Bhagavad-Gita: 18 Chapters in Sanskrit


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Kundalini Experience

Excerpt from the book, Sayings of Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa (1836-1886)


Psychology of Man with reference to God  Realization


899. This body which is made of the 'five elements' is called the gross body. The subtle body consists of Manas, Buddhi, Chitta and Ahamkara. The body by which one realizes the bliss of God-vision and continues to enjoy His union, is the causal body. In the Tantras it is called Bhagavati-tanu. Beyond all is the Mahakarana---the First Cause.


900. When the mind is attached to the consciousness of the external world, it sees gross objects and abides in the Annamaya-kosa, the physical sheath of the soul, which depends on food. When the mind turns itself inward; it is like shutting the door of a house and entering its inner apartments; that is to say, it goes from the gross into the subtle, thence into the causal, till it reaches the final causal state. In that state the mind is merged in the Absolute and nothing can be said of it.

Kundalini and Spiritual Awakening


901. Lord Chaitanya used to have three sorts of 'states': (I) the conscious state in which the mind dwelt on the gross and the subtle bodies, (2) the semiconscious state in which the mind soared to the causal body and felt the 'causal bliss', and (3) the state of in-turned consciousness (superconscious state) in which the mind used to merge completely in the Mahakarana-the great First Cause.


There is a great similarity between this and the 'five sheaths' or Kosas of the Vedanta--the Annamaya and Pranamaya Kosas (together forming the gross body), the Manomaya and Vijnanarnaya Kosas (together forming the subtle body) and Anandamayakosa (forming the causal body). The First Cause is beyond all these Kosas. When the mind used to merge in this First Cause, he (Sri Chaitanya) used to fall into Samadhi; this is known as the Nirvikalpa or Jada Samadhi.


902. Unless the Kundalini1 is roused, spiritual awakening  never takes place. The Kundalini lies dormant in the Muladhara. When She is roused, She enters into the Sushumna and passes through Svadhisthana, Manipura, and other centres, and finally reaches the cerebral centre, and then comes Samadhi. I actually saw all these.

Kundalini1, sometimes translated as 'Serpent Power' is the dormant spiritual potentiality of man, located in the root Chakra (force-centre) known as Muladhara, This power is the Divine Sakti in man. Spiritual progress is sometimes described in terms of the rousing up of this latent energy and elevating it along the spinal channel called Sushumna, through the five centres, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddha and Ajna, until it reaches the crown centre known as Sahasrara. As the Kundalini ascends, man gains higher and higher spiritual experiences.


903. One of the signs of God-realization is that the Great Energy (Maha-vayu) wakes up with a sudden start and goes to the 'head.' Then one falls into Samadhi and gets God-vision.


Experience of Kundalini by Sri Ramakrishna


904. Describing his experience of the rise of the Kundalini, the Master once said: "Something rises with a tingling sensation from the feet to the head. So long as it does not reach the brain, I remain conscious, but the moment it does so I am dead to the outside world. Even the functions of seeing and hearing come to a standstill, and talking is then out of the question. Who is to speak? The very distinction between 'I' and 'you' vanishes. Sometimes I think I would tell you everything about what I see and feel when that mysterious power rises up to this, or even this (pointing to the heart and the throat). At that stage it is possible to speak, which I do. But the moment it has gone above this (pointing to the throat), somebody stops my mouth, as it were, and I am off my moorings. I make up my mind to relate to you what I feel when the Kundalini goes beyond the throat, but as I think over it, up goes the mind at a bound, and there is an end of the matter!" Many a time did the Master attempt to describe this state, but every time he failed. One day he was determined to tell those present about these experiences and went on with his description of them up to the stage when the energy rises to the level of the throat. Then pointing to the sixth centre, opposite the junction of the eyebrows, he said, "When the mind reaches this point, one catches a vision of the Paramatman and falls into Samadhi. Only a thin, transparent veil intervenes between the Jiva and the Paramatman. He then sees like this ... " And as he attempted to explain it in detail, he fell into Samadhi! When his mind came down a little, he tried it again, and again he was immersed in Samadhi! After several fruitless attempts like this, he said with tears in his eyes, "Well, I sincerely wish to tell you everything without concealing a bit, but Mother won't let me do so on any account. She gags me!"


905. Again referring to the different ways in which the Kundalini rises to the brain, the Master would often say, "Well, that which rises to the brain with a tingling sensation does not always follow the same kind of movement. The scriptures speak of its having five kinds of motion. First, the ant-like motion: one feels a slow creeping sensation from the feet upwards like a row of ants creeping on with food in their mouths. When it reaches the head, the Sadhaka (spiritual aspirant) falls into Samadhi. Second, the frog-like motion: just as frogs make two or three short jumps in quick succession and then stop for a while to proceed again, in the same way something is felt advancing from the legs to the brain. When this reaches the brain, the man gets Samadhi. Third, the serpentine motion: as snakes lie quiet, straight or coiled up, but as soon as they find a victim in front, or get frightened, they run in a zigzag course, in like manner the 'coiled up power' rushes to the head, and this produces Samadhi. Fourth, the bird-like motion: just as birds in their flight from one place to another take to their wings and fly sometimes a little high and sometimes low without however stopping till they reach their destination, even so that power progresses and reaches the brain, and Samadhi ensues. Fifth and last, the monkey like motion: as monkeys going from one tree to another take a leap from one branch to another and thus clear the distance in two or three bounds, so the Yogi feels the Kundalini going to the brain, and Samadhi ensues."


906. These experiences he would detail at other times from the Vedantic standpoint, as follows: "The Vedanta speaks of seven planes, in each of which the Sadhaka has a particular kind of vision. The human mind has a natural tendency to confine its activities to the three lower centres the highest of these being opposite the navel and therefore is content with the satisfaction of the common physical appetites, such as eating and so forth. But when it reaches the fourth centre, that is, the one opposite the heart, the man sees a divine effulgence. From this state, however, he often lapses into the three lower centers. When the mind comes to the fifth centre opposite the throat, the Sadhaka cannot talk of anything but God. While I was in this state I would feel violently struck on the head if anybody raised worldly topics before me. I would hide myself in the seclusion of the Panchavati where I was safe from these inflictions. I would flee at the sight of worldly-minded people, and relatives appeared to me like a yawning chasm, from which there was no escape if I once fell into it. I would feel suffocated in their presence---almost to the point of death, and I would feel relieved only when I left the spot. Even from this position a man may slip down to the three lower centers. So he has to be on his guard.  But he is above all fear when his mind reaches the sixth centre opposite the junction of the eye-brows, He gets the vision of the Paramatman and remains always in Samadhi. There is only a thin transparent veil between this place and the Sahasrara or the highest centre. He is then so near the Paramatman that he imagines he has merged in Him. But really he has not. From this state the mind can come down to the fifth, or at the most, to the fourth centre, but not below that. The ordinary Sadhakas, classed as 'Jivas' cannot come down from this state. After remaining constantly in Samadhi for twenty-one days they break that thin veil and become one with the Lord for ever. This eternal union of the Jiva and the Paramatman in the Sahasrara is known as getting into , the seventh plane."


Spurious Ecstasy


907. Referring to a man who used to have a kind of emotional excitement that looked like Samadhi externally, the Master said: "In real ecstasy one dives into the deeper realms of one's being and becomes perfectly still. But what do we find here! Be quiet; calm yourself. (To the others present.) Do you know the nature of this ecstasy? It is like boiling one ounce of milk in a big pan. The pan seems to be full of milk, but remove it from the stove and you would not find a single drop. Even the little quantity that was there would have all stuck to the pan."


Perception of Divine Forms and Sounds


908. The realization of God is of two kinds-one consists in the unification of the Jivatman and the Paramatman and the other in seeing Him in His personal manifestation. The former is called Jnana, and the latter Bhakti.


909. Really God can be seen, my boys. As we are sitting and talking together, in the very same way God can be seen and conversed with. Truly and sincerely I say so.


910. The manifestation of the Personal God is often a Spiritual Form, which is seen only by a purified human soul. In other words, these forms of God are realized by the organs of spiritual vision belonging to the spiritual body (Bhagavati-tanu) which is derived from the Lord. So the perfect man alone can see these Divine Forms.


911. On being questioned whether those who see God see Him with the ordinary fleshy eyes, the Master replied:


"No, He cannot be seen with the physical eye. In the course of Sadhana a 'Love-body' is created in you, with eyes and ears of Love, and with them you see and hear Him."


912. The Anahata sound is always going on of itself.


This is the sound of Pranava (Om). It comes from the Supreme Brahman and is audible to the Yogis. The ordinary worldly men cannot hear it. The yogis can understand that the sound rises on one side, from the 'region of the navel', and on the other, from the supreme Brahman.


Samadhi and Realization of Brahman


913. What is the state of one's mind in Samadhi? It is like the state of bliss that is experienced by a live fish which, after being kept out of water for some time, is again put into it.


914. Mysterious is that sacred state which recognizes neither teacher, nor pupil. Brahma-jnana is so mysterious that when one attains it there remains no distinction between the Guru and the disciple.


915. As a lamp brought into a room that has been dark for a thousand years illumines it immediately, the light of Jnana illumines the Jiva, and dispels his age-long ignorance.


916. On being questioned as to whether he was conscious of the gross world in the state of Samadhi, the Master replied, "There are hills and mountains, dales and valleys under the sea, but they are not visible from the surface. So in the state of Samadhi one sees the broad expanse of Sachchidananda only, and the individual consciousness lies in a latent condition."


917. In true Jnana not the least trace of egotism is left.


Without Samadhi, Jnana never comes. Jnana is like the midday sun, in which one looks around but finds no shadow of oneself. So when one attains Jnana or Samadhi, one retains no shadow of egotism. But even if there be some ego left, know for certain that it is now composed of Vidya (purely divine elements) and not ignorance or Avidya.


918. When the question was raised whether the Buddha was an atheist, the Master said: "He was no atheist; only he could not speak out his realizations. Do you know what 'Buddha' means?- To become one with 'Bodha', the 'Supreme Intelligence-through deep meditation, to become Pure Intelligence Itself. The state of self-realization is something between 'Asti' and 'Nasti'-'being' and 'non-being'.


The 'being' and the 'non-being' are modifications of Prakriti. The Reality transcends them both."


Get to the other side of both knowledge and ignorance. Ignorance is the consciousness of the many, i.e., the Knowledge of diversity without knowing the Unity, without knowing the one God. The egotism due to erudition proceeds from ignorance. The conviction that God is in all objects--that there is unity in variety--is called knowledge of Oneness. Knowing Him intimately is realization (Vijnana).


Suppose your foot is pricked with a thorn. Well, you want a second thorn to take it out. When the first thorn is taken out, you throwaway both. So, in order to get rid of the thorn of ignorance, you bring in the thorn of knowledge. Then you throwaway both ignorance and knowledge with a view to getting the complete realization of the Absolute. For the Absolute is beyond knowledge as well as ignorance.


Lakshmana once said to his Divine brother Rama: "O Rama, is it not strange that a God-knowing man like Vasishtha Deva should have wept for the loss of his sons, and would not be comforted?" Thereupon Rama replied:


"Brother, bear in mind that whoever possesses relative knowledge of Unity (God) must at the same time have relative ignorance also."


Such a person is not, in the nature of things, free from ignorance as to God, for knowledge and ignorance in this case are as correlatives. For a knowledge of Unity in the universe presupposes a concurrent knowledge of diversity. One who feels the existence of light has also an awareness of the existence of darkness.


The Absolute is beyond knowledge and ignorance, beyond sin and virtue, 'good works and bad works, cleanliness and uncleanliness--as understood by the limited faculties of man.


An enquirer: Sir, may I ask what remains after you have thrown away both the thorns as you call them knowledge and ignorance .


The Master: Well, what remains is the eternally pure and absolute Consciousness (Nitya-suddha-buddha-rupa). But how can I make it clear to you? Suppose some one asks you what is the taste of clarified butter? Is it possible to make the matter perfectly clear to him? The utmost one may say in reply to such a question is, "The taste of butter is precisely like the taste of butter." A girl who was

unmarried, once asked a friend, "Your husband is come.  Do tell me what sort of joy you feel whenever you meet him." Thereupon the married girl said in reply, "My dear, you will know everything when you have got a husband of your own. How can I make it clear to you now?"


Psychology of Samadhi


920. When the nest of a bird is destroyed, it betakes itself to the sky. Similarly, when the consciousness of the body and the outer world is effaced from the mind, the Jivatman (individual Spirit) soars into the sky of the Paramatman (Supreme Spirit) and merges itself in samadhi.


921. Humanity must die before divinity manifests itself.  But this divinity must in turn die before the higher manifestation of the Blissful Mother (Brahmamayi) takes place. It is on the bosom of the dead divinity (Siva) that the Blissful Mother dances Her celestial dance.


922. When camphor is burnt, no residue is left. When discrimination ends and the highest Samadhi is attained, there is neither 'I' nor 'thou' nor the universe; for the mind and the ego are merged in the Absolute Brahman.


923. When the ego is effaced, the Jiva dies and there follows the realization of Brahman in Samadhi.


Vijnana after Samadhi


924. When it was contended by a devotee that God is 'beyond the comprehension of words, thoughts and senses, and that the mind cannot reach Him, the Master remarked, "That is not quite so. It is true enough that the conditioned mind cannot realize God. But He can be realized by the pure mind (Suddha-manas), which is the same thing as the pure reason (Suddha-buddhi), which again is the same thing as the pure unconditioned Spirit. He cannot indeed be realized by the finite reason, or by the finite, relative and conditioned mind that has a sensuous nature due to its attachment to 'woman and gold.' The mind may however be rid of its sensuous nature and may be purified by culture. When freed from all worldly tendencies, desires and attachments, it becomes one with the unconditioned Spirit. Was it not thus that the sages of old saw God? God, the unconditioned Spirit, they saw by means of the purified mind, which they found to be the same as the Atman or the unconditioned Spirit within.


925. God is beyond both mind and intellect as long as they are bound within relativity; but He manifests Himself to them when they are purified. It is lust and greed which make the mind impure. So long as Avidya (ignorance) reigns in the heart, the mind and the intellect can never be 'pure. Ordinarily, mind and intellect are known to be different from each other; but in their purified state, they become one, and are resolved into Chaitanya (Pure Consciousness). Then God, the Chaitanya, becomes manifest to the Chaitanya.


926. Jnana is the realization of the Atman by the elimination of all phenomena. By eliminating the phenomena 'through the process of discrimination, one attains Samadhi  and realizes the Atman.


And Vijnana means knowing with greater fullness. Some have only heard of milk, some have but seen it, while others have tasted it. He who has only heard of it is an ignorant man. He who has seen it is the Jnani. But only he who has tasted it has attained Vijnana, that is, has known it in its entirety. To see God and have intimate relation with Him as with a near kinsman, is what is called Vijnana.

First you have to follow the process of 'Neti, Neti'-'not this, not this'. He is not the five elements. He is not the senses, nor the mind, nor the intelligence, nor the ego--He is beyond all categories. To get up to the roof you have to leave below all the steps of the staircase one by one. Of course the steps are not the roof. But when you reach the roof, you find that the roof is made of the same brick, lime, mortar and sand as the staircase. That which is the Supreme Brahman, has become the Jiva and Jagat--the twenty-four categories of the philosophers. That which is the Atman has become the five elements. You may ask why the earth is so hard if it has come out of the Atman. Through His will everything is possible. Are not flesh and bone made out of blood and semen? How hard becomes the foam of the ocean?


After attaining Vijnana a man can live in the world as well. For then he clearly perceives that He Himself has become the world of living and non-living substances, that He is not outside the world. When Ramachandra attained Jnana and refused to remain in the world, Dasaratha sent Vasishtha to instruct him. Vasishtha said to Ramachandra:


"Rama, if the world is outside God, you may give it up." Ramachandra remained silent, for he well knew that nothing exists without God.


927. In music the notes gradually rise from the lowest to the highest pitch and again come down in the reverse order; smilarly, after experiencing non-duality in Samadhi one descends to a lower plane and lives with the ego-consciousness.  After divesting the banana plant of all its sheaths one after another, one reaches its pith and takes that alone to be the essential part. But later he considers that the sheaths also are of the plant itself. Both of them are necessary to make the stem a complete whole.


928. While examining a Bel fruit (Aegle marmelos; வில்வம் in Tamil, favorite of Lord Siva ) one analyses it into its constituent parts, the shell, the seed and the pulp. Now, which of these is the Bel? First one rejects the shell as nonessential, then the seeds, and lastly takes the pulp separately and considers that alone as the real fruit. But then the after-thought comes that the same fruit which has the pulp, has the shell and the seeds as well. All these together make the whole fruit. Similarly, after having directly perceived God in His attributeless aspect, one realizes that the same Deity Who is eternal by nature has assumed the form of the world in a playful mood.


929. Once Sri Ramakrishna asked Narendra (Swami Vivekananda) what his ideal in life was. "To remain absorbed in Samadhi," replied Narendra. "Can you be so small-minded as that?" the Master said, "Go beyond Samadhi. Samadhi is a trifling thing for you!"


To another he said, "Bhava (divine ecstasy) and Bhakti --these are not final."


930. On another occasion Sri Ramakrishna asked the same question to Narendra, and received the same reply as before. To which the Master remarked: "Why! I thought you were made of better stuff. How can you be satisfied with such a one-sided ideal? My strength is all-sidedness. I would like to enjoy fish, for instance, in a variety of ways fried and boiled, made into soup, pickled, etc. I enjoy the Lord not only in His unconditioned state of Oneness, as unqualified Brahman, in Samadhi, but also in His various blessed manifestations through sweet human relationship. " So do you likewise. Be a Jnani and a Bhakta in one."