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 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.
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. -- SRI SWAMI SIVANANDA A DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY