The Actual Inner Fire Yoga
The inner fire yoga involves six subjects, as follows: consuming the inner fire as nutriment; using it as clothing; using it as a resting place; riding it as a magic horse; directing it for liberation from hindering forces; and utilizing it to receive the most powerful initiations.
The most important of these is the first of the six: consuming the inner fire as nutriment. This refers to (i) the general and (ii) special- ized ways of working with the three main energy channels and four main pressure points.
The General Method
Sit in the six-point fire posture as before and meditate upon yourself as the Yogini. Just below your navel are four fires, one in each of the four directions, approximately the size of a bird’s egg. Breathe in air from the two nostrils and pull in lower air from below. Bring these together at the navel.
This causes the four fires to blaze forth fiercely with a reddish hue. Extremely hot, they fill one’s body with a reddish flame and give rise to the blissful inner fire. The airs from above and below are thus held together in this mystic kiss for as long as is comfortable. When they can no longer be held, they should be released gently through the nostrils.
Now visualize the central energy channel, called uma. It runs straight up the center of the body just in front of the spine. The thick- ness of a wheat straw, its upper terminal comes to the point between the eyebrows and its lower terminal to a point slightly below the navel. To its right is the energy channel called roma, and to its left is kyangma. These connect into the central channel at the bottom terminal.
At the top they run into the right and left nostrils. At the inside of the central channel where they meet at the base is a sun disc the size of half a chick pea. Upon the sun disc is a red letter RAM blazing with the flames of inner fire. It is the size of a mere barley seed.
Below the navel is a triangular dharmodaya. The wide base is on the top and its tip points downward. Inside the dharmodaya is an air mandala shaped like a bow and very vibrant. As before, one pulls in the airs from above and below. The airs move from below, causing the mystic fires to blaze forth from the letter RAM. Red in color and hot to the touch, they rush up the central energy channel, giving rise to the experience of blissful inner fire. As before, hold the airs at the navel for as long as is comfortable and then release them slowly through the nostrils.
Meditating upon the energy channels
One must know four subjects: Body, time, object, and energy.
As said here, in order to engage in the practice one must first understand these four points.
The time for the meditation is at dawn, when the mind is clear, or in the evening, when bodily heat is strong. Otherwise, if this does not agree with one’s metabolism, it is acceptable to meditate whenever one feels inspired to do so.
The physical posture is as follows. Sit with legs crossed, back straight, neck inclined slightly forward, tongue against the palate, eyes toward the tip of the nose, teeth and lips held as feels natural and
relaxed, hands in the meditation gesture just below the navel, body supported by a meditation band, and so forth.
As for the breath, exhale all negative air. Avoid breathing either too deeply or shallowly by simply letting the breath flow in a relaxed manner.
The visualization then proceeds as follows. Envisioning oneself as Heruka with Consort, concentrate on the energy channels. As before, the central channel runs up the center of the body just in front of the spine, with roma to its right and kyangma to its left. Each of these three channels is approximately the thickness of a wheat straw. They connect below as explained earlier.
The four pressure points are visualized in the following manner. At the navel is the wheel of emanation, shaped like a triangular San- skrit letter EH. It has sixty-four petals, is red in color, and opens upward. At the heart is the wheel of truth, with eight petals, shaped round like the Sanskrit letter VAM, white in color, opening down- ward. At the throat is the wheel of enjoyment, with sixteen petals, red in color, also shaped like the round Sanskrit letter VAM, its face open- ing upward. Finally, at one’s crown is the wheel of great bliss, shaped like a triangular Sanskrit EH, multicolored, having thirty-two petals, its mouth opening downward. Meditate in this way. One visualizes the upper chakras only for a moment, and then shifts concentration below the heart (i.e., at the navel) for as long as possible, dedicating the main part of the session to this latter concentration.
In this one should recollect the advice of Mahasiddha Ivawapa: to maintain radiance and clarity in the visualization of the pressure points.
Secondly, meditating upon the mantric syllables
As in (the first technique above for) the meditation upon the inner fire, one visualizes the three energy channels and four pressure points. One then arranges the mantric syllables within these. The process is
explained in both The Tantra of Two Forms and The Samphuta Tantra, and is further elucidated in the writings of various mahasiddhas such as those of Krishnacharya.
There are both elaborate and condensed methods of performing the meditation. In the elaborate method one visualizes mantric syl- lables at the center of each of the pressure points as well as on each of the petals. This is explained in the oral tradition. In the condensed method the syllables are visualized only on the pressure points them- selves. This is described in The Explanatory Tantra1 and has also been recommended by many of the mahasiddhas. I shall explain the latter tradition.
How does the meditation proceed? One visualizes that at the cen- ter of the chakra at the navel, at the middle of the central energy chan- nel, is a sun disc the size of half a chick pea. Upon this is the Sanskrit letter AH, red in color, its head pointing upward. In nature it is the inner fire, emanates forth bright light, and is the size of a mustard seed. Above it is a half-moon the size of a wheat kernel. Above this is a mystic drop and a tiny zig-zag flame.
At the center of the heart chakra at the middle of the central channel is a moon disc, a blue letter HUM upon it, its head pointing downward.
At the center of the throat chakra at the middle of the central chan- nel is a moon disc, a white letter HAM upon it, its head pointing downward. White bodhi-mind substances fall from it like snow.
Each of these syllables is the size of a mustard seed, is exceedingly bright, and is crowned by a half-moon and a zig-zag of flame.
As well, at each of the chakras the side channels wrap themselves around the central channel and in this way form knots that obstruct the free flow of the vital energies from the side channels into the central one. The meditation upon the mantric syllables aims at opening these passages. One holds this visualization, identifying one’s mind with the letter AH at the navel. Here it should be pointed out that the inner fire is both the foundation and central pillar of the path, and
that the ultimate place of residence of the inner fire is the pressure point at the navel. Therefore, it is important to concentrate single- pointedly on the syllable AH at the navel and thus stimulate the inner fire and cause it to ignite.
The way to hold the visualization is to see the visualized mystic drop and one’s own mind as entering into a unity. When this is done well, the visualized drop and the visualizing mind no longer appear as sep- arate entities. By means of blending the two and causing them to become inseparable, one gains especially subtle tantric pride. More- over, the syllables should be visualized as being as small as possible. The smaller they are, the more easy it becomes to control the vital energies. These letters are seen as being bright and in the nature of light, for this causes mental torpor to be cut off. Also, meditating on the half-moon and zig-zag of flame and on the bodhi-mind substance falling like snow, it becomes very easy to give rise to tantric bliss.