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Kundalini Yoga, Spiritual Alchemy,
& the Mysteries of the Breath
in Bhogar's 7000
by Layne Little
Back to Bhogar main page.
Tamil works, like most Hindu works, often begin with an opening invocation to Ganesha, the Lord of Obstacles.
This same verse appears as the Kaapu of Tirumoolar's Tirumantiram, but some believe that it is a latter addition. As to whether Bhogar selected this verse as his opening is also in question.
The fifth hand of the elephant-headed god is the Tutikai, his trunk. I mention this only to point out some of the associations of Ganesha's trunk in the Saiva Siddhanta tradition...
A lovely verse of Moolar's dealing with the Kundalini's mysteries makes reference to the Tutikai...
If you eat
With the Hand of Worship
you need not be depleted.
If you abandon sleep
and become a realized adept
you need not die.
You can live forever."
Tutikai means "the elephant's trunk" but it's literal meaning is a combination of the verb tuti "to worship" and kai "hand", "the Hand of Worship".
Tirumoolar here speaks of eating amrita, the nectar of immortality, "the very substance of sky". When you eat with the left or right hand, with ida and pingala nadi, you dine upon the dual throng. Pleasure and pain is served in endless helpings, and your menu is limited.
When one allows the prana to stretch forth the Tutikai one can reach nectar. Ganesha seated in Muladhara, can, with his trunk, that is Shushumna Nadi scoop up helpings of nectar on one's behalf.
Bhogar refers to Moolar (Tirumoolar) when speaking of his grandfather "dwelling in the Sleepless Sleep".
Throughout the tradition the Siddhars speak with supreme reverence for the fourth state: Turiya, "the Sleepless Sleep".
There are four primary states of consciousness:
1. Nanavu: IA Jaagrat "the waking state; consciousness"
2. Kanavu: IA Swapna "the dream state; sub-consciousness"
3. Tookam: IA Sushubdi "the deep sleep state; unconsciousness"
4. Turiya: IA Turiya "the conscious sleep state; the sleepless sleep"
The first three states are within the sphere of our daily experience, while the fourth state is accessed only when the mind, ever imposing definitions, ever striving to organize phenomena, becomes quiet, entranced, at rest, 93"asleep". While consciousness, pure and unsullied by assumption, becomes awake to objective reality, and stands as a witness to life, essentially as it is.
"And Mind too is unconscious according to Vedanta. For all that is not the conscious self is the unconscious object. This does not mean that it is unconscious in itself. On the contrary all is essentially conscious, but that it is unconscious because it is the object of the conscious self. For mind limits Consciousness so as to enable man to have finite experience. There is no Mind without consciousness as it's background, though supreme Consciousness is Mindless (Amanah). Where there is no mind (Amanah), there is no limitation. Consciousness remaining in one aspect unchanged changes in its other aspect as an active Power which manifests as Mind and Body. Man then is Pure Consciousness (Cit) vehicled by its Power as Mind and Body."
This enigmatic forth state is this limitless consciousness Sir John Woodroffe speaks of in his The Serpent Power, but there is a fifth state even more of an enigma than The Sleepless Sleep. Rarely spoken of, they call it Turiyaatitam "Beyond the Sleepless Sleep". It is the super-conscious state, the universal mind, where there is no object, only one vast and luminous self-awareness that contains within it all things.
The poet begins by informing his readers that those secrets contained within his verse are what he apprehended while seated in the presence of the Divine, as though Siva himself gave Bhogar a glimpse of some sacred work, written by the very hand of God, and containing all of the secrets of the universe.
As mentioned earlier, these eighty-two verses are taken from Bhogar's collection of 7000 which, he tells us here, he has drawn from "the divine book" that maps out the movement of the individual awareness through all of the thousand-fold manifestations of spirit on each of the seven planes. Hence his reference is presented in seven chapters, a thousand verses each.
In The Poets of the Powers, Kamil Zvelbil gives us a list of the names of twenty-five Tamil Siddhas and their caste-origin which he acquired through some unspecified source. Popular legend speaks of Bhogar as being of Chinese origin. Most scholars dismiss this claim as hear-say, yet Zvelbil presents this one obscure and vital thread which substantiates this legend.
Bhogar's caste is listed as Cinatecakkuyavar, 'a Chinese potter'. His guru Kalangi also appears on the list as Cinattuacari, 'a Chinese preceptor'.
Perhaps Bhogar's relationship with Kalangi began in the old country in some Chinese Tantric school. Certainly many of Bhogar's verses convey a faint whispering of Taoist thought, not to mention the outstanding correspondences found between the Siddhar tradition & the Taoist alchemical schools of the period.
Kalangi was a poet in his own right, composing the Kalangi Nanavinda Rahasiyam-30, and using his other name Kamalamuni, he composed the Kamalamuni Nanasuttiram-76.
the root seems egg-like in form."
The word Moolam can mean either "root" or "source". It refers to the Muladhara, the chakra or nerve plexus found at the base of the spine. The Muladhara is the starting point of the journey of consciousness, as awareness is propelled up the Shashumna Nadi by the force of the awakened Kundalini energy which lies in its dormant state in Muladhara.
In speaking of Muladhara and this journey of consciousness the great tantric dictum
"What is here is everywhere.
What is not here is nowhere."
becomes essential to understand the process of the transmutation of consciousness, where the beginning is the perfect reflection of the end.
When Bhogar begins his description of this journey of consciousness he begins at its root, Muladhara. He describes the root as being egg-like. The expression he uses is another Tamil word adopted from the Sanskrit. The word Anndam carries a double meaning. One being "egg", which implies unmanifest potential; while the other, "universe", represents the completeness of that potential made manifest. So this opening verse could also be translated...
the root is like the universe."
The movement of consciousness is like the movement of sound. Like a single note alighting on the air. It's essential quality does not change, it expands. How does consciousness, a solitary point of awareness, this primordial egg, become the universe?
"Nada is the first produced movement in the ideating cosmic consciousness leading up to the Sound-Brahman (Sabda-Brahman), whence all ideas, the language in which they are expressed (Sabda), and the objects (Artha) which they denote, are derived.
"Bindu literally means a point and the dot (Anusvara), which denotes in Sanskrit the nasal breathing. It is placed in the Chandra-bindu nasal breathing above Nada. In its technical Mantra sense it denotes the state of active Consciousness or Shakti in which the "I" or illuminating aspect of Consciousness identifies itself with the total "This". It subjectifies the "This", thereby becoming a point (Bindu) of consciousness with it."
There is a universe within a speck of dust or a single grain of sand; universes within universes. Likewise the whole universe flows within the sap of the root Muladhara.
By diving deep one discovers the light of Om-kaara; a triad of sound that creates, sustains, and dissolves the universe. It is a triad of the three sacred letters that unite to form the cry of the living universe, "A-U-M". All things born, all things living, all things dying are contained within the sounds that form this triangle at Muladhara.
Shashumna, like the sacred thread, the holy vestment of the Brahmin, is said to be a three-fold, one within the other: Shashumna (the subtle),Vajra (the jewel or thunderbolt), and the innermost Chitrini. In the tantric work Sat-Chakra-Nirupa it says that near the mouth of Shashumna's inner nadi, Vajra, and at the pericarp of the Muladhara "there shines the beautifully luminous and soft, lightning-like triangle which is Kama-rupa" (i.e. that which causes Kama, "desire/love" to be felt). The triangle is said to contain a wind (Vayu) named Kandarpa which holds within the three points of the triangle every point in the universe. Kandarpa is a name of Kama, the God of Love.
"The ignorant prate that Love and Siva are two,
But none do know that Love alone is Siva.
When men but know that Love and Siva are the same,
Love as Siva, they e'er remain."
The three points of the triangle are formed by the movement of sound from A to U to M. The pure awareness of Siva encompassing all pours forth and is expressed in the dynamic power of Shakti which manifests as matter, the field in which consciousness plays.
"By One letter all worlds became;
By Two letters (A&U), He the Two became Siva and Shakti;
By Three letters (A,U,&M), He the light became;
By letter M was Maya ushered in."
When beginning the journey at the root of consciousness, Bhogar tells us that one meets the masculine principle standing upon the syllable A in the form of Ganesha, the Lord of Gateways. His consort Vallabhai Shakti stands upon U and a line unites them. Their union bares an issue. Bhogar tells us that this issue is each one of us, we who stand upon the syllable Bhu, we who stand upon the Earth.
Instead of using the Ma that is Maya the Mother, he uses Bhu that is the Sanskrit word for the Mother Earth, or perhaps he intended to employ a purer Tamil reading of the character. Then it would read as "Pu", perhaps inferring the Tamil word for flower "Poo". Whatever was his intent (that clever fellow stacked the deck with endless layers of hidden meaning) he chose to draw attention to the lower point of the triangle, draw attention to the birth of all manifestation as the plantain flower.
"And in one tapering corner
there is the plantain flower."
Leaving out the Ma, he says that here beneath the face of Bhu, at the very root of earthly existence, one finds the Kundalini Shakti, dangerous and serpentine. Just to bring awareness here is enough to make her enter Shashumna. Just to bring awareness here is to reach the root of consciousness; that place beyond even the sleepless sleep.
Shashumna in Sanskrit means literally "the Subtle"; while Sulimulai, the Tamil word for Shashumna Nadi, means "the Circle's End". This term perhaps refers to the circle around this triangle from which Shashumna rises upwards, or perhaps the term infers that Shashumna is the path through which one escapes the endless cycle of death and rebirth.
Numerologically, the number eight refers to the initial interaction of the four basic elements that leads to their diffusion into the multitude of manifest forms that constitute this universe. As long as the basic elements are perceived in their essential state consciousness is unified, but once this interaction takes place (at least at far as perception & interpretation in concerned) consciousness is diffused into the permutations of manifest matter and thus subject to the limitations of nature's laws.
Manifestation is presided over by 8 Shaktis, who are personifications of the 8 siddhis (siddhi meaning "power" or "perfection"). These Shaktis stand outside of, yet dictate, nature's laws and the laws of human limitation. To perceive the root level of existence (to perceive manifest matter, this Earth, reduced to its 4 essential elements and their initial eight-fold interaction) is to look over creation from the outside in. It is to see the clockworks of the universe and sidestep the barrier that superscribes manifestation.
This state is one of vast perspective; it just precedes the dawning of true wisdom, and it is this lack of wisdom which puts the Yogi in a dangerous position... where the shaktis may try to steal one's power.
This danger, this temptation of the 8 siddhis, may be explained thus: Imagine having the insight born of closely observing the constituents of all the circumstances that cause the varieties of human response. We are the products of our environment. Our environment defines who we are. Our sense of self, our sense of who and what we are, arises in response to a set of ever changing circumstances. What if one were to perceive that pattern, manipulate those circumstances and, by extension, the outlook of others for personal gain? What drastic repercussions would ensue?
When gaining this initial perspective over the fundamental laws that govern the universe's operation one is tempted by these Shaktis to disregard such laws and to misuse one's insight, abandoning the path of integrating the individual self into the Absolute.
These siddhis are mentioned again and again in India's vast & varied array of literatures. An examination of these 8 siddhis complemented by a study of the writings of Mystics and Yogis reveals that, though these powers are predominantly taken at face value to infer an ability to manipulate matter and influence external phenomena through an act of will, these siddhis conform perfectly to the various narratives of the inner experiences of the Mystic. To the Mystic, the descriptions of these siddhis speak of the way in which consciousness, unfettered by linear thinking, becomes malleable, flows out and returns, expands and contracts, how it, by its own nature, adjusts and harmonizes itself to the occilations of circumstance. It (consciousness) savours any object placed within its scope by pouring itself into that object, becoming all that the senses perceive, all that the mind creates, and still its essential nature remains constant and its purity undefiled.
The siddhis are always spoken of as a great stumbling block, something extremely dangerous, and yet a precious commodity; not as "the goal" in and of themselves, but as a tool for perceiving the vastness of existence both subjectively and in its entirety.
Tirumoolar describes the siddhis in verse 668 of the Tirumantiram...
"To become tiny as the atom within atom (Anima)
To become big in unshakable proportions (Mahima)
To become light as vapour in levitation (Laghima)
To enter into other bodies in transmigration (Prapti)
To be in all things, omni-pervasive (Prakamya)
To be lord of all creation in omnipotence (Isatvam)
To be everywhere in omnipresence (Vasitvam)
---These eight are the Siddhis Great."
Bhogar introduces them much more dramatically, personified as eight formidable ladies occupying the eight petals of the plantain flower; hidden at the root of consciousness. They govern over nature's law, limiting the self, defining the multiplicity of form, restricting the flow of consciousness. They are, on the gross level, the latent tendencies of the mind, it's movement & processes.
Bhogar recommends the Yogic discipline of pranayama, breathing with intent, to win them over, to soften their rigid grasp, and to set their liberating aspects in motion.
At the root one finds Siva by entering the mouth of the serpent. A foreboding image which foreshadows the coming confrontation with the infinitude of one's own being.
He is hidden in the heart of the flower. If, through the breath, awareness can be turned upon itself, Nandi (Siva) is seen. One then finds the center of all phenomena. Then the flow and expansion of consciousness can be directed by one's own will, irrevocably united to the will of the Great Mother... "You'll make them [the eight shaktis] obey the Mother's commands."
To enter within the plantain flower, one cannot reach there by striving. Awareness must simply settle into its natural state. No amount of "effort" can make this depth of meditation be achieved. The mind cannot be convinced to become silent and receptive. Internal argument only compounds the problem. This is why Yoga has developed a vast system of means to rectify and pacify the mind's internal struggle.
Bhogar in verse number six gives the first piece of the puzzle in relating his system of pranayama. This system, which applies the sacred Panchakshara mantra to well established Yogic breath manipulations, reinforces the traditional breathing practices by engaging the mind in mental repetition of the Panchakshara syllables. This becomes just difficult enough to demand the mind's full engagement and complete concentration on repeating the mantra in proper sequence with the movement of the breath.
One begins this practice by drawing in the breath with the syllable Va. The breath is to be then immediately retained by the mental utterance of Ya. As the mantra is spoken in the mind, one shifts the breath into the lower diaphragm and fixes awareness at the base of the spine. The mind is held steadfast at the root and, before one feels light-headed (the breath is controlled, but never repressed), one exhales with the mantra Si.
Si-Va's name becomes the out and in flowing breath. The syllable A (transformed into Ya through Tamil's grammatical law of sandhi), the first sound to issue from primordial stillness, is the mantra of retention. Release with Si. Invite the breath to come within by mentally repeating the mantra Va (the Tamil word meaning "come"). Using Si-Va's name to concentrate the mind, breath begins to deepen in equal measure. After some time, as one becomes calm and listens to the sound of the breath flowing in and out, one begins to hear the syllables Va & Si being made spontaneously by the movement of breath. Va-Si in Tamil means "breath". Siva is hidden within vasi.
Bhogar's "puffing" practice helps to take firm hold of the mind's reigns, giving focus and direction to thought by flooding the brain with oxygen, opening the neural network, and energizing cellular activity in a sudden and dynamic way. The technical term of this practice is Kapala Bhati ("Skull Shining") and as one of the Four Purifications is an ideal way of beginning one's daily Yoga practice.
"Kapala Bhati is a series of forced exhalations: Exhale and inhale quickly and lightly through both nostrils. Emphasize the exhale, letting the inhalation come as a natural reflex.. After one series of exhalations, which should last no longer than one minute, rest and breath naturally. Then repeat."
Kapala Bhati produces a rather intoxication effect in the practitioner, making the mind (and the eight shaktis) swoon. The flood of oxygen to the cells of the body and the brain is exhilarating. This practice wakes one up, centers awareness, focuses concentration, and is an excellent preliminary to meditation.
Another "puffing" practice similar to Kapala Bhati is Bhastrika or "Bellows" which also offers the same "mental cleansing" effect. To practice Bhastrika one must be vigorous, not pausing between in-breath and out-breath.
Throughout, both in-breath and out-breath should be of equal duration, so begin by breathing slowly, balancing in-breath and out-breath while fixing awareness at the point where the air first passes into the nostrils, focusing on that sensation. As the in-breath/out-breath duration becomes balanced, one speeds up the breathing process to a point where the intensity of air flow is short and quick with a distinct feeling of impact as breath is drawn in and then pushed out with the contraction of the diaphragm. When this practice reaches a crescendo of speed and intensity (after about 20-25 exhalations), inhale slowly and completely and retain the breath as long as it is comfortable. This practice is the bellows that fans the alchemical fire of the Kundalini.
Here Bhogar introduces perhaps the most important pranayama practice of all: Nadi Shodanam or "Alternate Nostril Breathing". This practice is centered directly upon balancing the flow in the Ida & Pingala Nadis. This practice has had such a profound effect on its practitioners that its use has spread into Brahminical tradition and is employed by the priest at the beginning of each Hindu rite to focus the mind, unify & direct the flow of prana through the body, and aid in balancing and maximizing air intake for correct recitation of the mantra hymnals.
The practitioner uses the thumb and fingers of the right hand to alternate the flow of air through the right & left nostrils. Placing the hand in the form of the Vishnu mudra the left nostril is closed as one breathes in through the right. Through contraction of chest and abdomen, the air is shifted downwards towards Muladhara and retained, as the right nostril is then closed.
Then, through intention or visualization, breath is shifted to the left side of the body, allowed to rise, and be expelled through the left nostril. One then breathes in through the left, shifts and retains the breath, and exhales through the right. The practice continues repeating itself in this manner. Before beginning this practice it is good to ascertain in which nostril is the air flow predominant. Bhogar offers a mantra prescription for the imbalanced flow of air in the nostrils.
"The six streets
and are clearly perceived."
As awareness is refined through the pranayama practice, the spectrum of the various states of consciousness becomes apparent. The work at Muladhara is perfected through perceiving the manner in which the mind moves and expands. It is like a gymnasium where the fluidity of awareness is exercised.
Before the Yogi can move on from Muladhara he must integrate the expansiveness of his awareness with the physical constraints of the body, the inconsistency of the emotions, and the restlessness of the mind. All of the realms must be brought together, reduced to their essence, and traced back to the root. No aspect of life can be overlooked. The aspirant must simplify the manner in which he perceives existence until all facets can be addressed with the same complete attentiveness. Bhogar presents a set of equations in this work that define these facets or movements of the mind.
Vallabai here embodies the Kundalini Shakti itself. Because when a personalized relationship is established with the energy personified than one "listens" with more care and understanding to it's natural movement and need not fear the premature expansion of consciousness.
By becoming a balanced and integrated individual on the earth plane, the root (Muladhara) of the whole person is properly nurtured and set in balance with nature. The body gains added lustre as the mind becomes calm, clear and receptive, entering the Turiya state where all the various levels of phenomenal existence becomes easily apprehended.
The eight constituents sub-divide back into the fundamental state of the four elements (earth, wind, fire, & air). These are the prime building blocks of manifest existence. Awareness withdraws deeper within as the mind's functions are quieted by the simplicity of a universe composed, in it's entirety, of only four basic elements. Without the interference of restless and undirected thought, awareness is contracted and refined, like the sun's light focused and intensified through the magnifying glass of the concentrated mind. Focused on the root (metaphorically) it ignites.
The four petals of the Muladhara plexus are clusters of nadis each baring (at least in a symbolic sense) an elemental characteristic. These four elements become the kindling that fuel the fire (the aroused Kundalini) in which Ganesha dances out this divine play that is existence.
In Tantric Yoga and the Siddhar Yoga system the aspirant begins at Muladhara to set about recreating the universe inside himself in all it's panoramic glory: from the first spark of creation, dividing and expanding into this web of "becoming" and culminating into the ultimate dissolution in the "un-chakra" Sahasrara, where all the possible permutations of manifestation are represented as the thousand petals united in a single blossoming flower.
Although a great portion of Bhogar's work is devoted to the alchemical science, his reference here to "the True Polymorph Alchemy" has little to do with the act of changing base metals into gold. It is common for the Siddhars to speak of the awakening of the Kundalini with alchemical terms.
"Honey-like semen is the mercury
The controlled breath is the herb
The fire at Muladhara is the oven
The product is the Philosopher's Stone
Oh man! Find this stone in the body
And fly in the sky at will."
The True Polymorph Alchemy is the attainment of the ability to let the awareness, having become malleable and unfettered by the mind's distinctions, flow into and become all that comes to perception's doorstep. When an object is perceived the aspirant does not employ the mind to judge it's intrinsic qualities and functions. Nor is the mind used to reinforce a sense of "self" by defining the relationship of subject to object. This kind of inference is an intrinsic quality of the mind's functioning. It makes us all products of our environment. All victims of the pathways of interpretation that thought takes in organizing and structuring the information gathered by the senses. The sum total of this information and the way in which it is organized in the deeper recesses of the mind not only forms our conception of "reality" and molds the ego, it also dynamically affects our perception and interpretation of all new input that flows in through the senses. This information is filtered by the intellect, and immediately becomes subject to our habitual and reactionary system of interpretation. We are creatures of habit. Our patterns of thought have a tendency to get caught in a rut, which the movement of the same recurring set of thought patterns digs deeper and deeper. As we grow older, it becomes more and more difficult to open up new pathways of intellectualization. "You can't teach an old dog new tricks" or assimilate new ways of thinking, and so we suffer and stagnate in a dreary world which the mind has dug out for us.
Often by adulthood, the mind, grown sluggish and morose, hounds us with its fears of change, lack of breadth, inflexibility, and its stubborn complacency to remain stuck within the confines it has imposed upon us. Life loses its vitality and spontaneity, and best we can hope for is a little distraction from our monotonous life struggling and stumbling through our pathetic little world.
or while staying...
concentrate the mind."
In action or in inaction, while seated in meditation or surrounded by the hustle and bustle of the marketplace, mindfulness of breath and concentration of mind should be applied. Yoga, and particularly the Tantric teachings, are of use only if applied to every aspect of life. Meditation is not meant for giving sanctuary or escape. It is to be practiced continuously, bringing a receptive quality to awareness, and bringing the care, sensitivity, and attention to detail that our precious human existence deserves. Meditation is not a particular way of sitting or thinking. Nor should it be some vain struggle to subdue the mind. It is a quality of seeing, embracing what is with eyes wide open. Not judging, not daydreaming, not resisting, just a simple and effortless acceptance of things wherever and in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
"Be in a place where you don't have to listen to the noise of others talk." Bhogar seems to be advising his readers to disregard what others say, and let one's own insights and understanding be the guide. Let one trust in one's self. Let one make an assessment of reality that is not compounded by the judgements of others, or even the mind, as in the Meyjnanapulampal ("the Wailing of True Wisdom"), where Battiragiriyar cries out the great Siddhar adage: "Arivai Arival Arinthu" ("to know knowledge by knowledge") in verse twenty-four.
"Forgetting trivial happiness,
Knowing knowledge by knowledge itself,
when shall I cut off this cycle
of falling into wombs."
The knowledge he speaks of is apprehended only by personal experience. This is the difference between "believing" and "knowing", between that which is "learned" and that which is truly "understood".
Just by balancing the flow of breath in the right and left nostrils, directing (through visualization) the breath's movement to the spine's base, and fixing the mind in Muladhara, the fire of Kundalini is kindled and the streams of Prana in the Ida and Pingala Nadis unite pouring into the Shashumna Nadi. The passage of time becomes meaningless as the mind merged with the root remains perfectly balanced in the immediate present.
Another interpretation of the Tamil word "Sulimunai" would have "the circle's end" be more ideally rendered as "the spiral's end". Shushumna is the nadi that rises up from the serpent coiled 3 ? times around the lingam at the base of the spine. The lingam is the root of the divine in man. It is the cosmic pillar, the axis upon which the world turns. It is the hub of the wheel of Samskara. It is the cosmic axis of the spine upon which our senses and organs of action turn round. It is the center of our universe, intimate and accessible to all. The great Siddhar saint of the nineteenth century, Ramalingar, described his journey up the spine in a thirty-two verse poem which begins by describing the spine as a mountain of light, the mythical mount Meru, abode of the gods, Olympus of the East...
"A mountain of light appeared.
Mother, in it there was a street.
There was a street!"
Shushumna is the street that climbs the mountain of the spine, but until the Kundalini awakens, the spine keeps us firmly chained to the earth, to the realm of matter, with the golden chain of attachment and aversion, the sweet and bitter fruits of the Tree of Life.
The word munai in Sulimunai is the same word translated here as "corner" in Ilimunai- "the Corner of Degradation".
"The Sleep of the Circle's End" and "dying in the Corner of Degradation" are in both cases referring to the same danger. When one, through consciousness expansion and through a greater understanding of the mechanism that is this universe, pushes past the limitations of the individual self and gains the eight siddhis, one will inevitably face the danger of identifying the ego as the actor, as the worker of miracles, as superior to the rest of this universe indivisible. So "the Sleep of the Circle's End" is when awareness, having recognized itself as "the One Consciousness", falls once again into dispersion and separation as the ego asserts itself and the individual will is reinforced.
The awareness anchored in the quietude (of A-kaaram) observes the mind's endless array of responses to sense objects, watches patiently and without concern the pushing and pulling of the mind. When one's very center is detached and still, the mind cannot help but to follow suit and become calm, but at the outset it is one restless and "slippery" fish-- try to take hold of it and it will slip through your fingers. Hold it gently, however, giving it room to roam, and it can be contained in the vastness of a more spacious awareness.
Here Bhogar makes a striking observation:
"Even with the intoxication
of seeking security in bondage
The world beckons...
We live in fear, struggling day by day to hoard up wealth and resources so that we can endure. But wealth and resources must be protected, property and livestock require upkeep and maintenance, and business needs careful strategy and hard work.
Our fear and our struggle then extends beyond the maintenance of our bodies. Life's demands grow and expand beyond our daily needs. Simple necessities quickly become very complicated. We forget the freedom of simplicity and embrace instead "security in bondage".
The problem isn't in working hard or having too much. The problem is living in fear and forgetting to savour our precious and fleeting existence. Insecurity and fear wield the whip that drives us to struggle on and on, rather than letting love of life transform all we do into the simple joy of existence, of participating in life instead of fighting against the inevitability of death.
The practice of Pranayama should always be comfortable if not euphoric. One need never suppress the breath. Pranayama should not be an act of effort or a struggle. The body knows instinctively what it requires and so the Pranayama practitioner should always remain attentive & listen to the body's needs.
A mastery of the Ujjayi Pranayama (the "Victorious Breath") is a crucial aid in controlling the breath. The practice helps to reveal the terrain of the respiratory system. Ujjayi is the principle practice used to control the flow of prana.
"Ujjayi means 'victorious'; by this pranayama one can gain control over prana. This pranayama has a heating effect. Before doing ujjayi it is helpful
to wash the tongue and rinse the throat to loosen phlegm."
This instruction in the practice of the Ujjayi Pranayama comes from Baba Hari Dass' Ashtanga Yoga Primer. Like Baba Hari Dass, Bhogar also recommends cleansing the throat as one aspect of purification in preparation for daily practice.
"Close the mouth and inhale through both nostrils, slightly tightening the glottis by bending the head forward to produce a choking sob, accompanied by a slight sniff. it should sound like a child sobbing. In the beginning one can inhale in five sobs; when it is perfected the sobs can run into each other. Hold the breath in the upper part of the chest for two to three seconds, then close the right nostril, and exhale through the left. Immediately after exhalation, inhale again through both nostrils and repeat. Begin with ten rounds and increase to forty over a period of three months.
"Note: One may also exhale through both nostrils." (Which is the more common practice.)
This practice is extremely useful in defining where the breath moves and shifts in the body. The sensation of the breath's movement during practice is intense and will help to quite effortlessly draw the mind along the breath's passage through the respiratory system. Sensation in the region of the throat is especially pronounced. Here is where one gains a sense of "the bag" that Bhogar mentions.
His reference here to Vayu's House (the house that rules the air element) is allocated to the throat chakra (Vishuddha). Unlike the attributions given in other schools, Bhogar has designated Vishuddha to govern air rather than Anahata. The reader will note that Bhogar's elemental attributions for the chakras transpose the more common allocations of the Sat-Cakra-Nirupu up one level, leaving Muladhara without clear definition, an ambiguous root from whence the muddied mixture of elements rise up to levels of purer expression as blossoms on the vine.
Jalandhara Bandha (Throat Lock) binds the breath after inhalation, "tethers the donkey," by simply tilting the head forward and pressing the chin tightly into the hollow of the neck. Baba Hari Dass points out that, "According to Yoga physiology a subtle nectar flows from sahasrara chakra, falls to manipura chakra, and is consumed by gastric fire. Jalandhara bandha prevents the nectar from falling, which brings calmness, long life, and good health. Thus the name jalandhara, which means 'cloud-holding, receptacle of vital fluid'."
As breath and mind becomes firmly fixed at the root, one becomes balanced, standing at the hub of the wheel of change. Here time looses all meaning. A single moment seems to stretch on into eternity as the mind teeters precariously towards it's old tendencies of habitual response and other conditioned modes of thinking. The mind struggles to thrust up images before the immovable awareness. These images reveal "the specific symptoms" of latent pathways along which the mind moves and in which the mind is stuck, unable to divert it's course of movement to new and broader avenues of perception.
The mantra of Ajna, the third eye chakra, is "Om". Yogis, when seated in meditation, will roll up the eyes and fix the awareness at the point between the brows. The Tamil character for Om resembles a peacock standing on one leg with its tail fanned out. The Siddhar Ramalingar makes use of this image in one of his verses describing his experiences in meditation:
"Up in the sky
I saw the peacock's dance
The peacock became a cuckoo, sister.
The peacock became a cuckoo."
In the thoughtless space between the brows he saw the Om-kaara vibrating. It manifests as sound resounding (the cuckoo). Often in the quietude of meditation, one will discern the sound in the ears. Mystics around the world describe it variously as the voice of angels, running water, the chirping of crickets, the tinkling of bells, or the humming of bees. Bhogar mentions the phenomenon of hearing the sound, as he begins the movement from Muladhara to Svadishtana, in verse 24 as the sweet chime of God's anklets as He dances out this play of existence:
in the sound
of His anklets."
Ajit Mookerjee, in Kundalini: the Arousal of the Inner Energy, describes the specific sounds heard in each of the five lower chakras, "When Kundalini awakens, the aspirant listens to cosmic sound. When the Kundalini leaves Muladhara, he hears the chirping of a cricket; when he crosses to Svadishtana, the tinkling of an anklet; in the Manipura, the sound of a bell; at the Anahata, the music of a flute, and finally, when Kundalini crosses to Vishuddha, the cosmic sound Om, the first manifestation of Shiva-Shakti as Sonic Consciousness. The proper knowledge and understanding of Sonic Consciousness leads to the attainment of Supreme Consciousness."
"Time was when I despised the body;
but then I saw the God within.
The body, I realized, is the Lord's temple;
And so I began preserving it with care infinite."
The Siddhar Yoga system, as with other schools of Yoga that grew out of the Tantric traditions, is a holistic system intended to transform the person on all levels: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. Purification of the body has often been a prerequisite before the more advanced Yoga practices can be perfected. Emphasis on the necessity of the well-being of the physical instrument has led the Siddhars to develop a vast system of herbal medicines and other prescriptions for preventative maintenance geared towards giving the practitioner good health and longevity.
Karpams are predominantly used for longevity, but these mysterious medical preparations, composed of herbs, metal oxides, and arsenics, are also said to confer siddhis to the user. "Application of herbs for the attainment of siddhis is mentioned even in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In the Tamil Siddha works, these Karpams are recommended as an adjunct to the Kundalini Yoga practice."
I must confess that I have been unable to find any reference to what "the heavy Moolikai herb" actually is, but it is common for the earlier Siddhar medical terms and their names for herbs to be forgotten. Nonetheless, Siddhar medicine is becoming more and more in vogue in present day Tamil Nadu as scores of clinics open and practitioners gain wider recognition.
"To shake the base of the tree" means to "vibrate the spine", while climbing upwards by "hopping" refers to the jumps in states of consciousness that one takes as he moves from chakra to chakra. It is the Kundalini that is the river of consciousness through which the individual awareness crosses over into the Universal Mind.
Bhogar has devoted a section of this work (verses 71 - 79) entirely to the Dvadashantam, the "12-inch flame". Alternately, it is described as rising either from Ajna chakra, the point between the brows, or from Sahasrara at the crown of the head, and tapers into space 12 inches above its point of origin. It is the divine flame in which the individual spirit is consumed: dissolved into eternity.
"Neither mantra, nor song, nor arts four and sixty
Ever sundereth birth and its accursed bonds.
Then did I take Yoga's way, and lo!
I met the Sun, Moon and Fire on the way to Cranium,
And they showed the Supreme Way!"
The tradition divides the body into three parts. The stomach and abdomen is ruled by Agni, the God of Fire. The breast houses the Sun, and the head is the rounded sphere of the Moon, crowned by the Sahasrara lotus flower.
Bhogar portrays Ganesha holding aloft the mind's flower, grasped in his tutikai (Shashumna), lifted upwards into the sky (Akasha).
The great mother Vallabai Shakti gives birth to the shakti in us all, and in turn, Bhogar advises us to redirect that force of life in us back to its source: the Great Mother.
Even from far away, through Manasa Puja (mental worship) one can reach beyond the web-like matrix of matter, transmuting thought itself into the image, the very being, of the Divine Mother.
The Milk of Soma, the sublimated seed, the Nectar of Immortality, hidden within the body, pours outward giving life to all things. Sustaining all things, the banner of awareness is raised to the zenith of the flagpole Shashumna.
The secret of action, as taught in the Bhagavad Gita, lies in the quality of awareness brought to activity. If the mind is clear and receptive, unattached to the fruits of action (be they "good" or "bad"), then one's inner nature takes over and one begins to act in accord with the Universal Will. Then the universe enacts it's will through the individual. Abandoning selfish desire, abandoning attachment and aversion, one does without "doing".
As testified by the ancient chinese text, the I Ching, the essential characteristics of the universe can be reduced to the same equation which denotes the Vastu Purusha Mandala: 8x8=64. In this equation, 8x8 reflects the universes alchemical transmutation of the 8 components interacting with one another to produce the 64 primary characteristics or essences that compose the manifest universe. The four elements become eight. The eight becomes sixty-four. The sixty-four manifest as all possibility, the same 64 qualities that compose the things outside us are also found within.
When the malleable alchemy is revealed all these primary qualities are effortlessly perceived . The mind becomes fluid, mirroring the 64 facets of nature as they arise and fall from view, and the essence hidden behind phenomena, the One hidden behind the many, appears "explicit and complete".
"The universes seven,
The cosmic space beyond,
The life---animate and inanimate---
The gunas three, the Vedas ancient,
The Gods that create and preserve
And their Primal Lord that is Siva---
All they are but in me."
Vedanta (lit. "the end of the Vedas"), whose name infers "the end of all knowledge", is the all-encompassing vision of the intricate mechanism that is this universe. It allows the viewer to ferret out the cause behind the bewildering array of effects. One sees Vedanta to it's very end by once and for all reconciling the dichotomy within.
This reconciliation begins by merging the solar & lunar nadis (Ida & Pingala) into Shashumna, by balancing and integrating the flow of breath through the two nostrils, by mounting the horse of measured breath.
Breath sustains us. It's gift of life deserves our attentive recognition of this simple fact. Bhogar acknowledges the importance of daily practice, a daily need to set aside a time of quiet reflection; savouring breath's gift; dining on the breath of life.
There is a practice in South India of supplicating Ganesha by knocking three times on the temples. This is said to momentarily unite the Ida & Pingala currents and send a flood of nectar down to Muladhara, a flood of nectar which pours over Ganesha, awakens the God within, filling him with joy, bathing him with ecstacy. It transforms the body into the sanctum of pure spirit.
Another means of supplicating Ganesha is the repetition of the mantra:
Om Shreem Hreem Kleem
Gum Gum Ganapati
The word puja means "worship", while "the Good Circle" refers to the circle at Muladhara in which the trikonam stands.
All that is discerned by the sense faculties is a reflection of the level of consciousness at which we function. All is an extension of the state in which awareness is situated. As conscious expands so does the periphery of perception.
All the various permutations of sound are contained within the body. Each sound hangs on the Tree of Shashumna like ripened fruit, vibrating as the pranic winds move & flow through the nadis. We see all fifty characters of the Sanskrit alphabet inscribed upon the petals of the flowering vine of the spine. To outwardly vibrate the mantra cannot compare to the impact of the mantra that resonates within. As testified by the power of the Sanskrit vowels in Schrader's Introduction to the Pancharatna, "the fourteen vowels gradually emerge from their latent condition [in A-Kaaram] by proceeding, with the Kundalini Shakti, from the Muladhara to the navel, the heart, and finally the throat where the first uttered sound arising is the aspirate, for which reason the Visarga [the aspiration] is interpreted literally as 'creation', its counterpart, the Anusvara or Bindu is an analogous way declared to represent the 'withdrawal' of speech. The Anusvara is also called 'sun', and the Visarga 'moon' ,and the sounds a, i, u, r, l, e, o, and aa, ee, oo, rr, ll, ai, au are respectively 'sunbeams' and 'moonbeams' and as such connected with day and night and with the nadis called Pingala and Ida."
The Immovable Pillar is the hub of the Wheel of Time. It is the still, silent, and changeless space at the center of all things.
When awareness is positioned where "the mind stands separate from the self" all of space, all of time, seems to simultaneously come into view. The mind, held in the silence, "having fallen into the silence that lies between words", the silence which holds the Om-kaara, the space which frames the character(s) on the page, all lie at the End of Sound, at the Aantam.
The Sanskrit root anta (tamil: aantam) can be found suffixed to words like Naath-Aantam "Sound's End" or prefixed to words like antaati. Antaati refers to a prosodic device, which Bhogar happens to employ through the bulk of his 7000 verses. This device brings continuity to the work, gives a cohesiveness to all that is expressed, and guides the train of thought from one verse to the next without leaving room for the mind's ramblings to reassert themselves. The antaati is where the verse begins with the end of the previous verse, begins with the final word or phrase of the verse that came before.
Strangely enough, this is in no way confining for Bhogar. Quite the contrary: He goes into each new verse carrying with him the momentum of the last. One is amazed at the richness of meaning that he draws from the closing phrase as he dramatically turns the movement of each new verse on a single word towards a new and surprising destination. Now and again, this device can produce in the reader the sudden satori-like flash of insight, turning awareness, much like a zen koan, towards the place where "the mind stands separate from itself". It is where the mind, held in the silence that holds the Om-kaara, becomes pacified by the ensuing ecstacy of viewing all things from the inside out. It is the point of view of the Immovable Point that is both everywhere and nowhere. Where one looks upon all of creation, simultaneously from each and every perspective.
Four inches above the root is Svadishtana. In this system Svadishtana incorporates some of the earth element associations and symbolism that is attributed in other traditions to Muladhara. The Siddhar system, placing Ganesha at the root rather then Brahma, transposes the attributions of the Gods one station. So Svadishtana becomes Brahma's House.
Although the placement of all the elements & presiding Deities is shifted a station in the Siddhar allocations, still the number of petals and the distribution of the letters remains for the most part consistent with the other systems. Bhogar gives this chakra two biju ("seed") mantras: the biju of Brahma "Nam" & the earth biju "Lam". The biju "Bhu", here also mentioned is the name of earth.
The letter A being the beginning of creation takes the form of the Creator's swan vehicle. Likewise this chakra is associated with the creative powers of procreation.
Each chakra governs a specific portions of our physical body and it's functions; in this case they being hair, bone, flesh, skin, and nerve.
Vaani, Brahma's "deathless" consort, is another name of Saraswati, Goddess of Knowledge. She together with Brahma sets about creating matter from energy.
The four-faced Brahma appears here with the "nine telling gems" that adorn his crown. They are called the Navaratna, the nine planetary bodies believed to radiate potent influences that mold fate and guide the soul along life's path.
Saraswati governs speech & the imparting of knowledge, this is why she is said to be "the Mother who wears the tongue".
Brahma's letter Na is the essence of creation, the giver of life, the progenitor of the field of action: "the forest of good and wicked acts".
The term aarchana refers to a form of ritual worship.
Maal's realm is the chakra Manipura, the "City of Gems". This is the seat of the intellect. It is the mind's fortress formed in the shape of the watery crescent. Rising from the waters is a Banyon Tree that grows from it's mantra seed Mam. This is the Kalpataru, the Wish-fulfilling Tree of Indra's heaven. Found at the heart of the mind lotus, it's roots penetrate into the deep dark waters of the subconscious. It is yet another of the many recurring Cosmic Axis motifs littered throughout the text, where awareness, poised at the silent center of thought, shades the body of the God (Vishnu) who is seated beneath the ancient tree, found at the center of the City of Gems.
"In the Concealment's Confusion
is spinning round."
Caught in the web of her own illusion (Maya). The Mother spins round within us as our own mind, ego, and feelings:
The mind's latent tendencies define phenomena and, in turn, build the House of Manipura. The mind makes distinctions, naming some objects as "beautiful/desirable/good", while others "ugly/undesirable/bad", and thus sets the bait that motivates us to pursue some external ideal; but in the perfected Manipura, within the ripened intellect one discovers the ancient mystery of the mind turned upon itself.
Here again Bhogar speaks of the Manipura, the lotus of the intellect as the house that conceals objective reality, that vainly seeks joy in transient objects.
When the mind's latent unity is dychotomized by attachment and aversion one wanders aimlessly in thought trying to uncover the girl (Shakti) who sets these winds of thought (Creation's play) in motion.
The Moon's Orb is the head and it's flower Sahasrara.
Manasa Puja (mental worship) is the practice of visualizing every ritual component and the act of offering. It completely internalizes not only the act of worship, but the object of worship as well bridging the rift between the Divine and man.
Ashtanga Yoga is "the Eight-limbed Yoga" first systematized by Patanjali between the 8th-9th centuries B.C. His work, the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, defines these eight limbs as..
1) Yama (restraints)
2) Niyama (observances)
3) Asana (a physical posture or pose; a way of sitting)
4) Pranayama (control of prana, breath)
5) Pratyahara (withdrawing the mind from sense perception)
6) Dharana (concentration)
7) Dhyana (meditation)
8) Samadhi (super-consciousness)
"Knowledge" refers to the House of Manipura.
Here we see the ascending triangle in the heart lotus, Anahata, which mirrors the descending triangle in Muladhara. The triangle in Anahata is the gate through which one passes into the realms beyond the physical.
The Upwards Sleep proports the coming of the fifth state.
In this verse Bhogar employs a clever pun: The word Shikaara refers to the central tower of a Hindu temple, which indicates where the deity has been installed, in the chamber below; but he simultaneously is referring to the Si-kaaram, the fiery letter Si, poised at the center of the Panchakshatra Mantra Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya.
Again, "the girl" is the Shakti.
Rudra is the presiding deity of this chakra, and Rudri, his consort.
As the spine was once the chain that binds us to matter, when the Kundalini is awakened, the spine becomes a prop that supports the universe.
Even the siddhis, acting upon themselves (8x8), numerically mimic the sixty-four essences that create the various evolutes of matter.
As each chakra is reached, it should be offered. The lotus should be mentally plucked from the vine (of the spine) and offered to Siva & Shakti.
The six-pointed star, ascending and descending triangles intertwined, is the meeting of heaven and earth, the union of Siva and Shakti, whose final merging takes place in Ajna.
Va is the biju of the water element, which in the beginning stood as the Causal Sea: an infinite ocean of all-possibility from which all things arise. It holds within it's depths the Great Dream of the multiplicity of existence.
Ya is the biju of the air, also allocated to this chakra as in Woodroffe's works.
"These tastes are only in the mouth and not beyond." What we perceive through the sense organs does not necessarily ensure that we are getting an accurate interpretation of "reality".
Va is the raechaka mantra which Bhogar applies to the in-breath. The in-breath enters and sustains the four elements that comprise the body.
The House of the Wind is Vishuddha and the "16 surfaces" it's petals. Here the individual soul begins it's process of dissolution into the absolute.
The biju of the Ajna chakra is Om. The Tamil character appears to have a tail. It is surrounded by a circle that has two petals.
The Ya referred to here is not the biju of the air element, but rather it is the final syllable of the Panchakshara. The mantra begins in Muladhara with Om--- then moves up the spine applying one syllable to each chakra Na-Ma-Si-Va-Ya, which then culminates in the pristine silence of Sahasrara.
I can offer little explanation for his attribution of the biju Va to the element ether. Va in other systems is attributed to the element water and placed in Svadishtana. I can only suspect that this is another reference to the Panchakshara Va used to accompany the inward flowing breath.
In the sixty-fourth verse, a numerically significant point in Bhogar's work, the 8 constituents & the 8 shaktis intermingle to produce the 64 components that make up the universe, (all that can be "known").
Here Bhogar reveals the Panchadaasakshaari Mantra (lit. "the 15 syllable mantra). This is the Mother's secret mantra, a closely guarded secret of amongst Brahmins even today. This mantra is so highly esteemed among them that they will even interweave its syllables with the ancient Gayatri of the Rig Veda.
Bhogar gives this fifteen syllable mantra garland of Manomani to his readers not without some reservation. If you count the number of syllables he relates, the number comes up fourteen. He has intentionally left one crucial syllable out of the verse. The equation is incomplete. Rendered useless by the omission of a single character.
Were it complete, it would put one in direct contact with the goddess Manomani, the Kundalini personified. It forms the very heart of this body of verse addressing the mysteries of Kundalini.
"Eight will be added unto four..." i.e. the eight siddhis will be applied to the four elements that compose earthly matter.
"You can enter the body of your loved one." means that you can project awareness into organic matter, see the world through others eyes, savour union with all beings, and leap the boundaries of flesh and form.
"You can cross the hair bridge
over the River of Fire."
This line gives us one of Bhogar's more vivid allegorical images: of the trepidatious crossing over from the realm of matter into the realm of spirit. The hair bridge is the Chitrini Nadi, the innermost thread of Shashumna. The River of Fire is the Kundalini Shakti.
"...and the symbol
becomes clearly defined in thought."
Having a concentrated mind, fixed on the symbol, is a crucial part of Bhogar's system. The symbolism is indispensable. One must have a reference point in order to direct the movement of awareness and an object with which to engage the mind.
Bhogar's system gives three primary tools to awaken and direct the Kundalini Shakti:
3) Symbols for visualization
Throughout this work he has given a rough draft of the sequence of their application, trouble shoots some of the dangers to be encountered, and offers his own unique kind of fatherly advice on how one lives with Yogic insight.
"That part of the self that is the Mother" encompasses all of us except that one primordial spark of changeless awareness. She is all thought, all experience, flesh & fluid, the senses & their objects, the mind & the subconscious, both ego & id.
Leaping beyond Her, all manifestation is dissolved back into the Great Self that is He: Sada Siva.
Gayatri is a particular form of mantra introduced in the Rig Veda. This particular Gayatri translates:
"I understand the flawless.
I meditate upon that which casts no reflection.
May that subtle principle
bestow grace upon us."
One's individual self burns away passing through the first eleven inches of the Twelve Inch Flame. Then, at its peak, within the final unit beyond, the aspirant discovers the supreme. Of what exists there,cannot be claimed to have been seen by anyone, for the "I" has been burnt away and the mystery of that twelfth inch stands as witness to itself. There is no room here for the subject-object dichotomy. Only being It can bare testament to It's validity.
In verse 72 the poet tells us, "You will see all of the hidden pathways". These, of coarse, being the 72,000 nadis through which the vital force (prana) is propelled. One need only center awareness on the point where air first passes into the nostrils ("...if you bite on the tip of the nose there will be union."), there the air flow can be balanced and the streams of breath united.
"Eat without eating", dine on the Ujjayi breath shifting awareness to the distinctive sensation in the throat and "you will see what is there".
Since the Kundalini Shakti is coiled around the lingam at Muladhara she is called 'Kubjika' ("the Hunchback"), but from the point of view of the Twelve Inch Flame she is a straight line which stretches on into infinity.
There is an old Tamil proverb which says:
"What's the use of a coconut
to a dog?"
A dog cannot penetrate its hard outer shell and savour its sweet milk & tender fruit. The mind continually spews forth its doubts and insecurities (and the Yogi's mind is no different), But thoughts such as these should be combated with reflection, reason, and the renewed vigor to practice "the method of the residing breath" with unwavering diligence.
Here the path repeats itself as Bhogar guides us once again through the whole elaborate process (of scaling the chakras) in only six verses:
Ma sends breath down to the Banyon Tree that rises up from Svadishtana. Its left & right roots are joined in Muladhara and rise upwards as the celestial tree, Kalpataru.
"The five grey hairs" refers to the hair found at the top of the head, the moustache, the beard, on the chest, and in the pubic region.
The body turns a reddish hue as the Kundalini is aroused. There will also be a concentration of heat in the region of the awakened chakra, as Woodroffe also attests to in The Serpent Power, "There is one simple test whether the Shakti is actually aroused. When she is aroused intense heat is felt at that spot but when she leaves a particular centre that part so left becomes as cold and apparently lifeless as a corpse. The progress upwards may thus be externally verified by others. When the Shakti (Power) has reached the upper-brain (Sahasrara) the whole body is cold and corpse-like; except the top of the skull, where some warmth is felt, this being the place where the static and kinetic aspects of Consciousness unite." At this point the body appears pale, cool, and glows with a soft lustre.
The myrobalam fruit is clear in color. It allegorically refers to adopting the fluid character of the changing environment. Placed in the hand, it takes on the color of the skin, inferring the malleability of pure consciousness.
It has been said that the enlightened sage exudes a particular fragrance, what Bhogar calls, "the True Fragrance", the scent of the Divine.
Mercurial amalgams were employed by the Siddhars for various works. One of which being to gain the power of flight; but it is difficult to say whether this infers a physical phenomenon or a kind of astral projection. Whichever it may be, Bhogar used the mercurial amalgam to take him to the furthest frontiers of creation, beyond space and time, to the periphery of the universe, the farthest shores of his own being.
I have added these two closing verses to convey Bhogar's most intimate insights on the true character of the breath:
The mind/body is a vessel into which Siva pours as the breath of life. Breath and Siva are one.
We all share a common soul, a common breath, a common life. Siva flows through creation, entering the body as breath; but then Mind rises up, surveying the apparent multiplicity of existence, asserting its individuality, stating, "I am the doer". This marks the birth of the ego and the beginning of a life in isolation, cut off from a universe which all are irrevocably connected to.
But there is no need to struggle in our alienation and aloneness. We are alone because there is only One: the Great Awareness (which becomes Siva, who, in turn, becomes breath).
If we are unwavering, always mindful of breath (the giver of life); receiving it with reverence, gratitude, & humility; receiving it as Holy Communion; there is no longer any need for struggling & striving.
Breathing in: God becomes many; and each and every being may savour the Divine within. Breathing out: One need not have any reservation, but let the vessel become emptied into the Divine Ocean of space... vibrant with the pranic essence, infinite & indivisible.
"There is nothing to be accomplished.
Turn back [the Holy Breath]
"He alone who has been acquainted with the wealth of the six lotuses by Maha-Yoga is able to explain the inner principles thereof. Not even the most excellent among the wise, nor the oldest in experience, is able, without the mercy of the Guru, to explain the inner principles relating to the six Lotuses..."
In most cases, I have resisted the temptation to rearrange the order of Bhogar's words. This refusal on my part may make the translated portion of this work seem more choppy and disjointed in places, but I feel that the sequence in which Bhogar presents these words and images is important, and that any attempt on my part to make Bhogar's 7000 "more readable" would subvert the effect that his work was intended to instill in the reader.
This is more that just a map of consciousness or a technical manual on Kundalini Yoga. What may at first appear as Bhogar's inability to be clear and concise, I assure you, is neither empty embellishment, nor the rantings of a madman. The images which he uses are not digressions in the narrative, but a carefully structured stream of ideas and symbols.
This is not just a poem, but a guided meditation, where Bhogar presents more than just a map of the inner terrain: He specifies what the tools are, when & where they are to be employed. All is given freely... encoded within the context of these haunting visions with which the mind must busy itself by conjuring up, lest the journey's momentum be lost in clinging to paltry matters of technique.