Kundalini Awakening: A Gift to Tantra
Tantra is a gift to Yoga, and Kundalini is a gift to Tantra!
Kundalini is considered the "cradle of consciousness" and is said to correspond to the pituitary gland that regulates body functions and is the body's grand controller of most other hormone-secreting glands.
Immediately below the Crown Chakra (Sahasrara or point of supreme consciousness), there is another psychic center - "the third eye" or Ajna Chakra. This is the seat of intuitive knowledge and lies between the eyebrows. Pay no attention to its location because, in spite of its location, it is the bridge between the Sahasrara and the Mooladhara. This is effected through the Sushumna Nadi which also needs to be awakened/purified through asanas and pranayama (breath control).
Having described these "centers" on a physical level, it should be clear that Kundalini Yoga is not abstract. The physical body is the foundation of everything that is sensational and also the spiritual. Kundalini energy transcends the body but it needs the body to be able to manifest itself. Therefore, many yogis have described Tantra as "that which deals with the body" or simply "of body."
Remember, Tantra is not the spirit! It is merely a set of techniques that give us access to the spirit. The journey of Kundalini awakening happens through the Chakras. The literal meaning of the word chakra is 'wheel or circle', but in the yogic context, it can be better understood as a spiral - ascending and descending at the same time.
Kundalini awakening is not necessarily spiritual awakening. People of different religions - along with their beliefs in God or Gods - can experience a spiritual awakening in their own way. However, Kundalini awakening is available to all who undergo the path - it is available even to atheists!
Chakras and Nadis
Every human being has many chakras but Tantra only makes use of a few important ones. These chakras are considered to cover the full entire "rainbow" of man's existence - from the physical to the spiritual. The chakras are not in - or on - the spinal cord; they do not correspond to any vertebra! The location is purely symbolical, but not completely abstract. These centers of awareness are also symbolic of the functions carried out by the organs of that part of the body. In that context, the nadis are not necessarily the nerves.
Sometimes the nadis may correspond to the nerves but their energy is more subtle than that. For example, the interstitium is a network of fluid-filled spaces supported by a mesh of connective tissue. The medical community accepts it as an organ, and it is the largest organ in your body. When required, the nadis use this as a passage; at other times, your breath could be a passage for the nadi.
Supreme Consciousness is infinite. Once you achieve this state, your consciousness will overflow into a new horizon. In this sense again, the serpent power is considered to arise from the unconscious state in Mooladhara and pass through different phases to become one with the highest realm of existence. The supreme blessed state of Shiva is supposed to be in Sahasrara Chakra (or Crown Chakra).
Once you become Shiva, you will see newer milestones that need to be reached. Consciousness is never satiated!
Symbolic Depiction of Kundalini
In the tantric messages, Kundalini is visualized as the primal power. In terms of modem psychology, it can be called the subconscious in a creature. All higher-order creatures have a subconscious state. We can see them having REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and anyone who has pet dogs or cats will have seen them twitching in their dreams.
Kundalini corresponds with the principle of Kali (the creative force). In Shaivism, the concept of kundalini is symbolized by the Shiva lingam, the oval-shaped rock or pillar with a serpent coiled around it.
Nevertheless, most generally, Kundalini is illustrated as a resting serpent curled 3 and a half times. In all the oldest mystic cults of the globe, you ﬁnd the snake represented in monoliths and artifacts. This suggests kundalini was understood to individuals from all parts of the globe in the past. All humans are fascinated by the snake because of the fear and the sense of grace that it arouses. This fear/fascination is an instinctive trait found in all mammals! Not surprisingly, it is a powerful symbol in all cultures of the world. In typical descriptions of kundalini stirring up...
"The snake awakens, it uncoils in Mooladhara shoots up via Sushumna (the psychic passage)
opening up the other Chakras as it travels upwards."
It is said that there can be a spontaneous awakening of Kundalini. This could happen in extreme circumstances (not necessarily tragic or disastrous). Additionally, when people observed that some humans had the power to predict things, create amazing art, or discover the mysteries of nature and the universe, they realized that such people were gifted. They formulated many theories from divine gifts to in-born traits, but many also realized that such powers could be attained through practice.
The Kundalini process then became a means to achieve such awe-inspiring powers. Yoga already had the asanas to tune the body for better health and Tantra provided the higher consciousness to keep the yogi or the practitioner motivated. So Kundalini combined these two techniques and philosophies through Kriya Yoga for spiritual enlightenment.
Please note that spiritual enlightenment did not always translate into divine enlightenment!
However, having classified the spirit world into a hierarchy of spirits, Man knew that he could transcend his own level and enter into the domain of the angels and gods. I this, humans discovered the powerful concept of prana (and prana shakti). In Tantra, he called it Kundalini.
Is it possible that in Christianity, the phrases "Path of the Initiates" as well as "Stairway to Paradise" refer to Kundalini's climb via Sushumna nadi? Wouldn't it be interesting to explore why Christians make the sign of the Cross at Vishuddhi, Anahata, and Ajna chakras?
Kundalini, Kali, and Durga
It is called Kali when Kundalini has just awakened and you are not able to handle it. When you can handle it and have the ability to use it for beneﬁcial purposes and you become powerful it is called Durga.
Kali is a female deity and the principal power of Kundalini. Some tantric traditions even consider her to be the final achievement of Kundalini Awakening (and not Shiva). As the creative force, she is the catalyst of all creation in the universe. Tantriks worship the cosmic power in its female avatar, for she stands for motion and the masculine is the space which is the vast space. Let's remember that at any given moment we are moving: rotating, revolving, and falling. (Our entire galaxy is falling in space!)
"Our solar system is moving with an average velocity of 450,000 miles per hour (720,000 kilometers per hour). But even at this speed, it takes us about 230 million years to make one complete orbit around the Milky Way. The Sun rotates as it orbits the center of the Milky Way." NASA.GOV
Then there is the emergence of Durga, the higher power who is a lot more reﬁned and also a benign symbol of the subconscious. Durga is an attractive goddess seated on a tiger. She has 8 hands representing the eightfold elements of man. She is the remover of all bad repercussions as well as the provider of power and tranquility that is launched from Mooladhara.
Throughout history, many individuals have awakened their Kundalini. One can say that all the great personalities of history - from great kings to enlightened saints and from painters to statesmen - would have had an awakened Kundalini. They have not done this consciously but through the intense practice of Karma Yoga (righteous action). Perhaps, Mahatma Gandhi was the only exception because of his great interest in Yoga (even the physical asanas and diet). Kundalini expresses itself differently through the chakras - this could be instinctive, unconscious, or through incremental changes in one's personality. This energy becomes pure - or more concentrated - implying the ascent of human consciousness.
With the awakening of Kundalini, a cathartic transformation takes place. It has little to do with one's religious or ethical considerations. It's quite simple: it's as if you have found a new freedom. The freedom to do anything you please without social or personal shackles. Your perceptions change in a way that you can control them. When Kundalini awakens, the physical body reacts and adapts to that awakening. Generally, they are positive, but if you are not cautious, they can also be negative.
When Shakti wakes up, the cells in the body are completely charged and a process of rejuvenation also starts. The voice changes, the smell of the body changes, and the hormonal secretions also change. In fact, the transformation of cells in the body and brain takes place at a much higher rate than normal. These are just a few observations.
Why bother with Kundalini Awakening?
Your motivation is the most important factor in the practice of Kundalini Yoga. It can waken psychic abilities like telepathy and clairvoyance, it can make you have a mystical experience, it can help you change your body, and perhaps even change your destiny (if you believe in destiny). However, if you want to fill that void of existential meaninglessness, then you would pursue the communion of Shiva and Shakti. These are the greatest forces within you. This achievement enables the experience of the entire universe. You will know how the entire universe gains its meaning from your enlightened self. Samadhi, Nirvana, Liberation... begin to make sense. You will have the power to consume Reality!
Dormant Kundalini Energy does not stay still. Even without any practice or stimulation, this energy will manifest itself. However, modern man is so obsessed with the objective truth that he diminishes the importance of his subjective voice. Objective reality is not the final authority on what we perceive! Kundalini Yoga belongs to the tantric tradition that states how expansive the mind and our consciousness can be. This supreme quality of human character has been ignored since the Industrial Revolution.
Tantra claims that a variety of psychological experiences can be broadened - expanded endlessly. You can experience something within a time limit or outside of that timeframe. Your recall of memory can be more acute than the original. You can feel, smell, and even taste the original experience. Tantric visualization exercises enable such experiences.
In the Yoga Vasistha, it is said that the world is as you see it. In Tantra Yoga, we say,
"The world is as we create it!"
For the awakening of Kundalini, not only are the practices of Yoga exercise called for but also Kundalini meditation. This form of meditation is focused on meditation on the chakras (from the Mooladhara chakra to the Sahasrara Chakra). You will also need to change the outlook of your immediate environment. This reorientation has to be embarked on with the goal of increasing the mind and opening up new doors of experience.
Yoga practice is not taken on suddenly nor done quickly. It's not fast food; it's slow food cooking where meals are prepared over hours and even over several days. In this manner, you will avoid some of the negative aspects of Kundalini symptoms. Some of these are:
* Loss of appetite
* Remembering painful memories
Do note that when these disturbances occur, there is no harm in stopping for a while. Many people resort to medicines, or alcohol, or mild drugs to calm themselves. Obviously, this will not help, but your Tantra Teacher will be able to guide you.
Tantra 2020 provides a practical and methodical pathway to awakening this life force energy. It lays out simple and clear instructions that anyone can follow. All I can say is begin your journey because the Kundalini experience is quite a ride!