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......
11/21, Hawaii – Second Class: Kundalini Yoga with Babaji
The 7 chakras have poisons and nectars in them. If we didn't have a mind, according to Vedanta, we would not have a world. Mind, not God, creates the world. Mind is a matrix. You can call it God's mind or Om. Eventually, you will have to come to an Ultimate Form (which may be conceptual rather than anthropomorphic) and that is your gateway to the Formless. You can correlate this Ultimate Form to Mahat, Om, Hiranyagarbha, Pradhana, or unmanifest Prakriti.
Knowing the distinction between manifested and unmanifested, you come up with a different word for birth and death. You now see them as projection and withdrawal. The great Vedic Mahavakya, "Everything is," means that "Nothing doesn't exist." Everything merely goes in and out of manifestation in cycles.
Many people are having experiences of unmanifested prakriti. They are called Prakriti-layas, and rest or play there in that realm of potential manifestation. They are not going on to Samadhi like the seers do. Sri Krishna states in the Gita that there is the manifest, the unmanifest (prakriti), and the Supremely Unmanifest -- that latter is the Ultimate Reality.
Ara iva rathanabhau samhata yatra nadyah
sa esho’ntashcharate bahudha jayamanah
omityevam dhyayatha atmanam
svasti vah paraya tamasah parastat
There, within the heart, where all the subtle arteries meet like the spokes of a chariot wheel at the hub, the Atman abides, stable but becoming manifold. Meditate on that Self as Om, and Godspeed to you in crossing over to the farthest shore beyond darkness.
This is what is meant by the Kundalini Yoga system. The chakra system is really a symbol for what lies within. You are the Atman, and you are everywhere, and you have to wake up to your own internal territories - the realms of consciousness. You have to become aware of your own consciousness. Kundalini Shakti is Self Awareness. She's dynamic and Self-willed, and She is our own Self. Kundalini is very much like Atman in Vedanta, or Tathagatagarbha in Buddhism. This is another way of indicating It.
Karma yogis are active, jnana yogis love study, bhaktas are devoted to God, raja yogis love meditation. Everyone has one or two yogas that they are naturally inclined towards and have some aptitude for. Focusing on one of these is like pulling oneself up by your bootstraps. You may just continue working on that area which you are already versed in, but it is precisely those areas which you are weak in that are letting you down in life and spiritual practice. The body/mind mechanism is your sailing vessel. Kundalini wants to rise, but She won't until you have plugged up all the holes in your craft.
If you are a jnani or a raji, and you sit in meditation, you want Divine Reality directly, with no nonsense, formless - and thus you will experience Kundalini as formless Wisdom. But the bhakta wants a form, a guide. The bhakta envisions Her and says, "Oh Mother, take me, show me what You are." In the case of a Great M aster such as Sri Ramakrishna, He perceived God in all paths, as well as this one. Sri Ramakrishna epitomizes this Kundalini Yoga path as much as he epitomizes Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
The Yoga Kundalini Upanisad states that vrittis (thoughts) are the result of desire and prana. He who gets a hold of one gets a hold of both, the scripture states. So if you can still your desire then you can use that energy for something else. But better yet, for most people, is to get a hold of the prana. Sublimate it. You want to take the energy of mukhyaprana and subject it to the fire of Yoga via sadhana. Otherwise, you fritter health away through the apertures of the body: eyes, ears, mouth, the sexual organs, etc.
Fasting, celibacy, the practice of silence -- these will bring you nothing unless you understand what you are renouncing. The tendency towards judgments and assumptions will have to be abandoned. This sublimated energy is a result of giving up these things in a conscious manner. Follow the middle way that teachers like Buddha, Krishna, and Holy Mother prescribe. Don't become fanatical. They assimilated food, sexuality, sense objects, etc. It isn't just a matter of renouncing them; the secret lies in how they are renounced.
The Devi wants us to do puja to Her. So you carefully and lovingly prepare rice pudding, cut fruits, and other offerings that are prescribed. You sit before Her and offer the consecrated items one by one, thinking that She is accepting them. Now it is Prasad. There is mukhyaprana in it. In India, the food at the temples is all prasadam, and when one takes that prasadam one feels blissful. One time, after the celebration of Swami Vivekananda’s birthday at the Ramakrishna Mission in Delhi, all the devotees and the poor were given bowls filled with kitchari. It was like nectar. Everyone then walks around the sacred temple grounds eating this pure food, this nectar that has been offered.
As you practice the art of sublimation in the Kundalini system, at first you think your experience is based on food energy, then you think it is prana, then you think it is wisdom, but finally you realize that it is all Kundalini Shakti manifesting in so many different ways.
You experience Her bliss in deep sleep, but you have not taken your awareness with you into that sublime state. The veil of nescience is covering it. This veil is made of fear, brooding, and desire. You have to turn your intelligence into a fine point and pierce through this veil.
Connect your food energy to an informed breathing practice. The practice around food consciously affirms that all food is Brahman, and the breathing practice includes concentration on various triputis (systems of threes) in association with the in-breath, held breath, and out breath (puraka, kumbhaka, rechaka). For example:
Puraka = projection, kumbhaka = preservation, rechaka = dissolution
Puraka = waking state, kumbhaka = dream state, rechaka = deep sleep state
Puraka = past, kumbhaka = present, rechaka = future
This is an informed breathing practice.
How do you know if you have awakened to the heart chakra? If you love God, believe in God, have faith in God and have devotion, then She is there. Those who try to entice Her through breathing exercises alone, without an informed status, only offer Her cheap bribes.
In order to learn any system of philosophy in India we will have to learn some new words. For instance, "sukshma" means "subtle." In India, as soon as you say this word everyone knows what you are talking about. You are not talking about something material and observable with the five gross senses, but something inward, only perceptible to the refined mind or intellect. What is a subtle body, then? It is like your dream body. In the dream state, you hear without ears, see without eyes, and taste without the tongue. These are inward, not external. You have to conceive of these things before you can contemplate them. So we need to contemplate the Sanskrit vocabulary and determine specific and specialized English equivalents.
[Babaji spoke at length about the significance of Udghata, which are experiences of temporary bliss prior to the rising of Kundalini to a new level/chakra. In last week's and this class, he described it as Mother Kundalini performing a test, like someone checking the sound and volume with a microphone. Is the body-mind system ready?]
One of the measures of an experience, that is, if it is truly a spiritual experience, is whether it transforms you or not. People often feel they have had a powerful experience, but then they forget about it, or it doesn't have any power of rejuvenation. Udghata explains this. In Kundalini terms, it is difficult to shift levels of consciousness from one chakra to the next. Sri Ramakrishna describes this as running a boat race between two chakras - you are trying to acclimatize to a higher chakra but you fall back to the previous level repeatedly for some time. Mother is testing you, and if you cannot hold this more refined spiritual energy, you just get a glimpse of what is waiting for you beyond it. You must, then, continue to work on qualifying yourself. What does it mean to qualify oneself? It means a steady practice, not hot and cold, not starting and balking, or moving forward in spurts and stops. Qualification via steady practice is so important in this day and age.
It may be that as you gain each new chakra, you will have to go through periods of struggle. You cannot see ignorance go away. Nor can you see it when present. You can only infer it by how you act and feel. The adept wakes up one day and his or her ignorance is gone, but it isn't like they could see it disappear. Spiritual growth and development is a very inscrutable process
[Speaking on the West's immature penchant for debating whether God exists.]
Of course God exists. God is Existence. What else would God be?
[Teaching from the chart: Asana & Pranayam in Tantric Yoga]
Hold the prana on various parts of the body. This is different from what the New Agers and others advise. They just have you focus on the body parts. But here you are consciously controlling the prana which animates those parts. Then you couple this with pratyahara (withdrawing the senses from their objects): Now I can put my mind on my knee and take it off. The point is that if I can control prana, I can also control the mind. The great beings come into the body with this ability already in hand. Therefore one never sees them practicing asana and pranayama, etc. Most, however, have to proceed step by step, and that requires developing some subtle awareness around food, its energy, specialized mantras, and spiritual practices. Those who act like Advaitists and say, "You do not have to do anything; you are already the Atman,” they are speaking out of turn, mimicking those who, as mentioned above, have already mastered their awareness. Will you, can you, fake such a thing? Will not everyone know you are pretending? Therefore, engage in practice, all the while knowing you are the Atman. Then you will speak the Truth at the right moment.
11/28, Hawaii – Third Class: Kundalini Yoga with Babaji
In Kundalini Yoga everything is looked at in terms of Mother Power. Like the story about the thread, string, rope, beetle and honey*, we are seeking to get a hold of this power. This is the point of eating food consciously, purifying it with mantra, taking in the mukhyaprana from it, converting it to ojas via sadhana, and then refining it further into tejas. When we connect all these vital elements we find that they are essemtially the same. Then we realize the truth that food is Brahman.
*A man imprisoned in a high tower by a king, got a message to his wife to bring a long thread, string, and a rope, along with a beetle and some honey. He then instructed her to tie the thread to the leg of the beetle and spread honey on its antennae, then place it facing straight up to the man's window at the top of the tower. The beetle followed the scent of the honey and thus carried the thread to the man. Next, he told his wife to tie the string to her end of the thread. He pulled the thread until he reached the string. She tied the rope to the string, and he pulled on the string until he reached the rope. Attaining the rope, he liberated himself.
Everything takes a different turn when you combine sadhana with the energy you get from food. You become qualified to approach and pierce the Brahmagranthi situated between the manipura chakra at the navel and the heart chakra, signaling the end of worldly life and transmigration in ignorance. This is where people have their first profound experiences which are hard to explain - exquisite feelings of love and compassion.
Some schools feel that breathing via pranayam exercises should give aesthetic pleasure. Others tell you just to watch your breath, as if that will take you very far in your spiritual life. But informed pranayam is has several more refined elements to it, like adding the mantra to it, combining in the vision of the Ishtam, and studying and learning the philosophical meanings of each movement of the breath. This is informed pranayam, which will take the aspirant so much deeper and farther towards Samadhi - the ultimate aim of Yoga.
In Patanjala, there are four kinds of breathing: puraka (in breath), kumbhaka (held breath), rechaka (out breath), and kevala (masterfully suspended breath). Pranayam excercises work with the first three of these. The fourth, Kevala, comes naturally when one enters into Samadhi. It is like kumbhaka with a capital "K." It is not something that can be practiced, but which occurs over time.
Consciousness does not depend on the body or the breath. Each of these depends upon and should be found in Consciousness. The yogini or yogi graduates to living in Consciousness.
Informed Pranayam connects the many triputis [see notes from previous week] with the three main kinds of breath (given above). They are concentrated upon while breathing in, holding, and releasing the breath in a controlled and measured practice. Where pranayam really becomes effective is when it is recognized as being connected to the movement of the universe: expanding is the morning sunrise, suspension is the full, long daytime, and contraction is the night. All this leads to the triputi of dharana, dhyan and Samadhi, also called samyama.
Recognizing the existence of prana is a major step for westerners, what to speak of recognizing the psychic prana. For instance, what are the defects in food? Contrary to what some would believe, it has little to do with being organic or vegetarian. According to tradition the defects in food are:
1) not enough sunshine or water during growth cycles
2) being harvested for money instead of as a service to humanity
3) being processed by beings who are holding imbalanced and greedy thoughts
4) being cooked by someone while in a negative state of mind
Since many of these cannot be helped, one must remove these defects with the power of the mantra. They can be neutralized with sacred words and thoughts. Further, in the same way that you enhance and purify your food, you enhance and purify your breathing process by making it informed with mantra.
Your responsibility as a sadhaka is to remove the granthis (knots in the psycho/physical being) so that Kundalini Shakti can move into the chakras in succession. Some of these granthis are caused by mindlessness around food, even in past lives [i.e. resulting in physical problems in this life]. Dalai Lama says the West will solve its problems when it accepts the relative laws of karma and reincarnation. Here is where another responsibility enters in - the one of engaging in deep study of the scriptures and their teachings.
Life proceeds towards spiritual life when one can successfully make the deep connections within. These are cosmological connections*, and have much to do with the spiritual influences in your life. *[earth is associated with/involves to smell; water is associated with/involves to taste; fire with sight; air with touch; space/bhutakasha with sound. The adept realizes these all have their ultimate source in the Self.]
Real wealth is all-pervasive Consciousness.
After initial practices such as asana and basic pranayam, one needs to add something of a more refined nature into the sitting and breathing process. This may necessarily be of the nature of a sacred syllable that is concentrated upon and repeated, instead of merely counting numbers and keeping track of volume. In Mother Tradition there is Her sacred Word, Hrim, Her Word of manifestation. It is often divided as Ha- Ra- I- M. The matra Ha signifies the root chakra, Ra signifies the heart chakra, and I and M signify the third eye and crown chakras. The importance of Mother mantra is that it is good "tender" throughout all the many realms, since all the realms are ultimately under Her jurisdiction as the Mahashakti.
The seven chakras correspond to the seven realms or lokas cited by the Rishis in the Vedas -- from Bhurloka on inward to Brahmaloka. A loka means an entire realm, so in the case of Bhur Loka, it means not just this planet Earth we are on, but all the planets or worlds in physical space. However, our ancestors are not up in the skies, but rather occupy Bhuvar Loka, the next and more subtle realm. The physical particle ceases to be there. It is a realm of pranic particles. This realm is within us, just like the chakras. Bhurloka is associated with the muladhara, and Bhuvarloka with the svadhisthana chakra. Svarloka corresponds to the manipura chakra and is the realm of the minor deities. These three realms and their associated chakras constitute the realms of transmigratory consciousness where beings rotate on the wheel of birth, death, and rebirth. The higher realms/chakras (maharloka, janaloka, taparloka, brahmaloka) do not require rebirth back to Bhurloka, and those who attain these levels of consciousness associate with higher deities, sages, seers and The Trinity. Thus, exiting in and out of these chakras, one will be able to remain in contact with one's ancestors, the deities, etc., and retain memory of them. You cannot bless them or be blessed by them if your consciousness remains fixed just on the physical realm alone (where forgetfulness accompanies every lifetime). Further, these ancestors and deities are like guardians at the gates between the realms as you rise through more subtle states of awareness (chakras). And here is where Mother Mantra is so valuable: one can utter it in the presence of these deities and they will "open the gates" and let you pass. You must have practiced the mantra deeply, however, and realized its essence. Thus far you have used it with your food, and with your informed breathing. What about with meditation? This is where it has its greatest and most profound efficacy. Ma Kundalini also goes by the name of Tripura Sundari. The mantra also has three parts which correlate with Her. The first part, the initial part, is given at the time of initiation; the second, and more subtle part, is revealed through your deep practice; and the last part, exquisite, is given by Her when you realize Her. The yogis meditate in the most remote place within their inmost Consciousness to get this. There is that beautiful song, for instance -
In dense darkness, O Mother, Thy formless beauty sparkles;
Therefore the yogis meditate in a dark mountain cave.
In the lap of boundless dark, on Mahanirvana's waves upborne,
Peace flows serene and inexhaustible.Taking the form of the Void, in the robe of darkness wrapped,
Who art Thou, Mother, seated alone in the shrine of Samadhi?
From the Lotus of Thy fear-scattering Feet flash Thy love's lightnings;
Thy Spirit-Face shines forth with laughter terrible and loud.
(Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, pg 692)
Someone coming in from a bright sunny day and entering a darkened room cannot see anything until his eyes adjust and shapes become visible. For the aspirant, this waiting for shapes to appear is becoming aware of the Deities. And if you say their name, their attention will turn toward you - especially if their names get associated with Mother Mantra and Bijam!
[The following notes pertain to Babaji's commentary on his chart: The 7 Causes and 10 Impediments in Kundalini Yoga, which deal with the poisons and nectars associated with each chakra]
The human spine is just a symbol, a template for representing and examining the chakras. The physical spine does not have Kundalini it; it has marrow in it. Of course, prana is there too, and everywhere, and one must get ahold of that and begin the refinement process, i.e., food, sanctity, mantra, sadhana, ojas, and tejas. This is real Kundalini practice; asana and pranayam have a place, but not the accent. If we want to see the effects of forgetting the import of food and its sanctification we can simply observe the Western people around us. What they eat is turning to poison in their bodies and blood - not so much due to the quality of the food or lack thereof, though that has a place as well, but due to lack of awareness of what food really is and around the mindless ingesting of it. And getting together for a good old family dinner, with prayer, is not going to help the situation at all. Awareness, consciousness, sensitivity, mindfulness - all of these carried through into life and practice is what is required. Then, pills and medicines, what to speak of hospitals and old age homes, will not be so necessary.
The chakras are really congealing points of light existing at different stages of refinement.
You must pass through the Son to get to the Father. All of these chakras, save the seventh, have different kinds of commerce with relativity. "The Son" one's Ishtam, that is, represents passage out of form into formlessness. That is why the Word, Om, vibrates intensely there. One detects it at the heart chakra (anahata), but enters into it at the Third Eye chakra. The Self of man abides there.
With regard to the muladhara, the Devi says, meditate briefly each morning on the Crown chakra. Then meditate deeply on the muladhara (root) chakra, that is, on the Kula Kundalini, the fire of Kundalini existing there. You will have to pass through an obscuring web, and then you will see Her established there. A great power is there awaiting to be awakened.
Intellect is a vessel. Intelligence is the contents of that vessel. So if we identify with the intellect, it is like identifying with the bottle rather than its contents. The contents, Intelligence, is pure, flowing, and nourishing.
[Regarding moving from the vishuddha chakra to the ajna chakra]
You have to take the Wisdom experienced at the vishuddha chakra and convert it into formlessness at the ajna chakra. Most beings are overwhelmed by the Light and visions that come forth from there. It can unbalance you if you are not properly prepared. That is why misdirection, confusion, and indeterminacy are such a problem at this level. The indeterminacy spoken of by Patanjali in the Yoga Sutras correlates here: failure to commit, to persevere, to remain steady. For the unprepared, this awakening into or brief experience of the Ajna chakra can be unbalancing. This is why the teachers tell sincere aspirants to meditate on the heart chakra until the Mother Herself awakens them to the ajna chakra.
Nescience is fear and doubt. Brooding on those two make up the rest of this veil of ignorance.
The saying goes, "You come into this world alone and you leave it alone." Well, you really should leave it alone. Meditate on the Kundalini Shakti instead, and the world will transform into nothing less than Brahman.
12/5, Hawaii – Fourth Class: Kundalini Yoga with Babaji
Peace of mind - That is absence of vibration, is it not? This is the penultimate attainment because it leads, eventually, to Samadhi. If you can achieve that deep sleep state of no vibration during meditation then you have attained the vibrationless state consciously. It is no good, spiritually speaking, just doing it unconsciously, as in deep sleep. That only gives one good rest. Consciousness of the mind with absence of vibration results in the Witness state.
Sankalpa, according to Sri Krishna, is a positive evil: khilbisa. No one attains Samadhi without giving up sankalpa. But others - contemporary teachers and magazines - are proposing sankalpa as a "world is your oyster" activity, a kind of promotion of the occult powers. The seers and saints use the power of projection, if they use it at all, to get back into the body to serve humanity, and to free bound souls who are suffering. So Atmic Sankalpa or Mayic Sankalpa? - that is the question.
Prana and desire - these are the causes of the mind's thoughts, called chitta. So, if you want to stamp out erratic vibrations you have to get a hold of the prana via conscious ingestion of food blended with mantra practice and sadhana so as to overcome desire.
Here is a problem in spiritual life and practice: when human beings feel healthy and energized from the onset of mukhyaprana, being in perfect health, they then take that energy and use it for mundane pursuits, merely pouring it back into the world. But we must remember this: the world doesn't exist. Only Brahman exists. So we should use the energy we get from food to realize our eternal nature, not relax in material nature.
Words are important and they carry a very great power in them. There are low grade and middling mantras, like "how's the weather" or moral/ethical statements from dualistic scriptures beginning with "Thou shalt not," etc. But when you talk about the revealed scriptures you are talking about Advaita, and you are seeking to realize Atman via the power of Intelligence. This is Mahashakti's realm. In all the various sects, you find the presence of Divine Mother, the Mahashakti, and She is not only talked about in terms of devotion, but also as Intelligence. When you begin to recognize this supreme Shakti running through everything as Intelligence, you develop great devotion for Her. This special Love begins with Wisdom. "In all the worlds there is no greater purifier than Wisdom."
There are so many one-sided people. People cling to just one yoga, saying "I'm a bhakta; I am a jnani," etc. But Swami Vivekananda wanted contemporary aspirants to incorporate all the yogas. Thus came some of his writings: "Š.I have clear light now, free of all hocus-pocus. I want to give them dry, hard reason, softened in tile sweetest syrup of love and made spicy with intense work, and cooked in the kitchen of Yoga, so that even a baby can easily digest it."
What is an object? It is your thought made concretized.
The ordinary person thinks that the senses and objects are all separate things: five separate senses (hearing, touching, seeing, tasting and smelling), and five separate objects (space, air, fire, water, earth). But the yogis see that these are all inner principles which we project outward. The senses come first, then solid objects, and the senses are all connected to the mind. When you truly see the mind, then you finally meet the creator of the universe. God, Reality, is acreate.
You, as Atman, are really the manager of the mind and senses. In one of his wisdom songs, Ramprasad chastises his mind, "...what a petty potentate you have become" for succumbing to the snares of egocentricity and externalized consciousness. Christ told us that the Kingdom of Heaven lies within. And 2 - 3,000 years before Him the Vedic seers stated "All knowledge lies within." Should we not search for it then? In his poem, then Ramprasad asks us, "What Will You Do Then?"
Consider the foolishness of the game
You are playing , O mind,
And be ashamed.
You, the noble black bee, should drink only
The purest nectar,
attracted by the intense fragrance of Mother Kali,
Whose Wisdom Feet are vast lotus-blossoms.
Yet heedlessly you quaff the poison
of egocentric gratification.
O mind, you are infinitely more refined
than the organs of action and perception.
You are the natural sovereign
in the kingdom of awareness.
Yet you accept as bosom companions
the most limited and negative intentions.
What a petty potentate you have become!
Bloated by arrogance, inflated by flattery,
your royal gracefulness has disappeared.
You resemble instead some minor official.
Only when the body lies trampled and abject
Beneath Death's cruel feet
will you learn your devastating error.
The seasons of childhood, youth and maturity
pass with deceptive slowness, O mind.
You suffer the subtle anguish of self-obsession
like a solitary prisoner in a narrow cell.
Only the person who lives in prayer and ecstasy
can be released from confinement
and exist in freedom as a warrior of Truth.
Laughing aloud, this liberated poet cries
to all the spiritually careless ones:
"When you grow sick or old
and Death draws near
to deal its terrible blow -
what will you do then?"
There exists one indivisible Soul, not four billion individualized souls.
Early in spiritual life blissful experiences can occur. It is like Divine Mother is saying "Yes, yes, keep going." But what generally happens is that the beginner then starts seeking for those experiences and stops his or her practice. But the Self is an ocean of Bliss. Are you going to trade that for a few bliss-baubles? If so, then the very thing that would mature you becomes your obstacle. Store up spiritual power instead; that is the yogic way. You cannot be weak and realize God, nor can you keep up your practice or overcome the obstacles living on the thin surface experiences of preliminary bliss.
The Self is immovable and all-pervasive. This, then, should become your asana, not the mere position of the body.
[Babaji presented the chart "7 Causes and 10 Impediments in Kundalini Yoga." Among students of the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, the 9 impediments are familiar and match, for the most part, the list given for Kundalini Yoga. These impediments are such things as disease, heaviness, trembling of the limbs, doubt, delusion, failure to attain higher states of consciousness, and others. The causes for these impediments is another fascinating and useful list for practitioners. These seven are given below, some with notes from Babaji's running commentary:]
1. Daytime lassitude - This is tamas, causing the mind to wallow in inertia, procrastination, and laziness.
2. Night time excess - This refers to squandering the energy gained from ingesting food by expending it via the senses and not giving the body proper rest.
3. Unchecked sexuality - If you check the sexual drive, then you may bring its energy "up the spine." The U.S. used to have this modality of remaining celibate in youth. People could then concentrate on being students. That is, this sublimated energy increased their intellectual powers. This was the norm in ancient India. Sublimation is the key. Use energy for higher pursuits. Practice this even if you want family life. Dharmic parents use it to bring forth a child with real substance, with intelligence, even devotion, by such sublimation.
4. Frequenting crowds - This is generally a worldly habit that increases distraction of the mind. Silence and quietude are not usually sought, thus the mind becomes erratic.
5. Untimely elimination of waste - This is about keeping the bowels and their movements regular, and not allowing action or distraction to force one into holding on to the body's waste material for long periods of time.
6. Unwholesome food - Contrary to popular thinking, this is not just about eating organically or being a vegetarian. "Unwholesome food" is any food, even organic food, which is 1) not purified by mantra, 2) consumed in an erratic or restless/slovenly state of mind; 3) not used for higher purposes like spiritual practice, selfless service, and meditation.
7. Erratic condition of prana and mind - Fear, brooding, doubt, weakness, tentativeness, indeterminacy - how did the human race end up with these kinds of elements in the mind? Lack of control of prana and mind is mostly to blame. In other words, growing up with no spiritual discipline, both in family life and in school, leads to lack of control - especially when we are confronted with life's trials. Yoga, union, is the result of such control. All other forms of control - like trying to control other beings, nations, and nature - only add to this erratic condition of prana and mind.
12/12, Hawaii – Fifth Class: Kundalini Yoga with Babaji
Upanisads, Brahma Sutras - these came out of the Vedas, and are strong moorings, posts that you can tie your philosophical horse to. The orthodox darshanas have this benefit of relying on these statements of perennial Truth. There are certain maxims, principles, tattvas that do not change over time. And this is really the Advaita. Changelessness is the foundation: If it changes, it isn't perfectly True.
Tantra is like the flavor running through the Vedic Way. Basically, it is Deity Worship. You cannot extract Tantra from the Vedic path. If you take deity worship out, it will just end up sterile. Kundalini Yoga is the mystic side of India.
Practice starts with food. Just as hatha yogis jump to asana without studying the yamas and niyamas first, in Kundalini Yoga misguided seekers skip the essential foundation of reverence around food and jump to pranayama. This stirs the Kundalini too soon, prematurely, and the result is an imbalanced mind.
What one does with the energy one gets from food is the real act of purification, not what one eats. If one studies in the Upanisads, such as the Taittiriya, Prasnopanisad, etc, one sees that the rishis are encouraging us to worship food. We (Westerners) are not doing this. Everything is food - air, water, knowledge, our bodies - it is all food. What we eat through our mouths is also food. But what matters most is the quality of our consciousness when or as we eat. Sri Krishna says to eat sattvic food and not tamasic. But an illumined person can eat tamasic food if he has to and it will not harm him.
The Prasno Upanisad states: Prana comes from the Atman and enters the mind through an act of will. Prana is stretched out on the Atman like its shadow. No wonder, then, that so many ignorantly follow the prana and overlook the Atman.....
The problem with the way Kundalini Yoga has been taught over the past 50 years in the West is that the prana it has not been connected to the subtle and causal bodies, nor the chakras. So the usual course goes something like this: the beginner receives from the master the teaching of observing the breath. Then the teacher observes the student watching his breath and waits. Now, just when the student is ready, and the teacher is about to give him the teaching to connect the breath to the deities or to Om, what happens? The student gets bored or tired, stands up and leaves to find another teacher. And thus we have a whole nation of practitioners who have not made these connections between the gross, subtle and causal bodies and are completely disconnected. It is doubtful that they are even aware of the two subtle bodies at all. So, perseverance on the part of the student is crucial. Stay with your path, your practice, your teacher. Make sure he or she is a good teacher. You will develop a great foundation if you hold steady, despite your own opinions. You will see how all is connected, how Prakriti contains everything. How Purusha is the one Sentient Principle and Prakriti is all name and form only. If you get this teaching early on, then when you have profound experiences you will not be overwhelmed or fall into confusion. "All this has come out of me." This is the primary connection to make.
[Babaji presented the chart, The Seven Causes & Ten Impediments in Kundalini Yoga. In this chart, each of the six chakras has listed particular poisons and nectars associated with it. For instance, in the Vishuddha chakra at the throat, the nectars include capacities relating to communication, balance, mentation, and freedom. The poisons relate to domination, deceit, projection and falsehood. A premature and temporary/forced rise of the Kundalini to the vishuddha chakra could find power congealing egoically around the poisons and energizing them, whereas a well-guided and qualified approach will avoid this.]
At every chakra (state of consciousness) and with the challenge to gaining the next chakra, one needs to observe carefully. That is, one must coordinate their experiences and reactions with their original intention - the resolve to realize the Atman. This careful checking in is to be done at each chakra, and this will help one overcome the poisons connected with each chakra.
[Babaji presented the chart Tantra's Siva & Shakti. In this chart many teachings about Siva, as both Ultimate Reality as well as gradated cosmological and philosophical aspects are given. A few of these are offered below:]
Siva in His Sakala aspect represents Kula - the aspiring family guided by a living spiritual tradition.
Siva is Satya Sankalpa - all His projections are true - and apta kama - all His desires are fulfilled.
Siva's Four Main Works:
Jnana pada - Maintaining philosophical systems. Without these, the wise cannot teach and religion has no basis. There is no reference point for Truth in relativity. With philosophical systems present, we all can see the hypocrisy that is being perpetrated in the world and reject it outright. Jai Siva!
Yoga pada - Encouraging spiritual disciplines. What can I say? Would you skim just one book on Quantum Physics and then go argue with Stephen Hawkings? Success is gained by Ishta nishtha, one-pointed devotion to a single Ideal. Dig one well until you get water. Then go dig another well and see if the water there is the same. Then draw your conclusions. In other words, master one system and then see what Divine Mother intends next for you. Maybe one is enough for you to get Samadhi. Spiritual discipline, not speculation, is what makes you spiritual. Do not wait for grace, otherwise you may need to wait for 2,000 years, and still God does not re-embody. After all, Grace is Divine Mother telling you to "do that practice."
Charya pada - Qualification and duties. Qualification makes you ready to understand the teachings. Otherwise you are just hoping, casting about. Are you hoping that a hug will get you illumined? It may be true, but only if you have qualified yourself. Maybe you need to study what a hug really means. A "bear hug" can be great. But if a real bear is doing the hugging, well, let's just say that you will enter a regimen of enforced pranayama, to be sure. It will be a true "Kodiak moment!"
Kriya pada - Fructification. All facets of existence, even those which are considered problematic, will mature. The negative will naturally drop away, the positive get taken up for utilization. All will come close to Siva by the fructification of their karmas and desires.
Siva's Five Essential Functions:
Sristhi - projection of the universe, the realms of name and form
Sthiti - sustenance of the universe
Samhara - dissolution of all realms of name and form
Tirodhana - self-limitation. Siva takes on these limitations purposefully
Anugraha - self-expression.
In Tantra, Siva's projection, preservation and dissolution get combined with tirodhana and self-expression. In essence and reality, "Sivoham” - "I am Siva." On the relative plane this means that we are actually pulling matter from unmanifest prakriti, combining it with our karma, and manifesting it by the power of mind. Now we know what we are doing. God, the Absolute, only stands back and witnesses these acts until the soul gives them up and merges in "That" - Paramasiva.