KUNDALINI IN TIME AND SPACE
by Gopi Krishna
There are some facts about Kundalini which it is necessary to grasp first before the idea of the chakras and the nature of the force that rises through them can be properly conceptualized. This elucidation is needed to clear the errors and misconceptions that exist, at present, about this Divine Power and which, incorporated in the books written on the subject, in our time, tend to create erroneous ideas in the minds of those who read them. In the Tantras and the Shakti Shastras, Kundalini is invariably designated as a Goddess or as the Creative Power of the Absolute. In the present-day versions it is often referred to as a "Force," as "Serpent Power", or as "Energy" which does not portray the sovereign stature of this Almighty Architect.
When, in my writings, I refer to Kundalini as a dormant force, lying coiled three and a half times at the base of the spine, I but repeat the traditional view, as expressed in the ancient treatises on the subject. I am led to follow this course as, otherwise, confusion is likely to be created if there is a radical difference in what I say and what is stated in the ancient documents on which the current popular ideas are based.
But I always make it clear that there are two aspects of the Power: First, the individual aspect where She can be said to be lying dormant at the base of the spine and second, Her Cosmic Aspect, which is beyond our understanding. In dealing with Kundalini, we deal with an element of creation that is beyond the reach of the intellect. The Energy, named as the Serpent Power or Kundalini Force, is not at all an energy or a force in the sense in which this term is used in modern science, or in any sense in which the idea of an active force is used in any language of our day.
In order to elucidate further what I mean I can do no better than take the help of the following few verses from Vijnana Bhairava, an esoteric treatise dealing with meditational techniques used for expansion of consciousness. Replying to a question from His spouse, Parvati (Shakti or Kundalini), to reveal His real nature, Lord Shiva (Bhairava), as the Creator, replies:-
"O Auspicious One, though wrapt in deep secrecy, I shall still reveal to you what the form or shape of Bhairava is said to be."
"O Shining One, that (the form or shape of Bhairava) should be understood to be unreal, like a magic show, illusory, dreamlike, delusive, like (an unsubstantial) city of Ghandarvas (a mythical class of Celestial Beings)."
"This (the Deity with shape and form) is for the purpose of contemplation of people with deluded intellects, who make a show of religious rites and labor only under a load of error."
"In the real sense, the Supreme Deity has neither nine forms, nor is He Bhairava, nor even the three-headed One (said to be the form of Lord Shiva), nor even in the form of three-fold Energy."
"He is neither of the nature of sound (nada), nor dot (bindu), nor is there the condition of the crescent moon (that is, there is no crescent of the moon adorning Him), nor is He differentiated by the system of chakras (through which the Shakti rises), nor is He even of the form of Shakti (Cosmic Energy or Kundalini)."
"These (formulations) are for (people of) unawakened intellects to serve like bugbears to children or like the sweets offered by mothers to their infants for their appeasement."
"He is beyond the limits of time, space and direction. He cannot be explained by simile nor named, nor qualified, nor described in the real sense."
"He is internally blissful by His own Self-awareness and becomes perceptible when one is free of ignorance. That state of fullness, O Bhairavi (Parvati, Shakti) belongs to Bhairava (Universal Consciousness)."
"That form should be realized in its true proportions as being pure and filling the worlds. This being the Supreme Form (of Bhairava), how can he be worshiped or propitiated?"
"In this way the state of Bhairava (Universal Consciousness) has been fully described. That highest state with the Supreme Form has been eulogized as the Highest Energy."
"Just as power and the possessor of power remain always unseparated, in the same way, by virtue of this law, the Supreme Self and its Supreme Energy are both one."
"The burning power of fire cannot be thought of as being separate from the fire itself. Only when this insight is gained, that marks the beginning of initiation (true knowledge)." (8-19)
These few verses from a work, primarily intended for the instruction of Yoga teachers, written more than a thousand years ago, make it clear that the adepts in India always made a distinction between the esoteric concepts of Divinity and formular images placed before the aspirants for worship or to meditate upon in the initial stages. The Creator and His Creative Energy are one, as a fire and its heat are not two separate entities but one. Therefore, when talking or reading about Kundalini, this position has always to be kept before the mind: that Kundalini is the Creative Power of the Absolute beyond name and form.
The tragedy of our time is that we try to interpret every object or every force and element in the universe in terms graspable by the intellect. In fact, our concepts about the Almighty Source of Creation or Divinity are also often determined by our reason. We make every possible effort to interpret realities, beyond the utmost limits of our mind, in terms intelligible to us in the light of our experience of the physical world. This is a hopeless task. Our minds are designed to perceive and interpret objects and events within a certain extremely narrow range, permitted to our senses. Everything beyond that is as foreign and incomprehensible to us as a florid, sunny surface of the earth would be to marine creatures lying hundreds of fathoms deep in the dark depths of the ocean impervious to the light of the sun.
The reason why spiritual genius has been so scarce in the last two centuries is because, in the exuberance of their intellectual achievements, the learned have lost sight of the fact that the province of the Divine is entirely beyond the grasp of reason.
This being so, all those who wish to embark on this quest have first to become aware of the fact that what they are seeking belongs to an order which is entirely different from that to which they are accustomed on the earth. The reason why, in spite of the position that millions are practicing Yoga in our day, success in the enterprise is so rare is because the seekers often take up the discipline without a clear idea of the direction it would take or of the sublime state to which it would lead.
The practice of fast reading, which is becoming a confirmed habit of intelligent readers of our time, is sadly misplaced when applied to a study dealing with the Super-physical and the Divine. This unhealthy habit is at the root of the general ignorance prevailing about mystical experience and the sublime truths of religion in our day. An intellectual, fully informed of the latest additions to human knowledge, when studying a book like the Bhagavad Gita, Yoga Vasishta, the Bible or the Upanishads, often ends up with the impression that he has grasped what the author intended to convey, in the same way as he does after studying a work on a mundane theme. But this is an error which has to be rectified before all that has been written about Kundalini or higher consciousness in time-honored original works on the subject can be really understood by an intelligent reader of our time.
I am not saying this out of pride or out of any sense of special importance of the subject with which I am dealing. I say this because in studying a book on the subtle forces of Nature, like Kundalini or the Transcendental State to which they can lead, we for the first time enter a territory which is foreign to our senses and our mind. For this reason, a certain period of probation and a certain sustained application of the mind is necessary to grasp the rudiments of a subject which begins at the frontier where our rational faculty ends.
There are not many scientists, it is said, who thoroughly understand the equations which establish the theory of relativity. But the number of those who can grasp the profundity of the ideas expressed in books like Vijnana Bhairava, the Bhagavad Gita, the Upanishads and even some of the abstruse chapters of Plato, is likely to be even less. It is possible to master the theory of relativity with a thorough study of the mathematical equations and astronomical observations on which it is based. But we cannot understand the implications of the references to Divine states of consciousness or subtle planes of creation without direct experience, even if we spend all our life in studying the scriptures and the esoteric works on these recondite subjects.
Another factor responsible for the decline in spiritual knowledge and the erroneous impressions, prevailing in the minds of seekers, is the reliance on the false assurances held out by many professional spiritual teachers of our time about the efficacy of their methods in leading one to God-consciousness or other sublime goals. Due to lack of correct knowledge, the seekers, in general, including intellectuals, believe in these assurances and spend many precious years of their lives in practicing the disciplines without ever attaining the true goal. On the other hand, the disappointment caused creates a revulsion of feeling in many honest seekers that tends to shake their faith and to turn them from one teacher to the other in a vain attempt to gain their end.
The reason for what I say is simple; what we call God-consciousness is not an object which we have to search for from a distance and achieve solely with our own efforts, irrespective of the feeling on the other side. But God-consciousness surrounds us day and night, permeates every cell and every fibre of our body, acts behind our thoughts, feelings, aspirations and hopes and, like an all-seeing eye, is always probing our heart to know our innermost thoughts and plans.
What, therefore, can be said of spiritual teachers who persuade their disciples into the belief that the methods, prescribed by them, can help to experience this Almighty, Omniscient and Omnipresent Spirit which oversees every action and every thought both of the teachers and the taught? Many students believe in these assurances because they fail to devote sufficient study and time to the preliminary knowledge of a subject, dealing with states of being and levels of creation, where the most penetrating intellect is rendered impotent, like the nocturnal bat when confronted by the bright light of the sun.
We are duped because we do not take sufficient pains to study the scriptures of mankind and the works of masters, accepted as authorities from ancient times. We are duped because we carry the habit of fast reading and intellectual assessment into the realm of the Super-mundane. We are duped because the learned world has not yet awakened to the truth that the revealed religious teaching of mankind, irrespective of where and when it was imparted, was intended to be the first code of direction for shaping human life to reach the evolutionary target of Cosmic Consciousness for the race.
The reason is we still fail to understand that the simple narratives of the great founders of faiths and all the well-known mystics, sages and seers of the past contain more valuable germs of truth than the sophisticated, highly colored and profusely illustrated spiritual or occult works of our time.
What has been stated in the preceding chapter can be clarified by a simple illustration. Let us suppose that an aspirant, eager to start the practice of meditation, approaches a teacher and seeks to learn how to practice the discipline. The idea behind the search usually is to find an effective method that could help the said aspirant to gain self-awareness or an answer to the problems about himself and the universe that weigh upon his mind.
We already know what type of answers present-day spiritual teachers return to these interrogations from their disciples. A method is prescribed and the disciple is asked to practice it regularly, while observing a certain disciplined lifestyle with careful attention to his thought, behavior, diet, sexual activity, intercourse with other people and the like. This type of teaching, with the presentation of a variety of methods and disciplines to regulate the mental and physical behavior, is contained in hundreds of books, written during recent times on the subject. But these venerable teachers and the well-written books seldom tell the eager seekers the plain truth that the instruction they need is contained in a simpler, better and more effective way in the revealed scriptures of their own and other faiths of mankind.
Similar is the case with the methods advocated to arouse Kundalini. In addition, the treatises contain intriguing pictures of the chakras, their lotuses, the tutelary Deity of each lotus, the letters of the alphabet marked on each petal of the lotus, the prominent color of each chakra and other mystifying diagrams which have a strong attraction for a certain class of seekers, interested in the miraculous and the occult. There are so many versions of the chakras, so many variations of the colors and the diagrams shown in them and so many divergent accounts of the functions they perform, contained in hundreds of published works and ancient manuscripts, that anyone looking for a consistent explanation of the phenomenon is sure to find himself in a labyrinth from which it is impossible to find a way out.
Edgar Cayce has discussed Kundalini in one of his readings and offered his own explanation of the force.1 There are scores of books, written during the last few years, that link Kundalini with secret methods of sexual indulgence. There are hundreds of books on alchemy, occult brotherhoods, and Hermetic science, dating from ancient times, in which, in some form or the other, Kundalini is discussed. It is not possible to reconcile the conflicting views expressed or to fit them into a rational framework. This being the case, the subject provides a lucrative field for exploitation, for business-minded writers and profit-seeking professional teachers alike. In this confusion, conflict of views and attempts at trade, a momentous discovery of a mighty Law of Nature is lost, because no amount of intellectual study or presentation can clear the obscurity in which the subject has been shrouded so far. It can only make the confusion worse confounded, and that is exactly what is happening now, so far as Kundalini is concerned, even in this enlightened age.
The idea that Kundalini is a force, lying dormant at the base of the spine, which can be aroused by certain disciplines undertaken by a seeker, when analyzed in the light of what has been stated in the ancient authoritative books about this Divine Power, will not be found to be wholly correct. The mind of the sadhaka, who decides to take up the discipline of Yoga to arouse the power, is as much a projection of Kundalini, in the dormant state, as the Enlightened state which She bestows on arousal. It might cause us amazement, even incredulity, but the fact is that it is Kundalini that prompts a seeker to take up a course of exercises to raise Her up to Sahasrara in the same way as Kundalini creates the burning fire of love in all human beings, during the period of adolescence, to propagate the race. The following verse from Panchastavi is clear on this point:
"I make obeisance to Thee, O Goddess Tripura (Kundalini), who actest like the warm glow of the sun in bringing the lotus-cluster of one's intense desire for higher knowledge to bloom, who when worshiped in six ways (i.e. with the five senses and the mind) dost become the sporting arena of the lion of wisdom ready to kill the elephant of delusion." (Canto II:28)
It is this aspect of Kundalini, as the hidden source of all our thoughts, desires, passions and feelings, that has to be kept in mind, when undertaking a practice aimed to arouse this force. From the point of view of awakened consciousness, it is one All-pervading, Mysterious Element of Creation, namely Prana-Shakti, which acts the role of the embodied human being on the one side, oversees his actions, determines his karma and rewards or punishes him on the other. She is the Illusive Power (maya) of the Creator, the Architect of the Universe and the infinitely varied forms of life, including intelligent forms far superior to man, dwelling in it. It is only with this concept of Kundalini, as a Divine Power of unimaginable majesty-Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent, that the disciplines of Kundalini Yoga have to be taken up.
Whatever type of Yoga is practiced, one of the first qualifications needed in a student is that he must keep his mind open to Divine influence and, by repeated practice, his intellect should be saturated with the idea of the Omnipotence, Omniscience and Omnipresence of God. It is not so much the intensity of the practice nor the efficacy of the exercises as the image of Divinity to whose vision the seeker aspires, drawn by him, which matters. One may concentrate or meditate on any pure, chaste, beautiful or noble object; it might be a human being, a Divine figure, a shining orb, a flower or an icon; the real key to the success of the discipline lies in the idea, present at the back of the seeker's mind, about the state he hopes to achieve on his union with the Divine, pervading his inner being as also the world outside. The practice of meditation often remains barren of results because the seekers have no clear-cut idea of the sublime state they wish to reach. Before I started the practice of meditation, at the age of seventeen, I had already studied the Bhagavad Gita, which made a deep impression on my mind. I had also listened to stories from the Bhagavad Purana, in my boyhood, which helped me to form a faint picture of Divinity—the mental image of an All-Pervading Spirit permeating the entire universe of atoms, suns, planets and stars.
When the expansion of consciousness occurred on the first occasion, I realized at once that it was not a normal experience and that I was witnessing a Divine manifestation beyond anything which, in my wildest fancy, I could ever imagine before. "The yogis striving (for perfection)," says the Bhagavad Gita (V:11), "behold Him dwelling in themselves, but the unlettered and unintelligent, even though striving, see Him not."
"But the fruit (accruing to these men) of little understanding is limited," says the Bhagavad Gita (VII:23) at another place. "The worshipers of the Devas (Shining Ones) go to the Devas; but my devotees come to Me."
The reason why the highest place of honor has been accorded to the revealed religious scriptures of mankind, out of all other literary treasures, is because they contain descriptions of God or of His attributes and thus provide healthy mental images of Divinity for the seeker to ponder over and meditate on or to worship or pray to, in one's own home or any place of worship, as one might like to do. This is also the reason why the practice of daily reading of Gospels of the various faiths by their followers was considered to be a sacred duty that brought merit to the performer.
This constant study of sacred books led the mind to dwell upon the images and the attributes of Divinity, according to one's own capacity for visualization. In this way, the mind was gradually saturated with the idea of God-the Almighty Spirit that rules the universe, Omnipotent, Omniscient, Omnipresent, just, compassionate and merciful, the Lord of all the creatures in the universe. Though they did not express it in these terms, the Gospels of mankind, in this manner, portrayed figuratively and, sometimes, even clearly the Glorious Crown of Evolution, destined for mankind. In other words, the Message contained in all these holy books points to the glorified human beings who win access to the Lord, or attain the Kingdom of Heaven, open to the righteous and the pure.
The purpose of Revelation has been to give right direction to the deeply anchored religious impulse in human beings. To evaluate the importance of Revelation it is sufficient to recall the horrible religious practices of pre-revelatory eras, rife among superstitious populations of the past. It is in the Gospels of various faiths that the idea of glorification of humble human beings who follow the prescribed path was inculcated for the first time. Previously, only kings or highest personages could claim the right, as for instance in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and China. The concept that the entire race will be blessed and, one day, adorn the earth with transhuman attributes, ascribed to God-omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence-in a limited way, subject to the maximum capacity of the evolving brain is, therefore, completely in keeping with the current religious traditions of mankind.
It seems that the real significance of worship has been lost in our day. The attendance in the temples of worship, all over the world, is scanty because the real purpose of devotional prayer and adoration is not now clearly understood. The province of the Divine has become unfamiliar to the modern intellect. All places of common worship signify a subconscious impulse in human beings for a collective expression of the intellectual and emotional responses in the adoration of an evolutionary Ideal. This is the reason why the adherents of various faiths often fanatically adhered to the tenets and the ideals imprinted deep on their minds by the often inspired words of the founders.
The very concept of God, as outlined in the scriptures of various faiths, betokens a subconscious wish for an evolutionary model to be always kept in mind. In this lies the importance of faith. How can billions of average human beings be made to conform to the conditions, imposed by nature, or keep a sublime ideal before their eye for their emulation, homage and worship without a religion of some kind?
A study of the major faiths of mankind, undertaken with the sole object of finding the main factor responsible for their appearance, cannot fail to separate the basic realities from the myth and superstition which covers them, as a hard shell covers a kernel. The study of William James, embodied in his Varieties of Religious Experience, could provide a valuable groundwork for subsequent studies. But, instead of uncovering the myth and the superstition, not a few of the present-day investigators in the domain of faith have themselves fallen easy victims to the fiction and fancy that surrounds religion, as smoke covers a burning fire.
The stories of wizards like Don Juan, or the fantastic tales narrated by Lobsang Rampa, or the claims made by professional salesmen of the occult about their own incredible experiences, among seekers, including scholars and scientists, is a spectacle that makes one gloomy about the future. It is incredible that those who, still in doubt about the purpose of spiritual teaching, should be ready to accept unverified, bizarre accounts of imaginary or highly exaggerated happenings that are far removed from the ideals of faith.
Should we profane the solemn province of the Divine by making it conform to the current popular taste for excitement, sensation and thrill or for the perverse, the weird and the uncanny so that our narratives become unmatched bestsellers and their screen versions draw unprecedented crowds? Should we allow our earthly desires and passions, likes and dislikes or preferences and tastes to invade also the territory of our soul? What will then differentiate our present state of bondage from the glorious dominion of a liberated soul?
The foregoing discussion was necessary to show that it is not easy to explain the mystery of the "Coiled Serpent" in the intellectual climate existing in our day. It cannot be explained in terms of modern psychology. In actual fact, when the research initiated attains some measure of success, the whole science of psychology will have to be recast in the light of the knowledge gained about this mysterious power. The investigation is likely to tax all the resources of science and all the ingenuity of the human mind for knowledge of Kundalini means knowledge of the worlds beyond the sensual perception of mortal man. The following verse from Shat-Chakra-Nirupana depicts, to some extent, the mysterious nature of the Serpent Power:
"Within its middle space (i.e. middle of the Nirvana-Kala) shines the supreme and primordial Nirvana-Shakti; She is lustrous like ten million suns and is the Mother of the three worlds. She is extremely subtle and like unto the ten-millionth part of the end of a hair. She contains within Her the constantly flowing stream of gladness, and is the life of all beings. She graciously carries the knowledge of the Truth (Tattva) to the mind of the sages." (48) 2
The sentence, "She is extremely subtle like unto the ten-millionth part of the end of a hair," is intended to convey an idea of the subtlety of this power which is beyond measurement. The phrase "Mother of the three worlds" is often used in the works dealing with Kundalini to show that She is the Creatrix of the universe.
How can we reconcile the idea of the Author of this stupendous creation lying asleep at the base of the human spine, coiled three and a half times, closing the pathway to Liberation with Her mouth? It is sustained reflection on points like these, constantly met with in the ancient works on Yoga, Kundalini, Tantra, etc., that can help a student to gain the necessary insight. The next verse, which is complementary, extends the scope of the former a little further:-
"Within Her is the everlasting place called the abode of Shiva, which is free from Maya, attainable only by yogis, and known by the name of Nityananda. It is replete with every form of bliss, and is pure knowledge itself. Some call it the Brahman, others call it the Hamsa. Wise men describe it as the abode of Vishnu, and righteous men speak of it as the ineffable place of knowledge of the Atma, or the place of liberation." (49)
It might be rather difficult for casual readers to grasp the meaning of both these verses. It would be easier for an Indian reader as the terms Maya, Brahman, Shiva, Tattva (Truth) are more familiar to them. But it is because of the rather recondite nature of these two verses that I have selected them for discussion here to show what a gulf of difference exists between the current concepts of Kundalini and those which the ancient masters have always tried to convey.
In order to grasp the purport of these two verses, it has to be borne in mind that, according to the philosophy of the Tantras, the world we see is the projection of consciousness or Shiva. The word Shiva means auspicious, blissful, felicitous, the Supreme Deity, the phallus, etc. Lord Shiva brings the universe into existence through His creative power or Shakti. He is both the Lord of Creation and the captive human soul, subject to pleasure and pain. He is also the fetter which binds the soul to the flesh and the earth.
In other words, it is the Creator Himself who acts the Drama of Creation as the Director, the Actor and the Stage, as also the Power by which He unfolds this Drama through eternity. It is His Shakti which, acting as maya or Illusive Power, makes the embodied soul forget his identity as a Spark of the Divine Fire, like a person dreaming in his sleep, and to experience a cycle of births and deaths until, with right effort and a meritorious life, he awakens to his own majesty as a deathless fragment of the Absolute.
It is not possible to grasp the esoteric significance of Kundalini unless this basic fact of one Ocean of Universal Consciousness, as the primordial Source of the visible universe, and also as the observer behind the personality of an embodied human being, is kept constantly in view. The power that enchains the Spark of the Divine to the gross flesh, and also liberates Him from it, is Kundalini. The stupendous nature of His own Power, which makes the Lord of Creation forget Himself and act the drama of life in countless infinitely varied forms throughout the universe can, therefore, be readily understood. From this point of view, the Mystery surrounding Kundalini is so deep that the human intellect can never hope to fathom it. It is the profound Mystery behind the universe.
Keeping in mind the unfathomable nature of the mystery, and the sublime grandeur of the experience to which it leads, the assertions of many present-day teachers and in many present-day books, claiming authentic knowledge of this stupendous Power or the ability to awaken it in their disciples, appears to be based on assumptions which, to say the least, are erroneous. They are like the assertions of one who claims direct experience of the interior of the sun, or the ability to keep the orb of day in his pocket for demonstration to others. It is the prevailing ignorance about the infinite power and majesty of this Sovereign Architect of Creation that allows such hoaxes to be played on credulous minds.
The omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence of the Lord is an accepted tenet of all the Theistic religions of the world. This is also an accepted attribute of Brahman, Shiva, Vishnu or other forms of Divinity in India. The Buddhist Arhat, too, is often credited with these superhuman properties. These three attributes of omnipotence, omniscience and omnipresence indicate a First Cause, possessed of every power, knowing everything and present everywhere.
From this accepted article of faith, the very idea that material objects or living souls can exist without the presence of the Lord within them is untenable. This being the case, to hold that intelligent creatures, like human beings or the denizens of other planets in space, can think a single thought or entertain a single idea, without the knowledge of the Lord would also be irrational. It would also be illogical to assume, in the light of this fact that atoms or the subnuclear particles can occupy a space in which God does not exist. The accord on this fundamental issue between the concept of God, in theistic religions, and that of Shiva, Brahman or Vishnu of the Indian pantheon is, therefore, obvious.
Coming back to Kundalini, just as the Lord is spread everywhere, so is His Shakti or Creative Energy. The human body is Her creation. The body is the temple of the Lord who dwells in it in self-imposed confinement by the agency of His own maya or Illusive Power. In actual fact, there is no bondage and no liberation. The Absolute is beyond the least touch of duality or the ever contending forces of nature. What we call God and what we call His creation, according to the metaphysics of Kundalini, is one ineffable Absolute, or Sada-Shiva, who acts both as the Lord and the creation by His own unbounded Shakti or Power.
For the unawakened soul the universe and its own embodiment, with all the disabilities it has to face, are real. For the awakened one, the experience of incarnate life is like a dream. In actual fact, it is the Lord existing everywhere in His glory in whose radiance the universe is dissolved, like a melting vapor at the rise of the sun.
In one dimension of consciousness the world is real and so are the vicissitudes of life that fall to one's lot. In the next dimension, this world of opposites disappears, like a melting ghost, yielding place to one all-pervading Ocean of blissful Consciousness in which embodied life, pain, decay and death disappear, like the figments of a dream from which one has just awakened. In the wakeful state, the soul finds itself wafted to a new Eternal World of Being, where all is sunshine and happiness, that knows no pain, no decay and no death.
It is strange that our normal dream and wakeful states should correspond dramatically with this shift in the state of our awareness on the awakening of Kundalini. Can it be possible that, in the daily cycle of night and day or sleep and wakefulness, we but repeat, on a miniature scale, the cosmic cycle of our bondage and liberation extending to colossal spans of time?
In one instantaneous leap into a higher dimension of being, our sensual picture of the universe and ourselves is completely altered. The soul, instead of perceiving itself as a puny creature, encased in flesh and surrounded by immensities of time and space, for the first time becomes aware of its own sovereignty, observing the dramatic dissolution of the gigantic material world to which it was accustomed from birth. It finds itself transformed into a boundless Spirit, oversizing and overshadowing that which had oversized and overshadowed it before. The human creature, now become oceanic, watches the melting away of sensual shadows, which he had only a short while before thought to be a real world, so stupendous that he felt lost in its immensity.
"How strange it is, O Mother," sings Panchastavi (IV:17), "that this Ocean of Illusion (i.e. this creation born of maya) confusingly crowded like bubbles (on the surface of an ocean), filled with waves (of countless) diverse kinds of affliction, with the submarine fire generated by constant meditation on Thee, is destroyed in an instant (i.e. dissolved in consciousness)."
This verse clearly refers to the process of the dissolution of the objective world on the streaming of the more potent form of prana into the brain, melting away the images of sound, touch, smell, sight and hearing, conveyed by the senses. The world that holds the imprisoned soul in bondage is demolished to set him free by a change in the spectrum of the same mind-stuff (prana) that creates it. It is a shattering experience and, for the first time, brings one the staggering awareness of his own sovereignty over the elements of nature that previously held him a captive, as it were, with unbreakable chains.
At another place Panchastavi (V:15) adds:
"O Mother, how great is Thy glory that even though swallowed up by earth, water, fire, air, mind, the sun and moon (i.e. though enveloped by all these elements in the embodied state of the soul), in Thy superfine state of sky-like (expanded) consciousness, not a trace of any of these enveloping sheaths is found."
The purport of both these verses is clear. All these elements of creation are the products of our sensory outfit, as interpreted by the mind. When the penetrative power of the mind is increased in expanded states of consciousness, the shadows created by the senses dissolve in the more powerful light of the observing mind. The world, thereupon, loses its tangibility and a new aspect of creation is presented to the inner eye of the initiate.
"This whole universe," says Vijnana Bhairava (133), "is without substance, like a creation of magic; and by going deep into the question of the Ultimate Reality behind this magic show, one can achieve real peace of the spirit."
The target of evolution is to create a highly extended state of awareness in all human beings in which the immortal nature of the Spirit and the phenomenal nature of the universe become clearly distinguishable. What then would be the incentives to continue in the state of embodiment for awakened spirits of this stature, we have still to know. In all probability, their talents and energies will be directed towards the exploration of the infinitely vast Universe of Consciousness, in the same way as the material universe formed the subject of study for the human intellect from its very first appearance in the mind of man.
Based on the evidence provided by the Illuminati of the past, it is obvious that the evolution of the human brain is designed to help mankind in gaining awareness of the world of consciousness as the fundamental Reality behind creation, in the same way as his intellect helped him to gain awareness of the material world. We can, therefore, safely assume that no treasure of the earth and no height of temporal power will bring satiation to man's unassuageable thirst for knowledge of himself and the mysterious Source of the visible universe.
The awakening of Kundalini is indispensable for success in any kind of spiritual discipline, including Yoga, irrespective of time and place. The higher dimension of consciousness in which the glory of the Lord and the phantom-like nature of the world are experienced is not possible without a transformation in the subtle levels of the brain, and the flow of a more potent form of vital energy into a newly activated center in it.
The notion that this Almighty Power can be handled as we handle a material force, including atomic energy, is utterly fallacious. The efforts at self-discipline, made by an aspirant, and the exercises performed act in the same way as the conjugal embrace of the parents acts for the impregnation of the seed which, later on, develops into an embryo. But after the initial act of impregnation, neither of the parents has any power to interfere in the process of growth of the child, which proceeds according to the laws of which we are ignorant at present. The marvelous intelligence that supervises and controls this development is so remote from our conceptions that we feel more at ease in denying its existence, as this denial releases us from the responsibility of explaining the nature of this power.
A teacher instructs a pupil or a physician heals a patient, both of which are commendable acts, and the results achieved are often remarkable. But the power of learning or of curing an ailment is inherent in life itself. Not even the most learned teacher can turn a born idiot into an intellectual nor the most skilled physician cure a disease when the curative response of the body is dead. A spiritual master can act as a teacher or a physician, but cannot alter the inherent abilities of the disciple or the innate capacity of the evolutionary mechanism in him.
For this alteration, the efforts of the student himself and the grace of Kundalini are essential. It is She, as the sustaining power of Life who determines both the ability of the pupil and the capacity of the cerebrospinal system for lifting him up to Transcendence with a higher performance of the brain.
A human child comes into the world with his brain almost fully formed. Nature has taken care that the sovereign organ, controlling the whole system, and the food which the baby needs for its healthy growth should come pre-prepared, eliminating man's interference in a province about which his knowledge is scanty even at this stage. We have no idea of the marvelous intelligence which supervises the growth of the infant from the day of its birth to the time of adulthood and at every step equips it for the part it has to play in life till the end. We do not know what driving force within it shapes its thoughts, acts, fancies, appetites, aptitudes and tastes to make the child, when it grows up, a character by itself, different in some way from the other children born of the same womb.
It seems unbelievable, but it is true that in spite of their intelligence, human beings live in a world of their own creation rather than in that of stern reality. If they did, there is nothing more palpably clear than the fact that we, with our ego, thoughts and dreams, are but unsubstantial images projected by a body and a brain over which we have no control. Scholars and thinkers are included in this classification.
What opinion can we form of an intelligent form of life which dwells in a body, not knowing how it works, utterly impotent to change its direction towards old age, decay and death, which is a stranger to the very house wherein it resides, held captive by its doors and windows of perception that never allow it to look beyond the limits they impose? What estimate can we frame of this helpless prisoner who, in spite of his own dubious state, out of sheer vanity presumes to pass final verdicts on the universe, while still completely ignorant of the mechanisms which bring him to life and sustain him every moment unto the end. This is the tragedy of our time.
It is to remedy this incurable vanity of the intellect that religion became a part and parcel of human life to draw attention to the problems of birth and death for sober minds to reflect and ponder on. The present-day hectic race for the goods of the earth and the excessive thirst for luxurious lifestyles have created a milieu in which these vital problems, peculiar to man, have been relegated to the background, and a strange oblivion towards what the real purpose of human life is has gripped the intelligent mind.
A giddy life often makes us dead to realities which, otherwise, should not fail to strike any normal human being-realities which made the sensitive heart of Buddha to abandon a kingdom in the search for truth. We come across infirmity and obsolescent age every day in our life and, not unoften, feel sympathy or pity for the wreckage we see. But seldom, if ever, the thought comes home to us, with telling effect, that one day not far away, the same will be our fate. This is an incredible frame of mind for an intelligent species. In the Mahabharata this insensitivity of normal human beings towards the inevitable end of life, witnessed every day, is classed as one of the strangest features of human existence. What trickery or alchemy of Nature makes us, in the sunny days of our life, forget the withering chill of winter, is hard to know. It is possible that there are special hormones in the system that make the mind oblivious to the tragic end so as to keep the deluded soul intensely absorbed in the world.
Here is another great mystery of Kundalini. In spite of his penetrating intellect, mortal man is enticed by so many temptations, enmeshed by so many desires, inflamed by so many passions, gripped by so many lusts, lured by so many ambitions and lives always in such a state of inner turmoil and suspense, in bewilderment about himself and the universe that it is a wonder how he can entertain the least idea of his own importance or be vain of his own achievements.
"O Bhawani (Shiva's consort)," says Panchastavi (II:5), "Thou art the Creator as well as the Preserver of the worlds. At the same time, thou art alert towards their destruction when the time is ripe. Thou dost destroy illusions though hiding Thy real self. All this, Thy sport, is triumphant, though bewildering in its ways."
Shat-Chakra-Nirupana (10 and 11) calls Kundalini the world-bewilderer thus:-
"Over it shines the sleeping Kundalini, fine as the fibre of the lotus-stalk. She is the world-bewilderer, gently covering the mouth of Brahmadvara (abode of Brahma) by Her own. Like the spiral of the conch shell, Her shining snake-like form goes three and a half times round Shiva, and Her lustre is that of a strong flash of young strong lightning. Her sweet murmur is like the indistinct hum of swarms of love-mad bees. She produces melodious poetry and Bandha (a kind of poetic composition) and all other compositions in prose or verse in sequence or otherwise in Sanskrit, Prakrit and other languages. It is She who maintains all the beings of the world by means of inspiration and expiration, and shines in the cavity of the root (Mula) Lotus like a chain of brilliant lights."
The Bhagavad Gita (XVIII:61) expresses the same idea in these words:-
"The Lord dwelleth in the hearts of all beings, O Arjuna, by His Illusive Power, causing all beings to revolve as though mounted on a potter's wheel."
Kundalini is maya, the Illusive Power which keeps the soul imprisoned in the world. We are not normally conscious of this illusion, but it is always there. We know nothing about our beginning, nothing about our end, nothing about our true nature, nothing about what power in the body keeps us alive, nothing about ourselves in deep sleep or swoon, nothing about how our impulses and thoughts arise and yet we stalk proudly on the earth, for a while, strutting and boasting as if there is no other object so great and important, blissfully ignorant of the invisible strings that move and turn us like puppets on a stage. It is in this light that Kundalini has to be viewed. In the macrocosmic form, She is the Creatrix of the universe, the origin of every form of life scattered on it from end to end. She is the blazing sun and the cool orb of the moon, the ocean and the desert, the mountain and the plain. In the microcosmic form, She is in every living creature as the Vital-Force which brings it into existence, maintains it in all the stages of life and dissolves it at the end. She is, in fact, the words we utter, the thoughts we think and the dreams we dream. She is the intellect as also the cloud of delusion that does not allow it to know the truth about itself.
After having fashioned the baby in the womb, the Power of Life, hidden behind the veil She drops round Herself, brings it into the world, ripe for experience, endowed with a certain prescribed amount of intelligence and other faculties, based on laws beyond the reach of mortal thought. All this done, She hides a fragment of Herself in an organic mechanism at the base of the spine.
When this organic Key is stirred to activity, by the sustained efforts made and a noble life led by a mortal, She again starts the same process of organic reconstruction as She had used in the formation of the embryo, until the regenerated human gains a new channel of perception by Her Grace. This new state of perception allows him to distinguish between the transient nature of the phenomenal world and the eternal substance of his own soul.
On account of stringent restrictions imposed on the organs of our perception, we look at the universe through glasses by which only a tiny fragment of it for an extremely brief duration of time can be discerned. The Grandeur and Sublimity of creation which comes into view, when the limitation is transcended for a while, is beyond description. This is the Drama, staged by the Creative Power of the Lord, to hold particles of His own Glory enfettered in flesh for aeonian epochs of time, revolving ceaselessly on the wheel of birth and death, until by the Compassion of the same Power, by which they are held in bondage, they are released to taste the inexpressible thrill and bliss of the adventure. This is the Power which, in India, is known as Shakti or Kundalini-the unimaginably Sovereign Power which creates, sustains and destroys the universe.
"O Mother," sings Panchastavi (V:23), "O Parvati, under the name of Brahma, Thou bringest the three worlds into existence, under that of Vishnu, Thou sustainest them, and in the form of Sada-Shiva, breaking asunder the fetters (of illusion), dost lead to blissful Shiva-Consciousness. Although one (in reality) with Thy own self-created modifications, Thou dost manifest Thyself in countless forms."
Saundarya Lahari (35), ascribed to Shankaracharya, expresses the same idea in these words:-
"You are Mind, you are Ether, you are Air, you are also Fire and Water and Earth. You manifest yourself as the universe; there exists nothing other than you. To transform yourself, who are Consciousness-Bliss into the Universal Body, you make yourself the young bride of the Auspicious One (or the Creative Power) of Lord Shiva."
Shat-Chakra-Nirupana (12) expresses the same sentiments thus:-
"Within it reigns dominant Para, the Sri-Parameshvari (the glorious Sovereign of the world), the Awakener of Eternal Knowledge. She is the Omnipotent Kala who is wonderfully skillful to create and is subtler than the subtlest. She is the receptacle of that continuous stream of ambrosia that flows from the Eternal Bliss. By Her radiance it is that the whole of this universe and this Cauldron is illumined."
It is relevant here to reproduce the following few stanzas from the Bhagavad Gita (XIII:12-17, 19-22), describing the Attributeless Brahman or the Supreme Reality of the universe:-
"Constancy in the wisdom of the Self, understanding of the object of essential wisdom; that is declared to be the Wisdom; all against it is ignorance."
"I will declare that which ought to be known, that which being known, immortality is enjoyed-the beginningless supreme Eternal, called neither being nor non-being."
"Everywhere That hath hands and feet; everywhere eyes, heads, mouths, all-hearing, He dwelleth in the world, enveloping all."
"Shining with all sense-faculties without any senses; unattached supporting everything and free from qualities, enjoying qualities;"
"Without and within all beings, immovable and also movable; by reason of His subtlety imperceptible; at hand and far away is That."
"Not divided amid beings, and yet seated distributively; That is to be known as the supporter of beings; He devours and He generates."
"Thus the Field, Wisdom and the Object of Wisdom have been briefly told. My devotee, thus knowing, enters into My Being."
"Know thou that Matter and Spirit are both without beginning; and know thou also that modifications and qualities are all matter born."
"Matter is called the cause of the generation of causes and effects; Spirit is called the cause of the enjoyment of pleasure and pain."
"Spirit seated in Matter useth the qualities born of Matter; attachment to the qualities is the cause of his births in good and evil wombs."
Purusha, the Supreme Lord, in his microcosmic form, is also the embodied soul and, in the same way Prakriti, the substance of the Universe, forms the vehicle of his embodiment. The inference is clear that Kundalini in Her cosmic aspect is the Creatrix and in the individual aspect the organic frame of a human being. The point of greater concentration of Her force is the Muladhara chakra, where She lies in a dormant form, controlling the evolution of every human being and waiting to be aroused by those with an ardent desire for self-awareness. When aroused to activity, She accelerates the otherwise slow process of inner reconstruction to allow the fortunate seeker to achieve the target in one life.
The arousal of Kundalini, from the point of view of the ancient masters, does not, therefore, signify the activation of a mysterious force in the sense in which it is often understood by many present-day teachers and their disciples alike. What, properly speaking, Yoga or any other form of spiritual discipline or the awakening of Kundalini signifies is the undertaking of a daily practice to invoke the Almighty Power of Life, to which we owe our existence and every breath we draw, to lift us up to the level of perception where we are able to cross this Ocean of Illusion to the other Shore of Perennial Peace and Bliss. The same is the purpose of worship, prayer, meditation, surrender, sacrifice and selfless service done in the name of the Lord.
Every spiritual discipline, every kind of worship, every prayer, every form of meditation, every act and every service done, in the name of the Lord, for reward in this life or the Hereafter, is an appeal to the Divine forces of Nature to raise one higher in the spiritual scale, as a prelude to the climax of God-consciousness. It is obvious that the Almighty Intelligence, behind our life and our thought, behind our cleverness or simplicity, can never be duped or deceived, if we try tricks or backdoor methods to win its favor.
It is tragic that, in spite of an unparalleled advance in the knowledge of the material universe, millions of human beings, in our day, lack awareness of the real purpose of spiritual discipline. Whatever method we practice, whatever creed we follow, whatever discipline we undertake, it is only a gracious response from the indwelling Fount of our life that can lead the effort to fruition. The very idea of using magic, art, mantras, shortcuts, secret methods, drugs or mechanical devices to achieve success in the effort to win approach to the Omniscient Lord is an affront to our own intelligence and cannot but recoil in an adverse way. Those who promise speedy golden harvests to the students who follow their special methods, in a sublime quest of this magnitude, betray their own perverse thinking on the sacred subject they profess to teach.
At every step on the path chosen by a seeker, the idea of the Divine should always be kept in mind with utmost devotion and reverence. Some of the modern books on Yoga make spiritual striving a mockery. This is the reason why, in spite of the fact that millions of seekers, all over the earth, practice one method of meditation or the other, the harvest is so poor. The scholars, scientists or those occupied with research on paranormal phenomena, however high their intelligence and however extensive their knowledge, are as incompetent to guide on this path as the unlettered. It is a different province altogether. The intelligence behind creation must be directly experienced first before one can claim any knowledge of the august subject. When the experience is gained, the transformation effected is so remarkable that there is no need for academic adornments to enhance its sterling quality. The bloom of higher faculties spontaneously manifests itself.
In trying to understand Kundalini we must always bear in mind that She is the Cosmic Reservoir of Thought from which we draw our intelligence. Therefore, the least pride evinced about one's purity of conduct, truth or honesty or the least idea that one can circumvent the Plan of Nature by his assiduous application can, at once, become a hurdle in the path. The trickster tricks himself and the deceiver but deceives his own dear self. Incorruptible Justice rewards and punishes the actions of all intelligent life in the universe. We are not able to know because of our extreme limitations in time and space.
"And all-devouring Death am I," says Krishna in the Bhagavad Gita (X:34, 36, 38), "and the origin of all to come; and of feminine qualities, fame, prosperity, speech, memory, intelligence, constancy, forgiveness."
"I am the gambling of the cheat, and the splendor of splendid things I; I am victory, I am determination, and the truth of the truthful I."
"Of rulers I am the sceptre; of those that seek victory I am statesmanship; and of secrets I am also silence; the knowledge of knowers am I."
"I am the gambling of the cheat," is a veiled hint to those who believe that what they design or aim at is hidden from the all-seeing eye of Divinity. The Cosmic Forces counter trick with trick and deceit with deceit of those who believe their cleverness is too subtle for others to detect. Alas, this puny mortal, deluded by his intellect, is never able to reconcile himself to the fact that whatever he thinks, plans or conceives is already known and that an Infinite Intelligence, which controls the movement of every atom in the universe, is calmly watching his every act and thought in the drama it has staged for him to act in.
The various methods of Yoga and the exercises for the awakening of Kundalini have the same meaning that the jerking of arms and legs by an infant has. In the infant the movements denote a preparatory stage, prescribed by nature, for exercising its muscles to develop the body for the task it has to do in later life. Spiritual exercises are designed for a similar purpose in preparing the student for the bloom of his higher faculties.
These methods, exercises and disciplines have been devised by the same intelligence that manifests itself in man and, in the macrocosmic form, rules the universe. The same applies to the wonder-exciting achievements of science. The same intelligence acts the part of a puny human being and is also the Almighty Source from which everything originates. The super-mundane world is entirely beyond the range of our thought. It is only when face to face with the glory and the wonder of this plane of creation that the human intellect, for the first time, finds itself completely dwarfed in comparison.
The chakras represent nerve concentrations, regulating the functions of the various vital organs in the body. The first attempt of an awakened Kundalini is to replace the normal pranic spectrum with a more potent form of it. The nervous system and the organs must be adjusted to the flow of this psychic current of enhanced potency to keep the fflame of expanded consciousness burning in the cortex. The illuminated sage, as also a genius, differs from the normal run of people primarily in the quality of the pranic radiation animating the body and serving as the fuel of thought.
The lotus has been used from time immemorial as a symbol of purity and divinity. For this reason, the chakras are represented as lotuses with a certain definite number of petals in them. The total number of petals is fifty and there is a letter of the Sanskrit alphabet on each petal. This accords with the total number of letters that make up the Sanskrit alphabet. The intriguing diagrams, symbolizing each chakra, have no magical or occult significance. In fact, in true religious striving, directed to win self-awareness or the vision of God, the occult and the magical have no relevance. A childlike nature, simplicity and innocence are the most precious assets one can have to be eligible to Grace.
The pictures of chakras and the lotuses, as also the diagrams used in Tantric worship, have a touch of the occult and the mysterious about them. Pictures, diagrams, images and icons of this kind serve a definite aim. The lure of the supernatural, the occult and the mysterious is deeply embedded in the human psyche and serves a definite evolutionary purpose. The mind is drawn by their intricacy, weirdness or mystery. It broods and reflects on them, over and over again, trying to find a hidden meaning or to uncover the secret lurking behind.
This constant study and contemplation helps to make the mind more receptive to the vibrations from the profoundly mysterious planes of Cosmic Intelligence. But the benefit that could accrue can be negatively offset if the seeker gets lost in the weird or intricate designs of these drawings and diagrams and forgets the real object of his quest. It is not necessary to make any special efforts to arouse the Serpent Power. Whatever spiritual path is followed, if the aim is true and the heart is pure, can help to move Her to benign activity. Yoga, meditation, selfless service, worship or prayer, done with humility and devotion, all ultimately lead to the same end. It is the Super-Intelligent guardian of our organic frame that has to decide our fate, however intense and however methodical our efforts might be. It is our inner Self that has to pass the final judgement on the labor done and to signal release from the prison-house of the body. Everything then falls into place, and even a little effort, done with sincere motives and noble aims, succeeds in winning to the sublime state where the door is opened by Kundalini to golden realms of surpassing Glory and Beatitude.
The sensory equipment of all human beings is the same. The vital organs are the same; the nervous and the blood distribution systems are the same. The neuronic structure of the brain is the same. The alterations in the metabolic activity of the human body, under the stress of disease, fatigue, sorrow, anxiety or fear are the same. The feelings, expressed by sighs and tears in grief or by smiles and laughter in happiness, are the same. What fault in thinking has then led to the assumption that this or that section of the race has been specially favored by Heaven in the faith revealed to it, or that one religion is superior to the others or that the founder of one faith was dearer to the Lord than that of the other?
The notions of superiority or infallibility of one's own faith provide the soil from which bigotry and fanaticism are born. The horrors associated with religion, throughout the past-oppression, forced conversion, persecution, torture, murder, massacre, wars and crusades-have all been the harvest of this unhealthy frame of mind. The reason for it is not hard to find. It is to appease their own ego and pride that the adherents of a creed or the followers of a prophet arrogated to themselves the position of being the chosen of Heaven for the faith that they were asked to profess. he selfish trend in human nature, which excites the desire to excel one's neighbor, is also at the bottom of this impulse to be superior in one's religious convictions. It is sad to see a revival of this dangerous trend in our day. In the nuclear age it can prove a great disaster for the race.
The days of rivalry and contention among the various faiths of mankind are over. So are the days of rivalry and competition among nations. The terrific power placed in the hands of mankind by science makes it imperative that, both in the national and the spiritual fields, the race should be united. Whatever form this unity takes will depend upon the verdict of time. But a broad-based agreement is absolutely necessary to plant mankind on the path to spiritual illumination ordained for her.
But how can this concord be brought about? How can harmony prevail in areas that have provided a battleground for contending political as well as religious forces? How can the people of one nation or of one religion be convinced that, as in the case of their sensory channels, their vital organs, their thoughts and their emotions, that they are one, in the same way that there is one goal for their religious striving and one target for their progressive social and political movements? This target, this goal or this objective is to gain the evolutionary summit for mankind. When this is achieved a superior race, versed in the knowledge of spirit and matter both, will inhabit the earth.
In the light of present-day ideas about religion, what I argue must appear fanciful. But a careful study of the revealed literature of any of the great religions of mankind is more likely to confirm than disprove what I say. If the aim of religious striving, as affirmed in the sacred books of all faiths, is to reach a state of union with or proximity to Divinity, or to gain enlightenment in order to rise above the world of name and form, it clearly implies a transformation in consciousness and a flight to super-earthly regions so high that a normal human mind is incapable of the feat. What all the great Illuminati of the earth have said about the merger of the soul with the Divine in the state of samadhi, ecstasy or mystical trance is literally true. Two of the main points that remain to be answered are: how this state of communion with an intangible Reality is possible and why it is not possible for every human being to have the same illuminative experience.
This is where Kundalini comes in. The religious impulse, embedded deep in human nature and the desire for self-perfection, are not man-created urges or the outcome of certain psychological pressures or repressions, as held by some of the learned of our day. But they both spring from the subconscious to meet the needs of the slow-working organic evolution of the brain still active in the race.
The attraction felt by an adolescent boy or girl for a member of the opposite sex owes its origin to the operation of the reproductive urge in human beings. What ecstasies, what agonies, what adventures, what romance and what thrills flow out of this deep-rooted natural impulse, through all the course of life, we are already familiar with. But we are not still aware that the compulsions, ecstasies, adventures, joys and agonies of religious life are also the products of the same urge, when directed upwards towards the brain.
The reproductive urge is irresistible. Even the most learned and the most powerful eagerly submit to it to become votaries of this shrine. In a similar way, nature has implanted the religious impulse deep in the nature of human beings to become active when the stage of adolescence is gained by a human society during the process of its growth from the primitive state to that of a more elevated community.
The history of civilizations is a gripping story of the dramatic ascent and decline of the evolutionary impulse. We have not been able to locate the real cause for this rise and fall of ancient empires because there is no awareness yet that our brain is still in a process of organic evolution, or that there is a special mechanism in the cerebrospinal system for this activity.
The intellectual leap taken by the race during the last two or three centuries is the harvest of an increased tempo of this, otherwise, slow-moving process. The marvels of technology are a standing tribute to the powers of Kundalini. The intellectual bloom of our day is not our own creation. It is the product of a more evolved cerebral cortex. The evolution of the human brain does not proceed only in the direction of illumination to the exclusion of other faculties and attributes characterizing a more evolved mind. An enhanced intellect is one of these attributes. But, unfortunately, as the result of our preoccupation with only temporal knowledge, to the exclusion of the spiritual, our evolution has become lopsided. The most productive minds of our day, instead of being a harmonious blend of a high intellect, deep spiritual insight and noble traits of character, often show a disproportion and a lack of balance which are at the root of most of the infelicities of our day.
A native simplicity is essential for healthy evolution. The greatest asset of a child, conducive to its healthy mental growth, is its innocence. Some of the great psychologists of our time have depicted the mind of a child in a monstrous color. Most of these analyses reflect the contents of their own subconscious. A new group of socio-biologists is spreading the poison that the hatred of parents is genetically implanted in a child. If this position really exists, it can spell the extinction of the race and a dismal end to Nature's sublime plan of evolution. With widespread awareness among couples, all over the earth, inevitable in the present era of publicity, there would be few, indeed, ready to accept the responsibility of parenthood for offspring, already filled by nature with the venom of hatred towards them.
In actual fact, it is obstruction of any kind, caused in the process of its evolution, which results in the upsurge of revolt in the mind of a growing child. The bad example set by parents, with their own undisciplined lives, too much severity or laxity or other omissions in the upbringing of the child and, thirdly, a deterioration in the seed, as a result of a faulty heredity, are often the causes for the lack of love in a child towards its father or mother or both. The profound depths of the soul, which determine the behavior of human beings, and are said to rest on karma, are still a closed book to the learned. These conclusions will be put to rigid test in the course of our study of the phenomenon of Kundalini.
The fact that the human mind is evolving and that the social and political climate of a country or the behavior of parents can radically affect this evolution does not, at all, form a part of the thinking of the scholars of our day. The result is that, in their haste to provide solutions for the countless problems of the human mind, they are often driven to offer hurriedly thought-out, incorrect or only partly correct explanations in the absence of knowledge of a most important factor, which affects its entire behavior and directs its course of conduct throughout life.
This little detail is sufficient to show what confusion can prevail in the various spheres of human thought if spiritual evolution of the mind is left out of consideration altogether. This is true of religious and secular thinking both. If the human brain is evolving in a certain direction, and this activity demands a coordinated effort on the part of the individual to help in its healthy performance, it means that ignorance of this vital fact can lead to disastrous results in cases of grave departure from the line of conduct to be followed. For this reason, it has now become imperative that the nature of the factor or factors responsible for the religious impulse of human beings, and the purpose which this impulse is aimed to accomplish, in the life of mankind, must be determined to make the race conscious of the duty imposed on her by nature.
The time is past when intelligent folk could believe that the Creator of the Universe incarnated Himself in human form or that His only Son or His Special Envoy was deputed to the people of the earth to apprise them of His existence and make them alert to His Commandments. If such were the case, the Message which each of these specially chosen vessels came to deliver would have been identical. But that is not the case. We can accept these legendary accounts as a figurative rendering of events that led to the appearance of more evolved human beings blessed with higher faculties of the soul.
There is only a slight difference between dogmatic religious beliefs about the founders of different faiths and what I state about the evolutionary target of mankind. From my point of view, all great founders of major faiths were more evolved human beings in tune with Cosmic Consciousness, either perennially or during trance states, and that their Revelations were the product of this communion with Divine Intelligence. The difference is so slight that it need not disturb the mind of even the most staunch believer of a faith.
What I affirm, in all humility, is that Consciousness in its Cosmic aspect is the Almighty Creator of the Universe. God of theistic faiths is a Spirit which, again, means the Soul of the Universe. The founders of the great faiths have all been vehicles for the communication of mandates from this Omnipotent, Omniscient and Omnipresent Divine Intelligence to guide the race. A rational explanation for the birth of religions and the phenomenon of Revelation has become a most urgent need of our time, if spiritual values of the race are to be preserved.
We have seen what fate overtook the clergy in the communist revolution of Russia. We still see every day highly erudite scholars and scientists airing their disbelief in the super-sensible and the Divine. Not a few of the great thinkers, philosophers and scientists of the last two centuries have been agnostics. It would be a grave error to close our eyes to the fact that the highly critical rationalistic trends of our time will continue to gather force unless religious leaders, too, on their part, use the same objective methods to demonstrate the truth of their stand. Otherwise, as is clearly perceptible, it would not be possible for revealed religions to hold their own against the advancing tide of skepticism for long. The only way by which the engulfing flood could be arrested, for a while, is by regression to strict dogma and fanaticism. But such a step is fraught with grave danger in the technological climate of our time.
It is relevant to our theme to note here that the Vedic religion in India has been able to survive the invasions and onslaughts of other faiths for thousands of years because of its spirit of catholicity and tolerance. A happy feature of the Indo-Aryan faith has been a broad-minded allowance for diversity of view about the Super-physical. Spiritual insight and logic were combined to rationalize mystical experience, the seedbed of all major faiths of mankind, and whole systems of metaphysics were evolved out of this combination.
Even disbelief in God was not considered to be a cardinal sin by the learned in India in ancient times. Kapila, the founder of the Sankhya system of philosophy, openly denies the existence of an Almighty Creator and yet in the Bhagavad Gita, written more than 2,000 years ago, Krishna acclaims him as the highest among sages. Similarly Buddha, although known for his negative attitude towards the existence of God, is even now treated as an incarnation of the Deity, and revered as such by orthodox believers in the Vedas. It is not disbelief in God, but repudiation of the teachings of the Vedas or, in other words, of the righteous path, which was considered to be more reprehensible.
Every member of the brilliant galaxy of spiritual luminaries, who rose in India from the Vedic times to our day, gave free expression to his own views and made no attempt to adhere to but one school of metaphysics or but one system of religious thought. They freely criticized each other where their opinions came into conflict about major issues. This fact is clear from the Bhagavad Gita, which tries to synthesize the views of certain divergent schools of thought. ut behind all this clash and conflict of views, there has been one consistent feature and this is that for almost every one, accepted as an authority on spiritual matters, the experience of samadhi or mystical ecstasy was considered a necessary accomplishment.
The preceding lines are intended to show that there can be a divergence of views about God, Soul and the Hereafter, even in one religion, as it is also in the concepts of science. Similarly, there can be a diversity of faiths rising from a common foundation, which is the evolution of the brain. As is the case of other faiths, heroism, sacrifice, renunciation, strict regard for truth, honesty, self-denial and a critical judgement have always been a part of the austere spiritual life in India, generation after generation. The difference has been that every spiritual genius was allowed to have his say. His voice was not smothered even if it was raised against the religious ideas and conventions current in his time.
The result of this broad-minded approach was that one after the other spiritual giants arose in India to act as living witnesses to the ancient traditions and beliefs to confirm the experience of samadhi or mystical trance by their own writings or discourses. This mass of literature is often not available to the western seekers. What they are offered in modern books is a sophisticated version which does not, at all, depict the intellectual battles that have raged for thousands of years in India to gain precise knowledge of the Transcendental world, perceived in the super-sensory stage of every form of Yoga.
Our conception of religion is often very limited. The general belief is that religion is necessary to propitiate God and to win His favor for success and felicity in life. For some, adoration of Divinity merely satisfies a longing of the heart. For others, ostentatious religious practices are a means to win the approbation and esteem of their circle of acquaintances. For the common believer, the supernatural and the miraculous are an inseparable part of faith. A holy man is one who has come nearer to God and can perform miracles, or one who has supernatural powers that he can exercise for the good of others. There are not a few, even among the learned, who believe that a spiritual man has control of occult forces or is in communication with supernatural beings by which he can do and undo things. It is not unoften that seekers find themselves in a state of nervousness or with a fast-beating heart in the presence of a holy man about whose supernatural prowess they have heard from others.
The irony is that, even in the case of his religion or his search for the divine, man is not able to divest himself of his earthly passions or his desires and longings for temporal objectives. The awe which some of them experience in the presence of saints and ascetics is often the creation of their own subconscious fear that the hidden thoughts in their mind might be read or that they might not be able to win the favor they wish for.
Today's well-informed men and women often behave almost in the same way, in the sphere of the occult and the supernatural, as did their ignorant counterparts hundreds and even thousands of years ago. The position has remained nearly unaltered because the real purpose of religion has not been understood. It is astonishing what naive, even puerile beliefs people entertain even in our own time. The light in which the well-known prophets, saints or mystics of the past are regarded has almost always a supernatural tinge in it. The belief that there are hidden or disguised Masters, dwelling in hard-to-reach heights of the Himalayas or in Tibet or in Mexico or in some other fabulous spot is so common that one is amazed at the credulity of the uncritical crowd.
Then there are stories of saints eating only a few grains of rice a day, or drinking only a cup of milk, or eating nothing at all and still surviving by the power of their penance or with the help of supernatural forces invisible to others. There are other stories of flying in the air, walking over water, simultaneous appearance at two or more places, immunity to fire, dematerialization of the body and life spans of hundreds of years, so current that almost everyone hears or reads about them at one time or the other.
The actual life stories of the greatest prophets, mystics and saints, known to history, tells a different tale. Most of them had to face ordeals and bear privations during, at least, a part of their life and sometimes even to the end. Many of them had to suffer persecution at the hands of enemies, rivals or disbelievers; several suffered martyrdom attended by terrible agony. Almost all of them passed away within the normal span of human life, some of them in the grip of intractable diseases that ravaged their bodies at the end.
Ramakrishna passed away at the age of 50 from cancer of the throat. Maharishi Ramana also from cancer at the age of 71. In the year 1924, thieves broke into the latter's ashram. On the second occasion they even landed blows on this holy sage as they found very little of value for them to steal away. Buddha is reported to have expired of dysentery at the age of 81. Shankaracharya passed away at the young age of 33, also of an intestinal disorder. Vivekananda died of heart failure at the young age of 40. He suffered from diabetes from an early age. St. Theresa passed away at the age of 67 and Blake of a prolonged illness at the age of 70.
Muhammad left his body when about 60 years old and St. John of the Cross breathed his last at the age of 49, suffering excruciating agony at the end. St. Paul was about 67 years old when he breathed his last, and St. Augustine passed away at the age of 76 in Hippo, while the town was under siege by the Vandals. Rumi left his body when he was 66 years old, and Suso breathed his last at the age of 71. Christ was crucified at the age of 33. Guru Nanak lived up to the age of 70, and Kabir breathed his last at the age of 78. In the case of other historical saints, mystics and prophets, too, the age span has been within normal limits. Ramanuja, the well-known Vaishnavite saint, is said to have lived up to 120 years but, sometimes, long-lived centenarians even exceed this limit.
Where is then conquest over death or victory over bodily disease? Where are then the fabulous spans of life with which credulous folk credit masters and saints? Where are the miraculous powers that could help their disciples and followers to overcome adversity, ill-health, sudden misfortune, age or decay when none of these exalted souls could overcome his own fate? Where are then the hidden adepts, magicians or knowers of the occult whose strange figures appear on the pages of books written in our time?
We have to remember that there are sensation-mongers, story-tellers, fiction-writers and even pathological liars in the sphere of religion as there are in other spheres of life. All the fabulous tales, exciting narratives and thrilling accounts in the province of the supernatural or the Divine emanate from them. They have done and are doing incalculable harm to the credulous by inducting deceptive ideas into their minds. In actual fact, the vision of the Divine is accessible only to the more sober, more penetrating, more compassionate, more truthful and more humble mind. There is nothing in the territory of the Lord that can, in the least, cause confusion and chaos in the laws, organic and inorganic both, that rule the destiny of humankind.
Faith cures and psychic phenomena have been in evidence for the past thousands of years. They have been a known feature of primitive societies also. But their occurrence is ruled by laws as rigid as the laws that govern the happenings in the material universe. Psychic faculties are a part and parcel of the evolutionary transformation of the human mind. The pranic spectrum that irradiates the brain on the arousal of Kundalini is the real repository of these uncanny gifts.
But the aim of evolution and the awakening of the Serpent Power is to create an illuminated state of consciousness. It is only by this illumination that the soul is set free from the trammels of the senses. Otherwise, it continues to be a captive even if endowed with extrasensory perception or other psychic talents. Genius and psychic faculties are the natural adornment of the higher dimension of consciousness for the human race. But they do not mark the end of man's quest to gain awareness about himself.
Religious genius has often been attended by literary talents and, sometimes, by psychic gifts too. Most of the great mystics, prophets and sages have been talented writers or speakers and, some of them, in possession of psychic or healing gifts. But these psychic or healing gifts are of the same kind displayed by mediums, faith healers and sensitives of our time.
It is possible that the fabulous powers, ascribed to some mystics and saints, are, in fact, highly colored exaggerations of minor performances involving clairvoyance, healing, precognition or psychokinesis, etc. The legends and stories, past and present, related by uncritical observers or by disciples are, in most cases, wishful creations of credulous minds or of those whose aim is to trade on the credulity of the religious-minded people.
In the ancient authoritative works on Kundalini, the concurrent attainment of illumination, genius and paranormal gifts is repeatedly mentioned. Here are a few of the verses from Shat-Chakra-Nirupana which confirm this position:-
"By meditating thus on Her who shines within the Mula-Chakra, with the luster of ten million suns, a man becomes Lord of speech and King among men, and an Adept in all kinds of learning. He becomes ever free from all diseases and his inmost Spirit becomes full of great gladness. Pure of disposition by his deep and musical words, he serves the foremost of the Devas." (13)
"He who meditates upon this stainless Lotus, which is named Svadhisthana, is freed immediately from all his enemies, such as the fault of Ahamkara (egoism) and so forth. He becomes a Lord among Yogis and is like the Sun illuminating the dense darkness of ignorance. The wealth of his nectar-like words flows in prose and verse in well-reasoned discourse." (18)
"Foremost among yogis, he ever is dearer than the dearest to women. He is preeminently wise and full of noble deeds. His senses are completely under control. His mind in its intense concentration is engrossed in thoughts of the Brahman. His inspired speech flows like a stream of (clear) water. He is like the Devata who is the beloved of Lakshmi and he is able at will to enter another's body." (27)
"He who has attained complete knowledge of the Atma (Brahman) becomes, by constantly concentrating his mind (Citta) on this Lotus, a great Sage, eloquent and wise and enjoys uninterrupted peace of mind. He sees the three periods (present, past and future) and becomes the benefactor of all, free from disease and sorrow and long-lived, and, like Hamsa, the destroyer of endless dangers." (31)
"The excellent Sadhaka, whose Atma is nothing but a meditation on this Lotus, is able quickly to enter another's body at will, and becomes the most excellent among Munis, and all-knowing and all-seeing. He becomes the benefactor of all, and versed in all the Shastras. He realizes his unity with the Brah-man and acquires excellent and unknown powers. Full of fame and long-lived, he ever becomes the Creator, Destroyer and Preserver of the three worlds." (34)
Although the mode of expression is figurative, the purport is clear. The aspirant, blessed by Kundalini, gains a state of eminence among his contemporaries by virtue of the extraordinary gifts and prophetic vision gained as the result of inner illumination. Saundarya Lahari corroborates this view in the following verses:-
"O! Mother, He who meditates on you, accompanied by your attendant powers, like Vasini and others, the creatrices of good words, beautiful like moon-gems, becomes the creator of great works of art, using expressions fragrant like the lotus-face of the Goddess of learning, resembling those of the great ones." (17)
"O! Chaste One. O! Ideal of pure womanhood. Many poets attain the Goddess of learning, the consort of the Creator; through various types of riches, many become lords of the Goddess of prosperity: but the contact of your breasts is available to none other than the Great God—not even to the Kuravaka tree." (96)
"O! Queen of the Supreme God, the learned ones have deemed you as the Goddess of learning, wife of the Creator, as the Goddess of riches, wife of the protector, as the daughter of the Mountain, the partner of the Destroyer. But you as a mysterious, illusory, fourth Power with inaccessible, infinite greatness dazzle the universe." (97)
The following verses from Panchastavi are equally emphatic on this issue:
"O Saraswati (Kundalini as the Goddess of learning), verily there pours out from the mouths of those devotees who contemplate Thy entrancing resplendence, spotless like unto a bunch of white lotuses, irradiating the brain and dwelling in the forehead, akin to a stream of ambrosia, an uninterrupted forceful flow of words, clear and full of deep meaning, like the milky and wavy luster of the river of Gods (the Ganges)." (I:8)
"O Daughter of the Himalayas (spotless like snow): The devotee who, with a pure heart, meditates on Thy stainless glory, like a cluster of moonbeams, O Beauteous One, Thou dost soon bless him with unlimited power of faultless expression (genius) in a matter of days." (II:19)
"O Bhawani: those devotees who see Thee clearly, like the crescent of the moon, shining in the forehead, lighting from its depths the sky of mind, those wise men soon become seers and Thou grantest all desires to these discerning souls full of faith." (II:21)
"Only a few, taking refuge in the dust of Thy lotus feet, became great poets, pure in heart, of great wisdom and noble deeds and won to fame which resounded in the three worlds, stainless like the moon, silk, milk or snow." (II:26)
The performances of some well-known mediums, investigated by the Society for Psychical Research, are so amazing that a saint credited with the same powers would draw crowds of followers from far and near. In the case of the Illuminati, possession of psychic faculties is an encumbrance rather than a blessing, as compared to the glory and the bliss of the new world of awareness open to them. Mediumistic gifts are not, as a rule, amenable to the control of the owner. The possessor is more often a slave than a master of the powers inherited or gained.
The investigation directed to unravel this mystery, far from elucidating it, has made the riddle of the paranormal even more unanswerable. The reason for it is not hard to locate. The enthusiastic researchers, confident of their own scholarship and blessed with a penetrating intellect, set themselves upon the task with the conviction that the invisible psychic forces, behind these bizarre occurrences, must one day yield their secrets to the efforts of man.
Shut out perennially from the world of mind, these honest savants have no idea of the stupendous nature of intelligent, elemental forces that fill the universe. They never realize that their efforts to understand the nature of these intelligent elements, in order to gain mastery over them, can meet with an ironical response from that side. For these Cosmic intelligent forces can be far more clever and intelligent than man can ever be. It can be that the freak performances and erratic phenomena they witness are designed to mystify the investigators even more without permitting a single insight into the deeper secrets of the manifestations.
One can imagine the derisive smiles of these mighty intelligences at the bewilderment of the mortals and the laughing stock the latter make of themselves by their own overconfidence in an instrument of perception, namely their intellect, which is as ineffective in the astral world as the sharpest mortal eyes are ineffective in the pitch darkness of a trackless wood at night.
The possibilities inherent in Kundalini are unlimited. Its implications in respect of every sphere of human life are enormous. What the seekers often believe to be a power that they can activate for their own spiritual or material benefits is the Power that rules the universe, the Infinite Intelligence of which we are but a tiny speck. Once the existence of an organic evolutionary mechanism in human beings is confirmed, Kundalini will assume an importance that is unimaginable at present. It will decisively influence every field of human activity and thought. The whole atmosphere of the earth will be saturated with the idea that man is a pilgrim on the way to the Shrine of God-Consciousness.
We cannot even imagine, at present, the state of mind of the multitudes, inhabiting the earth, when it becomes widely known that the goals and ideals of religion are already structured in the human brain. We cannot properly envision now how human beings will think and act when it is confirmed by science that our brain is slowly inching its way towards a sublime state of cognition, irrespective of our will and choice. We can only dimly foresee how it will affect human behavior when it is established that every thought we think and every deed we do has a direct impact on this evolution and that we transmit to our offspring the harvest of our acts, measured in terms of our evolutionary climb.
The children, too, on whom our future depends, will be alive to this truth from an early age. The result can be electrifying. There is no influence and no method of upbringing that can act so well in inculcating the desire for an ideal life, in the plastic minds of children, as the idea of a romantic adventure needing courage, devotion, honesty, truth, love, compassion, patience and perseverance, of which the object is entry into a golden world of eternal life.
The inherent liking for fairy tales, stories of high adventure and exploits of superordinary heroes, in children, is a clear sign pointing to the real purpose of human life. A child delights in narratives of superhuman adventure as it has to attain that stature one day. Fairy tales, mythologies and folklore have all been the outcome of the subconscious desire in the mind of primitive man to gain supernormal powers and to live in worlds of freedom, released from the fetters that bind the soul to the earth.
The practice of reading the Bible, the Bhagavad Gita, the Koran, the Dhammapada and other revealed scriptures, in the morning, with the family gathered together to listen to the words, had a profound significance. The discontinuance of this custom has not resulted in a wholesome change. The target of evolution, the spiritual order behind the universe and the need for self-discipline to reach that target must always occupy a place in the mind of man. The reading of holy books fulfilled this need to a great extent, instilling noble ideals in the minds of the young and strengthening those in the minds of the old.
The reason why the revealed faiths of mankind received a setback at the rise of science is because dogma is an enemy of progress, whether spiritual or material. It is a serious stumbling block in the path of evolution. Like other forms of genius, spiritual prodigies are needed from time to time to open new horizons, set up new ideals, prescribe better ways of life and provide fresh accounts of the transcendental world.
It has to be remembered that, like the intellect, supernal vision has to grow stage by stage to learn more and more of the unbounded universe of mind. I do not believe it is rational to suppose that any prophet, mystic or enlightened sage, who rose in the past, could master all the knowledge of the cosmos or even that part of it pertaining to the soul of man. It is inconceivable how such an idea can be entertained by an intelligent mind.
The amazing world of knowledge, gathered in our time by science, was not known to any spiritual genius of the past. The conclusion is, therefore, unavoidable that they had no foreknowledge of the stature mankind would win by empirical study of and control over the elemental forces of nature. If they had no prescience of this fact, how can we assume that their knowledge of the even more unbounded and complex world of Spirit was final and all-comprehensive? The present spiritual stagnation of mankind is the outcome of this error.
By restricting the frontiers of our spiritual knowledge to the ideas expressed by one great spiritual luminary, the way to progress is irreversibly blocked. A religious community is thus forced to vegetate, unable to surmount the obstruction, with the resultant atrophy of the inherent spiritual faculties. This error can only be rectified with the experiments done on Kundalini, for it will show that spiritual illumination is as much the result of an enhanced organic activity of the brain as the power of abstract reasoning in human beings.
In the coming eras, with the knowledge gained of the evolutionary mechanism, sage after sage and messiah after messiah would arise, gaining in stature and in their insight of the spiritual world until the limit to which the brain can grow is reached. By that time, in all probability the whole race will have been firmly planted on the path to Cosmic Consciousness.
Confirmation of the organic facet of our evolution is absolutely necessary for unanimity of opinions on the subject. Without some kind of physiological change in the brain, a transhuman dimension is not possible in the same way as the intellectual flights of a great mind are not possible in the stunted brain of a cretin. It has been a great error throughout the past to believe that one could experience the Super-sensible levels of creation with the same brain with which one attends to the observation of the physical world.
How the shift from one plane of existence, which needs our sensory equipment for its exploration, to another, which has all along been held to be beyond the reach of the senses and the intellect, can be possible, no one has cared to investigate. It never has been possible and never will be possible to the end of time. The great messiahs, mystics and sages who had the experience had, one and all, a more evolved organ of thought. They provide weighty evidence to show that the human brain has been and still is in a state of organic growth.
This lack of knowledge, even among mystics, about the fact that the organic structure of the brain is involved in any act of supersensory cognition is clear from the following lines of Rudolf Steiner:
"The truth is that there is no scientific finding which contradicts spiritual findings. Nevertheless, it is easy to believe that this or that scientific judgement conflicts with the accounts of the higher worlds, if the scientific results are not taken into account comprehensively and without prejudice. It will be found that the more unprejudicedly spiritual science is compared with the positive achievements of science, the better their full agreement can be recognized. Some other statements of spiritual science, however, will not really lend themselves simply to the intellect's judgement. But he who realizes that not only the intellect but also healthy feeling can be a judge of truth will, without difficulty, acquire a proper relationship to these statements as well."3
To say that not only the intellect, but also healthy feeling can be a judge of truth cannot help to resolve the conflict existing, at present, between religion and science. If the world is made to believe the feeling of every hierophant about his experience of the super-mundane worlds, there would be no possibility of arriving at a common measure or model according to which the authenticity of one experience, as compared to the other, can be judged without error. For instance, Steiner's own descriptions of his experience do not tally with those of Sweden-borg. As a sample, let us cite Steiner's description of the Tantric chakras. According to him, with the development of soul and its organisms, a student, on the way to clairvoyance, perceives a structure standing out on his body. In his own words:
"It extends from the center of the head to the middle of the physical body, and appears as a kind of independent body possessing certain organs. These organs, now to be considered, are apparent to the clairvoyant near the following parts of the physical body: the first between the eyes; the second near the larynx; the third in the region of the heart; the fourth in the so-called pit of the stomach; the fifth and sixth are situated in the abdomen. These organs are technically known as wheels, chakras or lotus flowers."
Steiner remarks further that as the student continues his disciplines these lotus flowers grow brighter and later begin to revolve. At this time the capacity for clairvoyance begins. These chakras are the "sense organs of the soul." The lotus flower at the larynx enables the student to perceive the thoughts and mentality of other beings and to gain deeper insight into the laws of natural phenomena clairvoyantly. The organ at the heart perceives the sentiments and dispositions of others. Each flower has a different number of petals and the one at the heart has twelve. In a distant past, half of the petals of each flower were developed and it now remains for the student to cultivate those remaining by performing certain disciplines set out by Steiner.
The perceptions of each spiritual organ, he adds, bear a different character. The sixteen-petalled lotus transmits thoughts and the mentality of other beings as figures, mobile forms filled with life. On the other hand, the twelve-petalled lotus perceives something which can be likened to the sensations of cold and warmth. It is obvious that these descriptions are based on the Tantric conceptions of the various chakras. But there are great variations between what Steiner claims and what is stated by the ancient masters about the siddhis (psychic powers) gained with the arousal of the Serpent Power, and its ascent from one chakra to the other.
This is not all. There are marked differences between the views of the ancient writers among themselves not only in respect of the paranormal powers gained or the states of mind achieved, but also about the number of chakras and their locations. In these circumstances, how can the world determine which of the accounts is correct and which fictitious? Also, how can it be confirmed that the experience is real and not a vivid dreamlike presentation of the ideas already present in the subconscious?
Let us now compare the description of Rudolf Steiner with what Emanuel Swedenborg has related. The latter's own account of his illumination to his friend, Robsahm, as far as it goes, is very characteristic. He reports that God appeared to him. "I am God the Lord, the Creator and Redeemer of the World. I have chosen thee to unfold the spiritual sense of the Holy Scriptures. I will myself dictate to thee what thou shalt write." Swedenborg continues:
"Those whose thoughts are confined to natural things cannot understand that there is a light in heaven; yet in the heavens the light is so great that it exceeds by many degrees the noonday light of the world. I have often seen it in the time of evening and night. At first I wondered, when I heard the angels say that the light of the world is little better than shade in comparison with the light of heaven; but now that I have seen it, I can bear witness that it is so. The brightness and splendor surpass all description. Everything that I have seen in the heavens I have seen in that light, and therefore more clearly and distinctly than things in this world."
At another place he adds:
"I have sometimes been brought into the state of mind in which the angels are, and in that state I have spoken with them; and then I understood every word; but when I was brought back to my former state, and thus into the natural thought proper to man, and wished to recollect what I had heard, I could not; for there were thousands of things not adapted to the ideas of natural thought, and therefore inexpressible except by variegations of heavenly light, and not at all by human words." 4
In spite of the sometimes unrealistic nature of his assumptions, I feel certain that Rudolf Steiner was blessed with an active Kundalini. I am citing him at some length to show how necessary it is to make mystical experience a subject of exhaustive study to lay down guidelines for those, who have this transporting state of mind, by which they can evaluate their own ecstasies. Kundalini creates a revolution in the brain to an extent that the individual often loses contact with reality. He must have the sobering touch of the experiences of others, acclaimed to be Masters, to moderate his exuberance and to correct his errors. This is necessary to help him cross the borderline safely to reach perennial supernal wisdom and correct knowledge of the Transcendental World. Describing the mental state of one on the Path to Higher Knowledge Steiner writes:-
"He will grow calmer, he will attain firm assurance in all his actions, and will cease to be put out of countenance by all manner of incidents. By thus advancing he will gradually become more and more his own guide, and will allow himself less and less to be led by circumstances and external influences. He will soon discover how great a source of strength is available to him in these moments thus set apart. He will begin no longer to get angry at things which formerly angered him; countless things which he formerly feared cease to alarm him; he acquires a new outlook on life."
He adds further:
"He must pass on the contemplation of those things which would concern him, if he lived under quite different circumstances, and in a quite different situation. In this way something begins to live within him which ranges above the purely personal. His gaze is directed to higher worlds than those with which everyday life connects him. And thus he begins to feel and realize, as an inner experience, that he belongs to those higher worlds. . . ."
"He begins to deal with thoughts as with things in space, and the moment approaches when he begins to feel that which reveals itself in the silent inward thought activity to be much higher, much more real than the things in space. He discovers that something living expresses itself in this thought world. He sees that his thoughts do not merely harbor shadow pictures, but that through them hidden beings speak to him. Out of the quiet something begins to speak to him."
At another place he writes:-
"When he practices listening without criticism, even when a completely contradictory opinion is advanced, when the most 'hopeless mistake' is committed before him, then he learns, little by little, to blend himself with the being of another and become identified with it. Then he hears through words into the soul of the other."
In the case of Swedenborg, the influence of Kundalini is clearly discernible in the description of the transport experienced by him. He writes:-
"I perceived . . . that the joy and delight came as from the heart, diffusing themselves very gently through all the inmost fibres, and thence into the bundles of fibres, with such an inmost sense of enjoyment, that every fibre was, as it were, nothing but joy and delight, and everything capable of perception and sensation seemed in like manner to be alive with happiness. Compared with these joys, bodily pleasure is as a thick pungent fog compared with a pure and most gentle atmosphere."
The influence of Kundalini is obvious from the brightness and splendor perceived by Swedenborg in his visions. The arousal of Kunda-lini does not mean that the experience should lead to the climax at the same time or that the rapture experienced and the mental elevation brought about should be the same. The supersensory channel of cognition, opened up with the activity of Kundalini, will take ages to reach the stage of perfection and maturity decreed for it by Heaven. This will also depend, to some extent, on the efforts of man himself. For a rational assessment of the position, it is sufficient to bear in mind that illumination, mystical experience, mediumistic gifts and genius, to become possible, involve an organic change in the brain. This change is not a direct product of one's own effort, but the harvest of an evolutionary transformation occurring in the brain.
The fact that there are variations in the accounts of the experience, left by mystics, or that there are contradictions and conflicts in the revealed scriptures of the various faiths is thus easily explainable. Higher Consciousness is still a fledgling super-sense in man. Hence, observations made through it at a primary stage could be neither precise nor uniform nor final, as those who had these experiences, in most cases, did not even know the real nature of the gift that brought an amazing resplendent World of Being before their newly opened inner eye.
The same has been the case with intellect in the earlier stages and, to some degree, is the case even now. The great diversity in the culture, beliefs, customs, habits, mythology, art, rituals and the ideas about the other world of primitive societies had their roots in this nebulosity of the slowly growing intellect. The difference in the lifestyles, beliefs, philosophical systems, culture and habits of our day, as compared to the people of the Stone Age or the predynastic culture in Egypt, is also due to the same reason. To what, at present, unimaginable heights of intellectual and spiritual knowledge mankind would attain in the course of the next few thousand years, it is not possible to envision at this time.
The overwhelming impact of the stronger pranic radiation on the brain often has a stunning effect on the mind. The one who has the experience has no conception that such a Heavenly state of existence could ever be possible. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at if, in the intoxication of this soul-ravishing experience, those who had it were led to believe that they were the chosen of God or that they had won to a superhuman stature that invested them with a power and dignity not accessible to the ordinary run of human beings. With the attendant gifts of genius and psychic faculties many of them were able to attract crowds of followers and to win homage and respect of their contemporaries that persisted for long periods of time.
As narrated in my autobiography5, overpowered by the wonder of the visions, I, too, experienced once the same intoxication and the same delusive ideas about my own Messianic role in life. But the thought of my family obligations, and the buffets I received from Fate to adapt my body to the new vision I had gained, humbled my pride to dust and made me continue the normal tenor of my life, trusting in Heaven to guide me on the Path. For this reason, I believe, a constant study and ceaseless experimentation on the phenomenon is necessary to gather every bit of authentic information about this supremely important activity of the human brain. I am firmly convinced that the life, safety, survival, peace, progress and happiness of the race, both now and in the future, depend on this experimentation and the results that will flow therefrom.
I say this because, at this time, the learned world is in a state of confusion about the purpose of human life. The issue whether consciousness or inanimate matter is the basal substance of the universe is still a moot subject among the learned. The religious-minded, on the other side, are no less divided among themselves. In this conflict and clash of views, both in the temporal and spiritual areas pertaining to life, humanity blunders on completely unaware of her destiny. If evolution is a fact and the human brain is inexorably undergoing a change, which can have a momentous effect on the life of man, it is high time that all the aspects of this transformation should be studied to know its day-to-day impact on the life of human beings.
Man is no longer a creature bound by his instincts. He has a will and a choice of his own. It can be that in the exercise of his will and choice he might be, at times, acting in a way hostile to the irresistible changes occurring in the brain. What can be the outcome of such a conflict at the present level of human intellect? We have not to go far to know about it. The present explosive condition of the world provides a graphic picture of the consequences of this conflict. The racial mind, obstructed in its evolutionary career, has now created, on a collective basis, a world situation in which the very existence of humanity is at stake.
The ways of nature are simple. Only because of our own problem-creating intellect we often ascribe complexity to a phenomenon that has a simple explanation. The source behind the evolution of the brain is the reproductive system. The same organic device which serves for generation acts for evolution also. The reproductive apparatus has its own set of nerves which integrate with the entire nervous system of the body. There is no doubt that a direct link exists between the brain and the reproductive organs. On the arousal of Kundalini this connection becomes clearly perceptible. An intensely rapturous sensation, starting from the pudenda, rises up through the spinal cord and terminates in the brain, where it becomes so exquisite that one may even swoon in ecstasy.
Attended by this transporting feeling, there is a distinct perception of a fluidic essence pouring into the brain along with a streaming radiance, also rising through the spinal cord. It is this fluidic essence which is repeatedly mentioned, in the Tantras and the works on Kundalini, as the Ambrosia that drenches the brain on the union of Shakti with Shiva. In fact, since the intensely pleasurable sensation experienced can only be compared to the rapture of an orgasm, its symbolic expression as the union between Shiva and His Spouse is easily understandable. This indescribable rapture is an inalienable feature of true mystical ecstasy. Those who have visionary experiences, brought about by the practice of Yoga or any other spiritual discipline, should keep this fact in mind when evaluating their own experience.
The prudes who feel shocked or disturbed at the thought that mystical experience should have anything to do with what is sensuous or who treat the creative act as a profanation of the Divine should better reexamine their hearts. Love between the sexes and the rapture of the union between them are the greatest gifts of Heaven to man. Without these priceless gifts the earth would still be a haunt of savages and man a brute, devoid of all romance, refinement and love. Life would be a boring round of laborious tasks and would have nothing to offer to charm and captivate the heart of man. The love that makes a beloved the dearest object in the world, when directed upward to rejuvenate the brain, creates that intense longing for Divine encounter which has been a prominent feature of mystical life.
It is this upward flow of an ambrosial essence into the brain that has been the source of all the eloquence, personal magnetism, psychic faculties or the healing touch displayed by great Illuminati of the past and present. The secret of this reverse activity of the generative organs was known to the sages and occultists in prehistoric times. It was definitely known to the Egyptians. The marvelous constructions raised, and the advanced knowledge gained by them were the harvest of this secret tradition. The portraits of the erect phallus or of the phallus and the female organ of generation combined, dating back to prehistoric times, and found in many places on the earth, are symbolic depictions of this altered activity of the cerebrospinal system.
Mankind cannot continue to exist without procreation. It cannot continue to exist without evolution also. The Plan of Nature is binding for the race. By no means whatsoever can man escape his Fate or change the direction of his life, as ordained by Heaven. The vicissitudes of history and the rise and fall of nations have been the outcome of the operation of this Law. With one momentous discovery in the domain of mind, comparable to the great discoveries made in the domain of matter, the whole thinking and planning of mankind can change. The mystery of Kundalini, when explored with the methods known to science, can provide the groundwork for a monumental insight into the mind that can dwarf all other discoveries made in recent times.
To assume that man will continue to be the same frail creature for all time to come, swayed by passions, gripped by lusts and lured by temptations, always under the relentless sway of death and decay, is to draw a conclusion too gloomy to contemplate. It would amount to prescribing perpetual internment for the soul with no hope of release to the last day-a most dreary prospect for an intelligent form of life.
What does it avail if this ambitious creature by dint of sweating labor rises for a while to the pinnacle of fame, wealth or power? The end comes soon when relentless age wrests them all out of his trembling hands, and a shaky wreck, who once stamped and stormed in the intoxication of his youth, furtively counts the months and years while awaiting, in suspense, the approach of Death. What victory, what treasure, what fame, what pleasure and what summit of power can then compare to the glorious achievement of one whose liberated soul gains awareness of its Sovereignty and Eternal Life?
April 13, 1979
1. Agere, Doris, Edgar Cayce on ESP, Warners Books, Inc, New York, NY.
2. Woodroffe, Sir John, The Serpent Power, Ganesh and Company, Madras 1964.
3. Steiner, Rudolf, Knowledge of the Higher Worlds and Its Attainment, Rudolf Steiner Press, London, 1963.
4. Swedenborg, Emanuel, Heaven and Hell, E.P. Dutton, New York, 1920.
5. Krishna, Gopi, Kundalini—The Evolutionary Energy in Man, Stuart and Watkins, London, 1967.
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