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Surya Namaskars An Ancient Indian Exercise
Surya Namaskars An Ancient Indian Exercise
Description
Introduction

"Suryatma Jagatastasthukhascha," This ancient Sanskrit shloka states: "The sun is the soul of all that moves and also of all that is stable."

Life is possible on this small planet of our only because of the sun. The sun radiates energy which enables life to stir and grow in the seas, on land, and in the air. Without the sun, all life would cease to be.

All creation we know is suffused with energy. The energy that binds the atoms and molecules in a piece of wood is the same as that which animates a living organism, or controls the movement of the stars in space, if energy has any purpose, it is to gradually or suddenly exhaust itself and reach a state of non-energy, or entropy. You can see this happen in an electromagnetic thunderstorm: energy gets builts up to a pitch of tension and then with a few flashes, exhausts itself. Electromagnetism and gravitation are different manifestations of energy. So too is life and all human activity a manifestation of the same energy which informs and sustains the entire universe.

One often wonders where all the energy that activates the mind and the body comes from? Does it originate from within us? From our brain, or from the heart? From our solar plexus, or the nervous system? How does it originate? Under what conditions, or circumstances? When is this energy most active, or visible? Does it always flow freely and spontaneously? Or does one have to do something special to make it sprout forth? When energy flows forth spontaneously, is it invariably accompanied by a feeling of joy? Peace? Harmony? Beauty? Or, is energy only a cease-less, nervous, even neurotic activity? How can energy flow freely, spontaneously, uninterruptedly? The questions that arise in the mind are endless.

Any from of energy, whether electricity, magnetism, gravitation, or cosmic force, flows freely only when appropriate conditions of order and harmony exist. Molecules in an iron rod, for instance, are in a confused, disorderly condition. But if you pass a strong electric current through this rod, these same disorderly and confused molecules arrange themselves in a proper, systematic order with their North and South charges in appropriate positions and the inert iron rod becomes a powerful magnet charged with magnetic energy.

So too with a human being, for a human being to make full use of the inert bioenergy, of which there are vast reserves within her, there need to be appropriate conditions of harmony between the body and the mind. The routine and monotony of daily existence dulls the energy within a human being. This energy needs to be reawakened and revitalized before one can realize the full extent of the potential of self-realization that is present within oneself.

Life which is growth, multiplication, survival, and consciousness, is an expression of energy itself. The ancient Indians believed that it was the energy of consciousness that started the whole process of creation. The Parabrahma, the source of all that exists, was before creation, a state akin to entropy. There was in the universe no movement; no tension. There was in the universe no movement; no tension. There was nothing. It was all shunya or purna. In this silent "nothingness" somehow a stirring began. No one can tell why, but the parabrahma, the source of all that exists, was before creation, a state akin to entropy. There was in the universe no movement; no tension. There was nothing. It was all shunya or purna. In this silent "nothingness" somehow a stirring began. No one can tell why, but the parabrahma became conscious of itself, and it thought: "I am." The next movement in this process of awakening of the consciousness was the thought: "I am one. I went to be many." The one, then became, or created the many. All creation, sprang forth from this one primal cause, this source of creative energy.

Along with the thought, "I am," simultaneously, came sound, shabda and breath, prana. Consciousness pure and simple moved towards self-consciousness. This movement from a state of pure consciousness to the thought, "I am one. I want to be many," manifested itself through sound and breath, shabda and prana.

By experimenting with your own breath and sound, you can experience and understand the mind-energy. By performing a few simple experiments with your body, breath and mind, you can discover where your energy, your capacity to be alive, springs from. The moment laya, total harmony, between your own sound, shabda and your breath, prana is reached; there is an experience of energy, joy and love.

And this is where Surya Namaskars come in. Surya Namaskars or obeisance to the sun, that source of primal and eternal energy, take the form of ten yogic asanas or postures performed in a sequence of movements: breath and sound are made to flow simultaneously, easily, gracefully and rhythmically in this technique of receiving and utilizing cosmic energy. Surya Namaskars when practised diligently enable you to experience the truth of the fact that the sun is indeed the soul of all exists. It is said that when Rama faced Ravana on the battlefield, he received the great knowledge of the technique of Surya Namaskars from the sage Vishwamitra. It was this knowledge that enabled Rama to endure the strain of battle against Ravana, a enemy far superior to him in armoured strength. Those who seek good health, greater equilibrium of mind, conquest over slothfulness and tiredness should certainly practise these exercise.

Surya Namaskars like all yogic asanas help to purify and bring about a harmony between the various organs of the body. Rhythmic and controlled breathing, pranayama, which is part of Surya Namaskars, stimulates and tones up all the nerve centres and controls the secretion of the ductless glands such as the thyroid, the pineal, the pituitary, etc. Surya Namaskars also energize the brain cells. The organs, gross or subtle, of the human system are made sensitive and more effective in their operation by the practice of these exercises. By cleaning the human body and tuning and disciplining it, Surya Namaskars infinitely expand its capacity and range to receive and utilize cosmic energy.

When all the organs of the human body work together in harmony, when the mind is tranquil and steady, the reception of energy becomes direct and clear. One is then no longer in conflict with oneself or one's surroundings, but one experiences instead a sense of oneness and unity with all that exists. In a very limited sense, one certainly experiences unity with another human being through sex. It is the total merging of the "I" with the "other" which gives one the experience of unity and bliss. But this experience of unity is only momentary. Can it ever be imagined what infinite experience of beauty, harmony and bliss there would be, if unity is established with the totality of existence? In a sense this would also be death – death to the individualized, superficial existence of conflicts and tensions as one experiences lie eternal, ever-new.

If you spend only fifteen-twenty minutes doing Surya Namaskars everyday, you can experience vitality and beauty, joy and harmony. Whatever you do then as a doctor, engineer, student, teacher, musician, politician, etc. will acquire a different dimension, a different value. You will create beauty and harmony around you and discover truth.

In the following pages I've suggested a few simple methods of training, cleansing and tuning the mind and the body, to enable them to receive and utilize cosmic energy. These exercises will enable one to understand the nature of this all-pervading, universal mind-energy, and to experience its trmendous power.

Once you set your foot on this path of self-purification through the daily practice of Surya Namaskars and a few yogic exercises described and discussed in this book, all your priorities, urges and desires will change. So will your relationship with humans, and your environment. You will feel one with all that surrounds you as your tensions and conflicts disappear. All you will then experience will be grace, compassion and bliss.

Two highly sensitive and intelligent adventures, Kusum Prabhu nee Dhar and Lakshmi Rao have felt for sometime that Surya Namaskars, first produced by Raja Bhawanarao of Aundh in 1929, and reprinted with certain modifications in 1969 by his son Apa Pant (Sangam Books), should be recast. The new awakened generation, they feel, is keen to experiment and experience something that is beyond the confusion, hopelessness, corruption, violence, fear and anger that surrounds them.* The new awakened ones want to create harmony, beauty, joy and love around them. They are rightly sick of the hypocrisy and superficiality that has become the way of life today.

I gladly welcome this idea. I am certain that they will do an excellent job of it. I am glad that the Chairman of Orient Longman, Raja Rameshwar Rao, is backing this adventure and indeed thank him for it.

I hope that what is described and discussed in the following pages will guide the young generation to help create a new, peaceful and harmonious world.

Back of the Book

Surya Namaskars examines the contemporary relevance of the ancient yogic exercise of paying obeisance to the sun – the source of all energy.

Apa Pant, himself an ardent practitioner of Surya Namaskars, discusses how this yogic technique can be used to revitalize the latent energy within oneself and harness it in order to lead a balanced, fulfilled and rewarding life.

Along with a discussion of the tradition of yoga and its underlying philosophy are included Apa Pant's meditations on his encounters with the spiritual world – encounters which revealed to him new perspectives on life and led him "to feel the full force of the beauty and harmony, unity and oneness with all that is."

About the Author

The late Apa Pant, the eldest son of the former Raja of Aundh, was born in 1912. He took his M.A. at Oxford, and was called to the Bar before his return to India in 1937. For the next ten years he was involved in the famous constitutional experiment by which his father handed over power to the people of Aundh. In 1948, Apa Pant was chosen by the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, to be India's Commissioner in British East Africa. He later held several diplomatic appointments in Africa, Europe, and Asia.

His many other books include A Moment in Time, An Extended Family of Fellow Pilgrims, Mandala: An Awakening, The Survival of the Individual – all published by Orient Longman.

An ardent practitioner of yogic exercises, Apa Pant passed away in 1992.

CONTENTS

Introduction 1
The Mind of Men 7
What is a Mantra? 13
A Note on Yoga 16
Surya Namaskars 20
Pranayama and Some Yogic Asanas 50
Some Aspects of the Supernatural 66
Letter to a Daughter 76
Glossary 78

Surya Namaskars An Ancient Indian Exercise

Item Code:
IDJ978
Cover:
Paperback
Edition:
1998
Publisher:
ISBN:
8125013873
Size:
7.0" X 4.6"
Pages:
88 (Throughout B/W Illustration)
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Introduction

"Suryatma Jagatastasthukhascha," This ancient Sanskrit shloka states: "The sun is the soul of all that moves and also of all that is stable."

Life is possible on this small planet of our only because of the sun. The sun radiates energy which enables life to stir and grow in the seas, on land, and in the air. Without the sun, all life would cease to be.

All creation we know is suffused with energy. The energy that binds the atoms and molecules in a piece of wood is the same as that which animates a living organism, or controls the movement of the stars in space, if energy has any purpose, it is to gradually or suddenly exhaust itself and reach a state of non-energy, or entropy. You can see this happen in an electromagnetic thunderstorm: energy gets builts up to a pitch of tension and then with a few flashes, exhausts itself. Electromagnetism and gravitation are different manifestations of energy. So too is life and all human activity a manifestation of the same energy which informs and sustains the entire universe.

One often wonders where all the energy that activates the mind and the body comes from? Does it originate from within us? From our brain, or from the heart? From our solar plexus, or the nervous system? How does it originate? Under what conditions, or circumstances? When is this energy most active, or visible? Does it always flow freely and spontaneously? Or does one have to do something special to make it sprout forth? When energy flows forth spontaneously, is it invariably accompanied by a feeling of joy? Peace? Harmony? Beauty? Or, is energy only a cease-less, nervous, even neurotic activity? How can energy flow freely, spontaneously, uninterruptedly? The questions that arise in the mind are endless.

Any from of energy, whether electricity, magnetism, gravitation, or cosmic force, flows freely only when appropriate conditions of order and harmony exist. Molecules in an iron rod, for instance, are in a confused, disorderly condition. But if you pass a strong electric current through this rod, these same disorderly and confused molecules arrange themselves in a proper, systematic order with their North and South charges in appropriate positions and the inert iron rod becomes a powerful magnet charged with magnetic energy.

So too with a human being, for a human being to make full use of the inert bioenergy, of which there are vast reserves within her, there need to be appropriate conditions of harmony between the body and the mind. The routine and monotony of daily existence dulls the energy within a human being. This energy needs to be reawakened and revitalized before one can realize the full extent of the potential of self-realization that is present within oneself.

Life which is growth, multiplication, survival, and consciousness, is an expression of energy itself. The ancient Indians believed that it was the energy of consciousness that started the whole process of creation. The Parabrahma, the source of all that exists, was before creation, a state akin to entropy. There was in the universe no movement; no tension. There was in the universe no movement; no tension. There was nothing. It was all shunya or purna. In this silent "nothingness" somehow a stirring began. No one can tell why, but the parabrahma, the source of all that exists, was before creation, a state akin to entropy. There was in the universe no movement; no tension. There was nothing. It was all shunya or purna. In this silent "nothingness" somehow a stirring began. No one can tell why, but the parabrahma became conscious of itself, and it thought: "I am." The next movement in this process of awakening of the consciousness was the thought: "I am one. I went to be many." The one, then became, or created the many. All creation, sprang forth from this one primal cause, this source of creative energy.

Along with the thought, "I am," simultaneously, came sound, shabda and breath, prana. Consciousness pure and simple moved towards self-consciousness. This movement from a state of pure consciousness to the thought, "I am one. I want to be many," manifested itself through sound and breath, shabda and prana.

By experimenting with your own breath and sound, you can experience and understand the mind-energy. By performing a few simple experiments with your body, breath and mind, you can discover where your energy, your capacity to be alive, springs from. The moment laya, total harmony, between your own sound, shabda and your breath, prana is reached; there is an experience of energy, joy and love.

And this is where Surya Namaskars come in. Surya Namaskars or obeisance to the sun, that source of primal and eternal energy, take the form of ten yogic asanas or postures performed in a sequence of movements: breath and sound are made to flow simultaneously, easily, gracefully and rhythmically in this technique of receiving and utilizing cosmic energy. Surya Namaskars when practised diligently enable you to experience the truth of the fact that the sun is indeed the soul of all exists. It is said that when Rama faced Ravana on the battlefield, he received the great knowledge of the technique of Surya Namaskars from the sage Vishwamitra. It was this knowledge that enabled Rama to endure the strain of battle against Ravana, a enemy far superior to him in armoured strength. Those who seek good health, greater equilibrium of mind, conquest over slothfulness and tiredness should certainly practise these exercise.

Surya Namaskars like all yogic asanas help to purify and bring about a harmony between the various organs of the body. Rhythmic and controlled breathing, pranayama, which is part of Surya Namaskars, stimulates and tones up all the nerve centres and controls the secretion of the ductless glands such as the thyroid, the pineal, the pituitary, etc. Surya Namaskars also energize the brain cells. The organs, gross or subtle, of the human system are made sensitive and more effective in their operation by the practice of these exercises. By cleaning the human body and tuning and disciplining it, Surya Namaskars infinitely expand its capacity and range to receive and utilize cosmic energy.

When all the organs of the human body work together in harmony, when the mind is tranquil and steady, the reception of energy becomes direct and clear. One is then no longer in conflict with oneself or one's surroundings, but one experiences instead a sense of oneness and unity with all that exists. In a very limited sense, one certainly experiences unity with another human being through sex. It is the total merging of the "I" with the "other" which gives one the experience of unity and bliss. But this experience of unity is only momentary. Can it ever be imagined what infinite experience of beauty, harmony and bliss there would be, if unity is established with the totality of existence? In a sense this would also be death – death to the individualized, superficial existence of conflicts and tensions as one experiences lie eternal, ever-new.

If you spend only fifteen-twenty minutes doing Surya Namaskars everyday, you can experience vitality and beauty, joy and harmony. Whatever you do then as a doctor, engineer, student, teacher, musician, politician, etc. will acquire a different dimension, a different value. You will create beauty and harmony around you and discover truth.

In the following pages I've suggested a few simple methods of training, cleansing and tuning the mind and the body, to enable them to receive and utilize cosmic energy. These exercises will enable one to understand the nature of this all-pervading, universal mind-energy, and to experience its trmendous power.

Once you set your foot on this path of self-purification through the daily practice of Surya Namaskars and a few yogic exercises described and discussed in this book, all your priorities, urges and desires will change. So will your relationship with humans, and your environment. You will feel one with all that surrounds you as your tensions and conflicts disappear. All you will then experience will be grace, compassion and bliss.

Two highly sensitive and intelligent adventures, Kusum Prabhu nee Dhar and Lakshmi Rao have felt for sometime that Surya Namaskars, first produced by Raja Bhawanarao of Aundh in 1929, and reprinted with certain modifications in 1969 by his son Apa Pant (Sangam Books), should be recast. The new awakened generation, they feel, is keen to experiment and experience something that is beyond the confusion, hopelessness, corruption, violence, fear and anger that surrounds them.* The new awakened ones want to create harmony, beauty, joy and love around them. They are rightly sick of the hypocrisy and superficiality that has become the way of life today.

I gladly welcome this idea. I am certain that they will do an excellent job of it. I am glad that the Chairman of Orient Longman, Raja Rameshwar Rao, is backing this adventure and indeed thank him for it.

I hope that what is described and discussed in the following pages will guide the young generation to help create a new, peaceful and harmonious world.

Back of the Book

Surya Namaskars examines the contemporary relevance of the ancient yogic exercise of paying obeisance to the sun – the source of all energy.

Apa Pant, himself an ardent practitioner of Surya Namaskars, discusses how this yogic technique can be used to revitalize the latent energy within oneself and harness it in order to lead a balanced, fulfilled and rewarding life.

Along with a discussion of the tradition of yoga and its underlying philosophy are included Apa Pant's meditations on his encounters with the spiritual world – encounters which revealed to him new perspectives on life and led him "to feel the full force of the beauty and harmony, unity and oneness with all that is."

About the Author

The late Apa Pant, the eldest son of the former Raja of Aundh, was born in 1912. He took his M.A. at Oxford, and was called to the Bar before his return to India in 1937. For the next ten years he was involved in the famous constitutional experiment by which his father handed over power to the people of Aundh. In 1948, Apa Pant was chosen by the Prime Minister of India, Jawaharlal Nehru, to be India's Commissioner in British East Africa. He later held several diplomatic appointments in Africa, Europe, and Asia.

His many other books include A Moment in Time, An Extended Family of Fellow Pilgrims, Mandala: An Awakening, The Survival of the Individual – all published by Orient Longman.

An ardent practitioner of yogic exercises, Apa Pant passed away in 1992.

CONTENTS

Introduction 1
The Mind of Men 7
What is a Mantra? 13
A Note on Yoga 16
Surya Namaskars 20
Pranayama and Some Yogic Asanas 50
Some Aspects of the Supernatural 66
Letter to a Daughter 76
Glossary 78
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