Chakra Meditation

My fellow blogger Eklavya is happy to share one of his  comprehensive posts on Chakra Meditation with us.

You can access more posts on meditation by visiting his website at http://www.meditationiseasy.com/

Link to chakra meditation http://meditationiseasy.com/blog/meditation-techniques/chakra-meditation

or read here

Chakra Meditation : A Definitive Guide for Absolute Beginners

Chakra Meditation is quickly gaining ground as one of the most popular forms of meditation. In this post, I am going to explain Chakra Meditation in a beginner’s friendly language covering all the relevant aspects of this topic.  In this article, I shall try to explain in details the concept of Chakras, Kundalini  and the simplest method to utilize them in your meditation practice.

Table of Contents :

What is Chakra Meditation
Understanding the Chakras
Chakras in Indian & Tibetan perspective
The Nadis : Channels that passes through Chakra
The Seven Chakras of Human Body- Explained in detail
The Concept of Kundalini
The Big Picture : Applying the concepts of Chakra and Kundalini in your life
Risk Involved (Don’t play with the serpent)
What if you can’t awaken it due to risk involved?
The safest path : Mantra
Technique of Chakra Meditation
Correct Pronunciation of Seed Mantras
Conclusion

What is Chakra Meditation

Before trying any kind of meditation using Chakras, we need to have a clear understanding of  Chakras. Once you understand this,  doing the  Chakra meditation will be easy and effortless. While I will be explaining the entire process of Chakra Meditation in the later part of this article,  for all of you who are curious, it would be suffice to say that Chakra meditation is quite similar to Mantra Meditation that I explained here. However, before learning the technique of Chakra Meditation, we need to have a basic understanding of what exactly are the Chakras.

Understanding the Chakras

The word chakra is a Sanskrit word which is derived from the verb car (“to move”). There are several literal meanings of chakra:

* wheel
* circle
* Center

Besides the literal meaning, there are also some esoteric meanings:

* The Chakra denotes the “wheel of becoming” (bhavacakra), or “round of existence” (samsara), which is the phenomenal cosmos.

* The word Chakra is used to refer to a circle of initiates in a Tantric ritual.

* A Chakra is a diagram used to determine the right kind of mantra for a particular situation or student.

* The word Chakra refers to the psychoenergetic vortices forming the major “organs” of the body composed of life energy (prana). These esoteric structures are also often referred to and graphically depicted as “lotuses” (padma, kamala).

As per the ancient Hindu belief, Chakras are energy centers of circular shape present inside our body. While there has been some disputes on the number of Chakras, in most of the belief systems there are seven chakras. These Chakras are believed to be situated inside our bodies at a  particular distance from each other, the lowest being at the base of the spine and the topmost between the center of our skull. The five lower chakras are believed to be associated with one of the 5 basic elements that constitute this universe which are Earth (prithivi), Water (apas/jala), Fire (tejas/agni), Air (vayu) and Ether/Space (akasha). The remaining two higher chakras i.e. Aagya (Third Eye) Chakra and Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra do not contain any specific element. The Third Eye Chakra is believed to contain Maha Tatva- the supreme element which is the source of all other elements. The Crown Chakra, on the other hand, is considered beyond all elements.

Here is a symbolic representation of Seven Chakras in our bodies.

 

Chakra Meditation -Image of 7 Chakras in Human Body

Chakras in Indian & Tibetan perspective

Chakras as per Buddhism(Tibet)

Chakras are seven energy points in human body and denote various characteristics of our spiritual development in this world. It is believed that right from our journey from the physical world to the highest position in spiritual word, a person passes through seven bodies. Every chakra in our body denotes one such body. Read more : The mystery of the seven bodies

The original models of the chakras from the Brahma and Yogatattva Upanishadswere adapted in Tibetan Buddhism as Vajrayana theory and as the Tantric Shakta theory. Vajrayana Buddhism aims to assist the student in achieving full enlightenment or Buddhahood in  just a single lifetime. Using techniques based on ancient scriptures known as the Tantras, the practitioner tries to identify with and practice the enlightened ways of the Buddha. Tantric techniques include the repetition of mantras, the use of breath control, healing mudras (or hand positions) and the use of mandalas (circular symbols of the universe) for meditation. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition only five chakras are identified.

Chakras as per  Shaktism (India)

Shaktism arose as an organized sect in India in the 5th century AD, and it is this sect’s interpretation of the chakras that has most influenced the Western understanding of them. Shaktism describes the seven major chakras that we recognize today. In Shakta theory the chakras are viewed as centers of pure consciousness and are focal points for meditation. Shakta theory firmly established symbolic associations and correspondences for each chakra: its element, visual symbol, mantra sound, deity, color and animal. The Shakta way also teaches us about kundalini energy: the energy that was unleashed during the creation of the world; Tantric practice focuses our attention on awakening this energy at the base of the spine for a specific purpose.

The Nadis : Channels that passes through Chakra

The Tantric texts refer to the nadis (or  channels) of vital life-force (or prana), which passes throughout the body and link with the chakras. According to Shakta theory, the seven chakras are strung along the primary nadi in the body-the Sushumna Nadi-like pearls or jewels. It is also believed that there are two secondary nadis on either side of the sushumna: Ida on the left (containing descending life-force or vitality); and Pingala on the right (containing ascending vitality). Their aim is to direct the energy of each secondary nadi into the central nadi, where it then ascends through each chakra in turn. When kundalini energy reaches the highest chakra (the Crown Chakra), the yogi (or master of yoga who has achieved a high level of spiritual insight) achieves a state of oneness with God.

Let us learn each of these chakras and bodies in some details :

The Seven Chakras of Human Body: Explained in Details

First Chakra – Muladhara (Root)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Muladhara Chakra

Literal Meaning: “root-foundation wheel”
Location: Base of the Spine (Perineum area)
Color: Red
No. of Petals : 4
Element: Prithivi (Earth)
Mantra: LAM

The first chakra is the root chakra, called Muladhara in Sanskrit. The root chakra is believed to be located at the base of the spine at the tailbone in back, and the pubic bone in front which primarily consist of Perineum area.  The root chakra is closely related to one’s contact with the Mother Earth, improving our ability to be grounded into the earth plane. Muladhara is also the center of manifestation. When you are trying to achieve something in the material world, business or possessions, the energy to succeed is supposed to come from the first chakra. If this base chakra is blocked, an individual may feel fearful, anxious, insecure and frustrated.

A man’s sexual organs are located primarily in his first chakra, so male sexual energy is usually experienced primarily as physical. A women’s sexual organs are primarily in her second chakra, so female sexual energy is usually experienced primarily as emotional. Both chakras are associated with sexual energy.

Second Chakra – Belly (Sacral)/ Swadhisthana

Chakra Meditation : Image of Swadishtan (Sacral) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the self-base”
Location: Two inches below the navel (area of Clitoris in women/ Base of Penis in men)
Color: Vermilion, white
No. of Petals : 6
Element: Apas (Water)
Mantra: VAM

The next chakra or second chakra is the Svadhisthana – often referred to as the sacral. It is located two inches below the navel around area of Clitoris in women/ Base of Penis in men). This chakra is believed to hold the basic needs for sexuality, creativity, intuition, and self-worth. It also denotes friendliness, creativity, and emotions. It is also believed to govern a person’s  sense of self-worth, his/her confidence in his/her own creativity, and his/her ability to relate to others in a friendly way.

Third Chakra – Solar Plexus ( Manipura)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Manipura (Solar Plexus) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the jeweled city”
Location: Navel
Color: Dark grey, red, blue (also gold)
No. of Petals : 10
Element: Tejas (Fire)
Mantra: RAM

The third chakra is called Manipura (in Sanskrit) – also referred to as the Solar Plexus Chakra in English. It is located in the navel area. The Manipura chakra is considered as the center of personal power, the place of ego, of passions, impulses, anger and strength. It is also considered the center for astral travel and astral influences, receptivity of spirit guides and for psychic development. When the Third Chakra is out of balance you may lack confidence, be confused, worry about what others think, feel that others are controlling your life, and may be depressed.

Fourth Chakra – Heart (Anahata)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Anahata (Heart) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Wheel of the unstruck sound”
Location: Chest (center of two breasts)
Color: Deep red, gold, smoke
No. of Petals : 12
Element: Prana (Air)
Mantra: YAM

The fourth chakra is the Heart (Anahata) chakra.It is located in the central of the spine near the heart, with its exact location between the center of two breasts. This Chakra is the center for love, compassion and spirituality. It directs one’s ability to love themselves and others, to give and to receive love. This is also the chakra connecting body and mind with spirit. When this chakra is out of balance you may feel sorry for yourself, paranoid, indecisive, afraid of letting go, afraid of getting hurt, or unworthy of love.

Fifth Chakra – Vishuddhi Chakra (Throat)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Vishuddhi (Throat) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Pure wheel”
Location: Throat
Color: Smoky purple, Blue, White
No. of Petals : 16
Element: Akasha (Space)
Mantra: HAM

The fifth chakra is the Throat Chakra also known as Vishuddhi Chakra in Sanskrit. It is located at the throat and is the center of communication, sounds, and expression of creativity via thought , speech, and writing. The possibility for change, transformation and healing in a person are located here. When this chakra is out of balance you may want to hold back, feel timid, be quiet, feel weak, or can’t express your thoughts.

Sixth Chakra – Third Eye (Ajna or Aagya Chakra)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Aagya (Third Eye) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Command wheel”
Location: Forehead ( Between eyebrows)
Color: White
No. of Petals : 2
Element: Manas (Mind)
Mantra: OM

The sixth chakra is referred to as the Third Eye Chakra. In Sanskrit it is known as Aagya Chakra i,e. Command wheel. It is located above the area of physical eyes on the center of the forehead. This is the center for psychic ability, higher intuition, the energies of spirit and light. It also assists in the purification of negative tendencies and in the elimination of selfish attitudes. Through the power of the sixth chakra, one can receive guidance, channel, and tune into your Higher Self. When this chakra is not balanced you may feel non-assertive, afraid of success, or go the opposite way and be egotistical. Please also read Third Eye Meditation.

Seventh Chakra – Crown (Sahasrara)

Chakra Meditation : Image of Sahasrara (Crown) Chakra

Literal Meaning: “Thousand-petaled Lotus”
Location: Above head, facing down
Color: White
No. of Petals : 1,000

The seventh chakra is referred to as the Crown.

It is the upper terminal point of the central channel (sushumna-nadi) and the final destination for the awakened serpent-power (kundalini-shakti). When the kundalini, the force of Devi, reaches this center, this signals the merging of Shiva and Shakti.

It is the center of spirituality, enlightenment, dynamic thought and energy. It allows for the inward flow of wisdom, and brings the gift of cosmic consciousness. This is also the center of connectedness with the Goddess (God), the place where life animates the physical body. The silver cord that connects the aura bodies extends from the crown. The soul comes into the body through the crown at birth and leaves from the crown at death. When this chakra is unbalanced there may be a constant sense of frustration, no spark of joy, and destructive feelings. Illnesses may include migraine headaches and depression. Balanced energy in this chakra may include the ability to open up to the Divine and total access to the unconscious and subconscious.

The Concept of Kundalini

The topic of Chakras will be incomplete if the concept of Kundalini is not described here. The Chakras are essentially the milestones through which the kundalini travels to reach at the highest abode in the 7th Chakra.

Chakra Meditation : Image of Kundalini as it arises in Chakra Meditation

`Kundalini” literally means coiling, like a snake. The word kundalini comes from the Sanskrit word kundal, which means a ‘spiral’ or ‘coil.’ In Yoga, Kundalini Shakti means the ‘coiled power.’ It is compared to a serpent that lies coiled while resting or sleeping. It essentially denotes a primal life force that animates all living entities and is the source of all creative energy. As the kundalini moves upwards in the spine, it results in an upward shift in our consciousness. There are three nadis (energy channel) in the body known as Ida, Pingala and Sushumna. When awakens the kundalini is believed to travel from Sushumna Nadi through various chakras.

In Hindu scriptures, Kundalini is also described as the feminine power – the Shakti- at the base of the spine, which travels up the spine to unite with the masculine power, her consort, Lord Shiva (Shakta), in the seventh chakra, Sahasrara.

Symbolism apart, Kundalini power has found a mention in almost all the spiritual traditions of the world in some way or other ( Read more here ) . While there has been a number of spiritual paths like Vipassana, Zen etc which gave no specific stress upon kundalini, there are a number of paths wherein the spiritual progress of a person runs parallel with his level of Kundalini awakeness.

Further, all the spiritual paths which give emphasis to Kundalini awakening can also be divided into two major groups. The first group is consist of the practitioners of Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga or Raja Yoga etc wherein the kundalini is awakened through the effort of the individual (often under the guidance of a guru or master). The second group is of those representing Sahaja Yoga, Kundalini Yoga or Siddha Mahayoga wherein the kundalini is spontaneously awakened by the grace of the Siddha guru in a process which is called ‘Shaktipat’. In this tradition, the Siddha Guru/Master conveys shaktipat initiation to the disciple by means of touch, word or intention which results in an instant awakening of  kundalini. Both of these paths of Kundalini awakening have their advantages and disadvantages.

The first path of individual effort is considered the difficult path as the person has to work hard on his practice and the  progress is often very slow. However, as everything depends upon the individual effort, the consistent efforts results in permanent  progress and the Sadhak (the person who tread the path) becomes supreme confidence in his efforts. Further, slow awakening of kundalini allows proper control over the excess energy it produces and the chance of damage or of negative effects are minimized. However, even in the individual approach, the guidance of a guru/master is a must. In the absence of an experienced person to guide the Sadhak, he may face a sudden uprising of the Kundalini which will be difficult to control.

One such real life incident happened in the winter of 1937 when an Indian man by the name Gopi Krishna experienced a sudden and forceful awakening of kundalini in the state of deep meditation in his room at Jammu, India. His life after the Kundalini awakening was both blessed by ecstatic bliss and tormented by physical and mental discomfort. Here is the description of his experience in his own words taken from his autobiography ‘Living With the Kundalini’

“The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder, I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light…I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider, surrounded by waves of light…I was now all consciousness, without any outline, without any idea of a corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware of every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction…bathed in light and in a state of exaltation and happiness impossible to describe.”

Another disadvantage of individual effort in Kundalini Awakening is the fact that the Sadhak who succeed in this endeavor may become egoist due to his achievement. The awakening of Kundalini and its control is considered as one of the most difficult feat to achieve. As such, those who have some worldly desires in them, will feel elated and somewhat special on achieving this feat. From spiritual point of view, this egoism hinders the progress of the Sadhak.

The second path of Kundalini awakening through Shaktipat also has its merits and demerit. On the one hand, it is a short path where the blessing of a Guru is enough to initiate the disciple and awakening his Kundalini. On the other hand, this sudden rise in consciousness may prove difficult to the unprepared Sadhaks. Further, the Sadhak becomes too much dependent on his Guru and live his life depending upon the borrowed experience of his Guru’s grace. An independent awakening of an individual sadhak through is own  effort is thus missing in this second method.

The Big Picture : How you can utilize the concepts of Chakra and Kundalini in your daily life ?

What I have discussed in the preceding paras is a brief outline of the concept of Chakras and Kundalini as they exist in various belief systems. However, this will be of no value if I don’t tell you the way to adopt these concept in your daily meditation practice. As already stated in the beginning of this article, this guide is for absolute beginners who are living a busy urban life and don’t have time to fully devote themselves to the spiritual path – but still they want to adopt the practice of meditation in their life for inner peace and personal growth.

Risk Involved (Don’t play with the serpent)

Since we are discussing the concept of Kundalini Awakening, I want to clarify one thing loud and clear. The Kundalini is not something to play with. Never, never try to play with the Kundalini. Kundalini Awakening is a high risk subject which may wreak havoc on the subject if done in haste without preparation.

Please read this advice of Swami Yatiswarananda in his book ‘Meditation and spiritual Life’  about the danger of Kundalini :

Those who practise spiritual disciplines without physical and mental purity are not only wasting their energy from the spiritual point of view, but are also running the risk of gathering too much energy, which, flowing through the worldly channels, might intensify their worldly life, including sex life, and thus harm them greatly.

Sometimes some take it seriously, and try to awaken the kundalini without undergoing the purification of mind. The practice of concentration without sufficient purity is dangerous. If the energy that is increased through concentration cannot  move along the spiritual channel, it may express itself outwardly in the form of violent passions in an extrovert, harming him as well as others. In the introvert the gathered-up energy may not find an outward expression. In that case it may form an awful whirlpool in the individual, shattering his nerves and mind and making him a complete wreck.

In some cases, as the mind is stirred through meditation, all the good and evil things lying hidden in it may come to the surface with tremendous force and bring about a physical and mental collapse. Those impure souls who want to play with the ‘serpent’ always come to grief. In some others again, the stored-up energy may manifest itself as cheap psychic powers such as clairvoyance, thought-reading, and such powers which make those persons egoistic and spiritually bankrupt. In some cases again, there may be a partial awakening of the latent power. The spiritual power may rise to a higher center but may fall down with disastrous results, stimulating worldly desires.

One thing which I want to make clear is that when you are doing anything with the Chakra, you are actually tinkering with the Kundalini – the dormant energy lying at the base of your spine. Without the able guidance of a Guru, the awakening of the Kundalini can have serious negative consequence as the sudden burst of energy, if not controlled properly, can harm the Sadhak. The part of the consciousness which normally remains  hidden in the subconscious mind become available after awakening of the Kundalini. The untrained extrovert may waste the excess of energy on on sex and violence whereas the untrained introvert can stuck themselves in a whirlwind of cyclone of the void. (Read more about this concept here and here )

What if you can’t awaken it due to risk involved?

Again the words of Swami Yatiswarananda will give you solace and show a way :

The description of the rise of the Kundalini appears to be simple and easy enough. But actually, it is all very, very difficult. Out of a thousand people who struggle for it, only one may get the awakening. But there is no need to get discouraged. From the way most people live we find that it is only good that in their case the Kundalini awakens very slowly or does not awaken at all. Most people are not at all ready for the rise. They can not face the tremendous reaction that it produces. In fact, in the beginning of one’s spiritual life, it is better to  forget all about Kundalini and think only about God. Let the love for your Ista Devata (term denoting a worshipper’s favourite deity within Hinduism. Read more here)  absorb all your attention and energies. Leave the Kundalini to Him. He will look after your spiritual welfare. God will grant you awakening at the right time.

As I have repeatedly said, it is better to follow the path of synthesis – a combination of Karma, Gyana (Knowledge) and Bhakti (Devotion). Let selfless work go hand in hand with your meditation. That purifies and strengthens the mind, Practice self-analysis and make the mind detached and calm. And then japa (the repetition of the Mantra) does the rest. When properly done, japa creates an inner harmony which gradually flows along the susumna making it active.

In view of the risk involved, we need to adopt a path which uses the concept of Chakra & Kundalini in its meditation practice but does not involve the high risk mentioned above.

The safest path : Mantra

Whatever be our spiritual path, be it Hindu’s, Buddhists, Christians or Sufi’s, the three stages we all have to pass through are purification, meditation and experience of the divine Reality or Godhead. Here arises the question : how are we to begin meditation with a view to awakening our spiritual consciousness? One disciple once asked the spiritual teacher, Swami Brahmananda,’ Sir, how can the Kundalini, the latent spiritual consciousness, be awakened?

This is what Swami replied:

“According to some there are special exercises by which the kundalini can be awakened, but I believe it can best be awakened by the practice of japa and meditation. The practice of japa is specially suited to this present age; and there is no spiritual practice easier than this, but meditation must accompany the repetition of the mantra.”

So what is the path. It is very simple, very powerful yet relatively very safe. Simply speaking it is Mantra Meditation.

As explained above in the section of individual 7 Chakras, the lower 5 chakras have 5 elements attached with them. These 5 elements have their respective seed (Bija) Mantras. We use these seed mantras to balance the elements in the respective Chakras. For the two higher Chakras ( Aagya/Third Eye & Sahsrar /Crown) the divine Mantra ‘OM’ is used.

So, in short, the Chakra Meditation, in its safest form, is the repetition of Bija Mantras related to the respective elements of 5 lower Chakras  which in turn helps in balancing the Chakras.

Technique of Chakra Meditation :

If you ask me to define the exact method of doing Chakra Meditation, it will be like this :-

(1) Sit in the lotus pose. Take some deep breaths.

(2)  We will be focusing on various Chakras of our body one by one, starting from the lowermost Muladhara to the uppermost Sahsrara. While we focus on the Chakra, we will recite the Seed Mantra associated with its elements. It will go like this:

a)      Focus your attention on the place where Muladhara the base Chakra (representing the Earth element) is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : LAM…. LAM … LAM ….

b)      Now bring your attention on the place where Swadhishtan the Sacral Chakra (representing the Water element) is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : VAM …. VAM … VAM ….

c)       Now bring your attention on the place where Manipura, the Solar Plexus Chakra (representing the Fire element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : RAM …. RAM … RAM ….

d)      Now bring your attention on the place where Anahata, the Heart Chakra (representing the Air element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : YAM …. YAM … YAM ….

e)      Now bring your attention on the place where Vishuddha, the Throat Chakra (representing the Akasha/Space element), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : HAM …. HAM … HAM ….

f)       Now bring your attention on the place where Aagya, the Third Eye Chakra (representing the Supreme element comprising all the basic elements), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : AUM …. AUM … AUM ….

g)      Now bring your attention on the place where Sahasrara, the Crown Chakra (Considered to be beyond all elements), is located in your body. Now repeat thrice : AUM …. AUM … AUM ….

(3)   Once you complete the above steps, you will be having two options: (i) Either repeat the above cycle by following all the seven steps mentioned above or (ii) Repeat any of your chosen Mantra of your liking (as explained in the Mantra section here).

I would advise you not to do the first option in excess. Instead please follow a combination of the 3 steps as below:

Suppose you have chosen the Mantra ‘OM Namah Shivay’ for repetition. Therefore, do the combination like this:-

(3.1)  Recite the cycle of 7 seed Mantras as explained above. Then recite the Mantra ‘Om Namah Shivay’ three times.

(3.2)  Repeat the above (i.e. one cycle of 7 seed mantras and 1 main mantra) two times more.

(3.3) Now stop the cycle of 7 seed mantra and only recite the main Mantra (Om Namah Shivay in this case) continuously for 5-10 minutes.

This, in nutshell, is the entire technique of Chakra Meditation.

Another Method of Chakra Meditation :

Another method of Chakra Meditation which is equally good but adopt a slight different approach is this:-

Instead of focusing on the seven chakras one by one and repeating their Seed Mantras one by one, you can focus on just one Chakra in one session. What you will be doing is to focus on just one Chakra in your body and repeating the Mantras related to its element. Apart from repeating the Seed Mantra of that Chakra, you can also visualize the colour related to that Chakra.

(Thanks to Giovanni Dienstmann from Liveandare for suggesting this method)

While you focus your attention on one particular Chakra, you must repeat one of the main mantras after this method. It will help in balancing any sudden force of energy that may arise within you. Main Mantras are important medium to control the power of Kundalini)

Important things to be kept in mind :

(1)    While repeating the mantras, the instructions as explained here should be kept in view.

(2)    While the main mantra should be repeated contemplating its meaning in your heart, the same will not be possible in the case of seed Mantras as they don’t have any particular meaning. So while reciting them you should focus on their respective chakras.

Correct Pronunciation of Seed Mantras

Watch this video by MC-yogi:

Then this one by Heart Alchemy Yoga

Watching carefully the way in which all the seed mantras have been pronounced in the above two videos. After browsing through numerous videos, I have selected the above two videos as in both of them the seed mantras have been pronounced correctly that is the way they should be pronounced.

Conclusion

This ends my detailed explanation of Chakra Meditation comprising the concept of seven chakras in human body, the three Nadis, the concept of Kundalini, dangers involved in the practice and the safest way to perform Chakra Meditation. I hope all people interested in the Chakra Meditation will like it beneficial for their practice.

Related:

Chakras and Supernatural Powers

Chakras

Root Chakra

The Seven Chakras of the Human Body

The Transcendent Secret Behind Ordinary Phenomena-The Knowledge of Cosmic Interconnection-Panchagni Vidya-

We see people being born and people dying, but we do not know why people are born and why people die. The causes are unknown to us. What is it that compels a person to be born and what is it that forces him to die? We know very well, we have no say in either of these ways. We cannot say this or that in respect of these processes. Nor is there any adequate knowledge of the secret of one’s own experiences. Birth, death and the experiences in life are apparently effects produced upon us by causes of which we seem to have no knowledge.

Wherever there is ignorance, there is also bondage in respect to that subject or that circumstance. When we have knowledge of a thing, we are not bound to that thing, we have a control over that thing. The greater is the knowledge that we have about anything, the greater also is the capacity we have in making it subservient to our own selves. But, the more is the ignorance we have about a thing, the more are we subservient to its laws. The world binds us; the law of gravitation limits us; the law of Nature restricts us, because we do not have an adequate knowledge of these laws. We do not know how they operate and why it is that we have been made subject to these laws. What is wrong with us? We do not know this, though we know that there is something fundamentally wrong with every one of us, on account of which the whole world keeps us in subjection. We are under the thumb of every law in the world. The reason is that we are apparently outside the realm of the operation of this law. We are like exiles cast out into the winds, and the law set around our necks, as it were, compels us to follow its dictates. We cannot overcome the law of gravitation, to give only one instance. We are slaves of this law. We can fall down and we can break our legs; we can get drowned; we can be burnt; anything can happen to us. Our very life on earth is based on and is decided by that law. But this happens on account of certain patent limitations in our life. There is some sort of a finitude in our own bodies and the entire personality of ours. Our fate is the same in respect of any law that operates anywhere. We cannot think things which are not purely sensory or physical; we cannot visualize things which are super-physical; we cannot understand any aspect of reality which is not in space, which is not in time and which is not causally related. And outside the realm of our own organic personality, we cannot have a real knowledge. We are finites, we are bound, we are limited in every way.

chaandogya

The processes of birth and death, again, are to be explained from this point of view. There is some law which works in some peculiar manner on account of which we are compelled to follow this course known as transmigration. Is anyone prepared to die? But we have no say in the matter. We will die one day or the other. But why should we die? Who tells you that you must die? No one knows this. And if somebody is born, well, it is doubtful if anyone is born due to the personal wish of anyone. There is some force working behind. So is the case with every kind of experience through which we pass. We do not know what will happen to us tomorrow. So much is our ignorance, so that it appears that we are utterly humiliated beings, shamefaced in every way, ignorant to the core and completely subject to the law of forces of which we have absolutely no knowledge.

You know people are born; you know people die. This much of knowledge we do have. And, perhaps, we have also a knowledge that certain actions that we perform are responsible for our births and deaths and our experiences in life. The good that we do brings good experiences, the pleasant ones; and the bad ones produce contrary results. This much of information we have gathered by study, hearing etc. But this is not the knowledge that will liberate us.

We are so ignorant that we think that the child is born from the womb of the mother. We know only that much, but this is the least type of knowledge that one can have about the birth of a child. The child is not pushed out of the womb of the mother, as if by magic. It is a tremendous process that takes place throughout the cosmos. All the officials of the government of the universe are active in the production of a single child’s career. The whole universe vibrates with action even if a single baby is to be born somewhere in the corner of a house. It is not a private phenomenon of a little child coming out unknown somewhere in a nook and corner of the world, as people ignorantly behold or believe. The whole universe feels the presence and the birth of a single child anywhere. So what produces a child is not the father or the mother. It is the whole cosmos that produces the child. The universe is the parent of this little baby. It may be a human baby, a subhuman one or a superhuman form. Whatever be the character of that child, even if it may be an inorganic production, an atom, or an electron, or the composition of a molecule, the birth of it is regarded as the birth of a child, and it is made possible by the operation of cosmic factors. The whole universe is our father; the entire universe is our mother; the universe is the parent. That is the cause, and even if a little liquid is jetted from a pore we would realize that, ultimately, it has some connection with the universal cause of all causes, by a chain of relations.

The Upanishad tells us this secret of cosmic interconnectedness and involution of factors which are unknown to the senses and unthinkable to the mind. There is no such thing as a private act in this world. There is also no such thing as ‘my’ child and ‘your’ child. If this secret is known, no one will say, “It is my son, my daughter.” It is neither yours nor anybody’s. It belongs to that from where it has come. And from where has it come? It has come from every cell of the universe. It has not come from the seminal essence of the father or the mother, as it is believed. It is the quintessence of every particle of the whole of Nature, so that the cosmos is reflected in every body. That is why we say +the macrocosm is in the microcosm. The cosmos is reverberating and is reflected in the little baby. How, then, can you say that it is your child? It is the child of the universe, which is to take care of it; and it shall withdraw it when it is to be summoned back; it projects it when it is to be sent out for reasons which are known to the universal law alone. Here is the philosophical background of the vidya, called Panchagni-Vidya.  The cause of a particular event which is ordinarily regarded as normal, physical, personal, social, visible, tangible, etc., this particular thing, has a transcendent secret behind it. This is the great point made out in the Panchagni-Vidya.

There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth, Beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens. This is the light that shines in our hearts — Chandogya Upanishad

There is a light that shines beyond all things on earth,
Beyond us all, beyond the heavens, beyond the highest, the very highest heavens.
This is the light that shines in our hearts — Chandogya Upanishad

The birth of a human being in this world does not take place in this world alone, exclusively. It takes place in the highest regions first. One is born first in the higher levels in certain degrees of expression, and the impact of this birth is felt in the lower levels until it becomes visible to the physical eye on this mortal earth. Then we say that a child is born, someone has come, and there is a rebirth, and so on. But this someone has not come suddenly from the skies. There has been a complicated interior process preceding, which always manages to escape the notice of ordinary vision. This is the case not only with the birth of a human being, but it is so with the coming of every event in the world. The Panchagni-Vidya is not an elucidation of a single phenomenon merely, namely, the organic birth of a human individual in the mother’s womb. This is only an instance which is to be extended to phenomena of every kind comprehended in the whole of Nature. There is a total activity, in a subtle form, taking place prior to the apparently individual expression of it in the form of experience and perception.

There is a cycle, as it were, a wheel rotating in the form of give-and-take between the gods in the heaven and the human beings here. We give something and we are given back something. Nature gives us what we give to it in the form of our own deeds in this world. We do not get what we do not deserve, and we cannot get, also, what we have not given actually. What we have given, what we have deserved, what we have parted with in the form of a sacrifice, that is given back to us, with compound interest sometimes, according to the law of Nature. Unless there is a harmonious give-and-take understanding between us and Nature, Nature will not give anything to us. If we are too greedy, miserly and selfish, well, everything will be withheld from us. The earth will withdraw her forces. And in the ‘Puranas’ we are told that the earth, which is compared to a sacred cow, withdraws her milk and does not allow men to drink a drop of the milk of her giving, when they are so selfish, self-centered and absolutely averse to the virtue of giving or sharing with others. It is then that we notice an adverse action in the field of Nature. And then there is drought; there is poverty; there is catastrophe; sometimes there can be cataclysm also, as the case may be.

Causes and causes, perhaps thousands and thousands in number, have joined together through the various levels of birth chandogyamanifestation for the birth of this child, all of which is not known to this child. It knows nothing except the little locality where it is born, and all other aspects of its birth in this particular world are forgotten at one stroke due to the association of consciousness with the body in a much intensified manner. The intensity with which the consciousness gets tied up to the body is such that there is a complete obliteration of the memory of past lives, a total ignorance of everything that happened in the earlier incarnations, and there is an attachment to this particular body only, as if that is the only reality—as if there was nothing before, and there is nothing going to be in the future also! The entire chain is forgotten. Only a single link is caught hold of, and consciousness is bound hard to this particular link, and this is the earthly, the physical life of the individual.

When the span of life is finished, there is what we call the death of the body, the extrication of the prana (life force) from the individual embodiment. And these Fires take the individual to the destination to which it is bound after death. 

upanishads3The Five Fires, called the Panchagnis, mentioned here, are not actually fires in the physical sense. They are meditational techniques. The Upanishad here tells us that the whole universal activity of creation may be conceived as such a kind of sacrifice—yajna.  unless we have a practical living knowledge of the various factors that are involved in the process of manifestation, or creation, we cannot be free from the law of manifestation. Births and deaths are parts of the universal process. What we call the universal process of manifestation is inclusive of every event that takes place anywhere, in any manner, including the experiences through which we are passing here in life. The point that the Upanishad would make out is that no event or no experience can be isolated from other experiences. It is a continuity throughout from beginning to end, and births and deaths and other phenomenal experiences are not isolated factors. They are connected to ultimate causes. If we can contemplate the internal connection that obtains between the effects that are visible with the causes that are invisible, then we would be free from the clutches, or the harassments, of these laws which are operating outside us. Things are not what they seem; there is a deeper significance behind every visible process or activity in Nature. Events take place first in the highest heaven, and then their presence is felt gradually in greater and greater density as they come down to the level of more and more grossness and perceptibility and tangibility, as is the case with a disease. The illness does not manifest itself suddenly in the physical body. It happens inside first. Its seed is sown within. There is some kind of event that is taking place in the depths of our personality, and in the recesses of the world. This impulse is manifest outside as some occurrence.

The cause of a particular event which is ordinarily regarded as normal, physical, personal, social, visible, tangible, etc., this particular thing, has a transcendent secret behind it. This is the great point made out in the Panchagni-Vidya.

EXCERPTS: COMMENTARY BY SWAMI KRISHNANADA, DIVINE LIFE SOCIETY ON CHAANDOGYA UPANISHAD

Happy New Year 2014!!!

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Do You Want to Experience the Bliss of Samadhi Without the Union of Shakti and Shiva

samadhi-3bDo you want to experience the bliss of Samadhi without the union of Shakti and Shiva? A state of altered consciousness in which you experience the presence of and a  connection to a higher energy. Where you experience a sense of unity and oneness with every living organism. And all you feel is utter joy?

You can very quickly and effectively experience a sliver of this bliss through Bhavana Samadhi. Again I want to be very clear.  You are not attaining Samadhi, you are experiencing it briefly.

Previously I had shared my experience of immense bliss and a feeling of union of my mind and spirit with the Supreme Spirit. You can read more about it in the article-The Unstruck Sound which I just updated after I came upon some very interesting information recently.

Below is an abbreviated description from that article based upon my first hand experience of divine bliss.

“In the summer of 2007, I experienced spontaneous bliss. Words cannot begin to describe the feeling. Emotions of intense love and compassion flooded every fiber of my being. I felt a connection to every living organism and the presence of a force bigger and stronger became intelligible. Intense bliss took over. The hollowness of the material world at once became clear. The esoteric finally made sense. The only thing I remember that led to this state of ecstasy was that I was in a meditative state (not sitting and meditating, but going around my daily activities while meditating and preventing any thoughts from arising in my mind (chitta vrittii nirodh-preventing the rise of thoughts (vrittis) in the mind (chitta).”

If the mind can be thought free for a few hours you can experience this Samadhi. For me it lasted 3 days.

This type of bliss or Samadhi is called Bhavana Samadhi and can be achieved through meditation that involves ceasing of thoughts; just a form of meditation in which thought forms (vrittis) are not allowed to arise in the mind (chitta). You don’t have to be sitting for this meditation. You could be going around doing your daily activities. If you can sustain this for a few hours (anywhere between 1-4 hours, depending on the spirituality quotient of the practitioner) you WILL experience bliss or Samadhi. This type of Samadhi called Dhyan or Bhavana Samadhi is different from the Samadhi that one experiences from rigorous practice of Kundalini Yoga. During such Samadhi bliss is experienced through the union of the Kundali Shakti (the serpent power) with Shiva. Such a practitioner is bestowed with various psychic powers called siddhis (like ability to fly, walk on water, make oneself large or small or invisible etc). This siddha (perfected being) also has control over his own death. Meaning he can choose his time and day of when he wants to leave his physical body. But this process of raising the Kundalini Shakti up to the crown chakra using yogic methods can be very dangerous for the practitioner. (Some people were reported to have gone mad, so please approach this method with caution and under the guidance of a qualified guru). The results are permanent while in the former (Bhavan Samadhi) it is temporary.

When I experienced Bhavana Samadhi (bliss through meditation) a few years ago I had a lot of questions that went unanswered. I knew I had experienced something extraordinary, but not sure exactly what it was. Finally (6 years later) I came across an article by Swami Sivananda that helped answer my questions and finally help me understand what I had experienced. I have shared that resource below:

By Swami Sivananda:

“ In the first place, there are two main lines of Yoga, namely, Dhyana or Bhavana Yoga and Kundalini Yoga; and there is a marked difference between the two. The first class of Yoga is that in which ecstasy (Samadhi) is obtained by intellective processes (Kriya-Jnana) of meditation and the like, with the aid, it may be, of auxiliary processes of Mantra or Hatha Yoga (other than the rousing of Kundalini) and by detachment from the world; the second stands apart as that portion of Hatha Yoga in which, though intellective processes are not neglected, the creative and sustaining Sakti/energy of the whole body is actually and truly united with the Lord Consciousness. The Yogin makes Her introduce him to Her Lord, and enjoys the bliss of union through her. Though it is he who arouses Her, it is She who gives knowledge or Jnana, for She is Herself that. The Dhyana Yogin gains what acquaintance with the Supreme state his own meditative powers can give him and knows not the enjoyment of union with Siva in and through the fundamental Body-power. The two forms of Yoga differ both as to method and result. The Hatha Yogin regards his Yoga and its fruit as the highest; the Jnana Yogin may think similarly of his own. Kundalini is so renowned that many seek to know her. Having studied the theory of this Yoga, one may ask: “Can one get on without it?” The answer is: “It depends upon what you are looking for”. If you want to rouse Kundalini Sakti, to enjoy the bliss of union of Siva and Sakti through Her and to gain the accompanying powers (Siddhis), it is obvious that this end can be achieved only by the Kundalini Yoga. In that case, there are some risks incurred. But if Liberation is sought without desire for union through Kundalini, then, such Yoga is not necessary; for, Liberation may be obtained by Pure Jnana Yoga through detachment, the exercise and then the stilling of the mind, without any rousing of the central Bodily-power at all.

Instead of setting out in and from the world to unite with Siva, the Jnana Yogin, to attain this result, detaches himself from the world. The one is the path of enjoyment and the other of asceticism.

Samadhi may also be obtained on the path of devotion (Bhakti) as on that of knowledge. Indeed, the highest devotion (Para Bhakti) is not different from Knowledge. Both are Realisation. But, whilst Liberation (Mukti) is attainable by either method, there are other marked differences between the

two. A Dhyana Yogin should not neglect his body, knowing that as he is both mind and matter, each reacts, the one upon the other. Neglect or mere mortification of the body is more apt to produce disordered imagination than a true spiritual experience. He is not concerned, however, with the

body in the sense that the Hatha Yogin is. It is possible to be a successful Dhyana Yogin and yet to be weak in body and health, sick and short-lived. His body, and not he himself, determines when he shall die. He cannot die at will. When he is in Samadhi, Kundalini Sakti is still sleeping in the Muladhara, and none of the physical symptoms and psychical bliss or powers (Siddhis) described as accompanying Her rousing are observed in his case. The ecstasy which he calls “Liberation while yet living” (Jivanmukti) is not a state like that of real Liberation. He may be still subject to a suffering body from which he escapes only at death, when if at all, he is liberated. His ecstasy is in the nature of a meditation which passes into the Void (Bhavana-samadhi) effected through negation of all thought-form (Chitta-Vritti) and detachment from the world—a comparatively negative process (I like to call it a passive process~pardon the interjection from Yachna Yoga) in which the positive act of raising the Central Power of the body takes no part. By his effort, the mind which is a product of Kundalini as Prakriti Sakti, together with its worldly desires, is stilled so that the veil produced by mental functioning is removed from Consciousness. In Laya

Yoga, Kundalini Herself, when roused by the Yogin (for such rousing is his act and part), achieves for him this illumination.”

As simple as it sounds, it is not easy, but it is not impossible either. Below are a few tips to help along the way. You can come up with your own. 

Pick a day when you know you have more control over your day.

Depending on your schedule, you might want to pick a day that is not very hectic or demanding of your time and energy and attention. Any regular day that involves spending passive/laid back time with your family will do.

First and foremost rule number one and the most important-Do not engage in any internal conversations with yourself.

Be clear on your intent. What you want to accomplish. You want to experience bliss. But in order for that to happen one has to be thought free. So be in the moment. You can only talk about and think about what you are doing at that time. Your mind and attention should be focused only on the task at hand. No multitasking, No ‘mutithinking’. So if you are brushing your teeth, you should focus entirely just on that act. Observe your movements, and don’t let the mind space out and think about other things. Same thing applies if you were cooking or talking to someone. You can only focus on that one and only person, or the topic at the time. You have to cultivate the will power and determination to not get ‘carried away’ by a chain of thoughts.

Be in the moment and that’s it. Each time you space out, don’t get angry because even though it may feel like it, you are NOT starting from scratch. You don’t lose it all. But you become more aware of how often and how quickly you space out. So if you can keep yourself from spacing out you are on the right path.

Be around positive people and avoid the company of negative people. No negative thoughts and words.

Slow down your physical movements. Make them more deliberate. Slow down your breathing. Take your time; Just slow and natural belly breathing. No raspy, jerky or choreographed deep breathing. Only silky smooth, slow breaths.

Check for tense spots every now and then to make sure your energy is flowing freely. The jaw should not be tight or clenched. Tip of tongue on the fleshy palate behind the front teeth, mouth closed and upper and lower jaws slightly separated.

Good Luck!

I Will Start Meditating Tomorrow

I am pleased to share with you one of my articles that was published in the June issue of Life Positive Magazine under the title-“Drop Out, Tune In”.  They also have an online presence at http://www.lifepositive.com/.

Very often aspiring mediators find it hard to start meditating and even harder to make it part of their daily routine.  Most of the advice we have heard so far are banal statements like-“Just do it” and “Don’t get involved with your thoughts, just observe them,” which are very true, but not always helpful.  

If you think meditation is too hard, or if you have attempted meditation in the past, and only met with frustration, exploring some of the common hurdles many of us face when trying to begin a meditation routine can help you overcome them.  Below is a look at some of the most common problems one deals with when meditating, along with solutions to help one around them.

Problem: Waiting for the perfect time

There is no such thing as the perfect time.  There will always be work, chores, obligations and responsibilities.  They are a part of daily life.  Although the early morning time, free of the hustle and bustle is recommended best for meditation, it might not be suited for everyone.  Some find it more convenient to practice in the evening.   

Solution:  Setting aside a certain time of the day for your session is highly recommended, but if your schedule absolutely won’t permit you to meditate in the morning or evening, it would be best to take advantage of any time slot the day has to offer you. The success of a few consecutive sessions will prompt you to prioritize your day to fit everything around your meditation session.  The key factor is to meditate daily.  Try starting out with a 15 minute session and as you progress you can slowly build up to 30 minutes or longer.

Problem: Not having the motivation

You have the time, but lack the motivation.  

Solution: Being knowledgeable of all the health benefits that you could accrue from meditation can motivate you to finally do it.  We are all aware of the effects stress can have on our health. According the American Institute of Stress, almost all emotional, physical, mental and behavioral health disorders can be linked to stress. Stress triggers the release of hormones into the blood stream that if gone unchecked over a period of time can lead to and/or aggravate a number of health concerns such as insomnia, anxiety, depression, headaches, mouth ulcers, muscle spasms in neck and shoulders, lower back pain, cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, stroke. asthma, difficulty breathing, duodenal ulcers, ulcerative colitis, irritable colon, menstrual disorders, vaginal infections, hair loss, eczema, suppression of the immune system, Parkinson’s disease, obsessive compulsive disorders and auto immune disorders such as psoriasis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and certain cancers. 

Where once meditation was considered to be an esoteric eastern practice, it has now been adopted as a stress reduction tool by western medicine and is highly recommended to counter stress induced medical conditions.   

A study conducted by the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation showed that performing Kirtan Kriya meditation (a meditation belonging to the Kundalini Yoga tradition) 12 minutes a day for 8 weeks increased blood flow to the brain and increased brain activity in the parts of the brain that are central to memory.

Another study published in Psychiatry Research: Neuroimaging showed that different meditation techniques resulted in an increased blood flow to different regions of the brain opening up the possibility of ‘prescription meditations’ to treat specific health disorders like trauma, anxiety and depression. 

Meditation has the power to transform your thinking pattern from negative to positive.  Performed regularly with sincerity, it can help purge your system of all negative emotional manifestations of stress like anger, jealousy, doubt, suspicion, cynicism, nervousness, and restlessness. Depending on the sincerity and consistency of your practice, it is possible to notice an undeniable difference in your overall well being and mental attitude within a week.  Meditation can help heal your heart and dissolve your emotional baggage. 

Being in a structured environment of a meditation class with teachers to guide you might be another avenue you might choose to pursue. Being around like minded people will give you a sense of community support.  A class like environment could help evoke in you the healthy spirit to succeed and motivate you to give meditation much deserved sincerity and time.

Problem: Not having the discipline

No. It is not okay to miss a day.  If you skip a day you are most likely to skip another.  This attitude opens the doors to indiscipline and sets the stage for failure.   

Solution: Make a resolution and share it with someone. If you think you are one of those people who wouldn’t honor a promise made to yourself, share your resolution with a close family member or friend.  Knowing that someone else knows will make your resolution all the more real and pressure you to take it seriously.  Be specific in your resolution.  For example:  I promise to practice (meditation type) everyday for the next 40 days without missing a day.  If I miss a day, I will have to start all over.

Consistency is key to success in meditation.  You are after all training your mind to adopt a new habit. Worse come to worse, shuffle things around and shift your session time, but don’t skip it.   

Problem: Feeling restless and distracted and giving up too soon

The mind is constantly ravaged by thoughts.  It is the nature of the mind to wander.  Sitting down in meditation only brings you face to face with the state of your inner turmoil. 

The first five minutes of meditation are always the hardest.  The list of pending chores and temptations will race through your mind and try to pull you away.  You will feel restless and fidgety and have the strong urge to flee.  The reason for that is the high frequency beta waves that are generated by an aroused brain. Beta waves are associated with alert working states involving high mental activity. When you first sit down to meditate, your mind is still operating at this frequency level. It is hard to alter it immediately.  Meditation helps alter your brain waves from high frequency beta to low frequency alpha waves.  Theta waves which are of an even slower frequency are associated with deeper states of meditation or relaxation. Low alpha and theta waves have been associated with creative thinking, inspirational ideas and enhanced problem solving abilities. If you can sit through the first 5 minutes, the next 5 minutes will be relatively easier as your brain waves transition from high frequency beta to low beta and then slower frequency alpha waves.  At the end of 10 minutes your mind will calm down significantly.  This calmness will act as a catalyst to keep you going longer and help you enter deeper meditative states.   

Solution: Wrestling with your thoughts and trying to subdue them will only lead to further aggravation of your mind. According to ancient yogic texts, the mind and body are interconnected.  A steady breath helps calm the mind and a calm mind helps steady the breath.  Anulom Vilom (Alternate nostril breathing) is a great technique to help steady your breath and mind.  It balances your seven major chakras and the left and right hemispheres of your brain.  Practicing relaxing techniques that promote mind breath and body coordination, like yoga or moving meditations like Tai Chi, Qigong, activities like reading, listening to relaxation CDs, guided meditation videos/CDs can gradually ease your brain waves from high frequency beta to a low frequency beta or alpha state, leading to a more relaxed state of mind and preparing it for meditation.  

If you like, you may want to create a ritual to symbolize the beginning and end of your meditation.  Simple rituals like dimming the lights, lighting a candle, and ringing a small meditation gong can help set the mental tone and help ease you into your meditation.   

Problem: Dealing with discomfort of sitting

The traditional seated positions for meditating might pose some initial discomfort to aspiring meditation practitioners, but should by no means become a reason to not meditate.

Solution: Since you will be required to sit still during your meditation for at least 15 minutes or more, it is important to find a position that would be most comfortable.  Burmese style is a great posture to sit in as it won’t cramp your legs and is a relatively easier pose for beginners. If you find it hard to sit on the ground, you can practice sitting on a chair.  Just remember to keep your spine straight.  If you are unable to sit on a chair due to physical ailment, practice your meditation lying down.  Just make sure you are on a flat, firm surface and your spine is straight.  This will prevent you from dozing off.  Although there is no need to invest in any fancy paraphernalia if you’re just starting out,  using back support, meditation cushions, or other props could help minimize bodily distractions and make your meditation relatively easier.  Avoid wearing clothes that are tight as they can interfere with your blood circulation and impede breathing.   

Problem: Wrong Mental Attitude

Coming into meditation half heartedly and resisting it with preconceived notions of doubt, skepticism and a ready to fail “I told you so” attitude is not the way to begin a session.  Some come into it looking for amazing and immediate results without the desire to give it time.

Solution:  Your mental attitude could set the stage for the success or failure of your session.  It is advisable to keep an open mind.  An open mind is associated with alpha brain waves which are generated when one is relaxed.  Consciously trying to cultivate attitudes of compassion, love, forgiveness and gratitude can help you work synergistically with your meditation and make all the difference.   

Problem: Don’t know where to start

If you dread meditation time, one of the reasons might be that you just haven’t found the one that is right for you.   

Solution: Guided imagery meditations can be a great place to start until you feel you are ready to graduate to the next level.  Meditation techniques like Soham, Zen, and Vipassana are all worth exploring.  Spend some time sincerely experimenting with a few and find the one that works best for you.  If you find yourself struggling, you might want to consider joining a meditation center and learning under the guidance of an experienced teacher.  

No one else can meditate for you. Personal endeavor is absolutely essential. The benefits of meditation will stay with you throughout the day, day after day.  Investing some sincere time and effort to your daily practice will undoubtedly help you reach your highest potential and bestow you with tranquility, improved focus, better concentration, mental clarity, equanimity and glowing health.  

Root Chakra

This article has been contributed by Georgiy Onyschuk at www.mindvalley.com

 Root Chakra: the Foundation of One’s Life 

Many people fail to notice the significance of managing their chakra in order to for the body to receive the maximum energy needed to get the most out of their lives. Those who are focused on enhancing their upper chakras to achieve wholeness tend to overlook their lower chakras because they are scared that they might lose the established energy that they already have. It is vital that an individual enhances all his chakra points in order to have balance. Once a body has a well-balanced chakra, a person will feel peaceful, whole, and fulfilled in his life. 

Nurturing the root chakra will allow one to realize his way of life can be more pleasant and will prepare him in receiving more energy needed to survive. Before nurturing the root chakra, one has to understand what a root chakra is.

 The Basics 

A root chakra produces a Red aura and is located at the end of the spine. A healthy root chakra can work very well with the crown chakra in generating positive energies for the body. These energies can assist an individual in increasing his creativity and in communicating with his Higher Self. When there is balance from the root, there will be a feeling of security, protection, and ground; the communication with the external surrounding is also improved. Generally, one will learn to empathize, be sensitive and have self-awareness of things that do not belong to them.    

The root chakra is physically connected to our spine, adrenals, kidneys, immune and skeletal systems and sex organs. We may have emotions and diseases that are linked to it as well such as stress and fear, nervousness, high blood pressure, lower back pain, obsession, problems with the feet, legs, and hip, impotence, depression, and lack of control in one’s own life. It also promotes different rights such as the right of existence and protection. 

Connecting with and Analyzing the Root Chakra

The simplest way to connect to the Root Chakra is through breathing meditation. Concentrate on the location of your root chakra. Breathe in, feel the root elevate. Hold your breath for a few seconds and direct the energy to the root area. Once you exhale, release all the tension. Repeat the process until the right amount of energy is achieved and sealed on the root.

Once the Root Chakra has been opened, one may start the visual analysis. Study the color, the spinning movement, the direction of the movement, and the images it produce.

Viewing the images of the root chakra may not be good at first. Most of them are negative images that you might hate. Just remember that these images are from your mind and you have the power to control it. You can make them stop and try again some other time. 

Communicating with the Root Chakra

If a root chakra is imbalanced or blocked, one can heal it to restore the balance. There are recommended questions that can be used especially when one is doing guided chakra meditation. One has to calm his mind and let the chakra talk on its own. Listen to its voice and don’t contradict even if it’s saying something negative. The messages may not be clear at first but once you have listen very well, it will reveal interpretations that can be life-changing.

If you think you can’t take it anymore, you have the option to stop and calm yourself again. Allow yourself to absorb and understand what you have heard. 

  1. When you are young, do you feel protected? How about now?
  2. As a child, did you feel you are important? How about now?
  3. What do you feel about your body? What are your pains? (List all that are related to the root chakra.)
  4. Do you like what you’re wearing? Explain it.
  5. What are the beliefs that you have learned from your family? From other people? Are those beliefs able to protect you? Why and why not?
  6. Are you always seeking for appreciation?
  7. Are you showing the real you now? Why and why not?
  8. Do you think God loves you? If not, why?
  9. Do you have enemies? What stops you from being friends with them?
  10. Do you feel grounded in your body? If not, what makes you keep running away from yourself?

Healing yourself requires a strong will and determination. Love yourself and be proud if you’re able to create balance on your Root Chakra. The Root Chakra is part of your foundation from the day that you were born up to this very moment. 

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Nectar of Youth and Immortality

People have been in search of the nectar of immortality since time immemorial. The truth is that the nectar of immortality resides within each one of us. This nectar flows from the moon (in the hollow above the uvula/soft palate) and drops into the sun (stomach).

According to the Shiva Samhita, Hatha Yoga Pradipika and Gherand Samhita, the sun resides at the navel chakra and the moon resides at the root of the palate. The sun (stomach) consumes the nectar of immortality that drips from the moon. This is the cause of aging, disease and death in human beings.

Practice of Jalandhar Bandha, Viparitkarni /sarvangasana/shoulder stand and practice of khechari mudra can help a yogi slow down the loss of this nectar.

Jalandhar Bandha: This is also referred to as the chinlock. Jalandhar Bandha involves the constriction of the vessels in the neck/vishuddhi chakra by placing the chin on the throat cavity.

  1. To begin with one should be seated in easy pose (sukhasan), lotus pose (padma asan) or siddhasan.
  2. Keep the spine straight and place your palms on your knees in gyan mudra (tip of thumb touching tip of index finger, other three fingers pointing away).
  3. Inhale and exhale deeply a few times.
  4. Now inhale and this time hold your breath.
  5. Bring your chin down and place it in the throat cavity. Hold the breath and this position for few seconds or for as long is comfortable.
  6. Bring the chin back up and then slowly exhale.
  7. Repeat a few times.

Viparitkarni Asan: Practicing Viparitkarni asan (viparit means opposite) one can prevent this nectar from being consumed by the stomach. This is better known today as the Shoulder Stand or Sarvangasana. One should practice it per one’s capacity and slowly try to increase the duration.

According to the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:

“The practice of Viparitkarni for 6 months destroys wrinkles, grey hair, and old age. He who practices it for 3 hours daily conquers death”

Khechari Mudra is more complex and should be learned under the guidance of a qualified guru only. It involves elongating the tongue by cutting and stretching it until it reaches the middle of the eyebrows. The yogi is then able to drink the nectar everyday by simply turning his tongue back and placing it into the skull cavity (the hollow above the uvula).

 According to the yogic texts:

 When the yogi can drink nectar just by placing the tip of his tongue on his palate he is freed from the practice of all yoga. He is freed from disease, old age, death and obtains several powers. He does not feel hunger, thirst, fatigue or sleepiness. He is never reborn.”

 

 

 

 

EXPERIENCES ON AWAKENING OF KUNDALINI

By Sri Swami Sivananda

During meditation you behold divine visions, experience divine smell, divine taste, divine touch, hear divine Anahata sounds. You receive instructions from God. These indicate that the Kundalini Shakti has been awakened. When there is throbbing in Muladhara, when hairs stand on their roots, when Uddiyana, Jalandhara and Mulabandha come involuntarily, know that Kundalini has awakened.

When the breath stops without any effort, when Kevala Kumbhaka comes by itself without any exertion, know that Kundalini Shakti has become active. When you feel currents of Prana rising up to the Sahasrara, when you experience bliss, when you repeat Om automatically, when there are no thoughts of the world in the mind, know that Kundalini Shakti has awakened.

When, in your meditation, the eyes become fixed on Trikuti, the middle of the eyebrows, when the Shambhavi Mudra operates, know that Kundalini has become active. When you feel vibrations of Prana in different parts inside your body, when you experience jerks like the shocks of electricity, know that Kundalini has become active. During meditation when you feel as if there is no body, when your eyelids become closed and do not open in spite of your exertion, when electric-like currents flow up and down the nerves, know that Kundalini has awakened.

When you meditate, when you get inspiration and insight, when the nature unfolds its secrets to you, all doubts disappear, you understand clearly the meaning of the Vedic texts, know that Kundalini has become active. When your body becomes light like air, when you have a balanced mind in perturbed condition, when you possess inexhaustible energy for work, know that Kundalini has become active.

When you get divine intoxication, when you develop power of oration, know that Kundalini has awakened. When you involuntarily perform different Asanas or poses of Yoga without the least pain or fatigue, know that Kundalini has become active. When you compose beautiful sublime hymns and poetry involuntarily, know that Kundalini has become active.

Pranayam for awakening kundalini

Ancient Mantra/Prayer for Healing the Body

I stumbled upon this vedic mantra in the most unlikely of places.   I had never heard of this mantra before nor have I been able to find it online.   I guess it would be safe to say that this is the first online entry for this mantra.

What is this mantra for?

Done with faith, sincerity and devotion, the body soon becomes free of disease and affliction.

How to Chant this mantra?

Take some water in a vessel/glass.

Face East

Cover the top of the vessel with the palm of your hand

Chant the mantra out loud 7 times

Drink all of the water.

Below is the Sanskrit mantra followed by the translation.  (Translation Courtesy: Sarita Tyagi, PhD Sanskrit)

Mantra In Sanskrit

मां भयात सर्वतो रक्ष

श्रियं वर्धय सर्वदा

शरीरारोग्यम में देहि

देव देव नमो स्तुते

Mantra In English

Maam Bhayaat Sarvato Raksh

Shriyam Vardhay Sarvadaa

Shareer Aarogyam Maim Dehi

Dev Dev Namo Stutay

Translation

May I have no fear. Always protect (me) from fear,

May (my) prosperity always increase,

Bless me with a disease free body,

Salutations to you

Below is a short video to help you with the pronunciation of the mantra:

My Kundalini Awakening Symptoms

Kundalini awakening should not be confused with kundalini rising. Once the kundalini is awakened, the next step is to guide it up the sushumna (spinal column). This is not an easy task. There are several techniques (Pranayam, mudras, yoga poses) that aid in this process. This should be done only under the guidance of a qualified guru to avoid the dangers that may come from dealing with energy of this intensity. As the kundalini rises and pierces through each chakra it bestows upon the yogi certain supernatural powers.

In my experience, most kundalini symptoms almost always come about when you expect them the least. They don’t repeat themselves too soon. They usually seem to happen when your mind is at its calmest-during the early morning hours or just before you are about to drift into sleep. I have tried to give details about my experiences. Hope you will find this helpful.

Below is a list of kundalini awakening symptoms that I experienced in the past 7 years in, chronological order:

1. Saw very bright white light when I closed my eyes that I had to look away (had to open my eyes). This happened just before I fell asleep at night. At the time I was very confused and went to see an eye doctor. Everything was normal.

2. Heard internal sounds of Aum/Om. This happened early in the morning as I was just waking up. This happened only once. It was followed by a feeling of extreme peace. After this experience I did a search online on hearing OM sounds. That led me to kundalini articles and I learned for the first time that I was having some spirituals experiences.

3. Felt bigger than my body. This happened before I fell asleep.

4. Felt intense wet heat in my tail bone for several weeks, in the mornings that lasted several hours.

5. Experienced extreme bliss, peace calmness, ecstasy for 3 straight days. This occurred spontaneously. In this bliss you feel connected to every living creature- people, strangers, trees, animals and even a little insect. You feel love and compassion for every being. You see things clearly-the futileness of materialistic objects and the awareness of the Supreme that pervades through every living organism. Material objects appear dead and hollow in this state.

6. I got another scare recently which led me to halt all yogic practices temporarily. I experienced several times in the middle of the night what I believe is Uddiyan bandha. I woke up in the middle of the night to find my tummy completely sucked in. A couple of months ago, I awoke at night to a very intense Moolbandha. Experiencing spontaneous mudras is also a sign of awakened kundalini. This was the scariest experience of all after the bigger than body feeling. It was also very confusing. I also thought I saw fireflies when I opened my eyes and heard musical sounds in the dead of night, for a few seconds. But I have decided to dismiss the last two.

7. The last experience is one that I have experienced more often. A tingling sensation on my head. The feeling as though some of the hairs on my head were getting prickly-kind of like goose bumps.

You may want to read my article that details some of the above experiences in –The Unstruck Sound. Please feel free to share your kundalini awakening symptoms in an article for my blog.

Manisha Koirala

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