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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What Kundalini Wants

You have heard me say repeatedly that, regardless of what your own purpose is for meditating, meditation has an aim of its own. This is also true of Kundalini — She has Her own agenda.

In the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, it is said, “Just as a door is opened with a key, the yogi opens the door to liberation through Kundalini. The Goddess Kundalini lies sleeping before this door through which the seeker must pass, effectively blocking entry.” It goes on to say that only a yogi can open this door.

The door to liberation can only be unlocked with Kundalini.

Here we have the picture of a door that leads to our liberation that is not only locked but is inaccessible to us and needs a key to be opened. It is blocked by Kundalini, the very key we need in order to open this door — if we could only get to it. To complicate things further, only a yogi can open it. 

The word ‘yogi‘ refers to someone who has experienced yoga. The word yoga means ‘union’. Yoga is not a religion or an exclusive club limited to any one religion or spiritual path. The term ‘yogi‘ applies to anyone who has experienced union with the Divine. So we had better find out what ‘union’ is all about.

Only one who has experienced union can open this door.

In the earliest stages of ‘union’, union is of the sun and the moon, ha-tha yoga (‘sun-moon union‘), the union of the cooling Life Energy in the body, the moon, with the warming Life Energy in the body, the sun. When the warming Life Energy and the cooling Life Energy unite, the Goddess Kundalini who “lies sleeping before this door”, is awakened. This union must take place in order to get access to the door. So this step of uniting the sun and the moon is our first step.

The door to liberation can only be unlocked with the key called Kundalini.

Kundalini can be asleep or awake. She can be partially awake or fully awake. She can have Her head turned up or or Her head turned down. She can stay where She is, or she can ascend the central channel. She can travel an eastern front path or a western back path. She can even go back to sleep. But at this point, we have only awakened Her.

Whether to seek to awaken Kundalini or not, and whether to allow for Her to determine events that will lead to Her ascension, depends entirely on what you want. So before you take up this quest and are confronted with union and its higher stages, you must know what you want. It is important that you know before you go forward with awakening Kundalini, so that what comes your way is compatible with what you want.

Spiritual growth can be attained either way, but once Kundalini is awake, She will do everything in Her power to do Her job. If you don’t want what is coming as a result of Her efforts, awakening Her will only get in the way of your objectives.

Love,
Durga Ma
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PhoenixMetaphysicalInstitute.com

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Hatha Yoga Pradipika 18 — Things to Avoid

This entry follows “The Duration of Sun-Moon Practice” from chapter one.

My input amidst verses is in [brackets] and in color when commenting.

The following is a rendering of verses 59 to 63 approximately—I find that verses are numbered differently in different editions:

59
A chaste, moderate eating, renounced, engrossed-in-yoga aspirant becomes accomplished within one year; there is not the least possibility of a doubt about this. 

Chaste (brahmacharya) refers to one whose sexual “seed” has been sublimated, elevated and not lost. (I have put the word “seed” in quotes so that we females may consider this concept according to our own anatomy.)  

Moderate eating is addressed in Hatha Yoga Pradipika 15 – Suitable Food. There is more on this subject coming up below.

Renounced does not refer to sacrifice, but to being on the verge of true detachment—neutrality—naturally. Because of this detached state, the yogi is able to remain continuously engrossed in yoga.

Accomplished refers to having achieved sun-moon union. Accomplishing sun-moon union does not necessarily mean that it is finished, but that one has gotten there.

60
Moderate eating, or appropriate ingesting, is the consuming of ‘food’ that is naturally tasty, sweet, minus one fourth portion, and eaten to please Lord Shiva.

61
Yogis consider the following foods to be unsuitable: Bitter, sour, hot [spicy-hot], very salty, unripe vegetables, fermented foods, sesame oil, sesame seed, intoxicating drink, fish, meat, curds, buttermilk, jujube, oil cake, asafoetida, garlic, onion, etc. Reheated, stale, excessively salty, and food turned sour or spoiled, is to be abandoned altogether. 

Remember that what is being sought concerning what one ingests should be tranquil in nature, sattvas. In this verse, the foods listed as unsuitable or to be avoided are of the quality of tamas (inert or lifeless) and rajas (overstimulating). So as we are to understand from Suitable Foods, we are to avoid food, people, situations and environments that are overstimulating or are oppressive, dark or depressive. In other words, avoid anything and everyone unfavorable to the easy-going, moderate and tranquil quality of sattvas. 

Keep in mind that this instruction applies during sun-moon yogaand that some practitioners of yoga have not reached the stage of sun-moon yoga and others have gone beyond it to royal yoga. However, for one wishing to attain to sun-moon yoga, it only makes sense to apply these instructions (and the ones that follow) to one’s own sadhana anyway. 

61-63
During the period of continued practice of sun-moon yoga, the aspirant should not tend the fire, associate with women, or go on journeys, etc. Nor should he associate with base, evil-minded people, bathe early in the morning, or fast, and should avoid all laborious and strenuous physical activities.

Should not tend the fire – One should not stoke passion, i.e., seek sexual pleasure.

Should not associate with women – Read “men” if you are a woman, or read whichever gender is sexually attractive to you.

Should not go on journeys – It is in one’s best interest not to move around a lot during Hatha Yoga as this interferes with one’s practice routine and exposes one to unfavorable conditions. This includes wandering as a mendicant as well as moving house over and over again.

Should not associate with base, evil-minded people – It is taught that, when seeking Truth, one should associate only with those persons who have achieved it, or those who also sincerely seek it, particularly those on the same path as you so as to avoid confusion. 

Should not bathe early in the morning – The purpose of this is to avoid cold baths (bathing would have taken place in rivers and streams in the days of the original text).

Should not fast – Fasting is popular in some circles, but it is not recommended during Hatha Yoga.

Should avoid all laborious and strenuous physical activities – Contrary to popular opinion, excesses of all kinds, including exercise and hard work, are discouraged during sun-moon practice. Sun-moon practice will take care of any such needs on the part of the body. 

Love,
Durga Ma
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