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Question - Many Yogis make use of mountain caves which utterly lack oxygen. How do the caves help in attaining samadhi or unity with the absolute?

Osho - Actually many things are necessary before some one can go into a cave to practice yoga. If these requirements are not fulfilled a yogi in a cave will never attain to samadhi; he will instead pass into increasing unconsciousness. What he will take for samadhi will be nothing but deepening sleep and unconsciousness. He alone can make use of a cave who has oxygenated himself so much through abundant practice of prana yam that the cave poses no problem for him.

If a person has gone through pranayam in depth, if every drop of his blood, every fiber of his body has been oxygenated, he can bury himself underground for eight days and come out of it alive. The reason is simply this: he has enough oxygen in reserve to last him for eight days. Ordinarily, we don't have any surplus oxygen with us; we manage with much less. If you go and lie down underground by the side of the yogi without adequate practice of pranayam, you will be dead on the eighth day when the yogi comes out alive. The yogi has in reserve that amount of oxygen which is needed to keep one going for eight days buried under the earth. Such a person will make good use of a cave for meditation and will be highly benefited. Since he will have no problem of oxygen, he will reap other benefits that only a cave brings to a yogi.

The cave is used because it provides many kinds of protection to the seeker. It not only protects him from the din and bustle of the outside world; it also protects him from various vibrations that are injurious to yoga. A cave of a particular kind of stone has much significance. Particular stones, like marble, prevent many vibrations from entering the cave. That is why marble has been widely used in the construction of temples. Because of the marble certain vibrations are kept away from the temples.

So the marble is not used just for decoration's sake--as is generally understood--it has really great spiritual significance discovered through long experimentation. There are stones that absorb some special kinds of vibrations, thus preventing them from entering the temples. Some other stones deflect or repel these vibrations. And there are stones that attract vibrations conducive to spiritual discipline. In the past, caves of particular shapes and sizes were carved out, because the design of a cave is also important to sadhana.

But we have no idea, because the whole science of it has been lost. When we make a car, we make it with a specific design. This is done with an eye to the speed of the car. A car has to be designed so that it tears through the air and does not fight with it. If the car is flat at its front, its speed will be inhibited. The front should be such that it cuts through the air, non-resisting like an arrow. And because the car cuts through the air with speed, the air rushes into the vacuum created behind the car, adding to the speed.

You might have seen the bridge on the river Ganges at Allahabad; it was constructed with great difficulty. The river's current was so strong that it washed away every pillar of the bridge that the engineers sought with great effort to construct. Pillar after pillar had to be built and rebuilt. But the builders had a special difficulty with one particular pillar; it was almost impossible to construct it. When all other pillars were ready, this one continued to defy modern technology. Then the engineers hit upon an ingenious plan: they designed this pillar after the shape of a shoe and it withstood the powerful current. If you observe your own shoe you will find how its shape helps you in walking; it cuts through the air. So the shoe-like pillar could absorb the shock of Ganges' rushing currents.

That is why caves have special shapes and sizes and specific kinds of stones in them. A seeker can project his vibes up to a particular limit of his space, and through experimentation he will learn for himself how much space he needs in order to safely do his sadhana. For instance, if he comes to know that he can fill an area of sixty four square feet with his own vibes, that much space will be considered safe for him, and he will find just that much space for himself. Then he will see to it that his cave has the least number of openings--perhaps one will be enough. And this single door should have a shape and size of its own; it should preserve the vibes of the seeker and at the same time keep off other unwanted vibes from entering the cave.

If a number of seekers have used a particular cave for this sadhana, that cave acquires extraordinary significance, and new seekers can be very much benefited by it. Therefore some caves have been used for thousands of years without a break. When for the first time the caves of Ajanta were excavated, they were all filled with mud. And it was done with a purpose, although the people in charge of the excavation work had no idea of it. They were surprised to find that every cave had been carefully filled and sealed with dirt. They looked just like mountain rocks, where trees had grown freely. It became necessary to fill those caves with dirt, because a time came when seekers became scarce, and their useful ness had to be preserved for some future time when new seekers would be available who would need them.

The caves of Ajanta were never meant for the tourists and sightseers for whom they are being used at present. They are not for visitors; the visitors have virtually destroyed everything that was precious about them. Now they are of no worth spiritually. Although a cave lacks oxygen, it has other advantages for a seeker. And sadhana or spiritual discipline is a complex affair; there are many aspects to it. A cave is good for the advanced seekers. And a seeker did not have to remain confined to a cave day in and day out; he went out of it from time to time. A part of his sadhana was done outside the cave, if it was necessary to do so. He used both--the inner and outer space of the cave.

Temples and mosques were designed and constructed for this very purpose; they were meant to conserve special kinds of vibes and energies, which are conducive to the growth of the seekers. Sometimes you find, on visiting a place, that your thoughts have suddenly changed, although you don't know that the particular place has a hand in it. You think that the change has occurred by itself. At times you find that on visiting a particular person you are a different person--different from what you were. You find that a different facet of your personality has come to the fore. Then you think that it is just a matter of changing moods. But the matter is not that simple.

A good deal of research has been done in this direction. For example, there are the pyramids of Egypt. Intensive investigations have been made to find out what the pyramids are, why they were made and for what. What was the purpose of constructing such giant pyramids in a wasteland, in a desert? How much money was spent on their construction? How much human energy went into the making of them? If such huge structures were only meant for burying the dead, as they seem to be, then it was a reckless waste of money and human energy.

The truth is that the pyramids were especially constructed for spiritual purposes; they were places where spiritual sadhana could be carried on with great ease and advantage. And it was for spiritual purposes that the dead bodies of special people were preserved in them.

In Tibet, dead bodies of great bodhisattvas, highly advanced souls, some of which are thousands of years old--have been preserved in very deep and secret caves. The body that Buddha had was not an ordinary body. Even the physical body, with which the great soul of Buddha had been associated for eighty years, was not an ordinary thing. It was immeasurably precious and great. This body had absorbed and assimilated the rare vibes of Buddha for eighty years. It is difficult to say if a phenomenon like that will happen on this earth again.

After his crucifixion the dead body of Jesus was kept in a cave. It was to be buried the next day, but it was not found again. It continues to be a mystery for the Christians how his dead body disappeared, and what happened to it. There is the story of his resurrection which says that Jesus was seen by some of his disciples a few days after his crucifixion. But the question remains: what happened to Jesus after he was resurrected and when did he die again?

But it is mysterious that nothing is known about Jesus after the crucifixion. The Christians have no account whatsoever of the resurrected Jesus. The fact is that the dead body of Jesus was so precious that it had to be immediately removed from the cave to a place where it could be preserved safely for a long time. And this information had to be a guarded secret for the safety of the dead body. A man like Jesus is indeed rare in all history. So these pyramids of Egypt--including their structure, their courts, their special features--are highly meaningful and significant.

Source - Osho Book "In Search of the Miraculous Vol 1"

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Osho - What is prana and how is it manifested in each of the seven bodies?
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Osho on Mystery of Pilgrimage Places of Alkufa Sufi Village and Vishwanath Temple
Sacred Places of Pilgrimage was a means to establish contact with Enlightened Souls
What is Shaktipat or Energy Transmission? How can Someone transmit Divine Energy?
Osho on Worthy Womb & Conditions for Higher Soul to take Birth (Secret of Jesus Birth)
Osho - How does one overcome the pull toward Sex so that the Kundalini can go upward?

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Osho on Samadhi in Caves