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  • Writer's pictureRon Brent

20. Kundalini

KUNDALINI











So, what is kundalini?

According to Tantrik sources (where kundalini is first mentioned), it is defined as the Power of Enlightened Consciousness or Innate Intelligence. Ultimately, it is the creative power of our Essential Nature.

It is referred to as kundalini (that which is coiled) likely due to its being the aspect of our own consciousness that exists as potentiality until it begins to awaken and rise (like a coil that springs forth into action). Of course, this is conceptual.

The important thing is not to just learn how to talk about it, but rather to come to know it intuitively through our own experience. Conceptual knowledge is not enough. It can only be known through direct experience (i.e. Awakening).

One of the terms used to describe this awakening is shaktipāta (the descent or transmission of Grace). Kundalini awakening is a life-altering experience. The awakening is transformative in nature, and constitutes initiation into the spiritual path. It is usually accompanied by a paradigm shift, which leads one to greater and greater awareness.

Authentic Tantrik sources state that shaktipāta comes either as a transmission from a qualified Guru (one who is vested with the power of lineage and established in the Awakened State) or it may come spontaneously without the apparent agency of a Guru (as in my case). In cases where a physical Guru is not part of the equation, it is stated that after Awakening one should seek out a qualified Guru to further guide one as the process unfolds. It was three and a half years after my awakening that I met my Guru.

This is why it’s important to seek out a teacher rooted in the Awakened State. The spiritual path really begins with awakening. Practicing techniques such as postures, breath control and concentration are not in themselves enough to ensure awakening.

In fact, unless the teacher is themself Awakened, it’s unlikely that those techniques will bring about Awakening. The practice of postural yoga and the techniques taught in conjunction with it (chanting, meditation, breath control, scriptural study, etc.) can be of great benefit, but won’t necessarily lead to Awakening. Techniques alone don’t ensure that Kundalini Awakening will take place. Yogi Bhajan was a teacher of techniques.

As Philip Deslippe chronicles in his paper, Yogi Bhajan has no historical link to any authentic Tāntrik lineages. The Kundalini Yoga created by Yogi Bhajan, does not transmit awakened energy. It may be of benefit to those who practice it, but as far as being an authentic vehicle for kundalini awakening, it is just a clever brand name. It has little or nothing to do with kundalini.

In the presence of Baba I witnessed hundreds of people experiencing kundalini awakenings. Around Yogi Bhajan I never witnessed even one. Looking back, I tend to think of Yogi Bhajan in much the same way I view athletic coaches. In this regard, he was very effective.

To learn more about what Classical Tantra says about kundalini, I invite you to check out the work of Christopher Hareesh Wallis - an excellent scholar and practitioner.

His website is: www.tantrailluminated.org.

As I leave his house, I’m relieved that my relationship with Yogi Bhajan has officially come to an end. I did the right thing by speaking with him face to face. There’s no need for me to look back.

In retrospect, Yogi Bhajan was a strong-willed, powerful hatha yogi and nothing more. No, I take that back, he was something more - he was a very charismatic and astute businessman.

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