THE FOUR STAGES OF SOUND
The Vedas form the sound-manifestation of Ishvara. That sound has four divisions,—Para which finds manifestation only in Prana, Pasyanti which finds manifestation in the mind, Madhyama which finds manifestation in the Indriyas, and Vaikhari which finds manifestation in articulate expression.
Articulation is the last and grossest expression of divine sound-energy. The highest manifestation of sound-energy, the primal voice, the divine voice is Para. The Para voice becomes the root-ideas or germ-thoughts. It is the first manifestation of voice. In Para the sound remains in an undifferentiated form. Para, Pasyanti, Madhyama and Vaikhari are the various gradations of sound. Madhyama is the intermediate unexpressed state of sound. Its seat is the heart.
The seat of Pasyanti is the navel or the Manipura Chakra. Yogins who have subtle inner vision can experience the Pasyanti state of a word which has colour and form, which is common for all languages and which has the vibrating homogeneity of sound. Indians, Europeans, Americans, Africans, Japanese, birds, beasts—all experience the same Bhavana of a thing in the Pasyanti state of voice or sound. Gesture is a sort of mute subtle language. It is one and the same for all persons. Any individual of any country will make the same gesture by holding his hand to his mouth in a particular manner, when he is thirsty. As one and the same power or Shakti working through the ears becomes hearing, through the eyes becomes seeing and so forth, the same Pasyanti assumes different forms of sound when materialised. The Lord manifests Himself through his Mayaic power first as Para Vani in the Muladhara Chakra at the navel, then as Madhyama in the heart and then eventually as Vaikhari in the throat and mouth. This is the divine descent of His voice. All the Vaikhari is His voice only. It is the voice of the Virat Purusha.
O Divine Mother Kundalini, the Divine Cosmic Energy that is hidden in men! Thou art Kali, Durga, Adisakti, Rajarajeswari, Tripurasundari, Maha-Lakshmi, Maha-Sarasvati! Thou hast put on all these names and forms. Thou hast manifested as Prana, electricity, force, magnetism, cohesion, gravitation in this universe. This whole universe rests in Thy bosom. Crores of salutations unto thee. O Mother of this world! Lead me on to open the Sushumna Nadi and take Thee along the Chakras to Sahasrara Chakra and to merge myself in Thee and Thy consort, Lord Siva.
Kundalini Yoga is that Yoga which treats of Kundalini Sakti, the six centres of spiritual energy (Shat Chakras), the arousing of the sleeping Kundalini Sakti and its union with Lord Siva in Sahasrara Chakra, at the crown of the head. This is an exact science. This is also known as Laya Yoga. The six centres are pierced (Chakra Bheda) by the passing of Kundalini Sakti to the top of the head. ‘Kundala’ means ‘coiled’. Her form is like a coiled serpent. Hence the name Kundalini.
All agree that the one aim which man has in all his acts is to secure happiness for himself. The highest as well as the ultimate end of man must, therefore, be to attain eternal, infinite, unbroken, supreme happiness. This happiness can be had in one’s own Self or Atman only. Therefore, search within to attain this eternal Bliss.
The thinking faculty is present only in human being. Man only can reason, reflect and exercise judgment. It is man only who can compare and contrast, who can think of pros and cons and who can draw inferences and conclusions. This is the reason why he alone is able to attain God-consciousness. That man who simply eats and drinks and who does not exercise his mental faculty in Self-realisation is only a brute.
O worldly-minded persons! Wake up from the sleep of Ajnana. Open your eyes. Stand up to acquire knowledge of Atman. Do spiritual Sadhana, awaken the Kundalini Sakti and get that ‘sleepless-sleep’ (Samadhi). Drown yourself in Atman.
Chitta is the mental substance. It takes various forms. These forms constitute Vrittis. It gets transformed (Parinama). These transformations or modifications are the thought-waves, whirlpools or Vrittis. If the Chitta thinks of a mango, the Vritti of a mango is formed in the lake of Chitta. This will subside and another Vritti will be formed when it thinks of milk. Countless Vrittis are rising and subsiding in the ocean of Chitta. These Vrittis cause restlessness of mind. Why do Vrittis arise from the Chitta? Because of Samskaras and Vasanas. If you annihilate all Vasanas, all Vrittis will subside by themselves.
When a Vritti subsides it leaves a definite impression in the subconscious mind. It is known as Samskara or latent impression. The sum total of all Samskaras is known as “Karmasaya” or receptacle of works. This is called Sanchita Karma (accumulated works). When a man leaves the physical body, he carries with him his astral body of 17 Tattvas and the Karmasaya as well, to the mental plane. This Karmasaya is burnt by highest knowledge obtained through Asamprajnata Samadhi.
During concentration you will have to collect carefully the dissipated rays of the mind. Vrittis will be ever-rising from the ocean of Chitta. You will have to put down the waves as they arise. If all the waves subside, the mind becomes calm and serene. Then the Yogi enjoys peace and bliss. Therefore real happiness is within. You will have to get it through control of mind and not through money, women, children, name, fame, rank or power.
Purity of mind leads to perfection in Yoga. Regulate your conduct when you deal with others. Have no feeling of jealousy towards others. Be compassionate. Do not hate sinners. Be kind to all. Develop complacency towards superiors. Success in Yoga will be rapid if you put in your maximum energy in your Yogic practice. You must have a keen longing for liberation and intense Vairagya also. You must be sincere and earnest. Intent and constant meditation is necessary for entering into Samadhi.
He who has firm faith in Srutis and Shastras, who has Sadachara (right conduct), who constantly engages himself in the service of his Guru and who is free from lust, anger, Moha, greed and vanity easily crosses this ocean of Samsara and attains Samadhi quickly. Just as fire burns a heap of dried leaves, so also the fire of Yoga burns all Karmas. The Yogi attains Kaivalya. Through Samadhi, the Yogi gets intuition. Real knowledge flashes in him within a second.
Neti, Dhauti, Basti, Nauli, Asanas, Mudras, etc., keep the body healthy and strong, and under perfect control. But they are not the be-all and end-all of Yoga. These Kriyas will help you in your practice of Dhyana. Dhyana will culminate in Samadhi, Self-realisation. He who practises Hatha Yogic Kriyas is not a Purna Yogi. He who has entered into Asamprajnata Samadhi only is a Purna Yogi. He is a Svatantra Yogi (absolutely independent).
Samadhi is of two kinds, viz., Jada Samadhi and Chaitanya Samadhi. A Hatha Yogi through the practice of Khechari Mudra can shut himself up in a box and remain underneath the ground for months and years. There is no higher supernatural knowledge in this kind of Samadhi. This is Jada Samadhi. In Chaitanya Samadhi, there is perfect ‘awareness’. The Yogi comes down with new, super-sensuous wisdom.
When a man practises Yogic Kriyas, naturally various kinds of Siddhis are acquired. The Siddhis are hindrances to Realisation. The Yogi should not at all care for these Siddhis, if he wants to advance further and get the highest realisation, the final Goal. He who runs after Siddhis will become the biggest house-holder and a worldly-minded man. Self-realisation only is the Goal. The sum total of knowledge of this universe is nothing when compared to the spiritual knowledge that is obtained through Self-realisation.
Ascend the path of Yoga cautiously. Remove the weeds, thorns and the sharp angular pebbles on the way. Name and fame are the angular pebbles. Subtle under-current of lust is the weed. Attachment to family, children, money, disciples, Chelas or Ashram is the thorn. These are forms of Maya. They do not allow the aspirants to march further. They serve as the stumbling-blocks. The aspirant gets false Tushti, stops his Sadhana, imagines foolishly that he has realised, and tries to elevate others. This is like a blind man leading the blind. When the Yogic student starts an Ashram, slowly luxury creeps in. The original Vairagya gradually wanes. He loses what he has gained and is unconscious of his downfall. Ashram develops begging mentality and institutional egoism. He is the same house-holder now in some other form (Rupantara-bheda) though he is in the garb of a Sannyasin. O aspirants, beware! I warn you seriously. Never build Ashrams. Remember the watchwords:-“SECLUSION, MEDITATION, DEVOTION.” March direct to the goal. Never give up the Sadhana zeal and Vairagya until you realise Bhuma, the highest goal. Do not entangle yourself in the wheel of name, fame and Siddhis.
Nirvikalpa is the state of superconsciousness. There are no Vikalpas of any sort in this condition. This is the Goal of life. All the mental activities cease now. The functions of the intellect and ten Indriyas cease entirely. The aspirant rests now in Atman. There is no distinction between subject and object. The world and the pairs of opposites vanish completely. This is a state beyond all relativity. The aspirant gets knowledge of Self, supreme peace and infinite, indescribable bliss. This is also called Yogaroodha state.
When Kundalini is taken to the Sahasrara and when it is united with Lord Siva, perfect Samadhi ensues. The Yogic student drinks the Nectar of Immortality. He has reached the Goal. Mother Kundalini has done Her task now. Glory to Mother Kundalini! May Her blessings be upon you all!
Om Shantih! Shantih! Shantih!
.. j:ag::ð m:a kÙl: kÙNRel:n:i ..
j:ag::ð m:a kÙl:kÙNRel:n:i j:ag::ð m:a .
t:Øem: en:ty:an:nd-sv:-ep:N:i ..
t:Øem: b:ÒÉan:nd-sv:-ep:N:i ..
)s:Øpt: B:Øj:g:akara A:D:ar p:¼v:aes:n:i ..
e*:k:ðn:ð j:l:ð káS:an:Ü, t:aep:t: hEl::ð t:n:Ø
m:Ül:aD:ar ty:j: eS:v:ð sv:y:öB:Ü-eS:v:-v:ðeÅn:i ..
g:cC s:Ø\:Ümn:ar p:T:, sv:aeD:Åan:ð hv::ð uedt:,
m:eN:p:Ür An:aht: ev:S:Ø¹awa s:Wc:aerN:i ..
eS:res: s:h+dl:ð, p:rm: eS:v:ðt:ð em:l:ð
#iRa kr:ð kÙt:Ühl:ð s:ecc:dan:nddaey:n:i ..
j:ag::ð m:a kÙl: kÙNRel:n:i j:ag::ð m:a .
|| jàgo mà kula kuõóalinã ||
jàgo mà kulakuõóalinã jàgo mà |
tumi nityànanda-svaråpiõã ||
tumi brahmànanda-svaråpiõã ||
prasupta bhujagàkàrà àdhàra padmavàsinã ||
trikone jale kç÷ànå, tàpita hailo tanu
målàdhàra tyaja ÷ive svayaübhå-÷iva-veùñhinã ||
gaccha suùåmnàra patha, svàdhiùñhàne havo udita,
maõipåra anàhata vi÷uddhàj¤à sa¤càriõã ||
÷irasi sahasradale, parama ÷ivete mile
krãóà karo kutåhale saccidànandadàyinã ||
jàgo mà kula kuõóalinã jàgo mà |
PRAYER TO MOTHER KUNDALINI
Wake up Mother Kundalini.
Thou whose nature is Bliss Eternal—The Bliss of Brahman.
Thou dwelling like a serpent asleep at the lotus of Muladhara,
Sore, affected and distressed am I in body and mind,
Do thou bless me and leave thy place at the basic lotus.
Consort of Siva the Self-caused Lord of Universe,
Do thou take thy upward course through the central canal.
Leaving behind Svadhishthana, Manipuraka, Anahata, Vishuddha, and Ajna.
Be thou united with Siva, thy Lord the God.
At Sahasrara—the thousand-petalled-lotus in the brain.
Sport there freely, O Mother, Giver of Bliss Supreme.
Mother, who is Existence, Knowledge, Bliss Absolute.
Wake up, Mother Kundalini! Wake up.
EXPERIENCES ON AWAKENING OF KUNDALINI
During meditation you behold divine visions, experience divine smell, divine taste, divine touch, hear divine Anahata sounds. You receive instructions from God. These indicate that the Kundalini Shakti has been awakened. When there is throbbing in Muladhara, when hairs stand on their roots, when Uddiyana, Jalandhara and Mulabandha come involuntarily, know that Kundalini has awakened.
When the breath stops without any effort, when Kevala Kumbhaka comes by itself without any exertion, know that Kundalini Shakti has become active. When you feel currents of Prana rising up to the Sahasrara, when you experience bliss, when you repeat Om automatically, when there are no thoughts of the world in the mind, know that Kundalini Shakti has awakened.
When, in your meditation, the eyes become fixed on Trikuti, the middle of the eyebrows, when the Shambhavi Mudra operates, know that Kundalini has become active. When you feel vibrations of Prana in different parts inside your body, when you experience jerks like the shocks of electricity, know that Kundalini has become active. During meditation when you feel as if there is no body, when your eyelids become closed and do not open in spite of your exertion, when electric-like currents flow up and down the nerves, know that Kundalini has awakened.
When you meditate, when you get inspiration and insight, when the nature unfolds its secrets to you, all doubts disappear, you understand clearly the meaning of the Vedic texts, know that Kundalini has become active. When your body becomes light like air, when you have a balanced mind in perturbed condition, when you possess inexhaustible energy for work, know that Kundalini has become active.
When you get divine intoxication, when you develop power of oration, know that Kundalini has awakened. When you involuntarily perform different Asanas or poses of Yoga without the least pain or fatigue, know that Kundalini has become active. When you compose beautiful sublime hymns and poetry involuntarily, know that Kundalini has become active.
THE GRADATIONAL ASCENT OF THE MIND
The Chakras are centres of Shakti as vital force. In other words, these are centres of Pranashakti manifested by Pranavayu in the living body, the presiding Devatas of which are the names for the Universal Consciousness as It manifests in the form of these centres. The Chakras are not perceptible to the gross senses. Even if they were perceptible in the living body which they help to organise, they disappear with the disintegration of organism at death.
Purity of mind leads to perfection in Yoga. Regulate your conduct when you deal with others. Have no feeling of jealousy towards others. Be compassionate. Do not hate sinners. Be kind to all. Success in Yoga will be rapid if you put your maximum energy in your Yogic practice. You must have a keen longing for liberation and intense Vairagya also. You must be sincere and earnest. Intense and constant meditation is necessary for entering into Samadhi.
The mind of a worldly man with base desires and passions moves in the Muladhara and Svadhishthana Chakras or centres situated near the anus and the reproductive organ respectively.
If one’s mind becomes purified the mind rises to the Manipura Chakra or the centre in the navel and experiences some power and joy.
If the mind becomes more purified, it rises to the Anahata Chakra or centre in the heart, experiences bliss and visualises the effulgent form of the Ishta Devata or the tutelary deity.
When the mind gets highly purified, when meditation and devotion become intense and profound the mind rises to Visuddha Chakra or the centre in the throat, and experiences more and more powers and bliss. Even when the mind has reached this centre, there is a possibility for it to come down to the lower centres.
When the Yogi reaches the Ajna Chakra or the centre between the two eyebrows he attains Samadhi and realises the Supreme Self, or Brahman. There is a slight sense of separateness between the devotee and Brahman.
If he reaches the spiritual centre in the brain, the Sahasrara Chakra, the thousand-petalled lotus, the Yogi attains Nirvikalpa Samadhi or superconscious state. He becomes one with the non-dual Brahman. All sense of separateness dissolves. This is the highest plane of consciousness or supreme Asamprajnata Samadhi. Kundalini unites with Siva.
The Yogi may come down to the centre in the throat to give instructions to the students and do good to others (Lokasamgraha).
PRANAYAMA FOR AWAKENING KUNDALINI
When you practise the following, concentrate on the Muladhara Chakra at the base of the spinal column, which is triangular in form and which is the seat of the Kundalini Shakti. Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril till you count 3 Oms slowly. Imagine that you are drawing the Prana with the atmospheric air. Then close the left nostril with your little and ring fingers of the right hand. Then retain the breath for 12 Oms. Send the current down the spinal column straight into the triangular lotus, the Muladhara Chakra. Imagine that the nerve-current is striking against the lotus and awakening the Kundalini. Then slowly exhale through the right nostril counting 6 Oms. Repeat the process from the right nostril as stated above, using the same units, and having the same imagination and feeling. This Pranayama will awaken the Kundalini quickly. Do it 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening. Increase the number and time gradually and cautiously according to your strength and capacity. In this Pranayama, concentration on the Muladhara Chakra is the important thing. Kundalini will be awakened quickly if the degree of concentration is intense and if the Pranayama is practised regularly.
In this Pranayama, the Bhavana is more important than the ratio between Puraka, Kumbhaka and Rechaka.
Sit in Padma or Siddha Asana, facing the East or the North.
After mentally prostrating to the lotus-feet of the Sat-guru and reciting Stotras in praise of God and Guru, commence doing this Pranayama which will easily lead to the awakening of the Kundalini.
Inhale deeply, without making any sound.
As you inhale, feel that the Kundalini lying dormant in the Muladhara Chakra is awakened and is going up from Chakra to Chakra. At the conclusion of the Puraka, have the Bhavana that the Kundalini has reached the Sahasrara. The more vivid the visualisation of Chakra after Chakra, the more rapid will be your progress in this Sadhana.
Retain the breath for a short while. Repeat the Pranava or your Ishta Mantra. Concentrate on the Sahasrara Chakra. Feel that by the Grace of Mother Kundalini, the darkness of ignorance enveloping your soul has been dispelled. Feel that your whole being is pervaded by light, power and wisdom.
Slowly exhale now. And, as you exhale feel that the Kundalini Shakti is gradually descending from the Sahasrara, and from Chakra to Chakra, to the Muladhara Chakra.
Now begin the process again.
It is impossible to extol this wonderful Pranayama adequately. It is the magic wand for attaining perfection very quickly. Even a few days’ practice will convince you of its remarkable glory. Start from today, this very moment.
May God bless you with joy, bliss and immortality.
The word Kundalini is a familiar one to all students of Yoga, as it is well known as the power, in the form of a coiled serpent, residing in Muladhara Chakra, the first of the seven Chakras, the other six being Svadhishthana, Manipuraka, Anahata, Visuddha, Ajna and Sahasrara, in order.
All Sadhanas in the form of Japa, meditation, Kirtan and prayer as well as all development of virtues, and observance of austerities like truth, non-violence and continence are at best calculated only to awaken this serpent-power and make it to pass through all the succeeding Chakras beginning from Svadhishthana to Sahasrara, the latter otherwise called as the thousand-petalled lotus, the seat of Sadasiva or the Parabrahman or the Absolute separated from whom the Kundalini or the Shakti lies at the Muladhara, and to unite with whom the Kundalini passes through all the Chakras, as explained above, conferring liberation on the aspirant who assiduously practises Yoga or the technique of uniting her with her Lord and gets success also in his effort.
In worldly-minded people, given to enjoyment of sensual and sexual pleasures, this Kundalini power is sleeping because of the absence of any stimulus in the form of spiritual practices, as the power generated through such practices alone awakens that serpent-power, and not any other power derived through the possession of worldly riches and affluence. When the aspirant seriously practises all the disciplines as enjoined in the Shastras, and as instructed by the preceptor, in whom the Kundalini would have already been awakened and reached its abode or Sadasiva, acquiring which blessed achievement alone a person becomes entitled to act as a Guru or spiritual preceptor, guiding and helping others also to achieve the same end, the veils or layers enmeshing Kundalini begin to be cleared and finally are torn asunder and the serpent-power is pushed or driven, as it were upwards.
Supersensual visions appear before the mental eye of the aspirant, new worlds with indescribable wonders and charms unfold themselves before the Yogi, planes after planes reveal their existence and grandeur to the practitioner and the Yogi gets divine knowledge, power and bliss, in increasing degrees, when Kundalini passes through Chakra after Chakra, making them to bloom in all their glory which before the touch of Kundalini, do not give out their powers, emanating their divine light and fragrance and reveal the divine secrets and phenomena, which lie concealed from the eyes of worldly-minded people who would refuse to believe of their existence even.
When the Kundalini ascends one Chakra or Yogic centre, the Yogi also ascends one step or rung upward in the Yogic ladder; one more page, the next page, he reads in the divine book; the more the Kundalini travels upwards, the Yogi also advances towards the goal or spiritual perfection in relation to it. When the Kundalini reaches the sixth centre or the Ajna Chakra, the Yogi gets the vision of Personal God or Saguna Brahman, and when the serpent-power reaches the last, the top centre, or Sahasrara Chakra, or the Thousand-petalled lotus, the Yogi loses his individuality in the ocean of Sat-Chit-Ananda or the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute and becomes one with the Lord or Supreme Soul. He is no longer an ordinary man, not even a simple Yogi, but a fully illumined sage, having conquered the eternal and unlimited divine kingdom, a hero having won the battle against illusion, a Mukta or liberated one having crossed the ocean of ignorance or the transmigratory existence, and a superman having the authority and capacity to save the other struggling souls of the relative world. Scriptures hail him most, in the maximum possible glorifying way, and his achievement. Celestial beings envy him, not excluding the Trinity even, viz., Brahma, Vishnu and Siva.
Kundalini And Tantrik Sadhana
Kundalini Yoga actually belongs to Tantrik Sadhana, which gives a detailed description about this serpent-power and the Chakras, as mentioned above. Mother Divine, the active aspect of the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, resides in the body of men and women in the form of Kundalini, and the entire Tantrik Sadhana aims at awakening Her, and making Her to unite with the Lord, Sadasiva, in the Sahasrara, as described in the beginning in detail. Methods adopted to achieve this end in Tantrik Sadhana are Japa of the name of the Mother, prayer and various rituals.
Kundalini And Hatha Yoga
Hatha Yoga also builds up its philosophy around this Kundalini and the methods adopted in it are different from Tantrik Sadhana. Hatha Yoga seeks to awaken this Kundalini through the discipline of the physical body, purification of Nadis and controlling the Prana. Through a number of physical poses called Yoga Asanas it tones up the entire nervous system, and brings it under the conscious control of the Yogi, through Bandhas and Mudras it controls the Prana, regulates its movements and even blocks and seals it without allowing it to move, through Kriyas it purifies the inner organs of physical body and, finally, through Pranayama it brings the mind itself under the control of the Yogi. Kundalini is made to go upwards towards Sahasrara through these combined methods.
Kundalini And Raja Yoga
But Raja Yoga mentions nothing about this Kundalini, but propounds a still subtle, higher path, philosophical and rational, and asks the aspirant to control the mind, to withdraw all the senses and to plunge in meditation. Unlike Hatha Yoga which is mechanical and mystical, Raja Yoga teaches a technique with eight limbs, appealing to the heart and intellect of aspirants. It advocates moral and ethical development through its Yama and Niyama, helps the intellectual and cultural development through Svadhyaya or study of holy Scriptures, satisfies the emotional and devotional aspect of human nature by enjoining to surrender oneself to the will of the Creator, has an element of mysticism by including Pranayama also as one of the eight limbs and finally, prepares the aspirant for unbroken meditation on the Absolute through a penultimate step of concentration. Neither in philosophy nor in its prescription of methods of Raja Yoga mentions about Kundalini, but sets the human mind and Chitta as its targets to be destroyed as they alone make the individual soul to forget its real nature and brings on it birth and death and all the woes of phenomenal existence.
Kundalini And Vedanta
But when we come to Vedanta, there is no question about Kundalini or any type of mystical and mechanical methods. It is all enquiry and philosophical speculation. According to Vedanta the only thing to be destroyed is ignorance about one’s real nature, and this ignorance cannot be destroyed either by study, or by Pranayama, or by work, or by any amount of physical twisting and torturing, but only by knowing one’s real nature, which is Sat-Chit-Ananda or Existence-Knowledge-Bliss. Man is divine, free and one with the Supreme Spirit always, which he forgets and identifies himself with matter, which itself is an illusory appearance and a superimposition on the spirit. Liberation is freedom from ignorance and the aspirant is advised to constantly dissociate himself from all limitations and identify himself with the all-pervading, non-dual, blissful, peaceful, homogeneous spirit or Brahman. When meditation becomes intensified, in the ocean of Existence or rather the individuality is blotted or blown out completely. Just as a drop of water let on a frying pan is immediately sucked and vanishes from cognition, the individual consciousness is sucked in by the Universal Consciousness and is absorbed in it. According to Vedanta there cannot be real liberation in a state of multiplicity, and the state of complete Oneness is the goal to be aspired for, towards which alone the entire creation is slowly moving on.
Essence Of Kundalini Yoga
The word YOGA comes from the root Yuj which means to join, and in its spiritual sense, it is that process by which the human spirit is brought into near and conscious communion with, or is merged in, the Divine Spirit, according as the nature of the human spirit is held to be separate from (Dvaita, Visishtadvaita) or one with (Advaita) the Divine Spirit. As, according to Vedanta, the latter proposition is affirmed, Yoga is that process by which the identity of the two (Jivatman and Paramatman)—which identity ever exists, in fact—is realised by the Yogin or practitioner of Yoga. It is so realised because the Spirit has then pierced through the veil of Maya which as mind and matter obscures this knowledge from itself. The means by which this is achieved is the Yoga process which liberates the Jiva from Maya. So the Gheranda-Samhita says: “There is no bond equal in strength to Maya, and no power greater to destroy that bond than Yoga.” From an Advaitic or Monistic standpoint, Yoga in the sense of a final union is inapplicable, for union implies a dualism of the Divine and human spirit. In such case, it denotes the process rather than the result. When the two are regarded as distinct, Yoga may apply to both. A person who practises Yoga is called a Yogin. All are not competent to attempt Yoga; only a very few are. One must, in this or in other lives, have gone through Karma or selfless service and ritualistic observances, without attachment to the actions or their fruits, and Upasana or devotional worship, and obtained the fruit thereof, viz., a pure mind (Chittasuddhi). This does not mean merely a mind free from sexual impurity. The attainment of this and other qualities is the A B C of Sadhana. A person may have a pure mind in this sense, and yet be wholly incapable of Yoga. Chittasuddhi consists not merely in moral purity of every kind, but in knowledge, detachment, capacity for pure intellectual functioning, attention, meditation and so forth. When by Karma Yoga and Upasana, the mind is brought to this point and when, in the case of Jnana Yoga, there is dispassion and detachment from the world and its desires, then the Yoga path is open for the realisation of the ultimate Truth. Very few persons indeed are competent for Yoga in its higher form. The majority should seek their advancement along the path of Karma Yoga and devotion.
There are four main forms of Yoga, according to one school of thought, namely Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga and Raja Yoga; Kundalini Yoga is really Laya Yoga. There is another classification: Jnana Yoga, Raja Yoga, Laya Yoga, Hatha Yoga and Mantra Yoga. This is based on the idea that there are five aspects of spiritual life:-Dharma, Kriya, Bhava, Jnana and Yoga; Mantra Yoga being said to be of two kinds according as it is pursued along the path of Kriya or Bhava. There are seven Sadhanas of Yoga, namely Sat-Karma, Asana, Mudra, Pratyahara, Pranayama, Dhyana and Samadhi, which are cleansing of the body, seat postures for Yoga purposes, the abstraction of the senses from their objects, breath-control, meditation, and ecstasy which is of two kinds—imperfect (Savikalpa) in which dualism is not wholly overcome, and perfect (Nirvikalpa) which is complete Monistic experience–the realisation of the Truth of the Mahavakya AHAM BRAHMASMI—a knowledge in the sense of realisation which, it is to be observed, does not produce Liberation (Moksha) but is Liberation itself. The Samadhi of Laya Yoga is said to be Savikalpa Samadhi and that of complete Raja Yoga is said to be Nirvikalpa Samadhi. The first four processes are physical, last three mental and supramental. By these seven processes respectively certain qualities are gained, namely, purity (Sodhana), firmness and strength (Dridhata), fortitude (Sthirata), steadiness (Dhairya), lightness (Laghava), realisation (Pratyaksha) and detachment leading to Liberation (Nirliptatva).
What is known as the eight-limbed Yoga (Ashtanga Yoga) contains five of the above Sadhanas (Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana and Samadhi) and three others, namely, Yama or self-control by way of chastity, temperance, avoidance of harm (Ahimsa), and other virtues; Niyama or religious observances, charity and so forth, with devotion to the Lord (Isvara-Pranidhana); and Dharana, the fixing of the internal organ on its object as directed in the Yoga-practice.
Man is a microcosm (Kshudra Brahmanda). Whatever exists in the outer universe exists in him. All the Tattvas and worlds are within him and so is the Supreme Siva-Sakti. The body may be divided into two main parts, namely, the head and trunk on the one hand, and the legs on the other. In man, the centre of the body is between these two, at the base of the spine where the legs begin. Supporting the trunk and throughout the whole body there is the spinal cord. This is the axis of the body, just as Mount Meru is the axis of the earth. Hence, man’s spine is called Merudanda, the Meru or axis-staff. The legs and feet are gross which show less signs of consciousness than the trunk with its spinal white and grey matter; which trunk itself is greatly subordinate in this respect to the head containing the organ of mind, or physical brain, with its white and grey matter. The positions of the white and grey matter in the head and spinal column respectively are reversed. The body and legs below the centre are the seven lower or nether worlds upheld by the sustaining Sakti or Powers of the universe. From the centre upwards, consciousness more freely manifests through the spinal and cerebral centres. Here there are the seven upper regions or Lokas, a term which means “What are seen” (Lokyante), that is, experienced, and are hence the fruits of Karma in the form of particular rebirth. These regions, namely, Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah, Tapa, Jana, Maha and Satya Lokas correspond with the six centres; five in the trunk, the sixth in the lower cerebral centre; and the seventh in the upper brain or Satyaloka, the abode of the Supreme Siva-Sakti.
The six centres are: the Muladhara or root-support situated at the base of the spinal column in a position midway in the perineum between the root of the genitals and the anus; above it, in the region of the genitals, abdomen, heart, chest and throat, and in the forehead between the two eyes, are the Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha and Ajna Chakras or lotuses respectively. These are the chief centres, though some texts speak of others such as the Lalana and Manas and Soma Chakras. The seventh region beyond the Chakras is the upper brain, the highest centre of manifestation of consciousness in the body and therefore, the abode of the Supreme Siva-Sakti. When it is said to be the “abode”, it is not meant that the Supreme is there placed in the sense of our “placing”, namely, it is there and not elsewhere! The Supreme is never localised, whilst its manifestations are. It is everywhere both within and without the body, but it is said to be in the Sahasrara, because it is there that the Supreme Siva-Sakti is realised. And, this must be so, because consciousness is realised by entering in and passing through the higher manifestation of mind, the Sattvamayi Buddhi, above and beyond which is Chit and Chidrupini Saktis themselves. From their Siva-Sakti Tattva aspect are evolved Mind in its form as Buddhi, Ahamkara, Manas and associated senses (Indriyas) the centre of which is above the Ajna Chakra and below the Sahasrara. From Ahamkara proceed the Tanmatras, or generals of the sense-particulars, which evolve the five forms of sensible matter (Bhuta), namely, Akasa (ether), Vayu (air), Agni (fire), Apah (water) and Prithvi (earth). The English translation given does not imply that the Bhutas are the same as the English elements of air, fire, water, earth. The terms indicate varying degrees of matter from the ethereal to the solid. Thus Prithvi or earth is any matter in the Prithvi state; that is, which may be sensed by the Indriya of smell. Mind and matter pervade the whole body. But there are centres therein in which they are predominant. Thus Ajna is the centre of mind, and the five lower Chakras are the centres of the five Bhutas; Visuddha of Akasa, Anahata of Vayu, Manipura of Agni, Svadhishthana of Apah, and Muladhara of Prithvi.
In short, man as a microcosm is the all-pervading Spirit (which most purely manifests in the Sahasrara) vehicled by Sakti in the form of mind and matter, the centres of which are the sixth and following five Chakras respectively.
The six Chakras have been identified with the following plexuses commencing from the lowest, the Muladhara; the sacrococcygeal plexus, the sacral plexus, the solar plexus, (which forms the great junction of the right and left sympathetic chains Ida and Pingala with the cerebro-spinal axis). Connected with this is the lumbar plexus. Then follows the cardiac plexus (Anahata), laryngeal plexus, and lastly the Ajna or cerebellum with its two lobes. Above this is the Manas-Chakra or middle cerebrum, and finally, the Sahasrara or upper cerebrum. The six Chakras themselves are vital centres within the spinal column in the white and grey matter there. They may, however, and probably do, influence and govern the gross tract outside the spine in the bodily region lateral to, and co-extensive with, that section of the spinal column in which a particular centre is situated. The Chakras are centres of Sakti as vital force. In other words these are centres of Pranasakti manifested by Pranavayu in the living body, the presiding Devatas of which are names for the Universal Consciousness as It manifests in the form of those centres. The Chakras are not perceptible to the gross senses. Even if they were perceptible in the living body which they help to organise, they disappear with the disintegration of organism at death. Just because post-mortem examination of the body does not reveal these Chakras in the spinal column, some people think that these Chakras do not exist at all, and are merely the fabrication of a fertile brain. This attitude reminds us of a doctor who declared that he had performed many post-mortems and had never yet discovered a soul!
The petals of the lotuses vary, being 4, 6, 10, 12, 16 and 2 respectively, commencing from the Muladhara and ending with Ajna. There are 50 in all, as are the letters of the alphabet which are in the petals; that is, the Matrikas are associated with the Tattvas; since both are products of the same creative Cosmic process manifesting either as physiological or psychological function. It is noteworthy that the number of the petals is that of the letters leaving out either Ksha or the second La, and that these 50 multiplied by 20 are in the 1000 petals of the Sahasrara, a number which is indicative of infinitude.
But why, it may be asked, do the petals vary in number? Why, for instance, are there 4 in the Muladhara and 6 in the Svadhishthana? The answer given is that the number of petals in any Chakra is determined by the number and position of the Nadis or Yoga-nerves around that Chakra. Thus, four Nadis surrounding and passing through the vital movements of the Muladhara Chakra, give it the appearance of a lotus of four petals which are thus configurations made by the positions of Nadis at any particular centre. These Nadis are not those which are known to the Vaidya. The latter are gross physical nerves. But the former, here spoken of, are called Yoga-Nadis and are subtle channels (Vivaras) along which the Pranic currents flow. The term Nadi comes from the root Nad which means motion. The body is filled with an uncountable number of Nadis. If they were revealed to the eye, the body would present the appearance of a highly-complicated chart of ocean currents. Superficially the water seems one and the same. But examination shows that it is moving with varying degrees of force in all directions. All these lotuses exist in the spinal columns.
The Merudanda is the vertebral column. Western anatomy divides it into five regions; and it is to be noted in corroboration of the theory here expounded that these correspond with the regions in which the five Chakras are situated. The central spinal system comprises the brain or encephalon contained within the skull (in which are the Lalana, Ajna, Manas, Soma Chakras and the Sahasrara); as also the spinal cord extending from the upper border of the Atlas below the cerebellum and descending to the second lumbor vertebra where it tapers to a point called the filum terminale. Within the spine is the cord, a compound of grey and white brain matter, in which are the five lower Chakras. It is noteworthy that the filum terminale was formerly thought to be a mere fibrous cord, an unsuitable vehicle, one might think, for the Muladhara Chakra and Kundalini Sakti. More recent microscopic investigations have, however, disclosed the existence of highly sensitive grey matter in the filum terminale which represents the position of the Muladhara. According to Western science, the spinal cord is not merely a conductor between the periphery and the centres of sensation and volition, but is also an independent centre or group of centres. The Sushumna is a Nadi in the centre of the spinal column. Its base is called Brahma-Dvara or Gate of Brahman. As regards the physiological relations of the Chakras all that can be said with any degree of certainty is that the four above Muladhara have relation to the genito-excretory, digestive, cardiac and respiratory functions and that the two upper centres, the Ajna (with associated Chakras) and the Sahasrara denote various forms of its cerebral activity ending in the repose of Pure Consciousness therein gained through Yoga. The Nadis of each side Ida and Pingala are the left and right sympathetic cords crossing the central column from one side to the other, making at the Ajna with the Sushumna a threefold knot called Triveni; which is said to be the spot in the Medulla where the sympathetic cords join together and whence they take their origin—these Nadis together with the two lobed Ajna and the Sushumna forming the figure of the Caduceus of the God Mercury which is said by some to represent them.
How is it that the rousing of Kundalini Sakti and Her union with Siva effect the state of ecstatic union (Samadhi) and spiritual experience which is alleged?
In the first place, there are two main lines of Yoga, namely, Dhyana or Bhavana-Yoga and Kundalini Yoga; and there is a marked difference between the two. The first class of Yoga is that in which ecstasy (Samadhi) is obtained by intellective processes (Kriya-Jnana) of meditation and the like, with the aid, it may be, of auxiliary processes of Mantra or Hatha Yoga (other than the rousing of Kundalini) and by detachment from the world; the second stands apart as that portion of Hatha Yoga in which, though intellective processes are not neglected, the creative and sustaining Sakti of the whole body is actually and truly united with the Lord Consciousness. The Yogin makes Her introduce him to Her Lord, and enjoys the bliss of union through her. Though it is he who arouses Her, it is She who gives knowledge or Jnana, for She is Herself that. The Dhyana Yogin gains what acquaintance with the Supreme state his own meditative powers can give him and knows not the enjoyment of union with Siva in and through the fundamental Body-power. The two forms of Yoga differ both as to method and result. The Hatha Yogin regards his Yoga and its fruit as the highest; the Jnana Yogin may think similarly of his own. Kundalini is so renowned that many seek to know her. Having studied the theory of this Yoga, one may ask: “Can one get on without it?” The answer is: “It depends upon what you are looking for”. If you want to rouse Kundalini Sakti, to enjoy the bliss of union of Siva and Sakti through Her and to gain the accompanying powers (Siddhis), it is obvious that this end can be achieved only by the Kundalini Yoga. In that case, there are some risks incurred. But if Liberation is sought without desire for union through Kundalini, then, such Yoga is not necessary; for, Liberation may be obtained by Pure Jnana Yoga through detachment, the exercise and then the stilling of the mind, without any rousing of the central Bodily-power at all. Instead of setting out in and from the world to unite with Siva, the Jnana Yogin, to attain this result, detaches himself from the world. The one is the path of enjoyment and the other of asceticism. Samadhi may also be obtained on the path of devotion (Bhakti) as on that of knowledge. Indeed, the highest devotion (Para Bhakti) is not different from Knowledge. Both are Realisation. But, whilst Liberation (Mukti) is attainable by either method, there are other marked differences between the two. A Dhyana Yogin should not neglect his body, knowing that as he is both mind and matter, each reacts, the one upon the other. Neglect or mere mortification of the body is more apt to produce disordered imagination than a true spiritual experience. He is not concerned, however, with the body in the sense that the Hatha Yogin is. It is possible to be a successful Dhyana Yogin and yet to be weak in body and health, sick and short-lived. His body, and not he himself, determines when he shall die. He cannot die at will. When he is in Samadhi, Kundalini Sakti is still sleeping in the Muladhara, and none of the physical symptoms and psychical bliss or powers (Siddhis) described as accompanying Her rousing are observed in his case. The ecstasy which he calls “Liberation while yet living” (Jivanmukti) is not a state like that of real Liberation. He may be still subject to a suffering body from which he escapes only at death, when if at all, he is liberated. His ecstasy is in the nature of a meditation which passes into the Void (Bhavana-samadhi) effected through negation of all thought-form (Chitta-Vritti) and detachment from the world—a comparatively negative process in which the positive act of raising the Central Power of the body takes no part. By his effort, the mind which is a product of Kundalini as Prakriti Sakti, together with its worldly desires, is stilled so that the veil produced by mental functioning is removed from Consciousness. In Laya Yoga, Kundalini Herself, when roused by the Yogin (for such rousing is his act and part), achieves for him this illumination.
But why, it may be asked, should one trouble over the body and its Central power, the more particularly as there are unusual risks and difficulties involved? The answer has been already given. There is completeness and certainty of Realisation through the agency of the Power which is Knowledge itself (Jnanarupa Sakti), an intermediate acquisition of powers (Siddhis), and intermediate and final enjoyment.
If the Ultimate Reality is the One which exists in two aspects of quiescent enjoyment of the Self, and of liberation from all form and active enjoyment of objects, that is, as pure spirit and spirit in matter, then a complete union with Reality demands such unity in both of its aspects. It must be known both here (Iha) and there (Amutra). When rightly apprehended and practised, there is truth in the doctrine which teaches that man should make the best of both worlds. There is no real incompatibility between the two, provided action is taken in conformity with the universal law of manifestation. It is held to be false teaching that happiness hereafter can only be had by absence of enjoyment now, or in deliberately sought for suffering and mortification. It is the one Siva who is the Supreme Blissful Experience and who appears in the form of man with a life of mingled pleasure and pain. Both happiness here and the bliss of Liberation here and hereafter may be attained, if the identity of these Sivas be realised in every human act. This will be achieved by making every human function, without exception, a religious act of sacrifice and worship (Yajna). In the ancient Vaidik ritual, enjoyment by way of food and drink was preceded and accompanied by ceremonial sacrifice and ritual. Such enjoyment was the fruit of the sacrifice and the gift of the Devas. At a higher stage in the life of a Sadhaka, it is offered to the One from whom all gifts come and of whom the Devatas are inferior limited forms. But this offering also involves a dualism from which the highest Monistic (Advaita) Sadhana is free. Here the individual life and the world life are known as one. And the Sadhaka, when eating or drinking or fulfilling any other of the natural functions of the body, does so, saying and feeling “Sivoham”. It is not merely the separate individual who thus acts and enjoys. It is Siva who does so in and through him. Such a one recognises, as has been said, that his life and the play of all its activities are not a thing apart, to be held and pursued egotistically for its and his own separate sake, as though enjoyment was something to be filched from life by his own unaided strength and with a sense of separatedness; but his life and all its activities are conceived as part of the Divine action in Nature (Shakti) manifesting and operating in the form of man. He realises in the pulsating beat of his heart the rhythm which throbs through and is the song of the Universal Life. To neglect or to deny the needs of the body, to think of it as something not divine, is to neglect and deny the greater life of which it is a part, and to falsify the great doctrine of the unity of all and of the ultimate identity of Matter and Spirit. Governed by such a concept, even the lowliest physical needs take on a cosmic significance. The body is Shakti; its needs are Shakti’s needs. When man enjoys, it is Shakti who enjoys through him. In all he sees and does, it is the Mother who looks and acts, His eyes and hands are Hers. The whole body and all its functions are Her manifestations. To fully realise Her as such is to perfect this particular manifestation of Hers which is himself. Man when seeking to be the master of himself, seeks so on all the planes physical, mental and spiritual nor can they be severed, for they are all related, being but differing aspects of the one all-pervading Consciousness. Who, it may be asked, is the more divine; he who neglects and spurns the body or mind that he may attain some fancied spiritual superiority, or he who rightly cherishes both as forms of the one Spirit which they clothe? Realisation is more speedily and truly attained by discerning Spirit in and as all being and its activities, then by fleeing from and casting these aside as being either unspiritual or illusory and impediments in the path. If not rightly conceived, they may be impediments and the cause of fall; otherwise they become instruments of attainment; and what others are there to hand? And so, when acts are done in the fight feeling and frame of mind (Bhava), those acts give enjoyment; and the repeated and prolonged Bhava produces at length that divine experience (Tattva-Jnana) which is Liberation. When the Mother is seen in all things, She is at length realised as She who is beyond them all.
These general principles have their more frequent application in the life of the world before entrance on the path of Yoga proper. The Yoga here described is, however, also an application of these same principles, in so far as it is claimed that thereby both Bhukti and Mukti (enjoyment and liberation) are attained.
By the lower processes of Hatha Yoga it is sought to attain a perfect physical body which will also be a wholly fit instrument by which the mind may function. A perfect mind, again, approaches and, in Samadhi, passes into Pure Consciousness itself. The Hatha Yogin thus seeks a body which shall be as strong as steel, healthy, free from suffering and therefore, long-lived. Master of the body he is—the master of both life and death. His lustrous form enjoys the vitality of youth. He lives as long as he has the will to live and enjoys in the world of forms. His death is the death at will (Iccha-Mrityu); wheh making the great and wonderfully expressive gesture of dissolution, (Samhara-Mudra) he grandly departs. But, it may be said, the Hatha Yogins do get sick and die. In the first place, the full discipline is one of difficulty and risk, and can only be pursued under the guidance of a skilled Guru. Unaided and unsuccessful practice may lead not only to disease, but death. He who seeks to conquer the Lord of death incurs the risk, on failure, of a more speedy conquest by Him. All who attempt this Yoga do not, of course, succeed or meet with the same measure of success. Those who fail not only incur the infirmities of ordinary men, but also others brought on by practices which have been ill-pursued or for which they are not fit. Those again who do succeed, do so in varying degrees. One may prolong his life to the sacred age of 84, others to 100, others yet further. In theory at least those who are perfected (Siddhas) go from this plane when they will. All have not the same capacity or opportunity, through want of will, bodily strength, or circumstance. All may not be willing or able to follow the strict rules necessary for success. Nor does modern life offer in general the opportunities for so complete a physical culture. All men may not desire such a life or may think the attainment of it not worth the trouble involved. Some may wish to be rid of their body and that as speedily as possible. It is, therefore, said that it is easier to gain Liberation than Deathlessness! The former may be had by unselfishness, detachment from the world, moral and mental discipline. But to conquer death is harder than this, for these qualities and acts will not alone avail. He who does so conquer, holds life in the hollow of one hand and, if he be a successful (Siddha) Yogin, Liberation in the other hand. He has Enjoyment and Liberation. He is the Emperor who is Master of the World and the possessor of the Bliss which is beyond all worlds. Therefore, it is claimed by the Hatha Yogin that every Sadhana is inferior to Hatha Yoga!
The Hatha Yogin who works for Liberation does so through Laya Yoga Sadhana or Kundalini Yoga which gives both enjoyment and Liberation. At every centre to which he rouses Kundalini he experiences special form of Bliss and gains special powers. Carrying Her to Siva of his cerebral centre, he enjoys the Supreme Bliss which in its nature is that of Liberation, and which when established in permanence is Liberation itself on the loosening of Spirit and Body.
Energy (Shakti) polarises itself into two forms, namely, static or potential (Kundalini), and dynamic (the working forces of the body as Prana). Behind all activity there is a static background. This static centre in the human body is the central Serpent Power in the Muladhara (root-support). It is the power which is the static support (Adhara) of the whole body and all its moving Pranic forces. This Centre (Kendra) of Power is a gross form of Chit or Consciousness; that is, in itself (Svarupa), it is Consciousness; and by appearance it is a Power which, as the highest form of Force, is a manifestation of it. Just as there is a distinction (though identical at base) between the Supreme Quiescent Consciousness and Its active Power (Shakti), so when Consciousness manifests as Energy (Sakti), it possesses the twin aspects of potential and kinetic Energy. There can be no partition in fact of Reality. To the perfect eye of the Siddha the process of becoming is an ascription (Adhyasa). But to the imperfect eye of the Sadhaka, that is, the aspirant for Siddhi (perfected accomplishment), to the spirit which is still toiling through the lower planes and variously identifying itself with them, becoming is tending to appear and an appearance is real. The Kundalini Yoga is a rendering of Vedantic Truth from this practical point of view, and represents the world-process as a polarisation in Consciousness itself. This polarity as it exists in, and as, the body is destroyed by Yoga which disturbs the equilibrium of bodily consciousness, which consciousness is the result of the maintenance of these two poles. The human body, the potential pole of Energy which is the Supreme Power, is stirred to action, upon which the moving forces (dynamic Shakti) supported by it are drawn thereto, and the whole dynamism thus engendered moves upwards to unite with the quiescent Consciousness in the Highest Lotus.
There is polarisation of Shakti into two forms—static and dynamic. In the mind or experience this polarisation is patent to reflection; namely, the polarity between pure Chit and the Stress which is involved in it. This Stress or Shakti develops the mind through an infinity of forms and changes in the pure unbounded Ether of Consciousness—the Chidakasa. This analysis exhibits the primordial Shakti in the same two polar forms as before, static and dynamic. Here the polarity is most fundamental and approaches absoluteness, though of course, it is to be remembered that there is no absolute rest except in pure Chit. Cosmic energy is in an equilibrium which is relative and not absolute.
Passing from mind, let us take matter. The atom of modern science has ceased to be an atom in the sense of an indivisible unit of matter. According to the electron theory, the atom is a miniature universe resembling our solar system. At the centre of this atomic system we have a charge of positive electricity around which a cloud of negative charges called electrons revolve. The positive charges hold each other in check so that the atom is in a condition of equilibrated energy and does not ordinarily break up, though it may do so on the dissociation which is the characteristic of all matter, but which is so clearly manifest in the radioactivity of radium. We have thus here again, a positive charge at rest at the centre, and negative charges in motion round about the centre. What is thus said about the atom applies to the whole cosmic system and universe. In the world-system, the planets revolve around the Sun, and that system itself is probably (taken as a whole) a moving mass around some other relatively static centre, until we arrive at the Brahma-Bindu which is the point of Absolute Rest, around which all forms revolve and by which all are maintained. Similarly, in the tissues of the living body, the operative energy is polarised into two forms of energy—anabolic and catabolic, the one tending to change and the other to conserve the tissues; the actual condition of the tissues being simply the resultant of these two co-existent or concurrent activities.
In short, Shakti, when manifesting, divides itself into two polar aspects—static and dynamic—which implies that you cannot have it in a dynamic form without at the same time having it in a static form, much like the poles of a magnet. In any given sphere of activity of force, we must have, according to the cosmic principle of a static back-ground—Shakti at rest or “coiled”. This scientific truth is illustrated in the figure Kali, the Divine Mother moving as the Kinetic Shakti on the breast of Sadasiva who is the static background of pure Chit which is actionless, the Gunamayi Mother being all activity.
The Cosmic Shakti is the collectivity (Samashti) in relation to which the Kundalini in particular bodies is the Vyashti (individual) Shakti. The body is, as I have stated, a microcosm (Kshudrabrahmanda). In the living body there is, therefore, the same polarisation of which I have spoken. From the Mahakundalini the universe has sprung. In Her Supreme Form She is at rest, coiled round and one (as Chidrupini) with the Siva-bindu. She is then at rest. She next uncoils Herself to manifest. Here the three coils of which the Kundalini Yoga speaks are the three Gunas and the three and a half coil are the Prakriti and its three Gunas, together with the Vikritis. Her 50 coils are the letters of the Alphabet. As she goes on uncoiling, the Tattvas and the Matrikas, the Mother of the Varnas, issue from Her. She is thus moving, and continues even after creation to move in the Tattvas so created. For, as they are born of movement, they continue to move. The whole world (Jagat), as the Sanskrit term implies, is moving. She thus continues creatively acting until She has evolved Prithvi, the last of the Tattvas. First She creates mind, and then matter. This latter becomes more and more dense. It has been suggested that the Mahabhutas are the Densities of modern science:—Air density associated with the maximum velocity of gravity; Fire density associated with the velocity of light; Water or fluid density associated with molecular velocity and the equatorial velocity of the earth’s rotation; and Earth density, that of basalt associated with the Newtonian velocity of sound. However this be, it is plain that the Bhutas represent an increasing density of matter until it reaches its three dimensional solid form. When Shakti has created this last or Prithvi Tattva, what is there further for Her to do? Nothing. She therefore then again rests. At rest, again, means that She assumes a static form. Shakti, however, is never exhausted, that is, emptied into any of its forms. Therefore, Kundalini Shakti at this point is, as it were, the Shakti left over (though yet a plenum) after the Prithvi, the last of the Bhutas, has been created. We have thus Mahakundalini at rest as Chidrupini Shakti in the Sahasrara, the point of absolute rest; and then the body in which the relative static centre is Kundalini at rest, and around this centre the whole of the bodily forces move. They are Shakti, and so is Kundalini Shakti. The difference between the two is that they are Shaktis in specific differentiated forms in movement; and Kundalini Shakti is undifferentiated, residual Shakti at rest, that is, coiled. She is coiled in the Muladhara, which means ‘fundamental support’, and which is at the same time the seat of the Prithvi or last solid Tattva and of the residual Shakti or Kundalini. The body may, therefore, be compared to a magnet with two poles. The Muladhara, in so far as it is the seat of Kundalini Shakti, a comparatively gross form of Chit (being Chit-Shakti and Maya Shakti), is the static pole in relation to the rest of the body which is dynamic. The working that is the body necessarily presupposes and finds such a static support, hence the name Muladhara. In sense, the static Sakti at the Muladhara is necessarily coexistent with the creating and evolving Shakti of the body; because the dynamic aspect or pole can never be without its static counterpart. In another sense, it is the residual Shakti left over after such operation.
What then happens in the accomplishment of this Yoga? This static Shakti is affected by Pranayama and other Yogic processes and becomes dynamic. Thus, when completely dynamic, that is when Kundalini unites with Siva in the Sahasrara, the polarisation of the body gives way. The two poles are united in one and there is the state of consciousness called Samadhi. The polarisation, of course, takes place in consciousness. The body actually continues to exist as an object of observation to others. It continues its organic life. But man’s consciousness of his body and all other objects is withdrawn because the mind has ceased so far as his consciousness is concerned, the function having been withdrawn into its ground which is consciousness.
How is the body sustained? In the first place, though Kundalini Sakti is the static centre of the whole body as a complete conscious organism, yet each of the parts of the body and their constituent cells have their own static centres which uphold such parts or cells. Next, the theory of the Yogins themselves is that Kundalini ascends and that the body, as a complete organism, is maintained by the nectar which flows from the union of Siva and Sakti in the Sahasrara. This nectar is an ejection of power generated by their union. The potential Kundalini Sakti becomes only partly and not wholly converted into kinetic Sakti; and yet since Sakti—even as given in the Muladhara—is an infinitude, it is not depleted; the potential store always remains unexhausted. In this case, the dynamic equivalent is a partial conversion of one mode of energy into another. If, however, the coiled power at the Muladhara became absolutely uncoiled, there would result the dissolution of the three bodies—gross, subtle and causal, and consequently, Videha-Mukti, bodiless Liberation—because the static background in relation to a particular form of existence would, according to this hypothesis, have wholly given way. The body becomes cold as a corpse as the Sakti leaves it, not due to the depletion or privation of the static power at the Muladhara but to the concentration or convergence of the dynamic power ordinarily diffused over the whole body, so that the dynamic equivalent which is set up against the static background of Kundalini Sakti is only the diffused fivefold Prana gathered home—withdrawn from the other tissues of the body and concentrated along the axis. Thus, ordinarily, the dynamic equivalent is the Prana diffused over all the tissues: in Yoga, it is converged along the axis, the static equivalent of Kundalini Sakti enduring in both cases. Some part of the already available dynamic Prana is made to act at the base of the axis in a suitable manner, by which means the basal centre or Muladhara becomes, as it were, oversaturated and reacts on the whole diffused dynamic power (or Prana) of the body by withdrawing it from the tissues and converging it along the line of the axis. In this way, the diffused dynamic equivalent becomes the converged dynamic equivalent along the axis. What, according to this view, ascends is not the whole Sakti but an eject like condensed lightning, which at length reaches the Parama-Sivasthana. There the Central Power which upholds the individual world-Consciousness is merged in the Supreme Consciousness. The limited consciousness, transcending the passing concepts of worldly life, directly intuits the unchanging Reality which underlies the whole phenomenal flow. When Kundalini Sakti sleeps in the Muladhara, man is awake to the world; when she awakes to unite, and does unite, with the supreme static Consciousness which is Siva, then consciousness is asleep to the world and is one with the Light of all things.
The main principle is that when awakened, Kundalini Sakti, either Herself or Her eject, ceases to be a static Power which sustains the world-consciousness, the content of which is held only so long as She sleeps; and when once set in movement is drawn to that other static centre in the Thousand-petalled Lotus (Sahasrara) which is Herself in union with the Siva-consciousness or the consciousness of ecstasy beyond the world of form. When Kundalini sleeps, man is awake to this world. When She wakes, he sleeps—that is, loses all consciousness of the world and enters his causal body. In Yoga, he passes beyond to formless Consciousness.
Glory, glory to Mother Kundalini, who through Her Infinite Grace and Power, kindly leads the Sadhaka from Chakra to Chakra and illumines his intellect and makes him realise his identity with the Supreme Brahman! May Her blessings be upon you all!
Ascent of Kundalini
Patanjali-vyasamukhan gurunanyamscha bhaktitah; Natosmi vangmanah-kayairajnanadhvanta-bhaskaran—We offer our obeisance by word, mind and body to Patanjali, Vyasa and to all other Rishis and Yogic Masters who are like so many Suns to remove the darkness of Ajnana (ignorance).
Man, ignorant of his true Divine nature, vainly tries to secure happiness in the perishable objects of this illusory sense-universe. Every man in this world is restless, discontented and dissatisfied. He feels actually that he is in want of something, the nature of which he does not really understand. He seeks the rest and peace that he feels he is in need of, in the accomplishment of ambitious projects. But he finds that worldly greatness when secured is a delusion and a snare. He doubtless does not find any happiness in it. He gets degrees, diplomas, titles, honours, powers, name and fame; he marries; he begets children; in short, he gets all that he imagines would give him happiness. But yet, he finds no rest and peace.
Are you not ashamed to repeat the same process of eating, sleeping and talking again and again? Are you not really fed up with the illusory objects created by the jugglery of Maya? Have you got a single sincere friend in this universe? Is there any difference between an animal and the so-called dignified human being with boasted intellect, if he does not do any spiritual Sadhana daily, for Self-realisation? How long do you want to remain a slave of passion, Indriyas, woman and body? Fie on those miserable wretches who revel in filth and who have forgotten their real Atmic nature and their hidden powers!
The so-called educated persons are refined sensualists only. Sensual pleasure is no pleasure at all. Indriyas are deceiving you at every moment. Pleasure mixed with pain, sorrow, fear, sin, diseases is no pleasure at all. The happiness that depends upon perishable objects is no happiness. If your wife dies, you weep. If you lose money or property, you are drowned in sorrow. How long do you want to remain in that abject, degraded state? Those who waste their precious life in eating, sleeping and chatting without doing any Sadhana are brutes only.
You have forgotten your real Svarupa or purpose of life on account of Avidya, Maya, Moha and Raga. You are tossed up hither and thither aimlessly by the two currents of Raga and Dvesha. You are caught up in Samsara-Chakra on account of your egoism, Vasanas, Trishnas and passions of various sorts.
You want a Nitya (eternal), Nirupadhika (independent), Niratisaya (Infinite) Ananda. This you will find in your realisation of the Self only. Then alone will all your miseries and tribulations melt away. You have taken this body only to achieve this end. “Din nike bite jate hain—The days are passing away quickly.” The day has come and gone. Will you waste the night also?
“Aashaya badhyate loko karmana bahu-chintaya;
Ayukshinam na janati tasmat jagrata jagrata—
You are bound in this world by desires, actions and manifold anxieties. Therefore you do not know that your life is slowly decaying and is wasted. Therefore wake up, wake up.”
Now wake up. Open your eyes. Apply diligently to spiritual Sadhana. Never waste even a minute. Many Yogins and Jnanins, Dattatreya, Patanjali, Christ, Buddha, Gorakhnath, Matsyendranath, Ram Das and others have already trodden the spiritual path and realised through Sadhana. Follow their teachings and instructions implicitly.
Courage, Power, Strength, Wisdom, Joy and Happiness are your Divine heritage, your birth-right. Get them all through proper Sadhana. It will be simply preposterous to think that your Guru will do the Sadhana for you. You are your own redeemer. Gurus and Acharyas will show you the spiritual path, remove doubts and troubles and give some inspiration. You will have to tread the Spiritual Path. Remember this point well. You will have to place each step yourself in the Spiritual Path. Therefore do real Sadhana. Free yourself from death and birth and enjoy the Highest Bliss.
What Is Yoga?
The word ‘Yoga’ comes from a Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’ which means to join. In its spiritual sense it is that process by which the identity of the Jivatma and Paramatma is realised by the Yogins. The human soul is brought into conscious communion with God. Yoga is restraining the mental modifications. Yoga is that inhibition of the functions of the mind which leads to abidance of the spirit in his real nature. The inhibition of these functions of the mind is by Abhyasa and Vairagya” (Yoga Sutras).
Yoga is the Science that teaches the method of joining the human spirit with God. Yoga is the Divine Science which disentangles the Jiva from the phenomenal world of sense-objects and links him with the Ananta Ananda (Infinite Bliss), Parama Shanti (Supreme Peace), joy of an Akhanda character and Power that are inherent attributes of the Absolute. Yoga gives Mukti through Asamprajnata Samadhi by destroying all the Sankalpas of all antecedent mental functions. No Samadhi is possible without awakening the Kundalini. When the Yogi attains the highest stage, all his Karmas are burnt and he gets liberation from Samsara-Chakra.
The Importance Of Kundalini Yoga
In Kundalini Yoga the creating and sustaining Sakti of the whole body is actually and truly united with Lord Siva. The Yogi goads Her to introduce him to Her Lord. The rousing of Kundalini Sakti and Her Union with Lord Siva effects the state of Samadhi (Ecstatic union) and spiritual Anubhava (experience). It is She who gives Knowledge or Jnana, for She is Herself That. Kundalini Herself, when awakened by the Yogins, achieves for them the Jnana (illumination).
Kundalini can be awakened by various means and these different methods are called by different names, viz., Raja Yoga, Hatha Yoga, etc. The practitioner of this Kundalini Yoga claims, that it is higher than any other process and that Samadhi attained thereby is more perfect. The reason that they allege, is this:—In Dhyana Yoga, ecstasy takes place through detachment from the world and mental concentration leading the variety of mental operation (Vritti) of the uprising of pure consciousness unhindered by the limitations of the mind. The degree to which this unveiling of consciousness is effected, depends upon the meditative power, Dhyana Sakti, of the Sadhaka and the extent of detachment from the world. On the other hand, Kundalini is all Sakti and is therefore Jnana Sakti Herself—bestows Jnana and Mukti, when awakened by the Yogins. Secondly, in Kundalini Yoga there is not merely a Samadhi through meditation, but the central power of the Jiva, carries with it the forms of both body and mind. The union in that sense is claimed to be more complete than that enacted through methods only. Though in both cases the body-consciousness is lost, in Kundalini Yoga not only the mind but the body also, in so far as it is represented by its central power, is actually united with Lord Siva at the Sahasrara Chakra. This union (Samadhi) produces Bhukti (enjoyment) which a Dhyana Yogi does not possess. A Kundalini Yogi has both Bhukti (enjoyment) and Mukti (liberation) in the fullest and literal sense. Hence this Yoga is claimed to be the foremost of all Yogas. When the sleeping Kundalini is awakened by Yogic Kriyas, it forces a passage upwards through the different Chakras (Shat-Chakra Bheda). It excites or stimulates them into intense activity. During its ascent, layer after layer of the mind becomes fully opened. All Kleshas (afflictions) and the three kinds of Taapa will vanish. The Yogi experiences various visions, powers, bliss and knowledge. When it reaches Sahasrara Chakra in the brain, the Yogi gets the maximum knowledge, Bliss, power and Siddhis. He reaches the highest rung in the Yogic ladder. He gets perfectly detached from body and mind. He becomes free in all respects. He is a full-blown Yogi (Purna Yogi).
Important Qualifications Of A Sadhaka
When the whole vitality is sapped from the body one cannot do any rigid Sadhana. Youth is the best period for Yoga Abhyasa. This is the first and the foremost qualification of a Sadhaka; there must be vigour and vitality.
One who has a calm mind, who has faith in the words of his Guru and Sastras, who is moderate in eating and sleeping and who has the intense longing for deliverance from the Samsara-Chakra is a qualified person for the practice of Yoga.
“Ahamkaram balam darpam kamam krodham parigraham; Vimuchya nirmamah santo brahmabhuyaya kalpate -
Having cast aside egoism, violence, arrogance, desire, wrath, covetousness, selfless and peaceful—he is fit to become ETERNAL.”
Those who are addicted to sensual pleasures or those who are arrogant and proud, dishonest, untruthful, diplomatic, cunning and treacherous and who disrespect the Guru, Sadhus and elders and take pleasure in vain controversies and worldly actions, can never attain success in Yogic practices.
Kama, Krodha, Lobha, Moha, Mada, and all other impurities should be completely annihilated. One cannot become pure and perfect when one has so many impure qualities.
Sadhakas should develop the following virtuous qualities:
Straightforwardness, service to Guru, the sick and old persons, Ahimsa, Brahmacharya, spontaneous generosity, Titiksha, Sama Drishti, Samata, spirit of service, selflessness, tolerance, Mitahara, humility, honesty and other virtues to an enormous degree. Aspirants will not at all be benefited in any way in the absence of these virtues even if they exert much to awaken the Kundalini through Yogic exercises.
Aspirants should freely open their hearts to their Guru. They must be frank and candid. They should give up the self-assertive, Rajasic vehemence, vanity and arrogance, and carry out their master’s instructions with Sraddha and Prem. Constant self-justification is a dangerous habit for a Sadhaka.
Energy is wasted in too much talking, unnecessary worry and vain fear. Gossiping and tall-talk should be given up entirely. A real Sadhaka is a man of few words, to the point and that too on spiritual matters only. Sadhakas should always remain alone. Mouna is a great desideratum. Mixing with householders is highly dangerous for a Sadhaka. The company of a householder is far more injurious than the company of a woman. Mind has the power to imitate.
A Sadhaka should observe perfect discipline. He must be civil, polite, courteous, gentle, noble and gracious in his behaviour. He must have perseverance, adamantine will, asinine patience and leech-like tenacity in Sadhana. He must be perfectly self-controlled, pure and devoted to the Guru.
A glutton or one who is a slave of his senses with several bad habits, is unfit for the spiritual path.
“Mitaharam vina yastu yogarambham tu karayet; Nanarogo bhavettasya kinchit yogo na siddhyati
“Without observing moderation of diet, if one takes to the Yogic practices, he cannot obtain any benefit but gets various diseases” (Ghe. Sam. V-16).
Food plays a prominent place in Yoga-Sadhana. An aspirant should be very careful in the selection of articles of Sattvic nature especially in the beginning of his Sadhana period. Later on when Siddhi is attained, drastic dietetic restrictions can be removed.
Purity of food leads to purity of mind. Sattvic food helps meditation. The discipline of food is very very necessary for Yogic Sadhana. If the tongue is controlled, all the other Indriyas are controlled.
“Ahara-suddhau sattva-suddhih, sattva-suddhau dhruva smritih; Smriti-lambhe sarva-granthinam viprarnokshah—By the purity of food follows the purification of the inner nature, by the purification of the nature, memory becomes firm and on strengthening the memory, follows the loosening of all ties and the wise get Moksha thereby.”
I will give you a list of Sattvic articles for a Sadhaka. Milk, red rice, barley, wheat, Havishannam, Charu, cream, cheese, butter, green dal (Moong dal), Badam (almonds), Misri (sugar-candy), Kismis (raisins), Kichidi, Pancha Shakha vegetables (Seendil, Chakravarty, Ponnan-gani, Chirukeerai and Vellaicharnai), Lowki vegetable, plantain-stem, Parwal, Bhindi (lady’s finger), pomegranates, sweet oranges, grapes, apples, bananas, mangoes, dates, honey, dried ginger, black pepper, etc., are the Sattvic articles of diet prescribed for the Yoga Abhyasis.
Charu: Boil half a seer of milk along with some boiled rice, ghee and sugar. This is an excellent food for Yogins. This is for the day-time. For the night, half a seer of milk will do.
Milk should not be too much boiled. It should be removed from the fire as soon as the boiling point is reached. Too much boiling destroys the nutritious principles and vitamins and renders it quite useless. This is an ideal food for Sadhakas. Milk is a perfect food by itself.
A fruit diet exercises a benign influence on the constitution. This is a natural form of diet. Fruits are very great energy-producers. Fruits and milk diet help concentration and easy mental focussing. Barley, wheat, milk and ghee promote longevity and increase power and strength. Fruit-juice and the water wherein sugar-candy is dissolved, are very good beverages. Butter mixed with sugar-candy, and almonds soaked in water can be taken. These will cool the system.
Sour, hot, pungent and bitter preparations, salt, mustard, asafoetida, chillies, tamarind, sour curd, chutnee, meat, eggs, fish, garlic, onions, alcoholic liquors, acidic things, stale food, overripe or unripe fruits, and other articles that disagree with your system should be avoided entirely.
Rajasic food distracts the mind. It excites passion. Give up salt. It excites passion and emotion. Giving up of salt helps in controlling the tongue and thereby the mind and in developing will-power also. Snake-bite and scorpion-stings will have no influence on a man who has given up salt. Onions and garlic are worse than meat.
Live a natural life. Take simple food that is agreeable. You should have your own menu to suit your constitution. You are yourself the best judge to select a Sattvic diet.
The proficient in Yoga should abandon articles of food detrimental to the practice of Yoga. During intense Sadhana, milk (and ghee also) is ordained.
I have given above several articles of Sattvic nature. That does not mean that you should take all. You will have to select a few things that are easily available and suitable to you. Milk is the best food for Yogins. But even a small quantity of milk is harmful for some and may not agree with all constitutions. If one form of diet is not suitable or if you feel constipated, change the diet and try some other Sattvic articles. This is Yukti.
In the matter of food and drinks you should be a master. You should not have the least craving or sense-hankering for any particular food. You must not become a slave to any particular object.
Heavy food leads to Tamasic state and induces sleep only. There is a general misapprehension that a large quantity of food is necessary for health and strength. Much depends upon the power of assimilation and absorption. Generally, in the vast majority of cases, most of the food passes away undigested along with faeces. Take half stomachful of wholesome food. Fill a quarter with pure water. Leave the rest free. This is Mitahara. Mitahara plays a vital part in keeping up perfect health. Almost all diseases are due to irregularity of meals, overeating and unwholesome food. Eating all things at all times like a monkey is highly dangerous. Such a man can become a Rogi (sick man) easily; but he can never become a Yogi. Hear the emphatic declaration of Lord Krishna: “Success in Yoga is not for him who eats too much or too little; nor for him who sleeps too much or too little (Gita VI-16). Again in the Sloka 18 of the same chapter, He says: “To him who is temperate in eating and in sleep and wakefulness, Yoga becomes a destroyer of misery.”
A glutton cannot at the very outset have diet regulations and observe Mitahara. He must gradually practise this. First let him take less quantity twice as usual. Then instead of the usual heavy night meals, let him take fruits and milk alone for some days. In due course of time he can completely avoid the night meals and try to take fruits and milk in the daytime. Those who do intense Sadhana must take milk alone. It is a perfect food by itself. If necessary they can take some easily digestible fruits. A glutton, if he all on a sudden takes to fruit or milk diet, will desire at every moment to eat something or other. That is bad. Once again I reiterate, gradual practice is necessary.
Do not fast much. It will produce weakness in you. Occasional fasting once a month or when passion troubles you much, will suffice. During fasting you should not even think of the various articles of food. Constant thinking of the food when you fast cannot bring you the desired result. During fasting, avoid company. Live alone. Utilise your time in Yogic Sadhana. After a fast do not take any heavy food. Milk or some fruit-juice is beneficial.
Do not make much fuss about your diet. You need not advertise to everyone if you are able to pull on with a particular form of diet. The observance of such Niyamas is for your advancement in the spiritual path and you will not be spiritually benefited by giving publicity to your Sadhana. There are many nowadays who make it a profession to earn money and their livelihood by performing some Asana, Pranayama or by having some diet regulation such as eating only raw articles or leaves or roots. They cannot have any spiritual growth. The goal of life is Self-realisation. Sadhakas should keep the goal always in view and do intense Sadhana with the prescribed methods.
The Place For Yoga Sadhana
Sadhana should be done in a secluded place. There should be no interruption by anyone. When you live in a house, a well-ventilated room should be reserved for Sadhana purposes. Do not allow anybody to enter the room. Keep it under lock and key. Do not allow even your wife, children or intimate friends to enter the room. It should be kept pure and holy. It should be free from mosquitoes, flies and lice and absolutely free from dampness. Do not keep too many things in the room. They will distract you every now and then. No surrounding noise also should disturb you. The room should not be too big as the eyes will begin to wander.
Places of cool or temperate climate are required for Yoga Abhyasa as you will get easily exhausted in hot place. You must select such a place where you can comfortably stay all through the year in winter, summer and rainy season. You must stick to one place throughout Sadhana period. Select a beautiful and pleasant spot where there is no disturbance, on the banks of a river, lake or sea or top of a hill where there is a nice spring and grove of trees and where milk and articles of food are easily procurable. You should select such a place where there are some other Yogic practitioners. When you see others who are devoted to Yogic practices you will diligently apply yourself to your practices. You can consult them in times of difficulties. Do not wander here and there in search of a place where you will get all conveniences. Do not change your place very often when you find some inconvenience. You must put up with it. Every place has some advantage and disadvantage. Find out a place where you have many advantages and a few disadvantages.
The following places are best suited. They are admirably adapted. Scenery is charming and spiritual vibrations are marvellous and elevating. There are several Kutirs (huts) to live in for real Abhyasis, or you can construct your own hut. Milk and other rations are available in all the places from the neighbouring villages. Any solitary village on the banks of Ganga, Narmada, Yamuna, Godavari, Krishna and Kaveri is suitable. I will tell you some important places for meditation.
Kulu Valley, Champa Valley and Srinagar in Kashmir; Banrughi Guha near Tehri; Brahmavarta near Kanpur; Joshi (Prayag) in Allahabad; Canary Caves near Bombay; Mussoorie; Mt. Abu; Nainital; Brindavan; Banares; Puri; Uttara Brindavan (14 miles from Almora); Hardwar, Rishikesh (N.Rly.); Lakshmanjhula (*3), Brahmapuri Forest (*4), Ram Guha in Brahmapuri Forest, Garuda Chatty (*4), Neelkant (*8), Vasishtha Guha (*14), Uttarkashi; Deva Prayag; Badrinarayan; Gangotri, Nasik and Nandi Hills in Mysore. (* Distance in miles from Rishikesh)
If you build a Kutir in a crowded place, people out of curiosity will disturb you. You will have no spiritual vibrations there. There will be a lot of other disturbances also. Again you will be without any protection if you construct your Kutir in a thick forest. Thieves and wild animals will trouble you. The question of food will arise. You must consider all these points well before you select a place for your Sadhana. If you cannot go in for such places, convert a solitary room into a forest.
Your Asana (seat) for the Yogic practices should not be too high or too low. Spread a seat of Kusha grass, tiger-skin or deer-skin and then sit. Burn incense daily in the room. In the initial period of your Sadhana you must be very particular about all these. When you have sufficiently advanced in your practice, then you need not lay much stress on such rules.
It is stated in Gheranda Samhita that Yogic practices should not be commenced in winter, summer and rainy seasons, but only in spring and autumn. This depends upon the temperature of the particular place and the strength of the individual. Generally cool hours are best suited. In hot places you should not practise during the day. Early morning hours are suitable for Yogic practices. You should completely avoid Yoga Abhyasa in summer in those places where the temperature is hot even in winter. If you live in cool places like Kodaikanal, Ooty, Kashmir, Badrinarayan, Gangotri, etc., you can practise even during the day.
As instructed in the previous lessons you should not practise when the stomach is loaded. Generally Yogic practices should be done only after a bath. A bath is not beneficial immediately after the practices. You should not sit for Yogic practices when your mind is restless or when you are worried much.
Young boys under 18 years of age whose bodies are very tender should not have too much practice. They have a very tender body which cannot stand the exertion of Yogic exercises. Further, a youth’s mind will be wandering and unsettled and so, in youth one cannot concentrate well, whereas, Yogic exercises require intense and deep concentration. In old age when all vitality is sapped by unnecessary worry, anxieties, troubles and other worldly Vyavaharas, one cannot do any spiritual practice. Yoga requires full vitality, energy, power and strength. Therefore the best period for Yoga Abhyasa is from 20 to 40 years of age. Those who are strong and healthy can take to Yogic practices even after 50.
Necessity For A Yogic Guru
In olden days the aspirants were required to live with the Guru for a number of years, so that the Guru could study the students thoroughly. The food during practice, what to practise and how, whether the students are qualified for the path of Yoga, and the temperament of the aspirants and other important items have to be considered and judged by the Guru. It is the Guru that should decide whether the aspirants are of Uttamai, Madhyama or Adhama type and fix different kinds of exercises. Sadhana differs according to the nature, capacity and qualifications of the aspirants. After understanding the theory of Yoga, you will have to learn the practice from an experienced Yogic Guru. So long as there is the world, there are books on Yoga and teachers also. You will have to search for them with Sraddha, faith, devotion and earnestness. You can get easy lessons from the Guru and practise them at home also in the initial stages of practice. When you advance a bit, for advanced and difficult exercises you will have to stay with the Guru. The personal contact with the Guru has manifold advantages. You will be highly benefited by the spiritual magnetic aura of your Guru. For the practice of Bhakti Yoga and Vedanta you do not require a Guru by your side. After learning the Srutis for sometime from a Guru, you will have to reflect and meditate alone, in entire seclusion, whereas in Kundalini Yoga you will have to break up the Granthis and take the Kundalini from Chakra to Chakra. These are all difficult processes. The method of uniting the Apana and Prana and sending it along the Sushumna and breaking the Granthis need the help of a Guru. You will have to sit at the Guru’s feet for a pretty long time. You will have to understand thoroughly the location of the Nadis, Chakras and the detailed technique of the several Yogic Kriyas.
Lay bare to your Guru the secrets of your heart and the more you do so, the greater the sympathy and help you get from your Guru. This sympathy means accession of strength to you in the straggle against sin and temptation.
“Learn thou this by discipleship, by investigation and by service. The wise, the seers of the Essence of things will instruct thee in wisdom”. (Gita-IV-34)
Some do meditation for some years independently. Later on they feel actually the necessity for a Guru. They come across some obstacles in the way. They do not know how to proceed further and to obviate these impediments or stumbling blocks. Then they begin to search for a master. A stranger in a big city finds it difficult to go back to his residence in a small avenue though he has walked in the way half a dozen times. When difficulty arises even in the case of finding out the way through streets and roads how much more difficult it should be in the path of spirituality when one walks alone with closed eyes!
The aspirant gets obstacles or impediments, dangers, snares and pitfalls on the spiritual path. He may commit errors in Sadhana also. A Guru who has already trodden the path and reached the goal, is very necessary to guide him.
Who Is A Guru?
Guru is one who has full Self-illumination and who removes the veil of ignorance in deluded Jivas. Guru, Truth, Brahman, Ishvara, Atman, God, Om are all one. The number of realised souls may be less in this Kali Yuga when compared with the Satya Yuga, but they are always present to help the aspirants. They are always searching for the proper Adhikarins.
Guru is Brahman Himself. Guru is Ishvara Himself. Guru is God. A word from him is a word from God. He need not teach any. Even his mere presence or company is elevating, inspiring and soul-stirring. The very company itself is self-illumination. Living in his company is spiritual education. That which comes out of his lips is all Vedas or gospel-truth. His very life is an embodiment of Vedas. Guru is your guide or spiritual preceptor, real father, mother, brother, relative and intimate friend. He is an embodiment of mercy and love. His tender smile radiates light, bliss, joy, knowledge and peace. He is a blessing to the suffering humanity. Whatever he talks is Upanishadic teaching. He knows the spiritual path. He knows the pitfalls and snares on the way. He gives warning to the aspirants. He removes obstacles on the path. He imparts spiritual strength to the students. He showers his grace on their heads. He takes their Prarabdha even on his head. He is the ocean of mercy. All agonies, miseries, tribulations, taints of worldliness, etc., vanish in his presence.
It is he who transmutes the little Jivahood into great Brahmanhood. It is he who overhauls the old, wrong, vicious Samskaras of the aspirants and awakens them to the attainment of the knowledge of Self. It is he who uplifts the Jivas from the quagmire of body and Samsara, removes the veil of Avidya, all doubts, Moha and fear, awakens Kundalini and opens the inner eye of intuition.
The Guru must not only be a Srotriya but a Brahma-Nishtha also. Mere study of books cannot make one a Guru. One who has studied Vedas and who has direct knowledge of Atman through Anubhava can only be considered a Guru. If you can find peace in the presence of a Mahatma, and if your doubts are removed by his very presence you can take him as your Guru.
A Guru can awaken the Kundalini of an aspirant through sight, touch, speech or mere Sankalpa (thought). He can transmit spirituality to the student just as one gives an orange-fruit to another. When the Guru gives Mantra to his disciples, he gives it with his own power and Sattvic Bhava.
The Guru tests the students in various ways. Some students misunderstand him and lose their faith in him. Hence, they are not benefited. Those who stand the tests boldly come out successful in the end. The periodical examinations in the Adhyatmic University of Sages are very stiff indeed. In days of yore the tests were very severe. Once Gorakhnath asked some of his students to climb up a tall tree and throw themselves head downwards on a very sharp Trident (Trishul). Many faithless students kept quiet. But one faithful student at once climbed up the tree with lightning speed and threw himself down. He was protected by the invisible hand of Gorakhnath. He had immediate Self-realisation. He had no Deha-adhyasa (attachment for his body). The other faithless students had strong Moha and Ajnana.
There is a good deal of heated debates and controversy amongst many people on the matter of the necessity of a Guru. Some of them assert with vehemence and force that a preceptor is not at all necessary for Self-realisation and spiritual advancement and that one can have spiritual progress and self-illumination through one’s own efforts only. They quote various passages from scriptures and assign arguments and reasonings to support them. Others boldly assert with greater emphasis and force that no spiritual progress is possible for a man, however intelligent he may be, however hard he may attempt and struggle in the spiritual path, unless he gets the benign grace and direct guidance of a spiritual preceptor.
Now open your eyes and watch carefully what is going on in this world in all walks of life. Even a cook needs a teacher. He serves under a senior cook for some years. He obeys him implicitly. He pleases his teacher in all possible ways. He learns all the techniques in cooking. He gets knowledge through the grace of his senior cook, his teacher. A junior lawyer wants the help and guidance of a senior advocate. Students of mathematics and medicine need the help and guidance of a Professor. A student of Science, music and astronomy wants the guidance of a scientist and musician and an astronomer. When such is the case with ordinary, secular knowledge, then, what to speak of the inner spiritual path, wherein the student has to walk alone with closed eyes? When you are in a thick jungle, you come across several cross foot-paths. You are in a dilemma. You do not know the directions and by which path you should go. You are bewildered. You want a guide here to direct you in the right path. It is universally admitted that an efficient teacher is needed in all branches of knowledge in this physical plane and that physical, mental, moral and cultural growth can only be had through the help and guidance of a capable master. This is a universal inexorable law of nature. Why do you deny them, friend, the application of this universally accepted law in the realm of spirituality?
Spiritual knowledge is a matter of Guruparampara. It is handed down from a Guru to his disciple. Study Brihadaranyaka Upanishad. You will have a comprehensive understanding. Gaudapadacharya imparted Self-knowledge to his disciple Govindapadacharya; Govindapadacharya to his disciple Sankaracharya; Sankaracharya to his disciple Suresvaracharya. Gorakhnath to Nivrittinath; Nivrittinath to Jnanadev. Totapuri imparted knowledge to Ramakrishna; Ramakrishna to Vivekananda. It was Dr. Annie Besant who moulded the career of Sri Krishnamurthi. It was Ashtavakra who moulded the life of Raja Janaka. It was Gorakhnath who shaped the spiritual destiny of Raja Bhartrihari. It was Lord Krishna who made Arjuna and Uddhava establish themselves in the spiritual path, when their minds were in an unsettled condition.
Some aspirants do meditation for some years independently. Later on they feel actually the necessity for a Guru. They come across some obstacles in the way. They do not know how to proceed further and how to obviate these impediments or stumbling blocks. Then they begin to search for a Guru.
The student and the teacher should live together as father and devoted son or as a husband and wife with extreme sincerity and devotion. The aspirant should have an eager, receptive attitude to imbibe the teachings of the master. Then only will the aspirant be spiritually benefited; otherwise, there is not the least hope of the spiritual life of the aspirant and complete regeneration of his old Asuric nature.
It is a great pity that the present system of education in India is not favourable to the spiritual growth of Sadhakas. The minds of the students are saturated with materialistic poison. Aspirants of the present day have not got any idea of the true relationship of Guru and a disciple. It is not like the relationship of a student and teacher or professor in schools and colleges. Spiritual relationship is entirely different. It involves dedication. It is very sacred. It is purely divine. Turn the pages of the Upanishads. In days of yore, Brahmacharins used to approach their teachers with profound humility, sincerity and Bhava.
Just as you can give an orange to a man and take it back, so also spiritual power can be transmitted by one to another and taken back also. This method of transmitting spiritual power is termed “Shakti Sanchara.”
Birds keep their eggs under their wings. Through heat the eggs are hatched. Fish lay their eggs and look at them. They are hatched. The tortoise lays its eggs and thinks of them. They are hatched. Even so the spiritual power is transmitted by the Guru to the disciple through touch (Sparsha) like birds, sight (Darshana) like fish, and thinking or willing (Sankalpa) like the tortoise.
The transmitter, the Yogi-Guru, sometimes enters the astral body of the student and elevates his mind through his power. The Yogi (operator) makes the subject (Chela) sit in front of him and asks him to close his eyes and then transmits his spiritual power. The subject feels the spiritual power actually passing from Muladhara Chakra higher up to the neck and top of the head.
The disciple does various Hatha Yogic Kriyas, Asanas, Pranayamas, Bandhas, Mudras, etc., by himself. The student must not restrain his Iccha-Sakti. He must act according to the inner Prerana (inner goading or stirring). The mind is highly elevated. The moment the aspirant closes his eyes, meditation comes by itself. Through Sakti-Sanchara Kundalini is awakened by the grace of the Guru in the disciple. Sakti Sanchara comes through Parampara. It is a hidden mystic science. It is handed down from the Guru to the disciple.
The disciple should not rest satisfied with the transmission of power from the Guru. He will have to struggle hard in Sadhana for further perfection and attainments.
Sakti Sanchara is of two kinds, viz., lower and higher. The lower one is Jada Kriya only wherein one automatically does Asanas, Bandhas and Mudras without any instructions when the Guru imparts the power to the student. The student will have to take up Sravana, Manana and Nididhyasana for perfection. He cannot depend upon the Kriya alone. This Kriya is only an auxiliary. It gives a push to the Sadhaka. A fully-developed Yogi only possesses the higher kind of Shakti-Sanchara.
Lord Jesus, through touch, transmitted his spiritual power to some of his disciples (Master’s Touch). Samartha Ramdas touched a prostitute. She entered into Samadhi. Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa touched Swami Vivekananda. Swami Vivekananda had superconscious experiences. He struggled hard for seven years more even after the touch for attaining perfection. Lord Krishna touched the blind eyes of Vilvamangal (Surdas). The inner eye of Surdas was opened. He had Bhava Samadhi. Lord Gouranga, through his touch, produced Divine intoxication in many people and converted them to his side. Even atheists danced in ecstasy in the streets by his touch and sang songs of Hari. Glory, glory to such exalted Yogic Gurus.