Saturday, June 30, 2012

WAI - 25, Evolution with Pranayama

There are teachers and masters on this path.

A teacher is one who teaches and is surrounded by students. Intelligent teachers talk, argue, preach and attract thousands. A student accumulates knowledge, information and ends up being another teacher. A Master is different. He is enlightened, knows himself and is surrounded by disciples - students are prohibited. He will not teach you, for, it is not his purpose to spread knowledge - his purpose is to transform you.

I aim to be neither. I share myself, my experiences, my knowledge and the process that I went through. If I succeed in sparking someone else's search - I'll have done my bit. Everyone follows their own path, their own destiny and their own goals. The reason I do not subscribe my knowledge to the grace of God, Divine, Creator or a Guru , is then, the sharing will stop becoming replicable. You will then start feeling that you cannot go down the same path - as I have got it out of grace and some illogical, magical process, or because of my past life. Therefore, to achieve the goal of initiating your journey, it is necessary to stay on the intellectual side of reality, science and logic.

In continuation of that, today I intend to write on pranayama - one of the finest process to open blockage and energise the human mind-life-body complex.

Prana is the energy permeating the universe at all levels, which is common and shared by all animate and inanimate beings. All vibrating energies are prana, including electromagnetic energies like heat, light, gravity, magnetism and electricity. Vigour, power, vitality, life and spirit are all forms of prana. It is physical, mental, intellectual, sexual, spiritual and cosmic energy. Most importantly, prana is the breath and life of all beings in the universe. Our bodies come into existence with prana and die with the exit of prana.

The human body is a complex energy system with surging prana moving through the complex 72000 nadis (total length of over 750 kilometres in an adult human), being pumped by the various chakras interspersing with the marma junctions. Prana energy, in form of breath of air (made up of oxygen, nitrogen etc) is being exchanged every second by the human body with the atmosphere, using the respiratory system.

In the Indian knowledge system, life was a period of a certain number of breaths (inhalation and exhalation). For example, it was thought that each human being had a lifespan of an average of 55 crore breaths (assuming 21600 breaths per day or 15 breaths per minute and an average age of 70 years). Now, logically, if one breathed slowly - let us say 14 breaths per minute instead of 15- it would elongate one's life, allow the body parts to function better and improve health.

Important : Therefore, Indian knowledge system, stressed on hatha yoga for exercise, with its slow breathing pattern against the aerobic system of the west. Anger, stress and a faulty life style create rapid, shallow breathing which leads to illnesses.

Therefore Rishis and Yogis have designed techniques to take in prana slowly to move and expand intentionally and rhythmically called Pranayama (ayama means to stretch, extend, expand). While, it is not the purpose of this blog to describe nor teach the various pranayamas - let me just explain the principles, concepts and most importantly CAUTION regarding the dangers of wrongly practicing pranayama.

Most of us breath in a short and shallow manner (average 500 cubic centimetres of air), instead of deep inhalation (around 3000 cc ). thus the lungs are not filled completely, leading to reduced purification of blood. Good pranayama practice, consisting of inhalation (purak), retention (kumbhaka) and exhalation (rechaka) should enable us to take deep breaths and stretch the same. It also needs to use the air by internal pranayama, to cleanse the nadis, create positive chemical changes in the body, throw out vitiated air and toxins, distribute the energy throughout the body and stimulate all systems. By extensive practice, breathing can become more efficient by manipulating its rate, depth and quality.

Various kriyas, including the Sudarshan Kriya of the Art of Living, Ramdevbaba's pranayams, kriyas and pranayams by various teachers and yogis - most focus on the patterns of inhalation, retention and exhalation to oxidise and energise the body. But the real techniques used by ancient Masters were based on the internal pranayama of movement of air within the body and techniques and science to purify and energise oneself.

Humans have 59 kinds of vayus (force of air), which operate within the entire body. The major five vayus that operate our major systems are being described in the chart below

Other subsidiary five or upa-pranas are naga (belching), kurma (fluttering and control of eyelids), krkara (sneezing and coughing), devadatta (yawning) and dhanarhjaya (produces phlegm).

Expert yogis exercise tremendous control over these vayus or pranas and manipulate the vayus to achieve meditation and control over their bodies. Some of the methods are bandhas (closing the apertures of the body - like the nose, anus etc and circulating the air trapped within the body to energise. Some popular bandhas are jallander, uddiyan and mulabandha ), mudras (hundreds of position of parts of the body to give direction to energy to tremendously impact the body-mind - some of the powerful ones are khechari mudra, maha mudra and the yoni mudra) and yogic asanas (hundreds of physical as well as vayu healing positions).

Example :

The Bhagwad Gita says " "In the beings I become the fire and stay in the body. United with prana and apana I digest the four kinds of food." [Chapter 15 verse 14].

Under guidance, this is one of the most powerful internal pranayama, that can be practiced. The vayu below the centre, i.e. Apana vayu with its direction of moving lower and the Prana vayu which is travelling upwards are brought to the centre of the body and along with the vayu in the centre i.e samana vayu, all vayus gets balanced and the mind and body becomes goes into an automatic state of meditation. This is extremely pleasant and natural.

Pranayama is a very powerful process and one should only do pranayama under guidance from real yogis. Hence this knowledge can never be acquired in exchange of money from mathas, missions and commercial teachers. Because everyone is unique, doing a general pranayama just by watching others or seeing on TV, to my mind, has great element of danger. I tried to do the same with terrible repercussions. The sastras have forbidden to practice of pulling in air forcefully by constricting the nose. Sankara in the Rigveda expresses that more harm than health can result due to faulty practices like the above, because anything unnatural and unscientific will create trouble. The pranayama that happens naturally, is pleasant and improves external and internal energy is the correct one.

A good teacher would teach you the correct pranayama practice. A master would automatically transform you, by making your body do automatic, natural pranayama. After my kundalini awakening, my breathing pattern automatically slowed down substantially, leading to calmness and a cool composure.

Friday, June 29, 2012

WAI - 26, Mantra - practical ways of evolution

In 2004, I had tremendous heat in my body. My eyes were bloodshot red and I used to apply ice all over my body to try and keep cool. Every method - be it acupressure, medicines, food, keeping feet dipped in water etc was in vain. Desperate to find a solution, me and my friends contacted various ayurvedic, allopathic and homeopathic doctors, yogis and searched for gurus, but to no avail.

One day, out of the blue, someone known to someone who knew my state, phoned me. He gave me a mantra to cool me down. He dictated the mantra which I had to recite and the written copy to be kept below my pillow while I slept. Always under the impression that mantra is a negligible energy, I was not too enthused. But, being in a state of desperation, I recited the mantra a few times on the phone and got the rhythm and phonetics correct. After putting down the phone, I closed my eyes and started saying the mantra repeatedly. And suddenly, after over 4 months of intense heat experience, I started feeling cold and in control of my body. Minal, my wife came and touched the bed where I was sitting and found it to be ice-cold. That started my process of recovery from the horrifying heat in my body. That was my first experience of the power of mantra.

Dr. Masaru Emoto, a Japanese scientist, took water samples and subjected it to simple words like love, thank you, war and hate. These water samples were then examined under the microscope. The samples subjected to love and thank you formed into brilliant crystal shapes. The hate and war samples formed ugly, amorphous shapes. This brought out the impact of words on water, as it would be on other elements. One can imagine the impact of words on humans who are made of 80% water.

There have been a lot of experiments on the influence of music, sounds, mantras and words on plants, animals, people and water. And for every one sensitive to the influence of music, sounds mantras and words it will be no surprise that harmonious classical music like that of Bhimsen Joshi, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ali Akbar Khan, Mozart and Beethoven or of harmonious new-age music, words like “I love you” and natural sounds of the sea, whales etc have a benevolent influence. And the opposite has been the case with disharmonious music like heavy metal, sounds like traffic noise and words like “I hate you”. The entire Indian classical music with its different ragas is based on the understanding of mantras on the psyche. The recent discovery of scientific and medical potency of ultrasound and ultrasonic devices is a pointer towards the impact that sound has on us.

Every element of the universe is in a constant state of vibration manifested to us as light, sound, and energy. This energy is neither created nor destroyed - but transformed. Thus the universe is a web of vibrations or sounds, in which the elements (ether, air, fire, water and earth) is represented by a set of sound combinations. Man is part of the system of vibrations and each of the letter of the sanskrit language resonates with different components of a human. The sanskrit language has been created by accessing energy dynamics and knowledge through the subjective process of meditation.

Indian ancient seers and Rishis with their deep science and knowledge used sounds, syllable, word, or group of words called "mantra" to create transformation in mind, body and spirit. Mantras are essentially vibrations which help to intensify the purification and energization of the human mind-body-consciousness.

Mantras start a powerful vibration which corresponds to both a specific spiritual energy frequency and a state of consciousness in seed form. Over time, the mantra process begins to override all of the other smaller vibrations, which eventually become absorbed by the mantra. After a length of time which varies from individual to individual, the great wave of the mantra stills all other vibrations. Ultimately, the mantra produces a state where the organism vibrates at the rate completely in tune with the energy and spiritual state represented by and contained within the mantra.

At this point, a change of state occurs in the organism. The organism becomes subtly different. Just as a laser is light which is coherent in a new way, the person who becomes one with the state produced by the mantra is also coherent in a way which did not exist prior to the conscious undertaking of repetition of the mantra.

More powerful than individual alphabets are the atomised combinations of alphabets to create a powerful seed or primary mantras (Bija mantras) such as Hrim, Krim, Aung, Phat, Klim etc. While, these bija mantras do not convey any meaning, the unleashing of their energy by repetition can act on various parts of the human consciousness to create powerful impact.

Bhajans, kirtans, prayer, healing mantras are some other forms of word manipulation to impact us. Vibrations can be audible or inaudible. The mantra is internalized in five stages (each stage being equally powerful): through writing, through speaking, through whispering, through thinking and through uninterrupted inner repetition (japa).

It is important to understand that as much as the exact word, it is the Chhanda (rhythm, enunciation, chanting, combination of musical accents and the speed) that is critical. The specific pattern of sonic waveforms generated by the mantra–japa depends upon the syllables of the mantra and the type of chhanda used. The assignment of appropriate chhanda for the spiritual evolution processes (sadhana) of practicing a mantra is decided with reference to the purpose of the sadhana, the configuration of the mantra-syllables and the mental and spiritual level of the sadhaka. For example, the chhanda or rhythm of the mantra that I repeat is such that with the gaps to breath in the rhythm, I breath only 12 times a minute instead of 15. That slows down my breathing speed and improves my health.

The japa of the bija generates the ‘energy’ essential for initiating the activation of the shakti (sonic power) of the associated mantra. The impact of sound on this system results in corresponding vibrations in the molecular, cellular (e.g., an enzyme in a cell or a membrane, or a hormone...) or organ (e.g., the liver, uterus or ears.....), brain cortex (visual, thinking, memory....) and generates isolated or cascade effects (positive or negative, depending on the type of sound) on the interconnected subsystems.

Several instances of the negative physical effects of the impact of sound on the gross body have been scientifically verified. Examples of the positive physical effects (on the gross bodies of any living being) include – increase in the immunity of human beings under specific therapies based on sound; acceleration of the growth rate of vegetation by special music; increase in milk production of cows and bulls; increase in the reproduction rates of some varieties of fish and hens under certain music-based treatments.

The mantras become much more powerful and effective when it is used in collaboration with the visual yantra. Yantras are abstract geometrical audio -visual designs used as tools for increasing the inner energies to travel towards unity with the highest energy.

The main Bija mantra is Aum or Om. This is an all-encompassing chanting that is not just healing, but can energize humans and accelerate their spiritual growth. I have written in my earlier blogs of the tremendous power of chanting of Aum.

There are various mantras that activate different parts of the body and mind. The Ganesha mantra "Aum gam ganapataye namah" works on the muladhar (root) chakra, its connected organs and brain cortex and the earth element. The Saraswati mantra " Om Aim Kleeng Saum Saraswatiya Namaha" works on the vishuddha chakra (throat chakra), its connected organs and brain cortex and the ether element. There are thousands of similar mantras that energize, open blockages and strengthen different chakras, organs, brain cortex etc.

Mahamrutunjaya Mantra has great healing quality and is chanted when one is seriously ill. But, the most powerful and complete mantra is the Gayatri mantra. It is the most holistic and integrated mantra, which is very potent and powerful. It energizes many parts of the body and is recited when one wants overall and general well being and shakti.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

WAI - 27: Yantra evolution

In 2005 - 2006, I had the ability and inclination to heal. I used to close my eyes, slow down my speed of thoughts to reach the alpha state ( 7-12 Hz per second), and was able to entrain myself with the frequency of the patient. I could "feel" disturbance in some part of my brain, which coincided with that of the patient (this is difficult to explain- as it was a sensation of something like a red or hot spot).

Over 80% of the diseases are psychosomatic (sourced from the brain) and therefore, when I "felt" disturbance in some part of the brain, I would take out my chart of the Brodmann brain cortex to identify where the disturbance was and therefore correlate the disease.

The Brain with various cortex
As I started studying the Brodmann Chart of the brain, I realized that each of this cortex played a certain role in the development and maintenance of the human mind - body complex. It was now pretty clear that if I wanted to evolve, then I'll need to learn about the science of impacting the appropriate brain cortex. Therefore, along with the practices (tantra) to stimulate different brain cortex and the vibration mantras - I got interested in learning and understanding yantra and mandalas, which was another route to evolve higher energies and impact focused brain parts.

We always knew that different colours affected us in a certain way. For example, Red is a strong colour, Blue and indigo a meditative one and Green - joyous one. The relation of colours to chakra and its impact on our mind had been discussed in an earlier blog. Also, contour bias affected the brain, with sharp edges keeping the mind alert and round edges giving a feeling of comfort. Hence, using the science of shapes and colours to impact parts of the brain fascinated me.

Mandala: are circular symbolic representations of both universal and personal forces; they emanate from the activity of the brain. These are symbolic compositions of energy patterns that are more powerful than pictures. Mandalas are tools that draw energy from outer world and direct it to the inner.
Similarity between the brain and the mandala
Yantra is the Sanskrit word for "instrument" or "machine". Much like the word "instrument" itself, it can stand for symbols, processes, automata, machinery or anything that has structure and organization, depending on context. It uses geometric shapes to represent cosmic and personal connections. It is an interlocking matrix of geometric figures that form patterns of great elegance and beauty. It is a meditation tool which facilitates in focusing and contemplation for serious spiritual seekers.
Shri Mahamrityunjaya Yantra
Images and idols are other, more gross and subtle, representations. The classical eight surfaces on which images, idols and yantras are either drawn, engraved or painted are gold, silver, copper, crystal, birch, bone, hide and Stone. The shapes, color and patterns of religious paintings and idol might look very strange and odd to the modern mind, but these are created with a great deal of knowledge and science. Intense meditation on these as well as mandalas and yantras causes the fully formed image to manifest in your mind's eye with an intensity that is remarkable for its imprinting ability.

Each yantra contains different frequencies and energy patterns. During meditation the mind gets in tune with the power resonating from the energy of a particular yantra and gets amplified. The sign of David, the Christian Cross and the Pyramids are some of the examples of yantras used in different religions. This is also plays an important part in the Tibetan Tantric meditation.

All yantras have one or more of these basic patterns and their different combinations are used to represent various deities

1. An infinite point or Bindu, represents the unity of Shiva / Shakti or the male / female bond.

2. The triangle or Trikona, represents the three gunas. The triangles facing downwards represents the female yantra and upwards in male yantra.

3. A six pointed star (Shatkona), consisting of two triangles representing fire and water and the coming together of opposites.

4. A circle (Chakra) representing the completeness and cyclic nature of things,

5. The square (Bhupura), which encompasses all the other components and

6. The lotus petals (Padma), the unfolding symbolizing beauty, purity and evolution.

Yantras take into consideration all the energy factors like directions, shapes, color, magnetic lines and a combination and patterns of all these, to create a powerful tool for energy manipulation. A yantra is only truly vitalised when it is engraved with the bija and other mantras and surrounded with the matrikas, or letters of the Sanskrit alphabet. Similar to the idols and temples, it must be installed with energy infusion using a rite called Pranapratishta (establishing breath).

Different cortex of the brain are activated by different yantras are used for various reasons. For example; to possess wealth one uses Mahalaxmi Yantra, Kubera Yantra, Shri Yantra, Shubh Labh Yantra etc. To maintain good health, yantras like Mahamritunjaya, Surya, Mangal etc. are popularly used. The Ganesh Yantra is used for prosperity.

"Shree Yantra" is the most potent, holistic and extremely powerful yantra. It is formed by nine interlocking triangles that surround and radiate out from the central (bindu) point, the junction point between the physical universe and its unmanifest source. Four of the triangles point upwards, representing Shiva or the Masculine. Five of these triangles point downwards, representing Shakti or the Feminine. Thus the Sri Yantra also represents the union of Masculine and Feminine Divine. Together the nine triangles are interlaced in such a way as to form 43 smaller triangles in a web symbolic of the entire cosmos or a womb symbolic of creation. This is surrounded by a lotus of eight petals, a lotus of sixteen petals, and an earth square resembling a temple with four doors.

The Shree Yantra research and study is a vast subject. The Sriyantra is believed to be the visual representation of the Mantra Om. Indeed Dr. Hans Jenny claims to have produced an exact replica of the Sri Yantra in 1967 when the "Om" Mantra was sung into a “tonoscope’, a device used to visually represent sounds on a video screen. Yogis and serious students spend years for studying the complexities and the impact of the yantra on various sources of energy - gravitational. weak and strong electromagnetic forces with reference to the human brain and its impact.

Sree Yantra

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

WAI - 28 Tantra practices

Sir John Woodroffe at Konark
Sir John Woodroffe, the Chief Justice in Mumbai High Court during the British rule, was one of the most brilliant judges. But in one particular case, he just could not think, his brain was confused and stopped working. He would try again and again and no thought would come to his mind. He adjourned the case and went outside and he saw a Tantric who was doing some practice to confuse and delude him. Catching hold of the petitioner, he found out that the Tantric had been engaged by him to sit outside in the passage and stop the working of the brains of the Judge. Woodroffe was fascinated with this tantric practice. He started on a life long journey of knowledge of Tantra and wrote some of the finest books on Tantra, including the Serpent Power.

The more I heard stories of powerful tantrics and their amazing results, especially from genuine people, the more it fascinated me. And as there is no outcome without a process, it became my obsession to understand the Tantra process. I will try and share some of the process and the philosophy over the next few blogs, including the left handed dangerous tantra and tantric sex.

Tantra (tool, instrument) is an extremely potent tool to increase energy frequency. It can be acquired by anyone having access to the knowledge and willing to do the necessary sadhana, leading to startling results. Therefore, the practitioners used these for various reasons - some beneficial and some a mean to harm others. It is like using a knife - for cooking or for killing, depending on the intent of the user. The main six categories of harmful practices are to hurt, injure or kill (marana), to confuse and delude (mohana), to dominate, manipulate and subjugate (Bashikarana), to disrupt concentration (Ucchatana), to create hatred and animosity (Vidveshana) and to immobilize and render inert (Stambhana). The two major categories of beneficial practices are those leading to peace and harmony (Shanti) and those leading to health and healing (Paushtika).

Tantra uses the profound practices of yoga, pranayama, mudras, rituals, mantra, yantra, mandala, visualization of deities, alchemy, ayurveda, astrology and hundreds of esoteric techniques for opening blockages and increasing energy (some of these, I have touched upon in earlier blogs).

Most spiritual traditions state that worldly pleasures is incompatible to spiritual quest. We, humans, are always swinging like a pendulum between Brahma (Divinity) and Maya (Worldly entanglements). This either/or approach sets off endless internal struggles within us, making it difficult to reconcile these integral impulses. The tantric approach to life avoids this painful dilemma by taking the entire human into account, with both approaches - religious and sensual- reconciled and resolved. One of the most profound teaching that I have been taught "Bhog ko bhogte hue, bhog ka parityag karo" (Forgo the fruits of sensual enjoyments, whilst enjoying them).

Tantra is divided into three major schools of learning - kaula (tamasic or base impulse), mishra (rajasic or middle impulse) and Samaya (sattvic or higher impulse).

Kaula (lower or basal): Mostly householders. Uses objects in external practices - rituals, recitation of scriptures, pilgrimage to holy shrines, fire offerings. Worships muladhar (base chakra). Worships kundalini in the muladhar when it is asleep. Draw or carve a yantra and worship it, by method of withdrawal. Use liquor, meat, fish, mudras and sexual union in their rituals. Aims to attain worldly enjoyment (bhoga) as well as spiritual freedom (moksha).

Mishra (mixed): Serious practitioners. Performs both external rituals and mental worship. Worships Anahata (heart chakra). Worships kundalini, while visualizing her as awake. Simply visualize yantra in their heart centre and worship it by method of maintenance. Generally does not use liquor, meat, fish, mudras and sexual union in their rituals. Aims to attain worldly enjoyment (bhoga) as well as spiritual freedom (moksha), but with emphasis on moksha.

Samaya (highest): Practitioners who have devoted their entire life to spiritual search. Performs only internal meditation. Meditates only in Sahasrara (crown chakra). Begins meditation after kundalini awakening. Views the body as a yantra and worships the body by the method of creation. Never does not use liquor, meat, fish, mudras and sexual union in their rituals. Aims only to attain moksha.

Within the kaula school of thoughts, there are two divisions - the right hand path and the left hand path.

The right hand path stresses on purity, ethics and self-restrain. Hence the right handed path have developed a complex system of rituals, using the principles of asceticism. Their practices of fasting or eating very little, renunciation, observing silence, observing brahmacharya (sexual continence) and staying away from sensual pleasures, are designed to subdue the primitive urges. They perform external rituals while using "pure" objects, hold puritan views and stay on the right side of the conventional morality.

And it is the left hand path, which uses tantra to drive their actions with scarce thought to conventional standards of morality, ethics and purity, whenever these standards have been found to be obstacles to gaining higher energy. Which is why tantra is much-misunderstood and reviled by the general public. They maintain that the primitive urge are intrinsic to human nature and that restraining them cripples our mind, body and senses. Their idea is to channelize these powerful sensual drives in a spiritual direction. They make no distinction between pure and impure, hold unorthodox views, strive to achieve siddhis (miraculous powers) by any means, dare to undertake practices of any kind, including forbidden ones. They employ the five "m" in select rituals - Liquor (Madya), meat (Mamsa), fish (Matsya), parched cereal (Mudra) and sexual union (Maithuna).

The left hand path is followed by, in my view, daring and brave risk-takers, who understand the limits of mankind and all the time, try and extend the same. The next blog will talk about these heroes.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Who am I? (part 29) - Aghora, the dark side of enlightenment

I had met an very old tantrik (nearing his death, with failing health) along with some western women and while scratching his bald head, he started talking about one of the woman's breasts, its shape and hair growth near her breasts. The women were shocked and quickly ran away from him. I wondered why would a highly erudite and knowledgeable person speak like this in front of strangers? What was his motive? It couldn't be sexual, as we were in a public space, he was surrounded by many, the women were strangers and he was frail and in poor health. That started my search to find the meaning of his startling talk and led me to Aghoris - or left handed tantra practitioners. What are Aghoris and why do they live and behave in the shocking manner they do?

The more I read about Aghoris and their lifestyle - living in cemetery - performing strange rites on dead corpses in the middle of the night, drinking from human skulls, eating anything - I mean anything - anything like rotten food, food from the dumps, the animal faeces, animal urine, putrid human flesh to attain enlightenment - I was hooked. I needed to find out the logic and philosophy of this left-handed tantra.

Tantra is a transformational tool for gaining energy (Shakti). Sufficient energy can lead to siddhis or extra-ordinary powers. While the right handed path uses purity as the base, the left hand path does not believe in external and bodily purity. “There is no evil, everything is emanated from ‘Brahman’, so how could anything in this universe be impure”? According to them anything in this universe is the manifestation of god itself, so everything is as pure as god. They follow the simple rule that the universe resides in them and they try to attain enlightenment by self realization.

Aghoris are indifferent to everything, and their lifestyle is created to keep people away from them. Hence they utter obscenities, may take liquor, eat dead human flesh and do other things which might appear to be 'uncivilised' to us. For them there is nothing good, ideal or bad, there is NOTHING in this world that is dirty, scary or terrifying- only human perception makes it so. Everything that exists in this world is essentially made up of same thing. They have no interest in belief or superstition or faith, they are only interested in knowledge which can lead to self realization. Aghoris do not fear death, once embarked upon a journey - it is either success or death, there is no going back.

Unfortunately, the left handed path is also filled with seekers who do not have the knowledge, but are seeking quick and easy spiritual gratification without any preparation. This has damaged the left-hand path's reputation. Actually, in this path, it is most important to have extreme discipline, strict training and severe renunciation to purify the aspirant completely. Only, when the purity is perfected, are practices allowed to attain spiritual energy, which could lead to fast and quick siddhis. Aghora is not mere extreme indulgence, but transformational practices to reach the state of unity with the highest energy.

When a human dies, he immediately loses his annamaya (physical) energy and takes around 13 days before the pranamaya (bio-energy) body energy is also lost. So, when a corpse is brought to the cemetery, the pranamaya energy is still present. An aghori in his quest for quick energy, then sits on the corpse at night and using some mantras and rituals tries to capture this pranamaya energy for himself and thus gets large dose of energy from the corpse.

The energy that is thus captured, also contain the past karmas of the person and therefore the Aghori runs the risk of getting the bad karmas of the dead person. Therefore, it prefers to capture the energy of young, virgin girls, as they may not have accumulated a lot of bad karma. This entire process is fraught with lot of danger as it could also pull in many bad energies and spirits moving around in the cemetery. It is like walking on the edge of a sword and is not for the faint hearted. But, it can bring in large doses of energy and can create siddhis. These siddhis are then used to get more energy or for ill-intent people - to get material wealth and power.

Another ritual that is done in Cemeteries is the capturing of spirits that roam in these places. Rituals and practices are done to capture these spirits (will explain about spirits in another blog) and then make them do things. But this is very dangerous and in most cases, unless extremely well trained, the spirit can enter you and make you insane.

Because this is an extremely powerful tool, it is taught very judiciously and is kept a secret. The key to a good Aghori is his fearlessness and his deep understanding that there is no difference between any part of existence. When a student can eat his own feces, he understands that there is no difference between what went into him and what came out. When he can eat anything that he can find - dog's flesh, gutter water, human flesh, he has overcome the limitations of discrimination and is able to see the One in All and All in One.

There are many other practices that an Aghori indulges in, like Vajroli (sucking in shakti of the female) during copulation, eating fresh brain as soon as the corpse starts burning etc. Each of these practices may sound repulsive and abhorrent to a normal person, but is part of the Aghori's craving for energy.

In conclusion, if one wants to get into the left hand tantra, a proper teacher (Guru) is necessary. It is one of the most dangerous practice for gaining quick energy and a mistake here and there and one would lose their life or sanity. A real Aghori would treat the shakti that it gets by these practices, not as an indulgence but as a grace from God and use it for the betterment of the world and try and achieve moksha (liberation).

Friday, June 22, 2012

Who am I? (part 30) - Sex for enlightenment

Spirituality is about completeness. About the union of the male and female aspects. The highest state of energy in Hindu world view is the male Shiva. Shakti, the female aspect breaks away from Shiva and by involution (slowing down) existence is manifested. The male and the female aspects - the yin and the yang, separate from each other. Spiritual practitioners use Yoga, sadhana (spiritual practices) and jnana (knowledge)- to evolve and increase energy for enjoin Shakti with Shiva. This union is symbolised by the Shiva lingam. The shiva lingam consists of a feminine base ‘Yoni’ or ‘vagina’ and a rising masculine portion ‘the Phallus’ or ‘penis' joined in a sexual union. Thus sexual union is the highest state in spirituality.

All body parts gets a supply of energy and use them for their regular activities. The heart uses its energy for pumping, the lung for cleansing, the stomach for digestion etc, but it is only the sexual energy that is not used on a regular basis. And compared to the rest of the organs, the sexual energy is way more than the energy of all the other organs - each male sexual ejaculation produces 220 millions sperms, each of which has the capability of creating a human being. So, one can imagine the power of the sexual energy.

As we have seen in earlier blogs, the ancient Rishis had tremendous knowledge and wisdom about each and every aspects of existence, especially with regards to evolution and increase of energy. Hence sex was one of most researched and studied aspect. Some of the finest and most detailed studies on sexual practices have been done in ancient times - called the Kama shastra (includes the book "Kamasutra"). Kamashashtra refers to the tradition of works on Kāma: love, erotic, or sensual pleasures and includes written works, art, sculptures and others.

The ancient seers of India suggested four stages of life based on maturity, progression and goals. They are called the varna ashramas (stages).

1. Brahmacharya Ashrama is the first 25 years from infancy to border of adulthood. One had to abstain from sex or sexual thoughts in this stage.

2. The next is Gruhasta (householder) Ashrama - from 25 to 50 years. The householder would get married, earn wealth, have material gains. This was the ashrama where sexual conduct and enjoyment was encouraged. Eroticism, sexual pleasures, fantasies, ecstasy and orgasmic knowledge were imparted with a view to satiate all senses with physical sexual acts. Kamashastra was prepared with a view to satiate individuals within this ashrama.

3. The Vanaprastha Ashrama (Age 50 to 75 years) that follows is one in which the individual works for the society and country, unselfishly. Gives back to society. Sex is not allowed in this ashrama.

4. The final phase of the Sanyasa Ashrama (above 75 years) is the time when individuals work towards increasing their frequency - indulging in worship, prayers, visiting pilgrimages etc.

Sex has three distinct and separate purposes - procreation (more suited for tamsic people), pleasure (for rajasic people) and liberation (for sattvic midsets).

While, procreation is common to animals and tamasic humans, there is a lot of literature and knowledge of rajasic sexual techniques called the "tantric sex". The techniques and practices leads to channelizing all the sexual energy that would normally leave during an orgasm, back into your body. Foreplay is of great importance in Tantric Sex. But Orgasm is given little importance. The period just before orgasm is of utmost importance. Tantric sex tries to maintain that particular effect for a long time – in fact for hours. This is often misunderstood as prolonged orgasm.

What interests me is the sattvic sexual union. Where sex is used to increase one's frequency, where frictional and physical orgasm is eschewed for a higher form of orgasm - the union of the shiva and the shakti. And for that to happen, one has to practice brahmacharya for many years. Brahmacharya is the retention of semen in the body by continence.

Ancient knowledge say that semen discharge must be stopped to control the energy loss. In ayurveda, it is said that there are seven tissues (dhatus). Our food intake is converted into lymphatic fluid (rasa), this rasa is then converted into rakta (blood), which is converted into mansa (muscle). Mansa is further transformed into meda (fatty tissue). Meda is used to make asthi (bones), asthi forms majja (bone marrow and nervous tissue), which finally converts to form shukra (sperm). Thus every dhatu is a precursor of the next dhatu and one drop of the final dhatu - shukra, takes anywhere between 60-100 drops of blood.

The semen is a viscid albuminous fluid, alkaline in reaction, which is very rich in calcium and phosphorus, also in lecithin, cholesterol, albumen, nucleoproteins, iron, vitamin E, etc. These chemical compounds are nourishing for the nervous system and the brain and loss of these substances could lead to problems of the nervous system.

Just being able to control the discharge of semen is inadequate. It could lead to nightfall. The energy of the semen needs to be converted, transformed and sublimated into another substance "ojas". Ojas is the energy that gives a person their glow, good health, bodily lustre, stamina, inner strength and a strong immune system.

Sublimation is not a matter of suppression or repression, but a positive, dynamic, conversion process. It is the process of controlling the sex energy, conserving it, then converting it into higher Ojas Shakti. The material energy is changed into spiritual energy, just as heat is changed into light and electricity. Just as a chemical substance is sublimated or purified by raising the substance through heat into vapour which again is condensed into solid form, so also, the sexual energy is purified and changed into divine energy by spiritual Sadhana like deep meditation, Japa, worship and Pranayama. By these techniques, the sexual energy can be transmuted into Ojas Sakti and stored up in the brain.

The most important technique for transporting ojas to the higher frequency of the brain is the "Urdhaverata" (flow towards the higher ). There are secretive forms of sadhana which forces the seminal energy to flow upwards into the brain as Ojas Sakti. There is now no possibility of the semen going downwards by sexual excitement.

If we consider the sahasrara or crown chakra to be of the highest frequency or "Shiva", then the lower frequency sexual energy or shakti needs to meet the higher one. Therefore, we have to retain the powerful sexual energy by practicing brahmacharya for many years, and convert into ojas energy. This ojas is then sublimated and transformed into higher frequency energy via a process called Urdhavareta. Thus we can use sex to achieve the highest state of sexual union of Shiva and Shakti.