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

Buddha – A Discourse by the 6th Zen Patriarch

The Ultimate Reality Transcends What Can Be Expressed in Words

(From “The Teachings of the Compassionate Buddha,” edited by Edwin A. Burtt, c 1955, p. 194-204)

The document, here employed, in abbreviated form, presents the teaching of Hsi Yun, one of the Ch’an (or Zen) masters who lived about 840 A.D. His teaching is reported by P’ei Hsiu, an official and scholar who became a student under Hsi Yun. It gives a more or less sympathetic disclosure of Ch’an philosophy.

First it defends the doctrine with which we are now familiar, that universal mind alone is real. This result is then used to explain why one must abandon seeking for anything; universal mind is realized by the cessation of all seeking and by leaving behind the analytic discriminations it uses and trusts. This step is achieved in a flash of sudden awakening.

But at this point the argument shifts. The reader is supposed to be ready now to see that mind itself, and the categories by which it has been explained, are self contradictory. The real truth lies behind any kind of verbal expression. The conclusion is ruthlessly applied even to such central Buddhist ideas as that of the Dharma. Buddha was, of course, aware of the truth of these matters, but in his compassion he communicated partial insights; their purpose was to lead people to a stage where they could achieve this fuller realization.

Again comes a shift, this time the completely non-rational technique of using words, not to answer an observer’s question, but to discourage him from asking it. It is hoped that he may now be able to attain the awareness that the real difficulty lies not so much in his questions being unanswerable as in his continuing state of mind that leads him in asking them. This state – in the confidence of analytic reason – is precisely that out of which he needs to awaken.

The procedure of this essay constitutes as dramatic a challenge to the presuppositions of Western philosophy as well can be imagined.

by Edwin A. Burtt

The Master said to me: “All the Buddhas and all the sentient beings are nothing but the universal mind, besides which nothing exists. This mind, which has always existed, is unborn and indestructible. It is not green or yellow, and has neither form nor appearance. It does not belong to the categories of things that exist or do not exist, nor can it be reckoned as being new or old. It is neither long nor short, big nor small, but transcends all limits, measures, names, speech, and every method of treating it concretely. It is the substance you see before you – begin to reason about it and you at once fall into error. It is like the boundless void, which cannot be fathomed or measured. This universal mind alone is the Buddha and there is no distinction between the Buddha and sentient beings, but sentient beings are attached to particular forms and so seek for Buddhahood outside it. By their very seeking for it they produce a contrary effect of loosing it, for that is using the Buddha to seek the Buddha and using the mind to grasp mind. Even though they do their utmost for a full kalpa, they will not be able to attain it. They do not know how to put a stop to their thoughts and forget their anxiety. The Buddha is directly before them, for this (universal) mind is the Buddha and the Buddha is all living beings. It is not the less for being manifested in ordinary beings, nor is it greater for being manifested in the Buddha.

“As to the merits, countless as the sands of the Ganges, which come from performing the six paramitas (perfect duties) and vast numbers of similar practices, since you are fundamentally complete in every respect, you should not try to supplement that perfection with meaningless practices. When there is occasion for them, perform acts of charity, and, when the occasion has passed, remain quiescent. If you are not absolutely convinced that this [mind] is the Buddha, and are attached to the forms, practices and performances whereby merit is achieved, your way of thinking has no connection with reality and is quite incompatible with the Way.

“The mind IS the Buddha, nor is there any other Buddha or any other mind. It is bright and spotless as the void, having no form or appearance whatsoever. To make use of the mind to think [in the ordinary sense of the word] is to leave the substance and attach yourself to forms. The Buddha who has always existed exhibits no such attachment to forms. To practice the six paramitas and a myriad similar practices with the intention of becoming a Buddha thereby is to advance by stages, but the Buddha who has always existed is not a Buddha of stages. Only awake to the universal mind, and realize that there is nothing whatsoever to be attained. This is the real Buddha. The Buddha and all sentient beings are the universal mind and nothing else….

“The universal mind is no mind [in the ordinary sense of the word] and is completely detached from form. So it is with the Buddhas and sentient beings. If they (the latter) can only rid themselves of analytic thinking (mentation) they will have accomplished everything.

“The original Buddha-nature, in all truth, is nothing which can be apprehended. It is void, omniscient, silent, pure; it is glorious and mysterious peacefulness, and that is all which can be said. You yourself must awake to it, fathoming its depths. That which is before you is it in all its entirety and with nothing whatsoever lacking. Even if you go through all the stages of a Bodhisattva’s progress towards Buddahood, stage by stage, when at least, by single flash of thought, you attain to full realization, you will only be realizing your original Buddha-nature and by all the forgoing stages, you will not have added a single thing to it. You will merely regard those kalpas of work and achievement as nothing but unreal actions performed in a dream…..

“The pure mind, the source of everything, shines on all with the brilliance of its own perfection, but the people of the world do not awake to it regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind. Because their understanding is veiled by their own sight, hearing, feeling, and knowledge, they do not perceive the spiritual brilliance of the original substance. If they could only eliminate all the analytic thinking (mentation) in a flash that original substance would manifest itself like the sun ascending through the void and illuminating the whole universe without hindrance or bounds. Therefore, if students of the Way only regard seeing, hearing, feeling and knowing as their [proper] activities, upon being deprived of these perceptions, their way towards [an understanding of] mind is cut off and they find nowhere to enter. You have but to recognize that the real mind is expressed in these perceptions, but is not dependent on them on the one hand, nor separate from them on the other. You should not start reasoning from such perceptions, nor allow your thinking to stem from them, yet you should refrain from seeking universal mind apart from them or abandoning them in your pursuit of the Dharma. Neither hold to them, abandon them, dwell in them, nor cleave to them, but exist independently of analytic all that is above, below, or around you. For there is nowhere in which the way cannot be followed.

“When the people of the world listen for the Way, all the Buddhas proclaim the doctrine of universal mind. If it is held that there is something to be attained apart from mind and, thereupon, mind is used to seek it, [that implies] a failure to understand that the mind and the object of its search are one. Mind cannot be used to seek something from mind, for even after the passage of millions of kalpas, the day of success would never come. Such a method cannot be compared to immediately putting a stop to all analytic thinking (mentation), which is the fundamental dharma. Suppose a warrior, who did not realize he was wearing a pearl (which he thought to be lost) on his forehead, were to seek it elsewhere; though he were to traverse the whole universe, he would never find it. But if a knowing fellow were to point it out to him, he would immediately realize that it was in its old place. Therefore, if students of the Way are mistaken about their own real mind, not recognizing it as the Buddha, they will accordingly seek elsewhere, indulging in various practices and achievements, and relying on such graduated progress to attain realization. But after eons of diligent searching, they will still be unable to attain the Way.

“Such methods cannot compare with immediately putting a stop to all analytic thinking (mentation), in the certain knowledge that there is nothing that has absolute existence, nothing on which to lay hold, nothing on which to rely, nothing in which to abide, nothing subjective or objective. It is by not allowing wrong thinking to take place that you will realize Bodhi (Illumination) and, at the moment of realization, you will but be realizing the Buddha who has always existed in your own mind. Kalpas of striving will be realized to have been so much wasted effort, just as when the warrior found the pearl, he merely discovered what had been on his own forehead all the time, and just as his finding of it was not dependent on his efforts to find it elsewhere….

“If students of the Way desire to become Buddhas, they need no study anything of the Dharma whatsoever. They should only study how to avoid seeking for or clinging to anything. If nothing is sought, the mind will remain in its ‘unborn’ state and, if nothing is clung to, the mind will not go through the process of destruction. That which is neither born nor destroyed is the Buddha. The eighty-four thousand methods for counteracting the eighty-four thousand forms of delusion are merely figures of speech for attracting people towards conversion. In fact none of them exist. Relinquishment [of everything] is the Dharma and he who understands this is a Buddha, but the renunciation of ALL delusions leaves no Dharma on which to lay hold.

“If the student of the Way wishes to understand the real mystery, he need only put out of his mind attachment to anything whatsoever. To say that the real Dharmakaya (essential substance) of the Buddha is like the void, it means that it actually is void and that the void is in fact the Dharmakaya…. The void and the Dharmakaya do not differ from each other, neither do sentient beings and the Buddha, the phenomenal world and Nirvana, or delusion and Bodhi. When all such forms are left behind, that is the Buddha. Ordinary people look outwards, while followers of the Way look into their own minds, but the real Dharma is to forget both the external and the internal. The former is easy enough, the latter very difficult. Men are afraid to forget their own minds, fearing to fall through the void with nothing to which they can cling. They do not know that the void is not really void, but the real realm of the Dharma. This spiritually enlightened nature is without beginning or end, as old as space, neither subject to birth or destruction, neither existing nor non-existing, neither defiled nor pure, neither clamorous nor silent, neither old nor young, occupying no space, having neither inside nor outside, size nor form, color nor sound. It cannot be looked for nor sought, comprehended by wisdom nor knowledge, explained in words, contacted materially or reached by meritous achievement….

“If a man, when he is about to die, can only regard the five aggregates of his consciousness as void, the four elements which compose his body as not constituting an ego, his true mind as formless and still, his true nature not as something which commenced with his birth and will perish at his death but as remaining utterly motionless, his mind and the objects of his perception as one – if he can only awake to this in a flash and remain free from the entanglements of the Triple World (the past, present and future), he will indeed be one who leaves the world without the faintest tendency towards rebirth. If he should behold the lovely sight of all the Buddhas coming to welcome him, surrounded by every kind of splendor, and yet feel no desire to go towards them; if he should behold al sorts of evil forms around him and yet have no feeling of fear, but remain oblivious of self and at one with the Absolute, he will indeed achieve the formless state….

“Since the mind of the Boddhisatva is like the void, everything is relinquished by it. When analytic thinking (mentation) concerning the past does not take place, that is relinquishment of the past. When thinking (mentation) concerning the present does not take place, that is relinquishment of the present. When analytic thinking (mentation) concerning the future does not take place, that is relinquishment of the future. This is called the complete relinquishment of the Triple World.

“Since the time that the Tathagata entrusted Kasyapa with the Dharma until now, the mystical transmission has been from mind to mind, yet these minds were identical with each other. A transmission of void cannot be made through words, and any transmission in concrete terms cannot be that of the Dharma. Hence the mystical transmission is made from mind to mind and those minds were identical with each other. It is hard to come into contact with either one who is capable of transmitting or with that which is transmitted, so that few have received this doctrine.

“In fact, however, mind is not really mind and the reception of transmission is not really reception…

“When the Tathagata was alive, he wished to preach the Vehicle of the Truth, but people would not have believed him and, by scoffing at him, would have become immersed in the sea of sorrow. On the other hand, if he had said nothing, that would have been selfishness, and he would not have been able to spread widely the knowledge of the mysterious Way for the benefit of all sentient beings. So he adapted the expedient teaching of the Three Vehicles (Sravaka, Pratyekabuddha and Buddha Vehicles). As, however, these Vehicles include both the greater and the lesser, unavoidably there is both shallowness and depth (in the teaching as a whole). None of them represents the real Dharma. So it is said that there is only a One-Vehicle Way for, wherever there is division into this or that, there is no truth. However, there is no way of expressing universal mind. Therefore the Tathagata called Kasyapa to the Seat of the Law and commanded him to practice this branch of the Dharma separately, saying that, when a silent understanding of it is obtained, the state of Buddhahood is reached.”

“Regarding the Dhyana (Ch’an or Zen) Sect of ours, since the doctrine was first transmitted, it has never been taught that people should seek [empirical] knowledge or look for explanations of things. We merely talk about ‘studying the Way’ using the phrase as a term to arouse people’s interest. In fact, the Way cannot be studied. If concepts based on [factual] study are retained, they only result in the Way being misunderstood.”….

Question: “Since there is nothing on which to lay hold, how should the Dharma be transmitted?”

Answer: “It is transmitted from mind to mind.“

Question: “If mind is used for this purpose, how can it be said that mind does not exist?”

Answer: “Obtaining absolutely nothing is called receiving transmission from mind to mind.”

Question: “If there is no mind and no Dharma, what is meant by ‘transmission’?”

Answer: “It is because you people on hearing of transmission from mind to mind, take it to mean that there is something to be obtained, that Bodhidharma said:

“ ‘The nature of the mind, when understood,

No human word can compass or disclose.

Enlightenment is naught to be obtained,

And he that gains it does not say he knows.’

“If I were to make this clear to you, I doubt you could stand up to such knowledge.”….

“If you will now and at all times, whether walking, standing sitting, or lying, only concentrate on eliminating analytic thinking (mentation), at long last you will inevitably discover the truth. Because your strength is insufficient, you may be unable to leap beyond the phenomenal sphere with a single jump but, after three, five, or perhaps ten years, you will certainly have made a good beginning and be able to go of your own accord. It is because you are not capable of this [eliminating of analytic thinking (mentation)] that [you feel] the necessity of using the mind to ‘study Dhyana’ and ‘study the Way.’ How will the Dharma be able to help you? So it is said: ‘All that was spoken by the Tathagata was for the purpose of influencing men.’ It was like using yellow leaves for gold to stop the crying child, and was decidedly not real. If you take it for something real, you are not one of our sect, and, moreover, what relation can it have to your real self? So the sutra says: ‘[To know that] in reality there is not the smallest thing which can be grasped is called supreme, perfect wisdom.’ If you can understand this meaning, you will see that the Way of the Buddhas and the way of the devil are equally wrong. In reality, everything is pure and glistening, neither square nor round, big nor small, long nor short; it is beyond passion and phenomena, ignorance and Enlightenment.”….

Stepping into the public hall, [His Reverence] said:

“The knowledge of many things cannot compare for the excellence with giving up the search. The sage is one who puts himself outside the range of objectivity. There are not different kinds of mind, and there is no doctrine which can be taught.”

As there was no more to be said, everybody went away…


Chapter –
I. On Superimposition
II. Apavada – The Removal of Superimposition
III. Sadhana – The Means of Accomplishment
IV. Sravana – Hearing
V. Manana – Reflection
VI. Vasanaksaya – the Annihilation of Latencies
VII. Saksatkara – Realisation
VIII. Manolaya – The Extinction of the Mind

On Superimposition

25. D: All the Sastras proclaim that this samsar is the handiwork of Maya but you
say it is of Ignorance. How are the two statements to be reconciled?
M: This Ignorance is called by different names, such as Maya, Pradhana, Avyatka
(the unmanifest), Avidya, Nature, Darkness and so on. Therefore the samsar is but
the result of Ignorance.

26. D: How does this Ignorance project the samsar?
M: Ignorance has two aspects: Veiling and Projection (Avarana – Viksepa). From
these arises the samsar. Veiling functions in two ways. In the one we say “It is
not” and in the other “It does not shine forth”.

27 – 28 D: Please explain this.
M: In a discourse between a master and a student, although the sage teaches that
there is only the non-dual Reality the ignorant man thinks “What can be non-dual
Reality? No. It cannot be”. As a result of beginningless veiling, though taught, the
teaching is disregarded and the old ideas persist. Such indifference is the first
aspect of veiling.

29 – 30 Next, with the help of sacred books and gracious master he unaccountably
but sincerely believes in the non-dual Real, yet he cannot probe deep but remains
superficial and says “The Reality does not shine forth”. Here is knowledge
knowing that It does not shine forth yet the illusion of ignorance persists. This
illusion that It does not shine forth, is the second aspect of veiling.

31 – 32 D: What is Projection?
M: Though he is the unchanging, formless, Supreme, Blissful, non-dual Self, the
man thinks of himself as the body with hands and legs, the doer and experiencer;
objectively see this man and that man, this thing and that thing, and is deluded.
This delusion of perceiving the external universe on the non-dual Reality
enveloped by it is Projection. This is Superimposition.


3 – 4 To avoid confusion, everything in the world can be considered by analysing
its individual characteristics under the categories; cause, nature, effect, limit and
fruit. But the transcendental Reality being non-dual is beyond all these whereas
all else, from Maya onwards, being wrongly seen on It, are subject to the above

18 – 20 D: What is the ‘effect’ of Maya?
M: It consists in presenting the illusion of the jiva, Isvara and jagat on the nondual
substratum of Brahman, by virtue of its veiling and projecting powers.
D: How?
M: As soon as the power lying dormant shows forth as mind, the latencies of the
mind sprout forth and grow up like trees which together form the universe. The
mind sports with its latencies; they rise up as thoughts and materialise as this
universe, which is thus only a dream vision. The jivas and Isvara being its
contents are as illusory as this day-dream.
D: Please explain their illusory character.
M: The world is an object and seen as the result of the sport of mind. The jivas
and Isvara are contained in it. Parts can be only as real as the whole. Suppose the
universe is painted in colours on a wall. The jivas and Isvara will be figures in the
painting. The figures can be only as real as the painting itself.

30 – 32 D: What is the limit of Maya?
M: It is the knowledge resulting from an enquiry into the sense of the Mahavakya.
Because Maya is Ignorance, and Ignorance subsists on non-enquiry. When nonenquiry
gives place to enquiry, right knowledge results and puts an end to

39. D: What is the ‘fruit’ of Maya?
M: That it fruitlessly vanishes into nothing, is the fruit. A hare’s horn is mere
sound having no significance. So it is with Maya, mere sound without any
meaning. Realised sages have found it so.


17. D: Now that samsar has fallen to the lot of the Self, how can it be got rid of?
M: With complete stillness of mind, samsar will disappear root and branch.
Otherwise there will be no end to samsar, even in millions of aeons

19. D: The scriptures declare that only Knowledge can do it. How then do you say
that stillness of the mind puts an end to samsar?
M: What is variously described as Knowledge, Liberation etc., in the scriptures, is
but stillness of mind.

29 – 30 D: How can the mind be made still?
M: Only by Sankhya. Sankhya is the process of enquiry coupled with knowledge.
The realised sages declare that the mind has its root in non-enquiry and perishes
by an informed enquiry.
D: Please explain this process.
M: This consists of sravana, manana, nidhidhyasana and samadhi, i.e., hearing,
reasoning, meditation and Blissful Peace, as mentioned in the scriptures. Only this
can make the mind still.

131 – 133. Similarly by enquiry, the mind readily gains peace and samadhi.
D: What is this enquiry?
M: After hearing from the Guru about the nature of the Self which in the sastras is
spoken of as Brahman or Being-Knowledge-Bliss, to gain a clear indirect
knowledge, then according to upadesa and by intelligent reasoning to enquire and
find out the Self which is Pure Knowledge, and the nonself which is then directly
to experience them as different from each other, later on by meditation to
extinguish all that is objective, and to absorb into the Self the residual mind left
over as non-dual, ends in the direct experience of Supreme Bliss. Here it has been
described in brief, but the sastras deal with it elaborately.

134. This chapter on Sadhana has dealt with these two means, Enquiry and Yoga,
for making the mind still. According to his merits an intelligent seeker should
practice either of them.


8 – 10. To hear the Supreme Truth, reflect and meditate on it, and to remain in
Samadhi form together the enquiry into the Self. They have for their ’cause’
(Hetu) the aforesaid four sadhanas, namely, discernment, desirelessness,
tranquillity, and desire to be liberated. Which of these is essential for which part
of enquiry will be mentioned in its appropriate place. Here we shall deal with

68. D: What is the “effect” of this Sravana?
M: It destroys that veiling part of ignorance which hitherto made one think
“Where is this non-dual Self? Nowhere”. To destroy this ignorant conclusion of
the non-existence of the non-dual Self is its “effect”.

69 – 70 D: What is the “fruit” of sravana?
M: When once for all the non-belief in the non-duality of Being is destroyed, no
sacred text or tricky argument can make the seeker deviate from his faith. All
obstructions to his faith thus removed, he remains steady in his indirect
knowledge of non-dual Being. This is the “fruit” of sravana.

77. Here ends the chapter on Sravana. The student who reads this carefully will
gain indirect knowledge. In order to experience directly, he will seek to know the
nature of manasa or reflection.


2. M: Always to direct the thought with subtle reasoning upon the non-dual Self
that is now known indirectly, is called reflection.

3 -4 D: Please tell me its ’cause’, ‘nature’, ‘effect’, ‘limit’ and ‘fruit’.
M: Discernment of the real from the unreal is its ’cause’; enquiry into the Truth of
the non-dual Self is its ‘nature’; to tear off that veiling aspect of Ignorance which
makes one say “It does not shine forth” is its ‘effect’; the non-recrudescence of this
veiling is its ‘limit’; and direct experience is its ‘fruit’. So say the sages.

26. D: What is this direct experience?
M: Just as one can clearly distinguish the sun from the cloud hiding it, so also
when one can distinguish the Self from the ego, it is direct experience. This is the
“fruit” of reflection.

55 – 56 Inasmuch as Brahman is impartite, perfect Wholeness, the witness being
Brahman must also be impartite, perfect Wholeness. Therefore it is established
that the Self is One unbroken Bliss.
D: What is the ‘fruit’ of this knowledge?
M: To reject the five sheaths and names and forms of objects as something
inexpressible, only superimposed on the Reality, illusory, to practice that the
substratum, i.e., Brahman of Being-Knowledge-Bliss is the Self and to realise It
as ‘I am Brahman’ with the resulting Supreme Bliss of being the Brahman is the
‘fruit’ of this knowledge. Here ends the chapter on Reflection.

57. The wise student who carefully reads and practises it can realise himself as
Brahman i.e., Being-Knowledge-Bliss.


7. Wise son, now that you have known what need be known from them, you
should efface the impressions left by your studies.
D: What constitutes these impressions?
M: It is the inclination of the mind always to study vedantic literature, to
understand, the meanings of the texts, to commit them to memory and constantly
be thinking of them. Since this inclination obstructs meditation, a wise man must
overcome it with every effort. Next the latencies connected with the world
(lokavasana) must be eliminated.

8. D: What are these latencies?
M: To think, this is my country, this is my family pedigree and this is the
tradition. Should any one praise or censure any of these, the reactions of the mind
denote the latencies connected with the world. Give them up. Later on, give up
the latencies connected with the body also, (dehavasana).

9 – 13. D: How can this be overcome?
M: By looking with disgust upon all enjoyments as on vomit or excreta and
developing dispassion for them, this can be overcome.
Dispassion is the only remedy for this mad craving. After this, the mind must be
cleared of the six passions, namely, lust, anger, greed, delution, pride and
D: How can this be done?
M: By (maitri, karuna, mudita and upekssha) friendship with the holy,
compassion for the afflicted, rejoicing in the joy of the virtuous and being
indifferent to the shortcomings of the sinful.
Next must be effected the latencies connected with the objects of the senses
(vishaya vasana) such as sound etc. These latencies are the running of the senses
such as hearing etc., after their objects.

23 – 25 This practice is to remain non-dual, solid Being-Knowledge-Bliss,
untainted and free from thoughts of reality or unreality, ignorance or its illusory
effects, and internal or external differentiation. This is accomplished by a constant
practice of modeless (nirvikalpa) samadhi. Here remains the experience of
Brahman only.


2. D: Master, now that I have gained direct knowledge by enquiry and my task is
finished why should I meditate further and to what end?
8. M: How does this affect the fact? Whether you have known it or not, the
witness ever remains Brahman. Your knowledge of the fact has not made
Brahman of the witness. Whether the poor beggar knew it or not, the king in the
fort was the emperor. His knowledge did not make an emperor of the king in the
fort. Now that you have known the witness to be Brahman, what has happened to
you? Tell me. There can be no change in you.

17 – 18 M: ‘I am Brahman’ means that, after discarding the I – conceit, only the
residual being or the pure consciousness that is left over can be Brahman – It is
absurd to say that, without discarding but retaining the individuality, the jiva, on
seeing Brahman but not becoming Brahman, can know himself as Brahman. A
poor beggar must first cease to be beggar and obtain rule over a state in order to
know himself as king.

24. A devotee on uniting with the Lord of his devotion remains blissful, so also
the jiva on emerging as Brahman wonders how all along being only Brahman he
was moving about as a helpless being imagining a world, god and individuals,
asks himself what became of all those fancies and how he now remaining all
alone as Being-Knowledge-Bliss free from any differentiation, internal or
external, certainly experiences the Supreme Bliss of Brahman. Thus realisation is
possible for the jiva only on the complete destruction of the mind and not


34. D: How can the mind be extinguished?
M: To forget everything is the ultimate means. But for thought, the world does not
arise. Do not think and it will not arise. When nothing arises in the mind, the mind
itself is lost. Therefore do not think of anything, forget all. This is the best way to
kill the mind.

40. Now my wise son, follow this advice, cease thinking anything but Brahman.
By this practice your mind will be extinct; you will forget all and remain as pure

41. He who studies this chapter and follows the instructions contained therein,
will soon be Brahman Itself!

The Heart of the Ribhu Gita

Inhering in the Undifferentiated And Non-Dual Reality


“The ego or separate soul is a concept. God, the world, the mind desires, action, sorrow and all other things are all concepts”.

Bhagavan Sri Ramana Maharshi, a famous Sage of modern India, attributed unique value to this lucid exposition of Supreme Truth. He often referred to it in his talks with devotees and seekers, and he is reported to have said that is one repeatedly read Chapter 26 of the Ribhu Gita one could pass spontaneously into samadhi, or the natural state of Self-realization.

The Ribhu Gita, literally “Ribhu’s Song”, is Part Six of the Shiva Rahasya, a legendary mystical text of India. The whole of the Ribhu Gita is said to represent the teaching given to the Sage Ribhu by God himself in the form of Lord Shiva, the formless aspect of the Divine activity, in whom all beings and things are always already absorbed. The Sage in turn gave the teaching to his reluctant disciple Nidagha.


  1. I shall now expound to you the method of inhering in the All-inclusive and undifferentiated Reality. This teaching is secret and difficult to understand even with the help of the various Scriptures. Even celestial beings and practitioners of spiritual discipline who hold it dear acquire it only with great difficulty. Follow what I say and, inhering in Reality, be happy.
  2. My son! Realized sages say that absolute inherence in Reality means becoming one with the immutable, tranquil, non-dual Absolute Supreme Being which is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss and the Self of all, and making the wandering mind one with it like the proverbial milk and water, absolutely free from all concepts.
  3. When one scrutinizes this variety of manifestation one realizes that it does not really exist and that everything is the undifferentiated Absolute Supreme Being which is not different from the Self and oneself. Let this knowledge become firm with you by constant practice. Then, discarding everything, become one with the Supreme Absolute Reality and, remaining as that, be happy.
  4. Abide as That which does not, when scrutinized, show any duality in the form of these various objects or the least trace of cause and effect, That in which, when the mind is absorbed in It, there is not fear of duality at all – and be always happy, unshakable and free the fear arising from duality.
  5. Abide as That in which there are neither thoughts nor fancies, neither peace nor self-control, neither the mind nor the intellect, neither confusion nor certainly, neither being nor non-being, and no perception of duality – and be always happy, unshakable and absolutely free from the fear arising from duality.
  6. Abide as That in which there is neither any defect nor good quality, neither pleasure nor pain, neither thought nor silence, neither misery nor austerities practiced for getting rid of misery, no “I-am-the-body” idea, no objects of perception whatsoever – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  7. Abide as That in which there is no work, physical, mental, verbal or of any other kind, neither sin nor virtue, neither attachment nor its consequences – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  8. Abide as That in which there are neither thoughts nor a thinker, neither the arising nor the preservation nor the dissolution of the world, nothing whatsoever at any time – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  9. Abide as That in which there is neither the Self-limiting Power of Illusion nor its effects, neither knowledge nor ignorance, neither separate soul nor Lord of Creation, neither being nor non-being, neither world nor God – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  10. Abide as That in which there are no gods and their worship, none of the three Divine aspects of Creator, Preserver and Destroyer or meditation on them no Supreme Formless God nor meditation on Him – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  11. Abide as That in which there is neither maturing bondage to the way of good works nor searching devotion to the Divine nor self-knowing wisdom, no fruit of action to be enjoyed, no supreme state separate from it, no means of attainment or object to be attained and be always happy, free from all traces of though.
  12. Abide as That in which there is neither body nor senses nor vital forces, neither mind nor intellect nor fancy, neither ego nor ignorance, nor anyone who identifies himself with them, neither the macrocosm nor the microcosm and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  13. Abide as That in which there is neither desire nor anger, neither greed nor delusion, neither ill-will nor pride, no impurities of mind and no false notions of bondage and liberation – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  14. Abide as That in which there is no beginning or end, no top or bottom or middle, no holy place or god, no gifts or pious acts, no time or space, no objects of perception – and be always happy, free from all traces of thought.
  15. Abide as That in which there is no discrimination between the real and the unreal, no absence of desire, no possession of virtues, o yearning for liberation, no competent Master or disciple, no steady knowledge, no realized stage, no liberation while alive or after death, nothing whatsoever at any time – and be always happy free from all traces of thought.
  16. Abide as That in which there are no Holy Scriptures or sacred books, no one who thinks, no objection or answer to it, no theory to be established, no theory to be rejected, nothing other than one Self – and be always happy, free from the least trace of thought.
  17. Abide as That in which there is no debate, no success or failure, no word or its meaning, no speech, no difference between the soul and the Supreme Being, none of the manifold causes and consequences – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  18. Abide as That in which there is no need for listening, reflecting and practicing, no meditation to be practiced, no differences of sameness, otherness or internal contradictions, no words or their meanings – and be always happy, free from the least trace of thought.
  19. Abide as That in which there are no fears of hell, no joys of heaven, no worlds of the Creator God or the other Gods, nor any object to be gained from them, no other world, no universe of any kind – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  20. Abide as That in which there is nothing of the elements nor even an iota of their derivatives, no sense of “I” or “mind”, no fantasies of the mind, no blemish of attachment, no concept whatsoever – and be always happy, without the least trace of the thought.
  21. Abide as That in which there are none of the three kinds of bodies (gross physical, subtle internal, or formless and most subtle), dreaming and sleeping), none of the three kinds of souls (those who are fully prepared to advance spiritually, those who are not fully prepared, and those who are not prepared at all), none of the three kinds afflictions (those of the body, those caused by the elements, and those caused by subtle beings and powers), none of the five functional layers of being (gross physical, vital, emotional-psychic, mental, and that of formless bliss), no one to identify himself with them – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  22. Abide as That in which there is no sentient object, no power to hide Reality, no difference of any kind, no power of projecting unreal objects, no power of any other kind, no false notion about the world – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  23. Abide as That in which there are no sense organs or anyone to use the, That in which transcendent bliss is experienced, That which is absolutely immediate, That by realizing and attaining which one becomes immortal, That by becoming which one does not return to this cycle of births and deaths – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  24. Abide as That, on realizing and experiencing the bliss of which, all joys appear to be the joys of That, That which, when clearly known to be oneself, shows there is nothing apart from oneself, and, knowing which, all kinds of separate souls become liberated – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  25. Abide as That, on realizing which to be oneself, there is nothing else to be known, everything becomes already known and every purpose accomplished – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  26. Abide as That which is attained easily when one is convinced that one is not different from the Supreme Absolute, That which results, when that conviction becomes firm, in the experience of the Supreme Bliss of the Real, That which produces a sense of incomparable and complete satisfaction when the mind is absorbed in It – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  27. Abide as That which leads to the complete cessation of misery when the mind is absorbed in It, and the extinction of all ideas of “I”, “you” and “another,” and the disappearance of al differences – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  28. Abide as That in which, when the mind is absorbed in It, one remains without a second, nothing other than oneself is seen to exist and incomparable bliss is experienced – and be always happy, without the least trace of thought.
  29. Abide as That which is undifferentiated Existence, undifferentiated Consciousness, undifferentiated Bliss, absolutely non-dual, the undifferentiated Absolute Reality – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  30. Abide as That which is “I” as well as “you” as well as everyone else, is the basis of all, is one without anything else whatsoever, is extremely pure, the undifferentiated Whole – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  31. Abide as That in which there are no concepts or anything else whatsoever, the ego ceases to exist, all desires disappear, the mind becomes extinct and all confusions come to an end – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  32. Abide as That in which there is no awareness of the body, or the various functions of manifest existence, no perception of objects, That in which the mind is dead, the soul become one with the Reality, thoughts dissolved and even one’s convictions no longer hold – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  33. Abide as That in which there is no longer any meditative spiritual practice or ignorance or knowledge or activities of any kind, that which is the Supreme Reality – and with the firm conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  34. Abide as That in which, when one is completely merged with It, one experiences pure bliss, never experiences misery, sees nothing, does not take birth again, never thinks oneself to be a separate individual, becomes the Supreme Being and with the conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  35. Abide as That which is truly the Supreme Absolute Reality, the Supreme Formless God, the absolutely pure Being, the Supreme State, Absolute Consciousness, the Supreme Truth – and with the conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  36. Abide as That which is the absolutely pure Supreme Being, absolute Bliss, the supremely subtle Being, the Self-Effulgent, non-dual and undifferentiated One – and with the conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  37. Abide as That which is absolute Truth, supreme Tranquility, eternal Being, absolutely attributeless, the Self, the absolutely undifferentiated Supreme Being – and with the conviction that you are That, be always happy.
  38. Abide as That which is everything from the experiential point of view and nothing from the absolute point of view, Existence – Consciousness-Bliss, always tranquil, with nothing separate from It, the self-existent Being –and with the conviction that you are That be always happy.
  39. I have thus, O Nidagha, clearly explained to you the state of being one with the Supreme Being. By constantly thinking that you are the undifferentiated Supreme Being you can attain that state and enjoy constant bliss. There after, having become the Supreme Absolute Reality, you will never experience the misery that comes from identification with birth and death.
  40. “Everything is the Supreme Being, which is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss, and I am That” By constantly cultivating this pure thought, get rid of impure thoughts. Then, my son, discarding even that thought and always inhering in the State of Fullness, you will become the non-dual and undifferentiated Supreme Being and attain liberation.
  41. Pure and impure thoughts are a feature of the mind. There are no wandering thoughts in the Supreme Being. Therefore, abide as That and, free from the pure and impure thoughts of the mind, remain still like a stone or a log of wood. You will then be always happy.
  42. By constantly thinking of the undifferentiated Supreme Being and forgetting thereby all thoughts, including the thought of the Supreme Being, you will become the all-comprehensive Supreme Being. Even a great sinner who hears and understands this teaching will get rid of all his sins and become the undifferentiated Supreme Being.
  43. The endless textbooks of spiritual instruction have already prescribed meditation for attaining purity of mind. In order that those who have become pure in mind may easily attain liberation and, realizing that they are absolute and boundless Bliss, remain still like a stone in the undifferentiated and all-comprehensive Supreme Formless God, the nature of this immaculate state has been expounded by me.
  44. Therefore, attaining purity of mind by constantly thinking that everything that is known is the Supreme Being and that Supreme Being is oneself, and thereafter abiding in the state of complete identity with the Absolute Reality, liberation can be attained here and now. I have spoken the truth. In this manner, Sage Ribhu expounded the true and full state of being to Nidagha.
  45. When one is convinced that one is always That which is Existence-Consciousness-Bliss and abides as That in a state of complete identity, one casts off the unreal bondage of identification with birth and death and attains liberation. This is the significance of the highly blissful mood and dance of our Supreme and undifferentiated Gold.