Question 250-251: Prana, apana

The young Rama asks about breath in the body, prana and apana. In the next question, the topic is awareness of Brahman.

prana the breath of life, life-breath, the vital force which keeps the body alive, the sustaining life-energy fig. a beloved person, dear as one’s very life. Expressed as vibration, prana is the link between the astral and the causal body. We absorb prana through the food we eat, the water we drink and the air we breathe, from sunlight and the earth we live on – yet it is not vitamin, heat or light rays. It is in the air, but is not in the oxygen, nor any of its chemical components. Its movement is inward; its seat is the heart. (V. 66, 320, 407)

apāna — air going downward Bg 4.29

sandhi: one of three states in the day based on the movement of the Sun, called (junction) or (transfer to) phases of time: sunrise, noon and sunset. Those who have due diligence chant Gayatri mantra at these times.

sandhi: interior junction state where / when one is stabilised in the Self; it is pure Consciousness, beyond description.

hridaya: heart = n. the heart (or region of the heart as the seat of feelings and sensations; “to take to heart “‘), soul, mind (as the seat of mental operations; the heart or interior of the body; the heart or centre or core or essence or best or dearest or most secret part of anything;

vyadhi: ailments

adhi-vyadhi: ailments originated by conflicts of mind

Atma-satta The potency of Atma (the Soul).


Question 250: Sir, what is the flow of prana and apāna?

Answer: Ramji, prana is hot like fire (agni-roop) and apāna is cool like the moon. They are like light and shade. The point of conjunction and of separation of the two is called sandhi (the border, the junction between states), and the realisation of sandhi is the source of all pleasures. Ramji, when the cool apana enters within, it stays as the hot prana in the heart (hridaya), and again when hot prana goes out up to twelve digits, it reaches the cool plane of the moon. In this manner, apāna rises as prana, and prana rises as apāna. When apāna (breath inhaled) stays in the place of prana, but does not arise as prana, or when prana is exhaled and it stays out up to twelve digits but does not arise as apāna —— both these are the states of quiescence and are called the conjunctions (sandhi) or the intermediary states. Ramji, strive in every possible manner to be established in the conjunction (sandhi) state.

Ramji, in this manner, Queen Chudala practised yoga and wisdom, and acquired all powers by which she could move in all the three planes. Also, she continued to teach the king little by little, about the principle of Brahman and tried to make him understand that the universe is like a dream, but these teachings produced no effect upon the king.

Question 251: Sir, Queen Chudala was endowed with all powers, she was adept in all types of yoga and she had attained the wisdom of the non-dual. Also, the king was not a fool. Why, then, did her teachings not produce any effect upon the king?

Answer: Ramji, just as the thread cannot pass through a pearl that has not been drilled for a hole, so the teachings of the queen could not influence the mind of the king. As long as an individual does not contemplate or reflect by himself and is not adept in that practice, he cannot be influenced even if Lord Brahma himself were to come down to teach him, because Atma can be realised by one’s own efforts only and not through anyone else. Atma is not an object of the senses which would be manifest with the utterances of somebody.


There are four types of yoga: karma (action), bhakti (devotion), Jnana (wisdom) and Raja (meditation). Karma yoga means dedicating all your good work believing it to be God’s work. You must pray with the full knowledge that God is, everywhere asking Him, “Are you listening to my prayers and seeing my misery?.” Then we would feel His Presence and find His two lotus Eyes. God is like your bodyguard; He is inside you, in front of you, around you and behind you. You may have a human bodyguard who can only walk beside you but God says He is behind you also. Your eyes are in front, so how can you see God behind? You cannot see God behind you though He is there. When you look behind. He also moves behind you, but this is delusion. So, in the yoga of action (karma yoga) there is experience with God. As karma yoga involves purely selfless action there should be no anticipation of the results of actions but rather one should accept any consequences.

Once there was an old man who had performed nishkama karma (selfless service). He had planted a mango tree with the hope that many people would enjoy and partake of the fruits. When he was struggling in the heat to plant it, his son in law was surprised at his action and asked him why he was troubling himself. The old man replied that one’s body has been gifted for doing service. He then gave his son-in-law some coconut water to drink which he very much relished. The old man revealed that this coconut tree had been planted not by him but by his father so that sometime or the other someone would enjoy the fruits. This story exemplifies that deeds should be performed so that others may experience goodness and happiness in society. This is true nishkama karma yoga.

In bhakti yoga the action is performed with total Love and sincere Divine feelings without any trace of selfishness. The purpose of devotion is to please God who is the embodiment of full Bliss. You don’t need to say “Happy Birthday” to God because He is full of Bliss. Say it to those who are unhappy. God who is Bliss and Love may be compared to a big tank, the devotion of the devotee to a pipe and his good selfless actions to the tap. Open the tap and fill your self with Bliss and Love. If one puts poison into the tank the water would then become poisonous water; as is the feeling so is the expression or result. God is the embodiment of purity so with pure Love make God happy; this should be your duty and the goal of your life. Since time is infinite your heart should be also broad. Don’t worry what others think of you; surrender to God. April 17, 1996


dog at temple



Hamsa Gayatri
Om Hamsaaya Vidmahe
Paramahamsaya Dheemahi
Tanno Hamsa Prachodayat

“May we realise Hamsa that is our own Self as the Swan. Let us meditate on that Paramahamsa, the Supreme Self. May Hamsa illumine us.”



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