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.