TWILIGHT LANGUAGE of GORAKH BODH
“These who accomplish the impossible,
Who [thunder] in the clear sky,
Who unlock [the state of] Unmuni,
These who reverse the breath say reverse things.”
Gorakh Bani “The Sayings of Gorakh”
Hatha Yoga Pradipika begins with: “Yoga was first known to Gorakhnath and Matsyendranath, and Swatmarama Yogi knew it by the grace of these two”. Gorakh Bodh (“Realization of Gorakh”) is an obscure ancient Hindi text by Nath Yogis, written as an intense dialog between Gorakhnath and his Teacher, Matsyendranath.
Both of these two givers of the great knowledge of yoga are considered to be immortal. Founder of Naths, Matsyendranatha or Machhendranath, left several sacred texts belonging to this mystical school.
He is believed to be the author of Kaulajnananirnaya (“Decision of Kaula Knowledge”) and supposedly wrote Yogavishaya (“The Subject of Yoga”) under the pen-name Minanath.
There is no certainty of his dates; he supposedly lived between the eighth and tenth centuries. His disciple, Gorakhanath, is widely known and respected in India as a great siddha. He wrote Siddhasiddhantapaddhati (“Lines of Siddha Tecahing”) and Amaraughaprabodha (“Knowing the Immortality”). His other work, Amaraughashasana, or
“Discipline of Immortality”, describes the methods of conquering time and death, a path to the states of non-duality and amaraughasiddhi, or the state of immortality. Shiva followers, the Naths, regard Him as pure Consciousness, whereas Shakti, his energy, is the source of change and of the varied experiences related to it. For the Nath yogis, the achievement of liberation in life is the main goal. Outer religious practices and scriptural knowledge are considered to be of a lesser value. Their only emphasis is on a direct way, as short as possible, a path through which a mystic discovers within himself an experience of the energy of the Universe.
The Naths believe in possibility of eternalizing human life by transcending the “lower” self (through control of mind and Prana – vital breath and life force energy) into the “upper” state of higher Consciousness. Also called “Sahajiya”, the Nathas are adepts of spontaneity, following simplicity of heart and mind.
At initial stages of yogic practice, the control of vital air is a crucial key for transendence of Self in Itself. Controlled breath and mind naturally infill the state of true spontaneity, Sahaj, finally merging into Unmani – the state of self-transcendence (when limited Self merges with the true “I”).
Through sahaj samadhi thought becomes absorbed in bliss, the false sense of objectivity and duality weakens and ultimately disappears.
This is achieved via Kumbhaka Mudra: breath is infused into the Sushumna channel through the unifying movement of inhalations and exhalations; thought becomes still, calming all senses.
The yogi recognizes the inner spontaneous sound (Anahat Naad) and keeps on listening to it, directing Prana into the median way. Kundalini awakens and rises to the highest center where She unites with Shiva.
It is a natural (“sahaj”) way of attaining Unmani (the state beyond thought), and that’s how one becomes an avadhut (“avadhu” means “unattached” or, to be linguistically precise, “without a bride”) and achieves liberation. For such an ambitious task, an adept will need to find a true Guru who belongs to an avadhu siddha lineage and is revered as equal to Shiva himself.
Such a Teacher can explain to his disciple the art of breath retention and the very process of absorption of mind with following awakening of Kundalini without any visible efforts from his own side.
Theoretical and practical knowledge given by the Guru suggests direct verbal transfer of Gyan. At a certain point of his sadhana (practice), the seeker starts to absorb the given teaching by the intuitive or above-intuitive approach; logical, discursive and ritual methods become secondary, as the persona of spiritual teacher carries utmost importance and meaning. To keep their practices secret, the Naths used merely allusive language comprehended only by initiated adepts. The twilight, or “upside-down”, language of Gorakh Bodh is also called “sandhya bhasha”, an intentional manner of speech where allegoric narration forms a “double bottom”, a layer of secret knowledge in seemingly plain content. Written in ancient Hindi, the text of Gorakh Bodh appears obscure and dimmed. But even after decoding the puzzle of linguistics and yogic terms, the true meaning of the text will still remain a mystery for a non-initiated reader.
To find and meet an accomplished follower of the strict Nath discipline and a knowledgeable scholar of lineage texts is difficult. To comprehend the real sense of metaphoric riddles in this dialog between the ancient immortal yogis is an even more challenging task. The text holds numerous references to the metaphysical cosmogony of Prana and Spirit, repeatedly stressing the importance of empirical knowledge. In plain words, self-realization can be achieved only through personal experience via persistent yogic practice of breath refinement, which develops a higher level of consciousness.
Gradually merely physical aspects of the breath practice unfold its metaphysical core and goal. Repetitiveness is part of Indian philosophic tradition: a guru transfers knowledge to his disciple by explaining different facets of one subject and by pointing at unexpected angles to expand mind.
The poetic lines of archaic, grassroots level Hindi of Gorak Bodh reflect this approach: meanings of the sound, breath, inner and outer voids and cognition of Time and timeless existence are questioned and explained in a series of seemingly repetitive fragments.
Realization comes when the given Gyan is not only absorbed by the seeker mentally but, more importantly, when one lives through and by it. “The Twilight Language of Gorakh Bodh” is a modern revision of the previous English translation of the text made in 1937.
Contemporary yogic commentaries to the ancient text, “The Twilight Language of Gorakh Bodh” help to understand principle of sublime and hidden methods of transference of the knowledge. Detailed clarifications of terms and their deeper meanings are given in light of Mahavatar Babaji’s Kriya Yoga tradition.
Author unveils hidden aspects of the ancient teaching rather than pursues the exactness of linguistic interpretation.
However, we believe that both goals were achieved by Shri Shailendra Sharma, who gives profound and deep comments on the mysticism of higher yoga and its true goal.
Foreword by Shailendra Sharma
I hope that by reading this book people will realize that spirituality does not depend on any faith or religious devotion.
The true spirituality is a state of ever-wandering spirit, eager to question and receive essential knowledge and to move further. Even after crossing the threshold of immortality Gorakshanath continues to search for answers.
This intense dialog between a Guru and a disciple should be read by everyone who aspires to travel the path of yoga. Another work, comparable in the magnitude of direct knowledge communicated by a teacher to his disciple, is Tripura Rahasya, where Parashurama converses with Dattatreya. Gorakh Bodh is a hard core practical discussion, far from philosophical disputes. It states what can be done and achieved because it had been done and had been achieved by the conversing yogis themselves.
The purpose of riddles and paradoxes presented in the text is to convey mystical knowledge only to the true seekers. The Naths have always been a secret order and full access to the teaching could be gained only after years of vigorous practice under the guidance (and with the blessing) of a true Guru. While recording these commentaries, I was asked about the repetitiveness of the questions: why does Gorakshanath, already an immortal yogi, continue to place seemingly similar inquiries?
This text was left for us, the descendants, out of mercy and by the grace of these great teachers, who knew that children learn best through repetitions.
By reaching immortality, these great adepts had obtained a luxury of unlimited time to examine every step of the path which took them there. Some of the shlokas are left without comments: words of the masters carry a direct message to experienced yogis who will grasp its sense without additional explanation. Every Hindi word in the text of Gorakh Bodh gives a certain flavor to every particular question and answer, enriching and deepening their meaning.
The twilight language itself is a powerful and valuable “commodity” alluding to the secrets of immortality and divine life. Immortal beings are considered to be capable of creating future for themselves and may partake the future of some mortals, imbedding it in the ornament of their own fate.
May this book become an inspiration for those who truly believe in the possibility of shaping an extraordinary future for themselves.
The very meaning of immortality could be summed up as follows:
Transformation of the future into past is Life.
Absolute transformation of the future into past is Death.
Unlimited future is immortality…
Gorakh says: Swami ji!
Which chakra shoulders [supports] the body?
In which chakra the unseen bandh
[ should be applied]?
In which chakra the swan [can] be controlled?
In which chakra are mind and soul delighted?
In which chakra Time can be achieved?
In which chakra can Samadhi be attained?
Shri Machhendra says:
Avadhu! Mula chakra shoulders [supports] the body. [Apply] the unseen bandh in Guda chakra.
Control the swan in Mani chakra.
In Anahata chakra mind and soul are delighted.
In Vishuddha chakra Time [achieves] Samadhi.
In Chandra chakra Samadhi is achieved [ becoming part of knowing].
If you know the mystery of these six chakras,
You are yourself the maker,
You are the God yourself.
The true goal of immortality can be outlined in the following words:
To create unlimited future for the spirit residing in the body, understanding of the importance of mind development has to be reached first; then the house of the spirit has to be fortified.
All yogic treatises list the most important tools of yogic art in the quest for immortality. Body has to be vigorously prepared to host the spirit for eternity with the power of seven crucial bandhs and mudras: Mahamudra, Mahavedh, Mahabandh, Mulabandh, Uddiyan Bandh, Jalandhar Bandh and Khechari Mudra.
The immortal giver of Kriya Yoga, Babaji Maharaj, shared this mystical knowledge with modern-day yogis, so that hints on immortality, yet waiting to be discovered through dedicated and utterly artistic practice of Kriya, could be recognized in these mudras.
It this shloka Guru Matsyendranath describes results achieved by mastery over the body, chakra by chakra, starting from Mula center, the basis of bodily existence. Reading carefully, one can recognize Siddhasana and Mahamudra as practiced in Kriya Yoga.
Let’s take a look: Agochar Bandh, or Mulabandh, takes place in Mula; Mani chakra is under control; fire moves up from the Nabhi center; Prana in union with Apana rides on the back of the awakened serpent energy through the heart, throat and head centers; and the accomplished mastery of activation of these chakras grant life in eternity.
Muladhara, or Mula, represents the earth element. Only after the element of our planet is recognized and realized by a yogi in his own earthly body, immortality can be achieved.
Matsyendranath instructs: “Sit on the shoulders of Muladhara (the earth element) and hold Agochar Bandh (the unseen bandh) there.” It actually means “apply Mulabandh in Muladhara”.
This bandh can’t be seen, as even the most accomplished yogis can’t demonstrate it due to its location. We already know that the initial development of embryo starts from Mula, Guda and Nabhi centers simultaneously.
These life-receiving nodes can be reactivated again, and the mechanism of creation will start to rejuvenate and sustain the adept’s body anew. If a yogi is able to control these centers, he reverses the ageing process, defeats time and old age, stepping into eternity.
Skillful control of Mula and Guda (anus) centers also redirects the current of sexual energy; tamed sexual impulses and the reversal of its outward flow can grant a brahmachari* a possibility to prolong his life.
A sadhak directs it inward and absorbs its creative essence. Sexual impulse (not the sexual organs and centers) ignites the basic feeling of sexual desire; it grows from one’s survival instinct: to save the genetic code by carrying it forward in time.
Procreation program, triggered by the sexual instinct, is the only way to leave one’s individual genetic trace.
That’s why the fear of death is the basis of sexual desire. If achieved, immortality cures this fear forever, sexual urges are ceased, and, transformed by the tapas, the essence of DNA of one’s body sustains its longevity.
* An adept who practices brahmacharya – celibacy.
Control the swan in Mani chakra
Manipura chakra controls Swan-breath.
Swan (Hans) flies in and out of the body in the seed mantra of the exhaled breath in the sound of “Ham”, and the inhalation brings the sound of “Sah”. Via Nabhi center, and specifically through bank naal, the intake and distribution of life force is reined.
Paramhans is the Universal Soul, or Paramatma, Ishvara. He is the Swan of the swans, Jiva of all jivas, also known under the name of “God” for lack of better terms. Breath can be controlled with recognition of Prana and its taming.
This process starts with realization of jiva’s true nature and is followed by liberation from all limitations. Nabhi Kriya, performed at the navel center, is employed as a powerful tool for reactivation of life force.
Let’s take a step back to remind ourselves why yoga stresses the importance of prolonged life in the physical body. Longevity of body is achieved through successful activation of bank naal with Nabhi Kriya. It switches on the mechanism of body rejuvenation.
The goal of achieving and sustaining everlasting life in one’s body is to have enough time to realize the Time. Controlled Nabhi prolongs life so that a sadhak can change his perception of Time flow by controlling Vishuddha and observe it objectively, gaining new knowledge and experience.
Anahata is the center of domain of the unstruck sound of Anahat Naad. It dwells all around us, born in the great cosmic Emptiness – Void.
Mind and soul experience utmost pleasure listening to the word of the Void (Naad) and recognizing it in the heart. The yogi reaches ultimate satisfaction and happiness upon receiving this Word.
Vishuddha is a crucial junction for the flow of vital energy from the brain. Physiologically, the throat center consolidates myriads of nerves and nadis, running down to the other parts and organs of the body, connecting “upper” with “lower”.
Vital air and food are supplied through this center; it directly affects Hriday, which refines and collects pranic energy received via Vishuddha.
Control of this center in Kriya is achieved with particular head movements, through physicality, but effects lead far beyond.
In Vishuddha chakra Time [achieves] Samadhi
Unless you stop the flow of time, it cannot be fully realized as it moves continuously. At least it appears moving to our mind, as mind itself remains in constant rotation.
To stop time is to suspend your own sense of time perceived by the brain, by bringing mind and senses into the state of suspended animation.
When mind stops, then it observes time objectively. As long as a fish continues to live in the water, it will never see it. To form perception of water, the fish has to get out of the ocean. Only then it will understand what water is.
The same example applies to us. Living inside Time, we never perceive it in full: our cognition of time is narrow and limited. Control of Vishuddha brings the body in the state of suspended animation, and then Time does not affect it any longer.
In Chandra (Agya) chakra Samadhi of the mind begins.
Synonymous with mind, Chandra signifies real awareness. Controlled Vishuddha brings the body in suspended animation. After mind has experienced and understood this state, the yogi becomes “knowing”, or realized. In Chandra chakra the knowledge of Samadhi becomes part of knowing.
Different from knowledge, knowing is a state of experienced Truth.
If you know the mystery of these six chakras,
You are yourself the maker (karta),
You are yourself the God (dev)
The main objective of yoga is to establish connectivity with Mother Earth, the cradle of powerful energy, which holds the key to the door leading to the Supreme Mind.
All yoga and tantra texts describe this force as an inert serpent resting in three and a half coils in Muladhara chakra. The bearer of the earth element, Mula houses this vital energy, which guards the gates to everlasting life in the state of supreme consciousness.
The element of earth is real Shakti that nurtures and protects the power of Kundalini. When a yogi connects with the energy of Earth, it will pass through his earthly body, linking and merging all elements responsible for “compilation and assemblage” of his present physical shell.
The entire text of Gorakhbodh carries fragmented description of different phases of this great journey, during which Kundalini, “the coiled one”, springs up and rises, piercing chakra by chakra, element by element, reaching the spirit-jiva and uniting it with the Higher Mind.
Let’s follow this mystical path: Prana Shakti comes down from Hriday into Muladhara, connects with its earth element and awakens Kundalini.
As a result of certain contractions and controlled breathing, the coiled energy is forced to leave its seat, to straighten and pierce Sushumna, spinning and whirling up from Mula to Nabhi. Ascending, it crosses Swadhisthana chakra and merges with its tattva, the water element.
Then it pierces Manipura and merges with the fire element, the basis of life. Climbing higher, Kundalini arrives at Anahata, the embodiment of the air element that evolved from the ether. From there it rises to Vishuddha, or Bharatisthana, located above Anahata at the bottom of the throat (“kantha mula”), the embodiment of the air element. In Agya chakra (also called “Param Kula” and “Mukta Triveni” due to its separation in Bhrumadhya into three channels – Ida, Pingala and Sushumna) the rising energy detects only the subtle tattva of mind.
Now the “gross” tattvas (elements), strung on the axis of the rising energy, are left behind. Then Kundalini reaches Param Shiva in Sahasrara chakra.
The yogi attains his true home; he is free, omnipotent and omnipresent. Passing Sahasrara, where Param Shiva is manifested as Great Ether (“paramakash rupa”) the energy exits beyond all centers and chakras of the physical body, entering the aspect of Absolute.
At this moment mind reaches a state beyond consciousness – Unmuni.
Having passed through the physical body, the supremacy of the earth energy transforms it into a “diamond body”; mind opens up and becomes Supreme.
Yogis practice [the skill of] breathing (pavan)
and vital air (pavana),
Reverse old age [and make their] body
unstained by disease.
Avadhu! Practice the art of yoga, practice
with full determination;
It will do you good.
Only an exceptional yogi, whose Kundalini energy has risen, piercing and activating all six chakras, possesses real knowledge and accomplishes the goal of yoga.
As a result of dedicated practice, energy ascends along Shankhini nadi (Sushumna) through the fluid of the spinal cord, refurbishing and igniting all chakras one by one, finally reaching “the crown” – Sahasrara.
Gained control of Mula and Vayu, combined with the knowledge of nilata in lalata*, will enable the practitioner to enter his own consciousness.
Powerful activation of all six chakras inside the median channel will lead to the experience of Samadhi. Such a yogi becomes a master of Sushumna; he is the cause of his own existence or self-annihilation. Behind the doors of Samadhi opened with this mystical knowledge, the yogi will find the greatest of pleasures.
* In Kriya Yoga, “nilata in lalata” indicates the passage of the tongue in Khechari Mudra behind the upper palate, past inner nasal cavities into the space from where Kutastha emerges. “Lalata” means “forehead”; “nilata” is “going inside”, “entering forbidden territory out of reach”.
Jai Guru Matsyendranath!
I bow down to the lotus feet of the greatest of the Gurus of Yoga
and direct disciple of Adinath.
May His grace be upon us, yogis.
We hope to receive His blessing. Jai Gorakhnath, Jai Machhendra Guru ki!