Dharam & its first lessons
The meaning of the letter dharma means to adopt (dhaaran karna), to see it as our own.
Like the foundation has adopted the building, on this foundation is standing the house.
Like on the roots is standing the tree. The roots have adopted completely the trunk, the branches, the leafs and the fruits of the tree. In the same way dharma has adopted the whole of what exists in this universe and beyond. And in this sense the meaning of Dharam becomes the maryada (or rules regulating everything).
Bharthari, also known as Bharthar Yogi was the king of Ujjain. He renounced his kingdom under the tutelage of Gur Gorakhnath, the founder of the Nath Panth Yogis and the founder of Hatha Yoga. The Nath Panth Yogis find mention in many Indian folklore. The word Nath which comes from Sanskrit; and literally means ‘protector’ or ‘master’.
We have been blessed with many powers & gifts – writing, hearing, speaking, walking, touching, smelling – but among all, the saintly believe the following two powers to be of greatest value:
1 Bhaavna(...to do with feelings, emotions & sentiments) – Jazbaa/Fire
2 Baudhakta (...to do with intelligence & understanding) – akal – soch
Conventional Wisdom says, “Don’t use a lot where a little will do.”
How does it make you feel when you consciously think about your breath? Breathing is after all just normal stuff which works automatically without a person’s conscious effort.
Since my own practice of Pranayama (yogic-breathing), which has brought long term improvements to my respiratory system including lung capacity, strengthening of the breathing muscles and improvement in efficiency of breathing, I have rediscovered my rhythmic play of breath & steps.
So we will see how that works, and set some ground first.
Our body has many hidden layers under. We are not only what we see each other on the outside.
The vedic text of Taittiriya Upanishad embedded in Yajurveda first gives us this Ananda Valli. The Ananda Valli asserts that knowing one's Self is the path to freedom from all concerns, fears and to a state of blissful living.
The Ananda Valli classifies these as concentric layers (sheaths) of knowledge-seeking.
How are you breathing today?
Breath bring us in touch with ourselves immediately. Awareness of how we breathe is the first step to meditativeness. Yogic breathing is focussed on the Diaphragm, the muscle responsible for breathing.
It is a thin, dome-shaped muscle that separates the abdominal cavity from the thoracic cavity. During inhalation, the diaphragm contracts, so that its centre moves downward and when the diaphragm relaxes, elastic recoil of the thoracic wall causes the thoracic cavity to contract, forcing air out of the lungs.
In this video below, see how the riders from Tour de France use diaphragmatic breathing.
What is attained at the state of body (sareer), is called „Sukh“ (Happiness / Comfortableness).
What is attained at the state of mind-soul (mann), is called „Anand“ (Blissfulness).
One is Sukh, the other is Anand. They are two vastly apart things like earth and sky. Sukh, if any, will turn to Dukh (unhappiness) at some point. Youth may bring Sukh, but one day it will turn into Old Age (Budhaapa – read Dukh). Birth of a child may be Sukh, but death will turn it into unhappiness. Sukh will eventually turn into Dukh, it has its opposite.