Higher Kundalini and the Perennial Way
Extracts on the theosophical approach to psychic and
spiritual development following the ancient and safe path
[from The Doctrine of the Bhagavad Gita by Bhavani Shankar*]
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The light of Ishwara which his Gurudeva had transmitted to him at the time of the first initiation has now by his profound devotion and renunciation been transmuted into electro-spiritual force which is called the higher Kundalini and rises upwards. It now rises from the heart into the head and there brings into full functioning all the spiritual centres in the brain which up to now it was vivifying, and it passes on to what Shri Shankaracharya calls the Dhi-guha, the cave of the intellect, the space between the brows, and there electrifies Buddhi into a dynamic power resulting in spiritual clairvoyance. It then merges in the great Goddess seated in the centre of the full-blown Sahasrara (thousand-petalled lotus). And through these higher spiritual centres the initiate subdues and controls the lower chakras. According to Hindu books of Yoga, there is in the brain the Sahasrara Chakram.
“It is an unopened bud in the ordinary mortal and just as the lotus opens its petals and expands in all its bloom and beauty when the sun rises above the horizon and sheds his rays on the flower, so does the Sahasraram of the neophyte open and expand when Ishwara begins to pour His life into its centre. When fully expanded, it becomes the glorious seat of the Devi (Daivi-prakriti), and sitting on this flower the great Goddess pours out the waters of life and grace for the gratification and regeneration of the human soul”.
H. P. Blavatsky refers to this spiritual process in the following passage in The Voice of the Silence and in her notes thereon.
“Let not thy ‘Heaven-Born,’ merged in the sea of Maya, break from the Universal Parent (Soul), but let the fiery power retire into the inmost chamber, the chamber of the Heart and the abode of the World’s Mother. Then from the heart that Power shall rise into the sixth, the middle region, the place between thine eyes, when it becomes the breath of the ONE SOUL, the voice which filleth all, thy Master’s Voice.” (p 10)
In her note on the words “power” and the “world mother” in the above passage she says, “these are names given to Kundalini one of the mystic ‘Yogi powers’. It is Buddhi considered as an active instead of a passive principle.” Thus the electro-spiritual force called Kundalini is the result of the spiritual development of man and has nothing to do with physical and mechanical processes.
But there is the lower Kundalini also, seated in the Muladhara Chakra, at the base of the spine, which Hata-yogis try to awaken by Pranayama (restraint of breath). It is a dangerous process and has nothing to do with spirituality. There is another set of teachers who, by external stimuli such as crystal gazing, and focussing the attention and gaze on the Chakra between the eye-brows, advocate the development of clairvoyance, psychic vision, which is quite distinct from spiritual clairvoyance. The tiny serpent seen in this Chakram by the psychic is not the real spiritual power called Kundalini. The psychic sees different objects in a finer world just as we see here the physical objects, but there is in him the sense of separateness as deep, if not deeper, as in the ordinary man and he accentuates this separateness by setting his false and petty self against the surroundings, and striving for domination over them.
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) Abhagna”(1) 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 (2)) 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.”
Real spiritual clairvoyance develops in the initiate as naturally as a bud at its proper time blooms into a flower. It is vision and feeling blended into one wherein the separateness of the seer, the seeing and the seen, is altogether absent. It is this spiritual clairvoyance that Shri Shankaracharya refers to in the following sloka in the Aparokshanubhooti.
“Vision is to be concentrated there where the triad—the seer, the seeing and the seen—vanishes, and not on the base of the nose (Agneya-chakra).”
As a result of his harmonising his astral centre with the Adhidaiva centre, the basis of all devatas, through the higher Kundalini, he sees the hierarchies of cosmic intelligences, the Devas, and realises that they and himself are essentially one being expressions of the one Divine life which, expressing Itself in all these and in himself, transcends all and remains itself. He has now all the great higher Siddhis which are not so much control acquired over something outside, but knowledge realised of the inwardness of cosmic processes—the expansion of his Buddhi into the cosmic Buddhi. With the possession of all these Siddhis the outstanding characteristic of the initiate now is his utter humility. His Abhimana, thirst for individual power and glory, has vanished. He is therefore called a Kutichaka, one who resides in a humble hut of leaves. He has now that power which enables him to appear as nothing in the eyes of men.
“Be humble, if thou wouldst attain to Wisdom. Be humbler still when Wisdom thou hast mastered.”(3)
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from The Doctrine of the Bhagavad Gita by Bhavani Shankar, p 17-19, Concord Grove Press, 1984
* In a letter of March 1882 Shankar was called by KH, one of the two principal Masters behind the founding of the Theosophical Movement in 1875, “stronger and fitter in many a way than Damodar…” (one of the chelas who had a complete success.)
(1) Likely reference to Abhangs – devotional songs in verses in specified meter.
(2) Brahmarandhra: A spot on the crown of the head connected by Sushumna, a cord in the spinal column, with the heart. A mystic term having its significance only in mysticism. from The Theosophical Glossary
(3) The Voice of the Silence, p 41; translated by H. P. Blavatsky from the Book of Golden Precepts, pre- and post-Buddhistic esoteric treatises in Senzar of unknown dates.
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