Daily Readings from the Works of Swami Venkatesananda


Bhagavad Gita - Song of God - Chapter VIII: 12-13

June 19, 2017

™sarvadvārāṇi saṁyaṁya mano hṛdi nirudhya ca
mūrdhny ādhāyā ’tmanaḥ prāṇam āsthito yogadhāraṇāṁ (VIII-12)
™aum ity ekākṣaraṁ brahma vyāharan mām anusmaran
yaḥ prayāti tyajan dehaṁ sa yāti paramāṁ gatiṁ (VIII-13)

VIII/12. Having closed all the gates, confined the mind in the heart
and fixed the life-breath in the head, engaged in the practice of
concentration,

VIII/13. Uttering the one syllabled Oṁ – the Brahman – and
remembering me, he who departs, leaving the body, attains
to the supreme goal.

Swamiji's Commentary

[Just as it is important for us to know how to live, it is equally important for us to know how to die – not to be afraid of death, to block it from our minds or even to long for it. Death is inevitable. The Bhagavad Gītā, in addition to teaching the art of living, gives instructions in the art of dying.]

      The Haṭha Yogi closes all the ‘gates’ of the body with the help of a few simple psycho- physical exercises. Sitting in siddhāsana, he presses the left heel firmly on the perineum thus closing the rectum and places the right heel on the generative organ, closing that ‘gate’ too. By the practice of yoni mudrā he closes the other ‘gates’: the ears with the thumbs, the eyes with the index fingers, the nostrils with the middle fingers, the upper and lower lips respectively with the ring and little fingers. Now he sees the subtle core of the suṣuṁnā nādī or the spinal cord as a radiant hollow tube through which the awakened kuṇdalinī śakti ascends, piercing centre after centre of the gross elements.
With his mind fixed in his heart, symbolically at the feet of the Lord, he takes the kuṇdalinī śakti (prāṇa) to the crown of the head. Thus the prāṇa has been consciously and deliberately withdrawn from the whole body i.e., from matter.

      When the time comes for him to leave the body, the yogi utters the monosyllable Oṁ, the sound-picture of the absolute, and discards the body remembering God. In accordance with the law of last thought-form, he reaches God.

      If we train ourselves in the art of withdrawing the prāṇa from the body now, by constant, diligent effort and daily practice of these exercises, perhaps we will use them in the last hour, and departure will be facilitated.

      [None of this is possible unlesws we rigorously train ourselves in this direction by constant and diligent effort.  A daily pracice ofthese exercies will make it easy for us to use them in the last hour.]

 

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