Kundalini yoga by Swami Ramananda-Holistic approach (part-B)
Scholars say that we have to differentiate between descriptive statements and prescriptive statements.Descriptive statements describe the nature of existent things,where as prescriptive statements prescribe or specify what we should or shouldn’t do when we interpret scriptures. It’s crucial to correctly determine which statements are descriptive and which are prescriptive but it’s not always obvious one who punished and says the human body is a leather sack filled with stinking things but this is not a descriptive.This is a prescriptive statement because its aim is to prescribe detachment towards our bodies and those of our loved ones when the rich is portrayed to seven chakras their intent was not to describe objects that actually exist in the body rather they prescribed a practice in which chakras deliberately superimposed on the body were to be visualized for the sake of meditation.
Of course not everyone agrees with this.Many modern practitioners believe that chakras truly exist inside their bodies.Fortunately this belief is extremely helpful in the practice of Kundalini Yoga to believe in the divinity of a three-foot tall statue on an altar helps people pray to believe that these little bits of paper are valuable helps us buy things and to believe that chakras truly exist inside the body helps practitioners meditate.
All these beliefs are helpful.The value of a belief is not in its ferocity but in its ability to help us beliefs are not right or wrong.They are helpful or harmful and to believe in the existence of chakras is an exceedingly helpful belief one that need not be challenged or dismisse.The word Kundalini means coiled and Shakti means power or energy.The Rishi’s prescribed visualizing Kundalini Shakti as a powerful serpent coiled up at the base of the spine.So why a serpent, because they’re powerful without arms or legs they move swiftly and strike fiercely and snakes are deeply revered in Hindu culture.
After shedding their skin they’re figuratively reborn and therefore associated with there birth of human souls.Serpents also play important roles in many popular mythological stories.Kundalini Shakti is best understood in its philosophical context. The creation of the universe is said to result from the union of Shiva.The masculine principle and Shakti the feminine principle.Here Shiva and Shakti are not the four armed deities familiar to Hindus .Shiva is the fabric of reality that gives existence to everything like clay gives existence to pots and bowls because clay is in earth.
A separate creative force is needed to transform it into various objects.Similarly Shiva lacks the creative force needed to produce the universe only when Shiva is accompanied by Shakti’s infinite creative power can the universe arise shakti infuses everything in the cosmos with energy including every atom in your body in this way Shakti is present within you and it is this inner presence that is called Kundalini Shakti.
If Kundalini Shakti is dormant sleeping at the base of your spine then how is it to be awakened.The yogi says the sleeping Kundalini isto be awakened by agitating it like hitting a snake with a stick.It then stands erect like a snake entering its burrow to awaken Kundalini Shakti.The Yoga Upanishads prescribed a variety of asanas pranayamas and muscle contractions known as Shakti path i.e not discussed anywhere in the Upanishads Shakti path is a special blessing from a guru like a mantra ,a mere touch or glance that is said to immediately awaken your Kundalini.
The use of Shakti path is widely accepted by modern teachers even though the Rishi’s never mentioned it once. Kundalini Shakti has been awakened and starts its ascent.Some practitioners like Gopi Krishna report having amazing experiences, mystical visions celestial sounds,ecstasy but if the chakras and Kundalini serpent were deliberately superimposed by the Rishi’s and don’t truly exist then how could these experiences arise for practitioners who strongly believe that the chakras and Kundalini serpent actually exist inside their bodies.
The minds marvelous power of suggestion is certainly capable of producing such experiences. The practice of Kundalini Yoga reaches its climax when Kundalini finally ascends to the sahasrara chakra. The yogic six chakras Kundalini Shakti merges with Shiva at the thousand petaled Lotus at the crown of the head, that is the supreme state that is the cause for liberation.
This verse is easily misinterpreted unless we bear in mind our earlier discussions some contend that Kundalini Yoga is a self-sufficient means for liberation or enlightenment but all forms of yoga including Kundalini Yoga are secondary causes for enlightenment.To get enlightened through Kundalini Yoga alone is like making rotis with apan and stove but no fire.The primary cause for enlightenment is spiritual knowledge which removes the veil of ignorance and reveals your true nature.Kundalini helps you gain that knowledge by leading you to a state of meditative absorption known as Samadhi .
Samadhi is the goal of many meditation techniques and for good reason in that state of absorption all distracting mental activities are removed and all that remains is you your true nature stripped of everything.That’s not you after emerging from Samadhi, you have an opportunity to grasp a life-changing lesson from that unique experience.That your true nature is pure consciousness surely independent of your body,mind and the world around you in this way the state of Samadhi produced by Kundalini Yoga can be a gateway to enlightenment as the tricky brahman Upanishad says a yogi whose mind is absorbed gains liberation as effortlessly as a berry already in the palm of his hand we’ve just completed a rather complex inquiry.
Next we’ll focus on the actual practice of Kundalini Yoga so far we’ve been studying the guidebook for the inner pilgrimage mapped out by the Rishi’s,now it’s time for us to begin the actual journey and follow in their footsteps by practicing Kundalini Yoga as they themselves conceived it.This is where I meditate every day usually start with prayer and devotional meditation which help balance the Vedantic meditations I practice. Next starting tomorrow I’m going to set aside this routine and focus exclusively on the practice of Kundalini Yoga. I’m eager to begin this new adventure but when I reflect on my gurus negative comments about Kundalini Yoga, I feel a bit uneasy if he were still alive I might not have undertaken this project.
Our inner pilgrimage begins with the mooladhara chakra at the base of the spine.Mula means root and this chakra is the root or starting place for this practice. Each of the lowest five chakras represent one of the five elements known in ancient times- earth, water, fire, air and space. From the most gross earth to the most subtle space inside the mooladhara chakra the element earth is represented by a yellow square. It’s interesting that the yoga Upanishads specify colors for each of the five elements but they say nothing about the color of each chakra the colors used here are based on later scriptural traditions.
You’ll often see Sanskrit letters adorning the petals of each chakra but these letters aren’t mentioned in the yoga ,they were a later addition.The yoga Upanishads do specify mantras not for the chakras but for each of the five elements. Aum is the mantra for the element earth chakras are often depicted with these mantras drawn inside but mantras are for recitation not for visualization each chakra is the abode of a particular deity to be meditated upon during one’s inner pilgrimage.For the mooladhara chakra the deity is Brahma God in its aspect as creator of the universe the mooladhara or rootchakra is associated both with the element earth the root of all matter and with brahma the root of existence itself in meditation.
Brahma is to be visualized according to the scriptures seated on a lotus with four arms and four heads.I’ve just finished my first meditation for many years, I focused my attention between my eyebrows so it wasn’t difficult to concentrate on the base of the spine instead with my attention fixed there I visualized the mooladhara chakra while reciting the earth mantra Aum
I reflected on how the element earth is the basis for my physical existence for every atom in my body then I imagined Brahma residing in the chakra and I settled into a deeply prayerful mood feeling God’s divine presence within me.The ability to become deeply absorbed in devotion is one of the many benefits of regular meditation.I find this prayerful state very nurturing and healing in that state. I sought Brahmos blessings for success on the journey that’s just begun in order to proceed.We have to consult the yoga dominated Upanishad which says within the mooladhara chakra is a yoni and within that yoni is a great Linga.
The words yoni and Linga often denote the female and male sex organs but here yoni means Kundalini Shakti.The feminine principle we discussed before and the word Linga signifies Shiva as pure consciousness.The masculine principle in the mooladhara chakra.Kundalini Shakti is depicted as a powerful serpent and Shiva is depicted as a rounded Linga encircled by that serpent intimate contact between a serpent and Linga is said to generate heat or fire.
According to the Rishi’s certain yogic practices can Kindle that fire until it becomes hot enough to wake up the dormant Kundalini serpent and drive it out of the mooladhara chakra upwards into the sushumna nadi which emerges from the top to kindle the fire in the mooladhara chakra. The yoga who punishes prescribes several asanas, pranayamas and Bounds. One is mula bandha which entails contracting the muscles at the anus another is a kind of pranayama which involves rapid forceful exhalations together with pulsations of the abdomen muscles.
These techniques are said to force prana into the mooladhara chakra fanning the flames so to speak to produce enough heat to force the kundalini upwards in tomorrow’s meditation. I’ll try these techniques while meditating today I visualized a roaring fire inside the mooladhara chakra as I practiced mula bandha. After each inhalation I briefly retained my breath and contracted dissenter muscles after a while those muscles got tired so I switched to bhastrika pranayama. It’soften called bellows breath because of its vigorous exhalation bellows are used to force air into a fire to raise its temperature.
Bhastrika pranayama certainly raised my temperature.It’s very energizing, with each exhalation I also pulsed my abdomen muscles which shook the organs inside the trunk of my body where the mooladhara chakra is located.This shaking is said to help wake up the serpent sleeping.
There have you ever noticed how sensations like itches hunger and thirst become stronger when you focus your attention on them .That’s due to the power of suggestion which can actually be used as a valuable tool for meditation.Long ago I found that by concentrating my attention anywhere in my body like between my eyebrows I could produce various sensations there today as I visualized a fire blazing away in the mooladhara chakra I began to feel a sense of warm that the base of my spine.This physical sensation arose due to the combined effects of mula bandha pranayama and the power of suggestion.