Serpent Power (Kundalini-shakti), Introduction

by Arthur Avalon | 1919 | 101,807 words | ISBN-10: 8178223783 | ISBN-13: 9788178223780

This book outlines the principles of Kundali or Kundalini Shakti (“Serpent power”) and the associated practice known as Kundalini Yoga. The seven chapters contained in this book details on concepts such as Cakra (spiritual centers), the nature of consciousness and Mantras. When explaining technical terms there will be found many references to authe...

Chapter 6 - Practice (Yoga: Laya-Krama)

Yoga is sometimes understood as meaning the result and not the process which leads to it. According to this meaning of the term, and from the standpoint of natural dualism, Yoga has been described to be the union of the individual spirit with God.

But if Jīva and Paramātmā are really one, there can be no such thing in an Advaitic system as union, which term is strictly applicable to the case of the coming together of two distinct beings. Samādhi (ecstasy) consists in the realization that the Jīvātmā is Paramātmā; and Yoga means, not this realization, but the means by which it is attained. Yoga is thus a term for those physical and psychical processes which are used to discover man’s inner essence, which is the Supreme.

It is thus not a result, but the process, method, or practice, by which this result is attained. This result is possible, according to Advaita-Vedānta, because pure Cit, as the essential being of every Jīva, is not in itself fettered, but appears to be so. Were Ātmā as such not truly free, Liberation (Mokṣa) would not be possible. Liberation or Mokṣa therefore is potentially in the possession of every Jīva. His identity with Paramātmā exists now as then, but is not realized owing to the veil of Māyā, through which Jīvātmā and Paramātmā appear as separate. As ignorance of the identity of the Jīvātmā and Paramātmā is due to Avidyā, the realization of such identity is attained by Vidyā or Jñāna.

The latter alone can immediately produce Liberation (Sadyomukti). Jñāna is used in a twofold sense—namely, Svarūpa-Jñāna and Kriyā-Jñāna. The first is Pure Consciousness, which is the end and aim of Yoga; the second is those intellective processes which are the means taken to acquire the first. Jñāna considered as means or mental action (Mānasī-Kriyā) is an intellective process that is the discrimination between what is and what is not Brahman; the right understanding of what is meant by Brahman, and the fixing of the mind on what is thus understood until the Brahman wholly and permanently occupies the mind to the displacement of all else Mind is then absorbed into Brahman as pure Consciousness, which alone remains; this is realization or the attainment of the state of pure consciousness, which is Jñāna in its Svarūpa sense. Liberating Yoga short of perfect Jñāna effects what is called Kramamṅkti—that is, the Yogī attains Sāyujya or union with Brahman in Satya-Ioka, which is thence perfected into complete Mukti through the Devatā with whom he is thus united. What the Siddha (complete) Jñānayogī or Jīvanmukta himself accomplishes in this life is thereafter attained as the sequel to Brahma-sāyujya. But man has not only intellect. He has feeling and devotion. He has not only these, but has a body. Other processes (Yogas) are therefore associated with and in aid of it, such as those belonging to worship (Upāsanā) and the gross (Sthūla-Kriyā) and subtle processes (Sūkṣma- Kriyā) of Haṭhayoga.

Mind and body are the instruments whereby the ordinary separatist worldly experience is had. As long, however, as they are so used they are impediments in the way of attainment of the state of pure Consciousness (Cit). For such attainment all screenings (Āvaraṇa) of Git must be cleared away. Yoga therefore is the method whereby mental intellection and feeling (Citta-vṛtti) and Prāṇa are first controlled and then stayed.[1] When the Citta, Vṛtti, and Prāṇa are stilled, then Cit or Paramātmā stands revealed. It supervenes without further effort on the absorption of matter and mind into the primordial Power (Śakti) whence they sprang, of whom they are manifested forms, and who is Herself as Śiva one with Him who is Śiva or Consciousness. Yoga thus works towards a positive state of pure consciousness by the negation of the operation of the principle of unconsciousness which stands in the way of its uprising. This pruning action is well illustrated by the names of a Śakti which in this work is variously described as Nibodhikā and Nirodhikā. The first means the Giver of Knowledge, and the second That which obstructs—that is, obstructs the affectation of the mind by the objective world through the senses. It is by the prohibition of such impressions that the state of pure consciousness arises. The arising of such state is called Samādhi—that is, the ecstatic condition in which the “equality” that is identity of Jīvātmā and Paramātma is realized. The experience is achieved after the absorption (Laya) of Prāṇa and Manas and the cessation of all ideation (Saṃkalpa). An unmodified state (Samarasatvam [Samarasatva]) is thus produced which is the natural state (Sahajāvasthā) of the Ātmā. Until then there is that fluctuation and modification (Vṛtti) which is the mark of the conditioned consciousness, with its self-diremption of “I” and “Thou”. The state of Samādhi is “like that of a grain of salt, which mingled in water becomes one with it”.[2] It is, in the words of the Kulārṇava-Tantra, “that form of contemplation (Dhyāna) in which there is neither ‘here’ nor ‘not here,’ in which there is illumination and stillness as of some great ocean, and which is the Void Itself.”[3]

The all-knowing and venerable Teacher has said, “One who has attained complete knowledge of the Ātmā reposes like the still waters of the deep” (v. 31). The Māyā-Tantra defines Yoga as the unity of Jīva and Paramātmā (v. 51); that by which oneness is attained with the Supreme (Paramātmā), and Samādhi, or ecstasy, in this unity of Jīva and Ātmā (ib.).[4] Others define it as the knowledge of the identity of Śiva and Ātmā. The Agamavādīs proclaim that the knowledge of Śakti (śaktyātmakaṃ jñānaṃ) is Yoga. Other wise men say that the knowledge of the “Eternal Puruṣa” (Purāṇa-Puruṣa) is Yoga, and others, again, the Prakṛti-vādīs, declare that the knowledge of the union of Śiva and Śakti is Yoga (ib.). All such definitions refer to one and the same thing—the realization by the human spirit that it is in essence the Great Spirit, the Brahman, who as the Ruler of the worlds is known as God. As the Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā says:[5]Rājayoga, Samādhi, Unmanī,[6] Manonmanī,4 Amaratvaṃ [Amaratva] (Immortality), Śūnyāśunya (void yet non-void),[7] Paramapada[8] (the Supreme State), Amanaska (without Manas—suspended operation of mental functioning),[9] Advaita (non-dual), Nirālaṃba (without support—i.e., detachment of the Manas from the external world),[10] Nirañjana (stainless),[11] Jīvanmukti (liberation in the body), Sahajāvasthā (natural state of the Atmā), and Turīya (Fourth State), all mean one and the same thing—that is, the cessation of both mental functioning (Citta) and action (Karma), on which there arises freedom from alternating joy and sorrow and a changeless (Nirvikāra) state. This on the dissolution of the body is followed by bodiless (Videha-kaivalya) or supreme Liberation (Paramamukti), which is the permanent state (Svarūpāvasthānaṃ). Whilst the aim and the end of Yoga is the same, the methods by which it is attained vary.

There are, it is commonly said, four forms of Yoga, called Mantra-yoga, Haṭha-yoga, Laya-yoga, and Rāja-yoga.[12] These are all various, modes of practice (Sādhana) whereby the feelings and intellectual activities of the mind (Citta- vṛtti) are brought into control and the Brahman is in various ways realized (Brahmasākṣātkāra). Each of these forms has the same eight subservients, which are called the “eight limbs” (Aṣṭāṅga). Each of these has the same aim—namely, the experience which is realization of Brahman; they differ, however, as to the means employed and, it is said, in degree of result. The Samādhi of the first has been described as Mahābhāva, of the second as Mahābodha, of the third as Mahālaya, and by Rāja-Yoga and Jñāna-Yoga, it is said, the liberation called Kaivalyamukti is obtained.

It is to be noted, however, that in the estimation of the practitioners of Kuṇḍalī Yoga it is the highest Yoga in which a perfect Samādhi is gained by the union with Śiva of both mind and body, as hereafter described. In Rāja- and Jñāna- Yoga intellective processes are the predominant where they are not the sole means employed. In Mantra-Yoga, worship and devotion predominate. In Haṭha-Yoga there is more stress on physical methods, such as breathing. Each, however, of these Yogas employs some methods of the others. Thus, in Haṭhalaya-Yoga there is Kriyā-jñāna. But whereas the Jñāna-Yogī attains Svarūpa-Jñāna by his mental efforts without rousing Kuṇḍalinī, the Haṭhayogī gets this Jñāna through Kuṇḍaliṇī Herself. For Her union with Śiva in the Sahasrāra brings, and in fact is, Svarūpa-Jñāna.

It will be convenient, therefore, to deal with the general subservients (Aṣṭāṅga) which are common to all forms of Yoga, and then follow with an account of Mantra and the lower Haṭha-yogas as a preliminary to that form of Laya- yoga which is the subject of this work, and includes within itself elements to be found both in Mantra and such Haṭha- yogas.

The pre-requisites of all Yoga are the eight limbs or parts, Yama, Niyama, and others. Morality, religious disposition and practice, and discipline (Sādhana), are essential pre-requisites of all Yoga which has as its aim the attainment of the Supreme Experience.[13] Morality (Dharma) is the expression of the true nature of being. The word Dharma, which includes both ethics and religion, but has also a wider context, comes from the root dhri, to sustain, and is therefore both the sustainer and the act of sustaining. The Universe is sustained (Dhāryate) by Dharma, and the Lord who is its Supreme Sustainer is embodied in the eternal law and is the Bliss which its fulfilment secures. Dharma is thus the law governing the universal evolution, or the path of outgoing (Pravṛtti), and involution, or the path of return (Nivṛtti).[14] And only those can attain the liberation to which the latter path leads who by adherence to Dharma co-operate in the carrying out of the universal scheme. For this reason it is finely said, “Doing good to others is the Supreme Duty” (Paropakāro hi paramo dharmaḥ).

In this scheme the Jīva passes from Śabda-vidyā, with its Tapas involving egoism and fruit attained through the “Path of the God,” its Karma (rites), which are either Sakāma (with desire for fruit) or Niṣkāma (disinterested), to Brahma-vidyā (knowledge of the Brahman) or Theosophy as taught by the Upaniṣads. This transition is made through Niṣkāma-Karma. By Sakāma-Karma is attained the “Path of the Fathers” (Pitṛ), Dharma, Artha (wealth), Kāma (desire and its fulfilment). But Niṣkāma-Karma produces that purity of mind (citta-śuddhi) which makes man competent for Brahma-vidyā, or Theosophy, which leads to, and in its completest sense is, Liberation (Mokṣa).

It is obvious that before the pure blissful state of the Ātmā can be attained the Jīva must first live that ordered life which is its proper expression on this plane. 

To use theological language, only those who follow Dharma can go to its Lord. The disorder of an immoral life is not a foundation on which such a Yoga can be based. I do not use the term “immorality” in the absurdly limited meaning which ordinary English parlance gives it, but as the infringement of all forms of moral law. All such infringements are founded on selfishness. As the object of Yoga is the surpassing of the limited self even in its more ordered manifestation, its doctrines, clearly presuppose the absence of a state governed by the selfishness which is the grossest obstacle to its attainment. The aim of Yoga is the achievement of complete detachment from the finite world and realization of its essence. In a life governed by Dharma, there is that natural attachment to worldly objects and sense of separateness even in acts of merit which must exist until by the absorption of Manas the Unmanī or mindless state is attained. Where, however, there is unrighteousness (Adharma), attachment (Rāga) exists in its worst and most injurious form, and the sense of separateness (Dvaitabhāva) which Yoga seeks to overcome is predominantly present in sin. The body is poisoned by the secretion of passions, poisons, and vitality or Prāṇa is lessened and injured. The mind under the influence of anger,[15] lust, malice, and other passions, is first distracted, and then, on the principle what a man thinks that he “becomes,” is centred on, and is permanently moulded into and becomes, the expression of Adharma (unrighteousness) itself. In such a case the Jīva is not merely bound to the world by the Māyā which affects both him and the virtuous Sakāma- Sādhaka, but suffers Hell (Naraka), and “goes down” in the scale of Being.

Dharma in its devotional aspect is also necessary. Desire to achieve the highest aim of Yoga can only spring from a religious disposition, and such a disposition and practice (Sādhana) furthers the acquisition of those qualities which Yoga requires. Indeed, by persevering devotion to the Mother, Samādhi may be achieved.

Therefore is it that the Commentator in v. 50 of the first of these works says:

“He alone whose nature has been purified by the practice of Yama and Niyama and the like (referring to the Sādhana hereinafter described) will learn from the mouth of the Guru the means whereby the way to the great Liberation is discovered.”

He adds, however, that the practice of Yama and the like is only necessary for those whose minds are disturbed by anger, lust, and other evil propensities. If, however, a man through merit acquired in previous births is by good fortune of a nature which is free of these and other vices, then he is competent for Yoga without this preliminary preparation.

All forms of Yoga, whether Mantra, Haṭha, or Rāja, have the same eight limbs (Aṣṭāṅga) or preparatory subservients: Yama, Niyama, Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna, and Samādhi.[16] Yama is of ten kinds: avoidance of injury to all living creatures (Ahiṃsā); truthfulness (Satyaṃ [Satya]); restraint from taking what belongs to another, or covetousness (Āsteyaṃ [Āsteya]); sexual continence in mind, speech, or body (Brahmacarya);[17] forbearance, the bearing patiently of all things pleasant or unpleasant (Kṣamā); fortitude in happiness or unhappiness (Dhṛtī); mercy, kindliness (Dayā); simplicity (Ārjavaṃ [Ārjava]); moderation[18] in and regulation[19] of diet (Mitāhāra), suited to the development of the Sattvaguṇa; and purity of body and mind (Śaucaṃ [Śauca]). The first form of purity is the external cleansing of the body, particularly dealt with by Haṭha-yoga (v. post); and the second is gained through the science of the Self (Adhyātma-vidyā).[20]

Niyama is also of ten kinds: Austerities, such as fasts and the like, in the nature of purificatory actions (Tapaḥ [Tapas]); contentment with that which one has unasked (Saṃtoṣa); belief in Veda (Āstikyam [Āstikya]); charity (Dānaṃ [Dāna])—that is gifts to the deserving of what one has lawfully acquired; worship of the Lord or Mother (Īśvara-pūja [pūjaṇaṃ]) according to His or Her various forms; hearing of Śāstric conclusion, as by study of the Vedānta (siddhānta-vākya-śravaṇa [śravaṇaṃ]); modesty and shame felt in the doing of wrong actions (Hrī); a mind rightly directed towards knowledge revealed and practice enjoined by the Śāstra (Mati); recitation of Mantra (Japa);[21] and Homa sacrifice (Hutaṃ [Huta])[22]—that is, religious observances in general (Vrata). The Pātañjala-Sūtra mentions only five Yamas—the first four and freedom from covetousness (Aparigraha). Ahiṃsā is the root of those which follows. Śaucaṃ [Śauca], or cleanliness, is included among the Niyama. Five of the latter are stated—namely, cleanliness (Śauca), contentment (Saṃtoṣa), purificatory action (Tapaḥ [Tapas]), study of the Scriptures leading to liberation (Svādhyāya), and devotion to the Lord (Īśvara-praṇidhāna).[23]

The statement of such obvious truths would hardly be necessary were it not that there are still some who see in all Yoga mere “Shamanism,” feats of breathing, “acrobatic posturing,” and so forth. On the contrary, no country since the Middle Ages and until our own has laid greater stress on the necessity of the association of morality and religion with all forms of human activity, than India has done.[24]

The practice of Yama and Niyama leads to renunciation of, and detachment from, the things of this world and of the next,[25] arising from the knowledge of the permanent and impermanent, and intense desire for and incessant striving after emancipation, which characterizes him who is Mumukṣu, or longs for Liberation.

Yama and Niyama are the first two of the eight accessories of Yoga (Aṣṭāṅga-yoga). These accessories or limbs may be divided into five exterior methods[26] (Bahiraṅga), chiefly concerned with the subjugation of the body, and three inner methods[27] (Antaraṅga), or states affecting the development of the mind.

Attention is paid to the physical body, which is the vehicle of the Jīva’s existence and activity. Purity of mind is not possible without purity of the body in which it functions and by which it is affected. Purity of mind is here used in the Hindu sense. According to English parlance, such purity merely connotes absence of irregular sexual imaginations. This, though creditable, particularly in a civilization which almost seems designed to fan every desire, is yet obviously insufficient for the purpose in hand. Proper thought and conduct in all its forms is but the alphabet of a school in which they are merely the first steps to the conquest of greater difficulties to follow. What is here meant is that state of the mind or approach thereto which is the result of good functioning, clear thinking, detachment, and concentration. By these the Manas is freed of all those mental modifications (Vṛtti) which enshroud the Ātmā from Itself It is turned inward on the Buddhi which becomes dissolved (Laya) in Prakṛti, and the Ātma-tattva or Brahman.

Provision therefore is made in respect both of Āsana (posture) and Prāṇāyāma or breath development, both of which are shortly dealt with later in connection with Haṭha- yoga, of which they are particular processes. Pratyāhāra is the restraint of and subjection of the senses to the mind, which is thereby steadied.[28] The mind is withdrawn from the objects of the senses. The mind is by nature unsteady, for it is at every moment being affected by the sight, sounds, and so forth, of external objects which Manas through the agency of the senses (Indriyas) perceives. It must therefore be detached from the objects of the senses, withdrawn from whatsoever direction it may happen to tend, freed from all distraction, and kept under the control of the dominant self. Steadiness (Dhairya) therefore is the aim and result of Pratyāhāra.[29] The three processes known as the “inner limbs” (Antaraṅga)—namely, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna, and Savikalpa-Samādhi—complete the psychic and mental discipline. These are concentration of the mind on an object; unity of the mind with its object by contemplation; resulting in the last or consciousness of the object only. The first is the “holding by”—that is, fixing the Citta, or thinking principle, on—a particular object of thought or concentration (Dhāraṇā). The mind, having been drawn away from the objects of the senses by Pratyāhāra, is fixed on one object, such as the Devatās of the Bhūtas, alone. Uniform contemplation on the subject which the Citta holds in Dhāraṇā is Dhyāna (meditation). Dhyāna has been defined to be the state of the Antaḥkaraṇa (mind) of those whose Caitanya holds to and is occupied by the thought of one object, having first cast away thought of all other objects.[30] Through Dhyāṇa is acquired the quality of mental realization (Pratyakṣa).[31] It is of two kinds: Saguṇa, or meditation of a form (Mūrti); and Nirguṇa, in which the self is its own object.

Samādhi or ecstasy has been defined to be the identification of Manas and Ātmā as salt in water,[32] that state in which all is known as one (equal)[33] and the “nectar of equality” (oneness).[34] Complete Samādhi is thus the state of Parā-saṃvit or Pure Consciousness. Of Samādhi there are two degrees, in the first of which (Savikalpa) the mind in a lesser degree, and in the second (Nirvikalpa) in a complete degree, continuously and to the exclusion of all other objects, assumes the nature and becomes one with the subject of its contemplation.

There are in Advaita-Vedānta three states (Bhūmikā) of Sarhprajñāta (Savikalpa) Samādhi—namely, Ṛtaṃbharā, Prajñālokā, Praśānta-vāhitā.[35] In the first the content of the mental Vṛtti is Saccidānanda. There is still a separate knower. The second is that in which every kind of Āvaraṇa (screening) is cast away, and there is Sākṣātkāra Brahmajñāna passing into the third state of Peace in which the mind is void of all Vṛtti and the self exists as the Brahman alone;[36] “On which being known everything is known” (yasmin vijñāte sarvaṃ idaṃ vijñātaṃ bhavati.) Entrance is here made into Nirvikalpa-Samādhi by Rāja-yoga.

These three—Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna, Savikalpa-Samādhi—called Saṃyama, are merely stages in the mental effort of concentration, though, as later stated, according to the Haṭha- yoga aspect, they are progressions in Prāṇāyama, each stage being a longer period of retention of Prāṇa.[37] Thus by Yama, Niyama, Asana, the body is controlled; by these and Prāṇā- yāma the Prāṇa is controlled; by these and Pratyāhāra the senses (Indriyas) are brought under subjection. Then through the operation of Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna and the lesser Samādhi (Savikalpa or Saṃprajñāta), the modifications (Vṛtti) of the Manas cease and Buddhi alone functions. By the further and long practice of dispassion or indifference to both joy and sorrow (Vairāgya) Buddhi itself becomes Laya, and the Yogī attains the true unmodified state of the Ātmā, in which the Jīva who is then pure Buddhi is merged in Prakṛti and the Brahman, as salt in the waters of ocean and as camphor in the flame.

Passing then to the processes[38] peculiar to the different Yogas, Mantra-yoga comprises all those forms of Sādhana in which the mind is controlled by means of its own object—that is, the manifold objects of the world of name and form (Nāma-rūpa). The whole universe is made up of names and forms (Nāma-rūpātmaka) which are the objects (Viṣaya) of the mind. The mind is itself modified into the form of that which it perceives. These modifications are called its Vṛtti, and the mind is not for one moment devoid of ideas and feelings. It is the feeling or intention (that is, Bhāva) with which an act is done which determines its moral worth. It is on this Bhāva that both character and the whole outlook on life depend. It is sought therefore to render the Bhāva pure. As a man who falls on the ground raises himself by means of the same ground, so to break worldly bonds the first and easiest method is to use those bonds as the means of their own undoing.[39] The mind is distracted by Nāma-rūpa, but this Nāma-rūpa may be utilized as the first means of escape therefrom. In Mantra-yoga, therefore, particular form of Nāma-rūpa, productive of pure Bhāva, is given as the object of contemplation. This is called Sthūla or Saguṇa-Dhyāna of the five Devatās, devised to meet the requirements of different natures. Besides the ordinary “eight limbs” (Aṣṭāṅga) [40] common to all forms of Yoga, certain modes of training and worship are prescribed. In the latter material media are utilized as the first steps whereby the formless One is by Jñāna-yoga attained—such as images (Mūrti),[41] emblems (Liṅga, Sālagrāma), pictures (Citra), mural markings (Bhitti-rekhā), Maṇḍalas and Yantras (diagrams),[42] Mudrās,[43] Nyāsa.[44] With this the prescribed Mantra is said (Japa) either aloud or softly only. The source of all Bīja-Mantras (Seed-Mantra), the Praṇava (Orii), or Brahman, is the articulate equivalent of that primal “Sound” which issued from the first vibration of the Guṇas of Mūlaprakṛti, and the other Bīja-Mantras are the same equivalents of the various Saguṇa forms, Devas and Devīs, which thereafter appeared when Prakṛti entered the Vaiśaṃyāvastā state. In Mantra-yoga the state of Samādhi is called Mahā- bhāva. This is the simplest form of Yoga practice, suited for those whose powers and capacities are not such as to qualify them for either of the other methods.

Haṭha-yoga comprises those Sādhanas, or prescribed methods of exercise and practice, which are concerned primarily with the gross or physical body (Sthūla-śarīra). As the latter is connected with the superphysical or subtle body (Sūkṣma-śarīra), of which it is the outer sheath, control of the gross body affects the subtle body with its intellection, feelings, and passions. In fact, the Sthūla- śarīra is expressly designed to enable the Sūkṣma-śarīra to work out the Karma it has incurred. As the former is constructed according to the nature of the latter, and both are united and interdependent, it follows that operation in and upon the gross body affects the subtle body; the physical processes of this Yoga have been prescribed for particular temperaments, in order that, that physical body being first mastered, the subtle body with its mental functioning may be brought under control.[45] These merely physical processes are auxiliary to others.

As the Kulārṇava-Tantra says:[46]

“Neither the lotus seat nor fixing the gaze on the tip of the nose are Yoga. It is the identity of Jīvātmā and Paramātmā, which is Yoga.”

The special features of this Yoga may be first contrasted with Mantra-yoga. In the latter there is concern with things outside the physical body, and special attention is given to outward observances of ceremonials. Due regard must be paid to the laws of the caste and stages of life (Varṇāśrama-Dharma), and the respective duties of men and women (Kula-Dharma). So the Mantra which is given to the male initiate may not be given to a woman. Nor is the Mantra given to a Brāhmaṇa suitable for a Śūdra. The objects of contemplation are Devas and Devīs in their various manifestations and concrete symbols, and the Samādhi called Mahā-bhāva is attained by contemplation of and by means of Nāma-rūpa. In Haṭha-yoga, on the other hand, the question of the fitness or otherwise of a novice is determined from the physical point of view, and rules are prescribed to procure and increase health and to free the body of disease. In Haṭha-yoga, contemplation is on the “Light,” and the Samādhi called Mahā-bodha is attained by the aid of control of breath and other vital Vāyus (Prāṇā- yāma), whereby the mind is also controlled. As already observed, Asana and Prāṇāyāma, which are parts of Haṭha- yoga, are also parts of Mantra-yoga. Those who practise the latter will derive benefit from taking advantage of some of the other exercises of Haṭha-yoga, just as the followers of the latter system will be helped by the exercises of Mantra-yoga.

The word Haṭha is composed of the syllables Ha and Tha, which mean the “Sun” and “Moon”—that is, the Prāṇa and Apāna Vāyus. In v. 8 of the ṣat-cakra-nirū- paṇa it is said that the Prāṇa (which dwells in the heart) draws Apāna (which dwells in the Mūlādhāra), and Apāna draws Prāṇa, just as a falcon attached by a string is drawn back again when he attempts to fly away. These two by their disagreement prevent each other from leaving the body, but when they are in accord they leave it. Both their union or Yoga in the Suṣumnā and the process leading thereto is called Prāṇāyāma. Haṭha-yoga or Haṭha-vidya is therefore the science of the Life-Principle,[47] using that word in the sense, of the various forms of vital Vāyu into which Prāṇa is divided. Prāṇa in the body of the individual is a part of the Universal Breath (Prāṇa), or the “Great Breath”. An attempt, therefore, is first made to harmonize the individual breath, known as Piṇḍa or Vyaṣṭi-Prāṇa, with the cosmic or collective breath, or the Brahmāṇḍa or Samaṣṭi- Prāṇa. Strength and health are thereby attained. The regulation of the harmonized breath helps the regulation and steadiness of mind, and therefore concentration.

In correspondence with the threefold division Ādhyātma, Ādhibhūta, Ādhidaiva, Mind (Manas), Prāṇa (vitality), and Vīrya (semen), are one. Therefore the subjection of Manas causes the subjection of Prāṇa or Vāyu and Vīrya. Similarly, by controlling Prāṇa, Manas and Vīrya are automatically controlled. Again, if the Vīrya is controlled, and the substance which under the influence of sexual desire develops into gross seed,[48] is made to flow upwards (Ūrdhvaretas), control is had over both Manas and Prāṇa. With Prāṇāyāma the semen (Śukra) dries up. The seminal force ascends and comes back as the nectar (Amṛta) of Śiva-Śakti.

Prāṇāyāma is recognized as one of the “limbs” of all the (Aṣṭāṅga) forms of Yoga. But whereas it is used in Mantra-, Laya- and Rāja-Yoga, as an auxiliary, the Haṭha- yogī as such regards this regulation and Yoga of breath as the chief means productive of that result (Mokṣa), which is the common end of all schools of Yoga. This school, proceeding on the basis that the Vṛtti or modification of the mind always follows Prāṇa,[49] and on the sufficiency of that fact, held that by the aid of the union of Ha and Tha in the Suṣumnā, and the leading of the combined Prāṇas therein to the Brahma-randhra, Samādhi was attained. Though the reciprocal action of matter and mind is common knowledge, and bodily states influence psychic or mental states as the latter the former, the Haṭha-yoga method is preponderantly a physical one, though the gross physical acts of the preparatory stages of this Yoga are succeeded by Kriyā-jñāna and subtle vital processes which have Prāṇa as their subject.

Under the heading of gross physical training come provisions as to the place of residence, mode of life as regards eating, drinking, sexual function, exercise, and so forth.

The practice and exercises connected with Haṭha-yoga are divided into seven parts or stages—namely, cleansing (Śodhana) by the six processes (Ṣaṭ-karma); the attainment of strength or firmness (Dṛḍhatā) by bodily postures (Āsana); of fortitude (Sthiratā) by bodily positions (Mudrā); of steadiness of mind (Dhairya) by restraint of the senses (Pratyāhāra); of lightness (Lāghavā) by Prāṇāyāma; of realization (Pratyakṣa) by meditation (Dhyāna); and of detachment (Nirliptatva) in Samādhi.

Those who suffer from inequality of the three “humours”[50] are required to practise the “six acts” (Ṣaṭ- karma) which purify the body and facilitate Prāṇāyāma. For others who are free from these defects they are not necessary in such case, and according to some teachers the practice of Prāṇāyāma alone is sufficient. These form the first steps in the Haṭha-yoga. On this cleansing (Śodhana) of the body and Nāḍīs, health is gained, the internal fire is rendered more active, and restraint of breath (Kuṃbhaka) is facilitated. Recourse is also had, if necessary, to Oṣadhi- yoga, in which herbal preparations are administered to cure defective health.

Cleansing (Śodhana) is effected by the six processes known as the Ṣaṭ-karma. Of these, the first is Dhauti, or washing, which is fourfold, or inward washing (Antar- dhauti), cleansing of the teeth, etc. (Danta-dhauti), of the “heart,” that is throat and chest (Hṛd-dhauti) and of the anus (Mūla-dhauti). Antar-dhauti is also fourfold—namely, Vāta-sāra, by which air is drawn into the belly and then expelled; Vāri-sāra, by which the body is filled with water, which is then evacuated by the anus[51]; Vahni-sāra, in which the Nābhi-granthi is made to touch the spinal column (Meru); and Bahiṣkṛta, in which the belly is by Kākini-mudrā[52] filled with air, which is retained half a Yāma,[53] and then sent downward. Danta-dhauti is fourfold, consisting in the cleansing of the root of the teeth and tongue, the ears, and the “hollow of the skull” (Kapāla-randhra). By Hṛd-dhauti phlegm and bile are removed. This is done by a stick (Danta-dhauti) or cloth (Vāso-dhauti) pushed into the throat, or swallowed, or by vomiting (Vamana-dhauti). Mūla-dhauti is done to cleanse the exit of the Apānavāyu, either with the middle finger and water or the stalk of a turmeric plant.

Vasti, the second of the Ṣaṭ-karma, is twofold, and is either of the dry (Śuṣka) or watery (Jala) kind. In the second form the Yogī sits in the Utkatāsana[54] posture in water up to the navel, and the anus is contracted and expanded by Aśvinī-Mudrā; or the same is done in the Paścimottānāsana,[55] and the abdomen below the navel is gently moved. In Neti the nostrils are cleansed with a piece of string. Lāulikī is the whirling of the belly from side to side (see Plate X). In Trātaka the Yogī, without wiṅking, gazes at some minute object until the tears start from his eyes. By this the “celestial vision” (Divya-Dṛṣṭi) so often referred to in the Tāntrik-Upāsanā is acquired. Kapālabhāti is a process for the removal of phlegm, and is threefold: Vāta-krama, by inhalation and exhalation; Vyūtkrama, by water drawn through the nostrils and ejected through the mouth; and Śitkrama, the reverse process.

These are the various processes by which the body is cleansed and made pure for the Yoga practice to follow.

Āsana, or posture, is the next, and when the Ṣaṭ-karma are dispensed with, is the stage of Haṭha-yoga.

Dṛḍhatā, or strength or firmness, the acquisition of which is the second of the above-mentioned processes, is attained by Asana.

The Asanas are postures of the body. The term is generally described as modes of seating the body, but the posture is not necessarily a sitting one; for some Āsanas are done on the belly, back, hands, etc. It is said[56] that the Asanas are as numerous as living beings, and that there are 8,400,000 of these; 1,600 are declared to be excellent, and out of these thirty-two are auspicious for men, which are described in detail. Two of the commonest of these are Mukta-padmāsana[57] (the loosened lotus seat), the ordinary position for worship, and Baddha-padmāsana.[58] Kuṇḍalī-yoga is ordinarily done in an Asana and Mudrā in which the feet press upon the region of the genital centre and close the anal aperture, the hands closing the others—nostrils, eyes, ears, mouth (Yoni-mudrā). The right heel is pressed against the anus and the left against the region of the genital centre and in order to close the aperture of the penis, it is contracted and withdrawn into the pubic arch so that it is no longer seen.[59] The tongue is turned back in Khecarī Mudrā so as to close the throat also where these two Mudrās are combined.

There are certain other Āsanas which are peculiar to the Tantras, such as Muṇḍāsana, Citāsana and Śavāsana, in which skulls, the funeral pyre, and a corpse,[60] respectively, form the seat of the Sādhaka. These, though they have other ritual and magical objects, also form part of the discipline for the conquest of fear and the attainment of indifference, which is the quality of a Yogī. And so the Tantras prescribe as the scene of such rites the solitary mountain-top, the lonely empty house and riverside, and the cremation ground. The interior cremation ground is there where the Kāmik or desire body and its passions are consumed in the fire of knowledge.[61]

Patañjali, on the subject of Āsana, merely points out what are good conditions, leaving each one to settle the details for himself according to his own requirements.

Āsana is an aid to clear and correct thought. The test of suitability of Asana is that which is steady and pleasant, a matter which each will settle for himself. Posture becomes perfect when effort to that end ceases, so that there is no more movement of the body.[62] The Rajo-Guṇa, the action of which produces fickleness of mind, is restrained. A suitable steady Asana produces mental equilibrium. Haṭha-yoga, however, prescribes a very large number of Āsanas, to each of which a peculiar effect is ascribed. These are more in the nature of a gymnastic than an Āsana in its sense of a seated posture. Some forms of this gymnastic are done seated, but others are not so, but standing upright, bending, lying down, and standing on the head. This latter is Vṛkṣāsana. Thus, again, in Cakrāsana the Yogī stands and bends and touches his feet with his hand, a familiar exercise, as is also Vāma-dakṣiṇa-pādāsana, a kind of goose step, in which, however, the legs are brought up to right angles with the body. These exercises secure a fine physical condition and freedom from disease.[63] They also bring different portions of the body into such a position as to establish a direct contact of Prāṇa-vāyu between them. They are also said to assist in Prāṇāyāma, and to help to effect its object, including the rousing of Kuṇḍalinī. The author of the work last cited says[64] that as among the Niyamas the most important is Ahiṃsā, and among Yamas Mitāhāra, or a moderate diet (a significant choice), so is Siddhāsana (in which the Mūlādhāra is firmly pressed by the heel and the Svādhiṣṭhāna region by the other foot) among the Āsanas. (See Plates XI, XII). Mastery of this helps to secure the Unmanī Avasthā, and the three Bandhas (v. post) are achieved without difficulty.

Sthiratā, or fortitude, is acquired by the practice of the Mudrās.[65] The Mudrā dealt with in works of Haṭha-yoga are positions of the body.[66] They are gymnastic, healthgiving, and destructive of disease and of death, such as the Jālaṃdhara[67] and other Mudrās. They also preserve from injury by fire, water, or air. Bodily action and the health resulting therefrom react upon the mind, and by the union of a perfect mind and body, Siddhi is by their means attained. The Mudrā is also described as the key for opening of the door of Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti. It is not (as I understand it) that all keys are necessarily to be employed in each case, but only such as are necessary to accomplish the purpose in that particular case; what is necessary in one case may not be necessary in another. The Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā describes a number of Mudrās, of which (with the eight Asanas mentioned at p. 203) ten are said to be of importance in Kuṇḍalī Yoga, of which Khecarī is the chief as Siddhāsana is chief amongst Asanas. In Yoni-mudrā, the Yogī in Siddhāsana stops with his fingers the ears, eyes, nostrils, and mouth, so as to shut out all external impressions. As already stated he presses with his heel the Sīvanī or centre of the perinaeum thus closing the anal aperture and withdrawing the penis into the pubic arcḥ. (See Plate XV.) He inhales Prāṇa-vāyu by Kākinī-mudrā,[68] and unites it with Apānavāyu. Meditating in their order upon the six Cakras, he arouses the sleeping Kula-kuṇḍalinī by the Mantra “Hum Haṃsah”[69]. With “Haṃ,” or the Sun, heat is produced, and this heat is made to play on Kuṇḍalī-Śakti. By “Saḥ” the Kāma or will (Icchā) is made active. The vital air (Vāyu) in the Mūlādhāra is in the form of both Moon and Sun (Soma-sūrya- rūpī). With “Haṃsah” She is roused, Ham rousing Her with his heat, and Sah lifting Her upwards. He raises Her to the Sahasrāra; then deeming himself pervaded with the Śakti, and in blissful union (Saṅgama) with Śiva, he meditates upon himself as, by reason of that union, Bliss Itself and the Brahman.[70] Aśvinī-mudrā consists of the repeated contraction and expansion of the anus for the purpose of Śodhanā, or of contraction to restrain the Apānavāyu in Ṣaṭcakra-bheda. Śakti-cālana employs the latter Mudrā, which is repeated until Vāyu manifests in the Suṣumnā. Śakti-cālana is the movement of the abdominal muscle from left to right and right to left; the object being to arouse Kuṇḍalinī by this spiraline movement. The process is accompanied by inhalation and the union of Prāṇa and Apāna whilst in Siddhāsana.[71]

Yoni-mudrā is accompanied by Śakti-cālana Mudrā,[72] which should be well practised first before the Yoni-mudrā is done. The rectal muscle is contracted by Aśvinī-mudrā until the Vāyu enters the Suṣumnā, a fact which is indicated by a peculiar sound which is heard there. [73] And with the Kuṃbhaka the Serpent goes upwards to the Sahasrāra roused by the Mantra “Hūṃ Haṃsaḥ”. The Yogī should then think himself to be pervaded with Śakti and in a state of blissful union (Saṅgama) with Śiva. He then contemplates: “I am the Bliss Itself,” “I am the Brahman”.[74] Mahā-mudrā[75] and Mahā-vedha are done in conjunction with Mahā- bandha, already described. In the first the Yogī presses the Yoni (Mūlādhāra) with the left heel, and, stretching out the right leg, takes hold of the two feet with both hands. (See Plate XVI.) Jālaṃdhara-Bandha is then done. When Kuṇḍalinī is awakened, the Prāṇa enters the Suṣumnā, and Iḍā and Piṅgala, now that Prāṇa has left them, become lifeless. Expiration should be done slowly, and the Mudrā should be practised an equal number of times on the left and right side of the body. This Mudrā, like other Haṭhayoga-Mudrās, is said to ward off death and disease. In Mahā-vedha[76] the Yogī assumes the Mahā-bandha posture, and, concentrating his mind, stops by methods already described the upward and downward course of the Prāṇa. Then, placing the palms of his hands on the ground, he taps the ground with his buttocks (Sphic),[77] and the “Moon,” “Sun,” and “Fire”—that is, Iḍā, Piṅgalā, and Suṣumnā—become united upon the entry of the Prāṇa into the latter Nāḍī. Then the body assumes a death-like aspect, which disappears with the slow expiration which follows. According to another mode of rousing Kuṇḍalinī, the Yogī seated in Vajrāsana takes firm hold of his feet a little above the ankles, and slowly taps the Kanda (v. post) with them. Bhastrikā-Kuṃbhaka is done and the abdomen is contracted.[78]

The Khecarī-Mudrā,[79] which, as well as the Yoni-Mudrā, as referred to in the text translated, is the lengthening of the tongue until it reaches the space between the eyebrows. It is then turned back in the throat, and closes the exit of the breath previously inspired. The mind is fixed in the Ājñā[80] until with Siddhi this “path of the upward Kuṇḍalī” (Ūrdha-kuṇḍalinī) conquers the whole universe, which is realized in the Yogī’s body as not different from Atmā.[81] It is said that sometimes the franum is cut but others can do the Mudrā without doing a physical injury which interferes with the putting out and withdrawing the tongue without manual help. In Śāṃbhavī-Mudrā the mind is kept free from Vṛtti or functioning in Siddhāsana.

The term Mudrā also includes[82] what are called Bandha (bindings), certain physical methods of controlling Prāṇa. Three important one’s which are referred to in the texts here translated are Uḍḍiyāṇa, Mūla and Jālaṃdhara.4 (See Plates XI, XII, XIV.) In the first, the lungs are emptied by a strong expiration, and drawn against the upper part of the thorax, carrying the diaphragm along with them, and Prāṇa is made to rise and enter the Suṣumnā. Through Mūla-Bandha (see Plate XIV) the Prāṇa and Apāna unite[83] and go into the Suṣuṃnā. Then the inner “sounds” are heard, that is, a vibration is felt, and Prāṇa and Apāna, uniting with Nāda of the cardiac Anāhata-Cakra, go to the heart, and are thereafter united with Bindu in the Ājñā. In Mūla-Bandha the perinaeal region (Yoni) is pressed with the foot, the rectal muscle contracted (by Aśvinī-Mudrā), and the Apāna drawn up.[84] The natural course of the Apāna is downwards, but by contraction at the Mūlādhāra it is made to go upwards through the Suṣumnā when it meets Prāṇa. When the latter Vāyu reaches the region of fire below the navel,[85] the fire becomes bright and strong, being fanned by Apāna. The heat in the body then becomes very powerful, and Kuṇḍalinī, feeling it, awakes from Her sleep “just as a serpent struck by a stick hisses and straightens itself”. Then it enters the Suṣumnā. Jālaṃdhara-Bandha is done by deep inspiration and then contraction of the thoracic region (wherein is situated the Viśuddha-Cakra), the chin being held firmly pressed against the root of the neck at a distance of about four fingers (Aṅguli) from the heart. This is said to bind the sixteen Ādhāras,[86] or vital centres, and the nectar (Pīyūṣa) which flows from the cavity above the palate,[87] and is also used to cause the breath to become Laya in the Suṣumnā. If the thoracic and perinaeal regions are simultaneously contracted, and Prāṇa is forced downward and Apāna upward, the Vāyu enters the Suṣumnā.[88] This union of the three Naḍīs, Iḍā, Piṅgala and Suṣumnā, may be also effected by the Mahā-Bandha,[89] which also aids the fixation of the mind in the Ājñā. Pressure is done on the perinaeal region between the anus and penis with the left heel, the right foot being placed on the left thigḥ. Breath is inspired and the chin placed firmly on the root of the neck that is top of the breast-bone as in Jālaṃdhara (see position in Plate XVI) or alternatively the tongue is pressed firmly against the base of the front teeth; and while the mind is centred on the Suṣumnā the Vāyu is contracted. After the breath has been restrained as long as possible, it should be expired slowly. The breath exercise should be done first on the left and then on the right side. The effect of this Bandha is to stop the upward course of the breath through all the Nāḍīs except the Suṣumnā.

As the Dhyāna-bindu Upaniṣad says, the Jīva oscillates up and down under the influence of Prāṇa and Apāna and is never at rest, just as a ball which is hit to the earth with the palm of the hand uprises again, or like a bird which, tied to its perch by a string, flies away and is drawn back again. These movements, like all other dualities, are stayed by Yoga, which unites the Prāṇas.

When the physical body has been purified and controlled, there follows Pratyāhāra to secure steadiness (Dhairya), as already described. With this the Yogī passes from the physical plane, and seeks to acquire the equipoise of, and control over, the subtle body. It is an advanced stage in which control is acquired over mind and body.

From the fifth or Prāṇāyāma arises lightness (Lāghava)—that is, the levitation or lightening of the body.

The air which is breathed through the mouth and nostrils is material air (Sthūla-Vāyu). The breathing is a manifestation of a vitalizing force called Prāṇa-Vāyu. By control over the Sthūla-Vāyu, the Prāṇa-Vāyu (Sūkṣma-Vāyu or subtle air) is controlled; the process concerned with this is called Prāṇāyāma.

Prāṇāyāma is frequently translated “breath control”. Having regard to the processes employed, the term is not altogether inappropriate if it is understood that “breath” means not only the Sthūla but the Sūkṣma-Vāyu. But the word does not come from Prāṇa (breath) and Yama (control), but from Prāṇa and Āyāma, which latter term, according to the Amarakośa, means length, rising, extensity, expansion;[90] in other words, it is the process whereby the ordinary and comparatively slight manifestation of Prāṇa is lengthened and strengthened and developed. This takes place firstly in the Prāṇa as it courses in Iḍā and Piṅgalā, and then by its transference to the Suṣumnā, when it is said to bloom (Sphurati)[91] or to display itself in its fulness. When the body has been purified by constant practice, Prāṇa forces its way with ease through Suṣumnā in their middle.[92] From being the small path of daily experience, it becomes the “Royal Road”[93] which is the Sūṣumnā. Thus, Sūrya-bheda Kuṃbhaka is practised until Prāṇa is felt to pervade the whole of the body from head to toe; Ujjāyī until the breath fills the body from throat to heart; and in Bhastrā the breath is inhaled and exhaled again and again rapidly, as the blacksmith works his bellows. The breath is controlled only in the sense that it is made the subject of certain initial processes. These processes, however, do not control in the sense of confine, but expand. The most appropriate term, therefore, for Prāṇāyāma is “breath control and development,” leading to the union of Prāṇa and Apāna. Prāṇāyāma is first practised with a view to control and develop the Prāṇa. The latter is then moved into Suṣumnā by the stirring of Kuṇḍalinī, who blocks the entry (Brahma-dvāra) thereto. With the disappearance of Prāṇa therefrom, Iḍā and Piṅgalā “die,”[94] and the Prāṇa in Suṣumnā by means of the Śakti-Kuṇḍalinī pierces the six Cakras which block the passage in the Brahmanāḍī, and eventually becomes Laya in the Great Breath which is the final end and aim of this process.

Prāṇāyāma[95] should be practised according to the instructions laid down by the Guru, the Sādhaka living on a nutritious but moderate diet, with his senses under control. As already stated, mind and breath react upon one another, and when the latter is regulated so is the mind, and therefore rhythmic breathing is sought. This Prāṇāyāma is said to be successful only when the Nāḍīs are purified, for unless this is so the Prāṇa does not enter the Suṣumnā.[96] The Yogī, assuming the Padmāsana posture, inhales (Pūraka) and exhales (Recaka) alternately through the left (Iḍā) and right (Piṅgalā) nostrils, retaining the breath meanwhile (Kuṃbhaka) for gradually increasing periods. The Devatās of these elements of Prāṇāyāma are Brahmā, Rudra, and Visnu.[97] The Prāna enters Susumnā, and if retained sufficiently long goes, after the piercing of the Cakras, to the Brahma-randhra. The Yoga manuals speak of various forms of Prāṇāyāma according as commencement is made with Recaka or Pūraka, and according as the breath is suddenly stopped without Pūraka and Recaka. There are also various forms of Kuṃbhaka, such as Sahita-Kuṃbhaka, which resembles the first two above mentioned, and which should be practised until the Prāṇa enters the Suṣumnā; and Kevala, in which the breath is restrained without Pūraka and Recaka.[98] Then there are others which cure excess of Vāta, Pitta, and Kapha,[99] and the diseases arising therefrom; and Bhastrā, which is an important Kuṃbhaka, as it operates in the case of all three Doṣas,[99] and aids the Prāṇa to break through the three Granthis, which are firmly placed in the Suṣumnā.[100]

It will be observed that all the methods previously and subsequently described practically subserve one object, of making the Prāṇa enter Suṣumnā, and then become Laya in the Sahasrāra after Prāṇa-Devatā-Kuṇḍalinī has pierced the intervening Cakras; for when Prāṇa flows through the Suṣumnā the mind becomes steady. When Cit is absorbed in Suṣumnā, Prāṇa is motionless.[101] This object colours also the methods Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna, and Samādhi; for whereas in the Rāja-yoga aspect they are various mental processes and states, from the Haṭha-yoga point of view, which is concerned with “breathing,” they are progressions in Prāṇāyāma. Therefore it is that some works describe them differently to harmonize them with the Haṭha theory and practice, and explain them as degrees of Kuṃbhaka varying according to the length of its duration.[102] Thus if the Prāṇa is retained for a particular time it is called Pratyāhāra, if for a longer time it is called Dhāraṇā, and so on until Samādhi is attained, which is equivalent to its retention for the longest period.[103]

All beings say the Ajapā-Gāyatrī,[104] which is the expulsion of the breath by Haṃkāra, and its inspiration by Saḥ-kāra, 21,600 times a day. Ordinarily the breath goes forth a distance of 12 fingers’ breadth, but in singing, eating, walking, sleeping, coition, the distances are 16, 20, 24, 30, and 36 breadths, respectively. In violent exercise these distances are exceeded, the greatest distance being 96 breadths. Where the breathing is under the normal distance, life is prolonged. Where it is above that, it is shortened. Pūraka is inspiration, and Recaka expiration. Kuṃbhaka is the retention of breath between these two movements. Kuṃbhaka is, according to the Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, of eight kinds: Sahita, Sūryabheda, Ujjāyī, Śītalī, Bhastrikā, Bhrāmarī, Mūrcchā, and Kevalī. Prāṇāyāma similarly varies. Prāṇāyama awakens Śakti, frees from disease, produces detachment from the world and bliss. It is of varying values, viz., best (Uttama), middling (Madhyama), and inferior (Adhama). The value is measured by the length of the Pūraka, Kuṃbhaka, and Recaka. In Adhama Prāṇāyāma it is 4, 16, and 8 respectively = 28. In Madhyama it is double of that, viz., 8, 32, 16 = 56. In Uttama it is double of the last, viz., 16, 64, 32 respectively = 112. The number given is that of the recitations of the Praṇava-Mantra. The Sādhaka passes through three different stages in his Sādhana which are similarly named. In Adhama perspiration is produced, in Madhyama tremor, and Uttama done for a 100 times is said to result in levitation.

It is necessary that the Nāḍī should be cleansed, for air does not enter those which are impure. Months or years may be spent in the preliminary process of cleansing the Nāḍīs. The cleansing of the Naḍī (Nāḍī-śuddhi) is either Samanu or Nirmanu—that is, with or without the use of Bya-Mantra. According to the first form, the Yogī in Padmasana does Guru-nyāsa according to the directions of the Guru. Meditating on “Yaṃ,” he does Japa through Iḍā of the Bīja 16 times, Kuṃbhaka with Japa of Bīja 64 times, and then exhalation through the solar Nadī [Nāḍī?] and Japa of Bīja 32 times. Fire is raised from Maṇipūra and united with Pṛthivī. Then follows inhalation by the solar Nādī [Nāḍī?] with the Vahni-Bīja 16 times, Kuṃbhaka with 64 Japa of the Bīja, followed by exhalation through the lunar Nāḍī and Japa of the Bīja 32 times. He then meditates on the lunar brilliance, gazing at the tip of the nose, and inhales by Iḍā with Japa of the Bīja “Thaṃ” 16 times. Kuṃbhaka is done with the Bīja “Vaṃ” 64 times. He then thiṅks of himself as flooded by nectar, and considers that the Nāḍīs have been washed. He exhales by Piṅgalā with 32 Japa of the Bīja “Laṃ,” and considers himself thereby strengthened. He then takes his seat on a mat of Kuśa grass, a deerskin, etc., and, facing east or north, does Prāṇāyāma. For its exercise there must be, in addition to Nāḍī-Śuddhi (purification of “nerves”), consideration of proper place, time, and food. Thus, the place should not be so distant as to induce anxiety, nor in an unprotected place, such as a forest, nor in a city or crowded locality, which induces distraction. The food should be pure and of a vegetarian character. It should not be too hot or too cold, pungent, sour, salt or bitter. Fasting, the taking of one meal a day and the like are prohibited. On the contrary, the Yogī should not remain without food for more than one Yāma (three hours). The food taken should be light and strengthening. Long walks and other violent exercise should be avoided as also—certainly in the case of beginners—sexual intercourse. The stomach should only be half filled. Yoga should be commenced, it is said, in spring or autumn. As stated, the forms of Prāṇāyāma vary. Thus, Sahita, which is either with (Sagarbha) or without (Nirgarbha) Bīja, is, according to the former form, as follows: The Sādhaka meditates on Vidhi (Brahmā), who is full of Rajoguṇa, red in colour, and the image of A-kāra. He inhales by Iḍā, in six measures (Mātrā). Before Kuṃbhaka he does the Uḍḍiyāṇa-Bandha-Mudrā. Meditating on Hari (Viṣṇu) as Sattvamaya and the black Bīja U-kāra, he does Kuṃbhaka with 64 Japa of the Bīja; then, meditating on Śiva as Tamomaya and his white Bīja Ma-kāra, he exhales through Piṅgalā with 32 Japa of the Bīja; then, inhaling by Piṅgalā he does Kuṃbhaka, and exhales by Iḍā with the same Bīja. The process is repeated in the normal and reversed order.

Dhyāna, or meditation, is, according to the Gheraṇḍa- Saṃhitā, of three kinds: (1) Sthūla, or gross; (2) Jyotiḥ; (3) Sūkṣma, or subtle.[105] In the first form the Devatā is brought before the mind. One form of Dhyāna for this purpose is as follows: Let the Sādhaka think of the great Ocean of nectar in his heart. In the middle of that Ocean is the Island of Gems, the shores of which are made of powdered gems. The island is clothed with a Kadaṃba forest in yellow blossom. This forest is surrounded by Mālati, Campaka, Pārijāta, and other fragrant trees. In the midst of the Kadaṃba forest there rises the beautiful Kalpa tree laden with fresh blossom and fruit. Amidst its leaves the black bees hum and the Koel birds make love. Its four branches are the four Vedas. Under the tree there is a great Maṇḍapa of precious stones, and within it a beautiful couch, on which let him picture to himself his Iṣṭa-devatā. The Guru will direct him as to the form, raiment, Vahana, and the title of the Devatā.

Jyotir-dhyāna is the infusion of fire and life (Tejas) into the form so imagined. In the Mūlādhāra lies the snake-like Kuṇḍalinī. There the Jīvātmā, as it were the tapering flame of a candle, dwells. The Sādhaka then meditates upon the Tejomaya (Light) Brahman, or, alternatively, between the eyebrows on the Praṇavātmaka flame (the light which is Orii) emitting its lustre. 

Sūkṣma-dhyāna is meditation on Kuṇḍalinī with Śāṃbhavī-Mudrā after She has been roused. By this Yoga (vide post) the Ātmā is revealed (Ātma-sākṣātkāra).

Lastly, through Samādhi the quality of Nirliptatva, or detachment, and thereafter Mukti (Liberation) is attained.

This Samādhi-Yoga is, according to the Gheraṇḍa- Saṃhitā, of six kinds:[106]

(1) Dhyāna-yoga-samādhi, attained by Śāṃbhavī-Mudrā,[107] in which, after meditation on the Bindu-Brahman and realization of the Ātmā (Ātmā-pratyakṣa), the latter is resolved into the Mahākāśa or the Great Ether.

(2) Nāda-Yoga, attained by Khecarī-Mudrā,[108] in which the tongue is lengthened until it reaches the space between the eyebrows, and is then introduced in a reversed position into the mouth. This may be done with or without cutting of the franum.

(3) Rasānanda-Yoga, attained by Kuṃbhaka,[109] in which the Sādhaka in a silent place closes both ears and does Pūraka and Kuṃbhaka until he hears Nāda in sounds varying in strength from that of the cricket’s chirp to that of the large kettledrum. By daily practice the Anāhata sound is heard, and the Light (Jyotiḥ) with the Manas therein is seen, which is ultimately dissolved in the supreme Viṣṇu.

(4) Layasiddhi-Yoga accomplished by the celebrated Yoni-Mudrā already described.[110] The Sādhaka, thinking of himself as Śakti and Paramātma as Puruṣa, feels himself in union (Saṅgama) with Śiva, and enjoys with Him the bliss which is Śṛṅgāra-rasa,[111] and becomes Bliss itself, or the Brahman.

(5) Bhakti-Yoga, in which meditation is made on the Iṣṭa-devatā with devotion (Bhakti) until, with tears flowing from the excess of bliss, the ecstatic condition is attained.[112]

(6) Rāja-Yoga, accomplished by aid of the Manomūrcchā Kuṃbhaka. Here the Manas, detached from all worldly objects, is fixed between the eyebrows in the Ājñā-Cakra, and Kuṃbhaka is done. By the union of the Manas with the Ātmā, in which the Jñānī sees all things, Rāja-yoga-samādhi is attained.

The Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā says that on perfection being attained in Haṭha the body becomes lean and healthy, the eyes are bright, the semen is concentrated, the Nāḍīs are purified, the internal fire is increased, and the Nāda sounds above-mentioned are heard.[113] These sounds (Nāda) issue from Anāhata-Cakra in the cardiac region, for it is here that the Śabda-Brahman manifested by Vāyu and in association with Buddhi, and of the nature of manifested Nāda endowed with a special motion (Viśeṣa-Spanda), exists as Madhyamā speecḥ. Though sound (Śabda) is not distinct and heard by the gross senses until it issues in the form of Vaikharī speech, the Yogī is said to hear this subtle Nāda when, through the various Bandhas and Mudrās described, Prāṇa and Apāna have united in the Suṣumnā. This combined Prāṇa and Nāda proceed upwards and unite with Bindu.

There is a particular method by which Laya (absorption) is said to be attained by hearing the various bodily sounds.[114] The Yogī in Muktāsana and with Śaṃbhavī-Mudrā concentrates on the sounds heard in the right ear; then after closing the sense apertures by Ṣaṇmukhī-Mudrā and after Prāṇāyāma a sound is heard in the Suṣumnā. In this Yoga there are four stages. When the Brahma-granthi has been pierced, the sweet tinkling sound of ornaments is heard in the ethereal void (Śūnya) of the heart; in the second stage the Prāṇa united with Nāda pierces the Viṣṇu-granthi. In this, the further void (Ati-śūnya) of the thoracic region, sounds are heard like those of a kettle-drum. In the third stage a drum-like sound (Mardala) is heard in the Ājñā or Mahā- śūnya, the seat of all powers (Siddhis). Then the Prāṇa, having forced the Rudra-granthi or Ājñā, goes to the abode of Īśvara. On the insetting of the fourth stage, when the Prāṇa goes to Brahma-randhra, the fourth or Niṣpatti state occurs. During the initial stages the sounds are loud, and gradually become very subtle. The mind is kept off all external objects, and is centred first on the loud and then on the subtle sounds. The mind thus becomes one with Nāda, on which it is fixed. Nāda is thus like a snare for catching a deer, for like a hunter it kills the mind. It first attracts it and then slays it. The mind absorbed in Nāda is freed from Vṛttis.[115] The Antaḥkaraṇa, like a deer, is attracted to the sound of the bells, and, remaining immovable, the Yogī like a skilful archer kills it by directing his breath to the Brahma-randhra through the Suṣumnā, which becomes one with that at which it is aimed. Cit exists within these sounds, which are its Śaktis, and by union with Nāda the self- effulgent Caitanya (Consciousness) is said to be attained. As long as sound is heard the Ātmā is with Śakti. The Laya state is soundless.[116] There are also other methods[117] by which Laya is achieved, such as Mantra-Yoga, on the recitation of Mantras according to a particular method.

Laya-Yoga is the third and higher form of Haṭha-Yoga, which, in connection with other auxiliary Haṭha processes, is the subject-matter of the works here translated. Both Saccidā- nanda or Śiva and Saccidānanda or Śakti are present in the body, and Laya-Yoga consists in the control of Citta-vṛtti by merging the Prakṛti-Śakti in the Puruṣa-Śakti according to the laws which govern the Piṇḍa (individual—Vyaṣṭi) and Brahmāṇḍa (cosmic—Samaṣṭi) bodies and thereby gaining Liberation (Mokṣa).

As in the case of the preceding systems, Laya-Yoga has special features of its own.[118] Speaking in a general way, ordinary Haṭha-Yoga is specially, though not exclusively, concerned with the physical body, its power and functions, and affects the subtle body through the gross body; Mantra-Yoga is specially, though not exclusively, concerned with the forces and powers at work outside, though affecting the body. Laya-Yoga deals with the supersensible Pīṭhas (seats or centres) and the supersensible forces and functions of the inner world of the body. These Pīṭhas, or seats of the Devatās, are the Cakras already described, ranging from the Sahasrāra, the abode of the unattached (Nirlipta) Saccidānandamaya Paramātmā, to the Mūlādhāra, the seat of Prakṛti-Śakti, called Kula-kuṇḍalinī in the Yoga-Śāstras. The object of this Yoga is therefore to take and merge this Śakti in Puruṣa when Samādhi is attained. In Haṭha-Yoga the contemplation of “Light” is in particular prescribed, though, as already stated, its Dhyāna is threefold. In Mantra-Yoga the material forms in which Spirit clothes Itself are contemplated. After Prakṛti-Śakti in the form of Kula-kuṇḍalinī has, according to this method of Laya-Yoga, been roused by constant practice, its reflection is manifested as a Light between the eyebrows, which when it is fixed by practice and contemplation becomes the subject of Bindu-dhyāna. Kuṇḍalī is aroused by various Haṭha and other processes hereafter described. Methods are followed which are common to all the systems, such as Yama, Niyama, Āsana, though only a limited number of these and of the Mudrās of Haṭha-Yoga are used. These belong to the physical processes (Sthūla-Kriyā), and are followed by Prāṇāyāma,[119] Pratyāhāra, Dhāraṇā, Dhyāna (on Bindu), which are super-physical exercises (Sūkṣma-Kriyā). In addition to these are certain features peculiar to this Yoga. There are, besides those already noted, Svarodaya, or the science relating to the Nāḍīs; Pañcatattva-Cakra, Sūksma-prāṇa, and the like inner forces of nature; and the Laya-Kriyā, leading through Nāda and Bindu to the Samādhi, which is called Mahā-laya.

The hearing of the Nāda sounds is included under Pratyāhāra, and under Dhāraṇā the rousing of Kuṇḍalī. As Japa, or recitation of Mantra, is the chief element in Mantrayoga, and Prāṇāyāma in the ordinary Haṭha-Yoga, so Dhāraṇā is, with the last as a preliminary, the most important part of Laya-yoga. It is to be observed, however, that Prāṇāyāma is only a preliminary method to secure mastery of the breath. It is the lower door at which the already perfect in this matter need not enter. Some processes described are for practice (Sādhana) only. An expert (Siddha) can, it is said, raise and lower Kuṇḍalī-Śakti within an hour.

It is said that as Ananta, the Lord of Serpents, supports the whole universe, so is Kuṇḍalinī, “by whom the body is supported,”[120] the support of all Yoga practice,[121] and that “as one forces open a door with a key,” so the Yogī should force open the door of liberation (Mokṣa), by the aid of Kuṇḍalinī3 (the coiled one), who is known by various names, such as the Śakti, Īśvarī (Sovereign Lady), Kutilāṅgī (the crooked one), Bhujaṅgī (serpent), Arundhatī (unstayable helper to good action).[122] This Śakti is the Supreme Śakti (Parāśakti) in the human body, embodying all powers and assuming all forms. Thus the sexual force is one of such powers and is utilized. Instead, however, of descending into gross seminal fluid, it is conserved as a form of subtle energy, and rises to Śiva along with Prāṇa. It is thus made a source of spiritual life instead of one of the causes of physical death. With the extinction of sexual desire, mind is released of its most powerful bond.[123]

She the “Serpent Power” sleeps coiled up in the Mūlādhāra, closing with Her mouth the entry to the Suṣumnā called the “door of Brahman” (Brahmadvāra). She sleeps above what is called the Kanda or Kanda-yoni, which is four fingers in length and breadth, and is covered by a “soft white cloth” that is, membrane like the egg of a bird. It is generally described as being two fingers (Aṅguli) above the anus (Guda) and two fingers below the penis (Meḍhra).[124] From this Kaṇḍa spring the 72,000 Nāḍīs which here both unite and separate. Kula-kuṇḍalinī is the Śabda-Brahman, and all Mantras are Her manifestations (Svarūpa-vibhūti). For this reason one of the names of this, the Mantra-devatā, whose substance is “letters” is Mātṛkā—that is, the Genetrix of all the universes. She is Mātṛkā, for She is the Mother of all and not the child of any. She is the World-consciousness (Jagaccaitanya), the Virāṭ consciousness of the world as a whole.[125] Just as in space sound is produced by movements of air, so also in the ether within that Jīva’s body currents flow, owing to the movements of the vital air (Prāṇa-vāyu), and its inward and outward passage as inhalation and exhalation. Verse 12 describes Kuṇḍalinī as the revered supreme Parameśvari (Sovereign Lady), the Omnipotent Kalā[126] in the form of Nāda-Śakti. She, the subtlest of the subtle, holds within Herself the mystery of creation,[127] and the stream of Ambrosia which flows from the attributeless Brahman. By Her radiance the universe is illumined, and by it eternal consciousness is awakened[128]—that is She both binds as Creatrix (Avidyā-Śakti) and is the means as Vidyā-Śakti whereby Liberation may be attained. For this reason it is said in the Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā that She gives liberation to Yogīs and bondage to the ignorant. For he who knows Her knows Yoga, and those who are ignorant of Yoga are kept in the bondage of this worldly life. As vv. 10 and 11 of the Ṣaṭcakra-nirūpaṇa say: “She, the World-charmer is lustrous as lightning; her sweet murmur is like the indistinct hum of swarms of love-mad bees.[129] She is the source of all Speecḥ. It is She who maintains all the beings of the world by means of inspiration and expiration,[130] and shines in the hollow of the Mūla lotus like a chain of brilliant lights.” Mantras are in all cases manifestations (Vibhūti) of Kula-kuṇḍalinī Herself, for She is all letters and Dhvani[131] and the Paramātmā Itself. Hence Mantras are used in the rousing of Kuṇḍalinī. The substance of Mantras is the Eternal Śabda or Consciousness, though their appearance and expression is in words. Words in themselves seem lifeless (Jada), but the Mantra power which they embody is Siddha—that is, the truth and capable of teaching it, because it is a manifestation of Caitanya, which is Satya Itself. So Veda, which is the formless (Amūrti) Brahman in Veda-form (Vedamūrti), is the self-illumined Principle of Experience[132] (Git) itself, and is displayed in words (Siddha-śabda) which are without human authorship (Apauruṣeyā),[133] incessantly revealing knowledge[134] of the nature of Brahman, or Pure Being, and of Dharma,[135] or those principles and laws, physical and psychical and spiritual, by which the universe is sustained (Dhāryate). And so the Divine Mother is said to be Brahman-knowledge (Brahma-vidyā) in the form of that immediate experience[136] which is the fruit of the realization of the great Vedantic sayings (Mahā-vākya).[137] As, notwithstanding the existence of feeling-consciousness in all things, it does not manifest without particular processes, so, although the substance of Mantras is feeling-consciousness that feeling-consciousness is not perceptible without the union of the Sādhaka’s Śakti (derived from Sādhana) with Mantra- Śakti. Hence it has been said in the Śāradā-Tilaka:

“Although Kula-kuṇḍalinī whose substance is Mantras, shines brilliant as lightning in the Mūlādhāra of every Jīva, yet it is only in the lotuses of the hearts of Yogīs that She reveals Herself and dances in Her own joy. (In other cases, though existing in subtle form), She does not reveal Herself. Her substance is all Vedas, all Mantras, and all Tattvas. She is the Mother of the three forms of energy, ‘Sun,’ ‘Moon,’ and ‘Fire,’ and Śabda-Brahman Itself.”

Kuṇḍalinī is therefore the mightiest manifestation of creative power in the human body. Kuṇḍalī is the Śabda-Brahman—that is, Ātmā as manifested Śakti—in bodies, and in every power, person, and thing. The Six Centres and all evolved therefrom are Her manifestation. Śiva “dwells” in the Sahasrāra. The latter is the upper Śrī-Cakra, as the six centres are the lower. Yet Śakti and Śiva are one. Therefore the body of Kuṇḍalinī- Śakti consists of eight parts (Aṅgas)—namely, the six centres of psychic and physical force, Śakti and Sadāśiva Her Lord.[138] In the Sahasrāra Kuṇḍalī is merged in the Supreme Ātma- Śakti. Kuṇḍalinī is the great Prāṇa-devatā or Lord of Life which is Nādātmā, and if Prāṇa is to be drawn up through the “middle path,” the Suṣumnā, towards the Brahma- randhra, it must of necessity pierce the lotuses or Cakras which bar the way therein. Kuṇḍalinī being Prāṇa-Śakti, if She is moved Prāṇa is moved.

The Āsanas, Kuṃbhakas, Bandhas, and Mudrās, are used to rouse Kuṇḍalinī, so that the Prāṇa withdrawn from Iḍā and Piṅgalā may by the power of its Śakti, after entry into the Suṣumnā or void (Śūnya), go upwards towards the Brahma-randhra.[139] The Yogī is then said to be free of the active Karma, and attain the natural state.[140] The object, then, is to devitalize the rest of the body by getting the Prāṇa from Iḍā and Piṅgalā into Suṣumnā, which is for this reason regarded as the most important of all the Nāḍīs and “the delight of the Yogī,” and then to make it ascend through the lotuses which “bloom” on its approacḥ. The body on each side of the spinal column is devitalized, and the whole current of Prāṇa thrown into that column. The Manonmanī state is said to arise with the dissolution (Laya) of Prāṇa, for on this ensues Laya of Manas. By daily practising restraint of Prāṇa in Suṣumnā the natural effort of the Prāṇa along its ordinary channels is weakened and the mind is steadied. For when there is movement (Pari-spanda) of Prāṇa there is movement of mind; that is, it feeds upon the objects (Viṣaya) of the objective world.

But when Prāṇa is in Suṣumnā “there is neither day nor night,” for “Suṣumnā devours time”.[141] When there is movement of Prāṇa (Prāṇa-spanda), there is no cessation of Vṛtti (mind functioning). And, as the Yoga-vāśiṣṭha says, so long as Prāṇa does not cease to exist there is neither Tattva-jñāna nor destruction of Vāsanā, the subtle cause of the will towards life which is the cause of rebirth. For Tattva-jñāna, or supreme knowledge, is the destruction of both Citta and Vāsanā.[142] Restraint of breath also renders the semen firm. For the semen fluctuates as long as Prāṇa does so. And when the semen is not steady the mind is not steady.[143] The mind thus trained detaches itself from the world. These various results are said to be achieved by rousing Kuṇḍalinī, and by the subsequent process for which She is the “key”. “As one forces open a door with a key, so the Yogī should force open the door of Liberation by Kuṇḍalinī.”[144] For it is She who sleeps in the Mūlādhāra, closing with Her mouth the channel (Suṣumnā) by which ascent may be made to the Brahmarandhra. This must be opened when the Prāṇa naturally enters into it. “She, the ‘young widow,’ is to be despoiled forcibly.” It is prescribed that there shall be daily practice, with a view to acquiring power to manipulate this Śakti.[145]

It generally takes years from the commencement of the practice to lead the Śakti to the Sahasrāra, though in exceptional cases it may be done in a short time.[146] At first She can only be led to a certain point, and then gradually higher. He who has led Her to a particular centre can reach the same centre more easily at the next attempt. But to go higher requires further effort. At each centre a particular kind of bliss (Ānanda) is experienced, and particular powers, such as the conquest of the elementary forms of sensible matter (Bhūta) are, it is said, gained, until at the Ājñā centre the whole universe is experienced. In the earlier stages, moreover, there is a natural tendency of the Śakti to return. In the continued practice facility and greater control are gained. Where the Nāḍīs are pure it is easy to lead Her down even from the Sahasrāra. In the perfection of practice the Yogī can stay as long as he will in the Sahasrāra, where the bliss is the same as that experienced in Liberation (subject in this case to return), or he may transfer himself into another body, a practice known to both the Indian and Tibetan Tantras, in the latter of which it is called Phowa.

The principle of all the methods to attain Samādhi is to get the Prāṇa out of Iḍā and Piṅgalā. When this is achieved these Nāḍīs become “dead,” because vitality has gone out of them. The Prāṇa then enters the Suṣumnā and, after piercing by the aid of Kuṇḍalinī the six Cakras in the Suṣumnā, becomes Laya or absorbed in the Sahasrāra. The means to this end, when operating from the Mūlādhāra, seem to vary in detail, but embody a common principle—namely, the forcing of Prāṇa downward and Apāna upwards[147] (that is, the reverse of their natural directions) by the Jālaṃdhāra and Mūla-Bandha, or otherwise, when by their union the internal fire is increased. The position seems to be thus similar to a hollow tube in which a piston is working at both ends without escape of the central air, which thus becomes heated. Then the Serpent Force, Kuṇḍalinī, aroused by the heat thus generated, is aroused from Her potential state called “sleep,” in which She lies curled up; She then hisses and straightens Herself, and enters the Brahma-dvāra, or enters into the Suṣumnā, when by further repeated efforts the Cakras in the Suṣumnā are pierced. This is a gradual process which is accompanied by special difficulties at the three knots (Granthis) where Māyā-Śakti is powerful, particularly the abdominal knot, the piercing of which may, it is admitted, involve considerable pain, physical disorder, and even disease. As already explained, these “knots” are the points at which converge the Cakras of each of the three groups. Some of the abovementioned processes are described in the present work, to which we now proceed, and which on this matter may be summarized as follows:

The preliminary verse (and in the reference to the verses I include the Commentary) says that only those who are acquainted with the Six Lotuses can deal with them; and the first verse says that Yoga by means of the method here described cannot be achieved without knowledge of the Cakras and Nāḍīs. The first verse says that Brahman will be realized. The next question is, How is this effected? The Commentator in the preliminary verse says that the very merciful Pūrṇānanda-Svāmī, being wishful to rescue the world sunk in the mire of misery, has undertaken the task firstly of instructing it as regards the union of the Śakti-Kuṇḍalinī with the vital centres, or Cakras, and secondly of imparting that knowledge of Brahman (Tattva-jñāna) which leads to Liberation. The former—that is, knowledge concerning the Cakras, and so forth—is the “first shoot” of the Yoga plant. Brahman, as the Commentator says, is the Supreme Consciousness which arises upon the acquisition of knowledge. The first cause of such knowledge is an acquaintance with and practice of the Tāntrik Yoga Sādhana which is concerned with the Cakras, Nāḍīs, and Kuṇḍalinī; the next cause is the realization of that Sādhana by the rousing of Kuṇḍalinī; and the final result is experience as Brahman, which is the effect of the action of Kuṇḍalinī, who is the Śakti or power of Will (Icchā), Action (Kriyā), and Knowledge (Jñāna), and exists in forms both subtle and gross. Mind is as much one of the forms of Kuṇḍalī as is that which is called “matter”. Both are equally products of Prakṛti-Śakti, which is a grosser form of the Nāda- mayī-Śakti. Kuṇḍalī takes the form of the eight Prakṛtīs.[148] The Power which is aroused is in itself (Svarūpa) Consciousness, and when aroused and taken to the upper cerebral centre is the giver of true knowledge (Svarūpa-Jñāna), which is the Supreme Consciousness.

The arousing of this force is achieved both by will and mind power (Yoga-bala), accompanied by suitable physical action. The Sādhaka[149] seats himself in the prescribed Asana and steadies his mind by the Khecarī-Mudrā, in which concentration is between the eyebrows. Air is inhaled (Pūraka) and then retained (Kuṃbhaka). The upper part of the body is then contracted by Jālaṃdhara-Bandha,[150] so that the upward breath (Prāṇa) is checked. By this contraction the air so inhaled is prevented from escape. The air so checked tends downwards. When the Yogī feels that the air within him, from the throat to the belly, is tending downwards through the channels in the Nāḍīs, the escape or Vāyu as Apāna is again checked by the Mūla-Bandha and Aśvinī-Mudrā, in which the anal muscle is contracted. The air (Vāyu) thus stored becomes an instrument by which, under the direction of mind and will, the potentialities of the vital force in the Mūlādhāra may be forced to realization.

The process of mental concentration on this centre is described as follows:

“With mental Japa of the Mantra prescribed and acquisition thereby of Mantra-Śakti, Jīvātmā (individual Consciousness), which is thought of as being in the shape of the tapering flame of a lamp, is brought from the region of the heart to the Mūlādhāra. Jīvātmā here spoken of is the Ātmā of the subtle body—that is, the Antaḥkaraṇa or mind as Buddhi (including therein Ahaṃkāra) and Manas, the faculties of sense (Indriya) or mind operating to receive impression through the sense organs, and Prāṇa;[151] the constituents of the second, third, and fourth, bodily sheaths. Following such concentration and impact of the retained Vāyu on this centre, the Vāyu is again raised with the Bīja “Yaṃ”. A revolution from left to right is given to the “air of Kama” or Kandarpa (Kāmavāyu)[152]. This is a form of Icchā-Śakti. This, the pressure of the Prāṇa and Apāna held in Kuṃbhaka, the natural heat arising therefrom, and the Vahni-Bīja (Fire Mantra) “Raṃ,” kindle the fire of Kama (Kāmāgni). The fire encircles and arouses the slumbering serpent Kuṇḍalinī, who is then, in the language of the Śāstra, seized with the passion of “desire” for Her Spouse, the Parahaṃsaḥ [Parahaṃsa] or Paramaśiva. Śakti thus rendered active is drawn to Śiva, as in the case of ordinary positive and negative electric charges, which are themselves but other manifestations of the universal polarity which affects the manifested world.

The Yogakuṇḍalī-Upaniṣad[153] states the following methods and others mentioned: When Prāṇa is passing through Iḍā, assume Padmāsana and lengthen the Ākāśa of 12 points by 4—that is, as in exhalation Prāṇa goes out in 16 measures, and in inhalation comes in 12, inhale for 16 and thus gain power. Then, holding the sides by each hand, stir up Kuṇḍalinī with all one’s strength from right to left fearlessly for 48 minutes. Draw the body up a little to let Kuṇḍalī enter Suṣumnā. The Yogī does a drawing-up-movement in which the shoulders are raised and dropped. Prāṇa enters of itself with Her. Compressing above and expanding below, and vice versa, Prāṇa rises.

In the commentary[154] on verse 32 of the Ānandalaharī it is said:

“The sun and the moon, as they move always in Deva-yāna and Pitṛ-yāna (northern and southern orbs) in the Macrocosm, are travelling (incessantly in the Microcosm) by Iḍā and Piṅgalā day and night. The moon, ever travelling by the left Nāḍī (Iḍā), bedews the whole system with her nectar. The sun, travelling by the right Nāḍī (Piṅgala), dries the system (thus moistened by nectar). When the sun and the moon meet at Mūlādhāra, that day is called Amāvasyā (new moon day).... The Kuṇḍalī also sleeps in Ādhārakuṇḍa.... When a Yogī whose mind is under control is able to confine the moon in her own place, as also the sun, then the moon and sun become confined, and consequently the moon cannot shed its nectar nor the sun dry it. Next, when the place of nectar becomes dried by the fire with the help of Vāyu, then the Kuṇḍalī wakes up for want of food and hisses like a serpent. Afterwards, breaking through the three knots, She runs to Sahasrāra and bites the Candra (moon), which is in the middle of the same. Then the nectar begins to flow, and wets the (other) Candra-Maṇḍala in Ājñā-Cakra. From the latter the whole body becomes bedewed with nectar. Afterwards the fifteen eternal Kalās (part) of Candra (moon) in Ājñā go to Viśuddhi and move thereon. The Candra-Maṇḍala in Sahasrāra is also called Baindava. One Kalā remains there always. That Kala is nothing but Cit Itself, which is also called Ātman. We call Her Tripurasundarī. It is understood by this that, in order to rouse the Kuṇḍalī, one should practise in the lunar fortnight alone, and not in the solar one.”

Kuṇḍalinī is led upwards “as a rider guides a trained mare by the reins,” through the aperture hitherto closed by Her own coils, but now open, within the entrance of the Citrinī-Nāḍī. She then pierces, in that Nāḍī, each of the lotuses, which turn their heads upwards as She passes through them. As Kuṇḍalinī united with the subtle Jīvātmā passes through each of these lotuses, She absorbs into Herself the regnant Tattvas of each of these centres, and all that has been above described to be in them. As the ascent is made, each of the grosser Tattvas enters into the Laya state, and is replaced by the energy of Kuṇḍalinī, which after the passage of the Viśuddha-Cakra replaces them all. The senses which operate in association with these grosser Tattvas are merged in Her, who then absorbs into Herself the subtle Tattvas of the Ājñā. Kuṇḍalinī Herself takes on a different aspect as She ascends the three planes, and unites with each of the Liṅgas in that form of Hers which is appropriate to such union. For whereas in the Mūlādhāra She is the Śakti of all in their gross or physical manifested state (Virāt [Virāṭ?]), at the stage of Ājñā, She is the Śakti of the mental and psychic or subtle body (Hiraṇya-garbha), and in the region of the Sahasrāra She is the Śakti of the “spiritual” plane (Īśvara), which, though itself in its Śiva aspect undifferentiated, contains in its Power-aspect all lower planes in a concealed potential state. The Māyā- Tantra (see v. 51, post) says that the four sound-producing Śaktis—namely, Parā, Paśyantī, Madhyamā, and Vaikharī—are Kuṇḍalī Herself (Kuṇḍalinya-bhedarūpā). Hence, when Kuṇḍalī starts to go to Sahasrāra, She in Her form as Vaikharī bewitches Svayaṃbhu-Liṅga; She then similarly bewitches Bāṇa-Liṅga in the heart as Madhyamā and Itara-Liṅga in the eyebrows as Paśyantī. Then, when She reaches the stage of Para-bindu, She attains the state of Parā (Parā-bhāva).

The upward movement is from the gross to the more subtle, and the order of dissolution of the Tattvas is as follows: Pṛthivī with the Indriyas (smell and feet), the latter of which have Pṛthivī (the earth as ground) as their support, is dissolved into Gandha-Tattva, or Tanmātra of smell, which is in the Mūlādhāra; Gandha-Tattva is then, taken to the Svādhiṣṭhāna, and it, Ap, and its connected Indriyas (taste and hands), are dissolved in Rasa (Taste) Tanmātra; the latter is taken to the Maṇipūra and there Rasa-Tattva, Tejas, and its connected Indriyas (sight and anus), are dissolved into Ṛūpa (sight) Tanmātra; then the latter is taken into the Anāhata, and it, Vāyu, and the connected Indriyas (touch and penis), are dissolved in Sparśa (Toucḥ) Tanmātra; the latter is taken to the Viśuddha, and there it, Ākāśa, and associated Indriyas (hearing and mouth), are dissolved in the Śabda (sound) Tanmātra; the latter is then taken to the Ājñā, and, there and beyond it, Manas is dissolved in Mahat, Mahat in Sūkṣma-Prakṛti, and the latter is united with Para-bindu in the Sahasrāra. In the case of the latter merger there are various stages which are mentioned in the text (v. 52), as of Nāda into Nādānta, Nādānta into Vyāpikā, Vyāpikā into Samanī, Samanī into Unmanī, and the latter into Viṣṇu-vaktra or Puṃ-bindu, which is also Paramaśiva.[155] When all the letters have been thus dissolved, all the six Cakras are dissolved as the petals of the lotuses bear the letters.

On this upward movement, Brahmā, Sāvitrī, Dākinī [Ḍākinī?], the Devas, Mātṛkās, and Vṛttis, of the Mūlādhāra, are absorbed in Kuṇḍalinī, as is also the Mahī-maṇḍala or Pṛthivī, and the Pṛthivī-Bīja “Laṃ” into which it passes. For these Bījas, or sound powers, express the subtle Mantra aspect of that which is dissolved in them. Thus “earth” springs from and is dissolved in its seed (Bīja), which is that particular aspect of the creative consciousness, which propelled it. The uttered Mantra (Vaikharī-Śabda) or “Laṃ” is the expression in gross sound of that.

When the Devī leaves the Mūlādhāra, that lotus, which by reason of the awakening of Kuṇḍalinī and the vivifying intensity of the Prāṇik current had opened and turned its flower upwards, again closes and hangs its head downwards. As Kuṇḍalinī reaches the Svādhiṣṭhāna, that lotus opens out and lifts its flower upwards. Upon Her entrance, Viṣṇu, Lakṣmī, Sarasvatī, Rākinī, Mātṛkās and Vṛtti, Vaikuṇṭha- dhāma, Goloka, and the Deva and Devī residing therein, are dissolved in the body of Kuṇḍalinī. The Pṛthivī or Earth Bīja “Laṃ” is dissolved in the Tattva water, and water converted into its Bīja “Vaṃ” remains the body of Kuṇḍalinī. When the Devī reaches the Maṇipūra Cakra or Brahma-granthi, all that is in that Cakra merges in Her. The Varuṇa-Bīja “Vaṃ” is dissolved in fire, which remains in Her body as the Bīja “Raṃ”. The Śakti next reaches the Anāhata-Cakra, which is known as the Knot of Viṣṇu (Viṣṇu-granthi), where also all which is therein is merged in Her. The Bīja of Fire “Raṃ” is sublimed in air, and air converted into its Bīja “Yarn” is absorbed in Kuṇḍalinī. She then ascends to the abode of Bhāratī or Sarasvatī, the Viṣuddha-Gakra. Upon Her entrance, Ardha-nārīśvara Śiva, Śākinī, the 16 vowels, Mantra, etc., are dissolved in Her. The Bīja of Air “Yaṃ” is dissolved in ether, which, itself being transformed into the Bīja “Haṃ,” is merged in the body of Kuṇḍalinī. Piercing the concealed, Lalanā-Cakra, the Devī reaches the Ājñā known as the “Knot of Rudra” (Rudra-granthi), where Paramaśiva, Siddha-Kālī, the Devas, and all else therein, are dissolved in Her. At length the Bīja of Vyoma (ether) or “Haṃ” is absorbed into the subtle Tattvas of the Ājñā, and then into the Devī. After passing through the Rudra-granthi, Kuṇḍalinī unites with Paramaśiva. As She proceeds upwards from the two-petalled lotus, the Nirālaṃba-purī Praṇava, Nāda, and so forth, are merged in the Devī. She has thus in Her progress upwards absorbed in Herself the twenty-three Tattvas, commencing with the gross elements, and then remaining Herself Śakti as Consciousness, the cause of all Śaktis, unites with Paramaśiva whose nature is one with Hers.

By this method of mental concentration, aided by the physical and other processes described, the gross is absorbed into the subtle, each dissolving into its immediate cause and all into Cidātmā or the Ātmā which is Cit. In language borrowed from the world of human passion, which is itself but a gross reflection on the physical plane of corresponding, though more subtle, super-sensual activities and bliss, the Śakti-Kuṇḍalinī who has been seized by desire for Her Lord is said to make swift way to Him, and kissing the lotus mouth of Śiva, enjoys Him (See v. 51, post). By the term Sāmarasya is meant the sense of enjoyment arising from the union (Sāmarasya) of male and female.

This is the most intense form of physical delight representing on the worldly plane the Supreme Bliss arising from the union of Śiva and Śakti on the “spiritual” plane. So Dakṣa, the Dharma-śāstrakāra, says: “The Brahman is to be known by Itself alone, and to know It is as the bliss of knowing a virgin.”[156] Similarly, the Sādhaka in Layasiddhi-yoga, thinking of himself as Śakti and the Paramātmā as Puruṣa, feels himself in union (Saṅgama) with Śiva, and enjoys with him the bliss which is Śṛṅgāra-rasa, the first of the nine Rasas, or the love sentiment and bliss. This Ādirasa (Śṛṅgāra) which is aroused by Sattva-guṇa[157] is impartite (Akhaṇḍa), self-illuminating (Svaprakāśa), bliss (Ānanda) whose substance is Cit (Cinmaya).[158] It is so intense and all-exclusive as to render the lover unconscious of all other objects of knowledge (Vedyāntara-sparśa-śūnya [śūnyaḥ]), and the own brother[159] of Brahmabliss (Brahmāsvādasahodara). [160] But as the Brahma-bliss is known only to the Yogī, so, as the Alaṃkāra-Śāstra last cited observes, even the true love-bliss of the mortal-world “is known to a few knowers only” (jñeyaḥ kaiścit pramātṛbhiḥ), such as poets and others. Sexual as well as other forms of love are reflections or fragments of the Brahman-bliss.

This union of the Śakti-Kuṇḍalinī with Śiva in the body of the Sādhaka is that coition (Maithuna) of the Sāttvika Pañca-tattva which the Yogīnī-Tantra says is “the best of all unions for those who have already controlled their passions,” and are thus Yati.[161]

Of this the Bṛhat-Śrīkrama (vide v. 51, post) says:

“They with the eye of knowledge see the stainless Kala united with Cidānanda on Nāda. He is the Mahādeva, white like a pure crystal, and is the effulgent Cause (Biṃbarūpa-nidāna), and She is the lovely woman of beauteous limbs which are listless by reason of Her great passion.”

On their union nectar (Amṛta) flows, which in ambrosial stream runs from the Brahma-randhra, to the Mūlādhāra, flooding the Kṣudra-brahmāṇḍa, or microcosm, and satisfying the Devatās of its Cakras. It is then that the Sādhaka, forgetful of all in this world, is immersed in ineffable bliss. Refreshment, increased power and enjoyment, follows upon each visit to the Well of Life.

In the Cintāmaṇi-satva, attributed to Śrī-Śaṃkarācārya, it is said:

“This family woman (i.e. Kuṇḍalinī), entering the royal road (i.e., Suṣumnā), taking rest at intervals in the sacred places (i.e., Cakras), embraces the Supreme Husband (Para-śiva) and makes nectar to flow the Sahasrāra).”

The Guru’s instructions are to go above the Ājñā-Cakra, but no special directions are given; for after this Cakra has been pierced, the Sādhaka can, and indeed must, reach the Brahma-sthāṇa, or abode of Brahman, unaided by his own effort. Above the Ājñā the relationship of Guru and Śiṣya (Master and Disciple) ceases. Kuṇḍalinī having pierced the fourteen “Knots,” (Granthis)—viz., three Liṅgas, six Cakras, and the five Śivas which they contain, and then Herself drunk with the nectar which issues from Para-Śiva, returns along the path whence She came to Her own abode (Mūlādhāra).[162] As She returns She pours from Herself into the Cakras all that She had previously absorbed therefrom. In other words, as Her passage upwards was Laya-krama, causing all things in the Cakras to pass into the Laya state (dissolution), so Her return is Sṛṣṭi-krama, as She “recreates” or makes them manifest. In this manner She again reaches the Mūlādhāra, when all that has been already described to be in the Cakras appears in the positions which they occupied before Her awakening. In fact, the descending Jīvātmā makes for himself the idea of that separated multiple and individualized world which passed from him as he ascended to and became one with the Gause. She as Consciousness absorbs what She as conscious Power projected. In short, the return of Kuṇḍalinī is the setting again of the Jīvātmā in the phenomenal world of the lowest plane of being after he had been raised therefrom to a state of ecstasis, or Samādhi. The Yogī thus knows (because he experiences) the nature and state of Spirit and its pathway to and from the Māyik and embodied world. In this Yoga there is a gradual process of involution of the gross world with its elements into its Gause. Each gross element (Mahā-bhūta), together with the subtle element (Tanmātra) from which it proceeds and the connected organ of sense (Indriya), is dissolved into the next above it until the last element, ether, with the Tanmātra sound and Manas, are dissolved in Egoism (Ahaṃkāra), of which they are Vikṛtis. Ahaṃkāra is merged in Mahat, the first manifestation of creative ideation, and the latter into Bindu, which is the Supreme Being, Consciousness, and Bliss as the creative Brahman. Kuṇḍalī when aroused is felt as intense heat. As Kuṇḍalinī ascends, the lower limbs become as inert and cold as a corpse; so also does every part of the body when She has passed through and leaves it. This is due to the fact that She as the Power which supports the body as an organic whole is leaving Her centre. On the contrary, the upper part of the head becomes “lustrous,” by which is not meant any external lustre (Erabhā), but brightness, warmth, and animation. When the Yoga is complete, the Yogī sits rigid in the posture selected, and the only trace of warmth to be found in the whole body is at the crown of the head, where the Śakti is united with Śiva. Those, therefore, who are sceptical can easily verify some of the facts should they be fortunate enough to find a successful Yogī who will let them see him at work. They may observe his ecstasis and the coldness of the body, which is not present in the case of what is called the Dhyāna-Yogī, or a Yogī operating by meditating only, and not rousing Kuṇḍalinī. This cold is an external and easily perceptible sign. Its progression may be seen, obviously denoting the passing away of something which supplied the previous heat. The body seems lifeless, indicating that its supporting power has (though not entirely) left it. The downward return of the Śakti thus moved is, on the other hand, indicated by the reappearance of warmth, vitality, and the normal consciousness. The return process is one of evolution from the highest state of attainment to the point of departure.

Though not dealt with in this work, reference may here be made to the Sādhana accompanying the return of Kuṇḍalinī to Her resting-place in the ritual practice called Bhūta-śuddhi, where the ascent and descent are imagined only.

The Sādhaka thinking of the Vāyu Bīja “Yaṃ” as being in the left nostril, inhales through Iḍā, making Japa of the Bīja sixteen times. Then, closing both nostrils, he makes Japa of the Bīja sixty-four times. He then thinks of the “black man of sin” (Pāpa-puruṣa)[163] in the left[164] cavity of the abdomen as being dried up (by the air), and so thinking he exhales through the right nostril Piṅgalā, making Japa of the Bīja thirty-two times. The Sādhaka then, meditating upon the red-coloured Bīja “Raṃ” in the Maṇipūra, inhales, making sixteen Japa of the Bīja, and then closes the nostrils, making sixty-four Japa. Whilst making Japa he thinks that the body of the “man of sin” is being burnt and reduced to ashes (by the fire). He then exhales through the right nostril with thirty-two Japa, and then meditates upon the white Candra- Bīja “Thaṃ”. He next inhales through Iḍā, making Japa of the Bīja sixteen times, closes both nostrils with Japa done sixty-four times, and exhales through Piṅgalā with thirty-two Japa. During inhalation, holding of breath, and exhalation, he should consider that a new celestial body is being formed by the nectar (composed of all the Mātṛkā-varṇa, or soundpowers, embodied in their Vaikharī form as lettered sound) dropping from the “Moon”. In a similar way with the Bīja of water “Vaṃ” the formation of the body is continued, and with Bīja “Laṃ” of the cohesive Pṛthivī-Tattva it is completed and strengthened. Lastly, with the Mantra “So’ham” (“He I am”) the Sādhaka leads the Jīvātmā into its place in the heart. Some forms of meditation are given in v. 51.

Kuṇḍalī does not at first stay long in Sahasrāra. The length of stay depends on the strength of the Yogī’s practice. There is then a natural tendency (Saṃskāra) on the part of Kuṇḍalī to return. The Yogī will use all effort at his disposal to retain Her above, for the longer this is done the nearer approach is made to the time when She can be in a permanent manner retained there.[165] For it is to be observed that liberation is not gained by merely leading Kuṇḍalī to the Sahasrāra, and of course still less is it gained by stirring it up in the Mūlādhāra, or fixing it in any of the lower centres. Liberation is gained only when Kuṇḍalī takes up Her permanent abode in the Sahasrāra, so that She only returns by the will of the Sādhaka. It is said that after staying in Sahasrāra for a time, some Yogīns lead the Kuṇḍalinī back to Hṛdaya (heart), and worship Her there. This is done by those who are unable to stay long in Sahasrāra. If they take the Kuṇḍalinī lower than Hṛdaya—i.e., worship Her in the three Cakras below Anāhata they no longer, it is said, belong to the Samaya group.[166]

Thus, when by the preliminary Sādhana purity of physical and mental function is gained, the Sādhaka learns how to open the entrance of the Suṣumnā, which is ordinarily closed at the base. This is the meaning of the statement that the Serpent with its coil closes the gate of Brahmā. At the base of the Suṣumnā-Nāḍī and in the Ādhāra lotus the Śakti-Kuṇḍalinī lies slumbering coiled round the Liṅga, the Śiva or Puruṣa aspect in that centre of the Śabda- brahman, of which She is the Prakṛti aspect. Kuṇḍalī in the form of Her creative emanations as mind and matter is the whole moving body, but She Herself exists at the Mūlādhāra or earth centre as a gross aspect of Śakti in its sleeping form. This is the normal abode of the Śakti who is the Śabda-Brahman. For having so completely manifested Herself She rests or sleeps in what is her grossest and concluding manifestation. The “residual” vital force in this centre then exists in a latent and potential state. If its aid towards Yoga is sought, the first process must be that by which the Serpent is aroused from its slumber. In other words, this force is raised from its latent potential state to one of activity, and there reunited with Itself in its other aspect as the Static Light which shines[167] in the cerebral centre.

Kuṇḍalī-Śakti is Git, or Consciousness, in its creative aspect as Power. As Śakti it is through Her activity that the world and all beings therein exist. Prakṛti-Śakti is in the Mūlādhāra in a state of sleep (Prasuptā)—that is latent activity looking outwards (Bahirmukhī). It is because She is in this state of latent activity that through Her all the outer material world functions of life are being performed by man. And it is for this reason that man is engrossed in the world, and under the lure of Māyā takes his body and egoism to be the real Self, and thus goes round the wheel of life in its unending cycle of births and deaths. When the Jīva thinks the world to be different from himself and the Brahman, it is through the influence of Kuṇḍalinī who dwells within him. Her sleep in the Mūlādhāra, is, therefore, for the bondage of the ignorant.[168] As long as She remains in the Mūlādhāra lotus—namely, in that state of Hers which is the concomitant of the cosmic appearance—so long must that appearance endure. In short, when She is asleep, man is in the waking state (Jāgrat). Hence it is said[169] that the Śakti of the initiate is awake, that of the Paśu asleep. She is therefore aroused from sleep, and when awake returns to Her Lord, who is but Herself in another aspect; Her return is, in fact, the withdrawal of that activity of Hers which produces the world of appearances, and which with such withdrawal disappears. For on Her upward Path She absorbs into Herself all the Tattvas which had emanated from Her. The individual consciousness of the Yogī, the Jīvātmā, being united with the world-consciousness in Her, or Kuṇḍalī, then becomes the universal consciousness, or Paramātmā, from which it appeared to be different only by reason of the world-creating activity of Kundalī which is thus withdrawn. The establishment through Her of the pure state of Being-Coṇsciousness-Bliss is Samādhi.

In short, Kuṇḍalī is the individual bodily representative of the great Cosmic Power (Śakti) which creates and sustains the universe. When this individual Śakti manifesting as the individual consciousness (Jīva) is merged in the consciousness of the Supreme Śiva, the world is for such Jīva dissolved, and Liberation (Mukti) is obtained. Under, however, the influence of the Cosmic Śakti, the universe continues for those who are liberated until the Great Dissolution (Mahā-pralaya), at the close of which the universe again evolves into those Jīvas whose Karma has not been exhausted, and who have therefore not been liberated. The rousing and stirring up of Kuṇḍalī-Yoga is thus a form of that merger of the individual into the universal consciousness or union of the two which is the end of every system of Indian Yoga.

Paṇḍit R. Anantakṛṣṇa Śāstrī says[170]:

“The Samaya method of worshipping Śakti, called the Samayācāra,[171] is dealt with in five treatises whose reputed authors are the great sages Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatkumāra, Vasiṣṭha, and Śuka. The following is a summary of the teachings contained in these Samaya-Āgamas, each of which goes after the name of its author:

“The Śakti or energy, the development of which is the subject of these treatises, is called the Kuṇḍalinī. The place where it resides is called the Mūlādhāra (original abode). By a successful development and working of this Śakti, the liberation of the soul is attained. In the ordinary condition Kuṇḍalinī sleeps quietly at the Mūlādhāra. The first purpose of the practitioners is to awaken this sleeping snake, and this is effected in two ways:

“(1) By Tapas. Here Tapas refers to the process of Prāṇāyāma, which means the regulation of the breath and holding it for stated periods of time. This is also the course advocated by the Yoga-Śāstras.

“(2) By Mantras. The pupil is initiated in the chanting of certain Mantras which he has to repeat a fixed number of times at particular hours of the day, all the while having before his mind’s eye the figure of the Mūrti or God connoted by the Mantra he chants. The most important of these Mantras is said to be the Pañcadaśī.

“When it is thus roused up, the Kuṇḍalinī ascends from (1) Mūlādhāra, where it was sleeping, to the next higher centre, called the (2) Svādhiṣṭhāna (own place). Thence with great effort this Śakti is carried to the following centres in regular ascending order; (3) Maṇipūra (full of rays); (4) Anāhata (sound, not emanating from the collision of bodies)—the Śakti here is transformed into sound; (5) Viśuddhi (place of purity)—here it becomes a pure Sāttvic element; and (6) Ājñā (ā-jñā, a little knowledge). At this stage the practitioner may be said to have so far been successful in securing a command over this Śakti, which now appears to him, though only for a moment, in the form of a sharp flash of lightning.

“The passage of the Kuṇḍalinī from the Mūlādhāra through the above centres of energy up to Ājñā constitutes the first part of the ascent. The disciple who takes to this practice has to undergo a course of Upāsanā (contemplation and worship of the prescribed Deity) and Mantra-Japa (chanting of incantations),[172] into which he will be initiated by his Guru (teacher and guide). The six centres of energy above enumerated from Mūlādhāra to Ājñā, joined together by imaginary straight lines, form a double-faced triangle—a hexagon, the six-pointed star—which is called the Śrī- Cakra in Sanskrit. The Anāhata centre (the heart) is the critical point in the course of this ascent, and hence much is found written in the Āgamas about this centre.

“These centres in the body of man (Piṇḍāṇḍa) have their correspondence in the cosmic planes, and each of these has its own quality, or Guṇa, and a Presiding Deity. When the disciple ascends centre by centre, he passes through the corresponding Lokas, or cosmic planes. The following table give the correspondences, Guṇa, and Presiding Deity:

No. Psychic Centre in Man’s Body Loka, or Cosmic Plane GuṆa, or Quality Presiding Deity
1 Mūlādhārā at the stage when Śakti is roused up Bhuvarloka [1+2] Tamas Agni (Fire)
2 Svādhiṣṭhāna Svarloka    
3 Maṇipūra Maharloka [3+4] Rajas Sun
4 Anāhata Janaloka    
5 Viśuddhī Tapoloka    
6 Ājñā Satyaloka [5+6] Sattva Moon

“If one should die after attaining any of these stages, he is born again having all the advantages of the stages gained; thus, a man dies after leading the Śakti to the Anāhata; in his next birth he begins where he has last left, and leads the Śakti onwards from the Anāhata.

“This aspiration to unify one’s soul with the Eternal One has been held by some to be an attempt of a Tāmasa origin to rid itself of all Tamas and Rajas in it. Therefore the aspirant in the first and second stages is said to have more Tamas than in the succeeding stages, and to be therefore in the Tāmasic stage, which is presided over by Agni. In the next two stages he is similarly said to be in the Rājasic stage, presided over by the Sun. In the next two he is in the Sāttvic stage, presided over by the Moon, the Deity which is assigned a higher plane than the Sun and Agni. But it is to be noticed that the aspirant does not get a pure Sattva until he passes on to the Sahasrāra, and that Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva, referred to in the above table, are but relative, and bear no comparison with their common acceptation.

“Kuṇḍalinī is the grossest form of the Cit, the twentyfourth Tattva, which lives in the Mūlādhāra; later on we shall have to speak of it in detail in our treatment of the second part of the aspirant’s ascent. This Kuṇḍalinī, as soon as it is awakened, is in the Kumārī (girl) stage. On reaching the Anāhata, it attains the Yoṣit stage (womanhood). Hence the indication that it is the most difficult and important step in the ascent. The next stage is in the Sahasrāra, of which we shall speak hereafter, and the Śakti in that stage is called Pativratā (devoted to husband). See Taittirīya- Āraṇyaka, I.27.12.

“The second part of the ascent of Kuṇḍalinī consists of only one step: the Śakti should be taken into the Sahasrāra from the Ājñā, where we left her. The Sahasrāra (lit., a thousand-petalled lotus) forms in itself a Śrī-cakra. The description of this place in Sanskrit is too difficult to be rendered satisfactorily into Englisḥ. In the Sahasrāra there is a certain place of lustre known as Candra-Loka (a world of nectar). In this place live in union the Sat (Sadāśiva) and the Cit, the twenty-fifth and the twenty-fourth Tattvas. The Cit, or Śuddha-Vidyā, is also called Sadākhyā, the 16th Kalā of the moon. These two Tattvas are always in union, and this union itself is taken to be the twenty-sixth Tattva. It is this union of Sat and Git that is the goal of the aspirant. The Kuṇḍalinī which has been led all the way to the Sahasrāra should be merged into this union; this is the end of the aspirant’s journey; he now enjoys beatitude itself (Paramananda).

“But this Kuṇḍalinī does not stay in the Sahasrāra for a long time. It always tends to return, and does return to its original position. The process should again and again be repeated by the aspirant several times, until the Śakti makes a permanent stay with her Pati (husband)—namely, Sadāśiva, or until the union of Sadāśiva and Git is complete, and becomes Pativratā, as already mentioned. The aspirant is then a Jīvan-mukta, or pure Sattva. He is not conscious of this material limitation of the soul. He is all joy, and is the Eternal itself. See vv. 9 and 10. So much of Samayācāra.

“Now to the other methods of Śākta worship; the Kaulas worship the Kuṇḍalinī without rousing her from her sleep[173] in the Mūlādhāra, which is called Kula; and hence Kaulas (Sans. Ku = earth, Pṛthivī; so Mūlādhāra). Beyond the Mūlādhāra they do not rise; they follow the Vāmācāra or black magic,[174] and gain their temporal objects and enjoy; they are not liberated from birth and death; they do not go beyond this earth. Nay, more, the Kaulas are now so far degraded that they have left off altogether the worship of the Kuṇḍalinī in the Mūlādhāra, and have betaken themselves to practices most inhuman, which are far from being divine.[175] The Miśras are far above the Kaulas. They perform all Karmas, worship the Devī or Śakti in the elements, such as the sun, air, etc., and do Upāsanā with Yantras made of gold or other metals. They worship the Kuṇḍalinī, awake her, and attempt to lead her on. Some of the Miśra worshippers rise even as far as the Anāhata.

“We learn from the Commentators that this whole subject of Śakti-worship is treated of in detail in the ‘Taittirīya- Āraṇyaka’ (1st chapter). Some of them even quote from that ‘Āraṇyaka’ in support of their explanations. This subject is vast and a very difficult one. It is not possible for one to go into the intricacies of the subject unless one be a great Guru of vast learning and much personal experience;[176] great works have been written on even single points in the ascent of the aspirant up the psychic centres.[177]

“The followers of the Samaya group are prohibited from worshipping Devī in the Macrocosm. They should worship Her in any of the Cakras in the human body, choosing that centre which their practice and ability permits them to reacḥ. They should contemplate on Devī and Her Lord Śiva as (1) having the same abode (Adhiṣṭhāna-sāmya), (2) occupying the same position (Avaṣṭhāna-sāmya), (3) performing the same functions (Anuṣṭhāna-sāmya), (4) having the same form (Rūpa), and (5) as having the same name (Nāma). Thus, in worshipping Devī in the Ādhāra-Cakra, Śiva and Śakti (1) have Mūlādhāra for their seat, (2) both of them occupy the position of dancers, (3) both together perform the function of creating the universe, (4) both are red in colour, (5) Śiva is called Bhairava, and Śakti Bhairavī.

“Similarly for other Cakras mentioned in the preceding Ślokas. This is the way how beginners have to practise. Advanced students worship Devī in the Sahasrāra, and not in the lower centres. How is the worship to be carried on in Sahasrāra?

“The worshipper should fix his attention on Baindava, which is the locality where the ever-existing 26th Tattva—the union of Śiva and Śakti—resides. It lies above all the 25 Tattvas, and is situated in Candra-maṇḍala (the sphere of the moon) in Sahasrāra. He should contemplate on the said union and identify himself with it. This shows that those who carry on Bāhya-Pūja, or worship in the external world, do not belong to the Samaya School. As regards the identification of oneself with the union of Śiva and Śakti at Baindava just spoken of, there are two ways of realizing it; one is known as the fourfold path, and the other the sixfold path. These should be learnt from the Guru.

“A novitiate in the Samaya School has to go the following course:

“(1) He should cherish the utmost regard for and confidence in his Guru. (2) He should receive the Pañcadaśī- Mantra from his Guru, and chant (repeat) the same according to instructions, with a knowledge of its seer (Rṣi), metre (Chandas), and the Deity (Devatā).[178] (3) On the eighth day in the bright fortnight of Āśvayuja month, Mahā-navamī, he should at midnight prostrate himself at his Guru’s feet, when the latter will be pleased to initiate him in some Mantra and the real nature of the six Cakras and of the sixfold path of identification.

“After he is thus qualified, Lord Mahādeva[179] gives him the knowledge or capacity to see his inner soul.... Then the Kuṇḍalinī awakes, and, going up suddenly to Maṇipūra, becomes visible to the devotee-practitioner. Thence he has to take Her slowly to the higher Cakras one after another, and there perform the prescribed worship, and She will appear to him more and more clearly. When the Ājñā-Cakra is crossed, the Kuṇḍalinī quickly darts away like a flash of lightning to Sahasrāra, and enters the Island of Gems surrounded by the Kalpa trees in the Ocean of Nectar, unites with Sadāśiva there, and enjoys with Him.

“The practitioner should now wait outside the veil[180] until Kuṇḍalinī returns to Her own place, and on Her return continue the process until She is joined for ever with Sadā- śiva in the Sahasrāra, and never returns.

“The process heretofore described and others of a similar nature are always kept secret; yet the commentator says he has, out of compassion towards his disciples, given here an outline of the method.

“Even in the mere expectation of the return of Kuṇḍalinī from Sahasrāra, the aspirant feels Brahmānanda (Brahma bliss). He who has once taken Kuṇḍalinī to Sahasrāra is led to desire nothing but Mokṣa (Liberation), if he has no other expectation. Even if any of the Samaya practitioners have some worldly expectations, they must still worship in the microcosm only.

“‘Subhagodaya’ and other famous works on Śrīvidyā say that the practitioner should concentrate his mind on Devī who resides in Sūrya-maṇḍala (the sun’s disc), and so on. This statement is not at variance with the teaching contained in this book, for the Sūrya-maṇḍala referred to applies to the Piṇḍāṇḍa (microcosm), and not to Brahmāṇḍa (macrocosm). Similarly, all the verses advocating outer worship are to be applied to the corresponding objects in the Piṇḍāṇḍa.”[181]

The last, highest and most difficult form of Yoga is Ṛāja-Yoga. By means of Mantra, Haṭha and Laya-Yoga the practitioner by gradual attainment of purity becomes fit for Savikalpa-Samādhi. It is through Rāja-Yoga alone that he can attain to Nirvikalpa-Samādhi. The former Samādhi or Ecstasy is one in which, unless it perfects into the second kind, there is a return to the world and its experience. This is not so in the Samādhi of Ṛāja-Yoga in which there is not the slightest seed of attachment to the world and in which therefore there is no return thereto but eternal unity with Brahman. The first three kinds of Yoga prepare the way for the fourth.[182] In the Samādhi of Mantra-Yoga the state of Mahābhāva is attained marked by immobility and speechlessness. In the Samādhi of Haṭha- Yoga respiration ceases and to outward experience the Yogī is without sign of animation and like a corpse. In the Samādhi of Laya-Yoga described in this book the Yogī has no outer consciousness and is also immersed in the Ocean of Bliss. The Samādhi of Ṛāja-Yoga is complete (Cit-svarūpa- bhāva) and final (Nirvikalpa) Liberation.[183] There are, it is said, four states of detachment (Vairāgya) from the world[184] corresponding to the four Yogas, the mildest form of Vairāgya being the mark of the first or Mantra-Yoga and the greatest degree of detachment being the mark of the highest Yoga or Ṛāja-Yoga. Another mark of distinction is the prominence given to the mental side. All Yoga is concerned with mental practices but this is more specially so of Ṛāja-Yoga which has been described[185] as the discrimination of the real from the unreal, that is the infinite and enduring from the finite and transient by reasoning with the help of the Upaniṣads and the recognized systems of Philosophy.

The English reader must not, however, identify it with mere philosophising. It is the exercise of Reason by the morally pure and intellectually great under the conditions and subject to the discipline above described with Vairāgya or Renunciation. In the man of Knowledge (Jñānī), Buddhi or Reason holds full sway. Rāja-Yoga comprises sixteen divisions. There are seven varieties of Vicāra (reasoning) in seven planes of knowledge (Bhūmika) called Jñānadā, Sannyāsadā, Yogadā, Līlonmukti, Satpadā, Ānandapadā and Parātparā.[186] By exercise therein the Rāja-Yogī gradually effectively practises the two kinds of Dhāraṇā,[187] viz., Prakṛtyāśraya and Brahmāśraya dependent on Nature or Brahman respectively. There are three kinds of Dhyāna whereby the power of self-realization (Ātmapratyakṣa) is produced. There are four forms of Samādhi. There are three aspects of Brahman, viz., Its gross aspect as immanent in the universe known as the Virāt-Puruṣa, its subtle aspect as the creator, preserver and dissolver of all this as the Lord (Īśvara) and the supreme aspect beyond that is Saccidānanda. Rāja-Yoga lays down different modes of Dhyāna for the three aspects.[188] Of the four Samādhis won by these exercises, in the two first or Savicāra, there is still a subtle connection with the conscious working or the power of Vicāra (reasoning, discernment), but the last two are without this or Nirvicāra. On reaching this fourth state the Rāja-Yogī attains Liberation even when living in the body (Jīvan-mukta) and is severed from the Karmāśraya.[189] In the general view it is only by Rāja-Yoga that this Nirvikalpa-Samādhi is attained.

Footnotes and references:


The Tattva (Reality) is revealed when all thought is gone (Kulārṇava-Tantra, IX, 40.)


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, IV, 5-7. The same simile is used in the Buddhist Demchog Tantra. See Vol. VII, Tāntrik Texts.


IX, 9.


As water poured into water the two are un distinguishable (Kularṇava-Tantra, IX, 15).


Ch. IV, vv. 3, 4.


State of mindlessness. See Nāda-bindu Up.


See Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, IV, v. 37. The Yogī, like the Consciousness with which he is one, is beyond both.


The root pad=“to go to,” and Padam therefore is that to which one has access (Commentary on v. 1, Ch. IV, of Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā).


See Maṇḍala-brāhmaṇa Upaniṣad, II, III.


This is the Nirālaṃbapurī referred to in the Text.


Añjana=Māyopādhi (the Upādhi, or apparently limiting condition produced by Māyā, or appearance); therefore Nirañjana=destitute of that (Tadrahitaṃ [Tadrahita]), or Śuddham [Śuddha] (pure)—that is, the Brahman.—Commentary Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā IV, v. 1.


Varāha-Upaniṣad, Ch. V, II; Yoga-tattva Up. A useful analysis of Yoga will be found in Rajendra Ghose’s “Śaṃkara and Rāmānuja”. Mention is also made of a threefold division corresponding to the three Vaidik Kāṇḍas, viz., Karma-Yoga (Karma-Kāṇḍa), Bhakti-Yoga (Upāsanā- Kāṇḍa), Jñāna or Rāja-Yoga (Jñāna-Kāṇḍa). Karma-Yoga is good action without desire for its fruit. Bhakti-Yoga is devotion to God.


There are forms of Yoga, such as that with the elements giving “powers” (Siddhi) over them, to which different considerations apply. This is a part of Magic, and not of religion. So the uniting of Prāṇa with the Tejas-Tattva in the navel (Āgneyī-dhāranā-mudra) is said to secure immunity from fire.


This grand concept, therefore, is a name for all those laws (of which “religion” is but one) which hold the universe together. It is the inherent law of all manifested being. It is thus the Law of Form, the essence of which is beyond both Dharma or Adharma. As pain follows wrong-doing, the Vaiśeṣika-Darśana describes Dharma as “that by which happiness is attained in this and the next world, and birth and suffering are brought to an end (Mokṣa-dharma)”.


According to Indian notions, anger is the worst of sins.


Varāha Upaniṣad, Ch. V. The preliminaries are necessary only for those who have not attained. For those who have, Niyama, Āsana, and the like, are needless. Kulārṇava-Tantra, XI, 28, 29.


As the Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā says: “He who knows Yoga should preserve his semen. For the expenditure of the latter tends to death, but there is life for him who preserves it.”

evaṃ saṃrakṣayet binduṃ mrityuṃ jayati yogavit.
maraṇaṃ bindupātena jīvanaṃ bindudhāraṇāt.

See also Yogatattva Upaniṣad, which says that Haṭha-yoga secures such personal beauty to the Yogī that all women will desire him, but they must be resisted. And see also v. 90, which shows the connection between semen, mind, and life. In the early stages of Haṭha-yoga Sādhana the heat goes upwards, the penis shrinks, and sexual powers are largely lost. Coition with emission of semen at this stage is likely to prove fatal. But a Siddha regains his sexual power and can exercise it. For if as is said fire and the other elements cannot hurt him, what can a woman do? Presumably, however, the dictum cited applies, for continence must in all cases tend to strength and longevity. It may, however, be that the physical perfection assumed negatives the ill effects observed in ordinary men.


Yoga-yājñavalkya (Ch. I) says: “32 mouthfuls for householder, 16 for a forest recluse, and 8 for a Muni.”


For foods detrimental to Yoga, see Yoga-tattva Upaniṣad, Yoga- kuṇḍalī Upaniṣad.


Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I; see also Maṇḍala-brāhmaṇa Upaniṣad.


Which is either spoken (which, again, is loud or soft) or mental (Śāṇḍilya-Upaniṣad).


See Ch. I, vv. 16, 17, Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, and p. 123, Sanskrit Text, post. The Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I, gives Vrata as the last, which is described as the observance of actions enjoined and refraining from actions prohibited. See also Ch. V, Varāha Up.


Patañjali’s Yoga-Sūtra, Ch. II, 30, 32.


So, as was the case in our Mediaeval guilds, religion inspires Indian Art; and Indian speculation is associated with religion as was the Western scholastic philosophy. In modern times in the West, the relevancy of religion in these matters has not been generally considered to be apparent, craftsmanship in the one case and intelligence in the other being usually thought to be sufficient.


Such as the Sudhā (nectar) which is gained in the heavens (Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Comm, to v. 9, Ch. I). Renunciation may doubtless be practised by giving up what one wants, but renunciation or abandonment (Tyāga) here means the want of desire of enjoyment (Tyāgah=bhogecchābhāvaḥ) (ib.). Those who seek the joys of any heaven can never attain the end of monistic Yoga.


Yama, Niyama, Asana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyāhāra.


Dhyāna, Dhāraṇā, Samādhi which is both incomplete (Savikalpa or Saṃprajñāta) and complete (Nirvikalpa or Asaṃprajñāta).


See Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, Fourth Upadeśa; Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I; Amṛtanāda Upaniṣad; Maṇḍala-brāhmaṇa Upaniṣad, First Brāhmaṇa. The Śāradā- Tilaka defines Pratyāhāra as “the forcible obstruction of the senses wandering over their objects” (indriyānāṃ vicaratāṃ viṣayeṣu balād āharaṇaṃ tebhyaḥ pratyāhāraḥ vidhīyate). The Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad (loc. cit.) speaks of five kinds of Pratyāhāra, the last of which is Dhārāṇa on eighteen important points of the body.


Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I; Amṛtanāda Upaniṣad; Maṇḍalabrāhmaṇa Upaniṣad, First Brāhmaṇa.


vijātīya-pratyaya-tiraskāra-pūrvaka-sajātīya-vṛttikābhiḥ, nirantara (vyāpti-viṣayīkṛta-caitanyaṃ yasya, tat tādṛśaṃ cittaṃ antaḥkaraṇaṃ yeśām
  —(Comm, on v. 35 of the Triśatī, on the title of the Devī as Ekāgra- citta-nirdhyātā).

Those from whose Citta or Antaḥkaraṇa (inner sense) have been removed all impressions of a conflicting nature and are constantly realizing or experiencing Caitanya.


Śāndilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I; Mandala-brāhmana Upaniṣad, First Brāhmana.


Varāha Upaniṣad, Ch. II.


Amṛtanāda Up.


Yogakuṇḍalī Upaniṣad, Ch. III.


Comm. v. 35 of Triśatī.


Comm, ibid.,—manaso vṛttiśūnyasya brahmākāratayā sthitiḥ.—The mind has always Vṛtti (modifications)—that is, Guṇa. If the Jīva’s mind is freed of these, he is Brahman.


See Yoga-tattva-Upaniṣad.


See two publications by the Śrī Bhārata-dharma-mahāmaṇḍala—Mantra-yoga and Haṭha-yoga in the Dharma-Pracāra Series (Benares). The latter in a short compass explain the main essentials of each of the four systems.


This is an essentially Tāntrik principle. See Kulārṇava, Ch. II.


Vide ante, p. 192.


“The Deva of the unawakened (Aprabuddha) is in Images; of the Vipras in Fire; of the wise in the Heart. The Deva of those who know the Ātmā is everywhere.” (Kulārṇava-Tantra, IX, 44) “O BeautifulEyed! Not in Kailāsa, Meru, or Mandara, do I dwell. I am there where the knowers of the Kula doctrine are.” v. 94).


See “Introduction to Tantra-Śāstra”.


Ib. These ritual Mudrās are not to be confused with the Yoga. Mudrās later described.


See “Introduction to Tantra-Śāstra”.


See the short summary of the Haṭha-yoga Saṃhitā given in the Dharma-Pracāra Series (śrī bhārata-dharma-mahā-maṇḍala, Benares).


IX, 30.


See section on “Power as Life” (Prāṇa-Śakti) in “The World As Power”.


According to Hindu ideas semen (Śukra) exists in a subtle form throughout the whole body. Under the influence of the sexual will it is wiṃdrawn and elaborated into a gross form in the sexual organs. To be ūrdhvaretas is not merely to prevent the emission of gross semen already formed but to prevent its formation as gross seed, and its absorption in the general system. The body of a man who is truly ūrdhvaretas has the scent of a lotus. A chaste man where gross semen has formed may, on the other hand, smell like a buck goat.


Citta has two causes—Vāsanā and Prāṇa. If one is controlled, then both are controlled (Yogakuṇḍalī Upaniṣad, Ch. I).


Vāta, Kapha and Pitta. These will be found described in my Introduction to the Prapañcasāra-Tantra, Vol. III of Tāntrik Texts, and “The World As Power”.


The intestines are depleted of air and then by the action of the anal muscles water is sucked in. It naturally flows in to fill the void created by the depletion of air in the intestines. Another feat which I have seen is the drawing in of air and fluid into the urethra, and out again. Apart from its suggested medical value as a lavement of the bladder it is a mudrā used in sexual connection whereby the Haṭha-yogī sucks into himself the forces of the woman without ejecting any of his force or substance—a practice which (apart from any other ground) is to be condemned as injurious to the woman who “withers” under such treatment.


Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, Third Upadeśa (v. 85); see also Haṭhayoga- pradīpikā, II, 21-38.


A Yāma is three hours.


Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, Second Upadeśa (v. 23). That is, squatting resting on the toes, the heels off the ground, and buttocks resting on heels. A Haṭha-yogī can, it is said, give himself a natural enema by sitting in water and drawing it up through the anus. The sphincter muscles are opened and shut, and suction established.


Ibid., v. 20.


Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, Second Upadeśa. In the Śiva-Saṃhitā (Ch. III, w. 84-91) eighty-four postures are mentioned, of which four are recommended—viz-, Siddhāsana, Ugrāsana, Svastikāsana and Padmāsana. Another account given me added four more—Baddha-padmāsana, Trikoṇāsana, Mayūrāsana, Bhujaṅgāsana.


The right foot is placed on the left thigh, the left foot on the right thigh, and the hands are crossed and placed similarly on the thighs; the chin is placed on the breast, and the gaze fixed on the tip of the nose (see also Śiva-Saṃhitā, Ch. I, v. 52).


The same, except that the hands are passed behind the back, and the right hand holds the right toe and the left hand the left toe. By this, increased pressure is placed on the Mūlādhāra, and the nerves are braced with the tightening of the body. The position is figured in Plate XVII.


Some Yogīs can make both the penis and testes disappear in the pubic arch so that the body has the appearance of that of a woman.


In successful Śavāsana the Devī, it is said, appears to the Sādhaka. In Śava-sādhana the Sādhaka sits astride on the back of a corpse (heading the north), on which he draws a Yantra and then does Japa of Mantra with Ṣoḍhānyāsa and Pūjā on its head. A corpse is selected as being a pure form of orgaṃzed matter, since the Devatā which is invoked into it is the Mahā-vidyā whose Svarūpa is Nirguṇa-brahman, and by such invocation becomes Saguṇa. The corpse is free from sin or desire. The only Vāyu in it is the Dhanaṃjaya, “which leaves not even a corpse”. The Devatā materializes by means of the corpse. There is a possession of it (Āveśa)—that is, entry of the Devatā into the dead body. At the conclusion of a successful rite, it is said, that the head of the corpse turns round, and, facing the Sādhaka, speaks, bidding him name his boon, which may be spiritual or worldly advancement as he wishes. This is part of Nīla Sādhana done by the “Hero” (Vīra), for it and Śavāsana are attended by many terrors.


As the Yogakuṇḍalī-Upaniṣad says (Ch. III), the outer burning is no burning at all.


Pātañjala-Yogasūtra, 46, 47 (sthira-sukhaṃ āsanaṃ).


See Ch. II of Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, and Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, I, vv. 19-35; Śāṇḍilya-Upaniṣad, Ch. I.


Ch. I, v. 39.


According to the Commentary on the Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā (Ch. IV, v. 37), Mudrā is so called because it removes pain and sorrow (mudrayati kleśaṃ iti mudrā). See Ch. III of Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā.


Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, Third Upadeśa.


Ibid., v. 12.


The lips are formed to resemble the beak of a crow, and the air gently drawn in (Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, III, 86, 87).


Hūm is. called Kūrca-Bīja. Huṃ is Kavaca-Bīja=“May I be protected.” Hūṃ stands for Kāma (desire) and Krodha (anger). Kāma here means creative will (Sṛṣṭi) and Krodha its reverse, or dissolution (Laya). So-called “angry” Devatās are not angry in the ordinary sense, but are then in that aspect in which they are Lords of Dissolution, an aspect which seems angry or terrible to the worldly minded. It is said of the Tarā-mantra that the Hūṃ in it is the sound of the wind as it blew with force on the Cola lake to the west of Meru what time She manifested. Haṃsaḥ [Haṃsa]=Prakṛti (Saḥ) and Puruṣa (Haṃ) or Jīvātmā. This Mantra is used in taking Kuṇḍalinī up, and So’haṃ (He I am) in bringing Her down. Haṃ also=Sun (Sūrya), and Saḥ=Moon (Indu) = Kāma=Icchā.


Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, Third Upadeśa.


Ibid., vv. 37, 49, 82.


Ibid., III, vv. 49-61.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Commentary to Ch. II, v. 72.


The Mantra Haṃsah is the breath held in Kuṃbhaka.


Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, III, 37-42. The Yoni-mudrā “which detaches the Manas from the objective world,” is described in the Comm, to v. 36, post.


Ibid., v. 25. et seq.


See as to this tapping Plate IX which shows the position of the ground before or after it has been tapped.


Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, Ch. III, v. 114 et seq.


So called, according to the Dhyāna-bindu Upaniṣad, because Citta moves in Kha (Ākāśa) and the tongue through this Mudrā enters Kha.


Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, Ch. III, vv. 25-27. Suspension of breath and insensibility result, so that the Yogī may be buried in the ground without air, food, or drink, as in the case of the Yogī spoken of in the accounts of Dr. McGregor and Lieut. A. H. Boileau, cited in N. C. Paul’s “Treatise on the Yoga Philosophy,” p. 46. In Ch. IV, v. 80, of the Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, it is said that concentration between the eyebrows is the easiest and quickest way of attainment of Unmanī Avasthā. See Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I; Dhyāna-bindu Up.


Yoga-kuṇḍalī Upaniṣad, Ch. II.


Ib.. Ch. III, vv. 55-76. There is also the Mahā-Bandha. (See Plate XIII) Ch. II, v. 45, says that Jālaṃdhara should be done at the end of Pūraka; and Uḍḍiyāṇa-Bandha at the end of Kuṃbhaka and beginning of Rechaka. See also Yoga-kuṇḍalī Upaniṣad, Ch. I. Ib., Ch. III, v. 57; Yoga-tattva Upaniṣad, Dhyāna-bindu Up. The Varāha Upaniṣad, Ch. V, says that as Prāṇa is always flying up (Uḍḍiyāṇa), so this Bandha, by which its flight is arrested, is called Uddīyāṇa-Bandha. Yoga-kuṇḍalī Upaniṣad, Ch. I, says, because Prāṇah uddīyate (goes up the Suṣumnā) in this Bandha, it is called Uḍḍiyāṇa.


The Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I, defines Prāṇāyāma to be the union of Prāṇa and Apāna. Nāda and Bindu are thus united.


See Āgama-kalpadruma, cited in notes to v. 50, post, comm., and Dhyāna-bindu Up. The Yoga-kuṇḍalī Upaniṣad, Ch. I, says that the downward tendency of Apāna is forced up by bending down.


vahner maṇḍalaṃ trikoṇaṃ nābher adhobhāge (Haṭhayoga- pradīpikā, ib. v. 66).


See Commentary, post, v. 33.


The “Moon” is situate _in the palatal region near Ājñā. Here is the Soma-Cakra under the Ājñā, and from the Soma-Cakra comes a stream of nectar which, according to some, has its origin above. It descends to the “Sun” near the navel, which swallows it. By the process of Viparīta-karaṇa these are made to change positions, and the internal fire (Jāṭharāgni) is increased. In the Viparīta position the Yogī stands on his head.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, II, vv. 46, 47; Yoga-tattva Upaniṣad, Dhyāna- bindu Up. Yoga-kuṇḍalī Up. (Ch. I) says that the contraction of the upper part of the body is an impediment to the passage of the Vāyu upwards.


Dhyāna-bindu Upaniṣad, ib. III, v. 19, done in conjunction with Mahā- mudrā and Mahā-vedha, described post; ib., v. 25, and Yoga-tattva Upaniṣad.


dairghyaṃ āyāma ārohah pariṇāho viśālatā (Amarakośa Dictionary).


Commentary Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, III, v. 27.


Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I.


pānasya śūnyapadavī tathā rājapathāyate (ib., vv. 2, 3).


That is, they are relaxed and devitalized, as every part of the body is from which the Prāṇa-Śakti is withdrawn.


The Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I says: “As lions, elephants, and tigers are gradually tamed, so also the breath when rightly managed comes under control; else it kills the practitioner.” It should not, therefore, be attempted without instruction. Many have injured themselves and some have died through mistakes made in the processes, which must be adapted to the needs of each person. Hence the necessity for an experienced Guru.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Ch. II, vv. 1-6.


Dhyāna-bindu Upaniṣad, and see Amṛtanāda Upaniṣad, Varāha Upaniṣad, Ch. V. Maṇḍala-brāhmaṇa Upaniṣad.


The Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I, says that by Kevala, the knowledge of Kuṇḍalī arises, and man becomes Ūrdhva-retas—that is, his seminal energy goes upward instead of developing into the gross seed which is thrown by Apāna downwards. Bindu (seminal energy) must be conquered, or the Yoga fails. As to the Bhedas associated with Sahita, see Ch. I, Yogakuṇḍalī-Upaniṣad.


See Introduction to Prapañcasāra-Tantra, Tāntrik Texts, Vol. III, p. 11, et seq.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, II, 44-75.


Yoga-kuṇḍalī Upaniṣad, Ch. I.


See Yoga-Sūtra, ed. Manilal Nabhubhai Dvivedi, Ap. VI.


See commentary to Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Ch. II, v. 12.


This is the Mantra-Haṃsah manifested by Prāṇa. See Dhyāna- bindu Up. Haṃsaḥ [Haṃsa] is Jīvātmā, and Paramahaṃsa is Paramātmā. See Haṃsa-Upaniṣad.


Gheraṇḍa-Saṃhitā, Sixth Upadeśa. It is said by Bhāskararāya, in the Lalitā (v. 53), that there are three forms of the Devī which equally partake of both the Prakāṣa and Vimarśa aspects—viz., the physical (Sthūla), the subtle (Sūkṣma), and the supreme (Para). The physical form has hands, feet, etc., the subtle consists of Mantra, and the supreme is the Vāsanā, or, in the technical sense of the Mantra Śāstra, own form. The Kulārṇava-Tantra divides Dhyāna into Sthūla and Sūkṣma (IX, 3) beyond which, it says, is Samādhi.


Seventh Upadeśa.


Ibid., Third Upadeśa, v. 65 et seq.


Ibid., v. 25 et seq.


Ibid., Fifth Upadeśa, v. 77 et seq.


In the Lalitā (v. 193) the Devī is addressed as Layakarī—the cause of Lay a or absorption.


Śṛṅgāra is the love sentiment or sexual passion and sexual union. Here Śṛṅgāra-rasa is the cosmic root of that. The first of the eight or nine Rasas (sentiments)—viz., Śṛṅgāra, Vīra (heroism), Karuṇa (compassion), Adbhūta (wondering), Hāsya (humour), Bhayānaka (fear), Bībhatsa (disgust), Raudra (wrath), to which Mammata-bhatta, author of the Kāvyaprakāśa, adds Śānti (peace). What the Yogī enjoys is that supersensual bliss which manifests on the earthly plane as material Śṛṅgāra.


Ibid., Fifth Upadeśa, v. 82.


Ch. II, v. 78.


As the Nādabindu Up. says, the sound controls the mind which roves in the pleasure-garden of the senses.


As the Amṛtanāda-Upaniṣad says (v. 24), the Akṣara (imperishable) is that which is Aghoṣa (without sound), which is neither vowel nor consonant and is not uttered.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Ch. IV, vv. 65-102.


Amṛtanāda-Upaniṣad, Ch. IV, v. 66, says that Śiva has given out a quarter of a crore (2,500,000) of ways for the attainment of Laya, though Nāda is the best of them all.


See Dharma-Pracāra Series, 9.


Of the several forms of Prāṇāyāma given in Haṭha-Yoga, it is said that only two are employed in Laya-Yoga.


Varāha-Upaniṣad, Ch. V.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Ch. III, v. 1: Sarveṣāṃ yoga-tantrāṇāṃ tathādhārā hi Kuṇḍalī.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Ch. III, v. 105:

udghātayet kapāta tu yathā kuñcikayā hathāt.
kuṇḍalinyā tathā yogī mokṣadvāraṃ vibhedayet.

The same verse occurs in Ch. III, v. 5, of the Gherāṇḍa-Saṃhitā.

The Yoga-kuṇḍalī Upaniṣad, Ch. I, calls Sarasvatī Arundhatī, saying that it is by arousing Her that Kuṇḍalī is aroused. When Kuṇḍalī wishes to go up nothing can stop Her. Therefore She is called Arundhatī, which is also the name of a Nāḍī.


Yoga-Kuṇḍali Upaniṣad Ch. I.


As given by Yājñavalkya, cited in Commentary to v. 113, Ch. III, of Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, which also refers to the Gorakṣa-śataka. The verse itself appears to fix its position as between the penis and navel (Nābhi), twelve fingers (Vitasti) above the Mūla-sthāna. Kaṇḍa is also applied to the seat of Prāṇa, the heart (see Ṣaṭcakra-nirūpaṇa, v. 8.)


See “Principles of Tantra,” Chs. XI, XII, et seq. It is because She is Mantra-devatā that She is roused by Mantra.


See “Garland of Letters” as to the Kalās.


She is creation itself (Sṛṣṭi-rūpā), vv. 10, 11, post; in Her are creation, maintenance, and dissolution, Sṛṣṭi-sthiti-layātmikā, ib.


For She is also beyond the universe (Viśvātītā) and is Consciousness itself (Jñānarūpā), ib. Ās such She is thought of as going upward, as in descending She creates and binds.


Viśvanātha the Commentator says that She makes this sound when awakened. According to the Commentator Śaṃkara, this indicates the Vaikharī state of Kuṇḍalinī.


Thus, Prāṇa and Apāna are declared to be the maintainers of animate being (v. 3, post).


See “Principles of Tantra,” Ch. XI, and XII.


Veda is one with Caitanya. As Śaṃkara says (comm. Triśatī, v. 19), dealing with the Pañcadaśi-Mantra:

sarve vedā yatrā ekam bhavanti, etc.
śrutyā vedasya ātmabhedena svaprakāśatayā.


And because it is without such authorship and is “heard” only, it is called Śruti (“what is heard”):

śruyate eva na tu kena cit kriyate
  —(Vācaspati-Miśra in Sāṃkhya-Tattva Kaumudī);

And see the Yāmala cited in Prāṇatoṣiṇī, 19: “Veda is Brahman; it came out as His breathing.”


The term Veda is derived from the root vid, to know.


Veda, according to Vedānta, is that word without human authorship which tells of Brahman and Dharma:

dharma-brahma-pratipādakaṃ apauruṣeyaṃ vākyaṃ.


Sākṣātkāra—that is, Nirvāṇa Experience (Aparokṣa-jñāna) as opposed to indirect (parokṣa) or merely intellectual knowledge.


  —(Śaṃkara’s Commentary on Triśatī, v. 8).

The Vedānta here means Upaniṣad, and not any particular philosophy so called.


See Lakṣmīdhara’s Comm. on. v. 9, “Saundaryalahari,” p. 28. Diṇḍima on v. 35, ib., p. 67, says that the eight forms are the six (“Mind” to “Earth”), the Sun and Moon.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Ch. IV, v. 10.


Ib., v. 11; upon what follows refer also to Ch. IV, ib. passim.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Ch. IV, vv. 16 and 17, Commentary thereto.


Ib., vv. 19-21, and Commentary (tattva-jñānam mano-nāśo vāsanā- kṣaya eva ca).


See ante, and Varāha Upaniṣad, Ch. V.


Ib.. Ch. III, v. 106. See Bhūtaśuddhi-Tantra cited under v. 50, post.


Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā, Ch. III, v. 112 et seq.


As related by a Yogī from Girnar speaking of his own case.


See Varāha-Upaniṣad, Ch. III.


Śāṇḍilya-Upaniṣad, Ch. I; Yogakuṇḍalī Upaniṣad, Ch. I.


The account here given follows and amplifies the text. The Commentary to v. 50, post,


Vide ante and Dhyānabindu Upaniṣad.


According to the Vedāntik definition; or the five Tanmātras, according to Sāṃkhya. The Citta (mind) therefore enters Suṣumnā along with Prāṇa (Yoga-tattva-Upaniṣad and Dhyāna-bindu Up).


A form of Apāna-Vāyu.


Ch. I.


“Saundaryalahari,” pp. 60, 61.


See as to all these Śaktis of the Praṇava, the “Garland of Letters”.


svasaṃvedyaṃ etat brahma kumārī-strī-sukhaṃ yathā,—Cited in Commentary to v. 15 of Ch. I of the Haṭhayoga-pradīpikā.


So all the eight Bhāvas commencing with Sveda, Staṃbha, including the well-known Romāncha or thrill in which the hair stands on end (Pulaka), the choking voice (Sara-bhaṅga), pallor (Vaivarṇaya), and so forth, are all Sāttvik. The objection of an Indian friend, that these Bhāvas could not be Sāttvik inasmuch as Sattva was “spiritual,” is an apt instance of the disassociation from Indian thought effected by English education and the danger of rendering the terms of Saṃskrit into Englisḥ.


It is not a Tāmasik thing such as dream or madness, etc.


Sahodara—that is, brothers born of the same mother. Sexual-bliss is the reflection (faint comparatively though it be) of formless Brahmanbliss of which it is a form.


Ch. VI:

sahasrāropari bindau kuṇḍalyā melanaṃ śive.
maithunaṃ paramaṃ dravyaṃ yatīnāṃ parikīrtitaṃ


As to the Samaya practice, v. post, p. 246, et seq.


See Mahānirvāṇa-Tantra Ullāsa, Ch. V, vv. 98, 99, where the Bhūta-śuddhi process is shortly described. Also Devī-Bhāgavata, cited, post.


The worse or weaker side.


Great Power (Siddhi) is had by the man who can keep Kuṇḍalī Śakti in the Sahasrāra three days and three nights.


Laksmīdhara, cited by Anantakṛṣṇa-Śāstri, “Saundaryalahari,” p. 62.


For this reason the Sahasrāra is also called Bhāloka (from the root bha, “to shine”).


Śāṇḍilya Upaniṣad, Ch. I.


Kulārṇava-Tantra, Ch. V. Maṇḍalabrāhmaṇa Up. Tamas is destroyed there.


“Saundaryalahari,” pp. 5-10.


This term is apparently of varying significance. It seems to be used here in a sense opposed to, some forms at least of, Kulācāra, and is yet used in the Kaula-Śāstras, to denote their worship with the Pañcatattva.


In this and other citations from the Paṇḍit the English equivalents of Sanskrit terms are unsuitable, as might be expected in one to whom English is not his own tongue.


A statement by the same author at p. 75 is in apparent contradiction with this. He there says, citing Lakṣmīdhara: The Kaulas who worship Kuṇḍalinī in the Mūlādhāra have no other aim than awakening it from its sleep. When this is done, they think that they have attained their object, and there they stop. In their own words, the Kaulas have Nirvāṇa always near at hand.


Vāmācāra is not “black magic,” the nearest Sanskrit equivalent for which is Abhicāra. There may have been, as the Mahākāla-Saṃhitā says (Ullāsa II), some Kaulas who, like the Vaidikas, sought enjoyment in this and the next world, and not Liberation:

(aihikārthaṃ kāmayanti amṛte ratiṃ na kurvanti).

But to state baldly that Kaulas as a whole do not rouse Kuṇḍalinī and lead her to the Sahasrāra is incorrect. Pūrṇānanda-Swāmī, the author of the text here translated, was himself a Kaula, and the whole object of the work is to secure Liberation (Mokṣa).


The Paṇḍit here apparently adopts the opinion of Lakṣmīdhara, a follower of the so-called Samaya School, and an opponent of the Kaulas. If (as is probably the case) “inhuman” is the Paṇḍit’s phraseology, it is inapt. But there have been different communities with very differing views and practice, a Brahma-Kaula and a Kāpālika. See as to the rituals to which the Paṇḍit refers “Śakti and Śākta,” (Secret Ritual).


Here I wholeheartedly agree with my distinguished friend the Paṇḍit.


See “Saundaryalahari,” pp. 5-10.


The Ṛṣi of the Mantra is he to whom it was first revealed; the metre is that in which it was first uttered by Śiva; and the Devatā is the Artha of the Mantra as Śabda. The Artha is fivefold as Devatā, Ādhi-devatā, Pratyādhi-devatā, Varṇādhi-devta [devatā?] and Mantrādhi-devatā.


Śiva initiates him in the knowledge of Brahman. Thus, Śiva is considered the Teacher of the Spiritual Gurus (Ādinātha).


This, as well as some other details of this description, I do not follow. Who is waiting outside the veil? The Jīva is, on the case stated, within, if there be a veil, and what is it?


“Saundaryalahari,” pp. 75-77, ending with: “For full particulars of these principles vide ‘Śuka Saṃhitā,’ one of the five Saṃhitās of the Samaya group.”


Rāja-Yoga, by Swāmī Dayānanda, published by Śrī-Bhārata Dharma- Mahāmaṇḍala, Banaras.


Ibid., 19, 20.


Mṛdu (intermittent, vague and weak), Madhyama (middling), Adhimātra (high degree when worldly enjoyment even becomes a source of pain), Para (highest when the mind is turned completely from worldly objects and cannot be brought back to them under any circumstances).


Ibid., 5.


Similarly there are seven Bhūmikās or planes of Karma, viz., Vividiṣā or Śubhecchā, Vicāranā, Tanumānasā, Sattāpatti Asaṃśakti, Padārthābhāvini [Padārthābhāvinī?], Turyagā and also seven planes of Worship (Upāsanā Bhūmikā), viz., Nāmapara, Rūpapara, Vibhūtipara, Śaktipara, Guṇapara, Bhāvapara, Svarūpapara.


See p. 207, ante,


Rāja-Yoga, by Dayānanda Swāmī, 19.


The mass of Karma Saṃskāras in their seed (Bīja) state.

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