Tagged: yoga

Sleep Paralysis In Yoga Tradition

What is sleep paralysis? How is the experience interpreted in yoga tradition?

Every night we suffer from sleep paralysis. But we are not always aware of it. Sleep paralysis occurs while we are half awake and half asleep and we can’t move.

“Always when I’m going off to sleep. It’s pretty much the same”, Ted, a 35 year old British psychologist described his experiences of sleep paralysis. “My eyes are open and I get the sense something in the room is happening. Then a shape gathers. A presence. I can feel its weight. I have multisensory sensations. I feel like my body is floating. I can’t move it. I try to make a sound in my throat. I can’t. As I keep struggling to cry out, eventually scream out and that wakes me up and then I can move my body.”[1]

As I was thinking about writing this post, I kept hearing readers tell me, “You don’t know that sleep paralysis is similar to yoga meditation experiences. Who are you to speculate on the traditions and experiences of yogis, saints, and mystics?” I had my doubts about writing this post. While what I write may not adequately address all aspects of sleep paralysis and interpretations, I feel it is important anyway to write this article.

In between sleeping and waking, in this “threshold consciousness”, are a variety of mental phenomena that includes lucid dreaming, hallucinations, and sleep paralysis. I assert the sleep paralysis may be, in yoga tradition, what is interpreted as union with god, soul, or spirit. But more on that later. First, let’s return to what happens in our body during sleep paralysis.

What Happens During Sleep Paralysis?

While sleeping, your body alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. One REM and one NREM sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. First is the NREM sleep cycle which takes as much as 75% of your overall sleep time. During NREM sleep, your body relaxes and rejuvenates itself. At the end of NREM, your sleep shifts to REM. Your eyes move rapidly, dreams occur while the rest of your body remains very relaxed. During REM your muscles are “switched off”. If you become aware and interrupt before the REM cycle is finished, you may notice you cannot move or speak. This is sleep paralysis.[2]

In Something Wicked This Way Comes: Causes and Interpretations of Sleep Paralysis Chris French, Professor and Psychologist at University of London, identified three psychological factors in the experience of sleep paralysis:

  1. Intruder — The person may sense a presence, hear voices or strange sounds, and see lights or visions. In a word–hallucinate.
  2. Incubus[3] — The experiencer may feel pressure, be unable to voluntarily control breathing, may panic creating a feeling of suffocation or difficulty breathing.
  3. Unusual body experiences — Sensations of floating, flying, or hovering, and out of body experiences. Proprioception, self-orientation within the body, is missing or out of order.

Sleep paralysis may evoke feelings of bliss or terror. The experience may be interpreted differently by different cultures or traditions. In Hinduism, Viśvarūpa is Sanskrit for “sacred terror”. Whether the experience is terrible or joyful is irrelevant. It’s the tradition and the interpretation that frames it as either sleep paralysis or sacred yoga.

How is sleep paralysis experience interpreted by yoga meditation tradition?

Narada prostrating before Vishvamurti, Public Domain.
Narada prostrating before Vishvamurti, Public Domain.

Yoga Tradition and Sleep Paralysis Experience

Famed yogi-guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, taught his students a “Definite Technique of Attaining Ecstasy:

“As you are falling asleep each night, keep your eyes half-open and focused at the point between the eyebrows; consciously enjoy in a relaxed nonchalant way the state at the border of joyous sleep as long as you can hold it without falling asleep, and you will learn to go into ecstasy at will. . . Try to remain in this state from five minutes to one hour, then you will know about yoga: conscious communion of your soul with God.”[4]

The practice of the yogi-guru’s technique (above) could result in what Western medicine and psychology says is sleep paralysis. Yogananda interprets sleep paralysis experience as “yoga: conscious communion of your soul with God”.

Another aspect of sleep paralysis which overlaps with yoga tradition is samadhi. Samadhi is by tradition the supreme goal of yoga (union or communion with God).

Let’s examine some similarities between so-called yoga samadhi and sleep paralysis.

Similarities Between Yoga Samadhi and Sleep Paralysis

When compared with sleep paralysis we find many similarities between yoga samadhi experiences, which include:

  • Immobilized body, unable to move
  • Altered or heightened awareness
  • Heard voices, sounds
  • Saw shapes, visions
  • Sensed presence
  • Disabled physical senses
  • Labored breathing
  • Panicked to breathe, speak, or move
  • Felt terror[5] or bliss (depending on experiencer interpretation)
  • Sensed floating, levitating
  • Hovered, outside, or “above” the physical body

To be aware is to experience. No awareness, no experience. After awareness of experience comes interpretation.

For instance, you become aware you can feel or control your “breathing”. Terror sets in. You panic. You gasp for breath. Or, you feel detached from your physical body. You feel bliss or terror.

I had panicked during yoga meditation. My awareness just landed on “not breathing” after feeling “outside” my body. I panicked and gasped for air. Coming back to voluntary control of my body.

An American-born swami-monk lectured around the world about the blessings of yoga meditation. The first time he practiced his guru’s yoga meditation technique, he told audiences he panicked when he became aware he was “not breathing”. Gasping finally resulted in sucking air into his lungs. Immediately the swami said he was brought back into his body consciousness.

Personal experiences like these are anecdotes, not proof the phenomena are objectively real. Returning now to the anecdotes reported by yogis and experiences of sleep paralysis patients, let’s examine the differences.

Differences Between Yoga Samadhi and Sleep Paralysis

Differences between sleep paralysis and yoga samadhi, includes:

Sleep Paralysis Yoga samadhi
Very common. More than 3 million US cases per year.[6] Legendary, mythical claims and anecdotal stories not well-documented nor verified by independent researchers.
Reproduced, well-documented by independent researchers in various lab experiments. Not reproduced, not well-documented by independent research or lab experiments.
Mechanism fairly well-understood for how and why physical and psychological phenomena occurs during half awake, half asleep state. No “samadhi” or superconscious awareness has been clearly explained in a verifiable, credible way. No scientifically known mechanism for how and why a superconsciousness exists or is actually different from non-supernatural brain states, such as sleep paralysis.
Recorded durations of seconds or minutes. Said to last minutes, hours, days, years, or for eternity (when one reaches godhood or cosmic consciousness). No well-documented cases from independent researchers or experiments.

What can sleep paralysis teach us about yoga traditions?

When we compare sleep paralysis and yoga samadhi experiences we find many similarities. Not all phenomena related to so-called yoga samadhi and sleep paralysis experiences are the same. Paramahansa Yogananda’s “Definite Technique of Attaining Ecstasy” seems to be yoga method to induce sleep paralysis. The ecstasy or experience that Yogananda and yoga tradition may interpret as supreme yoga–union or communion with God–physicians and psychologists may call sleep paralysis.

Have you experienced sleep paralysis? Yoga “samadhi”? What do you think of similarities or differences between the interpretations by yoga tradition?

Notes

1 Professor Chris French, Something Wicked This Way Comes: Causes and Interpretations of Sleep Paralysis. Presentation at Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London, Oct. 11, 2009. Accessed Aug. 30, 2016, https://vimeo.com/11459308.

2 “Sleep Paralysis”. WebMD, accesssed Aug. 30, 2016, http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-paralysis#1-3.

3 “Sleep Paralysis”. Rationalwiki, accessed Sep. 1, 2016, http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis. In Medieval Europe demons called incubus were said to attack women and succubus to attack men, usually sexually. Different cultures interpret differently but usually mythologically the experiences of sleep paralysis, altered awareness, and yoga samadhi.

4  Paramahansa Yogananda, Self-Realization Fellowship Lesson 154. Yogananda refers to “conscious” sleep throughout his yoga lessons, “The soul may use its intuition together with life force released from bodily activities during the relaxation of sleep to project true visions on the screen of the subconscious. Visions may show events to come, as the soul can use its intuitive power to “photograph” future happenings. But a vision does not appear until sufficient energy has been relaxed from the heart and from the ordinary waking consciousness (as in sleep) to project it”, Lesson 73. And, “This detachment of the mind from body consciousness [during yoga meditation] is similar to that experienced in sleep, except that one remains consciously aware”, Summary Lesson.

5 “Visvarupa”. Wikipedia, accessed Sep. 1, 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vishvarupa. Bliss and terror are bedfellows in Hindu mythology. Viśvarūpa is Sanskrit for “sacred terror”. In the Bhagavad Gita, the Hindu bible, Lord Krishna reveals to his chief-disciple, Arjuna, the Viśvarūpa experience. Arjuna is terrified by Viśvarūpa, said to the universal form of Hindu God(s).
6 “Sleep Paralysis”. Mayo Clinic and Google Search, accessed Aug. 30, 2016,  https://g.co/kgs/3Vw3IB.

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Critical Biography

buddha serpentWas Patanjali a real person or a half-human, half-snake god? Was the Yoga Sutra a “classical” text? Where have the translations come from?

These and many other questions are explored in The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography by David Gordon White professor of religious studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and the author of several books, including The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions In Medieval India (read my post on it), Kiss of the Yogini, Yoga in Practice, and Sinister Yogis (read my post on it).

Modern Yoga is an amalgam of Occult, New Age, and Christian-Hindu Metaphysics packaged for consumers who may seldom, if ever, examine critically the actual origins of the philosophy and practices of Yoga. (Read my critical posts of Yoga). The Yoga Sutra, like most ancient sacred texts, has little in common with the original version.

yoga sutra of patanjali white-minBelow is my review and commentary on:
The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography (Lives of Great Religious Books)
by David Gordon White, Princeton University Press, 2014. Print.

“Big Yoga–the corporate yoga subculture–has elevated the Yoga Sutra to a status it never knew, even during its seventh- to twelfth-century heyday” writes White in his Preface.

Patanjali (first century BCE or fourth century CE) is the name of the mysterious author-compiler of the Yoga Sutra, acclaimed in modern yoga circles. In twelfth century Tamil traditions, Patancali (spelled with a “c”) is the name of a half-man half-snake incarnation of the great serpent-god, Ananta. Later scholars, identified this mythic Tamil Patancali with the Sanskrit Patanjali of the Yoga Sutra. Was the author of the Sutra a human, Patanjali?

What actually is the Yoga Sutra?

Literally, they are 196 obscure stanzas written in Sanskrit. What we read are not the original.

What we actually get in the Yoga Sutra of Patanjali are interpretations of commentaries.

“When we speak of the philosophy of Patanjali we really mean (or should mean) is the understanding of Patanjali according to Vyasa [mythic ‘editor’ of the Vedas (1200 BCE) and Mahabharata (400 CE)]: It is Vyasa who determined what Patanjali’s abstruse sutras meant, and all the subsequent commentators elaborated on Vyasa…” says Rutgers University professor Edwin Bryant, a scholar of Hinduism.

Vyasa-min
Vyasa

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography is a chronicle of the Yoga Sutra’s principle commentators to-date: including Vyasa, eighteenth century German romantic philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Theosophical Society founder Helena Blavatsky (read my post), first Indian Guru to come to the West Swami Vivekananda (read my post), famous twentieth century yoga teacher Krishnamacharya and others.

White weaves together a narrative of biographies about the chief commentators that crafted what we call the Yoga Sutra.

White concludes his book with Yoga Sutra 2.0, that is, his final chapter on what may be next, along with some “alternative theories” about how the Sutras may have been “hijacked” or co opted by translators or commentators to promote their agendas. He also shares a provocative theory of scholars that the Sutra was originally a Buddhist work that was reinterpreted into a Hindu text.

Critical scholars, like David Gordon White, could grind the Yoga Sutra down into analytical powder for ever, and not be able to provide definitive answers (kind of like biblical scholarship).

Yoga students may find White’s critical biography contradicts Modern Yoga teachers who claim lineage with the original Sutras of Patanjali.

The Yoga Sutra of Patanjali: A Biography is for ardent students and critical researchers of yoga. Yet, this book is easy to read for the non-technical, non-academic reader with keen interest in yoga. Readers of White’s book may never see The Yoga Sutra as “sacred” or “original” again.

Souls, Selves, and Afterlife Contradictions

Afterlife, Keoni Cabral, Flickr, CC BY 2.0
Afterlife, Keoni Cabral, Flickr, CC BY 2.0

More powerful than beliefs in Gods, our notions of the afterlife shape our self-consciousness. What we think of death drives our desires and actions in the here-and-now.

My quest for self-realization–of life after death–was pursued in decades-long practice of yoga meditation. Paramahansa Yogananda taught the disciples that when yoga meditation was properly practiced it led to voluntary death of the ego and body.

“Many yogis in India can say with St. Paul, ‘Verily, I protest by our rejoicing which I have in Christ, I die daily.’ Yogananda goes on to say, “Death may be either an involuntary or a voluntary switching off of the life current from the bulb of flesh, Yogis who know how to operate the switch of the heart, and to control their heartbeats, can quit the body quickly and at will; or stay in it as long as they wish. [See also my posts Can Yogis Stop Their Heart? and The Evidence Against Breathlessness and Samadhi]

Given the primacy of afterlife beliefs in shaping human consciousness and activities, it is vitally important to examine notions of life after death.

Our post here continues these afterlife explorations with eight quotations from the highly recommended book Life After Death: A History of the Afterlife in Western Religion by Alan F. Segal.

The democratic West is based upon the internal experience of self-consciousness and the conviction that this individual self-reflection is the basis and definition of a unique, even a transcendent self. It valorizes that personal experience as transcendent, saying the examined life transcends our short span of years. p 714

Modern America, Christian or not, has ineluctably retreated to the position of the pagan philosophers of late antiquity: Our souls are immortal by nature; all will be saved…that it is really self-realization that guarantees our salvation. p 715

It was Plato’s doctrine of immortality of the soul that allowed us to focus on our conscious experiences, that valorized those experiences and eventually made the “self” the center of philosophical interest in the West, that made the “self” as well as God, a transcendent value in Western thought. p 716

In traditional religious parlance, notions of the transcendent self are not universal. In many kinds of Buddhism the concept of the “self” is itself a fundamental mistake; for many Buddhist intellectuals there is, in truth, no continuous self. Realizing that we are not ultimate is the better part of reaching enlightenment. p 718

In the great Asian religions, transcendence is often signified by inscrutability: the Tao (way) that can be uttered is not the real Tao, say the Tao te Ching in its first statement. Confucianism believes it cannot be fully understood by any one person or in any single instantiation. One cannot reach Moksha (liberation) merely by trying to understand it with the discursive mind but must meditate on it. By claiming that the mind cannot understand or comprehend a value, these systems are affirming transcendence in the values named as “inscrutable”. p 722

People who live with faith today, whether in the majority or minority, are living in a world that does not need the hypotheses of religion to explain the universe. We can live perfectly complete lives without it if we want. But few do. p 730

It is the afterlife that provides the answer to every unbalanced equation. Every injustice can be righted there, every disability can be made whole, every individual, rich or poor, can find solace from personal trials and tribulations. p 697

The sureties provided by the afterlife normally demand that it be a socially shared phenomenon. That confirmation is normally provided by powerful, religious institutions in society. p697

Perhaps even more powerful than beliefs in Gods are socially shared notions of the afterlife. Our beliefs in what may happen after death shape our self-consciousness and actions in the here-and-now.

My own quest for self-realization led me to decades-long practice of yoga meditation under the tutelage of an Indian guru, Paramahansa Yogananda. Yogis and devotees claim that consciousness survives death. Yet, for many Buddhist intellectuals there is no continuation of the self.

Amidst the contradictions, why are so many people confident humans have a soul, a transcendent self, or a life after death?

The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You?

the buddha pillCan practice of contemplative techniques bring lasting personal change? If so, are changes always for the better?

Two Oxford psychologists, Miguel Farias and Catherine Wikholm, examine the empirical evidence and tease out facts from fictions about meditation.

In The Buddha Pill: Can Meditation Change You? Farias and Wikholm examine 40 years of clinical studies about the effects of Transcendental Meditation, popularized by Beatles Guru Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, and investigate the astonishing claims made by mindfulness meditation advocates.

Meditation practice appears to have physiological benefits. Yet, “a crucial problem”, grapples Farias, “is how to pinpoint the active ingredient of mindfulness that helps with depression.” (p 111)

The authors also did their own empirical studies using inmates of U.K. prisons: stress-testing the effects of yoga meditation on murderers, rapists, and thugs.

Examining 40 years of research on effects of meditation, the authors concluded:

  1. Scientific evidence for lasting change from meditation practice is weak.
  2. Only modest changes for practitioners of meditation. Yet many who use or teach meditation techniques make astonishing claims about their powers.
  3. Meditation gives rise to different mental states, but there is nothing physiologically extraordinary going on.
  4. Studies are poorly conducted: have small sample sizes, lack proper control groups, and full of problematic biases. They explain why in detail.
  5. There is a dark side to meditation–psychosis, breakdowns, and violent behaviors–that seldom is spoken of by meditation advocates and practitioners.

Farias and Wikholm are sympathetic to meditation. Though the empirical evidence revealed that meditation is not a cure-all and is not a magic pill, while some practitioners experience nothing and others have adverse side-effects.

“I haven’t stopped believing in meditation’s ability to fuel change, but I am concerned that the science of meditation is promoting a skewed view: meditation wasn’t developed so we could lead less stressful lives or improve our wellbeing. It’s primary purpose was much more radical–to rupture your idea of who you are; to shake to the core your sense of self so that you realize there is ‘nothing there’.” (p 152)

The chapter The Dark Side of Meditation gives many examples of Buddhist violence and how a Buddha or bodhisattva may justify killing. Farias recounts how during his visit to an Indian yoga guru’s ashram, he was confronted by machine gun-carrying guards and was walled-in by pro-death penalty posters. “What if Hitler had meditated?” they ask: speculating what if the Fuhrer would have meditated and experienced lasting physiological change, conquered the world by compassion and peace instead of killing and violence.

“One of the crucial teachings of Buddhism is that of emptiness: the self is ultimately unreal, so the bodhisattva who kills with full knowledge of the emptiness of the self, kills no one; both the self of the killer and the self of the the killed are nothing more than an illusion (p 166).

“The most recent evidence, which analyzes dozens of studies conducted over more than forty years, suggests that if you are generally anxious or emotionally unstable, TM (Transcendental Meditation) will help you to a moderate extent, and will be more effective than simple relaxation. If you have have high blood pressure, the American Heart Association recommends TM (while mindfulness is not recommended), although physical exercise, such as swimming or running, would be better.” (p 14)

A ground-breaking book, The Buddha Pill, promotes critical thinking about meditation in an easy to follow and yoga-friendly tone. Farias and Wikholm guide the reader to question and think critically about the astonishing claims of meditation advocates.

Can Yogis Stop Their Heart?

Paramahamsa Sacchidananda, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0
Yogi Swami Sacchidananda, Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0

Investigating whether yogis can voluntarily control heartbeat

This post explores heart-stopping claims of yogis, in three parts:

1) Experiments in India, lab tests with yogis

2) Heart-stopping claims of famous yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda

3) How to “stop” heartbeat and pulse

“Prominent among the many claims of unusual bodily control that emanate from practitioners of Yoga is the ability to stop the heart and radial pulse”, says Wenger, Bagchi, and Anand in Experiments in India on “Voluntary” Control of the Heart and Pulse1. During the author’s investigations in India they searched for persons who claimed to stop the heart or pulse. Assisted by many individuals including the Indian press, they found four people for their experiment.

Colored Heartbeats, Duane Schoon, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Colored Heartbeats, Duane Schoon, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Experiments in India on “Voluntary” Control of the Heart

Summary of article from Circulation: Journal of American Heart Association, Experiments in India on “Voluntary” Control of the Heart and Pulse:

Equipment and Procedures

Briefly, lab equipment consisted of electroencephalograph (EEG) for recording respiration, skin temperature, electrical skin conductance, and finger blood volume changes. Procedures varied according to the cooperativeness of the subject and other circumstances.

Four claimed to stop or slow heart

The first two subjects claimed they could stop the heart. The second two claimed to slow heartbeat.

No. 1. Shri Sal Gram, at Yogashram, New Delhi, made four attempts at one session. Little change occurred; changes in heart rate were small. There was no indication of heart arrest. The subject refused further cooperation.

No. 2. Shri Ramananda Yogi, of Andhra, age 33, at All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, made seven attempts on two days, and additional experiments on a third day. His pulse, although very feeble, could be felt. No heart sounds could be heard but heartbeat was detected using EEG.

No. 3. Shri T. Krishnamacharya, of Madras, age 67, at Vivekananda College, Madras. In 1935 this subject had apparently demonstrated to a Dr. Brosse that he had stopped his heart. This time he would only agree to demonstrate the method he had employed, pranayama (yogic breathing), but with minimum apparatus attached. There was no absence of heart sounds but at one time the pulse was not detectable in either wrist.

Photo via Mayo Clinic, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Heart muscle, Mayo Clinic, Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

No. 4. Shri N. R. Upadhyaya, age 37, at Kaivalyadhamna, Lonavla. This subject did not claim to stop the heart, but only to slow it. The maneuver occurred in the reclining position. He was tested on three days. There was little change in magnitude of heartbeat but significant slowing of heart rate.

Methods to “control” heart

The method of “control” of heartbeat for the first three subjects involved holding the breath and considerable tensing of the muscles in the abdomen and thorax, variations of yogic exercises or pranayama.

The researchers concluded the veins that returned blood to the heart were restricted but that the heart was not stopped. While sounds from the heart and pulse were weakened or disappeared.

The fourth subject, with different intervening mechanisms of muscle control, did markedly slow his heart for a maximum of three seconds.

Conclusion of experiments

The researchers said it was obvious that the four subjects did not voluntarily control the heart muscle. The abdominal and thorax muscles were used to intervene and restrict blood flow to slow heart rate, or to weaken or eliminate sounds from the heart and pulse. Only one subject could be said to have markedly “stopped” or significantly slowed the heart for a few seconds.

Read the entire article Experiments in India on “Voluntary” Control of the Heart and Pulse, Circulation: Journal of American Heart Association

Paramahansa Yogananda, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
Paramahansa Yogananda, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Heart-stopping claims by famous yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda

In 1920 Paramahansa Yogananda arrived in the U.S. The famous yogi wrote his Autobiography of a Yogi (1946) and was the first Indian-guru to permanently make his home in the West.

Yogananda made many claims that yogis could and should stop heartbeat. Here are four claims made by the famous yogi:

“Yogis who know how to operate the switch of the heart, and to control their heartbeats, can quit the body quickly and at will; or stay in it as long as they wish…Only those who have practiced control of the heartbeat and who have learned to live without oxygen–by eating less carbonizing food and by preventing the decay of tissues in the body through definite yoga training in meditation–can consciously experience death at will.2

If one can learn to control the heartbeat, he can experience conscious death, as did St. Paul (“I die daily”–I Corinthians 15:31) and many yogis of India who have practiced this Hong-Sau [concentration] Technique, and through it achieved mastery over the action of the heart.3

Only advanced souls who can live without breathing or heartbeat are consciously aware of the true state of death (in which the breath and heartbeat also stop).4

Please practice these two states–of sensory-motor samadhi with heartbeat and sensory-motor relaxation samadhi without heartbeat–and you will know this universe as God’s cosmic cinema house”.5

How to “stop” heartbeat and pulse: secrets and illusions

Despite yoga-guru’s claims, yogis have failed to “stop” the heart in lab experiments for more than a few seconds.

The scientific evidence is slim to none that yogis can voluntarily stop their heart. We need more and better experiments to seriously entertain the heart-stopping claims.

In the meantime, maybe we can learn something from mentalists who “stop” heartbeat and pulse?

Stopping the Pulse secret revealed: Darren Brown

How to stop heartbeat and pulse trick: GeTrue

A man stops his heart: Guy Bavli

Late Late Show: Keith Barry makes his heart stop

Questions for readers: Do you know of comprehensive experiments of stopping the heartbeat? Can you cite any yogis who’ve claimed to stop the heart? Please cite sources in your comments.

Notes

1 Experiments in India on “Voluntary” Control of the Heart and Pulse, M.A.Wenger, Ph.D., B.K. Bagchi, Ph.D., and B.K. Anand, M.D., Circulation, Volume XXIV, December 1961

2 Self-Realization Fellowship Lesson 90, Overcoming Fear of Death

3 Self-Realization Fellowship Lesson 21, The Technique of Concentration

4 Self-Realization Fellowship Lesson 135, Disembodied Souls–Part 2, The Metaphysical Technique of Contacting Loved Ones

5 Letter from Paramahansa Yogananda to his disciple Rajarsi Janakananda (James J Lynn), written in Ranchi, India, 6 Aug, 1936. From Rajarsi Janakananda: A Great Western Yogi, Self-Realization Fellowship