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."
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...."
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.
|Dark Room Enlightenment: Lesser, Greater, and Greatest Kan & Li by Mantak Chia (link)|
“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.”
Chinese Lunar General 鬼 Gui
GV25 鬼 Gui "Ghost" [UttaraBhadrapada]
Arabian Manazil أَلْذِّرَاعْ ʾAdh-Dhirā‘
The "cave" of the soul state before mahasamadhi
"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."
"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."
Deity or consciousness for UttaraBhadrapada: AhirBudhyana
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. 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.