By Harleen Kaur July 2002 Many people these days are reporting experiences of kundalini awakening. What is this mysterious force? What are its manifestations? Must all spiritual aspirants go through them? Are their ways to consciously make it ascend? How safe is it? Are you having a kundalini experience?How do you know you are a candidate for kundalini awakening? See if the list of symptoms listed below match with what you have ever experienced. • Pranic movement or kriyas. The person may experience intense involuntary jerking movements of the body including shaking, vibrations, spasm and contractions. • Pranic movement or kriyas. The person may experience intense involuntary jerking movements of the body including shaking, vibrations, spasm and contractions. • Spontaneous yogic postures or hand mudras. • Physiological symptoms: Apparent heart problems, pains in the head and spine, gastrointestinal disturbances, hyperactivity or lethargy. • Psychological upheaval: A period of confusion and imbalance. Feelings of anxiety, guilt and depression as well as compassion, love and joy with accompanying bouts of uncontrolled weeping. • ESP experiences: Visions of light, symbols, or review of past-life experiences. The hearing of voices, music, inner sounds and mantras. • Psychic phenomena: Precognition, telepathy, psychokinesis, healing abilities. • Experiencing the unity of creation. A useful breathing exerciseSwami Sivananda Saraswati re-commended this pranayama in his book, Kundalini Yoga: When you practise the following, concentrate on the mooladhara chakra at the base of the spinal column, which is triangular in form and which is the seat of the kundalini shakti. Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril till you count three Oms slowly. Imagine that you are drawing the prana with the atmospheric air. Then close the left nostril with your little and ring fingers of the right hand. Then retain the breath for 12 Oms. Send the current down the spinal column straight into the triangular lotus, the mooladhara chakra. Imagine that the nerve-current is striking against the lotus and awakening the kundalini. Then slowly exhale through the right nostril counting 6 Oms. Repeat the process beginning with the right nostril as stated above, using the same units, and having the same imagination and feeling. This pranayama will awaken the kundalini quickly. Do it thrice in the morning and in the evening. Increase the number and frequency gradually and cautiously according to your strength and capacity. In this pranayama, concentration on the mooladhara chakra is the important thing. Kundalini will be awakened quickly if the degree of concentration is intense and if the pranayama is practised regularly. Fringe benefits of kundaliniAs the kundalini moves higher into each chakra, the brain would start registering different experiences and one would attain siddhis. However, if one gets caught in these siddhis, the ultimate union would move away from sight, so all gurus guide their students to not get caught up in them. Patanjali in his yoga sutras, observes that ‘‘All these psychic manifestations are obstacles that block the free flow of consciousness towards samadhi.’’ This is how C.W. Leadbeater described the evolution process of the kundalini: ‘‘As the kundalini moves into the second etheric centre and the ‘petals of the lotus open’, man might start to remember his astral journeys. In the third centre, the physical body becomes quite conscious of astral influences, would properly understand the reasons.” Leadbeater adds: “As it moves into the fourth centre, man instinctively becomes aware of the joys and sorrows of others. The arousing of the fifth enables him to hear voices, which sometimes make all kinds of suggestions to him. He might also hear music or other less pleasant sounds. When it is fully working, it makes the person clairaudient as far as the etheric and the astral planes are concerned. When the sixth is aroused, man begins to see things, to have various sorts of waking visions. The full arousing brings clairvoyance. When the seventh centre is quickened, the man is able by passing through it to leave his body in full consciousness , and also to return to it without the break.’’ ‘During one spell of intense concentration, I suddenly felt a strange sensation below the base of the spine, at the place touching the seat. The sensation was extraordinary and pleasing. Suddenly with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light entering my brain through the spinal cord. The illumination grew brighter and 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 a point of consciousness that was within myself growing wider, surrounded by waves of light. It grew wider and wider, spreading outwards 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 a corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light, simultaneously conscious and aware of every point, spread out in all directions, without any barrier or material obstruction. The light I had experienced was internal, an integral part of enlarged consciousness. It is a surpassing state of pure cognition, free from the limitations of time and space.’ This is the description of his kundalini experience by Pandit Gopi Krishna, a government clerk at the time living in Kashmir, India. Kundalini, the book he wrote, is credited with popularizing the concept in our time. Now there is a spurt in reports of kundalini awakenings. Gangaji, a foreigner living in Rishikesh, a religious place in India has posted her account on the Net: ‘During the time of manifestation, I felt as if I would spontaneously combust, the heat being so intense… the nervous system felt as if it was short-circuiting everywhere at once, there were spontaneous mudras and kriyas that happened, energy moved through the body uncontrolled; at one time it felt as if ice-cold water were poured into the heart area-there were dreams of fires and snakes, the mental modification included extreme depression, followed the feeling of the pain of the world and the ability to heal pain. People like you and me too are going though the experience.’ Says Neeta Kapoor, a meditator in Mumbai: ‘After I began regular meditation, I was lying down one day when I felt a rope lift its head and dance up my spine. That was the beginning of the kundalini awakening. After a while my chakras started opening. It took my manipura chakra three months to open up, and there was a feeling of an engulfing fire in the belly. Then it went up to my heart where it was stuck for five months.’ ‘I used to feel tremendous heat and also cool currents going through me. It was as if I had my own internal generator and air-conditioner. But when my heart chakraopened up, a real sense of love and compassion filled me. My visuddha chakra opened up very quickly and now my energy is at the ajna chakra. Today the energy flows freely through every cell 24 hours of the day and there’s a tremendous sense of bliss.’ Seed for spiritual evolutionWhat is this strange, mysterious force called kundalinithat has so many in its thrall? A word that even among seasoned seekers conjures up visions of fear, awe and diffidence in quite the same way that tantra does. It is a word soaked with esoteric connotations, of arcane practices, of the unleashing of a tremendous force, of the acquisition of supernatural powers. It smacks of the occult, even of black magic. Search the Net and you will find 13,000 references to kundalini. There is even a support group to help people cope with spontaneous kundalini awakenings. Here in India, we have gurus such as Mata Nirmala Devi, Avdhoot Baba Shivananda and others who claim to do mass kundaliniawakenings. The Shaktipat school, in which the kundalini is directly awakened by the touch or look of a realized master, has a well-established place in the annals of traditional spiritual thought. The siddha yoga lineage of Baba Nityananda-Swami Muktananda is an illustrious example. Kundalini is considered to be the basis of evolution and development of personality. It is believed to be the secret origin of all occult doctrines, the master key to the unresolved mystery of creation, the inexhaustible source of philosophy, art and science, and the fountainhead of all religious faiths, past, present and future. For the seeker of truth, love and the brotherhood of mankind, kundalini can at first sight seem too rich a brew. And yet, whatever yogic path you may be following, and whether you are aware of it or not, kundalini awakening is part of the process of spiritual growth. Says M.L. Dudhat, a retired judge of the Bombay High Court and a teacher of a meditation practice called Mental Physics: ‘Kundalini is a barometer that measures a person’s conscious unfolding. As he evolves and goes beyond the narrow concerns of the self to focus on the happiness of others, the kundalini will rise to give him a different quality of energy.’ K. Kunhikrishnan, managing trustee of Pranic Healing Foundation, New Delhi (also a school for arhatic yoga) remarks: ‘There is nobody in whom the kundalini is not awakened. People might not be aware of it; you can consider this state of unawareness as an unawakened state. The moment they do something, any sort of spiritual practice, they can be called awakened. It is simply a
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