No, I do not have trikala jnana

red rohit

The yogic tradition has been swamped by supernatural expectations, and teachers are not firm enough about this foolishness. The sorry state of spiritual teaching in India today was illumined yet one more time in an interaction I had with a young friend. It was very revealing, and disconcerting too.

This young man from Kerala found my videos on Youtube and got in touch with me. He was bursting with enthusiasm and unrealistic ideas about the spiritual path. And a million questions. I would answer what I could and had advised him to begin a serious course of pranayama and meditation. A few days ago I discovered from his Facebook page that he had taken an Art of Living Course from the main man himself. When I mentioned that I was glad he had done so the young boy had a most incredible reaction. He thought I had found out by using the fabled Yogic power of Trikala Jnana – the insight of the 3 aspects of time, past present and future! I was stunned at the sheer magnitude of misconception. Of course I set him right instantly and called him an idiot and a silly boy to boot, which I could have avoided perhaps.

This preference for the supernatural explanation in all things over the simple and obvious is one of the major plagues in Indian spirituality. Trikala Jnana is rather like a unicorn farting rainbows, an eccentric mix of credulity and childishness that unfortunately has too much purchase in the popular mind. If at all any Yogis possess it, they are sure to be surly old men in the Himalayas avoiding human company. Let me add I am a hard core Yogi and I know siddhis are real. I myself possess Samyama to a certain degree, the ability to focus attention upon a subject or issue or person and know what needs knowing. It is a huge drain on Shakti, and physically wipes you out, so I don’t play that game at all. If it activates spontaneously, as opposed to willfully and by desire, the impact is lessened but I don’t go there if I have any say in the matter. And sometimes, when I sit in meditation, fragrance comes off the body – my students report this-which is just about the most pathetic and useless siddhi one can imagine. They get excited, I get irritated, for it does not help to move one step on the path of evolutionary spirituality and Integral Yoga. Sri Aurobindo had recommended learning whatever you could about siddhis to their fullest extent and then recognizing their irrelevance in ultimate terms. That is the right attitude, but way too many teachers encourage credulity in seekers.

If you are a spiritual teacher then people don’t want you to teach, they want miracles. This is the sad and obnoxious truth in too many contexts. I look the part, expectations as to how a teacher ought to be, shaven head, rudrakshas, articulate and knowledgeable; ergo, miraculous powers also reside within. Nothing clarified the sheer danger and temptation I am likely to run into as much as this incident. Here was an opportunity to achieve PD, psychological dominance, over an uncritical young man functioning from the foibles of his culture. He is from Kerala, fully literate state, English educated, not at all lacking in brains, but the social consensus about yogis and miracles was too much for him to shake off. Were I unscrupulous, trawling for gullible disciples and donations, this was child’s play made easy.

Teachers do not come down hard enough on this. They do not stress that evolving oneself is the greatest miracle possible. We have all experienced the other game, grooming the unwary and impressing them with supposedly miraculous abilities of the Guru. The disciples chat you up, discover interesting nuggets, searching for insecurities and weaknesses, convey it to the chief who then puts on a worried and compassionate expression, asking some variant of this. “ Is there somebody from Jhumritalaiya who has recently experienced losses or deaths? All will be well.” This is beyond contempt, but it is a shell game that endures because it is so simple and works so well. My point is that serious teachers do not push for the use of Buddhi, intellect and wisdom, as much as they could or even should. Hyper-enthusiastic students will always perceive miracles and marvels, but at least the teacher should not encourage this in any form whatsoever.

Spiritual evolution is a serious and vital business and should not be cluttered up by medieval rubbish about supernatural abilities.

Sarvam Shivamayam!

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath, being a writer, a corporate trainer, a mythologist and a vibrant speaker.  He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five European languages} the first book on Tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He was the Editor of The Leadership Review, and on the advisory panel of, the first spiritual portal in the country. Currently he is the Director of Pro-Factor, a leadership and change facilitation corporate training outfit. He has been an arts critic and socio-cultural commentator for over two decades. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. He leads the Ka Sangha meditation group, as well as The Integral Space meditation circle each week. The videos of his talks on various subjects can be found here

His blogs can be accessed here

3 thoughts on “No, I do not have trikala jnana

  1. I find it more disturbing that so few people believe in ANYTHING Yoga has to offer and instead embrace the vague illusory promise of a Coca Cola advertisement or “trust their doctor” when prescribed profitable medicines that treat symptoms not root causes of unhappiness and illness. No need to be negative. Spiritual powers are useful and real and come when it is time for them to come. People should be encouraged to believe in the spiritual wonders and have less blind trust in multi media manipulative advertisements that are generally very misleading.

    • Well I don’t have a particularly high opinion of the state of medicine today, but the misuses and fraud on the spiritual path has far more severe karmic consequences hence my rant.

  2. Very good you have written this, Rohit. The problem with siddhis is the person who has them, who stands in front and becomes heavy and fat on worship by those who don’t want to travel the real path themselves. Also the whole issue of gilding spiritual images commercially and abusing or cheapening them – as in your other blog. It is endemic and always has been, wherever there is a popular religious culture. Siddhi is transpersonal. It shines through. It has no market. But if we try to represent it, every problem arises and gains mass. This is rarely understood. So many want to be spoon fed. The same psychology is with the medicine market – belief in white coat experts and their pills and fix-its. Big Money! Big Name, belief and persuasion!

    Fascinating, your story of the big risks and temptations a teacher runs. Today’s problem with spirituality is – devour it in one gulp, without attending to the crucial psychology, self knowledge, undercarriage, which comes first, and takes time, and is the only real protection against fraud. The teacher is Life – a weird jacket which fits each of us perfectly, and takes many years to put on, wear and take off!

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