Maya, Heart, Self and Nondualism: By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

The Self, Maya, and the Heart: The Fundamentals of Non-Dualism

Maya Samara

November 28, 1993

Maya mirrored (or reflecting on itself) = ayam or “I AM”

“Who is in my temple?

Who is in my temple?

All the doors open themselves.

All the lights light themselves.

Darkness like a dark bird

Flies away, Oh flies away.”


The concepts of the Self, Maya, and the Heart are the central themes or tenets of the Katha Upanishad and the Bhagavad Gita. Out of these and similar books (or scriptures) comes the philosophy of non-dualism or Vedanta.

Part I: Considering the concepts of Self, Maya, and Heart, as viewed from the sages

The Self:

According to the ancient sages of India, the Self is neither the body, thoughts, feelings, nor intellect, but rather all pervasive Being/Consciousness manifesting as the Heart in all beings, from which emanates the awareness of “I” and Knowledge of the Self, which includes the realization that all knowledge is in and from the subject-“I”, the seer, not the object.

“The individual self, which is Brahman mistakenly identified with Maya, experiences the gunas* which proceed from Maya. He, who has experienced Brahman directly and known it to be other than Maya and the gunas, will not be reborn, no matter how he has lived his life.” Bhagavad Gita, p. 103

“That in which the sun rises and in which it sets, that which is the source of all the powers of nature and of the senses, that which nothing can transcend – that is the immortal Self”

Katha Upanishad, p. 21

“The Self-Existent made the senses turn outward. Accordingly, man looks toward what is without, and sees not what is within. Rare is he, longing for immortality, shuts his eyes to what is without and beholds the Self.” Katha Upanishad, p. 20

Maya is the self-existent beginningless power of Brahman, the Self, which makes us imagine that the sense of “I” felt in the body and the related thoughts and feelings are the Self. In the Bhagavad Gita (P. 59), this imagining or delusion is stated like a dream:

“You dream you are the doer

You dream the action bears fruit

It is your ignorance

It is the world’s delusion

That gives you those dreams.”

“Every action is really performed by the gunas*. Man deluded by his egoism thinks ‘I am the doer.’ But he who has the true insight into the operations of the gunas and their various functions, knows that when the senses attach themselves to objects, gunas are merely attaching themselves to gunas, knowing this he does not become attached to his actions.” Bhagavad Gita, p. 47

“Maya” – The deluding potency of the Self

What I was able to grasp from this is that, as long as the mind is turned outward, the Self, which is all pervasive, is sensed only as an “I”-awareness in and limited to the body with its thoughts and impressions revolving continuously around a perceived and separate world. But when the mind is purified or made to enquire where the source of seeing, which is to say, the subject “I”, arises from, then the mind reflects the Self. The moment the Self is reflected in the mind at once the idea of subject-object and knowledge vanishes like a mirage. This vanishing is why the perceived world, the “I am the body” idea or “I am the doer” is called Maya, because the sense of being a doer in the world is apparently real to the outgoing mind, but when the Real Light of the mind is realized, the use of the mind has no more value, just as the use of the moon seen in the daylight sky of the risen sun, is of no value.

* gunas: The three gunas are: Sattva – purity; rajas – action; tamas – sloth or dullness

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Again, as long as the mind is outward bent, the individual soul takes itself for the body/mind and accumulates impressions about itself in relation to a perceived and separate world. The mind then tries to coordinate and correlate all it sees into a cohesive composite of impressions it holds to be its identity. At a certain point, though, it begins to become apparent that knowing, comprehension, understanding, or knowledge about one’s world, be it within one’s mind or apparently outside, is coming from within and is not separate, as one is otherwise conditioned to believe. This insight into how we actually know or perceive leads to the conclusion that the impressions we’ve made of the world are actually each individual’s projected idea about it, and not one universally accepted truth. The question arises, “Can these changing thoughts, impressions be all there is, all that I am, all that the world is?” The sages of the Upanishads are asked this question by those seeking permanence in their otherwise “transient” lives.

“To many it is not given to hear of the Self. Many, though they hear it, do not understand it. Wonderful is he who speaks of it. Intelligent is he who learns of it. Blessed is he, who taught by a good teacher is able to understand it” Katha Upanishad, p. 17

“Veiled in my Maya, I am not shown to many. How shall this world bewildered by delusion recognize me, who am not born and change not.” Bhagavad Gita, p. 73

“The Heart” – Hridayam

The Heart is the Self. The sages of the Upanishads, the Bhagavad Gita, and several other Gitas I found all refer constantly to the identity of the Heart and its location with the all pervading Self.

Significantly, the location of the Heart is intuited or inferred by everyone, as it is the very place we all point to when we say “I”. The realization of the Self in or as the Heart is said to sever the relationship between the Self and the out going mind forever, such that the relationship between the “I” and the thoughts and actions of the body are realized never to have been. At once, attention to the waking state of consciousness ceases, and the enquirer remains egoless, abiding in and as the Heart, observing impartially all states of consciousness as one emanation, as stated below:

“The ancient, effulgent being, the indwelling spirit, subtle, deep-hidden in the lotus of the Heart, is hard to know. But the wise man following the path of meditation, knows him and is freed alike from pleasures and pain.” Katha Upanishad, p. 17-18

“Smaller than the smallest, greater than the greatest, this Self forever dwells within the hearts of all.” Katha Upanishad, p. 18

“I am the Atman (Self) that dwells in the heart of every mortal creature. I am the beginning, the life span, and the end of all.” (Krishna to Arjuna)

Bhagavad Gita, p. 88

“The devoted dwell with Him

They know Him always

There in the Heart

Where action is not” Bhagavad Gita, p.59

“Both the individual self and the Universal Self have entered in the cave of the heart, the abode of the Most High, but the knowers of Brahman and the householders who perform the fire sacrifices see a difference between them, as between sunshine and shadow.”

Katha Upanishad, p. 19

“That being, who is the power of all powers and is born as such, who embodies himself in the elements and in them exists, and who has entered the lotus of the heart, is the immortal Self.” Katha Upanishad, p. 21

“That being, of the size of a thumb, dwells deep within the heart. He is the lord of time, past and future. Having attained him, one fears no more. He, verily, is the immortal Self.”

Katha Upanishad, p. 21

“Radiating from the lotus of the heart, there are a hundred and one nerves. One of these ascends towards the thousand petalled lotus in the brain.”

Katha Upanishad, p. 24

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These quotes state that the all pervading Self, as Brahman, is situated in the Heart, and from there light the body and the mind. To gain some clarification about the relationship between the Heart, the Self, and Maya, I’ve also quoted from the Sri Ramana Gita, which focuses on jnana or enquiry into the Self. (As an analogy, the Heart is to the body like the singularity of a Black Hole in the Universe. It represents the substratum, ground or basis behind all appearances.)

“The ‘I’-thought is said to be the root of all thoughts. In brief, that from which the ‘I’-thought” springs forth is the heart. (verse 3)

“The heart is different from the blood circulating organ. ‘Hridayam‘ stands for Hird ‘the center which sucks in everything’, and ayam, ‘this’, and it thus stands for the Self. (v 5)

The location of the Heart is on the right side of the chest, not at all on the left. The light (of awareness) flows from the heart through the sushumna (para nadi*) to Sahasrara (thousand petalled lotus in the brain). (verse 6)

“From there it flows to the entire body, and then all experiences of the world arise. Viewing them as different from the Light, one gets caught up in samsara. (verse 7)

“The Sahasrara of one who abides in the Self is nothing but pure Light. Any thought that approaches it cannot survive. (verse 8)

“The universe is nothing but the mind, and the mind is nothing but the heart. Thus, the entire story of the universe culminates in the heart. (verse 12)

“The notion that the seer is different from the seen is only in the mind. For those that abide in the Heart, the seer and the seen are one. (verse 19)

Sri Ramana Gita, Ch V, p. 26-27

It becomes apparent from reading all these Gitas that they all state that it is only due to lack of enquiry into the nature of the “I”-sense in the body and mind that the True identity of one’s self as the Self, with the all pervading, causeless, Brahman is not realizes. Once this enquiry is made the (para nadi) nerve referred to in the above quote from the Katha Upanishad, begins to resonate or pulsate “I as I” or “I, I, I, I, …” versus the constant grasping of attention to “I-this”, “I-that”, and so forth with each rising thought.

To paraphrase, when the sense of “I” becomes localized through single enquiry, the nerve referred to begins to radiate incandescently, and the whole body is outshined in a blaze of living Light, having no more separation from the all pervasive Brahman. (This is similar to matter that blazes when sucked into a Black Hole.)

In the chapter concerning the vision of God in His Universal Form, Krishna tells Arjuna, after revealing to him essentially what He, as the Self of all, Witnesses, states:

“Neither by study of the scriptures, nor by austerities, nor by alms giving, can I be seen….

But by single minded and intense devotion, that Form of Mine may be completely known, and seen, and entered into…”

Bhagavad Gita, p. 97

Krishna further states concerning the various methods of devotion that:

“Certainly, all these are noble: But the man of discrimination [between Self and not self*], I see as my very Self. For he alone loves me because I am Myself: The last and only goal of his devoted heart.” Bhagavad Gita, p. 72 [*my italics]

In the Sri Ramana Gita the points regarding this subject – the knot between the Self and the body/mind, and their final break were made in the most concisely to the point manner, as follows:

“The nexus of the body and the Self is called the granthi (knot). It is only by this connection with the Self that one is aware of the body. (verse 3)

“This body is insentient. The Self is pure awareness. The connection between the two is deduced through intellect. (verse 4)

“Enveloped by the defused light of pure awareness, the body functions. Owing to non-apprehension (of the world) in sleep, (swoon) and so on, the location of the Self has to be inferred. (verse 5)

“Even as the subtle forces like the electric current pass through visible wires, the light of awareness flows through a nadi (nerve) in the body. (verse 6)

“The effulgent light of pure awareness, taking hold of a center, lights up the entire body as the Sun illumines the world. (verse 7)

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“Owing to the diffusion of light in the body, one has experiences in the body. That center of radiation, the sages say, is the Heart. verse 8

“From the play of the forces in the body, one infers the flow of the light of awareness. The forces course through the body, each hugging their own special nadi. (verse 9)

“The particular nadi through which pure awareness flows is called sushumna*. It is also called atma nadi, para nadi, and amrita nadi. (verse 10) [*between the Heart and the brain]

“As the light pervades the entire body, one gets attached to the body, mistakes the body for the Self and regards the world as different from oneself. (verse 11)

“When the discerning one renounces attachment and the identification of himself with the body and pursues one-pointed enquiry, a churning starts in the nadis. (verse 12)

“With this churning of the nadis, the Self gets separated from the other nadis and, clinging to one nadi alone, shines forth.

“When the effulgent light of awareness shines in atma nadi alone, nothing else shines except the Self. (verse 14)

“He for whom the Atman (Self) alone shines within, without, and everywhere, as (clearly as) objects to the ignorant, is called one who has cut the nexus. (verse 16)

“When the light, withdrawn from all other nadis, dwells in one nadi alone, the bond (between awareness and the body) is sundered and the light abides as the Self. verse. 18

“Since such a one has no sense of doership, his karma, it is said, is completely destroyed. As nothing but the Self exists, no doubts arise for him. (verse 21)

“Once the knot is cut, one is never bound again. This is considered the state of power and peace supreme.” (verse 22)

Sri Ramana Gita, Ch:IX, p. 49-55

Another well known Gita is the Avadhut Gita, the only known work of the Rishi Dattatreya, who lived sometime after Krishna. Avadhut means high Renunciate or Perfected Man. To get an idea of the state of one who ever abides as his Self, with no awareness of the body, I’ve included a couple of stanzas of this Gita here, as well:

“Atman is not the Knower, Nor is It the known. It is not accessible to inference. Words cannot describe This Consciousness Absolute. The mind is lost in Its majesty. How can it be explained to thee? Space-like immortality-giving knowledge am I. (verse 11)

“I am the eternal principle. Free from attachment and aversion, free from imperfections am I, Fate and providence exist not in me. Eternally free from the sufferings of the world, Verily, space-like immortality-giving Knowledge am I. (verse 13)

“Maya is not my modification. Nor is its glamour mine. Deceit, hypocrisy, truth and untruth Have no place in me. Space-like, immortality-giving knowledge am I.” verse 18

Avadhut Gita, Ch III, p 25-27

The following are extracts from the Yoga Vashishta Sara, a condensed version of the Yoga Vashishta, the spiritual instructions of Vashishta to Rama, very similar to Krishna’s instructions to Arjuna, which also helps to get a feeling for the meaning of non-dualism:

“Nothing whatsoever is born or dies anywhere at any time. It is Brahman alone appearing illusorily in the form of the world.” Ch I: 23

“The Self is more extensive than space; it is pure, subtle, un-decaying, and auspicious. As such how could it be born and how can it die?” Ch I: 24

“O Rama, there is no intellect, no nescience, no mind and no individual soul (jiva). They are all imagined in Brahman.” Ch III: 25

“O Rama, the mind has by its own activity bound itself; when it is calm it is free.” Ch III 27

“O Rama, this enquiry into the Self of the nature “Who am I?’ is the fire which burns up the seeds of the evil tree which is the mind.” Ch V: 1

“How wonderful that in me, the infinite ocean of Consciousness, waves of jivas (individual souls) rise, sport for a while, and disappear according to their nature.” Ch VI: 8

“Knowledge is not separate from you and that which is known is not separate from knowledge. Hence there is nothing other than the Self, nothing separate (from it).” ChVIII:6

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Part II: Setting aside preconceptions and basic Western assumptions about the world

In order to be able to have some idea of what the concepts of Self, Maya, and Heart mean in relation to the philosophy of non-dualism, I’ve had to set aside several central preconceptions or basic views about life, myself and the world.

In the West we are brought up to believe, as Descartes, after locking himself in a secluded mountain chalet for two weeks, that “I think, therefore I am.” This is to say that who I am completely depends upon my thoughts in relation to my body and the impressions I make about it in relation to each specific thing (or person) in a separate world. In other words in the West, the conditioning from birth is that “I am this body and the mind’s thoughts, etc.”

This means that I am conditioned to accept my self as always viewing the world in terms of judging, comparing, categorizing, separating, distinguishing, organizing everything as something separate from me. The whole way of thinking and perceiving in the West is one of collecting empirical data, so to speak, and analyzing it in relation to other things.

Thus, the whole idea of analyzing the analyzer, seeing the seer, hearing the hearer, or simply to put aside one’s identity and attention to thoughts and things and abiding as the part that sees, in order to “enter into” a perspective that has no basis in thought related identity, seemed like an impossible task. It was a task that required believing such a view possible, that others had realized it, and to somehow discard all the “truths” or impressions I was brought up to take for granted, in order to suddenly discover that there is another point of view, which in itself may be even more valid than the one I had accepted without question before.

In the West, we have taken Descartes’ idea to its fullest extent, as the basis for all scientific study, intellectual thought, even religious belief, where everything is considered and examined as being “apart”. We take “dualism” as being obvious. Even analysis of the mind is done by considering the thought content, the emotions, the behavior, each to be categorized, codified, classified and so on. In fact, the inner mind to the Western mind is still what the non-dualist calls the out going mind. Even the Western Mystics and New Age spiritualists are categorizing planes and stages and levels of consciousness, which to the non-dualist are all experiences of the out going mind, having no relation to the Reality they try to convey. In their Reality, all this perceived world of inner thoughts, feelings and impressions and outer sensory experiences is only “Maya”, a mirage, non-existent, like a reflection in a diamond. The diamond represents the ever present rock solid reality, unchanging, while the images, however real they may feel, because of their superimposition on the jewel are only that, images.

Thus, when I am forced to consider a whole new “way” (Tao) of perceiving, requiring the consideration of an “I” without a ‘me’ or ‘mine’, I find myself experiencing a pause, a space, as it were, between thoughts. The idea that one might be able to think and act with no sense of being the thinker, the actor, the doer – that one could simply abide as impartial egoless Being, free of thought, was a completely revolutionary idea. That all action occurs by itself perfectly, required, and still requires a sense of radical turnabout in all my preconceptions.

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Part III: The Philosophy of Non-Dualism

Dualism supposes that there is a subject-“I” and an object, the individual self versus the world, man versus God, a thinker versus the thoughts he thinks, and so on. But in the philosophy of non-dualism, these are all only concepts, ideas, or imaginings, which we hold to be real, only because of attention to them as they arise in the waking consciousness. According to the philosophy of non-dualism, as soon as the Self is enquired into, these “ideas” of a separate self just vanish. The ideas of a conscious mind, subconscious mind, unconscious mind, even superconscious mind to one who has enquired into the Self, are only that, ideas (concepts-images-impressions), having no real existence, apart from attention to them in the waking state. The idea of a waking state, dream state, and deep sleep, even the idea of a fourth state beyond, impartially “Witnessing” those three, again, to the non-dualist, are only concepts or ideas of the waking mind with its need for a fixated attention, or need to identify and organize itself around some idea, to establish an identity.

The non-dualist will state that this is the nature of the outgoing mind, but that when this mind is stilled, purified, and made to enquire of its source, the Self shines forth, the True Man emerges, these ideas become ruthlessly disregarded within oneself, and one remains abiding as Self only.

When someone asks how this can be, that the entire world and all one sees and believes about it are just a fiction of the mind, the non-dualist gives the following comparison:

To paraphrase p. 5-7 of Jewel Garland of Enquiry (Vichara Mani Malai), the non-dualist will say that just as in a dream one finds one’s self to be the subject of one’s dream thinking about and relating to all sorts of persons and events over what may seem to be a long period of time, but in reality, both the subject and the objectified world one sees have all been created by the mind in the dream, so too this waking world is all a projection of the Self. The non-dualist states that we seem to believe that we are a subject seeing a world and making impressions and reactions to what we think we are seeing only due to non-enquiry into that Self. Therefore, he states, as soon as we enquire into the Self, the subject-“I”, we take ourselves to be, with all its dilemmas, and the objectified world we project our relationship with, will all just vanish, like the dream, and we remain abiding as Self only, impartially witnessing all the states and planes and levels of consciousness, unattached, unconditioned.

There seem to be 2 paths, both which lead to one path:

One path one might call a path of purification of the mind, a path of the separate soul seeking Union with its Creator. As an outset this would involve a focus on virtuous acts, involving giving, caring, and unconditioned love, with an attitude that avoids selfishly motivated acts, or acts, where one is seeking reward or advantage, as found in greed, lust or hate. This is called Karma Yoga.

These virtuous acts then lead to a giving up of desires, giving way to a sense of longing for the feeling of stillness and purity of the mind, a sense of surrender to that feeling of totally placid, thoughtlessly alert brightness, which many may call the Spirit of God, a state absolutely free from all thought. With this is said to come a feeling of neither an inside nor an outside regarding the body, of beauty/perfection- beatitude. This is called Bhakti Yoga.

The mind becomes so still or pure that when one goes to sleep, the body is seen to go to sleep, and one remains a still witness. Apparently, this purity leads to one becoming awake at, what the Western world would call, the subconscious or unconscious states. The non-dualists also have a name for this – jagat-sushupti, which means waking-sleep, or one who is awake in or to his unconscious all the time, asleep or awake. They see the world within a field of pervasive consciousness from the perspective of the atoms that form it.

Yogis approach this purification similarly, but adding various physical and mental forms of purification, such as cleaning out their intestines, stomach, and nasal passages with water and special exercises, fasting and strict vegetarian diet controls, certain postures – called asanas, postures with movement combined with breathing – called kryias, exercises in concentrating the mind – called meditation, and various types of breathing regulation – called Pranayama.

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The idea is that with breath regulation, combined with a focus on certain nerves in the spine, gradually there will come a profound stillness leading to deeper states of awareness of the unconscious mind. This process is said to have its physiological equivalent of a bio-energy (prana) withdrawing from the outer nerves to the central nerve of the spine, the yogis call sushumna, and entering at its base rising through the spinal cord, uniting the individual soul with higher planes of consciousness, until the highest state in the “thousand petalled lotus” or Sahasrara in the brain is reached, and the soul experiences the Light of a million suns. The yogis say this is Liberation.

The other approach is called the Path of Self Knowledge of the Jnani. The Jnani says that all the planes of consciousness are always already lit by the Self only. He will say that the Self is always realized, but for the idea that it is not. He will state that while some purification of the mind is necessary to bring about stillness, once the Self, which is ever awake, is enquired into, all planes of consciousness vanish like a mirage, and only Self is seen. The nerve here referred to is not the sushumna, which rises from the base of the spine to the top of the head, but the para nadi (amrita nadi) rising from the Heart to the top of the head. This para nadi, jnani’s say, is an extension of the sushumna, which yogis will eventually enter to realize the Heart, when the question dawns, “Who experiences?”

The vision of the Jnani, when the Heart knot is cut, is of a light in the nerve between the Heart (Hridayam) and the crown of the brain (Sahasrara), and that these two radiate, while a flame is seen rising through the spine and through the top of the head. He sees the world, but there is no sense of someone looking or giving attention to it. He observes without attention or interest the thoughts rising up from of the Heart, appearing in the waking consciousness, like bubbles rising from the depths of the ocean appearing on its surface. He sees the world, as the Totality of Existence, neither inside or outside, yet apart from his Self. There is no longer a sense of doer, person, or “I” localized in the body or related to the world. There is no body. The mind is severed from attention, and thinking and acting continue motivelessly by themselves. The world appears as a film in a movie, where the projected light brightens, and the picture is “outshined”. (Spiritual Instruction, p. 10) The picture is there, but only Self is seen, abiding as Self, as Heart, radiating brightness everywhere within Itself. Because thoughts and actions relate to vibrations in time, he, beyond thought, realizes himself to be forever timeless, space‑like, the Heart, the Self of all beings, the Heart of Being Itself, Consciousness Itself.

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Part IV: Could the Teachings of Christ Really Be in the Same Tradition as the Ancient sages, Krishna, and others? Are the Teachings of Christ Actually Centered in the Philosophy of Non-Dualism? Is Christ in reality the all pervasive timeless unconditioned Self, abiding as the Heart of everyone, as Consciousness Itself? If Christ IS the Truth, as He says, shouldn’t His Teachings be examined to discover Who and What That Truth is and abide as That, rather than to seek out for remedies in this world? – as in “Go first to God (“I AM”) and all things will be added unto you.” Luke 12:31

There are many passages in the New (and Old) Testament, where, when the notion of the West, that we are all separate beings, centered in our identities as thinking bodies, is put aside, one is surprised to find that most passages are apparently referring to Christ as being the Self, and likewise He speaks from the perspective of an Avadhut, or as Krishna might speak, or another sage from the non-dualist tradition.

While in the Old Testament God states the Truth as “I AM THAT I AM”, in the West we have built Christianity around Descartes’ dictum: “I think therefore I am.” From, the point of view of a non-dualist, the first two of the Ten Commandments (Ex 20: 1-7) are extremely powerful statements. So, it is no wonder that in reading the words of Christ, as a non-dualist, the statements come out as being also very powerful.

The following are several quotes about Christ as the Self, in terms that are identical to those of the ancient eastern sages:

“All things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”

John I: 3

‘In him was life, and the life was the light of men.”

John I: 4

“And the light shineth in the darkness; and the darkness comprehendeth it not.”

John I: 5

“That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that is born into this world.”

John I: 9

Basically, these are descriptions very similar to how Krishna describes himself. Here the creation is not only created by Christ, but also all creation throughout all time, as “without him was not anything made that was made”. Who Christ is said to be is Life, and that Life was the Light (Consciousness) of “every man that is born into this world.” The darkness described is the mind, which cannot know the Self, the All Knower, and cannot see the seer, which lights it.

From these quotes and the quotes to follow, we will see that Christ is defined clearly as the Self of all, and that his teachings are to redirect each listener that can “hear” him, to purify the mind, or directly to enquire into and abide as the Self, or to admonish them to take their stand in the Truth and “abide in me”, the Self. Quoting a few passages, it will become clear that these are statements from the perspective of Krishna, or an Avadhut, or someone, who, having realized their Self, no longer has a sense of “I” in relation to the body or mind, but abides as and is “Consciousness Itself”.

“No man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.”John 3: 13

Here Christ states essentially that the Self is always realized. In John 3: 14-21 Christ elaborates on this theme of the “Light” further, as do many other of his passages. When seen from the perspective of a non-dualist, His passages are intensely strong, giving no ground for alternate ideas that there may be some reality to the world or some basis to the world or some alternate “Ways” or approaches. For example:

“I am the Light of the world: he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the Light of Life.” John 8: 12

One might think from reading these passages that Christ always speaks as the Atman and of the Father as Brahman, or as the Self realized being One in relation to the All pervasive and timeless Self. Just as Krishna tells Arjuna that he taught Aditia (the Sun), Christ states:

“Verily, verily, I say unto you, before Abraham was, I AM.” John 8: 58

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One can see from the way Christ always refers to the Father, as the doer of the miracles and all that He says, that regardless of His apparent actions, that He has no sense of being a doer, that all He says and does just happens, because He abides in the Father. Consider the following passage, where Jesus is speaking to the Apostles in John Ch 14:

“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: No man cometh to the Father but by Me. (verse 6)

If you had known me, you should have known my Father also: and from hence forth you know him and have seen him. (verse 7)

“Philip said to Jesus, ‘Lord, show us the Father, and it is sufficient for us.’ verse 8

“To which Jesus replied:

“Have I been so long with you, yet you have still not known me, Philip? He that has seen me has seen the Father; therefore, how do you say, ‘Show us the Father’? (verse 9)

“Believe you not that I am in the Father and the Father in me? The words I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwells in me he does the works. (verse 11)

“Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me, or else believe me for the very works’ sake.” (verse 12)


“I and my Father are one.” John 10: 30

Explaining how his Truth is in fact the Truth of all, Christ states in John Ch 15:

“Abide in me, and I in you. As a branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can you, except you abide in me. (verse 4)

“I am the vine, you are the branches…apart from me you can do nothing.” (verse 5)

In John Chapter 17, Christ prays to the Father on behalf of the Apostles, that He sanctify them by His Truth, and that they might be one with the Father, just as He (Jesus) is. Here, one can see that His state is always one with the Father. One is quite clear that Christ’s permanent abiding state, when He says “where I am“, is unrelated to the world. He asks:

“Father, I will that they also, whom thou has given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which you have given me: For you have loved me from before the foundation of the world.” (verse 24)

The notion of Spirit, that He (Christ) and God (the Father) are one in Spirit also conveys the sense of the formlessness of Brahman (the Father), as well as our own Truth as spirit versus body:

“God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

(John 4: 24)

Apart from all Christ’s statements and parables about non-judgment (Mat Ch 7: 1-2; Luke 6: 37-42; John 8: 6-11), non-attachment (Mat 6: 40), non-anxiety (Mat 6: 25-34; Luke 12: 22-32), perpetual forgiveness (Luke 17: 4; Mat 19: 21-22; Mark 11:25), compassion (Mat 25: 34-40), humility (Mat 18: 4), and so on, which all relate to a discarding of attention to the world (“Take no thought for your life.” Mat 6: 25), probably the most profoundly direct instruction Christ gave concerning the teaching of non-dualism is from Luke 11:

“The light of the body is the eye: Therefore, when thine eye is single, your whole body will be filled with light….” (verse 34)

To a non-dualist, this is easily paraphrased as follows: The part of you that sees (the seer, one’s Self) is your true light. Therefore, if you hold the seer (subject-“I”) singly or exclusively (versus giving attention to thoughts) you will have illumination – or what some call the “enlightenment of the whole body”. This is the exact instruction of the non-dualists of the Vedanta tradition, with the same described outcome, as related above. (As if God’s First and Second Commandments weren’t clear enough in terms of having no images before the “I AM.”)

And as to the Heart: “The wise man’s heart is at his right hand, but the fool’s heart at his left.” Ecclesiastics 10: 2. And: “The pure in heart shall see God (“I AM”).” Matt 3: 8.

Page 9 of 11

Anyone in the east, coming to a similar conclusion about Christ, might call the approach of Christ the path of “sudden realization”, because his teachings are often in the form of commandments or statements giving no ground (room to maneuver). His approach permits no delays, no second chance, no outs, no remedy, no alternatives to the tribulations of the world. His way to God (the “I AM” of the Old Testament) is full of beatitudes and purity (Mat 5: 2-11), blessedness and love (Mat 6: 38-48). But those that oppose the Spirit “will never be forgiven” (Luke 12: 10, Mat 12: 32; Mark 3: 29) and “will be thrown into the outer darkness, where there is great suffering and gnashing of teeth.” (Mat 8: 12;14: 50; 22: 13; 24: 51)

In considering Christ as a non-dualist, like Krishna, or the Avadhut, the Rishis of the Upanishads, or one of the Buddhas, the approach might be stated as “radical” or “ruthless”. The reading of the New Testament requires a constant coming to terms with Christ’s life: His all knowingness of each person close or far away, now and in the future, how they will act, what will happen, when, and why; the constant ceaseless flow of power, where miracles fall from him, undirected. In the non-dualist texts, these are the powers described as God’s, to be all knowing, all powerful, and so forth. In Revelations, Ch I: 8, Christ tells John:

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the ending” sayeth the Lord, “which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.”

Many of the stories about Christ and the words He spoke are similar to stories we might read of Saints and sages in India, Tibet, and China, as found in “The Tibetan Book of Great Liberation” and Tibet’s Great Yogi Milarepa” by Evens-Wentz, “Autobiography of a Yogi” by Yogananda, “Ramana Maharshi and the Path of Self Knowledge” by Arthur Osborn, “The Ramayana” by Tulsidas, books about the lives of different Buddhas, or the 10 Sikh Sat (Truth) Gurus, and many other books one can find about the miraculous lives of these sages, Saints, Avatars, Jnanis, and so on. But what was special about Christ was the sense of awe-inspiring fierceness, the intensity of rock hard Reality that packed each moment, demanding … commanding perfection of everyone, now. For example:

“Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

“I give you a commandment: Love one another.” John 15: 12, 17

“For I have not spoken of myself, but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know his commandment is life everlasting.” John 12: 49

As Christ repeatedly stated “If any man have ears to hear, let him hear.” Mark Ch 4: 23, again Mark 7: 16, etc.. This “hearing” is central to the entire teaching process of the non-dualist. In the “Lamp of Non-Dual Knowledge” (Advaita Bodha Deepika), Jewel Garland of Enquiry” (Vichara Mani Malai), “The Cream of Emancipation” (Kaivalya Navaneeta), “The Essence of Yoga Vashishta” (Yoga Vashishta Sara) – instructions of the Saint Vashishta to Rama, Shankara’s “Crest-Jewel of Discrimination”, and others, over and over again we see that the three necessities to realizing the Self, apart from the prerequisite of a “still mind”*, are “hearing”, “consideration”, and “perfect abiding”. Hearing is to understand the concept of the non-dual Self; “consideration”, to reflect inwardly: “From where do the thoughts arise?” or “Who sees?”, which includes a steady, even ruthless disregard of all rising thoughts, as “not this, not this,..” (“neti, neti,..”); and finally “perfect abiding” in the form of “objectless abiding as the seer” or as Ground (asraya) is to a Lightningbolt (Vajra Siddhi), until the Self flashes forth, as in “I say unto all, Watch!” Mk 13: 37. *“Stillness of mind” means “Be still and know that I am God (‘I AM’ Ex 3: 14).” (David, Ps).

Probably the best summation of the possibility, potential, or promise that Christ represents to the Western world is in his following statement from John 16: 33.

“These things I have spoken to you that in me you might have peace. In the world you shall have tribulations: But be of good cheer; I have overcome (conquered) the world.”

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Actually, not to see Christ as the personification of non-dualism is to turn all He says into demagoguery, to make him into another “zealot” of the time, the founder of a bizarre cult, of strange rituals based in fanatical superstition and myth, a revamping of paganism in monistic form. It seems quite obvious though in reading the first three parts (above) concerning Part I, the subject of the Self, Maya, and the Heart, as they relate to the philosophy of non-dualism; Part II, the nature of (Western) preconceptions that needed to be set aside in order to “enter into” the subject; and Part III, a discussion of the nature and experience of non-dualism, as a philosophical reality, that if we can “hear” Him Christ (the Vajra Siddhi Guru), ever abiding in and as the Father, may be one of the most profound Teachers of the non-dual nature of Reality and proof of its philosophy in terms of realizing the Truth of our own Reality as all pervasive Self!

Blessed am I

In freedom am I

I am the infinite

in my soul

I can find no beginning

no end

All is my Self

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The Disengagement of the Reticular Activating System (RAS): By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

For those interested in the mechanisms within the body and how they function during the transformative stages leading to the experience of Enlightenment of the Whole body —– for the scientists amongst us —–

Sat Nam,

Further to the “right path” article, for those interested in the mechanisms within the body and how they function during the transformative stages leading to the experience of Enlightenment of the Whole body, it may be of interest to know about the reticular activating system, which is the focusing mechanism referred to, and the thalamocortical system, which relates to the reflective consciousness.

In previous articles posted, it was discussed that, as the voltage of the body increases through systematic practice of Kundalini Yoga sets, Kriyas, mantra and meditations, at a certain point there is a disengagement of the focusing mechanism of the mind, which results in the experience of simultaneously feeling the radiance of the entire body through all the body cells at once, versus focusing to feel that radiance in one or another part of the body. this is the beginning of being able to experiences and recognize one’s Self as being a unit or field of consciousness which lights and animates and denotes the sense of realness and being to the body, mind, thoughts, impressions and emotions.

If you’ve read the Radiant series, then it’s clear that in KY practice, the focus of awareness through the body is one of the main ways through which the voltage is retained and stored. This is because wherever one focuses attention there is a stored remembrance of that attention in the nerves in that part of the body. For example, as a child learns to tie a shoe, the child applies attention to the practice of tying a shoe, so that there is a neurological remembrance imprinted in the physiology of the nervous system. In the same way, when during and in particular the passive aspects of the KY exercise you systematically feel through your attention the radiance in each part of the body, then the voltage and related chemical electric glandular secretions are stored/remembered in those areas. This also affects a disengagement of previous encoding of impressions stored by the mind as to who we think we are, versus who and what we really are, so that, without a practice such as taught by Yogi Bhajan, our innate consciousness becomes shrouded by stored thought impressions difficult to untangle and unravel .

But when though systematic practice the voltage is felt evenly penetrative throughout the body, so that the voltage inherent in the source of the awareness permeates inside and outside the body, then automatically the focusing mechanism disengages and the mind reflects the pure Self shining in the Heart.

Christ’s teachings on this are summarized in Luke 11:34, in which he states that by holding to the “seer” singly, meaning without recognition or attention to objects appearing in the mind, “the whole body will be filled with light.”

So, when, through any means, the mechanism of attention is disengaged, as happens through systematic practice of KY, then you immediately become aware of the field of the radiant body. With this comes a special Intelligence or inner Knowledge or recognition of the remembrance of who and what we are, which is That Pervasive Consciousness which lights and gives life to the body. This Knowledge is felt by the pulsing of the soundless reverberation of “I” as “I” which when inquired into pierces through the Spiritual Heart and results in the experience of the Totality of Being. This is why Yogi Bhajan said, “Kundalini Yoga is the Totality of Being.”

The way that the RAS works is that it maintains the focus of impressions of who and what the “I” identity is. So, for example, if the role of parents in relation to their baby sleeping is that when the baby cries the mother gets up to attend to the baby and the father sleeps through, it means that even though the mother is in unconscious sleep, when the baby cries, the mother immediately awakes to take care of the baby, while the father sleeps through, unaware. It also mean that, if the mother is out, and the father is alone with the baby, then his role in the relationship also results in his instantly awakening from a profound sleep, when his baby cries. This means that we are always aware, even in the unconscious state. What RAS does is define in a limited way who we are into thought impressions. This is also why people that set and daily repeat to keep in mind the programming of their goals often find that the goals tend to come to them as much as they seek to achieve them, because the identity is changed to believe or image one’s self in terms of being the goal or impressions stored, not the apparent reality one is living. However, the creative force that brings about the materialization of the imaged goal is always the Self, which is the screen upon which all images appear, transpire and fade.

Interestingly, many people that are driven towards the realization of goals at some stage in their lives begin to feel the pulsing of the Self, the “I” as “I,” because the expansion of radiance does not diminish when the goal achieved is realized. This is why striving for excellence in one’s life is not a hindrance to Self Realization. This also means that whichever way we turn we are confronted with the means through which the shroud of ignorance is unveiled and the Self is realized.

The Infinite Consciousness, which like a Sun shines through the Spiritual Heart and lights and animates the mind and body, denoting the sense of being and realness to all experiences, is always single and all-pervasive, always undifferentiated and uncaused, always unconditioned, always the substratum of being and consciousness and always resonating a uniquely impalpable non-focal sensation “I am the Truth.”

Thus, when the focusing mechanism disengages, then the reflective consciousness in the brain directly mirrors the Self Radiant Heart, resulting in a flashing forth of the experience of one’s Self as always abiding in and as the Infinite, what Yogi Bhajan calls the experience of “impact” of the individual unit of consciousness (Atman) with the Infinite Consciousness at Its substratum (Brahman), the recognition or remembrance of the unity of the 2 being the Spirit (Akal Takht). The experience of the Spirit acts like the force of a cosmological Singularity in which the mind in absorbed into the source and at the same time Sun-Like Radiance pierces through the atoms of the body. This is the Transfiguration of the Body or the Enlightenment of the Whole Body that a number of Saints, Sages and Saviors have referred to.

For the Scientists amongst us, here below is some interesting information regarding the reticular activating system (focusing mechanism) and the thalamocortical system (reflective consciousness mechanism), which are explained in the radiant series, regarding how KY practice works, and how its fruit is “hearing” “recollection” and “abiding.”

Reticular activating system (RAS)

The system of cells of the reticular formation of the medulla oblongata that receive collaterals from the ascending sensory pathways and project to higher centers; they control the overall degree of central nervous system activity, including wakefulness, attentiveness, and sleep; abbreviated RAS.


(above image in weblink)

The reticular activating system (RAS) is involved in most central nervous system activity, including control of wakefulness, sleep and part of our ability to direct attention toward specific areas of our conscious minds. The RAS is a primitive network of interlacing nerve cells and fibers that receives input from multiple sensory pathways. It extends from the spinal cord to the lower brain stem, upward through the mesencephalon and thalamus, and then is distributed throughout the cerebral cortex. RAS fibers affect the autonomic and motor systems. They integrate the regulation of cardiovascular, respiratory and motor response to external stimuli.

The RAS diffusely distributes incoming sensory stimulation throughout the CNS, upregulating and readying the system to respond more specifically to input. An example is the body’s response to a loud noise. The noise is perceived initially as a shocking stimulus that heightens awareness in all the senses. Once upregulated the CNS begins to search for more data and coordinate information to locate and deal with the cause of the noise. Without a functioning RAS, the noise might remain as isolated and unrelated stimulation within various CNS structures.

Thalamocortical system

One experience of the Self is like this:

Once the radical experience of the pulsing of the “I” as “I” emerges, the mind is drawn into the discovery of its source. The force of Intelligence of That, which is Self Aware, sets itself up like a Singularity in the Heart penetrating and blowing apart the images and impressions of the mind in an inexorable inner quest at voltage levels far greater than the voltage resulting from sustained practice, extremely subtle, bright, singularly discriminative between the resounding soundlessness of the “I-I” source and impressions reflected through Its Living Light.


At about the level of the upper part of the next and skull (RAS), there is a severing or sundering of the knot that binds the sense of “I” to the thoughts and impressions of the mind. Thoughts are seen to percolate up like bubbles from the ocean depths from the Ocean of the Heart and materializing in the brain. Everything just happens on its own, without the sense of being the doer (the experience of Karta Purkh). A multi-colored flame is seen rising through the spine and through the top of the head; irradiate Light in the Heart and through the nadi between to the crown, without anyone to be interested. Near and far have lost all meaning. Ideas of 2 and even oneness have no meaning. Even stillness and its experience have no place here. Even to say one is the ground of being, the Substratum of name and form are just thoughts like wisps holding no interest or meaning. Ideas of time, even timelessness have no meaning.

All this to say that there is a mechanism that is activated that transforms into what it was intended for when one takes up Sadhana. The daily practice brings with it innate knowledge of the Path. Even without Yogi Bhajan to provide guidance to one’s practice, as he did to thousands personally, by phone, through letters and e-mail, the combination of reading and following his Teachings and explanations together with the scripture of the many Saints, Sages and Saviors have in them the answers of what we seek, simply because we are seeking, i.e., the meaning of Christ’s “ask and you shall receive.” So, that when one takes up one’s Sadhana a relentless and inevitable process is set in motion that results in the “hearing” “recollection” and singular “abiding” in the Truth.

This experience, related to the disengagement of the reticular activating system, was also described by Vivekananda, when early on, after he had met his Guru, Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna placed his foot on Vivekananda, and he had that experience of Totality, in which the head was severed from the body – i.e., the “I am my thoughts” idea from the “I-I” Itself, and he remained as Infinite Consciousness for some time. Subsequently, Ramakrishna told him that this was just to remind him of who he really was, as Ramakrishna had, during meditation, found a star in a constellation of 6 stars, from which he drew down Vivekananda to be born to do the work of Ramakrishna. Ramakrishna told him that this experience and who and what he really was would be recollected by him again, once the work was completed. Many years later Vivekananda disciples were sitting with him at a camp fire and one of them asked him if he had recollected what Ramakrishna had said years back, and Vivekananda said he did. Shortly after, he asked that an attendant fan him, while he went into a secluded room to meditate. After a while blood started to flow from his nose and eyes and crown. What had happened is that he withdrew his consciousness from the body with such a force, returning to his original Star-like consciousness, that it burst the blood vessels through his body, as the kundalini came up. I read elsewhere that this happens sometimes to great Saints, when they leave. Anyway, an interesting story.

Some Saints acquire a “Body of Light” meaning that their bodies transform into pure light. You may have read about Milarepa from the 11th Century, in who it was described that the nerves of his body were the same as the sushumna of realized yogis. When he finally passed on, his body began to radiate with light and rise into the sky (similar to how Christ, who experienced the Transfiguration of the Body into Light years before with Peter and James, departed), until it became bright like a sun transmitting a deep meditative experience to the 100,000 people that had gathered that lasted 3 days.

In regards to the mechanisms in the body related to the process of unfolding Enlightenment or Transfiguration of the Body, what scientists call the reticular activating system is in the same location of what yogis refer to as the focusing mechanism of the mind, which disengages, when the voltage of the body is even and strong enough, as happens with daily Sadhana.

This in turn results in the emergence of a force of discriminative Intelligence through which the individual experiencing his/her self as a field of consciousness that lights the mind and body senses, recollects their oneness with the Infinite with the experience of the “I” pulsing as “I” versus as “this or that.” The resulting sense of “abiding” as That gradually dissolves the last vestiges of the sense of separateness. In KY, this is called One Star Spirituality. The beginning of the experience is what Yogi Bhajan calls Pradupati or Crystallization, because the sense of “I” has been distilled and clarified through Sadhana, so that you recognize Its reflection in the mind as your own Self, like coming out of a state of amnesia. Once this recollection begins, you feel a sense of inward abiding as spatial consciousness, that is all absorbing and quite different from the build up of voltage through kundalini yoga practice.

You might say that these 2 postings are a follow up to the radiant series of handouts I used to give for TT classes.

I thought it would be useful for you to know all this, i.e., the 2 postings and the articles in the Radiant series, as many people don’t quite know what’s happening, when it starts, although it’s the real beginning of Yoga. I can see from your website and the video that you’re truly a great teacher. I hope you have this unique experience, which begins to happen to a large extent by reading scripture, as the sacred words of the Saints, Sages and Saviors are recognized by the True Self, which begins to pulse “I” as “I” in recognition, so that you experience the isolation of the Self, stated as the purpose of yoga in Patanjali’s Yogi Sutras, and the meaning of Transfiguration.

There are 3 parts to KY practice, one of these the Path of Radiance, the other, the Path of withdrawal and the third the study of scripture, in particular to try to figure out what it is that the Saints, Saviors and Sages are describing and recognizing it within yourself. This is also how Yogi Bhajan described how he read scripture. The ability to grasp the experience they describe comes to a large extent as a result of daily Sadhana that distills the impurities from the mind so that your inherent Intelligence emerges, recollects and reflects Its Source. Understanding that there is a “scientific” process is a great help in motivation of one’s sustained practice. As one practices and notices the gradual spreading and evening out of the feeling of Radiance and easy increasing of voltage, and the changes in clarity and consciousness, it is useful to also know where that is leading causes practitioners to become interested in the words and lives of the Sages, Saints and Saviors to glean from them an experience that seems to be closing in, sort of like a magnet that is close to another magnet, where you feel the pull, but the impact hasn’t happened. But, as you will find in all religions there is a simple statement: “Hearing the Word, my Soul is healed.”

Auspicious Shades by Trina Kavanagh

 Park 017

As I ramble on with Ramana
on sitting silent, and passing.
Action of auspicious shades of orange autumn leaves
attach their coloured crusty shades
to reflective rockports of realization.

On occasion, a lofty leaf within leela, stuck without sticking
releases bondage from rambling rocking walking rock.
Heart time space are collaborated and concentrated.
An unconditional comfortable compassion now remains here
and an all airy fiery appearance resides rupa.

Om. All love.

 Park 021

Njanappaana by Poonthanam Nambudiri-4

translation and commentary by Smt. Savitri Puram

Bhagavan says : “njaanagni: sarvakarmaani bhasmasaat kuruthe”
~the fire of knowledge burns all karmaas in to ashes.



Njanappaana can be considered as the Bhagavad Gita of Malayalees. This is a Darshanika kaavyam or philosophical poem expressed in the most simple Malayalam language for ordinary people. Poonthanam Nambudiri, an ardent devotee of Shri Guruvayurappan, transformed his unbearable sorrow from his infant son’s death into a “yogavishesham”. He used this sad experience to build his Bhakthi soudham or house of devotion and opened it for all devotees for all time. Even though the language is very simple, this njaanappana, or song of wisdom deals with the essence of all vedas and upanishads. May Bhagavan Guruvayurappan, Bhagavathy Sarswathi Devi and Sri Poonthaanam Nambudiri bless us to become wiser by going through this great Song of Wisdom!!

This is continued from Part One…
Part Two
Part Three


Karmangalkku vilabhoomiyaakiya
Karmanaasam varuthenamenkilum
Chemme mattengum saadhiyaa nirnnayam

Know (arinjaalaum) that this earth (bhoomi), our birth place or mother land (janmadesaham) is the field where we sow the seeds of all karmaas (karmangalkku vilabhoomiyaakiya). Definitely (nirnayam) it is not possible (saadhiyaa) to exhaust the residual karmaas (karmanaasham varutthenamenkilum) anywhere else other than here.

These four lines may seem to contradict the idea expressed in the previous lines. In the last stanza poet said that karmaas can be performed only on earth (there is no contradiction on this part.)and results of the karmaas are experienced in appropriate worlds like heavenly worlds or worlds of hell. Now this stanza says that “karmanaasham” or exhaustion of karmaas is possible only on earth. Let us explore what poet means by “karmanaasham” in this context.

In this context, by the word “karma” poet means residual karmaas. After death, subtle body (jeevan or soul) experiences the results of all karmaas that can be experienced by subltle body in the worlds other than earth. But some results can be experienced only by the gross body. So jeevan comes back to earth with those residual karmaas, takes an appropriate form of life in an appropriate circumstance to exhaust the remaining karmaas and to do new karmaas. Jeevan thus enjoys or suffers the results of all the residual karmaas on earth. So in the time between births, subtle body experiences the results of good and bad karmaas and during the life on earth, gross body experiences the results of remaining different set of good and bad karmaas. It is to be noted that in the time between births, subtle body does not accumulate any karmaas. Only during the life time on earth, jeevan in gross body accumulates karmaas.

Swami Sivananda says about residual karmaas: “If all Karmas bear fruit after death, there will be no cause for rebirth after life in heaven or hell or in animal bodies, because in these there is no means of virtue or vice. You need not be afraid that if any Karmas are left in store there will be no salvation, because knowledge of Self will annihilate all Karmas. Therefore it is an established conclusion that the souls descend to the earth from heaven with a remainder of works (Anusaya). After the fruits of the meritorious acts have completely been enjoyed in heaven, the remaining other set of works (good and bad) whose fruits are to be enjoyed in this world forms the Anusaya with which the souls come to the earth.” Bhagavan says : “njaanagni: sarvakarmaani bhasmasaat kuruthe” or “the fire of knowledge burn all karmaas in to ashes”.

In short, sum total of all our past lives led us to where we are now. To realize the goal of salvation, soul undertakes many many lives in gross body or physical body. Those who take responsibility for one’s karmaas and do one’s best to free from the cycle of birth and death is defined by scriptures are wise and strong willed. Those who blame others are defined as unwise and weak. How can we become wise and strong willed in this Kaliyuga? Poonthanam suggests chanting of naamam and surrendering to Bhagavaan as the best method. Chanting naamam helps us to remember Lord’s greatness continuously and from there Bhagavan takes over because He has promised in Bhagavad Gita:

Ananyaschintayanto mam ye jana: paryupasate,
Tesham nityabhiyuktanam yoga-kshamam vahamyaham

“Those devotees who think of me continuously, making me the sole object of their worship, I myself will provide for their every need and safeguard their yogakshemam.

Bhaktanmaarkkum mumukshu janangalkkum
Saktharaaya vishayee janangalkkum
Ischicheedunnathokke kodutthitum
Viswa maathaavu bhoomi siva siva

Siva! Siva! this Bhoomi Devi who is the mother of the whole universe (Viswamaathaavu bhoomi), fulfills all the wishes (Inchikkunnathokke kotukkunnu) of devotees (Bhakthanmaarkkum), people who aspire liberation or salvation (Mumukshu janangalkkum) and desire-bound materialists ( saktharraya vishayee janangalkkum) alike!

This earth fulfills the wishes of all kinds of people. It is interesting to note that Bhoomidevi lets any aspirant to advance in their chosen path. The only condition is sincere effort to reach the goal. May it be the desire to feel the presence of God everywhere and in everything, may it be the desire to attain salvation, or may it be the desire to succeed in the material life, our Mother Earth fulfills the wishes of everybody alike.

As per Shri Neelakandhan Nambisan, Poonthaanam used the word “bhakthanmaarkkum” as the first word because Bhagavan is Bhakthadaasan and devotees are more dear to him than those who desire mukthi or salvation. We have several stories to illustrate Bhagavan’s bhaktha vathsalyam or love for devotees. To make Prahlada’s words true, He took incarnation from the pillar as Narasimha, to make Bhishmaachaaryaa’s words true, He broke His own vow and took weapon in His hands, and He became the charioteer of Arjuna. Then as Paartha Sarathi he assures us through Arjuna: “na mae bhaktha: pranashyathi” , “my devotees will never perish”.

The word “Viswamatha” means the mother of the whole universe. There is one more reason to call Bhoomidevi Viswamatha. “viswam” also means Bhagavan. (Viswam Vishnu: Vashatkaara:). In one sense, Bhoomidevi is mother of Bhagavan also because all the incarnations happened in Bhoomi. So Bhagavan is Viswam and as His mother is Viswamaatha. So the name Viswamatha is apt for Bhoomidevi.

Sankaraachaaryar says ” kuputhro jaayetha kwachidapi kumaatha na bhavathi” or “there could be a bad son but never a bad mother !”. This mother of the Universe, Bhoomidevi  sets an example and underlines the above statement by supporting and fulfilling the wishes of all her three types of children-bhakthaas, mumukshus and worldly people.

Were  the divine naamaas “siva! siva” used to express poet’s surprise when he observed Bhoomidevi supporting the Vishayee’s worldly desires or to indicate Bhoomidevi’s apaara kaarunyam or limitless mercy towards the Vishayees? As a mother, Bhoomidevi may be letting Vishayees fulfill worldly desires for sometime in the hope that in course of time, with the satsangam of the Bhakthaas and Mumukshus, Vishayees will develop detachment towards worldly desires. A mother is an ocean of love and kindness!

Another interpretation is that the poet used these names to express Bhoomidevi’s sorrow to see how Vishayees go after never ending transient pleasures even after achieving their righteous and dhaarmic goals. This earth is karmakshethra and even after taking birth as a human on this earth, it is sad to see some one not trying to attain salvation. In kaliyuga this can be easily achieved by chanting Bhagavan’s divine names and people are still reluctant to turn their mind to the higher power. This might be another reason for Bhoomidevi’s sorrow.Those who do naamsankeerthanam are set on the path of Bhakthi and knowledge and eventually attain moksha.

Viswanaathante moolaprakrithi thaan
Prathyakshena vilangunnu bhoomiyaay

Moolaprakruthi, creation of Lord of the Universe (Viswanaathante) appears (vilangunnu) as Bhoomidevi who is visible by direct senses or direct perception (prakthyashena).

Let us explore more about creation. Bhagavan initiates creation. The first cause is Bhagavan or Viswanathan who is beginingless and endless. First effect is Moola Prakruthi. Second effect is Prakruthi which is the avyaktha or undifferentiated cosmic substance. Then comes the effect of Prakruthi, Mahat thatva.  From this Ahamkaaram or feeling of “I-Ness” emerges, next is cosmic mind, five Njaanedriyas or knowing senses from mind, then five karmendriyas or working senses also from the same mind, Pancha tanmathras or five objects of njaanedriyas and finally the physical manifestation of the Pancha tanmathraas, the five visible material substances. These are called Pancha bhoothaas. Of this the last one formed is Bhoomi. First is Aakasham or space , next is Vaayu or air, third is Agni or fire, Fourth is Apa or water and then comes our Bhoomidevi ot Prithvi or earth. So we can see that Bhoomidevi is the gross and visible form (prakthyaksham) of Moola Prakruthi.

We can compare the relation between the Moola Prakrithi and Bhoomi to a mount of mud and an earthen pot made of mud. Here we can say that mud is the Moola Prakruthi and the earthen pot made out of mud is a manifestation of mud. So earthen pot can be compared to Bhoomi. Similarly all the different golden ornaments are made from the same basic substance Gold. Once you melt the ornament, it becomes the basic gold again. Likewise, before dissolution Bhoomi dissolves in water, water is evaporated by fire, fire is put out by air and air disappears in space and everything goes back and dissolves in Moola Prakruthi and in turn Moola Prakruthi dissolves in Paramaathma or Viswanathan.

Shri Nilakandhan Nambishan has given an interesting interpretation for the word “Viswanathan”. One meaning for “Vi”is bird and “swaa’ can mean a dog. So he says that name Viswanathan indicates that Bhagavan’s limitless mercy reaches the whole universe including the birds and dogs and hence undoubtedly He is the Lord of all!

Poonthaanam says that Jeevaas who took birth in this Kaliyuga on this earth as human beings are very blessed because just by chanting Bhagavan’s naamam, we can attain moksham.

Avaneethala paalanathinnallo
Avathaarangalum palathorkkumbol
Athukondu visheshicchum bhoolokam
Veda vaadikalaaya munikalum
Vedavum bahumaanichu chollunnu

Several incarnations (avathaarangalum palathu), when you think about them (orkkumbol), are for protecting (paalanatthinallo) earth or Bhoomidevi (avaneethalam) . Because of this (athukondu), earth is considered very special (bhoolokam visheshicchum)and best (utthamam) among all fourteen worlds (pathinnaalilum). Not only munis who have the knowledge of Brahmam (veda vaadikalaaya munikalum) , but also Vedaas say this (chollunnu).

All incarnations of Bhagavan including the Poornaavathaars or incarnations with full glory, of Lord Rama and Lord Krishna happened on earth. Bhoomi got this special blessing and privilege to become the mother of Bhagavaan’s incarnations. These incarnations were to protect her from cruel, unrighteous and demonic kings. Bhagavan promised : “Whenever there is a fall in Dharma and a rise in Adharma, I manifest to protect the good, to destroy evil and establish Dharma” and kept his promise.

When ever Bhoomidevi is subjected to endless suffering at the hands of cruel and demonic people, she approaches Brahma and with Brahma and Devaas they approach Bhagavn. Bhagavan never ignored her prayers but solved her problems and took care of her with love. So Bhoomi is special for Bhagavan. Also as said in previous lines, Bhoomi is the Karma Kshethra and Karmaas can be done only by taking a physical form of life on earth. Bhoomi is special for this reason too. In addition to this, to exhaust residual karmaas from other worlds, jeevan has to take birth on earth. So Bhoomi is the divine place where you can accumulate karmaas, exhaust all results of residual karmaas and this is the only place where you can do Nishkaama karma or “actions with renunciation of fruits” and attain Moksha.

Because of all these reasons realized souls like sages and vedaas consider Bhoomi as the perfect world or the most desirable place to be born in for any living being. “Veda vaadikalaaya munikalum” can be interpreted in two ways:

1. Those who are experts in Vedaas.

2. Word Veda also means “brahmam”. So this can mean those who have realized brahmam or those who always meditate on brahmam.

The fact that Bhoomi is the best of all worlds is approved by Vedaas and great seers. It is said that even inhabitants of swarga or heaven desire to come to earth so that with Nishkaama karmam they can attain salvation. Scriptures and our ancient sages say that Naamasankeertthanam is the first step and best method to realize God in Kaliyuga.

Lavanaabudhi madhye vilangunna
Jambu dweeporu yojana lakshavum
Saptha dweepukaluntathil ethrayum
Uthamamennu vaazhthunnu pinneyum

An island called Jambu dweep with an area of one lakh yojana (one yojana is about 10 miles) stands (vilangunna) in the middle of the salty ocean (lavanaabudhi madhye) and is praised again and again (vaazhtthunnu pinneyum) as the best of all (ethrayum utthamamennu) the seven existing islands (saptha dweepukaluntathil).

There are seven islands and Jambudweepam is the best and most blessed of all islands. Other islands are Plaksha dweepam, Shaalmala dweepam, Kusa ,Krouncha, Shaaka and Pushkara dweepams. There are seven different types of oceans and Jambu dweepam is surrounded by the salty ocean. The other oceans are of sugar cane juice, wine, ghee, milk, curds and pure water. In one description, Jambudweep is not only in the middle of the salty ocean, it also forms the center island. Jambudweep is surrounded by salt water and after this body of salt water is Plaksha dweep, surrounded by an ocean of sugar cane juice. Then comes Shaalmala Dweep surrounded by an ocean of wine. Then comes Kusha dweep surrounded by an ocean of ghee Next is Krouncha dweep, surrounded by an ocean of milk. The last but one is Shaaka dweep, surrounded by an ocean of curd. The outermost and seventh dweep is Pushkara dweep which is surrounded by pure water.

There is an interesting story behind the birth of the seven seas and seven islands. The below quotation is taken from respected KVGji’s and S.N.Sastriji’s translation of Bahktharanjini interpretation of Naarayaneeyam published by Bhaktharanjini Trust.

” Puranams say that the earth is in the shape of a lotus bud in the center of which stands the mountain Mahameru or Sumeru. Once, King Priyavratha observed that the Sun God shines only on one half of the earth’s surface in the course of his circuit around Sumeru and leaves the other half in darkness. The King thought that it was not good to waste half of the day as night. Therefore he made seven circuits around earth, in his effulgent car, following the Sun at its speed determined to turn night into day. The tracks that were sunk by the fellies of the wheels of his chariot came to be the most celebrated seven oceans which divided earth in to seven islands.”

Poonthaanam glorifies Jambudweep because this island has nine regions or parts and one of them is Bharatha varsha. Bharata varsha is the best and blessed of all nine regions of Jambudweep. It is the only place where one can perform good karmaas and attain moksham. So we can even say that because of the Bharata varsham, Jambu dweep became the holiest of all islands! Poonthaanam again tells us to remember the importance of Naamasankeerthanam, especially for those who are fortunate to be born and fortunate to live in this Bharatha varsha of Jambu dweep. It is Karma Kshethra, it is Punya Bhoomi and with Nishkaama karmam one becomes Punyavaan and attains moksham


What Is Yoga? By Pieter Schoonheim Samara

What is Kundalini Yoga?

As taught by Yogi Bhajan


Yoga has 2 aspects: By the first is meant the idea of yoking, to link the limited idea of self through purifying efforts with the Universal Consciousness. By the second is meant the realization of Union, wherein the purified individual unit of consciousness awakens to realize that it is one with the non-dual, all-pervasive Universal Consciousness.

The Purpose of Yoga:

In the spiritual text or treatise on Eight Limbs of (Ashtanga) Yoga by the ancient Sage Patanjali in the 7th Century, the third aphorism states that the purpose of Yoga is to “isolate the seer.”

In the Gospel of John, Ch 11:34, Christ tells the Apostles similarly regarding this same purpose, practice, and its result, that “The eye (the seer – one’s awareness – the subject “I”) is the Light of the body. When thine eye is single (isolated and held to without attention to images, impressions and sensations), thy whole body will be filled with Light.”

Yoga as Yoking (Aradhana):

In Kundalini Yoga, the yoking aspect comes under the term Aradhana, which means a sustained daily practice (Sadhana) through which impurities are distilled from the conscious field leaving the attachments to images impressions and sensations that make up the identity of the pervasive “I” sense with the body and mind. Through daily persistent practice, the mind comes to a zero point completely clear, empty and still, the term for which in Kundalini Yoga is called Shuniya. The result of this zero-point/emptiness of the “I” sense is the possibility that upon “hearing” that one’s sense of “I” is really derived from and not different from the Universal Consciousness, That True Self (the Atman – the pure individual unit of consciousness or Soul) recollects Itself as single pervasive Being and abides in and as Itself, effecting a radical force that pierces through and outshines the mind and body. The feeling or sense of “I” that you feel now doesn’t change, only the realization of Its True nature, which is to say who and what you really are.

Hearing, Remembrance, Abiding:

This “hearing” in Kundalini Yoga, which uses the terms from the Sikh Gurmukhi is called “sunia,” reflection or recollection by the term “Mania” and “perfect abiding” by the term “mamu kita bhau” It should be noted, however that these terms and this process of experience are used in every religion and every yoga to denote the same process and experience. In Christianity, Christ repeats these terms to explain the practical process of realization in every text. In Hinduism/Vedanta the terms are Sravana, Manana and Niddidyasana. In Buddhism the process is incorporated in the practices of Mahamudra and Dozchen. In all these, when the Truth is pointed out, this “hearing” becomes possible when a person is “pure in heart.”

By “pure in heart” is meant that the tamasic and rajasic tendencies of the mind have been overcome by the mind’s satvic essence, which radiates from the spiritual heart (Ik Tar” or One Star – a center unrelated to the heart chakra) in the reflected consciousness of the mind, when it becomes pure, i.e., in yogic terms “satvic.”

These three, tamasic, rajasic and satvic are together called the gunas, which one might call interrelated levels of force that give a sense that one is acting in and through the body and mind, even though, in Reality, only the Self is Real.

By tamasic is really meant those impressions that have through emotion or stress been deeply encoded / embedded in the physiology (molecular and cellular structure) of the body, so that impressions of the mind will trigger over and over the same chemical electric emotions and projections of those emotions on the world. This means that we chemically imprint and store impressions and then project them on the world around us, with such a force that the only people and events that come to play out our roles on this planet are those that respond to us in the same manner as we project, i.e., they have similar innate tendencies, while others drift from our world all together. In other words, based on the predispositions we have been born with, we react and form impressions, some based on strong emotion, others through persistent repetition, and we project an apparently separate world, each of us imagining intense realness to that world, based on the chemical triggers elicited in our bodies by our thoughts. Thus, the tamasic force binds our “I” sense to the body.

By rajasic is meant the activity of the mind, impelled on the one side by the chemical triggers in the bodily encoding and on the other side by the life force emanating from the Universal Consciousness that pierces through the Spiritual Heart denoting the sense of “I” through-out the nervous system, so that we think “I am the body,” and through a major nerve (mind nerve) to the brain, so that we think “I am the thoughts and impressions of the mind.” The rajasic force has a unique deluding potency that gives us the sense that “I, the body and mind, am the doer.”

Satvic then is the pure non-objective etheric consciousness that reflects the force of Intelligence rising from the Spiritual Heart, which force inclines the Soul to look inwards and recollect Its True Identity. The satvic is really the reflected force of pervasive purity emanating from the Universal Consciousness our True Self.

Yoga, as Union (Pradupati):

Thus, when the mind becomes pure, it reflects the Self in the Spiritual Heart. At once, one abides as single pervasive consciousness, without separation or differentiation, the selfeffulgent screen within which and upon which appears all the dimensions of the Universe vast and small. You stand transfigured, both Grounded as though a force of a graviton, yet radiant, like a Sun. In Kundalini Yoga the term used to describe this timeless eventuality is “One Star Spirituality.”

This realization in Kundalini Yoga is called “pradupati” or the crystallization of the Soul. But even though this realization has taken place, one’s Sadhana continues, but at a different level, until the realization is complete.

In Kundalini Yoga, the first realization, which brings you into the experience of your “Diamond Body” – clear like a diamond, i.e., “pradupati,” is called “Sat Nam,” which is the experience of one’s (pure) Self as Truth, a Truth which is beyond all notions of duality, even the ideas of a subject and object of perception, beyond conception. The final realization, wherein there is only the Universal Consciousness and there remains nothing separate is called “Whahe Guru.”

This experience is described variously in every yoga and religion. Just as Guru Nanak emerged from a cave after being drawn there to meditate for several weeks, saying, as his first words, “Sat Nam,” Christ emerged from the dessert after several weeks with his first words, similarly translated, as “I am the Truth.” In Buddhism, this experience is termed the Dharmakaya or the Embodiment of Truth. In Hinduism the experience is called “Satchitananda.”

Always keeping in Mind the Purpose of Practice:

When one practices yoga, what one keeps in mind always is an inner quest to try to “isolate the seer” to arrive at the subjugation of the mind through one means or another through which one comes to a state of non-objective awareness, a state of etheric consciousness on the belief that one will arrive at the Truth about themselves.

The nature of the Universal Consciousness is that it is like a self-effulgent pervasive screen. What we see is like a movie that we ourselves project, and due to the force we project through the thought impressions and the intensity of the chemical reactions the thoughts trigger, i.e., the gunas, we have the strong belief in the reality of what we see. But we hear, again and again, in spiritual texts and clues from events in our lives that there is something more to who and what we are.

And so, we begin a new journey, where, instead of filling our lives with outward activities, we begin a daily search and exploration to find out what it seems that we are missing.

The Universal Consciousness is similar to a Cinema, where we sit and watch a movie that is run from reel to reel on a projector that passes light through a lens through the frames of the film being projected onto a white screen. The difference is that the Universal Consciousness a multi-dimensional screen, including time and space, that lights Itself and all the images appearing, manifesting within Itself both awareness and being, or the sense of “I.”

If the Truth is that we are really not the limited scope of thoughts and impressions and body sensations, but really Consciousness Itself, then what is the cause of the delusion, amnesia, mistaken identity?

Practically speaking, the body, while a powerful vehicle for the Soul, in that it has the nervous system, the chemical power of the glandular system and the force of prana, nevertheless, operates at a conscious energy or voltage level, which bonds the Soul’s astral body to the identity with the chemically imprinted images and impressions.

The Nature of Awareness:

On the other hand, awareness with the sense of being or “I” – the seer, wherever projected, gives the feeling of life and a mild sensation of energy or voltage when directed in the body, and, when combined with thoughts that trigger the chemical electric sensations in the body, can result in very powerful feelings of life and voltage.

Therefore, the application of awareness must be the key, and if we can somehow isolate it, then we would have access to the total force inherent in that awareness.

Now what is this awareness, which is synonymous with the sense of being or “I” and the feeling of life force or prana (voltage)?

The awareness is what yogis call the Atman, while the Universal consciousness is called

Brahman. In Christian terms, the Atman, or pure sense of “I” without identity or association to images is called the Christ Consciousness or the Son, in relation to Brahman is called the Father.

To try to show the relationship between the 2 and why these 2 are really one, we can use the following analogy that was often used by mystics in the Dark Ages of Europe, before the Renaissance.

People would ask what the twinkling lights were in the sky at night (the stars). What they

were told was that at night God pulled a shroud over the planet and that on the other side of that shroud was the Infinite Light and Glory of the Father. And that within that shroud were pinpricks through which that Light shone. This answer usually satisfied.

But when people asked more the nature of this Light, they were sometimes told that within each of us is a pinprick (Star) in our Spiritual Heart, through which is projected the light of awareness that animates the body and the mind and denoted the sense of “I.”

So, when the mind is pure and reflects the Spiritual Heart, we experience ourselves being Transfigured. The mind and body fill with Light, and we abide as spatial consciousness in the Heart.

From the perspective of Kundalini Yoga practice, Yogi Bhajan provided his own experience in a poem he wrote in 1968, where he explained that in the depth of his heart the Temple of God lives, that he realized the Infinite Being in his Heart, and the Spirit of Wisdom and Truth dwelled with him. He experienced electric radiance and undifferentiated pervasive consciousness, where “inside-outside everything is whole.”

Thus, when we can pierce through the Star in our Heart, we suddenly awaken to the Truth we have always been grounded in.

And so we begin a practice of yoga.

The Pratyahar Path of Yoga:

Now there are many types of yogas, but, as we can see from the practical understanding of who and what we really are, all practices are essentially designed around a methodology for “applied awareness” and “letting go.” This is so, because we want to develop the recollection and ability to apply awareness in order to trace it back to its source without clinging to the images and sensations elicited by the application of that awareness.

Every thought has an electrical charge. When couples with impressions that elicit a chemical electric (glandular secretion) in the body, the charge is even greater. We all know about how, when we touch an electric wire, we get gripped by its shock and pulse and cannot let go unless someone hits us or tells us forcefully enough to “let go.” Disengage! Relinquish! Discard!

In the terms of the Kundalini Yoga, as Yogi Bhajan taught, most yogic and religious practices are what he termed as the Path of Pratyahar.

Pratyahar used in this way, different from the term pratyahar in the 8 limbs of Raja Yoga, such as commented on by Swami Vivekananda in the 1920s in his book “Raja Yoga,” means those practices or methods that slowly draw one into the deeper experience and source of one’s awareness through systems whereby one applies one’s awareness slowly through every part of the body, then to the major nadis and so on.

As most people know, the term “mindfulness” is a key practice in Buddhism, whether Hinayana, Mahayana or Vajrayana. It is also one of the main practices in Christian Monasteries, and was taught, for example, by St. John of the Cross, St. Francis of Assisi, etc.. It is also the basis for all hatha yoga practices, pranayamas and even martial arts. The Shao Lin Temple was started by the first Zen Patriarch, Bodhidharma, who went to China from India and taught what are now called the Kung Fu movements. Tai Chi is the same. Taoism is also the same.

There are also mental practices and meditations, including visualizations and the use of mantra, which have the intention to gradually lay down new patters with so many layers of repetition that the old patters are, so to speak, drowned out, releasing energy in the process.

Applied awareness and the generation energy/consciousness:

The idea is that, as one applies a still steady flow of awareness throughout the body, whether through sitting still, holding a posture, in movement or watching the breath and movement of prana in the body, the very directed act of applying awareness causes energy to build in that area one focuses, and that energy or voltage is remembered and retained, until eventually, through steady practice, several events begin to occur within the body. One of these is that, as the voltage increases, the frequency of that voltage becomes such that it supersedes the frequency of thoughts, so that you begin to find yourself in a pre-thought cognitive state – thought free.

As thoughts are not being produced with the prana flowing in the body, where atoms are brought together momentarily to trigger sound and images and store impressions, there builds within the still mind and empty body a kinetic or potential energy. At the same time one has spontaneous intuitions or revelations regarding stored impressions and past judgments that emerge from their vault in the subconscious, are resolved and dissolved, releasing more energy.

As this process continues, the voltage reaches a point where a kind of lightless or etheric spaciousness is experienced, where the energy or voltage that is used by the mind to focus is also superseded, and suddenly, the focusing mechanism of the mind disengages and you experience yourself as a field of pervasive consciousness and feel a gradual increasing of radiance throughout the body. With this often arises a pervading sense of perpetual forgiveness or compassion.

Pratyahar – The beginning of sensory awareness:

This feeling of radiance is the beginning of what in the 8 limbs of yoga outlined by Patanjali is called Pratyahar, or the beginning of sensory awareness that flows into the body and mind. It does not mean, necessarily that you loose consciousness of the outer senses. But it does mean that through the inner senses your awareness both within and around the body field begins to increase exponentially. From the feeling of voltage, you begin to also see spatially within and directly around the body without the subject-object focal point of a seer. Then you find that within the still pervasive radiance you are able to hear spatially, and so on.

Dhyana – The beginning of the experience of Union:

When the mind becomes pure enough that it reflects the sense of “I” as “I” in the Spiritual Heart, there arises a sense of a force of Intelligence that sucks the mind inward with a radical force, while radiating Light everywhere. In the 8 limbs of yoga, this is called Dhyana or True Meditation, because you no longer practice meditations, rather the Meditation of Self abiding remembrance pulses or reverberates soundlessly within you, both dissolving and outshining the mind and body at once, with the impalpable sensation of “I, I, I, I, I….” wherein no me versus you, this versus that, arise – no concepts al all. The mind and body fill with utter purity yogis call the “Cloud of Virtue.”

The mechanism of awareness:

Looking into the mechanism of what is happening in the body relative to the increasing voltage, as the voltage increases throughout the body, an electromagnetic pressure builds, and eventually causes the downward flowing prana, yogis call apana, which has to do with all aspects of elimination to be drawn upward to mix with the expanding pranic radiance in an area just below and behind the navel area. This area will pull up and lock automatically, causing the upward flow or voltage to be released through and along the spine. At the same time, the crown will also open and a golden radiance will flow downwards.

But it must be remembered, that in reality, this mechanism is triggered by the force of the inward flowing awareness, where the astral body and Soul is no longer is limited to the identity to the binding forces of the body (tamasic) and mind (rajasic) and is free of them (satvic), experiencing their Transfiguration. So, that what is really happening is that, with the release and expansion of awareness back to its source and natural state, the body mechanisms also open and unfold automatically.

This means that the sense of being a “doer” also dissolves.

Jnana and its predecessor Bhakti:

In yoga, the force of discrimination or Intelligence that causes the mind to invert and reflect its source purely is called Jnana or Gyan and means Self-Knowledge or True Wisdom. This force emerges suddenly, usually due to having the nature of one’s True Self pointed out, through spiritual text in a book or someone reading the text to you, or telling you in a way that elicits a the primordial memory within you, where your True Self suddenly recollects in a sensation like coming out of a stupor into clarity, or from a progressive amnesia into full recollection of who and what you are, such that a radical force of relinquishment takes hold that puts aside every and all practices, even radiance, stillness and beatitude.

But there is something that has to happen first to the Soul in the body that triggers this final event of purity, which causes the mind to surrender the last vestige of ego or the desire to cling to the thoughts and impressions of the mind and the sensations of the body. This penultimate event will usually come as a result of suddenly and inexplicably realizing that the life story about a Saint, Sage or Savior (living or historical) is True and Real. For the most part, we hear these stories told, whether the Ramayana or the various Gitas, the story of Moses and Mt. Sinai, the Gospels and Revelation of Christ, Guru Nanak, Guru Teg Bahardur, Ramakrishna, Meher Baba, Ramana Maharshi, the stories about Sakyamuni Buddha, Padmasambava Buddha, Milarepa and others in all Religions, yet to a large extent these stories appear to us like a kind of a mythology, fairy tale or “opiate for the masses.” In some practices, meditations are devised to somehow get the seeker to imprint the images of the selected Sage, Savior, Saint or Celestial Being and their pure attributes into the mind and body as a means to somehow trigger this penultimate event, again in the applied awareness and letting go methodology. But ultimately, in the process of one’s Sadhana a level of purity does manifest that tips the balance of the downward pulling forces of the body towards upward pulling, and, as the chakras from the heart to the crown begin to open, there emerges a feeling of devotion and uncaused unconditioned love of God, in whatever form, that dissolves even the idea of form. You will notice this starting to happen, when telling a story hearing it read or reading one and suddenly feeling choked up with the whole area around the heart, throat and head radiating upwards with a pervading sense of “Goodness.” Yogis call this “Bhakti.”

The result of the experience of Bhakti is that one’s practice suddenly takes on a fervor and depth of penetration and resolve that is of a caliber one had not been able to imagine before this. You suddenly and truly believe that you really are something wonderful, and that it is hidden inside you, close at hand quickly to be found. Moreover you feel the love of God drawing you inward.

What is Kundalini Yoga?

What is the Kundalini Yoga that Yogi Bhajan taught, disseminating untold volumes of information relentlessly for 35 years? And what makes it different from the above outlined Pratyahar Path?

In the Pratyahar Path, there are many practices of what are called “Kundalini Yoga,” but these have mostly to do with breath retention, and are usually only taught to very advanced students, who after many years of practice in their given methodology of sourcing the seer through practices of “applied awareness” and “letting go,” who have begun to experience the sense of etheric radiance, and the 5th limb of Raja (Ashtanga) Yoga, called Pratyahar, as mentioned above. This is because practices that suddenly release voltage into the body field, where the physiology of the body has not yet reached this stage, has no where really to go, sometimes causing physical and psychological problems.

Naturally, if one enters a retreat or Monastery and begins long periods of fasting, hours of hatha yoga exercises, and even more hours of slow channel cleansing pranayamas, while focusing on the main nadis, which yogis call the ida (to the left of the spine, pingala to the right of the spine and sushumna through the center and forward of the spine), then progress will undoubtedly be quick.

Kundalini Yoga that Yogi Bhajan taught has 2 aspects to it:

Breath repetition (Simran)

One of these is an aspect of the Pratyahar Path, with its main intent and focus of “applied awareness” and “letting go” as a foundation to the way in which all practices are done, but the aspect drawn from the Pratyahar Path side is primarily limited to long periods of slow pranayamas focused on the main nadis, what might be called the meditation on prana and its source itself. The term used in Kundalini Yoga for this practice is “sanjam” or “breath simran.”


The other practice which predominates in Kundalini Yoga is what Yogi Bhajan calls the Laya Path, or the Practice of Radiance, the generation of which is entirely unlike and unrelated to any other yogic practice mentioned above. This Practice of Radiance, with its foundation in “applied awareness” and “letting go,” rapidly, systematically, evenly and smoothly increases the voltage throughout the body field in a manner that cannot be compared or even understood from the perspective of someone practicing the Pratyahar Path of yoga, because, unless they have experienced total body field radiance and related non-objective awareness, they have no reference.

This yoga is extremely practical and has 2 main aspects: One of these is called Tappas, which really means to generate heat, but we can call it the Yoga of Light. The other is called Jappa which has to do with the use of mantra in what we can call the Yoga of Sound. But, again, these practices, their effects and results are unrelated to those of the Pratyahar Path.

The Yoga of Light:

The Yoga of Light combines posture, movement, breath and energy locks in a unique manner to produce a desired effect, which yogis call a kriya. The effect of the posture and movement is to bring about an expanding or contracting pressure on some part or system within the body field, which in practical terms causes the blood to saturate in that area, gradually opening the capillaries and cells of the organs and systems.

With the combination of various kinds of yogic breathing techniques, which have specific purposes and effects, the blood is purified and electrified and circulates in a manner that the areas brought under pressure are able to discharge accumulated waste, sloth and chemical bonding and absorb life force (prana) and voltage.

Each exercise (or at times short combinations) has as active aspect, during which period the energy is generated, which is followed by a passive aspect, during which time, the glands secrete to support and sustain the voltage generated in the specific area. The use of internal locks (bandhas) and suspension of breath either in or out further enhances the generation and sustaining of voltage. Sets of Kundalini Yoga exercises and kriyas are put together in manners that affect a gradual and systematic penetration of every system and organ of the body to build the feeling of electric radiance or voltage.

The practice of radiance necessarily includes the practice of applied awareness and letting go, because the application and focus of awareness in the specific areas affected by the exercise generates a kind of a memory of the sensation that is then sustained by the voltage generated by the secretion of the glands.

This is similar to the way that an emotion is triggered by the focus on a thought together with a sensation, only in this case, there are no thoughts, and the practice ends with disengagement of attention, i.e., letting go, the result of which is a deepening of the awareness of the source of the seer as non-objective in nature and origin.

Radiance and voltage:

This practice of Radiance is similar to having a car battery of 6 or 12 or 24 volts, wherein you have mostly water and a thin metallic plate. When an electric charge is put on the battery, the combination of the water and plate result in stored voltage, only in the body, which is also mostly water, the potential to increase and store voltage through the secretions of the glands is unlimited.

Another way to understand this is as follows: Let’s say that someone has a house in which the electrical system – wiring and fuses – is designed to carry 110 Volts, and, in order to access better quality equipment, you set about systematically rewiring your house with a new fuse box to carry 220 volts. Then when completed, you decide to install industrial machinery and, therefore, continue on to 440 Volts. In this fashion the practice of Radiance has the same intent and purpose, i.e. to have better access to the potential inherent in the body, mind and spirit.

As mentioned above, at a certain stage the voltage begins to exceed the voltage and frequency of thoughts and exceeds the voltage of the focusing mechanism of attention in the mind, at which point the awareness becomes both spatial and non-objective. What you feel is a sort of energy vibration throughout the body field entirely at once without focusing. You realize your self as the field, not a focal point directing attention through new inner senses within or outer sense around the body.

You feel deep within the center and throughout the body a sensation of deep penetrating dissolving energy coupled with a sensation of blowing apart in the cells and atoms of the body, which in Kundalini yoga is referred to as the dissolution of the “body armor.”

The body armor is a deeply embedded impression of who we think we are, rigid and reactive to that rigidity, intractable, and yet it is like a suite we have become so accustomed to wearing that we no longer notice that it completely limits our spontaneity, creativity, fluidity, perceptions, while covering our True Nature. But then this sensation of penetrating dissolving takes hold and expansion and pervasiveness are realized to be our True Nature.

What happens in this practice is that voltage and electromagnetic mechanisms are strengthened throughout the body field in a manner that begins to emulate the sensation someone feels and experiences in the body when the force of the Self in the Spiritual Heart takes hold of the mind and sucks it inward, collapsing the body armor and blowing it apart at once. Then suddenly “impact!” The individual unit of consciousness reaches a level of pure and radiant voltage and radiance that from one perspective has so filled the astral body that it disengages from the body and mind and links to its source, the Universal Consciousness, which pervades and sustains the Universe and each of us in the Spiritual Heart, and the seemingly 2 are realized to be One. The Yoga of Union.

The Yoga of Will:

Included under the Yoga of Light is the Yoga of Will. The Will is the pure “I” sense, what some also call the Spirit. Quite often the sense of “I” is mixed with the body or the mind, so that there is a predominant feeling of the “I” sense with one or the other. The result of this is an imbalance of the mind and body, i.e., the breakdown of one’s character, personality or behavior in times of stress that can lead to mental or physical illnesses. But through certain Kundalini Yoga exercises or kriyas that are practiced for an extended period of time the imbalances or stresses are caused to come out, as the mind and body alternately resists the continuation or the practice. However, as one perseveres, at a certain point, the complaints, resistances and agitations of the mind and body subside and one feels the steady predominant sense of one’s Will prevailing.

The result of this sustained practice of the Kundalini Yoga exercise or kriya is that, as previous points of stress come up in life, the memory of the sense of Will, one’s Spirit, predominates, and the body and mind remain in balance or integrated under the Will, meaning that the Self inherent “I” sense, devoid of the vagaries and attachments to the identity with the body and/or mind, is felt to be steady, consolidated. This, in turn, gives rise to the specific awareness or cognizance of “isolating of the seer.”

The Yoga of Sound:

The use of mantra in the Laya Path practice of Radiance and Kundalini Yoga is also unrelated to the use of mantra in the Pratyahar Path. This is because, as the voltage of the body increases through the Yoga of Light, the body becomes an amplifier of sound and the nadis or energy channels in the body begin to resonate.

The effect of the increased voltage running evenly and smoothly in the body field is like having a piano, where the dull strings have been tightened, tuned and toned, or a guitar or harp or violin, so that when a sound is chanted in a particular manner, and in a correct posture, the sound is felt to vibrate throughout the body field, and in the process releases and magnifies the even balanced flow of voltage, such that a 5 to 10 minute session of mantra can generate a voltage that is geometrically greater, yet smoother, than a previous hour of the practice of powerful kriyas.

There are 2 types of mantra in Kundalini Yoga practice, generally speaking. The first is mantra, which is called Laya, combines with the use of locks, mudras, specific breathing and cadence, which will have a deeply penetrate effect that directly dissolves the encoding of thought energy patterns of stress and emotion. The second, which can be equally as powerful, is the use of mantra in kirtan, devotional singing, where the intent is to create new overriding positive patterns to overcome imbedded thought impressions, but in a manner greatly more effective than the use of mantra in the Pratyahar Path.

Kundalini Yoga Meditation:

Kundalini Yoga Meditations are uniquely designed to engage all the modes of the mind and body, so that in order to keep up or maintain the meditation one is required to apply one’s awareness at once in these diversified areas, that all relate to one effect, in terms of opening physiological systems and energy passages that relate to the experience of single pervasive awareness. Similar to the Yoga of Will, the effect of the maintenance of the meditation is that the mind and body are bought in the process to the subservience to the Spirit or Soul, which is always the source of their light and inherent sense of being (identity), but what is significant is that the practitioner becomes aware that who they really are is grounded in the flow of awareness and in the awareness Itself, as the real source of Light and Being, so that attention and interest in the mind and body field diminish and shift to and, thereby, reflect their source. It’s like a balance, wherein, by maintaining the precise balance required, something unique happens, but when you take out any component, you never achieve the balance or realize the unique experience that results from coming into that balance.

Physiologically, this balance is actually the Shakti system aligning itself in polarity with Shiva. When Yogi Bhajan speaks about polarity he says that the polarity of the balance body field is God. Thus, by Shiva is really meant God. In Sikh terms this would be Parbrahm-akal, Hindu terms Brahman, Buddhist Terms the Boddhichitta, but simply put, That Awareness, which is both single and all-pervasive, all-absorbing and infinite, that pierces through the spiritual heart (Ik Tar – One Star or Hrdayam) illumining the mind and body field, the Self of all.

As you maintain the meditation in balance, an electromagnetic force field forms that draws in and binds all the power centers creating a pillar of light, what some call the Transfiguration.


The overall effect of the practice of Radiance is that, in the process of strengthening the nervous system and glandular systems of the body, very quickly one becomes aware of an ever deepening and expanding electric radiance throughout the body field, which leads to pervasive seeing and hearing initially in the body and gradually around the body. What is happening is that as the nadis become more radiant and luminous, they also brighten the darkness around the body, similar to turning up the voltage in a light bulb, where the incandescent filament of the light bulb first can be seen in the darkness, but then fills the darkness with light, so that within the field of consciousness around the body you begin to feel and sense and then see pervasively.

Turya, the Forth State:

Turya is the state of one’s Transcendental Consciousness at the substratum of one’s waking dreaming and deep sleep modes of mind. It’s the screen upon which these appear in relation to the body field. Within these changing modes of mind, suddenly shines forth the recognition of who you are, as single pervasive awareness, unconditioned uncaused being. This is Turya.

But this is only the beginning of the awakening process, as by awakening is really meant that one first awakens to their (transcendent) Self as this underlying substratum, meaning that you see Maya in the waking state for what it is, yet abide in a continuous state of recollection / pulsation of your True Self, and then you begin to awaken in the other modes of mind.

When this begins to emerge in your consciousness, it is the beginning of the experience of one’s awareness as awake in the sub-conscious. You’ll notice that, as the mode of mind begins to shift into sleep that the radiance throughout the body increases and you experience a dissolving of attention.

The focusing mechanism of the waking consciousness disengages and you experience your awareness pervasively, beyond thought and imaging. This is a process the body field goes through every time we fall asleep, the only difference now is that you progressively remain aware of the transition(s). This means that, as you arise into the mode of waking consciousness, you, nevertheless, remain aware of your Self, as the Forth State or substratum to all states, but also retain the awareness of the sub-conscient.

When this wakefulness of the sub-conscient emerges in the waking conscious field, it comes with the feeling of being transparent and weightless, entirely empty and utterly pure and still. The world begins to feel like a dream in which you recognize that you and the manifestation of the dream are simultaneous, i.e., not different, not separated.

This is not the same as what some people call “lucid dreaming,) where you watch the dreams unfold. It’s an experience of being at the substratum of the emerging dreams.

You abide as One with the Creator of the Dream and the Creation, and recognize and experience this both in the waking and dream sleep state. As this continues into the retention of awareness in the un-conscient, you, a pervasive field, begin also to experience luminosity or brightness, where in dark hovels you see and experience brightness, and when you look at the sun it seems dim by comparison. Whatever you say happens, and all you say dissolves karma and produces only good. Those that come within your field become pure in heart. Other intuitional abilities arise as well, emerging also more as a sense of recollection of what was always yours, not as something new. While utterly here and clear, you are empty, spatial, beyond even Oneness.

In terms of meditative practice, this transitional state between the waking and sleep state is one of the “intervals” within which one can experience the substratum of the changing modes of mind, Turya. The other intervals are between inhaling and exhaling, and between thought.

You will discover in reading the text here above, practicing and experiencing yourself the transformational effects of proper practice that the words of Christ, Buddha, Vedanta Gitas and so on all have this same inimitable quality that elicits within you the recollection by the essence within your own feeling of “I” of who and what you are, and that essence, while flashing forth, entirely grounds the outgoing mind into the unconditioned reflection of Itself. At once you relinquish all ideas and concepts of who you thought you were, and what God and the world might have been, and you in your totality pierce through the veil and abide as undifferentiated being, no thoughts, nor a thinker.

For that matter, as you read this, you might reflect back to the inimitable way that Yogi Bhajan had of describing his perception of events, people and the world, intermixed with his simultaneous precognitions, multidimensional clarity of perception, maybe best summarized by what an astrologer said of Yogi Bhajan after his passing, that for a Soul such as Yogi Bhajan, Life and Death are just different aspects his ever abiding experience of Eternal Life.

Once you come to the stage of Union or Pradupati, which are other terms that describe the Turya state, a process takes hold that you might say Meditates you. You experience a force of radical relinquishment, the Transfiguration, like being at the center of a Black Hole, yet blazing like a Sun. Yet, even though you abide in Truth, there is some remaining sense of being the doer, of Me and God and Oneness, but finally, even this Oneness has to vanish.

You feel the anahata, the soundless reverberation of the pulsing sense of “I” irradiant, pervasive and prevailing, all absorbing, yet spatial, what Yogi Bhajan refers to as “One Star Spirituality.”

When the Soul undergoes this transformation, the body manifests a certain positioning, where whether walking or sitting, the spine will automatically pull straight from within, the shoulders press back and the chest expand forward suspending the breath. The Vedanta term “Niddidyasana” is the term that expresses the state of the Soul (spirit), mind and posture in simultaneous perfect repose. Radiance emanates from the Spiritual Heart filling all the nadis, while radically disengaging attention. In terms of better understanding the technology of Kundalini Yoga, there are many Kundalini kriyas and meditations that Yogi Bhajan taught that emulate and penetrate into the physiology of this perfect repose bringing about a condition for the spontaneous manifestation of “hearing,” “recollection” and “abiding.”

In yoga practice, the isolation of the seer is the same as the realization of the Forth State. The other three are waking consciousness (jagrat), dream sleep or subconscious, and deep sleep or the unconscious (sushupti). Turya is their substratum, their support and basis, the screen upon which the other 3 play out. When one begins to have what yogis call waking-sleep or “jagratsushupti,” then one is experiencing the grounding effect of the Turya or Fourth State.

One description of the experience of Turya has been that there is no one acting, no doer. Everything is seen (Witnessed) to happen by itself. There is no inside, nor outside, no time, nor space, neither near nor far, no conditions or causes whatsoever, and yet there is seeing of your body as translucent, no longer having any sense of me, mine, nor “I.” Without attention appearing within the pervasive field of consciousness, a multi-colored flame rises within the body field through the spine and top of the head, together with an incandescent radiance between the Spiritual Heart and Crown; the knot that binds the sense of “I” to the identity with images and impressions of the mind and sensations of the body entirely sundered.

A final note regarding one’s practice:

It is important in every practice to develop the ability, tendency and understanding to “apply awareness” and “let go.” It’s important to read scripture and try to grasp for yourself how the words and lives of the Sages, Saints and Saviors that exemplify the non-dual experience apply to who you really are. Then one day, as Yogi Bhajan says, “Impact!”

Pieter Schoonheim Samara