Lord Shiva warns us -“Do not play with your prana. It is your life force”.
Just 100 cc of air you breathe generates so much force — it powers the whole body irrespective of the mass and weight of the person. So you should be very careful with what ‘sankalpa’ or resolution you are breathing or performing pranayama. Instead of experimenting with your prana which is your ‘net worth’, just surrender to the Lotus Feet of the Guru and earnestly perform his seva.
The Guru has the disciple’s ‘prana’ under his control. The Guru takes care of every aspect of the disciple, who has surrendered completely to him. If necessary, the Guru Himself will initiate the disciple into spiritual practices such as japa, dhyana, kriya and breathing techniques as per the disciple’s requirements and aptitude. The Guru knows what suits his disciple the best.
It is enough to serve the Guru with single-minded devotion. With seva, the Guru and disciple will become one and the life breath of both the Guru and disciple starts operating in harmony. The more Guru seva the disciple does, longer he lives, as the Guru grants him the gift of long life, Dheerga Ayush, and gift of good health, Sarva Aarogya.
The Guru also protects his disciples from calamities as he is all-pervasive and is ever aware of what is in store for his disciple. This can also be understood through the life of Shri Shirdi Sai Baba. If we read the Sai Sat Charita, we come to understand that once Sai Baba was sitting near the fire furnace or Dhuni during Diwali and warming himself. He was pushing firewood into the Dhuni, which was brightly burning.
A little later, instead of pushing logs of wood, Baba pushed his arm into the Dhuni, Baba’s arm was scorched and burnt. This was noticed by the errand boy Madhav and also by Madhav Rao Deshpande (Shyama). They, at once, ran to Baba and Madhav Rao clasped Baba, by his waist from behind and dragged him forcibly backward and asked, “Deva, for what have you done this?” Then, Baba replied, “The wife of a blacksmith at some distant place was working the bellows of a furnace, her husband called her, forgetting that her child was on her lap, she got up hastily and the child slipped into the furnace. I immediately thrust my hand into the furnace and saved the child. I don’t mind my arm being burnt but I am glad that the life of the child is saved.”
Likewise, there are many instances where Sai Baba has saved his devoted devotees from deadly diseases such as plague and fever. Also, he has allowed His devotees to serve him (Guru Seva) and absolve their karmas. This can also be ascertained through Baba getting his burnt arm dressed through Bhagoji, a leprosy patient, whose fingers had shrunk and whose body was full of pus and was smelling badly.
Only Baba knew that he was a sinner in the past life and he had to absolve his karmas through Guru Seva alone. So, although Bhagoji seemed unfortunate outwardly, he was very blessed to be able to serve his master - Shri Shirdi Sai Baba and got the benefit of his divine satsangh. In the same manner, if we go through the autobiographies of saints, sages and enlightened beings, we will know that all of them mastered all forms of yogas and therefore were yogis of the highest order.
They not only protected their devotees from calamities, they also blessed them with good health and well-being by giving their disciples opportunities for Guru Seva.
Excerpt from The Force of Nirvana by Shri Shri Nimishananda