I have been receiving a number of letters from members of my site from all over the world with questions about superstitions, re-incarnation and religion itself.

Some have been written by adults, but most by young people in their early twenties who are questing for knowledge - trying to get a grasp of what life is all about.

Three young people have all asked the same question about themselves and their place in the universe. Should they still be living at home? Should they carry on with their schooling, and also that an emptiness seems to have entered their lives.

You can read reports of the number of suicides committed by high school students. It is a tough time for young people today. Everything is so easy with absolutely every creature comfort being supplied by their parents or society. It is a time of tech toys and computers, and socializing has taken a back seat with so many of them.

Of course with healthy young people they may still ask the same questions and wonder where they are going in life, and have no thought about suicide at all, yet because our society is so built upon the premise of education, money and position, many of them feel bound to follow that course in order to become a lawyer, doctor, engineer or some other like profession that takes long years and hard work to attain.

I have known a few that having attained it they still, at the age of 35 - 40 still feel like the youths who are searching for their happiness in this life - and some even commit suicide!

During my 50 odd years of teaching Yoga freedom, I have coaxed a number of young people to leave the comforts of their own home where they are protected by family - to strike out on their own. It really doesn't matter the cost, whether it will be a hard slog or not. What matters is that they will begin to discover resources within themselves they never knew they had - resources which will strengthen their feeling of self worth.

There have been some parent annoyed that I suggest this and yet others who are only to pleased to have said what they wish they could have themselves.

There are so many young people who are pushed by family or tradition into professions which will not bring them happiness. According to Yantra Yoga if you take a technically minded child and put him into an expressive and artistic position, he will not be happy. The same holds true for an artistic nature to be forced ,as it were, into a scientific environment.

Each young person knows deep down within himself - within his dreams and aspirations - exactly what he would like to do, but without encouragement and direction, often becomes waylaid into getting into a work ethic which is very unsatisfying indeed.

What has all this to do with Yoga?

Well some of these young people have written that they actually believe some magic will come to aid them, or that it is karma that keeps them where they are - and miserable.

Also, many of them seem to believe in so much of the spiritual lore of the East that to become a yogi or a meditator or devote one's life to the spiritual path will bring them fulfillment.

Sadly nothing could be further from the truth. You must know your own nature. You must live within the laws of this objective reality and you must fulfill your desires.

Suppression of desires will only have them rear their ugly head at a future date - and because of the repression and suppression these desires may in fact explode in some violent act.

It was Krishnamurti in his First and Last Freedom ,who said you must fulfill all your desires so that you get to know the full extent of not only what the desire is, but just what the outcome of that desire is. In knowing it fully and in giving it freedom one can then transcend it.

You cannot transcend by suppression. Our desires give the impetus for action and action causes a reaction. For instance if you are on the spiritual path and you wish to be a whole person in that regard, watching what reactions your desires create will dispel any sense of cover up or lie. You will see full blown in front of you the harm it may have caused someone. In seeing this harm you caused, a transformation happens - that is, that desire which pleased you but which harmed others will drop away from you. This only happens by fully allowing your desires no matter how foolish they are to flourish. Otherwise if a desire is given half-assed approval, the full intent of the outcome is never seen, therefore the same error is repeatedly made.

Not everyone can be a Saint or a so called Master. Very few will experience the higher samadhis - yet many will the lower ones. Certainly on this planet of 6 billion people few will attain moksha or liberation.

Due to this, you want to remain a functional human being while practicing your yoga techniques and let the fulcrum find its balance for you between the two.

Just to refresh you on Magic and superstition I am enclosing a chapter from my book The Portal on just that.

We are all fascinated by magic. The conjurer has enjoyed attention since the beginning of time, till today we have the flashiest artists man could hope to see. It fairly puts to shame some of the stories of the Yogis who perform their bag of tricks for the unsuspecting neophyte. When Patanjali speaks about the siddhi powers, are we to believe it? We shall see.


This chapter will no doubt be quite unsettling to some readers, since most people have become so conditioned to yogic lore that they lose sight of Absolute Reality, falling prey to the tempting charms and enchantments of the world of illusion.

Mired in the labyrinth of folklore, one quickly loses orientation and cannot discern between the Real and the Unreal. What is Magic? What is a Vision? Can a vision ever be real, as some religions so devoutly believe?

In the throes of his hallucinations, the alcoholic has no doubt that he actually sees rats and other creepy-crawlies scrambling all over him, devouring him alive. Terrified, he screams and thrashes around violently trying to throw them off, to no avail. Similarly, hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD, are known to induce visions of reality, covering the entire gamut of experience, from the sublime to the sinister and downright dangerous. Throughout the ages, people have reported sighting extraterrestrial beings and their fantastic spaceships. Excavations have revealed prehistoric cave drawings featuring men in what appear to be modern day spacesuits.

More down to earth, the notebooks of colonial travellers in India contain fascinating accounts of the Great Indian Rope trick performed by mystic fakirs who "charm" a rope, generally to the sound of a flute, so that it uncoils, quite like a snake from a basket, until it is vertically hovering above the ground without any discernable support. The fakir would then get a young lad to climb to the top of the now rigid rope and down again, before causing the rope to resettle neatly back in its basket, once more, to the wailing sound of his magic flute.

When it comes to visions, we know that an African Christian will most probably see a black Jesus in his "apparition" while a Westerner will see a brown-haired blue-eyed Jesus and in the case of the Coptic Christian, Jesus would be dark-skinned and brown-eyed. Visions are not a purely Christian phenomenon however, since Hinduism abounds with reports of different people seeing the same god or guru in different places at the same time. Then there is Magic or the materialization of objects in seemingly empty hands or the production of ashes (vibhuti) from thin air.

All these hallucinations, visions, feats of magic and supernatural sightings keep people literally spellbound and inextricably chained to the mystic side of illusion. The Real can only be known and experienced, when, as Patanjali teaches us, "one totally annihilates ALL mental fluctuation (chitta vritti nirhoda)". We shall now look into the reasons underlying this truth.

All of us know that while asleep our dreams appear very real to us (as a result of the concomitant laws of the dream state), but upon awaking, we fully understand that the dream was merely an illusion.

Similarly, when we awaken into the fourth state of pure consciousness known as truriya, we realize that the world we call "objective reality" in our normal state of living, is as much an illusion as our dreams were when we awakened. Objective reality appears real to us as a result of the concomitant laws that govern our normal waking state, but in fact while seemingly "awake" we are only dreaming in an awakened state, instead of in a sleep state.

In addition to our normal waking state and our dream state while asleep, every night we also experience a deep sleep state devoid of dreams. It is in this state of deep sleep that we become fully ourselves and swim in the consciousness of self, but we are not aware of this happening since we have no awareness of the deep sleep state. When we step beyond this state of deep sleep to awaken in the world of truriya, we experience what is known as Sat-chit-ananda, a state of pure consciousness without external attributes. This is a state of inexpressible Supreme Eternal Existence, Eternal Pure Consciousness, Eternal Bliss, a state of true and perfect union with the self. The difference between the deep sleep state and the truriya state is that while experiencing sat-chit-ananda in the truriya state, we are fully aware and conscious, not deadened into the coma-like unconsciousness of deep sleep. Just what are we conscious of, if it is without attributes? We are conscious of an experience. A true experience can never be known in the sense that we can explain it. What we can do and want to do is repeat it though.

Coming back to the issue of visions, magic and the supernatural, theologians, psychologists and scientists of all kinds have tried to understand how these mental images are produced. Why do all severe alcoholics have the same theme-based hallucinations featuring rats, snakes and other creepy-crawlies? Why do the deeply religious who see visions, tend to see the apparition of God that is closest to their cultural background? If Jesus were real, would he not appear the same to them all? Or is it that he appears to people as they envision him in their culture, so as to be more accessible and understandable to them?

The explanation one chooses for this phenomenon is of little importance (and will probably be the result of one's own particular theological or scientific mindset). It has however been established that when certain tiny brain nodules are activated by stimuli (hormonal secretions or chemical compounds), they induce the same apparent vision in all subjects. The particular effect, vision or feeling, that a stimulated nodule produces, depends on the concomitant laws that govern that specific nodule.

LSD changes the chemical balance of the brain, causing the stimulation of certain nodules that generate similar types of experiences in all LSD users. These types of experiences are specific to the particular nodules stimulated by the drug and cannot be compared to what is experienced in any other realm or by stimulating other nodules. The nodules sensitive to LSD provide access to the Astral Plane and when these nodules are stimulated, using the drug or through other means, the result could cover the full range from a super transformational experience to euphoria that could result in death (if one, believing one can fly, jumps out of the window, for instance) to terror or horror.

As the mind approaches a transcendental state, it is quite common for a nodule to be inadvertently triggered, resulting in visions of aliens or of being abducted and detained aboard an extraterrestrial spaceship. For the person undergoing the experience, it is as real as "objective reality". Upon returning to "objective reality" the person may even find scars on the body, further fuelling his deep-seated conviction that the aliens performed some inexplicable surgical procedure on him. All this however only appears real because of the concomitant laws governing that particular space-time nodule in the brain.

Transferring wounds from one realm of consciousness to another is quite common and is medically explained as a somatic manifestation of a mental state. All of us have, at some time or the other, experienced the immense power of the mind in producing somatic projections of "objectively" inexistent stimuli. How many times have we not awakened bathed in a cold sweat, trembling and even screaming from a terrifying nightmare? This type of sweat, that is almost always a reaction of tremendous fear in the "objective" world, was induced by purely mental stimuli, while we were, in fact, sound asleep in the security of our own homes, not even remotely exposed to any cause for fear.

A strong case has been recently made in medical circles, for considering psycho-somatic mechanisms as the probable cause for the appearance of the stigmata. While this theory is strongly supported by what we now know of the power of the mind, the immense religious fervor, sincere compassion and obvious spiritual development of some of those bearing the stigmata, would make any rational explanation for the phenomenon seem like heresy.

It is important to understand that anyone who opens certain nodules of consciousness will go through the same types of experiences as anyone else who as done the same. These experiences are, therefore, purely induced by the mind and only appear to be real because of the concomitant laws of those particular nodules. In other words, all these experiences are nothing but mind constructs, all created by the magic of Maya, illusion. This cunning, infinitely seductive enchantress traps us at each and every turn by making good use of her ability to create concomitant laws that make our experiences seem real to us, as they unfold. It is only when we awaken from one state to another that we realize, "It was only a dream."

Maya's most successful ploy was in tricking us into becoming so attached to the objective reality we call waking life, that its concomitant laws have become ingrained in us to such an extent, that they seem almost impossible to shake off. Gravity holds us all firmly in place. Time, while it may change pace depending on our moods, nevertheless has us fully convinced that life is sequential in nature and together with space, easily fools us into believing in birth and death, beginnings and endings. None of these laws apply in the dream state, where we can talk to long-dead relatives and consider them as naturally alive and as fully present in the dream as we, ourselves, are.

The magic feats and materializations so prodigiously performed by some yogi masters and religious gurus, are in fact nothing more than so many illusions within the context of the greater illusion of "objective reality". A skilful cabaret performer can actually do more with sleight of hand, but even as we gleefully succumb to the wiles of both because of their tricks, the spiritual magician gets away with a great deal more. Having surrendered totally to that particular guru or teacher and given him their total allegiance and cooperation, his disciples fully and sincerely believe in his divine powers, because to do otherwise would be most disconcerting to them and would indeed leave them empty and totally disillusioned. People will subscribe to the most absurd and fanciful notions rather than leave the comfort of the warm embrace of Maya, to set out to seek the unknown shores of the Absolute Truth that may, perhaps, prove less snug and cozy.

Just ask yourself, have you ever seen levitation? Have you ever seen a performing magician at work? Do you not ever question your own self as to why you are seeing that man floating, or how come you are seeing some Alien, or for that matter seeing the rats crawl over your body? We know when the drunk sobers up, he says, "Oh God that was awful, I will never drink again." Of course the illness seduces him time and time again. Spiritual blindness is even stronger than alcohol and constantly seduces us, through the master illusionist, Maya, who keeps us from discovering the real Truth, the Absolute Reality, The one without a second.

Maya prevents us from becoming self realized. One can only approach the real Truth when one finally gives up all the ceremony of robe wearing, getting engrossed in one mantra or the other. Mantras, furthermore, only serve to bind us even more strongly to Maya, since they can become a groove in the mind or Chit, which can be damnably hard to get rid of. They are designed to be self starting, and we finally have to pull ourselves together and take the stick of ego to stir the fire of longing for the Absolute alone, so determinedly and willfully, that the ego stick itself becomes consumed in our fire of truth seeking passion.

Patanjali claims that siddhi powers are automatically acquired as one advances in yoga, but because a true yogi is only interested in union with the self, he will relinquish these siddhi powers one by one as he acquires them. Visions of lights, ascended masters, other illusory worlds like the Astral and some Causal planets, are all anathema to a serious yogi. Students who are allowed to be captivated by the powers that they may acquire, are being led astray.

Maya, the world, the heavens and all the nether worlds are nothing more than a shadow picture generated by the mind when the first personal pronoun, the "I" awakens from the deepest of sleeps. Having accepted this pseudo reality so totally, it is very difficult for anyone to dive deep enough to attain the fourth state of Truriya Satchitananda, that brings with it the realization of the experience of eternal Bliss and that all else is illusion.

All that is, except the Truriya itself, that cannot be illusion because it is totally devoid of attributes. No shadows are cast by the light of truriya, since one becomes the light itself, which is the illuminator of consciousness. Ego, the attribute that may be seen as a part of God or Self, is also dissolved within the Self, just as a spider's thread is drawn back up into the belly of the spider. Ego itself being dissolved, all that remains is the true self, but unlike the state of deep sleep, in truriya, one remains awake even as one sleeps. This is the state of the true Sahaj, he who resides in the Bliss of Being Ever Consciously Existent, without attributes. In this state of bliss, the only attributes that one can have are those conferred on them by the others, who still live in the world of the illusory web, spun by the wily enchantress, Maya.