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Pranayama - Mastering the dance of life force energy - Part 2

Further to previous "Part-1" of my blog where we looked at what is pranayama, today we will continue to explore more advantages of performing this ancient technique, what is initiation and also look at what is kriya yoga and what are the similarities between Siddha Yogam and Kriya Yoga and what are the differences and advantages what is the common goal of both processes.

The most crucial component of beginning this traditional antarmukha pranayama is called as "Upadesam," which translates to "Initiation" in English. This upadesam must be obtained from a knowledgeable guru who introduces the pupil into this wonderful technique. Once initiated, the disciple's breathing rate drops dramatically from 15 breaths per minute to 4/5 breaths per minute. The importance of taking initiation is also brought out by Sri Krishna in the Bhagavad-Gita in the 9th Chapter {" Raja vidhya Raja guhyam" This confidential Yogam should be taught by a learned Guru (preceptor), who should be well versed with both theory and practice.}. The devotion of the disciple towards the guru is vital for his progress in taking him further in this process.

Some of the advantages which we see immediately in our body after initiation

  • Our breathing rate slows tremendously from 15 breathes per minute to 4/5 breathes per minute

  • We gain tremendous energy within our body and suddenly our focus and concentration on anything we do increases.

  • Even if we sleep for 4-5 hrs in the night, we still feel fully energetic by the time we wake up in the morning.

  • Our metabolism rate increases tremendously and the digestive fire within our body increases.

  • There is considerable decrease in our resting heart rate to less than 60 beats per minute.

What is Kriya Yoga and how is it different from Siddha Yogam or Antarmukha Yogam

In my very first book that i read, Autobiography of a yogi, paramahamsa Yogananda beautifully describes {Kriya Yoga as “union (yoga) with the Infinite through a certain action or rite.” A yogi who faithfully follows its technique is gradually freed from karma or the universal chain of causation}. Although Paramahamsa Yogananda also explicitly mentions in his book that he cannot reveal the exact technique in a book which is written for the general public, it can be learned only through a practicing kriyaban or a guru. Kriya Yoga is a simple, psychophysiological method by which the human blood is decarbonised and recharged with oxygen. The atoms of this extra oxygen are transmuted into life current to rejuvenate the brain and spinal centres.

“The Kriya Yoga which I am giving to the world through you in this nineteenth century,” Babaji told Lahiri Mahasaya, “is a revival of the same science which Krishna gave, millenniums ago, to Arjuna in the Bhagavad-Gita, and which was later known to Patanjali.

Kriya Yoga is referred to by Krishna, India’s greatest prophet, in a stanza of the Bhagavad Gita: “Offering inhaling breath into the outgoing breath, and offering the outgoing breath into the inhaling breath, the yogi neutralises both these breaths; he thus releases the life force from the heart and brings it under his control.” The interpretation is: “The yogi arrests decay in the body by an addition of life force, and arrests the mutations of growth in the body by apana (eliminating current). Thus neutralising decay and growth, by quieting the heart, the yogi learns life control.”

Krishna also relates that it was he, in a former incarnation, who communicated the indestructible yoga to an ancient illuminati, Vivasvat, who gave it to Manu, the great legislator. He, in turn, instructed Ikshwaku, the father of India’s solar warrior dynasty. Passing thus from one to another, the royal yoga was guarded by the rishis until the coming of the materialistic ages. Then, due to priestly secrecy and man’s indifference, the sacred knowledge gradually became inaccessible.

Kriya Yoga is mentioned twice by the ancient sage Patanjali, foremost exponent of yoga, who wrote: “Kriya Yoga consists of body discipline, mental control, and meditating on Aum.

Patanjali refers a second time to the life-control or Kriya technique thus: “Liberation can be accomplished by that pranayama which is attained by disjoining the course of inspiration and expiration

Kriya Yoga is an instrument through which human evolution can be quickened,” Sri Yukteswar, the guru of Yogananda, explained to his students. “The ancient yogis discovered that the secret of cosmic consciousness is intimately linked with breath mastery. This is India’s unique and deathless contribution to the world’s treasury of knowledge. The life force, which is ordinarily absorbed in maintaining the heart-pump, must be freed for higher activities by a method of calming and stilling the ceaseless demands of the breath.”

One thousand Kriya practiced in eight hours gives the yogi, in one day, the equivalent of one thousand years of natural evolution: 365,000 years of evolution in one year. In three years, a Kriya Yogi can thus accomplish by intelligent self-effort the same result which nature brings to pass in a million years.

The Kriya beginner employs his yogic exercise only fourteen to twenty-eight times, twice daily. A number of yogis achieve emancipation in six or twelve or twenty-four or forty-eight years. A yogi who dies before achieving full realisation carries with him the good karma of his past Kriya effort; in his new life he is harmoniously propelled toward his Infinite Goal.

The Similarities and differences between Siddha Yogam and Kriya Yoga

As we can see there are plenty of similarities between the two paths which we are discussing when it comes to the science of Pranayama, however the main differences between the paths is as follows:

  • Kriya yoga starter is first taught some energisation exercises which prepare the body for meditation

  • There are also some physical exercises and concentration techniques which prepare our mind to focus

  • Later they also teach the Kriyaban the process of chanting the "Aum" Mantra , chanting and meditating on the mantra.

  • The final phase of the path teaches the most important technique of all, Pranayama or life force energy control.

On the other hand, the siddha yoga tradition, which traces its roots to the great rishi , known as Agastya.

The main difference of this tradition with that of kriya yoga is that , the disciple can directly get initiated into the Siddha Yogam or Pranayama (life force energy control) and they can practice it without any break instead of going through various steps like Kriya Yoga. So, we can see that Siddha yoga tradition may be called as a faster path to getting into this ancient science of Pranayama

So after bringing you the similarities and differences between both kriya yoga and siddha yoga, let us look at the ultimate aim of the processes.

Mental & Spiritual Energy

We all agree that there is some Ultimate spiritual energy that is running the entire cosmos. This same spiritual energy is creating matter, and the same energy exists in every living thing and every non living thing on this planet and elsewhere in the cosmos. In the vedas, ancient texts it is clearly said that the Supreme Energy exists in the form of Light, and he exists in Space. So we can say that "Space and light is god". In vedas it is clearly mentioned as Chidakasa (Chith + Akasa = Light+ space). Chidakasa is invisible to the naked eye and cannot be percieved to the material mind of the human being. The whole universe is embedded in this Supreme energy. Whatever energy, we visualise or percieve is only material energy and it is limited . Every action that we do is the result of the combination between these two energies namely Mental and Supreme energy.

"As we, humans, keep loosing this vital mental and spiritual energy through our expirations day in day out, we are drifting more and more away from the reality of supreme energy and that is the reason, great rishis and sages of ancient Bharath have brought this technique called pranayama where the yogi by continuously churning the prana and apana vayus, burns away all materialistic energy within in the form of "Yogagni" to becomes one with the Atman or divine spiritual energy"

so it is evident, that there is no other method that can elicit mental energy to get salvation. The means that most people know, like Bhakti, Gyana, Dhyana and Karmayoga cannot be achieved without this Yogam (internal pranayama).

Since the topic of pranayama is too vast, i will come up with another episode "Part -3" soon, where we will try to define some more definitions that are needed to understand this topic in detail and also see some of the practitioners of this great yoga technique.

"Om Sri Gurubhyoh Namaha!"

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