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Descent and Ascent of the Soul through the Chakras. The coiled knot in the Muladhara chakra prevents the soul from being released from material bondage

Descent and Ascent of the Soul through the Chakras. The coiled knot in the Muladhara chakra prevents the soul from being released from material bondage.

The Descent The higher state of consciousness, with its different levels, has to be realized here on earth, where we are able to perceive God through direct experience. God-realization is not attained merely by dying, thinking that our faith will take us to heaven to meet God.

Higher consciousness is not something we have to find, or develop, acquire, possess, or to build up, because it is always present here and now. It is not out there or up there somewhere. The kingdom of God is within you. It is here, and is available at all times, but because we are not giving any attention and awareness to it, the Truth/Reality remains hidden from us.

The belief that one is the ego obscures the realization of the reality of the Self. The constant identification with the body—mind—ego complex keeps us in bondage. The ego deals in form and definition, so it is unable to comprehend the Self, which is beyond all form.

The sun is always shining brightly until the clouds cover it, or so it seems. Moving away the clouds does not cause the sun to shine but merely reveals that which was temporarily obscured. Similarly, the higher conscious Reality or Infinite Presence is always present.

Its realization occurs of itself when the obstacles to it are removed. The Self is awareness itself, and behind this luminous Self, the individual consciousness, is the one effulgent ocean of reality, Supreme Consciousness. Everybody in this world has descended from the subtle causal state to the gross physical state.

The majority of the souls here on earth have no conscious awareness or knowledge of the divine nature of the being that dwells within their own material form of mind—body.

We feel finite, separate from the Divine Reality we call God, separate from one another, and more identified with this physical form. God is one Supreme Being undivided and unrelated to creation, and yet the same God is also made up of an infinite number of individual shining souls. Just as there is a boundless ocean of water behind each and every wave, similarly the Supreme Consciousness is behind each and every individual consciousness.

The one Supreme Consciousness has extended Itself from Its etemal pure-mind state to appear as innumerable individual souls living in a temporal universe of forms.

Through different stages of the process of involution, the divine, infinite and undivided God has descended into the human physical form to manifest as individual souls. God is in the heart and soul of every being.

This is the all-pervasiveness of God as He manifests as innumerable individual souls. And yet God remains undivided; the Supreme Being never loses Itself by becoming many. Just as water can be taken from the ocean and divided into numerous cups, without losing its quality of water, similarly, the ocean of God’s presence behind the wave of your consciousness always retains its original nature. From the sahasrara chakra Divinity descends to the Ajna chakra, located at the junction of the eyebrows.

Here the soul makes its entry into the physical body through the negative pole, the medulla oblongata, of the ajna chakra. It is here that the individual soul has come into existence, distinct from God. The soul has not forgotten God, but there is a separation, a duality. As the soul descends from ajna chakra in the astral spine, to the fifth centre, vituddha chakra, at the level of the throat, the soul is no longer in union with God, as it was in the ajna chakra.

The soul still feels God’s presence; there is still an intensity of feeling for God but it is not very clear.

The soul continues its journey downward in the spine to the level of the heart, anahata chakra. At this level of the descent, the soul has awareness of God but the intensity of feeling for God is lessened. God is still within the heart and soul of the individual being as it descends through the chakras, but as it descends further below the three highest chakras, the soul’s awareness becomes more and more obscured.

Below the level of the heart the soul enters the next centre at the navel, manipura chakra. Here identification with the body—mind—ego is beginning to take effect, and the awareness of God is fading. The soul then passes deeper downward in the spine through the svadhisthana chakra, becoming more entangled in bondage to matter.

Finally, the soul reaches the lowest centre at the base of the spine moladhara chakra. In this last stage of the downward journey through the chakras the soul comes to rest. Now the soul has become more aware and identified with gross matter, with the material form of the body and the mind. It has also forgotten God.

Clothed in the physical form, the individual soul forgets its real identity. The soul is now identified with the three lower centres of consciousness and in its relationship to the world functions and operates from those chakras.

The primal life-force known as kundalini takti now lies latent and ‘coiled up’ waiting at the base of the spine in the moladhara chakra. The physical, astral and causal bodies in which the soul is clothed are integrated and work together.

The coiled knot in the Muladhara chakra prevents the soul from being released from material bondage.

Due to ignorance (avidya) the soul becomes oblivious to its eternal, ever perfect and immutable divine nature. And as a result, the world of objectivity and duality becomes more pronounced, and demands more and more attention of the individual soul.

The Ascent

Now if we made our home or remained at the level of these lower centres of consciousness, particularly the maladhara, and svadhighana chakras, the soul would essentially be conscious only of eating, sleeping and procreation.

If a human being is functioning from these lower planes of consciousness, then he or she is behaving essentially like an animal. How do animals live? They are preoccupied with eating, sleeping and procreating.

Of course that is normal for an animal, but it is not normal for the human being to live in that way. One of the main differences between the animal and the human being is that the consciousness of the human being is more highly evolved.

The human has the power to discriminate between the real and the unreal.

The human being’s real nature is divine, and the aim of human life is to realize this divine nature: that you are satchid-ananda (ever-existing, ever-conscious, ever-new joy). It is joy we seek, because joy is our true nature.

The instinct for knowing our own real nature is inherent and self-evident; it needs no proof. Everybody will eventually awaken to some degree to that divine consciousness present in their lives.

We may call it God, or we may call it Self; but when you know God through inner discovery and direct experience, you will know the Self as well, for they are one.

As souls we may turn to God, or as the Self we may turn within to our own identity; in both we experience the one Light, the one Pure Consciousness.

Under the power of Nature (Prakft) and its conditions, the human soul identifying with the active mind and senses becomes confused and tired of the frustrations and suffering of life, and because of these obstacles, the soul cannot become conscious of the God within, whose power gives us the power to act.

Thus, the embodied soul conditioned by Nature feels enslaved and limited to the gross physical form. A person cannot be spiritually minded until he or she realizes the futility of worldly desires.

When a person understands this truth and recognizes the limitation of what the worldly desires can fulfill, he or she develops the insight that the one supreme purpose of life and complete fulfilment in life is to realize God.

Eventually there comes a time when the soul becomes aware of its higher nature and spiritual ideas begin to enter the mind. The human soul begins to think, ‘There must be more to life than just eating, sleeping, procreating and enjoying the senses.’ Who am I?’, ‘Where did I come from?’, What happens after death?’, ‘What is my true purpose and what is the meaning of life?’, ‘Who or what is God? What is the Ultimate Reality?’

As we become more and more disillusioned with the nature of the world we begin to understand the inherent limitation of this life. You will come to know that, however wonderful and fascinating this world may be, it cannot fulfil your inner yearning for complete freedom from all bondage and suffering.

We live in a world of dualities — life and death, growth and decay, knowledge and ignorance, happiness and sorrow, health and disease, success and failure — these opposites coexist.

The world cannot be made perfect, but it can be used as an instrument, as a means to perfection. Jesus Christ said: ‘Know the truth and the truth shall make you free.’ Know the truth of your essential nature, the Divine Self, the fountain of Infinite Joy within you, then you will find freedom.

Now there is a glimmer of light, there is some hope. The individual soul aspires to something higher than what it has experienced in the lower states of the lower chakras. The soul tries to remove the veil of ignorance by meditating on God.

When the mind turns towards God, the spiritual ascent begins.

Kundalini begins to wake up. Now the soul becomes more and more disidentified with the mental—physical form and rises above the three lower chakras to the subtle state.

Through deep God-conscious meditation the soul ascends through the same path it descended in the astral spine reversing the primal life force and consciousness from matter, and retracing its steps back to Supreme Consciousness. In its upward journey, when the soul reaches the heart level of the anahata chakra, it has left the world of darkness and has entered into the world of inner light, giving the individual soul a wonderful sense of relief and freedom as it moves towards the innermost consciousness.

But at this level of the heart something of our attachment to the world is still left. There is still the danger of falling to a lower stage. The anahata chakra is the crossroads between the lower and higher chakras, so the spiritual aspirant needs to be cautious.

That is why the next stage of the journey upward to viSuddha, the throat chakra, is said to be the most strenuous. It is only by constant, persistent effort of spiritual practice, by withdrawing the mind from the objects of the senses in deep meditation, and concentrating on God within, that you make the soul rise higher. When the soul in its journey upwards advances to the level of the vituddha chakra it is secure.

It may fall down a little, but it will never fall below the anahata chakra. Here the mind is no longer limited or bound by time and space. The mind is transformed from the lower to a higher consciousness, into a finer state, transcending the seekers negative and material vibrations. In viSuddha all the elements are purified and transmuted into their refined essence of akata.

It is then that the individual soul is established in pure consciousness. The next stage of the soul’s ascent is from vituddha to ajna chakra, the sixth centre of consciousness at the midpoint between the eyebrows.

At ania chakra, you have the first union with God in samadhi, in which the finite self as the meditator, the process of meditation, and the object of meditation — the Supreme Self (God) — become one. Consciousness of the body, and the sense of ‘I’ or ego- consciousness disappears, and knowledge of the external world is lost. In this samadhi state which is called savikalpa samadhi, the meditator’s individual consciousness merges with the Cosmic Consciousness, and experiences ever-new joy (bliss). Like a wave dissolving into the ocean, the individual soul is merged in an effulgent ocean of bliss.

The last stage of the soul’s upward journey through the astral pathway in the spine is to the thousand-ray lotus at the sahasrara chakra, the pinnacle of consciousness. Reaching this plane of inner consciousness, there is a Divine awakening of the highest experience in nirvikalpa samadhi, which is identification with the Absolute.

The individual soul and the Supreme Soul become one. The finite self becomes absorbed in the Supreme Self and the identity of the two as Pure Consciousness is realized. The forms or attributes of God disappear; God is experienced as the ultimate One, as undivided Pure Consciousness.

The soul is resurrected from delusion and regains its Divinity. The individual soul becomes identified with the limitless Supreme Self — the two vanish, and one integral, undivided consciousness, beyond subject—object relationships, alone shines.

The Supreme Being is not perceived by the eye nor expressed by the organ of speech, nor apprehended through any other organ, nor is this attainable through austerity or by the performance of deeds. When one becomes purified in mind through the clarity of understanding then one can realize that indivisible Self through meditation. Mundaka Upanksad, 3: 1.8

Meditation is the means to the attainment of the ultimate One. The direct experience of the Supreme Being is not possible by any other method. From the scriptural texts and from words of the seers and sages we can know much about God, yet we remain ignorant of Him because they do not reveal God to us. Similarly, by logical reasoning we can have only partial knowledge of the Absolute God or ultimate Reality, which is indefinite and indecisive. Once the seeker realizes the Supreme Being through direct experience in savikalpa or in nkvikalpa samadhi he or she does not lose sight of God any more.

Yoga, Chakras and Kumlalini in the Bible

Know the Truth, and the Truth shall set you free. John 8: 32 Behold, the Kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17: 21

Be still, and know that I am God. Psalms 46: 10

The Father is in me and I am in the Father. John 10: 34, 38

I [inner self] and the Father [Supreme Self] are One. John 10: 30

The Bible, both in the Old and New Testaments, has many hidden meanings relating to the teachings of yoga. Above are a few Bible quotes that relate to the yoga teachings; there are more that can be revealed, if one can take the time to search and study the Bible in the light of yoga for these spiritual insights.

The deeper levels of meaning in the scriptures are revealed to those people who are spiritually ready to understand them. Jesus revealed the hidden meaning of his teachings only to his closest disciples: ‘The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you.

The New Testament is a complete description of the transformation from the lower stages to the higher stages of consciousness. In the writings of the Bible, the symbol of the wheel or seal is used to represent the chakras in the subtle bodies.

Peter Horttanainen

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