Just a Quick Update

I was reading a book – “Autobiography of a Natha Siddha Yogi” by Vibhakar Lele when I came across an interesting bit of information regarding Kundalini activation and Manipura Chakra. The following piece of information (screen-shot from the aforementioned book) offers another perspective on my own spiritual experiences as mentioned in “Kundalini experiences part 4” and “Kundalini, Chakras, and Spiritual Evolution”.

Manipura and Kundalini Awakening

 

Saundarya Lahari, Samayachara, and Manipura Chakra

I’ve just now found some interesting pieces of information that seem to offer an intriguing perspective on my spiritual/Kundalini experiences. However, at the moment, I’m just going to write a very short post about them, with intent of keeping an eye on that subject for further revelations….

So…. as I mentioned in my previous posts, I have been reading and trying to understand Saundarya Lahari and there are certain verses in that book that are contradictory to the widespread knowledge about the sequence of chakras. For example the verse 9 of Saundarya Lahari where the sequence/elements of Swadhisthana chakra and the Manipura Chakra seems to be reverse of what is generally known and practiced.

Research on that contradiction (sequence of chakras) lead me to a masterpiece commentary on Saundarya Lahari written by Swami Vishnu Tirtha Ji Maharaj (a self-realized guru and also a well-known authority on Kundalini & Shaktipat), which further led me to do some more (casual) reading on Samayachara (a path of Tantra, which seems to be given more preference in the Saundarya Lahari).

Following are a few screenshots from a book (on Samayachara ) where I found some useful information/insights about some of my previous Kundalini experiences –

1

 

23

 

Right now I don’t know what’s true and what’s not …..but one thing is certain! – The topic of saundarya lahari, Samayachara (and its avoidance of the lowest two chakras) seems to go well in accordance with my own experiences of Kundalini and its awakening – as mentioned in my previous posts – Kundalini experiences part 3, Kundalini experience part 4, as well as Kundalini experiences – the initiation.

 

Deciphering the dream and the deity…

I have already written about a strange but significant dream which I saw a few days back. I have also written about the number of ways in which that dream had links with Goddess Lalita in my post Kundalini Experiences – part 8. But what’s really amazing is that, ever so often, more and more links between my dream and Goddess Lalita keep popping in my way…

Today I was reading about the meanings of the Sanskrit verses in the sacred text of Goddess Lalita – the Lalita Sahasranama, when I came across this word: ‘Chidagnikundasambhutha’ – referring to the origin of Devi Lalita.

‘Chidagnikundasambhutha’ means – Born from the Pit of the Fire of Consciousness.

FireShot Screen Capture

Source of the screen-shot: https://www.facebook.com/notes/sri-lalita-tripurasundari/-श्रीमत्-सिंहासनेश्वरी-_-3_-चिदग्नि-कुण्ड-सम्भूता-_4_-देवकार्य-समुद्यता-_5_/368255033284883?comment_id=1927980&offset=0&total_comments=3

What makes this word special for me is that in my dream, I was offering the Red Sari to the Goddess (surprisingly, Goddess Lalita is actually described as wearing a red sari in the scriptures) but I was making the offering in a pit! Yes that’s right – not in a temple, not before a statue, but in a large pit in the ground…

“In my dream, I saw myself descending, from what seemed like a raised platform or cliff, onto a ground, which had many large pits. I then proceeded to offer a red sari (a traditional women’s wear for Hindus) with a golden border and small golden floral prints, into one of those pits in that ground. Even though I was offering the sari into a pit I was actually meaning to offer that sari to the ‘Devi’ (Goddess) or ‘Shakti’.” Kundalini Experiences – part 8

…and all this while, I was wondering whether my act of offering the Red Sari in a pit (when I actually meant to offer it to the Goddess), made any sense at all!

…and boom, just like that I find the missing link ….and it totally makes a lot of sense now!

How cool is that? 🙂

Kundalini Experiences – part 8

Caveat: Even though I refrain from posting mature content on my blog, this particular post requires that I write about certain issues which are difficult for me to talk about. My apologies in advance!

It was around 7 pm in the evening and I was casually lying on my bed, trying to relax. I just wanted a few moments of perfect silence, a quickie meditation, if you will…

As I delved deeper into myself, my attention drifted towards some strange sensations arising in the center of my chest. Actually, they seemed more like pulsations…very slow, smooth, and rhythmic (about 1 in every 2-3 seconds). It seemed as if a small balloon was inflating & deflating very slowly and softly within the center of my chest. Those pulsations lingered for a while (but I’m not sure for how long exactly) and after some time they stopped completely. (One more thing – my breathing was almost suspended while those pulsations were happening and I couldn’t feel my heartbeats either.) Anyways, I didn’t think much about those pulsations because stranger things have happened to me in the past. So,…after another few minutes I resumed my regular activities, ate dinner and then finally went off to sleep.

When I woke up the next morning, I realized that I had just seen a dream which exuberated an uncanny sense of mystery. In my dream, I saw myself descending, from what seemed like a raised platform or cliff, onto a ground, which had many large pits. I then proceeded to offer a red sari (a traditional women’s wear for Hindus) with a golden border and small golden floral prints, into one of those pits in that ground. Even though I was offering the sari into a pit I was actually meaning to offer that sari to the ‘Devi’ (Goddess) or ‘Shakti’. Subsequently, after making that offering, I jumped back to the raised platform and was accosted by some people who exclaimed that what I had done is called a ‘Chalan’. They also expressed their wonder on how I managed to do it so easily because performing a ‘Chalan’ requires a very strict ritual and is guided by rules and regulations, failing which, it can even harm the person doing the ‘chalan’. In response to their query I simply replied that I didn’t know about any rules and rituals; I just made the offering to the goddess with full devotion.

Now, the word – ‘Chalan’ (that I heard in my dream) kept ringing in my memory so I gave it a quick search on internet. Unfortunately, that day I didn’t get much success in finding any relevant stuff regarding – any procedure called ‘chalan’, or offering a sari to devi, or offering a sari in a pit. All I found was a mention of one Shakti –Chalan mudra in ‘Hatha Yoga Pradipika’ but there seemed to be a lot of ambiguity on how to perform it.

The next night I saw yet another dream but it was quite graphic in nature. I saw a woman engaged in a sexual act but she looked sad and disinterested. She was staring at me with her blue eyes ….and there was something about the look in her eyes that affected my psyche very profoundly. Since, that day onwards, my thought processes underwent a dramatic change (and this change was more sudden than gradual). Whether this change is temporary or permanent is yet to be seen, but for now, even though I have continued access to all my sources for sensual fulfillment, yet I seem to be largely uninterested in them. It’s not like I have developed an aversion towards sensual pleasures; it’s just that I am not chasing them like I used to. It’s like having water kept in front of me but I simply don’t care because I’m just not feeling thirsty! It’s more like an end of some chase or a dependency….something like a sense of freedom!

Ok, so over the next couple of days, I kept digging the Internet for the word ‘chalan’ and ultimately found the following additional results (as mentioned in my previous post)

  1. Shakti – chalan (one of the three methods given in the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad for the control of Prana) source: http://www.yoga-age.com/modern/end.html and Shakti-Chalan Mudra – source: http://gurujiamrita.tripod.com/see_goddess2.htm
  2. Chalan – Kriya (linking it to verse 27 of ‘Chid Vilas- Sri Vidya tattva’, and thereby linking it to the Akshaya Tritiya) Source: http://shaktanand.blogspot.in/2011_06_01_archive.html and http://www.rikhiapeeth.in/event/akshay-tritiya-and-sri-vidya-puja-and-diksha/ and http://www.astrojyoti.com/akshayatritiya.htm . Now, since sri-vidya is linked to worshipping of goddess Lalita Tripurasundari (source: http://www.shivashakti.com/tripura.htm) hence it led me to sri Lalitha Sahasranama, and thereby –
  3. A particular verse in the ‘Lalitha Sahasranama’ – “Vakthra lakshmi parivaha chalan meenabha lochana”. (source: http://www.starsai.com/eyes-goddess-lalithambigai-cares-fish-devotees/#comment-7341). When I read the commentary about the word ‘chalan’ in the link mentioned above, I felt that it accurately related with my prevailing condition of going astray from the spiritual path.

So, I went ahead to search for ‘Lalitha Sahasranama’ on you tube and that’s when I found this image in one of the videos of ‘Lalitha Sahasranama’.

Shri Lalita Tripurasundari
Shri Lalita Tripurasundari

Interestingly, this image shows goddess Lalitha wearing the exact same sari that I offered to the Goddess in my dream (red sari with golden border and small golden floral prints). This strengthened my belief that my dream could indeed be related to Goddess Lalitha (who is also related with Kundalini shakti) – (to know more about Goddess Lalita and her association with the Kundalini check out the following link http://www.kamakotimandali.com/srividya/ashtakam.html).

But when I proceeded to listen to ‘Lalitha Sahasranama’ I found that the word ‘chalan’ was being pronounced as (चलन {chalan}) rather than (चालन {chalan}). This confusion arose because, while both चलन and चालन are commonly written as ‘chalan’ in English, चालन is pronounced with a greater emphasis on the ‘a’ (more like Chaalan) as compared to चलन (lesser emphasis on ‘a’) . Needless to say, I was a bit disappointed because what I heard in my dream was चालन rather than चलन. So, the next time, I decided to search for the words shakti-Chalan (as “शक्ति चालन”) in Hindi rather than English (to avoid any further confusion).

(Note: since the word ‘chalan’, on its own, simply means the act of movement or conduction and since I was offering clothes (sari) to the Devi or Shakti, in my dream, when I heard the word ‘chalan’ …so I searched for the words Shakti and chalan together to see if they had any specific meaning)

Interestingly my search yielded some really amazing results, particularly from an older edition of ‘Akhand Jyoti’ (published in the year 1977) – the same magazine from where I got the knowledge about Manipura chakra and its links with the ram (as mentioned in Kundalini experiences – part 4). According to the article published in that magazine – shakti chalan (“शक्ति चालन”) refers to the activation of the dormant Kundalini (शक्ति) and making it mobile so that it starts moving upwards (therefore in this context, chalan (चालन ) refers to the movement or ascension of Kundalini). There’s also a mention about Chalan of  Sarasvati nadi in the Yoga Kundalini Upanishad. The Chalan of  Sarasvati, along with the restraint of the Prana, is said to straighten the Kundalini (which is in a coiled state when dormant). But what really makes this all the more interesting is the fact that the article goes on to assert and describe that – “in the spiritual world, devotion is more fruitful than ritualism”, – the same thing which I said in my dream i.e. “I don’t know about rituals and procedures; I just did it with full devotion”.

(Note: There is a lot more information about Kundalini, Nada-Yoga, and Shakti-Chalan in that article but it’s rather difficult for me to translate all that stuff in English. Anyone who knows Hindi must check out that link: http://aj.awgp.in/upload/uploaded/1977_05-spell_checked.txt)

Anyways, yesterday (on the occasion of Akshaya Tritiya) I decided to go ahead with my initial plan of listening and meditating to the ‘Lalitha Sahasranama’ but I further added the ‘Vishnu Sahasranama’ to the list too because some online sources suggested worshiping Vishnu before worshiping the devi.

So, initially, when I started meditating, some kriyas which have happened to me in past, started happening again. For example – My back and neck arched upwards and backwards as far as it could. Simultaneously my whole abdominal region up to the diaphragm clenched and contracted inwards & upwards very tightly. At the same time I noticed a fluid like motion in my spine…as if air bubbles were passing through a tube filled with a fluid. Furthermore, along with all these kriyas, Bhastrika also started happening. These sets of spontaneous movements or kriyas repeated themselves for a couple of times before I noticed yet another strange happening (which was completely new and, to be honest, a bit embarrassing). I sincerely apologize for being so gross, but it’s absolutely necessary that I write about those things as they could be related with the bigger picture…

So, the next thing that I experienced during my meditation was a pleasant, tingling sensation in my abdominal region. Darn it!…it was almost a full-blown orgasm and that too without an erection (not that I would have preferred that). I apologize again for being so crude but I don’t know how else to describe that experience. Till now I have never experienced anything even remotely similar to that event during my meditation. But what happened next is an understatement for being weird. After a few more sets of involuntary kriyas, that orgasmic feeling shifted from my abdomen to my chest. That’s right! I was actually experiencing an orgasm (or a feeling similar to orgasm) in my chest rather than where it is supposed to be felt normally. It was an intense sensation of pleasure mixed with certain tickling sensations. Eventually, my head, neck, and back became arched upwards and backwards and simultaneously I began emitting audible sounds from my throat and then later I even started laughing. Finally, as if all that was not enough, my chest region started shaking vigorously as if I were doing a dance move from a Bollywood movie. Honestly, I would have rolled on floor with laughter had I seen anyone else doing the same things I was doing at that time. But, regardless of everything else, that ‘thing’ happening in my chest was real…and strange… and I mean really strange ….and really weird too! …. but nonetheless, quite pleasurable!

Anyways, now when I reflect on my dreams, together with my recent experiences during meditation, as well as wakeful state, they do seem to me like bits and pieces of a puzzle forming a bigger picture that seems to be related with the movement of Shakti (shakti-chalan), as well as, with the Anahata chakra or the Vishnu Granthi (judging by those pulsations in my chest; those pleasurable feelings in my abdomen, spine, and chest during meditation; and the changes in my behavior associated with the replacement of lustful feelings with a sense of indifference, particularly after seeing that other dream, which I described previously).

So, finally, yesterday night, I made another quick search on the internet for the words Shakti-Chalan and Anahata (in Hindi) to see if they were related and surprise surprise….this is what I found – link – The relationship of Shakti-Chalan (शक्ति चालन) with Anahata (अनाहत) chakra !

Now, considering all these hints, I am pretty sure that my recent dreams and events indicate that something is really happening to me in regards with the upward movement of the Kundalni and probably with the Anahata chakra (the Heart chakra) or Vishnu Granthi! But, still, I cannot be too sure…only time will tell what is really happening or whether something is happening at all!

Update: 9 May 2014 – 

The parts highlighted in the following screen-shot (Source: http://kundalini.se/eng/natverk.html) correspond to the exact same experiences I mentioned in this post earlier!

'Kundalini Warning! Investigation and Diagnosis of 76 Cases of Kundalini Arousal_' - kundalini_se_eng_natverk_html

Update: 8 June 2014

Another indication about the link between that ‘thing’ happening in my heart and the ‘Lalitha Sahasranamam’ chant that I was listening and meditating to, at that time…

FireShot Screen Capture #011 - 'SERIOUS SADHANA_ SRI LALITA SAHASRANAM_ GLORIES AND BENEFITS OF CHANTING, PLUS STUDY GUIDE' - serioussadhana_blogspot_in_2013_05_sri-lalita-sahasranam-glories-and_html

FireShot Screen Capture #010 - 'SERIOUS SADHANA_ SRI LALITA SAHASRANAM_ GLORIES AND BENEFITS OF CHANTING, PLUS STUDY GUIDE' - serioussadhana_blogspot_in_2013_05_sri-lalita-sahasranam-glories-and_html

FireShot Screen Capture #008 - 'SERIOUS SADHANA_ SRI LALITA SAHASRANAM_ GLORIES AND BENEFITS OF CHANTING, PLUS STUDY GUIDE' - serioussadhana_blogspot_in_2013_05_sri-lalita-sahasranam-glories-and_html

source of the screen-shots: http://serioussadhana.blogspot.in/2013/05/sri-lalita-sahasranam-glories-and.html

Note: The above mentioned website is an excellent source to know about the glory of Sri Lalita sahasranam, as well as, Devi Mahatyam. I would highly recommend a visit to this site!

Update – 17 June 2014

I finally found the significance of offering that red sari in a pit (as I did in my dream).see the  post: Deciphering the dream and the deity…

Kundalini Experiences – part 7

A-person-is-said-to-have-achieved-yoga-when

(This will probably be my last post in the ‘Kundalini Experiences’ series and I’m afraid it has become quite lengthy as I tried to squeeze in a lot of different content in one single post)

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In our everyday lives we are juggling between awareness on many different levels simultaneously. I’ve met people in dental clinics, who complain that their tooth is aching so badly that they can’t think of anything else, except for the pain in their tooth. Consequently, the awareness of their body (or body parts) is so strong that even their mind is focused on a single target (i.e. their aching tooth)! Nevertheless, just a single shot of local anesthetic may be enough to cloud their awareness of body/body parts. Under an anesthesia, the same person may not even realize when the affected tooth was extracted, until the dentist shows them the extracted tooth.

We want to mask the awareness of body during meditation also but of course we don’t want to anesthetize our whole body just so we can meditate. However, these days, people are coming up with newer ideas to tackle that problem also. Some are very bad – like the misuse of drugs and some may actually be very beneficial like the sensory deprivation/isolation tank (about which I read in one of our fellow blogger’s recent post).

However, in a slightly different scenario, many patients become anxious on the sight of needle itself. They start demonstrating all types of physical symptoms of anxiety like – hyperventilation, trembling and dizziness etc. Here the source of anxiety is not the affected body part (i.e. the aching tooth) but the mind of that patient itself. Probably that person has a psychological fear of needles. In such cases we attempt to mask the mental awareness of that person by giving them a tranquilizer or an anxiolytic. As soon as the anxiolytic becomes effective the physical manifestations of anxiety (like tremors/trembling) subside too!

So we see that physical awareness and mental awareness are quite closely related – one affecting the other! It is also interesting to note that, very often, a still body will automatically lead to a still mind and the reverse is also true. This is why, in meditation we recommend sitting still in a particular pose. Consequently, Yoga is not just about physical exercises, but it is about creating a harmony between body and mind.

Ok, Still Body – Still Mind…You get it! …. But what about the soul?

Let’s consider another scenario…

You are not unconscious, you are not sleeping, and you are not drowsy. Instead, you are in a state of deep meditation. Imagine that in such a state you cannot feel your body and that your mind is calm to the extent of being nonexistent. You have no thoughts and you are in some sort of limbo where you’re aware that you are awake and alive, and yet the very act of noticing your breath/heartbeat gives rise to a thought – ‘I am breathing’, …..and this thought immediately brings your consciousness down to identification with your body and mind. You remind yourself that you should not be distracted by such thoughts during meditation and immediately your CONSCIOUSNESS identifies with your ‘INTELLECT’ which is reprimanding your ‘MIND’ not to pay attention to the breath passing in and out of your ‘BODY’.

This succession of identification of ‘self’ with ‘My’ Body, ‘My’ Mind, and ‘My’ Intellect happens so quickly, even in meditation, that going beyond the awareness of body, mind and intellect becomes an act of fine balance (for me, at least). However, I have experienced myself that a certain kind of awareness still exists even when the awareness of mind, body and intellect are dissolved. Actually, it is only when the awareness of mind, body and intellect dissolve into oblivion, that a new kind of awareness is revealed. For me, it’s an uncanny presence of simply ‘EXISTING’… the rest all is a big void or vacuum. As soon as, even a shred of thought enters that void ‘That’ other awareness hides behind the awareness of body, mind or intellect. ‘That’ other awareness is what I call the awareness of the ‘self’ or the ‘I’.

Ok, I’ve tried to explore the concept of ‘I’ awareness without using heavy intellectual arguments …. However, this is just what I have learnt and understood through my own experiences. I may be right, I may be wrong, but I feel that there is a different kind of awareness existing beyond that void also …it’s just that I haven’t moved past that ‘void’ yet. Quite understandably, my journey has only just begun and there’s a lot to discover about myself or the ‘I’ as yet!

Now, I could conclude this post here itself but there are certain aspects of Kundalini awakening and meditation that I want to address in this post itself (probably, because I can address these points under the headings of Physical Awareness, Mental Awareness, and Spiritual Awareness).

Physical Awareness

Lets’ begin by dealing with Kundalini Awakening experiences related to spontaneous Kriyas, Asanas, Bandhas, and Pranayams:

Spontaneous physical Kriyas, on a very basic level, may just be seen as movements or jerks in the body. I have already written somewhere else in this blog about witnessing such side-to-side movements in other people also, mostly while we were attending sankirtans or group chantings (which, by the way, are still prevalent in the Hindu society). Now, the question is – would you really consider such spontaneous movements of body as spontaneous kriyas? Let’s consider a more general example – Try Listening to a groovy song that you enjoy and in no time you might actually begin dancing or tapping your feet involuntarily. Let’s consider yet another example – If you have ever observed yourself or other students, trying to frantically memorize answers or a long passage, then you might have noticed that we tend to show to and fro body movements during intense mental pressure or we may even start pacing up and down the room. All such body movements are involuntary/spontaneous, yet the question is – can they be called as spontaneous Kriyas?

Well, the answer to the above questions is: Yes and No!

Spontaneous movements they are!… but not the spontaneous kriyas due to Kundalini Awakening or Pranotthana!

So, the question is – how do we differentiate between the common involuntary movements of body and the spontaneous kriyas arising due to Kundalini awakening?

To begin with, one doesn’t need to listen to any kind of music for such kriyas to happen. One doesn’t even have to think about a favorite song or rhythm in their minds (which could induce involuntarily movements in body). In fact, during spontaneous Kundalini Kriyas, the mind may be completely relaxed and still these movements may be occurring (whether or not one is listening to music). But a more confirmative indication is when such movements begin to occur after receiving a Shaktipat. In such cases these involuntary movements are actually the ‘spontaneous Kundalini Kriyas’ we are talking about!

Nevertheless, there are certain factors that influence or induce such involuntary body movements in absence of Kundalini activity, even after receiving a Shaktipat. One such factor is – ‘Peer Pressure’. You see other people shaking and trembling after receiving a Shaktipat while you are lying dead like an alligator. You wonder what’s wrong with you and then you decide to give your body a little push yourself. Soon, you adapt a rhythm and in no time you are shaking and rotating too….Lo and behold, you are doing spontaneous kriyas just like other Kundalini awakened people…We don’t want this to happen!

In reality, however, spontaneous kriyas are irrelevant to mental and physical factors (like Psychosis or drug – induced involuntary body movements). True Spontaneous Kriyas do not even require an intention or aspiration for such movements. They spontaneously occur whenever they are needed, with whatever intensity they are required, and for whatever duration they are deemed useful by the Kundalini. There is no need for personal effort! Furthermore, one can easily stop spontaneous Kundalini Kriyas through one’s own will or intention; ….although on some occasions such movements may be uncontrollable or difficult to stop.

A major significance of such spontaneous kundalini kriyas is that they isolate our physical awareness from the influences of our mind, will, or intellect! No one in their right mind would attempt to shake, rotate and cry during meditation and yet when these things happen without your intention or effort you begin to wonder if your body has a separate intelligence (different from your mind/brain).

However, it was only when I started performing complex asanas, bandhas, and pranayams spontaneously that I became more confident that such movements were actually Kundalini Kriyas and not some weird tricks played by my brain. Whatever remaining doubts I had about such kriyas were removed when I started performing the Uddiyan bandha spontaneously. The fact is – even now I cannot replicate the Uddiyan Badha voluntarily, the way it happens spontaneously. While trying to perform the Uddiyan Bandha voluntarily I need to pull my stomach in and up towards the chest, forcefully exhaling the air from my lungs out. However, when the Uddiyan bandha happens spontaneously, my stomach and diaphragm automatically get pulled inside and upwards, making a huge depression and arch below my chest. It seems like a wave of peristalsis (or a huge cramp, minus the pain) moves upwards from my stomach towards my nostrils, squeezing every bit of air from my lungs and trachea. Sometimes it felt like there was a huge invisible syringe placed outside my nose and that the syringe was sucking air out from my lungs, thereby pulling my stomach upwards in the process, by creating a vacuum. I know that my description may sound scary but it was always a very pleasant experience. The movements of muscles in my stomach and diaphragm were so smooth and rhythmic that I would be amazed to see them happen. I would often stay for a couple of minutes in that position (Uddiyan bandha, with the Jalandhar Bandha) with almost no air in my lungs and I enjoyed it so much!

Well, all these kriyas, Asanas, and Bandhas can be fun and fascinating for a while but eventually, in deeper meditation, there will come a phase where you may not be able to even feel your body. The fleshy and bony feel of your body that you may retain, even in a thoughtless condition, will eventually dissolve. In that state, instead of feeling localized into a fleshy body, extending about few feet from your yoga mat, you might get a feeling that your body has become almost amorphous, like vapor or thin air. However, instead of feeling the numbness and heaviness (that accompanies an anesthetic) you might feel light and expanded, almost like merging into the very air of the room you are sitting in. Eventually, there will be no body to identify with! Your body will not disappear or disintegrate…it’s just that the awareness of your body will be completely masked (even without an anesthetic).

This is probably what I mean when I say that in deeper meditation you will go beyond the awareness of your body.
So much for the physical awareness!

Lets’ move on to mental awareness…

Mental Awareness

A lot of meditation techniques encourage people to visualize being at a peaceful place or imagining a white light encapsulating their body or some other kind of visualizations. Even I was visualizing the image of Lord Hanuman, when I was meditating, the night I received Shaktipat. However, when I saw the ‘spontaneously formed’ image of my Guru overlapping my ‘consciously formed’ mental image of lord Hanuman it made the contrast between my mental imagery and Vision all the more clear. Nevertheless, I suspect that a lot of people, while saying that they saw such and such things during meditation, may actually be describing the vivid imagery that our (conscious or subconscious) mind involuntary creates when it is thinking about something or someone.

For example: Close your eyes and think about a car. Chances are that your mind will automatically create an image of a random car, probably with a certain color, …may be, even with a certain person sitting inside. Remember that I just asked you to think about a car but your brain added its own personal touch to the imagery which, by the way, I didn’t even ask you to create. Such is the habit of our mind – It is like a servant, who always likes to do much more than asked for!

Even while meditating, all we are mostly doing is struggling with our minds and thoughts. Sometimes during that struggle, our intellect becomes sleepy and our mind immediately takes over the control. From thinking about a car, to seeing a BMW parked in your garage, your mind may soon start showing you that your BMW has grown a pair of wings and you are flying over the streets of London, in that car.

If you think it’s a joke, then try meditating when you are feeling sleepy!

The point is – mental awareness is an important factor during meditation. It’s better to avoid meditating if you are already feeling drowsy. Try to remain mentally awake and try not to fall asleep while meditating. Remember that falling asleep is easier when you meditate in Shavasana. Therefore it is better if you meditate in a pose like Padmasana (lotus or half-lotus) or Siddhasana ! However, also, don’t confuse this with Yoga Nidra, which is a different state and may actually be helpful.

What I mean to say is that you are not supposed to let your imagination run amok while trying to meditate. You need to be aware of your mind and thoughts and after sometime that awareness of mind itself brings about your mind’s dissolution. If you stop letting your mind get carried away in thoughts they will eventually cease to appear. Instead of flowing away with your thoughts, let your thoughts flow away…like clouds in the sky. Without the thoughts your mind will become like a clear sky and the Sun (‘I’ awareness) which was previously hidden behind the clouds (thoughts) will reveal itself.

However, it certainly doesn’t mean that I am refuting the claims of seeing things during meditation altogether. What I mean to say is that when you do see ‘things’ in meditation they will usually be much clearer than the images your mind creates (voluntarily or involuntarily) through imagination. Visions (or what you see in meditation) may be actually as clear as the real thing, a movie, a picture, or a slide show you see with your open eyes or even as a dream that you see with your closed eyes. The only difference would be that – even though your eyes are closed, you will be fully awake mentally…meaning, you will not be imagining such images…they will tend to appear on their own. You can, however, choose to open your eyes, if you wish to stop seeing those images. But in some cases, I’ve read, saints have reported seeing such visions with open eyes too (I haven’t seen any vision with open eyes so far, but then, I’m also not a saint 🙂 ).

Ok, I will move on to the final segment of this post: Spiritual Awareness!

Spiritual Awareness

It is said that our body is just like a radio. It can catch a vast array of varying signals from our external environment, depending upon what frequencies it is tuned to. One can gain knowledge about events that have happened centuries ago; one can also gain knowledge about events that are yet to happen.

I still remember that incident when I received a particular intuition while I was attending a class during my post graduation. I was sitting with my group in the class, but all the time I was just staring blankly at my laptop. I didn’t pay the slightest attention to what my finance professor was teaching (and it was supposed to be a very important topic). My friends poked me a couple of times, asking me if I was alright and I straightforwardly said “no”. They ask me “what’s wrong?” and I say- “ I don’t know”. I felt something might be wrong back home but I didn’t have enough balance to make an international call from my college. I decided that in the afternoon break I will go out, recharge my phone and then call home. But, it so happened that my group needed to have a discussion about our presentation. We were discussing about certain things and I don’t know what happened but suddenly tears started rolling out from my eyes and one of my batch-mates immediately noticed it. He whispered “it isn’t absolutely necessary that you be here, you know”. He had seen me disturbed in the class too. But I said – “it’s nothing, just the glairiness of your laptop screen”. But then, around the same time my phone rang and I received a call from my brother-in-law telling me that I my father had met with an accident and my uncle has died!

There was another incident while I was preparing for my IELTS with my friend. We were solving some questions when suddenly my hand stopped in mid-air, holding the pencil. For a while my friend thought that I was thinking about the question but then he saw the blank look on my face. We decided to take a smoking break, and during that time I told him that something bad might happen to someone close to me. He asked me “who?” but as usual I didn’t know who it may be. So, I started giving calls to my sisters, and close friends casually inquiring if everything was ok with them and they were alright. My friend suggested that it might just be a bad thought but I told him that unless it was just a bad thought, I would probably hear something bad within the next 24 hours (that was the usual time period common in all my intuitions but lately I’ve been getting intuitions 7-10 days before the actual incidents). The next day I get a call from the same friend – He asks me: “did you hear any bad news?” I said “no, probably, it was just a bad thought” and then he slowly says, “I’ve just met with an accident”. I got alarmed and asked if he was ok and he tells me that his scooter was hit hard but thankfully he got away with just some scratches.

There are many other instances when I have received such intuitions, but we’ve already got the general idea covered. There seems to exist, a certain kind of awareness which is beyond our body and thoughts. This is the awareness of past, present, and future events, and something that we call intuition.

However, spiritual awareness is not just about intuition. I think it also encompasses vibrations of people and places too. For example: try meditating at a place where people already meditate regularly. Chances are that, at such places (or places like temples and churches) you will fall into a meditative state more easily compared to places like a pub (even when the pub is silent and deserted).

Apart from intuitions and vibrations, there was this particular activity during meditation called Kumbhak – You see, after I began performing the Uddiyan bandha spontaneously, another yogic phenomenon started making itself evident. As mentioned earlier, I would stay for a few minutes in a state where my lungs were almost completely devoid of air, my breathing stopped and with the uddiyan bandha and the Jalandhar bandha (the chin lock) firmly applied. Subsequently, over time, my normal rate of breathing gradually decreased to 4-6 breaths/minute in a normal relaxed & awake state and about 1-2 breaths/minute or even lesser during meditation. This holding of breath is called Kumbhaka and is of three types – The Outer kumbhaka, the Inner Kumbhaka, and the Kevala Kumbhaka.

During my meditation, I used to experience the Outer Kumbhaka more frequently where, after exhalation, my breath would remain spontaneously suspended outside my body (i.e. I wouldn’t be inhaling after I exhaled). That breathless state would somehow induce a state of mind where my mind would become totally blank and devoid of thoughts. However, there was no way I could calculate how long I would stay in that breathless – thoughtless state. The moment my attention would waver towards my breath a thought would arise that I am breathing and then it would no longer remain a thoughtless state.

Remaining in a complete thoughtless state required complete dissolution of physical and mental awareness. If I wanted to remain in a complete thoughtless state then I had to let go of the temptation of estimating how long my breath had been suspended ….so obviously I couldn’t accurately measure the duration of my breathless states. However, based on the previous disruptions in my thoughtless states, I had got an idea that I could remain in a thoughtless-breathless state for more than a couple of minutes, following which I would usually lose my balance and notice whether I have started breathing or not. Usually after noticing my breath I would usually start breathing automatically (even if it was suspended previously) and thus the thoughtless-breathless state would end in a few minutes.

However, during one particular session, even after 3-4 disruptions (which indicated that I had not breathed for a long time) my breathing still did not resume. I was not feeling a slightest shred of discomfort nor a desire to breathe. I was not in a thoughtless state, I was aware that I may not have breathed for a long time and yet I didn’t feel the need to! This was so strange and scary. My eyes were closed, it was completely dark, I was not breathing and suddenly I started feeling as if I was sinking in water. What’s strange is that along with that sinking feeling (together with slight swinging motions), I also felt the weightlessness one experiences in water, at the same time. These two contrasting feelings went on and on as if I was sinking in a deep abyss, even though the length from my head to the base of spine is just a few feet. This scared the hell out of me! I thought I was dying. I forcefully resumed my breathing (even though I didn’t feel the need to breathe) and opened my eyes … and everything was normal… I was alive.

But the question is – “who was alive – my body, my mind, my intellect or ‘something’ that existed even when my body, mind, and intellect were dissolved?”

The thing is – when the awareness of mind, body and intellect dissolve into oblivion a new kind of awareness is revealed and it is ‘that’ awareness which is the actual aim of my meditation. Interestingly that awareness is a kind of big black void where nothing else exists….No body consciousness, no mind, no thought, no intellect, no Nothing ….except for the uncanny presence of someone/something which is simply ‘watching’ or ‘existing’. It is that awareness which I yearn for when I sit for meditation (but I don’t get it very frequently).

Of course there may still be a different kind of awareness, beyond the void which I experience in deeper meditation, but as of now it is eluding me!

Om Namah Shivaya

Kundalini, Chakras, and Spiritual Evolution –

If-evolution-really-works

I’ve suffered from issues related to Ego, ever since I was a kid. I used to have such a big ego that my parents actually gave me a nickname that is used for teasing people who get offended easily 😦 . Despite the ego, and many other unwanted qualities, I had one particular interest that differentiated me from other kids of my age. Unlike other kids, I was very fond of reading religious and spiritual scriptures (like Ramayana), even though I had to hide this fact from my peers because they would ridicule me for being an ‘uncle’. I guess, I had a spiritual inclination since a very early age!

As I grew older, my interests in books diversified. From Indian comics to English classics, I read them all. It was during those times that I landed upon a book by Linda Goodman and, very soon, observing people became my favorite full-time activity. Nevertheless, it was only recently that I realized – my abilities of understanding people were closely linked to ‘Empathy’. It seems, I’ve been an ‘Empath’ since a very long time….even though I never knew about this term before. Well, don’t blame me – I lost my interest in reading when I entered college! (apparently, college text-books can do wonders 🙂

Now, the problem is – ‘Empathy’ is often associated with Solar Plexus (or Manipura) chakra but I have been an ‘Empath’ even before I experienced any activity that could be even remotely linked with Kundalini awakening. However, if you search the Internet, you’ll find that the most commonly accepted theory is that – “Kundalini resides at the Muladhara chakra and, upon the Kundalini awakening, the Muladhara needs to be pierced, activated, opened, developed, purified, and fully evolved as a separate partition before Kundalini can move to the next chakras i.e. the Swadhisthana or the Manipura”. So, the question is – If Manipura, or other higher chakras, cannot be pierced, activated, and opened before Kundalini has been awakened and moved past the first two chakras then does that mean that all ’empaths’ (Manipura) or ‘clairvoyants’ (Agya Chakra) are kundalini awakened people? If not, then how come their Manipura or Agya Chakra manage to get open while their Kundalini is still supposed to be sleeping at the Muladhara? Going by the previously mentioned theory, if the Kundalini is not awakened then, forget Manipura, even the Muladhara should not be open and awake, isn’t it?

Furthermore, according to the aforementioned theory, when Kundalini awakens, it is supposed to bring forth the traits of Muladhara and Swadhisthana to the surface first, before the traits of Manipura can be exhibited. However, in reality most of us are already exhibiting the traits of Muladahara and Swadhisthana (like – need for self-preservation, sensual pleasures, financial, material, and emotional security, etc) in our everyday lives, … which begs the question – Are we all Kundalini awakened? If not, the why do we show so many traits of Muladhara and Swadhisthana in our daily life when Kundalini is still supposed to be asleep and, therefore, could not have pierced even the Muladhara yet?

Another question is – If in most humans, the Kundalini is asleep and seated at Muladhara (which is often considered the last chakra in animal evolution and the first one in Human), then, why do different individuals exhibit different levels of spiritual evolution? While, certain tribes have been known to show almost animal like tendencies (even cannibalistic behavior), most modern day humans, although civilized and more refined, still lack any shred of interest in searching for the “self”. On the other hand, many people have already started questioning their ego/spiritual identity (Manipura), and a select few are even capable of demonstrating selfless love (Anahata), even though, in all of them (assuming their Kundalini has not awakened), Kundalini is still meant to be asleep at the same level (i.e. Muladhara). Does that mean that spiritual evolution or the difference between a brutal killer or a non-violent saint is not affected by the level of their Kundalini awakening (since Kundalini is meant to be residing at the same level in all non-kundalini awakened people, whether a kind person or a brutal killer)? If character and spiritual evolution is not affected by the level of Kundalini evolution, then why should we even bother about Kundalini awakening and its progress to higher chakras?

I also wonder, why inflated ego (overactive Manipura) has become so common in so many people these days while selfless love (Anahata) is still an unknown territory for a majority of people, at least until something drastic happens to them…like falling in love for real or holding a newborn baby (at least for the initial few minutes 😉 ). Haven’t you ever wondered where does that selfless and unconditional love, that a mother (usually) feels, probably for the first time in her life, when she holds her baby, come from, if not from an opened Anahata chakra…..and yet people say – Anahata can be opened only after a Kundalini awakening and also, not until the first three chakras (Muladhara, Swadhisthana, and Manipura) have already been opened! Care to explain?

Well, the aforementioned theory attempts to address these issues using the following explanation:

“Chakras are supposed to be strung like beads on a string upon the central channel (the Sushumna Nadi) and while Kundalini can only process the chakras in a sequential manner i.e from the first chakra (Muladhara) to the last chakra, the PRANA (life energy), on the other hand, can stimulate any chakra in any order and hence the activities at higher chakras are caused by Prana operating outside the Sushumna (the central channel or Nadi) rather than Kundalini operating inside the Sushumna.”

Now, the problem with this explanation is:

If Chakras are supposed to be located within the central channel (Sushumna) then how can Prana access and operate on those chakras from outside the central channel? Furthermore, what does one really mean by ‘operating upon the chakras’ or ‘stimulating the chakras’ ? Can the characteristics of chakras be made evident just by outside stimulation even when the chakras themselves are ‘closed’ and ‘enclosed’ within the Sushumna and therefore ‘inaccessible’ ? If the effects of chakras can really be made evident by just their outside stimulation (without the need for chakras to be actually awakened & opened, fully or partially) then why doesn’t Prana stimulate every chakra equally? After all, the flow of Prana is not blocked by any closed chakra or any single closed central channel (Sushumna)…. there are thousands of other channels (nadis) through which Prana can flow!

If Prana is stimulating chakras from outside the Sushumna then it must be flowing through one or more of the other thousands of channels (nadis) or in one of the two major channels (ida or Pingala nadi), other than Sushumna. If this is the case then Prana can indeed operate on any particular chakra through, at least, one of those other channels, and hence stimulate even the Agya or Anahata chakra from outside the Sushumna…. But then, in reality, how many of us can claim to be clairvoyant, empath, intuitive, or have heard a Nada or been in a Samadhi. According to the aforementioned theory all of these are absolutely possible by just the stimulation of chakras by Prana (without the need of chakras to be actually awakened and opened), even though Prana is just operating outside the Sushumna. If this is so then why do, almost all of us, develop at least some of the tendencies associated with the Muladahara, Swadhisthana, and the Manipura chakras (ie. the need for self preservation, sensual pleasures, and ego) almost naturally and spontaneously with age, while the characteristics associated with the higher chakras i.e. Anahata, Vishuddhi, and Agya (i.e selfless love, purity of mind and intuition) are so rarely seen or seen only after a certain level of maturity has been attained? If Prana can really stimulate the chakras by operating outside the Sushumna then why does Prana seem to be so selective in stimulating the lower chakras (Muladhara, Swadhisthana, and Manipura) over the higher ones (Anahata, vishuddhi, and Agya)?

In contrast, some individuals have been known to show characteristics of higher chakras (like Intuition and empathy) even at a very young age; furthermore, such characteristics might even seem to be more pronounced than the characteristics of lower chakras, expected to be normally seen at that age. If Prana is free to stimulate and operate upon any chakra (higher or lower) from outside the sushumna then why is there an evident discrepancy in the activity and manifestation of different chakras in different individuals?

I, personally, find that there are too many loopholes in the aforementioned theory and that it leaves many doubts unanswered, while skipping around unexplained occurrences! Nevertheless, an answer to such doubts and questions can be found in the explanation of Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who says – “Although Kundalini is said to reside in Muladhara Chakra, we are all at different stages of evolution, and in some of us Kundalini may have already reached Swadhithana, Manipura or Anahata Chakra. If this is so, whatever sadhana you do might start an awakening in Anahata or some other Chakra”. Also, “when we talk about awakening we should not confuse awakening of Kundalini with other forms of awakening. Awakening of Chakras is completely different from awakening of Kundalini. Awakening of Sushumna is also quite a different event, and awakening of Muladhara chakra is not awakening of kundalini. Even if all the chakras from Muladhara to Agya are awakened this does not mean that Kundalini is awakened.” (Satyananda Saraswati, Kundalini Tantra, 2002)

Interestingly, this theory not only explains the different levels of spiritual evolution in different individuals, with or without an awakened Kundalini, but it also explains the random activities of partially opened Chakras, far up in the evolutionary ladder even before a Kundalini awakening has taken place (for ex. Clairvoyance or Intuition related with Agya chakra, in a person whose Kundalini is still to be awakened).

Even the words of great siddha and Shaktipat master Swami Vishnu Tirtha (author of the well acclaimed spiritual text – ‘Devatma Shakti’) offer leverage to this theory. In his book ‘Shaktipat’, swami Vishnu Tirtha clearly mentions that – ‘it is not necessary that Shakti will awaken from Muladhara only. Awakening can happen from any chakra. It is also not necessary that chakras will be realized in a sequential manner only. Sometimes one chakra may be active and at other times another. Sometimes kriyas related to 2-3 chakras may occur simultaneously. Same goes with the Koshas….”

Nevertheless, when kundalini awakening occurs in some other chakra (different from Muladhara), the person begins to doubt the validity of their Kundalini awakening….after all most everyone says that Kundalini awakening happens at the Muladhara only, otherwise it may just be a ‘Pranotthana’ or a ‘False Awakening’ at the most!

The same thing happened with me – I had reasons to believe that my Kundalini awakened at the Manipura chakra (as described in Kundalini Experiences – part 4) but, for a long time, I couldn’t find any authoritative validation of my beliefs ….that is, until I read Swami Satyananda Saraswati and Swami Vishnu Tirtha Ji Maharaj!

Update – 16 March 2013

Furthermore, I recently found out that even the Kundalini Yoga (propagated by Yogi Bhajan) also teaches that the seat of Kundalini is in the navel centre. (source – http://mysticyogini.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/whats-up-with-the-navel-point-kundalini-yoga-and-the-navel-enlightenment-starts-here/ )

Some other Links –

Therefore, in the light of all these (and some other) evidences, I have strong reasons to believe that it is not necessary that Kundalini will absolutely always awaken from the Muladhara only and, in fact, Kundalini can indeed awaken from any other chakra (like Manipura) also!

Update – 3rd May 2014

Source: http://www.kamakotimandali.com/srividya/ashtakam.html

As swami shivananda says, Kundalini can be aroused from any Chakra, though the simplest is to do so from Muladhara. The great occultist Swami Punyananda meditated on the Devi directly in Sahasraara and achieved Siddhi. However this may not be possible to all. So lets stick to Muladhara, for which the place of concentration is actually the sthanam or kshetram of Ajna.”

Update – July 10, 2015

ScreenShot00142

Source: Saundarya-lahari of Srisamkaracarya with commentaries; English translation and notes by R. Anantakrsna Sastri and Karra Ramamurthy Garu.

Another indication that the labor of awakening/activating Kundalini and moving it through some of the chakras does not go to complete waste, even if the practitioner fails to leads the Kundalini to its final destination (sahasrar) in a given lifetime… so that means the practitioner would begin his kundalini journey from whichever chakra he had last left rather than beginning all over again from the muladhara…

Kundalini Experiences – part 4 (repost with edits)

the-most-beautiful-thing-we-can-experience

In my previous post I mentioned about Yogamudrasana happening spontaneously. To be honest, that experience did scare me a little! So, the next night my first instinct was to try resisting falling into meditation but then I decided to go with the flow. As I got deeper into meditation I again saw something with my closed eyes…

(Seeing images or visions during meditation has only happened three times in my entire spiritual journey till date, and that too only in the earlier part of my initiation/awakening)!

Now, unlike my previous experiences, I don’t remember the visuals in this particular experience very clearly so it’s a bit difficult to write about what exactly I saw. But it involved seeing another ‘me’ sitting right in front of me and facing me, just as if I were seeing myself in a mirror, but with closed eyes. Next, that image changed into that of Shiva (judging by the body, clothes and accessories). But when I moved my gaze upwards to see his face I saw my own face there. Before I could think of anything else, that mirror image of mine raised the Trishul (the Trident) in its hand and hit me with it. Since I was looking straight in front, towards the image, I couldn’t see where exactly I was hit by the trident….but it was near my navel region. However, I wasn’t sure if it was exactly at my navel or below (all this happened in a matter of a few seconds). Immediately after getting hit by the trident my body was again stormed by violent kriyas, which were similar, but less intense, to those that I witnessed a night before, when Yogamudrasana happened spontaneously. The kriyas happened for a while and when they gradually stopped I again saw (with closed eyes) my mirror image sitting in front of me – with the body of Shiva. This time that image lifted a small lamb and put it into my lap. Then that image quickly disappeared! Immediately afterwards, I opened my eyes and came out of meditation, wondering what just happened!

The whole experience was so strange, at so many different levels that I decided to discuss it with my friends Lambu and Chhotu. They suggested that maybe I was being taught the meaning of the mantra/ concept of ‘Shivoham’. But even they had no answer about the significance of that image hitting me with a trident and then putting that lamb in my lap.

As mentioned earlier, those days I was ignorant about internet and my main source for spiritual information was Baba’s books. In his books, there was a mention about Manipura chakra being in the navel region; so I thought that maybe getting hit at navel by the trident indicated something happening at my Manipura chakra. However, this seemed highly unlikely because I was just a beginner and if something was really happening with my chakras then it should have been Muladhara (the first chakra, at which the Kundalini awakens, rather than Manipura which is the third chakra). Furthermore, since I didn’t see the exact spot where I was hit I could have very well been hit below my navel too. Anyways it was too embarrassing to discuss with my friends so I just let it go, believing that time will clear all the mysteries. Furthermore, since I didn’t find anything about the significance of seeing a lamb in meditation, in any of baba’s books, I thought that may be what I saw was the result of one of my own idle thoughts during meditation.

However, deep in my heart I knew this was not the case!

Over time other things happened and my attention was diverted to those experiences but this experience continued to reside at the back of my mind….like an elusive mystery!

Time flew past and now I was performing spontaneous asanas during meditation. Interestingly many of those asanas were related to Manipura chakra like Dhanurasana and Yogamudrasana. I later began performing Jalandhar and Uddiyan Bandha too! (Uddiyan Bandha being particularly related to the Manipura chakra) After a little retrospection, I noticed that after the spontaneous asanas and bandhas started – my stomach ailments initially worsened but then gradually disappeared completely, without any medication. It was both surprising and relieving as previously I was always troubled by stomach related problems, so much so, that I never ate breakfast before going to school or college. (Interestingly, I recently came to know that my IBS could have further been related to me being an ‘Empath’ , as Empaths tend to have an open or overactive Solar Plexus/Manipuara Chakra)

Anyways, all these events presented a strong case that something was happening that was related to my Manipura chakra but I still didn’t understand why Manipura when it should have been Muladhara? Also that lamb remained a mystery…

About one year after seeing that image in mediation, I stumbled upon an exciting piece of information while I was reading a spiritual magazine. We had the subscription of ‘Akhand Jyoti’ (from the Gayatri Pariwar) and, while I was flipping through the pages of that magazine, I saw an article about Kundalini and chakras. There it was mentioned that many Chakras have their own specific Vahana or vehicle (which is an animal). Any guesses – what may be the Vahana for Manipura Chakra? Yes, it’s the sheep (or ram/lamb) indeed!

Now this piece of information seemed to offer a substantial support to my theory that what I saw during meditation had something to do with my Manipura Chakra. Just imagine, out of all the animals in the world I see a lamb being put into my lap after being hit by a trident around my navel region, after which I begin performing asanas related to Manipura Chakra and my Stomach problems disappear. Too many coincidences, isn’t it?

However, there was still one thought that plagued my mind. If Kundalini is supposed to reside and awaken at the Muladhara (the root or the first Chakra) then how come in my case I experienced activities related to Manipura Chakra (the third chakra) first? It took me 12 years to get a satisfactory answer to this question.

I had mentioned in one of my previous posts that “I got hold of a book that provided an in-depth insight about one of my spiritual experiences, the answer to which I had been searching for a long time”. I was actually referring about this specific experience and the name of that book is ‘Kundalini Tantra’ by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, who is a highly revered Yoga Master and a renowned disciple of Swami Sivananda.

According to Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Kundalini Tantra, 2002), “Although Kundalini is said to reside in Muladhara Chakra, we are all at different stages of evolution, and in some of us Kundalini may have already reached Swadhithana, Manipura or Anahata Chakra. If this is so, whatever sadhana you do might start an awakening in Anahata or some other Chakra”.

To be honest, this argument does make a lot of sense to me! Consider two different individuals – the first one enjoys cruelty and inflicting pain on other individuals while the second individual enjoys devotion and loving other individuals. Would you still say that both of these individuals are at the same level of spiritual evolution?

Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Kundalini Tantra, 2002) further elaborates that – “If Kundalini awakens in an individual chakra, the experiences which are characteristic of that chakra will be brought into consciousness”. He says that – “Because Muladhara chakra is the highest chakra in animal evolution, it is already functioning in most people. That is why everybody has a very acute sexual awareness and sex has become one of the most important events in man’s life. The mere fact that today’s society is utilizing the five tattwas of tantra (meat, fish, wine, grain and sexual interaction) in everyday life means that in most people, kundalini is somewhere between Muladhara and Swadhisthana. Once kundalini leaves Swadhisthana and ascends to Manipura and Anahata, you no longer need the five tattwas”.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati further emphasizes that – “in sincere sadhakas, kundalini is mostly in Manipura. If you are exposed to spiritual life, practice yoga, have a keen desire to find a guru and to pursue a higher life, side by side with the work you are doing, it means Kundalini is not in Muladhara – it is in Manipura or one of the higher centers”. In fact, “according to the Buddhist tradition and many of the tantric texts, the actual awakening of Kundalini takes place from Manipura and not from Muladhara. And in some tantric traditions, Muladhara and Swadhisthana are not referred to at all, as these two centers are believed to belong to the higher realms of animal life, whereas from Manipura onwards higher man predominates. So Muladhara is the seat of Kundalini, Swadhisthana is the abode, and the Awakening takes place in Manipura. This is because from Manipura the awakening becomes ongoing and there is practically no danger of a downfall or devolution of consciousness. Up to this point, Kundalini may awaken and arise many times, only to recede again, but awakening of Manipura is what we call a confirmed awakening” (Kundalini Tantra, 2002).

However, Swami Satyananda Saraswati (Kundalini Tantra, 2002) also warns that – “when we talk about awakening we should not confuse awakening of Kundalini with other forms of awakening. Awakening of Chakras is completely different from awakening of Kundalini. Awakening of Sushumna is also quite a different event, and awakening of Muladhara chakra is not awakening of kundalini. Even if all the chakras from Muladhara to Agya are awakened this does not mean that Kundalini is awakened.”

To be honest, this last piece of information left me a bit confused – whether what I experienced and have been experiencing is actually Kundalini awakening or just a Chakra awakening. I’m sure that over time I’ll get the answer for this question too but I guess till then it’s enough to get an indication that I’m going in the right direction.

However, if any of you have some insights related to my experience or on the topic of ‘awakening of chakras versus awakening of kundalini’ then I will be very grateful if you could share them with me. Thanks in advance! 🙂

Edit: 17 December 2013

I was confused between Chakra awakening, Sushumna Awakening, and Kundalini Awakening, but now, I guess, I may have an idea about those remaining answers too!

To begin with – Kundalini Awakening is said to happen only when Prana begins to flow inside the Sushumna! Now, how can Prana flow inside Sushumna or any chakra if they are in a closed state? Obviously, the ROAD (Sushumna) and the CROSSING (Chakra) need to be clear (fully or partially) before anything can pass through them, otherwise it will cause a traffic-jam situation, isn’t it? If Kundalini awakens before opening of Chakras and Sushumna it will have nowhere to flow and may even cause complications…

However, normally (i.e. before Kundalini Awakening) Prana tends to flow through other Nadis (The major ones being Ida and Pingala). Additionally, although, the open chakras may still get their presence felt (in terms of  Empathy or heightened ego – Manipura) even before the Kundalini is awakened but at those times the prana may be flowing outside the Sushumna – i.e in other nadis ex. Ida or Pingala. Also the number and intensity of symptoms related to various chakras may depend upon how ‘open’ or active those chakras are. Therefore, symptoms of a balanced chakra may be different from those of a closed chakra or an overactive chakra.

Update (10th Jan 2014):

Until now, the only reliable theory which supported my belief that my Kundalini indeed awakened from the Manipura was the one propagated by Swami Satyananda Saraswati, but today I found one more support in the words of none other than the great siddha and Shaktipat master Swami Vishnu Tirtha.

ScreenShot00146

Source: Shaktipat Kundalini Mahayog by Swami Vishnu Tirtha

Swami Vishnu Tirtha, the author of well acclaimed spiritual text – ‘Devatma Shakti’, revealed some more secrets about shaktipat in his book titled ‘SHAKTIPAT’. In the book ‘Shaktipat’, swami Vishnu Tirtha clearly mentions that – “it is not necessary that Shakti will awaken from Muladhara only. Awakening can happen from any chakra. It is also not necessary that chakras will be realized in a sequential manner only. Sometimes one chakra may be active and at other times another. Sometimes kriyas related to 2-3 chakras may occur simultaneously. Same goes with the Koshas….”

Update: July 11, 2015

Some links that suggest that the seat of Kundalini is in the navel centre:

http://mysticyogini.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/whats-up-with-the-navel-point-kundalini-yoga-and-the-navel-enlightenment-starts-here/

http://www.kundaliniyoga.org/kyt09.html

http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/kundalini-yoga-and-the-chakras-manipura-navel-chakra/

Another source hinting that Kundalini can be aroused from any centre (including Manipura) – http://www.kamakotimandali.com/srividya/ashtakam.html – [“As swami shivananda says, Kundalini can be aroused from any Chakra, though the simplest is to do so from Muladhara. The great occultist Swami Punyananda meditated on the Devi directly in Sahasraara and achieved Siddhi. However this may not be possible to all. So lets stick to Muladhara, for which the place of concentration is actually the sthanam or kshetram of Ajna.”]

Yet another source – 

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Source: Saundarya-lahari of Srisamkaracarya with commentaries; English translation and notes by R. Anantakrsna Sastri and Karra Ramamurthy Garu.

This indicates that the labor of awakening/activating Kundalini and moving it through some of the chakras does not go to complete waste, even if the practitioner fails to leads the Kundalini to its final destination (sahasrar) in a given lifetime… so that means the practitioner would begin his kundalini journey from whichever chakra he last left rather than having to begin all over again from the muladhara…