In this lecture from the Manual for Self Realization: 112 Meditations of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, verses 24, Swami Lakshmanjoo reveals the correct way of meditation on breath with “so‘ham” mantra.
ऊर्ध्वे प्राणो ह्यधो जीवो
विसर्गात्मा परोच्चरेत् ।
भरणाद्भरिता स्थितिः ॥२४॥
śrī bhairava uvāca
ūrdhve prāṇo hyadho jīvo
visargātmā paroccaret /
bharaṇādbharītā sthitiḥ // 24 //
Ūrdhve is from upwards, movement from upwards. That is, from the heart to dvādaśānta40 is prāṇaḥ. Prāṇaḥ means the outgoing breath.
Adhaḥ, from dvādaśānta to hṛidaya, the heart, is jīvaḥ. Jīvaḥ means the in-going breath.
The outgoing breath is represented by “sa”, and the ingoing breath is represented by “ha”. So “sa”, “ha”.
Visargātmā parā uccaret utpatti dvitaya sthāne. Utpatti dvitya sthāne, it is two starting points: from heart there is one starting point, and from bāhya dvādaśānta there is another starting point. That is utpatti dvitaya, two starting points.
There, visargātmā parā uccaret, this supreme energy which is full of visarga, appears. And, by this process, bharaṇāt bharitā sthitiḥ, bharitā sthiti, bhairavasya sthitiḥ syāt, one becomes one with Bhairava, bharaṇāt, because of its fullness.
This upāya, this means, is connected with āṇavopāya*. It can’t be śāktopāya or śāmbhavopāya. It is āṇavopāya, because it is functioning in the objective field of consciousness.
Ūrdhve, you have to take the breath [out] from the heart to dvādaśānta, and take it in from dvādaśānta to the heart again, and recite prāṇa and jīva. “Recite prāṇa” means recite “sa”, the letter “sa”, and “recite jīva” [means recite] the letter “ha”.*
And, in these utpatti dvitaya, in these two starting points, you have to recite visarga (“ḥ”) and “ṁ”-kāra. The visarga of “sa” will be recited in the outward dvādaśānta, and “ṁ”-kāra of “ha” will be recited in the heart. When you take your breath inside it will end in “ṁ”; when you take it out, it will end in visarga (“ḥ”), “saḥ”. And, in these two starting points, if you concentrate, you will become one with Bhairava because of its fullness.
This is āṇavopāya.**
40 A technical term in Kashmir Shaivism, literally meaning “twelve finger spaces.” In this case, it refers to bāhya dvādaśānta, the starting point of breath outside (bāhya) the body, twelve finger spaces from the center between the two eyebrows. [Editor’s note]
* In this practice the recitation of ‘sa‘ and ‘ha‘ is a mental recitation which coincides with the movement of the outgoing and ingoing breaths respectively.
** Āṇavopāya is defined as that upāya where mystical entry takes place through concentration on parts of the body (sthāna prakalpanā), contemplation (dhyāna), recitation (varṇa), taking the support of the breath (uccāra), and mantras. Swamiji says that, in this upāya, you maintain awareness in the “elementary” world, the world of the five great elements (mahābhūtas). It is also called kriyopāya, the path of action. Manual for Self Realization: 112 Meditations of the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra, pg xxiv
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