Sunday, May 9, 2010
The Five Phases of Vibration or the Signs on the Path
To complete this survey of the various courses of Kundalini,
the distinctive signs of the different stages will now be described.
A vibration of the nostrils, for instance, is indicative of the movement
of the breath energy (pranakundalini); however, the passages
dealing with all these symptoms are deliberately scattered,
and since they belong to different traditions, we cannot present all
of our information together. So here we deal exclusively with the
basic texts, leaving for subsequent chapters the descriptions
given by treatises such as the Saktauijnana or the Amaraughasasana.
The Malinivijayatantra enumerates five major signs
of the stages of yoga and of their centers: bliss, giving a jump,
trembling, mystical sleep, and whirling (ghurni), associated respectively
with the lower triangle, the bulb, the heart, the vault of
the palate, and the brahmarandhra.
Mystical experiences and significant phenomena occur in
rapid succession as the corresponding centers are affected and
the Kundalini energy begins to spread through the entire being of
the yogin. When she saturates the whole body, absolute bliss prevails,
but as long as she remains confined to one center, the way
is not clear and certain phenomena occur. In fact, the yogin is
hardly able to cope with the vibration she generates and each of
the centers reacts in its own way. As Abhinavagupta1 further explains,
these experiences are nothing but the reactions of a yogin
in contact with plenitude (purnatasparsa).
The reactions hereafter described cease as soon as one becomes
identified with Reality.
If this contact affects the triangle (trikona) known as "mouth
of the yogin!" (yoginivaktra), a feeling of bliss is experienced by a
yogin who, in spite of his earnest desire to do so, fails to penetrate
into the way of the supreme Reality. He has already discovered
the interior essence of the Self, he dwells in the fourth state, but the bliss
flooding through him should not be mistaken for the bliss of the
fully-unfolded Kundalini, since it is still related to the lower
center—trikona, or muladhara. At this stage, there is only a
peaceful state, a self-awareness filled with wonder (camatkara),
free of dualizing thought (vikalpa). As long as the yogin does not
go beyond this modality, he has mastery only over this center and
remains there until he gains access to the modalities of the next
stage. And indeed the same holds true for the mastery over each
of the other centers.
1. Ten sucessive states called "trumpeting of the splendor (tejas) of the energy."
We can recognize there some of our experiences, but they are given in a deliberately
erratic order, since enlightening the ignorant who would venture
on their own through the treatises must be carefully avoided. They are: trembling
(kampa), revolving (bhrama), whirling (ghurni), diving or flight (plavana),
stability (sthirata), the light of Consciousness (citprakasa), bliss
(ananda), celestial vision (diuyadrsti), wonder (camatkrti) and lastly, the
Indescribable (auacya). These ten modalities appear when the supreme category,
Siva tattoo, is attained. Once this contact has become perfect, there is
liberation from the ocean of rebirth.
VARIOUS REACTIONS OCCURRING IN A YOGIN
Udbhava or Pluti, Jump or Bound
If the plenitude comes in touch, even lightly and briefly, with
the bulb (kanda) situated just above the lower center, a certain
stirring is experienced and the yogin is startled: this is because,
in a flash, he breaks his earthly ties and forgets his body, his ego.
Such a jump is due to vibrations that start spreading throughout
the body. A yogin who is not yet perfectly interiorized and who
does not completely identify with his energy, makes a start. Again
he bounds when the energy is forced downward or when she begins
moving up by fits and starts.
If there is a continuous immersion in Reality and if one jump
is followed by another in quick succession, as Kundalini re
the heart there occurs a violent trembling.
The false sense of identity with the body, already greatly reduced
at the previous stage, grows even fainter during this trembling.
The heart center suffers the shock. As soon as it is affected,
no objective support remains: the yogin recognizes Consciousness
as his own Self and its inherent potency as belonging to the
supreme I-ness. At this moment, he breaks the attachment which
binds him to the body.
But if, owing to the effect of past impressions accumulated
in the course of many births, he has not entirely rejected his sense
of identity with the body, he begins to tremble, just like dust on
the surface of water as long as it does not really mingle with it. As
the body is not pure enough to bear such a vibration, he is seized
by an uncontrollable trembling. However, thanks to the joyous
assault of the energy giving rise to the subtle trembling that
shakes off all limits, the single-pointed yogin loosens the ties by
which he was bound to body, thought and ego, as he gradually
loses his false impressions.
2. The Yogasutra's udgatha, when the yogin crosses the boundaries
of the bodily sphere.
3. But should the trembling intensify beyond measure, the sense of
identification with the body becomes reinforced.
4. Just as one shakes his hands in order to remove a sticky substance
that clings to them.
Nidra, Spiritual Sleep
At this stage the yogin loses consciousness of the objective
world. When Kundalini reaches the vault of the palate (talu), the
yogin feels a kind of drowsiness (nidra) that Saint Theresa of Avila
called "the sleep of the powers." Body, will, and knowledge are
benumbed but the heart keeps watch. By no means can such a
sleep be mistaken for ordinary sleep; the yogin neither sleeps nor
dreams, he stands in a special void, his mystical experience is
profound, but he is not clearly aware of the fact, for his thought is
not operative. The intermediate phase between waking and sleeping
should not be confounded with another, lower form of sleep,
yoganidra, for it is made up of recollection and subtle vigilance
and occurs at a highly-advanced stage in mystical life. When the
yogin begins to pour his subjectivity into the universal Consciousness,
although he is not yet fit to reside there permanently. Then
he stands at the threshold of the next stage into which he cannot
Ghurni, Vibrant Whirling
Ghurni is an untranslatable term, for the state it refers to
does not belong to ordinary experience: it consists of a specifically
mystical whirling, a vibration moving in all directions so intense
as to defy the imagination. When its intensity increases to
infinity, it becomes one with the ever-active primordial vibration
and is none other than the fully-unfolded Kundalini in brahmarandhra.
Staggering under the effect of his inebriation, the yogin is
lifted to universal Consciousness and recognizes his identity with
the entire world. Transcending spatio-temporal limits, now all-
knowing and all-powerful, he experiences the final pervasion.
On close examination, this whirling, ghurni, appears to refer
to an inner churning that mixes the two poles of the kramarnudra,
at the source of emission and resorption.
On the threefold void: lower void, prior to the attainment of the fourth state;
medium void, samadhi or conscious yoganidra; and higher void, the sleep of the unrelated Siva. Such a sleep resembles somewhat the attitude of surprise (caikitamudra): the mouth half opens spontaneously and the breath stands still.