Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Prana Sukta

The term Prana refers to the all-pervasive life force ("vital air") that sustains and enlivens all things in creation. Although Prana is all-pervasive, it is especially associated with the breath, as breath is associated with and indicates life. A fundamental part of yoga disciplines taught by all branches of yoga is the regulation of prana (pranayama), by means of regulating breathing. It is taught that mastery of prana is a key requisite toward self-realization through yogic samadhi.
In the theology of the Vedas, one finds Prana (Mahaprana) personified as the “first born” of the Supreme Being, and referred to as Prajapati (Lord of creatures), Sutratman (String-Soul) and Hiranyagarbha (Golden-germ). He is the foremost among the Devas; He is the Sustainer and Support of all beings in the physical world. All beings in existence are strung onto the thread of Mahaprana.

The Prana Sukta of Atharvaveda sings of this mighty Prana in the grandest of manners:

As all these creatures, O Prana, offer Thee tribute, so they shall offer tribute (in yonder world) to Him who hears Thee, o far-famed One!
He moves as an embryo within the Devas; having arrived and being in existence, He is born again. Having arisen He enters with His mights, the present and the future, as a father (goes to) his son.
When as a swan He rises from the water, he does not withdraw His one foot. If in truth He were to withdraw it, there would be neither today nor tomorrow, no night and no day, never would the dawn appear. 
With either wheels, and one felloe He moves, containing a Thousand sounds (elements), upward in the east, downward in the west. With (His) half He produced the whole world: what is the visible sign of His (other) half? 
He who rules over all this derived from every source, and over everything that moves; Reverence to Thee, O Prana, that wieldest a swift bow against others! 
May Prana, who rules over this (all) derived from every source, and over everything that moves, (may He) unwearied, strong through the Brahmâ, adhere to me! 
Erect He watches in those that sleep, nor does lie down across. No one had heard of His sleeping in those that sleep. 
O Prana, be not turned away from me, Thou shalt not be other than myself! As the embryo of the Waters, Thee, O Prana, do bind to me, that I may live.  
Atharvaveda Samhita XI.4.19-26

Prana is identified as the Sustainer of all beings, all life forms, the Ruler of the physical world. Prana is the embryo (child) of the Waters (the Supreme Being). He, whom the Vedas personify and glorify as Mahaprana, is none other than the Son of Shiva, the Son of the Supreme Being, known by many names and forms.

While Prana is one unitary principle, in the living body Prana is divided into five forces (vital airs) known as prana, apana, vyana, samana and udana, according to their functions. These five pranas within the body are responsible for vital functions such as inhalation, exhalation, hunger, thirst, circulation, distribution, transformation, digestion, absorption, elimination, expulsion, excretion, sleepiness, speech, motion, stillness, control of limbs, etc. These five vital airs work within the subtle body to enliven and maintain the physical body, which is the outermost shell of our being. The five faces of Sons of Shiva, in fact, are nothing but representations of these five pranas, which they rule over. Just as the five pranas are simply divisions of one unitary Prana, so the five faces are simple divided visions of one Being.

Homage to Him, the Mahaprana, whom we regard as the Son of Shiva, the first born, the Ruler of the physical plane, the panchamukhi, the shanmukhi.

Aum Namah Shivaya.
आश्विन शु. १, संवत् २०७४

Friday, September 8, 2017

Son of Shiva

Today we examine the concept of Son of Shiva without referring to any specific legends or stories, so as to understand the doctrine in a mystical-intuitive manner.

What is a Son of Shiva? From a monistic Shaiva triad philosophical perspective of Shiva-Shakti-Nara, we are all sons and daughters of Shiva. More aptly, He is the true and only Self, and all this (objective reality) is His experience, His self-reflective awareness. 

From the standpoint of the world (i.e., dualism), Son of Shiva is an epithet given to a great Being, who unlike us is far more realizedand lives in a higher plane of existence. Also unlike us, the Sons of Shiva are not bound by the three bonds of anavamaya and karma. They are ever free beings who are in full realization of their oneness with Shiva, that Shiva is their true Self, and yet exist in their individuality beyond the field of maya in sphere of purity (shuddha-adhva). They reside in the highest of heavens (SatyalokaBrahmaloka, or Shivaloka), yet are immensely close to the phenomenal world from within. 

The Sons of Shiva are great yogic masters who impel upon humanity divine knowledge and show us the path unto their Father. They are great siddhas who have achieved every perfection (siddhi), great gurus who are all knowing, and great devotees who are fully in realizationThey have immense powers, rule over the physical, subtle, and causal worlds, the chakras, the pranas, the mind and the elements (mahabhutas), and are Gods in their own right. The Sons of Shiva are our supreme guides on the path of nivritti. They exemplify supreme knowledge, single-pointed devotion, utmost steadfastedness, and are great benefactors of lesser-realized beings.

As such, the Sons of Shiva are closely associated with phenomenological world, with the mahabhutas, the five great elements – earth, water, air, fire and space – which are the building blocks of this world. Therefore, they are said to be born of personifications of these elements.

Some are born of the earth; sculpted of the earth in stories. 
Some are born of the wind; fathered by Vayu in stories. 
Some are born of the fire; fathered by Agni in stories.

As they rule over the life forces (pranas), they are envisioned sometimes with 5 faces representing the five pranas – pranaapanaudanasamana and vyana

While the sixth face represents the mind (chitta), which the pranas uphold. 

All glories to the Sons of Shiva, who can clear every obstacle, move mighty mountains, and impel great wisdom on the path to Shiva. 

Aum Namah Shivaya
आश्विन कृ. ३, संवत् २०७४ 

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