There is a woman in Europe; she has been investigated by all the scientific methods. In deep meditation she rises four feet above the earth; not only in the subtle body, but the gross body also. It has been found to be a fact. This is said in the oldest yoga treatises: that in deep meditation it happens that with the subtle body the gross body can go above the ground – and, exactly, it says it can go four feet very easily.
And the gross body is just the surface body, the skin of other bodies. Then behind the subtle there are subtler bodies – in all, seven bodies. They all belong to seven different planes of being. The more you enter in your own being, the more you become aware that this body is not the all. But you will encounter the second body only if this body has become pure.
Yoga does not believe in torturing the body, it is not a masochistic affair – but it believes in purifying it. And, sometimes, purifying it and torturing it may look alike. A distinction has to be made. A man can fast, and he may be only torturing. He may be just against his own body, suicidal, masochistic. But then another man can fast and he may not be a torturer, and he may not be a masochist, and he may not be trying to destroy the body in any way. Rather, he may be trying to purify it. Because in deep fasting, body attains to certain purities.
You continuously go on eating every day; you never give any holiday to the body. The body goes on accumulating many dead cells – they become a load. Not only are they a load and a burden, they are toxins, they are poisonous. They make the body impure. When the body is impure you cannot see the hidden body behind it. This body needs to be clean, transparent, pure; then suddenly you become aware of the second layer, the subtle body. When the subtle body is pure then you become aware of the third body, and the fourth, and so on.
Fasting helps tremendously, but one needs to be very much aware that one is not destroying the body. No condemnation should be in the mind; and there is the problem because almost all religions have condemned the body. Their original founders were not condemners; they were not poisoners. They loved their bodies. They loved the body so much that they always tried to purify it. Their fasting was a purification.
Then came blind followers, unaware of the deep science of fasting. They started fasting, blindly. They enjoyed, because mind is violent. It enjoys being violent with others, it enjoys a power, because whenever you are violent with others you feel powerful; but to be violent with others is risky because the other will retaliate. Then there is a simple way: to be violent with your own body. Then there is no risk. The body cannot retaliate. The body cannot harm you. You can go on harming your own body; there is nobody to react. This is simple. You can torture and enjoy power – that now you control your body; the body doesn’t control you.