Kundani, the Basis of Union (Yoga)

As the Lord of Serpents is the upholder of the Earth with its mountains, jungles and forests, so all the Tantras rely on Kundalini. — Hatha Yoga Pradipika, chapter 3, verse 1.

Take a peek into some of my notes on this verse from an old notebook (on which I have minimally expanded), and some commentary from Kripalu.

° ° ° ° °

The Lord of Serpents is Lord Shiva

Lord = someone who has access to their power; authority; a master. A master is someone who cannot be mastered by the thing mastered.

Shiva = the True Self

Serpents = desires, plural.

Lord Shiva = one who has mastered desires.

Upholder of the Earth:
Earth = physical world = body. Upholder = supporter, sustainer, maintainer, protector.

Lord Shiva as Upholder of the Earth:
Mastery over desire upholds the Earth, the body, and supports, maintains and protects it … even from death? … yup. So desire is what kills you? … yup.

The true Self (Shiva) allows for mastery over desire by being beyond desire Itself. By “knowing” the true Self, which is by its very nature complete satisfaction, a desireless state is inevitable.

Conclusion: Anyone who does not cheat death, is not completely desireless.

Lord Shiva is the King of Yogis

King of Yogis = Raja Yoga master:
King = Raja
Yogis = those who have achieved union (yoga)

Tantras & Kundalini

Tantras = practices for attaining yoga (union)
Kundalini = little coiled one”, DNA, caduceus.

Mudra

It is kundalini that brings about mudra (seal). mudra is not visible, though mudras may be accompanied by kriyas and asanas that are. A mudra occurs automatically in Surrender Meditation, to seal prana in, and to seal impurities out.

Mudra is the advanced form of pranayama. Mudra lasts longer than pranayama, and is completely spontaneous, allowing for kundalini to do Her job.

The full awakening of Kundalini is Her upward flow when it lasts for at least twelve days with no will, not even subconscious will. It is mudra that makes this possible. Once this is in effect, Kundalini can penetrate and evolve the three granthis (tangles) of the three worlds (lokas). 

Will = The product of desire. It is desire that motivates one to try to make something happen (attraction) or stop something from happening (aversion) = will.

Being of nature Herself, it is nature that Kundalini evolves. Kundalini doesn’t evolve you because you are not nature, you are YOU, an already perfect, divine individual. Kundalini doesn’t need our help, She does it all on Her own. In fact, trying to help Her will only interfere and cause trouble.

Swami Kripalu’s comment on this same verse from Revealing the Secret
My notes will be indented from here on.

Ancient seers and wisemen, yoga teachers of the middle ages, and great yogis of the present age, have experienced kundalini, and so will yogis to come, for kundalini is necessary for the attainment of yoga [union].

Because the evolutionary force has coils (kundala), it is called kundalini ‘the little coiled one’. Some say kundalini has two coils, some three coils, and others say it has eight coils. Various seers describe it according to their own viewpoint [their own experience] in different terms, yet all their teachings are true.

The two channels, Ida and Pingala, originating from the gonads, are the two coils. The three coils are the three conditions of Nature: purity (sattvas), passionateness (rajas), and inertia (tamas). The eight coils are earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, buddhi (discernment), and ego (ahamkara), the eight main principles of apara prakriti [lower nature].

My notes . . .

The number of coils also refers to the number of passes kundalini makes over the period of one’s sadhana.

Back to Swami Kripalu:

Kundalini is the basis of all yoga practices and principles, i.e., the cessation of mental activity (citta vritti nirodha), and the union of the living person (jiva) and God (Shiva).

My notes . . .

You as who you think you are, i.e., a body and personality, is jiva. You as a Divine Individual are Shiva. The union of these two, is yoga. Union of the self with the Self. Samadhi is synonymous with yoga.

Direct experience of Truth occurs through ‘union’, a kind of samadhi, which is only possible through kundalini. Kundalini has shot up and fallen back down in a sixteenth of a second, but you’ve had a taste of Reality, an “enlightenment experience”.

Yoga Tantra  Kripalu continues…

The word yoga means ‘union’ and refers to the equanimity of that state. The word tantra means ‘a way of doing something’. So the way of doing yoga is yoga tantra. Yoga refers to the yoga mentioned in the Vedas (the ancient knowledge of North India), and the word tantra refers to the yoga taught in the Tantra (the ancient knowledge of South India). By the word yogatantra, two different traditions of yoga are suggested. The Vedic teachings, called nigama (to sit near’), are handed down knowledge. The Tantra teachings, called agama (coming near), are given knowledge. In ancient times, there were many divisions of the Tantra. Shaiva Tantra (the teachings of Shiva), and Bauddha Tantra (the teachings of Buddha), were some of the main ones. The followers of Tantra do not recognize the Vedic teachings on yoga (union).

Love,
Durga Ma
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Go to the list of posts on KUNDALINI.

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Lakulisha and the Two Dog-tags, Part 2

Well, that was a pretty good story, but why did Lakulisha give me dog-tags instead of just zapping me? Truly, I do not believe, nor did I then, that such a saint would do something so peculiar for no good reason. The reason was mine to contemplate, and contemplate it I did, for more years that I care to admit—how, after so may years of sadhana, could I be so dense! It was as plain as a pikestaff, but by trying to make sense of it (both ‘trying’ and ‘make sense’ being the operative words here), the answer to this puzzle remained illusive. But eventually my ignorance was resolved, so now I can move on, and tell you.

It is a good thing to be able to understand mysteries, especially mysteries that involve ourselves and the things in our own lives that are important to us. It is my sadhana that is most important to me, but perhaps there are other things more important to you. Still, we both surely have one thing in common: the importance of our own selves! It is for this reason I thought you might like to be in on how my mystery unravelled, as this process is useful for many other things in life, such as sorting out the meanings of dreams and other mysterious circumstances.

The first step is to ask yourself what a thing is and what it signifies. For instance, consider what dog-tags are and what purpose they serve. (At this point you may want to reread Part One of this story, especially if you don’t remember what dog-tags are.) The answer is:

IDENTITY

Dog-tags serve the purpose of identifying the wearer. For many years I was comfortable with the realization that I was not a body, not a mind, not a personality, not feelings, actions or anything else my mind would have me believe; I was comfortable not being identified with any of these. But there was still a piece missing. I had been aware of this, but I had not found that piece. Now I can tell you what it was:

IDENTITY

The same word again (remember, there were two dog-tags), but with a different application altogether. There are always two dog-tags in a soldier’s kit. This is also the case for you and I. Our problem is that we are only inclined to notice one of them. If you are missing one, it is probably the same one I was missing.

De-identifying with what you are not is only the beginning. This will not serve you until you fill the gap with something else—you will either become self-deluded that you are enlightened, or you will be haunted by this sense of something being missing. This realization will leave a hole as big as the cosmos itself if you don’t identify with something else. But identify with what?

Cease to identify with Creation and identify with the Creator. 

It hadn’t occurred to me that the key wasn’t in de-identifying with what you are not (the first dog-tag). The key was to be found in what one identifies with (the second dog-tag).

Cease to identify with “stuff” and identify with its Source.

Living in Truth is not about being true to yourself, it’s about being your True Self. This begins with seeing your Self. I know that sounds strange (and yes, here comes another story), but in the realms of Spirit, things are often not consistent with what we like to think of as “reality”. In fact, they can be downright opposed to it, illogical, and not make any sense at all.

In my early days of meditating, I found myself crossing a bridge (how symbolic!), and having crossed the bridge to the other side, I noticed someone lying on the ground. She was smiling sweetly and naked as a jaybird, lying on her side, left side up. As I came closer, I observed two things in particular: She was enveloped in divine bliss, and she was me.

Me? How could this be? If she were me, then who was this “me” doing the looking? Yet I knew without so much as a smidgen of doubt that she was my very Self. Which presented another puzzle: What is this form of her’s? Why is there a form at all? And if she is me, why am I thinking of her as “her” as if she were other than me?

The experience was a wonderous joy, but remained a mystery for some time. I later learned about the five koshas (sheaths), which are what you might call five bodies, or five subtle forms. My “Self” had been wearing the ananda kosha (bliss body), the subtlest of the five.

This is what yoga (union) is all about: the union of the self with the Self. That is one way to put it. Union of you with Absolute God is another way, which isn’t really a different statement, but this is actually already a done deal (realizing it is the trick). Union of the self with the Self is more to the point.

This brings me to the conclusion of my story(s). I promised that learning the purpose of the two dog-tags would be enlightening. I meant that in more ways than one (as I often do). I hope you found it so.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

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Lakulisha and the Two Dog-tags, Part 1

I have decided to tell you a little story. The memory of a very special event that took place many years ago during a difficult time in my life, entered my awareness this morning in meditation. I have not shared this story with more than two people, but this morning I felt moved to tell it to you.

It happened during my morning meditation many years ago. I had begun remembering Lakulisha and the amazing experiences I had had that caused me to think of him as a “heart magnet”, for that he is indeed: His love is literally magnetic, drawing you to him in waves of joy so intense that you stumble over your own feet (if you happen to be on them). The memory of him brought about this same feeling of being drawn to him. It became so strong it was as if he were in the room with me, and I began to imagine that I could feel his presence, and couldn’t resist the urge to look. And to my astonishment, there he was, just coming out of my closet!

He was dressed in nothing but a ragged old loin cloth, looking like a bedraggled sadhu, and smiling widely. He was so solid, so “real”, that at first I thought, Who is this begger? Who do I know in this part of the world who looks like that who would be in my house, much less in my meditation room?

He was carrying something in his hand that I assumed was a begging bowl, so I went to him to pranam. We spoke briefly and I began to realize who he really was. I was stunned. His grin got wider.

In his hand I saw that he held not a begging bowl, but something that I couldn’t make out. He opened his hand and there were two dog-tags on a long chain, the kind of dog-tags soldiers wear so that when bodies are recovered from the battlefield they can be identified. I thought this was strange (mala beads would have made more sense). It was certainly unexpected. He held them out to me as a gift, which I gratefully, but uncomprehendingly, accepted.

He told me that one the two tags was very special and that I should open it. Well, I’d never heard of dog-tags that could be opened, but who was I do question; after all, I was talking to Lakulisha! So I tried to open one of them but couldn’t figure out how to do it. He said, no, that one didn’t open and to open the other one. So I tried the other dog-tag, and sure enough, it easily slid open. What happened next is the heart of my story:

From the opened dog-tag there emitted a light by which I was instantly encompassed, a light like that of the White Swami** (could Lakulisha have been the White Swami???) and bearing the same characteristics:

“There was simultaneously everything and nothing, an unimaginable light more brilliant than I could ever describe, timelessness, and though there was nothing physical about it, no sensation as we know it, I had a sense of floating. There was no thought, no memory, nothing left to want. Everything was perfect just as it was.” **

Well, that’s a pretty good story, but why did Lakulisha give me dog-tags? Why not just zap me and be done with it? This is the subject of the next installment, Lakulisha and the Two Dog-tags, Part 2, so please be sure not to miss it. I think you will find it enlightening. (I will try not to keep you waiting a whole week.)

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that you really are),
Durga Ma
durgama.com

** You can find this and the story of The White Swami in Living the Mysteries.