Friday, December 17, 2010

KUNDALINI YOGA—THEORY

KUNDALINI YOGA—THEORY

Yoga Nadis

Nadis are the astral tubes made up of astral matter that carry psychic currents. The Sanskrit term ‘Nadi comes from the root ‘Nad’ which means ‘motion’. It is through these Nadis (Sukshma, subtle passages), that the vital force or Pranic current moves or flows. Since they are made up of subtle matter they cannot be seen by the naked physical eyes and you cannot make any test-tube experiments in the physical plane. These Yoga Nadis are not the ordinary nerves, arteries and veins that are known to the Vaidya Shastra (Anatomy and Physiology). Yoga Nadis are quite different from these.

The body is filled with innumerable Nadis that cannot be counted. Different authors state the number of Nadis in different ways, i.e., from 72,000 to 3,50,000. When you turn your attention to the internal structure of the body, you are struck with awe and wonder. Because the architect is the Divine Lord Himself who is assisted by skilled engineers and masons—Maya, Prakriti, Visva Karma, etc.

Nadis play a vital part in this Yoga. Kundalini when awakened, will pass through Sushumna Nadi and this is possible only when the Nadis are pure. Therefore, the first step in Kundalini Yoga is the purification of Nadis. A detailed knowledge of the Nadis and Chakras, is absolutely essential. Their location, functions, nature, etc., should be thoroughly studied.

The subtle lines, Yoga Nadis, have influence in the physical body. All the subtle (Sukshma) Prana, Nadis and Chakras have gross manifestation and operation in the physical body. The gross nerves and plexuses have close relationship with the subtle ones. You should understand this point well. Since the physical centres have close relationship with the astral centres, the vibrations that are produced in the physical centres by prescribed methods, have the desired effects in the astral centres.

Whenever there is an interlacing of several nerves, arteries and veins, that centre is called “Plexus.” The physical material plexuses that are known to the Vaidya Shastra are:— Pampiniform, Cervical, Brachial, Coccygeal, Lumbar, Sacral, Cardiac, Esophageal, Hepatic Pharyngeal, Pulmonary, Ligual Prostatic Plexus, etc. Similarly there are plexuses or centres of vital forces in the Sukshma Nadis. They are known as ‘Padma’ (lotus) or Chakras. Detailed instructions on all these centres are given elsewhere.

All the Nadis spring from the Kanda. It is in the junction where the Sushumna Nadi is connected with the Muladhara Chakra. Some say, that this Kanda is 12 inches above the anus. Out of the innumerable Nadis 14 are said to be important. They are:—

1. Sushumna
2. Ida
3. Pingala
4. Gandhari
5. Hastajihva
6. Kuhu
7. Saraswati
8. Pusha
9. Sankhini
10. Payasvini
11. Varuni
12. Alambusha
13. Vishvodhara
14. Yasasvini

Again Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are the most important of the above 14 Nadis, and Sushumna is the chief. It is the highest and most sought by the Yogins. Other Nadis are subordinate to this. Detailed instructions on each Nadi and its functions and the method of awakening the Kundalini and passing it from Chakra to Chakra are given in the following pages.

Spinal Column

Before proceeding to the study of Nadis and Chakras you will have to know something about the Spinal Column, as all the Chakras are connected with it.

Spinal Column

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A—Atlas bone; A to B—Cervical region;
B to C—Dorsal region; C to D—Lumbar region;
D to E—Sacral region; E to the end—Coccygeal region.

Spinal Column is known as Meru Danda. This is the axis of the body just as Mount Meru is the axis of the earth. Hence the spine is called ‘Meru’. Spinal column is otherwise known as spine, axis-staff or vertebral column. Man is microcosm. (Pinda - Kshudra-Brahmanda). All things seen in the universe,—mountains, rivers, Bhutas, etc., exist in the body also. All the Tattvas and Lokas (worlds) are within the body.

The body may be divided into three main parts:—head, trunk and the limbs, and the centre of the body is between the head and the legs. The spinal column extends from the first vertebra, Atlas bone, to the end of the trunk.

The spine is formed of a series of 33 bones called vertebrae; according to the position these occupy, it is divided into five regions:—

1. Cervical region (neck) 7 vertebrae
2. Dorsal region (back) 12 vertebrae
3. Lumbar region (waist or loins) 5 vertebrae.
4. Sacral region (buttocks, Sacrum or gluteal) 5 vertebrae.
5. Coccygeal region (imperfect vertebrae Coccyx) 4 vertebrae.


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Vertebrae

The vertebral bones are piled one upon the other thus forming a pillar for the support of the cranium and trunk. They are connected together by spinous, transverse and articular processes and by pads of fibro-cartilage between the bones. The arches of the vertebrae form a hollow cylinder or a bony covering or a passage for the spinal cord. The size of the vertebrae differs from each other. For example, the size of the vertebrae in cervical region is smaller than in dorsal but the arches are bigger. The body of the lumbar vertebrae is the largest and biggest. The whole spine is not like a stiff rod, but has curvatures that give a spring action. All the other bones of the body are connected with this spine.

Between each pair of vertebrae there are apertures through which the spinal nerves pass from the spinal cord to the different portions and organs of the body. The five regions of the spine correspond with the regions of the five Chakras: Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata and Vishuddha. Sushumna Nadi passes through the hollow cylindrical cavity of the vertebral column and Ida is on the left side and Pingala on the right side of the spine.

Sukshma Sarira

The physical body is shaped in accordance with the nature of the astral body. The physical body is something like water, Sthula form. When water is heated, the steam or vapour corresponds to the astral body. In the same way the astral or Sukshma body is within the gross or physical body. The gross body cannot do anything without the astral body. Every gross centre of the body has its astral centre. A clear knowledge of the gross body is of utmost importance as this Yoga deals with the centre of the astral body. In subsequent chapters you will find, therefore, a short description of the centres of the gross body and their corresponding centres in the Sukshma Sarira. You will find the descriptions of the astral centres and their connected functions in the physical body.

Kanda

This is situated between the anus and the root of the reproductory organ. It is like the shape of an egg and is covered with membranes. This is just above the Muladhara Chakra. All the Nadis of the body spring from this Kanda. It is in the junction where Sushumna is connected with Muladhara Chakra. The four petals of the Muladhara Chakra are on the sides of this Kanda and the junction is called Granthi-Sthana, where the influence of Maya is very strong. In some Upanishads you will find that Kanda is 9 digits above the genitals.

Kanda is a centre of the astral body from where Yoga Nadis, subtle channels, spring and carry the Sukshma Prana (vital energy) to the different parts of the body. Corresponding to this centre, you have ‘Cauda equina’ in the gross physical body. The spinal cord extending from the brain to the end of the vertebral column tapers off into a fine silken thread. Before its termination it gives off innumerable fibres, crowded into a bunch of nerves. This bunch of nerves is ‘Cauda equina’ in the gross body. The astral centre of ‘Cauda equina is Kanda.

Spinal Cord

The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord, the cerebro-spinal centre or axis. The continuation of the Medulla oblongata or the Bulb is a connecting medium between the brain and the spinal cord. The centre in the Medulla oblongata is closely connected with the involuntary functions of breathing and swallowing. The spinal cord extends from the top of the spinal canal to the second vertebra of the coccygeal region where it tapers off into a fine silken thread, called Filum terminale.

The spinal cord is a column of very soft grey and white brain-matter. The white matter is arranged on the sides of the grey matter. The white matter is of medullated nerves while the grey is of nerve-cells and fibres. This is not tightly fitted with the spinal canal, but suspended or dropped, as it were, into the spinal canal just like the brain in the cranial cavity. This is nourished by the membranes. Spinal cord and brain float in the cerebro-spinal fluid. The fluid prevents, therefore, any injury done to them. Further the spinal cord is protected by a covering of fatty tissue. It is divided into two symmetrical halves by an anterior and posterior fissure. In the centre there is a minute canal, called canalis centralis. Brahmanadi runs along this canal from the Muladhara to Sahasrara Chakra. It is through this Nadi, Kundalini, when awakened, passes to Brahmarandhra.

The spinal cord is not divided or separated from the brain. It is continuous with the brain. All the cranial and spinal nerves are connected with this cord. Every nerve of the body is connected with this. The organs of reproduction, micturition, digestion, blood-circulation, respiration are all controlled by this spinal cord. Spinal cord opens out into the fourth ventricle of the brain in the medulla oblongata. From the fourth ventricle it runs along the third, then the fifth ventricle of the brain and finally it reaches the crown of the head, Sahasrara Chakra.

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Spinal Cord

Sushumna Nadi

When we study the construction, location and function of the Spinal Cord and the Sushumna Nadi, we can readily say that the Spinal Cord was called Sushumna Nadi by the Yogins of yore. The Western Anatomy deals with the gross form and functions of the Spinal Cord, while the Yogins of ancient times dealt with all about the subtle (Sukshma) nature. Now in Kundalini Yoga, you should have a thorough knowledge of this Nadi.

Sushumna extends from the Muladhara Chakra (second vertebra of coccygeal region) to Brahmarandhra. The Western Anatomy admits that there is a central canal in the Spinal Cord, called Canalis Centralis and that the cord is made up of grey and white brain-matter. Spinal Cord is dropped or suspended in the hollow of the spinal column. In the same way, Sushumna is dropped within the spinal canal and has subtle sections. It is of red colour like Agni (fire).

Within this Sushumna there is a Nadi by name Vajra which is lustrous as Surya (sun) with Rajasic qualities. Again within this Vajra Nadi, there is another Nadi, called Chitra. It is of Sattvic nature and of pale colour. The qualities of Agni, Surya and Chandra (fire, sun and moon) are the three aspects of Sabda Brahman. Here within this Chitra, there is a very fine minute canal (which is known as Canalis Centralis). This canal is known as Brahmanadi through which Kundalini, when awakened, passes from Muladhara to Sahasrara Chakra. In this centre exist all the six Chakras (lotuses, viz., Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha and Ajna).

The lower extremity of the Chitra Nadi is called Brahmadvara, the door of Brahman, as Kundalini has to pass through this door to Brahmarandhra. This corresponds to Haridwar which is the gate of Hari of Badrinarayan in the macrocosm (physical plane). The Chitra terminates in the Cerebellum.

In a general sense the Sushumna Nadi itself (gross Spinal Cord) is called Brahma Nadi because, Brahma Nadi is within the Sushumna. Again the canal within the Chitra is also called Sushumna, because the canal is within the Sushumna. Ida and Pingala Nadis are on the left and right sides of the spine.

Chitra is the highest and most beloved of the Yogins. It is like a thin thread of lotus. Brilliant with five colours, it is in the centre of Sushumna. It is the most vital part of the body. This is called the Heavenly way. It is the giver of Immortality. By contemplating on the Chakras that exist in this Nadi, the Yogi destroys all sins and attains the Highest Bliss. It is the giver of Moksha.

When the breath flows through Sushumna, the mind becomes steady. This steadiness of the mind is termed “Unmani Avastha”, the highest state of Yoga. If you sit for meditation when Sushumna is operating, you will have wonderful meditation. When the Nadis are full of impurities, the breath cannot pass into the middle Nadi. So one should practise Pranayama for the purification of Nadis.

Para-Sympathetic And Sympathetic System

On either side of the spinal cord run the sympathetic and para-sympathetic cords, a double chain of ganglia. Ganglia means a collection of nerve-cells. These constitute the Autonomic System which supplies nerves to the involuntary organs, such as heart, lungs, intestines, kidneys, liver, etc., and controls them. Vagus nerve which plays a vital part in human economy comes out of this sympathetic system. Sympathetic system stimulates or accelerates. Para-sympathetic system retards or inhibits. There are nerves to dilate or expand the arteries which carry pure oxygenated blood to nourish the tissues, organs and cells of different parts of the body. These are called Vaso-dilators. The left and the right sympathetic chains are connected by filaments. These cross from the right to the left side and vice versa, but the exact places where these crosses are not known, though several have attempted to find. M’Kendrick and Snodgrass in their Physiology of the Senses write: “Where the sensory fibres cross from one side to the other is not known ..... In some parts of the spinal cord the sensory fibres do cross from the right to left side and vice versa.

Ida And Pingala Nadis

Ida and Pingala Nadis are not the gross sympathetic chains. These are the subtle Nadis that carry the Sukshma Prana. In the physical body these tentatively correspond to the right and left sympathetic chains.

Ida starts from the right testicle and Pingala from the left testicle. They meet with Sushumna Nadi at the Muladhara Chakra and make a knot there. This junction of three Nadis at the Muladhara Chakra is known as Mukta Triveni. Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati dwell in Pingala, Ida and Sushumna Nadis respectively. This meeting place is called Brahma Granthi. Again these meet at the Anahata and Ajna Chakra. In the macrocosm also you have a Triveni at Prayag where the three rivers Ganga, Yamuna and Sarasvati meet.

Ida flows through the left nostril and Pingala through the right nostril. Ida is also called Chandra Nadi (moon) and Pingala as Surya Nadi (sun). Ida is cooling and Pingala is heating. Pingala digests the food. Ida is of pale, Sakti Rupa. It is the great nourisher of the world. Pingala is of fiery red, Rudra Rupa. Ida and Pingala indicate Kala (time) and Sushumna swallows time. The Yogi knows the time of his death; takes his Prana into Sushumna; keeps it in Brahmarandra, and defies time (Kala—death). The famous Yogi Sri Chang Dev of Maharashtra fought against death several times by taking the Prana into Sushumna. He was a contemporary of Sri Jnanadev of Alandi, near Poona. It was he who had Bhuta Siddhi, control over wild animals, through his Yogic practices. He came on the back of a tiger to see Sri Jnanadev.



Chakras
Padmas, Lotuses of the Astral body
Muladhara
or Adhara Chakra
Swadhishthana Manipura Anahata Vishuddha Ajna

Sahasrara

Corresponding nerve plexuses in the physical body (Sacral)
Sacro-Coccygeal Plexus
Prostatic Plexus Solar Plexus Cardiac Plexus (Pharyngeal) Laryngeal Plexus Cavernous Plexus

Pineal
Gland

Location or Position Just below Kanda, between the root of reproductory organ and anus. At the base of spinal column At the Linga or the origin of the reproductory organ. Between Muladhara and Manipura Chakras Navel of Nabhi
Sthana
Heart At the base of the throat of Kantha-Mula Sthana At the space between the two eyebrows or Bhru-Madhya
Petals or number of Yoga Nadis 4 6 10 12 16 2
Letters on the petals or the vibrations of the Yoga Nadis v:ö S:ö \:ö s:ö b:ö B:ö m:ö y:ö rö l:ö Rö Zö N:ö t:ö T:ö

dö D:ö n:ö p:ö Pö

kö K:ö g:ö G:ö {ö c:ö

Cö j:ö J:ö W:ö Xö Yö

Aö A:ö Eö Iö uö Uö ?ö @ö

;ö =ö Oö Oðö A:ðö A:òö Aö AH

hö x:ö
Mandala or the region of Tattva Prithvi or Bhumandal. Region of the Earth Apas or Jala Mandal.
Region of the water
Tejas or Agni Mandal. Region of Fire Vayu Mandal. Region of Air Akasa Mandal. Region of Ether Avyakta Ahankara Manas Tattva. Region of Mind
Shape of Mandala Square Crescent moon Triangle Hexagonal Round Round
Colour of Tattvas Yellow White Red Smoky Blue
Function of Tattva Gandha or smell Rasa or taste Rupa or sight Sparsha or touch Shabda or hearing Sankalpa Vikalpa
Presiding Deity Ganesha
(Brahma 4 faced)
Brahma (Narayana four handed) Shankara three eyed
(Vishnu)
Shankara three eyed
(Siva)
Maheswara Sadasiva as Bindurupa Sadasiva or
Shambhu Nada
Goddess Dakini Rakini Lakini Kakini Shakini Hakini
Deva or Tattva Prithvi Varuna Agni Vayu Akasa Manas
Bija Akshara l:ö v:ö y:ö !
Corresponding Lokas Bhu Loka Bhuvar Loka Swah or Swarga Loka Mahar Loka Janah or Janar Loka Tapo Loka
Granthi Sthana Brahma Granthi - - Vishnu - Rudra

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Svara Sadhana

Svara Sadhana, practice of breath, is the revealer of Satya, Brahman and bestower of the Supreme Knowledge and Bliss. Perform calm acts during the flow of Ida and harsh acts during the flow of Pingala. Do acts resulting in the attainment of psychic powers, Yoga, meditation, etc., during the flow of the Sushumna. If the breath rises by Ida (moon) at sunrise and flows throughout the day, and Pingala (sun) rises at sunset and flows throughout the night it confers considerable good results. Let the breath flow through Ida the whole day and through Pingala the whole night. He who practises thus is verily a great Yogi.

How To Change The Flow In Nadis

The following exercises are for changing the flow from Ida to Pingala. Select any one of the methods that suits you best. For changing the flow from Pingala to Ida, just do the same exercise on the opposite side:

1. Plug the left nostril with a small piece of cotton or fine cloth for a few minutes.

2. Lie down on the left side for ten minutes.

3. Sit erect. Draw the left knee up and keep the left heel near the left buttock. Now press the left arm-pit, Axilla, on the knee. In a few seconds the flow will be through Pingala.

4. Keep the two heels together near the right buttock. The right knee will be over the left knee. Keep the left palm on the ground a foot away and let the weight of the trunk rest on the left hand. Do not bend at the elbow. Turn the head also towards the left side. This is an effective method. Catch hold of the left ankle with the right hand.

5. The flow of breath can be changed by Nauli Kriya also.

6. There are some who are able to change the flow by will.

7. Place the Yoga Danda or Hamsa Danda (a wooden stick of about 2 feet in length with a rest of the shape of U at one end) at the left arm-pit and lean on it by the left side.

8. The most effective and instantaneous result is produced in changing the flow through Khechari Mudra. The Yogi turns the tongue inside and blocks the air passage by the tip of the tongue.

The above exercise is intended for general regulation of breath. Many other special exercises for the purification of Nadis and awakening Kundalini will be given in the subsequent chapters. A knowledge more secret than the science of breath, a friend more true than the science of breath, has never been seen or heard of. Friends are brought together by the power of breath. Wealth is obtained with comfort and reputation through the power of breath. The knowledge of the past, present and the future and all other Siddhis are acquired and a man reaches the highest state, by the power of breath.

I want you to practise every day the Svara Sadhana systematically and regularly, that is, to allow the flow of breath through the left nostril throughout the day and through the right nostril throughout the night. This will, doubtless, bestow on you wonderful benefits. Wrong Svara is the cause of a host of ailments. Observance of right Svara as described above leads to health and long life. Verily, verily, I say this unto you, my dear children! Practise this. Practise this from today. Shake off your habitual sloth, indolence and inertia. Leave off your idle talk. Do something practical. Before you begin the practice, pray to Lord Siva, who is the giver of this wonderful science by uttering Om Namah Sivaya and Sri Ganesha, the remover of all obstacles.

Other Nadis

Gandhari, Hastajihva, Kuhu, Sarasvati, Pusha, Sankhini, Payasvini, Varuni, Alambusha, Vishvodhara, Yasasvini, etc., are some other important Nadis. These have their origin in Kanda. All these Nadis are placed on the sides of Sushumna, Ida and Pingala, and proceed to different parts of the body to perform certain special functions. These are all subtle Nadis. Innumerable minor Nadis spring from these. As the leaf of the Asvattha tree is covered with minute fibres so also, this body is permeated with thousands of Nadis.

Padmas Or Chakras

Chakras are in the Linga Sarira (astral body). Linga Sarira is of 17 Tattvas, viz., 5 Jnanendriyas (ears, skin, eyes, tongue and nose); 5 Karmendriyas (speech, hands, legs, genitals, anus); 5 Pranas (Prana, Apana, Vyana, Udana, Samana); Manas (mind); and Buddhi (intellect). These have corresponding centres in the spinal cord and the nerve-plexuses in the gross body. Each Chakra has control and function over a particular centre in gross body. These cannot be seen by the naked eyes. Some foolish doctors search for the Chakras in the physical body. They cannot find them there. Since they cannot find any Chakra in a dead body, they lose faith in Shastras and Yogic Kriyas.

Sukshma Prana moves in the nervous system of the Linga Sarira (astral body). Sthula Prana moves in the nervous system of the gross physical body. The two courses are intimately connected. They act and react upon each other. The Chakras are in the astral body even after the disintegration of the physical organism to death. According to a school of thought, the Chakras are formed during concentration and meditation only. This is not possible. The Chakras should exist there in a subtle state, as the gross matter is the result of the subtle matter. Without the subtle body, the gross body is impossible. The meaning of this sentence should be taken to be that one can feel and understand the Sukshma Chakras during concentration and meditation only.

Wherever there is an interlacing of several nerves, arteries and veins, that centre is called Plexuses. The physical gross plexuses that are known to the Vaidya Shastra are Hepatic, Cervical, Brachial, Coccygeal, Lumbar, Sacral, Cardiac, Epigastric, Esophageal, Pharyngeal, Plumonary, Lingual, Prostatic, etc. Similarly there are plexuses or centres of Sukshma Prana in the Sushumna Nadi. All the functions of the body, nervous, digestive, circulatory, respiratory, genito-urinary and all other systems of the body are under the control of these centres in Sushumna. These are subtle centres of vital energy. These are the centres of consciousness (Chaitanya). These subtle centres of Sushumna have their corresponding centres in the physical body. For example, Anahata Chakra which is in the Sushumna Nadi has its corresponding centre in the physical body at the heart (Cardiac Plexus).

The subtle centres in the Sushumna Nadi are otherwise known as Lotuses or Chakras. A particular Tattva preponderates at every Chakra. There is a presiding deity in each Chakra. In every Chakra a certain animal is represented. It denotes that the centre has the qualities, Tattvas or Gunas of that particular animal. There are six important Chakras: Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, and Ajna. Sahasrara is the chief Chakra. It is in the head. These 7 Chakras correspond to the Lokas (Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah, Maha, Jana, Tapa, and Satya Lokas). Muladhara to Vishuddha are the centres of Pancha Bhutas (five elements): earth, water, fire, air and ether.

When Kundalini is awakened it passes on from Muladhara to Sahasrara through all the Chakras. At every centre to which the Yogi directs the Kundalini, he experiences a special form of Ananda (Bliss) and gains special Siddhis (psychic powers) and knowledge. He enjoys the Supreme Bliss when Kundalini is taken to Sahasrara Chakra.

The following are some other Chakras: Adhara (another name of Muladhara Chakra), Amrita, Ananda, Lalita, Balvana, Brahmadvara, Chandra, Dipaka, Karnamula, Gulhaha, Kuladipa, Kundali, Galabaddha, Kaladaada, Kaladhvara, Karangaka, Kalabhedan, Lalana, Mahotsaha, Manas, Talana, Mahapadma, Niradhara, Naukula, Prana, Soma, Triveni, Urdhvarandhra, Vajra, etc. Some of these names refer to the six important Chakras only. There are also many minor Chakras. Some Hathayogis say, that there are 21 minor Chakras besides 13 major Chakras and some other Hathayogis hold that there are forty-nine Chakras while the ancient Yogis taught that there are 144 Chakras. Talana Chakra with its twelve red petals is located near the base of the palate and Manas Chakra with its six petals closely associated with sensations, dreams and astral travelling. Detailed instructions of each Chakra are given in the foregoing chapters.

Petals On Chakras

Each Chakra has a particular number of petals with a Sanskrit alphabet on each petal. The vibration that is produced at each petal is represented by the corresponding Sanskrit letter. Every letter denotes the Mantra of Devi Kundalini. The letters exist in the petals in a latent form. These can be manifested and the vibrations of the Nadis felt during concentration.

The number of petals of the lotuses varies. Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha and Ajna Chakras have 4, 6, 10, 12, 16, and 2 petals respectively. All the 50 Sanskrit letters are on the 50 petals. The number of petals in each Chakra is determined by the number and position of the Yoga Nadis around the Chakra. I will make it still clear. From each Chakra a particular number of Yoga Nadis crop up. The Chakra gives the appearance of a lotus with the Nadis as its petals. The sound produced by the vibrations of the Yoga Nadis is represented by the corresponding Sanskrit letter. The Chakras with their petals hang downwards when Kundalini is at the Muladhara Chakra. When it is awakened, they turn towards Brahmarandhra. They always face the side of Kundalini.

Muladhara Chakra

Muladhara Chakra is located at the base of the spinal column. It lies between the origin of the reproductory organ and the anus. It is just below the Kanda and the junction where Ida, Pingala and Sushumna Nadis meet. Two fingers above the anus and about two fingers below the genitals, four fingers in width is the space where the Muladhara Chakra is situated. This is the Adhara Chakra (support) as the other Chakras are above this. Kundalini, which gives power and energy to all the Chakras, lies at this Chakra. Hence this, which is the support of all is called Muladhara or Adhara Chakra.

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THE MULADHARA AND KUNDALINI

From this Chakra four important Nadis emanate which appear as petals of a lotus. The subtle vibrations that are made by each Nadi are represented by the Sanskrit letters: v:ö S:ö \:ö and s:ö (vaü, ÷aü, ùaü, and saü.). The Yoni that is in the centre of this Chakra is called Kama and it is worshipped by Siddhas. Here Kundalini lies dormant. Ganesa is the Devata of this Chakra. The seven underworlds: Atala, Vitala, Sutala, Talatala, Rasatala, Mahatala and Patala Lokas are below this Chakra. This Chakra corresponds with Bhu Loka or Bhu-Mandal, physical plane (region of earth). Bhuvah, Svah or Svarga, Maha, Jana, Tapa and Satya Lokas are above this Chakra. All the underworlds refer to some minor Chakras in the limbs which are controlled by the Muladhara Chakra. That Yogi, who has penetrated this Chakra through Prithvi Dharan, has conquered the Prithvi Tattva. He has no fear of death from earth. Prithvi is of yellow colour. The golden Tripura (fire, sun and moon) is termed the ‘Bija’. It is also called the great energy (Param Tejas) which rests on the Muladhara Chakra and which is known as Svayambhu Linga. Near this Linga is the golden region known as Kula and the presiding deity is Dakini (Shakti). Brahma Granthi or the knot of Brahma is in this Chakra. Vishnu Granthi and Rudra Granthi are in the Anahata and Ajna Chakras. l:ö (laü) is the Bija of Muladhara Chakra.

The wise Yogi, who concentrates and meditates on the Muladhara Chakra, acquires the full knowledge of Kundalini and the means to awaken it. When Kundalini is awakened, he gets Darduri Siddhi, the power to rise from the ground. He can control the breath, mind and semen. His Prana enters the middle Brahma Nadi. All his sins are destroyed. He acquires knowledge of the past, present and future. He enjoys the natural Bliss (Sahaja Ananda).

Svadhishthana Chakra

Svadhishthana Chakra is located within the Sushumna Nadi at the root of the reproductory organ. This corresponds to Bhuvar Loka. This has control over the lower abdomen, kidneys, etc., in the physical body. Jala Mandal (region of water—Apa Tattva) is here. Within this Chakra there is a space like a crescent moon or the form of a conch or Kunda flower. The presiding deity is Lord Brahma and Devata is Goddess Rakini. Bijakshara v:ö (vaü), the Bija of Varuna, is in this Chakra. The colour of the Chakra is pure blood-like red or the colour of Sindura (vermilion). From this centre six Yoga Nadis emanate, which appear like the petals of a lotus. The vibrations that are produced by the Nadis are represented by the Sanskrit letters:—b:ö B:ö m:ö y:ö rö l:ö (baü bhaü maü yaü raü and laü).

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SVADHISHTHANA CHAKRA

He who concentrates at this Chakra and meditates on the Devata has no fear of water. He has perfect control over the water element. He gets many psychic powers, intuitional knowledge and a perfect control over his senses. He has full knowledge of the astral entities. Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, Matsarya and other impure qualities are completely annihilated. The Yogi becomes the conqueror of death (Mrityunjaya).

Manipura Chakra

Manipura is the third Chakra from the Muladhara. It is located within the Sushumna Nadi, in the Nabhi Sthana (region of navel). This has its corresponding centre in the physical body and has control over the liver, stomach, etc. This is a very important centre. From this Chakra emanate ten Yoga Nadis which appear like the petals of a lotus. The vibrations that are produced by the Nadis are represented by the Sanskrit letters:—Rö Zö N:ö t:ö T:ö dö D:ö n:ö p:ö Pö (óaü óhaü õaü taü thaü daü dhaü naü paü and phaü). The Chakra is of the colour of dark clouds. Within there is a space triangular in form. It is the Agni Mandala (region of fire—Agni Tattva). The Bijakshara rö (raü), the Bija of Agni, is here. The presiding deity is Vishnu and Goddess is Lakshmi. This Chakra corresponds to Svah or Svarga Loka and to Solar Plexus in the physical body.

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MANIPURA CHAKRA

The Yogi who concentrates at this Chakra gets Patala Siddhi, can acquire hidden treasures and will be free from all diseases. He has no fear at all from Agni (fire). “Even if he is thrown into the burning fire, he remains alive without fear of death.”, (Gheranda Samhita).

Anahata Chakra

Anahata Chakra is situated in the Sushumna Nadi (Sukshma centre). It has control over the heart. It corresponds to the Cardiac Plexus in the physical body. This corresponds to Mahar Loka. The Chakra is of deep red colour. Within this Chakra there is a hexagonal space of smoke or deep black colour or the colour of collyrium (used for the eyes). This chakra is the centre of Vayu Mandal (region of air, Vayu Tattva). From here 15 Yoga Nadis emanate. The sound that is produced by each Nadi is represented by the following Sanskrit letters:—kö K:ö g:ö G:ö {ö c:ö Cö j:ö J:ö W:ö Xö Yö (kaü khaü gaü ghaü ïaü caü chaü jaü jhaü ¤aü ñaü and ñhaü). The Bijakshara y:ö (yaü), the Bija of Vayu, is here. The presiding deity is Isha (Rudra) and Devata is Kakini. In the Muladhara Chakra there is Svayambhu Linga and in Anahata Chakra we have Bana Linga. Kalpa Vriksha, which gives all the desired things, is here. Anahata sound, the sound of Shabda Brahman, is heard at this centre. When you do Sirshasana for a long time, you can distinctly hear this sound. Vayu Tattva is full of Sattva Guna. Vishnu Granthi is in this Sthana.

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ANAHATA CHAKRA

He who meditates on this Chakra has full control over Vayu Tattva. He gets Bhuchari Siddhi, Khechari Siddhi, Kaya Siddhi, etc., (flying in air, entering the body of another). He gets cosmic love and all other divine Sattvic qualities.

Vishuddha Chakra

Vishuddha Chakra is situated within the Sushumna Nadi at the base of the throat, Kantha-Mula Sthana. This corresponds to Janar Loka. It is the centre of Akasa Tattva (ether element). The Tattva is of pure blue colour. Above this, all other Chakras belong to Manas Tattva. The presiding deity is Sadasiva (Isvara Linga), and the Goddess is Shakini. From this centre emanate 16 Yoga Nadis which appear like the petals of a lotus. The vibrations that are produced by the Nadis are represented by the 16 Sanskrit vowels:—Aö A:ö Eö Iö uö Uö ?ö @ö ;ö =ö Oö Oðö A:ðö A:òö Aö AH (aü àü iü ãü uü åü çü éü ëü íü eü aiü oü auü aü and aþ). Akasa Mandal (the region of ether) is round in shape like the fullmoon. The Bija of Akasa Tattva hö (haü) is in this centre. It is of white colour. This Chakra corresponds to Laryngeal plexus in the physical body.

The concentration on the Tattva of this Chakra is called Akasa Dharana. He who practises this Dharana will not perish even in Pralaya. He attains the highest success. He gets the full knowledge of the four Vedas by meditating on this Chakra. He becomes a Trikala Jnani (who knows the past, the present and the future).


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VISHUDDHA CHAKRA

Ajna Chakra

Ajna Chakra is situated within the Sushumna Nadi and its corresponding centre in the physical body is at the space between the two eye-brows. This is known as Trikuti. The presiding deity, Paramasiva (Shambhu), is in the form of Hamsa. There is Goddess Hakini (Sakti}. Pranava xdvng (Om) is the Bijakshara for this Chakra. This is the seat of the mind. There are two petals (Yoga Nadis) on each side of the lotus (Chakra) and the vibrations of these Nadis are represented by the Sanskrit letters:—xdvng (Ham) and (Ksham). This is the Granthi Sthana (Rudra Granthi). The Chakra is of pure white colour or like that of the fullmoon (on the Purnima day). Bindu, Nada and Sakti are in this Chakra. This Chakra corresponds to Tapo-Loka. The corresponding centre in the physical body is at the Cavernous Plexus.

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AJNA CHAKRA

He who concentrates at this centre destroys all the Karmas of the past lives. The benefits that are derived by meditation on this Chakra cannot be described in words. The practitioner becomes a Jivanmukta (liberated man while living). He acquires all the 8 major and 32 minor Siddhis. All Yogis and Jnanis too concentrate to this centre on the Bijakshara, Pranava ! (OM). This is called Bhrumadya Drishti (gaze at the space between the two eye-brows). More details of this important Chakra will be given in the subsequent lessons.

The Brain

Brain and cranial nerves are the chief parts of the whole nervous system. It is a mass of nervous tissues made up of soft grey and white matter. It occupies the whole of cranium. Cranium is like the iron safe to keep up the treasure ‘brain’. It is surrounded by three membranes or Meninges, viz., (1) dura mater, the fibrous connective tissue by the side of the cranial bones; (2) pia mater, the connective tissue containing a network of blood vessels, which penetrates and nourishes all the parts of the brain; and (3) arachnoid, a very fine membrane around the brain. Below the arachnoid there is the space which contains the cerebro-spinal fluid that is intended to prevent any injury to the brain. The brain looks as if it is floating on this liquid.

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THE BRAIN

1. Cerebrum
2. Cerebellum
3. Medulla Oblongata
4. Pons Varolii

The brain can be divided into two halves, right and left hemispheres, by a central Sulcus or tissue. There are several lobes or smaller portions in the brain such as the parietal and temporal lobes on the sides, the occipital lobe at the posterior portion of cerebellum, etc. There are many convolutions or Gyre in every lobe. Again, for the sake of study, we can divide the brain into four sections.

1. Cerebrum: It is the anterior, oval-shaped larger part of the brain. It is situated in the upper portion of the cranial cavity. This contains the important centres of hearing, speech, sight, etc. The pineal gland which is regarded as the seat of the soul and which plays a prominent part in Samadhi and psychic phenomena is situated here.

2. Cerebellum, the little or hind brain: This is the main portion of the brain, oblong-shaped, situated just above the fourth ventricle and below and behind the brain. Here the grey matter is arranged over the white matter. It regulates the muscular co-ordination. Mind rests here during dreams.

3. Medulla Oblongata: It is the beginning place of the spinal cord at the cranial cavity, where it is oblong-shaped and wide. It is between the two hemispheres. Here the white matter is placed over the grey matter. This contains the centres of important functions such as circulatory, respiratory, etc. This portion must be carefully protected.

4. Pons Varolii: It is the bridge that lies before the Medulla Oblongata. It is made of white and grey fibres that come from cerebellum and medulla. This is the junction where cerebellum and medulla meet.

There are five ventricles of the brain. The fourth is the most important one. It is situated in Medulla Oblongata. The fourth ventricle is the name of the central canal of the spinal cord, “Canalis Centralis” when it enters the cranial cavity. Here the tiny canal becomes bigger in size.

Every nerve of the body is closely connected with the brain. The 12 pairs of cranial nerves proceed from both hemispheres through the openings at the base of the skull to different parts of the body: Olfactory; Optic; Motor Oculi; Pathetic; Trifacial; Abducens; Facial; Auditory; Glossopharyngeal; Pneumogastric, Spinal accessory; and Hypo-glossal. These are the nerves that are connected with the eye, ear, tongue, nose, pharynx, thorax, etc. For a detailed study of this section refer to any book on anatomy. Here I have given you portions that are connected with Kundalini Yoga.

Brahmarandhra

Brahmarandhra” means the hole of Brahman. It is the dwelling house of the human soul. This is also known as “Dasamadvara,” the tenth opening or the tenth door. The hollow place in the crown of the head known as anterior fontanelle in the new-born child is the Brahmarandhra. This is between the two parietal and occipital bones. This portion is very soft in a babe. When the child grows, it gets obliterated by the growth of the bones of the head. Brahma created the physical body and entered (Pravishat) the body to give illumination inside through this Brahmarandhra. In some of the Upanishads, it is stated like that. This is the most important part. It is very suitable for Nirguna Dhyana (abstract meditation). When the Yogi separates himself from the physical body at the time of death, this Brahmarandhra bursts open and Prana comes out through this opening (Kapala Moksha). “A hundred and one are the nerves of the heart. Of them one (Sushumna) has gone out piercing the head; going up through it, one attains immortality” (Kathopanishad).

Sahasrara Chakra

Sahasrara Chakra is the abode of Lord Siva. This corresponds to Satya Loka. This is situated at the crown of the head. When Kundalini is united with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra, the Yogi enjoys the Supreme Bliss, Parama Ananda. When Kundalini is taken to this centre, the Yogi attains the superconscious state and the Highest Knowledge. He becomes a Brahmavidvarishtha or a full-blown Jnani.

The word Sahasradala-Padma denotes that this Padma has 1000 petals. That is, one thousand Yoga Nadis emanate from this centre. There are different opinions about the exact number of petals. It is quite sufficient if you know that innumerable Nadis proceed from this centre. As in the case of other Chakras, the vibrations that are made by the Yoga Nadis are represented by the Sanskrit letters. All the 50 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet are repeated here again and again on all Yoga Nadis. This is a Sukshma centre. The corresponding centre in the physical body is in the brain.

The term “Shat-Chakras” refers only to the chief six Chakras, viz., Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha and Ajna. Above all these we have Sahasrara Chakra. This is the chief of all the Chakras. All the Chakras have their intimate connection with this centre. Hence this is not included as one among the Shat-Chakras. This is situated above all the Chakras.

Lalana Chakra

Lalana Chakra is situated at the space just above Ajna and below Sahasrara Chakra. Twelve Yoga Nadis emanate from this centre. The vibrations that are made by the 12 Nadis are represented by the Sanskrit letters: (Ha, Sa, Ksha, Ma, La, Va, Ra, Ya, Ha, Sa, Kha and Phrem). It has OM as its Bija. At this centre the Yogi concentrates on the form of his Guru and obtains all knowledge. This has control over the 12 pairs of nerves that proceed from the brain to the different sense-organs.

Summary Of The Previous Lessons

Aspirants must have all the Sattvic qualities and should be quite free from impurities. Satsanga, seclusion, dietetic discipline, good manners, good character, Brahmacharya, Vairagya, etc., form the strong foundation of Yogic life. The help of a Guru, who has already trodden the path, is absolutely necessary for quick progress in the spiritual path. Places of cool, temperate climate are required for Yoga Abhyasa.

Nadis are the Sukshma (astral) channels through which Prana (vital energy) flows to different parts of the body. Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are the most important of the innumerable Nadis. All Nadis start from the Kanda. Kanda is located in the space between the origin of the reproductory organ and the anus. Sushumna Nadi is situated within the Spinal Column, in the spinal canal. Within the Sushumna Nadi there is a Nadi by name Vajra. Chitra Nadi, a minute canal, which is also called Brahmanadi, is within this Vajra Nadi. Kundalini, when awakened, passes through Chitra Nadi. These are all Sukshma centres and you cannot have any laboratory tests and test-tube experiments. Without these subtle centres, the gross physical body cannot exist and function. Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajna and Sahasrara are the important Chakras. When Kundalini passes on from Chakra to Chakra, layer after layer of the mind becomes opened and the Sadhaka enters into higher states of consciousness. At every Chakra he gets various Siddhis. Ida, Pingala and other Nadis are on the sides of the spine. Ida flows through the left nostril and Pingala through the right nostril. In Svara Sadhana the breath should flow by the left nostril throughout the day and by the right nostril throughout the night.

The Mysterious Kundalini

Manastvam Vyoma tvam Marudasi Marutsarathirasi,
Tvamapastvam Bhumistvayi parinatayam nahi param,
Tvameva Svatmanam parinamayitum visvavapusha
Chidanandakaram haramahishi-bhavena bibhrushe.

“O Devi! Thou art the mind, the sky, the air, the fire, the water, and the earth. Nothing is outside Thee on Thy transformation. Thou hast become Siva’s consecrated queen to alter Thy own blissful conscious Form in the shape of the world”.

Kundalini, the serpent power or mystic fire, is the primordial energy or Sakti that lies dormant or sleeping in the Muladhara Chakra, the centre of the body. It is called the serpentine or annular power on account of serpentine form. It is an electric fiery occult power, the great pristine force which underlies all organic and inorganic matter.

Kundalini is the cosmic power in individual bodies. It is not a material force like electricity, magnetism, centripetal or centrifugal force. It is a spiritual potential Sakti or cosmic power. In reality it has no form. The Sthula Buddhi and mind have to follow a particular form in the beginning stage. From this gross form, one can easily, understand the subtle formless Kundalini. Prana, Ahamkara, Buddhi, Indriyas, mind, five gross elements, nerves are all the products of Kundalini.

It is the coiled-up, sleeping Divine Sakti that lies dormant in all beings. You have seen in the Muladhara Chakra that there is Svayambhu Linga. The head of the Linga is the space where Sushumna Nadi is attached to the Kanda. This mysterious Kundalini lies face downwards at the mouth of Sushumna Nadi on the head of Svayambhu Linga. It has three and a half coils like a serpent. When it is awakened, it makes a hissing sound like that of a serpent beaten with a stick, and proceeds to the other Chakra through the Brahma Nadi, which is also called Chitra Nadi within Sushumna. Hence Kundalini is also called Bhujangini, serpent power. The three coils represent the three Gunas of Prakriti: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, and the half represents the Vikritis, the modification of Prakriti.

Kundalini is the Goddess of speech and is praised by all. She Herself, when awakened by the Yogin, achieves for him the illumination. It is She who gives Mukti and Jnana for She is Herself that. She is also called Sarasvati, as She is the form of Sabda Brahman. She is the source of all Knowledge and Bliss. She is pure consciousness itself. She is Brahman. She is Prana Sakti, the Supreme Force, the Mother of Prana, Agni, Bindu, and Nada. It is by this Sakti that the world exists. Creation, preservation and dissolution are in Her. Only by her Sakti the world is kept up. It is through Her Sakti on subtle Prana, Nada is produced. While you utter a continuous sound or chant Dirgha Pranava ! (OM), you will distinctly feel that the real vibration starts from the Muladhara Chakra. Through the vibration of this Nada, all the parts of the body function. She maintains the individual soul through the subtle Prana. In every kind of Sadhana the Goddess Kundalini is the object of worship in some form or the other.

Kundalini has connection with subtle Prana. Subtle Prana has connection with the subtle Nadis and Chakras. Subtle Nadis have connection with the mind. Mind has connection all through the body. You have heard that there is mind in every cell of the body. Prana is the working force of the body. It is dynamic. This static Sakti is affected by Pranayama and other Yogic practices and becomes dynamic. These two functions, static and dynamic, are termed ‘sleeping’ and ‘awakening’ of the Kundalini.


Chapter Three

YOGA SADHANA

How To Awaken The Kundalini

One should become perfectly desireless and should be full of Vairagya before attempting to awaken Kundalini. It can be awakened only when a man rises above Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada and other impurities. Kundalini can be awakened through rising above desires of the senses. The Yogi, who has got a pure heart and a mind free from passions and desires will be benefited by awakening Kundalini. If a man with a lot of impurities in the mind awakens the Sakti by sheer force through Asanas, Pranayamas and Mudras, he will break his legs and stumble down. He will not be able to ascend the Yogic ladder. This is the chief reason for people going out of the way or getting some bodily infirmities. There is nothing wrong in the Yoga. People must have purity first; then a thorough knowledge of the Sadhana, a proper guide, and a steady, gradual practice. When Kundalini is awakened there are many temptations on the way, and a Sadhaka without purity will not have the strength to resist.

A thorough knowledge of the theory is as essential as the practice. Some are of opinion that theory is not at all necessary. They bring one or two rare instances to prove that Kundalini has been awakened even in those who do not know anything about Nadis, Chakras and Kundalini. It might be due to the grace of a Guru or by mere chance. Everyone cannot expect this and neglect the theoretical side. If you look at the man in whom Kundalini has been awakened through the grace of a Guru, you will not at once begin to neglect the practical side and actually waste your time in passing from one Guru to the other. The man who has a clear knowledge of the theory and a steady practice, attains the desired goal quickly.

Kundalini can be awakened by Pranayama, Asanas and Mudras by Hatha Yogis; by concentration and training of the mind by Raja Yogis; by devotion and perfect self-surrender by Bhaktas; by analytical will by the Jnanis; by Mantras by the Tantrikas; and by the grace of the Guru (Guru Kripa) through touch, sight or mere Sankalpa. Rousing of Kundalini and its union with Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra effect the state of Samadhi and Mukti. No Samadhi is possible without awakening the Kundalini.

For a selected few, any one of the above methods is quite sufficient to awaken the Kundalini. Many will have to combine different methods. This is according to the growth and position of the Sadhakas in the spiritual path. The Guru will find out the real position of the Sadhaka and will prescribe a proper method that will successfully awaken the Kundalini in a short period. This is something like the doctor prescribing a proper medicine to a patient to cure a particular disease. One kind of medicine will not cure the diseases of different patients. So also, one kind of Sadhana may not suit all.

There are many persons nowadays who foolishly imagine that they have attained purity, commit errors in selecting some methods and neglect many important items of Sadhana. They are poor, self-deluded souls. Self-assertive, Rajasic Sadhakas will select some exercises of their own fancy in an irregular manner and leave all the exercises when they get some serious troubles.

After Kundalini is awakened, Prana passes upwards through Brahma Nadi along with mind and Agni. You will have to take it up to Sahasrara Chakra through some special exercises such as Mahabheda, Sakti Chalana, etc.

As soon as it is awakened, it pierces the Muladhara Chakra (Bheda). It should be taken to Sahasrara through various Chakras. When Kundalini is at one Chakra, intense heat is felt there and when it leaves that centre for another Chakra, the former Chakra becomes very cold and appears lifeless.

Freedom from Kama, Krodha, Raga and Dvesha and possession of balance of mind, cosmic love, astral vision, supreme fearlessness, desirelessness, Siddhis, divine intoxication and spiritual Ananda are the signs to denote the awakening of Kundalini. When it is at rest, a man has full consciousness of the world and its surroundings. When it is awakened he is dead to the world. He has no body-consciousness. He attains Unmani state. When Kundalini travels from Chakra to Chakra, layer after layer of the mind becomes opened and the Yogi acquires psychic powers. He gets control over the five elements. When it reaches the Sahasrara Chakra, he is in the Chidakasa (knowledge space).

Awakening of the Kundalini Sakti, its union with Siva, enjoying the nectar and other functions of the Kundalini Yoga that are described in the Yoga Sastras are misrepresented and taken in a literal sense by many. They think that they are Siva and ladies to be Sakti and that mere sexual union is the aim of Kundalini Yoga. After having some wrong interpretation of the Yogic texts, they begin to offer flowers and worship their wives with lustful propensities. The term “Divine intoxication that is derived by drinking the nectar” is also misrepresented. They take a lot of wine and other intoxicating drinks and imagine to have enjoyed the Divine ecstasy. It is mere ignorance. They are utterly wrong. This sort of worship and union is not at all Kundalini Yoga. They divert their concentration on sexual centres and ruin themselves. Some foolish young boys practise one or two Asanas, Mudras and a little Pranayama too for a few days, in any way they like, and imagine that the Kundalini has gone up to their neck. They pose as big Yogis. They are pitiable, self-deluded souls. Even a Vedanti (a student of Jnana Yoga) can get Jnana Nishtha only through awakening of the Kundalini Sakti that lies dormant at the Muladhara Chakra. No superconscious state or Samadhi is possible without awakening this primordial energy, whether it is Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Hatha Yoga or Jnana Yoga.

It is easy to awaken the Kundalini, but it is very difficult to take it to Sahasrara Chakra through the different Chakras. It demands a great deal of patience, perseverance, purity and steady practice. The Yogi who has taken it to Sahasrara Chakra, is the real master of all forces. Generally Yogic students stop their Sadhana half-way on account of false Tushti (satisfaction). They imagine that they have reached the goal when they get some mystic experiences and psychic powers. They desire to demonstrate such powers to the public to get Khyati (reputation and fame) and to earn some money. This is a sad mistake. Full realisation alone can give the final liberation, perfect peace and Highest Bliss.

Different methods of awakening the Kundalini by Hatha Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga will be described one by one. Some aspirants will not get perfection by only one method. A harmonious combination of all methods is necessary for the vast majority of persons. In the following pages I will tell you the different exercises that are intended to awaken the Kundalini. If you are wise enough, after a perusal of the different exercises, you can easily pick up the right method of Sadhana that suits you best and attain success.

Rousing of Kundalini and its union with Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra effect the state of Samadhi and Mukti. Before awakening the Kundalini, you must have Deha Suddhi (purity of body), Nadi Suddhi (purification of Nadis), Manas-Suddhi (purity of mind) and Buddhi Suddhi (purity of intellect). For the purification of the body, the following six exercises are prescribed:

Dhauti, Basti, Neti, Nauli, Tratak and Kapalabhati. These are known as Shat-Karma or the six purificatory exercises in Hatha Yoga.

1. Dhauti

Purification is of two kinds: Antar-Dhauti (internal cleaning) and Bahir-Dhauti (external cleaning). Antar-Dhauti can be made in three ways. Take a fine piece of muslin cloth, 3 inches wide and 15 feet long. The borders should be stitched well and no pieces of loose thread should be hanging from its sides. Wash it with soap before use and make it clean. Dip it in tepid water. Squeeze out the water and swallow one end of it little by little. On the first day swallow only one foot. Keep it there for a few seconds and then take it out very slowly. On the next day swallow a little more and keep it for a few minutes and then take it out slowly. Thus little by little you can swallow the whole length, retain it for about 5 minutes and then take it out. Do not be hasty. Do not injure your throat by rough handling. When the Kriya is over drink a cup of milk. This is a sort of lubrication for the throat. This exercise should be done when your stomach is empty. Morning time is good.

You need not practise this every day. Once in 4 days or a week is sufficient. This exercise cannot at all do any harm if gradually practised. Everyone will feel a little vomiting sensation on the first 2 or 3 attempts. As soon as the Kriya is over, wash the cloth with soap and keep it always clean. This is an excellent exercise for those who are of a flabby and phlegmatic constitution. Gradual steady practice cures Gulma, gastritis, dyspepsia, diseases of the stomach and spleen, disorder of phlegm and bile. This exercise is also known as Vastra Dhauti. This is one variety of Antar-Dhauti.

There are some people who can drink plenty of water and pass it through the anus immediately. It is called Varisara Dhauti. This is an effective method. This exercise is also known as ‘Sang Pachar Kriya’. Yogi Sambhunathaji of Kishkindha is an expert in this Kriya. This is not possible for the vast majority of persons. Nauli and Uddiyana Bandha should be combined for performing this exercise. Even the smoke of a cigarette can be passed out through the anus.

Drink a large quantity of water and shake the abdominal portions. Contract the stomach and vomit the water. This exercise goes with the name ‘Kunjara Kriya’. This is also a kind of purificatory exercise.

Internal cleaning can be made also by swallowing air. Fill up the stomach with plenty of air. It is done by hiccough. Just as you swallow food little by little, so also you can swallow air and fill up the stomach and intestines. You will have to learn this from the man who can do this Kriya. When you contract the abdominal muscles, the air will pass away through the anus as Apana Vayu. Those who can fill up their stomach with air, can float on water just like a dead body and can also live on air and water alone for some days without any food. Those who can do Antar-Dhauti in any way, need not go in for any purgative or laxative. They will never suffer from indigestion or constipation.

There are some other Dhautis, viz., Danta Dhauti (cleaning the teeth), Jihva Dhauti (cleaning the tongue), Karna Dhauti (cleaning the ears), Mula Sodhana Dhauti (cleaning the anus), etc. These are being done by you all everyday. I need not tell you much about these.

2. Basti

‘Basti’ exercise is intended to serve the purpose of ‘enema’ to pass out the accumulation of faeces from the intestinal canal. There are two varieties, viz., Sthala Basti and Jala Basti.

STHALA BASTI: Sit on the ground and catch hold of your toes with fingers. Do not bend the knees. This is exactly like the Paschimottanasana, but here you need not bring your head to the knees. Assuming this posture, churn the abdominal muscles and dominal muscles and expel the water. It cures uriter muscles. This is Sthala Basti.

JALA BASTI: This is more effective than Sthala Basti. Take a small bamboo tube, five inches long. Lubricate one end of it with vaseline, oil or soap. Sit in a tub of water or in a tank in knee-level of water in Utkatasana. Insert the bamboo tube about 2 or 3 inches into the anus. Contract the anus. Draw the water into the intestines slowly. Shake the abdominal muscles and expel the water. It cures urinary troubles, dropsy, constipation, etc. You should not do this everyday and make it a habit. This is only for occasional use. Do this in the morning hours before taking meals. If you do not know how to draw in the water through the tube, then you can use the ordinary syringe that is available in the market. By the use of the bamboo, you will know the method of drawing water through the anus. But in the enema syringe water is being pushed in by the help of air. That is only the difference but the result is the same in both cases. By using the bamboo tube you can have mastery over the intestinal muscles by drawing in and pushing out the water at your command.

3. Neti

‘Neti’ exercise is intended for the purification of the nostrils. The nostrils must be kept always clean. Unclean nostrils will lead you to irregular breathing. Irregular breathing will make you sick.

Take a fine piece of thread about 12 inches long. There should not be any knot in the middle of the thread. It should not be too thin and weak. Insert one end of it into the right nostril and catch hold of the other end firmly. Make a forcible, continuous inhalation and pass it inside. Then slowly pull it out. Again in the same way pass it through the left nostril and take it out slowly. Do not injure your nostrils through violent pulling. After some practice, pass the thread through one nostril and take it out through the other. In the beginning you will begin to sneeze profusely when you insert the thread into the nose. This passes off after 3 or 4 attempts. This can be practised when you find that your nostril is blocked from cold.

There is another easy method of cleaning the nostrils. Take some cold water in your hand or in a wide-mouthed cup. Draw the water slowly through the nose and expel it forcibly through the nose. There are many who can do this quite easily. After one or two attempts some persons may suffer from slight cold and cough when they begin to learn this. As soon as they are all right, again, they can practise.

You have seen many who draw the smoke of a cigarette through the mouth and pass it by the nose quite easily. If cigarette users try, they can draw the smoke through one nostril and pass it out by the other nostril or by the mouth. In the same way water also can be passed quite easily.

Drawing water and expelling it through the nose is known as ‘Seet-Krama’. If you draw water through the nose and expel it through the mouth, it is called ‘Vyut-Krama’. In Gheranda Samhita it is stated that this Neti Kriya purifies the skull and produces clairvoyance (Divya Drishti). Rhinitis and coryza are also cured thereby.

4. Nauli

Nauli Kriya is intended for regenerating, invigorating and stimulating the abdominal viscera and the gastro-intestinal or alimentary system. For the practice of Nauli you should know the Uddiyana Bandha. Uddiyana can be done even in a sitting posture; but Nauli is generally done while standing.

Stage I: Do a strong and forcible expiration through the mouth and keep the lungs completely empty. Contract and forcibly draw the abdominal muscles towards the back. This is Uddiyana Bandha. This is the first stage of Nauli. Uddiyana Bandha terminates in Nauli.

For practising Nauli, stand up. Keep the right leg a foot apart from the left leg. If you keep up the feet close together, at times you may lose the balance and stumble down. Rest your hands on the thighs, thus making a slight curve of the back. Then do Uddiyana Bandha. Do this for one week before proceeding to the next stage.

Stage II: Now allow the centre of the abdomen free by contracting the left and right side of the abdomen. You will have all the muscles in the centre in a vertical line. This is called Madhyama Nauli. Keep it as long as you can with comfort. Do only this much for a few days.

Stage III: Here you should contract the right side of the abdomen and allow the left side free. You will have the muscles on the left side only. This is called Vama Nauli. Again contract the left side muscles and allow the right side free. This is Dakshina Nauli. By having such gradual practices, you will understand how to contract the muscles of the central, left and right sides of the abdomen. You will also notice how they move from side to side. In this stage you will see the abdominal muscles only in the central, right or the left side. Practise this stage for a week.

Stage IV: Keep the muscles in the centre. Slowly bring to the right side and then to left side in a circular way. Do this several times from the right to left side and then do it in a reverse way from the left to right side. You should turn the muscles always with a circular motion slowly. When you advance in the practice you can do it quickly; but you can derive full benefits of this Kriya when you do it very slowly and gradually. This last stage of Nauli will appear like ‘churning’ when the abdominal muscles are isolated and rotated from side to side.

Beginners will feel slight pain of abdomen in the first two or three attempts. They need not fear and stop the practice. The pain will vanish away in 2 or 3 days. When Nauli is demonstrated by the advanced Yogic student, the onlookers will be extremely surprised to look at the movements of the abdominal muscles. They will feel as if an engine is working in the abdominal factory.

When beginners want to do Dakshina Nauli, they should slightly bend towards the left side and contract the left muscles. When they want to do Vama Nauli, let them bend a little to the right side. In Madhyama Nauli, push the entire muscles forward by contracting the two sides.

This exercise is not at all possible for those who have a barrel-like belly. When they find it difficult to carry their own belly, they cannot at all dream of getting success in this Kriya. They can also try by gradual slow practice. For getting success, they must exert hard and have rigorous practice for a long time. Those who have a tender body can very easily learn and perform this Kriya in a beautiful and efficient manner.

In the famous Hardwar cosmopolitan platform where Punjabis and Bengali Baboos stroll in the evening with their ladies, on the banks of the Ganges, some persons demonstrate Nauli and various other Asanas and Mudras for the sake of a few pies only. They pass on from one exercise to the other very quickly. You will find the same in Calcutta, Delhi, Bombay, Madras and in all the busy centres. This is only a sort of profession. It is not at all Yoga. It is only a variety of physical feats. From the very condition of their body you will find that they do not possess all the qualifications and aims of a Yogi, They do not even appear physically better, since they are habituated to intoxicant drinks, Ganja, Bhang, etc.

If the Yogic exercises are done in the right way with the right mental attitude, it will surely lead you to spiritual growth. Nauli Kriya eradicates chronic constipation, dyspepsia and all other diseases of the gastro-intestinal system. Nauli helps Sang Pachar and Basti Kriya also. The liver and pancreas are toned. The kidneys and other organs of the abdomen function properly. Nauli is a blessing to humanity. It is a sovereign specific ‘uni-all’ or an ideal ‘pick-me-up.’

5. Trataka

‘Trataka’ is steady gazing at a particular point or object without winking. Though this is one of the six purificatory exercises, it is mainly intended for developing concentration and mental focusing. It is very useful for the students of Hatha Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Raja Yoga. There is no other effective method for the control of the mind. Some of the students who claim that they belong to Jnana Yoga, neglect such important exercises since they are described under Hatha Yogic portions. Sri Ramana Maharshi the famous Jnani of Tiruvannamalai, was doing this exercise. You could have seen it clearly if you had been to his Ashram for his Darshan. While seated on his sofa in his room, he used to gaze on the walls. When he sat on the veranda in an easy-chair, he steadily looked at the distant hills or at the sky. This enabled him to keep up a balanced state of mind. Nothing could distract his mind. He was very calm and cool always. He was not at all distracted by any one even though his Bhaktas might be talking and singing by his side.

EXERCISES

(1) Keep the picture of Lord Krishna, Rama, Narayana or Devi in front of you. Look at it steadily without winking. Gaze at the head; then at the body; then at the legs. Repeat the same process again and again. When your mind calms down look at a particular place only. Be steady till tears begin to flow. Then close the eyes and mentally visualise the picture.

(2) Gaze on a black dot on a white wall or draw a black mark on a piece of white paper and hang it on the wall in front of you.

(3) Draw the picture Om (!) on a piece of paper and have it before your seat. Do Trataka on it.

(4) Lie down on an open terrace and gaze at a particular bright star or on the full moon. After some time, you will see different colours of lights. Again some time later, you will see only a particular colour throughout, and all other surrounding stars will disappear. When you gaze at the moon, you will see only a bright moon on a black background. At times you will see a huge mass of light all around you. When gazing becomes more intense, you can also see two or three moons of the same size and at times you cannot see any moon at all even though your eyes may be wide open.

(5) Select at random any place in the open sky in the morning or evening hours and gaze at it steadily. You will get new inspirations.

(6) Look at a mirror and gaze at the pupil of your eye.

(7) Some people do Trataka at the space between the two eyebrows or at the tip of the nose. Even during walking, some persons do Trataka at the tip of the nose.

(8) Advanced students can do Trataka at the inner Chakras, (Padmas). Muladhara, Anahata, Ajna and Sahasrara are the important centres for Trataka.

(9) Keep a ghee-lamp before you and gaze at the flames. Some astral entities give Darshan through the flames.

(10) Very few Yogins do Trataka on the sun. It requires the help of an experienced man by their side. They begin to gaze on the rising sun and after gradual practice they do Trataka on the sun even in the midday. They get some special Siddhis (psychic powers) by this practice. All are not fit for this Sadhana. All the first 9 exercises will suit everyone and they are harmless. The last one, sun-gazing should not be attempted until you get the help of an experienced man.

INSTRUCTIONS

When you do the practice in your meditation room, sit in your favourite Asana (posture), Siddhasana or Padmasana. At other times you can do in a standing or sitting posture. Trataka can be profitably done even when you walk. As you walk along the streets, do not look hither and thither. Gaze at the tip of the nose or toes. There are many persons who do not look at the face when they talk to others. They have their own gaze at a particular place and talk. No particular Asana is required for this Sadhana.

When you gaze at a picture, it is Trataka. When you close your eyes and mentally visualise the picture, it is Saguna Dhyana (meditation with form). When you associate the attributes of God such as omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, purity, perfection, etc., the name and the form of the object of Trataka will automatically disappear and you will enter into Nirguna Dhyana (abstract meditation).

Do Trataka for two minutes to start with. Then cautiously increase the period. Do not be impatient. Gradual steady practice is required. Gazing at a spot even for three full hours continuously counts for nothing, if the mind is wandering. The mind also must be on the spot. Then only you will advance in this practice and attain many psychic powers.

Those who cannot gaze steadily for a second in spite of several attempts, need not worry much. They can close their eyes and gaze at an imaginary spot at the space between the two eyebrows.

Those who have very weak eye-capillaries should do Trataka after closing their eyes on any imaginary spot within or without. Do not tax your eyes by over-practice. When you feel tired, close your eyes and keep your mind on the object of Trataka. When you sit and do Trataka do not shake the body.

Trataka improves eyesight. Many who had some eye-troubles have realised immense benefits by Trataka. Going beyond one’s own power and gazing at the sun without any help may produce serious troubles. For gazing on the sun you must have your guide by your side. The Guru will prescribe some oil to rub on your head to avoid such serious troubles and to cool the system. You should apply honey to your eyes at night when you practise sun-gazing.

The same object of gazing will appear as something else during the practice. You will have many other visions. Different people have different experiences. You will not even believe certain things when others tell you of their experiences. Trataka alone cannot give you all Siddhis. After the control of the mind, when it becomes steady, you will have to manipulate the mind by prescribed methods for the attainment of powers. Therefore the powers that are obtained by this practice may vary in different persons. It depends upon the further training of the mind, in a particular way.

Young aspirants, who pose as big Yogins, neglect such practices and ask whether this practice is Moksha. Certainly that practice itself is not Moksha. Different practices are for the attainment of Moksha. One can attain the goal by a particular method, others by different methods. Remember this point always. Otherwise you will be neglecting all the methods. You will be misguided and lose the goal if you neglect the Sadhana.

By the practice of Trataka, diseases of the eyes are removed. Eye-sight improves. Many have thrown away their spectacles after taking to this practice. Will-power is developed. Vikshepa is destroyed. It steadies the mind. Clairvoyance, thought-reading, psychic cure and other Siddhis are obtained very easily.

Once again I will tell you that Bhakti Yoga, Jnana Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Karma Yoga, etc., are not incompatibles like Cocaine and Soda Bicarbonate. They are not antagonistic to each other. Do not neglect this exercise for the mere reason that it comes under Hatha Yoga portions. Even though you may claim to be a student of Jnana Yoga or Bhakti Yoga, you can take to this practice. It is a very effective powerful remedy for a wandering mind. It prepares the mind undoubtedly for perfect Dhyana and Samadhi. This is assuredly a means for the end. You must ascend the Yogic ladder or stair-case step by step. Several persons have been benefited by this useful exercise. Why not you, also, dear friend, sincerely attempt to practise this from this moment? I have given you different exercises for Trataka. Select any one of the methods that suits you best and realise the spiritual benefits. Do this for one month regularly and let me know your experiences, benefits and also troubles, if any.

6. Kapalabhati

Kapalabhati is an exercise for the purification of skull and lungs. Though this is one of the Shat-Karmas (six purificatory exercises), yet it is a variety of Pranayama exercises.

Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana. Keep the hands on the knees. Perform Puraka (inhalation) and Rechaka (exhalation) rapidly. Those who can do Bhastrika Pranayama can easily do this. In Bhastrika there is a Kumbhaka (retention of breath) for a long time at the end of the required rounds. But in Kapalabhati there is no Kumbhaka. Again in Kapalabhati, Puraka is very long and mild, but Rechaka is too quick and forcible. In Bhastrika, Puraka is done as quickly as Rechaka. This is the only difference between Kapalabhati and Bhastrika. In Kapalabhati, Rechaka should be done forcibly and quickly by contracting the abdominal muscles with backward push. To start with, have only one expulsion per second. In the beginning do 10 expulsions per round. Gradually increase 10 expulsions to each round till you get 120 expulsions for each round.

It cleanses the respiratory system and nasal passages. It removes spasm in bronchial tubes. Consequently Asthma is relieved and cured also in course of time. Consumption is cured by this practice. Impurities of the blood are thrown out. The circulatory and respiratory systems are toned to a considerable degree. Shat-Karmas are intended for the purification of the body. When Nadis are impure Kundalini cannot pass from the Muladhara to Sahasrara Chakra. Purification of Nadis is effected through Pranayama. For Pranayama, you should know well about Prana.


PRANAYAMA

What Is Prana?

Prana is the sum total of all energy that is manifested in the universe. It is the vital force, Sukshma. Breath is the external manifestation of Prana. By exercising control over this gross breath, you can control the subtle Prana inside. Control of Prana means control of mind. Mind cannot operate without the help of Prana. It is the Sukshma Prana that is intimately connected with the mind. Prana is the sum total of all latent forces which are hidden in men and which lie everywhere around us. Heat, light, electricity, magnetism are all the manifestations of Prana. Prana is related to mind; through mind to the will; through will to the individual soul, and through this to the Supreme Being.

The seat of Prana is the heart. Prana is one; but it has many functions to do. Hence it assumes five names according to the different functions it performs, viz., Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana and Vyana. According to the different functions they perform, they occupy certain places in the body. The table given in the following pages will give you a clear idea.

Breath directed by thought under the control of the will is a vitalising, regenerated force which can be utilised consciously for self-development, for healing many incurable diseases and for many other useful purposes. Hatha Yogins consider that Prana Tattva is superior to Manas Tattva (mind), as Prana is present even when mind is absent during deep sleep. Hence Prana plays a more vital part than mind.

If you know how to control the little waves of Prana working through mind, then the secret of subjugating the universal Prana will be known to you. The Yogin who becomes an expert in the knowledge of this secret, will have no fear from any power, because he has mastery over all manifestations of power in the Universe. What is commonly known as Power of Personality is nothing more than the natural capacity of a person to wield his Prana. Some people are more powerful in life, more influential and fascinating than others. It is all through this Prana, which the Yogin uses consciously by the command of his will.

Having acquired a thorough knowledge of the seat of Nadis and of the Vayus with their functions, one should begin with the purification of Nadis. A person possessed of Yama and Niyama, avoiding all company, having finished his course of study, delighting in Truth and virtues, having conquered his anger, being engaged in the service of his spiritual instructor and well instructed in all the religious practices, should go to a secluded place for Yoga Abhyasa.

Five Pranas

NAME COLOUR LOCATION REGION FUNCTION SUB-PRANAS
Prana Yellow Anahata Chakra Chest Respiration 1. Naga does eructation and hiccup.
Apana Orange red Muladhara Chakra Anus Discharge of urine and faeces 2. Kurma performs the function of opening the eyes.
Samana Green Manipura Chakra Navel Digestion 3. Krikara induces hunger and thirst.
Udana Violet blue Vishuddha Chakra Throat Deglutition. Takes the Jiva to Brahman in sleep. Separates the physical body from the astral body at death 4. Devadatta does yawning.
Vyana Rose Swadhishthana Chakra Entire body Circulation of blood 5. Dhananjaya causes decomposition of body

Nadi Suddhi (purification of Nadis) is an important matter in the early stage of Yoga. If there are impurities in the Nadis, the ascent of Kundalini in the Sushumna is seriously retarded. Purity in the Nadis facilitates the ascent of Kundalini. Pranayama brings about quick purification of the Nadis. Nadi Suddhi is the basis of Yoga. It is the foundation of Yoga. It is the first part of Yoga.

Just as you can stop all the other wheels of the factory if you can stop the important fly-wheel of the engine, so also if you can stop the functions of all other organs of the body, you can get control of the subtle, psychic Prana by restraining the breath. That is the reason why Pranayama is prescribed for controlling Prana.

Prana is the over-coat of the mind. If you can control Prana, you can control mind and Veerya also, because Prana, Veerya and mind are under one Sambandha. If you can control mind, breath stops by itself. Prana comes under control. Just as you have a nervous system in the gross physical body, so also there is a nervous system in the astral body. The nervous system of the physical body is the Sthula Prana. The nervous system of the astral body is the Sukshma Prana. There is intimate connection between these two Pranas. There is inter-action between these two Pranas.

By controlling the act of breathing, you can efficiently control all the various functions in the body. You can very easily and quickly control and develop the body, mind and soul. Psychic cure, Telepathy, Television, thought-reading and other Siddhis are the effects of the control of Prana. The process by which the Prana is controlled by regulation of breath is termed ‘Pranayama’. It is through Pranayama that you can control your circumstances and character and consciously harmonise the universal individual life with the cosmic life.

Pranayama

To suit the different constitutions, temperament and purpose, in Pranayama there are many varieties of exercises, viz., deep breathing exercise, Sukha Purvaka (easy comfortable) Pranayama during walking, Pranayama during meditation, Rhythmical breathing, Suryabheda, Ujjayi, Sitkari, Sitali, Bhastrika, Bhramari, Murchha, Plavini, Kevala Kumbhaka, etc. Of all the above exercises only the last eight are described in the Hatha Yogic texts.

Nadi Suddhi

Before commencing the practice of Pranayama however, you should clean the Nadis. Then only will you derive the maximum benefit from Pranayama. The cleansing of the Nadi (Nadi-Suddhi) is either Samanu or Nirmanu—that is, with or without the use of Bija. According to the first form, the Yogi in Padmasana or Siddhasana offers his prayers to the Guru and meditates on him. Meditating on ‘Yang’ (y:ú) he does Japa through Ida of the Bija 16 times, Kumbhaka with Japa of the Bija 64 times, and then exhalation through the solar Nadi and Japa of Bija 32 times. Fire is raised from Manipura and united with Prithvi. Then follows inhalation by the solar Nadi with the Vahni Bija ‘Rang’ (rú) 16 times, Kumbhaka with Japa of the Bija 64 times, followed by exhalation through the lunar Nadi and Japa of the Bija 32 times. He then meditates on the lunar brilliance, gazing at the tip of the nose, and inhales by Ida with Japa of the Bija ‘Thang’ (Yú) 16 times. Kumbhaka is done with the Bija ‘Vang’ (v:ú) 64 times. He thinks himself as flooded by nectar, and considers that the Nadis have been washed. He exhales by Pingala with Japa of the Bija ‘Lang’ (l:ú) 32 times and considers himself thereby as strengthened.

Now I will tell you a few important exercises only, that are useful in awakening the Kundalini.

1. Sukha Purvaka

(Easy Comfortable Pranayama)

Sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana. Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale (Puraka) through the left nostril till you count 3 Oms slowly. Imagine that you are drawing the Prana along with the atmospheric air. In course of practice, you will actually feel that you are drawing Prana. Then close the left nostril also with the little and ring fingers of your right hand. Retain the breath till you count 12 Oms. Send the current down to the Muladhara Chakra. Feel that the nerve-current is striking against the Muladhara Chakra and awakening Kundalini. Remove the right thumb and exhale through the right nostril till you count 6 Oms. Again inhale through the right nostril, retain and exhale through the left nostril as stated above. All the above six processes constitute one Pranayama. To start with do 6 Pranayamas in the morning and 6 in the evening. Gradually increase it to 20 Pranayamas for each sitting. The ratio of inhalation, retention and exhalation is 1:4:2. You should gradually increase the period of Kumbhaka.

Be careful in doing the Kumbhaka as long as you can comfortably do. Do not be in a hurry. Be patient. Contract the anus and do Mula Bandha also. Concentrate on the Chakra and meditate on Kundalini. This is the most important portion of this exercise. In this Pranayama, deep concentration plays a vital part in awakening Kundalini. Kundalini will be awakened quickly if the degree of concentration is intense and if practised regularly.

This exercise removes all diseases, purifies the Nadis, steadies the wandering mind, improves digestion and circulation, helps Brahmacharya, and awakens Kundalini. All the impurities of the body are thrown out.

2. Bhastrika

Rapid succession of forcible expulsions is a characteristic feature of this exercise. ‘Bhastrika’ means ‘bellows’ in Sanskrit. Just as a blacksmith blows his bellows rapidly, so also you should inhale and exhale rapidly. Sit in your favourite Asana. Close the mouth. Inhale and exhale quickly 20 times like the bellows. Constantly dilate and contract the chest as you inhale and exhale. When you practise the Pranayama a hissing sound is produced. You should start with forcible expulsions of breath following one another in rapid succession. After 20 such expulsions, make a deep inhalation and retain the breath as long as you can comfortably do and then slowly exhale. This is one round of Bhastrika.

Begin with 10 expulsions for a round and increase it gradually to 20 or 25 for a round. The period of Kumbhaka also should be gradually and cautiously increased. Rest a while after one round is over and again begin the next round. Do 3 rounds in the beginning and after due practice, do 20 rounds in the morning and 20 in the evening.

Advanced students do this Pranayama after partial closing of the glottis. They do not make a powerful noise like the beginners. They can do it even in a standing posture.

Bhastrika removes inflammation of the throat, increases the gastric fire, destroys phlegm and all diseases of the nose and lungs, eradicates Asthma, consumption and other diseases which arise from the excess of wind, bile and phlegm. It gives warmth to the body. It is the most effective of all Pranayama exercises. It enables Prana to break through the three Granthis. All the other benefits of Sukha Purvaka Pranayama are obtained in this exercise also.

3. Suryabheda

Sit on Padmasana or Siddhasana. Close the eyes. Keep the left nostril closed with your right ring and little fingers. Slowly inhale without making any sound as long as you can do it comfortably through the right nostril. Then close the right nostril with your right thumb and retain the breath by firmly pressing the chin against the chest (Jalandhara Bandha). Hold the breath till perspiration oozes from the roots of the hair (hair follicles). This point cannot be reached at the very outset. You will have to increase the period of Kumbhaka gradually. This is the limit of the sphere of practice of Suryabheda Kumbhaka. Release the Jalandhara Bandha. Then exhale very slowly without making any sound through the left nostril with the thumb closing the right nostril.

Kumbhakah suryabhedastu
jara-mrityu-vinasakah,
Bodhayet kundalim saktim
dehagnim cha vivardhayet

“The practice of Suryabheda Kumbhaka destroys decay and death and awakens Kundalini.”

This Pranayama should again and again be performed, as it purifies the brain and destroys the intestinal worms. It removes the four kinds of evils caused by Vayu and cures Vata (rheumatism). It cures rhinitis and various sorts of neuralgia. The worms that are found in the frontal sinuses are also destroyed.

4. Ujjayi

Sit in your usual Asana. Close the mouth. Inhale slowly through both the nostrils in a smooth, uniform manner.

Retain the breath as long as you can do it comfortably and then exhale slowly through the left nostril by closing the right nostril with your right thumb. Expand the chest when you inhale. During inhalation a peculiar sound is produced owing to the partial closing of glottis. The sound produced during inhalation should be of a mild and uniform pitch. It should be continuous also. This Kumbhaka may be practised even when walking or standing. Instead of exhaling through the left nostril, you can exhale slowly through both nostrils.

This removes the heat in the head. The practitioner becomes very beautiful. The gastric fire is increased. It removes phlegm in the throat. Asthma, consumption and all sorts of pulmonary diseases are cured. All diseases that arise from deficient inhalation of oxygen and diseases of the heart are cured. All works are accomplished by Ujjayi Pranayama. The practitioner is never attacked by diseases of phlegm, nerves, enlargement of spleen, dyspepsia, dysentery, consumption, cough or fever. Perform Ujjayi to destroy decay and death.

5. Plavini

Practice of this Pranayama demands skill on the part of the students. He who practises this Plavini can do Jalastambha and float on water for any length of time, Mr. ‘S’, a Yogic student, can float on water for twelve hours at a stretch. He who practises this Plavini Kumbhaka can live on air and dispense with food for some days. The student actually drinks air slowly like water and sends it to the stomach. The stomach gets bloated a bit. If you tap the stomach when it is filled with air, you will get a peculiar tympanic (air) sound. Gradual practice is necessary. The help of one who is well versed in this Pranayama, is necessary. The student can fill up the stomach with air by gradual belching. After the practice, the air should be completely taken out. It is done by Uddiyana Bandha and hiccough.

6. Pranic Healing

Those who practise Pranayama, can impart their Prana for healing morbid diseases. They can also recharge themselves with Prana in no time by practising Kumbhaka. Never think that you will be depleted of your Prana by distributing it to others. The more you will give, the more it will flow to you from the cosmic source (Hiranyagarbha). That is the law of Nature. Do not become a niggard. If there is a rheumatic patient, gently shampoo his legs with your hands. When you do shampooing (massage), do Kumbhaka and imagine that the Prana is flowing from your hands towards your patient. Connect yourself with Hiranyagarbha or the cosmic Prana and imagine that the cosmic energy is flowing through your hands towards the patient. The patient will at once feel warmth, relief and strength. You can cure headache, intestinal colic or any other disease by massage and by your magnetic touch. When you massage the liver, spleen, stomach or any other portion or organ of the body you can speak to the cells and give them orders:—“O cells! Discharge your functions properly. I command you to do so.” They will obey your orders. They too have got subconscious intelligence. Repeat your Mantra when you pass your Prana to others. Try a few cases. You will gain competence. You can cure scorpion-sting also. Gently shampoo the leg and bring the poison down.

You can have extraordinary power of concentration, strong will and a perfectly healthy, strong body by practising Pranayama regularly. You will have to direct the Prana consciously to unhealthy parts of the body. Suppose you have a sluggish liver. Sit on Padmasana. Close your eyes. Do Sukha Purvaka Pranayama. Direct the Prana to the region of the liver. Concentrate your mind there. Fix your attention to that area. Imagine that Prana is interpenetrating all the tissues and the cells of the lobes of the liver and doing its curative, regenerating and constructive work there. Faith, imagination, attention and interest play a very important part in curing diseases by taking Prana to the diseased areas. During exhalation imagine that the morbid impurities of the liver are thrown out. Repeat this process 12 times in the morning and 12 times in the evening. Sluggishness of liver will vanish in a few days. This is a drugless treatment. This is nature-cure. You can take the Prana to any part of the body during the Pranayama and cure any kind of disease, be it acute or chronic. Try once or twice in healing yourself. Your convictions will grow stronger. Why do you cry like the lady who is crying for ghee when she has butter in her hand, when you have a cheap, potent, easily available remedy or agent ‘Prana’ at your command at all times! Use it judiciously. When you advance in your concentration and practice, you can cure many diseases by mere touch. In the advanced stages, many diseases are cured by mere will.

7. Distant Healing

This is known as “absent treatment” also. You can transmit Prana through space to your friend who is living at a distance. He should have a receptive mental attitude. You must feel yourself en rapport (in direct relation and in sympathy) with the people whom you heal with this Distant Healing method.

You can fix hours of appointment with them through correspondence. You can write to them: “Get ready at 8 p.m. Have a receptive mental attitude. Lie down in an easy-chair. Close your eyes. I shall transmit my Prana”.

Say mentally to the patient, ‘I am transmitting a supply of Prana (vital force)’. Do Kumbhaka when you send the Prana. Practise rhythmical breathing also. Have a mental image that the Prana is leaving your mind, passing through space, and is entering the system of the patient. The Prana travels unseen like the wireless (radio) waves and flashes like lightning across space. The Prana that is coloured by the thought of the healer is projected outside. You can re-charge yourself with Prana by practising Kumbhaka. This requires long, steady and regular practice.

Importance Of Pranayama

Tamas and Rajas constitute the covering or veil. This veil is removed by the practice of Pranayama. After the veil is removed, the real nature of the soul is realised. The Chitta is by itself made up of Sattvic particles, but it is enveloped by Rajas and Tamas, just as the fire is enveloped by smoke. There is no purificatory action greater than Pranayama. Pranayama gives purity, and the light of knowledge shines. The Karma of the Yogi, which covers up the discriminative knowledge, is annihilated by the practice of Pranayama. By the magic panorama of desire, the essence, which is luminous by nature, is covered up and the Jiva or individual soul is directed towards vice. This Karma of the Yogi which covers up the Light and binds him to repeated births, becomes attenuated by the practice of Pranayama every moment and is destroyed eventually.

Dharanasu cha Yogyata Manasah: “The mind becomes fit for concentration”—Yoga Sutra (II-53). You will be able to concentrate the mind nicely after this veil of the light has been removed. The mind will be quite steady like the flame in a windless place as the disturbing energy has been removed. The word Pranayama is sometimes used collectively for inhalation, retention and exhalation of breath and sometimes for each of these severally. When the Prana Vayu moves in Akasa Tattva, the breathing will be lessened. At this time it will be easy to stop the breath. The velocity of the mind will be slowly lessened by the Pranayama. It will induce Vairagya also.

Benefits Of Pranayama

This body becomes lean, strong and healthy. Too much fat is reduced. There is lustre in the face. Eyes sparkle like diamonds. The practitioner becomes very handsome. Voice becomes sweet and melodious. The inner Anahata sounds are distinctly heard. The student is free from all sorts of diseases. He gets established in Brahmacharya. Semen gets firm and steady. The Jatharagni (gastric fire) is augmented. The student becomes so perfected in Brahmacharya that his mind will not be shaken even if a fairy tries to embrace him. Appetite becomes keen. Nadis are purified. Vikshepa is removed and the mind becomes one-pointed. Rajas and Tamas are destroyed. The mind is prepared for Dharana and Dhyana. The excretions become scanty. Steady practice arouses the inner spiritual force and brings in spiritual light, happiness and peace of mind. It makes him an Oordhvareto-Yogi. All psychic powers are obtained. Advanced students only will get all the benefits.

Instructions On Pranayama

1. Early morning, answer the calls of nature and sit for the Yogic practices. Practise Pranayama in a dry, welt-ventilated room. Pranayama requires deep concentration and attention. Do not keep anyone by your side.

2. Before you sit for Pranayama practice, thoroughly clean the nostrils. When you finish the practice, take a cup of milk or light tiffin after 10 minutes.

3. Strictly avoid too much talking, eating, sleeping, mixing with friends and exertion. Take a little ghee with rice when you take your meals. This will lubricate the bowels and allow Vayu to move downwards freely.

4. Some people twist the muscles of the face when they do Kumbhaka. It should be avoided. It is also a symptom to indicate that they are going beyond their capacity. This must be strictly avoided. Such people cannot have a regulated Rechaka and Puraka.

5. Pranayama can also be performed as soon as you get up from bed and just before Japa and meditation. It will make your body light and you will enjoy the meditation. You must have a routine according to your convenience and time.

6. Do not shake the body unnecessarily. By shaking the body often the mind also is disturbed. Do not scratch the body every now and then. The Asana should be steady and as firm as a rock when you do Pranayama, Japa and meditation.

7. In all the exercises, repeat Rama, Siva, Gayatri, or any other Mantra, mere number or any other time-unit according to your inclination. Gayatri or OM is the best for Pranayama. In the beginning you must observe some time-unit for Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka. The time-unit and the proper ratio comes by itself when you do the Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka as long as you can do them comfortably. When you have advanced in the practice, you need not count or keep any unit. You will be naturally established in the normal ratio through force of habit.

8. For some days in the beginning you must count the number and see how you progress. In the advanced stages, you need not distract the mind in counting. The lungs will tell you when you have finished the required number.

9. Do not perform the Pranayama till you are fatigued. There must be always joy and exhilaration of spirit during and after the practice. You should come out of the practice fully invigorated and refreshed. Do not bind yourself by too many rules (Niyamas).

10. Do not take bath immediately after Pranayama is over. Take rest for half an hour. If you get perspiration during the practice, do not wipe it with a towel. Rub it with your hand. Do not expose the body to the chill draughts of air when you perspire.

11. Always inhale and exhale very slowly. Do not make any sound. In Pranayamas like Bhastrika and Kapalabhati, you can produce a mild or the lowest possible sound.

12. You should not expect the benefits after doing it for 2 or 3 minutes only for a day or two. At least you must have 15 minutes’ daily practice in the beginning regularly for days together. There will be no use if you jump from one exercise to another every day.

13. Patanjali does not lay much stress on the practice of different kinds of Pranayama. He mentions: “Exhale slowly, then inhale and retain the breath. You will get a steady and calm mind.” It was only the Hatha Yogins who developed Pranayama as a science and who have mentioned various exercises to suit different persons.

14. A neophyte should do Puraka and Rechaka only without any Kumbhaka for some days. Take a long time to do Rechaka. The proportion for Puraka and Rechaka is 1:2.

15. “Pranayama in its popular and preparatory form may be practised by everyone in any posture whatsoever, sitting or walking; and yet it is sure to show its benefits. For those who practise it in accordance with the prescribed methods, fructification will be rapid.”

16. Gradually increase the period of Kumbhaka. Retain for 4 seconds in the first week, for 8 seconds in the second week and for 12 seconds in the third week and so on till you are able to retain the breath to your full capacity.

17. You must so nicely adjust the Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka that you should not experience the feeling of suffocation or discomfort at any stage of Pranayama. You should never feel the necessity of catching hold of a few normal breaths between any two successive rounds. The duration of Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka must be properly adjusted. Exercise due care and attention. Matters will turn out to be successful and easy.

18. You must not unnecessarily prolong the period of exhalation. If you prolong the time of Rechaka, the following inhalation will be done in a hurried manner and the rhythm will be disturbed. You must so carefully regulate the Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka that you must be able to do with absolute comfort and care, not only of one Pranayama but also the full course or required rounds of Pranayama. I have to repeat this often. Experience and practice will make one perfect. Be steady. Another important factor is that you must have efficient control over the lungs at the end of Kumbhaka to enable you to do the Rechaka smoothly and in proportion with the Puraka.


ASANAS

Importance Of Asanas

Four Asanas are prescribed for the purpose of Japa and meditation. They are Padmasana, Siddhasana, Svastikasana and Sukhasana. You must be able to sit in any one of these four Asanas at a stretch for full three hours without shaking the body. Then only you will get Asana-Jaya, mastery over the Asana. Without securing a steady Asana, you cannot further get on well in meditation. The steadier you are in your Asana, the more you will be able to concentrate and make your mind one-pointed. If you can be steady in the posture even for one hour, you will be able to acquire one-pointed mind and feel thereby infinite peace and Atmic Ananda.

When you sit on the posture, think: “I am as firm as a rock”. Give this suggestion to the mind half a dozen times. Then the Asana will become steady soon. You must become as a living statue when you sit for Dhyana. Then only there will be real steadiness in your Asana. In one year by regular practice you will have success and will be able to sit for three hours at a stretch. Start with half an hour and gradually increase the period.

When you sit in the Asana, keep your head, neck and trunk in one straight line. Stick to one Asana and make it quite steady and perfect by repeated attempts. Never change the Asana. Adhere to one tenaciously. Realise the full benefits of one Asana. Asana gives Dridhata (strength). Mudra gives Sthirata (steadiness). Pratyahara gives Dhairya (boldness). Pranayama gives Laghima (lightness). Dhyana gives Pratyakshatva (perception) of Self and Samadhi gives Kaivalya (isolation) which is verily the freedom or final beatitude.

The postures are as many in number as there are number of species of living creatures in this universe. There are 84 lakhs of Asanas described by Lord Siva. Among them 84 are the best and among these, 32 are very useful. There are some Asanas which can be practised while standing. These are Tadasana, Trikonasana, Garudasana, etc. There are some which can be practised by sitting, such as Paschimottanasana, Padmasana, etc. Some Asanas are done while lying down. These are Uttanapadasana, Pavanamuktasana, etc. Sirshasana, Vrikshasana, etc., are done with head downwards and legs upwards.

In olden days these Asanas were practised in Gurukulas and so the people were strong and healthy and had long lives. In schools and colleges these Asanas should be introduced. Ordinary physical exercises develop the superficial muscles of the body only. One can become a Sandow with a beautiful physique by the physical exercises. But Asanas are intended for physical and spiritual development.

Detailed instructions regarding the technique of 94 Asanas are given in my book ‘Yoga Asanas’ with illustrations. Here I will mention only a few of the Asanas that are useful for concentration, meditation and for awakening the Kundalini.

1. Padmasana (Lotus Pose)

Amongst the four poses prescribed for Japa and Dhyana, Padmasana comes foremost. It is the best Asana for contemplation. Rishis like Gheranda, Sandilya, speak very highly of this vital Asana. This is highly agreeable for householders. Even ladies can sit in this Asana. Padmasana is suitable for lean persons and for youths as well.

Sit on the ground by spreading the legs forward. Then place the right foot on the left thigh and the left foot on the right thigh. Place the hands on the knee-joints. You can make a fingerlock and keep the locked hands over the left ankle. This is very convenient for some persons. Or you can place the left hand over the left knee and then place the right hand over the right knee with the palm facing upwards and the index finger touching the middle portion of the thumb (Chinmudra).

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PADMASANA

2. Siddhasana (The Perfect Pose)

Next to Padmasana comes Siddhasana in importance. Some eulogise this Asana as even superior to Padmasana for purposes of Dhyana. If you get mastery over this Asana, you will acquire many Siddhis. Further it was being practised by many Siddhas of yore. Hence the name Siddhasana.

Even fatty persons with big thighs can practise this Asana easily. In fact this is better to some persons than Padmasana. Young Brahmacharins who attempt to get established in celibacy should practise this Asana. This Asana is not suitable for ladies.

Place one heel at anus. Keep the other heel on the root of the generative organ. The feet or legs should be so nicely arranged that the ankle-joints should touch each other. Hands can be placed as in Padmasana.

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SIDDHASANA

3. Svastikasana (Prosperous Pose)

Svastikasana is sitting at ease with the body erect. Spread the legs forward. Fold the left leg and place the foot near the right thigh muscles. Similarly bend the right leg and push it in the space between the thigh and calf muscles. Now you will find the two feet between the thighs and calves of the legs. This is a very comfortable Asana. Those who find it difficult to do this, can sit in Samasana.

Place the left heel at the beginning of right thigh and the right heel at the beginning of the left thigh. Sit at ease. Do not bend either on the left or right. This is called ‘Samasana’.

4. Sukhasana

Any easy, comfortable posture for Japa and meditation is Sukhasana, the important point being the head, neck and trunk should be in a line without curve. People who begin Japa and meditation after 30 or 40 years of age generally are not able to sit in Padma, Siddha or Svastikasana for a long time. People sit in any wrong way and they call it ‘Sukhasana’. The trouble is even without their knowledge the backbone forms a curve in a few minutes. Now I will describe to you a nice Sukhasana whereby old persons can sit and meditate for a long time. Young persons should not try this. This is specially designed to suit old people who are unable to sit in Padmasana or Siddhasana in spite of repeated attempts.

Take a cloth 5 cubits long. Fold it nicely length-wise till the width becomes half a cubit. Sit in your usual way keeping the feet below your thighs. Raise the two knees to the level of your chest till you get a space of 8 or 10 inches between the knees. Now take the folded cloth. Keep one end near the left side, touching the right knee, come to the starting point. Then make a knot of the two ends. Keep your palms face to face and place them on the support of the cloth between the knees. In this Asana the hands, legs and backbone are supported. Hence you will never feel tired. If you cannot do any other Asana sit at least in this Asana and do Japa and meditation for a long time. You can also have Svadhyaya (study of religious books) in this Asana.

5. Sirshasana (Topsy Turvy Pose)

Spread a four-folded blanket. Sit on the two knees. Make a finger-lock by interweaving the fingers. Place it on the ground up to the elbow. Now keep the top of your head on this finger-lock or between the two hands. Slowly raise the legs till they become vertical. Stand for five seconds in the beginning and gradually increase the period by 15 seconds each week to 20 minutes or half an hour. Then very slowly, bring it down. Strong people will be able to keep the Asana for half an hour within 2 or 3 months. Do it slowly. There is no harm. If you have time, do twice daily both morning and evening. Perform this Asana very, very slowly, to avoid jerks. While standing on the head, breathe slowly through the nose and never through the mouth.

You can place the hands on the ground one on each side of the head. You will find this easy to practise, if you are fat. If you have learnt balancing, you can take to the finger-lock method. This Asana is nothing for those who can balance on parallel bars or on the ground. Ask your friend to assist you to keep the legs steady while practising or get the help of a wall.

In the beginning some persons may have a novel sensation during practice but this vanishes soon. It brings joy and glee. After the exercise is over take a little rest for five minutes and then take a cup of milk. There are people who are doing this Asana for two or three hours at one stroke.

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SIRSHASANA

BENEFITS

This is very useful in keeping up Brahmacharya. It makes you Oordhvaretas. The seminal energy is transmuted into spiritual energy, Ojas-Shakti. This is also called sex-sublimation. You will not have wet-dreams, Spermatorrhea. In an Oordhvareto-Yogi the seminal energy flows upwards into the brain for being stored up as spiritual force which is used for contemplative purposes (Dhyana). When you do this Asana, imagine that the seminal energy is being converted into Ojas and is passing along the spinal column into the brain for storage.

Sirshasana is really a blessing and a nectar. Words will fail to adequately describe its beneficial results and effects. In this Asana alone, the brain can draw plenty of Prana and blood. Memory increases admirably. Lawyers, occultists and thinkers will highly appreciate this Asana. This leads to natural Pranayama and Samadhi by itself. No other effort is necessary. If you watch the breath, you will notice it becoming finer and finer. In the beginning of practice there will be a slight difficulty in breathing. As you advance in practice, this vanishes entirely. You will find real pleasure and exhilaration of spirit in this Asana.

Great benefit is derived by sitting for meditation after Sirshasana. You can hear Anahata sound quite distinctly. Young, robust persons should perform this Asana. Householders who practise this should not have frequent sexual intercourse.

6. Sarvangasana (All-Members Pose)

This is a mysterious Asana which gives wonderful benefits. Spread a thick blanket on the floor and practise this Asana on the blanket. Lie on the back quite flat. Slowly raise the legs. Lift the trunk, hips, and legs quite vertically. Support the back with the two hands, one on either side. Rest the elbows on the ground. Press the chin against the chest (Jalandhara Bandha). Allow the back-shoulder portion and neck to touch the ground closely. Do not allow the body to shake or move to and fro. Keep the legs straight. When the Asana is over, bring the legs down very, very slowly with elegance and not with any jerks. In this Asana the whole weight of the body is thrown on the shoulders. You really stand on the shoulders with the help and support of the elbows. Concentrate on the Thyroid gland which lies on the front lower part of the neck. Retain the breath as long as you can do with comfort, and slowly exhale through the nose.

You can do this Asana twice daily, morning and evening. This should immediately be followed by Matsyasana (fish-posture). This will relieve pains in the back part of the neck and intensify the usefulness of Sarvangasana. Stand on the Asana for two minutes and gradually increase the period to half an hour.

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SARVANGASANA

BENEFITS

This is a panacea, a cure-all, a sovereign specific for all diseases. It brightens the psychic faculties and awakens Kundalini Sakti, removes all sorts of diseases of intestine and stomach, and augments the mental power.

It supplies a large quantity of blood to the roots of spinal nerves. It is this Asana which centralises the blood in the spinal column and nourishes it beautifully. But for this Asana there is no scope for these nerve-roots to draw sufficient blood-supply. It keeps the spine quite elastic. Elasticity of the spine means everlasting youth. It stimulates you in your work. It prevents the spine from early ossification (hardening). So you will preserve and retain your youth for a long time. It helps a lot in maintaining Brahmacharya. Like Sirshasana, it makes you an Oordhvaretas. It checks wet-dreams effectively. It rejuvenates those who have lost their potency. It acts as a powerful blood-tonic and purifier. It tones the nerves and awakens Kundalini. Spinal column is rendered very soft and elastic. This Asana prevents the early ossification of the vertebral bones. Ossification is quick degeneration of bones. Old age manifests quickly on account of early ossification. The bones become hard and brittle in the degenerative process. He who practises Sarvangasana is very nimble, agile, full of energy. The muscles of the back are alternately contracted, relaxed and then pulled and stretched. Hence they draw a good supply of blood by these various movements and are well nourished. Various sorts of myalgia (muscular rheumatism), lumbago, sprain, neuralgia, etc., are cured by this Asana.

The vertebral column becomes as soft and elastic as rubber. It is twisted and rolled as it were like a piece of canvas sheet. A man who practises this Asana can never become lazy even a bit. He is a two-legged talking squirrel. The vertebral column is a very important structure. It supports the whole body. It contains the spinal cord, spinal nerve and sympathetic system. In Hatha Yoga the spine is termed as Meru Danda. Therefore you must keep it healthy, strong and elastic. The muscles of the abdomen, the rectic muscles and the muscles of the thigh are also toned and nourished well. Obesity or corpulence and habitual chronic constipation, Gulma, congestion and enlargement of the liver and spleen are cured by this Asana.

7. Matsyasana (Fish Posture)

This Asana will help one to float on water easily with Plavini Pranayama. Therefore it is called fish-pose, Matsyasana. Spread a blanket and sit on Padmasana by keeping the right foot over the left thigh and the left over right thigh. Then lie flat on the back. Hold the head by the two elbows. This is one variety.

Stretch the head back, so that the top of your head rests on the ground firmly on one side and the buttocks only on the other, thus making a bridge or an arch of the trunk. Place the hands on the thighs or catch the toes with the hands. You will have to give a good twisting to the back. This variety is more efficacious than the former one. The benefits that you derive from this variety are a hundred times more than what you get in the previous variety.

Those fatty persons with thick calves, who find it difficult to have Padmasana (foot-lock), may simply sit in the ordinary way and then practise this Asana. Practise the Padmasana first. Make it firm, easy and steady. Then take Matsyasana. Do this Asana for 10 seconds in the beginning and increase it to 10 minutes.

When you have finished the Asana, slowly release the head with the help of hands and get up. Then unlock the Padmasana.

You must practise this Asana soon after Sarvangasana. It will relieve stiffness of the neck and all crampy conditions of the cervical region caused by long practice of Sarvangasana. This gives natural massage or shampooing to the congested parts of the neck and shoulders. Further it affords the maximum benefits of Sarvangasana. It is a complimentary Asana of Sarvangasana. Rather it supplements Sarvangasana. As the larynx or wind-box and trachea (wind-pipe) are thrown open widely, this Asana helps deep breathing.

Matsyasana is the destroyer of many diseases. It removes constipation. It brings down the accumulated faecal matter to the rectum. It is useful in asthma, consumption, chronic bronchitis, etc., on account of the deep breathing.

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MATSYASANA

8. Paschimottanasana

Sit on the ground and stretch the legs stiff like a stick. Catch the toes with the thumb and index and middle fingers. While catching, you have to bend the trunk forwards. Fatty persons will find it rather difficult to bend. Exhale. Slowly bend without jerks till your forehead touches your knees. You can keep the face even between the knees. When you bend down, draw the belly back. This facilitates the bending forward. Bend slowly by gradual degrees. Take your own time. There is no hurry. When you bend down, bend the head between the hands. Retain it on a level with them. Young persons with elastic spine can touch the knees with the forehead even in their very first attempt. In the case of grown-up persons with rigid spinal column, it will take a fortnight or a month for complete success in the posture. Retain the breath till you take the forehead back, to its original position, till you sit straight again. Then breathe.

Retain the pose for 5 seconds. Then gradually increase the period to 10 minutes.

Those who find it difficult to do the full Paschimottanasana, can do half pose with one leg and one hand and then with the other leg and hand. They will find this more easy. After some days when the spine has become more elastic, they can have recourse to the full pose. You will have to use common-sense while practising Yogasanas.

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PASCHIMOTTANASANA

BENEFITS

This is an excellent Asana. It makes the breath flow through the Brahma Nadi and Sushumna, and rouses the gastric fire. It reduces fat in the abdomen and makes the loins lean. This Asana is a specific for corpulence or obesity. It brings about reduction of spleen and liver in cases of enlargement of spleen. What Sarvangasana is for the stimulation of endocrine glands, so is Paschimottanasana for the stimulation of abdominal viscera, such as kidneys, liver, pancreas, etc. This Asana relieves constipation, removes sluggishness of liver, dyspepsia, belching and gastritis. Lumbago and all sorts of myalgia of the back muscles are cured. This Asana cures piles and diabetes also. The muscles of the abdomen, the solar plexus, the epigastric plexus, bladder prostate, lumbar nerves, sympathetic cord are all toned up and kept in a healthy, sound condition.

9. Mayurasana (Peacock Pose)

This is more difficult than Sarvangasana. This demands good physical strength.

Kneel on the ground. Sit on the toes. Raise the heels up. Join the two forearms together. Place the palms of the two hands on the ground. The two little fingers must be in close touch. They project towards the feet. Now you have got steady and firm forearms for supporting the whole body in the ensuing elevation of the trunk and legs. Now bring down the abdomen slowly against the conjoined elbows. Support your body upon your elbows that are pressed now against the navel or umbilicus. This is the first stage. Stretch your legs and raise the feet stiff and straight on a level with the head. This is second stage.

Neophytes (beginners) find it difficult to keep up the balance as soon as they raise the feet from the ground. Place a cushion in front. Sometimes you will have a fall forwards and you may hurt your nose slightly. Try to slip on the sides when you cannot keep up the balance. If you find it difficult to stretch the two legs backwards at one stroke, slowly stretch one leg first and then the other. If you adopt the device of leaning the body forwards and head downwards the feet will by themselves leave the ground and you can stretch them quite easily. When the Asana is in full manifestation the head, trunk, buttocks, thighs, legs and feet will be in one straight line and parallel to the ground. This posture is very beautiful to look at.

Beginners can practise this Asana by holding on to a table. They will find it easy to practise this. If you understand the technique of this Asana and if you use your common-sense you can do it easily and can keep up the balance without much difficulty. Fatty people have frequent nasty falls, slips and doublings and they excite much laughter amongst the onlookers. Do not bend the legs when you stretch them.

Practise this Asana from 5 to 20 seconds. Those who have good physical strength can do it for 2 or 3 minutes.

Retain the breath when you raise the body. It will give you immense strength. When you finish the Asana, exhale slowly.

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MAYURASANA

BENEFITS

This is a wonderful Asana for improving digestion. It destroys the effects of unwholesome food, and increases the digestive power. It cures dyspepsia and diseases of the stomach like Gulma (chronic gastritis), and reduces spleenic and liver enlargements by increasing the intra-abdominal pressure. The whole abdominal organs are properly toned and stimulated well by the increase of intra-abdominal pressure. Sluggishness of liver or hepatic torpidity disappears. It tones the bowels and removes constipation (ordinary, chronic and habitual). It awakens Kundalini.

10. Ardha Matsyendrasana

Paschimottanasana and Halasana bend the spine forwards. Dhanur, Bhujanga and Salabha Asanas are counter-poses to bend the spine backwards. This is not sufficient. It must be twisted and bent from side to side also (lateral movements). Then only perfect elasticity of the spinal column can be ensured. The Matsyendrasana serves this purpose well in giving a lateral twist to the spinal column.

Place the left heel near the anus and below the scrotum. It can touch the perennial space. Do not allow the heel to move from this space. Bend the knee and place the right ankle at the root of the left thigh and rest the right foot well on the ground close to the left hip-joint. Place the left axilla or arm-pit over the top of the vertically bent right knee. Push the knee now a little to the back so that it touches the back part of the axilla. Catch hold of the left foot with left palm. Then applying pressure at the left shoulder-joint slowly twist the spine and turn to the extreme right. Turn the face also to the right as much as you can do. Bring it in a line with the right shoulder. Swing round the right arm towards the back. Catch hold of the left thigh with the right hand. Retain the pose from 5 to 15 seconds. Keep the vertebral column erect. Do not bend. Similarly you can twist the spine to the left side.

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ARDHA MATSYENDRASANA

BENEFITS

This Asana increases appetite by increasing the digestive fire. It destroys terrible diseases. It rouses Kundalini and makes the moon-flow, Chandranadi, steady. Above the root of the palate the moon is said to be located. It drops the cool ambrosial nectar, which is wasted by mixing with gastric fire. But this Asana prevents it.

It keeps the spine elastic and gives a good massage to the abdominal organs. Lumbago and all sorts of muscular rheumatism of the back-muscles are cured. The spinal nerve-roots and sympathetic system are toned. They draw a good supply of blood. This Asana is an adjunct to Paschimottanasana.

11. Vajrasana (The Adamantine Pose)

Those who sit in this Asana have a quite steady and firm pose. They cannot be easily shaken. The knees are rendered very hard. Merudanda becomes firm and strong. This Asana resembles more or less the Namaz pose in which the Muslims sit for prayer.

Keep the soles of the feet on both sides of the anus, i.e., place the thighs on the legs one over the other and the soles on the buttocks. The calves must touch the thighs. The part from the toe to the knee should touch the ground. The whole burden of the body is put on the knees and ankles. In the beginning of practice you may feel a slight pain in the knee and ankle-joints but it passes off very quickly. Massage the painful parts and two joints with the hands. You can use a little Iodex or Amrutanjan for rubbing. After fixing the feet and the knees, put both the hands straight on the knees. Keep the knees quite close. Sit like this keeping the trunk, neck and head in one straight line. This is the most common Asana. You can sit in this Asana for a very long time comfortably. Yogins generally sit in this Asana.

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VAJRASANA

BENEFITS

If you sit in this Asana for fifteen minutes immediately after food, the food will be digested well. Dyspeptics will derive much benefit. The Nadis, nerves and muscles of the legs and thighs are strengthened. Myalgia in the knees, legs, toes and thighs disappears. Sciatica vanishes. Flatulence is removed. Stomach exercises a stimulating, beneficial influence on Kanda, the most vital part from which all the Nadis spring.

12. Urdhva Padmasana (Above Lotus Pose)

Perform Sirshasana. Slowly bend the right leg and keep it on the left thigh and keep the left leg on the right thigh. You must do this very carefully and slowly. If you can stand in Sirshasana for more than 10 or 15 minutes, then you can attempt this. Otherwise you will have a fall and injure your legs. A gymnast, who can balance on the parallel bars on the ground, can do this. The benefits of Sirshasana can be realised from this Asana.

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URDHVA PADMASANA

Instructions On Asanas

1. Asana is the first Anga of the Ashtanga Yoga. When you are established in Asana, then only you will derive the benefits of Pranayama.

2. Spread a blanket on the floor and practise the Asanas over the blanket. Use a pillow or four-folded blanket for practising Sirshasana and its varieties.

3. Wear a Langotee or Kowpeen when you practise Asanas. You can have a banian on the body.

4. Do not wear spectacles when you do Asanas. They may be broken or they will injure your eyes.

5. Those who practise Sirshasana, etc., for a long time, should take light tiffin or a cup of milk after finishing the Asanas.

6. Be regular in the practice. Those who practise by fits and starts will not derive any benefit.

7. Asana should be done on empty stomach in the morning or at least three hours after food. Morning time is best for doing Asanas.

8. If the foundation of a building is not properly laid, the superstructure will fall down in no time, even so if a Yogic student has not gained mastery over the Asanas, he cannot successfully proceed in his higher courses of Yogic practices.

9. Japa and Pranayama should go hand in hand with Yoga Asanas. Then only it becomes real Yoga.

10. In the beginning you cannot perform some of the Asanas perfectly. Regular practice will give perfection. Patience and perseverance, earnestness and sincerity are needed.

11. Never change the Asanas. Adhere to one set tenaciously. If you do one set of Asanas today and some other tomorrow and so on, you cannot derive any benefit.

12. The more steady you are on the Asana the more you will be able to concentrate and make your mind one-pointed. You cannot get on well in your meditation without having a steady posture.

13. Mild Kumbhaka during the practice of Asanas augments the efficacy of Asanas and give increased power and vitality to the practitioner.

14. Everyone should select a course of a few Asanas to suit his temperament, capacity, convenience, leisure and requirement.

15. If you are careful about your diet, Asanas and meditation, you will have fine, lustrous eyes, fair complexion and peace of mind in a short time. Hatha Yoga ensures beauty, strength and spiritual success to the Yogic students.

16. A man can sit for 10 hours at one stretch motionless on the Asana and yet he may be full of desires. This is a mere physical practice like an acrobatic or circus feat. A man without dosing the eyes, without winking, without turning the eye-balls can practise Tratak for three hours and yet he may be full of desires and egoism. This is also another kind of physical exercise. This has nothing to do with spirituality. People are deceived when they see persons who can do the above practices. Fasting for 40 days is also another kind of training of the physical body.

17. Pranayama with Asanas before starting Japa and meditation is very good and conducive. It removes laziness and drowsiness of the body and mind. It steadies the mind also. It fills the mind with new vigour and peace.

18. Asanas can be practised on the sandy bed of rivers, open airy places and by seaside also. If you practise them in a room, see that the room is not congested. You should clean it every day.

19. A Vedantin is afraid to do Asanas on the ground that the practice will intensify Dehadhyasa and militate against his practice of Vairagya. I have seen many Vedantins in a sickly condition with poor physique and dilapidated constitution. They can hardly do any rigid Sadhana. They may utter: “Om Om Om,” mechanically through lips only. They have not sufficient strength to raise the Brahmakara Vritti.

20. The body is closely related to the mind. Sickly, weak body is Jada. The body is an important instrument for Self-realisation. The instrument must be kept clean, strong and healthy.


MUDRAS AND BANDHAS

Exercises

Mudras and Bandhas are certain postures of the body by which Kundalini is successfully awakened. In Gheranda Samhita, the description of 25 Mudras and Bandhas, is given. The following 12 are the most important:—

1. Mula Bandha
2. Jalandhara Bandha
3. Uddiyana Bandha
4. Maha Mudra
5. Maha Bandha
6. Maha Vedha
7. Yoga Mudra
8. Viparitakarani Mudra
9. Khechari Mudra
10. Vajroli Mudra
11. Shakti Chalana Mudra
12. Yoni Mudra

Many of the above exercises have intimate connection with each other. In one exercise you will have to combine 2 or 3 Bandhas and Mudras. This you will see when you see the description. Many aspirants are not able to find out the exact technique of several Mudras that are described in Hatha Yogic texts, and therefore they could not realise the benefits.

Yogic exercises when practised regularly in the right way, will surely bestow on you all that you want.

Nasti mudrasamam kinchit
Siddhidam kshitimandale

“There is nothing in this world like Mudras for giving success.”

Dyspepsia, constipation, piles, cough, asthma, enlargement of spleen, venereal diseases, leprosy and all sorts of incurable diseases are cured by Mudras and Bandhas. They are the most effective exercises for maintaining Brahmacharya, without which nothing can be made in the spiritual path.

1. Mula Bandha

Press the Yoni with the left heel. Keep the right heel pressed at the space just above the organ of generation. Contract the anus and draw the Apana Vayu upwards. This is called Mula Bandha. The Apana Vayu which does the function of ejection of excreta has natural tendency to move downwards. Through the practice of Mula Bandha, the Apana Vayu is made to move upwards by contracting the anus and by forcibly drawing it upwards. The Prana Vayu is united with the Apana and the united Prana-Apana Vayu is made to enter the Sushumna Nadi. Then the Yogi attains perfection in Yoga. Kundalini is awakened. The Yogi drinks the Nectar of Immortality. He enjoys Siva-pada in Sahasrara Chakra. He gets all divine Vibhutis and Aishvarya. When the Apana is united with Prana, Anahata sounds (mystical inner sounds) are heard very distinctly. Prana, Apana, Nada and Bindu unite and the Yogi reaches perfection in Yoga. This highest stage cannot be reached by the first attempt. One should practise this again and again for a long time.

The Siddhi in the practice of Pranayama is attained through the help of Bandhas and Mudras. The practice of Mula Bandha enables one to keep up perfect Brahmacharya, gives Dhatu-Pushti (nerve-vigour), relieves constipation and increases Jatharagni. During the practice of concentration, meditation, Pranayama and all other Yogic Kriyas, Mula Bandha can be combined.

2. Jalandhara Bandha

Contract the throat. Press the chin firmly against the chest. This Bandha is practised at the end of Puraka and beginning of Kumbhaka. Generally this Bandha is done during Kumbhaka only. The gastric fire, which is situated in the region of Nabhi, consumes the nectar which exudes out of the Sahasrara Chakra through the hole in the palate. This Bandha prevents the nectar being thus consumed.

3. Uddiyana Bandha

The Sanskrit word “Uddiyana” comes from the root ‘ut’ and ‘di’ which means to “fly up.” When this Bandha is practised the Prana flies up through the Sushumna Nadi. Hence the significant name.

Empty the lungs by a strong and forcible expiration. The lungs will become completely empty when you exhale forcibly through the mouth. Now contract and draw up the intestines above and below the navel towards the back, so that the abdomen rests against the back of the body high up in the thoracic cavity. This is Uddiyana Bandha. This is practised at the end of Kumbhaka and beginning of the Rechaka. When you practise this Bandha, the diaphragm, the muscular portion between the thoracic cavity and abdomen, is raised up and the abdominal muscles are drawn backwards. If you bend your trunk forwards, you can easily do this exercise. Uddiyana Bandha is the first stage of Nauli Kriya. You should know Uddiyana Bandha if you want to practise Nauli Kriya. Nauli Kriya is generally done in a standing position. Uddiyana Bandha can be practised in a sitting or standing posture. When you do it while standing, keep your hands on the thigh as shown in the illustration.

This exercise helps a lot in keeping up Brahmacharya. It imparts beautiful health, strength, vigour and vitality to the practitioner. When it is combined with Nauli Kriya, it serves as a powerful gastro-intestinal tonic. These are the two potent weapons of the Yogin to combat against constipation, weak peristalsis of the intestines and other disorders of the alimentary canal. It is by these two Yogic Kriyas alone, that you can manipulate and massage all the abdominal muscles. For abdominal exercises nothing can compete with Uddiyana Bandha and Nauli. They stand unique and unrivalled amongst all systems of physical exercises. In chronic diseases of stomach and intestines, where drugs of all sorts have failed, Uddiyana and Nauli have effected a rapid, thorough and marvellous cure.

When you practise Pranayama, you can beautifully combine Mula Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha. This is Bandha-Traya.

Uddiyana Bandha reduces fat in the belly. In cases where Marienbud reduction pills have failed to reduce fat, Uddiyana Bandha will work wonders. If fatty persons stop taking ghee and reduce the quantity of drinking water, they will be able to do Uddiyana. A trip to Kedar-Badri or Mount Kailas by foot will prepare fatty people for the practice of Uddiyana Bandha.

uddiyana.jpg

UDDIYANA BANDHA

4. Maha Mudra

This is the most important of all Mudras. Hence it is called ‘Maha Mudra.’ Press the anus carefully with the left heel. Stretch out the right leg. Catch hold of the toe with the two hands. Inhale and retain the breath. Press the chin against the chest firmly (Jalandhara Bandha). Fix the gaze between the eyebrows (Bhrumadhya Drishti). Retain the posture as long as you can and then exhale slowly. Practise first on the left leg and then on the right leg.

This cures consumption, haemorrhoids or piles, enlargement of spleen, indigestion, Gulma (chronic gastritis), leprosy, constipation, fever and all other diseases. Life is increased. It confers great Siddhis on the practitioners. Generally the Yogi does Maha Mudra, Maha Bandha and Maha Vedha. This is a good combination. Then only maximum benefits are derived. Do like this six times in the morning and evening.

5. Maha Bandha

Maha Mudra is the preliminary exercise for this. Press the anus with the left heel. Place the right foot upon the left thigh. Contract the anus and muscles of the perineum. Draw the Apana Vayu upwards. Draw the breath slowly and retain it by Jalandhara Bandha as long as you can. Then exhale slowly. Practise first on the left side and then on the right side. The Bandha destroys decay and death. The Yogi achieves all his desires and obtains Siddhis.

6. Maha Vedha

Sit in Maha Bandha posture. Draw the breath slowly. Retain the breath. Press the chin against the chest. Place the palms on the ground. Rest the body on the palms. Raise the buttocks slowly and strike them gently against the ground. The Asana must be intact and firm when you raise the buttocks. This Kriya destroys decay and death. The Yogi gets control over the mind and conquers death. There is not much difference between Maha Mudra, Maha Bandha and Maha Vedha. They are something like 3 stages of one exercise.

7. Yoga Mudra

Sit in Padmasana. Place the palms on the heels. Exhale slowly and bend forwards and touch the ground with the forehead. If you retain the pose for a long time, you can breathe as usual. Or come to the former position and inhale. Instead of keeping the hands on the heels, you can take them to the back. Catch hold of the left wrist with your right hand. This pose removes all kinds of disorders of the abdomen.

8. Viparitakarani Mudra

Lie on the ground. Raise the legs up straight. Support the buttocks with the hands. Rest the elbows on the ground. Remain steady. The sun dwells at the root of the navel and the moon at the root of the palate. The process by which the sun is brought upward and the moon is carried downward is called Viparitakarani Mudra. The positions of the sun and the moon are reversed. On the first day do it for a minute. Gradually increase the period to three hours. After six months wrinkles on the face and grey hair disappear. The Yogin who practises this for three hours daily conquers death. As the gastric fire is increased, those who practise this Mudra for a long time should take some light refreshment such as milk, etc., as soon as the Kriya is over. Sirshasana posture also is called Viparitakarani Mudra.

9. Khechari Mudra

‘Kha’ means Akasa and ‘Chari’ means to move. The Yogi moves in the Akasa. The tongue and the mind remain in the Akasa. Hence this is known as Khechari Mudra.

This Mudra can be performed by a man, only if he has undergone the preliminary exercise under the direct guidance of a Guru, who is practising Khechari Mudra. The preliminary portion of this Mudra is in making the tongue so long that the tip of the tongue might touch the space between the two eyebrows. The Guru will cut the lower tendon of the tongue with a bright, clean knife little by little every week. By sprinkling salt and turmeric powder, the cut edges may not join together again. Cutting the lower tendon of the tongue should be done regularly, once a week, for a period of six months. Rub the tongue with fresh butter and draw it out. Take hold of the tongue with the fingers and move it to and fro. Milking the tongue means taking hold of it and drawing it as the milkman does the udder of a cow during milking. By all these means you can lengthen the tongue to reach the forehead. This is the preliminary portion of Khechari Mudra.

Then turn the tongue upwards and backwards by sitting in Siddhasana so as to touch the palate and close the posterior nasal openings with the reversed tongue and fix the gaze on the space between the two eye-brows. Now leaving the Ida and Pingala, Prana will move in the Sushumna Nadi. The respiration will stop. The tongue is on the mouth of the well of nectar. This is Khechari Mudra.

By the practice of this Mudra the Yogi is free from fainting, hunger, thirst and laziness. He is free from diseases, decay, old age and death. This Mudra makes one an Oordhvaretas. As the body of the Yogi is filled with nectar, he will not die even by virulent poison. This Mudra gives Siddhis to Yogins. Khechari is the best of all Mudras.

10. Vajroli Mudra

This is an important Yogic Kriya in Hatha Yoga. You will have to work hard to get full success in this Kriya. There are very few people who are experts in this act. Yogic students draw water first through a silver-tube (catheter specially made) passed into the urethra 12 inches inside. After due practice they draw milk, then oil, honey, etc. They draw mercury in the end. Later on they can draw these liquids directly through the urethra without the help of the silver-tube. This Kriya is of immense use for keeping up perfect Brahmacharya. On the first day you should send the catheter inside the urethra for one inch only, the second day two inches, third day three inches, and so on. You must gradually practise till you are able to send 12 inches of the catheter inside. The way becomes clear and blowing. Raja Bhartrihari could do this Kriya very dexterously.

Even a drop of semen cannot come out of the Yogi who practises this Mudra. Even if it is discharged, he can draw it back through this Mudra. The Yogi, who draws his semen up and preserves it, conquers death. Good smell emanates from his body.

The late Trilingaswami of Varanasi was an expert in this Kriya. Sri Swami Kuvalayanandaji of Lonavala teaches this Mudra.

Some persons call the Mayurasana Vajroli Mudra. Again Vajroli Mudra is also known as Yoni Mudra. However, the description of Yoni Mudra is given separately.

The object of Vajroli Mudra is to be perfectly established in Brahmacharya. When aspirants practise this Mudra, they unconsciously divert their mind to sexual centres and thereby they cannot get any success. When you see the description of this Mudra, you will clearly understand that strict Brahmacharya is absolutely necessary. For practising this there is no necessity at all for a woman or for any sexual intercourse. Since the Grihasthas have their wives and because they think that Vajroli Mudra is a device for birth-control, they have a keen desire to practise this Mudra. It is all mere foolishness and delusion. They have not understood the technique and object of this important Kriya.

Practice of Mula Bandha, Maha Bandha, Maha Mudra, Asanas, Pranayamas, etc., will naturally enable one to understand and to get success in the practice of Vajroli. This must be done under the direct guidance of a Guru.

11. Shakti Chalana Mudra

Sit in a secluded room in Siddhasana. Draw in the air forcibly and join it with Apana. Do Mula Bandha till the Vayu enters the Sushumna. By retaining the air, the Kundalini, feeling suffocated, awakes and finds its way through Sushumna to Brahmarandhra.

Sit in Siddhasana. Take hold of the foot near the ankle and slowly beat the Kanda with the foot. This is Tadana Kriya. By this method also Kundalini can be awakened. Through the practice of this Mudra one can become a Siddha.

12. Yoni Mudra

Sit in Siddhasana. Close the ears with the two thumbs, eyes with the index-fingers, nostrils with the middle-fingers, the upper lips with the ring-fingers and the lower lips with the little fingers. This is a beautiful pose for doing Japa. Dive deep and meditate on the Shat Chakras and Kundalini. This is not quite easy for all like other Mudras. You have to exert much in getting success in this. You must be perfectly established in Brahmacharya if you want sure success. “Devanamapi durlabha”—very difficult to be obtained even by Devas. Therefore realise the importance of this Mudra and practise it very cautiously. Vajroli Mudra also is called Yoni Mudra.

Other Mudras

There are Sambhavi, Manduki, Aswini, Tadagi, Matangini, Bhuchari, Aghori and various other Mudras. Here I have told you only the important Mudras. For the instructions of all the Mudras, refer to my book “Hatha Yoga.”

Instructions On Mudras And Bandhas

1. Maha Mudra, Maha Bandha and Maha Vedha form one group. They are something like three stages of one exercise. Similarly Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha form another group. Mula Bandha is practised during Puraka, Kumbhaka, Rechaka and during meditation and Japa also. Uddiyana Bandha is practised during Rechaka and Jalandhara Bandha during Kumbhaka.

2. As in the case of other Yogic Kriyas, Mudras and Bandhas also should be practised when the stomach is empty. General instructions that are given for Asanas and Pranayamas should be followed for the practice of Mudras.

3. The benefits that are given may not be realised by the practice of Mudras alone. You will have to combine Pranayamas, Asanas, Japa and other Yogic Kriyas.

4. Khechari Mudra should be done under the direct guidance of a Khechari Guru. Cutting the lower tendon should be carefully done at regular intervals. Aspirants may not be successful in this Kriya if they begin after 25 years of age when the muscles and nerves have become stiff.

5. Khechari, Shakti Chalana, Vajroli and other advanced courses should not be practised by all. The aspirants should ascertain from the Guru if they are fit for such advanced exercises and also they should see if they have all other requirements for the practice.

6. Uddiyana Bandha is also called Tadagi Mudra. Seet-Krama and Vyut-Krama described in the 'Neti' exercise are called Matangini Mudra. Do Mula Bandha. Release it. Again and again do like this. It is termed Aswini Mudra.

7. Those who have not undergone the preliminary portion of Khechari Mudra (making the tongue long) can simply keep the tongue turned upwards on the palate. This is Nabho Mudra or Manduki Mudra.

8. Real success in Mudras can be had only if there is intense concentration of mind. A detailed instruction on concentration will be given in the subsequent pages.


MISCELLANEOUS EXERCISES

Laya Yoga

Laya is the state of mind when one forgets all the objects of senses and gets absorbed in the object of meditation. Laya enables one to have perfect control over the five Tattvas, mind and Indriyas. The fluctuations of mind will stop. The mind, body and Prana will be entirely subdued.

For Laya Yoga, Sambhavi Mudra is an effective method, in which one intently concentrates on any one of the Shat Chakras. Trataka exercise plays a vital part in getting success in Laya. In due course of practice, the Yogin gets established in Samadhi. He becomes a Jivanmukta.

Anahata Sounds

Anahata sounds are the mystic sounds heard by the Yogin during his meditation. It is a sign of the purification of Nadis. Some students can clearly hear it through any one of the ears and some by both the ears. There are loud as well as subtle sounds. From the loud, one will have to contemplate on the subtle and from the subtle to the subtler. Beginners can hear the sound only when the ears are closed. Advanced students can concentrate on the Anahata sound even without closing the ears. Anahata sound is also termed Omkara Dhvani. They proceed from the Anahata centre of the Sushumna Nadi.

Sit in your usual Asana. Close the ears with the thumbs. Hear and minutely observe the internal sound through the ears. The sound that you hear from within will make you deaf to all external sounds. Close the eyes also. In the beginning of your practice, you will hear many loud sounds. Later on they are heard in a mild way. The mind having at first concentrated itself on any one sound fixes firmly to that and is absorbed in it. The mind becoming insensible to the external impressions, becomes one with the sound as milk with water and then becomes rapidly absorbed in Chidakasa. Just as the bee drinking the honey alone does not care for the odour so also the Chitta, which is always absorbed in the inner sound, does not long for sensual objects, as it is bound by the sweet smell or Nada and has abandoned its flitting nature.

The sound proceeding from Pranava Nada, which is Brahman, is of the nature of effulgence. The mind gets absorbed in it. The mind exists so long as there is sound, but with its cessation, there is that state termed Turiya. It is the supreme state. It is the Unmani state. The mind gets absorbed along with Prana by constant concentration upon Nada. The body appears to be a log of wood and it does not feel heat or cold, joy or sorrow. Different kinds of sounds proceed from the heart (Anahata sounds).

Nada that is heard through the ears is of ten kinds. The first is the sound ‘Chini’ (like the pronunciation of the word); the second is ‘Chini-chini’; the third is the sound of a bell; the fourth is that of a conch; the fifth is that of a lute; the sixth is the sound of cymbals; the seventh is the tune of a flute; the eighth is the voice of a drum (Bheri); the ninth is the sound of a double-drum (Mridanga); and the tenth is the sound of thunder.

You cannot expect the sound immediately after you close your ears. You should concentrate and keep your mind one-pointed. The particular sound that you hear today, you may not hear every day. But you will hear any one of the ten Anahata sounds.

The description given above is Laya through Nada, Anahata sound. In the same manner, Laya can be effected by concentration at the tip of the nose (Nasikagra Drishti), at the space between the two eyebrows (Bhrumadhya Drishti), meditation on the five Tattvas, on Soham Mantra, Aham Brahma Asmi, Tat Tvam Asi Mahavakyas and other methods also.

Bhakti Yoga—Classes Of Worship

At the lowest rung of the ladder of Bhakti Yoga comes the worship of elements and departed spirits. This is the lowest form of worship. Next comes the worship of Rishis, Devas and Pitris. The faith of each is shaped according to his own nature. The man consists of that which his faith is, he is even that. The third class includes those followers who worship Avataras like Sri Rama, Krishna, Narasimha. The above four classes of Bhaktas have the Saguna form of worship. Next comes the class of Bhaktas who do Nirguna Upasana on Brahman devoid of attributes. This is the highest form of worship that is suitable for the intelligent people who have strong will and bold understanding. This is known as Ahamgraha Upasana or Jnana Yoga Sadhana.

Bhakti can be acquired and cultivated. Practice of the Nava Vidha Bhakti (nine methods of devotion) will infuse Bhakti. Constant Satsanga, Japa, Prayer, meditation, Svadhyaya, Bhajan, service to saints, Dana, Yatra, etc., will develop Bhakti. The following are the nine methods of developing Bhakti:

Sravana:—hearing of the Lilas of God
Smarana:—remembering God always
Kirtan:—singing His praise
Vandana:—Namaskaras to God
Archana:—offerings to God
Pada-Sevana:—attendance
Sakhya:—friendship
Dasya:—service
Atma-nivedana:—self-surrender to Guru or God

Sri Ramanuja recommends the following measures of developing Bhakti:—

Viveka:—discrimination
Vimoka:—freedom from all else and longing for God
Abhyasa:—continuous thinking of God
Kriya:—doing good to others
Kalyana:—wishing well to all
Satyam:—truthfulness
Arjavam:—integrity
Daya:—compassion
Ahimsa:—non-violence
Dana:—charity

Namdev, Ramdas, Tulsidas and others were a few blessed souls to whom God gave His Darshan. These Bhaktas were Yoga-Bhrashtas. They came into this world with a great asset of spiritual Samskaras. They worshipped God in several births with sincere devotion. They did not do much Sadhana in their final incarnation. This devotion was natural and spontaneous in them on account of the force of previous Samskaras of Bhakti. Ordinary people should adopt drastic, special measures and do special Sadhana for developing Bhakti rapidly. New grooves, new channels have to be cut in the old stony, devotionless heart to a maximum degree. Through constant prayer, Japa, Kirtan, service to Bhaktas, charity, Vrata, Tapas, Dhyana and Samadhi a Bhakta should raise his consciousness to a high degree and acquire Para Bhakti, highest knowledge and Supreme peace. In the advanced stages of meditation, the meditator and the meditated, the worshipper and the worshipped, the Upasaka and the Upasya will become one. Dhyana will terminate in Samadhi. Constant and regular practice is necessary.

A Hatha Yogi reaches the highest stage by the practice of various Mudras, Bandhas, Asanas and other exercises; a Jnani by the practice of Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana; a Karma Yogin by the selfless works (Nishkama Seva); a Bhakta by developing Bhakti and self-surrender, and a Raja Yogi by deep concentration and manipulation of the mind. The Goal is the same in all cases but the methods are different.

Concentration and meditation on the primordial energy, Shakti, is only a modification of Jnana Yogic Sadhana. Concentration and meditation on the different centres of energy belongs to Raja Yoga. Concentration at the different Chakras and Nadis and awakening the Shakti through physical methods belong to Hatha Yoga. Concentration and meditation on the Devata, presiding deity of the different inner Chakras, may be taken as an advanced course in Bhakti Yoga. For quick success, different methods of Sadhana should be combined.

The Bhakta when he meditates on the presiding deity or Devata, imagines a particular form of God at each Chakra. In books of Mantra Shastra, elaborate descriptions of God and the Devatas are given for each Chakra. According to the temperament of the students they take the form of God in a different way. The experiences and feelings of the aspirants vary in all cases. Therefore I am not giving the descriptions of all the Devas and Devatas. When a man closes his eyes and meditates on the inner Chakras, he gets various visions and sees the different forms of God. That is the best to which he should cling. Then only real growth is possible. The general information that is given in the theoretical portion of this Kundalini Yoga will surely help a lot in concentration and meditation on the Chakras.

Mantras

Awakening Kundalini is effected by Mantra also. It is a portion of Bhakti Yoga. Some aspirants should repeat the Mantra given by their Guru even lakhs of times. During the time of Diksha of an Uttama Adhikari, the Guru utters a particular Mantra and Kundalini is awakened immediately. The consciousness of the student is raised to a very high degree. This depends upon the faith of the student in his Guru and in the Mantra. Mantras, when received from the Guru in person, are very powerful. Aspirants in Kundalini Yoga should take to this Mantra Sadhana only after getting a proper Mantra from a Guru. Therefore I am not touching this point in detail. Mantras when learnt through ordinary friends or through books cannot produce any benefit at all. Mantras are numerous and the Guru should select a particular Mantra by which the consciousness of a particular student can be awakened.

Eight Major Siddhis

An accomplished, Purnayogi in the path of Kundalini Yoga is in possession of eight major Siddhis, viz., Anima, Mahima, Laghima, Garima, Prapti, Prakamya, Vasitvam and Ishitvam.

1. Anima: The Yogi can become as minute as he pleases.

2. Mahima: This is the opposite of Anima. He can become as big as he likes. He can make his body assume a very large size. He can fill up the whole universe. He can assume a Virat Svarupa.

3. Laghima: He can make his body as light as cotton or feather. Vayustambhanam is done through this Siddhi. In Jalastambhanam also the power is exercised to a very small degree. The body is rendered light by Plavini Pranayama. The Yogi produces a diminution of his specific gravity by swallowing large draughts of air. The Yogi travels in the sky with the help of this Siddhi. He can travel thousands of miles in a minute.

4. Garima: This is the opposite of Laghima. In this the Yogi acquires an increase of specific gravity. He can make the body as heavy as a mountain by swallowing draughts of air.

5. Prapti: The Yogi standing on the earth can touch the highest things. He can touch the sun or the moon or the sky. Through this Siddhi the Yogi attains his desired objects and supernatural powers. He acquires the power of predicting future events, the power of clairvoyance, clairaudience, telepathy, thought-reading, etc. He can understand the languages of the beasts and birds. He can understand unknown languages also. He can cure all diseases.

6. Prakamya: He can dive into the water and can come out at any time he likes. The late Trilinga Swami of Benares used to live for six months underneath the Ganges. It is the process by which a Yogi makes himself invisible sometimes. By some writers it is defined to be the power of entering body of another (Parakaya Pravesh). Sri Sankara entered the body of Raja Amaruka of Benares. Tirumular in Southern India entered the body of a shepherd. Raja Vikramaditya also did this. It is also the power of keeping a youth-like appearance for any length of time. Raja Yayati had this power.

7. Vashitvam: This is the power of taming wild animals and bringing them under control. It is the power of mesmerising persons by the exercise of will and of making them obedient to one’s own wishes and orders. It is the restraint of passions and emotions. It is the power to bring men, women and the elements under subjection.

8. Ishitvam: It is the attainment of divine power. The Yogi becomes the Lord of the universe. The Yogi who has this power can restore life to the dead. Kabir, Tulsidas, Akalkot Swami and others had this power of bringing back life to the dead.

Minor Siddhis

The Yogi acquires the following minor Siddhis also:

1. Freedom from hunger and thirst.

2. Freedom from the effects of heat and cold.

3. Freedom from Raga-Dvesha.

4. Doora Darshan, clairvoyance or Dooradrishti.

5. Doora Sravan, clairaudience or Doora Sruti and Doora Pravachana.

6. Mano-Jaya, control of mind.

7. Kama Rupa: The Yogi can take any form he likes.

8. Parakaya Pravesha: He can enter into another body, can animate a dead body and enter into it by transferring his soul.

9. Iccha-Mrityu: Death at his will.

10. Devanam Saha Kreeda and Darshana: Playing with the gods after seeing them.

11. Yatha Sankalpa: Can get whatever he likes.

12. Trikala-Jnana: Knowledge of past, present and future.

13. Advandva: Beyond the pairs of opposites.

14. Vak-Siddhi: Whatever the Yogi predicts will come to pass by the practice of Satya, Prophecy.

15. The Yogi can turn base metal into gold.

16. Kaya-Vyuha: Taking as many bodies as the Yogi likes to exhaust all his Karmas in one life.

17. Darduri-Siddhi: The jumping power of a frog.

18. Patala-Siddhi: Yogi becomes Lord of desire, destroys sorrows and diseases.

19. He gets knowledge of his past life.

20. He gets knowledge of the cluster of stars and planets.

21. He gets the power of perceiving the Siddhas.

22. He gets mastery of the elements (Bhuta Jaya), mastery of Prana (Prana Jaya).

23. Kamachari: He can move to any place he likes.

24. He gets omnipotence and omniscience.

25. Vayu-Siddhi: The Yogi rises in the air and leaves the ground.

26. He can point out the place where a hidden treasure lies.

Power Of A Yogi

A Yogi forgets the body in order to concentrate the mind on the Lord. He conquers heat and cold by mastering breath-control and by controlling his nervous system.

A Yogi generates psychic heat in the body through the practice of Bhastrika Pranayama.

He can bear extremes of climates without discomfort.

He sits on the snow and melts it by the warmth generated in his body.

A Yogi covers his body with a sheet dipped in very cold water and dries it by the Yoga heat given off from his body. A few adepts have dried as many as thirty sheets in a single night.

A perfect Yogi cremates his body in the end by the Yogic heat generated by his power of Yoga.

Instructions On Siddhis

1. By the process of Hatha Yoga, the Yogi attains perfect physical body—Rupalavanya Bala Vajrasam-hanana Kaya Sampat. “The perfection of the body consists in beauty, grace, strength and adamantine hardness.” The power to bear extreme cold and heat (Titiksha), the power to live without water and food and other powers come under the category of Kaya Sampat (perfection of body).

2. Since the body of the Hatha Yogi is perfect and firm, his mind also is firm and one-pointed. By the practices of Dharana and Dhyana, he reaches the highest rung in the Yogic ladder and attains Immortality through Yogic Samadhi. The Yogi who has reached the highest stage, will have the 8 major and all the minor Siddhis.

3. Attainment of powers depends upon the amount of concentration at different Chakras and Tattvas and awakening of Kundalini. The practice of Mudras, Bandhas, Asanas and Pranayamas will also help a lot in acquiring Siddhis.

4. The Siddhis that are obtained by the practice of Mudras can be obtained by the practice of Bandhas, Asanas, Pranayamas and also by the concentration on different Chakras. That depends upon the temperament and capacity of the aspirants. One can obtain the desired goal by one exercise and others by different methods. Therefore if one is not able to get success by a particular exercise, he will have to have recourse to other exercises.

5. Many of the 8 major Siddhis are not possible at all at the present age (Kali Yuga), when the body and mind of the vast majority are not fit enough. Even today there are several Siddhas who have the power to perform some of the Siddhis. When people approach them to do this and that, they hide themselves or generally say:—“I do not know.” They are not much particular about these Siddhis. Their aim is to ignore these as unreal and aspire to reach the highest. They are the only real Yogins. Many are able to use some powers and they do not know how they are able to do them.

6. One can read the thoughts of others. A man in London hears the spiritual message of sages in India. You have seen several persons removing the poison of cobras by chanting some Mantras or by mere touch. By giving some sort of leaves, incurable diseases are cured. There are men who will very accurately tell your past, present and future. Some are able to see astral entities. Stopping the functions of the heart and changing the mind of others and other powers are due to Yogic practices.

7. Nowadays you cannot find a man who has developed all the powers. When one gets certain powers, he stops there by the influence of Maya and false Tushti (satisfaction) and uses the powers for his livelihood or for fame. Therefore he is not able to proceed further and attain perfection. It is not the mistake of the Yogic Kriyas. You should not lose faith. Faith, attention, sincerity and earnestness will lead you to success.

Dharana (Concentration)

1. Fix the mind on some object either within the body or outside. Keep it there steady for some time. This is Dharana. You will have to practise this daily. Laya-Yoga has its basis on Dharana.

2. Purify the mind first through the practice of Yama, Niyama and then take to the practice of Dharana. Concentration without purity is of no use. There are some occultists who have concentration. But they have no good character. That is the reason why they do not make any progress in the spiritual line.

3. He who has a steady Asana and has purified the Yoga Nadis will be able to concentrate easily. Concentration will be intense if you remove all distractions. A true Brahmachari, who has preserved his Veerya, will have wonderful concentration.

4. Some foolish, impatient students take to Dharana at once without undergoing the preliminary ethical training. This is a serious blunder. Ethical perfection is of paramount importance.

5. You can concentrate internally on any one of the seven Chakras and externally on any Devata, Hari, Krishna or Devi.

6. Attention plays a prominent part in concentration. He who has developed his power of attention will have good concentration. A man who is filled with passion and all sorts of fantastic desires, can hardly concentrate on any object even for a second. His mind will be jumping like a monkey.

7. He who has gained Pratyahara (withdrawing the senses from the objects) will have a good concentration. You will have to march in the spiritual path step by step, stage by stage. Lay the foundation of Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama and Pratyahara to start with. The super-structure of Dharana and Dhyana will be successful only then.

8. You should be able to visualise very clearly the object of concentration even in its absence. You must call up the mental picture at a moment’s notice. If you have good practice in concentration, you can do this without much difficulty.

9. In the beginning stage of practice, you can concentrate on the tick-tick sound of a watch or on the flame of the candle or on any other object that is pleasing to the mind. This is concrete concentration. There can be no concentration without something upon which the mind may rest. The mind can be fixed on a pleasant object. It is very difficult in the beginning to fix the mind on any object which it dislikes.

10. If you want to increase your power of concentration you will have to reduce your worldly activities. You will have to observe Mouna everyday for two hours or even more.

11. Practise concentration till the mind is well established on the object of concentration. When the mind runs away from the object, bring it back again.

12. When concentration is deep and intense, all other senses cannot operate. He who practises concentration for one hour daily has tremendous psychic powers. He will have a strong will-power.

13. Vedantins try to fix the mind on Atman. This is their Dharana. Hatha Yogins and Raja Yogins concentrate their mind on the six Chakras. Bhaktas concentrate on their Ishta Devata. Other objects of meditation are described under Trataka and Laya Yoga. Concentration is necessary for all the aspirants.

14. Those who practise concentration evolve quickly. They can do any work with greater efficiency in no time. What others can do in six hours can be done easily in half an hour by one who has a concentrated mind. Concentration purifies and calms the surging emotions, strengthens the current of thought and clarifies the ideas. Concentration keeps a man in his material progress also. He will turn out very good work in his office or business-house. What was cloudy and hazy before, becomes clearer and definite; What was very difficult before becomes easy now; and what was complex, bewildering and confusing before, comes easily within the mental grasp. You can achieve anything by concentration. Nothing is impossible for one who regularly practises concentration. Clairvoyance, clairaudience, mesmerism, hypnotism, thought-reading, music, mathematics and other sciences depend upon concentration.

15. Retire into a quiet room. Close your eyes. See what happens when you think of an apple. You may think of its colour, shape, size, different parts such as skin, pulp, seeds, etc. You may think of the places, Australia or Kashmir, wherefrom it is imported. You may think of its acidic or sweet taste and its effects on the digestive system and blood. Through the law of association, ideas of some other fruits also may try to enter. The mind may begin to entertain some other extraneous ideas. It may begin to wander. It may think of meeting a friend at the Railway Station at 4 p.m. It may think of purchasing a towel or a tin of tea or biscuits. You should try to have a definite line of thought. There should not be any break in the line of thinking. You must not entertain any other thought which is not connected with the subject on hand. The mind will try its level best to run in its old grooves. You will have to struggle hard in the beginning. The attempt is somewhat like going up a steep hill. You will rejoice and feel immense happiness when you get success in concentration.

16. Just as laws of gravitation, cohesion, etc., operate in the physical plane, so also definite laws of thought such as laws of association, relativity, contiguity, etc., operate in the mental plane or thought-world. Those who practise concentration should thoroughly understand these laws. When the mind thinks of an object, it may think of its qualities and its parts also. When it thinks of a cause it may think of its effect also.

17. If you read with concentration Bhagavad Gita or the Vicar of Wakefield several times, you can get new ideas each time. Through concentration you will get insight. Subtle esoteric meanings will flash out in the field of mental consciousness. You will understand the inner depth of philosophical significance.

18. When you concentrate on an object do not wrestle with the mind. Avoid tension anywhere in the body. Think gently of the object in a continuous manner. It is very difficult to practise concentration when one is very hungry and when one is suffering from an acute disease.

19. If emotions disturb you during concentration, do not mind them. They will pass away soon. If you try to drive them away you will have to tax your will-force. Have an indifferent attitude. To drive the emotions away, the Vedantin uses the formula: “I am a Sakshi of the mental modifications. I don’t care. Get out”. The Bhakta simply prays, and help comes from God.

20. Train the mind in concentrating on various objects, gross and subtle, of various sizes. In course of time a strong habit will be formed. The moment you sit for concentration, the mood will come at once, quite easily.

21. When you read a book you must read with concentration. There is no use of skipping over the pages in a hurried manner. Read one page. Close the book. Concentrate on what you have read. Find out parallel lines in Gita, Upanishads, etc.

22. For a neophyte the practice of concentration is disgusting and tiring in the beginning. He has to cut new grooves in the mind and brain. After some time, say two or three months, he gets great interest. He enjoys a new kind of happiness. Concentration is the only way to get rid of the miseries and tribulations. Your only duty is to achieve concentration and through concentration to attain the final beatitude, Self-realisation. Charity and Rajasuya Yajna are nothing when compared with concentration.

23. When desires arise in the mind, do not try to fulfil them. Reject them as soon as they arise. Thus by gradual practice the desires can be reduced. The modifications of the mind will also diminish a lot.

24. You must get rid of all sorts of mental weakness, superstitions, false and wrong Samskaras. Then only you will be able to concentrate your mind.


Chapter Four

YOGA ADDENDA

1. Sadasiva Brahman

Sri Sadasiva Brahman, a reputed Yogi, lived in Nerur, near Karur, in Trichinopolly district, some one hundred and twenty years ago. He was the author of ‘Atma Vilas’, ‘Brahma Sutras’ and various other works. Once he was in Samadhi. The floods in the Cauveri river covered him up with mud. For some months his body remained buried underneath the earth. The agriculturists tilled the land and injured the head of the Yogi. Some blood oozed out. They were quite astonished. They dug out the earth. Sadasiva Brahman got up from his Samadhi and walked away. Once some rude people came with sticks to beat him. They raised their hands, but they were not able to move them. They remained like statues. At some other time he entered the Zenana of a Nawab quite naked while he was roaming about as an Avadhuta. The Nawab got enraged and cut off his hand with a big knife. Sadasiva Brahman went away with a laugh. The Nawab thought that the man should be a great Sage. He took the maimed hand and followed the Sage. On the third day the Nawab said: “O my Lord! I cut off your hand due to my foolishness. Kindly forgive me.” Sadasiva simply touched the cut portion with the other hand. There was a new hand. Sadasiva forgave the Nawab and blessed him.

2. Jnanadev

Sri Jnanadev is also known as Jnaneswar. He was the greatest Yogin the world has ever produced. He was born in Alandi, 7 miles from Poona. His Samadhi is there even now. If anybody reads the Gita written by him by the side of the Samadhi all the doubts are cleared. He is regarded as an Avatara of Lord Krishna. When he was a boy he simply touched a buffalo. It repeated the Vedas. He had full control over the elements. When there was no vessel to prepare food, his sister prepared bread on his back. He entered Samadhi while alive at the age of 22. He drew up all the Prana to the Brahmarandhra and gave up the physical body. When he was a boy of 14 years, he began to write commentary on Gita. His commentary on Gita is considered one of the best. In a big assembly of Sanskrit Pandits in Benares, he was selected President.

3. Trilinga Swami

Sri Trilinga Swami of Benares, born in Andhra Desa, lived some fifty years ago. He lived for 280 years. He made his Tapas in Manasarovar (Tibet). Once Ramakrishna Paramahamsa also saw him at Benares. He brought some money to Benares when he first came in for Tapas. He opened a milk-shop and distributed milk free to poor persons, Sadhus and Sannyasins. He used to live underneath the Ganga water even for six months continuously. He used to sleep in Kashi Visvanath’s Temple keeping his feet over the Sivalinga. Once he caught hold of the sword of the Governor and threw it into the Ganges. When the Governor demanded it back, he dived into the water and brought back two swords and the Governor was unable to find out his own sword. Some mischief-makers poured some lime-water in his mouth. He at once pumped it out through the anus by Sang Pachar Kriya.

4. Gorakhnath

Sri Gorakhnath was a great Yogi like Sri Jnanadev of Alandi. In Chandragiri village on the banks of the Godavari, there was a Brahmin named Suraj. His wife’s name was Sarasvati. They had no children. Yogi Matsyendranath went for Bhiksha in the house of Suraj. Sarasvati entertained the Yogi with good food, with Sraddha. She wept before him for not having a child. Yogi Matsyendranath gave her a pinch of holy ash with blessings for a child. Some time later, she had a son. Matsyendranath came back to Sarasvati and took the boy with him when he was twelve years of age. He sent the boy to Badrinarayan for doing Tapas. Apsaras and other Devatas came to molest him. He stood firm and tided over all temptations. He got tremendous Siddhis. Matsyendranath also imparted all his powers and Vidyas to the boy, his disciple, Gorakhnath.

Sri Gorakhnath in his 12th year went to Badrinarayan and performed Tapas for 12 long years, living on air alone. Gorakhnath had tremendous Yogic powers. When his Guru Matsyendranath entered the dead body of a Raja (Parakaya Pravesh) to obey the orders of Sri Hanuman to produce an offspring for a certain Rani, Gorakhnath assumed the form of a lady through his Yogic powers and entered the inner apartments of the palace (Kamarupa Siddhi). At some other instance he made a toy child out of clay and gave this as a play-mate for the children of a certain village. He converted a portion of a mountain into gold and reconverted it to its former condition. He passed urine on a rock. It became gold. Once in a Kumbhamela on the banks of the Godavari, he gave food to all by spreading only leaves but offered different rich meals to the liking of everyone. In the same Mela he slowly reduced himself in bulk and assumed the form of a mosquito (Anima Siddhi). Through his own Yogic power he burnt himself to ashes and again assumed his original form. He did Akasagamanam (walking in the sky). In this way he performed many Siddhis. Raja Bhartrihari was his disciple.

5. Swami Krishna Ashram

Swami Krishna Ashram is a living saint at Daroli village, 14 miles below Gangotri, the origin of the Ganges. He has been living there for the last eight years in an absolutely nude state, in an icy region, where an ordinary man may require a woollen sweater, a Gothma and half a dozen blankets. He was a Siva Bhakta. He threw away all his Puja-vessels, went to Varanasi, took Sannyasa and lived there for a year. Then he went to Hardwar, threw off the Danda and became an Avadhuta. He was in Uttarkashi also. When sharp, big flies were biting his body, when blood was emerging profusely, he would never disturb the flies. Such was his power of endurance. Once in the Kshetra an arrogant servant insulted him for not bringing any vessel for Dhal and poured very hot Dhal on his hands. Swami Krishna Ashram drank the Dhal though his lips and hands were scalded. There is another Swami by name Bhuma Ashram, living at Daroli in a nude state. He is a friend of Krishna Ashram.

Titiksha, the power of endurance, is an essential attribute of all Sadhakas. This is one of the sixfold virtues of Sadhana Chatushtaya. Read Slokas 14 and l5 of the Gita, chapter II. You will understand the importance of this virtue, Titiksha.

6. Yogi Bhusunda

Yogi Bhusunda is one of the Chiranjivis amongst the Yogins. He was the master in the science of Pranayama. It is said that a big nest, like a mountain, was built by him on the southern branch of the Kalpa Vriksha, situated at the northern summit of the Mahameru. Bhusunda lived in this nest. He was a Trikala Jnani. He could sit in Samadhi for any length of time. He was desireless. He had obtained supreme Santi and Jnana. He was there enjoying the bliss of his own Self and he is still there being a Chiranjivi. He had the full knowledge of the five Dharanas. He had rendered himself proof against the five elements by practising the five methods of concentration. It is said that when all the twelve Adityas scorch the world with their burning rays, he would, through his Apas Dharana, reach up the Akasa. When fierce gales arise splintering up the rocks to pieces, he would be in the Akasa through Agni Dharana. When the world together with the Mahameru would be under water, he would float on them through Vayu Dharana.

7. Tirumula Nayanar

Tirumula Nayanar was a great Yogi in Kailas. He had all the 8 major Siddhis through the grace of Nandi, the Vahana of Lord Siva. He was a friend of Agastya Muni. He came from Kailas and stayed in Varanasi. Then he went to Chidambaram and Tiruvavaduturai and other places near Madras. He worshipped Lord Siva in the temple at Tiruvavaduturai and stayed there for some time. Once he went to a garden on the banks of the river Cauveri. There he saw the dead body of a caretaker of a herd of cows. He noticed that all the cows surrounded the dead body of the cowherd and were crying bitterly. This touched the heart of Tirumular. He pitied the cows very much. He left his body in a certain place and entered the dead body of the cowherd. He looked after the cows throughout the day and sent them back to their respective houses. The wife of the cowherd, who was not aware of the death of her husband, invited Tirumular who was wearing the physical body of her husband. Tirumular refused. He wanted to enter his own body. When he searched for his body, it was not found in the original place. Then he thought it was all the grace of Lord Siva. Then with the body of the cowherd, he went to Avaduturai and sat underneath an Asvattha tree on the western side of the temple and wrote a valuable book called “Tirumantram” in Tamil. It is a book of 3000 verses which contain the essence of the Vedas.

8. Mansoor

Mansoor was a Sufist Brahma-Jnani. He lived in Persia, some four hundred years ago. He was repeating always “Anal-haq! Anal-haq!” This corresponds to “Soham” or “Aham Brahma Asmi” of the Vedantins. People reported to the Badshah that Mansoor was an atheist (Kafir) and that he was always uttering “Anal-haq.” The Badshah was quite enraged. He ordered that Mansoor must be cut into pieces. His orders were obeyed. Even then the pieces of flesh were uttering “Anal-haq.” He felt no pain as he was a full-blown Samadhi Jnani and as he had full identification with Brahman. He was above body-consciousness. Then they put the pieces of flesh and bones in the fire and reduced them into ashes. Even then the ashes uttered “Anal-haq.” During his life-time he performed many miracles. Even Jnanis can do miracles if they desire and if they find it necessary for the occasion. Sadasiva Brahman and other Jnanis did wonders. Remember the lives of great men daily. You will advance in the spiritual path.

9. Milarepa

Milarepa was one who had been profoundly impressed from his youth by the transient and impermanent nature of all conditions of worldly existence and by the sufferings and wretchedness in which he saw all beings immersed. To him existence seemed like a huge furnace where all living creatures were roasting. With such piercing sorrow did this fill his heart that he was unable to feel even any of the celestial felicity enjoyed by Brahma and Indra in their heavens, much less of the earthly joys and delights afforded by a life of worldly greatness.

On the other hand, he was so captivated by the vision of immaculate purity, by the chaste beauty in the description of the state of perfect freedom and omniscience associated with the attainment of Nirvana, that he cared not even though he might lose his very life in the search on which he had set out, endowed as he was with full faith, keen intellect and a heart overflowing with all-pervading love and sympathy to all.

Having obtained transcendental knowledge in the control of the ethereal and spiritual nature of the mind, he was enabled to furnish demonstration thereof by flying through the sky, by walking, resting and sleeping on the air. Likewise he was able to produce flames of fire and springs of water from his body and to transform his body at will into any object desired, thereby convincing unbelievers and turning them towards religious pursuits.

He was perfect in the practice of the four stages of meditation and thus he was able to project his subtle body so as to be present as the presiding Yogi in twenty-four holy places where gods and angels assemble, like clouds for spiritual communion.

He was able to dominate gods and elementals and make them carry out his commands instantaneously, in the fulfilment of all duties. He was a perfect adept in supernatural powers. He was able to transverse and visit all the innumerable sacred paradises and heavens of the Buddhas, where by virtue of his all-absorbing acts of unsurpassed devotion the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas presiding therein favoured him with discourses on Dharma and listened to his in return, so that he sanctified the heaven-worlds by his visits and sojourns there.

10. Napoleon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte was a man of great concentration. His success was all due to the power of concentration. He suffered from various diseases as epileptic fits, Brady cardia, etc. But for these maladies, he would have proved still more powerful. He could sleep at any time he liked. He would snore the very moment he retired to bed. He would get up at the very second of the appointed time. This is a kind of Siddhi. He had no Vikshepa or shilly-shallying. He had the highly developed Ekagrata of a Yogi. He could draw, as it were, any single thought from the brain pigeon-hole, dwell on it as long as he liked and could shove it back when finished. He would sleep very soundly at night amidst busy war, would never worry a bit at night. This was all due to his power of concentration. Concentration can do anything. Without concentration of mind nothing can be achieved.

Messrs. Gladstone and Balfour had a great deal of concentration of mind. The very moment they retired to bed, they would get sleep. Mark the word “very moment”. They would never toss about for 15 or 20 minutes in the bed as in the case of the worldly persons. Think how difficult it is to enter into deep sleep the very moment you lie down. They had perfect control over sleep. They could also get up from bed at any time they wished without any alarm time-piece. Sleeping and getting up at the appointed second is only an example to show the power of concentration to a certain degree. There are people who, after a day’s hard work, can sleep the very moment they go to bed; but they cannot get up at the appointed time. This is only an example on a very ordinary thing. People of concentration can work wonders and miracles.

11. Teachings Of Kabir

Once Kabir tied a stout pig to the front post in the verandah of his house. An orthodox Brahmin Pundit came to Kabir’s house for discussing a philosophical problem. He saw the pig in front of the house. He was much upset, irritated and annoyed. He asked Kabir:—“Dear Sir, how is it you have tied a nasty animal that eats the excreta of human beings, very close to your house. You have no Achara. You are a dirty man. You do not know the Shastras. You are ignorant”. Kabir replied:—“O Shastriji, you are more dirty than myself. I have tied the pig to the front post outside my house, whereas you have tied the pig to the mind”. The Brahmin was very much vexed and went away without telling a word. Man changa katorie me ganga: “If the mind is pure, you will find the Ganges in the cup”. Purification of mind is of paramount importance. Without this nothing can be achieved in the spiritual path.

12. A Sham Latin Scholar

A certain man went to a Latin teacher to learn Latin. He stayed with the teacher for a week. He noticed that most of the words ended in ‘o’. He thought that he must add the letter ‘o’ to the end of each word. He knew English well. He told the teacher that he knew Latin and with the permission of the teacher, he went back to his native place. He reached his house and tapped the door uttering these words:—“O, dear-o, wife-o, open-o, door-o”. He thought this was all Latin.

There are very many scholars in Yoga and Vedanta also similar to the learned Latin scholar, above narrated. They stay for a few days in Ram Ashram Library or with some Sadhus, learn the names Kundalini, Mula Chakra, Nadi, Pranayama, Maya, or Pratibimbavada and move from place to place. Yoga and Vedanta are philosophies that are to be studied under a Guru with great interest for a period of 12 years. Then only one can master the subjects. Yoga and Vedanta should not be used as a means for livelihood. After learning a few words in Yoga and Vedanta, one should not go about and mix with the worldly people. Attaining perfection in Yoga requires a long practical experience under a perfect guide.

13. Story Of An Aspirant

An aspirant went to a Mahant of Gorakhnath Panth. Gorakhnath-followers are those who wear either big black celluloid or glass earrings. The Mahant bored the aspirant’s ears, inserted big earrings and gave him a beautiful name also, Yogi Ishvarananda. He remained in the Ashram for three months. He did not get any spiritual progress. He thought to himself:—“This is not the proper path. Let me try another path.” He left the Ashram immediately, wandered through thick jungles, came across a Fakir and implored for initiation. The Fakir circumcised, gave him a Mantra and asked him to have a long beard. This also did not satisfy him. Now look at the pitiable condition of this poor aspirant. The ulcers in the ears had not healed up properly. He had considerable pain through septic inflammation. There was profuse discharge of pus. He had already a disturbed state of mind and this state of affairs augmented his mental worries. He seriously reflected that this was not the way of seeking the Guru. He made a strong determination that he must not roam about, must stick firmly to one solitary place and must perform there Tapas with constant prayers to God. He selected a place and performed Tapas with all sincerity. This purified him and made him fit for higher steps. After a period of two years, a Guru appeared before him, initiated him into deep mysteries of Yoga. Present-day aspirants also are running like this from place to place in search of a Guru. It is of no use. They should purify themselves for a Yogic life. By chance, even if they come in contact with an Avatara, they will not be benefited much if they have not a strong foundation for a Yogic life.

14. Other Yogins

The yogi by means of various practices establishes a conscious control over the organs and functions of the body. He moulds his body like steel. One Swami in London had a demonstration of stopping his heart before the King. Many able physicians were present on the occasion and examined him. Desabandhu in 1926 stopped the radial and temporal pulses on both sides at will and stopped the beatings of the heart also for a short time. He showed a demonstration in the Bombay Medical Union. In Maharajah Ranjit Singh’s Court in Lahore, Hatha Yogi Hari Das who buried himself underneath the ground for forty days after tightly closing his nose, mouth, ears and eyes with wax came back alive. The Mohammedan Yogi, Gunangudi Mastan, was buried in Madras. Some Yogins fly in the air. This is due to Khechari Mudra.

Yogi Pratap was in the posture of doing Viparitakarani Mudra. He asked the onlookers to cover his head with clay on all sides. He remained in that position for full 2 hours. Paul Deussen, the German traveller, personally witnessed this in Varanasi. Sri Swami Vishuddhananda of Varanasi once gave life to a dead sparrow. Nothing is impossible for a real Yogi.

Mystic Experience—Visions Of Lights

Various kinds of lights manifest during meditation owing to deep concentration. In the beginning a bright, white light, the size of a pin’s point will appear in the forehead at the space between the two eyebrows which corresponds tentatively to the Ajna Chakra. You will notice, when the eyes are closed, different coloured lights, white, yellow, red, smoky, blue, green, mixed lights, flashes like lightning, fire, moon, sun, stars and sparks. These are Tanmatric lights. Each Tanmatra has its own specific colour. Yellow and white lights are very commonly seen. In the beginning small balls of white or red light float about before the mind’s eye. When you first observe this be assured that the mind is becoming more steady and that you are progressing in concentration. After some months, the size of the light will increase and you will see a full blaze of white light, bigger than the sun. In the beginning these lights are not steady. They come and disappear immediately. When you have steady and systematic practice of meditation for 2 or 3 hours, these lights appear more frequently and remain steady for a long time. The vision of lights is a great encouragement in Sadhana. It impels you to stick to Sadhana steadily. It gives you strong faith in superphysical matter. The appearance of the lights denotes that you are transcending the physical consciousness. You are in a semiconscious state when the light appears. You are between the two places. You must not shake the body when these lights manifest. You must be perfectly steady in your Asana and breathe slowly.

At times you will see some lustrous forms of Devatas or some other physical forms. You will see your Ishta Devata or your Guru. Siddhas, Rishis and others give their Darshan to encourage you. You can see beautiful gardens, palatial buildings, rivers, mountains, golden temples, sceneries so lovely and picturesque as cannot be adequately described.

During intense concentration, many are able to feel certain peculiar sensation as if some electric current passes from the Muladhara-Chakra. They immediately disturb their body and come down to the physical consciousness out of fear. They need have no fear at all. They should keep steady and wait for further experiences.

The experiences vary in different individuals. The experience of one man may not be the same as that of another man. Many erroneously believe that they have realised the Self when they get these experiences, stop their Sadhana and try to move with the public to preach and to do Loka-Sangraha. This is a serious blunder. This is not realisation at all. These are all simple encouragements from your Ishta Devata to convince you of a higher spiritual life and push you in your systematic and incessant practice with zeal and enthusiasm. You will have to ignore these things and drive them away just as you did with worldly objects. You must not care a bit when you get these visions. You must have your Lakshya on the goal. The visions may appear in some persons within a few days, while in others within six or nine months. It depends upon the state of the mind and degree of concentration. Some persons may not have such experiences, but they will be progressing in the spiritual path.

Sometimes you will get very powerful, dazzling lights, bigger than the sun. They are white. In the beginning, they come and disappear quickly. Later on they become steady even for 10 or 15 minutes according to the degree of concentration. Lights will appear before the eyes or at any one of the Chakras. The light is so powerful and dazzling sometimes that you have to withdraw yourself from looking and break your meditation. Some people are afraid and they do not know what to do and how to proceed further. By constant practice, the mind engaged in concentration will vanish. The beings and objects with whom you are in touch during the early period of Sadhana belong to the astral world. The lustrous forms are higher Devatas of mental and higher planes, who come down to give Darshan and to encourage the Sadhakas. Various Shaktis manifest in lustrous forms. Adore them. Do mental Puja as soon as they appear before you.

Do not waste your time in looking at these visions. This is only a curiosity. These are all encouragements to convince you of the existence of superphysical, metaphysical realities. Visions are either subjective or objective, your own mental creations or of realities on finer planes of matter. Universe consists of planes of matter of various degrees of density. Rhythmical vibrations of Tanmatras in various degrees give rise to the formation of various planes. Visions may be of these things or beings. Or in many cases they may be purely imaginary. They may be the crystallisation of your own intense thinking. You must discriminate well.

Elementals

Sometimes these elementals appear during meditation. They are strange figures, some with long teeth, big faces, some with three heads, some with faces on the belly, some without flesh and skin, etc. They are inhabitants of Bhuvar Loka. They are Bhutas. They are supposed to be the attendants of Lord Siva. They have terrifying forms. They do not cause any harm at all. They simply appear on the stage. They come to test your strength and courage. They can do nothing. They cannot stand before a pure, ethical aspirant. Repetition of Om or your Guru Mantra will throw them at a distance. Whenever young people look at a dead body or when they see a body hanging or when they see a cruel murder, they always brood over this instance. Even during meditation, the same thought will come and take peculiar form. Again and again they will see the same form before their eyes. They should not fear at all. It is only their mental creation. A coward is absolutely unfit for the spiritual line. Destroy fear. Develop courage. Be bold.

Life In The Astral Plane

During the course of practice, one day you will feel that you have separated yourself from the body. You will have immense joy mixed with fear; joy in the possession of a new light, astral body; and fear owing to the entry in a foreign, unknown plane. At the very outset, the new consciousness is very rudimentary in the new plane. You will only feel that you have a light, airy body and will perceive a rotating, vibrating, limited astral atmosphere with illumination of golden lights, objects and beings. You may feel that you are floating in the air.

You will never fall; but the new experience of subtlety generates novel feelings and sensations in the beginning. How you leave the body and remain, is unknown. You are unaware of how you have completely separated yourself from the body. The new joy is inexpressible. Your will have to actually feel and experience it yourself. When you come back to body-consciousness, there is an intense craving to regain the new consciousness and to remain in that state always. By chance, by repeated attempts, you are able to go beyond the body-consciousness once in a month or so in the course of Sadhana. If you plod on with patience, through Yogic practices, you will be able to leave the body at will and stay for a long time.

You can by mere willing travel in any place you like with the astral body and there materialise by drawing the necessary materials either from Ahamkara or the universal storehouse. The process is very simple to occultists and Yogis who know the rationale, the detailed technique of the various operations. Thought-reading, thought-transference, psychic healing, distant healing, etc., can be very easily performed by those who can function with the astral body. Concentrated mental rays can penetrate opaque walls and travel miles and miles.

Hints On Yoga

Brahmacharya is very very essential Even in dreams you must be free from lustful thoughts. It requires long practice and careful watch over the mind and Indriyas. Foolish people hastily jump up to the higher courses in Yoga in vain without having this important item which is very useful for spiritual Sadhana.

Wet dreams generally occur in the last quarter of the night. Those who are in the habit of getting up from bed between 3 and 4 a.m. (Brahmamuhurta) and doing Japa, Pranayama and Dhyana, can never fall a victim to nocturnal pollutions.

That man in whom the sex-idea is deep-rooted can never dream of understanding Yoga and Vedanta even in one hundred births.

Keep the mind fully occupied. This is the best panacea or sovereign remedy for keeping up Brahmacharya. Do Japa, meditation, reading of religious books, walking, Kirtan, prayer, Satsanga, service, religious discourse, writing, etc.

Always wear a Kaupeen or Langotee. This is scientific and spiritual too. If you are a married man, sleep in a separate room from your wife. Change your habit immediately.

Be careful in the selection of your companions. Give up drama, talkies, reading novels and other love-stories. Do not use soaps and flowers. Observe Mowna. Do not mix with anyone. Read good inspiring religious books. When desires arise in the mind do not fulfil them. Crush them immediately. Avoid the company of women. No joking and laughing. These are all outward manifestations of lust only. When you walk in the street do not look hither and thither like a monkey. Do not look at a woman—even the photo or picture of a lady. Do not talk about women.

When you advance in the spiritual practice it will be very difficult for you to do both meditation and daily office and household work at the same time, because the mind will undergo a double strain. It finds it very difficult to adjust to different uncongenial activities. Therefore, the advanced Grihastha-students will have to stop all worldly activities. When they advance in meditation, if they desire to advance further, they should take to seclusion and must disconnect themselves from the worldly activities entirely. Work is a hindrance in meditation for advanced Yogic students.

Live alone. Observe Mowna and record in your diary the benefits you derive. Do not make gestures and signs hu, hu, hu. This hu, hu, hu is tantamount to talking. There is more wastage of energy in this hu, hu, hu business. Utilise this conserved energy in Japa and meditation.

Sadhakas who take up to Nivritti Marga generally become lazy after some time, as they do not know how to utilise the mental energy, as they do not keep up any daily routine and as they do not follow the instructions of their Guru. They get Vairagya of course, but they have no experience in the spiritual line. They do not make any spiritual progress in the end.

Those who want to take up to seclusion and Nivritti Marga, should observe Mowna and discipline the Indriyas, mind and body while living in the world. They should train themselves to hard, laborious life, coarse food, walking without shoes and umbrella. Then only they can bear the rigorous life of an ascetic. They should entirely give up timidity.

If circumstances prevent you from observing Mowna, strictly avoid long talk, big talk, tall talk and all sorts of vain discussions and withdraw yourself from society as much as possible. Too much of talk is simply wastage of energy. If this energy is conserved by Mowna, it will be transmuted into Ojas Shakti which will help you in your Sadhana.

Sadhaka should always remain alone. This is an important factor in spiritual progress. Mixing with householders is highly dangerous. Solitude for Sadhana is a great desideratum. All energies must be carefully preserved. After a short stay in solitude, aspirants should not enter the world. What they have gained in five years in seclusion through hard Tapas, will be irrecoverably lost in a month by mixing with worldly people. Several persons have complained to me that they have lost the power of concentration.

After attaining perfection in Yoga, one can enter world if he is not affected even a bit by unfavourable, hostile currents of the world. There is no harm if you mix with congenial company which is also devoted to Yoga Abhyasa. You can discuss various philosophical points. You can be in the company of higher spiritual personages who enter into Samadhi. Many persons enter the world before perfection in Yoga to demonstrate their minor powers in the name of Loka Sangraha and for fame. They have been reduced to a level worse than a worldly man.

Everything must be done gradually. It is very difficult for a man who was in the world to be in entire seclusion. It will be very painful and troublesome for a beginner. He should slowly train himself by observing Mowna often.

The place wherein you can get concentration of mind is suitable for your Yogic practices. This is a general rule. There will be no use if you run from place to place.

When you do Karma Yoga you must be free from egoism. You must not expect any reward or appreciation for the work that you do (Nishkama). You must have a balanced mind in success and failure.

The moment the Chitta-Shuddhi is attained, you must stop doing Nishkama Karma and take to pure meditation in seclusion.

Most of the difficulties arise in your daily life if you do not have a proper control over your mind. For instance, if a man does evil to you, instantly you want to revenge, to extract tooth for tooth, tit for tat policy, to return anger for anger. Every reaction of evil shows that the mind is not under control. By anger one loses his energy. Balanced state of mind is not possible. From anger all other impurities emanate. Anger controlled properly, becomes transmuted into an energy so powerful as to move the whole world.

A slight overloading in the stomach will upset meditation. The mind has direct connection with gastric nerves of the stomach. You will get drowsiness also. You must train yourself to ‘Mitahara’.

When you have diet restriction, in the beginning you will imagine that you are getting leaner and weaker. To add to this your friends and relatives will frighten you. Do not hear them. In a few days you will be quite all right.

In case of indigestion and constipation, take a long brisk walk in the morning. As soon as you get up from bed drink large quantity of water. Do Paschimottana, Mayura, Trikona Asanas, Nauli and Uddiyana. Do physical exercises also. In case of chronic constipation try a change in diet. If you take rice, then take wheat, and see. If you are in the same state, try fruits and milk diet. Then you will be quite all right. Change of diet is a sure remedy.

If you have the evil habit of drinking wine, toddy, coffee, etc., and if you want to stop it, go to the meditation room and promise before the deity that you will stop the bad habit from that moment. Proclaim this determination to your friends. If your mind goes to the same habit, you will naturally be ashamed to continue the habit. Several times you will fail. Still struggle hard. Take to Satsanga. Study religious books. You can destroy all impure habits. If you find it very difficult to give up, the last remedy you will have to take is in running away from the present society and you must flee to a place where you cannot at all get all these. Out of compulsion you can leave the bad habit.

If you want to stop taking mutton, fish etc., just see with your own eyes the pitiable, struggling condition at the time of killing the sheep or fish. Now mercy and sympathy will arise in your heart. Then you will determine to give up flesh-eating so that the poor innocent lives may be spared. If you fail in this attempt, just change your environments and live in a Brahmin hotel where you cannot get mutton and fish and move with that society where there is only vegetable diet. Always think of the evils of flesh-eating and the benefits of vegetable diet. If this also cannot give you sufficient strength to stop this habit, go to the slaughter house and butcher’s shop and personally see the disgusting rotten muscles, kidneys and other nasty parts of the animal and the bad smell. This will induce Vairagya in you and a strong disgust and hatred for mutton-eating.

A Mantra is a mass of Tejas or radiant energy. It transforms the mental substance by producing a particular thought movement. The rhythmical vibrations produced by Mantra regulate the unsteady vibrations of the five sheaths. It checks the natural tendency of objective thoughts of the mind. It helps the Sadhana Shakti and reinforces it. Sadhana Shakti is strengthened by Mantra-Shakti. Mantra awakens superhuman powers.

“Only the knowledge imparted by a Guru through his lips is powerful and useful; otherwise it becomes fruitless, weak and very painful.”

Siddhau visvasah prathamalakshanam”—For success, firm belief is the first condition.

Develop the power of endurance (Titiksha), learn to bear happiness and misery evenly and to pass through all phases of life, all experiences.

The endurance of all pain and torture with patience and contentment means the exercise of a distinct force which spiritualises the whole nature. The greater this force, the speedier the spiritual growth. Patience and faith should continue undiminished all through the Sadhana period.

Chitta-Shuddhi is purification of mind. Nadi Shuddhi is purification of Nadis. Bhuta-Shuddhi is purification of elements. Adhara-Shuddhi is purification of Adhara. If there is Shuddhi (purification), Siddhi (perfection) will come by itself. Siddhi is not possible without Shuddhi.

Humility is the highest of all virtues. You can destroy your egoism by developing this virtue alone. You can influence the whole world. You will become a magnet to attract the whole world. It must be genuine. Feigned humility is hypocrisy.

Control anger by practice of Kshama, Dhairya, patience and Nirabhimanata, absence of egoism.

When anger is controlled it will be transmuted into an energy by which you can move the whole world.

Anger is a modification of passion. If you can control lust, you have already controlled anger.

Drink a little water when you become angry. It will cool the brain and calm the excited, irritable nerves.

Count twenty, one by one. By the time you finish counting twenty, anger will subside.

Watch the small irritable impulse or thought-wave carefully. Then it will become more easy for you to control anger. Take all precautions. Do not allow it to burst out and assume a wild form.

If you find it extremely difficult to control it, leave the place at once and walk for half an hour. Pray to God. Do Japa. Meditate. Meditation gives immense strength.

Very often depression comes in meditation in neophytes owing to the influence of Samskaras, influence of astral entities, evil spirits, bad company, cloudy days, bad stomach and loaded bowels. It must be quickly removed by cheerful thoughts, a brisk walk, singing His Name, and laughing, prayer, Pranayama, purgative and a dose of carminative mixture.

If you want to enter into Samadhi quickly, cut all connections with friends, relatives, and others. Observe Akhanda Mowna, Live on milk alone. Plunge in meditation.

Laziness and fickleness of mind are the two great obstacles in Yoga. Light Sattvic diet and Pranayamas will remove laziness. Do not overload the stomach. Walk briskly in the compound hither and thither for half an hour.

“Diseases are generated in one’s body through the following causes, viz., sleeping in day-time, late vigil overnight, excess of sexual intercourse, moving in crowd, checking of urine and faeces, taking of unwholesome food and laborious mental work. If a Yogi is affected by any disease due to these causes, he says that the disease is due to his Yogic practice. This is the first obstacle in yoga.”

“Disease, mental inactivity, doubt, indifference, laziness, tendency to go after sense-enjoyments, stupor, false perception, non-attainment of concentration and falling away from that when attained on account of restlessness, are the obstructing distractions.” (Yoga Sutras I-30).

If a practitioner is gloomy, depressed and weak, surely there is some error in his Sadhana. If aspirants themselves are gloomy and peevish how can they impart joy, peace and strength to others? A cheerful and ever-smiling countenance is a sure sign of spirituality and Divine life.

O emotional, enthusiastic young aspirants! Do not take the movements of rheumatic winds in the back from chronic lumbago for ascent of Kundalini. Do your Sadhana with patience, perseverance till you get Samadhi. Master every stage in Yoga. Do not take up any higher courses before you completely master the lower steps.

O impatient aspirant! Do not bother much about awakening Kundalini. Premature awakening is not desirable. Do your Sadhana and Tapas systematically and regularly. Just as the gardener who waters the trees daily gets the fruits when the proper time comes so also you will enjoy the fruits of your Sadhana when the time comes. Purify and steady the mind now. Purify the Nadis. Then Kundalini will be awakened spontaneously.

The aspirant, even though he would have awakened the Kundalini by some means, will not be benefited at all if he has not developed the necessary qualifications. It is not possible for him to feel, and manifest all the benefits of awakening Kundalini.

There are some developed souls who are in a state of Samadhi naturally from their very birth. They have not acquired this by any exertion in this birth. They are called born Siddhas. They have finished their Sadhana in their previous births.

By continence, devotion to Guru and steady practice, success comes in Yoga after a long time. The aspirant should always be patient and persevering.

“Svastika, Gomukha, Padma, Hamsa—these are the Brahmic postures (Asanas). Vira, Mayura, Vajra and Siddha Asanas are the Raudra postures. Yoni is the Sakta posture. Paschimottanasana is the Shaiva posture.”

“Control over the five elements (Bhutas) may be gained by practising Dharana on their respective seats in the body. The seat of earth extends from the foot to the knee; the seat of water extends from the knee to the navel; the seat of fire, from navel to the throat; the seat of air, from the throat to the region between the eyebrows; and the seat of Akasa from the eyebrows to Brahmarandhra.”

Nada is like a pure crystal extending from the Muladhara to Sahasrara Chakra. It is that which is spoken of as Brahman or Paramatman.

In the beginning of your practice, you may get jerks of hands, legs, trunk and whole body. Sometimes the jerks will be terrible. Do not be afraid. Do not be troubled. It is nothing. It is due to sudden muscular contraction from new Pranic influence. The jerks will pass off after some time. You will have to pass through these stages.

As soon as Kundalini is awakened for the first time, a Yogi gets these six experiences which last for a short time—Ananda (spiritual bliss), Kampana (tremor of the body and limbs), Utthana (rising from the ground), Ghurni (divine intoxication), Murccha (fainting) and Nidra (sleep).

Good health, lightness of the body, shining complexion, not to be affected by the tips of thorns, to endure hunger and thirst, to eat and drink much and to fast for a long time, to endure heat and cold, and to have control over the five elements, are some other symptoms of Yogic life.

“Only a Yogi leading the life of a Brahmachari and observing a moderate and nutritious diet, obtains perfection in the manipulation of Kundalini”. (Ghe. Sam. III-12).

Many people are attracted to the practice of Pranayama and other Yogic exercises, as it is through Yoga that psychic healing, telepathy, thought-transference, and other great Siddhis are obtained. If they attain success, they should not remain there alone. The Goal of life is not ‘healing’ and ‘Siddhis’. They should utilise their energy in attaining the Highest.

Those who can do telepathy, psychic healing, etc., use only the Prana in a different way. For producing different results, the same Prana must be utilised in a different method. You should know the technique to use this from a Guru. By long practice you also can do everything successfully.

A Yogi on the appearance of certain Siddhis thinks that he has achieved the highest goal. He may give up his further Sadhana through false contentment. The Yogi who is bent upon getting the highest Samadhi, must reject Siddhis whenever they come. Siddhis are invitations from Devatas. Only by rejecting these Siddhis, one can attain success in Yoga. He who craves for Siddhis is a worldly-minded man. He is a very big householder. Those who crave for Siddhis will never get them. If a Yogic student is tempted to attain Siddhis, his further progress is seriously retarded. He has lost the way.

Do not stop Sadhana when you get a few glimpses and experiences. Continue the practice till you attain perfection. Do not stop the practice and move about in the world. Examples are not lacking. Numerous persons have been ruined. A glimpse cannot give you safety.

You can do nothing by a happy-go-lucky life. Stick to one place for three years. Draw a programme of daily routine. Then follow to the very letter at any cost. Then you are sure to succeed.

There is no use of dilly-dallying hither and thither in search of a Guru. If you search for him, you will never get him. If you make yourself deserving by the practice of all preliminary qualifications, he will doubtless come to you. It is within the power of everybody to attain success in Yoga. What is wanted is sincere devotion, constant and steady Abhyasa.

Never allow sentiment to overcome you one way or other. Wisely utilise every condition for the uplift of the soul and Chitta Suddhi.

Unless you are prepared to give up all you have for the service of the Lord and mankind, you are quite unfit for the spiritual path.

You first separate yourself from the body; then you identify yourself with the mind and then you function on the mental plane. Through concentration, you rise above body-consciousness; through meditation you rise above mind; and finally through Samadhi, you reach the goal.

A Hatha Yogi brings down the Prana by Jalandhara Bandha; by Mula Bandha he checks the downward tendency of Apana; having accustomed himself to the practice of Asvini Mudra, he makes the Apana go upward with the mind intent on Kumbhaka. Through Uddiyana Bandha, he forces the united Prana-Apana to enter the Sushumna Nadi along with Kundalini, and through Sakti Chalana Mudra, he takes Kundalini from Chakra to Chakra. By this procedure a Hatha Yogi makes conquest over Deha Adhyasa.

Eliminate fear altogether by constantly raising an opposite current of thought in the mind. Constantly and intently think of courage. Fear is a Vikara, unnatural, temporary modification on account of Avidya. When fear disappears, the attachment for the body goes away and then it is easy for you to go above body-consciousness.

Do not be carried away by name and fame (Khyati). Ignore all these trivial things. Be steady in your practice. Never stop Sadhana till the final beatitude is reached.

Just as the man who foolishly runs after two rabbits will not catch hold of any one of them, so also a meditator who runs after two conflicting thoughts will not get success in any one of the two thoughts. If he has divine thoughts for ten minutes and then worldly conflicting thoughts for the next ten minutes he will not succeed in getting at the Divine consciousness.

Several aspirants in the name of Tapasya neglect the body. All possible care should be taken to keep the body in a healthy condition. A Sadhaka should take more care than a worldly man because it is with this instrument that he has to reach the Goal. At the same time he must be quite unattached to the body and be prepared to give it up at any moment. That is the proper ideal.

As to the qualification for renunciation, a man should have attained perfect purity of mind, stability of intellect, discrimination, disgust towards sensual pleasures and a keen desire for freedom. Unless a man has attained these qualifications, renunciation of active duties of life does not produce the desired effect.

If you want Samadhi, you must know well the process of Dhyana. If you want Dhyana, you must know accurately the method of Dharana. If you want Dharana, you must know perfectly the method of Pratyahara. If you want Pratyahara, you must know Pranayama. If you want Pranayama you must know Asana well. Before going to the practice of Asana, you should have Yama and Niyama. There is no use of jumping into Dhyana without having the various preliminary practices.

Some aspirants, when they cannot get milk or ghee, stop their Yogic practices. If you cannot get milk or ghee, you will have to take a little more quantity of bread and Dal. Dal is more nutritious than milk. It is very, very substantial. Sadhakas should not develop any habit at all. Habit means slavery. People of slavish mentality are absolutely unfit for the spiritual path. They should not be affected at all even if they are placed under the worst circumstances.

Vedantins use different methods for getting Laya, viz., (1) Antahkarana Laya Chintana, (2) Pancha Bhuta Laya Chintana and (3) Omkara Laya Chintana. In Antahkarana Laya, you must think that the mind is merged in Buddhi; Buddhi in Avyaktam; and Avyaktam in Brahman. In Pancha Bhuta Laya, you must think that the earth gets merged in water, water in fire; fire in air; air in Akasa; Akasa in Avyaktam; and Avyaktam in Brahman. In Omkara Laya, you must think that Visva gets merged in Virat (Virat in the letter ‘A’); Taijasa in Hiranyagarbha (Hiranyagarbha in the letter ‘U’); Prajna in Ishvara (Ishvara in the letter ‘M’). Jiva Sakshi gets merged in Ishvara Sakshi; Ishvara Sakshi in Ardhamatra of Omkara. Thus you can go back to the original source, Brahman, who is the Yoni for all minds and Pancha Bhutas. Brahman alone remains.

Annamaya Kosha is the physical body (Sthula Sarira). Pranamaya Kosha, Manomaya Kosha and Vijnanamaya Kosha are in the astral body (Sukshma Sarira). Anandamaya Kosha belongs to the causal body (Karana Sarira). Pranamaya Kosha contains the five Karma Indriyas. Manomaya and Vijnanamaya Koshas contain the five Jnana Indriyas.

Priya, Moda and Pramoda are the attributes of Anandamaya Kosha. Hunger and thirst belong to Pranamaya Kosha. Birth and death belong to the Annamaya Kosha. Harsha and Soka (exhilaration and depression) belong to Manomaya Kosha. Passion, hunger, greed, Sankalpa and Vikalpa are Dharmas of the Manomaya Kosha. Sleep and Moha belong to Anandamaya Kosha. Kartritva (agency) and Bhoktritva (enjoyment) belong to Vijnanamaya Kosha.

In Manomaya Kosha, Iccha-Shakti is working. In Vijnanamaya Kosha, Jnana-Shakti is working. For other detailed information consult my book “Practice of Vedanta.”

When Kundalini is awakened, it does not proceed at once to Sahasrara Chakra. By further Yogic practices, you will have to take it from Chakra to Chakra, one by one.

Even after Kundalini has reached the Sahasrara it can drop to Muladhara Chakra. The Yogi can also stop it at a particular Chakra. When the Yogi is established in Samadhi, when he has attained Kaivalya, Kundalini will not come back to Muladhara.

The body will exist even after Kundalini has reached Sahasrara Chakra, but the Yogi will have no body-consciousness. It is only when Kaivalya is attained that the body becomes lifeless.

The Sadhakas should have a pure heart and should be free from Doshas. The Mantra should have been obtained from a great man. The Sadhaka should have faith in the Mantra. In this case, Japa alone is quite sufficient to awaken Kundalini.

Jnana Yoga, Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga and all other methods have the 8 steps, viz., Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. These are not the exclusive property of Raja Yoga alone. These are necessary for all Sadhakas.

Young boys have no settled mind. Many have not the power of discrimination. Therefore young age is not suitable for advanced courses in Yoga.

Many other important doubts of the aspirants have been cleared in the text.

Some Practical Hints

The actual method of awakening the Kundalini Shakti and uniting Her with the Lord in the Sahasrara can only be learnt from a Guru. I give here a general outline of the Yogic practice that will enable the Sadhaka to realise the Chit.

The Jivatma in the subtle body, the receptacle of the five vital airs (Pancha Pranas), mind in its three aspects of Manas, Buddhi and Ahankara; the five organs of action (Karmendriyas); and the five organs of perception (Jnanendriyas), are united with the Kula-Kundalini. The Kandarpa or Kama Vayu in the Muladhara—a form of the Apana Vayu—is given a leftward revolution and the fire which is around Kundalini is kindled. By the Bija “Hung”, and the heat of the fire thus kindled, the coiled and sleeping Kundalini is awakened. She who lay asleep around Svayambhu-linga, with her coils three circles and a half, dosing the entrance of the Brahmadvara, will on being roused, enter that door and move upwards, united with the Jivatma.

On this upward movement, Brahma, Savitri, Dakini-Shakti, the Devas, Bija and Vritti, are dissolved in the body of Kundalini. The Maheemandala or Prithvi is converted into the Bija “Lang,” and is also merged in Her body. When Kundalini leaves the Muladhara, the lotus which, on the awakening of Kundalini, had opened and turned its flower upwards, again closes and hangs downwards. As Kundalini reaches the Svadhishthana-Chakra, that lotus opens out, and lifts its flower upwards. Upon the entrance of Kundalini, Mahavishnu, Mahalakshmi, Sarasvati, Rakini Shakti, Deva Matrikas and Vritti, Vaikunthadhama, Goloka, and the Deva and Devi residing therein are dissolved in the body of Kundalini. The Prithvi or earth Bija “Lang” is dissolved in Apah, and Apah converted into the Bija “Vang,” remains in the body of Kundalini. When the Devi reaches the Manipura Chakra all that is in the Chakra merges in Her body. The Varuna Bija “Vang” is dissolved in fire, which remains in the body of the Devi as the Bija “Rang”. This Chakra is called the Brahmagranthi (or knot of Brahma). The piercing of this Chakra may involve considerable pain, physical disorder, and even disease. On this account, the directions of an experienced Guru are necessary, and therefore also other modes of Yoga have been recommended for those to whom they are applicable; for in such modes activity is provoked directly in the higher centre and it is not necessary that the lower Chakras should be pierced. Kundalini next reaches the Anahata Chakra where all which is therein is merged in Her. The Bija of Tejas, “Rang” disappears in Vayu and Vayu converted into its Bija “Yang”, merges into the body of Kundalini. This Chakra is known as Vishnugranthi (knot of Vishnu). Kundalini then ascends to the abode of Bharati (or Sarasvati) or the Vishuddha Chakra. Upon Her entrance, Ardha-Narisvara Siva, Sakini, the sixteen vowels, Mantra, etc., are dissolved in the body of Kundalini. The Bija of Vayu, “Yang” is dissolved in Akasa, which itself being transformed into the Bija “Hang” is merged in the body of Kundalini. Piercing the Lalana Chakra, the Devi reaches the Ajna Chakra, where Parama Shiva, Siddha Kali, the Deva-Gana and all else therein are absorbed into Her body. The Bija of Akasa, “Hang” is merged in the Manas-Chakra and mind itself in the body of Kundalini. The Ajna Chakra is known as Rudra-granthi (or the knot of Rudra or Shiva). After this Chakra has been pierced, Kundalini, of Her own motion, unites with Paramasiva. As She proceeds upwards from the two-petalled lotus, the Niralamba Puri, Pranava Nada etc., are merged in Her.

The Kundalini then in her progress upwards, absorbs herself the twenty-four Tattvas commencing with the gross elements, and then unites Herself and becomes one with Paramasiva. The nectar which flows from such union floods the Kshudrabrahmanda or human body. It is then that the Sadhaka forgetful of all in this world is immersed in ineffable bliss.

Thereafter the Sadhaka, thinking of the Vayu Bija “Yang” as being in the left nostril, inhales through Ida, making Japa of the Bija sixteen times. Then closing both nostrils, he makes Japa of the Bija sixty-four times. He then thinks that the black “man of sin” (Papapurusha) in the left cavity of the abdomen is being dried up, and so thinking, he exhales through the right nostril Pingala, making Japa of the Bija thirty-two times. The Papapurusha should be thought of as an angry black man in the left side of the cavity of the abdomen, of the size of the thumb, with red beard and eyes, holding a sword and shield, with his head ever held low, the very image of all sins. The Sadhaka then meditating upon the red-coloured Bija “Rang” in the Manipura, inhales, making sixteen Japas of the Bija, and then closes the nostrils, making sixty-four Japas. While making the Japa he thinks that the body of the man of sin is being burnt and reduced to ashes. He then exhales through the right nostril with thirty-two Japas. He then meditates upon the white Chandra Bija “Thang”. He next inhales through Ida, making Japa of the Bija sixteen times, closes both nostrils with Japa done sixty-four times, and exhales through Pingala with thirty-two Japas. During inhalation, holding of breath and exhalation, he should consider that a new celestial body is being formed by the nectar (composed of all the letters of the alphabet, Matrika-varna) dropping from the moon. In a similar way with the Bija “Vang”, the formation of the body is continued, and with the Bija “Lang” it is completed and strengthened. Lastly, with the Mantra “Soham”, the Sadhaka leads the Jivatma into the heart. Thus Kundalini who has enjoyed Her union with Paramashiva, sets out on her return journey the way she came. As she passes through each of the Chakras all that she has absorbed therefrom come out from herself and take their several places in the Chakra.

2 comments:

  1. I bow down for this knoledge. It will be more easier to have the same wisdom on Youtube.

    Namah Shivay
    Vidjai

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