Rishi Shandilya, the son of Rishi Devala and the grandson of Rishi Kashyap, is one of the greatest rishis of Vedic Era. Rishi Shandilya was the disciple of Rishi Adhidanvaan Saunaka who taught him the nature of Brahman. He is associated with the Shandilya Vidya of Chandogya Upanishad of Sama Veda and Sathapatha Brahmana of Shukla Yajur Veda, wherein the very idea of God is first found mentioned. Rishi Shandilya was the great contributor of Upanishadic Philosophy.
Shandilya Upanishad, also termed as Sandilyopanishad, is found attached to Atharva Veda. This Upanishad is given as the answer to questions of Rishi Sandilya as a seeker, hence named as such. It is the 58thUpanishad of 108 Upanishads of Muktika Upanishad order and one of the 20 Yoga Upanishads.
The Upanishad contains three chapters.
The Upanishad starts with the conversation between Rishi Shandilya and Rishi Atharvan. Rishi Shandilya asked to explain the eight-fold yoga (Ashtanga Yoga or 8 limbs of yoga) as the means to attain the Atman.
Atharvan replied: The eight limbs of yoga are
Yama or the self-discipline is of ten-fold. Niyama or the observance is also ten-fold. Asana or Postures are of eight kinds. Pranayama is three-fold. Five types of Pratyahara are there. Dharana is also five-fold. Two kinds of Dhyana are there. Samadhi has no variations.
The ten-fold Yamas are:
· Moderate Food
Ahimsa is Non-violence. The continuous abstinence from causing pain or grief to all beings by the acts of mind, speech, and body is Ahimsa.
Sathya is truthfulness or honesty. Honesty in the acts of mind, speech, and body which is beneficial to other beings always, is Sathya.
Asteya is non-stealing. The abstinence from stealing the belongings of other beings by the acts of mind, speech and body are Asteya.
Brahmacharya is celibacy. The abstinence from the bodily union at all forms and places by the acts of mind, speech, and body is Brahmacharya.
Daya is kindliness. The showing of love for all beings in all places is Daya.
Arjava is rectitude. The maintenance of one and the same attitude in the acts of mind, speech, and body towards the prescribed as well as the prohibited activities are Arjava.
Shama is tolerance or patience. The treating of sweet praise and repugnant condemnations alike is Shama.
Drutir is willpower. The steadiness of the mind even at the loss of wealth, close relative or friend and acquisition of new wealth, a close relative (example: birth of a son/daughter) or friend is Drutir.
Mithahara is moderate food. The taking of pure and sweet food leaving off the quarter of it is Mithahara.
Sausam is cleanliness. It is of two kinds: external cleanliness and internal cleanliness. External cleanliness comes with water and earth. Internal cleanliness by purification of mind. It is attained through Atma Vidya, the study of Atman.
The ten-fold Niyamas are
· Worship of God
· The study of Scriptures
· Observance of vows
Tapas is Penance. The emancipation of body by adherence of painful austerities like Krcchra and Chandrayana rites described in the scriptures is Tapas.
Santosa is exuberance. Being content over whatever nature bring in is Santosa.
Astikya is faithfulness or belief in God. Faith in the prescription and prohibition of conducts as laid down in the scriptures is known as Astikya.
Dana is munificence. The sincere donation of rightly procured money and materials to the persons of need is Dana.
Isvara Pujanam is the worship of God. The worshipping of Lord Vishnu, Lord Rudra and other deities with the expression of happiness and to the extent possible to one’s ability is Isvara Pujanam.
Siddhantha Sravana is the study of scriptures. The exploration of Vedanta (the philosophy of Upanishads) is Siddhantha Sravana.
Hree is modesty. The disinclination towards the conducts prohibited in general or by scriptures is Hree.
Mathi is the sincerity. The observance of acts laid down in the Scriptures is Mathi.
Japa is chanting mantras. The repetition of a mantra duly initiated by a Guru and which is not going against the injunctions of the Scriptures is Japa. Japa is of two kinds: Vasika and Manasa. The repetition by way of contemplation in the mind alone is Manasa. Oral practice is Vasika which is of two kinds: Ucchai and Upamsu. Ucchai is loud repetition whereas Upamsu is repetition by the whisper. Ucchai bestows the intended results, but Upamsu gives a thousand-fold result. Manasa Japa gives 10 million times of the intended result.
Vrata is the observance of vows. The adherence of prohibitions and injunctions of the scriptures is Vrata.
The eight-fold Asanas are:
(Note: Here only eight asanas are listed in the index portion of Asana. But nine asanas are explained in the detailed description. Siddhasana is not listed here, but was given in the detailed description)
Svastika Asana is placing the soles of the feet between knees and thighs with the body erect and posture balanced.
Gomukha Asana resembles the face of a cow. It is assumed by placing the right ankle of the leg on the back of the left leg and left ankle on the back of the right leg.
Padma Asana is held in esteem by all. It is assumed by placing the soles over the thighs and holding the toes by hands placed cross-wise.
Vira Asana is placing one foot over the other thigh and placing another thigh over the other foot.
Simha Asana is assumed by pressing the left side with the right heel and right side with the left heel and placing the two hands on the knees with fingers stretched out, trunk in a straight line, mouth wide open, fixing the eyes on the tip of the nose. Simha Asana is always adored by the Yogis.
Siddhasana is explained by the Upanishad here which was not listed. Placing the right leg below the genitals and left leg above the genitals is Siddhasana.
Bhadra Asana is placing the two ankles below the testicles on either side of the perineum, holding the two feet by the hands by their side and remaining motionless. It is a panacea for all the ills and antidote for all the poisons.
Mukta Asana is pressing the right side of the perineum by the ankle of the left leg and left side by the right leg.
Mayur Asana is holding the body on the hand by palms facing down, fixing the elbows by the sides of the navel, lifting the legs and head up, and floating like the stick in the empty place. It is the destroyer of all the sins. All diseases will vanish. Poisons are nullified.
A weak man may go for any posture that is suitable for him.
Benefits of Asana
The person who has mastered the Asanas has control over the three worlds. One who has mastered Yama, Niyama and Asana should proceed to Pranayama wherein the Nadis are purified.
Pranayama: Nadis, Vayus and Kundalini
Then Rishi Shandilya raised the following questions:
· How could we get the Nadis Purified?
· How many Nadis are there?
· What are their characters?
· How many Vayus (vital airs) reside in them?
· What are the seats of Vayus and their functions?
· Which of them should be studied deeply?
The Rishi requested Rishi Atharvan to answer the above questions and Atharvan replied:
The length of one’s body is 96 Angulas when measured by his own finger-digits. The Vayu Prana goes 12 Angulas farther than that.
By the practice of yoga, one who retains the Prana that is equal to the power of Kundalini or less than that is adept in yoga.
The Kundalini in humans is located in the middle of the body in the form of a triangle with the radiance of igneous gold. In the case of quadrupeds, it is in the form of quadrangular. For birds, it is circular. It is located in the middle as a flame of fire, slim and auspicious.
In humans, it is two Angulas above the anus and two Angulas below the genitals. In quadrupeds, it is in the middle of the heart. For birds, it is in the middle of the belly. At the Nine Angulas length with a height of four Angulas with the shape of an egg in the middle of the body.
In humans, in the middle of the body is navel with a chakra (energy center) with twelve spokes. Being induced by the virtues and sins, the Jiva is whirling in there, like a spider in the middle of the cob-web. In the body, the Jiva perches in the Prana.
The location of Kundalini is below, across and above the navel. (Note: Already mentioned perineum as the seat. Here it is said that navel is the seat. It should be interpreted that the seat of Kundalini is perineum in case of ignorant and it is navel in case of a wise one as explained in other Upanishads)
The power of Kundalini is eight-fold and consists of eight coils. It blocks the movement of Vayus, food, drink, and others by covering this place with its head and the crevice of Brahman with its tail. It vibrates at the time of yoga together with Apana and fire. The heart radiates in the form of the effulgence of knowledge.
How many Nadis are there?
There are fourteen important Nadis based on the kundalini situated in the middle. They are:
Susumnaa is otherwise known as Visvadhaarini (the base of the universe) and Moksa Maargaa (the path of liberation). It is found attached to the spinal column from the anus to the crest known as Brahma randhraa. It is subtle, discrete and all-pervading.
Idaa is located left to Susumnaa and Pingalaa on the right. The moon navigates through Idaa and the Sun through Pingalaa. The form of the moon is Tamas and the Sun is Rajas. The moon occupies the position of nectar and the Sun occupies the position of poison. The Susumna experiences the occupation of them all the time.
The Nadis Sarasvati and Kuhoo are located on the backside and front side of Sushumna respectively. Vaaruni is located in between Yajasvini and Kuhoo. Between Pusa and Sarasvati is Payasvini.
Between Gamdhaari and Sarasvati is the Yajasvini. Kuhoo is in front of Susumnaa and ends up in genitals. Below and above kundalini, Vaaruni goes in all directions.
The tender Yajasvini ends in big toes. Pingala goes up and ends in the right nostril. Poosaa in the right eye. Yajasvini in the right ear. Sarasvati at the tip of the tongue. Sankhini in the left ear.
Gamdhaari coursing behind Ida reaches the left eye. Alamboosa goes up and down from the root of the anus. In these fourteen Nadis, other Nadis are existing. It should be understood that other Nadis besides other Nadis exist. It is like the veins of fig leaf, the body is traversed by Nadis.
The ten Vayus are:
Location and Functions of Vayu
Prana is present at places above and below Kundalini: mouth, nose, throat, navel and big toes of the feet. Vyana is present in the ears, eyes, hip, ankles, heels, neck and buttocks.
Apana occupies the anus, genitals, thighs, knees, stomach, testicles, hips, shanks, navel and the hole of the rectal fire.
The Udana resides in all the joints. Samana pervades all parts of the body including hands and legs.
It moves the food getting converted into chyle and others. It maintains the dynamic warmth throughout the body. It moves through the pathways of 72,000 Nadis and distributing the vital warmth and five Vayus that came from the skin, bones, and others. It mixes up the water and food in the belly with the humor of the body. Prana which is located in the belly will break up them. Prana, by placing the water over the fire and placing the foodstuff over the water, reaches the fire in the belly along with Apana. The fire deposed by the Prana moves forth slowly with a blaze in the middle of the body with the help of Apana. The water becomes hot by the fire and gets the foodstuff digested and Prana separates them into a sweat, urine, blood, Bindu, feces, and others and distributes them along with the air in the form of breath through various Nadis with the help of Samana. The nine orifices discharge the waste mater out of the body with the help of Vayus. Apana takes charge of the lower orifices by secreting urines, feces and the like. Vyana helps in the acts of holding, leaving and the like. Udana helps in lifting up and the like. The act of nourishment is the work of Samana. Naga looks after belching and the like. The functions of eye-lids are done by Kurma. The act of hiccup is the function of Krkara. The work of Devadatta is the act of yawning. Production of phlegm is done by Dhananjaya.
Purification of Nadis
Having rightly understood the location of Nadis and location and the functions of Vayus, one should practice purification of Nadis.
Pranayama: Purification of Nadis
Eligibility of the Yogi and the location of the practice
A yogi, who has self-control, austerity in adherence, proficiency in philosophy and practice, committed himself to truth and morality, insusceptibility to anger, ever involved in the service of the almighty, devotion in the service to his parents, been trained by those who has the wisdom of righteous conduct as prescribed by the scriptures, should begin the practice of yoga together with the study of Vedanta in such a place like forest with plenty of fruits, roots (edible) and water suitable for the performance of penance or in a place surrounded by the knowers of Brahman engaged ever in discharging their duties where the sounds of Vedas chanted by Brahmins are reverberating and where there is plenty of fruits, roots, flowers, and watercourses or in a temple, river-bank, village, city or monastery. The place should not be too elevated or low-lying. It should not be too large or extensive. It should have a small entrance. The place should be smeared with cow-dung. It should have all means of protection.
The Practice of Nadi Shuddhi
At first, the yogi should worship Lord Vinayaka. Then he should worship his Ista-devata (deity of his choice).
Purification of the Nadis takes place either in forty-three days or three months or four months or seven months or twelve months practiced at six times daily by three Sandhya (dawn, noon and twilight) and in between times. (Note: The purification of Nadis will take place according to the impurity level of the Nadis of the Individual and the intensity of the practice).
Upon purification, the body will experience lightness, beauty, and warmth together with the manifestation of Nada.
Pranayama is the merger of Prana and Apana. It has three parts: Rechaka, Puraka, and Kumbhaka. They represent the letters A, U, and M which constitutes Pranava. Hence Pranava alone is Pranayama.
Yogi assuming Padmasana or the other asana should meditate upon letter A as expanded by the band of moon-beams arising from the disc of moon located at the tip of the nose (center of eyebrows). It becomes Gayatri who is young, of a blood-red color, having Hamsa bird as her conveyance, and having stick on her hand.
The letter U, it becomes Savitri of adolescent age with white complexion, having Taarksya bird as conveyance and having a discus in her hand.
With the form letter M, it becomes Sarasvati of matured age with the dark complexion, having a bull as her conveyance and having a trident in her hand.
The letters A and others originate from the eternal radiance (Brahman) who assumes the form of Pranava.
Inhaling through the left nostril for 16 Matras with the meditation on letter A, retaining for 64 Matras with the meditation of U, the yogi should exhale through the right nostril for 32 Matras, meditating on the letter M. Like he should repeat again and again.
Pranayama: Purification of Susumna and others
For the purification of Susumna, the Yogi who is having self-control and taking moderate and nutritious food should assume Padmasana, inhale through the left nostril, retain it in Kumbhaka for a period which is convenient to his ability, and expel through the right nostril. Then he should inhale through the same nostril (right), hold it and expel through another nostril. For those, who are always practising like this observing the rules prescribed alternatively through right and left nostrils, Nadis are purified within three months.
He should practice eighty Kumbhakas four times daily: at the dawn, noon, twilight and midnight.
In the early stage, there is perspiration. In the middle stage, there is tremor of the body. In the advanced stage, levitation. Padmasana is prescribed for all the stages. The perspiration should be massaged. The strength and lightness of the body will be the results.
In the initial stages, food consisting of milk and ghee alone should be taken. In the advanced stages, no such adherence is obligatory.
The control over animals like lion, elephant, and tiger is possible if practised gradually. Likewise, Prana also can be brought under control. Care must be taken, otherwise, they will kill the practitioner. Exhaling should be done as per the requirement of the situation. Retention should be done to the best of one’s ability. In this way, the yogi will attain success.
Benefits of Purification
Holding of breath to the desired length of time, rousing of the fire, manifestation of the Nada, freedom from diseases are the consequences of the purification of Nadis. When Nadis and Chakras are purified by the practicing of Pranayama prescribed, Prana pierces opening the doors of Susumna and enters into it. When it enters the middle of Susumna, the fixation of mind is achieved that alone is the ecstatic state of mind.
Jalandhara Bandha should be performed at the end of inhalation (before starting retention) and Uddiyana Bandha should be performed at the end of retention but before the beginning of exhalation. When Mula Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha is performed together in Pachimottanasana (where Uddiyana Bandha also is assumed), Prana will go through Brahma Nadi (Susumna) suddenly. It brings the Apana upwards and Prana downwards from the throat. The merger makes the yogi free from old age. He is always sixteen years of age.
Assuming a comfortable posture, drawing in the outside air through the right nostril and making Kumbhaka to the extent until the inhaled air reaches the tips of the nails and the roots of the hair, the yogi should expel the air through the left nostril. For having done this, Kapala Sadhana (the purification of the cranium) and the destruction of diseases pertains to the Nadis through which the Prana travels will be the results.
Gradually drawing in the air through both the nostrils by making the sound in between the heart and the throat and making Kumbhaka to the maximum extent that is convenient to his capacity, the yogi should expel the air through the left nostril. He should practice this even while standing and walking. It boosts the fire of the belly and removes the phlegm.
Sucking the air through the mouth with a hissing sound and holding it in Kumbhaka to the extent possible, the yogi should expel through both the nostrils. It removes thirst, hunger, and sleep caused by lethargy.
Drawing in the air through the hole formed by tongue and holding the air to the extent possible, the yogi should expel it through both the nostrils. It removes indigestion, enlargement of the spleen, fever, unsettled stomach, hunger and the like.
Kinds of Kumbhaka
Kumbhaka is of two kinds: Sahitha Kumbhaka and Kevala Kumbhaka. Kumbhaka with inhalation and exhalation is Sahitha Kumbhaka. Kevala Kumbhaka is devoid of these. The yogi should practice Sahitha Kumbhaka until the Kevala Kumbhaka is accomplished. Nothing is impossible to him who has accomplished Kevala Kumbhaka. Awakening of Kundalini is achieved by Kevala Kumbhaka. His body will become light with a joyful appearance. His eyes will be free from dirt. Nada will manifest. He will be free from the grasps of the groups of diseases. His Bindu is under control. His body glows like a flame of fire.
Making the external vision pointless and free from opening and closing of eyelids while the internal vision of Yogi is on a fixed object, it is the famous Vaishnavi Mudra preserved as secret in all the Tantra scriptures.
Turning the vision inside and keeping the functions of the mind and Prana at rest, the eyes set to see outside or downwards but not seeing, with a motionless pupil of his eyes, the Yogi performs Kechari Mudra. It is the concentration of one object and it reveals the state of Truth which is beyond the state of void and non-void. (Note: the state of the void is sleep and the state of non-void is waking and dreaming. The state beyond that is Turya).
The Yogi with his eyes half-shut, vision directed towards the tip of the nose and mind firmly set, should bring about the dissolution of the moon and the Sun. What remains after the experience of explicit bliss is the consciousness of I am that matter which is in the form of innermost radiance, in the reach of transcendent Truth, devoid of all explicit differences and which illuminates all other matter.
Setting the pupil of the eyes fixed in the direction of the radiance (eyebrow center) by casting the eye-lids a little upwards is the pathway to bring the state of ecstasy. For this reason, one should practice Kechari Mudra. It results in Yoga Nidra. (Yoga Nidra is a state achieved by the yogi who goes beyond the states of waking, dreaming and sleeping. A state is known as Turya or Turyatita). There is no concept of time for the one who has attained the state of Yoga Nidra.
Be happy! Sandilya! After dissolving your mind in the power of Kundalini, awakening the power of Kundalini to reach all functions of the mind and seeing the mind by the mind, place your Atman in the middle of the ether of your consciousness. Also, place the ether of consciousness in the middle of your Atman. Having made everything the ether of consciousness, you should think of nothing but ether of consciousness.
Concern not of external or internal matters. Give them up and be on consciousness alone. Dissolve your mind and seek harmony in Truth of Atman like camphor dissolves in the fire and like the salt in water. Know everything that forms the basis of belief. Knowing is known as mind. Knowledge and that which is be known both perishes simultaneously. There is no other way. When what has to be known is given up, the mind attains dissolution. Then the aloneness only remains.
Yoga and Jnana
There are two ways to achieve this feat of mind dissolution: Yoga and Jnana (wisdom).
Yoga contains a way to stop the functions of the mind. When the functions are stopped and put at rest, the mind will automatically get dissolved because of the complete detachment from the worldly affairs, like the absence of the solar light at the time of rest (night).
By the study of scriptures, the association of spiritual personalities, the dispassion and the practice of yoga, the state of non-attachment towards the worldly affairs as stated earlier is attained. The prolonged and single-pointed practice of meditating on the one-essence (Brahman) with determination, the Prana will be made immobile. (Note: When the mind moves, Prana also moves. when the Prana is immobile, the mind gets dissolved and vice versa).
The movement of mind is stopped by the determined practice of Pranayama with Puraka and others. By the yoga of meditation at a secluded place, the movement of mind is stopped.
The sound of Japa of Omkara embraced with its nature and meaning makes the stoppage of the movement of both internal and external consciousness and by this way, the movement of Prana is stopped.
When the bell-shaped uvula with the support of the tongue reaches the empty space above, the movement of Prana is stopped. (Note: by the practice of Kechari Mudra)
By the dedicated practice, when the Prana is reached Dvadasantha (the place of the twelfth end which is located in Brahma Randhra above Uvula), senses are devoid of all their perceptions and the movement of Prana is suspended. (Note: by the practice of Sanmukhi Mudra).
When the power of consciousness is muted in the empty space which is twelve Angulas from the tip of the nose, the movement of Prana is stopped. (Note: by the practice of Nasikagra Drishti Mudra).
When the pupils of the eyes are directed towards the center of eyebrows and at the same time the mind is placed in the inner consciousness, the movement of Prana is muted. (Note: by the practice of Sambhavi Mudra).
The result of the supposition of the attitude: “I am Om alone free from everything” and the investigation of the import of Omkara, gives the knowledge to be known, the Brahman which is untouched by the slightest change. By this knowledge, the movement of Prana is suspended.
As a result of the continuous meditation of ether of consciousness and the heart comes to know the ether. By this way, the nearness of one-essence is reached and the movement of Prana is stopped.
In the aforesaid ways and means employed at the different mental resolves, as directed by the various preceptors directly or indirectly, the movement of Prana is suspended.
By forcefully opening the door of Kundalini by compressing (by the practice of Mulabandha), the yogi should pierce open the door of liberation. The Kundalini is sleeping with its face covering the door encircling in a crooked form like a serpent. Whoever rouses that serpent gets liberated. If it sleeps above the throat, that will lead to liberation. If it is below, it will be the bondage of ignorance. If the yogi selects the course of Prana through Susumna leaving aside Ida and Pingala, he will reach the state of Vishnu.
All practices relating to Prana should be practiced along with the mind. The functioning of the mind is not allowed to be elsewhere by the man of wisdom.
Worship not Vishnu during daytime and Worship not Vishnu during night time. Worship Vishnu always, not in the day or night. (Note: The meaning of Upanishad here is highly recondite. Worshipping Vishnu here means the practice of Prana along the course of Susumna. The yogi should not practice Prana along the course of Susumna through Pingala during daytime and likewise, he should not practice it through Ida during night time. But he should practice it always, not limiting it through Ida in the daytime or Pingala in the night time).
The Practice of Kechari Mudra
Kechari Mudra is located in Susumna wherein the knowledge of five streams is generated. Attain it. O Sandilaya! Attain it. The Prana left in Ida and Pingala flows through Susumna. Kechari Mudra is located there, without a doubt. The vacuum between Ida and Pingala will also grasp Prana. Truth is there wherever the Kechari Mudra is. Between the moon and the sun in the support-less ether, Kechari Mudra is established.
Making the tongue elongated by cutting and turned inside to reach the empty space above Uvula, and fixing the eyes in the center of eye-brows, Kechari Mudra is performed. Both mind and tongue move into the ethereal space. A man with his tongue upturned is immortal.
By folding the left leg and pressing the genitals with the heel, stretching the right leg forward and holding with two hands, the yogi should inhale through the left nostril, constrict his throat and make Kumbhaka. By doing this all troubles will be destroyed. Then, even poison is digested as nectar. The diseases like dyspepsia, constipation and skin disease will vanish. This is the means to be employed for control of Prana and annihilation of death.
Placing the left heel on the genitals and right foot over the left thigh, after inhaling he should place his chin over the chest and perform Kumbhaka to his maximum ability with the mind assuming the attitude I am Brahman. In this way, he attains Aparoksha Siddhi. (Note: The knowledge of “All is Brahman” is Paroksha Jnana whereas the attitude attained through the realization of “All is Brahman” is Aparoksha Jnana).
Inhaling the air and holding it with the mind in the navel, nose and big toes either in twilight or always. By this way, the yogi is free from all the diseases and fatigue. By doing so at the tip of the nose, he will get control over Prana. In the middle of the navel, all diseases are conquered. At the big toes, the agility of the body comes.
For the yogi who the inhales air through tongue and drinks it always, there is no fatigue, thirst, and diseases for him. For him who inhales the Prana and drinks it in twilights for three months, his speech becomes scholarly and blessed. In six months, all diseases will vanish. By passing on the Prana with the aid of the tongue he should restrain it at the root of the tongue. For that person who drinks that nectar, all prosperity will come.
Inhaling the air through Ida and holding it at the center of eyebrows, the yogi should break and drink the nectar there. Even he is afflicted with diseases, he will get relieved from them.
If the yogi holds the Prana drawn in the navel and in the sides of the belly even for one Ghatika (24 minutes), he is free from all the diseases.
During Dawn, noon and twilight for one month, drawing the Prana through the tongue and holding it in the belly, he should break open the disc of the moon and drink the nectar. For him, all kinds of fevers and poisons meet with destruction.
For him who holds the Prana at the tip of the nose along with the mind for at least one Muhurta (One Muhurta is equal to two Ghatikas or 48 minutes), all the sins accumulated through hundreds of previous births become nullified.
By Samyama on Tara (Pranava), the knowledge of all things is achieved. By Samyama on the tip of the nose with the mind, the knowledge of Indra-Loka is gained. A Samyama on the place little below, the knowledge of Agni-loka. By Samyama over the eyes with the mind, knowledge of all the worlds. On the ears, the knowledge of Yama-Loka. By their sides, the knowledge of Niruti-loka is attained. Over the back, Varuna-loka. Over the left ear, Vayu-loka. The throat, Soma-loka. The left-eye, Siva-loka. The Crest, Brahma-loka. Sole of the feet, Atala-loka. The feet, Vitala-loka. The ankle, Nitala-loka. The shank, Sutala-loka. The knee, Maha-tala-loka. The thigh, Rasa-tala-loka. The hip, Tala-tala-loka. The navel, Bhur-loka. The belly, Bhuvar-loka. The heart, Svar-loka. The upper part of the heart, the Mahar-loka. The throat, Jnana-loka. The middle of the eye-brow, Tapo-loka. The crest, Sathya-loka. (Note: Sathya-loka and Brahma-loka are the same). By Samyama on Dharma and Adharma (Virtuous and Non-virtuous conducts), the knowledge of the past and future is gained. Samyama over the minds of others, the knowledge of the minds of the others. The form of the body, invisibility is attained. On Strength, the strength of Hanuman and others. The Sun, the knowledge of the universe. The moon, the knowledge of constellations. The pole-star, its motion. On one’s own goal, the knowledge of Atman. The navel chakra, the anatomy of the body. On the cavity of throat comes the riddance of thirst and hunger. Kurma-Nadi, firmness. The pupil of the eye, the vision of a Siddha is materialized. Ether of the body, levitation. Respective powers are attained through Samyama on respective places.
Henceforth Pratyahara is explained which is of five kinds.
1. The forceful withdrawal of organs of perception from sensual pleasures where they naturally revel is Pratyahara.
2. Assuming all objects as Atman is Pratyahara.
3. Giving up the fruits of activities of daily routines is Pratyahara.
4. Keeping oneself away from all the sensual pleasures is Pratyahara.
5. Dharana on eighteen vital parts of the body in the said order of sequence is Pratyahara.
The eighteen parts of the body are:
1. The feet
2. The big toes
3. The ankles
4. The Shanks
5. The Knees
6. The Thighs
7. The anus
8. The genitals
9. The navel
10. The heart
11. The Throat
12. The cavity of the throat
13. The palate
14. The Nostrils
15. The eyes
16. The center of Eyebrows
17. The forehead
18. The crest
Dharana should be performed over these parts in the ascending order and then in the descending order also.
Hereinafter, Dharanas are explained which are of three types:
· Stabilising the mind in Atman.
· Stabilising the external ether in Tahar-akasa, the ether of heart.
· Stabilising the Five deities in the earth, water, fire, and ether. (Note: Five deities are Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra, Isvara, and Sadasiva).
Henceforth Dhyana which is of two kinds: Saguna and Nirguna. Saguna Dhyana is the meditation upon a deity. Nirguna Dhyana is the meditation upon Atman that is omnipresent.
Henceforward Samadhi. Samadhi is the merger of Jivatman and Paramatman. It is devoid of three states of Meditator, Meditated, and Meditation. It is in the form of never-ending bliss. It’s nature the pure consciousness.
The Sage Shandilya asked the Sage Atharvan to teach Brahma Vidya because he could not have the insight of Brahma Vidya in the four Vedas.
The Sage Atharvan explains:
Brahman is what the existence is. It is wisdom. It is devoid of the end. It has neither fading nor blooming. By knowing it, everything will come to be known, the warp and woof. It is imperceptible and indemonstrable. It has neither hands, feet, eyes, ears, tongue or body. The speech and mind recede to being incapable of reaching it. It is attainable only through realization. Ancient consciousness came out of it. It has no peer. It transcends everywhere like ether. It is intensely subtle and devoid of attachment. It is action-less. It is existence alone. It is the one essence of consciousness and bliss. It is auspicious, tranquilized and immortal. It is the all-pervading Brahman. Tat Tvam Asi. You are that. By the knowledge of it, you will come to know.
He is the only God. He employs the power of being the Atman alone as the primary power. He is omniscient. He is the God of all Gods. He is the Atman residing in all beings. His abode is in all beings. He is hidden in all beings. He is the origin of all beings. He can be reached gradually by means of yoga. He is the creator of the universe. He sustains it. He dissolves it. He is the Atman. In Atman, you know each one of the worlds. Don’t get eroded with sorrow. The wise knower of Atman will reach the end of his sorrow.
Forms of Brahman
The Sage Shandilya asked: While Para-Brahman being action-less, imperishable, auspicious and existence, how could it be possible for this world which is created, being sustained and dissolves back unto him? You only have the capacity to clear this doubt of mine.
The Sage Atharvan replied:
It is true that Para-Brahman is action-less and imperishable. The formless Brahman has three forms: Sakalam (with parts), Niskalam (without parts) and Sakala-Niskalam (with and without parts).
He is the Truth, wisdom, bliss, action-less, non-attached, all-pervading, intensely subtle, indemonstrable, facing all directions and immortal.
He co-exists with Mula-Prakriti and Maya. It is of red, white and black in color. Maheswara who is the co-existing God who is Black and brown color holds sway.
God Maheswara, who has out-grown his form by penance, complete with wisdom, desires as: “May I become many, May I bring forth progeny”. From God Maheswara who has been performing severe penance and taken the oath of Truth, the three letters (AUM) are generated. Form him alone, the three Vyahriti-s (Bhur, Bhuvar, Suvar), three Gayatri-s, three Vedas (Rig, Yajur, Sama), three deities (Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra), three colours (Red, Green and Blue) and three sacrificial fires (Dakshina, Garkapatiya and Ahavaniya) also came into being. He is gifted with all wealth. He pervades all. He is well-established in the heart of all beings. He is full of Maya (Illusion). His form is out of Maya only. (Note: Sakala-Brahman is full of Maya only. Niskala Brahman is Mula-Prakriti only. Sakala-Niskala-Brahman is the combination of both). He is the deity Brahman, Vishnu, Rudra, Indra, all the Gods, and all the beings. He alone is afront and behind. He alone is on the right and left. He alone is above and below. He alone is everything. He who is playing with the Power of Atman is full of compassion towards his worshippers. His form is Dattatreya whose body is without any clothes, who has four arms like lotus petals and whose body is pleasant which represent sinless-ness. These are the features of Sakala Brahman.
Sage Shandilya: Why the absolute-one-essence is called as Para-Brahman?
The Sage Atharvan: It creates and is being the source of all creations. This is why it is said to be Para-Brahman.
Sage Shandilya: Why it is called as Atman?
The Sage Atharvan: Because it attains everything, gets everything and consumes everything.
Sage Shandilya: Why it is called as Mahesvara?
The Sage Atharvan: Because he grows out of echo of the sound (Pranava) and the power of Atman (that rules everything).
Sage Shandilya: Why then it is known as Dattatreya?
The Sage Atharvan: Being satisfied by the penance of Sage Atri seeking to have a son, the ever effulgent Lord gave his own self to him to have his son born of Anusuya. For this reason, he is known as Dattatreya. (Note: Atreya means son of Atri, Datt here denotes Mahesvara. The terms Brahman, Atman, Mahesvara, and Dattatreya are defined here with meanings conducive to its etymological derivations)
One who knows the derivations of the above terms knows everything. Having known this, one who meditates on the Para-Brahman with the attitude: “I am He”, he will be the knower of Brahman.
The following verse is appeared here (in this Upanishad).
One should contemplate on Dattatreya, who is auspicious and serene, who resembles like the gem of Indra-Neela, who takes his abode in Maya and Atman, who is nude and takes the directions as his clothes, who has his limbs smeared with holy ashes, who wears the crown of matted hairs, who is being the magnificent lord of four hands and capacious limbs, eyes resembling like full-flown lotus flowers, who is the treasure of Yoga and Jnana, who is the Guru of the universe, who is being the object adored by all the yogis, who is compassionate of his devotees, who is the witness of everything and being served by the accomplished adepts. To him who meditates on him, all sins are destroyed and he will attain the pleasant bliss.
Om Tat Sat.
He has got 40 years of experience in traditional yoga philosophy and practice. He is well versed in Classical Sanskrit and Classical Tamil texts. His other area of proficiency includes Tantra and South Indian Astrology.