Khamúrtti. (1 ) Kha + múrtti = khamúrtti. Khamúrtti literally means “image in space”. Since ancient times rśis, sages, yogis, and spiritual aspirants have sometimes seen a kind of luminous body or disembodied soul, by the divine grace of Parama Puruśa. These luminous bodies assist spiritual aspirants in all possible ways.
Only spiritual aspirants are able to see these luminous bodies through the grace of Parama Puruśa. Though they are visible to the naked eye, they cannot be photographed. Spiritual aspirants can speak to these luminous bodies and get answers to their questions. While the words of a spiritual aspirant may be recorded on a tape recorder, the answers given by the luminous bodies cannot be recorded. If a spiritual aspirant asks them for any mundane object, they may or may not grant the request. If they do grant the request, they do so only once, and after that they will never come within that person’s sight again.
If a spiritual aspirant asks for something spiritual, one may get it either directly or through the siddhas. Siddhas are a category of microvita (2 ) which are very helpful to spiritual aspirants. Yogis and spiritual aspirants say that sometimes during their sádhaná they see siddhas and receive direct help from them.
People see khamúrttis due to the grace of Parama Puruśa. But the guru cautions them that they should never ask for any object of enjoyment or any mundane object from a khamúrtti. If people want objects of enjoyment, they will find themselves caught in the insidious snare of enjoyment.
It is worth mentioning here that one should not confuse khamúrtti with cháyá puruśa. Cháyá Puruśa is a mere game of light and shade. If someone gazes intently on a dazzling white object and then looks at a dimly-lit object, one will only see a shadow. This shadow is called cháyá puruśa. If you look towards the sun for a while and then look at another part of the sky, you will see a kind of shadow. Similarly, if you look at the flame of a burning lamp for some time and then look at a source of dim light, you are sure to see a kind of shadow.
In ancient times, people who practised hypnotism (3 ) would see cháyá puruśa at night with the help of the moon, or with the help of a burning lamp (fueled by ghee) on new-moon nights. With their vision fixed on the cháyá puruśa, they would gradually become conversant with the science of hypnotism. Since olden times, the practice of Avidyá Tantra and the science of hypnotism have been well known in India and China. In modern times, the science of hypnotism was used to cure disease by Dr. Mesmer, a [European] physician. Since then, curing diseases by the science of hypnotism has been called “mesmerism”, after him. So now you understand that cháyá puruśa as used in hypnotism or mesmerism is only a game of light and shade.
A khamúrtti, however, is a thoroughly spiritual vision. Cháyá puruśa is a mere image of a shadow, whereas khamúrtti is an image of bright effulgence. If any of you have had a chance to see such a khamúrtti or are still seeing one on any occasion due to the grace of the guru, you should not pray for any mundane object or for any finite object of enjoyment from these khamúrttis.
There is yet another kind of shadowy appearance unrelated to khamúrtti. In Tantra this is known as yakśińii darshana. As a result of practising a special type of Tantra, people attain the yakśińii siddhi. (Such people are known as yakśińii siddhas – sádhakas who have attained a type of occult power.) These yakśińiis (4 ) work under the instructions of the siddhas, and provided that some rules and regulations are not violated, they abide by their instructions. Usually the yakśińiis cannot be induced to perform any evil deed. They have no influence in the supernatural and spiritual spheres – their influence is primarily exerted in the physical sphere and to some extent in the psychic sphere. They follow the yakśińii siddhas like a shadowy image, and very often can be found moving on walls or inside rooms like black shadows. I have never heard of anyone being harmed by a yakśińii, but it may have happened.
I know a certain person who was a professor of physics in a college in Bihar. Let us suppose his name was Swapneshwar Chattopadhyaya. I heard that he had attained yakśińii siddhi. He did not have a son, but a daughter who lived far away from him, in the house of her father-in-law. She had a daughter who used to live with her grandparents (Swapneshwar Chattopadhyaya and his wife). The granddaughter was very young – about two or three years old.
Once Mr. Chattopadhyaya had to go to Calcutta for quite a long time in connection with his academic pursuits. His wife – say her name was Kanika – was a very good but a timid woman. The thought that she would have to live alone for a long time made her feel half-dead. After all, how far could she rely on her tiny granddaughter? Mr. Chattopadhyaya consoled his wife, saying, “Don’t worry. My yakśińii will take care of you. She will help you in all ways.” On the eve of his departure for Calcutta, he showed his wife a black shadowy image reflected on the wall of their meditation room. Though the figure was very small, it looked like a human figure. Mr. Chattopadhyaya said to his wife, “This yakśińii will protect you from all troubles and dangers.”
He set out on his journey and was expected to return after forty-five days. Immediately after his departure, many strange things began to happen. Wherever Kanika went, the image of the yakśińii followed her like a shadow. For the first few days Kanika was a bit nervous, seeing the shadowy image, but later on, as she was obliged to spend time in its company, she overcame her fear. Rather, she grew more courageous than before.
At noon one day, while Kanika was washing the dishes in the kitchen, she suddenly noticed that the image of the yakśińii was shaking abnormally. At first she was puzzled, but then she saw the yakśińii move quickly out of the room. She followed the image and also left the room. The yakśińii came to the door of the living room beside the main gate. Kanika discovered that a thief dressed like a gentleman was about to escape with a suitcase that was kept in the room. The thief caught sight of Kanika and took to his heels, leaving the suitcase behind. The main gate had been left open by mistake.
On another day, Kanika was sitting in the kitchen kneading flour. Suddenly she noticed that the yakśińii was shaking violently again. Kanika looked at the figure in utter amazement. Immediately it went out of the kitchen, and Kanika followed it closely. The yakśińii rushed towards the well across the courtyard of the house. As soon as Kanika looked towards the well she became alarmed… horrified. She noticed that her three-year-old granddaughter was sitting precariously on the edge of the well, looking down into it. If she moved slightly this way or that, or if she moved only a little to look at her own reflection in the water, she would immediately fall into the well. No one could prevent her certain death. Kanika moved stealthily forward from behind, picked the child up, and placed her on her lap.
Barely a month had passed since Swapneshwar had left for Calcutta. One day Kanika was cutting okra (“ladies’ finger”) in the kitchen. Suddenly she looked at the image of the yakśińii on the wall, and she noticed that it was gradually disappearing. She looked all over the wall but could not see the image anywhere. Meanwhile, she heard the sound of someone knocking at the front door. Kanika went to the door and opened it, only to see Swapneshwar standing on the doorstep. Seeing Kanika, Swapneshwar said, “I was supposed to stay in Calcutta for one and a half months, but as the job was finished in one month, I came home without delay.”
I am narrating what little information I have about yakśińiis. Formerly, some people used to perform yakśińii sádhaná according to the prescribed Tantric rituals. I do not know if people still do the same thing today. In the past there were no caste or communal barriers as far as these Tantric practices were concerned, nor are there any today.
The system of performing sádhaná on various deities is not exactly the same as this, but somewhat similar. Deities like shadowy figures also become visible through this practice. Although this sádhaná is different to some extent from the sádhaná of yakśińii siddhi, the psychology in both is the same. All the systems of Kálii siddhi, Durgá siddhi, d́ákinii siddhi, yakśińii siddhi, etc., are different in practice, yet they are similar theoretically. In case one wants to achieve the siddhi of various deities, one should acquire more mental purity than in the case of yakśińii siddhi, dákinii siddhi, yoginii siddhi, etc., because this subject concerns the psychic stratum. It is of elevated nature, but it has no relation whatsoever to the realm of genuine spirituality.
Once when I visited Allahabad, a certain gentleman came in contact with me. He told me that he had attained Kálii siddhi. I said to him, “Well, can you try to tell me something about your experiences? For instance, what do you see, what do you understand, etc.?”
He said, “I perform sádhaná according to such and such system. One day after sádhaná I saw a shadowy image of Kálii on the wall. Since then, whenever my mind gets concentrated, that image of Kálii produces some kind of vibration in my mind which enables me to understand what it wants to convey to me. Last night that image conveyed to me that you were coming to Allahabad today from Bihar and that you would stay here for a few days.”
I asked him, “Can you see the red mark on Kálii’s feet, her ankle bells, her iron bangles, the garland of skulls around her neck, the garland of fingers, etc.?”
He replied, “No, I do not see anything like that. All those things are mixed up in the shadow. The shadow itself is the combination of all those things.”
Then I asked him about yakśińii siddhi, and I also asked if he knew the difference between yakśińii siddhi and Kálii siddhi.
In the case of sádhaná for yakśińii siddhi, there is less devotional intensity due to lack of deep ideation. But during Kálii sádhaná there is a fair degree of devotion, and at the same time the psychic state is somewhat peaceful. Usually, people do not utilize Kálii shakti for destructive purposes, but of course there may be some Avidyá Tantrics who use their acquired power for malevolent deeds.
This type of siddhi of various deities is a kind of psychic achievement of a higher order, yet this has nothing to do with the spiritual world.
Uttamo Brahmasadbhávo madhyamá dhyánadhárańá;
Japastutih syádhadhamá múrtipújádhamádhamá.
[Ideation on Brahma is the best, dhyána and dhárańá are second best, repetitious incantation and eulogistic prayer are the worst, and idol worship is the worst of the worst.]
You may have heard that some people attain bhúta siddhi or preta siddhi (the ability to communicate with ghosts). This ability is greatly inferior to yakśińii siddhi. In olden days, some people would follow the practice of bhúta siddhi, usually to extend their influence or to do harm to others, and would perform many misdeeds. Today no one follows this practice; if some people do, they are very few.
Instances of people being possessed by ghosts, gods and goddesses, d́ákiniis, yoginiis, etc., are somewhat similar to this from the psychological perspective. You may have noticed that sometimes people look for those who are “possessed” by Manasá [snake goddess], Satii-Má [Mother Satii], etc., when they feel an immense desire to find answers to their questions. Others visit special places or localities to attain the exact answers to their problems.
Although these things are similar psychologically, they are somewhat different in practice. To treat various diseases by performing a special type of dhárańá [deep concentration] on various gods and goddesses, is nothing but the play of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious levels of the mind.
If, due to the grace of Parama Puruśa, someone gets the chance to see a khamúrtti and asks that entity for success on the path of self-abnegation, then one may get such inspiration from that siddha devayoni (positive microvitum). One will merge one’s individual existence and spiritual flow into the Macrocosmic stance of Parama Puruśa and attain savisheśa or savikalpa samadhi, the state of partial absorption of mind; or, by merging in the supreme stance of Parama Puruśa, attain nirvisheśa or nirvikalpa samádhi, the state of complete absorption of mind. This is the summit of spiritual attainment. In the final stages of one’s spiritual journey, the entitative existence of the sádhaka is merged into Parama Puruśa.
Translated from a dharshan by Mahasambhuti
(1) The contents of this chapter consists of elaboration on the words khamúrtti and khamúrttimán. The author’s discourse on that day entailed linguistic discussion of a number of Sanskrit terms; the discussion of each term became an entry in the author’s linguistic encyclopedia Shabda Cayaniká (“Collection of Words”). –Eds.
(2) Microvita are entities which come within the realms both of physicality and of psychic expression. They are smaller and subtler than physical atoms and sub-atomic particles, and in the psychic realm they may be subtler than ectoplasm (citta, or mind-stuff). –Eds.
(3) In those days hypnotism or sammohana vidyá was considered a part of Avidyá Tantra. The six “actions” considered part of Avidyá Tantra are márańa, vashiikarańa, uccát́ana, sammohana, shántikarma and stambhana.
(4) A yakśińii is not the same as a yakśa, which is one of the seven devayonis. –Eds.
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