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yoga upanishads

Introduction to Tri Sikhi Brahmana Upanishad

Tri-Sikhi Brahmana Upanishad is the forty-fourth Upanishad among 108 Upanishads and is attached to Sukla Yajur Veda. The Sanskrit term Tri-Sikhi means three tufts. Tri-Sikhi Brahmana Upanishad means the Upanishad is associated with a Brahmin with three tufts.

Once, A Brahmin of three tufts visited Adithya-Loka (the world of the Sun) and asked the Sun God four questions.

  • What is the body?
  • What is life?
  • What is the prime cause?
  • What is Atman (Self)?

The Sun God replied that all of them are Lord Siva only. Lord Siva is the Supreme Being, absolute bliss, pure, and eternal. He is the indivisible one-essence yet appears as divided just like a molten mass of iron appears in different forms. He appears as many because he is tinged with illusion and existence.

Creation of the Universe

From Brahman, Avyakta (Void) came into existence. Likewise, from Avyakta, Mahat (Masses) came into existence. Moreover, from Mahat, Agamkara (Self-consciousness) came into existence. Likewise, out of Agamkara, five Tanmatra-s (Sabta, Sparsa, Ruba, Rasa, and Ganta) came. From Tanmatra-s, Pancha Mahabhuta-s (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, and Ether) came. Similarly, from Mahabhuta-s, the entire world came.

The entire world came from the groups of elements formed and from the cause and effect of their inter-relationships. Elements based on their first criterion have their variants in functions, words, spheres, presiding deities, and sheaths.

Pause, Vibration, Visualization, Pressing into a mass, and Retention are the five subtle functions of Tanmatra-s in association with Jiva.

Hence, there are twelve divisions in respect of the elements as above (Ten plus two) and twelve divisions in respect of the presiding deities. Moon, Brahman (the deity), Dis, Vata, Arka, Varuna, Asvins, Agni, Indra, Upendra, Prajapati, and Yama are the presiding deities of senses. They enter as Prana in twelve Nadis and are identified with the parts of the body. One who identifies himself in this manner is the knower.

Pancha Bhutas

Then, comes the Pranic-Karana of Akas (ether), Vayu (air), Agni (Fire), Apas (water), and Prithvi (Earth).

Jnatrtva (inner senses) in association with Samana, through the ear, having the sense of sound and dependent on speech takes its abode in Akas.

Likewise, Manas (mind) along with Vyana, through the integument, having the sense of touch and dependent on hands takes its abode in Vayu.

Similarly, Buddhi (intellect part of the mind) along with Udana, through the eyes, sense of sight, and dependent on feet takes its abode in Agni.

Besides, Citta (inquiring part of the mind) along with Apana, through the tongue, the sense of taste and dependent on genitals, takes its abode in Apas.

Likewise, Ahamkara (Self-consciousness) along with Prana, through the nose, having the sense of smell and dependent on the anus takes abode in Prithvi.

Pnachi Karana

The creation starts with Brahman and ends with Panchi-Karana. Life, faith, Akash (ether), Vayu (air), light, Apas (water), Prithvi (earth), organs (both sensory and motor), Manas (mind), food, vigor, austerity, Mantras, action, the worlds, and name are the sixteen parts exist in Brahman. By placing Antahkarana, Vyana, Aksi, Rasa, and Payu in the order starting from Akas, each primary element has a division of two halves each (forming 10) and then sub-dividing the halves into four parts by placing the subdivided parts along with each part of other elements and like, in the manner in which what was once the subdivided part of Akash will come as parts of other four elements. The initial divisions and essential and the subsequent divisions are subordinate ones. Thus are the major divisions and sub-divisions, their inter-dependency, and the order of importance.

Pindas and Rasas

The universe has evolved out of Pancha-Bhutas. It includes animate things, herbs, foods, Pinda-s (things that are not liquids), and Rasa-s (things that are liquids). Pindas are four kinds and they are generated out of eggs, seeds, sweat, and womb. Rasa-s are lymph, blood, flesh, bone, bone marrow, and semen. By mingling the fluids together Pinda-s are formed. Pinda made up of Anna (food) is located in the region of the navel. A lotus bud with a stalk is located in the middle of the heart. Moreover, in the interior of the organism, organs of sense are capable of action, self-assertion, and sentience. Also, in the region of the throat is the mind with the mass of darkness in the form of delusion, dullness, and ignorance. Pure bliss is located in the head of a powerful and gloss Atman.

Four States of Jiva

Jiva has four states, Jagrat, Swapna, Susupti, and Turya. Jagrat is the state of waking. Likewise, Swapna is dreaming. Besides, Susupti is a state of deep dreamless sleep. Moreover, Turya is the fourth state beyond these three. Also, Jagrat is present in other states. Similarly, Swapna is found in Jagrat. Susupti and Turya are not found in any other state. But Siva with his four arms is found fastened in all the four states like sweetness is found in all layers of fruit. Moreover, Jiva is subject to change in the states. But Siva is not subject to change in the states. By churning the vessel containing liquid, the foam is produced. Likewise, churning the mind will produce all the doubts.

Maya or Delusion

Karma binds the doer. By renouncing, he gets liberation. The manifested world of existence has the course of southern direction. In this course, even Sada-Siva will become Jiva by delusion. Being in attachment, he will travel from womb to womb-like a fish wanders from either bank of the river. When the right time comes, he attains the knowledge of Atman and gradually turns his course towards the north. Moreover, he will be firm in practicing yoga from stage to stage by concentrating Prana on his crest.

Yoga and Jnana

Through yoga, Jnana (wisdom) is developed. By Jnana, yoga is further developed. Furthermore, A yogi who has the course of yoga and Jnana together, will not perish. He will see the Siva in changes that he sees around, but should not see any change in Siva. (Change is Siva and not Siva is the change, because Siva could not change. He is the Bliss-eternal). He will concentrate on the various stages of yoga without any distractions.

If Yoga and Jnana are absent in anyone, he could not obtain Jnana. (It means that Yoga without Jnana is not Jnana). Hence, the yogi should restrain his mind and Prana, and cut off the delusion that obstructs the knowledge of Brahman with the knife of yogic kriyas. Also, by following these practicing steps like Yama and others, Prana reaches the crest.

Types of Yoga According to Tri Sikhi Brahmana Upanishad

There are two types of yoga as per this Upanishad. Karma Yoga and Jnana Yoga. The other name for Karma yoga is Kriya Yoga.

Karma Yoga

Karma yoga is two-fold. Confining the Citta (Mind) to a particular range is one part is Samyoga (Ashtanga Yoga) and the confining of the Citta to the range of observances as per the scriptures is the other part.

Jnana Yoga

Jnana Yoga is the confinement of mind to the Liberation (Moksha) and the accomplishments on the path to it.

Ashtanga Yoga

The Astanga (eight limbs) with their short definitions are

  1. Yama: Detachment of the body from the sense organs is Yama.
  2. Niyama: Continuous attachment towards the ultimate truth is Niyama.
  3. Asana: The state of passivity to everything is the best Asana or Yoga Posture.
  4. Pranayama: The faith in the falsehood of everything is the Pranayama.
  5. Pratyahara: The turning of the mind inside is Pratyahara.
  6. Dharana: The stagnant holding of the mind on a point is Dharana.
  7. Dhyana: Reflecting Aham Chinmatra meva is Dhyana.
  8. Samadhi: The complete loss of the sense of Dhyana is Samadhi.


The ten-fold Yamas are

  1. Ahimsa (Non-violence)
  2. Satya (Truth)
  3. Asteya (Non-stealing)
  4. Brahmacharya (Celibacy)
  5.  Daya (Compassion)
  6. Arjava (Morality)
  7. Shama (Forbearance)
  8. Drutir (Will Power)
  9. Mithakara (Temperance in food)
  10. Saucha (Cleanliness)


The ten-fold Niyamas are

  1. Tapas (Penance)
  2. Santhusti (Contentment)
  3. Belief in the existence of theSupreme Being
  4. Dhana (Munificence)
  5. Hari Aradhana (Worship of Visnu)
  6. Vedanta Sravana (The study of the Vedanta)
  7. Modesty.   
  8.  Determination
  9. Japa (Silent prayer)
  10.  Viradha (Austerity)


Now, the Upanishad describes the yoga poses (Asanas).

Swastika Asana:

Placing the two soles of the legs over the two shanks by bending the knees is Swastikasana.

Gomukha Asana:

Placing the right ankle over the left flank of the buttock and the left ankle over the right flank of the buttock in such a way the front view resembles the appearance of a Cow’s face.


Mounting one leg on the thigh of another leg and standing motionless is Virasana.


Pressing the anus with soles by folding the ankles cross-wise, one should maintain composure in the asana.


Placing the soles on the thighs of the other legs is Padmasana. It is the cure for all diseases and Poisons.


Having established in Padmasana, one should hold the big toes with two hands crosswise to make it Baddha-Padmasana.


Having established in Padmasana and placing the two hands on the ground by inserting them in between the gap of thighs and calf muscles, one should suspend in mid-air.

Uttana Kurmaka Asana

Having established in Kukkutasana, one should press the neck with two shoulders and stretch his body in the supine posture with his face upwards like a tortoise. This is Uttana Kurmaka Asana.

Dhanur Asana

Holding the big toes with the hands and drawing them towards the ear similar to drawing the arrow, is Dhanur Asana.

Simha Rupaka Asana

Pressing the frenum of the prepuce in the reverse order with the ankles and stretching out the hands placed on the knees is Simha Rupaka Asana.

Bhadra Asana

Placing the ankles below the scrotum on either side of the frenum of the prepuce and remaining attached to the ground with both hands is Bhadra Asana.

Mukta Asana

Pressing the frenum of the prepuce with the ankles is Mukta Asana.

Mayur Asana

Placing the palms of hands firmly supporting the sides of the navel with the elbows of the hands and keeping the head and legs erect like a peacock id Mayur Asana.

Matsya Pithaka Asana

Placing the right foot at the root of the left thigh, embracing the knees with two hands, and holding the left big toe with the left hand is Matsya Pithaka Asana.

Siddha Asana

Pressing the secret parts with the left foot, placing the right foot above the secret parts, and sitting erect is Siddha Asana.

Pascimottana Asana

Stretching the leg on the ground, touching the big toes with forearms, and placing the face on the knees is Pascimottana Asana.

Sukha Asana

It is the posture in which comfort and steadiness are there. Those who are weak and cannot do other yoga poses may go for this.

The Master of Asana is the master of the three worlds.


By the practice and mastery over Yama, Niyama, Asana, and purification of Nadis one should go for Pranayama.

The height of the one’s body is ninety-six Angulas when measured with his thumb. (One Angula is equal to the height of the upper part of the thumb). Moreover, Prana is twelve Angulas more than the body. By the practice of yoga, one can reduce the length of Prana by generating the Agni (Fire). He is the knower of Brahman.

The knowledge required before proceeding to Pranayama

The luminous Agni (Fire) which is triangular has the location in the middle of the body like a lamp of molten gold. It is in the quadrangular form in quadrupeds, circular in birds, hexagonal in crawling creatures like snakes, and octagonal in insects.

The middle of the body here referred to is the region of the umbilical knot which is situated nine Angulas from the anus. Moreover, the height of the region is four Angulas, and the lateral width is also four Angulas. The middle of this region is the navel. For other creatures, the middle of the body is the middle of the belly.

A twelve-spoked chakra is there in the region. In those spokes, Lord Vishnu and other deities have their abodes. I am taking my stand there causing the plexus of the wheel of Maya (Illusion). Jiva twirls around the wheel, one spoke after another, hanging on Prana, as the spider balances itself in the middle of the cob-web. Without Prana, Jiva could not exist.

Above the chakra is the kundalini. (The account of Kundalini in this Upanishad differs from other scriptures). The location is above the navel in a horizontal line. It contains eight different constituents and is a spiral of eight coils. Also, it regulates Prana, Apana, and the onward passage of water and food. It has an orifice that leads to the Brahmarandhra (Crevice of Brahman). While doing yoga, it shines in the ether of the heart in the form of a serpent when aroused by Agni (fire) and Prana.


Two Angulas above the seat of Apana and two Angulas below the seat of genitals in the middle of the body for men. For Quadrupeds, it is the middle of the heart and for others, it is the middle of the belly. It is surrounded by several Nadis, nearly eighty thousand Nadis. Among them, Susumna has a firm establishment. Also, it is inside in the middle of the umbilical knot and extends straight up to Brahmarandhra. Moreover, it looks like fine fiber in the form of a lotus stalk and is gleaming as a streak of lightning. Its presiding deity is Lord Vishnu and it leads to Brahma Loka, the abode of enlightenment.

Nadis Ida and Pingala stand at the left and right of Susumna. Ida originates from the navel and terminates at the left nostril and Pingala with the same origin terminates at the right nostril.

Likewise, Gandhari and Hasti-Jihva are the Nadis stand at the front and rear side of Susumna and terminate at the left and right eyes.

Similarly, Pusa and Yasasvini are the Nadis that originate from the same region and terminate at the left and right ears.

Moreover, Alambusa heads downwards and terminates at the anus.

Besides, Subha Nadi extends up to the tip of the genitals.

Furthermore, Kausiki goes down and terminates at Big Toes.

Likewise, there are seventy-two thousand Nadis in total comprising Sthula (that can be identified physically) and Suksma (that can be observed but cannot be identified) Nadis originating from the same source and countless branches of them like the Nadis of the leaf of the Aswatha tree (fig tree).


Prana Vayus (vital air) is tenfold.

  1.   Prana 
  2.    Apana 
  3.     Samana 
  4.     Vyana 
  5.     Udana 
  6.     Naga 
  7.     Kurma 
  8.     Krikara 
  9.     Devadatta 
  10.     Dhananjaya

Of these, the first five are primary Nadis. Of them, the first two are more important Nadis.

Out of these two, Prana is the most important Nadi because it carries the Jiva. Middle of the mouth, nose, heart, and navel are the abodes of Prana.

Likewise, Apana travels in the anus, genitals, thighs, and knees. Also, Samana pervades the whole body. Similarly, Udana resides in the joints of the legs and hands.

Besides, Vyana in the two arms, thighs, hips, ankles, shoulders, and throat. Likewise, the other five Vayus are in the skin, bones, and other parts of the body. The water, food, and other liquids are assimilated in the stomach. The Prana separates them into various constituents. Moreover, Apana evacuates wastewater and food. The actions of Prana and Apana are done by Vyana.

Also, Udana raises anything that remains in the body.

Besides, Samana does the work of nourishment to the body. Naga performs belching. Kurma aids in the functioning of the opening and closing of the eyes. Likewise, Krikara functions for the eyes. Devadatta does the work of seep. Dhananjaya performs the work of swelling. It functions even after death.

Having gained this knowledge of Nadis and Vayus, one should make his endeavors towards the purification of Nadis.

Pranayama Procedure

Having given up all worldly attachments and procured the necessary things for the various stages of yoga, the yogi should choose a secluded spot for practice. The width of the seat should be twice the height. Moreover, it should be covered with Darbha, Kusa grass, and the skin of a black antelope. Having comfort in his Asana like Swastika Asana, he should assume his seat.

Assuming his Asana, keeping his body erect, mind alert and at ease, with his eyes fixed on the tip of the nose, teeth not touching the other row of teeth, tongue fixed to the palate, with his head slightly inclined downwards, with his hands in Chin-mudra, one should begin Pranayama.

Expiration, Inspiration, Retention, and expiration are the four processes of Pranayama.

He should press the right nostril with the right thumb and gradually exhale through the left nostril. Then, inhale through the left nostril for sixteen matras, retain for a count of sixty-four Matras, and exhale through the right nostril for thirty-two matras. Likewise, he should repeat the process again and again in reverse and direct order. That means after exhaling through the right nostril, he should inhale through the same nostril and repeat the process.

By doing this practice, Prana fills all the Nadis and the body becomes like a pot full of air. The ten Vayus are in motion and the lotus of the heart will become full-blown. In there, the yogi could see the Atman, the Pure Lord Vasu Deva.

Similarly, he should practice up to eighty Kumbhakas at a time, four times daily at dawn, mid-day, evening, and midnight. One who does this for a single will destroy all his sins. Three years of such practice will make the yogi an accomplished adept. For him, Prana and senses will be under his control. He will become radiant, strong, and robust with little sleep and moderate food. He will conquer unnatural death and attain longevity.

Three Types of Pranayama Performer

During the practice, he who experiences profuse sweat is of an inferior type. For him, all sins and ailments cease to exist.

Likewise, he who experiences a tremor of the body is of medium type. For him, all sins, ailments, and incurable diseases cease to exist.

Likewise, he who experiences levitation is of a superior type. Moreover, he will have a light body, pass a small amount of urine, and evacuate a negligible amount of fecal matter. He will survive on moderate food. Furthermore, he is always alert and has command over his sense organs. He has a quick intellect and a penetrating vision of the past, present, and future. Also, he is the very master of himself.

Benefits of Pranayama

He who has given up Rechaka, and Puraka, and performs Kumbhaka alone at all the three Sandhya-s (dawn, mid-day, and Twilight), will find nothing beyond his reach.

The yogi should project his prana and mind (Pranayama with Dharana) to the points of the knot of the navel, the tip of the nose, and big toes at Sandhya-s or always. By doing so, he will get rid of the clutches of all diseases and fatigue. Likewise, such Dharana on the knot of the navel, gives cure from all diseases of the belly. Similarly, Dharana on the tip of the nose gives longevity and lightness to the body. He who drinks the air after drawing it with his tongue at the time of Brahma Muhurta (4.30 am to 5.15 am) for three months will have great power of speech. Six months of practice will bestow him with the destruction of great disorders. Likewise, By Dharana on the part of the body afflicted with the disease, that part of the body will get cured.

Control of Prana

By controlling the mind, the Yogi can control Prana.

Then, what is the procedure for controlling the mind?

By controlling the external causes for the stimulation of sense organs (Sanmukhi mudra), one should calm his mind and draw up the Apana over the belly. By closing the orifices of the sense organ by hand and other prescribed methods, one can control his mind which results in the control of Prana.

There are three primary Nadis, Susumna, Ida, and Pingala. Normally Prana goes either through Ida or Pingala. Course through them turns after a particular time. Prana going through Susumna is possible only in the case of yogis. For others, Prana goes through the right nostril and left nostril alternatively.

Likewise, the yogi can control the flow of Prana at any time he chooses. By the well-controlled mind and Prana and by observing the signs of vibrations at his limbs like his big toes, he can predict even his time of death.

Signs of Death

If throbbing ceases at his big toes of feet and thumbs of hands, his life is assured for at least one year. Also, if it ceases at his ankles and wrist, the period of his life is only six months. Moreover, in the elbow, he will live for only three months. Likewise, in the armpits and lateral part of their genitals, one month is his lifetime. Any good signs are seen within, a half-a-month is a time.

Besides, If it is in the belly, it is for ten days only. Likewise, if he sees radiance like a firefly, only five days are left for him. If he could not see the tip of his tongue, he would survive only for three days. Wheras if this symptom is observed when a flame is seen, he can count two days. Knowing his lifetime by observing the above signs, go for his final prayer, and meditation for the attainment of the final merger with Paramatman.


Projecting the Prana at eighteen seats (Marma Sthana) of the body and changing the seat from one to another is Pratyahara. The eighteen Marma Sthana are as below.

  1. Big toes of the feet
  2. Ankles
  3. Shanks
  4. Knees
  5. Thighs
  6. Roots of thighs
  7. Anus
  8. Genitals
  9. Trunk
  10. Navel
  11.  Heart
  12. Throat
  13.  Root of hands
  14.  Elbows
  15.  The root of the palate
  16. The root of the nose
  17.  Eyes
  18. The root of the forehead and upper part


The consistent concentration of the mind along with Yama and other limbs of yoga on Pancha Bhuta (Five Elements)and their Parts in the body is Dharana which is the means for crossing the ocean of life.

From the knee to the feet is the region of Prithvi (Earth). The Goddess of the earth should be meditated upon for Five Ghatikas (5*24 minutes) as quadrangular in shape, yellow in color, holding Vajrayutha in her hand.

Likewise, from the hip to the knee is the region of Apas (Water) which is crescent in form and Silver white is her color. Having filled the Prana in the region, it should be meditated upon for ten Ghatikas (4 hours).

Also, from the navel to the hip is the region of Agni (Fire). It should be meditated upon as a red flaming fire for fifteen Ghatikas (Six Hours), by performing Kumbhaka in that region.

Moreover, from the navel to the nose the region of Vayu (Air). Performing Kumbhaka in that region, it should be meditated upon as the shape of a sacrificial Altar with a color of smoke for twenty Ghatikas (Eight Hours).

Likewise, from the nose to the Brahmarandhra is the region of Akash (ether). Performing Kumbhaka there, it should be meditated upon as the color of the ether with the brightness of Collyrium.

Moreover, Deity Anirudha with four hands and wearing a crown should be meditated upon in the region of Prithvi. Lord Narayana in the region of Apas, Lord Pradyumna in the region of Agni, Lord Samraksana in the region of Vayu, and Lord Vasudeva in the region of Akash should be meditated upon. He who is going in this direction will reach the final abode.


Having restrained the organs of senses and action, assuming the Yogasana as said earlier, placing the hands in Hridayanjali mudra in the region of the heart, fixing his eyes on the tip of the nose, having the rows of teeth not touching each other, having body erect and mind under control and with pure intellect one should ruminate on Lord Vasudeva, the Supreme Atman as the deity of bestowing salvation. Moreover, one who meditates like this for one Yama (3 hours) by performing Kumbhaka, the sins accumulated over seven previous births will be destroyed.

The yogi should assume the functioning of the waking state starting from the navel to the heart, the functioning of the dreaming state at the throat, the functioning of the sleeping state at the palate, the functioning of the fourth state Turya is fixed in the brow and beyond the fourth state Turyatita as transcended Brahman at Brahmarandhra. Atman is Turya and Lord Vishnu is Turyatita.


The yogi should meditate on the Vishnu, seated in the lotus of the heart with the radiance of thousands of Suns. Lord Vishnu should be meditated upon as the universe, as the clear ether, which has several shapes merged in one, several faces and shoulders with weapons, and several colors with the radiance of Suns. All functioning of his mind will cease to be.

The yogi should meditate on the imperishable consciousness seated in the lotus of the heart in the form of a kadamba flower beyond Turya like a lamp in the windless place, endless and full of bliss and dazzling like a gem. For him who meditates like this, liberation is in his palm.

He who meditates the deity as the form of the universe in the lotus of his heart, the deity shines before his very eyes. Aham Brahmasmi (I am the Brahman) is an attitude maintained regarding Jivatman as well as Paramatman and both. This is Samadhi which is devoid of all functioning. Moreover, he attains the Brahman and never goes back to worldly affairs. Also, he will attain peace in his mind after knowing the underlying truth as fire is exhausted without fuel. After finding nothing to grasp, the yogi will gain the knowledge of seeing the universe as the aggregate of illusions and dreams and get himself merged with the transcendent existence. Hence, he who treats this worldly life as a dream and strongly believes in the existence of Atman attains liberation.

Thus ends Tri Sikhi Brahmana Upanishad.

Reference: Sanskrit Text Reference

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