By Smt Smrithi Adinarayanan
Once Mulla Nasruddin went to a shop. He asked the shopkeeper, “Do you have nails?”
The shop keeper said, “Yes”.
The Mulla asked, “Do you have needles?”
The shopkeeper said “Yes”.
The Mulla asked, “Do you have a piece of leather?”
The shopkeeper said “Yes”.
Then the Mulla said, “Then why don’t you make yourself a pair of shoes?”. Superficially this might seem to be yet another stupid story about Mulla. A deeper thought reveals that we are all like the shopkeeper. We have a wonderful body, a powerful mind and excellent people around us. What are we waiting for? Why don’t we make ourselves a pair of shoes?
This article will highlight the power of prayer and the Aumkara pranayama (breathing exercise).
The Power of Prayer
Our parents have made their best of efforts in making us learn a few prayers. But we have dropped the practice as we grew up. This is a normal thing that happens. Some enlightened people amongst us have truly transcended the need for prayers 😉 but most of us have dropped it due to ignorance. It is advisable to start any practice (even yoga asana) with a small prayer. A prayer, of your choice, turns the mind from distractions and prepares it for a focused practice. It focuses all your energy on one single positive aspect. Your mind is freed from other unwanted thoughts.
The power of prayer is due to the power of intention. Let’s say you want to move your little finger. How are you able to do it? You intend to move it and your brain starts producing the required chemicals so that the motor nerves to the little finger can get activated and your little finger moves. It’s amazing, isn’t it?! The same power of intention can be applied to all the things in life, however complex they be! Of course, depending on the complexity of the intended thing and your capability the things you intend will take different time-frames to be manifested.
That’s the reason why in most mature traditions prayer is prefixed and suffixed to any task. Starting a task with prayer focuses your intention on its successful completion. Ending a job with prayer is to be done with a feeling of gratitude. Gratitude in advance shows the most effective be-do-have mentality. People these days generally have a have-do-be mentality. For example, let’s say you want to be happy. Normally you imagine that if you had in your physical presence a car then you would be able to do something you always wanted to do and in consequence be happy. This is the least effective way to be happy (remember nothing is right or wrong; it is just what works and what doesn’t). Instead, if you have a be-do-have mentality then you would just BE happy and DO the things that you need to do to HAVE a car. Kabir rightly pointed out
“Kabeer man nirmal bhayo jaise Ganga neer
Peechhey peechhey Hari phirey kahat Kabeer Kabeer”
Which means,”My mind has become as pure as the waters of the Ganga, hence now the Lord follows me chanting my name!”
So please make it a point to start any practice with a small prayer.
AUM is divided into 3 syllables AA, OO and MM.
Sit in a comfortable cross legged posture. Close your eyes. Observe your breath for few minutes.
Now take a deep breath (inhale), now while exhaling say AA without pausing. Continue till you can no more exhale and the sound diminishes.
Repeat this for 3 times.
Now take a deep breath (inhale), now while exhaling say OO (oo as in the word ‘root’) without pausing. Continue till you can no more exhale and the sound diminishes. Repeat this for 3 times.
Now take a deep breath (inhale), now while exhaling say MM (a humming sound) without pausing. Continue till you can no more exhale and the sound diminishes. Repeat this for 3 times.
Now take a deep breath (inhale), now while exhaling say AA OO MM together without pausing so that you start with AA and end with MM.
Continue till you can no more exhale and the sound diminishes. Repeat this for 3 times.
Benefits: Your body becomes more sensitive as you keenly observe the vibrations caused as a result of Aumkara chanting. Also, any blocks in the ear, nose or throat are cleared as a result of chanting. These are just small benefits which can be communicated. The rest is for one to experience.
Conditions: This pranayama can be done at the beginning of any practice for focusing the mind. Also do it aloud. Do not reduce the volume just because you might disturb others. It is okay if others are disturbed.