[On the Siddhis “Anima” and “Mahima”]
Theosophist, February, 1880
Article selection from “An Indian Aethrobat”, by Babu Krishna Indra Sandyal | Note by H.P.B.
In the November issue of this journal I read an interesting article on Yoga Vidya by F.T.S. *** based upon the Siddhis of Bhagwan Sri Krishna. It is of course well known to Hindu readers that although the Yoga philosophy was first taught by Patanjali in times immemorial, yet the subject was not more fully discussed elsewhere than in the theological discourses between Sri Krishna and his friend Arjuna (Gita, chapter VIII). Indeed it is true that in the course of time this Yoga Vidhya has been entirely lost to us, and in the present sceptical age of Materialism it is almost impossible to have even a conception of that philosophy. But if we are to believe the sacred writings of Hindu sages, it is quite clear that the Siddhis Anima and Mahima pertain to the conditions of even the physical body as was manifest in Virat Rupa darshana (Gita, chap. XI) and here I differ from the contributor F.T.S. *** Though I follow in other respects.1 . . .
1. Editor’s Note: Babu Krishna is wrong. It is impossible to so inflate the extremities of the human body with simple air as to cause it to float in air. A body floats in water because it displaces an equal bulk with its own of that denser element. If he will but figure to himself a vessel of any material as dense as human flesh and bone, filled ever so compactly with common air and left lying on the ground, he will see that his theory of aethrobacy is untenable; for, just as the vessel in question would lie on the ground where placed an indefinite time without showing the slightest tendency to rise, so would the ascetic’s body, though pumped full of air from crown to toes. No, there is another cause for this aethrobacy and it is the one described by F.T.S. *** as “altered polarity.” The system of inhalations and exhalations practiced in Yoga effect this polaric change by alterations produced, of both a physiological and psychological character.
The Babu is also mistaken in supposing that this body of flesh can be separated into atoms and made to fill the whole void of space, or compressed into one infinitesimal atomic point like a diamond-grain. Let him reflect but one instant upon the nature of bioplastic matter and he will see the fact as it is. It is the inner self which, by virtue of its ethereal nature and its relationship to the all-pervading “Anima Mundi” or World-Soul, is capable of exhibiting the properties of Anima and Mahima. Anything in Aryan literature seeming to convey a contrary idea may be at once taken as figurative language intended to be understood only by the wise. The sages who wrote these books were adepts in psychological science, and we must not take them to have been ignorant of its plainest laws.