“Those who merely leave their physical bodies and attain the state of celestial deities, or those who get merged in Nature, have rebirth.”

The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali

Bhavapratyayo Videha Prakrtilayanam

Bhava: existence, birth | Pratyayah (pratyayo): content of mind (mental modification) | Videha: bodiless (gods/spirits) | Prakrtilayanam: merged into nature

When union with the Prakrti/true self is obtained in the physical body, our consciousness leaves the Earthly plane in what can somewhat be described as an “out-of-body experience.”

Patanjali calls this experience “rebirth” for the Yogic practitioner.

Some Yoga scholars, like Guru Sri Swami Satchidananda, who translated the version of The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali that we are using for this particular study, however, believe that Sutra 19 is tied to the religious concept of reincarnation. Interpreting this Sutra to mean that if a person dies before they attain union, their work is “stored” when they pass away, and they are born into a new life/body in order to complete their studies. Adding further, that if one dies after attaining Samadhi, he/she will not be reborn, but transform into a God or Goddess of the subtle or gross realms.

My own personal, direct, experience with what is often referred to as Kundalini or Shakti Awakening, and my social and biological/physical science background, makes it so that I (humbly) interpret Patanjali’s statement in the alternative way highlighted in the first sentence of this post.

Samadhi is a state of consciousness.

When we are able to attain this state of consciousness through union of the body, mind, and spirit, we have an experiencial connection with the divine, Nature, or “Creation” that is both physical and psychic (for a lack of a better word). In this experience, we, with every fiber of our being, ecstatically feel, “see,” taste, touch, sense, hear, smell, are, know, and so much more, merging with divine energy in the cosmos.

Important Study Tip! You can probably see now why no Earthly experience, or fulfillment of fleeting desire, compares.

To call this merge an out-of-body experience gets close to describing the phenomena, but even this is not a fully accurate statement. To call it a psychological state-of-being would be even farther from the truth.

The experience of merging with the divine, from my perspective, has only been best described/depicted in some Hindu, Buddist, and even some Christian, art (especially paintings that directly portray the cosmos or the “holy spirit”), although in the same way that words are not adequate to describe the experience, neither can anything else, even in the form of the best, and most profound art, or even song.

When this experience occurs, as Patanjali states in Sutra 19, those who attain union “merely leave their physical bodies.”

They “attain the state of celestial dieties…[and] have rebirth.”

This rebirth, I feel, refers to the transformation within that occurs before “coming back” into the Earthly realms, transformed forever from the experience of union itself.

In the Christian bible, Jesus’s baptism is considered the rite that celebrates his rebirth, and the tradition of baptism itself has been used by numerous cultures and individuals throughout history to metaphorically symbolize being “born again” after purification and/or union with the “holy spirit” or the divine. Numerous cultures have enacted rites to symbolize different transitions on the life’s journey and through different state of consciousness (in our own modern culture we have graduation for example), and some social and personal rites can often be used simply as reminders of possibilities and hopes as well as used to mark achievements .

This week, I invite you to (if you do not have one already) create, or choose, one simple routine, mantra, symbol, etc…that will remind you of your spiritual mission, purpose, and/or accomplishments each day.

Your “rite,” or symbol, can be anything from a simple stone that you attach significance to (for example a Worry Stone) or a practice that reminds you of your purpose, like journaling, or chanting a mantra that you adopt or create for yourself.

The most important factor when creating your practice, or symbol, is that it be:

  • Personal and meaningful to you
  • Easy to do and/or maintain
  • And you must vow to integrate what you create into your life each day moving forward

…noting that your rite, or symbol, can change at any time along with you (and you may even abandon one for another at any point if you wish to do so). The goal here, however, is that you always remain true to the essence of your rite, or symbol’s, meaning/purpose in your life.

This rite/symbol creation activity is a great way to ensure that you hold yourself accountable, and mark/celebrate your progress, on your journey toward self-realization and self-realized living, especially since your journey will be a personal one that will most likely not come with much external fanfare or diplomas.

Just take joy in your progress, and keep refining yourself a bit more each day.

I will see you again here for this week’s check-in soon.

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