Man can put the voluntary
nerves into action whenever he likes, and can give
them rest when fatigued. When all of these voluntary nerves require rest he sleeps naturally, and
by this sleep the voluntary nerves, being refreshed, can work again with full vigor. Man's
involuntary nerves, however, irrespective of his
will, are working continuously of themselves from
his birth. As he has no control over them, he
cannot interfere with their action in the least.
When these nerves become fatigued these also
want rest and naturally fall asleep. This sleep of
the involuntary nerves is called Mahanidra, the
great sleep, or death. When this takes place, the
circulation, respiration, and other vital functions
being stopped, the material body naturally begins
to decay. After a while, when this great sleep
Mahanidra is over, man awakes, with all his desires, and is reborn in a new physical body for the
accomplishment of his various yearnings. In this
way man binds himself to life and death and fails
to achieve final salvation.
Control over death.
But if man can control these
involuntary nerves by the aforesaid Pranayama, he
can stop the natural decay of the material body
and put the involuntary nerves (of the heart,
lungs, and other vital organs) to rest periodically,
as he does with his voluntary nerves in sleep.
After such rest by Pranayama the involuntary
nerves become refreshed and work with newly
As after sleep. when rest has been taken by
the voluntary nerves, man requires no help to
awaken naturally; so after death also, when man
has enjoyed a full rest, he awakens naturally to life
in a new body on earth, If man can "die," that is,
consciously put his entire nervous system, voluntary and involuntary, to rest each day by practice
of Pranayama, his whole physical system works
with great vigor.
Life and death come under the control of the
yogi who perseveres in the practice of Pranayama.
In that way he saves his body from the premature
decay that overtakes most men, and can remain as
long as he wishes in his present physical form,
thus having time to work out his karma in one
body and to fulfill (and so get rid of) all the various desires of his heart. Finally purified, he is no
longer required to come again into this world
under the influence of Maya, Darkness, or to
suffer the "second death."