Laya Yoga – Verses of Ancient Teachings (45)

We will try to reflect on the teachings of Laya Yoga contained in ancient treatises on yoga. “Hatha Yoga Pradipika” written by Rishi Swatmarama contains some essential verses about the state of Laya and the practice of Laya. Of course, these are only auxiliary issues on the path of Hatha and Raja Yoga, but they are worth noting and considering deeper or even comment. The most teachings about Laya are in the fourth chapter of the book, where the deepest type of spiritual training intended for adepts of Raja Yoga and Hathayoga methods on the Raja path is discussed. This indicates the degree of difficulty of practicing Laya Yoga in relation to Hatha Yoga as an auxiliary method of Raja Yoga presented by Rishi Swatmarama in the treatise ‘Hathayoga Pradhipika’. We can also understand why Laya Yoga is more esoteric, internal spiritual practice, and therefore less known, even in the land of Sindh (India).

“There is no asana above siddhasana, no other kumbhaka as kevala, no second mudra as klechari, and no laya equal to nada.” (HYP.I.43) This is a concise summary of the essential exercises necessary to practice Laya Yoga and achieve the state of Laya. Every practitioner should practice the meditator’s posture called the Fruit Posture, Siddhasana, in order to effectively follow the Path of Laya Yoga methods. Kevala Kumbhaka comes through long practice of circular breathing called Śvasapraśvasa, known as Breathlessness. Basic Mudra is a posture with the tongue curled towards the back of the mouth. In this way, Siddhasana is sublimated into the Mudra of the secrets of inner vibration. Ultimately, we achieve a state of immersion in listening to the cosmic sound of silence, immersion in the awareness of the Holy Spirit, through the noise heard from Heaven, Nada Layam!

“Mind is the master of the Indriyas (sense organs). Prana is the master of the mind. Laya, or concentration, is the lord of Prana and this Laya depends on Nada (mystical sounds of heart).” (HYP.IV.29) Mind in yoga terms is Manas, both the ruler of the senses and the sixth sense associated with the ajnambuja center within the head. The will from the head center controls the five material senses. Prana, the life force, controls the sixth sense, the mind. Laya is, at its core, deep concentration or listening to the vibration of one’s own heart. Therefore, the ‘soul song’ flowing from the depths of the heart center intensifies Laya, which controls the force of life. This is how Laya conquers the senses of material nature by dissolving them in Brahman. Laya Yoga concentration aims to master the life force flowing through the heart centers, called Prana. Hence, the basic auxiliary exercises are related to respiratory energization and Pranam postures, such as prostrations or Prana Mudram.

“Whoever stops his inhalation and exhalation and overpowers his senses, who makes the mind cease and his emotions are silenced, will achieve success in Laja Yoga.” (HYP.IV.31) Nothing to add, nothing to take away. The final state of implementation is perfectly exposed. This goal is also adopted in the Kriya Yoga methods of Mahavatar Babaji, although the overpowering of the senses and the resulting mystical death is emphasized in almost every Yoga method.

“When mental and physical activities cease, there comes the indescribable state of Laya, which only the yogi himself can experience.” (HYP.IV.32) The cessation of the torrent of sensations flowing chaotically is the first work of yoga outlined in Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The non-generation of vrittihs, the stream of mental and physical activities, is the very basic essence of any yoga, if we turn to the basis of spiritual practice. (Yogasutra I.2)

“When the Drishti (spectator, witness) is overpowered, Laya leads directly to Vidya, which controls the five elements. Then the ten Indriyas, as well as Vidya, who is the Jnanashakti of living entities, fulfill the state of Laya in Brahmanda (universe).” (HYP.IV.33) Yogic practices begin by establishing the Viewer, the Observer, the Witness in consciousness. Further fruitful work depends on overpowering the Witness, on freeing oneself from one’s own Self, from that element of Ego (I) that we use at the beginning to exert all our strength for practice. Then the promised Laya Vidya, Divine Knowledge, appears. Layam, the dissolution of the ten Indriyas (Rudras) in the form of the ten senses, and the Dissolution of the Power of Cognition are achieved. When we dissolve in the Rudras, in Jnanashakti, then we become the embodiment of the Wisdom of Nature and the Power of Nature. Om Rudram. Jnanashakti is symbolized by the five turns of the Shaktih spiral.

“People say: “Laya, Laya”, but what is Laya? Laya is a state in which the objects of the senses are lost in the object contemplated, in which desires do not return because they have been pushed away.” (HYP.IV.34) Laya Yoga belongs to the most elite yogic brotherhoods or communities. It can be called Secret Yoga, or better yet, the Order of Mystery. The very thinking of the word (concept) Laya is undoubtedly an affirmative thinking that will direct our path so that we can achieve what we think about. The normally contemplated object is the personal mantra and the vision of light revealed by the Acharya. The Guru’s essence is the contemplated object among those who have reached deeper realms of realization. One can achieve Laya by contemplating the divine essence (soul) of one’s Guru. This form of practice was always recommended by Chohan Vishnu.

“Adinatha, Lord Śiva, recommended seclusion for achieving Laya, so I believe that the practice of Nada is the best of all” (HYP.IV.66) Laya Chilla is a period of practice in which we isolate ourselves for a certain period of time to engage only in practicing Yoga. Chilla, isolation means that we switch off from the current course of life in order to devote ourselves entirely to achieving the state of laya. Adepts who engage in periodic retreat under the supervision of their Spiritual Guide practice the proper form of Laya Yoga.

“While sitting in the Muktasana position and performing Shambhavi-Mudra, the yogi should listen, with mental concentration, to internal sounds – they are heard in the right ear.” (HYP.IV.67) The simplest Nada technique of Laya actually recommends listening to the sounds of the spirit within our human being with the help of listening to our own interior by concentrating on listening with the right ear. Muktasana is a simplified version of Siddhasana in which the left heel is held near the perineal nerve plexus and the right heel is placed exactly on the left. This is a typical semi-lotus position. Śambhavi-Mudra is looking upwards into the inner space of the head with relaxed eyeballs. Exactly these techniques essential for success in Nada of Laya must be learned directly from the Spiritual Master imparting Initiation (Dikshan).

“In all these yoga practices there are four stages: Arambha, Gatha, Paricaya and Nispatti.” (HYP.IV.69) There are always exactly four stages or stations of the implementation of Nadic Yoga or, if you prefer, Laya Yoga. They are stages of initiation attainable only through the practice of Laya with Nada herself. In another lesson, we will briefly discuss these four stages with the help of verses from the Book of Swatmarama Rishi.

“Laya but not Mukti – in this there is constant happiness. The happiness that comes from Laya can only be achieved through yogic practice.” (HYP.IV.78) In the Laya state there is constant happiness, the constant, permanent bliss of Ananda. In the state of Mukti there is a sense of infinite freedom, which is illusory in that we do not always feel happy or joyful in this state. In the sense of freedom, Mukti and Laya can be considered identical, but Laya is a slightly sublime, deepened Mukti in the aspect of Ananda.

“The state of Laya that emerges from Nada gives immediate experience” (HYP.IV.80) This is how to achieve the goal of the spiritual path.

“A yogi who wishes to attain the wisdom of yoga must abandon all thoughts and practice Nada Layam with mindful concentration of mind.” (HYP.IV.93)

To practice Nada Layam means to listen to the vibration of nadic sounds so that the senses and mind are completely absorbed, dissolved or, if you prefer, absorbed by God’s Holy Spirit, Brahman.

“That which wants to be heard in the form of sounds is only Śakti. The Laya state of the Tattvas (elements) is one in which shapes do not exist. This is Parameśvara.” (HYP.IV.102) Śakti is the female principle of divinity, the spouse of the Creator, the Hebrew Shekinah. Nada is the speech of God, the voice of God, or, as we prefer, the voice of the Holy Spirit, which in the Hebrew interpretation is always feminine, symbolized by a luminous (heavenly) dove called Ashera. Listen to the Voice of God, it is a commandment that is fulfilled only when you listen to Anahat Nadam.

“Continuous practice of Nada erases all sins. Mind and Prana become absorbed (layam) in Niranjaya.” (HYP.IV.105) Constantly practicing Nadam means constantly hearing the ‘Noise of the Spirit’ from deep within. Staying in this and maintaining it truly erases all sins – in other words, schemes, conditions, patterns, and even potentials for karmic returns and effects! By practicing Himavanti Laya Yoga, we can testify to this from our own experience. Niranjaya is the spiritual sphere from which one no longer returns to another material birth and the cycle of existence.

Rishi Gheranda, among the methods of final realization of Samadhi, mentions the method taken from Laya Yoga, which is Laya-Siddhi – Yoga-Samadhi. Here is a description of the process of this realisation. “While performing Yoni-Mudra, imagine that you are Shakti and rejoice in the bliss of Paramatman (Supreme Self, Soul). It gives you complete happiness when you perform Aham-Brahman (I am Brahman). This leads to Advaita-Samadhi.” (Gerandha Samhita VII.4) It is worth getting acquainted with Yoni-Mudra and Aham-Brahman as they are taught at Laya Yoga workshops. Hum!

Many Blessings on your Path to Awakening and Realization!

Om Namaśśivaya! Hum!

Acharyacharya Swami Lalita-Mohan G.K.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *