Japa Synchronized with Breathing
Our mind and breathing are closely interconnected. The more restless the mind becomes from the effects of lust and anger, the more our breathing loses its rhythm. If such loss of rhythm arises frequently, our peace of mind will be seriously jeopardized.
If we want our mind to be established in a state of perennial peace, we should practice some easy and simple methods of internal sadhana, one of which is given below:
Inhalation and exhalation of breath is a natural process. It does not require any effort from our side. While inhaling, silently chant, 'Om', 'Ram', 'Supreme Bliss' (Anand), 'Supreme Peace' (Shanti)...and while exhaling, count one...two...three...with each exhalation. In this way, inhale while chanting the Lord's divine virtues like Supreme peace, Rama, fearlessness, carefreeness, well-being, happiness, modesty, faith, truth, steadfastness, firmness, etc. and go on counting during exhalation. Ensure that no breath goes without counting thus. In case, any breath goes without counting, re-start the counting from one. If you are able to count upto 50 or better still 108, your breathing will attain rhythm and the concentration of your mind will improve. While inhaling, visualize divine virtues being internalized, and while exhaling, visualize vices being discarded. If practised regularly, this Sadhana is capable of taking you to great heights.
Kabirji has emphasized the grandeur of this sadhana as follows:
Mala swaso-swas ki , jagat bhagat k beech,
Jo fere so Guru Mukhi, na fere so neech |
Control of Breath
When the mind is calm, breathing becomes rhythmic and gradually the breathing becomes quieter. In other words, when breathing becomes more and more rhythmic, the mind proportionately becomes calmer. Ordinarily, the force of the breath reaches a distance of twelve 'anguls'. When one learns to control the life force, the breathing calms down 'angul' by 'angul'; and the mind becomes more and more steady.
Watch every breath being inhaled and exhaled. This brings equilibrium to your breathing. Its force is reduced from twelve 'anguls' to eleven 'anguls'. If one continues this practice, the force of breathing will be reduced to 10 'anguls', from 10 'anguls' to 9 'anguls', and coming down 'angul' by 'angul', it can be reduced to one 'angul'.
Ordinarily, the force of one's breathing is about 12 'angul'. If one practices the above method, and brings down the force of breathing by one 'angul', one's selfishness will be curtailed, and altruism will increase. The aspirant will be more blissful, and as he expends less life-force, his longevity is improved too. He becomes happier, more generous and famous. When the force of breathing is reduced by two 'anguls', the aspirant is more in tune with his spontaneous bliss, and he will be loved by all, by virtue of his new-found capability of showering bliss on others.
When the force of breathing is reduced by three 'anguls', one's poetic prowess is developed. Poems, songs and verses written by him will be extraordinary. Control of breath by four 'anguls' endows one with siddhis, and one's prophecies begin to come true.
Control of breath by five 'anguls' develops the power of hearing and seeing far off events and objects. If the aspirant wants, he can close his eyes and see things thousands of miles away in a moment. He can hear words spoken in America while sitting in India.
If one is able to control the breath by six 'anguls', one can fly in the air at will like a bird.
Control of breath by seven 'anguls' enables the aspirant to go anywhere at desired speed. He acquires the power of quick movement.
Control of breath by eight 'anguls' endows the aspirant with the eight siddhis, and control of breath by nine 'anguls' grants one the nine riches.
Control of breath by ten 'anguls' makes one the master of all the ten stages of spiritual practice.
Control of breath by eleven 'anguls' makes the aspirant divine. Just like the gods, his body has no shadow falling on the earth.
Control of breath by twelve 'anguls' takes one to the state of salvation. The aspirant is established in the bliss of nirvikalp samadhi.
Therefore, every aspirant should practice control of breath under the guidance and supervision of an experienced Sadguru, and devote himself to the task of realizing God, Who is above all accomplishments; in fact, the One who grants all accomplishments.
Subtlization of Life-Force
If the aspirant wants to make his life-force subtle, progressively subtler, and finally achieve the subtlest state, he should do Pranayams regularly every day. If pranayams are done regularly along with Antar and Bahya Kumbhak, the capacity to hold the breath inside or outside increases slowly but steadily.
The time period during which the breath is held either inside or outside is considered to be excellent. At that time, the aspirant is nearer to the bliss of the True Self. As and when the capacity to hold the breath increases, our energy levels and longevity increase. Our Rishis and Munis used to control breathing and enjoy the bliss of samadhi for years together. PujyaPaad Sai Shri Lilashahji had mastered 64 types of pranayams.
The moments of holding the breath are moments of samadhi, moments of proximity to the True Self, the Lord. Regular practice of pranayam makes the life-force subtle, makes it from subtle to subtler, and from subtler to subtlest. This is very useful for the aspirant towards the goal of God-realization. If the aspirant performs ten to twelve pranayams with the three Bandhs, namely, Mool Bandh, Uddiyan Bandh and Jaalandhar Bandh at each of the three sandhyas; a few days' practice along with the due help of Guru's Grace and Guru-Mantra can lead him through higher goals of spiritual life, to the supreme achievement of Self-Realization.
Practice Pranayam sitting in one of these yogic postures: Padmasana, Siddhasana, Swastikasana or Sukhasana. First do Mool Bandha, then Uddiyan Bandha, and finally Jaalandhar Bandha. You will notice the difference in just 3 days' time. Subsequently, the number of pranayams should never be reduced from one day to another. You should never do 10 pranayams on one day, followed by 15 on the second day, and 11 on the third day. Do the same number of pranayams regularly everyday.
Mool Bandha: Sit down in any of the above mentioned postures. The inner contraction of the anus is called Mool Bandha. It has a miraculous impact on a person's emotional, and physical well being. The Pranayams done with Mool Bandha, not only miraculously improve the health, but they also eradicate the impious sanskars, sublimate deep-rooted desires, and thereby, develop our spiritual radiance.
Pain and depression are a common experience women have during the time of menstruation, which can be relieved by regular practice of Moola Bandha. The severity of pain during delivery can be substantially reduced by the practice of Moola Bandha a few days before the delivery. Sometimes, even obstetric surgery can be circumvented. If a woman continues the practice of Moola Bandha during the post natal period, even while lying on the bed for 5-15 minutes every day, then the cells which may normally take around 40 days to recover, can recover in just 15 days time. Post delivery hormone balance can be achieved quickly to regain the normal state of health.
The pressure applied on the adrenal glands and 'Manipur' chakra while doing Mool Bandha generates energy that eradicates diseases. This energy, capable of divesting tension and worry also cures various physical and mental ailments.
Uddiyan Bandha: Contracting the abdomen inwards at the time of Pranayam is called Uddiyan Bandha. It keeps the digestive system in order. Afflictions like acidity, gastric disorders and constipation vanish. The kidneys become stronger and the risk of kidney stone is eliminated.
Jaalandhar Bandha: Inhale deeply through both the nostrils, press your chin against the throat. This is Jaalandhar Bandha. Sit quietly for as long as possible doing japa of the Lord's Name or the Guru Mantra. Shut the left nostril and inhale slowly through the right one. Hold the breath for about ten seconds, doing japa of the Guru Mantra mentally. Now exhale slowly through the left nostril (keeping the right nostril closed). Repeat the process, inhaling this time through the left nostril and exhaling through the right nostril. Do five such pranayams daily. It is good to hold the breath in as long as possible.
Practice of this pranayam uproots any disease afflicting the body. Cardiac function is improved, blood pressure is reduced, and muscles are relaxed.
Pranayam done with all the three bandhas is highly beneficial. If children are made to do these pranayams, they will be free from diseases and will turn out to be brilliant students.
The 5 Aphorisms of Spirituality
(A) Regular study of the scriptures: Everyday, even if it is only for a little while, study the biographies of God-realized saints, and the scriptures that encourage you towards God-realization.
(B) Balanced diet and judicious fasting: Neither should you starve nor should you over-eat. Neither should you eat on all thirty days of the month nor fast for ten days at a stretch. Do not fast if you are a diabetic. If you are obese but otherwise healthy, undertake fasting four times a month. If you are healthy, but not obese, fast twice a month as per your constitution.
(C) Prudent selfless seva: Seva has its own joy, its own generosity (nobility), virtue and salutary impact. Whether you are in the material world or in the spiritual one, progress is impossible without seva. In the material world, if you serve only ostentatiously, your achievements will also be apparent, not real. If you serve sincerely in the spiritual world, your progress will be genuine. Therefore, seva should be for the sake of seva, not for pretentiousness, not for acclaim, but rather to open the doors to the hidden treasure of bliss that is ever present in your heart.
(D) Regular practice of meditation and Self-enquiry
(E) Surrender to God: Totally surrender your 'I' (ego) to the Lord, Who is the primeval source of the entire creation, He, who creates, sustains and destroys the universe.
Source :- Copied from earlier version of Ashram website (available under Sadhana section)