"What Yogis now, what Rishis of old,
The greatness of that Mother hath told,
Who from her own breast gave birth
To the sky and to the earth.
Thou hung the Heavens in empty space,
And holds the earth in its place,
Thou made and lighted up the sun
To stay and shine this earth upon.
Thy power transcendent, since their birth
Asunder holds the heaven and earth,
As chariot wheels are kept apart
By axles made thru workman's art.
In Shakti, who with thee can vie,
Thou fills the earth, the air, the sky;
Thy presence, unperceived, extends
Beyond the world's remotest ends.
A million earths, if such there be,
A million skies fall short of thee;
A billion suns can not out shine
The effulgence of thy light divine.
The worlds, which mortals boundless deem
To thee but as a handfull seem.
Mother, Thou art without a peer.
On earth, or in yonder heavenly sphere. p. VII
Thee, God, such matchless powers adorn
That thou without a foe was born.
Thou art the Lord of Lords,
Adored by Men and revered by Gods.
The circling times which wear away,
All else, to thee can not decay;
Thou shinest on in youthful force,
While countless Yugas run their course.
Unvexed by cares, or fears, or strife,
In bliss serene flow on thy life,
With faith we claim thine aid divine,
As thou art Mother, and we are thine.
An old Hindu prayer. The metrical translation from the Sanskrit writers, by Mr. J. Muir
Every one has many bodies, but I will deal with only two at this time, the Sthula (gross body) and the Sukshma (the subtle body). These two bodies can be easily understood by every one. The gross body can be felt but the subtle body can reason, as every one has experienced in the dreaming state. What keeps these two bodies together? There are ten pranas; five are subtle and five are gross. The gross pranas are in the gross body and move thru the gross Nadis or nervous system. The subtle pranas are in the subtle body and move thru the subtle Nadis. These two pranas are connected about the heart which is the organ of sensation. When the poets and others felt that sensation, they called it Atma or God in the heart. The other connection of the pranas is between the heart and the navel, that is the mind. The subtle body has as many nerves as the gross body. The three main ones are the Ida, Pingala and Sushumana. The Ida Nerve is on the left side, the Pingala is on the right and between the two is Sushumana. The mouth of the Sushumana
is closed by the Goddess Kundalini as she is sleeping at the door of the Sushumana. The Kundalini is in the subtle body and remains there always, but part of her divine energy is in the gross body and manifested as Prana, Apana, Vyana, Samana and Udana. The Kundalini is the creator and the sustainer of the universe. She is the All in All.
The best authority on the Kundalini is the Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It says: "The Kundalini is sleeping, closing the door of the Sushumana. She sleeps above the Kanda or where the Nadis unite. She gives liberation to the Yogi and bondage to fools. He who knows her knows Yoga."
The location of the Kanda is 12 angulis (or about 9 inches) above the anus and 3 inches long and 3 inches in breadth. It is the shape of a bird's egg and covered with a soft white piece of "cloth."
Great Rishi Yajnavalkya says the Kanda is about the same location. All authorities on Yoga give the location of the Kanda in the lower part of the body above the anus; and there is sleeping the Kundalini.
The Hatha Yoga Pradipika says further about the Kanda and Kundalini:
"Yogins awake the Kundalini that is sleeping at the door of the Sushumana. Seated on the Vajrasan and taking hold of the ankles, Yogi should slowly beat the Kanda."
We read in the Sharada Tilaka about Kundalini: "We pray to the Paradevata united with Shiva, whose substance is the pure nectar or bliss, red like unto vermillion, the young flower of the hibiscus, the sunset sky, who having crept her way thru the mass of sound issuing from the clashing and dashing of the two winds in the midst of the Sushumana, rises to the brilliant energy which glitters with the lustre of ten million lightnings. May she the Kundalini, who quickly goes to and returns from Shiva, grant us the fruit of Yoga! She being awakened is the cow of plenty to Kaulas, and the Kalpa Creeper of all things desired for those who worship her."
The Kundalini is the support of all, the Yoga is the means to reach her.
The Kundalini, when awakened, is the giver of all power, health, wealth and success. The Kundalini feeds the baby in the mother's womb. She fulfills our every desire. She is the All in All.
"I praise Tripura which is the treasure house of the race.
"The Kundalini, has three angles as well as three circles, and her Bhupura is three-lined. Her Mantra is three syllables, and she has three aspects. The Kundalini energy is also threefold in order that she may create the three Gods (Brahma, the Creator, or air; Vishnu, the Preserver, or water: Rudra, the Destroyer, or fire). Since she is triple everywhere, she is Tripura."
"O Mother of the Universe, those who praise you by the words, Mother, All in All, and Maya, will obtain all.
"There is nothing which can not be obtained on earth or in the Heavens, by Thy Grace."
This is as it should be, as the Kundalini is Power of Powers, Light of Lights, and All in All.
The Kundalini is Divine static and dynamic energy. The static energy (Kundalini), is sleeping at the Muladhara (Root Chakra); the dynamic energy of the Kundalini is all over the body as Prana, Apana, Samana, Vyana, and Udana. These five Vital breaths, or life forces, keep the body together. The duties of the five Pranas are as follows: Prana remains in the upper part of the body, and always moves upward; the Apana resides in the lower part of the body, or abdomen, and always flows downward; the Samana stays in the first section of the torso, digesting and distributing the food substances; the Vyana resides in the heart, and from there moves all over the body, its duty being the circulation of the blood; the Udana carries the Soul upward when the body dies.
These five Pranas stay in the grosser body. They are also in the finer or subtle body—the five finer breaths corresponding to the five grosser Pranas above described.
The Pranayama Yoga, the Mudra Yoga, and Dharana Yoga, are all for the control of the five Pranas and mind. Mind without Prana is like a bird without wings. The practice of the Mudras is to control the dynamic energy of the Kundalini, namely, Prana,
Apana, etc. The practice of Pranayama
is also to control the Prana, Apana, etc.—the dynamic energy of the Kundalini, and with it awaken the static energy of the Kundalini, which is sleeping at the Muladhara, or
root Chakra. When the five Pranas are controlled or made to stop at the desired place, the Muladhara Chakra, or at the door of the Sushumana, it will work like a spark to the static energy of the Kundalini.
"When Prana and Apana are mixed, it will naturally cause heat in the body; then the body becomes light and powerful. This extreme heat when felt by the Kundalini, causes her to awaken from sleep. Then she goes into the Sushumana." (From H. Y. P.)
The duty of the Yogin is to gather together or control the five Pranas—the life force of the Kundalini—that the dynamic energy of the Kundalini may be used to awaken the static energy of it, as one Kundalini energy will move the other energy.
When the Kundalini awakens or moves, what then remains? What will become of the Kundalini? She will go to the Six Chakras and also remain at her place. As steam is converted from water by heat and again returns to it, so rises the dynamic energy of the Kundalini, which goes up to the different Chakras and returns again and again.. While she will reach to the Sahasrara, still she will be at her home at the Muladhara Chakra.
The Kundalini power can only be known by Master Yogins, but some times even ordinary Yogins can see it, however not as clearly, as long as the inner eye is not open. When the Yogin has opened the inner eye, then he sees the different Chakras and the energy of the Kundalini, which is Life of Life, and Light of Lights.
The following Masterly and Scientific explanation of the Kundalini is by Prof. P. Mukhyopadhyaya, and was written for Arthur Avalon and brought out in his book.
"The Serpent Power," pp. 302-313.
I here acknowledge my thanks for the use of this explanation, and I wish that every student of Yoga would read "The Serpent Power." R. S. Gherwal.
"When you say that Kundali Shakti is the primordial Shakti at rest, I am led to think of an analogy (and it may be more than an analogy) in modern science. Cosmic energy in its physical aspect may be considered either as static or as dynamic, the former being a condition of equilibrium, the latter a condition of motion or change of relative position. Thus a material thing apparently at rest (there being no absolute rest except in pure Consciousness or Chit) should be regarded as energy or Shakti equilibrated, the. various elements of it holding one another in check (or, as the mathematicians will say, the algebraic sum of the forces being zero). Of course, in any given case the equilibrium is relative rather than absolute. The important thing to note is this polarisation of Shakti into two forms—static and dynamic.
"In the tissues of a living body, again, the operative energy (whatever the nature of that may be, whether we believe in a special 'vital force' or not) polarises itself into two similar forms—anabolic and katabolic—one tending to change and the other to conserve the tissues, the actual condition of the tissues being simply the resultant of these two coexistent or concurrent activities.
"In the mind or experience also this polarisation or polarity is patent to reflection. I have constantly urged this polarity between pure Chit and the stress which is involved in it: there is a stress or Shakti developing the mind through an infinity of forms and changes; but all these forms and changes are known as involved in the pure and unbounded ether of awareness (Chidakasha). This analysis therefore exhibits the primordial Shakti in the same two polar forms as before—static and dynamic—and here the polarity is most fundamental and approaches absoluteness.
"Lastly, let us consider for one moment the atom of modern science. The chemical atom has ceased to be an atom (indivisible unit of matter). We have instead the electron theory. According to this, the so-called atom is a miniature universe very much like our own solar system. At the centre of this atomic system we have a charge of positive electricity round which a cloud of negative .charges (called electrons) is supposed to revolve, just as myriads of planets and smaller bodies revolve round the sun. The positive and the negative charges hold each other in check, so that the atom is a condition of equilibrated energy, and does not therefore ordinarily break up, though it may possibly break up and set free its equilibrated store of energy, as probably it does in the emanations of the radium. What do we notice here? The same polarity of Shakti into a static and a dynamic partner—viz., the positive charge at rest at the centre, and the negative charges in motion round about the centre; a. most suggestive analogy or illustration, perhaps, of the cosmic fact. The illustration may be carried into other domains of science. and philosophy, but I may as well forbear going into details. For the present we may; I think, draw this important conclusion:
"Shakti, as manifesting itself in the universe, divides itself into two polar aspects—static and dynamic—which implies that you cannot have it in a dynamic form without at the same time having it in a corresponding static form, much like the poles of a magnet. In any given sphere of activity of force we must have, according to this cosmic principle, a static background—Shakti at rest or 'coiled', as the Tantras say.
"Before I proceed, let me point out what I conceive to be the fundamental significance of our Tantric and Pauranic Kali. This. figure or Murti is both real and symbolic, as indeed every Murti in the so-called Hindu mythology is. Now, the Divine Mother Kali is a symbol of the cosmic truth just explained. Sadashiva, on whose breast She dances, nude and dark, is the static background of pure Chit, white and inert (Shavarupa), because pure Chit is in itself Svaprakasha (self manifest) and Nishkriya (actionless). At the same time, apart from and beyond Consciousness there can be nothing—no power or Shakti—hence the Divine Mother stands on the bosom of the Divine Father. The Mother Herself is all activity and Gunamayi (in Her aspect as Prakriti composed of the Gunas). Her nakedness means that, though She encompasses all, there is nothing to encompass Herself; her darkness means that She is inscrutable, Avang-manasagochara (beyond the reach of thought and speech). Of course, this is no partition of reality into two (there lies the imperfection of the Sangkhya doctrine of Purusha and Prakriti, which is otherwise right), but merely polarisation in our experience of an indivisible fact which is the primordial (Adya) Shakti itself. Thus Chit is also Shakti. Shiva is Shakti and Shakti is Shiva, as the Tantras say. It is Gunashraya (support of Gunas) as well as Gunamaya (whose substance is Gunas); Nirguna (attributeless) as well as Saguna (with attribute), as said in a well-known passage of the Chandi.
"Your suggestive hint makes the nature of the Kundali Shakti rather clear to me. You are quite right, perhaps, in saying that the cosmic Shakti is the Samashti (collectivity) in relation to which the Kundali in the bodies is only the Vyashti (individual): it is an illustration, a reproduction on a miniature scale, a microcosmic plan, of the whole. The law or principle of the whole—that of macrocosmic Shakti—should therefore be found in the Kundali. That law we have seen to be the law of polarisation into static-dynamic or potential-kinetic aspects. In the living body, therefore, there must be such polarisation. Now, the Kundali coiled three times and a half at the Muladhara is the indispensable and unfailing static background of the dynamic Shakti operative in the whole body, carrying on processes and working out changes. The body, therefore, may be compared to a magnet with two poles. The Muladhara is the static pole in relation to the rest of the body, which is dynamic; the working the body necessarily presupposes and finds such a static support, hence perhaps 3 the name Muladhara, the fundamental support. In one sense, the static Shakti at the Muladhara is necessarily coexistent with the creating and evolving Shakti of the body, because the dynamic aspect or pole can never be without its static counterpart. In another sense, it is the Shakti left over (you have yourself pointed this out, and the italics are yours), after the Prithivi—the last of the Bhutas—has been created, a magazine of power to be drawn upon and utilized for further activity, if there should arise any need for such. Taking the two senses together (yours as well as mine), Shakti at the Muladhara is both coexistent with every act of creation or manifestation and is the residual effect of such act—both cause and effect, in fact—an idea which, deeply looked into, shows no real contradiction. There is, in fact, what the physicist will describe as a cycle or circuit in action. Let us take the impregnated ovum—the earliest embryological stage of the living body. In it the Kundali Shakti is already presented in its two polar aspects: the ovum, which the mother-element represents, one pole (possibly the static), and the spermatozoon, which is the father-element, represents the other (possibly the dynamic). From their fusion proceed those processes which the biologist calls differentiation and integration; but in all this process of creation the cycle can be fairly easily traced. Shakti flows out of the germinal cell (fertilised ovum), seizes upon foreign matter, and assimilates it and thereby grows in bulk; divides and subdivides itself, and then again co-ordinates all its divided parts into one organic whole. Now in all this we have the cycle. Seizing upon foreign matter is an outwardly directed activity, assimilation is an inwardly directed activity or return current; cell division and multiplication is an outwardly directed operation, co-ordination is inwardly directed; 5 and so on. The force in the germ-cell is overflowing, but also continuously it is flowing back into itself, the two operations presupposing and sustaining each other, as in every circuit. The given stock of force in the germ-cell, which is static so long as the fusion of the male and female elements does not take place in the womb, is the necessary starting-point of all creative activity; it is the primordial cause, therefore, in relation to the body—primordial as well as constantly given, unceasing. On the other hand, the reaction of every creative action, the return current or flowing back of every unfolding over flow, constantly renews this starting force, changes it without changing its general condition of relative equilibrium (and this is quite possible, as in the case of any material system); the force in the germ-cell may therefore be also regarded as a perpetual effect, something left over and set against the working forces of the body. Many apparently inconsistent ideas enter into this conception, and they have to be reconciled.
"1. We start with a force in the germ-cell which is statical at first (though, like a dicotyledon seed, or even a modern atom, it involves within itself both a statical and a dynamical pole; otherwise, from pure rest, involving no possibility of motion, no motion could ever arise). Let this be the Kundali coiled.
"2. Then there is creative impulse arising out of it; this is motion out of rest. By this, the Kundali becomes partly static and partly dynamic, or ejects, so to say, a dynamic pole out of it in order to evolve the body, but remaining a static pole or background itself all along. In no part of the process has the Kundali really uncoiled itself altogether, or even curtailed its three coils and a half. Without this Muladhara Shakti remaining intact no evolution could be possible at all. It is the hinge upon which everything else turns.
"3. Each creative act again reacts on the Muladhara Shakti, so that such reaction, without disturbing the relative rest of the coiled Shakti, changes its volume or intensity, but does not curtail or add to the number of coils. For instance, every natural act of respiration reacts on the coiled Shakti at the Muladhara, but it does not commonly make much difference. But Pranayama powerfully reacts on it, so much so that it awakes the dormant power and sends it piercing through the centres. Now, the common description that the Kundali uncoils Herself then and goes up the Sushumna, leaving the Muladhara, should, I think, be admitted with caution. That static background can never be absolutely dispensed with. As you have yourself rightly observed, 'Shakti can never be depleted, but this is how to look at it'. Precisely; the Kundali, when powerfully worked upon by Yoga, sends forth an emanation or ejection in the likeness of Her own self (like the 'ethereal double' of the Theosophists and Spiritualists) which pierces through the various centres until it becomes blended, as you point out, with the Mahakundali of Shiva at the highest or seventh centre. Thus, while this 'ethereal double' or, self-ejection of the coiled power at the Muladhara ascends the Sushumna, the coiled power itself does not and need not stir from its place. It is like a spark given from an over saturated 6 electro-magnetic machine; or, rather, it is like the emanations of radium which do not sensibly detract from the energy contained in it. This last, perhaps, is the closest physical parallel of the case that we are trying to understand. As a well-known passage in the Upanishad has it, 'The whole (Purna) is subtracted from the whole, and yet the whole remains.' I think our present case comes very near to this. The Kundali at the Muladhara is the whole primordial Shakti in monad or germ or latency: that is why it is coiled. The Kundali that mounts up the Nadi is also the whole Shakti in a specially dynamic form—an eject likeness of the Eternal Serpent. The result of the last fusion (there are successive fusions in the various centres also) in the Sahasrara is also the whole, or Purna. This is how I look at it. In this conception the permanent static background is not really depleted, much less is it dispensed with.
When again I say that the volume or intensity of the coiled power can be affected (though not its configuration and relative equilibrium), I do not mean to throw up the principle of conservation of energy in relation to the Kundali, which is the embodiment of all energy. It is merely the conversion of static (potential) energy into dynamic (kinetic) energy in part, the sum remaining constant. As we have to deal with infinities here, an exact physical rendering of this principle is not to be expected. The Yogi therefore simply 'awakens', and never creates Shakti. By the way, the germ-cell which evolves the body does not, according to modern biology, cease to be a germ-cell in any stage of the complicated process. The original germ-cell splits up into two: one half gradually develops itself into the body of a plant or animal—this is the somatic cell; the other half remains encased within the body practically unchanged, and is transmitted in the process of reproduction to the offspring—that is, the germ-plasm. Now, this germ-plasm is unbroken through the whole line of propagation. This is Weismann's doctrine of 'continuity of the germ-plasm,' which has been widely accepted, though it is but an hypothesis."
Shakti being either static or dynamic, every dynamic form necessarily presupposes a static background. A purely dynamic activity (which is motion in its physical aspect) is impossible without a static support or ground (Adhara). Hence the philosophical doctrine of absolute motion or change, as taught by old Heraclitus and the Buddhists and by modern Bergson, is wrong; it is based neither upon correct logic nor upon clear intuition. The constitution of an atom reveals the static-dynamic polarisation of Shakti; other and more complex forms of existence also do the same. In the living body this necessary static background is Muladhara, where Shakti is Kundali coiled. All the functional activity of the body, starting from the development of the germ-cell, is correlated to, and sustained by the Shakti concentrated at, the Muladhara. Cosmic creation, too, ending with the evolution of Prithivi Tattva (it is, however, an unending process in a different sense, and there perhaps Henry Bergson, who claims that the creative impulse is ever original and resourceful, is right), also presupposes a cosmic static background (over and above Chidakasha-ether of Consciousness), which is the Mahakundali Shakti in the Chinmayadeha (body of Consciousness) of Parameshvara or Parameshvari (the Supreme Lord in male an female aspect). In the earliest stage of creation,. when the world arises only as a mist in Divine Consciousness, it requires, as the principle or pole of Tat (That), the correlate principle or pole of Aham in the development of the former, the latter serves as the static background. In our own experiences, too, 'Apperception' or consciousness of self is the sustaining background—a string, so to say, which holds together all the loose beads of our elements of feeling. The sustaining ground or Adhara, as the seat of static force, therefore is found, in one form or other, in every phase and stage of creative evolution. The absolute or ultimate form is, of course, Chit-Shakti (Consciousness as power) itself, the unfailing light of awareness about which our Gayatri (Mantra) says: 'Which sustains and impels all the activities of Buddhi.' This fact is symbolised by the Kali-murti: not a mere symbol, however.
Remarks about the rising or awakening of the Serpent Power at the Muladhara have been, perhaps, almost of the nature of a paradox. The coiled power, though awakened, uncoiled, and rising, never really stirs from its place; only a sort of 'ethereal double' or 'eject' is unloosed and sent up through the system of centers. Now, in plain language, this ethereal double or eject means the dynamic equivalent of the static power concentrated at the Mula, or root. Whenever, by Pranayama of Bijamantra, or any other suitable means, the Muladhara becomes, like an electro-magnetic machine, oversaturated (though the Kundali Shakti at the Mula is infinite and exhaustless, yet the capacity of a given finite organism to contain it in a static form is limited, and therefore there may be oversaturation), a dynamic or operative equivalent of the static power is set up, possibly by a law similar to Nature's law of induction, by which the static power itself is not depleted or rendered other than static. It is not that static energy at the Mula wholly passes over into a dynamic form—the coiled Kundali leaving the Mula, thus making it a void; that cannot be, and, were it so, all dynamic operation in the body would cease directly for want of a background. The coiled power remains coiled or static, and yet something apparently passes out of the Mula—viz., the dynamic equivalent. This paradox can perhaps be explained in two ways:
(a) One explanation was suggested in my main letter. The potential Kundali Shakti becomes partly converted into kinetic Shakti, and yet, since Shakti, even as given in the Mula-center, is an infinitude, it is not depleted; the potential store always remains unexhausted. I referred to a passage in the Upanishad about Purna. In this case the dynamic equivalent is a partial conversion of one mode of energy into another. In Laya-Yoga (here described) it is ordinarily so. When, however, the infinite potential becomes an infinite kinetic—when, that is to say, the coiled power at the Mula becomes absolutely uncoiled—we have necessarily the dissolution of the three bodies (Sthula, Linga, and Karana—gross, subtle, and causal), and consequently Videhamukti (bodiless liberation), because the static background in relation to a particular form of existence has now wholly given way, according to our hypothesis. But Mahakundali remains; hence individual Mukti (liberation) need not mean dissolution of Samsara (transmigrating worlds) itself. Commonly, however, as the Tantra says, 'Pitva pitva punah pitva,' etc.
(b) The other explanation is suggested by the law of induction. Take an electromagnetic machine: 'if a suitable substance be placed near it, will induce in it an equivalent and opposite kind of electro-magnetism without loosing its own stock of energy. In conduction, energy flows over into another thing, so that the source loses and the other thing gains what it has lost, and its gain is similar in kind to the loss. Not so induction. There the source does not lose, and the induced energy is equivalent and opposite in kind to the inducing energy. Thus a positive charge will induce an equivalent negative charge in a neighbouring object. Now, shall we suppose that the Muladhara, when it becomes over-saturated, induces in the neighbouring centre (say, Svadhishthana) a dynamic (not static) equivalent? Is this what the rise of the Serpent Power really means? The explanation, I am tempted to think, is not perhaps altogether fantastic."