Khanda Manda Yoga is one of the most difficult forms of Yoga, implying that the Yogi cuts off his own arms and legs with a sharp cleaver, and then throws them into a roaring fire. Natural potential for spiritual development becomes valuable only through careful cultivation. All spiritual practices are sadhanas. However, there are some severe forms of sadhanas and Khanda Manda Yoga is one of them.
Since early ages, the Rishis, realising the plight in Indian society and in their great magnanimity have created such sadhanas by which the Yogis can extricate themselves from their limitations and make progress. The Rishis have created different form sadhanas catering to special requirements. The Aghoris, specially have brought about terrifying methods of sadhana because they yearn to reach to God immediately.
In Khanda Manda Yoga, the Yogi meditates on burning corpses to force the consciousness beyond all limitations of the personality. The hardest concretions of identity are the most defiant ones and steel-wool penances are required to wash them away. The Khanda Manda Yoga Sadhana destroy everything down to the ground of consciousness and rebuild from the bottom up. The Yogis in this sadhana do not fear to loose their body because the new personality that shall evolve in re birth will be totally surrendered to the Will of God. Khanda Manda Yoga is a good illustration of Aghora`s approach to personality development.
Khanda Manda Yoga is said to be one of most terrifying and difficult sadhana of all Aghora sadhanas. The practitioner of Khanda Manda Yoga cuts off his own arms and legs with a sharp cleaver, and throws them into a roaring fire. After twelve hours these limbs reemerge from the fire and rejoin his body thus giving him a re-birth. Some sadhus can do Eka Khanda Yoga that implies cutting of one part of a single limb, like a foot; a few like Tailang Swami could do Teen Khanda Yoga, signifying three parts, like the foot, the lower leg, and the thigh. However, there are very few sadhaks who can perform the Nava Khanda Yoga, using nine body parts, including the head.
The severe stage of Khanda Manda Yoga comes after the Nava Khanda Yoga, which is called the Agni Khanda Yoga, in which a guru heats his fire tongs white-hot, and then inserts them under his disciple`s skin at the nape of the neck, running them down parallel to the spinal cord. A yogi who has reached the absolute point of spirituality does not even flinch when this act happens.
The benefits of the physical Khanda Manda Yoga are many, including imperviousness to any weapon, and even physical immortality. The evolvement of Khanda Manda Yoga was to abolish the love for body. One can only perform Khanda Manda Yoga once he has developed certain objectivity about his body. Khanda Manda Yoga is possible once the sadhak have full control over his Kundalini Shakti. However, the mental Khanda Manda Yoga is somewhat different; it has to be done with thought.
The true khandana is absolute and permanent destruction of false personality, which is composed of all the desires, tastes, aversions, and everything that have accumulated over millions of births. Only when all the imperfect projections are eliminated can one be able to see what is real. The other side of khandana is mandana, and the true mandana is projection of an everlasting form, construction of a true character. Mental khandana and mandana make up the real Khanda Manda Yoga. External and internal khandana are the two ways of performing Khanda Manda Yoga.