What are the stages of Pranayama ?

The Siva Samhita discusses the four stages (avast ha) of pranayama in third chapter these are
a) Commencement (arambha)
Intent endeavour (ghata)
Intimate knowledge (parichaya)
Consummation (nispatti)

In the commencement(arambha) stage , the Sadhaka’s interest in pranayama is awakened. In the beginning he is nasty & by reason his exertion & the speed with which he wants result, his body trembles & he perspires. When by perseverance he continues his practice , the tremor & perspiration cease & the Sadhaka reaches the second stage of Intent endeavour(ghata).

Ghata means a water pot. The body is compared to pot. Like an unbaked earthen pot , the physical body wears away. Bake it hard in the fire of pranayama to gain stability. In this stage the five Kosas & five Sari res are integrated. After this integration the Sadhaka reaches Intimate knowledge(parchaya avast ha) stage.

Parichaya avast ha , where he obtains intimate knowledge of pranayama practices & of himself. By this knowledge he controls his qualities(gun as) & realizes the causes of his Karma's. From the third stage the Sadhaka goes fourth towards Consummations (nispatti avast ha) stage.

Nispatti avastha , the final stage of consummation. His efforts have ripened , the seeds of Karma are burnt out. He has crossed the barriers of & is ememcipated(mukta) during his life time (jivana) by the knowledge of supreme spirit. He has experienced the stage of Ecstasy (ananda).


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