My name is George A. Boyd. I have taught meditation for ten years, and I have studied meditation since 1965 in a variety of traditions. The teaching that I am presenting here today comes from the Mudrashram® tradition, of which you may say that I am the spokesperson and representative.
Much of the work that I have done during the last twelve years has involved mapping the Continuum of Consciousness, and attempting to gain a clearer understanding of the how the Soul evolves. In this context, I would like to discuss the role of Kundalini in transforming the Soul and what is Kundalini's legitimate function in the overall spiritual work.
Kundalini is the principle of energy and awareness that makes conscious functioning possible. When Kundalini is awakened, it becomes possible for a human being to become aware of the higher vehicles of consciousness, to empower and activate them, and then to use and channel the energies within them. Further, in specific instances, Kundalini may be used to actually drive the spiritual transformative process.
When Kundalini is dormant, humans function in the Conscious mind. They are aware of their present time awareness of the environment, body sensations, feelings and thoughts. Their world is limited by the confines of the body and the horizon of Reason.
When Kundalini is mildly aroused, what we term first degree awakening, they become aware of the energies of the Subconscious mind operating through the chakras. They become aware of their drives for sexuality and achievement, their altruistic impulses of caring, and the inspiration of their creative speech center. They discover the seat of their spirituality and attentional principle. Their memory becomes vividly enhanced.
Slightly more aroused, in second degree awakening, the Kundalini enters the aura of the total personality, the Metaconscious mind. Here, they become aware of the human will, the mental intelligence and the emotional values, social graces and integrity that are the essential expressions of personality. They become aware of the nucleus of the personality, the Centered Self, and discover their ability to be at cause over their life and in their world.
In yet higher states of awakening,(third through twelfth degree) the Kundalini opens the vehicles of the Superconscious mind, which permits access to and empowerment of higher octaves of consciousness.
Superconscious mind comprises the Transpersonal or spiritual aspects of a human being. Roughly speaking, we can divide these into three major spheres of consciousness.
The personality itself, the human being's representative in the physical world, we refer to as the Pinda, or Egoic Realm, and this is our embarkation point for worlds beyond that exist in the Superconscious mind.
The first level above the physical has been called the Astral World, which we term the Anda. The Anda has four major parts: the Subtle Realm, the Planetary Realm, the Transplanetary Realm, and the Cosmic Sphere.
The next level has been referred to as the Causal-Mental World, which we call Brahmanda, or the Supracosmic Sphere.
Finally, at the deepest reaches of the Continuum of Consciousness, we reach the Pure Consciousness World, the World of Pure Spirit that we refer to as Parabrahmanda , or the Transcendental Sphere.
Kundalini is active in each of these three higher spheres. Kundalini produces different types of inner experience depending on what higher vehicle it is operating in.
In third degree awakening, Kundalini opens the vehicles of the lower reaches of the Subtle Realm, and the individual Kundalini unites with the Transpersonal Kundalini. When this union takes place, an individual obtains a glimpse of their Higher Self.
In fourth degree awakening, the Kundalini opens the vehicles of the higher Subtle Realm.
Fifth degree awakening opens the vehicles of the Planetary Realm. As the chakras from the heart to the head are opened in this vehicle, the Soul undergoes the five Planetary initiations. An individual who has fully mastered this realm is called an Adept.
Sixth degree awakening confers Cosmic Consciousness on the initiate, granting the First Initiation in the Cosmic Sphere. Those who fully open the seven centers in this vehicle realize Brahman, and become what we call a Yoga Master, or Preceptor.
Seventh degree awakening reveals the God Consciousness, the nucleus of the seven octaves of Cosmic Mind. When the Soul has evolved into union with the fiery sun of God Consciousness, it becomes [ready for ascension into the exalted state of the] Cosmic Master, [after] completing the Fifth Cosmic Initiation.
Eighth degree awakening brings the vision of the Lord of the World and the Masters of Love and Wisdom. This stage of attainment is referred to as God's Consciousness.
Ninth degree awakening opens the vehicles of the Supracosmic sphere. Here, as initiates unfold the seven chakras of the universe within which they evolve, they behold the spiritual intelligences that substand their tradition. By opening these centers they are granted powers (siddhi), wisdom (jnana), love (prema) and virtue (dharma). An individual who fully masters this Sphere we call Guru, or Avatar. Other names for Souls who have reached this sublime stage of attainment in different traditions include Rinpoche, Murshid, Avadhuta, Siddha, or Maharishi.
Tenth degree awakening raises the Kundalini into one of the eight higher domains of the Transcendental Realm, conferring Soul Awareness. This is the individual stage of immersion into the Transcendental Sphere, and we describe an individual who has evolved to this realm as a Paramahansa.
Eleventh degree awakening is experienced by those initiates who have reached universal attunement in the Transcendental Sphere. Such a being we title Mahatma.
In the deepest meditation, the Kundalini fully awakens into the Supreme Shakti. At this stage, the Kundalini is seen to be a ray of a Mighty Ocean of Grace and Mercy. We refer to that Holy and Immortal Power that manifests Supreme Shakti as Sat Guru Swami.
The transformation of the Soul into more advanced states of spiritual evolution can be achieved by several means. This process, variously referred to as Initiation, Samadhi, or Laya, involves the purification of the karmic obstructions within the vehicles, and the re-integration of the Soul and its vehicles into a new state of Being. These discrete loci of re-integration we refer to as nodal points.
These transformational methods include:
Nadamic Absorptionis the principle method of transformation in the Transcendental Sphere. In this method, the individual spirit opens the inner channels of light and sound, and the Soul is passively absorbed into the next state of initiation.
Bija Mantra Japa uses the repetition of a seed mantra that exists at the highest center of consciousness to unfold the potentials of the Soul. This method is commonly utilized in the Supracosmic Sphere and below, as the Nada or Spirit Current is the primary agency of transformation in the Transcendental Sphere.
Kriya Yoga is a rapid method of transformation that associates the breath with the subtle currents of the spiritual "spinal axis." using mantras and bandhas. It is so powerful that seven kriyas correctly performed are equal to 108 repetitions of a bija mantra. This form of transformation is central to spiritual work during the First Cosmic Initiation, and [more advanced methods are] effective throughout the Cosmic Sphere up into the Supracosmic Sphere. Six forms are commonly known:
|Type of Kriya||Corresponds to:|
|(1) Physical body pranayama||Annamayakosa|
(2) Astral body pranayama with bandhas
(3) Causal body pranayama with mantra
(4) Buddhic [Ideational] body pranayama with mantra
(5) Atmic vehicle [the cosmic consciousness nucleus of identity on its own Plane] pranayama with mantra
(6) Essential, "breathless" Kriya
Kaivalyam (Stage of Liberated Souls)
Readers wishing more comprehensive information about Kriya Yoga should see our article, On Kriya Yoga.
Other techniques are coupled with these forms of Kriya Yoga to enhance the practitioner's benefit from it. The originator of Kriya Yoga is Mahavatar Babaji, in whose Holy Name this conference is convened.
Grace Bestowing Immersion is part of the Ministry of a Master Soul. It is active in all spheres and at all times. By an act of spiritual will, the Master can actively direct the energies of Spirit to another Soul and speed up the spiritual evolutionary process.
This act of Grace is a direct intervention in a disciple's spiritual destiny by an empowered and anointed instrument of the Divine. This method is also known as Shaktipat, Translation, Light Immersion, or Holy Breath.
Kundalini can be channeled in a special way to make it a transformational method. Higher initiates in the Planetary Realm, after extensive preparation, raise the inner Kundalini fire to the crown center, force it through the nexus of the unconscious mind, dissolve the remaining karmic residue, and anchor the fiery Fohatic energy in the next nodal point.
This permits the Soul to move into the next stable stage of consciousness. This is a very difficult and dangerous practice that Adepts teach their most advanced disciples to make their transition into the rarified atmosphere of the higher Planes in the Planetary Realm.
Though many individuals believe that Kundalini is responsible for the Soul's ascension through the stages of the spiritual journey, its primary role is the driving of awareness and awakening the higher vehicles. It is not per se a transformational method, although in special instances it can be used as such. Teachers of the Mudrashram® lineage point out that the correct use of the Kundalini culminates in many benefits, including:
- Enlightenment of the Soul
- Empowerment of the Higher Will
- Awakening and purification of the higher vehicles of the Superconscious Mind
- Spontaneous arising of virtue and reformation of character
- Opening hitherto dormant psychic centers, activating their innate principles of intelligence and intuitive wisdom
- Promoting full functioning of the faculties of the entire mind, granting illumination, inspiration and the flowering of genius
- Enhanced utilization of the human body as an instrument for the expression of the Soul.
Rightly used, Kundalini bestows many gifts and blessings.
Legends of Kundalini's blessings have led many spiritual bees to attempt to force the Kundalini to rise into unconscious areas of the mind, seeking to get the honey out of God's Lotus Flower. As a consequence some have made themselves ill by upsetting the delicate neurohormonal balance of the brain by tampering with spiritual fire; some have driven themselves insane.
We caution seekers that certain practices can be dangerous if practiced too much or incorrectly. These dangerous practices include:
- Striking the base of the spine (kanda)
- Using sustained yoga bandhas
- Sustained holding of the breath
- Hyperventilative breathing
- Mantramic stimulation of the chakras with bija mantras
Instead, we recommend using the gentle Kundalini mantra that is ever vibrating within. Under the guidance of a Master, the Kundalini can be safely raised and lowered, progressively elevating awareness into the higher vehicles and then returning to the waking state of consciousness.
We do not recommend any practice that maintains a sustained altered state of consciousness, except for those who are in renunciant status and are devoting their lives to spiritual advancement under the watch care of a living Master.
Symptoms of Kundalini breaking into unconscious levels of mind result in different types of dramatic phenomena, that some groups believe evidence inner purification of the higher vehicles.
Actually, no transformation is effected by these phenomena. While they may give the practitioner a glimpse into hidden areas of the mind, the net impact is that individuals remain as they were, and this material remains useless to the Soul.
Typical phenomena include:
- Emotional outbursts and catharsis
- Spontaneous, unintelligible speech (called glossolalia or speaking in tongues)
- Spontaneous change in breathing, ranging from pseudo-cessation of breath to rapid, hyperventilative breathing
- Ecstatic speech or utterance, ranging from prophecy, channeling of entities, or spontaneous chanting of mantras
- Physiologic changes in body temperature, feeling sensations of energy rising in the spine, pressure in the head, etc.
- Changes in perception resembling hallucinations
- Re-living early childhood experiences or recalling antenatal or past life memories
- Jerking of the body, or spontaneous assumption of yoga asanas
- Rapid shifts in awareness with various dream-like inner experiences
With all of the current mystic and romantic notions of what the Kundalini is and does, I believe it is important that we must come to a clear understanding of its role in the spiritual work. And understand, too, how we can avoid dangerous extremism in our journey to the Lotus Feet of the Divine.
Further, I believe it is important to know that transformation is possible, and with the proper tools and an experienced Guide, we can scale the heights of the mighty Mount Meru within. Not after death, but while we are still alive. Not merely to believe and hope, but to know and be a conscious co-worker with God.