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Bahir Lakshya – Outward Focus Of Mind In Yoga Meditation Practice

Bahir Lakshya is a yogic term referring to a particular meditation practice. Lakshya means an aim or target. In Yoga, it is the object on which the mind is focused. In the Advayatarak Upanishad (stanza 4) such objects are said to be of three types, namely, antarlakshya (inner aims), bahir lakshya (outer aims) and madhya lakshya (middle aims).

In the Bahir Lakshya, or outward focus of the mind (Stanza 6) one is asked to concentrate the mind without moving the eyes, at a distance from the tip of the nose. As the practice continues, this distance is increased from 4 to 6, 8, 10, and 12 fingers. While focusing the mind on that spot, one has to visualize there akasha (vacuum) filled with a flame or a shining streak with a bluish, red or yellowish luster. The flame may alternately be visualized on the ground or outside the outer corner of the eye. It is also believed that the ability to visualize a flame twelve fingers above the head makes the seeker immortal.

A similar description of Bahir Lakshya is found in Mandala Brahmana Upanishad (III.8-10). And it is also explained in Hatha Pradipika while describing the shambhavi mudra (IV.36-41). It is said that there are two ways of fixing the mind, respectively called the antarlakshya or antardrishti (inner aim or vision) and the Bahir Lakshya or Bhairdrishti (outer aim or vision). In the former, the mind is fixed on one of the lotuses, the six important loci situated along the spine, or brahmarandhra (on the topmost point of the head). In the latter, which is also called shambhavi mudra or unmani mudra, the yes are half-open, the gaze is fixed on the tip of the nose or on the topmost point of the head, and the atmajyoti (shining luster of the self) is visualized. This is also called taraka yoga (liberating yoga).