What is Kundalini?
In every sentient being there is an energy located in the sacrum, the large, triangular bone at the base of the spine (sacrum coming from the word ‘sacred’). This energy is known in Sanskrit as Kundalini – literally “coiled” – because it is curled up in three and a half spirals.
When the energy residing in this bone is awakened it rises up the spine and comes out through the fontanelle area- the part of the head which is soft in babies. When the Kundalini passes through this area it can be perceived as a cool breeze, as if it were pouring out of a fountain. Fontanelle derives from the Old French for “little fountain”, which no longer seems like a coincidence in the light of this experience.
Kundalini is a Motherly Energy
When the Kundalini energy rises through our Chakras, it releases these tensions and therefore cleanses us of imbalances. Furthermore, the positive qualities associated with each Chakra are awakened within us. Hence, the Kundalini is often referred to as a motherly energy as it nourishes our being and helps us to grow into a more complete personality.
‘This Kundalini is the spiritual mother of every individual.’Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
This kind of ‘healing’ is a spontaneous happening which occurs only when the Kundalini is raised through our pure desire. It cannot be achieved through any mental or physical efforts, hence why the aim of meditation is to go thoughtless and to witness this living process within us.
The brain limits our ability to grow as it prevents us from surrendering to a process which it cannot see or has not yet experienced. The power of the Kundalini to transform is far greater than our minds and transcends human rationality. It removes all that causes us to stagnate in life and raises us to a higher level of being, beyond ego and conditionings. So our Kundalini expedites the living process of our evolution.
‘I hope most of you’ll get your realisation today. And that you will become yourself by maturing into it. The Kundalini matures you, gradually.’Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Kundalini and Yoga
When the Kundalini passes through all of the chakras and pierces the fontanelle bone we are brought into a state of thoughtless awareness. All thoughts and emotions which cause us to be stuck in the past or fixated on the future are removed, and so we can witness the present moment in peace.
Thus our attention becomes enlightened and our consciousness becomes collective as we are fully aware of our surroundings. This is the moment of true Yoga, meaning ‘union’ in Sanskrit. You become connected with everything around. It is not an effort, just a spontaneous happening when the Kundalini rises to this point.
The awakening of the Kundalini is irreversible, as are all living processes. However, to sustain the effects of Kundalini awakening, regular meditation must be practised in order to keep raising this energy. Like any muscle in the body, the more it is used, the stronger it becomes.
The more often one meditates, the more the Kundalini is able to cleanse our chakras and rise up to the point of our final chakra at the fontanelle area. Thus, the more frequently one can be brought into a state of thoughtless awareness. Furthermore, these periods of pure meditation, between the waves of thoughts through our minds, actually become longer.
The clearer our chakras become through regular cleansing by our Kundalini, the greater our sensitivity to Vibrations. Vibrations are the physical manifestation of our Kundalini, and can be predominantly felt at the top of the head and on the palms of the hands. Thus, when the Kundalini is raised a ‘cool breeze’ can be felt at the fontanelle area. Similarly, when the Kundalini reaches this point this coolness can be sensed on the palms of the hands.
Our hands are like a map of our central nervous system, as this is where the sympathetic nerve centers are located. Thus, each part of the hand corresponds to a chakra. When the Kundalini reaches each chakra the sensations, or Vibrations, which are felt on the hand indicate the state of the chakra. A coolness indicates a balanced and clear state of the chakra, as the Kundalini can easily pass through. Heat or tingling indicates some blockage in the chakra, as friction is created when the Kundalini tries to pass through.
Therefore, the manifestation of the Kundalini energy as Vibrations shows us the state of our being in a completely effortless manner. No thought or analysis is required. Merely by raising the Kundalini we can come to know exactly what is occurring on a physiological, mental and emotional level. If we can detect imbalances early on when they are initially triggered, we can cure the imbalance at the energy level, thus preventing many problems in our being long before their onset.
Kundalini and Self Knowledge
Through the mechanism of Vibrations, the Kundalini acts as our guide to growth and self discovery. Like a mother, she shows us where we are going wrong and the areas in which we can improve our overall wellbeing. Whether it is on a mental, physical, or emotional level, she shows us exactly where any problem is coming from.
Thus, not only directly through meditation but also through introspection on what we have experienced during our meditations, we can develop our personalities and make small adjustments in our daily lives to elevate our state. As she responds to our pure aspiration to grow, all that we experience through activating this energy is irrefutably for our wellbeing, even if on a mental level we may not initially understand.
This is why arguably the most important aspect of meditation is to be open and to treat the experience as an experiment. Being open-minded allows the Kundalini to act freely without obstruction. Furthermore, if we are ready to face ourselves and what needs to be addressed internally, the growth process is accelerated. All human beings are imperfect, and any defects within our being should be addressed with detachment, as they are not a part of our true self.
Kundalini in Ancient Cultures
The Kundalini has been given many names by different civilisations. The Japanese call it ‘ki’ and the Chinese ‘chi’. The Kung people of the Kalahari called this same power “n/um". The Greeks referred to this energy as ‘Pneuma’, and Islam speaks of ‘Rûh’. In Indian tradition she is the reflection of the Desire of God within us, the Primordial Mother, known as Adi Shakti. Christ called it ‘The Holy Ghost’. The wind of the Holy Ghost that Christ’s disciples felt at Pentecost is in fact the same cool breeze of the Kundalini that can be felt on the palms and at the top of the head when it is awakened within a being. Gyaneshwara, a famous saint of India born around 1275 AD, described Kundalini in his book “Gyaneshwari”.
‘Kundalini is one of the greatest energies. The whole body of the seeker starts glowing because of the rising of the Kundalini. Because of that, unwanted impurities in the body disappear. The body of the seeker suddenly looks very proportionate and the eyes look bright and attractive.’Gyaneshwara
Several cultures also referred to a life energy which you can access when you are in a balanced state. For example, some Native Americans tribes believed in an energy located at the base of the spine, but it was regarded as so sacred that they were forbidden to even pronounce its name.
The Egyptian references to the Kundalini were much more symbolic. Osiris (the god of afterlife) was said to rise to heaven over the spinal column of his mother, the goddess Nut, the vertebrae being used as the steps of a ladder. This is similar to the ancient Indian concept of enlightenment, whereby the seeker ascends to a blissful state. The Kundalini was said to be individual energy specific to each person, and so when that person’s Kundalini awakens his awareness rises along that “ladder” to a higher state.
In Sumerian culture the subtle system is represented by two serpents entwined around a central axis, touching at seven points. The central channel is the path of the Kundalini. These seven points are the seven chakras of the body and the two serpents represent the left and right channels. The image of a serpent in relation to the Kundalini is also present in Hindusim, where followers believe that the cosmic serpent Ananta created us, and that the Kundalini is the reflection of this power of creation in all of us. Similarly, the Aztecs worshipped ‘Quetzalcoatl’ the serpent-God as the creator of mankind.
In Judaism, ‘Shekhina’ is the name given to the female aspect of God Almighty. In Hebrew the very word ‘Shekhina’ is derived from the Biblical verb ‘shakhan’, meaning ‘the act of dwelling’, but taken in the feminine form. Therefore, at the beginning of the Talmudic era, ‘Shekhina’ was the feminine aspect of God that dwelt among people and could be apprehended by all the senses.
So throughout history, all over the world, there has been this awareness of a motherly energy that resides within all of us. All of these cultures and civilisations in their own way came to understand that through our connection to her we can integrate with the Creation from which we began and realise our true potential.
‘As a result of that awakening, what happens is that you achieve your Self Realisation, your Selfhood. Secondly, when this power is awakened, it rises and passes through six subtle energy centers in your body, nourishing them and integrating them.’Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Kundalini and Sahaja Yoga
In the past the Kundalini was awakened by decades of intense effort and dedication. Very few individuals ever managed this great feat, and it was only achieved through undisturbed meditation and penance. A few great holy personalities were born with their Kundalinis already awakened, but even they did not do how to awaken the Kundalinis of others.
However in 1970 Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi discovered a meditation method to effortlessly connect with our Kundalini energy. Since birth She had been acutely aware of her own spiritual consciousness but She did not know how to present it to the people of modern times. She saw the confusion and suffering abound in all people, despite the efforts of many spiritual personalities throughout history. She searched for a way to help humanity to experience its purpose.
On the 5th of May 1970, on a quiet beach in Nargol, India a divine spiritual experience filled Her whole being and suddenly she had the answer to Her question. She discovered a way to give Self Realisation en-masse, and thereby facilitate inner transformation. Thus Sahaja Yoga was born, literally meaning ‘Spontaneous Union’ in Sanskrit.
First trying this experience on the people near to Her, Shri Mataji saw how they were mentally, physically and spiritually transformed. From then on She tirelessly traveled all over the world, raising the Kundalinis of hundreds of thousands of people, and showing them how to raise the Kundalinis of others. Furthermore, She developed and spread many techniques which can be used in meditation to strengthen the Kundalini and deepen this experience. Sahaja yoga is now practiced in over 100 countries, spreading across every continent.
‘The one thing you must note is that the awakening of the Kundalini and thus achieving Self-Realisation is a living process of evolution for which we cannot pay anything. It is like putting a seed in the Mother Earth. It sprouts because Mother Earth has the power to sprout it and the seed has an in-built germinating quality within it.’Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Shri Mataji never charged for this experience, as she maintained it was the birthright of every human being and that it had the potential to change the world for the better. She recognised that even though institutions and governments try to stabilise society, if there is no peace within it is difficult to create it from the outside.