We all have heard the stories in which the character depicts exceptional abilities such as psychic powers, herculean strength etc which are beyond the limits of normal human. Such stories ever left us wondering about the possibilities and existence these powers in real life. Our pursuit to overcome the human limitations either naturally or artificially has come a long way. Similarly Trataka is a shatkarma that has been often associated with gaining control over mind and earning abilities like hypnotism and telepathy. It has effects on anjana chakra which helps in kundalini shakti jagaran (kundalini shakti activation) too. These potentialities may fascinate the seeker to directly start practicing trataka. But before moving to the trataka practice there are some eye care methods and basic trataka kriyas that needs to be followed first. In this article the preliminary practice of trataka are discussed that could be practiced by every yoga seeker and even by every individual for better eye and mental health. It is always suggested to seek the guidance of a yog guru for advance level of trataka practice for the attainment of ultimate objective.
Importance of Trataka
It is said that the beauty lies in the eye of beholder and our eyes helps to experience this colourful world around us. They constitute an important part of our physiognomy and are also used to express various emotions like anger, love, sexual desires etc. A lot of information is gathered and processed by mind through this vital sensory organ. As a direct relation with mind and our dependency to see & feel the world, good health of our eyes becomes pivotal. Therefore Trataka is practiced for promoting the good health of our eyes and later with advance practices we can gain a much better control over our mind too. Trataka practice helps in keeping eyes healthy, beautiful and disease free. It is also helpful in eye disorders like Myopia, Hyperopia, Astigmatism, Presbyopia, Conjunctivitis, Allergic Conjunctivitis, Corneal Abrasion, Redness of Eyes, Cataract etc. Trataka also starts developing better consciousness of mind and with regular practice it has the ability to develop psychic powers at an advanced stage. Before starting trataka practice or trataka kriyas there are some eye care tips for strengthening of eyes that should be religiously followed.
Important tips for eye care
In current practices the importance of eye care methods are generally ignored due to unawareness of their benefits. These methods of eye care are part of Ayurveda and Yogic Jeevan Paddhati (yogic way of life) which are essential for a trataka practitioner and also for the better health of eye. Although trataka practice helps in building better eye power but if it is done on weak eyes, it can cause harm and even can lead to blindness. Thus on a pathway of trataka following methods should become the part of routine and are continued along the practice of trataka kriyas.
- Splashing eyes with fresh water: The easiest way to maintain proper sight is just by splashing the eyes with fresh water three times a day. We fill water in our mouth while splashing the eyes with fresh water. This can be done in the morning, after lunch and after dinner.
- Splashing eyes with neem or triphala: Occasionally we can also use the water prepared with neem leaves or trifla. Fresh water is taken with neem leaves or trifla soaked overnight. This water is used to wash the eyes in the morning which cleans our eye and also increases the strength of eye muscles. Try to get neem leaves from the trees away from traffic and triphala is a mixture of three herbs in equal proportion(doubt) which are easily available in the market.
- Application of Ghee: Applying ghee (clarified butter) made up of cow’s milk on inferior palpebra (lower lid of our eye) helps to keep our eyes clean and serene. Its application should be done at night before going to sleep.
- Application of honey: Similarly honey can also be applied on lower lid of our eye which again cleans our eyes and increases their power. Application of honey is done in the morning after washing the eyes.
- Role of diet: Diet has an important role in keeping our eyes healthy therefore use of almond, pepper, asparagus, yellow coloured fruits like banana, mango etc. and vitamin A rich products should be included our diet.
Trataka kriyas: First step for the seeker
The ambience also plays an important role in the practice of trataka. If you prefer to do these kriyas in your room then you should be ensure that there should be no bright lights or uneven lights or flow of air that can irritate your eyes. Try to sit in that direction where the lights are placed at your back. And if you prefer to do it outdoor then do it at the time of dawn and dusk when there is proper visibility and note that flame shouldn't be distracted by external disturbances. All the practices of trataka requires a stable sitting position so can either sit in asana like padmasana (पद्मासन), siddhasana (सिद्धासन) etc then it results in better outcome. Or else you can sit in cross legged position also known as sukhasana with stable and straight upper body position. There are five trataka kriyas that should be practiced daily.
Vaam and dakshina drishti (वाम और दक्षिण दृष्टि)
It literally means as Left and South Vision. In this kriya you will sit in the asana with the back straight and stretch your right hand upfront with the fist closed and the thumb erected upwards. The position of the thumb should be such that it comes at the level of your eyes. Concentrate on the bright part of your thumb which is the nail and slowly move your arm in right direction horizontally. Only your eyes will follow the nail while head and neck will remain in same position i.e. straight. The point where you feel that the nail is getting out of sight, hold there for few seconds and then return back to the same position. After repeating it for at least five times, close your eyes for a while before following the same process in the opposite direction with the left hand.
Madhya drishti (मध्य दृष्टि)
Similarly Madhya drishti is the central vision. By sitting in the same asana and positioning your hand in the same way described as above you will move your hand in back and forth position again while concentrating on the nail part. As you will bring your hand nearer, your eyeballs will also get closer. Do not bring the thumb too close as it will put strain on the eyes. Then again stretch back slowly to your arm’s length. Repeat this process for at least five times.
Vaam chakra and dakshin chakra (वाम चक्र और दक्षिण चक्र)
In this kriya we rotate our eyes slowly in circular position while observing around. First of all we will observe the tip of our nose, then we look down parallel towards earth and after looking downwards we will slowly rotate our eyes to right side, then upwards, then to left and finally come back on the tip of nose. Remember that at the end of every kriya we close our eyes for few seconds so that the consciousness of the mind can be developed. Again repeat the same process vice-versa. This will constitute one round of it and do at least five rounds.
Blinking of eyes
Just after the completion of above kriyas open your eyes slowly, look straight for a while and then start blinking your eyes swiftly. Approximately after blinking 100-200 times, gradually reduce the speed and close your eyes to feel relax.
Dark vision and inner concentration
This is the finale of trataka kiryas. In this the practitioner covers his left and right eye respectively with his hands in such a manner that there is space in-between for the eyes to open and feel the presence of complete darkness in that space. Therefore palms by forming a cavity will cover the eye and the fingers packed tightly are placed on forehead diagonally. Try to observe the darkness with the opened eyes for at least a minute and gradually the time can be increased. Then remove your hands together slowly while closing your eyes. You will experience an Arunayi colour (colour that appears in the sky when the sun rises). Again try to concentrate and hold on that colour with the closed eyes for as long as you can.
Actual practice of Trataka
To take the benefit of trataka practice one should follow the above methods and kriyas for nearly three months. And only after that it is better to start with actual practice of trataka. The word trataka comes from Sanskrit language which means to gaze at a particular object without blinking the eyes. There are different objects on which trataka can be done, each one having a purpose and benefits associated with them. But for a safe practice at home one should always start from betel leaf and after that you can do it on a lit dippak (दिप्पक). For an advance stage you should seek the guidance of a yog guru.
Trataka on betel leaf
A green betel leaf is used in this method of trataka as green colour has a soothing effect on eyes. A pea seed sized round black spot is marked at the centre of the betel leaf that is placed at the level of eye by fixing it on the wall or on any board. From an appropriate distance which is nearly 2 feet or your own arms length, you have to gaze at the dark spot without blinking the eyes. After gazing for few seconds on the dark spot, close your eyes and try to concentrate on the spot with closed eyes. Black colour also represents space and by concentrating on it develops inner consciousness. With practicing the overall time period is increased and ideally it is recommended in the ratio of 1:4. That means for the period of time you have to concentrate with opened eyes, try to concentrate with closed eyes for the period four times longer.
Trataka on a lit dippak
Dippak is the traditional lamp of india that lit on oil. Trataka on dippak is done by concentrating on the flame and following the same procedure as discussed above. You should ensure that the flame is stable so there should not be any wind that disturbs it. In current times people substitute it with candle or electric lamp for the practice of trataka. But for actual benefit of trataka, traditional way of doing it on dippak which lit only on mustard oil is recommended. If mustard oil is not available then olive oil, almond oil or the cow’s ghee (clarified butter) etc whose flame is favourable for the eyes could be used.
II “गुरु उपदिष्ट मार्गेण: योगमेव समर्पास्येत्" II