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Awakening and the Power of Siddhis Through Herbs

In the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Chapter IV, verse 1 it is stated that the supernormal perceptual powers of Siddhis CAN be reached through the use of certain herbs, replicating on the short term a mind-strength ability similar to or equal to that of a person versed in Siddhis. (see)

The texts go on to say that through the use of certain herbs it is possible for a partial or fuller Awakening to be brought about; either the Awakening of Ida or Pingala, or the Awakening of Sushumna. In Sanskrit, the method of Awakening through herbs is called Aushadhi and an Awakening thus achieved, can, under the right circumstances and conditions, albeit short term, replicate at least partially the level of a Chalabhinna, an Arhat of the third level of realization with the ability of Iddhavidha, the power of transformation.(see)

It is written as well that the herbs used to awaken this potentiality should be obtained and administered ONLY through the Guru and NOT without a Guru. The reason for such is because there are certain herbs that awaken only Ida and there are others that awaken only Pingala; and there are those that can and do suppress either or both. Aushadhi or the herbal Awakening can be a very quick, albeit risky and unreliable method. It should be done only with one who is a very reliable person, who knows the science of it's use thoroughly, and versed in the arts thereof.

In his series of eleven best selling books, Carlos Castaneda writes how he met and apprenticed under a Yaqui Indian he calls Don Juan Matus, himself trained by a Diablero, a shamam/sorcerer said to have evil powers and the ability to shape shift. Under the direct tutelage of Don Juan, Castaneda used various amounts and types of hallucinogenic herbs and medicinal plants to enlarge his vision of reality, primarily, as outlined in his first two books, a plant called Sacred Datura.

As Castaneda writes about Don Juan he was never too fond of Datura, a plant he refered to as Yerba del Diablo, the "devil's weed." In the narative Don Juan claimed its power was not unlike that of a woman saying:

"She (Datura) is as powerful as the best of allies, but there is something I personally don't like about her. She distorts men. She gives them a taste of power too soon without fortifying their hearts and makes them domineering and unpredictable. She makes them weak in the middle of their great power."

In the case of states of being enhanced through medicinal plants, herbs, or drugs -- especially in the first few instances of use -- unless it is under the auspices of someone similar to the Curandera in the Velada Ceremony, the tribal elder with Sacred Datura, or an Obeahman as in the use of Branched Calalue, it is likely to be highly uncontrolled. The individual could easily find himself hurled into some far-flung region of inner space, with little chance to absorb or even notice the intervening regions. The power of the drug takes Awareness as it were, and artificially exposes it, stripping away or reducing mind created protective barriers and flings it --- Awareness --- out to an unfamiliar realm of consciousness. Without adequate preparation, the traveler can feel totally disoriented. However, under the hand of proper guidance, the space-time experience wedged open by the drug between the initial grasp of Awareness and it's ultimate closing, whether it is pinhole in size to a dam breaking, or a mili-second to an hour, it can be highly productive --- including the use and ability of Siddhis. Finally, with drugs, the open window and the touching of Awareness is of limited duration. When the power or strength of the drug wanes, the barriers to Awareness previously pushed aside rush back in, closing like a fist around a valuable pearl. It is the practiced and experienced drug master that has the knowledge and ability to mix and fine tune the proportions so the traveler can widen or lengthen how long the window is open. See also Sun Dagger as well as Obeah.


Of the three, Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna, Sushumna is the highest. However, in the everyday manifestation of the Samsara world, Sushumna is masked or veiled. Sometimes, under the auspices of herbs or drugs, and for the most part this is what typically happens, Ida and Pingala become or can be suppressed which inturn SEEMS to elevate Sushumna, but actually only so RELATIVELY SPEAKING. The fleeting glimpse of Sushumna is only made possible because of the suppression of the other two...which is NOT a complete Awakening. See Sunyata.

As shown on the graphic, on either side of the spinal cord are the Ida and Pingala nadis. These correspond to the sympathetic ganglia on each side of the spinal cord. On the left of the Sushumna lies Ida nadi. To the right lies Pingala nadi. Ida derives its name from being "pale" Pingala from being "reddish." Ida represents the cool moon and Pingala represents the hot sun. The Ida and the Pingala nadis are said to correspond to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems. Ida and Pingala are also said to spiral around the Sushumna as depicted on the backqround graphic. Only the Sushumna goes from the Root Chakra to the crown center. The texts say the challange is to stabilize the flow of bio-energy in the central pathway. As long as the energy is spiraling around the Sushumna in the Ida and Pingala, the spiritual seeker is said to be driven by external forces: the forces of nature. The duality of life. Positive and Negative. Sun and moon. When the energy is channeled along the central channel the kundalini energy is said to erupt up through the Chakra to the crown center resulting in Samadhi or full Self Realization and bliss.(source)


Some schools of thought speak of Chakras beyond the Sushumna. There is also a concept called the "conduit of immortality" known as amrita–nadi and spoken of, for example, by the Enlightened sage Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi. It is said to manifest at the time of Full Enlightenment creating a link between the ascending Sushumna and the subtle center of Hridaya, the spritual heart. See also Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

In so many words, Georg Feuerstein, author of The Shambala Encyclopedia of Yoga writes that Amrita means "nectar of immortality," referring to the nectar of immortality that trickles down from a secret center in the head and is wasted on ordinary people because its secret is not known to them. According to the Shiva-Samhita the nectar of immortality has two forms: one flows through the left conduit (Ida) and nourishes the body; the other flows along the central pathway (Sushumna), in that way the whole body is flooded, producing a superior body endowed with enormous strength and vigor and free from disease. Besides preventing aging and bestowing immortality, the powers of the Nine Main Siddhis as well as the eight additional ones unfold as well.

The ambrosia of the "Moon" has two "branches", from a subtle point of view: the first nourishes the body and keeps it alive, descending through the left side of the spine, resembling the River Ganges.

The other, shining as the purest milk, comes in through the right channel of the spine maintaining and refreshing the "Moon" placed on top of the Great Axe.

The "Sun" is situated in the inferior region of the spine. From this inner "Sun", placed in the area of the navel, springs a subtle channel, which leads the solar (Yang) energy up, through the force itself of these rays, in the right side of the body.

This channel on the right side is another form of the "Sun" and it goes through the entire body, uplifting the vital emanations and leading the soul to the Ultimate state of Freedom.


Most people, yoga adherents as well, think of the heart as being on the left side. When Mercedes De Acosta met with Sri Ramana at his ashram the Maharshi placed his right hand in the form of a fist on her right breast and said, "Here lies the Heart, the Dynamic, Spiritual Heart. It is called Hridaya and is located on the right side of the chest and is clearly visible to the inner eye of an adept on the Spiritual Path. Through meditation you can learn to find the Self in the cave of this Heart."

The main objective is to create an absolute balance of the interacting activities and processes of the physical body, mind and energy. When this balance is created, the impulses generated give a call of Awakening to the central force (Sushumna) which is responsible for the evolution of human consciousness. With any individual supression OR advancement of any one or all of the three, or anything else by herbs, absolute balance cannot be achieved.

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Chapter IV, verse 1:

Verse 1: janma-osadhi-mantra-tapah-samadhi-jah siddayahsamadhi.

"The power of Siddhis can come because of previous Karma and genetics (janma), from herbs (Aushadhis), the use of Mantras, the kindling of the psychic fire (tapas), and/or from Samadhi."

Also translated from some sources as the following, reading the same:

"The attainments are not only the fruits of the Threefold Inner Discipline, but they are congenital in some, and in others they may follow the right and intelligent use of certain medicinal herbs (see) or of certain mantras or they may follow the kindling of the psychic fire."


Using the powers of the Vayu Gaman Siddhi a person can become capable of flying in the skies and traveling from one place to another in just a few seconds. Although there are several occasions of individuals flying reported in the Sutras of classical Buddhism and Zen, the Venerable Pindola Bharadvaja is probably the person most commonly cited.


The Wanderling's Journey

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In the Seventeenth Discourse of the Gita, Krishna explains the Threefold Mortification (ascetic discipline) of Body, Speech and Mind, which, if practised daily, would transform these avenues of action and make one a superior person from the spiritual point of view:

  • Serenity of mind, mildness of temper, silence, self-restraint, absolute straightforwardness of conduct, are called mortification of the mind.

  • Honouring the gods, the brahmans, the teachers, and the wise, purity, rectitude, chastity, and harmlessness are called mortification of the body.

  • Gentle speech which causes no anxiety, which is truthful and friendly, and diligence in the reading of the Scriptures, are said to be austerities of speech.

The above three morphed over time to become the three major disciplines found in Buddhism and Zen, namely Meditation (meditative concentration), Morality (moral purity), and Wisdom (enlightened insight):

  1. Samadhi

  2. Sheel

  3. Vipassana


The Buddha said "If a monk should frame a wish as follows: "Let me exercise the various magical powers, let me being one become multiform., let me being multiform become one, let me become visible, become invisible, go without hindrance through walls, ramparts or mountains as if through air, let me rise and sink in the ground as if in the water, let me walk on the water as if on unyielding ground, let me travel through the air like a winged bird, let me touch and feel with my hand the moon and the sun mighty and powerful though they are, and let me go without my body even up to the Brahma world," then he MUST be perfect in the precepts of Sila, bring his thoughts to a state of quiescence through Samadhi, practice diligently the trances of Jhana, attain to insight of Prajna and be frequenter to lonely places."(source)