Spiritual Practice, Kundalini, and Self-Realization: By Harsha (Harsh K. Luthar, Ph.D.)
Image courtesy of Lisa Connors (2002)
Sunday, October 08, 2000 11:28 AM
That quote of Ramana’s that “there is neither destiny, nor free will” is very Taoist and also middle way Buddhist. With three confirmations, there might be something to it.. :):)
Yes! G., you have the eyes of an eagle! A reflection on the free will/determinism dichotomy can be critical and helpful at a spiritual juncture for some in furthering their understanding or perhaps refining it. But the beauty of Self-Realization is utterly overwhelming and its breathtaking simplicity renders all concepts moot including those of destiny and free will.
Ramana Maharshi’s statement that “there is neither destiny, nor free will” has a certain magnificence and majesty and grace for me as it hints at the state, “The Original Nature” in which It Is Known in Fullness that nothing remains to be “free of” or “bound to”. The Sage of Arunachala spent all of his life after his teen years on the sacred hill and made no attempts to teach or preach and essentially responded only to questions his whole life. Yet, the greatest yoga masters, India’s highest spiritual dignitaries, Shankracharyas, masters of meditation, monks and swamis and sat at his feet to be in his presence.
Ramana was and is the Sun in full blaze as if in the middle of a bright sunny summer day. His simplicity, directness, and clarity is often blinding. I remember living with the book “Talks with Ramana Maharshi” and sleeping with it beside my head when I was 21-22. I remember the force of Ramana’s words. Repetitive and yet striking. Never deviating, uncompromising, and yet utterly accepting of all human frailties and limitations. Ramana’s essence is that of compassion and his life exemplified Ahimsa in every form. I have reflected many times, that, the True Guru is the most beautiful principle and best part of the world-dream. He is One’s Own self reflected on the image of the mind, hinting at One’s Own Reality. Upon Awakening, One Knows that Guru’s Self and One’s Own Self are the Same. Guru-Being, Self-Being, God-Being, all the Same. The Same Taste of Sameness Everywhere.
Image courtesy of Seika (2001)
Although all teachers are ultimately false, a good and genuine teacher can be very helpful on the path. Words can convey something about the existence of the Truth. The words of the wise can bring you to the brink but cannot deliver the Truth. That is because You Already Are the Truth. To Know It with Supreme Clarity, your sincere longing and aspiration is needed. It is only due to Grace that one suffers and reflects on the nature of things. Therefore, one should not feel hopeless and gradually continue in the company of good people who follow the teachings of nonviolence.
It is only due to Grace, one comes across the purest teachings. It is only due to Grace one understands the teachings.
Clever words and arguments involve the intellect. But the highest teaching is a matter of the Heart and It is Grace It Self. Such a teaching leads directly to Silence of Self-Knowledge and then disappears completely.
What can one truly say?
Lots of Love
The Kundalini Yoga and other spiritual practices that people engage in are valid and true and according to their destined path. There is no universal rule on these matters. The Shakti rises spontaneously for some due to various influences. Shakti is the power of Self. It is the energy of motion and movement and responsible for Super conscious states and Samadhis. When drawn to Its Source, It merges with That. Self Realization is Knowing One Is That, That is the Self. Scriptures say “That Thou Are”! That is the meaning. You are the Self. One Is The Self It Self.
I speak both from experience and from the teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi. I have found the confirmation of my experience and understanding in the teachings of the Sage of Arunachala.
Image courtesy of Dana Cocchiarella (2002)
Kundalini Shakti is really at the heart of all yoga and is embedded in virtually all Eastern traditions regardless of the name or label that is given. If you look at any school of yoga, tantra, or various traditions (Shakti, Shaivite, Kashmiri Shaivism), there will usually be some descriptions of Hatha Yoga, Pranayama, Kriyas, Mudras, Mantras, and different types of meditations on the energy centers and Kundalini Shakti, and descriptions of the Goddess, etc.
Even in Advaita Vedanta, we see that Shankracharya has written great hymns to the Goddess. At a very practical level, the notion of the Divine Mother, Shakti, the Goddess, is intertwined with most Indian Philosophies. Hatha Yoga Pradipika, for example is one of the classics of Kundalini Yoga and describes how one moves from the physical aspects to the mental aspects (Raj Yoga) through various types of postures and mudras and pranayama.
As far as I know, Swami Vivekananda in the late 1800’s introduced the notion of Kundalini Shakti in the West. The term Kriya Yoga was popularized by Swami Yogananda who came to the U.S in the early 1900s and settled here. Again, awakening the Kundalini Shakti is central to that tradition as well although they do not engage in heavy duty pranayama exercises.
Kundalini related literature from the East started to be translated into English in the early 1900s, and one of the earliest translations which is still widely available today was by Arthur Avalon (Shakti Yoga). It is a translation of an esoteric text and describes the process of raising the Shakti by a variety of Kriyas and Mudras and Pranayamas.
There are many good books on Kundalini Yoga from a variety of people belonging to different schools. Swami Sivananda’s books on Kundalini, Hatha Yoga, and Pranayama are widely available and are quite comprehensive and excellent. The Himalayan Institute founded by Swami Rama also produces good literature on the topic. Just look around and see what appeals to you. In the past, many of these teachings were kept secret. Today, however, there is enough literature on the topic to satisfy everyone’s curiosity.
Love to all
Namaste Sri M.
Thank you for your many enlightening posts and sharing of wisdom. Sanskrit is indeed a beautiful, precise, and a profound language in which to communicate deep wisdom and truth. It is quite likely indeed that some or even much meaning is lost at times in translations from Sanskrit to English. The advice to learn Sanskrit is valuable advice for those who wish to learn Sanskrit and understand the original texts. Many Self-Realized Sages of the past used Sanskrit as a medium of their expression. So the advice of the Mandaleshwar seems appropriate.
Still, any impression that leads one to believe that learning Sanskrit is necessary for spiritual growth and Realization is quite misleading.
Learning Sanskrit has nothing to do with Self-Realization.
To communicate profound truths any language will do! English is quite adequate for the job! Where there is the experience of Truth and Self, the words follow like obedient servants. In fact, for those seeking intensely to Know and Realize their true and original and primal state, the advice to learn Sanskrit might be quite irrelevant. Sanskrit, or any other language must be mastered through the mind. The Self is Realized by seeing the unreality of the mind, by absorbing the mind into the Heart and Realization of Self as Pure Consciousness. When the mind disappears, so does Sanskrit or any other language, the culture one is born into as well as any and all conditioning and identification. The whole universe appears as a shadow of the Self, so what can be said of a particular language, culture, etc. These are shadows of even shadows. How much importance should we give them on the spiritual path. Well, perhaps the answer is, “As much as you like – it is up to you.”
Let us be clear about this. No particular language, cultural heritage, religious background, reading of certain scriptures, or texts is required for Self-Realization. What is needed always is the Direct Knowledge of the Self through meditation, Self-Enquiry, and Nirvikalpa Samadhi. Language and culture themselves are layers from which identification eventually is withdrawn. All these things appear in consciousness. Therefore to see the pure state prior to all language and thought is simplest. I will pass this on to HarshaSatsangha as well. Thank you.
Love to all
This is super. A few weeks ago I found myself unexpectedly and uncharacteristically in deep communion with the Divine Mother. Good little nondualist that I am, I wondered, Holy Cow, am I going backwards? Am I going to end up with a pantheon of deities and sacrifice rituals? Fortunately I could ask Mom and she assured me that all was well and on course (not that I have any choice about this anyhow). Who am I but She and Nobody Else could design a path this strange and surprising.
Thanks for this beautiful sharing H. I know what you are saying. Visions of the Goddess lay bare the beauty of our own consciousness. The path of Shakti is scenic, strange, and surprising indeed. Often, I have felt compelled to write poetry after such states. Ultimately, the Dualism/Nondualism is a false dichotomy and has only the mind for its basis. Thinking of oneself as a “good little nondualist” just seems like another extra layer of conditioning. You are doing fantastic H., just the way you are.
I bow to the Great Shakti,
The Beauty of Consciousness
Who emerges as the Goddess
As the Energy of Perfection
And Shows Us
That We are Perfection It Self.
With gratitude and friendship for all
Love to all