Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pas-Anfaas (Breath Watching) & Kashmiri Sufism/Shaivism


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"What keeps Kashmiri mystics firmly anchored in the Indian soil is their meditative technique. By and large they use variations of pas-e-anfaas(watching the breath). This is similar to various techniques of pranayama widely practised in India's Hath-Yoga traditions. These meditative techniques were being practised initially by the Shaivaite yogis of Kashmir before the advent of Islam….."….

" THE EXERCISE OF PAAS ANFAAS……Paas Anfaas is most efficacious while it is the simplest of exercises (ashghaal). This exercise is a breathing exercise and its method is as follows:Take a deep breadth. While inhaling concentrate on the word اَلله. Exhale vigorously. While exhaling concentrate on هُوْ. Do this repeatedly. In the beginning practise this exercise in solitude and do it until one feels a warm sensation. Thereafter, this exercise should be carried out at all times while walking, sitting, etc. In all states endeavour to establish this concentration. In the beginning some effort is required. However, after a short while one’s breathing will be so conditioned that it (the breathing) will be along this pattern without one consciously resorting to it. "…..

"Zikr Pas-Anfaas: (Zikr with the breath). When you perform Zikr with the rhythm of the breath, one should mentally repeat 'Allah' with the inhalation and 'Hu' with the exhalation. Some Sufis suggest repeating "Allah" with the inhalation as well as with the exhalation. The key to this exercise is to focus on visualizing the image of the Murshid in the heart."….

"…One of the longest chapters, i.e. chapter 3, is describing paas-e-anfaas (the control of breath). The murshid of the author, the Chishti shaykh Kalimullah, is explicit in his warnings in case such a practice gets wrongly performed: ‘You should be careful not to suspend the breath to such an extent that you become deadly sick!’….‘When the upper and lower breaths join the breath of life, they become one. A Qur’anic allusion to this is ‘the meeting place of the two oceans’. This is the station (maqam) of the water of life (aab-e-hayaat) ….."…

"…Kashmir-Shaivite…..BREATH - MEDITATION TECHNIQUE…..Lord Shiva says : "Radiant one, this experience may dawn between two breaths. After breath comes in (down) and just before turning up (out)….the beneficence"…. Be aware between these two points, and the happening. When your breath comes in, observe. For a single moment, or a thousandth part of a moment, there is no breathing -- before it turns up, before it turns outward. One breath comes in; then there is a certain point and breathing stops. Then the breathing goes out. When the breath goes out, then again for a single moment, or a part of a moment, breathing stops. Then breathing comes in. Before the breath is turning in or turning out, there is a moment when you are not breathing. In that moment the happening is possible, because when you are not breathing you are not in the world…. The gap between the two is of a very short duration, but keen, sincere observation and attention will make you feel the gap….nothing else is needed….You are not to train the breath. Leave it just as it is. Why such a simple technique?……do not go ahead, do not follow it like a shadow; be simultaneous with it. Breath and consciousness should become one. The breath goes in -- you go in. Only then will it be possible to get the point which is between two breaths. It will not be easy. Move in with the breath, then move out with the breath: in-out, in-out. Buddha tried particularly to use this method, so this method has become a Buddhist method. In Buddhist terminology it is known as Anapanasati Yoga. And Buddha's enlightenment was based on this technique -- Buddha attained his enlightenment through this technique. Buddha said, "Be aware of your breath as it is coming in, going out -- coming in, going out." He never mentions the gap because there is no need. Buddha thought and felt that if you become concerned with the gap, the gap between two breaths, that concern may disturb your awareness. So he simply said, "Be aware. When the breath is going in move with it, and when the breath is going out move with it…."…

" Meditation according to Non-dual Shaivism of Kashmir……Close your eyes and pay firstly attention to the exhalation…the exhaled air is full of the vital energy called "prāṇa"….your attention tends to focus on the heart's zone in a natural manner because the Anāhatacakra situated there is the cakra in which prāṇa is accumulated….After doing that for a while, you will note that the "gap" between inhalation and exhalation has become longer due to the slowing down of them both. In this gap there is samāna. Obviously, this vital energy is always there but when the gap is enlarged through the concentration on the outgoing and incoming breaths, you develop awareness of samāna and its respective functions (digestive and assimilative). So, your attention goes now to that gap between inhalation and exhalation. The entire concentration is on samāna. You perceive that the attention gently moves to the navel. In other words, it goes to the Maṇipūracakra, the abode of samāna. The specific function of this vital energy consists in giving the energy extracted from it to every organ in a equitable manner. Hence it is called "samāna" (that which brings about "samatā" or balance)."….

"Kashmir Shaivism developed from about the ninth century CE and is based upon the revelation of texts called Tantras. The origins of Kashmir Shaivism lay in the cremation ground traditions of Kapalika or skull-bearing ascetics who worshipped ferocious forms of Shiva, such as Bhairava, and the Goddess Kali. There is also an independent revelation in the Shiva Sutras and Spanda Karikas given to Vasugupta (c.875-c.925) The term 'Kashmir Shaivism' refers to a number of traditions, principally to the Trika ('Threefold') tradition which worshipped the Goddess in the three manifestations of Para, Apara and Parapara and whose root text is the Mallinivijayottara Tantra. The theological articulation of the tradition is known as the Recognition (Pratyabhijna) school and Abhinavagupta (c. 975-1050 CE) is its main theologian. Tantric ideology dominated the kings of Kashmir during this period."…..

"….the tantric non-dual system of Kashmir Shaivism, which is a close cousin to Indian Tantric Buddhism…..So Kashmir Shaivism and the Vajrayana Buddhism seem to have arisen in the same area, I mean Kashmir was the center of Buddhism for many years, and in fact, there’s a lot of evidence that it’s the place from where Buddhism came into Tibet. For example, Naropa was from Kashmir, and Padmasambhava, Guru Rinpoche, seems to have been from Kashmir. And there’s also a tradition that Tilopa, the guru of Naropa, was actually not a Buddhist, but a Shiva yogi. He belonged to this very wild and interesting tradition of mountain wild-man yogis, crazy wisdom yogis, who lived out of doors, and lived in caves, and did deep practice, and had very very intense realizations of Oneness. So there was always a cross-fertilization between Tantric Shaivism and Tantric Buddhism and many Buddhists in Shivites at that time lived in the same villages or in neighboring villages and near their temples and in Kashmir"……

" Idel notes one element in Abulafia's ecstatic Kabbalah -- a requirement for pronunciation of the divine names while breathing out, rather than taking in air -- and finds a parallel between this and Sufi discipline. In another of his works, "Studies in Ecstatic Kabbalah,"…..

" Meher Baba asserted that Sufism pre-dates the Islamic prophet Muhammad, having begun with the prophet Zoroaster of Persia..... Meher Baba designe…Merwan Sheriar Irani was born in 1894 in Pune, India to Zoroastrian parents….. Sufism Reoriented is a universal spiritual school which recognizes a central core of divine love at the heart of all spiritual systems."….

"…Zoroastrianism and Sufism have the same origin, Sufism definitely predates Islam in Iran. And the dominant Pantheism of Sufism definitely has its roots in Zoroastrianism and obviously not in Abrahamic dualism….Sufism, like Zoroastrianism, is not only one thing, it is many things…..Safavid Iran, a kingdom of the great Sufies, did the greatest atrocities against Zoroastrians, the Zarvanists (Dahri) and the Mithraists (Mehri)…..Many jewels of Mithraic thought can be found in distorted ways amongst the Sufis, so I would look for Mithraism-Sufism conections more than Zoroastrian ones……"….


September 2013

John Hopkins....Northern New Mexico


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