The Breathless State


Karunesh speaks of his intense meditation experiences and also asserts that if something takes your breath away, not to worry.

Before I started my 5-year training with Osho in Poona in 1976, I was fortunate to undergo 3 years of training and discipline with a Yogi by the name of Mahindra that started in 1972. He trained me in the strictly Indian traditional ways of asanas, pranayamas, mudras and bandhas. He also trained me in mantras and most importantly, Kriya Meditation.

As I entered this yogic training, I noticed very positive changes arriving very quick, and by 1974 it was becoming clear that my life was approaching a revolution of changes that would make it impossible to return to the old life.

I spent hours every day with practice and training. When I was done with all the preliminary disciplines, I sat down and practiced Kriya Meditation.

It was during this practice of Kriya Meditation that I noticed that my breathing really seemed to slow down quite a bit and as this happened frequently, so I got used to it.

One day, however, seemed a particularly good day for Kriya Meditation. The breathing slowed down, things became rather still. After a while it seemed as if I did not feel the body much at all. It was then that I noticed that the breathing became slower and slower and especially the gap between the exhalation and the inhalation became bigger and bigger. This seemed somehow natural until I noticed that the breathing somehow wanted to stop and in fact ultimately did so for what seemed to be extended periods of time, perhaps a minute.

Kriya Meditation
Osho darshan hands


When I went to Poona, those types of experiences continued. However, my meditation efforts in Poona were greatly amplified. I generally meditated five to six hours a day during those 5 years, two hours every day in the direct presence of Osho. Those two hours with Him could easily lead to extremely unusual openings of Inner Space.

The Ashram in Poona was totally dedicated to intense meditation practice. Once a month a 10-day meditation camp was held. Then my days looked like this:

06:00 – 07:00 Dynamic Meditation

08:00 – 10:00 Discourse by Osho

10:30 – 12:00 Sufi Dancing

16:00 – 17:00 Nadabrahma Meditation

17:30 – 18:30 Kundalini Meditation

19:00 – 20:00 Gourishankar Meditation

20:30 – 22:00 Evening Music Group (great singing and dancing)

I generally have a difficult time to convey the incredibly powerful climate of the Ashram. It was a field of transformation of electrifying quality. One just had to step in for lift-off.

Therefore it was not surprising that in the middle of such a climate I went to sleep one night and discovered that while my body was sleeping, I was in a lucid state. In that state I saw a great white light descending from above into the body and as it touched the body, the breathing stopped and in fact, the heart also stopped. But, for some reason, the body did not die, it seemed as if it now was connected with a Source of Universal Vitality that did not require oxygen, not even a heartbeat.

Later on I talked to Osho about this and he said that as we go into profound meditation, such things will occur.

In fact in many yogic scriptures the term ‘Breathless State’ is commonly used as an indication for meditation shifting into Samadhi.

So, if something arrives in your life that takes your breath away, don’t worry. Be happy!

If you constantly bring your samyama to breathing,
to kurma-nadhi,
by and by you will come to a state
where you will see breathing has almost stopped.
Yogis do this meditation facing a mirror
because the breathing becomes so silent,
they cannot feel it. They can only see
whether there is some mist on the mirror
from their breathing or not.
Sometimes they have become so silent
that they cannot decide
whether they are still alive or not.
In deep meditation this experience will happen
to you also sometimes. Don’t be afraid.
Breathing almost stops.
When consciousness is perfect,
breathing almost stops, but don’t be worried.
That is not death; that is simply stillness.

Osho, Yoga: The Alpha and the Omega Vol 8, Ch 3 (excerpt)

Anand KaruneshAnand Karunesh (Andreas Mamet) took sannyas from Osho in his ashram in Poona. In 1981 he started giving workshops in Japan, USA and Germany. He moved to the US in 1982 and lived for over 20 years in Mount Shasta, CA. After shuttling between Paris and California for a few years, he made Paris his base in 2009. He teaches meditation and has a weekly radio show ‘Follow your joy’.

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