Esoteric Yogic teachings in Indian scriptures

The easter egg phenomenon in modern computer software is not a new concept for Yogis. For thousands of years they have utilized it very effectively to ensure that the teachings are not lost and at the same time they cannot be accessed by someone who is not ready. For most of us who grew up with Ramayana, Mahabharata and the Puranas; they remained stories. Stories which in a riveting manner taught us lessons about right & wrong, ethical dilemmas, good & evil and which have in a way shaped our cultural landscape over time.

Only once I started sadhana, I was able to relate my experiences with the stories. I will recount one such story and what yogic lessons I could see in it. There are possibly even more layers or many other nuances which I may be unaware of. I will take the instance of the samudra manthan story or churning of the cosmic ocean. If we look at it as a story then devas (the good guys) and asuras (the bad guys) form an alliance to extract the nectar of immortality from the ocean. A mountain was used as a rod to churn the ocean and Vasuki the divine serpent was used as a churning rope. Vishnu came in the form of a tortoise to provide a base for the mountain as it was beginning to sink. The churning process released Halahala (a lethal poison) at first which Shiva had to consume. Thereafter the churning released a lot of wonderful things which Vishnu had warned devas beforehand not to get distracted by and wait for the nectar of immortality. Finally when the pot of nectar came up, Vishnu tricked the asuras into giving it to the devas. I have just given a broad summary of the events here. There are a lot of other things going on as well. Taken even just as a story it can stand its ground with the best myths and epics of the world.

However, when one has started on the path of sadhana the yogic lessons start to emerge. I am not sure how correct my interpretation is, but at least there is enough to make sense. Let us visualize a yogi meditating in a cross legged posture. The mountain becomes the upright spine, the tortoise represents the lower half of the body, the breath is the serpent churning the spine, the ocean is the mind of the meditator. The spine needs to be upright for the yogic process to be effective. The body must be still and stable like a tortoise. Vishnu & Shiva represent the Guru who can initiate and guide an aspirant and step in to help when really needed.

On starting a sadhana, a lot of accumulated negativity gets released at first before the good things can happen. That negativity is halahala. After that the good things start to come. These can be equated to attainments or Siddhis. They are a distraction the spiritual path and if one gets sidetracked here then the final goal cannot be attained.

Devas and asuras are both good and bad aspect of our self. Which means unless both these aspects of us are not committed to transformation, it is not possible for a seeker to progress. This has deep implications as all along the asuras were tricked by the devas to participate in a process which made the devas immortal. Hence as aspirants we need to be able to use every trick in the book to ensure our lower self cooperates in the process. Only then can we attain the divine nectar which lies within the ocean of the self.

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