The main purpose of creating this blog is to provide material and guidance to the students of Vedanga Jyotisha who are appearing for BA as well as MA level examinations of Kavi Kulaguru Kalidas Sanskrit University. I hope this effort will be welcomed by all the students of the Vedanga Jyotish and this effort will be useful to them. Dewavrat Buit dewavrat2000@yahoo.com

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Introduction to Mantra

Then follows anga-nyasa and kara-nyasa. These are both forms of shad-anga-nyasa.
When shad-anga-nyasa is performed on the body, it is called
hridayadi-shad-anga-nyasa; and when done with the five fingers and palms of the
hands only, angushthadi-shad-anga-nyasa. The former kind is done as follows: The
short vowel a, the consonants of the ka-varga group, and the long vowel a, are
recited with "hridayaya namah" (namah salutation to the heart). The short vowel
i, the consonants of the cha-varga group, and the long vowel i, are said with
"shirasi svaha" (svaha to the head). The hard ta-varga consonants set between
the two vowels u are recited with "shikhayai vashat" (vashat to the crown lock);
similarly the soft ta-varga between the vowels e and ai are said with "kavachaya
hung." The short vowel o, the pavarga, and the long vowel o are recited with
netra-trayaya vaushat (vaushat to the three eyes). Lastly, between vindu and
visargah the consonants ya to ksha with "kara-tala-prishthabhyang astraya phat"
(phat to the front and back of the palm).

The mantras of shadanga-nyasa on the body are used for Kara-nyasa, in which they
are assigned to the thumbs, the "threatening" or index fingers, the middle
fingers, the fourth, little fingers, and the front and back of the palm.
These actions on the body, fingers, and palms also stimulate the nerve centres
and nerves therein.

In pitha-nyasa the pitha are established in place of the matrika. The pitha, in
their ordinary sense, are Kama-rupa and the other places, a list of which is
given in the Yogini-hridaya.

For the attainment of that state in which the sadhaka feels that the bhava
(nature, disposition) of the Devata has come upon him nyasa is a great
auxiliary. It is, as it were, the wearing of jewels on different parts of the
body. The vija of the Devata are the jewels which the sudkaka places on the
different parts of his body. By nyasa he places his Abhishta-devata in such
parts, and by vyapaka-nyasa he spreads Its presence throughout himself. He
becomes permeated by it losing himself in the divine Self.
Nyasa is also of use in effecting the proper distribution of the shaktis of the
human frame in their proper positions so as to avoid the production of discord
and distraction in worship. Nyasa as well as Asana are necessary for the
production of the desired state of mind and of chitta-shuddhi (its
purification). "Das denken ist der mass der Dinge." Transformation of thought is
Transformation of being. This is the essential principle and rational basis of
all this and similar Tantrik sadhana.


There are, as already stated, three classes of men – pashu, Vira, and Divya. The
operation of the guna which produce these types affect, on the gross material
plane, the animal tendencies, manifesting in the three chief physical functions
– eating and drinking, whereby the annamayakosha is maintained; and sexual
intercourse, by which it is reproduced. These functions are the subject of the
panchatattva or panchamakara ("five m’s"), as they are vulgarly called – viz.:
madya (wine), mangsa (meat), matsya (fish), mudra (parched grain), and maithuna
(coition). In ordinary parlance, mudra means ritual gestures or positions of the
body in worship and hathayoga, but as one of the five elements it is parched
cereal, and is defined as Bhrishtadanyadikang yadyad chavyaniyam prachakshate,
sa mudra kathita devi sarvveshang naganam-dini. The Tantras speak of the five
elements as pancha-tattva, kuladravya, kulatattva, and certain of the elements
have esoteric names, such as Karanavari or tirtha-vari, for wine, the fifth
element being usually called lata-sadhana (sadhana with woman, or shakti). The
five elements, moreover have various meanings, according as they form part of
the tamasika (pashvachara), rajasika (virachara), or divya or sattvika sadhanas

All the elements or their substitutes are purified and consecrated, and then,
with the appropriate ritual, the first four are consumed, such consumption being
followed by lata-sadhana or its symbolic equivalent. The Tantra prohibits
indiscriminate use of the elements, which may be consumed or employed only after
purification (sho-dhana) and during worship according to the Tantric ritual.
Then, also, all excess is forbidden. The Shyama-rahasya says that intemperance
leads to Hell, and this Tantra condemns it in Chapter V. A well-known saying in
Tantra describes the true "hero" (vira) to be, not he who is of great physical
strength and prowess, the great eater and drinker, or man of powerful sexual
energy, but he who has controlled his senses, is a truth-seeker, ever engaged in
worship, and who has sacrificed lust and all other passions. (Jitendriyah
satyavadi nityanushthanatatparah kamadi-validanashcha sa vira iti giyate.)
The elements in their literal sense are not available in sadhana for all. The
nature of the Pashu requires strict adherence to Vaidik rule in the matter of
these physical functions even in worship. This rule prohibits the drinking of
wine, a substance subject to the three curses of
Brahma, Kacha, and Krishna, in the following terms: Madyamapeyamadeyamagrahyam
("Wine must not be drunk, given, or taken"). The drinking of wine in ordinary
life for satisfaction of the sensual appetite is, in fact, a sin, involving
prayaschiyta, and entailing, according to the Vishnu Purama, punishment in the
same Hell as that to which a killer of a Brahmana goes. As regards flesh and
fish, the higher castes (outside Bengal) who submit to the orthodox Smarta
discipline eat neither. Nor do high and strict Brahmanas even in that Province.
But the bulk of the people there, both men and women, eat fish, and men consume
the flesh of male goats which have been previously offered to the Deity. The
Vaidika dharmma is equally strict upon the subject of sexual intercourse.
Maithuna other than with the householder’s own wife is condemned. And this is
not only in its literal sense, but in that of which is known as Ashtanga
(eight-fold) maithuna – viz., smaranam (thinking upon it), kirttanam (talking of
it), keli (play with women), prekshanam (looking upon women), guhyabhashanan
(talk in private with women), sangkalpa (wish or resolve for maithuua),
adhyavasaya (determination towards it), kriyanishpati (actual accomplishment of
the sexual act). In short, the pashu (and except for ritual purposes those who
are not pashu) should, in the words of the Shaktakramya, avoid maithuna,
conversation on the subject, and assemblies of women (maithunam tatkathalapang
tadgoshthing parivarjjayet). Even in the case of the householder’s own wife
marital continency is enjoined. The divinity in woman, which the Tantra in
particular proclaims, is also recognized in the ordinary Vaidik teaching, as
must obviously be the case given the common foundation upon which all the
Shastra rest. Woman is not to be regarded merely as an object of enjoyment, but
as a house-goddess (grihadevata). According to the sublime notions of Shruti,
the union of man and wife is a veritable sacrificial rite – a sacrifice in fire
(homa), wherein she is both hearth (kunda) and flame – and he who knows this as
homa attains liberation. Similarly the Tantrika Mantra for the Shivashakti Yoga
runs: "This is the in-ternal homa in which, by the path of sushumna, sacrifice
is made of the functions of sense to the spirit as fire kindled with the ghee of
merit and demerit taken from the mind as the ghee-pot Svaha." It is not only
thus that wife and husband are associated, for the Vaidika dharmma (in this now
neglected) prescribes that the householder should worship in company with his
wife. Brahmacharyya, or continency, is not as is sometimes supposed, a requisite
of the student ashrama only, but is a rule which governs the married householder
(grihastha) also. According to Vaidika injunctions, union of man and wife must
take place once a month on the fifth day after the cessation of the menses, and
then only. Hence it is that the Nitya Tantra, when giving the characteristics of
a pashu, says that he is one who avoids sexual union except on the fifth day
(ritukalangvina devi rama-nang parivarjjayet). In other words, the pashu is he
who in this case, as in other matters, follows for all purposes, ritual or
otherwise, the Vaidik injunctions which govern the ordinary life of all.
The above-mentioned rules govern the life of all men. The only exception which
the Tantra makes is for purpose of sudhana in the case of those who are
competent (adhikari) for virachara. It is held, indeed, that the exception is
not strictly an exception to Vaidik teaching at all, and that it is an error to
suppose that the Tantrika rahasya-puja is opposed to the Vedas. Thus, whilst the
vaidik rule prohibits the use of wine in ordinary life, and for purpose of mere
sensual gratification it prescribes the religious yajna with wine. This ritual
use the Tantra also allows, provided that the sadhaka is competent for the
sadhana, in which its consumption is part of its ritual and method.
The Tantra enforces the Vaidik rule in all cases, ritual or otherwise, for those
who are governed by the vaidikachara. The Nitya Tantra says: "They (pashu)
should never worship the Devi during the latter part of the day in the evening
or at night" (ratrau naiva yajeddeving sandhyayang vaparanhake); for all such
worship connotes maithuna prohibited to the pashu. In lieu of it, varying
substitutes are prescribed, such as either an offering of flowers with the hands
formed into the kachchchapa mudra, or union with the worshipper’s own wife. In
the same way, in lieu of wine, the pashu should (if a Brahmana) take milk, (if a
Kshattriya) ghee, (if a vaishya) honey, and (if a shudra) a liquor made from
rice. Salt, ginger, sesamum, wheat, mashkalai (beans), and garlic are various
substitutes for meat; and the white brinjal vegetable, red radish, masur (a kind
of gram), red sesamum, and paniphala (an aquatic plant), take the place of fish.
Paddy, rice, wheat, and gram geneally are mudra.
The vira, or rather he who is qualified (adhikari) for virachara – since the
true vira is its finished product – commences sadhana with the rajasika
panchatattva first stated, which are employed for the destruction of the sensual
tendencies which they connote. For the worship of Shakti the panchatattva are
declared to be essential. This Tantra declares that such worship without their
use is but the practice of evil magic.

Upon this passage the commentator Jaganmohana Tarkalangkara observes as follows:
"Let us consider what most contributes to the fall of a man, making him forget
his duty, sink into sin, and die an early death. First among these are wine and
women, fish, meat and mudra, and accessories. By these things men have lost
their manhood. Shiva then desires to employ these very poisons in order to
eradicate the poison in the human system. Poison is the antidote for poison.
This is the right treatment for those who long for drink or lust for women. The
physician must, however, be an experienced one. If there be a mistake as to the
application, the patient is like to die. Shiva has said that the way of
Kulachara is as difficult as it is to walk on the edge of a sword or to hold a
wild tiger. There isa secret argument in favour of the panchatattva, and those
tattva so understood should be followed by all. None, however, but the initiate
can grasp this argument, and therefore Shiva has directed that it should not be
revealed before anybody and everybody. An initiate, when he sees a woman, will
worship her as his own mother or goddess (Ishtadevata), and bow before her. The
Vishnu Purana says that by feeding your desires you cannot satisfy them. It is
like pouring ghee on fire. Though this is true, an experienced spiritual teacher
(guru) will know how, by the application of this poisonous medicine, to kill the
poison of sangsara. Shiva has, however, prohibited the indiscriminate
publication of this. The meaning of this passage would therefore appear to be
this: "The object of Tantrika worship is brahmasayujya, or union with Brahman.
If that is not attained, nothing is attained. And, with men’s propensities as
they are, this can only be attained through the special treatment prescribed by
the Tantras. If this is not followed, then the sensual pro-pensities are not
eradicated, and the work is for the desired end of Tantra as useless as magic
which, worked by such a man, leads only to the injury of others." The other
secret argument here referred to is that by which it is shown that the
particular may be raised to the universal life by the vehicle of those same
passions, which, when flowing only in an outward and downward current, are the
most powerful bonds to bind him to the former. The passage cited refers to the
necessity for the spiritual direction of the Guru. To the want of such is
accredited the abuses of the system. When the patient (sishya) and the disease
are working together, there is poor hope for the former; but when the patient,
the disease, and the physician (guru) are on one, and that the wrong, side, then
nothing can save him from a descent on that downward path which it is the object
of the sadhana to prevent. Verse 67 in Chapter I. of this Tantra is here in

Owing, however, to abuses, particularly as regards the tattva of madya and
maithuna, this Tantra, according to the current version, prescribes in certain
cases, limitations as regards their use. It prescribes that when the Kaliyuga is
in full strength, and in the case of householders (grihastha) whose minds are
engrossed with worldly affairs, the "three sweets" (madhuratraya) are to be
substituted for wine. Those who are of virtuous temperament, and whose minds are
turned towards the Brahman, are permitted to take five cups of wine. So also as
regards maithuna, this Tantra states that men in this Kali age are by their
nature weak and disturbed by lust, and by reason of this do not recognize woman
(shakti) to be the image of the Deity. It accordingly ordains that when the
Kaliyuga is in full sway, the fifth tattva shall only be accomplished with
sviyashakti, or the worshipper’s own wife, and that union with a woman who is
not married to the sadhaka in either Brahma or Shaiva form is forbidden. In the
case of other shakti (parakiya and sadharani) it prescribes, in lieu of
maithuna, meditation by the worshipper upon the lotus feet of the Devi, together
with japa of his ishtamantra. This rule, however, the Commentator says, is not
of universal application. Shiva has, in this Tantra, prohibited sadhana with the
last tattva, with parakiya, and sadharani shakti, in the case of men of ordinary
weak intellect ruled by lust; but for those who have by sadhana conquered their
passions and attained the state of a true vira, or siddha, there is no
prohibition as to the mode of latasadhana. This Tantra appears to be, in fact, a
protest against the misuse of the tattwa, which had followed upon a relaxation
of the original rules and conditions governing them. Without the panchatattva in
one form or another, the shaktipuja cannot be performed. The Mother of the
Universe must be worshipped with these elements. By their use the universe
(jagatbrahmanda) itself is used as the article of worship. Wine signifies the
power (shakti) which produces all fiery elements; meat and fish all terrestrial
and aquatic animals; mudra all vegetable life; and maithuna the will (ichchha)
action (kriya) and knowledge (jnana) shakti of the Supreme Prakriti productive
of that great pleasure which accompanies the process of creation. To the Mother
is thus offered the restless life of Her universe.

The object of all sadhana is the stimulation of the sattvaguna. When by such
sadhana this guna largely preponderates, the sattvika sadhana suitable for men
of a high type of divyabhava is adopted. In this latter sadhana the names of the
panchatattva are used symbolically for operations of a purely mental and
spiritual character. Thus, the Kaivalya says that "wine" is that intoxicating
knowledge acquired by yoga of the Parabrahman, which renders the worshipper
senseless as regards the external world. Meat (mangsa) is not any fleshly thing,
but the act whereby the sadhaka consigns all his acts to Me (Mam). Matsya (fish)
is that sattvika knowledge by which through the sense of "mineness" the
worshipper sympathizes with the pleasure and pain of all beings. Mudra is the
act of relinquishing all association with evil which results in bondage, and
maithuna is the union of the Shakti Kundalini with Shiva in the body of the
worshipper. This, the Yogini Tantra says, is the best of all unions for those
who have already con-trolled their passions (yati). According to the Agamasara,
wine is the somadhara, or lunar ambrosia, which drops from the brahmarandhra;
Mangsa (meat) is the tongue (ma), of which its part (angsha) is speech. The
sadhaka, in "eating" it, controls his speech. Matsya (fish) are those two which
are constantly moving in the two rivers Ida and Pingala. He who controls his
breath by pranayama (q.v.), "eats" them by kumbhaka. Mudra is the awakening of
knowledge in the pericarp of the great sahasrara Lotus, where the Atma, like
mercury, resplendent as ten million suns, and deliciously cool as ten million
moons, is united with the Devi Kundalini. The esoteric meaning of maithuna is
thus stated by the Agama: The ruddy-hued letter Ra is in the Kunda, and the
letter Ma, in the shape of vindu, is in the mahayoni. When Makara (m), seated on
the Hangsa in the form of Akara (a), unites with rakara (r), then the
Brahmajnana, which is the source of supreme Bliss, is gained by the sadhaka, who
is then called atmarama, for his enjoyment is in the Atma. in the sahasrara.
This is the union on the purely sattvika plane, which corresponds on the
rajasika plane to the union of Shiva and Shakti in the persons of their

The union of Shiva and Shakti is described as a true yoga, from which, as the
Yamala says, arises that joy which is known as the Supreme Bliss.


Worship with the panchatattva generally takes place in an assembly called a
chakra, which is composed of men (sadhaka) and women (shakti), or Bhairava and
Bhairavi. The worshippers sit in a circle (chakra), men and women alternately,
the shakti sitting on the left of the sadhaka. The Lord of the chakra
(chakrasvamin, or chakreshvara) sits with his Shakti in the centre, where the
wine-jar and other articles used in the worship are kept. During the chakra all
eat, drink, and worship together, there being no distinction of caste. No pashu
should, however, be introduced. There are various kinds of chakra, such as the
Vira, Raja, Deva, Maha – Chakras productive, it is said, of various fruits for
the participators therein. Chapter VI. of the Mahanirvvana Tantra deals with the
panchatattva, and Chapter VIII. gives an account of the Bhairavi and Tattva (or
Divya) chakras. The latter is for worshippers of the Brahma-Mantra.
This word, derived from the root Yuj ("to join"), is in grammar sandhi, in logic
avayavashakti, or the power of the parts taken together, and in its most widely
known and present sense the union of the jiva, or embodied spirit, with the
Paramatma, or Supreme Spirit, and the practices by which this union may be
attained. There is a natural yoga, in which all beings are, for it is only by
virtue of this identity in fact that they exist. This position is common ground,
though in practice too frequently overlooked. "Primus modus unionis est, quo
Deus, ratione suæ immensitatis est in omnibus rebus per essentiam, præsentiam,
et potentiam; per essentiam ut dans omnibus esse; per præsentiam ut omnia
prospiciens; per potentiam ut de omnibus disponens." The mystical theologian
cited, however, proceeds to say: "Sed hæc unio animæ cum Deo est generalis,
communis omnibus et ordinis naturalis . . . illa namque de qua loquimur est
ordinis supernaturalis actualis et fructiva." It is of this special yaga, though
not in reality more "supernatural" than the first, that we here deal. Yoga in
its technical sense is the realization of this identity, which exists, though it
is not known, by the destruction of the false appearance of separation. "There
is no bond equal in strength to maya, and no force greater to destroy that bond
than yoga. There is no better friend than knowledge (jnana), nor worse enemy
than egoism (ahangkara). As to learn the Shastra one must learn the alphabet, so
yoga is necessary for the acquirement of tattvajnana (truth)." The animal body
is the result of action, and from the body flows action, the process being
compared to the seesaw movement of a ghatiyantra, or water-lifter. Through their
actions beings continually go from birth to death. The complete attainment of
the fruit of yoga is lasting and unchanging life in the noumenal world of the

Yoga is variously named according to the methods employed, but the two main
divisions are those of the hathayoga (or ghatasthayoga) and samadhi yoga, of
which raja-yoga is one of the forms. Hathayoga is commonly misunderstood, both
in its definition and aim being frequently identified with exaggerated forms of

The Gherandasanghita well defines it to be "the means whereby the excellent
rajayoga is attained." Actual union is not the result of Hathayoga alone, which
is concerned with certain physical processes preparatory or auxiliary to the
control of the mind, by which alone union may be directly attained. It is,
however, not meant that all the processes of Hathayoga here or in the books
described are necessary for the attainment of rajayoga. What is necessary must
be determined according to the circumstances of each particular case. What is
suited or necessary in one case may not be so for another. A peculiar feature of
Tan-trika virachara is the union of the sadhaka and his shakti in latasadhana.
This is a process which is expressly forbidden to Pashus by the same Tantras
which prescribe it for the vira. The union of Shiva and Shakti in the higher
sadhana is different in form, being the union of the Kundalini Shakti of the
Muladhara with the Vindu which is upon the Sahasrara. This process, called the
piercing of the six chakra, is described later on in a separate paragraph.
Though, however, all Hathayoga processes are not necessary, some, at least, are
generally considered to be so. Thus, in the well-known ashtangayoga
(eight-limbed yoga), of which samadhi is the highest end, the physical
conditions and processes known as asana and pranayama (vide post) are

This yoga prescribes five exterior (vahiranga) methods for the subjugation of
the body – namely (1) Yama, forbearance or self-control, such as sexual
continence, avoidance of harm to others (ahingsa), kindness, forgiveness, the
doing of good without desire for reward, absence of covetousness, temperance,
purity of mind and body, etc. (2) Niyama, religious observances, charity,
austerities, reading of the Shastra and Ishvara Pranidhana, persevering devotion
to the Lord. (3) Asana, seated positions or postures (vide post). (4) Pranayama,
regulation of the breath. A yogi renders the vital airs equable, and consciously
produces the state of respiration which is favourable for mental concentration,
as others do it occasionally and unconsciously (vide post). (5) Pratyahara,
restraint of the senses, which follow in the path of the other four processes
which deal with the subjugation of the body. There are then three interior
(yogangga) methods for the subjugation of the mind – namely (6) Dharana,
attention, steadying of the mind, the fixing of the internal organ (chitta) in
the particular manner indicated in the works on yoga. (7) Dhyana or the uniform
continuous contemplation of the object of thought; and (8) that samadhi which is
called savikalpasamadhi. Savikalpasamadhi is a deeper and more intense
contemplation on the Self to the exclusion of all other objects, and
constituting trance or ecstasy. This ecstasy is perfected to the stage of the
removal of the slightest trace of the distinction of subject and object in
nirvikalpasamadhi, in which there is complete union with the Paramatma, or
Divine Spirit. By vairagya (dispassion), and keeping the mind in its unmodified
state, yoga is attained. This knowledge, Ahang Brahmasmi ("I am the Brahman"),
does not produce liberation (moksha), but is liberation itself, Whether yoga is
spoken of as the union of Kulakundalini with Paramashiva, or the union of the
individual soul (jivatma) with the Supreme Soul (paramatma), or as the state of
mind in which all outward thought is suppressed, or as the controlling or
suppression of the thinking faculty (chittavritti), or as the union of the moon
and the sun (Ida and Pingala), Prana and Apana, Nada and Vindu, the meaning and
the end are in each case the same.

Yoga, in seeking mental control and concentration, makes use of certain
preliminary physical processes (sadhana), such as the shatkarmma, asana, mudra,
and pranayama. By these four processes and three mental acts, seven qualities,
known as shodhana, dridhata, sthirata, dhairyya, laghava, pratyaksha,
nirliptatva (vide post), are acquired.

Shodhana: Shatkarmma

The first, or cleansing, is effected by the six processes known as the
shatkarmma. Of these, the first is Dhauti, or washing, which is fourfold, or
inward washing (antar-dhauti), cleansing of the teeth, etc. (dantadhauti) of the
"heart" (hriddhauti), and of the rectum (muladhauti). Antardhauti is also
fourfold – namely, vatasara, by which air is drawn into the belly and then
expelled; varisara, by which the body is filled with water, which is then
evacuated by the anus; vahnisara, in which the nabhi-granthi is made to touch
the spinal column (meru); and vahishkrita, in which the belly is by kakinimudra
filled with air, which is retained half a yama, and then sent downward.
Dantadhauti is fourfold, consisting in the cleansing of the root of the teeth
and tongue, the ears, and the "hollow of the forehead" (kapalarandhra). By
hriddhauti phlegm and bile are removed. This is done by a stick (dandadhauti) or
cloth (vasodhauti) pushed into the throat, or swallowed, or by vomiting
(vamanadhauti). Mudadhauti is done to cleanse the exit of the apanavayu either
with the middle finger and water or the stalk of a turmeric plant.
Vasti, the second of the shatkarmma, is twofold, and is either of the dry
(shuska) or watery (jala) kind. In the second form the yogi sits in the
utkatasana posture in water up to the navel, and the anus is contracted and
expanded by ashvini mudra; or the same is done in the pashchimottanasana, and
the abdomen below the navel is gently moved. In neti the nostrils are cleansed
with a piece of string. Lauliki is the whirling of the belly from side to side.
In trataka the yogi, without winking, gazes at some minute object until the
tears start from his eyes. By this the "celestial vision" (divya drishti) so
often referred to in the Tantrika upasana is acquired. Kapalabhati is a process
for the removal of phlegm, and is threefold – vatakrama by inhalation and
exhalation; vyutkrama by water drawn through the nostrils and ejected through
the mouth; and shitkrama the reverse process.
These are the various processes by which the body is cleansed and made pure for
the yoga practice to follow.

Dridhata: Asana

Dridhata, or strength or firmness, the acquisition of which is the second of the
above-mentioned processes, is attained by asana.
Asana are postures of the body. The term is generally described as modes of
seating the body. But the posture is not necessarily a sitting one; for some
asana are done on the belly, back, hands, etc. It is said that the asana are as
numerous as living beings, and that there are 8,400,000 of these; 1,600 are
declared to be excellent, and out of these thirty-two are auspicious for men,
which are described in detail. Two of the commonest of these are muktapadmasana
("the loosened lotus seat"), the ordinary position for worship, and
baddhapadmasana. Patanjali, on the subject of asana, merely points out what are
good conditions, leaving each one to settle the details for himself according to
his own requirements. There are certain other asana, which are peculiar to the
Tantras, such as munddasana, chitasana, and shavasana, in which skulls, the
funeral pyre, and a corpse respectively form the seat of the sadhaka. These,
though they may have other ritual objects, form part of the discipline for the
conquest of fear and the attainment of indifference, which is the quality of a
yoga. And so the Tantras pre-scribe as the scene of such rites the solitary
mountain-top, the lonely empty house and river-side, and the cremation-ground.
The interior cremation-ground is there where the kamik body and its passions are
consumed in the fire of knowledge.

Sthirata: Mudra

Sthirata, or fortitude, is acquired by the practice of the mudra. The mudra
dealt with in works of hathayoga are positions of the body. They are gymnastic,
health-giving, and destructive of disease, and of death, such as the jaladhara
and other mudra. They also preserve from injury by fire, water, or air. Bodily
action and the health resulting therefrom react upon the mind, and by the union
of a perfect mind and body siddhi is by their means attained. The Gheranda
Sanghita describes a number of mudra, of which those of importance may be
selected. In the celebrated yonimudra the yogi in siddhasana stops with his
fingers the ears, eyes, nostrils, and mouth. He inhales pranavayu by
kakinimudra, and unites it with apanavayu. Meditating in their order upon the
six chakra, he arouses the sleeping Kulakundalini by the mantra "Hung Hangsah,"
and raises Her to the Sahasrara; then, deeming himself pervaded with the Shakti,
and in blissful union (sanggama) with Shiva, he meditates upon himself, as by
reason of that union Bliss itself and the Brahman. Ashvinimudra consists of the
repeated contraction and expansion of the anus for the purpose of shodhana or of
contraction to restrain the apana in Skatchakrabheda. Shaktichalana employs the
latter mudra, which is repeated until vayu manifests in the sushumna. The
process is accompanied by inhalation and the union of prana and apana whilst in
Dhairya: Pratyahara
Dhairya, or steadiness, is produced by pratyahara. Pratyahara is the restraint
of the senses, the freeing of the mind from all distractions, and the keeping of
it under the control of the Atma. The mind is withdrawn from whatsoever
direction it may tend by the dominant and directing Self. Pratyahara destroys
the six sins.

Laghava: Pranayama

From pranayama (q.v.) arises laghava (lightness).
All beings say the ajapa Gayatri, which is the expulsion of the breath by
Hangkara, and its inspiration by Sahkara, 21,600 times a day. Ordinarily, the
breath goes forth a distance of 12 finger’s breadth, but in singing, eating,
walking, sleeping, coition, the distances are 16, 20, 24, 30, and 36 breadths
respectively. In violent exercise these distances are exceeded, the greatest
distance being 96 breadths. Where the breathing is under the normal distance,
life is prolonged. Where it is above that, it is shortened. Puraka is
inspiration, and rechaka expira-tion. Kumbhaka is the retention of breath
between these two movements. Kumbhaka is, according to the Gheranda Sanghita of
eight kinds: sahita, suryyabheda, ujjayi, shitali, bhastrika, bhramari,
murchchha, and kevali. Pranayama similarly varies. Pranayama is the control of
the breath and other vital airs. It awakens shakti, frees from disease, produces
detachment from the world, and bliss. It is of varying values, being the best
(uttama) where the measure is 20; middling (madhyama) when at 16 it produces
spinal tremor; and inferior (adhama) when at 12 it induces perspiration. It is
necessary that the nadi should be cleansed, for air does not enter those which
are impure. The cleansing of the nadi (nadi-shuddhi) is either samau« or nirmanu
– that is, with or without, the use of vija. According to the first form, the
yogi in padmasana does gurunyasa according to the directions of the guru.
Meditating on "yang," he does japa through Ida of the vija 16 times, kumbhaka
with japa of vija 64 times, and then exhalation through the solar nadi and japa
of vija 32 times. Fire is raised from manipura and united with prithivi. Then
follows inhalation by the solar nadu with the vahni vija 16 times, kumbhaka with
64 japa of the vija, followed by exhalation through the lunar nadi and japa of
the vija 32 times. He then meditates on the lunar brilliance, gazing at the tip
of the nose. and inhales by Ida with japa of the vija "thang" 16 times. Kumbhaka
is done with the vija vang 64 times. He then thinks of himself as flooded by
nectar, and considers that the nadi have been washed. He exhales by Pingala with
32 japa of the vija lang, and considers himself thereby as strengthened. He then
takes his seat on a mat of kusha grass, a deerskin, etc., and, facing east or
north, does pranayama. For its exercise there must be, in addition to nadi
shuddhi, consideration of proper place, time, and food. Thus, the place should
not be so distant as to induce anxiety, nor in an unprotected place, such as a
forest, nor in a city or crowded locality, which induces distraction. The food
should be pure, and of a vegetarian character. It should not be too hot or too
cold, pungent, sour, salt, or bitter. Fasting, the taking of one meal a day, and
the like, are prohibited. On the contrary, the Yogi should not remain without
food for more than one yama (three hours). The food taken should be light and
strengthening. Long walks and other violent exercise should be avoided, as also
– cer-tainly in the case of beginners – sexual intercourse. The stomach should
only be half filled. Yoga should be commenced, it is said, in spring or autumn.


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