GV25 UttaraBhadrapada

Meditation on the exhalation point:  rechaka / nasagra drishti

I found a correlation between GV25 and the last breath we take in a lifetime.  There is a saying going around yoga classes in the West, that a lifetime is a measurement of so many breaths, that we are given X amount of breaths from the moment of our first breath to our last.  Pranayama is promoted as a health-giving, rejuvinating activity, which it is, prolonging and enhancing life in the body.  It is also promoted as a way to de-stress, calm down the mind. This is how rechaka ("exhalation") and nasagra drishti (gazing on the tip of the nose or 12 inches out from the tip of the nose) is taught in the West.

"Control of breath ( pranayama ) may be internal or external. The internal is as follows: Naham (the idea I am not the body) is rechaka (exhalation), Koham (Who am I?) is puraka (inhalation), Soham (I am He) is kumbhaka (retention of breath). Doing this, the breath becomes automatically controlled. External pranayama is for one not endowed with the strength to control the mind. There is no way so sure as control of mind." 
Ramana Maharishi,  Be as You Are, (url, pp.9-10)

In Swami Sivananda's writings there is again a reference to a hamsa (pranayama) practice for nadi purification associated specifically with this GV25 point at the tip of the nose:

"....Sitting in Padmasana (Lotus-posture) the person should meditate that there is, at the tip of his nose, Devi Gayatri, a girl of red complexion, surrounded by numberless rays of the image of the moon and mounted on Hamsa (Swan) having a mace in her hand...."
Sri Swami Shivananda, "The Science of Pranayama" p.15 (link to pdf)

 What I know of Pranayama I have learned from my teacher Sri Vasudeva and my own personal experience.  He has given many excellent talks on the subject - but this "tip of the nose" GV26 is not addressed at this writing...many because it's not so necessary, especially once one's Kundalini is already awakened, besides which this practice would make the yogi go cross-eyed.  Paramahansa Yogananda points out that the instruction in Bhagavad Gita VI:13 to focus on the tip of the nose is often a misinterpretation of the word nasikagram as not "tip of the nose" when it really means "origin of the nose" - in other words the 3rd eye chakra between the eyebrows and that makes more sense (it's in his commentary on the BG, p.608).

I know that hamsa, as he has taught, is the natural mantra of the breath.  Try this with your mouth open and you may also hear "ha" as you breathe out and "sa" as you breathe in.  Pranayama using hamsa is a beginning step to draw the mind inward using breath as a point of focus.  The real pranayama, as Sri Vasudeva has explained, is connecting with the subtle prana (life force energy) that comes with the breath.  Prana is also in our mind and comes with our thoughts.  A more advanced form of hamsa practice is to draw prana in an orbit up and down the sushumna using the mind.  That's when the breath naturally becomes still.  And when we use it for the physical body for total wellbeing, we use a combination of things.

Jyotishi Achala Sylwia Mihajlović has written a marvellous book (and article for this website) where she has derived that UttaraBhadrapada is connected to the chakra petal sounds:  "ham" (हं) (ajna); षं ṣaṃ & सं saṃ (muladhara) - where she derives the chakra orientation based on things in Sri Yukteswar's book The Holy Science.  (Note that Sri Yukteswar is talking about yugas and zodiac signs not nakshatras.)  Here is where I find a direct link to the GV26, the pranayama practice of repeating hamsa with the breath and validation for her work in connecting the brow to the root chakra through the outbreath "ham".  Sri Vasudeva explains that this "ham" is the ego, the "ahamkara" or "I-maker" that we need to expel, to purify our system so that the divine prana may flow - and there will be more room for Kundalini, that Divine part of us, to flow upwards in the "sa" of the inbreath.  Sri Vasudeva says that eventually the hamsa transforms into the soham mantra.  Pt. Sanjay Rath writes how this mantra is directly related to Jyotish (here).

Paramahansa Yogananda, (his name has the hansa in it - the swan, the unblemished one, the purified one), writes in his commentary on Bhagavad Gita that what flows from the primorial sound AUM is prana as light and vibration - these are subtle vibrations.

What does all of this have to do with Uttara Bhadrapada nakshatra?  It's showing me the yogic practice that is implied with this point.  All of the nakshatras are about mind control through yogic practices.  They mean other things too, but this is definitely one of their meanings.  And the practice described above is a preliminary one (a beginner stage) but also one we can use to keep a healthy body and mind throughout the spiritual journey.

And we see this reflected in acupuncture also...

GV25 素髎 (sù liáo)

"White Crevice / Bone-Hole"  The needle point at the tip of the nose...

The needle is pointing towards the nasal cavity.

So on a physical level we have reached the maximum point of the breathing aparatus, going literally up in the body.  On a subtle level, ida and pingala (the nadis utilized in pranayama) begin and end here.  Beyond that is the astral state of awareness, the realms of mind, manas, the nagas and the akasha.  Beyond that is the breathless state that which transcends existing on the prana that flows in oxygen and in thoughts and now tapping into the prana of the sahasrara or the cosmic life force, that which sustains the soul in the afterlife and all the other states.  The deeper you go, the more healing power you have.

Esoteric meanings

In Taoist neidan, according to Mantak Chia, this point is Emperor's Palace 2 "The Cave House" is located in the auditory area and is about primary sensory power (seeing, hearing, and smelling…) whether in the cave under the ocean (the fetus stage) or in the cave of darkness (night and advanced spiritual work). 

Dark Room Enlightenment:  Lesser, Greater, and Greatest Kan & Li by Mantak Chia (link)
I'm not exactly sure what Mantak Chia means by "cave house" and the second "Palace" of the Emperior.  These are metaphors belonging to Big Dipper Neidan.  GV25 is an acupuncture point pointing towards and connecting to this auditory area in the brain and because it is linked with the senses, it must fall within the domain of manas chakra, that part of the the brow chakra system where the soul's memory (chitta) is stored.  As a place we access in the afterlife (or in the present life using the third eye), this is where all of our past lives are recorded and more importantly those seeds of sense impressions "samskaras" that we are particularly attached to.  

In Carl J. Calleman's interpretation of the Mayan cosmology, this is the underworld dimension concerned with "tribal" matters.  In context of the monomyth, in context of the soul's reincarnation journey in the afterlife or life-between-life, this sounds to me like a point where the soul is connecting with the group soul they will be incarnating with in the next life.

In any link with manas chakra (the chakra of the nagas) there is definitely an association with the akashic realm or realms.  Chit-Atma / Chidatma "pure Being" (crown consciousness in the Self-realized soul) is at an intermediate state at this point.  This is implied in this reflection by Yogi Bhusunda:

“Prana, having flown out, will again be absorbed in the heart having run back 12 digits. Similarly will Apana be absorbed in the heart, having issued out of the heart and running back 12 digits to it. Apana being the moon, will cool the whole body in its passage. But Prana being the sun, will generate heat in the system and cook or digest everything in it. Will pains arise in one who has reached that supreme state, where the Kalas (rays) of Apana the moon, are drowned by Prana the sun? Will rebirth arise in one who has reached that powerful seat, when the Kalas of Prana, the sun, are devoured by Apana the moon? These will arrest at once the seven births of those who reach that neutral state where they find Apana Vayu consumed by Prana and vice versa. I eulogise that Chidatma, who is in that intermediate state, where Prana and Apana are absorbed in one another. I meditate ceaselessly upon that Chidatma, who is in the Akasa, directly in front, at the end of my nose, where Prana and Apana both become extinct. Thus it is through this path of Prana’s control, that I attained the supreme and immaculate Tattva, devoid of pains.”
quoted by Swami Sivananda here

This sounds like an interesting pranayama I have not practiced myself because I do not like going cross-eyed and because I don't need to do it, but I will share with you my own experience of rechaka "exhalation" in a spiritual context.  When I practice the Microcosmic Orbit, I use rechaka (exhalation) forcefully to push the prana down from the GV20 point along the face and accessing the Functional/Conception Vessel at GV28 down through the chakras to the bottom.  Simultaneously I am pushing prana down the sushumna through the major chakras.  Then everything gets pulled up from the root to the top of the head with the in-breath.  This is a really an early stage of practice as far as moving prana/chi is concerned.  When the prana really gets flowing and I no longer need to use muscles and breath, it flows almost on its own but for now I will use my mind (power of intention and attention) to keep it flowing and if my mind wanders, then I bring back the breath again and the muscles (bandhas) if I need to as well.  Not having to use the breath to move prana is when the practice moves my being into the more subtle layers and the practice itself becomes more refined.  When we are born as babies, the energy is orbiting around all on its own since the baby's ego hasn't surfaced yet to interfere with it.  Pranayama is a wonderful tool for all kinds of practical applications but, as my Teacher Sri Vasudeva says, on the spiritual journey it is a boat that takes you across the river and once you have reached the shore you can dock it, you don't need to carry it anymore (unless you are portaging).

 उत्तरभाद्र UttaraBhadrapada

The reincarnating soul (see GV24 - Purvabhadrapada) according to my theory, is still in a life-between-life space, preparing for the next life.  

The second naga dragon energy comes into play with the deity Ahir Budhyana, serpent or dragon of the deep, the depths of the Atmosphere.  Its power is the bringing of the rain (varshodyamana shakti).  Fire and rain are the elements at work in the two Bhadrapadas.  I think these are both tied in with the manas chakra.  There is an association with the akasha in the yogi practice of rechaka / nasagra drishti (see above) so this makes sense.

In making sense of the core meaning of this nakshatra all things need to be considered - what the point is used for on the different levels of meaning:  physical, mental, and spiritual; also considering going in a material direction in descent/involution of the incarnating soul as well as going in ascent/evolution of the excarnating or enlightening soul.  When you read these things it depends on context.  The more enlightened you are, the more layers of Truth you will see.  This is sort of how enlightened consciousness brings self-mastery and mastery of your world - you can see more, you understand more, and you are in your space of power, as Sri Vasudeva calls it, moving not only matter but energy too from a space of witnesssing consciousness so you are not swept away by it.  The space of the pure witnessing "I" or Chit-Atma is in the GV20 point but only AFTER it has transcending it, merged with Sahrasrara and returned in purified form to GV20.  I can't say this enough.  The master of GV20 is a dangerous creature unless his or her will has been completely surrendered to the Cosmic "I" or Ishwara by that which the Void-Divine represents.  Do not think that the empty place in the skull represents the void.  The nakshatras are in the realm of mind.  They tell us what mind is seeking, but mind dissolves once it enters the void.  It can only exist with an "I" and an "I" needs a body of some kind in order to exist.

Once I learn more about the Chinese version, hopefully it will explain even more about this nakshatra.   Then I will tackle the Mayan meanings.

[to be continued (I'm sorry if any of this sounds confusing, bridging the philosophies of different cultures and times is tricky at best)]

Chinese Lunar General 鬼 Gui

GV25 鬼 Gui "Ghost" [UttaraBhadrapada]

Arabian Manazil  أَلْذِّرَاعْ ʾAdh-Dhirā‘

أَلْذِّرَاعْ ʾAdh-Dhirā‘
Everyone of the 28 letters of the Arabian alphabet is a sound (an energy, and I believe also a consciousness) corresponding to a lunar mansion (manazil) and therefore I must conclude to each of these GV points.  The Sufi mystic Ibn Arabi has assigned to Al-Dhira manazil the letter ق pronounced Qâf (q).  When I looked this up, it is also transliterated as Kahf which translates to "cave" and has great importance in the Qur'an in the story of the spiritual seekers falling asleep in a cave for a long period of time (see Wikipedia article) and features in the Meccan story of Sūrat al-Kahf (Arabic: سورة الكهف‎‎, "The Cave") the 18th surah of the Qur'an.

The "cave" of the soul state before mahasamadhi

This completely matches the idea I have been exploring (above) of the hollow point in the skull where the last breath is taken - but more esoterically, I believe, it is that last bit of "I" or ego that is about to merge into the void in mahasamadhi for the enlightened soul that has lived so many lifetimes in so many forms it no longer has any attachments to form at all.  It is the final relinquishing of form - even the causal body.  The completion of this merging into the rest of eons ends with Revati-GV26.

Here I quote Sri Vasudeva about merging into the Void of Purest Consciousness:

"When you go into the ocean there is no “I” nor “you” nor “me” there is no sense of  “Oh, I’ll be forever in heaven.”  Certainly there is going to be a state.  You’re going to go into a state of bliss but it’s like merging into light."
and that the Void is part of a cycle, that even this final death of deaths is not forever!

"Do you think that you’re going to be floating in heaven eternally?  Which form can remain eternally in existence?  None! All names and forms are creations in time and space.  They don’t belong to the timeless. The timeless is beyond name and form. Nothing!  Nothing!  No form can stand in that.  In the void is a repository of all names and forms and the creation, philosophy or cosmology is that life is a series of cycles.  Everything at a certain time merges into the void and remains as seed in the void. It means that everything is in nothing and at the appointed time it comes out back like a big bang.  It comes out of the nothing.  So everything is in the nothing and nothing has everything. So there’s nothing like absolute nothing. The void simply means that all names and forms, all time based things have gone  into rest only to come again.
All of life is an eternal movement of cycles.  Creation and disillusion, creation and disillusion -- like a pendulum -- creation and disillusion, creation and disillusion, creation and disillusion.  So this is that everything that is born must die.  That’s the philosophy of the Bhagavat Gita. Everything that is born must die that is everything that is created must dissolve and we know from science that the earth has a life span, one day the earth is going to disappear.   The sun, which is the nearest star that too has a life span, so many billions of years maybe, but it is going to disappear as well and the whole galaxy has a life span.  This is what the scientist will tell you. So not only do we as human beings have a life span, all created things have a life span. So after creation, in the normal life cycle of anything, anything that has been created has a life cycle." 
Sri Vasudeva, 2004 retreat, Canada 

It means that we are immortal beings, never born never dying.  Even the most enlightened ones have an ego, an "I" but it is a purified "I".  GV25 carries with it the energy and consciousness of that most purified "I" that has reached its limit in the play of Maya, the play of life, and releases its last gasp of ego, even that purest of egos, to merge with infinity - the iCloud of existence.  And even there is merely entering a long sleeping state (the consciousness I associate with GV26).

Deity or consciousness for UttaraBhadrapada:  AhirBudhyana

AhirBudhnya/AhirBudhyana is a type of Śeśa or Ananta, the thousand-hooded serpent holding up the world in traditional Hindu thought (link).  In mystical terms the thousand hoods is probably a reference to the the 1,000 petalled chakra sahasrara, our true home of pure Consciousness out of which all the worlds spring through the serpent power of Divine intelligence and energy, Kundalini. So for me, this represents cosmic consciousness that is still attached to form.  AdhirBudhyana is also a Rudra form of Shiva, a fierce aspect of Consciousness probably because it is associated with death. So inherent in this concept is the idea of the entire cosmos and death.  

What is dying?  It is ego.  In the process of enlightenment we still retain an ego, but it becomes more and more purified.  The purest egos have no attachments except for one, called the golden chain of compassion because it produces that golden halo seen in the aura of exceptionally evolved beings. Eventually even the enlightened ones lose that attachment of compassion and when they do, they no longer need to live in a form of any kind - not even as a guide operating from the celestial realms. They are ready for a very long rest in the Pure Consciousness.

One of the things about this deity or state of consciousness that is AdhirBudhyana is that it is "wave-less" (without mental fluctuations) so it represents an enlightened state that is not involving itself in the world.  Read, for example this passage

In the Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā Ahirbudhnya says that after undergoing a long course of penance he received from Saṃkarṣaṇa true knowledge and that this true knowledge was the science of Sudarśana, which is the support of all things in the world[1]. The ultimate reality is the beginningless, endless and eternal reality, which is devoid of all names and forms, beyond all speech and mind, the omnipotent whole which is absolutely changeless. From this eternal and unchangeable reality there springs a spontaneous idea or desire (saṃkalpa). This Idea is not limited by time, space or substance. Brahman is of the nature of intuition, of pure and infinite bliss (niḥsīma-sukhānubhava-lakṣaṇa), and He resides everywhere and in all beings. He is like the waveless sea. He has none of the worldly qualities which we find in mundane things. He is absolutely self-realized and complete in Himself, and cannot be defined by any expressions such as “this” or “such.” He is devoid of all that is evil or bad and the abode of all that is blissful and good.
from A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 3 - Part 5 - Philosophy of the Ahirbudhnya-saṃhitā (link

This is a point where Brahman (Pure Consciousness) receives the enlightened consciousness of Ahirbudhnya that now has the consciousness of Sudarśana - the knowledge of everything there is to know in the universe.

[so far it all seems to fit my theory... to be continued...]