Breath Technique (prāṇakarma) makes Our Body a Temple and Life Worshiping
– Rajahamsa Swami Nityananda Giri
Our life is worshiping and body is a temple, we should have this belief. Then only there shall be peace in our life. As we keep the deity room or meditation room in our house clean, our temples clean similarly we have to keep this body temple that is a real one clean; then only God will sit there. We have to leave all the forbidden actions and have to surrender ourselves before God. And for that we have to make our internal subtle organ, mind, very pure. When we talk about our body this implies our gross and subtle bodies because what ever we shall do we do through them only and the causal body does not come under the purview of our action. By subtle body we mean our mind, intellect, ego and subconscious. The work of our gross or physical body is controlled by our subtle body, that is why it is very important to clean it otherwise how we shall make our God to sit there.
Divine and Demonic Properties
The problem with us that though we want light but we prefer to remain in darkness. We are living in hypocrisy. How self-surrender and selfishness can go together? Greed and charity, cruelty and kindness, adultery and being faithful to your partner, ego and broadness, illusion and reality, to these entire how can we keep together at the same time? But we like that, we want nobleness but prefer bad qualities and this is the reason we fail in our spiritual life. If we want to ride over this situation we have to leave the demonic qualities within us. We have to learn what are divine properties and what are demonic properties. On the sixteenth chapter of Śrīmad Bhagavad-Gītā the Lord has described these in details. Fearlessness, purity of mind, establishing in yoga of meditation for realization, charity, control of sense organs, oblations and sacred duties, studying scriptures, austerities, righteousness of mind, body and senses, nonviolence, truthfulness, absence of anger, renunciation, equanimity, abstaining from malicious gossips, compassion, absence of craving even on contact with objects, no egoism, no fickleness, vigor with sublimity, forgiveness, fortitude, cleanliness, not to be reactive, not to seek excessive honor and other such qualities are divine properties.
On the other hand the opposites of these like stubbornness, arrogance, pride, anger, hypocrisy, ignorance, demonstrating ones wealth and power, not knowing the difference between activities to be performed and abstinence, un-cleanliness, bad conduct, falsehood, unholy desires, anger, hatred, jealousy, satisfying ego, sensuous pleasures or lust, to be blind by wealth and power, brutal force etc are the demonic properties as described by the Lord. We have to learn the division as per scriptures and work according to the rules prescribed by the scriptures. The divine properties are the cause of liberation whereas the demonic properties are the cause of bondage. We have to leave those activities forbidden by the scriptures.
Path of Returning
If we analyze then we shall find that all these demonic and divine properties are qualities of the mind, so we have to make our mind pure. This is yama, rules and niyama, regulations described in yogic scriptures. The rules are five viz. nonviolence, truthfulness, non-stealing, sexual restrain and reducing wants to minimum; and the five regulations are cleanliness, contentment, austerities, study of scriptures, knowing the God. All the divine properties come under these five rules and five regulations. They also come under the six-assets described in Advaita Vedanta in general and control of mind, sama, and control of senses, dama, in particular. This is the foundation of spiritual practice and without observing these we will simply end with failure in our spiritual life. This is the path of returning, nivŗti mārga. In yoga and tantra scriptures this is described as the way of fish, mīna mārga. As the fish swims against the water current we have to move against the path of desires, pravŗti mārga. To move against the current, dhārā is Rādhā, we have to reverse dhā and rā. The principle called Rādhā is path of returning or renouncing the desires. Rādhā will take us to Lord Krishna and dhārā or way of nature or desires will take us to bondage. And for this we have to observe control of senses and control of mind.
Sense Enjoyment kills
Bhagavatpāda Śri Śankarācārya has given us the examples how the attachment to sense objects takes one to devastation.
śabdādibhih pañcabhireva pañca pañcatvamāpuh svagunena baddhāh;
kurańgamātańgapatańgamīna bhŗńgā narah pañcabhirañcitah kim. (Vi. C.: -78)
An animal being attached, baddhāh, to only, eva, one object out of fives, pañcabhih, like sound etc, śabdādibhih, due to its own nature, svagunena, meets the death, pañcatvamāpuh, as in case of deer, kurańga, elephant, mātańga, insects, patańga, fish, mīna, and bee, bhŗńgā, whereas what, kim, will happen to humans, narah, those are attached, añcitah, to all the fives, pañcabhih.
A deer is attached to sounds and while listening to the song of a hunter it comes close and the hunter’s arrow hits it. An elephant is attached to touch and hunters exploit this. They dig a trench and on the other side they keep a female elephant, having a desire to coupling the elephant falls on the trench and found himself in captive. Insects are attached to vision and die in mass when they see fire. A fish is attached to taste and is captured by fishing through feed on a hook. A bee is attached to smell and dies inside a lotus in night when the lotus is closed. Whereas a human being is attached to all the five viz. sound, touch, vision, taste and smell, then how he will save himself. Therefore we must have control over five sense organs. Without controlling ears, eyes, skin, tongue and nose we cannot move one step in the way of God. This is called control of senses, dama, and this is not possible without controlling the mind, sama.
Mind is the Cause of Bondage and Liberation
From this we understand that the main instrument of our spiritual practice is mind. And according to yogic scriptures;
mana eva manuşyāņām kāraņam bandhamokshayoh,
bandhāya vişayāsaktam muktai nirvişayam smŗtam. (Bb. U. – 2)
Mind, mana, is the cause, kāraņam, of bondage and liberation, bandhamokshayoh, for humans, manuşyāņām, mind attached to sense objects is bondage, bandhāya vişayāsaktam, and detached mind is liberation, muktai nirvişayam smŗtam.
All the seers and teachers of yoga are saying this. To this Rishi Patanjali says that when actions of mind are halted is called as yoga, this is samādhi and in this state the practitioner knows his own Self, knows God the Cosmic Self. Here the qualities of the Nature are merged in the God, Puruşa, and he is established in the seat of Only One, kaivalya pada. The techniques that we do for this is known as Kriyā-yoga, that is Kaivalya-yoga, that is Raja-yoga. The breath technique is its main basis. This has been referred in Upanişads as prāņopāsana, worshiping the vital force.
Breath Technique cleans the Mind
If we do the breath technique, if we worship our prāņa then our mind will be cleaned. We shall be able to obey the rules and regulations; we shall be able to control sense organs and mind. We will receive divine properties. Then on the process of pratyāhāra, withdrawal, dhāraņa, concentration, dhyāna, meditation and samādhi, we will attain the Only One. Our entire life will be worshiping and body will become temple of God. This breath technique is based on scriptures and one has to learn it from a master. Then by practicing one has to become expert on it. This knowledge of prāņa is as Kriyā-yoga. To this Lord Vāsudeva said in Śrimad Bhagavad-Gitā (4-29) as,
apāne juhvati prāņam prāņepānam tathāpare;
prāņāpānagatī ruddhva prāņāyāmaparāyaņā.
One has to oblate, juhvati, the act of exhalation, prāņam, into that of inhalation, apāne, and act of inhalation into that of exhalation, prāņepānam tathāpare. By that when the movements, gatī, of exhalation and inhalation, prāņāpāna, are stopped, ruddhva, one becomes expert in breath practice, prāņāyāmaparāyaņā.
Rajahamsa Swami Nityananda Giri concludes that –
This technique is described by the Lord in chapters four, five and again in details in chapter six of Śrīmad Bhagavad-Gītā. This is the yoga of meditation. In the words Bhagavatpāda Śri Śankarācārya this is internal practice for Knowledge.
More details could be found in the book Kriya Yoga – The Science of Life Force authored by Rajahamsa Swami Nityananda Giri.