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 7 - Theoretical Bases of this Yoga (Kuṇḍalinī and Laya-Yoga)

This Yoga has been widely affirmed. The following review does not profess to be exhaustive, for the literature relating to Kuṇḍalinī and Laya-Yoga is very great, but includes merely a short reference to some of the Upaniṣads and Purāṇas which have come under my notice, and of which I kept a note, whilst engaged in this work.[1] It will, however, clearly establish that this doctrine concerning the Cakras, or portions of it, is to be found in other Śāstras than the Tantras, though the references in some cases are so curt that it is not always possible to say whether they are dealing with the matter in the same Yoga-sense as the work here translated or as forms of worship (Upāsanā). It is to noted in this connection that Bhūta-śuddhi is a rite which is considered to be a necessary preliminary to the worship of a Deva.[2] It is obvious that if we understand the Bhūta-śuddhi to here mean the Yoga practice described, then, with the exception of the Yogī expert in this Yoga, no one would be competent for worship at all. For it is only the accomplished (Siddha) Yogī who can really take Kuṇḍalinī to the Sahasrāra. In this ordinary daily Bhūta- śuddhi, therefore, the process is purely a mental or imaginary one, and therefore forms part of worship or Upāsanā, and not Yoga. Further, as a form of worship the Sādhaka may, and does, adore his Iṣṭa-devatā in various parts of his body. This, again, is a part of Upāsanā. Some of the Śāstras however; next mentioned, clearly refer to the Yoga process, and others appear to do so.

In what are called the earliest Upaniṣads,[3] mention is made of certain matters which are more explicitly described in such as are said by Western orientalists to be of later date. Thus, we find reference to the four states of consciousness, waking, and so forth; the four sheaths; and to the cavity of the heart as a “soul” centre.

As already stated, in the Indian schools the heart was considered to be the seat of the waking consciousness. The heart expands during waking, and contracts in sleep. Into it, during dreaming sleep (Svapna), the external senses are withdrawn, though the representative faculty is awake; until in dreamless sleep (Suṣupti), it also is withdrawn. Reference is also made to the 72,000 Nāḍīs; the entry and exit of the Prāṇa through the Brahma-randhra (above the foramen of Monro and the middle commissure); and “up-breathing” through one of these Nāḍīs. These to some extent probably involve the acceptance of other elements of doctrine not expressly stated. Thus, the reference to the Brahma-randhra and the “one nerve” imply the cerebro-spinal axis with its Suṣumnā, through which alone the Prāṇa passes to the Brahma-randhra; for which reason, apparently, the Suṣumnā itself is referred to in the Śiva-saṃhītā as the Brahma-randhra. Liberation is finally effected by “knowledge.” which, as the ancient Aitareya-Āraṇyaka says,[4] “is Brahman”.

The Haṃsa Upaniṣad[5] opens with the statement that the knowledge therein contained should be communicated only to the Brahmacārī of peaceful mind (Śānta), self-controlled (Dānta) and devoted to the Guru (Guru-bhakta). Nārāyaṇa, the Commentator, who cites amongst other works the Tāntrik Compendium the Śāradā-Tilaka, describes himself as “one whose sole support is Śruti[6] (nārāyaṇena śrutimātropajīvinā). The Upaniṣad (§ 4) mentions by their names the six Cakras, as also the method of raising of Vāyu from the Mūlādhāra—that is, the Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga. The Haṃsa (that is, Jīva) is stated to be in the eight-petalled lotus below Anāhata[7] (§ 7) where the Iṣṭa-devatā is worshipped. There are eight petals, with which are associated certain Vṛttis. With the Eastern petal is associated virtuous inclination (Puṇye matiḥ); with the South-Eastern, sleep (Nidrā) and laziness (Ālasya); with the Southern, badness or cruelty (Krūramati); with the South-Western, sinful inclination (pāpe manīṣā); with the Western, various inferior or bad qualities (Krīdā); with the North-Western, intention in movement or action (gamanādau buddhiḥ); with the Northern, attachment and pleasurable contentment (Rati and Prīti); and with the North-Eastern petal, manual appropriation of things (Dravya- grahaṇa).[8] In the centre of this lotus is dispassion (Vairāgya). In the filaments is the waking state (Jāgrad-avasthā); in the pericarp the sleeping state (Svapna); in the stalk the state of dreamless slumber (Suṣupti). Above the lotus is “the place without support” (Nirālaṃba-pradeśa), which is the Turīya state. The Commentator Nārāyaṇa says that the Vṛtti of the petals are given in the Adhyātma-viveka which assigns them to the various lotuses. In the passage cited from the Haṃsopaniṣad, they, or a number of these, appear to be collected in the centre of meditation upon the Iṣṭa-devatā. In § 9 ten kinds of sound (Nāda) are mentioned which have definite physical effects, such as perspiration, shaking, and the like, and by the practice of the tenth kind of Nāda the Brahmapada is said to be attained.

The Brahma-Upaniṣad[9] mentions in v. 2 the navel (Nābhi), heart (Hṛdaya), throat (Kaṇtha), and head (Mūrdhā), places (Sthāna) “where the four quarters of the Brahman shine”. The Commentator Nārāyaṇa says that the Brahmopaniṣad, by the mention of these four, indicates that they are the centres from which the Brahman may (according to the method there prescribed) be attained.[10] Reference is made to the lotuses at these four places, and the mind is spoken of as the “tenth door” the other nine apertures being the eyes, ears, nostrils, and so forth.

The Dhyānabindu-Upaniṣad[11] refers to the hearing of the Anāhata sounds by the Yogī (v. 3). The Upaniṣad directs that with Pūraka meditation should be done in the navel on the Great Powerful One (Mahā-vīra) with four arms and of the colour of the hemp flower (i.e., Viṣṇu); with Kuṃbhaka meditate in the heart on the red Brahmā seated on a lotus; and with Recaka think of the threeeyed one (Rudra) in the forehead. The lowest of these lotuses has eight petals; the second has its head downwards; and the third, which is compounded of all the Devatas (Sarvadevamaya), is like a plantain flower (vv. 9-12). In v. 13, meditation is directed on a hundred lotuses with a hundred petals each, and then on Sun, Moon, and Fire. It is Ātmā which rouses the lotus, and, taking the Bīja from it, goes to Moon, Fire, and Sun.

The Amṛtanāda-Upaniṣad[12] refers to the five elements and above them Ardhamātra—that is, Ājñā (vv. 30, 31). The elements here are those in the Cakras, for v. 26 speaks of the heart entrance as the aerial entrance (for the Vāyu- Tattva is here). Above this, it is said, is the gate of Liberation (Mokṣa-dvāra). It is stated in v. 25 that Prāṇa and Manas go along the way the Yogī sees (paśyati), which the Commentator says refers to the way Prāṇa enters (and departs from) Mūlādhāra, and so forth. He also gives some Haṭha processes.

The Kṣurikā-Upaniṣad[13] speaks of the 72,000 Nāḍīs, and of Idā, Piṅgalā and Suṣumnā (vv. 14, 15). All these, with the exception of Suṣumnā, can “be served by Dhyāna- Yoga” (ib.). Verse 8 directs the Sādhaka “to get into the white and very subtle Nāda (Quaere Nāḍī) and to drive Prāṇa-Vāyu through it”; and Pūraka, Recaka, Kuṃbhaka, and Haṭha processes are referred to. The Commentator Nārāyaṇa on v. 8, remarks that Kuṇḍalī should be heated by the internal fire and then placed inside the Brahma-nāḍī, for which purpose the Jālandhara-Bandha should be employed.

The Nṛsiṃha-pūrvatāpanīya Upaniṣad[14] in Ch. V, v. 2, speaks of the Sudarśana (which is apparently here the Mūlādhāra) changing into lotuses of six, eight, twelve, sixteen, and thirty-two petals respectively. This corresponds with the number of petals as given in this work except as to the second. For, taking this to be the Svādhiṣṭhāna, the second lotus should be one of ten petals. Apparently this divergence is due to the fact that this is the number of letters in the Mantra assigned to this lotus. For in the six-petalled lotus is the six-lettered Mantra of Sudarśana; in the eightpetalled lotus the eight-lettered Mantra of Nārāyaṇa; and in the twelve-petalled lotus the twelve-lettered Mantra of Vāsudeva. As is the case ordinarily, in the sixteen-petalled lotus are the sixteen Kalās (here vowels) sounded with Bindu or Anusvāra. The thirty-two-petalled lotus (Ājñā) is really two-petalled because there are two Mantras here (each of sixteen, letters) of Nṛsiṃha and His Śakti.

The sixth chapter of the Maitrī-Upaniṣad[15] speaks of the Nāḍīs; and in particular of the Suṣumnā; the piercing of the Maṇḍalas Sun, Moon, and Fire (each of these being within the other, Sattva in Fire, and in Sattva Acyuta); and of Amanā, which is another name for Unmanī.

Both the Yogatattva-Upaniṣad,[16] and Yoga-śikhā Upaniṣad[17] refer to Haṭha-yoga, and the latter speaks of the closing of the “inner door,” the opening of the gateway of Suṣumnā (that is, by Kuṇḍalinī entering the Brahma-dvāra), and the piercing of the Sun. The Rāma-tāpanīya-Upaniṣad[18] refers to various Yoga and Tāntrik processes, such as Asana, Dvāra-pūja, Pīṭha-pūja, and expressly mentions Bhūta-śuddhi, which, as above explained, is the purification of the elements in the Cakras, either as an imaginative or real process, by the aid of Kuṇḍalinī.

I have already cited in the Notes numerous passages on this Yoga from the Śāṇḍilya-Upaniṣad of the Atharva-veda, the Varāha and Yoga-kuṇḍalinī-Upaniṣads of the Kṛṣṇa- Yajurveda, the Maṇḍala-Brāhmaṇa-Upaniṣad of the Śukla- Yajurveda, and the Nāda-bindu-Upaniṣad of the Rgveda.[19]

The great Devī-bhāgavata-Purāṇa (VIL 35, XI. 8) mentions in a full account the Six Cakras or Lotuses; the rousing of Kuṇḍalinī (who is called the Para-devatā) in the Mūlādhāra by the manner here described, uniting Jīva therewith by the Haṃsa-Mantra; Bhūta-śuddhi; the dissolution of the gross Tattvas into the subtle Tattvas, ending with Mahat in Prakṛti, Māyā in Ātmā. The Dharā-maṇḍala is mentioned, and it and the other Maṇḍalas are described in the manner here stated. The Bījas of Pṛthivī and other Tattvas are given. Allusion is also made to the destruction of the “man of sin” (Pāpa-puruṣa), in terms similar to those to be found in the Mahā-nirvāṇa and other Tantras. A remarkable Dhyāna of Prāṇa-Śakti is to be found in this chapter, which reads very much like another which is given in the Prapañcasāra-Tantra.[20]

Liṅga-Purāṇa, Part I, Ch. LXXV, mentions the Cakras with their different petals, the names of which are given by the Commentator. Śiva is Nirguṇa, it says, but for the benefit of men He resides in the body with Umā, and Yogīs meditate upon Him in the different lotuses.

Chapter XXIII of the Agni-Purāṇa, which is replete with Tāntrik rituals, magic, and Mantras, also refers to the Bhūta-śuddhi rite wherein, after meditation with the respective Bīja-Mantras on the navel, heart, and Ājñā centres the body of the Sādhaka is refreshed by the flow of nectar.

Finally, an adverse critic of this Yoga whom I cite later invokes the authority of the great Śaṃkara, though in fact, if tradition be correct, it is against him.

Śaṃkara, in whose Maths may be found the great Tāntrik Yantra called the Śrī Cakra, says in his Commentary on vv. 9 and 10 of Ch. VIII of the Bhagavad-Gītā:

“First the heart lotus (Anāhata) is brought under control. Then, by conquering Bhūmi (Mūlādhāra, etc.) and by the upward going Nāḍī (Suṣumnā), after having placed Prāṇa between the two eyebrows (see v. 38, Ṣaṭcakra-nirūpaṇa), the Yogī reaches the lustrous light-giving Puruṣa.”

On this the Tīkā of Ānandagirī [Ānandagiri?] runs:

“By the Suṣumnā-Nāḍī between Iḍā and Piṅgalā. The throat is reached by the same way—the space between the eyebrows. By conquering earth (Bhūmi) is meant the process by which the five Bhūtas are controlled.”

Śrīdhara-Śvamī says:

“By the power of Yoga (Yoga-bala) Prāṇa must be led along the Suṣumnā.”

And Madhusūdana- Sarasvatī says:

“The upward-going Nāḍī is Suṣumnā, and the conquest of Bhūmi and the rest is done by following the path indicated by the Guru; and by the space between the eyebrows is meant the Ājñā Cakra. By placing Prāṇa there, it passes out by the Brahma-randhra, and the Jīva becomes one with the Puruṣa.”

The famous hymn called Ānanda- laharī (“Wave of Bliss”), which is ascribed to Śaṃkara, deals with this Yoga (Ṣaṭcakra-bheda); and in the thirteenth chapter of Vidyāraṇya’s Śaṃkara-vijaya the six lotuses are mentioned, as also the fruit to be gained by worshipping the Devatā in each Cakra.[21] 

Paṇḍit R. Anantakṛṣṇa-Śāstri says:[22]

“Many a great man has successfully worked the Kuṇḍalinī to the Sahasrāra, and effected her union with the Sat and Cit. Of these stands foremost the great and far-famed Śaṃkarācārya, a humble pupil of one of the students of Gauḍapādācārya, the author of the well-known ‘Subhagodaya’ (52 ślokas). Having well acquainted himself with the principles contained in this work, Śrī Śaṃkārācārya received special instructions based upon the personal experience of his Guru. And adding his own personal experience to the above advantages, he composed his famous work on the Mantra-śāstra, consisting of 100 ślokas; the first forty-one of these forming the ‘Ānanda-Laharī,’ and the rest forming the ‘Saundarya-Laharī’; the latter apostrophizes the Devī as a being who is beauteous from head to foot.

“‘Ānanda-Laharī’ may be said to contain the quintessence of the Samayācāra. The work is all the more valuable because the author teaches it from personal experience. Lengthy commentaries are written on almost every syllable of the text. The value attached to the work may be adequately understood by the following theory. Some hold that Śiva is the real author of ‘Ānanda-Laharī,’ and not Śaṃkarācārya, who was but a Mantra-draṣṭā or Ṛṣi—i.e., one who realized the process and gave it to the world. No less than thirty-and-six commentaries on this work are now extant. Among them we find one written by our great Appaya-Dīkṣita. The commentaries are not entirely different, but each has its own peculiar views and theories.

“As for the text of ‘Ānanda-Laharī,’ it contains forty- and-one ślokas. According to some commentators, the ślokas are 35 in number; some recognize only 30, and according to Sudhā-vidyotinī and others only the following ślokas constitute the text of ‘Ānanda-Laharī’: 1-2, 8-9, 10-11, 14-21, 26-27, 31-41. In my opinion, also, the last statement seems to be correct, as the other ślokas treat only of Prayogas (applications of Mantras) for worldly purposes.[23] Only a few of these Prayogas are recognized by all the commentators; while the rest are passed over as being entirely Kārmic.

“As has been remarked already, ‘Ānanda-Laharī’ is but an enlargement of the work called Subhagodaya by Gauḍapāda, who is the Guru of the author’s Guru. That work gives only the main points, without any of the characteristic admixture of illustrations, etc., above noticed.

“Of all the commentaries on ‘Ānanda-Laharī’ Lakṣmī- dhara’s seems to be the most recent; yet in spite of this it is the most popular, and with reason, too. Other commentaries advocate this or that aspect of the various philosophical schools; but Lakṣmīdhara collates some of the views of others, and records them side by side with his own. His commentary is in this way the most elaborate. He sides with no party;[24] his views are broad and liberal. All schools of philosophers are represented in his commentaries. Lakṣmīdhara has also commented on many other works on Mantra-Śāstra, and is consequently of much high repute. So his commentaries are as valuable to both ‘Ānanda-Laharī’ and ‘Saundarya-Laharī’ as Sāyaṇa’s are to the Vedas.

“Lakṣmīdhara seems to have been an inhabitant of Southern India; the observances and customs he describes all point to this conclusion; the illustrations he adduces smack invariably of the South, and even to this day his views are more followed in the South than in the North. He has also written an elaborate commentary on Gauḍapāda’s Subhagodaya. The references to that in the commentary to this work, and the commentator’s apology here and there for repeating what he has written on the former occasion, lead to the inference that the author had for his life-work the commentary on the original book.

“Acyutānanda’s commentaries are in Bengali characters, and are followed as authority in Bengal even to this day.[25] Various commentaries are followed in various places but few have risen to be universally accepted.

“There are only three or four works treating of Prayoga (application); I have had access to all of them. But here I have followed only one of them, as being the most prominent and important. It comes from an ancient family in Conjeevaram. It contains 100 ślokas. The Yantras (figures) for the Mantras contained in the ślokas, the different postures of the worshipper, and similar prescriptions, are clearly described in it to the minutest detail.

“There seems to be some mystical connection between each śloka and its Bījākṣara.[26] But it is not intelligible, nor has any of the Prayoga Kartās[27] explained the same.

“The following is a list of commentaries written upon ‘Ānanda-Laharī’; some of them include ‘Saundarya-Laharī’ also:

“1. ‘Manoramā’ a Commentary.

2. A commentary by ‘Appaya-Dīkṣita (Tanjore Palace Library).

3. ‘Viṣṇupakṣī.’ Perhaps this may be the same as No. 14 given below.

4. By Kavirājaśarman—about 3,000 granthas (Deccan-College Library).

5. ‘Mañjubhāṣinī,’ by Kṛṣṇācārya, the son of Vallabhācārya—śloka about 1,700. He says in his Introduction that Śrī-Śaṃkarācārya praised the Brahma-Śakti called Kuṇḍalinī when he was meditating on the banks of the Ganges. He gives the purport of this work in his first śloka: ‘I praise constantly the Kuṇḍalinī, who creates innumerable worlds continuously, though She is like a filament of the lotus, and who resides at the root of the tree (Mūlādhāra) to be roused and led (to Sahasrāra).’ This is popular in the Bengal Presidency.

6. Another Commentary, called ‘Saubhāgya- vardhanī,’ by Kaivalyāśrama. The Adyar Library has a copy of it. This is popular throughout India, so we can get as many MSS. of the same as we require from different places. It contains about 2,000 granthas.

7. By Keśavabhatta.

8. ‘Tattva-dīpikā,’ by Gaṅgāhari, a small Commentary based on Tantra-Śāstra.

9. By Gaṅgādhara.

10. By Gopīramaṇatarkapravacaṇa—granthas about 1,400. Seems to be of recent origin.

11. Gaurī-kānta-sārvabhauma-bhattācārya—granthas about 1,300. Of recent origin.

12. By Jagadiśa.

13. By Jagannātha-Pañcānana.

14. By Nārasiṃha—granthas 1,500. The chief peculiarity of this commentary is that it explains the text in two different ways, each śloka being applicable to Devī and Viṣṇu at the same time. Though some commentators have given different meanings to some of the verses, yet all of them apply to the different aspects of Devī alone, and not to the different Devatās.

15. ‘Bhāvārthadīpa,’ by Brahmānanda[28]—granthas about 1,700.

16. By Mallabhatta.

17. By Mahādeva-vidyā-vāgīśa.

18. By Mādhavavaidyā (Deccan College Library).

19. By Rāmacandra—granthas about 3,000 (Deccan College Library).

20. By Rāmānanda-tīrtha.

21. Lakṣmīdhara’s; which is well known to the public, and needs no comment. This has been brought out excellently in Deva Nāgara type by the Mysore Government lately.

22. By Viśvaṃbhara.

23. By Śrīkaṇṭha-bhaṭṭa.

24. Rāma-Sūri.

25. By Diṇḍima (Adyar Library.)

26. By Rāmacandra-Miśra—granthas about 1,000 (Deccan College Library).

27. By Acyutānanda (printed in Bengali characters).

28. Sadāśiva (Government Oriental Library, Madras).

29. Another nameless Commentary (Government Oriental Library, Madras).

30. By Śrīraṅga- dāsa.

31. By Govinda-Tarkā-vāgīśa-Bhattācārya—granthas 600. He seems to give the Yantra also for each verse. Further, he says that the god Mahādeva specially incarnated as Śaṃkarācārya to promulgate the Science of Śrī-vidyā.

32. Sudhā-vidyotinī, by the son of Pravaraśena. This commentator says that the author of this famous hymn was his father, Pravaraśena, Prince of the Dramidas. He tells us a story in connection with Pravaraśena’s birth which is very peculiar. As he was born in an inauspicious hour, Dramida, the father of Pravaraśena, in consultation with his wise minister, by name Suka, threw him out in the forest, lest he the (father) should lose his kingdom.... The child praised Devī by this hymn, and, pleased with it, the Devī fostered and took care of him in the forest. The story ends by saying that the boy returned to his father’s dominion and became King. By his command, his son, the present commentator, wrote Sudhā-vidyotinī, after being fully initiated into this mystic Śāstra, Śrī-vidyā. The account, however, appears to be rather fantastic. This MS. I got from South Malabar with much difficulty. It gives the esoteric meaning of the verses in ‘Ānanda-Laharī,’ and seems to be a valuable relic of occult literature.

33. The book of Yantras with Prayoga. This is very rare and important.

“Besides the above commentaries, we do not know how many more commentaries there are upon this hymn.”

The celebrity of “Ānanda-Laharī” and the great number of commentaries upon it are proof of the widespread and authoritative character of the Yoga here described.

To conclude with the words of the Commentator on the Triśatī:

“It is well known in Yoga-Śāstras that nectar (Amṛta) is in the head of all breathing creatures (Prāṇī), and that on Kuṇḍalī going there by the Yoga-path which is moistened by the current of that nectar Yogīns become like Īśvara.”[29]

The Cakras, however, mentioned are not always those of the body above stated, as would appear from the following account, which, it will be observed, is peculiar, and which is taken from the Ṣaṭcakra Upaniṣad of the Atharvaveda.[30]

Apparently reference is here made to cosmic centres in the worship of the Viṣṇu Avatāra called Nṛsiṃha.

“Om. The Devas, coming to Śatyaloka, thus spoke to Prajāpati, saying, ‘Tell us of the Nārasiṃha[31] Cakra,’ (to which he replied): There are six Nārasiṃha Cakras. The first and second have each four spokes; the third, five; the fourth, six; the fifth, seven; and the sixth, eight spokes. These six are the Nārasiṃha Cakras. Now, what are their names (that is what you ask). They are Ācakra,[32] Sucakra,[33] Mahācakra,[34] Sakalaloka-rakṣaṇa-cakra,[35] Dyucakra,[36] Asurāntaka-cakra.[37] These are their respective names. [1] 

“Now, what are the three circles (Valaya)? These are inner, middle and outer.[38] The first is Bīja;[39] the second, Nārasiṃha-gāyatrī;[40] and the third, or outer, is Mantra. Now, what is the inner circle? There are six such (for each Cakra has one); these are the Nārasiṃha, Mahālākṣmya, Sārasvata, Kāmadeva, Praṇava, Krodhadaivata (Bījas), respectively.[41] These are the six interior circles of the six Nārasiṃha-Cakras. [2]

“Now, what is the middle circle? There are six such. To each of these belong Nārasiṃhāya, Vidmahe, Vajranakhāya, Dhīmahi, Tannaḥ, Siṃhaḥ pracodayāt, respectively.[42] These are the six circles of the six Nārasiṃha-Cakras. Now, what are the six outer circles? The first is Ānandātmā or Ācakra; the second is Priyātmā or Sucakra; the third is Jyotirātmā or Mahā-Cakra; the fourth is Māyātmā or Sakalaloka-rakṣaṇa-Cakra; the fifth is Yogātmā or Dyu-Cakra; and the sixth is Samāptātmā or Asurāntaka-Cakra. These are the six outer circles of the six Nārasiṃha-Cakras.[43] [3]

“Now, where should these be placed?[44] Let the first be placed in the heart;[45] the second in the head;[46] the third at the site of the crown-lock[47] (śikhāyām); the fourth all over the body;[48] the fifth in all the eyes[49] (sarveṣu netreṣu) and the sixth in all the regions[50] (sarveṣu deśeṣu). [4]

“He who does Nyāsa of these Nārasiṃha-Cakras on two limbs becomes skilled Anuṣṭubh,[51] attains the favour of Lord Nṛsiṃha, success in all regions and amongst all beings, and (at the end) Liberation (Kaivalya). Therefore should this Nyāsa be done. This Nyāsa purifies. By this one is made perfect in worship, is pious, and pleases Nārasiṃha. By the omission thereof, on the other hand, the favour of Nṛsiṃha is not gained nor is strength, worship, nor piety generated. [5]

“He who reads this becomes versed in all Vedas, gains capacity to officiate as priest at all sacrifices, becomes like one who has bathed in all places of pilgrimage, an adept in all Mantras, and pure both within and without. He becomes the destroyer of all Rākṣasas, Bhūtas, Piśācas, Śākinīs, Pretas, and Vetālas.[52] He becomes freed of all fear; therefore should it not be spoken of to an unbeliever.”[53] [6]

Notwithstanding the universal acceptance of this Yoga, it has not escaped some modern criticism. The following passage in inverted commas is a summary[54] of that passed by an English-educated[55] Guru from one of whose disciples I received it.

It was elicited by the gift of the Sanskrit text of the works here translated:

“Yoga as a means to liberation is attained by entry through the doors of Jñāna (Knowledge) and Karma (Action). Yoga is doubtless bliss, for it is the union of the Jīvātmā with the Brahman who is Bliss (Ānanda). But there are various forms of Bliss. There is, for instance, physical bliss, gross or subtle as it may be. It is a mistake to suppose that because a method of Yoga procures bliss it therefore secures liberation. In order that we be liberated we must secure that particular Bliss which is the Brahman. Some centuries ago, however, a band of Atheists (i.e., the Buddhists) discovered the doctrine of the Void (Śūnyavāda), and by a false display of a new kind of Nirvāṇa-Mukti locked up these two doors which gave entry to liberation. To-day these doors are secured by three padlocks. The first is the doctrine that by faith one attains Kṛṣṇa, but where there is argument (Tarka) He is far away. The second is the error of the Brahmos, who in Western fashion think that they can control the formless, changeless Brahman by shutting their eyes in church and repeating that He is the merciful, loving Father who is ever occupied with our good, and that if He be flattered He will be pleased; for worship (Upāsanā) is flattery. The third is the opinion of those to whom all religious acts are nothing but superstition; to whom self-interest is the only good, and whose pleasure it is to throw dust into the eyes of others and secure the praise of those whom they have thus blinded. Viṣṇu, in order to cause the disappearance of the Vedas in the Kali age, manifested as the atheist Buddha and allowed various false doctrines, such as that of the Arhatas, to be proclaimed. Rudra was affected by the sin of destroying the head of Brahmā. Then he began to dance, and a number of Ucchiṣṭa (or low malignant) Rudras whose deeds are never good, issued from His body. Viṣṇu and Śiva asked each other, ‘Can we do these people any good?’ Their partial manifestations then promulgated Śāstras opposed to the Vedas, fitted for the atheistic bent of their minds, that they might haply thereby rise through them to higher things. God fools the wicked with such Scriptures. We must now, however, discriminate between Śāstras. It is not because it is said in Sanskrit ‘Śiva says’ (Śiva uvāca) that we should accept all which follows this announcement. All that is opposed to Veda and Smṛti must be rejected. Of the enemies of the Vedas[56] for whom such Śāstras were designed, some became Vaiṣṇavas, and others Śaivas. One of such Scriptures was the Tantra with a materialistic Yoga system called Ṣaṭcakra-Sādhana, which is nothing but a trickery on the part of the professional Gurus, who have not hesitated also to promulgate forged scriptures. ‘The very mention of Tāntrik Śāstra fills us with shame.’ The Ṣaṭcakra-Sādhana is a mere obstruction to spiritual advancement. The Bliss which is said to be attained by leading Kuṇḍalī to the Sahasrāra is not denied, since it is affirmed by those who say they have experienced it. But this Bliss (Ānanda) is merely a momentary superior kind of physical Bliss which disappears with the body, and not the Bliss which is Brahman and liberation. Mokṣa is not to be got by entering the Sahasrāra, but in leaving it by piercing the Brahma-randhra and becoming bodiless.[57]

“The Tāntrik seeks to remain in the body, and thus to obtain liberation cheaply, just as the Brahmos and Members of the Ārya-Samāja have become Brahmajñānīs (knowers of the Brahman) at a cheap price. Nectar, too, is cheap with the Tāntriks. But what is cheap is always worthless, and this shows itself when one attempts to earn some fruit from one’s endeavours. ‘And yet all men are attracted when they hear of ṣaṭcakra.’ Many are so steeped in Tāntrik faith that they can find nothing wrong with its Śāstras. And the Hindu now-a-days has been put in such a maze by his Tāntrik Gurus that he does not know what he wants. For centuries he has been accustomed to the Tāntrik Dharma,[58] and his eyes are therefore not clear enough to see that it is as truly unacceptable to a Hindu as it is to a Mussalman. In fact, these persons (for whose benefit this Guru makes these remarks) are full of Mlecchatā,[59] though, after all, it must be admitted to be some advance for such a creature as a Mleccha to adhere even to Tāntrik doctrine. For bad as it is, it is better than nothing at all. All the same, the Gurus delude them with their fascinating talk about ṣaṭcakra. Like a lot of the present-day advertisers, they offer to show their so-called ‘Lotuses’ to those who will join them. Men are sent to collect people to bring them to a Dīkṣā-guru (initiator). In this respect the Tāntriks act just like coolie recruiters for the tea-gardens.[60] The Tāntrik says there are really ‘Lotuses’ there; but if the Lotuses are really there, why are we not told how we may see them?[61] And there also are supposed to be Devatās, Dākinīs, Yogīnīs, ‘a’l ready at every moment for inspection’.[62] And, then, how material it all is! They speak of a Para-Śiva above Śiva, as if there was more than one Brahman.[63] And, then, the nectar is said to be of the colour of lac. Well, if so, it is a gross (Sthūla) and perceptible thing; and as a doctor can then squeeze it out there is not need for a Guru.[64] In short, the Tāntrik ṣaṭcakra is nothing but ‘a sweet in the hands of a child’. A child who is wayward is given a sweet to keep him quiet. But if he has sense enough, to know that the sweet is given to distract him, he throws it away, and finds the key to the locked doors of Yoga, called Karma and Jñāna. This process of Yoga was expelled from Hindu society centuries ago. For nearly 2,500 years ago Śaṃkara,[65] when destroying atheism, exterminated also Ṣaṭcakra-Yoga.[66] Śaṃkara then showed the worthlessness of the Tantras. They are again to-day attempting to enter Hindu society, and must be again destroyed.”

The writer of the note thus summarized omitted to notice or perhaps was unaware that the Cakras are mentioned in the Upaniṣads, but endeavoured to meet the fact that they are also described in the Purāṇas by the allegation that the Paurānik Cakras are in conformity with the Vedas, whereas the Tāntrik Cakras are not. It is admitted that in the Śiva- Purāṇa there is an account of the six centres, but it is said that they are not there alleged to actually exist, nor is anything mentioned of any Sādhana in connection with them. They are, it is contended, to be imagined only for the purpose of worship. In external worship Devas and Devīs are worshipped in similar Lotuses. The Purāṇas, in fact, according to this view, convert what is external worship into internal worship. If, according to the Purāṇa, one worships an interior lotus, it is not to be supposed that there is anything there. One is worshipping merely a figment of one’s imagination, though it is curious to note that it is said that this figment secures certain advantages to the worshipper and the latter must commence, according to this critic, with the Cakra which he is qualified to worship. It is not obvious how any question of such competency arises when each of the Cakras is imagined only. Attention is drawn to he fact that in the Liṅga-Purāṇa there is nothing about the rousing of Kuṇḍalī, the piercing of the six centres, the drinking of nectar, and so forth.

The Purāṇa merely says, “Meditate on Śiva and Devī in the different lotuses.”

There is, it is thus contended, a radical difference between the two systems.

“In the Paurānik description of the Cakras everything is stated clearly; but with the Tāntrik all is mystery, or else how indeed, except by such mystification, could they dishonestly carry on their profession as Gurus?”

Buddhists may dispute this critic’s understanding of their Śūnyavāda, as Tāntriks will contest his account of the origin of their Śāstra. The Historian will call in question the statement that Śaṃkara[67] abolished the Tantra. For, according to the Śaṃkara-vijaya, his action was not to abolish any of the sects existing at his time, but to reform and establish bonds of unity between them, and to induce them all through their differing methods to follow a common ideal. Thus, even though Krakaca was absorbed into his God, the extreme Tāntrik sect of Kāpālikas which he represented is said to have continued to exist with Śarṃkara’s approval, though possibly in a modified form, under its leader Vatukanātha. The Brahmos, Āryasamāja, Vaiṣṇavas, and Śaivas, may resent this critic’s remarks so far as they touch themselves. I am not here concerned with this religious faction, but will limit the following observations in reply to the subject in hand:

The criticism, notwithstanding its “pious” acerbity against forms of doctrine of which the writer disapproved, contains some just observations. I am not, however, here concerned to establish the reality or value of this Yoga method, nor is proof on either of these points available except through actual experiment and experience. From a doctrinal and historical point of view, however, some reply may be made. It is true that Karma and Jñāna are means for the attainment of Mokṣa. These and Bhakti (devotion) which may partake of the character of the first or the second, according to the nature of its display,[68] are all contained in the eight processes of yoga. Thus, they include Tapas, a form of Karma-Yoga,[69] and Dhyāna, a process of Jñāna-Yoga. As has been pointed out, the “eight-limbed” Yoga (Aṣṭāṅga-Yoga) includes Haṭha processes, such as Āsana and Prāṇāyāma. What Haṭha-Yogīs have done is to develop the physical or Haṭha processes and aspect. The true view of Haṭha-vidyā recognizes that it is an auxiliary of Jñāna whereby Mokṣa is obtained. It is also obviously true that all Bliss is not Mokṣa. Ānanda (Bliss) of a kind may be secured through drink or drugs, but no one supposes that this is liberating Bliss. Similarly, Haṭha-Yoga processes may secure various forms of gross or subtle bodily Bliss which are not The Bliss. There is, however, a misunderstanding of the system here described when it is described as merely materialistic. It has, like other forms of Yoga, a material side or Haṭha aspect, since man is gross, subtle, and spiritual; but it has a Jñāna aspect also. In all Yoga there is mental exercise. As the Jīva is both material and spiritual, discipline and progress in both the aspects is needed. Kuṇḍalī is aroused by Mantra, which is a form of Consciousness (Caitanya). “It is he whose being is immersed in the Brahman,” who arouses the Devī Kuṇḍalī by the Mantra Hūṃkāra (v. 50).

The Devī is Herself Śuddha-Sattva[70] (v. 51).

“The wise and excellent Yogī, wrapt in Samādhi and devoted to the Lotus Feet of his Guru, should lead Kula-kuṇḍalī along with Jīva to Her Lord the Para-Śiva in the abode of Liberation within the pure Lotus, and meditate upon Her who grants all desires as the Caitanyarūpā Bhagavatī (that is, the Devī whose substance is Consciousness itself); and as he leads Kula-kuṇḍalī he should make all things absorb in Her.”

Meditation is made on every centre in which She operates. In the Ājñā centre Manas can only unite with and be absorbed into Kuṇḍalinī by becoming one with the Jñāna- Sakti which She is, for She is all Śaktis. The Laya-Yoga is therefore a combination of Karina and Jñāna. The former mediately and the latter directly achieves Mokṣa. In the Ājñā is Manas and Om, and on this the Sādhaka meditates (v. 33). The Sādhaka’s Atmā must be transformed into a meditation on this lotus (v. 34). His Ātmā is the Dhyāna of Om, which is the inner Atmā of those whose Buddhi is pure. He realizes that he and the Brahman are one, and that Brahman is alone real (Sat) and all else unreal (Asat). He thus becomes an Advaitavādī or one who realizes the identity of the individual and universal Self (ib.). The mind (Cetas) by repeated practice (Abhyāsa) is here dissolved, and such practice is mental operation itself (v. 36). For the Yogī meditating on the Mantra whereby he realizes the unity of Prāṇa and Manas closes the “house which hangs without support”.

That is, he disengages the Manas from all contact with the objective world (v. 36), in order to attain the Unmani-Avasthā. Here is Parama-Śiva. The Tāntrik does not suppose that there are several Śivas in the sense of several distinct Deities. The Brahman is one. Rudra, Śiva, Parama-Śiva, and so forth, are but names for different manifestations of the One. When it is said that any Devatā is in any Cakra, it is meant, that that is the seat of the operation of the Brahman, which operation in its Daiva aspect is known as Devatā. As these operations vary, so do the Devatās. The Haṃsaḥ [Haṃsa] of the Sahasrāra contains in Himself all Devatās (v. 44). It is here in the Ājñā that the Yogī places at the time of death his Prāṇa and enters the supreme Puruṣa, “who was before the three worlds, and who is known by the Vedānta” (v. 38). It is true that this action, like others, is accompanied by Haṭha processes. But these are associated with meditation. This meditation unites Kuṇḍalinī and Jīvātmā with the Bindu which is Śiva and Śakti (Śiva-Śaktimaya), and the Yogī after such union, piercing the Brahma-randra is freed from the body at death and becomes one with Brahman (ib.). The secondary causal body (Kāraṇāvāntara Śarīra) above Ājñā and below Sahasrāra is to be seen only through meditation (v. 39), when perfection has been obtained in Yoga practice. V. 40 refers to Samādhi-Yoga.

Passing to the Sahasrāra, it is said, “well concealed and attainable only by great effort, is that subtle ‘Void’ (Śūnya) which is the chief root of Liberation” (v. 42); in Parama-Śiva are united two forms of Bliss (v. 42)—namely, Rasa or Paramānanda-Rasa (that is, the bliss of Mokṣa) and Virasa (or the bliss which is the product of the union of Śiva and Śakti). It is from the latter union that there arise the universe and the nectar which floods the lesser world (Kṣudra-brahmāṇḍa), or the body. The ascetic (Yati) of pure mind is instructed in the knowledge by which he realizes the unity of the Jīvātmā and Paramātmā (v. 43). It is “that most excellent of men who has controlled his mind (Niyatanija-citta)—that is, concentrated the inner faculties (Antaḥkaraṇa) on the Sahasrāra, and has known it—who is freed from rebirth,” and thus attains Mokṣa (v. 45). He becomes Jīvanmukta, remaining only so long in the body as is necessary to work out the Karma, the activity of which has already commenced—just as a revolving wheel will yet run a little time after the cause of its revolving has ceased. It is the Bhagavatī Nirvāṇa-Kalā who grants divine liberating knowledge—that is, Tattva-Jñāna, or knowledge of the Brahman (v. 47). Within Her is Nityānanda, which is “pure Consciousness itself” (v. 49), and “is attainable only by Yogīs through pure Jñāna” (ib.). It is this Jñāna which secures liberation (ib.).

The Māyā-Tantra says:

“Those who are learned in Yoga say that it is the unity of Jīva and Ātmā (in Samādhi). According to the experience of others, it is the knowledge (Jñāna) of the identity of Śiva and Atmā. The Āgamavādīs say that knowledge (Jñāna) of Śakti is Yoga. Otherwise men say that the knowledge (Jñāna) of the Purāna-Puruṣa is Yoga; and others again, the Prakṛtivādīs declare that the knowledge of the union of Śiva and Śakti is Yoga” (v. 57).

“The Devī, by dissolving Kuṇḍalinī in the Para-bindu, effects the liberation of some Sādhakas through their meditation upon the identity of Śiva and Atmā in the Bindu. She does so in the case of others by a similar process and by meditation (Cintana) on Śakti. In other cases this is done by concentration of thought on the Parama- puruṣa and in other cases by the meditation of the Sādhaka on the union of Śiva and Śakti” (ib.).

In fact, the worshipper of any particular Devatā should realize that he is one with the object of his worship. In Praṇava worship, for instance, the worshipper realizes his identity with the Oṃkāra. In other forms of worship he realizes his identity with Kuṇḍalinī who is embodied by the different Mantras worshipped by different worshippers. In short, Jñāna is Kriyā-Jñāna and Svarūpa-Jñāna. The latter is direct spiritual experience. The former are the meditative processes leading to it. There is here Kriya-Jñāna, and when Kuṇḍalinī unites with Śiva She gives Jñāna (Svarūpa), for Her nature (Svarūpa), as also His, is that.

After union with Śiva, Kuṇḍalinī makes Her return journey. After She has repeatedly[71] gone to Him, She makes a journey from which, at the will of the Yogī, there is no return. Then the Sādhaka is Jīvanmukta. His body is preserved until such time as the active Karma is exhausted, when he can achieve bodiless (Videha) or Kaivalya-Mukti (Supreme Liberation).

“The revered Lord Preceptor”—that is, Śaṃkarācārya—in his celebrated Ānanda-Laharī thus hymns Her return (v. 10):

“Kuhariṇi, Thou sprinklest all things with the stream of nectar which flows from the tips of Thy two feet; and as Thou returneth to Thine own place, Thou vivifiest and makest visible all things that were aforetime invisible; and on reaching Thy abode Thou resumest Thy snake-like coil and sleepest.”

That is, as Her passage upward was Laya-krama (dissolution of the Tattvas), so Her return is Śriṣṭi-krama (re-creation of the Tattvas). V. 54 says that the Yogī who has practised Yama and Niyama and the like (that is, the other processes of Aṣṭāṅga-Yoga, including Dhyāna with its resulting Samādhi), and whose mind has been thus controlled, is never again reborn. Gladdened by the constant realization of the Brahman, he is at peace.

Whether the method above described be or be not effectual or desirable, it must be obvious upon a perusal of the text, which gives an explanation of it, that the Yoga which the author affirms to be the cause of Liberation is not merely material, but that it is the arousing of the Power (Jīva-Śakti) of the World-Consciousness (Jagacaitanya) which makes man what he is. The Yogī thus does claim to secure the bliss of Liberation by making entry thereto through the doors of Karma and Jñāna-Yoga.

A Brahmo Author[72] who is so little favourable to the Tantra as to describe the difference between it and the Veda as being “as great as that which exists between the Netherworld (Pātāla) and Heaven (Svarga)”[73] does not deny the efficiency of the Tāntrik Ṣaṭcakra-Sādhana, but contrasts it with the Vaidika-Gāyatrī-Sādhana in an account of the two methods which I here summarize in inverted commas.

“The Cakras (the existence of which is not disputed) are placed where the nerves and muscles unite.”[74] The Ājñā is the place of the Command. This manifests in the operation of Buddhi. If the command is followed, the Sādhaka becomes pure of disposition (Bhāva) and speecḥ. Speech displays itself in the throat, the region of the Viśuddha. The next lower Cakra is called Anāhata because of its connection with Nāda, which is self-produced in the heart. The Vāyu in Anāhata is Prāṇa-Śakti. Here when free from sin one can see the Ātmā. Here the Yogī realizes ‘I am He’. Fire is at the navel. The seat of desire is at the root of the Svādhisthāna. In the lowest lotus, the Mūlādhāra, are the three Śaktis of Jīva—namely, Icchā, Kriya, and Jñāna—in an unconscious unenlivened state. The Sādhaka by the aid of the Parātmā as fire (Agni) and air (Vāyu)[75] awakens these three forces (Śaktis) and ultimately by the grace of the Parātmā he is united, with the Turīya-Brahman.”

“In days of old, Sādhana commenced at the Mūlādhāra Cakra; that is, those who were not Sādhakas of the Gāyatri- Mantra commenced from below at the lowest centre. There was a good reason for this, for thereby the senses (Indriya) were controlled. Without such control purity of disposition (Bhāva) cannot be attained. If such purity be not gained, then the mind (Citta) cannot find its place in the heart; and if the Citta be not in the heart there can be no union with the Parātmā. The first thing, therefore, which a Sādhaka has to do is to control the senses. Those who achieved this without fixing their minds on the Lord (Īśvara)[76] had to go through many difficult and painful practices (such as the Mudrās, Bandhas, etc., mentioned later) which were necessary for the control of the Indriyas and of the action of the Guṇas. All this is unnecessary in the Gāyatrī-Sādhana or method. It is true that the senses should be controlled in the three lower centres (Cakras)—this is, cupidity (Lobha) in the Mūlādhāra, lust (Kama) in the Svādhiṣṭhāna at the root of the genitals, and anger (Krodha) at the navel. These three passions are the chief to set the senses in motion, and are the main doors to Hell. The way, however, in which control should be effected is to place the Citta (mind) on Sattā (existence) of Paramātmā in these Cakras. The Citta should be taken to each of these three lowest centres and controlled, whereby these passions which have their respective places at those centres are controlled. Whenever, therefore, the senses (Indriya) get out of control fix the Citta (mind) on the Paramātmā in the particular Cakra.”

[To give the above an English turn of thought: if, say, anger is to be controlled, carry the mind to the navel, and there meditate upon the existence of the Supreme One (Paramātmā) in this centre, not merely as the Supreme without the body and within the body, but as embodied in that particular part of it; for that is Its manifestation. The result is that the passionate activity of this centre is subdued; for its functioning is attuned to the state of the Ātmā which informs it, and both the body and mind attain the peace of the Ātmā on which the self is centred.[77]]

“Having thus controlled the senses, the Gāyatrī-Sādhana commences, not at the lowest, but at the highest, of the six centres—namely, the Ājñā between the eyebrows. There is no necessity for the difficult and painful process of piercing the Cakras from below.[78] Fix the mind on the Lord (Īśvara) in the highest centre. For the ether (Ākāśa) there is the being (Sattā) of the Supreme Ātmā. There and in the two lower centres (Viśuddha and Anāhata) enjoyment is. had with Īśvara. The union between Jīva and Prakṛti is called Honey (Madhu) in the Upaniṣads. By Sādhana of the Ājñā centre (Cakra) purity of being (Bhāva-śuddhi) is attained, and purity of speech follows on the attainment of such Bhāva. Yoga with the Supreme Devatā who is all-knowing is had here. He who is freed from all disturbing conditions of body and mind reaches the state which is beyond the Guṇas (Guṇātīta), which is that of the Supreme Brahman.”

We may conclude these two criticisms with the true Indian saying somewhat inconsistently quoted in the first:

“To dispute the religion (Dharma) of another is the mark of a narrow mind. O Lord! O Great Magician! with whatsoever faith or feeling we call on Thee, Thou art pleased.”

Whatsoever difference there has been, or may be, as to forms and methods, whether in Upāsanā or Yoga, yet all Indian worshippers of the ancient type seek a common end in unity with Light of Consciousness, which is beyond the regions of Sun, Moon, and Fire.

It will now be asked what are the general principles which underlie the Yoga practice above described? How is it that the rousing of Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti and Her union with Śiva effects the state of ecstatic union (Samādhi) and spiritual experience which is alleged? The reader who has understood the general principles recorded in the previous sections Should, if he has not already divined it, readily appreciate the answer here given.

In the first place, the preceding section will have indicated that there are two lines of Yoga—namely, Dhyāna or Bhāvanā-Yoga, and Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga, the subject of this work—and that there is a difference between the two. The First class of Yoga is that in which ecstasy (Samādhi) is attained by intellective processes (Kriyā Jñāna) of meditation and the like with the aid, it may be, in the preliminary stage of auxiliary processes of Mantra or Haṭha-Yoga[79] (other than the rousing of Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti) and by detachment from the world; the second is that Yoga in which, though intellective processes are not neglected, the creative and sustaining Śakti of the whole body as Kuṇḍalinī is actually and truly united with the Lord Consciousness so as to procure for the Yogī a result which the Jñāna-Yogī directly gains for himself. The Yogī makes Her introduce Him to Her Lord, and enjoys the bliss of union through Her. Though it is He who arouses Her, it is She who gives Jñāna, for She is Herself that. The Dhyāna-Yogī gains what acquaintance with the supreme state his own meditative powers can give him, and knows not the enjoyment of union with Śiva in and through his fundamental body-power. The two forms of Yoga differ both as to method and result. The Haṭha-Yogī in search of Lay a regards his Yoga and its fruit as the highest. The Jñāna-Yogī thinks similarly of his own. And in fact Rāja- Yoga is generally regarded as the highest form of Yoga. Kuṇḍalinī is so renowned that many seek to know Her. Having studied the theory of this Yoga, I have often been asked “whether one can get on without it”. The answer of the Śāstra is: “It depends upon what you are looking for and on your powers.” If you want to rouse Kuṇḍalinī- Śakti to enjoy the bliss of union of Śiva and Śakti through Her, which your capacities do not otherwise allow you to have or if you wish to gain the accompanying powers (Siddhi),[80] it is obvious that this end can only be achieved by the Yoga here described. But if liberation is sought and the Yogī has capacity to attain it without Kuṇḍalinī, then such Yoga is not necessary, for liberation may be obtained by pure Jñāna-Yoga through detachment, the exercise, and then the stilling, of the mind without any reference to the central bodily power at all. Indeed perfect Liberation (Nirvikalpa Samādhi) can only be obtained in this way by Rāja-Yoga of which Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga is a preliminary method.[81] Samādhi may also be attained on the path of devotion (Bhakti), as on that of knowledge. Indeed, the highest devotion (Para-bhakti) is not different from knowledge. Both are realization. A Dhyāna-Yogī should not neglect his body, knowing that, as he is both mind and matter, each reacts the one upon the other. Neglect or mere mortification of the body is more apt to produce disordered imagination than a true spiritual experience. He is not concerned, however, with the body in the sense that the Haṭha-Yogī is. It is possible to be a successful Dhyāna-Yogī and yet to be weak in body and health, sick, and short-lived. His body, and not he himself, determines when he shall die. He cannot die at will. The ecstasis, which he calls “Liberation while yet living” (Jīvanmukti), is (so it was said to me) not a state like that of real Liberation. He may be still subject to a suffering body, from which he escapes only at death, when he is liberated. His ecstasy is in the nature of a meditation which passes into the Void (Bhāvanā-Samādhi) effected through negation of thought (Gitta-vṛtti) and detachment from the world—a process in which the act of raising the central power of the body takes no part. By his effort[82] the mind, which is a product of Kuṇḍalinī as Prakṛti Śakti, together with its worldly desires, is stilled, so that the veil produced by mental functioning is removed from Consciousness. In Laya-Yoga Kuṇḍalinī Herself, when roused by the Yogī (for such rousing is his act and part), achieves for him this illumination. But why, it may be asked, should one trouble over the body and its central power, the more particularly that there are unusual risks and difficulties involved? The answer has been already given alleged certainty and facility of realization through the agency of the power which is Knowledge itself (Jñāna-rūpā-śaktī); an intermediate acquisition of powers (Siddhi); and both intermediate and final enjoyment. This answer may, however, usefully be developed, as a fundamental principle of the Śākta-Tantra is involved.

The Śākta-Tantra claims to give both enjoyment[83] (Bhukti) in this and the next world, and Liberation (Mukti) from all worlds. This claim is based on a profoundly true principle.[84] If the ultimate Reality is one which exists in two aspects of quiescent enjoyment of the Self in Liberation from all form and of active enjoyment of objects—that is, as pure ‘Spirit’ and ‘Spirit’ in matter—then a complete union with reality demands such unity in both of its aspects. It must be known both “here” (Iha) and “there” (Amutra). When rightly apprehended and practised, there is truth in the doctrine which teaches that man should make the best of both worlds.[85] There is no real incompatibility between the two, provided action is taken in conformity with the universal law of manifestation. It is held to be false teaching that happiness hereafter can only be had by neglect to seek it now, or in deliberately sought for suffering and mortification. It is the one Śiva who is the supreme blissful experience, and who appears in the form of man with a life of mingled pleasure and pain. Both happiness here and the bliss of liberation here and hereafter may be attained if the identity of these Śivas be realized in every human act. This will be achieved by making every human function, without exception, a religious act of sacrifice and worship (Yajña). In the ancient Vaidik ritual, enjoyment by way of food and drink was preceded and accompanied by ceremonial sacrifice and ritual. Such enjoyment was the fruit of the sacrifice and the gift of the Gods. At a higher stage in the life of a Sādhaka it is offered to the One from whom all gifts come and of whom the Devatās are inferior limited forms. But this offering also involves a dualism from which the highest Monistic (Advaita) Sādhana of the Śākta-Tantra is free. Here the individual life and the world-life are known as one. And so the Tāntrik Sādhaka, when eating or drinking,[86] or fulfilling any other of the natural functions of the body, does so, saying and believing, Śivohaṃ (“I am Śiva”), Bhairavohaṃ (“I am Bhairava”).[87] Sā-ahaṃ (“I am She”).[88] It is not merely the separate individual who thus acts and enjoys. It is Śiva who does so in and through him. Such a one recognizes, as has been well said,[89] that his life and the play of all its activities are not a thing apart, to be held and pursued egotistically for its and his own separate sake, as though enjoyment was something to be seized from life by his own unaided strength and with a sense of separateness; but his life and all its activities are conceived as part of the divine action in nature (Śakti) manifesting and operating in the form of man. He realizes in the pulsing beat of his heart the rhythm which throbs through, and is the sign of, the universal life. To neglect or to deny the needs of the body, to think of it as something not divine, is to neglect and deny that greater life of which it is a part, and to falsify the great doctrine of the unity of all and of the ultimate identity of Matter and Spirit. Governed by such a concept, even the lowliest physical needs take on a cosmic significance. The body is Śakti. Its needs are Śakti’s needs; when man enjoys, it is Śakti who enjoys through him. In all he sees and does it is the Mother who looks and acts. His eyes and hands are Hers. The whole body and all its functions are Her manifestation. To fully realize Her, as such, is to perfect this particular manifestation of Hers which is himself. Man, when seeking to be the master of himself, so seeks on all the planes, physical, mental and spiritual; nor can they be severed, for they are all related, being but differing aspects of the one all-pervading Consciousness. Who is the more divine, he who neglects and spurns the body or mind that he may attain some fancied spiritual superiority, or he who rightly cherishes both as forms of the one Spirit which they clothe? Realization is more speedily and truly attained by discerning Spirit in, and as, all being and its activities, than by fleeing from and casting these aside as being either unspiritual or illusory and impediments in the path.[90] If not rightly conceived, they may be impediments and the cause of fall, otherwise they become instruments of attainments; and what others are there to hand? And so the Kulārṇava-Tantra says: “By what men fall, by that they rise.” When acts are done in the right feeling and frame of mind (Bhāva), those acts give enjoyments (Bhukti); and the repeated and prolonged Bhāva produces at length that divine experience (Tattva-jñāna) which is liberation. When the Mother is seen in all things, She is at length realized as She is when beyond them all.

These general principles have their more frequent application in the life of the world before entrance on the path of Yoga proper. The Yoga here described, is, however, also an application of these same principles in so far as it is claimed that thereby both Bhukti and Mukti are attained. Ordinarily it is said that where there is Yoga there is no Bhoga (enjoyment), but in Kaula teaching Yoga is Bhoga and Bhoga is Yoga, and the world itself becomes the seat of liberation (“Yogo bhogāyate, mokṣāyate saṃsārah”).[91]

In Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga enjoyment (Bhoga), and powers (Siddhi) may be had at each of the centres to which the Central Power is brought and by continuance of the practice upward the enjoyment which is Liberation may be had.

By the lower processes of Haṭha-Yoga it is sought to attain a perfect physical body which will also be a wholly fit instrument by which the mind may function. A perfect mind again approaches, and in Samādhi passes into, pure Consciousness itself. The Haṭha-Yogī thus seeks a body which shall be as strong as steel, healthy, free from suffering and therefore long-lived. Master of the body, he is master of both life and death. His lustrous form enjoys the vitality of youth. He lives as long as be has the will to live and enjoy in the world of forms. His death is the “death at will,” when making the great and wonderfully expressive gesture of dissolution[92] he grandly departs. But it may be said the Haṭha-Yogīs do get sick and die. In the first place, the full discipline is one of difficulty and risk, and can only be pursued under the guidance of a skilled Guru. As the Gorakṣa-Saṃhitā says, unaided and unsuccessful practice may lead not only to disease, but death. He who seeks to conquer the Lord of Death incurs the risk of failure of a more speedy conquest by Him. All who attempt this Yoga do not, of course, succeed, or meet with the same measure of success. Those who fail, not only incur the infirmities of ordinary men, but others brought on by practices which have been ill pursued, or for which they are not fit. Those, again, who do succeed, do so in varying degree. One may prolong his life to the sacred age of 84, others to 100, others yet further. In theory, at least, those who are perfected (Siddha) go from this plane when they will. All have not the same capacity or opportunity through want of will, bodily strength, or circumstance. All may not be willing or able to follow the strict rules necessary for success. Nor does modern life offer in general the opportunities for so complete a physical culture. All men may not desire such a life, or may think the attainment of it not worth the trouble involved. Some may wish to be rid of their body, and that as speedily as possible. It is therefore said that it is easier to gain liberation than deathlessness. The former may be had by unselfishness, detachment from the world, moral and mental discipline. But to conquer death is harder than this; for these qualities and acts will not alone avail. He who does so conquer holds life in the hollow of one hand, and if he be a successful (Siddha) Yogī, liberation in the other. He has Enjoyment and Liberation. He is the Emperor who is master of the world and the possessor of the bliss which is beyond all worlds. Therefore it is claimed by the Haṭha-Yogī that every Sādhana is inferior to Haṭha-Yoga.

The Haṭha-Yogī who rouses Kuṇḍalinī gains various occult powers (Siddhi) and enjoyment thereby. At every centre to which he leads Kuṇḍalinī he experiences a special form of bliss (Ānanda) and gains special powers (Siddhi). If he has Vairāgya or distaste for these he carries Her to the Śiva of his cerebral centre, and enjoys the Supreme Bliss, which in its nature is that of Liberation, and which, when established in permanence, is Liberation itself on the loosening of the spirit and body. She who “shines like a chain of lights”—a lightning-flash—in the centre of his body is the “Inner Woman” to whom reference was made when it was said, “What need have I of any outer woman? I have an Inner Woman within myself.” The Vīra (“heroic”)[93] Sādhaka, knowing himself as the embodiment of Śiva (Śivohaṃ), unites with woman as the embodiment of Śakti on the physical plane.[94] The Divya (“divine”) Sādhaka or Yogī unites within himself his own principles, female and male which are the “Heart of the Lord” (hṛdayaṃ parameśituḥ)[95] or Śakti, and Her Lord Consciousness or Śiva. It is their union which is the mystic coition (Maithuna) of the Tantras.[96] There are two forms of Union (Sāmarasya)[97]—namely, the first, which is the gross (Sthūla), or the union of the physical embodiments of the Supreme Consciousness; and the second, which is the subtle (Sūkṣma), or the union of the quiescent and active principles in Consciousness itself. It is the Latter which is Liberation.

Lastly, what in a philosophical sense is the nature of the process here described? Shortly stated, energy (Śakti) polarizes itself into two forms—namely, static or potential and dynamic as Prāṇa, the working forces of the body. Behind all activity there is a static background. The static centre in the human body is the central Serpent Power in the Mūlādhāra (root support). It is the power which is the static support (Ādhāra) of the whole body, and all its moving Prāṇik forces. This centre (Kendra) of power is a gross form of Cit or Consciousness—that is, in itself (Svarūpa) it is Consciousness and by appearance it is a power which, as the highest form of force, is a manifestation of it. Just as there is a distinction (though identity at base) between the supreme quiescent Consciousness and its active power (Śakti), so when Consciousness manifests as energy (Śakti), it possesses the twin aspects of potential and kinetic energy. In Advaita-Vedānta there can be no partition, in fact, of Reality. To the perfect eye of its Siddha the process of becoming is an ascription (Adhyāsa) to the ultimate Real.[98] To the eye of the Sādhaka—that is, the aspirant for Siddhi (perfected accomplishment)—to the spirit which is still toiling through the lower planes and variously identifying itself with them, becoming is tending to appear, and appearance is real. The Śākta-Tantra is a rendering of Vedantic truth from this practical point of view, and represents the world-process as a polarization in Consciousness itself. This polarity as it exists in, and as, the body, is destroyed by Yoga, which disturbs the equilibrium of bodily consciousness which is the result of the maintenance of these two poles. In the human body the potential pole of energy, which is the supreme power, is stirred to action, on which the moving forces (dynamic Śakti) supported by it are drawn thereto, and the whole dynamism[99] thus engendered moves upward to unite with the quiescent Consciousness in the highest Lotus.[100]

This matter has been so well put by my friend and collaborator Professor Prama- thanātha Mukhyopādhyāya that I cannot improve on his account,[101] and therefore cite it in lieu of giving a further description of my own:

“When you say that Kuṇḍalī-Śakti is the primordial Śakti at rest, I am led to think of an analogy (and it may be more than an analogy) in modern science. Cosmic energy in its physical aspect may be considered either as static or as dynamic, the former being a condition of equilibrium, the latter a condition of motion or change of relative position. Thus a material thing apparently at rest (there being no absolute rest except in pure Consciousness or Cit) should be regarded as energy or Śakti equilibrated, the various elements of it holding one another in check (or, as the mathematicians will say, the algebraic sum of the forces being zero). Of course, in any given case the equilibrium is relative rather than absolute. The important thing to note is this polarization of Śakti into two forms—static and dynamic.

“In the tissues of a living body, again, the operative energy (whatever the nature of that may be, whether we believe in a special ‘vital force’ or not) polarizes itself into two similar forms—anabolic and katabolic—one tending to change and the other to conserve the tissues, the actual condition of the tissues being simply the resultant of these two co-existent or concurrent activities.

“In the mind or experience also this polarization or polarity is patent to reflection. In my own writings[102] I have constantly urged this polarity between pure Cit and the stress which is involved in it: there is a stress or Śakti developing the mind through an infinity of forms and changes but all these forms and changes are known as involved in the pure and unbounded ether of awareness (Cidākāśa). This analysis therefore exhibits the primordial Śakti in the same two polar forms as before—static and dynamic—and here the polarity is most fundamental and approaches absoluteness.

“Lastly, let us consider for one moment the atom of modern science. The chemical atom has ceased to be an atom (indivisible unit of matter). We have instead the electron theory. According to this, the so-called atom is a miniature universe very much like our own solar system.  At the centre of this atomic system we have a charge of positive electricity round which a cloud of negative charges (called electrons) is supposed to revolve, just as myriads of planets and smaller bodies revolve round the sun. The positive and the negative charges hold each other in check, so that the atom is a condition of equilibrated energy, and does not therefore ordinarily break up, though it may possibly break up and set free its equilibrated store of energy, as probably it does in the emanations of radium. What do we notice here? The same polarity of Śakti into a static and a dynamic partner—viz., the positive charge at rest at the centre, and the negative charges in motion round about the centre: a most suggestive analogy or illustration, perhaps, of the cosmic facts. The illustration may be carried into other domains of science and philosophy, but I may as well forbear going into details. For the present we may, I think, draw this important conclusion:

“Śakti, as manifesting itself in the universe, divides itself into two polar aspects—static and dynamic—which implies that you cannot have it in a dynamic form without at the same time having it in a corresponding static form, much like the poles of a magnet. In any given sphere of activity of force we must have, according to this cosmic principle, a static background—Śakti at rest or ‘coiled,’ as the Tantras say.

“Before I proceed, let me point out what I conceive to be the fundamental significance of our Tāntric and Purānic Kālī. This figure or Mūrti is both real and symbolic, as indeed every Mūrti in the so-called Hindu mythology is. Now, the Divine Mother Kālī is a symbol of the cosmic truth just explained. Sadāśiva, on whose breast She dances, nude and dark, is the static background of pure Cit, white and inert (Śava-rūpa) because pure Cit is in itself Svaprakāśa (self-manifest) and Niṣkriya (actionless). At the same time, apart from and beyond Consciousness there can be nothing—no power or Śakti—hence the Divine Mother stands on the bosom of the Divine Father. The Mother Herself is all activity and Guṇamayī (in Her aspect as Prakṛti composed of the Guṇas). Her nakedness means that though She encompasses all, there is nothing to encompass Herself; Her darkness means that She is inscrutable—Avāṅ-manasa-gocarā (beyond the reach of thought and speecḥ). Of course, this is no partition of reality into two (there lies the imperfection of the Sāṃkhya doctrine of Puruṣa and Prakṛti, which is otherwise all right), but merely polarization in our experience of an indivisible fact which is the primordial (Ādyā) Śakti itself. Thus Git is also Śakti. Śiva is Śakti and Śakti is Śiva, as the Tantras say. It is Guṇāśraya (support of Guṇas) as well as Guṇamaya (whose substance is Guṇas); Nirguṇa (attributeless) as well as Saguṇa (with attribute), as said in a well-known passage of the Candi.

“Your suggestive hint[103] makes the nature of the Kuṇḍalinī- Śakti rather clear to me. You are quite right, perhaps, in saying that the cosmic Śakti is the Samaṣṭi (collectivity) in relation to which the Kuṇḍalinī in the bodies is only the Vyaṣṭi (individual): it is an illustration, a reproduction on a miniature scale, a microcosmic plan, of the whole. The law or principle of the whole—that of macrocosmic Śakti—should therefore be found in the Kuṇḍalinī. That law we have seen to be the law of polarization into static- dynamic or potential- kinetic aspects. In the living body, therefore, there must be such polarization. Now, the Kuṇḍalinī coiled three times and a half at the Mūlādhāra is the indispensable and unfailing static-background of the dynamic Śakti operative in the whole body, carrying on processes and working out changes. The body, therefore, may be compared to a magnet with two poles. The Mūlādhāra is the static pole in relation to the rest of the body, which is dynamic; the working, the body necessarily presupposes and finds such a static support, hence perhaps[104] the name Mūlādhāra, the fundamental support. In one sense, the static Śakti at the Mūlādhāra is necessarily co-existent with the creating and evolving Śakti of the body, because the dynamic aspect or pole can never be without its static counterpart. In another sense, it is the Śakti left over (you have yourself pointed this out, and the italics are yours) after the Prthivī—the last of the Bhūtas—has been created, a magazine of power to be drawn upon and utilized for further activity, if there should arise any need for such. Taking the two senses together (yours as well as mine), Śakti at the Mūlādhāra is both co-existent with every act of creation or manifestation and is the residual effect of such act—both cause and effect, in fact—an idea which, deeply looked into, shows no real contradiction. There is, in fact, what the physicist will describe as a cycle or circuit in action. Let us take the impregnated ovum—the earliest embryological stage of the living body. In it the Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti is already present in its two polar aspects: the ovum, which the mother-element represents, one pole (possibly the static), and the spermatazoon, which is the father-element, represents the other (possibly the dynamic).[105] From their fusion proceed those processes which the biologist calls differentiation and integration; but in all this process of creation the cycle can be fairly easily traced. Shakti flows out of the germinal cell (fertilized ovum), seizes upon foreign matter, and assimilates it, and thereby grows in bulk; divides and sub-divides itself, and then again co-ordinates all its divided parts into one organic whole. Now in all this we have the cycle. Seizing upon foreign matter is an outwardly directed activity, assimilation is an inwardly directed activity or return current; cell division and multiplication is an outwardly directed operation, co-ordination is inwardly directed;[106] and so on. The force in the germ-cell is overflowing, but also continuously it is flowing back into itself, the two operations presupposing and sustaining each other, as in every circuit. The given stock of force in the germ-cell, which is static so long as the fusion of the male and female elements does not take place in the womb, is the necessary starting-point of all creative activity; it is the primordial cause, therefore, in relation to the body—primordial as well as constantly given unceasing. On the other hand, the reaction of every creative action, the return current or flowing back of every unfolding overflow, constantly renews this starting force, changes it without changing its general condition of relative equilibrium (and this is quite possible, as in the case of any material system); the force in the germ-cell may therefore be also regarded as a perpetual effect, something left over and set against the working forces of the body. Many apparently inconsistent ideas enter into this conception and they have to be reconciled.

“1. We start with a force in the germ-cell which is statical at first (though, like a dicotyledon seed, or even a modern atom, it involves within itself both a statical and a dynamical pole; otherwise, from pure rest, involving no possibility of motion, no motion could ever arise). Let this be the Kuṇḍalinī coiled.

“2. Then there is creative impulse arising out of it; this is motion out of rest. By this, the Kuṇḍalinī becomes partly static and partly dynamic, or ejects, so to say, a dynamic pole out of it in order to evolve the body, but remaining a static pole or background itself all along. In no part of the process has the Kuṇḍalinī really uncoiled itself altogether, or even curtailed its three coils and half. Without this Mūlādhāra-Śakti remaining intact no evolution could be possible at all. It is the hinge upon which everything else turns.

“3. Each creative act again reacts on the Mūlādhāra- Śakti, so that such reaction, without disturbing the relative rest of the coiled Śakti, changes its volume or intensity, but does not curtail or add to the number of coils. For instance, every natural act of respiration reacts on the coiled Śakti at the Mūlādhāra, but it does not commonly make much difference. But Prāṇāyāma powerfully reacts on it, so much so that it awakes the dormant power and sends it piercing through the centres. Now, the common description that the Kuṇḍalinī uncoils Herself then and goes up the Suṣumnā, leaving the Mūlādhāra, should, I think, be admitted with caution. That static background can never be absolutely dispensed with. As you have yourself rightly observed, ‘Śakti can never be depleted, but this is how to look at it.’ Precisely, the Kuṇḍalī, when powerfully worked upon by Yoga, sends forth an emanation or ejection in the likeness of Her own self (like the ‘ethereal double’ of the Theosophists and Spiritualists)[107] which pierces through the various centres until it becomes blended, as you point out, with the Mahā-Kuṇḍalī of Siva at the highest or seventh centre. Thus, while this ‘ethereal double’ or self-ejection of the coiled power at the Mūlādhāra ascends the Suṣumnā, the coiled power itself does not and need not stir from its place. It is like a spark given from an over-saturated[108] electro-magnetic machine; or, rather, it is like the emanations of radium which do not sensibly detract from the energy contained in it. This last, perhaps, is the closest physical parallel of the case that we are trying to understand. As a well-known passage in the Upaniṣad has it, ‘The whole (Pūrṇa) is subtracted from the whole, and yet the whole remains.’ I think our present case comes very near to this. The Kuṇḍalinī at the Mūlādhāra is the whole primordial Śakti in monad or germ or latency: that is why it is coiled. The Kuṇḍalinī that mounts up the Nāḍī is also the whole Śakti in a specially dynamic form—an eject likeness of the Eternal Serpent. The result of the last fusion (there are successive fusions in the various centres also) in the Sahasrāra is also the Whole, or Pūrṇa. This is how I look at it. In this conception the permanent static background is not really depleted, much less is it dispensed with.

“4. When again I say that the volume or intensity of the coiled power can be affected (though not its configuration and relative equilibrium), I do not mean to throw up the principle of conservation of energy in relation to the Kuṇḍalinī, which is the embodiment of all energy. It is merely the conversion of static (potential), energy into dynamic (kinetic) energy in part, the sum remaining constant. As we have to deal with infinities here, an exact physical rendering of this principle is not to be expected. The Yogī therefore simply ‘awakens,’ and never creates Śakti. By the way, the germcell which evolves the body does not, according to modern biology, cease to be a germ-cell in any stage of the complicated process. The original germ-cell splits up into two: one half gradually develops itself into the body of a plant or animal—this is the somatic cell; the other half remains encased within the body practically unchanged, and is transmitted in the process of reproduction to the offspring—that is, the germ-plasm. Now, this germ-plasm is unbroken through the whole line of propagation. This is Weismann’s doctrine of ‘continuity of the germ plasm,’ which has been widely accepted, though it is but an hypothesis.”

In a subsequent postscript the Professor wrote:

“1. Śakti being either static or dynamic, every dynamic form necessarily presupposes a static background. A purely dynamic activity (which is motion in its physical aspect) is impossible without a static support or ground (Ādhāra). Hence the philosophical doctrine of absolute motion or change, as taught by old Heraclitus and the Buddhists and. by modem Bergson, is wrong; it is based neither upon correct logic nor upon clear intuition. The constitution of an atom reveals the static-dynamic polarization of Śakti; other and more complex forms of existence also do the same. In the living body this necessary static background is Mūlādhāra, where Śakti is Kuṇḍalinī coiled. All the functional activity of the body, starting from the development of the germ-cell, is correlated to, and sustained by the Śakti concentrated at, the Mūlādhāra. Cosmic creation, too, ending with the evolution of Pṛthivī-Tattva (it is, however, an unending process in a different sense, and there perhaps Henri Bergson, who claims that the creative impulse is ever original and resourceful, is right), also presupposes a cosmic static background (over and above Cidākāśa—ether of Consciousness), which is the Mahākuṇḍali-Śakti in the Cinmaya-deha (body of Consciousness) of Parameśvara or Parameśvarī (the Supreme- Lord in male and female aspect). In the earliest stage of creation, when the world arises in Divine Consciousness, it requires, as the principle or pole of Tat (That), the correlate principle or pole of Aham (I); in the development of the former, the latter serves as the static background. In our own experiences, too, ‘apperception’ or consciousness of self is the sustaining background—a string, so to say, which holds together all the loose beads of our elements of feeling. The sustaining ground or Ādhāra, as the seat of static force, therefore is found, in one form or other, in every phase and stage of creative evolution. The absolute or ultimate form is, of course, Git-Śakti (Consciousness as Power) itself, the unfailing Light of awareness about which our Gāyatrī (Mantra) says: ‘Which sustains and impels all the activities of Buddhi.’ This fact is symbolized by the Kālī-mūrti: not a mere symbol, however.

“2. My remarks about the rising or awakening of the Serpent Power at the Mūlādhāra have been, perhaps almost of the nature of a paradox. The coiled power, though awakened, uncoiled and rising, never really stirs from its place; only a sort of ‘ethereal double’ or ‘eject’ is unloosed and sent up through the system of centres. Now, in plain language, this ethereal double or eject means the dynamic equivalent of the static power concentrated at the Mūla, or root. Whenever by Prāṇāyāma of Bīja-mantra, or any other suitable means, the Mūlādhāra becomes, like an electro-magnetic machine, over-saturated (though the Kuṇḍalī-Śakti at the Mūla is infinite and exhaustless, yet the capacity of a given finite organism to contain it in a static form is limited, and therefore there may be over-saturation), a dynamic or operative equivalent of the static power is set up, possibly by a law similar to Nature’s law of induction, by which the static power itself is not depleted or rendered other than static. It is not that static energy at the Mūla wholly passes over into a dynamic form—the coiled Kuṇḍalinī leaving the Mūla, thus making it a void; that cannot be, and, were it so, all dynamic operation in the body would cease directly for want of a background. The coiled power remains coiled or static, and yet something apparently passes out of the Mūla—viz., the dynamic equivalent. This paradox can perhaps be explained in two ways:

“(a) One explanation was suggested in my main letter. The potential Kuṇḍalī-Śakti becomes partly converted into kinetic Śakti, and yet, since Śakti, even as given in the Mūla- centre, is an infinitude, it is not depleted: the potential store always remains unexhausted. I referred to a passage in the Upaniṣad about Pūrṇa. In this case the dynamic equivalent is a partial conversion of one mode of energy into another. In Laya-Yoga (here described) it is ordinarily so. When, however the infinite potential becomes an infinite kinetic—when, that is to say, the coiled power of the Mūla becomes absolutely uncoiled—we have necessarily the dissolution of the three bodies (Sthūla, Liṅga, and Kāraṇa—gross, subtle, causal), and consequently Videha-mukti (bodiless liberation), because the static background in relation to a particular form of existence has now wholly given way, according to our hypothesis. But Maha-Kuṇḍalī remains; hence individual Mukti (liberation) need not mean dissolution of Saṃsāra (transmigrating worlds) itself. Commonly, however, as the Tantra says, ‘pītvā pītvā punaḥ pītva,’ etc.[109]

“(b) The other explanation is suggested by the law of induction. Take an electro-magnetic machine;[110] if a suitable substance be placed near it, it will induce in it an equivalent and opposite kind of electro-magnetism2 without losing its own stock of energy. In conduction, energy flows over into another thing, so that the source loses and the other thing gains what it has lost, and its gain is similar in kind to the loss. Not so induction. There the source does not lose, and the induced energy is equivalent and opposite in kind to the inducing energy. Thus a positive charge will induce an equivalent negative charge in a neighbouring object. Now, shall we suppose that the Mūlādhāra, when it becomes over-saturated, induces in the neighbouring centre (say, Svādhiṣṭhāna) a dynamic (not static) equivalent?[111] Is this what the rise of the Serpent Power really means? The explanation, I am tempted to think, is not perhaps altogether fantastic.”

In reply to this highly interesting and illustrative account of my friend, I wrote suggesting some difficulties in the way of the acceptance of his statement that Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti did not, in fact, Herself uncoil and ascend, but projected upwards an emanation in the likeness of Her own self. The difficulty I felt was this: In the first place, the Yoga books, to which full credence must be given in this matter, unequivocally affirm that Kuṇḍalinī Herself does, in fact, ascend. This is borne out by some inquiries made of a Tāntrik Pandit very familiar with this Śāstra[112] after the receipt of the letter quoted. As the body of the Yogī still lives, though in an inert corpse-like condition, when consciousness of it is lost, I asked him how the body was sustained when Kuṇḍalinī left Her central abode. His answer was that it was maintained by the nectar which flows from the union of Śiva and Śakti in the Sahasrāra. This nectar is an ejection of power generated by their union. If Kuṇḍalinī does not ascend, but a mere emanative spark of Her, how (he further asked) is it that the body becomes cold and corpse-like? Would this follow if the power still remained at its centre, and merely sent forth a dynamic equivalent of itself? There were further difficulties in the theory put forward by my friend, though it may be that there are also difficulties in the acceptance of the statement that the Mūlādhāra is entirely depleted of the great power. I suggested that Kuṇḍalī was the static centre of the whole body as a complete conscious organism, and that each of the parts of the body and their constituent cells must have their own static centres, which would uphold such parts and cells; and that the life of the body, as a collection of material particles (from which the general organic consciousness as a whole was withdrawn), was sustained by the nectar which flowed from Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti when in union with Śiva in the Sahasrāra.

In reply, Professor P. Mukhyopādhyāya dealt with the matter as follows:

“According to my presentation of the case, something—viz., a dynamic equivalent or ‘operative double’—is certaiṇṭy sent forth from the Mūlādhāra, but this basic centre or seat is not depleted or rendered void of static energy in consequence of that operation. The Mūla (root), as the seat of static or coiled power, can never be dispensed with. It is the sine qua non of all functions of the triple body (gross, subtle, causal). It is, so to say, the buffer or base against which any activity of the Jīva (embodied consciousness) must react or recoil, like a naval or any other kind of heavy gun against its base or emplacement. Thus while the dynamic or uncoiled Śakti ascends the axis, the static or coiled Śakti retains its place at the Mūla, and remains as the very possibility of the dynamic upheaval. The ascending power is simply the dynamic counterpart of the static ground. To say that Kuṇḍalinī leaves its place and ascends is only to say that it ceases to be Kuṇḍalī and becomes dynamic. The ascending power is therefore uncoiled or non-Kuṇḍalinī power; it is the dynamic expression of the Kuṇḍalinī power. So far all can agree. But the question is: Is the Mūla depleted or deprived of all power (especially coiled power) when that dynamical expression leaves it and ascends the axis? Is the dynamic expression wholly at the expense of the static ground? Should the latter cease in order that the former may commence?

“Here, I think, I must answer in the negative. It is a case of Power leaving as well as remaining—leaving as dynamic and remaining as static; it is the case of the Kuṇḍalī being uncoiled in one aspect or pole and remaining still coiled in another aspect or pole. A paradox, perhaps, but, like most paradoxes, it is likely to be true.

“Is scriptural authority, which, by-the-by, I hold in utmost reverence, really challenged by this interpretation? The nature of the dynamic equivalent and its relation to the static background have been indicated in the previous two communications, and I need not dilate on them. I have claimed throughout that the Mūlādhāra, as the seat of static (i.e., coiled) power, can never be rendered a vacuum in relation to such power except in the circumstances of Videha-mukti (bodiless liberation), when the triple body (gross, subtle, causal), must dissolve. I think, also, that the point of view which you have taken can be reconciled with this interpretation of the matter. The Kuṇḍalinī Śakti is the static aspect of the life of the whole organized body, as you say rightly. The relation between the lives of the individual cells and that of the whole organism is not clearly understood in science. Is the common life a merely mechanical resultant of the lives of the individual cells, or are the lives of the individual cells only detailed manifestations of the common life? In other words, is the common life cause and the cell-lives effects or vice-versa? Science is not yet settled on this point. As a subscriber to the Śakti-vāda (doctrine of Śakti) I am inclined, however, to give primacy to the common life; in the germ-cell itself the common life is given in substance, and the whole development of the Jīva-deha (Jīva body) is only the detailed carrying out in particulars of what has been already given in substance, according to the principle of Adṛṣṭa (Karma). Nevertheless, I am quite willing to concede to the individual cells lives of semi-independence. ‘Semi,’ because they require to be sustained to a considerable degree by the life of the whole. Benefit or injury to the life of the whole reacts on the condition of the cells; the death of the whole life is followed by the death of the cells, and so on.

“Now, in every cell there is, of course, static-dynamic polarity; in the whole organism, also, there is such polarity or correlation. In the whole organism the static pole or correlate is the coiled power at the Mūlādhāra, and the dynamic correlate is the operative power (the five Prāṇasviz., Prāṇa, Apāna, Samāna, Udāna, and Vyāna), which actually carries on the various functions of the body. Ordinarily, therefore, this dynamic power is distributed over the whole body, vitalizing not merely the larger tissues, but the microscopic cells. Now, the devitalization (as you say) of the body in Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga or ṣaṭ-cakra-bheda is due, I venture to think, not to the depletion or privation of the static power at the Mūlādhāra, but to the concentration or convergence of the dynamic power ordinarily diffused over the whole body, so that the dynamic equivalent which is set up against the static background or Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti is only the diffused fivefold Prāṇa gathered home—withdrawn from the other tissues of the body—and concentrated in a line along the axis. Thus ordinarily the dynamic equivalent is the Prāṇa diffused over all the tissues; in Yoga it is converged along the axis, the static equivalent or Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti enduring in both cases. Thus also the polarity or correlation is maintained: in the former case between Śakti at Mūlādhāra and the diffused Prāna: in the latter case between Śakti at Mūla and the converged Prāṇa along the axis. This will perhaps adequately explain coldness, increased inertia, insensibility, etc., of the rest of the body in Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga of which you write. Commonly in Yoga this withdrawal and convergence of Prāṇa is incomplete; the residual Prāṇa, together with the lives of the cells, keeps the body alive, though inert or corpse-like. In the case of complete withdrawal and focussing, the cells will die and the body disintegrate.

“On the other hand if the coiled power were simply and wholly uncoiled (i.e., dynamized) in Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga, then there should be an excess rather than a defect of vitality all over the body; nothing would be subtracted from the already available dynamic energy of the body, but something would be added to it on account of the static power at the Mūla being rendered kinetic, and going up the axis and influencing neighbouring tissues.

“Hence I should venture to conclude that the static power at the base of the axis, without itself being depleted or rendered other than static, induces or produces a dynamic equivalent which is the diffused Prāṇa of the body gathered and converged along the axis. The states in the process may thus be summarily indicated:

“1. To begin with, there is coiled power at the base of the axis and its necessary correlate, the dynamic Prāṇa, diffused all over the body in the five forms.

“2. In Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga some part of the already available dynamic Prāṇa is made to act at the base of the axis in a suitable manner, by which means the base—or particularly the four-petalled Padma (lotus) which represents this centre—becomes over-saturated, and reacts on the whole diffused dynamic power (or Prāṇa) of the body by withdrawing it from the tissues and converging it along the line of the axis. In this way the diffused dynamic equivalent becomes the converged dynamic equivalent along the axis. This is what the rising of the serpent perhaps means.

“(a) In thus reacting, the coiled power has not lost its general equilibrium or static condition.

“(b) The modus operandi of this reaction is difficult to indicate, but it is probably (as suggested in my previous communications) either (i) a partial conversion of the infinite coiled power into the sort of influence that can thus gather the diffused Prāṇa, and converge it in its own resultant line along the axis, or (ii) an inductive action, analogous to electromagnetic action, by which the Prāṇas are collected and converged. In this latter case there is no need for conversion of the static energy. 'We shall have perhaps to choose between, or rather co-ordinate, these two explanations in understanding the modus operandi. In mathematical language, the diffused Prāṇa is a scalar quantity (having magnitude, but no direction), while the converged Prāṇa is a vector quantity (having both magnitude and definite direction).

“Suppose, lastly, we are witnessing with a Divya-cakṣus (inner eye) the progress of Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga. There something like condensed lightning (Taḍit) is rising from the Mūlādhāra, and gathering momentum in going up from Cakra to Cakra, till the consummation is reached at the Paramaśivasthāna) (abode of the Supreme Śiva). But look back, and behold the Kula-Kuṇḍalinī is also there at the Mūla coiled three times and a half round the Svayaṃbhū-Liṅga. She has left and yet remained or stayed, and is again coming back to Herself. Is not this vision supported by scriptural authority and the experience of the Yogī?”

Putting aside detail, the main principle appears to be that, when “wakened,” Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti either Herself (or as my friend suggests in Her eject) ceases to be a static power which sustains the world-consciousness, the content of which is held only so long as She “sleeps,” and, when once set in movement, is drawn to that other static centre in the thousand-petalled lotus (Sahasrāra), which is Herself in union with the Śiva-consciousness or the consciousness of ecstasy beyond the world of forms. When Kuṇḍalinī “sleeps” man is awake to this world. When She “awakes” he sleeps—that is, loses all consciousness of the world and enters his causal body. In Yoga he passes beyond to formless Consciousness.

I have only to add, without further discussion of the point, that practitioners of this Yoga claim that it is higher than any other;[113] and that the Samādhi (ecstasy) attained thereby is more perfect. The reason which they allege is this: In Dhyāna-Yoga ecstasy takes place through detachment from the world and mental concentration, leading to vacuity of mental operation (Vṛtti), or the uprising of pure Consciousness unhindered by the limitations of the mind.[114] The degree to which this unveiling of consciousness is effected depends upon, the meditative powers (Jñāna-Śakti) of the Sādhaka and the extent of his detachment from the world. On the other hand Kuṇḍalinī, who is all Śaktis, and who is therefore Jñāna-Śakti itself, produces, when awakened by the Yogī, full Jñāna for him. Secondly, in the Samādhi or Dhyāna-Yoga there is no rousing and union of Kuṇḍalinī- Śakti, with the accompanying bliss and acquisition of special powers (Siddhi). Further, in Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga there is not merely a Samādhi through meditation, but through the central power of the Jīva, a power which carries with it the forces of both body and mind. The union in that sense is claimed to be more complete than that enacted through mental methods only. Though in both cases bodily consciousness is lost, in Kuṇḍalinī-Yoga not only the mind, but the body in so far as it is represented by its central power (or, maybe, its eject), is actually united with Śiva. This union produces an enjoyment (Bhukti) which the Dhyāna-Yogī does not possess. Whilst both the Divya-Yogī and the Vīra-Sādhaka have enjoyment (Bhukti), that of the former is infinitely more intense, being an experience of Bliss itself. The enjoyment of the Vīra-Sādhaka is but a reflection of it on the physical plane, a welling up of the true bliss through the deadening coverings and trammels of matter. Again, whilst it is said that both have liberation (Mukti), this word is used in Vīra Sādhana in a figurative sense only, indicating a bliss which is the nearest approach on the physical plane to that of Mukti, and a Bhāva or feeling of momentary union of Śiva and Śakti which ripens in the higher Yoga-Sādhana into the literal Liberation of the Yogī. He, in its fullest and literal sense, has both Enjoyment (Bhukti) and Liberation (Mukti). Hence its claim to be the Emperor of all Yogas.

However this may be, I leave at this point the subject, with the hope that others will continue the inquiry I have here initiated. It, and other matters in the Tantra Śāstra, seem to me (whatever be their inherent value) worthy of an investigation which they have not yet received.

A. A.

Footnotes and references:


There are many others. Some references kindly supplied to me by Mahāmahopādhyāya Ādityarāma Bhattācārya have also been inserted.


See Taraṅga I of the Mantramabodadhi:

devārcā-yogyatā-prāptyai bhūta-śuddhiṃ samācaret.


For some references from the older Upaniṣads, see an article by Professor Rhys Davids in J.R.A.S., p. 71 (January, 1899) “Theory of Soul in Upaniṣads”. See also my “Principles of Tantra,” referring amongst others to Praśna Upaniṣad, III. 6, 7.


P. 236 (edited by Arthur Barriedale Keith) of “Anecdota Oxoniensia”.


upaniṣadāṃ samuccayaḥ:—Ānandāśrama Series, Vol. XXX, p. 593.


The Tantra, like every other Indian Śāstra, claims to be based on Veda.


This lotus is commonly confused with the Anāhata. The latter is a Cakra in the spinal column; the eight-petalled lotus is in the region of the heart (Hṛd) in the body.


Lit., “taking of things”. The translation of this and some of the other Vṛttis is tentative. It is not easy in every case to understand the precise meaning or to find an English equivalent.


Ānandāśrama Series, Vol. XXIX, p. 325.


It will be observed that the two lower Tāmasic centres are not here mentioned.


Ibid., p. 262.


Op. cit., 43. The Amṛtabindu-Upaniṣad at p. 71 deals generally with Yoga.


Ibid., Vol. XXIX, p. 145.


Ānandāśrama Edition, Vol. XXX, p. 61.


Vol. XXIX of same edition, p. 345; see pp. 441, 450, 451, 458 and 460.


Same edition. Vol. XXIX, p. 477.


3 Ibid., p. 483; and as to the passage of Kuṇḍalinī through the Brahma-dvāra, see p. 485.


Ānandāśrama Edition, Vol. XXIX, p. 520.


These Yoga-Upaniṣads have been recently translated as part of “Thirty Minor Upaniṣads,” by K. Nārāyaṇasvāmi Aiyar (Theosophical Society of Madras, 1914).


See Ch. XXXV, Vol. III of my “Tāntrik Texts”,


See also Ānandagirī’s [Ānandagiri’s?] Śaṃkaravijaya and Madhava’s Śaṃkara- vijaya (Ch. XI; see also ib., where Śrī-Cakra is mentioned).


“Saundaryalaharī,” pp. 10-15.


Thus, vv. 13, 18, 19 are said to treat of Madana-prayoga—that is, application for the third Puruṣārtha or Kāma (desire).


He seems to be adverse to the Uttara or Northern Kaula School.—A.A.


I have followed this commentary also in my “Wave of Bliss”,—A.A.


Bīja or root-mantra.—A.A.


Those writers who deal with the practical application.—A. A.


This is the celebrated Bengali Parama-haṃsa guru of Pūrṇānanda- Svāmī, author of the Ṣaṭcakra-nirupaṇa. Brahmānanda was the author of the celebrated Śāktānanda-taraṅgiṇī.—A.A.


sarveṣām prāṇinām śirasi amṛtam asti iti yogamārgena kuṇḍa- linīgamane tatratya tatpravāhāplutena yoginām īśvarasāmyam jāyate iti yogaśāstreṣu prasiddham
  —(Comm. v. 1).


Bibliotheca Indica, ed. Asiatic Society (1871). The notes are from the Commentary of Nārāyaṇa.


The man-lion incarnation of Viṣṇu.


Ānandātmaka; in the self of Ānanda (bliss).


Good, perfect.


Lustrous (Tejomaya).


The Cakra which by the Śaktis of Jñāna and Kriyā protects all regions (Loka).


The Cakra of the path reached by Yoga.


The Cakra which is the death of all Asuras, or liars.


That is, each Cakra has three divisions—inner, middle, and outer; or Bīja, Nārasiṃha-Gāyatrī, Mantra.


The root Mantra, which in this case are those given in the next note but one.


That is, the Mantra.

nārasiṃhāya vidmahe vajranakhāya dhīmahi, tannaḥ siṃhaḥ pracodayāt.

(“May we contemplate on Nārasiṃha, may we meditate on his Vajra-like claws. May that man-lion direct us.”)


That is, the following Bījas: Kṣauṃ (in Ācakra); Śrīṃ, His Śakti (in Sucakra); Aiṃ (in Mahā-Cakra); Klīṃ (in Sakalaloka-rakṣaṇa-Cakra); Oṃ (in Dyu-Cakra); and Hūṃ (in Asurāntaka-Cakra).


That is, to each of them is assigned the several parts of the Nārasiṃha-gāyatrī above-mentioned.


The Ātmā as bliss, love, light or energy, Māyā, Yoga, and the concluding Cakra which is the destruction of all Asuras.


That is, how should Nyāsa be done? That is explained in the text and following notes where the Nyāsa is given.


Kṣauṃ nārasiṃhāya ācakrāya ānandātmane svāhā hṛdayāya namaḥ.


Śrīṃ vidmahe sucakrāya priyātmane svāhā sirase svāhā.


Aiṃ vajra-nakhāya mahā-cakrāya jyotirātmane svāhā śikhāyai vaṣat.


Klīṃ dhīmahi sakala-loka-rakṣaṇa-cakrāya māyātmane svāhā kavacāya huṃ.


Oṃ tanno dyu-cakrāya yogātmane svāhā netra-trayāya vauṣat.


Hauṃ nṛsiṃhaḥ pracodayāt asurāntaka-cakrāya satyātmane svāhā astrāya phat.


That is, he becomes capable of speech—a poet. He knows the beginning and end of all things and is able to explain all things.


Various forms of terrifying and malignant spiritual influences.


That is, not to one who is not competent (Adhikārī) to receive this knowledge. Here ends the Ātharvaṇīya Ṣaṭcakropaniṣad.


If my summary, taken from the Bengali, points the piteous acerbities of the original, the critic would, I am sure, not complain.


It is always important to record such a fact, for it generally influences the outlook on things. In some cases the mind is so westernized that it is unable to appreciate correctly ancient Indian ideas.


This no Tāntrik would, I think, admit. He would say that it is ignorance (Avidyā) which sees any differences between Veda and Āgama. The critic re-echoes some Western criticisms.


It is true that complete Mukti or Kaivalya is bodiless (Videha). But there is a Mukti in which the Yogī retains his body (Jīvanmukti). In truth, there is no “leaving,” for Ātmā, as Śaṃkara says, does not come and go.


This, at any rate, attests its wide pervasiveness.


This is a contemptuous term which has descended from the days when the stranger was looked on as an object of enmity or contempt. Just as the Greeks and Chinese called anyone not a Greek or a Chinese a “barbarian,” so Hindus of the Exoteric School call all non-Hindus, whether aboriginal tribes or cultivated foreigners, Mlecchas. Mlecchatā is the state of being a Mleccha. It is to the credit of the Śākta-Tantra that it does not encourage such narrow ideas.


These wander about India persuading the villagers to go and work on the tea-gardens, to which they are then conveyed by means which, to say the least, are not always admirable. Truth makes it necessary to state that the allegation that the Gurus employ agents to secure followers is baseless. The Gurus of the right type as a matter of fact are very particular about the competency of the would-be disciple.


The books and the Gurus claim to do so.


It is not a peep-show open to any. Only those are said to see who have mastered the great difficulties in this path.


There is one Brahman with His aspects.


This nectar is in the body. What is perceptible is not always such a gross thing as those with which medicine is concerned.


This is the Indian tradition as to the philosopher’s date.


When Śaṃkara disputed with the Kāpālika Krakaca, the latter invoked to his aid the fierce form of Śiva called Bhairava. But on Śaṃkara’s worshipping the God, the latter said to Krakaca, “Thy time has come,” and absorbed His devotee into Himself. See Mādhava’s Śaṃkara-vijaya, Ch. XV.


See ante, p. 277.


Thus, the offering of flowers and the like to the Divinity partakes of the nature of Karma; whilst Bhakti in its transcendental aspect, in which by love of the Lord the devotee is merged in Him, is a form of Samādhi.


When, however, we deal with what are called the three Kāṇḍasviz., Karma, Upāsanā, and Jñāna—Tapas and the like practices form part of Upāsanā-Kāṇḍa. The above definition is for the purposes of Yoga classification only.


Sattva, Atisattva, Parama-sattva, Śuddha-sattva, and Viśuddha- sattva, are five different forms of Caitanya.


This is necessary in order that the aptitude be attained. By repetition the act becomes natural, and its result in the end becomes permanent.


gāyatrīmūlaka-ṣaṭcakrer vyākhyāna o sādhanā (Mangala Ganga Mission Press).


The unorthodox author cited, quoting the saying that “to attain Siddhi (fruition) in Śruti (study and practice of ordinances of the Vedas) the Brāhmaṇa should follow the Tantra,” asks, in conformity with his views on the latter Śāstra, “How can those who are divorced from Veda get Siddhi or Śruti?” This echoes a common reproach, that the Tantra is opposed to the Vedas which the Śāstra itself denies. The Kulārṇava-Tantra speaks of it, on the contrary, as Vedātmaka. Of course it is one question to claim to be based on Veda and another whether a particular Śāstra is in fact in accordance with it. On this the Indian schools dispute, just as the Christian sects differ as to the Bible which all claim as their basis.


This definition is inaccurate. As explained later, the physical ganglia are merely gross correspondences of the subtle vital Cakras which inform them.


The Author here refers to the processes subsequently described, whereby air is indrawn and the internal fires are set ablaze to rouse the sleeping serpent. The Parātmā is the Supreme Ātmā.


This observation suggests a line of thought which is of value. Some pursue the path of devotion (Bhakti), but what of those who have it not or in less degree?


The paragraph in brackets is mine.—A.A.


This observation appears to show a misunderstanding of the specific character of the Yoga. If it is desired to rouse Kuṇḍalī, the operation must, I am told, commence at the lowest centre. There are, however, other forms of Yoga in which Kuṇḍalī is not aroused.—A. A.


Such as Prāṇāyāma, Asana. See ante, p. 192.


Thus, by raising Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti to the Maṇipūra centre, power may (it is said) be acquired over fire.


Subject to Dharma, Yama, Niyama, etc. In any case where the end sought is purely “spiritual” there is Vairāgya or renunciation.


This makes Rāja-Yoga the highest and most difficult of Yogas, for mind is made to conquer itself. In Laya-Yoga the conquest is achieved for the sādhaka by Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti. He arouses Her and She achieves for him Siddhi. It is easier to arouse Kuṇḍalinī than to win by one’s thought alone Nirvikalpa-Samādhi.


As there are persons who always associate with the word “enjoyment” (Bhoga) “beer and skittles,” it is necessary to say that that is not the necessary implication of the word Bhoga, nor the sense in which it is here used. Philosophically, Bhoga is the perception of objects upon which enjoyment, or it may be suffering, ensues. Here any form of sense or intellectual enjoyment is intended. All life in the world of form is enjoyment. Bhoga in fact includes suffering.


Which it is possible to adopt without approval of any particular application to which it may be put. There are some (to say the least) dangerous practices which in the hands of inferior persons have led to results which have given the Śāstra in this respect its ill repute.


“Worlds,” because that is the English phrase. Here, however, the antithesis is between the world (whether as earth or heaven) and liberation from all worlds.


Thus in the Śākta ritual the Sādhaka who takes the wine-cup pours the wine as a libation into the mouth of Kuṇḍalinī-Śakti, the Śakti appearing in the form of himself.


A name of Śiva.


That is, the Mother of all appearing in the form of Her worshipper.


By Sj. Aurobindo Ghose in “Arya”.


The first is the Tāntrik method of applying Vedantic truth; the second, the ascetic or Māyāvādin method, with a greatness of its own, but perhaps in less conformity, with the needs of the mass of men.


yogo bhogāyate sākṣāt duṣkṛtaṃ sukṛtāyate,
mokṣāyate hi saṃsāraḥ kauladharme kuleśvari.


Saṃhāra-mudrā, the gesture which signifies dissolution, “Now I am about to die”.


See my “Śakti and Śākta”.


The statement in the Tantras that this union is liberation (Mukti) is mere Stuti—that is, praise in the Indian fashion of the subject in hand, which goes beyond the actual fact. The European reader who takes such statements au pied de la lettre and ridicules them makes himself (to the knowing) ridiculous. What actually happens in such case is a fugitive bliss, which, like all bliss, emanates from the Great Bliss, but is a pale reflection of it which nowise, in itself, secures immunity from future rebirth. It is the bliss of this lower Sādhana, as the union of Kuṇḍalinī- Śakti with Śiva is that of the higher.


As the Parāprāveśika beautifully calls Her. Yogiṇīhṛdaya-Tantra says, “She is the heart, for from Her all things issue.”


This, as the Yoginī-Tantra says, is the coition (Maithuna) of those who are Yati (who have controlled their passions).


This term indicates the enjoyment which arises from the union of male and female, which may be either of bodies or of their inner principles.


To the eye of Siddhi, to the spirit who is Udāsīna (simple witness unmindful of the external world), becoming is Adhyāsa and nothing real (in the Indian sense of that term, as used by Śaṃkara). Creation (Śṛṣṭi [Sṛṣṭi?]) is Vivarta, or apparent and not real evolution (Pariṇāma). Adhyāsa is attributing to something that which it does not really possess.


The projecting power of consciousness withdraws its projections into the sensuous world, and the power of Consciousness remains as Power to Be.


Why here, it may be asked, seeing that Consciousness is all pervading? True; but there the Tāmasik force of Māyā is at its lowest strength. Therefore Consciousness is reached there.


In a letter to me, in reply to one of mine answering some inquiries made by him as regards this Yoga. He wrote that my letter had suggested certain ideas “on a subject of supreme interest philosophically and practically in the life of a Hindu,” which I reproduce in the text. The bracketed translations of the Sanskrit words are mine.


“Approaches to Truth” and “The Patent Wonder,” two valuable presentments in modern terms of the ancient Vedantic teaching.


That Kuṇḍalnī is the static Śakti.




The process of fertilization is dealt with in the Mātṛkābheda- Tantra.


This outflow and inflow is a common. Tāntrik notion.






“Having drunk, having drunk, having again drunk,” a passage in the Kulārṇava-Tantra signifying not actual drinking (as some suppose), but repeated raising of Kuṇḍalinī.


We may say “Take a magnet” and “magnetism”.


Here is the seat of the first moving, or Paṣyantī Śabda.


Though not practising himself, his brother, from whom he had learnt, was an adept in the Yoga. His statements I have always found of peculiar value. It must, however, be remembered that, however learned or practised a Pandit or Yogī may be, it is possible for him to be ignorant of the scientific implications of his doctrine and practice.


I do not say either that this is admitted or that it is a fact. Only he who has had all Yoga experiences can say. I merely here state the facts.


What, I believe, the Christian Scientist calls the “mortal mind”. In Indian doctrine, mind is a temporal and limited manifestation of the unlimited eternal Consciousness. As the states are different, two terms are better than one.

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