[Get This]

[1] The Yoga Sutra of Patañjali, ii, 49, 52, 53.

[2] Ibid., Vãchaspatis gloss, ii, 104.

[3] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 1-4.

[4] Ibid., 5-6. Compare the opening section on Purification of Nãdis in Gheranda Samhitã, v, 33-5: "He should sit on a seat of Kusa-grass, or an antelope skin, or tiger skin or a blanket, or on earth, calmly and quietly, facing east or north. Having purified the nãdis, let him begin Prãnãyãma. Candakãpãli said. Ocean of mercy! How are nãdis purified, what is the purification of Nãdis; I want to learn all this; recite to me. Gheranda said, The Vãyu does not (cannot) enter the nãdis so long as they are full of impurities. How then can Prãnãyãma be accomplished? How can there be knowledge of Tattvas? Therefore, first the Nãdis should be purified, and then Prãnãyãma should be practised."

[5] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, 7-10. Compare Gheranda Samhitã, v, 38-45: "Sitting in the Padmãsana posture, and performing the adoration of the Guru, etc., as taught by the Teacher, let him perform purification of Nãdis for success in Prãnãyãma. Contemplating on Vãyu-Bija (yam) [the seed syllable of the energy of air], full of energy and of a smoke-colour, let him draw in breath by the left nostril, repeating the Bija sixteen times. This is Puraka. Let him restrain the breath for a period of sixty-four repetitions of the Mantra. This is Kumbhaka. Then let him expel the air by the right nostril slowly during a period occupied by repeating the Mantra thirty-two times. The root of the navel is the seat of Agni-Tattva [Fire-essence]. Raising the fire from that place, join the Prthivi-Tattva [Earth-essence] with it; then contemplate on this mixed light. Then repeating sixteen times the Agni-Bija (ram) [The seed syllable of the energy of fire] let him draw in breath by the right nostril, and retain it for the period of sixty-four repetitions of the Mantra, and then expel it by the left nostril for a period of thirty-two repetitions of the Mantra. Then fixing the gaze on the tip of the nose and contemplating the luminous reflection of the moon there, let him inhale through the left nostril, repeating the Bija tham sixteen times; let him retain it by repeating the Bija tham sixty-four times; in the meanwhile imagine (or contemplate) that the nectar flowing from the moon at the tip of the nose runs through all the vessels of the body, and purifies them. Thus contemplating, let him exhale repeating thirty- two times the Prthivi Bija lain [the seed syllable of the energy of earth]. By these three Prãnãyãmas the nãdis are purified. Then sitting firmly in a posture, let him begin regular Prãnãyãma." This would be true only in the event that one is already a Yogi. For others a much longer period is obviously needed.

Compare Siva Samhitã, iii, 22-4: "Then let the wise practitioner close with his right thumb the Pingalã (the right nostril), inspire air through the Idã (the left nostril); and keep air confined-suspend his breathing-as long as he can, and afterwards let him breathe out slowly, and not forcibly, through the right nostril. Again, let him draw breath through the right nostril, and stop breathing as long as his strength permits; then let him expel the air through the left nostril, not forcibly but slowly and gently. According to the above method of Yoga, let him practise twenty kumbhakas (stopping of the breath). He should practise this daily without neglect or idleness, and free from all duels (of love and hatred, and doubt and contention), etc."

[6] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 39-44: Compare Gheranda Samhitã, v, 46: "The Kumbhakas or retentions of breath are of eight sorts; Sahita, Súrya-bheda, Ujjãyi, Sitali, Bhastrikã, Bhrãmari, Murcchã, and Kevali." The variations will be discussed in their proper sequence.

[7] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 15-20: "Just as lions, elephants and tigers are controlled by and by, so the breath is controlled by slow degrees, otherwise (i.e., by being hasty or using too much force) it kills the practiser himself. When Prãnãyãma, etc. are performed properly, they eradicate all diseases, but an improper practice generates diseases. Hiccup, asthma, cough, pain in the head, the ears, and the eyes; these and other various kinds of diseases are generated by the disturbances of the breath. The air should be expelled with proper tact, and should be filled in skillfully, and should be kept confined properly. Thus it brings success. When the nãdis become free from impurities, and there appear the outward signs of success, such as lean body and glowing colour, then one should feel certain of success. By removing the impurities of the nãdis the air can be restrained, according to ones wish, and the appetite is increased, the divine sound is awakened, and the body becomes healthy."

Compare Siva Samhitã, iii, 31: "The following qualities are surely always found in the body of every Yogi :-Strong appetite, good digestion, cheerfulness, handsome figure, great courage, mighty enthusiasm and full strength."

[8] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, ~ For the effect this practice is supposed to have on the body (see so): "This excellent Súrya Bhedana cleanses the forehead (frontal sinuses), destroys the disorders of Vãta and removes the worms, and, therefore, it should be performed again and again." Compare Gheranda Samhitã, v, 58-68: "Inspire with all your strength the external air through the sun-tube (right nostril): retain this air with the greatest care, performing the Jãlandhara Mudrã. Let the Kumbhaka be kept up until the perspiration burst out from the tips of the nails and the roots of the hair.

"The Vãyus are ten, namely, Prãna, Apãna, Samãna, Udãna, and Vyãna; Nãga, Kurma, Krkara, Devadatta, and Dhanamjaya.

"The Prãna moves always in the heart; the Apãna in the sphere of anus; the Samãna in the navel region; the Udãna in the throat; and the Vyãna pervades the whole body. These are the five principal Vãyus, known as Prãnãdi. They belong to the inner body. The Nãgãdi five Vãyus belong to the Outer body.

"I now tell thee the seats of these five external Vãyus. The Nãga-Vãyu performs the function of belching; the Kurma opens the eye-lids; the Krkara causes sneezing; the Devadatta does yawning; the Dhanamjaya pervades the whole gross body, and does not leave it even after death.

"The Nãga-Vãyu gives rise to consciousness, the Kurma causes vision, the Krkara hunger and thirst, the Devadatta produces yawning and by Dhanamjaya sound is produced. This does not leave the body even for a minute.

"Let him raise all these Vãyus, which are separated by the Suryanãdi, from the root of the nave!; then exhale by the Idã-nãdi, slowly with confidence and with unbroken, continuous force. Let him again inhale through the right nostril, retaining it, as taught above, and exhale it again. Let him do this again and again. (In this process, the air is always inspired through the Súrya-nãdi.)

"Súrya-bheda Kumbhaka destroys decay and death, awakens the Kundali sakti, increases the bodily fire, O Canda! thus have I taught thee the Suryabhedana Kumbhaka."

For a comparative description of the Vãyus see Siva Samhitã, iii, 1-9: "In the heart, there is a brilliant lotus with twelve petals adorned with brilliant signs. It has the letters from k to th (i.e. k, kh, g, gh, n, ch, chh, j, jh, n, t, th), the twelve beautiful letters. The Prãna lives there, adorned with various desires, accompanied by its past works, that have no beginning, and joined with egoism (Ahankãra). From the different modification of the Prãna, it receives various names; all of them cannot be stated here. Prãna, Apãna, Samãna, Udãna, Vyãna, Nãga, Kurma, Krikara, Devatta, and Dhanañjaya. These are the ten principal names, described by me in this Sãstra; they perform all the functions, incited thereto by their own actions. Again, out of these ten, the first five are the leading ones; even among these, the Prãna and Apãna are the highest agents in my opinion. The seat of the Prãna is the heart; of the Apãna, the anus; of the Samãna, the region around the navel; of the Udãna the throat; while the Vyãna moves all over the body. The five remaining vãyus, the N5ga, etc., perform the following functions in the body; Eructation, opening the eyes, hunger and thirst, gaping. or yawning, and lastly hiccup. He who in this way knows the microcosm of the body, being absolved from all sins, reaches the highest state.

[9] This is a simple technique used to prevent the air from rushing up into the head. For classical. description see below, pp. 70-71.

[10] See Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 11: "Kumbhakas should be performed gradually four times during day and night (i.e. morning, noon, evening, and midnight), till the number of Kumbhakas for one time is 8o and for the day and night together it is 320." Compare Siva Samhitã, iii, 25: "These Kumbhakas should be practised four times: once (1) early in the morning at sunrise (2) then at midday, (3) the third time at sunset, and (4) the fourth time at midnight." This is the accepted discipline for any breathing practice; however, three periods, or even two, are sufficient in the beginning.

[11] Gheranda Samhitã, v, 53: "Let him practise, thus alternating the nostrils again and again. When inhalation is completed, close both nostrils, the right one by the thumb and the left one by the ring-finger and little-finger, never using the index and middle-fingers. This nostril is to be closed so long as Kumbhaka is."

[12] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii , 51-53. Compare Gheranda Samhitã, v, 69-72: "Close the mouth, draw in the external air by both the nostrils, and pull the internal air from the lungs and throat: retain them in the mouth. Then having washed the mouth (i.e. expelled the air through mouth) perform Jãlandhara. Let him perform Kumbhaka with all his might and retain the air unhindered. All works are accomplished by Ujjãyi Kumbhaka. He is never attacked by phlegm-diseases, or nerve-diseases, or indigestion, or dysentery, or consumption, or cough; or fever, or (enlarged) spleen. Let a man perform Ujjãyi to destroy decay and death."

[13] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 54-6. This first stage is not listed in the Gheranda Samhitã.

[14] Ibid., 57-8. Compare Gheranda Samhitã, v, 73-4: "Draw in the air through the mouth (with the lips contracted and tongue thrown out), and fill the stomach slowly. Retain it there for a short time. Then exhale it through both the nostrils. Let the Yogin always practise this Sitali Kumbhaka, giver of bliss; by so doing he will be free from indigestion, phlegm and bilious disorders."

[15] See above, pp. 44-45.

[16] See Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 68. Compare Gheranda Samhitã, v, 78-82: "At past midnight in a place where there are no sounds of animals, etc., to be heard, let the Yogin practise Puraka and Kumbhaka, closing the ears by the hands. He will then hear various internal sounds in his right ear. The first sound will be like that of crickets, then that of a flute, then that of a beetle, then that of bells, then those of gongs of bell-metal, trumpets, kettle-drums, mrdanga, military drums, and dundubhi, etc. Thus various sounds are cognised by daily practise of this Kumbhaka. Last of all is heard the Anãhata sound rising from the heart; of this sound there is a resonance, in that resonance there is a Light. In that Light the mind should be immersed. When the mind is absorbed then it reaches the highest seat of Visñu (parama-pada). By success in this Bhrãmari Kumbhaka one gets success in Samãdhi." This practice is frequently called the beetle-droning kumbhaka. It can be done in any comfortable posture and is best practised at midnight in absolute silence. The sound is accomplished by uttering Ah as low in the throat as possible vibrating the palate. Eventually this tone becomes dear. This practice is designed to produce a specific condition in the mind, but this cannot be effected until it is possible to hold the breath for several minutes at a time. Only the most highly developed Yogis experience these various sounds.

[17] See Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 69. Compare Gheranda Samhitã, v, 83: "Having performed Kumbhaka with comfort, let him withdraw the mind from all objects and fix it in the space between the eyebrows. This causes fainting of the mind and gives happiness. For, by thus joining the Manas (Mind) with the Atman (Soul), the bliss of Yoga is certainly obtained."

[18] See Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 70.

[19] Compare Gheranda Samhitã, v, 47-57: "The Sahita Kumbhaka is of two sorts; Sagarbha and Nigarbha (Sound and Without Sound). The Kumbhaka performed by the repetition of I3ija Mantra is Sagarbha; that done without such repetition is Nigarbha. First I shall tell thee the Sagarbha Prãnãyãma. Sitting in Sukhãsana posture, facing east or north, let one contemplate on Brahma full of Rajas quality of a blood-red colour, in the form of the letter A. Let the wise practitioner inhale by the left nostril, repeating A sixteen times. Then before he begins retention (but at the end of inhalation), let him perform Uddiyãna Bandha. Then let him retain breath by repeating U, sixty-four times, contemplating on Han, of a black colour and Sattva quality. Then let him exhale the breath through the right nostril by repeating makara thirty-two times, contemplating Siva of a white colour and of Tamas quality. Then again inhale through Pingalã (right nostril), retain by Kumbhaka, and exhale by Idã (left nostril), in the method taught above, changing the nostrils alternately. Let him practise, thus alternating the nostrils again and again. When inhalation is completed, close both nostrils, the right one by the thumb and the left one by the ring-finger and little-finger, never using the index and middle-fingers. The nostrils to be closed as long as Kumbhaka is.

"The Nigarbha (or simple or mantraless) Prãnãyãma is performed without the repetition of Bija mantra; and the period of Puraka (inhalation of inspiration), Kumbhaka (retention), and Rechaka (expiration), may be extended from one to hundred mãtrãs. The best is twenty Mãtrãs: i.e., Puraka 20 seconds, Kumbhaka 80, and Rechaka 40 seconds. The sixteen mãtrãs is middling, i.e. 16, 64, 32. The twelve mãtrãs is the lowest, i.e. 12, 48, 24. Thus the Prãnãyãma is of three sorts. By practising the lowest Prãnãyãma for some time, the body begins to quiver (especially there is a feeling of quivering along the spinal cord). By the highest Prãnãyãma one leaves the ground, i.e. there is levitation. These signs attend the success of these three sorts of Prãnãyãma. By Prãnãyãma is attained the power of levitation (Khecarî Sakti), by Prãnãyãma diseases are cured, by Prãnãyãma the Sakti (spiritual energy) is awakened, by Prãnãyãma is obtained the calmness of mind and exaltation of mental powers (clairvoyance, etc.); by this, mind becomes full of bliss; verily the practitioner of Prãnãyãma is happy."

[20] Kevali is the eighth kumbhaka listed in Gheranda Samhitã and is described at length; see v, 84-96: "The breath of every person in entering makes the sound of sah and in coming out that of ham. These two sounds make (soham I am He) or (hamsah The Great Swan). Throughout a day and a night there are twenty-one thousand and six hundred such respirations (that is, 15 respirations per minute). Every living being (Jiva) performs this japa (repetition) unconsciously, but constantly. This is called Ajapã gãyattri. This Ajapã-japa is performed in three places, i.e. in the Mulãdhãra (the space between the anus and membranum virile), in the Anãhata lotus (heart) and the Ajña lotus (the space where the nostrils unite). This body is ninety-six digits long (i.e. six feet) as a standard. The ordinary length of the air current when expired is twelve digits (nine inches); in singing, its length becomes sixteen digits (one foot); in eating, it is twenty digits (15 inches), in walking, it is twenty-four digits (18 inches); in sleep, it is thirty digits (22.5 inches); in copulation it is thirty-six digits (27 inches), and in taking physical exercises, it is more than that. By decreasing the natural length of the expired current from nine inches to less and less, there takes place increase of life; and by increasing the current, there is decrease of life. So long as breath remains in the body there is no death. When the full length of the wind is all confined in the body, nothing being allowed to go out, it is Kevala Kumbhaka.

"All Jivas are constantly and unconsciously reciting this Ajapã Mantra, only for a fixed number of times every day. But a Yogin should recite this consciously and counting the numbers. By doubling the number of Ajapã (i.e. by 30 respirations per minute), the state of Manonmani (fixedness of mind) is attained. There are no regular Rechaka and Puraka in this process. It is only (Kevala) Kumbhaka. By inspiring air by nostrils, let him perform Kevala Kumbhaka. On the first day let him retain breath from one to sixty-four times. This Kevali should be performed eight times a day, once every three hours; or one may do it five times a day, as I shall tell thee. First in the early morning, then at noon, then in the twilight, then at midnight, and then in the fourth quarter of the night. Or one may do it thrice a day, i.e., in the morning, noon and evening. So long as success is not obtained in Kevali, he should increase the length of ajapã-japa every day, one to five times. He who knows Prãnãyãma and Kevali is the real Yogin. What can he not accomplish in this world who has acquired success in Kevali Kumbhaka?"

[21] Compare Siva Samhitã, iii, 39: "When the Yogi can, of his will, regulate the air and stop the breath (whenever and how long) he likes, then certainly he gets success in Kumbhaka, and from success in Kumbhaka only, what things cannot the Yogi command here?"

[22] Kundalini is believed to be the static background against which the phenomena of life are manifest. In order to understand the full implication of this term, which has no Western equivalent, see Serpent Power, by Arthur Avalon. It is fully discussed in that volume. The awakening of this latent force which is believed to reside in man is the final aim of all Hatha Yoga. That is why it is frequently called Kundalinî Yoga; however, special techniques are needed to effect this result. Compare the statement on "The Awakening of Kundalinî," in Siva Samhitã, iv, 12-14: "Now I shall tell you the best means of attaining success in Yoga. The practitioners should keep it secret. It is the inaccessible Yoga. When the sleeping goddess Kunda1ini is awakened through the grace of Guru, then all the lotuses (nerve centres) and the bonds are readily pierced through and through. Therefore, in order that the goddess, who is asleep (latent) in the mouth of the Brahmarandhra be awakened, the Mudrãs should be practised with the greatest care." "Brahmarandhra" is said to be the fontanel.

[23] Compare Siva Samhitã, v, 181: "The Hatha Yoga cannot be obtained without the Rãja Yoga, nor can the Rãja Yoga be attained without the Hatha Yoga. Therefore, let the Yogi first learn the Hatha Yoga from the instructions of the wise Guru."

[24] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 71-7. Patañjali mentions only four kinds of prãnãyãma; see the Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, ii, 50-1: "Manifestation as external, internal and total restraint is regulated by place, time, and number; and thus it becomes long in duration and subtle. The fourth is that which follows when the spheres of the external and internal have-been-passed." By place is meant the duration of these which is called Mãtrã. This is generally considered to be equivalent to our second. Vãchaspati in his Gloss on this aphorism says, "A mãtrã (measure) is the time which is taken up by thrice turning up ones hand over ones knee and then snapping the fingers once. Measured by thirty-six such mãtrãs is the first attempt (udghãta) which is mild. Twice that is the second, which is middling. Thrice that is the third, which is intense. This is the Prãnãyãma as measured by number."

[25] See Siva Samhitã, iii, 53-4: "Then gradually he should make himself able to practice for three Ghatis (one hour and a half a time, he should be able to restrain breath for that period). Through this, the Yogi undoubtedly obtains all the longed-for powers. The Yogi acquires the following powers: Vãkya Siddhi (prophecy), transporting himself everywhere at will (Kãmachãri), clairvoyance (duradristhi), clairaudience (durasrute), subtle-sight (Suksmadristi), and the power of entering anothers body (Parakãyapravesana), turning base metal into gold by rubbing them with his excrements and urine, and the power of becoming invisible, and lastly, moving in the air."

[26] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 12-13. Compare Siva Samhitã, iii, 40-1: "In the first stage of Prãnãyãma, the body of the Yogi begins to perspire, When it perspires he should rub it well, otherwise the body of the Yogi loses its Dhãtu (humours). In the second stage there takes place the trembling of the body; in the third, the jumping about like a frog; and when the practice becomes greater, the adept walks in the air."

[27] Siva Samhitã, iii, 47.

[28] Hatha Yoga Pradîpikã, ii, 78. Compare Siva Samhitã, iii, 43-6: "... from the perfection of Prãnãyãma, follow decrease of sleep, excrements and urine. The truth-perceiving Yogi becomes free from disease, and sorrow or afflictions; he never gets (putrid) perspiration, saliva and intestinal worms. When in the body of the practitioner, there is neither any increase of phlegm, wind, nor bile; then he may with impunity be irregular in his diet and the rest. No injurious results then would follow, were the Yogi to take a large quantity of food, or very little, or no food at all. Through the strength of constant practice, the Yogi obtains Bhuchari-siddhi [Moving on the earth], he moves as the frog jumps over the ground, when frightened away by the clapping of hands." I experienced many of these signs.