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The following article is a compilation of some of the common questions about the Kundalini Awakening.
Introduction: The Path of Energy Awakening
We’re all Shiva. Shiva is not a person as is often depicted in Hindu mythological texts. That is a mere representation that shows Shiva in form, symbolizing different aspects of life, such as life and death.
Shiva is formless, dimensionless, omniscient, omnipotent, and all-pervading. It permeates all that is known through the five senses and the mind. This perceived life is the play (Leela) of this divine consciousness we call Shiva. Shiva is the consciousness at rest (potential energy).
Shiva has a power (Shakti) which is the consciousness in movement. However, please note that the two are not separate. Shiva and Shakti are one, just as the fire and its heat are one.
The universe (both physical and mental) is a manifestation of Shakti. The psychological universe is much bigger than the physical universe, as the imagination is without bounds.
In Hindu scriptures, Shiva is often referred to as Ardhanareeshvara (“Ardha” means half, “Nari” means women, and “Ishvara” means lord); however, this is again symbolism. It is a mistake to see Shiva as the male and Shakti as the female. It’s all consciousness; therefore, it has no gender.
Shiva is the one absolute reality. There’s no reality other than it. Everything else is relative to Shiva and a manifestation of Shakti, which is nothing other than Shiva.
Shakti, also known as Maya, is the cause of the entire creation. Now when I use the Maya, many people see it negatively. Maya is not evil. People mistakingly think that way because of the common usage of the word.
Shakti is the basis of life and inter-human interaction. Without Maya, life as we know is not possible. It has two powers: the veiling power and the projecting power.
It projects the world of name and form onto the divine consciousness, creating limited minds and bodies. In other words, the finite mind-body complexes are projections onto the screen of supreme consciousness. This is the projecting power of Shakti.
Shakti also obscures the Shiva using its veiling power. This power is the reason for all the conflicts in the world. To illustrate this, let’s take the classic example of waves in an ocean. A wave arises in the ocean, plays with the other waves, and subsides back in the ocean.
All the while it’s active, it thinks itself to be this limited entity because of the veiling power of shakti. Similarly, we also experience ourselves as waves in the ocean of consciousness.
The illusion of separation or individuality gives rise to conflicts and differences. We fight with others thinking they are separate from us. But in essence, we’re all the same.
Though limited in mind and body, we can realize ourselves as the infinite Shiva, which is the freedom from the cycle of birth and death or what the Buddha called nirvana. How do we do that?
The Shakti or the cosmic energy manifests in us as the potential known as Kundalini. It is located at the base of the spine in a coiled-up position.
Incidentally, it is also the location of the base energy point, known as the Muladhara. The movement of this energy is associated with abiding wisdom, bliss, and higher knowledge.
When practitioners undertake kundalini yoga, the movement occurs. With its serpent-like move, Kundalini ascends through the primary energy channel, known as the Sushumna Nadi.
It is the reason why Kundalini is depicted as a serpent symbolically. As it moves, it stimulates various energy points (that we will shortly discuss), known as the chakras.
The chakras are associated with psychosomatic and psychospiritual wellness. The word chakra means ‘spinning wheel.’
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Q. Can you describe your Kundalini experiences?
A. When I began my spiritual seeking, I did not know anything about Kundalini. Things started happening, but I cannot say for sure that it was the result of any particular practice. While in meditation, I experienced a cool sensation in the throat.
Sometimes, I used to wake up in the middle of the night experiencing an intense swirling sensation in my stomach (around the belly button area).
There were times when I felt strong vibrations in my core. It was so intense that I thought I would be thrown off balance. Other times, I had a pulsating feeling on my forehead that used to last long. Yet, there were other times, where I would experience raptures.
So there were different experiences at different stages. But at one point, all experiences ceased, and all that was left was an empty silence or awareness that was the most blissful state I ever experienced. Since then, that awareness has never left me.
Q. So can we say that your awakening was the result of your meditation practice?
A. I can’t say that it happened because of meditation alone. There were other factors. My spiritual journey began after my father’s death. The most pressing question at that time was, what happens to the consciousness after death? What is death? What is life? What is our purpose?
It led to a series of events. I started reading scriptures to find the answers, but nothing satisfied my curiosity.
The understanding came when I gave up the resistance. I followed the shakti path up to a point where I felt stuck. The energy had become stagnant, and the ill effects had started manifesting in the form of anxiety, restlessness, irritation, and depression.
I was in desperate need of answers, and I did not have a living guru. I approached a lot of Kundalini masters, but they never had answers that could satisfy me. It’s not that those masters weren’t knowledgable, but blinded by the ego, I was unconsciously putting up a lot of resistance.
Q. What do you mean when you say “I was putting up resistance”?
A. You see, when we tread on a spiritual path, we carry some preconceived notions about spiritual awakening. We try to relate every spiritual experience with the beliefs that we hold, consciously or subconsciously. Sometimes, people also distort a spiritual experience so that it conforms to their pre-existing beliefs.
I have spoken to many practitioners about their experiences where they met Buddha, Jesus, or Krishna. I’m not saying they are delusional. Such visions are common and indicate progress in the spiritual path, but every experience happens against a changeless background that cannot be visualized in any way. It gives a glimpse into the nature of the absolute. It’s an experience of nothingness, an empty awareness in which all experiences happen.
Once you realize the bliss of that emptiness, no other experience will satisfy you. You know that you’re not separate from it, and the individual “I” existence that we experience is an illusion created by the Shakti.
That at that point, Shakti and Shiva become one. It is the union of Kundalini with the primordial cosmic energy. Therefore, your idea of yourself as an individual living a separate existence dissolves, and you become Shiva.
There was a lot of resistance in my case. I had created an image of spiritual awakening that was not in conformity with what I was experiencing at that time. There was a great dissonance because one thought was that I was experiencing the Kundalini while the experiencer was dissolving as the energy ascended. Slowly and steadily, this limited entity “me” was observing its own destruction.
And to be honest, my ego didn’t like that. Since the beginning, I believed that it’s an individual who gets liberated through Kundalini awakening. But what happened, in reality, was that the Individual “I-sense” began eroding layer-by-layer. It is psychologically painful.
Q. Are you saying that the Kundalini awakening destroyed your ego?
A. No! Let’s understand this. The ego or the “I-sense” cannot be destroyed till the body exists. It forms the basis of worldly interaction. Ramesh Balsiger, the great at vita teacher, said that ego is not the mere identification with name and form. Even the great sages like a Ramana Maharishi responded when called by their name.
Ego facilitates inter-human interaction. I would say that without the ego, the body is dead. It provides for self-sustenance and self-preservation mechanisms. For example, when you’re hungry, you eat, when tired, you sleep, when you feel pain in some part of the body, you know that something needs addressing, and so on.
What I’m trying to say is that you cannot function without the ego. This ego is not the problem. The problem is with the identification of the ego with the thinking mind. Such a mind is identified with needs and wants. It lives for momentary fulfillments.
When a desire is fulfilled, the mind immediately craves another. Therefore it keeps the ego running unconsciously from one object of pleasure to another. When it gets the object of its desire, it creates pride, and when it fails, it creates anger, envy, guilt, aversion, and resentment. Therefore, the individual is trapped in a never-ending loop of happiness and unhappiness, unhappiness for the most part.
This mind lives in a continuous state of comparison.
Q. What is the difference between Kundalini and Prana?
A. Kundalini is the more prominent manifestation of prana. Prana is the life-force energy that keeps the human mechanism running – the mind-body complex, whereas the Kundalini is the primordial energy, the higher expression of the same prana. While the prana is restorative, Kundalini is like a bolt of lightning that stimulates the energy vortices.
The prana is constantly in motion flowing in-and-out of the energy vortices, known as the chakras. Our psychosomatic health depends on the unobstructed flow of this vital energy. Whenever a chakra blocks this energy flow, we notice symptoms in the form of physical ailments and psychological disturbances like stress, anxiety, depression, and more.
As I mentioned earlier, Kundalini resides in the first chakra – the Muladhara – in a potential state. From there, it ascends, hitting each of the seven chakras. Finally, the Kundalini pierces the last chakra, Sahasrara, where Shiva and Shakti become one.
At this point, the ego dissolves, destroying the false identity. You see the world in a different light. You become the witness that ‘sees’ everything as it is, rather than assigning meanings and labels. The suffering simply drops away, and all questions dissolve. The mind becomes silent, and the heart awakens.
The minor concerns of daily living lose importance. It’s not that we become careless or passive. We continue with everyday life as before, but without ruminating in the dead past or imaginary future. We become present to what is ‘here and now.’
It brings serenity and lasting peace. I’m speaking from personal experience; I used to be a reserved person, an introvert, but when my throat chakra opened, I started expressing myself to others without thinking or worrying about what they will think of me.
Kundalini opens up the physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual bodies. It is a highly potent energy that reaches the vast depth of the unconscious and brings out all that resides in the shadow.
Whatever comes out from the unconscious into the conscious burns and gets eliminated from the energy body. Therefore, it peels layer upon layer of conditioning, and as the energy ascends, it peels the last layer, i.e., sense of personal self as a separate name and form.
Q. Why don’t you teach Kundalini Yoga?
A. Because I’m not qualified to teach it. You see, I have experienced Kundalini ascending, but that does not make me an expert. I can help with trivial matters by sharing what I know, but when it comes to full-blown Kundalini Yoga training, I don’t feel I’m qualified to teach.
I teach about basic chakra balancing to help people cultivate peace in daily living. It is enough to live a peaceful life. Kundalini is a beast. It throws you out of body and mind and strips you of all identifications.
Most people desperate for Kundalini resort to methods like Shaktipat (direct energy transmission) regret later. One needs to cultivate a pure state of mind to be receptive to this energy; otherwise, it will create havoc.
I don’t want to create fear, but one must be highly cautious when dealing with Kundalini. There are well-known Kundalini Yoga masters that are far more experienced and capable.
Moreover, I switched from the path of Shakti to Advaita (Non-Duality) to complete my understanding. It was Advaita that opened my mind to “what is.” Both ways lead to the same outcome, the dissolve of the personal self, but the approach of each is different.
Q. Are you enlightened? Is your Third-Eye Awakened?
A. I don’t know. Anyone with third eye awakened will possibly not know because it marks the destruction of all concepts. The third-eye and Kundalini are also concepts. Shiva’s third is the destruction of the world of names and forms; therefore, there’s no individual to observe the opening of the third eye.
Beware of anyone who claims their third eye is open. I have seen many so-called experts and gurus selling third eye awakening sitting in the comfort of your bedroom. A lot of unscrupulous business happens (and has been happening) in the name of Kundalini awakening, but we’ll get to that later.
Answering your first question, I don’t really know what do you mean by enlightenment. I admit that I have a certain level of understanding of life processes, but I’m as flawed as any other person.
I don’t know what enlightenment is, and I’m not the least interested. I never project myself as an enlightened guru – not interested in being one. Labels like enlightened being, ascended master, awakened guru, etc., is your own projection of perfection to an object.
When you see a person in that light, you project your ideas of perfection onto that person, and when they don’t act according to your expectations, you feel led down. I have seen this happen so many times when people move from one guru to another in the hope of liberation.
Having a Kundalini experience doesn’t make you superior to others. You still live in the same world with the same problems; expect that there’s complete acceptance of “what is” with the surrender of doership of the ego.
This is Part 1 of the multipart series on the Kundalini Awakening QnA. I’m going to cover topics like:
- Kundalini And Precautions.
- A Discussion on Seven Chakras
- What to look for in a teacher?
- Approach to Energy Healing (And how to know if this is the right path for you).
- And lots more.
Continue Reading: Part 2 – Kundalini Awakening Precautions
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