Monday, September 3, 2007

Tract on Prana, Nada and Kundalini

Currents of Prana are the expression of the vibration of consciousness.

The extreme grossness that the currents assume is called susi or cavity and serves as a channel that connects different parts of the body together.

The physical gets interlinked in itself as well as with the vital on account of the breath serving as an agent of the vital.

The vital derives its power of connectivity from consciousness which is an undivided continuum of being and becoming.

The reality in all its formations is interlinked by a contiguous chain whose contiguity rests on the immutable law of the universal force of consciousness constituting the basis of the unity of all things.

Discontinuity in the experience of the unity of consciousness is the result of disruption in the flow of this force by factors, mental, vital and physical.

These turbulences disturb the unity of consciousness by splitting it up into disparate elements.

This marks a transition from continuum to process.

The dynamics of consciousness becomes manifest in the unending cycle of creation and destruction stretching from the infinite to the infinitesimal.

The process of differentiation among organic beings starts with the emergence of the vital breath from Consciousness.

In its descent from the higher regions, consciousness gives life to the mental, sensation and motor reaction to the body through the nadis which serve as a channels through which it takes the form of nada, the vitalising resonance of awareness.

The body of the individual thus becomes the temple of Consciousness along with head as the treasure-chest of it.

Nadis are the channels of consciousness serving as the base of the latter in its operation on the mental, vital and physical planes.

These are principally ten in number and radiate in a circle from the navel.

From the navel these travel to all parts of the body branching out into 72,000 and permeating the body and ensuring free circulation of the vital breath to every part of the organism.

Each one of the branches is as subtle as a part of hair divided lengthwise into a thousand.

These have a fluid of several colours flowing through them.

The fluid is the bearer of sensations, motor reactions as well as of memories.

Of the ten primary channels, three are the most important for the practice of Yoga.

Out of these three, the most important is susumna which extends from the brahmarandhra or cavity of Brahman to the genital region like the central rib of a leaf.

It is through this nadi that the vital-force of consciousness moves down throughout the body, and through it rises up again as the prana kundalini.

The purpose of its upward movement is to get restored to its original status in consciousness and reunite the microcosm with the macrocosm.

Susumna nadi is also known as cinnadi and jnanasutra, the string of consciousness.

To the left and the right of susumna run ida and pingala nadis for descent and ascent of breath and sustenance of life.

When the vital breath travels through the susumna on the level of consciousness, the yogin enters into the cidakasa resulting in the expansion of his awareness.

By fixing his attention on the void between the breaths, the yogin experiences expansion of consciousness in the midst of the two.

The process of descent gets then reversed as the bodily consciousness merges into thought, thought into mind and mind into the Heart of consciousness.

The irregularity in the movement of the breath is thus eliminated.

Then the yogin breathes freely with mindfulness and experiences inner peace, citta visranti.

Penetrating deeper into the primeval source of energy permeating the breath, the kundalini rises upward and the two breaths combined are sucked into the susumna.

On the completion of this process, the yogin is taken effortlessly to the highest level of consciousness, along the passage of breath having got transformed into the dynamics of the space-time continuum.

The triad of nadis gets unified and the yogin becomes one with the power of consciousness, the source of the flow of breath.

The vital breath appears as prana and apana with the function of exhalation and inhalation. Since it imparts life, it is known as prana. It is the first manifestation of consciousness.

The main characteristic of prana is to rise upward and give rise to sound.

Functionally diversified, it is known by different names such as prana, apana, samana, udana, vyana.

Fixing of consciousness on different pranas results in the experience of ananda or delight of various kinds.

When mind rests only on the subject of experience, then the ananda experienced is known as nijananda.

The delight experienced by contemplation over the absence of all objects of experience is known as nirananda.

Contemplation jointly on prana and apana leads to the delight of parananda.

When one’s attention rests on samana, there is the delight of brahmananda.

Having dissolved all knowledge and objects of knowledge in his consciousness, the yogin, resting in the udana, experiences the delight of mahananda.

When the yogin’s consciousness rests on the vyana, the delight experienced is known as cidananda.

After experiencing these kinds of delight or ananda, the yogin realises his prana-sakti in its fullness, and has the experience of jagadananda which is integral.

It flashes all around as sheer consciousness, manifesting itself as knower, means of knowledge, and object of knowledge.

The yogin’s consciousness expands in the experience of the nectar of bliss of the absolute sovereignty in which there is no need of meditation or yoga.

This exercise on prana is known as pranasandhana or pranayoga and is quite different from pranayama, if the latter is taken in its literal sense of an exercise of breath control.

Prana in its subtle form is known as nada or varna. It is neither produced nor can it be stopped by anyone.

It is called varna since all the letters of the alphabet lie latent in it. From this imperceptible anahata nada originate all the letters of the alphabet.

This nada is experienced through intensive awareness.

Through intensive awareness the yogin becomes mindful of the subtle sound emanating from the movement of his breath.

Through the unification of the sound sa produced by exhalation and ha produced by inhalation in the same continuation, there is born spontaneously the mantra hamsa, and is known as ajapa-japa.

Bindu represents the individual consciousness while apana or incoming breath stands for aditi or dynamics or throb or heart of consciousness. Prana, the outgoing breath, likewise represents daksa or integral consciousness. In Tantras, they represent jiva, Sakti and Siva respectively.

This mantra is repeated in every round of expiration and inspiration. By awareness of this process, prana and apana become equipoised.

Then arises kundalini which lies at the base of the spine. By the rise of kundalini a number of pleasant sounds are heard.

The yogin, however, is advised not to get indulged in the hearing of these sounds. Instead of that, he is expected to focus his attention on the anahata nada itself.

Through concentration on this nada, his limited consciousness gets dissolved and he has the experience of pure consciousness, visuddha caitanya.

The awakened kundalini pierces the cakras, namely, the muladhara, svadhisthana, manipura, anahata, visuddha and ajna successively and enters finally into the sahasrara and makes the yogin experience the ambrosia of immortality.

Nadis and cakras are not anything gross physical. These are extensions of prana and form part of the pranamaya kosa.

Cakras are seats of the vital energy. They are called cakras because they are concentric. They serve as centres of distribution of prana in the pranamaya kosa and through it in the physical body.

Nada is subtle at the stage of madhyama and gets further subtilised to the extent of inaudibility after reaching the stage of pasyanti.

Pasyanti is called so because here nada gets transformed into jyoti, light, and is revealed as such to the inner eye of the yogin.

Visibility of the Light has the pre-requisite of cessation of all the vikalpas of mind resulting in one’s restoration to one’s true nature.

Hamsa is the manifestation of nada serving as the basis of life while pranava stands for its unstruck form known as anahata.

Intensive awareness of pranava results in the audition of nine nadas manifesting in succession as bindu, ardha candra, rodhini, nada, nadanta, sakti, vyapini, samana and unmana.

While samana represents the stage of realisation of the essential self, unmana stands for the access to consciousness in its omnipresence.

Reaching this stage of culmination, yoga becomes sahaja, spontaneous.

Yoni mudra is the technique of access to the anahata nada. It lies in closing the ears with the thumbs and exercising the will power for hearing the sound emanating from the depth of consciousness known technically as heart.

According to Maitrayani Upanisad, this sound bears resemblance to that of river, ball, tin-pot, wheel, croaking of frogs, rain and to one heard in a closed space.

The anahata is also called Sabda Brahman and serves as the basis of realisation of the Reality in Its highest ontological sense known as Para Brahman.

Here all the experiences of the yogin merge into the highest form of bliss like juices sucked from various sources and deposited in the comb by the honeybee resulting in its transformation into the honey.

Nada sadhana has been called nadanusandhana and surati sabda yoga by Sankara and Kabir respectively and also is the secret behind of the Zen Koan -- the sound of one hand clapping.

Thus, prana, nada and kundalini are interrelated with one another.

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