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  Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at Prasanthi Nilayam
July 7, 2002

The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar

Breath Management - Part 1

July 7th, 2002


Sai Ram.

With Pranams at the Lotus Feet of Bhagavan,

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

Three Aspects Of Breath Management

In this morning’s session, I would like to deal with the subject entitled “Breath Management”. People are very much interested to know about breath management. There have been a number of classes and training centers the world over teaching the art of breath management. I don’t claim any expertise or any long experience in this process. I can only share with you what Bhagavan has said on the topic of breath management. What are its implications? What are the details that we should know? I will be sharing that with you.

The breath management topic can be broadly divided under three headings: 1) Soham manthra, 2) music and vibrations, and 3) maintaining inner harmony. How do we do it? What do we do? Why do we do it? These are the aspects that we are going to study this morning.

The actual process - the breathing exercise that goes along with the manthra Soham - is very important. What is this Soham? Bhagavan says, “As we breathe in (inhalation), it is ‘So’. As we breathe out (exhalation), it is ‘ham’. ‘So’ is inhalation, while ‘ham’ is exhalation. We breathe in and we breathe out. These two constitute the process of breath or respiration. The respiration process includes these two – both inhalation and exhalation. ‘So’ = inhalation + ‘ham’ = exhalation. We’ll be studying the Soham manthra in the first aspect.

The second aspect of breath management should have some sort of music as a backdrop. What sort of music? Not disturbing music, not music that agitates our mind, not music that will fill the still waters of our mind with turbulence, but music that helps us to maintain balance and equanimity. That is the second aspect of our study this morning.

The third aspect is maintaining inner harmony. What is the purpose of breath management? The ultimate purpose of breath management is inner harmony, inner peace and inner bliss. That is the main objective, the chief purpose of breath management.

Let me share some thoughts with you that I have collected from Sai literature on this topic of breath management. It is estimated that we take around 21,600 breaths per day. Breath management is important for another reason. When we control, exercise or manage our breathing process, we try to reduce our breaths. By doing this, it is said that we live longer. The longevity of life depends on the breathing process. The withdrawal of the mind or control of the mind also depends on the breathing process. And so, peace of mind depends on the breathing process.

So, breath management has three implications: 1) longevity, 2) peace of mind and 3) settling into the state of bliss. These are the three advantages or compensations in this process of breath management.

21,600 Breaths Per Day

The breath management topic is included for all trainees and class one officers like the cadre of Indian Administrative Service and the Indian Police Service. All these people of class one service will go through this topic of breath management. Officials, engineers and doctors will also undergo training in this process of breath management. What am I trying to do this morning? I am trying to give you a bird’s eye view of this topic of breath management.

We take 21,600 breaths per day -- this means inhalation and exhalation. That’s the calculation! However, a yogi, a spiritual seeker, a spiritual aspirant will take around 6 to 7 breaths per minute. Time is important when we think of breath management. The time factor is very necessary because we have become more technical, technological, and computer-oriented. That makes it difficult to be careful, to be watchful of the time factor.

The 6 to 7 breaths per minute that a yogi takes during his breathing process are certainly not 15, like an average person does. An average person, without any management, without any knowledge of breath control, will probably take 15 breaths per minute. So, that has to be reduced to six or seven per minute. That’s what a yogi does.

It is estimated that a monkey is short-lived. The monkey is short-lived because it takes 40 breaths per minute. Now you can understand: 40 breaths versus 6! What a gulf of difference between their breath control! The next point: A snake lives longer because it takes around 3 to 4 breaths per minute. This information is all collected from the Sai literature. It is nothing of my own; I don’t take credit whatsoever. So, the 3 to 4 breaths per minute that a snake takes for the breathing process helps it to live longer.

Man is estimated to take 900 breaths per hour. That amounts to 10,800 during the daytime, if you calculate 21,600 per day. Bhagavan always says this: “Soham: ‘So’ is inhalation, ‘ham’ is exhalation. We breathe in, we breathe out 21,600 times per day.

While translating and interpreting, I can go wrong with numbers because from the cradle to right now, I am afraid of numbers. (Laughter) Because I might go wrong, I thought that I better put the numbers here (on the board). That way I won’t go wrong, particularly when you are interested to know in-depth what Bhagavan has said.

‘Koham’ And ‘Soham’

Bhagavan mentioned another point: “Man is born with a cry. A baby cries soon after its birth. What is the cry? “Koham? Who am I, who am I?” The child at the time of birth cries “Koham! Who am I, who am I?” Later, the answer to this question must be found by investigation.

The answer to “Koham? Who am I?” is “Soham - I am God! I am God!” However, in between learning this, there are two wrong answers. We don’t arrive at the correct answer immediately. We are not that brilliant! “Koham? Who am I?” The first answer that we give is, “Deham. I am the body.” No! No! That is the wrong answer. “Naham Deham. You are not the body.” Then second answer to the question “Koham? Who am I?” is, “Jivosmi. I'm the individual soul.” Naham! (No!) You are not the individual soul!

Then comes the final and correct answer to Koham: “Soham! I am God! I am God!” So, there are two wrong answers, which come in between. Some people say, “I don’t give any wrong answers. I give the correct answer straightaway.” The answer that we may give straightaway does not come from the depth of experience and conviction because most of us identify ourselves with the body.

So, who are you? Koham? Naturally we say, “I am the body, as you see me.” Some people ask, “How are you?”

You answer, "As I look.” (Laughter) So we go by looks; we go by the body. So, who are you? I am the body because the body has a name. “I am so-and-so.” The body naturally has its own personality and the people around us will watch it. So, what is the answer to “Koham - Who am I?” “I am the body” is the wrong answer.

The second answer comes next. “Who am I? Koham?” The second answer is, “I'm the individual soul or the mind.” This means that I have these accomplishments; I have these degrees; I am of this profession; I am of this stature; I'm of some position; I have some property. ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’ abaa! This is the second stage. Then finally we arrive at the answer: “I am not the body; I am not the mind. I am God! Soham.”

We always say, “I am the mind” because the mind is the biggest obstacle. To remove the mind, we have to reach the state of egolessness. The mind is the ego that claims: ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’, ‘I’! So, when this ‘I’-ness or ego is dropped, this reality comes to the surface.

“Soham - I am God” is the third answer. So, 21,600 times per day, during the breathing process, we breathe in and we breathe out: “Soham, Soham, I am God! I am God!” We say (breathe) this, yet we are not aware of it. We have no experience of it. We have no idea of it, though it is repeated 21,600 times per day. That manthra is going on unnoticed, unchallenged, unquestioned and unparalleled. It goes on throughout our life.

Why do we say 21,600 times? Why not 700 times? Why not 500 times? People start questioning because these days to accept without questioning – well that is rare. To question shows very high intellect. To deny is considered top intelligence. Madness is the climax! (Laughter) This is the sequence of arrogance.

Bhagavan was commenting the other day: “Most thinkers, the scientists in particular, go on thinking very deeply, restlessly, incessantly and continuously. They go on thinking. Einstein, Sri Isaac Newton, Galileo - all the great thinkers go on thinking and thinking. Then what happens? They end in madness. Most of them turned psychotic and then they turned mad.”

I was tempted to put this question to Bhagavan: “Swami, thinking is the sign of an intellectual. The more you think, the greater you are in this modern age. When you say that I will turn mad by thinking, shall I stop thinking? If I do not think, I'm a dunce. If I think, I'm an intellectual. Why do You say that I should not think?”

Bhagavan said, “Well, everything should have certain limits. Just because you can eat, you cannot go on eating throughout the day. Just because you have eyes, you cannot go on watching everything.” The eye has a certain limit of light intensity. The eye cannot bear very high light intensity. Just because you have ears, you cannot hear all sounds. The tympanum or the eardrum can’t bear a sound of certain intensity. When an atom bomb sound is heard, well, it is a loud sound. What will happen? The ears do not function the next moment.” (Laughter) So the ear has a certain limit and the eye has a certain limit.


The body, as Bhagavan calls it, is a limited company. All the senses act under certain limitations. So the point is, even breathing happens under certain limitations. 21,600 times has some numerological interpretation. The science that deals with the numbers is called numerology. The numerological interpretation is this:

Let us think about 216: Six plus one plus two equals nine. Nine is the Divine number! Why not eight? Why not seven? Why nine? Is it superstition? Is it misapprehension? Is it merely a hypothesis? Why is the number nine Divine? Nine is Divine because a human being has three qualities, while the Divine has six qualities. Six plus three equals nine. Every one has those nine qualities. We have six Divine qualities and we have three human qualities, so the total of nine is in everyone. Thus nine is the Divine number.

Next, half of 216 is 108. Then one plus eight equals nine - again the Divine number! Then 12 X 9 equals 108. What is this 12? They say there are 12 houses. The sun moves from one house to another house as per sastra (scriptures). There are 12 months in a calendar year. The sun moves from one house to another each month; that’s astronomy. As per the astronomical calculation, the sun moves from one house to another house: 12 X 9 equals 108. These houses are called rasis. So, what is this number 8? Number eight signifies maya or illusion. Maya or illusion is represented by this number eight.

These are points that we shall go into detail about in due course of time, so I wanted to explain the form in the beginning. Some people may be missing next weeks’ talks, so I wanted to give them the gist of it right now. Then if they are interested, they can find out from their friends. I'm just giving you an overall picture of the talk.

Music And Vibrations

The second aspect of breath management is music and vibrations.

Music: William Shakespeare said, “Music is the food of Love.” If music is the food of Love as Shakespeare calls it, play on! Music is very important. A number of experiments have been conducted on the influence of music.

Well, to give you two examples - here are two sets of plants. One group of plants is here and another group of plants is at a long distance. If you play soft music, classical music, in front of the plants here, watch them grow. Then watch the plants, which are allowed to grow without exposure to music. Watch the growth between the two sets of plants. The first set of plants here, which is exposed to classical music, soft music, will grow faster than those plants, which have not been exposed to music. This has been scientifically proven. The second experiment is that the cow that is exposed to music will yield more milk and yield it faster than the cow that is not exposed to music.

Therefore, music has an influence on our mind. It affects our mind. It affects our breathing process. It affects our health in general. So Namasmarana, bhajan or sankirtan will naturally generate certain vibrations, which are called electro-magnetic waves. The waves generated during Namasmarana naturally result in building peace of mind. Peace of mind and the blissful state are an effect of electro-magnetic vibrations.

That’s the reason why Bhagavan insists on participation in bhajans. Bhajans are a must. We find bhajans and Namasmarana in all schools of philosophy. In churches we have hymns where there is community singing. Guru Nanak believed in community singing. Lord Chaitanaya believed that singing and dancing go together. This means essentially that music is Divine and dance is Divine.

Therefore, Namasmarana and bhajans generate electro-magnetic waves. Then what happens? When we return from bhajans, we enjoy peace and equanimity. As we listen to bhajans, we enjoy peace -- we are lost as we have our eyes closed. When we join in the chorus, naturally the mind enjoys peace and equanimity. During bhajans, it is quite easy to concentrate. Concentration is easier by Namasmarana than by other processes of spiritual paths. When we concentrate on Namasmarana, there are advantages.

J - O - Y : God First, Others Next, ‘I’ Last

We should also learn to pray for others. Namasmarana or any spiritual exercise is not for selfish ends or selfish interests. We should pray for others! Here we have three letters: J - O - Y. ‘J’ is for ‘Jesus’ - We should think of God first. ‘O’ is for ‘others’. ‘Y’ is for ‘you’ - You should come last. If we reverse it, ‘I’ first, others next, well it does not matter -- God is dropped! (Laughter) This should not be the situation! God first, others next, ‘I’ last. That should be the order or priority!

Some people may wonder what is in Namasmarana. We go on shouting and we go on clapping. Isn’t that a disturbance? Thousands are singing the chorus. “Doesn’t the singing frighten you? Oh, they clap repeatedly! Well, I feel like running away!” Some people may question, “What is there in the sound?” A sound man with a sound mind will not ask that question!

Bhagavan gave one example about the effect of sound. A modern man started questioning, “What is there in a sound? Nothing!” What happened next showed this man the effect of sound. This man was asked to attend a school the next morning. This gentleman went to the school the next morning.

The teacher told a very young boy, “Get up!” He shouted at the fellow, “Useless fellow! Idiot! Rascal!” and all of that. (Laughter)

So this little boy went on shouting. He was very furious. He could not control his anger, “Grr! I'm going to beat you!”

Then immediately the teacher said, “It’s only sound. I did not do anything. I did not manhandle you. I did not beat you. After all, it was only sound – the words ‘useless fellow’. Why are you disturbed?”

So, when some sounds of objectionable words are used, you are very much disturbed. Now you can understand the effect of sound: Some sounds agitate you, while other sounds can help you have peace or a balanced mind. Why? That is the effect of the sound.

Conscious, Conscience, Consciousness

The third aspect that we have to go through this morning is maintaining inner harmony. The lack of inner harmony is responsible for all the tragic events, for all the sadness and for all the misery that we pass through. Why? Why are we unhappy? Why can't we be happy? Why are we miserable? Why can't we be blissful? We have never put these questions to ourselves. It comes from a lack of inner harmony. Under this column (referring to the blackboard), we are going to study these aspects: conscious, conscience and Consciousness - the three levels of awareness.

The first level of awareness is the body. I am body-conscious. I am conscious of my body, I’m conscious of my personality, I'm conscious of my vocabulary and I'm conscious of my dress. This is conscious, the first level of awareness, which is below the senses.

The second level of awareness is conscience. It is above the senses. Conscience is the inner voice. Many people say, “I’ll act as per my conscience. My conscience tells me that I am wrong. My conscience will dictate what I'm supposed to do.” So, conscience is the inner prompting. That is the second level of awareness.

The third level of awareness is Consciousness. Consciousness is all-pervasive, present everywhere, present all over the Universe. This Universal Consciousness, this Cosmic Consciousness is the third level of awareness. It is beyond the senses, beyond human limitations, beyond name and form, and beyond time and space.

So my friends, the three levels of awareness are -- conscious, conscience and Consciousness. The first is below the senses; the second is above the senses; the third is Universal or Cosmic. The understanding of these three levels will help us to cultivate and develop inner harmony.

The Head

This is the third aspect: We have two main centers that operate. These two main centers are functional and important in establishing relationships. The first center is the head. The second center is the heart. Most often we function at the level of the head. We go on thinking, we go on manipulating, we go on planning and we go on managing. This is the head.

The head will make everyone of us eligible to get into a position. Finally, we become headstrong and end up in that state of headlessness! So, first the head functions; second, it becomes headstrong; and third, it becomes headless. Those are the three levels. So, it is the head that has become the burden. The mind has become a sort of obstacle like an iron curtain.

First we operate -- we function at the level of the head. All scholars, all pundits, all educated people, all professors, all people of high rank and file only function at the level of the head. That’s the reason why the head gets tired. We don’t give the head rest. It goes on functioning day and night. Even while we sleep, even in our dreams, we think of our business, we think of our rivals and we think of our enemies. We fight with them there because it is not possible to fight them here! (Laughter) I'm afraid to face my enemy here, so I can face him in my dreamland. (Laughter) I'm not successful in my business here, so I’ll make a profit in my dream state. What has not been done here can be very much achieved over there.

So my friends, the mind is tired. The mind is constantly engaged in the waking state and even in the dreaming state. As such, it has no rest at all. Naturally, a restless mind is the cause for blood pressure. An agitated mind is responsible for hypertension. A mind that is constantly engaged is responsible for diabetes. Too much worry and too much anxiety are the causes of cardiac complaints and heart diseases. Most of the hospitals are very, very busy because of the restless mind of the individuals. The mind expresses its pain through the body by the way of ailments or diseases. Diseases or ailments are nothing but expressions of a restless mind, of an agitated mind, of a disturbed mind.

We think that the body is having a rest because we have an air-conditioned room and a U-foam bed (a very thick, costly mattress). The body is at rest, but the mind is not at rest. Therefore, the mind will certainly take revenge. As a sort of reaction, it will tell the body, “This is not the place where you are supposed to sleep. There is a bed in the hospital where you can lie down.” (Laughter)

The mind can be given some rest by music and vibrations, by listening to bhajans, by doing this breathing exercise and by the Soham manthra. Then the mind will be at rest. When the mind is at rest, when the mind becomes non-functional, that state is called ‘withdrawal of the mind’, ‘absence of the mind’ or ‘annihilation of the mind’. Well, this helps us to enjoy the inner bliss. Those are the aspects that we are going to consider for the maintenance of inner harmony.

The next point Bhagavan speaks about is 3HV. These three words have ‘H’ as the first letter - head, heart and hand. These three should go together; or rather, there should be harmony or absolute unity of thought, word and deed. When thought is at variance or differs from action, when action is different from thought, and thoughts and actions are different from the verbal expression -- well, that makes a confused man. He may be successful in making money. He may be very successful in being influential. He may be very, very successful in occupying a prestigious position. Yet, the lack of harmony will disturb his mind.

Money Will Not Help Us To Live In Peace

This morning’s newspaper brought out an interesting item. What did it say? “A Clerk Minted Money - 50 Lakhs - Corruption.” He was arrested on corruption charges and the details were given in the newspaper. Every day this clerk somehow managed to carry thousands of rupees as he returned home.

His son and his wife could not understand how this man was getting thousands and thousands every day. After all, his salary was paid only once a month. So he could not get thousands every day. The son suspected something and the wife, being very intelligent, also suspected something, while enjoying those thousands of rupees every day. Well, they were happy for a week, then for 15 days. Later they started asking this fellow, “From where are you getting all this money?” He could not answer them. What he had done was he dug a deep pit in his back yard. There he had hidden 20 lakhs. All this appeared in this morning’s newspaper. You can see. It is there!

The son and the wife started pulling his collar about the other money at home, the remaining lakhs, “Where is this from?” This man could not bear this torture any longer. After all, he had just wanted to be complimented by his wife and son for bringing home thousands and thousands, as others do all over the world. They were making his life miserable by repeatedly questioning him, “From where did you get all this money?”

This fellow told them what had happened: “Yes! I'm swindling money. I'm absolutely corrupt and that’s how I'm getting the money.”

These people said, “Nothing doing! You go to the police and report it.” His wife and son handed him over to the police and there he confessed: “These are the kickbacks that I received.” This morning’s newspaper carried this item: “Swindling of the Scholarship Money! About 30 Crores are Mismanaged - Corruption.” Few officials are arrested on corruption charges.

Well, this is a case which lets you know that even money will not help you to live in peace, even thousands or lakhs. We think that we’ll be peaceful if we get money. We are happy in thinking that we’ll be happy if we get the money! (Laughter) So happiness is in the thought, that’s all - not in the money. If happiness is present in money, why should that fellow be arrested? So, let’s be happy in thinking that we’ll be happy if we get money. This is safe -- we don’t want to be imprisoned, questioned or challenged! This is a comfortable position. So the point is - inner harmony is possible by having perfect harmony in thought, word and deed.

Criticism Harms The Person Who Criticizes

Perfect harmony is also possible by observing three important things: One, regarding criticism, let us not criticize anybody. By constantly criticizing someone, more than the person whom we criticize, we are disturbed more because we have to think deeply enough to criticize him. (Laughter) If I say, “You are a fool,” I should think of your foolish actions. I should also record your foolish words and I should follow your friends. I keep thinking how foolish you are, the intensity of your foolishness, that there is no end to your foolishness. I plan on how to call you a fool and how to prove that you are a fool. I spend 24 hours at this and thereby I become a double fool. (Laughter)

Therefore, this sort of criticism harms the person who criticizes and not the person who is criticized. After all, the criticized person gets but one word from you. However, the one who criticizes spends the whole day thinking about him. Who is more damaged? We can understand. So, criticism is one thing that robs our inner harmony.

The second thing is anger: Anger is responsible for temper, loss of balance and lack of inner harmony. An example of anger: If I want to be angry with one of my students, I should do a lot of homework and wait for some days. I should catch him at the right moment. Unfortunately, if he is there in the class at the right time, I cannot blast him. If he gives answers to my questions, I cannot bombard him. So, I go on waiting to catch him. It will take several days at least. (Laughter)

If that boy detects that I'm ready to catch him, he’ll be more careful. (Laughter) He’ll come to the class fully prepared. He’ll do the homework well and attend the lab work promptly. So, if I am after him, I am with him. Even while eating, I think of him and how I can catch him the next morning. (Laughter) Even while talking with my wife, I tell her what a loss it is, what an insult it is because I could not catch one student after all my long period of service. This has become my mental worry.

Somehow, I find a convenient time. My stars are quite favorable, so I catch hold of him on one fine morning and find a mistake. I am ready to release the gas cylinder of my anger. (Laughter) That fellow will just be laughing, “Why is this fellow shouting so much? For a simple mistake, is that why this man is shouting like that?” (Laughter) The boy does not know that all this cooked-up anger, this puffed-up anger is from the last several days and months, just waiting for an opportunity to be expressed! So all this anger, which has been built-up over time, is expressed anger and it is repaid with compound interest! (Laughter)

Then what happens? As I blast, well, I get a release. Then comes the trouble. This fellow (me) who is usually so strong, after blasting, after shouting, becomes very weak. He needs some hot coffee now, a Boost now with some protein. (Laughter) It is estimated that in a moment of anger, one loses the strength that he has gained over a period of one full month. The strength that I derived over a period of a month is lost in a moment of anger. So, inner harmony is lost because of anger.

The third thing is holding a grudge: You have not wished me well last year. You have not said “Sai Ram” to me last year. The whole year I've been waiting for you. (Laughter) You have not offered me a cup of coffee in three years. I have known you for a long time. I'm waiting for you. When nothing happens, I have a grudge against you. So, this kind of grudge against another also disturbs inner harmony. It will not allow anybody to live in peace.


And finally, there is acceptance: If I cultivate the spirit of acceptance, I will live in peace and perfect harmony. Acceptance means to let things happen as they should. Yes! I am bound to suffer! Yes, I’ll suffer! In accepting the suffering, well, the agony, the intensity, the magnitude of it will be less and less. Even though I suffer, it will be less.

Maybe Bhagavan wants me to learn, maybe Bhagavan wants me to evolve, maybe Bhagavan wants me to go within; therefore I'm put to suffering. This is called acceptance. “Oh God, this is all Your Will! “ That’s what we call ‘surrender’. So if a man is ready to accept whatever comes in his lifetime unconditionally -- well, he will be able to evolve. He will be able to experience bliss, which is a non-dual state.

So, there are three aspects to learn and study under this topic of breath management: Soham manthra; music and vibrations; and maintenance of inner harmony.

If it is not possible to complete it this week, I very much hope to take it up again next week and deal with the same subject.


Pranayama (breath control) is our next topic. There is an eight-fold path called Ashtanga Yoga: The eight-fold path to the Divine is - Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Dhyana, Dhaarana and Samadhi. In this eight-fold path, Pranayama (breath management) is an important aspect. It is a yoga or connecting link between the individual soul and the Cosmic Soul. Yoga means the connecting link. Yoga is not a physical exercise, no! Yoga is that which connects the individual soul with the Cosmic Soul, with the Universal Soul. Pranayama is yoga. It is a spiritual process. It is a spiritual exercise.

Before we go into the points that Bhagavan has told us about, He has very clearly stated, “This breathing exercise must be done under the care of an experienced person.” You can take it from me; I am not the one! An experienced person, an expert, can guide you in this process of Pranayama. He is one who does not charge you, one who does not say, ‘I want $500 to teach you breath management.’ Please do not allow someone who charges to lead you.

The guru will never charge you. The person who will never charge you is a true teacher. If he charges you, if he expects anything, please keep away from him, at a respectful distance. If he says, “I will teach you breath management beginning from tomorrow for a week for only Rps. 150,” it’s not worth learning it. If we have a guru who expects nothing – neither name, fame, recognition nor money -- he is an unusual person. It is very difficult to find such a person! Therefore, let us not attempt it at all. (Laughter)

Furthermore, there is a danger here. If we do Pranayama without expert guidance, and we do it as we like, our lungs get affected. Our health will be spoiled. Therefore, Pranayama is not prescribed for everybody.

Namasmarana Is Enough

You may be wondering, “Why is this man speaking on this topic which is not worth knowing?” I am speaking on this topic only to re-affirm and confirm our faith in Namasmarana, which is safe. If we do bhajan, if we do Namasmarana, our lungs will not become spoiled. Our heart will not become weak. Our mind will not become mad and we will be more comfortable. We don’t need any expert guidance. We don’t need a melodious voice. I can sing as I like because I do not sing for others -- I sing for myself. If I start singing for others, I need to have some basic knowledge of music. I need some instruments. I'm not a singer, but I can still sing for myself. I can join bhajans and enjoy them, that’s all. So, this practice does not need any expert guidance or any high degree in music. It is not necessary. So Namasmarana is the best:

Harih Nama Harih Nama,
Harih Namame Kevalam,
Kalo Nastiva, Nastiva, Gatih Ranyatha.

In this age of Kali, there is no refuge other than Namasmarana or bhajans. However, our mind does not want such an easy, simple way. It wants to undergo some stress and strain. (Laughter) The mind wants to be egoistic in spirituality as well. “In this world, I'm greater than everybody because I have a Ph.D. You don’t have one. Many people don’t have one. In this field, I'm really great because I have a few crores of money.” The mind always craves to be special. The mind always wants to be unique or something extraordinary. So it continues its dirty temperament even in spirituality. Even on the spiritual path, the mind wants to be special.

Though it has been clearly said that Namasmarana and bhajan are enough, the mind says, “No! No! 50,000 people do it! (Laughter). If I do the same thing, how can I be special?” I have heard many say, “Ah, no, no, no, no! Something deeper!” (Laughter) Oh I see. “Something deeper - Pranayama (breath control).” Ah! Please, do it if you like, but under the guidance of an expert. Otherwise you will be doing it at your own risk.

Then there is yoga. Yes, you can do that. Yet, certain yogic exercises, if they are taken up at a certain age, will not help you and you will have to remain in that posture. You will require some ointments to come to normalcy. (Laughter) At the age of 60, if I start doing some asanas, what will happen? My body will remain in that particular dancing posture and I will have to come to Kulwant Hall like that, much to the entertainment of my audience there. (Laughter) Some exercises should not be taken up after a certain age.

Breath management (Pranayama) cannot be done by everybody. The easiest and simplest thing to do is Namasmarana and bhajan. Yet some people say, “No, no, no! We don’t want it. We want something deeper, something different.” Yes! (Laughter) That is nothing but ego. Actually, this topic is chosen not in order to encourage you to start doing this, but to encourage you to avoid doing it! (Laughter) I'm doing this topic to suggest that you avoid it, by informing you of how difficult it is and how dangerous it is.

Bhagavan gave us all this information. It is not my concoction and not my own making. He said this: “Pranayama should be done under the supervision of an expert. If it’s not done properly, it will lead to complications of your breathing process and your lungs will be affected.” That’s what Bhagavan said. You can certainly go through “Dhyana Vahini” where He deals with these aspects.

Three Steps In The Breathing Process

Next, there are three steps in the breathing process. I take in the breath – inhalation. That is called purika, ‘filling with air’. The lungs are filled with air (inhalation), breathe in ‘So’. Having taken in the breath, it has to be retained for some time. That period of detention or retention is called kumbhaka. That is the second stage. The third stage is to breathe out, release the air. That is called rechaka. So, purika is inhalation, kumbhaka is retention or detention, and rechaka is exhalation or breathing out. So, purika, kumbhaka and rechaka are the three steps in the breathing process.

Now, what is the process of breath management? We have to take two seconds for purika, eight seconds for kumbhaka and four seconds for rechaka. Two to eight to four! As I said in the beginning, this is all the data (information) that was collected from the Sai literature. I have not tried, nor do I wish to try, breath control in the future, no! (Laughter) I'm very comfortable with bhajans. I'm quite happy in singing. Those of you who are wise can follow me. But some people were interested to know what this is. That is why I'm talking to you about this subject.

The second point here is clearly indicated: It has to be done with care (no strain). There should not be any strain in this breathing process. If it feels strenuous or tiresome, it will affect your lungs.

The next point is this: If you just take Pranayama (breathing exercise) as mere physical exercise, it can help you to achieve good health. That is, you can do it for the maintenance of a healthy body. As you do this breathing process, if you combine a manthra of God's Name also, it can transform your mind. The breathing exercise without the manthra helps to develop a healthy body. However, Pranayama (breath management) with a manthra (God's Name), whatever manthra you like, can transform your mind. That is the point.

What does Pranayama do? It taps cosmic energy. What is cosmic energy? Bhagavan was telling us recently that everything is energy. There is no matter! Energy becomes matter and matter can be converted back to energy. The whole thing is basically energy and energy alone. If we are not conscious of this energy, an allergy can result! (Laughter) So, if I want to be more energetic, if I use the breathing process of breath management, I can draw energy from this cosmic energy. This energy is pervading everywhere, all over. Tapping this source of energy so that I can be more energetic is the purpose behind the pranayama.

The next procedure -- what is the procedure that is of academic interest to you? One - sit straight! Bhagavan does not want boys to sit with bent back, no! He says, “Hey! Sit straight!” If you start bending now, at some age, well, you’ll have a hunchback - you will have bent totally. So, sit straight! A man who decides to use breath management should start with this procedure - sit straight!

Second is the even breathing process. What does the ‘even breathing process’ mean? The time taken to breathe in should be equal to the time taken to breathe out. Inhalation time is equal to exhalation time. That is called the even process. So, in the even breathing process, to begin with, give four seconds to breathe in and four seconds to breathe out. Four seconds to breathe in, four seconds to breathe out -- this is the first stage.

In the second stage, we do a two-seconds inhalation, an eight-seconds retention and a four-seconds exhalation. In the third stage, this will be doubled. So, the first stage of the even breathing process is four plus four. The second stage is two plus eight plus four - inhalation, retention and exhalation. In the third stage, we double what we have done in the second stage.

Pranayama As Given By Bhagavan

Then the process: How do you do it? Inhale - breathe in with the left nostril. Through the left nostril, you inhale. Close the right nostril and inhale through the left nostril. While closing this nostril, you have to draw in the air. So, while closing this nostril, you draw the air through the other nostril. I think that I am clear. You inhale through the left nostril while closing the right nostril.

Why should you close one nostril? If you do not do so, you will be inhaling through both the nostrils. That is as good as doing nothing. Therefore, one nostril has to be closed, so that air can be drawn in through the other nostril.

Next, you close the left nostril. As you close this nostril, you have to put your finger like this with your thumb. If you want to close the other nostril, the opposite finger has to be put like this. So close the left nostril and hold your breath. Next, release through the right nostril while closing the left. Inhale through the right nostril - hold and exhale through the left nostril.

This process is repeated and that completes one cycle. Inhalation is through the left nostril, while exhalation is through the right nostril -- that is half a cycle. Then inhalation through the right and exhalation through the left is the other half -- that completes one cycle. I think that I am clear. As we breathe in, one nostril has to be closed. This is called Pranayama - an exercise given by Bhagavan.

The Time Factor

I have other points about what we call “the inner harmony”. Under ‘Breath Management’, inner harmony is shown here in the third column (on the board). What is meant by inner harmony? How is it possible? We have to understand it to establish inner harmony.

The first and foremost thing is to know the time factor. After all, time is divisible into three portions -- past, present and future. Past is not permanent. Past is dead and gone. The present is here now, but it will become the past, too. The future lies ahead. We are not certain about it. To have inner harmony, the knowledge of past, present and future are absolutely necessary.

To quote Bhagavan: “All are passing clouds. Not even one cloud is permanent.” Good things happen in life. Well, they will pass. Bad things – “I am passing through this difficulty.” It will also pass. Good and bad are not permanent. They are not eternal. All are passing clouds. If I'm aware of this passing phase of time, naturally I will have inner harmony. Nothing lasts for long. Nothing is permanent and nothing is eternal in this world. This knowledge of time will help me to develop inner harmony.

The Three Qualities

The second factor is knowledge and awareness of the three basic qualities. One quality that we all have is the quality of inertia, passivity, laziness, excess in eating, excessive sleep. This is called thamo guna (beastile or animality). The second quality is emotion. Being full of emotion, reacting to praise and blame, happiness in times of profit, frustration in times of loss and duality - this is called rajas. The third quality is piousness, a balanced state of mind. This is called sathwic. We have to understand these three to know where we are when we react. We don’t have balance all through. Basically, we each have all of these three qualities - sathwic, rajasic, and thamasic.

How do we understand them? Bhagavan gave one example: A fan has three blades. Every fan will have three blades. These three blades rotate in perfect harmony. Like the fan, if the three qualities work in perfect harmony, in unison, we lead a balanced life. However, if one blade is faster than other two blades, you can imagine the fate of the fan or the fate of the person! Similarly, out of these three qualities, if one quality is more dominant than the other two, then that will determine a person’s personality.

If a man is of a more thamsic temperament - laziness, extra sleep and extra food, oh-ha! No animal can compete with him! (Laughter) We can say that he’s a thamasic man, an animal man, almost an animal. He still has the rajasic quality and the sathwic quality, but they are not dominating

I can always point out some students who can sleep while the lesson is going on. The boys get up at 4:30 AM for Suprabhatam. Because they cannot sleep during Suprabhatam, because they have to do yoga asanas in the morning and go for gymnastics – because all of those things, they find it convenient to sleep in the classroom. (Laughter) Nobody will disturb them. So I tell him, “All right, you sleep. But don’t snore! (Laughter) If you sleep, it is fine but if you snore, the other man is tempted to sleep or you will be disturbing him.” So the rajasic quality is there and sathwic quality is there, but this thamasic quality is dominating. Therefore he is exhibiting this animal nature.

Now the second class of persons has the rajasic quality dominating, with the two other qualities in equal proportion. We call him a man of action, a man of temper, enthusiastic and dynamic. We say these nice words (attributes) to a man of rajasic quality. But you cannot face a rajasic man during his times of failure. A rajasic man is a man of bubbling enthusiasm when times are fine. However, once things turn against his choice or preference and the tables are turned, what will happen? He’s ready to kill somebody. He’s ready to abuse somebody. He is ready to criticize somebody. So a rajasic temperament reacts and reflects. It shows and it exhibits. You cannot hide this temperament. A rajasic man in times of success - ah-ha! He is full of smiles and full of emotion. In times of failure, he’s not only sad -- he makes the whole neighborhood equally sad! (Laughter) Even more, this rajasic temperament will make him an emotional man, a passionate man.

The third quality is the sathwic quality. A man with pious quality has the two other qualities also, but the sathwic quality is in greater proportion. He maintains his balance. He is always peaceful.

So, we have to understand the nature of the three gunas to establish inner harmony. How is it that I have lost my temper? How is it that I shouted at that man? Oh, the rajasic quality in me found its expression. Oh-ho! How is it that I missed darshan sleeping in? The thamasic quality found its expression. How is it that I was sleeping while Bhagavan was giving a discourse? The animal in me found its expression.

How is it that I am not disturbed, though suddenly I lost my promotion, my annual increment and my entire name and fame? How is it I have not gone mad? How is it that I'm all right? It only means that the sathwic quality is in dominance. Because it is predominate, I am still maintaining my poise and composure. So, knowledge of the three qualities will also help us.

The Three Levels Of Consciousness

Then there are three levels of consciousness - the waking state, the dreaming state and the deep-sleep state. Knowing this will also helps us. After talking about this, I will conclude this morning’s talk.

The three states of consciousness: one - the waking state. I am sure that we are in this state. I don’t find anybody in the second state of dream sleep because we have not had our sumptuous lunch yet! It is good that I have pre-lunch sessions, not post-lunch session. It is good! (Laughter) That’s why I prefer morning classes, rather than afternoon sessions. I always see that the boys are not working in the laboratory in the afternoon session because we cannot take risks there. We have to deal with sulfur capsule there -- and the burner. (Laughter)

So, the waking state is where the body, the mind and Atma are three - BMA or MBA, if you want to call it Masters of Business Administration. MBA is the waking state ‘M’ for mind, ‘A’ is for Atma, and ‘B’ is for body. Body, mind and Atma -- all three are functioning in the waking state. That is called jagratha.

The second state is the dreaming state, where there are two present -- that is MA, postgraduate degree! (Laughter) The mind and the Atma function in the dreaming state.

Then the third state is deep sleep. Only the A, Atma is there.

So, the Atma is common in all the three states, the waking state – MBA, the dreaming state - MA and the deep sleep state - A. Understand these three levels of consciousness. These three levels of awareness will also help us to maintain inner harmony. How it is and what it is -- we will discuss next week, the same day and the same time.

Thank you for listening to me in rapt attention!

Thank you very much!

(Anil Kumar closed his satsang by leading the bhajan, "Jayaho Jayaho Gopalana...")

Om Asato Maa Sad Gamaya
Tamaso Maa Jyotir Gamaya
Mrtyormaa Amrtam Gamaya

Om Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu
Loka Samastha Sukhino Bhavantu

Om Shanti Shanti Shanti

Jai Bolo Bhagav3an Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!
Jai Bolo Bhagavan Sri Sathya Sai Baba Ji Ki Jai!

Sai Ram,
Thank You!

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