Shakti and the subtle body
beings are different forms of the universal cosmic energy. This
infinite cosmic power appears in a dynamic state during the creative
process and after having accomplished its creation conceals itself
along with its infinite potential in static residual form at the
base psycho energetic centre of the creature. In this residual form
it is known as kundalini or “the coiled one” since it
lies coiled at the base of the spine. The word shakti (normally
meaning force) refers to the feminine aspect of the primordial energy.
the residual coiled power is aroused it resumes its upward journey
to unite with its origins. When awakened it guides the aspirant
during his spiritual path.
the process called Shaktipat, the Guru transmits a spark of the
highest potentiality into the astral body of the aspirant and sets
ablaze his spiritual journey. The life force, prana, then works
actively like a divine mother on all 3 planes, physical, astral
is more than just potential energy. It is a conscious aware force.
subtle body that may be witnessed during the yogic process is not
visible to the ordinary eye nor are the psycho-energetic centers
or chakras detectable by mechanical means. The subtle body is seen
as a shimmering energy flow of various colours often seen as an
subtle body possesses many pathways called nadis through which prana
flows. The yoga scriptures say that there are 72,000 nadis in all.
The nadis most commonly referred to are the ida, pingala and sushumna.
The sushumna is the central pathway which runs from the base of
the spine to the crown of the head. To the left of the sushumna
is the ida nadi and to the right is the pingala nadi. The word sushumna
means “she who is most gracious”. The word ida means
pale and pingala means reddish. The ida and pingala are also referred
to as the lunar and solar channels and the reason for their colours
now becomes apparent. The ida represents lunar forces and pingala
various points along the sushumna lie the 7 chakras or psycho-energetic
aim of kundalini practice is to unleash the kundalini shakti which
moves upwards with enormous force through the sushumna and pierces
each chakra to reach the seventh.
texts also make the 5 elements or panchbhutas correspond to certain
chakras. The five elements being earth, water, fire, air and ether.
or psychoenergetic centres:
seven chakras from the base upwards are:
- Muladhar: From mula or root and adhara or support. This chakra
is the lower most chakra situated at the base of the spine.This
chakra is associated with the earth element and is represented
and seen as a four petaled lotus.
- Svadhisthaan: From sva or own and adhishthan or base. Located
at the genitals this chakra represents the water element and is
seen as a 6 spoked wheel.
- Manipura: From mani jewel and pur or pura meaning city. Thus
called the jeweled city and represented by a ten petaled lotus.
It is located at the nabhi or navel and also referred to as the
nabi chakra. It is associated with the third element, fire element.
- Hridaya or Anahata chakra. The Sanskrit word hridaya refers
to the heart and anahat translates to “unstruck”.
Situated at the heart. At this level the music of the cosmos can
be heard. Called unstruck because the cosmic vibration can be
heard without any object being struck. Element -air.
- Vishuddha: From shuddha meaning pure. This chakra is located
at the throat. Element ether. At this level one receives a taste
of soma ras or the nectar of immortality which is produced at
a location just behind this chakra. Element – ether. Seen
as a 16 petalled lotus.
- Ajna or the command wheel. This chakra is the third eye. The
chakra is referred to as the command wheel or guru chakra because
this is the psycho-energetic centre through which telepathic communications
from the guru are received. Seenas a two petalled lotus. At this
level the aspirant has moved beyond the five elements.
- Sahasrara or the thousand petalled one. Location- the crown
of the head. At this level the yogi is immersed in universal consciousness.
As the kundalini awakens and rises through
the central channel, the chakras bloom one by one with the manifestation
of higher and higher level of consciousness. Ultimately at the level
of the Sahasrara, Shakti unites with Shiva or God.
An example of a yogi’s journey is that
of Yudhistar’s described in the Bhagavad Gita:
his speech as oblation to his mind.
Then his mind to Prana (life force).
Prana to Apana (the other).
Apana to death.
Then death to the 5 principles or Bhoothajaya. Earth, water, fire,
air and ether.
The 5 to the triad. Rajas, Sattva, Guna.
Then finally the 3 to the Mahatattva.
Unleashing the kundalini:
In a person at the normal level of human
consciousness the prana travels through the ida and the pingala
nadis. The kundalini is often depicted as a serpent whose head blocks
the entrance to the sushumna. The process of unleashing the kundalini
involves redirecting the prana to flow through the central channel
rather than the lunar and solar channels. The beginning process
involves asanas, pranayama and dhyana on the subtle body and chakras.
The process has to gently guide the kundalini through each level,
chakra by chakra.
not a process to be undertaken without the guidance of an enlightened
guru. The kundalini when released often has unimaginable power akin
to a tornado unleashed. In its upward journey it pierces the 6 chakras
to reach the sahasrara at the crown of the head. The process, if
not properly understood, can lead to unimaginable damage to the
body and mind. But guided properly it leads to yoga -or union- with