In geetA, 4.29, there is the following verse about yogic technique of prAnAyama, which is equated with higher internal sacrifice.

apane juhvati pranam prane 'panam tathapare pranapana-gati ruddhva pranayama-parayanah apare niyataharah pranan pranesu juhvati

Is there any esoteric meaning behind it ?


Paramahansa YogAnanda has given a very subtle and esoteric meaning for this verse from yogic point of view in his commentary (God talks with Arjuna).

The incoming and outgoing breath and their union is described as oblation or ahutis in the sacrifice. By doing the esoteric practice of pranayama, the yogi can earn great spiritual merits.

Other devotees offer as sacrifice the incoming breath of prana in the outgoing breath of apana, and the outgoing breath of apana in the incoming breath of prana, thus arresting the cause of inhalation and exhalation (rendering breath unnecessary) by intent practice of pranayama (the life-control technique of Kriya Yoga). —The Bhagavad Gita IV:29

By the concentrated practice of Kriya Yoga pranayama—offering the inhaling breath into the exhaling breath (prana into apana) and offering the exhaling breath into the inhaling breath (apana into prana) — the yogi neutralizes these two life currents and their resulting mutations of decay and growth, the causative agents of breath and heart action and concomitant body consciousness. By recharging the blood and cells with life energy that has been distilled from breath and reinforced with the pure spiritualized life force in the spine and brain, the Kriya Yogi stops bodily decay, thereby quieting the breath and heart by rendering their purifying actions unnecessary. The yogi thus attains conscious life-force control.

This present Gita verse deals with two specific functions of life force in its differentiations as prana and apana. As there is a "tug-of-war" on the macro-cosmic scale reflecting Spirit's projecting wish to create and His opposing attracting wish to bring the many back into the One, so does this same contest in duality take place on a microcosmic scale in man's body. One expression of this positive-negative duality involves the interaction between prana and apana. There are two main currents in the body. One, the apana current flows from the point between the eyebrows to the coccyx. This downwardly flowing current distributes itself through the coccyx center to the sensory and motor nerves and keeps the consciousness of man delusively tied to the body. The apana current is restless and engrosses man in sensory experiences. The other main current is that of prana, which flows from the coccyx to the point between the eyebrows. The nature of this life current is calm; it withdraws inwardly the devotee's attention during sleep and in the wakeful state, and in meditation unites the soul with Spirit in the Christ Center in the brain. There is thus an opposite pull exercised by the downwardly flowing current (apana) and the upwardly flowing current (prana). Human consciousness is pulled downward or upward by the tug-of-war between these two currents to bind or release the soul. The vital current flowing outward from the brain and spine to the cells, tissues, and nerves becomes attached to and clogged up in matter. It is used up, like electricity, through bodily motor movements (voluntary and involuntary) and mental activity. As the life in the cells, tissues, and nerves begins to be exhausted by this motor and sense-perceptive activity—especially through excessive, inharmonious, non-equilibrated actions—prana works to recharge them and keep them vitalized. In the process of consuming life energy, however, they give off waste products, "decay." One such product is carbon dioxide excreted by the cells into the blood stream; the immediate purifying action of prana becomes necessary to remove the accumulation of this "decay" or death would soon occur. The physiology of this exchange is breath.


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