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Control of mind - Part 2
Date: Fri Oct 02 1998 - 07:42:13 PDT

Dear Bhagavatas,
Presented below is Part 2 on Control of mind
Anbil Ramaswamy
Control of Mind - Part 2
As we mentioned earlier, to keep the body hale and healthy two factors are
essential - Firstly, Physical exercise and Secondly, the dietary habits which
have direct effect on our body system.  Hinduism has laid down elaborate
guidelines through Ayurveda and Yoga Sastra - to take care of both these
We will consider here the role of physical exercises in disciplining  the body
and mind helping in the process of integration with Brahman.
Control of breath:
We have seen people in trying to lift a heavy burden find it easier to do it
while holding their breath than otherwise. Though this cannot, in the strict
sense, be called Praanaayaamam, it underines the fact that with breath control
we can achieve what we cannot without it..
It is said that breathing involves gathering and dispersing the atmosphere
confirming in the process our connection with the all pervading Universal air-
whatever air is exhaled has to return to be inhaled and whatever air is
inhaled has to be expelled- and this is at the bottom of all action.
TRISHIKHI BRAHMOPANISHAD MANTRA PARTS 77 TO 81 describe the location and
functions of 10 Pranas of which five are important.
YOGA YAGNAVALKYA IV 48-72, AMRITA NADOPANISHAD  34-35 also refer to the
efficacy of Pranayama. ( breath control) ATHARVA VEDA VI, XXX12, XI, IV-10,
XI15 also describe the `Pranayamas' as the fundamental basis of "Whatever is,
was or will be" and as a technique silencing the breath.
i.	Prana : (Life Sustaining Vital air) the most important vital activity so
long as a person lives
ii.	Apana : (Excretory) Expulsion of impure air from the body.
ii.	Vyana : (Circulatory) helps in circulation of air within the body.
iv.	Udana :(Respiratory) helps in respiration process and
v.	Samana : (Digestive) helps in digesting the food consumed.
The `Pranayama' is the exercise of breath - control by which these vital airs
are regulated. This itself consists of three steps :
i. Rechaka (Releasing or Exhaling) : Letting out air in an orderly fashion
through the right nostril done usually by closing the left nortril with the
ring and the little fingers of the right hand.
ii. Puraka (Filling on Inhaling) : Inhaling fresh air through left nostril by
releasing the two fingers.
Brihad Yogi Yajna Valkyasmrithi VIII.  9 `Puraka' as 'sucking in the Vayu from
the atmosphere through the nose and making it fill all the Nadis in the body. 
iii. Kumbaka ( lit. ) potting up ; bottling up)
Again closing both the nostrils with the respective fingers (as in the Rechaka
and Puraka steps) - the air so inhaled is allowed to be kept circulating,
suspending the process of respiration of air so bottled up so long as one
could do so comfortably without panting for breath. By constant practice and
steady progression, we can prolong this process of `bating the breath' to
incredibly long periods.
MUKTIKOPANISHAD II 51.52 AND BHAGAVAD GITA IV 29-30 explain in detail the
Kumbaka part of Pranayama.
After the Kumbaka, the breath is released slowly and steadily through Rechaka
to be followed by Puraka and Kumbaka again. And the cycle is repeated for a
prescribed number of times. The ratio of  Puraka , Kumbaka and Rechaka is
generally 1: 4 : 2  matras 2
Humans are believed to breath under normal circumstances 15 times  in one
minute or 21,600 times in 24 hours. Animals have their own rates; (e.g)  a cat
24 times a minute; a turtle 3 times a minute.This is probably why they say
that the cat has 9 lives;The turtle might probably live longer. May be each
individual is destined to breath a cerain specified number of times during his
/ her  lifetime. By  Pranayama or breath control the breathing is delayed to
the extent of the duration of the exercise. Assuming that  it is possible to
reduce the rate from 15 to say 8 times (i.e) 50%, may be one could live that
longer to complete the allotted quota. Cumulatively reckoned, the amount of
time to which life could be extended to reach the destined number of breathing
would indeed be breathtaking. This view , however, is not supported by any
scientific or scriptural authority. May be researchers can go into this and
come up with startling discoveries and statistics.
(To continue)