Lights on Yoga Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Thirumanthiram, Patanjali's Yoga Sutra, Hatha yoga pradeepika, Gheranda Samhita, Siva Samhita and other important hatha yoga, raja yoga, tantra yoga and kundalini yoga treatises focusing Yoga history, Yoga definitions and Yoga poses.
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Yoga Chudamani Upanishad
Yoga for beginners
Chudamani is a gem on the crown. The name, Yoga Chudamani Upanishad, suggests the meaning that it is the top-most scripture on yoga. It is the forty-sixth of one hundred and eight Upanishads of Muktika-Upanishad order in which it was described by Lord Sri Rama to Lord Sri Hanuman. It is found attached to the Sama Veda and contains 121 verses, expounding mainly the Sadanga Yoga, the yoga of six limbs.
I, the Author of the Upanishad says, hereby proclaim the profound secret of Yoga Chudamani sought with esteem by the adepts of yoga, which bestows success in the attainment of liberation.
Asana (posture), Pranayama (Balancing the Prana), Pratyahara (Cessation of Sense Organs), Dharana (fixing the mind on a single object), Dhyana (Meditation) and Samadhi (mind-less meditation) are the six limbs of yoga. By importance, Siddhasana is the first one and Padmasana is the second.
How Success will come unto him who does not know the six Chakras, sixteen Adharas, three goals and five Bhutas in his body?
Muladhara has a lotus of four petals. Svadhisthana has six petals. In Manipura (navel), there are ten petals. Anahata (Heart chakra) has twelve petals. Visuddhi has eighteen petals. Ajna chakra has two petals and Sahasrara has a thousand petals.
Muladhara is the first chakra and Svadhisthana is the second chakra. Yoni sthana (place of genitals) known as Kamarupa is found in between them. In the seat of the anus is Kamakya that has four petals. In the middle of Kamakya is Kundalini worshipped by the yogis. In the middle of that stands the great Linga facing backwards. There is an image looks like a gem in the region of the navel and seen only by the adepts. A triangle is seen below the genitals shining like melted gold in front of the fire and burning like a splash of lightning. In Samadhi, its radiance is spreading outwards in the direction of the universe. In this yoga, no incoming or outgoing of Prana is needed.
The word Sva (Self) refers to Prana and Sthana is the place. Hence Svadhisthana is the place of Prana. It can also be understood as the place of Atman. The place of genitals is Svadhisthana. If Svadhisthana is pierced in the course of Susumna as a gem by a thread, there comes the chakra in the navel known as Manipura. Until the Jiva pierces the chakra of twelve petals (Anahata) irrespective of the sins and the religious merits, Jiva could not come out of delusion.
Seventy-two thousand Nadis emanates from the place known as Kanda that resembles a bird’s egg found above the genitals and below the navel. Of them, seventy-two Nadis are vital nadis carrying Prana. Ten of them are the most important: Susumna, Ida, Pingala, Gandhari, Hasti-jihva, Pusa, Yajasvini, Alambusa, Kuhu and Sankhini. The yogi should have this knowledge of Nadis.
Susumna stands in the middle. Ida and Pingala stand in the left and the right side of Susumna respectively. Gandhari stands in the left eye, Hasti-jihva in the right eye, Pusa in the right ear, Yajasvini in the left ear, Alambusa in the mouth, Kuhu in the genitals and Sankhini in the anus. Each Nadi is responsible for the functioning of one opening.
Ida, Pingala and Susumna always carry Prana. The presiding deities of these Nadis are Soma (Moon), Surya (Sun) and Agni (Fire) respectively. The Vayus are ten-fold: Prana, Apana, Samana, Vyana, Udana, Naga, Kurma, Krkara, Devadatta, and Dhananjaya. Prana stands in the heart, Apana in the anus, Samana in the navel, Udana in the throat, Vyana in the entire body. These five Vayus are the principal Vayus. Naga performs the functioning of belching, Kurma the opening of eyes, Krkara the sneezing, Devadatta the yawning and Dhananjaya causes the swelling or inflammation. Dhananjaya does not leave the body even after death. These Vayus circulate through Nadis.
As a ball repeatedly thrown down by the forearm comes up and down, so is Jiva thrown by Prana and Apana. Jiva is like a thief bound by a cord. Jiva goes upwards and downwards and could not escape the bondage. Jiva is under the control of Prana and Apana. The Adept knows this well.
Jiva always chants the mantra Hamwhile expiration and Sa while inspiration. Jiva chants this mantra as “Hamsa, Hamsa”. During the course of a day, this mantra is chanted 21,600 times. This mantra is known as Ajapa Gayatri and it bestows liberation to the yogis. By mere Samkalpa (resolve) of chanting this mantra alone will release the aspirant from all the sins. There is no equivalent Vidya like this. No equivalent Japa or knowledge like this. There has not been and nor shall there be. This Vidya has its origin in Kundalini and sustains Jiva from the bondage of Prana and Apana. Hence it is called Prana Vidya. It is a great knowledge learned by the learners of Vedas.
How to awaken kundalini?
Kundalini Sakthi sleeps with her face closing the door that leads to Brahman. By waking her by conjoint actions of Prana, Mind and Agni (Fire), she moves up like a needle through Susumna. The yogi should meditate with the attitude “I am Brahman not affected by gross, casual and mental bodies”, assuming the Padmasana posture, placing two palms together in the line of heart, pressing the chin against the chest (by assuming Jalandhar Bandha) and bringing up the Apana Vayu (by assuming Mula Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha). He should bring up the Apana stage by stage to mingle with Prana. Consistently doing like this, the yogi attains Paramatman.
He should massage the limbs of the body with the perspiration produced during this yoga. He should resort to a moderate diet predominantly on milk avoiding salt and astringent. He should maintain celibacy. One year of such practice will make him an adept in yoga. Moderate diet is the eating only for the satisfaction of Lord Siva, taking only the foods of oil and sweet and leaving off a quarter of the quantity required. Kundalini is found below the knot of navel in cases of ignorant persons and is found above the knot for yogis who are on the path of liberation.
Nabhi Mudra otherwise known as Kechari Mudra is the great mudra. He who knows Mulabandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha, deserves to obtain liberation.
Mulabandha is the performed by pressing the genitals by heels and raising the Apana upwards. (Note: Latter scriptures gives a modified version different from this. Instead of pressing the genitals, the perineum is pressed). By doing Mulabandha an old man may become younger. By the union of Apana and Prana, urine and faeces will become smaller in quantity.
Uddiyana Bandha makes the great bird (Apana) climb high without effort. It is known as the lion of the elephant of death. The bandha is performed by pressing the belly below the navel.
Jalandhara Bandha is stopping the downward flow of nectar (water of ether) having its origin in the head (by pressing the chin against the chest). By performing Jalandhara Bandha, many ailments of the throat are cured. By doing this, not only the flowing down of nectar into Agni (Manipura Chakra) is stopped, the forward movement of prana is also checked.
Kechari Mudra is performed by turning back tongue into the hollow place beyond the palate and fixing the eyes on the centre of brows. This mudra makes the yogi immune from death, diseases, sleep, hunger, thirst and collapsing fits. He is neither afflicted by any disease not affected by the performance of any rituals. He could not be tormented in any manner. Because of these reasons only, the mind and tongue move into the ether. Because of these reasons only, Kechari Mudra is adored by great yogis. The parts of the body from head to foot are established in the Nadis which have their origin in bindu (Sperm). He who has performed Kechari Mudra by planting the tongue in the orifice above the Uvula will not waste his bindu (seminal fluid), even when he is embraced by the most beautiful woman. There is no fear of death as long as he does not waste his bindu. There is no wastage of bindu as long as Kechari Mudra is assumed.
Yoni Mudra is the constriction of genitals to restrain the bindu (by forcing it upwards) which has flashed into the point of entering the vaginal cavity, at the sight of a woman. The bindu is of two types. The pale white is called as Sukla and the vermillion red is called as Maha-rajas. Sukla is at the lunar region found the right to the middle of eye-brows and Rajas is at the solar region found left to the middle of the eyebrows. The mingling of the two is possible only for yogis. Sukla is Brahman and Rajas is Sakthi. Sukla is the moon and Rajas the is Sun. The highest state is attained only by the union of the two. By the power of Kundalini and Prana, the Rajas makes union with Sukla. The accomplished yogi knows how to make the union of Sukla along with Moon and Rajas along with Sun.
Maha Mudra is the destroyer of all diseases. It is assumed by pressing the genitals with the left foot, stretching the right leg forward and holding it with both hands, retaining the breath as long as possible by placing the chin on the chest after inhalation and exhaling slowly. After practising this with the Lunar Nadi, the yogi should practice with Solar Nadi also. The number of practices should be even. This mudra purifies the network of Nadis, moves the Sun and the Moon towards each other, and dries up the malignant toxic juices in the body. No diet is prescribed for those practising this mudra because the improper foods even like poison are also easily digested without any consequences. Symptoms relating to leprosy, consumption, irregular bowel syndrome, dyspepsia and diarrhoea will vanish. It bestows great accomplishments on human beings. It is to be kept as a secret not to be known by the unworthy.
Selecting a secluded spot, assuming Padmasana with the body and the head in one line, fixing the eyes on the tip of the nose, the yogi should recite the Pranava MantraOm.
Pranava is the Brahman that is eternal, pure, enlightened, impression-less, imprint-less, origin-less, endless, the timeless, the indivisible, the one that is realised in the stage which is beyond the stages of wakefulness, sleep and dream. From that was born Para Sakthi. From Atman, Akash (Ether) was born. From Akash, Vayu (Air). From Vayu, Agni (Fire). From Agni, Apas (Water), From Apas, Prithvi (Earth).
For these Pancha Bhutas (five elements), Lord Sadasiva, Lord Iswara, Lord Rudra, Lord Vishnu and Lord Brahma are the deities. Creation, Sustenance, and Destruction are the three functions of Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and Lord Rudra respectively. Mobility (Rajo Guna), Rhythm (Sattva Guna) and Inertia (Tamas Guna) are the characters of them. Lord Brahma is the prime among the Devas, the demigods. The Worlds, Gods, Rakshasas, men, and the objects of food and enjoyment take their origin from Lord Brahma. Lord Indra is the prime deva of functions like enjoyment.
Kinds of Bodies
The bodies of men and other lower orders are made up of Pancha Bhutas. For men, the organs of senses, Vayus (Vital Airs), Manas (the part of mind that deals with cognition), Buddhi (the part of the mind that deals with intellect), Chitta (the part of the mind that deals with thoughts), and Ahamkara (the part of the mind that deals with self-consciousness) are of gross body (Sthula Sareera). During the state dream, the organs of senses, Prana, Manas, and the like are of the subtle body(Suksma Sareera). The body that possesses three Gunas (Sattva, Rajo and Tamas) is the casual body (Karana Sareera). These are the three types of bodies for all beings.
The States of Existence
Waking (Jagrat), dream (Swapna), sleep (Susupti) and the fourth state (Turya) are the four states of existence. Visva, Taijasa, Prajna, and Atman are the controllers of the four states respectively. Visva enjoys the gross body. Taijasa is delighted in detachment. Prajna experiences the bliss. Atman is the witness of all. Pranava (here it refers to Atman) is the eternal witness in all beings, not being disturbed by the experiences of Visva, Taijasa and Prajna in their respective bodies. Atman in Turya stands aside and witness them with his face turned down.
The Nature of Pranava
The three letters A (sounds like a in arise), U (sound like u in casual), and M (sounds like m in dream) are shining like the three Varnas (communities by function: Brahmins who perform rites, Kshatriyas who rule the nation and Vysyas who do business), three Vedas (Rig, Yajur, and Sama), three worlds (Bhur: Earth, Bhuva: Intermediary, and Suva: Celestial), three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas and Tamas) and three words (Om Tat Sat).
Theletter A is in the eyes in the state of Jagrat. The letter U is in the throat in the state of Swapna. The letter M is in the heart in the state of Susupti. The letter A is the Virat, Visva and Sthula. The letter U is the Hiranyagarbha (He who is the ovary of the universe), Taijasa and Suksma. The letter M is the Avyakta, Prajna and Karana. The letter A is Rajas Guna, red, and the Lord is Brahma. The letter U is Sattva Guna, white and the Lord is Vishnu. The letter M is Tamas Guna, Black and the Lord is Rudra.
The Lord Brahma, Lord Vishnu and the Lord Rudra are generated only from Pranava. They also get dissolved in the respective order into the Pranava. From Pranava is generated Paramatman. The Pranava is eternal.
For the adept in yoga, Pranava goes upward. But for the ignorant, it goes downward. It goes up or down from Anahata. The Pranava is like an unbroken flow of oil or like the sound of a bell which is gradually slowing down. The uppermost part is Brahman, which is full of radiance and indescribable even by the adept. Only highest souls can see that. The knower of Vedas knows this well.
In Jagrat state (waking), Hamsa manifests in between the eyes. Sa is Kechari. Sa is Atman. Ha is Paramatman. If Atman mediates on Paramatman as Paramatman alone is the substance, Atman becomes Paramatman. Jiva is under the bondage of the sense organs whereas Atman is not under any bondage. Jiva is influenced by the sense of self-consciousness whereas Atman is not.
Bhur (terrestrial world), Bhuvar (underworld) and Suvar (celestial world) are the three worlds. Soma (Moon), Surya (Sun), and Agni (Fire) are the presiding deities. Likewise, Iccha (desire), Kriya (action) and Jnana (knowledge) are three potential energies. Likewise Lord Brahma, Lord Rudra and Lord Vishnu. Likewise AUM. Its radiance transcends all. One should chant AUM daily by mouth, body and mind. If one practises like this irrespective of the cleanliness, he will be untouched by the sins, like a lotus by the water.
When Prana moves in the body, the bindu also moves. When Prana is immobile, the bindu also is immobile. If the yogi wants himself to be motionless like a wood, he should control Prana. Jiva will not leave the body until the Prana leaves the body. As long as the eyes are fixed in the middle of the eyebrows, Prana does not move at all. As a result, the yogi will not have any fear of death as long as his eyes are fixed in there. Even for the least fear of death, Lord Brahma also control Prana. Hence the yogis and sages are advised to control Prana.
Prana travels outside for a distance of twenty-six Angulas through left and right paths. Only for this reason, the control of Prana is advised. The control of Prana is possible only when the impurities of Nadis are done away with.
Assuming Bhatta Padmasana, the yogi should inhale through the left nostril, retain the breath to his convenient capacity, and exhale through the right nostril. For the comfort during this pranayama, the yogi should meditate on the disc of the moon as the ocean of milk and also on the disc of sun seated in the heart as a flame of radiance. Yogi should inhale through the left nostril and exhale through the right nostril and again draw in the Prana through the right nostril, he should exhale it through left nostril meditating on the discs of moon and sun as prescribed earlier. Within two months Nadis will get purified. By purification of Nadis, the retention time of breath is increased to the desired extent of time, kindling of the fire (Kundalini starts heading its course), the manifestation of Nada and good health are achieved.
He should control Apana till Prana is in the body. The time of one breath, inhalation and exhalation are measured with Matra, the time unit. Rechaka (exhalation), Puraka (inhalation) and Kumbhaka (retention) are also measured with Pranava. During day and night, for every twelve Matras, the Prana changes its course in a cycle of domination over right nostril and left nostril, one after another. The yogi has this knowledge of the course of prana for performing Pranayama.
One Pranayama includes Puraka of twelve repetitions of Om, Kumbhaka of sixteen repetitions and Rechaka of ten repetitions. This is the lower type of Pranayama. The intermediate type has double the counts and Superior type has triple the counts. In the inferior type, the yogi experiences perspiration. In the medium type, vibrations of the body are experienced. In the superior type, the yogi achieves the position to control the Prana. (Different scriptures prescribe different measures. The most prescribed measure for the superior type of Pranayama is 16:64:32).
Assuming Bhatta Padmasana, saluting his Guru and Lord Siva, and fixing his eyes on the tip of the nose, the yogi should practice pranayama. Having stopped the nine orifices of the body, meditating on Atman in the Sahasrara, the yogi should hold and lead Prana along with Apana and the fire of Kundalini. As a rule, there is no need for guidance from the adept. By the fire of Pranayama, sins are destroyed. It becomes the bridge to cross the ocean of the world of sins.
By asanas (posture), diseases are killed. Sins are destroyed by Pranayama. By Pratyahara, the modifications of the mind are stopped. By Dharana, willpower is achieved. By Samadhi, the yogi achieves the marvel of consciousness and liberation being untouched by the sins and virtuous actions.
Twelve Pranayamas constitute one Pratyahara. Twelve Pratyahara makes one propitious Dharana. Twelve Dharanas makes one Dhyana for the yoga aspirants. Twelve Dhyanas alone makes one Samadhi. In Samadhi, the endless radiance is pervading every side towards the universe. For the yogi in Samadhi, there are no duties and observances.
Assuming Siddhasana by placing the genitals in between the pair of heels, pressing the orifices of ears, eyes and nostrils by his fingers, inhaling through the mouth and retaining the breath in his chest by merging with Apana which has been brought up by efforts, the yogi should fix his mind on Dharana in Sahasrara. By yearning to achieve the goal, he attains the union with the Supreme. When the Vayu reaches the heart (merging of Prana and Apana in the heart), Nada manifests with great sounds of bell and other musical instruments. This is known as Nada Siddhi.
Precautionary steps in the practice of Pranayama
For the yogi with Pranayama, dispelling of all diseases is achieved. For those who are without Pranayama, all diseases are generated. By the imbalance of the Prana, diseases like hiccup, asthma, and other respiratory diseases, and diseases of head, ear and eye are generated. Prana can gradually be tamed like lion, elephant, and tiger are slowly tamed. If not rightly done, they will kill the practitioner. One should use his common sense to breathe out or breathe in or hold the breath according to exigencies. By taking such a care, one achieves success.
The importance of Pratyahara
Sense organs are craving for the gratification of sensual pleasures and comfort. Withdrawal of sense organs from the objects of pleasure is known as Pratyahara. Like Sun makes Pratyahara in his third phase of the day by controlling his radiation, the yogi should control his sense organs. Reference: Sanskrit Text Reference
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