Two basic reasons for doing mantra.
Laukika mantras (used to fulfill our desires, not sacred but worldly) and moksha mantras (used to reach god).
Science of mantra is basically split into the Shadangas (six parts): Rsi, Chandas, Presiding Devata, Bija, Shakti and Kilaka
Rishi means the seer who got that mantra through divine vision (darshana) for the first time and got sidhi of that mantra. Some rishis also discover mantras, then they will become rishi of that mantra. A rishi is not a normal man, nor are they just a wise man nor just an enlightened being. There is a level of capacity and a level, they are divine human beings, seers of thought.
Chandas is actual pronunciation of that mantra and its metre or the science behind the metre. That is “how” the pronunciation of the sound (mantra) while doing japa. There are 26 types of chandas. It is the rhythm to be followed to chant a mantra. All mantras are named traditionally with a Chandas. There are different combinations of swaras (accents) and gati (speed). Manasika, Vachika, Upanshu, Udatta-Anudatta, Swarita, for a few of the many modes of japa that are also described in the chandas for a mantra. The chandas is selected for the spiritual sadhana processes of practising a mantra is called the yati. The selection of a yati and chandas for a given mantra is decided with reference to the purpose of the sadhana, the configuration of the mantra and syllables, and the mental and spiritual level of the sadhaka. Then there is the sloka metre. Gayatri chandas is 24 syllables total, Usnih chandas is 28, Anushtub chandas is 32, Brhati is 36, Pankti is 40, Trishtub is 44, Jagati is 48. Just to name a few. Each is detailed as to what the sadhana is that the mantra is for. There is a way to create one mantra to fit all of these sloka metres, but that gets pretty complicated and way beyond the scope of this article.
Devata is the god who will give the benefits, the one who appears when we are doing that mantra. Generally for each mantra there will be a Adhisthana Devata (governing deity) with specific meditative form and possibly specific mudra, asana, what they may hold in their hands, their dress or ornaments they wear, etc.
Bija resembles the basic character (tattva) of the mantra. It is the seed, which decides the route in which, the energy generated by chanting will be directed. Tattva is a character of that mantra. Generally expressed in terms of Prithvi, Jala (soft), Agni (sharp), Vayu, Akasa, Surya or Chandra.
Kilaka is the key to open the lock to get results. It is the door bolt. One can not enter in to the room of results without opening it. As we can not see or get in or get anything out from a house without opening the lock on the front door, in the same manner we can not get any result from that mantra without performing kilaka. In doing mantra japa, we should do this for getting results.
Shakti is the power/energy of mantra that is created. This is the power we get, when we chant a mantra.
For and example in the Mrtunjaya Mantra
trayaṁbakkaṁ yajāmahe sugandhiṁ puṣṭivardhanam|
urvāruhamiva bandhanān mṛtyormūkṣīya māmṛtāt ||
1. Mantra Ṛṣi is the Guru, the teacher of the mantra and to who the mantra was revealed for the first time for the benefit of the world – siras (head). In this case the Ṛṣi is Maharṣi Vasiṣṭha.
2. Chandas (meter, which is technically very specific for each mantra) – mukha (mouth). This vedic mantra is in anuṣṭubh chandas. This is a metre having four pada (feet) of 8 phonemes each making the entire Anuṣṭubh meter as composed of 32 (8 x 4 = 32) syllables. Any change in the metre will distort the chandas and the mantra vibration will be destroyed.
3. Devatā (the deity of the mantra) – hṛdaya (heart). In this case the devatā is Lord Shiva addressed as “Śrī Tryaṁbakkeśvara Mṛtyuṅjaya devatā”, the jyotirliñga.
4. Bīja (the seed syllable that created the mantra and contains the mantra within itself, like the seed that creates the tree) – Liñga (sexual organ). There are some opinion on this, but the most appropriate one is given by Vāmadeva Ṛṣi as हo (hauṁ).
5. Shakti (the physical power of the mantra like the mother) – pada (feet). It is the giver of gati or direction. In this case the śaktī is Devī Aṁṛteśvarī, addressed as hi (hrīṁ).
But wait there is alot more..
If you think you can just say (mispronounce) a mantra without knowing all this……
I placed a google search for mrtunjaya to prove a point….. I selected the very first one to come up. You can do this as well. Infact, check for yourself most of what comes up. Not much out there having any understanding of anything, Nor pronunciation or metre, what we would look at as syncopation.
It states that this is the Maha Mrtunjaya mantra:
Om Tryambhakam Yajamahe
Sugandhim Pushtivardhanam |
Mrityor Mukshiya Maamritat ||
I don’t count 32 syllables. I count 34 in what is written above fom her website. Then she has an audio of her leading it being chanted. Oh my! The pronounciation is slaughtered and if you were to have any knowledge of what is really being done here, just wow. There is even 35 syllables in what she chants. This is like dialing up the wrong number and saying that you still are talking to your mom. And even worse, nobody ever picked up.
It is no wonder most Westerner teachers say “Oh, pronunciation doesn’t really matter in mantra.” They don’t have a clue either. This is not meant to bag on this woman or other teachers because where are they going to get the real knowledge? Although then she has a “dharma talk” as well and if someone doesn’t have the respect to study and actually know what they are teaching, what kind of dharma are they living?
Most of what you are going to get in the modern world is like this. Sorry, it does not actually do anything except make you feel all good about yourself for doing a mantra that comes from another culture.
To think that pronunciation is not important is making the entire sciences existence invalid. Think about this one hard.
They say they agree that mantra is about the mind and what the western world has come up with is that the science is about frequency, but then they have to bow out and say that its intention? Really? Why even call it mantra then? Call it prayer or better since prayer even has more depth than that, just call it intentional thinking.
Okay then we step into even more depth with just a tip toe into the waters to understand that there is then a pranayam that is does with the mantras with puraka (inhalation), kumbhaka (retention), and Rechaka (exhalation).
And next we just speak to the fact that there is then nyasa. The upasaka (reciter of the mantra) has to embody himself for the mantra they are chanting. This is what is called as Nyasa (rituals of purification and touching the various parts of the body with mantras). For that purpose, there are different methods, called as Anga Nyasa, Kara Nyasa, Rishyadi Nyasa, Hridayadi Nyasa, Panchatattwa Nyasa, Varna Nyasa etc. Each one is specific and has it’s special benefits. This site has a good example of the explanation of one tantrik nyasa, mahashodhanyasa… http://www.astrojyoti.com/mahashodhanyasa.htm.
If that is not enough, there is more to it than that as well.
Kavacha, Sankalpa and Ardha
Kavacha is the protection from bad elements to obstruct mantra. There may be dangers involved based on our capacity and suitability to do chanting of that mantra. To overcome these we have to wear this protection (kavach)
Sankalpa, this is the most important thing of mantra. Sankalpa means the reason for what we are doing this chanting? We have to set up a goal to do mantra. ie. to reach god or to fulfill any desire etc. Without goal setting the mantra japam may not continue for long time and the benefits for doing mantra are not recognizable. That means the effect of mantra will be useful in any other means, we may recognise that or not. So to get perfect result from mantra we have to make a sankalpa.
Ardha is the meaning of that mantra, Knowing meaning of that mantra will clarify several doubts regarding that mantra. it gives clarity and context.
There is another classification of mantras: long term creative, instantly creative, instantly destructive, and long term destructive.
Isn’t thinking, and being adamant about mantra (or any other vedic science like yoga) being based on your intention just a completely narcissistic and ignorant view of reality? What is really going on out there?
Why is it that kundalini has 50 letters?
Why is it that Om is heard in the heart before any sound is ever created? Why is Pranava said to be what is to be meditated on in yoga texts?
There is a intimate and subtle connection of the unmanifest and the manifest at all times.
Among those sounds, or words, secular and spiritual, the secular in the first place are such as cow, house, man and Brahmā. The scriptural are as passages found in the Vedas and the like. Let us take ‘cow’. Which is the word? Which is in the shape of a thing with a tail, hump, hoofs and horns. Pray is that the word? No. That is not the word. It is a substance. Then, the hints, gestures and winking, is that word? No. That is the action. Then the white, the black, the tawny, the spotted, is that the word? No. That verily is quality. Then that which in many is different and yet not different and that which is not destroyed in things that are destroyed by disintegration. That which in the common nature of all that exists….is that the word? No. That is the form implying the idea. What then is the word? A word is that through which, when uttered, there is the cognition, things with dewlap, tail, hump, hoofs and horns, or in the world a noise; a noise with a recognized series is a word or sound.
The Shiva Samhita stands as one of the main texts of yoga. By reading this you will notice many things. One is that what is written here bares no resemblance to what is taught in the Western world when it comes to “yoga”. Beyond that much of the text is hardly understood due to context and cultural understanding. Enjoy.
Existence one only.
1. The jnana alone is eternal; it is without beginning or end; there exists no other real substance. Diversities which we see in the world are results of sense-conditions; when the latter cease, then this Jnana alone, and nothing else, remains.
2-3. I, Ishvara, the lover of my devotees, and Giver of spiritual emancipation to all creatures, thus declare the science of yoganasasana (the exposition of Yoga). In it are discarded all those doctrines of disputants, which lead to false knowledge. It is for the spiritual disenthralment of persons whose minds are undistracted and fully turned towards Me.
Differences of opinion.
4. Some praise truth, others purification and asceticism; some praise forgiveness, others equality and sincerity.
5. Some praise alms-giving, others laud sacrifices made in honor of one’s ancestors; some praise action (karma), others think dispassion (vairagya) to be the best.
6. Some wise persons praise the performance of the duties of the householder; other authorities hold up fire sacrifice as the highest.
7. Some praise mantrayoga, others the frequenting of places of pilgrimage. Thus are the ways which people declare emancipation.
8. Being thus diversely engaged in this world, even those who still know what actions are good and what are evil, though free from sin, become subject to bewilderment.
9. Persons who follow these doctrines, having committed good and bad actions, constantly wander in the worlds, in the cycle of births and deaths, bound by dire necessity.
10. Others, wiser among many, and eagerly devoted to the investigation of the occult, declare that the souls are many and eternal, and omnipresent.
11. Others say, “Only those things can be said to exist which are perceived by the senses and nothing besides them; where is heaven or hell?” Such is their firm belief.
12. Others believe the world to be a current of consciousness and no material entity; some call the void as the greatest. Others believe in two essences – Matter (prakriti) and Spirit (purusa).
13-14. Thus believing in widely different doctrines, with faces turned away from the supreme goal, they think, according to their understanding and education, that this universe is without God; others believe there is a God, basing their assertions on various irrefutable arguments, founded on texts declaring difference between soul and God, and anxious to establish the existence of God.
15-16. These and many other sages with various different denominations, have been declared in the Shastras as leaders of the human mind into delusion. It is not possible to describe fully the doctrines of these persons so fond of quarrel and contention; people thus wander in this universe, being driven away from the path of emancipation.
Yoga the only true method
17. Having studied all the Shastras and having pondered over them well, again and again, this Yoga Sastra has been found to be the only true and firm doctrine.
18. Since by Yoga all this verily is known as a certainty, all exertion should be made to acquire it. What is the necessity then of any other doctrines?
19. This Yoga Shastra, now being declared by us, is a very secret doctrine, only to be revealed to a high-souled pious devotee throughout the three worlds.
20. There are two systems (as found in the Vedas). Karmakanda (ritualism) and jnanakanda (wisdom).
Jnanakanda and karmakanda are again each subdivided into two parts.
21. The karmakanda is twofold – consisting of injunctions and prohibitions.
22. Prohibited acts when done, will certainly bring forth sin; from performance of enjoined acts there certainly results merit.
23. The injunctions are threefold – nitya (regular), naimittika (occasional), and kamya (optional). By the nonperformance of nitya or daily rites there accrues sin; but by their performance no merit is gained. On the other hand, the occasional and optional duties, if done or left undone, produce merit or demerit.
24. Fruits of actions are twofold – heaven or hell. The heavens are of various kinds and so also hells are diverse.
25. The good actions are verily heaven, and sinful deeds are verily hell; the creation is the natural outcome of karma and nothing else.
26. Creatures enjoy many pleasures in heaven; many intolerable pains are suffered in hell.
27. From sinful acts pain, from good acts happiness, results. For the sake of happiness, men constantly perform good actions.
28. When the sufferings for evil actions are gone through, then there take place re-births certainly; when the fruits of good actions have been exhausted, then also, verily, the result is the same.
29. Even in heaven there is experiencing of pain by seeing the higher enjoyment of others; verily, there is no doubt of it that this whole universe is full of sorrow.
30. The classifiers of karma have divided it into two parts; good and bad actions; they are the veritable bondage of embodied souls each in its turn.
31. Those who are not desirous of enjoying the fruits of their actions in this or the next world, should renounce all actions which are done with an eye to their fruits, and having similarly discarded the attachment for the daily and the naimittika acts, should employ themselves in the practice of Yoga.
32. The wise Yogi, having realized the truth of karmakanda (works), should renounce them; and having left both virtue and vice, he must engage in jnanakanda (knowledge).
33. The Vedic texts, – “The spirit ought to be seen,” – “About it one must hear” are the real saviors and givers of true knowledge. They must be studied with great care.
34. That Intelligence, which incites the functions into the paths of virtue or vice, am I. All this universe, moveable and immovable, is from me; all things are preserved by me; all are absorbed into me (at the time of pralaya; because there exists nothing but the spirit and I am that spirit – there exists nothing else.
35. As in innumerable cups full of water, many reflections of the sun are seen, but the substance is the same; similarly individuals, like cups are innumerable, but the vivifying spirit, like the sun, is one.
36. As in a dream the one soul creates many objects by mere willing; but on awaking everything vanishes but the one soul; so is this universe.
37. As through illusion a rope appears like a snake, or a pearl-shell like silver; similarly, all this universe is superimposed in the Paramatma (the Universal Spirit).
38. As, when the knowledge of the rope is obtained, the erroneous notion of its being a snake does not remain; so, by the arising of the knowledge of self, vanishes this universe based on illusion.
39. As, when the knowledge of the mother-of-pearl is obtained, the erroneous notion of its being silver does not remain; so, through the knowledge of spirit, the world always appears a delusion.
40. As, when a man besmears his eyelids with the collyrium prepared from the fat of frogs, a bamboo appears like a serpent, so the world appears in the Paramatma, owing to the delusive pigment of habit and imagination.
41. As through knowledge of rope the serpent appears a delusion; similarly, through spiritual knowledge, the world. As through jaundiced eyes white appears yellow; similarly, through the disease of ignorance, this world appears in the spirit – an error very difficult to be removed.
42. As when the jaundice is removed the patient sees the colour as it is, so when delusive ignorance is destroyed, the true nature of the spirit is made manifest.
43. As a rope can never become a snake, in the past, present or future; so the spirit which is beyond all gunas and which is pure, never becomes the universe.
44. Some wise men, well-versed in Scriptures, receiving the knowledge of spirit, have declared that even Devas like Indra, etc., are non-eternal, subject to birth and death, and liable to destruction.
45. Like a bubble in the sea rising through the agitation of the wind, this transitory world arises from the Spirit.
46. The Unity exists always; the Diversity does not exist always; there comes a time when it ceases: two-fold, three-fold, and manifold distinctions arise only through illusion.
47. Whatever was, is or will be, either formed or formless, in short, all this universe is superimposed on the Supreme Spirit.
48. Suggested by the Lords of suggestion comes out avidya. It is born of untruth, and its very essence is unreal. How can this world with such antecedents (foundations) be true?
49. All this universe, moveable or unmovable, has come out of Intelligence. Renouncing everything else, take shelter in it.
50. As space pervades a jar both inside and out, similarly within and beyond this ever-changing universe, there exists one Universal Spirit.
51. As the space pervading the five false states of matter does not mix with them, so the Spirit does not mix with this ever-changing universe.
52. From Devas down to this material universe all are pervaded by one Spirit. There is one satchitananda (Being, Consciousness, and Bliss) all-pervading and secondless.
53. Since it is not illuminated by another, therefore it is self-luminous; and for that self-luminosity, the very nature of Spirit is Light.
54. Since the Spirit in its nature is not limited by time, or space, it is therefore infinite, all-pervading and entirety itself.
55. Since the Spirit is unlike this world, which is composed of five states of matter, that are false and subject to destruction, therefore, it is eternal. It is never destroyed.
56. Save and beyond it, there is no other substance, therefore, it is one; without it everything else is false; therefore, it is True Existence.
57. Since in this world created by ignorance, the destruction of sorrow means the gaining of bliss; and, through jnana, immunity from all sorrow ensues; therefore, the Spirit is Bliss.
58. Since by jnana the Ignorance is destroyed, which is the cause of the universe; therefore, the Spirit is jnana; and this jnana is consequently eternal.
59. Since in time this manifold universe takes its origin, therefore, there is One who is verily the Self, unchanging through all times. Who is one, and unthinkable.
60. All these external substances will perish in the course of time; (but) that Spirit which is indestructable by word (will exist) without a second.
61. Neither ether, air, fire, water, earth, nor their combinations, nor the Devas, are perfect; the Spirit alone is so.
Yoga and Maya.
62. Having renounced all false desires and abandoned all false worldly chains, the Yogi sees certainly in his own spirit the Universal Spirit by the self.
63. Having seen the Spirit, that brings forth bliss, in his own spirit by the help of the self, he forgets this universe, and enjoys the ineffable bliss of Samadhi (profound meditation.)
64. Maya (illusion) is the mother of the universe. Not from any other principle has the universe been created; when this maya is destroyed, the world certainly does not exist.
65. He, to whom this world is but the pleasure-ground of maya, therefore, contemptible and worthless, cannot find any happiness in riches, body, etc., nor in pleasures.
66. This world appears in three different aspects to men – either friendly, inimical, or indifferent; such is always found in worldly dealing; there is distinction also in substances, as they are good, bad or indifferent.
67. That one Spirit, through differentiation, verily becomes a son, a father, etc. The Sacred Scriptures have demonstrated the universe to be the freak of maya (illusion). The Yogi destroys this phenomenal universe by realizing that it is but the result of adhyaropa (superimposition) and by means of aparada (refutation of a wrong belief).
Definition of a Paramahamsa.
68. When a person is free from the infinite distinctions and states of existence as caste, individuality etc., then he can say that he is indivisible intelligence, and pure Unit.
Emanation or Evolution.
69. The Lord willed to create his creatures; from His will came out avidya (Ignorance), the mother of this false universe.
70. There takes place the conjunction between the Pure Brahma and avidya, from which arises Brahma, from which comes out the akasa.
71. From the akasa emanated the air; from the air came the fire; from fire – water; and from water came the earth. This is the order of subtle emanation.
72. From ether, air; from the air and ether combined came fire; from the triple compound of ether, air and fire came water; from the combination of ether, air, fire and water was produced the (gross) earth.
73. The quality of ether is sound; of air motion and touch. Form is the quality of fire, and taste of water. And smell is the quality of earth. There is no gainsaying this.
74. Akasa has one quality; air two, fire three, water four, and earth five qualities, viz, sound, touch, taste, form and smell. This has been declared by the wise.
75-76. Form is perceived through he eyes, smell through the nose, taste through the tongue, touch through the skin and sound through the ear. These are verily the organs of perception.
77. From Intelligence has come out all this universe, movable and immovable; whether or not its existence can be inferred, the “All Intelligence” One does exist.
Absorption or Involution.
78. The earth becomes subtle and is dissolved in water; water is resolved into fire; fire similarly merges in air; air gets absorption in ether, and ether is resolved in avidya (Ignorance), which merges into the Great Brahma.
79. There are two forces – viksepa, (the out-going energy) and avarana (the transforming energy) which are of great potentiality and power, and whose form is bliss. The great maya, when non-intelligent and material, has three attributes sattva (rhythm) rajas (energy) and tamas (inertia).
80. The non-intelligent form of maya covered by the avarana force (concealment), manifests itself as the universe, owing to the nature of viksepa.
81. When the avidya has an excess of tamas, then it manifests itself as Durga: the intelligence which presides over her is called Isvara. When the avidya has an excess of sattva, it manifests itself as the beautiful Lakshimi; the Intelligence which presides over her is called Vishnu.
82. When the avidya has an excess of rajas, it manifests itself as the wise Saraswati; the intelligence which presides over her is known as Brahma.
83. Gods like Siva, Brahma, Vishnu, etc., are all seen in the great Spirit; bodies and all material objects are the various products of avidya.
84. The wise have thus explained the creation of the world – tattwas (elements) and non-tattwas (non-elements) are thus produced – not otherwise.
85. All things are seen as finite, etc. (endowed with qualities, etc.), and there arise various distinctions merely through words and names; but there is no real difference.
86. Therefore, the things do exist; the great and glorious One that manifests them, alone exists; though things are false and unreal, yet, as the reflection of the real, they, for the time being, appear real.
87. The One Entity, blissful, entire and all-pervading, alone exists, and nothing else; he who constantly realizes this knowledge is freed from death and the sorrow of the world-wheel.
88. When through the knowledge that all is illusory perception (aropa) and by intellectual refutation (apavada) of other doctrines, this universe is resolved into the one, then, there exists that One and nothing else; then this is clearly perceived by the mind.
Karma clothes the Jiva with body.
89. From the Annamiya Kosa (the physical vehicle) of the father, and in accordance with its past karma, the human soul is re-incarnated; therefore, the wise consider this beautiful body as a punishment, for the suffering of the effects of the past karma.
90. This temple of suffering and enjoyment (human body), made up of flesh, bones, nerves, marrow, blood, and intersected with blood vessels etc., is only for the sake of suffering of sorrow.
91. This body, the abode of Brahma, and composed of five elements and known as Brahmanda (the egg of Brahma or microcosm) has been made for the enjoyment of pleasure or suffering of pain.
92. From the self-combination of the Spirit which is Siva and the Matter which is Sakti, and, through their inherent interaction on each other, all creatures are born.
93. From the fivefold combination of all subtle elements, in this universe, gross innumerable objects are produced. The intelligence that is confined in them, through karma, is called the jiva. All this world is derived from the five elements. The jiva is the enjoyer of the fruits of action.
94. In conformity with the effects of the past karma of the jivas, I regulate all destinies. Jiva is immaterial, and is in all things; but it enters the material body to enjoy the fruits of karma.
95. Bound in the chain of matter by their karma, the jivas receive various names. In this world, the come again and again to undergo the consequences of their karma.
96. When the fruits of karma have been enjoyed, the jiva is absorbed in the Parambrahma.
(1) The Microcosm.
1. In this body, the mount Meru – i.e., the vertebral column – is surrounded by seven islands; there are rivers, seas, mountains, fields; and lords of the fields too.
2. There are in it seers and sages; all the stars and planets as well. There are sacred pilgrimages, shrines; and presiding deities of the shrines.
3. The sun and moon, agents of creation and destruction, also move in it. Ether, air, water and earth are also there.
(2) The Nerve Centers.
4. All the beings that exist in the three worlds are also to be found in the body; surrounding the Meru they are engaged in their respective functions.
5. (But ordinary men do not know it). He who knows all this is a Yogi; there is no doubt about it.
6. In this body, which is called Brahmanda (microcosm, literally the mundane egg), there is the nectar-rayed moon, in its proper place, on the top of the spinal cord, with eight Kalas (in the shape of a semi-circle).
7. This has its face downwards, and rains nectar day and night. The ambrosia further sub-divides itself into two subtle parts:
8. One of these, through the channel named Ida, goes over the body to nourish it, like the waters of the heavenly Ganges – certainly this ambrosia nourishes the whole body through the channel of Ida.
9. This milk-ray (moon) is on the left side. The other ray, brilliant as the purest milk and fountain of great joy, enters through the middle path (called sushumna) into the spinal cord, in order to create this moon.
10. At the bottom of the Meru there is the sun having twelve Kalas. In the right side path (Pingala) the lord of creatures carries (the fluid) through its rays upwards.
11. It certainly swallows the vital secretions, and ray-exuded nectar. Together with the atmosphere, the sun moves through the whole body.
12. The right-side vessel, which is pingala is another form of the sun, and is the giver of nirvana. The lord of creation and destruction (the sun) moves in this vessel through auspicious ecliptical signs.
(3) The Nerves.
13. In the body of man there are 3,500,000 nadis; of them the principal are fourteen;
14-15. Sushumna, Ida, Pingala, Gandhari, Hastijihvika, Kuhu, Saraswati, Pusa, Sankhini, Payaswani, Varuni, Alumbusa, Vishwodari, and Yasaswani. Among these Ida, Pingala and Sushumna are the chief.
16. Among these three, sushumna alone is the highest and beloved of the Yogis. Other vessels are subordinate to it in the body.
17. All these principal nadis (vessels) have their mouths downwards, and are like thin threads of lotus. They are all supported by the vertebral column, and represent the sun, moon and fire.
18. The innermost of these three is chitra; it is my beloved. In that there is the subtlest of all hollows called Brahmarandhra.
19. Brilliant with five colours, pure, moving in the middle of sushumna, this chitra is the vital part of body and centre of sushumna.
20. This has been called in the Shastras the Heavenly Way; this is the giver of the joy of immortality; by contemplating it, the greatYogi destroys all sins.
(4) The Pelvic Region.
21. Two digits above the rectum and two digits below the linga is the adhara lotus, having a dimension of four digits.
22. In the pericarp of the adhara lotus there is the triangular, beautiful yoni, hidden and kept secret in all the Tantras.
23. In it is the supreme goddess Kundalini of the form of electricity, in a coil. It has three coils and a half (like a serpent), and is in the mouth of sushumna.
24. It represents the creative force of the world, and is always engaged in creation. It is the goddess of speech, whom speech cannot manifest, and who is praised by all gods.
25. The nadi called ida is on the left side coiling round the sushumna, it goes to the right nostril.
26. The nadi called pingala is on the right side; coiling round the central vessel, it enters the left nostril.
27. The nadi which is between Ida and Pingala is certainly Sushumna. It has six stages, six forces, 1 six lotuses, known to the Yogis.
28. The first five stages of Sushumna are known under various names; being necessary, they have been made known in this text.
29. The other nadis, rising from adhara, go to the various parts of the body, e.g. the tongue, penis, eyes, feet, toes, ears, the abdomen, the armpit, fingers of the hands, the scrotum and the anus. Having risen from their proper place, they stop at their respective destinations, as above described.
30. From all these (fourteen) nadis, there arise gradually other branches and sub-branches, so that at last they become three hundred thousand and a half in number, and supply their respective places.
31. These nadis are spread through the body cross-wise and length-wise; they are vehicles of sensation and keep watch over the movements of the air i.e., they regulate the motor functions also.
(5) The Abdominal Region.
32. In the abdomen there burns the fire – digester of food – situated in the middle of the sphere of the sun having twelve Kalas. Know this as the fire of Vaiswanara; it is born from a portion of my own energy, and digests the various foods of creatures, being inside their bodies.
33. This fire increases life, and gives strength and nourishment, makes the body full of energy, destroys all diseases, and gives health.
34. The wise Yogi, having kindled this Viswanaric fire according to proper rites, should sacrifice food into it every day, in conformity with the teachings of his spiritual teacher.
35. This body called the Brahmanda (microcosm) has many parts, but I have enumerated the most important of them in this book. (Surely) they ought to be known.
36. Various are their names, and innumerable are the places in this human body; all of them cannot be enumerated here.
(6) The Jivatma.
37. In the body thus described, there dwelleth the Jiva, all-pervading, adorned with the garland of endless desires and chained to the body) by karma.
38. The Jiva possessed of many qualities and the agent of all events, enjoys the fruits of his various karmas amassed in the past life.
39. Whatever is seen among men (whether pleasure or pain) is born of karma. All creatures enjoy or suffer, according to the results of their actions.
1 That is, the functions of the Cord, viz.Reflection, co-ordination, etc.
2 The parts of which the Spinal Cord is composed are the Tantrik stages viz.: Cervical, Dorsal, Lumbar, Sacral and Coccygeal.
40. The desires, etc., which cause pleasure or pain, act according to the past karma of the Jiva.
41. The Jiva that has accumulated an excess of good and virtuous actions receives a happy life; and in the world he gets pleasant and good things to enjoy, without any trouble.
42. In proportion to the force of his karma, man suffers misery or enjoys pleasure. The Jiva that has accumulated an excess of evil never stays in peace – it is not separate from its karmas; except karma, there is nothing in this world. From the Intelligence veiled by maya, all things have been evolved.
43. As in their proper season, various creatures are born to enjoy the consequences of their karma; as through mistake a pearl-shell is taken for silver, so through the taint of one’s own karmas, a man mistakes Brahman for the material universe.
44. From desire all these delusions arise; they can be eradicated with great difficulty; when the salvation-giving knowledge of the unreality of the world arises, then are desires destroyed.
45. Being engrossed in the manifested (objective) world, the delusion arises about that which is the manifestor – the subject. There is no other, (cause of this delusion). Verily, verily, I tell you the truth.
46. The illusion of the manifested (objective world) is destroyed when the Maker of the Manifest becomes manifest. This illusion does not cease so long as one thinks, “Brahma is not.”
47. By looking closely and deeply into the matter, this false knowledge vanishes. It cannot be removed otherwise; the delusion of silver remains.
48. As long as knowledge does not arise about the stainless Manifestor of the universe, so long all things appear separate and many.
49. When this body, obtained through karma, is made the means of obtaining nirvana (divine beatitude); then only the carrying of the burden becomes fruitful – not otherwise.
50. Of whatever nature is the original desire (vasana), that clings to and accompanies the Jiva (through various incarnations); similar is the delusion which it suffers, according to its deeds and misdeeds.
51. If the practiser of Yoga wishes to cross the ocean of the world, he should perform all the duties of his ashrama, (the condition of life), renouncing all the fruits of his works
52. Persons attached to sensual objects and desirous of sensual pleasures, descend from the road of nirvana, through the delusion of much talk, and fall into sinful deeds.
53. When a person does not see anything else here, having seen the Self by the self; then there is no sin (for him if he) renounces all ritual works. This is my opinion.
54. All desires and the rest are dissolved through jnana only, and not otherwise. When all (minor) tattwas (principles) cease to exist, then My Tattva becomes manifest.
On Yoga Practice. The Vayus.
1. In the heart, there is a brilliant lotus with twelve petals adorned with brilliant sign. It has letters from k to th (i.e., k, kh, g, gh, n, ch, chh, j, jh, ñ, t, th), the twelve beautiful letters.
2. The Prana lives there, adorned with various desires, accompanied by its past works, that have no beginning, and joined with egoism (ahankara.)
Note: The heart is in the center where there is the seed yam.
3. From the different modifications of the Prana, it receives various names; all of them cannot be stated here.
4. Prana, apana, samana, udana, vyana, naga, kurma, Krikara, devadatta, and dhananjaya.
5. These are the ten principal names, described by me in this Shastra; they perform all functions, incited thereto by their own actions.
6. Again, out of these ten, the first five are the leading ones; even among these, the prana and apana are the highest agents, in my opinion.
7. The seat of the Prana is the heart; of the apana, the anus; of the samana, the region above the navel; of the udana, the throat; while the vyana moves all over the body.
8. The five remaining vayus, etc., perform the following functions in the body: – Eructation, opening the eyes, hunger and thirst, gaping or yawning, and lastly hiccup.
9. He who in this way knows the microcosm of the body, being absolved from all sins, reaches the highest state.
(2) The Guru.
10. Now I will tell you, how easily to attain success in Yoga, by knowing which the Yogis never fail in the practice of Yoga.
11. Only the knowledge imparted by a Guru, through his lips, is powerful and useful; otherwise it becomes fruitless, weak and very painful
12. He who devoted to any knowledge, while pleasing his Guru with every attention, readily obtains the fruit of that knowledge.
13. There is not the least doubt that Guru is father. Guru is mother, and Guru is God even; and as such, he should be served by all with their thought, word and deed.
14. By Guru’s favour everything good relating to one’s self is obtained. So the Guru ought to be daily served; else there can be nothing auspicious.
15. Let him salute his Guru after walking three times round him, and touching with his right hand his lotus feet.
(3) The Adhikari.
16. The person who has control over himself attains verily success through faith; none other can succeed. Therefore, with faith, the Yoga should be practiced with care and perseverance.
17. Those who are addicted to sensual pleasures or keep bad company, who are disbelievers, who are devoid of respect towards their Guru, who resort to promiscuous assemblies, who are addicted to false and vain controversies, who are cruel in their speech, and who do not give satisfaction to their Guru never attain success.
18. The first condition of success is the firm belief that it (vidya) must succeed and be fruitful; the second condition is having faith in it; the third is respect towards the Guru; the fourth is the spirit of universal equality; the fifth is the restraint of the organs of sense; the sixth is moderate eating, these are all. There is no seventh condition.
19. Having received instructions in Yoga, and obtained a Guru who knows Yoga, let him practice with earnestness and faith, according to the method taught by the teacher.
(4) The Place, etc.
20. Let the Yogi go to a beautiful and pleasant place of retirement or a cell, assume the posture padmasana, and sitting on a seat (made of kusa grass) begin to practice the regulation of breath.
21. The wise beginner should keep his body firm and inflexible, his hands joined as if in supplication, and salute the Gurus on the left side. He should also pay salutations to Ganesha on the right side, and again to the guardians of the worlds and goddess Ambika who are on the left side.
(5) The Pranayama.
22. Then let the wise practitioner close with his right thumb the pingala (right nostril), inspire air through the ida (the left nostril); and keep the air confined – suspend his breathing – as long as he can; and afterwards let him breathe out slowly, and not forcibly, through the right nostril.
23. Again, let him draw breath through the right nostril, and stop breathing as long as his strength permits; then let him expel the air through the left nostril, not forcibly, but slowly and gently.
24. According to the above method of Yoga, let him practice twenty kumbhakas (stopping of the breath). He should practice this daily without neglect or idleness, and free from all duels (of love and hatred, and doubt and contention), etc.
25. These kumbhakas should be practiced four times – once (1) early in the morning at sunrise, (2) then at midday, (3) the third at sun-set, and (4) the fourth at mid-night.
26. When this has been practiced daily, for three months, with regularity, the nadas (the vessels) of the body will readily and surely be purified.
27. When thus the nadas of the truth-perceiving Yogi are purified, then his defects being all destroyed, he enters the first stage in the practice of Yoga called arambha.
28. Certain signs are perceived in the body of the Yogi whose nadas have been purified. I shall describe, in brief, all these various signs.
29. The body of the person practicing the regulation of breath becomes harmoniously developed, emits sweet scent, and looks beautiful and lovely. In all kinds of Yoga, there are four stages of pranayama – 1: Arambha-avastha (the state of beginning); 2: Ghata-avastha (the state of co-operation of Self and Higher Self); 3: Parichaya-avastha (knowledge); 4: Nishpattiavastha (the final consummation).
30. We have already described the beginning of Arambha-avestha of pranayama; the rest will be described hereafter. They destroy all sin and sorrow.
31. The following qualities are surely always found in the bodies of every Yogi – Strong appetite, good digestion, cheerfulness, handsome figure, great courage, mighty enthusiasm and full strength.
32. Now I tell you the great obstacles to Yoga which must be avoided, as by their removal the Yogis cross this sea of worldly sorrow.
(6) The things to be renounced.
33. The Yogi should renounce the following; 1: Acids, 2: astringents, 3: pungent substances, 4: salt, 5: mustard, and 6: bitter things; 7: much walking, 8: early bathing (before sun-rise) and 9: things roasted in oil; 10: theft, 11: killing (of animals) 12: enmity towards any person, 13: pride, 14: duplicity, and 15: crookedness; 16: fasting, 17: untruth, 18: thoughts other than those of moksha, 19: cruelty towards animals; 20: companionship of women, 21: worship of (or handling or sitting near) fire, and 22: much talking, without regard to pleasantness or unpleasantness of speech, and lastly, 23: much eating.
(7) The means.
34. Now I will tell you the means by which success in Yoga is quickly obtained; it must be kept secret by the practitioner so that success may come with certainty.
35. The great Yogi should observe always the following observances – He should use 1: clarified butter, 2: milk, 3: sweet food, and 4: betel without lime, 5: camphor; 6: kind words, 7: pleasant monastery or retired cell, having a small door; 8: hear discourses on truth, and 9: always discharge his household duties with vairagya (without attachment), 10: sing the name of Vishnu; 11: and hear sweet music, 12: have patience, 13: constancy, 14: forgiveness, 15: austerities, 16: purifications, 17: modesty, 18: devotion, and 19: service of the Guru.
36. When the air enters the sun, it is the proper time for the Yogi to take his food (i.e., when the breath flows through the pingala); when the air enters the moon, he should go to sleep (i.e., when the breath flows through the left nostril or the ida).
37. The Yoga (pranayama) should not be practiced just after the meals, nor when one is very hungry; before beginning the practice, some milk and ghee can be taken.
38. When one is well established in his practice, then he need not observe these restrictions. The practitioner should eat in small quantities at a time, though frequently; and should practice kumbhaka daily at the stated times.
39. When the Yogi can, of his will, regulate the air and stop the breath (whenever and how long) he likes, then certainly he gets success in kumbhaka, and from the success in kumbhaka only, what things cannot the Yogi command here?
The first stage.
40. In the first stage of pranayama, the body of the Yogi begins to perspire. When it perspires, he should rub it well, otherwise the body of the Yogi loses its dhatu (humours).
The second and third stages.
41. In the second stage, there takes place the trembling of the body; in the third, the jumping about like a frog; and when the practice becomes greater, the adept walks in the air.
42. When the Yogi, though remaining in padmasana, can raise in the air and leave the ground, then know that he has gained vayusiddhi (success over air), which destroys the darkness of the world.
43. But so long (as he does not gain it), let him practice observing all the rules and restrictions laid down above.
From the perfection of pranayama, follows decrease of sleep, excrements and urine.
44. The truth-perceiving Yogi becomes free from disease, and sorrow or affliction; he never gets (putrid) perspiration, saliva and intestinal worms.
45. When in the body of the practitioner, there is neither any increase of phlegm, wind, nor bile; then he may with impunity be irregular in his diet and the rest.
46. No injurious results then would follow, were the Yogi to take a large quantity of food, or very little, or no food at all. hrough the strength of constant practice, the Yogi obtains bhucharisiddhi, he moves as the frog jumps over the ground, when frightened away by the clapping of hands.
47. Verily, there are many hard and almost insurmountable obstacles in Yoga, yet the Yogi should go on with his practice at all hazards; even were his life to come to the throat.
48. Then let the practitioner, sitting in a retired place and restraining his senses, utter by inaudible repetition, the long pranava OM, in order to destroy all obstacles.
49. The wise practitioner surely destroys all his karma, whether acquired in its life or in the past, through the regulation of breath.
50. The great Yogi destroys, by sixteen pranayamas, the various virtues and vices accumulated in his past life.
51. This pranayama destroys sin, as fire burns away a heap of cotton; it makes the Yogi free from sin; next it destroys the bonds of all his good actions.
52. The mighty Yogi having attained, through pranayama, the eight sorts of psychic powers, and having crossed the ocean of virtue and vice, moves about freely through the three worlds.
Increase of Duration.
53. Then gradually he should make himself able to practice for three gharis (one hour and a half at a time, he should be able to restrain breath for that period). Through this, the Yogi undoubtedly obtains all the longed for powers
Siddhis or Perfections.
54. The Yogi acquires the following powers: vakya siddhi (prophecy), transporting himself everywhere at will (kamachari), clairvoyance (duradristhi), clairaudience (durashruti), subtle-sight (shushma-drishti), and the power of entering another’s body (parakaypravesana), turning base metals to gold by rubbing them with his excrements and urine, and the power of becoming invisible, and lastly, moving in the air.
II. The Ghata Avasta.
55. When, by the practice of pranayama, the Yogi reaches the state of ghata (water-jar), then for him there is nothing in this circle of universe which he cannot accomplish.
56. The ghata is said to be that state in which the prana and the apana vayus, the nada and the vindu, the jivatma (the Human Spirit) and the Paramatma (the Universal Spirit) combine and co-operate.
57. When he gets the power of holding breath (i.e., to be in trance) for three hours, then certainly the wonderful state of pratyahar is reached without fail.
58. Whatever object the Yogi perceives, let him consider it to be the spirit. When the modes of action of various senses are known, then they can be conquered.
59. When, through, great practice, the Yogi can perform one kumbhaka for full three hours, when for eight dandas (=3 hours) the breathing of the Yogi is suspended, then that wise one can balance himself on his thumb; but he appears to others as insane.
III. The Parichaya
60. After this, through exercise, the Yogi reaches the Parichaya-avastha. When the air leaving the sun and moon (the right and the left nostrils), remains unmoved and steady in the ether of the tube sushumna, then it is in the parichaya state.
61. When he, by the practice of Yoga, acquires power of action (kriya shakti) and pierces through the six chakras, and reaches the sure condition of parichaya, then the Yogi, verily, sees the three-fold effects of karma.
62. Then, let the Yogi destroy the multitude of karmas by the pranava (OM); let him accomplish kayavyhua (a mystical process of arranging the various skandas of the body), in order to enjoy or suffer the consequences of all his actions in one life, without the necessity of re-birth.
63. At that time let the great Yogi practice the five-fold dharana forms of concentration on Vishnu, by which command over the five elements is obtained, and fear of injuries from any one of them is removed. (Earth, water, fire, air, akas cannot harm him.) Note: He should perform 5 kumbhakas at each centre or chakra.
64. Let the wise Yogi practice dharana thus:– five ghatis (2 1/2 hours) in the adhara lotus (muladhara); five ghatis in the seat of the linga (svadhisthana), five ghatis in the region above it, (in the navel, manipur), and the same in the heart (anahata); five ghatis in the throat (visuddha) and, lastly let him hold dharana for five ghatis in the space between the two eye-brows (anjapur). By this practice the elements cease to cause any harm to the great Yogi.
65. The wise Yogi, who thus continually practices concentration (dharana), never dies through hundreds of cycles of the great Brahma.
IV. The Nishpatti.
66. After this, through gradual exercise, the Yogi reaches the Nishpatti-avestha (the condition of consummation). The Yogi, having destroyed all the seeds of karma which existed from the beginning, drinks the waters of immortality.
67. When the jivan-mukta (delivered in the present life,) tranquil Yogi has obtained, through practice, the consummation of samadhi (meditation), and when this state of consummated samadhi can be voluntarily evoked, then let the Yogi take hold of the chetana (conscious intelligence), together with the air, and with the force of (kriya-sakti) conquer the six wheels, and absorb it in the force called jnana-sakti.
68. Now we have described the management of the air in order to remove the troubles (which await the Yogi); through this knowledge of vayu-sadhana vanish all sufferings and enjoyments in the circle of this universe.
69. When the skilful Yogi, by placing the tongue at the root of the palate, can drink the pranavayu, then there occurs complete dissolution of all Yogas (i.e., he is no longer in need of Yoga)
70. When the skilful Yogi, knowing the laws of action of prana and apana, can drink the cold air through the concentration of the mouth, in the form of a crow-bill, then he becomes entitled to liberation.
71. The wise Yogi, who daily drinks the ambrosial air, according to proper rules, destroys fatigue, burning (fever), decay and old age, and injuries.
72. Pointing the tongue upwards, when the yogi can drink the nectar flowing from the moon (situated between the two eye-brows), within a month he certainly would conquer death.
73. When having firmly closed the glottis by the proper yogic method, and contemplating on the goddess Kundalini, he drinks (the moon fluid of immortality), he becomes a sage or poet within six months.
74. When he drinks the air through the crow-bill, both in the morning and in the evening twilight, contemplating that it goes to the mouth of the kundalini, consumption of the lungs (phthisis) is cured.
75. When the wise Yogi drinks the fluid day and night through the crow-beak, his diseases are destroyed: he acquires certainly the powers of clairaudience and clairvoyance.
76. When firmly closing the teeth (by pressing the upper on the lower jaw), and placing the tongue upwards, the wise Yogi drinks the fluid very slowly, within a short period he conquers death.
77. One, who daily continues this exercise for six months only, is freed from all sins, and destroys all diseases.
78. If he continues this exercise for a year, he becomes a Bhairava; he obtains the powers of anima and conquers all elements and the elementals.
79. If the Yogi can remain for half a second with his tongue drawn upwards, he becomes free from disease, death, and old age.
80. Verily, verily, I tell you the truth that the person never dies who contemplates by pressing the tongue, combined with the vital fluid of Prana.
81. Through this exercise and Yoga, he becomes like Kamadeva, without rival. He feels neither hunger, nor thirst, nor sleep, nor swoon.
82. Acting upon these methods the great Yogi becomes in the world perfectly independent; and freed from all obstacles, he can go everywhere.
83. By practicing thus, he is never reborn, nor is tainted by virtue and vice, but enjoys (for ages) with the gods.
84. There are eighty-four postures, of various modes. Out of them, four ought to be adopted, which I mention below:– 1, Siddhasana; 2, Padmasana; 3, Ugrasana; 4, Svastikasana. Or “freedom from all diseases”.
85. The Siddhasana that gives success to the practitioner is as follows: Pressing with care by the heel the yoni, the other heel the Yogi should place on the lingam; he should fix his gaze upwards on the space between the two eyebrows, should be steady, and restrain his senses. His body particularly must be straight and without any bend. The place should be a retired one, without any noise.
86. He who wishes to attain quick consummation of Yoga, by exercise, should adopt the Siddhasana posture, and practice regulation of the breath.
87. Through his posture the Yogi, leaving the world, attains the highest end and throughout the world there is no posture more secret than this. By assuming and contemplating in this posture, the Yogi is freed from sin.
2. The Padmasana.
88. I now describe the Padmasana which wards off (or cures) all diseases:– Having crossed the legs, carefully place the feet on the opposite thighs (i.e., the left foot on the right thigh, and vice versa); cross both the hands and place them similarly on the thighs; fix the sight on the tip of the nose; pressing the tongue against the root of the teeth, (the chin should be elevated, the chest expanded) then draw the air slowly, fill the chest with all your might, and expel it slowly, in an unobstructed stream.
89. It cannot be practiced by everybody; only the wise attains success in it.
90. By performing and practicing this posture, undoubtedly the vital airs of the practitioner at once become completely equable, and flow harmoniously through the body.
91. Sitting in the Padmasana posture, and knowing the action of the prana and apana, when the Yogi performs the regulation of the breath, he is emancipated. I tell you the truth. Verily, I tell you the truth.
3. The Ugrasana.
92. Stretch out both the legs and keep them apart; firmly take hold of the head by the hands, and place them on the knees. This is called ugrasana (the stern-posture), it excites the motion of the air, destroys the dullness and uneasiness of the body, and is also called paschima-uttana (the posterior crossed posture.) That wise man who daily practices this noble posture can certainly induce the flow of the air up through the anus.
93. Those who practice this obtain all the siddhis; therefore, those, desirous of attaining power, should practice this diligently.
94. This should be kept secret with the greatest care, and not be given to anybody and everybody. Through it, vayu-siddhi is easilyobtained, and it destroys a multitude of miseries.
4. The Svastikasana.
95. Place the soles of the feet completely under the thighs, keep the body straight, and sit at ease. This is called the Svastikasana.
96. In this way, the wise Yogi should practice the regulation of the air. No disease can attack his body, and he obtains vayu-siddhi.
97. This is also called the sukhasana, the easy posture. This health-giving, good svastikasana should be kept secret by the Yogi.
Yoni-Mudra. The Sacred Drink of the Kaulas.
1. First with a strong inspiration fix the mind in the adhar lotus. Then engage in contracting the Yoni, which is situated in the perineal space.
2. There let him contemplate that the God of love resides in that Brahma Yoni and that he is beautiful like Bandhuk flower (Pentapetes pheanicia)– brilliant as tens of millions of suns, and cool as tens of millions of moons. Above this (Yoni) is a small and subtle flame, whose form is intelligence. Then let him imagine that a union takes place there between himself and that flame (the Siva and Sakti).
3. (Then imagine that) – There go up through the sushumna vessel, three bodies in their due order (i.e., the etheric, the astral and the mental bodies). There is emitted in every chakra the nectar, the characteristic of which is great bliss. Its colour is whitish rosey (pink), full of splendor, showering down in jets the immortal fluid. Let him drink this wine of immortality which is divine, and then again enter the Kula (i.e., perineal space.) Note. While these subtle bodies go up, they drink at every stage this nectar, called Kulamrita.
4. Then let him go again to the Kula through the practice of mantrayoga (i.e., pranayama). This Yoni has been called by me in the Tantras as equal to life.
5. Again let him be absorbed in that Yoni, where dwells the fire of death – the nature of Shiva, Thus has been described by me the method of practicing the great Yoni-mudra. From success in its practice, there is nothing which cannot be accomplished.
6. Even those mantras which are deformed (chhinna) or paralyzed (Kilita), scorched (stambhita) by fire, or whose flame has become attenuated, or are dark, and ought to be abandoned, or which are evil, or too old, or which are proud of their budding youth, or have gone over to the side of the enemy, or weak and essenceless without vitality; or which have been divided into hundreds of parts, even they become fertile through time and method. All these can give powers and emancipation when properly given to the disciple by the Guru, after having initiated him according to proper rites, and bathed him a thousand times. This Yoni-mudra has been described, in order that the student may deserve (to be initiated into the mysteries of) and receive the mantras.
7. He who practices Yoni-Mudra is not polluted by sin, were he to murder a thousand Brahmanas or kill all the inhabitants of the three worlds—
8. Were he to kill his teacher or drink wine or commit theft, or violate the bed of his preceptor, he is not stained by these sins also, by virtue of this mudra.
9. Therefore, those who wish for emancipation should practice this daily. Through practice (abhyasa), success is obtained; through practice one gains liberation.
10. Perfect consciousness is gained through practice. Yoga is attained through practice; success in Mudra comes by practice; through practice is gained success in pranayama. Death can be cheated of its prey through practice, and man becomes the conqueror of death by practice.
11. Through practice one gets the power of vac (prophecy), and the power of going everywhere, through mere exertion of will. This Yoni-mudra should be kept in great secrecy, and not be given to everybody. Even when threatened with death, it should not be revealed or given to others.
The Awakening of Kundalini.
12. Now I shall tell you the best means of attaining success in Yoga. The practitioners should keep it secret. It is the most inaccessible Yoga.
13. When the sleeping goddess Kundalini is awakened, through the grace of Guru, when all the lotuses and the bonds are readily pierced through and through.
14. Therefore, in order that the goddess, who is asleep in the mouth of the Brahmarandhra (the innermost hollow of sushumna) be awakened, the mudras should be practiced with the greatest care.
15. Out of the many mudras, the following ten are the best: (1) Mahamudra, (2) Mahabandha, (3) Mahavedha, (4) Khechari, (5) Jalandhar, (6) Mulabandha, (7) Viparitkarana, (8) Uddana, (9) Vajrondi, and (10) Shaktichalana.
16. My dearest, I shall now describe to you the Mahamudra, from whose knowledge the ancient sages Kapila and others obtained success inYoga.
17. In accordance with the instructions of the Guru, press gently the perineum with the heel of the left foot. Stretching the right foot out, hold it fast by the two hands. Having closed the nine gates (of the body), place the chin on the chest. Then concentrate the vibrations of the mind and inspire air and retain it by kumbhaka (so long as one can comfortably keep it). This is the Mahamudra, held secret in all the Tantras. The steady-minded Yogi, having practiced it on the left side should then practice it on the right side; and in all cases must be firm in pranayama – the regulation of his breath.
18. In this way, even the most unfortunate Yogi might obtain success. By this means all the vessels of the body are roused and stirred into activity; the life is increased and its decay is checked, and all sins are destroyed. All diseases are healed, and the gastric fire is increased. It gives faultless beauty to the body, and destroys decay and death. All fruits of desire and pleasure are obtained, and the senses are conquered. The Yogi fixed in meditation acquires all the above-mentioned things, through practice. There should be no hesitation in doing so.
19. O ye worshipped of the gods! know that this mudra is to be kept secret with the greatest care. Obtaining this, the Yogi crosses the ocean of the world.
20. This Mudra, described by me, is the giver of all desires to the practitioner; it should be practiced in secrecy, and ought never to be given to everybody.
21. Then (after Mahamudra), having extended the (right) foot, place it on the (left) thigh; contract the perineum, and draw the apana vayu upwards and join it with the samana vayu; bend the prana vayu downwards, and then let the wise Yogi bind them in trinity in the navel (i.e. the prana and the apana should be joined with the Samana in the navel. I have told you how the Mahabandha, which shows the way to emancipation. By this, all the fluids in the vessels of the body of the Yogi are propelled towards the head. This should be practiced with great care, alternately with both feet.
22. Through this practice, the wind enters the middle channel of Sushumna, the body is invigorated by it, the bones are firmly knitted, the heart of the Yogi becomes full (of cheerfulness). By this Bandha, the great Yogi accomplishes all his desires.
23. O goddess of the three worlds! when the Yogi, while performing the Mahabandha, causes the union of the prana and apana vayus and filling in the viscera with air drives it slowly towards the nates, it is called Mahavedha.
24. The best of the Yogis having, through the help of the vayu, pierced with this perforator the knot which is in the path of sushumna, should then pierce the knot of Brahma.
25. He who practices this Mahavedha with great secrecy, obtains vayu-siddhi (success over the wind). It destroys decay and death.
26. The gods residing in the chakras tremble owing to the gentle influx and efflux of air in pranayama; the great goddess, Kunali Maha Maya, is also absorbed in the mount Kailasa.
27. The Mahamudra and Mahabandha become fruitless if they are not followed by Mahavedha; therefore, the Yogi should practices all these three successively with great care.
28. He who practices these three daily four times with great care, undoubtedly conquers death within six months.
29. Only the siddha knows the importance of these three and no one else; knowing these, the practitioner obtains all success.
30. This should be kept in great secrecy by the practitioner desirous of obtaining power; otherwise, it is certain that the coveted powers can never be obtained through the practice of Mudras.
31. The wise Yogi, sitting in vajrasana posture, in a place free from all disturbance, should firmly fix his gaze on the spot in the middle of the two eyebrows; and reversing the tongue backwards, fix it in the hollow under the epiglottis, placing it with great care on the mouth of the well of nectar, (i.e. closing up the air passage). This mudra, described by me at the request of my devotees, is the Khecharimudra.
32. O, my beloved! know this to be the source of all success, always practicing it let him drink the ambrosia daily. By this he obtains vigraha-siddhi (power over the microcosm), even as a lion over the elephant of death.
33. Whether pure or impure, in whatever condition one may be, if success be obtained in Khechari, he becomes pure. There is no doubt of it.
34. He who practices it even for a moment crosses the great ocean of sins, and having enjoyed the pleasures of Deva-world is born into a noble family.
35. He who practices this Khecharimudra calmly and without laziness counts as seconds the period of hundred Brahmas.
36. He who knows this Khecharimudra according to the instructions of his Guru, obtains the highest end, though immersed in great sins.
37. O, ye adored of gods! this mudra, dear as life, should not be given to everybody; it should be kept concealed with great care.
38. Having contracted the muscles of the throat press the chin on the breast. This is said to be the Jalandhara- Mudra. Even gods reckon it as inestimable. The fire in the region of the navel (i.e., the gastric juice) drinks the nectar which exudes out of the thousand-petalled lotus. (In order to prevent the nectar to be thus consumed), he should practice this bandha.
39. Through this bandha, the wise Yogi himself drinks the nectar, and, obtaining immortality, enjoys the three worlds.
40. This Jalandhara-bandha is the giver of success to the practitioner; the Yogi desirous of success should practice it daily.
41. Pressing well the anus with the heel, forcibly draw upwards the apana vayu slowly by practice. This is described as the Mula-bandha – the destroyer of decay and death.
42. If, in the course of the practice of this mudra, the Yogi can unite the apana with the prana vayu, then it becomes of course the Yoni-mudra.
43. He who has accomplished Yoni-mudra, what can he not accomplish in this world. Sitting in the padmasana posture, free from idleness, the Yogi, leaving the ground, moves through the air, by the virtue of this mudra.
44. If the wise Yogi is desirous of crossing the ocean of the world, let him practice this bandha in secret, in a retired place.
45. Putting the head on the ground, let him stretch out his legs upwards, moving them round and round. This is Viparit-karana, kept secret in all the Tantras.
46. The Yogi who practices it daily for three hours, conquers death, and is not destroyed even in the pralaya.
47. He who drinks nectar becomes equal to Siddhas; he who practices this bandha becomes an adept among creatures.
48. When the intestines above and below the navel are brought to the left side, it is called Uddana-bandha – the destroyer of all sins and sorrows. The left side viscera of the abdominal cavity should be brought above the navel. This Uddana-bandha, the lion of the elephant of death.
49. The Yogi, who practices it four times a day, purifies thereby his navel, through which the winds are purified.
50. By practicing it for six months, the Yogi certainly conquers death; the gastric fire is kindled, and there takes place an increase of the fluids of the body.
51. Through this, consequently, the vigrahasiddhi is also obtained. All the diseases of the Yogi are certainly destroyed by it.
52. Having the method from the Guru, the wise Yogi should practice it with great care. This most inaccessible Mudra should be practiced in a retired and undisturbed place.
53. Actuated by mercy for my devotees, I shall now explain the Vajrondi-mudra, the destroyer of the darkness of the world, the most secret among all secrets.
54. Even while following all his desires, and without conforming to the regulations of Yoga, a householder can become emancipated, if he practices the Vajrondi-mudra
55. This Vajroliyoga practice gives emancipation even when one is immersed in sensuality; therefore it should be practiced by the Yogi with great care.
56. First let the talented practitioner introduce into his own body, according to the proper methods, the germ cells from the female organ of generation, by suction up through the tube of the urethra; restraining his own semen, let him practice copulation. If by chance the semen begins to move, let him stop its emission by the practice of the Yoni-mudra. Let him place the semen on the left hand duct, and stop further intercourse. After a while, let him continue it again. In accordance with the instruction of his preceptors and by uttering the sound hum, let him forcibly draw up through the contraction of the Apana Vayu the germ-cells from the uterus.
57. The Yogi, worshipper of the lotus-feet of his Guru, should in order to obtain quick success in Yoga drink milk or nectar in this way.
58. Know semen to be moon-like, and the germ-cells the emblem of sun; let the Yogi make their union in his own body with great care.
59. I am the semen, Sakti is the germ fluid; when they both are combined, then the Yogi reaches the state of success, and his body becomes brilliant and divine.
60. Ejaculation of semen is death, preserving it within is life; therefore, let the Yogi preserve his semen with great care.
61. Verily, verily, men are born and die through semen; knowing this, let the Yogi always practice to preserve his semen.
62. When through great efforts success in the preservation of the semen is obtained, what then cannot be achieved in this world? Through the greatness of its preservation one becomes like me in glory.
63. The vindu (semen) causes the pleasure and pain of all creatures living in this world, who are infatuated, and are subject to death and decay. For the Yogi, this preservation of semen is the best of all Yogas, and it is the giver of happiness.
64. Though immersed in enjoyments, men get powers through its practice. Through the force of his practice, he becomes an adept in due season, in his present life.
65. The Yogi certainly obtains through this practice all kinds of powers, at the same time enjoying all the innumerable enjoyments of the world.
66. This Yoga can be practiced along with much enjoyment; therefore the Yogi should practice it.
67. There are two modifications of the Vajrondi, called Sahajoni and Amarani. By all means let the Yogi preserve the semen.
68. If at the time of copulation the vindu is forcibly emitted, and there takes place an union of the sun and the moon, then let him absorb this mixture through the tube of the male organ [urethra]. This is Amarani.
69. The method by which the vindu on the point of emission can be withheld through Yoni-mudra is called Sahajoni. It is kept secret in all the Tantras.
70. Though ultimately the action of them (Amarani and Sahajoni) is the same, there are arisen differences owing to the difference of nomenclature. Let the Yogi practice them with the greatest care and perseverance.
71. Through love for my devotees, I have revealed this Yoga; it should be kept secret with the greatest care, and not be given to everybody.
72. It is the most secret of all secrets that ever were or shall be; therefore let the prudent Yogi keep it with the greatest secrecy possible.
73. When at the time of voiding urine the Yogi draws it up forcibly through the Apana-Vayu, and keeping it up, discharges it slowly and slowly; and practices this daily according to the instructions of his Guru, he obtains the vindu-siddhi (power over semen) that gives great powers.
74. He who practices this daily according to the instructions of his Guru does not lose his semen, were he to enjoy a hundred women at a time.
75. O Parvati! When vindu-siddhi is obtained, what else cannot be accomplished? Even the inaccessible glory of my godhead can be attained through it.
76. Let the wise Yogi forcibly and firmly draw up the goddess Kundali sleeping in the adhar lotus, by means of the apana vayu. This is Shakti-chalan mudra, the giver of all powers.
77. He who practices this Shakti-chalan daily, gets increase of life and destruction of diseases.
78. Leaving sleep, the serpent (i.e. the Kundalini) herself goes up; therefore let the Yogi desirous of power practice this.
79. He who practices always this best Shakti-chalan according to the instructions of his Guru, obtains the vigraha-siddhi, which gives the powers of anima, etc., and has no fear of death.
80. He who practices the Shakti-chalan properly for two seconds, and with care, is very near to success. This mudra should be practiced by the Yogi in the proper posture.
81. These are the ten mudras whose equal there never was nor ever shall be: through the practice of any one of them. a person becomes a siddha and obtains success.
1. Parvati. O Lord, O beloved Shankar! tell me, for the sake of those whose minds search after the supreme end, the obstacles and the hindrances to Yoga.
2. Siva. Hear, O Goddess! I shall tell thee, all the obstacles that stand in the path of Yoga. For the attainment of emancipation, enjoyments (bhoga) are the greatest of all impediments.
3. Women, beds, seats, dresses, and riches are obstacles to Yoga. Betels, dainty dishes, carriages, kingdoms, lordliness and powers; gold, silver, as well as copper, gems, aloe wood, and kine; learning the Vedas and Shastras; dancing, singing and ornaments; harp, flute and drum; riding on elephants and horses; wives and children, worldly enjoyments; all these are so many impediments. These are the obstacles which arise from bhoga (enjoyment). Hear now the impediments which arise from ritualistic religion.
Dharma (ritualism of Religion).
4. The following are the obstacles which dharma interposes: ablutions, worship of deities, observing the sacred days of the moon, fire sacrifice, hankering after moksha, vows and penances, fasts, religious observances, silence, the ascetic practices, contemplation and the object of contemplation, mantras, and alms-giving, world-wide fame, excavating and endowing of tanks, wells, ponds, convents and groves: sacrifices, vows of starvation, Chandrayana, and pilgrimages.
5. Now I shall describe, O Parvati, the obstacles which arise from knowledge. Sitting in the gomukh posture and practicing dhauti (washing the intestines by hathayoga). Knowledge of the distribution of the nadis (the vessels of the human body), learning of pratyahara (subjugation of the senses), trying to awaken the kundalini force, by moving quickly the belly (a process of hathayoga), entering into the path of the indriyas, and knowledge of the action of the nadis; these are the obstacles. Now listen to the mistaken notions of diet, O Parvati.
6. That samadhi (trance) can be at once induced by drinking certain new chemical essences and by eating certain kinds of food, is a mistake. Now hear about the mistaken notion of the influence of company.
7. “Keep the company of the virtuous, and avoid that of the vicious” (is a mistaken notion). Measuring the heaviness and lightness of the inspired expired air (is an erroneous idea).
8. Brahman is in the body or He is the maker of form, or He has a form, or He has no form, or He is everything – all these consoling doctrines are obstacles. Such notions are impediments in the shape of Jnana (knowledge).
Four Kinds of Yoga.
9. The Yoga is of four kinds: First mantrayoga, second hathayoga, third layayoga, fourth rajayoga, which discards duality.
10. Know that aspirants are of four orders – mild, moderate, ardent and the most ardent – the best who can cross the ocean of the world.
(Mild) entitled to Mantrayoga.
11. Men of small enterprise, oblivious, sickly and finding faults with the teachers; avaricious, sinful gourmands, and attached helplessly to their wives; fickle, timid, diseased, not independent, and cruel; those whose characters are bad and who are weak – know all the above to be mild sadhaks. With great efforts such men succeed in twelve years; them the teachers should know fit for mantrayoga.
(Moderate) entitled to Layayoga.
12. Liberal-minded, merciful, desirous of virtue, sweet in their speech; who never go to extremes in any undertaking – these are the middling. These are to be initiated by the teacher in layayoga.
(Ardent) entitled to Hatha Yoga.
13. Steady minded, knowing the Laya-Yoga, independent, full of energy, magnanimous, full of sympathy, forgiving, truthful, courageous, full of faith, worshippers of the lotus-feet of their Gurus, engaged always in the practice of Yoga – know such men to be adhimatra. They obtain success in the practice of Yoga within six years, and ought to be initiated in hathayoga and its branches.
(The most ardent) entitled to all Yogas.
14. Those who have the largest amount of energy, are enterprising, engaging, heroic, who know the Shastras, and are persevering, free from the effects of blind emotions, and, not easily confused, who are in the prime of their youth, moderate in their diet, rulers of their senses, fearless, clean, skillful, charitable, a help to all; competent, firm, talented, contented, forgiving, good-natured, religious, who keep their endeavors secret, of sweet speech, peaceful, who have faith in scriptures and are worshippers of God and Guru, who are averse to fritter away their time in society, and are free from any grievous malady, who are acquainted with the duties of the adhimatra, and are the practitioners of every kind of Yoga –undoubtedly, they obtain success in three years; they are entitled to be initiated in all kinds of Yoga, without any hesitation.
Invocation of the shadow (pratikopasana).
15. The invocation of Pratika (shadow) gives to the devotee the objects seen as well as unseen; undoubtedly, by its very sight, a man becomes pure.
16. In a clear sun-lit sky, behold with a steady gaze your own divine reflection; whenever this is seen even for a single second in the sky, you behold God at once in the sky.
17. He who daily sees his shadow in the sky, will get his years increased and will never die an accidental death.
18. When the shadow is seen fully reflected in the field of the sky, then he obtains victory; and conquering the vayu, he goeseverywhere.
How to invoke.
18b. At the time of the rising sun, or by moon, let him steadily fix his gaze on the neck of the shadow he throws; then, after sometime, let him look into the sky; if he sees a full grey shadow in the sky, it is auspicious.
19. He who always practices this and knows the Paramatma, becomes fully happy, through the grace of his shadow.
20. At the time of commencing travel, marriage, or auspicious work, or when in trouble, it is of great use. This invocation of the shadow destroys sins and increases virtue.
21. By practicing it always, he begins at last to see it in his heart, and the persevering Yogi gets liberation.
22. Let him close the ears with his thumbs, the eyes with index fingers, the nostrils with the middle fingers, and with the reaming four fingers let him press together the upper and lower lips. The Yogi, by having thus firmly confined the air, sees his soul in the shape of light.
23. When one sees, without obstruction, this light for even a moment, becoming free from sin, he reaches the highest end.
24. The Yogi, free from sin, and practicing this continually, forgets his physical, subtle and causal bodies, and becomes one with that soul.
25. He who practices this in secrecy, is absorbed in the Brahman, though he had been engaged in sinful works.
26. This should be kept secret; it at once produces conviction; it gives nirvana to mankind. This is my most beloved Yoga. From practicing this gradually, the Yogi begins to hear the mystic sounds nadas.
27. The first sound is like the hum of the honey-intoxicated bee, next that of a flute, then a harp; after this, by gradual practice of Yoga, the destroyer of the darkness of the world, he hears the sounds of ringing bells; then sounds like roar of thunder. When one fixes his full attention on this sound, being free from fear, he gets absorption, O my beloved!
28. When the mind of the Yogi is exceedingly engaged in this sound, he forgets all external things, ad is absorbed in this sound.
29. By practice of Yoga he conquers all the three qualities (i.e., good, bad and indifferent); and being free from all states, he is absorbed in chidakas (the ether of intelligence).
30. There is no posture like that of Siddhasana, no power like that of kumbha, no mudra like the Khechari, and no absorption like that of nada (the mystic sound).
31. Now I shall describe to thee, O dear, the foretaste of salvation, knowing which even the sinful aspirant may obtain salvation.
32. Having adored the Lord God properly, and having completely performed the best of the Yogas, and being in a calm and steady state and seat, let the wise Yogi initiate himself into this Yoga by pleasing his Guru.
33. Having given all his cattle and property to the Guru who knows Yoga, and having satisfied him with great care, let the wise man receive this initiation.
34. Having pleased the Brahmans (and priest), by giving them all kinds of good things, let the wise man receive this auspicious Yoga in my house (i.e., the temple of Shiva) with purity of heart.
35. Having renounced by the above methods all his previous bodies (the results of his past karma), and being in his spiritual (or luminous) body, let the Yogi receive this highest Yoga.
36. Sitting in the padmasana posture, renouncing the society of men, let the Yogi press the two vijnana nadis (vessels of consciousness, perhaps coronal arteries) with his two fingers.
37. By obtaining success in this, he becomes all happiness and unstained; therefore, let him endeavor with all his might, in order to ensure success.
38. He who practices this always, obtains success within a short time; he gets also vayu-siddha in course of time.
39. The Yogi, who does it even once, verily destroys all sins; and undoubtedly in him the vayus enter the middle channel.
40. The Yogi who practices this with perseverance is worshipped even by the gods; he receives the psychic powers of anima, laghima, etc., and can go everywhere, throughout the three worlds, at pleasure.
41. According to the strength of one’s practice in commanding the vayu, he gets command over his body; the wise, remaining in the spirit, enjoys the world in the present body.
42. This Yoga is a great secret, and not to be given to everybody; it might be revealed to him only, in whom all qualifications of a Yogi are perceived.
Various kinds of Dharana.
43. Let the Yogi seat himself in the padmasana, and fix his attention on the cavity of the throat, let him place his tongue at the base of the palate; by this he will extinguish hunger and thirst.
44. Below the cavity of the throat, there is a beautiful nadi (vessel) called kurma; when the Yogi fixes his attention on it, he acquires great concentration of the thinking principle (chitta).
45. When the Yogi constantly thinks that he has got a third eye – the eye of Shiva – in the middle of his forehead, he then perceives a fire brilliant like lightening. By contemplating on this light, all sins are destroyed, and even the most wicked person obtains the highest end.
46. If the experienced Yogi thinks of this light day and night, he sees the Siddhas (adepts), and can certainly converse with them.
47. He who contemplates on sunya (void or vacuum or space), while walking or standing, dreaming or waking, becomes altogether ethereal, and is absorbed in the chid-akasa.
48. The Yogi, desirous of success, should always obtain this knowledge; by habitual exercise he becomes equal to me; through the force of this knowledge, he becomes the beloved of all.
49. Having conquered all elements, and being void of all hopes and worldly connections, when the Yogi sitting in the padmasana, fixes his gaze on the tip of the nose, his mind becomes dead and he obtains the spiritual power called Khechari.
50. The great Yogi beholds light, pure as holy mountain (Kailas), and through the force of his exercise in it, he becomes the lord and guardian of the light.
51. Stretching himself on the ground, let him contemplate on this light; by so doing all his weariness and fatigue are destroyed. By contemplating on the back part of his head, he becomes the conqueror of death. (It has described before the effect of fixing one’s attention on the space between the two eyebrows, so it need not be enumerated here).
52. Of the four kinds of food (i.e., that which is chewed, that which is sucked, that which is licked and that which is drunk), which a man takes, the chyle fluid is converted into three parts. The best part (or the finest extract of food) goes to nourish the linga sharira or subtle body (the seat of force). The second or middle part goes to nourish this gross body composed of seven dhatus (humours).
53. The third or the most inferior part goes out of the body in the shape of excrement and urine. The first two essences of food are found in the nadis, and being carried by them, they nourish the body from head to foot.
54. When the vayu moves through all the nadis, then, owing to this vayu, the fluids of the body get extraordinary force and energy.
55. The most important of these nadis are fourteen, distributed in different parts of the body and performing various functions. They are either weak or strong, and the prana flows through them.
The six Chakras.
1. Adhar chakra.
56. Two fingers above the rectum and two fingers below the linga, four fingers in width, is a space like a bulbous root.
57. Between this space is the yoni having its face towards the back; that space is called the root; there dwells the goddess Kundalini. It surrounds all the nadis, and has three coils and a half; and catching its tail in its own mouth, it rests in the hole of the sushumna.
58. It sleeps there like a serpent, and it is luminous by its own light. Like a serpent it lives between the joints; it is the goddess of speech, and is called the seed (vija).
59. Full of energy, and like burning gold, know this Kundalini to be the power (shakti) of Vishnu; it is the mother of the three qualities – sattwa (rhythm), rajas (energy) and tamas (inertia).
60. There, beautiful like the Bandhuk flower, is placed the seed of love lam; it is brilliant like burnished gold, and is described in Yoga as eternal.
61. The sushumna also embraces it, and the beautiful seed is there; there it rests shining brilliantly like the autumnal moon, with the luminosity of millions of suns, and the coolness of millions of moons. The goddess Tripura Bhairavi has these three (fire, sun, and moon) taken together, and collectively she is called the vija. It is also called those who have attained success.
62. It (vija) is endowed with powers of action (motion) and sensation, and circulates throughout the body. It is subtle, and has a flame of fire; sometimes it rises up, and at other times it falls down into the water. This is the great energy which rests in the perineum, and is called the swayambhu-linga (the self-born).
63. All this is called the adhar-padma (the support lotus), and the four petals of it are designated by the letters (v), (d), (s,), (s).
64. Near this Swayambhu-linga is a golden region called kula (family); its presiding adept is called Dviranda, and its presiding goddess called Dakini. In the centre of that lotus is the Yoni where resides the Kundalini; the circulating bright energy above that, is called kama-vija (the seed of love). The wise man who always contemplates on this Muladhar obtains Darduri-siddhi (the frog-jumping power); and by degrees he can altogether leave the ground (i.e., rise in the air).
65. The brilliancy of the body is increased, the gastric fire becomes powerful, and freedom from disease, cleverness, and omniscience ensue.
66. He knows what has been, what is happening, and what is to be, together with their causes; he masters the unheard of sciences together with their mysteries.
67. On his tongue always dances the goddess of learning, he obtains mantra-siddhi (success in mantras), through constant repetition only.
68. This is the dictum of the Guru: “It destroys old age, death, and troubles innumerable.” The practitioner of pranayama ought always to meditate upon it; by its very contemplation, the great yogi is freed from all sins.
69. When the Yogi contemplates this adhar lotus – the Swayambhu-linga – then, undoubtedly, at that very moment, all his sins are destroyed.
70. Whatever the mind desires, he gets; by habitual exercise he sees him, who gives salvation, who is the best both in and out, and whois to be worshipped with great care. Better than Him, I know none.
71. He who leaving the Siva who is inside, worships that which is outside (viz., worships external forms), is like one who throws away the sweetmeat in his hand, and wanders away in search of food.
72. Let one thus meditate daily, without negligence, on his own Swayambhu-linga; and have no doubts that from this will come all powers.
73. By habitual exercise, he gets success in six months; and undoubtedly his vayu enters the middle channel (the sushumna).
74. He conquers the mind, and can restrain his breath and his semen; then he gets success in this as well as the other world, without doubt.
2. Swadhisthan Chakra. (Prostatic Plexus).
75. The second chakra is situated at the base of the penis. It has six petals designated by the letters b, bh, m, y, r, l. Its stalk is called Swadhisthan, the colour of the lotus is blood-red, its presiding adept is called Bala, and its goddess, Rakini.
76. He who daily contemplates on this Swadhisthan lotus, becomes an object of love and adoration to all beautiful goddesses
77. He fearlessly recites the various Shastras and sciences unknown to him before; becomes free from all diseases, and moves throughout the universe fearlessly.
78. Death is eaten by him, he is eaten by none; he obtains the highest psychic powers like anima, laghima, etc. The vayu moves equably throughout his body; the humours of his body are also increased; the ambrosia exuding from the ethereal lotus also increases in him.
79. The third chakra, called Manipur, is situated near the navel; it is of golden colour, having ten petals designated by the letters d, dh, n, t, th, d, dh, n, p, ph.
80. Its presiding adept is called Rudra – the giver of all auspicious things, and the presiding goddess of this place is called the most sacred Lakini.
81. When the Yogi contemplates on the Manipur lotus, he gets the power called the patal-siddhi – the giver of constant happiness, He becomes lord of desires, destroys sorrows and diseases, cheats death, and can enter the body of another.
82. He can make gold, etc., see the adepts (clairvoyantly), discover medicines for diseases, and see hidden treasures.
4. Anahat Chakra.
83. In the heart, is the fourth chakra, the Anahat. It has twelve petals designated by the letters k, kh, g, gh, n, ch, chh, j, jh, ñ, t, th. Its colour is deep blood-red; it has the seed of vayu, yam, and is a very pleasant spot.
84. In this lotus is a flame called vanlinga; by contemplating on this, one gets objects of the seen and the unseen universe.
85. Its presiding adept is Pinaki, and the Kakini is its goddess. He who always contemplates on this lotus of the heart is eagerly desired by celestial maidens.
86. He gets immeasurable knowledge, knows the past, presentand future time; has clairaudience, clairvoyance and can walk in the air, whenever he likes.
87. He sees the adepts, and the goddess known as Yoginis; obtains the power known as Khechari, and conquers all who move in the air.
88. He who contemplates daily the hidden Banalinga, undoubtedly obtains the psychic powers called Khechari (moving in the air) and Bhuchari (going at will all over the world).
89. I cannot fully describe the importance of the meditation of this lotus; even the Gods Brahma, etc., keep the method of its contemplation secret.
5. Vishuddha Chakra.
90. This chakra situated in the throat, is the fifth, and is called the Vishuddha lotus. Its colour is like brilliant gold, and it is adorned with sixteen petals and is the seat of the vowel sounds (i.e., its sixteen petals are designated by the sixteen vowels – a, a, i, i, u, u, ri, ri, lri, lri, e, ai, o, au, am, ah.). Its presiding adept is called Chhagalanda, and its presiding goddess is called Sakini.
91. He who always contemplates it, is truly the lord of the Yogis, and deserves to be called wise; by the meditation of this Vishuddha lotus, the Yogi at once understands the four Vedas with their mysteries.
92. When the Yogi, fixing his mind on this secret spot, feels angry, then undoubtedly all three worlds begin to tremble.
93. Even, if by chance, the mind of the Yogi is absorbed in this place, then he becomes unconscious of the external world, and enjoys certainly the inner world.
94. His body never grows weak, and he retains his full strength for a thousand years, it becomes harder than adamant.
95. When the Yogi leaves off this contemplation, then to him in this world, thousands of years, appear as so many moments.
6. Ajña Chakra.
96. The two-petalled Chakra, called the Ajña, is situated between the two eye-brows, and has the letters h and ksha; its presiding adept is called Shukla Mahakala (the White Great Time); its presiding goddess is called
97. Within that petal, there is the eternal bija (the syllable tham), brilliant as the autumnal moon. The wise anchorite, by knowing this, is never pulled down.
98. This is the great light held secret in all the Tantras; by contemplating on this, one obtains the highest success, there is no doubt of it.
99. I am the giver of salvation, I am the third linga in the turiya (the state of ecstasy, also the name of the thousand-petalled lotus). By contemplating on this, the Yogi becomes certainly like me.
100. The two vessels called the ida and the pingala are the real Varana and Asi. The space between them is called Varanasi (Benares, the holy city of Siva). There it is said that the Vishwanatha (the Lord of the universe) dwells.
101. The greatness of this holy place has been declared in manifold scriptures by the truth-perceiving sages. Its great secret has been very eloquently dwelt upon by them.
7. The Thousand-Petalled Lotus.
102. The sushumna goes along the spinal cord up to where the Brahmarandhra (the hole of Brahma) is situated. Thence by a certain flexure, it goes to the right side of the Ajña lotus, whence it proceeds to the left nostril, and is called the Ganges.
103. The lotus which is situated in the Brahmarandhra is called Sahasrara (the thousand-petalled). In the space in its centre, dwells the moon. From the triangular place, elixir is continually exuding. This moon-fluid of immortality unceasingly flows through the ida. The elixir flows in a stream – a continuous stream. Going to the left nostril, it receives from the Yogis the name of the “Ganges.”
104. From the right-side portion of the Ajña lotus and going to the left nostril flows the ida. It is here called Varana (the northward-flowing Ganges).
105. Let the Yogi contemplate on the space between the two (ida and pingala) as Varanasi (Benares). The pingala also comes in the same way from the left side portion of the Ajña lotus, and goes to the right nostril, and has been called by us the Asi.
106. The lotus which is situated in the Muladhar has four petals. In the space between them, dwells the sun.
107. From that sphere of the sun, poison exudes continuously. That excessively heating venom flows through the pingala.
108. The venom (sun-fluid of mortality) which flows there continuously in a stream goes to the right nostril, as the moon-fluid of immortality goes to the left.
109. Rising from the left-side of the Ajña lotus and going to the right nostril, this northward flowing pingala has been called of old the Asi.
110. The two-petalled Ajña lotus has been thus described where dwells the God Maheshwara. The Yogis described three more sacred stages above this. They are called vindu, nada and sakti, and are situated in the lotus of the forehead.
111. He who always contemplates on the hidden Ajña lotus, atonce destroys all the karmas of his past life, without any opposition.
112. Remaining in this place, when the Yogi meditates constantly, then to him all forms, worships and prayers appear as worthless.
113. The Yakshas, Rakshashas, Gandharvas, Apsaras, and Kinnaras, all serve at his feet. They become obedient to his command.
114. By reversing the tongue and placing it in the long hollow of the palate, let the Yogi enter into contemplation, that destroys all fears. All his sins, whose mind remains steady here even for a second, are at once destroyed.
115. All the fruits which have been described above as resulting from the contemplation of the other five lotuses, are obtained through the knowledge of this one Ajña lotus alone.
116. The wise one, who continually practices contemplation of this Ajña lotus, becomes free from the mighty chain of desires, and enjoys happiness.
117. When at the time of death, the Yogi contemplates on this lotus, leaving this life, that holy one is absorbed in the Paramatma.
118. He who contemplates on this, standing or walking, sleeping or waking, is not touched by sins, even if it were possible for him to do sinful works.
119. The Yogi becomes free from the chain by his own exertion. The importance of the contemplation of the two-petalled lotus cannot be fully described. Even the gods like Brahma, etc., have learnt only a portion of its grandeur from me.
120. Above this, at the base of the palate, is the thousand-petalled lotus, in that part where the hole of that sushumna is.
121. From the base or root of the palate, the sushumna extendsdownwards, till it reaches the Muladhar and the perineum: all vessels surround it, or are supported by it. These nadis are the seeds of mystery, or the sources of all principles which constitute a man, and show the road to Brahma (i.e. give salvation).
122. The lotus which is at the root of the palate is called the Sahasrar (the thousand-petalled); in its centre, there is a yoni (seat or force-centre) which has its face downwards.
123. In that is the root of the sushumna, together with its hole; this is called the Brahmarandhra (the hole of Brahma), extending up to the Muladhar padma.
124. In that hole of the sushumna there dwells as its inner force the Kundalini. In the sushumna there is also a constant current of force called chitra, its actions or modifications should be called, in my opinion as Brahmarandhra, etc.
125. By simply remembering this, one obtains the knowledge of Brahman, all sins are destroyed, and one is never born again as man.
126. Let him thrust the moving thumb into its mouth : by this the air, which flows through the body, is stopped.
127. Owing to this (vayu) man wanders in the circle of the universe; the Yogis, therefore, do not desire to keep up this circulation; all the nadis are bound by eight knots; only this Kundalini can pierce these knots and pass out of the Brahmarandhra, and show the way to salvation.
128. When the air is confined full in all the vessels, then the Kundalini leaves these knots and forces its way out of the Brahmarandhra.
129. Then the vital air continually flows in the sushumna. On the right and the left side of the Muladhar, are situated the ida and the pingala. The Sushumna passes through the middle of it.
130. The hollow of the sushumna in the sphere of the adhar is called the Brahmarandhra. The wise one who knows this is emancipated from the chain of karma.
131. All these three vessels meet certainly at the mouth of the Brahmarandhra; by bathing at this place one certainly obtains salvation.
The Sacred Triveni (Prayag).
132. Between the Ganges and the Jamuna, flows this saraswati: by bathing at their junction, the fortunate one obtains salvation.
133. We have said before that the ida is the Ganges and the pingala is the daughter of the sun (the Jamuna), in the middle the sushumna is the saraswati; the place where all three join is a most inaccessible one.
134. He who performs mental bathing at the junction of the White (ida) and the Black (pingala) becomes free from all sins, and reaches the eternal Brahma.
135. He who performs the funeral rites of his ancestors at the junction of these three rivers (Triveni) procures salvation for his ancestors and himself reaches the highest end.
136. He who daily performs the threefold duties (i.e., the regular, occasional and optional ones) by mentally meditating on this place, receives the unfading reward.
137. He who once bathes at this sacred place enjoys heavenly felicity, his manifold sins are burned, he becomes a pure-minded Yogi.
138. Whether pure or impure, in whatever state one might be, by performing ablution at this mystic place, he becomes undoubtedly holy.
139. At the time of death let him bathe himself in the water of this Triveni (the Trinity of rivers): he who dies thinking on this, reaches salvation then and there.
140. There is no greater secret than this throughout the three worlds. This should be kept secret with great care. It ought never to be revealed.
141. If the mind becomes steadily fixed even for half a second at the Brahmarandhra, one becomes free from sins and reaches the highest end.
142. The holy Yogi whose mind is absorbed in this, is absorbed in me after having enjoyed the powers called anima, laghima, etc.
143. The man knowing this Brahmarandhra, becomes my beloved in this world; conquering sins, he becomes entitled to salvation; by spreading knowledge, he saves thousands of people.
144. The Four-faced and gods can hardly obtain this knowledge, it is the most invaluable treasure of the Yogis; this mystery of the Brahmarandhra should be kept a great secret.
The Moon of Mystery.
145. I have said before that there is a force-centre (yoni) in the middle of the Sahasrara; below that is the moon; let the wise contemplate this.
146. By contemplating on this the Yogi becomes adorable in this world, and is respected by gods and adepts.
147. In the sinus of the forehead let him contemplate on the ocean of milk; from that place let him meditate on the moon, which is in the Sahasrara.
148. In the sinus of the forehead there is the nectar-containing moon, having sixteen digits (kalas, i.e, full). Let him contemplate on this stainless one. By constant practice, he sees it in three days. By merely seeing it, the practitioner burns all his sins.
149. The future reveals itself to him, his mind becomes pure; and though he might have committed the five great sins, by a moment’s contemplation of this he destroys them.
150. All the heavenly bodies (planets, etc.,) become auspicious, all dangers are destroyed, all accidents are warded off, success is obtained in war; the Khechari and the Bhuchari powers are acquired by the seeing of the moon which is in the head. By mere contemplation on it all these results ensue, there is no doubt of it. By constant practice of Yoga one verily becomes an adept. Verily, verily, again most verily, he becomes certainly my equal. The continual study of the science of Yoga, gives success to the Yogis. Here ends the description of the Ajñapura Chakra.
The Mystic Mount Kailas.
151. Above this (i.e., the lunar sphere) is the brilliant thousand-petalled lotus. It is outside this microcosm of the body, it is the giver of salvation.
152. Its name is verily the Kailas mount, where dwells the great Lord (Shiva), who is called Nakula and is without destruction, and without increase or decrease.
153. Men, as soon as they discover this most secret place, become free from re-births in this universe. By the practice of this Yoga he gets the power of creating or destroying the creation, this aggregate of elements.
154. When the mind is steadily fixed at this place, which is the residence of the Great Swan and is called Kailas, then that Yogi, devoid of disease and subduing all accidents, lives for a great age, free from death.
155. When the mind of the Yogi is absorbed in the Great God called the Kula, then the fullness of the samadhi is attained, then the Yogi gets steadfastness.
156. By constant meditation one forgets the world, then in sooth the Yogi obtains wonderful power.
157. Let the Yogi continually drink the nectar which flows out of it; by this he gives law to death, and conquers the kula. Here the kula kundalini force is absorbed, after this the quadruple creation is absorbed in the Paramatman.
The Raja Yoga.
158. By this knowledge, the modifications of the mind are suspended, however active they may be; therefore, let the Yogi untiringly and unselfishly try to obtain this knowledge.
159. When the modifications of the thinking principle are suspended, then one certainly becomes a Yogi; then is known the Indivisible, holy, pure Gnosis.
160. Let him contemplate on his own reflection in the sky as beyond the Cosmic Egg: in the manner previously described. Through that let him think on the Great Void unceasingly.
161. The Great Void, whose beginning is void, whose middle is void, whose end is void, has the brilliancy of tens of millions of suns, and the coolness of tens of millions of moons. By contemplating continually on this, one obtains success.
162. Let him practice with energy daily this dhyana, within a year he will obtain all success undoubtedly.
163. He whose mind is absorbed in that place even for a second, is certainly a Yogi, and a good devotee, and is reverenced in all worlds.
164. All his stores of sins are at once verily destroyed.
165. By seeing it one never returns to the path of this mortal universe; let the Yogi, therefore, practice this with great care by the path of the Swadhisthan.
166. I cannot describe the grandeur of this contemplation. He who practices, knows. He becomes respected by me.
167. By meditation one at once knows the wonderful effects of this Yoga (i.e., of the contemplation of the void); undoubtedly he attains the psychic powers, called anima and laghima, etc.
168. Thus have I described the Raja Yoga, it is kept secret in all the Tantras; now I shall describe to you briefly the Rajadhiraj Yoga.
The Rajadhiraj Yoga.
169. Sitting in the Svastikasana, in a beautiful monastery, free from all men and animals, having paid respects to his Guru, let the Yogi practice this contemplation.
170. Knowing through the arguments of the Vedanta that the Jiva is independent and self-supported, let him make his mind also elf-supported; and let him not contemplate anything else.
171. Undoubtedly, by this contemplation the highest success (maha-siddhi) is obtained, by making the mind functionless; he himself becomes perfectly Full.
172. He who practices this always, is the real passionless Yogi, he never uses the word “I”, but always finds himself full of atman.
173. What is bondage, what is emancipation? To him ever all is one; undoubtedly, he who practices this always, is the really emancipated.
174. He is the Yogi, he is the true devotee, he is worshipped in all worlds, who contemplates the Jivatma and the Paramatma as related to each other as “I” and “Am”, who renounces “I” and “Thou” and contemplates the indivisible; the Yogi free from all attachment takes shelter of that contemplation in which, through the knowledge of super-imposition and negation, all is dissolved.
175. Leaving that Brahma, who is manifest, who is knowledge, who is bliss, and who is absolute consciousness, the deluded wander about, vainly discussing the manifested and the unmanifested.
176. He who meditates on this movable and immovable universe, that is really unmanifest, but abandons the supreme Brahma – directly manifest – is verily absorbed in this universe.
177. The Yogi, free from all attachment, consistently exerts himself in keeping up this practice that leads to jnana, so that there may not be again the upheaval of Ignorance.
178. The wise one, by restraining all his senses from their objects, and being free from all company, remains in the midst of these objects, as if in deep sleep, i.e., does not perceive them.
179. Thus constantly practicing the Self-luminous becomes manifest: here end all the teachings of the Guru, (they can help the student no further). Henceforth he must help himself, they can no more increase his reason or power, henceforth by the mere force of his own practice he must gain the jnana.
180. That jnana from which the speech and mind turn back baffled, is only to be obtained through practice; for then this pure jnana bursts forth of itself.
181. The hathayoga cannot be obtained without the rajayoga, nor can the rajayoga be obtained without the hathayoga. Therefore, let the Yogi first learn the hathayoga from the instructions of the wise Guru.
182. He who, while living in this physical body, does not practice Yoga, is merely living for the sake of sensual enjoyments.
183. From the time he begins till the time he gains perfect mastery, let the Yogi eat moderately and abstemiously, otherwise, however clever, he cannot gain success.
184. The wise Yogi in an assembly should utter words of highest good, but should not talk much: he eats a little to keep up his physical frame; let him renounce the company of men, let him renounce the company of men, verily, let him renounce all company: otherwise he cannot attain mukti (salvation); verily, I tell you the truth.
185. Let him practice this in secrecy, free from the company of men, in a retired place. He should not renounce the duties of his profession, caste or rank; but let him perform these merely, as an instrument of the Lord, without any thought of the event. By thus doing there is no sin.
186. Even the house-holder (grihastha), by wisely following this method, may obtain success, there is no doubt of it.
187. Remaining in the midst of the family, always doing the duties of the house-holder, he who is free from merits and demerits, and has restrained his senses, attains salvation. The householder practicing Yoga is not touched by sins, if to protect mankind he does any sin, he is not polluted by it.
The Mantra (Om, Aim, Klim, Strim).
188. Now I shall tell you the best of practices, the japa of mantra: from this, one gains happiness in this as well in the world beyond this.
189. By knowing this highest of the mantras, the Yogi certainly attains success (siddhi): this gives all power and pleasure to the one-pointed Yogi.
190. In the four-petalled adhar lotus is the bija of speech, brilliant as lightening (i.e., the syllable aim).
191. In the heart is the bija of love, beautiful as the bandhuk flower (klim). In the space between the two eyebrows (i.e., in the Ajña lotus), is the bija of Sakti (strim), brilliant as tens of millions of moons. These three seeds should be kept secret – they give enjoyment and emancipation. Let the Yogi repeat these three mantras (i.e., Om, aim, klim, and strim) and try to attain success.
192. Let him learn this mantra from his Guru, let him repeat it neither too fast nor too slowly, keeping the mind free from all doubts, and understanding the mystic relation between the letters of the mantra.
193. The wise Yogi, intently fixing his attention on this mantra, performing all the duties peculiar to his caste, should perform one hundred thousand homs (fire sacrifices), and then repeat this mantra three hundred thousand times in the presence of the Goddess Tripura.
194. At the end of this sacred repetition (japa), let the wise Yogi again perform hom, in a triangular hollow, with sugar, milk, butter and the flower of karari (oleander).
195. By this performance of Homa-Japa-Homa, the Goddess Tripura Bhairavi, who has been propitiated by the above mantra, becomes pleased, and grants all the desires of the Yogi.
196. Having satisfied the Guru and having received this highest of mantras, in the proper way, and performing its repetition in the way laid down, with mind concentrated, even the most heavy-burdened with past
Karmas attains success.
197. The Yogi, who having controlled his senses, repeats this mantra one hundred thousand times, gains the power of attracting others.
198. By repeating it two lacs of times he can control all persons – they come to him as freely as women go to a pilgrimage. They give him all that they possess, and remain always under his control.
199. By repeating this mantra three lacs of times, all the deities presiding over the spheres as well as the spheres, are brought under his dominion.
200. By repeating this six lacs of times, he becomes the vehicle of power – yea, the protector of the world – surrounded by servants.
201. By repeating this twelve lacs of times, the lords of Yakshas, Rakshas and Nagas come under his control; all obey his command constantly.
202. By repeating this fifteen lacs of times, the Siddhas, the Viddyadharas, the Gandharvas, the Apsaras come under the control of the Yogi. There is no doubt of it. He attains immediately the knowledge of all audition and thus all-knowinghood.
203. By repeating this eighteen lacs of times, he, in his body, can rise from the ground: he attains verily the luminous body; he goes all over the universe, wherever he likes; he sees the pores of the earth, i.e., he sees the interspaces and the molecules of this solid earth.
204. By repeating this 28 lacs of times, he becomes the lord of the Viddyadharas, the wise Yogi becomes kamarupi (i.e., can assume what-ever form he desires). By repeating these thirty lacs of times he becomes equal to Brahma and Vishnu. He becomes a Rudra, by sixty lac repetitions, by eighty lac repetitions he becomes all-enjoyer, by repeating one tens of millions of times, the great Yogi is absorbed in the Param Brahman. Such a practitioner is hardly to be found throughout the three worlds.
205. O Goddess! Shiva, the destroyer of Tripura, is the One first and highest cause. The wise attains Him, who is unchanging, undecaying, all peace, immeasurable and free from all ills – the Highest Goal.
206. O Great Goddess! This science of Shiva is a great science (mahavidya), it had always been kept secret. Therefore, this science revealed by me, the wise should keep secret.
207. The Yogi, desirous of success, should keep the hatha yoga as a great secret. It becomes fruitful while kept secret, revealed it loses power.
208. The wise one, who reads it daily from beginning to end, undoubtedly, gradually obtains success in Yoga. He attains emancipation who honours it daily.
209. Let this science be recited to all holy men, who desire emancipation. By practice success is obtained, without it how can success follow?
210. Therefore, the Yogi should perform Yoga according to the rules of practice. He who is contented with what he gets, who restrains his senses, being a householder, who is not absorbed in the household duties, certainly attains emancipation by the practice of Yoga.
211. Even the lordly house-holders obtain success by japa, if they perform the duties of Yoga properly. Let, therefore, a householder also exert in Yoga (his wealth and condition of life are no obstacles in this).
212. Living in the house amidst wife and children, but being free from attachments to them, practicing Yoga in secrecy, a householder even finds marks of success (slowly crowning his efforts), and thus following this teaching of mine, he ever lives in blissful happiness.
Shiva (śiva) aka Mahadeva, Yogeshvara, Bholenath or Nataraja; in Sanskrit: शिव Śiva, meaning “auspicious one” is a major Vedic, Himalayan and Hindu deity, and is the destroyer of evil or transformer among the Trimurti, the Hindu Trinity of the primary aspects of the divine. Shiva is a yogi who has notice of everything that happens in the world and is the main aspect of life. Yet one with great power, he lives a life of a sage at Mount Kailasa. In the Shaiva tradition of Hinduism, Shiva is seen as the Supreme God and has five important works: creator, preserver, destroyer, concealer, and revealer (to bless). In the Smarta tradition, he is regarded as one of the five primary forms of God.
Followers of Hinduism who focus their worship upon Shiva are called Shaivites or Shaivas (Sanskrit Śaiva). Shaivism, along with Vaiṣṇava traditions that focus on Vishnu and Śākta traditions that focus on the goddess Shakti, is one of the most influential denominations in Hinduism. Shiva is usually worshipped in the abstract form of Shiva linga. In images, he is represented as immersed in deep meditation or dancing the Tandava dance upon Apasmara, the demon of ignorance in his manifestation of Nataraja, the Lord of the dance. He is also the father of the deities Ganesha, Murugan (Kartikeya), and Ayyappan (Dharma Sastha).
The Sanskrit word Shiva (Devanagari: शिव, śiva) is an adjective meaning “auspicious, kind, gracious”. As a proper name it means “The Auspicious One”, used as a name for Rudra. In simple English transliteration it is written either as Shiva or Siva. The adjective śiva, meaning “auspicious”, is used as an attributive epithet not particularly of Rudra, but of several other Vedic deities. The Sanskrit word śaiva means “relating to the god Shiva”, and this term is the Sanskrit name both for one of the principal sects of Hinduism and for a member of that sect. It is used as an adjective to characterize certain beliefs and practices, such as Shaivism.
There is a famous Rig vedic Verse that says “Ekam Sat” that is “There is one Being, the sages call Him by many names.” The God (Parmeshwara) has three deities who carry on the world. This is Known as Holy Trinity. Brahma – the creator, Vishnu – the perpetuator of life and Shiva (Mahesh ) – the purifier and perpetuator of good and destroyer of evil. Rig Veda refer Shiva as Rudra as in its following verse . “We Worship Tryambaka (Rudra) , Who spread Fragrance and Increases Nourishment , May He release me ,like the cucumber from its stem , From Mortal Life , But not From Immorality . “(Rig Veda Mandal VII Sukta 59 and Mantra 12)
The Yajurveda describes Shiva as ascetic kalaripayat warrior whose robe is of Deer Skin and He carries Trishul (triśula). According to the verse Satyam, Shivam, Sundaram, the life is described as having three facets Truth (Satyam), Good Grace (Shivam) and the Beautiful (Sundaram). Shiva is also worshipped for internal strength to carry on good deeds. As Guru Govinda Singh pray “Deh Shiva Var Mohe Ahey, Shubh Karman Te Kabhun Na Tarun, Na Darun Arson Jab Jaye Laroon, Nischey Kar Apni Jeet Karoon.” (O! Shiva bless me that I could never desist from Good deeds, I shall never fear if I have to fight Evil, I Shall be victorious with certainty.”
Shiva is a living Heavenly God, Supreme Deva, Mahadeva. The most Sacred and ancient books of India, the Rig Veda narrates His presence in the hymns. Vedic myths, rituals and even astronomy testifies to His existence from the dawn of time. The Mohindaro and Harapa findings confirm Shiva worship in the ancient India. According to the older scriptures, He has three places of His residence. One is Kailasa Parvata another is Lohita Giri under which Brahamputra flows and third is Muzwan Parvat. Another Rigveda name for Shiva is Yahvah means “The Great Lord”!
The four sacred Vedas, mankind’s oldest scriptures, intone, “To Rudra (Siva), Lord of sacrifice, of hymns and balmy medicines, we pray for joy and health and strength. He shines in splendor like the sun, refulgent as bright gold is He, the good, the best among the Gods (Rig Veda 43.45).” “He is God, hidden in all beings, their inmost soul who is in all. He watches the works of creation, lives in all things, watches all things. He is pure consciousness, beyond the three conditions of nature (Yajur Veda, Svet.U.6.11).” Śiva also assumes many other roles, including the Lord of Ascetics (Mahadeva), the Lord of Boons (Rudra), and also the Universal Divinity (Mahesvara). Worshippers of Śiva are called Śaivites who consider Śiva as representing the Ultimate Reality (see Ishta-Deva for fuller discussion).
Shiva or Śiva (Sanskrit: शिव, lit. “Auspicious one”) is one of the principal deities or a form of Ishvara (God). Shiva is referred to as ‘the good one’ or the ‘auspicious one’. Shiva – Rudra is considered to be the destroyer of evil and sorrow. Shiva – Shankara is the doer of good. Shiva is ‘tri netra’ or three eyed, and is ‘neela kantha’ – blue necked (having consumed poison to save the world from destruction). Shiva – Nataraja is the Divine Cosmic Dancer. Shiva – Ardhanareeswara is both man and woman. “There the eye goes not, nor words, nor mind. We know not. We cannot understand how He can be explained. He is above the known, and He is above the unknown (Sama Veda, Kena U. 1.3).” “Fire is His head, the sun and moon His eyes, space His ears, the Vedas His speech, the wind His breath, the universe His heart. From His feet the Earth has originated. Verily, He is the inner Self of all beings. (Atharva Veda, Mund.U. 2.1.4).”
Adi Sankara, in his interpretation of the name Shiva, the 27th and 600th name of Vishnu sahasranama, the thousand names of Vishnu interprets Shiva to have multiple meanings: “The Pure One”, or “the One who is not affected by three Gunas of Prakrti (Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas)” or “the One who purifies everyone by the very utterance of His name.” Swami Chinmayananda, in his translation of Vishnu Sahasranama, further elaborates on that verse: Shiva means “the One who is eternally pure” or “the One who can never have any contamination of the imperfection of Rajas and Tamas”. Shiva is considered as the Hindu God who has no Aadi or Anta i.e. no birth/death. Shiva’s role as the primary deity of Shaivism is reflected in his epithets Mahādeva (“Great God”; mahā = Great + deva = God), Maheśhvara (“Great Lord”; mahā = Great + īśhvara = Lord), and Parameśhvara (“Supreme Lord”).
There are at least eight different versions of the Shiva Sahasranama, devotional hymns (stotras) listing many names of Shiva. The version appearing in Book 13 (Anuśāsanaparvan) of the Mahabharata is considered the kernel of this tradition. Shiva also has Dasha-Sahasranamas (10,000 names) that are found in the Mahanyasa. The Shri Rudram Chamakam, also known as the Śatarudriya, is a devotional hymn to Shiva hailing him by many names. The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Some historians believe that the figure of Shiva as we know him today was built up over time, with the ideas of many regional sects being amalgamated into a single figure. How the persona of Shiva converged as a composite deity is not well documented. Axel Michaels explains the composite nature of Shaivism as follows:
Like Vişņu, Śiva is also a high god, who gives his name to a collection of theistic trends and sects: Śaivism. Like Vaişņavism, the term also implies a unity which cannot be clearly found either in religious practice or in philosophical and esoteric doctrine. Furthermore, practice and doctrine must be kept separate. An example of assimilation took place in Maharashtra, where a regional deity named Khandoba is a patron deity of farming and herding castes. The foremost center of worship of Khandoba in Maharashtra is in Jejuri. Khandoba has been assimilated as a form of Shiva himself, in which case he is worshipped in the form of a lingam. Khandoba’s varied associations also include an identification with Surya and Karttikeya.
According to the mystic mythology of the Puraanaas, the Kailasa peak of the Himalayas is the abode of Shiva and He bears the Ganges on His head. As the Lord of creatures, He is metaphorically called as Pashupathi (with Nandi, the bull, His favourite animal) and His fearless nature is euphemised as Sarpabhushana. Shiva’s posture in the meditation is ascribed to Him as the Head of Yogis (Yogiraja) who practises various spiritual feats to attain salvation. Lord Shiva’s divine consort, Goddess Parvati(who is also the daughter of Himalaya), is the deity of strength. Numerous stories in mythology describe the births of their two sons – Lord Ganesha and Lord Kartikeya (or Guha or Shanmukha or Skanda or Murugha) and their various significances.
Seal discovered at Mohenjodaro shows a seated figure surrounded by animals, possibly Shiva,the Pashupati. A seal discovered during the excavation of Mohenjo-daro has drawn attention as a possible representation of a “proto-Shiva” figure. This Pashupati (Lord of animal-like beings) seal shows a seated figure, possibly ithyphallic, surrounded by animals. Sir John Marshall and others have claimed that this figure is a prototype of Shiva and have described the figure as having three faces seated in a “yoga posture” with the knees out and feet joined. However, this claim is not without its share of critics, with some academics like Gavin Flood and John Keay characterizing them as unfounded.
Shiva as we know him today shares many features with the Vedic god Rudra, and both Shiva and Rudra are viewed as the same personality in a number of Hindu traditions. Rudra, the god of the roaring storm, is usually portrayed in accordance with the element he represents as a fierce, destructive deity. The oldest surviving text of Hinduism is the Rig Veda, which is dated to between 1700 and 1100 BC based on linguistic and philological evidence. A god named Rudra is mentioned in the Rig Veda. The name Rudra is still used as a name for Shiva. In RV 2.33, he is described as the “Father of the Rudras”, a group of storm gods. Furthermore, the Rudram, one of the most sacred hymns of Hinduism found both in the Rig and the Yajur Vedas and addressed to Rudra, invokes him as Shiva in several instances, but the term Shiva is used as a epithet for Indra, Mitra and Agni many times.
The identification of Shiva with the older god Rudra is not universally accepted, as Axel Michaels explains: Rudra is called “The Archer” (Sanskrit: Śarva), and the arrow is an essential attribute of Rudra. This name appears in the Shiva Sahasranama, and R. K. Sharma notes that it is used as a name of Shiva often in later languages. The word is derived from the Sanskrit root śarv-, which means “to injure” or “to kill”, and Sharma uses that general sense in his interpretive translation of the name Śarva as “One who can kill the forces of darkness”. The names Dhanvin (“Bowman”) and Bāṇahasta(“Archer”, literally “Armed with arrows in his hands”) also refer to archery.
Shiva’s rise to a major position in the pantheon was facilitated by his identification with a host of Vedic deities, including Agni, Indra, Prajāpati, Vāyu, and others.
Shaivism – in Sanskrit: शैव पंथ, śaiva paṁtha; Tamil: சைவ சமயம் is the oldest of the four major spiritual tradition and heritage of Hinduism and Brahmanism, the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. Followers of Shaivism, called “Shaivas“, and also “Saivas” or “Saivites”, revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer, revealer and concealer of all that is. Shaivism is widespread throughout India, Nepal, and Sri Lanka, mostly. Areas notable for the practice of Shaivism include parts of Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia.
In the Yajurveda, two contrary sets of attributes for both malignant or terrific (Sanskrit: rudra) and benign or auspicious (Sanskrit: śiva) forms can be found, leading Chakravarti to conclude that “all the basic elements which created the complex Rudra-Śiva sect of later ages are to be found here”. In the Mahabharata, Shiva is depicted as “the standard of invincibility, might, and terror”, as well as a figure of honor, delight, and brilliance. The duality of Shiva’s fearful and auspicious attributes appears in contrasted names. The name Rudra (Sanskrit: रुद्र) reflects his fearsome aspects. According to traditional etymologies, the Sanskrit name Rudra is derived from the root rud-, which means “to cry, howl”.
Stella Kramrisch notes a different etymology connected with the adjectival form raudra, which means “wild, of rudra nature”, and translates the name Rudra as “the wild one” or “the fierce god”. R. K. Sharma follows this alternate etymology and translates the name as “terrible”. Hara (Sanskrit: हर) is an important name that occurs three times in the Anushasanaparvan version of the Shiva sahasranama, where it is translated in different ways each time it occurs, following a commentorial tradition of not repeating an interpretation. Sharma translates the three as “one who captivates”, “one who consolidates”, and “one who destroys”. Kramrisch translates it as “the ravisher”. Another of Shiva’s fearsome forms is as Kāla (Sanskrit: काल), “time”, and as Mahākāla (Sanskrit: महाकाल), “great time”, which ultimately destroys all things. Bhairava (Sanskrit: भैरव), “terrible” or “frightful”, is a fierce form associated with annihilation.
In contrast, the name Śaṇkara (Sanskrit: शङ्कर), “beneficent” or “conferring happiness” reflects his benign form. This name was adopted by the great Vedanta philosopher Śaṇkara (c. 788-820 CE), who is also known as Shankaracharya. The name Śambhu (Sanskrit: शम्भु), “causing happiness”, also reflects this benign aspect.
The Yoga and Tantra Lord, Shiva is depicted as both an ascetic yogin and as a householder, roles which have been traditionally mutually exclusive in Hindu society. When depicted as a yogin, he may be shown sitting and meditating. His epithet Mahāyogin (“the great Yogi: Mahā = “great”, Yogin = “one who practices Yoga”) refers to his association with yoga. While Vedic religion was conceived mainly in terms of sacrifice, it was during the Epic period that the concepts of tapas, yoga, and asceticism became more important, and the depiction of Shiva as an ascetic sitting in philosophical isolation reflects these later concepts.
As a family man and householder, he has a wife, Parvati, and two sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya. His epithet Umāpati (“The husband of Umā”) refers to this idea, and Sharma notes that two other variants of this name that mean the same thing, Umākānta and Umādhava, also appear in the sahasranama.Umā in epic literature is known by many names, including the benign Pārvatī. She is identified with Devi, the Divine Mother; Shakti (divine energy) as well as goddesses like Tripura Sundari, Durga, Kamakshi and Meenakshi. The consorts of Shiva are the source of his creative energy. They represent the dynamic extension of Shiva onto this universe. His son Ganesha (gańeśa) is worshipped throughout India and Nepal as the Remover of Obstacles, Lord of Beginnings and Lord of Obstacles. Kartikeya is worshipped in Southern India (especially in Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka) by the names Subrahmanya, Subrahmanyan, Shanmughan, Swaminathan and Murugan, and in Northern India by the names Skanda, Kumara, or Karttikeya.
Parvati aka Uma, Haimavati or Akarna, in Devanagri: पार्वती, IAST: Pārvatī – is a Hindu goddess, Śrī Devī. Parvati is Shakti, the wife of Shiva and the gentle aspect of Mahadevi, the Great Goddess. Parvati is considered as complete incarnation of Adi Parashakti’, with all other goddesses being her incarnations or manifestations. Parvati is nominally the second consort of Shiva, the Hindu god of destruction and rejuvenation. However, she is not different from Satī, being the reincarnation of Shiva’s first wife. Parvati is the mother of the gods and goddess, Ganesha and Skanda (Kartikeya). Some communities also believe her to be the sister of Vishnu. She is also regarded as the daughter of the Himavat. Parvati, when depicted alongside Shiva, generally appears with two arms, but when alone, she is shown having four or eight arms, and astride a tiger or lion. Generally considered a benevolent goddess, Parvati also has wrathful incarnations, such as Durga, Kali, Shitala Devi, Tara, Chandi, and the Mahavidyas as well as benevolent forms like Kathyayini, Mahagauri, Kamalatmika, Bhuvaneshwari and Lalita.
Parvata is one of the Sanskrit words for “mountain”; “Parvati” translates to “She of the mountains” and refers to Parvati being born the daughter of Himavat (Himavant, Himavan), lord and king of the mountains and the personification of the Himalayas. Other names which associate her with mountains are Shailaja (Daughter of the mountains), Nagajaa or Shailaputri (Daughter of Mountains), and ‘Girirajaputri’ (Daughter of king of the mountains). Parvati’s name is also sometimes considered a form of ‘pavitra’, meaning ‘sinless’ or ‘holy’ in Sanskrit. She is also known by 108 names from the Durga Saptashati. These include Ambika (‘dear mother’), Gauri (‘fair complexioned’), Shyama (‘dark complexioned’), Bhairavi (‘awesome’), Kumari (‘virgin’), Kali (“dark one”), Umā, Lalita, Mataji (‘revered mother’), Sahana (‘pure’), Durga, Bhavani, Shivaradni or Shivaragyei (‘Queen of Shiva’), and many hundreds of others. The Lalita sahasranama contains an authoritative listing of 1,000 names of Parvati.
Two of Parvati’s most famous epithets are Uma and Aparna. The name Uma is used for Sati in earlier texts, but in the Ramayana, it is used as synonym for Parvati. In the Harivamsa, Parvati is referred to as Aparna (‘One who took no sustenance’) and then addressed as Uma, who was dissuaded by her mother from severe austerity by saying u mā (‘oh, don’t’). The apparent contradiction that Parvati is addressed as the fair one, Gauri, as well as the dark one, Kali or Shyama, can be explained by the following Hindu myth: Once, Shiva rebuked Parvati about her dark complexion. An angry Parvati left him and underwent severe austerities to become fair-complexioned as a boon from Brahma. Parvati is also the goddess of love and devotion, or Kamakshi.
Parvati herself does not explicitly appear in Vedic literature, though the Kena Upanishad (3.12) contains a goddess called Uma-Haimavati. She appears as the shakti, or essential power, of the Supreme Brahman. Her primary role is as a mediator who reveals the knowledge of Brahman to the Vedic trinity of Agni, Vayu, and Indra, who were boasting about their recent defeat of a group of demons.
The Puranas repeatedly tell the tale of Sati’s marriage to Shiva against her father Daksha’s wishes and her subsequent self-immolation at Daksha’s sacrifice, leaving Shiva grief-stricken and having lost interest in worldly affairs. In the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, Sati appears before Shiva, in her divine form, and reassures him that she will return as the daughter of Himavat. Sati is reborn as Parvati, the daughter of Himavat and Menā and is named Kali, ‘the dark one’, because of her complexion. Sati, as well as Parvati, are considered manifestations of Mahadevi, the great Goddess. In the Ramayana, the river goddess Ganga is depicted as the elder sister of Parvati. In the Harivamsa, Parvati has two younger sisters called Ekaparna and Ekapatala.
Parvati is depicted as interested in Shiva’s tales and appearance from her very birth and eventually remembering her previous life as Sati. As Parvati grows into a young woman, she begins tapas (austerities) to please Shiva to grant her wish to reunite with him. She is portrayed as surpassing all other ascetics in austerity, undergoing severe mortifications and fasting. Finally, Shiva tests her devotion by sending an attendant (or appearing himself in disguise) to criticize Shiva. Untouched by the act, Parvati retains her desire for Shiva, compelling him to marry her. After the marriage, Parvati moves to Mount Kailash, the residence of Shiva.
After the death of Shiva’s first love Sati, Shiva isolated himself into a dark cave buried amongst the snow covered peaks of the Himalayas. He rejected the world outside so distraught was he by the lose of his first true love. Meanwhile the demons lead by Taraka, rose from the netherworld and drove the devas, gods, out of the heavens. The gods sought a warrior who would help them regain the celestial realm based in Himalaya. “Only Shiva can father such a warrior,” informed Brahma. Yet Shiva, immersed in meditation, was oblivious to the problems of the gods. As he performed tapas, meditations that produce great heat and energy, his mind was filled with great knowledge and his body became resplendent with energy. But all this knowledge and energy, bottled within his being, was of not use to anyone.
With Parvati by his side, Shiva God became a family man. But he did not abandon his ways as a hermit Yogeshvara, the Lord of Yogis: he continued to meditate and immerse himself in spiritual dreams. His carefree attitude, his refusal to shoulder household responsibilities sometimes angered Parvati. But then she would come to terms with his unconventional ways and make peace. The consequent marital bliss between Shakti and Shiva ensured harmony between Matter and Spirit and brought stability and peace to the planet Earth. Parvati thus became Ambika, goddess of the household, of marriage, motherhood and family.
Parvati as Durga Devi Warrior Goddess Form
Śiva and Parvati are the parents of Karttikeya (Skanda, Murugan, Sanatkumara) and Ganesha(ganeśa). Ganesha, the elephant-headed God of wisdom, acquired his head by offending Śiva, by refusing to allow him to enter the house while Parvati was bathing. Śiva sent his ganas to subdue Ganesha, but to no avail. As a last resort, he bade Vishnu confuse the stalwart guardian using his powers of Maya. Then, at the right moment, Śiva hurled Trishula and cut Ganesha’s head from his body. Upon finding her guardian dead, Parvati was enraged and called up the many forms of Shakti to devour Shiva’s ganas and wreak havoc in Swargaloka. To pacify her, Śiva brought forth an elephant’s head from the forest and set it upon the boy’s shoulders, reviving him. Shiva then took Ganesha as his own son and placed him in charge of his ganas. Thus, Ganesha’s title is Ganapati, Lord of the Ganas. In another version, Parvati presented her child to Shani (Śani, the planet Saturn), whose gaze burned his head to ashes. Brahma bade Śiva to replace with the first head he could find, which happened to be that of an elephant.
Karttikeya is a six-headed god connected with Pleiades (Bahulika) and was conceived to kill the evil demon Tarakasura, who had proven invincible against other gods (devas). Tarakasura had terrorised the devas of Swargaloka so thoroughly that they came to Shiva (Śiva) pleading for his help. Shiva thus assumed a form with five faces, a divine spark emanating from the third eye of each. He gave the sparks to Agni and Vayu to carry to Ganga and thereupon release. In Ganga’s river, the sparks were washed downstream into a pond and found by the Karittikas, five forest maidens. The sparks transformed into children and were suckled by the Karttikas, When Śiva, Parvati, and the other celestials arrived on the scene, there was a debate of who the child belonged to. Further, Parvati, who was the most likely to care for the child, was puzzled as to how she would suckle five children. Suddenly, the child merged into a single being and Shiva blessed him with five separate names for his five sets of parents to settle the debate. The child, despite having been born from five sparks, had a sixth head, a unifying principle which brought together the five aspects of his father’s power into a single being. From here, the campaign in which Karttikeya would vanquish Tarakasura and liberate Swargaloka began.
Shaivism, Shaiva in Sanskrit: शैव पंथ, śaiva paṁtha), also known as Shaivam (zaivaM, śaivam), is the oldest tradition of Hinduism. It is now one of the four most widely followed traditioanl streams of Hinduism, the others being Vaishnavism, Shaktism and Smartism. The word Shaivam refers to “associated with Shiva”. Followers of Shaivam, called “Shaivas,” and also “Saivas” or “Shaivites,” revere Shiva as the Supreme Being. Shaivas believe that Shiva is All and in all, the creator, preserver, destroyer, revealer and concealer of all that is. Shaivism is widespread throughout India, Nepal, Bengal, Tibet and Sri Lanka, mostly. Areas notable for the practice of Shaivism include parts of Southeast Asia, especially Malaysia, Singapore, Poland and Indonesia.
Sacred ash came to be used as a sign of Shaivism. Devotees of Shiva wear it as a sectarian mark on their foreheads and other parts of their bodies with reverence. The Sanskrit words bhasma and vibhuti can both be translated as “sacred ash”. The worship of Shiva is a pan-Hindu tradition, practiced widely across all of India, Sri Lanka and Nepal. It is very difficult to determine the early history of Shaivism. Shaivism has a vast literature that includes texts representing multiple philosophical schools, including non-dualist (abheda), dualist (bheda), and non-dual-with-dualism (bhedābheda) perspectives.
In Hinduism, the Gaṇas (Devanagari: गण) are attendants of Shiva and live in Kailasa. They are often referred to as the Boothaganas, or ghostly hosts, on account of their nature. Generally benign, except when their Lord is transgressed against, they are often invoked to intercede with the Lord on behalf of the devotee. Ganesha was chosen as their leader by Shiva, hence Ganesha’s title gaṇa-īśa or gaṇa-pati, “lord of the gaṇas”. Mount Kailāsa in the Himalayas is his traditional abode. Mount Kailāsa is conceived as resembling a Linga, representing the center of the universe. Varanasi / Benares is considered as the city specially-loved by Shiva, and is one of the holiest places of pilgrimage in India. It is referred to, in religious contexts, as Kashi.
Scientists people found that artifacts from Mohenjo-daro, Harappa and other archaeological sites of northwestern India and Pakistan indicate that some early form of Shiva worship was practiced in the Indus Valley. These artifacts include lingams and the “Pashupati seal” that has been the subject of much study. The Indus Valley civilization reached its peak around 2500–2000 BCE, when trade links with Mesopotamia are known to have existed, was in decline by 1800 BCE, and faded away by 1500 BCE. A seal discovered during excavation of the Mohenjo-daro archaeological site in the Indus Valley has drawn attention as a possible representation of a “proto-Shiva” figure. This “Pashupati” (Lord of Animals, Sanskrit paśupati) seal shows a large central figure that is surrounded by animals. The central figure is often described as a seated figure, possibly ithyphallic, surrounded by animals.
Sir John Marshall and others have claimed that this figure is a prototype of Shiva, and have described the figure as having three faces, seated in a “yoga posture” with the knees out and feet joined. Semi-circular shapes on the head are often interpreted as two horns. Gavin Flood characterizes these views as “speculative”, saying that while it is not clear from the seal that the figure has three faces, is seated in a yoga posture, or even that the shape is intended to represent a human figure, it is nevertheless possible that there are echoes of Shaiva iconographic themes, such as half-moon shapes resembling the horns of a bull.
The Śvetāśvatara Upanishad (400 – 200 BCE) is the earliest textual exposition of a systematic philosophy of Shaivism. The Shiva Rahasya Purana, an Upapurana, is an important scriptual text. shaiva agamas in south india shiva temples. It is very difficult to determine the early history of Shaivism. The Śvetāśvatara Upanishad (400 – 200 BCE) is the earliest textual exposition of a systematic philosophy of Shaivism. As explained by Gavin Flood, the text proposes:… a theology which elevates Rudra to the status of supreme being, the Lord (Sanskrit: Īśa) who is transcendent yet also has cosmological functions, as does Śiva in later traditions. During the Gupta Dynasty (c. 320 – 500 CE) Puranic religion developed and Shaivism spread rapidly, eventually throughout the subcontinent, spread by the singers and composers of the Puranic narratives.
Shaivism left a major imprint on the intellectual life of classical Cambodia, Champa in what is today southern Vietnam, Java and the Tamil land. The wave of Saivite devotionalism that swept through late classical and early medieval India redefined Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. Shaivite worship legitimized several ruling dynasties in pre-modern India be they the Chola, the Rajput or tribal. A similar trend was witnessed in early medieval Indonesia with the Majapahit empire and pre-Islamic Malaya. Nepal is the only country of the world where Shaivism is the most popular form of Yoga and Hinduism.
Shaivism has many different schools reflecting both regional and temporal variations and differences in philosophy. Shaivism has a vast literature that includes texts representing multiple philosophical schools, including non-dualist (abheda), dualist (bheda), and non-dual-with-dualism (bhedābheda) perspectives. Alexis Sanderson’s review of Shaivite groups makes a broad distinction into two groups, with further subdivisions within each group: Vedic, Puranic and Non-Puranic. These devotees are distinguished by undergoing initiation (dīkṣa) into a specific cult affiliation for the dual purposes of obtaining liberation in this life (mukti) and/or obtaining other aims (bhukti). Sanderson subdivides this group further into two subgroups:
- Those that follow the outer or higher path (atimārga), seeking only liberation. Among the atimārga groups two are particularly important, the Pāśupatas and a sub-branch, the Lākula, from whom another important grup, the Kālāmukhas, developed.
- Those that follow the path of mantras (mantramārga), seeking both liberation and worldly objectives.
The following are concise summaries of some of the major schools of Shaivism, along with maps showing what are popularly believed to be the primary areas of origin or present-day influence and concentration of each school in areas of the Indian subcontinent.
Pashupata Shaivism: The Pashupatas (Sanskrit: Pāśupatas) are the oldest named Shaivite group. The Pashupatas were ascetics. Noted areas of influence (clockwise) include Gujarat, Kashmir and Nepal. But there is plentiful evidence of the existence of Pāśupata groups in every area of the Indian subcontinent. In the far South, for example, a dramatic farce called the Mattavilāsana-prahasana ascribed to a seventh-century Pallava king centres around a Pāśupata ascetic in the city of Kāñcīpuram who mistakes a Buddhist mendicant’s begging bowl for his own skull-bowl. Inscriptions of comparable date in various parts of South East Asia attest to the spread of Pāśupata forms of Śaivism before the arrival there of tantric schools such as the Shaiva Siddhanta.
Shaiva Siddhanta: Considered normative tantric Saivism, Shaiva Siddhanta provides the normative rites, cosmology and theological categories of tantric Saivism. Being a dualistic philosophy, the goal of Shaiva Siddhanta is to become an ontologically distinct Shiva (through Shiva’s grace). This tradition was once practiced all over India. For example the theologians Sadyojoti, Bhatta Nārāyanakantha and his son Bhatta Rāmakantha (ca. 950-1000 AD) developed a sophisticated Siddhanta theology in Kashmir. However the Muslim subjugation of north India restricted Shaiva Siddhanta to the south, where it merged with the Tamil Saiva cult expressed in the bhakti poetry of the Nayanars. It is in this historical context that Shaiva Siddhanta is commonly considered a “southern” tradition, one that is still very much alive in Easth-South India and Sri Lanka.
Kashmir Shaivism: Kashmir Saivism, a householder religion, was based on a strong monistic interpretation of the Bhairava Tantras (and its subcategory the Kaula Tantras), which were tantras written by the Kapalikas. There was additionally a revelation of the Siva Sutras to Vasugupta. Kashmir Saivism claimed to supersede the dualistic Shaiva Siddhanta. Somananda, the first theologian of monistic Saivism, was the teacher of Utpaladeva, who was the grand-teacher of Abhinavagupta, who in turn was the teacher of Ksemaraja. The label Kashmir Shaivism, though unfortunately now widely adopted, is really a misnomer, for it is clear that the dualistic Shaiva Siddhanta was also in North India at one point in time.
Natha (Hatha Yoga): Expounded by Rishi Gorakshanatha (ca 950), this monistic theism is known as bhedabheda, embracing both transcendent Shiva Being and immanent Shiva Becoming. Shiva is efficient and material cause. The creation and final return of soul and cosmos to Shiva are likened to bubbles arising and returning to water. Influential in Nepal, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and West Bengal – so called North India or Himalayan Yoga.
Lingayatism: Made popular by Basavanna (1105–1167), this version of qualified nondualism, Shakti Vishishtadvaita, accepts both difference and nondifference between soul and God, like rays are to the sun. Shiva and the cosmic force are one, yet Shiva is beyond His creation, which is real, not illusory. God is efficient and material cause. Influential primarily in Karnataka in West-South India.
Shiva Advaita: This monistic theism, formulated by Srikantha (ca 1050), is called Shiva Vishishtadvaita. The soul does not ultimately become perfectly one with Brahman, but shares with the Supreme all excellent qualities. Appaya Dikshita (1554–1626) attempted to resolve this union in favor of an absolute identity—Shuddhadvaita. Its area of origin and influence covers most of Karnataka state in West-South India.
Shiva as Nataraja
The depiction of Shiva as Nataraja (Sanskrit: naṭarāja, “Lord of Dance”) is very popular. The names Nartaka (“dancer”) and Nityanarta (“eternal dancer”) appear in the Shiva Sahasranama. His association with dance and also with music is prominent in the Puranic period. In addition to the specific iconographic form known as Nataraja, various other types of dancing forms (Sanskrit: nṛtyamūrti) are found in all parts of India, with many well-defined varieties in Karnataka & Tamil Nadu in particular. The two most common forms of the dance are the Tandava, which later came to denote the powerful and masculine dance as Kala-Mahakala associated with the destruction of the world. When it requires the world or universe to be destroyed, Lord Śiva does it by the tāṇḍavanṛtya and Lasya, which is graceful and delicate and expresses emotions on a gentle level and is considered the feminine dance attributed to the goddess Parvati. Lasya is regarded as the female counterpart of Tandava. The Tandava-Lasya dances are associated with the destruction-creation of the world.
Shiva as Dakshinamurti
Dakshinamurthy, or Dakṣiṇāmūrti (Sanskrit: दक्षिणामूर्ति), literally describes a form (mūrti) of Shiva facing south (dakṣiṇa). This form represents Shiva in his aspect as a teacher of yoga, music, and wisdom and giving exposition on the shastras. This iconographic form for depicting Shiva in Indian art is mostly from Tamil Nadu. Elements of this motif can include Shiva seated upon a deer-throne and surrounded by sages who are receiving his instruction.
Shiva as Ardhanareshvara
An iconographic representation of Shiva called (Ardhanārīśvara) shows him with one half of the body as male and the other half as female. According to Ellen Goldberg, the traditional Sanskrit name for this form (Ardhanārīśvara) is best translated as “the lord who is half woman”, not as “half-man, half-woman”. In Hindu philosophy, this is used to visualize the belief that the lord had sacrificed half of his body to his consort goddess Parvati as a sign of this love for her.
Shiva as Tripurantaka
Shiva is often depicted as an archer in the act of destroying the triple fortresses, Tripura, of the Asuras. Shiva’s name Tripurantaka (Sanskrit: त्रिपुरान्तक, Tripurāntaka), “ender of Tripura”, refers to this important story. In this aspect, Shiva is depicted with four arms wielding a bow and arrow, but different from the Pinakapani murti. He holds an axe and a deer on the upper pair of his arms. In the lower pair of the arms, he holds a bow and an arrow respectively. After destroying Tripura, Tripurantaka Shiva smeared his forehead with three strokes of Ashes. This has become a prominent symbol of Shiva and is practiced even today by Shaivites.
The Lingam and also, Linga, Ling, Shiva linga, Shiv ling; in Sanskrit लिङ्गं liṅgaṃ, meaning “mark”, “sign”, “gender”, or “inference” – is a representation of the Hindu deity Shiva God, Absolute, used for worship in temples. The Lingam has been interpreted as a symbol of male creative energy and mistaken sometimes as the symbol of the phallus. The lingam is often represented with the Yoni, a symbol of the goddess or of Shakti, female creative energy. The union of lingam and yoni represents the “indivisible two-in-oneness of male (God) and female (Goddess), the passive space and active time from which all life originates”. The lingam and the yoni have been interpreted as the male and female sexual organs since the end of the 19th century by some scholars (mostly from USA and Europe) but this was brought forward by the most thoughtless, and was forthcoming in India in her most degraded times. While to practising Hindus it stands for the inseparability of the male and female principles and the totality of creation, not sexual. Another interpretation suggests that the Lingam represents the beginningless and endless Stambha pillar, symbolizing the infinite nature of Shiva.
Apart from anthropomorphic images of Shiva, the worship of Shiva in the form of a lingam, or linga, is also important. These are depicted in various forms. One common form is the shape of a vertical rounded column. Shiva means auspiciousness, and linga means a sign or a symbol. Hence, the Shivalinga is regarded as a “symbol of the great God of the universe who is all-auspiciousness”. Shiva also means “one in whom the whole creation sleeps after dissolution”. Linga also means the same thing—a place where created objects get dissolved during the disintegration of the created universe. Since, according to Hinduism, it is the same god that creates, sustains and withdraws the universe, the Shivalinga represents symbolically God Himself. Some Western scholars, such as Monier-Williams and Wendy Doniger, also view linga as a phallic symbol, although this interpretation is disputed by others of valid vedic knowledge, including Christopher Isherwood, Vivekananda, Swami Sivananda, and S.N. Balagangadhara.
There is a hymn in the Atharvaveda which praises a pillar (Sanskrit: stambha), and this is the old origin of linga-worship. The worship of the Shiva-Linga originated from the famous hymn in the Atharva-Veda Samhitâ sung in praise of the Yupa-Stambha, the sacrificial post. In that hymn, a description is found of the beginningless and endless Stambha or Skambha, and it is shown that the said Skambha is put in place of the eternal Brahman. Just as the Yajna (sacrificial) fire, its smoke, ashes, and flames, the Soma plant, and the ox that used to carry on its back the wood for the Vedic sacrifice gave place to the conceptions of the brightness of Shiva’s body, his tawny matted hair, his blue throat, and the riding on the bull of the Shiva, the Yupa-Skambha gave place in time to the Shiva-Linga. In the text Linga Purana, the same hymn is expanded in the shape of stories, meant to establish the glory of the great Stambha and the superiority of Shiva as Mahadeva.
The twelve Jyotirlingas (lingams of light) are sacred shrines of Lord Shiva, and centres for his worship. They are known as Swayambhus, meaning the lingams sprung up by themselves at these places and temples were built there afterwards. Temples are listed in the India tourist guides. Ramakrishna practiced Jivanta-linga-puja, or “worship of the living lingam”. At the Paris Congress of the History of Religions in 1900, Ramakrishna’s follower Swami Vivekananda argued that the Shiva-Linga had its origin in the idea of the Yupa-Stambha or Skambha—the sacrificial post, idealized in Vedic ritual as the symbol of the Eternal Brahman.
Five is a sacred number for Shiva. One of his most important mantras has five syllables (namaḥ śivāya). Shiva’s body is said to consist of five mantras, called the pañcabrahmans. As forms of God, each of these have their own names and distinct iconography: Sadyojāta (Hiranmaya), Vāmadeva (Narayana), Aghora (Rudra), Tatpuruṣha (Īśvara), Īsāna (Sadaśiva). These are represented as the five faces of Shiva and are associated in various texts with the five elements, the five senses, the five organs of perception, and the five organs of action. Doctrinal differences and, possibly, errors in transmission, have resulted in some differences between texts in details of how these five forms are linked with various attributes. The overall meaning of these associations is summarized by Stella Kramrisch:Through these transcendent categories, Śiva, the ultimate reality, becomes the efficient and material cause of all that exists.
According to the Pañcabrahma Upanishad:One should know all things of the phenomenal world as of a fivefold character, for the reason that the eternal verity of Śiva is of the character of the fivefold Brahman. (Pañcabrahma Upanishad 31).
Shiva, as the god of destroying evil, is the third among the divine trinity of Hindu mythology. The holy mantra consisting of five-syllables: “Na” “Ma” “Shi” “Vaa” “Ya” (Om NamaH Shivaaya) in praise of Lord Shiva is chanted incessantly on special occasions like Shivaratri. His thousands of names, each of which describe His greatness, may also be chanted. Shiva means “auspicious”. As Shankara, He is the giver of happiness to all. Nataraja (the king of dancers) is a favourite form adored by dancers and musicians.
Maha Shivratri is a festival celebrated every year on the 13th night or the 14th day of the new moon in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Maagha or Phalguna (February/March) in the Hindu calendar. This festival is of utmost importance to the devotees of Lord Shiva. Mahashivaratri marks the night when Lord Shiva performed the ‘Tandava’ and it is also believed that Lord Shiva was married to Parvati. On this day the devotees observe fast and offer fruits, flowers and Bael leaves to Shiva Linga.
‘Sivaratri’ means ‘night of Lord Siva’. The important features of this religious function are rigid fasting for twentyfour hours and sleepless vigil during the night. Every true devotee of Lord Siva spends the night of Sivaratri in deep meditation, keeps vigil and observes fast. The worship of Lord Siva consists in offering flowers, Bilva leaves and other gifts on the Linga which is a symbol of Lord Siva, and bathing it with milk, honey, butter, ghee, rose-water, etc.
Maha Shivaratri is a Vedic and Hindu festival celebrated every year in reverence of Lord Shiva. Alternate common names/spellings include Maha Sivaratri, Shivaratri, Sivarathri, and Shivaratri. Shivaratri literally means the great night of Shiva or the night of Shiva. Mahashivaratri is celebrated every year on the 13th night/14th day of the Maagha or Phalguna month of the Hindu calendar. Since many different calendars are followed by various ethno-linguistic groups of India, the month and the Tithi name are not uniform all over India. Celebrated in the dark fortnight or Krishna Paksha(waning moon) of the month of Maagha according to the Shalivahana or Gujarati Vikrama or Phalguna according to the Vikrama era. The festival is principally celebrated by offerings of Bael or Bilva/Vilvam leaves to Lord Shiva, all-day fasting and an all-night-long vigil. In accordance with scriptural and discipleship traditions, penances are performed in order to gain boons in the practice of Yoga and meditation, in order to reach life’s summum bonum steadily and swiftly. A week-long International Mandi Shivratri Fair held at Mandi in the Indian state of Himachal Pradesh every year is one of the major tourist attractions in the state.
From the very early morning, Shiva temples are flocked by devotees and yogis, too young and old, who come to perform the traditional Shivalinga worship (puja) and hence hope for favours from the god. Devotees bathe at sunrise, preferably in the Ganga, or any other holy water source (like the Shiva Sagartank at Khajurao). This is a purificatory rite, an important part of all Hindu festivals. Wearing a clean piece of clothing after the holy bath, worshippers carry pots of water to the temple to bathe the Shivalinga. They offer prayers to the sun, Vishnu and Shiva.Women pray for the well-being of their husbands and sons. An unmarried woman prays for a husband like Shiva, who is considered to be the ideal husband. The temple reverberates with the sound of bells and shouts of “Shankara-Ji ki Jai” meaning ‘Hail Shiva’. Devotees circumambulate the linga, three or seven times, and then pour water over it. Some also pour milk.
According to the Shiva Purana, the Mahashivaratri worship must incorporate six items:
- Bathing the Shiva Linga with water, milk and honey, and Wood apple or bael leaves added to it, representing purification of the soul;
- The vermilion paste applied on the Shiv Linga after bathing it, representing virtue;
- Offering of fruits, which is conducive to longevity and gratification of desires;
- Burning incense, yielding wealth;- The lighting of the lamp which is conducive to the attainment of knowledge;
- Betel leaves marking satisfaction with worldly pleasures.
Tripundra refers to the three horizontal stripes of holy ash applied to the forehead by worshippers of Lord Shiva. These stripes symbolise spiritual knowledge, purity and penance (spiritual practice of Yoga), so also they represent the three eyes of Lord Shiva. Wearing a rosary made from the rudraksha seed of the rudraksha tree (said to have sprung from the tears of Lord Shiva) when worshipping Lord Shiva is ideal. A rudraksha seed is a mahogany-like color, sometimes black, and sometimes may have traces of sacred sandalwood powder, turmeric, kumkum, or holy ash if the rosary was used in worship ceremonies or anointed.
Maha Shivaratri is celebrated widely in the temples all over Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala and Tamil Nadu. Shiva is considered the Adi Guru (the First Master) from whom the yogic tradition originates. According to tradition, the planetary positions on this night are such that there is a powerful natural upsurge of energy in the human system. It is said to be beneficial for one’s physical and spiritual well-being to stay awake and aware throughout the night. On this day, artists from various fields such as music and dance perform the whole night.
This is a very special and rare puja conducted during 10 days of Maha Sivarathri festival. It is well known that Lord Siva is abhishekapriya (lover of ablutions). Lord Parasurama and Kroshta Muni, during their worship of the Lord here, are believed to have bathed the deity with Sahasrakalasam or a thousand pots of holy water according to Vedic rites. Now during Mahasivarathri festival days the Head Priest (Thanthri) and his team perform this puja. It is a ten day function, each day an offering of 101 Kalasam or pots of holy water (100 being made of silver, while one is made of gold), surcharged with mantras recited by learned Brahmins seated on the Mukhamantapam. These are emptied on the deity, the golden pot Brahmakalasam being the last one. A magnificent light is the indication or identity of Lord Shiva and the Shiva Lingam is considered to be the symbol of it. Hence, the formal worship on Maha Shivaratri consists of bathing the Shiva Lingam. Lord Shiva is said to be burning with the fire of austerity and so only those items are offered to Him that have a cooling effect. A cool water bath is believed to propitiate Him best. There is a belief among devotees that participation in Sahasrakalasam and offering holy worship materials, will lead to blessings with prosperity and peaceful life. Hundreds of devotees thronging the shrine with chants of “Namah Shivaya”, “Hara hara Mahadeva”, and “Sambho Mahadeva”…
Shiva Puja is the name of the action in Hinduism by which one worships Lord Siva through traditional and ancient rites with the use of mantra, tantra, kriyas, mudras, and abhishekam.Popular Puja may take an eclectic or North Indian style, whereas more specific traditions or castes may have their own specific forms. General worship of Shiva God is quite diverse and can range from worshipping an anthropomorphic murti (Such as the famous Tamil Nataraja statues from the ancient Chola Kingdom), a Lingam (one of Shiva’s main symbols), a deified landmark (such as the Ganges or Mount Kailash) or not worshipping a symbol at all (as in the case of the Lingayats).
Among the most important attributed to Shiva is the Shiva Purana, which describes in various stories the mythological origins of puja implements. Shiva Abhishekam is usually performed to a Lingam representing his manifestation as a creator of good (by destroying evil).In many temples, one finds a vessel hung over the Lingam called thaara paathra, that continuously drips water or other offerings onto the Lingam in deference to Shiva’s desire for Abhisheka. Since Shiva is said to wear Nageshwara (Snake God) as an ornament around his neck, it is said that the fragrance of Aloe (which attracts snakes) is also a very holy item to be used for the worship of Shiva. In contrast, it said that Lord Vishnu is Alankara Priyar (Desirous of ornamentation). Hence Vishnu Sthalas (places of worship of Lord Vishnu) have elaborately carved idols of Lord Vishnu with the alankaram (decoration ceremony) post the abhishekam, being a very elaborate ritual. In any discussion of Hinduism, it is important to remember that these rituals are an off shoot of the interpretation of Vedas, the holy text of Hindus. These texts by themselves do not outline the deities or rituals for their worship thereof.
Some of the common items used for Shiva Abhisheka are:
4. Tender Coconut water
5. Vibhuti (holy ash)
6. Panchamruta (Curd based delicacy consisting of Panch(5) items: Milk, Sugar, Ghee (clarified butter), Honey, curd)
8. Sandalwood Paste
9. Ghee (Clarified butter)
The below are two of the most popular Shiva Slokas
The Mahamrityunjaya Mantra reads (IAST transliteration):
tryambakaṃ yajāmahe sugandhiṃ puṣṭi-vardhanam |
urvā rukamiva bandhanān mṛtyor mukṣīya māmṛtāt ||
In the translation of Arthur Berriedale Keith, 1914):”OM. We worship and adore you, O three-eyed one, O Shiva. You are sweet gladness, the fragrance of life, who nourishes us, restores our health, and causes us to thrive. As, in due time, the stem of the cucumber weakens, and the gourd is freed from the vine, so free us from attachment and death, and do not withhold immortality.”
Sri Lingashtakam is a popular 8-canto hymn chanted during the worship of Lord Shiva. The lyrics are as below:
Brahma Muraari Suraarchita Lingam
Nirmala Bhashita Shobhita Lingam |
Janmaja Dukha Vinaashaka Lingam
Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam || 1||
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is adored by Brahma, Vishnu and other Gods, which is praised by pure and holy speeches and which destroys the cycle of births and deaths.
Devamuni Pravaraarchita Lingam
Kaamadaham Karunaakara Lingam |
Raavana Darpa Vinaashaka Lingam
Tat Pranamaami Sada Shiva Lingam || 2||
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is the destroyer of desires, which the Devas and the sages worship, which is infinitely compassionate and which subdued the pride of Raavana.
Sarva Sugandha Sulepitha Lingam
Buddhi Vivardhana Kaarana Lingam |
Siddha Suraasura Vanditha Lingam
Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam || 3||
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is lavishly smeared with variegated perfumes and scents, which elevates the power of thought and enkindles the light of discrimination, and before which the Siddhas and Suras and Asuras prostrate.
Kanaka Mahaamani Bhushitha Lingam
Phanipathi Veshtitha Shobhitha Lingam |
Daksha Suyajna Vinaashaka Lingam
Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam || 4||
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, the destroyer of Dakshas sacrifice, which is decorated with various ornaments, studded with different gems and rubies and which glows with the garland of the serpent Lord coiled around it.
Kumkuma Chandana Lepitha Lingam
Pankaja Haara Sushobhitha Lingam |
Sanchitha Paapa Vinaashaka Lingam
Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam || 5||
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, which is smeared with saffron and sandal paste, which is decorated with lotus garlands and which wipes out all accumulated sins.
Devaganaarchitha Sevitha Lingam
Bhaavair Bhakti Bhirevacha Lingam |
Dinakara Koti Prabhakara Lingam
Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam || 6||
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga which is worshipped by the multitude of Gods with genuine thoughts full of faith and devotion and whose splendor is like that of a million suns.
Ashta Dalopari Veshtitha Lingam
Sarva Samudbhava Kaarana Lingam |
Ashta Daridra Vinaashaka Lingam
Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam ||7||
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga, destroyer of all poverty and misery in its eight aspects, which is the cause of all creation and which stands on the eight petalled Lotus.
Suraguru Suravara Pujitha Lingam
Suravana Pushpa Sadaarchitha Lingam |
Paraatparam Paramatmaka Lingam
Tat Pranamaami Sadaa Shiva Lingam || 8||
Meaning: I bow before that Sada Shiva Linga which is the Transcendent Being and the Supreme Self, worshipped by all Suras and their preceptor (Brhaspathi), with innumerable flowers from the celestial gardens.
Aum Namah Shivaya (Sanskrit: Aum Namaḥ Śivāya ॐ नमः शिवाय) is a popular mantra in Hinduism and particularly in Shaiva. Its translation is “adoration (namas) to Śiva“, preceded by the mystical syllable “Aum“. It is also called Panchakshara, the “five-syllable” mantra (viz., excluding the Aum). It is part of the Shri Rudram Chamakam, a Hindu prayer taken from the Krishna Yajurveda, and thus predates the use of Shiva as a proper name, in the original context being an address to Rudra (the later Shiva), where śiva retains its original meaning as an adjective meaning “auspicious, benign, friendly”, a euphemistic epithet of Rudra.
The meaning of the “Namaḥ Śivāya” mantra was explained by Satguru Sivaya Subramuniya-swami:Namaḥ Śivāya is the most holy name of Śiva God, recorded at the very center of the Vedas and elaborated in the Śaiva Agamas. Na is the Lord’s concealing grace, Ma is the world, Śi stands for Śiva,Vaa is His revealing grace, Ya is the soul. The five elements, too, are embodied in this ancient formula for invocation. Na is earth, Ma is water, Śi is fire, Vā is air, and Ya is ether, or Ākāśa. Many are its meanings.
Namaḥ Śivaaya has such power, the mere intonation of these syllables reaps its own reward in salvaging the soul from bondage of the treacherous instinctive mind and the steel bands of a perfected externalized intellect. Namaḥ Śivāya quells the instinct, cuts through the steel bands and turns this intellect within and on itself, to face itself and see its ignorance. Sages declare that mantra is life, that mantra is action, that mantra is love and that the repetition of mantra, japa, bursts forth wisdom from within.
The holy Natchintanai proclaims, “Namaḥ Śivāya is in truth both Āgama and Veda. Namah Śivāya represents all mantras and tantras. Namaḥ Śivaya is our souls, our bodies and possessions. Namaḥ Śivāya has become our sure protection.” — Satguru Sivaya Subramuniyaswami
The book “The Ancient Power of Sanskrit Mantra and Ceremony: Volume I” by Thomas Ashley-Farrand defines Om Namah Shivaya as:
“This mantra has no direct translation. The sounds relate directly to the principles which govern each of the first five chakras on the spine…Earth, water, fire, air, ether. Notice that this does not refer to the chakras themselves which have a different set of seed sounds, but rather, the principles which govern those chakras in their place. A very rough, non-literal translation could be something like, ‘Om and salutations to that which I am capable of becoming.’ This mantra will start one out on the path of subtle development of spiritual attainments. It is the beginning on the path of Siddha Yoga, or the Yoga of Perfection of the Divine Vehicle.”
“Na” refers to the Gross Body (annamayakosa), “Ma” refers to the Pranic Body (pranamayakosa), “Shi” or “Śi” refers to the Mental Body (manonmayakosa), “Va” refers to the Intellectual Body (vignanamayakosa) and “Ya” refers to the Blissful Body (anandamayakosa) and “OM” or the “silence” beyond these syllables refers to the Soul or Life within.
The Lyrics or text of the strotram given below in (Latin alphabet)
Nityaya Shuddhaya Digambaraya
Tasmai Nakaraya Namah Shivaya ||1||
Mandakini salila chandana charchitaya
Nandishvara pramathanatha Maheshvaraya
Mandarapushpa bahupushhpa supujitaya
Tasmai Makaraya Namah Shivaya ||2||
Shivaya Gauri vadanabjavrunda
Suryaya Dakshadhvara Nashakaya
Tasmai Shikaraya Namah Shivaya ||3||
Vasishhtha kumbhodbhava gautamarya
Munindra devarchita shekharaya
Tasmai Vakaraya Namah Shivaya ||4||
Divyaya Devaya Digambaraya
Tasmai Yakaraya Namah Shivaya ||5||
The lyrics or text of Shiva Panchakshari Mantra Strotra in Hindi or Sanskrit script below
नित्याय शुद्धाय दिगम्बराय
तस्मै नकाराय नमः शिवाय ||१||
मन्दाकिनी सलिला चंदना चर्चिताय
नंदिश्वारा प्रमाथानाथा महेश्वराय
मंदारापुश्पा बहुपुश्ह्पा सुपुजिताया
तस्मै मकाराय नमः शिवाय ||२||
शिवाय गौरी वादानाब्जवृन्दा
सूर्याय दक्शाध्वारा नशाकाया
तस्मै शिकाराय नमः शिवाय ||३||
वसिष्ठ कुम्भोद्भावा गौतामार्य
मुनीन्द्र देवार्चिता शेखाराया
तस्मै वकाराय नमः शिवाय ||४||
दिव्याय देवाय दिगम्बराय
तस्मै यकाराय नमः शिवाय ||५||
Meaning of The Shiva Panchakshari Mantra Strotra
Salutations to Shiva, who wears the king of snakes as a garland, thethree-eyed god, whose body is smeared with ashes, the great lord, theeternal and pure one, who wears the directions as his garment, and whois represented by the syllable “NA“.
I bow to Shiva, who has been worshiped with water from the Ganga(Mandakini) and anointed with sandalwood paste, the lord of Nandi, thelord of the host of goblins and ghosts, the great lord, who is worshipedwith Mandara and many other kinds of flowers, and who is represented bythe syllable “MA“.
Salutations to Shiva, who is all-auspiciousness, who is the sun thatcauses the lotus face of Gauri (Parvati) to blossom, who is thedestroyer of the yajna of Daksha, whose throat is blue (Nilakantha),whose flag bears the emblem of the bull, and who is represented by thesyllable “SHI” (ŚI).
Vasishhtha, Agastya, Gautama, and other venerable sages, and Indra andother gods have worshipped the head of (Shiva’s linga). I bow to thatShiva whose three eyes are the moon, sun and fire, and who isrepresented by the syllable “VA‘.
Salutations to Shiva, who bears the form of a Yaksha, who has mattedhair on his head, who bears the Pinaka bow in his hand, the primevallord, the brilliant god, who is digambara (naked), and who isrepresented by the syllable “YA“.
Kailash, Kailāsa (कैलास) in Sanskrit, is the most Holy Mountain of the world near Nepal, Tibet (China) and India border. Elevation is 6,638 m (21,778 ft) and prominence is 1,319 m (4,327 ft). Mount Kailash is a peak in the Gangdisê Mountains, which are part of the Transhimalaya in Tibet. It lies near the source of some of the longest rivers in Asia: the Indus River, the Sutlej River (a major tributary of the Indus River), the Brahmaputra River, and the Karnali River (a tributary of the Ganges River). It is considered a sacred place in four religions: Bön, Vedism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. In Vedic tradition and Hinduism, it is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva and a place of eternal bliss. The mountain lies near Lake Manasarowar and Lake Rakshastal in Tibet.
The mountain is known as Kailāsa (कैलास) in Sanskrit. The word may be derived from the word kēlāsa (केलास) which means “crystal”. In his Tibetan-English dictionary, Chandra (1902: p. 32) identifies the entry for ‘kai la sha’ which is a loan word from Sanskrit ‘kailāsa’ (Devanagari: कैलास). The Tibetan name for the mountain is Gangs Rin-po-che. Gangs or Kang is the Tibetan word for snow peak analogous to alp or himal; rinpoche is an honorific meaning “precious one” so the combined term can be translated “precious jewel of snows”.
“Tibetan Buddhists call it Kangri Rinpoche; ‘Precious Snow Mountain’. Bon texts have many names: Water’s Flower, Mountain of Sea Water, Nine Stacked Swastika Mountain. For Hindus, it is the home of the mountain Shiva God and a symbol of his power symbol Om; for Jains it is where their first leader was enlightened; for Buddhists, the navel of the universe; and for adherents of Bon, the abode of the sky goddess Sipaimen.” Another local name for the mountain is Tisé mountain, which derives from ti tse in the Zhang-Zhung language, meaning “water peak” or “river peak”, connoting the mountain’s status as the source of the mythical Lion, Horse, Peacock and Elephant Rivers, and in fact the Indus, Yarlung Tsangpo/Dihang/Brahmaputra, Karnali and Sutlej all begin in the Kailash-Lake Manasarovar region.
According to Hinduism, Lord Shiva, the destroyer of ignorance and illusion, resides at the summit of a legendary mountain named Kailāsa, where he sits in a state of perpetual meditation along with his wife Pārvatī. According to Charles Allen, one description in the Vishnu Purana of the mountain states that its four faces are made of crystal, ruby, gold, and lapis lazuli. It is a pillar of the world and is located at the heart of six mountain ranges symbolizing a lotus. The largest and most important rock-cut temple, Kailash Temple at Ellora, Maharashtra is named after Mount Kailash. Many of its sculptures and reliefs depict episodes relating to Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati, including Ravana’s tale. (Ravana was a devotee of Lord Shiva. Ramayana does not document Ravana shaking the mountain.) Ravana’s mother had fallen ill. As they were great Lord Shiva devotees, he had attempted to carry the temple on his back to bring it closer to his mother. Shiva, being stunned by his boldness, had blessed him with immortality as Ravana had passed Lord Shiva’s test of devotion.
In Jainism, Kailash is also known as Mount Ashtapada and is the site where the first Jain Tirthankara, Rishabhadeva, attained Nirvana/moksa (liberation). The authenticity of Mount Kailash being Mount Ashtapada is highly debated. Tantric Buddhists and Bon followers believe that Mount Kailash is the home of the Buddha Demchok (also known as Demchog or Chakrasamvara), who represents supreme bliss as Shiva God. There are numerous sites in the region associated with Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava, Shiva follower), whose Shaiva tantric practices in holy sites around Tibet are credited with finally establishing Buddhism as the main religion of the country in the 7th-8th century CE. The Bön, a religion which predates Buddhism in Tibet, maintain that the entire mystical region and the nine-story Swastika Mountain are the seat of all spiritual power. Every year, thousands make a pilgrimage to Kailash, following a tradition going back thousands of years. Pilgrims of several religions believe that circumambulating Mount Kailash on foot is a holy ritual that will bring good fortune. The peregrination is made in a clockwise direction by Hindus and Buddhists. Followers of the Jain and Bönpo religions circumambulate the mountain in a counterclockwise direction. The path around Mount Kailash is 52 km (32 mi) long. Some pilgrims believe that the entire walk around Kailash should be made in a single day, which is not considered an easy task. A person in good shape walking fast would take perhaps 15 hours to complete the 52 km trek. Some of the devout do accomplish this feat, little daunted by the uneven terrain, altitude sickness and harsh conditions faced in the process.
Indeed, other pilgrims venture a much more demanding regimen, performing body-length prostrations over the entire length of the circumambulation: The pilgrim bends down, kneels, prostrates full-length, makes a mark with his fingers, rises to his knees, prays, and then crawls forward on hands and knees to the mark made by his/her fingers before repeating the process. It requires at least four weeks of physical endurance to perform the circumambulation while following this regimen. The mountain is located in a particularly remote and inhospitable area of the Tibetan Himalayas. A few modern amenities, such as benches, resting places and refreshment kiosks, exist to aid the pilgrims in their devotions. According to all religions that revere the mountain, setting foot on its slopes is a dire sin. It is claimed that many people who ventured to defy the taboo have died in the process. It is a popular belief that the stairways on Mount Kailash lead to the Heavens.
Following the political and border disturbances across the Chinese-Indian boundary, pilgrimage to the legendary abode of Lord Shiva was stopped from 1954 to 1978. Thereafter, a limited number of Indian pilgrims have been allowed to visit the place, under the supervision of the Chinese and Indian governments either by a lengthy and hazardous trek over the Himalayan terrain, travel by land from Kathmandu or from Lhasa where flights from Kathmandu are available to Lhasa and thereafter travel over the great Tibetan plateau by car. The journey takes four night stops, finally arriving at Darchen at elevation of 4,600 m (15,100 ft), small outpost that swells with pilgrims at certain times of year. Despite its minimal infrastructure, modest guest houses are available for foreign pilgrims, whereas Tibetan pilgrims generally sleep in their own tents. A small regional medical center serving far-western Tibet and funded by the Swiss Ngari Korsum Foundation was built here in 1997.
Walking around the holy mountain—a part of its official park—has to be done on foot, pony or yak, taking some three days of trekking starting from a height of around 15,000 ft (4,600 m) past the Tarboche (flagpole) to cross the Drölma pass 18,200 ft (5,500 m), and encamping for two nights en route. First, near the meadow of Dirapuk gompa, some 2 to 3 km (1.2 to 1.9 mi) before the pass and second, after crossing the pass and going downhill as far as possible (viewing Gauri Kund in the distance). The most holy mountain of Shiva Tradition, Kailāsa (कैलास) in Sanskrit, is in Tibet, so it is clear that near this mountain is the heart of old Shaiva traditions and may be all Arya civilization sources!
Think of a car with missing parts: Imagine you see a car, and your friend says, “What’s that?” You say, “It’s a car”. Imagine that the car is missing a wheel, and your friend asks you the same question. Still, you say, “It’s a car”. But what if all four wheels were gone, and the doors were gone, and the engine was gone. Then, what would you say when your friend asked, “What’s that?” You might say something like, “Junk”. We may not know the exact point of change, but somewhere along the way, in removing the parts, you’d naturally stop saying, “It’s a car”…… and you are certainly not picking me up at 8 o’clock. Get the point?
Think of Yoga with missing parts: At what point, and after how much adaptation to modern culture, does Yoga cease to be Yoga? When Yoga is stripped of its higher goals and methods, can it still be called Yoga? When is Yoga no longer Yoga?
Bricks and houses: Imagine that you hold a brick in your hand, and say to a person, “This is a house!” To hold out asanas (postures) and say, “This is Yoga!” makes as much sense as saying that a single brick is a house. Both are confusing a minor, though useful part with the whole.
One of the most common comments used to justify the modern devolutions of Yoga is in saying something like, “But it’s useful! It helped me!” It is as if they think that pointing out the true nature of Yoga is somehow in opposition to doing other activities that are of benefit to human beings. The argument is that if people become flexible and less stressed, the method is therefore called Yoga. Sorry, it is not.
The fact that physical postures or the modern revisions are effective is not the question. Doing asanas is beneficial, but calling it Yoga is a different matter. The fact that the brick is useful does not make it a house. Any physical exercise, such as walking or playing tennis is useful, but that does not make it Yoga. Aerobics, calisthenics, jazzercise, and kickboxing may also be useful, but that does not make them Yoga. Massage therapy, physical therapy, and respiratory therapy are useful, but that does not make them Yoga. Psychotherapy and counseling are useful, but that does not make them Yoga.
The argument that the tiny piece of Yoga called asana, when not even practiced as the foundations of knowledge from that paradigm, is useful is not a legitimate justification to reverse the part and the whole, and thus claim that Yoga, when stripped of its path, goal, and practices, is still Yoga. It is not.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Want to get blissed out? Wanna rock out to the latest yoga beats while jumping from downward dog to crow pose into a handstand? How about being on top of the latest fashions for your yoga class? Don’t wanna miss the group meet up at the local coffee bar after class for the latest gossip. Got a crush on your teacher although you know he is sleeping with four of his students, all at the same time, but they don’t know? Wanna find the best class to get a really good sweat on that makes you wake up sore in the morning? Make sure you set your best intention and desires before class? Did your yoga guru get caught with his pants down in actions that are not fitting with the system he created or the guru status you gave him? Does your teacher jump around half naked, chanting at the beginning of class, slaughtering the sanskrit pronunciations of mantras and deities that are supposed to be worshipped only at night or at certain times? Maybe even your yoga teacher has been giving spiritual names to students, yes, this and more is happening out there.
Okay. Yes, I am being sarcastic or picking fun at the laughable truth of the stuff that is going on out there in this Modern World of Yoga. It is really kinda sick and insane when you have the sight of and reverence of the sacred and depth of knowledge of what these sciences are and where they come from. if you have this sight, you see just how delusional the modern world is.
The thing is, most people don’t have a clue what yoga is and are blindly just accepting anything as yoga now. They have just jumped upon the newest bandwagon blindly and are now walking around believing that they are becoming spiritual because of exercise and breathing. Most of what is going on out there is pretending and copying with very little knowledge of any foundation of what, why, and how. Other reading this right now might be saying that I am being judgmental or that there is so many forms of yoga or that yoga is what yoga is to the individual. Check it out. With that attitude nothing is truth, there is no belief in anything, nothing has any knowledge as it is only what one thinks it is, and there is certainly no validity to any experience your having except a narcissistic one. That idea, negates and invalidates this science and the entirety of all ancient texts ever being written about yoga and also what you yourself are supposed to be experiencing in what yoga is supposed to deliver today. This great system did manifest somewhere. It has been written down and codified by many lineages that have experience and real progress as well as results on spiritual paths, and has been relatively the same in its foundations since it conception until the Western culture got its hands on it. Now it is hardly recognizable to the original thing and has no results of what it is stated in the texts as. So what is the basis of it all?
The past maybe 15 posts or so have been quotes from those ancient texts and there are more coming. Read them for yourself, see what you think. Red pill or blue pill? Think you really know anything about yoga?
निर्विषेणापि सर्पेण कर्तव्या महति फणा |
विषमस्तु न चाप्यस्तु फटाटोपो भयंकर: ||
The non poisonous snake should also imitate like a poisonous one! (Only for the sake of self defense) Regardless of whether the snake has poison or not the hissing of snake will create the terror in the other’s mind.
There is one small story regarding this. Once a poisonous snake used to bite many people passing by the way. When Sri Shankaracharya came to know this he advised the snake not to bite people and trouble them. After few months when Sri Shankaracharya was passing by the same way he noticed that the snake had become very much weak and had many wounds. “What’s the matter? Why have you become like this?”, asked the great seer. It replied, “Oh guruji! You only had told me not to bite the people. When people came to know that I do not cause any harm, they started pelting stones at me”. Sri Shankaracharya replied, “I had only told you not to bite the people. But I didn’t tell you that you should stop hissing at the others!” It is said that a ‘yogi’ should not loose his temper and should be above all the emotions. Then how should a ‘yogi’ react to the wrong/ill things that people may commit around him? It’s like the nonpoisonous snake above!! He should ‘hiss’ but should not cause any harm to others.
Yoga, Ayurveda, (sister sciences) and Chinese medicine is all based on energy. In the western culture we don’t even have a language for energy much less even believe in it. The “bibles” of Yoga are the Bhagavad Gita and The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. Narada Sutras on bhakti. The Rig Veda and Artharvaveda. The Katha Upanishad and the Shvetasvatara Upanishad is where the term yoga is first used. The Brahmanas is where all the prana and pranayama is deeply written about and sub “bibles” (tikas) of yoga are plentiful too but are not on the NY Times best seller list and most are only in Hindi or other languages not yet translated to english. These ancient texts have brought to us the knowledge of what “yoga” is, what it has to offer, and the results of that path when followed. They are clear when one spends time with them and with a practice. Even when its only an english translation. They are not for ones open interpretation and manipulation and it is clearly not what ever someone in the Western world wants it to be. One would have to be quite arrogant and ignorant to think that a system that has been in place for over 5,000 years and has so many texts describing the depth can then be changed because one think it should be or it should be changed for the adharmic culture to fit. Specially without understanding and having experience of that system completely beforehand. It makes no sense at all. But alas, Na punyam na paapam na saukhyam na dukham, chidananda rupa Shivoham Shivoham.Georg Feurstein, another well recognized scholar and teacher, is quoted in a July/August 2003 article in the online LA Yoga Magazine. When asked, “How would you describe Yoga in the US today?” he responded: “It’s a mess! And you can quote me on that. Anything that comes to America or the West in general, immediately gets individualized and commercialized…. Today even beginning teachers feel qualified to innovate and create their own trademarked Yoga system.
Asana alone is not yoga at all. It will not and can not bring you there and won’t. It is a car without an engine or wheels. Really. You do not become enlightened from exercise. In truth, Western exercise does just the opposite. Exercise (vyayam or saahasa) is Rajasic (specially based on the western theory of exercise and not yogic fundamental understanding) or the force which promotes action. It pulls you away from the light. It will just spin you further away, further into the external. It creates activity of the mind. Like increases like. But there is so much more than that.
In ayurveda and yoga, vata is the air and ether elements combined. It is one of the three elemental energies or humors. “Vata is the source of both structure and function [of the body]. It is that which is represented by the five forms [of the bodily currents]: prana, udana, samana, vyana, and apana. It is the initiator of the upward and downward flow [of all internal processes such as circulation, metabolism, etc.]; the controller and guiding force of consciousness; the stimulant of the senses; the companion of sensations; the organizer of the elements of the body; the principle of synthesis; the storage battery of speech; the cause of feelings and perception; the origin of excitement and stimulation; it fans the gastric fire, dries out harmful phlegm; expels excrements; is purifier of the coarse and the fine channels of the body; the creator of the fetal form; the principle of life preservation. All these are the normal functions of vata in our body” (Charaka Samhita 1. 12:8). Disturbance of any one of these functions leads to illness and creation of disease. It is responsible for all of the sensory and motor functions of the body or in other words it is energy, prana, chi, or vital force. It is subcategorized into the 5 pranas. It is prana.
Side bar: (The following is very very superficial knowledge and there is so much more to all of this. I hesitate to even write this post because of how much more depth there is. If you are a yoga teacher and you do not know all of this already, you really should be ashamed to call yourself a yoga teacher.)
The prana are:
There are 5 more in yoga:
Asana is simply and only to balance the five pranas of the body. This balance creates health in the body mind by creating healthy functioning of these energies. Every organs functioning is due to the proper functioning of the proper flow of energy. Every asana has a specific effect on the prana. If you are just going through a yoga class that the teacher has strung something together because he or she likes it, well…. Disastrous. Actually more than that, disease forming from the lens of the very fundamentals of asana. But we have made it whatever we want today based in Western exercise. Interesting huh?
There are twelve substances as prana factors that are associated as prana:
Vata – activating and animating force
Pitta – transforming force
Kapha – developmental and structural force
Sattva – (see other post)
Rajas – (on the mahagunas)
Tamas – (or trigunya)
The 5 sense organs (jnanendriya): the eye, ear, nose, tongue, and skin
and the Purusha (soul) with all of its past karma.
Hardly known, but there are actually over 30 different physically discernable pranas in the gross body. And most everyone out there just thinks energy is whatever they want it to be. It really does not work like that at all. There is so much detail to all of this as you can see.
There are ten seats of prana (dasha pranayatana):
—– These first 6 are also marmas—–
Moordha – the head
Kantha – the throat
Hrdayam – the heart
Nabhi – the umbilicus
Guda – the anal region
Basti – the bladder region
Ojas – ojas the essence of all 7 tissues (sapta dhatus) (ojas is not immunity)
Shukra – the semen
Shonita – the blood
Mamsa – the flesh
These are the ten ashrayas of prana. Though the 12 prana factors remains in each of the tissue of the body, there are a few places as these that are the seat of prana and any injury, damage or loss in the structure on these places may lead to death as these are also the vital organs of the body. If they are involved in the disease process along with other vital organs then the disease becomes difficult to cure. Shukra being in this list speaks of the meaning of Brahmacharya in yoga. The sperm is a seat of prana. Think.
In yoga there are 72,000 nadis or energy channels that this Prana is carried through. There are three main channels that are focused upon in yoga.
These were explained in Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Gheranda Samhita and Siva Samhita but not in Patanjali Yoga Sutras. The pranic system with the chakras was then taken into the Buddhist world where it was elaborated upon even more. Moreover, there is a text called the Shivaswarodaya that is all about the pranic flow in the system that speaks about the changing of the flow from one nostril to another in detail. In general though…
The three main channels are:
Sushumna Nadi connects the base chakra to the crown chakra. It is very important in Yoga and Tantra in general. In Raja Yoga or Yoga of Patanjali, when the mind is quieted or controlled through the following of Yama, Niyama, Asana, and Pranayama the important state of Pratyahara begins. A person entering this state never has problems of dispersion of mind. This is characterised by observing the movements/jerks in sushumna, the central canal in the subtle body. The movements indicate the flow of prana through the central canal and in the process, the sushumna makes the way for the ascent of Kundalini.
Pingala is associated with solar energy. The word pingala means “tawny” in Sanskrit. Pingala is masculine energy. Its temperature is heating and courses from the left testicle to the right nostril. Pingala is the extroverted, solar nadi, and corresponds to the left hand side of the brain. Pingala nadi controls all the vital processes.
Ida is associated with lunar energy sometime it is based on solar energy. The word ida means “comfort” in Sanskrit. Idā is the feminine energy and has a cooling effect. It courses from the right testicle to the left nostril. Ida nadi controls all the mental processes. Ida is the introverted, lunar nadi, and refers to the right hand side of the brain.
Right solar channel
masculine, logic, action, external, objectivity, sympathetic nervous system, conscious mind, rajas, physical activity, eating, intellectual study, commerce and business deals, travel and sex. When you are about to eat the right nostril should be open as to create a proper digestive capacity.
Left nostril open is good for sleep. The opposites apply for the left.
In the morning at sunrise the center channel is open in a healthy being, same as at the sunset. Between these times the air flow changes between the two nostrils from left to right and right to left, about every hour and a half. The biorhythms, one might say, are controlled by this rhythm of change of the flow of the nostrils. Right nostril open and the left brain is active. Left… the opposite. Right is Pingala, left is Ida. They are those solar and lunar channels. The left nostril open is cooling of the body and mind, an introverted mind is active and the PH balance of the body is alkaline. (sorry all of you PH balance diet people out there, it is controlled by deeper functions in the system) When the right is dominant, just the opposite occurs. When sushumna nadi is open, the mind is calm and quite. You are in your unconscious mind in a dormant state. This is why you can enter into deep meditation and samadhi without much effort. Rishis, yogis, and scriptures speak very highly of these two periods of time.
In the 1970s “chronopsychology” was the science of the biorhythms of the body and how your biorhythms affect the mind, emotions and physical activity capacity of the body. Funny how western science continues to try to reinvent the wheel but forgets the hub every time. They still didn’t correlate the breath in their findings.
The entire health of the body is based upon the energy balance and proper flow at the proper times. For example if you were to take a cotton ball, try this, and close one nostril for several hours, you will definitely feel what I mean. Actually don’t try this, it is dangerous, it can create emotional disturbances, ph chemistry and functioning of the physiology imbalances, digestive issues, among many other disturbances.
What does this say for a yoga practice, well check this out. Try this out for yourself. If you have any awareness of energy of the body and how it flows you can easily feel that if you are to do a sun salutation with only one nostril open it imbalances the bodily energy system. Try it. Then compare it to another time when sushumna nadi is open and both nostrils are equal.
This is why an asana practice is only practiced when the center channel is open at sun rise or sunset or if you know how to manipulate it open.
As you can see a yoga practice is meant from its foundational understanding to be an extremely aware solo practice or under the guidance of a true guru. Every asana has an energetic focus and result on the body. A sun salutation, when done correctly is quite balanced and balancing to the system. It is also the easiest to learn and perform. Done improperly, it will imbalance the entire system.
Chakras are nothing more than large nadis, bioenergetic activity emanating from the major nerve ganglia branching forward from the spinal column. We usually have only heard of the 7 basic popular ones. There are many more but these are them. The deeper understanding of the chakras unfolds the subtle anatomy and understanding about how these energy centers are linked to your actions, thoughts, physical health and how you relate internally to externally. They also are at a focus of asana and creating expansion and liberation or dissolving karma. There are also front (conscious) sides to the chakras and back (unconscious) sides of them.
Adhara Base or Root Chakra relates to Bhuloka or Maartyaloka
Swadhisthana Sacral Chakra relates to Bhuvaloka with the navagraha devatas
Manipura Solar Plexus Chakra relates to Svargaloka and the digpala devatas
Anahata Heart Chakra relates to Mahaloka
Vishuddha Throat Chakra relates to Janaloka
Soma Pineal Gland
Tala Upper Palate
Ajnakhya Brow or Third Eye Chakra relates to Tapaloka
Amrit Responsible for Moksha
Guru Top back of head
Sahasrara Crown Chakra relates to Satyaloka
No you are not going to balance your chakras, that is a totally Western thing. it is so much more than some superficial idea like that. Your chakras are seen in your birth chart in Jyotish. So you think you have the power by having a massage to tune your chakras huh? Really? How deep do you think that knowledge is? Just another gimmick in the Western world of feel good about myself mundane spirituality.
Koshas are sheaths and are connected intimately to the chakras. They are more how we are seen in the world or how we relate to the external.
The physical sheath (annamaya kosha) is made of food. It is the physical body.The physical body is the grossest form of thought. The food consumed by the parents is converted into Shukra (semen) in men and Sonita in women (the reproductive fluid or apparatus) and by the combination of these the physical body is formed. After birth, the body grows drinking the mother’s milk which is only a transformation of the food consumed by the mother. The body is further developed by eating food. It gets dissolved in earth which is another form of food. The body is itself a food for other creatures. Hence it is called the food sheath, the material cage of the soul. The food sheath is an object of perception. The Atman (self) is the cogniser and the body is the cognized. Self is different from the body. In dream and deep sleep there is no consciousness of the body. The five elements of space, air, fire, water and earth make up the physical body. They are only modifications of Maya (illusory world) and are not the truth. The body, its name, shape, color, size, form, birth and death are not of the Self. The are qualities of the body. There is no physical body either before birth or after death. It is noneternal. Existence, birth, growth, modification, decay and death are the six Vikaras (defects) of the physical body. The space inside of a pot is not changed by the dropping and shattering of the pot. Atman (self) is the space.
Within it is the vital sheath made up of life-energy (pranamaya kosha)
The Pranamaya Kosha consists of the five Pranas and five Karma-Indriyas (organs of action). Prana is vata or the five pranas discussed earlier. It is devoid of sensation or consciousness; it is inanimate. Prana is only the active working of the mind. When clear headed we breath easily and healthfully when we are disturbed the breath is disturbed. Controlling the mind allows the prana to be controlled. The pranas are the rajasic manifestations of the mind which make up the individual existence. When the prana leaves the body the body dies, just as a car is with its gas, when it runs out the engine can no longer run.
Within the vital sheath is the mental sheath (manomaya kosha)
Made up of thought patterns. It consists of the mind and the five Jnana Indriyas (organs of knowledge). It is a means of enjoying pleasure and pain. The mind causes egoism in the body and “mine”-ness and passes outside through the avenues or channels of these five Indriyas. It is the internal instrument for gaining the experiences and knowledge of this material world. Mind is associated with the Vrittis (mind stuff or eddies), and is a terrible objectifying agent. Mind constantly changes itself. Yoga itself is the release of that functioning, completely dropping out of it, a totally different thing than a class on exercise. Yogashchittanirodhah = yoga is the complete cessation of the modifications of the mind, meaning no more, not less of.
Within the mental sheath is the wisdom sheath (vijnanamaya kosha)
Made up of detachment. It consists of the intellect in conjunction with the five organs of knowledge or the Jnana-Indriyas. During sleep it gets involution (Laya) along with Chidabhasa (the reflection of Pure Consciousness). During waking state it is the doer. It is an effect like a jar and is inanimate. It is just like the moon borrowing its light from the sun. It is not the eternal Self.
Within the wisdom sheath is the bliss sheath (anandamaya kosha)
Made up of pure joyous awareness. It is made of Mula-Ajnana (root potentialities) . It is the Karana Sarira (causal body) which is the substratum of all other sheaths which are external to it. Its three attributes are Priya (affection), Moda (delight) and Pramoda (intense bliss). It is the indescribable beginningless Avidya (ignorance), the nescience of the Atma (self), and is composed of Malina Sattwa (Sattva mixed with Rajas and Tamas). It is inanimate, beginningless, but has an end in Atma-Jnana (self knowledge).
- Taittiriya Upanishad and Moksha Gita
(Okay, here is the rant)
How many teachers even understand the five pranas or any of this stuff much less heard of them? How many teachers understand what each asanas purpose is or have ever read the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Sutras or any of the other ancient texts of Yoga? Not many, very few in fact. Not their fault though, our culture has sold yoga to the lowest bidder. Did you know that 85% of the yoga teachers out there have only done a 200 hour teacher training? That is most of the time 8 weekends only. The public does not know that you pay the membership club of yoga to authorize your teacher training then your students that have taken that training pay them as well. Much less is there any checks and balances or tests in these trainings. All of them (9) that I have personally attended, you show up and you get certified. The trainings I have attended have been extremely low in the terms of education of what yoga is really and completely focused on exercise based from a western lens. Yes, they do touch, for an hour or two, upon some of the other aspects of the yoga science but only in a side bar mention. Most of the trainings are about asana from a form of western exercise. Unfortunately, a good yoga teacher in America is based upon their looks and their charisma or charm more than real experience or knowledge. How do you know a yoga teacher is good? Can you refer a good brain surgeon based off of his charisma?
(okay, now back to the good stuff)
In the body there are other channels or srotas. One of them is the ambu maha srotas or water channel. This as well as other channels (srotamsi) get completely imbalanced and cause disease when you over exert. How about the pranas? Lets talk of that for a second. In yoga and ayurveda the limits of vyayama or saahasa (exercise) is to half capacity ever, and in that it is dependent upon the season (due to the seasons effect on the strength of the body) and the individuals overall health. This is the limit to the point you have to breath through your mouth or when you start to sweat. Beyond this means you have passed your limits. What happens is that when you have these physiological changes the energies of the body (5 pranas) are going out of balance. In both Western and Eastern systems one of the main cause of disease in later life is ativyayam or excessive exercise or atisaahasa or exertion in earlier life and you don’t see the results till much later in life.
When you start to sweat or break perspiration on your brow or under your nose, the body heat has increased to the point that the body needs to cool it off. Naturally the body makes you open your mouth to cool down the excessive internal heat. When you open your mouth to breath there is a conflict between heat and cold within your body. It confuses the body and creates an imbalance of doshas and prana and causes harm to the tissues. The strength of the body tissues weakens in time. This is why in yoga you only breathe through the nose.
Think about what turning the heat up in the “hot yoga” room beyond the core temperature of the body does to the body and the mind. The body tries to cool itself down and shuts down the digestive function as well as pours out the water of the system by sweating (Sveda Vaha Srotas is the sweat channel) to cool off. This will destroy the digestive system as well as others internal organs functions. It depletes and weakens body and mind as well as weakens the tissues, creates an imbalance of doshas and creates disease. The digestive capacity is know as agni or the digestive fire. In the summer the digestive fire is weak due to the heat of the long days of sun. In the winter the digestive fire is strong due to the external cold and how it pushes the heat to the koshta or torso and the hands and feet get cold. Not only this but then from a hot room you walk wet with sweat out into a cool or colder environment. This shocks the body, again vitiates vata, moves any disease that are already prevalent deeper or even worse, to the periphery where it is either impossible or much harder to treat.
ShatKarmas – The shatkarma or six exercises purification:
Dhauti, Vashti, Neti, Lauliki, Trataka, and Kapalabhati.
First kriya: dhauti.
The dhauti remove impurities from the body and are four types:
Antar—dhauti, Or cleansing;
Danta—dhauti, Or dental cleaning;
Hrid—dhauti, Or cleaning of the esophagus;
Mula—shodhana, or cleaning the rectum.
Antar—dhauti, Is divided into four parts:
Vatas or air cleaning;
Varisara or clean water;
Vahnisara (Agnis) or cleaning with fire
Bahishkrita or extraction cleaning.
Imitate with his mouth as the beak of a raven (kaki—mudra) And inspire slowly. Fill the stomach and air move in there. Then, gradually forcing it to eject through of the rectum.Vatas is a highly secret that purifies the body, cure all diseases and increases fire stomach.
Fill mouth thoroughly with water. Swallow slowly. In the stomach, move from side to side. Then slowly push it to eject through straight. This procedure should be kept secret, purifies the body and practiced carefully, you get a luminous body or shining. Varisara is the greatest dhauti. Whoever runs with easily cleanse your body unclean and become a heavenly body (divya—deha).
Vahnisara (Agnis)—dhauti: Press a hundred times abdomen against the spine. Namely Agnis or cleaning with fire. It assumes the successful practice of yoga, cures all diseases of the stomach and increases the internal fire. This form of dhauti, difficult to achieve even for the gods, must be kept secret because provides a heavenly body (divya—deha).
Adopt kaki—mudra (Beak-shaped mouth of a crow) and inspire slowly. Fill the air stomach and keep it there for hours. Then push forcing air into the intestines. This dhauti should be kept in great secrecy and not disclose it to anyone. Then up and submerged in water until belly button, remove the large intestine (shakti—nadi.) Hand wash until completely clean. Finally, reintroduce the abdomen. This procedure is difficult to achieve even for the gods, must be kept secret, it provides a heavenly body (deva—deha). While you can not hold your breath or air in the stomach for an hour and media, may not be that great dhauti or purification, known as bahishkrita.
Danta—dhauti includes the following practices:
Cleaning teeth (tapir—mule—dhauti),
Cleaning language (jihvâ—dhauti),
Cleaning ears (Karna—dhauti), And
Cleaning of the frontal sinuses (kapala—randhra—dhauti).
Danta—mule—dhauti: Rub the teeth with powdered acacia or with Pure Land to remove all the impurities. This cleaning is a great dhauti and yogis is a very important procedure in the practice of Yoga. Should be performed daily, every morning, to keep teeth healthy. The Yogis approved for purification.
Jihvâ—dhauti (jihvâ—sodhana.) I’ll tell you now the cleaning method language, which cancels lengthening old age, death and disease. Join the index and ring fingers and half entered into the throat. Rub it the root of the tongue and back cleaning, removing the mucus. Next, clean the tongue and rub with butter and milk and again. Squeeze and pull it over and over, as if it ordered. Finally, holding the tip of the tongue with a steel instrument, pulling gently. This practice should be carefully every day to the rising and setting the sun. This is achieved by the elongation of the tongue.
Karna—dhauti: Clean the holes in the ears index and ring fingers. The regular daily practice leads to the perception subtle sounds (nothing).
Kapala—randhra—dhauti: Rub depression front along the bridge of the nose with the thumb of his right hand. With this practice cure diseases caused by disorders of the humours phlegmatic (dosha).
The nadi are purified and obtained clairvoyance, or divine vision (divya—drishti.) Should be practiced waking day after each meal and at dusk.
Hrid—dhauti is of three types:
Danda—dhauti (Cleaning with a stem)
Vamana—dhauti (Clean water), and
Glass—dhauti (Cleaning with a strip of fabric).
Danda—dhauti: Take a stalk of bananas, turmeric, Plantain or cane and insert it slowly into the esophagus, taking it out then care. This practice would eliminate all mucus (kapha), Bile (pitta) And other impurities from the mouth and chest. Through danda—dhauti heal all chest diseases.
Vamana—dhauti: After meals should drink water to fill the stomach. then must be maintained time looking up. Finally, we proceed to vomit. Executed daily, heal the disorders caused by phlegm (kapha) And bile (pitta).
Glass—dhauti: Slowly swallowing thin cloth four fingers wide and take it out later. Namely glass—dhauti (vastra—dhauti). This technique eliminates the cure fever and abdominal diseases (Gulman), Dilatation spleen, leprosy, skin diseases and disorders related to by phlegm (kapha) and bile (pitta.) So, day by day, the practitioner increases his health, strength and encouragement.
Mula—shodhana: apana does not flow properly until rectum is cleaned properly. Therefore must be carefully Purification of the large intestine. The rectum is cleaned several times with water, using the middle finger or stem of turmeric (Haridra). This eliminates constipation, indigestion and dyspepsia, increases beauty and the body and enlivens the field of fire (gastric juice).
Second kriya: vasti.
The vasti are of two types:
Jala—vasti, (Enema water): this is done put in the water;
Shushka—vasti. (Dry enema) is a dry basis.
It is called jala—vasti the following practice: immersed in water up to the navel. It takes the position of the chair (utkatasana.) It contracts and relaxes the anal sphincter. This procedure cures urinary disorders (prameha), Gastrointestinal problems (udavarta) And related problems different prâna (krûra—vayu.) The body is free of any disease and becomes beautiful as a god.
Shushka—vasti (Sthala—vasti): Adopting the position of the clamp (paschimottanasana.) Move slowly down the intestines. Contract and relax the anal sphincter by Ashvini—mudra. This practice prevents constipation, increases gastric fire cured flatulence.
Third kriya: neti.
Introduce a thin thread of half a cubit long (22-28 cm.) by a nostril. Push it until you peek inside the mouth on the inside. Seized with hand and pull him out through the mouth. By practicing neti—kriya provides khechari—mudra, heal the disorders due to phlegm (kapha) And magnifies the view interior.
Fourth kriya: Lauliki.
Move vigorously intestines and stomach from side to side. Namely laulikiYoga. Eliminate all diseases and increases the gastric fire.
Fifth kriya: tratakam.
Staring without blinking, any small object until they start tears flow. This is called tratakam, according to the wise. By practicing this yoga, you get shambavi—mudra, Removes all eye diseases and vision emerges.
Sixth kriya: kapalabhati.
Kapalabhati eliminate disorders caused by phlegm (kapha) And is of three types:
Vama (Method from left);
Vyut (Method reverse);
Shit (Method of sound).
Vama: Draws gently through the left nostril of the nose and exhale through the right. A then inhale through the right and exhale through the left side. This practice should be without effort. With it removed disorders produced by phlegm (kapha).
Vyut: absorb water through both nostrils and pour slowly through your mouth. With vyut—branch is eliminate disturbances caused by phlegm (kapha).
Shit: absorb water through the mouth and pour slowly through the nostrils. With this practice, the yogi becomes beautiful as the god Kama. Aging and degeneration does not reach is not enough. The body becomes healthier and flexible. The disorders due to phlegm are eliminated.
Purification comes with the regular practice of the six kriya.
Above is the kriyas that are taught in HYP, GS and SS. The following is from The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.
Patanjali codified yoga as what we tend to talk about today. He didn’t speak of chakras or what was written above. His codification is alot of what follows.
Asana is not yoga and yoga is not exercise, specially the kind from the western lens of exercise. Yoga is the science of enlightenment, the path to moksha, not causing illness. So lets start from the beginning with the entire ladder/limbs of yoga starting with the very first step which is the most important and completely stepped over in modern yoga…..
The do’s and don’ts of daily life:
* Yama – code of conduct, self-restraint
They are found in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali (YSP), Sadhana Pada Verse 30 as:
* Niyama – religious observances, commitments to practice, such as study and devotion
They are found in the YSP, Sadhana Pada Verse 32 as:
These two are the first because following this lifestyle path clears karma from being created by you, your thinking, your speech and your actions from here onwards. It is about the control of your conduct and all the ripples that you create from it. It is the cleanliness if the inner and the outer. It is the first steps before anything else along the path, yet you will hear all kinds of people give all sorts of reasons why it is just enough to work on ahimsa and whatnot, utter BS. Live the yama and niyama, no need at all for asana. They are what grow the strength and balance of the three main mental functions of dhi (learning), dhriti (retention), and smriti (long-term memory). This is why they are first. The ability to determine what is a healthy choice, strength to make healthy choices and the follow through maintain making those healthy choices in all speech and action which later works on thought. An entire thesis can be written on the aspects of the yama and niyama alone and how they cascade into every aspect of living and the mind. Without these faculties functioning clearly, the mind is lost and unstable. Prana effects the mind’s three functions: 1. dhi, or acquisition of knowledge, 2. dhriti, or retention of knowledge, and 3. smriti, or recall of that knowledge. Any imbalance of prana and these functions are disturbed in some way.
If you break the yama and niyama down, they truly are the subcategories of the same underlying principle of a healthy life in all facets, spirit, mind, and body. Most of them you cannot live without living the others. They are all quite black and white with no wiggle room as they all have their deeper meaning and functions within the mind and/or physical body. Because of our misunderstanding and lack of depth of knowledge or studies, many people have tried to bend them to their own desires, such as bramhacharya meaning controlling of sexual energy rather than celibacy. With a much deeper understanding of why and how, form and function, bramacharya can only be celibacy and nothing else. The upper levels are not reachable when lower level functions are not in balance.
A thesis can be written on each of these. Please read any post explaining pragnaaparadha.
What if these were only taught first in a “yoga” class. What if these were mastered before moving on to asana like they are supposed to be. Well you absolutely wouldn’t see all the pop star “yoga” teachers running around sleeping with their students and cheating on their partners, doing drugs, and spiritual bypass. There would be no loud pump up the volume to get you all juiced up “yoga” classes. You would actually see some pretty great results in the world from this path being followed. Yoga would be an entirely different animal than what it is in the West. Unfortunately the consumer world would not be able to buy this.
How about Saucha. This one is loaded because it speaks to so many things like food, lifestyle, action, speech and thought.
The reason why yogis are vegetarian is not of morality because doesn’t a tiger kill to eat? Are you saying a tiger is immoral? It should eat asparagus?
No, the food that you eat is you. Meaning that the food you eat becomes you, if you are digesting properly that is. Really you are what you digest, mind, body and all. Food and your digestion affects how you think and act as well as the quality of tissue and your overall health. With this, a yogis diet is very simple. Rice, Milk, Ghee. That is about it. The choice is of sattika foods. This is one of the very first steps. It applies to Santosha (cleanliness), one of the niyama. It would also apply to Ahimsa or nonviolence.
Also the food eaten is only satvika foods, not raw food, not smoothies, not what is popular in the Western world and surely not what Western nutrition thinks is healthy. Nothing in yoga is based on Western science at all.
From the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:
piṇyāka-hingghu-laśunādyamapathyamāhuḥ || 61 ||
Bitter, sour, salty, hot, green vegetables, fermented, oily, mixed with sesame seed, rape seed, intoxicating liquors, fish, meat, curds, chhaasa pulses, plums, oil-cake, asafetida (hînga), garlic, onion, etc., should not be eaten.
bhojanamahitaṃ vidyātpunarasyoṣhṇī-kṝtaṃ rūkṣham |
atilavaṇamamla-yuktaṃ kadaśana-śākotkaṃ varjyam || 62 ||
Food heated again, dry, having too much salt, sour, minor grains, and vegetables that cause burning sensation, should not be eaten, Fire, women, travelling, etc., should be avoided.
athāsane dṝdhe yoghī vaśī hita-mitāśanaḥ |
ghurūpadiṣhṭa-mārgheṇa prāṇāyāmānsamabhyaset || 1 ||
Posture becoming established, a Yogî, master of himself, eating salutary and moderate food, should practice Prâṇâyâma, instructed by his guru.
* Āsana – physical poses based on energy that balances the panchavayu (5 Pranas) of the body. The proper practice balances the physiology and it starts to function optimally but only if the proper rules of nutrition, biomechanics and posture are followed. The digestive system needs to be empty before doing asana. Otherwise what is in it will turn to toxins as the digestion will be stopped. This creates disease. Think about this next time your getting sushi before class.
Just doing a forward bend does not mean that the prana is flowing in the correct fashion that it is supposed to in a forward bend. There is so much more to it than just a movement. Take breath for example. Breathing in when you stand up verses exhaling when you stand up. The energies move with the breath. Just try this on your own. When you exhale to stand up or worse hold your breath, you will experience lightheadedness. This is not because of low blood sugar but because of the incorrect movement of prana with the breath connected to the movement of the body you are doing. This is why there is a specific breath with every asana. Inhaling or exhaling.
Another example for your experience; do a forward bend. Stand back up and feel what happened. Take a breath and feel where the breath is moving to, shallow or deeper, up or down more. Now do another forward bend and keep the weight in your heels when you fold forward. Stand back up and check the same. Do this a third time but this time keep the weight in the balls of the feet. Do the awareness and breath test. You will notice that when you forward bend with the weight in the balls of the feet 1. your abdomen and internal stability turns off. 2. when you stand back up the breath is smaller and more in the neck and shoulder region. 3. you may feel light headed or ungrounded, in fact you have no grounding after that. When you do a forward bend with the weight in the heels and not hyperextending the knees 1. you will notice the abdomen and core muscularity are on and support you. 2. it was easier and more stable. 3. you feel grounded and maybe even feel more of your feet on the ground. All of this is the movement of prana during the asana. Once again, not knowing what is supposed to be done or doing things attention-less or uneducated will disturb the pranas and cause disease. This is all very, very basic.
Asana clears karma of the physical body, the Annamaya kosha. It creates health of the physical being, balance in the mind due to prana and creates balance within the Pranamaya kosha.
Hatha Yoga Pradipika (33-34) The asanas taught by Siva are 84 in number. Of these I will describe four of the important ones. They are siddha-sana, padmasana, simhasana, and bhadrasana.
This states volumes about asana. These four are meditative seated postures. Ponder this. I have, had to actually because what I was taught originally had very little to do with what I had read in all the texts. This is just one but it is repeated in others.
Shiva Samhita (84) There are eighty-four postures, of various modes. Out of them, four ought to be adopted:– 1, Siddhasana; 2, Padmasana; 3, Ugrasana; 4, Svastikasana.
Again only seated meditative postures.
The only mention of asana in Patanjali’s yoga sutras is verse 2.46 of states Sthira Sukham Asanam. First the fact that this is really the only mention states that asana is not a main focus of Yoga and speaks to what asana is. Sthira means stable and motionless. Sukha (su = good, kha = space) means good space. Asanam means seat derived from the root “as” which means to sit. There is so much garbage out there written by Western minds about this one sloka. Really think. So many more verses. Just one about asana and it states that it is seated and motionless. This is more so backed up by the foundational understanding of Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. Movement is Rajas. It stimulates the mind, it creates, it imbalances prana. This is oh so obvious. Asana is just a seated position for meditation, the only thing that is going to lead to moksha.
* Pranayama – Pra and na denotes consistency, being a force in constant motion, life force. Pra is a root word meaning first or original. Na is a word meaning the subtlest unit or in other words energy, it also means death. Prana and ayama are the roots that pranayama comes from. This means pranic capacity or length. The whole thing is regulation of energy or cleansing the pranic body, assimilating prana and cleansing karma from the pranamaya kosha. It is the same thing as Qi Gong (energy skill). Lightness is achieved by pranayama.
In Sutra 49 of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, Patanjali states that only retention (kumbhaka) is pranayama.
Pranayama clears the karma in the pranamaya kosha. It is very much about building the energy of the body now that it is balanced due to asana. It is concise as well, if done wrong it will effect the entire physiology and mind very easily. Doing less and starting from the beginning is very important. The first step is yogic breathing or three part breath. It involves the balancing of the nervous system and breathing. In 3 part breathing the first part of the inhale is into the belly and low back. It continues into diaphragmatic breathing or the bottom of the rib cage opens to the sides and backwards like bucket handles being lifted off the side of a bucket, not forward as if you are doing a back bend. this stops the diaphragm from moving properly and forces the breath to be only from the neck and scalene muscles. The third part of the breath is now the neck and shoulders. The scalene muscles in the neck contract at the end of the breath filling the very top of the lungs. The exhale is just in reverse order. Shoulders, ribcage/diaphragm and then belly. Doing this balances the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. Most people are stuck in sympathetic breathing which is seen by that back bend from the kidneys to inhale as well as the shoulders lifting and the neck breathing that happens when the scalene muscle works as the primary muscle of breath. This pranayama is difficult for most people and needs some practice before moving on to anything else. If it is skipped, the imbalance of the breathing is magnified and strengthened with other pranayama practice causing troubles in the physiology, mind and disease forming down the line.
* Pratyahara – abstraction of the senses, withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects. Calm is achieved through pratyahara.
Withdrawal is complete withdrawal, where the external disappears completely and you are not distracted by the outside world because it is no longer there. I mean it is there of course, your attention is just so deep that sounds and other sensory input from the external just can’t get in. This practice needs to be more than just like going to church on Sunday to repent what has been done throughout the week. It is to extend into your daily living as well. When the senses are withdrawn, the outward sense desires start to lessen and contentment is left. A balance of inner and outer remains. A knowing of ones self is the result. The practice of pranayama prior draws one inside anyway. It makes you quiet and internal as long as you are not using your pranayama practice to get high. The term bliss bunny applies here. Someone who is completely ungrounded, vata (the five pranas) disturbed and is actually gonna have a big crash sooner or later. This turning of the senses inward is really the start of the true yogic path or nivritti marga. It is a path of renouncing the external and is the path that leads through unfolding back to the spiritual worlds; often called the path of light or luminous arc.
Okay these next ones go quickly one into the other.
* Dharana – concentration, one-pointedness of mind
Single pointed focus in practice melts duality and the object and subject combine. You and the object of focus become one, non dual.
This is also brought out into the external world and your daily life. Withdrawing the senses is the start of the start of the path of nivritti marga (infolding path) or a path of a mumukshu (one who wants liberation). The senses are turned inward and the inner world unfolds. This ties into all of the yamas and niyamas and one of the reasons why brahmacharya is strictly celibacy and not what we have made in into as just watching your sexual energy.
This and only this leads to..
* Dhyana – meditation. Correct perception is achieved by dhyana.
Quiet mind with no vrittis (eddies) or monkey mind. No thought waves at all. No daydreaming as well. Seriously, yogic meditation is not mindful. The mentalism is not embodiment. It may be someone else’s thought of what meditation is but not to the depth of what yoga is speaking about at all. Most of us in this culture are stuck in our heads. Our minds are going so much that we don’t even recognize it at all. We think we are our minds and have no other experience of anything other than that. There is no spirituality there. It can only become narcissism. That is far from spiritual. Get out of your head and into beingness with meditation. Meditation is ONLY when the subject and the object merge. Running is not a meditation, ever. Think about how all this works and you will understand that meditation is the focus of yoga.
And only this leads to…
* Samādhi – the quiet state of blissful awareness, super-conscious state. Loneliness is achieved by samadhi.
This state may be brief at first but then over extended time it extends and much like the recitation of japa with a mala becomes ajapa or the lack of the recitation but just silence and bliss. No conscious thought. That ended back when the merging started.
Bliss is not being happy. This is what we have turned it into. This is so opposite to what it is. Aananda is bliss. it is the state of no happiness and also no unhappiness. they both do not exist at all in that realm. Ananda is the state of suffering and attachment and identification. The search for happiness is not what yoga is about at all.
Then if you believe it or not there are nine more levels to samadhi as well. That first stage is only getting to the gates of the mansion not even anywhere near the front door.
When was the last time anything like this was taught in a class of “yoga” in the modern world of yoga?
The “union” that Yoga (to yoke from the word yog) is talking about is samadhi and the word is synonymous; the connection of the earth and the stars, the material and the immaterial, the balance of the cosmic and individual, the terrestrial and the celestial, the individuals merging with god. Whatever way you want to say it, itis still the same thing.
This is a ladder of yoga, a path to get you there, clearly described. There are many other parts to it as well. The details in-between even break down into more details. For a uneducated, untrained or unexperienced layman, it might seem inexplicably rigorous and hair splitting but to get there, this very subtlety and vigor of the details is what bring the beauty, the different hues, the true experience and growth on this path that makes this metaphysical or esoteric systems like this one actually work and also stand the test of time and tide of fashion. Unfortunately today, the world is selling spirituality. It is in fashion and the true teachings are hard to find in the dense ignorance of 200 hour teacher trainings taught by others of the same lot.
When you put the Western lens of exercise theory or western medicine upon this science you have completely cut yourself off from all of its benefits. It is from a different paradigm. A paradigm that has many different rules and half of those rules are opposite to what the Western ideas are.
Just for a little more clarity:
Yoga asana brings the heart rate, respiratory, blood pressure, oxygen consumption, metabolic rate, body temperature and food consumption down. Western physical exercise bring them all up.
Yoga asana is Sattvic. Western physical exercise is Rajasic.
In yoga asana, the muscles receive less nutrition and organs receive more. In Western physical exercise, the opposite occurs.
In yoga asana, long fiber of muscles are created and the muscles do not bulk. In Western physical exercise, Large muscles with short fibers are enhanced and require more nutrients.
The joints are stressed in Western physical exercise leading to rheumatic diseases and stiffness later in life and not in yoga.
Western physical exercise the muscular system is worked and in yoga asana, the body is harmonized because yoga asana focuses on the nervous system and the glandular system.
The focus in Western physical exercise is on performance or an external focus of looking good as an outcome. In yoga, relaxation is the focus with an internal focus.
So what is going on out there in this modern world of “yoga”? Is there really such a thing or is it really such a big joke and a lie? Any way you cut it, modern yoga is the antithesis of upavarga, the path of yoga.
There is no division between mind and action. Before it is projected as action, it arises in the mind, with the mind itself as its ‘covering’. Action is nothing but the movement of energy in consciousness, and it bears its own fruit. When action comes to an end, mind too comes to an end; and when mind ceases to be, there is no action. Then there is no re-action only action oriented mind.
Space is of three levels. There is the infinite space of undivided consciousness, the finite space of divided consciousness, and the physical space in which the material world exists. The infinite space of undivided consciousness is that which exists in all, inside and outside as the pure witness of that which is real and that which appears to be. The finite space of divided consciousness is that in which creates the divisions of time that pervades all beings. The physical space is that in which the pancha maha bhuta (elements like air, fire, etc) exist.
Every embodied (meaning on this material realm) soul must have an Identity. This identity at a higher level is finer and subtler. The subtler the identity, the more powerful a man will be in life. Identity remains until that identity merges into common Identity, which later serves for the cause of the next creation. Thus it is only individuality that ends not the Identity. Thus, Identity is intuitive perception of segregated conscience, the individuality. It is so because of the dormant action at the center where the difference between being and nonbeing is very nominal. In this spiritual state, negation is the indicator of a balanced condition of mental conscience; the positive and negative currents of mind/psych negate each other and one feels living/dead to the day to day, action/reaction phenomenal life. Everything becomes silent, and meaningless, even the desire to attain the liberation. An expressible psychic-fullness and contentment is experienced indicating the arrival to this place. For yogis, mind alone is the cause of perception of forms without the interception aid of eyes which is a normal physiological feature in worldly oriented persons. The mind is strengthened by meditation, its purity is insured by eliminating the tendencies called ‘vasanas’.
Vasana (subconscious inclination; conditioning, tendencies, or self-limitations; predispositions and habits) is from vas (living, remaining). They are subliminal inclinations and habit patterns which, as driving forces, color and motivate one’s attitudes and future actions. Vasana are the conglomerate results of samskara (subconscious impressions) created through experience. Samskara, experiential impressions, combine in the subconscious to form those vasana, which contribute to mental fluctuations, called vritti. The most complex and emotionally charged vasanas are found in the sub-subconscious.
Yoga has its foundational understanding in the activities of Prana (vital force). This world is divided into Para (subtle) and Apara (gross) creation. One is inert and the other is conscious in nature. The subtle form of inert world is atoms which unite to form gross objects. Conscious world is Prana from which the subtle body is created. In the body this vital force is present as the subtle body. As a result movement and activity manifest and various creatures move about due to this. In its absence the intellectual consciousness cannot be perceived. It is what animates and the source of life.
Asana is based solely upon balancing the pranas of the system. Blockages due to kapha and imbalances of prana result in physical injuries, disease, and mental illness. Imbalance also shows up as physical tension and tightness in the physical structure. Asana without the knowledge of prana(s) is not asana and will end up, more than likely, causing and imbalance. Prana is responsible for all sensory and motor functions being in health.
Pranayama is based in conserving and building capacity of prana. It is not breathing exercises as much as Qi Gong can be considered breathing exercises. The use of the bandhas is mandatory to build capacity much like a tire that has a hole in it holds no air.
The external world devours ones prana and imbalances it through the physical use of the body and through sensory use. This is the very foundation of knowledge of pratyahara. With the sensory world turned inward, prana is not wasted constantly.
I am Prana as Prajna (divine intellect). By looking upon me as life span and nectar, meditate on me. As long as vital force exists life too exists. In this world the basis of attaining immortality is Prana only.
SHANKHAYAN (52) & KAUSHITAKI BRAHMANOPANISHAD (32)
The fire aspect of Prana is depicted as follows:
Verily this vital force of the body gets heated by imbibing the fire aspect. It is sun, moon, clouds, wind, earth and beings. It is also existence/non-existence and immortal Brahman (God).
Before creation of this world there was ‘non-existence’. What is ‘non-existence’? As an answer it is said they were Rishis. Who were these Rishis? As an answer it was said they were vital force. Vital Force is Rishi.
Over here non-existence does not mean absence but means unmanifested. Before creation Prana existed. When visible objects were created Prana was seen active. This seeing is ‘manifest’.
Prana is called elder and great as follows:
Before creation Prana existed and hence is called elder. It is great because in all bodies and objects its varied activities are noted. In actuality Prana term is used as life.
When Prana leaves any body or object they wither away.
The ten senses and the 11th mind that dwell in human beings are all vital force or Prana.
Despite this it cannot be called wind, sense organs or psyche. In reality it is a life force that works in all these.
This vital force is neither wind nor sense organs. In scriptures it is described variedly.
In the following lines greater clarity is given:
That mature vital force told the mind and sense organs: Do not get deluded. I have taken 5 forms and imbibed this body.
This vital force is neither wind nor is it the activity of sense organs.
BRAHMASUTRA SHANKARBHASHYA (2/4/6)
This vital force is different from mind and wind.
We bow down to that vital force which controls everything. It is the substratum of all beings (Pranis). It exists in everything and everything exists in it.
In Sanskrit language the word Prani is made from ‘Pra’ and ‘Un’. ‘Un’ means life force or consciousness. Thus Prana means life force or vital force. It is hence that creatures are called Pranis. The words Prana and life are used synonymously. Prana is a characteristic of Atman or soul. It comes from Paramatman or God. The soul is an inseparable part of God. Although it is a part of God all qualities of God are present in it. When a creature who imbibes individual prana matures it becomes all encompassing.