Gita Daily Readings

19th June
Chapter VIII: 12-13
Having closed all the gates, confined the mind in the heart and fixed the life-breath in the head, engaged in the practice of concentration,

Uttering the one-syllabled Om - the Brahman -and remembering me, he who departs, leaving the body, attains to the supreme goal.

Commentary

Just as it is important for us to know how to live, it is equally important for us to know how to die - not to be afraid of death, to block it from our minds or even to long for it. Death is inevitable. The Bhagavad Gita, in addition to teaching the art of living, gives instructions in the art of dying.

The hatha yogi closes all the "gates" of the body with the help of a few simple psycho-physical exercises. Sitting in siddhasana, he presses the left heel firmly on the perineum thus closing the rectum and places the right heel on the generative organ, closing that "gate" too. By the practice of yoni mudra he closes the other "gates": the ears with the thumbs, the eyes with the index fingers, the nostrils with the middle fingers, the upper and lower lips respectively with the ring and little fingers. Now he sees the subtle core of the sushumna nadis or the spinal cord as a radiant hollow tube, through which the awakened kundalini shakti ascends, piercing center after center of the gross elements. With his mind fixed in his heart, symbolically at the feet of the Lord, he takes the kundalini shakti (prana) to the crown of the head. Thus the prana has been consciously and deliberately withdrawn from the whole body, i.e. from matter.

When the time comes for him to leave the body, the yogi utters the monosyllable Om, the sound-picture of the absolute, and discards the body remembering God. In accordance with the law of last thought-form, he reaches God.

If we train ourselves in the art of withdrawing the prana from the body now, by constant, diligent effort and daily practice of these exercises, perhaps we will use them in the last hour, and departure will be facilitated.

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