Yoga Kundalini Upanishad is also called as Yoga Kundali Upanishad. It is the eighty-sixth Upanishad of Muktika Upanishad order and forms part of the Krishna Yajur Veda.
It contains 171 verses classified into three chapters. The first chapter contains 87 verses dealing with Kundalini Yoga involving Asana, Pranayama, Bandhas, and Samadhi.
The method of awakening Kundalini is discussed in detail. The second chapter contains 49 verses. Kechari Vidya involving mantra and mudras are given in detail. The qualities of Atman, Jivan Mukti, and Videha Mukti are described in the 35 verses of the third chapter.
ASANAS, PRANAYAMAS, BANDHAS AND SAMADHI
Prana and its control
The operating causes of the mind are the powers of memory and Prana. If either of them is not active, the other one also becomes inactive. Among these, the yogi should take control over Prana first. This can be made possible by employing temperance in food, proper posture and awakening the power in the order mentioned. In other words, Mithahara, Asana and Shakti Chalana are the three ways to take control over Prana.
Temperance in food
Gautama! Listen to me sincerely! I explain them (three ways of controlling Prana) in detail. One should take the nourished and sapient food (by employing common sense in selecting the food that is good for one) leaving off the quarter of that. Even that should be taken for the satisfaction of Lord Shiva. This is known as Mithahara, the employing temperance in food.
The postures are of two kinds. They are Padmasana and Vajrasana. When the yogi places the soles of his feet over his thighs, it is Padmasana that destroys all the sin. (Note: It should not be understood as mere doing of padmasana destroy all the sins. Dhyana Bindu Upanishad says “Meditation is the only way to destroy the sins. So Padmasana is the first step in destroying the sins) When the yogi places his left heel under Mula-Kanda (the knot of the perineum) and right one over it by keeping the head, neck, and body in one line, it is said to be Vajrasana.
Kundalini awakening (Shakthi Chalana)
Kundalini alone is power. The learned one should rouse it from its seat to the middle of the eyebrows. This is known as the kundalini awakening. This involves two practices. The rousing of Sarasvati Nadi and holding up the Prana. By these practices, Kundalini gets its uprightness.
Rousing of Sarasvati Nadi (Sarasvati Chalana)
Among these practices, I now explain the practice of rousing the Sarasvati Nadi which was known as Arundhati earlier. By rousing the Nadi, Kundalini makes her move on her own. Assuming the Padmasana posture, when the Prana goes through the left nostril, the yogi should elongate the length from four Angulas to twelve Angulas and hold it fast with two thumbs and forefingers and pass out the Prana through right nostril and right to left. It should be continued, without any fear, for a period of a couple of Muhurtas (Muhurta =90 minutes). Then the learned one should draw upwards the kundalini from her seat. By doing so, Kundalini will reach the door of Susumna. Now the yogi should make the constriction of the belly (Uddiyana Bandha) together with the constriction of the throat (Jalandhara Bandha). Then Prana in the chest will move upwards activating the Sarasvati Nadi. On rousing the Sarasvati Nadi, he should expel the Prana through the right nostril. By the constriction of the throat, Prana will move upwards. He should rouse Sarasvati always with the sound. By rousing like this, he will get rid of diseases like Indigestion, dropsy, spleen enlargement, and other diseases of belly in all certainty. (Note: The practice of rousing Sarasvati Nadi will be explained in detail by a separate post).
I now proceed to explain Pranayama. Prana is the vital air coursing through the body. Ayama is Kumbhaka or control. Kumbhaka is of two kinds: Sakala Kumbhaka (combined with inhalation and exhalation) and Kevala Kumbhaka (happening on its own). Combined variety is to be practiced till Kevala Kumbhaka manifests on its own. Kumbhakas namely Surya Kumbhaka, Ujjayi Kumbhaka, Sitali Kumbhaka, and Bastrika Kumbhaka are of combined variety.
Securing a secluded and hallowed spot within the reach of the bow, devoid of pebbles, chillness, fire, and water, he should assume Baddha Padmasana on a seat which is of medium height, which is easy to assume, and which gives comfort. Rousing the Sarasvati Nadi, he should inhale the air through right nostril to his maximum capacity and expelling through the left nostril to purify his skull. (Note: It is implied that Kumbhaka to the maximum convenient capacity should be performed in between). The diseases arising out of Vada and intestinal worms are destroyed. This practice should be repeated again and again. It is known as Surya Bheda.
Holding the mouth tightly, he should inhale the air through both the nostrils in such a way that occupying the space between throat and heart and making a noise. He should make Kumbhaka as before and exhale through the left nostril. This excellent practice removes the heat produced in the head and phlegm in the neck and cures the diseases by increasing the warmth of the body, destroying the toxins in the Nadis. It removes the disorders affecting the humor of the body. This can be performed even while standing and moving. It is called Ujjayi.
After performing Kumbhakas as said earlier, he should inhale the air through the tongue and exhale it through both the nostrils. (Note: Kumbhaka is implied in between). This is known as Sitali and it kills indigestion, spleen enlargement, consumption, nausea, fever, thirst, and poisons.
Assuming Lotus Pose, keeping the neck and belly in line and holding the mouth tightly, he should expel the air through the nostrils in such a way that it makes a noise from throat to head. Then he should fill in a little air to the heart and expel it quickly as before and repeat the process again and again. Like the pair of the bellows of the blacksmith is blown in quick succession, he should make the air move in the body. Until fatigue is experienced, he should expel through the right nostril. Until the stomach is filled with the air, he should perform Kumbhaka lightly holding the nose with two forefingers and expel it through the left nostril. It removes the heat generated in the throat and increases the warmth of the body. It rouses the Kundalini. It is endowed with good qualities like giving good health, killing sins, clears the phlegm and obstructions found in Brahma Nadi (Susumna). It breaks the three knots made up of three Gunas. This is known as Bastrika.
After mastering the four Kumbhakas mentioned, three bandhas should be performed by the learned yogi. The first one is Mula-bandha. The next one is Uddiyana Bandha and the third one is Jalandhara Bandha. I proceed to explain them individually.
When the downward coursing Apana is directed upwards by the constriction, it is Mula-Bandha. When Apana moves upwards and reaches the region of fire (the navel chakra), the flame of fire of Prana is heightened by the over-heat generated. By the flame and the heat prevailed over the region, the sleeping Kundalini is heated and roused like a snake being beaten by a stick. It hisses, becomes erect and enters the hole to reach the interior of Brahma Nadi (Susumna). Hence the yogi should always practice Mula-Bandha.
Uddiyana Bandha is to be performed after Kumbhaka and before exhalation. (Note: Uddiyana Bandha is performed by constricting the lower abdomen muscles towards the spine). By doing this, Prana goes up into Susumna Nadi. Because of this, yogis call it by the name Uddiyana Bandha, literally means the upwards-coursing lock. Assuming Vajrasana, the yogi should hold the feet and press the ankles against the perineum, then he should press back the belly, heart, and neck. By doing this, Prana will move to the center of the belly. This should be performed very slowly. It gets rid of all the diseases of the belly.
It should be performed after inhalation that means, before Kumbhaka. (It is performed by constricting the throat by pressing the chin against the chest). It obstructs the path of Prana by making a lock in the throat region. The nether part of the throat being pressed, Prana enters Susumna. Assuming the proper posture, Prana should be controlled in the manner explained above.
Number of Times for Pranayama Practice
On the first day, ten times each of four kinds of Pranayama should be practiced. On the second day, fifteen times of each kind of Pranayama. On the third day and subsequent days, the number should be progressively increased by five per day. Always Pranayama should be practiced along with three Bandhas.
Obstacles to Yoga Practice
1. During night time, keeping awake for a long time or having excess sexual interaction makes the Yogi resort to sleeping during the daytime. Holding the urine and feces for the extended time period, irregular postures, and over-anxious breath control in excess of the capacity results in diseases and disorders. When the practitioner holds his breath with force, the disease is instantly produced. Then he complains the practice of yoga as the cause of the disease. Thenceforth he terminates his practice. This is the first obstacle. 2. Doubting the efficacy of results is the second obstacle. 3. The state of confusion. 4. Lethargy. 5. Sleep. 6. Sticking to the objects of senses. 7. Delusion. 8. Worldly concerns. 9. Disbelief 10. Misunderstanding the truth of yoga. The yogi should get rid of these obstacles by deliberation.
The awakening of Kundalini
Then he should perform the practice of Pranayama constantly fixing his mind on the truth. The mind takes its seat in Susumna and Prana does not move forward. When the impurities of Susumna are removed, there ensues the path of Prana in Susumna by directing the downward coursing Apana upwards by performing Mula-Bandha. Apana together with fire moves towards Prana. The fire being mixed with Prana and Apana proceeds to Kundalini. The sleeping and coiled Kundalini being heated by the fire and the flow of Vayus (Prana and Apana) straightens its body and enters the door of Susumna. It bursts to open the knot of Brahma (Brahma Granthi) which is dominated by Rajo-Guna and enters the door of Susumna like the streak of lightning. Then it reaches and bursts to open the knot of Vishnu (Vishnu Granthi) which is located at the heart region. Subsequently, it reaches and bursts open the knot of Rudra (Rudra Granthi) which is located at the middle of the eye-brows called Ajna Chakra. Then it reaches the cool region of the moon and dries up the moisture that extends to Anahata Chakra of sixteen petals carried by the Vayus. The blood which turns bile being agitated by Prana and having contact with the Sun. When it reaches the sphere of the moon, it becomes phlegm. How this liquid of cold character will turn hot? Hence the white form of the moon is heated at once. The agitated kundalini moves up and the shower of nectar starts to flow. By swallowing this nectar, Chitta (mind) is detached from the sensual pleasures and absorbed in Atman. Then Kundalini having given up the eight forms of Prakriti (Pancha Bhutas, Manas, Buddhi, and Ahamkara) embraces Shiva and dissolves in Shiva. So also Rajas (feminine energy) and Sukla (Masculine energy) dissolves in Shiva and immediately Prana and Apana which were born together are at equilibrium. Prana penetrates all things, whether they are small or big, and whether they are describable or not like the fire penetrates Gold.
The Absolute Consciousness and Right Knowledge
Then the body of the yogi which is of Adhibhautika (pertains to matter) becomes Adhideivika (pertains to unseen forces). Then it reaches Adhivahika (pertains to pure Atman). It is the state devoid of all impurities. It is the state of Chit, the absolute consciousness. Adhivahiha is preeminent of all which is being the nature of Brahman. Having got rid of the notion of qualified Brahman and the notion of the existence of other things apart from Brahman and having attained the true knowledge of Brahman by the dawn of the knowledge of the form of Atman, liberation is attained. Otherwise absurd notions like the notion of the serpent in a rope arise by delusion. The notion of worldly attachment and relief are by the delusion of time. The appearance is a delusion. The appearance of silver in the shell of the oyster is a delusion. So is the appearance of men and women. The macrocosm and microcosm appear dissimilar but they are the same. So is the Linga and Sutratman. So are the manifested state and unmanifested states Atman and Consciousness.
The awakening of Kundalini – a quick recap
The power Kundalini which is in the form of a fine filament of lotus stalk having bitten the knot of Muladhara with the top of its hood, taken hold its tail by mouth, reaches Brahma-Randhra. When the yogi, assuming the Lotus posture, having absorbed his mind in Kumbhaka, constricts the perineum, Vayu will move upwards and by that, the fire reaches Svadhisthana in a blaze. Then Kundalini having agitated by the Vayu and Fire breaks open the knot of Brahman. Subsequently, it breaks open the knot of Vishnu and the knot of Rudra and breaks the six lotuses too. In Sahasrara, She delights in the company of Shiva. This state alone is Videha Mukti which is the cause of the manifestation of Supreme Bliss.
I, now, proceed to talk about the details of Kechari Vidya. By mastering this, the yogi could conquer old age and death. Having come to know this Vidya, the person suffering from old-age, diseases, and death should practice Kechari Vidya. The yogi, having learned the knowledge of Kechari from books and resorted to the practice of Kechari Vidya, destroys old-age, diseases, and death in the precincts of the earth. The person like him is to be selected and approached as Guru. Kechari Vidya is not easily attainable. The mastery is gained only with great effort. The practice and its performance could not be achieved simultaneously. All those who are aspiring to practice could not attain performance. The one who intends on the practice will get mastery at some time during the course of several births. But the perfect performance could be attained only at the end of hundreds of births. Having got the mastery over practice, the yogi will get the mastery over performance in subsequent births, based on the perfect mastery of practice during previous births. The benefits of Kechari as described in the books accrue on yogi, only when the secret of performance is duly transmitted to him by a competent Guru. He who has mastered the philosophy, practice, and performance attains the state of Shiva, having detached from all worldly affairs. Even Gurus are powerless to impart the guidelines without referring to the Scriptures. The scriptures explaining the science is not easily attainable. The Vagabond has to wander over the earth till he gets the science. Once he got it, the success in his own palm. Hence, for having success in Kechari, one should resort to Lord Shiva, who is the bestower of the right practice, right performance, and the philosophy (scriptures of the science). He should take refuge in him. Having known this science from me, you should not reveal unto anyone. It should be kept as a profound secret On reaching the proximity of the Guru who is the bestower of the divine yoga, one should learn Kechari Vidya from him with a keen intellect and sincerely commence the practice as directed by him without laziness. The success in the accomplishment of Kechari is thus attained. Having resorted to this Kechari Yoga together with Kechari Mudra duly accompanied by Kechari Bija (the mantra of seed letter), the yogi will become the lord of ether. He will travel in the worlds of expansive ether. (Note: “Ke” in Sanskrit means “ether”. “Chara” means “travel”. Having mastery in this Vidya makes the yogi to fly in the air or travel the worlds of heavens).
The letters of Kechara, Avasatha, Vahni, Ambu mandala forms the Bija Mantra. (Note: The Bija mantra formed is “Hreem”). The Lambika yoga performed with that can be achieved. The ninth letter of the Somamsa counting backward should be taken. Then the eighth letter from backward. The fifth letter in the same way as the next one. Then the letter indicating the moon. Then “Koota”. (The mantra so formed is “Hreem, Bham, Sam, Pam, Pham, Sam, and Khsam”. This is Kechari Mantra). This mantra should be initiated by the Guru and bestows everything attainable through yoga. The yogi who is not free from the delusion of being conquered by the internal organs of senses does not attain success even in a dream. The success in the accomplishment of Kechari Vidya will come to him who chants this mantra 500 thousand times each day for twelve days continuously along with a talisman. All impediments will go away. The guardian deities bestow their grace. Wrinkles and grey hairs perish. Having got this Vidya, the yogi should practice it with dedication. Otherwise, it drips away and will be of no use. While during the practice of Kechari, the vidya (science or philosophy)) is not gained by the yogi, he should attain it during the course of the performance of it and chant this. By resorting to any other course, even little success is not attained. When science is attained, he should seek shelter in the Vidya. Then the yogi will attain success.
The tongue should be drawn up from the root of the palate and cleansed for seven days in the manner prescribed by the Guru. He should take a well-oiled clean sharply edged instrument resembling the leaf of a milk hedge plant and cut the frenulum of the tongue to the extent of the width of a hair. Leaving off any other work behind, he should first treat the wound with the application of myrobalan and rock salt pulverized together. He should repeat the process after seven days. In this manner, he should continue the process for six months with due diligence. After the elapse of six months, the fold of the membrane at the base of the tongue will be gone. The yogi should tie-up the tip of the tongue with a thread like cloth and pull it gradually having considered the season, time and the action. In six months, it will be possible for him to reach the middle of eye-brows and obliquely the crevice of the ear. It will reach the chin downwards. In three years, it will be possible for him to reach the hair in his head and obliquely to the root of the tuft. In the downward direction, to the well of the throat. In the next three years, it will reach Brahma Randhra and envelope it and obliquely it will reach the outer surface of the crest. In the downward direction, it will go to the gap of the throat. Gradually it will pierce open the great door of the cranium. The Kechari vidya described here along with the Bija Mantra is very difficult to attain. He should perform Anga Nyasa with syllables of the mantra with their distinct modulations. Likewise, he should perform Kara Nyasa for the purpose of attaining all successes. Thus, the practice is followed in the step by step manner. He who tries all at once, his body will meet with dissolution. Hence the practice should be strictly pursued in the phased manner and thereby the tongue will reach the crevice of Brahman by the external path. He should press the Uvula with the help of finger and thrust the tongue inside. By practicing like this, he will open the door of Brahman within three years. After entering Brahma Randhra, he should start the practice of churning. Some adepts just practice it without churning. Success is possible even without churning for those who have succeeded in the mastery of Kechari Mantra. When Mantra practice is performed along with churning, success is accomplished very quickly. In the nostril, he should place a probe made up of gold, silver or steel along with a thread soaked in milk. Assuming a convenient posture of his personal choice, holding the Vayus in the heart, fixing the sight in the middle of the eyebrows, he should start practicing the churning correctly. Six months of practicing will yield the mastery and he could perform churning by the mere thought. Churning is not good when practiced daily. He should resort to it once in a month. He could not traverse the path along with tongue always. Practicing in this manner for twelve years will give Siddhi. He will see the entire universe in his body. The upward path of Kundalini with its shining teeth in his body is the great path of the entire universe.
JIVAN MUKTI AND VIDEHA MUKTI
The Supreme Mantra: Hreem, Bham, Sam, Pam, Pham, Sam and Khsam. Lord Brahman requested Lord Sankara to describe the symbolic representations of Amavasya (New Moon), Pratipad (Partial moon) and Paurnamashi (Full moon). During the practice when the yogi experience any discomfort in his eyes, Pratipad (partial closing of eyes) or Amavasya (full closing) should be resorted to. After getting confirmed, Paurnamashi (wider opening) should be stabilized. There is no other way to this. The yogi should always avoid: (1) Going after the sensual pleasures arising out of desire and passion under the delusion of gratification of desire and passion and (2) Attachment to sensual pleasures. Avoiding these two, he should seek refuge in the eternal Atman. His desires should be on those who are helpful to him and avoid everything. Contemplating his mind on Kundalini, then contemplating his mind on the center of Kundalini, looking on his mind with the mind, he should give-up that too. This is the state of Transcendence. The mind alone is the Bindu which is the cause of creation and sustenance. The Bindu is derived from the mind like the ghee is from milk. The Bindu is not bound by anything. It does not resemble its cause, the mind. If the Kundalini is between the Sun and the Moon, there is bondage. Knowing this, he should break open the Sushumna Nadi and project the vital air through the middle of it and place it in the eye-brow center along with the meditation “I am the God” and control of Prana in Brahma-Randhra. Having known the Prana, Bindu, Prakriti (existence), and six chakras, he enters the bliss of yoga. Muladhara, Svadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Visuddhi, Ajna are the six chakras. Muladhara is said to be located at the region of Perineum. Svadhisthana at the region the Genitals. Manipura is located in the region of the navel. Anahata is at the heart. Visuddhi is the base of the throat. Anja is the region of eye-brow center. Having known the chakras, he should enter the region of bliss. He should enter it by drawing the Vayu through Susumna and directing it upwards. By cultivating the Vayu thus, he pervades the whole macrocosm. Hence he should cultivate the Vayu, Bindu, Chakras, and the mind. By this way, the yogi attains the equipoised state of Samadhi that gives immortality. The fire that resides in the log of wood does not rise up without churning. So also, without the practice of yoga, the light of wisdom could not shine. The lamp inside a pot could not emit the light outside. If the pot is broken, the light will manifest outside. The body is the pot and Atman the lamp. When the teachings of Guru destroys the ignorance, the knowledge of Brahman will manifest. Having got a Guru like a helmsman and his teachings as the boat, and the impressions left on his mind as coaching, the yogi crosses the ocean of worldly existence. Having sprouted up in Para, turned into two leaves in Pasyanthi, budded in Mathyama, Speech has blossomed in Vaikhari. (Para, Pasyanthi, Mathyama, and Vaikhari are the four features of the sound). Speech, when the order is reversed, reaches the dissolution. The supreme lord and eternal Paramatman rouse the power of speech. He, who has resorted to the conviction “I am He”, is in no way affected even when he is spoken unto with articulate sounds of high, low or vulgar. The triad of Visva, Taijasa, and Prajna, the triad of Virat, Hiranyagarbha and Isvara, the macrocosm, the microcosm, and Bhur and other worlds in their order will dissolve in the innermost Atman, simultaneously with the dissolution of the prime causes of them. The macrocosm and microcosm dissolve along with their causes when burnt with the fire of knowledge. What is dissolved in the Atman is Brahman alone. There remains something thereafter which is serene and beautiful, which is not radiance or darkness and which is inexpressible and distinct. The yogi should meditate on the Atman of the measure of thump in the middle as a smokeless radiating lamp placed inside the pot. It takes its seat in the interior of the body as imperishable, eternal Atman. The Vijnana-Atman is under delusion because of the states of sleeping, dreaming and waking. By the influence of the meritorious observances during the several births, it desires to get transformed and ponders over: Who am I? How this defect of worldly attachment has been brought about? What is my destination during sleep? Who am functioning in the waking and dreaming states? Completely absorbed in these kinds of cares, because of the inner light and the transformation of ignorance into consciousness, tortured by the external misery, he becomes burnt up like a ball of cotton being consumed in the fire. When the innermost Atman at the seat of Dahara starts to pervade and radiates its lights in all sides, it burns up the Vijnana at once and all the knowledge is lost. In order to completely burn up all the knowledge that is in the mind, it shines always in the interior like a lamp in a pot.
Jivan Mukta and Videha Mukta
The yogi who continues to meditate like this till he attains sleep and till he attains death is Jivan Mukta. He is blessed and he has discharged all his duties. When the body of Jivan Mukta meets the dissolution in the course of time, he enters the state of Videha Mukti, like the wind reach the state of motionlessness. In there, That alone remains. In there, Sound ceases to exist. Touch, form, decay, and taste cease to exist. Smell is absent there. It is eternal. It has no beginning nor end. It transcends all. It is the most extraordinary, and devoid of impurities and ailments.
Om Tat Sat!