In fact, all Asana, Vinyasa and Pranayama practitioners sooner or later deal with strange phenomena in training. These phenomena, which at times can hardly not to be noticed, are unfortunately not consciously followed, interpreted or developed by the practitioners who meet them. These are Rasas — psychic-energy states which are manifested and often steadily dominate the course of the practice of Yoga.
Changes in psychic-energy states occur first of all, due to the fact that the course of comprehensive yoga training leads to changes in blood circulation and pressure in the areas of the main endocrine glands. This leads to the increased activation of their functions and additional portions of their secretions in the blood, which affect relevant receptors of the brain and facilitates in changing the practitioner’s range of perception and state of consciousness.
These changes take place during the process of training in exactly the same way as a dropped item always falls to the ground, but unfortunately, very few understand the importance of conscious development, so as to transform one’s psychic-energy structure in order to further ones progress in Yoga.
Depending on the specific features of the training program, the qualities of psychic-energy modifications may be different.
These qualities must be completely conscious, and used to establish direct ties between certain sequences of training exercises and the psychic-energy modifications taking place as the result of the practice of such exercises. In the beginning, these ties develop empirically during the course of persistent and regular practice, but their development is to a great extent individual, since similar modifications are based on an individual’s metabolic rate. Thereafter, the accumulation of sufficient statistical data enables the practitioner to consciously define the required Rasas through the use of readily known combinations of training exercises. When there is enough experience and enough entries into altered states, it becomes automatic. The practitioner may develop the possibility to vary Rasas, not only through special sequences of Asanas, Vinyasas and Pranayamas, but also without using them, only by the effort of will. Not only in the course of special training, but also in any situation of life where social interactions may become subject to day-and-night practice of these magical abilities.
One should never tell anyone else about such practice, since people are afraid of what they do not understand, or what they are unable to do; they assume the worst — danger for themselves. They often try to dominate what is not in their power, since self-preservation is the principal instinct. The closer an effort gets to the human Ego, the more opposition the Ego exerts to protect itself. This is exactly why even sophisticated Yoga practitioners are often opposed to various psychic-energy effects that they witness when watching advanced students, or when new elements are introduced in the training program by the teacher, which provide previously inaccessible real psychic-energy transformation.
In order to soften this kind of resistance by those who have not yet started to realize, and use Rasas in their training, need to understand a simple truth: the occurrence of psychic-energy modification in the course of the practice of Yoga is absolutely consistent and inevitable. And the way to the peaks of spiritual development in Yoga goes through the complete realizing and practical control of Rasas.
Modification and stable fixation of various Rasas develops the ability to identify particular psychic-energy dominants in the consciousness, and to be free of them. Even during the initial stage this, as a minimum, allows the practitioner to get rid of the stresses and adverse effects of routine life, improve one’s self-restoration capability, to become more powerful and to feel harmony in any situation.
There are a number of typical Rasas, for example:
- love and hatred
- charity and selfishness
- calmness and instability
- peace and aggression
- spirituality and materiality
- modesty and self-conceit
- wisdom and delusion
- activity and passivity
- industry and laziness
- audacity and fear
- assurance and cowardice
- sensitivity and stupidity
- discipline and laxity
There are many others. Each Rasa may also have a number of different shades, or may manifest itself as a mixture of several Rasas.
In the process of training, each of the practitioners shows individual psychic-energy dominants, the density of which may increase or decrease over time. These are, as a rule, the Rasas that facilitate successful practice. But they are absolutely different in different styles of practice. For example, Ha-style is characterized by firm intention and the control and tension of the «iron» will. Whereas, Tha-style is characterized by soft sensitivity, loss of will, and relaxation. Practice of the styles, which are based on the ascending «flow», use a number of different psychic-energy states. But the styles based on the “descending flow” are usually characterized by the «Buddhist» background of the absence of emotions and detachment. In practice, one should never give any preference to particular Rasas such as those that are easily attainable, or to ignore those that are difficult to attain or are unpleasant. Without realizing the practical control over the whole Rasa’s spectrum, it is impossible to gain power over various dominants in the consciousness. The practitioner will also not be able to fully control his psychic-energy structure and social behavior, and, consequently, will not be able to realize the spiritual ideals of the Tradition of Yoga in his life.
Given this, the practice of «negative» Rasas should be done impartially, as in a play or art to be anyone, or as specific «psychic makivara», which may be used to work off all the energy of the compressed springs of internal imbalance (if any), and, thereby liberate one’s consciousness from them, thus achieving contentment, harmony and equilibrium.
Manifestation of particular Rasas depends on the domineering functions of particular psychic-energy centers — Chakras. Therefore, there is a principle in the Tradition of Yoga that one should first master principal Rasas, i. e., try to selectively fix psychic-energy properties, pertinent to a particular Chakra. This position is based on the following analogy: the three primary colors (red, blue and yellow) serve as the basis of all colors, the rest being the combination of these basic colors in various proportions. So, various Rasas are manifestations of the mixture of psychic-energy dominants of the seven principal Chakras:
1. Muladhara Chakra — simplicity, durability, materiality (Pic. 1 a, b).
2. Swadhisthana Chakra — sensitivity, jocosity, sexuality (Pic. 2 a, b).
3. Manipura Chakra — purpose, willfulness, industry (Pic. 3 a, b).
4. Anahata Chakra — compassion, mercy, charity (Pic. 4 a, b).
5. Visuddha Chakra — insight, creative inspiration, persuasion (Pic. 5 a, b).
6. Ajnya Chakra — clarity, assurance, rationality (Pic. 5 a, b).
7. Sahasrara Chakra — spirituality, content, wisdom (Pic. 7 a, b).
Complete mastering of these principal Rasas allows you to achieve the eighth Rasa (Stumbha), which is, on the one hand, a potential ability to manifest the whole spectrum of the above Rasa properties. On the other hand, it allows one to be ambiguous, unpredictable, and spiritually free (Pic. 8).
If the seven Chakras listed above are characterized by the general properties of availability, manifestation and presence, the eighth Rasa is characterized by the opposite qualities of absence and non-manifestation.
Beside the seven principal Chakras, the psychic-energy structure of a man contains a variety of other Chakras. The scope of this book, however, will not allow the illustration of the complete diversity of the potential psychic-energy states. Therefore, all of the above properties pertaining to particular Rasas are simply examples, sufficient to understand the main orientation in practicing conscious control over Rasas.
Complete transfer of the qualities of Rasas by means of photography in the distracting conditions of a photo studio is quite a complicated task, since the requirement of giving commands to the photographer about the readiness of taking pictures of a particular Rasa distracts and modifies the required states at that moment. Therefore, the pictures presented should not be treated with criticism. Nevertheless, these serve as an example, sufficient enough to allow the readers to catch some peculiarities of particular Rasas, and to later learn to distinguish between them in oneself and other people. This develops the ability to make the Rasas more and more conscious and proficient on the level of one’s own psychic-energy modifications and interactions with surrounding living beings.
One should also note that each Chakra might be manifested in two ways, i.e. in positive and in negative quality. If, for example, the fourth center is manifested in the positive quality, this leads to concerned behavior, and the ability to be sympathetic, compassionate, and merciful to all living beings requiring help. If this center is manifested in the negative quality, this can lead to cruelty, indifference and the inability to be compassionate and merciful.
In addition, the properties of each Chakra may be manifested through the remaining centers. If, for example, the second center is active, its sexuality will condition the respective themes for the creative efforts of the fifth center, or direct all thoughts to a single purpose, coloring one’s thinking with sexual tendencies. There are numerous examples of poets and artists who manifested creative abilities of their fifth center exclusively through the use of the energy of the second center in love poems and paintings depicting something sexual.
Therefore, each Chakra, being linked to the remaining psychic-energy centers, may be manifested in different ways under the influence of the properties of the other centers.
Differentiating and controlling Rasas opens a whole world of interactions, existing in parallel to organic metabolism. The perception of life manifestations becomes of absolute interest to anyone who begins developing their abilities and reaching more sophisticated levels of Yoga practice.
Due to the fact that psychic-energy practice is extremely individual, it would be ill advised to suggest a generalized Rasas practice method, since it is most likely that it would not suit the majority of followers. These skills are unmistakably conveyed, and much more effectively adopted, only through direct contact with a teacher.