The Inner Universe Altered States of Consciousness – Secret teaching about Yoga & Kundalini. It is here that the vivifying stream of nectar, repeatedly mentioned in the work, wells up in a mysterious way with an indescribably transporting sensation, in the brain itself, to irrigate the whole area of the cranium. In a manner which future investigation will show, this nectarean substance, culled by nerves from all parts of the body, provides the biological fuel to carry on the processes necessary to build up the new center
he reason why the idea of a still untapped reservoir of psychic energy in the human body is often unacceptable to the intellect lies in the fact that it does not form a part of the cultural tradition of the West. The Western scholars treat body and mind either as an inseparable duality or as two interacting entities completely different from each other.
The Semitic faiths inculcate the idea of a soul which, in a still undetermined way, makes the body its abode for the duration of its earthly life.
There is generally no recognition of the fact that mind or ego-bound consciousness is a form of energy so subtle and complex that it is beyond the reach of our intellect. We can never have perception of another consciousness as we have of our own, although we live surrounded by millions of fellow beings in possession of a conscious apparatus more or less like our own.
But we never objectively perceive it, as we see the body, and are only aware of it by inference. But individual human consciousness is not the only form in which this energy can be met with. It is present in every nook and corner of the universe, capable of acting at the deepest levels of atoms and molecules.
The awakening of Kundalini, in a harmonious system, causes a revolution in the texture of this energy with the result that a new world of perception opens before the amazed inner eye of the awakened individual. Generations of yogis in India, for the past thousands of years, have been a witness to this amazing transformation. The record of their experience still exists in the Vedic, Puranic, Tantric and Yogic literature extant in our country. But there has been no attempt so far to integrate all these varied interpretations of the same experience and to demonstrate the identity of the basic factor that is common to them all.
That factor is Kundalini. In a modest way, in spite of my frailties, I am myself a living witness to this extraordinary phenomenon. I live, act, think and dream in a world of light. The accounts left by the great mystics and seers of the past, whether Eastern or Western, make an instant appeal to me.
Every stanza of Panchastavi has a personal bearing and a hidden import for me which is not transparent to most other readers of the work. I know in what state of mind the author must have lived, and what overpowering sense of gratitude to the divine Power, responsible for his transference from the world of delusion and death to that of Reality and Eternal Life, must have prompted the song. This transference from the world of darkness to that of light is described by Lalleshwari in several beautiful passages. In one of them she says, “I turned to Him with all my heart and soul and heard the ringing of the bell of Truth. There, in Dharana (the yogic state of concentration), fixed in thought, I soared the sky and the Regions of Light elThis is a clear reference to the inner sound and the inward light. The former, sometimes, resembles the soft tinkling of a musical bell, at other times the soothing murmur of a gently flowing mountain stream, at still others the humming of a swarm of bees and so on.
What the ego of the illuminated person perceives is a Splendor, sublime beyond description, dwelling in the body, still prone to hunger, thirst, sleep, fatigue, desire and passion, in a rational way but, at the same time, conscious of its own eternal substance, as if the sun had bodily descended to live in and illuminate a narrow, dark and dingy cavern on the earth.
The world stands desperately in need of a new era of spiritual revival. The present-day widespread interest in Yoga and the occult is the outer symptom of an inner urge that urgently demands a correct appraisal of its nature to avoid abuse.
In a nutshell, the Divinity in man wants to assert itself. This has often happened throughout the past Whenever a settled, organized way of life enabled any section of humanity to live in reasonable comfort and peace and to have some time to spare, an irrepressible impulse, rising from within, drove members of the community to seek answers to the Riddle of Existence, to the Mystery of Creation and their own Being.
This led to the multidirectional search for the supernatural, the occult and the divine.
This elevation of the divine in man is the real aim of Yoga and of all religious disciplines and faiths of mAwlfirel
The soul must rise above the fetters of the senses to gain awareness of its on glory and eternal being. The emancipation of the divine spark, clothed in flesh, is the avowed aim of all the current major faiths of mankind. But a flood of intellectual speculation and an incorrect presentation of the real purpose of faith has created a climate of confusion and disbelief in which the real aim of spiritual discipline has been lost. The first attempt of every seeker should be to determine the goal.
When this is done the methods to achieve it would not take long to find. The most effective way to bring about the consummation is to keep this sublime end always in view. The whole life of an individual must revolve round this supreme resolve.
The feeling of surrender and submission to the divine must pervade one’s whole being. No amount of study, no degree of practice, no method of Yoga, no secret key to success and no esoteric discipline can tear asunder the veil and reveal the matchless glory of the Self until the right environment is created both within and without. An aspirant can but knock at the door of salvation and continue knocking all his life. But the door has to be opened by a Superhuman Cosmic Intelligence which knows him in and out.
Where, then, exists the possibility of a breakthrough until the Lord is satisfied? This is a position that is unacceptable to many who, intoxicated with pride, believe they can take even the Divine by storm. This frame of mind does no harm to Divinity, but entangles the soul deeper into the web of delusion.
It is for this reason that every prophet and every mystic ever born took constant pains to place the ideal of humility and surrender to the Divine will before the seekers, as the first essential requirement of a spiritual life.
The Majesty revealed in samadhi or ecstasy, showing the gulf of difference between the ego-bound, conceited creature and the Lord, leaves not the slightest room for pride. This is how Panchastmi (11.27) describes the frame of mind of one bumbled and chastened by the Vision seen. “0 Goddess: May my eyes ever ardently seek to visualize Thy form, may both my ears ever long to listen to descriptions of Thy countless virtues, may my mind ever be engaged in Thy remembrance, may my voice be always raised in Thy praise, may my two hands ever be busy in actively worshiping Thy feet (In short) may my zeal for worshiping Thee never diminish in any way.” And again (V.27): – “At the time when my father, mother, brother, wife, very loving friend, household, my on body, son, attendant and even wealth forsake me, at that time (of departure from this world) do thou, 0 Moonshine-like infinitely Glorious Mother, out of compassion dispersing the (binding) darkness of ignorance, attachment and fear, instantly manifest Thyself unto me.”
The purpose of the Vision of deathless Glory of the Soul is to overcome the natural and instinctive fear of death. The attitude of perennial worship of the Divine, even while engaged in the conquest of the forces of nature and the exploration of space, is as necessary for the individual as for the race to raise mankind to her sublime estate.
A conceited and individualistic bent of mind has been symbolically portrayed in the religious lore of mankind in the rebellious nature of the Prince of Darkness — in the case of Semitic faiths — and in that of the Asuras in Hindu mythology.
The stress on certain syllables, like ‘Aim’, ‘Kline, and ‘Sauh’, on mantras, on diagrams, or on pronouncing the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet in a certain way or their existence on the petals of the lotus to be visualized on the chalcras, is in accordance with the ideas and the usages of the time when Panchastavi was composed. Otherwise, all the various manifestations connected with the arousal of Kundalini are concrete realities governed by biological laws about which we have no knowledge at present. There is nothing of superstition, myth or miracle about the phenomenon.
It is miraculous in the sense that we have no knowledge of the force involved in it. The one single characteristic that adds a supernatural or divine color to it is that the Energy behind the various strange and, sometimes, even uncanny and bizarre manifestations seems to be possessed of an intelligence which is entirely beyond our conception.
We can frame a distant picture of it in this way: suppose an impregnated ovum in the womb of the mother becomes aware, as we are, of what changes take place in it during the process of growth. Imagine, then, its wonder and bewilderment, during the whole period of its embryonic life, at the storm of intelligent activity which it witnesses within itself every moment resulting, with the division and the multiplication of one single fertilized ovum, in the formation of a human infant, complete with all organs and limbs.
Experience of thousands of years, with constant scrutiny and handling of the human body, has not enabled us yet to fathom its mystery or to know even a fraction of the marvels hidden in the brain —an organ so complex that there is nothing compared to it on the earth. The difficulty with the skeptic is that. whatever be the degree of his understanding, he lacks the power to imagine the staggering dimensions of intelligence and skill needed for such an achievement.
There is nothing so preposterous as to suppose that such a marvel of intelligence and skill which, mark you, transcends our intellect even to understand, could be fashioned without the direct agency of a higher intelligence far, far superior to our own. Like one with a deficient vision for a certain color, the skeptic sees and draws his conclusions with the aid of a highly trained intellect. But the omission of that one color renders all his conclusions wrong.
This is the reason why in the Indian scriptures great emphasis has been laid on viveka, i.e., the power of right judgement or discrimination. This is a quality which, according to Plato, must be present in a philosopher.
This is also what the term buddhi as used in the Bhagavad Gita, signifies. Mere book knowledge or a high degree of intelligence is not sufficient for an understanding of the mysteries of creation. They must be tinctured with wisdom and deep insight. Present-day knowledge treats the human body and the brain as a sealed system with no room for a performance that completely transcends their normal limits.
The now century-old investigation of psychical phenomena and the huge volume of evidence, gained by competent investigators, has not sufficed to open the eyes of the world to the fact that there are still depths in human consciousness and the instrument of its expression, i.e., the brain, which they have not been able to fathom so far. In many cases the blind spot in the mind that omits to see a certain ‘color is responsible for this inability.
Freud’s condemnation of religion shows a lack of insight and poverty of knowledge about mystical ecstasy that is astonishing..’
What Panchastavi attempts to expound is as far away from the concepts of Freudian psychology as the landing of a Martian expedition on the earth. It has to remembered that ascension to a higher level of consciousness, in which the divine nature of the Self becomes manifest. permitting the human soul to have a glimpse of its on glory, involves the opening of a new channel of cognition in the brain.
This is what is actually meant when reference is made in Panchastavi to the entry of Kundalini into the Brahma-randhra to achieve the enrapturing union with Her Lord.
It is here that the vivifying stream of nectar, repeatedly mentioned in the work, wells up in a mysterious way with an indescribably transporting sensation, in the brain itself, to irrigate the whole area of the cranium. In a manner which future investigation will show, this nectarean substance, culled by nerves from all parts of the body, provides the biological fuel to carry on the processes necessary to build up the new center.
The clinching evidence for the objective nature of the phenomenon of mystical ecstasy and Cosmic Consciousness will only be provided when it becomes possible for science to verify the altered activity of the nervous system, the flow of this ambrosial current into the bead and the changes that occur in certain areas of the brain itself.
The denials of skeptics do not belie the Tantric tradition nor the avowals of thousands of Indian adepts, but only highlight the present deplorable poverty of knowledge about the brain.
With the fast rudimentary success in this investigation the stampede that will follow to hunt for bits of vital information in the Tantras and books on Shri Vidya, like Panchastavi, is not hard to envision.
A time may come when the accounts left by ancient explorers of the uncharted regions of inner space will be sought for and read more avidly than, may be, even the first-hand accounts of the brave spacemen who first land on one of the distant planets, when the feat becomes possible.
Such a complete reversal in the shifting of interest from the outer to the inner world may appear unrealistic in the context of present-day trends. But once the all-surpassing joy and wonder of inner exploration becomes even half as well known as voyages in outer space, there will be nothing to compare to the fascination exercised by it on the adventurous spirits of every age.
Then only can the greed for power and wealth abate, and the race for armaments come to an end. Then only can evil, crime and violence subside, for a new horizon, a new ideal to strive for, a new vision of the universe and a new springhead of lasting happiness will then open before the eyes of the seeking crowds.
The symptoms displayed by some mystics seem to corroborate this view. In some cases there is a close concordance in externals between ecstasy and an epileptic seizure or, as it were, a sudden spasm of the brain.
There is absolutely no awareness of the biological factors involved in the condition which shows a varied pattern in different individuals.
The luminosity in the head is a phenomenon so incredible that it is extremely hard to explain it to those who have not had the experience. As already explained, this luminosity is not observed in the same way as a light seen through mortal eyes. On the other hand, it is the observing apparatus, the thinking mind, its imagination and thought, that becomes luminous. When the transformation is complete, all thinking and all visualization is done in a mental world of light. In other words, the inner man — the thinking, willing, ego-consciousness — now wears a raiment of light and, in deeper states of contemplation, floats in a luminous, throbbing sea of life, much as an incandescent globe of gaseous matter, risen high, would be seen floating against the background of a brightly shining sky. This is why Kundalini is often likened to the ‘glowing sky’, to the ‘starlit firmament’, to the ‘milky way’, to the ‘Moon’, ‘Sun’, ‘Fire’, and ‘Lightning’. The underlying idea in every case is to convey the otherwise undepictable transformation in the texture of consciousness that keeps the inner being of the accomplished yogi always ablaze with light.
What the Shakti Shastras deal with is an advanced type of consciousness in which the senses are transcended to reveal a non-spatial and non-temporal picture of the Universe.
The only explanation that can be provided for this change in perception is that in the higher dimension of consciousness, created on the awakening of Kundalini, the mind acquires a highly penetrative X-ray quality which makes the erstwhile massive objective world seem like an illusory appearance, not real in itself but only a projection of the observer.
This is the reason why Vedanta declares the Universe to be an illusion, a transformed image of Atman (soul) or Brahman itself. This marvelous experience is common to most mystics. This is how Lalleshwari describes if. – “By oft-repeated practice, the wide expanse of manifested Universe is lifted to absorption; and the Saguna world, of forms and qualities, merges in the vastness of the Void, with a splash like water on water falling.
Then the ethereal Void dissolves and the Ineffable Supreme alone remains. This, 0 Bhatta (Brahman), is the Truth to gain.” How remote from the present-day distorted notions about Yoga does this avowal of an acknowledged adept in the science sound. The most amazing feature of accomplished Yoga is the inner revolution which turns the Universe into a melting ghost. This is why the Upanishadic Seer declares with absolute conviction that all this is Brahman and there exists nothing besides that.
This is also why the Shaiva philosophy believes the world to be a transformed form of Shakti, the creative power of Shiva or, in other words, a transformed image of Shiva Himself.
On the union of Shiva and Shakti, when Kundalini illuminates the mind, the world dissolves in the flame of consciousness like a shadow dispersed by the entry of a brighter light. This new form of cognition which seems to pervade the whole universe is not merely a transformed form of normal human consciousness operating before, but an amazing ocean of infinite wisdom and unmeasurable intelligence so concentrated that each drop contains an ocean of Knowledge within itself. This is the reason why, in the state of mystical ecstasy, there is a definite sense of enhanced awareness and deeper insight into the nature of things.
Due to the limitations imposed by the brain, it may not be possible for one to bring back this experience into the normal state, but the awareness of enhanced knowledge during the trance is unmistakable. In exceptional cases, fragments of knowledge gained in this condition filtered down as Revelation which form the seed-bed of all revealed scriptures of mankind.
In the case of genius, the insight gained, the new discoveries made or the inspired material gathered all flow from the same inexhaustible ocean of the Universal mind. This is the reason why, in the verse reproduced above, Kundalini is held to be the Code of Conduct, the Repository of all knowledge, the Author of the Vedas, the Springhead of all morality and the rest, as all science, philosophy, art, ethical standards and the Revelations of religions descend from the ocean revealed by Her to become a part of Human culture and life. The famous Vedic prayer, “From darkness lead me to Light, from the Unreal lead me to the Real, from Death lead me to Immortality,” is an abbreviated version of the same transformation.
The inner being of an illuminated soul embodies all these three features of transcendental life — Splendor, Reality and Freedom from the fear of Death. The same idea is beautifully expressed in Chandogya Upanishad (III. 14.2) in these words: – “He who consists of mind, whose body is life (prana), whose form is light, whose conception is truth, whose Soul (Atman) is space containing all works, containing all desires, containing all odors, containing all tastes, encompassing this whole world, the Unspeaking, the Unconcerned .. .”
The same self-luminous state of Brahman is described in Katha Upanishad (V.15) in another way: -‘The sun shines not there, nor the moon and stars nor these lightnings, and much less this (earthly) fire. After Him, as He shines, everything shines, this world is illuminated with His light.” The same stanza occurs in the Mundaka (II.2.10) and also in the Svetasvatara Upanishad (VI 14). A similar passage is contained in the Bhagavad Gita, too. This idea is further elaborated in the N lundaka Upanishad thus: – “In the highest golden sheath is Brahma, without stain, without parts. Brilliant is it, the light of lights —that which the knower; of the Soul (Annan) do know.” The main attempt of the Upanishads is directed at defining the extraordinary pattern of consciousness attained in the beatific state.
The Maitri Upanishad (VI.35) describes it in this way: – “Of the bright power that pervades the sky it is only a portion which is, as it were, in the midst of the sun, in the eye and in fire. That is Brahma. That is the immortal. That is Splendor. That is the Eternal Real…. That is heat That is breath. That is matter. That is the moon . . . That is the realm of Brahma. That is the Ocean of Light.” How alike are the features of the experience of turiya (fourth state of consciousness) as contained in the Upanishads, or as described in Panchastavi. Shiva is self-luminous. So is Atman, so is Purusha, so is Brahman and so is Shakti. Each one of them is the first cause of the Universe and everything in it. Earth, water, fire, air, ether, the sun, moon, the Vedas, the mind and intellect all arise from it. The conclusion is, therefore, irresistible that all these descriptions proceed from an identical experience which has been differently interpreted by the seers who had it.
It is extremely hard for a modern down-to-earth intellectual to accept the fact that human consciousness can attain to a state of perception where the solid Universe is reduced to the position of a shadow and one Eternal Life is seen pervading the cosmos. Such an affirmation proceeding from another lofty intellect, as for instance of a Shanlcaracharya or Ahhinava Gupta, would at once create a doubt about their judgement of observation in his mind. But his skepticism is unwarranted, if not downright irrational, for the reason that what they are talking about involves the operation of a new form of energy about which modern science is still in the dark.