Five Stages of Vihangamyoga

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Five Stages of Vihangamyoga
In the first lesson of the Vihangam Yoga, a practitioner tries to catch hold of the mind and turn it within. He knows the point where it is situated and is acting in the external direction. Firstly it is necessary to understand and the mind, its functions and its propelling force. The conscious power of the soul is termed, in Yogic language, as the Kasha or Surati. When the conscious Atman joins the mind through its consciousness and the mind the sense organs and the external objects through them, Atman gets the knowledge of the outside world. Thus the various activities performed by the organs when the consciousness flows towards the physical plane through the mind. This mind is seated before the eyes when we are awake. It is therefore that during wakeful state whatever objects appear before the view of the eyes, the mind starts thinking about them. During dreaming state this mind sits in a 'Nadi' named 'Hita' in the throat and when the state of deep sleep prevails it takes refuge in the heart centre. The practitioner has therefore to restrain the mind from its external sway by fixing his consciousness on the tip of his nose. Here it must be clearly understood that it is not desirable to express explicitly the practices of the different levels of this Yoga as it is given in person to deserving seekers by the Sadguru. If one takes to the various practices by reading a book, the consciousness may get stuck at some undesirable points thereby damaging our physical system. Hence the various scriptures forewarn the seekers to take to the practice of Yoga only under the guidance of a perfect master. But just for a conceptual understanding the points of concentration are being mentioned to readers so that they may seek for a true Guru and practice it under his command and guidance.
When by the practice of the first lesson, a practitioner is able to hold up the mind from its external vagaries and is capable of turning it up within himself, he is then initiated into the second lesson by the Sadguru. Through the first lesson which is also named as the Chachari Mudra a lot of experiences and achievements are acquired. Among the achievements are the cessation of thought waves, the seeing of the five basic elements namely the earth, water, fire, air, ether and their various lights. But they all belong to the physical plane and as such are not a big achievement. Here at the second stage of concentration, he has to focus the gaze of his unwavering consciousness at a place in the forehead which is named as the Trikuti. It is this trijunction of the three channels of flow of the life force, the Ida (flowing through the left nostril), Pingla (flowing through the right nostril) and the Sushmana (which originates from the regions of heart and goes to the crown of the head) wherein a practitioner bathes his mind and purifies it. By a continuous practice at this point, the mind becomes subdued and serene. The great Maharshi Sadafaldeoji has written about the experience and the benefits of the concentration over her in the following lines:
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"When the consciousness is attached to this trijunction, a cooling bee like humming sound appears. The serene flow of knowledge through the Sushmana grants sagacity over here. All the vices accumulated through various actions of the past are annihilated. A Rishi observes continence here at this meet and as simulates the strength of self knowledge. This Triveni is like the trijunction of the three famous rivers, the Ganga, Yamuna and Saraswati. There is a perennial flow of soothing light of knowledge, cooling peace and a buzzlingly melodious sound. Sri Swamiji further elaborates the secret practices at this level and beyond it:
That is by the technique of Yoga, the flow through Ingla, Pingla and Sushmana soul is completely restrained and the consciousness should then be placed up in the inner sky. It should then attach itself to the blissful sound there and submerge itself completely in it.
This second Bhumi or the level of practice is important in the sense that of the five famous localized sounds of the head (Niranjan, Om, Soham, Shakti and Raram) the sound of Om is heard here along with its brilliance and glaze. Through a sustained practice here this sound and its light are clearly experienced by a practitioner. The practice of concentration here in Trikuti is what is commonly known in Raj Yoga as the Bhuchari Mudra. Thus as the practice progresses, the consciousness starts moving inwards but it is not dissociated from the Prana and the mind. There are varieties of visions, though belonging to subtle physical level, which a practicant experiences here.
The practices of the third level are at the point through which the individual soul has entered this human frame. There is a particular location in the upper portion of the head through which the Atman makes its first contact with the body and after its entry into it, the body consciousness appears to manifest. The Atman, due to its previous impressions and desires, enters and is tied to the body through this gate. So, it is only through this outlet alone that it can disentangle itself and attain liberation. This is what the Yogis call as the tenth gate. We all know that there are nine openings in this body meant for various worldly activities, namely the two eyes, two ears, two nasal passages, mouth, annus and the genital organ. But beyond all this there is a tenth opening which is known to the Yogi's only. This gate is opened by the technique of Vihangam Yoga.