Purification through
Five Types of Fire

Patanjali Yoga Sutra Knowledge Sheet 50

Contd. from knowledge sheet 49

When your head is clogged with worry, tension, unpleasant thoughts and nightmares, fasting would be a great help. There is a great deal of research on fasting. Just fast on water or juice. Allow this fire to come up in you. The Jataragni can purify your blood. It can remove the toxins from the body. It can make your feelings better. In Christianity, Jainism, Islam and in almost all the religions of the world, fasting and prayer are prescribed. Fasting touches the deepest samskaras or impressions in you. Instead, you eat and eat.

Now again, there are people who simply go on fasting without knowing that too much of fire can also burn you down. It should be done with an understanding. There are people who go to extremes. Either people overeat or fast too much. That is not good either. Fasting can cleanse your system and bring balance again, with modulation and guidance.

Then, the Badabagni or the fear of social criticism. Man is a social animal. Man lives in a society and you have certain rules to follow. One cannot go ahead as one wishes. Man cannot say, “I am free. I can do whatever I want to.” You cannot do whatever you want to. When you drive on the road, you have to drive on the right side. You have to walk where you have to walk. You have to stop where you have to stop. You have to follow certain code and conduct.

When you have to follow code and conduct in the world, actually the fear of getting caned, the fear of being punished, all these come out.Abiding to a certain law brings up certain concerns of keeping up with those laws. 

Now, here again, if you are too much concerned about criticism and what people say about you, you are missing the point

The fire of criticism keeps up the morals in you. But if it goes out of control or out of limit, the same fire of criticism can shut down your freedom. Your sense of openness, your sense of centeredness and freedom will be destroyed. Do you get what I am saying? If the fire of criticism is too much, then you are tensed or worried over nothing, isn't it?

Pass through the fear of criticism. It does not matter what people say. These opinions change. Notice your consciousness. If you are not doing any harm to anybody, you will move on.

Then the fire of love. Love creates such a fire in you. The fire of love can really lift you up from the fear of criticism. You do not mind what people say. The fire of love is so strong. It takes you totally. The fire of love, the fire of knowledge. They are the same, synonymous.

The fire of love begins with a longing, an intense longing. It feels so new so you can feel so uncomfortable. Only in human life, in the human birth, can this fire be experienced. The fire of love, thefireof knowledge creates an unpleasant sense of longing in the beginning, but it moves on to the blossoming of bliss. These are the five types of fire present from childhood.

Tapas actually means being fried, baked by fire. We have seen in some magazines in Kumbhamela, some people standing on one leg with ashes all over the body and fire in the head, and they put fire all around them. This is such a misinterpretation of panchagni. One who has gone through all the five types of fire is purified. They have crossed to the other side. This is what they have meant. But it is misinterpreted so much. Some say, “Okay, put fire all around and on the head”. Fire eating, fire walking. All these things these people do is to torture their body. They are filled with ignorance. This is called Rakshashitapas.

<<Five Types of Fire Three Types of Tapas >>


(This is part of a series of knowledge sheets based on Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's commentaries on Patanjali Yoga Sutras.)