Kundalini Shakti and Enlightenment: By Dr. Harsh K. Luthar
Over the last three decades, I have seen the words Kundalini and Chakras (Energy Centers) become popular and enter the mainstream of conversations about spirituality. There is much hype surrounding these concepts and often people without much experience pose as experts and masters. If one can find a genuine teacher and the pure teaching, it helps a lot.
A true seeker should be skeptical of the glamor and show associated with Kundalini teachers. A genuine arousal of the Kundalini Shakti takes one into the super conscious realms. There are many symptoms and signs of Kundalini awakening but they differ depending on the psychology and physiology of the student.
Eating a pure sattvic diet, leading a balanced emotional life, and the practice of meditation lead to deep relaxation. This allows the arousal and manifestation of the divine energy in its various forms.
Kundalini manifestations are a function of several factors. One is the youth of the person. The younger the person is, and particularly if the person is practicing a balanced control over food, sleep, and sensual urges, Kundalini Shakti will come with a huge force.
If you read the biographies of genuinely spiritual people and saints, you will note that seeing of angels, hearing divine music, visions of saints or the Goddess, and having various forms of religious experiences typically start at a very young age. This is not an absolute rule but there is something to it. In many people, Kundalini Shakti awakens later in life, sometimes in their thirties and forties also, after they have practiced meditation, yoga, and contemplative prayers for some years.
When people get more involved in the worldly life, these spiritual experiences may become less regular and will come with a moderate force. However, if the fundamental change in consciousness has already taken place, these experiences are seen for what they are. A passing and a transient phase whose true purpose is to lead the aspirant and ultimately help realize the nature and mystery of one’s Being.
People describe the initial experience of the spirit taking over in various ways including the feeling of electric voltage going through the spinal column and the whole body, experiences and the feeling of intense drilling going on during meditation states in various energy centers as the Shakti tries to make its way.
According to Yoga texts and experiences of Yogi practitioners, after the three knots (granthis which are major blockages of energy in the middle of the spinal column) have been broken through, the flow of Shakti will be nice and smooth like the flow of oil.
However, people do experience different aspects of the Kundalini in different sequences, so no general rules for interpreting the spirit manifestations can be made. One basic thing, however, that I have found to be true, is that disciplines relating to food, sensual conduct, and sleep have a great impact on the Kundalini rising, developing, and also on the substance of different manifestations.
Initially, the nerve currents passing through the spine indicate that the Shakti is being stimulated (due to prayer, meditation, pranayama or other spiritual practices like Japa). Kundalini is the mother of Prana (life energy in the body). Where Shakti goes, the Prana will follow. When through meditation, the Kundalini enters Sushmana (middle of the spinal column), prana is withdrawn from all over the body and the body becomes motionless. It is in that state, as Shakti moves higher, that various visions of angels, saints, the Mother Goddess, and other super conscious states manifest. Kundalini Shakti leads to various types of samadhis as described in the yogic texts. See Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras.
Kundalini Yoga is one path to enlightenment and prepares one for Self-Realization. However, this path also creates much confusion among people as it is the scenic path with the promise of many experiences and psychic abilities.
The wise student truly interested in delving into the mystery of life should take great care and be indifferent to the glamor of this path. The pure teachings of Ahimsa (nonviolence) and the nature of the Self should be understood and meditated upon regardless of any supernatural experiences or manifestation.
The ultimate goal of all Yogas and Tantras is to recognize that “Peace that Passes all Understanding” is within us and it is our Real Nature or Original Nature. One goes through the long journey with so many dramas, and jumps through so many hoops only to come face to face with and Recognize One’s Own Self.
T.S. Eliot said in one of his poems, “We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time.”
Recognizing our Self is like that. It is to see what has always been there, what we are and have been eternally.
I love that T.S. Eliot line. However, in describing Self-Realization, I would modify it to the following:
“We shall not cease from exploration. And the end of all our exploring will be to arrive at a place which we never left and see for the first time that this place is our very own Heart.”