Bhakti Bandha: Opening Up the Floodgates of Love



Bhakti Bandhas: Opening the Floodgates of Love

Mula Bandha: Muladhara Chakra (Brahma Loka)

Uddiyana Bandha: Manipura Chakra (Vishnu Loka)

Jalandhara Bandha: Vishuddha Chakra (Rudra Loka)

Traya Bandha (maha bandha)

Supplementary Material


There are three classic bandhas; mula, uddiyana, and jalandhara bandha. When practiced together they are called tri-bandha (trayabandha). They are practiced together or individually at specific times during kriya, asana, pranayama, mudra, visualization, and meditation practice. They also occur spontaneously especially in children, but also in yogis who can allow themselves to be moved by the evolutionary transformational force, the kundalini. Some do not have any outward flows (in these areas where the bandhas are configured wholistically) and therefore do not need to practice those bandhas, or if they did, there would be little effect.

Bandhas bind together energy connection points and as such they act as the embodied aspect of pratyhara (restraining the dissipating outward flow of prana while bringing it back from the periphery toward the center in order to achieve union in the center). The fifth limb in ashtanga yoga, pratyhara in turn acts similarly as a powerful vehicle for tapas (increasing the spiritual fire) and is its energetic counterpoint as our energy is no longer dissipated nor distracted into dualistic externalizations. As such pratyhara is the general operating principle while the specific bandhas work at specific energy circuits. The activation of the bandhas which will be shown later, not only affect the physical body and the energy body, but thus, also the mind, awareness, and spiritual centers because the mind rides on the horse of wind (prana). On a physical level, bandhas involve two or more “points” where an energetic relationship is made consciously mutually synergistic. It brings prana into the bodymind and initiates flow.

The practice of pratyhara thus reverses the outward flow of mind into the illusory world of the sense objects where objects appear dualistically as separate from self, i.e., the world of I and it. Because the mind cannot move without prana, bandhas are utilized to efficiently and quickly reverse the outward flow while activating inner flow and has the ability to quickly establish the objectless meditative state and inner supportive energy flows necessary to create synchrony with and enter into turiya or samadhi.

Bandhas are the internal energy valves/gates which thus when activated allow the energy to flow through the area activating the dormant potential of spirit while embodied. another way of saying this is that the rigidity of a chronic spiritual disconnect can be disrupted through bandhas, pranayama, and pratyhara quickly providing the pathway for the spiritual reconnect. Although commonly called locks, bandhas act as such only in so far that they prevent the outward flow (dissipation) of the energy, but a better translation would be valves because they direct the internal energy flow to irrigate the nadis and activate the energy body. Used in synergistic conjunction with asana, pranayama, visualization, mudra, and meditation practice they act as a powerful adjunctive aid.

The definition of implementing a bandha is to gather together, bind together, to connect, to connect two or more disparate parts together into a circuit, to establish flow or a connection, to integrate and defragment, to seal a distractive leak, to gate, re-direct, to loosen or liberate preexisting blocked or repressed energy, to coalesce and energize. Bandhas are loci of focus that connect one's attention to the energetic dynamics of both internal dynamics and external dynamics. Bandhas as a procedure acts as a connecting valve that directs the biophysical flow of biopsychic energy in the bodymind. Energy which may be leaking, blocked, dissipating, or out of synch is reconfigured back into its original natural alignment. A bandha acts a bridge or bond between two or more disconnected parts. The process forms a bounded gate, a valve, or levee. On a coarse general level it is accessed through a subtle physical movement such as mulabandha, uddiyana bandha, jalandhara bandha, etc. In more subtle usage it connects and gathers together the energy circuits of the psycho-physical bodymind. Bandhas in hatha yoga are the outward representations of pranayama, pratyahara, and dharana. It remedies chronically unintegrated and distracted energetics, while allowing us to re-energize/reconnect and align with our original nature and its source. It is essentially a technique of relaxation/release of stuck energy so that it can be recycled into the great integrity -- its natural place. On a physical level, bandhas involve two or more “points” where an energetic relationship is made consciously mutually synergistic. It brings prana into the bodymind and initiates flow.

Similarly it is dysfunctional to view vairagya (non-attachment) only in its negative aspect, so too it is more valuable to view the implementation of the bandhas as being much more than withdrawal, but a redirection of energy which has an innate intelligence. Thus they activate and catalyze the healing energy vortexes within the body/mind which can be implemented consciously through a conscious hatha, kundalini, or laya yoga practice, but are also often performed naturally and spontaneously through grace or as a result of fortuitous action or karma. Bandhas then can be the spontaneous co-arising intrinsic result of the creative and evolutionary activity which acts both endogenously as well as throughout all of nature. Thus, implementing a bandha is to effect release of blocked/dammed up energy. When we release a bandha it is merely releasing our intent and focus on the inter-related energy points.

Although bandhas are most commonly described in anatomic terms in relationship to certain body parts, muscles, glands, and organs, bandhas it is far more valuable to approach them as essentially an internal energy re-configuration, which in turn creates the template or energy pattern which aligns and activates a corresponding physical, emotional, psychic, and spiritual constellation or circuitry. As such it not only restrains or binds/bounds the dissipation of energy outward or often downward, but rather redirects it in a healing and energizing manner tuning and aligning it with the back body, energy body, vajra body, light body, or rainbow body potential, as a whole system constellation, moving the energy from the periphery to the center -- inward and upward activating and catalyzing the inner alchemical transformative processes associated with the chakras, the sushumna (the central channel), kundalini, so that we may abide in our natural pure intrinsic state (swarupa). In this respect the bandhas are also associated with the evolutionary progression through the granthis (knots) and lokas (spiritual realms) which will be discussed later.

Bandhas, thus bind the energy from leaking out, but it thus should never be viewed as a muscle contraction .Although on a physical level two or more body parts do come together to form a stabilizing pattern to effect flow and muscles are used to do this, but the word, bandha, is more effectively refined as an energetic interlock or switch (to lock in, switch on, and interconnect inner systems) rather than as the more common definition of a lock, which carries with it a negative connotation of locking out, damming up, restraining, constraining, forcing, excluding, repressing, etc. It thus should be made clear that the bandhas are not physical locks, but energy gates/valves which connect and harmonizes/aligns one's vital energy with the inner constellations, the outer constellations, and the universal eternal source of all energy. In order to learn about this activation and harmonization, we have to learn about the subtle energy, inside, outside, and non-dual unborn Source (the inherent potential energy within all things). But like asana practice, also in bandha practice we most often must first learn about the subtle internal energy, by first performing the physical, coarse, and external aspect (coarse energy). Then later once we become aware of the presence of the internal and more subtle dynamics, we can forgo the coarse, gross, physical learning tools.

When the bandhas are mastered, progress in asana, pranayama, mudra, and meditation are greatly accelerated with the result allowing us to abide in the heart of samadhi faster, easier, longer, and more completely . The bandhas are associated with the three granthis (knots) and as such provide the motive power to unlock spiritual dimensions or lokas as well (Brahma Loka, Vishnu Loka, and Rudra Loka or Nirmana Kaya, Sambhoga Kaya, and Dharma Kaya). Thus the three classic bandhas of mulabandha uddiyana bandha, and jalandhara bandha, can be said to provide the keys to unlocking these three granthis, respectively.

The following description is coincident with the esoteric tradition of hatha yoga (three bandhas). Here will be introduced the idea that there are many bandhas, each one capable of moving the energy upward (or restraining its downward motion) to the next chakra. When yogis enter sahaj samadhi these bandhas occur naturally and are mutually synergistic. The mulabandha connects us with the earth energy, grounds us, moves the earth energy up from the muladhara chakra to the swadhistana (or otherwise prevent it leaking out the muladhara) while moving the sky and sun energy down to connect with the earth.

Bhakti Bandhas: Opening the Floodgates of Love

Love was born first
the gods cannot reach it,
or the spirits, or men....
Far as heaven and earth extend,
far as the waters go,
high as the fire burns,
you are greater, love!
The wind cannot reach you,
nor the fire, nor the sun, nor the moon:
you are greater than them all, love!"

From the Atharva Veda 9.2.19, trsl. by J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976


Guru Brahma Guru Vishnu Guru Devo Maheswarah
Guru Sakshath Parabrahma Thasmai Sri Gurave Namah

Bandha is an act moved from the heart yearning for Divine Union – the merging with Divine Bliss and Completion (Union or Yoga).


The Tamil Siddhar Saint, Ramalingar, praises Saint Manikkavasagar

One with sky Manikkavasagar,

your words...

One with me when I sing

Nectar of sugarcane

One with honey

One with milk

and one with the sweetness

of the fertile fruit

One with my flesh

One with my soul


is that sweetness! 

Translated by Layne Little, from his book, "Little, Layne. Shaking the Tree: Kundalini Yoga, Spiritual Alchemy, & the Mysteries of the Breath in Bhogar's 7000."


The Only Way to Go

Some call this devotion, some dedication, some divine passion, some the unification of man’s will with the Divine will, the small self with the big Self; the true nature self, but the wise know it as the only way to go!

Bandhas open up the flood gates of joyous union (yoga).  

~ Rumi, translated by Coleman Barks from “The Essential Rumi”, Castle books, 1997

Love has taken away my practices
And filled me with poetry.

I tried to keep quietly repeating,
No strength but yours,
But I couldn't.

I had to clap and sing.
I used to be respectable and chaste and stable,
But who can stand the strong wind
And remember those things?

A mountain keeps an echo deep inside itself.
That’s how I hold your voice.

I am scrap wood thrown in your fire,
And quickly reduced to smoke.

I saw you and became empty.
This emptiness, more beautiful than existence,
It obliterates existence, and yet when it comes,
Existence thrives and creates more existence.

The sky is blue. The world is a blind man
Squatting on the road.

But whoever sees your emptiness
Sees beyond blue and beyond the blind man.

A great soul hides like Muhammad, or Jesus,
Moving through a crowd in a city
Where no one knows him.

To praise is to praise
How one surrenders to the emptiness.

To praise the sun is to praise your own eyes.
Praise, the ocean. What we say, a little ship.

So the sea-journey goes on, and who knows where!

Just to be held by the ocean is the best luck
We could have. It’s a total waking up!

Why should we grieve that we've been sleeping?
It doesn’t matter how long we’ve been unconscious.

We’re groggy, but let the guilt go.
Feel the motions of tenderness
around you, the buoyancy.

Bandha Means to Bind together: To make whole. It is not a physical contraction of muscular as commonly inferred. Rather one should know what is being bound. What is being bound is the outflow of neurotic, dualistic, or outward, material, or profane passion, called generally neurotic compensatory distraction. It is neurotic because it temporarily appeases our more primal desire for divine union.

So what happens when the outward flow of energy and attention no longer dissipates toward objects (of the dualistic world (phenomena of apparently disparate objects) that assume the separation of “I” and “it”? That outward bound energy and consciousness  s is then conserved (bound) and is made to energize/catalyze dormant inner circuits (chakras).

When this empowering binding of the outward flow is accomplished, the energy neither moves inward nor outward, neither upward nor downward, but rather a non-dual synergistic synchronicity is realized in the middle or central psychic nerve (sushumna) .     

How to use Bandhas

Bandhas are used in asana, pranayama, pratyhara,  dharana (concentration), and meditation practices (dhyana) in order to facilitate union (samadhi). When bandhas are combined with asana, pranayama, visualization, and pranayama, they are called mudras which move the energy through the psychic nerves, energizing previously dormant evolutionary circuits called chakras.  

"The great sage, Shankaracharya, says: “True posture is that which leads to spontaneous meditation on Brahman."

Bandhas are often taught first in their gross physical form. Then the energetic form can be noticed. Then the corresponding mental/emotional and spiritual realms are known (the lokas). Through this self knowledge, man becomes liberated from ignorance and knows reality as it is in sat-chit-ananda – the unification of pure subjective reality, pure objective reality, and pure bliss.

There is a Tibetan saying that goes like this: “When our subjective realization coincides with universal and unbiased objective reality, then a synergistic alignment and synchronicity occurs.”

This synchronicity, whose true nature is bliss, is the spiritual object of devotion and dedication for the yogi. This integration of eternal spirit and consciousness with creation/nature is what yoga joins together. It removes suffering and bestows unconditional happiness and joy.

Bandhas are best understood as a gate, valve, or double throw switch, rather than a lock which connotes contraction. When this kind of gate or valve closes, it also at the same time opens up another direction of energetic flow. This operation is like an irrigation ditch or locks of a canal, which stop the flow in one direction, but make it possible to flow into another direction.     

"In your body is Mount Meru
encircled by the seven continents;
the rivers are there too,
the seas, the mountains, the plains,
and the gods of the fields.
Prophets are to be seen in it, monks,
places of pilgrimage
and the deities presiding over them.
The stars are there, and the planets,
and the sun together with the moon;
there too are the two cosmic forces:
that which destroys, that which creates;
and all the elements: ether,
air and fire, water and earth.
Yes, in your body are all things
that exist in the three worlds,
all performing their prescribed functions
around Mount Meru
He alone who knows this
is held to be a true yogi"

Siva-Samhita, 2.1-5, trsl. by J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.

The Three main Bandhas: Jalandhara Bandha, Mulabandha, and Uddiyana Bandha



Mulabandha is the bandha at the root chakra (Muladhara chakra). It contains the energy in the bodymind and allows for its support. It connects us with the earth energy of nature/creation (the evolutionary energy) which corresponds with Brahma, the Hindu God of generation and creation. This occurs in the Brahma Loka  and the knot associated with Brahma Loka is Brahma Granthi. Through Mulabandha we are supported and Brahma Loka is made available to us.

It is here that the magic of creation, creativity, and evolution are rooted. It is the support center for embodied love here on planet earth. Connection here manifests in self confidence, security, and embodied empowerment on this planet.

Demonstration of Mulabandha in flexion and extension are  practiced as the coming together of the tailbone and the pubis bone. This space between the tailbone and the pubic symphysis is brought together for support physically. Notice how the sacrum and tailbone complex move independently of the rest of the pelvis. This entire area when synchronized can thus move upward, supporting the entire body.   

We sing a hymn in praise of Saraswati, the consort of Brahma and the goddess of creativity, spontaneous wisdom, and the arts.

The story goes that Saraswati is well loved by Hindus because she was able to tame the wandering mind of Brahma. According to legend, at the dawn of creation, Brahma became enchanted by his first creation, Shatarupa, goddess of material existence. He was so entranced by her that he sprouted five heads so he could watch her at all times. He chased her wherever she went, but he could not possess this mercurial being.

To restrain Brahma's lust Shiva, the supreme ascetic, wrenched off one of Brahma's heads. Sobered by the experience, Brahma turned to Saraswati and learnt to rein in his bewitched mind. Saraswati's children, the Vedas, showed Brahma the way out of the labyrinth of sensuality. From that day, the four heads of Brahma began chanting the four Vedas.



The second main bandha is uddiyana Bandha, which means flying upward energy gate. It  links the energy from the first three chakras in the realm of Brahma Loka (Muladhara, Swadhistana, and Manipura Chakras) upward to the heart chakra (anahat chakra) where the Vishnu Granthi is pierced and untied. This is the realm of Vishnu (Vishnu Loka).Thus one can say that the Vishnu Granthi is pierced when the knot below the heart is opened thereby empowering the heart chakra (Vishnu Loka).  

Lakshmi Devi goddess of prosperity, wealth, completion, and fulfillment is Vishnu’s consort, although various incarnations of Vishnu such as Krishna or Ram have specific incarnated  consorts such as Radhe, Sita, etc. Here mulabandha and uddiyana bandha complement each other  culminating in the heart.

Physical practice: While standing with the feet about one foot apart, place the hands on the thighs halfway between the knees and pelvis with fingers spread while bending the knees slightly. Exhale all the air outward rapidly, let the head come into a gentle but firm jalandhara bandha. Then with all the air exhaled and held outward (bahya kumbhaka). Then pull the entire abdominal fascia back inward and lift it upward allowing the chest to raise up (do not collapse the chest). Bring the  lower back (lumbar and dorsal vertebrae) forward (anterior0 and upward (superior) to meet the abdominal organs at the front of the spine creating a large empty space. If the chest collapses then this space is compressed, so keep the chest raised. In a proper uddiyana bandha the mulabandha is drawn further upward and the jalandhara bandha lifts and energizes the entire process as one (trayabandha).    

Uddiyana bandha is also key to many asana practices. For example, in plank pose (lifted chaturanga dandasana or push up pose) lift from the abdomen upward while preventing the back from rounding.

"The moon and sun unite
within your body when the breath
resides in the meeting place
of the two nadis ida and pingala.
It is the spring equinox
when the breath is in the muladhara,
and it is the autumn equinox
when the breath is in the head.
And prana, like the sun,
travels through the signs of the zodiac;
each time you inhale,
hold in your breath before expelling it.
Lastly, an eclipse of the moon
occurs when the breath reaches
the abode of kundalini
via the channel ida,
and when it follows pingala
in order to reach kundalini,
then there is an eclipse of the sun!
The Mount Meru is in the head
and Kedara in your brow;
between your eyebrows, near your nose,
know dear disciple, that Benares stands;
in your heart is the confluence
of the Ganges and the Yamuna;
lastly, Kamalalaya
is to be found in the muladhara.
To prefer 'real' tirthas
to those concealed in your body,
is to prefer common potsherds
to diamonds laid in your hands.
Your sins will be washed away...
if you carry out the pilgrimages
within your own body from one tirtha to the another!
True yogis
who worship the atman within themselves
have no need for water tirthas
or of gods of wood and clay.
The tirthas of your body
infinitely surpass those of the world,
and the tirtha-of-the-soul is the greatest of them:
the others are nothing beside it.
The mind when sullied,
cannot be purified
in the tirthas where man bathes himself,
...Siva resides in your body;
you would be made to worship him
in images of stone or wood,
with ceremonies, with devotions,
with vows or pilgrimages.
The true yogi looks into himself,
for he knows that images
are carved to help the ignorant
come nearer to the great mystery."

Yoga Darshana Upanishad,4.40-58 trsl., J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.



To activate the connection between crown and root (sahasrara and muladhara), jalandhara bandha aligns the head with the body, spirit and nature, assuming that the other two bandhas are already accomplished. Literally jalandhara means the place of water or the jala can connote a web or screen, but as in so far that the bandhas are subtle energy gates, a more accurate implementation of the term, is the place where the liquid inner soma juices (endocrine substances)  becomes turned into nectar (amrita) producing bliss.        

This is the realm of Rudra Loka (Shiva’s Place) and thus the energy is brought up from the heart, through the throat into the crown where the Rudra (Siva) Granthi is pierced. Here the gates and channels between heaven and earth and opened and they become expressed in human form.

Shiva is most often expressed as pure consciousness -- the destroyer of dualistic conceptual thought and form, as Maheshvara (the param Purusha). However he is  depicted in constant embrace with his consort (Shakti) as the inseparable non-dual union of creator/creation. In various specific forms then, Shakti as associated with Shiva is embodied by Ma Durga, Kali Ma, Parvati, Sati, Uma,  Bhavani, and many others. Shiva “got around”! 

Ganesh is a son of Shiva and so is Kartikeya, also known as Skanda, Kartikeya is a son of Shiva and Parvati who was foster-nursed by the Pleiades. Kartikeya is the god of battle. He has six heads, numerous attributes, and rides a peacock. 

Bhairava is a fierce form of Shiva.

Jalandhara is practiced by opening the heart and letting it raise upward so that the uppermost sternal notch comes together to the chin. In this motion, the shoulder blades remain down (inferior) in back and in (anterior) toward the front. The distance between the occiput and the top of the shoulders elongate and there is no strain or pressure at the throat at all.  The back of the neck lengthens as the front of the throat releases and softens.

"If you keep the breath
at the root of your tongue,
you will be able to drink ambrosia
and will know true happiness.
By drawing it through the ida
and holding it between the eyebrows,
you will drink nectar and keep
your body in good health forever.
By using the two nadis
and guiding the air down to the navel,
you will be preserved from all sickness.
And if for a whole month,
you drink nectar drop by drop,
inhaling the air three times a day
and retaining it according to the rules
in a chosen part of your body,
any sickness deriving from wind or bile
will never be able to bother you.
Diseases of the eyes
are cured by breath held in the forehead
just as diseases of the ears are cured
by breath held in the ears,
and headaches by breath
held at the base of the head"

Yoga Darshana Upanishad, trsl., J. Varenne, "Yoga in the Hindu Tradition", Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.

Bandhas are most often used in pranayama, asana,  mudra, pratyhara, dharana, dhyana, etc., On an energetic level, they can be utilized 24/7. Don’t go out without them.      

"At the top of the body, above the head,
there is the lotus with a thousand petals,
shining like the light of heaven:
it is the giver of liberation.
Its secret name is Kailasa,
the mountain where Siva dwells.
He who knows this secret place
is freed from samsara.

Shiva-Samhita, I.196, Trsl. By J. Varenne, Yoga in the Hindu Tradition, Univ. of Chicago Press, 1976.


TRAYABANDHA or MAHABANDHA: Paramanandabandha

Taken together all three bandhas form what is called trayabandha or Mahabandha

Many more bandhas exist as well. These all can be seen as configurations assembled for the purpose of moving energy through the overall system and/or specific sub-systems at crucial junctures such as sluices, valves, gates, and such. As such they are closely aligned with mudras, except that hatha yoga mudras combine asana, pranayama, bandha, and visualization all together (See chapter on mudras).

All the bandhas have an energetic, psychic/emotional, and spiritual aspect which is causal/precursory to the physical. Knowing what comes first, we are able to merge the annamaya kosha (physical body) with the energy body (pranamaya kosha). Thus an energetic practice entertains both the physical and the mental. A joyful practice embraces it. The mind also rides the horse of the wind (prana) as nothing can move without energetic direction. Thus the practice that focuses on awareness, breath, and energy emotes (creates the bhava) the remedial wavelike motion that stills the multiplit mind patterns-- bhavas of BHAVA -- light of LIGHT; so that the great Light of Universal Infinite can blaze forth burning up all adhi/vyadhi, karma, klesha, samskara, and vasana-- instantaneous flash of grace. We offer this burnt offering upon shakti's healing altar. Our emotions and psyche (manomaya kosha) not only affect the energy (pranamaya kosha) and physical bodies (annamaya koshas) but also vice versa, the annamaya and pranamaya koshas affect the manomaya kosha.

Bandhas by binding the external dissipating flow of energy, binds the outflowing of mental wanderings of attention (or the ordinary discursive mind). This is not a repression of the mind nor the vital energy, but rather the activation of the vital non-dissipative energy which reactivates repressed instinct, rekindles the intuition and inner wisdom, activates the dormant circuitry and evolutionary wisdom centers of the natural spontaneous all encompassing and non-distractive transpersonal non-dual mind. In one sense, the ordinary mind rides upon the wind of the energy vectors (and is thus considered distracted and dissipated because it has been brought outside of its core/heart center and into a dualistic objectified and sterile materialistic world. Yet at the same time, this ordinary mind can be trained to direct the energy, focus and concentrate it through pratyhara, pranayama, dharana, and meditation of which the bandhas are the physical representation.

Thus it is a two way street where the energy moves, so does the mind and likewise where the mind and attention moves so does the energy. Here the practice of bandha with pranayama over a period of time is very effective in revealing these subtle interrelationships and thus from this wisdom allowing us to attain conscious freedom from such vrttis (disturbances) of consciousness (citta). This is why it is emphasized that bandha practice as well as pranayama practice should never be reduced to a mechanical science, but rather as an awareness art -- a further exploration of swadhyaya and consciousness answering the question: "who am I, what is life, what is reality, what is consciousness?" This alignment with the transpersonal non-dual "self" occurs despite of the conceptual mind or intellect at the level of the vijnanamaya kosha (sheath of inner wisdom or Gnosis). At the core heart of all the sheaths (koshas) lies the Anandamaya kosha -- the sheath of great unconditional bliss. Within this core lies the innermost potential, the golden egg, or Hiranyagarbha kosha. When all the inner connection points are bound together, the microcosm merges with the macrocosm. Their unity completes one's experience with the hologram. 

If a partnership or meeting of mind and energy (cit prana or cit shakti) becomes united -- inextricably bound together -- they reach through wisdom and method across the ocean of suffering. Thus the practitioner does not try to master or control the winds, nor does the practitioner become victim of the winds. Rather the authentic student observes the winds through investigating them through pranayama, bandha, asana, and mudra and then is instructed by the nature of prana (prana shakti) and follows this to its limitless Source (shiva/shakti).

Thus the manomaya kosha aligns up with the pranamaya and annamaya koshas, and they in turn destroy the veil of limiting beliefs and false identifications (of the vijnanamaya kosha) completely. The single ambrosial taste of that exquisite alignment meshes with the anandamaya kosha to produce the one taste of bliss. This last kosha when pierced brings us to the golden egg, the hiranyagarbha. The Great All Inclusive Yantra is enjoined together/completed.

All aligned, inner and outer -- and bound together in one ecstatic prayer dance. The body and mind is part of the Great Yantra -- they complete it. Here the inner constellations align up, they mesh with the outer constellations. One day exquisite balance -- synchronicity -- is achieved, neither inner nor outer -- rather non-dual -- The energy residing in the central channel (sushumna) - weightless -- burdenless devoid of sorrow -- Rainbow hued Mandala -- Rainbow body vision!Oh Greatest Bandha beyond the bliss -- Oh Paramananda Bandha -- The front and the back, left and right, top/bottom -- All Directions/Noh Directions -- at the Cross Roads of Love -- at the Hridayam -- the Great Binding of Hearts within the HEART! All Our Relations! All Life is inexorably bound together! Ho! It is Sacred!

Jai Bhagawan!


Supplementary Material


Aparokshanubhuti By Adi Sankaracharya,  Translated by Swami Vimuktananda

Published by Advaita Ashram, Kolkatta

100. Now, for the attainment of the aforesaid (knowledge), I shall expound the fifteen steps by the help of which one should practice profound meditation at all times.

101. The Atman that is absolute existence and knowledge cannot be realized without constant practice. So one seeking after knowledge should long meditate upon Brahman for the attainment of the desired goal.

102-103. The steps, in order, are described as follows: the control of the senses, the control of the mind, renunciation, silence, space, time, posture, the restraining root (Mulabandha), the equipoise of the body, the firmness of vision, the control of the vital forces, the withdrawal of the mind, concentration, self-contemplation and complete absorption.

104. The restraint of all the senses by means of such knowledge as “All this is Brahman” is rightly called Yama, which should be practiced again and again.

105. The continuous flow of only one kind of thought to the exclusion of all other thoughts, is called Niyama, which is verily the supreme bliss and is regularly practiced by the wise.

106. The abandonment of the illusory universe by realizing it as the all-conscious Atman is the real renunciation honored by the great, since it is of the nature of immediate liberation.

107. The wise should always be one with that silence wherefrom words together with the mind turn back without reaching it, but which is attainable by the Yogins.

108-109. Who can describe That (i.e., Brahman) whence words turn away ? (So silence is inevitable while describing Brahman). Or if the phenomenal world were to be described, even that is beyond words. This, to give an alternate definition, may also be termed silence known among the sages as congenital. The observance of silence by restraining speech, on the other hand, is ordained by the teachers of Brahman for the ignorant.

110. That solitude is known as space, wherein the universe does not exist in the beginning, end or middle, but whereby it is pervaded at all times.

111. The non-dual (Brahman) that is bliss indivisible is denoted by the word ‘time’, since it brings into existence, in the twinkling of an eye all beings from Brahman downwards.

112. One should know that as real posture (asana) in which the meditation on Brahman flows spontaneously and unceasingly, and not any other that destroys one’s happiness.

113. That which is well known as the origin of all beings and the support of the whole universe, which is immutable and in which the enlightened are completely merged … that alone is known as Siddhasana (eternal Brahman).

114. That (Brahman) which is the root of all existence and on which the restraint of the mind is based is called the restraining root (Mulabandha) which should always be adopted since it is fit for Raja-yogins.

115. Absorption in the uniform Brahman should be known as the equipoise of the limbs (Dehasamya). Otherwise mere straightening of the body like that of a dried-up tree is no equipoise.

116. Converting the ordinary vision into one of knowledge one should view the world as Brahman itself. That is the noblest vision, and not that which is directed to the tip of the nose.

117. Or, one should direct one’s vision to That alone where all distinction of the seer, sight, and the seen ceases and not to the tip of the nose.

118. The restraint of all modifications of the mind by regarding all mental states like the Chitta as Brahman alone, is called Pranayama.

119-120. The negation of the phenomenal world is known as Rechaka (breathing out), the thought, “I am verily Brahman”, is called Puraka (breathing in), and the steadiness of that thought thereafter is called Kumbhaka (restraining the breath). This is the real course of Pranayama for the enlightened, whereas the ignorant only torture the nose.

121. The absorption of the mind in the Supreme Consciousness by realizing Atman in all objects is known as Pratyahara (withdrawal of the mind) which should be practiced by the seekers after liberation.

122. The steadiness of the mind through realization of Brahman wherever the mind goes, is known as the supreme Dharana (concentration).

123. Remaining independent of everything as a result of the unassailable thought, “I am verily Brahman”, is well known by the word Dhyana (meditation), and is productive of supreme bliss.

124. The complete forgetfulness of all thought by first making it changeless and then identifying it with Brahman is called Samadhi known also as knowledge.

125. The aspirant should carefully practice this (meditation) that reveals his natural bliss until, being under his full control, it arises spontaneously, in an instant when called into action.

126. Then he, the best among Yogis having attained to perfection, becomes free from all practices. The real nature of such a man never becomes an object of the mind or speech.


From Lalleswari (Lalla Ded)

My Guru whispered into my ear
But one Guru Shabad;
He asked me to seek myself
Within myself, not without,
The magic worked,
I become free and,
Began dancing in
Blissful Boom:

What use to me are
Those fives, tens-and elevens
Who lick cooking kettles and go away
If we gather together and pull
The same rope, in the same direction,
Then, how can a single cow
Elude eleven of us?

Thou are the sky, the earth and air,
Thou the day and night;
Thou art the grain, flowers and sandalwood,
Thee, the water, universe, all;
Then what remains to adorn thee with
O' Lord ?


To the Utterly At-One with Siva

There's no dawn,
no new moon,
no noonday,
nor equinoxes,
nor sunsets,
nor full moons;
his front yard
is the true Benares,
O Ramanatha!
I'm the one who has the body,
You're the one who holds the breath.

You know the secret of my body,
I know the secret of your breath.
That's why your body
is in mine
You know
and I know, Ramanatha,
the miracle
of your breath
in my body.
God of my clan,
I'll not place my feet
but where your foot
have stood before;
I've no feet of my own

How can the immoralists
of this world know
the miracle, the oneness
of your feet
and mine,
one will hunger
one will die.
O you, don't you rib
and taunt me
for having a body:
body thyself for once
like me and see
what happens,
O Ramanatha.
When, to the hungerless figure,
you serve waters of no thirst,
whisper the sense-less word
in the heart,
and call without a name,
who is it that echoes O!
in answer,
O Ramanatha,
is it you
or is it me?"

From the Vacanas of Dasimayya, translated from the Dravidian (Kannada) by A.K. Ramanujan in "Speaking of Siva", London: Penguin, 1973


From "The Songs of Kabir" translated by Rabindranath Tagore.

III. 55. ved kahe sargun ke âge

THE Vedas say that the Unconditioned stands beyond the world of Conditions.
O woman, what does it avail thee to dispute whether He is beyond all or in all?

See thou everything as thine own dwelling place: the mist of pleasure and pain can never spread there.

There Brahma is revealed day and night: there light is His garment, light is His seat, light rests on thy head.

Kabîr says: "The Master, who is true, He is all light."

III. 48. tû surat nain nihâr

OPEN your eyes of love, and see Him who pervades this world I consider it well, and know that this is your own country.

When you meet the true Guru, He will awaken your heart;
He will tell you the secret of love and detachment, and then you will know indeed that He transcends this universe.

This world is the City of Truth, its maze of paths enchants the heart:

We can reach the goal without crossing the road, such is the sport unending.
Where the ring of manifold joys ever dances about Him, there is the sport of Eternal Bliss.

When we know this,, then all our receiving and renouncing is over;
Thenceforth the heat of having shall never scorch us more.
He is the Ultimate Rest unbounded:

He has spread His form of love throughout all the world.
From that Ray which is Truth, streams of new forms are perpetually springing: and He pervades those forms.

All the gardens and groves and bowers are abounding with blossom; and the air breaks forth into ripples of joy.

There the swan plays a wonderful game,

There the Unstruck Music eddies around the Infinite One;
There in the midst the Throne of the Unheld is shining, whereon the great Being sits--
Millions of suns are shamed by the radiance of a single hair of His body.
On the harp of the road what true melodies are being sounded! and its notes pierce the heart:

There the Eternal Fountain is playing its endless life-streams of birth and death.
They call Him Emptiness who is the Truth of truths, in Whom all truths are stored!
There within Him creation goes forward, which is beyond all philosophy; for philosophy cannot attain to Him:

There is an endless world, O my Brother! and there is the Nameless Being, of whom naught can be said.

Only he knows it who has reached that region: it is other than all that is heard and said.
No form, no body, no length, no breadth is seen there: how can I tell you that which it is?
He comes to the Path of the Infinite on whom the grace of the Lord descends: he is freed from births and deaths who attains to Him.

Kabîr says: "It cannot be told by the words of the mouth, it cannot be written on paper:
It is like a dumb person who tastes a sweet thing--how shall it be explained?"


From the Tao Te Ching verses 3-6

3: The Master leads
by emptying people's minds
and filling their cores,
by weakening their ambition
and toughening their resolve.

He helps people lose everything
they know, everything they desire,
and creates confusion
in those who think that they know.

Practice not-doing,
and everything will fall into place.

4: The Tao is like a well:
used but never used up.
It is like the eternal void:
filled with infinite possibilities.

It is hidden but always present.
I don't know who gave birth to it.
It is older than God.

5: The Tao doesn't take sides;
it gives birth to both good and evil.
The Master doesn't take sides;
she welcomes both saints and sinners.

The Tao is like a bellows:
it is empty yet infinitely capable.
The more you use it, the more it produces;
the more you talk of it, the less you understand.

Hold on to the center.

6: The Tao is called the Great Mother:
empty yet inexhaustible,
it gives birth to infinite worlds.

It is always present within you.
You can use it any way you want.

translated by Stephen Mitchell

For more details on the bandhas see:

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Beginners Hints on Hatha Asana Practice

Article on All Types of Yoga in General

Various Types of Teachings and Teachers and How to Find Our Inner Teacher (large article)

Chakra Purification Exercise

Chakra and Energy Healing including a discussion of the adhi/Vyadhi

The Energy and Subtle Body

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