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The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 3 - Union achieved and its Results
30-31. By fixing the attention upon the throat center, the cessation of hunger and thirst will ensue. By fixing the attention upon the tube or nerve below the throat center, equilibrium is achieved.

It should be remembered that all the sutras which deal with psychic powers are capable of a lower and a higher interpretation. This is nowhere more apparent than in this sutra. Through an understanding of the nature of the throat center and a steady meditation upon it, the yogi can arrest the pangs of hunger and of thirst and thus [311] do without food indefinitely, whilst through directing energy to that portion of the great nerve in the throat which lies just below the throat center (found in the well or pit of the throat) he can achieve absolute immobility and rigidity of the human form. Similarly through concentration upon the solar plexus he can become aware in full consciousness of every part of his physical body. But these concern the lower siddhis or powers and with these the student of Raja Yoga is not concerned, regarding them as the secondary effects of soul development. He knows them to be the result of the correct following of the eight means of yoga, and therefore automatic and inevitable results. He knows too the danger to the physical organism when their lower or physical aspect is emphasized.

The true significance of the above sutras which are here bracketed together, grows out of an understanding of the transmutative process and the transference which is effected in the solar plexus.

The energy of the sacral center which feeds the generative organs is in due course of time transferred into the throat center. The creative process is then carried on by thought, sound and the spoken Word. Hunger and thirst are the two aspects of desire, the one, hunger, being positive, masculine and grasping; the other, thirst, being negative, feminine and receptive. Those two words are but symbols of the two great impulses underlying the sex impulse. When these impulses are dominated and controlled, then the energy of the center lying behind the organs concerned, can [312] be carried upward to the throat, and hunger and thirst are arrested in the esoteric sense. It should be borne in mind here that these two words are the physical plane analogies to the great pairs of opposites which the yogi has to balance and which he does balance when the solar plexus is performing its highest function.

On the astral or desire plane, within the astral body of the aspirant, must this balancing process be wrought out to completion. This is the great battleground, symbolized so beautifully for us in the human body, with its three higher centers, its lower energy focal points and that great middle center, the solar plexus, typifying the astral plane and its work. It will now be apparent why the two sutras are read as one, for they cover one completed work.

After achieving some measure of equilibrium, the aspirant learns to perfect that balancing process and gains the power to stand firm and immovable, preserving an unshakable equilibrium between the pairs of opposites. The nerve, called "kurma-nadi" or the "tortoise tube" is the physical correspondence to the point the aspirant has reached. He stands erect and unshaken before the entrance to the path; he is at the point in his evolution where he can "escape upward" and function in the head.

The tortoise has from the earliest ages been the symbol of the slow creative process, and of the long evolutionary road travelled by the spirit. Hence the appropriateness of this term, as applied to what is considered the lowest of the three major [313] centers, and the one which represents the Creator or Brahma aspect of divinity, of God, the Holy Ghost, with His function as the energizer of matter or body.

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