Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Surya and Chandra Nadis: Referred by Kamleshji, Elaborated by Dr. Kannan

From: Dr. K.S. Balasubramanian (Kannan), Preceptor of Sahaj Marg Meditation

Recently the bulletin for Sahaj Marg practitioners highlighted some thoughts of Shri. Kamlesh D. Patel, President, Shri Ram Chandra Mission, given when he was in Monroe Ashram, USA. He spoke about the Chandra (Moon) and Surya (Sun) Nadis and their functions in human activities. For those who are not familiar with these terms, here is a very brief introduction.

Nadi (pronounced as Naadi) literally means tubular vessel, especially that which carries or conveys the Prana (life energy) throughout the body. What we breathe needs to go to all parts of the body, otherwise those parts which do not receive this Prana would be affected.  

The Chandogya Upanishad gives an example of a tree with many parts like stem, branches, leaves etc.  If one part is cut off from the main stream it would become dry. Similarly in our body these Nadis are spread horizontally and vertically from top to toe. The Mahanarayana Upanishad also says the same. According to Yoga Yajnavalkya, an ancient text on Yoga, the Nadis are spread in the body like the nerves in the leaves of the Peepal tree.

There are different views regarding the number of Nadis in the human body. The Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and Chandogya Upanishad mention about 101, the Prasna Upanishad says there are more than 720 million Nadis.  Even in texts on Hatha Yoga, there is no unanimity in this regard. Siva Samhita says that there are 350,000 Nadis, whereas many other texts opine that there are 72,000 Nadis.  

But the popular view is that among them 10 or 14 are important, and among these, three are the most important. They are Ida (Chandra or Moon), Pingala (Surya or Sun) and Sushumna Nadis. The Sushumna Nadi is the most important of all and is considered to be the path of Brahman.

Regarding the positions of these Nadis, there are three different opinions
i) Mulaadhaara (Basic Plexus)
ii) the Kanda (literally means bulb like structure which is above the centre of the body)
iii) the Heart.

Ida is on the left side and the Pingala is on the right side. That is, when we are breathing through the left nostril, it is the Moon which is flowing and when we are breathing through the right nostril, it is the Sun which is flowing. If the air is flowing is through both the nostrils, which is rare and happens when the mind is calm or during meditation, it means the Sushumna is flowing.

The Svarodaya branch of Yoga describes the various functions of these Nadis, and what should one do and should not do when the Moon or Sun Nadi or the Sushumna is flowing. For example:
i) When the air is flowing through the Sun (Pingala or right nostril), one should do hard work or study of scriptures etc.
ii) All the auspicious acts can be done when the Moon (Ida or left nostril) is flowing.
iii) When Sushumna is flowing one should engage in meditation etc.

One can also change the flow of Prana from one side to the other. It is claimed that many diseases can be cured using this science. Also prognostication can be done with the knowledge in this science.

It is interesting to note that Rev. Master Kamleshji has talked about the importance of this aspect of Yoga. There are texts like Siva Svarodaya, Pavana Vijaya, Svara Chintamani etc. on this branch of Yoga.

It requires the combination of modern science, Yoga specialists and practitioners of Yoga who are adept in meditation to probe into this subject.

I may add that I am presently engaged in translation and a critical study of Siva Svarodaya.

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Vedic Roots of Sahaj Marg Spirituality: Katha Upanishad: Dr K.S. Balasubramanian (Kannan), Chennai, India

Having blessed the young Nachiketas with an additional boon that the particular sacrifice would be known henceforth as ‘Naachiketas sacrifice’, Yama, the lord of death, proceeded to extol the greatness of this sacrifice. He said:
17. Trinaachiketas tribhiretya sandhim trikarmakrit tarati janmamrityoo |
Brahmajajnam devam eedyam viditvaa nicaaya imam shaantim atyantam eti ||
“He who has performed this Naachiketas sacrifice three times, who has been properly united (for instruction) with the three (mother, father and the guru), and has performed three duties (study of the scriptures, viz. Vedas; performance of sacrifices; and giving alms), overcomes birth and death. And having learnt and realised the respectable and all-knowing resplendent one (Agni), who is born of Brahman, he attains the supreme peace.”
In the above passage Yama glorifies this sacrifice which he has named after Nachiketas. Here, the term ‘trinachiketas’ means ‘one who has performed this sacrifice three times’ and also ‘one who has heard of this, learnt this and also performed this’. This is true in the case of spiritual practice also. One hears about a particular system of spiritual practice, then reads or learns about it, but this is not enough. Revered Babuji Maharaj rightly says, “Read and enjoy, do and feel.” Here the lord of death also says that one should perform this. In spirituality, practice, or abhyasa, is important. Only then one can experience the states described in the sacred texts. Revered Babuji Maharaj says that one should not merely read or learn about realisation, but should experience the same.
By the term ‘tribhiretya sandhim’ it is said that one should learn the truth from one’s mother, father and guru.In the Vedas, it is said that the mother comes first and then the father, who after training his son for some years, takes him to a proper guru. The Taittiriya Upanishad says, “maatru-devo bhava, pitru-devo bhava, aachaarya-devo bhava...” which means “Respect your mother as God, father as God and your master as God....” Our Master, Chariji Maharaj has also talked about this many times. In fact revered Babuji has said that one should consider the master as the mother, and this relationship would be ideal.
In the above passage, the term ‘trikarmakrit’ means ‘after performing the three actions, i.e. study of the Vedas (or sacred scriptures), performance of sacrifices and giving alms’. In spirituality also, this holds good. One first comes to know of the practice from books; then he has to practise it to experience the same. Otherwise it would be only the experience of the masters that we read from the books, and we would not be gaining much by reading alone. The third aspect is also very important. It says one should distribute or give away what he has obtained to others. Revered Master, quoting revered Babuji Maharaj said, “Spirituality is a charitable work. The Master goes on giving, whether you deserve this or not.” Revered Chariji also added that spirituality, knowledge, love, etc. are to be shared, given to others. We call it a river only when the water flows in it. If the water stagnates in one place, it becomes a pond or a lake, and during summer the water gets dried up and it would give only a stinking smell. So Yama reminds Nachiketas of the three important functions one should perform.
Yama further said that those who realised the divine nature of the sacred fire would attain supreme peace. This should not be taken to mean that it is the state of liberation or realisation of Brahman, though it may be an exalted state.
Yama further said:
18. Trinaaciketas trayam etad viditvaa ya evam vidvaams cinute naachiketam |
Sa mrityu paashaan puratah pranodya shokaatigo modate svargaloke ||
“The wise one who has performed Naachiketas sacrifice three times, realising the three (what kind of bricks are required for the sacrifice, how many bricks, and also how the fire of sacrifice has to be kindled), having destroyed the chains of death before one dies, transcends sorrow and enjoys heaven.”
In the above Upanishadic passage, the word ‘paasha’ means that which binds. There are many chains which bind an individual soul to this world, like desire, attachment, greed, ignorance, prejudice and so on. So long as these are there in the human being, they bind him to this world and he is born here again and again. In the traditional methods it is recommended that one should cut them forcefully by controlling one’s mind. Sahaj Marg is a gentle system. It advocates only regulation of the mind through meditation and removing the unwanted tendencies by ‘cleaning’.
It is also said that one transcends sorrow by performing this sacrifice and enjoys heaven. The sorrow generally represents the worldly life, where one has to undergo all sorts of sufferings according to one’s samskaras. Therefore it is said that birth itself presupposes sorrow. But revered Chariji looks at birth in a different way also. He says that it is not to be condemned as such, since it gives another opportunity for the individual to transform and evolve and reach his destination, which is to merge with Ultimate Reality. He says that if a student does not qualify himself for higher class and is detained in the same class, it is not mere punishment, but it is because he would not be able to understand the lessons of a higher class. He also cautions that one should make use of the best opportunity that has been bestowed upon him when he is born as a human being.
Here it is also to be noted that Yama said that one could enjoy heaven. The Upanishads and the Bhagavad Gita say that this is not an end, as one has to be born in this mortal world again, after the results of his meritorious deeds are exhausted in heaven. So it is only a temporary relaxation and not a permanent solution from breaking the chains which cause rebirth.
Yama addressed Nachiketas thus:
19. Esha te agnir nachiketah svargyo yam vrineethaah dviteeyena varane |
Etam agnim tavaiva pravakshyanti janaasah triteeyam varam nachiketo vrineeshva ||
“O Nachiketas, this is your fire, which leads one to the heaven, which you have chosen as the second boon. People shall call this fire (sacrifice) by your name only. Now, O Nachiketas, choose your third boon.”
It may be remembered that Yama, the lord of death, had offered the young Nachiketas three boons, and with the above, the first two boons have been granted by Yama. The additional boon was that this particular fire sacrifice, which would lead the performer to heaven, would henceforth be called Naachiketas fire sacrifice.
For the third boon, Nachiketas asked for the higher knowledge, and Yama’s long reply, in the form of instruction about the nature of the Self, forms the main theme of this Upanishad, for which it is praised by all great teachers of yore and is also liked by revered Master.