Kundalini, the Key to Cosmic Consciousness, THE SECRET OF YOGA, The Goddess Kundalini is roused from her age-long slumber to ascend to her Lord in the pericarp of the Thousand-Petalled Lotus.. Some say Shiva or Christ is within the Thousand-Petalled Lotus.
Before attempting to offer an explanation for the indescribable mystical state let us see how far the usually accepted idea of Grace can cover the varied manifestations of the phenomenon. In the utterances of prophets, mystics and saints themselves the factor of Grace in the achievement is again and again emphasized. The belief is of great antiquity, almost as old as religious experience itself, and is repeatedly expressed in the religious literature of the world.
Among the Buddhists the ever-abiding Buddha is substituted for God. Considering the fact that from the very beginning the human mind has attributed the existence of all phenomena, inexplicable to it, to the agency of supernatural entities or divine beings, it is no wonder that for the still more incomprehensible mystical experience an added degree of divine favour has been thought to be a sufficient explanation for it. Until very recent times intractable diseases were often ascribed to the maleficent influence of evil stars or spirits, gods or goddesses even by the civilized populations of Europe and Asia, and exorcism or propitiation was resorted to, sometimes with adverse effects, to cure the malady. In India, even after the discovery of vaccination and with the full knowledge that it provides an effective safeguard against the disease, many credulous people side by side with the inoculation, present the customary offering.
The mind then freed from the domination of desires and sensory impression remains rapt in the contemplation of the marvellous, extremely fascinating inner world. How in the light of these facts can it be admitted that samadhi itself results in the cessation of thought, caused by intense con-centration or by a diminished flow of blood to the brain, or by the stoppage or slowing down of the breath?
Had the phenomenon been confined to the practice of dhyana or Hatha-Yoga only, even then the solution would provide insurmountable difficulties in the way of its acceptance by a rational mind. But when we find that the exercise of intellectual discrimination, selfless action, constant thought of Divinity, passionate devotion and, above all, merely a gesture from the Unseen in the form of Grace can bring about the mystic state, the whole problem assumes a different aspect altogether.
It becomes obvious that all the current explanations offered for this condition do not, in these circumstances, provide a satisfactory answer to the riddle. There must be some other factor underlying and common to all these which exercises a decisive function in the attainment of the divine objective. It is a commonly observed fact that the normal human con-sciousness is able to apply itself only to a limited field of observation at one time, and this law operates in sleep and hypnotic conditions also. For instance, while reading a paper we can scan only one word and one line at a given instant and not have all the words and all the lines of that page before our mind at the same time. Similarly while trying to imagine the colossal body of the sun, our largest picture of it can only correspond to the widest landscape seen, and can never exceed the limits of the mental horizon present in us; although the sun is millions of times the size of earth, all we see at one time from horizon to horizon is but an infinitesimal part of the earth.
The experience of samadhi, as described by Yogis and saints, is a plunge into the Infinite, a dive into the plumbless depths of an unbounded Conscious Ocean or the vision of an all-pervading Omnipotent Being or the face-to-face encounter with a personified God, of unlimited power, in a halo of infinite glory, unlike anything seen on earth. In all the genuine phenomena of this kind, the effect on the visionary has been always stunning, and the experience has been repeated, with variations of course, but always with a powerful impact on the mind.
The question is: How can this occasional virtual metamorphosis of consciousness be explained in terms of the solutions suggested? Either the whole subject is delusive and the vision is only an overpowering hallucination, in which case the inquiry need not proceed any further, or the phenomenon is the outcome of an alteration in consciousness, resulting from an alteration in the functioning of the brain. Arrest of thought can at the most tend to keep the consciousness unruffled or, in other words, it can cut off the impressions coming from the senses and keep the flame of awareness absolutely steady for some time, but it cannot enlarge the capacity of consciousness to such a degree as to cause a staggering effect on the individual, wafted to a new plane of being, to infinity and immortality. Unless there occurs a radical transformation in the power of cognition of the observer himself, allowing him to compare his former state with the vision seen, the mystic state, as described by great Yogis and mystics, is not possible.
The consciousness will continue to have, even in the condition of stillness of thought, the same limited capacity as is allowed to it by the brain.
When the Master asks: ‘Do you hear the murmuring of the brook?’ he obviously means thing quite different from ordinary ‘hearing.’ Consciousness is something like perception, and like the latter is subject to conditions and limitations.
You can, for instance, be conscious at various levels, within a narrower or wider field, more surface or deeper down. These differences in degree are often differences in kind as well, since they depend on the development of the personality as a whole; that is to say, on the nature of the perceiving subject.” Jung’s own solution of the problem does not explain the reason for the transformation of consciousness, which he admits. For every manifestation of the phenomenon of religion he ultimately turns to the Unconscious, a self-invented magic key which a little verbal turning and twisting, can be made to fit into any lock.
The transformation of consciousness does not, in the genuine cases, point to a subconscious content of the mind nor collective unconscious, from the primeval savage to the modern intellectual, but to a state of awareness which, transcending limits of time and space, can exercise the faculties of enhanced knowledge, clairvoyance, and prophetic vision for which psychology has no explanation to offer at all.
This metamorphosis of consciousness is not of the nature of a subjective experience only, but coming with enhanced intellectual efficiency, supernormal psychic gifts, and moral elevation provides conclusive of the fact that the change has affected the very roots of being, and shows a difference of the same kind as is present between a man of mediocre mental ability and an intellectual prodigy.
When we never allow ourselves to remain in doubt about the fact that there must exist a biological distinction between the former type of mind and the latter, it is really strange that we fail to allow the same difference between the common run human beings and the illuminati. In the absence of a satisfactory explanation from any modern source we are driven to look into the ancient volumes relatingto the subject for a solution of the problem.
When we do so we find that the phenomenon of transformation, transfiguration, conversion, transmutation, or rebirth is fully recognized by almost all the religions and occult doctrines of the past. ‘While every faith and occult creed possesses its own method of physical and mental training to effectuate this transformation there is no unanimity among them either about the nature of the transformation effectuated or the factors responsible for it. At the present moment hardly anyone is prepared to acknowledge that there is a regular psychosomatic arrangement
in the body by which approach to Divinity and higher planes of consciousness becomes possible. For the scholar as well as for the common man, religious experience is a subjective phenomenon, although its effects may give rise to objective results. In this context the remarks of William James* are of particular interest: “When, however, a positive intellectual content is associated with a faith-state, it gets invincibly stamped in upon belief, and this explains the passionate loyalty of religious persons everywhere to the minutest details of their so widely differing creeds.
The Physiology of Yoga
Before proceeding to describe the mode of operation of the divine Energy, kundalini, and the methods devised from ancient times to arouse it to activity, it is necessary to enter into a brief dis-cussion about one point. If kundalini is the only natural device in human beings, implanted by nature to lead to transcendent states of consciousness, how has it been possible for the followers of other schools of Yoga and the adherents of other religions to attain the mystical state without awakening this power, and even without having the knowledge that such a force exists designed to stimulate it? Furthermore, if there exists a power centre of this kind at all in the human frame, how has it escaped the notice of modern anatomists who have probed into every nook and corner of the body, and why when special methods are available to activate it, is the knowledge of the mechanism so rare, even in India, and the number of successful initiates so extremely small as to be almost negligible?
There is another important point also: since kundalini is the ultimate source of all the phenomena proceeding from any type of Yoga or any kind of spiritual discipline, how is it that even accomplished Yogis, who achieved transcendence by means of Raja-Yoga, Bakhti-Yoga or Karma-Yoga, or mystics have not been able to detect and locate his hidden power centre as Hatha-Yogis and Tantrics have done. These points are very relevant to the issue and they indirectly support our hypothesis. We have already arrived at the conclusion that religion, in order to be an inherent attribute of the human mind, and not merely an artificial creation of prophets and sages, must have an independent base in the psychic makeup of man, necessitating a complementary biological apparatus as well. The only way by which this psychosomatic contrivance could make its presence felt is to create an awareness in the surface consciousness of the purpose it has to accomplish.
The whole vast structure of Kundalini.. Yoga revolves round this cavity and the spinal canal. For those unacquainted with human anatomy it is only possible to indicate the approximate location of the area on the basis of an inner perception of the region or the sensations experienced there. This, to the best of our knowledge, has also been the means of observation of the ancient masters of this Yoga, which accounts for the variation found in the number of the nadis and the cakras, and also in their location. It is for this reason that accurate observation and study by experts is necessary in order to place the subject on the footing of an exact science. The effects produced by an awakened kundalini are so multilateral from the very beginning to the final stage that once a thorough investigation is started a host of possibilities will come into view, one after the other.
The Goddess Kundalini is roused from her age-long slumber to ascend to her Lord in the pericarp of the Thousand-Petalled Lotus. She first ascends, like a flame, to the Manipura-Chakra, of which the navel is the hub; and the lower half of the body is filled with the mystic fire. Thence she continues her ascent; and in union with her Lord, the Divine One, the whole body is filled, even to the tips of the fingers and toes, with the Secret Psychic-Heat.
Kundalini-Yoga is also called Laya-Yoga. One accom-plished in this form of Yoga is thus said to be in possession of the power to create and destroy the world at will. The idea that the serpent power is a limitless source of energy capable of investing the initiate, who has succeeded in arousing it, with entire command over the forces of nature, has no basis in reality, and is a product of the exaggerated accounts, contained in the ancient manuals, about the marvellous attributes of kundalini. These attributes aptly apply to the cosmic aspect of the creative energy, or shakti, but when applied to the individual the limitations that mark off the puny human creature from the almighty Cosmic Being must be applied to the individual aspect of kundalini as well. If it were not so, the very notion of “rousing Her from sleep” or “conducting Her to the Sahasrara”or that “She should be led upward as a rider guides a mare with the reins”, or that “She, the young widow, is to be despoiled by force” or that “With practice a Yogi becomes skilled in manipulating her” and other similar expressions used by ancient authors would be unthinkable. It is therefore obvious that the power alluded to is a potent life energy, normally in a dormant state, but capable of being activated with proper efforts directed to that end.
Kundalini is the key to the evolutionary mechanism. It is, therefore, but natural that it should be connected with and have influence over the spinal cord, the autonomic nervous system and the brain, for any stimulus to evolution to be effective must start from the cerebro-spinal directorate, and in order to be fruitful must have its closest cooperation and assistance at every step. Why it should be connected intimately with the reproductive system is abundantly clear from the very nature of Kundalini-Yoga, and the explanations furnished by its exponents. With the awakening of kundalini the successful initiate is in a position to utilize the tremendously potent prana, or organic life force, present in this region, for the important task of remodelling the brain and the nervous system to the point of evolutionary perfection, where man begins to approach the stature of a superman, adorned with new channels of perception and a Transcendent Consciousness, able to penetrate to the supersensible, subtle regions of the universe. This is the reason why Kundalini-Shakti has been revered by the ancients as a goddess and the deepest homage and worship offered to her.
The aspirants to Yoga who believe that they can force the gates of heaven open with this or that method do not realize the stupendous nature of the task that they undertake. Whatever the method used for gaining transcendent knowledge or even occult powers and whatever the intensity of the effort the final arbiter of the award is kundalini. It is for this reason that from time immemorial the serpent power has been worshiped instinctively in countless forms and in numerous guises by almost all the people of the earth. Even those who place no reliance on religion and no faith in God, considering intellect to be the sole guide and architect of human fate, also pay homage to kundalini indirectly, for without the constant seepage of the Elixir of Life into the brain through the susumna, as an indispensable factor in the process of evolution, human thought could never have attained the towering heights it occupies at present.
“You cannot see the seer of sight,” says the Brhadaranyaka Upanishad (3.4.2.). “You cannot hear the hearer of hearing, you cannot think the thinker of thought, you cannot know the knower of knowledge. This is your self that is within all. Everything besides this is perishable.” The same idea of the incomprehensibility of the eternal, unconditioned Knower is again expressed in the same Upanishad (3.8.1) in these words: “He is never seen but is the Seer; He is never heard, but is the Hearer; He is never thought, but is the Thinker; He is never known, but is the Knower. There is no other seer than He, there is no other hearer than He, there is no other thinker than He, there is no other knower than He. He is the Inner Controller—your own self and immortal. All else but Him is perishable.”
A radical transformation in the foundations of a man’s person-ality, as comes to pass in the case of an accomplished Yogi, is actually a transformation in the nature of the Knower who is now in a position to perceive both the inner and the outer worlds. Such an alteration cannot occur without changing the whole mental structure of a man. This is exactly what this volume is intended to pinpoint and to prove.
The fact that people in general are not properly educated about the real nature of the metamorphosis brought about by Yoga is at the root of the present-day flood of faulty literature on the subject from the pens of authors lacking completely in experience of the mystical state. This has done and is doing grave harm by disseminating wrong and sometimes even dangerous information about an undertaking requiring expert guidance and extreme care at every step. The other evil that has resulted from this ignorance is that false prophets and sham Gurus have sprung up and dominate the stage everywhere, especially in the West, reducing this venerable system of spiritual discipline to a farce, and in this way doing great disservice to a cause which in the present critical situation of the world is of paramount importance. The ancient authors, especially those writing on Kundalini Yoga, have made no secret of the divine attributes (vibhutis) and miraculous powers (siddhis) that automatically develop in one who attains perfection in Yoga. Patanjali, in his Yoga-Sutras.
How poor the current picture is of the lofty science of Yoga, especially in the West, can be observed from the fact that one dressing himself in a certain peculiar way, or one who can stand on his head for a few minutes, or one who, when he touches you, exhales a certain perfume, or one who sits calm and silent in a certain posture for prolonged spells is regarded as a Yogi.
There is not the least inquiry as to the way by which such a person has transcended the normal mental state of an intelligent man. If there has been no such crossing of the boundary line, it means that Yoga has not been accomplished and, however learned or calm or self-controlled or physically healthy or agile a man might be, he is still as far from the consummation of Yoga as any other average individual.
Even the awakening of kundalini, unattended by a metamorphosis of consciousness to the point of transcendence, does not make one aware of the supersensory realms. One in whom such an awakening occurs may display some psychic gifts, but in other respects he rises no higher than a common medium or sensitive. For real transformation or, in other words, for the fruition of Yoga one must be in rapport with higher planes of existence and have access to Supernal Wisdom which flows from the truly enlightened even as fragrance exudes from a blooming rose.
In actual fact, a contrary view would be more sensible and accurate. As it is in the world that our bodies and minds are nourished and, again, as it is because of the world that the higher state of consciousness, experienced in samadhi or turiya, is attained, it naturally devolves as a duty on one who has tasted the Supreme Bliss of this indescribable state to exert himself to the utmost to help others to reach the same summit in order to repay the debt he owes to the world and to the countless people of the world whose labour, directly or indirectly, contributed in innumerable ways to his existence, maintenance and, finally, to the achievement that brought him such glory and joy. In a law-bound Creation it is obvious that this higher plane of consciousness cannot be a prize, reserved for a few; but what we have failed to recognize so far, is that it must be a summit which every member of the race is destined to reach one day. Those who climb to it first, acting as pioneers, must guide others on the steep ascent until the task is accomplished, and the whole caravan arrives safely at the top.
Kundalini, by its very nature as the evolutionary instinct and power mechanism in man, implanted with a divine purpose, covers all the varied facets of human life. In the present critical situation of the world there is no other branch of study so illuminating as this to determine the direction of human evolution and the meaning and purpose of human life. What first psychical research and now parapsychology have so far failed to ascertain can be determined with ease, correct to the last detail, with the arousal of kundalini. We have not yet dwelt on the promises and potentialities for the edification and exaltation of man pregnant in Her. Transcendence, genius and psychic gifts comprise only a section of the inventory of incomparable benefits obtainable through Her Grace.
It has to be borne in mind that the evolutionary impulse is carrying mankind toward a more glorious, more sublime, and more happy life with all the attributes of mind, all healthy desires and passions necessary for his survival both in his present state and in the destined Higher Order toward which he is bound. The superman of the future will live, thrive and beget, almost as we do, with this difference—that all his actions and desires, obeying an indomitable will, will naturally be well considered, balanced, and chaste. He will have learned how to build a peaceful Eden, free from every trace of violence, war, want, and disease, with a far more harmonious and equalitarian social order, to permit every individual to live undisturbed in the blissful paradise within himself. Kundalini is the Divine Power, both individually and collectively, which as the controller of evolution, raising man from the position of a speck of protoplasm, is slowly moulding him into a Man-god, amid all the uproar and unrest that characterizes our age, in order to endow him with inner attributes and to crown him with a glory in the millennia to come which are beyond our loftiest dreams.