Bhagavan Nityananda

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Video about
Nityananda of Ganespuri

Julian C. Lee Mickunas


Commentary On
The Chidakasha Gita
Of Nityananda

Utterances of Nityananda
With commentaries and explanations

Julian C. Lee Mickunas

N ityananda of Ganespuri was always one of my favorite yogis and I consider him like an uncle-guru to myself. I was living with my wife and children in Palmer, Alaska. Up to that time I had been deeply engaged with Yogananda's first meditation technique, which is often trivialized and treated like a lesser Cinderella by the adherents of his organization. This was no matter to me. I found the depths of the technique to be endless and was content to practice it exclusively. Still I had not truly claimed Yogananda as my guru, which one must do in this dharma it turns out.

After tearfully requesting his acceptance and his initiation I had a series of initiations in three striking dreams involving orbs of pure light and great expectation. Soon after that I began to experience bodily movements I later learned were called yogic kriyas. And soon after this, I was "led" with my family to a farmhouse near Sparta, Missouri. It was inhabited by two devotees of the Muktananda lineage (SYDA Yoga).

It was there that in their library I found books by Muktananda and saw the first photo of Nityananda. Muktananda could be called the most prominent disciple of Nityananda and his books were wonderful. I was strangely impressed by the photo of his guru from the start. I sensed that he was a genuine siddha -- a possessor of siddhis and knower of God -- established in a divine state.

This was not a man who was posing and he cared not a hoot what the world thought of him, yet the world flocked around him and a village actually rose up around him in the deserted place where he chose to abide. He was, like God and my guru, another wish-fulfilling tree.

This book explained all about the bodily phenomena I was having, and that all was well. In fact, my experience there was oddly like Muktananda's experience. He was directed by Nityananda to inhabit a small cottage on the property of a farmer.I was directed by a dream of my wife's, in which a voice commanded "Go to Missouri." "

The words coming out of the lips of a chaste and devoted wife always come true. Vidyashakti, that's what your wife is."
Master Mahasaya quoted in "M--The Apostle and the Evangelist"

In the farmer's library Muktananda found a rare book that told about the yogic movements he was having, and it eased his mind. In like manner in that farmhouse I discovered Muktananda's book "Play of Consciousness" which went into detail about the phenomenon of the yogic kriyas. He himself experienced a great many of them and it was all very astonishing. And as with him, it eased my mind about the movements. Though I intuited they were a divine thing and related to my meditation, I had never heard of the phenomenon and did not have any knowledge about them. I had not realized I was blessed, as is so often the case with us when God gives us boons. There in the farmer's cottage Muktananda meditated intensely and did sadhana. Likewise I did that in the Syda couple's farm house, they leaving me for a long periods, which opportunity I used to meditate and chant. There at that time I first clearly heard Aum, often asking the bemused couple whether there were grain elevators nearby grinding corn, or tractors doing construction across the road, or whether there was a generator or machine in their basement. (See the "Story of Jumping Mouse.") So in my sadhana there was an immediate interplay between Yogananda and Nityananda that I did not seek out.

I have long continued in my bhakti attitude toward Nityananda along with my root guru Yogananda, and I have had some experiences with him in dreams that can only be interpreted as shaktipat. I had to ponder the fact that, though my entreaties, application and attunement was always to Yogananda, it was the Nityananda/Muktananda lineage that explained what ensued, even explaining much about Yogananda's meditation techniques that was lacking in available material. I easily understood Nityananda as having been "sent" by my root guru as a kind of proxy for particular instructions.

It is my belief that the spontaneous bodily movements called kriyas were experienced by Paramahansa Yogananda. I have no doubt about this at all. Kriya literally means "the action of yoga" or "yogic action." In the America of the 1940's and 50's Yogananda was understandably constrained against speaking of them openly. Even today they can be disturbing and bizarre to many, how much more then. Still today they would be mislabeled "demonic" by unimaginative Christians, how much more in Yogananda's time in which the Christian church still beneficially dominated America. Thus Yogananda -- and this is clear to me -- secreted teachings about the yogic kriyas in his "Energization Exercises." Many of those prescribed motions are nothing but enactments of yogic kriyas. No doubt his collection reflects particular ones he experienced. Those "Energization Exercises" -- a surprising yogic "innovation"from a man who loved everything ancient and traditional -- were intended to convey to the canny devotees, upon experiencing them: "All is well, the movements you are having are part of this path."

In the Christian context yogic kriyas are the "gifts of the spirit," and in fact speaking in tongues counts among them. (Sanskrit, etc.) The revivalist Christian groups called the "Quakers," the "Shakers," and the "Holy Rollers" got their names from the spiritual kundalini phenomena of yogic kriyas. One thing about them is that they literally drag you into meditative states, in particular the breath-expulsion kriya. Around any great shaktipat guru who has great devotees, such as Karunamayi and even in the SRF temples (of Yogananda), you will see kriyas. (Sadly, the SRF employees ignorantly ask such devotees to leave.)

Because of my hard application to Yogananda and then my resulting experiences, I had to come to the conclusion that the shaktipat of Yogananda and Nityananda is one and the same energy, the pure baptism of the siddha. Amazingly, meditation techniques of the two were also the same. One of them, moreover, is a technique clearly referenced by Jesus Christ, who is my grandfather guru, in the Bible. In many cases more is explained about these first two "kriyas" (as Yogananda's meditation techniques are called in his lineage) by Muktananda than is available in the published "lessons" of Yogananda's bequeathed publishing organization.

However, most of the advanced knowledge about meditation technique comes from the meditation itself. It is imparted within or uncovered by intuition. Thus one sage of the Yoga-Sutra stated "The yoga goeth forth by yoga." I learned that the guru operates freely, is not constrained by fences, and the relationship between guru and devotee is personal and unmediated by any organization. Yogananda was not intending to be some guru uniquely without lineage or offspring. He was never meaning to end the eternal and cosmic reality of guru-disciple transmission and replace it, improbably, with a corporation, organization, or bureaucracy. All such ideas are the notions of Cancerian and Virgo types who always cluster around powerful personages. It is humanly natural that they try to supplant them with organizations and bureaucracies out of desire for unneeded control, fear, and lack of faith in the divine man's freedom or the divine will's efficacy.

These comments about yogic kriyas are meant to demonstrate that there is essential union between the guru Yogananda and the guru Nityananda, and so it is not obtuse for me to make a commentary about statements by Nityananda. I have attunement to them both, unchosen by myself. My belief is that Nityananda is a form of Yogananda who was living out the wandering saddhu ideal and speechless nirvikalpa ideal that Yogananda Deva craved to live, and that they teach one and the same siddha path. Most tellingly of all, these statements by Nityananda are the only place that I myself have found direct and relevant advice about the states arising from Yogananda's own meditation techniques. Many questions that proud bureaucracies and institutions cannot answer are easily answered by the seemingly random utterances of the avadhuta of Ganeshpuri.

The Nityananda Material

In the material by Nityananda below, styled as fortuitous transcriptions of his utterances when he happened to enter the homes of devotees, he gives many teachings that can only be understood rightly by advanced practitioners of his and Yogananda's meditation techniques. It is said that these preserved utterances by Nityananda were recorded happenstance by whatever hosts or guests had the sense to try to write them down, then collected. Thus they are styled as rather random and possibly unreliable, varying according to the verbal abilities of the stenographer, his listening powers, and ability to write very fast. I say they were "styled" that way meaning that this is the manner in which the sat-chit-ananda has decided to present them to us or what others may say or believe about them. But it does happen that sometimes a statement by Nityananda appears confusing, contradictory, or random. On the other hand, he was known for making statements that were terse, arcane, and not always patently comprehensible.

The statements of Nityananda below, highlighted in yellow, are written as we have them, unchanged. But in my commentaries I have written Nityananda's real intentions, plus a great deal about the purport and ramifications of his utterances. I have also cleared up mistakes of other commentators, including errors of the stenographer and hearer who recorded them. This was natural for me to do and I found no difficulty in it. The satchitananda always makes sure that the devotee knows what he needs to know, when he needs to know it. And the efficacy of the shakti-guru in his efforts to teach and reach who needs to be reached is cosmically unstoppable.

In particular Nityananda says a lot here relating to inner states in the development of yogic kumbhaka, the breathless state. To rightly understand many of his statements one must know about the state of kumbhaka generally. Thus some facts will be given as a preface. His utterances are often highly keyed as instruction for those pursuing Yogananda's first meditation technique, plus the state of kumbhaka which arises from it.

In all my scriptural studies I have never read anything approaching Nityananda's statements when it comes to addressing arcane developments of meditation. Many of his simple utterances are like Yoga-Sutra verses, densely packed with significance and dealing with recondite aspects of advanced meditation practice and allowing much commentary. Practically everything he says goes three layers deep, as it were, in occult significance. I place Nityananda's statements, in my own life, above even the Upanishads themselves. As to my guru himself, Yogananda, its his heart that is the great sun, the spacious land, and the heart of the true Father. His nirvikalpa samadhi attainment was like Nityananda's, and even more astounding as he continued to be activist and caring about the world, with a large measure of teaching, though knowing nirvikalpa. In truth, Nityananda was basically a solitary saddhu such as Yogananda wanted to be but was called out for world service. One gets to know his guru's heart. Yogananda pined for the seclusion and silence of Nityananda's life. But he was a big softie and lover of mankind. And they were both, it turns out, bhaktas.

The Mystery Of Kumbhaka

A great deal of the Nityananda material speaks directly about the breathless state called kumbhaka. In minimalist or introductory terms kumbhaka refers to any retention of breath. It thus refers, also, to the natural moment when the breath is not moving in or out but has stopped moving briefly. When anybody holds their breath, whether to swim underwater or practice pranayama techniques that is kumbhaka in the most basic terms.

But the yogic state of kevali kumbhaka is the pleasant, blissful, easy cessation of the breath for extraordinarily long periods in normal human terms, even indefinitely. In yogic terms it could also be called a natural cessation of breath. It develops by inner cultivation of processes of pranayama combined with mind. Indeed the yogic axiom is true: Mind is breath and breath is mind. Have no doubt whatsoever that the goal and purpose of all pranayama exercises or techniques is the breathless state of kumbhaka.

The skeletal and terse Yoga-Sutra of Patanjali, one of the most important and authoritative religious books in existence, devotes three direct verses to pranayama. It's final verse on pranayama refers precisely to the breathless state (a state of inner breathing) that Nityananda mentions so often below. The three direct verses will be listed below, from three of the best English translations, to show the coherency of Nityananda's words with the ancient Yoga-Sutra. Those Yoga-Sutra verses on pranayama, which few commentators have fully understood, are further discussed below.

In the full bloom of kevali kumbhaka gross breathing of air becomes unnecessary, the heart happily stops, life force reverses away from the senses. That is to say, yogic pratyahara which means the reversal of life force and attention, takes place. Then dawns automatically the state called savikalpa samadhi. The states of kumbhaka, pratyahara, and the necessarily ensuing state of savikalpa samadhi are all involved with the states Nityananda describes. Leading up to these, there is cognition of a literal inner breath involving no breathing in conventional terms; i.e. no movement of air in or out of the body. These things are what Nityananda is referring to in his most of his statements below and this has to be understood.

Whenever Nityananda describes conventional breathing, he is always positing it against, in contrast to, the yogic inner breath or pranic breath which he himself had mastered young. He makes a great many statements about the inner yogic breath that could only be understood by an advanced practitioner of Yogananda's "first kriya" or so-called "initiatory" meditation technique. (Rarely plumbed by his followers apparently.)

This very technique is described in verses 24 through 27 of the Vijnana-Bhairava. In that that scripture of 108 meditation techniques, viewed by Hindus as a direct utterance of Shiva or agama, the technique receives more attention and elaboration than any other.

Manifestly, it was a primary meditation technique of the siddha Nityananda, as it was for his noted disciple Muktananda. Muktananda wrote an interesting book dealing with this technique alone, called "I Am That."In the book he gives some fascinating insights about it, but leaves out much. In general, a sage will not explain much about meditation techniques in a public way and that is appropriate. In this material I have not presented the technique. But I have presented more than I might have otherwise presented publicly. When verses or utterances are misrepresented or dumbed down publicly, and since many of the verses actually deal with the technique, a different situation has been created. In the nadir time of the Kali Yuga many things are at their darkest, while at the same time Divine Mother sends some of her best.

In a sense it is surprising that Nityananda himself spoke such things (the things below) openly as he did. It is likely that most of the Indian householders around him, who listened and took notes, had no way of understanding the things he was referring to. Generally speaking, only serious sadhakas and yogis would benefit from much of it. True, there were those around him indeed. But the majority of his audience likely had nothing to apply his words to. This may be adduced by the fact that, apparently, no intelligent commentary yet exists, in English at least, on the Chidakasha Gita. Nityananda, being an avadhuta and cosmic Lord like Yogananda, surely had a purpose for making these utterances and letting them be passed down to us.

The Yogic State of Kumbhaka

The state of kumbhaka features in stories about yogic saints and even Christian saints, and the life of Nityananda himself. It figures in accounts of yogis who spend years under the earth, literally buried, before being uncovered and found alive and well. Or, similar stories about yogis who disappear for long periods under rivers, etc. When Yogananda was first living with his guru Sri Yukteswar, and finding him meditating one night, one experiment to test the realization of his master was to ascertain whether he was breathing. He tells about setting a mirror beneath his nose to see if any mist appeared. (None appeared.) Then, impudently and overly-fascinated, he pinched Yukteswar's nose shut with his fingers. That handling brought Yukteswar out of savikalpa samadhi and gave us the anecdote of the guru humorously complaining "My poor nose!"

Yukteswar's own guru L. Mahasaya was reported to be living -- and functioning -- in a state with no heartbeat or pulse. Nityananda himself, we have record, mentioned once that he was rejected as a young man from military service because the doctor could find no pulse or heartbeat in him.

So the state of kumbhaka was a state that Nityananda had accomplished early in his wandering sadhana, and a literal breathless state is indeed what he is referring to in his statements about the "inner breath" below. His talk about the "inner breath" that goes on entirely within "like the wheels inside a clock" with no movement of air and "nothing taken from outside" -- is not a metaphorical or "poetic" interpretation of the ordinary breath. He is speaking literally about an inner, sustaining pranic breath that involves no physical substances, no movement of airs in or out of the body, and no oxygen.

These verses really should not have been published. However, those unqualified to publish them and unqualified to comment on them have done so. This American group's evaluation of Nityananda's "inner breath" utterances as having a spiritual or metaphorical meaning is laughable, and shows the unfitness of that group for posting and commenting on the verses. But since the material is there, complete with inept and erroneous comments, I am putting them here for advanced yogis and those inclined to saddhuhood, as corrections to that which is published.

Yogananda, Kumbhaka, and the Inner Breath

Fortuitously, these statements by Nityananda give highly valuable information to any religious persons pursuing the first meditation technique of Yogananda. The perception of the inner breath, and questions about it,arise very soon for any devotee assiduously practicing Yogananda's "first kriya." The Chidakasha Gita is that Nityananda answers a great many questions regarding this process if the reader has insight. The inner breath attainment is what Yogananda referred to when he wrote this in his autobiography:

"By spiritual advancement, one is able to cognize the breath as a mental concept, an act of mind: a dream breath."

This means, in fact, becoming able to actually breathe with the "mental concept" alone. One breathes through a mental act, a mental posture, and the mental attitude of the two acts. For the yogis and religious people pursuing Yogananda's first meditation technique with devotion, there comes indeed a growing ability to "breathe within" in a solely pranic breath. In broad yogic terms the breathless state of kumbhaka is the true goal of all pranayama exercises and efforts. The "breathless state" only refers to the gross breath that involves the lungs and the movement of air. The yogi actually does continue to breathe with an inner breath. So the inner breath is an accompanying aspect of kumbhaka. It is also the prelude to pratyahara or reversal of life force (really, full reversal of attention). This is a siddha's meditation technique.

The state of kumbhaka centers around gradual cognition of an internal breath based on two inner attitudes or inner positions. The normal gross outer breath is also based on these same two inner attitudes. Whatever is effected or received during conventional breathing is effected only by these two inner postures and attitudes. These are the reality-kernel of earthly breathing, now obscured and tricked up by the fanciful notions and embellishments of "air," "lungs," mouth and throat, etc.

The utterances of Nityananda below are large and highlighted by yellow, which is a color associated with knowledge as well as the glow of the sun, the "golden egg" of Hiranyagharba (first manifestation of the Creator God), and the glow of creation. The rest is my commentary to correct errors and help the better yogis and yogesses, and Christians of the White European peoples. Their people were both the uncoverers of the Aryan yoga and the Vedas, plus the stewards and developers of that elegant bhakti-yoga of Europe that is Christianity. Thus the moral among them deserve this knowledge.

These verses are given in the order in which they appear in one section of the Chidakasha Gita. They would in some cases make more sense if they were arranged in a different order, but that has not been done. So the religious person will simply have to read through and gradually imbibe the information as presented. Headings and sub-headings are those of the collectors.

Again, the following material is really occult material for adepts and serious religious devotees and yogins. I would not have made these commentaries had not the other one been published. Let it be for the preservation of the dharma, the preservation of the Aryan peoples, and the reflowering of the Aryan yoga, and the preservation of essential Christianity and the beautiful Christian churches as places of bhakti-worship. Go to an old Christian Church every Sunday, think of the spiritual aspiration of your White ancestors, and how the church -- devoted to a cosmic creative Principle alone -- evokes akasa or space, one of the first evolutes of Pure Consciousness or God. Then meditate on endless space and realize you are doing a yogic meditation technique, one that I myself was able to learn because I sat quietly in Christian churches as a boy, and did the bhakti-evoking anjoli mudra as all Christian children were taught to do.


Now Nityananda speaks:

Breath (Prana)

Just as we draw water from a well, we should draw breath.

Nityananda is giving a visualization concept to associate with your inbreath. Visualizations are very helpful in developing the subtle breath, attaining the state of kumbhaka, and many other yogic attainments. Religious aspirants use visualizations to great effect. This is natural because the entire creation as well as the self-created laws we have trapped ourselves in started out as imaginations. We have even visualized, in the first place, our "dire need" for breath in the form of air. and visualized our way of "processing" the thing (air) we visualized ourselves to need. (Lungs, blood, etc.) Visualizations trap us; different visualizations free us.

In the verse above he refers to the normal breathing and suggests a way of thinking about the inbreath. The metaphor of drawing from a well is more useful for his Indian audience that regularly uses wells. Other mental devices are also helpful. But for those who have used wells, it communicates that the inbreath is a "gathering" and that the breather "collects" it and pulls the breath to himself. This gives the insight that Nityananda used this particular visualization, regarding the breath, in his sadhana.Later I will supply additional visualization tips about the inbreath for the decent.

When we breathe out, it should be like letting down the bucket into the well.

Now another visualization, this concerning the outbreath. Again, evocative for those who have ever used wells. At that time the meditator should think that he is sending himself back to the Source of breath, to the inner food, to God's supply, just as a bucket on a rope falling back down through the well. The visualization is good, too, for the coolness and mystery of the well.

The two visualizations he provides give hint that the outbreath is not the most active or dynamic part of breath as is the gathering or inbreath. Later this comes up again as we find Nityananda preferring one over the other.

In reality the human outbreath is the time of absorption, when satisfaction is felt while the inbreath is a gathering, seeking, and pulling to one's self. The human infant does this upon birth when it starts to suffocate upon cutting of the cord. It hopes there is "something" out there to save him, opens up and pulls in hope and faith. (The yogi should have the same attitude when developing the inner pranic breath.) That is the dynamic, aspiring aspect of the breath.

The outbreath is the "satisfaction" phase as the oxygen is felt feeding our cells. Thus the outbreath is a time when the feeling of bhakti, gratitude to Purusha, and contentment can be cultivated. In yogic development using the mantras associated with the breath, the outbreath is found to start feeling like an inbreath. That is, on the outbreath, the yogi begins to feel himself most fed by the prana in the form of cool heat entering the body. This is because the outbreath is, indeed, the time of absorption.

When we breathe out, it is the carbon [the impurities of the body] that are expelled.

Throughout these collected sayings Nityananda is found positing the conventional breath, then relating that to an inner breath that involves no movement of air in or out of the body. Here his mention of carbon and impurities tells us he now speaks of the conventional breath, putting that first on the table, identifying it. He is not meaning to say that the outbreath, whether gross or pranic, does not have occult significance and power, or to speak about it in mere material terms. He is simply identifying the ordinary outbreath before going into more occult revelations about breath and yoga.

When we breathe in, it is the breath of Omkar.

Already he returns to both an occult proclamation and occult technique regarding the breath,giving us a second visualization concerning the inbreath whether gross or pranic. He clearly identifies the inbreath with God or Aum (Omkar).

Nityananda is saying we get our breath from God; that there is an Original Breather. He is saying that when we breathe in, we should realize that that breath is God's, that God is breathing into us as the inbreath. This should be our meditation with the inbreath. Further, he is also saying that the movement of the breath is the source of mind, or manas, and relating this to God himself. (Because God, also, breathes God also has mind.)

Movement of breath is synonymous with movement of mind, both in us and The Lord

The breath involves change and is a toggle back-and-forth. Thus breath is a vibration. Muktananda talks about the spanda or "throb" as divine vibration. The inner sound of Aum or Omkar is also a throb or vibration. That Aum is God's own throbbing mind. This is why God, Himself (as Saguna Brahman) has breath. Thus indeed we get our inbreath from Him. It is God who has decided to breathe. The wizard behind the curtain who moves both our breath and the dualistic phantasm based on it, is creating the whole show all by himself. He breathes into us, supplying our very breath, every time we do breathe. We borrow our "throb" from His. And that breath which He supplies is created by, and is synonymous with, his throb of Aum.

We are ignorant and don't realize this. If we realize that through out breath we already have long had a divine connection to Father and Mother God, our breath will start to do different things for us and teach us. The idea that we require lungs, mouths, and airs to have this breath is delusive and based on conditioning.

Breath of Omkar is the manas.

Nityananda says that just as our mental movement is synonymous with breath, God is the same: God's (Omkar's) mind and His mental activity are synonymous with His own breath, which we borrow.

In the religious knowledge of yoga the movement of the breath is associated with the movement of the mind. It is observed that when the mind stops or becomes so concentrated as to be still, the breath automatically stops. When we are excited or agitated, with many thoughts, the breath speeds up. The reverse is true: If we voluntarily slow down our breath or stop it, the mind slows down and stops. Thus devotees practice breath restraint to still the mind. In yogic knowledge mind = breath and breath = mind. Here Nityananda says that this is also true of the Lord, our creator, Purusha. The sound of Aum, or God as sound, is a function of God's "mind." We breathe because God breathes. (In like manner, we are sexual because God as Saguna Brahman or Isvara is also a sexual being, and God is the one true Alpha Male, plus the Original Mother who wants to procreate the universe, etc. Maheshvara-Deva, our Kingly Lord Saguna Brahman, is all these things and This is where we ourselves get these traits.)

The up-going breath is like the wheels inside a clock. Its movement is inside. As for the inner, pranic inbreath it operates wholly internally just like the wheels in a clock. Nityananda is speaking of his own inbreath which was different than our own. Nityananda makes clear that he is speaking of an occult breath, not the conventional breath. In Hindu and yogic writings the "upward" or "up-going" breath refers to the inbreath simply because the outer air can be viewed as moving "upward" towards our nose, "up" over our chest, then "up" into our nose. Nityananda's statements are typically truncated and terse. If the context of this section has any accuracy (to the original presentation) he has simply moved from one occult consideration of the inbreath (inbreath as Omkar) to another one (the inner non-air inhalation).

When the movement of the breath is internal, one will see the world in himself.

Then immediately to a third patently occult revelation: Nityananda is already referring to the state of savikalpa samadhi which corresponds to kevali kumbhaka or the cessation of the natural breath which corresponds, in turn, with vision of creation within.

When the breath is fully replaced by this inner pranic breath that involves no movement of air,the heart stops with the body fully protected and supplied. Then the yogi quickly goes into the state of savikalpa samadhi . In states of savikalpa samadhi one can see all creation within himself plus go anywhere he likes, and see anything he likes, by thought.

If a building has no doors, we cannot call it a house. Without fire, we cannot heat water. Without air, fire cannot burn. Without food and sleep, a man can live for a few days but without air (breathing), a man cannot live even for a few seconds.

Now Nityananda is back to positing the ordinary breath or placing it on the table. He is positing this as the average experience, that in normal life we are constrained by these various laws. He is setting up the conventional experience of the ordinary man, and how we normally can't live without the gross breath. Thus he can speak about the extraordinary state of the inner breath and the difference will be clear.

Without the control of breath (pranayama), a man cannot be a yogi; nor is he a sannyasi. Without a rudder, it is impossible to steer a boat or ship.

The yogi, on the other hand, needs to distinguish himself, getting beyond those limits. Nityananda is speaking of the accomplishment or final fruit of pranayama, which is kumbhaka or cessation of the gross breath. The inner breath is an astounding thing but must be attained. That is his point here.

"Control of breath" means the attainment of kevali kumbhaka and attainment of the inner breath. Nityananda says one is not a real sannyasin without kumbhaka because he does not get the bliss that causes him to become detached from everything. Only the bliss-thrill found in kumbhaka and savikalpa samadhi manages to kill out man's addiction to the paltry thrills of this world. Only the renunciation of the gross breath can constitute true renunciation of vrittis (mental fluctuations), and true renunciation of "world" which rises up by those vrittis. One has not renounced the world, nor made it happily become subtle or dissolve, until he has renounced the gross breath and become established in the inner astral breath. Till losing the outer gross breath, Nityananda says, one is not really a saddhu.

The analogy of the boat and rudder is simply a practical thought that says: "This thing (pranayama and kumbhaka) are essential and required for this other thing (this yogic path). It is not that one uses prana or kumbhaka for steering exactly.

It is the breath that man brings here at birth and it is the breath that man takes with him when he leaves this world.

He is alluding to the centrality to the breath. Thus it is the key to everything. The breath is central to our situation, central to the movement of our minds, and even in the astral plane we have a breath, synonymous with movement of mind. We are bound to the world by our breath; we are also released from the world my mastery of the breath.

In pranayama, puraka is drawing up the breath. Kumbhaka is retaining the breath. Rechaka is exhaling the breath. These three kinds of breath are from within. Nothing is taken from outside.

Nityananda is mentioning the three conventional pranayama terms, and emphasizing that these same three actions continue on, within, during "subtle" breathing. (I have avoided the use of the term "subtle breathing" here just in case some mistake it for 'breathing just a little bit,' a notion that sometimes crops up in texts on yoga and which is erroneous and misleading.) In the inner breath we continue all three actions -- inhalation, holding, and exhalation -- completely internally as three different internal actions. The pranic inbreath satisfies in exactly the same feeling of satisfaction as the normal inbreath of air satisfies, in fact even more. Those who lock onto the inner breath soon prefer the inner pranic breathing over conventional gross breathing, even becoming averse to the conventional air-breath. They find conventional breathing distasteful compared to it. Even before mastering the inner breath or savikalpa samadhi, and while gross air-breathing intersperses with inner breathing, the aspirant will come to well prefer the inner breathing over the gross breathing. There is a yogic kriya (spontaneous movement) that features an expulsion of breath; the sharp out-throwing of the breath. There is a sense in the developing yogi that having air in the lungs is repugnant. Undergoing this kriya the body itself, keening for divinity, seems to find the breath distasteful, wanting all air to remain out of its lungs.

Note the last sentence in the Nityananda verse above. He is emphasizing the nature of this internal breath as having nothing to do with oxygen or the movement of air in and out of the body. He is not using "within" or "outside" in any figurative sense as some inepts have written. "Nothing is taken from outside" means what it evidently says: In this breathing no air moves into the lungs from outside the body, such as through the mouth, nose, wind pipe etc. Meanwhile the three breath actions of inhalation, retention, and release continue on within as inner actions.

While thus the practice is going on, the prana will move only in one nadi. We then feel the internal joy. Who can describe this Brahmananda?

When the practice is perfected the yogi stabilizes in only the "upward" or inward breath or "one nadi." Internal causeless joy grows in the devotee and meditator from this yoga generally, and that is no less true with mastery of the inner breath. Inner causeless joy, ananda, is associated with development of the inner breath.

The outside world will then be forgotten. We will then be in the world beyond.

For the first time in this section Nityananda refers to the state of savikalpa samadhi which automatically dawns when the yogi thoroughly has the inner breath. In fact, the purpose of this breathing technique and kumbhaka itself is to attain savikalpa samadhi.

Savikalpa samadhi is the first state of samadhi, one of the two basic kinds of samadhi along with nirvikalpa samadhi. Savikalpa samadhi matches the state of dreaming yet one is conscious. His body becomes inert and breathless, and he does not see the material world except to the extent that he may wish to hold it together in an astral form. He can then consciously leave his material body, in an astral form, and play in the astral realms or in still-erected semblances of the material realm just left. The bliss of savikalpa samadhi, the same bliss of the dreaming states but experienced consciously by this earthly ego, is very great. The state of savikalpa samadhi demonstrates vividly to the yogi that he is independent of the body. The state of savikalpa samadhi is the treasure room of various siddhis; siddhis flower automatically simply by experiencing it. One of the old Yoga-Sutra commentators wrote: "Then he plays in the realm of siddhis a long time." In the technique of Yogananda and Nityananda, attainment of the inner breath is the luminous portal to savikalpa samadhi.

Harmonizing the prana and apana, enjoy the eternal bliss.

"Harmonizing the prana and apana" refers stabilizing in one steady inbreath rather than any longer breathing the two internal (non-air) breaths. Prior to this the yogi will breathe the two breaths (prana and apana), though wholly on an internal basis. The Bhagavad-Gita makes a glancing reference to this in the verse: "Some yogis offer up their inbreath to their outbreath." This refers to the breath, after first being two but subtly experienced, then becomes one and not two. This answers a perplexity and questions practitioners of Yogananda's first kriya will have. Nityananda further clarifies (later) that the one final stabilized breath should be an inbreath.

The seat of breath is the truth. It is the internal space (chidakasha). In the eternal space is the tower of eternal bliss. This tower is the seat of eternal peace.

The seat of breath is the truth" refers to the fact that God as both Isvara and Brahman exist at the place from which movement of breath originates. The "eternal space" refers to akasa, or infinite space. Experience of bliss is synonymous with meditation on one of Brahman's first evolutes, space. The "seat of the breath" is the space between the breaths, where the breath is neither moving in or out, i.e. the kumbhaka. The Upanishads, which are loaded with references to esoteric yogic truth, refers to this in 2nd Katha Chapter Two, Verse Three:

"All deities worship that adorable One sitting in the middle, who pushes the prana [inbreath] upward and impels the apana [outbreath] inward."

Second Katha 2:3, Ghambhirananda

There are wonderful golden threads to be found running through the Yoga-Sutra, the greater Upanishads, and the utterances of saints like Nityananda and the Christian saints. The verse is stating that God exists and is found in between the in- and out-breaths. The close following verse 2:5 then states: "

No mortal lives by prana or apana; but all live
by something else due to which these two find asylum."

That something else is found in the in-between, in kumbhaka, where exists Aum, Brahman. Out of that stillness,  which is non-dual, the two breaths arise.

Aum is both Saguna and Nirguna Brahman, so there is no need to fuss about specifying the unmanifest Brahman over Saguna Brahman as Sankara does. One can easily love the adorable God who is found at the seat of breath. As Nityananda states above, that adorable One Who is the seat of breath is also the Truth.

The Upanishadic verse above is also stating that God is the mover of the breath. This is similar to Nityananda's earlier statement: "When we breathe in, it is the breath of Omkar." This is why meditation techniques that involve the breath are so profound in sadhana and give divine (religious) knowledge. The yogi or God-worshiper is actually seeking to come into the state of deep, dreamless sleep while conscious. We experience it only in the state of sleep, when it is covered by a thin film of nescience. Bhakti-yoga such as devotion and austerities of Christianity, meditation-yoga, and Shankara's yoga of rejection of manifest externals lead the devotee to the state of blissful dreamless sleep, called prajna in the Upanishads, while yet awake. That same comfort, awareness of all-sufficiency and untouchability then dawns in the religionist while awake.Just as he clearly distinguished ordinary breathing from the occult inner breath that features no movement of physical air through the nose or mouth, Nityananda takes pains to clearly distinguishes the waking samadhi "sleep" of the yogi from ordinary sleep that we see in all creatures. Astonishingly,Prajna is the Upanishadic word for our consciousness when in the state of deep, dreamless sleep in which there is no other. Yogic religion states that we are literally merged with God at this time (in Brahman, Pure Consciousness) though consciousness in dreamless human sleep -- experienced by all -- is covered by a film of nescience or unawareness. In dreamless sleep we are merged in God. Nothing is seen because the world is dissolved and does not exist. Being fully merged with Atman and the creation now unmanifested in reality, there is no "other" then to be seen. We each then experience God-mergence nightly, but ignorance-conditioning associated with the waking body,descending again and endarkening us upon the return to outwardness and the life force's return down the spine, keeps most ignorant, during the waking state, about what they experience.

In the “unconscious sleep,” enjoy the “conscious sleep” of bliss.

There are a great many verses in Vedic and Yogic scriptures that both refer to sleep states by way of teaching about the nature of Brahman as known in human life, and pointing to the state of the realized yogi. The Yoga-Vasistha speaks repeatedly of the sage as living in a state like sleep, or as if asleep, as if "half asleep" or with only a little attention diverted toward the world. This relates to the fact that the final yogic attainment of nirvikalpa samadhi is literally immersion in the state of deep, dreamless sleep while still conscious, also, of this and other worlds. This was, indeed, the state that Nityananda had. The yogic religionist is, in fact, working to access the sleep states -- both the blissful dreaming level and the blissful dreamless level -- while still conscious. The state of savikalpa samadhi is synonymous with the dreaming state which is still dualistic and in which an "I" still has likes and dislikes. In this state the yogi not only experiences the comfort and ananda (bliss, associated with the Lord as Isvara) of dreaming states, but can play out-of-body and if he likes, do out-of-body play interacting with the gross waking world. The yogi, by stilling the action of the earthly ego-mind, is working to become established in first one, then the other sleep states while conscious rather than asleep. The human state of sleep, per se, is considered another state of ignorance by the scriptures. Nityananda now refers to this yogic sleep-while-awake to the conventional state of sleep:

This is not the sleep of beasts. Sleep the “sleep of man.” Enjoy that sleep which must be the aim and end of man.

Just as he clearly distinguished ordinary breathing from the occult inner breath that features no movement of physical air through the nose or mouth, Nityananda takes pains to clearly distinguishes the waking samadhi "sleep" of the yogi from ordinary sleep that we see in all creatures. Astonishingly, he calls this yogic sleep-while-waking the true "sleep of man."

When Nityananda calls this samadhi the "sleep of man" he is graciously telling all men and women that they can attain it; that to merge in Pure Consciousness with no limit or lack is the proper destiny for all. He is not separating himself from the rest of us, but telling us we can have his same attainment.

(Note: In another place in this Chiddakasha Gita Nityananda states that the human being is the highest fruit of creation. Thus he clearly distinguishes man from the rest of creation. If man or woman wants to stop the assault on Saguna Brahman's wonderful creatures, he or she should cease from impurities, then contact the Immutable Lord who protects all creatures. Nothing can be done for the creatures by denying your own divine efficacy or powers as a human being. It is your own impurities and bad karma that manifest "poor afflicted creatures" in your world-dream. You were made, indeed, to be the protector of the creatures by Divine Wisdom, and there should be no shame or dismay in this, nor should you reject your great station as a manifester of dualistic dreams, or your responsibilities, or your powers to protect the creatures. There is no point in applying yourself to the animals for samadhi or divine wisdom that protects. You must get that from God-men and God-women. Man is, indeed, the highest fruit of creation. Know your own divine station, then you can truly protect the creatures.)

Sleep the sleep of the “spiritual eye” (upanayana).

Nityananda and Yogananda's technique involves directing and raising the life force up to the spiritual eye or point between the eyebrows. The state of wakefulness in prajna and focus at the "third eye" go together. This same technique was used by Jesus Christ, sat-guru of the White Europeans. He was referring to it when He said: "When your eye be single, your whole body shall be full of light." Inner light or bindu is increasingly seen by the yogi or religionist who practices it with a devotional attitude plus chastity.

When talking, when sitting, without any desires, without any thoughts, sleep this spiritual sleep.

Again he tells us to be asleep. Nityananda is describing the state of the yogi or avadhut who is established in this state, whether it be savikalpa or nirvikalpa samadhi. It is the highest attainment of religion (yoga) and a very strange state for the average person to comprehend. But such persons become blessing to their surroundings. Because he has mentioned it so much, it will be further elucidated. The "sleep while waking" of goal of the yogis is well adduced by Shankarcharya in his "Crest-Jewel Of Wisdom":

"He on this earth is happy and worthy of honour who, by always resting in peace in the form of Brahman is freed from external consciousness, regarding the objects of enjoyment experienced by others as a sleeping child (would do), looking upon the universe as the world perceived in dream, at times recovers consciousness and enjoys the fruit of an infinity of meritorious deeds.(426) "

This ascetic, firm in wisdom, free from changes of condition, actionless, enjoys perpetual bliss, his atman being absorbed in Brahman. (427)

"Prajna or wisdom is said to be that state of ideation which recognizes no such distinction as that of ego and non-ego, and which is absorbed in the manifested unity of Brahman and atman. (428)

Crest-Jewel of Wisdom, Sankara, Mohini Chatterji, 1947

Note: Once White Europeans of Christian heritage understand Yoga and Vedanta they have a great many tools with which to flummox or toy with modern day atheism-believers who rarely even bother to specify which definitions of God they are rejecting. When the ignoramus atheist asks an educated Christian or yogi "Where is God?" the educated Gentile can simply say: "I experience God nightly in both dreams and deep, dreamless sleep." Or they can even say, "God is consciousness. I am experiencing consciousness this moment, so I am experiencing God." Or further they can say: "In my religion God is defined, partly, as bliss. I have experienced bliss thus I have experienced God. What, you have never experienced bliss? Sad creature!" The Upanishads and Vedas teach that each of us experiences God and God's bliss-nature nightly in the sleep states, though not fully conscious.

In the state of deep, dreamless sleep we are then only pure consciousness, yet still ignorant because of sleep. The religious man seeks to attain this state without sleep or any unconsciousness. The "Crest Jewel" verses continue to elucidate this:

"He who is perfectly at rest (in this wisdom)...whose bliss is uninterrupted and by whom the objective universe is well-nigh forgotten...though having his consciousness absorbed (in the Logos), is awake and yet devoid of all characteristics of waking... (429)

In yoga, which is essential religion, realization of the state of prajna while awake is considered the only true waking. By comparison ordinary people of the waking world are asleep. This yogic ideal was known by Jesus Christ, the sat-guru of the White Europeans. However, that state of His is little represented in the recorded scripture.His life fit the ideal of Vedantic yogic asceticism. But the scenes recorded feature Christ in the ordinary state of out-turned consciousness, in which siddhis manifest for samadhi yogins. What is recorded are Christ's active, outward-turned states in which siddhis manifest for the ascetic. at times recovers consciousness and enjoys the fruit of an infinity of meritorious deeds.")
You can see now, wonderful yogins and yogesses, how much is compacted into any one random utterance by Nityananda.

Fixing your attention on breath, sleep.

Nityananda is confirming that his state was the state of "sleeping while awake" extolled by the Yoga-Vasistha and Sankara's Quintessence of Vedanta and other scriptures. Nityananda was one of those sages abiding in one of the two samadhi states. Again, in our state of deep, dreamless sleep (called prajna in this religious knowledge)one experiences the bliss of God as Atman but is unconscious of any worlds, but is still ignorant because of sleep.

In the states of savikalpa samadhi one experiences the bliss of the dreaming state while conscious, but is unconscious of the gross outer world. He is conscious of himself, desires, likes and dislikes, then increasingly can remember the gross outer world. In this state the religious person knows the glories and bliss perceptions of the dream world while more aware than in normal dreaming.

In the state of nirvikalpa samadhi one has risen above the dream world and only knows a "sense of I." One is conscious primarily of Brahman and infinite bliss, with a bare awareness of this gross world and some ability to function in it. Both are of these samadhis are forms of sleeping-while-waking.

Nityananda is confirming that the two states of sleeping-while-awake can be attained by meditation techniques that employ concentration on the breath. The sentence is terse. He is not saying "Fix the attention on your breath, then get in bed and go to sleep." He is saying: "Concentrate on your breath in the manner that I do, and attain the state of sleeping while waking."

In the case of Nityananda, who appeared to be awake, his "sleep" was not inert like savikalpa but the state of nirvikalpa samadhi, also called kaivalya, and dharma-megha-samadhi. It is not a small thing!

Were the majority of people to understand this goal and purpose of genuine yoga, they would find it disturbing intellectually. Truly, when actually presented with the prospect, all fear it because all fear the death of their individual ego. However, the people enjoy being around such personages because such personages are boon-bestowers wherever they reside. In brief, know that whenever scriptures or saints speak of attaining "sleep," they refer to the attainment of one of the forms of samadhi. It is not conventional sleep, but sleep while waking. It is awareness of the higher realms, and in the case of nirvikalpa, awareness of the earth and all realms at the same time.

In this line Nityananda also makes clear that the "sleeping in wakefulness" state can be attained by fixing one's mind on the breath in the manner in which he has done, which is the same technique taught by Yogananda as the "first kriya," and the technique most amplified in the Vijnana-Bhairava, and which the Siddha-Yogi Lahiri Mahasaya stated gives stated Should you become chaste and develop bhakti for the God-man or the Lord as a mere idea, as the White Europeans did with their great bhakti-yoga of Christianity, you will understand all this. Practice of the Christian anjoli mudra (hands together and raised), which raises up the bhakti attitude, will assist when speaking to God (Saguna Brahman) about any such desires. Aum.

Perform the natural japa of the inward and the outward breath.

In this line Nityananda is advocating the use of his meditation technique although the material does not present that meditation technique in any clear or introductory sense. He is saying "practice the soham meditation technique." (Also called hamsah and hong-sau, sha-hom, etc.) He is saying "Practice this technique which affixes itself to your breath and is natural."

Here the avadhuta is indeed speaking of of the ordinary, natural human breath of all people, and of applying a meditation technique to it. Or we could understand conversely: Apply your natural breath to a meditation technique. This is the meditation technique under discussion, available and knowable to anybody who applies himself to a kriyaban or shaktipat yogi who knows the technique, with sincerity and a little bit of devotion. This "first kriya" of Yogananda, discussed in the Vijnana-Bhairava and elsewhere, fixes itself to the breath thus it is often called a "natural japa." The breath has indeed been going on all along, throughout your life, as a kind of repetitive japa (repetitive recitation or mantra). Nityananda is saying to his audience, way back here in old India, to practice that simple meditation technique. He has never in any of the Chiddakasha Gita described the technique or given direct instruction about it. (Such instructions are not present in the present utterances or my comments.) This Chiddakasha Gita or utterances by Nityananda actually discusses the advanced dynamics and territory of the technique, yet does not present the technique itself. This is one of the reasons why, in my view, it was inappropriate to publish this material. However, there must be some cosmic God-sanctioned reason why it happened, and the worthy among the religious people can benefit from it while the cynical users or mere depredators will not get much from it. God sees the hearts of all and gives to them according to their attitude, merit, and His grace.

Have mental (subtle) bhakti; yes, have it. Attain liberation from bondage. Have constant bhakti; never interrupted.

This right after his advocacy of the mantra. Nityananda is saying to perform the meditation technique with an attitude of bhakti, i.e. religious devotion, which is the highest form of yoga and central to the White European religion for twenty centuries.

It is very significant that the avadhut Nityananda confirms the value of bhakti, or the devotional attitude toward the deity or guru. He links together here the idea of breathing as a mere technique with the idea of devotional attitudes, which is significant for the religionist or yogi who advances along this path. The secrets of the internal breath are most unfolded when the aspirant has the attitude of bhakti. The statement confirms that Nityananda was not only a bhakta, but was constantly in a state of bhakti and bhava. It is truly bhakti, the devotional attitude so exemplified by the Christian yogi-saints, that is the key to the mysteries of yoga and enlightenment, along with chastity or brahmacharya. (Brahmacharya was also a central Christian ideal of the White Europeans for twenty centuries.) If you go into an old Christian church when it's empty, and be thoughtful, it is easy to get bhakti such as possessed by the best Christian saint. This is true of all temples devoted to The Lord and not the world.

This verse in which Nityananda says to have "constant bhakti" is the most significant verse in all these utterances by Nityananda. The avadhuta was in constant bhakti, and this constant devotional attitude is what we should cultivate in our religious life of meditation.

All knowledge will be given to the religious person (and yogi) simply by chastity, bhakti, and concentration. Should one understand Nityananda's breath technique, all the more fortunate. But the great secret, intimated above, is that mastery of the inner breath goes forward with a bhakti attitude. The aspirant should open to God within with the devotee's and supplicant's attitude, to master kumbhaka. Breathing in is a call, in faith, and a desire to receive. Expectancy, receptivity, openness, and desire are needed in the actions of the inner breath, and these are the attitudes of the bhakta or devotee.

Breathe up and down without any restraint.

Now the material jumps, as it often has, to the esoteric inner breath. It is proper to assume that most of these sayings of Nityananda, collected happenstance as he would happen to show up in various homes or places and deign to speak, are not in the original order and do not represent a coherent presentation. Thus the material has disjointed qualities.

When a religious person such as Nityananda attains his state, his rajasic tendencies are greatly attenuated. This means that he loses the keen desire to perform actions in the world, including "saving the world," etc. Oft-times his realization, in fact, is "there is nothing out there" and "there is nobody to save." Thus such persons lose the desire and inclination to write books, propound teachings, and give presentations. One could say that they even lose the ability to do so. Yet such is their divine state that whatever action they do perform has efficacy, such as this random collection of his utterances. It unfolds that whenever they do still perceive, according to their remaining conditioning, "a world" they first think of giving God-knowledge to the people as the highest priority. That is from loving and caring for humanity. They think "This is what would benefit the people most, to show them the way out of delusion and suffering, how to attenuate their karma and samskaras, and touch the saving transcendental." Thus occasionally Nityananda got into that mood and walked into a house and did a little teaching, just the same. He also advocated that religious men such as he should, indeed, teach. Thus we have this Chidakasha Gita of Nityananda. The Tao Te Ching says "He who speaks does not know." That "knowing" refers to full knowledge of Brahman, the Reality, in which all that is false falls away including the false world. So in that state of highest knowing there is a disinclination to speak and even an inability to do so. 

Brahman is ineffable. And not seeing a world then, there is nobody to save. However, when not in that state of highest -- and a yogi or religious person continues to cycle through various states -- he may speak and it is proper at times for him to do so.Wiseacres should not use the Tao Te Ching line in an effort to silence everybody but themselves, or to demean the teaching efforts of sincere and spiritual (religious) men, as they sometimes do. In summary, men and women in Nityananda's religious state of savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi become disinclined and often unable to compose speeches and write books in a way that would be coherent to us. Ramakrisha, Ramana Maharshi, Nityananda, and Ananda Mayi Ma are examples who did not write any texts. They were both disinclined to do so, and largely unable. Yet their efficacy in the world was no less. As for more coherent teaching, it is the province the strong devotees, the advanced yogis, and the partially awakened. A rare exception to this was my guru, Paramahansa Yogananda, who continued to write coherent texts even after he had attained the state of nirvikalpa samadhi. But this is very rare.

Now, about the utterance above: All people in the natural state breathe up and down without any restraint.Nityananda is NOT saying he disapproves of pranayama or the restraint of breath. Pranayama was the very water he swam in. Nityananda's belly was, in fact, large because of the continuous holding of the breath in both intentional and spontaneous kumbhaka. One of the yogic kriyas his chief disciple Muktananda experienced was the stout expulsion of the breath, then holding it within in what's called the chalice with the jalandhara bhanda (chin lock). This was no doubt a characteristic kriya of Nityananda's as well. He thus had a pot belly from much holding of the breath lifelong.

So no, this verse does not mean "don't ever hold the breath" or "keep breathing just as you've done since birth." Here indeed the text has jumped again to the inner, esoteric pranic breath. Nityananda is stating that in mastering the inner, pranic breath we must come to be able to breathe it without any lack or restraint just like the ordinary air-breath; that the inner breath is not fully mastered until it feels as easy, unobstructed, full and natural as the natural air-breath. (First a decreasing need to breath the gross air-breath, then finally no need for long periods of quiet mind.)

Nityananda often made a sound like "Hnnn, hnnn." This was a yogic kriya of the expulsion of breath and an instinct of those mastering the inner pranic breath. These were exhalations while already little or no air was in his lungs. He did this to keep the air expelled from his lungs in the state of kumbhaka. This is another of the yogic kriyas (spontaneous bodily movements) that arises spontaneously for devotees who have a bhakti attitude for a satguru plus chastity and a meditation technique.

Drawing the breath upwards is puraka; stopping the breath is kumbhaka. Kumbhaka is your “real seat.”

Now comes evidence that Nityananda was not advising above against stoppage of the gross breath. He states the well-known fact that kumbhaka means stoppage of the breath, then states that we should attain that as our real seat or the true yogic asana. Nityananda is saying that the state of kumbhaka, or cessation of material breath (air, oxygen, etc.) is the highest and best "yogic seat." (As compared to the various asanas, etc.)

Breathing out is rechaka. While breathing in, it should be like drawing water from a well. Draw the breath up to the brahmarandhra in the brain. By such a breathing, kindle the fire of jnana. Purify the nadis. Burn the three humors (vatha, pitha and kapha) in this fire.

Basic lessons again. Here Nityananda is referring to conventional breathing, especially that conventional air-breathing done in a pranayama context. He is extolling pranayama in general. One of the venerable commentators on the Yoga-Sutra stated that "there is no purifier like pranayama." Pranamyama purifies the nadis. It burns the three humors, of you like "three humors" metaphysics. It burns up whatever you need to burn!

His reference to "drawing water from a well" touches on two things: Yogis develop their own visualization devices in meditation, sometimes like those written and sometimes unique to themselves. This relates to a sages Yoga-Sutra commentary that says "The yoga goeth forth by yoga alone." Such visualizations arise in the yogi as his own effective techniques. Secondly, this shows us one of the particular visualizations, regarding breath, that Nityananda had used. In India wells were very common. The real valuable point here is that visualizations associated with the breath are not only possible, not only helpful, but that they become powerful concentration devices that later have application for siddhis, etc.

Another concept here is that prana, which one visualizes breathing in rather than gross air, can have qualities like fire. The verse also states that one makes his visualizations, vis-a-vis prana, up high or up in the brain or brahmarandhra. The aspiration of the yogi path, reflected in pictures of Christian saints looking up or raising their hand up, is directed up the spine, not down. Focus above is the spiritual direction. Focus on sex and the lower organs is the dualistic and material direction.

Finally Nityananda says that divine knowledge, or jnana, can be attained by pranayama alone and yogic development of the breath.

What is called discrimination is such a fire: it is the yoga-fire;

By "discrimination" Nityananda means the path of "discrimination" or the path of the jnani. That is, the path of constant intellectual analysis advocated by Sankarcharya. Here Nityananda is, in a sense, minimizing "discrimination" or jnana as a main path just as Ramakrishna used to do. The bhakta Ramakrishna often dissed the jnana path, which lacks bhakti, as a sole path. (He referred to it often as "reasoning.") Here Nityananda is pointing out that the jnani path does not necessarily contain this mastery of prana and the inner pranic breath. Additionally, he is saying that the yogi who breathes the pranic breath and gets the full purification of prana gets all divine knowledge or jnana. He is saying that the knowledge associated with the path of discrimination is all attained on this very path of bhakti and mastery of pranayama.

Nityananda is also likening prana to fire, or referring to it's fire-like properties. It often feels hot or hot/cold in the body. (One is not able to tell which it is.) In the state of savikalpa samadhi the prana literally feels like a burning fire all through the body. Prana purifies and can be said to "burn" as it does so. He is saying that divine knowledge("discrimination" or jnana) arises with the yogic fire of prana.

it is the food-digesting fire in the stomach.

The prana is actually what digests the food in the stomach. We are all using it and benefiting from prana constantly. But the yogi, chaste religious man, or bhakti aspirant gets a better handle on prana.

The discrimination is the solar light.

Nityananda here is again using the word "discrimination" to refer to jnana or divine knowledge. He is saying that all auroras or all lights, including the physical sun, are manifestations of divine knowledge. The Upanishads themselves state that Isvara, Lord of our experienced material universe, abides in the physical sun.

God pervades the universe in the form of subtle energy.

Here Nityananda is simply referring to prana, which pervades the universe. The Prasna Upanishad states that God first created prana, then faith (shradda), then space or akasa. The reason faith is listed as the very second evolute is that faith means instinctive divine knowledge, divine memory, and divine will which are never lost in us. Thus faith comes before all things, even space itself. It took faith (instinctive divine knowledge) to fill the space with things. Note, too, that akasa comes after prana thus space is made of prana. On a practical metaphysical basis space and prana are the very same thing. For this reason a religious person develops greater involvement with the pure prana (pure just like space is pure and Brahman is pure), i.e. gets mastery of pranayama, by visualizing infinite space or akasa.

The reason the subtle energy (prana) pervades all the universe is that akasa and prana are,in practical terms, the same.

Creation is caused by the doubts of the mind.

Nityananda is saying that the material creations arises spontaneously by movement of the mind. It is dissatisfactions and doubts that cause the mind to keep moving instead of being still as in the state of prajna or deep, dreamless sleep. Here Nityananda is actually using the term "creation" in a negative sense, the way that non-dualistic Vedanta approaches it. That is, creation is the exterior phenomena or maya. It arises spontaneously, including it's conditioning-embedded "past stories" and lesser theories of causation, only because of movement of the mind.

Creation is purely a mental affection.

This is includes an error or an attempt by the stenographer or translator to say affectation using the word affection. Nityananda is saying the material creation is a mental affectation. It continues the theme of the preceding line as creation based on subtle and unsubstantial things (aside from Pure Consciousness, which make it all seen). The idea of affectation here relates to the Vedic teaching that all the features of the exterior creation are based on fancies and notions. "Mental affectation" makes a subtle reference to the absurd worlds and samsaric muddles we actually create with our minds, as well as the pomposity of them. "Affectation" also refers to the metaphysical principle that Brahman is actually taking on the form of all the exterior things through the template or mold of the mind. Just as people put on "affectations" pretending to be something they're not, and it is often ridiculous, the mind has taken the form of the exterior world and the fancies generated are often ridiculous. The mind takes the form of the world. Brahman is putting on an affectation, or pretending to be the world.

When you have attained same-sightedness, there will be no creation.

This refers to the state of nirvikalpa samadhi, or ideal state of the sage, as formulated in the Non-Dualistic Vedanta of Sankara and other Hindu teachers. This metaphysics and dharma are now unknown to the Christian religious tradition and only exist in vestiges and signposts there. "Same sightedness" refers to the Vedantic practice of continually viewing all externals (including internal externals or perceivables such as thoughts or dreams), of nothing but Pure Consciousness or a reflection in the mirror of Pure Consciousness (Brahman). The Non-Dualistic Vedanta "technique" of Sankara (and others) was to continually affirm the dream-like non-existence (essenceless) of external creations, to stop seeing or registering particulars, and to register only "Brahman." The purpose of this is to make the mind turn back from the material creation through complete disinterest or non-engagement, so that a samadhi state is acquired. In both the states of savikalpa samadhi, nirvikalpa, and even our nightly state of dreamless sleep, a "creation" is no longer seen. This is finally due to actual pratyahara in which the life force, normally coursing down the spine and out the body's senses, reverses such that the external world is no longer even erecting itself in fact.One's universe actually dissolves and no longer exists even nightly in the deep dreamless sleep state, and is resurrected each morning. During that deep dreamless state of prajna, and even during the lower savikalpa-like state of dreams, a "world" is no longer seen. It is not simply that one is disinterested in it. It is actually no longer there, because the life force is not externalized and neither projecting it nor hardening it up as something to be seen.

The essence of this line is that when Sankara's technique of viewing all externals as either non-existent or as "pure consciousness" is perfected, the world disappears and is no longer seen because of disinterest and non-engagement with it, in a Sankara-oriented pratyahara attainment as it were.

The subtle state is common to both mobile and immobile beings.

There is a subtle consciousness underlying all created things and creatures that is homogeneous and the same. This "subtle state" Nityananda refers to is the Pure Consciousness, pure awareness, Nirguna Brahman.
This verse can be interpreted, too, to mean that all created things have astral or subtle states of their own. We all dream, we all have consciousness and astral awareness. Even stones and trees have these. Non-dualistic Vedanta and yoga teaches that we all experience God and divinity nightly in the dream states. We even merge wholly with Brahman, or Pure Consciousness, completely in dreamless sleep. The world is then dissolved and there is no longer any "other" to interact with or remember, and only the most subtle sense of "I." Nityananda is saying that we all, every one of us, goes through the religious knowledge of yoga and the saints as a part of normal life. Viz, not only do you as a human being have a subtle (astral) state, but even animals and immobile things have subtle states.

In the main, the statement above is using "subtle state" to refer to Pure Consciousness that underlies all things. From that point of view, all are the same. Now the next line explains where difference arises:

The difference is in the casual (prakriti).

The word here was supposed to be "causal" not casual. Nityananda is saying that "difference" arises at the causal state which is associated with the concept of prakriti. Prakriti is a concept similar to prana. But in the theory of prakriti there are "three gunas." Prakriti is a little bit more elegant conception of primordial nature than prana. Nityananda is saying that differentiation in creation occurs at the fundamental level of prakriti and the three gunas. Thus a yogi is striving to get beyond the three gunas. It is not necessary for devotees or religious people to mess their heads around with ideas about prakriti or three gunas. It is one of the "conceptions of cause" that Sankara lists as an original mental invention like fire, time, etc. Prana morphs into a prakriti state as soon as their is movement or disequilibrium in it.

Difference is delusion. Difference is in the body. Bodies are transient. Prakriti is evanescent. When you realize the subtle in the gross, that state is called moksha. Mukti is the indivisible.

Mukti is in the heart-space.

Nityananda defined the heart space as the space in the head, especially at the third eye. He specified that it did not mean the chest or the organ in the chest. Neither did it refer to emotion, romance, or human love. Nityananda always called the kutastha or "3rd eye" the "heart," and recommended that all attention and focus be there. He is saying that liberation is there, in the head and through the third eye.

In the heart-space is Shiva-Linga.

He is saying that Shiva or pure consciousness is at the third eye.

It is self-existence. This is also called the prince-prana.

There is one particular form of prana, among the five forms, that he is referring to as the "prince prana." That is, prana per se or the inbreath. This is the most important prana, in Nityananda's view. He is also saying that this prana is abundant and available at the higher center, or the third eye.

This is the “upward breath.”

He confirms this and says that the inbreath, and the subtle prana associated with it, is the "prince prana."

This is known in yoga as prana. Prana is the ONE. Prana is the ONE in all. Prana is existence.

"The One" here appears to reference Nirguna Brahman. But it could also reference Saguna Brahman, or both. Nityananda was undoubtedly familiar with both concept. He is giving us, as all wonderful yogis and gurus do, a simplified metaphysics. He is advising the religious person, or the yogi, to view the Lord as synonymous with prana. He is advising us to associate prana with Nirguna Brahman (Pure Consciousness) or Saguna Brahman. In scriptural metaphysics, prana is an evolute or creation, and is only associated with Saguna Brahman, or the Creator personality as Isvara, or whatever the name. Because prana (subtle life energy) is in fact one of The Lord's basic evolutes, the approach is valid. In a sense Nityananda reveals that he is a bhakta and devotee of the knowable God with attributes or Saguna Brahman because he is praising prana. It is a characteristic of great yogis to simplify Hindu metaphysics as well as to forge their own conceptual path, which will found effective and auspicious for at least their devotees.

This is known only to those who have practiced yoga. Those who have not practiced yoga are not aware of this fact; they being bound by desires.

Real things are attained by yoga which is renunciation of sense pleasures, chastity, meditation, and devotion for the thought of the Lord. We need to get with it and do a little sadhana in order for our continual suffering and confusion to be attenuated.

So, cut asunder the bondage of desires and hence attain salvation.

It Salvation or, in Indian parlance "moksha," is a Christian concept as well as Hindu. The Christian concept of moksha has been trimmed back and reduced and should be reconstituted by White European men interested in God, restoring Christianity, and the knowledge of the Aryan Vedas.

Realize the one Tattwa, i.e., Paramatman. Realize Him by the internal eye.

Again Nityananda advocates focus at the point between the eyebrows, justs as did Yogananda, Muktananda, and Jesus Christ.

Without a rope, water from a well cannot be drawn up. In the body, breath is the rope. Drawing the inward breath harmoniously is like drawing up the water from a well.

Now Nityananda goes back to discussing kumbhaka and attainment of the astral breath. When he refers to the breath drawn up "harmoniously" he refers to that inner breath (in which no air moves, and the nose and mouth could as well be plugged). He says that should be harmonious, in other words, just as easy and smooth as ordinary gross breathing. The "water" that he refers to drawing is pure prana, which is drawn in better and in greater plenitude through connecting the gross material inbreath to the act of pure pranic drawing, then finally making it purely conceptual. I am leaving out a great deal here, because it is not proper to speak of these yogic things in a public document, which is one of the reasons I feel that the publication of Nityananda's utterances was ill-conceived.

In order to make planks of a wooden beam, it should be sawed up and down. Similarly, breath should move upwards and downwards in the body. 

It should be led into buddhi and made always to move in an upward direction.

Notice how the two verses above contradict each other, in one he refers to the two motions of breath up and down. In the other he says to breathe in one direction. The first verse simply refers to the basic work; using the breath as a meditation technique, as we all start out. The normal breath goes in and out, up and down, and for a long time that's all the yogi will do. But that's sawing the wood, getting the work done.

When making progress in Yogananda's first meditation technique the yogi comes to wonder what to do with the two breaths when they do not seem to need to move any more. Nityananda is answering, for the avid yogi and religious person. One should learn to rest in one constant, eternal inbreath. No more sawing up and down.

To take a stone uphill, requires great effort but to bring it down by the same route is not difficult. So also, going up is difficult but coming down is easy.

This is one of the most interesting utterances by Nityananda, and one of the most helpful if understood correctly, also showing the avadhuta's caring love for humanity. I will interpret it for White European men, and women, who strive for chastity and cherish the remembrance of God in all forms.

In the first instance his stone-uphill metaphor refers to the difficulty of experiencing the pranic inbreath, or the difficulty of finding one's self sated or adequately fed by it. In the second instance, and this is it's deeper meaning, it refers to the difficulty of accomplishing pratyahara.

Nityananda is referring to the obvious fact that when we try to breath in (in normal life) and our breath is blocked (such as by a hand or suffocation situation), when we pull on the inbreath, nothing comes to us. If you put a straw in your mouth, plug up the end of it, and try to breathe in, you simply get stoppage and resistance to your attempt to get breath. This is the "carrying the stone" up the hill. The yogi is seeking to have that very inbreath (the pull with no air moving) satisfying and nourishing like the material inbreath. He is trying to get the inner inbreath, which is an inbreath in which no air moves or flows. He is acknowledging the difficulty of this initially or the slowness of its development for the yogis.

Further, he is referring to the fact that the yogis, when doing the breathing techniques of Yogananda and Nityananda, feel the subtle inward breath but find it difficult to make it fuller, make it move, make it satisfy unto kumbhaka. This is the difficulty he is referring to, and describing as carrying a stone uphill.

Our "downhill" slide has been breathing the material breath. The "uphill battle" is learning to get enough from the subtle pranic inbreath that we can attain kumbhaka and savikalpa samadhi which comes automatically on that attainment.

The metaphor is not a perfect one, because the yogi should not make visualizations -- regarding the inbreath he seeks to imbibe -- that make it seem difficult or at all blocked. The battle to become established in the subtle inbreath is largely psychological relating to our thick conditioning relative to breath. Positive visualizations about the astral inbreath are much more helpful than negative ones. However, Nityananda was just speaking of the fact that the pranic inbreath requires time to fully develop and master. It is not so easy for most and takes time. Thus it is work, like carrying a stone up hill while the normal gross inbreath is easy, like a stone rolling downhill. And this is, he means, synonymous with the conventional world of material engagements. That is the stone rolling downhill. It involves no effort while meditation and learning the pranic breath require effort.

Now, the deeper meaning is that pratyahara is difficult, or like carrying a stone uphill. Pratyahara occurs synonymously with the mastery of the inner breath. The two go together. Pratyahara is when the life force reverses course up the spine and back to Brahman as occurs nightly in sleep. Instead of going down the spine and out, illumining a "world" (like a movie projector directed to a wall, in fact) it goes up the spine. Then the world is no longer erected or seen and one experiences the higher worlds like in sleep.

The interest, attention, and entanglements we have with the material world (egged on by karmic impressions) are a powerful force, making pratyahara difficult. This attention and engagement with the karmic world during the waking state is based on the power of the life force when flowing one way. To reverse that flow is comparable to reversing the direction of a river or stopping a train and sending it the opposite direction. Nityananda uses the simile of "carrying a rock uphill" instead. It is going against the flow.

First the yogi must cognize the two inner breaths going on associated with his meditation. Then one must effect stabilization in one inner breath, an inbreath. This is synonymous with attaining pratyahara and pratyahara or life-force reversal ensues automatically.Nityananda is saying: "developing the felt, nourishing inbreath is difficult; reversing the life force is difficult." His metaphor of carrying a rock uphill compared to letting it roll down is a very apt metaphor for the pratyahara challenge, but not so apt for describing the development of the inner breath. As the yogi or yogess develops the inner breath he should not visualize any heavy labor at all, any blockage, or difficulty. Such thoughts work against the progress. The ideas or notions "I am suffocating, where's the air?" are enemies to developing the inner breath. The thoughts when developing it should be "This is easy, there is an opening, I trust something's there, the pranic breath flows in me fully."

Visualizations concerning the pranic inbreath should involve openings, circles, expansion, the rush of air and sound of the in-rush of air, wind, food, and receptivity.

The beautiful thing about the Nityananda statement above is that he showed love for humanity. He was acknowledging that the path is difficult and slow and empathizing with that. He was saying "This isn't easy! It's a lot of work!" Not to discourage, but to encourage. But to even speak of these things, bringing us into his knowledge, he was transmitting that all can have his attainment and the yogic attainments. Speaking of the difficulty of it is what a father does to gird up his sons, get them to strive harder, and increase their patience and fortitude. So his "rock up the hill" metaphor showed love of humanity.

However, one should not think that breathing the pranic inbreath is difficult. In fact, the better visualizing for the pranic inbreath would be "I am breathing this full load of nourishing, satisfying prana in as easily as a rock rolls down a hill. It is easy."

It is difficult for the prana to leave the body. To receive a thing is easy but to return it is difficult.

This is similar to the above statement. Nityananda is indicating that the mastery of the pranic inbreath, which then releases the jiva from the body in the state of savikalpa samadhi, is difficult whereas getting a body (a human birth) and breathing the gross material way is easy and takes no effort. We were given a human birth, plus normal breathing, by God's grace. It is hard to go back to God without great effort. Freedom from the body and delusive duality take tremendous work.

Those men who do not return what they have received are not worthy of the name of “men.” The are merely animals; they have no virtue.

We should try to return to God. We should try to interact with Him through the breath and give our breath to Him. The truth is, God is breathing in us constantly and giving to us our very inbreath, but we do not even acknowledge Him or interact with him. God gives us breath for free, always loving us, but we give nothing back. Nityananda is actually referring to the interaction between devotee and Purusha that takes place when one follows his meditation path and tries to master the inner pranic breath. It is an interaction with God, and a giving back. But the giving back is of ourselves, our acknowledgment, our responsiveness, and our receivership. We can't give anything material to God, but we can give him our devotion, conscious awareness, true relationship, and feminine receivership as devotees. The technique Nityananda describes here is a place and method whereby those are done.

(It is impossible to describe the pangs of death).

Nityananda mentioned this because by advocacy of this yoga, by advocacy of mastery of the subtle breath and kumbhaka, one can be spared the worst pangs of death. He is trying to warn the listeners to develop in yoga.

Jnana is attained by subtle thinking. So breath should be controlled.

This can be interpreted two ways. On one hand Nityananda may be saying that divine knowledge comes with a thinning out of thoughts (and making thought more subtle). Since breath retention (pranayama) controls thought, that should be pursued. Subtle breath = subtle thought = Jnana.

Nityananda may be, on the other hand,making a slight diss of the "thinking yoga" of Sankaracharya as described in his Quintessence of Vedanta. That is, he is making reference to the dry jnana path which involves a lot of thinking and analyzing. He is basically making a statement that the control of breath is just as good and just as important. The sentence could be presented like this:

"You Jnanis say jnana is obtained by subtle thinking and discrimination. Even so,you should practice pranayama."

Nityananda, like Ramakrisha, was more bhakta and yogi than a Sankara-like analyzer or thinker. Here he may be paying respects to that jnana path of intellectual analysis but advocating, and with understatement, that pranayama is of 'equal' importance and validity, bringing all that is sought in the jnana path.

The mind should be merged in the sound.

Nityananda has suddenly mentioned here the inner sound of Aum. When heard, the religious person or devotee should try to merge his mind in it. This is a vast subject.

Those who do not breathe through the nose, have no desires of any sort. Their breath is purely internal.

Again Nityananda is emphasizing that the "breath" he is teaching about is indeed not material and does not involve an air-flow through the nose, mouth, or other orifices. One of the absurdities about other online "commentary" I have seen is that the writer cannot comprehend this simple and obvious fact. The breathless state of kumbhaka is real, and not a poetic metaphor. The yogic state of kumbhaka is, in fact, what is under discussion here. Nityananda was a master of it. That state involves mastery of an inner "conceptual" breath or two inner postures that are synonymous with the postures we continually take when breathing the gross outer breath, but more subtle and all within.

They concentrate their breath in the brahmarandhra where the ida and the pingala meet. They have realized the Paramatman;

This practice progresses best when visualizations concerning it take place up in the head, a the devotee aspires for God as prana, bindu (light), sound, all-sufficiency, all healing, all-provision, all grace, purity, and bliss.

they look upon all things as self.

This state has been discussed above. Yogananda was more of a bhakta and preferred the savikalpa state of duality and "a world" to save, etc. The difference between Nityananda and Yogananda was that Nityananda wanted to abide in the nirvikalpa state; Yogananda enjoyed his play of the "saved and the unsaved" and did not wish to abide in the Nirvikalpa state. But they were really the same Person.

This is swarajya (self-government).

Samadhi gives the true power and control.

What is swarajya is jiva’s true place.

Swarajya was a political party in India that promoted Indian self-government. That is, is wanted more power and control than heretofore for the Indians, i.e. self-government. Nityananda is saying that this ideal of full power and control is the natural inheritance of the individual soul or jiva.

The light of life is prana vayu.

Vayu is the element wind, or the air in general. In Hindu thought that elemental force is also personified as a god, which is as metaphysically valid as any other thought constructions. The wind god is Vayu.

Prana, always associated with the breath in the study of pranayama, is conceived in five forms in creation. The form called vyana is spread around everywhere like the broad air of the world, which blows everywhere and resides between earth and heaven. The prana in the distributed state vyana is often indeed associated with the wind god, Vayu. That spread-everywhere state of prana is sometimes called "prana vayu." Nityananda is really saying that this prana and all lights are the same substance. This includes the sun, which he called "the light of life." The substantive point is that all lights, including the sun and stars, are forms of prana.

I am not certain but in Hindu metaphysics I am not aware that the particular form of prana called vyana has the key association with the sun. I am fairly certain that the prana-form associated with the sun is straight prana (prana proper) and not it's alternate forms. I think Nityananda stated this in a feeling of bhakti. Among his many bhakti feelings he has bhakti for the wind God vayu, and enjoys calling the vyana "Prana Vayu" after the wind-God. Such bhakti attitude toward the various pranas, toward the elements and God's creations, are in fact auspicious and beneficial in the yogic realization under discussion by Nityananda. He also has bhakti for the sun, and wanted to associate Him with the wind god Vayu. We can learn much from Nityananda in these utterances. Bhakti attitudes open many occult doors including success in the inner subtle breath.

Prana vayu is the capitol of swarajya government.

He is revealing that this state of empowerment or "self government" is provided by contact and engagement with prana. Prana gives all power. He specifies that we make contact with prana in it's state of vyana. He reveals that for gathering the inward breath he prefers to think of the prana in the form of prana-vayu, the far-flung form like the wind. Prana-vayu, says Nityananda, is the great lake or great sky from which any yogi can breathe big draughts of prana, catching big gales of it.

Atman is the lord of the swarajya government.

Atman is the Lord Brahman with a reference or orientation to the individual soul and essential spark of eternal, luminous, untouchable consciousness that animates each of us. It is our inner atman, the inner Lord, who can genuinely empower us as "Swarajya" government. He is always the true Ruler in the first place. The yogi comes to know That and merge with That. Fools see problems with such teachings because they think that those who get close to God become absurd, or would remain egotists and game-players like themselves.

Swarajya is one’s own energy.

That power and full efficacy is our own birthright and our own connection to prana.

This energy must be kept under perfect control.

By continence, dispassion, and meditation for the stilling of thoughts one gets a grip on prana which otherwise does what it likes.

What is swarajya is not a hill; it is not gold. Keeping under control both desire and anger is swarajya.

Chastity and dispassion (including ignoring the wicked) is the path to this empowerment or "self government." Thus the prana responds to his mind and becomes more servant than master.

A man must say what he does and do what he says.

Not doing so insults the prana and weakens one's engagement with it. The prana-sakti requires truth, virtue, and continence to make it's home with us in the way that yogis and religious saints know.

If you hold nose and mouth tight, you are not able to talk. Similarly, a thing that does not breathe does not emit sound. Just as water goes on diminishing in a well in summer, so also, the power of breath goes on diminishing in the body.

Nityananda returns again to his discussion of the inner pranic breath, which he obviously considers to be very important in his path and in yogic dharma and development. In order to make sure his audience knows that, yes, he is talking about an astral breath known completely within, and not the conventional air-breath of oxygen and other gases, he speaks of the holding of the nose and mouth. He is also saying that we, in our conventional state, are utterly dependent on the gross physical breath. He is referring, rather gently, to the state of anxiety and death that follows the closure of our orifices, how we can't even participate in life (make a sound), if any of them are shut. He is bringing up the pathos and limitation of this situation.

Next he makes a statement about how our capacity to breathe or carry on the life processes decline as we age. Again, he is pointing up the unattractiveness and limitation of our dependence on the ordinary gross breath.

When the water is moving, the air moves along with it. You can live without food or without drinking coffee for five days. But you cannot live for five minutes without breathing.

Again making the same point: Conventional humans are absurdly dependent upon the gross in- and outbreath of air. He wants to advise that religious people and devotees pursue and learn about his subtle breathing, mastered by siddhas including Yogananda and Lahiri Mahasaya, who was in a constant state of no breath and no heartbeat during his later years, even while active. He continues on speaking of our conventional situation:

The highest of all powers is the power of Maya. A dead body and so also a stone are unable to talk. Likewise, if air does not act, fire cannot burn; i.e., if breathing is not regular, the fire of digestion will be impaired. When the digestive fire does not act properly, the phlegm in the lungs becomes hard. Fat increases in the body. The food that is eaten remains in the stomach undigested. If there is any obstruction in the pump, water will not flow out properly. Similarly, if the [ordinary] breathing becomes difficult, fever, thickening of the mucus, are caused. By this, all diseases are caused.

Nityananda is not trying to give advice here about diet or health. It would be absurd to think that he is. This is more exposition of the ordinary state of breathing worldlings and many difficulties they face. "Ordinary" was inserted in brackets above to make this clear.

Those who do not practice pranayama have no yoga.

So now the solution to all of these hassles: Pranayama. Pranayama is no ordinary breathing at all and no ordinary experience of the breath. This is where all these troubles end.

It is impossible to draw water from a well without a rope.

You cannot draw to yourself a surfeit and plenitude of intelligent and healing prana, which makes a man all-sufficient, unless you practice pranayama. That is, you must learn to use the breath (the inner breathing or "rope" for the well), to pull to yourself more all-satisfying, all nourishing, and all healing prana. Get going on pranayama.

Puraka is drawing the breath up. Kumbhaka is retaining the breath. Rechaka is the exhaling of breath slowly from within. Many sorts of cakes are prepared from the same rice. So also, by breath everything is accomplished. The functions are different. What is called pranayama is all internal working. The same is Shivashakti in man. When this shakti is guided to brahmarandhra, it is communion with Godhead.

Here Nityananda finally speaks of pranayama for average people, explaining some of the basic terms used. This same puraka, kumbhaka, and rechaka continue on in exactly the same manner with the subtle breath, so the terms will remain useful.

Samadhi means controlling one’s energy. Samadhi is the upward breath.

Quite clearly, all everyday people have upward breaths, but it does not give them samadhi. Nityananda is saying that the state of samadhi is synonymous with mastery of the fixed, eternal inbreath. (In these scriptures the "upward breath" means the inbreath, since the air then moves up over the chest toward the nose.) When a yogi becomes finally fixed in the eternal inbreath, the heart automatically stops beating, happily, and has rest. Then savikalpa samadhi automatically dawns. This is all very well explained in the lessons printed by Yogananda's organization SRF, for devotees of Yogananda. However, fixation in the inward breath is not explained in those lessons and is probably not understood by most functionaries of SRF. Nityananda, who is an aspect, helpfully explains this and what do do when the outer breath no longer wants to move or toggle. Kumbhaka should be established with an eternal inbreath.

The upward breath is what is called the Taraka Brahman. When the upward breath has become perfect, the whole world is within you.

"Perfect" means when full kumbhaka dawns plus the state of samadhi. Then the world world can be seen, and other worlds, with the speed of thought as with conscious astral travel. Vision of all creation as one sight sometimes also appears, as in the Oglala Sioux story of Jumping Mouse. This is religious knowledge.

This upward breath is the same in all creatures.

Here Nityananda is referring to the inward breath both in its conventional form and the subtle or non-air form. His point is that the basic posture or movement of the inward breath in found in all creatures. That is, they cycle into an inner posture of drawing, seeking, opening, and pulling which is the essence of the inbreath. All creatures have some form of breathing in and out, and both the material forms of breath and the subtle mastery of it is the same essential action of drawing, pulling, receiving, and opening.

A Raja Yogi is one who has realized the one, indivisible. He is one with God when he is talking or sitting or walking. Raja Yoga is like sitting in an upper story and looking around below. Raja Yoga is so called because it is the king of all yogas. When our intellect becomes one with God, the same is known as Raja Yoga. It is all peace; it is formless, qualitiless. Bliss has no characteristics whatsoever. This is known as jivanmukti.

"Raja" means royal. Raja Yoga is elegant and complete. Raja Yoga is the religious knowledge that includes all of the powerful forms of knowledge: 1) meditation technique, 2) bhakti, 3) metaphysics and mastery of natural laws of the mind and matter, 4) Philosophy and the non-dualistic views of Vedanta, 5) austerities including chastity and the right direction of sexual energy (either into procreation or sublimation in God-worship). Christianity, if one takes the experiences of the Christian saints, is like raja-yoga. If Nityananda is praising raja-yoga we can assume that he considered himself a follower of raja yoga. That means that he was a bhakta, understanding the significance of devotion like Yogananda. It also means that he understood the non-dualistic views and analyses of Sankara. It also means that he pursued meditation technique.

Just as there are the gutters on both sides of the road for the water to flow freely, so also you must allow the breath to take an upward course freely. It requires great effort to carry a stone upwards. But without the least effort on our part it suddenly comes down.

Again he returns to the subtle breath. He is advocating to the qualified listeners that the inner inbreath should become as easy to access, with as little obstruction, as water flowing down street gutters.  Again, "you must allow the breath to take an upward course freely" refers to that subtle, non-material breath and not the ordinary breath. All people breath freely and let that breath take its upward coarse. 

First there is light perception of the inner, nourishing, all-satisfying pranic inbreath. Then one increases the satisfaction it gives and tries to hew to it. Finally it flows as fully as the water down the two street gutters. We are  dependent upon the gross outer breath because we believe we are dependent and have a great deal of psychological and karmic conditioning centering around that belief. Psychology is very important both in entrapment by the gross breath, and mastery of the pranic breath. Thus Nityananda is giving us a helpful visualization: The yogi should imagine that pranic inbreath as something that flows as well as rainwater down  street gutters. 

He mentions the stone-carrying again as a metaphor for the work of getting this attainment. At the same time he turns the "stone rolling downhill" as the sought-for way we should attain the pranic breath. This verse is therefore confusing, and some of that is likely due to the accuracy of its notation.

Similarly is concentration. It is easy to take birth; but it is very difficult to leave this body.

Concentration itself is very difficult. So is leaving the body while conscious and alive. Leaving the body is essentially what the yogi is doing when he masters the pranic inbreath. Calming the breath, cognizing the subtle breath, are as difficult as leaving the body while awake. But through right technique, guru-devotion, and God-devotion, it can be all done.

We must discover the source of a river.

Nityananda is referring to the true source of the breath. More exactly, he is referring to the satisfaction derived by breathing in, which is really from the infusion of prana. He is bidding the listener ponder where that satisfaction, i.e. that satisfying prana, really originates from. What is the true source of the satisfying fulfillment we get each time we breathe in? The reason that a yogi can develop kumbhaka and learn to live solely on the pranic breath like Lahiri Mahasaya and Nityananda is by finding the true source of that satisfying feeling, which is prana and mental conceptions concerned with pulling "something nourishing." The act of breathing is nothing but a mental conception of gathering and pulling at "something" hoped in faith that will satisfy. That mental act of pulling and gathering is the true source of the river of prana. The yogi must learn that.

After it joins the sea, there is no use in seeing the river.

After samadhi and mastery of the inner breath there is no use breathing in the normal way any more or even being involved with the gross breath. This is an astounding state of the nirvikalpa sage.

To a tree, its mother root is the most important; all other roots are subsidiary. 

And likewise the inner breath, the "true source of the river," is the important thing that the yogi doing this technique must focus on. We can get everything from that. The "source of the river" within is the only necessity.

When we raise a chair, our breath goes upwards.

Following right after the "mother root" saying, he gives the practical instruction to lift a chair and notice the inner position we take. This inner position is where we find the "river" and the "mother root of the tree."

Truly, this is a significant verse and could be a breakthrough verse for many yogis doing Yogananda's first kriya with progress. Nityananda gives this helpful instruction to help devotees fix on the inner posture of the inbreath. When a fellow or a lady leans over and picks up a chair, he goes into the inner posture of the inbreath. It is that inner posture or inner pull and posture alone that finally pulls and opens into the pranic inbreath, and not anything else such as the movement of lungs and air, etc. All the sincere bhaktas, brahmacharis, and yogis and yogesses of the White Europeans -- and all peoples and nations -- will love Nityananda just for this one sentence  he spoke somewhere long ago. 

Is it possible to know this pranic inbreath without chastity, guru-bhakti, and meditation technique all three? Highly unlikely, except in dribs and drabs. Without effort at the first, better not to even try. Chastity is the ground of this knowledge-unto-realization. Guru bhakti and God-devotion are the water on that ground. And meditation is the work.

That is the seat of prana.

That inner posture of opening and drawing is the seat of prana, or where it comes into us.

When we are cooking, flames of fire have an upward course; so also the smoke takes an upward course. In the lighted chimney the course of the heated air is upwards. Similarly, in the heart-space the course of breath is upwards.

This has two aspects: He is giving us another lovely and homely visualization; and he is revealing that the soul has a natural preference for the occult inward breath (inner inhalation) and a tendency to get established in it. He is giving permission and advice to concentrate on that aspiring breath as you go along in your practice. The metaphor is tied up with the Indian practice of calling the inhale the "upward breath." We in the west, who have long ago looked into the body and are well aware of it's inner parts, tend to think of the inbreath as going "down" into the lungs. This can make the Indian literature confusing. We think of our inbreath as taking air down; breathing it down. The less technological Indians, thinking only of the movement occurring outside the body, developed that other convention. So in the western mind there is a kind of mismatch between the "chimney smoke wafting upwards" metaphor and the inner breath. (Unless we view the breath moving up our chest as chimney smoke.) Notice too that the metaphor is quite different than his "carrying the rock uphill" simile. I stated that this refers to the difficulty of leaving behind the old gross breath and our addiction to matter, not to the easy-and-natural inbreath itself. Leaving aside the physical conundrums of the metaphor, he is really saying that the inbreath is natural for us to do, just as natural as smoke rising up from a cooking fire. In cultivating the inner breath, we can use his beautiful image to convey to ourselves how easy this to get the subtle inbreath. We can also imagine ourselves rising up, within -- just like that chimney smoke -- into spacious skies where there is more than enough of God's air available for our increasing in-spiration.

Our joy is caused by the motion of the air (vayu). Without this air motion there is no blood circulation. When a water canal is dammed the motion of water has come to an end. So also in this body, such a dam is vatha, pitha, and kapha (the three humors or tridoshas).

The avadhuta is pointing out the ordinary state of affairs in which circulation and movement are a part of health, positing conventional ideas and situations. But he is relating this idea to the inner  airs  and inner movement he wants us to attain. We must have that circulation. The average person has little joy even though all these material things are circulating. The original word as he spoke was probably ananda (bliss). He is saying that just as in conventional physical life circulation is necessary for health or basic well-being, this circulation of the inner breath, in the devotee, is very blissful and gives him ananda. Nityananda may also be saying that just as our material forms of circulation are founded upon the vayu, ananda has some connection to vayu likewise. (If so, this would be a new idea I'd not seen elsewhere.) If it were so, the yogins and yogesses getting the inner breath going would therefore feel much bliss, and I can vouch for that.

Those who do not concentrate on breath have no aim, no state, no intelligence and no fulfillment. So concentrate and think.

Nityananda is extolling his particular meditation technique -- rather adamantly God bless him. This was Yogananda's first meditation technique, the one that Lahiri Mahasaya said gives "all realization."This is no doubt true. For one thing, the 2nd technique comes naturally through assiduous application to it, and Aum will be soon heard with open ears. True intelligence comes from chastity and application to God. True fulfillment come from putting the mind on God and becoming part of His sat-chit-ananda. By "no aim" he means there is really not much point to musts of their doings and undertakings; that those doings will not give them true happiness. "Concentrate and think" is undoubtedly a flaw in transmission. The meditator must not think, but concentrate on the meditation vehicle. Nityananda was a tremendous advocate and lover of this ancient meditation technique, the one discussed in most detail by Shiva in the Vijnana-Bhairava, and which Muktananda called a technique of siddhas.

Concentrate on the indrawing and outgoing breath.

This is one basic feature of the technique.

Draw the breath in properly. Breathe, concentrating on the sound the breath produces. Concentrate on the sound which is produced internally. Have faith in the internal sound and breathe. Breathe in.

A central secret of the meditation technique that Nityananda refers to , and which was central to his own life, is to think of the sounds made by the in- and outbreaths, in every possible dimension. Can you hear the inrush of air, in all its dimensions, in your mind as you go into the internal act and posture of the inbreath? That will assist you greatly. Lying beside anybody who's sleeping, whether they are breathing through nose or mouth, you hear the sound. "Produced internally" means that you find the two internal acts and internal "sounds," as it were, associated with the acts. "Have faith in the internal sound" means to let those two internal thought-of sounds, or enacted sounds and positions, become your breath, your whole breath. This is the pranic breath. Nityananda has done a great deal of in-depth teaching about here and explained the technique very well. Nowhere else have I seen it revealed in text. He mentions faith in letting this become your true breath, which is key to this whole yoga.

Breathe deeper and deeper. Breathe in so that the internal sound may be audible to the ears.

Nityananda is revealing a lot here about the meditation technique. 

There are two aspects to this statement. First, Nityananda is exposing the central technique, which is to hear well the sound of the two breaths in your mind while continuing to engage in their basic actions while the ordinary breath is stopped. "Audibility" to the ears is likely a clumsy translation of what was said, that is, that you learn to "hear" the two breaths in your mind. 

He could have also been referring to preparatory techniques in which the sound of the breath is increased, emphasized, and listened to. This is so that the mind can learn to cognize the breath as a sound- act, then later a mental sound-act with residual physical play-along or ghosting. (Continuing to lift the lungs up, move the diaphragm, make a slight "pull in" etc., the body doing all the things it's conditioned to do relative to the breath, except for actual intake of air.) This brings me to a discussion of some well known pranayama techniques, how these really work to assist the devotee, what they actually achieve, and why they are actually recommended by the rishis.

The sitali and sitkari pranayamas, in which air is forcefully drawn in through the curled tongue or through teeth (with the tongue near the teeth) accomplish the two aid objectives: Making the devotee newly aware of the breath including its sound; and making the devotee newly aware of the essential two breathing acts.

By doing such pranayamas as sitali and sitkari, the God-seeking person comes to get to know the breath again and it's nature as sound. The in-rush of the air making a pronounced ssshhhh sound helps him to get that sound firmly in his mind for breathing the mental breath. The pronounced "pulling in," additionally, makes clear to him the inner posture of the inbreath. (Just as bending over and picking up a chair, as the avadhuta advised.) These goals just written are, in fact, prime and central purposes of these pranayamas,  unknown to most. 

The very same is true for the alternate nostril breathing that is routinely used in so-called yoga studios, spiritual retreats, and general yoguh. It is simply a milder version of sitkari and sitali. The purpose of the one-nostril breathing is to make the yogi newly aware of the breath. The one nostril produces a little more sound. (That one-nostril inbreath will ultimately become the fixed in-breath of Nityananda's state.) Then also, because of the reduction of the breathing channel one must pull all the more, thus one becomes more aware of the essential inbreathing act.

This is the real purpose of alternate nostril breathing, the mildest form of this, as well as the others. It is not necessary to do very many of these pranayamas, however, on occasion they will give you assistance in locking onto the inner acts. The sitali and sitkari -- also called tongue-hissing and teeth-hissing -- are more pronounced versions of alternate-nostrils. The noisy teeth-hissing is particularly good for grasping the sound. Visualize and here that Shaaaaa! Live on it! This is Nityananda's message.

Should one like to develop, he can also breath through increasingly smaller straws, the shorter the noisier. In this second interpretation, all these accomplish Nityananda's advice above of "breathing in so that the internal sound may be audible to the ears. But the real goal is to be able to hold the sound in your mind while engaging in the two airless inner actions. Perhaps your old granny has an old narrow lamp stem setting on her table back in Des Moines? Practice drawing air in through that. Try not to wake her! Use your imagination and get free of the gross breath, thus samadhi. 

Do not think of anything else. Eating and drinking, coming and standing and eating, these do not elevate the soul.

The yogi should become devoted to the inner breath, loving to stay in it as much as possible. As he comes to love it, he cares more about staying in this breath than about eating, drinking, or going places. He does fall in love with the inner subtle breath.

Cook for yourself; do not desire to eat what others have cooked. O mind!

Find out all this yourself by testing and doing. Only personal effort and experience will show you. Don't simply read about it. Prove it to yourself. Eat the divine bliss of bhakti, chastity, faith, and meditation -- yourself.

Do what you do with faith.

Notice that Nityananda has brought up simple faith throughout his utterances. Simple religious faith is the real ground for walking on, when it comes to the occult attainments of the Indian yogis or the same occult attainments of the Christian saints. Nityananda is saying that all the yogic actions, meditations, concentrations, and pranayama play should be done with an attitude of faith, expectancy, and belief.

Prana is like a rope. When exhaling and inhaling it moves harmoniously.

This likely refers to the fact that the breath moves on its own, the two breaths continually connected; that it does as it likes and takes care of itself as always, even in this technique. "It moves harmoniously" was probably Nityananda speaking of the wisdom of the breath to develop this process on its own, or "it moves with its own wisdom." This relates to his meditation technique itself in which one allows the breath to do whatever it likes. (It is the kundalini-shakti that leads the devotee to kumbhaka states because this is the divine state and that's where the kundalini-wants to go.) In reality as one watches the breath in this technique, the breath is not necessarily smooth at all. It changes continually, can get frisky or extreme, and even erratic as the disciple watches it. Trying to keep the breath even or according to a certain ideal,  to control it, is antithetical to the technique Nityananda used, in which the breath is allowed to do as it likes, with the religious person simply watching and giving it it's song. What the above comment references is the natural connectedness of the two breaths, like segments on a rope, one always following the other. He may be also referring to the "single pranic inbreath" state that was his final breathing goal.

Prana is indivisible, it has no difference of time. Prana feels this difference when it is coupled with the gross.

Prana is synonymous with akasa (space) and is one of the first evolutes of Isvara, the creating Lord. It is pure, intelligent, and effective. Everything is indeed permeated by prana and made of same. Nityananda is saying that just like the Lord, prana transcends time. That means it can do things in the past as well as the future, and is not ruled by the past or pre-existing conditions.

Prana should be tied down by the rope of faith.

This is one of my favorite statements by Nityananda. He is revealing that the mastery of kumbhaka finally relies on faith. Thus faith should be cultivated at the beginning, the middle, and the end as one pursues yogic attainment. Likewise it is very beneficial when children learn to cultivate faith early through the wisdom of the mother and father. This sets the ground for them later to attain renunciation, meditation, kumbhaka, and liberation to bless themselves and others. An inner heart of faith is really the engine of the yogic attainment of direct God-knowledge (samadhi), just as faith was the engine of enlightenment for the Christian saints. Faith is the rising up of instinctive divine knowledge that motivates our aspiration and effort.

Let prana attain moksha by its upward direction.

He is saying that in the end the yogi lets prana itself, in its natural "upward" (inbreath) direction which the yogi finds as his "seat," give him liberation, as an eagle might let warm canyon winds loft it up into higher skies. The kundalini and the prana want to bring the disciple to moksha of themselves. He is saying let the prana do so. "Upward direction" refers to the devotees aspirational inner opening and receiving. He is saying it is part of the evolution of this process that the aspirant seeks this posture more and more.

Liberation from the sensual ties is moksha.

Spiritual liberation is synonymous with destruction of all addictions and hankerings after sense pleasure, pre-eminently including sex for those with any mind to hear. It's another of Nityananda's many statements dissing sensuality, like where he says there should be no awareness of any place below the neck! (Sorry Los Angeles yoguhs and "tantrikas.") The avadhuta of Ganeshpuri was a classic renouncer and renunciation of all sensual bodily pleasure is central to that. The very word "avadhut" refers to a person of sublime detachment from the material world. Have no doubt that Nityananda was no playboy, so-called "tantrik," pleasure maven, or sexer. Nityananda was a classic renunciant who cultivated dispassion from all of the lower sense pleasures, as specified in the Yoga-Sutra and Bhagavad-Gita. Nothing he knew and none of the attainments he speaks of here are possible without chastity. 

Then comes peace. O prana! Enter the abode of peace. Have under control both this world and the next!

When samadhi is finally attained, we have arrived at the other shore and our troubles are over. And when we attain heaven her, we will have it there. "Abode of peace" is one more beautiful way to refer to the heaven states of religious development., knowable in this life, after, and in-between. The blessings of savikalpa and nirvikalpa samadhi give mastery both in this world and the higher worlds.

Such souls will attain Satchitananda. They have no attachment to the results of karma.They are eternally liberated from bondage. They are eternally one-minded. They have conquered the qualities of the jiva.

"No attachment to the results of karma" has two meanings: 1) The religious person becomes disinterested in the karmic goings-on, and 2) The bondage-link between his life and karma becomes severed. "Qualities of the jiva" likely refers to the the jiva's involvement with the "three gunas" (qualities) of prakriti, of the Sankhya philosophy. When prakriti and her three gunas are conquered, all of nature has been conquered.

Just as small rivers enter the sea, our attention must be fixed on the internal breath.

He is saying to give all attention to the inner breath and become thoroughly addicted to the inner breath, and to the yogic kumbhaka that attends it. Instead of thinking of the thousand-and-one things, keep the mind on the breath. In other words, do the central technique. Like a kindly grandfather Nityananda is bringing us back to basic meditation ideas. He is probably also broaching one of his own visualizations in meditation, that of giving up one's breath to a divine sea, and also drawing upon that divine boon-bestowing sea. One of his more favorite visualizations, based on his many references to it, was that of breathing the inner sky which he called the "sky of the heart." The sky of the heart, in Nityananda's intention, is actually in the head at the kutastha (3rd eye) and the upper head. It is likely that Nityananda sometimes visualized that as a beneficent sea as well.

In the next section I show how the state described by Nityananda fully comports with the Yoga-Sutra, is definitely indicated in the Yoga-Sutra, and is in fact the central goal of yogic pranayama techniques.

Copyright 2011 Julian Lee. All Rights Reserved.
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Nityananda and Muktananda

Nityananda with his disciple,

Paramahansa Muktananda