By Swami Harshananda
Yogacudāmam Upaniṣad is one of the twenty minor Upaniṣads classed under Yoga Upaniṣads. It belongs to the Sāmaveda. There are 121 ślokas occasionally interspersed with prose passages. There is one commentary by Upaniṣad Brahmendra who has written vivaraṇas or explanations on 108 Upaniṣads.
Content of Yogacudāmam Upaniṣad
The topics delineated in this Upaniṣad are as below:
- The work opens with listing six yogāṅgas or limbs of yoga. They are:
- Āsana - posture
- Prāṇasarirodha - prāṇāyāma or breath-control
- Pratyāhāra - withdrawal of senses
- Dhāraṇā - fixing the mind on the object of concentration
- Dhyāna - meditation
- Samādhi - perfect concentration resulting in superconscious experience
- This is followed by a description of the six cakras or psychic centers in the body. They are:
- Mulādhāra - It is at the root of the spinal column
- Svādhiṣṭhāna - It is at the root of the sexual organ
- Manipura - It is on the navel
- Anāhata - It is at the level of the heart
- Viśuddha - It is at the level of the throat
- Ājñā - between the eyebrows
- Then a brief exposition of the five major prāṇas like prāṇa and apāna, and the five minor prāṇas (called upaprāṇas) like nāga, kurma and so on is given.
- The jīva moves about because of their activity.
- Then ajapāgāyatrī is explained. It is the repetition of the mantra hamsah so’harh coupled with breathing.
- A description of rousing the Kuṇdalinī and making it move up the suṣumnā canal is given.
- Regimen of food for a yogi is also mentioned.
- Delineation of bandhas or mudrās. They are:
- A long passage in prose gives a description of Brahman the Absolute and the process of creation is explained as the next subject.
- Praṇava or Orh is its symbol.
- The three parts of Praṇava and what they signify is expounded next. They are:
- Praṇavajapa or repetition of Orh with meditation on the light of the ātman is also covered.
- The other topics discussed towards the end are:
- Certain aspects of prāṇāyāma
- Results of a few yogic practices
- Special mudrā or posture called ṣaṇmukhī-mudrā
- Jīva means bound soul.
- The Concise Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Swami Harshananda, Ram Krishna Math, Bangalore