The Tantric Science of Brain Breathing
Swami Satyananda Saraswati
on Swara Yoga
"For thousands of years mankind has been attempting to
penetrate the realm of inner experience. Every thinking
person has tried his level best to accomplish this great task.
Thus there are many different ways and means to have the inner experience, and from time to time man has experimented with the various paths. Some talk about karma yoga, others about bhakti yoga, raja yoga, jnana yoga, kundalini yoga, etc. Quite a few have also ventured to develop inner experience through the use of drugs.
Many people say that only those who are perfected can have inner experience, but yoga says it is the right of everybody. Perfect or imperfect, theist or atheist, high born or low born, all can have that experience.
Therefore, many systems of yoga have been devised. Out of all these systems, Tantra can be distinguished separately because it is the path of total transcendence whereby you can have that experience in spite of any limitation or barrier. In the tantric tradition some aspects are widely known while others are almost forgotten. Amongst the latter is the science of swara yoga.
Swara yoga is the ancient science of pranic body rhythms which explains how the movement of prana can be controlled by manipulation of the breath. Recently modern science has taken great interest in electromagnetic fields and the behavior of bioenergy, which is the inherent energy principle of the body. With exciting developments accelerating in such areas as bioenergetics, psychotronics and Kirlian photography, the science of swara yoga is now in great demand.
Although swara yoga is still practised in India, it is not well known, either in the East or in the West. Perhaps this is because it was always regarded as an esoteric science which could possibly harm people if improperly practised. The tradition was preserved secretly by experienced yogis who handed it down in strict accordance with the rules of practice.
Previously, in fact, swara yoga was even more closely
guarded than most of the other TANTRIC traditions.
Initiation was only given by direct transmission or by word of mouth from guru to disciple. Consequently, little was ever written down regarding the finer aspects of the theory and practice.
For this reason, we find few references to the subject even in the yogic and tantric texts, and very little is available in English translation.
Swara etymologically means 'the sound of one's own
breath'. Yoga means 'union'. Therefore, swara yoga enables the state of union to be reached by means of one's breath.
Through the practice of swara yoga, one can realize the breath as being the medium of the cosmic life force. The breath has so much importance in human existence that the ancient rishis or seers evolved a complete science around it just from studying the simple process of respiration.
Swara yoga, however, should not be confused with
pranayama, which involves a different aspect of the breath.
Although both deal with prana, swara yoga emphasizes the analysis of the breath and the significance of different pranic rhythms, whereas pranayama involves techniques to redirect, store and control prana. Swara yoga may therefore be said to involve the practices of pranayama, but in fact it is a much more extensive and precise science.
Many of the yogic texts such as Shiva Samhita and Goraksha Samhita and various Upanishads discuss the functions of prana. However, the main source of recorded knowledge on swara yoga comes from the Shiva Swarodaya. Shiva is the supreme consciousness. Swara is the breath flow and udaya means waking or rising.
This text extols the significance of the different types of breath or pranic rhythms as told by Lord Shiva.
In the tantric tradition Lord Shiva, who is known as
Adinath (the primordial guru), first expounded the knowledge of swara to his disciple, Parvati or Devi. The Shiva Swarodaya was the outcome of this dialogue. The very opening of the Shiva Swarodaya emphasizes the importance of swara yoga.
Shiva implores Devi to make sure that the science is kept very secret and sacred, and remains the highest of all the vidyas or forms of knowledge. Lord Shiva further states that in all the seven lokas he knows no greater wisdom or treasure than the swara.
According to the swara shastras, by analysis of the breath deeper understanding of the cosmos is unfolded and the wisdom revealed within the Vedas can be realized.
Through knowledge of the swara, a sadhaka can become a perfected tantric yogi.
Through knowledge of the swara, a sadhaka can become a perfected tantric yogi.
The physical act of breathing is said to have a very subtle influence on the level of consciousness and therefore the effects of swara yoga are also very subtle. It aims at directly awakening the highest human potential. In other systems a similar understanding of the swara of the breath is also expressed. For example, in Taoism it states that, "If one meditates upon the breath, the cosmic deities or forces can be seen operating in the physical body. By sustaining oneself purely on the breath, rather than on coarse food, one's entire being will be purified and strengthened. Then the consciousness is able to ascend to the heavens where eternal life is experienced by the body and soul."
Swara yoga not only helps those who believe in a supreme reality, but also those who do not have faith and who will also be surprised to discover many truths pertaining to this reality. Swara yoga is a path which leads to total experience and awakening of the entire being.
There are a number of things concerning swara yoga
which need to be understood before the practice can be
applied correctly. It involves many aspects of the breathing
process. You have to know about the movement of prana in
the body and its relationship with the mind. Prana manifests
in different ways and has particular effects on each organ
and part of the system. When you understand this, you can
predict forthcoming events or cure your illnesses.
There are many techniques for controlling the swara so that during the day the left nostril remains active and prana moves in a particular direction. Or by making the prana flow through the right nostril during the night you cancreate another type of energy movement and stimulus, so that you can have a good sleep without tranquillizers, work the whole day without becoming fatigued, or you can digest food without taking appetisers or digestives. These are all different aspects of swara yoga.
In fact, if someone comes to you with a question which you cannot answer, you will be able to answer it correctly by studying the particular flow of the swara. Of course, you must be careful as you may make a wrong calculation if the breath is disturbed. But just as an example, if the person who is questioning approaches from the side opposite to the flowing swara, the answer has to be no, and if he approaches on the side of the active swara, the answer has to be yes.
This is only to give you an idea of the diverse field of the science; it is not the most important part of swara yoga. This aspect relates to mundane life, and ultimately it must be transcended. You must be able to realize how prana manifests in all forms and that everything in creation is due to pranic movement. For example, you may practise hatha yoga to improve your strength and vitality, but that is not the ultimate purpose, it is only a side effect. Likewise, the various techniques of swara yoga can be useful in mundane affairs; however, the actual purpose is to enable you to realize the true essence of your being and to unfold the inner experience."
Prana: Vital Energy
In swara yoga, as in all other yogas, importance is given to the theoretical as well as the practical aspects of the breath. According to the Shiva Swarodaya:
"One has to know about prana and its variations, the nadis or energy pathways, and the different tattwas or elements of the macrocosmos. Through the application of such knowledge, the swara yogi can know all the events of the universe which are both auspicious and inauspicious. He will come to realize that the shakti of the swara, inherent prana, is functioning throughout the whole of creation, and that ultimately even the form of Lord Shiva is the swara, the breath and the prana."
Individual and cosmic prana
In most of the yogic texts the term prana is associated with life force or bioenergy. Many people even use the word prana for oxygen, confusing it with the subdivision of prana vayu which regulates the heart and lungs. But when we speak of prana in the higher sense, we are referring to the cosmic concept rather than the physical breath or the atmospheric ions. Life in itself is not a gross concept, and just because something exists does not mean it represents prana.
Prana is a Sanskrit word derived from two roots:
Pra is a prefix used to denote constancy and Na means 'movement'.
Therefore, Prana is a force in constant motion, like a
vibration moving to and fro without any interception. We have to be very precise when we use the word prana, because it has two aspects - cosmic and individual. Cosmic prana is very subtle and can only be perceived by the infinite mind, but individual prana related to the body is grosser and more tangible. In the order of creation, prana emanates from the unmanifest reality known as hiranyagarbha, the golden womb or egg. On the physical level it manifests as individual existence. Swara yoga develops awareness of the manifestation and existence of prana within our own being so that we can come to realize its cosmic propensity.
The inherent energy of the breath
In yoga, breathing is considered to be a very important process because it is the most vital means of absorbing prana into the body. The shastras explain how prana gives consciousness and life to every creature which breathes. In the Taittiriya, Brahmana and Maitri Upanishads and Shiva Swarodaya, the breath is referred to as the vehicle of Brahman or cosmic consciousness. In fact, the Prashnopanishad, which specifically aims at clarifying the nature of creation, explains that, "Prana springs from the atman and is as inseparable from the self as the shadow is from he who casts the shadow."(Ch. 3)
Even the Bible implies that man was given consciousness and life through the breath: "The Lord God formed man out of the dust of the ground and breathing into his nostrils the breath of life, he became a living soul." (Gen. 2:10)
This is a symbolic expression of the process of materialization of matter and life together through prana and consciousness. 'Dust' is symbolic of matter and 'blowing the life' means the emergence of prana in matter. The breath itself, being imparted from the cosmic self, contains the cosmic force therein. Thus through the practice of Swara yoga, we are attempting to experience the grosser aspect of prana in order to trace it back to its original source.
Matter has many stages of existence and manifestation.
At one level it is inert. In the process of evolution it manifests life. Later it manifests consciousness, then energy emerges and the final manifestation is knowledge and experience.
This is the truth about both physics and metaphysics, about science, tantra and swara yoga.
Energy in matter
According to swara yoga the body is a storehouse of vital energy, a dynamo with infinite electrical currents flowing throughout. The ordinary man sees this body as a
combination of flesh, blood and bone. But the yogis and
scientists have perceived a greater force behind the physical
elements, and that is the force of energy or prana. The
prana which motivates the body of man is more subtle than
the nucleus of an atom and technology has not yet been able to harness it.
Most people consider the pranic system within the body
to be purely physiological, but scientific investigations are
coming closer to the truth of swara yoga. Researchers are
discovering what the yogis found, that there is an energy
link between the physical and psychic bodies. Furthermore,
they have arrived at the conclusion that energy or pranic
force is convertible into material force and that material
force is convertible into pranic force. You know the famous
equation of Albert Einstein, E=mc2, that matter is energy in
its potential state. This is an ancient truth contained in the
There is a small scientific experiment we can use to
illustrate this more clearly. If you look at a piece of bone with your naked eye, all you see is a bone. But if you look at a piece of bone under a super microscope, what do you see?
First you see living cells, then molecules, then atoms, and
later the nucleus of the atom. Ultimately you discover the fantastic behaviour of energy. The piece of bone which appeared to be lifeless matter was not really dead at all, only your eyes were incapable of detecting the living energy within. Therefore, we utilize the practices of swara yoga to make our perception subtle enough to perceive this inherent energy.
Now, even scientists who have gone into the study of
energy fields maintain that so-called motionless matter is
also permeated with this subtle energy. Therefore prana not
only means life, it means existence as well. Where mobility
and stability are combined, there is prana. If an object is
devoid of prana, it will disintegrate. So science has come to
the conclusion that every existing thing is a composite
structure of energy and matter. Swara yoga is a means to
develop deeper understanding of our own energy structure
and to know how to keep it functioning harmoniously.
Photographing the vital energy
Modern science has come across an important discovery
which seems to have shown that the energy in the body
emits an aura of light. The Vedas clearly state that every
object has a pranic field which appears as an encompassing
mass of light. In early paintings of great saints, sadhus and
gurus, an aura often surrounds the head and sometimes the
hands. Some call this light a halo and it can be seen in
pictures of Rama, Krishna, Christ, Mohammed, Zarathustra and others. Before the advance of modern science, it was thought that this was created by the imagination of the artist. But the halo or aura is not imaginary, nor is it only peculiar to great and evolved saints.
With the aid of modern scientific equipment, such as
Kirlian photography, researchers have shown an aura like an electromagnetic field which can be measured and photographed. Measurements of the changing frequency and amplitude of the electronic field seem to confirm observation of the activities and changing colours of the aura. This is very significant to swara yoga because it correlates with the varying pranic fields emanating from the body and how prana manifests in the body in particular colours depending on the frequency of vibration.
By testing people with this equipment the Kirlians have found that every living being has an aura. This aura does not indicate the degree of spiritual attainment, although it is definitely expanded by higher aspirations and sattwic qualities. Even a criminal has an aura, and a murderer or thief can be detected by his specific type of aura and pranic emanations.
Some people have the capacity of mind to perceive and see the aura. They can read it through a subtle faculty of mind. It requires a certain angle of perception and state of mind which can be developed. Swara yoga specifically
develops this subtlety of mind and it starts by making the
practitioner aware of the pranic vibration in the body and
Kirlian photography and prana
One of the major scientific discoveries which brought the
subject of prana to public awareness, as we have already
mentioned, was Kirlian photography. The inventors, a
husband and wife team called the Kirlians, came across the phenomena in 1939, and since then researchers have been photographing many different types of objects. They found that all life forms emit a particular aura, and that insentient objects can also have an aura for some time. This is relevant to swara yoga, especially as it involves concentration on certain symbols to enable one to perceive the pranic flow in the body.
Hundreds of experiments have been done in Kirlian
photography to show differences in auras, for example, in
coins held by different people, or in leaves that have fallen
naturally and those cut down by a knife. Photographs were
made of the thumbs of different people who were healthy
and unhealthy, depressed and elated, etc. Separate
photographs were taken of a man's hand and a woman's
hand and then again when they held hands. It was found
that the man's aura had contracted while the woman's had
expanded. Experiments have brought researchers to the
conclusion that the aura, or electromagnetic radiation of
the body, is constantly changing. It can expand and diminish, and it can influence as well as be influenced by others.
In swara yoga the same conclusions were also reached.
Here it says that our thoughts and state of mind influence our pranic rhythms, which is what researchers in Kirlian photography also found in relation to the aura. According to one's mental and emotional responses, the aura expands or contracts. For example, when a person is calm and relaxed, the pranic emanations are steady and elongated.
But when the person becomes anxious, the aura becomes
flared and jagged. After arousing different emotions and
thoughts at will, Kirlian photographs showed that the aura
automatically changes. By concentrating on the aura itself,
it can also be altered. Similarly, by concentrating on his
prana, the swara yogi changes the active flow at will.
Researchers also observed that just before death the
aura completely vanishes. In swara yoga it is said that when there is no longer any indication of prana, death will ensue.
There is a practice whereby the adept can predict death or
sickness by gazing at his shadow and then looking into the
sky where he can see a duplicate form of the shadow. If
there is no reflection in the sky, death can be expected, and
if only some areas are reflected, sickness. This is because
just before death the pranas and electromagnetic fields
withdraw, and therefore the aura diminishes. At the. time of
death there is no prana, no aura and no life.
So the swara yogis devised different practices to increase the pranic capacity and pranic field or aura. These practices enable us to perceive the subtlety of our existence in relation to the universe. Prana is the basis of life, and in swara yoga we develop the conscious capacity to control it and see that it is not wasted.
Ions and Electromagnetic Fields
During the last half of the twentieth century scientists
have been investigating pranic phenomena and finally
they seem to have come up with a feasible explanation.
Just as yoga talks about the universal prana which permeates the entire creation, modern scientists have discovered the same presence of electromagnetic energy.
Investigations show that the atmosphere is charged with electromagnetic energy which is vital to the preservation of life.
Yoga states that where there is life, there is prana; and what science has found is that wherever there is life, there are electrical properties.
In yogic texts prana is equated with lightning, thus
implying that its properties have some similarity to electrical energy. Prana is also described as being magnetic as it has positive and negative aspects. Therefore, in order to understand the basis of swara yoga, it is useful to discuss a little about the nature of electromagnetic fields.
A living magnet
Scientific investigations have brought modern science and
man closer to yoga. Swara yoga talks of the positive and
negative energy currents flowing in the body, and science
has proven the existence of these flows, which are
furthermore influenced by the ions and the electromagnetic
field in the atmosphere.
The electromagnetic energy which surrounds the earth makes it appear to be a gigantic magnet, the north pole being positive and the south pole negative. Each pole attracts opposite and repels like electromagnetic particles, thus creating energy circuits around the terrestrial plane. The particular movements of these electromagnetic currents affect the energy balance in every form of life. Furthermore, the cycle of these currents greatly affects our entire being, and the particular nature of the charged particles influences the different mental and physical processes.
Swara yoga explains this a little more deeply. Here the
body is also considered as a living magnet. The head is the
positive pole and the feet are the negative pole. To be more
precise, we can say that the energy currents circulate
specifically in the region of the spinal column, the base of
the spine being the negative pole and the top the positive.
This magnetic field creates a constant flow of energies
between the two poles in an attempt to equalize the energy
circuits. In fact, many people even say that you should not
sleep with the head towards the west, because the circulation of energy must flow with the earth's energy field.
Though the external influence of energy and prana
affects the internal structure, the practices of swara yoga
regulate the inner pranic mechanisms, enabling them to
function harmoniously irrespective of the outer conditions.
Today science is proving this in experiments to control the bioelectromagnetic fields.
Science is only now beginning to view the human
organism in the light of a living transmitter of energy. The
brain and central nervous system in particular have been
seen to act as transmitters and receptors of electromagnetic
waves, receiving external information and sending internal
information back into the cosmos. Just the simple process
of the heart beat sends out a wave of 1-3 cycles per second.
So you can imagine how much subtle transfer of energy is
going on constantly between you and the cosmos. Therefore, it is of great importance to maintain harmony and equilibrium in our inner and outer environment. The sadhaka practises not only for himself but in order to raise the energy throughout the atmosphere.
Investigating the energy field
When researchers examined the nature and flow of
electromagnetic fields, they found they were made up of
positively and negatively charged particles called ions, which are so microscopic they can interpenetrate the earth, air and everything. The positive or negative charge of ions in the body has also been seen to influence specific physical and mental functions. Therefore, if you can control these energies, you can control the body and mind.
A predominance of negative ions has been observed to
have a stimulating and vitalizing effect on the body, whereas a predominance of positive ions depresses the system. For example, when people are exposed to an excess of positive ions, they become lethargic and if there is constant stimulus, then irritation, headaches and respiratory defects can also develop. When negative ions are again increased, the whole system is revitalized and reactivated. It has been found that ionic charges are essential to the atmosphere and to life. If they are absent, not one creature will survive.
The presence of positive and negative ions in the system
ultimately affects the entire body mechanism. They influence the nervous system, rate of respiration, digestion and regulation of the endocrine system, which in turn influences the way we think and respond to certain situations in life.
Therefore, the absorption of positive and negative ions in
the air we breathe is an important function of the respiratory system. So swara yoga regards breathing as an electrifying experience.
In search of negative ions and prana
When you leave the city and all its industrial complexes and
go to a hill station, forest, seaside or river, you always feel
invigorated. This is due to the natural abundance of negative ions that cluster in the atmosphere of such regions. When we say 'breath of fresh air', what we really mean is breath of negative ions. Fresh air in the city may contain an abundance of positive ions, so even a breath of fresh air there won't make you feel refreshed. Modern technology is recklessly destroying the natural balance of ions in the atmosphere, especially in more populated areas. Deficiency of negative ions is a major contributing factor to the rise of physical and mental depression people are suffering today. When the mind and body are depressed, how can you expect to live or think correctly? Therefore, in swara yoga or any yoga the sadhaka is advised to breathe pure air and live in a simple environment in order to come closer to the Self.
GATEWAY TO THE INNER WORLD
In the process of breathing, absorbing prana and circulating
energy, the nose plays a vital role. It is an important
junction of energy communication between the external
and internal worlds. When the external air comes into contact with the nasal passages, minute nerve detectors situated in the mucous membrane of the nose relay impulses to the brain and energy circuits. Swara yoga claims that by manipulation of the breath flowing in and out through the nose you can regulate the inner body mechanisms and develop complete control over all pranic and mental activities.
Scientific investigations have shown that many autonomic and voluntary functions are related to the breath and these nerve components situated at the base of the nose. In fact, it has been reported that the nerves in the nasal mucosa are connected with the visceral, excretory and reproductive organs. Improper breathing and irregularity of the breath in the nostrils can create a disturbance in any of these organs and vice versa. In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika it is said that, "Hiccups, asthma, coughing, pain in the head, ears, eyes and other related diseases are generated by disturbance of the breath." (2:17)
It has even been seen that obstruction of the nasal
passage can slow down the heart rate and blood circulation,
thereby preventing proper tissue oxidation. Further
complications are alteration of the flow of lymphatic fluid
and disturbance of the alkaline base reserve in the blood
and cellular tissues, leading to a concentration of chloride
and calcium. It is interesting to note that the proportion of
autonomic nerve fibres in the nasal cavity is said to be
twenty times greater than in the other parts of the central
nervous system. Therefore, the nose has been described as a 'peripheral organ of the autonomic nervous system'.
What we breathe and how we breathe affects our emotions
and vice versa. The Hatha Yoga Pradipika similarly states that "when breathing is disturbed, the mind also becomes
disturbed. Control of the breath enables steadiness of mind."(2:2)
The smell brain
Associated with the faculty of breathing is the sense of smell.
When we speak of the nose and its functions, this is another
important aspect to be considered. Nervous impulses
activated by chemical odours are sent from the nose to the
limbic system, a part of the midbrain which transforms
perception into cognitive experience. This centre also
regulates our emotional responses to the external environment.
We are usually unaware of this process unless there
happens to be some obvious and potent odour nearby. The
sense of smell functions at a non-verbal and subliminal level.
When the sense of smell is triggered off by an actual
chemical odour, certain impulses are sent to the olfactory
nerve and the rhinencephalon, the centre which stimulates
instinctive responses of fear, aggression, pain and particularly sexual behaviour. In fact, in most primitive vertebrates the brain registers the majority of information by smell. Thus the rhinencephalon is known as the 'smell brain'. Smell activates many of our natural and spontaneous reactions, but because we also have higher faculties of awareness and intellect, its influence is far less than in other primates. Nevertheless, it has been found that the influence of particular chemical odours can create certain emotional reactions within the human body. The smell of a person or an object will determine our reactions and responses to it.
Women in particular have been found to be most sensitive to smell, especially during the time of the mid-menstrual cycle. This fact has led science to discover the connection between the sense of smell and the production of sex hormones.
According to Tantra, the sense of smell is also connected to mooladhara chakra, the energy centre situated at the base of the spinal column. This centre is the seat of man's spiritual energy. In order to awaken mooladhara, we therefore utilize the yogic practice of concentration in which you gaze at the nosetip. This arouses the sensation of psychic odours, and is particularly associated with that of sandalwood.
Different odours stimulate different energy centres, and
sandalwood is said to activate the centre at the bottom of the spine. It is also the smell of the subtle body. So even though this practice is based on a physiological process, it enables the awareness to become more sensitive to subtle vibrations.
It can even help bring aboul the awakening of kundalini,
the high-powered generator which illumines the hitherto
unexplored areas of the brain responsible for all of man's
ingenuity, higher knowledge and self-realization.
The nasal circuit
Swara yoga explains that the two major energy circuits, ida and pingala, can be regulated and controlled by means of the breath. If these currents are not flowing properly, it becomes quite evident in the breath. Electro-nasographic research has, in fact, shown charges of electrical potential emitted from the nasal mucous membrane and these charges are generally unequal. It is believed that these charges alter in relation to one's psychophysiological state. In direct connection with swara yoga, we can say there seems to be a relationship between the air passing through the left nostril and electromagnetic currents passing along the left side of the vertebral column and, conversely, the relationship between breathing through the right nostril and electromagnetic currents passing along the right side of the vertebral column. This is very important in swara yoga because ida, the negative channel, emanates and terminates on the left side, and has greater control over the left half of the body.
Conversely, pingala, the positive channel, emanates and
terminates on the right side and its influence is greater on
the right half of the body. So if there is disturbance in the
rhythm or cycles of the breath, there is likely to be some
imbalance in the whole body system.
In Swara yoga it has been seen that ida and pingala
operate alternately and that they flow in a rhythmic cycle.
Researchers have noticed that specific hormonal cycles and
biorhythms can be detected by changes in the mucosal
lining of the nose. Therefore, in order to maintain balance,
harmony and equilibrium of body, mind and prana, the
Hatha Yoga Pradipika states: "If the air is inhaled through the left nostril, it should be expelled again through the right.
Then breathing in through the right and retaining, it should
be expelled through the left."(2:10) This particular practice,
which is known as nadi shodhana, brings about regularity in
the whole system and is extremely important in swara yoga
for harmonizing the pranic flow.
Consciousness in Relation to Energy
In Swara yoga the aim is not only to regulate and control the vital and mental capacities through control of the breath. In fact, swara yoga says that by concentrating on the pranic flow, one can experience the existence of supreme consciousness. So far we have discussed prana or Shakti, but how does this relate to consciousness or Shiva? In its primordial state consciousness is united with prana like water and salt in the ocean. When they become separated, they play different roles in the various realms of creation.
Shiva is consciousness, and it manifests as mind. Shakti is
energy manifesting as prana, and in swara yoga it becomes
the tool for understanding consciousness. Just as prana
exists in cosmic and individual states, so does consciousness.
Equation of relativity
Tantra and Yoga define matter as a gross form of energy. Of course, the energy inherent in matter can be liberated, but still it will not be the final product. Inherent in energy is consciousness. The difference between these three states is only the vibrational rate and density of energy. At the highest and most subtle level of vibration, energy manifests as pure consciousness. As the rate of vibration decreases, it appears to be pure energy, and finally it solidifies into matter. In the reverse order, matter can be transformed into energy, and energy into consciousness. The objective of swara yoga is to experience the inherent energy in matter and mind so that consciousness manifests.
We think the physical body or the mass of the earth, sun,
moon and stars are just gross matter because our perception is so limited. In the ultimate analysis, however, all the great scientists and seers found that matter is but one state of energy. In another state of manifestation, matter again becomes prana or light. Yoga applies the same principle to the mind.
The mind is considered as a form of matter which
operates at a higher energy level or rate of vibration. The more the mind is absorbed in the physical world, the grosser it becomes and the less the consciousness or awareness can function. This is the dormant or tamasic state of mind. As consciousness and awareness develop, the mind starts to oscillate, to become dynamic or rajasic. Later it becomes completely one-pointed, awakened, and sattwic. By becoming aware of the breath and the flow of prana, you attune the mind to more subtle vibrations. Therefore, swara yoga says first realize the energy potential operating in the body, then realize the potential energy of the mind, and finally realize the inherent consciousness in both.
Consciousness: the primal element
Matter, energy and consciousness are convertible and
reconvertible. This is the basic principle of Tantra and
modern science. Physics defines matter as a combination of trillions of particles, molecules, atoms and subatoms. The
difference between each mass is in the arrangement and
vibration of the particles. If you change these factors, the
mass also changes form.
For example, in a block of ice the particles are closely
packed together and vibrate slowly. If you heat the ice, it
turns into liquid. The particles move away from each other
and begin to vibrate more quickly. When you apply more
heat, the water becomes vapour and the particles move
further apart, vibrating at greater speed. The ice changes its
form but still the basic chemical elements remain the same.
Similarly, yoga considers pure consciousness to be the basic element that manifests in the various forms of creation.
It moves, it moves not
Particle physics explains how the atoms of every object interconnect with the particles of the surrounding environment.
Thus every manifestation in creation forms part of a
never-ending field or matrix of particles. The atoms,
electrons, protons, neutrons, photons comprising our bodies, the clothes we wear, the ground on which we walk and the air we breathe are all arranged in different densities,
combinations and vibrations, but at a certain point these
atoms all interact and interlink. Everything is part of an
undifferentiated whole, and whatever exists within this field
is changed only by the restructuring of the particles.
In the continual process of nature, all these particles
interact and vibrate unceasingly. The field is thus in a state
of constant motion, and yet as a whole it is not moving
anywhere. This is exactly what is explained in the Ishopanishad (mantra 5) in reference to the nature of consciousness: "It moves, it moves not. It is far, it is near. It is within all this, and it is outside all this."
Physics talks about the undifferentiated field, and Yoga about an all-pervading consciousness. In reference to this, the greatest scientist of our time, Einstein, has said that, "We may therefore regard matter as being constituted by the regions of space in which the field (consciousness) is extremely intense . . . There is no place in this new kind of physics both for the field (consciousness) and matter, for the field (consciousness) is the only reality."
Cosmic mind and prana
In Tantra there is a beautiful concept which explains how
the interaction of consciousness with prana manifests as
creation. Not only does this apply to cosmic events but to
our own personal life as well, because each individual is a
complete universe unto himself. Tantra says that before the
universe and galaxies came into being, the inherent potential of creation existed in hiranyagarbha, the golden egg or universal womb of creation. This is represented by bindu, which means 'point'. It can be likened to a seed with infinite potential. From this tiny point of light, the entire creation unfolds.
Within bindu exist two poles of energy - one positive
and the other negative, and at the nucleus is matter. The
positive pole represents consciousness or Shiva and can be
equated with time. The negative pole represents prana or
Shakti and can be equated with space. As long as Shiva and
Shakti are together, dormant, there is no movement, no
spark, no creation. But as soon as the split takes place and
these two forces are separated into positive and negative
poles, they begin to interact upon each other. At this point
the two poles start to proceed towards each other and
eventually they connect at the nucleus.
Time and space have first to be separated before they
can meet. When these two forces - time and space, Shiva and Shakti - come together again, a great explosion takes place and the nucleus of matter bursts into trillions of fragments which form the nebulae of creation. These nebulae vibrate at such an incredible speed and velocity that they emanate ultrasonic waves and light. This is the first manifestation of cosmic prana, which is represented by the cosmic body or virat. Thus in the process of creation and evolution, we have two definite aspects before us - hiranyagarbha or cosmic mind and virat or cosmic prana.
Swara yoga equates Shakti and Shiva with prana and
chitta, which manifest in the body as the two nadis, pingala and ida. In Samkhya philosophy they are known as prakriti and purusha, in Taoism as yin and yang. These are the two forces which uphold the universe and spark off the entire creation.
Recognizing the Swara
We start the practice of swara yoga by learning how to recognize which nadi and swara is functioning. When the flow of air is coming from the left nostril only, ida is active, and this is known as the vama or left swara. When the right nostril is open, pingala is active, and it is called dakshina or right swara. Recognizing the active swara is a simple process; exhale into the palm of the hand and you will feel a stronger current flow from the open nostril.
If you are still unsure after testing in this way, then close
one nostril and breathe out through the other. Listen for a
difference in the pitch of right and left exhalation. The
deeper sound indicates the open nostril, the higher pitch
indicates the closed. Sometimes both nostrils flow equally
and you cannot differentiate whether the right or left is
predominant. This is the flow of sushumna or shoonya swara.
Length of the prana
When you are examining which nostril is active, at different
times during the day you will notice that the length of the
breath alters. Sometimes it is longer or shorter. According
to the swara shastras, the aim of the practice is to reduce the length of the exhaled breath so that more prana is retained in the body.
The swara shastras give the length of the natural
expiration during particular activities. The distance is given in the measurement of an angula or one finger's breath. Of course, measurements are given for the normal healthy person but other factors of age, weight, height, etc. should also be taken into consideration.
• The natural length is 7-12 angulas.
• During states of emotion and excitation 12-36 angulas.
• While singing 16 angulas.
• Vomiting 18 angulas.
• Eating 20 angulas.
• Walking 24 angulas.
• Sleeping 30 angulas.
• Exercise and copulation 36 angulas.
• Strenuous physical exertion 36-100 angulas.
During the day spontaneous emphasis is on inhalation.
People with weak constitutions project the expiration to a
longer distance. If the breath extends further than 8 inches
while lying flat, excess energy is being lost.
Reducing the length of the swara
The Shiva Stuarodaya claims that those who can expire with the least possible projection of exhalation retain their vital energy and thus develop siddhis or perfection of pranic and mental abilities.
• Continuous exhalation which does not exceed the length
of one angula, brings about a state of detachment, where
you can work without calculating your gain, free from
desire (nishkam). It will help you become honest and
straightforward (nishkapat), so that you can remain
impartial (nishpaksha) and unbiased in any situation.
• Expiration which does not exceed two angulas will keep
you happy and content in any situation. You will attain
• Breath of three angulas awakens poetic abilities.
• Exhalation of four angulas gives vach siddhi (i.e. whatever
you say comes to pass).
• Expiration of five angulas develops foresight so you can
perceive the outcome of an event before it eventuates.
The Shiva Swarodaya recommends the practice of pranayama to help develop, regulate and control the length of the prana. That is what the word pranayama means, 'length of prana'. Ayama is length or extension. Pranayama is usually defined as control of the breath, because people divide the word into prana and yama (control). However, the real aim of pranayama is to extend the prana into previously dormant areas of the body, brain and personality so as to awaken various inherent faculties and sensitize perception. This is achieved through regulation of the breath, which brings about regulation and storage of prana.
One of the main objects of practising pranayama with
breath retention is to activate sushumna, shoonya swara.
Therefore, all the pranayamas are helpful, but swara yoga specifies the use of nadi shodhana for gaining awareness and control over the swara. Nadi shodhana is the method of alternate nostril breathing. The Shiva Swarodaya says one should first breathe in through the lunar swara and then out through the solar swara, and repeat the process from the solar swara. Inhalation and exhalation have to be controlled in definite proportions, and later breath retention is included.
Inhalation, exhalation and retention all have a specific
significance and effect. Inhalation or pooraka draws vitality
into the body. It is symbolic of creation. Exhalation or
rechaka eliminates physical impurities and even those at a
subtler level. The Shiva Swarodaya says it "destroys bad karma" or negative mental impressions. It represents
destruction or transformation. Kumbhaka or retention
generates greater vital capacity. By perfecting these three aspects of the breath, conscious control is gained and one can "exist as long as the mopn and stars".
Balancing the breath
The practice of nadi shodhana is considered essential for
the practice of swara yoga because it establishes consistency in the breath. Normally, inspiration and expiration come and go in unequal proportions. Either inspiration is not full and expiration very long or vice versa. This shows there is an imbalance of prana in the nadis. Rhythmic breathing in and out has to be established for accurate practice of swara yoga.
The nature of the breath becomes absolutely and comprehensively correct through the practice of nadi shodhana.
It is not sufficient to breathe in the usual way. The breath has to become subtle. When the breath is gross, you can feel it at a distance beyond two fingers. The shorter the distance, the more subtle the breath. Exhalation should be in such a way that it does not extend more that two fingers length, but it must still be complete. During pranayama if you are not accustomed to subtle breathing, you will retain the breath and then exhale or inhale too forcefully. This has to be kept in mind during natural breathing as well as pranayama practice.
The speed of inhalation and exhalation is the next
important point. It should be consistent. For example, when you are tired, inhalation is deep and slow, exhalation is quick. When you are not tired, you may inhale quickly and
exhale slowly and deeply. This is inconsistency in the
breathing and creates uneven waves of physical and mental
energy which disturb the mind and body. Therefore,
consistency is most essential.
Besides consistency, there must be uniformity in the
breath. Many people breathe in and out with a slight jerk.
The breath should be smooth and uniform without any
stopping or jerking. If you study the way people breathe,
you will see that it is rarely perfectly uniform for any length
of time. In pranayama, after internal or external retention, it
is particularly noticeable. During just one exhalation there
may be up to ten different speeds until uniformity is
established. So, whether you are practising pranayama or
just breathing, make it a habit to breathe gently with
consistency and uniformity and make the breath subtle.
Timing the Swara
As we have already said, ida, pingala and sushumna do not flow at random but at specific times in synchronization with the solar/lunar rhythms.
According to the Shiva Swarodaya, the active nadi flows for two and a half ghati, which is equivalent to 60 minutes. Thereafter, sushumna functions for 1-4 minutes and then the other nadi begins to operate.
Neurologists have found the same sequence in brain
hemisphere activity. One hemisphere remains active for 60-90 minutes. When that cycle is complete, there is a transfer of energy to the other hemisphere through a thin sheet of membrane called the corpus callosum, over a period of 1-4 minutes. Science has also found that the brain hemispheres control breathing in the right and left nostrils. The active hemisphere stimulates the connected nostril, there lore, there is always one nostril active while the other remains partially blocked.
To know the exact time when ida/pingala become active, you will need to be acquainted with the moon phases. During the first 14 days (tithis)* of the lunar cycle (which extends *Tithi is the date of the lunar month, it is not the date of the solar month. You will notice that 30 tithis are listed in the lunar month, and it must be remembered that the time of the lunar tithi varies in comparison to the solar day. In 28 solar days there are 30 lunar tithis. It is an involved system, and a lunar calendar is required to tell the lunar tithi. From the new moon to the full moon), the moon waxes and becomes fuller.
This is called shuklapaksha or bright fortnight:
Shukla means white, and Paksha means fortnight.
On the 15th tithi the moon is full; this is called Poornima.
The next 14 tithis of the cycle (i.e. between the full moon and the new moon) the moon wanes and becomes darker. This is known as the krishna paksha, krishna meaning black. On the 15th tithi, called amavasya, there is no moon.
In the swara cycle surya nadi (pingala) becomes active at
sunrise during krishna paksha on tithis 1-3, 7-9, 13-15.
Thereafter, ida and pingala function alternately in 60-90
minute cycles throughout the day until at sunset, chandra
nadi (ida) begins to function on the specified days. On tithis 4-6, 10-12 of krishna paksha, the chandra nadi flows at sunrise and surya nadi at sunset. During shukla paksha we see the reverse. At sunrise of the first 3 tithis, chandra nadi flows, etc.
In the process of applying and validating the ancient
texts, people coming from all religions and cultures have
undertaken swara yoga sadhana. In 90% of cases, this system was observed to be operating.
In timing the swara, the time of sunrise is an important consideration. In summer the sun rises earlier than in winter, and the time is constantly changing throughout the year.
The time will also differ according to the exact location and
hemisphere of the continent on which you are living. In
India the sun rises between 4.45 and 5.15 a.m. in summer,
and in winter between 6.15 and 6.45 a.m. Before the actual
sunrise, however, it is already quite bright. This means that
the specified nadi flows around the time of sunrise.
Of course, those people who live in the city and are
surrounded by tall buildings will not be able to tell the time
of sunrise just by looking at the sky. If the sky is covered by
pollution, you will have to check with a newspaper even to
know where the moon is.
When you first start observing your swara, it is advisable
to make a diary of your own swara activities. However, you
have to keep your diary with you and on an hourly basis, or
half-hourly if possible, make a note of which swara is active.
This will help you in your practice and simultaneously you
will become acquainted with your own rhythm. You may
even notice the occurrence of particular events coinciding
with specific rhythms. If you have the opportunity, compare
with other people's charts.
In the 1970s, science coined the word 'chronopsychology' for the 24 hour cycle.
Chronopsychologists found that during
the 24 hour cycle certain events and one's mental, emotional and physical abilities have a 'best' or 'most likely' time of day. The Shiva Swarodaya says the same and further specifies the times when tasks are either shubha (auspicious) or ashubha (inauspicious). The swara yogi knows that during the influence of either ida or pingala only certain things can be undertaken if you want to be successful.
Scientists have postulated that external forces set the
biological clock by stimulating the pineal gland, which is
affected by dark/light cycles. These rhythms, which were
previously known to the ancient rishis, show that man is
actually only rediscovering himself in relation to the cosmos.
Readjusting the swara
If the right or left swara happens to function out of
synchronization with the solar/lunar cycles, then any one of the following methods can be used to readjust the cycle. Of course, it is possible that during your analysis of the swara, you may find other convenient methods to alter the flows.
1. Close the active nostril with either your finger or a piece
of cotton wool and breathe through the inactive nostril
for 5-10 minutes.
2. Inhale through the active nostril and exhale through the
3. Apply pressure to the armpit on the same side as the
active nostril. After some time the opposite nostril will
become activated. For this purpose, the yogis have a stick
called the yoga danda which they rest in the armpit. Or
you can sit in vajrasana and place the left hand in the
right armpit, and right hand in the left armpit. This is
called padadhirasana. By altering pressure of the hands
you can either regulate the flow or change it completely.
4. Lie on the same side as the active swara. In this position
you can also use any of the first three methods.
5. The external environment also influences nasal activities.
A sudden blast of hot or cold air or wind can change the
swara. Washing the body, or just the face, in extremely
hot or cold water automatically changes the flow.
6. The type of food consumed will also affect ida/pingala.
Foods which heat the body, such as cayenne pepper
(chilli powder) and ginger, directly stimulate surya nadi,
whereas foods which cool the system, such as yoghurt
and bananas, activate chandra nadi.
Personal Observations of Swara Activities
As a part of their training, some sannyasins of Bihar
School of Yoga, Munger, practised swara sadhana for
a period of six months. Each sadhaka closely observed the
swara cycles in relation to the effects on the mind, body and
circumstances. One disciple practised this sadhana in greater detail, noting the swara on a half-hour to one hour basis.
The result of these observations corresponded to the swara
yoga teaching, and further conclusions were also derived.
Of course, certain factors of lifestyle, diet and climate have to be taken into consideration: rising at 3.30-4.00 a.m., sleeping at 9.30-10.00 p.m., vegetarian diet, fasting,
menstrual cycle, and practice of asana, pranayama, japa and meditation.
• The cycles of ida/pingala start as calculated in the Shiva
• Sixty minutes is the shortest duration of a cycle. The
periods before dawn and in the afternoon often extend
to three hours.
• Comparison of a few people's swara rhythms showed
that at sunrise the swaras usually coincided, but as the
day progressed the active periods of each nadi began to
vary. Possibly this is due to different kinds of work,
involvement with different types of people, different
metabolism and biorhythmic cycles. By evening, however,
the cycles usually began to synchronize again.
• It was generally found that pingala flows from 10-10.30
a.m. In the ashram this is the specified time for taking
lunch because the digestive power reaches a peak.
• At twelve o'clock midday the flow of sushumna is generally
more common. By 12.30 ida often comes into operation
and there is a noticeable lull of energy, externally and
• When one swara predominates for more than three
consecutive days, some type of mental, physical or
emotional crisis arises.
• A constant flow of ida for more than three days coincides
with some respiratory problem such as blocked nose,
colds or constipation.
• Continual flow of pingala for more than three days
coincides with fever or even boils.
• The onset of menstruation is characterized by the constant
flow of one nadi, usually sushumna, sometimes ida, rarely
pingala. On the second day ida flows to a greater extent
and by the third day the swara alternations become more
• Bowel movements are facilitated by the flow of pingala
and the movement occurs more often during the onset
of pingala. When ida is flowing the motion is less free,
sometimes even causing constipation.
• Weather tends to influence the flow of the nadis. During
heavy rains and cold winds, ida begins to flow; during
hot winds, pingala can start to flow constantly. Balanced
weather patterns coincide with balanced swara cycles.
• Eating a lot of chillies, black pepper, ginger and other
hot spices results in the flow of pingala. Banana taken on
an empty stomach, milk, curd or cold drinks (especially
ice) activate the left nostril. If the nose is slightly blocked,
drinking sweet black coffee can open the nasal passage.
• Splashing the face or anus with hot or extremely cold
water can change the flow in the nostrils.
• Intense and continual kirtan or japa induces sushumna
or ida to flow for a extensive period.
• The practice of basti automatically activates sushumna.
• Different types of work can alter the flow of the swara.
The amount of mental involvement also coincides with
the preponderant nadi. If physical work is being done
and pingala is flowing, there is complete involvement
with the work and actions. If ida happens to flow, the
mind starts to wander and one thinks of something else.
When sushumna flows, there is awareness of both the
physical actions and thought process.
• The flow of the particular nadi affects the physical
capacities to perform a task. It is more difficult to apply
full physical capacity when ida is active.
• Instructing and inspiring people during the flow of
pingala coincides with attentiveness and enthusiasm from
the listeners. Instructions come across with more
dynamism and influence when pingala flows rather than
ida. If sushumna flows, it is much more difficult to
• Different months are characterized by different swara
patterns. During the monthly cycle, one swara usually
predominates and particular predicaments coincide with
the excessive flow of one swara. In a Tamil text called the
Swara Chintamani, it is said that pingala should flow
predominantly during the months corresponding to the
zodiac signs of Aries, Gemini, Teo, Libra, Sagittarius and
Aquarius; and ida should predominate in the months of
Pisces, Taurus, Cancer, Scorpio and Capricorn; or pingala
should flow during the first six months and ida during
the last six. "When the swara flows in this manner there
are great comforts."
• It should be kept in mind that the months of the Hindu
zodiac divisions are based on the lunar calendar, and
therefore the zodiac signs occur at slightly different times
than the solar calendar of 364 1/4 days. Nevertheless, it
was found on this basis that there is a natural tendency
for one swara to predominate during the months of
different zodiacs. When it flows against the proper
rhythms there are external difficulties, but when the
correct swara predominates, circumstances are both
smooth and pleasant.
• Charts of the swara cycle were also compared to the
individual biorhythm charts. It was found that there were
days when the energy level was exactly between the peak
and low phases. Such days are called 'caution days' for
physical, emotional and intellectual activity. That is, such
activity does not usually prosper on those days. Correspondingly, there is a marked tendency for sushumna to flow for extended periods during this time, suggesting that it would be appropriate to do spiritual practice.
• During a physical caution day, if pingala happens to
become excessive, fever can result.
• During emotional caution days, if ida predominates, some
emotional disturbance can arise, even an outburst or
slight mental depression.
• During an intellectual caution day, if ida is prominent, it
coincides with excessive mental activity, fantasy or worry.
• If the caution days of the physical, emotional and
intellectual cycles are in close proximity and a particular
swara is predominating, some sort of disturbance and
imbalance occurs and unpleasant situations may arise.
• During peak and low phases of the cycles, the swara is
usually balanced for half the day, then one swara starts to
predominate. When the low phases of one cycle coincide
with those of another, it also affects which swara will be
predominant. Therefore, it is very difficult to come to
more definite conclusions in relation to biorhythms.
These are the major trends and patterns found over six months of swara sadhana. Yet it should be kept in mind, that to make a complete and thorough study for yourself can take many years of observation. It is also necessary to observe a group of people under various circumstances and living in different parts of the world.
Each cycle of the surya or chandra swara is affected by the pancha tattwas or five elements, which produce different types of breath by influencing the prana vayu. When a particular tattwa is active, it affects thought patterns, physical movements and capacities, interactions with other people, and all the situations of life. In order to recognize this, swara yogis practise tattwa vichara, the techniques of analyzing the active tattwa. Amongst all these techniques, each practitioner will find one to be the most helpful.
Each tattwa has a particular influence on the energy
level of the body and mind. Therefore, by studying the
predominant tattwa, the swara yogi is capable of knowing what is in store for him in certain situations. At a higher level tattwa vichara develops the pranic capacity in the chakras and aids spiritual evolution. While observing the tattwa, it can be seen that only one tattwa is active at any one time; with the advent or rise of another tattwa, the others subside. Sometimes, however, during the flow of sushumna, one tattwa is active in the right swara and another tattwa begins in the left or vice versa. This usually happens at the time of the changing swaras.
Some of the tattwas are referred to by different names
but they indicate one and the same tattwa.
Earth is prithvi or bhumi; water, apas or jala; fire, agni or tejas; air, vayu or pawan; ether, akasha or vyoma.
Each tattwa causes the air to flow out from different
points of the nostrils, in a particular direction and extending to a certain distance.
Prithvi flows from the centre and the air seems to come straightforward.
Apas makes the breath flow slightly downward leaving the nostrils from the lower point.
Agni flows from the upper point in an upward direction.
Vayu flows predominantly from the outer sides and the breath can be felt moving at an angle.
When akasha is active, it will seem like there is no exhalation escaping, only the warmth of the hot air will be felt on the hand.
The specific length of exhalation during each tattwa, as given in the Shiva Swarodaya, may vary according to the individual. This you can only find out yourself by studying your own breath.
Each tattwa also influences the flavour or taste in the
mouth. Some hours after eating you can taste the distinct
flavour of the prevalent tattwa.
• The earth element has a sweetish flavour.
• Water is astringent.
• Fire is bitter.
• Air is acidic or sour.
• Ether is pungent and hot.
If the active tattwa is not recognizable by any of these simple tests, then it can be judged by the vapour pattern formed by exhaling through the nose onto a mirror.
• If the vapour covers the mirror, earth is active.
• A half-moon shape indicates water.
• A triangular shape, fire.
• An egg or oval shape, air.
• Small dots, ether.
(CLOSING THE SEVEN GATES)
In order to become familiar with the nature of each tattwa
and to aid recognition, the Shiva Swarodaya advises the
practice of shanmukhi mudra.
Sit in a comfortable meditation asana, preferable siddha/siddha yoni asana or ardha/poorna padmasana.
Perform shanmukhi mudra, closing only five gates: the ears, eyes and nose, with the fingers, leaving the mouth free.
Perform kaki mudra and inhale through the mouth.
While inhaling, feel the prana moving up from mooladhara to ajna chakra.
Hold the breath, performing antaranga (internal)
kumbhaka and close the sixth gate (mouth) with the
Perform khechari mudra and half jalandhara bandha.
Keep the awareness at ajna.
Raise the head.
Breathe out through the nose.
Practise this five times, keeping the eyes closed. Breathe normally in between each round. When you have finished, sit quietly and look into chidakasha, the space in front of your closed eyes. See if you can perceive any colour there or a coloured circle.
The colour in chidakasha will indicate
the active element:
(i) Yellow indicates the presence of prithvi tattwa.
(ii) White indicates apas.
(iii) Red indicates agni.
(IV) Blue or greyish colour, air.
(v) Complete blackness or an indistinct colour of many
hues, akasha. When you first begin this practice,
chidakasha may still appear black afterwards,
indicating inexperience in the practice rather than
This technique requires a few months of practice before the colours become apparent. When they do start coming, the colour does not always seem distinct. Yellow is sometimes mixed with white,, red, blue or any combination. It is also not necessary that the colour be circular. For example, red may appear as a triangular shape, yellow may be in a square shape, or you may see a pale blue band across the top of chidakasha. But akasha tattwa is the most difficult to perceive. It does not occur very often, and usually when it does, it is only for a very short period.
If you practise regularly twice a day, morning and evening, for six months, the colours start coming. Initially you can begin with five rounds of shanmukhi mudra. After 3-4 weeks increase to 10 rounds. Once you have perfected the practice, you will start seeing the colours before completing 10 rounds. However, it is more effective to practise in conjunction with trataka on the tattwa yantras. Then the colours may come more easily.
Yellow and red tend to appear during the day. Blue and
white may come in the early morning or late evening, but
yellow is most common. And if you see all the colours at
once, you have found the right tattwa for spiritual experience.
These are the five variations of colour. However, when the tattwas are changing, there is a period of transition during which you see a blending and combination of any nine colours or more. If you have the time and opportunity to practise three or four times a day, at the same time and on a regular basis you can make a diary of your results.
The First 12 Verses from the 395 verses of the Swarodaya shastra in the form of a dialogue between Shiva and Parvati.
Translation from the Original Sanskrit
1. Having paid obeisance to Maheshwara (Lord Shiva),
Parvati and Ganesha, I bow to the guru who is verily the
supreme consciousness (Paramatma) and saviour of the
2. Devi said:
O God of Gods! Mahadeva, be gracious to me, my Lord,
and give me that knowledge which bestows perfection.
3. Tell me, O God, how the universe was created, how it
changes and how it dissolves - tell me that which is the
determiner of the universe.
4. Ishwara said:
Creation takes place due to the tattwas (subtle essences).
It is sustained by them and finally dissolves into them.
O Devi, the tattwas are the origin of the Brahmanda (universe).
5. Devi said:
The tattwas (elements) are the primal cause as ascertained
by the exponents of the tattwas. O Lord, what is the
nature of those elements? Kindly reveal that to me.
6. Ishwara said:
There is only one birthless and formless supreme
existence from which evolves akasha (ether element),
and from akasha comes vayu (air element).
7. From vayu originates tejas (fire element), from tejas,
apas (water element), and from apas, prithvi (earth
element). These five elements are spread throughout
the whole world in this fivefold manner.
8. Due to these five elements creation is formed and
sustained, and again merges back into the tattwas. (This
is the continual subtle process of creation.) Thus it
comes to stay within the five elements again.
9. O beautiful one, the five elements are present in subtle
form within the body which originates from these five
elements. This is known by tantric yogis who are well versed in the science of the elements.
10. Now I will describe the science of the origin of the
swaras which reside in the body. With the knowledge of
the swaras, which move in the form of Hamso (i.e. the
sound of the outgoing Ham and incoming So breath),
one acquires knowledge of the past, present and future.
11. This science of swara is the secret of all secrets and
reveals the essence of all benefits. This science is the
crest jewel of all knowledge.
12. This is the subtlest of subtle knowledge. It is easy to
understand and is based on truth. To the atheists it is a
wonder and to the theists it is the base.
Under the Guidance of
Swami Satyananda Saraswati