Wednesday, December 4, 2013

PRAANAAYAAMA AND GAAYATREE MANTRAS

PRAANAAYAAMA AND GAAYATREE MANTRAS
(DISCOURSE BY N.R. SRINIVASAN, NASHVILLE, TN, DECEMBER 2013)

INTRODUCTION

Praanaayama mantra is employed in meditation on the Supreme Being though many think this is directed to Sun. While the mantra during daylight prays to Sun (Sooryascha maamanyuscha) during evening prayer during twilight time is directed to Agni,Fire God (agnischa Maamanyusacha). Rigveda does not directly addresses Brahman but through its Vyaahrities (emanations) like Soorya, Agni,   Varunna, Indra etc. This mantra which is therefore directed to Parabrhaman, Supreme Principal is employed for mental repetition and concentration. The popularity of breath control in Yoga practice is known to all. According to the Vedas, thought and activity make up human destiny. A man’s mental activities elevate him if and when they are under the influence of divine operation. Hence in this mantra devotee’s longing is expressed that the Supreme should guide his mind towards the performance of the religious duty and selfless devotion to God seeking the highest illumination. Hence the address is to that the Supreme Light which is thousand times brilliant as Sun and several thousand times as wild fire which both shine because of that Supreme Light only. This is the Light that Parsees worship and the Light from which Moses received The Ten Commandments. This is the Light that Oppenheimer quoted from Bhagavadgeeta when he exploded the first nuclear bomb.

Praanaah is a plural word in Sanskrit to indicate five vital breaths. These are 1) Praana, 2) Apaana, 3) Udaana) 4) Vyaana, and 5) Samaana. Ayurveda, Indian medicine describes these five vital airs as follows: Praana is the vital air which pervades the entire human body. It moves in the region of chest; Apaana is the vital breath which moves in the sphere of the lower abdomen and controls the function of elimination of urine and feces; Udaana is the vital air which pervades the human-body filling it with vital energy. It dwells in the thoracic cavity and controls the intake of air and food; Vyaana is the vital air which pervades the entire body and circulates the energy derived from food and breathing all over the body; Samaana is the equalizing air that aids digestion.

In Yoga the word Praana indicates breath, respiration, life, vitality, wind, energy and strength.  Praanah means breaths and Aayana means length, expansion, stretching or restraint. Praanaayaama therefore means extension of breaths and their controls. These are achieved under the guidance of an expert which otherwise would lead to bad after-effects. The functions of breathing are: 1) Inhalation or inspiration called Pooraka in Yoga meaning filling-up; 2) Exhalation or expiration called Rechaka, in Yoga meaning emptying the lungs; and 3) Retention or holding the breath which is called Kumbhaka in Yoga. There is no inhalation or exhalation in this act of Kumbhaka.

There are two states of Kumbhaka (retention of breath): 1) Retention of breath, when breathing is suspended after full inhalation that is at the stage when lungs are filled with air or oxygen. This is called Antara Kumbhaka in Yoga; 2)  Retention of breath when breathing is suspended after full exhalation, that is at the stage when lungs are emptied of all noxious air, carbon-dioxide. This is called Bahya Kumbhaka in Yoga. Breathing should be brought under control very slowly and cautiously in gradation measured according to individual capacity and physical limitation. This therefore needs an expert guidance.

Life according to Yoga is measured by the number of breaths and not by the number of days. One who practices Yoga enjoys long and healthy life by proper control of breaths. He follows rhythmic patterns of slow deep breathing.  That is how Yogi enhances the life of the human heart which is the most perfect pump in the world which no scientist is yet able to design  so far.  By mastering the breath Yogi controls and stills his mind. Emotions and excitements affect the rate of breathing. Deliberate regulation checks emotional excitement. Control of breath helps him in controlling the senses which is an essential step for Liberation.
Breath is vital not only to the body but also to the mind. The vital energy that is the source of breath, and the mind which is the source of thought are the same. Healthy and unhealthy thoughts are attributed to different vibration of Nadis (nerves or blood vessels). The breath that passes through our blood vessels during respiration produces vibrations and our state of health depends on them. Those who keep their breath under rhythmic control through Yoga are amazingly healthy. They do not bleed even if their veins are cut. They can lay buried in the earth in Samaadhi stopping their pulses and heartbeat. They are not poisoned even if they are bitten by a snake or stung by scorpion. It is all because a Yogi can keep the vibrations of the Nadis under control while breathing.

The Pranava (Om) with seven vyaahritis measure the inhaling; Gaayatree Mantra headed by Pranava limits the period of retention of breath; and Gaayatree-siras with Pranava spans the breathing out. These three parts of the mantra are explained in the main body of the text. This is the way Praanaayaama is performed during the twilight devotions of Sandhyaavndana and religious ceremonies. In the Praanaayaama which is advocated by Pataanjali for the practice of Yoga breathing in, holding the breath   within and breathing out are appropriately measured.

Breathing is life. It is one of our most vital functions. One of the Five Principles of Yoga is Praanayaama or Breathing Exercise which promotes proper breathing. In a Yogic point of view, proper breathing is to bring more oxygen to the blood and to the brain, and to control Praana or the vital life energy. Praanaa-yama in Yoga also goes hand in hand with the Aasanas. The union of these two Yogic Principles is considered as the highest form of purification and self-discipline, covering both mind and body.

Gaaayatree Mantra is the most powerful hymn in the world. Dr. Howard Steingeril, an American scientist, collected Mantras, Hymns and invocations from all over the world and tested their strength in his Physiology Laboratory. Hindus' Gaayatree Mantra produced 110,000 sound waves /second. This was the highest and was found to be the most powerful hymn in the world. Through the combination of sound or sound waves of a particular frequency, this Mantra is claimed to be capable of developing specific spiritual potentialities. The Hamburg University initiated research into the efficacy of the Gaayatre Mantra both on the mental and physical plane of CREATION.  The GAYATRI MANTRA is broadcasted daily for 15 minutes from 7 P.M. onwards over Radio Paramaribo, Surinam, South America for the past two years, and in Amsterdam, Holland for the last six months as follows: "Om Bhoor Bhuvah Suvah, Tat Savitur Varenyam, Bhargo Devasya Dheemahi, Dhiyo Yo Nah Pra-chodayaat!" Its meaning: God is dear to me like my own breath. He is the dispeller of my pains, and giver of happiness. I meditate on the supremely adorable Light of the Divine Creator, that it may inspire my thought and understanding."

If you are deeply involved in reading Upanishads in Sanskrit language this will not surprise you. It is the divine language that sends such powerful mantras is the reason for such revelation of scientific facts. No other language is ideally suited as Sanskrit language and no other scripture matches Upanishads. So, mantras from other religions are no match to the forcefulness and contents of Vedic mantras such as Gayatree.

Upanishads means annihilating the ignorance completely. It leads the spiritual seeker nearer to God. The mantras of Upanishads awaken holy thoughts in the mind of the spiritual aspirant. When these mantras are chanted with intonations, a divine atmosphere is created with holy vibrations all round. The chanting of mantras with correct intonations itself is a great spiritual experience. One who chants mantras with intonations attains highest merit purifying body and mind. No other language or scripture can take you to these divine heights. The chanting of mantras with  Swara marks has its own charm and soul-thrilling effect. Indian classical music has more often than not allied with religion and spiritual values. The three basic notes of Vedic chanting—Udatta, Anudatta and Svarita are the fundamental notes of Indian music.  These three notes are employed in Saamaveda chanting which later developed into the octave of music.  While Rigveda is the source of all mantras its effectiveness is felt only when mantras are chanted as per Saamaveda. This is called Coupling, a holy divine bondage which term is used for Hindu Weddings in marrying the couple. Rik standing for Rigveda is masculine, Saama standing for Saamaveda is feminine. Their combination is Mithuna or coupling.  Gayatree mantra  and more effectively Praanaayama mantra are the most thrilling and spiritually gratifying mantras of Upanishads chanted  everyday by Dwijas in their daylight daily worship called Sandhyaavandana. Praanaayaama Mantra, if it had been researched like Gayatree would have increased the figure of 110,000 sound waves per second to much higher values. You know now that Praanaayaama mantra includes Gaaytre mantra which is approximately one-third of the whole mantra.  This is the reason why Vedic mantras are chanted in Sanskrit in the worship of the Lord though majority do  not understand the scriptural language but yet they take  them to spiritual heights.

I have focused on Hindu Vedic interpretations on Praanaayaama and Gaayatree mantra in the detailed text as well as in a discourse on MNU based on famous interpreters Sayana and Rangaramanuja. There are some questions in our mind that comes often on reading the translations of Western Vedic Scholars of these mantras as the one above on Gayatree Mantra.  Gaayatree Mantra because of its intimacy with Yoga has attracted very many Vedic scholars who have their own interpretations like Purushasookta on Intelligent Creation. Here my focus is on the popularity of the Mantra rather than its meaning from Westerners that has attracted their attentio, probably due to its association with breathing exercise. We have to be appreciative of the interest mantra has created in Westerners rather than blaming them for giving different meanings which may sound wrong. It is true they can't be wiser than Sayana or Ranga Ramanuja in their interpretations. We should  focus our thoughts on their  scientific investigation.  I wish the author had concentrated on the whole Praanaayaama Mantra to get even higher values!  

What might have inspired Danish author for coming up with different meaning for the word BHARGA? The term bharga is derived from the root brishaj in Sanskrit meaning to roast or to burn. It, therefore, implies not only radiant light but also the heat which destroys the root of ignorance and misery which bars one from the attainment of the Supreme. The author has interpreted this misery in the physical or material sense of relieving pain and giving happiness. The effect of heat therapy in relieving is well established.  In Ayurveda Ushnam ushnena saamyati is a well-known approach in curing diseases. Therefore the author thinks the heat of the Sun more than the Light of the Sun. Ancient sages depended too much on plant life for herbal medicines and food. Therefore they meditated upon heat (Agni) as well and other elements and aspects of nature as Vyaahritis of Brahman. Plant life depends on heat and light.  


PRAANAAYAAMA MANTRA FOR SELF PURIFICATION

Om Bhuh | Om Bhuvah|Om Suvah | Om Mahah | Om Janah |Om Tapah |Om Satyam | Om tatsavitur-varenyam bhargoedevasya dheemahi | dheeyoeyoenah prachoedayaat |Om aapoe Jyoetee rasoe amrittam brahma bhoor-bhuvah suvar-Om||
Earth is Om. Sky is Om. Heaven is Om. Middle Region is Om. Place of Birth is Om. Mansion of the Blessed is Om. Abode of Truth is Om. Om! May we meditate on the adorable Light of that Divine Generator who quickens our understandings. Om! He is water, light, flavor, ambrosia and also the three worlds. He, who  is denoted by Pranava (Om), is all these.

The seven vyahritees (in italics)   denote the seven worlds created by Brahman. Pranava (Om) is added to each of them to point out that each Vyaahriti- (Attribute) stands for the Supreme Being. After the seven vyahritees comes the Gayatree mantra of 24 syllables in bold italics. This is succeeded by Gaayatreesiras bracketed by the pranavas (Om) in the beginning and the end in the underlined portion. Gaayatreesiras consisting of sixteen syllables is called so because it forms as if it were the head of the formula. Prajaapati is its Riashi. Anushtup is the meter and Brahma, Agni and Vaayu are the deities.

The syllable Om added to Gayatreeseersha represents Parabrahman in the three aspects of Brahmaa, Vishnu and Siva responsible for the creation, preservation and dissolution of the universe. Om consists of three letters A, U and M. For any sound one has to open his mouth with A (Creation), U continues the Sound (preservation) and M closes the sound (Dissolution) or ends. Aapah expresses the omnipresent existence which is also the jyoti self-luminous Consciousness. The same Reality is Rasa—original bliss and amritam immortality. It is Brahman because it is not limited by time, space and casualty. The same Reality is bhooh, being bhuvah, the substance of all that exists and suvah, the dissolver. The ending Om affirms that Parmaatma (Supreme Principal) described above is the innermost Self or Pratyagaatman. Water and Light stand for all the other three elements also.

This meter (poetic composition) associated with the seven Vyaahritis (denoting seven worlds created by Brahmaa) are Gaayatree, Ushnik, Anushtubh,  Brihati, Pankti, Trishtubh and Jagat  meters and their deities are Agni, Vaayu, Soorya, Brihaspati, Varuna Indra and Vaasudeva. These are all popular meters of Rigveda. Vedas contain 26 Chhandas (meters).

When a person performs the Praanaayaama and concentrates his thought on this mantra, the latent spiritual tendencies in the depth of his being are awakened and he becomes fit for communion with the Supreme Reality and eventually he realizes the spiritual goal. According to Manu this composite formula is to be repeated clearly and attentively thrice while the breath is retained within. The Praanaayaama which is performed during the twilight devotions differ from the one advocated by Patanjali for the practice of Yoga. In the twilight Sandhyaavandana Praanaayaama retention period alone is measured by the mantra given here. In the Yoga practice breathing in, holding the breath within and breathing out are appropriately measured.
The shorter version gives two alternative formulas for Praanaayaama for those who can’t hold breath for long. These are:

1) Om bhoor-bhuvah suvar-mahar-janas-tapah satyam tad-brahma tad-aapa aapoe jyoetee rasoe-amritam brahma bhoor-bhuvas-suvar-om ||
The seven worlds Bhuh, Bhuvah, Suvah, Mahah, Janah, Tapah and Satyam are Vyahritis or aggregates of Supreme Being or having Brahman as the inner-self. That is Brahman. That is water, fire, the quality of taste, the released soul, are all aggregates of Brahman. The three worlds Bhooh, Bhuva, Suvah are Om or Brahman.

2) Om tad-brahmaa | Om tad-vaayuh | Om tad-aatmaa| Om tat-satyam | Om tat-sarvam | Om tat puroer-namah ||
Om is that Brahman. Om is that Vaayu. Om is that Aaatman. Om is that Truth. Om is all that. Om is that primeval cause that existed before creation. So pay obeisance to that Pranava.

GAAYATREE MANTRA FOR JAPA

(Om) Tatsavitar varenyam (8)| bhargoedevasya dheemahi (16)  dhiyoeyoenah prachoedayaat (24) ||
May we meditate on the Adorable Light of that Divine Generator who quickens our understandings! Gayatree Mantra is of 24 syllables in Gayatree meter from which it derives its name. Its Rishi is Viswaamitra.  Gayatree is employed during Japa, Homa and Dhyaana. Praanaayaama is performed during the twilight devotions. Until one is purified by Praanaayama he is not ready for Japa.   Gayatree mantra which forms the middle portion of Praanaayaama mantra is usually seen headed by a Pranava OM adding an additional syllable. This implies that the Supreme Being alone is denoted by the Gaayatree mantra.Tatsavitar means the visible prime luminary of the heavens representing the Godhead who is immanent in all creatures and transcendent. He is Savitar because He is the cause of this universe and He animates and impels all that exists.He is deva (div to shine) because He is self-luminous and all other lights, whether intellectual or physical, is a loan from Him (tasya bhasas sarvamidam vibhaati). The devotee meditates on His bharga, light, for the attainment of all the fourfold values of life—Dharma, Artha, Kaama, Moksha. Bharga also means roast. It is not only radiant light but also the heat which destroys the root of ignorance and misery which is necessary to attain the Supreme. In the third part devotee expresses his longing that the Supreme should guide his mind toward the performance of religious duty, selfless devotion to God and the highest enlightenment.

MNU explains Savitar is Brahman elsewhere in the following mantra: ["Ghrinih Soorya Aadityoemarchatyanti tapah satyam madhum ksharanti | Om tad brahma tadaapa aapoe jyoeti rasoe-amritam brahma bhoorbhuvah suvaroem ||] Aaditya, the supreme cause of the universe, is the giver of light and water and is the source of all energy. He is denoted by the syllable OM. Gods worship Him as Tapas (penance) and Truth. Being worshiped thus He grants bliss to the worshipers. He makes (madhu) the enjoyable waters that are the fruits of tapas, flow. (During abhisheka to the deity honey is made to flow over the icon chanting Vedic Mantra “Madhuvaataa ritaayate……..madhveergaavo bhavantu nah”  like “Gandhadvaaraam duraadarshaam” while applying sandal paste to the deity during 16-steps worship in which  the word madhu (honey) occurs several times  in the mantra). That form of the Sun is Brahman. That is the pervading cause of all. That is water, fire, flavor and ambrosia. The three Vyaahritees (attributes) representing the three worlds and the Pranava Om representing the cause of the universe denote that Brahman (Om bhoor-bhuvahs-suvah).  Hence it is implied in the customary Japa Savitar denotes Brahman only which should be recognized and contemplated upon by the one who meditates and not the visible and cognizant Solar energy.  Adityoem is a Vedic form for Aadityah Om.

[When Moses saw the wild fire he was blinded and could not see God through that fire.  Similarly Invisible Brahman cannot be seen in the orb of the Sun. He is often worshiped as Soorya Narayana.  What is visible is the orb of the Sun which is worshiped as Brahman alone.  We salute a flag as the nation symbolically].


Seven Types of Praanaayaama
(Through courtesy India Divine.org)

Various  methods of pranayama are described in the classic scriptural texts and each pranayama has its own importance. However, a practitioner will find it hard to practice all the seveBreath control or Praanaayaama is a very good stress-busting exercise. However those suffering from chronic blood pressure ailments and heart patients should consult their physicians before practicing this. Let the wisdom of ancient Indian seers help you to lead a better and healthy life.

Have you ever noticed that when you are surprised by incredible news you tend to hold your breath? It is a natural reaction. This can also work backwards, i.e., if you can control your breathing, you can control your mind. This is the basic principle behind "pranayama" - the technique of yogic breathing exercises. Though on a gross level you are trying to gain control over your breathing, in essence subconsciously you are trying to gain control over your very prana (the vital life force). Prana means "life force" and "yama" means "practice". So, pranayama is the science of gaining control over vital life force beginning with gaining control over your breath.

On an average a human being has a respiratory rate of 15 to 20 respirations. Ancient Indian yogis believed that by reducing the respiratory rate, longevity can be enhanced. Yogis have recommended that you should draw breath, hold breath, and breathe out at the ratio of 1:4:2 for healthy living. Holding breath is called "Kumbaka pranayama".  Kumbaka pranayama helps you to gain control over the working of your mind and ultimately over your senses. A regular practice of this improves the praanic energy of an individual to a great extent. This is the reason that pranayama is mandatory before performing occult Rituals in Indian tradition.

A regular practitioner of pranayama gains such praanic vitality that he can use his praanic energy for healing purposes. Very many occult siddhis   (possibilities) are obtained if a practitioner is successful in performance of pranayama. There are various types of pranayama: some are useful for purification of body (like bastika), some are useful for improving vitality, some to generate heat, some to cool your body (seethali pranayama),etc. These should be learnt under the close supervision of an expert as faulty practice of these can lead to undesirable side effects.

However there is one particular type of pranayama called suka-purvaka pranayama which anyone can practice with good results. In this respiration is done with alternate nostrils. Close your nostril with your right thumb. Draw in air for   duration of 5 seconds. After that close both nostrils and hold your breath for duration of 20 seconds. Then release the air slowly for duration of 10 seconds with your right nostril (by closing the left nostril with the little and ring fingers of your right hand). Now, closing the left nostril, draw in air using the right nostril for 5 seconds. Hold breath for 20 seconds, and leave out air through your left nostril (by closing your right nostril with your right thumb). This is one cycle of suka-puraka pranayama. Beginners should restrict themselves to 5 cycles per day and should progress gradually.

The practice of this pranayama mentioned above improves vitality, gives cure from respiratory diseases, improves the functioning of the lungs, and helps the yogi to convert


The practice of this pranayama mentioned above improves vitality, gives cure from respiratory diseases, improves the functioning of the lungs, and helps the yogi to convert
ojas (physical vitality) into tejas (spiritual and psychic vitality). While practicing this, you will observe that your mind comes under your control gradually. You will feel energized after this practice. The time duration   mentioned above is for beginners. As you progress, you can gradually improve on the duration taking care to maintain the ratio of 1:4:2. Never exert yourself forcibly while doing this. This should be done with a conscious mind and deliberate rhythm. 


Different  methods of pranayama are described in the classic scriptural texts and each pranayama has its own importance. However, a practitioner will find it hard to practice all the seven types of pranayama on a daily basis. Therefore modern  Yoga experts  have formulated a sequence and time for all the seven Praanayaamas with their  experience and divine blessings of god and teachers.This revised process takes around 20 minutes and a practitioner reaps the following benefits with regular practice .  
 1. Overcomes vata, pitta and kapha problems.
2. Maintains the functioning of the digestive system and cures all the stomach diseases.
3. Relieves the diseases related to the heart, lungs and brain.
4. It is beneficial in cases of obesity, diabetes, high cholesterol, constipation, gastric trouble, acidity, respiratory problems, allergy, migraine, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, sexual diseases in men and women and even fatal diseases like cancer.
5. It can prevent hereditary diseases like diabetes and heart problems.
6. It prevents aging and is beneficial in controlling hair loss, premature graying of hair, wrinkled skin, poor eyesight, forgetfulness, etc.
7. The seven-step pranayama process gives a natural glow and shine on the face.
8. It purifies the chakras and arouses their strength, thereby providing spiritual strength and arousal of kundalini.
9. It keeps the mind calm, peaceful and cheerful and overcomes depression.
10. It is helpful in contemplation and also gives the strength to meditate for several hours.
11. It relieves all the physical and mental problems along with negative conditions like anger, lust, greed, attachment and ego.
12. It cures all physical problems, removes foreign particles from the body, etc.
13. Negative conditions are replaced with positive ones and the practitioner remains happy and cheerful.
First Process of Pranayama: Bhastrika Pranayama
Sit in any meditative posture and breath in deeply with both the nostrils and breath out with full force. This is known as Bhastrika pranayama. This can be done in three ways depending on the capacity, slow, medium or fast. People with weak heart and lungs should do it slowly. A healthy person and old practitioners (experts) should increase the pace gradually. This pranayama should be done for three to five minutes.

Resolution at the time of doing Bhastrika Pranayama:

Breathe in deeply and think in the mind that the divine strength, energy, purity, peace and happiness present in the universe are entering into my mind along with the vital life energy. I am filled with divine strengths.
Special Points for Practicing Bhastrika Pranayama:
1. Patients of high blood pressure and heart disease should not practice this pranayama at a fast pace.
2. Do not fill the air into the stomach and do not expand it. Breath into the diaphragm, the stomach will not expand but the ribs and chest will expand.
3. Practice it for less duration during summers.
4. In case of kapha and sinusitis, people suffer from nose blockage. Such people should close the right nostril and breath in through left nostril and then repeat it on the other side. Then they should breath in and out from both the nostrils.
5. This pranayama should be done up to five minutes regularly.
6. Keep the eyes closed and chant Aum mentally with every breath.
Benefits of Bhastrika Pranayama:
1. It overcomes cold-catarrh, allergy, respiratory diseases, asthma, chronic cold, sinusitis and other kapha related problems. It strengthens the lungs, heart and brain and gives pure oxygen.
2. It cures thyroid problems, tonsil problems and other throat problems.
3. It maintains the equilibrium of all the three doshas and evacuates toxic and foreign substances from the body.
4. It stabilizes the mind and prana, and is helpful in the arousal of kundalini.
Second Process of Pranayama: Kapalbhati Pranayama
Kapal means brain and bhati means glow, shine, brightness, light, etc. The pranayama which gives a natural glow, brightness and shine to the face is known as Kapalbhati. It is slightly different from the previous one. In case of Bhastrika, breathing in and out are done with equal force and pace, but in this case the breathing out is done with full force and breathing in is done automatically as a reaction to throwing out the air. Breathing out process is done with full concentration. This contracts and expands the stomach and strengthens mooladhara, swadishthana and manipur chakras. This should be done for at least five minutes.
Resolution at the Time of Doing Kapalbhati Pranayama:
At the time of practicing this pranayama, the practitioner should think that he is throwing out all the problems of the body. Along with the breath the problems are getting relieved. The person should throw out the air with this feeling whatever it might be, doshas, anger, lust, greed, hatred, jealousy, etc. Think that diseases are getting relieved while breathing out to reap full benefit.
Time for Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:
It should be done for three to five minutes. Take rest in between whenever you feel tired in the beginning. After one or two months, practice it for five minutes without stopping. This is the complete duration. Initially, the person could suffer from stomach or backache but it will get relieved gradually. The people with pitta nature should do it for two minutes in summers.
Benefits of Practicing Kapalbhati Pranayama:
1. It increases glow, brightness and shine on the face.
2. Overcomes all kapha related diseases like asthma, allergy, sinusitis, etc.
3. It is beneficial in case of heart, lung or cerebral problems.
4. It reduces weight, diabetes, gastric trouble, acidity, kidney and prostrate problems.
5. Constipation is also cured with five minutes of regular practice. Diabetes is controlled without medicine and it also reduces excess fat from the stomach by four to eight kilos within one month. It opens blockages of the heart.
6. The mind becomes stable, calm and cheerful. It removes negative conditions and depression, etc.
7. It purifies the chakras and circulates a divine energy.
8. This pranayama is beneficial for the health of the stomach, pancreas, liver, spleen, intestines, prostate and kidney. This pranayama is sufficient to cure almost all the stomach problems, which even asanas cannot do. It also strengthens weak intestines.
Third Process of Pranayama: Bahya Pranayama (with Tribandha)
1. Sit in padmasana or siddhasana and breath out completely at one time.
2. Do moolbandha, uddiyana bandha and jalandhara bandha and stop the breath (externally).
3. Remove the bandhas and breath in slowly.
4. Inhale and without stopping inside, breath out and repeat the process as mentioned in the previous steps. This can be done three to 21 times depending on the capacity.
Resolution at the time of doing Bahya Pranayama:
Think mentally that all the diseases, doshas, negative energies are going out from the body as you throw out the air. Strong resolution at the time of doing this pranayama relieves all problems and gives instant results.
Benefits of Practicing Bahya Pranayama:
This is a harmless pranayama and overcomes playfulness of the mind. It increases digestive fire and is beneficial in case of stomach problems. It makes the mind sharp and bright. It purifies the body, overcomes seminal problems, night pollution, early ejaculation and other humour related diseases. This pranayama has special strength on all the stomach organs and initially the practitioner could feel some pain in stomach or weakness. Therefore it should be done with all the bandhas.
Fourth Process of Pranayama: Anulom-Vilom Pranayama
Method of closing the nostrils: Close the right nostril with the thumb and (alternately) the left nostril with the little finger and ring finger. The hand should be raised slightly above (it should not be in front of the nose).
The left nostril denotes the moon, strength or calm, therefore this pranayama begins with left nostril. Close the right nostril with the thumb and inhale from the left nostril. After inhaling close the left nostril with ring finger and little finger and exhale from the right nostril. The pace of inhaling and exhaling should be increased gradually. Breathe in and out with full force and maintain the pace of respiration either slow, medium or fast depending on the physical strength. Fast pace of inhaling and exhaling creates loud sound in breathing. After breathing out completely, close the left nostril and breath in from right nostril. Then close the right nostril and breath in from left nostril. This is one cycle. Repeat it several times. In case of slight tiredness, take rest in between and repeat. Begin the practice from three minutes and increase it up to ten minutes. Regular practice for a few days increases the capacity of the person and the practitioner can do it for five minutes without stopping. Everybody practice it for at least five minutes and maximum ten minutes but not more. During summers it should be done for three to five minutes. Regular practice for five minutes arouses the energy accumulated in mooladhara chakra and helps in arousal of kundalini. Chant Aum mentally with every breath. This makes the mind suitable for attaining the stage of contemplation.
Resolution at the Time of Doing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:
Think that sushumna nadi is getting aroused with the friction of right and left nostrils. Imagine that a divine light is moving upwards till sahasrara chakra.
Think that the whole body is enlightened with a divine light. Imagine the presence of divine light inside and outside the body and visualize Aum Kham Brahma.
Think that the divine energy, strength and knowledge are present on all the four sides of the body, that almighty god is filling celestial energy in the body, take in the energy. Guru is the only source of inspiration for getting this energy and guru combines with heavenly feelings. Anulom-Vilom pranayama done in this manner gives physical, mental and spiritual benefits. Mooladhara chakra arouses a light and arouses kundalini, the divine knowledge will flow upwards and gain tremendous energy.
Benefits of Practicing Anulom-Vilom Pranayama:
1. This pranayama purifies 72 crore 72 lakh ten thousand two hundred and ten nerves. Purification of all the nerves makes the body strong, bright and healthy.
2. It cures joint pain, arthritis, gout, Parkinson’s disease, nervous weakness, vata diseases, urinary problems, humour related diseases, seminal loss, acidity, pitta, cold, catarrh, chronic cold, sinusitis, asthma, cough, tonsils and other kapha diseases. It cures tridoshas.
3. It opens heart blockages. Regular practice of this pranayama opens around 30 to 40 percent blockage within three to four months. We have experienced it practically on several patients.
4. It overcomes the irregularities of cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL or LDL, etc.
5. It replaces negative thoughts with positive thoughts. It helps in keeping the mind happy, fearless and enthusiastic.
6. In a nutshell pranayama purifies the mind, body and virtues. It cures all the ailments and the mind becomes capable of contemplation.
7. Repeat this pranayama 250 to 500 times, the energy present in the mooladhara chakra moves upwards and helps in the arousal of kundalini.


Note: See the cautions and methods of arousal of kundalini for further information in this regard.
Fifth Process of Pranayama: Brahmari Pranayama
Inhale completely, press the base of the nostrils with the little fingers, close the ears with your thumbs, keep the index fingers on the forehead, close the eyes and place the ring and middle fingers on the closed eyes. Chant Aum with the mouth closed (only the humming sound) and exhale. The sound resembles the sound of a honeybee, hence the name brahmari pranayama. Repeat it at least three times and maximum up to 21 times.
Resolution at the Time of Doing Brahmari Pranayama:
Imagine the synchronization of celestial power with divine strength. The practitioner should think that god is showering his empathy, love and happiness on him. He or she should visualize a divine light in the Aajnya  chakra and removing all the ignorance present in the mind. The practitioner should feel that he or she is getting eternal wisdom. Pranayama done with such pure thoughts helps in reaching contemplation.
Benefits of Practicing Brahmari Pranayama:
It overcomes playfulness of the mind and is very beneficial for meditation. It is beneficial in cases of mental stress, anxiety, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc.
Sixth Process of Pranayama: Aumkara (Udgeet Pranayama)
All the above-mentioned pranayamas should be followed by udgeet pranayama. Our eyebrows resemble the shape of Aum. The body and the entire universe are full of Aum. It is not an individual or a shape; it is a divine strength, which is circulating in the whole universe. As a knower, the practitioner should inhale and exhale so slowly that he or she should not feel the sound of respiration. The breathing should be so gentle that even a piece of cotton kept in front of the nose should not move. Try to feel the respiration from within. In the beginning you will feel it only at the tip of the nose but gradually you will experience it deep within. In this way chanting Aum for some time helps in contemplation of mind. The practitioner will be able to concentrate the mind and get engrossed in Aumkar. Gayatri mantra should also be chanted after understanding its meaning along with Aumkar. This will help the person in getting engrossed in the true form of god, which gives happiness. This should be practiced at bedtime also in order to enjoy sound sleep. It overcomes bad dreams and gives sound sleep.
Seventh process of Pranayama: Nadi shodhana pranayama
In the beginning, close the right nostril and inhale from left nostril just like Anulom-Vilom pranayama. Stop the breath inside and do moolbandha and jalandhar bandha. Remove jalandhar bandha after sometime and exhale very slowly from the right nostril. Then inhale from right nostril and do kumbhaka, stop the breath inside and exhale very slowly from the left nostril. This is one complete cycle or nadi shodhana pranayama.
It is very beneficial if done with full concentration without pressing the nostrils. It helps in concentrating the mind and gives a lot of stability. There should not be any sound at the time of inhaling and exhaling. It should be done from one to three times or more. In the beginning, the ratio of poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be 1:2:2. for example, poorak, antah kumbhaka and rechaka should be done for 10, 20 and 20 seconds respectively. Gradually, the ratio can be increased to 1:4:2. Bahya kumbhaka can be added later and then the ratio can be 1:4:2:2. This pranayama should be done at a very slow pace. Focus on pace of respiration and its intensity instead of number of repetitions. This is more beneficial, and inhaling, controlling and exhaling the breath is the actual result of this pranayama. There is no need to take rest in between. Chanting Aum or gayatri mantra mentally is favourable while doing this.
Benefits of Practicing Nadi Shodana Pranayama:

The advantages are similar to Anulom-Vilom pranayama.



REFERENCES:
1)      Swami Vimalananda, Mahanararayana Upanishad, Ramakrishna Math, Chennai, India.
2)      Dr. Ananta Rangacharya, Principal Upanishad, Banglore, India.
3)      Srinivasan N.R., Ashtaangayoga of Pataanjali, Hindu Reflrctions; <nrssrini.blogspot.com>