Levitating Saints

Levitation in spiritual experiences and practices, more-so in yoga practices, is one of those unique mystical experiences considered surreal, for the simple reason that it defies logic. There are several online videos with modern day masters and various practitioners who indulge in this practice and when you go through the comments you will notice a lot of skepticism and accusations on the authenticity of the videos. And I am not saying that these people are wrong to question how authentic the videos are because I am sure that even you as you read this column there is a degree to which you are skeptic; either partially or totally on how someone can defy the laws of gravity and take off a few feet above the ground and remain in that position for a given period of time. It seems like a good material for a fictional book or movie and just can’t seem to fit anywhere in real life.

Jagadish Vasudsev popularly known as Sadhguru is a world renowned spiritual teacher; his opinion on this phenomena is that through yogic practices like Hatha yoga, it is possible that a practitioner can make themselves less available to gravity. He also states that during a kundalini awakening (kundalini is a dormant energy that sits at the bottom of the spine), a subject might find themself taking off the ground and landing.

In the book ‘autobiography of yogi’ by Paramahansa Yogananda, a section of the book attempts to explain the mystery behind levitation. It states that when a yogi (a practitioner of yoga) makes use of certain pranayamas (techniques of controlling life force through regulating the breath), the body loses some of its grossness which in effect can lead to levitation.

The phenomena of levitation is not only confined to yogis and yogic practices. There are other instances in the Christian world where levitation attributing to spiritual practices has been observed. For example there are eyewitness accounts documented about Saint Thomas Aquinas who at one point was found levitating in a prayer room facing the cross while weeping. Then there is Saint Theresa of Avilla also known as the great levitating soul. It is said that she found the levitating experiences disconcerting for her, that she actually tried to stop herself from levitating to no success. She wrote that “little precautions are unavailing when the Lord would have it otherwise.” Saint Joseph of Cupertino was also known to levitate so regularly that he was excused from other duties within the monastery; there are sources which indicate that a mere sight of a holy statue could cause him to levitate. Instances of levitation among these saints were mostly profound during moments of intense devotion.

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