Kundalini Yoga

“Our Creator has created us by providing a coiled energy in us and sages have given us the method to uncoil it.  Now is the time to learn and to practice it.” ~The Siri Singh Sahib, Yogi Bhajan

This was written by M.S.S. Gurucharn Singh Khalsa PhD &. M.S.S. Gurushabd Singh Khalsa of Boston, Massachusetts, as shared in the “Kundalini Yoga” on pages 141-149 of the section of the book, “The Man Called the Siri Singh Sahib”, which was published in 1979.

When Yogi Bhajan came to the United States of America in 1968, he had not intended to stay and teach Kundalini Yoga (the Yoga of Char dee kalaa). 

However, when he saw the low point of the America consciousness, blended with its open sincerity, he knew Kundalini Yoga was the proper vehicle for the elevation of those souls.   

Nothing short of Kundalini Yoga could repair the nerves and open the hearts of those people longing to know themselves and accomplish their potentials.  In those early days, many people criticized him for openly teaching Kundalini Yoga. 

He put no requirements on who came to classes and he initiated no one.  He acted with faith that service to the house of Guru Ram Das would bring those who should come.  He proclaimed that he had not come to collect students; he had come to create teachers.  He came to help those people who chose to fulfill themselves as leaders, teachers, and people of spirit. 

In 1969, Yogi Bhajan was the only one teaching Kundalini Yoga.  Critics called it dangerous.  Now, in 1979, the concept of kundalini has become popular and many teachers attach the name of kundalini to any effort at yoga or philosophy and many claim to be masters of Kundalini Yoga.  Yet, it is only Yogi Bhajan who has systematically unfolded such a tremendous wealth of knowledge on the specific technology and practice of Kundalini Yoga.  He has not diluted it and has never strayed from its high standards of commitment and precision.  It is Yogi Bhajan who will be known in the history of human consciousness as our age’s great teacher and Master of Kundalini Yoga.   

As students of Kundalini Yoga and as participants in an unfolding of both consciousness and history, we find it a tremendous challenge to try to convey the power, vastness, and subtlety of Kundalini Yoga as taught by Yogi Bhajan.  In each class, he is complete, relevant, and inspiring.  In some classes, he seems to address not just the people present, but future generations.  To him, the future, past, and present, are all a single tangible reality in the vision of God.  Occasionally, he begins a lecture with statements like: “Listen carefully, I will go slowly, but I know you cannot understand what I say, so I speak to your children’s children”, or “Tonight, listen to the sound of my words.  It is a meditation.” 

As a systematic awakening of consciousness, Kundalini Yoga is quite old.  Its origins predate the Vedas.  It was developed through a practical, empirical, approach; exercises were tried, effects were observed. It was trimmed of irrelevancy and redundancy until it evolved into a streamlined, practical system.   

This system was practiced for centuries.  As time passed however, the system became fragmented.  The sense of the whole became lost.  A science of total consciousness became split as the people who came looking for its rumored power.   

It became a “secret” because knowledge of Kundalini Yoga was a great source of power for an individual, and this source of power was sometimes judiciously or jealously withheld from others. 

Fortunately, there were certain masters of consciousness who took the written fragments and oral translations and re-established the teachings total form to fit the time and space in which they lived.  Thus, we find Guru Nanak Devji and Guru Gobind Singhji teaching the Yoga of Char dee kalaa in the context of Sikhism.   

Under the house of the Sikhs, these teachings have been completed for the Aquarian Age.  For instance, Guru Nanak chanted sat kartar in Naad Yoga to master time and space and to recognize the creativity of the Infinite.  Guru Gobind Singhji taught his warriors to chant the Guru Gaitree Mantra in postures which gave them courage.  Today, Yogi Bhajan has even added some English mantras.   

The essence throughout the historical unfoldment of these technologies is the same – Kundalini – the dormant power of spiritual consciousness that, through the Grace of God and Guru, can make a person fully aware of God.  These teachings belong to the people who have the consciousness to be creatures of God and live for each other with dignity, courage and compassion.   

Many writers cloak “the kundalini” in mystery. As Yogi Bhajan has taught us, there is no mystery in it because where there is mystery, there is no mastery.  The “kundalini” is the energy of consciousness and as such manifests on all levels of the physical, astral, mental and spiritual bodies.  Ultimately it activates the pituitary gland to full functioning which in turn brings its rhythmic astral radiance into synchrony with the pineal gland.  As the kundalini descends through edaa and pingalaa to complete its circulation, the chakras are opened and the potential of each is integrated with the open and full functioning brain. 

 The entire cerebral cortex, nervous and glandular systems and physical and astral bodies merge in a rhythmic pulsation and flow through chemical, structural and etheric pathways that carry one message:  there is one God, Truth is His Name, great beyond all ecstatic description is His Wisdom. 

 For the student of Kundalini Yoga, the traditional stages of growth begin with Saram Pad.  Pad means a step or stage.  In Saram Pad, one belongs to progress and grow.  It is the time of the soul’s beckoning to the heart of the student.  If he responds and starts practicing the techniques, he enters Karam Pad, the stage of doing.  This stage is governed by the rule, “saadhanaa, araahanaa, prabhupatee.”  Saadhanaa is the regular attempt to practice some technique which has been told to the student.  Araadhanaa is when the practice becomes automatic.  When it is in every cell.  Prabhupatee literally means mastery of God. 

 The stumbling block in the evolving of consciousness is Shaktee Pad, the stage of power. 

At this point, the aspirant begins to feel powerful and confuses his ego with the totality of God.  The student will be tested with power, sex and materialistic wealth.  If he identifies with any of these and turns his vision away from integration and realization of the totality of God, he creates the super-ego that separates him from the Ultimate.  This stage can recur several times.  In the practice of Kundalini Yoga this stage must start after three to four years of serious practice.  It may recur in different ways many times and it can last as long as eleven years. 

 If this stage is passed, then one goes into Sahaj Pad.  This is an awareness of Truth and correct action. Then comes a beautiful stage called Sat Pad, a stage of flow and harmony.  Here action becomes God’s Will.  One no longer feels the pressure to find the Truth.  It is automatic and one merges with it.  It is here that a person becomes infinitely practical and sensitive while in perfect awareness and harmony with the sense of God and the Cosmos. 

 Kundalini Yoga is a practical science with goals that lead us to be more in tune with God at every level of life.  In the final stages, the student will be very sophisticatedly sensitive, intelligent in action, knowledgeable in God and direct in fulfilling earthly and etheric responsibilities.  It does not make one abstract or removed from life.  It puts life into every moment of the day.  Fundamental to the practice of Kundalini Yoga is an attitude that respects the interconnected unity of ourselves and the Cosmos.  Each technique, exercise, praanaayaam and meditation is meaningful and elevating in the larger context of a person’s life, psychology and spirit. 

 We once asked the Siri Singh Sahib (Yogi Bhajan) what it would take to master Kundalini Yoga.  After a pause he said, “Approach it very humbly and put all the pieces together.”  At first, the task of putting the pieces together seemed impossible.  He taught the “pieces” here and there all over the world. Sometimes, he will say something in a course in Amsterdam, that clarifies something that was puzzling in Detroit, Los Angeles or Atlanta.  As we accumulate and catalog his teachings, a definite structure, philosophy and psychology emerge. 

 There are thousands of meditations and kriyas, yet he has emphasized some techniques as central to a steady progress through the teachings. 

 Throughout the teachings of Kundalini Yoga, the undiluted techniques are given as kriyas.  When a group of exercises or a meditation encodes a set of changes that lead to a stable and rhythmic state, it is called a is called a kriya.    

 A particular breath rhythm linked with a certain mantra done for a specific time will lead to a definite predictable progress and end result.  If you alter any part, it will be erratic in results or have no results at all.   

Now we will examine the basic elements usually comprising kriyas.  These are the breath, postures, mental focus and concentration, mudra, mantra and meditation.  
Let us start with the breath.  Yogi Bhajan has said many times that the breath is the link between a human being and the Creator. 
“The most precious thing in the human body is the breath.  Without it your hairdo, your makeup, your clothing, your car, and home have no value.  A meditation which cannot bring normalcy and equilibrium to your breathing is useless, because the rate and length of the breath will determine the rate of secretion of your glandular system, and that secretion is what gives you physical and mental stability, and that will project the radiance of the spirit and you will look spiritual.” 

Posture is an important basic element because through it the body puts pressure on itself or expands itself in ways that yield specific psychological and physiological results. 
“Doing exercises is just telling your body to prepare itself to plant the seed of the Nam to create the meditation so that it can sprout in your consciousness and you can feel the greatness.  It is required.” 

Without perfection of posture, meditation becomes difficult.  The posture sets the pattern of the magnetic field and adjusts the flow of the spinal fluid.  It also represents various emotional states and experiences to the subconscious. 
Mental focus and concentration affect the entire system of Kundalini Yoga, and are therefore fundamental.  In each technique it is specified where, when and how long concentration is required to make the psyche’s progress smooth and complete. 

Let us now consider the aspect of mudra, which literally means gesture.  It is a special arrangement of fingers and hands.  The hands create a form, which contains, collects and directs energy.   
It integrates three levels of law: that form is energy; that hand positions trigger specific reflexes and associations through the brain /body system; and that there are basic yantras or forms that have intrinsic, cross-cultural human meaning i.e., they act as symbols to the super conscious and collective unconscious.   
Each mudra will affect and integrate one or more levels of the body, mind, or spirit.  The range of effects is great.  It may be to vitalize an organ or to induce a specific aspect of God Consciousness such as humility, fearlessness or nobility. 

Holding a mudra perfectly for the prescribed amount of time eventually recruits all parts of the brain, body chemistry and thought rhythms into the desired consciousness, and this experience translates into the art of daily living.  Although some mudras are kriyas by themselves, most are not. 
Normally a mudra will direct the mind, but not bind it to a task at hand unless combined with other basic elements such as praanaaayaam or mantra. 

The science and use of mantra deserves the most extensive description in this list of basics.  In most other systems of yoga, the mantras are much less developed, used without integration into kriyas, or even abandoned altogether.  The experience of the essence of the vibratory effects of rhythmic sound is the quintessence of mystical experience and self-knowledge of one’s inner self. 
As taught by Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi ji, there are different places from which one can create sounds; e.g., from the heart, from the tongue, the mind. 

There is also a pre-existing base of sound throughout the Cosmos itself, called Anahat or unstruck sound.  The degree to which mantras atune to this basic sound form determines their effects.  Their effects also depend on the frequency of mental concentration of the practitioner.  A mantra that has the power and rhythm of breath becomes Laya Yoga, a part of Kundalini Yoga.  A laya sound suspends the limited feeling of time and space into a practical experience of naad, the primal vibration experienced at the core of our being.   

When we are attuned to this inner sound, our entire aura shifts frequency and intensity to merge into the realms of consciousness called the blue eithers.  This creates a humility and self-presence that is not lost through the vagaries of life.

The progression to this state of consciousness is that the kriyas of Kundalini Yoga prepare the nerves, glands, brain and consciousness to plant the seed of mantra to create a laya to move into a naad to be drawn by a shabad to the heart of God within ourselves.   

 One who perfects this science can then utilize the sounds contained in any language to create the experiences.  The Great masters of Sikh Dharma used this science to create a scripture which is nothing but shabads that raise the reader into God consciousness. 

 Yogi Bhajan has also explained the technology of mantra in terms of meaning, feeling, auric effects and reflexes.  He has shown us that repeating a mantra is not just random, and unstructured.  Part of the effectiveness comes from specific stimulation of the eighty-four meridian reflex points on the roof of the mouth, as well as points on the lips. 

 These points reflex in a very complex manner into all the areas of the central brain and hypothalamus.  Proper rhythmic enunciation and repetition of sounds can unlock subconscious emotions, establish certain physiologic states, enhance intuition and tap inner potentials of the brain and mind.  This is part of the underlying base that gives the repetition of God’s Names such immediate effect. 

Mantras serve as more than a reminder of God consciousness.  The sound itself is the essence of its meaning.  To merge and be lost in the sound is to experience the meaning beyond what the intellect can grasp.  To arrive at that state, each mantra has one or more techniques associated with it which are keys that unlock their power.  The techniques may include visualization, mental focus, timing, pathways of circulation and praanaayaam.   

 There may also be an ideal posture, diet, time of day and even appropriate social situations for the practice of specific mantras.  Some mantras are vocalized, others are only repeated mentally.  In the final analysis, the use of mantra is both a technology and an art, which has as its vital element, the expression of God’s love. 

Meditation is a process of training and cleansing the mind.  There are meditations for overcoming fear, anxiety, and depression.  Some meditations aid in healing through mental projection, touch, sound, sight, or the healer’s presence. There are meditations for gaining compassion, humility, sexual balance, or Christ-consciousness.   

 Through certain meditations, one can develop special abilities, e.g., increased intuition to the point of being able to tune into all knowledge, past, present, and future.  Besides the special effects such as these, all Kundalini Yoga meditations have one effect in common, they give the meditator a meditative mind, a consciousness of the Supreme Consciousness, the eternal undying God. 

 This brief survey gives some of the flavor of Kundalini Yoga technology, but it has not even touched on the principles of humanological psychology that Yogi Bhajan has taught along with each set and meditation.  Our job here is to convey the richness and uniqueness of the Siri Singh Sahib’s contributions.  The full catalog of his teachings and the explication of humanological psychology is the task of many years and many books to come. Furthermore, the Siri Singh Sahib is just as prolific in his teachings now as he was ten years ago.  The whole body of his teachings is not yet complete. 

“Breath is not in your control.  If you breathe, they don’t breathe!  You can’t live without breath. That which breathes in you is God.”  ~Siri Singh Sahib Ji

He recently said that if God and Guru grant him a life extension of his praanaa for a few more years, he will “begin” to teach the more advanced Kundalini Yoga techniques after 1980.  This second phase of the teachings requires people who have practiced the first phase and have built up their breath control, nerve strength and ability to concentrate.  The power of the early techniques so overshadows any other teachings available, that we cannot even guess the nature of the next stage.  We only pray that God and Guru extend his stay as long as possible.   

 To practice the kriyas and meditations we now have would take more than a lifetime.  Fortunately, even just one of the techniques, when taken to its perfection and practiced with humility and the repetition of the Nam, will bring the practitioner to the state of union with God to live life fully with good health, happiness, divinity, dignity, gratitude and humility. 

 For the opportunity to practice these sacred teachings in this lifetime, we are grateful to God and Guru.  For the way we have been taught Kundalini Yoga, we express our gratitude to the Siri Singh Sahib, to his teacher, and his teachers before him and to the long line of saints and sages who out of their compassion preserved and handed down this sacred science of consciousness.  We recognize our debt and will ourselves record, learn, and share with others what has been graciously shared with us so honestly, generously, and masterfully by the Siri Singh Sahib.  May God ever bless him, and humanity ever remember him as a God realized saint and a magnificent teacher of union with God. 

“Everybody these days says he is going to raise the kundalini.  I say to you, your kundalini is raised so much that you can’t even sit for fifteen minutes.  And to those who want to open their third eye, I say the best course of action is to learn how to close it.  It is open too much already.  You not only imagine, you believe that your imagination is Truth, and then you act on the faith of that imagination and then you fall on your face.  You live by kicks and emotions.  You think your emotions and your fears are Truth.  My dear, that is a third eye which is opened too much.  When the shutter of the camera is opened too much, the picture becomes distorted.  Therefore, the shutter has to be opened just the right amount.” ~Siri Singh Sahib Ji, January 12, 1979) 

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