Bhagavad Gita sings:
“As some offer their exhalation to inhalation, others offer their inhaled breath to the exhaled breath, while yet others practise serenity of breath by regulating their incoming and outgoing breath.”
Meditators on the Self, sacrifice vital air to apan and similarly apan to pran. Going even higher than this, other yogi restrain all life-winds and take refuge in the regulation of breath (pranayam). That which Sri Krishn calls pran-apan, Mahatma Buddh has named anapan. This is what he has also described as shwas-prashwas (inhaling and exhaling).
Pran is the breath that is inhaled, whereas apan is the breath which moves out. Sages have found by experience that along with breath we also imbibe desires from surrounding environment and, similarly, transmit waves of inner pious as well as impious thoughts with our exhalations.
Non-assimilation of any desire from an external source is the offering of pran as oblation, whereas suppression of all inner desires is the sacrifice of apan, so that there is generation of neither internal desire nor grief because of thoughts of the external world. So when both pran and apan are properly balanced, breath is regulated. This is pranayam, the serenity of breath. This is the state in which the mind is supreme, for restraint of breath is the same as restraint of mind.
Every accomplished sage has taken up this subject and there is mention of it in the Ved (Rig, 1.164.45 and Atharv, 9.10.27).
This is what the revered Gurudeo also uses to say. According to him, the one and only name of god is recited at four levels: baikhari, madhyama, pashyanti, and para.
Baikhari is that which is manifest and audible. The name is pronounced in such a way that we as well as other men sitting around us may hear it.
Madhyama is muttering the name at a medium pitch, so that the worshiper alone, but not even the man sitting beside, may hear it. This articulation is made within the throat. There is thus the gradual generation of an unbroken stream of harmony.
When worship is yet more refined, the stage is reached when the worshiper develops the capacity to visualize the name. After this the name is not recited, because it has now become an integral part of the life-breath. The mind stands as an onlooker and just views what the breath shapes.
When does it come in? And when does it go out? And what does it say?
Sages of perception tell us that it articulates nothing except the name. Now the worshiper does not even recite the name; he just listens to the melody of the name arising from his breath. He just watches his breath and that is why this stage of breath-control is called pashyanti.
At the stage of pashyanti, the mind is set up as a witness-an onlooker. But even this is not needed when there is yet further refinement.
If the desired name is just imprinted on memory, its melody will be heard spontaneously. There is no need of recitation now, for the name rings in the mind by itself. The worshiper does not recite any longer and neither does he have to compel the mind to hear the name, and yet the recitation goes on. This is the stage of ajapa, of the unrecited.
It will be a mistake to think, however, that this stage is reached without commencing the process of recitation. If it has not been initiated; there will be nothing like ajapa. Ajapa means that recitation which does not desert us even though we do not recite. If only memory of the name is firmly setup in the mind, recitation begins to flow through it like a perennial stream.
This spontaneous recitation is named ajapa and this is the recitation by transcendental articulation (parvani). It takes one to God who is the essence beyond nature. There is no variation in speech after this, for after providing a view of God it is dissolved in him. This is why it is called para.
In the quoted verse,Sri Krishn has only told Arjun to watch his breath, whereas later he himself has stressed the importance of intoning OM.
Gautam Buddh too has dwelt upon inhalations and exhalations in Anapan Sad. After all, what does the Yogeshwar really intend to say?
In truth, beginning with baikhari, then progressing on to madhyama, and going even further than this, at the stage of pashyanti, one attains control over breath. At this stage recitation is integrated with breath. And what is there to recite now when the worshiper has just to watch his breath?
It is for this reason that Sri Krishn speaks only of pran-apan rather than telling Arjun to “recite the name.” This is so because there is no need to tell him this. If he says it, the worshiper will go astray and begin to grope about in the dark alleys of nether levels.
Mahatma Buddh, my noble Godlike teacher, and all those who have trodden this path say the same thing. Baikhari and madhyama are the portals by which we enter into the sphere of recitation. It is pashyanti that provides access into the name. The name begins to flow in an unbroken stream in para, and the internal, spontaneous, intoning of the name never abandons the worshiper after this.
The mind is linked with breath. That is the state of victory of the mind when the eye is set on the breath, when the name is incorporated into breath, and no desire of the external world can enter into the worshiper. With this the final outcome of yagya emerges.
Sri Krishna adds further :
“Yet others who subsist on strictly regulated breath and offer their breath to breath, and life to life, are all knowers of yagya, and the sins of all who have known yagya are destroyed.”
They who partake of restricted food offer as oblation their breath to breath-life to life. My noble teacher, the revered Gurudeo, uses to say that the food, posture of sitting, and sleep of a yogi should be steady. Regulation of food and pleasure is a necessity.
Many yogi who observe such discipline renounce their breath to breath, concentrating on inhalations and paying no heed to exhalations. With each incoming breath they hear OM. Thus men whose sins have been destroyed by yagya are men of true knowledge.
Sri Krishna says:
“O the best of Kuru, the yogi who have tasted the nectar flowing from yagya attain to the eternal supreme God, but how can the next life of men bereft of yagya be happy when even their life in this world is miserable?”
What yagya generates-what results from it, is nectar the substance of immortality? A direct experience of this is wisdom.The one who feeds on it becomes one with the eternal God.
So yagya is something which with its completion unites the worshiper with God. According to Sri Krishn, how can the next world bring happiness to men bereft of yagya when even the mortal, human birth is beyond their reach?
It is their inevitable lot to be born in lower forms and nothing better than them. So the observance of yagya is a necessity.
By practicing this in light of any enlightened sage,mind and senses get restrained totally.There is no other option or line of action as I feel personally.
[Revered Adgadanandji Gurudev]
Key guidance by most revered Gurudev
to be learnt by heart
while traversing upon
“Path of Self Realization”