Jnaneshwari (Bhavartha Dipika)

by Ramchandra Keshav Bhagwat | 1954 | 284,137 words | ISBN-10: 8185208123 | ISBN-13: 9788185208121

This is verse 6.14 of the Jnaneshwari (Bhavartha-Dipika), the English translation of 13th-century Marathi commentary on the Bhagavad-Gita.—The Dnyaneshwari (Jnaneshwari) brings to light the deeper meaning of the Gita which represents the essence of the Vedic Religion. This is verse 14 of the chapter called Dhyana-yoga.

Verse 6.14:With the self serene, freed of fear, constant in the Vedic-student’s rule-of-life, restraining the mind, one should practise Yogic-discipline entering all thoughts upon Me, (conceived as) the Highest Goal; (212)

Commentary called Jnaneshwari by Jnaneshwar:

Thus mind’s fancy is brought to rest, the active propensities are brought home to peace, while the mind becomes automatically stilled in a rhythm, and insensible to the body’s actions. There remains no feeling of the pang of hunger, or of sleep etc. The lifebreath named “Apana” which is shut up by the ‘Mulabandha’ posture, turns back and being pressed, gets accumulated and swollen. It then gets all excited and becomes uncontrolled and begins to make a grumbling noise where shut up, and begins to struggle with the wheel called “Manipura” inside the navel. When the storm gets lulled down, it (wind) stirs up the entire house in the form of the body and expels from the body the entire filth that had got accumulated therein since childhood.

Owing to the impossibility of its being confined in the (limited) space of the stomach, it escapes from it and enters into and spreads all over the (interior of) the abdomen (koṭhā), defeating completely the asthmatic and bilious tendencies. It then overturns the oceans of “Saptadhatus” (the seven elementary substances of the body) and reduces to dust, the mountains in the form of ‘Meda’ (fat) and drives out the marrow from the cavities of the bones. It then clears the arteries and similarly lulls the senses, frightening the novices in the study of Yoga, although there is nothing to fear. Even though it creates malady, it soon removes it. It mixes together the fluids formed from cough and bile, as also the element of earth in the form of flesh, and marrow from the bones etc. Meanwhile, on account of the heat created in the body, by the Yogic posture, the power known as the “Kundalini” gets awakened. Just as a young (female) cobra (as if) bathed in the red kunkum (powder prepared from turmeric and coloured red with lemon juice etc.) should coil itself asleep, in the same way, the power “Kundalini” abides in sleeping condition with her face down-wards, in three coils and a half, like a female cobra. She abides tied up with string bonds in a socket in navel region, appearing (brilliant) like a ring of lightning or like a roll of fire-flames or like a bar of finely polished gold.

She (Kundalini) gets awakened getting pinched on account of the posture called “Vajrasana”. The “Kundalini” uncoils herself, shakes off her lethargy, and stands erect in the navel, as if she was a bright star getting dislodged from its place and shooting down, or as if the very seat of the Sun should get snapped, or as if the very seed of brilliance should germinate and blossom forth (in the form of sparks). Being naturally hungry for days together, and over and above that, getting squeezed in and irritated, she wrathfully opens out her mouth and stands erect with the open mouth upturned. Just then the life breath “Apana” which has by then reached the regions of the heart, falls a prey to “Kundalini”, and get gulped up and swallowed all round in the flames of fire emanating from “Kundalini’s” mouth.

The “Kundalini” then starts devouring lumps of flesh torn off from the fleshy parts, and finally swallows a couple of morsels of flesh, even from the region of the heart. She then reaches the palms and soles, tears open their upper parts and goes on searching joint after joint and other parts of the body. She does not leave off the lower portions. It sucks the vitality from the nails, and twists the skin and finally reaches the bones. She scrapes out the cavity of bones and carves out the (interior of) the veins and arteries, with the result that the external growth of the hair-roots gets withered.

The “Kundalini” being very thirsty, drinks in a single gulp, all the seven elementary substances in the body called “Saptadhatu,” creating a draught resulting from the dryness of the body. The breath passing out over a length of dozen inches through the nostrils is restrained and forced back inside. Thus the life-breath “Apana” rising up from the lower region and another (named “Prana”) getting forced down are both pressed on (in the opposite directions), making them meet (in the middle), but are obstructed (in their meeting) by the intervening connecting chains of the wheels in the body[1]. They could otherwise easily meet together but the “Kundalini” getting displeased remarks that the (life-breaths) are the only ones yet left out. “Kundalini” in fact consumes completely the element of earth in the body and then consumes similarly the fluids in the body. Consuming in this way both the kinds of elements in the body, she gets fully satisfied and then feeling a bit content rests near “Sushumna” (suṣumnā)[2].

Feeling satisfied and contented she vomits out water rising in the mouth, but that very water turns itself into nectar and saves the life-wind “Prana”. The life-wind emerges out of the fire of the vomit and creates a cooling sensation in the body internally as also externally. With this, it begins to recoup the lost strength in the different parts of the body. But the pulsation being stopped, all the nine winds moving in the body disappear, leaving only one life-wind, causing the stoppage of all the functions of the body. Then the air passages named “Ida” and “Pingala” running through the left and right nostrils meet together, while the three knots get loosened and the connecting links between the six wheels get snapped. Then the wind running through the passages of the nostrils, which are likened to the Sun and the Moon, gets calmed down, to such an extent, that it cannot cause to flicker even the flame of a lighted lamp.

The activities of the intellect cease altogether while the smelling (inhaling) power left in nostrils gets extinguished in the power “Kundalini,” which then enters into the central air passage called “Sushumna.” Just then, the lake filled with the nectar of the seventeenth phase of the Moon, located in the upper region of the body, slowly gets turned on one side, meets the power “Kundalini” and pours into her mouth the nectar. This fluid running through the “Kundalini” vein spreads throughout the body and gets absorbed wherever she spreads out along with the lifewind. Just as tallow gets completely reduced to ashes in a heated mould, leaving the mould with the melted metal alone, in that way, there emerges (out) the seventeenth phase of the moon, namely nectar in the form of the body, with only the skin covering it all around.

The Sun gets screened by cloud, but with the removal of the screen he resumes the brilliance; in the same way, the skin is only a dry covering over the brilliant form of the seventeeth phase, and that skin too gets dusted out like chaff. Then the brilliance of the lustre of the different parts of body, begins to shine out like the form of the pure, spotless crystal or the blossom of the germinated jewel seed; or it appears as if, the body is made out of the colour of the sky at sunset or as if it is a spotless image of the brilliance of the internal sentience; or as if the body is filled with red powder of turmeric called “Kumkum”; or is a statue of molten sentience; (or) I think the body is an incarnation of tranquillity, or it is a colourful piece of the work in the picture of joy, or the form of the self-bliss, or the young plant of the tree of contentment getting strengthened, or a bud of golden tree (named) “Champaka”, (or of a neck-ornament called “Champak”), or an idol of nectar, or a fruit-bearing garden of tenderness, or as if the Moon has blossomed forth through the moisture of the winter season, or the very brilliance incarnate seated on a seat.

The body gets full of brilliance in this way, when the “Kundalani” drinks the nectar of the seventeenth phase of the Moon and then even the God of Destruction feels afraid of such a body. Both the states of old age and of youth disappear and childhood is born in their place. If judged, only from the point of age, one appears a child, but the reservoir of physical strength is so unique that the word ‘Bāla’ (a child) will have to be interpreted as “Bala” (strength). Just as the foliage of the golden tree issues forth a bud of jewel, ever fresh and unfading, in that way new shining nails begin to sprout (out). New teeth also come out; they are very small in size and form a double row of diamonds set in both the jaws. The entire body gets spread over with bristles, appearing like particles of gems called “Manik” (ruby). The soles of the feet as also both the palms get reddish like lotuses; who would describe the brilliance of the eye washed in this “Yoga” practice? Just as pearls getting fully developed cannot be contained in the oyster shell and the joints of the two parts of the shell burst out open, in the same way, the vision not getting fully contained in the two eye-lids, tries vigorously to get out, and although apparently half shut, in that state even, it embraces the entire atmosphere.

Remember, the body of the “Yogin” possesses the splendour of gold, yet its weight is (light) like the wind, since it has not got the massiveness of earth-element, or the liquidity of water in it. Then he (“Yogin”) can see (things) beyond the seas and can hear sounds from the very heavens, and can read the mind even of an ant. He then rides the horse, in the form of the wind, and walks on the surface of water, without getting his feet wet and in this way attains great many powers (siddhi). Do hear more: taking the supporting hand of the life-wind, and making the base region of the heart as a step, the power “Kundalini” scales the ladder of the middle air passage called “Sushumna”, and reaches the heart.

That Goddess “Kundalini” is verily like the very mother of the universe, as also the grandeur of the Supreme Majesty of Soul, and the (protecting) shade for the blossom of sproutling “Om”. She is the very seat of the ‘Profundum’ Great Naught (śūnya—void), the casket image of the God Shiva, and the very birth-place of “Om-kar”. When the delicate minded “Kundalini,” as described above, reaches the interior of the heart, there arises the sound of the wheel named “Anahat”, which is in the heart. The spiritual sentience too is linked up with “Kundalini” and is active, and it partially hears that uncreated sound. There are ten kinds of sounds heard through the “Yogic” postures, the first of which is called “Para” (parā), and which is of the nature of “Ghosha” (low roar of the ocean or the rumbling of the low thunder), emanates from the “Anahata” wheel and is heard first. In the basin (kuṇḍī) of this sound, begin to get impressed the forms of different stages of low whispering, sketched on the pattern of the sacred ‘Om’.

All this must (of course) be known by mere imagination; but how an imaginative person is to know it? In fact, it cannot be known what the sounds that arise are made of. But I forgot, O Arjuna, one thing altogether. So long as the lifewind called “Prana” has not ceased to exist, there is to be a sound in the heart region and this keeps on rumbling. When the entire heart region, gets filled up with this rumbling of the low thunder of the “Anahata” wheel, the window in the form of “Brahmarandhra” (the aperture supposed to be at the crown of the head through which the soul takes its flight on death) gets opened. O Arjuna, there is another greater void of space above the heart cavity which is called “Brahmarandhra”, in which abides the sentience without any substratum. The Goddess “Kundalini” on entering that greater void of space gives the sentience food in the form of her splendour.

There then remains not a trace of otherness with the completion of the offering of the pure food along with the cooked food in the form of intellect. There then, the “Kundalini” parts with all her brilliance and assumes the form of life-wind called “Prana”. And how does she look now? (She looks) as if she is cast in the image of the life-breath clad in a yellow coloured cloth of gold, but just discarding it and getting exposed, or as a lamp-flame getting extinguished by a breeze of wind, or as a lightning just flashing in the sky and then disappearing. In that way the “Kundalini,” appearing like the golden neck-ornament called “Sari” (sarī) or like a flowing spring of water in the form of light on the lotus of the heart, gets soaked up in the cavity of the heart and then power merges into power. Even in this state she ought to be called a power, but she abides only as the life-wind named “Prana”, the sound, the brilliance, and the splendour in her, all ceasing to be perceptible.

There then remains nothing like conquering the mind, or shutting up the wind, or any reliance on meditation. There also remains nothing like fancies or ideas. This state should, in reality, be regarded as a mould for melting all the five gross elements. Absorption of the body by the body through the way—“Yoga” discipline, is the secret path of the “Nath”-sect. But the Great God Vishnu (Lord Krishna) has just intimated it here. And with such a worthy band of customers in the form of hearers, I unfold the real significance, unpacking the bundle of the implications of Lord Krishna’s directions.

Footnotes and references:


These wheels or Chakras (also named “Padmas”—lotuses) are supposed to be plexuses formed by nerves and ganglia at different places of the body. They rise one above another along the middle of the body and are linked together. Their names and places are as under:- (1) “Adhara” (ādhāra) at the anus. (2) “Adhishthana” (adhiṣṭhāna) between the navel and the penis. (3) “Manipura” (maṇipura) at the navel. (4) “Anahata” at the heart. (5) “Vishuddha” (viśuddha) in the throat, and (6) “Agni” between the eyebrows. These are supposed to be located behind the stomach etc. i.e. along the front of the spinal chord from the head downwards. These six wheels find no place in the modem science of bodily structure, but it might not be altogether incorrect to give their place to the six plexuses in modem science as suggested by some writers.


Sushumna (suṣumnā) the air passage of breath or air in the human body between two others named “Ida” and “Pingala”. In the anatomy of the Yoga school are particularised three great passages of the breath or air running from oscoccygis (os coccygis) to the head. Of these, Ida is the passage on the right side proceeding through (or springing from) the “Nabhi-chakra” or umbilical region and through the nose, and “Pingala”, that on the left; “Sushumna” ascends between the two, entering into the middle of the head (iḍā piṅgalā vāhatī vogha donhī).

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