Harmony by Swami Krishnananda

Baba Times Digest© | 24 March 2014 16:48 EST | New York Edition


Divine Life Society Publication: Yoga and Meditation – Practical Techniques by Swami Krishnananda

To bring the mind to the state of awareness of meditation, stability or harmony has to be practiced in every walk of life. Harmony is of various grades.

  1. You must be harmonious in your relationship with other people in the world. You should be friendly; you should have no hatred towards anyone. You should not harm or deceive anyone. You should not steal or appropriate what does not belong to you. You should have no disgust for any person or thing; you should have affection for all persons and things. All this constitutes harmony in outer relationship with the society and the world. You should not take from the world more than what you have given to it by your service.
  2. You must be harmonious within your own personality. The human individual is often out of balance with himself. You should take care of the minimal needs of the body: e.g. cleanliness, a bath regularly, to eat only when you are. Treat your body as your friend. Live in ventilated places; breathe fresh air; spend at least two hours a day in open air. Adopt simple living and high thinking.
  3. You must have harmony of muscles and the nervous system. We are generally in a state of restless activity and agitation. So we are asked to practice Asanas or physical postures, for the stability of the body. Though for the health of the body you may practice many Asanas, you should sit in one Asana alone for meditation. By staying in one, single, steady, comfortable posture, you bring about a harmony in the nervous system and the muscles.

Why is this posture prescribed? Because some energy, you may call it electric power, is generated in the body when the mind is concentrated in meditation. Now, if the extremities of the body are left open, the electricity that is produced in meditation will leak out. So, the purpose of posture is to lock up the fingers and the toes so that there is a circulation of energy throughout the body, and there is no leakage of energy outside. Also, to prevent leakage, you are asked to sit on some nonconductor of electricity, e.g. deer skin or mat, not an iron seat (that will give you a shock). Sit there, locking the fingers and toes, and keeping the spine, neck and head erect, in one straight line. If you cannot sit straight in the beginning, sit straight leaning your back against a wall.

  1. Bring the breathing process, Prana, into harmony. Pranayama is a normal state of breathing. Usually we are not in a normal state of breathing. And we are not happy when we breathe disharmoniously. The Pranas are disturbed because you long for objects in the world. And to desire an object is to be out of tune with the law of the universe, because the object is not outside the law of the universe; the object is an integral, vital part of the cosmos. So, when you imagine anything is outside, consciousness is disturbed, agitated, unhappy. So, this harmony is achieved not merely by control of breathing through the nose, but by reduction of desires. If you entertain too many desires in your mind, Pranayama will be useless, or may be even harmful. A person with no control over desires should not practice Pranayama. First, you must be ethical and moral in your conduct.

In the beginning, do not practice technical methods (like alternate breathing); just practice normal inhalation and exhalation. Take in a slow, full, deep breath and exhale slowly. Generally, you do not take a slow, deep breath, you take a fast, shallow breath.

The purpose of Pranayama is to reduce the rate of breathing. And, when the Prana becomes calm by this process of slow breathing, the mind also becomes calm. The Prana is connected with the mind. When the Prana is reduced in its activity, the mind is also reduced in its activity. Between the Prana and the mind are the senses. The senses are the meeting point between the Prana and the mind. The senses become active, whether the Prana works or the mind works.

  1. So, the fifth harmony is the control of the activity of the senses. The senses cannot be controlled so long as you live in the midst of attractive objects. So, in the beginning stages of Yoga practice, you should try to live for at least some time in a year in such places where objects are not tempting to the senses. This is the reason why seekers of Truth try to live in Ashrams, monasteries or secluded places. When you try gradually to abstain from sense indulgence, by living in such holy atmospheres, the senses get automatically subdued. As the senses are in contact with the mind, control of the senses also involves a little control of the mind.

When the mind is accustomed to a life of seclusion and solitariness, and the senses do not ask for tempting objects, you are ready for concentration and meditation. This is really the field of Yoga. All the stages earlier are only preparatory. From concentration onwards is proper Yoga.

  1. Now, concentration is of three forms: Concentration on External Points, Concentration on Internal Points, Concentration on the Universal.

(to be continued…)

Excerpts from:

Concentration – Yoga and Meditation by Swami Krishnananda

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