By Durgadas, Ved Kovid, AYT
(c) Durgadas (Rodney) Lingham.
All Rights Reserved.
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I don’t generally like to talk about kundalini and such experiences, but I am often asked about these, as well as see the many manners in which ‘Kundalini-Yoga’ is bounced about like a yoga in its own right!
Technically speaking, the raising of kundalini is possible only in very few yogis historically and forms an integral part of ancient Yoga traditions from the Vedas onwards. The later so-called ‘Tantric-Yoga’ was nothing more than an updated system of these older rituals, often even in the same language. It is also not something that can be taught in classrooms or in lectures or even books and requires much personal sadhana past and present life; kundalini itself forms a minor place within the integral Raja-Yoga systems of India.
Relating to the chakras, I have counted nine states of realisation within one chakra (spherical domain – of consciousness) alone. The average person has no idea of these nor even the delusional of psychological states that fall outside them. There are also other levels that I discuss in my higher system to advanced sadhakas or spiritual aspirants.
A chakra isn’t physically literally a wheel nor a lotus. It is simply symbolised by such as a turning wheel or an opening lotus when awakened at the inner level of the purified subtle body and relates to various psycho-physical states as well as other levels of consciousness that the average human almost always confuses with ‘spiritual’, which can be both lower astral realisations or even projections of one’s own fantasies, desires, impulses to past vasanas or mental impressions to those of the present-day or those caused by foods, lifestyles or even impressions gained while shopping, watching a TV program or from an internet post!
On this, the great Seer Sri Ramana Maharishi has stated:
” 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.” 
Samadhi here is yogic absorption in a trance-like state or fixed state of the mind in intense concentration. Vasanas here are the mental impressions and the sahasrara is the crown of the head through which one attains the supreme Brahman or state of transcendental-consciousness – where the Kundalini unites and tastes the immortal elixir. He hence states here the importance of reducing these impressions and such, which modern pseudo-Yogis ignore through their diets, lifestyles and even practices.
If one comes from a family of tamasic food consumers or biochemical drug use even sparingly, such will itself alter genetics and purity required for awakening. One who has also grown up along with alcohol or alcoholic parents is also more likely to have issues with this as well. In other places, I have dealt at length with these issues and the need for bodily and mental purification in one’s lifetime over decades, in addition to genetic purity through bloodlines and tapas performed in families as well – not simply being passed such on through an initiate.
In my family, some have experienced various states, as my own mother. Yet, her family had been practising Vedic rituals daily for generations in addition to her and her mother’s own practices and experiences with the Devi or the divine Goddess. I myself had to do many severe tapas and practices in my youth as also devotional practices to the Goddess before I even started to understand Sanskrit at a deeper level. Taking a course or reading a book – even second-hand knowledge does not prepare one for these. In addition to this, our parampara or lineage goes back to the ancient Rishis such as Parashara and we also trace our ancestry back to Sri Rama, the great hero of the Ramayana.
Great yogis such as Sri Ramana Maharishi and Sri Ramakrishna were born into important Brahmin families in India that maintained traditional teachings, in addition to their own intense practices that went beyond the ordinary. Sri Ramana himself was well-versed in the ancient texts before his realisation, as well as a devotee of Lord Shiva. After his realisation, he suffered many physical hardships, but continued his austerities and learning – even going out begging for food with Palaniswami, one of his earliest acquaintances. In the pursuit of spirituality in the west, people often dismiss or ignore these aspects.
Others such as The Mother and Sivaya Subramuniyaswami experienced intense spiritual visions and experiences as also knowledge in their earlier life that would later crystallise and proved their continuity with past-lives, as also birth-charts in astrology reveal – showing none can ‘fake’ their so-called spiritual attainments and knowledge, or confuse these with worldly knowledge picked up in books etc., even if at an earlier age!
Many yogis were well-versed in books, but could also explain them and commentate upon them with ease, with creative insight of their own at a younger-age, a sign of truly developed high-level sadhakas. Such cannot be said of others, nor of their ‘spiritual visions for novices’ approaches that they feel makes them somewhat special or ‘chosen’ in a western or Christianised manner, much like the “chosen one” mentality of the western world and psyche!
We often see this echo forth from the westerner or those outside the Hindu traditions when embracing other sciences such as ayurveda and jyotisha (vedic astrology). Often many claim to be adhering to “tradition” relative to such concepts without looking at the deeper science here relative to Hinduism, which applies models on a case by case basis, using historical models and systems as mere examples – quite a contrast to the “one size fits all” of the Western psyche (and modern Indian academic influenced by such) that derives from the literal Christian ideology that Jesus can be for one and all and thus must be applied in such a lineal manner.
This is where there is a difference between the traditional oriental Yogi or Taoist Master, the [Indian] quasi-Yogi influenced by western trends and the western self-proclaimed Yogi that is a derivative of the latter, often having no real basis or foundation in tradition.
Here, relative to social-conditioning and such, the words of Swiss psychologist, Carl Jung relative to Yoga may prove sufficient to drive these points home:
” If the European could turn himself inside out and live as an Oriental, with all the social, moral, religious, intellectual, and aesthetic obligations which such a course would involve, he might be able to benefit by these teachings. But you cannot be a good Christian, either in your faith or in your morality or in your intellectual make-up, and practice genuine yoga at the same time.”
– Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion, Page 534.
“I do not doubt that the Eastern liberation from vices, as well as from virtues, is coupled with detachment in every respect, so that the yogi is translated beyond this world, and quite inoffensive. But I suspect every European attempt at detachment of being mere liberation from moral considerations. Anybody who tries his hand at yoga ought therefore to be conscious of its far reaching consequences, or else his so-called quest will remain a futile pastime.”
– ibid, Page 507.
When one hears anyone in the west mention about kundalini then – or even the average Hindu or Guru from India that, while having good intentions, is simply a parrot, I generally question their own personal level of experience and also background in such matters. Anyone can read something, hear something and regurgitate it. It is human nature!
Kundalini itself as a serpent, fire or lightening and even light are also all spiritual metaphors for this force or shakti. Emotions such as hysteria, joy, bliss and even insanity and hyperventilation or comatosed states can be confused for it’s awakening. The intensity of 10,000 effulgent suns represents it’s brightness which is blinding, while the intensity of one’s worse nightmare unfolded thousandfold and magnified is the challenge. It is no state of bliss of love and light and a feeling of an orgasmic climax on one’s face as most female Yoga teachers appear to represent it as.
If you’ve ever been in water and drowning, you can multiply that feeling by at least 1,000 times and you’ll come close to the feeling and the pull of the actual kundalini awakening, which requires inner purity, detachment and also a strong immune system or ojas to cope with such. One will also feel as if they are “trapped” and must use their own inner force to transcend such states and try and escape them. One can become lost in their own imaginations also, as one can in dhyana or meditations as well, unable to come out of these states. They are frightful experiences that one has to overcome and cannot simply be equated with punching a few bags in a studio or martial-arts class or the local pub brawl!
The experience has even driven some insane that were not ready. Revelations of St. John in my view is an example of an improperly-trained aspirant that had a failed kundalini experience or saw such visions in a negative manner – perhaps also outside the understanding and context of their own socio-religious background. This is despite what some (as Sri Yukteshwar in his Kaivalya Darshanam) may state – himself appearing not to match the teachings of his own Guru, Lahiri Mahasaya who I studied in full by the time I was seventeen and found no mention of an East-West alliance of his Guru (which surely, he of all people would have mentioned).
The experiences in one’s personal sadhana, especially within such family lineages are often cloaked in secrecy, especially until one is old enough to handle such power. As for myself, I attempted many sadhanas at an age before I should have, only to have varying experiences and being rebuked by my familial Guru (as was well-deserved on my part!).
It can often be years later that one discovers the experiences of like-yogis that have experienced such and can resonate with these experiences, but at the time, being rare, they can be mysterious and even frightening, especially when one’s vitality (ojas) or shraddha (faith) is low or variable. This is as, being unpredictable, the kundalini or shakti of yoga as it ascends, is the power of and form of the Devi or Divine Feminine power herself.
Thus, those who have uniquely experienced it (as the effects differ from practitioner to practitioner based on various concerns, karmic, social and otherwise) also were devotees of the great Goddess for several lifetimes and decades as well – also not deviating from the dharmic path and following pseudo-systems and paths, either, as such simply adds to obscurity of vision and reveals the realms of the mudhabhavas or delusional states of consciousness.
Here again I stress, it simply fails as there is no actual cultural or genetic “link” with such – even if one comes into contact with external teachers, there is no shakti or power there and such becomes a mere intellectual exercise alone – or worse, can allow in other negative forces in that can take advantage of one’s ignorance and hysterical states, confusing narcissism and European self-entitlement with spiritual evolution!
We see this clearly with examples of western kundalini-yoga teachers. For a start, kundalini-yoga isn’t a unique system of its own and forms a part of the greater shakta path of Hinduism and other yogic disciplines, which require decades – even lifetimes of intense practices, which the European does not possess. Their own zeal to promote such reveals they have no idea what kundalini even is – and if such were raised, they’d die as a result of lack of ojas and also severe fright! Such can harm even advanced yogis brought up and taught within the greater yogic systems, let alone the neophyte westerners and especially women who are practising such today and think they are enlightened or have raised the kundalini! For a start, Yoga views the current humanity as dwelling in the consciousness beneath the muladhara within the immature stages of anger, vice, deceit, pride and arrogance, lust for riches, fame and fortune etc. – there isn’t even a sattvic or pure essence of the earth-planet in their psyche that wishes to even retain and preserve native faiths and their doctrines – but wish to exploit it. This is the nature of the asura-being, not even the human!
In the greater system of chakras, there are twenty-one major chakras with seven lesser ones beneath the muladhara or earth-consciousness, which is where human psyches dwell in this age. That the ‘love and light’ European Nordic-style female that frequents “healing expos” and “spirituals expos” or sets themselves up as a Yoga-teacher neither knows these, nor their states and correlates the subtle chakras with the physical body and think they can transcend native practices in which physical organs require physical healing modalities – just all goes to show that their entire doctrines and practices are flawed.
The female Yoga-teacher today also ignores the biological aspect of Yoga historically. Historical yoginis or female practitioners of Yoga were not simply gymnasts as today’s style are, which was confined to the systems of dance. The traditional yoginis were deeply devotional and lived lives of austerities, often around or married to great Yogis and Rishis. They were not jazz and hip-hop teachers who taught in lycra-pants, expensive hair-styles and colouring and make-up strutting around like a peacock, like some kind of wannabe female escort –which, I am sad to say, is the image they are giving off, over modesty.
Today’s western female tends to be overly highly taijasika or fiery in nature and often emasculates men with their feminist zeal to dominate the world, almost Hitler-style – what would be termed as an asuric or rajasic impulse in Yoga and Ayurveda and certainly not a trait for disciples like Yoga! This fiery nature also consumes one’s ojas or natural vitality, mental and physical required for awakening the kundalini or even spirituality in general, overruling the natural feminine nature of kapha or phlegm and their lunar-nature, but allowing their tejas-like reproductive system to take over their psychology and biology. In the eastern world however and native cultures, we still see the divine feminine flow – the warrioress and the high Priest may yield power, but she can still return home, cook a meal for her family and act as the counselor without taking the over-domineering approach that seeks to emasculate her husband, children and students or seeks to project their egotism upon the world and confuse the female shakti or powerful energy with the male domain!
Yoga and the raising of the kundalini is not about being the powerful pop-culture stereotype of the blonde woman with her quartz chakra-stick or the Gothic-style witch or Wiccan, but harnessing inner power along with the celestial femininity that radiates through the body that represents the celestial grace and charm that is the female, while radiating this power. This grace and nature of the Divine feminine is seen in Anandamayi Maa, Sri Sharada Devi (wife of Sri Ramakrishna), The Mother (the spiritual companion of the great Yogi Sri Aurobindo) Shree Maa and others who possessed this feminine grace and charm. It is quite a contrast from the domineering female person we find predominantly in such circles today!
The Yoga system today as even Ayurveda is more about marketing and having the ‘perfect website’ than anything else. It teaches that you can pass an exam, write an essay and that makes you a teacher – aspects such as sadhana and personal evolution and development, as also the intricacies of karma and actually working with it beyond a few Catholic-style mantric chants are seldom discussed or given any importance over the ‘setting up your own business’. In my traditional training, I did not have this luxury, nor do I wish for it and also explains my sometimes aggressive stance to uphold tradition over attract numerous customers that like my New-Age and all-encompassing pseudo-approach!
For some reason, Europeans think they can ignore the past and elevate themselves to a position transcending native advanced and caste-born Brahmins as well as shamans, native healers etc. with their new systems of intellectual fancy, driven by the Christian self-righteous gene! Until this changes, nobody in the west can even understand what kundalini actually is, much less raise it beyond the sphere of their toes to their knees in the realm of lesser base chakras and base humans instincts comparable with animals – not the high-level Yogin!
For those interested in a deeper analysis of Yoga traditions and depth, note my books:
1. Arthur Osbourne: The Teachings of Ramana Maharishi: Sri Ramanashram, Random House Group (Publisher), 1962