With the attainment of the status of a viira, Tantra begins to blossom in one’s life. To become a hero means to become a leader through dedication, sincerity, ideological zeal, fighting spirit and all-round capacity. Such heroes are physically fit, mentally developed and spiritually elevated. People will recognize such proto-Sadvipras by their exemplary conduct, selfless service, dutifulness and moral integrity. Such heroes are not simply motivated by external pressure orchestrated by the Sadguru, rather they now acquire and internal urge for expansion and for heroic deeds. They feel that the source of psychic inspiration is that Supreme Controller. And they are to fight against all depraving, all degenerating, forces with the help of that Supreme Entity. Struggle in the mental sphere is harder and more complicated than in the material sphere. As such, more mental power, more powerful nerve fibres and nerve cells are required. Shrii Sarkar explains the evolution of such heroes as follows:
With continued spiritual practice according to the dictates of the Master, the aspirant comes to [human status], or viirabháva. Animals need external pressure: in pashvácára sádhaná; one controls oneself to attain elevation to viirabháva. Those beyond the animal stage cannot get elevation through external control only. They need external pressure and internal urge. With the rise of a spiritual inspiration, the aspirant becomes a viira (noble) and when this viirabháva is fully assimilated, the person becomes godlike.– Pashvácára, Viirácára and Divyácára, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 33
This practical truth is the basis of the science of Tantra. There is no conflict between Tantra and natural sciences. According to their mental stages, human beings can be classified into animalistic, noble and godly. The master initiates the disciple according to the person’s mental and spiritual stage…
In the viirácára stage, spiritual aspirants attain greater mental and moral force. They gradually start thinking that they are no longer ordinary persons. They overcome all their inferiority or fear complexes. They attain mental stability, also. They are viira (noble), and their Lord is “Viireshvara”.
Shrii Sarkar explains the necessity of divine Grace to overcome the force of Cosmic Illusion saying,
Now after this first phase is over, after the successful completion of the first struggle, the second one starts. This second struggle occurs both externally and internally, and for this the sádhakas must be sufficiently bold. This boldness comes as a result of the first fight. In this second phase the spiritual aspirants struggle like heroes, and address their Lord as Viireshvara. So in this second phase of struggle, their Lord Sadáshiva becomes Viireshvara, the Lord of Heroes. Now the spiritual aspirants are no longer animals or pashus, they are heroes or viiras…– The Essence of Spiritual Progress
In the second phase, too, there are mental obstacles, but they too can be overcome by the Grace of the Lord. For He clearly says:
Daevii hyeśá guńamayii mama Máyá duratyayá;
Mámeva ye prapadyante Máyámetáḿ taranti te. (Gita)
“This Máyá, this depraving faculty, this avidyá shakti, is my Máyá: she is under my control” – Shakti sá shivasya shaktih. So those spiritual aspirants who have surrendered at the altar of the Supreme need not be afraid of Máyá because the Lord before whom they have surrendered controls that very Máyá. Daeviiyeśa guńamayii mama Máyá duratyayá: “This Máyá of mine is insurmountable.” But Mámeva ye prapadyante – “Those who have taken shelter in Me” – Máyámetáḿ taranti te – “will easily surmount this Máyá.” So spiritual aspirants need not be afraid of this Máyá: She can do nothing because the Lord is with them. In pashvácára and viirácára, they are helped by the Lord to fight against Máyá.
The moral character of such a hero is explained thus:
Teśáḿ jiṋána prakásháya viirabháva prakáshitah – “And when they feel, when they realize, when they understand, what to do and what not to do, what are the dos of life and what are the don’ts of life, then they become bold.” Why bold? They are to fight against all sorts of adversities, all sorts of troubles, all sorts of inimical attitudes. So they are certainly heroes; and a hero in Sanskrit is called a viira. So at that stage of humanity when this viirabháva develops, when a person becomes ready to fight against all opposite forces, he is a viira. In Tantra this is called viirabháva, and for him, the Supreme Entity is “Viireshvara”. The man becomes viira, and his Lord becomes Viireshvara – no longer Pashupati, but Viireshvara. One of the names of Parama Puruśa is Viireshvara.– From Animality to Divinity
When the person is fully established in viirabháva – that is, he is never to be frightened, never to be defeated, never to accept any defeat (you girls should remember that here “he” means “she” also) – then he is established in viirabhava. And that bháva is called divyabháva. And that man is no longer known as viira. He is a deva, or devatá…
Now, I have said that a person has three types of expression: One expression is thinking, the thinking faculty, and the second one is speaking… In the first the function is within the nerve cells, and in the second, the function is – where? With the lips. And the third action is action with the physical body, corporal action…
And in the second phase, that is, in the viira stage, the thought-waves move like that… but the words and the actions are one. That is, there are some differences between thoughts on the one hand, and words and actions on the other hand, but the words and the actions are the same. What these people say, they do. In society, these people, these people of viirabháva, are respected as great men, as Mahápuruśas, as leaders of society, as leaders of the country. But there is a defect in them also, because their thoughts and their actions are not the same. Their actions and words are the same, but their thoughts are not the same. Do you follow? They are [in] viirabháva, they are viira; their Lord is Viireshvara.
In fact Shrii Sarkar defines the very nature of meditation as being the fight against the crude forces dominating our minds and our communities and our Cosmos.
After starting Sádhaná, one starts psychic fighting against the crude force, the crude force functioning within the mind, the crude force functioning within the society, the crude force functioning within the family and the crude force functioning within the country. One starts fighting, so one becomes “viira”. This “viirata” in fighting is actual Sádhana. This is life. Life is the constant fight against belligerent forces. Life is fight. When one starts to fight one becomes a human in human structure…– Triangle of Forces and the Supreme Entity
This fight against the centrifugal force, functioning in the world, is actually the Sádhaná. You know, in each and every structure there are two forces, centripetal and centrifugal forces. In the case of cosmological order, in the case of Brahma Cakra [the Cosmic Cycle of evolution and involution], the Centripetal force, is called Vidyá and the Centrifugal force is called Avidyá. So spiritual practice or the intuitional practice is the fight between Vidyá and Avidyá. Sádhaná is to strengthen vidyá, the centripetal force, in one’s movement towards the nave of the cosmological order.
Shrii Sarkar explains how this endless fight in endless dimensions of our lives is part of the Macrocosmic dynamics saying,
Life is to fight. Now when one starts fight, then he becomes a man in human structure. He is no longer a brute in human structure, he is a man in human structure. And in that phase he says: “O Lord, by Your mercy, by Your grace, I have become a hero, I have started fighting against debasing forces functioning within my mind, functioning within my family, functioning within the society. So by Your grace I have become a hero. I am a hero, I am a viira, thou art Viireshvara [Lord of Heroes].”– I Have Become a Hero
So in the second phase of sádhaná, Pashupati becomes Viireshvara. It is another name of Lord Shiva. Pashupati becomes Viireshvara. And as a result of further fight, when this fighting tendency, this belligerent tendency, becomes his wont, in that case He becomes a deva, he is called a deva…
Now, this fight, this fight against the eccentric force fighting, eccentric force functioning, in the world, is actually the sádhaná. You know, in each and every structure, there are two forces, the centripetal force and the centrifugal force. In the case of this Cosmological world, in the case of this Cosmological system, in the case of this Brahma Cakra, the centripetal force, the centre-seeking force, is called vidyá, and the centrifugal force is called avidyá. So this spiritual practice, or intuitional practice, is a fight between vidyá and avidyá. A sádhaka is to strengthen his vidyá, his centripetal force, in his movement towards the nave of this Cosmological order, towards the nucleus of this Cosmological order – because of the fact that this Cosmological nucleus is the nucleus of all other nuclei of the universe. It is the abode of supreme beatitude. All other nuclei of the universe are sheltered in Him. (That’s why he is called Náráyańa. Ayana means “shelter”. And Nára means “Operative Principle”.) There is no other way. If one wants peace of permanent nature, if one has developed the longing for supreme beatitude, one has no alternative but to move towards this Supreme Nucleus; and this movement is sádhaná. And while moving towards this Supreme Nucleus, one will have to fight against the centrifugal force, the avidyá shakti.
In this fight against avidyá shakti one must have sufficient weapons. You know, a soldier requires weapons, and sádhaná is a fight. In your internal sphere, that is, in your mind, you should have ten weapons. Those ten weapons are five Yama and five Niyama [moral principles]. And similarly, while fighting against evil forces in this crude physicality, you should have ultra-modern physical weapons also. Those who want disarmament and those who want to ban the atom bomb are not friends of human society. They do not want to accelerate the speed of human society. Rather they want to retard its progress. Weapons you must have, but you should have control over your body and mind. There must not be any abuse or misuse of your weapons.
Now, in this progress, that is, in the realm of intuitionalism, you should have ten internal weapons – Yama and Niyama – and your progress in sádhaná depends on jiṋána [wisdom], karma [service work] and bhakti [devotion]. Your progress is effected by jiṋána and karma.
Finally, we see how this heroism can rescue humanity.
Those who can dedicate their all to the thought of the Great and the inspiration of the Supreme are verily the most heroic. Indeed, they are the virtuous, and they alone are capable of taking human history from darkness to light.– 1 January 1965, Ánanda Váńii Saḿgraha
As we have seen the different stages of the forging of the Sadvipra are associated with different levels of pratyahára or yogic withdrawal and merger with the innermost Consciousness. Thus,
The second phase is called vyatireka. The aspirant establishes his control [over] a particular internal or external enemy but [is] still defeated by certain desires. Suppose there is a man who never takes bribes. He has established his control over the propensity of lobha [greed]. But he may be addicted to drink, so there he is defeated. Or that man may be a miserly fellow. Again he is defeated. Or that man may have some special attraction to some house, land or other property. In this phase, one has established oneself [over] certain propensities or [over] certain degrading elements or enemies, but is defeated by some other elements or enemies. This second phase of human approach is called vyatireka. Here also one cannot move a step forward without the grace of the Supreme, because one’s fighting stamina gets inspiration from the Supreme.– The Phases of Human Approach, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 30
It is not simply that we may be dominated by one propensity. Instead we can be dominated by a propensity only when it comes to certain objects. For example,
“In one matter we have no greed, but in another we have tremendous greed. These all belong to the category of vyatireka. It is called vyatireka because when kalá [mental curvatures] is getting transformed into káśt́há (it is not always the case that kalá shall be transformed into káśt́há), sometimes káśt́há [linear flow of the mind] becomes smaller than the kalá, while at other times, under the pressure of káśt́há, the subsequent kalá becomes larger than its normal state.– Vyatireka – the Stage of Control, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 10
The psychological basis of this state is explained as follows:
In the second stage, vyatireka, the propensities are directed from the citta to the ahaḿtattva [doer “I”]. This stage is less trying than yatamána. In fact, occasionally it is slightly pleasing. The kicking wild horses have been broken to some extent, and for brief intervals these partially-tamed mental propensities do follow the direction from the citta to the ahaḿtattva. During these intervals the sádhaka enjoys bits, shreds, and glimpses of bliss. Tears of such bliss may roll down his cheeks. In this period the external pressures are also lessened, because friends and relatives have become somewhat reconciled to the other-worldly pursuits of the sádhaka.– Yatamána, Vyatireka, Ekendriya and Vashiikára, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 33
Now the viira or heroic personality is also associated with the third stage of pratyahára. This is the state in which all vrttis are absorbed in one sentiment. Ekendriya means gaining full control over a particular psychic propensity. Once con trolled, it will never return, will never cause further degeneration. Full control over a certain psychic vrtti is known as ekendriya. What will be the result, for example, if a person gains full control over the vak indriya, the organ of speech? Whatever he or she will say will come true. This is called vak siddhi. This is part of the Tantric process of mental expansion.
However, the lack of a divine goal can lead to disaster. One may attain a trance of absorption and some occult powers by meditation on sensory-motor organs, on the 5 rudimental factors of matter (solid, liquid, luminous, aerial and ethereal) on the sensory inferences (smell, taste, form, touch, sound) but we cannot attain liberation from material consciousness and liberation from or mental propensities. Instead we gradually or rapidly become corrupted. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. This is not simply a political truism but a spiritual one as well.
In the ekendriya stage, which is the third stage in pratyáhára one expands one’s ectoplasmic sphere just like a cloud filling the sky – whenever the cloud passes over an object it brings it within its sphere of influence. But this is not so in the case of Parama Puruśa. Whenever His mental sphere increases, numerous entities emerge within His mind, remain in a state of flow for some time and subsequently dissolved back into Him. The microcosms which are created, maintained and dissolved within the Cosmic Mind are qualitatively almost the same manner as Parama Puruśa, but of course they differ quantitatively. The Cosmic Mind is extremely vast; the unit mind is tiny. The unit mind only expands in the ectoplasmic sphere, like the cloud filling the sky, and in the process of expansion brings other unit minds within its sphere of control. When it expands tremendously it can also assert some influence on the Cosmic Mind…– Ekendriya – 1, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 6
Suppose a person is trying to expand the mind, not to attain Parama Puruśa, but a crude goal such as name, fame or wealth. In that process the science is the same but the actual path is different. One who follows this path becomes mentally degenerated. This state is called Prakrtiliina avasthá in scripture. For such people become as crude as matter. A person whose mind is engrossed in money becomes money itself. Yes, a conscious human being gets converted into crude money. Human beings are aware that they are human, but a rupee doesn’t know it’s a rupee. There are other categories like this such as yakśa [obsessed with wealth], gandharvá [with music and the arts], kinnara [with beauty], vidyádhara [with knowledge], [prakrtiliina –obsessed with material objects or idol worshippers or those dominated by revulsion/rejection of the world] vidhehaliina [obsessed with worldly problems or those who worship the Void or Nothingness] and siddha [those who feel superior to others due to their spiritual attainments or those who are attached to occult powers] which have been categorized according to the degree of ectoplasmic crudity or subtlety. You are the master of your ectoplasm – you can expand it across the vast sky, or you can confine it to the horizon of a solitary cloud. It depends on your will.
Shrii Sarkar explains how this level is connected with worldly and spiritual love as follows:
What is the actual import of ekendriya? At first the mind is drawn towards the entity in a particular way – it flows unhindered across the boundary of liking and enters the sphere of love. At that time the mind neither has the desire nor the scope for any distraction whatsoever. All it wants is to flow towards the object it loves. If it encounters a second entity on the way it will ignore it, so strong is its one pointed pursuit for its object of love.– Ekendriya – 3, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 6
Ucát́an man ná máne bárań,
Shudhu tári páne chut́e yáy.
[The mind is extremely impatient – it listens to no one,
But rushes towards its object of love.]
So the mind moves towards that Supreme One. You may know some people whose minds always run after money. You might have asked them to sit down for a while and have a chat, and been surprised by their excusing themselves, saying they were so busy and had to rush off to the stock exchange. If their pursuit of money is hampered in any way, if it eludes their grasp, if they are totally severed from it, their minds will lose their base and they will die.
How then does this movement towards the Supreme take place? It is via focused concentration with every fibre of one’s being.
To bring about the greatest fulfilment of life, sádhakas will have to reach the pinnacle of the state of ekendriya. That is, instead of directing their mind-stuff towards crude objects, they must channelize their minds towards the Macrocosm, and embrace the Macrocosm fully as their goal.– Ekendriya – 8, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 6
Prańavo dhanuh sharohyátmá Brahma tallakśyamucyate
Apramattena vedhavyaḿ sharattanmayo bhavet.
“A sádhaka who utilizes his spiritual practice as the bow his self as the arrow, and Parama Puruśa as the target and then tries to pierce the target with undivided attention, attains the Supreme Goal”.
Sádhakas who accept this sloka as the supreme and final guidance and move accordingly along the path of ekendriya sádhaná are capable of devoting the mind to the highest stage of spiritual realization. Their lives become so meaningful. It is not enough to only ideate on Brahma [Supreme Consciousness], one must also practice ekendriya sádhaná. Here ekendriya means that all the expressions of the sensory and motor nerves and all the energy and subtle power of the organs should be focused on one point. The consolidated power of the nerves, indriyas, and mind stuff should be directed towards the supreme goal. This unidirectional movement towards the goal is the stage of ekendriya. In this stage the sádhaka does not attach any importance to any particular indriya, idea or thought, but attaches paramount importance to the supreme goal. Such a sádhaka ultimately arises above both vidyá and avidyá Tantra.
In this stage the spiritual aspirant craves for direct contact with the Beloved Master thus:
‘Oh Parama Puruśa please appear suddenly in the dark corners of my mind. Let me see you with my mental eyes’. This type of ‘seeing’ with one’s mental eyes is called ekendriya. The eyes are as indriya. Similarly, the rśi prays, ‘Oh Lord, come still closer to me so that I can serve you’. Here the devotee wants to attain the Lord through the indriya of touch. Or the rśi may pray, ‘Oh Lord, play your sweet flute so I can hear your divine tune and be absorbed in you, forgetting myself. Please come to me in the form of a blissful melody.’ This is an attempt to attain Him through a different indriya – the auditory organ. So these are examples of the initial attempts to come into the closest proximity of Parama Puruśa. This is not the first but the third stage of sadhana.– Ekendriya -4, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 6
The ensuing spiritual experiences are,
Then comes ekendriya, which is the third stage of progress in sádhaná. This is the stage when one has control over a particular mental propensity, and that control is more lasting. Due to constant repetition, the mantra is sounding in one’s ear. While sitting in meditation, a sádhaka can see his or her Iśt́a moving around him or her, and the fragrance of sandalwood or rose comes from the body of the Iśt́a. Sometimes one gets it and sometimes one does not get it.– Bio-Psycho-Spiritual System of Kiirtana, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 30
The psychological transformation of this practice and the dangers of the resultant occult powers is explained as follows:
In the third stage, ekendriya, the upward direction is followed from the ahaḿtattva to the mahattattva. As the very name ekendriya implies, the sádhaka gains control over some single propensity or organ, which brings to him a corresponding occult power.– Yatamána, Vyatireka, Ekendriya and Vashiikára, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 33
Occult power (called vibhúti or aeshvarya in Sanskrit) is the supernatural power gained from the practice of the psychic mystic cult. The eight vibhútis are ańimá, laghimá, mahimá, prápti, iishitva, vashitva, prákámya, and antaryámitva. This stage marks a great step forward. However, this is a dangerous stage also. The danger comes more from inside than from outside. The sádhaka may get intoxicated with the feeling of the occult power and be tempted to abuse it. Moreover, there is the external threat that somebody may provoke him into such abuse. Any misuse of these powers causes a setback or even a downfall in the spiritual journey. Abuse of power is bad in any sphere. Even in the temporal sphere misuse of power leads to downfall. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely – unless there is the strength to control the power.
The service dimension of this state is explained beautifully as follows:
In the third stage of sádhaná sádhakas accepts the cognitive faculty as their goal. They wish to advance along the spiritual path while simultaneously serving the subtler expressions of Parama Puruśa. This is the true Dharma of human beings. The sadávrata (mass feeding) which you organize comes within the scope of this practice. While performing sádhaná in this stage the human mind attains a greater proximity to Parama Puruśa and sees the entire universe as a divine expression of Parama Puruśa. Through this realization one enjoys pure unblemished bliss. When people served good food during sadavrata smile happily you feel inner joy.– Vashiikára – 2, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 6
Shrii Sarkar has said that PROUT will established in the hearts of the common people through such service programmes.
As we have seen the various shaktis emerge in different stages of the Cosmic Cycle. The stage of the viira is concerned with Bhaeravii Shakti. This Shakti evolves thus,
Prakrti is active from kámabiija [Shambhuliunga; primordial source of creation] to the kalá [curvature, Cosmic Ahamkara] and is called Bhaeravii in the náda stage, and Puruśa is termed Bhaerava.– The Creation of the Universe, Idea and Ideology
So the next phase in the spiritual process of becoming a Sadvipra is as follows:
And then the mutative principle has to be withdrawn from Káliká [Bhavánii] shakti and merged in Bhaeravii shakti (the acoustic root of Bhaeravii shakti is shaḿ). Bhaeravii shakti means energy in action.– Discourse 8, Namah Shiváya Shántáya
Shrii Sarkar explains who the struggle to elevate and control Bhaeravii Shakti is the only way one can triumph over the social forces as follows:
Devotees elevate themselves from Bhavánii Shakti to Bhaeravii Shakti, from Bhaeravii Shakti to Kaośikii Shakti [energy of the Cosmic Nucleus], and finally attain oneness with the Supreme Entity. Those who pursue this path of divine adoration are called devotees. Whom do devotees ideate on? Certainly on Puruśottama [Cosmic Nucleus]. Those who accept matter as their object of ideation can never attain Puruśottama, but will invariably degenerate towards the staticity of Bhavánii Shakti. Their entire being will ultimately be converted into inert matter. To ideate on Puruśottama means to transform Bhavánii into Bhaeravii and Bhaeravii into Kaośikii, thereby establishing oneness between the devotee and the Lord. In the process of transforming crude waves into subtle waves, devotees become one with their final goal. If one’s movement is towards the crude, one’s psycho-physical waves will become cruder and cruder. But if one’s movement is towards the Supreme, if Bhavánii Shakti is transformed into Bhaeravii Shakti, then one’s waves will gradually straighten. The subtle waves of effulgence will also become straight. Thus a devotee’s movement towards the Supreme One is an endeavour to transform crude energy into subtle energy. To transform Bhavánii Shakti into Bhaeravii Shakti both shraddhá [implicit veneration for one’s goal] and viirya [stamina] are important. Without regular spiritual practice this transformation is impossible…– The Devotee and the Lord, The Devotee and the Lord
Those people whose actions are indistinguishable from devotion are true devotees. Thus in the process of conversion of Bhavánii Shakti into Bhaeravii Shakti, devotion plays a greater role than so-called action.
What is the source of inspiration of the individual’s efforts to convert crude energy into subtle energy? In this case the Cognitive Faculty is the source of inspiration. Bhaeravii Shakti is prevented from being converted into Bhavánii Shakti with the help of the Cognitive Faculty, and with the help of the Cognitive Faculty Bhaeravii Shakti is merged in the cognitive flow.
In the struggle to transform Bhaeravii Shakti into Kaośikii Shakti, Citishakti [Cognitive Force] plays a dominant role, because Bhaeravii Shakti is the second stage of Citishakti in the flow of creation. The Cognitive Force manifests itself as Bhaeravii Shakti to expedite the evolution of mind. The will to evolve is primarily dependent on the active role of Bhaeravii Shakti. In fact Bhaeravii Shakti is one’s real “I”. It is with Her help that one must carry on one’s sádhaná to attain Citishakti…
But if one’s movement is towards the Supreme, if Bhavánii Shakti is transformed into Bhaeravii Shakti, then one’s waves will gradually straighten. The subtle waves of effulgence will also become straight. Thus a devotee’s movement towards the Supreme One is an endeavour to transform crude energy into subtle energy. To transform Bhavánii Shakti into Bhaeravii Shakti both shraddhá [implicit veneration for one’s goal] and viirya [heroic stamina] are important. Without regular spiritual practice this transformation is impossible…in the case of materialists who are puffed up with vanity: their Bhaeravii Shakti is gradually converted into Bhavánii Shakti. Only devotees can expand Bhaeravii Shakti because only they cherish the desire for supreme union with the Cognitive Faculty. They do not ask the Supreme Being for wealth, opulence, fame or children, but pray, ‘O Lord, please manifest Yourself fully in me. Make me Yours, O Lord.’ They continue to pray like this until they merge in the Supreme.
They continue their efforts to attain the Supreme with the physical and psychic strength already bestowed upon them by the Supreme Entity. To ask for extra power without first utilizing the power already given them would be to show disrespect to Parama Puruśa. Only after all their power has been totally exhausted may they ask Parama Puruśa for anything. If He so desires, Parama Puruśa may grant that request through some third entity. While utilizing one’s energy one should pray to Parama Puruśa, “O Lord, I am working with the strength given by You. Let me not make the mistake of taking it to be my own power. Let me not forget You, O Lord.”
As long as sádhakas remain within the scope of Bhavánii Shakti they observe that all finite entities of the universe are separate from one another. But when they enter the bounds of Bhaeravii Shakti after straightening the waves of Bhavánii Shakti, they discover that all those previous differentiations have vanished into nothingness. The more the influence of Bhavánii Shakti, the greater the feeling of differentiation; and the more the influence of Bhaeravii Shakti, the greater the feeling of unity…
The Cosmic force that is active in the psychic sphere of microcosms is Bhaeravii Shakti. As Bhaeravii is the force which starts moving from a vertex of the unbalanced supreme triangle, one will have to concentrate one’s mind on a particular point in the process of sádhaná…
One who ideates on the Supreme Entity while engaged in individual and collective sádhaná establishes a happy correlation between Bhaeravii Shakti and one’s cognitive faculty. Such a person will never degenerate, even though his or her cherished supreme goal may not be fully realized…
One who does not practise any active sádhaná to control these three shaktis and expand one’s cognitive faculty cannot fight against antisocial forces. This process of bringing these three shaktis within one’s control is called sádhanásamara [the battle of intuitional practice]. This battle should end in one of two ways: in victory or in death. One should never undergo the ignominy of defeat
Tandava is the dance introduced 7500 years ago by Lord Shiva the father of global human civilization. It is because of the amazement of people seeing Him lost in blissfully doing Tandava with closed eyes and also seeing Him doing Tandava with flaming red eyes at Aryan imperialism or any injustice, that Shiva is called Nat’arája: Nátanunát’esham’ (The One whose very body is made out of Náda – the primordial sound of creation (Cosmic Mahat) – is the Lord of Dance.) In September of 1971, Lord Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji revived this dance in its original form which was an epochal event in the history of humanity since the days of Lord Shiva since now it is combined withTandava comes from the word tandu which means to jump. Tandu + the suffix sna makes Tandava, the dance where jumping predominates. Tandava is the fundamental step, “the primordial pace, of all Oriental dances.
It symbolizes the cosmic cycle which as per Tantra has 5 components, Srs’t’i or creation, Sthiti or preservation and support, Samahara – destruction or evolution to a new life-form or to merger with Supreme Consciousness, Tirobhava or illusion and degradation and Anurgraha or grace, emancipation and salvation. The dance unites the blissful peace of Shiva with His resplendent dynamism. This may seem paradoxical but as per BÁBÁ, the meaning of Shanti (the Sanskrit word for peace) derives from the root “Sham” which mmeans to fight and defeat thte anti-social forces. So Shiva is the supreme incarnation of peace because He fought unwaveringly against exploitation and injustice.
The inner spirit of Tandava is “I will face the fear of death, which surrounds me on all sides and overcome it with the power of the life force of my mind. No force wil deter me from the goal. No evil tendency, no enemy, no bondage can shake my determination to be victorious.” As BÁBÁ says, the mission of Tandava is, “Destruction is inevitable, but I would continue to fight against destruction through struggle. So there is a skull in one hand and a dagger in the other. The skull represents destruction and the dagger represents fight. The underlying feeling is, ‘I will not surrender to destruction or death. I will continue the struggle with this dagger.’”
Tandava dance in the fourth chapter of the Nát’ya Shastra (ancient treatise on drama, dance and music) of Bharata Muni states that this Tandava dance has 108 kárańas and 32 anghaharas. The word kárańa comes from the Sanskrit root kr which means “to do”. So kárańas were the rudimental actions as they were the units of Shiva’s Cosmic Tandava. Each kárańa or unit is a combination of cari (leg movement) nrtta hastan (hand gestures) and stanam (bodily posture). Many kárańa are called kalapakas, many kalapakas are called mátrikás, many mátrikás are called bhandakas, many bhandakas are called sanghataka and many sanghatakas are called angaharas. Anga means body or limb and Hara is a name of Shiva (One who forcibly steals the sins of His disciples). There are 32 angaharas and these are all practiced in South India and Thailand. The karanas are like words and the other categories are like sentences, paragraphs, sections, pages, chapters and books. More experimental research is required on Tandava to reveal the beauty of each of these karanas or units in our own daily dancing of Tandava. Just as the glory of Tandava
Tandava is a mandatory dance for all spiritual functions and processions as it is an indispensable aid in developing virility, vitality and courage and longevity. It is a vigorous dance for men that causes the stimulation of the adrenal cortex which stimulate the testes to start the production of male hormones. Since it causes therby the growth of facial hair and other male attributes, it is not for women.
The dancer holds a knife, sword, or torch or trident (trishula), lathi (fighting staff) or pinaka (Shiva’s tabor or small drum) in the right hand, symboliying the forces of life and goodness and a fire, a skull or snake in the left hand, symboliying the forces of death and darkness. The hands are kept straight at 90 degrees to the sides of the body. This represents the strength of arms of the dancer. The arms being kept firmly straight throughout this energetic dance represents that the dancer is ready to fight to the death. This dance is related to the struggle between the Cosmic forces of vidya (enlightenment and benevolence) and avidya (ignorance and malevolence). The dancer however, like his Lord, is beyond both forces and is concentrating on his lunar plexus between his eyebrows. To dance Tandava one must be in a state of surrender. Surrender means surrender of one’s entire body to His will, surrender of all one’s mind (all thoughts, feelings, intuitions, etc.) to the dust of His feet, surrender of one’s very soul (Atman) unto His heart. The deeper the surrender, the deeper will be the realization in Tandava. For Tandava is not an exercise or art-form, it is a revolutionary path to spiritual realization.
Firstly the dancers stand on their toes, with both arms extended outwards from the side of the body at a 90 degree angle from the side of the chest. Then the dancers jump upwards with the feet kicking the back of the trunk of the body. Then dancers land on their toes in a squatting position. Then the dancers jump bringing the knees to the chest and then stand erect. Then the dancer should stand on the left leg, jump up and swing the right leg sideways to the left. Afterwards the right leg comes down and one lands on the right leg. Then the left leg is swung sideways to the right. Like this, one keeps on swinging each leg sideways moving faster and faster. When the dance is over again the dancers stand on tiptoe with arms extended sideways. Then the dancers jump bringing the knees to the chest and falling into a squatting position. Then one jumps up into a standing position with the arms outstretched sideways.
During group Tandava a red coloured dress is used. BÁBÁ said that red is the colour of rajoguna (mutative factor creating action and passion). By wearing red the dancers are expressing the idea that they are above the mutative faction and established in the sattvaguna (sentient sphere).
For this dance there is a caller who calls out the instructions. There are two sounds used by the caller. Ta’ which is related to the hell of the foot. Dhiin which is related to be ball of the foot. The caller begins by saying, “Dancers, ready!”, at which point the dancers stand on their toes with arms fully stretched out on both sides. Then the caller cries out, “ 1 – 2 – 3, Jump!” The dancers kick the back of their body trunk with their feet while jumping up and then land on their toes in a squatting position. Then the caller recites, “Ta’, ta’, dhiin, ta’” while the dancers jump up, bringing their knees to the chest and land standing erect. Now the caller says, “Ta’, ta’, dhiin, ta’” as the dancers stand of the right leg and jump up, swinging the right leg sideways to the left. And then, the caller intones, “Ta’, ta’, dhiin, ta’” as the dancer lands on the right leg and jumping up on the right leg, swings the left leg towards the right. This moving back and forth from one leg to another continutes while getting more and more fast in response to the increasing speed of the Caller’s shouts. When the speed becomes great, then only the syllables of the kiirtan mantra BÁBÁ Nama Kevalam are used and not Ta or Dhiin. Finally, the Callers shouts, “Dancers, halt!” at which point the dancers stop and stand erect. Then the Caller says, “Final pose”, at which point the dancers jump, bringing the knees to the chest and land in a squatting position.
Benefits of Tandava
- Imparts tremendous bravery and will power.
- Improves capacity for deep thinking.
- Removes doubt and indecisiveness from the mind.
- Conquers defeatist complex.
- Overcomes fear complex.
- Endows one with a fighting spirit.
- Conquers laziness and sloth.
- Imparts youthfulness and vigour.
- Exercises the brain and nerve cells. Improves memory.
- Makes the mind one-pointed and concentrated.
- Strengthens the heart. Improves circulation and respiration.
- Is the only exercise for the internal organs of the body.
- Paves the way for physical development, mental elevation and spiritual progress.
- Increases secretion of male hormones from the testes glands which enhances male characteristics such as body hair, voice, bones and muscle but also leads to the development of universal and and the desire to do something for humanity.
The longer the time one stays off the ground while jumping, the more and more benefits will be absorbed by the dancer and when the dancer touches the ground, those benefits are assimilated into the body. For the best results in Tandava,
- the arms should be stretched sideways and be kept sompletely straight throughout the dance.
- kick the knees as high as possible.
- kick the foot as far as possible to the left and then to the right and so on.
- jump two times on either foot
- dance on the balls of the feet and if possible dance only on the toes or big toes.
- don’t turn the waist or torso as one dances.
- wear a lungota or special yogic underwear so as to protect the genitals from damage. if this is not possible then wear and athletic support used by sportsmen
Tandava is the cosmic dance that merges one with the Macrocosmic Nucleus (Supreme Subjectivity or Shiva. This is the true realtiy of Tandava beyond the physical benefits of exercise of the brain and inner organs and the revitilization of bodily systems and the psychic benefits of confidence, courage to fight an army and ardent caring for the suffering humanity. To do Tandava is in itself a revolutionary act. It is a declaration of war against one’s animality, mediocrity and cowardice (both external and spiritual) and after these have been defeated in one’s inner psyche, it becomes a declaration of war against these pathologies in the collective psychology. To pursue Tandava in one’s external life even when one is not dancing is the path of nuclear revolution or a revolution in each and every sphere of life. Such persons strike fear in the hearts of exploiters and those who compromise with them and such persons ignite jubilation in the heart of suffering humanity.
BÁBÁ has said that all beings of this universe are circling around Him – the nucleus of the Macrocosm. And this circling is in fact a veritable dance of the divine play of the Flow of bliss (rasa-liila). This circling is undulating due to the ever-changing blissful flows of enchantment emanating from that Beloved or BÁBÁ. And BÁBÁ says that when in this Cosmic Dance, the waves become gigantic (when one undergoes intense heartache and intense union in a fraction of a second), then this is known as the Tandava dance. On our planet we are moving deeper and deeper into a Tandava era in which there will be so much destruction as a punishment for the crimes of humanity against each other and their brothers and sisters animals and plants. But at the same time there will be intense sadhana, selfless service and radiant sacrifice. And out of this perfect storm a new humanity will emerge. Tandava began with prehistoric men who were largely animalistic and homicidal and transformed those men into gods in our era society is largely animalistic and omnicidal and by BÁBÁ’s Cosmic Tandava, by our transmission of it through our surrender, a divine society will be created. This is the mission of Lord Anandamurti and His Tandava.
There are three types of Tandava. When the knees cross the navel it is called Brahma Tandava as this creates so much energy and courage to start new projects that no one has done before. While doing this type of Tandava, the best and natural point of concentration is the A’jina’ Cakra or lunar plexus between the two eyebrows. The word A’jina’ means command and when the mind is at this cakra one can receive the Guru’s command and when one is doing Tandava while concentrating at this cakra one will become merge with the command of the Guru and become a true disciple. When the knees cross the mid-point of the chest it is known as Visnu Tandava as this creates a deep flow of wisdom and love to administrate, nourish and expand so many people and programmes. While doing this type of Tandava, concentration starts at the Ajina Cakra but then moves upward to Bindu near the back of the head.
BÁBÁ has said that this centre is the real Varanasi or holy city of Shiva where if one dies, one is not reborn in this world. When one does Tandava concentrating at this centre with surrender can cause a bursting and then entrance into the world of na’da or the realm of divine sound and Cosmic Knower-I (mahat). Then by merging in this flow of divine sound one becomes a medium (Bhairava) by which this divine sound can be transmitted on earth. When the knees cross the throat it is called Rudra Tandava as this creates a tremendous burst of surrender and revolutionary power to first, crush the exploiters and make them weep for mercy and second to infuse the weeping, suffering humanity with determination to fight for liberation and with the divine love that brings tears of bliss.
While doing this type of Tandava, concentration starts at Bindu and then moves towards the Macropropensitive Plexus or Sahasrara Cakra at the centre of the crown of the head. This cakra is where true enlightenment and true existence is found and this is why it is said that any state of being below this cakra is maya or illusion. Now when one does Tandava concentrating at this point one goes into deep, deep bliss and if there is purity, then there is a bursting like a great lake bursting through a rock and then comes the dazzling, effulgent ether or sky of Consciousness (cida’ka’sha) and then for those who are interested in only loving Him, there appears above the Sahasrara the far more blinding radiance of His Feet revealed more beauteously and sublimely than in the Guru Cakra or Occult Plexus. Those who have experienced this will say, BÁBÁ Pada hi Kevalam (BÁBÁ’ Feet are Everything, are the sole Reality). These are the normal forms of Tandava but the superhuman form of Sadashiva Tandava is to bring the knee above the centre-point between the eyebrows or third eye. While doing this type of Tandava the concentration naturally moves from the Sahasrara Cakra into the dust of BÁBÁ’s Feet. This causes one to merge in the Cosmic Stance of the Lord as the creator, sustainer and destroyer of the inifinite entities of the universe. This leads to the trance of ideterminate absorption (savikalpa Samadhi) in Qualified Consciousness (Saguna Brahma) or the Macrocosm or the Cosmic Nucleus (Supreme Subjectivity). The utterly divine form of Ananda or Mahadeva Tandava is to bring the knee above the head itself.
While doing this Tandava the mind starts in the Sahasrara Cakra and then moves to merge in BÁBÁ’s Feet. Then one becomes a part of BÁBÁ and as per His boundless love one will be graced with infinite liilas (divine plays) in which there is no duality but rather intimacy in the highest state of unity. This causes one to merge in the absolute bliss (nityananda) of the Godhead. This leads to the trance of indeterminate absorption (Nirvikalpa Samadhi) with the effulgence of Non-qualified Consciousness (Nirguna Brahma). For those who are ardent devotees, who long only to love, there lies there opens the stance of absolute union with that Supreme Liberator or Taraka Brahma (Taraka Brahma Samadhi) from whence comes merger with the very core of the Non-qualified Consciousness. Here the point of concentration naturally starts in Vrindavan or the centre of madhura bhava (intimate love) and moves to other places like Kuinjavan (the place from where He sends out His divine loving call), Nidhuvan or Nidhivan (the place of absolute union with the Beloved) and so much more. This latter category of people unites with their Supreme Beloved in both low and high levels of Tandava for love is beyond all levels.
Now the reader may ask what is the social importance of this Tandava? Firstly, by doing Tandava even for a short time creates a surge of power and confidence in oneself such that one feels one can fight an army. Secondly Shrii Sarkar has said that if a group of people do Tandava in public with skull and knife, even the most cowardly person who sees this will feel a surge of courage. Hence before starting any movement or revolutionary action, collective Tandava in public is vital to success. For it is the common people who must rise up and liberate themselves from the economic dictatorship of the capitalists.
To attain such states of advanced spirituality through the purification of Bhaeravii Shakti requires total self control or cakra niyantrańa. This involves full control over the vrttis or propensities associated with each cakra. Otherwise one’s meditation and one’s ideation in daily life will remain disturbed by these inner weaknesses. For this very reason, the 3rd Lesson of Ananda Marga Sahaja Yoga was given. Let us briefly examine it.
Understanding the Third Lesson
(TATTVA DHÁRAŃÁ or Cakra Niyantrańa)
By Acarya Cidghanananda Avadhuta
This is one of most misunderstood lessons of Ananda Marga sadhana. Firstly let us be clear about the meaning of the name of this lesson. Tattva is defined by Baba as follows,
In Sanskrit, tat means “that”. Here “That” means Parama Puruśa. For Parama Puruśa, Paramátmá or Parama Brahma it is [normal] usage to use “It” as neutral gender. Neither masculine nor feminine, neuter gender. So here the word “He” has not been used, the word “That” has been used. Tat means “That”, and tva is [a suffix to make] an abstract noun [meaning “ness”]. So Tattva means “Thatness”. [The] State of being of Parama Purusa.”– The Causal Matrix
The word tattva means “the bháva [essence or existence] of the essential root entity hidden within every entity”. Tattvadraśt́á means “one who sees tattva through supreme knowledge”.– Discourse 20, Shabda Cayaniká Part 3
The word Dhárańá is normally understood to mean “concentration”. This English word comes from the Latin prefix “com” meaning “together” and the Latin word “centrum” or centre. So the word literally means to come together at the centre. Meditation is nothing but a spiritually charged process of concentration.
Why This Lesson is Crucial
There are some who are devotees who ignore this lesson thinking it has to do with occult powers and there are some who are lower yogis and hence pursue with the same opinion.
This lesson seems to involve concentration on various rudimental levels (tattvas) of physical reality that are called bhútas. According to the Tantric theory of creation the entire physical is comprised of these 5 rudimental factors, namely, the solid factor, the liquid factor, the luminous factor, the aerial factor and the ethereal factor. As Baba explains,
In this connection it should be understood that the philosophical term bhúta is different from the scientific term “element”. The Saḿskrta equivalent for element is maolika padártha. Philosophically, bhúta means that which has been created, that which is recognized as a factor (tattva). In the world there are many elements, but only five bhútas, five fundamental factors.– Struggle and Progress
In reality our mind experiences the world by indirect contact with the bhutas. So the mind is always being conditioned or coloured by our experiences of the bhutas in daily life. This is why these experiences must be controlled and purified for our sadhana to progress. Baba explains how our mind is shaped by the bhutas saying,
In order to take the form of any object, citta (mind-stuff) grasps its tanmátra (sensory inference) and first becomes like the rudimental factor (bhúta) or the state of matter of which the object is made. For instance on seeing a book, the citta grasps the rúpa (figure-forming) tanmátra, and before being able to take the form of the book properly, it has to become like the substance or the state of matter of which the book is made. If the book is made of paper, which falls in the kśititattva or the solid state of matter, the citta will have to become like paper or kśititattva before it can take the form of the book. Therefore, it is necessary for citta to become like the tattva or bhúta (rudimental factor) of which its object is made. Then alone will it be able to take a complete and proper shape.– What is This World
The property of citta to become like its object is called dháraná which means “to hold”: the citta holds an image and becomes like that. In concentration on external objects, the images are static and not in a continuous flow. When one is concentrating within on the different images of Third Lesson, then it can become a continuously flow depending on whether we are also ideating on Baba in the centre of each cakra. When a devotee practices during this practice he or she will have one thought uppermost in his/her mind – that the Entity on whom he/she is ideating is his nearest relation, and no one is nearer to him than her/his Lord. Because of this, a devotee’s mind will become highly expanded in a short period.
We know from the definition of Tattva given above, that there is only one Tattva or Reality. However, in our daily life and sometimes even in our sadhana there seem to be many realities.
In First lesson we are withdrawing from the secondary tattvas (realities) and coming to a place where we adore with our mantra, our Ista (Ideational Desideratum or Goal) who is the real Tattva. In Second lesson, in our daily life we are moving towards this realization by ideating upon that Ista Tattva in all we see, hear, smell, etc. So sadhana means moving towards this oneness where there is only pure oneness or Tattva. Baba explains this saying,
You are a sádhaka [aspirant]. He is the sádhya [object of adoration]. And the link is sádhaná [spiritual practice]. As long as these three tattvas [realities] exist, you are not He. When all three have become one, one may say “I am Paramátmá [Supreme Self]” – never prior to this. Until this stage is reached, one has to do sádhaná most diligently, with greatest niśt́ha [adamantine adherence or zeal].– The Dialogues of Shiva and Párvatii – 1
What is the root of this worldly state of Consciousness that keeps us involved in duality and that prevents the perfection of our 1st and 2nd lessons? The answer is the five root realities of the physical realm. Now, in the human body, these rudimental factors are centred at the 5 lower cakras. And it is based on these cakras that the entire matrix of propensities that underlies the existence of our mind is based. This is why this lesson is also called Cakra Niyantrańa or the controlling of the cakras. Niyantrańa is a word formed first by the prefix “ni” meaning “down, back, in, into, within”. The word yantra is comprised of the word “yam” meaning “to control” and the verb “trae” which means “to liberate.” So yantra means that which when controlled liberates. Then, Cakra Niyantrana means to control the cakras by bringing the mind down within to their centre and liberating oneself thereby.
Dhárańá is translated as “collection or concentration of the mind (joined with the retention of breath)”, or “the act of holding, bearing, wearing, supporting, maintaining, retaining, keeping back (in remembrance), a good memory”, or “firmness, steadfastness, certainty”. This term is related to the verbal root dhri meaning “to hold, carry, maintain, resolve.”
Understanding the Cakras
So the aim of Third Lesson is not the attainment of siddhis or occult powers but rather coming to the centre of the ultimate Reality or Tattva who is manifest within each cakra. This is why Baba defines Dharana as follows,
Dhárańá is defined as: Deshabandhashcittasya dhárańá. Dhárańá literally means “locating the mind firmly in an area or region of the body”. This involves concentrating upon the respective controlling points of the fundamental factors located within the human body. That is, the mind is to be fixed on specific cakras [plexi] and engaged in Cosmic ideation.– Questions and Answers on Meditation
Let us review what Baba has said about each cakra in the discourse “Sálokya, Sámiipya, Sáyujya, Sárúpya, Sárśt́hi” (Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 33):
Muladhara (The mid-point of the last vertebra of the spinal column): “The colour visible here is the golden yellow of the earth and the sound is like the tick-tick of the cricket. The shape is square.”
Svadhisthana (on the spinal cord directly behind the root of the male genital organ): “The sound resembles that of the páyala, bells affixed to a dancer’s legs. The colour is a watery white and the shape the half-moon.”
Manipura (on the spinal cord directly behind the navel): “The sound is like a sweet flute, the colour is red, and the shape is triangular.”
Anahata (situated in the centre of the chest): “The shape is hexagonal or circular. The colour is first blue and then greenish. The sound resembles that of a [gong] or at times that of the sea.”
Vishuddha (located in the region of the throat): “There is no particular shape and there is a mixture of various colours. The earlier sounds of bell, flute and sea develop into the beginning of the sound oṋm, and this becomes clearer and clearer until the full-fledged oṋm sound comes at last.”
In the article on “The Acoustic Roots of the Indo-Aryan Alphabet”, Baba says,
“La is also the acoustic root of kśititattva, the solid factor.”
“Va is also the acoustic root of jalatattva [the liquid factor]”
“Ra is the acoustic root of agnitattva [luminous factor] or práńashakti – vitality”
“Ya…is also the acoustic root of constant movement (like the movement of ether)”
Goal of Third Lesson
Baba explains clearly what is the difference between Avidya Tantra and Vidya Tantra regarding the sadhana on the cakras in the discourse “Mahasambhuti Krsna”, saying,
Depending upon the difference in the controlling points of the cakras, spiritual sádhaná can take either of two forms: (1) Controlling the hormone secretion of the glands and strengthening the controlling points of the cakras is the system known as hatha yoga, because it is more physical in character. This science is more extroversive in character and consequently part of avidya tantra. (2) To surrender one’s mind to Shrii Krśńa – This is introversive or ideational in character and is part of Vidyá Tantra. This is the real sádhaná, where the entire psycho-physical entity surrenders itself to Parama Puruśa…
Krśńa utilizes the pituitary gland [Ájiṋá cakra] of any human framework. Whenever a direct contact between Krśńa and the unit mind is established, human beings attain salvation. For this the mind must be absolutely pure. In certain different stages ajiṋa cakra comes in contact with Parama Puruśa. Krśńa controls the centre and the sub-centres both directly and indirectly. Paramátman Krśńa controls all the pure spiritual ideation, and Jiivátman Krśńa controls psycho-spiritual ideations. For sádhakas, the only mission is to surrender at the feet of Lord Krśńa by strengthening the physical sub-centres. He maintains His association with the microcosms either as Mahásambhúti or as Cosmic Nucleus.
So avidya tantra means working to control the cakras to get powers, knowledge, realization or gurudom. Sadly many so-called vidya tantrics follow this parth. However, true Vidya Tantra means controlling the cakras so as to 1) surrender the mind to Baba and 2) Have Baba come and take control over one’s cakras and one’s mind and body. So Third Lesson we see is in fact a sadhana for devotees. To understand why we have to briefly look at what Baba says about the devotional samadhis that one attains when the cakras are fully controlled.
Process of Third Lesson
There is a special posture known as Viirásana (brave pose) which is given. This brave posture is very scientifically prescribed, because in no other posture is one able to focus the mind with the strength and power one is able to generate in this posture. Therefore this posture has been selected because it is best suited to bring about the most positive results.
There are some people who feel some pain in the head when first beginning to do this lesson. This is for two reasons: firstly, the body is not able to tolerate the force generated, and secondly, the body is in an impure state. By following the instructions of the ácárya from the beginning and continually doing the lesson, one is able to conquer the pain.
In Third Lesson we are ideating as taught on the cakra and then concentrating on the core of the cakra and reciting mantra. The mantras seem to talk of occult powers. However the Sanskrit language is very rich and has multiple meanings. By His Grace the devotee realizes more and more subtle and devotional meanings of these mantras. Furthermore for the devotee the goal is to give control over each cakra to Him as part of the complete internal surrender unto Him. In that case occult powers are what He displays through the body of the devotee to establish His Mission.
A true devotee will take the time to study the mantras understanding the root meaning of each word. Some say they are devotees and will not study this. However they will gladly study the different varieties of mobiles or sweets. But Baba clearly says,
Regarding thinking with concentration, that is, meditation – it is another, still subtler, science. Meditation should be performed knowing fully well the location of different glands and sub-glands and also the different cells in the human brain. And people should not only know the location of these glands and sub-glands, they should also be acquainted with their respective systems of hormone secretion, otherwise their meditation will not produce any fruit. So for this system of meditation, knowledge of biology is essential.– The Mind Grows in Magnitude
Now as we are reciting the mantra in a particular Cakra we are surrdering to Baba in the centre of each cakra. And when our devotion blossoms we will be graced with the vision of Baba in His special form for each cakra. This is part of what is called Mahasambhuti Sadhana.
For example it is well known that in the Muladhara Cakra one will see a resplendent golden lion. Above the head of that golden lion with be an unbelievably bright dot of light. Within that dot will be found Lord Anandamurti.
In this way devotees experience special bliss in each cakra by Third Lesson. For in fact Baba will also manifest in a unique way in each petal of the cakras. In Dharana the actions and bhavas of the Ista submerge the meditator. Baba is continually radiating so many liilas and bhavas (ecstatic expressions) in each petal of each cakra and upacakra (subcakras). Those who are devotees become lost in this endless world of divine beauty. Those who are premis (devoted to loving Him) they become lost in loving Him in each and every way He expresses Himself. So to have His darshan in whichever way one moves in the internal realm is true Dharana.
From Concentration to Union
The human mind is moving towards so many propensities; there are so many propensities in the human mind; and according to the complexity in the mind, the physical body also becomes more and more complex. The physical structure of an animal is less complex than that of a human being, because the human mind is also more complex than that of the animal. The number of glands in a human body is more than that in an animal structure, in an animal body. Now the first phase of the process is physico-psychic – that is, withdrawing the mind from different physical objects and bringing it to a particular point, and directing that point towards the realm of mind. And next is a phase of withdrawing the mind from different mental objects, from different mental pabula, and directing it towards the Supreme Subjectivity. Now this process of movement is the process of concentration.
Complete withdrawal of mind from its manifestations is concentration of mind, but it is not annihilation of mind. The restless mind which begins the process of sádhaná can be calmed down through regular practice. Ultimately a state is reached when the mind flows undisturbed in one direction. This state is called ekágra bhúmi (state of concentration). As one progresses one eventually attains the state of nirodha or suspension of mind. One must reach the state of mental concentration (ekágra) before attaining samádhi. Most people are well acquainted with the fourth state of mind (ekágra).
In this state the human mind sometimes becomes exalted with divine sweetness; and sometimes becomes as debased as an infernal creature. Sometimes it keeps company with good people and takes a resolve never to tell lies, accept bribes, get intoxicated, or become characterless; and sometimes it thinks that honesty and virtue are sheer folly, for happiness lies in falsehood, taking bribes, stealing, promiscuity, and the like. The mind is continuously tossed between good and bad. But when the practice of sádhaná inspires one to accept shreya (path of benevolence) as one’s ideology, one attains the true state of ekágra bhúmi. In this state waves upon waves of citta emerge but merge into one flow.
The hand counts the beads, the lips mutter the name of the Iśt́a, but the mind roams in the filth of hell. However, when all the undesirable waves are removed from the mind, one blissful wave begins to flow, and the sádhaka attains the state of ekágra bhúmi.
When all the vrttis of the citta are focused on a single point it is termed the state of concentration (ekágrabhúmi). This, however exhalted, is not the ultimate state. The ultimate state is reached when the mind transcends all citta-vrttis (mental propensities) and merges in the Beloved.
Now Dharana is the highest form of yoga after Dhyana. Why? Because when done by a devotee, the mind automatically become suspended and merged (nirodha) in Supreme Consciousness. This Dharana develops the Vijananamaya Kosa or the subliminal layer of the mind-stuff (citta). Then, the capacity for discrimination (based on five kinds of conscience) and detachment (by colouring one’s mind with the colour of the Beloved) develop in the sadhaka. This all starts with contemplating the colours and properties of each cakra and then concentrating on the beauties of Baba’s Form and liilas in each cakra and finally it culminates in one’s surrendering everything unto Him in each and every way He expresses Himself in each cakra. Then Third Lessson becomes a festival of Union as one merges in Him in millions of ways in each cakra.
From Union to Communion
From combinations of the five bhutas emerge the countless entities of the created world. In this sense then all created beings are Bhutas. And our Dharma on this Earth, in this universe is nothing but to serve these Bhutas. As Baba says,
Bhúta Yajiṋa means services rendered to any created entity of the manifested world. For example, watering trees, serving cattle, undertaking scientific explorations and doing anything for the sake of welfare. In Saḿskrta, Bhúta means that which has been created…– Yajina and Karmaphala
Inculcate divine sentiment by saturating love wherever you have to perform Bhúta Yajiṋa…It is meaningless to love out of fear. Where there is no love, there cannot be complete surrender of the self and the yajiṋa (service) is fruitless.
In spiritual parlance, when the mental flow is directed towards the goal, that is, the Supreme Entity, it is called “concentration”, but in metaphysical terms, it is a concept of dharma. Concentrated thinking leads to the development of positive ideas and occult powers in the process of constant mental flow towards the goal.
Because of our lack of control over the bhutas (solid, liquid, luminous, aerial and ethereal factors) within us, we do not have pure love for all the beings of this universe. Hence we are unable to establish the rule of sublime righteousness (Dharma Rajya). So by Third Lesson we are learning to develop the capacity to give selfless service. Furthermore by surrender unto Him we develop the capacity to perform the Tattva Dharana or the collective mind to liberate our society from slavery to selfish exploitation of the material world created from the bhutas. When this happens we will attain the final Communion or merger of all in His love that Baba mentioned in one of the last discourses,
So in this phase of introversial movement, when crude physicality is being transmuted into psychic, we can expect that the day is sure to come when the whole world will move from the subtle psychic realm and cross the threshold of the still more subtle spiritual world. And that day when the entire living world – dashing through a transitory phase of psychic – will become spiritual will not be in the distant future.– Biological Transformation Associated with Psychic Metamorphosis and Vice Versa
The eternal game (liilá) of Parama Puruśa is in process (when we do not know the cause of something we call it liilá and when we discover the cause we call it kriid́á); and due to this eternal game of Parama Puruśa, matter is converted into mind, and mind into consciousness, and finally unit consciousness into Supreme Consciousness. That is, first the One becomes many and then the many ultimately become One. Parama Puruśa certainly showers His grace upon the microcosmic beings, because they have all emerged from His Macrocosmic thought-waves. And in the final stage of His Cosmic thought-waves, He absorbs all the individual microcosms into His vast Macrocosmic body. The microcosms emerge from Him and finally merge back into Him.
For perfect control over the cakras, one requires full control over one’s mind. To have control over at least the extroversial part of the mind that causes the most distraction we require to control our breathing which is connected with our life force called Práńa. This spiritual practice is often misunderstood so let us examine some of the main questions that people have.
Understanding the Fourth Lesson
- What is práńáyáma?
“Práńáyáma is defined as: Tasmin sati shvása prashvásayoh gativicchedah práńáyáma. That is, “Práńáyáma is the process of breath control along with the imposition of the ideation of Supreme Consciousness.” It helps the mind in concentration and meditation.”
“The special effort whereby the normal flow of inhalation and respiration is altered and a temporary cessation of respiration is introduced by special means, is called práńáyáma.”
- What is the spirit of práńáyáma?
“Pránán yamayati eśah práńáyámah. That is, the word práńáyáma literally means “controlling the práńáh [vital energy]”. The psycho-philosophy behind the practice of práńáyáma is that the spiritual aspirant tries to let the práńendriya [ten vital-energy currents] remain in a state of pause so that the paused unit mind will merge into the ocean of consciousness.”
- What is práńa?
“The force which plays a special role in balancing the interial and exterial forces within the structure [like a body] is called práńa. In this struggle if the opposing exterial forces are dominant the material structure collapses, and we declare it as dead.”
“When the life force, due to the complexity of the structure, takes the unit mind as the apparent source of its actual flow, that is called life or vital energy (práńáh). Práńáh is the collection of ten vayus…The microcosm which guides its entire structure with práńáh is called a living being.”
- What are the 10 vayus?
“There are ten different internal and external váyus. The internal váyus are práńa, apána, samána, udána, and vyána.
1) Práńa: The práńa váyu is situated in the area from the navel to the throat. It helps with the respiratory functions and the circulation of vital energy.
2) Apána: This váyu functions in the area from the navel down. It helps in the excretion of urine and stool.
3) Samána: Samána váyu is situated at the navel region and maintains equilibrium between the práńa and apána váyus.
4) Udána: The udána váyu is situated in the throat. It helps in vocalization and expression of thought. If someone uses very emotional language we say “tini udátta kańthe áhván Jánálen.” [He issued a clarion call.]
5) Vyána: The vyána váyu functions throughout the body. It helps in the circulation of vital fluids and blood, and in the perception and non-perception of experience.
The five external váyus are:
1) Nága: It resides in the joints. This nága váyu helps with jumping and extending the body.
2) Kúrma: It is found in the different glands of the body. Kúrma váyu helps with the action of contraction. The way a turtle contracts by withdrawing its limbs into its body is called kúrmabháva. Since this váyu helps in effecting kúrmabháva, it is called kúrma váyu…
3) Krkara: Krkara váyu is scattered throughout the body. It expresses itself in the increase or decrease of air pressure. Krkara váyu helps in yawning and stretching. Ordinarily, yawning happens right before falling asleep, and stretching, right after waking up…
4) Devadatta: The devadatta váyu bases its action on the increased or decreased pressure of food and water in the stomach. Devadatta váyu rouses thirst and hunger.
5) Dhanaiṋjaya: As a result of internal or external labour, the body feels the need for sleep. The feeling of sleep or drowsiness comes from this dhanaiṋjaya váyu which pervades the body, and so the living being drowses or falls asleep.
Due to illness, old age or an unexpected injury, the region inhabited by práńa váyu degenerates and the práńa váyu can no longer maintain its natural functional capacity and flow. In this unnatural condition it strikes against the samána váyu causing the samána váyu to lose its equilibrium. As a result, the navelly-situated samána váyu and the upper body práńa váyu quit their respective areas and merge; the two then create pressure on apána váyu. In this condition the udána váyu loses its normal ability to function under the united pressure of práńa, samána and apána. This condition we call “navel breathing”. As a result of the udána váyu losing its normal functioning, a rattling sound is produced in the throat. This is an indication of imminent natural death.
At the time of leaving the body, the four united váyus – práńa, apána, samána, and udána – join with the vyána váyu, which is present throughout the body. These five vital forces, having become one, leave the body and join the aerial factor or merge in Mahápráńa [Cosmic Life]. At the time that the práńa váyu leaves the body, four of the five external váyus, namely nága, devadatta, kúrma, and krkara, join with the práńa váyu and leave the body together with it. Only the dhanaiṋjaya váyu remains in the body.
Sleep and drowsiness is the work of dhanaiṋjaya váyu. The body being in a state of permanent repose, dhanaiṋjaya váyu remains. After cremation, or when the dead body completely decomposes in the grave, dhanaiṋjaya enters the mahábhúta [five fundamental factors] and merges into the aerial factor.
The collective name of the five internal váyus and five external váyus is the five práńas or the ten práńas.”
- What is vayu?
“The universe is the thought-projection of the Cosmic Mind. The influence of rajoguńa (mutative principle) creates a thought-wave in the Ahaḿtattva [doer-I or ego] of Saguńa Brahma, and its objective counterpart, citta [done-I, ectoplasm, mind-stuff], assumes the form of the crude universe. Citta is subtle in nature, but it has to become crude like the creation. In order to become crude citta has to gradually take on the form of the five tattvas or rudimental factors, that is, vyomatattva or ákásha (ethereal), maruttattva or váyu (aerial), tejastattva or agni (luminous), jalatattva (liquid) and kśititattva (solid)… After taking the form of ákásha tattva [ethereal factor], citta manifested itself as váyu. Váyu (air) is cruder than ákásha (ether) as in this we find the presence of two tanmátras. Air or váyu has the tanmátra of shabda (sound) as well as that of sparsha (touch). We would not be able to hear each other talk if air did not contain the shabda (sound) tanmátra. Ordinarily sound-waves are carried from place to place by the air, thus the presence of shabda (sound) tanmátra is essential. We only feel the presence of air by touch and so sparsha (touch) tanmátra is also present. Thus we find two tanmátras in váyu (aerial factor), while in ákásha or the ethereal factor there is only one tanmátra. Váyu, the aerial factor, is, therefore, cruder than ákásha, and has come into being after the ethereal factor.”
- How do these vayus emerge?
“The life or vital energy of human beings is the coordinated functioning of the ten vayus. As these vayus are one of the fundamental factors (the aerial factor) in the extroversive flow of the Cosmic imagination, it can be said that vital energy is created and vibrated by the Cosmic imagination.”
“Let us see how life gets expression within the physical unit structure. These physical structures are composed of five fundamental factors – ethereal, aerial, luminous, liquid and solid – and so, for their own existence as unit structures, they must have the controlling nuclei of the respective factors within their composite body. All these factors should remain in requisite proportion, and on the mutual cohesion amongst these factors depends the resultant interial, or the práńáh. The controlling nucleus of all these fundamental physical nuclei is the controlling point of the collective práńa. This collection of práńa is called práńáh or “vital energy”.
The wear and tear within a physical structure results in the deficiency of some factor or other and may also tell upon the resultant activity controlling the subjective nucleus and maintaining structural solidarity. Now if the deficiency caused thereby is not adequately compensated, and if the requisite proportion of any factor or factors is not met, the resultant interial will begin varying in intensity; and the unit structure may lose its solidarity. Logically, therefore, it may be concluded that for the physical unit structure an environment is essentially required where all these five fundamental factors are available in requisite quantity. Life can get expression only under such a condition. For the manifestation of life, therefore, a congenial atmosphere is a fundamental necessity. Hence it may be concluded that the resultant interial force expressing itself into life under a congenial environment is what is known as práńáh or vital energy. In Sanskrit this term is always used in the plural number, because it is a collection of ten váyus, or ten important forces, working within or without the physical structure.”
“During the mental process of extrovert and introvert, there is always a clash within the physical body due to the external pressure of static Prakrti. The resultant interial and exterial forces working within the physical structure are known as práńa; and the cooperative activity of the ten váyus – five interial and five exterial (práńa, apána, samána, udána and vyána; and nága, kúrma, krkara, devadatta and dhanaiṋjaya) – is known as práńáh.”
- How does Pranayama affect all the five internal vayus directly and indirectly?
Pranayama affects the whole area (vishuddha [throat] to manipura [navel]) in which prana vayu is active. From the navel to the anus there is the region in which apana vayu is active and samana vayu acts as a buffer to balance these two forces. When we inhale the expanding prana vayu puts pressure on the samana vayu and this causes the compressed apana vayu to push back. When we exhale the shrinking prana vayu causes less pressure to be put on the samana vayu and hence the apana vayu expands. This causes the compressed prana vayu to push back. Udana vayu in the throat is affected by the inhaling and exhaling but udana vayu is more subtle and is associated with the expression of sound throughout the physical body. It helps to control the flow of liquids in the body that produces sound. The act of inhaling and exhaling significantly impacts the flow of blood, lymph, etc. Vyana is a very subtle vayu and is affected by spiritual pranayama and helps to rapidly purify a person.
- When is prana strongest in one’s life?
“Normally between the ages of sixteen and twenty-four human beings have abundant práńa shakti [vital energy]. This is the period of their student life. Though there is plenty of vital energy during this period, due to intellectual underdevelopment the physical and intellectual waves are unable to adjust together properly. Hence those with a developed intellect, cunning political leaders, cast a net of high-sounding, illusory theories and exploit the vital energy of students to achieve their selfish political goals. Because of their underdeveloped intellect, the student community remains unaware of such exploitation.”
- What is prana dharma or the collective prana?
“In this universe there are people whose thoughts, character and behaviour are similar – similar but not identical. Differences in human character and mentality, which are reflected in external human conduct, are due to varying propensities and tendencies. This is what accounts for the differences between people. Just as individual human beings have their distinctive characteristics, similarly, groups of people brought up in various geographical environments, historical eras, or cultural atmospheres, acquire their own group characteristics, too. Later those characteristics inherent in a particular group get mixed with the internal thoughts and ideas of other groups within a society. This leads to the development of national characteristics. In this way an entire national psychology – its external behaviour, its social outlook, and its philosophy of life – is developed. This process produces different national outlooks which distinguish one nation from another. It is also in this way that different human groups have developed different viewpoints towards life and the world. These differences are internal rather than external. Through proper education and well integrated social living in the individual and collective strata, internal qualities can be properly developed. Internal discipline in the psychic sphere of individual life is what we may call the Práńa Dharma of individual life. When the national characteristics are expressed in a particular vein, we may call it the Práńa Dharma of the nation.”
- How can societies and cultures facing the onslaught of cultural, economic and political imperialism maintain their prana dharma?
“Anandanagar [the author’s ecovillage in Purulia District, West Bengal, India] is the nucleus of this universe. It is not merely the physical Anandanagar, it is also the Anandanagar of our inner heart. We will have to build it in all possible ways, we will have to take all steps for its rapid development so that it can show light to the entire universe.
But why should this be done so rapidly? Because human beings do not live by material objects alone; they also have their práńa dharma (their vital inner essence). Even if they are provided with all their material needs – their food, clothes, and all necessary requirements, they will die an inglorious death if they are detached from their práńa dharma. Anandanagar will provide that ancient eternal vital force. Thus it must be developed in all respects. This brooks no delay: to delay means to impair the cultural progress of the entire human society. We will not allow this to happen. Thus we must build Anandanagar in all ways.
Anandanagar has a unique glory, and that glory has developed out of the great sacrifice of many noble souls. Let Anandanagar provide guidance to the entire universe in spiritual practice, service, sacrifice, renunciation, and culture. This is what we should pray for, and this is the reason that we should build Anandanagar and help it radiate light to the universal humanity. This is what I want.”
“When for the benefit of human society, for human welfare, something has to be done which is not so easy to do, which is rarely done, which will deliver the necessary blow to the human race – when the right entity or being is needed to do this work – what will Parama Puruśa do? He will create a body for Himself with the help of the five fundamental factors, and He will come. He will say, “I will awaken the práńa [vital energy] of these dying people with a timely slap, I will stir up their práńa.” He will create vibrations in their práńa. He will not tolerate idleness. He will not allow us to waste this valuable human life.”
- What is the science of breath and the vayus and who discovered it?
“Every day, every human being dies approximately twenty-four thousand times. The breath is taken in but not released, then it is released but not taken in. So everyone dies about twenty-four thousand times a day. But in what we actually call death, what happens is that once the breath has been released, it comes back again after an interval of one year, or one month, or one day, or one hundred thousand years – instead of one second. This is the only difference.”
“One’s life is determined on the basis of a few pulsations, and these pulsations depend on a specific number of inhalations and exhalations. The number of such inhalations and exhalations – on average, from twenty-one thousand to twenty-five thousand per day – varies from person to person. The process of breathing has a great influence on the human mind and self, or soul.
Suppose a person is running: his or her breathing immediately becomes heavy. In that condition he or she cannot think properly; the sensory organs such as the tongue, nose, etc., cannot function properly, and as a result one’s perception is impaired. Actions are performed during the period of expansion, and perception occurs during the period of contraction. In the state of motion the period of contraction becomes too short to allow any clear perception.
Moreover, the process of breathing, depending upon whether the breath is flowing through the right nostril or the left nostril or both nostrils, influences people in various ways. It was Shiva [who lived 7500 years ago] who determined what kind of activity should be performed, depending on which nostril the breath was flowing through, and depending on whether the id́á [left nadi or yogic channel] or piuṋgalá [right nadi or yogic channel] or suśumná [central yogic channel through which the kundalini moves] channel was active. He set down specific rules and regulations as to when one should undertake physical, psychic or spiritual activities. He further instructed when and in what circumstances one should do ásanas, práńáyáma, dhárańá, dhyána, etc. This science, which Shiva invented and developed, was known as svara shástra or svarodaya [science of breath control]. Prior to Him, the world was not aware of this science. Shiva also gave clear instructions how this science could be applied by people in the practical field of action.”
“Besides these, He found the link between the exhalation and inhalation of breath on one side, and dance, song and instrumental music on the other. This is called Svara Shástra.”
- Lord Krsna like Lord Shiva is known as Yogeshvara. Was Krsna also a master of pranayama?
“There is another very popular term and that one is Keshava. The word comes from “Keshi”. “Keshi” was the name of a mythological giant.
Actually, what is keshi? Keshi is the respiratory organ in a disordered form. You know that the mind or mental concentration has a very close relationship with the respiratory organ. When the respiration is [disordered] – the inhalation or exhalation is very [disordered] – the mind becomes restless. When running, inhalation and exhalation are both very [disordered]. So in that state you cannot concentrate your mind. When running, your mind cannot be concentrated because of [disordered] inhalation and exhalation. To correct this, one should try to pause physically and the respiration should be brought under control. Respiration in a disorderly way or disorderly style is called keshi.
Práńán yamayatyeśah práńáyámah – “By the process of práńáyáma one is to control the respiration,” and when, by controlling the respiration, one is controlling the mental propensities, the mind will be concentrated. One can do it by a special process, and that system is to be strictly adhered to for proper control over the respiratory organ. And without this control, the mind cannot be concentrated, and without concentration of mind there can be no spiritual progress.
The Lord by whose grace one establishes one’s control over the respiratory system is “Keshava”.
Now during kiirtana what happens? The mind gets automatically concentrated. So kiirtana helps much in concentrating the mind. And if one who practices práńáyáma simultaneously practices kiirtana, he will get double the benefit. So Keshava, the Lord, Parama Puruśa, always encourages kiirtana.”
- What are some of the practical applications of this science?
“It is desirable to take food or to defecate when the main flow of breath is through the right nostril. Even after food, it is desirable if the flow of breath mainly through the right nostril continues for some time. Because that is the time when the digestive glands start secreting a sufficient quantity of fluids to help digestion.”
“When doing a heavy job while breathing normally, a person might have serious difficulties – perhaps one’s limbs might be broken – but in a state of baddha kumbhaka, or púrńa kumbhaka [with the lungs full], one can easily do the same work. While doing some over-strenuous activity in a state of shúnya kumbhaka [with the lungs empty] one might even die.
Suppose you are climbing to a high place or lifting a very heavy load. If you do not follow the system of breathing while lifting the load, your hands may become painful or your bones dislocated. If you do the same work in a state of shúnya kumbhaka, you will have great difficulty – you may even collapse. If, on the contrary, you perform any strenuous activity in púrńa kumbhaka, taking a deep breath, you can easily do it. All this comes within the scope of that svaravijiṋána.”
“If a person becomes agitated, causing his respiration to speed up, and his fists to close tightly the propensity (vrtti) of anger can easily get expressed. If this situation continues for long [, what will happen? Among the propensities of lust, anger, greed, vanity, attachment and jealousy,] anger will easily dominate the other propensities, and the hand indriya (in Saḿskrta the palm is called páńi and its action is called shilpana) will become active resulting in him angrily slapping or punching another person.”
- We all know the importance of breathing in our lives, but are we aware of prana at all?
“You are taking práńa’s help every moment of your daily life. Just as you feel the heat or coldness of things through tactual inference or sparsha-tanmátra, similarly you know their hardness and softness through práńa. Suppose there is cotton and gold of equal temperature. The eye sensory organ will see them, the skin sensory organ will feel their hotness or coldness and the práńa will feel the hardness of the gold and the softness of the cotton. The ear sensory organ will hear the song and the práńa will appreciate its melody. The ears will hear the scandal and the práńa will receive its harshness and severity; and thus hearing will become hurt and feel pain – it will hold anguish (dhárya) in the mind. This capacity of the práńa to hold feelings we call the vital core or marma. The terms “hard” or “soft” that you apply to a person on the basis of your knowledge of the hardness of iron or the fluidity of water are also derived from your práńa-bodha or vital sense. A “hard” man does not mean that the man is hard to touch. A “hard” thought-wave is received by the práńa when the skin-organ touches something hard. You call a man “hard” only when his speech or behaviour creates a similarly hard thought-wave in your práńa through the medium of any other organ. In the same manner you call many people “soft” also, don’t you?
What is this práńa-bodha? I have already said that when the nerve or force of acceptance or rejection of inferences (tanmátras) establishes contact between its object and the sthirabhúmi or apperceptive plate of the citta, then alone does “sense” come into being.”
- If prana has this capacity to sense, then is it a kind of sense organ?
“The positions of the indriyas [ear, nose throat, tongue, skin, hands, feet, vocal cord, genital organ and excretory organ] are actually in the brain and not on the external surface of the physical body. There are gateways of the indriyas on the external surface of the physical body receiving tanmátras emanated from different objects. The tanmátras received through these gateways are converted into psychic objects according to the inherent saḿskáras of the individuals. The position of práńendriya is in the heart – not in the mechanical heart which palpitates but in the yogic centre of heart, that is, in the middle point of the anáhata cakra.
During enumeration práńendriya does not come within the category of indriyas, not only because its site or controlling point is different from that of other indriyas, but for another reason as well. The ten indriyas function only to perceive tattvas, but práńendriya, being the collective name of the ten váyus (and váyu being a bhútatattva and a fundamental factor formed due to crudification of ether), comes under the category of tattvas. Indriyas, therefore, are the activators and perceivers of the bhútatattvas, and práńendriya is more or less a correlated activity of ten analysed sub-factors of váyutattva.
Práńendriya plays the most vital part on the physical and psycho-physical level. Every activity of the práńendriya is pulsative – contracting and expanding (saḿkoca-vikáshii). The auxiliary waves of the práńendriya flow in a pulsative manner, that is, there is an arrangement of alternative motions and pauses in their flows. It is during the state of pause and potentiality that the citta is able to receive the tanmátras and takes the form of shapes represented by those tanmátras. Unless citta takes the form of incoming tanmátras no perception is possible, because the ego can work only when the citta adopts a form.
This fact becomes evident by analysing a very common experience. Even if the tanmátra-discharging objects be present and the afferent nerves working quite all right, there may not be any perception if the citta does not receive the tanmátras. If one eats something while walking or running, one is not able to enjoy the taste fully. This is due to the citta not being able to receive the tanmátras under such a circumstance. One is not able to receive and understand a bháva (idea) simultaneously with some other physical and mental activity. The secret is with the práńendriya.
Práńendriya has got the capacity to let all the nerves flow in the pattern in which it itself is flowing. This means that if práńendriya is in the expansive stage and not in the contracting one, every nerve, along with citta itself, is in the expansive stage flowing in the same wavelength. The result is that incoming tanmátras face hindrance and cannot activate the citta. Thus either there is difficulty in perception or there is no perception. Therefore, even if all the other factors responsible for perception are working quite satisfactorily, the práńendriya in its expansive stage will cause the citta and nerves to vibrate sympathetically and thereby hamper the movement of the incoming tanmátras. But if the práńendriya be in the controlling position or at a pause, it creates such a calmness throughout the psycho-physical structure that the correct perception is possible. So actually práńendriya plays a vital part in helping the organs indirectly to receive the tanmátras, in assisting the citta to perceive them correctly, and thus in letting the ego have a cognition in that connection.
This is the psycho-philosophy behind the practice of práńáyáma, wherein the sádhaka tries to let this práńendriya remain in the state of pause, thereby merging the paused unit mind into the ocean of consciousness just to have the experience of the supramental stratum.
In our daily life the experiences of soft and hard, melodious and harsh, hot and cold are being experienced by our práńendriya. These experiences do not come within the scope of the five fundamental perceptions of shravańa (hearing), sparshana (feeling by touch), darshana (vision), ashvádana (taste) and ághráńa (smell). The aforesaid subtler experiences, not coming within the jurisdiction of crude fundamentality, are felt by the sixth organ – práńendriya. The special function of práńendriya is to recognize the objectives from different experienced sense perceptions and innate psychic projections. Práńendriya also works as an auxiliary force in some of the internal mental activities, and with the help of this práńendriya one feels that a particular person is very kind and affectionate, or a particular person is unkind and antipathetic. (Such an experience is based more on a subjective feeling than on any outer objective correlation.)”
- What is the need to control this prana?
“Energy in motion is not continuous but flows in definite little jumps; thus the stream of energy has been called systaltic or pulsatory in the scriptures. This applies equally to all inferential (tánmátric) flows, and these currents are received during their phase of contraction in sthirabhúmi or the citta (mind-stuff; ectoplasm) with the help of the práńa. So the more steadiness one can create in the práńa, the firmer and stronger shall be one’s power of receptivity.
The receptive power of práńa finds great scope for expression in a calm mind, with a calm body and calm organs; and its retentive power wanes tremendously during physical or mental restlessness. That is why a restless-minded boy cannot memorize his lessons – he cannot retain them in this práńa. A fickle-minded young man can earn his bread by hard labour, but he cannot take any serious responsibility.
It is only due to the interim motionlessness in the course of movement that a unit entity can comprehend anything. If one becomes restless, one cannot feel an object in the proper perspective. But there may be at least indistinct knowledge of the object due to a relatively slight calmness that still remains in the restlessness. A person in this state is generally called “bewildered”, in a state of doubtful comprehension. The shorter the period of this interim motionlessness, the greater the speed of motivity and thus also the degree of bewilderment. So you see, all forces, whether receptive or rejective, must be pulsative. When they are not pulsative, then their entities are outside the range of comprehension, and are therefore sensorily untenable and intellectually either untenable or quiescent.
The pause period of the systaltic movement is the opportune moment for the acceptance of any sensation or idea. Similarly, the greater the composure in the práńa, the stronger and keener is the power of receptivity. That is why sádhakas take pains to keep their práńa under restraint and control. In the path of sádhaná(intuitional practice) there are two ways to control the práńa: práńáyáma (breath-control) and dhárańá (concentration).
I have already said that the movement of every mundane force, whether active or reactive, must be pulsative. The period of contraction or cessation is the concluding state of the vital function. When this state of cessation is established permanently in the unit body, the vital functions totally cease. This is the state of death. In such a condition the mind and the other organs are inactive, and so in this long-lasting cessation nothing can be accepted or retained. The practice of práńáyáma is the practice of control of the práńa – of the expansion of the period of pause for the maximisation of the power of concentration and receptivity. The vital expansion of the práńáyáma-sádhaka is also pulsative, the only difference being that the pause is comparatively long. Even in the sádhaná of the introspective concentration (dhárańá) when the sthirabhúmi of the citta is fixed on the object, the vital function is also obliged to gradually prolong the duration of the pause. In that condition the manifestive waves also diminish. Thus whenever people ponder something with rapt attention, the movement of their vital functions gradually becomes more and more tranquil due to the prolongation of the duration of the form waves of their object of imagination.”
- What is the relationship between Pranayama and blood pressure?
There are two emphases in Pranayama first the pause period (kumbhaka) where one reaches full inhalation which is known as Purna Kumbhaka. Concentrating on holding the pause period at this stage puts pressure on the heart and thus is good for those with low blood pressure as the heart has additional stimulus to function. For those with high blood pressure this can be dangerous. If those with high blood pressure concentration concentrate on the pause period of full exhalation (Shunya Kumbhaka) then it will be best because then there is least pressure on the heart.
- What is the process to change the flow of air in the nostrils?
To sleep on the right side with the right hand under the body up to the elbow. This will make the left nostril active. Same for the other side.
- How does pranayama help control the mind?
“The Manomaya Kośa [subconscious or crude mental mind] is perfected through Pránáyáma.”
“There is an inseparable relationship between the váyus of the body [ten basic energy flows] and the mind. Unsteadiness of respiration means unsteadiness of mind and vice versa. Práńáyáma is the scientific process to control respiration and hence the mind, as a result of which sádhaná is especially facilitated.”
“The flow of breath continues according to the shortening or lengthening of the period of one’s thought. By channelizing the natural system of respiration into a particular rhythm one controls one’s mind through práńáyáma.
The indriyas are the controller of the body, the mind the controller of the indriyas, and the vital energy the controller of the mind. That’s why on the path of spiritual practice, and particularly in the practice of Astáuṋga yoga (the eight fold path consisting of Yama [don’ts], Niyama [do’s], ásana [yoga exercises], práńáyáma, pratyáhára [withdrawal of the mind from externality], dhárańá [concentration], dhyána [ideation and absorption in one’s Desideratum], and samádhi[trance of absorption in Supreme Consciousness]) práńáyáma plays a very significant role.
So when the respiratory system becomes restless, due to one’s individual reactive momenta, the mind also becomes restless. When the mind becomes restless a particular propensity or sense organ also becomes very restless, and another particular propensity or indriya also remains inactive. This is the general rule. But, if one’s respiratory system becomes rhythmic and calm through the process of práńáyáma then a particular propensity or sense organ becomes tranquil. This is something which is very important to remember. Through prolonged practice of práńáyama one learns which propensity or indriya becomes more active due to the restlessness of the respiratory system and which propensity or sense organ becomes more tranquil due to the pause of the respiratory system. This regular practice is known as yoga.”
“As the scriptures say, Indriyáńáḿ mano náthah manonáthástu márutah – “The mind is the master of the sense organs, and air is the master of the mind.” The master, the controller and presiding lord of all the organs is the mind; and the one who controls this mind is the sádhaka, the intelligent one. The sádhaka controls the mind by controlling maruta [air], which means by controlling the váyus [ten vital-energy currents in the human body], which means by práńáyáma [controlling vital energy by controlling the breath]. The expressions of the indriyas are práńa. Práńa is energy; and vital energy is called práńáh. You must have read about this in my book Idea and Ideology. When one wants to have control over práńa – the expression of the indriyas – one has to control the váyus first. Á – yam + ghaiṋ = áyáma, “that which is being controlled”. And that by which such control over práńa – the expression of the indriyas – is being effected is práńáyáma. Hence, práńa + áyáma = práńáyáma. Práńán yamayatyeśa práńáyámah – “That which gives control over the expressions of the indriyas is práńáyáma.” It is not that the indriyas alone are controlled by práńáyáma; the master of the indriyas – the mind – also comes under control through práńáyáma. Thus the mind, although the master of the indriyas, is obviously reduced to the same status as the indriyas. That is why the mind is said to be the eleventh indriya.
This human body is controlled by nerve fibres, which in turn are controlled by nerve cells. The human body generally moves as it is directed to by the mind. But when the body functions under the impact of certain inborn instincts, it does not require direction by the mind. Such actions are absolutely physical or mundane. Then there are some functions which, though physical, are also related to the mind, such as hunger, thirst, sleep and drowsiness. The latter functions are regulated by the ten váyus [vital-energy flows] – práńa, apáńa, samána, udána, vyána (the five [internal] váyus), and nága, kúrma, krkara, devadatta and dhanaiṋjaya (the five [external] váyus). Through these external váyus all kinds of natural functions are performed. The mind does not play any particular role in these cases.
All other functions, however, are controlled by the mind. The mind will send instructions to the body according to how it (the mind) is controlled or regulated by physico-psycho-spiritual practices; and in order to control the mind the ten váyus have to be brought under control. The systematic and scientific process to regulate the váyus in order to control the mind is called práńáyáma.”
“Through the practice of ásanas and práńayáma, one should increase the degree of control of the mind over práńa. During the first stage of sádhaná the human mind and body become increasingly pure. This is known as anubhava.”
- How does pranayam increase mental concentration?
It affects the internal and external vayus associated with the cakras. By creating a balanced flow in these vayus and by infusing them with new prana infused with spiritual energy, the cakras and glands become balanced and thus the expression of propensities becomes balanced and do not disturb the mind, enabling greater concentration.
By pranayama the pause period (kumbhaka) between inhalation and exhalation and vice versa is increased. We see that when we are breathing heavily without any pause we cannot think properly. By increasing the pause period the mind develops more and more capacity to assimilate. Generally humans assimilate 1% of what they experience. Increasing the pause period makes it easier for the mind not just to concentrate but also to work systematically, rapidly and efficiently. This gives one greater capacity to judge issues and helps in personality and moral development as well as in social service. The spiritual ideation done with pranayama enables one to have greater capacity to subjectivize what one learned. This enables greater memory retention but also true education as one is able to make what one learns as a part of one’s very being.
- How does Pranayama affect one’s will power or iccha shakti?
It is because of Pranayama, one’s power of judgement, is increased and hence when tempted to selfish or anti-social action, one’s increased power of judgement will prod one to refrain from that action. If due to weakness of iccha shakti he is unable to control himself and does what he knows is wrong, immediately afterwards that defeated iccha shakti will recoil and create a feeling of repentance in him. This is how Pranayama helps one in moral life.
- How can Pranayama help one to attain ideological understanding or goals
While practicing Pranayama the vayus become concentrated at a particular place during kumbhaka and mental stamina also gets concentrated there. While exhaling the ectoplasmic potentiality is released. At that time one will gain extra energy to help in attaining one’s goal externally. Similarly when done at the time of inhalation, one’s ideological understanding is developed. This must be combined with mantra and devotional surrender to prevent from downfall. Gradually one develops more and more capacity to merge one’s mind in the Supreme Subjectivity or Supreme Self. Then through one’s body divine power and flow to crush exploitation and establish the society of spiritual revolutionaries (sadvipras).
- What is the relationship between prana and the cakras?
“The human body is made of five fundamental factors [solid, liquid, luminous, aerial, ethereal], which are controlled by Práńa (vital energy). Práńa is controlled by the mind. So, Práńa and the mind are respectively the direct and the indirect controllers of those fundamental factors. The different seats of the mind for controlling the fundamental factors indirectly are called plexi (cakras). In these cakras the práńa is active. The nucleus that exists in the centre of these cakras bears the controllership of the mind.
The main controlling station of the citta and mind is located in the sixth plexus – the pituitary plexus (ájiṋá cakra). This plexus also indirectly controls the other fundamental factors. The right petal (the acoustic root of which is Ha) controls the aparávrtti (propensity of extroversiality) of the human mind. In this it is assisted by the right subtle nerve current (the piuṋgalá), which primarily controls the left portion of the body and secondarily the right portion.
The left petal of pituitary plexus (whose acoustic root is kśa) controls the force of spiritual inclination or parávrtti. With the help of the left subtle nerve or id́á, it primarily controls the activities of the right portion of the body and, secondarily, the activities of the left portion.
But whether the Práńa directly controls the cakras, there too the mind has to remain with it. A part of the mind remains intimately and pervasively associated with Práńa that controls the múládhára cakra. Thus the five kośas or layers of the mind – kámamaya [conscious mind], manomaya [subconscious mind], atimánasa [supramental mind], vijiṋánamaya [subliminal mind] and hirańmaya [subtle causal mind] – chiefly control the five subtle energy centres or cakras – the múládhára [base of the spine; controls the solid factor], svádhiśt́hána [behind the genital organ; controls the liquid factor], mańipura [navel; controls the luminous factor], anáhata [centre of the chest; controls the aerial factor] and vishuddha cakra [throat; controls the ethereal factor] respectively. Ájiṋá cakra [between the eyebrows] does not directly control any fundamental factor, but by its spiritual power controls the psychic force. Those who are engaged in bringing this seat of knowledge under control are the true sádhakas. For them alone the Divine Sphere remains open.”
“[If the mind is restless, the body will also be restless, and if the body is restless, the mind will also be restless.] That is why during spiritual practice, the body should be kept motionless. One must practise seated in a certain posture, because if the body becomes calm and motionless the mind also tends to become calm and concentrated. If someone is constantly thinking that he or she will have to sit down at a certain time, stand up at a certain time, catch hold of one’s nose or ears at a certain time, the mind will automatically tend to become restless. Such is the intimate relation between the body and the mind. Indriyáńám manonáthah manonáthastu márutah – “The indriyas(2) – both sensory indriyas and motor indriyas – are controlled by [the mind and the mind is controlled by] the váyus.”
This sort of functioning of the mind is discharged in and through the body with the help of the nerve cells and nerve fibres. Its principle controlling centre is situated in the sahasrára cakra – the pineal gland – but its substations are located in various parts of the body. The substations are located in sites of the body from which particular kinds of thought-waves control the adjacent areas of the body in their own respective ways. These substations are called cakra or padma or kamala – plexus in Latin – thus we have the various cakras – múládhára, svádhiśt́hána, mańipura, anáhata, vishuddha, ájiṋá, etc. The mind, instead of exerting its control directly from the sahasrára cakra [above the crown of the head], exerts its control through the other cakras, the other plexi. Hence in order to advance spiritually, one has first to establish control over these lower cakras, then finally over the sahasrára cakra.”
“The matsya sádhaná of a Tantric yogi can be interpreted in this way: “One who eats the two fish that swim, one through the Ganges (representing the id́á nád́ii) and the other through the Yamuna (the piuṋgalá nád́ii) – that is, one who takes the breath flows of the left nostril and the right nostril to the trikut́i [concentration point of the ájiṋá cakra] and suspends them there by purńa kumbhaka [holding the inhalation] or shunya kumbhaka [holding the exhalation] – is a matsya sádhaka.”
By pranayama, the five internal vayus are affected and all the glands, sub-glands, plexii within their sphere of influence. These glands and sub-glands control different propensities and this affects the mind significantly. This is also why it is so important to maintain spiritual ideation while doing pranayama so that negative propensities are not awakened and so that positive propensities are sublimated into higher forms of expression.
Also Vyana vayu flows throughout the body and when pranayama takes place the vibration of the blood, lymph etc becomes vibrated with the vibration of the spiritual ideation and the sound rhythm of the mantra taken while doing pranayama.
- How is pranayama related to the higher meditational practice of dhyana?
“The practice of dhyána [meditation in which the psyche merges in the Consciousness of the Ideational Desideratum or Iśt́a] becomes a time-consuming affair if práńáyáma is not adequately practised.”
“It is the process by which the movement of vital energy is controlled by a spiritual aspirant. But práńáyáma should always be associated with bindu dhyána [ideation on a point], that is, meditation on a particular point. If práńáyáma is not associated with bindu dhyána, it will affect self-restraint. Práńáyáma will make the mind restless.”
“Coming close to Him is not enough. You will have to merge your unit “I” in Him. You will have to transform your idea of “I am Brahma” into Self-realization through the process of dhyána. In order to establish oneself in dhyána, one will have to do ásanas [yoga exercises], pratyáhára [mental withdrawal from the physical and psychic realms], práńáyáma and dhárańá [concentration].”
- How is pranayama related to the Onmkara (AUM)?
“Prańavo dhanuh sharohyámá brahma tallakśyamucyate
Apramattena veddhavyaḿ sharavat tanmayo bhavet. (Upanishad)
O Sedate One, Oṋḿkára is the image of your bow. Here the twanging or plucking of the bow means the act of Práńáyáma (a yogic method of breath-control), i.e., stirring up the vital or spiritual force. If you use your soul as an arrow and shoot it aiming at the Brahma-like target with a deeply concentrated (absolutely unwavering) mind, then your soul will certainly merge in the Supreme Soul just as an ordinary arrow sticks in its target.”
- What is the spirit of práńáyáma?
“Pránán yamayati eśah práńáyámah. That is, the word práńáyáma literally means “controlling the práńáh [vital energy]”. The psycho-philosophy behind the practice of práńáyáma is that the spiritual aspirant tries to let the práńendriya [ten vital-energy currents] remain in a state of pause so that the paused unit mind will merge into the ocean of consciousness.”
- How many types of práńáyáma are there?
“There are two main types of práńáyáma: hat́ha yaogika práńáyáma and Yudhiśt́hira práńáyáma. When práńáyáma is done without fixing the mind on a particular point of concentration, and without imbibing Cosmic ideation, it is called hat́ha yaogika práńáyáma. But when práńáyáma is performed with the mind fixed at a particular point along with Cosmic ideation, it is called Yudhiśt́hira práńáyáma. [The eldest Pandava, Yudhisthira, was the first person to popularize práńáyáma according to this method.]”
- What are the different stages of pranayama known as recaka, púraka, and kumbhaka?
“At the time of práńáyáma, when one exhales the breath completely, it is called recaka; when one inhales completely, it is called púraka; and when one retains air inside the body, it is called kumbhaka.”
“The human respiratory system also provides us with a good comparison with the systaltic flow of movement. Puraka [inhalation] can be compared with the movement towards manifestative pause. The retention of breath at the end of puraka (púrńa kumbhaka) is manifestative pause. Recaka [exhalation] is the movement towards systolic pause. And holding the breath after complete exhalation (shúnya kumbhaka) is systolic pause. In the retention of breath after inhalation there is manifestation of time and continuity of movement, but no sense of dynamism. In the total exhalation, however, there is no manifestation of time but there is continuity of movement minus the sense of dynamism. [From the end of] one puraka to the beginning of another puraka constitutes half of the cycle of respiration. After every such half-cycle or trip, that is, in every post-exhalation pause, there occurs the death of the unit being. But after gathering vitality for the second time from this death or state of pause, the unit being comes alive again during the next inhalation. If, after the full cycle of inhalation and exhalation, the physical mechanism is unable to gather vital force from the state of pause, further inhalation becomes impossible and what we commonly call death occurs.
Actually, the unit structure dies thousands of times every day, after every exhalation. In the scriptures this sort of microcosmic death is called the khańd́a pralaya [partial annihilation] of the unit entity. When the temporal factor is evident and the seed of or potential for further inhalation and exhalation is intact, this cannot be considered death. Yogic texts prescribe various methods of recakánta práńáyáma and purakánta práńáyáma [respiratory control] whereby a huge quantity of vital force may be acquired from the five fundamental factors.”
“Recaka means “emptying”. When one exhales completely and keeps the breath out during the process of breathing, it is called recaka.”
“In the case of respiration also, after human beings inhale, they do not immediately exhale. They retain the breath inside for a while, and then they exhale. Similarly, after exhaling, they do not immediately inhale. They stop for a little while, and then only do they inhale. So in both cases there is a pause for a short while. The first pause, after inhalation, is called púrńa kumbhaka, and the second pause, after exhalation, is called shúnya kumbhaka. These are states of pause, not of speed. A state of pause is nothing but a state of death, because in that state of pause every function is suspended, every vibration is suspended. At that time the vibrations of all objects of this universe remain in you in seed form, but not yet fully accepted or assimilated. The vibrations have no doubt reached you in seed form, but the understanding of them, that is, the acceptance of them, will come later.”
- Many yogis spend a lot of time doing pranayama. Is this the true yoga?
“Many people criticize this path of hat́ha yoga because, they say, the practices of ásanas, práńáyáma, etc. are not very congenial for spiritual progress. In fact, the defects of this system are as follows; first such yogiis cannot render any useful service to the world, for they have to keep themselves engaged in these practices for twenty-four hours a day. But human beings have to do so many things in life, not only the practices of ásanas, práńáyáma, etc. They must learn many things and teach many things to others. Instead of doing that, if some people spend a major portion of their days practising práńáyáma, how will they find time for setting an example for others?
Yes, práńáyáma has its necessity – a limited necessity; but any rigorous practice should be done for the welfare of others, otherwise what is the benefit of such practices with one’s legs up and head down, sitting beside a firepit? Unnecessarily the practitioners subject themselves to physical torture. People understand the utility of austerity when they realize that the world of living beings was created by our Lord, and if we serve His world, how pleased He will be! If I undergo penance while rendering service to the society, there is no selfishness in this because the austerity is no longer a penance – it becomes a source of joy. Hence those who undergo penance for the sake of penance are greatly mistaken.
The same applies to Yoga. If yoga is treated as a means of realizing Parama Puruśa and not as a type of hat́há yoga, then this is the real yoga. Otherwise if one practices práńáyáma for a long portion of the day, then one’s coming onto this earth becomes meaningless. Many people suspend their vital energy by means of hat́há yogic practices. Others wrongly think that since such people can suspend their life-force, they must be great personalities – mahápuruśas. Such a notion is wholly defective. Through regular practice, one’s life-force can be suspended, but that does not prove one’s greatness. One can survive for long without food; there are some specific techniques for that; but most people in the world do not know those methods, If those who know the methods are called mahápuruśas, this is not correct.”
- Is hatha yoga a genuine yoga?
“Depending upon the difference in the controlling points of the cakras, spiritual sádhaná can take either of two forms: (1) Controlling the hormone secretion of the glands and strengthening the controlling points of the cakras is the system known as hatha yoga, because it is more physical in character. This science is more extroversive in character and consequently part of avidya tantra. (2) To surrender one’s mind to Shrii Krśńa – This is introversive or ideational in character and is part of Vidyá Tantra. This is the real sádhaná, where the entire psycho-physical entity surrenders itself to Parama Puruśa.
The meeting point between Lord Krśńa and the jiivátma is just below the pineal gland or sahasrára cakra.”
- What is the relationship between devotion, yoga and one’s life breath or prana?
“Yoga without devotion is as good as a goldsmith without gold. Unfortunate is the Yogii who is bereft of devotion. You will have to do Sádhaná of Jiṋána [realizing Supreme Consciousness in all beings] and Karma [working and serving Supreme Consciousness in all beings]. By doing simply Ásana and Pránáyáma, the Supreme Entity cannot be attained. The most important thing is devotion.”
““The true meaning of the word yoga is ‘to unify’. But those who do ásanas, práńáyáma, etc., without devotion are cultivating the desert. Without the water of devotion, their effort will not succeed. I am not in the hearts of such dry yogis.”
“Bhakti or devotion is service to Parama Puruśa. It is love and bliss personified, the very breath of devotee.”
- What is then the primary process of pranayama in Ananda Marga?
“Closing the eyes, sit in either siddhásana, padmásana or bhojanásana. Do bhútashuddhi. After doing ásana shuddhi, concentrate your mind on the point that the ácárya will fix. Then, after doing cittashuddhi, ideate on the first syllable of your Iśt́a mantra, press and close the right nostril with the thumb of the right hand, and draw in a deep breath through the left nostril. During inhalation, ideate that infinite vital energy is entering the point from the infinite Brahma who is existing all around. After taking a full breath close the left nostril with the middle, ring and little fingers, and, taking the thumb away from the right nostril, slowly let out the air (Ideate that the infinite vital energy is returning from the point to that Infinite Brahma). During exhalation ideate on the remaining syllable of your Iśt́a mantra. When the breath has been fully expelled from the right nostril, inhale as fully as possible again through the right nostril. Afterwards, closing the right nostril with the thumb and removing the fingers, exhale the air through the left nostril. This completes one round.
For the first week, complete three rounds each time. The number is increased by one round every week until seven rounds is reached.
Práńáyáma can be practised up to four times in a day. If a person practising práńáyáma twice daily wishes to practise three times on any particular day, he/she may do so, but the person who practises twice daily must not suddenly increase to four times, because that will result in the body falling sick. Therefore it is advisable at first to do the practise twice daily, increasing it by one round per week. If, however, on any day two times práńáyáma is not completed, then at the end of the week, the number of times missed must be practised in compensation before increasing the number of rounds.
Practitioners of práńáyáma should try to keep themselves away from dust, smoke, bad-smelling environments and excessive labour. It is very helpful to take a sufficient amount of milk products for the first two months following commencement of the practice.”
“By Sadvipra it is not meant those who practice Mala-Jap or Práńáyám. In Práńáyám also there are three stages – Puraka means to inhale; Kumbhaka which is to hold the breath and recak which to exhale. The Práńáyáma of the Sadvipras will be to inhale the entire universe in Puraka, to keep it within in Kumbhaka and then to exhale it after mixing it with their own greatness and good will in Recaka.
- Why should one learn pranayama directly from a qualified acarya [one who teaches by one’s conduct] so that one can properly learn the ideation that needs to be performed while doing pranayama?
“Práńáyáma is meant for sádhakas [aspirants of Supreme Consciousness] – it is better for non-sádhakas not to take the risk of injuring themselves by doing práńáyáma. Práńáyáma is also very beneficial for the physical body. Special práńáyáma practices are prescribed for specific diseases. No one should practise práńáyáma without the permission of an ácárya.”
“There are abuses of práńáyáma also. If sádhakas during the period of práńáyáma-induced contraction, indulge themselves merely in the parading of their own petty vanity instead of using that force of contraction for the inculcation brahmabháva (cosmic ideation); that is, if they devote themselves to the expression of their own little egos, they will gradually tend towards crudeness. Even without practising práńáyáma, if people zealously propel their little egos towards worldly enjoyments, they will also meet the same fate. Práńáyáma is exceedingly harmful – devastatingly disastrous – for those without cosmic ideation or Brahmabháva. In common experience we find that whenever people absorb themselves in some work, their power of contraction increases, and the movement of their práńa becomes steady and regulated; but whenever they indulge in any sensuous or crude act, the movement of their práńa becomes remarkably unsteady and agitated. In such a condition their minds are not amenable to comprehension, thought or judgement.”
- Finally, what is the state of mind of a genuine practitioner of pranayama?
Ámi tomáy cini tomáre dáki
Tumi ámár práńa
Ámár sab háránor vedanáte
Tumi bhará ván
Tumi priiti gán
Tumi ámár práńa.
(Prabháta Saḿgiita* 686)
O I know You, recognize You only
Ah I call You,
You are my prana.
For vanquishing and dispelling
Sorrows and pain,
Only You are the
Overwhelming, fulfilling floodwaters,
You are the song of love.
You are my prana.
* Prabháta Saḿgiita refers to the 5018 songs composed by Shrii Shrii Anandamurtiji in just eight years.
Shrii Sarkar has said that the most important aspect of spiritual practice is cakra shodhana and cakra niyantrańa. Let us explore the importance then of Cakra Shodhana or the 5th Lesson of Ananda Marga Sahaja Yoga.
Understanding the Fifth Lesson
The word shodhana literally means “refinement” or “purification”. In spiritual meditation shodhana is concentration on the cakras. It is a part of Ananda Marga sádhaná which is not included in aśt́áḿga yoga [the eight-fold path of yoga].
For spiritual advancement spiritual practices are a must, and in spiritual practices the role of the cakras [plexi] is immense. In fact, the most important aspect of spiritual practice is cakra shodhana and cakra niyantrańa [the purification and control, respectively, of the cakras].
In Third Lesson, the cakras are primarily understood as controllers of the five fundamental factors of the body. These fundamental factors are ultimately what the body is created from, hence controlling the cakras and thereby the bhutas is the key to liberating the mind from material consciousness and moving towards samadhi and liberation. It is also the key to establishing oneself in 1st lesson which also involves purification of the bhutas (bhuta shuddhi).
In Fifth Lesson the cakras are dealt with in a more subtle way. Cakras are controlling nodes of the vast network of nadiis. Nadiis are channels of vital and psychic energies. Just like there is a vast network of physical nerves throughout our body, similarly on the level of divine energy there are said to be around 72,000 nadiis in the subtler body. These nadis are connected with the various vayus (vital forces or airs) which are controlled by Pranayama. Just as purifying the cleansing the heart and other organs purifies the blood, so also purifying the cakras purifies the flow of the 10 vayus in the nadiis. This is crucial for Fourth lesson of Pranayama involving the assimilation of vital energy into the vayus and their control and sublimation.
Pranayama controls and purifies the mind and if done with ideation awakens devotion. This devotion increases when the cakras and the network of nadiis is purified. Furthermore when the nadiis are purified the vayus themselves become more quickly purified. This gives rise of various spiritual and devotional experiences in the form of different bhavas.
The cakras we know are themselves a cluster of various glands and their associated psychic propensities and hormones. So purification of the cakras restores prama or balance between these glands and between the cakras. This prepares the way forward for revolutionary spiritual and devotional changes in the body. While all cakras are purified Baba gave especial importance to purifying the Ajina Cakra [centre of the eyebrows] as it controls all the higher cakras and enables the person to assimilate the nectar secreted by the Sahasrara Cakra [crown of the head]. All the flows of propensities, desires, sentiments associated with the lower cakras are to be focused and directed towards merging in the flow from the Para Vrtti or pure spiritual propensity of the Ajina Cakra. This enables the aspirant to become established in the Sahasrara Cakra more and more. This happens naturally when Fifth Lesson is done in a Baba-centred manner.
The Third Lesson involves controlling each cakra and surrendering it to the Paramestin Guru. The Fifth Lesson involves purifying, sublimating and dissolving each cakra into the flow of Baba’s radiance and love.
The Fifth Lesson purifies the major cakras but if each cakra is properly purified one will feel the entire network of nadiis connected with that cakra being purified. One will feel the minor cakras (upacakras) being awakened and purified. We should also note that the kosas are associated with the cakras and hence by this lesson the kosas are purified and merged more and more into a flow of loving surrender. This feeling of lightness and purity will also be felt on the physical level as well. This is because the vayus purify the sub-minds of the various small (protozoic) and large (metazoic) cells of the body. Many physical ailments can be cured by this lesson for those who give importance to their bodies.
However these are mainly important for the addiction of lower yogis to psycho-spiritual pleasures. For the devotees one will have more intense experience of Baba’s Darshan, especially through experiences of Baba’s scent. Baba’s wondrous fragrances is celebrated in Prabhat Samgiit in many songs. This is why singing Prabhat Samgiit before doing sadhana (including 5th lesson). For those who have great yearning (viraha) fifth lesson will cause one to have the vision (Darshan) of Baba in different cakras and all over the body and the universe. Such devotees will be lost in wonder marveling at the rapturous beauty with which Baba is adorned with wondrous coloured clothes and different coloured radiances. In countless Prabhat Samgiit the wonderful ways in which Baba is adorned is celebrated. Fifth lesson prepares us thus for dhyana
But this is not all. The subtle sense of supra-aesthetics (science of how Baba makes us fall in love with Him) creates new refined behaviour and forms of society (samaja). This is how a devotional civilization will created. Manifestation [of culture] is coupled with purification of feelings – civility and decorousness of expression. What after all, is civilization? The subtle sense of refinement that we come across in the different expressions of life is called civilization. The subtle sense of refinement is the touchstone of civilization. The subtle sense of refinement that we get in culture intrinsically imbibes the human power of discriminative judgement. This discriminative judgement is the essence of justice.
Bringing justice to everyone and everything due to the blazing tenderness of one’s devotional heart is the essence of Neohumanism. Through Neohumanism a brand new spiritual and cultural civilization and psychology is created which serves as the foundation for PROUT’s socio-economic movements of samajas (eco-cultural regions). Fifth Lesson is done collectively in the form of Baba Pari Mandala Goshti practices of using kiirtana to charge particular valleys, rivers, hills and mountains with spiritual and devotional energies so as to create a new spiritual geography. This is just a glimpse of the infinite exquisite forms of bháva (ecstasy) in the vast realm of Fifth Lesson.
One special spiritual practice to further accelerate the creation of viiras is Kapalika sadhana. This is a special spiritual practice perform at midnight and therafter in cremation grounds, cemeteries or jungles and is perfomed with a skull and knives. In such an environment all the crude propensities such as panicking fears, material or psychic desires rise up with tremendous force. Through this spiritual practice this tremendous force is sublimated thus giving tremendous power to the yogi. Those who are devotees utilize this force to full surrender and hence become the vehicle of Dharma Shakti [Cosmic energy of divine righteous fight against injustice and inequality]. However, others may misuse this energy to develop occult powers so as to control and influence people.
The Tantrics of bygone days used to do shava sadhana [Tantric meditation sitting on a dead body] in the darkness of the new moon night. As Shrii Sarkar reveals,
I think you all know that Sadáshiva was the first Tantric Mahákaola on this planet. His mission was Kurvantu vishvaḿ Tántrikam – “To get the whole universe initiated into the Tantric cult”. To become a Tantric means to fight directly against the opposing forces and obstacles on the path of progress and to preach the lofty gospels of universal humanism. That human beings are the greatest of all living beings is to be proven in action, not in mere words or theoretical moral principles…– Bhaerava and Bhaeravii, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 7
Later Shiva felt that there should be proper media to propagate the grand and lofty ideals He was teaching. Tomár patáká yáre dáo táre bahibáre dáo shakti [“Give strength to the person to whom you give the flag to carry”]. Otherwise who would be able to carry forth so much knowledge, wisdom, intellect, and such a deep spiritual cult? Incompetent people cannot be expected to carry the legacy of anything. If I teach something to an incompetent or undesirable person, it will bear no fruit, it will get wasted. A heron can never learn to speak like a mynah bird, no matter how much it is trained. The incompetent person is just like the heron. What did Shiva do about this?
Párvatii had a son called Bhaerava, and Kálii a daughter named Bhaeravii. Shiva first taught Bhaerava Tantra sádhaná, or kápálika sádhaná (the Tantric sádhaná which utilizes the human skull); and the táńd́ava dance. Since then all those people who have learned the Tantric practices have also been called Bhaerava, they all introduce themselves by the name Bhaerava. They lose their individual names such as Ráma, Shyáma, Tom or Dick, and automatically become a part of Shivagotra [the Family of Shiva].
Shiva proclaimed, “You are all mine. Whatever hill you live on you are still my own. I will think well of you. I will think about your collective welfare. I will work for your collective well-being. Come one and all to me safely and fearlessly and tell me your needs. I will help you. Átmagotraḿ parityajya Shivagotraḿ pravishatu [‘Leave your own gotra and enter Shivagotra’].”
Whoever is a spiritualist has left his or her own gotra and has entered the Shivagotra. In Ananda Marga also, separate gotras are not recognized. All belong to Shivagotra. I have only stated that at the time of marriage the bride and bridegroom should not have any direct relationship three generations above and three generations below. If this condition is not met, the marriage should not be solemnized.
Ananda Margis have no caste or gotra. I have said before also that the division of humanity into Káshyapagotra, Bharadvájagotra, etc., is nonsensical. This is just to mislead people. If we look back in [anthropology] we will see that the forefathers of the present-day humans were apes or ape-men. So if people are very particular about their gotras, I will say to their faces, “Boys and girls! You belong to the ape gotra.”
We have all descended from our common ancestors, the apes. The same is true in relation to the castes. [One might try to argue that] the forefathers of the Bráhmańas were the ape-Bráhmańas and the forefathers of the Kśatriyas were the ape-Kśatriyas; but that just isn’t so. As apes do not have any particular caste, the present-day caste differences are all hypocrisy and maliciousness. You should remove even the least vestige of these nonsensical notions. You must not give credence to such things.
So Shiva taught Bhaerava. Then He thought: “If I teach this only to my son; that is, if my son alone knows this secret spiritual cult, this great asset for humanity, and my daughter remains ignorant, then fifty per cent of the society will remain a burden for the other fifty per cent; that is, the women will remain a burden for the men, and the movement of the men also will be greatly impeded.” Even in those days, seven thousand years ago, Shiva thought in this way. “If I only give the strength and responsibility to carry the burden to my son, Bhaerava, that will not be good. I will also have to give some of the responsibility to my daughter, Bhaeravii.” And that is what He did. And since that day, any woman practising Tantra is known as Bhaeravii.
Shrii Sarkar reveals who is a Bhaerava saying
The Entity who keeps on beating the drum of time, and at whose instance the message of time is sounded, echoed and vibrated in entities everywhere – that fearful entity or Bhaerava (bhae + rava = bhaerava, ‘one whom people fear’) – is called Kálabhaerava. ‘Kálabhaerava’ is another name of Lord Shiva. Those persons who, inspired by this Cosmic acoustic centre of Shiva, create ever-new epicentres in their psychic sphere and transmit the various acoustic effects throughout the world, are called bhaeravas. And their primal source, that is, Shiva, is called ‘Kálabhaeerava’.– Discourse 23, Shabda Cayaniká Part 4
Thus Bhaeravas function as broadcasters and nuclei of divine energies. It is through these divine energies that society can be dramatically transformed. Shrii Sarkar said that European communism fell due to the sudden expansion of consciousness was created due to PROUT, Neohumanism and spiritual philosophy. This sudden expansion occurs when divine energy is transmitted in a particular area through a Bhaerava. Shrii Sarkar explains how the viira practices this sadhana saying,
Tantra advises, ‘Jump into your environment without the least hesitation. Don’t be afraid. Fear will leave you step by step. Tomorrow you will not be as fearful as you are today, the day after you will be even less fearful, and ten days from now you’ll notice that you are completely fearless.’ The process of Tantra sádhaná is formulated along these lines. The very first night that a Tantric goes to the burial ground he is stricken with fear; there is horripilation all over the body. But when he returns home after finishing sádhaná, the mind is much lighter than before. When he goes out for sádhaná the next night, he is much less fearful. And thus the Tantric steadily and slowly overcomes fear. This is the applied process of Tantra which will help the practitioner overcome all mental propensities. In Tantra, there is a nice blending between the internal sádhaná, an ongoing psychic process, and physico-psychic sádhaná.– The Fundamental Difference between Veda and Tantra, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 5
Those who are established in this sadhana are called Kapalikas. Shrii Sarkar explains their mission as follows,
In Buddhist philosophy Kárya Brahma is called “Saḿvrtti bodhicitta”. “Kaḿ saḿvrtti bodhicittam pálayati iti kápálika” – He who protects the created universe, he who is engaged in the pálana kriyá of the expressed universe, is kápálika.– His Reflections Are Everywhere, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 3
The first letter created in the Macrocosmic body during the formation of vyaiṋjanas is ka; this ka is the acoustic root. This universe has thus been created with acoustic root ka. To serve the ka-deva means to serve the entire manifestation of the Cosmos. That is why they who serve and look after that which has manifested in the Cosmos are known as kápálika.– Macro-Propensitive Equipoise and Non-Propensitive Desideratum, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 31
Now the heroism of the Tantric does not simply create courage and fighting spirit. It also creates deep devotional bliss of the Vaeśńava – the second form of Ananda Marga sadhana. As Shrii Sarkar explains,
In the second stage Prakrti is willing to take the shelter of Puruśa, but the sádhaka is indifferent, and remains absorbed in the flow of Cosmic bliss – so this is Vaeśńava sádhaná …– Sádhaná, Discourses on Tantra Volume Two
In the Vaeśńava stage sádhakas [spiritual aspirants] remain totally unconcerned as to who is Puruśa and who is Prakrti. Their only desire is to become one with Brahma in the flow of bliss. They do not make a hair-splitting analysis regarding fight or non-fight, for they know they will remain absorbed in the Cosmic flow of bliss for eternity. This is the true spirit of Vaeśńava sádhaná. “Viśńu” means “all-pervading”, “expansive” – so the proper etymological meaning of “Vaeśńava” is “universalist”.
Vaishnavite bháva [spiritual stance] can be divided into two stages: liilábháva and nityabháva. When a sádhaka’s mind oscillates [among different experiences] along the paths of the saiṋcara and pratisaiṋcara of Brahma and becomes inextricably merged with Its panoramic expressions, that condition is called liilábháva, and the sádhaka’s blissful feeling is called liilánanda. In liilábháva the sádhakas’ entire existences become vibrated with the vibrations of the Cosmic dance, causing them to burst out in dance, laughter, tears and song. But in nityánanda there is no such expression as this. Puruśottama [the Nucleus Consciousness] is the supreme source of the countless forms and flows that emanate during liilábháva; but His own stance is nityabháva [eternal and unchangeable]. So the ánanda which sádhakas experience when united with Him in His unchangeable, eternal stance is called nityánanda…
The mundane obstacles, the friends and foes, merge in the Vaishnavite sádhakas’ world of blissful ideation. With whom will they fight? They feel that the entire universe is an unbroken divine play composed of Rádhá and Krśńa. In this stage there is a clear dominance of action and devotion. Vaishnavite sádhaná is a blissful flow indeed. Such sádhakas are like points on the circumference of the Cosmic Circle, moving towards the Nucleus, Puruśottama, along the radius, which is their sádhaná. And the expanse through which they move towards Him along the radius is the rúpaságar [ocean of beauteous forms], the rasámrtasindhu [ocean of bliss]. Such sádhakas reap only, through reactive actions, the consequences of their past actions. Jiṋána is not dominant in this Vaishnavite stage. Vaishnavite sádhakas say that Puruśottama is enacting His liilá [divine game] through this expressed universe. They say, “O Lord, You are both wisdom and ignorance, happiness and sorrow. Some people You place on golden thrones as kings, others You throw into the street to beg from door to door with outstretched begging bowls. You are my joy, You are my sorrow. Do whatever You like with me.” Such sádhakas would never say, “O Lord, save me from danger,” but
Sudháraseo bhásáo yakhan
Dhanya Hari dhanya Hari;
Vyathá diye kándáo yakhan
Dhanya Hari dhanya Hari.
“When You float me on the waves of bliss, O Lord, You are really gracious, and when You make me cry in pain, You are equally gracious. In happiness I feel Your sweet touch, and burst into laughter, exhilarated by Your divine sport. In sorrow I also feel Your sweet touch, and burst into tears, overwhelmed by Your divine sport. How strange You are! How wonderful! I have nothing to complain about.”
In the final stage of Vaishnavite sádhaná, the unit mind becomes one with the Cosmic Mind. The moment before the final merger, sádhakas realize that the Entity who has come in the form of happiness is their dearest Lord, and the Entity who has come in the form of sorrow is also their dearest Lord. They feel the divine joy of the Cosmic play. They never retreat, for having passed through the Shákta stage they have acquired immense courage and valour. One who has not been an ideal Shákta cannot be an ideal Vaeśńava. In the final stage of the Vaeśńava cult, sádhakas offer their greatest treasure – their mind – to Brahma, and in exchange for this supreme gift expect nothing in return. In the absence of mind they cannot enjoy the sweetness of the divine play any longer. At that supreme stage of surrender liilánanda is transformed into nityánanda.
Now this state of being a viira or hero not only results in devotion but also causes the evolution a more intuitive level of knowledge.
In the upa-átmasthiikarańá stage one enters the psychic stratum. Take the case of the palmyra tree. What group does it belong to? It belongs to the palm group. What are the physical characteristics of the trees of the palm group? What are their psychic wants? By posing such questions you will gain knowledge about the palmyra and its special psychology. You will realize that if the saliva of any animal touches the palmyra tree, its growth gets stunted.– Ekendriya – 2, Ananda Marga Philosophy in a Nutshell Part 6
Suppose an animal eats the leaves of a palmyra sapling and drops a little of its saliva onto the plant. The speed of its growth will certainly be hampered. So according to its peculiar psychology, it reacts when the external saliva comes in contact with its internal psychic juice. Consequently its natural growth and fruit bearing capacity will be decreased. This is the general rule of all the trees of the palm group. Coconuts and betel-nut trees have the same characteristics.
You will understand these facts through upa-átmasthikarańam because you become acquainted with it’s basic psychology. When you sit beside a tree you will intuitively understand what the tree is thinking. Of course, the tree won’t say anything loudly, but you will be able to communicate with it because your mind has established a link with its mind. Regarding the characteristics of trees in the palm group, [the folk poet] Kśańá said,
Bára batsare phele tál,
Yadi ná láge gorur nál.
[The (palm) tree bears fruit at twelve years of age provided it is not touched by the saliva of cows.]
[The palm tree cannot tolerate cow saliva.] So in the stage of upa-átmasthikarańa one comes in contact with the inner heart, the inner life and the inner mind of all objects, leading to one’s knowledge becoming deeper and more confirmed. The mind derives much contentment from its contact with the inner mind of certain plants, animals and human beings, for through such contact one can render better to service to them. One will develop a certain degree of self satisfaction for one’s psychic assimilation will have been of some use. This is also a step in the acquisition of knowledge.
But it does have a particular disadvantage. This contact with the inner mind of a tree, animal or human being depends on the freshness or strength of your mind. If for some reason your mental power is lost, then the capacity to acquire knowledge through superficial psychic assimilation and upa-átmasthikarańa will also be lost. Suppose you are a very experienced psychologist. If your mind ceases to function properly, you won’t be able to utilize any of that knowledge you had acquired. People who have practised the sádhaná of avidyá tantra can develop the power to know the minds of others. But such acquired power is short-lived – it will desert them one day. If they misuse even a small amount of this acquired power, they will lose it immediately.
As we have seen the raising of the kundalinii and the resulting form of devotion is described in terms of the historic devotees of Lord Krsna during His childhood.
“And when it [kundalinii] moves from the navel cakra to the trikut́i, or ájiṋá cakra, that is known as gopii bháva.” (Krśńa Unparalleled, Discourses on Krśńa and the Giita)
Sáyujya Devotional Samádhi
The next form of devotional intoxication and love that results as the kundalinii rises is known as Sáyujya Samádhi. This is explained as follows:
Then when that sleeping divinity, that kulakuńd́alinii, crosses the anáhata cakra, this plexus, this “solar plexus” (in Latin), the sádhaka’s feelings are known as sáyujya. Sáyujya means “in close contact”. In Sanskrit sáyujya means “close contact, just side by side, just touching”. In sálokya He is with you. In sámiipya you feel the proximity, the nearness. And here in sáyujya what do you feel? A tactual experience. You get a tactual experience.– Stages of Samádhi, Discourses on Tantra – 1
Again, as a result of further sádhaná, what happens? One feels that one is in close touch with Him. In pleasure, in predicament, one always feels that one is in close touch with Him. You see, when you are being punished by Him, do you not feel His existence? Do you not feel His touch? You feel His touch. So this is called sáyujya samádhi. In both pleasure and predicament you feel you are in touch with Him.– The Grandeur of the Supreme Entity, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 24
Sárúpya Devotional Samádhi
As the kundalinii rise even higher the Samádhi that ensues is called Sárúpya. Shrii Sarkar explains this as follows:
And the next stage of this rágánugá samádhi (here rágánugá samádhi, rágánugá bhakti, means, “O God, O Náráyańa, I don’t want anything from You; I love You because by loving You I get pleasure”) is sárúpya. In sárúpya one feels, “There is hardly any difference between myself and my Lord.” The poet Vidyapati of Mithila said: Mádhava Mádhava anukhana sumari Sundarii Mádhava bhelii [“Rádhá while constantly remembering Mádhava became Mádhava Himself”]. Here, Sundarii means Rádhá. She always ideates on Mádhava. What is the meaning of Mádhava? Má means “the Operative Principle”, and dhava means “husband, controller”. The Operative Principle is Paramá Prakrti, and Her dhava, husband, is Parama Puruśa. So “Mádhava” means the husband of Prakrti, that is, Parama Puruśa. So Rádhá always ideates on Mádhava, and what is the result? Finally Rádhá feels that she has become Mádhava. This is what is called sárúpya samádhi. And this is the last stage of rágánugá bhakti. (Ibid.)
Sárúpya was the last stage of Rágánugá Bhakti. After this a new more self-effacing form of bhakti emerges as Shrii Sarkar explains,
By taking the ideation of Parama Puruśa, when the quantity of pleasure increases, a person loses the self first. What happens when he or she is lost? He or she feels “I take the ideation of Parama Puruśa not for my sake, not for me. I love Parama Puruśa so that he may get pleasure because of my love, I wish to give Him pleasure. I may or may not get it.” When this stage is attained, this is called Rágátmiká Bhakti. In this stage one feels, “I love Parama Puruśa, I do not care whether He loves me or lot, He likes me or not, but I like Him”. I This is Rágátmiká Bhakti. When this Rágátmiká Bhakti is attained, in that stage one is also called Gopa as described in scriptures (shástras):– The Supreme Aesthetic Science and the Cult of Devotion, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 19
Gopáyate yah sah gopah.
Gopa here does not mean the cowherd or the caretaker of cows. Gopáyate means to give pleasure – “Gopáyate yah sah gopah.” One whose nature is to give pleasure to Parama Puruśa or Paramátmá is Gopa. When Rágátmiká Bhakti is attained, when one is established in Rágátmika Bhakti from Rágánugá one enters the arena of Mohana Vijiṋána [Supra-aesthetic science of intimacy with the divine]. At that stage one is fascinated, one is charmed, and in that state, art, architecture, all come to an end; one’s verbosity stops, one becomes mute. This is Rágátmiká Bhakti.
So long as human beings are in the sphere of Rágánugá Bhakti they are in domestic life; they create arts, architecture, literature, painting, etc. and get pleasure in them. They are within the scope of aesthetic science (Nandana Vijiṋána). And what happens when they are established in supra-aesthetic science (Ati Nandan Vijiṋána)? All their worldly music is finished. All the Rágas and Rágińiis and the art of dancing, whatever they be, they come to an end. In that condition, there remains only an ecstatic state, (Bhávibhora) The music of that state is called Kiirtana.
Once again as the kundalini rises the ensuing devotion state is described in terms of the history of the exquisitely charming childhood of Lord Krsna.
And when it rises past the ájiṋá cakra, that is known as advaya bháva or Rádhá bháva.– Krśńa Unparalleled, Discourses on Krśńa and the Giita
Once again this involves the transcendence of the last fetter of the Creative Principle (Shakti). As Shrii Sarkar explains,
In the final phase, when he crosses the jurisdiction of the sentient principle, he feels that there is no duality, that is, the duality of him and his Lord, this duality, disappears. He feels there is only one existence – he feels ‘he is’ or he feels ‘the Lord is.’ ‘I am with my Lord’ – ‘I’ and ‘Lord’ – this duality disappears. This is called mahábháva.– You Should Do Accordingly, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 12
Now all higher samádhis are different experiences of this mahábháva. It depends on the style of ideation. But when one attains the stance of mahábháva it is not at all difficult or impossible for the aspirant to enjoy other kinds of samádhi. Not bháva samádhi, but actual samádhi, that is, the highest form of samádhi.
But all those samádhis which are within the boundaries of the sentient principle are qualified samádhis, attributional samádhis. And the mind remains – either in the form of the microcosm or in the form of the Macrocosm, the ectoplasmic stuff is there. But when the aspirant brings his mind to a pointed form, to a pinnacled form, to an apexed form, the mind, the ectoplasmic stuff, disappears due to extreme concentration, and under such circumstances the Supreme Cognitive Faculty remains. This is called “non-qualified, non-attributional samádhi” – nirvikalpa samádhi in Sanskrit.
By dint of japa kriyá, japa [mantra incantation with spiritual ideation], one attains the attributional stage of samádhi, and by dint of one’s Dhyána [ideative absorption in the flow of the Lord] one attains the non-attributional stance of samádhi, which is the goal of each and every individual of this Universe. You should know it and you should do accordingly.
The ecstasy of this state is explained thus:
When the sádhaka feels the closest proximity of Parama Puruśa, even within his embrace, that bháva is called mahábháva… At the time of mahábháva, the sádhaka feels the tactual presence of Parama Puruśa and falls down. At that time, every nerve-cell, every nerve-fibre and every pore of the human body feels the divine touch.– Dasha, Bháva and Mahábháva, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 33
The entire [extent] of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious minds becomes filled with devotion. But devotional expression is much more in the heart, the sentiment being strongly aroused. During floods, the rivers, tanks, pools, etc., all become filled and begin overflowing. Similarly, the mind and heart of the sádhaka are filled to the brim with devotion when flooded by bháva… The sádhaka feels waves of devotion in body, mind and heart, and feels so much proximity to God that he completely forgets his physical existence. At that time, the dháma, or stratum, where he moves mentally is Nitya Vrndávana or Vaekuńt́ha.
Sárśt́hi Devotional Samádhi
The devotional bliss that results in the first stage of Rágátmiká Bhakti is known as Sárśt́hi Samádhi. It is revealed in the following words:
Then by still more sádhaná, when the sleeping divinity crosses this point [between the eyebrows], the controlling point of the pituitary gland, the ájiṋá cakra, the sádhaka’s feelings, or experiences – another sort of sádhaná, still more high – are known as sárśt́hi in Sanskrit. At that point, the feeling is that ‘I am He;’ that is, ‘I’ and ‘He’, these two entities, have become one. ‘I am;’ but ‘He’ and “I” have coincided.– Stages of Samadhi, Discourses on Tantra 1
‘I’ – ‘He’. There is one gap. ‘I am the Supreme Entity, I am the Supreme Entity.’ There is still the connecting link ‘am’. But when ‘I’ and ‘Supreme Entity’ coincide, the gap ‘am’ disappears. ‘I’, ‘Supreme Entity’, and the connecting link ‘am’. When this will coincide with this, the connecting ‘am’ will disappear, because there is no gap. ‘I’ becomes one with ‘He’. Clear? Or ‘He’ becomes one with ‘I’. This stage is called sárśt́hi.
5 Forms of Viveka
With the spiritual progress there arises the power of discriminating conscience. In the first stage one studies and meditates; in the second one analyses and intuits the positive and negative sides of an issue; and in the third stage you arrive at a decision whether a solution is blissful or non-blissful – whether it is helpful to the welfare of society or not. When one completes this whole process of logical reasoning, the outcome is our “awakened conscience”. This state of awakened conscience is what is called “rationalistic mentality. This conscience is rooted in 5 main forms of spiritual and social conscience. Due to the importance of this for the Sadvipra’s ability to understand and liberate society these are quoted in detail below.
Viveka (conscience) is a special kind of deliberation. Deliberation (vicára) is the endeavour to select a particular idea from several ideas. If a particular person is presented to you as a criminal, then there are two opposing ideas before you: the guilt of the man or his innocence. The process whereby one comes to a conclusion after deliberating upon these two opposing ideas is called vicára. When you finally make your decision it is called siddhánta (conclusion).– Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 6
Conscience (viveka) is defined as a special type of vicára (deliberation). The denotation of vicára is broader than that of viveka. A thief, on entering his victim’s house, considers whether it would be better to start stealing in the dining room or the sitting room. This is a kind of deliberation after which the thief reaches his conclusion. This deliberation is vicára and not viveka.
Viveka is that kind of deliberation where there is a conscious endeavour to decide in favour of shreya (benevolence) when confronted with the two opposing ideas of shreya and preya (malevolence). Viveka is of five types, and their collective name is viveka paiṋcaka.
The first type is nityánitya viveka (discrimination between permanent and impermanent). Whenever an intelligent person ponders over something, he or she discerns its two aspects – the permanent and the impermanent. The attempt to accept the permanent aspect after due deliberation is called nityánitya viveka. The permanent is not dependent on the relative factors of time, space and person, whereas the impermanent is the collectivity of the relative factors. The best way to recognize the impermanent is that if one of the three relative factors is changed it will undergo an immediate transformation. Nityánitya viveka enables human beings to realize the necessity of observing dharma. It helps them to understand the fundamental differences between dharma and religion, or doctrine. Religion is something entirely relative whereas dharma is a permanent truth.
The first characteristic of religion is that it gives excessive importance to a single individual. Different regions claim that such-and-such great personality (mahápuruśa) is a son of God, a prophet, or even God himself. However wise these great persons might be, they are nevertheless mortal. Some also claim that the propounders of other religions could not come as close to God as their own propounder did. These words are not only irrational, but contain a concealed attempt to make the impermanent permanent. Dharma is an eternal truth credible and does not depend on any individual, prophet or avatára (direct descent of God) for its substantiation. The goal of dharma is the attainment of Brahma; its base and its movement are Brahma-centered. Brahma is the Absolute Entity independent of time, space and person; He is permanent. Brahma sádhaná, therefore, is the sádhaná for the attainment of the permanent entity.
Through nityánitya viveka, human beings become aware of the fleeting nature of transient objects. They observe that with change in time, place and person, corresponding changes occur in social, political, economic, and all other spheres of life take to which they have to adapt themselves. Those who are reluctant to adapt themselves to the changed circumstances are doomed to destruction. A religion or an “ism” is created in a certain age which itself is a product of the three factors of time, place and person. However, the religion does not recognize the necessity of adjustment with the change in social life. It refuses to realize that the old rules and regulations of the previous age are now only mere historical records, having lost their relevance in the present dynamic society.
To stifle the progress of humanity, the followers of these religions play on human sentiments and other weaknesses. They want to perpetuate the hold of the vested interests by infusing an inferiority complex into the human mind. While preaching their religious ideas, some claim that the social, economic and political systems were direct creations of God and hence destined to be observed in all ages and all times with equal veneration. They pronounce that those who refuse to follow this divine decree will be doomed to burn in the scorching heat of God’s wrath, or dammed to suffer eternal hell-fire. To deny people the scope of verifying the rationality of different scriptures they declare that such-and-such scriptures are infallible and so nobody has the right to question their veracity. If the philosophical texts contradict the scriptures, then their propounders will be declared as atheists.
So it is seen that in the absence of nityánitya viveka the propounders of religion want to thwart the intellectual progress of human society at large. They knowingly refuse to understand that any observation regarding the spatial, temporal and personal factors, from whatever person it might come, is bound to lose its relevance in a transformed situation.
Through nityánitya viveka try to understand what is permanent and what is impermanent. You will certainly realize that no scripture is a revelation of God; that everything in this world created by time, space and individuality is transient phenomenon. For the transient body and the transient mind one cannot deny the necessity of transient mundane objects. Though these things are necessary, they are still transient.
In the introversive phase of the cosmic imagination, intellectual progress of human beings is bound to take place and consequently their control over matter will gradually increase. In the process of further intellectual development, the old ideas and values of the undeveloped life will become outdated. You must have noticed that people with old, outdated ideas very often lament that the present younger generation has no spiritual inclination whatsoever. “Everything is lost,” they lament. Perhaps they do not understand, or maybe knowingly refuse to believe that scientific knowledge is increasing, dramatically. Modern youth is becoming acquainted with newer inventions and discoveries. They are learning about many new things and accepting them from the core of their hearts. As a result, the intellectual backwardness of the past seems to be totally absurd to them. The more scientific knowledge they acquire (in the Pratisaiṋcara movement of the Cosmic cycle they will certainly advance) the more they will try to liberate themselves from the noose of religion and “isms”, and the further they will advance along the path of dharma directly, scientifically and supported by rational judgment. Are the proponents of isms not aware of this fact? They are well aware and that is why they deliberately criticize material science at every opportunity. But this sort of criticism does not impress intellectual people.
It is not enough to equate the so-called religious scriptures with transient philosophy. Rather, these scriptures are [even inferior to the] material science. Although the material sciences are still imperfect from the ideological and practical point of view, they do not stifle the scientific progress of humanity; though they do stifle subtle intellectual and spiritual progress. But the conniving religious theologies seek to shackle peoples’ feet, making them as static as static as birds sitting on a perch in a cage. Too often they are satisfied with the amount of scientific progress they inherit and do not care for further development. To them molasses is sacred whereas sugar made at the mill is unholy because it is a product of science. To them bullock carts and rowing boats are sacred whereas trains and steamers are unholy because they, too, are the products of science. And yet, if these proponents of religion think a little deeper, they will realize that both molasses and sugar are products of science. The age of molasses was an age of undeveloped science. Sugar was a product of a comparatively developed age.
We cannot advise today’s human beings to go back to the age of candles and oil lamps neglecting the electric light. But some religions impart such teachings. Human beings will have to understand the proper spirit of nityánitya viveka and adjust themselves with the prevailing age. They will have to accept without reservation the situation of the particular age they are born into. It would not do to waste one’s time in unnecessarily gloating over the past.
Nityánitya viveka is an inseparable part of the practice of dharma. Dharma lays down clear guidelines for moving ahead in perfect adjustment with the prevalent situation. Dharma is the throbbing vital faculty of living beings. In dharma there is no scope for the accumulated inertness of staticity.
Brahma alone is an Eternal Entity, and the sádhaná of Brahma is the real practice of dharma. The ritualistic observances centred around the spatial and temporal factors cannot help in attaining the Eternal Entity, Parama Brahma. The sustained effort for psychic purification is the only means to become one with Him. People who observe ostentatious rituals after indulging in various antisocial activities may be seen as righteous people from the religious point of view, but if they are tested in the touchstone of dharma their sinful nature will be revealed.
As religions are dependent upon various changing factors, they differ widely from one another. They criticize and mock each other, exaggerating the other’s defects and refusing to acknowledge the other’s positive qualities. As they have no Eternal Entity as their goal, they are influenced more by allegiance to their own sect than by any love for humanity. But real dharma teaches that all living beings of the universe belong to one family; all are bound by the common touch of fraternity. The entire universe is everyone’s homeland, and all the animate and inanimate entities are the various expressions of one and the same Supreme being.
Hararme Pitá Gaorii Mátá svadesha bhuvanatrayam.
[Parama Puruśa is my Father, Parama Prakrti is my Mother, and the entire universe is my home.]
But strangely enough, many religions teach the opposite. They proclaim the exclusive greatness of a particular country, race, mountain or river. But in dharma there is no scope for intolerance, for Dharma is based on the solid foundation of vigour derived from universal love. The goal of religion is a non-integral entity and as such there remains a narrow outlook. The goal of dharma, however, is infinite Brahma. So the pursuit of dharma increasingly expands one’s vision. Sometimes a kind of alliance is noticed between religions but that is entirely an external alliance. The talk of synthesis of religions is totally absurd; it is merely an apparent show of honesty and grandiloquence to hoodwink the common people. Dharma is always singular in number, and never plural. So there is no question of religious synthesis in dharma. Religion is always plural in number – never singular. The synthesis of religions means their annihilation. Where impermanent entities are worshipped as the goal through various ritualistic paraphernalia, there is no scope for synthesis.
Religion is practiced for the fulfilment of mundane aspirations. This is the reason why a class of clergymen emerged centring around the religion. Ultimately the adherents of these religions become mere tools in the hands of vested interests. With the awakening of nityánitya viveka in human minds and the opening of the door of scientific knowledge, it will not be possible to deceive the people in the name of religion or by holding out the lure of happiness in the next world. The vested interests are quite aware of this fact and hence strive to keep the masses lost in the darkness of ignorance. Like parasites, they manoeuvre themselves to misappropriate, by injecting fear and inferiority complexes, a lion’s share of what the ignorant masses earn with their sweat and blood.
Religious exploiters maintain an unholy alliance with the capitalistic exploiters. With hands upraised, a religious preceptor blesses the wealthy merchants for their future prosperity but refuses to see the faces of his poor disciples who fail to provide handsome prańámii (a fee for the priest’s blessing). You will notice that in many religions mythological stories and fables are given more importance than science and rational ideas because they contain ample scope for exploitation of human weaknesses.
But in scientific and rational analyses, there is no scope for exploitation. If you consider yourself a Bráhmin by caste, then you will have to admit indirectly that the Bráhmins had their origin from the mouth of a god named Brahma [Hindu god]. But will your scientific intellect agree to this sort of irrational interpretation? Likewise, if you consider yourself as a warrior (kśatriya) or a merchant (vaeshya) or a labourer (shúdra), then you will have to accept that you were born of Brahma’s hands, thighs or legs. Anthropology, archaeology and human history can not accept these absurd notions. But the adherents of so many religions have to conform, more or less, to some mythological stories, which are totally contrary to science. By developing nityánitya viveka you will be able to clean your mind of the garbage caused by such superstitions with little effort. Nityánitya viveka teaches that the entities which are dependent on time, place and person are all transient. The only entity beyond the scope of time, place and person, is Paramátma, so He is the Eternal one, Nityaḿ Vastrekaḿ Brahma [Eternal, Singular Substance that is Consciousness].
The second type of viveka paiṋcaka is dvaetádvaeta viveka. Through dvaetádvaeta viveka one gains the capacity to analyse whether the eternal entity is one or more than one and come to a conclusion accordingly (dvaeta means dualistic and advaeta means non-dualistic). There cannot remain any svagata [differences within the same unit being], svajátiiya [differences within the same species] and vijátiiya[differences between species] differentiation in the entity which is beyond time, space and person. So it is not possible for the Eternal Entity to be more than one. Various beliefs about the so-called gods – that one god defeated another in battle, but was later harmed enormously by his adversary’s wrathful vengeance; that a certain god spreads or cures a certain disease; and that another god distributes wealth or learning – are contrary to Dvaetádvaeta Viveka. In spiritual practice nityánitya viveka is not enough, Dvaetádvaeta viveka is also necessary. For success in spiritual practice both nityánitya viveka and dvaetádvaeta viveka are indispensable. They enable people to realize that all the objects bound by time, space and individuality are transient while the Entity beyond the periphery of time, space and individuality is permanent; It is one without a second.
The third type of conscience is átmánátma viveka (literally self-non-self conscience). The role of this type of conscience is to analyse whether the Permanent, Non-dualistic Entity is Consciousness (Átmabháva) or non-consciousness (anátmabháva).
Everything in this universe is a metamorphosed form of Consciousness. This metamorphosis takes place due to the influence of static principle. The creation of the world of forms by the static principle continues as a result of the changes in the flow of endless waves. Forms are the expressions of the formless due to the influence of the static Prakrti. So Consciousness, in the process of crudification, is turned into solid matter and takes the form of a perceptible object, relinquishing its original quality of witness-ship. That is, Consciousness (Átmabháva) becomes metamorphosed into non-consciousness (anátmabháva). From mind to solid matter there is the domination of non-consciousness and hence the existence of the three factors: knower, knowledge, and knowable. When spiritual aspirants apply átmánátma viveka they can easily discern these three factors and come to the realization that all the three are changeable and perceptible and hence non-consciousness by nature. And the entity which is above these three factors, which is One without a second, which is the Witnessing Entity, is nothing but Consciousness.
In the mundane world people run after money. What is the nature of this money? Money is important to buy crude physical objects. It is not a conscious entity; it is non-consciousness. Its necessity is felt by the unit mind. Money is knowable and enjoyable, and the pleasure derived from money is enjoyment. But, being non-consciousness, it cannot be the cause of unlimited happiness. Yet people will do almost anything to attain money: bribery, murder, adulteration, black marketing, hypocrisy and so on. Such people are the worshipers of non-consciousness, investing all their vital energy in the pursuit of matter.
Apply átmánátman viveka in all action and all thoughts. Atmánátma viveka has a greater importance in the field of action than dvaetádvaeta viveka. If you utilize it as an indispensable part of your daily life, the true form of the universe will appear before you. Of course, this will never happen if one harbours sinful thoughts while pretending to be righteous. Átmánátman viveka will teach you that the Singular Eternal Entity in the form of Consciousness should be your only object of ideation. You will see the colours of religion fade before your eyes as the pure white effulgence of dharma shines with ever-increasing brilliance.
All the ‘isms’ prevalent in today’s world can easily be included in the category of religions. All the defects of religions exist in the “isms” too. None of the political, social or economic ‘isms’ are free from superstition none are straightforward; all are full of rampant hypocrisy. In all ‘isms’, doctrines and religions, the scriptural authority is supreme. There is no scope for the functioning of the five types of conscience, no place for service, love or devotion. With the help of falsehood and immorality, these ‘isms,’ doctrines and religions slander and make accusations against each other. They make attractive promises to the people while hiding their own internal sins. In fact, false piety is not the path of dharma, leading to welfare, but the opposite of dharma, the negation of welfare. They can be likened to asses wearing lion skins: take away the lion skins and their their true form will be revealed. They have no other purpose than to grab votes and usurp power. The mentality to grab the votes first and then serve the people is not the true spirit of selfless social service; rather, it is the mentality of power craving materialists.
You will have to advance with the true spirit of genuine social service, because the very characteristic of Dharma is to promote the cause of welfare. Dharma and welfare are inseparable. Religion and intolerance have created enormous harm in the world, have caused torrents of blood to stain the rivers red. In the present twentieth century, religions have assumed the form of ‘isms’.
The people of medieval times fought among the clans and communities, and the people of today are fighting over their ‘isms’. Just as religions did in the past, the “isms” are criticizing each other today, betraying their spirit of intolerance as they try to gag each other’s voices. It seems that they have no other goal than carping, criticizing, and slandering each other. They are befooling the ignorant masses by painting rosy pictures of service, peace and happiness. On the other hand they themselves are going far away from the path of selfless service and welfare. To emancipate the masses from the unhealthy influence of ‘isms’ there is no other way than universalism. Only universalism is free from the defects of any narrow ‘isms’ because every thing of this entire universe comes within its vast periphery.
It is only with the help of átmánátma viveka that the human beings can emerge from the mire of the present century and move towards universalism with firm steps. By virtue of átmánátma viveka people can realize that Brahma is the Eternal Singular Entity, pure Consciousness.
The fourth type of conscience is paiṋcakośa viveka (the conscience of paiṋcakośas or five layers of existence). People sometimes mistake the different layers of their existence to be unit consciousness. With the help of paiṋcakośa viveka people can easily discern that the annamaya kośa (physical body), kamamaya kośa (crude mind) manomaya kośa (subtle mind), atimanas, vijiṋánamaya, and hiranyamaya kośas(causal mind) are separate layers, and that Consciousness is above all five kośas. Spiritual sádhaná means ideation on one’s own consciousness beyond these kośas and not ideation on any of the kośas themselves. Through knowledge one must analyse and stop worshipping these kośas. Movement towards consciousness is the real spirit of sádhaná. It is not possible to follow the spiritual cult without properly cultivating paiṋcakośa viveka.
Take for example the case of a major problem in society – the problem of food and clothes. Food and clothes are essential for the preservation of human existence, but they are not the goal of life. They are necessary for the physical body (annamaya kośa), and to some extent for other kośas too, but they are not everything. With them it is not possible to achieve complete mundane fulfilment. To attain supreme benevolence the microcosmic entity consisting of the five kośas is a necessity, and for that there is the need of food and clothes. But the struggle for procuring food and clothes is only a crude stage of sádhaná not the final and absolute one. Those whose entire sádhaná is employed only for procuring food and clothes can hardly be called human beings; they are better described as undeveloped animals.
Mahávákya viveka, the fifth stage of conscience, is the resultant of the other four. The first four types of conscience help a sadhaka to realize that the Eternal Entity, Brahma, is One without a second, Consciousness personified, and the knower of the five kośas. Mahávákya viveka teaches human beings that He is not attainable through mere knowledge. To liberate the consciousness from these five kośas, action and devotion are indispensable. Those who think that He is attainable through the cult of knowledge alone are mistaken. By cultivating the first four types of conscience a person of knowledge may become established in mahávákya viveka. At that stage he or she realizes that the mere pursuit of knowledge cannot bring paramártha (the means of attaining the supreme goal). He or she then understands that the knowledge already acquired is not true knowledge because it leads to vanity.
If ignorant people want to acquire more knowledge they should be encouraged to do so. But if so-called intellectuals (jiṋániis), puffed up with the vanity of knowledge, want to attain more knowledge they should be told to perfect the cult of action and devotion first, thereby smashing their vanity. So let the jiṋánii tell the masses that Brahma is attainable only through self surrender, proper questioning and selfless service.
Pránipátena, pariprashnena, sevayá. Keep serving the people, and as you render service ascribe Brahmahood to those you are serving. Try to make them happy with all the sweetness of your heart. Help others with the true spirit of service, not with the intention of propagating your self or group interests or any “ism” you may adhere to. Think that the Supreme Entity has come to you in the form of needy people to test your sense of duty. This sort of selfless service is karma yoga. Your only motivation for service should be to promote the welfare of suffering people. Those who serve the poor in order to convert them in some way, or those political opportunists who serve them to get their votes with a view to becoming ministers, are not the true benefactors of human society, but the devious traders.
Along with service, spiritual aspirants should also cultivate pariprashnena (proper questioning). When a spiritual aspirant follows the path of the spirituality, so many questions, doubts, and confusions arise in the mind. Pariprashnena is asking questions to the right people who will provide appropriate answers to help one solve any problem one may encounter on the spiritual path. This permits one to advance more rapidly towards the spiritual goal. Through the cultivation of the five stages of conscience all questions are easily answered. One who does not follow the spiritual path, or one who does not develop the five-fold conscience, remains constantly preoccupied with the material objects of enjoyment.
Together with selfless service and proper questioning, prańipátena, or complete surrender, is also essential. Cultivate knowledge and render service unto others to the best of your capacity, but do not think that this will suffice; for your small-I still exists. You must surrender your small I to the Cosmic I: this is the spirit of pranipátena. That is why it is said that the five types of conscience attain their consummation through jiṋána yoga, karma yoga and bhakta yoga.
So, the five types of conscience begin with nityánitya viveka and terminate in devotion.
The development of oneself into a viira or hero enables one to develop universalism in the collective mind. As Shrii Sarkar explains wondrously,
The second stage [of Neo-Humanism] is spiritual essence. This stage is related mainly to the psychic and spiritual strata. If you consider the entire human race, you will see that humanity has a collective mind (not the Cosmic Mind). Now, changes will have to be effected in the mental flow of this collective mind; you will have to create a new wave of thought in it. Because of the manner of human thinking thus far, the pace of human progress has been painfully slow. If it is given a new direction, the speed of progress will be greatly accelerated.
Thus we find that the second stage, that of spiritual essence, will take place in the psychic and spiritual realms; it will occur in the collective psychic mind, in the collective ectoplasm of all humanity. Then the global thought processes of humanity will take an entirely new turn, and that will also strengthen humanity’s collective spirit. Humanity as a whole will become converted into a powerful spiritual force, and in that stage, no pseudo-humanistic strategy will work. All other ástras [weapons] will become completely powerless before this Brahmástra [mightiest spiritual weapon].
This form of spirituality is dependent on the realization of Lord Shiva’s social mission of sama-samája tattva. As Shrii Sarkar explains,
The basis of this proto-spiritualistic mentality is sama-samája tattva [the principle of social equality]. When people understand this principle from the core of their hearts, they spontaneously develop proto-spiritualistic mentality, proto-spiritualistic psychic structure. So this sama-samája tattva is very necessary to fight against socio-sentiment. There is no other way.– Bondages and Solutions, The Liberation of Intellect: Neohumanism
If one avoids this sama-samája tattva and thinks, “I will be a virtuous person, I will be a devotee of the Lord, I will do all sorts of good deeds – but I will not raise my voice against injustice,” I must say that will be foolish. Trying to do good while avoiding this sama-samája tattva is just like placing the cart before the horse. The cart should be placed behind the horse; it is foolish to place it in front…
Once a person is established in this proto-spiritualistic flow, what happens within his or her mind? Devotion as a cult is transformed into devotion as a principle. Only at this stage, when devotion becomes a principle, can one fight against socio-sentiment.
However, many will wonder how can an ordinary human being influence the collective mind. The answer lies in the form of a Hari Parimańd́ala Gośt́i. Hari means the Lord who lovingly steals the devotee’s sins and Parimańd́ala means “environment”. Mańd́ala literally means a “circle”. It also refers to a Tantric symbol that drawn on the ground. When one sits on this and meditates it creates a powerful spiritual charge in a person. Here is referring to such a spiritual charged environment. Gośt́i means a “fellowship, partnership or meeting”. Shrii Sarkar explains it thus:
Whenever the devotees of Hari assemble together they do not like to gossip, but prefer to do Hari kiirtana, and nothing else. Whoever comes within the circumference of that spiritual gathering will certainly feel an irresistible desire to participate in that spiritual dance. The sweet spiritual environment created by the kiirtana is called Hariparimańd́ala in the scriptures. Hari resides at its nucleus.– Hari Pari Mańd́ala, Ánanda Vacanámrtam Part 7
Those in the Hariparimańd́ala are by nature devotional. When they participate in the kiirtana they become even more devotional. Whenever Hariparimańd́ala is created, be it for five minutes, three hours or twenty-four hours, due to the intense collective devotion, the environment becomes so sweet and blissful that it becomes highly congenial for spiritual ideation (dhyána). At that time Hari moves His nucleus there and becomes the focal point of dhyána, the object of ideation.
Kiirtana is singing the Name of the Lord, calling out to Him with Love. Today the primary mantra for Kiirtana is Bábá Náma Kevalam [the Name of the Beloved, of the Supreme Father alone exists – is the sole Reality]. Kiirtana is an 8 syllabled mantra that rapidly raises the Kundalini (spiritual force at the base of the spine). Due to the spiritual vibrations generated by Kiirtana it is often found to remedy all kinds of calamities. It remove mental and emotional afflictions also.
Now the question will surely arise – just exactly what does spiritual singing have to do with social change and social revolution? In the early 16th Century in Navadviipa (Nadia, Bengal) Caitanya led a Kiirtana revolution against an oppressive Muslim religious official. Thousands of people sung and danced and fearlessly confronted the soldiers who became afraid.
In reality, battles are won and revolutions take place because of sentiment. Kiirtana generates tremendous emotional and sentimental power. However, being spiritual it is not polluted by the crudity and violence of mob psychology. This is why Shrii Sarkar says,
You have obtained a human form for this purpose; and your body will be fully utilized when you have reached the closest proximity to the Supreme Consciousness.– Spirituality and This Panoramic Universe, Neohumanism in a Nutshell Part 2
Why? When you reach the closest proximity the Supreme Consciousness, your mental waves will come in contact with His mental waves. Then you will understand what is to be done, and what will be the destiny of humanity in the near and distant future.
Thus the solution to all problems lies in Neohumanism.
We can bring Neohumanism into the objective world from the subjective world when our minds develop love for the Supreme Consciousness. And to arouse this love for Him, human beings must do sádhaná in the subjective world, they must enter into its deeper regions.
I have already said, and I repeat it again, that now the time has come to manifest the glory of kiirtana.
Thus in the viira stage we see the primary responsibility of the Proutist is to unite the people with samaja sentiment based on NeoHumanism and devotional love. The primary reason for the failure of revolutions and movements is the disunity among the people. To create a powerful emotional flow in the collective heart based on universalism is a tremendous but crucial task. Only a heroic personality in the spiritual realm can achieve this. Then alone can a non-prejudice, non-discriminatory samaja movement be created.
However even this is not enough to establish PROUT, one has to freely risk one’s life for one’s ideology. Shrii Sarkar has said, “Live for your Ideology, Die for your ideology.” He has also said that suffering caused by courageous fight against exploitation is in fact our asset – it is to be treasured. This alone will generate courage in other activists and among the general public. Those who have the courage to single-handedly tackle a mob or the police rouse courage in the public and infuse the Proutists with determined zeal such that they feel,
If by following the ideology, the older people become unhappy or condemn me, I will not care. If by following the ideology, I die and die again, let it be. I will not care. I will stick to my ideology.– Ideology, Goal and Devotion, Subháśita Saḿgraha Part 20
It must not be forgotten that this revolutionary fight against injustice is not a burdensome responsibility. Rather, it is the joy of being truly alive – the joy of being a genuine human being of all our noblest dreams. Shrii Sarkar reveals what we all know in our hearts to be so true,
There is joy indeed in launching a struggle against injustice, and that joy is part and parcel of aesthetic science.– Discourse 26, Namámi Krśńasundaram
We are in the 21st Century and we cannot afford to be content with an ordinary revolution. We need a revolution in all aspects of human existence. This is what PROUT calls Nuclear Revolution.
PROUT advocates another type of revolution called “nuclear revolution”. In nuclear revolution, every aspect of collective life – social, economic, political, cultural, psychic and spiritual – is completely transformed. New moral and spiritual values arise in society which provide the impetus for accelerated social progress. The old era is replaced by a new era – one collective psychology is replaced by another. This type of revolution results in all-round development and social progress.– Nuclear Revolution, Prout in a Nutshell Volume 4 Part 21
Nuclear revolution can only be brought about by sadvipras who reside in the nucleus of the social cycle. Through their concerted effort, moral and spiritual power and all-round endeavour, they mobilize the exploited sections of society to overthrow the ruling class – the exploiters. This very struggle for mass upheaval liberates society from exploitation and ushers in a new era of peace and prosperity.
Sadvipras will control the key points at the nucleus of the social structure. In nuclear revolution, there is minimum loss of life and property, and the transformation of society is accomplished within a very short span of time.
There are several requirements for the success of nuclear revolution – the presence of exploitation in any form, revolutionary organization, positive philosophy, revolutionary cadres, infallible leadership and revolutionary strategy. All these requirements are necessary…
PROUT is based on a universal sentiment which is applicable for the whole cosmological order, and it is systematically moving towards the implementation of this sentiment. Who will make the local people conscious of their local sentiments keeping universalism in mind? Only PROUT can do this…
Communists have no such idea. Only PROUT can tackle all local sentiments and lead everyone in the world to universalism by gradual stages.
Revolutionaries must be well-versed in arousing the sentiments of the people and channelizing the sentimental legacy of the society towards universalism. During the preparation for revolution, unstinting effort must go into arousing the sentimental legacy of the people, because sentiments inspire popular support for the cause of revolution, and infuse the revolutionary workers with tremendous power and conviction.
According to PROUT, there are two types of sentiments – positive sentiments and negative sentiments. Positive sentiments are synthetic in nature. They unite society and elevate humanity, enhance collective interests and encourage progressive development. Negative sentiments are narrow in scope and divide society.
Some important positive sentiments include anti-exploitation sentiment, revolutionary sentiment, moral sentiment, cultural sentiment, universal sentiment and spiritual sentiment. Some negative sentiments include communalism, patriotism, nationalism, provincialism, lingualism and racism.
To understand further the spiritual dimension of nuclear revolution we can read the awe-inspiring words of Shrii Sarkar:
In essence, revolution means controlling all the three nuclei of the universe – physical, psychic and spiritual.– Talks on PROUT, Prout in a Nutshell Volume 3 Part 15
To accomplish such an awesome task requires more than heroism – it requires divine energy. And the practices of Viira Sadhana described above all serve to transform a hero or viira into a divine entity or deva.
Let us study what is the mission of such divine personalities. For the purpose of achieving enlightenment or a divine state of existence is not to enjoy bliss but to create a spiritual upsurge and above all rouse the moralists to fight the exploiters. Let us meditate on these words of Shrii Sarkar:
Your duty will be to unite the moralists. Let there be two camps. Let there be an open fight. The moralists have been scattered for so long that they could not fight. The united strength of five moralists is much more than the united strength of a hundred immoralists because there is an unholy alliance amongst the latter. Meditation behind closed doors will not do. Gather strength by intuitional practices and unite yourselves against the immoralists.– Your Mission, Prout in a Nutshell Part 18
So your duty is three-fold. Your first duty is to observe morality and to do intuitional practices. Without this you cannot have mental determination. Your next duty is to unite the moralists of the world, otherwise Dharma will not endure. The exploited mass who do not observe Yama and Niyama – the cardinal moral principles – cannot fight against their own sense of frustration. It is therefore necessary to unite the moralists. This will be your real Dharma. You will become great by doing this, because ideation of the Great makes a person great. At the third stage, you will have to mercilessly fight against sin wherever it has taken root in this world.
You will have to propagate this mission from door to door. No political party or so-called religious institution can bring salvation. Praising God in concerts with drums and cymbals will not bring salvation either, because this will not bring the sinner to submission. To curb the onslaughts of the immoralists today, arms are more necessary than drums and cymbals.
It is not possible to fight against sin as long as there is some weakness in your mind. In this fight, your goal is not the sin or the sinner, your goal is the Supreme Consciousness. Anything that comes in the way of this has to be removed mercilessly. When clouds collect around the pole-star and cover it, your duty will be to remove the clouds and follow the pole-star without caring to see where the clouds have gone. If you always think of your enemy, your mind will adopt the bad qualities of your object of ideation, but if the Supreme Being is your goal, your mind will be metamorphosed into the Supreme Being itself.
Remember – you have to serve humanity. You have to dedicate yourself to the cause of humanity as a whole. Your life is valuable; your time is all the more valuable. You should not waste a single moment. The task is glorious. The task is novel. Lead the life of a warrior and constantly fight against evils. You will be victorious. So march ahead!