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Mind-Conquest by Pranayama

by Swami Sivananda

To bring about control of mind, two things are essential, viz., Prana-nirodha (control of Prana) and Sanga-tyaga (renunciation of Sanga or association). By the latter is meant dissociation, not with the world, but only with the longing after or the attraction towards the objects of the world.

Pranayama or control of breath checks the velocity of the mind and reduces the quantity of thinking. It removes the dross (impurities) in the form of Rajas and Tamas from the mind.

For control of the mind, Kumbhaka (retention of breath) is indispensable. You will have to practise Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechacka (inhalation, retention and exhalation of breath) regularly and rhythmically. Then the mind will become Ekagra. The period of Kumbhaka will increase by systematic practice, with regulated died and proper dietetic discipline (light, nutritious Sattvic food). This is the Hatha-Yogic method. The practice of Kumbhaka must be done under the guidance of a Guru who is a developed Yogi.

Prana and mind stand to one another in the relationship of the supporter and the supported. Both these are only like the flower and its odour or a sesamum seed and the oil in it. If either of them is slain, then the other also will cease to exist. If the mind and Prana cease to exist, then thoughts will not arise at all. The destruction of both will confer Moksha on all.

Ekagrata (one-pointedness) and Nirodha (controlled state) are two Avasthas of the mind. Spanda (subtle or Sukshma) and Nirodha are two Avasthas of the Prana. When the mind becomes one-pointed, Spanda Avastha of the Prana comes by itself. If the mind is purified with true Sattva Guna, the Prana will be distributed freely throughout the body. The food will be digested thoroughly.


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