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The Experiences of Yogis in the Practice of Pranayama
This lesson is dedicated to illustrating the definite
results of the practice of Yoga. One of the biggest problems students of
Yoga have is the delusion of spiritual progress from certain abnormal
results where no real progress exists. These results may be real and often
very showy, but ultimately add up to little spiritually. The flip side is
that many students who get none of the results that other students of Yoga
experience fear that they are not progressing at all when in fact the real
benefits of Yoga are apparent in their lives. Do not give into doubt, but
don't delude yourself into thinking that being spiritual is as easy as
looking spiritual, calling yourself spiritual, being called by others
spiritual, or by making your home look spiritual. As with everything,
practice of Yoga alone makes perfect spirituality. Here are the markers on
your journey. Look for them in yourself and others who pose as students or
gurus of Yoga.
Yama and Niyama will give the Yogi complete
self-control where thought and action is involved and the ability to
quickly calm the mental faculties when stillness of thought is desired. If
you find that there are still residues or whirlpools of thought or memory
from your day or your life when you sit to practice Pranayama, then your
thoughts and actions were misguided and not in keeping with Yama and
Niyama. Look to where your mind rests as you sit to watch the breath to
discover where you erred.
Asana will bring physical stillness and
mind-body harmony, allowing you to sit absolutely motionless for countless
hours in the meditation position without becoming tired, restless, or even
aware of the passage of time. If you have not reached this state, work on
your meditation posture by practicing it with no thought of time or
Pranayama gives the Yogi control over the heartbeat and
pulse. You should be able to have one pulse rate in one arm, a different
pulse rate in the other arm, and no pulse in your neck if you so desire.
That and that alone is pulse control. Learn to stop the heart at will.
Pranayama also brings the ability to still the breath for hours or even
days at a time. Finally, Pranayama will give you the awareness of the cool
and warm currents in the spine, awareness and control over all the five
pranic currents in the body, the melting of the mind into another prana
and the merging of it with the breath, and the ability to breathe with the
mind alone beyond thought. Pranayama ends with the ability to enter
Pratyahara at will. If you have not achieved all this, you are not beyond
Pranayama in the school of Raja Yoga.
Pratyahara gives the Yogi
the ability to control the senses, the ability to turn off any one, two,
three, four, or all the senses, to hear with the skin, to see with the
nose, to smell with the eyes, to taste with the hands, etc. Pratyahara
gives the Yogi the ability to turn the mind away from the senses. The body
will go numb and you will not be aware that you even have a body.
Dharana gives the Yogi the ability to hear the cosmic sound of AUM
as limited to the body. You must be able to hear AUM in the body. Your
consciousness in the spine will be riveted to the sound of AUM as limited
by the astral body.
Dhyana yields the ability to expand on the
magnitude of AUM and hear AUM throughout the cosmos. Dhyana expands the
consciousness beyond the confines of the body through listening to the
oceanic sound of AUM as it expands beyond the body into the vastness of
Samadhi is the merging of the consciousness with AUM
in the first phase of samadhi or AUM samadhi. It is union between the self
and the cosmic Self through the sound of AUM. It is the ability to attain
ecstasy at will. You will become desireless.
On the path of
ascension, the Yogi gains the ability to produce dreams and visions at
will, then the Yogi can remain conscious while the body is sleeping, then
the Yogi can enter samadhi at will and see three great lights around him
or her in a sphere of darkness, then feel the entire cosmos inside his or
her body, then feel his or her presence throughout the entire cosmos. Once
you reach this universal consciousness you will gain the ability to
materialize another body anywhere in the cosmos at will. Beyond that is
Nirvikalpa Samadhi wherein you gain the ability to create solar systems,
human beings, anything. You will know yourself to be the source of
End delusions of spiritual grandeur. Test your
advancement. If you are dissatisfied then practice, practice, practice.
There is no easy way. The path is simple but rough. If you are treading on
it daily you will be among the greatest men and women who ever walked the
earth. No Yogi sitting in solitude practicing Pranayama is ever truly
alone. Use the above information to ground your practice on real
advancement. Do not be satisfied with any other experiences. They may be
real or they may not be, but they have little value beyond entertainment.
Get busy with Pranayama. You will then discover that the greatest proof of
advancement is an ever increasing joy in your consciousness that is
unconditioned by sensory impressions.