Yoga-kundalini Upanishad of Krishna-Yajurveda

by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar | 1914 | 4,927 words

This is the English translation of the Yoga-kundalini Upanishad (belonging to the Krishna-Yajurveda): a minor Sanskrit treatise selected amongst a collection 108 extant upanishads, dating to at least the 1st millennium BC. The Yoga-kundalini-upanishad expounds the theory of Kundalini Yoga and describes the systems of Hatha and Lambika yoga. Kundal...

Chapter III

Melanamantra.—(Hrīm), (bham), (sam), (sham), (pham), (sam), and (kṣam).

The lotus-born (Brahma) said:

O Śaṅkara, (among) new moon (the first day of the lunar fortnight) and full moon, which is spoken of as its (mantra's) sign? In the first day of lunar fortnight and during new moon and full moon (days), it should be made firm and there is no other way (or time). A man longs for an object through passion and is infatuated with passion for objects. One should always leave these two and seek the Nirañjana (stainless). He should abandon everything else which he thinks is favourable to himself. Keeping the manas in the midst of śakti, and śakti in the midst of manas, one should look into manas by means of manas. Then he leaves even the highest stage. Manas alone is the bindu, the cause of creation and preservation. It is only through manas that bindu is produced, like the curd from milk. The organs of manas is not that which is situated in the middle of bandhana. Bandhana is there where Śakti is between the sun and moon. Having known suṣumnā and its bheda (piercing) and making the vāyu go in the middle, one should stand in the seat of bindu, and close the nostrils. Having known vāyu, the above-mentioned bindu and the sattva-prakṛti as well as the six chakras, one should enter the sukha-maṇḍala (viz., the sahasrāra or pineal gland, the sphere of happiness). There are six chakras. Mūlādhāra is in the anus; svādhiṣṭhāna is near the genital organ; maṇipūraka is in the navel; anāhata is in the heart; viśuddhi is at the root of the neck and ājñā is in the head (between the two eyebrows). Having known these six maṇḍalas (spheres), one should enter the sukhamaṇḍala (pineal gland), drawing up the vāyu and should send it (vāyu) upwards. He who practises thus (the control of) vāyu becomes one with brahmāṇḍa (the macrocosm). He should practise (or master) vāyu, bindu, citta, and chakra.

Yogins attain the nectar of equality through samādhi alone. Just as the fire latent in (sacrificial) wood does not appear without churning, so the lamp of wisdom does not arise without the abhyāsa yoga (or practice of yoga). The fire placed in a vessel does not give light outside. When the vessel is broken, its light appears without. One's body is spoken of as the vessel, and the seat of "That" is the fire (or light) within; and when it (the body) is broken through the words of a guru, the light of brahmajñāna becomes resplendent. With the guru as the helmsman, one crosses the subtle body and the ocean of saṃsāra through the affinities of practice. That vāk[1] (power of speech) which sprouts in parā, gives forth two leaves in paśyantī, buds forth in madhyamā and blossoms in vaikharī—that vāk which has before been described, reaches the stage of the absorption of sound, reversing the above order (viz., beginning with vaikharī, etc). Whoever thinks that He who is the great lord of that vāk, who is the undifferentiated and who is the illuminator of that vāk is Self; whoever thinks over thus, is never affected by words, high or low (or good or bad). The three (aspects[2] of consciousness), viśva, taijasa, and prājña (in man), the three Virat, Hiraṇyagarbha, and Īśvara in the universe, the egg of the universe, the egg of man[3] and the seven worlds—all these in turn are absorbed in Pratyagātma through the absorption of their respective upādhis (vehicles). The egg being heated by the fire of jñāna is absorbed with its kāraṇa (cause) into Paramātmā (Universal Self). Then it becomes one with Parabrahman. It is then neither steadiness nor depth, neither light nor darkness, neither describable nor distinguishable. Sat (Be-ness) alone remains. One should think of Ātmā as being within the body like a light in a vessel. Ātmā is of the dimensions of a thumb, is a light without smoke and without form, is shining within (the body) and is undifferentiated and immutable.

The Vijñāna Ātmā that dwells in this body is deluded by māyā during the states of waking, dreaming, and dreamless sleep; but after many births, owing to the effect of good karma, it wishes to attain its own state. Who am I? How has this stain of mundane existence accrued to me? What becomes in the dreamless sleep of me who am engaged in business in the waking and dreaming states? Just as a bale of cotton is burnt by fire, so the Cidābhāsa[4] which is the result of non-wisdom, is burnt by the (wise) thoughts like the above and by its own supreme illumination. The outer burning (of body as done in the world) is no burning at all. When the wordly wisdom is destroyed, Pratyagātma that is in the dahara (ākāś or ether of the heart) obtains vijñāna, diffusing itself everywhere and burns in an instant jñānamaya and manomaya (sheaths). After this, He himself shines always within, like a light within a vessel.

That muni who contemplates thus till sleep and till death is to be known as a jīvanmukta. Having done what ought to be done, he is a fortunate person. And having given up (even) the state of a jīvanmukta, he attains videhamu.kti (emancipation in a disembodied state), after his body wears off. He attains the state, as if of moving in the air. Then That alone remains which is soundless, touchless, formless, and deathless, which is the rasa (essence), eternal, and odourless, which has neither beginning nor end, which is greater than the great, and which is permanent, stainless, and decayless.

Thus ends the Upaniṣad.

Footnotes and references:


Vāk is of four kinds (as said here) parā, pasyanṭī, maḍhyamā, and vaikharī. Vaikharī being the lowest and the grossest of sounds, and part being the highest. In evolution vāk begins from the highest to the lowest and in involution it takes a reverse order, to merge into the highest subtle sound (Parā).


The first three aspects of consciousness refer to the gross, subtle, and kāraṇa bodies of men, while the second three aspects refer to the three bodies of the universe. This is from the standpoint of the three bodies.


The egg of man—this shows that man in his formation is and appears as an egg, just as the universe is, and appears as an egg.


It is the consciousness that becomes distorted and is unable to cognise itself through the bodies.

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