Sat-Cakra-Nirupana – 8

The Kundalini

Verse 50

Hūṁkāreṇaiva devīm yamaniyamasamabhyāsaśīlaḥ suśīlo
jñātva śrīṇāthavaktrāt-kramamiti ca mahāmokşavartmaprakāśaṁ.
Brahmadvārasya madye viracavati sa tāṁ śuddhabuddhisvabhāvo
Bhitvā talliṅgarūpam pavanadahanayorākrameṇaiva guptaṁ.

He whose nature is purified by the practice of Yama, Niyama, and the like, learns from the mouth of his Guru the process which opens the way to the discovery of the great Liberation. He whose whole being is immersed in the Brahman then rouses the Devi by Hum-kara, pierces the centre of the Linga, the mouth of which is closed, and is therefore invisible, and by means of the Air and Fire (within him) places Her within the Brahmadvara.

Yama = moral disciplines which are prerequisites to yoga including abstention from harming, stealing, lying, sex, and greed.

Niyama = another class of moral disciplines including purity, contentment, austerity, study, and devotion.

Brahmadvara = inside Citrini-nadi.

Verse 51

Bhitvā lingatrayaṁ tatparamarasaśive sūkşmadhāmṇi pradīpe
sā devī śuddhasattvā taḍidiva vilasattanturūpasvarūpā.
Brahmākhyāyāḥ sirāyāḥ sakalasarasijaṁ prāpya dedīpyate
tanmokşākhyānandarūpam ghaṭayati sahasā sūkşmatālakşaṇena.

The Devi who is Suddha-sattva pierces the three Lingas, and, having reached all the lotuses which are known as the Brahma-nadi lotuses, shines therein in the fullness of Her lustre. Thereafter in Her subtle state, lustrous like lightning and fine like the lotus fibre, She goes to the gleaming flame-like Siva, the Supreme Bliss and of a sudden produces the bliss of Liberation.

Suddha-sattva = a form of embodied Caitanya.

Pierces = passes through an obstruction.

Three Lingas = Svayambhu, Bana, and Itara in the Muladhara, Anahata, and Ajna-cakras respectively.

Verse 52

Nītvā tāṁ kulakuṇḍalīṁ layavaśājjīvena sārdhaṁ sudhīr
mokṣe dhāmani śuddhapadmasadane śaive pare svāmini.
Dhyāyediṣṭaphalapradāṁ bhagavatīṁ caitanyarūpāṁ parāṁ
yogīndro gurupādapadmayugalālambī samādhau yataḥ.

The wise and excellent Yogi rapt in ecstasy, and devoted to the Lotus feet of his Guru, should lead Kula-Kundali [sic] along with Jiva to her Lord the Para-siva in the abode of Liberation within the pure Lotus, and meditate upon Her who grants all desires as the Caitanya-rupa-Bhagavati. When he thus leads Kula-Kundalini, he should make all things absorb into Her.

Ecstasy = samadhi.

Caitanya-rupa-Bhagavati = the Devi who is the cit in all bodies.

Verse 53

Lākṣābhaṁ paramāmṛtaṁ paraśivātpītvā Punaḥ kuṇḍalī
nityānandamahodayāt kulapathānmūle viśetsundarī.
Taddivyāmṛtadhārayā sthiramatiḥ saṁtarpayeddaivataṁ
yogī yogaparaṁparāviditayā brahmāṇḍabhāṇḍasthitaṁ.

The beautiful Kundali [sic] drinks the excellent red nectar issuing from Para-Siva, and returns from there where shines Eternal and Transcendent Bliss in all its glory along the path of Kula, and again enters the Muladhara. The Yogi who has gained steadiness of mind makes offering (Tarpana) to the Ista-devata and to the Devatas in the six centres (Cakra), Dakini and others, with that stream of celestial nectar which is in the vessel of Brahmanda, the knowledge whereof he has gained through the tradition of the Gurus.

Path of Kula = the channel in the citrini-nadi.

Vessel of Brahmanda = Kundalini.

Verse 54

Jñātvaitatkramamuttamaṁ yatamanā yogi yamādyair-yutaḥ
Samśare na hi janyate na hi kadā saṁkṣīyate saṁkṣaye
nityānandaparaṁparāpramuditaḥ śāntaḥ satāmagraṇīḥ.

The Yogi who has after practice of Yama, Niyama, and the like, learnt this excellent method from the two Lotus Feet of the auspicious Diksa-guru, which are the source of uninterrupted joy, and whose mind (Manas) is controlled, is never born again in this world (Samsara). For him there is no dissolution even at the time of Final Dissolution. Gladdened by constant realization of that which is the source of Eternal Bliss, he becomes full of peace and foremost among all Yogis.

Diksa-guru = the guru who initiated the yogi.

Final dissolution = samksaya= pralaya.

Eternal bliss = nityananda = Brahman.

Among all yogis = lit., “of the good.”

Verse 55

Yosdhīte niśi saṁdhyayorathe divā yogī svabhāvasthito
mokṣajñānanidānametadamalaṁ śuddhaṁ ca guptaṁ paraṁ.
Śrīmacchrīgurupādapadmayugalālambī yatāntarmanā-
stasyavaśyamabhīṣṭadaivatapade ceto narīnṛtyate.

If the Yogi who is devoted to the Lotus Feet of his Guru, with heart unperturbed and concentrated mind, reads this work which is the supreme source of the knowledge of Liberation, and which is faultless, pure, and most secret, then of a very surety his mind dances at the Feet of his Ista-devata.

Mind = cetas or citta.


About Sunday morning

Sunday Morning Contemplation is informed by Eastern and Western contemplative traditions. The first, lectio divina has its origins in 6th century Europe. It unfolds in four steps or stages: reading (lectio), reflecting (meditatio), responding (oratio), and silent abiding (contemplatio). Our Eastern inspiration come from the Indian Upanishads (800-200 BCE), where contemplative practice consists of three steps or stages: listening (śravana), reflecting (manana), and meditating (nididhyāsana or dhyāna). Our contemplative practice on Sundays embraces both approaches, and each contemplation will be based on a reading from either tradition.

The texts and teachers I have chosen played a significant role in my life and I believe have much to offer. I will read presellected texts, slowly, with pauses between verses or quotes. The readings will be accompanied by soothing background music. To lessen distraction, I suggest participants close their eyes and listen. However, the screen will display the text so that people can choose to read along or mute the sound and read on their own. If there is time remaining after the contemplative period, participants can choose to either leave or stay for a short discussion.

As a preface to the reading, I will provide a 10-15 minute introduction to the text. When relevant, I’ll review facts about the author/teacher’s life. I will also present a brief explanation of the terms and language encountered in the reading.

Finally, when the contemplation is over, all texts read will be available online to read and/or download at any time on the website.

What I mean by
The Symbolic Life

This website makes liberal use of classical Indian visual art and refers mostly to traditional Indian texts (for example, the Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita and Yoga Sutras) in the courses, seminars, and discussions on offer. However, I am not presenting lessons in Hinduism; in fact, teaching mainstream Hinduism is neither my area of interest nor expertise. Rather, my interest in Yoga and Tantra is grounded in the concrete situation in which we find ourselves, in the places where we arrive and from which we depart. Beginning in the here and now, we will explore the underlying meaning of the symbols, stories, images, philosophies, and techniques found in Indian philosophical texts and practice, in light of our world and our current circumstance. We will excavate the meaning of the aphorisms and teaching stories; the symbolic figures of gods, people, and nature; and the sometimes terse, sometimes poetic, philosophy of the texts. Thus, in referring to the Symbolic Life of Yoga and Tantra, I mean not just the symbols themselves, but the rich explication of life that the symbols represent.

Our lived, concrete situation is wonderfully captured in the Sanskrit word loka, whose ancient meaning is “the world.”  The root meaning of both the Sanskrit loka and the English locate (and local, locale, and location) is identical. In the ancient Indian mind, the world is where we are located, in our current circumstance. Thus, the meaning of the symbols of Yoga and Tantra can occur only in the now, in the places where we find ourselves, and not in any imagined ancient and/or foreign world.

To emphasize our place of origin and return, I use the terms “archetypal” and “symbolic” quite frequently. Archetypal meaning is associated with the universal and collective aspects of human experience—what we intimately share with all others regardless of culture or era or epoch—while symbolic language forms a bridge between the realms of the universal with the culturally specific and local. Symbols are the scaffolding upon which human beings build a world and imbue it with meaning.

Think for a moment of pain and pleasure, sorrow and joy, hatred and love, and greed and generosity—universal experiences that ancient Indian thinkers called the dvandva-s. This Sanskrit term is a combination of two words, or rather, one word spoken twice: the word dva (meaning the same as the English “two”) duplicated. Dvandva is commonly translated as “the pair of opposites” or literally “the two-twos” (dvadva). The ancients who coined this compact symbol gave voice to an archetypal human experience that can be further unpacked to reveal deep insights into the human condition. Once we gain an understanding of the various symbols of Yoga and Tantra, we can further excavate their meaning and the archetypes they convey, and thus gain access to, in a practical and meaningful way, the vision of life experienced by the sages. These insights are available to us and are still relevant today, as are the resilient and adaptable techniques and forms of practice that can help us lead richer and more fulfilling lives