PranayAmam & its significance
Human activities cover a very wide range .It includes not only physical activities but also intellectual activities. For this wide range of activities of a human , only one raw material input is the food we take. The human body has to function as an individual complex , to convert this input into various requirements of the body to meet the needs of the different activities. In any Industrial plant , it is well known that for conversion of raw materials to end products , the plant has to be provided with energy .This is done through electricity in most plants.In the case of human body , how is this energy provided ??
The Vedic references mention about ‘Prana’ , as the source of energy for the activities of the human body.This is available everywhere in the universe. According to vedic tenets ‘Prana’ enters the body and divides itself into five forms to cover different zones and also assumes different names .’Prana’ is the prime source of energy and enters the body through respiration. The life energy or ‘Prana’ distributing itself all over the body is known as ‘Vyana’. The energy regulating excretory organs is known as ‘Apana’. The life energy catering for the neck region is known as ‘Udana’ The life energy covering nAbhi (navel) region to support digestion etc is known as ‘Samana’.These are known as ‘Pancha Pranas’ or five life energies . It is customary practice to make offerings to ‘Pancha Pranas’ before taking food .Thus respiratory system is a source of energy supply to the body .This apart, Vedic references mention also ‘ Chakras’ in our body as another source of supply. Of these , the respiratory source is considered very important and measures for respiratory control developed .The pranic energy referred to here is not of one particular type but a mixture of several types.They serve not only as source of energy but also provide faculties such as speech, hearing etc. They also influence personality. Vedic philosophies discuss this aspect .
Realising the importance of pranic energy, efforts were also made for their intake as a part of our living. Sages such as Manu, Yagnavalkya, ParAsara, Gautama and others in their ‘Smritis’ have given the art of living ( Dharma Shastra ) based on their experience .Their one objective was to enhance the nobility and respectability of humans and establish an ideal human society. Out of a rock lying uncared for and treaded by one and all, if an artisan carves an idol of God, it becomes worthy of worship. In the same manner, a human birth alone cannot reach a level of respect Some processing is necessary. This is called ‘SamskAras’ and are made integral part of living .These ‘SamskAras’ enable the individual to acquire various qualities through absorption of appropriate pranic energy.
Our predecessors realized that respiration held the key to health and personality of humans. Thus respiratory control or ‘PranayAmam’ was evolved. This view of the Indian sages was not acceptable to Scientists and the Western world. Hence, these remained as mere rituals. Around 1960, some studies of the brain and the Kirlian photography brought about a revolution. The approach of our sages received recognition. Since then lot of progress has been made.
This is also used in all Vedic rituals. Our sages have given a format for ‘PranayAmam’ .This format is discussed in the light of research of human body through Kirlian photography, brain studies etc. It will be seen from these discussions, that the format for ‘PranayAmam’ given by our sages is indeed unique and helps a great deal in preserving our physical health and also develop our personality
Visishta Nirvachana Vaani
Visishta Nirvachana Vaani means … Superior voice of definitions!
Master Ekkirala Krishnamacharya (Master EK) is one of the greatest Sanskrit – Telugu – English – scholars and also one of the “Saint-Masters” of our time from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh. I happened to live very near (a minute’s walking distance) to where he lived in Guntur during my boyhood and teenage days – absolutely oblivious to the fact that I will be venerating him one day – in my later part of life.
Master EK had authored many books in varying subjects, lectured and taught people – on Sciences, Yoga & Spirituality. I have studied quite a few of them, heard his recorded speeches on variety of subjects with great interest – learnt a lot and benefited from that learning. For this benefit obtained by me – I owe my debt of gratitude to my close childhood friend – Shri Vavilala Umapathi (S/o Shri Vavilala Somayajulu – a contemporary and a very close friend of Master EK) who supplied me with the books and CDs of Master EK from his personal Library.
Mandra Gita & Shakharavam are just two of many books that have flown from the ocean of outpourings from this great Master EK. His daughter Smt. P. Lakshmi Devi, picked up some important and very useful definitions from the above two books to present them in one lot – for the benefit and convenience of those who seek greater clarity in understanding the ancient philosophical scriptures. “Visishta Nirvachana Vaani” is probably the smallest booklet written and published in Sanskrtised Telugu – and flowing from the very own daughter of this great “Man-Institution”. This booklet encapsulates in a nutshell most of the clarity needed on definitions of words in order to comprehend clearly (without the normal confusion) the essence of – Vedas, Upanishads, Puranas and Bhagavat Gita.
Those who have studied Indian scriptures to some extent and understand at least some words of Sanskrit but have no full clarity on them (due to lack of clarity of definitions) – will get greater clarity form these “Capsules of Wisdom”. For the benefit of the English readers (who cannot read Telugu original) – I am attempting this transliteration (plus very little of translation) from Telugu to English. I have tried to preserve to the best of my ability – the original flavour of Master EK’s style and that of Smt. P. Lakshmi Devi – which is inimitable for its precise brevity. This is done so – notwithstanding the fact that it is extremely difficult to totally convey the complete, extensive and voluminous meaning of what is said in Sanskrtised Telugu into another and grammatically different language like English – with the same or identical precision & brevity.
I had gone occasionally – beyond the “strict script” in my transliteration – wherever I thought the additional information given in brackets is essential to ensure the conveyance of the full purport to the English reader – to help proper understanding. I also kept the Sanskrit words bold for easy noticing with their English meaning given in the brackets – for quick references later. Here are 224 Invaluable Gems of definitions (Delivered in some form of axioms or aphorisms) – each one containing the equivalent “substance-content” of a text book – if only to be elaborated for simplification or for elucidation.
These Nirvachanas (Definitions / Axioms / Aphorisms – call what you may) are individually capsules of wisdom and also clarifications by themselves. They have been picked up at random only from the 2 books of Master EK’s works. They are not organized in any particular order to establish or accomplish any kind of connectivity serially – or in accordance with any predetermined flow as you proceed sequentially. This will be similar to a dictionary that is not alphabetically organized – but meanings clearly defined. Hope the readers will benefit as much as I did – reading the original Telugu works of Master EK.
Dharma – Everything that is there to know about!
If there is one word in “Sanskrit” that pervades the entire physical & material universe on one side – and also the universe of Life & Spirit on the other side – it is “Dharma”. It is used very colloquially on one side by all and sundry – as much as with extreme poignancy and significance by the very learned to explain the esoteric truths of God’s creations.
Let us look at the Indian mythological connection to this word and I quote ….
Dharma: An ancient “Hindu Sage” – a Rishi, who married thirteen of Daksha‘s daughters. According to the Mahabharata, Daksha sprang from the right thumb of Brahma, and his wife from that god’s left thumb. Their numerous progeny, transparently personifications of virtues and religious rites, were married to – “Dharma” (meaning moral duty in Sanskrit); to Kashyapa – another ancient sage and the grandfather of Manu, the progenitor of mankind; and to Soma – the king of the Brahmins and the guardians of sacrifices. Dharma in Hindu religion is the doctrine of the duties and rights of each caste in the ideal society, and as such the mirror of all moral action.
Now we look at the religious interpretations and I quote ….