The path of ascension is the northerly, upward course of kundalini-shakti as She flows through the central channel, bringing Prana along in Her wake.
The Teachings of the Immortal, Lord Lakulisha,
Twenty-Eighth Incarnation of Lord Shiva.
Translations are in bold
Comments that follow are my own.
Your body is your world, and like the world, your body has four directions: north, east, south and west. North is the upper part of the body, with the north pole at the top of the head, south is the lower part of the body, with the south pole at the base, east is the front of the body, and west is the back of the body.
Your body is also your temple. Temples have their altars in the east, and so do you. Like the worshiper, you face east—your face is located in the east where the perceptive organs are predominantly oriented, so you are always ‘facing’ east.
Imagine for a moment that, compass in hand, you are standing, facing the east. What is on your left? North. North is up, so left is up. Esoterically then, Left refers to the upward path of ascension, the northerly, upward course of kundalini-shakti as She flows through the central channel, bringing Prana along in Her wake. Left = north = up.
II:2 Of the player
With the interpretation of “Left” joined to the interpretation of this sutra, this sutra could then be understood as referring to you as the player: “The left of the player”—your left. Upward flow, the ascension of the life force, has begun. Because there are still impurities in the body, you easily become overheated, hot and restless. As the life force is taken upward with the rising of the kundalini-shakti, you may have headaches, pain, brain-fog, restlessness, insomnia and other uncomfortable sensations, as the sacred fire burns the impurities away, giving new meaning to austerity.
The Sanskrit word that gets translated into English as austerity, is tapas. The following definition of tapas is from a Sanskrit-English dictionary. My explanations are in parentheses:
Warmth, heat, the five fires to which a devotee exposes himself in the hot season (the hot season: when the life force is made ascendent by the fire of kundalini), four fires lighted in the four quarters (the four directional zones of the body; ascension is all-inclusive) and the sun burning from above (the sun, the life force, is in the head, causing the head to become very hot); pain, suffering, religious austerity, bodily mortification, penance, special observance, sacred learning and the protection of subjects (teachings).
NOTE: It is not the pain and other symptoms, that is tapas, it is the purification process that is tapas. Tapas does not mean ‘suffering’, it means ‘heat’, from the root, tap, ‘to burn or melt’, which is how purification takes place. Uncomfortable sensations are side-effects, symptoms, and do not always accompany purification.
Now you know why tapas is usually translated as “austerity”. What you may not have known, is why or how it is an essential feature of yoga sadhana. Now you do.
From the Hatha Yoga Pradipika:
“By constant practice, the uptrending life energy and the downtrending life energy, unite (yoga).”
“When the downtrending life energy and the uptrending life energy join with the fire (the evolutionary force), which is by nature hot, then the heat of the body is greatly intensified.”
“The sun (the uptrending life energy) and moon (the downtrending life energy) leave their energy channels, pingala (warm) and ida (cool), and unite with the fire (the evolutionary force, kundalini) in the central channel. This definitely leads to immortality.”
° ° ° ° °
So now we have a left-hand path, a path considered by established tradition to be radical, contrary to the norm, and inauspicious. Considering some of the side-effects of upward flow, this opinion is understandable, and it is easy to see why the left-hand path has a dubious reputation. However, if one looks closely, it can be seen that this is actually an auspicious path, as the sutras will go on to tell us.
Let’s see what happens if we continue with the idea that the path of the Player is the northerly, upward path of ascension.
To be continued…
Shaktipat Intensives & Remote Shaktipat
Sahaja Yoga, Shaktipat Kundalini Yoga
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