Tuesday, July 1, 2008
Yoga Kundalini Upanishad - Part 1
Yoga Kundalini Upanishad belongs to Yajurveda and deals with Kundalini Yoga practices. Kundalini Yoga is considered as a practice of Tantric origin. Possibly during later period of fusion of Upanishadic and Tantric systems it got absorbed in Upanishads also. Without going into the debate of its origin it remains a fact that awakening sleeping Kundalini marks a very important phase in the spiritual life of a seeker. The Yoga Kundalini Upanishad describes awakening of Kundalini in esoteric language just like many other ancient texts on the subject. The teachings of Yoga Kundalini Upanishad are discussed next.
Mind stuff is a result of two ingredients namely desires and prana. The prana can be controlled by moderate diet, Yoga postures and Shaktichalana.
A Yogi should consume sweet and nutritious food. Half of the stomach should be filled with food, one quarter with water and the remaining quarter should be left empty to please Shiva, the Lord of Yogis. This is moderate diet.
Place right foot on the left thigh and left thigh on the right thigh. This is called as Padmasana and destroys all sins.
Place one heel below the Muladhara region and the other over it i.e. Swadhisthana region. Stunk, neck and head should be in straight line. This is called as Vajrasana.
A Yogi should take the Kundalini from Muladhara to Sahasrara. This practice is called as Shaktichalana.
He should pass the Kundalini through Swadhisthana Chakra, Manipura Chakra, Anahata Chakra, Vishudhi Chakra and Ajna Chakra.
Shaktichalana can be mastered with the help of two things - Saraswatichalana and Pranayama.
Saraswatichalana refers to awakening of Saraswati Nadi which is also called as Arundhati. Kundalini can be awakened only by rousing the Saraswati Nadi.
Normally during exhalation prana goes out 16 digits and during inhalation 12 digits. Thus 4 digits are lost during breathing. Sitting in Padmasana one should lengthen inhalation by 4 digits. Thus inhalation and exhalation are made equal. This awakens the sleeping Kundalini.
A Yogi should awaken the Saraswati Nadi with the help of lengthened breath and holding both the lands near ribs and shaking the Kundalini from right to left again and again. He should do so for 48 minutes. He should then force the Kundalni into Sushumna. Along with Kundalini prana also finds its way in Sushumna.
Then he should compress his neck and expand the navel region. Saraswati is then to be shaken and prana is taken above the chest. Because of the compression of the neck prana moves above chest.
This way Saraswati who has sound in her womb should be shaken every day.
Types of Pranayama
Prana is the vayu that circulates throughout the body. Holding the prana inside is called as Kumbhaka. Kumbhaka is of two types viz. Sahita and Kevala. Till Kevala Kumbhaka is not attained one should practice Sahita Kumbhaka.
There are four types of Pranayama - Suryabheda, Ujjayi, Sitali and Bhastrika.
Select a place that is pure and free of obstructions. It should be free from cold, fire and water. Place seat to such a place which is not too high or too low. Now sit in Padmasana and perform Saraswatichalana. Slowly inhale the breath through the right nostril. Hold it as per capacity and then exhale through the left nostril. This destroys all abnormalities caused by Vayu. It also destroys worms in the intestine. This process should be done again and again. This is called Suryabheda.
Closing the mouth inhale through both the nostrils. Hold it in the space between the heart and neck. Then exhale through left nostril. This pranayama removes heat caused in the head and also the phlegm. It destroys all diseases (including dropsy), purifies the body and increases the gastric fire. It removes all abnormalities in dhatus. This is called Ujjayi and can be practiced walking or standing.
Inhale the breath over the tongue making hissing sound. Retain it to capacity. Then slowly exhale through both the nostrils. This is called Sitali Kumbhaka. It cools the body, destroys dyspepsia, diseases of spleen, bile, fever, thirst and poison.
Sit in Padmasana with trunk and neck erect. Closing the mouth exhale through both the nostrils. Then inhale slightly up to the neck such that the breath fills between neck and skull. Just as the bellows of black smith move the air in and out of the body. When you get tired inhale through the right nostril. Perform Kumbhaka and then exhale through the left nostril. This pranayama removes inflammation of throat, increases gastric fire. The practitioner of Bhastrika knows Kundalini. It makes the practitioner pure, destroys sins and removes phlegm which creates obstacle at the door of Sushumna. It pierces the three Granthis (knots) namely Bramha Granthi, Vishnu Granthi and Rudra Granthi.
A Yoga aspirant should then practice the three Bandhas viz. Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha.
Apana has a tendency to move downwards. This tendency is reversed by contracting anal muscles. This is called Mula Bandha. When the raised Apana reaches Agni it gives rise to psychic heat. This heat awakens the sleeping Kundalini. She becomes straight making a hissing sound and enters Shushumna. Hence, Yogis should practice Mula Bandha often.
In the state of Kumbhaka Uddiyana Bandha is to be performed. It is called so because prana flies inside Sushumna because of this Bandha.
Sitting in Vajrasana hold toes by hand. Press Kanda and region near ankles. As the prana reaches navel it removes impurities and diseases. Hence, this should be practiced often.
At the end of inhalation practice Jalandhara Bandha. It is performed by contracting neck on the chest and acts as a barrier to the flow of prana upwards. Assuming this position a Yogi should perform Saraswatichalana and Pranayama.
On the first day a Yogi should practice Kumbhaka four times. On the second day it should be done ten times each. On the third day it should be done twenty times. After this it should be practiced with the three Bandhas increasing the number by five each day.
Obstacles to Yoga Practice
Diseases are born because of seven causes. They are - sleeping during the day time, late vigils, excess sexual activities, moving in crowd, wrong diet, restraining excretion of urine and faces and too much mental activity.
A Yogi suffering from any of these diseases thinks that his practice is the cause of these diseases and discontinues the practice. This is the first obstacle in Yoga. The other obstacles are - doubt about the practice, confusion, laziness, over sleeping, slavery of senses and delusion, material enjoyment, lack of faith and failure to attain truth of Yoga. A wise Yogi should avoid all these ten obstacles.
With a concentrated mind the Pranayama should be performed daily. Then the mind rests in Sushumna and Prana becomes stable. One becomes Yogi only when impurities of the mind are destroyed and prana enters Sushumna.
After removing all the impurities from Sushumna a Yogi should force Apana to move upwards by the practice of Mula Bandha. The raised up Aprana mixes with Prana and they reach the sleeping Kundalini. Heated by fire and shaken by Prana the Kundalini stretches its body in the Sushumna.
Piercing the three knots
The awakened Kundalini pierces Bramha Granthi which is representation of Rajoguna. Like lightening it flashes at the door of the Sushumna.
Then Kundalini goes to Vishnu Granthi at the heart center. Then to Rudra Granthi and finally to Ajna Chakra.
After piercing the three Granthis she goes to mandala of the moon. The moisture produced by the moon in the Anahata Chakra is dried up.
Because of the flow of Prana the blood in the sun region becomes bile because of heat. When it reaches the moon it becomes of the nature of phlegm.
The white moon also gets quickly heated. The awakened Kundalini moves up and shower of nectar starts flowing heavily.
By drinking this nectar mind of the Yogi moves away from sensual enjoyments. The Yogi is established in Self. He attains the highest state and peace.
Union of Shiva and Shakti
The awakened Kundalini then goes to Sahasrara. It gives up the eight forms of the Prakriti namely earth, water, fire, air, eather, mind, intellect and ego.
After embracing eyes, mind, prana and others the Kundalini goes to Shiva and dissolves herself in the Sahasrara.
The rajas-shukla bindu goes to Shiva along with vayu. Prana and Apana become equal.
Prana flows in all things like brightness of gold. The breath also dissolves itself.
Prana and Apana also dissolve themselves in Shiva situated in the Sahasrara. Since they are now balanced their upward and downward movement stops.
The prana and vital airs spread in the body of the Yogi just as gold in heated crucible.
The body of such a Yogi becomes very subtle state of Bramhan. His gross body made up of five elements is transformed in a subtle form of Paramatman.
The Truth that is released only in the state of Samadhi and is free from impurities.
The one which is absolute consciousness, which is "I" in all beings, the Bramhan, the subtle form of That is the Truth behind all the things.
Like the false impression of snake in a rope, the idea of release from life and Samsara is a delusion.
Everything that appears is unreal. Everything that is absorbed is unreal. Like the false idea of silver in the shell of a pearl, so is the idea of men and women.
The microcosm and macrocosm are one and the same.
The Kundalini is like a thread in the lotus. she is magnificent. She is biting the upper end of its body, at the root of the lotus, the Muladhara with her mouth.
She resides in the hole of Bramhanadi of Sushumna taking her tail in the mouth.
A Yogi having assumed Padmasana, performing Mula Bandha makes the Vayu move upwards which his mind absorbed in Kumbhaka. Because of the Vayu the fire comes to Swadhisthana.
Because of the Vayu and fire the Kundalini pierces open the Bramha Granthi and then Vishnu Granthi.
She then pierces Rudra Granthi. After that, she pierces all the six Chakras. She then dissolves with Shiva in the Sahasrara. This is the highest state. This state alone can give supreme bliss.
-- End of Chapter 1 --