Bhagavad Gita – Chapter 4, sloka 27, part 3

Newsletter on Bhagavadgita by Dr. P.V. Nath
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Sloka 27

SARVANEENDRIYA KARMANI PRANAKARMANI CHAPARE’
ATMA SAMYOGAGNOU JUHYATI JNANA DEEPITE’

Others again sacrifice all the functions of the senses and the fuctions of breath (vital energy) in the fire of yoga of self-control, illumined by knowledge.

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***   continued from last week   ***

3)  Asana  –  postures that assist in the practice of meditation. The practice of asana is to develop “body discipline.” Various postures like “Padmasana, Virasana, Bhadrasana” are described in the texts. Certain medical conditions or serious illness like stroke will make it difficult for some to practice asanas. The sastras do give directions for such people also to conduct the yajna.

4)  Pranayama  –  breathe control.

5)  Pratyahara  –  sense withdrawal. When the mind is totally absorbed in “the task at present” it is said to be in “Pratyahara.” In such state the impulses from the surroundings that continue to enter the mind while it is absorbed in a specific task do not divert the mind.

6)  Dharana  –  constant flow of thoughts on a single task is Dharana.

7)  Dhyana  –  meditation. This is the constant flow of thoughts on the object of Dharana.

8)  Samadhi  –  absorbed in the union with the Atman achieved by the above methods. There is no more of the objective world in this state for such a seeker.

It is well known that there is a clear connection between consciousnesses, breathe and body.
The body is kept still by the practice of postures,
The breathe is controlled through Pranayama and
The mind is kept still through concentration.

If the flow of breathe is voluntarily regulated, its effect on the mind is beneficial. On this basis the science of Pranayama evolved in course of time. It consists of three steps:
Breathing in through the nostril  –  Puraka
Holding the breathed air in  –  Kumbahaka
Breathing out  –  Rechaka.

The yogi avoids breathing through the mouth. Air taken in through the nostril is “Apana” and the air that is breathed out through the nose is “prana.” Correct practice of Pranayama is said to assist in healing diseases, tones the system, enhances the health and calms the mind. Is it not true that measured breathing and attitude of calmness constitutes a good practice? Pranayama does assist in this good practice. The masters recommend the practitioners of Pranayama learn to recite the holy mantra “Aum” during the procedure. This method of breathe control is considered as a form of sacrifice.

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