Kundalini Awakening (2)
Excerpts from The Second Coming of Christ by Paramahansa Yogananda
Kriya Yoga: Life Force Control
In sleep, the astral life forces are withdrawn not only from the muscles but also from the sensory instruments. Every night each man accomplishes a physical withdrawal of the life force, albeit in an unconscious way; the energy and consciousness in the body retire to the region of the heart, spine, and brain, giving man the rejuvenating peace of subconscious contact with the divine dynamo of all his powers, the soul. Why does man feel joy in sleep? Because when he is in the stage of deep, dreamless sleep, unconscious of the body, physical limitations are forgotten and the mind momentarily taps a higher consciousness.
The yogi knows the scientific art of withdrawing consciously from his sensory nerves, so that no outer disturbance of sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell can gain entry into the inner sanctum of his peace-saturated meditation. Soldiers posted for days on the front lines are able to fall asleep despite the constant roar of battle, because of the body's mechanism of unconsciously withdrawing the energy from the ears and other sensory organs. The yogi reasons that this can be done consciously. By knowledge and practice of the definite laws and scientific techniques of concentration, yogis switch off the senses at will—going beyond subconscious slumber into blissful superconscious interiorization.
Though the soul is given periods of freedom from body consciousness at regular intervals in its existence—for a few hours each night, and for a longer respite between physical incarnations during the sleep of death—the unenlightened man inevitably finds that his unfulfilled earthly yearnings stir him once again to the consciousness of the body. When he has sufficiently recovered from his sensory fatigue, the sleeping man's wants cause him to return to wakefulness, just as unfulfilled urges for earthly experiences impel man's reembodiment after a temporary rest in the astral realm between physical incarnations.
The state of subconsciousness, experienced in sleep, thus affords man only partial transcendence. So long as the life force and consciousness remain tied to the body by the activities of heart, lungs, and other vital organs, man cannot enter superconsciousness. The yogi, in the ecstasy of deep meditation, completely switches off the life force and consciousness from the physical body, refocusing on superconscious perception of the soul's invisible heavenly nature of Bliss. Repeated and prolonged sojourns into the sublimity of ecstasy satisfies the devotee's every desire and frees him from earth-binding compulsions with their cycles of reincarnation.
Benefits of Meditation
Whoever cynically thinks that seeking spiritual progress in meditation is a waste of time should reflect on the consummate benefits of being able to lift the consciousness into the elevated states of superconsciousness. In sleep all the dualities and miseries of physical existence are forgotten; indeed, the whole world vanishes into the invisible vastness of subconscious peace. If one learns to produce that mental freedom consciously and at will in samadhi, then when afflicted by suffering or confronted by death he is able to transfer his consciousness to the boundless inner kingdom of bliss, which is secreted behind the wakeful and subconscious minds even as the misery-quelling subconsciousness of sleep is hidden behind the conscious mind.
Every human being has learned to enter subconsciousness in sleep; and everyone can likewise master the art of superconscious ecstasy, with its infinitely more enjoyable and restorative experience than can be gleaned from sleep. That higher state bestows the constant awareness that matter is the frozen imaginings of God, as in sleep our dreams and nightmares are our own ephemeral thought-creations, condensed or "frozen" into visual experiences through the objectifying power of our imagination. A dreaming person does not know that a nightmare is unreal until he wakes up. So also, only by awakening in Spirit—oneness with God in samadhi—can man disperse the cosmic dream from the screen of his individualized consciousness.
Ascension in Spirit is not easy, because when one is conscious of the body he is in the grip of his second nature of insistent moods and habits. Without timidity, one must vanquish the desires of the body. A body-bound "son of man" cannot ascend to heavenly freedom just by talking about it; he has to know how to open the coiled knot of kundalini force at the base of the spine in order to transcend the confinement of the fleshly prison.
Every time one meditates deeply, he automatically helps to reverse the life force and consciousness from matter to God. If the current in the astral knot at the base of the spine is not lifted up by good living, good thoughts, meditation, then materialistic thoughts, worldly thoughts, base thoughts, are emphasized in one's life. With every good act man performs he is "ascending to heaven"—his mind becoming more focused at the Christ Center of heavenly perception; with every evil act he is descending into matter, his attention captivated by the phantoms of delusion.
The True Meaning of Kundalini Awakening
The true meaning of kundalini awakening is little understood. Ignorant teachers often associate kundalini with sex force and enshroud it in mystery to frighten neophytes about the danger of awakening this sacred serpentine power. To confuse the awakening of kundalini with the arousal of sex consciousness is an extremely ridiculous and wholly corrupt conception. On the contrary, in kundalini awakening the yogi's life force is withdrawn from the sensory nerves, particularly those associated with sex, giving him absolute mastery over sensory and sexual temptations.
To think that this kundalini force can be easily awakened or roused by accident is another fallacy. Awakening the kundalini force is exceedingly difficult and cannot be done accidentally. It takes years of concerted meditation under the guidance of a competent guru before one can dream of releasing the heavenly astral body from its bondage to physical confinement by awakening the kundalini. One who is able to awaken the kundalini fast approaches the state of Christhood. Ascension through that coiled pathway opens the spiritual eye of spherical vision, revealing the whole universe surrounding the body, supported by the vibratory light of heavenly powers.
The senses of sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell are like five searchlights revealing matter. As the life energy pours outward through those sensory beams, man is attracted by beautiful faces or captivating sounds or enticing scents, flavors, and tactual sensations. It is natural; but what is natural to the body-bound consciousness is unnatural to the soul. But when that divine life energy is withdrawn from the autocratic senses, through the spinal path into the spiritual center of infinite perception in the brain, then the searchlight of astral energy is cast onto the boundlessness of eternity to reveal the universal Spirit. The devotee is then attracted by the Supernal Supernatural, the Beauty of all beauties, the Music of all music, the Joy of all joys. He can touch Spirit all over the universe and can hear the voice of God reverberating throughout the spheres. The form dissolves in the Formless. The consciousness of the body, confined to a temporal, little form, illimitably expands into the formless, ever-existing Spirit.
Jesus explains that whosoever believes in the doctrine of lifting the bodily consciousness (son of man) from the physical to the astral by reversing the life force through the coiled passage at the base of the spine, will not perish, that is, be subject to mortal changes of life and death, but will gradually acquire the immutable state—Christ Consciousness, the Son of God. (Discourse 14; p. 258-269)