By Swami Harshananda
Parakāyapraveśa literally means ‘entering into another’s body’.
The Yogasutras of Patañjali describes parakāya praveśa or ‘entering’ into the body of another person dead or alive as one of the yogasiddhis or occult powers gained by a yogi who has succeeded in attaining samādhi. Every person is imprisoned as it were in the physical body due to the prārabdha-karma. A yogi who has attained the saiyama state has developed enough power to detach his mind from his own body and enter into the body of another person, dead or alive, and work through it. This is called parakāyapraveśa.
For this he should also have a knowledge of the various nādis through which the prāṇic energy flows or works. When the yogi thus works through another living person’s body, the latter’s soul or mind is kept in a temporarily suspended state. The yogi always uses this power for the good of other people or to exhaust his own prārabdhakarma. Śaṅkarācārya is said to have had and used this power once.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore