śabdādīn viṣsayān anya
indriyāgniṣu juhvati (4.26)
[4.26]:”While some offer their hearing and other senses as sacrifice to the fire of self-restraint, others offer speech and other sense objects to the fire of the senses.”
Yet other yogi offer all their senses of action-ear, eye, skin, tongue, and nose-to the fire of self-control, that is, they subdue their senses by withdrawing them from their objects. There is no real fire in this case. As everything cast into fire is reduced to ashes, even so the fire of restraint destroys the outward looking senses. There are then yogi who offer all their senses of perception, sound, touch, form, taste, and smell, to the fire of senses; they sublimate their desires and thus turn them into effective means for achievement of the supreme goal.
After all, the worshipper has to carry on his task in this world itself, assaulted all the while by good as well evil utterances of people around him. No sooner than he hears words that arouse passion, however, he sublimates them into the feeling of renunciation and thus bums them in the fire of the senses.
It happened so once with Arjun himself. He was engaged in contemplation when all of a sudden his ears were thrilled by lilting melody. When he looked up he saw Urvashi, the, heavenly courtesan, standing before him. All the other men were enthralled by her sensual charm, but Arjun saw her with filial sentiment as mother.The voluptuous music thus grew faint in his mind and was buried in his senses.
Here we have the fire of the senses. Just as objects put into fire are burnt out, sensual forms–sight, taste, smell, touch, and sound-are bereft of their power to distract the worshipper when they are transformed and shaped in accordance with the requirements of his goal.Having no longer any interest in sense-perceptions, the worshipper does not now assimilate them .
Words like “other” (apare and anye) in the verses under discussion represent different states of the same worshipper. They are the varying, high and low, states of mind of the same worshipper rather than different forms of yagya.
juhvati jñānadīpite (4.27)
[4.27]:”Yet other yogi offer the functions of their senses and operations of their life-breaths to the fire of yog (self-control) kindled by knowledge.”
In the yagya Sri Krishn has so far spoken of, there are a gradual fostering of pious impulses, restraint of the working of senses, and parrying off of sensual perceptions through a modification of their intent.
In a still higher state than this, yogi offer as oblation the functions of all senses and operations of life-breaths to the fire of yog that is lit up by knowledge of God. When restraint is integrated with the Self and the operations of breath and senses are stilled, the current which stimulates passions and the current which propels one towards God merge into the Self.
The outcome of yagya then emerges as God-realization, the culmination of this spiritual exercise. When one dwells in the God who had to be realized, nothing else remains to be achieved.
yatayaḥ sanśitavratāḥ (4.28)
[4.28]:”Just as many perform yagya by making material gifts in service of the world, some other men perform yagya through physical mortification, some perform the sacrifice of yog, and yet others who practise severe austerities perform yagya through the study of scriptures.”
There are many who make sacrifice of wealth. They contribute riches to the service of saints.Sri Krishn accepts whatever gifts are offered to him with devotion and he is a benefactor of those who make these gifts. This is the yagya of wealth or riches. To serve every man, to bring those who have strayed back to the right path, by contributing wealth to the cause is the sacrifice of riches. These sacrifices have the capability to nullify the natural sanskars.
Some men mortify their senses through penances for the observance of their dharm. In other words, their sacrifice, made according to their inherent properties, is penance-humiliation of the body, and it belongs to the stage between the lowest and highest levels of yagya.
Wanting in adequate knowledge of the path that leads to God, the Shudr worshipper who is just setting out on the way of worship undergoes penance by rendering service, the Vaishya by acquisition of divine riches, the Kshatriya by demolishing passion and anger, and the Brahmin with his ability to be united with God. All of them have to toil alike. In truth yagya is one and there are only its lower and higher stages governed by innate properties.
My noble teacher, the revered Maharaj Ji, uses to say, “To trim the mind along with the body and senses in keeping with the goal, is penance. They tend to digress from the goal but have to be pulled back and applied to it.”
There are many who practise the yagya of yog.Yog is the joining of the Soul, wandering amidst nature, with God who is beyond nature. A clear definition of yog is found in the twenty-third verse of Chapter 6.
Usually, the meeting of two objects is yog. But is it yog if a pen meets paper or a dish meets a table. Of course not, because both are made of the same five elements: they are one, not two. Nature and the Self are two entities, distinct from each other.
There is yog when the nature-based Soul meets the identical God, and when nature is dissolved in the Soul. This is the true yog.
So there are many who resort to a strict practice of restraint because it is conducive to this union. The practicers of the yog of sacrifice (yagya) and they who are given to severe austerities keep in view their own Self and perform the yagya of knowledge.
Here, nonviolent but severe austerities such as restraint, religious observance, the appropriate posture of sitting, serenity of breath, withholding of the mind along with the physical organs, retention, meditation and perfect absorption of thought in the Supreme Spirit, are indicated as the eightfold features of yog.
There are many who undertake Self-study because they aim at Self-knowledge. Reading books is but the first step to Self-knowledge, for in the true sense it is derived only from contemplation of the Self which brings about attainment of God, and the final outcome of which is knowledge or intuitive perception.
apāne juhvati prāṇam
[4.29]:”As some offer their exhalation to inhalation, others offer their inhaled breath to the exhaled breath, while yet others practise serenity of breath by regulating their incoming and outgoing breath.”
Meditators on the Self, sacrifice vital air to apan and similarly apan to pran. Going even higher than this, other yogi restrain all life-winds and take refuge in the regulation of breath (pranayam).
That which Sri Krishn calls pran-apan, Mahatma Buddh has named anapan. This is what he has also described as shwas-prashwas (inhaling and exhaling). Pran is the breath that is inhaled, whereas apan is the breath which moves out. Sages have found by experience that along with breath we also imbibe desires from surrounding environment and, similarly, transmit waves of inner pious as well as impious thoughts with our exhalations.
Non-assimilation of any desire from an external source is the offering of pran as oblation, whereas suppression of all inner desires is the sacrifice of apan, so that there is generation of neither internal desire nor grief because of thoughts of the external world. So when both pran and apan are properly balanced, breath is regulated. This is pranayam, the serenity of breath. This is the state in which the mind is supreme, for restraint of breath is the same as restraint of mind.
Every accomplished sage has taken up this subject and there is mention of it in the Ved (Rig, 1.164.45 and Atharv, 9.10.27). This is what the revered Maharaj Ji also used to say. According to him, the one and only name of god is recited at four levels: baikhari, madhyama, pashyanti, and para.
Baikhari is that which is manifest and audible. The name is pronounced in such a way that we as well as other men sitting around us may hear it.Madhyama is muttering the name at a medium pitch, so that the worshipper alone, but not even the man sitting beside, may hear it. This articulation is made within the throat. There is thus the gradual generation of an unbroken stream of harmony.
When worship is yet more refined, the stage is reached when the worshipper develops the capacity to visualize the name. After this the name is not recited, because it has now become an integral part of the life-breath. The mind stands as an onlooker and just views what the breath shapes. When does it come in? And when does it go out? And what does it say? Sages of perception tell us that it articulates nothing except the name. Now the worshipper does not even recite the name; he just listens to the melody of the name arising from his breath. He just watches his breath and that is why this stage of breath-control is called pashyanti.
At the stage of pashyanti, the mind is set up as a witness-an onlooker. But even this is not needed when there is yet further refinement. If the desired name is just imprinted on memory, its melody will be heard spontaneously. There is no need of recitation now, for the name rings in the mind by itself.
The worshipper does not recite any longer and neither does he have to compel the mind to hear the name, and yet the recitation goes on.This is the stage of ajapa, of the unrecited. It will be a mistake to think, however, that this stage is reached without commencing the process of recitation. If it has not been initiated; there will be nothing like ajapa.
Ajapa means that recitation which does not desert us even though we do not recite. If only memory of the name is firmly setup in the mind, recitation begins to flow through it like a perennial stream.
This spontaneous recitation is named ajapa and this is the recitation by transcendental articulation (parvani). It takes one to God who is the essence beyond nature. There is no variation in speech after this, for after providing a view of God it is dissolved in him.This is why it is called para.
In the quoted verse,Sri Krishn has only told Arjun to watch his breath, whereas later he himself will stress the importance of intoning OM. Gautam Buddh too has dwelt upon inhalations and exhalations in Anapan Sad. After all, what does the Yogeshwar really intend to say?
In truth, beginning with baikhari, then progressing on to madhyama, and going even further than this, at the stage of pashyanti, one attains control over breath. At this stage recitation is integrated with breath. And what is there to recite now when the worshipper has just to watch his breath?
It is for this reason that Sri Krishn speaks only of pran-apan rather than telling Arjun to “recite the name.” This is so because there is no need to tell him this. If he says it, the worshipper will go astray and begin to grope about in the dark alleys of nether levels. Mahatma Buddh, my noble Godlike teacher, and all those who have trodden this path say the same thing. Baikhari and madhyama are the portals by which we enter into the sphere of recitation. It is pashyanti that provides access into the name. The name begins to flow in an unbroken stream in para, and the internal, spontaneous, intoning of the name never abandons the worshipper after this.
The mind is linked with breath. That is the state of victory of the mind when the eye is set on the breath, when the name is incorporated into breath, and no desire of the external world can enter into the worshipper. With this the final outcome of yagya emerges.
prāṇān prāṇeṣu juhvati,
sarve’py ete yajñavido
[4.30]:”Yet others who subsist on strictly regulated breath and offer their breath to breath, and life to life, are all knowers of yagya, and the sins of all who have known yagya are destroyed.”
They who partake of restricted food offer as oblation their breath to breath-life to life. My noble teacher, the revered Maharaj Ji, uses to say that the food, posture of sitting, and sleep of a yogi should be steady. Regulation of food and pleasure is a necessity.
Many yogi who observe such discipline renounce their breath to breath, concentrating on inhalations and paying no heed to exhalations. With each incoming breath they hear OM. Thus men whose sins have been destroyed by yagya are men of true knowledge.
[As expounded by most revered Gurudev Swami Adgadanand Jee Paramhans]
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