Secrets of Yoga

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Seers had once discovered that the universe is not a chaos, but a cosmos, and it is made of akasha, the cosmic matter, and prana, the cosmic energy. Akasha is integrated to the universe by the power of prana. Everything that has a form and existence is evolved out of akasha.

Accordingly, the human body is also composed of akasha, which is the infinite, omnipresent material of this universe. So too is prana Both are too subtle and are not readily perceptible. Gravitation, electricity, magnetism, and all forms of motion and energy are expressions of prana, which is manifest as the actions of the body, the nerve current, as the thought force. In other words: “The sum total of all forces in the universe, mental or physical, when resolved back to their original state, is called prana”.

Breathing is the gross manifestation of prana. Just as we are immersed in air, so too are we immersed in prana. When we breathe we take in both air and prana, which has modifications, according to its five different functions. These are called prana, apana, samana, udana and vyana.

Prana is responsible for our respiration, apana for excretion, samana for digestion, udana for sleep, and vyana for circulation of the blood. The seat of prana is the heart; of apana the organs of evacuation; of samana the area of the naval; of udana the throat; while vyana is all pervading and moves throughout the body, guarding the individual against disease and maintaining equilibrium.

Man is the supreme being because of his exceptional power of volition. Although a blessing, volition is a bane nevertheless, for the various troubles it causes to him. Giving a free rein to it, he invites problems which make his life miserable unnecessarily. He suffers as he wills at random, exercising no restraint over his whims. In the process, his mind almost inevitably goes out of its balance.

Swami Vivekananda rightly compares such a mind to “maddened monkey”. Ordinarily, it is like a monkey that first drinks the wine, then gets bitten by a scorpion, and, finally, to its extreme agony, gets possessed by a demon.

Swamiji said: “The human mind is like that monkey, increasingly active by its own nature; then it becomes drunk with the wine of desire, thus increasing its turbulence. After desire takes possession comes the sting of the scorpion of jealousy at the success of others, and last of all the demon of pride enters the mind, making it think of itself of all importance”. The impact of such a mind on society is also detrimental.

This being the case more or less with each one of us, a profound remedy is imperative. Therefore, Swamiji considers it seriously and offers lessons on Yoga so widely. He is clear ~ unless we know how to control our mind in the first place, we will not know what peace is.

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