In the yogic science, 21 is a significant number because it is a fourth of 84, which is the number of cycles that the creation has been through. Accordingly, the number of asanas is 84, and the number of years that it takes for the moon to complete 1008 cycles around the planet is 84. There is a certain physiological significance to the numbers 84 and 21. This is why the Yoga Marga2 is 21 days and Shambhavi Mahamudra is 21 minutes. The three basic nadis multiplied by the seven chakras is 21. So there are various aspects, where the numbers 21 and 84 are very significant, physiologically.
Those of you who are given to wild imaginations, don’t become a numerologist now; don’t start calculating that every number will account for something. That is not the point. Why I am talking about this is, yoga is essentially about understanding and aligning to the geometry of the existence. The geometry of our system ultimately means, everything in this body is just a question of alignment to the geometry of the cosmos; ultimately, the stability of the cosmos is only in this geometry. The planet is going around the sun at an axial tilt of approximately 23 degrees to its orbit; today, it is the equator which is facing the sun. On other days, it will be either the northern hemisphere or the southern hemisphere which is pointing towards the sun. InDakshinayana3 , the southern hemisphere is facing the sun more than the north; but today, it is exactly the equator which is facing the sun.
The geometry of the existence, the beauty and the magnificent nature in which it is created is such that if you align yourself to it, the whole cosmos will respond to you. When I look back at the various events in my life, how everything happened just at the right time and how the system gets aligned to everything in the existence, it is too incredible. The closer you look at how magnificently creation has been made, the more you cannot help bowing down to it because of the sheer intelligence and the perfection of creation. If you observe this, everything else, all the things that human beings are doing, just seem utterly silly and meaningless. If only human beings get to have a look at how creation is made, the dimension of intelligence, the profoundness of what it is and how it is happening without a hitch… I don’t think it can ever be articulated in words; probably the only way to articulate it is in complex geometrical forms.
By observing how the geometry of human physiology is happening, one can clearly know just everything about the existence. In recent times, modern scientists have been looking at the ancient texts of this country, particularly the Rig Veda and the Shiva Sutras. Over 12,000–15,000 years ago, people in this country already knew what the speed of light is. They calculated it to the microsecond. Today, modern science says the speed of light is 186,282 miles per second. The yogis of the past clearly calculated this, and they calculated in such a way that it is far more incredible than the way the modern science arrives at this number.
They looked at how the sphere of the Earth is; the time that it takes for one revolution [of the Earth around the Sun] – so they calculated the orbit and they arrived at 186,258 or something, the exact number. Twenty-four miles per second different from the modern science4 – and this is the more accurate calculation. The yogis of the past just divided the Earth’s orbit into 27 segments and each segment has four parts. These segments are known as the nakshatras5 and the further four parts are known as the padas. So the Earth takes 108 steps around the Sun and the distance between the planet and the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. And the diameter of the Sun is 108 times more than the diameter of the Earth.
So we included this geometry into day-to-day life. If you wear rudraksh [mala], it is 108 beads. If you count a mantra, it is 108 beads because as the planet takes its 108 steps, you take these 108 steps too. The idea is to align the system to the cosmic geometry so that this and that do not feel different. When this and that do not feel different, then we say this is yoga because a union has happened. One can attain to this out of sheer surrender. The modern mind thinks that is the hardest thing to do but that is actually the easiest thing to do. Like this, aligning the human system to the cosmic system will naturally lead to a union which we refer to as yoga. This is the basis, the fundamental on which the yogic science has grown.
To give into the conspiracy of the cosmos is a certain art. There is a science behind it, but it takes a certain level of humility, devotion, and surrender within yourself to give in to the cosmic conspiracy. You cannot think it out. Every time I tried to think it out, I always only went away from it and some life situation knocked me back into place. The compassion with which the existence has treated me is just incredible; it always got me back, no matter what.