Disciple: Is it possible to practise at the same
time the pranayama belonging to yoga and the
pranayama pertaining to knowledge?
So long as the mind has not been made to rest in the
heart, either through absolute retention (kevala-kumbhaka)
or through enquiry, rechaka, puraka, etc., are
needed. Hence, the pranayama of yoga is to be
practised during training, and the other pranayama
may be practised always. Thus, both may be practised.
It is enough if the yogic pranayama is practised
till skill is gained in absolute retention.
Disciple: Why should the path to release be differently
taught? Will it not create confusion in the minds of
Several paths are taught in the Vedas to suit the different
grades of qualified aspirants. Yet, since release is
but the destruction of mind, all efforts have for their
aim the control of mind. Although the modes of meditation
may appear to be different from one another, in the
end all of them become one. There is no need to doubt
this. One may adopt that path which suits the maturity
of one's mind.
The control of prana which is yoga, and the control
of mind which is jnana* -- these are the two
principal means for the destruction of mind. To some,
the former may appear easy, and to others the latter.
Yet, jnana is like subduing a turbulent bull
by coaxing it with green grass, while yoga is like controlling
through the use of force. Thus the wise ones say: of
the three grades of qualified aspirants, the highest
reach the goal by making the mind firm in the Self through
determining the nature of the real by Vedantic enquiry
and by looking upon one's self and all things as of
the nature of the real; the mediocre by making the mind
stay in the heart through kevala-kumbhaka and
meditating for a long time on the real, and the lowest
grade, by gaining that state in a gradual manner through
The mind should be made to rest in the heart till the
destruction of the 'I'-thought which is of the form
of ignorance, residing in the heart. This itself is
jnana; this alone is dhyana also. The
rest are a mere digression of words, digression of the
texts. Thus the scriptures proclaim. Therefore, if one
gains the skill of retaining the mind in one's Self
through some means or other, one need not worry about
The great teachers also have taught that the devotee
is greater than the yogins** and that the means to release
is devotion, which is of the nature of reflection on
one's own Self.***
Thus, it is the path of realizing Brahman that is variously
called Dahara-vidya, Brahma-vidya, Atma-vidya,
etc. What more can be said than this? One should understand
the rest by inference.
The Scriptures teach in different modes. After analysing
all those modes the great ones declare this to be the
shortest and the best means.
everything as Real according to the Scripture: I am
Brahman -- one only without a second.
**Of all Yogins, only he who rests his unwavering mind
and love in me is dear to me.--Bhagavad-gita.
***Of the means to release only bhakti
(devotion) may be said to be the highest. For, bhakti
is constant reflection on one's own Self. --Vivekachudamani.
Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai, India.