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.