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Magazine : Matrusri English
Language : English
Volume Number : 2
Month : October
Issue Number : 7
Year : 1967

‘Faith Concists in exhalation and inhalation being equal’

– Mother.

This saying of Mother looses much of its beauty when it is translated into English. There is, first of all, the beauty which is not merely of utterance of the three Telugu words Ucchvaasa (inhalation). Nisvaasa (Exhalation) and Viswaasa (faith). Owing to the grouping together of these three words, the definition of faith strikes at the core of all mystic teaching.

According to Self Realized ones, the seemingly diverse paths of Jnaana, Bhakti, Yoga and Karma are not really different from one another. Bhagavan Ramana Maharshi said it. Mother pointed out that the three paths are all inter-related. and that when one progresses along one of these, he progresses along the other three lines also. This recalls to our mind, the statement of Sri Rama krishna Paramahamsa that when a devotee weeps for God’s grace, weeping causes Kevala Kumbhaka (suspension of breath), without any deliberate attempt on his part; it is a state which some aspi. rants att in by rigorous practice of breath control. Thus, when the devotee rises to a high intensity of longing for Ged or devotion, he simultaneously rises in the line of yoga of meditation. So too did Ramana Maharshi state that the popular notion that Adi Sankara was a rigid Advaitin and that he is necessarily far from the path of devotion which rests on dualism is untrue. He illustrated his point by mentioning the names of several devotional poems addressed by him to various gods and goddesses. Ramana Maharshi himself provided a typical illustration of this point in himself. One is apt to think of him as a Jnaani, in the narrower sense, in the popular use of the term, as different from a Bhakta (devotee) or a Yogi. But while he advoca ted Atmavichara or Self- Enquiry to most of his devotees, whenever devotional songs were sung in praise of the Lord, tears flowed from his eyes and his voice choked and he was lost in the depths of devotion.

It follows from this argument that in moments of intense devotion, the physical state of breathing follows the regular rhythm of it’s own accord. without any special effort, whereas Hata Yogis attain this state and the final suspension of breath through hard and hazardous endeavour. The significance of this stage in the atainment of perfect knowledge or Juaana can be understood from the fact that it was mentioned in the Bhagavadgita as “Pranna panan Samambrited..” (he incoming and outgoing impulses having been equalised): the same scriptue also refers to the offering of the incoming breath in the outgrowing breath and vice versa, which is practiced by Yogis as necessary part of spiritual discipline. So too, when the mind is directed to its source through intense practice of Self-enquiry, both the thoughts and the breath finally get suspended. Equalisation of inhalation and exhalation preceeds this stage and follows it when one constantly abides in the elf. Irregulariues of breath are an indi ation of cares and vexons. Equalised breth is as of inner calm which trans, ends, the turmoil of dualities of the mind. Only a mind which has deep faith to depend upon in all moments of life, has that peace and hence the calm. equalised breathing. Thus real faith is so deep as to dominate the whole of one’s mental life and through that, one’s physiological functions, with regularity.

When viewed from the view of Cosmic Symbolism, the alternate exhalation and inhalation constitute the Ajapa mantra of Soham which goes on all the time, throughout one’s life. Sufis meditate upon it. Many mystics merge the watching of breath with the repitition of the mystic formula. Inhalation produces the sound So (Sanskrit He’), and exhalation produces the sou ad Aham (Sanskrit, I am) and the two somds constitute the mystic formula Soham meaning I am He’. When both exhalation an inhalation are equal in depth and duration, he attempt at awareness of the unity underlying the duality of God and Man is stabilized. Only such a one can be said to have faith-faith in God, faith in himself, and faith in the way he is treading, which assures him of successful union with the Beloved’, as the final realisation is sometimes called.

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