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From: V. Chandrasekaran (vcs_at_wipinfo.soft.net)
Date: Thu Aug 27 1998 - 03:31:55 PDT
Dear Members, Namaskarams. Under the subject of "dyAna" some bhagavathas had suggested "prANa"-control as a means. It's very true that the two viz., mind and prANa are inter-linked and they are like two branches of a tree one growing around the other; (when you pull down one branch, the other one comes along with it). But one has to be careful in practice of prANa-control. If the same is practised without guidance under a competent teacher it can have gross ill-effects on one's overall physical health. Sri Ramanar hence advises against practising actual prANAyAmam for people practising japa yOga. What he recommends is "prANa vIkshaNam" (I don't know the sanskrit meaning of this word). But the purport is that the practitioner instead of controlling his breath simply monitors it with every inhalation and exhalation. This will help control the mind as well as doesn't cause physical harm if practised without guidance. Since I came to know this I am posting this so bhagavathas can be cautious. Bhagavathas suggested that we let the mind wander as it does so and it finally settles exhausted. This is true in the beginning of the sAdhakA. Later he needs to get active since passive approach will not run longer miles. I have a few thoughts in this regard. Bhagavathas, pls. correct me if I am wrong or misleading anywhere: Mind is but a product of thoughts and thoughts are product of ego (the `I' feeling). When the water dries you can no longer call a pond, a pond. Likewise if the thoughts are made to run out, there is no mind. Then inner peace ensues. But how can thoughts dry out?! If we see, thoughts are like infinite chemical reaction one leading to other and so on and finally growing into a huge tree like structure. This growing happens since the inner self consciousness (the `I') becomes again and again aware of the contents of the thoughts. As new thoughts arise they get elaborate attention from the consciousness owing to the affliction of the pure consciousness by the impure `I'-feeling. If we realise that the mind is but a illusory bag of thoughts and we make the bag empty we can still the mind's play. Beautifully this emptying takes place if we just realise that it's already empty. This is to be just a realisation and not a thought:-) Just feel that the mind is always empty and by nature has no existence without the inner self-consciousness (kshEtra~ngya); and it gets dried out. Also sometimes lack of seriousness and, action by way of routine cause spoil to the sAdhakA's progress. For eg. take a case of a man travelling to his house in the route he is used to going for the past 20 years back home from office. He does this without any thought as to which turn to take next or which exit to take etc., But when the same person is on his way while going to a totally new place his mind gets extremely focussed on the route and sign boards etc. It's difficult for a lady to focus her attention while preparing some dish which she has been preparing since she learnt cooking from her mother. But when she prepares a new dish, all her concentration is on the items and quantity of them she uses. Pls. ignore these crude examples as some ponderings. This by-rote-feeling and hence action result since we think that the japa we are practising is for ourselves. But if we realise that it is for the paramESwara only and for His prIthi, then I feel we will get serious about this daily vandhanam. Is it for this that during sandhyAvandhanam, we say in sankhalpam as, ".....SrI paramESwara prIthyartham" ? Pls. forgive me if I am wrong in extrapolating this to this context; I never really knew the meaning of the sankhalpam. But I could only make out the purport. I request learned members to shed light on the meaning of the `sankhalpa' chant. adiyEn, chandrasekaran.