Soham, Sushumna Yog and the Sat-guru

‘Soham’, when formally ‘given’ to you by a Jivan-Mukt Sat-Guru is ‘Sushumna Yog.

A Jivan-mukt has understood the real meaning of the Maha-vakya, ‘tat tvam asi’. Maha-vakya महावाक्य means the great saying, assertion, declaration, rule. ‘Tat tvam asi’ loosely means ‘you are that’, but understanding this and experiencing this means you have achieved Sadyo-mukti. ‘Tat tvam asi’ is called the Brahmaakara Vritti, ie the state of the mind which takes you towards the Eternal Intelligence. Only such a Jivan mukt Guru can ‘give’ you Soham in all its grandness. eg your friend calls you by your full name and then your Mom calls you by your full name. When your Mom calls you with your full name, you get all alert and awake, her voice and your name trigger something within you.

Soham is the right of every living being. You keep doing it regularly in some small way with intention and it will slowly reset your energy. (Like that friend calling you by your name.) And then at some point of time, you will meet your Sat-Guru who will formally ‘give’ it to you. (This would be like your Mom calling you). When you hear this mantra from a Jivan-mukt, you hear it from the Nirvishesh Brahma itself. The mantra then goes deep inside and resets your energy in a fast forward mode. This now becomes Sushumna Yog, the route to Moksh. It opens access to the Sushumna nadi and the Brahma-nadi within it.

Soham has the power to take you into Kevala-Kumbhak spontaneously. Kumbhak is commonly considered to be the pause between the act of breathing in-Purak and breathing out-Rechak. But actually ‘Kumbhak’ means a pause in breathing. The breathing stops. Kevala Kumbhak means the stoppage of breath when the mind is silenced, completely motionless. In your Dhyan when you reach a point where the mind is utterly calm, the breathing stops. This stoppage can be in mid-inward breath, in mid-outward breath or between the Rechak/ Purak, anytime. This is called the state of Kevala Kumbhak.

When the breath stops, your pran are in your conscious control, the mind/Manas is still. Soham dissolves the individual ego/ Ahamkara completely. Grants you perfect memory/ Chitta of yourself. Perfect intelligence/ Buddhi dawns on you. You gain the knowledge/ Vijnyan of the Eternal. 

Initially this kumbhak will be for short time, later it can extend to hours as a Samadhi. Kevala Kumbhak is the highest form of Kumbhak. For those who attempt reaching this Kevala Kumbhak by consciously manipulating pran, the entire and very complicated process is given in the Yog-shikha Upanishad. But attempt this only under the guidance of a real Guru who knows what he is doing. Do not experiment here. Else you can burn up your Nadi-s, if this happens you have to discard your current body and take another body/life. (I have heard examples where aspirants burnt their nadi-s and then physically died a few months later.)

For attaining Moksh, both practice and philosophy is necessary. One trains the pran/ vital energy and the other trains the mind. Mind can be controlled by only if you control Pran and the easiest way to control Pran is to focus on your breath. The spiritual path can be very dangerous if you do not follow a Sat-Guru. You are manipulating the energies enveloping your soul, it is risky without the proper guide. All the books in Sanatan Dharma, Brahma-sutra, Bhagvat Gita, Vijnyan Bhairav Tantra, Devi Mahatmya, Ved, Vedang, Upanishad, etc emphasise the supreme importance of the Sat-guru in attaining Sadyo-mukti, Advaitya.

Soham, Sushumna Yog and the Sat-guru

I have seen my own Sat-Guru  in his physical shell as a Jivan-mukt and his full Advaita form after the shell dissolved.

A Jivan-mukt is innocence, untouched by physical/ emotional distress. Every word uttered by him is deepest philosophy. Every sentence when pondered upon, means only the Advaita. He cannot ever talk on any materialistic topic, he has transcended all this dross. He will not do moorti-pujas, pilgrimages, rituals, yadnas, homa or any other outer forms of worship connected to this illusory worlds, nor will he tell his disciples to do so. (My Guru would pointedly say no to all this as this. But he would tell us to increase our Dhyan.) He will give the same final mantra (Om/ Soham/ Hamsa) to all his disciples. To him, each one is the same Parabrahma. He does not discriminate among his disciples. He looks fresh and always welcoming. There are no bindings on how one has to be before coming before him. (Some Yogi-s are particular about women in their 5 days cycle. Or do not allow others to touch, have strict conditions on food etc). A Sat-guru has no requirements, no hang-ups, nothing. I have seen my Sat-guru eating out of silver plates and with the same innocence having simple food in the house of a poor disciple. Not finicky about habits, nothing. And this doesn’t mean that you can take him lightly. His aura is tremendous, you can not do anything but bow before him. All thoughts flee your mind in his presence. (I could never ask him for anything in words. Yet he always answered the questions I used to ask him in my mind). You feel the immenseness of him. Only those few people who have actually seen a Jivan-Mukt can understand what I have written here.

(Eg. Once he stopped his car in front of a Mumbai slum. My Mom was travelling with him. He asked her to go into the slum and call a woman, he told her the name. A elderly beggar woman came out. He asked her if she would like to go and live in his Math in Kolhapur district. She thought it over and said yes. He gave her money to buy some clothes and tickets. She lived in the Math and helped out in the kitchens. After some 25yrs, by his blessings, she left her body sitting in Dhyan. There are numerous such examples with my Guru.)

A Jivan-mukt’s body is linked to the Prarabdha-karma linked to the body at birth. So the body will play out its karmic activities. But the Soul is the pure Advaita. The pain/ pleasure of the body does not exist for the Soul. It has entered the Unmani-avastha, ‘beyond the mind’. The only purpose of the body is to enjoy/ endure karma. The soul has nothing to do with karma. You are not the body, you are the Soul, so its karmic pain/ pleasure has nothing to do with you. If you understand and experience this, you are Mukt.

Now whenever I see him he is in his full Advaita form, just the conscious Nirvishesh Brahma. It is very different and more intense.

So the point is, in this world, there are very rare Jivan-mukt available, maybe one in a hundred million. If you have the all-consuming desire to Know yourself, you will meet one, like the beggar woman whom my Sat-guru picked out of the slums. But until this happens, it is best that you do your Soham-Dhyan. Better trust your own higher self rather than putting your trust in some dubious ‘guru’. There are so many frauds in this world who are more than ready to take advantage of your fire and your energy. A Yogi who is higher up on the route can help you but only a Sat-Guru can really guide you home.

Do your Soham-Dhyan as per your conscience. This will prepare you for the moment when you will meet your Sat-guru. ‘Soham’ is not secret, everyone knows it. But when you hear it from your Sat-guru as a Naam-mantra, ie with the intention that ‘Soham’ is your name, it changes your energies completely. The Advaita itself tells you your name and directs you to focus on this now onwards. I was very young when my Sat-guru ‘gave’ it to me, but I remember every second of that experience.

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There was a question for references on Soham. For me the biggest reference is that my Sat-Guru gave it to me. But you can go through the following if you are so inclined,

  • Brahma vidya upanishad mentions that Soham is the mantra.
  • Yog shikha upanishad mentions that the Ajapa mantra under the guidance of a Sat-guru and for Sushumna yog is ‘Soham’. This is a part of mantra yog. The only route to liberation is the Sushumna yog and the ones who follow this route are the Jivan-mukt. Liberation is possible in one life itself if you slowly, little by little but regularly perform Soham.
  • Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj, my Sat-guru’s Guru-brother writes in his books that if one follows one’s Sat-guru’s direction and Soham-Dhyan, it takes two years to attain Moksh.
  • Isha upanishad mentions that Soham is the illumination, the highest blessing.
  • Brihad aranyak upanishad says that when the Advaita first took the form of the Purush, the first words said by this conscious intelligence were ‘Soham asmi’, ‘I am That’. The Purush is aware that he is the Non-dual, no one but him existed nor exists nor will exist. (For details on what the Purush is you will need to read the Sankhya philosophy.)
  • Hamsa upanishad, says that ‘Soham’ is the ‘kilak’, ie it is the pin, wedge, pillar, bolt, to which the entire ‘Hamsa soham’ mantra is fastened to. If you use this ‘Soham’ as a kilak, ie make it the sharp cutting edge of your spiritual practice you attain Moksh.
  • Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra mentions ‘Soham’ and ‘Hamsa’.
  • In the phalashruti of Vishnu sahastra nama, the highest One says that these 1000 names of Vishnu are equivalent to one Soham mantra.
  • There are several tantra books, philosophy commentaries and stotras which mention Soham.

If you think that ’Soham’ is very simple, try doing it for one hour with your breath as you do your daily commute sitting in the bus or train. See how many times you forgot to keep track of your breath. See how many times your attention was diverted from your breath and your mantra by what you saw/ heard in the train. Keeping track of breath is not so easy! But as you train your mind, direct it again and again to focus on your breathing pattern, you will notice changes in yourself. Your mind will become calmer, recovery from emotional outbursts will be faster, your health indicators will improve, you will look younger, fresher, your aura will become more intense etc. 

Sohams’s greatest power is that everyone can do it. All the time, in all conditions of the body/ mind. There is no binding of any sort on doing it. You can do it on your asan, in the bus, while you are having a bath, while walking in the park, at all times. Every breath you take should be converted to Soham, in every state. This means that you will be doing 21,600 Soham jaap every day! But then your breathing will also slow down. eg I have observed that when I am just sitting, reading or typing it goes to 2-3 per minute and sometimes stops. Slowed breathing increases your body’s life-span and health. The life of a person is measured in breaths, the more you sit in Samadhi or in Dhyan, the slower you breathe, the longer your body will sustain. 

Soham is the gem among the mantras, it gives the highest benefit, Sushumna Yog, and ultimately Moksh, Sadyo-mukti in the most easiest, safest, gentlest and kindest ways and in this one life-time itself.

 

Karma action fruits of action, Bhagwat Gita style

There were several questions, I have sort of combined them in this post. 

Length and Rate of your breathing

We are breath, or more more correctly we are linked to this manifested creation primarily by the movement of air through our nostrils. To go beyond the limits imposed by the manifested, the first step is control of the breath. If you control your breath, you naturally control the pran moving within you. If you can control your pran, you automatically control your mind. Your mind is like a ball in your hand, it jumps up and down with the movement of pran. If you still the movement of pran, you also still your mind. The pran’s movement stills when you still your breathing, ie achieve Keval Kumbhak state, where there is no breathing in nor breathing out. If your Mind goes still, you achieve the ‘unmani-state’, beyond-Mind. After you reach this Unmani state, you hear the continuous ‘Nada’, the sound of the unmanifested. If you can dissolve your limited consciousness in the sound of the Nada, you achieve the Eternal.

Length and Rate of your breath

Our regular breathing is very turbulent. It depends on the physical movement of the body but it also depends significantly on your emotions and your thoughts. Check your breathing pattern when you are happy, sad, angry, upset, relaxed, focussed, etc and observe for yourself how it varies.

All texts on breathing and Dhyan will talk about the length of the breath and the rate of breathing.

  • This is how you determine the length of your breathing in comparison to your own finger-widths, a measure called angula. Switch off the fan in your room first, it should not be windy inside. Place some cotton fibres or a very thin thread on the back of your hand and keep it at some distance from your nose. Be at rest, relax and breathe normally. As you exhale on the cotton fibres they will move with the force of the exhaled air. Try to find out till what distance from your nose, the cotton fibres visibly move with your exhaled breath. Measure this distance from your nostrils to the fibres with a piece of thread. Now count how many finger-widths long is your breath when you are at rest.
  • Now to measure your breathing rate. Sit in a relaxed position. Set a timer for 5 mins. Count your breathing, ie one inhale and one exhale is one breath. eg If you count 52 breaths in 5 mins, then it is average at about 10 breaths per minute. eg If it is 68 breaths in 5 mins it is approximately 14 breaths per minute. As per science, the average human breathing rate at rest is 12 per minute.

Your life span is measured in breaths, not years. If you breathe slowly, you will live longer, look younger and be more healthy. But you should not force yourself to stop/slow breathe, if you do so, you will damage your body and your nadi-s. This should happen spontaneously and it will happen gradually as you do your spiritual practice.

(This photograph of my Sat-guru was taken in 1990, he was physically 85yrs old then.)

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If your breathing is fast, forced, laboured, intense etc the air will be displaced for a longer distance from your nose. ie the length of the breath will increase. As per the texts, this is how the activities affect your breath, eg eating increases the length to 18 angula, walking increases it to 20 angula, run­ning to 24 angula, sexual activity to 60 angula etc. If the length of the exhaled breath is longer, it reduces your life-span. The reason is that with every exhaled breath, you are also exhaling pran from your system. Generally you lose more pran than you pull in from the universe as your exhaled breath is always longer than your inhaled breath. And if the exhaled breath is made longer by engaging in strenuous activities or mental turbulence, even more pran goes out. (So over-indulgence in sexual activity is not advisable for spiritual aspirants, 60 angula long-breath!)

When you breathe slowly, without any jerks, the exhaled air moves out with less force, ie it’s length in angula becomes shorter. As the breathing becomes slow, it also becomes less turbulent, the flow of the pran in the nadi-s becomes smoother, more subtle, thinner? It actually becomes a fine needle of pure gold/ silver shimmer. In Dhyan, you are supposed to actively open your central Sushumna and close the Ida and Pingala. When such smooth subtle flow of pran moves through the Sushumna it effectively ‘cleans’ it out. Once the Sushumna is ‘clean’, all karmic impurities/ blockages are removed, it becomes very easy for the kundalini to rise up through it in one continuous smooth flow. It is always better for the spiritual aspirant if the Kundalini moves only after the Sushumna is clean from the Mooladhar to the Brahmarandhra.

So the point is that if you reduce the breathing rate and reduce the length of breath which actually happens simultaneously, you will increase the length and quality of your life and also gain control over your pran, Mind and also on the people around you and the environment you live in. Here is what the texts say,

  • If it is 10 angula, you gain peace of mind which lasts for a long time.
  • If it is 9 angula, you can spontaneously write, prose, music etc which have deep impacts on others.
  • If it is 8 angula, you will be able to speak spontaneously without hesitation. Your words will cause deep impact on those who hear you.
  • If it is 7angula, your vision will change, seeing into the past, present, future, parallel is possible now.
  • If it is 6 angula, you can move your body through air.
  • If it has gone to 5 angula, now onwards, your progress in your spiritual practice becomes very fast.
  • If it goes to 4 angula, you will attain the eight major siddhis (anima, mahima, garima, laghima, prakamya, ishitva, vashitva, kamavashayitva) and the several minor siddhis.
  • If it goes down to 3 angula, you gain the nava nidhi vidya the 9 types of consciousnesses. These are said to be under the control of Yaksharaj Kuber.
  • If it goes upto 2 angu­la, then the body is not longer a binding, you can change the shape of your 5-layered body.
  • If it reduces to 1 angula, you can become invisible and exist in just the subtle or causal body. Time, space and other dimensions lose their dominion on you.
  • Finally when the breathing stops, ie there is no exhalation or inhalation, Keval Kumbhak is attained, now the further process of Self realization starts in real earnest.

So as you do your spiritual practice, with time, your breathing will slow down and stop intermittently and then fully. It is nothing to be scared of. You don’t need air to remain alive in this created world. You need only pran, and it can be pulled in not just through the nostrils but also via the skin and majorly through the top of the head. This ability to consciously pull in pran increases, as you do your spiritual practice. So as an aspirant, your only job is to breathe with Soham, the rest of it will happen spontaneously and naturally.

 

Length and Rate of your breath

Real nature of the Sun and the deities

I had said that I would write on the real nature of the ‘deities’ and ‘gods’ of Sanatan Dharma. I have written about the 33-classes of the deities in an earlier post. That was a rather technical post, so will try to make this one very simple, like a story..

We, of the Sanatan Dharma, have several deities, the gram-devata, the stahl-devata, the jal-devata, every village has its own guardian god, every river has its own conscious energy and every Sun has its own conscious intelligence. We find a way to express our gratitude to every aspect of energy which surrounds us. Keeps us grounded, sort of.

Now imagine that our universe has an energy-government. Each solar system is a nation. The several Suns are rulers of the several nations. Each of these ruler-Suns have their own set of ministers, advisors, officers incharge of the departments, right down to the village level officers who look after the energy needs of every village, Gram-devata. In fact, family level officers, Kul-devata. Or personal level energy officers, Ishta-devata! These have been assigned responsibility to distribute energy to us at these different levels.

And then we are all good citizens so we all pay our taxes. These taxes are in terms of the prayers and oblations that we offer to each category of officers. The more higher up the officer the more tax he collects and in bigger quantum. The higher-ups work on bigger levels, give more powerful benefits, they require bigger payments if you want to gain their specific benefits. The officers on more personal levels require less intense taxes and the benefits they offer are of a different category. A family specific officer has less work-load compared to a solar system level officer but his nature of work is more specific, personal. We all gain energy from all these officers and thus are required to give it back too in fair exchange. These officers are our deities.

Sometimes it happens that we take extra benefits from some officer and promise to pay his department more tax.  But we die physically and in the next life we forget the pending amounts. In the meanwhile, we are also moving on the spiritual path so when we reach the final 100m all these officers pop up and demand their promised payments. So at the very last stages of existence we are required to generate enormous amount of energy to pay all these departments. Perhaps I owed the Devi’s department some amount, so I had to perform the Navavarana mantra jaap to pay her dues. Once we get the no-dues certificates from all these officers can we reach the top-boss, the Sun, the ruler of our solar system. If we want to gain access to the highest Advaita we have to generate so much energy that we can pay off the Sun’s dues. Once he gives his no-dues certificate our soul can move into the dimensions beyond him where the essential Nirvishesh Brahma exists.

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Ever wondered what the is Sun exactly? The Sun is the most powerful force in a horoscope. The highest luminary, linked to the Sahasrara chakra, the individual soul, the light which is the path from the individual soul to the Eternal. The self-illuminated Star so near us. Modern scientists can come up with whatever theories which suit them but the Sun and similar other Stars are very different from what they can even conceive. But you will see their real natures when you sit down in your regular spiritual practice.

Space/ Time of this manifested creation has 10 dimensions and the 11th is the Bindu. Quantum science has reached this much. (All break-through quantum scientists studied the Bhagwat Gita and the Ved-s). The easiest way to imagine space/ time is to visualise a very big bed-sheet, made of 10 dimensions. A rather complicated bed-sheet this! Not just length breath and thickness, but there are 10 dimensions to this bed-sheet. We already know that the 10 dimensions are aware, intelligent, conscious and are represented as the Dasha-Maha-Vidya, the 10 utterly fierce primeval Devi-s Mahakali (Kali), Tara, Tripursundari (Shodashi), Bhuvaneshvari, Bhairavi, Chhinnamasta, Dhoomavati, Bagalamukhi (Valagamukhi), Matangi, and Kamala.

Our 10 dimensional bed-sheet is made of these 10 energies, we know their names and their natures. Now imagine that there are two ’sides’ to this bed-sheet. And that the bed-sheet is cryptically wrapped around a central lamp. We cannot make out how it is wrapped but it quite effectively covers the lamp. This lamp is eternally switched on, and is quite conscious itself. What is inside this lamp I don’t know as of now, but it emits a lovely light and a powerful sort of energy.

We live on this bed-sheet, on one ‘side’ of it, the outer side. All the planets and satellites, the non-self-luminous parts of the manifested creation are on this outer side of the bed-sheet. The dimension of the living – Martya-lok, the dimension of the spirits – Pitru-lok and all the other possible dimensions where souls exist are on this 10-dimensional bed-sheet’s outer side.

Now imagine that the bed-sheet has several pin-point ‘holes’ scattered all along it. The holes are the connection from one ‘side’ of this bed-sheet to the other. The lamp is switched on and so tiny pin-pricks of light are visible on the bed-sheet. These are the Stars and the Suns. They are not ‘self-illuminated’ but simply the pin-pricks of the light of the lamp. But we, living on the bed-sheet, think that they are self-illuminated. It is all about perspective. Change your position and reality changes for you. Your position is all important..

The inner side of the bed-sheet, now this is where the 11th dimension, the ‘Bindu’ resides. The center of the Universes, the source of all creation. OM, our eternally switched on lamp. As the Bindu is a conscious intelligence, so are the Suns. But the Sun’s do not have the complete Bindu’s awareness. Each Sun is one single ray of the Bindu. The Sun is a ‘hole’ in this 10-dimensional bed-sheet of space-time. This hole lets in the power of OM into our side of the bed-sheet. The bed-sheet itself is maintained by the power of the pin-pricks, ie the Suns who draw power from the central Bindu lamp. The Suns and the Stars are all very conscious and intelligent pin-pricks. Each Sun has his own energy government as described above. Thus the Sun is the highest deity for us, the link with the divine Eternal Bindu. Some of the pin-pricks are different in size/shape and their energy quality is different, these are the other ‘radiant’ bodies of the manifested universe, the quasars, black-holes and stuff.

Now this was the macrocosm, the outer universes, the Brahma-anda.

Real nature of the Sun and the deities

There are two forms of experience. The external and the internal. When you see the Sun in the skies and fold your hands to it in gratitude, it is external worship. This is considered to be a lower energy version. You are focussing your 2 external eyes on the external object. When you see the ‘brightness’ of the internal Sun at your third eye and offer it your pran/ vital energies, this is internal worship of the ineffable Divine. You are focussing your internal third eye on the internal source of energy. This is the high energy way of ‘worship’.

We have a universe within ourself too, the microcosm, the Pinda-anda. As on the outside, so on the inside. Our body, our existence, is a similar bed-sheet made of the same 10 dimensions. It is wrapped around our internal intelligent Source in a similarly cryptic way. We are ordinarily aware of the outer side of the bed-sheet, we cannot look into the other ‘side’. That is why we do Dhyan, focus on Soham, so that we can gain the ability to look inside. Involution. The Sushumna is the channel which connects our awareness with the light of the internal Sun. The internal Sun shines at the Sahasrara chakra. We get his first inkling when our consciousnesses crosses the Ajnya chakra at the third eye. The internal Sun is the link from the internal Bindu to the individual soul which resides at the Ajnya chakra. This internal Bindu is the same Bindu which which powers the external Sun in the sky!

All this Dhyan, all this focus, is only to enter the Sushumna, navigate through that channel and reach the internal Sun. Only if this Sun approves, then our awareness will move onwards from the Sun to the Bindu.

What lies beyond the Bindu is the Advaita.

Spiritual stuff is quite mind-blowing! Actually so.

And, btw the Sun is ‘hollow’, as its interior lies outside in the 10-dimensions…

 

Real nature of the Sun and the deities

The Mantra Soham Hamsa and OM

Every practice of Sanatan Dharm/ Hinduism, the ‘eternal right action’ requires that,

  • you remain in control of your breathing pattern,
  • focus at your third eye
  • and mentally recite a Mantra.

Unless these 3 conditions are satisfied you will not gain control over the pran/vital energy moving in your energy body. And if you do not control the pran, you will not be able to do anything else further.

If you do the breathing or the yogic posture/Asan without the accompanying Mantra, the Sadhana/practice becomes tamasic in nature. The energies invoked will be unmoving, dull and eventually discordant. You are working with your own personal energies, do not experiment. If you do make errors, you will suffer on the internal levels, you might gain physical health but spiritually you will remain nil.

Reciting the Mantra mentally is compulsory. Mantra is not ‘religious’. It is a form of the Universal energy, you are entraining your personal energy with it, so that you attain the Ultimate.

The Mantra Soham Hamsa and OM

Now for doing Dhyan there are only 3 Mantra options,

  1. ‘Soham’- the best option if you want to experience Moksh – you mentally recite ‘So’ while breathing in and while breathing out ‘ham’ mentally. So together it is ‘Soham’. Anyone can do it without formal initiation from a living Guru.
  2. Or ‘OM’ – mentally recite one single OM as you breathe in and one single OM as you breathe out. This much can be done by anyone. (There is one another way of using the OM but you will need a proper enlightened Guru for its initiation)
  3. Or ‘Hamsa’ – mentally recite ‘Ham’ while breathing out and while breathing in ‘Sa’. Together it becomes ‘Hamsa’. This too can be done by anyone without any formal initiation.

‘So’ here is the Universal consciousness/ Param-atma and ‘ham’ is the narrow sense of self/ individual soul/ Jiv-atma.

  • So = Sa + O = success, knowledge, accomplishment + eternal Anahata/unstruck sound (there is sound but nothing was struck to create it)
  • Ham = Ha + M = Eternity + completion, endlessness, the Bindu – this is also a beej mantra when pronounced aloud as ‘hang’

When you breathe in, it is called Purak (filling). This is linked to ‘Sa’ (sa-kaar). When you hold your breath now it is called Antah Kumbhak (internal measure/base) this is linked to the vibration of ‘O’. When you breathe out it is called Rechak (emptying) this is linked to “ha’ (ha-kaar). And when you hold your lungs empty now this is called Bahya Kumbhak (external measure/base) linked to the ‘M’ vibration.

Kumbhak is the important part of breathing, here the inward and outward going breath are balanced perfectly and there is perfect stillness as described in the Vidnyan Bhairav Tantra. This is also the limit/joint, the conscious energy of Sandhya which is also called the Devi Mahamaya. She creates, maintains then destroys and is all pervading.

In the deeper Dhyan phases, the ‘sa’ and ‘ha’ Akshar somehow get ‘deleted’ and only ‘OM’ the primordial Nada remains. This will take some time but it will happen. You keep practicing and witness it when it does happen.

The Ida naadi is linked to the ‘Sa’ and the Pingala naadi to the ‘Ha’. When the ‘Ha’ and the ‘Sa’ get ‘neutralized’ (can’t find a better word) the OM remains. After this the Ida/ Pingala shut down and Sushumna naadi gets active. The pran from the Universe which enters through your third eye chakra moves into the Sushumna. It starts the process of ‘cleaning’ it out. Only when it is completely ‘clean’ and ‘through’, can the energy of self-identification /kundalini enter it and move through it till it reaches the top-most chakra, Moksh.

‘Soham’ is the energy which pulls the Kundalini up towards its merger with the Ultimate. ‘Hamsa’ in this sense would be the energy of manifestation and ‘Soham’, the energy of dissolution. Both are interlinked and equal in the real sense. For creation you need to have a dissolution first, then only can something be created. And for dissolution to happen you need creation in the first place which will be then dissolved. These two are very powerful mantra, but they still are defined. Each is defined in relation to the other, thus are not the Ultimate on their own. They are the link to the Ultimate.

The Ultimate is pure OM.

(How would you describe a pearl? White, small, round, pearly, iridescent, from an oyster, etc. But these terms describe its properties in relation to something else. They do not describe the pearl as such, stand-alone, on its own. Thus a pearl cannot be really described, or can it?)

Now these two mantras are also called the ‘Ajapa Gayatri‘. Ajapa means ‘not counted/recited’. Jap means to count and recite. If you pay attention to the ‘sound’ of your breath, it does sound like ‘so’ when breathing in and ‘ham’ as you breathe out. You are always reciting Soham when you are breathing, unconsciously. See, you are always reciting a Mantra as you breathe. Breath without Mantra is not possible. You do not realise it, but you are doing a 21,600 times jaap of Soham every day. But the trick is to be aware of this continuous sound of Soham. This awareness is called ‘Soham Yog’ or ‘Hamsa Yog’. Your Dhyan is the means to this goal.

When you recite Soham mentally with your breath you are ‘churning’ the internal pran/vital air with your focussed breathing, in and out. You are attracting the Ultimate consciousness by repeatedly calling out its name ‘Soham’ (it becomes OM later, your real name). And you are applying force on the closed door of the Sushumna by focussing on the third eye chakra. The door will open!

shri_smarth_sadguru_muppin_kadsiddheshwar_maharaj
Samarth Satguru Shri Muppin Kadsiddheshwar Maharaj

My Guru taught me the Mantra ‘Soham’ in this life 37 yrs ago. It is the simplest and safest means to achieve your spiritual goal, Moksh.

But do you have the Intention? How long will you Play till you decide to come Home?

 

Ida and Pingala continued

This is a continued post from this one. Ida and Pingala naadis are not randomly active, they follow a fixed sequence which is linked to the phases of the moon. This sequence also varies as per the fortnight, bright and dark. In the bright fortnight (shukla paksh), the first 3 days after the no-moon (Amavasya), the Ida is first active when the sun rises, then Pingala alternates every hour or so. Then for the next 3 days the Pingala is first active at sunrise and so on. During the dark fortnight (Krishna paksh), the first 3 days after the full moon/Purnima, the Pingala starts first at sunrise. And the next 3 days the Ida starts first and so on. This sequence is fixed.

Ida and Pingala continued

Now if you notice your active nostril does not follow this sequence, it means the body is going to fall ill soon, it will be fever if you start with Pingala when Ida was supposed to start. And you will catch a cold if you start with Ida when Pingala was supposed to start. If this wrong sequence continues for more than 2 months it can be severe enough to indicate even physical death.

So if you realise that the wrong naadi has started, how to reset the correct sequence. How to shift the naadis from Ida to Pingala and then the other way round? Here are 3 options which you can use as per your personal fitness levels,

Yogdanda – Ancient Rishis carried this item with them. If you want to change your naadi from the left to the right, you simply insert the Yogdanda in your left armpit and sit for a few minutes and vice versa.

Ida and Pingala continued Ida and Pingala continued

Ardhamatsyendra asan – If you can perform this yogic posture, you can easily shift the naadis. To activate the left naadi, tuck the left knee in the right armpit and twist the trunk, hold your left ankle with your right hand and your left hand passes over the back. Retain
the position for 2 minutes. (To induce the right nadi, perform the alternate movement jamming the right knee in the left armpit.) But before attempting these postures ensure that you have basic fitness levels at least.

Ida and Pingala continued

Then the easiest method is lying on your side. If you lie on your left side for 5 minutes or so your right nadi Pingala is activated and vice versa. 

(If you cannot do any of the methods I have given in this post, you can try the crudest method. Physically shut the active nostril with your finger for a few minutes. It will be a bit difficult to breathe for a couple of minutes till the other one fully opens. This is to be used only if you cannot do any of these above methods. Or very rarely, like you are in public and you need to change the flow of breath/swar.)

You might need to activate the Ida and Pingala if you realise that you are waking up with the wrong naadi active. Or for doing a specific activity, e.g. you have to go to the gym and you have your Ida active you will feel lazy. Shifting it to Pingala will charge you up and you will go for your gym session happily. (A secret, if you and your husband/wife want to conceive a baby, try it when the husband’s Pingala is active and the wife’s Ida is active. You now know how to shift them!)

Now finally, to activate the Sushumna. This is ideally done before doing intensive spiritual practice, Dhyan or Jaap. If you can shift your pran to Sushumna, it will act as a booster. But do these following only and only if your physical health permits it.

Anulom/Vilom Pranayam – Anyways your pran does automatically shift to the Sushumna some 5-10 mins after you start your spiritual practice so even if you cannot actively do these things it is ok. At the very least you can do the Anulom/Vilom Pranayam where you alternately close the right and left nostrils. The thumb is used to close the right nostril and the little and ring fingers together close the left nostril. Anyone can do this irrespective of physical fitness. Close your right nostril and breathe in from your left, then close your left nostril, open your right and breathe out from the right. Next breathe in from the right, close the right, open the left and breathe out from the left nostril. This is one count. Do 12 sets of this pranayam.

Ida and Pingala continued Ida and Pingala continued

Now the real thing, the Bastrika pranayam – It requires you to have a basic good health as this is strenous, if you are not sure do not do it, you might faint. Very fast powerful forced expiration and inspiration, for just 1 min, no more. Sit in your chosen yogic posture, Siddhasan or Padmasan. Breathe out forcefully with a hissing sound through your nose. Breathe in equally forcefully. Your entire chest and abdomen should feel the strain of the physical effort. You might even start perspiring. In about 1 min both your nostrils will be clear and open, and your pran will start moving in the Sushumna.

Paschimottana Asana – This also requires basic physical fitness, if you have back problems or are quite fat, do not do it. You might strain your back and black-out too. Lie on your back. Sit up with your hands above your head. Touch your fingers to your toes. Touch your head to your knee. Retain this final pose for two minutes. This will shift the pran to the Sushumna.

Ida and Pingala continued

Finally the Shirshasan – Again these yogic postures are not just ‘exercises’, they are called ‘Yog-asan’, meaning the foundation of your spiritual practice. And they require considerable physical fitness. Do this one, only if you have been taught by a proper teacher. Sushumna is activated with the Shirshasan posture within 2 minutes.

Ida and Pingala continued

So this was a bit on how to get your naadis working the way you want them to. You are now consciously allocating pran depending on which activity you are about to perform, so that you can get the most out of it.

 

Using the Ida and Pingala

The central Sushumna is the subtlest naadi in your body, next are the Ida and Pingala. All three start at the Muladhar chakra, this point is the Trikut (tri-junction). Ida and Pingala twine around the Sushumna but do not intersect anywhere during their lengths. These two terminate at the third eye Ajnya chakra this point is called the Bhrukut. From this point only Sushumna i.e. the Brahmanadi travels upwards to the top of the head. There are more naadis parallel to the Sushumna. Other smaller naadis are created at the interval (Kanda) between the Swadhisthan and the Muladhar chakra.

Using the Ida and Pingala

All of us breathe, but have you ever observed that both your nostrils are not equally open always, one of the two feels ‘blocked’. Try closing them alternately to see which one is ‘open’, and check again after one hour or so to recheck. If you pay attention to your breathing pattern you just might notice that both are ‘open’ only for a few minutes in intervals of about 1hr. When you do pranayam, you are forcing both the nostrils to ‘open’ by the breathing exercise. And when you are doing Dhyan or jaap both remain ‘open’. When both nostrils are open, it seems that the air you breathe is somehow more ‘fresh’ more ‘bright’.

We pull in pran from the Universe (Hiranyagarbha/Samashti pran), through our skin and maximum through our nose/air. When your right nostril is open your Ajnya chakra is allocating the pran you receive from the Universe to the Muladhar chakra via the Pingala naadi. When your left nostril is open, you are sending pran down via the Ida naadi. And when both are open for 2-3 mins every 1hr or so, you are sending the pran via the Sushumna naadi. Ajnya chakra is called so, because ajnya means to ‘order’ or ‘control’. When the pran reaches the Muladhar chakra it is further sent to all the naadis of your energy body and your body survives. You can survive without oxygen but not without pran. (In deep samadhi state the pran is allocated only to the Sushumna, so the body will appear dead.)

Pran ‘looks’ shimmery golden silvery milky. It ‘feels’ cool. It is ‘thicker’ in nature, places where human habitation is less, like Himalayas, oceans, sea shores and near the mighty rivers e.g. Ganga, near waterbodies and temples which are considered to be auspicious.

For spiritual growth we focus only on the Sushumna. The Ida, Pingala and all the others are concerned with the activities of physical life.

When the pran is being sent through your Ida nadi, your left nostril is active and you use the energy for your body’s and mind’s nutrition, maintenance and growth. Ida is called the lunar channel. Lunar doesn’t mean the ‘moon’ as such, it means the qualities of the Moon, nourishment, protection, comfort, maternal love, stability and security. You are utilizing the pran to maintain yourself in every way. You are nourishing yourself, maintaining your Creation.

  • Simple example, do your make-up and dress while Ida is active, it will feel more satisfing!
  • Setting up shop and arranging the displays will be more creative.
  • Start a long journey when your Ida is active for a successful travel experience.
  • Or a visit to a temple or giving charity or peforming a selfless service.
  • Starting constructions, any engineering or landscaping projects. Even getting married is starting a new project!
  • If you take your  medicine when Ida is active, will improve its efficacy.
  • Meeting your boss or giving interviews or presentations, social interactions and meeting friends all these activities will be just a bit better if you are breathing through your left nostril.

Using the Ida and Pingala

Now your Pingala, when the right nostril is active. You are now ‘burning’ pran for expressions of your ego and personality. The ‘fire’, ‘heat’ in your body is more, so perform actions which create the force of your personality. It is also called the solar naadi.

  • If you eat your food while the internal fire is on, the food will be digested more effectively.
  • Strenuous movements, hiking, trekking, gym, difficult yogic postures like the Shatkarma of Hathayog.
  • Learning new physical skills, learning self-defence will be better if you start them when your Pingala is active.
  • Learning or even teaching technical subjects, scientific stuff, machinery related things.
  • Doing tantric sadhana and manipulating pran in your naadis by diverting the ‘heat’ to ‘burn’ the obstacles within your Brahmanadi are some of the things done better with the Pingala on.
  • Going to war!, or arguing, doing your karma, influencing others and your environment needs heat.
  • Coming back home from a long journey with your pingala active will make the experience more pleasurable.
  • Actual trading, i.e. the action of buying and selling will be more profitable with your Pingala active.

When these 2 aspects of your personality are balanced, they shut down briefly and all the pran is channelised through the real You, the Sushumna. In deep Dhyan pran moves only through Sushumna and it can go on for hours in the samadhi state). But in the awake life, this happens only for a few minutes, then again the Ida/Pingala are activated and the Sushumna shuts down.

These 2-3 mins of Sushumna are very precious, use them well. When it gets active, stop all your work, take a deep breath and focus on your third eye. Say a mental prayer, or any mantra 12 or 27 times (will take 2-3 mins) or at least recite Om a few times. Practising your spiritual practice, dhyan, jaap, mantra, yog etc during the Sushumna phase gives you a power boost. Prayers, blessings and even curses are more effective in this phase.

Will continue in my next post on this same Ida/Pingala theme.

 

Using the Ida and Pingala

Naadi and Pran a small exercise

The energies called Sun, Moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn are created by the chakras/energy vertices of your body. Rahu and Ketu are not linked any chakra as such because they are in subtle sense unreal. They are the forces of attraction and apathy which pull and push at your soul, distorting the perfection of your internal geometry. ‘You’ exist within your Sushumna naadi, the central energy channel. There are smaller energy channels flowing alongside the Sushumna and throughout your body.

Naadi and Pran a small exercise

This vitality of this nadi network and pran flow is a function of Mars. If you severely damage a body part, its corresponding naadi also gets damaged. I tore the ligaments of my knee when I was in college, the injury was permanent and I can see the pran in this naadi in this knee flows in a twisted way, it is a permanent damage to my energy body too. (So take care of your back and head.)

If you have been doing regular spiritual practice, by now you should be able to see your naadi/chakra network and the pran flowing through it. Perhaps you have tried making a chi ball? Now let’s try seeing the pran flowing in someone else. Get your friend to be your ‘subject’. This is how you do it.

Sit comfortably facing each other in a dimly lit room. Your friend should hold both his hands forward, palms facing inwards towards each other, about 6 inches apart. His palm chakras will automatically start making an energy ball. Now you should sit in front of him and put your own palms between or around his like this diagram (there are two options both work, choose which feels more comfortable to you). Don’t touch his palms keep a few centimeres distance. So now your own palm chakras are making their own energy chi ball which is within or around his chi ball as per your palm position. And your and your friend’s energy bodies are interacting very deeply. Now you should close your eyes and focus in at your third eye.

Naadi and Pran a small exercise   Naadi and Pran a small exercise

We might think we see with our eyes and taste with our tongue but actually our consciousness resides at the third eye (Kuthastha), you do everything from here. Your Ajnya chakra controls the allocation of pran. (Ajnya means ‘to order’) Your soul/Jivatma sits here at the Kuthastha (depth of the joint) point.

  • From your third eye, now ‘look’ into your friends body. Try to see his chakras, they will be easily visible spinning away in their colors, red at the lower end of the spine, then orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, white/shimmery at the very top of the head.
  • You can also sense the direction of the spin. If your friend is a woman in her monthly cycle (5 days) her chakras will be spinning anticlockwise, otherwise they are clockwise. For men they always spin clockwise. Anticlockwise spinning chakras means destruction is going on inside the body. So if you ever see someone’s chakras going anticlockwise tell them to be careful of their health.
  • You can then try to see the energy lines/naadis from these chakras, they will be seen radiating, dividing and subdividing getting smaller and finer. Near the chakras they will be of the colors of the chakra and as they go farther away they turn generic shimmery.
  • Now if your friend has a permanent injury, like I have in my knee, you can ‘look’ at this portion of his body, you will see the pran moving in jerky movement here, not in a smooth flow.
  • And finally you can scan the internal organs, if they are healthy the pran flow there will be strong, but if there is a problem the flow will be jerky, thin or even nil.

So enough of theory, check out how much you have actually gained with your spiritual practice. Yes, Shri Krishna says in the Bhagwat Gita that one should do one’s practice/work/karma and not really bother with the outcome. But there are pointers on the spiritual route which tell you that you are moving. This exercise is about checking the pointers.

Try this simple exercise when you are relaxed and your surroundings are silent. It will give you a new perspective on how you really look like.