Asanas : Importance of Yoga posture in kundalini yoga

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.

SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY

Foundation Importance Of Kundalini Yoga : Vairagya Qualifications Sadhaka Yogic Diet Sattvic Place Time

Patanjali-vyasamukhan gurunanyamscha bhaktitah;

Natosmi vangmanah-kayairajnanadhvanta-bhaskaran

—We offer our obeisance by word, mind and body to Patanjali, Vyasa and to all other Rishis and Yogic Masters who are like so many Suns to remove the darkness of Ajnana (ignorance).

Foundation—Vairagya

Man, ignorant of his true Divine nature, vainly tries to secure happiness in the perishable objects of this illusory sense-universe. Every man in this world is restless, discontented and dissatisfied. He feels actually that he is in want of something, the nature of which he does not really understand. He seeks the rest and peace that he feels he is in need of, in the accomplishment of ambitious projects. But he finds that worldly greatness when secured is a delusion and a snare. He doubtless does not find any happiness in it. He gets degrees, diplomas, titles, honours, powers, name and fame; he marries; he begets children; in short, he gets all that he imagines would give him happiness. But yet, he finds no rest and peace.

Are you not ashamed to repeat the same process of eating, sleeping and talking again and again? Are you not really fed up with the illusory objects created by the jugglery of Maya? Have you got a single sincere friend in this universe? Is there any difference between an animal and the so-called dignified human being with boasted intellect, if he does not do any spiritual Sadhana daily, for Self-realisation? How long do you want to remain a slave of passion, Indriyas, woman and body? Fie on those miserable wretches who revel in filth and who have forgotten their real Atmic nature and their hidden powers!

The so-called educated persons are refined sensualists only. Sensual pleasure is no pleasure at all. Indriyas are deceiving you at every moment. Pleasure mixed with pain, sorrow, fear, sin, diseases is no pleasure at all. The happiness that depends upon perishable objects is no happiness. If your wife dies, you weep. If you lose money or property, you are drowned in sorrow. How long do you want to remain in that abject, degraded state? Those who waste their precious life in eating, sleeping and chatting without doing any Sadhana are brutes only.

You have forgotten your real Svarupa or purpose of life on account of Avidya, Maya, Moha and Raga. You are tossed up hither and thither aimlessly by the two currents of Raga and Dvesha. You are caught up in Samsara-Chakra on account of your egoism, Vasanas, Trishnas and passions of various sorts.

You want a Nitya (eternal), Nirupadhika (independent), Niratisaya (Infinite) Ananda. This you will find in your realisation of the Self only. Then alone will all your miseries and tribulations melt away. You have taken this body only to achieve this end. “Din nike bite jate hain—The days are passing away quickly.” The day has come and gone. Will you waste the night also?

“Aashaya badhyate loko karmana bahu-chintaya;

Ayukshinam na janati tasmat jagrata jagrata—

You are bound in this world by desires, actions and manifold anxieties. Therefore you do not know that your life is slowly decaying and is wasted. Therefore wake up, wake up.”

Now wake up. Open your eyes. Apply diligently to spiritual Sadhana. Never waste even a minute. Many Yogins and Jnanins, Dattatreya, Patanjali, Christ, Buddha, Gorakhnath, Matsyendranath, Ram Das and others have already trodden the spiritual path and realised through Sadhana. Follow their teachings and instructions implicitly.

Courage, Power, Strength, Wisdom, Joy and Happiness are your Divine heritage, your birth-right. Get them all through proper Sadhana. It will be simply preposterous to think that your Guru will do the Sadhana for you. You are your own redeemer. Gurus and Acharyas will show you the spiritual path, remove doubts and troubles and give some inspiration. You will have to tread the Spiritual Path. Remember this point well. You will have to place each step yourself in the Spiritual Path. Therefore do real Sadhana. Free yourself from death and birth and enjoy the Highest Bliss.

What Is Yoga?

The word ‘Yoga’ comes from a Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ which means to join. In its spiritual sense it is that process by which the identity of the Jivatma and Paramatma is realised by the Yogins. The human soul is brought into conscious communion with God. Yoga is restraining the mental modifications. Yoga is that inhibition of the functions of the mind which leads to abidance of the spirit in his real nature. The inhibition of these functions of the mind is by Abhyasa and Vairagya” (Yoga Sutras).

Yoga is the Science that teaches the method of joining the human spirit with God. Yoga is the Divine Science which disentangles the Jiva from the phenomenal world of sense-objects and links him with the Ananta Ananda (Infinite Bliss), Parama Shanti (Supreme Peace), joy of an Akhanda character and Power that are inherent attributes of the Absolute. Yoga gives Mukti through Asamprajnata Samadhi by destroying all the Sankalpas of all antecedent mental functions. No Samadhi is possible without awakening the Kundalini. When the Yogi attains the highest stage, all his Karmas are burnt and he gets liberation from Samsara-Chakra.

The Importance Of Kundalini Yoga

In Kundalini Yoga the creating and sustaining Sakti of the whole body is actually and truly united with Lord Siva. The Yogi goads Her to introduce him to Her Lord. The rousing of Kundalini Sakti and Her Union with Lord Siva effects the state of Samadhi (Ecstatic union) and spiritual Anubhava (experience). It is She who gives Knowledge or Jnana, for She is Herself That. Kundalini Herself, when awakened by the Yogins, achieves for them the Jnana (illumination).

Kundalini can be awakened by various means and these different methods are called by different names, viz., Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, etc. The practitioner of this Kundalini Yoga claims, that it is higher than any other process and that Samadhi attained thereby is more perfect. The reason that they allege, is this:—In Dhyana Yoga, ecstasy takes place through detachment from the world and mental concentration leading the variety of mental operation (Vritti) of the uprising of pure consciousness unhindered by the limitations of the mind. The degree to which this unveiling of consciousness is effected, depends upon the meditative power, Dhyana Sakti, of the Sadhaka and the extent of detachment from the world. On the other hand, Kundalini is all Sakti and is therefore Jnana Sakti Herself—bestows Jnana and Mukti, when awakened by the Yogins. Secondly, in Kundalini Yoga there is not merely a Samadhi through meditation, but the central power of the Jiva, carries with it the forms of both body and mind. The union in that sense is claimed to be more complete than that enacted through methods only. Though in both cases the body-consciousness is lost, in Kundalini Yoga not only the mind but the body also, in so far as it is represented by its central power, is actually united with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra. This union (Samadhi) produces Bhukti (enjoyment) which a Dhyana Yogi does not possess. A Kundalini Yogi has both Bhukti (enjoyment) and Mukti (liberation) in the fullest and literal sense. Hence this Yoga is claimed to be the foremost of all Yogas. When the sleeping Kundalini is awakened by Yogic Kriyas, it forces a passage upwards through the different Chakras (Shat-Chakra Bheda). It excites or stimulates them into intense activity. During its ascent, layer after layer of the mind becomes fully opened. All Kleshas (afflictions) and the three kinds of Taapa will vanish. The Yogi experiences various visions, powers, bliss and knowledge. When it reaches Sahasrara Chakra in the brain, the Yogi gets the maximum knowledge, Bliss, power and Siddhis. He reaches the highest rung in the Yogic ladder. He gets perfectly detached from body and mind. He becomes free in all respects. He is a full-blown Yogi (Purna Yogi).

Important Qualifications Of A Sadhaka

When the whole vitality is sapped from the body one cannot do any rigid Sadhana. Youth is the best period for Yoga Abhyasa. This is the first and the foremost qualification of a Sadhaka; there must be vigour and vitality.

One who has a calm mind, who has faith in the words of his Guru and Sastras, who is moderate in eating and sleeping and who has the intense longing for deliverance from the Samsara-Chakra is a qualified person for the practice of Yoga.

“Ahamkaram balam darpam kamam krodham parigraham; Vimuchya nirmamah santo brahmabhuyaya kalpate –

Having cast aside egoism, violence, arrogance, desire, wrath, covetousness, selfless and peaceful—he is fit to become ETERNAL.”

Those who are addicted to sensual pleasures or those who are arrogant and proud, dishonest, untruthful, diplomatic, cunning and treacherous and who disrespect the Guru, Sadhus and elders and take pleasure in vain controversies and worldly actions, can never attain success in Yogic practices.

Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, and all other impurities should be completely annihilated. One cannot become pure and perfect when one has so many impure qualities.

Sadhakas should develop the following virtuous qualities:

Straightforwardness, service to Guru, the sick and old persons, Ahimsa, Brahmacharya, spontaneous generosity, Titiksha, Sama Drishti, Samata, spirit of service, selflessness, tolerance, Mitahara, humility, honesty and other virtues to an enormous degree. Aspirants will not at all be benefited in any way in the absence of these virtues even if they exert much to awaken the Kundalini through Yogic exercises.

Aspirants should freely open their hearts to their Guru. They must be frank and candid. They should give up the self-assertive, Rajasic vehemence, vanity and arrogance, and carry out their master’s instructions with Sraddha and Prem. Constant self-justification is a dangerous habit for a Sadhaka.

Energy is wasted in too much talking, unnecessary worry and vain fear. Gossiping and tall-talk should be given up entirely. A real Sadhaka is a man of few words, to the point and that too on spiritual matters only. Sadhakas should always remain alone. Mouna is a great desideratum. Mixing with householders is highly dangerous for a Sadhaka. The company of a householder is far more injurious than the company of a woman. Mind has the power to imitate.

Yogic Diet

A Sadhaka should observe perfect discipline. He must be civil, polite, courteous, gentle, noble and gracious in his behaviour. He must have perseverance, adamantine will, asinine patience and leech-like tenacity in Sadhana. He must be perfectly self-controlled, pure and devoted to the Guru.

A glutton or one who is a slave of his senses with several bad habits, is unfit for the spiritual path.

“Mitaharam vina yastu yogarambham tu karayet; Nanarogo bhavettasya kinchit yogo na siddhyati

“Without observing moderation of diet, if one takes to the Yogic practices, he cannot obtain any benefit but gets various diseases” (Ghe. Sam. V-16).

Food plays a prominent place in Yoga-Sadhana. An aspirant should be very careful in the selection of articles of Sattvic nature especially in the beginning of his Sadhana period. Later on when Siddhi is attained, drastic dietetic restrictions can be removed.

Purity of food leads to purity of mind. Sattvic food helps meditation. The discipline of food is very very necessary for Yogic Sadhana. If the tongue is controlled, all the other Indriyas are controlled.

“Ahara-suddhau sattva-suddhih, sattva-suddhau dhruva smritih; Smriti-lambhe sarva-granthinam viprarnokshah—By the purity of food follows the purification of the inner nature, by the purification of the nature, memory becomes firm and on strengthening the memory, follows the loosening of all ties and the wise get Moksha thereby.”

Sattvic Articles

I will give you a list of Sattvic articles for a Sadhaka. Milk, red rice, barley, wheat, Havishannam, Charu, cream, cheese, butter, green dal (Moong dal), Badam (almonds), Misri (sugar-candy), Kismis (raisins), Kichidi, Pancha Shakha vegetables (Seendil, Chakravarty, Ponnan-gani, Chirukeerai and Vellaicharnai), Lowki vegetable, plantain-stem, Parwal, Bhindi (lady’s finger), pomegranates, sweet oranges, grapes, apples, bananas, mangoes, dates, honey, dried ginger, black pepper, etc., are the Sattvic articles of diet prescribed for the Yoga Abhyasis.

Charu: Boil half a seer of milk along with some boiled rice, ghee and sugar. This is an excellent food for Yogins. This is for the day-time. For the night, half a seer of milk will do.

Milk should not be too much boiled. It should be removed from the fire as soon as the boiling point is reached. Too much boiling destroys the nutritious principles and vitamins and renders it quite useless. This is an ideal food for Sadhakas. Milk is a perfect food by itself.

A fruit diet exercises a benign influence on the constitution. This is a natural form of diet. Fruits are very great energy-producers. Fruits and milk diet help concentration and easy mental focussing. Barley, wheat, milk and ghee promote longevity and increase power and strength. Fruit-juice and the water wherein sugar-candy is dissolved, are very good beverages. Butter mixed with sugar-candy, and almonds soaked in water can be taken. These will cool the system.

Forbidden Articles

Sour, hot, pungent and bitter preparations, salt, mustard, asafoetida, chillies, tamarind, sour curd, chutnee, meat, eggs, fish, garlic, onions, alcoholic liquors, acidic things, stale food, overripe or unripe fruits, and other articles that disagree with your system should be avoided entirely.

Rajasic food distracts the mind. It excites passion. Give up salt. It excites passion and emotion. Giving up of salt helps in controlling the tongue and thereby the mind and in developing will-power also. Snake-bite and scorpion-stings will have no influence on a man who has given up salt. Onions and garlic are worse than meat.

Live a natural life. Take simple food that is agreeable. You should have your own menu to suit your constitution. You are yourself the best judge to select a Sattvic diet.

The proficient in Yoga should abandon articles of food detrimental to the practice of Yoga. During intense Sadhana, milk (and ghee also) is ordained.

I have given above several articles of Sattvic nature. That does not mean that you should take all. You will have to select a few things that are easily available and suitable to you. Milk is the best food for Yogins. But even a small quantity of milk is harmful for some and may not agree with all constitutions. If one form of diet is not suitable or if you feel constipated, change the diet and try some other Sattvic articles. This is Yukti.

In the matter of food and drinks you should be a master. You should not have the least craving or sense-hankering for any particular food. You must not become a slave to any particular object.

Mitahara

Heavy food leads to Tamasic state and induces sleep only. There is a general misapprehension that a large quantity of food is necessary for health and strength. Much depends upon the power of assimilation and absorption. Generally, in the vast majority of cases, most of the food passes away undigested along with faeces. Take half stomachful of wholesome food. Fill a quarter with pure water. Leave the rest free. This is Mitahara. Mitahara plays a vital part in keeping up perfect health. Almost all diseases are due to irregularity of meals, overeating and unwholesome food. Eating all things at all times like a monkey is highly dangerous. Such a man can become a Rogi (sick man) easily; but he can never become a Yogi. Hear the emphatic declaration of Lord Krishna: “Success in Yoga is not for him who eats too much or too little; nor for him who sleeps too much or too little (Gita VI-16). Again in the Sloka 18 of the same chapter, He says: “To him who is temperate in eating and in sleep and wakefulness, Yoga becomes a destroyer of misery.”

A glutton cannot at the very outset have diet regulations and observe Mitahara. He must gradually practise this. First let him take less quantity twice as usual. Then instead of the usual heavy night meals, let him take fruits and milk alone for some days. In due course of time he can completely avoid the night meals and try to take fruits and milk in the daytime. Those who do intense Sadhana must take milk alone. It is a perfect food by itself. If necessary they can take some easily digestible fruits. A glutton, if he all on a sudden takes to fruit or milk diet, will desire at every moment to eat something or other. That is bad. Once again I reiterate, gradual practice is necessary.

Do not fast much. It will produce weakness in you. Occasional fasting once a month or when passion troubles you much, will suffice. During fasting you should not even think of the various articles of food. Constant thinking of the food when you fast cannot bring you the desired result. During fasting, avoid company. Live alone. Utilise your time in Yogic Sadhana. After a fast do not take any heavy food. Milk or some fruit-juice is beneficial.

Do not make much fuss about your diet. You need not advertise to everyone if you are able to pull on with a particular form of diet. The observance of such Niyamas is for your advancement in the spiritual path and you will not be spiritually benefited by giving publicity to your Sadhana. There are many nowadays who make it a profession to earn money and their livelihood by performing some Asana, Pranayama or by having some diet regulation such as eating only raw articles or leaves or roots. They cannot have any spiritual growth. The goal of life is Self-realisation. Sadhakas should keep the goal always in view and do intense Sadhana with the prescribed methods.

The Place For Yoga Sadhana

Sadhana should be done in a secluded place. There should be no interruption by anyone. When you live in a house, a well-ventilated room should be reserved for Sadhana purposes. Do not allow anybody to enter the room. Keep it under lock and key. Do not allow even your wife, children or intimate friends to enter the room. It should be kept pure and holy. It should be free from mosquitoes, flies and lice and absolutely free from dampness. Do not keep too many things in the room. They will distract you every now and then. No surrounding noise also should disturb you. The room should not be too big as the eyes will begin to wander.

Places of cool or temperate climate are required for Yoga Abhyasa as you will get easily exhausted in hot place. You must select such a place where you can comfortably stay all through the year in winter, summer and rainy season. You must stick to one place throughout Sadhana period. Select a beautiful and pleasant spot where there is no disturbance, on the banks of a river, lake or sea or top of a hill where there is a nice spring and grove of trees and where milk and articles of food are easily procurable. You should select such a place where there are some other Yogic practitioners. When you see others who are devoted to Yogic practices you will diligently apply yourself to your practices. You can consult them in times of difficulties. Do not wander here and there in search of a place where you will get all conveniences. Do not change your place very often when you find some inconvenience. You must put up with it. Every place has some advantage and disadvantage. Find out a place where you have many advantages and a few disadvantages.

The following places are best suited. They are admirably adapted. Scenery is charming and spiritual vibrations are marvellous and elevating. There are several Kutirs (huts) to live in for real Abhyasis, or you can construct your own hut. Milk and other rations are available in all the places from the neighbouring villages. Any solitary village on the banks of Ganga, Narmada, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri is suitable. I will tell you some important places for meditation.

Kulu Valley, Champa Valley and Srinagar in Kashmir; Banrughi Guha near Tehri; Brahmavarta near Kanpur; Joshi (Prayag) in Allahabad; Canary Caves near Bombay; Mussoorie; Mt. Abu; Nainital; Brindavan; Banares; Puri; Uttara Brindavan (14 miles from Almora); Hardwar, Rishikesh (N.Rly.); Lakshmanjhula (*3), Brahmapuri Forest (*4), Ram Guha in Brahmapuri Forest, Garuda Chatty (*4), Neelkant (*8), Vasishtha Guha (*14), Uttarkashi; Deva Prayag; Badrinarayan; Gangotri, Nasik and Nandi Hills in Mysore. (* Distance in miles from Rishikesh)

If you build a Kutir in a crowded place, people out of curiosity will disturb you. You will have no spiritual vibrations there. There will be a lot of other disturbances also. Again you will be without any protection if you construct your Kutir in a thick forest. Thieves and wild animals will trouble you. The question of food will arise. You must consider all these points well before you select a place for your Sadhana. If you cannot go in for such places, convert a solitary room into a forest.

Your Asana (seat) for the Yogic practices should not be too high or too low. Spread a seat of Kusha grass, tiger-skin or deer-skin and then sit. Burn incense daily in the room. In the initial period of your Sadhana you must be very particular about all these. When you have sufficiently advanced in your practice, then you need not lay much stress on such rules.

The Time

It is stated in Gheranda Samhita that Yogic practices should not be commenced in winter, summer and rainy seasons, but only in spring and autumn. This depends upon the temperature of the particular place and the strength of the individual. Generally cool hours are best suited. In hot places you should not practise during the day. Early morning hours are suitable for Yogic practices. You should completely avoid Yoga Abhyasa in summer in those places where the temperature is hot even in winter. If you live in cool places like Kodaikanal, Ooty, Kashmir, Badrinarayan, Gangotri, etc., you can practise even during the day.

As instructed in the previous lessons you should not practise when the stomach is loaded. Generally Yogic practices should be done only after a bath. A bath is not beneficial immediately after the practices. You should not sit for Yogic practices when your mind is restless or when you are worried much.

The Age

Young boys under 18 years of age whose bodies are very tender should not have too much practice. They have a very tender body which cannot stand the exertion of Yogic exercises. Further, a youth’s mind will be wandering and unsettled and so, in youth one cannot concentrate well, whereas, Yogic exercises require intense and deep concentration. In old age when all vitality is sapped by unnecessary worry, anxieties, troubles and other worldly Vyavaharas, one cannot do any spiritual practice. Yoga requires full vitality, energy, power and strength. Therefore the best period for Yoga Abhyasa is from 20 to 40 years of age. Those who are strong and healthy can take to Yogic practices even after 50.

Necessity For A Yogic Guru

In olden days the aspirants were required to live with the Guru for a number of years, so that the Guru could study the students thoroughly. The food during practice, what to practise and how, whether the students are qualified for the path of Yoga, and the temperament of the aspirants and other important items have to be considered and judged by the Guru. It is the Guru that should decide whether the aspirants are of Uttamai, Madhyama or Adhama type and fix different kinds of exercises. Sadhana differs according to the nature, capacity and qualifications of the aspirants. After understanding the theory of Yoga, you will have to learn the practice from an experienced Yogic Guru. So long as there is the world, there are books on Yoga and teachers also. You will have to search for them with Sraddha, faith, devotion and earnestness. You can get easy lessons from the Guru and practise them at home also in the initial stages of practice. When you advance a bit, for advanced and difficult exercises you will have to stay with the Guru. The personal contact with the Guru has manifold advantages. You will be highly benefited by the spiritual magnetic aura of your Guru. For the practice of Bhakti Yoga and Vedanta you do not require a Guru by your side. After learning the Srutis for sometime from a Guru, you will have to reflect and meditate alone, in entire seclusion, whereas in Kundalini Yoga you will have to break up the Granthis and take the Kundalini from Chakra to Chakra. These are all difficult processes. The method of uniting the Apana and Prana and sending it along the Sushumna and breaking the Granthis need the help of a Guru. You will have to sit at the Guru’s feet for a pretty long time. You will have to understand thoroughly the location of the Nadis, Chakras and the detailed technique of the several Yogic Kriyas.

Lay bare to your Guru the secrets of your heart and the more you do so, the greater the sympathy and help you get from your Guru. This sympathy means accession of strength to you in the straggle against sin and temptation.

“Learn thou this by discipleship, by investigation and by service. The wise, the seers of the Essence of things will instruct thee in wisdom”. (Gita-IV-34)

Some do meditation for some years independently. Later on they feel actually the necessity for a Guru. They come across some obstacles in the way. They do not know how to proceed further and to obviate these impediments or stumbling blocks. Then they begin to search for a master. A stranger in a big city finds it difficult to go back to his residence in a small avenue though he has walked in the way half a dozen times. When difficulty arises even in the case of finding out the way through streets and roads how much more difficult it should be in the path of spirituality when one walks alone with closed eyes!

The aspirant gets obstacles or impediments, dangers, snares and pitfalls on the spiritual path. He may commit errors in Sadhana also. A Guru who has already trodden the path and reached the goal, is very necessary to guide him.

Who Is A Guru?

Guru is one who has full Self-illumination and who removes the veil of ignorance in deluded Jivas. Guru, Truth, Brahman, Ishvara, Atman, God, Om are all one. The number of realised souls may be less in this Kali Yuga when compared with the Satya Yuga, but they are always present to help the aspirants. They are always searching for the proper Adhikarins.

Guru is Brahman Himself. Guru is Ishvara Himself. Guru is God. A word from him is a word from God. He need not teach any. Even his mere presence or company is elevating, inspiring and soul-stirring. The very company itself is self-illumination. Living in his company is spiritual education. That which comes out of his lips is all Vedas or gospel-truth. His very life is an embodiment of Vedas. Guru is your guide or spiritual preceptor, real father, mother, brother, relative and intimate friend. He is an embodiment of mercy and love. His tender smile radiates light, bliss, joy, knowledge and peace. He is a blessing to the suffering humanity. Whatever he talks is Upanishadic teaching. He knows the spiritual path. He knows the pitfalls and snares on the way. He gives warning to the aspirants. He removes obstacles on the path. He imparts spiritual strength to the students. He showers his grace on their heads. He takes their Prarabdha even on his head. He is the ocean of mercy. All agonies, miseries, tribulations, taints of worldliness, etc., vanish in his presence.

It is he who transmutes the little Jivahood into great Brahmanhood. It is he who overhauls the old, wrong, vicious Samskaras of the aspirants and awakens them to the attainment of the knowledge of Self. It is he who uplifts the Jivas from the quagmire of body and Samsara, removes the veil of Avidya, all doubts, Moha and fear, awakens Kundalini and opens the inner eye of intuition.

The Guru must not only be a Srotriya but a Brahma-Nishtha also. Mere study of books cannot make one a Guru. One who has studied Vedas and who has direct knowledge of Atman through Anubhava can only be considered a Guru. If you can find peace in the presence of a Mahatma, and if your doubts are removed by his very presence you can take him as your Guru.

A Guru can awaken the Kundalini of an aspirant through sight, touch, speech or mere Sankalpa (thought). He can transmit spirituality to the student just as one gives an orange-fruit to another. When the Guru gives Mantra to his disciples, he gives it with his own power and Sattvic Bhava.

The Guru tests the students in various ways. Some students misunderstand him and lose their faith in him. Hence, they are not benefited. Those who stand the tests boldly come out successful in the end. The periodical examinations in the Adhyatmic University of Sages are very stiff indeed. In days of yore the tests were very severe. Once Gorakhnath asked some of his students to climb up a tall tree and throw themselves head downwards on a very sharp Trident (Trishul). Many faithless students kept quiet. But one faithful student at once climbed up the tree with lightning speed and threw himself down. He was protected by the invisible hand of Gorakhnath. He had immediate Self-realisation. He had no Deha-adhyasa (attachment for his body). The other faithless students had strong Moha and Ajnana.

There is a good deal of heated debates and controversy amongst many people on the matter of the necessity of a Guru. Some of them assert with vehemence and force that a preceptor is not at all necessary for Self-realisation and spiritual advancement and that one can have spiritual progress and self-illumination through one’s own efforts only. They quote various passages from scriptures and assign arguments and reasonings to support them. Others boldly assert with greater emphasis and force that no spiritual progress is possible for a man, however intelligent he may be, however hard he may attempt and struggle in the spiritual path, unless he gets the benign grace and direct guidance of a spiritual preceptor.

Now open your eyes and watch carefully what is going on in this world in all walks of life. Even a cook needs a teacher. He serves under a senior cook for some years. He obeys him implicitly. He pleases his teacher in all possible ways. He learns all the techniques in cooking. He gets knowledge through the grace of his senior cook, his teacher. A junior lawyer wants the help and guidance of a senior advocate. Students of mathematics and medicine need the help and guidance of a Professor. A student of Science, music and astronomy wants the guidance of a scientist and musician and an astronomer. When such is the case with ordinary, secular knowledge, then, what to speak of the inner spiritual path, wherein the student has to walk alone with closed eyes? When you are in a thick jungle, you come across several cross foot-paths. You are in a dilemma. You do not know the directions and by which path you should go. You are bewildered. You want a guide here to direct you in the right path. It is universally admitted that an efficient teacher is needed in all branches of knowledge in this physical plane and that physical, mental, moral and cultural growth can only be had through the help and guidance of a capable master. This is a universal inexorable law of nature. Why do you deny them, friend, the application of this universally accepted law in the realm of spirituality?

Spiritual knowledge is a matter of Guruparampara. It is handed down from a Guru to his disciple. Study Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. You will have a comprehensive understanding. Gaudapadacharya imparted Self-knowledge to his disciple Govindapadacharya; Govindapadacharya to his disciple Sankaracharya; Sankaracharya to his disciple Suresvaracharya. Gorakhnath to Nivrittinath; Nivrittinath to Jnanadev. Totapuri imparted knowledge to Ramakrishna; Ramakrishna to Vivekananda. It was Dr. Annie Besant who moulded the career of Sri Krishnamurthi. It was Ashtavakra who moulded the life of Raja Janaka. It was Gorakhnath who shaped the spiritual destiny of Raja Bhartrihari. It was Lord Krishna who made Arjuna and Uddhava establish themselves in the spiritual path, when their minds were in an unsettled condition.

Some aspirants do meditation for some years independently. Later on they feel actually the necessity for a Guru. They come across some obstacles in the way. They do not know how to proceed further and how to obviate these impediments or stumbling blocks. Then they begin to search for a Guru.

The student and the teacher should live together as father and devoted son or as a husband and wife with extreme sincerity and devotion. The aspirant should have an eager, receptive attitude to imbibe the teachings of the master. Then only will the aspirant be spiritually benefited; otherwise, there is not the least hope of the spiritual life of the aspirant and complete regeneration of his old Asuric nature.

It is a great pity that the present system of education in India is not favourable to the spiritual growth of Sadhakas. The minds of the students are saturated with materialistic poison. Aspirants of the present day have not got any idea of the true relationship of Guru and a disciple. It is not like the relationship of a student and teacher or professor in schools and colleges. Spiritual relationship is entirely different. It involves dedication. It is very sacred. It is purely divine. Turn the pages of the Upanishads. In days of yore, Brahmacharins used to approach their teachers with profound humility, sincerity and Bhava.

Spiritual Power

Just as you can give an orange to a man and take it back, so also spiritual power can be transmitted by one to another and taken back also. This method of transmitting spiritual power is termed “Shakti Sanchara.”

Birds keep their eggs under their wings. Through heat the eggs are hatched. Fish lay their eggs and look at them. They are hatched. The tortoise lays its eggs and thinks of them. They are hatched. Even so the spiritual power is transmitted by the Guru to the disciple through touch (Sparsha) like birds, sight (Darshana) like fish, and thinking or willing (Sankalpa) like the tortoise.

The transmitter, the Yogi-Guru, sometimes enters the astral body of the student and elevates his mind through his power. The Yogi (operator) makes the subject (Chela) sit in front of him and asks him to close his eyes and then transmits his spiritual power. The subject feels the spiritual power actually passing from Muladhara Chakra higher up to the neck and top of the head.

The disciple does various Hatha Yogic Kriyas, Asanas, Pranayamas, Bandhas, Mudras, etc., by himself. The student must not restrain his Iccha-Sakti. He must act according to the inner Prerana (inner goading or stirring). The mind is highly elevated. The moment the aspirant closes his eyes, meditation comes by itself. Through Sakti-Sanchara Kundalini is awakened by the grace of the Guru in the disciple. Sakti Sanchara comes through Parampara. It is a hidden mystic science. It is handed down from the Guru to the disciple.

The disciple should not rest satisfied with the transmission of power from the Guru. He will have to struggle hard in Sadhana for further perfection and attainments.

Sakti Sanchara is of two kinds, viz., lower and higher. The lower one is Jada Kriya only wherein one automatically does Asanas, Bandhas and Mudras without any instructions when the Guru imparts the power to the student. The student will have to take up Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana for perfection. He cannot depend upon the Kriya alone. This Kriya is only an auxiliary. It gives a push to the Sadhaka. A fully-developed Yogi only possesses the higher kind of Shakti-Sanchara.

Lord Jesus, through touch, transmitted his spiritual power to some of his disciples (Master’s Touch). Samartha Ramdas touched a prostitute. She entered into Samadhi. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa touched Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda had superconscious experiences. He struggled hard for seven years more even after the touch for attaining perfection. Lord Krishna touched the blind eyes of Vilvamangal (Surdas). The inner eye of Surdas was opened. He had Bhava Samadhi. Lord Gouranga, through his touch, produced Divine intoxication in many people and converted them to his side. Even atheists danced in ecstasy in the streets by his touch and sang songs of Hari. Glory, glory to such exalted Yogic Gurus.

SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY

Experiences On Awakening of Kundalini

During meditation you behold divine visions, experience divine smell, divine taste, divine touch, hear divine Anahata sounds. You receive instructions from God. These indicate that the Kundalini Shakti has been awakened. When there is throbbing in Muladhara, when hairs stand on their roots, when Uddiyana, Jalandhara and Mulabandha come involuntarily, know that Kundalini has awakened.

When the breath stops without any effort, when Kevala Kumbhaka comes by itself without any exertion, know that Kundalini Shakti has become active. When you feel currents of Prana rising up to the Sahasrara, when you experience bliss, when you repeat Om automatically, when there are no thoughts of the world in the mind, know that Kundalini Shakti has awakened.

When, in your meditation, the eyes become fixed on Trikuti, the middle of the eyebrows, when the Shambhavi Mudra operates, know that Kundalini has become active. When you feel vibrations of Prana in different parts inside your body, when you experience jerks like the shocks of electricity, know that Kundalini has become active. During meditation when you feel as if there is no body, when your eyelids become closed and do not open in spite of your exertion, when electric-like currents flow up and down the nerves, know that Kundalini has awakened.

When you meditate, when you get inspiration and insight, when the nature unfolds its secrets to you, all doubts disappear, you understand clearly the meaning of the Vedic texts, know that Kundalini has become active. When your body becomes light like air, when you have a balanced mind in perturbed condition, when you possess inexhaustible energy for work, know that Kundalini has become active.

When you get divine intoxication, when you develop power of oration, know that Kundalini has awakened. When you involuntarily perform different Asanas or poses of Yoga without the least pain or fatigue, know that Kundalini has become active. When you compose beautiful sublime hymns and poetry involuntarily, know that Kundalini has become active.

Spiritual Diary

The Spiritual Diary is a whip for goading the mind towards righteousness and God. If you regularly maintain this diary you will get solace, peace of mind and make quick progress in the spiritual path. Maintain a daily diary and realise the marvellous results.

Month : ________________

Questions Date
1. When did you get up from bed ?
2. How many hours did you sleep ?
3. How many Malas of Japa ?
4. How long in Kirtan ?
5. How many Pranayamas ?
6. How long did you perform Asanas ?
7. How long did you meditate in one Asana?
8. How many Gita Slokas did you read or get by heart ?
9. How long in the company of the wise (Satsanga) ?
10. How many hours did you observe Mouna ?
11. How long in disinterested selfless service ?
12. How much did you give in charity ?
13. How many Mantras you wrote ?
14. How long did you practice physical exercise ?
15. How many lies did you tell and with what self-punishment ?
16. How many times and how long of anger and with what self-punishment ?
17. How many hours you spent in useless company ?
18. How many times you failed in Brahmacharya ?
19. How long in study of religious books ?
20. How many times you failed in the control of evil habits and with what self-punishment ?
21. How long you concentrated on your Ishta Devata (Saguna or Nirguna Dhyana) ?
22. How many days did you observe fast and vigil ?
23. Were you regular in your meditation ?
24. What virtue are you developing ?
25. What evil quality are you trying to eradicate ?
26. What Indriya is troubling you most ?
27. When did you go to bed ?


Prepare a statement of daily Spiritual Diary for every month as shown on the opposite page and verify whether you are progressing or not. If you want quick spiritual attainments, you should never neglect to record everything in your diary. To change the worldly nature it needs rigorous Sadhana. Apart from these questions you must also mention the following in the remarks column:—

1. The name of the Asanas.
2. The kind of meditation.
3. What books do you keep for Svadhyaya?
4. What is your special diet?
5. Do you keep a Japa Mala?
6. Have you got a separate meditation room?
7. How do you keep the meditation room?
8. Do you read Gita with meaning?

Do not be ashamed to mention your mistakes, vices and failures. This is meant for your own progress only. Do not waste your precious hours. It is enough that you have wasted so many years in idle-gossiping. Enough, enough of the troubles you had all these days in satisfying your senses. Do not say:—“from tomorrow I will be regular.” That “tomorrow” is for the worthless worldly-minded fools. Be sincere and start doing Sadhana from this moment. Be sincere. Take out a copy of the Spiritual Diary and send it on to your Guru, who will guide you, remove all the obstacles in your Sadhana and give you further lessons.  — SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY

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