and wisdom contained in Yoga was handed down from ages to ages in the time honored Guru-Shishya (master-disciple) tradition. Guru is therefore an institution in the Yoga tradition, which is central to the practice of Yoga.
Yoga is considered an integral tool of the vast body of Vedic (Hindu) literature that covers the whole gamut of Indian spirituality. The 'Yoga Sutra', containing just 195 aphorisms, lucidly elucidates the eight stages of the 'Ashtang' (eight-fold) Yoga, which a seeker passes through as he progresses along the spiritual path.
Yoga is immensely beneficial in curing bodily and mental diseases and restoring and harmonizing the psycho-physical balance in a human body. However, using it for this purpose alone is to leave out its sole aim — liberating the seeker from the bondage of Karmas (actions), which tie him down to the perennial cycle of life and death.
Yogic cure of diseases
Diseases that humans suffer are classified by modern medical science into two broad categories — physical and mental. These are treated with internal medicines and/or external medicines or therapeutic applications.
Ancient Indian sages delved deep into the mysteries of life through meditation and learned that diseases are not caused by accidental exposure to germs or pathogens, as medical scientists believe. Sages learned that much of human suffering is actually caused by the actions of each individual in his/her past life. Each action — good or bad — leads to a reaction in the same life cycle or carried over to the next. Since each individual is trapped in an unending cycle of life and death, suffering through diseases and highs and lows of life continue ceaselessly.
Modern science does not accept continuance of life after physical death. That is why it looks for physical solutions to diseases but fails to come up with lasting cures. If science finds cure for one disease, other more challenging ones afflict the human race. This is because they refuse to believe that the root of the problem lies far beyond the physical existence of human being.
Indian yogis however learned that beyond the physical and mental afflictions lies spiritual disease. In other words, the spiritual Law of Karma — actions of the past resulting in diseases and other forms of suffering in the present life — governs human existence, life after life in a never-ending cycle.
In his treatise ‘Yoga Sutra', the Indian sage Patanjali classified diseases into three categories – physical (Aadhidehik), mental (Aadhibhautik) and spiritual (Aadhidaivik).
A spiritual disease needs a spiritual remedy. Only regular practice of yoga under the guidance of a spiritual master like Guru Siyag can help the practitioner find a spiritual remedy for all his/her afflictions. It is only an empowered guru like Guru Siyag who can help a disciple to cut through the web of Karmic past, to get rid of diseases and to realize the true purpose of his/ her life through self-realization.
Guru Siyag has proved in a number of cases that the practical application of yoga can indeed heal and even cure chronic ailments such as arthritis and diabetes, and terminal diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. Countless patients, practically given up for dead by doctors, have not only survived and regained good health but are also leading almost normal lives after seeking Guru Siyag's blessings as a last resort and getting initiated into Siddha Yoga. Yoga takes over and succeeds where modern medical science reaches its final limitations in finding lasting relief or cure for a disease.
It is not surprising therefore that most patients who have lost all of hopes of survival even after trying out every possible medical option, usually come to Guru Siyag for help.
Change in Vritties (Tendencies)
Vedic scriptures acknowledge the interplay of Brahma, the formless, limitless, eternal and never-changing Supramental Consciousness on one hand and its manifestation as the consciousness in the ever-changing material world. The consciousness in the material world, which impacts all animate and inanimate objects, is made up of a combination of three Gunas (qualities) — Sattva (lighted, pure, intelligent and positive), Rajas (passionate and energetic) and Tamas (negative, dark, dull and inert).
Sattva is the force of equilibrium. Sattva translates in quality as good and harmony, and happiness and light. Rajas is the force of kinesis. Rajas translates in quality as struggle and effort, passion and action. Tamas is the force of unconsciousness and inertia. Tamas translates in quality as obscurity, incapacity and inaction.
All creatures, including humans, possess these gunas. However, no existence is cast in the single mould of any of these three modes of the cosmic force. All the three qualities are present in everyone and everywhere. There is a constant combining and separating of the shifting relations of these qualities. They constantly struggle to influence or dominate each other. This is the reason why no person is consistently good or bad; intelligent or dull; active or lethargic.
When Sattvic quality in dominant in a person, it propels him toward seeking greater consciousness so that he could free himself from Karmic bondage and return to the Supramental Consciousness to which he originally belongs. Domination by either Rajasic or Tamasic quality leads the person onto an unending cycle of pleasure and pain and life and death. The practice of Siddha Yoga leads to the ascent of Sattvic qualities and eventual progress to Moksha, the final spiritual liberation.
Each person has certain tendencies, called Vrittis that guide his overall behavior. Tendencies are in turn influenced by the three gunas of Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. Each of these Gunas can be elevated or suppressed through the practice of Yoga, according to The Geeta and ‘Yoga Sutras' by ancient sage Patanjali. Lord Krishna tells his chosen disciple Arjuna in the epic Mahabharata that elevation of Sattva Guna and suppression of Rajas and Tamas Guna through meditation can help the practitioner develop and strengthen Sattvic or pure tendencies while suppressing Rajasic and Tamasic tendencies so that he/she can gain lasting health and true higher knowledge and self-realization.
In each person, one of these three traits dominates the other two. And the dominant guna or quality in turn influences the person's vrittis, the inner-most subtle tendencies or leanings that determine not only the person's overall mental makeup, outlook on life and actions, but also his dietary preferences or the choice of food and drinks he will consume. The Bhagwat Gita (Chapter 17; stanzas-8.9 & 10) describes what type of food a person with each dominant quality- Sattvic or Rajasic or Tamasic will prefer to eat:
"The foods which promote life, vitality, strength, health, joy and cheerfulness, which are sweet, soft, nourishing and agreeable are dear to the Sattvic." (B.G. 17:8)
"The foods that are bitter, sour, saltish, very hot, pungent, harsh and burning, producing pain, grief and disease are liked by Rajasic." (B.G. 17:9)
"That which is spoiled, tasteless, putrid, stale, refuse and unclean is the food dear to the Tamasic." (B.G. 17:10)
However, the 10th stanza in the 14th Chapter of the Gita says that these tendencies can be positively influenced by invoking and chanting of the divine word or mantra given by a Siddha Guru or spiritual master. The regular chanting of a mantra subdues or suppresses the Rajasic and Tamasic qualities, and elevates the Sattvic quality and eventually consolidates it permanently. The dominance of the Sattvic quality in turn propels orientation of the person's inner tendencies toward positive, conscious, intelligent and pure thinking and actions. So does his preferences of food and drinks. The overall result of this change is that whatever that is negative and detrimental to the person's physical and mental wellbeing and spiritual evolution leaves him of its own accord—without the person's conscious efforts to make this happen. Thus, if the person is afflicted with addiction to drugs, alcohol or smoking, the addiction will leave him like the false skin falling off a tree automatically or if he is attached to the kind of food that is harmful to his health, he will gradually develop a natural dislike for it and turn to the palate that is healthy because of the change in his inner qualities and tendencies brought on by the chanting of the mantra and meditation.
Guru Siyag's Divine Mantra
All the major religions in the world, despite their intrinsic mutual differences, hold a unanimous view that the entire universe with its animate and inanimate parts was created out of a divine word. "In the beginning was the word, and the word was with God, and the word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men," says the Bible.
The Hindu or Vedic religion is no exception to this concept of God being the divine word of our origin. It acknowledges Om as the sacred syllable — the divine sound out which God created this universe. Out of this divine word evolved variations of potent vibratory sounds capable of connecting with specific planes of cosmic consciousness on subtle level for which they were created. Each of these sacred vibratory sounds was called "Mantra" in the scripture as it originated from the Tantra, the technique of specific ways of pronouncing the divine word to achieve specific results. The mantras therefore form the very basis of the Indian spiritual discipline. However, this knowledge is secret because of the great potency of each mantra to impact the physical as well as the spiritual world positively or negatively. Under the spiritual discipline, a mantra is potent only when it is given by a spiritual master to someone whom he has been accepted as a disciple. The repetition of mantra, called Japa, results in full utilization of its potential. Mere reading of a mantra from the text would be an exercise in futility as the word would lack the divine vibratory sound which only a guru, well-versed in spirituality, can give. Even an illiterate person, lacking knowledge of scriptures or philosophy, can therefore experience full potential of a mantra if he receives it from the guru, and practices it under his guidance.
When mantras are directed to lower levels of consciousness they often end up as spells with destructive or protective powers. However, when they are used for reaching the higher planes of consciousness, they can take the practitioners to greater heights of spiritual awakening and eventual freedom from the cycle of birth and death.
The silent repetition of the mantra is called Naam Jap. After continuous chanting of the mantra for over a fortnight or a month, the disciple doesn't have to make an effort to chant; the chanting happens automatically on its own whether he/she is awake or sleeping. This state is known as Ajapajap (roughly translated as involuntary chanting). When chanting of Mantra is accompanied by regular meditation, it slowly unleashes a wave of Ananda (bliss), which is so soothing that the disciple feels he/she is on a high, and doesn't want to come out of it. Indian saints have described this state of Ananda as intoxication without drugs. The Ananda brought on by the Mantra and meditation is incomparable to the calming effect of any addictive drug because it doesn't depend on any external inducement and lasts forever. This is the reason why a disciple initiated into Siddha Yoga by Guru Siyag is freed from drug-addiction completely and irrevocably.
Given below is an excerpt from the book Sri Aurobindo or The Adventure of Consciousness by Sri Aurobindo's disciple Satprem. Guru Siyag often cites this section to explain the power of mantras:
"There exists in India a secret knowledge based on sounds and the differences of vibratory modes according to each plane of consciousness. If we pronounce the sound OM, for example, we clearly feel its vibrations envelop the head centers, while the sound RAM touches the navel center. And since each of our centers of consciousness is in direct contact with a plane, we can, by the repetition (japa) of certain sounds, make contact with the corresponding plane of consciousness. This is the basis of an entire spiritual discipline, known as "Tantric" because it derives from sacred texts called Tantra.The fundamental or essential sounds, which have the power to make contact, are called mantras. The mantras, always secret, and given to the disciple by his guru, are of all kinds (there is a multitude of degrees within each plane of consciousness), and may serve the most contradictory purposes. By combining certain sounds, one can at the lower levels of consciousness, generally the vital level, make contact with the corresponding forces and acquire quite strange powers: there are mantras that can kill (in five minutes, with violent vomiting), mantras that can strike with precision a particular part or organ of the body, mantras that can cure, mantras that can start a fire, or protect, or cast spells. This type of magic, or chemistry of vibrations, simply proceeds from the conscious handling of lower vibrations. But there is a higher magic, which also proceeds from the handling of vibrations, but on higher planes of consciousness: this is poetry, music, the spiritual mantras of the Upanishads and the Vedas, the mantras a guru gives his disciple to help him consciously make direct contact with this or that plane of consciousness, this or that force or divine being. Here, the sound holds in itself the power of the experience and realization-it is a sound that makes us see."