By Yogi Ashwini

There is more to us than what meets the eye, the physical body is only an aspect of our existence which is directly controlled by the etheric layer, some called it the aura, vedic rishis called it the Pranamaya kosha. Chakra Beej kriya, the preliminary practices of which were introduced in the previous article taps into this layer by means of sounds and asans to stimulate the chakras.

There are six major chakras in the body, each responsible for specific functions, needs and desires. As we progress in the Chakra Beej asans, we move from the grosser to the subtler chakras, understanding and balancing them as we move along.

Having performed the basic joint rotations and spine asanas in the earlier articles, we move to the kriya for the Mooladhar chakra. Corresponding to the location of base of the spine, it is at this chakra that the phenomenal power of kundalini energy rests. Mooladhar is the base chakra for humans; it is the highest in animals. It controls the survival instinct. Ruled by the earth element, it governs the skeletal and muscular system in the body. The beej mantra for this chakra is LAM.

Take your awareness to your breath at the tip of the nostrils. Watch the rhythmic pattern of breath at this point and with every subsequent inhalation, make your breath longer and deeper. Maintaining the awareness of Mool chakra, start with the chant of LAM. For the correct chant, visit www.dhyanfoundation.com. Continue with the chant as we graduate into the asans for Mooladhar.

Vrikshasana (Tree Pose): Stand tall with arms by the side of your body. Bend your right knee, bringing the right foot high upto your left thigh, such that the sole of the foot rests firmly near the root of the thigh. Find yourself a perfect crevice where your foot can firmly hold itself there. Ensure the left leg is straight and not bent. As your body is in balance, gently raise your arms over the head and join your palms in a Namaskar position. Maintain the awareness of mool chakra and the chant of LAM. With every exhalation, relax your body. Gently bring your hands down and your right leg. Repeat this posture with the other leg. This asan should not be attempted by people with problems of knee or sciatica.

Utthanasana: Bring your left leg down while holding the hands above the head. Spread your legs apart with toes pointing outwards. Keeping the back and neck straight and buttocks squeezed in, bend the knees to go down by about ten inches. Maintain Ujjai breath and the chant of LAM. Hold this posture for a count of seven and then go down another ten inches. Once again hold for a count of seven and go further down so as to squat. The heels stay on the floor and the back does not bend. Stay for a count of seven.

The asan must not be practiced in case of uterus prolapse and after three months of pregnancy.

Naukasana: Next, lie down on the back. Exhale, raise your legs (joint together) to about twenty-five degrees. Also raise your upper body and your arms (the arms will point forward) to twenty-five degrees. Maintain the posture for as long as you can. Ensure that your back is straight and knees do not bend. Inhale, come back to the starting position.

As you progress into these asans and mantras, the glow of the body increases, breath becomes slower and gentler. The effect of all these asanas becomes manifold when practiced under the guidance of your Guru who channelises energy into each asana. It is advised that you visit your nearest Dhyan Foundation center to learn the practice.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and can be reached at www.dhyanfoundation.com.

It’s a narrow bridge, which one climbs from once a lazy station, onto the road above. Elphinstone Road station was hardly used previously, except by mill workers of old,going to work or returning to their homes, and then in the last fifteen years the area changed: The old mills were demolished, towers, housing thousands of offices appeared and the area turned from a sleepy location to a business hub, but the thin narrow bridge remained, and now we hear that nearly over two score commuters were killed in a stampede today!

Mumbai and the rest of Maharashtra and maybe some parts of India will mourn them today, and then go back to talking of, ah well; the Bullet Train.

We love showing off. I have seen buildings with near collapsing water tanks and columns and beams, going in for a lovely painting job, quite happy they have hidden their disastrous blemishes under clever make up.

“What a beautiful building!” say visitors as they come to visit.

“Yes,” we say proudly as we look away from cracks and faults that have been expertly covered with lambi and whitewash, we avoid the parts that our caving in, propped up by nothing more than willpower. The visitor looks at the lambi and white wash and smiles and nods. “A beautiful building indeed!”  

Lambi and whitewash is what we love using!

It’s like putting heavy make up on a sick person’s face to hide their illness. “Look!” we say, “You don’t look sick!” And the person who is sick, cries, “Take me to a doctor! I’m dying!”

“But look at yourself!” we tell the sick person, “Just look in the mirror, you look hale and hearty! Hale and hearty enough to party!”

And the sick person, who knows that inside him a fever rages, a cancer grows looks at his heavily made up smiling face and knows it’s over!

We have become adept at covering the rot inside. We have become experts at ignoring the groans and moans of the poor and sick! We have stopped becoming affected at the almost daily news items of derailed trains and falling buildings. We have become immune to a rotting country, and instead laughing and chuckling, we showcase and show off our bullet trains, our proposed islands with new statues in the sea. We point out how we’ve changed the name of the station that just saw the death of so many, from Elphinstone Road Station to Prabhadevi Station; new board, new name, bright red lipstick and fancy make up, but a narrow staircase, built maybe a hundred years ago, that hadn’t been changed and couldn’t take the rush of a changed area, and thus caused such a terrible catastrophe!

Safety and Security take a back seat, while we Show Off..!

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“Rohingya are illegal immigrants!” roared the Indian Home Minister from his perch in New Delhi. Most probablyan air-conditioned room or hall, and to the applause of those present!

He must have smiled seeing the effect on the crowd, but I’m sure he didn’t see something else:

He didn’t see a distraught woman, one of many, trying to clamber onto a boat with a baby on each arm, slipping in her haste and falling into the water, then again making another attempt even as the boatman held up his open palm for the fare that would wipe out all her savings!

He didn’t see men, limp with exhaustion, their hair matted with blood not just from bush and branch they had scurried through but from bullet and bayonet that had fired at their fleeing bodies, which tired and worn, now looked for something that would nourish and get some strength back.

He didn’t see children, yes boys and girls three and four years old wandering aimlessly looking for parents, who lay somewhere with lifeless eyes, not able to see those babies anymore; shot, burned or raped by soldiers who cared nothing for them.

I am sure the good home minister saw none of this as he sat in his airconditioned hall, and heard the applause from others also sitting in same comfort.

In Mumbai, there are many beggars who clamber into the suburban trains and beg. None climb into the first-class compartment, they all prefer begging in the lower, second class. Watch what happens; as the beggar goes from seat to seat, poor people, with maybe an income just above that of the poor beggar, pull out worn leather wallets, or fish in their pockets for a few notes and give it to the poor fellow.

This doesn’t ever happen in the first class compartment, where potbellied men sit with wallets crammed with high denomination notes, with eyes that would have looked with disdain at the poor fellow had he ventured into their holy, exclusive domain.

Compassion, strangely exists in the second class compartment!

I remember a poorer India, allowing millions of Bangladeshi refugees in the early seventies, as they escaped from an army that was terrorizing them. It burdened our people. It nosedivedour economy, but gritting our teeth we allowed them in.  

Today, we sit in the first-class compartment. We’ve forgotten what it is to be just one level above the man who begs. “Sir!” they shout, as they try to enter India, “We are hungry. We are persecuted. Give us compassion!”

“Get out!” we shout, “Don’t soil our seats, don’t spoil our peace, this is a first-class compartment!”

Compassion, speaks volumes, not just about the class you travel, but the effect the religion we follow has on us..!

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By Yogi Ashwini

Creation is run on energy. That energy is for all of us only, the question is, what is our desire and how much energy can we hold. Take the example of sun, sun is a phenomenal source of energy, the closer you go to it, the more heat is felt by you, but then how much heat do you desire and can bear, decides how close you can be to it. At times, even if one has the desire, it so happens, that as you near that energy, since you start reflecting that energy, the ego comes into play, and because of that ego you separate yourself from that energy thinking yourself to be the source of that energy. Similarly when you come close to the Guru, you start reflecting his radiance and energy, at that time if you take that glow to be your own, you err. The life cycle of Ravan is a perfect example.

Ravan, in a previous birth, was the gatekeeper of Lord Vishnu and lived in Vaikunth. Being so close to the Supreme Lord, his ego grew and he started wielding his power over others, deciding who could meet the Lord and who could not. Once he denied the entry to SanathKumars, the monks then cursed him to be separated from his Lord and be born on earth.

As Ravan, once again he started his journey, acquiring the gyan of the Vedas and various sciences of energy. Through his tapa and sadhna, he was able to access Lord Brahma, but then he desired not the Lord but a part of his shakti – the boon to be unconquered among devs and danavs (by now, he considered humans to be no match to him, and so did not ask for immunity from them). With his newfound shakti, he went to Kailash, and tried to lift the Kailash with his arm-strength. Lord Shiva, with a mere toe press pushed the mountain back in its place, crushing the hand of Ravan, indicating how every shaktiin the physical is limited and that reality is much beyond that. Ravan was humbled and began the tapasya of Lord Shiv…to access his power, again a desire for the physical. He was able to please the Lord, who granted him more power, and once again Ravan’s ego increased. This time to give him an indication, he was humiliated in the court of Janak, where despite his phenomenal power and boons from Lord Brahma and Lord Shiv combined, he was unable to lift the dhanush of Lord Shiva, which was lifted effortlessly by Rama, a mortal. Veiled by ego and avidya, Ravan left the court in anger, unable to identify his Lord, for the purpose of returning to whom he had taken a human birth. The Lord arranged for Ravan to meet him once again, this time in the battlefield…to not just be defeated but also slain, by a mere human being. All the power, all the vidyas, all the knowledge, and the armor-like body, brought to an end…with a single arrow that pierced his navel indicating the unreality of everything in the physical world, which comes to an end sooner or later.

Dussehra is the day that marks the end of Ravan inside us, so that we may return to the source, from where we started our journey. Regular practice of SanatanKriyaand AshtangYog, under the guidance of Guru takes a being through the experiences he desires and puts him on the path of final merger, the pleasure of which far exceeds the pleasure of any physical power or possession and is endless.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and an authority on the Vedic Sciences. His book, 'Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension' is an acclaimed thesis on anti-ageing. Log onto to www.dhyanfoundation.com for more

By Yogi Ashwini

Navratras come twice a year and mark transition in seasons, winter-summer and summer-winter. According to ayurveda, during this time, one should consume nourishing foods and in minimal quantities to rid the body of the toxins collected during the rains. The nine nights and ten days of navratras hold within them the energy of ten forms of shakti– shailaputri, brahmcharini, chandrakanta, kushmanda, skandmata, katyayani, kaalratri, mahagauri, siddhidatri and aparajitha thus each navratra has a specific purpose. In the navratras weather changes, ie, various energies of this creation move from imbalance towards a new normalcy, including our body. In these nine days the prana shakti inside our body undergoes a process of re-alignment, ie from imbalance to new balance for new season.

For this re- aligning the body has to be kept light. Therefore our ancients prescribed fasting or upvaas in these nine days.Upavaas has a much greater connotation than what it is generally misunderstood as - mere holding back from eating certain foods. At Dhyan Ashram, sadhaks observe Upavaas in its aunthentic sense, that is, giving up pleasure to observe austerities during sadhna. This is done by celibating, eating food for energy, not sensual pleasure, following a niyam of the sadhna your Guru has given you - a mantra, dhyan or a tantric practice where senses are kept under strict control and the focus is your ishta deva and all your thoughts and actions during those days are devoted to the ishta-deva. Charity and service are an intrinsic part of such sadhnas. During navratras these fasts are observed for purification as well, both etheric as well as physical.

Apart from fasting, there are certain mantras also which are chanted on these days for a complete body detox. For the beginner, these nine days may be divided into 3 parts of 3 days each for the three parts of body-  the region below the navel, between navel and shoulders and the upper head region, corresponding to the energies of goddess sarawati, goddess lakshmi and goddess durga respectively. The 9 devis originate from these 3 devis which in turn have their origin in Adi shakti. These 3 parts are further divided into 3 parts each, thus the body is divided into 9 parts in all.

In the first 3 days the sadhak stops having spicy food and performs a havan at the morning and evening sandhya with the chants invoking ma durga. Offering of kala til along with ghrit is made and desi cows upla and palash samedha is used. In the next three days, sadhak stops intake of anna and only light foods are ingested in order to keep the body light. Havan for Ma Lakshmi is done at the two sandhyas by making offering of a sweet along with ghrit . In the last three days, the sadhak only consumes water and juice (not even milk as it is considered an animal product) and havan for Ma Saraswati is performed at the two sandhyas by making offerings of ghrit and guggal. On the 10th day, complete fast is kept and once more Ma Durga or Ma Kali is invoked as on this day Ravan had invoked Ma Kali and Ram had invoked Ma Durga. This process brings about the required re-alignment. After this, the sadhak performs his sadhna and chants specific mantra as prescribed by his/her Guru. With yog sadhna, all the energies that are invoked come to the sadhak. Navratras are days to prepare your body in order to accept the new energies of the coming season. For 9 days you re-align you body and after that on the 10th day accept new energies

Most people lighten their bodies by fasting for 9 days, only to make it heavy on the 10th day by crowding to restaurants and liquor shops. It is something like you clean your room and after that you bring all the garbage back to the room.  Fasting or any such technique will bear fruits only if carried out with a sense of detachment, for the purpose of evolution. The Guru knows the capacity of a shishya and prescribes a fast depending upon his/her requirements. Therefore it is of utmost importance to observe fasts in tandem with yogic practices such as the Sanatan Kriya under the sanidhya of a Guru to reap maximum benefits.

Yogi Ashwini is the Guiding Light of Dhyan Foundation and an authority on the Vedic Sciences. His book, 'Sanatan Kriya, The Ageless Dimension' is an acclaimed thesis on anti-ageing. Log onto to www.dhyanfoundation.com for more