Meditation
Gaining Steadiness in Meditation
Divine Grace is Essential for Meditation

Breath Regulation helps Meditation

 

In the absence of enquiry and devotion, the natural sedative pranayama (breath regulation) may be tried. This is known as Yoga Marga. If life is imperilled the whole interest centres round the one point, the saving of life. If the breath is held the mind cannot afford to (and does not) jump at its pets – external objects. Thus there is rest for the mind so long as the breath is held. All attention being turned on breath or its regulation, other interests are lost.

Again, passions are attended with irregular breathing, whereas calm and happiness are attended with slow and regular breathing. Paroxysm of joy is in fact as painful as one of pain, and both are accompanied by ruffled breaths. Real peace is happiness. Pleasures do not form happiness. The mind improves by practice and becomes finer just as the razor’s edge is sharpened by stropping. The mind is then better able to tackle internal or external problems.
4th February, 1935
Talk 26.

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Sri Bhagavan said: “Control of breath may be internal or external.”
The antah pranayama (the internal breath-regulation) is as follows:-
Naham chinta (I-am-not-the-body idea) is rechaka (exhalation). Koham (who am I?) is puraka (inhalation).
Soham (I am He) is kumbhaka (retention of breath).
Doing thus, the breath becomes automatically controlled.

Bahir pranayama (external control) is for one not endowed with strength to control the mind. There is no way so sure as that; or a sadhu’s company. The external practice must be resorted to by a wise man if he does not enjoy a sadhu’s company. If in a sadhu’s company the sadhu provides the needed strength, though unseen by others, pranayama need not be exactly as described in hatha Yoga. If engaged in japa, dhyana, bhakti, etc., just a little control of breath will suffice to control the mind. The mind is the rider and the breath the horse. Pranayama is a check on the horse. By that check the rider is checked.

Pranayama may be done just a little. To watch the breath is one way of doing it. The mind abstracted from other activities is engaged in watching the breath. That controls the breath; and in its turn the mind is controlled. If unable to do so, rechaka and puraka need not be practised. Breath may be retained a short while in japa, dhyana, etc. Then, too, good results will follow.
16th June, 1935
Talk 54.

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M.: Prana and mind arise from the same source. The source can be reached by holding the breath or tracing the mind. If you cannot do the latter the former will no doubt be helpful. Regulation of breath is gained by watching its movements.

If the mind is watched thoughts cease. Peace results and it is your true nature. King Janaka said: “I have now found the robber (namely the mind) who has been robbing me of my ‘I’-ness. I will instantly kill this thief.” The perturbation owing to thoughts appears to rob the Self of its peace. The perturbation is the mind. When that ceases the mind is said to take flight. The Self remains as the undisturbed substratum.
17th January, 1937
Talk 328.

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M.: You are practising breath-control. Mechanical breath-control will not lead one to the goal. It is only an aid. While doing it mechanically take care to be alert in mind and remember the ‘I’ thought and seek its source. Then you will find that where breath sinks, there ‘I-thought’ arises. They sink and rise together. The ‘I-thought’ also will sink along with breath. Simultaneously, another luminous and infinite ‘I-I’ will become manifest, which will be continuous and unbroken. That is the goal. It goes by different names – God, Self, Kundalini Sakti, Consciousness, Yoga, Bhakti, Jnana, etc.
D.: Not clear yet.
M.: When the attempt is made, it will of itself take you to the goal.
6th June 1936
Talk 195.

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D.: The mind is not steady in meditation.
M.: Whenever it wanders, turn it inward again and again.
D.: When duhka (misery) overpowers me, enquiry is impossible.
M.: Because the mind is too weak. Make it strong.
D.: By what means?
M.: Sat-sanga, Isvara Aradhana, Pranayama – (association with the wise, worship of God, breath control).
D.: What happens?
M.: Misery is removed; our aim is removal of misery. You do not acquire happiness. Your very nature is happiness. Bliss is not newly earned. All that is done is to remove unhappiness. These methods do it.
30th November, 1936
Talk 290.
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Dr. Lohara: Why does the mind not sink into the Heart even while meditating?
M.: A floating body does not readily sink unless some means are adopted for making it do so. Breath-control makes the mind quiescent. The mind must be alert and meditation pursued unremittingly even when it is at peace. Then it sinks into the heart. Or the floating body might be loaded with weights and made to sink. So also association with the wise will make the mind sink into the Heart.
Such association is both mental and physical. The extremely visible being (of the Guru) pushes the mind inward. He is also in the heart of the seeker and so he draws the latter’s inward-bent mind into the Heart.
This question is asked only when the man begins to meditate and finds it difficult. Let him practise breath-control just a little and the mind will be purified. It does not now sink into the heart because the latent tendencies stand as obstacles. They are removed by breath-control or association with the wise. In fact the mind is always in the Heart. But it is restive and moves about on account of latent tendencies. When the tendencies are made ineffective it will be restful and at peace.
By breath-control the mind will be only temporarily quiescent, because the tendencies are still there. If the mind is transformed into the Self it will no longer give trouble. That is done by meditation.
2nd July, 1936
Talk 223.

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Devotee asked about pranayama.

M.: Pranayama according to jnana is:

“Na aham” I am not this = out-breathing Who am I? = in-breathing
“Koham” Who am I? = in-breathing
“Soham” I am He = Retention of breath

5th February, 1936
Talk 154.

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Sri Bhagavan said: “Control of breath may be internal or external.”
The antah pranayama (the internal breath-regulation) is as follows:-

Naham chinta (I-am-not-the-body idea) is rechaka (exhalation). Koham (who am I?) is puraka (inhalation). Soham (I am He) is kumbhaka (retention of breath).
Doing thus, the breath becomes automatically controlled.

Bahih pranayama (external breath control) is for one not endowed with strength to control the mind. There is no way so sure as that; or a sadhu’s company. The external practice must be resorted to by a wise man if he does not enjoy a sadhu’s company.

If in a sadhu’s company the sadhu provides the needed strength, though unseen by others, pranayama need not be exactly as described in hatha Yoga. If engaged in japa, dhyana, bhakti, etc., just a little control of breath will suffice to control the mind. The mind is the rider and the breath the horse. Pranayama is a check on the horse. By that check the rider is checked.

Pranayama may be done just a little. To watch the breath is one way of doing it. The mind abstracted from other activities is engaged in watching the breath. That controls the breath; and in its turn the mind is controlled. If unable to do so, rechaka and puraka need not be practised. Breath may be retained a short while in japa, dhyana, etc. Then, too, good results will follow.
16th June, 1935
Talk 54.

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M.: Breath-control may do as an aid but can never lead to the goal itself. While doing it mechanically, take care to be alert in mind and remember the ‘I-thought’ and seek its source. Then you will find that where breath sinks, there the ‘I-thought’ arises. They sink and rise together. The ‘I-thought’ also will sink along with breath. Simultaneously another luminous and infinite “I-I” will manifest and it will be continuous and unbroken. That is the goal. It goes by different names – God, Self, Kundalini-Sakti, consciousness etc., etc.
When the attempt is made it will of itself take you to the goal.
23rd January, 1937
Talk 345.

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Mr. G. D. asked: Is it necessary to control one’s breath? What becomes of the man who has not practised breath-control?
M.: Breath-control is only an aid for diving deep. One may as well dive down by control of mind. On the mind being controlled, the breath becomes controlled automatically. One need not attempt breath- control; mind-control is enough. Breath-control is recommended for the man who cannot control his mind straightaway.
Naham – I am not this – corresponds to rechaka
Koham – Who am I? (search for the I) – corresponds to puraka
Soham – He am I; (The Self alone) – corresponds to kumbhaka.
So these are the functions of pranayama.
Again the three formulae are:
Na – Aham (Not – I).
Ka – Aham (Who – I).
Sa – Aham (He – I).
Delete the prefixes and hold on to the common factor in all of them. That is Aham-’I’, that is the gist of the whole matter.
25th January, 1938
Talk 448.

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Gaining Steadiness in Meditation
Divine Grace is Essential for Meditation
Breath Regulation helps Meditation
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