There are a number of schools of thought as to what kundalini really is. Many yogis say that kundalini is a flow of pranic energy along an esoteric pathway (sushumna) associated with the spinal axis. They consider that it is part of the flow of prana within the meshwork of the pranic body and that there is no anatomical counterpart. Other yogis relate their perceptions of kundalini to the flow of messages along the nerve fibers. These arise in the networks of the autonomic plexuses and ascend along tracts in the spinal cord to definite anatomical centers in the brain.
These schools of thought use different descriptions to convey the experience of kundalini, but they all agree that the experience of kundalini is a total psychophysiological event which centers around the spinal cord. Within the spinal cord there is a very important fluid, the cerebrospinal fluid. When, through practices such as pranayama, awakening occurs in mooladhara chakra, this fluid gets excited. We cannot really say what happens to it because even the scientists are not exactly sure, but by studying the experiences of kundalini awakening, one thing is apparent. When the cerebrospinal fluid moves through the vertebral column, it alters the phases of consciousness and this is a very important process as far as evolution is concerned.
It is the chitta or consciousness which undergoes evolution in man. Chitta does not have a location point in the body, it is psychological in nature, but it is controlled by the information supplied by the indriyas or senses. While chitta is being constantly supplied with information, its evolution is blocked, but if you prevent the passage of information from the indriyas, chitta will evolve very quickly. That is to say, if you isolate chitta from the information being relayed through the eyes, nose, ears, skin and tongue, chitta is then compelled to experience independence.
When the cerebrospinal fluid is affected during pranayama, the senses become dull and their messages are relayed to chitta very slowly. Sometimes, when the cerebrospinal fluid is highly stimulated, all sensory impulses are suspended and experiences take place within the chitta. Sometimes these experiences are fantastic, you might see light, feel the whole earth trembling or experience your body as if it were as light as a piece of cotton. These and others are the experiences of chitta as a consequence of the cerebrospinal fluid's reactions.
One world renowned scientist, the late Itzhak Bentov, put forward the theory that kundalini is an effect caused by the rotation of nerve impulses around the cortex of the brain during meditation. He considered that this is caused by rhythmical pressure waves which result from the interaction of the heart beat, breathing, and the fluid inside the skull, thereby causing the brain to oscillate up and down which stimulates specific nerve currents in the brain.
Unlocking the storehouse of cosmic consciousness
Although there are varying views about kundalini, one thing is certain - kundalini has the ability to activate the human consciousness in such a way that the person can develop his most beneficial qualities, can enter a much more intimate relationship with nature about him, and can become aware of his oneness with the whole cosmos. All the great miracles of the remote and recent past, and the ones yet to come, have sprung from what is known as the storehouse of cosmic consciousness, the golden egg, the golden womb, the hidden hiranyagarbha within the structure of the human brain. This particular center in us is not sleeping or inactive, but it is unconscious, only because we are not conscious of it. What came as revelation to the ancient rishis, to Newton and Einstein and to many other great seers, is existing in us also, but it came to their conscious plane while it does not come to ours. This is the only difference between the inspired artist and the common man. The aim of kundalini yoga is not really to awaken the power of man, but rather to bring the power down to earth or to bring the power of the unconscious or higher consciousness, to normal consciousness. We have no need to awaken the consciousness, for it is ever awake. We have only to gain complete control over our higher conscious forces. By means of kundaiini yoga we just try to bring the centers from mooladhara to ajna into operation so that the higher knowledge will be gradually revealed to us. Today, man has mastered the material dimension, the energy of prakriti and discovered the mysteries of nature. Now, through the process of kundalini, man should become master of the spiritual dimension.
By: Swami Shankardevananda Saraswati
Posted by : Jaideep Ojha