Yogiji taught a class in a park in Santa Fe. We were about 70 students, most from Dawson’s Santa Fe yoga class. There was no public address system so Yogiji stood and yelled loudly. His voice carried amazingly well yet there were still numerous distractions from people, vehicles and the wind. As the class ended it started to rain. Yogiji and about thirty of us found shelter in a covered picnic area with several tables and benches. He sat on his sheepskin on a large shelf near a fireplace and leaned back against the stones. The rest of us sat around him on benches, tables or the ground. Dawson and Karen served cookies and Yogi Tea. With a light rain falling, this very ordinary park shelter took on the look of a royal court. Yogiji presided and the atmosphere was relaxed and friendly. He asked if anyone had any questions.
Author’s note: There was no tape recorder under the park shelter that afternoon in Santa Fe. My memory leaves me with vague images and broad concepts but few specifics. I remember that Yogiji answered each person’s question in relaxed, very personal and conversational tones. Yet his words were universal, covering the essence of Yoga and Life. The words below are taken from a similar discussion simply recorded as “Dear Yogiji” date and location unknown. My internal dialog, of course, reflects my slowly evolving spiritual awareness and my genuine awe at being in the presence of the Master.
A man of about thirty-five who was a musician with Santa Fe Opera and a regular at yoga class raised his hand. Yogiji motioned for him to speak. “I am enjoying my practice of Kundalini Yoga very much. My question is this: Do you recommend spiritual exploration outside of Kundalini Yoga practice, for instance, the books of Thomas Moore and James Hillman discussing archetypal psychology or the practice of Vipassana meditation?”
Yogiji answered the man directly but his voice was pitched so everyone under the shelter could hear. “Kundalini Yoga has to be understood. There is reserve energy in us, which has to be uncoiled. It is pure, passionate, precise, and piercing. Add anything you want to add. Every individual has his or her freedom in the Kingdom of God and the domain of Mother Nature. Every creature has to create environments to find the exalted self.”
I clearly saw that his answer was on multiple levels. The surface answer was, “Yes, of course, you can add whatever you want.” But the real answer was that Kundalini Yoga had everything. Only this had to be understood. Once the Kundalini uncoiled, nothing else was necessary. I wondered if others had understood his words as I had.
The manager of the local health food store raised her hand. “Sir, is it ever possible to truly live a stress-free happy, healthy, and holy life, consciously and in a fully awakened state, while living outside of a spiritual group in “normal society?”
“Sadhana,” Yogiji said. “Your daily spiritual practice, is the essential part of our life. If you do sadhana, you shall have no strife. Everybody has to fulfill his or her own life, and a meditative mind takes away the problems, solves the limitations, and cuts down the hurdles because with the self, minus ego, the hand of God gives to us the greatness that is our birthright.”
Hmmm…, I pondered that for a bit. Group sadhana was one of the reasons I joined the ashram. If I lived outside the group I was not sure I would be able to maintain it.
Danny from the ashram asked the next question. “What meditation or kriya should I do to help me to accept myself as a true spiritual being and remain connected to God?”
“Do your sadhana, in spite of the fact that you may or may not like it.”
I chuckled. Yogiji nailed him on that one. Danny had a hard time making it down to the sandy wash for our morning sadhana at the ashram. Often when he did come he just covered himself with a blanket and went back to sleep.
Jim asked, “I have read that the Kundalini energy flows up the chakras in a spiral motion. When the energy goes down, does it also do so in a spiral motion?”
The 7 Chakras
"Yes,” said Yogiji. “That is the route it takes. If the flow is free and open, it is great, but the problem is if the flow is limited or blocked, then the energy is only for maintenance. To keep the Kundalini energy in a rhythmic flow and allow it to settle properly in the chakras, Sat Kriya is the best.”
One of the yoga students asked, “What is the Kundalini? What is it like when the Kundalini energy rises? Is Kundalini like electricity?”
Oh man, what a great question. I had been wondering this for months.
“What is Kundalini?” Yogiji repeated. His eyes sort of looked towards the horizon and his voice became softer. “It is the whole energy of the cosmos in the individual and beyond the individual. It is the energy of consciousness. Without the constant flow of that energy, you could not live. With a large flow, your mind begins to flow and awaken. You stop living in imaginary realities and become very dutiful to the tasks and joys of life. You experience it when the energy of the glandular system combines with the nervous system to create such a sensitivity that the brain in its totality receives signals and integrates them. A new clarity accompanies your perception, thought, and intuition.
Normally you use a small portion of the brain’s potential. When Kundalini awakens, one understands the effect and impact of an action at the beginning of a sequence of action and reaction. He has the choice to take an action or not. In other words, a person becomes totally and wholly aware. That is why it is called "the yoga of awareness." Just as all rivers end up in the ocean, all yoga ends up raising the Kundalini.
“The Kundalini is the creative potential of the human being. To get this experience of the Kundalini, technology and science is needed. Kundalini Yoga activates the dormant potentials in the brain. It needs to tap the reserve energy that is stored near your Navel Point. There is a pure source of energy at the navel area that is known, perceived, and understood by the yogis. It is that pure energy that guides and develops your shape and connects you to this Earth. That connection and that pure energy is still there. It is part of your subtle structure as a human being. All you have to do is uncoil that energy and make a functional connection with your pineal gland. Once that master gland, the channel of the soul, has started secreting, it will give you the power to reach your self-realization in relationship to the total universal awareness.
Wow! He spoke about Kundalini with such knowledge and familiarity. I really hoped Dawson or someone was recording this impromptu class. Yogiji was sharing some gems.
Someone sitting in the back asked, “I have a friend who is a psychotherapist. He teaches Hatha yoga as part of his therapy. He was telling me that Kundalini Yoga is an extremely dangerous form of yoga and can possibly lead to insanity if not handled right. Is this true?”
“It is very unfortunate that some people talk that way. First of all, they do not know what they are talking about. Second, they don’t have any real experience of it. Actually, Kundalini Yoga produces whole human beings, teachers, and yogis. A yogi is one who has a union with the supreme consciousness. Some people teach it as if it is a bunch of dumb exercises, but they have no right to call themselves yogis. If flexibility posture is the only yoga, then people in the circus are the best yogis.
Let’s talk this way. Actually, there was a God. He uncoiled himself, opened himself up. This uncoiling process or manifestation process is known as Kundalini. What is dangerous about it? What is going to be uncoiled in you is already in you. It is an unlimited power and it is going to uncoil in you. There is danger when something outside is artificially put in you. But your system is already built to contain the energy of Kundalini. You simply are not utilizing that energy. If you start utilizing that energy, where is the danger? This talk of danger sometimes becomes the biggest danger and a big problem.
Why is Kundalini Yoga put down? It is done either out of ignorance or simply because I teach it! It has never been taught publicly before. The other yogis feel guarded about the knowledge out of a sense of national and racial loyalty. They feel this great sovereign secret of Kundalini Yoga was supposed to be learned only by highly special Brahmins. Now this Yogi Bhajan got hold of it and he is just freaking out and giving it to every American without discrimination. It is very dangerous. It is dangerous culturally.”
The same man asked, “What about great visions, psychic experiences, or jerking and trembling after meditation? Is this the Kundalini rising?”
“This is glitter at the bottom of the ladder. These hallucinations, psychism, and nerve weaknesses mean nothing. If a student practicing Kundalini Yoga is very blocked up in the spine and pranic nadis, he may have a one time experience when the channels are cleared. But that is one time, brief, and does not disrupt anything. These things may happen when someone's nervous system has not been properly prepared, or if they do not use the mantra or breathing technique properly. The real measure of Kundalini rising is your consciousness from breath to breath and courage you bring to your life. These momentary flashes brought on by weakness have nothing to do with Kundalini.”
Yikes! I thought I was really getting somewhere with flashes of light and feeling high. Now he says it’s just glitter at the bottom of the ladder and a symptom of a weak nervous system. It doesn’t even have anything to do with Kundalini. Ouch! I’m still a novice at the bottom of the ladder. Even worse, my thinking that I was getting somewhere is probably just my spiritual ego. Double ouch!
This from someone else: “When the Kundalini rises, do you go into trance or become rigid?”
“A raised kundalini will give you grace of motion. Life fills every cell so you are able to move smoothly with an awareness of the rhythm and music of all your environments. The Kundalini makes you alive and graceful, not rigid like some kind of death.”
Man I had things mixed up. I thought going into a trance was what we were trying to do. I thought raising Kundalini would be like going on the acid trip of all acid trips. It was slowly dawning on me that getting high was not where it was at. In fact it was a limitation and the sooner I dropped it the sooner I might actually get somewhere.
Yogiji stood to indicate that cozy time was over. The rain had stopped, the sun was shining. He invited everyone to join the spiritual gathering at the Summer Solstice Celebration the following week. It would be week-long gathering at the peak of the solar energy on the planet. It is a time for spiritual awakening. --