By Gene Kieffer, based on the writings of Pandit Gopi Krishna
Samadhi is the highest state of consciousness attainable by men and women. Although many yogis claim to have achieved it, genuine Samadhi is an extremely rare phenomenon. Among the more perfect cases are those described in the principal Upanishads, the inner or mystic revelations that constitute the core teachings of Vedanta. Nowadays, however, the Samadhi attained is almost always only a self-induced hypnotic trance or a swoon-like state of which little or nothing can be remembered when the person returns to the normal state.
The forced ascent of Kundalini, even up to Sahasrara, cannot induce perennial turiya, the state of extended daily or diurnal consciousness which is the ultimate aim of Yoga. After a certain usually brief duration, Kundalini returns to the Muladhara chakra, reverting the yogi back to normal consciousness. This is the reason why, even in the Hatha-Yoga manuals, after initial success with the methods prescribed, practice of Raja Yoga is considered necessary for liberation. In other words, Hatha Yoga is just a preparation for Raja Yoga, the total path of mental and spiritual development.
There are varying degrees of Samadhi. In the case of individuals in whom the cerebrospinal system is not fully prepared for the new activity, it can be only a poor affair compared to the resplendent visionary experience of the mature Yogis. In the initial stages of awakening, brought about by Hatha Yoga practices, a pleasurable sensation is felt around the Muladhara chakra, rising higher and higher by small degrees with the daily exercise practiced by student. This is a very delicate operation and care has to be taken that the nerves involved are not damaged by too frequent repetition of the process.
The aim of meditation is to increase the power of attention to a point where the conscious center in the brain is pressed to a great and more sustained activity under the direction of the will. The ultimate effort of the constant exercise is the arousal of Kundalini. With the start of this new activity the normal strength and pattern of prana or bioenergy becomes insufficient to feed the brain. Then a supply from a new source becomes imperative to preserve sanity and life. This new and most potent source of psychic energy is provided by the reproductive system.
Just how the reversal of the action of the reproductive system, and the activity of the paranormal chamber in the brain, come into effect may only be answered when scientific research on Kundalini is undertaken in a serious and sustained manner. In Ancient India, the reversal of the reproductive apparatus was called Urdhava-retas. The term itself was synonymous with Enlightenment or Illumination.
The difference between the brain of an intellectual genius and an Enlightened mystic is only of degree. Therefore, Illuminated Consciousness can never be attained with a meditational trick or some magical device or gift of a guru. Attainment of Super-Consciousness or Enlightenment requires the same hard labor and hereditary predisposition as any other extraordinary faculty of the mind.
It is far easier for a highly talented individual to become Illuminated than for that of a person of low intelligence. Allowing the mind to wander or remain in a semi-awake condition is not the inwardly focused state of an awakened sage or seer. The ultimate state in Yoga, namely Samadhi, is a state of equipoise and calm, brought about by a tremendously enhanced awareness which soars beyond the regions fed by the senses and the mind. It is not a semi-conscious but a Super-Conscious state in which the interior of the Yogi becomes lustrous like the sun.
The ascent of Kundalini results in the entry of a flood of light into the whole area of the mind, lending a radiancy to thought and imagination. There is such a flood of extraordinary sensations, lights and sounds and such a change in the pattern of consciousness so clear and distinct that one seems to have landed in a wonderland of unmatchable splendor, beauty and bliss.
With the inflow of the new psychic currents into the brain, the area of individual consciousness begins to widen until, like an ocean, it spreads everywhere as far as the mind can reach. Normal human awareness is a contracted and contorted form of the transcendental consciousness which is the evolutionary target of the human race. Our present state of awareness is like the first gray flush of dawn compared to the brilliant luster cast by the fully risen morning sun.
The power responsible for all of our temporal and spiritual triumphs and all our intellectual advances is Kundalini. Indian metaphysics is based on the experience of Samadhi brought about through the activity of Kundalini. It is a state in which the subtle worlds of mind and prana become perceptible to the accomplished Yogi. Prana itself is the bewildering source behind the amazing organizations and instincts of living creatures.
There is a different spectrum of Prana for each form of life, with modifications for each individual of that form. Each distinct human personality reflects a distinct type of pranic spectrum, and no two spectrums are alike in every respect. The whole ocean of prana, sustaining the human race, is always in a state of flux. It is this motion in the fundamental element of life which is behind the evolution of the brain and the transformation of consciousness. The human world is advancing in knowledge, because prana is moving in that direction. This movement, in turn, causes subtle evolutionary changes in the brain.
Humankind is being carried to an unknown destination by the very ocean of life which feeds every individual mind night and day. This destination is a new dimension of consciousness which we can call mystical experience, Illumination or Enlightenment. What all the great Illuminated men and women of the world have said about the merger of the soul with the Divine in the state of Samadhi, ecstasy or mystical trance is literally true. Contributions to the existing store of knowledge about Samadhi extant today can only be made by those who have a constant experience of its extraordinary state. Intellectual contributions, instead of clarifying, only add to the confusion.
One might wonder why it is not possible for every human being to have the same state of union with Divinity. This is where Kundalini comes in. The religious impulse, embedded deep in human nature, and the desire for self-perfection, are not man-created urges nor the outcome of certain psychological pressures, as held by some scholars. Rather, they both spring from the subconscious to meet the needs of the slow-working organic evolution of the brain still active in the race.
The purpose of Yoga, therefore, is to accelerate the operation of the mighty Law of human evolution in order to achieve the consummation of the process in one lifetime to create a gifted human being, blessed with Samadhi or Super-Consciousness. Knowledge of the mechanism of Kundalini is therefore necessary to change the direction of the human mind.
How does it benefit a rational being to know, save to enhance his theoretical knowledge of the world, that a “Big Bang” occurred fifteen billion years ago to cause the initial movement towards the creation of the stellar universe? What is far more important is to be enlightened about his own origin and nature. The present trends in empirical science make it oblivious to the Cosmic Intelligence that is ruling every atom and molecule of matter. But the very concept of such an all-knowing and all-pervading Consciousness is unacceptable and incomprehensible to science.
If it were to be accepted, however, the whole of humanity and all its achievements would be reduced to a subordinate position and leave no place for the self-adulation and self-conceit of man. This makes knowledge of Kundalini the most imperative need of our time if we hope to survive in the atomic age.