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Mudras and Bandhas for Kundalini

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In this post we are going to talk about Kundalini, Mudras and Bandhas.

 

Kundalini

Kundalini, the serpent power or mystic fire, is the primordial energy or Sakti 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.

Kundalini is the cosmic power in individual bodies. It is not a material force like electricity, magnetism, centripetal or centrifugal force. It is a spiritual potential Sakti or cosmic power. In reality it has no form. The Sthula Buddhi and mind have to follow a particular form in the beginning stage. From this gross form, one can easily, understand the subtle formless Kundalini. Prana, Ahamkara, Buddhi, Indriyas, mind, five gross elements, and nerves are all the products of Kundalini.

It is the coiled-up, sleeping Divine Sakti that lies dormant in all beings. You have seen in the Muladhara Chakra that there is Svayambhu Linga. The head of the Linga is the space where Sushumna Nadi is attached to the Kanda. This mysterious Kundalini lies face downwards at the mouth of Sushumna Nadi on the head of Svayambhu Linga. It has three and a half coils like a serpent. When it is awakened, it makes a hissing sound like that of a serpent beaten with a stick, and proceeds to the other Chakra through the Brahma Nadi, which is also called Chitra Nadi within Sushumna. Hence Kundalini is also called Bhujangini, serpent power. The three coils represent the three Gunas of Prakriti: Sattva, Rajas and Tamas, and the half represents the Vikritis, the modification of Prakriti.

When Kundalini is taken to the Sahasrara and when it is united with Lord Siva, perfect Samadhi ensues. The Yogic student drinks the Nectar of Immortality. He has reached the Goal. Mother Kundalini has done Her task now. Glory to Mother Kundalini! May Her blessings be upon you all!
The mind of a worldly man with base desires and passions moves in the Muladhara and Svadhishthana Chakras or centres situated near the anus and the reproductive organ respectively.

If one’s mind becomes purified the mind rises to the Manipura Chakra or the centre in the navel and experiences some power and joy.

If the mind becomes more purified, it rises to the Anahata Chakra or centre in the heart, experiences bliss and visualises the effulgent form of the Ishta Devata or the tutelary deity.

When the mind gets highly purified, when meditation and devotion become intense and profound the mind rises to Visuddha Chakra or the centre in the throat, and experiences more and more powers and bliss. Even when the mind has reached this centre, there is a possibility for it to come down to the lower centres.

When the Yogi reaches the Ajna Chakra or the centre between the two eyebrows he attains Samadhi and realises the Supreme Self, or Brahman. There is a slight sense of separateness between the devotee and Brahman.

If he reaches the spiritual centre in the brain, the Sahasrara Chakra, the thousand-petalled lotus, the Yogi attains Nirvikalpa Samadhi or superconscious state. He becomes one with the non-dual Brahman. All sense of separateness dissolves. This is the highest plane of consciousness or supreme Asamprajnata Samadhi. Kundalini unites with Siva.

 

PRANAYAMA FOR AWAKENING KUNDALINI

When you practise the following, concentrate on the Muladhara Chakra at the base of the spinal column, which is triangular in form and which is the seat of the Kundalini Shakti. Close the right nostril with your right thumb. Inhale through the left nostril till you count 3 Oms slowly. Imagine that you are drawing the Prana with the atmospheric air. Then close the left nostril with your little and ring fingers of the right hand. Then retain the breath for 12 Oms. Send the current down the spinal column straight into the triangular lotus, the Muladhara Chakra. Imagine that the nerve-current is striking against the lotus and awakening the Kundalini. Then slowly exhale through the right nostril counting 6 Oms. Repeat the process from the right nostril as stated above, using the same units, and having the same imagination and feeling. This Pranayama will awaken the Kundalini quickly. Do it 3 times in the morning and 3 times in the evening. Increase the number and time gradually and cautiously according to your strength and capacity. In this Pranayama, concentration on the Muladhara Chakra is the important thing. Kundalini will be awakened quickly if the degree of concentration is intense and if the Pranayama is practised regularly.
Inhale deeply, without making any sound.

As you inhale, feel that the Kundalini lying dormant in the Muladhara Chakra is awakened and is going up from Chakra to Chakra. The more vivid the visualization of Chakra after Chakra, the more rapid will be your progress in this Sadhana.
Slowly exhale now. And, as you exhale feel that the Kundalini Shakti is gradually descending from the Sahasrara, and from Chakra to Chakra, to the Muladhara Chakra.

Now begin the process again.

Kundalini And Tantrik Sadhana

Kundalini Yoga actually belongs to Tantrik Sadhana, which gives a detailed description about this serpent-power and the Chakras, as mentioned above. Mother Divine, the active aspect of the Existence-Knowledge-Bliss Absolute, resides in the body of men and women in the form of Kundalini, and the entire Tantrik Sadhana aims at awakening Her, and making Her to unite with the Lord, Sadasiva, in the Sahasrara, as described in the beginning in detail. Methods adopted to achieve this end in Tantrik Sadhana are Japa of the name of the Mother, prayer and various rituals.

Kundalini And Hatha Yoga

Hatha Yoga also builds up its philosophy around this Kundalini and the methods adopted in it are different from Tantrik Sadhana. Hatha Yoga seeks to awaken this Kundalini through the discipline of the physical body, purification of Nadis and controlling the Prana. Through a number of physical poses called Yoga Asanas it tones up the entire nervous system, and brings it under the conscious control of the Yogi, through Bandhas and Mudras it controls the Prana, regulates its movements and even blocks and seals it without allowing it to move, through Kriyas it purifies the inner organs of physical body and, finally, through Pranayama it brings the mind itself under the control of the Yogi. Kundalini is made to go upwards towards Sahasrara through these combined methods.

Kundalini And Raja Yoga

But Raja Yoga mentions nothing about this Kundalini, but propounds a still subtle, higher path, philosophical and rational, and asks the aspirant to control the mind, to withdraw all the senses and to plunge in meditation. Unlike Hatha Yoga which is mechanical and mystical, Raja Yoga teaches a technique with eight limbs, appealing to the heart and intellect of aspirants. It advocates moral and ethical development through its Yama and Niyama, helps the intellectual and cultural development through Svadhyaya or study of holy Scriptures, satisfies the emotional and devotional aspect of human nature by enjoining to surrender oneself to the will of the Creator, has an element of mysticism by including Pranayama also as one of the eight limbs and finally, prepares the aspirant for unbroken meditation on the Absolute through a penultimate step of concentration. Neither in philosophy nor in its prescription of methods of Raja Yoga mentions about Kundalini, but sets the human mind and Chitta as its targets to be destroyed as they alone make the individual soul to forget its real nature and brings on it birth and death and all the woes of phenomenal existence.

Kundalini And Vedanta

But when we come to Vedanta, there is no question about Kundalini or any type of mystical and mechanical methods. It is all enquiry and philosophical speculation. According to Vedanta the only thing to be destroyed is ignorance about one’s real nature, and this ignorance cannot be destroyed either by study, or by Pranayama, or by work, or by any amount of physical twisting and torturing, but only by knowing one’s real nature, which is Sat-Chit-Ananda or Existence-Knowledge-Bliss. Man is divine, free and one with the Supreme Spirit always, which he forgets and identifies himself with matter, which itself is an illusory appearance and a superimposition on the spirit. Liberation is freedom from ignorance and the aspirant is advised to constantly dissociate himself from all limitations and identify himself with the all-pervading, non-dual, blissful, peaceful, homogeneous spirit or Brahman. When meditation becomes intensified, in the ocean of Existence or rather the individuality is blotted or blown out completely. Just as a drop of water let on a frying pan is immediately sucked and vanishes from cognition, the individual consciousness is sucked in by the Universal Consciousness and is absorbed in it. According to Vedanta there cannot be real liberation in a state of multiplicity, and the state of complete Oneness is the goal to be aspired for, towards which alone the entire creation is slowly moving on.
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, of course, takes place in consciousness. The body actually continues to exist as an object of observation to others. It continues its organic life. But man’s consciousness of his body and all other objects is withdrawn because the mind has ceased so far as his consciousness is concerned, the function having been withdrawn into its ground which is consciousness.

Purity of food leads to purity of mind. Sattvic food helps meditation. The discipline of food is very very necessary for Yogic Sadhana. If the tongue is controlled, all the other Indriyas are controlled.

Live a natural life. Take simple food that is agreeable. You should have your own menu to suit your constitution. You are yourself the best judge to select a Sattvic diet.
Rajasic food distracts the mind. It excites passion. Give up salt. It excites passion and emotion. Giving up of salt helps in controlling the tongue and thereby the mind and in developing will-power also. Snake-bite and scorpion-stings will have no influence on a man who has given up salt. Onions and garlic are worse than meat.
Sour, hot, pungent and bitter preparations, salt, mustard, chillies, tamarind, sour curd, chutnee, meat, eggs, fish, garlic, onions, alcoholic liquors, acidic things, stale food, overripe or unripe fruits, and other articles that disagree with your system should be avoided entirely.
Yogic practices should not be commenced in winter, summer and rainy seasons, but only in spring and autumn. This depends upon the temperature of the particular place and the strength of the individual. Early morning hours are suitable for Yogic practices. In hot places you should not practice during the day.

When Kundalini is awakened it passes on from Muladhara to Sahasrara through all the Chakras. At every centre to which the Yogi directs the Kundalini, he experiences a special form of Ananda (Bliss) and gains special Siddhis (psychic powers) and knowledge. He enjoys the Supreme Bliss when Kundalini is taken to Sahasrara Chakra.
Kundalini can be awakened by Pranayama, Asanas and Mudras by Hatha Yogis.

MUDRAS AND BANDHAS

Mudra means “seal,” “gesture,” or “mark.” Yoga mudras are symbolic gestures often practiced with the hands and fingers. They facilitate the flow of energy in the subtle body and enhance one’s journey within. Explore mudras step by step and add something new to your practice.

There are five types of Mudras:

Hasta Mudras
Mana Mudra
Kaya Mudra
Bandha Mudra
Adhara Mudra

Hasta Mudras or Hands Gesture

Hasta Mudras are favorable for meditative practices and aids in internalization. These are the most commonly practiced symbolic gesture done using various positioning of thumb, fingers & hands. It focuses on balancing the characteristics of five subtle elements of the universe.

Mana Mudra or Head Gesture

Mana mudras are a crucial part of many meditative techniques including Kundalini Yoga and Meditation. The practice of these yogic gestures involves the use of your Jnana Indriyas (senses) helps to control the mind.

Kaya Mudra or Postural Gesture

Kaya mudras are similar to the yogic postures but it focuses more on the flow of Prana, Chakras and getting into a meditative pose. Considered to be the challenging Mudras, these require the most amounts of concentration and focus to hold.

Bandha Mudra or Lock Gesture

Bandha Mudras lock the energy in the body and prevents the dissipating of the energy by redirecting it.

Adhara Mudra or Perineal Gesture

 

Adhara or Perineal mudra contains the involvement of the pelvic floor area to stimulate the sacral chakra, which in turn harness sexual energy in the body. These support mudras redirect the energy into the Pingala Nadi (solar channel) of the body.

Exercises

Mudras and Bandhas are certain postures of the body by which Kundalini is successfully awakened. In Gheranda Samhita, the description of 25 Mudras and Bandhas, is given. The following 12 are the most important:

1. Mula Bandha
2. Jalandhara Bandha
3. Uddiyana Bandha
4. Maha Mudra
5. Maha Bandha
6. Maha Vedha 7. Yoga Mudra
8. Viparitakarani Mudra
9. Khechari Mudra
10. Vajroli Mudra
11. Shakti Chalana Mudra
12. Yoni Mudra

Many of the above exercises have intimate connection with each other. In one exercise you will have to combine 2 or 3 Bandhas and Mudras. This you will see when you see the description. Many aspirants are not able to find out the exact technique of several Mudras that are described in Hatha Yogic texts, and therefore they could not realise the benefits.

Yogic exercises when practised regularly in the right way, will surely bestow on you all that you want.

“There is nothing in this world like Mudras for giving success.”

Dyspepsia, constipation, piles, cough, asthma, enlargement of spleen, venereal diseases, leprosy and all sorts of incurable diseases are cured by Mudras and Bandhas. They are the most effective exercises for maintaining Brahmacharya, without which nothing can be made in the spiritual path.

1. Mula Bandha

Press the Yoni with the left heel. Keep the right heel pressed at the space just above the organ of generation. Contract the anus and draw the Apana Vayu upwards. This is called Mula Bandha. The Apana Vayu which does the function of ejection of excreta has natural tendency to move downwards. Through the practice of Mula Bandha, the Apana Vayu is made to move upwards by contracting the anus and by forcibly drawing it upwards. The Prana Vayu is united with the Apana and the united Prana-Apana Vayu is made to enter the Sushumna Nadi. Then the Yogi attains perfection in Yoga. Kundalini is awakened. The Yogi drinks the Nectar of Immortality. He enjoys Siva-pada in Sahasrara Chakra. He gets all divine Vibhutis and Aishvarya. When the Apana is united with Prana, Anahata sounds (mystical inner sounds) are heard very distinctly. Prana, Apana, Nada and Bindu unite and the Yogi reaches perfection in Yoga. This highest stage cannot be reached by the first attempt. One should practise this again and again for a long time.

The Siddhi in the practice of Pranayama is attained through the help of Bandhas and Mudras. The practice of Mula Bandha enables one to keep up perfect Brahmacharya, gives Dhatu-Pushti (nerve-vigour), relieves constipation and increases Jatharagni. During the practice of concentration, meditation, Pranayama and all other Yogic Kriyas, Mula Bandha can be combined.

2. Jalandhara Bandha

Contract the throat. Press the chin firmly against the chest. This Bandha is practised at the end of Puraka and beginning of Kumbhaka. Generally this Bandha is done during Kumbhaka only. The gastric fire, which is situated in the region of Nabhi, consumes the nectar which exudes out of the Sahasrara Chakra through the hole in the palate. This Bandha prevents the nectar being thus consumed.

3. Uddiyana Bandha

The Sanskrit word “Uddiyana” comes from the root ‘ut’ and ‘di’ which means to “fly up.” When this Bandha is practised the Prana flies up through the Sushumna Nadi. Hence the significant name.

Empty the lungs by a strong and forcible expiration. The lungs will become completely empty when you exhale forcibly through the mouth. Now contract and draw up the intestines above and below the navel towards the back, so that the abdomen rests against the back of the body high up in the thoracic cavity. This is Uddiyana Bandha. This is practised at the end of Kumbhaka and beginning of the Rechaka. When you practise this Bandha, the diaphragm, the muscular portion between the thoracic cavity and abdomen, is raised up and the abdominal muscles are drawn backwards. If you bend your trunk forwards, you can easily do this exercise. Uddiyana Bandha is the first stage of Nauli Kriya. You should know Uddiyana Bandha if you want to practise Nauli Kriya. Nauli Kriya is generally done in a standing position. Uddiyana Bandha can be practised in a sitting or standing posture. When you do it while standing, keep your hands on the thigh as shown in the illustration.

This exercise helps a lot in keeping up Brahmacharya. It imparts beautiful health, strength, vigour and vitality to the practitioner. When it is combined with Nauli Kriya, it serves as a powerful gastro-intestinal tonic. These are the two potent weapons of the Yogin to combat against constipation, weak peristalsis of the intestines and other disorders of the alimentary canal. It is by these two Yogic Kriyas alone, that you can manipulate and massage all the abdominal muscles. For abdominal exercises nothing can compete with Uddiyana Bandha and Nauli. They stand unique and unrivalled amongst all systems of physical exercises. In chronic diseases of stomach and intestines, where drugs of all sorts have failed, Uddiyana and Nauli have effected a rapid, thorough and marvellous cure.

When you practise Pranayama, you can beautifully combine Mula Bandha, Jalandhara Bandha and Uddiyana Bandha. This is Bandha-Traya.

Uddiyana Bandha reduces fat in the belly. In cases where Marienbud reduction pills have failed to reduce fat, Uddiyana Bandha will work wonders. If fatty persons stop taking ghee and reduce the quantity of drinking water, they will be able to do Uddiyana. A trip to Kedar-Badri or Mount Kailas by foot will prepare fatty people for the practice of Uddiyana Bandha.

 

4. Maha Mudra

This is the most important of all Mudras. Hence it is called ‘Maha Mudra.’ Press the anus carefully with the left heel. Stretch out the right leg. Catch hold of the toe with the two hands. Inhale and retain the breath. Press the chin against the chest firmly (Jalandhara Bandha). Fix the gaze between the eyebrows (Bhrumadhya Drishti). Retain the posture as long as you can and then exhale slowly. Practise first on the left leg and then on the right leg.

This cures consumption, haemorrhoids or piles, enlargement of spleen, indigestion, Gulma (chronic gastritis), leprosy, constipation, fever and all other diseases. Life is increased. It confers great Siddhis on the practitioners. Generally the Yogi does Maha Mudra, Maha Bandha and Maha Vedha. This is a good combination. Then only maximum benefits are derived. Do like this six times in the morning and evening.

5. Maha Bandha

Maha Mudra is the preliminary exercise for this. Press the anus with the left heel. Place the right foot upon the left thigh. Contract the anus and muscles of the perineum. Draw the Apana Vayu upwards. Draw the breath slowly and retain it by Jalandhara Bandha as long as you can. Then exhale slowly. Practise first on the left side and then on the right side. The Bandha destroys decay and death. The Yogi achieves all his desires and obtains Siddhis.

6. Maha Vedha

Sit in Maha Bandha posture. Draw the breath slowly. Retain the breath. Press the chin against the chest. Place the palms on the ground. Rest the body on the palms. Raise the buttocks slowly and strike them gently against the ground. The Asana must be intact and firm when you raise the buttocks. This Kriya destroys decay and death. The Yogi gets control over the mind and conquers death. There is not much difference between Maha Mudra, Maha Bandha and Maha Vedha. They are something like 3 stages of one exercise.

7. Yoga Mudra

Sit in Padmasana. Place the palms on the heels. Exhale slowly and bend forwards and touch the ground with the forehead. If you retain the pose for a long time, you can breathe as usual. Or come to the former position and inhale. Instead of keeping the hands on the heels, you can take them to the back. Catch hold of the left wrist with your right hand. This pose removes all kinds of disorders of the abdomen.

8. Viparitakarani Mudra

Lie on the ground. Raise the legs up straight. Support the buttocks with the hands. Rest the elbows on the ground. Remain steady. The sun dwells at the root of the navel and the moon at the root of the palate. The process by which the sun is brought upward and the moon is carried downward is called Viparitakarani Mudra. The positions of the sun and the moon are reversed. On the first day do it for a minute. Gradually increase the period to three hours. After six months wrinkles on the face and grey hair disappear. The Yogin who practises this for three hours daily conquers death. As the gastric fire is increased, those who practise this Mudra for a long time should take some light refreshment such as milk, etc., as soon as the Kriya is over. Sirshasana posture also is called Viparitakarani Mudra.

9. Khechari Mudra

‘Kha’ means Akasa and ‘Chari’ means to move. The Yogi moves in the Akasa. The tongue and the mind remain in the Akasa. Hence this is known as Khechari Mudra.

This Mudra can be performed by a man, only if he has undergone the preliminary exercise under the direct guidance of a Guru, who is practising Khechari Mudra. The preliminary portion of this Mudra is in making the tongue so long that the tip of the tongue might touch the space between the two eyebrows. The Guru will cut the lower tendon of the tongue with a bright, clean knife little by little every week. By sprinkling salt and turmeric powder, the cut edges may not join together again. Cutting the lower tendon of the tongue should be done regularly, once a week, for a period of six months. Rub the tongue with fresh butter and draw it out. Take hold of the tongue with the fingers and move it to and fro. Milking the tongue means taking hold of it and drawing it as the milkman does the udder of a cow during milking. By all these means you can lengthen the tongue to reach the forehead. This is the preliminary portion of Khechari Mudra.

Then turn the tongue upwards and backwards by sitting in Siddhasana so as to touch the palate and close the posterior nasal openings with the reversed tongue and fix the gaze on the space between the two eye-brows. Now leaving the Ida and Pingala, Prana will move in the Sushumna Nadi. The respiration will stop. The tongue is on the mouth of the well of nectar. This is Khechari Mudra.

By the practice of this Mudra the Yogi is free from fainting, hunger, thirst and laziness. He is free from diseases, decay, old age and death. This Mudra makes one an Oordhvaretas. As the body of the Yogi is filled with nectar, he will not die even by virulent poison. This Mudra gives Siddhis to Yogins. Khechari is the best of all Mudras.

10. Vajroli Mudra

This is an important Yogic Kriya in Hatha Yoga. You will have to work hard to get full success in this Kriya. There are very few people who are experts in this act. Yogic students draw water first through a silver-tube (catheter specially made) passed into the urethra 12 inches inside. After due practice they draw milk, then oil, honey, etc. They draw mercury in the end. Later on they can draw these liquids directly through the urethra without the help of the silver-tube. This Kriya is of immense use for keeping up perfect Brahmacharya. On the first day you should send the catheter inside the urethra for one inch only, the second day two inches, third day three inches, and so on. You must gradually practise till you are able to send 12 inches of the catheter inside. The way becomes clear and blowing. Raja Bhartrihari could do this Kriya very dexterously.

Even a drop of semen cannot come out of the Yogi who practises this Mudra. Even if it is discharged, he can draw it back through this Mudra. The Yogi, who draws his semen up and preserves it, conquers death. Good smell emanates from his body.

The late Trilingaswami of Varanasi was an expert in this Kriya. Sri Swami Kuvalayanandaji of Lonavala teaches this Mudra.

Some persons call the Mayurasana Vajroli Mudra. Again Vajroli Mudra is also known as Yoni Mudra. However, the description of Yoni Mudra is given separately.

The object of Vajroli Mudra is to be perfectly established in Brahmacharya. When aspirants practise this Mudra, they unconsciously divert their mind to sexual centres and thereby they cannot get any success. When you see the description of this Mudra, you will clearly understand that strict Brahmacharya is absolutely necessary. For practising this there is no necessity at all for a woman or for any sexual intercourse. Since the Grihasthas have their wives and because they think that Vajroli Mudra is a device for birth-control, they have a keen desire to practise this Mudra. It is all mere foolishness and delusion. They have not understood the technique and object of this important Kriya.

Practice of Mula Bandha, Maha Bandha, Maha Mudra, Asanas, Pranayamas, etc., will naturally enable one to understand and to get success in the practice of Vajroli. This must be done under the direct guidance of a Guru.

11. Shakti Chalana Mudra

Sit in a secluded room in Siddhasana. Draw in the air forcibly and join it with Apana. Do Mula Bandha till the Vayu enters the Sushumna. By retaining the air, the Kundalini, feeling suffocated, awakes and finds its way through Sushumna to Brahmarandhra.

Sit in Siddhasana. Take hold of the foot near the ankle and slowly beat the Kanda with the foot. This is Tadana Kriya. By this method also Kundalini can be awakened. Through the practice of this Mudra one can become a Siddha.

 

12. Yoni Mudra

 

Sit in Siddhasana. Close the ears with the two thumbs, eyes with the index-fingers, nostrils with the middle-fingers, the upper lips with the ring-fingers and the lower lips with the little fingers. This is a beautiful pose for doing Japa. Dive deep and meditate on the Shat Chakras and Kundalini. This is not quite easy for all like other Mudras. You have to exert much in getting success in this. You must be perfectly established in Brahmacharya if you want sure success. “Devanamapi durlabha”—very difficult to be obtained even by Devas. Therefore realise the importance of this Mudra and practise it very cautiously. Vajroli Mudra also is called Yoni Mudra.

Other Mudras
There are Sambhavi, Manduki, Aswini, Tadagi, Matangini, Bhuchari, Aghori and various other Mudras. Here I have told you only the important Mudras.
Instructions On Mudras And Bandhas

1. Maha Mudra, Maha Bandha and Maha Vedha form one group. They are something like three stages of one exercise. Similarly Mula Bandha, Uddiyana Bandha and Jalandhara Bandha form another group. Mula Bandha is practised during Puraka, Kumbhaka, Rechaka and during meditation and Japa also. Uddiyana Bandha is practised during Rechaka and Jalandhara Bandha during Kumbhaka.

 

2. As in the case of other Yogic Kriyas, Mudras and Bandhas also should be practised when the stomach is empty. General instructions that are given for Asanas and Pranayamas should be followed for the practice of Mudras.

 

3. The benefits that are given may not be realised by the practice of Mudras alone. You will have to combine Pranayamas, Asanas, Japa and other Yogic Kriyas.

 

4. Khechari Mudra should be done under the direct guidance of a Khechari Guru. Cutting the lower tendon should be carefully done at regular intervals. Aspirants may not be successful in this Kriya if they begin after 25 years of age when the muscles and nerves have become stiff.

 

5. Khechari, Shakti Chalana, Vajroli and other advanced courses should not be practised by all. The aspirants should ascertain from the Guru if they are fit for such advanced exercises and also they should see if they have all other requirements for the practice.

 

6. Uddiyana Bandha is also called Tadagi Mudra. Seet-Krama and Vyut-Krama described in the ‘Neti’ exercise are called Matangini Mudra. Do Mula Bandha. Release it. Again and again do like this. It is termed Aswini Mudra.

 

7. Those who have not undergone the preliminary portion of Khechari Mudra (making the tongue long) can simply keep the tongue turned upwards on the palate. This is Nabho Mudra or Manduki Mudra.

 

8. Real success in Mudras can be had only if there is intense concentration of mind. A detailed instruction on concentration will be given in the subsequent pages.
Concentration and meditation on the primordial energy, Shakti, is only a modification of Jnana Yogic Sadhana. Concentration and meditation on the different centres of energy belongs to Raja Yoga. Concentration at the different Chakras and Nadis and awakening the Shakti through physical methods belong to Hatha Yoga. Concentration and meditation on the Devata, presiding deity of the different inner Chakras, may be taken as an advanced course in Bhakti Yoga. For quick success, different methods of Sadhana should be combined.

 

Mantras

Awakening Kundalini is effected by Mantra also. It is a portion of Bhakti Yoga. Some aspirants should repeat the Mantra given by their Guru even lakhs of times. During the time of Diksha of an Uttama Adhikari, the Guru utters a particular Mantra and Kundalini is awakened immediately. The consciousness of the student is raised to a very high degree. This depends upon the faith of the student in his Guru and in the Mantra. Mantras, when received from the Guru in person, are very powerful. Aspirants in Kundalini Yoga should take to this Mantra Sadhana only after getting a proper Mantra from a Guru. Therefore I am not touching this point in detail. Mantras when learnt through ordinary friends or through books cannot produce any benefit at all. Mantras are numerous and the Guru should select a particular Mantra by which the consciousness of a particular student can be awakened.

YOGA-KUNDALINI UPANISHAD

Introduction

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.

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