Kundalini: An untold story

Once a software businessman, management guru turned into a monk, Om Swami's third book which is autobiographical in nature, is set on a broad premise of Kundalini Yoga based on Lalita Sahasranama (p. 17) and direct experience. In the opening remarks, he justifies the writing of this book: To awaken the Chakras, understand one's true nature, and enjoy the unalloyed bliss from which there is no return (p. xv-xvii).

The origination of Kundalini meditation begins with a mythological incident of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva, primordial cosmic couple of the Universe. The episode of Sati Dakshayani, deep insult meted out to her by her father Daksha Brahma during the sacrifice, her self-immolation, consequent pernicious anger of Lord Shiva resulting in destruction of the entire sacrifice by Virabhadra and Bhadrakali, birth of Parvati are too well known to be recounted here again. Om Swami elaborates on the fascinating divine eulogium, namely, Lalita Sahasranama and declares that Kundalini was first mentioned here which is “the pristine formless aspect of Goddess, the primordial energy” (p. 16). The account of Lord Shiva that Parvati is “beyond appearance and disappearance,” his concretization of goddess (Devi) worship, transfer of the same to sage Agastya, Dattatreya, Parashurama, sage Vasistha, and mortals are quite interesting. Om Swami also gives the mythical story of Satyavati–Parashara, consequent birth of Vyasa, his initiation into sadhana of Kundalini Yoga by his father, authorship of many Puranas and exhorts that any person engaging in serious penance can awaken the latent, divine spiritual power (p. 31-32). He explains that man has fifty percent of feminine energy and vice versa which correlates with C.G Young's hypothesis of male–female powers. Contrary to the said belief that sex is a taboo for spiritual seeker, Om Swami analyses this basic human instinct from the planes of completeness, purity, and bliss which are the tantric way of reaching the ultimate goal and advice caution and control (p. 40-41). The Chakras are not physical entities but may be “psychoneurotic plexuses” and cannot be proved like the existence of the soul or consciousness in the body. Arousal of Chakras would result in supranormal streams of energy and unprecedented creativity. Om Swami speaks of the three knots which have been mentioned in the Lalita Sahasranama and calls for untying of these knots (Brahma granthi, Vishnu granthi, and Rudra granthi) for harnessing the dormant energy and to overcome physical, mental, and supernatural hurdles (adhibhutika, adhyatmika, and adhidaivika) mentioned in the Samkhya philosophy: “Brahma granthi represents creation, expansion, and multiplication,” Vishnu granthi that of desire, and Rudra granthi that of destruction of negative thoughts (p. 58-64). The dialog of Mahasena – young sage dealing with three states of mind, namely, waking (jagrat), dream (svapnam), and deep sleep (sushupti) and their clear understanding for Chakra awakening is very attractive (p. 67-74). Om Swami gives us “the literal, real, and esoteric meaning of chakras” and in the foregoing chapters elaborately explains as to how we can awaken this divine energy.

The section titled, “Awakening the Goddess: the actual sadhana” describes the actual experience of Om Swami in rising of those imaginary Chakras. Om Swami's experience of dichotomies in life such as positive–negative mind, faith-self doubt, hope–despair, gross–subtle (incident of spider – p. 90-91), and chaos–harmony during his intense sadhana and final awakening of Chakras are mind–boggling. To quote: “This insight is the seed of liberation. You no longer see yourself as a separate entity who's struggling for existence. This is an utterly liberating feeling and leads to a near permanent kind of profound peace and absorption. What's even more beautiful is that anyone who is willing to put in the effort can experience it” (p. 91-92). The author gives the location, power, and the way to harness these seven Chakras which are muladhara, svadhisthana, manipura, anahata, vishuddi, ajna, and sahasrara. He further explains about the postures (asana), locks (bandha), gestures (mudra), psychic exercise (pranayama), meditating on sacred syllable (mantra), concentration and meditation (dharana and dhyana), dietary regulations, and the approximate time (7 h a day) for awakening of each Chakra and positive results there on (p. 102-03).

In the chapter titled: “Master the Seven Chakras,” the author gives the literal and mysterious meaning of each Chakra, presiding deity, her gestures and weapons, color, the sacred syllable to be meditated upon, food to be offered to the Goddess and consumed as prasadam, quality of visualization, and the attainment of specific power (p. 115-160). Om Swami based on his deep study of treatises on various branches of Yoga declares that “Awakening of Kundalini is a tantric sadhana” and compares it to a metamorphosis from a pupa or caterpillar to a butterfly (p. 165-66). Om Swami's search for the ultimate truth through Kundalini Yoga that love is the only emotion worth harboring and spreading-----

It is the realization that you are not an isolated drop of water, which will dry up any moment, but an integral part of an eternal water body – an ocean. Oceans never dry up, fill the readers mind with abundance, contentment, and peace (p. 171). He discretely mentions that this ultimate unity of Shiva–Shakti, individual soul with the cosmic soul is in full conformity with the philosophy of Advaita (nondualism) found in the Vedas, Brahmasutras, Upanishads, Shaivagama tantras, and propounded by Adi Shankaracharya and that duality does not exist at all at the spiritual level.

Kundalini: An Untold Story makes a highly commendable reading mainly because of its descriptive passages and vivid imagery. Om Swami excels at keeping our curiosity and attention till the last word of the book. Although the book deals with a host of philosophical, spiritual, and tantric themes, it is engrossing owing to its simple, lucid, and mellifluous language and invitation to the readers to find their own experience and ultimate awakening. The book has few original verses from Lalita Sahasranama, the Bhagvadgita, Yoga texts, and sentences of wisdom. I also found a little bit of myself in this outstanding work on Kundalini Yoga. May such books increase and expand the horizon of our knowledge amidst the consumerist global culture. Jaico Books, the Publishers of this book merits our deep appreciation.

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