Kuṇḍalinī can be explained as the store house of Divine potency, which is present in all the human beings, mostly in dormant state. Naturally dormant kuṇḍalinī becomes active depending upon the spiritual evolution of a person. Spiritual evolution is directly related to purity of one’s mind, as Brahman can be realized only through mind and not through any other external sources. There are two types of organs, which make a human existence possible. One is external sensory organs and the other one is inner psychic organs, which is far more powerful than the external organs. Inner psychic organs are mind, intellect, consciousness and ego (in Trika philosophy, consciousness is not included in antaḥkaraṇa, as consciousness is considered as Śiva). For awakening kuṇḍalinī we need to have only breath and consciousness. Consciousness here means awareness. When we draw a tiny point before us and fix our attention on that point, by continuously looking at this point, external sensory organs gradually lose their functional nature. When the concentration on this dot is so intent, no sound is heard, eyes are not moved from the dot, etc. After a few minutes of intent concentration on the dot, the one who gazes at the dot becomes the dot himself. In other words, the knower and the known become a single identity. If we look at the reasons for this union, it is only the intensity of the awareness that alone was responsible for this union. What is the difference between the dot and the kuṇḍalinī? There are quite a few significant differences. One, kuṇḍalinī is subtle and the dot is gross. Secondly, kuṇḍalinī is within the body and the dot is outside the body. Thirdly, kuṇḍalinī is powerful and the dot is inert. In general there are three ways available to all of us to awaken the dormant kuṇḍalinī and these were discussed in the previous part.
Biological and medical aspect of kuṇḍalinī should be known to us, before we begin practicing kuṇḍalinī meditation. Basically, kuṇḍalinī is the purest form of energies that we can think of. All powerful energies are derived from Parāśakti, the energy of Śiva. They are ānanda śakti, icchā śakti, jñāna śakti, kriyā śakti, kuṇḍalinī śakti and mantra śakti. All these śakti-s are derived from Supreme Śakti, the independent and absolute power of Śiva. This Supreme Śakti is also known as Svātantrya Śakti. Out of the above śakti-s, the most potent of the energies is kuṇḍalinī śakti and hence to be practiced with great care. Let us take an example of a balloon filled with Hydrogen. If a hole is made in this balloon near a lamp, the balloon will explode, as Hydrogen is combustible. In order to prevent this explosion, balloon should be kept in a safer place away from fire. Similarly, if proper precautions are taken while practicing kuṇḍalinī meditation, kuṇḍalinī syndrome can be avoided.
Kuṇḍalinī is posited at the base of the trunk or at the lowermost portion of the spinal cord. The position of the kuṇḍalinī is different for men and women, though there are contrary opinions on this. In men kuṇḍalinī is situated in the perineum (the place between the organs of procreation and excretion). In women it is placed in a point between external opening and the uterus. The exact position of kuṇḍalinī should be known because while practicing mūlabandha, only this portion alone should be contracted and not other organs. If other organs are also contracted, it could lead to wrong ascension of kuṇḍalinī. It is extremely important that kuṇḍalinī should ascend only through citriṇi nāḍi, the innermost canal of suṣumna nāḍi (spinal cord).
Biologically, kuṇḍalinī can be explained as the sum total of parasympathetic and sympathetic nervous systems, sexual energy (this is one of the vital components of kuṇḍalinī), growth hormones produced by endocrine system comprising of thyroid and parathyroid glands, pineal gland (this is also known as gland of Divinity), pituitary gland, adrenal gland, ovaries and testicles, pancreas and thymus. Each of these glands are connected to kuṇḍalinī in some way or the other. The psychic chakras we talk about are associated with one or more of these endocrine glands. Kuṇḍalinī is awakened due to the dilation of the blood vessels connected to the organs of procreation. Dilation of blood vessels is directly linked to heart and brain. When love and compassion levels are strong enough in a person, both heart and the brain expands. By expansion of heart, blood vessels are expanded. Expansion of brain means change in the emotional status of a person. When love and compassion manifests, emotional status undergoes significant changes. If the emotional status is already positive, it becomes more positive and if it is negative, it changes from negativity to positivity.
Activation of kuṇḍalinī also depends upon generation of sex hormones and production of nitric oxide (NO). Nitric Oxide in particular is used for the dilatation of blood vessels, apart from host of other benefits to the various parts of the body. Apart from dilating blood vessels, NO is also responsible for the production of scavenger cells, known as phagocytes. These cells eradicate the impurities of the biological system. At the time of ascension of kuṇḍalinī, an enormous amount of NO is produced to purify the blood, muscular and nervous systems. The first advantage of kuṇḍalinī awakening is disease free body.
There are two occasions where Nitric Oxide is produced in huge quantities. One is during the descent of Divine Grace, known as Śaktipāta (Divine Grace due to which a jīvātman realises His True Nature – realization of the Self, his essential Divine Nature or Self-realization) due to Guru’s initiation. All the Self-realized Gurus initiate their disciples through penetrating into their energy body, which in turn causes Śaktipāta. Alternatively, during certain medical conditions or undue stress or due to some injury in the place where kuṇḍalinī is posited, will also make the kuṇḍalinī to ascend. But in the latter case, it will always be powerful, coupled with huge force, which at times may throw of a person several feet away. However, the best way to make the kuṇḍalinī active is to surrender to Divine, as seen earlier, as kuṇḍalinī is directly related to love. Based on this principle it is said that love is God.
Kuṇḍalinī ascension is also directly related to the type of food we consume, the types of physical exercise we do, positive thoughts also activate kuṇḍalinī or if kuṇḍalinī is already active, way of life plays a crucial role in making it ascend to higher chakras without causing any hindrance. If one approaches a Guru for spiritual awakening, on the date of initiation, he or she is advised to fast at least three to five hours before initiation. If kuṇḍalinī is initiated when the stomach is full, it not only causes nausea and vomiting, but could also cause serious damage to nervous and endocrine systems. It would be always ideal to prepare the body for initiation at least one week in advance by consuming fibrous food, fruits, milk, etc.
Further practice in Nāḍi Śodhana Prāṇāyāma:
Stages I, II and III of 12 are discussed in the previous part. Stages IV, V, VI are discussed in this article.
IV stage: Inhalation – holding – exhalation ratio is now to be increased to 5 – 5 – 5 or multiples thereof. However, one should not hold the breath beyond their holding capacity. Holding capacity will increase over a period of time.
V stage: 2 – 8 – 4 (inhalation: holding: exhalation ratio 1:4:2)
VI stage: 4 – 16 – 8 (the same ratio is maintained, however the duration differs. Always inhalation should be faster and exhalation should be longer.