The implications of kundalini

It is very easy to become caught up in superlatives and vague descriptions of kundalini. It is ineffable, so we will confine ourselves to a very simple and basic description.

In tantra and yoga, kundalini is regarded as feminine and is also called Shakti. She is the link to higher awareness and bliss. She is the revealer of all mantras and the means by which bliss trickles down from the eternal source, sahasrara, to individual beings.

The kundalini is the creator, sustainer and dissolver of all centres of being, including man. She creates by descending through the different chakra levels (shristi krama: process of creation); sustains by abiding in mooladhara chakra; and dissolves by ascending through the chakra levels (laya krama: process of absorption).

When kundalini descends to the lower chakras then she is the cause of delusion, limitation and lack of knowledge: maya. She is known as jagan-mohini, the world bewilderer, causing man to become caught up, ensnared and deluded by the outside world of name and form. As she descends, kundalini becomes progressively more gross and loses her power and subtlety.

In animals, insects, plants and all so-called inert objects, kundalini resides and sustains from levels below mooladhara chakra. In fact, the tantric scriptures list seven more chakra levels which exist below mooladhara: atala, vitala, sutala, talatala, rasatala, mahatala and patala.

At these levels there is lack of any form of self-awareness that distinguishes man; this faculty does not arise until the level of the mooladhara chakra. We will not discuss these lower chakra levels for they are not important with regard to human aspiration and yogic practices.

In man sustains from the level of the mooladhara chakra. The kundalini is said to dream at this level; it is the dream of everyday wakeful life. While she sleeps, man retains a strong sense of individuality and self-centredness; he is awake only to the world of name and form, and unaware of the untapped potential that is his heritage. At this level, man is really asleep; it is the tamasic state of being. The situation can be summarized as follows: when the kundalini sleeps in mooladhara, then man is awake to normal levels of being; this is really deep sleep. When kundalini wakes up, then man as an individual begins to arouse from his twenty-four hours a day waking slumber.

The reascent of kundalini through the chakras implies the reversal of creation. She becomes the cause of awakening, bliss and realization. Shakti returns to its source at sahasrara. As the kundalini progressively rises through the chakras, so the veils of maya are removed. It is this maya that clouds consciousness. Maya is thicker in the lower chakras and nil in sahasrara. As she awakens, the barriers of individuality begin to break down and evaporate like a mirage. One's self-identification gradually expands to include more and more.

Eventually kundalini merges with maha kundalini (great kundalini) - sahasrara. She merges with Shiva (consciousness) with whom she is identical. In her formless form she is consciousness; in her formed form she is Shakti, the power of manifestation.

The last few paragraphs can be summarized as: descent of the kundalini implies increasing separation, disidentification and lack of knowledge. Ascent implies increasing integration, identification, bliss and a more harmonized, wider view of one's being in relation to life and others. The kundalini, as a centre of consciousness and power, abides in mooladhara chakra in individual man. ft abides in sahasrara when individuality and mind are transcended. It occupies intermediate chakra levels according to the awareness and identification of the ego. It is the same kundalini power, but viewed from different levels of awareness, understanding and identification.

The kundalini both binds and liberates. It is both the cause of the fall and illumination. In the tantric scriptures, Hevajra Tantra, it says kecsplacitiyno'Karae lymest draseHby that which one falls." That is, kundalini only shows herself to those people who seek her. To these she gives liberation; to others she is the cause of bondage.

In order to break down too much attachment to logical understanding of the kundalini, we will now tell you something that seems to contradict what we have already said, but which actually does not. The kundalini, in a higher sense, does not really abide in the mooladhara chakra or anywhere else. It ever abides in sahasrara. It does not really rise through the chakras. Each of the chakras is connected to sahasrara, and each in turn can turn on the power of kundalini in sahasrara. The chakras are really switches that make the kundalini seem to ascend; it actually remains in sahasrara, the reservoir. The kundalini that is said to abide in the mooladhara of each human being is really a reflection of that which always abides in sahasrara. Contemplate on this apparent paradox. Tread the path ofjnana yoga. Ifyou discover the answer, then you will find that there is no contradiction - kundalini is both in mooladhara and in sahasrara. But please don't take our word for it; find out for yourself.

The kundalini is often associated with sexual energy. In fact, in tantra, under specified conditions, sexual energy is utilized as a method of raising the kundalini and expanding levels of awareness. This can be done in two ways: either by actual sexual intercourse in a prescribed manner, or by abstaining from sexual relationships. In both cases, the sexual energy is transmuted. This process is called urdhvaretas, which means the power and energy behind sex is directed upwards to induce higher states of consciousness.

Many people tried to identify sexual energy directly with kundalini but this misses the real meaning, for it means much more than sexual energy. Sexual energy is merely a small part and aspect of the full power of kundalini.

The awakening of kundalini indicates greater and greater levels of mind. As she rises through the chakras, so one becomes more and more concentrated. The fluctuations of the mind begin to settle. The mind becomes more and more like a placid, calm sea, instead of a tumultuous, stormy ocean. One's awareness begins to flow as smoothly as the flow of oil from thing that continually rivets the attention. The whole mind starts to flow in one direction and becomes a vehicle of bliss instead of unhap-piness. Such is the boon of opening the chakras and awakening the kundalini.

The purpose of yoga is to retread the path back to the source. In other words, the aim is to raise the kundalini (Shakti) so that she unites with her husband (Shiva) in sahasrara. Poetically. it is said that through the practice of yoga, kundalini develops an overwhelming desire to unite with her husband and for this reason awakens from her slumber in mooladhara. The awakening transforms everyday life into bliss. The world remains the same but one's changed attitude, feelings and awareness transform everything into a fulfilling, joyful experience.

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