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Prana is that substance in the air from which all life has emanated. It is both macrocosmic and microcosmic. Because prana is part of the air and atmosphere, we are constantly breathing it in. However, when we speak of prana, we do not mean breath, air or oxygen, but rather the original life force which is everywhere, pervading all existence – animate and inanimate.
Prana is visualised as a misty, cloud-like flow of energy so subtle in form that it is undetectable by scientific methods. In the physical body, prana flows like an electric current through an intricate pathway of subtle nerves called nadis. “The cosmic manifestation of prana in the individual body is represented by Kundalini,” says Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati.
Firstly, it is important to understand what is meant by the practice of pranayama. The simple act of breathing in and out is an involuntary process, whereas in the practice of pranayama you consciously direct prana throughout the body. Therefore, the benefits you derive will be felt at all levels and you will create a balance between your physical, mental and emotional bodies. Your organs will function better, your circulation will improve, your respiratory system will work better and you will feel more relaxed and energetic.
As you progress in your practice, you will find that your awareness levels are much higher and you are now better able to deal with challenging situations. You will be less prone to mood swings. Instead, there will be a realisation that there is a definite purpose behind every thought, action and deed.
If and when pranayama becomes a part of your daily life, then, with the purification of your whole personality you will, in due course, achieve a state of fixed concentration and an expansion of consciousness which, in turn, will lead to spiritual awakening.
Pranayama is not just a breath-control technique or a means to increase prana in the body. If followed correctly, and in the sequence prescribed, it can prove to be a powerful method to awaken dormant energy. Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati explains the process:
“Prana is the inward moving force which is said to create a field moving upwards from the navel to the throat. Apana is the outward moving force which is said to create a field moving downwards from the navel to the anus. Both prana and apana move spontaneously in the body, but they can be controlled through yogic practices. The Upanishads say a method has to be employed to reverse the direction of the oppositely moving forces of prana and apana so that they unite with samana in the naval centre. The result of these forces coming together is the awakening of Kundalini.”
If you want to know the process of change that pranayama and yoga bring about, you have to experiment with the technique and try to understand the energy and structure of the change process – the Kundalini. To shift or alter the state of consciousness, both the mental and physical bodies must be stimulated and coordinated. This is why every meditation and kriya has a mantra. The kriya stimulates the physical body while the mantra directs the activated energy.
When a spiritually evolved aspirant is regular in the practice of pranayama and his/her diet is light, the awakening of Kundalini may take place. When starting on such an endeavour, it is advisable that an aspirant restricts his/her diet to fruits and juices for a specified period of time. With this preparation the awakening can be rapid. If there is a flaw in the practice, then the results can be harmful. This is why any programme dealing with Kundalini should be studied under the guidance of an experienced teacher so that, if the need arises, an aspirant would be able to clear any of his/her doubts and move on confidently.
Because you have been meditating, the workshop has probably activated the dormant energy within you which is rising upwards. It is crucial that you bring this to the notice of your Guru. If you don't have one, then you should go back to the person who conducted the Chakra Workshop and ask for guidance. You could either discontinue your practice and get on with your life or you could become regular with your practice. Begin by fixing a time and place for meditation because once the energy starts to move upwards, the physical, mental and emotional bodies will undergo several changes. You must exercise complete surrender. Do not resist the energy. Let go of yourself completely and float along with the current. Higher forces have taken over, you need not worry.
With the upward movement of the Kundalini many unexpected things may happen because you are now moving into the region of the unknown. Do not be afraid, things will unfold as you go along with your practice. At this stage, any resistance is liable to create problems and can prove to be harmful. If possible, get in touch with someone who has been through the Kundalini experience or talk to like-minded people who are going through a similar process. Remember, if there is even an ounce of fear, either discontinue your sadhana or consult the person who had conducted the workshop.
The subtle body comprises of the mind, intellect, ego, accumulated impressions, jnanendriyas (subtle aspect of the senses), karamendriyas (subtle aspect of the organs of action) and the pranic body comprised of five pranas (the five vital airs); prana, apana, samana, udana and vyana.
The human form is made up of five sheaths. Moving outward, from invisible to visible, from subtle to gross, these sheaths are :
Anandamaya Kosha; a dimension of pure bliss.
Vijyanmaya Kosha; the sheath of higher knowledge which manifests itself as intuition or insight.
Manomaya Kosha; the dimension of mind which contains intellect, memory, concept and reason.
Pranamaya Kosha which is composed of prana; the vital energy that activates the body and motivates the mind.
Annamaya Kosha; the physical body, so called because it is dependent on Anna - grain or gross food.
In simple terms, these sheaths of existence are said to be composed of bliss, intuition, intellect, energy and food. All these dimensions of being interpenetrate and interact with each other. Each sheath is said to be composed of energy and the energy in each sheath has its own speed of vibration. In the physical sheath the energy vibration is slowest, though, as we move through the koshas the vibration becomes faster and finer until it once again resolves itself back to Pure Consciousness.
First understand what prana is. Briefly put, it is the life-force and not breath as is often thought. It is the most subtle life-essence that pervades all animate and inanimate forms. Pranayama is the yogic practice of breath control. It is a process through which one can stop the influence of constant inflow of thoughts. Through the practice of Pranayama, an aspirant can gain control over the mind and reach a heightened state of awareness. The result depends on the goal an aspirant has set for himself.
The koshas or sheaths interpenetrate each other, meaning that the inner kosha is subtler than the outer. The subtlety of the kosha is measured by its pervasiveness. For example, we see that a cube of ice, which is dense, occupies less space than water so we term water as subtler than ice. Water, when it turns into vapour spreads over a much larger space and hence, vapour is subtler than water.
Similarly, in the physical body, the Annamaya kosha is the grossest of the five sheaths.
The Pranamaya kosha – the prana we inhale – would fill a greater space when we exhale; it is subtler than the Annamaya kosha.
Our mind, the Manomaya kosha, is still more subtle because it can reach distant places where our breath cannot.
The Vijnanmaya kosha is even more subtle as it can visualise vistas which our mind cannot see and can venture forth into realms unheard of before. For this reason, the Manomaya and Vijnanmaya koshas are considered subtler. The subtlest is the Anandmaya kosha – the sheath of bliss.
The Annamaya kosha, or the physical sheath of the body, is made up of the gross form of prana and of the food we intake, and is referred to as the food body.
The Pranamaya kosha is formed by the prana we breathe in. Its function is to impart the life force (energy, agility and activity) to the senses.
When thought occurs in the Manomaya kosha, the Pranamaya kosha becomes active through the senses.
The quality of prana in the human body will depend upon the intellectual tendency and purity of the mind.
In the Vijnanmaya kosha, the intellect evolves to the point where it can grasp the essence behind the words. While the Manomaya kosha is the doubting element, the Vijnanmaya kosha is the determining factor.
The Anandmaya kosha is the sheath in which we exist during our deep sleep. It is considered blissful because, whatever be the condition in which the individual is in the waking and dream state, once he crosses the threshold of sleep, he experiences peace and bliss. There, one is oblivious of everything. At the conscious level, this nature of the self can be experienced only in short bursts of bliss during the process of meditation.
If one looks from ‘within’ to ‘without’, one can think of the Anandmaya kosha as wearing four coats: the Vijnanmaya kosha, Manomaya kosha, Pranamaya kosha, and the outermost sheath of the Annamaya kosha (the food body). This is the only sheath that can be touched and seen.
In order to experience the bliss of the Anandmaya kosha, one will have to work at or drop the grossness from the other sheaths, through conscious living or spiritual practice. For this one has to have patience.
Once the gross karma related to the different koshas gets cleansed through the manifestation of kriyas - breathing exercises, yogic postures and meditation practices - these movements become more subtle and are experienced internally while the process of purification continues. If one has only a few impressions of a certain type, the kriyas related to them will stop in a few days. They are like thought forms - there for a moment and gone in the next. If one has repetitive impressions of a certain kind, the kriyas pertaining to them can go on even for years, until the impressions are all exhausted. This is a purification process. As the purification completes itself at different levels, the external and internal movements will disappear.
It is good you have placed yourself under the care of a doctor. If, however, the problems have surfaced after the Pranic Healing course, then it is best you talk to your course teachers also – they would be the right people to guide you. This is for the simple reason that each system has its set techniques, which lock into each other, and if the student is regular in his or her practice then the teacher also knows where the flaw lies and is able to guide the student accordingly.
Though the destination may be the same, the route each system follows is different. Only the concerned teachers will know what the pitfalls are on the way. Also, since you are not regular in your practice it can do more harm than good. A haphazard approach can prove detrimental to mental, emotional and physical health.
The first thing that is not right with your practice is the intermingling of the two systems. You must understand that each course is designed to give direction to the latent energy in a particular sequence. If, along with one course you practise another alternatively, you are sending your mental, emotional and physical system for a toss. You are creating confusion in your energy body, which will reflect in your physical body in one form or another. You need to exercise your sense of discretion.
If a certain course in breathing techniques is not giving the right response, it means either there is a mistake in your practice or it is not suited to your system or to the kind of person you are. Please use your judgement. I emphasise that once a path or course is chosen, one has to be loyal to it because the process becomes important and the steps must be followed with care in order to avoid creating any harm to yourself. Furthermore, you must inform the teacher if you are pursuing any other similar practice. This responsibility lies with you.
This is a subtle body experience. When the shakti moves through the subtle body meridians (nadis) the process of purification begins. This may involve the shattering of blocks, mental or emotional, that are blocking its path. Sometimes the force with which the energy moves and breaks the block can give a shock.
The hot, golden lava flowing is the release of the Kundalini energy. So wait and watch what is to unfold for you.
When I went through my experience, I felt as if a bolt of lightning had hit me and my whole body was blown into smithereens. The nervous system has to be very strong to bear this force. (Refer to the section on Kundalini for illustrations.)
Through our breath, we bring prana into our bodies. Prana flows into the body through subtle channels known as nadis. The three most important nadis are Ida on the left of the spine, Pingla on the right, and Sushumna in the centre. Ida and Pingla cross over each other at the chakras whereas Sushumna nadi passes up straight through the centre of each chakra. As we breathe through our nose, we bring prana into our bodies in two distinct currents; positive and negative.
Ida is the channel for mental energy or lunar energy. Pingla is the channel for prana shakti or solar energy. When the breath is flowing more through the right nostril, we say Pingla is active and then one is more energetic and dynamic. When breath is flowing more through the left nostril, we say Ida is active. Ida is the conductor of manas shakti, the mental or lunar energy. When this nadi is flowing, then there may be a feeling of tranquility or dreaminess since it is a more passive energy. Sushumna nadi is for spiritual energy. When both nostrils are flowing, we say that Sushumna is active.
Sushumna is the conductor of mahaprana, the spiritual energy of Kundalini. When Sushumna is flowing, it is the most favourable time for any type of sadhana. During this phase a feeling of equanimity and a meditative state can arise spontaneously.
Simply put, with every inhalation through the right nostril, a positive current flows through the Pingla located on the right side of the spine. This is solar energy and it creates heat in the body. When Pingla is flowing, the left side of the brain is active and the right side is quiet.
With every inhalation through the left nostril, a negative current flows through the Ida located on the left side of the spine. This is lunar energy and it cools the body. When Ida is flowing, then the right side of the brain is active and the left side is quiet.
When both Ida and Pingla flow together, i.e. when the right and left hemispheres of the brain function simultaneously, then Sushumna begins to flow. It is said that when Sushumna flows, one just has to close one’s eyes and meditation happens.
The heat rising up your spinal column, from the base to the top of your head, indicates that the energy is moving up through Pingla nadi or the solar channel. In other words, it is Pingla that is operative and the breath is flowing through the right nostril. You could balance your energy by consciously doing om-vilom pranayama.
When you feel that your energy is moving up and down from a certain chakra, it means that for that time-being, the particular chakra is acting as the base from which the energy is operating. Since you feel that it is moving up from the Anahata chakra (heart centre) through Vishuddhi and Ajna up to the Sahasrar, it is probably doing so for a very good reason, which only the energy knows or you in your experience would be able to understand as unfolding takes place.
These sounds emanate from the subtle body. When there is a block in the path of Kundalini, then the nearby chakra begins to move. The chakra’s movement gets accelerated. Because of this movement, a particular energy is created, which breaks the block. This process goes on at different levels. The blocks are the result of the negative data one has collected over lifetimes and is stored in the form of congealed energy at different levels of one’s mental and emotional bodies. Depending on how congealed or dense the energy is in a particular area lying as a block on the path of Kundalini, the relevant pressure will be applied for Kundalini to move on. It is just like when creating a tunnel, the engineer either digs, drills or blasts the rock to clear the path. The activity happening in the subtle body meridians is experienced in the physical as a sudden jerk or shock, accompanied by the relevant sound, depending on the intensity of the breakthrough. With the removal of the blocks some of our karmas are wiped out. This I see as a gift of the Kundalini; because the blocks, which might have taken years to dissolve or sometimes even a lifetime, are removed in a moment and we do not have to live through them or work them out physically in the form of illness.
In my experience, I have usually visualised the wings at the level of the Ajna chakra and the Anahata chakra. These are vibrations of the chakras, which take on the shape of wings.
C.W. Leadbeater in his book The Chakras tells us that, “the wings typify the power of conscious flight through higher planes.” The wing-like vibrations of the heart chakra would mean that an aspirant is moving towards compassion, and giving of unconditional love. One can understand why we usually see paintings of angels having wings.
Scriptures have depicted Kundalini coded in symbology. Now that the consciousness has evolved, the time has come to decode those symbols and to arrive at the hidden meaning.
You will see in the illustration given below the flowering of the Sahasrar (crown) centre, extending outward in all directions and bringing forth expanded awareness. This is said to be the centre of higher consciousness.
The expanded vibrations of the Sahasrar:
the thousand-petalled lotus.
When the progressive ascension of Kundalini through the chakras culminates at the Sahasrar, then the vibrations of this centre act and take the shape of a radar or as symbolically expressed, a ‘thousand-petalled lotus’. All knowledge gained henceforth would be self-gained and not necessarily bookish knowledge.
This is a very serious and valid question. Meditation should improve the quality of one’s life and not impair it. Yet the experience is near universal – serious meditation makes things worse, before they get better. The simple answer is that meditation speeds up the process of evolution; issues and problems that may never have surfaced in an ordinary life spring to the surface and require to be dealt with attentively.
If one is following a form of meditation which is linked with Kundalini, then catharsis is bound to happen. When the Kundalini starts to move and meets with resistance, then the nearby chakra becomes active. The chakra begins to move at a certain speed and because of this movement, intense energy is created which breaks the block. With the breaking of the block, stored data (life experiences related to that chakra) is released which then surfaces during meditation.
Chakras are not just vibrating nodes of energy. They are mechanisms for collecting and processing karma. Meditation causes the chakras to become more active, and karma is shaken loose. In serious meditation, there will always be stages where karmic impediments arise. Unless they are dealt with, one cannot progress. Hence, these sudden surges of unpleasant incidents occur. Far from being disheartened, such episodes should be encouraging because they are proof that you are doing something right.
The goal of serious meditation is not to become more productive at work or dispel insomnia. It is to attain enlightenment and liberation. That is not possible without flushing out all the negative karma.
All life is evolving and the animal kingdom is no exception. The scriptures tell us that below Mooladhara chakra there are chakras which represent the animal kingdom. These are: Atala, Vitala, Sulala, Talatala, Rasatala, Mahatala, and the lowest, Patala. Just as the Mooladhara is the lowest chakra in the human body, Patala is the lowest chakra in the animal body. In human beings the nadis - etheric channels for energy flow within the body - converge at the Ajna chakra; whereas in the animal body they converge at the Mooladhara. Chakras in humans start where the chakras of the animal kingdom end.The animal kingdom is controlled by the laws of nature; therefore evolution for them takes place automatically.
Chakras and Kundalini are both aspects of the subtle body and are independent of each other. The chakras automatically open as an individual goes through life’s ups and downs. It’s a slow process that goes on till such time when one starts to live consciously. Once they are open the Kundalini energy flows smoothly.
However, an individual can work towards a quicker process by following any system of Hatha yoga and
Kriya yoga to systematically purify, awaken and balance the chakras. Once the required balance and purification is attained, the Kundalini will have a clear pathway to move up.
In the physical body of an aspirant, the activity of the Sahasrar would be that of a chakra until the other chakras get developed. Since it is the ‘control switch’ for the other chakras, it sees to it that they are properly developed and correctly aligned for the purpose for which they have been activated in an aspirant. Once that is taken care of, then the crown centre opens and develops contact with the Cosmic Consciousness and is open to receiving direct knowledge from It.
If you notice, in the beginning of book Conscious Flight into the Empryean the crown centre is not open. It is only after much spiritual practice and purification of the body, mind, and intellect has taken place at all levels that the Sahasrar or the crown centre opens up to become a ‘centre’ for receiving all knowledge (Kundalini Awakening, Chapter Two – 25 February 1997).
In short, purification of the chakras or purification of body, mind and intellect has to take place before Sahasrar works as a centre.
When an aspirant visualises the chakras, it means that he is seeing the process of purification going on.
The movement of Kundalini energy is quite marked during its passage through the chakras and an aspirant can experience it as electricity, air, or heat. When Manipura chakra is activated, movements of the abdomen occur. The movement of Anahata chakra makes one hear sounds. The Vishuddhi chakra can make the aspirant break out in tears or laughter. When the Ajna chakra is activated, the chitta gets one-pointedness or focus and then meditation happens.
The visualisation is not a hallucination; it is indicative of the progress an aspirant is making on the spiritual path that he is following.
Kundalini shakti is the name given to the dormant energy lying at the root of the spine. It can be described as a storehouse of creative energy, the very foundation of our consciousness. When this force moves through our body, a change is brought forth in our consciousness. The initial awakening is only a starting point. The arousal can be quite dramatic and is traditionally understood as an intense process of purification that leads to transcendence of body and mind, culminating in the unification or oneness with Consciousness as Whole, which can be termed as God, Source Consciousness or Pure Consciousness.
Except in rare cases, it can take years for the body to be purified and ready enough to handle the high-powered voltage of a full-blown Kundalini awakening. In its unmanifested state, it is symbolised as a serpent coiled in three and a half circles. When it is ready to awaken and unfold, it ascends up the Sushumna (the subtle channel in the spinal cord) passing through the chakras, starting with the Mooladhara, then Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi and Ajna chakras, and up to the Sahasrar centre where it unites with Pure Consciousness.
If your physical, mental and emotional bodies are in balance, then you are ready for Kundalini awakening. This means that you are able to manage your mind in emotional conflicts. Ask yourself these questions: Are you tolerant? Are you able to take insults without reacting? Are you fearless? Are you able to endure ill-will, spite, hatred, greed, envy? Can you stay calm in the face of anger? If you can handle these and other such emotions with equanimity, then you are ready for Kundalini awakening and the subtle dimension of experience, provided you find the right guru.
The following note outlines the process of purification of the body and mind organism.
Master Charles Cannon on The Primary Trinity
When the primary trinity of the physical, mental and emotional dimensions are in balance, the subtle dimension actualises as witness consciousness, the detached observation of the relative field. Herein we are watching the physical, mental and emotional dimensions from the now dominant subtle dimension of witness consciousness. Yet, the mental dimension has several levels, and a complete detachment from them is a gradual process in meditation.
Firstly, there are the gross levels of data and interpretation. Then there are more subtle levels of mental impressions with less interpretation and data processing. As witness consciousness in the subtle dimension becomes more dominant and constant in meditation, there is complete detachment from all the levels of the mental dimension. Then there is just the observation of stillness. Remember, we meditate to be present… to simply watch the experience. By simply watching we extract our focus from the physical, mental and emotional dimensions and they progressively become still. Then we are watching stillness and it is then that we progress to more subtle states of pure awareness in the causal and supra causal dimensions.
An aspirant who is in the energy field of the guru and who meditates regularly may, in the course of his sadhana, experience various colours of lights such as yellow, red, orange, blue, green, indigo, purple or white. Sometimes, one experiences flashes of light. If you are sensitive and observant, you will be able to understand from which centre the experience is coming. You will be able to identify the chakra and know its attributes.
With the movement of energy, there can be experience at the physical, mental and emotional level. This can come in the form of trembling, sudden jerks, the feeling of ants crawling all over your body, a tingling sensation in the scalp, the rolling of your eyeballs, or your tongue may revert back or rise up towards the palate. You may experience fragrances. You could get locked in a posture and hear different kinds of nad (subtle sounds). All these experiences arise when the energy is moving through the subtle body meridians. When it encounters any resistance, there is a spasm in the subtle body meridian which is manifested one way or the other in the physical body. You may experience your body going up in flames and then see yourself as a heap of ashes or you may feel as though a snake is moving up in your body.
The body can get into different postures and you could go through different kriyas. If you feel you have stopped breathing, it is a sign of an active Kundalini. You may emit sounds like those of animals, birds, lions, dogs. This, too, is a sign of an awakened Kundalini.
As you progress on your path and purification of your subtle bodies occurs, you may experience a feeling of expansion. You may feel as if you are growing taller, or your mouth is opening wider or your limbs are twisting. All these are experiences of the subtle body.
In meditation, there are experiences from different levels of vibration, from the gross vibratory level to the subtle level of existence.
When there is a shift in your vibration, it means you have moved from one level of consciousness to another level of consciousness. If you are at a lower level, you may encounter entities of that vibratory level. No one likes an intruder in their space. Just as you feel threatened when an unknown person encroaches on your space, similarly, these entities can react and will use any means to scare you off. Do not panic at this stage, but take yourself away and move up to another vibratory level. These entities can do you no harm. They are of subtle vibration and can only attack your mind. If you are strong-minded and fearless, you can pass through unharmed. If, however, you are weak and fearful, then great damage can happen. The energy field of the guru is what will support you through the hazards that you may encounter on the way.
At the gross level of vibration you may encounter thought forms which can be repulsive, distorted, absurd and comic, with distorted figures and faces. These thought forms are all around us and are created in the course of our daily lives through the emotions let out because of bombings, rape, and violence. Pain, sorrow, fear, disgust, ill-will, spite, hatred, lust, greed, all take on a form and float or hover around. Anyone going through some form of sorrow will attract similar thought forms. As a result, his sorrow gets multiplied. If someone is having a fit of temper, his magnetic field at that moment will attract similar thought forms and his temper can turn into a rage. Similarly, hatred can turn into violence and so on. If during meditation you see these distorted thought forms and get fearful, that fear will attract similar thought forms and further add to your fear. In order to be able to move away from this lower vibratory level you have to evolve a keen sense of discrimination.
Once you have crossed this level successfully, then, each time there is a shift in vibration, you are moving to another subtler level. There will be the astral level, which according to my experience, resembles in all its aspects the physical level except it is subtle and not tangible. Thus consciousness will keep shifting depending on how you are progressing, because to shift the state of consciousness, both the physical and mental systems must be stimulated and coordinated to create a subtle change. The kriyas of the programme you are following code these particular combinations in an extremely subtle way and control how the various energy systems interlock. Each kriya produces a different effect. Some bring understanding, others create mental stability, some develop sensitivity and still others bring forth physical changes. Your journey will depend on how effective your practice is.
The experiences of the subtler levels cannot be put into words. You will have to undergo your own journey to experience it. If you want to know mine then you will find it described in The Kundalini Trilogy.
You may hear sounds which are not from the physical realm, they are the soundless sounds. The first sound is what I call the ‘Chinnnnnnnn’ sound. Swami Muktananda of Ganeshpuri says that this is the sound of Consciousness.
With the purification of the subtle bodies, sensitivity increases and you may see or feel the vibration of the chakras or see or feel the energy flow from or to you.
Each vibratory level offers its own challenges.
As you progress on your path and the dormant pathways open up, you may see new vistas or get glimpses of lives lived earlier.
Instead of just going through the experience, the endeavour should be to go deeper to find the source of all experience. Just don’t pass off your experience as something meaningless. Every experience is a part of the whole that is your journey and goal.
The short notes below by Master Charles Cannon will provide a better understanding of tingling, lights and tears.
The tingling ‘electrical’ that you experience is a reflex from the subtle body meridians into the connective tissue of the physical body. It is caused by a change in the frequency of vibration of the energy within the meridians. In each successive level of its course the frequency is decelerated and until you integrate this new frequency, it can be experienced as such.
Flashes of light
The flashes of light are experienced when the subtle dimensions become dominant in one’s focus. In these dimensions, the oscillation of polarity within the field of relativity is so accelerated that awareness appears as a continuity. This is because the mind cannot cognise these subtle dimension polar oscillations. The frequency of vibration corresponds to the speed of light and, when the mind is momentarily activated, it cognises the experience of light. Again, you are perceiving from a multi-dimensional awareness which includes all dimensions simultaneously. It demonstrates constancy in witness consciousness.
This is associated with the clearing of the ocular meridians related to the third eye vortex. In the Kundalini traditions, it was referred to as appropriate purification. As the primary trinity – physical, mental and emotional – becomes more constant in balance, harmonic coherence results. With duration in harmonic coherence, the subtle dimensions actualise. The first of these dimensions is termed as the Subtle Dimension and relates to the third eye vortex. It is your harmonic frequency of vibration that is evolving. The associated meridians – as you actualise multi-dimensionally, generate reflexes that can produce tears. The result will be increased constancy in witness consciousness.
Aspirants who are meditating regularly may feel the sensation of energy moving up the spine. In most cases, this is not the Kundalini energy moving up, but a release of pranic force that starts at the Mooladhara and moves up through the Pingla nadi, partially purifying the chakras, until it reaches the head where it is dispersed. This, however, can be a process of preparation for the eventual awakening of Kundalini, which may not be as gentle.
If a person awakens his Kundalini through yoga, and has no knowledge and understanding about what it entails, he could be heading for disaster. However, when it is awakened through the grace of the guru, that in itself will lead the Kundalini on the right path.
The force that supports creation in all its aspects is called prana. The universal prana is the cosmic energy that we draw in through the breath. The cosmic manifestation of prana in the individual body is represented by Kundalini shakti which lies dormant at the base of the spine.
When the energy first awakened in me, my Guru's first questions to me were: Did I have old parents or in-laws to take care of, and did I have young children who needed my attention? I understand now that these questions were essential because once you get on to the path of Kundalini, it requires your full attention or you have to have the rare ability to handle the mundane and spiritual simultaneously.
Once the Guru ascertains that the Kundalini has awakened in an aspirant, then it is guided by him through means appropriate to the receptivity of an aspirant. It may be done through transmission of thought, through one- to-one dialogue where the Guru clears an aspirant's doubts and allays his fears, or he may guide an aspirant by telling him when to slow down, when to stop and so forth.
An aspirant who has been practising a form of pranayama and meditation for some years will, through the practice, have created a free-flow of prana through the subtle body meridians. Such an aspirant may not feel the energy moving. Individuals on the Bhakti Marg also may not feel the movement of Kundalini because they operate from unconditional love and devotion and will not face hazards of Kundalini.
Similarly, there are masters who through lifetimes of sadhana have reached a stage where energy flows through them freely. In another aspirant, a breathing technique may have a sudden impact and the dormant energy lying coiled at the base of the spine may be jolted from its resting place. In such an eventuality, the physical, mental and emotional bodies of the aspirant may not be ready for the sudden arousal of Kundalini. Such an aspirant will feel the workings of Kundalini, because the balance that is brought about by meditation and pranayama is taken over by the Kundalini. If this happens, then the aspirant has a very interesting and challenging journey ahead.
These days there are various workshops being conducted on yoga, pranayama, chakras and the mass awakening of the Kundalini. Such activities can produce a premature awakening and, if the teacher is not equipped to guide the awakened energy, it can prove to be harmful at the physical, mental and emotional levels.
Normally, a Guru is essential for the awakening of the Kundalini. In rare cases, the awakening may happen due to past samskaras during which a person has probably practised some form of sadhana. So, at an appropriate time in this life, the symptoms of Kundalini are manifest to lead that individual to his next level of growth. In this situation if the individual can surrender, then the Kundalini itself becomes the Guru. However, even in this situation, the person instead of getting confused and groping in the dark will have to seek the mentorship of a living Guru who can provide guidance.
Swami Rama says that knowingly or knowingly, your Kundalini has awakened if you are dynamic, if you have attained something in your life that is uncommon, unusual and exceptional.
In meditation, we go through the process of introspection, perception and negation. This means that if a negative thought surfaces, we observe it and let it pass. This is the preliminary process of purification in an aspirant, which involves his physical, mental and emotional bodies. In this way, the purification of thought takes place at conscious, subconscious, and unconscious levels.The subconscious level is a storehouse of unfulfilled desires, unresolved experiences, and hurtful incidents that have sunk deep into the personality and are lying dormant, ready to surface as a defense mechanism in the form of an action-reaction situation. The unconscious is composed of impulses, instincts and moods that are totally unknown to us in the moment. They will surge up to express themselves under provocative conditions.
You have probably been exposed to the worship of Kali and that has left an impression of the image in your mind, which has been stored as memory. In a relaxed state of meditation, when there is less of body consciousness, certain centres of the brain open up and stored memories or images emerge to the surface. The visions, whether of gods, deities or places, come from memory, from strong visual imprinting of events that take place in our daily life. These are mystical symbols and will relate to the culture and background you come from.
The more you dwell on thoughts, the deeper they get fixed in your memory. The only way to stop this from happening is to completely reject the past, and to stop thinking of the future. Do not get involved with the thoughts; remain a witness to them. Just as a plant when neglected wilts and dies, so do thoughts when they are not given attention. This can be accomplished by training yourself to be just a witness, so that you remain in the present.
When all deep-rooted, accumulated impressions are cleared through the practice of meditation, the thoughts will stop. Then what will remain are surface impressions that will flit across the mind as clouds across a sky.
Meditation means being and not doing. What is important is that, as far as possible, you should sit at a fixed time and at fixed place. This is advised because the place you sit at will develop a certain vibration, so that whenever you sit at that place, the already charged area will facilitate the process of meditation. The time is also fixed so that if you are under the guidance of your Guru, his energy or vibration starts flowing towards you no matter whether he is physically present or not. Fixed time is stressed because with constant practice you have created a channel which starts to operate at the given time. If you are not present to receive and avail of the energy, it will move on.
You cannot stop the inflow of thoughts. What you can do is to be a witness to them. It is like standing in your balcony and watching the traffic go by. Or, you can bring your attention to the inflow and outflow of your breath. Every time the attention shifts you could come back to your breath. Don't stress yourself trying to focus on it.
The wise tell us that the thoughts that we hold, and the words that we go on repeating, create our life and experience. What we choose to think today will create our tomorrow and so our future. The purpose of meditation is to allow the stored data from the unconscious areas of the mind to surface. This is where we can let go of the old negative data of ill-will, spite, hatred, greed, etc. and experience release. Do not suppress any thoughts that emerge, whether they are of anger, resentment or grief. Allow them to surface and be open to the experience. Be a witness to whatever transpires, because if you suppress any negative emotions, they will release themselves through some means or another like in the form of physical illness, nervous breakdown or aggression in any form.
This experience can occur in relation to a person, place or thing that is highly charged with energy. When a receptive aspirant enters this highly charged magnetic field, he can get into a 'locked in' posture. Temples, caves, churches, or any such place where worship and chanting are regular features, can elicit this kind of a response from an aspirant as a kind of fusion between the two energies takes place. The release will take place when the equilibrium between the aspirant's energy and the magnetic field happens. Just stay relaxed and be a witness of your experience. Don't force yourself to get up.
'Locked in' means when you get rooted to a spot. Your senses stop functioning and every part of your body, mind, and intellect get fixed. It is like the 'statue' game children play.
I remember when I went through this experience. I had gone to the Mahalaxmi temple one early morning to get a photograph I had of Durga Ma blessed. The morning's first puja was performed on the photograph. I brought it home and reverentially placed it in my altar. Next morning, when I lit the lamp, opened the altar door, and sat for meditation, a strong gust of energy hit me like a tornado and I was 'locked' in the posture in which I was sitting. Though I was aware of all that was going around me, I could not move. My senses and limbs were fixed. The only thing that I could do was to stay rooted till such a time when the lock released itself. When you are on a spiritual journey, you are not in control, there are higher forces that take charge and whatever is required for your spiritual growth will be implemented.
In my experience, I have usually visualised the wings at the level of the Ajna chakra and the Anahata chakra. These are vibrations of the chakras, which take on the shape of wings.
C.W. Leadbeater in his book The Chakras tells us that, "the wings typify the power of conscious flight through higher planes." The wing-like vibrations of the heart chakra would mean that an aspirant is moving towards compassion, and giving of unconditional love. One can understand why we usually see paintings of angels having wings.
Being a witness during meditation provides the consciousness with an opportunity to function freely; to witness and remove all negative impressions and memories that surface. Once all latent data and impressions are dissolved and there is nothing left to observe, witnessing stops.
In spite of it being a transient state, it acts as a ladder that helps you reach the top. Once the final goal is achieved, the ladder is no longer required.
There is no process involved. If you are completely relaxed during meditation, the images may arise by themselves within your consciousness; you do not project them outside of yourself.
This is bound to happen because there are shifts taking place in your consciousness. What you first thought was meaningful, you may now find as meaningless. The realisation has dawned that you were playing roles according to the needs of others, sometimes at the cost of your own freedom, in order to be appreciated and gain acceptance. One has to suffer through this phase in order to grow.
Do not take the word 'Self-realisation' lightly. First dwell on the meaning of the word and give it deep thought. Self-realisation is that moment when you know your true nature. Those who constantly abide in that - they will be self-realised. For this to happen great tapas - austere penance - is required, which is the domain only of the great sages.
Meditation, however, may lead to 'enlightenment'. This is a spontaneous happening for a long-time seeker when he comes to the end of seeking. It is an event wherein the ego dissolves into the 'whole' and there is no other but the 'one'. This is an experience, which has given him the glimpse of what is meant by 'self-realisation'.
It is usually said that the subtle body of an aspirant radiates two inches beyond the physical body. The Kundalini and chakras are a part of the subtle body. In order to allow the free flow of energy, an aspirant is advised to sit with his back straight and not to disrupt
Detachment represents a state of mind that is constantly observant of the nature of events and that remains unaffected by them. Once you realise that you can be a witness to the events taking place in your life, your awareness will expand and you will be able to see the reality behind situations. Detachment implies that no matter what is going on in your mind, no matter what you are thinking, rather than identifying with the thinking, you become the detached witness to what is transpiring in the moment. If thinking is happening, allow it to be so. The task is to learn to detach from petty ideas and feelings. In other words, detachment means going beyond delusion and opposites.
Verse 213 of the Dhammapada says, "Emotional ties bring only sadness and fear. Avoid attachment in emotion and you avoid sadness and fear." Once we are attracted to something, then our ego and the possessive quality of our nature is manifested. Detachment on the other hand, involves a state of mind in which you use your discretion and act accordingly. It is not a game of action and reaction but of stimulus and response.'Involvement' means getting involved with a thought or situation and creating a drama out of it by getting into the why, how and what of it by oscillating between the past and the future, both of which do not exist. The past is dead and gone and the future is yet to be. Do not confuse involvement with attachment. Attachment creates illusions and desires. If a desire is unfulfilled, then what arises is anger. One thing leads to another, and anger leads to confusion. Once that happens one fails to use one's reason. This downward slide stems from a single unfulfilled desire.
Through the disciple's reverence, devotion, love, and surrender to the Guru.
If a Guru has entered you in the form of shakti or energy, that is an indication that you have been blessed with the grace of the Guru. In other words, when in the energy field of a Guru, your own energy gets awakened and you can feel its functioning within; it means that you are the recipient of your Guru's grace. Once the energy is awakened, it will take you wherever you are meant to go and it will grant you whatever experiences it wants you to have. These will manifest in accordance with your accumulated impressions.
This has been very simply put by Master Charles: "What does it take to get a suntan? Nothing, whatsoever. It is just a matter of exposing oneself to the sun. It is the nature of the sun to radiate its power, its light. We do not need to do anything, except lay on the beach and expose ourselves to the rays.
"The master is the 'sun' to a meditator who endeavours to live more consciously and fully. If you are fortunate enough to find yourself in the presence of a master, all you need is to stop 'doing'. This is traditionally understood in terms of surrender. Surrender means letting go of the need to do anything. We just follow the sun, so to speak, and the suntan keeps happening."
According to my understanding and experience, when knowledge through the Guru is passed on to the disciple in silence - it is termed as 'transmission'.
There should not be any mental, emotional, physical or spiritual blocks in an aspirant because transmission can happen only when the aspirant has de-conditioned his mind and rendered it free from all limitations.
His mind has to be empty of all thoughts so that the transmission can be received. This would also mean that the Guru and the disciple's consciousness functions at the same level of awareness. The aspirant's Kundalini has to move in the same sequence as the Guru's (in the first two visuals on the facing page). The play of Kundalini is happening at the Sahasrar centre. The Guru's Kundalini energy, which lies coiled at the base of the spine like a cauldron of fire has risen up to the Sahasrar centre and like a magnet the aspirant's energy follows the same course. The aspirant also needs to vibrate at the same frequency at the Ajna chakra in order to translate the knowledge received. Thus we see (in the next two visuals) the vibrations in the form wings at the aspirant's Ajna chakra matching those of the Guru's vibrations. It is necessary that the aspirant vibrates at the same frequency as the Guru in order for any transmission to take place.
The vibrations of the Ajna chakra give a feeling of wings. They represent the functioning of consciousness on the higher planes.
In order to receive the transmission, the aspirant has to go beyond the mind and be open and receptive to the instructions or information passed on to him. This is where 'surrender' becomes so important in the aspirant's life, so that he is able to operate in a higher state of awareness and receive the Guru's transmission of knowledge, grace and wisdom.
Different mantras work on different levels of the mind. Each mantra, and the rhythm of its recitation, is designed to probe the deepest level of consciousness. If the initiation of an aspirant is performed with a particular mantra, it is not necessary that the same mantra will stay with him throughout. When the work of the mantra is completed at a particular level of the mind, the Guru may change the mantra to take the aspirant to the next level of self-discovery, which would depend upon how sincere an aspirant is with his practice.
Attentiveness means that you are focusing on one thing exclusively, whereas to be aware means to be conscious of the whole.For example, when there are a variety of fruits in a basket and your attention is only on the apple and you do not see anything else; when you look at the stars and do not see the space in which they appear, this is attentiveness, wherein the 'you' or the 'I' is very active. By seeing only the apple and the stars, you have blocked out the rest of the fruits, the basket and the void in which stars appear. Our brain works in such a way that we cannot give attention to something without ignoring something else.
When you see the basket and the space around it as a whole i.e. the basket with all the different fruits - apples, mangoes, bananas etc., then you just 'are'; there is no focused feeling of 'I'. This is awareness. There is a sense of just 'being', you are just 'aware'. In awareness, there is no thought, the 'I' disappears and you are a part of the whole. As soon as you lose awareness, thinking starts and the 'I' steps in, and with that, the ego also returns. Simply put, awareness is inclusive of all that is; attention is exclusive.
When I asked my Guru for any explanation, his answer would always be, "It will unfold."I feel the Guru's response would vary from aspirant to aspirant. However, what you find out for yourself becomes a great source of energy and motivates you to reduce your limitations and expand your experience; to discover and understand what is transpiring. It encourages you to think intuitively, to explore and enquire. The less that is fed into your mind, the more insights you get by yourself. You do not doubt your personal experiences because it is your experience and your truth. You have to keep in mind that it is 'your truth' and not the universal truth. Each aspirant's experience will be according to his psyche and the karmic data stored in it.
Destiny is of two kinds. One is controlled by a higher force or God. This concerns your birth and death - you have no control over it. The nature or destiny of fire is to burn, of wind to blow, and the river to flow.The second destiny, that of your life's path, can be changed by you. There is a statement in the scriptures, which says that through karma you can change your destiny. This is possible provided that through action, you try to channel the forces of your life with awareness. That would mean a shift from unconscious living to conscious living, where every act is viewed as a stimulus and every reaction becomes a conscious response.
If one has any doubts, it is better to wait. Just as love is blind, so is faith. When the soul gets embodied, it enters the state of limitation because it is governed by the law of its karma; whether it be a Guru or a disciple. Once a Guru or anyone is born in the physical body, he will undoubtedly have flaws. So, when you meet your Guru and if you begin to analyse him intellectually as a spiritual, moral or learned person, then you will not get anywhere.
If you judge your Guru with your heart and your feelings rather than your intellect, you will overlook and not recognise the flaws, which not only your Guru but every Guru has or will have. Swami Satyananda Saraswati says that, "If you look for a Guru with your intellect, you are not going to find one because there is no one who can fulfil your intellectual needs. A Guru is not an intellectual need, just as love or marriage is not an intellectual need."
'Surrender' melts away one's pride, wipes away accumulated impressions, does away with cravings and longings, dispels ignorance, and establishes one in the real Self.