The Valley of Meditation

Swami Nirvikalpananda Saraswati, Sweden

Once there was a small community of people living near a valley which was called the valley of Meditation. It would have been such a beautiful valley if the lakes and rivers in the area had not dried up. At the top of the valley where the community was situated, there was an empty lake called the lake of Sahasrara. The people living around the lake were very poor and miserable as they were bitterly struggling against poverty and starvation.

Within the community there were many glorious tales about the golden age when water had been flowing along the now parched river called Sushumna. Sushumna led to lake Sahasrara and when its waters had filled Sahasrara, the harvest in the valley had been rich and the people were very joyful and healthy. There were also legends about an exquisitely beautiful and mysterious flower, Samadhi, which had blossomed all over the valley when the soil had been irrigated and fertile.

Living in one of the poorest and most squalid cottages around the waterless lake was a small boy who had listened eagerly to all the stories about the golden age of the valley. With a resolve to make the valley of Meditation as happy and as beautiful as it had been in the past, he decided to visit Indra, the king of gods, and ask him to fill the river of Sushumna with water. So the little boy undertook a long and arduous journey to the abode of Indra.

Finding Indra alone in his garden, the boy immediately explained the purpose of his visit and requested him to fill Sushumna with water so that the people of his community could again live in prosperity.

When the boy finished, Indra replied, 'Unfortunately, to fill the river of Sushumna is not an easy task; it cannot be filled with normal rain water. Sushumna will only flow when two other rivers are flowing equally. These two rivers, Ida and Pingala, flow mostly under the ground, crossing Sushumna at certain points. Ida is a very cold river and Pingala is almost boiling at some places. They don't flow all the way to Sahasrara as Sushumna does; they stop at a lake called Ajna, which is also dry now. I agree with you, it is a pity that the valley of Meditation has become so miserable and the people are deprived of the magnificent Samadhi flowers.'

Indra thought silently for some time then continued. 'There is one thing we can do. It is the wind who decides where my rain will fall. If you can tame the wind, you can make it regulate the flow of water in Ida and Pingala. I will give you a flute and teach you to play the magic melodies of Pranayama. The wind cannot resist these melodies; it will equalise the rainfall in Ida and Pingala, and the water will start coursing through Sushumna to the lake of Sahasrara.

Indra gave the boy a flute and taught him to play the melodies of Pranayama. When the boy had mastered the melodies the wind heard them and came rushing to the boy to hear more. Thus the boy tamed the wind and got it to make the water flow equally in Pingala. When this occurred, water flowed forth into Sushumna and all the lakes from Mooladhara to Sahasrara were abundantly filled with pure, crystal clear water which soon made the valley of Meditation very fertile. The valley came to fife and proved to be just as joyful and beautiful as it had been before. Once again the flowers of Samadhi sprung up all over the valley and their beauty was so splendid that even the gods rejoiced in it.

Thus the techniques of pranayama have been passed on to our generation in order that aspirants can trigger the flow of prana in Sushumna nadi so that meditation and samadhi can arise.