Science of kundalini

Kundalini and Brain:

The brain has ten compartments, and of these, nine are
dormant and one is active. Whatever you know, whatever you think or do is coming from
one-tenth of the brain. The other nine-tenths, which are in the frontal portion of the brain, are known as the inactive or sleeping brain.
Why are these compartments inactive? Because there is no energy. The active portion
of the brain functions on the energies of ida and pingala, but the other nine-tenths have
only pingala. Pingala is life and ida is consciousness. If a man is living but is unable to
think, we say he has prana shakti but not manas shakti. Similarly, the silent parts of the
brain have prana, not consciousness.
So a very difficult question arises: how to awaken the sleeping compartments of the
brain? We know how to awaken fear, anxiety and passion, but most of us do not know
how to awaken these dormant areas of the brain. In order to arouse the silent areas, we
must charge the frontal brain with sufficient prana and we must awaken sushumna nadi.
For both these purposes we must practise pranayama regularly and consistently over a
long period of time.


Lighting up the brain
In kundalini yoga it was discovered that the different parts of the brain are connected
with the chakras. Certain areas are connected with mooladhara chakra, others with
swadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddhi and ajna. When you want to turn on an
electric lamp, you don’t have to touch the lamp itself, you operate it by means of the
switch on the wall. Likewise, when you want to awaken the brain, you can’t deal with it
directly, you have to flick the switches which are located in the chakras.
Modern science divides the dormant area of the brain into ten parts, whereas in
kundalini yoga we divide it into six. The qualities or manifestations of the brain are also
sixfold, e.g. the psychic powers. These manifest in different individuals according to the
degree of awakening in the corresponding areas of the brain. Everybody is not
clairvoyant or telepathic; some people are talented musicians. Anybody can sing, but
there is a center in the brain where transcendental music expresses itself.
Total and partial awakening
A genius is one who has been able to awaken one or more of the dormant areas of the
brain. People who have flashes of genius are those who have had a momentary
awakening in certain circuits of the brain. It is not total awakening. When the total brain
wakes up, you become a junior god, an incarnation or embodiment of divinity. There are
various types of geniuses – child prodigies, inspired poets, musicians, inventors, prophets,
etc. In these people a partial awakening has occurred.

 


Misconception:
Although the classical descriptions place heavy emphasis on the awakening of
kundalini in mooladhara chakra, there is a widespread misconception that kundalini must
be awakened there and made to travel through and awaken all the chakras in turn. In fact,
the seat of kundalini is actually sahasrara. Mooladhara is only a manipulating center or
switch, like the other chakras, but it happens to be easier for most people to operate this
switch.
Each of the chakras is independent; they are not connected with each other. This
means, if kundalini shakti awakens in mooladhara, it goes directly to sahasrara, to a
particular center in the brain. Similarly, from swadhisthana the shakti passes directly to
sahasrara, from manipura it goes straight to sahasrara and so on. Kundalini can be
awakened in an individual chakra or it can awaken throughout the whole network of
chakras collectively. From each chakra, the awakening shock moves up to the top of
sahasrara. However, the awakening is not sustained and those centers in the brain return
to dormancy. This is what is meant by the return of kundalini to mooladhara.
If kundalini awakens in an individual chakra, the experiences which are characteristic
of that chakra will be brought into consciousness. This may also occur when one does the
practices for an individual chakra. For example, swadhisthana practices will raise joy;
manipura practices will increase the self-assertion; anahata stimulation will expand the
love; vishuddhi practices will awaken discrimination and wisdom, and ajna practices will
increase the flow of intuition, knowledge and perhaps extrasensory abilities and so on.
If the nervous system is highly aroused, we may have other faculties opening because
of the general arousal of the brain. This probably results from stimulation of an area in
the lower end of the brain called the reticular formation. The function of this area is to
rouse the whole brain or to relax it, as in sleep.
The reticular formation and related areas have an inherent rhythm which is
responsible for our sleeping/waking cycles, but it is also largely activated by sensations
from outside – by light, sound, touch, etc., and from inside via the autonomic nervous
system. It is the latter which seems to account for the more general arousal caused by the
kundalini practices and other powerful yoga practices such as kumbhaka or breath
retention.


The center of awakening
According to the Buddhist tradition and many of the tantric texts, the actual
awakening of kundalini takes place from manipura and not from mooladhara. And in
some tantric traditions, mooladhara and swadhisthana are not referred to at all, as these
two centers are believed to belong to the higher realms of animal life, whereas from
manipura onwards higher man predominates. So mooladhara is the seat of kundalini,
swadhisthana is the abode, and the awakening takes place in manipura. This is because
from manipura the awakening becomes ongoing and there is practically no danger of a
downfall or devolution of consciousness. Up to this point, kundalini may awaken and
arise many times, only to recede again, but awakening of manipura is what we call a
confirmed awakening.
To stabilize the awareness in manipura and sustain the awakening there is not easy.
The sadhaka must be very earnest and persevering in his effort to bring about further
awakenings. I have found that in sincere sadhakas, kundalini is mostly in manipura. If
you are exposed to spiritual life, practise yoga, have a keen desire to find a guru and to
pursue a higher life, side by side with the work you are doing, it means kundalini is not in
mooladhara. It is in manipura or one of the higher centers.


Kundalini – energy or nerve messages?
There are a number of schools of thought as to what kundalini really is. Many yogis
say that kundalini is a flow of pranic energy along an esoteric pathway (sushumna)
associated with the spinal axis. They consider that it is part of the flow of prana within
the meshwork of the pranic body and that there is no anatomical counterpart. Other yogis
relate their perceptions of kundalini to the flow of messages along the nerve fibers. These
arise in the networks of the autonomic plexuses and ascend along tracts in the spinal cord
to definite anatomical centers in the brain.
These schools of thought use different descriptions to convey the experience of
kundalini, but they all agree that the experience of kundalini is a total
psychophysiological event which centers around the spinal cord. Within the spinal cord
there is a very important fluid, the cerebrospinal fluid. When, through practices such as
pranayama, awakening occurs in mooladhara chakra, this fluid gets excited. We cannot
really say what happens to it because even the scientists are not exactly sure, but by
studying the experiences of kundalini awakening, one thing is apparent. When the
cerebrospinal fluid moves through the vertebral column, it alters the phases of
consciousness and this is a very important process as far as evolution is concerned.
It is the chitta or consciousness which undergoes evolution in man. Chitta does
not have a location point in the body, it is psychological in nature, but it is controlled by
the information supplied by the indriyas or senses. While chitta is being constantly
supplied with information, its evolution is blocked, but if you prevent the passage of
information from the indriyas, chitta will evolve very quickly. That is to say, if you
isolate chitta from the information being relayed through the eyes, nose, ears, skin and
tongue, chitta is then compelled to experience independence.
When the cerebrospinal fluid is affected during pranayama, the senses become dull
and their messages are relayed to chitta very slowly. Sometimes, when the cerebrospinal
fluid is highly stimulated, all sensory impulses are suspended and experiences take place
within the chitta. Sometimes these experiences are fantastic, you might see light, feel the
whole earth trembling or experience your body as if it were as light as a piece of cotton.
These and others are the experiences of chitta as a consequence of the cerebrospinal
fluid’s reactions.


By : Swami Satyananda Saraswati

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