Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Spiritual Prescription: Practical exercises to achieve inner happiness or silence

Contemplation of scriptures, association with saints (satsang) and vairagya to material objects promote yogic discipline or yoga abhyasa.

To achieve inner happiness of silence one must learn to control the Prana Vayu through breath control exercises.

Consciousness or chitta is the immovable silent state of consciousness, which gets controlled by the process of breathing through the Prana Vayu (which in turns controls the thoughts). One can therefore achieve a state of silence by controlling the breath.

There are many techniques of breath control described in the Vedic literature like yoga sutras in Patanjali, Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Vashshistha, and Srimad Bhagwat.

One of them Pranayama is the talk of the universe today. Most spiritual leaders today are promoting Pranayama as the process of stimulating inner powers.

But there are many other techniques which can be learnt to get the same powers. Most of them are either forgotten or done only by people practicing advanced meditation techniques.

Meditation is nothing but continuing concentration on the object of concentration. Routinely, a person cannot concentrate for more than 3 seconds as a new thought appears within 3 seconds. The first lesson is to concentrate uninterrupted for 12 seconds. The day one is able to do this, he or she has learnt meditation. Then one can go the second stage of concentrating for two minutes and so on. 

There are many types of yoga practices.

·        Being in the company of holy people (satsang), a person starts recognizing the world as unreal. At this stage, concentrating and meditating for a long time one can become firm in the practice of one tatva or the object of concentration. This leads to control over the movement of prana. 

·        When one practices methodically, over a period of time the process of exhalation (rechaka) and inhalation (puraka) and holding or cessation of breathing (kumbaka) - the steps in pranayama – and merges in the meditation, then also the movement of prana is checked.

·        The movement of prana can also be checked with the fixation of consciousness in the subtle rhythm of the sound (ardha matra) at the end of the word AUM.

·        With the practice of rechaka pranayama, cognition merges in the shunya state of akash (void) on the support of prana vayu, and then also the movement of prana is stopped.

·        Prana vayu is also controlled by the practice of kumbaka.

·        When the tip of the tongue is fixed at the orifice of the palate, the prana vayu goes up on account of khechari mudra, and then, too, the movement of prana is checked.

·        Within the distance of 12 digits (finger breadths) from the tip of the nose, by fixing the vision on it, the movement of prana is also checked.

·        When one concentrates on a spot 12 digits above the palate, then also the movement of prana is checked.

·        The movement of prana is also checked by concentrating on trikuti, the spot between the eyebrows.

·        Free from all vasanas, when one meditates for a long time on the consciousness in the akash of the heart, then also the movement of prana is checked.

·        When one undertakes for a long-term continuous practice of breath that goes up to the distance of 10 digits from the spot between the two eyebrows then also prana is stabilized.

·        When one is engaged in atma abhyas after fixation of the tongue against the palate for a long term then also prana is controlled.

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