Meditation Techniques of 'Knowledge'
"I have tried to study the origin of the techniques from
various scriptures and historical data.
The Light is described in Gherand Samhita,
section on Mudras, as Shambhavi Mudra, stanza 59:
'Direct your eyes toward the middle of the eyebrows and meditate upon your own self. It is Shambhavi Mudra, the most secret practice of all the Tantra scriptures.'
In the tantric scripture Sochanda Tantra, stanza 13, is
'Touching eyeballs as a feather, lightness between them opens into the heart and there permeates the cosmos.'
The Sound technique is referred to as Bhramari
Kumbhak. The Sound is referred to as Nada. The
practice is therefore also called Nada Yoga. Quote from
Gherand Samhita and its
praises of the Sound technique, in the section on Pranayama,
'At midnight when not a single sound is heard, close your ears with both hands and do Purak Pranayama. Listen to the sounds in your right ear which are very pleasant. The first sound that you will hear is of a pine bird, the second of a flute, third of a cloud, fourth of a dragon bee, the fifth of a ringing bell and then of a gong of metal. Sounds of trumpet, drum etc. are also heard. Besides these, many other sounds are heard if it is practiced daily. These sounds are Anahata (unproduced) and come on their own accord. Nada is related to light. Light is related to mind, so mind gets itself merged in a sound which is the seat of the Lord. Therefore, practice of Bhramari gives Siddhi of Samadhi (i.e., makes Samadhi possible).
This technique is well-known, and a favorite among the
Radhasoamis. In order to keep the
hands in position for an extended period of time, a beragon
is suggested, like the one Shiva usually is pictured with.
In Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship, beragons
are used. In Northern India, they are well-known tools in
all yoga schools. In the beginning of DLM's history in the
West, beragons were also used.
The 'Holy Word', in the classic yoga literature,
is referred to as Kewali Kumbhak. The Word is often
referred to as Shabda Brahman, or God in the form of
word/sound. This name, in its Hindi form (Shabd Brahm), is
used among M's followers in India nowadays.
'With every exhalation the soul recites 'Ham' and with every inhalation it recites 'So'. Thus every soul counts the mantra of Soham (So plus Ham) twenty-one thousand and six-hundred times every day and night.'
A commentary to the text, by Parivrajika Ma Yogashakti,
'It is most easy and yet most powerful of all pranayamas. Although this technique is grouped under pranayamas in fact it is a very powerful spiritual practice known to man. Kewali Kumbhak is very simple yet most dynamic. /-/ Kewali Kumbhak makes one aware of one's existence every minute.'
Other variations suggest just focusing on the breath, not
the Soham (or, Hansa, or Hamsa: meaning both 'swan' and
'soul'; also the sound of one's own breath - accordingly,
the name of Maharaji's father, Sri HANS Ji Maharaj). For
instance, in Sochanda Tantra, stanza #2, it says:
'As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down, through both these turns, the realization.'
'Hamsa or the method popularly known as Baby Pranayama is the easiest and safest method [of meditation] of all. /...../
Sit in any position you find comfortable. Lying down is usually not a good idea as your level of attentiveness is much diminished when you are supine. Close your eyes and let the weight of your buttocks settle into the cushion or chair. Notice if you are leaning forward anticipating the next moment, or if you are leaning back reclining into the past. Center the weight on your sitting bones so that you organize yourself to be present in the moment. Allow the contents of your belly to relax and begin to bring your awareness to your breathing. It's this simple. Notice your breathing coming and going. Notice when the breath enters you and when it leaves you. Also, pay attention to the pauses between the inhalation and the exhalation. As you sense and feel your breathing, thoughts, feelings and sensations will inevitably arise. This mental activity is not a sign of failure. Note the feelings and sensations that arise in your body and heart. Detect sadness, excitement, or boredom. Be aware of the sensations arising in your body. You may feel certain areas become tense or heavy, you may notice your stomach gurgle or your heart beating. Simply note all this without analysing, judging, correcting, or solving.... Can you let your breathing just be what it is? Without making it bigger, better, or different can you simply let the breath breathe you? How much can you disengage from effort and let the breath enter and leave on its own accord? Don't get caught up in a struggle with your mind. All thoughts, feelings, and sensations change. Simply allow yourself to be a sky for these drifting thoughts, returning over and over again to the steady rhythm of your breathing.
'Cut under the nerve of the tongue and move it frequently. Massage it daily like the process of milking with the help of butter. Also pull it daily with an iron-tongue. Practice it daily for a long time till the tongue is elongated to such an extent that it touches the middle of the eyebrows, and becomes fit for Khechari. Then turn the and make it pass through the upper cavity of the palate slowly. Now gaze at the middle of the eyebrows. This is Khechari Mudra.
The following description on how to
practice Khechari Mudra is from Hatha-Yoga
Pradipika. It is very similar. Quote, from Chapter 3,
'Khechari Mudra is turning the tongue backwards into the cavity of the cranium and turning the eyes inwards toward the eyebrow center. The tongue should be exercised and milked and the underneath part cut in small degrees. Indeed khechari is perfected when the tongue touches the eyebrow center.
Hatha-yoga Pradipika then goes on praising the benefits
of this practice. It is worth noticing the most people
CANNOT accomplish Khechari Mudra without cutting underneath
the tongue. This was never told in the Knowledge sessions.
Many are able to do this mudra without cutting, but most
people can't. If you can't get the tongue into the cavity,
there is no point in doing the mudra.
'Sit in Siddhasana (lotus position). Close ears, eyes, nose and mouth with thumbs, forefingers middle fingers, ring fingers and others. Inhale Prana (air) and unite it with Apana (i.e. already inhaled air) with the lower region, and meditate on the six chakras one by one. Exhale the air with 'Hum' and 'Hamsa' sound. This is the way in which the learned and wise Munis meditate.'
For this practice, a beragon
is usually required.
'Yoni Mudra is the most secret and is unapproachable even to Devas. It is advantageous even if it is practiced only once a day. Samadhi is attained by him who practices and masters it well.