In Psalm 46:10 of the Bible, there is the oft-quoted statement, “Be still, and know that I am God.” Usually this is interpreted as “sit still” or “be quiet.” But there is a deeper and more profound explanation. The yogic meaning is to still the prana, or life force, and then you will know God.
I have been reading a very interesting biography of Lahiri Mahasaya, called Yogiraj Sri Shama Churn Lahiree. Lahiri Mahasaya put a great deal of emphasis on the process of stilling the prana and focusing at the Kutastha, or spiritual eye. In fact, he said that this is the essence of all spiritual practice.
The book explains that there are two forms of prana: still and dynamic. Prana in its still state is equated with the consciousness of God beyond creation. In order to manifest creation, prana is vibrated and becomes dynamic. God in this active state is also called Divine Mother, or the AUM vibration. The more restlessly the prana vibrates, the more solid does the dream of maya seem, and the more captivating.
In our bodies, the dynamic form of prana is expressed most obviously as the breath, which begins at birth and continues unceasingly until death. Prana also vibrates in each of the various chakras. In the book it is stated that the agya chakra (the medulla and its positive pole, the spiritual eye, or Kutastha) has a rate of vibration of nine or less, which is slow enough for us to perceive our unity with the vibrationless Creator. The rate gets progressively faster at each successive chakra going down the spine, until it is vibrating at one hundred thousand in the muladhara or coccyx center. The goal of all sadhana is progressively to calm the prana until it again becomes still. The techniques of pranayama, including Kriya Yoga, are all meant to accomplish this, and to bring our awareness to the Kutastha. If we can do this completely and devotionally, we will find that all restlessness of prana, including the ever-moving breath, ceases. Then we experience samadhi, or God union.
This concept gives me a very clear goal for my meditations. I try to still the prana through the use of techniques, and then focus completely at the spiritual eye. Paramhansa Yogananda said that looking into the light there changes the very cells of the brain. Lahiri Mahasaya teaches that holding our consciousness there will purify us from both delusion and past karma. As it says in the Gita, “Even a little practice of this inward religion [stilling the prana] will free one from dire fears and colossal suffering.”