|Glory of Bharath » Bharatheeya Samskrithi
|Yajur Vedic Upanishads - IX|
The Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad is the eighty-sixth among the 108 Upanishads. It forms part of the Krishna Yajurveda. It deals with an exposition of Hatha and Lambika Yogas. It concludes with an account of the non-qualified Brahman. The Non-dual Brahman is the quest of all seekers. Though grouped among the minor Upanishads, the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad is a very important work on Kundalini Yoga. It begins with an analysis of the nature of Chitta. It maintains that Samskaras and Vasanas on the one hand, and Prana, on the other, constitute the causes for the existence of Chitta. If Vasanas are controlled, Prana is automatically controlled. If Prana is controlled, the Vasanas are automatically controlled. The Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad presents methods for the control of Prana. The Yogic student does not deal with Vasanas. He concerns himself with the techniques of controlling the Prana.
The three methods given in the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad for the control of Prana are: Mitahara, Asana and Shakti-Chalana. These three methods are fully explained in the first chapter. Light, sweet and nutritious food forms the discipline of Mitahara. The Padmasana and the Vajrasana are two important Asanas used by the Yogic student. Shakti-Chalana is arousing the Kundalini and sending it to the crown of the head.
Kundalini can be aroused by a twofold practice. Saraswati Chalana and the restraint of Prana are the two practices. The rousing of the Saraswati Nadi is Saraswati Chalana.
The process, as described in the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad, for arousing Kundalini is simple. When a person exhales, the Prana goes out 16 digits. In inhalation it goes in only 12 digits, thus losing 4. The Kundalini is aroused if one can inhale Prana for 16 digits. This is done by sitting in Padmasana and when the Prana is flowing through the left nostril, and lengthening inwards 4 digits more.
By means of this lengthened breath the Yogic student should manipulate the Saraswati Nadi and stir up the Kundalini Shakti with all his strength, from right to left, repeatedly. This process may extend to three quarters of an hour. All this has been briefly and yet comprehensively described in the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad.
The most important result of shaking the Saraswati Nadi is that it cures the several diseases arising within the belly, and cleanses and purifies the system. After the practice of the Sahita Kumbhaka the Yogic student is initiated into the Kevala Kumbhaka. These two types of Kumbhaka bring about the complete restraint of the Prana.
Suryabheda Kumbhaka, Ujjayi Kumbhaka, Sitali and Bhastrika are the four divisions of the Sahita Kumbhaka. Suryabheda Kumbhaka destroys the intestinal worms and the four kinds of evils caused by Vayu. Ujjayi purifies the body, removes diseases and increases the gastric fire. It also removes the heat caused in the head and the phlegm in the throat. Sitali cools the body. It destroys gulma, dyspepsia, pliha, consumption, bile, fever, thirst and poison. These forms of Sahita Kumbhaka purify and prepare the entire physiological organism for the arousal of the Kundalini Sakti and for the experience of the non-dual Brahman.
Apart from bringing a number of wholesome physiological changes, Bhastrika Kumbhaka pierces the three knots or the Granthis. The Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad then proceeds to prescribe the practice of the three Bandhas, for the Yogic student. The process by which the downward tendency of the Apana (breath) is forced up by the spincter muscles of the anus, is called the Mulabandha. By this Bandha the Apana is raised up. It reaches the sphere of Agni or fire. Then the flame of the Agni grows long, being blown about by Vayu. In a heated state, Agni and Apana commingle with the Prana. This Agni is very fierce. Through this fiery Agni, there arises in the body the fire that awakens and arouses the Kundalini, through its radiant heat. The aroused Kundalini makes a hissing noise, becomes erect and enters the hole of Brahmanadi. The Yogins practise this Mulabandha daily. In this aim of arousing the Sarasvati Nadi and the Kundalini Shakti, the other two Bandhas, viz., Uddiyana Bandha and the Jalandhara Bandha, also play the most significant part.
After giving detailed knowledge of the techniques of the Bandhas, the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad explains the number of obstacles the Yogic students encounter. It also gives the methods of overcoming these obstacles.
The causes of the diseases in the body are seven.
1. Sleeping during the daytime.
2. Late vigils overnight.
3. Excess of sexual intercourse.
4. Moving amidst crowds.
5. The effect of unwholesome food.
6. Checking of the discharge of urine and faeces.
7. Laborious mental operations with the Prana.
The mistake that the Yogic student commits is that when diseases attack him, he erroneously attributes the diseases to his practice of Yoga. This is the first obstacle in Yoga.
The Yogic student begins to doubt as to the efficacy of the Yoga Sadhana. This is the second obstacle. Carelessness or a state of confusion is the third obstacle. Indifference or laziness is the fourth obstacle. Sleep is the fifth obstacle and the sixth is the attachment to sense-objects. The seventh obstacle is erroneous perception or delusion. The eighth is concern with worldly affairs. The ninth is want of faith. The tenth obstacle to Yoga practice is want of the necessary aptitude for grasping the Yoga truths.
Earnest spiritual aspirants should avoid all these obstacles by means of a close investigation and great deliberation. Further on, the Upanishads describe the process and the manner by which the Kundalini is roused and taken to the Sahasrara by piercing through the Granthis. When the awakened Kundalini moves upwards, the shower of nectar flows copiously. The Yogi enjoys this which keeps him away from all sensual pleasures. The Yogi takes his stand upon the Inner Reality, the Atman. He enjoys the highest state of spiritual experience. He attains peace and is devoted only to the Atman.
By the whole process of the Kundalini Yoga Sadhana, the body of the Yogi attains very subtle state of the spiritual Consciousness. The Yogi who has attained to Samadhi experiences everything as Consciousness. The Yogi realises the oneness of the macrocosm and the microcosm. Because, the Kundalini Shakti has reached the Sahasrara Kamala or the thousand-petalled lotus and has become united with Siva, the Yogi enjoys the highest Avastha. This is the final beatitude.
The Chakras are centres of Shakti as vital force. These are the centres of Prana Shakti manifested by Pranavayu in the living body. Those aspirants who aspire to arouse the Kundalini Shakti to enjoy the Bliss of Union of Siva and Shakti, through awakened Kundalini, and to gain the accompanying Powers or Siddhis, should practise Kundalini Yoga. To them, this Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad is of great importance. It equips them with a comprehensive knowledge of the methods and processes of the Kundalini Yoga in which the Khechari Mudra stands prominent.
The Kundalini Yogi seeks to obtain both Bhukti and Mukti. He attains liberation in and through the world. Jnana Yoga is the path of asceticism and liberation. Kundalini Yoga is the path of enjoyment and liberation. The Hatha Yogi seeks a body which shall be as strong as steel, healthy, free from suffering and therefore, long-lived. Master of the body, the Yogi is the Master of life and death. His shining form enjoys the vitality of youth. He lives as long as he has the will to live and enjoys in the world of forms. His death is the death at will (Ichha-Mrityu). The Yogi should seek the guidance of an expert and skilled Guru.
The Serpent Power is the power which is the static support or Adhara of the whole body and all its moving Pranic forces. The polarity as it exists in, and as, the body is destroyed by Yoga which disturbs the equilibrium of bodily consciousness, which consciousness 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. The Shakti is moved upward to unite with the Siva, the quiescent Consciousness in the Sahasrara. By Pranayama and other Yogic processes the static Shakti is affected and becomes dynamic. When completely dynamic, when Kundalini unites with Siva in the Sahasrara, the polarisation of the body gives way. The two poles are united in one and there is the state of consciousness called Samadhi. The polarisation takes place in the Consciousness. The body actually continues to exist as an object of observation to others.
When the Kundalini ascends, the body of the Yogi is maintained by the nectar which flow, from the union of Siva and Shakti in Sahasrara. Glory to Mother Kundalini who, through Her Infinite Grace and Power, kindly leads the Sadhaka from Chakra to Chakra and illumines him and makes him realise his identity with the Supreme Brahman! The Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad attaches great importance to the search for and finding of right Guru. It insists upon revering the illumined Guru, as God. Guru is one who has full Self-illumination. He removes the veil of ignorance in the deluded individuals.
The number of realised Gurus may be less in this Kali Yuga when compared with the Satya Yuga, but they are always present to help the aspirants. They are always searching for the proper Adhikarins.
The Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad gives a list of the obstacles to Yoga practice. Some take to the practice of Yoga, and later on, when they come across some obstacles in the way, they do not know how to proceed further. They do not know how to obviate them. Many are the obstacles, dangers, snares and pitfalls on the spiritual path. Sadhakas may commit many mistakes on the path. A Guru who has already trodden the path and reached the goal, is very necessary to guide them.
One more important thing which you would find in many places in the Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad is the Sushumna Nadi. You must have a complete knowledge of this Nadi. Now, a word on Kundalini, the arousal of which is the immediate aim of the Kundalini Yoga. Kundalini, the serpent-power or mystic fire is the primordial energy or Shakti that lies dormant or sleeping in the Muladhara Chakra, the centre of the body. It is called the serpentine or annular power on account of serpentine form. It is an electric fiery occult power, the great pristine force which underlies all organic and inorganic matter.