Author Archives: Gabriela

SEX & ENLIGHTENMENT

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Some people may say that sex is a powerful and viable method to enlightenment. They may say that is the path of bliss, that ecstasy and bliss are the very nature of what God is, and that sexual union is the method given whereby the two polarities of God, male and female, join and gain union once again. They will make an argument that in this joining is released the creative force that brings all manifestation into being, and that a careful control and expression of this sexual energy can bring enlightenment.

In the other camp are the celibates, the virgins, the pure. They may argue that the sexual energy is something that must be redirected and focused away from physical concerns and towards the higher purpose of love and devotion to God directly. To use this energy in simple physical union is to waste it in a selfish and often degrading fashion and more often than not leads one away from God and into a dark world of physical gratification and addiction.

(A quick check of the newspapers, divorce rates, booming multibillion dollar porn industry, and numbers of unwed mothers and sexually transmitted diseases gives a lot of support to the celibate camp.)

There are legions of people whose lives have been destroyed by the full embracing and expressing of sex.

So from a purely evidentiary standpoint, taking the bulk of the history of the world into account, it seems very, very unlikely that enlightenment is ever gained through sex.

Now the facts:

Both camps are wrong. Neither sex nor celibacy contributes one speck of value to obtaining enlightenment. Enlightenment is not about a spiritual quest to obtain something – there is not a method on the earth to follow that results in something.

The peak of ultimate orgasm does not dissolve you into pure divine awareness any more than starving in a cave in complete darkness, celibacy, and austerity causes the divine light to burst forth.

A trillion years before the first life form emerged and considered the idea of sexual union or celibacy, Enlightenment existed perfectly. It has to be understood that Enlightenment is before these, but not other than these.

The greatest lie ever told is that there is a search, a quest. None of this exists. There is only pure consciousness, existing endlessly in perfect peace and perfection.

More than this, there is no one seeking enlightenment, no one having sex, or living in purity – there is only the Universe manifesting spontaneously and perfectly.

There are no selves seeking, no lovers joining, no masters living in purity.

There is only endless perfection: mindless, selfless, soulless.

The one who wants enlightenment need only be quiet, grab a glass of ice-cold gin and sit in silence and sip.

Enlightenment is already, it is only.

Don’t seek, don’t grasp.

When you fall overboard and the lifeline is thrown out simply say, “No thank you.”

This act alone puts you closer to enlightenment than all the purity and starving or glorious humping and thrusting could ever do.

Yet even this act, is no act.

Remember, no one is acting or ever could. There is much activity in the world but there are no doers. There is only the Universe manifesting spontaneously, blindly, lifelessly, and perfectly. The quicker you get this, the quicker you can get back to that cave or brothel.

There are no persons in existence experiencing the universe; there is only the experience of the universe being there with no experiencer.

Consciousness is the not the awareness of something, consciousness is pure existence. The manifestation we call the Universe is Consciousness and that alone is existence.

Manifestation and Consciousness are one and the same.

Existence and Consciousness are one and the same.

The feeling/knowing of this as an everyday fact of life is what is called enlightenment.

There is simply nothing more to it than that.

Enlightenment is the feeling/knowing of that which has never not been.

Each and every person does not and has never existed and each and every person has always known that they have never not known this.

So embrace sex or reject it – these positions have equally nothing to do with enlightenment and never did.

If you want to follow a path, then follow one and enjoy it.

But never for one second forget that it is, and has always been, only the Universe manifesting lifelessly and perfectly in eternal monolithic solitude.

– anonymous

 

Much love,

Gabriela

 

The Truth About Tantra

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A lot of misinterpretation especially in the West has presented tantra to mean uninhibited sex. Sadhguru clarifies what tantra really is and what it is not.

Sadhguru:

meditation-thangka-tantraUnfortunately, in western countries, tantra is being presented in such a way that it is supposed to mean uninhibited sex. It has been so badly misinterpreted. This is because books on tantra have been written by people who just want to sell books. They are not tantrics in any way. The word “tantra” literally means a technique or a technology. This is an inner technology. These are subjective methods not objective methods. But in the current understanding in society, the word tantra refers to very unorthodox or socially unacceptable methods. It is just that certain aspects are used in a certain way. It is not any different from yoga. It is just a small limb of yoga called tantra yoga.

People thinking in terms of “I have sexual needs so I will follow the tantric path,” is nonsense. In tantra, it is not that someone is using just sexuality to grow. They are using every aspect to grow. Unfortunately, there may be people who are attracted to such a path for the wrong reasons. They go because they want a spiritual sanction for their sexuality. Why do you want to bullshit yourself about spirituality? Handle your biology as biology, you do not have to give it other names.

The simple principle of tantra yoga is: whatever can take you down can also take you up. The ways in which a man usually sinks in his life are through food, alcoholic drink and sexuality. Tantra yoga uses the same three vehicles to rise up. But once people start using certain substances, they must be in a certain state, otherwise it just becomes addiction. This needs extreme discipline, a kind of discipline which is not possible for most people to even attempt. When people walk this kind of path, if a 100 people take it up, 99 will end up only as drunkards.

However, this is what is known as left-hand tantra which is cruder technology; it involves various rituals. There is also right-hand tantra which is very refined technology. These two are completely different in nature. Right-hand tantra is more internal and energy-wise, it is all about you. It does not involve any ritual or outside act as such. Is it tantra? In a way it is, but the word yoga includes all of them together. When we say yoga we are not excluding any possibility – everything is there in it. It is just that a few perverted people saw a certain type of tantra which is purely left-hand tantra where there is certain usage of the body. They just took that part, magnified it and wrote books about it with all kinds of weird sex and they said, “This is tantra.” No, it is not tantra.

Tantra means you are able to use your energies to make things happen. If you can make your mind razor sharp to cut through everything, this is also one kind of tantra. If you make your energies work upon your heart to become utterly loving and you can burst forth with enormous love that just overwhelms everyone, this is also tantra. If you make your physical body enormously powerful to make it do incredible feats, this is also tantra. Or if you can make your energies do things by itself without employing the body,  mind or emotion, this is also tantra.

So tantra is not some weird nonsense. Tantra is a certain capability. Without it there is no possibility. The question is “How refined is your tantra?” If you want to make your energies move, do you have to do 10,000 rituals or can you just sit here and do it. That is the big difference. Low technology or high technology is the question, but without tantra, there is no spiritual process.

– Sadhguru

With love,

Gabriela

The Process of diksa (initiation) – Patala LXXVII –Tantra of Ajita

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By Shri Param Eswaran

Modern day Gurus, that traveling on the super highway, offer Diksa (initiation) over the internet, be aware, diksa is given by Guru to disciples in person, to experience the energy that comes from receiving diksa.

The Process of diksa – Patala LXXVII –Tantra of Ajita – Part 1

As (blazing) fire burns the dry and the wet, in the same way – good and bad karmas are as if burnt by the fire of knowledge.

Varieties of Diksa
Diksa is of many kinds – born from sight, touch, speech, mind, teaching, yoga, fire ritual:
1. (Diksa of Sight)
The fact that the disciple is seen (by the Guru) after meditating on supreme reality with open eyes, for the liberation from bonds, will be the diksa born from sight.
2. (Diksa of Touch)
(If the Guru) places the Siva-mantra with the brahma and anga mantra in his right hand and touches the head etc., of the disciple, it will be the diksa born from touch.
3. (Diksa of Speech)
(If the Guru) with inner light intensified by concentration of his mind on the (supreme) essence recites the samhita mantras, it is desired to be the diksa born from speech.
4. (Diksa of Mind)
a. When it is based on a mental process, it is called “born of the Mind”.
b. (Obtained) by givining teaching (of Saivagamas), it is called “diksa from teaching”.
5. (Diksa of Yoga)
a. (Obtained) by yogi, it is determined as diksa from yoga into the essence of Siva
b. (Diksa from fire-ritual), the Diksa which involves powers and fire-pit will be “born from fire ritual”.
In short diksa is desired by the knowers of diksa to be of two kinds:
  – one is involving mostly knowledge,
  – the other is traditionally known as involving mostly ritual
6. The diksa performed without worship and fire ritual, only through mental processes is taught as involving knowledge, being born of immediate awakening to essence.
7. The diksa which involves worship and fire-ritual, born from the skill of ritual practice, is the diksa involving rituals. It is again manifold without seed, with seed. (seed is bija mantras)
Diksa without seed and seed:
8. a. The diksa of samayin and putra will be “without seed”.
     b. The diksa of sadhaka and acarya will be “with seed”.
Now, this diksa without seed is taught as being of two kinds:
   – one giving liberation immediately,
   – the other after death.
The diksa without seed devoid of the practice of rules, should be young, simple-minded, old people, women, those addicted to pleasure, sick person.
The diksa with seed is well known as being for those who know and who are able.
With love and respect,

Nirvikalpa Samadhi and Sahaja Samadhi

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Dear reader, before you start reading this article, you may want to read this article first: The Eight Limbs of Yoga

 

Nirvikalpa Samadhi:

With this union with Universe consciousness, the soul now knows itself not through the mind, but through itself. The soul is now beyond mind. He experiences Being Universe consciousness all the time through his intuition. This self-knowledge of the soul is Self-realisation, which does not come and go. It is permanent. He is enlightened forever. He has at last broken the veil of ignorance—Maya is finally defeated. There are now no limits! This state of God-consciousness/Universe consciousness is infinite and characterised by understanding, love and happiness. He has entered Eternity!

Now there are no more thoughts or ideas. There is only peace and bliss. The knower and the known (soul or atman) have become one. This divine bliss is all pervading. This is the highest samadhi and can be achieved only after self- realisation (identified with the soul). The yogin has merged with Reality or his soul and is completely unaware of the external world. The mind is immersed into the light of the Self. It is compared to a flame that burns quiet and steady, unaffected by the external breeze. With or without the help of a perfect master, the sadhak has entered spontaneously into Nirvikalpa, after experiencing Nirvana. He can achieve that only after he has relinquished his sanskaric ties and worldly interests. He has already given up all his worldly fetters. There are now no obstacles to overcome or objects to achieve and therefore no effort is needed. The transition is very spontaneous. His individual mind has been annihilated and his consciousness has now merged with the Absolute. He has attained final emancipation through breaking the veils of Maya. He is now a Siddha (God-realised being/Universe consciousness) himself. However, once he comes out of this Nirvikalpa State, the movement of the body, his perceptions including sight and sound, and the arising of the mind will bring him back to the phenomenal world. This Nirvikalpa Samadhi State is said to have a limit of 21 days, but actually there is no time limit. After returning to normal consciousness he has to relearn the ways of the world again. At first, the Siddha forgets his name and age, after returning to normal consciousness. He really does not want to come back to the world at all. But some are given the grace to come back—primarily to teach or to lead.

When the kundalini reaches the seventh or crown chakra, we experience the third member of the Trinity – God the Father or Brahman – often as a light transcending creation. This experience is known as Kevalya Nirvikalpa Samadhi or Brahmajnana [God Realization], samadhi without form. It  brings with it a temporary heart opening after which the heart closes again. Kevala Nirvikalpa [Samadhi], which is temporary, while the Samadhi lasts.

In Kevalya, the heart (the hridayam or spiritual heart, rather than the heart chakra) opens temporarily but in Sahaja (see bellow) the heart opens permanently.

[The] Heart is the seat of Jnanam [wisdom] as well as of the granthi (knot of ignorance). It is represented in the physical body by a hole smaller than the smallest pin-point, which is always shut. When the mind drops down in Kevalya Nirvikalpa [Samadhi], it opens but shuts again after it.

[The hole called the Heart as a small as a pinpoint] is always shut, being the knot of ignorance which ties the body to consciousness.

When the mind drops in the temporary Kevala Nirvikalpa it opens but shuts again. In Sahaja it remains always open.

In Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi one is not free from vasanas and does not, therefore, attain Mukti.

Only after the samskaras have been destroyed can one attain salvation. Even though one practices Kevala Nirvikalpa Samadhi for years together, if one has not rooted out the vasanas, he will not attain salvation.

Kevalya can be compared to a glimpse of the Self, whereas Sahaja is a permanent and natural state of Self-Realization.

By repeated practice one can become accustomed to turning inwards and finding the Self. One must always and constantly make an effort, until one has permanently realized. Once the effort ceases, the state becomes natural and the Supreme takes possession of the person with an unbroken current. Until it has become permanently natural and your habitual state, know that you have not realized the Self, only glimpsed it.

When the Self is glimpsed in Kevalya, it is a prelude to [Self-Realization]: when it becomes permanent Sahaja, it is Self-Realization, Liberation.

– Sri Ramana Maharsi

Sahaja (Nirvikalpa) Samadhi:

This is the highest consciousness. It is divinity in action and is experienced only by the Sadguru. It is preceded by Nirvana and Nirvikalpa Samadhi. This state is beyond mind as consciousness is entirely withdrawn from physical forms, subtle forms and the formless realms. There is no thought except the ‘I am’ consciousness. He is already in the Ultimate State of Consciousness all the time. And yet the yogin is still working in the gross physical world at the same time. He uses the body, emotions and mind as instruments, but there is no identification with them. Throughout his waking hours he is a Siddha in Nirvikalpa Samadhi.  He has transcended the three instruments and is totally absorbed in Universe consciousness. He is in Nirvana and the experience of the world leaves him uninvolved. He is now God-conscious/Universe consciousness and has no individuality. When in this state of Nirvana he is experiencing unlimited individuality. The yogin has already realised his soul and is with Reality throughout the remainder of his life. He is able to use his body-mind organism in the worldly activities. Externally, he is like any ordinary man, but internally, he is with the Absolute. The thinking mind is dead and he is immersed into the Self throughout. It is now only impersonal Consciousness that is acting out the remaining portion of his life. It is like a river discharging into the ocean and its identity is lost. He remains in this state of bliss and happiness without effort. He only uses the working (not the thinking) mind. Out of the not too many Siddhas, very, very few of them may descend down from the 7th plane of consciousness after achieving Sahaja Samadhi. These very few Sadgurus become Avatars. Here they live a life of Universe consciousness and experience God/Universe consciousness everywhere. The small and menial jobs that they perform are never too little for them.

The Sahaja Nirvikalpa [Samadhi] is permanent and in it lies liberation from rebirths.

In Kevalya, the heart (the hridayam or spiritual heart, rather than the heart chakra) opens temporarily but in Sahaja the heart opens permanently.

When Sahaja [Nirvikalpa Samadhi] is attained it opens for good.

When the mind drops in the temporary Kevala Nirvikalpa it opens but shuts again. In Sahaja it remains always open.

Some vasanas remain even after Sahaja and Mukti, but these are vasanas of enjoyment rather than of bondage. The sage having attained Sahaja enjoys these without attachment and so is not bound by them.

Vasanas which do not obstruct Self-Realization remain [after Self-Realization]. In Yoga Vasistha two classes of vasanas are distinguished: those of enjoyment and those of bondage. The former remain even after Mukti is attained, but the latter are destroyed by it. Attachment is the cause of binding vasanas, but enjoyment without attachment does not bind and continues even in Sahaja.

The general problem the spiritual seekers face is that “all the age long vasanas (impressions) carry the mind outwards and turn it to external objects. But he alone is ‘liberated while alive’ (jivan mukta) whose wisdom is firm.

The state in which awareness is firm and one-pointed, even when objects are sensed,  is called Sahaja sthiti or Sahaja Samadhi.

Kevalya can be compared to a glimpse of the Self, whereas Sahaja is a permanent and natural state of Self-Realization.

When the Self is glimpsed in Kevalya, it is a prelude to [Self-Realization]: when it becomes permanent Sahaja, it is Self-Realization, Liberation.

– Sri Ramana Maharshi

More information about Nirvikalpa Samadhi.

More information about Sahaja Samadhi.

Love and respect,

Gabriela

PRANA – Part 6

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#6: Joining Kundalini with the crown chakra: After the upward journey of Kundalini, coursing through the Sushumna channel and the chakras along the way (section #5), it is finally brought to the crown chakra, Sahasrara. This union is the Realization of the Absolute, and is the meaning of Yoga.

It usually comes in bursts: There are stories of some person suddenly having an instant awakening and complete transformation, reaching the absolute height of spiritual realization, and having all of their latent impressions (samskaras) that drive karma removed. While this might be theoretically possible for anyone, it is much more common that the awakening and realization of union comes in small parts, much like sparks compared to a lightning bolt. Such bursts can be extremely insightful, peaceful, and motivating. In such moments there may come a flash of insight about some aspect of reality, philosophy, or divinity. Previous issues or questions might become resolved in a moment. In any case, such experiences inspire one to gently continue on the path.

Fear may come: Experiences, even those flash-like glimpses, might come as a complete surprise, in moments when least expected. Often such experiences show us, in one way or another, that the reality of the world and ourselves is not the way it appears in the external way. While the experience may be very peaceful and inspiring, it is also common for there to be a wave of fear. It is a natural part of the process, and is a reaction to the fear of death. It is not that death is immanently coming to the physical person, though some old ideas or impressions might be releasing.

Preparation is imperative: To repeat from earlier, it is easy to read the descriptions in the books about Kundalini Awakening and the union of Shiva and Shakti, and to want to have this immediately. This seems to be a natural desire, that is useful if properly channeled into the motivation to do the practices. However, it is imperative that one be prepared for the energy that may be released in such an experience. If one is not ready, it can be like putting too much electricity through a small wire or fuse, and that is not useful in the long rung. It is far better to be prepared, to make the body a healthy vehicle, the breath a balanced channel of energy, and the mind an intellectually and emotionally stable conduit for the experience. This involves diet, exercise, and cleansing practices, including systematic introspection and the various breathing practices.

Balanced Ida and Pingala is a key: As was already mentioned in section #2 and section #3, balancing Ida and Pingala, and having Prana flow in Sushumna are extremely important preparations, that also bring their own benefits of inner peace. The value of gaining mastery in the breathing practices that support this centralized flow of Prana cannot be overemphasized.

There is no longer an unconscious: Once the Kundalini Shakti attains the state of union with the pure consciousness at the sahasrara, there is no longer any unconscious during that time. There is no longer a latent aspect, as full illumination has come, eliminating this polarization of active and latent. Awareness of the body and the external world is withdrawn into the highest samadhi.

Body is in mind; mind is not in body: One comes to see in experience the truth that all of the body is in the mind, but that not all of the mind is in the body, as it usually seems. To the external view of other people, the body of one in this heightened state of union may appear to be dead. It may be cold to the touch, and there may be no perceptible vital signs, such as a pulse. The body continues to function so that it might be used again after the individuality returns.

Involution and evolution: The process towards realizing and abiding in pure consciousness is one of evolution. The involution of consciousness into the human being is conceptualized as being a process of the creative energy of Shakti condensing further and further into solid form, and falling asleep at the first chakra, at the perineum near the base of the spine. The process of Kundalini Awakening reverses this involution until the full potential of the human is realized in the return to the pure consciousness.

Pushing or pulling the Kundalini: With the goal being the merging of Shiva and Shakti, the latent with the creative, there are two general approaches. Most of the work with Kundalini Awakening, both the preparation and the awakening itself, are done from the lower chakras. The process is one of awakening and pushing the energy upwards in one way or another. A more direct approach for those who are prepared is to pull the energy upward by working directly with the chakras between ajna chakra (eyebrow center), and the subtler chakras between there and the sahasrara (the crown chakra).

Tantra and sahasrara chakra: Of the three paths of Tantra, which are Kaula, Mishra, and Samaya Tantra, the path of Samaya Tantra and Sri Vidya emphasizes meditation in the Sahasrara chakra. It is the highest of the paths of Tantra and Yoga meditation. (See also Yoga Sutras and Six Schools of Indian Philosophy)

Between ajna and sahasrara: From the ajna chakra at the eyebrow center, the journey is up the brahma nadi, an extension of the Sushumna channel. This may be first experienced in the dark field of mind as a black object, lingam, circle, or tunnel entrance. Along the journey to the sahasrara chakra at the crown of the head (also known as the thousand-petalled lotus or brahmarandra), there are other chakras, bindus (points), and levels of consciousness that are encountered and transcended. To go through these levels (called piercing the bindu) can seem like explosions or crashing through walls. If awareness does not stop at one of these points along the way, it comes to the union of the individual and the Absolute.

Beyond the chakras: While the chakras are studied and explored in the earlier stages, there comes a point where the student comes to know the science beyond the chakras. This learning is given in complete stillness and silence, subtler than all of the sounds and forms related to the chakras. This knowledge is not available in any book or school, and can happen wherever the aspirant is physically located, whether close or far from any geographical location in the world or physical teacher. Some schools of meditation say that the student should study the chakras in depth. Others say that this is a waste of one’s life, and that it is better to know the chakras only well enough that you recognize them when their features flash in awareness, devoting your energies to the teachings and realities beyond, seeking the greater knowledge called mahavidya.

Guru chakra: Beyond the first six chakras, between there and the crown chakra, many other chakras, levels, or layers of reality are experienced. For the aspirant who is willing to do so, the guru chakra is used to purify the mind and to bring down spiritual truths. “Gu” means darkness and “ru” means light. Guru is the light that dispels the darkness of ignorance. Guru is not any person, although guru may operate through a person. Guru is actually the higher knowledge itself. Guru chakra is the doorway to that knowledge, to the wisdom and guidance of the teacher within. The sixth chakra, at the eyebrow center, is called ajna chakra, which includes “a” and “jna”, which means the center without knowledge or with little knowledge (“a” is without and “jna” is knowledge). Guru chakra is experienced in the forehead, and is also called jnana chakra, or the center with knowledge. The knowledge of ajna is lower knowledge, while the knowledge of jnana is higher knowledge. The yogi invites all of the thoughts and samskaras to arise in the mind field of ajna chakra and offers them into the higher knowledge, the triangular shaped fire of guru or jnana chakra (Ajna and guru chakras are also called drikuti and trikuti respectively). From that process the pathway is cleared, and higher wisdom and teachings come down to the ajna. Eventually, awareness itself travels upward, receding through and beyond, to That which is the final abode, the Absolute, the union of Shiva and Shakti.
 
Tripura: Tri means three, and pura means city. Tripura is the consciousness that operates in the three cities of Waking, Dreaming, and Deep Sleep, as well as the Conscious, Unconscious, and Subconscious aspects of mind. Sometimes conceptualized as the divine feminine (Shakti), compared to the divine masculine (Shiva), she permeates the three cities of the Gross world, the Subtle plane, and the Causal reality. Tripura also permeates the many other trinities such as the beingness inherent in past, present and future. This is a Tantric rendering of the three levels of consciousness mapped out by the OM Mantra symbol, and its levels of Vaishvanara, Taijasa, and Prajna. Dedication, devotion, love, and surrender into this creative source or divine Mother is one of the finest aspects of Tantra as a direct route to Realization. Some conceptualize Tripura as an anthropomorphic deity, while the subtler practices are directed towards Tripura as formless, that fourth state beyond the other three cities. The Bindu of Sri Yantra is the symbol of this highest transcendent Reality. The quality of the three cities is an aspect of OM Mantra, Gayatri Mantra, and Mahamrityunjaya Mantra.
Shaktipata : When all of the other practices have been done, and the final barrier is encountered, that may be removed by the force or grace of Shaktipata, which means the bestowing of Shakti. It is given through the gift of consciousness called grace (kripa) or guru, whereby a transference of energy happens, somewhat like a magnet affects some metal objects. The experience of Shaktipat is consciously experienced in an intense way. It may come in a single, large burst, though more often it comes in smaller experiences along the way, with each adding insight, as well as impetus and inspiration for further treading of the path. It may come through the physical vehicle of a person or by transmission at a separate time and place, independent of the presence of any person.
Sat chit ananda: The realization of the true Self is best described as indescribable. However, for convenience sake it is sometimes described as being the nature of sat, chit, and ananda. Sat means existence itself. Chit means consciousness. Ananda means bliss.
Cosmic consciousness: Richard Bucke describes the direct experience of the whole of consciousness in his 1901 book, Cosmic Consciousness. It is a description of attaining subtle realm experience, and the “conception” of the whole of the universe. This is coming close to the realization of the union itself with the whole, though still somewhat short of that realization.
“Like a flash there is presented to his consciousness a clear conception (a vision) in outline of the meaning and drift of the universe. He does not come to believe merely; but he sees and knows that the cosmos, which to the Self Conscious mind seems made up of dead matter, is in fact far otherwise – is in very truth a living presence. He sees that instead of men being, as it were, patches of life scattered through an infinite sea of nonliving substance, they are in reality specks of relative death in an infinite ocean of life. He sees that the life which is within man is eternal; that the soul of man is as immortal as God is; that the universe is so built and ordered that without any pre-adventure all things work together for the good of each and all; that the foundation principle for the world is what we call love, and that the happiness of every individual is in the long run absolutely certain. The person who passes through this experience will learn in a few minutes, or even moments, of its continuance more than in months and years of study, and he will learn much that no study ever taught or can teach. Especially does he obtain such a conception of the whole, or least of an immense whole, as dwarfs all conception, imagination, or speculation, springing from or belonging to ordinary Self Consciousness, such a conception as makes the old attempts to mentally grasp the universe and its meaning petty and even ridiculous.”
The student rejoices: In the text, Vivekachudamini (The Crest Jewel of Discrimination), Adi Shankaracharya relates a symbolic story of the interaction between a teacher and a student. Shankara writes of the final joy of realization of the Absolute, where the student cries out:
“The ego has disappeared. I have realized my identity with Brahman [the word for the absolute reality] and so all my desires have melted away. I have risen above my ignorance and my knowledge of this seeming universe. What is this joy that I feel? Who shall measure it? I know nothing but joy, limitless, unbounded!
“The ocean of Brahman is full of nectar–the joy of the Atman [the individual Self]. The treasure I have found there cannot be described in words. The mind cannot conceive of it. My mind fell like a hailstone into that vast expanse of Brahman’s ocean. Touching one drop of it, I melted away and became one with Brahman. And now, though I return to human consciousness, I abide in the joy of the Atman.
“Where is this universe? Who took it away? Has it merged into something else? A while ago, I beheld it–now it exists no longer. This is wonderful indeed!
“Here is the ocean of Brahman, full of endless joy. How can I accept or reject anything? Is there anything apart or distinct from Brahman?
“Now, finally and clearly, I know that I am the Atman, whose nature is eternal joy. I see nothing, I hear nothing, I know nothing that is separate from me.”
OM, shanti, shanti, shanti
OM, peace, peace, peace
Words by Advait
With love and respect,

PRANA – Part 5

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#5: Leading the Kundalini upward: After Kundalini Awakening (section #4), its full force is then guided through the Sushumna channel, much like the Prana that came before (though now in its full force), systematically piercing, and moving through one after another of the chakras along the way. Kundalini Awakening is followed by Kundalini Rising. After Kundalini Rising, the Kundalini is guided to the Crown.

The seven major chakras: As was described in section #1, the energy of Prana flows in the nadis, and the major vortices of the energy intersections are the chakras. Energy is concentrated and stored at these chakra intersections. They are the subtlety which is underneath, or provides the support for the nerve plexuses along the spine. Briefly, the seven major chakras are:

Muladhara: coccyx, base of the spine, at the perineum
Svadhistana: sacral plexus, genital area
Manipura: solar plexus, navel center
Anahata: cardiac plexus, heart center
Visshuddha: thoracic plexus, throat center
Ajna: pituitary center, eyebrow center
Sahasrara: crown of the head
As the Kundalini moves upwards during the phase of Kundalini Rising, it encounters and fills each of the lower chakras, one after the other. The Ida and Pingala nadis, coursing through the chakras, are felt more deeply, and seen as well. During Kundalini Rising, each of the chakras is experienced in its subtler and subtler ways, including the subtler aspects of the five elements and the ten indriyas, which are associated with the first five chakras..

Three groups within six chakras: The chakras function within three general groups of process, going along with a predominance of the three primal elements or gunas:Tamas: The first two chakras relate to the primal activities that operate in relation to the physical world, including the drives for self-preservation and procreation, effectively obscuring higher experience.

Rajas: The third and fourth chakras, the navel and the heart centers, involve a subtler relationship with the world, working with one’s individuality rather than just engaging the physical world.

Sattva: The fifth and sixth chakras, the throat and the eyebrow centers, begin movement away from the outer towards the inner world of purity, intuition, creativity, and wisdom, from which the outer arises.

Open and Closed chakras: If a chakra is open, then Kundalini Rising continues to upwards to the next chakra. If they are all open, then it rises all the way to the Sahasrara. However, this is commonly thought of in an opposite way. If a chakra is closed, then the Kundalini stops its upward journey, and one experiences that chakra more fully in an external way (what is typically called open). This can seem to be evidence of an open chakra, but the fact that the Kundalini does not keep going upwards means that the chakra is actually closed.

Three knots or granthis are broken: Along the Sushumna channel there are three knots (granthis) of energy that will be broken or untied along the upward journey of Kundalini Rising, allowing the flow to go into and through the various chakras above that point:

Brahma granthi: Blocking the flow from the first chakra, the root chakra, muladhara, upward to the others; related to bondage to desires.

Vishnu granthi: Blocking the flow from the third chakra at the navel, manipura, upward to the fourth chakra, anahata, the heart; related to bondage of actions.

Rudra granthi: Blocking the flow beyond the sixth chakra between the eyebrows, ajna chakra, upwards towards sahasrara; related to bondage of thoughts (compared to pure knowing).

Urdhva retas or upward traveling: The energy which is normally dissipated in the lower chakras can be rechanneled to the upper chakras through Kundalini Rising, not being released outward from those chakras, and brought further up the Sushumna nadi towards the upper chakras. Such practices as siddhasana (the accomplished pose), mahamudra (an asana), kapalabhati (a breathing practice), and mahabandha (locks) are used along with concentration of the mind. This allows the lower energy (retas) to move upward and become transformed into a higher energy (ojas), sometimes called effulgent, vital, creative, or spiritual energy that is used for higher realization.

To rise part way is most common: It is most common for the awakened Kundalini to rise only to one of the lower chakras, rather than to awaken and arise through all of the chakras, all the way to the crown. Having the Kundalini awaken and even partial Kundalini Rising is an encouraging and inspiring experience. It is also an experience to observe with humility, as the ego can claim ownership of the experience and delay further advancement.

Confusing Prana and Kundalini: It was already described that when Ida and Pingala are balanced, and Prana begins to flow in Sushumna channel, there comes feelings of peace and a calmness of mind. While this is definitely a desired step along the way, it is sometimes confused with Kundalini Awakening. Sometimes there are jerks and jolts in the nervous system that come along with this; these too are not Kundalini Awakening or Kundalini Rising. It is useful to be aware of the difference between the flows of Prana and full Kundalini Awakening and Kundalini Rising. Then, when those very useful steps along the way come, they are seen as signposts, and as inspiration for the deeper experience.

Kundalini itself becomes a guide: As the sadhana (practices) progress, Kundalini itself becomes a guide. This does not mean that one does not follow external guidance, nor does it mean not questioning the validity of inner insights that might be mental habits masquerading as inner wisdom. Rather, it means that there is a magnetic pull, a directing energy that comes from the Kundalini Shakti itself, which is drawing one towards home through Kundalini Rising.

Shakti becomes like a lion: While the energy of Kundalini Shakti is a guide, it is also like a lion that is running through the body and the mind, searching out and eating away the imperfections that remain. If one is not prepared for this, it can be very shocking and difficult to integrate into daily life. This is not said to cause fear, but respect for the journey. Once again, it means that it is necessary to prepare for the onslaught of such intense purifying experience. If one is not prepared, then the experiences from Kundalini Rising that should bring joy brings physical or mental suffering instead. Paradoxically, notice that if one does not purify, no progress is made, while at the same time, the progress itself brings purification.

Purify to be ready to purify: To prepare for this intense purifying experience requires preparing, by doing the grosser aspects of purifying through work with the body, breath, and mind. This is done through integrating practices such as meditation, contemplation, prayer, and mantra. The practices of Yoga Nidra and bhuta shuddhi (chakra meditation) are very useful. Notice the way an athlete will practice intensely to gain strength and stamina. Then there is a period of rest before the day of the athletic event. At the time of the event there is an intense outpouring of effort. The same is done with Kundalini Awakening and Kundalini Rising. First, you purify and practice. As you do this, you live your daily life. Then, after being fully prepared, there comes the times of advancement in the experiences.

Awakening versus leading Kundalini: The process of Kundalini Awakening is not only one of awakening the energy, but also of leading it upwards, through each of the chakras. The many practices with body, breath, and mind, each have their effect on these various centers, and pave the way for the Kundalini Rising to further upward over time and with practice.

Words by Advait
Go to the last part 6
With love and respect,

PRANA – Part 4

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#4: Awakening the Kundalini energy: After one is well established in the ability to balance the Prana between Ida and Pingala (section #2), and causing it to flow in Sushumna (section #3), the resulting sense of peace and joy is the foundation for the next step, which is awakening the Kundalini itself.

Kundalini Awakening is for all: Regardless of what religious, spiritual, or meditation tradition one follows, the awakening of this Kundalini energy, by whatever name you call it, is a most innate and essential part of spiritual advancement, unfoldment, or realization. It may seem different when colored by different cultures, but the fundamental experience of the energy is there nonetheless.

Preparation is imperative: It is easy to read the descriptions in the books about Kundalini Awakening and the union of Shiva and Shakti, and to want to have this immediately. This seems to be a natural desire, that is useful if properly channeled into the motivation to do the practices. However, it is imperative that one be prepared for the energy that may be released in such an experience. If one is not ready, it can be like putting too much electricity through a small wire or fuse, and that is not useful in the long rung. It is far better to be prepared, to make the body a healthy vehicle, the breath a balanced channel of energy, and the mind an intellectually and emotionally stable conduit for the experience. This involves diet, exercise, and cleansing practices, including systematic introspection and the various breathing practices.

Mediate and immediate methods: When one questions how to awaken Kundalini, the question usually refers to the specific technique that is used. However, Kundalini Awakening may ultimately occur with all methods, even those that do not seem to be directly related to Kundalini. Thus, we have two general approaches with the various practices, those that are more immediate and those that are more mediate. The specific practices may overlap, or be part of both approaches.

Immediate methods: Immediate means direct; not acting through a secondary agency, method, or practice; the quicker, more forceful approach. The immediate or direct approach might involve the various asanas, locks, and breathing practices, as well as more intense meditation practices. It may include Hatha Yoga, Kriya Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Tantra Yoga. With these approaches, it is important to have external guidance so as to learn properly.

Mediate methods: Mediate means indirect; acting through a secondary agency, method, or practices; the slower, more gentle approach. The mediate or indirect approach might involve religious rituals, Bhakti Yoga (devotional), Jnana Yoga (self-enquiry), Karma Yoga (action in the world), simple mantra chanting, gentler meditation focusing on more gross level objects. These approaches are more suited to practice without guidance, though it is beneficial and recommended.

Methods of awakening Kundalini: For the intentional, immediate or direct awakening of Kundalini, there are several categories of practices, and these are generally chosen in alignment with one’s particular teacher and tradition:

Physical: These methods involve Hatha Yoga postures, Mudras (gestures), and Bandhas (locks).

Breath: Vigorous breathing practices (Pranayama), along with the Bandhas, and breath retention.

Meditation: The intensity of concentration leading to Meditation and various levels of Samadhi.

Mantra: Some of the Mantra schools work with subtle vibrations to awaken the various aspects of latent energy.

Hatha Yoga leads to Raja Yoga: It has been mentioned in section #2 that the purpose of Hatha Yoga is balancing Ida and Pingala. In addition, as is stated in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Hatha Yoga is preparation for Raja Yoga, which is the science of self exploration and meditation. Raja Yoga is succinctly summarized in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. (See also the List of 196 Yoga Sutras)

Kriyas are signposts: Sometimes there might be bursts of energy, called Kriyas, which cause a jolt throughout the spine (meru danda) and the body. They may be sharp, quick, and mild, or they may come as a powerful jolt that causes the body to jump. Such a jolt may come from time to time in meditation, experienced as a single burst of energy. These often bring varying degrees of fear, as they may seem to be a threat to our existence. Gradually, as the energy is understood and assimilated, the Kriyas come more like a quick wave of reassuring warmth, which brings a wave of peace. They serve as gentle reminders of progress on the spiritual journey.

Kriyas are neither seizures nor Kundalini: When not understood, these Kriyas can be confused with seizures because of the way they cause a jolt in the nervous and muscular systems. Because of the warmth or peaceful feeling that can come with, or after the Kriyas, they can be confused with Kundalini Awakening, which they are not. Once again, they may be pleasant experiences that serve as inspiration along the journey.

Reversing Prana and Apana Vayu: The five Vayus have been explained in section section #1. Of particular importance are Prana Vayu, which is an upward flowing energy, and Apana Vayu, which is a downward flowing energy. To repeat from that section: One of the ways of describing the process of intentional Kundalini Awakening is that these two energies are intentionally reversed through a variety of practices. Reversing the energy causes the Kundalini at the base of the subtle spine to awaken, and to begin to arise. Although this is not necessarily an easy thing to do, it is very useful to know that there is a basic simplicity to this process, that of reversing these two energy flows.

Three paths of Tantra: Of the three paths of Tantra, Kaula Tantra begins with practices in the first chakra, muladhara chakra, and emphasizes external practices. Mishra Tantra works more with the middle chakras, dealing both with the external and internal, while Samaya Tantra works with the upper chakras, dealing solely with the internal practices.

Shaktipata: Along the way, some of the obstacles may be removed, as well as glimpses of Kundalini Awakening be given through Shaktipata, the gift of consciousness called grace (kripa) or guru, whereby a transference of energy happens, somewhat like a magnet affects some metal objects. It may come in a single, large burst, though more often it comes in smaller experiences along the way. As described in section #6, Shaktipata may come after all of the preparation and practices, as means of removing the final barrier.

Signs of Kundalini Awakening: There are various signs and symptoms of Kundalini Awakening, and these may be of varying duration and intensity. Some of the experiences may seem similar to those of Prana flowing in Sushumna, though the intensity is quite different. The specific experiences may also vary from person to person, and the words used to describe the experiences may be different. The nature of the experience is also affected by the degree to which the individual chakras are involved in the energy increase. However, there are some general signs and symptoms that are commonly reported:

Involuntary jerkiness or shaking in the body
Intense feelings of pleasure or bliss
Feelings of cold in the body
Intense heat in the spine, or a particular chakra, as if molten metal were flowing in the spine
Striking flows of energy, like electricity or internal lightning bolts
Feelings like snakes or ants crawling on the body, particularly along the spine, or between the feet and head
Mudras (hand gestures), Bandhas (locks), Asanas (postures), or Pranayama (breathing practices) may come spontaneously rather than being intentionally practiced
A sense of confusion or uncertainty about what is happening in these experiences
Spontaneous emotional shifts or mood swings
Increase in the experience of inner colors and lights
Inner sounds, such as musical instruments, buzzing, roaring, or thunder
Waves of creative, intellectual, or spiritual insights
As was noted in section #3, it is useful to be aware of the difference between Sushumna Awakening and Kundalini Awakening, as these are different degrees of the flow of energy.

Integrating the experiences: The more thoroughly one has prepared for the experience of Kundalini Awakening (as described above), the more naturally it can be assimilated and integrated. As with preparation, it is important to continue to work with stabilizing body, breath, and mind. It means eating good food, having daily exercise, and getting regular sleep. Continuing with life activities, and being with other people and guides is an important part of the process. The integration of Kundalini Awakening brings about a positive reorganizing or transformation of the physical, subtle, mental and emotional aspects of a person. It does not mean that one is enlightened, but it is an important step along the way.

Describing the experience: The results of Kundalini Awakening can defy description, or may be described in many different ways, using the language and inflections of the individual person. Following is one description of Kundalini Awakening from Gopi Krishna, as described in his book entitled Kundalini: Path to Higher Consciousness. Notice that this description involves Kundalini Awakening, but falls short of merging with the Absolute reality, the completion of the experience of oneness (Saying this falls short is not meant as a criticism. Rather, his words well describe a certain stage of practice. He may describe the further stages elsewhere in his writings. The later stages are captured in quotes at the end of the section on Kundalini rising to Sahasrara). There still remains a here and a there, a me and the other objects. There is still an observer, the process of observing, and the objects being observed. In any case, reading of such an experience, or better still, experiencing such an experience, can be very inspiring.

“Suddenly, with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light entering my brain through the spinal cord. Entirely unprepared for such a development, I was completely taken by surprise; but regaining my self-control, keeping my mind on the point of concentration. The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder, I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light. It is impossible to describe the experience accurately. I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider surrounded by waves of light. It grew wider and wider, spreading outward while the body, normally the immediate object of its perception, appeared to have receded into the distance until I became entirely unconscious of it. I was now all consciousness without any outline, without any idea of corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware at every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction. I was no longer myself, or to be more accurate, no longer as I knew myself to be, a small point of awareness confined to a body, but instead was a vast circle of consciousness in which the body was but a point, bathed in light and in a state of exultation and happiness impossible to describe.”

Words by Advait

Go to the part 5

With love and respect,

Gabriela