943 – Three breath meditation

Abhinava Gupta (975 AD—1025 Ad) was a Master of Philosophy and he created an understanding and appreciation about the Kashmir School of Shaivism. He spoke about the three-breath meditation, which today we call Anuloma Viloma.

He speaks about the sun, the moon and the fire. He relates it to the triad which is everywhere in his writings, the knower, the known and knowledge. The known (outer objects) is related to the moon because the reflected light makes them shine. The meaning of knowing (mind and senses) relates to the sun because it is by the light that the outer objects are known. The radiance of the sun, which is brilliant is the fire. This fire refers to the Consciousness, which empowers the mind and senses. Only through the interaction of the sun and the moon, fire is revealed.

The Tri breath practice is Anuloma Viloma. Visualize the breath flowing in and out of the left nostril to the count of 54. Count backwards. Repeat with the right nostril the same process, 54 times. Now repeat with both nostrils 54 times. Through the left nostril, one is unblocking the Ida nadi, through the right nostril, one is unblocking the Pingala Nadi. When breathing through both unblocked nostrils, the Sushumna nadi rises.

The explanation is the nadis are the subtle nerves and Ida and Pingala are associated with the left and the right nostrils. Prana Shakti generates our external and internal life. Both Ida and Pingala rise and subside in the space of consciousness, which can also be focused on the space between the two breaths. When they are unblocked, one’s consciousness (Sushumna) is awakened.

Prana shakti flows in the left (Ida) and the right (Pingala) and the central (Sushumna) Nadis. By constant awareness, it abides in the Sushumna center, which is Supreme Consciousness. – Shiv Sutras 111.44

Extracted from The Yoga of Kashmir Shaivism by Swami Shankarananda.

Aim Hrim Klim


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