Thoroughness and spiritual strength
“How”, people frequently ask, “can you continue, year after year, to be so inspired in your teaching?” “Perhaps because we use the methods we teach, and more”, one may answer. The energy and the training of the awareness we gain from our Sadhana, provides us with a new experience everytime we sit down to teach - in that way teaching never becomes an empty or formal routine. Our experience as full-time teachers, our common meditations and the constant education at our school, gives us thoroughness combined with spiritual strength. If you do not want to risk diluting the yoga to a series of insignificant exercises with no real effect - and if you want to continue this kind of work, then we maintain that, as a yoga and meditation teacher, you need more than just a short theoretical education. Not until a person has gone through a comprehensive individual training for several years, can one be certain that as a teacher he or she will possess a solid knowledge of oneself and of the effects of yoga and meditation so that one can be instrumental in bringing about a personal

development of consciousness in other people.

A retrospective

The Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School was founded in Copenhagen in 1970, by Swami Janakananda. He had just returned from a prolonged stay with Swami Satyananda (see p. 21) in Bihar, India, where he had learnt the deep reaching Tantric meditations, such as Kriya Yoga (see p. 10), Antar Mauna, Yoga Nidra, Ajapa Japa, Prana Vidya, Chid Akash and others. A yoga which, at that time, could not be learnt in Denmark, or in Europe for that matter.

In the years to follow, the school developed quickly. From one small yoga room in an apartment, to a villa, and when that also became too small, to a larger building in the center of Copenhagen in 1975. Through the years the school has grown and today it is an active center for yoga and meditation, with five yoga-rooms on two storeys, a shop and a pyramid (see p. 9). The need arose early on for a place in the country, to have intensive retreats such as the annual 3-Month Course and the 10 and 14 days courses around the year. In 1972 in Håå, south Sweden, about l 50 km north of Copenhagen, the course center was founded. The Håå International Course Center has since been continuously improved and tailored to meet with the conditions that our courses demand to give the best possible conditions to the people that come, not only from Scandinavia, but from all over Europe, USA, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore and South America. In the following years many schools sprung up around Northern Europe and Germany (see p. 23), and in order to coordinate the yoga teacher education and the teachings, the Håå Course Center also became a meeting place for the teachers of these different schools. Several times a year they meet for meditation, seminars and collective planning.


The foundation

The magazine Bindu, the teaching at the school and the yoga teacher education are based on four cornerstones, four ways of testing reality. They should generally be congruent with one another: • First of all, one’s own experience with yoga and meditation. • The instructions of the classical yoga literature, which have been tried and tested for thousands of years. • The scientific research on yoga. • The living and direct communication between teacher and student.

Yoga and research

Since 1983, comprehensive research has been carried out at The University Clinic in Cologne, in collaboration with Thomas Schmidt M. D. (see the article, The Source

of Energy in Bindu no. 4). Dr. Thomas Schmidt also led one of the two research teams which, from 1987-92, tested the participants of the 3-Month Course at Håå Course Center. This research was especially directed towards the blood composition of fats, hormones etc. Some of the results have already been presented at medical congresses abroad, and some are not concluded but still under analysis. Dr. Schmidt is presently working at the university of Hannover, investigating the effects of nose cleansing on general health. In this issue (see p. 17) we have printed an article by his Danish colleague, neuropsychologist Erik Hoffmann, who was in charge of the second research team.

The attitude

Today people use yoga for different

reasons. Many have discovered that yoga can remedy back problems, allergies, stress or sleeplessness. Others do not have such problems, but do yoga because they have felt how the ability to concentrate improves considerably. However, this does not only concern healing or the ability to function yoga and especially meditation have something more to offer, and that, too, we wish to communicate via this periodical. The attitude of Tantric yoga is that human beings are fundamentally healthy. One who comes to a course is healthy. One who comes to a course is regarded as a unique individual with his/her own background and outlook on life - not as some kind of patient, or one who should be persuaded of this or that. And though you can cure or reasons of cure or beauty. The actual perspectives are wider: To come nearer the essence of life. q

Psychic energy
Energy is more than a discovery in our technical age. “Prana”, “Ki”,“Mana” the psychic energy has been known through all times. Now it is being discovered by us.

and everyday life. The creative spontaneity. Where does Kriya Yoga come from? Ritual and meditation. The inner reality...


Lasting and deep-reaching effects Håå Course Center

The 3-month courses seen through the eyes of a neuropsychologist - a report from 6 years of research.

17 20 21 22

The Plough

Can a yoga pose regulate your body weight? Read how the Plough influences body and mind.

7 9

About the center and the courses, in English, this autumn and winter.

Swami Satyananda Yoga Shop

The Pyramid and Pratyahara

More effective than sleep - the relaxation tank, The Pyramid - helps you rest the senses and become open for a clear, direct way of experiencing. This is equivalent to the yogi’s withdrawal of the senses.

...for a short while leaves his seclusion and invites you to “Satsang” in India Neti pots,tapes, books...

Kriya Yoga

- to the depths of your nature - Swami Janakananda continues his description of Kriya Yoga, with these subjects: Meditation



The pictures and illustrations used in this issue, addresses of the different schools, subscription...



Psychic Energy
What is energy?
Energy, first of all electrical energy - the foundation of modern technology - plays a role in our culture today that cannot be ignored. But what actually is energy? Does the history of energy start with Edison’s discovery of the light bulb and has it reached its peak with atomic energy, laser beams and ultrasound? Or, considered from another viewpoint: is this, which generally is regarded as the highest level of technical development, just a mechanical, coarse, rather limited, almost primitive way of utilising energy? If you examine the ancient cultures on all continents there can be found traces of knowledge and use of biological, cosmic or psychic energy - or whatever one wishes to call this energy. In this article I will cover various approaches.

The history of psychic energy - by Joachim Rodenbeck

“We have in our time discovered electricity, from the search to understand the energy within ourselves” (freely quoted from Sri Yukteswar in “The Holy Science”)

A glance into the European past

The interest for exploring psychic energy, the life energy which is at the disposal of every human being, can also be traced back through European history. It is important to note that here we are not dealing with philosophic considerations, but practical methods, which, for instance, were used for healing. The alchemist, physicist, doctor and miracle-man from the Renaissance, Paracelsus, called it Munis. He discovered that this energy can cleanse the body and restore health, and that blockages or a weak energy field can cause illness. In his time, Paracelsus

achieved great success with healing. However, his unconventional methods were not in accordance with the ruling medical practice, and he was excluded from the medical association. Nowadays, however, Paracelsus is considered one of the greats of his time. The German researcher, Franz Anton Mesmer (1734-1815), developed the concept, Animal Magnetism: he channelled his patients’ energy with his hands. Today, so-called Magnethopaths, whose treatment is based on his teachings, still practise. Mesmer did not succeed in justifying his Animal Magnetism to the medical association and he too was ostracized. In the 17th century, in the neighbouring country of Belgium, the chemist and physicist Val Helmont was the originator of the concept, Magnale Magnum. He was convinced that through this energy one could influence or heal another human being, even at a distance. Also the renowned German chemist Baron von Reichenbach worked with a similar energy concept; he named it Odic Energy. In the 20th century, the Austrian psychotherapist Wilhelm Reich created in his therapy the concept, Orgon Energy. He assumed that tensions and blockages in the energy field of the body manifest themselves as psychological disturbances, and that the psyche, in the same manner, influences the energy. Reich applied certain exercises of which many resemble yoga poses to recreate a free flow of energy. Reich’s ideas today form the basis of certain psychotherapies.

One of the most well-known students of Sigmund Freud, he was subject to persecution from Hitler. It should be noted, however, that after emigrating to the USA he spent the last years of his life in prison there, having been convicted during the McCarthy period for spreading anti-establishment ideologies.

Taboo - fear - intolerance

The foregoing represents only a selection of the more well-known names, theories and concepts. The real list is much longer. No matter whether it is called Vital Energy, Munis or Orgon, the names stand for the same thing: a subtle energy which is behind and influences the physical body. One can wonder why so many different names for this energy emerge just to sink into oblivion again. None of these pioneers succeeded in estabishing their theories as an “official” science. Most were forced to perform their research secretly, and some were pursued even to their death. Their work was grouped together with superstition and quackery. Already around the year 400, the activities of the Gnostics were forbidden. They, among other things, used the chakras. Esoteric knowledge hereafter, up to our time, was only used in secret circles, lodges or among the Alchemists. The psychiatrist, Carl G. Jung, for example, had contact with such a society. But why were these people rejected to such an extent and their ideas met with intolerance in the culture of the past? Apparently, it was taboo to


deal with psychic energy, an almost panicstrickened fear of the unknown. What is not explicable by the currently acceptable means and concepts available, evidently cannot be. This limitation, though, originates solely in the material way of thinking and conceptualising. It is not the case all over the world. Other cultures (which I will deal with later) have integrated

the use of psychic energy into daily life. But first an excursion into a more recent scientific view.

Discoveries in the Eastern bloc - Psychotronic Energy
In the late 1920’s in Russia, there was a strong interest in the exploration of psychic energy and so-called paranormal abilities (telepathy at greater distances, motion of objects with the help of will power etc.). Various research teams - physicists, mathematicians biologists and psychologists - received generous financial support from the state, and laboratories wellfitted with electronic measuring equipment were placed at their disposal. In comprehensive investigations lasting several years, they were able to make “nonmechanical” energy tangible and document their findings. The scientists agreed that they had discovered a revolutionary form of energy, an energy field or body. “Human beings and all living things are filled with a kind of energy that, until recently, hasn’t been known to

Western Science. This bio-energy, which we call Psychotronic Energy, seems to be behind PSI (supernatural powers).” In the book “Psychic Discoveries behind The Iron Curtain”, 1973, the Americans, Ostrander and Schroeder, published the most interesting and spectacular results of these investigations. Of course, the researchers in the East did not invent this energy - their discoveries, however, identified what has been handed down over the centuries in many traditions. The merit of their work lies in demystifying the concept of energy and formulating it into words which can be understood from a technical-scientific world view.

Kirlian photography - a bridge to the present?

The development of kirlian photography since 1939, is one of the fruits of the work in Russia. It is a type of photography in which the energy field of human beings, animals and living plants can be seen as coloured rays of light on a picture or a screen - and here we are not talking about heat radiation. An example from the experiments: A healthy leaf is “photographed”, and the energy field becomes visible - as a contour of rays of light in all directions around the leaf. Then a third of the leaf is cut off. The photography is repeated, with the result that the energy field of the whole leaf is still present - with the same form and size as on the first picture. Not until more than a third is removed, does the leaf “die”, and the energy body disappears. “All activity in the inner life of human beings is written down in lighthieroglyphs...” (Seymon Kirlian, inventor of kirlian photography). By means of kirlian photography, it


is possible to see holes in specific parts of the energy body/field and by that make a diagnosis of particular illnesses. When different states that originate from emotions and thoughts are compared with states arising in meditation and relaxation, one can visually register changes in the energy field.

this manner causes of illness and pain are removed. Treatment entails point massage or insertion of needles. Even though the prevailing explanations of the school of medicine are inadequate, no genuine doctor any longer disputes the validity of these methods.

Other cultures

The knowledge of a psychic energy which can be mastered, a life energy or cosmic energy, of which human beings form a part, is firmly rooted in many ancient traditions or cultures. In China, the energy is called Chi and in Polynesia, Mana. In India - a country which has at all times tolerated and respected people working with themselves and seeking the spiritual dimension of life - Prana is spoken of. In recent years, the interest for aboriginal cultures has grown in the West. One should, however, beware of the misunderstanding that this is about exotic philosophies which have to be learnt by rote, or which one has to believe in. These are not theoretical concepts, but, first and foremost, practical methods one can use to maintain physical and mental health and develop spiritually. For centuries they have been handed down unchanged. Today we have the possibility of benefiting from this knowledge.



In the Chinese and Japanese tradition, healing systems such as Acupuncture and Shiatsu are found. They are based on a precisely mapped network of energy currents (Meridians), in which the life energy, Chi or Ki, is flowing. Simplified, one can say, that an imperfect distribution of energy is corrected by stimulating certain energy points. In

Prana is the name in the Indian tradition for the cosmic life energy. As with acupuncture, we also find here a network of energy currents (Nadis), which are distributed throughout the body, and in which Prana flows. The flow and function of the Nadis are described in detail in the old yoga scriptures (also see the picture on page 5), but it is first of all used practically in the living yoga tradition. Theoretical studies of scriptures are not sufficient to obtain an experience of this - only those practising the yoga methods will really be able to comprehend what is meant by the old instructions. There are different kinds of methods that influence the energy currents: Asana (yoga poses), Pranayama (breathing exercises), Mudra and Bandha (attitudes and locks). These are methods which gradually go deeper - from cleansing to control of the energy - and by regular use they lead to stable health and clear states. In previous editions we have written in detail how Asanas regulate the flow of prana. When balance is gained through these methods, one can also use more advanced techniques like, for example, Prana Vidya. This is a healing method from the Tantric tradition, where the psychic energy is channeled. The energy is directed to where it is needed - to sick areas in one’s own body or to other people, even at a distance. The principle to heal with energy, albeit in a somewhat coarser form, is

also used in medicine. In my time at The German University of Sport in Cologne, electrodes were mounted on the body with various sporting injuries, such as strained ligaments and broken legs. The injured area was stimulated with the help of a low voltage current. At a hospital in Syracuse, New York, a low current is similarly sent through the affected areas. Copper thread is wound around, for example, a broken leg, and in this way the healing process is accelerated considerably. Once you have learnt to apply psychic energy for this purpose, it can be a very powerful and at the same time a much more subtle method than those in common use.

Energy is life - a different view on humanity?

At intensive care units in hospitals, it is possible to maintain a person’s organic life functions almost indefinitely via machines. Today’s discussion of euthanasia shows clearly that we have reached a threshold - when is a person actually alive? As recently as this century, death was declared when the heart had stopped and the breath had ceased. The heartbeat was listened for and the breath was checked with a mirror in front of the nostrils - if the mirror did not mist up, the patient had died. Under present law, as they are in use in Europe and in Scandinavia, it is defined that a human being is alive as long as it is still possible to measure electrical activity in the brain - in other words, as long as there is energy in the body. The heart can temporarily stop, the breath can stop, but only when energy is no longer present, has life left the body. According to our laws, we are beings governed by energy. A discovery which we are only slowly integrating into our world view. q


The Plough
Of course you can struggle to lose weight through aerobics, jogging and low-calorie diets, but you may just as well lose weight by standing still in a yoga pose. There is no need to think about your weight, if the body regulates itself.

by Morten Jon Jepsen - a yoga pose that regulates your body weight

Relaxation and well-being are not the only effects of yoga...
Yoga differs from, for example gymnastics by not just aiming at toning the muscles. The exercises and poses of yoga also directly regulate and stimulate the body’s finer functions like the heart, the blood vessels, the nervous system and the glands. When you practise yoga, the blood circulation is increased and the internal organs are massaged. Autonomous muscle functions, such as the peristaltic movements, are relaxed and brought into balance. The excretion of waste products is accelerated and the glands, which produce the hormones of the body, are stimulated. By vitalising the internal organs and the hormonal glands, you give the body a chance to find its own balance, whereby, among other things, it is able to regulate its own weight.

The yoga pose, the Plough

The yoga pose seen above is called the Plough (Halasana). Lying on the back, you lift the straight legs up and over the body and let them hang by their own weight until the toes rest on the floor above the head. You go as far into the pose as you can without forcing the body and you remain in it for some time. In the beginning you may feel that the body resists, but if you allow yourself to experience any tension, you will gradually calm down in the pose. The longer you stay in the Plough, the more the muscles relax. It is not about effort and ideals of suppleness, it is a process which first and foremost frees tensions and brings the body into harmony. (You will find a full description of the Plough in the book, Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life by Swami Janakananda 1992: Here the Plough is also seen in context with other exercises; and you learn to stimulate a certain chakra in the Plough.)

Physiological effects

Physically, the upper part of the body is inverted at the same time as it is, so to speak, folded. In this manner, muscles, organs and glands are massaged with a certain pressure, while the back is stretched. Through this influence the activity in the pancreas and the adrenal glands is increased. In these glands the hormones: insulin, glucagon and cortisol are produced; they play an important role in the metabolism. Insulin is necessary for the cell’s ability to absorb nourishment in the form of blood sugar. But insulin also promotes the storing of fat, while other hormones like cortisol and glucagon are in charge of the breaking down of fat. In an experiment, carried out in 1975, at The Institute of Medical Science in Benares, Dr. K. N. Udupa investigated the effects of the Plough on the hormonal glands and the metabolism. “Halasana produced notable loss of body weight, reduction in abdominal girth and lowering of blood pressure...


The biochemical changes showed the usual trend with predominant increase in plasma cortisol (hormone in the blood which regulates the metabolism), 17-hydroxycorticosteroids (metabolic hormone) and 17-ketosteroids (hormones for aggression and sexual urge). Plasma catecholamines (blood pressure and stress) were decreased.” In the report Dr. K.N. Udupa concludes that the Plough stimulates the hormonal activity of the glands, and that it is these physiological changes which are responsible for the body regulating itself towards an ideal weight. The study also shows that the physiological effects of the Plough are not limited to the metabolism. As seen from the quotation above, the pose also regulates the production of substances which deal with stress, as well as other hormones essential for a fit body.

started to produce more insulin himself. Gradually, however, he got to know the effects of the Plough so well that with the help of this pose he was able to stabilise the blood sugar. He then needed much less and at times no artificial supplement of insulin at all. For most diabetics, though, it is not sufficient with one yoga pose. They use different exercises which supplement each other, for example cleansing of the intestines (Shankprakshalana), a sequence of yoga poses, one or two breathing exercises, a relaxation and meditation. This gives the most profound and lasting effect

effects of the Plough on the hormones and the body weight is just one example. In the next issue of Bindu we will discuss the Shoulderstand (Sarvangasana), also called “The Candle”. In this pose the body stands vertical and straight resting on the shoulders and supported by the hands on the back. In the “classical programme” of yoga poses, it is performed right before the Plough. You go from the Shoulderstand into the Plough by lowering the straight legs down over the head until the toes rest on the floor...q

Yoga brings your whole being into balance
The co-operation between the various parts of the body is coordinated by the mid-brain via the spinal cord: “...this close interaction between the central nervous system and the hormonal glands, which is brought about by the hypothalamus, is the explanation why states of mind, stress etc. can influence the bodily functions and the health of the organism.” (Lademann’s Medical Encyclopaedia, 1977). When you use yoga, this interaction between body and mind is utilised. Therefore the effects of, for example, the yoga poses are not just experienced physically. By re-establishing the harmony of the body, the yoga poses also effect the mind - and bring your whole being into equilibrium. In this century much research has been carried ont on the influence of yoga on body and mind. The

Yoga and diabetes

With people suffering from diabetes, the pancreas produces either too little or no insulin at all. As the Plough (Halasana) increases the activity in the pancreas, this yoga pose can be of great help, particularly to people with maturity-onset diabetes. At The Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School (and especially at Håå Course Center in south Sweden where the intensive holiday courses take place), we have had some experience with diabetes, and as a result many people have benefited from yoga and meditation over the years. A 35-year old man from Oslo suffering from diabetes, discovered to his great surprise that, by staying in the Plough some minutes every day, he was able to regulate his blood sugar. In the beginning he therefore had to be careful not to take too much artificial insulin, as he had now


The Pyramid and Pratyahara
“An hour in the Pyramid for me has the same effect as eight hours of sleep”, recounted by a woman, who normally suffered from sleeplessness and stress caused by demanding office work. In yoga there exists an effective way of freeing yourself from sense impressions. It is called Pratyahara - to withdraw the senses. That is the essence of it. There are various methods to achieve this: • through the relaxation Yoga Nidra. • to confront and fully experience the sense influences. • to decide to drop an influence. • to concentrate on something within. • for a shorter or longer period not to make yourself subject to or be occupied with influences. At a residential course, for example, conditions are provided where you are free of the reminders which normally put you under stress or give rise to worries. And it works - if you want it to and are willing to take advantage of the given conditions. It is also called a retreat, a place where one has time to rest and reflect. • a symbol of such an isolation, and at the same time a very effective tool to rest the senses, are our so-called Pyramids at the course center in Håå in south Sweden and at our school in Copenhagen. positive and the idea was born to build our two relaxation tanks. However, they were to be of better quality, more spacious and pyramid-shaped. “While I was working in a kindergarten I used the Pyramid regularly. Right after work I lay in it for about an hour. Often I saw the events of the day pass by my mind eye and felt tensions leaving me. Then the moment came where I felt that now I had been “emptied” and could start the rest of the day as if it was entirely new”. (Ambika)

by Amrit & Kim Paulsen

To rest the senses

Pyramid energy

What is the Pyramid?

First of all it is an isolation tank based on the ideas of Dr. Lilly from California. Different names are used for such tanks and they are now found in many places around the world. In 1981, Swami Janakananda taught at an institute on 5th Avenue, New York. There he tried a small coffin-shaped tank. It was far from perfect in it’s composition, but the experience was

Why not gain from the possible beneficial effects of the pyramid shape? In 1930 André Bovie found that animals who had died in the Cheops Pyramid did not rot, but were mumified. Karel Drbal from Czechoslovakia, took out a patent in 1959 to use the pyramid to make knives and razor blades stay sharp... Perhaps the ancient Egyptians and other people of that time held a greater knowledge of the pyramid’s influence on human beings than we imagine today. Apart from the famous pyramids in Egypt and Mexico, many large pyramids are found in Australia and also in India, France and South America. Our pyramids are exact models of the Cheops Pyramid, only smaller. They are placed with the sides facing north, south, east and west. Inside there is a water basin, about lft. deep and 8ft. x 8ft. wide. The 1000 litres of water contain one tonne of salt. Consequently, when you lie on your back in the basin, you float with effortless ease and you feel weightless. The temperature of the water is about 95°F or 34,1 C° - skin temperature therefore neither heat nor cold are felt. The room is isolated from both light and sound, so you neither hear nor see anything. And the air is constantly ventilated.

“My times in the pyramid gave good results when I took my examinations”, several students comment. When you are in the Pyramid, all sense impressions are strongly limited. In daily life your senses are continuously influenced - even when you sleep the senses get no rest, the body moves in the bed, and both light and sounds are recorded. The sense impressions, which you receive throughout the day, keep the mind going. A sound, something a passer-by says, talking with another person, light, temperature, even gravity - everything influences you. When the senses do not receive any impressions from outside, no new reactions are created in the mind. A stay in the Pyramid lasts about an hour, where you float completely still on your back. No techniques are required. When the senses are allowed to rest, the relaxation happens by itself. Right after lying down, your mind is full of ideas and reactions to what you have experienced during the day, or you are occupied with the pyramid and sounds from your body. Because you do not receive any new sense impressions, your state becomes clearer, and you may get absorbed in thoughts and feelings which are more relevant than whatever occupies your mind while rushing through the day. You now find pleasure in having time to deal with this. Or you suddenly become aware of a tension and let go of it. You are not planning this. You do not have to experience or do anything in particular. Just float and let happen what happens by itself, in the mind and in the body. Then the hour has passed and you are gently called out again. Your mind has calmed down, your senses are rested, you are vital and ready for new impressions. q


Kriya Yoga II
Mind over matter, it is said - that the mind rules over matter - that thoughts can influence both our surroundings and ourselves, for good and for bad. It is presumably a common concept that this is the case. Within medical science one speaks about the relationship between psyche and soma, between body and mind, where health, to a great extent, is dependent on a person’s ideas and moods. But can you consciously overrule states of mind, thoughts, emotions and reactions - forces which human beings normally yield to? Can you learn to manage the mind, so you can more easily influence the body, events, relationships etc.? And if so, how? How can one overcome habits and inhibitions? Often it remains an effort, a matter of will power. You have to make a decision and force yourself to accomplish it, for example, to give up smoking. Within yoga there is a branch called Raja Yoga. Here ideals are set up concerning the ability to control the mind, linked together with strict demands for the conduct of life. Is it possible in this connection to avoid ending ip with a sense of guilt, with neuroses and intolerance, isolated from other people? And if so, are there other possibilities to be found in the Tantric yoga tradition? Can you in any way count on the mind, and with it the personality, as the innermost, governing principle in your life? Does the personality have the necessary perspective? Or does it not consist of habitual opinions and ideas to which it clings? A conformity which is far from free, but which is the cause of despondency and inertia, in fact even of illness, and which makes us ruthlessly dominate or be dominated by each other. Within

“The selection for stability plus the constant pumping by energy flow will lead to the largest degree of order.” (“Energy flow in biology” by H.J. Morowitz)

- to the depth of your nature - by Swami Janakananda
science, for example, numerous research results are not published so as to enhance a career and to remain in good standing with a superior. When we speak about liberation, isn’t it then being able to liberate ourselves from the “programmes” which govern our lives, so we can make real choices and act with a consequence, which reaches beyond our habitual ideas of ourselves and of the world? It is not enough to realise that one’s ideas and reactions are limited. It is not enough to evoke and live through old patterns of thought and emotion; that only makes you more self-centred and binds you even more strongly and more exclusively to the dimension of personality. Through the mind you can perhaps rule over matter, that is, if your mind is strong, and/or if you are able to use ordinary suggestions and visualisations. It is, however, better to liberate yourself from old programmes than to try to reprogramme the mind. The mind would like nothing better than to supply you with a thousand alibis: feelings, thoughts, hopes and beliefs in all kinds of things except in yourself. You imagine that you can manipulate with the mind, and thus you remain involved. It is something else, however, to be able to overcome the limitations of your surroundings and of yourself, in the form of expectations of good and bad - to be able to overcome the fundamental which binds human beings to habits and certain ideas and be able to act directly and freely. For this to happen, you need both courage and energy - and an altered fundamental state which raises you above the limitations of the mind and personality. “Kriya Yoga is a rite, a ceremony, a method, a sadhana. It is a method of refining one’s forces so that the individual awareness can penetrate the depth of one’s nature.“ (Swami Satyananda)

Not the goal, but the path, is your life

The spiritual dimension does not directly have to do with the mind; it reaches further. You cannot use the mind to realise yourself, as the mind is only an instrument for the self in time and space. Know thy self, was written at the entrance to the oracle of Delphi in Ancient Greece. This realisation is probably as old in Europe as it is in India, as it was repeated by Heraclitus who lived some time before 500 BC. He was a mystic rather than a philosopher; for him it was not just about thinking, but about experiencing. He describes two forms of experience: one is connected with the infinite, resting in itself and unchanging being. This is not something which is first experienced after death, but potentially behind or parallel to the second form of experience: the life we live - a constant diversification, a whirling rush of phenomena lacking any constancy, a change which he describes in the wellknown quotation: “Everything flows, the same person cannot bathe twice in the same river”. By beholding the world from the infinite, on the other hand you are not being carried away by illusions, but see more than the obvious, you grasp the unity of everything, and from this experience you can surrender to life with contentment - rather than always greedily rushing on towards the next thing. A few generations later Socrates makes the demand on his age: Know


thy self, and by “self” he does not mean the personality or the mind, but rather, the soul. This is the reason why Socrates, by his simulated ignorance and examining questions in Plato’s dialogues, tears away the foundations of the cocksure opinions and ideas of his contemporaries. He speaks about knowing the whole of oneself, not only the many thoughts of the mind and the personality. For someone who cannot simply make a leap into that which is expected to be unknown - although it is oneself and nothing else - but who wishes to walk the path step by step, there are tools for moving through an inevitable process of liberation in the midst of daily life, in the midst of a life which can then be lived more and more fully and more and more in accordance with oneself.

The Meditation...

Can I learn to watch my mind, my thoughts and my emotions with all that tears and pulls at me, and when I do this consciously, am I then able to be aloof of these experiences - and remain myself? Is it simple, or is something else needed? Well, an ordinary everyday consciousness can not manage this; it will hold on to that with which the personality identifies, that which it regards as possible and impossible. Another state of consciousness is necessary, one which rests in itself - symbolised by the Eagle - that, we gain in the meditation. But consciousness and sensitivity can be of greater or less intensity. When you expand the consciousness, energy and strength must follow suit. A higher energy level - symbolised by the Snake -


supports the expansion of consciousness and gives the necessary strength to reach beyond both matter and mind. It becomes easier to maintain perspective and to experience the whole, instead of getting stuck in particular emotions or thoughts. In the first part of this article on Kriya Yoga, in the previous issue of Bindu, we dealt with the eagle and the snake, two fundamental functions or principles behind life, behind the liberation and spiritual growth. Tantric Kriya Yoga generally contains three groups of tools, which are all linked together in a meditation ritual with inevitable effect. They consist of: • Symbols, forms and diagrams, concentrated visions, which are keys for opening the mind and breaking its limitations, so that it can come into accordance with the whole. The use of these keys is called Dharana. • Meditations and “attitudes” which utilise, cleanse and influence the flows of energy. These re-establish the original form of the body’s energy field, which otherwise is limited by the attitudes one has towards oneself and towards other people and life in general. As the energy is strengthened in this manner, the level of consciousness is raised to the level of the soul: Chakra Bhedan, Shakti Chalini Mudra, Maha Mudra and others. • The ability to experience the mind as an observer, to be oneself behind all experiences: In Tibet this is called Maha Mudra (the greatest of all attitudes you can have towards life, not to be confused with Maha Mudra in Kriya Yoga) and in India in the Tantric Tradition Antar Mauna (the Inner Silence, the dimension behind the experiences, your true identity) or Kaivalya in Raja Yoga (the free state where nothing sticks or hangs on, but where you remain yourself, tolerant and experiencing in all situations).

...and in daily life

This certainly lends some great perspectives. You can, for instance, stop a limiting state of mind or body by changing your energy level. But I will give an everyday example from my study. When teaching takes most of my time, my desk easily overflows with work waiting to be done: administration, letters to be written, articles to be finished, things to be tidied up. To get to the bottom of these many different tasks, I “normally” use my willpower to keep myself going. I decide what I should do from one task to the other, and laboriously dig my way through the tasks. After Kriya Yoga, on the other hand, I can raise myself above hesitation and reluctant attitudes; my energy level has been changed, so I overcome these bonds and gain perspective. The first and best task I spot, I finish spontaneously, and then...., yes, then I catch sight of something else. which then gets done. I

do not ask myself: what should I do next, and how? I set to work on it and through that the enthusiasm and inspiration grow even more. Often what is most urgent, I see and start with first, without having to force myself or put myself under stress. Spontaneously I go on to the next task when the previous one is resolved.

Creative spontaneity

The impulsive actions and whims of the unaware, the untrained and undisciplined are frequently mistaken for spontaneity. These actions are, however, random and often built upon self-centred wishes and habitual actions or somewhat rigid opinions; it is without connection to the whole. Creative spontaneity, on the other hand, is fully conscious; one who is capable of surrendering to the conscious spontaneous action follows inspiration and knows what he or she is doing. Intuition does not consist of unconscious ideas or dreams, nor of wishes or


ideals. Intuition is made possible through (silent) awareness, an awareness which reads signals in the inner and outer whole, without the mind getting a chance to explain and state a reason: why? Intuition of this kind in daily life creates actions so unbelievably rational, that they fit into the whole, regardless of custom and expectations - the intuition does not explain itself, but guides the one who is able to surrender to conscious spontaneous action - action for which you are responsible yourself, no matter what happens, no matter how you are understood.

part of the local religions - in Hinduism in India, in Tibetan Buddhism, in Taoism in China, in Zen in Japan and, to a certain extent, in Buddhism as such in the whole area. Whether yoga has been in use in China just as long as in India, I cannot say, but there are indications, just as yoga was a part of other cultures on earth earlier, as previously mentioned regarding the Olmec/Maya and Zapotec cultures in Mexico, and also the Tumaco and Qimbaya cultures in Columbia and in the ancient culture of the Cells. (See also my book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life, and in previous Danish issues of Bindu.)

contact among people in the daily life of an ashram. And dreams were replaced with genuine experiences. According to Swami Satyananda, Kriya Yoga today comes from a group of swamis who have kept it secret and used it from generation to generation. Initially, he says, it can be traced back to Sri Shankaracharya in the eighth century A.D. Sri Shankaracharya was, apart from being an enlightened being, a great reformer and organiser. The founding of the swami order is attributed to him. Those who used and passed on this esoteric knowledge prior to that time have been lost to anonymity. In the centuries following Sri Shankaracharya, the swamis did not pass this knowledge on to anyone from the outside; it was reserved exclusively for themselves, the initiates. As Swami Satyananda once said to me, “we use it for our own sake, on the spiritual path and to be better able to help others, but it hasn’t been widely revealed. And I learnt it from my guru Swami Sivananda, when I lived with him (for 12 years) in Rishikesh.” That made me ask: “But why do none of the other well known Swamis, who also come from Swami Sivananda, for example, Swami Vishnudevananda in Canada, Swami Chidananda in Rhisikesh and Swami Satchidananda in the USA, teach this? All in all they don’t teach anything but Raja Yoga, Mantra Yoga and Hatha Yoga?” I knew that Swami Satyananda, both before and after his long stay with Swami Sivananda, had been in contact with Tantrics. There he learnt a part of what he advanced and revealed to the world. And Kriya Yoga is certainly a Tantric meditation. Swamiji gave me an answer which at first surprised me, but which I, based on the experience I have gained during the past 25 years, must admit sounds likely. “Back then in the 1950’s” he said, “not everybody was interested in a more deep-reaching

Where does Kriya Yoga come from?

I have previously dealt with the origin of yoga, without really giving a definitive answer to where it came from in a distant past, but by showing the use of yoga in various earlier cultures all over the globe. And in the first part of these articles, I suggested something of this in the form of a “story” with special reference to Kriya Yoga. In the following passage, I will deal with Kriya Yoga in relation to “recent” Indian history and at the same time mention that there are related methods in China and Tibet. In the last three millennia India has been an exporter of spiritual knowledge and religion, where Buddhism has probably appeared as the most visible. Buddha himself was not a Buddhist, but a Hindu who wanted to reform Hinduism. This was an inspiration for a period, and India experienced a zenith under King Ashoka. But then Buddhism disappeared from India as a popular religion; one could say it moved abroad, where it gained crucial significance in many countries in Eastern Asia. Beneath the surface in these countries, yoga or meditation can be found as a detached mystic tradition. Simultaneously pieces of this Tantric tradition became

The use of Kriya Yoga from Indian Middle Ages to present time

At the end of the Sixties, a book called The Autobiography of a Yogi by Swami Yogananda was published in the West - at the time an unusually inspiring book for anyone in search of oriental teachings. But at the same time it was so fantastic in certain passages that it may have made others back off completely. I benefited from reading it, as it put me on the track of Kriya Yoga and I began to look for a teacher who could teach me this kind of meditation. That teacher turned out to be Swami Satyananda, who visited Copenhagen and gave a lecture at The National Museum. In the lecture hall he had placed some modest-looking brochures about a course he held in India, including, among other things, Kriya Yoga. That was for me the beginning of a long and rewarding friendship. After I had learnt Kriya Yoga, I stayed in India and underwent deep reaching training in Swamiji’s ashram - one result being that he made me teach what he had taught me. Along the way I was cured of a couple of ideals in favour of a clearer experience of reality. This training was not based at all on books or dogma, but on direct


yoga, so I was one of a few who learnt it directly from Swami Sivananda; the others didn’t have that motivation. “

Another description of the source of Kriya Yoga

these abilities is to be able to recreate one’s body from time to time. Here I quote the recently deceased Dr. Swami Gitananda from Pondicherry. He comments on the yoga scriptures’ descriptions of various abilities of this kind: “The ability to dematerialize the body or to make a new body. Many stories exist of Siddhas who are hundreds of years of age. A popular story persists in India today of a Siddha who is many thousands of years old, who dematerializes and rematerializes at will, often appearing younger after the latest materialization. A Siddha is able to recreate a physical body of any sex, state or condition, as required for a higher spiritual mission. These bodies are ‘real bodies’ and not ectoplasmic, incomplete forms as manifested by an occult or psychic medium. These forms are not ‘conjured up’ by external forces, but rather at the command of internal will.” Babaji is supposed to have made contact with a few people in every generation who were ready to receive Kriya Yoga from him. Lahiri Mahasaya is one of these yogis, the teacher of Yogananda’s teacher, Sri Yukteswar. Likewise, Babaji is supposed to have contacted Sri Shankaracharya in the eighth century. Sri Shankaracharya subsequently passed Kriya Yoga on to his successors, so that it became a part of the swami institution. Since that time Kriya Yoga has exclusively been passed on by those, who themselves have learned it in the living tradition and who have received the initiation into the swami order.

Swami Yogananda writes in his autobiography that Kriya Yoga is consistently given to every new generation by an almost immortal yogi called Babaji. Now, there are countless people in India called Babaji, as the name, Baba, means father, and Babaji, honoured father - just as it can mean grandfather. The word is used to address holy men or priests, as we do in the west. Quite a few yogis have used this as a name after it became known through Yogananda’s book which Swami Satyananda once described as an “American novel written by a ghost-writer “ when I mentioned it to him. He realised that I lived on dreams inspired by this book, and that these dreams prevented me from being present and experiencing the outer and the inner life, without expectations and ideals. Still, I must say that the book was once a great impetus for me to go on from ordinary yoga, which I had known for years at that time, to the more advanced yoga and Tantric meditation. So, surely, it was an inspiration. That a person like Babaji can live for several thousands of years, both in a physical body and on the astral plane and create possibilities there for the spiritual development of his disciples, may be a trifle too strong for many. Especially if one experiences life from a “normal” limited perception of reality. My teacher’s warning at the time was, therefore, justified: I should not live by such ideas, regardless of whether they are true or not, but act myself and go on with my life. And despite the fact that the yoga literature describes so-called siddhas, people who have achieved great spiritual power and therefore also certain abilities (siddhies), abilities which are different from one individual to the other. One of

How can Kriya Yoga be kept for the future

When a culture is at it’s height, as the cultures mentioned in the previous issue of Bindu, the people of that culture possess an integral world view. Not belief in something separate, not dogmas about

something else, nor techniques or magic regarding a third thing, but a whole reality, within which all these categories exist - there is nothing to question, this is how it is. When the culture declines, when it goes down hill and a new beginning is seen on the horizon, then other rules apply: things fall apart and are divided into art, into religion, into science, into philosophy, into medicine and psychology or among the alternative people into therapy, into healing, into belief or yearning for something which is not here, extraterrestrial beings, other planes, etc. But human beings are not divided into parts; human beings are whole, and our growth and maturing move us towards this whole, to be a whole being. Tradition is often passed on out of sheer habit, from time to time beliefs shift. Here in the North, from what we can make out, we have the Vanes, after that the Ases (= those who came from Asia), then Catholicism, then the Reformation, then the Age of Enlightenment, then science, then atheism and finally the political and economic world view. What about yoga, and the deeper spiritual values, the spiritual search and genuine tradition? Yes, mystics (initiates) have always been there; either they have worked in public and have given something valuable to their society, or they have worked secretly in order to enable a few people to maintain contact with the spiritual, so that the tradition does not die on its way to the times when people once more will understand how to gain from it. Earlier in Tibet, for example, families always sent at least one son to the monastery to become a monk and preserve the spiritual tradition; nowadays only every twentieth family contribute. When did the glow die out, when was a reality with power and light forgotten, when does it become a duty and a habit? And can we in any way compare mysticism with movements which turn into religions and


mainly build their faith on outer authorities, as has surely happened in Tibet? When is a society harmonious and when is it oppressive? Who can distinguish between a real, living whole, and the segregated, which consists of doctrines, rote reaming, programming, and “faith” (as something one talks about, flaunts and also demands of others)? Mysticism does not change from one time to another, as do belief systems and mythologies. The mystic experience stays the same from one culture to an-

other, from age to age, all over the earth. It is based on a search, on a few effective methods and on genuine experience.

Ritual or meditation?

If you ask different people what Tantra is, the Indian pandit (= learned one) says that Tantra is the source of all knowledge on Mantra, i.e. on the influence of sounds and syllables on the mind and thereby, our reality. Some yogis will describe Tantra as the yoga of rituals.

And yet others will speak of Yantra, certain forms for evoking and chanelling cosmic energy, and about Chakra (mentioned in the first part of the article). Then there are those who are a little more superficially and sensationally inclined, who will say that Tantra only involves sex; however, sex is only a small part of Tantra. Because different people at different times (among them our time) have neurotic relationships to sex, then this 1/64 part of Tantra is magnified to fill the whole horizon. No matter how


valuable the sexual rituals may be (see for instance my book, Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life, page 76 to 81), this is only one possibility among many, for those people who wish to make use of it. And, finally, if you ask me and some other yogis, then Tantra contains: yoga and meditation, when it is more than just a little gymnastics to be fit and beautiful.

in their lives in accordance with the sky and the earth.

Ritual and Meditation!

Hypnosis or an inner higher reality

Rituals are important in all religions and secret societies, but are they necessary for the spiritual seekers? It happens that yogis, who at one point were very active in their sadhana (their practice and their work with themselves), later return to the rituals of their tradition. When I was younger I considered rituals to be of two kinds, the one for keeping the sheep in the fold, for inspiring them to maintain and reinforce the religious view of the world, and the other solely for the purpose of opening the mind and expanding the consciousness. Now I am not so sure about the difference, if I want to show the highest respect for my fellow human beings and their experience of reality. And even though I, for my part, do not want all kinds of rituals to dominate my life, and even though I cannot see a purpose for them in my life, I must recognise their importance in the following little account: When the Vietnam war was over, and the soldiers returned to the USA, many tragedies followed. The veterans were physically and mentally broken and a frighteningly large number never recovered from the injuries they had sustained in the war. However, one group freed themselves from the after effects entirely, using ancient means. They were returning Indians, who had also had to serve as soldiers. When they returned they participated in the traditional dances and rituals which have been used for centuries for returning warriors, and in that way they closed that chapter

Kriya Yoga is a ritual, at times kept secret, of certain yoga exercises for body and mind, and at the same time it is one of the world’s most harmonic and effective meditations. Naturally one can do a little yoga just as a daily exercise and have an effect from it. The Headstand, for example, works, no matter which ideas you have or how you are disposed. That also applies to all other exercises and meditations in this tradition. And still the harmony that arises in body and mind seems to create a broader view of life for anyone using them. The Russian communists already during the Thirties studied the breathing exercises of yoga, and maintained an interest in the effects of yoga, for instance in connection with the cosmonauts in their space travel programme. But they also found that it was not so easy to keep the people who used yoga (in this case especially breathing exercises) adhering to a frozen picture of the world based on the narrow dogma of materialism. In other words, from this research there arose a fear among those in power that people should discover the spiritual perspectives. Thus, someone who knows of Kriya Yoga, and treats it merely as a composition of advanced yoga and meditation exercises, can gain so much more from it - this applies both in respect to strength and energy and to deep harmony - if he or she understands how to use these wonderful meditations as a ritual. But one has to understand the concept of ritual in the Tantric sense.

These are not rituals meant to keep people within a conventional bourgeois or religious framework; they comprise of an action one takes to expand and liberate the consciousness. The word Tan-tra indicates this: Tanoti means expand and trayate to liberate. The ritual must be used - as a Tantric ritual is performed - in such a way that it uninterruptedly occupies the whole of your being, including both body and mind, and also what you reach at the end of the meditation, that which extends beyond body and mind, the soul, if you will - the self. q

The subject has not been exhausted here, and probably will not be in this series of articles, as Kriya Yoga first of all is a practical matter - something you do and experience. Nevertheless, I will continue the series in one more issue of Bindu, to include such subjects as: Conditions for the learning and use of Kriya Yoga. The balance between the inner and the outer. More about: what is Kriya Yoga? The role and the background of the initiation and the teacher. Yoga as science and mystical spiritual tradition. q


Lasting and deep reaching effects
6 years of research on the 3-Month Courses in Sweden - by Neuropsychologist Erik Hoffmann Ph.D.
The effect of the 3-Month Courses in yoga and meditation was measured with modern technology: Best possible balance between the two brain halves, better relaxation and considerably less anxiety and restlessness.
(EEG) measured. The purpose was to study the possible effects of the course on the autonomous nervous system and on the brain - two of the most important biological systems in the human being. With a sleepy, very tired or deeply relaxed person the opposite is seen, a slow pulse, a low blood pressure and a high skin resistance, which shows that the parasympathetic system dominates. In a mentally healthy person

The aim of the investigation

The Autonomous Nervous System

In the North, Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School offers courses on different levels in the several thousand years old tradition of Tantric yoga and meditation. These methods have not been scientifically explored to the same extent as, for instance, Transcendental Meditation. It was therefore obvious that we should conduct a study on the Tantric yoga and meditation methods. We chose to study students on the 3-Month Courses (please see the description in the brochure from Haa Course Center). Our research took place from 1986 to 1991. The description here is from the first investigation in 1986. The investigations conducted in the following years were more comprehensive, but did, however, show similar results. A total of 32 students volunteered to be measured at the beginning and at the end of the course. In addition, every person was initially subjected to a psychological anxiety test (the Taylor Test). The latest electronic equipment was used, and the measurements were directly analysed by an integrated computer. In the first year, the project was divided into two independent researches. 12 students took part in a study of the autonomous nervous system, while the remaining 20 had their brain waves

The autonomous nervous system is divided into the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system, with direct opposing effects on the brain and on most glands and organs. These two systems are in charge of bringing the body into either a state of activity or rest. To see the relationship between the two, the electrical skin resistance (BSR = Basal Skin Resistance) is measured. In a mentally and/or physically active person the sympathetic nervous system dominates, which for instance results in a rapid pulse, a high blood pressure and a low electrical skin resistance.

you see a purposeful balance between the two systems, when they adapt to the demands of the surroundings.

Psychophysiology is the scientific method to explore the connection between psychological and physiological processes. Through this method you are able to study more objectively states of consciousness such as sleep and dreams, meditative and hypnotic states. In this article we see how this method can be used for measuring the effects of the meditation and yoga methods of the 3-Month Course as a whole. The study was performed by neuropsychologist Erik Hoffmann Ph.D. Engineer M.Sc., Per Gaarde-Nissen, was in charge of the EEG technology.


Mentally strained, stressed and tense Stability in the people often have an almost chronic nervous system dominance of the sympathetic nervous Each student had electrodes attached system. This may result in sleeping to the index and middle finger of the problems, headaches, etc. These people left hand, where the level of the skin often perspire a lot - especially from the resistance (BSR) and the number of palms, which gives a low skin resistance. spontaneous skin reflexes (GSR) were On the other hand, a permanent measured. During the approximately 15 parasympathetic dominance can be minutes of the measurements, the subject observed in chronically tired and was lying on the back on a couch in a depressive people, who also measure a sound proof room. very high skin resistance. The student was asked to relax for 8 Both these types of people conseminutes. We measured his/her BSR at the quently have a badly balanced and inflexbeginning and at the end of this period. ible autonomous nervous system, which By dividing the value at the start into is reflected in a permanent and abnormally low or high skin resistance (BSR). Furthermore, with both types - to the extent that they are anxious and worried - one can measure small momentary drops in their skin resistance (skin reflexes, called GSR = Galvanic Skin Response). Normally a skin reflex is released when a person is exposed to an external influence. It is then called specific, and is a physiological sign that the person is attentive and reactive. Scientific research, however, has shown that people suffering from anxiety neurosis and nervousness have a tendency to release many skin reflexes, even when they are lying down, relaxed and totally undisturbed. Such reflexes are described as unspecific or spontaneous and are Skull of an old Egyptian. The snake is the symbol of energy ascribed to (emotional) processes in the individual. in many cultures - on this skull can be seen two cobras. They, doubt, stand for the nervous energy The more anxious a person no the yoga tradition, this knowledge isin the two brain halves In preserved under the is, the more spontaneous name of Swara Yoga. Different yoga methods aim at creating skin reflexes can be a balance between the energies in the two halves of the body and of the brain, between sun and moon, between Ha and Tha. measured during rest.

the value at the conclusion, a BSR index was created, which showed the pupil’s ability to relax. This index increased for the group as a whole from 1,44 before the course to 1,70 at the end. It was thus documented that the ability to relax had improved considerably and that the autonomous nervous system in this way had become more flexible. The measurements of the number of spontaneous skin reflexes (GSR) showed a decrease from 30 units before the course to 9 by the end of the course. This indicates a strongly increased stability in the autonomous nervous system. After that, we compared this result with the result of the anxiety test and found a very clear connection: When the spontaneous GSR’s were less, the result in the anxiety test were better. On the basis of this and other similar scientific findings it is safe to conclude that after the course the students were far more calm and less anxious than when they came. A conclusion which the students confirmed themselves.

The double brain

In the human brain, an incessant electrical activity of a rhythmical nature is taking place, the so-called brain waves. Measurement of these by electrodes attached to the scalp is called electroencephalography (EEG). The rhythms most interesting in this connection are called alpha waves (with a frequency of aprox. 10cps/sec). Scientific studies have shown that the amount of alpha waves increases during meditation and there are many indications that people who meditate in general have more alpha waves. There are more alpha waves when a person has the eyes closed, is mentally relaxed and maintains a passive awareness. When the eyes are opened


or the person is distracted, the alpha rhythms are reduced in favour of the quicker beta rhythms - that is, the brain is activated. The amount of alpha waves therefore shows to what extent the brain is in a state of relaxed awareness. Today it is presumably common knowledge that the left brain half governs language, as well as logic and analytical thinking. The right brain half, on the other hand, thinks in pictures, sensations and feelings - it sees the overall view, is spontaneous and intuitive. The biological foundation for the creative expression of an individual is therefore a “correct” balance and communication between the two brain halves. The study of this balance was the focus of the investigation. Therefore, we used the ratio between the amount of alpha waves in the right and the left brain half (the RightlLeft ratio) to show this balance. Now, you might think that a correct balance would show a R/L ratio of 1,00 - that is a 100% symmetry between the left and the right side of the brain. However, that is not the case - not in our culture anyway, where greater emphasis is placed on developing skills connected to the left brain half. With mentally healthy human beings, an ideal R/L ratio is 1,05 - 1,10 - a little higher (culturally determined?) activity in the left compared to the right side. In deep relaxation, though, human beings come nearer to a balance of 1,00 between the brain halves. On the other hand, with neurotic and psychiatric patients, a R/L ratio far below 1,00 is found. The greater the mental disturbance, the lower the ratio: People suffering from anxiety neurosis, for instance show values from 0,93 to extremely low values from 0,50 to 0,60 with paranoid people (Hoffmann,1982).

Optimum balance

Twenty right handed students participated in this first investigation (1986). Electrodes were mounted above the left and the right temple, and the students were asked to lie down on the couch and relax with their eyes closed. The EEG machine and the computer were started, and data was gathered and analysed for a period of 10 minutes. Similar to other investigations of meditation, we found a clear increase (about Who) in the amount of alpha waves in the right brain half, which shows a better relaxation of the right side of the brain by the end of the course. The alpha waves in the left brain half surprisingly remained completely unchanged. This gave an increase in the R/L ratio from 0,98 to 1,07, which according to the previous considerations must be considered a positive stabilisation of the balance between the two halves of the brain. To further support this observation, at the start of the course we had found that students with a high R/L ratio (1,05 1,10) managed well in the anxiety test. The increased amount of alpha waves in the right brain half was seen in the first study. In the following years we also tested several participants with predominating activity in the right side - these too achieved an ideal balance during the course.

These biological changes all signify generally improved relaxation and stability, as well as less anxiety and unrest in the students by the end of the course. Note: all the results were found during ordinary relaxation and not during meditation, as in most comparable investigations. This indicates a more permanent long-term effect. q

The goal is another and higher

Comments by the editors: Previous investigations by Hoffmann (1982) with people who had been in therapy for 18 months, showed a similar improved balance in the brain. However, the difference with the students of the 3-Month Course was that the amplitude (that is, the intensity of the impulses or the height of the alpha waves - unlike quantity or frequency), reached a common high level. On the other hand in the therapy, the amplitude decreased in the brain half which was the strongest in the beginning down to the level of the weaker. When the amplitude is high, more brain cells work in the same direction, and the person is in a state of concentration. The Kriya Yoga articles naturally describe more about the content of the 3-Month Course, than the results of the measurements. The question is whether all our students are equally interested in this kind of investigation. The studies offer a somewhat superficial picture of what happens on a course, in your own meditation and in life. However, one thing is clear. No matter what your goal is with yoga, the measurements confirm that yoga and meditation have positive “side effects” - you become healthier and better able to live your daily life. q

Lasting effects

It can be concluded that the 3-Month Course had a favourable psychophysiological effect on the students - on their autonomous nervous system and brain. The balance in these two important systems was decisively improved. (All the results mentioned are statistically significant, which means that it is very unlikely that they can be ascribed to coincidences.)


Another way to ceIebrate Christmas
Håå Course Center has over the years provided many people with the opportunity to discover more about themselves - to gain perspective, insight and energy - Håå has become a spiritual power center, where we build bridge between the inner and the outer life. The special circumstances, which have been created around Håå, our experience and our teachings, help you, not just to imagine, but to experience that you are one with yourself and your life. Yoga, meditation, the practical tasks, the leisure-time activities, plus your motivation, make it possible to benefit from this unique transformation.

... or New Year, or to go on an inner voyage of discovery for 3 months, from Winter to Spring
10-14 days courses, Autumn and Winter 94/95: 13-23 October with Shanti and Anandananda; The Christmas Course 19 December -1 January with Swami Janakananda and Sita The New Year Course from 2-12 January with Franz Jervidalo & Vyasa. The 3-month Course, 24 January-22 April 1995, Swami Janakananda, Sita & others. Håå Course Center is
surrounded by forests and fields, with a lake nearby. The center has a number of buildings with single and double accommodation, two fine small dormitories, “pyramid” (see p. 9), sauna, common rooms and, most importantly two meditation halls. In addition there is horse riding, ecological farming and a fully operational printing room where Bindu is printed. Obtain the course brochure - it describes the courses thoroughly.q
“During the 33 days of silence, I realised that Swami Janakananda did not just want to teach me something, he wished to give me the opportunity to explore dimensions of my being that I hadn’t been aware of before.” (Morten Jon Jepsen)

Every winter about 35 people get together in Håå to take part in a process, which, beyond facts and philosophy, gives a profound personal experience. During the first five weeks, mind and body are trained with yoga and breathing exercises, visualisation, concentration, relaxation, meditation and different types of dancing and music. Your capacity to act is strengthened through Karma Yoga, where the released energy from the meditation hall is transformed in the practical tasks in the kitchen, on the field, in the forest or with the horses. During the free time you can ride, go skiing, skating or canoeing, float in the

The 3-month Course

“pyramid” (p. 9), do bio-feedback, go for a walk in the forest or paint and draw. The Kriya Yoga period is the peak of the course. A period where you discover what it means to go deep. Various meditation and yoga methods are used. For 33 days Kriya Yoga is developed under complete silence and without influence from the media and the outside world. The word awareness now acquires a whole new meaning, the need for sleep decreases considerably and it becomes more and more difficult to hold on to tensions and depressions. Dreams become clearer and throughout the day “new” memories appear in the

mind. Resolutions or ideas, which arise during this period, may, to a great extent, influence your life later on. During the last three weeks you start to gain perspective on what you have learnt, your relationship to Kriya Yoga takes root, and you learn to use its different variations. The course has now prepared you to appreciate Prana Vidya, a healing method with psychic energy, and you receive the last, advanced instructions in Tantric meditation. Certain effects are permanent, but the high level of the course is maintained, when, later on, you use some of what you have learnt.q


WeIcome to Alakh Bara
Namo Narayan is a mantra, which yogis, swamis and others use, when they greet disciples of another guru. A longer version is OM Namo Narayanaya. The mantra implies: I greet god in you. This custom expresses a tolerance which is unique to India - and very important for the preservation of a very special spiritual tradition. For the individual, this greeting means that superficiality is eliminated. It ensures that one does not, from fear of missing out on something, run from one teacher and method to the next, without ever confronting the whole of oneself. Here, in fact, it is permitted to surrender to one teaching and one teacher, when you are serious about selfrealisation. The use of Namo Narayan(a) is also important for society. You avoid sectarian and know-all “supporter-clubs” around the gurus. Sects very seldom arise in India with that negative interpretation known in the West. The concept, Namo Narayan, is fundamental in that part of Indian culture where yoga is kept alive. The mantra expresses that no matter where you come from, then I respect the path you have chosen. I greet you! You are my guest, as god is. I can exchange experiences with you on equal terms. When a well-known guru - whose teaching has substance also for the West, and who has been visited by many different people over the years, some

- by Swami Janakananda After five years of fire meditation, Swami Satyananda breaks the isolation and invites you to Satsang in India first I was just annoyed that my
bathing trunks slipped down and my hair was washed forward, covering my face so that I was unable to find my bearings. Then I realised that this was serious. After being knocked beneath the waves more times than I care to remember, I managed to fight my way ashore. Never as an adult have I been that short of breath. At the same time, I felt incredibly good, having fought my way out of the ocean. The experience gave me perspective on my life. I saw the twenty years I had taught yoga, and felt strongly inspired, in one way or another, to go on for another twenty years. Later, home in Sweden, I had a vision - no, a total experience - in my meditation. I am in a landscape that looks like the foothills of the Himalayas near Rishikesh. I have a feeling of just having left everything - students, administration, routines. I feel endlessly relieved. Now I am free, and can go wherever I want and completely devote myself to my Sadhana. Afterwards I wondered why this wonderful experience of freedom appeared just now, when I was so inspired to go on teaching!? A few weeks later Swami Pragyamurti from London told me that Swamiji had left the ashram and his role as a guru. At the time of my vision, he was residing near Rishikesh... In November 1993, I was invited to speak at a congress in Monghyr and therefore visited my teacher,

just to shop around, others to be touched and be trained and still others to receive help to live a life in concentration and meditation or to become able to fulfil the task which is that person’s calling - when such a guru suddenly one day greets his disciples with Namo Narayan, what has happened? Let me relate this in a personal way: The summer of 1988 I was in USA, among other things, to work on the new English edition of my book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life. For a time I lived on Long Island and, late one afternoon, I went for a swim with a couple of friends in the Atlantic. The waves were bigger than I had expected, and I was knocked over several times. At


Swami Satyananda. When I told him of my vision, he just said: “Yes, I thought you should know”. After some years of travelling around visiting holy places in India, Swamiji has, at his own wish, lived in relative isolation in his new ashram, AlakhBara. During the last five years he has, among other things, devoted himself to a unique

meditation between five fires. Every day, from 15 January till 15 July, from sunrise to sunset with four strong fires just next to him, the fifth being the sun. It is said that since Shankaracharya (see page 13f) nobody has practised this meditation. And now that the five years have passed, he wants to see everyone who accepts his invitation. After that he will carry on

- the first five years were just a rehearsal. Satsang means to be together with, to receive guidance, to listen, to get inspiration, or just to be - in company with a master. In the period between 18 November and 17 December, 1994, you can, together with many others, meet him daily from 12 to 2 pm. q

Swami Janakananda’s book in a revised and extended edition (Rider Books, UK and Weiser, USA)
This book offers an alternative to the way many books deal with yoga, wherein they maintain the misunderstanding that one must take on a new lifestyle to use yoga and meditation. Swami Janakananda does not only stress the practical side of yoga and meditation in this book, but shares the tantric wisdom and view, giving you the freedom to practise yoga and meditation entirely on your own terms. As you follow the exercises in this book, you will realise that yoga is based on a profound knowledge of human nature: a knowledge not limited to any age, lifestyle or nationality. It is the fruit of a living tradition, where knowledge is passed directly from teacher to student, from generation to generation. Step by step you are guided through the subject, and in a practical manner you can benefit from the different poses, breathing exercises, meditations and the tantric sexual yoga. “I have read many yoga books and tried to follow them, but they were not filled with much information. Your book tends to go more into detail about each asana, breathing exercise and meditation. Many of my friends didn’t understand yoga until I showed them your book and they found it very fascinating.” (C. Blackmore, Regina, Canada) “I recently obtained a copy of your book Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life. For a long time I have had a yearning to take up yoga, but have been put off by the narrow scholarly and religious approaches that often seemed apparent. Your approach, and the convenient inclusion of tantra and kundalini was so refreshing, and just what I had been looking for. I could thoroughly identify with everything you said; not only that, but I felt that the way in which you communicated your knowledge and beliefs was perfect.” (V. Williamsson, London, UK) “...I have had the book 6 months, since I took up yoga, and it has been wonderful. A book for life...” (M. Thompson, Dublin, Eire) “... congratulations on producing such a fine work on Yoga. It has really enriched my life and the lives of many of my friends and family, as it is the present I most often give for birthdays.” (D. Carr, Oakland, CA, USA)

Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life


Experience Yoga Nidra - A relaxation of extraordinary quality
Two deep relaxations, based on Swami Satyananda’s classic yoga nidra, created and guided by Swami Janakananda, who has also composed the background of nature sounds. Music by Roop Verma. Also released in German, Swedish and Danish. All you need is to lie down and follow the instructions on the tape - completely still and with closed eyes! As a background and introduction there is a 18 page booklet inserted in the tape box. “This tape is a hit, if you can talk about hits within relaxation.” (A. Thomson, therapist and New Age bookseller in UK) “The tape is one of the most inspiring I have heard for a long time. It is a multidimensional work of art of a nature that is rarely seen.” (M. Lammgård, musician and therapist, Växthuset Kaprifol, Sweden) “After a number of years of having a stressed life with a job that almost ruined my ability to live in the present, I’m now again happy to face each new day, not to unnecessarily worry myself about tomorrow. I have learnt to laugh again. I think it’s fantastic.” (E. Berg, Ludvika, Sweden) “Yoga Nidra is much more than a deep relaxation; it is a total experience that touches and awakens all parts of your being.” (Swami Janakananda)

The book: Yoga, Tantra and Meditation in Daily Life 175 Sw.Cr. + 30 Sw.Cr. postage. The CD: Experience Yoga Nidra 165 Sw.Cr. + 30 Sw.Cr. postage The tape: Experience Yoga Nidra 120 Sw.Cr. + 30 Sw.Cr. postage Nose cleansing pot with instruction brochure: Joghus, (right in picture) blue, red, yellow, green or black. 140 Sw.Cr.+30 Sw.Cr. postage. Krutis, (left in picture) blue, white or green, 170 Sw.Cr. + 30 Sw.Cr. postage. The brochure (free): about the retreats at Håå International Course Center. We can only accept payment in Swedish Crowns by Eurocheck, international money order or to our postal giro acc. 73 86 03 - 0 in Sweden. No personal checks please, they are too expensive to cash.


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Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda



Västmannag. 62, 113 25 Stockholm Købmagergade 65, 1150 Copenhagen Vestergade 45, 8000 Århus C Kongensgade 12 B, 3000 Elsinore Georgernes Verft 3, 5011 Bergen Skytterdalen 6, 1300 Sandvika Sukula, 30100 Forssa Egestorffstrasse 3, 30449 Hannover

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You are welcome to support us, so we can continue to distribute Bindu. Pay 45 Sw.Cr. for one issue or 80 Sw.Cr. for 2 issues + 30 Sw.Cr. postage (payment, see above). Further contributions are also welcome.

Publisher: Bindu, Håå Course Center, 340 13 Hamneda, Sweden. Tel. +46 372 55063. Fax. +46 372 55036. Postal Acc. 73 86 03 - 0 Circulation: 5.000. Printed and produced: Karma Yoga with various teachers from Håå Course Center. Pictures: page 2, 11, 12, 15 16 and the back page are from “Mithila”, an area in Bihar in India, where particularly the women decorate the walls of the houses. The pictures which we have printed in this periodical, however, are not superficial ornaments. They originate in the strong source of folk art, where also, in ancient times, the tantric yantras have their origin. Collectively, this art is called Madhubani after a town in the area. The picture on page 16 is called Shri Vijaya Pujan Yantram (awakening the victorious power); page 2, Shri Bhaum Pujan Yantram (for fertility, in folk art or spiritual power, in tantra); the back page, Shri Ganapateshavari Yantram (Ganesha Yantra). The pictures belong to Swami Janakananda. The picture on page 5 stems from the yoga tradition and is of unknown origin. The front page, p. 17 Birger Vilén-Petersen, p.7 Ambika, p.8 20 Robert Nilsson. Copyright © 1994 Bindu and Scandinavian Yoga and Meditation School.



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