How Can I Develop My Astral Sense Perceptions?

Question

In The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam commentary by Yogananda, is said to work on the sense capabilities beyond the physical ones -- like listening beyond physical listening. How can I do so?

—Harshvardhan, India

Answer

Dear Friend,

The rishis of yoga have revealed that the physical human body is one of three “bodies.” Like bottles of water encased one inside the next, we (and indeed everything in creation) comes first as an idea (causal body); then, as the idea quickens in vibration, there are appears an energetic and electrical body (astral); the astral body is the prototype and blueprint for the physical body which follows. The soul, that pure spark of Infinite Bliss, exists on the causal level and the process of enlightenment and liberation is a process of retracing our steps back through the three bodies and beyond into the vibrationless sphere of Infinity. First to the soul in the causal plane and then the soul merging into God beyond creation.

The soul knows this process instinctively. Universally, prayer is a quieting of the mind. “Be still and know that I AM God!” As we quiet the turbulence of the five senses and the sense mind and do so repeatedly with devotion, there comes into our interiorized awareness the subtle five senses (from which the power of the five physical senses descend).

Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras suggests that these astral sense phenomena are legitimate objects of concentration in meditation. The goal of meditation is to focus one-pointedly on an object (image of guru; inner peace; sound; light; bliss; etc) and then to merge into the “object” so that “knower, known (object), knowing become ONE.” This isn’t necessarily the end-game of our creation but simplifying the process clinically speaking this makes the point I wish to convey.

How to sharpen our astral senses? Through meditation, of course, principally. But there is more to it. While the astral body has five senses, Paramhansa Yogananda describes in his autobiography (“Autobiography of a Yogi”) how his guru, Swami Sri Yukteswar says that the astral body perceives these astral sense perceptions principally through the eye of intuition at the point between the eyebrows. (Or, also, in fact, at any point in the astral body and any astral sense can “sense” any other astral sense! So it gets complicated….sigh).

The short answer is to live more in your astral body. This is done by focusing during both meditation and waking states attention on the subtle feelings of the astral body and the subtle flowing currents of energy in the astral body. The astral body is both inside the physical body but also all around it, depending on various factors (not relevant to this discussion). Paramhansa Yogananda’s excellent Energization Exercises are a wonderful way to learn to live more as energy (as prana) and not just as a physical being.

Swami Kriyananda, a direct disciple of Yogananda and founder of Ananda, wrote numerous books and in one or more of them would counsel readers to “feel the space” between words and activities. Develop the feeling or intuitive sense of perception as a higher octave of intelligence then reason or the five senses. Meditation is the single most powerful and effective tool to develop intuition: especially after the practice of techniques when sitting in the silence with your thoughts at rest and the window of feeling and intuition open wide. Practice and learn to re-direct restless thoughts during activity into a feeling state of awareness. Rather than imposing upon the world thoughts, reactions, emotions, and one’s own will, learn to be a listener and one who quietly feels deeply.

But the path to moksha – to God, is not a circus, so don’t seek astral phenomenon for their own sake but for the love of God. Nonetheless, such supersensory perceptions are valid tools on the path of meditation. Okay?

Joy and Blessings to You,
Nayaswami Hriman
Seattle WA USA
www.Hrimananda.org

P.S. I truly love Yogananda’s commentaries on the Rubaiyat.