Introduction to Mind Powers
The Indian spiritual traditions have all taught that people can gain access to various mind powers, such as the 18 spiritual powers, 9 treasures and the 4 great blessings. But what exactly are these?
Sikh View on Supernatural Powers
The Importance of Occult Powers
The supernatural powers of the mind have no importance in Sikhism and are simply a slave to the gift of the Name of God or Naam. In fact they can actually hinder spiritual progress because they can create ego within the mind.
“Riches and the supernatural spiritual powers of the Siddhas are all emotional attachments; through them, the Naam, the Name of the Lord, does not come to dwell in the mind.” (Guru Granth Sahib, p.593)
“He practices the eighty-four postures of Yoga, and acquires the supernatural powers of the Siddhas, but he gets tired of practicing these. He lives a long life, but is reincarnated again and again; he has not met with the Lord. ||6||” (Guru Granth Sahib, p.642)
How to Obtain Them
All the superhuman powers, treasures and blessings are obtained through meditation on the Name of God and the grace of God.
“The nine treasures and the eighteen spiritual powers of the Siddhas follow him, who keeps the Lord enshrined in his heart.” (Guru Granth Sahib, p.649)
“The four great blessings, the eighteen supernatural spiritual powers of the Siddhas, and the nine treasures, are all in the palm of His hand. ||1||” (Guru Granth Sahib, p.658)
“Now, I hold the eighteen miraculous spiritual powers in the palm of my hand; everything is by Your Grace. ||1||” (Guru Granth Sahib, p.858)
Sikh Attitude to Occult Powers
There will be many practicing Sikhs who will have one or a number of these powers. It is acceptable to use these powers for providing some form of service to humanity e.g. using wealth to feed the sick. However, generally Sikhs do not place importance on these items as nothing can equal the peace obtained through the gift of Naam and the remembrance of God.
“Those who wear the Necklace of the Lord around their necks, and focus their consciousness on the Guru’s Feet – wealth and supernatural spiritual powers follow them, but they do not care for such things at all. ||4||” (Guru Granth Sahib, p.26)
“The four great blessings, and the eighteen supernatural spiritual powers – above all these are the Holy Saints.” (Guru Granth Sahib, p.1227)
8 Major Spiritual Powers
The 18 supernatural powers are split into 8 major powers and 10 minor powers:
This is the power to become very small and minute.
The is the power to expand your body and become huge.
The is the power to decrease the density of your body and therefore become light like a feather.
The is the power to increase the density of your body and therefore become heavy.
This is the power to welcome success, achieve goals, and become fulfilled in life. This is a common power used by many successful business people who have focused their energies on e.g. wealth creation and business success. This is also why many Sikhs are financially successful.
This is the power to read the minds of other people and is common among many psychic people.
This is the power of persuasion and is unknowingly utilised by some of the world’s best sales people.
The is the power to control another persons mind and body.
10 Minor Spiritual Powers
The minor powers are by no means any less ordinary than the major ones. They include the following:
This is the power to transcend hunger and thirst. The Yogis would do this while meditating for long periods of time in caves and forests.
This is the power to hear things from great distances and is also known as clairaudience. This is how the Guru hears all the prayers of his disciples.
This is the power to see things from great distances or even the other side of the world and is also known as clairvoyance. This is how the Guru looks after his disciples.
This is the ability to go anywhere in an instant. When Guru Nanak Dev Ji was in Baghdad he took the son of the high priest on a tour of the many worlds in our universe and brought back sweet pudding (Parshad).
This is the ability to change form to that of another person or to any other animal or plant.
This is the ability to enter another persons body. This is usually done to continue life, i.e. the person may discard his own old body and enter a new one.
This is the ability to die at will and to die the way one wants to. Baba Atal Rai used this power to die at the age of 9 after he had innocently brought back his dead friend Mohan to life, which is taboo.
This is the power to meet the many demi gods and to join them in enjoyments and merry making.
This is the power to get desires fulfilled.
This is the ability to go anywhere without any hindrance or obstruction. This power served Guru Nanak Dev Ji when he travelled on his four colossal journeys around the world.
9 Worldly Treasures
The 9 treasures are of two types including 9 spiritual treasures and 9 worldly treasures. The worldly treasures include:
1. Padam-Nidhi - attainment of children, grand children, gold, silver, i.e. the precious metals.
2. Mahan-Padam - one gets diamonds, rubies and other gems and jewels (precious stones).
3. Kharab - riches of all kinds.
4. Kund - trading in gold.
5. Nil - trading in precious stones, jewels, and gems.
6. Sankh - delicious eatables (created from nowhere).
7. Kachhap - clothes and food-grains in abundance
8. Mukund - mastery in arts, music, and poetry.
9. Makar - gives the art of using weapons and sovereignty on others.
9 Spiritual Treasures
The 9 spiritual treasures of a Brahm Gyani (God realised soul) include:
1. Bharosa - faith. A deep faith and dependence on God. A firm faith in Vaheguru (Wonderful God) is the first and the foremost experience of the practitioner of Naam.
2. Leenta - an absolute attachment (absorption) to God.
3. Santokh - contentment.
4. Detachment - from family, friends and worldly possessions.
5. Hukam - acceptance and total surrender to the will of God.
6. Sehej - equilibrium and equipoise of the mind
7. Anand - perpetual delight, permanent joy.
8. Vismaad - ecstasy: Joy plus wonderment, forgetting the self.
9. Nadar - An awakened soul considers God as the prime reason of his attainments, and that his own efforts mean nothing. This attitude keeps ego far away from the person.
The 4 blessings called the ‘Char Padarath’ in Gurbani form the basic needs for all people.
1. Dharam - discipline. Understanding of his or her duties i.e. virtues (ethics).
2. Arath - assets. He or she has no shortage of money, precious metals, pearls etc. and obtains all desired wealth.
3. Kaam - desires. His or her all desires get fulfilled, and it includes marriage and children.
4. Moksh - liberation. He or she attains emancipation.
The spirit and the mind’s powers are numerous and are all the result of having a dedicated spiritual practice reciting the Name of God. Ultimately, these are meaningless powers when compared to the gift of Naam, the Name of God, which is the remover of all doubt and suffering.