11/14, First Class in the Hawaii Kundalini Yoga Series with Babaji Bob Kindler
Over time, monastics got ahold of the Upanisads and accented the formless in them - interpreted and commented upon them with an emphasis on the formless Reality. But God with form is just as important, and perhaps more important because most people prefer it. They don't have an understanding or reference for nondualism. This is particularly true in the West where we do not have such a reference in our upbringing or philosophy.
Kundalini Yoga is considered esoteric and mystical, and is looked askance at by some of those whose Advaitic philosophy recognizes Reality as stationary only. That is, when Reality is immutable and stationary, how can It pass through centers of consciousness called chakras? But how many aspirants, or adepts, even, can realize formless, stationary Consciousness and abide there? Adding to the Kundalini system's disregard in these times is the fact that during the last fifty years some opportunistic teachers have presented Kundalini Yoga shorn of its deepest spirituality and focused only on hatha yoga and pranayam. But the purpose of Kundalini Yoga is Self-realization. As a result of this dumbing down of Kundalini Yoga philosophy by sensationalists and hatha yogis, people have come to imagine that Kunadalini Shakti is actually in the physical spine instead of being taught that the chakras are really found inwardly, in the subtle and causal bodies on humanity - and beyond.
Now, the thing about Kundalini Yoga is that in its authentic form and practice, it can appeal to the jnanis (Wisdom seekers) and to the bhaktas (lovers of God). These two are generally at odds with one another other, arguing "is God formless or with form?...as if both cannot be true. The Jnanis are always in the minority, preferring God/Reality without a lot of extras or add-ons, whereas the bhaktas love ritual, chanting, and devotions. Their presence is always more obvious. But Kundalini Yoga runs a middle line. Basically it is about the Kundalini, that dynamic spiritual energy, conceived of as the Mother of the Universe, that rises up (inwards) through the seven chakras. Mother Kundalini is coiled up at the base of the spine, as it were, and Kundalini Yoga is about attracting Mother to uncoil Herself. Thus, if you are a jnani, and you feel Her rising within you, you would feel Her as Wisdom, as Intelligence - more formless. You would feel Her permeating your thoughts, ideas, and intellect. If you are a bhakta, however, then you would most likely meditate on Her with form, as the deity which guides via insights and visions, thereby formulated.
Food, a sacred principle, was taken up by Kundalini Yoga and seen as a cause for the rising of Kundalini - and also as a cause for Her not rising. The kind of food you eat is not the real issue in these systems. Yes, they prefer food to be sattvic, that it be pure; but the primary issue is the quality of one's consciousness as food is taken in. Hence, food is to be blessed with mantra and eaten in a calm and reverent manner. Food thus eaten becomes mukhyaprana and supports the vitality of the body, mind, and senses. When this mukhyaprana is used for sadhana, spiritual practice, it becomes ojas, a more refined energy. When this energy is used for concentration and Samadhi, it becomes tejas, a light that literally shines from the pores of the body, as it were - as in the auras seen on the personages of beings such as Lord Buddha and Christ. But the real benefit of tejas is that the awakened being lives in a state of ceaseless inspiration and can transmit spirituality to others.
There is a fire in your body - your gastric juices - that you offer all physical food into. And there is a fire in the vital force, and there is a fire in the intellect in which you offer all knowledge. Everything is food offered into various fires. Thus is Agni worshipped, not just as the sun, but as the energy of prana, the wisdom of the intellect, and as the Light of pure, conscious Awareness.
There are subtle knots, knots of fear, philosophical quandaries, and intellectual knots. These represent the veil of nescience that covers perception of our true nature, Atman/Brahman. Fear is at the bottom of these - the fear that comes from brooding on things that decay, and brooding on things that cause regrets, remorse, etc. You cannot turn a laser beam on this veil and make it go away, as one might with cancer of the body. You have to turn the laser of your refined awareness on it, inwardly, via spiritual practice.
If you are existing at the heart level, the anahata chakra, you can begin to hold two ideals: spirituality and life in the world. But before your consciousness rises here you have to keep your spiritual life completely separate from the world, its practices done in their own private arena, quietly and without show.
People are not atoning for their original crime of ignorance, and so there is this constant recidivism of souls returning to embodiment bereft of knowledge of their true nature.
[Regarding temporary experiences of subtle bliss as Kundalini attempts to pierce through higher centers:] Hold out for a higher realization. Are you going to settle for a few baubles of bliss? A drug high? The pleasure of sexual orgasms? These are all just temporary blisses . But your true being is an indeterminable mass of Bliss unending. Do not sacrifice That for a world of mere colored glass.
Much like food is Brahman, sadhana (spiritual disciplines) is also Brahman. Everything you do should be done consciously. Hold high this standard. Then refined prana will flood through your subtle nerves (nadis) and turn into psychic prana. Then resist the occult powers in that arena and course higher, to full realization. In short, don't live in the world - live in the Word. Live and walk in Wisdom, in inspiration.
Question: Without inspiration and insight, what will keep people on the path?
Babaji: Embodied beings cannot just jump to the highest step of nonduality. They will have to apply self-effort. But even though practice cannot be dispensed with, superior teachers will tell aspirants the highest Truth at the outset. Hearing this from a trusted source, even short of realization of it, will hold them on the path even though insight may be a long ways off, or infrequent. Thus, as Ramakrishna told Vivekananda, "Keep this advaitic Truth tucked into a corner of your wearing cloth, taking it out from time to time to remind yourself of it. Then you may go anywhere, do anything, and maya will not be able to harm you."
Such is Her gift to you, that She has planted Herself at the base of your being (muladhara). She is coiled up there and wants to reach Paramasiva. Listen to Her, and follow Her lead......