What then happens in the accomplishment of Kundalini Yoga?
This static Shakti is affected by Pranayama and other Yogic processes and becomes dynamic. Thus, when dynamic, that is when Kundalini unites with Siva in the Sahasrara, the polarisation of the body gives way. The two poles are united in one and there is the state of consciousness called Samadhi. The polarisation, of course, takes place in consciousness. The body actually continues to exist as an object of observation to others. It continues its organic life. But man’s consciousness of his body and all other objects is withdrawn because the mind has ceased so far as his consciousness is concerned, the function having been withdrawn into its ground which is consciousness.
How is the body sustained?
In the first place, though Kundalini Sakti is the static centre of the whole body as a complete conscious organism, yet each of the parts of the body and their constituent cells have their own static centres which uphold such parts or cells. Next, the theory of the Yogins themselves is that Kundalini ascends and that the body, as a complete organism, is maintained by the nectar which flows from the union of Siva and Sakti in the Sahasrara. This nectar is an ejection of power generated by their union.
The potential Kundalini Sakti becomes only partly and not wholly converted into kinetic Sakti; and yet since Sakti—even as given in the Muladhara—is an infinitude, it is not depleted; the potential store always remains unexhausted. In this case, the dynamic equivalent is a partial conversion of one mode of energy into another.
If, however, the coiled power at the Muladhara became absolutely uncoiled, there would result the dissolution of the three bodies—gross, subtle and causal, and consequently, Videha-Mukti, bodiless Liberation—because the static background in relation to a particular form of existence would, according to this hypothesis, have wholly given way.
The body becomes cold as a corpse as the Sakti leaves it, not due to the depletion or privation of the static power at the Muladhara but to the concentration or convergence of the dynamic power ordinarily diffused over the whole body, so that the dynamic equivalent which is set up against the static background of Kundalini Sakti is only the diffused fivefold Prana gathered home—withdrawn from the other tissues of the body and concentrated along the axis.
The whole diffused dynamic power (or Prana) of the body by withdrawing it from the tissues and converging it along the line of the axis. In this way, the diffused dynamic equivalent becomes the converged dynamic equivalent along the axis. What, according to this view, ascends is not the whole Sakti but an eject like condensed lightning, which at length reaches the Parama-Sivasthana. There the Central Power which upholds the individual world-Consciousness is merged in the Supreme Consciousness. When Kundalini Sakti sleeps in the Muladhara, man is awake to the world; when she awakes to unite, and does unite, with the supreme static Consciousness which is Siva, then consciousness is asleep to the world and is one with the Light of all things.
The main principle is that when awakened, Kundalini Sakti, either Herself or Her eject, ceases to be a static Power which sustains the world-consciousness, the content of which is held only so long as She sleeps; and when once set in movement is drawn to that other static centre in the Thousand-petalled Lotus (Sahasrara) which is Herself in union with the Siva-consciousness or the consciousness of ecstasy beyond the world of form. When Kundalini sleeps, man is awake to this world. When She wakes, he sleeps—that is, loses all consciousness of the world and enters his causal body. In Yoga, he passes beyond to formless Consciousness.
The Awakening Of Kundalini :
But there are various forms of spiritual discipline by which this magazine of latent power can be acted upon. Faith and love act as a most powerful lever to raise the coiled up Kundalini; also the disciplines of Raja-yoga and jnana-yoga (yoga of knowledge). The repetition of the Lord’s name or a holy mantra, and even music, help in this process. Tantra recognises all this. The student of Tantra should bear in mind the psychological aspect of the process of the ascent of the Kundalini, which is more of an unfoldment, expansion, and elevation of consciousness than a mechanical accession to an increased and higher power. The aim of waking the Kundalini is not the acquisition of greater power for the purpose of performing miraculous feats or the enjoyment of material pleasures; it is the realisation of Satchidananda (existence-knowledge-bliss absolute).
According to Tantra, the Kundalini, in the form of cosmic energy, is present in everything, even in a particle of matter. Only a fraction of it, like the kinetic energy, is operative, while an unmeasured residuum is left, like the potential energy, ‘coiled up’ and untapped at the ‘base root’. It is a vast magazine of power, of which the operative energy, like the kinetic energy of the particle, is only a fraction. In the jiva-centre, also, are both this potential energy of the Kundalini, which is the storehouse of the energy of the body (physical, subtle, and causal), and also the active energy of the jiva.
Modern research demonstrates the close affinity of the Tantra system of religious philosophy to the Ved; Tantra itself speaks of its Vedic origin…… The Tantric method of sublimation consists of three steps: purification, elevation, and reaffirmation of identity on the plane of pure consciousness. First the aspirant must rid himself of the dross of grossness by reversing the outgoing current into the return current. (Outgoing current operates as a bond for the embodied soul and the return current as ‘releaser’ or ‘liberator’).
The head of this coiled serpent is turned downward; it must be turned upward. This change of the direction of the serpent power, which after evolving the jiva remains involved in it, is called purification. The next step is called elevation; the order in which the cosmic principles move along the outgoing current must be reversed with the starting of the return current. Ascent is to be made in the reverse order to that in which the descent was made. The aspirant must raise himself from the grosser and more limited elements to the subtler and more general ones until he attains to the realisation of Siva-Shakti (Spirit-Matter). The last step is the reaffirmation in consciousness of his identity with Siva-Shakti
The passage of the awakened Kundalini lies through the Sushumna, which is described as the central nerve in the nervous system. A kind of hollow canal, the Sushumna passes through the spinal column connecting the base centre (chakra) at the bottom of the spine with the centre at the cerebrum. Tantra speaks of six centres through which Sushumna passes; these centres are so many spheres or planes, described in Tantra as different-coloured lotuses with varying numbers of petals. In the ordinary worldly person these centres are closed, and the lotuses droop down like buds.
As the Kundalini rises through the Sushumna canal and touches the centres, these buds turn upwards as fully opened flowers and the aspirant obtains spiritual experiences. The goal in spiritual practice is to make the Kundalini ascend from the centres which are lower and more veiled to those which are higher and more conscious. During this upward journey of the Kundalini, the jiva is not quite released from the relative state till it reaches the sixth centre or plane, which is the ‘opening’ for pure and perfect experience. At the sixth centre (the two-petalled white lotus located at the junction of the eyebrows) the jiva sheds its ego and burns the seed of duality, and its higher self rises from the ashes of its lower self. It now dies physically as it were, in order to be able to live in pure consciousness.
The sixth centre is the key by which the power in the thousand-petalled lotus in the cerebrum, which is like the limitless ocean, is switched on to the little reservoir which is the individual self, filling the latter and making it overflow and cease to be the little reservoir. Finally the Kundalini rises to the lotus at the cerebrum and becomes united with Siva, or the Absolute, and the aspirant realises, in a transcendental experience, his union with Siva-Shakti. The opening of the petals of the thousand-petalled lotus, which endows the illumined person with omniscience, is equivalent to the functioning of all the brain cells of a yogi in samadhi (deep meditation).
Fixing their minds on psychic centres such as the Sahasrara (the thousand petalled lotus Chakra), yogis remain any lengths of time without awareness of their bodies. As long as this state continues, they appear to be immersed in some kind of joy. But when the mind, which has become tranquil emerges and becomes active again it resumes its worldly thoughts. It is therefore necessary to train it with the help of practices like Dhyana (meditation) whenever it becomes externalised. It will then attain a state in which there is neither subsistence nor emergence.
If one concentrates on the Sahasrara there is no doubt that the ecstasy of Samadhi ensues. The Vasanas, that is the latent mental tendencies, are not however destroyed. The yogi is therefore bound to wake up from the Samadhi because release from bondage has not yet been accomplished. He must still try to eradicate the Vasanas inherent in him so that they cease to disturb the peace of his Samadhi. So he passes down from the Sahasrara to the Heart through what is called the Jivanadi, which is only a continuation of the Sushumna. The Sushumna is thus a curve. It starts from the lowest Chakra, rises through the spinal cord to the brain and from there bends down and ends in the Heart. When the yogi has reached the Heart, the Samadhi becomes permanent. Thus we see that the Heart is the final centre.
Sri Ramana Maharshi said that even if the Kundalini reached the Sahsrara it would not result in realisation. For final realisation, he said, the Kundalini must go beyond the Sahasrara, down another Nadi (psychic nerve) he called Amritanadi (also called the Paranadi or Jivanadi) and into the Heart-centre on the right hand side of the chest.