Kundalini

That boy who was a staunch Sihiv bhakta often talked about awakening kundalini and seven chakras. For this I said that I have never done proper studies on Tantrism. But in general I know that in Tantrism the human body is considered the vehicle to achieve that bliss by awakening the (so called) kundali from the muladhara.

There might be some truth in it about which I don’t know much. But without a proper person to teach and guide, and without having strong willpower to do that sadhana continuously without much of a break, one should not try to do such dangerous sadhanas. Without proper guidance and personal discipline if one ventures out in such an area out of curiosity or an adventurous spirit, that may bring lots of damage both to the body and mind. And then recovery from that damage could be very painful and slow.

We should understand the role played by a guru in Indian tradition. A guru is not merely to teach, but to correct when you make mistakes while you follow the teaching. For example, today, one can learn Carnatic music or some asana exercises by watching some videos. But the person who demonstrates in the video won’t come out from the screen to correct you when you make mistakes. So when learning certain fine arts (like music, dance, etc.) and some physical and mental disciplines, one should not do it without the proper guidance of an able preceptor or guru.

I told that boy that if he strongly believes in it, he should spend at least one year sincerely and honestly and then come and share his experience with others. He often punctuated his statements “This I heard.” When I questioned from where, again he said, “I heard …. said that it is in Shiva Purana.”

In response I said, “I read the entire Shiva Purana in English and I never remembered reading anything about Kundalini, etc. Maybe I should refer to it again. But you should not merely quote another person as an authority for a long time. You should begin to read it by yourself to know more about it.”

When I said that this Kundalini awakening is part of Tantra, that boy said that it is not Tantra. Then I said that I have never done a proper study on Tantra, though I have read a few books about it.

Let me give some quotes from those books which will substantiate my point. I will share just a few not to show that I’m better than him, but to remind him that mere ‘hearsay’ (sunsuniki baat in Hindi) viz., ‘I heard other saying’, is not enough when one wants to launch such unknown and very dangerous territory.

 

 

…The techniques of yoga have their source in tantra and the two cannot be separated, just as consciousness, Shiva, cannot be separated from energy, Shakti.

Tantra is a combination of two words, tanoti and trayati, which mean ‘expansion’ and ‘liberation’ respectively. Therefore, it is the science of expanding the consciousness and liberating the energy. Tantra is the way to attain freedom from the bondage of the world while still living in it. The first step in tantra is to know the limitations and capacities of the body and mind. Next it prescribes techniques for the expansion of consciousness and the liberation of energy whereby individual limitations are transcended and a higher reality experienced. — Asana Pranayama Mudra Bandha, Swami Satyananda Saraswati, Munger, Bihar, Yoga Publications Trust, (1996), 2002 p.3

 

…in the Kularnava, Siva says to Devi,`I churned the great ocean of Vedas and Agamas with the churning handle of (correct) knowledge. I knew the essence of these and took out the Kuladharma, that the Kaulasastras are authoritative (p.1051) like Vedic texts and should not be nullified by ratiocination’. The same Tantra further asserts `one who has studied the four Vedas but is ignorant of Kuladharma is inferior to a candala, while a candala who knows Kuladharmas is superior to a brahmana. If all dharmas such as sacrifices, pilgrimages and vratas are put on one side and Kuladharma on another side, Kaula (dharma) is superior.’ It is, therefore, necessary to understand what is meant by Kula or Kauladharma. The Guhya-samaja states that Guhya means the three viz. body, speech and mind and `samaaja’ means `coming together’, that Kula may comprehend five matters or three or 101 and that Guhya (as defined) is trikula.’ God Sankara declared five tattvas, viz. wine, flesh, fish, mudra (hand and finger poses or the woman helper of a yogin) and sexual intercourse, that are acts that become the means for the attainment of the position of a viira and that the mantra of Sakti does not confer perfection unless one follows the practices of Kula; therefore a person (p.1052) should be devoted to the Kula practices whereby he would attain to the sadhana of Sakti; wine, flesh, fish, mudra and sexual intercourse–these are declared to be the five tattvas in the procedure of the worship of Sakti….– P.V.Kane, History of Dharmasastra, Vol. V, Part II, pp. 1051-53

 

…One of the most important factors in Tanticism is the yantra…The yantra is a symbol of the Goddess and upon it the letters of the alphabet, or short monosyllabic mantras are inscribed which constitute the mantra-or sabda-body of the Goddess. By the letters of the alphabet the body of the Goddess is constituted. The worshipper will identify certain parts of his own body with certain letters and thus will identify himself with the goddess.—Klaus K. Klostermaier, MYTHOLOGIES AND PHILOSOPHIES OF SALVATION IN THE THEISTIC TRADITIONS OF INDIA, Published for the Canadian Corporation for Studies in Religion/Corporation Canadienne des Sciences Religieuses by Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1984, p.222

…In most forms of Tantric worship the awakening of the kundalini Sakti in the body plays a great role: …The aim of the Tantrika is always the union of Sakti and Siva, he himself merging into Sakti. The details of Tantrasastra are very complex and obscure. It does not have any specific mythology of its own and only develops the idea of the Goddess as the ground of everything.—ibid. pp.222-23

 

…Much of Tantra hymnology is written in the samdhya style, that is, with a double meaning: one gross and sensual, the other sublime and spiritual. Only the initiated will discover the true sense.—ibid. p.226

…Especially important was the oral ingestion of sexual fluids thought to give the devotee access to the goddess’s supernatural powers. In this way Tantric sex was used to awaken latent energies from the base of the body and bring them to the fore, so using the physical body with its blood and semen, desires and energies, as a way of accessing the spiritual, and the divine….—8. THE LADY TWILIGHT, in William Dalrymple, Nine Lives: In Search of the Sacred in Modern India, London, Blooms Bury, (2009), Paperback, 2010, p. 214

 

…Moreover, the sexual aspect of medieval Indian Tantra is quite different both in aim and practice from the ‘Tantric sex’ marketed in illustrated manuals published in the contemporary West. Early Tantric texts make no reference to pleasure, bliss or ecstasy: the sexual intercourse involved in the rites was not an end itself so much as a means of generating the semen whose consumption lay at the heart of these Tantric fertility rituals—a sort of inverted Tantric version of the offerings made in Vedic fire sacrifices. This original Devi-propitiating Tantric sex stands at an unimaginable distance away from the sort of (p.214) faddish Tantra cults embraced by Western rock stars, with their celebration of aromatherapy and coitus reservatus, a movement well described by the French writer Miche Houllebecq as ‘a combination of bumping and grinding, fuzzy spirituality and extreme egotism’.—ibid. 8. THE LADY TWILIGHT, in pp. 214-15

 

…According to laya yoga, apart from the physical body (sthula sarira) with all its parts such as flesh, bones, blood, nerves, etc., there is a subtle body (suksma sarira) in each one of us. Nadis and Cakras form the subtle body. The Siddha yoga practice is primarily based on the cakra organization and nadi system.

Kundalini power is the individual bodily representation of the great cosmic power. The term is derived from kundala meaning a ring or coil. The Tamil word ‘kudambai’ also stands for the coiled kundalini….—p. 83

…A better translation of diksa is ‘empowerment’, because in it the teacher carried the pupil in himself, as it were, as the mother bears the embryo in her body and ‘empowers’ the disciple with all his jnana-energy. The term ‘diksa’ is a compound of two ideas—diyate and ksiyate—giving and weakening, that is, giving or endowing knowledge and weakening or destroying (removing) lower impulses and desires which stand as obstructions, thereby freeing the individual from phenomenal fetters….—p. 105

In tantra philosophy the human body has acquired an importance it had never before attained in the spiritual history of India….All the tantric doctrines are based on the maxim Sariramadyam khalu dharmasadanam, which forms the essence of the Tamil Siddha philosophy as well….—p. 115

according to the Tamil Siddhas, the body contains in itself an immortal essence….Eternity is within the body; it is not the body itself; but it is in the body….—p.115

…The Siddha view of body as a moksa sadhana is a very old one with its emphasis on apsycho-chemical process of yoga, known as kaya sadhana, with a view to making the body perfect and immutable and thereby attaining an immortal spiritual life….The attitude of the Siddhas toward the human body is entirely positive. This attitude is in contrast to other religious teachings which decry the body as evil and full of defects.—p. 116

The term ‘kaaya’ used by the Siddhas is translated as ‘body’, but not in the sense of the purely physical abstraction….—p. 121

Kaya saddhna is to be distinguished from physical culture. Physical culture aims at developing the athlete’s powers; but kaya sadhana aims at developing the spiritual power, a power which electrifies the body and its consciousness. It is an attempt to bring about the transubstantiation of the body, the attainment of what is called siddha deha. This attainment is not an end in itself but a means to achieve a divya deha, an immutable spiritual body or ‘Sivahood’. Kaya (p.123) sadhana implies a change of perspective where the physical existence is not denied but replaced by a permanent spiritual existence, where the gulf between the physical and the ontological (non-physical) is bridged over in a blissful existence.—pp.123-24

…In Tamil Siddha poems we come across the term kaya karpam, which means the process of making the body immutable and stone-like. This process consists of three methods known as mani, mantiram, and avildam. Mani is rasaayana, chemical process. Mantiram is the process of kundalini yoga and aviltham is the process of medicine, i.e., outsada. When a body is hardened by yogic techniques we get what is called the yoga deha. That is, the ordinary physical body has first to be ‘burnt out’ through the continual application of the fire of yoga. Hatha yoga tells us the methods by which one can prepare the body for attaining the yoga deha….—p. 124

…After the attainment of the siddhi, the siddha deha is turned into a mantra deha called pranava tanu. This pranava tanu is free from all gross matter and all impurities. It is a body consisting of the sacred formula ‘Om’. This body is a refined, transphysical, incorruptible, transfigured body of glory and power. The pranava tanu is transfigured into an eternal spiritual body called the jnana deha or (p.124) the divya tanu. When a Siddha attains this spiritual body he becomes a paramukta; he attains Sivahood….—pp. 124-25

…the Siddhas say that a human body is a spiritual treasure and should not be squandered in vain. According to them, liberation means a transformation of a body with limitations into a body without limitations. In Siddha literature this transformation is called dehaveda….—p. 125.