Classic Studies On Yoga

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Hamsa Upanishad


Hamsa Upanishad belongs to Sukla Yajur Veda.  

Gautama asked Sanath Kumara to explain the way to obtain Brahma Vidya, the realization of God.

Sanath Kumara replied that Hamsa Vidya is the means to obtain  Brahma Vidya.

Hamsa Vidya

Hamsa denotes the Soul. Paramahamsa denotes Brahman, the supreme God. The Supreme God is in everything as Fire resides in Oil or as Oil resides in Oil-seed. Brahman pervades all. Paramahamsa pervades Hamsa. Hamsa literally means “That am I”.

There exists nothing other than Isvara or God. By Hamsa Vidya, Soul realizes that he is the Supreme God. The realization of God in Self is Hamsa Vidya.  

Now the process of Hamsa Vidya is explained.

The Yogi should Press the Anus, force the Prana upwards from Muladhara, circumnavigate the six-petaled Svadhisthana thrice, reach the Manipura, go beyond Anahata, hold the Prana under control in Visuddhi, enter Anja, meditate upon Paramahamsa and then attain Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Drink the nectar generated by the commingling of Moon, Sun, and Agni or fire, then enter the Brahmarandhra or thousand-petalled lotus. There meditate on Trimatra Turya or Turya-Turya.

Then the yogi becomes devoid of external form. This is the Paramahamsa resembling ten millions of suns, by whose radiance the entire world is completely enveloped.

Chakras and Kundalini

This needs explanation and understanding of Chakra and Kundalini.

Muladhara chakra is at the lower end of the Spinal Column.  There resides the power Kundalini Coiled up. There are two nerve currents, Ida and Pingala, along the spinal column and hollow canal, Susumna, in the middle.

When the kundalini awakens, it goes up through Susumna, step by step through various energy centers called chakras, and finally reaches the brain center or Sahasrara.  

S.No Chakra Location at spinal column
1 Muladhara At the base of spinal Column or Perineum
2 Swathistana Base of Genital
3 Manipura Navel
4 Anahata Chest
5 Vishuddha Throat
6 Ajna Between the eye brows
7 Sahasrara Top of the head

Kundalini Awakening in Hamsa Upanishad

Hamsa Upanishad gives the technique which is the Kundalini Yoga technique involving Hatha yoga and Pranayama.  

The first step is to Press the anus. That means the yogi should establish Mula-bandha. The contraction of muscles around perineum in the male or Cervix in the female is called Mula-bandha or Perineal Lock.  

The second step is to Force the vital air upward. The Yogi should do Uddiyana Bandha and Mula-bandha concurrently. By doing so the vital airs, Prana and Apana will go upward. Uddiyana Bandha is the contraction of the lower abdomen.  

The third step is Circumambulate the Swathistana thrice. This means make Nauli Chalana thrice as if rounding the chakra thrice.  

The next step is to reach Manipura, go beyond Anahata, and hold the Prana under control in Visuddhi. Hold the Prana under control in Visuddhi means perform Jalandhar Bandha. The neck lock. It is evident that the steps indirectly meant Maha Bandha. Maha Bandha is the combination of three Bandhas.  

The next step is reaching Anja, meditate on tri matra Turya at Sahasrara. Meditate on “A”, “U” and “M” as Turya. Turya Means ‘fourth’ state of consciousness. The four states of consciousness are wakeful, dream, deep sleep, and Turya or being with Self. This meditation will be correctly understood when we study other Upanishads.  

Ajapa Gayatri in Hamsa Upanishad

The Ajapa Gayatri is a Japa yoga kriya.

It should be performed like other Japa Yoga Kriyas. Rishi, Chandas, Devata, etc., are given in the Upanishad. It should be conceptualized that in every breath, inspiration is happening with the mantra “So” and expiration is happening with the mantra “ham”. Soham mantra should be done without a break.  One breath is counted as one Japa. There are approximately 21600 breaths daily. For a day 21600 number of Japas is done.

After performing Rishi, Chandas, Kara Nyasa, and Anga Nyasa, Hamsatman is to be meditated at the Heart chakra. With this meditation, breath is to be seen with “So’ham”. Any Japa mantra should be initiated by a competent Guru. Hence I do not give elaborate details here.  

Having uttered this Japa for 10 million times as given in the Upanishad, the yogi hears the Nada, sound in his ears. There are ten types of sounds.  

  1. A sound like a word “Chini”
  2. Chini-Chini
  3. Bell
  4. Conch.
  5. Veena, a string Instrument
  6. Thala, a percussion instrument
  7.  Flute
  8.  Drum
  9.  Mridanga
  10. Thunder

  On hearing the 10th sound, he becomes Paramahamsa.  

Ref: Sanskrit Text of the Upanishad.