I And Mine: [03.04] - 8 Formulas For Making Individual Efforts To Attain Liberation - 4. Apan and Purity of the Mind

Published: 10.12.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015

The main region of apan is below the navel and at the back right up to its lower end. Its function is elimination of faeces, urine, semen, etc. Any impurity in them makes one unhappy; when they are pure, one feels happy. Only when the apan is impure does one suffer from ailments related to semen and others like warts in the lower region. Apan is related to the clean condition of the stomach. When the stomach is not clean, constipation occurs and worms develop. A nice way of ensuring cleanness of the stomach is to perform Ashvini Mudra (the contraction of the anal sphincter muscles (image of a horse excreting) and to concentrate the mind on the navel.

The source of physical strength lies between the navel and anus. By scoring a victory against apan one can develop the source of strength and energy. The secret of the horse' s strength is its Sankoch- Vikoch Mudra (the same as Ashvini Mudra (contracting and lifting the anal muscles). By performing Ashvini Mudra a hundred times one can purify the impure anal air. Mulbandh (a posture where the body from the anus to the navel is contracted and lifted up) is also helpful. Holding back from inhaling according to individual capacity after expelling the vital air from the lungs also purifies Apan.

Hath Yoga means the meeting of the vital air (Pran) and Apan. Ha (-the sun), and tha (-the moon), when combined become Hatha, which means meeting of the sun and the moon. Poets of mysticism have mentioned this meeting. It means the meeting of the day and night. This meeting takes place in the navel. Through Mulbandh (a posture where the body from the anus to the navel is contracted and lifted up) the breath is carried into the navel, which brings about the meeting of Pran and Apan, resulting in the end of disequilibrium. It is disequilibrium that is physical and mental ailment as well as sinfulness. It is equilibrium that is health and religion. It is laid down that a sadhu should rest a while after returning from food-begging and before eating it.

Fast walking disturbs the equilibrium of the body' s constituents. Even nectar taken in that state turns into poison. Pandit Lalan once said to Acharya Shree, 'one of the reasons the sadhus fall ill is their going for food-begging. Those who eat as soon as they return from food-begging invite illness. Eating and drinking soon after toiling hard give birth to diseases. Ten to fifteen minutes rest is necessary to bring back the body constituents into equilibrium. One should also not eat when the mind is disturbed. Food taken when the mind is afflicted with anger, lust, greed, etc. turns into poison. Disequilibrium or absence of equanimity is not only a spiritual but also a physical and mental defect. Equanimity is not only a spiritual but also a physical and mental virtue. Imbalance between Pan and Apan means ill health of body and the mind. Balance between the two means physical and mental health.'

Purification of the Mind

What is mind?

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The existence of the continuous flux of the consciousness directed outwards is mind. The existence of language and mind is not uninterrupted as is that of the body. It is a state of flux - Language is linguistic. There is no language before speech and there is no language after speech. Language comes into being (exists) only during speech:. Similarly, mind is contemplative. There is no mind before contemplation and there is no mind after contemplation. Mind exists only during contemplation -. Mind changes from moment to moment -. Mind is related to the senses. The senses have five sensations. We get to know all objects and their gross forms through the senses. The touch of heat and cold enables us to know objects. The taste of mango juice enables us to recognize mangoes. The juice is not all that there is to mango. A mango has a shape too, but mere juice leads us to recognize the mango. Smell too brings us in contact with the external world. From and shape are also means of contact. Word also relates us to the external world. The mind does not have a direct contact with the external world. It establishes it through the senses.

What is the difference between intellect and mind?

Both are harmonious forms of the same consciousness: There is only one sun but its light gets fragmented and is received through many separate doors and window. Different entries give it different forms. The same rainwater takes on different forms: ponds, pots, and the sea. Jayacharya has written: One of the watch posts got covered with sand. When the site was dug at one spot, one corner of the post was revealed. When dug on the other side, the second corner was revealed. The four corners when dug became four different objects. When the digging was complete a single watch post was revealed. Similarly, our consciousness assumes different forms, as it is progressively uncovered. intelligence, senses and the mind are harmonious forms of the same consciousness.

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Really speaking, purity of mind consists only in such a harmonious state. or attaining equanimity or fusion with the true self also means the same thing. A sadhu's life is also a kind of fusion with the true self, but it too requires a specially dedicated practice of equanimity. Therefore, Upadhyaya Yashovijayaji has said, - Yogis experience a special type of equanimity.

Disequilibrium is caused by many factors: honour, dishonour, obedience, discipline, etc. So long as these criteria prevail, a father will feel angry if his son does not obey his order because it hurts the father' s sense of honour. A husband loses his peace of mind if his wife disobeys him. Therefore, equanimity of mind is not possible so long as these criteria continue to be followed.

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The very character of creation is dualistic. Profit and loss, happiness and unhappiness, honour and dishonour, life and death and many other opposites are before us. That is why in Yoga we are advised to face them with equanimity. Feeling happy at profit and unhappy at loss is a sign of lack of equanimity. Equanimity is spiritual bliss. But it does not imply that equanimity makes a man inactive. Equanimity is in fact a sign of spiritual valour (whereby man is moved to attain the objects of his life). Freedom from mundane concerns implies turning of the mind inwards. Because any object that has existence is capable of activity. In the language of Nyayashastra existence is defined as. For an object to exist means to be capable of purposive activity. Therefore, existence cannot be imagined without activity. In Jain philosophy matter has been regarded as (invariably possessed of the attributes of beginning, end, and fixedness). Therefore, matter cannot exist without purposive activity. That which lacks the above three attributes is non-matter, like flower in the sky. Therefore, if the soul is something that exists, it can never be inactive.

In reality religion is not an acquired but a natural quality of the soul. It is born. He who understands this truth becomes the master of all the three worlds (this world, the other world and the nether world).

It is common belief that the mind is unsteady or fickle. It gets perplexed, gets filled with dirty things. But it should be remembered that perplexity arises only in a state of disharmony between and among the mind, senses and the air. As soon as their equilibrium is restored, perplexity automatically disappears. The means of establishing harmony or equilibrium is rhythmic breath. The quantity of air inhaled successively should be the same in order to have rhythmic breathing. Complete identification with harmonious rhythm and tone also develops strength.

One way of purifying the mind also consists in fixing the gaze on the nervous system. If one lies down and concentrates on the big toe of the right foot, the mind becomes calm. In fact the nervous structure is very complex. He who comes to understand it can do big things. I know a few people who, even though not possessed of any specialized knowledge, cure stomach-ache etc., by a mere jerk because they have acquired some secret of the nerves.

Looking fixedly at the sky also helps. Because the sky is infinite, seeing it mean seeing the infiniteness of our souls as a result of which we get lost in ourselves. That is why many Yogis meditate also by concentrating their eyes on the sky.

On having purified the mind, We can also enter into telepathic communication by concentrating on a single thought.

Sources
  • I And Mine by Acharya Mahaprajna
  • Edited by Muni Dulahraj ji
  • Translated by R.P. Bhatnagar, formerly Prof. Dept. of English at Jaipur University
  • Published by Jain Vishva Bharati Institute, Ladnun, India, 1st Edition, 1995

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Page glossary
Some texts contain  footnotes  and  glossary  entries. To distinguish between them, the links have different colors.
  1. Acharya
  2. Anger
  3. Body
  4. Consciousness
  5. Contemplation
  6. Discipline
  7. Equanimity
  8. Greed
  9. Jain Philosophy
  10. Jayacharya
  11. Mudra
  12. Pandit
  13. Pran
  14. Sadhu
  15. Sadhus
  16. Soul
  17. Upadhyaya
  18. Yoga
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