Sunday 9 June 2024

Yogopanishads – Amritanado Upanishad

Transcription of the lecture given by Mananeeya Sri Hanumantaraoji, All India Vice President of VRM & VK

The Amritanadopanishad (Amṛtanādopaniṣad) belongs to the Krishna Yajurveda, and the traditional Shanti pat or the prayer before the study of the Upanishad is the well-known mantra:

Oṃ saha nāvavatu। saha nau bhunaktu

saha vīryaṃ karavāvahai ।  tejasvi nāvadhītamastu mā vidviṣāvahai

oṃ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ śāntiḥ ।।

The Amritanadopanishad talks about purity, śuddhā, svacchā, pavitratā. Many times we use this word:  pure mind, pure emotions, pure heart, and pure intentions. Amritanadopanishad once for all settles, defines what is purity, or in the language, in the world of the yoga, what do we refer, what do we say, what do we mean when we say 'purity'. The Upanishad also talks about śrāvaṇa, manana, nidhi and dhyāsa. In fact the Upanishad opens up with śrāvaṇa upāyaḥ the techniques, the methods, śrāvaṇa and others.

Amritanadopanishad has 38 powerful mantras explaining the various techniques for the practice of yoga and the first mantra itself begins with śrāvaṇam:

śāstrāṇyadhītya medhāvī abhyasya ca punaḥ punaḥ

paramaṃ brahma vijñāya ulkāvattānyathotsṛjet।।

By repeatedly studying and understanding the śāstrā, the texts and the techniques one should keep on meditating again and again on the import, the meaning, the purpose of the text. Just reading, going through, just studying, it has no meaning, unless one contemplates, meditates, understands and puts into practice, the śāstrā vākyam is brought into the anuṣṭhānaḥ level. So it is not a mere learning or an intellectual jugglery. What is read, what is studied, what is understood, what is to be understood and that what was understood is to be brought into practice. This is the importance of  śrāvaṇam and  śāstrā  śrāvaṇam; not just keep on repeating and listening. That may be useful for focusing of the mind. But it doesn't serve any other purpose, if what is studied and heard, śāstrā Vakyam is not brought into the practice.

Then the Upanishad goes into the praṇava  upasanā:

oṃkārarathamārūhya viṣṇuṃ kṛtvātha sārathim। 

brahmalokapadānveṣī rūdrārādhanatatparaḥ।।

The praṇava upasanā is beautifully explained. The Upanishad wonderfully explains to the sādhakā. An imagery has been created, a method has been created, a technique has been handed over, a methodology is proposed in the Amritanada Upanishad which is praṇava  upasanā, the worship of the  praṇava. It says that "oṃkārarathamārūhya", mounting on the chariot of Oṃ and who is the charioteer of this Oṃ? Vishnu and where the chariot will go? Brahmalokaḥ and what happens there? Worship of the Rudra and how to drive this chariot? and the chariot is to be driven in one single direction and the most important thing of the Upanishad is "sthātvā rathapatisthānaṃ rathamutsṛjya gacchati।।" once you reach the destination, once you attain the state once the place of destination has been reached, the Ratha, the vehicle has to be given up. We should not continue to be inside the vehicle. What a wonderful suggestion it is! even though the Oṃkārā upasanā, Oṃkārā chanting Oṃkārā meditation is taken up, but once the goal, the destiny, the target the expected experience has attained the Ratha should be given up; not to be continued to hold on; and this is an important suggestion. Otherwise many times we keep on holding on to the practices even after getting experiences. We continue to hold on to the practice, sometimes maybe out of the fear. But beautiful suggestion, beautiful imagery was given by Amritanadopanishad that you take a vehicle travel to your destination and after reaching the destination you give up the vehicle, you come out of the vehicle. Exactly the same is Oṃkārā upasanā also. How can that be done? How it will be done? How it should be done?

Then the Upanishad gives a wonderful technique of the well-known method of Pratyāhāra:

śabdādi viṣayānpañca manaścaivāticañcalam

The Chanchalata of the Pancha Indriyas have been stopped, the Achanchalatvam of the Indriyas have attained, the wobbling the wavering the moving capacity, the wobbling nature of the Indriyas have been mastered. The Indriyas no more move, no more waver, no more wobble; the Indriyas have lost its capacity of movement. The Indriyas have lost its capacity of Chanchalata. That is Pratyāhāram.

Then the Upanishad suggests beautifully the Ṣaḍaṅga yoga, the six methods the six techniques that is the Ṣaḍaṅga yoga the components of the Ṣaḍaṅga are the Pratyāhāra, Dhyāna, Prāṇāyāma, Dhāraṇā, Tarka and Samādhi:

pratyāhārastathā dhyānaṃ prāṇāyāmo'tha dhāraṇā

tarkaścaiva samādhiśca ṣaḍaṅgo yoga ucyate ।।

This is the Ṣaḍaṅga yoga of the Amrita Nada Upanishad. Then it talks about what is Prāṇāyāma, what are the results of the Prāṇāyāma. The result of the Prāṇāyāma is to remove the impurities of the mind, impurities of the misdeeds of the Indriyas by holding the breath. It is when the Prāṇa Dhāraṇā is done all the results of the activities of the mind when the Prāṇa Dhāraṇā is done all the results of the activities of the mind have been erased means Karmaphala of the mind, Karmaphala of the Indriyas Karmaphala of the body and the mind are lost, or given up or removed by Prāṇa Dhāraṇā. That is the fruit and benefit of the Prāṇāyāma and that is the importance of the practice. and Upanishad beautifully describes that this destruction of the Phala comes by the practice of Rucirā it is called. Rucirā is the Kumbhaka that is Prāṇa Dhāraṇā, the highest ultimate aim of the Prāṇāyāma, the Kevala Kumbhaka it is so. The experience of the Kevala Kumbhaka, practice of the Kevala Kumbhaka eliminates erases deletes physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual, physical, mental, bodily and the mental activities; the results of that are eliminated. What a great benefit of the Prāṇāyāma is presented in the Amritanadopanishad!

Then the Upanishads talks about the threefold Prāṇāyāma the three types of Prāṇāyāma Trividha Prāṇāyāma it is calls it

rūciraṃ recakaṃ caiva vāyorākarṣaṇaṃ tathā

prāṇāyāmāstrayaḥ proktā recapūrakakumbhakāḥ।।

It calls it Recakaṃ Pūrakaṃ and Kumbhaka are the three methods Prāṇāyāma Lakṣanam, it talks about it. Then the Upanishad describes about the Prāṇāyāma and gives a suggestion that while practicing Prāṇāyāma you chant mentally Gayatri Mantram:

"savyāhṛtiṃ sapraṇavāṃ gāyatrīṃ śirasā saha "

Along with the Gayatri practice Prāṇāyāma. What a wonderful method this is! A common suggestion for all of us as sādhakās is that any particular mantra chanting in the mind while practicing Prāṇāyāma i.e. while inhalations and exhalations, while doing slow deep relaxed long elongated inhalations and exhalations, engaging the mind deeply in a manasika japa of a particular mantra is very much helpful for the Prāṇa Dhāraṇā. So like Recakalakṣanam similarly Pūrakalakṣanam is given, then Kumbhakalakṣanam is given. Though the Lakshanas have been named differently, the ultimate is Prāṇa Dhāraṇām. While inhalation, while exhalation, while the Kevala kumbhaka, the whole gap between the inhalation and the exhalation, while the process of slow inhalation and the slow exhalation is going on the speed is so slow and so steady the Kevalakumbhaka is experienced. Because the mind is engaged in a very deep subtle level in the Gayatri or any other particular mantra and the Upanishad beautifully describes the Kumbhaka level

andhavatpaśya rūpāṇi śabdaṃ badhiravacchṛṇu

kāṣṭhavatpaśya vai dehaṃ praśāntasyeti lakṣaṇam।।

It beautifully describes Praśāntaḥ Mind Praśānta Mind. A very quiet mind śānta mind Achanchala Mana. What is it? It is like a blind man who cannot see; it is like a deaf man who cannot hear; and it is like a body of wood and that is the state of the Kumbhaka Lakṣanam. It means the body cannot feel the mind, will not move and no senses are working. But you are in a state of stable and a deep sense of Praśāntaḥ

"praśāntasyeti lakṣaṇam।।"

The quality of praśāntatvam is given; I am Praśāntaḥ. A mind is very quiet. What does it mean? It should suit these three qualities. How beautiful it is given!

Then the Dhāraṇā Lakṣanam is given. The quality and description of Dhāraṇā. Then the description of Tarka is given. Tarakam means arguments inference in the conformity with the scriptures. That is called Tarkam.

āgamasyāvirodhena ūhanaṃ tarka ucyate

samaṃ manyeta yallabdhvā sa samādhiḥ prakīrtitaḥ

"āgamasyāt avirodhena" means the arguments should not be against the scripture. Then it is called as Taraka. If the arguments are against the scripture, then it is not the Tarakam. So the understanding arguments and the intellectual capabilities should be in conformity with the scripture.

Then Samādhi Lakṣanam describes about the dimensions of Samādhi. Then the Upanishad also beautifully describes the constant practice of Yoga. It talks about the various dimensions of Yoga and it talks about the Sapta Dvarani it calls. While talking about the Dhāraṇā the Upanishad beautifully gives the duration of Dhāraṇā. When we say when can we say I am in a state of Dhāraṇā, when can we say? The Upanishad says it 8 or 7 mātrās. Mātrā is a unit of time. If 7 or 8 mātrās the mind is not wavering, we can say it is in the Dhāraṇā state. And that Dhāraṇā can be achieved by Pashyanti, Para, Vaikhari, Upanshu chanting of the Japa. So Dhāraṇā can be attained by chanting or by experience of the Oṃ in its 4 stages Vaikhari is the sound we can hear, Upanshu not heard but only lip movements, Pashyanti not even the lips are moving no sound but within the mind you are chanting that is Pashyanti, Para not even chanting in the mind but only just awareness of the Oṃkārā. These are the 4 levels of practice of the Dhāraṇā.

Then Amrita Nada Upanishad talks about the Sapta Svaprāpti Dvārani, the the 7 doors it talks about it. And one of the doors is one should be fearless Abhayatvam then Abhyasam. Abhayatvam and Abhyasam - fearlessness and practice. Yoga Chintiyam - constantly meditating, involving in the Yoga Stithi. Then Chintana Prakaraha how many types of thinking are there, the Upanishad talks about the varieties of thinking: in thoughts involved outside, thoughts involved on ourselves, thoughts involved in our own minds, particular points and objects, and finally the thoughts engaged in meditation, this all called Chintana Prakaraha. Then Svāsa pramāṇam, the Upanishad talks about the limitations of breath. It is surprising and very informative to see that the breaths as reckoned for a day and night are from eighty thousand, and a hundred and thirteen thousands to 1 lakh. That means how many times we breathe per day it varies from 13 thousands to 1 lakh.

aśītiśca śataṃ caiva sahastrāṇi trayodaśa

lakṣaścaiko viniśvāsa ahorātrapramāṇataḥ

80 thousand, 100 thousand, 13 thousand - that's how the.. means when somebody is breathing slow, faster, fastest like that. So in a day our breathing keeps on changing. This is the Svāsa pramāṇam, the Upanishad talks about this Amrita Nadopanishad: 'Prāṇa Dheenam Shantanani', the seeds of Prāṇā, talks about the seeds of Prāṇā, where are all the Prāṇa stays the points of Prāṇa, and where the Prāṇā, Apāṇā, Vyāṇā, Udāṇā, Samāṇā stays what are the seeds what are the reasons of these pañcaprāṇās, their activities, their controlling capacity, this pañcaprāṇās have been talked about in the Amrita Nadopanishad.

Finally the Upanishad concludes with the Paramaphalam the final result of the practice of this Yoga, the chanting of  praṇava, the chanting of Gayatri Mantra during Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā then the Kumbhakas, then the contemplation on the Panchaprana activities, then describing the length of the breathing the length of the time of Dhāraṇā.

And finally the Upanishad gives the importance of the practice of the Yoga Abhyasa talking about the Nada that is how it is mentioned as Amritanada Upanishad. By nada, by Oṃ, by mantra, how to chant the mantras, the length of the mantra, how to align the chanting of mantra with the breathing, aligning breathing with the mantra, and pūraka, recakā, khumbaka and finally you attain the state of the amrita. So Amritanada Upanishad it is and finally the Amritanada Upanishad is one of the most powerful Upanishad which hands over a detailed practice methodology and a technique to all of us. So let us practice this method aligning Mantra Japa with inhalation exhalation and holding of the breath Pūraka, Recakā, Kumbhaka, of course Kumbhaka is the Kevala Kumbhaka an experience by slowing down the breathing process. So this is the Amritanada Upanishad and let us see the other Upanishad also in continuation. Oṃ Shanti Shanti Shanti: 

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मुक्तसंग्ङोऽनहंवादी धृत्युत्साहसमन्वित:।
सिद्ध‌‌यसिद्धयोर्निर्विकार: कर्ता सात्त्विक उच्यते ॥१८.२६॥

Freed from attachment, non-egoistic, endowed with courage and enthusiasm and unperturbed by success or failure, the worker is known as a pure (Sattvika) one. Four outstanding and essential qualities of a worker. - Bhagwad Gita : XVIII-26

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