Kundalini Shakta (Yoga)

From: "jagbir singh" <adishakti_org@...>
Date: Fri Jan 27, 2006 4:12 pm
Subject: Kundalini Shakta (Yoga)

> —- In adishakti_sahaja_yoga@yahoogroups.com, "jagbir singh"
<adishakti_org@y...> wrote:
> >
> >
> > Dear Semira,
> >
> > Definitely and without question the Divine Message will triumph
> > over the organization itself. In future more and more people
> > will embrace its central message of evolving into the eternal
> > spirit that all religions, holy scriptures and prophets have
> > since time immemorial upheld. The Divine Message is a spiritual
> > sanctuary, a beacon of hope, joy, peace of eternal life to all
> > humans. The Shakti/Holy Spirit/Ruh/Aykaa Mayee is the Divine
> > Feminine that gives Self-realization/Birth of Spirit/Baptism of
> > Allah/Opens Dasam Dwar for humanity to enter the Sahasrara/
> > Kingdom of God/Niche of lights/Inner Sanctuary within where
> > Brahman/God Almighty/Allah/ Waheguru resides as THE LIGHT.
> > Semira, not only the current Sahaja Yoga organisation but all
> > religious organizations as well have merely been intended as
> > temporary vehicles and starting points for the Divine Message.
> >
> > jagbir
> >
> >
> > —- In adishakti_sahaja_yoga@yahoogroups.com, "jagbir singh"
<adishakti_org@y...> wrote:
> By the way things are moving the Adi Shakti will eventually
> triumph. All we need to do as Her bhaktas is to stand our ground
> and not yield an inch because Truth always triumphs. Years of
> silence from religious regimes is the sure sign that the Devi and
> Her Divine Message to all humanity cannot be challenged, and will
> eventually be victorious in Her battle against the evil forces.
> All we need to do is to fearlessly announce the Truth. Shanti,
> Shanti, Shanti.

Kundalini Shakta (Yoga)

The word "Yoga" comes from the root "yuj" which means "to join" and,
in its spiritual sense, it is that process by which the human spirit
is brought into near and conscious communion with, or is merged in,
the Divine Spirit, according as the nature of the human spirit is
held to be separate from (Dvaita, Vishishtadvaita) or one with
(Advaita) the Divine Spirit. As, according to Shakta doctrine, with
which alone we are concerned, the latter proposition is affirmed,
Yoga is that process by which the identity of the two (Jivatma and
Paramatma),— which identity ever in fact exists,— is realized by
the Yogi or practitioner of Yoga. It is so realized because the
Spirit has then pierced through the veil of Maya which as mind and
matter obscures this knowledge from itself. The means by which this
is achieved is the Yoga process which liberates from Maya. So the
Gheranda Samhita, a Hathayoga treatise of the Tantrik school, says
(Chap. 5): "There is no bond equal in strength to Maya, and no power
greater to destroy that bond than Yoga." From an Advaita or Monistic
standpoint, Yoga in the sense of a final union is inapplicable, for
union implies a dualism of the Divine and Human spirit. In such a
case, it denotes the process rather than the result. When the two
are regarded as distinct, Yoga may apply to both. A person who
practices Yoga is called a "Yogi." According to Indian notions all
are not competent (Adhikari) to attempt Yoga; only a very few are.
One must, in this or in other lives, have first gone through Karma
or ritual, and Upasana or devotional worship and obtained the fruit
thereof, namely, a pure mind (Citta-shuddhi). This Sanskrit term
does not merely mean a mind free from sexual impurity, as an English
reader might suppose. The attainment of this and other good
qualities is the A B C of Sadhana. A person may have a pure mind in
this sense and yet be wholly incapable of Yoga. Citta-shuddhi
consists not merely in moral purity of every kind, but in knowledge,
detachment, capacity for pure intellectual functioning, attention,
meditation and so forth. When, by Karma and Upasana, the mind is
brought to this point and when, in the case of Vedantik Yoga, there
is dispassion and detachment from the world and its desires, then
the Yoga path is open for the realization of Tattva-j—ana, that is
ultimate Truth. Very few persons indeed are competent for Yoga in
its higher forms. The majority should seek their advancement along
the path of ritual and devotion.

There are four main forms of Yoga, according to a common
computation, namely, Mantrayoga, Hathayoga, Layayoga, and Rajayoga,
the general characteristics of which have been described in The
Serpent Power. It is only necessary here to note that Kundali-yoga
is Layayoga. The Eighth Chapter of the Sammohana Tantra, however,
speaks of five kinds, namely, J—ana, Raja, Laya, Hatha, and Mantra,
and mentions as five aspects of the spiritual life, Dharma, Kriya,
Bhava, J—ana, and Yoga; Mantrayoga being said to be of two kinds,
according as it is pursued along the path of Kriya or Bhava. Many
forms of Yoga are in fact mentioned in the books. There are seven
Sadhanas of Yoga, namely, Sat-karma, Asana, Mudra, Pratyahara,
Pranayama, Dhyana, and Samadhi, which are cleansing of the body,
seat, postures for gymnastic and Yoga purposes, the abstraction of
the senses from their objects, breath control (the celebrated
Pranayama), meditation, and ecstasy, which is of two kinds,
imperfect (Savikalpa) in which dualism is no'. wholly overcome, and
perfect (Nirvikalpa) which is complete Monistic experience —"Aham
Brahmasmi", "I am the Brahman"—a knowledge in the sense of
realization which, it is to be observed, does not produce Liberation
(Moksha) but is Liberation itself. The Samadhi of Laya-yoga is said
to be Savikalpa-Samadhi, and that of complete Raja-yoga is said to
be Nirvikalpasamadhi. The first four processes are physical and the
last three mental and supramental (see Gheranda Samhita, Upadesha,
I). By these seven processes respectively certain qualities are
gained, namely, purity (Shodhana), firmness and strength (Dridhata),
fortitude (Sthirata), steadiness (Dhairya), lightness (Laghava),
realization (Pratyaksha), and detachment leading to Liberation

What is known as the eight-limbed Yoga (Ashtanga-yoga) contains five
of the above Sadhanas (Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dhyana, and
Samadhi) and three others, namely, Yama or self-control by way of
chastity, temperance, avoidance of harm (Ahimasa) and their virtues,
Niyama or religious observances, charity and so forth, with Devotion
to the Lord (Ishvara-pranidhana), and Dharana, the fixing of the
internal organ on its subject as directed in the Yoga practice. For
further details, I refer the reader to my introduction to the work
entitled The Serpent Power. Here I will only deal shortly with Laya-
yoga or the arousing of Kundalini Shakti, a subject of the highest
importance in the Tantra Shastra, and without some knowledge of
which much of its ritual will not be understood. I cannot enter into
all the details which demand a lengthy exposition, and which I have
given in the Introduction to the two Sanskrit works called
Satcakranirupana, and Padukapa—caka translated in the volume, The
Serpent Power which deals with kundalini Shakti and the piercing by
Her of the six bodily centers or Cakras. The general principle and
meaning of this Yoga has never yet been published, and the present
Chapter is devoted to a short summary of these two points only.

All the world (I speak, of course, of those interested in such
subjects) is beginning to speak of Kundalini Shakti, "cette femeuse
Kundalini" as a French friend of mine calls Her. There is
considerable talk about the Cakras and the Serpent Power but lack of
understanding as to what they mean. This, as usual, is sought to be
covered by an air of mystery, mystical mists, and sometimes the
attitude: "I should much like to tell you if only I were allowed to
give it out." A silly Indian boast of which I lately read is, "I
have the key and I keep it." Those who really have the key to
anything are superior men, above boasting. "Mysticism," which is
often confused thinking, is also a fertile soil of humbug. I do not,
of course, speak of true Mysticism. Like all other matters in this
Indian Shastra the basis of this Yoga is essentially rational. Its
thought, like that of the ancients generally, whether of East or
West, has in general the form and brilliance of a cut gem. It is
this quality which makes it so dear to some of those who have had to
wade through the slush of much modern thought and literature. No
attempt has hitherto been made to explain the general principles
which underlie it. This form of Yoga is an application of the
general principles relating to Shakti with which I have already
dealt. The subject has both a theoretical and a practical aspect.
The latter is concerned with the teaching of the method in such a
way that the aspirant may give effect to it. This cannot be learnt
from books but only from the Guru who has himself successfully
practiced this Yoga. Apart from difficulties, inherent in written
explanations, it cannot be practically learnt from books, because
the carrying out of the method is affected by the nature and
capacity of the Sadhaka and what takes place during his Sadhana.
Further, though some general features of the method have been
explained to me, I have had no practical experience myself of this
Power. I am not speaking as a Yogi in this method, which I am not;
but as one who has read and studied the Shastra on this matter, and
has had the further advantage of some oral explanations which have
enabled me to better understand it. I have dealt with this practical
side, so far as it is possible to me, in my work, The Serpent Power.
Even so far as the matter can be dealt with in writing, I cannot,
within the limits of such a paper as this, deal with it in any way
fully. A detailed description of the Cakras and their significance
cannot be attempted here. I refer the reader to the work entitled
The Serpent Power. What I wish to do is to treat the subject on the
broadest lines possible and to explain the fundamental principles
which underlie this Yoga method. It is because these are not
understood that there is much confused thinking and misty, if not
mystical, talk upon the subject. How many persons, for instance, can
correctly answer the question, "What is Kundalini Shakti?" One may
be told that it is a Power or Shakti; that it is coiled like a
serpent in the Muladhara; and that it is wakened and goes up through
the Cakras to the Sahasrara. But what Shakti is it? Why, again, is
it coiled like a serpent? What is the meaning of this? What is the
nature of the Power? Why is it in the Muladhara? What is the meaning
of "awakening" the power? Why if awakened should it go up? What are
the Cakras? It is easy to say that they are regions or lotuses. What
are they in themselves? Why have each of the lotuses a different
number of petals? What is a petal? What and why are the "Letters" on
them? What is the effect of going to the Sahasrara: and how does
that effect come about? These and other similar questions require an
answer before this form of Yoga can be understood. I have said
something as to the Letters in the chapters on Shakti as Mantra and
Varnamala. With these and with other general questions, rather than
with the details of the six Cakras, set forth in The Serpent Power I
will here deal.

In the first place, it is necessary to remember the fundamental
principle of the Tantra Shastra to which I have already referred,
viz., that man is a microcosm (Kshudrabrahmanda). Whatever exists in
the outer universe exists in him. All the Tattvas and the worlds are
within him and so are the supreme Shiva-Shakti.

The body may be divided into two main parts, namely, the head and
trunk on one hand, and the legs on the other. In man, the center of
the body is between these two, at the base of the spine where the
legs begin. Supporting the trunk and throughout the whole body there
is the spinal cord. This is the axis of the body, just as Mount Meru
is the axis of the earth. Hence man's spine is called Merudanda, the
Meru or axis-staff. The legs and feet are gross matter which show
less signs of consciousness than the trunk with its spinal white and
gray matter; which trunk itself is greatly subordinate in this
respect to the head containing the organ of mind, or physical brain,
with its white and gray matter. The position of the white and gray
matter in the head and spinal column respectively are reversed. The
body and legs below the center are the seven lower or nether worlds
upheld by the sustaining Shaktis of the universe. From the center
upwards, consciousness more freely manifests through the spinal and
cerebral centers. Here there are the seven upper regions or Lokas, a
term which Satyananda in his commentary on Isha Upanishad says,
means "what are seen" (Lokyante), that is, experienced and are hence
the fruits of Karma in the form of particular re-birth. These
regions, namely, Bhuh, Bhuvah, Svah, Tapah, Jana, Mahah, and Satya
Lokas correspond with the six centers; five in the trunk, the sixth
in the lower cerebral center; and the seventh in the upper Brain or
Satya-loka, the abode of the supreme Shiva-Shakti.

The six centers are the Muladhara or root-support situated at the
base of the spinal column in a position midway in the perineum
between the root of the genitals and the anus. Above it, in the
region of the genitals, abdomen, heart, chest or throat and in the
forehead between the two eyes (Bhrumadhye) are the Svadhisthana,
Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha and Aj—a Cakras or lotuses (Padma)
respectively. These are the chief centers, though the books speak of
others such as the Lalana and Manas and Soma Cakras. In fact, in the
Advaita Martanda, a modern Sanskrit book by the late Guru of the
Maharaja of Kashmir, some fifty Cakras and Adharas are mentioned:
though the six stated are the chief upon which all accounts agree.
And so it is said. "How can there be any Siddhi for him who knows
not the six Cakras, the sixteen Adharas, the five Ethers and the
three Lingas in his own body?" The seventh region beyond the Cakras
is the upper brain, the highest center of manifestation of
Consciousness in the body and therefore the abode of the supreme
Shiva-Shakti. When "abode" is said, it is not meant, of course, that
the Supreme is there placed in the sense of our "placing," namely,
it is there and not elsewhere. The Supreme is never localized whilst
its manifestations are. It is everywhere both within and without the
body, but it is said to be in the Sahasrara, because it is there
that the Supreme Shiva-Shakti is realized. And this must be so,
because consciousness is realized by entering in and passing through
the highest manifestation of mind, the Sattvamayi Buddhi, above and
beyond which is Cit and Cidrupini Shakti themselves. From their
Shiva-Shakti Tattva aspect are evolved Mind in its form as Buddhi,
Ahamkara, Manas and associated senses (Indriyas) the center of which
is in and above the Aj—a Cakra and below the Sahasrara. From
Ahamkara proceed the Tanmatras or generals of the sense-particulars
which evolve the five forms of sensible matter (Bhuta), namely,
Akasha ("Ether"), Vayu ("Air"), Agni ("Fire"), Apas ("Water"), and
Prithivi ("Earth"). The English translations given of these terms do
not imply that the Bhutas are the same as the English elements of
air, fire, water, earth. The terms indicate varying degrees of
matter from the ethereal to the solid. Thus Prithivi or earth is any
matter in the Prithivi state; that is, which may be sensed by the
Indriya of smell. Mind and matter pervade the whole body. But there
are centers therein in which they are predominant. Thus Aj—a is a
center of mind, and the five lower Cakras are centers of the five
Bhutas; Vishuddha of Akasha, Anahata of Vayu, Manipura of Agni,
Svadhisthana of Apas, and Muladhara of Prithivi.

In short, man as a microcosm is the all-pervading Spirit (which most
purely manifests in the Sahasrara) vehicled by Shakti in the form of
Mind and Matter the centers of which are the sixth and following
five Cakras respectively.

The six Cakras have been identified with the following plexuses
commencing from the lowest, the Muladhara: The Sacrococcygeal
plexus, the Sacral plexus, the Solar plexus (which forms the great
junction of the right and left sympathetic chains Ida and Pingala
with the cerebro-spinal axis.) Connected with this is the Lumbar
plexus. Then follows the Cardiac plexus (Anahata), Laryngeal plexus,
and lastly the Aj—a or cerebellum with its two lobes, and above this
the Manas Cakra or sensorium with its six lobes, the Soma-cakra or
middle Cerebrum, and lastly the Sahasrara or upper Cerebrum. To some
extent these localizations are yet tentative. This statement may
involve an erroneous view of what the Cakras really are, and is
likely to produce wrong notions concerning them in others. The six
Cakras themselves are vital centers within the spinal column in the
white and gray matter there. They may, however, and probably do,
influence and govern the gross tract outside the spine in the bodily
region lateral to, and co-extensive with, the section of the spinal
column in which a particular center is situated. The Cakras are
centers of Shakti as vital force. In other words they are centers of
Pranashakti manifested by Pranavayu in the living body, the
presiding Devatas of which are names for the Universal Consciousness
as It manifests in the form of those centers. The Cakras are not
perceptible to the gross senses, whatever may be a Yogi's powers to
observe what is beyond the senses (Atindriya). Even if they were
perceptible in the living body which they help to organize, they
disappear with the disintegration of organism at death.

In an article on the Physical Errors of Hinduism, (Calcutta Review,
XI, 436-440) it was said: "It would' indeed excite the surprise of
our readers to hear that the Hindus, who would not even touch a dead
body, much less dissect it (which is incorrect), should possess any
anatomical knowledge at all.......It is the Tantras that furnish us
with some extraordinary pieces of information concerning the human
body ......But of all the Hindus Shastras extant, the Tantras lie in
the greatest obscurity...... The Tantrik theory, on which the well-
known Yoga called 'Shatcakrabheda' is founded, supposes the
existence of six main internal organs, called Cakras or Padmas, all
bearing a special resemblance to that famous flower, the lotus.
These are placed one above the other, and connected by three
imaginary chains, the emblems of the Ganges, the Yamuna, and the
Sarasvati......Such is the obstinacy with which the Hindus adhere to
these erroneous notions, that, even when we show them by actual
dissection the nonexistence of the imaginary Cakras in the human
body, they will rather have recourse to excuses revolting to common-
sense than acknowledge the evidence of their own eyes. They say,
with a shamelessness unparalleled, that these Padmas exist as long
as a man lives, but disappear the moment he dies." This
alleged "shamelessness" reminds me of the story of a doctor who told
my father "that he had performed many postmortems and had never yet
discovered a soul."

The petals of the lotuses vary being 4, 6, 10, 12, 16 and 2
respectively, commencing from the Muladhara and ending with Aj—a.
There are 50 in all, as are the letters of the alphabet which are in
the petals; that is, the Matrikas are associated with the Tattvas
since both are products of the same creative Cosmic Process
manifesting either as physiological or psychological function. It is
noteworthy that the number of the petals is that of the letters
leaving out either Ksha or the Second La, and that these 50
multiplied by 20 are in the 1,000 petals of the Sahasrara, a number
which is probably only indicative of multitude and magnitude.

But why, it may be asked, do the petals vary in number? Why, for
instance, are there 4 in the Muladhara and 6 in the Svadhisthana?
The answer given is that the number of petals in any Cakra is
determined by the number and position of the Nadis or Yoga "nerves"
around that Cakra. Thus, four Nadis surrounding and passing through
the vital movements of the Muladhara Cakra give it the appearance of
a lotus of four petals. The petals are thus configurations made by
the position of Nadis at any particular center. These Nadis are not
those which are known to the Vaidya of Medical Shastras. The latter
are gross physical nerves. Rut the former here spoken of are called
Yoga-Nadis and are subtle channels (Vivara) along which the Pranik
currents flow. The term Nadi comes from the root "Nad" which means
motion. The body is filled with an uncountable number of Nadis. If
they were revealed to the eye the body would present the appearance
of a highly complicated chart of ocean currents. Superficially the
water seems one and the same. But examination shows that it is
moving with varying degrees of force in all directions. All these
lotuses exist in the spinal column.

An Indian physician and Sanskritist has, in the Guy's Hospital
Gazette, expressed the opinion that better anatomy is given in the
Tantras than in the purely medical works of the Hindus. I have
attempted elsewhere to co-relate present and ancient anatomy and
physiology. I can, however, only mention here some salient points,
first pointing out that the Shivasvarodaya Shastra gives prominence
to nerve centers and nerve currents (Vayu) and their control, such
teaching being for the purpose of worship (Upasana) and Yoga. The
aims and object of the two Shastras are not the same.

The Merudanda is the vertebral column. Western Anatomy divides it
into five regions; and it is to be noted in corroboration of the
theory here exposed that these correspond with the regions in which
the five Cakras are situate. The central spinal system comprises the
brain or encephalon contained within the skull (in which are the
Lalana, Aj—a, Manas, Soma Cakras and the Sahasrara); as also the
spinal cord extending from the upper border of the Atlas below the
cerebellum and descending to the second lumbar vertebra where it
tapers to a point called the filum terminale. within the spine is
the cord, a compound of gray and white brain matter, in which are
the five lower Cakras. It is noteworthy that the filum terminale was
formerly thought to be a mere fibrous cord, an unsuitable vehicle,
one might think, for the Muladhara Cakra and Kundali Shakti. Recent
microscopic investigations have, however, disclosed the existence of
highly sensitive gray matter in the filum terminale which represents
the position of the Muladhara. According to Western science, the
spinal cord is not merely a conductor between the periphery and the
centers of sensation and volition, but is also an independent center
or group of centers. The Sushumna is a Nadi in the center of the
spinal column. Its base is called the Brahmadvara or Gate of
Brahman. As regards the physiological relations of the Cakras all
that can be said with any degree of certainty is that the four above
the Muladhara have relation to the genito-excretory, digestive,
cardiac and respiratory functions, and that the two upper centers,
the Aj—a (with associated Cakras) and the Sahasrara denote various
forms of its cerebral activity ending in the response of Pure
Consciousness therein gained through Yoga. The Nadis on each side
called Ida and Pingala are the left and right sympathetic cords
crossing the central column from one side to the other, making at
the Aj—a with the Sushumna a threefold knot called Triveni; which is
the spot in the Medulla where the sympathetic cords join together
and whence they take their origin—these Nadis together with the
two-lobed Aj—a and the Sushumna forming the figure of the Caduceus
of the God Mercury which is said by some to represent them.

How then does this Yoga compare with others?

It will now be asked what are the general principles which underlie
the Yoga practice above described. How is it that the rousing of
Kundalini Shakti and Her union with Shiva effect the state of
ecstatic union (Samadhi) and spiritual experience which is alleged.
The reader who has understood the general principles recorded in the
previous essays should, if he has not already divined it, readily
appreciate the answer here given.

In the first place, there are two main lines of Yoga, namely, Dhyana
or Bhavana Yoga and Kundali Yoga, the subject of this work; and
there is a marked difference between the two. The first class of
Yoga is that in which ecstasy (Samadhi) is attained by intellective
processes (Kriya-j—ana) of meditation and the like, with the aid, it
may be, of auxiliary processes of Mantra or Hatha Yoga (other than
the rousing of Kundalini Shakti) and by detachment from the world;
the second stands apart as that portion of Hatha Yoga in which,
though intellective processes are not neglected, the creative and
sustaining Shakti of the whole body is actually and truly united
with the Lord Consciousness. The yogi makes Her introduce him to Her
Lord, and enjoys the bliss of union through Her. Though it is he who
arouses Her, it is She who gives J—ana, for She is Herself that. The
Dhyanayogi gains what acquaintance with the supreme state his own
meditative powers can given him and knows not the enjoyment of union
with Shiva in and through his fundamental Body-Power. The two forms
of Yoga differ both as to method and result. The Hathayoga regards
his Yoga and its fruit as the highest. The J—anayogi may think
similarly of his own. Kundalini is so renowned that many seek to
know Her. Having studied the theory of this Yoga, I have been often
asked: "Whether one can get on without it." 'the answer is: "It
depends upon what you are looking for." If you want to rouse
Kundalini Shakti to enjoy the bliss of union of Shiva and Shakti
through Her and to gain the accompanying Powers (Siddhi) it is
obvious that this end can only, if at all, be achieved by the Yoga
here described. But if Liberation is sought without desire for union
through Kundali then such Yoga is not necessary; for Liberation may
be obtained by pure J—anayoga through detachment, the exercise, and
then the stilling of the mind, without any reference to the central
Body-Power at all. Instead of setting out in and from the world to
unite with Shiva, the J—anayogi, to attain this result, detaches
himself from the world. The one is the path of enjoyment and the
other of asceticism. Samadhi may also be obtained on the path of
devotion (Bhakti) as on that of knowledge. Indeed, the highest
devotion (Parabhakti) is not different from knowledge. Both are
realization. But, whilst Liberation (Mukti) is attainable by either
method, there are other marked differences between the two. A
Dhyanayogi should not neglect his body knowing that as he is both
mind and matter each reacts, the one upon the other. Neglect or mere
mortification of the body is more apt to produce disordered
imagination than a true spiritual experience. He is not concerned,
however, with the body in the sense that the Hathayogi is. It is
possible to be a successful Dhyanayogi and yet to be weak in body
and health, sick, and short-lived. His body and not he himself
determines when he shall die. He cannot die at will. When he is in
Samadhi, Kundali Shakti is still sleeping in the Muladhara and none
of the physical symptoms and psychical bliss, or powers (Siddhi)
described as accompanying Her rousing are observed in his case. The
Ecstasis which he calls "Liberation while yet living" (Jivanmukti)
is not a state like that of real Liberation. He may be still subject
to a suffering body from which he escapes only at death, when, if at
all, he is liberated. His ecstasy is in the nature of a meditation
which passes into the Void (Bhavanasamadhi) effected through
negation of all thought-form (Citta-vritti) and detachment from the
world; a comparatively negative process in which the positive act of
raising the central power of the body takes no part. By his effort
the mind, which is a product of Kundalini as Prakriti Shakti,
together with its worldly desires is stilled so that the veil
produced by mental functioning is removed from Consciousness. In
Layayoga, Kundalini Herself, when roused by the Yogi (for such
rousing is his act and part), achieves for him this illumination.

But why, it may be asked, should, one trouble over the body and its
Central Power, the more particularly as there are unusual risks and
difficulties involved? The answer has been already given— alleged
completeness and certainty of realization through the agency of the
Power which is knowledge itself (J—anarupa Shakti), an intermediate
acquisition or Powers (Siddhi), and intermediate and final
enjoyment. This answer may, however, be usefully developed as a
fundamental principle of the Shakta Tantra.

The Shakta Tantra claims to give both Enjoyment (Bhukti) in the
world and Liberation (Mukti) from all worlds. This claim is based on
a profoundly true principle, given Advaitavada as a basis. If the
ultimate reality is the One which exists in two aspects of quiescent
enjoyment of the Self, in liberation from all form and active
enjoyment of objects, that is, as pure spirit and spirit in matter,
then a complete union with Reality demands such unity in both of Its
aspects. It must be known both "here" (Iha) and "there" (Amutra).
When rightly apprehended and practiced, there is truth in the
doctrine which teaches that man should make the best of both worlds.
There is no real incompatibility between the two, provided action is
taken in conformity with the universal law of manifestation. It is
held to be false teaching that happiness hereafter can only be had
by absence of enjoyment now, or in deliberately sought-for suffering
and mortification. It is the one Shiva who is the Supreme Blissful
Experience and who appears in the form of man with a life of mingled
pleasure and pain. Both happiness here and the bliss of Liberation
here and hereafter may be attained, if the identity of these Shivas
be realized in every human act. This will be achieved by making
every human function, without exception, a religious act of
sacrifice and worship (Yaj—a). In the ancient Vaidik ritual,
enjoyment by way of food and drink, was preceded and accompanied by
ceremonial sacrifice and ritual. Such enjoyment was the fruit of the
sacrifice and the gift of the Devas. At a higher stage in the life
of a Sadhaka, it is offered to the One from whom all gifts come and
of whom the Devatas are inferior limited forms. But this offering
also involves a dualism from which the highest Monistic (Advaita)
Sadhana of the Shakta Tantra is free. Here the individual life and
the world-life are known as one. And so the Tantrik Sadhaka, when
eating or drinking or fulfilling any other of the natural functions
of the body does so, saying and believing, Shivo'ham, "I am Shiva",
Bhairavo'ham, "I am Bhairava", "Sa'ham", "I am She". It is not
merely the separate individual who thus acts and enjoys. It is Shiva
who does so in and through him. Such an one recognizes, as has been
well said, that his life and the play of all its activities are not
a thing apart, to be held and pursued egotistically for its and his
own separate sake, as though enjoyment was something to be filched
from life by his own unaided strength and with a sense of
separatedness; but his life and all its activities are conceived as
part of the Divine action in nature—Shakti manifesting and
operating in the form of man. He realizes in the pulsing beat of his
heart the rhythm which throbs through and is the sign of the
Universal Life. To neglect or to deny the needs of the body, to
think of it as something not divine, is to neglect and deny the
greater life of which it is a part; and to falsify the great
doctrine of the unity of all and of the ultimate identity of Matter
and Spirit. Governed by such a concept, even the lowliest physical
needs take on a cosmic significance. The body is Shakti. Its needs
are Sakti's needs; when man enjoys, it is Shakti who enjoys through
him. In all he sees and does, it is The Mother who looks and acts.
His eyes and hands are Hers. The whole body and all its functions
are Her manifestation. To fully realize Her as such is to perfect
this particular manifestation of Hers which is himself. Man when
seeking to be the master of himself, seeks so on all the planes to
be physical, mental and spiritual; nor can they be severed, for they
are all related, being but differing aspects of the one all-
pervading Consciousness. Who is the more divine: he who neglects and
spurns the body or mind that he may attain some fancied spiritual
superiority, or he who rightly cherishes both as forms of the one
Spirit which they clothe? Realization is more speedily and truly
attained by discerning Spirit in and as all being and its
activities, than by fleeing from and casting these aside as being
either unspiritual or illusory and impediments in the path. If not
rightly conceived, they map be impediments and the cause of fall;
otherwise they become instruments of attainment; and what others are
there to hand? And so the Kularnava Tantra says, "By what men fall
by that they rise." When acts are done in the right feeling and
frame of mind (Bhava), those acts give enjoyment (Bhukti), and the
repeated and prolonged Bhava produces at length that divine
experience (Tattvaj—ana) which is liberation. When the Mother is
seen in all things, She is at length realized as She who is beyond
them all.

These general principles have their more frequent application in the
life of the world before entrance on the path of Yoga proper. The
Yoga here described is, however, also an application of these same
principles, in so far as it is claimed that thereby both Bhukti and
Mukti are attained. Ordinarily, it is said, that where there is Yoga
there is no Bhoga (enjoyment); but in Kaula teaching, Yoga is Bhoga,
and Bhoga is Yoga, and the world itself becomes the seat of
Liberation (Yogo bhogayate, mokshayate samsarah).

By the lower processes of Hathayoga it is sought to attain

a perfect physical body which will also be a wholly fit instrument
by which the mind may function. A perfect mind, again, approaches,
and in Samadhi passes into, Pure Consciousness itself. The Hathayogi
thus seeks a body which shall be as strong as steel, healthy, free
from suffering and therefore long-lived. Master of the body he is,
master of both life and death. His lustrous form enjoys the vitality
of youth. He lives as long as he has the will to live and enjoy in
the world of forms. His death is the "death at will" (Iccha-mrityu);
when making the great and wonderfully expressive gesture of
dissolution (Samhara-mudra) he grandly departs. But it may be said,
the Hatha-yogis do get sick and die. In the first place, the full
discipline is one of difficulty and risk, and can only be pursued
under the guidance of a skilled Guru. As the Goraksha Samhita says,
unaided and unsuccessful practice may lead not only to disease but
death. He who seeks to conquer the Lord of Death incurs the risk, on
failure, of a more speedy conquest by Him. All who attempt this Yoga
do not of course succeed or meet with the same measure of success.
Those who fail not only incur the infirmities of ordinary men, but
also others brought on by practices which have been ill pursued or
for which they are not fit. Those again who do succeed, do so in
varying degrees. One may prolong his life to the sacred age of 84,
others to 100, others yet further. In theory at least those who are
perfected (Siddha) go from this plane when they will. All have not
the same capacity or opportunity, through want of will, bodily
strength, or circumstance. All may not be willing or able to follow
the strict rules necessary for success. Nor does modern life offer
in general the opportunities for so complete a physical culture. All
men may not desire such a life or may think the attainment of it not
worth the trouble involved. Some may wish to be rid of their body
and that as speedily as possible. It is therefore said that it is
easier to gain Liberation than Deathlessness. The former may be had
by unselfishness, detachment from the world, moral and mental
discipline. But to conquer death is harder than this, for these
qualities and acts will not alone avail. He who does so conquer
holds life in the hollow of one hand, and if he be a successful
(Siddha) Yogi, Liberation in the other. He has Enjoyment and
Liberation. He is the Emperor who is Master of the World and the
Possessor of the Bliss which is beyond all worlds. Therefore it is
claimed by the Hathayogi that every Sadhana is inferior to Hathayoga.

The Hathayoga who works for Liberation does so through the Yoga
Sadhana here described which gives both Enjoyment and Liberation. At
every center to which he rouses Kundalini he experiences a special
form of bliss (Ananda) and gains special powers (Siddhi). Carrying
Her to the Shiva of his cerebral center he enjoys Supreme Bliss
which in its nature is Liberation, and which when established in
permanence is Liberation itself on the loosening of Spirit and Body.
She who "shines like a chain of lights", a lightning flash —in the
center of his body is the "Inner Woman" to whom reference was made
when it was said, "What need have I of any outer woman? I have an
Inner Woman within myself." The Vira (heroic) Sadhaka, knowing
himself as the embodiment of Shiva (Shivo'ham), unites with woman as
the embodiment of Shakti on the physical plane. The Divya (Divine)
Sadhaka or Yogi unites within himself his own Principles, female and
male, which are the "Heart of the Lord" (Hridayam Parameshituh) or
Shakti and Her Lord Consciousness or Shiva. It is their union which
is the mystic coition (Maithuna) of the Tantras. There are two forms
of union (Samarasya), namely, the first which is the gross (Sthula),
or the union of the physical embodiments of the Supreme
Consciousness; and the second which is the subtle (Sukshma), or the
union of the quiescent and active principles in Consciousness
itself. It is the latter which is Liberation.

Lastly, what, in a philosophical sense, is the nature of the process
here described? Shortly stated, Energy (Shakti) polarizes itself
into two forms. namely, static or potential (Kundalini) and dynamic
(the working forces of the body as Prana). Behind all activity there
is a static background. This static center in the human body is the
central Serpent Power in the Muladhara (Root-support). It is the
Power which is the static support (Adhara) of the whole body and all
its moving Pranik forces. This Center (Kendra) of Power is a gross
form of Cit or Consciousness; that is, in itself (Svarupa), it is
Consciousness; and by appearance it is a Power which, as the highest
form of Force, is a manifestation of it. Just as there is a
distinction (though identical at base) between the supreme quiescent
Consciousness and Its active Power (Shakti), so when Consciousness
manifests as Energy (Shakti), it possesses the twin aspects of
potential and kinetic Energy. There can be no partition in fact of
Reality. To the perfect eye of the Siddha the process of Becoming is
an ascription (Adhyasa). To the imperfect eye of the Sadhaka, that
is, the aspirant for Siddhi (perfected accomplishment), to the
spirit which is still toiling through the lower planes and variously
identifying itself with them, Becoming is tending to appear and
appearance is real. The Shakta Tantra is a rendering of Vedantik
Truth from this practical point of view, and represents the world-
process as a polarization in Consciousness itself. This polarity as
it exists in, and as, the body is destroyed by Yoga which disturbs
the equilibrium of bodily consciousness, which consciousness is the
result of the maintenance of these two poles. In the human body the
potential pole of Energy which is the Supreme Power is stirred to
action, on which the moving forces (dynamic Shakti) supported by it
are drawn thereto, and the whole dynamism thus engendered moves
upward to unite with the quiescent Consciousness in the Highest

There is a polarization of Shakti into two forms—static and
dynamic. In a correspondence I had with Professor Pramatha Natha
Mukhyopadhyaya, on this subject, he very well developed this point
and brought forward some suitable illustrations of it, which I am
glad to avail myself of. He pointed out that, in the first place, in
the mind or experience this polarization or polarity is patent to
reflection: namely, the polarity between pure Cit and the Stress
which is involved in it. This Stress or Shakti develops the mind
through an infinity of forms and changes, themselves involved in the
pure unbounded Ether of Consciousness, the Cidakasha. This analysis
exhibits the primordial Shakti in the same two polar forms as
before, static and dynamic. Here the polarity is most fundamental
and approaches absoluteness, though of course, it is to be
remembered that there is no absolute rest except in pure Cit. Cosmic
energy is in an equilibrium which is relative and not absolute.

Passing from mind, let us take matter. The atom of modern science
has, as I have already pointed out, ceased to be an atom in the
sense of an indivisible unit of matter. According to the electron
theory, the so-called atom is a miniature universe resembling our
solar system. At the center of this atomic system we have a charge
of positive electricity round which a cloud of negative charges
called Electrons revolve. The positive and negative charges hold
each other in check so that the atom is in a condition of
equilibrated energy and does not ordinarily break up, though it may
do so on the dissociation which is the characteristic of all matter,
but which is so clearly manifest in radioactivity of radium. We have
thus here again a positive charge at rest at the center, and
negative charges in motion round about the center. What is thus said
about the atom applies to the whole cosmic system and universe. In
the world-system, the planets revolve round the Sun, and that system
itself is probably (taken as a whole) a moving mass around some
other relatively static center, until we arrive at the Brahma-bindu
which is the point of Absolute Rest, round which all forms revolve
and by which all are maintained. He has aptly suggested other
illustrations of the same process. Thus, in the tissues of the
living body, the operative energy is polarized into two forms of
energy—anabolic and catabolic, the one tending to change and the
other to conserve the tissues; the actual condition of the tissues
being simply the resultant of these two co-existent or concurrent
activities. In the case, again, of the impregnated ovum, Shakti is
already presented in its two polar aspects, namely, the ovum
(possibly the static) and the spermatozoon, the dynamic. The germ
cell does not cease to be such. It splits into two, one half, the
somatic cell gradually developing itself into the body of the
animal, the other half remaining encased within the body practically
unchanged and as the germ-plasma is transmitted in the process of
reproduction to the offspring.

In short, Shakti, when manifesting, divides itself into two polar
aspects—static and dynamic—which implies that you cannot have
it in a dynamic form without at the same time having it in a static
form, much like the poles of a magnet. In any given sphere of
activity of force, we must have, according to the cosmic principle,
a static background—Shakti at rest or "coiled" as the Tantras
say. This scientific truth is illustrated in the figure of the
Tantrik Kali. The Divine Mother moves as the Kinetic Shakti on the
breast of Sadashiva who is the static background of pure Cit which
is actionless (Nishkriya); the Gunamayi Mother being all activity.

The Cosmic Shakti is the collectivity (Samashti) in relation

to which the Kundali in particular bodies is the Vyasti (individual)
Shakti. The body is, as I have stated, a microcosm
(Kshudrabrahmanda). In the living body there is, therefore, the same
polarization of which I have spoken. From the Mahakundali the
universe has sprung. In Her supreme form She is at rest, coiled
round and one (as Cidrupini) with the Shivabindu. She is then at
rest. She next uncoils Herself to manifest. Here the three coils of
which the Tantras speak are the three Gunas, and the three and a
half coils to which the Kubjika Tantra alludes are Prakriti and its
three Gunas together with the Vikritis. Her 50 coils are the letters
of the alphabet. As She goes on uncoiling, the Tattvas and the
Matrikas, The Mothers of the Varnas, issue from Her. She is thus
moving, and continues even after creation to move in the Tattvas so
created. For as they are born of movement, they continue to move.
The whole world (Jagat) as the Sanskrit term implies, is moving. She
thus continues creatively active until She has evolved Prithivi, the
last of the Tattvas. First She creates mind and then matter. This
latter becomes more and more dense. It has been suggested that the
Mahabhutas are the Densities of modern science: Air density
associated with the maximum velocity of gravity; Fire density
associated with the velocity of light; Water or fluid density
associated with molecular velocity and the equatorial velocity of
the Earth's rotation; and Earth density, that of basalt associated
with the Newtonian velocity of sound. However this be, it is plain
that the Bhutas represent an increasing density of matter until it
reaches its three-dimensional solid form. When Shakti has created
this last or Prithivi Tattva, what is there further for Her to do?
Nothing. She, therefore, then again rests. She is again coiled,
which means that She is at rest. "At rest," again, means that She
assumes a static form. Shakti, however, is never exhausted, that is,
emptied into any of its forms. Therefore, Kundali Shakti at this
point is, as it were, the Shakti left over (though yet a plenum)
after the Prithivi, the last of the Bhutas has been created. We have
thus Mahakundali at rest as Cidrupini Shakti in the Sahasrara, the
point of absolute rest; and then the body in which the relative
static center is Kundali at rest, and round this center the whole of
the bodily forces move. They are Shakti, and so is Kundali Shakti.
The difference between the two is that they are Shakti in specific
differentiated forms in movement; and Kundali Shakti is un-
differentiated, residual Shakti at rest, that is, coiled. She is
coiled in the Muladhara, which means fundamental support, and which
is at the same time the seat of the Prithivi or last solid Tattva
and of the residual Shakti or Kundalini. The body may, therefore, be
compared to a magnet with two poles. The Muladhara, in so far as it
is the seat of Kundali Shakti, a comparatively gross form of Cit
(being Cit-Shakti and Maya-Shakti) is the static pole in relation to
the rest of the body which is dynamic. The "working" that is the
body necessarily presupposes and finds such a static support; hence
the name Muladhara. In one sense the static Shakti at the Mula-dhara
is necessarily co-existent with the creating and evolving Shakti of
the body; because the dynamic aspect or pole can never be without
its static counterpart. In another sense, it is the residual Shakti
left over after such operation.

What, then, happens in the accomplishment of this Yoga? This static
Shakti is affected by Pranayama and other Yogic processes and
becomes dynamic. Thus, when completely dynamic, that is, when
Kundali unites with Shiva in the Sahasrara, the polarization of the
body gives way. The two poles are united in one and there is the
state of consciousness called Samadhi. The polarization, of course,
takes place in consciousness. The body actually continues to exist
as an object of observation to others. It continues its organic
life. But man's consciousness of his body and all other objects is
withdrawn because the mind has ceased, so far as his consciousness
is concerned, the function, having been withdrawn into its ground
which is consciousness.

How is the body sustained? In the first place, though Kundali Shakti
is the static center of the whole body as a complete conscious
organism, yet each of the parts of the body and their constituent
cells have their own static centers which uphold such parts or
cells. Next, the theory of the Tantriks themselves is that Kundali
ascends, and that the body, as a complete organism, is maintained by
the "nectar" which flows from the union of Shiva and Shakti in the
Sahasrara. This nectar is an ejection of power generated by their
union. My friend, however, whom I have cited, is of opinion (and for
this grounds may be urged) that the potential Kundali Shakti becomes
only partly and not wholly converted into kinetic Shakti; and yet
since Shakti—even as given in the Mula center—is an
infinitude, it is not depleted, the potential store always remaining
unexhausted. In this case, the dynamic equivalent is a partial
conversion of one mode of energy into another. If, however, the
coiled power at the Mula became absolutely uncoiled, there would
result the dissolution of the three bodies, gross, subtle and
causal, and consequently Videha-Mukti—because the static
background in relation to a particular form of existence would,
according to this hypothesis, have wholly given way. He would
explain the fact that the body becomes cold as a corpse as the
Shakti leaves it, as being due, not to the depletion or privation of
the static power at the Muladhara, but to the concentration or
convergence of the dynamic power ordinarily diffused over the whole
body, so that the dynamic equivalent which is set up against the
static background of Kundali Shakti is only the diffused five-fold
Prana gathered home—withdrawn from the other tissues of the body
and concentrated along the axis. Thus, ordinarily, the dynamic
equivalent is the Prana diffused over all the tissues: in Yoga, it
is converged along the axis, the static equivalent of Kundali Shakti
enduring in both cases. Some part of the already available dynamic
Prana is made to act at the base of the axis in a suitable manner,
by which means the basal center or Muladhara becomes, as it were,
over-saturated and reacts on the whole diffused dynamic power (or
Prana) of the body by withdrawing it from the tissues and converging
it along the line of the axis. In this way the diffused dynamic
equivalent becomes the converged dynamic equivalent along the axis.
What, according to this view, ascends, is not the whole Shakti but
an eject like condensed lightning, which at length reaches the
Parama-Shivasthana. There, the Central Power which up-holds the
individual world-consciousness is merged in the Supreme
Consciousness. The limited consciousness, transcending the passing
concepts of worldly life, directly intuits the unchanging Reality
which underlies the whole phenomenal flow. When Kundali Shakti
sleeps in the Muladhara, man is awake to the world; when she awakes
to unite, and does unite, with the supreme static Consciousness
which is Shiva, then consciousness is asleep to the world and is one
with the Light of all things.

Putting aside detail, the main principle appears to be that,
when "wakened", Kundali Shakti either Herself (or as my friend
suggests in Her eject) ceases to be a static Power which sustains
the world-consciousness, the content of which is held only so long
as She "sleeps": and when once set in movement is drawn to that
other static center in the Thousand-petalled Lotus (Sahasrara) which
is Herself in union with the Shiva-consciousness or the
consciousness of ecstasy beyond the world of forms. When
Kundali "sleeps" man is awake to this world. When She "awakes" he
sleeps, that is loses all consciousness of the world and enters his
causal body. In Yoga he passes beyond to formless Consciousness.

I have only to add, without further discussion of the point, that
practitioners of this Yoga claim that it is higher than any other
and that the Samadhi (ecstasy) attained thereby is more perfect. The
reason which they allege is this. In Dhyanayoga, ecstasy takes place
through detachment from the world, and mental concentration leading
to vacuity of mental operation (Vritti) or the uprising of pure
Consciousness unhindered by the limitations of the mind. The degree
to which this unveiling of consciousness is effected depends upon
the meditative powers (J—anashakti) of the Sadhaka and the extent of
his detachment from the world. On the other hand, Kundali who is all
Shakti and who is therefore J—anashakti Herself produces, when
awakened by the Yogi, full J—ana for him. Secondly, in the Samadhi
of Dhyanayoga there is no rousing and union of Kundali Shakti with
the accompanying bliss and acquisition of special Powers (Siddhi).
Further, in Kundali Yoga there is not merely a Samadhi through
meditation, but through the central power of the Jiva a power which
carries with it the forces of both body and mind. The union in that
sense is claimed to be more complete than that enacted through
mental methods only. Though in both cases bodily consciousness is
lost, in Kundalini-Yoga not only the mind, but the body, in so far
as it is represented by its central power (or may be its eject) is
actually united with Shiva. This union produces an enjoyment
(Bhukti) which the Dhyanayogi does not possess. Whilst both the
Divya Yogi and the Vira Sadhaka have enjoyment (Bhukti), that of the
former is said to be infinitely more intense, being an experience of
Bliss itself. The enjoyment of the Vira Sadhaka is but a reflection
of it on the physical plane, a welling up of the true Bliss through
the deadening coverings and trammels of matter. Again, whilst it is
said that both have Liberation (Mukti), this word is used in Vira
Sadhana in a figurative sense only, indicating a bliss which is the
nearest approach on the physical plane to that of Mukti, and a Bhava
or feeling of momentary union of Shiva and Shakti which ripens in
the higher Yoga Sadhana into the literal liberation of the Yogi. He
has both Enjoyment (Bhukti) and Liberation (Mukti) in the fullest
and literal sense. Hence its claim to be the Emperor of all Yogas.

However this may be, I leave the subject at this point, with the
hope that others will continue the esquire I have here initiated. It
and other matters in the Tantra Shastra seem to me (whatever be
their inherent value) worthy of an investigation which they have not
yet received.

Kundalini Shakta (Yoga)

by Arthur Avalon (Sir John Woodroffe), [1918]

Chapter 1: Indian Religion As Bharata Dharma

Chapter 2: Shakti: The World as Power

Chapter 3: What Are the Tantras and Their Significance?

Chapter 4: Tantra Shastra and Veda

Chapter 5: The Tantras and Religion of the Shaktas

Chapter 6: Shakti and Shakta

Chapter 7: Is Shakti Force?

Chapter 8: Cinacara (Vashishtha and Buddha)

Chapter 9: The Tantra Shastras in China

Chapter 10: A Tibetan Tantra

Chapter 11: Shakti in Taoism

Chapter 12: Alleged Conflict of Shastras

Chapter 13: Sarvanandanatha

Chapter 14: Cit-Shakti (The Consciousness Aspect of the Universe)

Chapter 15: Maya-Shakti (The Psycho-Physical Aspect of the Universe)

Chapter 16: Matter and Consciousness

Chapter 17: Shakti and Maya

Chapter 18: Shakta Advaitavada

Chapter 19: Creation as Explained in the Non-dualist Tantras

Chapter 20: The Indian Magna Mater

Chapter 21: Hindu Ritual

Chapter 22: Vedanta and Tantra Shastra

Chapter 23: The Psychology of Hindu Religious Ritual

Chapter 24: Shakti as Mantra (Mantramayi Shakti)

Chapter 25: Varnamala (The Garland of Letters)

Chapter 26: Shakta Sadhana (The Ordinary Ritual)

Chapter 27: The Pa—catattva (The Secret Ritual)

Chapter 28: Matam Rutra (The Right and Wrong Interpretation)

Chapter 29: Kundalini Shakta (Yoga)

Chapter 30: Conclusions




If this page was accessed during a web search you may wish to browse the websites listed below where this topic titled "Kundalini Shakta (Yoga)" or related issues are discussed, commented, criticized or researched in detail to promote peace and progress in religious harmony and spiritual development for all humanity: