|The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali - Book 4 - Illumination|
|1. The higher and
lower siddhis (or powers) are gained by incarnation, or by drugs, words of power, intense
desire or by meditation.
We have now come to the fourth book in which the powers and the results gained by the practice of Raja Yoga are carried forward into group realization and it is seen that they produce universal consciousness and not simply self-consciousness. It seems the part of wisdom to protest here against the use of the words "cosmic consciousness" as untrue and misleading, for even the highest adept (note this term with care) is only gifted with solar consciousness and has no contact with that which is outside our solar system. The planetary Logoi (the seven Spirits before the Throne), and the Lords of Karma (the "four wheels" of Ezekiel) have a realization beyond that of our solar system. Lesser existences may sense it as a possibility but it is not yet part of their experience. 
The powers gained fall into two main groups called:
The lower powers are the result of the consciousness of the animal soul in man being en rapport with the anima mundi or the soul of the world, the subjective side of all forms in the three worlds, of all bodies in the four kingdoms of nature. The higher powers are the result of the development of group consciousness, of the second aspect of divinity. They not only include the lesser powers but put a man en rapport with those existences and forms of life which are to be found in the spiritual realms, or, as the occultist would say, on those two planes which are beyond the three worlds, and which cover the entire scale of man's evolution, human and superhuman.
The goal of the true aspirant is the unfoldment of these higher powers which can be covered by the terms direct knowledge, intuitive perception, spiritual insight, pure vision, the attainment of the wisdom. They are different from the lower powers, for they abrogate them. These latter are accurately described for us in Book III, Sutra 37:
These higher powers are inclusive and are distinguished by their accuracy and infallibility when rightly employed. Their working is as  instantaneous as a flash of light. The lower powers are fallible, the time element is present in its sequential sense and they are limited in their working. They form part of the great illusion and to the true aspirant constitute a limitation.
In the sutra we are considering, five means are given whereby the psychic powers are developed and it is interesting to note that we have in these words an instance of the fact that the Yoga Sutras can still be the study and teaching manual of even such advanced aspirants as the Masters of the Wisdom. These five methods are capable of application upon all the five planes of human evolution, which include the two higher planes whereon initiates of the Mysteries function.
|1. Incarnation||The physical plane method.|
|2. Drugs||The release of the astral consciousness.|
|3. Words of Power||Creation by speech, or the method of the mental plane.|
|4. Intense desire||The sublimation of aspiration or the method of the buddhic plane, the sphere of spiritual love.|
|5. Meditation||The method of the atmic plane, the sphere of spiritual will.|
|In this enumeration,
it might be noted that just as intense desire of a spiritual kind is a sublimation of
astral or emotional desire, so meditation, as practised by the initiates, is the
sublimation of all the mental processes. Therefore the two final methods given as
resulting in the unfoldment of the siddhis are the only ones that are practised by 
initiates, being the synthesis and sublimation of the realizations achieved on the astral
and mental planes.
It might, therefore, be observed that (for the seeker after truth) incarnation, intense desire and meditation are the three permissible methods, and the only ones to be practised; drugs and words of power or mantric incantations are the tools of black magic and concern the lower powers.
The question might here be asked, is it not true that words of power and the use of incense form part of the ceremonies of initiation and therefore are used by initiates and aspirants. Certainly, but not in the sense understood here, or for the purpose of developing psychic powers. The Masters and their disciples use words of power in order to deal with the non-human existences, to invoke the aid of the angels, and to manipulate the building forces of nature, and they employ herbs and incenses in order to purify conditions, eliminate undesirable entities and so make it possible for those higher upon the ladder of evolution to make their presence felt. This is, however, a very different thing to their use in order to become psychic.
It is interesting to note here that the first cause producing the unfoldment of soul powers, whether higher or lower, is the great wheel of rebirth. This must ever be taken into account. Everyone is not yet at the stage where it is possible for him to unfold the powers of the soul. The soul aspect is still dormant for many because full experience and development of the lower nature has not yet  been undergone. The forty years' wandering in the wilderness with the Tabernacle and the conquest of Canaan, had to precede the rule of the kings and the building of the Temple of Solomon. Lives must be passed before the body, or the Mother aspect, is so perfected that the Christ Child can be formed within the prepared vessel. It should also be remembered that the possession of the lower psychic powers is in many cases a symptom of a low stage of evolution and of the close of their owner with the animal nature. This has to be outgrown before the higher powers can blossom forth.
It is needless to point out that the use of alcohol and of drugs can and does release the astral consciousness, as also the practice of sex magic, but this is astralism pure and simple and with this the true student of Raja Yoga has naught to do. It is part of unfoldment on the left-hand Path. The gaining of the soul powers by intense desire (or fervent aspiration) and by meditation has been covered in the other books and need not be enlarged upon here.
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