The Meditation Techniques of 'Knowledge'
Can Maharaji or anyone claim he owns them?
The Indian Background Index

See also: The Knowledge Session , Attend a Knowledge Session and Bibliography.

"I have tried to study the origin of the techniques from various scriptures and historical data.
As far as I have been able to find out, the 'Nectar' technique is attributed to a hatha-yogi named Goraknath at ca. the 9th century. He is supposed to have invented it. The breath ('Holy Name') has a medieval yoga-upanishad devoted only to it (the 'Hamsa-upanishad'). All four techniques (among lots of others) are described in detail in practically all medieval (12th century onwards) yoga texts such as Gheranda Samhita, Hatha-Yoga Pradipika, Shiva Samhita, and Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad. The techniques are not described in, for instance, Patanjali's Yoga-sutras (from around 200 AD). There was a Patanjali living also around 500 BC, but scholars are pretty sure that around 200 AD is correct.
Definitely, these techniques are not 'ancient', but invented during the middle ages. And all are well-known in yoga circles. As far as I have been able to find out, the combination of 4 techniques stems from Hans Ji and the 60s - i.e. before M, but not long before him. Anyway, the 4-T package was definitely compiled AFTER Hans Ji was not selected as his own Radhasoami guru Sarupanand's successor, and decided to go on his own instead. Three of the techniques Hans Ji probably learned from Sarupanand, since they are in common use within the Radhasoamis, the fourth ('nectar') he probably picked up from some hatha-yoga teacher, exact source unknown.
This, I think, is a fair guess."
(Anonymous ex-premie post on the Forum)

"You must vow never to reveal these techniques to anyone under any circumstances"
(Maharaji during the Knowledge sessions)

Can Maharaji, or any 'master' or 'guru', really claim he owns them?


First Technique, The Light : As explained in the Indian Scriptures.
Second Technique, The Sound, Inner Music, Harmony : As explained in Hinduism, and taught in Radhasoami.
Third Technique, Holy Name, The Word, etc : As explained by Donna Farhi in 'The Breathing Book', and in Hinduism.
Fourth Technique, The Nectar : As explained in the Indian Scriptures.
Yoni Mudra : The most important one according to the Scriptures, and not taught by Maharaji.

 The Light is described in Gherand Samhita, section on Mudras, as Shambhavi Mudra, stanza 59:

'Direct your eyes toward the middle of the eyebrows and meditate upon your own self. It is Shambhavi Mudra, the most secret practice of all the Tantra scriptures.'

In the tantric scripture Sochanda Tantra, stanza 13, is said:

'Touching eyeballs as a feather, lightness between them opens into the heart and there permeates the cosmos.'

The Sound technique is referred to as Bhramari Kumbhak. The Sound is referred to as Nada. The practice is therefore also called Nada Yoga. Quote from Gherand Samhita and its praises of the Sound technique, in the section on Pranayama, stanzas 77-81:

'At midnight when not a single sound is heard, close your ears with both hands and do Purak Pranayama. Listen to the sounds in your right ear which are very pleasant. The first sound that you will hear is of a pine bird, the second of a flute, third of a cloud, fourth of a dragon bee, the fifth of a ringing bell and then of a gong of metal. Sounds of trumpet, drum etc. are also heard. Besides these, many other sounds are heard if it is practiced daily. These sounds are Anahata (unproduced) and come on their own accord. Nada is related to light. Light is related to mind, so mind gets itself merged in a sound which is the seat of the Lord. Therefore, practice of Bhramari gives Siddhi of Samadhi (i.e., makes Samadhi possible).
Mind gets eightfold more pleasure in the act of meditation than Japa (repeating God's name), eightfold more interest in Tapas (penance) than the meditation, and eightfold more interest in music or sound than the Tapas. There is nothing greater than music.'

This technique is well-known, and a favorite among the Radhasoamis. In order to keep the hands in position for an extended period of time, a beragon is suggested, like the one Shiva usually is pictured with. In Yogananda's Self-Realization Fellowship, beragons are used. In Northern India, they are well-known tools in all yoga schools. In the beginning of DLM's history in the West, beragons were also used.


The 'Holy Word', in the classic yoga literature, is referred to as Kewali Kumbhak. The Word is often referred to as Shabda Brahman, or God in the form of word/sound. This name, in its Hindi form (Shabd Brahm), is used among M's followers in India nowadays.

Quote, from Gherand Samhita, section on Pranayama (breathing exercises), stanza 84:

'With every exhalation the soul recites 'Ham' and with every inhalation it recites 'So'. Thus every soul counts the mantra of Soham (So plus Ham) twenty-one thousand and six-hundred times every day and night.'

A commentary to the text, by Parivrajika Ma Yogashakti, says:

'It is most easy and yet most powerful of all pranayamas. Although this technique is grouped under pranayamas in fact it is a very powerful spiritual practice known to man. Kewali Kumbhak is very simple yet most dynamic. /-/ Kewali Kumbhak makes one aware of one's existence every minute.'

Other variations suggest just focusing on the breath, not the Soham (or, Hansa, or Hamsa: meaning both 'swan' and 'soul'; also the sound of one's own breath - accordingly, the name of Maharaji's father, Sri HANS Ji Maharaj). For instance, in Sochanda Tantra, stanza #2, it says:

'As breath turns from down to up, and again as breath curves from up to down, through both these turns, the realization.'


'Hamsa or the method popularly known as Baby Pranayama is the easiest and safest method [of meditation] of all. /...../

Hamsa literally means swan--the beautiful white birds that swim in silent lakes. In Hinduism, the swan also symbolizes purity and tranquility. In this method, one indirectly chants the Mantra 'Sah-Aham', meaning 'He is I'. It is also worth noticing that when a man inhales he makes the noise 'Ham' or 'Aham'. When a man exhales he makes the noise 'Sa' or 'Sah'.

Now coming back to the main point, the Hamsa method is the method of watching the incoming and outgoing breaths (inhalation and exhalation) without interfering with the rhythm of the breathing. The method is very simple. You may sit or stand or lie down in whatever position you like. You can do it at any time of the day or night. You can do it at any place. You can do it for as long as you like. Prior to following this method, if it helps, then you may do deep breathing exercises to induce 'rhythmic breathing' in your system for five to ten minutes.

Now let me elaborate on the actual Hamsa method: Just watch your inhalation and exhalation without interfering with the process of breathing, without even trying to control chest or nostril movements. Do not even try to change the rhythm of the breathing.

Excerpts from Ed Viswanathan (1999): Am I a Hindu? The Hinduism Primer. New Delhi: Rupa & Co. pp. 187- 188. (also published by Halo Books, San Francisco, 1992)

Mindfulness Practice (by Donna Farhi)

Sit in any position you find comfortable. Lying down is usually not a good idea as your level of attentiveness is much diminished when you are supine. Close your eyes and let the weight of your buttocks settle into the cushion or chair. Notice if you are leaning forward anticipating the next moment, or if you are leaning back reclining into the past. Center the weight on your sitting bones so that you organize yourself to be present in the moment. Allow the contents of your belly to relax and begin to bring your awareness to your breathing. It's this simple. Notice your breathing coming and going. Notice when the breath enters you and when it leaves you. Also, pay attention to the pauses between the inhalation and the exhalation. As you sense and feel your breathing, thoughts, feelings and sensations will inevitably arise. This mental activity is not a sign of failure. Note the feelings and sensations that arise in your body and heart. Detect sadness, excitement, or boredom. Be aware of the sensations arising in your body. You may feel certain areas become tense or heavy, you may notice your stomach gurgle or your heart beating. Simply note all this without analysing, judging, correcting, or solving.... Can you let your breathing just be what it is? Without making it bigger, better, or different can you simply let the breath breathe you? How much can you disengage from effort and let the breath enter and leave on its own accord? Don't get caught up in a struggle with your mind. All thoughts, feelings, and sensations change. Simply allow yourself to be a sky for these drifting thoughts, returning over and over again to the steady rhythm of your breathing.

('The Breathing Book' by Donna Farhi - From page 185)

The so called Nectar technique is really named Khechari Mudra. It is mentioned in the section on Mudras (all Mudras being so called Kundalini-awakening techniques), in Stanzas #s 23-27 of the Gherand Samhita. It is there suggested that, in order to succeed with getting the tongue in the correct position, one should cut under the nerve of the tongue. Quote from (Gherand Samhita, Section on Mudras, stanzas 23-27):

'Cut under the nerve of the tongue and move it frequently. Massage it daily like the process of milking with the help of butter. Also pull it daily with an iron-tongue. Practice it daily for a long time till the tongue is elongated to such an extent that it touches the middle of the eyebrows, and becomes fit for Khechari. Then turn the and make it pass through the upper cavity of the palate slowly. Now gaze at the middle of the eyebrows. This is Khechari Mudra.

One who practices Khechari does not suffer from hunger, thirst, tiredness or languor. Neither illness nor death nor decay come near to him and his body becomes divine. Fire cannot burn, wind cannot dry, water cannot wet and snake can never bite the man practicing Khechari Mudra.'

The following description on how to practice Khechari Mudra is from Hatha-Yoga Pradipika. It is very similar. Quote, from Chapter 3, stanzas 32-37:

'Khechari Mudra is turning the tongue backwards into the cavity of the cranium and turning the eyes inwards toward the eyebrow center. The tongue should be exercised and milked and the underneath part cut in small degrees. Indeed khechari is perfected when the tongue touches the eyebrow center.

With a clean thin blade, gently cut away the membrane under the tongue. Cut it by a fine hair's breadth each time. Then rub in a mixture of powdered rock salt and turmeric. After seven days, again cut a hair's breadth. One should do this regularly for six months, then the membrane at the root of the tongue will be completely severed. Having turned the tongue back, the three channels of ida, pingala and sushumna are controlled. This is khechari mudra and it is called the center of ether.'

Hatha-yoga Pradipika then goes on praising the benefits of this practice. It is worth noticing the most people CANNOT accomplish Khechari Mudra without cutting underneath the tongue. This was never told in the Knowledge sessions. Many are able to do this mudra without cutting, but most people can't. If you can't get the tongue into the cavity, there is no point in doing the mudra.

NOTE: We don't advise your here IN ANY WAY, to try to practice this mudra, nor do we advise you to cut away the membrane under the tongue!

Finally, in a practice called Yoni Mudra, all techniques are practiced simultaneously. Quote, from Gherand Samhita, section on Mudras, stanzas 32-33:

'Sit in Siddhasana (lotus position). Close ears, eyes, nose and mouth with thumbs, forefingers middle fingers, ring fingers and others. Inhale Prana (air) and unite it with Apana (i.e. already inhaled air) with the lower region, and meditate on the six chakras one by one. Exhale the air with 'Hum' and 'Hamsa' sound. This is the way in which the learned and wise Munis meditate.'

For this practice, a beragon is usually required.

Paravrajita Ma Yogashakti, in her commentary, says that, I quote: 'Yoni Mudra is the most important and secret of all practices. Although all the secret practices of yoga are mentioned in the yogic literature, people do not pay heed to them.'

How great value is attached to this practice is explained in stanzas 37-38 (these are quite funny):

'Yoni Mudra is the most secret and is unapproachable even to Devas. It is advantageous even if it is practiced only once a day. Samadhi is attained by him who practices and masters it well.

Sin does not stain him who practices Yoni Mudra, even if he be a murderer of a Brahmin, destroyer of a baby in a womb, intoxicator or has indulged with his Guru's wife.' 

See also: The Knowledge Session , Attend a Knowledge Session and Bibliography.

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