According to the tantras, kundalini can be awakened by various methods which can be practiced individually or in combination. However, the first method cannot be practiced, because it is awakening by birth. Of course, it is too late for most of us to take advantage of this particular method, but some of us may be instrumental in producing children who have awakened kundalinis.
Awakening by birth
By a favourable birth, if your parents were highly evolved, you can have an awakened kundalion. It is also possible to be born with an awakened sushumna, ida or pingala nadi. This means that from the time of birth your higher faculties will be operating either partially or fully. If a child comes with partial awakening, he is called a saint, and if he comes with full illumination, he is known as an incarnation, avatara or son of God.
If one is born with an awakened kundalini, his experiences are very much under control. They take place in him right from the beginning in a natural way, so he never feels that something extraordinary is happening to him. A child with an awakened kundalini has clarity of vision, a high quality of thinking and a sublime philosophy. His attitude of life is somewhat unusual as he has total detachment. To him, his parents were only his means of creation, and therefore he is unable to accept the normal social relationship with them. Although he may live with them, he feels as if he were just a guest. Such a child exhibits a very matured behaviour and he does not react emotionally with anything in life. As he grows he becomes aware of his mission and purpose in life.
Many of us may wish to give birth to a yogi or an enlightened child but it is not such a simple matter. Every marriage or union of parents cannot produce a yogi, even if the man and woman practice yoga morning and night. It is only under certain circumstances that a higher being can be produced. In order to usher a highly evolved soul into this world, one has first to transform one's gross desires into spiritual aspirations.
It is very difficult to convince people of the west that a child can be born in an enlightened state, because they have the moral attitudes of a particular religion deeply ingrained in their minds and their faith. For them, the union between a man and a woman is sin. If you explain to them that a yogi can be produced as a result of the sexual union, they say, "No! How can a yogi be born out of sin?"
It is possible that ? new generation of supermen will be produced in this way. Through the practices of yoga you can transform the quality of your genes. If genes can produce artists, scientists, inventors and intellectual geniuses, then why not awakened kundalinis? You have to transform the quality of your sperm or ova by firstly transforming your whole consciousness. Neithe? drugs nor diet will transform your genes, but if you change your consciousness, you can then effect the elements of the body and ultimately change the quality of the sperm and ova. Then you will have children with awakened kundalinis. They will become the yogis and spiritual masters of the house who set things right for you. They will say, "Mummy, you are not the physical body." "P???, drinking is no good."
Those of you who enter married life should go into it keeping in mind that the purpose is not just pleasure, or to produce offspring, but to create a genius. All over the world, people who marry for progeny should try for higher quality children.
The second method of awakening kundalini is through steady regular practice of mantra. This is a very powerful, smooth and risk-free method, but of course it is a sadhana which requires time and a lot of patience. First you need to get a suitable mantra from a guru who knows yoga and tantra, and who can guide you through your sadhana. When you practise the mantra incessantly, it develops in you the vision of a higher force and enables you to live amidst the sensualities of life with indifference to them.
When you throw a pebble into a still lake, it produces circular ripples. In the same way, when you repeat a mantra over and over again, the sound force gathers momentum and creates vibrations in the ocean of the mind. When you repeat the mantra millions and billions of times, it permeates every part of your brain and purifies your whole physical, mental and emotional body.
The third method of awakening is tapasya, which means the performance of austerities. Tapasya is a means of purification, a burning or setting on fire so that a process of elimination is created, not in the physical body, but in the mental and emotional bodies. Through this process the mind, the emotions and the whole personality are cleansed of all the dirt, complexes and patterns of behavior that cause pain and suffering. Tapasya is an act of purification. It should not be misunderstood to involve standing naked in cold water or snow, or observing foolish and meaningless austerities. When you want to eliminate a bad habit, the more you want to get rid of it, the more powerful it becomes. When you abandon it in the waking state, it appears in dreams, and when you stop those dreams, it expresses itself in your behavior or manifests in disease. This particular habit must be destroyed at its psychic root, not only at the conscious level. The samskara and vasana must be eliminated by some form of tapasya. Tapasya is a psychological or psycho-emotional process through which the aspirant tries to set in motion a process of metabolism that will eradicate the habits that create weakness and obstruct the awakening of willpower. 'I must do this but I can't.' Why does this difference between resolution and implementation arise in the mind of the aspirant? Why is it so great? It is due to a deficiency of will; and that weakness, that distance or barrier between resolution and execution can be removed through regular and repeated practice of tapasya. Then the willpower makes a decision once and the matter is finished. This strength of will is the fruit of tapasya.
The psychology of austerity plays a very important part in the awakening of man's latent power. It is not well understood by modern man who has unfortunately accepted that man lives for 'the pleasure principle', as propounded by Freud and his disciples. The psychology of austerity is very sound and certainly not abnormal. When the senses are satisfied by the objective pleasures, by the comforts and luxuries, the brain and nervous system become weak and the consciousness and energy undergo a process of regression. It is in this situation that the method of austerity is one of the most powerful and sometimes explosive methods of awakening. Here the manifestations are tremendous and the aspirant has to face his lower instincts in the beginning. He confronts a lot of temptations and the assaults of the satanic and tamasic forces. All the evil or negative samskaras or karmas of many, many incarnations rise to the surface. Sometimes fear manifests very powerfully or attachment to the world comes with a great force. In some people, sexual fantasies haunt the mind for days together, while others become lean and thin, or even sick. At this juncture, siddhis can appear. One develops extrasensory perceptions, he can read the minds of others, he can suppress others by a thought, or his own thoughts materialize. In the beginning, black forces manifest and all these siddhis are negative or of a lower quality. Tapasya is a very, very powerful method of awakening which everybody cannot handle.
Awakening through herbs
The fourth method of awakening is through the use of specific herbs. In Sanskrit this is called aushadhi, and it should not be interpreted as meaning drugs like marijuana, LSD, etc. Aushadhi is the most powerful and rapid method of awakening but it is not for all and very few people know about it. There are herbs which can transform the nature of the body and its elements and bring about either partial or full awakening, but they should never be used without a guru or qualified guide. This is because certain herbs selectively awaken ida or pingala and others can suppress both these nadis and quickly lead one to the mental asylum. For this reason, aushadhi is a very risky and unreliable method.
In the ancient vedic texts of India, there are references to a substance called soma. Soma was a juice extracted from a creeper which was picked on special days of the dark lunar fortnight. It was placed in an earthen pitcher and buried underground until the full moon. Then it was removed and the juice was extracted and taken. This induced visions, experiences and an awakening of higher consciousness. The Persians knew another drink, homa, which may have been the same as soma. In Brazil and some of the African countries, people used hallucinogenic mushrooms and in the Himalayan regions marijuana or hashish were taken with the thought that they might provide a shortcut in arousing spiritual awakening. From time to time, in different parts of the world, other things were also discovered and used, some being very mild in effect and others being very concentrated. With the help of the correct herbs, purified aspirants were able to visualize divine beings, holy rivers, mountains, sacred places, holy men and so on. When the effects of the herbs were more concentrated, they could separate the self from the body and travel astrally. Of course it was often illusory, but sometimes it was a real experience as well. People were able to enter a state of samadhi and awaken their kundalini. In this particular field of awakening, the sexual instinct was completely eliminated. Therefore, many aspirants preferred this method and have been trying to discover the appropriate herbs for many centuries. With aushadhi awakening the body becomes still and quiet, the metabolism slows and the temperature drops. As a result of this, the nerve reflexes function differently and in most cases the aushadhi awakening is a permanent one. However, the aushadhi method of awakening is no longer practiced because it was misused by the ordinary people who were neither prepared, competent nor qualified. As a result, knowledge of the herbs was withdrawn and today it is a closely guarded secret.
Everyone is craving kundalini awakening, but few people have the discipline and mental, emotional, physical and nervious preparation required to avoid damage to the brain and tissues. So, although no one is teaching the aushadhi method of awakening today, its knowledge has been transmitted from generation to generation through the guru/disciple tradition. Perhaps some day, when the nature of man changes and we find better intellectual, physical and mental responses, the science may again be revealed.
The fifth method of inducing awakening is through raja yoga and the development of an equipoised mind. This is the total merging of individual consciousness with superconsciousness. It occurs by a sequental process of concentration, meditation and communion; experience of union with the absolute or supreme. All the practices of raja yoga, preceded by hatha yoga, bring about very durable experiences, but they can lead to a state of complete depression, in which you do not feel like doing anything. The raja yoga method is very difficult for most people as it requires time, patience, discipline and perseverance.
Concentration of mind is one of the most difficult things for modern man to achieve. It cannot be undertaken before the mind has been stabilized, the karmas deactivated and the emotions purified through karma and bhakti yogas. It is the nature of the mind to remain active all the time, and this constitutes a very real danger for the people of our time, because when we try to concentrate the mind we create a split. Therefore, most of us should only practice concentration up to a certain point. Following the awakening through raja yoga, changes take place in the aspirant. He may transcend hunger and all his addictions or habits. The sensualities of life are no longer appealing, hunger and the sexual urge diminish and detachment develops spontaneously. Raja yoga brings about a slow transformation of consciousness.
The sixth method of awakening kundalini is through pranayama. When a sufficiently prepared aspirant practises pranayama in a calm, cool and quiet environment, preferably at a high altitude, with a diet only sufficient to maintain life, the awakening of kundalini takes place like an explosition. In fact, the awakening is so rapid that kundalini ascends to sahasrara immediately.
Pranayama is not only a breathing exercise or a means to increase prana in the body; it is a powerful method of creating yogic fire to heat the kundalini and awaken it. However, if it is practiced without sufficient preparation, this will not occur because the generated heat will not be directed to the proper centers. Therefore, jalandhara, uddiyana and moola bandhas are practiced to lock the prana in and force it up to the frontal brain. When pranayama is practised correctly, the mind is automatically conquered. However, the effects of pranayama are not that simple to manage. It creates extra heat in the body, it awakens some of the centers in the brain and it can hinder the production of sperm and testosterone.
Pranayama may also lower the temperature of the inner body and even bring down the rate of respiration and alter the brain waves. Unless you have practised the shatkarmas first and purified the body to a degree, when these changes take place, you may not be able to handle them. There are two important ways of awakening kundalini - one is the direct method and the other is the indirect. Pranayama is the direct method. The experiences it brings about are explosive and results are attained very quickly. Expansion is rapid and the mind attains quick metamorphosis. However, this form of kundalini awakening is always accompanied by certain experiences, and for one who is not sufficiently prepared mentally, philosophically, physically and emotionally, these experiences can be terrifying. Therefore, although the path of pranayama is a jetset method, it is drastic and is considered to be a very difficult one that everybody cannot manage.
The seventh method of inducing awakening is kriya yoga. It is the most simple and practical way for modern day man as it does not require confrontation with the mind. Sattvic people may be able to awaken kundalini through raja yoga, but those who have a tumultuous, noisy, rajasic mind will not succeed this way. They will only develop more tensions, guilt and complexes, and may even become schizophrenic. For such people kriya yoga is by far the best and most effective system. When you practise kriya yoga, kundalini doesn't wake up with force, nor does it awaken like a satellite or as a vision or experience. It wakes up like a noble queen. Before getting up she will open her eyes, then close them again for a while. Then she'll open her eyes again, look here and there, turn to the right and left, then pull the sheet up over her head and doze. After some time she will again stretch her body and open her eyes, then doze for a while. Each time she stretches and looks around she says, 'Hmmm'. This is what happens in kriya yoga awakening. Sometimes you feel very grand and sometimes you don't feel quite right. Sometimes you pay too much attention to the things of life and sometimes you think everything is useless. Sometimes you eat extravagantly and sometimes you don't eat for days together. Sometimes you have sleepless nights and at other times you do nothing but sleep and sleep. All these signs of awakening and reversion, awakening and reversion keep coming every now and then. Kriya yoga does not create an explosive awakening. However, it can bring visions and other very mild and controllable experiences.
This eighth method of awakening kundalini through tantric initiation is a very secret topic. Only those people who have transcended passions, and who understand the two principles of nature, Shiva and Shakti, are entitled to this initiation. It is not meant for those who have urges lurking within them or for those who have a need for physical contact. With the guidance of a guru, this is the quickest possible way to awaken kundalini. There are no extraordinary experiences or feelings and there's no neurosis; everything seems quite normal, but at the same time, without your knowledge, awakening is taking place. Transformation takes place and your awareness expands, but you don't know it. In this particular system, awakening and arriving at sahasrara are the same event. It takes just three seconds. However, who is qualified for this path? Few people in this world have completely transcended the sexual urge and overcome their passions.
The ninth method of awakening is performed by the guru. It is called shaktipat. The awakening is instant, but it is only a glimpse, not a permanent event. When the guru creates this awakening you experience samadhi. You can practise all forms of pranayama and all asanas, mudras and bandhas without having learned them or prepared for them. All the mantras are revealed to you and you know the scriptures from within. Changes take place in the physical body in an instant. The skin becomes very soft, the eyes glow and the body emits a particular aroma which is neither agreeable nor disagreeable.
This shaktipat is conducted in the physical presence or from a distance. It can be transmitted by touch, by a handkerchief, a mala, a flower, a fruit or anything edible, depending on the system the guru has mastered. It can even be transmitted by letter, telegram or telephone. It is very difficult to say who is qualified for this awakening. You may have lived the life of a renunciate for fifty years, but still you may not get it. You may be just an ordinary person, living a non-spiritual life, eating all kinds of rubbish foods, but the guru may give you shaktipat. Your eligibility for shaktipat does not depend on your social or immediate conduct, but on the point of evolution you have reached. There is a point in evolution beyond which shaktipat becomes effective, but this evolution is not intellectual, emotional, social or religious. It is a spiritual evolution which has nothing to do with the way you live, eat, behave or think, because generally we do these things, not because of our evolvement, but according to the way we have been brought up and educated.
Effects of the different methods of awakening
When the awakening of kundalini takes place, scientific observations have revealed different effects. Those who have awakened kundafini from birth do not register any emotional changes. They are like blocks of wood. Those who have awakened kundalini through pranayama have a great quantum of electrical charges in the spinal column and throughout the body, and momentarily they could manifest schizophrenically.
Karma yoga and bhakti yoga are considered comparatively safe and mild methods of awakening, but the tantric methods are more scientific than the non-tantric methods, because in tantra there is no scope for suppression or dispersion of energy. In non-tantric methods there is antagonism - one mind wants it and the same mind is saying no. You suppress your thoughts, you want to enjoy, but at the same time you think "No, it is bad." I am not criticizing non-tantric methods. They are the mild methods which do not bring you any trouble. They are just like beer - you drink a little bit and nothing happens, drink four to ten glasses and not much will happen. But tantric methods are like LSD, you have a little and it takes you right out. If something is wrong, it is wrong; if something is right, it is right.
By: Swami Shankardevananda Saraswati
Posted by : Jaideep Ojha