Awakening the Chakras

At the Zinal Conference in September 1981, Swami Satyananda Saraswati described the different levels of spiritual awakening and explained that the awakening of the chakras and sushumna nadi must precede the awakening of kundalini.

All the chakras are directly connected through ida and pingala nadis to each and every organ in the body in that particular area. For instance, swadhisthana chakra is directly connected through the nerve channels with the urogenital and ovarian system. Anahata chakra is connected with the cardiovascular system and the lungs. Vishuddhi chakra is connected with the ears, nose and throat. Now, these are the connections which exist between the chakras and the physiological organs so far as ida and pingala are concerned. But when awakening occurs, it first takes place in sushumna nadi.

The word 'awakening' is used in three different contexts: awakening of chakras, awakening of sushumna, and awakening of kundalini. First awakening of chakras must take place, then awakening of sushumna, and only after these two, awakening of kundalini takes place. If the chakras and sushumna are closed, and kundalini wakes up by your practices, where will this great force go? Before generating so much electricity, you must have a conducting channel and a distributing system. Sushumna is the conducting channel and the chakras are the junctions from which the energy, aroused by the awakening of kundalini, is distributed to different organs and zones is the body.

There is another important point to be noted. Sushumna runs from mooladhara up to ajna chakra, but it must pass through swadhisthana, manipura, anahata and vishuddhi. When every chakra is closed, it forms a block like the high barrier you find on the highway. If awakening of kundalini takes place, the energy will only go up to a particular chakra, but it cannot pass beyond that because the chakra is closed, it is not awakened.

In the awakening of kundalini, the first important thing that we have to do is awaken the chakras. Awakening of the chakras takes place by the practice of certain asanas. That is precisely the purpose of the asanas. Therapy is only a by product. Then you must awaken the chakras by practising the mantra or bija mantra and concentrating on different points. The third way to open the chakras is by the practice of pranayama. However, the practices of asana and mantra are the best ways to awaken or to revive the chakras.

When awakening of a chakra begins, you may have certain visions and experiences. You must remember that those visions and experiences do not represent the awakening of kundalini, or even the awakening of sushumna. Usually the experiences which represent the awakening of the chakras are of a fantastic nature, but they do not mean anything when you try to assess their results. I will give you an example. Many years ago, I was meditating on the bank of the Ganga in Rishikesh, and suddenly I had a very vivid experience. I saw the whole earth broken into two. It was a very clear vision, and I remember it even today, but this vision had nothing to do with reality; I just had it.

Now, this is an experience of the awakening of the chakras. You can see angels, divine forms, sun, moon and stars. You can hear music or you can feel a sort of bliss or ecstasy. These and many other experiences represent the awakening of the chakras. Then comes the awakening of sushumna. When awakening takes place in sushumna, you can feel the rod of light. You can feel an upward passage fully illumined from within.

These experiences which I am telling you about are described by the saints in different religions by means of songs and stories, which unfortunately the devotees do not understand today. However, the awakening of kundalini is an event in man's life. Every experience has a tangible proof, whether it is the awakening of extrasensory perceptions or the awakening of a particular kind of genius. It may be in the form of a prophecy that you are able to deliver to the people, a transformation in the physical elements of the body that you are able to materialise, or a magnetic influence that you are able to cast on the masses of people as a politician, a musician or a saint.

The awakening of kundalini has tangible, positive, concrete proofs. You cannot say that your kundalini is awakened if you have no proof. If people come to me and tell me that their kundalini is awakened, I ask them, 'How do you know it?' They say, 'I feel this, I feel that.' I tell them, 'It is not enough.' Because when the awakening of kundalini takes place, you completely transcend the normal categories of mental awareness. The scope of knowledge becomes greater.

Most people are under the mistaken impression that kundalini is experienced in the lower parts of the body, but the sensual experiences such as pain, pleasure, taste, touch, sight, smell and sound are all felt by different circuits in the brain. Similarly, all the chakras are linked to a specific area in the brain. When these zones are activated, different experiences, expressions and faculties come into action.

When kundalini passes through swadhisthana, or remains there for some time, all your latent and suppressed vasanas or passions come out. When kundalini is in anahata chakra, then you become filled with absolute devotion. Even an atheist will change when kundalini is in the proximity of anahata chakra. You become a great poet, a singer, a clairvoyant, and you are able to conquer people by the immensity of your love.

When kundalini is in vishuddhi chakra, then the nectar or the ambrosia is consumed properly by the body, and the cells of the body are rejuvenated. Emaciation and old age vanish. The body is transformed into the body of a young person. That is why it is said that when the kundalini is in vishuddhi chakra, one enjoys eternal youth.

This is a very important topic that we have discussed today. Everybody, whether householder or sannyasin, must remember that awakening of kundalini is the prime purpose of human incarnation. The different pleasures of sensual life, which you are enjoying and which you can enjoy, are intended only to enhance the awakening of kundalini amidst the adverse circumstances of man's life.

So, in order to awaken kundalini, first you must have a guru, then a mantra, then a system of practice comprised of asana, pranayama and occasional hatha yoga shat kriyas, then ajapa japa and kriya yoga in successive order. And if you follow this yogic course, even if your kundalini is not awakened, it does not matter. At least awakening of the chakras and sushumna will take place.