Kundalini Yoga

Lecture by Swami Satyananda Saraswati in Basel, Switzerland

I have a very important topic to discuss here and that is Kundalini Yoga which is much talked about in the east as well as in the west. The Science of Kundalini Yoga concerns the awakening of a great power which is lying dormant in the physical structure of man.

The science of Kundalini Yoga is nothing to do with a transcendental God or a God concept of a religion. Of course in the books that are written on Kundalini Yoga a lot is talked about transcendental power but if we analyse and study the science and the practices of Kundalini Yoga they primarily concern the physical body which belongs to us.

In the conception of Kundalini Yoga the higher consciousness is inherent in the deeper portions of the brain but in order to bring about the unfoldment of that consciousness, a kind of awakening is important, a kind of awakening is necessary that takes place at a particular part of the body which is known as Mooladhara. This Consciousness with a capital 'C' is known as Shiva and the power for awakening is known as Shakti. Shiva represents the consciousness, Kundalini represents the Shakti or the energy aspect of man.

The consciousness which is inherent in the brain and which is an expression of the higher brain, may I say for the time being, is not subject to awakening by any method unless it is tackled through definite centres in the body and those centres are the prime subject matter of Kundalini Yoga.

It is said that at the root of the spinal cord, and a little below that at the perineum, is a small physical part, muscle or gland, which is dormant and which can be awakened. The awakening that takes place in that particular part of the body brings about an instantaneous or corresponding awakening in the higher spheres of your brain. Awakening of this particular centre and also other centres which are connected with Kundalini Yoga ultimately bring about awakening of the higher consciousness of man and unfold the great awareness.

The awakening of the higher centres in the brain brings about a very rich, abiding and profound experience, and that experience is something like, you may say, God experience in religious language, Samadhi in the spiritual language. But of course the awakening of the highest consciousness takes place in the higher sphere which is known as Sahasrara or the centre of the thousand petalled lotus.

But if you ask me ‘what is Kundalini Yoga?’ I will tell you that the ultimate purpose of all Yoga is to awaken this primordial power in man and there is no particular Yoga which is known as Kundalini Yoga.

Some people would prefer to awaken this consciousness, this power, through the practices of pranayama. But it is also possible that the awakening of Kundalini can take place through the practices of Mantra Yoga or Japa Yoga. Through the help of music also, I don't mean the type of music we have now, but by the help of music also awakening Kundalini can take place and does take place. It is also possible that the awakening can take place, did take place, of course though not a current practice, by the use of the herbs, I am not using the word drugs, but this is not a known science even to the great Hindus. It is not a known science. However it is possible.

There is another possibility of awakening this great power in man, by leading a life of self-imposed, willing austerity, which is known in Yoga as Tapasya, austerity. That is self-imposed, willing penance. This is a very important practice. This is a very important way, but it is something that is not very well understood by modern man who has unfortunately been a very great follower of Freud and his disciples.

The psychology of austerity plays a very important part in the awakening of the great power in man.

When the senses are satisfied by the objective pleasures, comforts and by luxuries, the brain becomes weak and the consciousness of man, or the energy of man, undergoes a process of regression. It is therefore that the method of austerity is supposed to be one of the most powerful ways of awakening, sometimes it can even bring about an explosive awakening.

In the Tantric System almost all the practices are accepted but in addition to all these practices they have added Mantra. I am not going to tell you all these things here, but these Mantras about which I am making a very cautious reference are something more than, something more, not something different, something more than the name of God. Whenever one takes a Mantra from anyone, even from me, one has to be very careful. If it is true that the Mantra is just the name of God then you can take it from every Tom, Dick and Harry. But, if Mantra is a sound that influences the psychological aspect of your life, then you must take it with utmost enquiry and with utmost care. At the same time the way of practicing the Mantra, the limitations of pranayama and also asanas must be decided under those rules of Tantrism, under the rules of Kundalini Yoga, which will tell you that you are Leo or a Capricorn or Virgo and therefore you must take to pranayama. This is a very particular, a special topic in the Ayurveda, one of the branches of the forth Veda of the Hindus.

The pranayamas about which I made a reference are not the pranayamas about which you read in our books. But those pranayamas are totally different and they concern a different kind of breathing and a different kind of system which produces a great amount of heat in the system and that heat is so strong that I think even here in December and January you don't need one pullover, you don't need whiskey, you do not need anything because it is a terrific heat. Therefore, these pranayamas should also be learnt from a person, you cannot get them in the books.

Yet, when everything has been said, those who are eager to awaken the Kundalini have to prepare themselves and they want a good teacher.

Hari Om.