On Kundalini, higher and lower
Regarding the Kundalini rising, it can be natural during a specific and certain well-regulated process of spiritual development which some Eastern esoteric Schools teach; but more often than not it comes about from Hatha Yoga or other methods and as such is warned about as it will often cause harm and imbalance. This is the opposite of adeptship, which is complete control of one’s own nature, followed by an informed and compassionate control – or better to say guidance – of the dynamics of greater Nature, much loved but little understood in many parts of the New Age Movement.
Of the various schools of Yoga – there are several broad types, often more truly psychic than spiritual – many are not faithful to these age old principles, and this is especially true when money is involved. Material gain or advantage should not be part of that which is at all spiritual, this is well-known as a widely accepted teaching in all the genuine spiritual paths of whatever creed.
Now the simple exercising and stretching Yogas do not fall under this prohibition as they are purely physical and do not promise psychic or spiritual development. Those which teach breath restraint for purposes of pranic control, visualisation, or ‘guided’ meditations etc should be approached only with the greatest caution, and the teachers of these practices asked how they view the distinction between the psychic powers (clairvoyance, mind-reading etc etc, which are not necessarily good nor divine) and the spiritual which cultivates an incorruptibility of soul, a tolerance of personal hardships for another’s sake, and a benevolence towards all living creatures. Such are the pure ideals of the original Theosophical teachings of the 1875 Movement.
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As many perceptive students rightly suspect one has to learn to subdue and manage lower Kundalini until spiritual mastery has been achieved, or at least to some very substantial degree. When Mme Blavatsky and her co-workers reintroduced these practices into the West, then as now, these ideas find few takers among pleasure and thrill seekers. Part of her mission was to popularise them in these days of libertarian values so that at least some may develop a more refined taste for simplicity, discipline and humility, and thus find the bliss that comes from such… and that it is not so far off!
This is the stage written about so poetically in The Voice of the Silence (p 65) the great handbook of mystic development, when the seeker finds “a vale of refuge” from “the fierce rush of battling waves” from the world’s Ocean of Maya-illusion. Much more can be said about this, it is the crux of the Raja Yoga system and it includes the seven golden Paramitas of the Voice of the Silence (p 52-3). It is these perennial virtues which alone can preserve one’s health and well being – mental, psychological and physical – and safely guide one to the ‘other shore,’ the point at which the choice between the Two Paths is made: the open and the secret, Nirvana of the Pratyeka (selfish) Buddha or the service of the Nirmanakaya, a Master of the right-hand path.
A book that describes the right approach to Kundalini clearly, with great positivity and insight is “The Doctrine of the Bhagavad Gita” by Bhavani Shankar (this is a link to the entire book in html). Shankar was a student of HPB and her Masters and is a most reliable source. See especially Chapter 3 “THE DOCTRINE OF AVATARAS” on the Masters’ views on Kundalini:
This is a process, the reverse of spiritual, a projection of the lower and false into the higher and the real. Saints and sages have time and oft taught, distinguishing real spirituality from these artificial methods, which are prompted by the thirst for power and Siddhis.
Thus the great sage Jnaneshwara in his “Dwadashakshari (the well-known twelve syllabled mantra) Abhanga” says:
“Awakening the serpent by the control of the nine gates and passing it through Sushumna, which is one of the three Nadis, such is not, say the Munis, the path. The fount of liberation is in ceaseless contemplation of Nara-Hari.” Similarly does Machhendra teach his disciple Gorakh while telling him the real qualifications of a Chela:
“Arousing the Kundalini and forcing it up to the Brahmarandhra (the crown of the head) and thus acquiring the power of walking on water and of prophecy, do not constitute a spiritual man; such is not fit to be a Chela.” (p 19-20)
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Now all this is on the corrective side of undoing errors, small or large, that we have given ourselves to learn from… or ignore at the expense of our further delay and trouble.
Later on when there is some clarity about the Way and one feels ready and more secure, progress can again be taken up. This is one of the purposes of the original Theosophical teachings, which is to give out and demystify a time-proven and validated study of these powers in man and nature. It answers questions on what is the right purpose for their use, how we can live better lives, create happier families and rebuild the nucleus of new communities – however small at first – that have real spiritual, psychic and physical well-being at their heart.
The principles of this work, of our creating a responsible citizenry fit for the 21st century, are in all the original Theosophical literature.
The Key to Theosophy by H.P. Blavatsky is a good preparation for the study of The Secret Doctrine and perhaps the best for a complete view of the ethics, methods and theory of spiritual practice on the Path. The PDF is here
There are US and Indian editions available, which with all the other books listed, can be sent in a day or two.
Other helpful reading
Isis Unveiled by H.P. Blavatsky is more accessible than the Secret Doctrine, a forerunner to it and a wonderful book: the PDF is at https://www.theosophy-ult.org.uk/book-review/isis-unveiled There is a US hardback edition at a reasonable price.
For a short overview of the essentials of the philosophy The Ocean of Theosophy is very accessible and recommended for those who are less familiar with the philosophy and would like a brief – but still deep and thorough – introduction to it. The Indian edition is an excellent gift for those with general questions on Theosophy; both editions have a good index.
https://www.theosophy-ult.org.uk/book-review/the-ocean-of-theosophy There is a US hardback and also an Indian paperback which is very good value.