69 – 72 The Awakened State Reveals the Real

Bhagavad Gita, chapter two, verses 69 – 72

That which is night to all beings is day for the sage. That which is day to all beings, is night for the sage.

Alternate translation:
The awakened state of the Sage is but a dream to everyone else; what is real to them is the dream to the Sage.

The awakened state reveals the Real. Our everyday sense of life and this world is the dream. The several verses leading up to this one have been teaching us how to attain this state that exposes the Real.

“The Sage”

Samyami – ‘having restraint’, from samyama, meaning ‘holding together, restraining, binding, tying up’. The root is yama, meaning ‘reined, curbed, bridled, restrained’.

The Samyami is the Sage for whom something is being held together, restrained. What is restrained for him is his senses. You will recall that this is pratyahara, the state in which the senses become restrained, withdrawn from their objects. We are being reminded of this yet again, so reaching this state must be very important for revealing the Truth about how things really are.


In Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras, the last three steps of yoga (union)—concentration (dharana), meditation (dhyana), and the equanimity of union (samadhi)—taken together as one state, is called samyama.

The state of samyama can only be reached through pratyahara (restraint of the senses), the fifth step of yoga, which is reached through the fourth step, pranayama (life-force restraint). This is a natural sequence of events that occurs as one advances, and describes the Samyami, the Sage, for whom life is but a dream.

8 Steps of Yoga - Screen Shot - no shadow

Like an ocean becoming filled with water yet remaining unmoved, one for whom all desires enter while remaining unmoved, attains peace. This is not the case for one who longs for his desires. 

But that person who remains indifferent to desires, acts desirelessly. Indifferent and non-doing, he attains peace. 

Alternate translations:

Just as an ocean remains unmoved when water enters it, one who remains unmoved as all desires enter him, attains serenity, but not one who yearns for the fulfillment of his desires. 

That person who remains indifferent to all desires, acts desirelessly. Disinterested, without the sense of doership, he attains serenity.

Desires will continue to arise within us as the senses continue making contact with desirable objects, but by remaining indifferent to these desires we are not motivated to act on them. Thus we end-run our egos (‘I do’), and as ‘non-doers’ we find peace.

‘Indifference’ does not mean that we have no desires, but that we are not excited by them to the point that we mentally linger on them and become compelled to chase after them. Not being under the sway of the senses is consistent with the Truth that (1) we already have/are everything, and (2) what we really are does nothing (nirahańkāraḥ, ‘I am not the doer of actions’). Until this truth is realized within us, we cultivate its arrival by not allowing our desires to control us.

Self-referencing: Note the difference between the object of desire and the desire itself.

During your day, whenever you think of it, without self-criticism, try making this distinction when you are confronted by something you find desirable, by separating your perception of the object, from your perception of the desire for it. This simple exercise will help you to overcome the tyranny of the senses. Because you cannot be what you perceive, you will separate yourself both from the senses, and from desire itself.

This is the culmination of what this chapter started with. It presents us with the concept of ‘ego’ as acting from the assumption that we are the ones doing things (ahamkara, ‘I do’), and that this assumption is incorrect.

What we truly are already ‘has’ everything, is everything, is everywhere without limitation. Every desire we take so seriously that we feel compelled to act, ‘to do’ something, in order to obtain it, contradicts this truth. Conversely, in the state of samyama we are one with Truth.

Fixed in this God-state, Arjuna, never again does one become confused or unconscious. Situated in it even at the hour of death, God-Nirvana is assured.

“God-Nirvana is assured”

God Nirvana is Divine Beatitude, the eternal happiness and highest bliss that is God. We are being assured of this. Even if we only reach this state of ‘disinterested non-doership’ at the last minute of the hour of death, we are assured Brahma-Nirvana. Seems like something worth cultivating, don’t you think?

” Having renounced all actions precipitated by the mind, not acting nor causing action, the Embodied One (you) sits happily as the ruler within the city whose gates are nine (the body).”

— Lord Krishna, Bhagavad Gita, chapter five, verse 13

End of Chapter Two
The Yoga of Knowledge


This chapter is called the Yoga of Knowledge and yet we have long been discussing action, so I think we can safely say that we have gained some knowledge about action. What we have learned about action in this chapter has to do with enlightenment and Self-realization. With this knowledge, we can understand it and cultivate it until it’s a done deal. In chapter three we will learn more about what action really is.

Namaste (I bow to the Divine One that You really are),
Durga Ma

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Through shaktipat diksha and initiation into this meditation, you will put God in the driver’s seat. Surrender to the Absolute will do all the work for you, and Kundalini will awaken naturally and safely. Schedule a Shaktipat Intensive.

If you can’t manage a Shaktipat Intensive in Phoenix, you will be glad to learn that Remote Shaktipat is back with a new program that provides as much information, teachings, and guidance as a person could ever want, need, or expect to get online.  

This link will take you to nine progressive courses in authentic meditation for both beginning and experienced meditators. I have designed these courses to provide basic essentials for anyone on any path (or no path), and so that the meditation that is most natural and comfortable for you becomes apparent to you.

The First Chakra, Continued

The first three chakras are in Brahma Loka, the world of Creativity, and Hatha Yoga sadhana (sun-moon union practice). The guna (natural characteristic) associated with this world is rajas (passionate, intense). This is the realm of Prana (Life Energy), the third, fourth and fifth steps of Ashtanga Yoga (Eight-Limbs Union), asana, pranayama, and pratyahara, the awakening of Kundalini, and spontaneous bandhas (locks).

This and the previous post, The First Chakra, Muladhara, and upcoming posts on individual chakras, should help you to identify chakras experienced during meditation.

Determining Individual Chakras

Considering the name of each chakra, and the features of each chakra, can help you to determine with which chakra a phenomenon may be associated, thus giving you the chakra‘s identity. Also, the significance of chakra events, or experiences, is suggested not only by the name, but by the characteristics of a chakra, such as its location, the element associated with it, and so forth.

Characteristics of the First Chakra

The first chakra is located in Brahma Loka at the perineum, has four petals, four vibrational frequencies of the specific sounds of Sanskrit syllables, and is associated with the elimination of things passing out of the physical body. Its mystical diagram is the square, the color is red, the sense organ is the nose, the sense faculty is smell, the element is earth, the elemental color is yellow. 

When contemplating these features, ask yourself questions about them. For instance, the first chakra is located in Brahma Loka, the world of Creation. Think what that implies. Muladhara, the name of the first chakra, means “root holder”, so ask yourself, what is “root”? and what is “holder”? What does this name imply?

Mula means ‘root’, and adhara means ‘holder, support or foundation’. Think about it. A foundation is the support of a house, your house — your body. This attests to the importance of this chakra and even tells you why it is important. A root is usually found in the earth, so the muladhara chakra is associated with the element earth. But what does this mean for you? 

Earth is the material plane and everything that goes with it. This includes not only the planet and material substance, but your own personal, physical world — your body, your family and your ancestors, the desire for physical safety, the urge to have control over the environment, and the obtaining of material possessions. Your body and its roots — genetics, inherited assets and liabilities — are all associated with this chakra.

When this chakra has been evolved, these things no longer determine the way you act or live, they no longer preoccupy your mind, or run your life. I don’t mean that these things disappear, but that you are not driven by them. I don’t mean that you are in control of them either, but that they are not in control of you.

At a Pizza Parlor

From Living the Mysteries, © 1999

Some time before I began my spiritual practices, I was in a pizza parlor with my children, sitting on a bench at a picnic table.  In this pizza parlor, there was a big pipe organ, its huge pipes lining the entire back wall all the way up to the high ceilings. While I was there, the organist came out to begin playing.  He made a big deal of his entrance. The first thing he did after he sat down was to play the lowest tone on the organ at full volume and sustain it. The rumble of the low vibration began to vibrate the base of my spine and my first chakra began whirling. I experienced a tremendous thrill. My mouth fell open and I’m sure my eyes were as big as saucers. I was amazed and completely taken by surprise.

Since that time, I have known with a certainty that the chakras, and consequently the entire body, are affected by musical tones and other sounds generated from outside the body.

Mastery of the First Chakra:  You get what is desired; you get the vision of the Divine; the life energy enters the sushumna; the mind, the breath and sexual energy become introverted and their movement stops spontaneously.

The Seat of Yoga

The first chakra is the root, seat, and foundation of yoga. It is the place where the sun and moon unite to form kundalini and trigger the bandhas (locks). It is not going to disappear anytime soon — it will continue to be present during the evolutionary process of other chakras, so its benefits and its challenges will continue to manifest from time to time, even as you notice changes in your life.

Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God!),
Durga Ma

Phoenix Metaphysical Institute
Life Mastery Self Coaching

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Kundalini Letters

Many of you write me, and I answer you. Occasionally, a blog will be inspired by your queries, but I do not share your questions and my answers with others. This post is an exception. It was inspired by questions from Sohumm, who has graciously given his permission for me to share our conversation with you. 

° ° ° ° °

What I understand from your reply (and also from Swami Satyananda Saraswati’s books) is that various spontaneous kriyas (and even spontaneous asanas) may be wrongly inferred as a kundalini awakening while they are just an indication of pranotthana. I also understand that until the prana enters the sushumna it cannot be called a ‘real’ Kundalini Awakening. The problem now arises – how to identify whether Prana has really entered the Sushumna?

When kundalini begins an upward ascent through the sushumna, she pulls prana along with her. Kundalini can be awake before that, but this is not the same as ascension—evolution is trying but not really succeeding. This could be seen as an awakening that is not “real”.

I remember that over a course of time my rate of breathing decreased to 4-6 minute in normal waking hours and about 1-2 per minute (or lesser) during meditation. During such period of breathlessness (between two breaths) I could still feel extremely soft and subtle pulsating movements (something like a faint breathing, not the heartbeat which has quick and sudden movements) even though I wasn’t actually inhaling or exhaling.

This is an advanced state of pranayama, called kumbhaka.

A few months later I read a book by Swami Muktananda where someone asked him about a similar experience to which he replied that it’s a very good experience and indicates that Kundalini (or Prana, i don’t remember well) has entered your Sushumna.

There is a breathless state in which nothing is moving, not even a little bit. Everything is in stasis. In this state, which can last a short time or a very long time, if someone finds you, including a doctor, they will think that you are dead. This is one of the reasons I so strongly advocate absolute privacy during meditation. This is an advanced state of kumbhaka, a mudra (seal).

This leads me to another question – Do spontaneous kriyas, asanas, bandhas happen when Kundalini enters Sushumna too? – because then the only way to differentiate between Pranotthana and Kundalini Awakening would be to identify whether Prana is still in other nadis or whether it has entered Sushumna. If so then what are the symptoms that indicate Prana has enetered the Sushumna ?

Whether a kriya or an asana is occurring because kundalini is moving in the sushumna depends on the kriya and the asana. Both go through stages.

Prana can also be in the other nadis even when it is accompanying kundalini in the sushumna.

When mulabandha is trying to happen, a subtle kriya usually accompanies it. This indicates that kundalini is trying to wake up. When the primary bandhas begin to show up, kundalini is awake, in the Sushumna, and She means business.

Kundalini and Pranotthana

Think of pranotthana as very strong prana. Think of that strong prana as the thing that kick-starts kundalini, wakes her up. Kundalini herself is not perceptible. Her workings are too subtle.

People who talk about feeling something are mistaking the activities of prana (outside the sushumna) for kundalini (inside the sushumna). If someone talks about a vibrating chakra, for instance, this is the experience of the prana’s actions—it is prana activating the chakra from outside the sushumna. It is not kundalini, and may or may not be related to kundalini.

Think of pranotthana as the phenomena, like the heat, the kriyas, sensations, and so forth—it’s the thing that you experience. Think of kundalini as the functioning of the energy inside the sushumna unbeknownst to the practitioner. Kundalini functions in a sequential manner and is generally known after the fact based on its effects, and is rarely identified correctly. So how can I tell when it’s kundalini? I don’t always know. Sometimes I just have to wait until someone tells me something that makes it obvious.

OK, may be I understand now….does Pranotthana refer to the stuff that happens immediately after Shaktipat (which may cease to happen within 1-2 days) while Kundalini Awakening is the stuff that happens (may be after days/months) after the initial upsurge. So while, after receiving Shaktipat some people may immediately experience things like bliss, lights, yogic postures, etc – that only indicates Pranotthana. But if after these initial symptoms have subsided and then after few days they again experience things like spontaneous asanas or spontaneous meditation then that could mean that the Kundalini has awakened….

This varies from person to person. Either can happen before, during or after, but in sequence (pranotthana first), or even so nearly simultaneously as to be indistinguishable. The phenomena is prana-generated, evolution is kundalini-generated and subtle. Once the two are operating as one, it is useless to try to make a distinction.

An awakened kundalini and the ascension of prana-kundalini is noted when events associated with chakras are sequential. When events are not sequential, this is prana, whether it is “strong” (prahotthana) or not. With the awakening of kundalini, in time, the main bandhas will occur spontaneously.

Durga Ma
Phoenix Metaphysical Institute
Life Mastery Self Coaching

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