Anil Kumar's Sunday Satsang at
July 7, 2002
The Sunday Talk Given by Anil Kumar
Breath Management - Part 1
July 7th, 2002
OM… OM… OM…
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!