I And Mine: [03.03] - 8 Formulas For Making Individual Efforts To Attain Liberation - 3. Purification of the Pran and Apan

Published: 09.12.2005
Updated: 02.07.2015

Air has an important role in our body. It affects both the body and the mind. It also affects physical and mental health.

Air has five main types:

Pran

the vital air which moves in the region of the chest

Apan

the vital air which moves in the sphere of the lower abdomen and controls the function of elimination

Saman

the vital air whose function is to aid digestion

Udan

the vital air dwelling in the thoracic cavity and controlling the intake of air and food

Vyan

the vital air pervading the whole body and circulating the food and breath energy all over the body

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Out of these we have to deliberate a little on inhalation and exhalation.
Air inhaled is Pran and that exhaled is Apan. If we combine the two we call them Pranapan.
Buddhist literature mentions the term Anapansati and Jain literature speaks of Anapan-Nirodh.
The centre of Pran is the front of the nose.

As soon as the mind concentrates on it, one goes into the posture of Mul Bandh (a Hath Yoga exercise) and the Mul Nadi (one of the yogic psychic centres) becomes tight. This is a clear indication of the combination of the mind and the air inhaled at the front tip of the nose. Tightening of the Mul Nadi means the end of semen going downwards and the beginning of its going upwards. Once I asked a physician about the Mul Nadi. He said in their medical system there was no such Nadi (nerve) which may cause the upward movement of semen. I kept thinking on this subject for a long time and wondered how it would be right to speak of an ascetic who remains perpetually chaste in the absence of the upward movement of semen. But now I am in a position to aver that there is a nerve in the body that enables the semen to move upwards and that it is also true that there is a way to become a perpetually chaste ascetic.

The origin of semen lies is blood. Blood keeps coursing through the body. When sexual craving is active there is a greater flow of blood in the testicles. There blood is transformed into semen. When semen is accumulated in full quantity is rouses the sexual desire and is ultimately discharged. Its discharge takes place through the exhaled air. If breath is under control, the discharge can be stopped. Stoppage of discharge can mean two things: non-formation of semen and assimilation or transformation of formed semen.

If inhalation is kept under control, there is a reduced supply of blood to the testicles. The vital element of the blood directly converts itself into power.

In the Science of Yoga two words are current: semen' s ‘retention', or 'arrest' and its 'attraction' or 'drawing.' Retention is semen's discharge arrested just in time and ‘attraction' is semen's nourishing right up to the brain by becoming part of blood. Butter permeates milk. Unless separated from the milk it cannot be called butter; in the unseparated state it is just milk, no butter. Similarly, semen is mixed with blood. Unless separated from blood, it cannot be called semen; in the unseparated state it is just blood, not semen. Even then semen exists in blood as butter exists in milk. The process of semen' s moving upwards is nothing but its not separating from blood and covering itself into vital power. Holding semen through breath control or assimilating it as vital power through will-power is also a process of moving upwards.

The human body has seven constituent elements. The seventh is semen. The subtle form of all the seven constituents is vital power throughout the body. Greater discharge of semen means less vital power and reduced or no discharge means more vital power. Increase in vital power helps develop a strong will, patience, tolerance, keen talent, and many other qualities. A major role in their development is played by breath. That is why I said that breath is the basis of our strength. The territory of the inhaled air extents from the tip of the nose to the big toe of the foot. Within it the important areas are the tip of the nose, the heart and the navel. According to Acharya Hem Chandra there are two parts of Lord Mahavira's posture. Relaxation of the body in Paryankasan (one of the Yogic postures) and fixing the gaze on the tip of the nose:

One comes to know the sequence of inhalation and exhalation by concentrating the mind on the nose tip.
Thereby breath becomes controlled. And controlling breath means controlling the mind and semen.

There is only one road to victory or control over breath, mind and semen. Victory over mind and semen becomes automatic once breath has been controlled; likewise victory over mind ensures control of breath and mind. In the science of Tantra breath has been called the controller of knowledge:

Let the mind concentrate on the going in and coming out of the vital air and be absorbed into it.
Six months of practice will reduce pain and suffering.

There are two methods of fixing the gaze on the navel:

  1. Lie down straight and then look at the navel after raising the head
  2. Look at the navel while performing Jalandhar Bandh (a Yogic exercise}.
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. Bandh
  3. Body
  4. Brain
  5. Nadi
  6. Pran
  7. Psychic Centres
  8. Saman
  9. Science
  10. Tantra
  11. Tolerance
  12. Yoga
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