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Gurmat And Yoga & Kundalini

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Someone asked me a question about Kundalini. I would like to share my thoughts about Yoga and Kundalini with the Sangat. A short answer to this question, "What does Gurbani say about Kundalini," would be, not much. This word occurs only once in Gurbani, "Kundalini rises in Sat Sangat" (SGGS 1402:10).

Patanjali writes, "Yoga is removal of mind's noise. Then, the observer can become established in view of the Self." Gurbani does not oppose this form of Yoga. Rather Gurbani supports it. All the Shabads that seem to censure 'Yoga' condemn, in fact, only the physical activities and rituals touted as Yoga. Gurbani does not oppose the practice of correct Yoga that is suited for the modern people of this age. Educated Sikhs need to grow out of their phobia of this term.

Practice of, correct conduct (Yama), correct diet (Part of Niyama), correct posture (Asana), correct breathing (Prananyama), control of the senses (Pratyahara), mental concentration (Dharana), and meditation (Dhyana), to name just a few, are natural elements of a truly devoted Sikh's daily lifestyle. Correct form of 'Yoga' is the natural outcome of a Sikh's submission to the Guru. However, it is practiced as subservient to the practice of Naam Simran. When a sincere desire to see god is awakened inside, one cannot help practicing the above naturally. Those who condemn these components, without any practice of their own, will continue to wander off the path.

Yoga exercises do not lead to God realization, per se. Most of the time they result in an obsession with the body and its functions, because they are self-directed, without submission to the Guru. Practice of different postures or some other physical disciplines as means to liberation, is not supported anywhere in Gurbani, either. Such acts only help boost one's ego. However, weights and martial arts training would also boost one's ego also. Should we condemn them too? Yoga is condemned in Gurbani if it dominates our outlook and makes us preoccupied with the body and its functions, if it keeps us away from Naam Simran and inner Bhakti, or if it turns into a mere show of rituals. There is no harm in following simple yoga exercises to improve health, including practice of simple Pranayama. We need to regard Yoga just like other exercises, only for what they are worth, no more and no less.

As we know, the word Kundalini refers to the energy (Prana), represented by a symbolic snake that is coiled up and sleeping at the level of Mooladhara Chakra. Under proper conditions, this energy rises through the Sushumna. Sushumna is a channel that runs from the base of spine to head. In ordinary humans the Sushumna is dormant and never used. As this channel opens, the energy rises and passes through each of the seven Chakras. Different qualities and perceptions are intensified at each Chakra. In Hatha Yoga and Raja Yoga, the control of Prana is accomplished through various exercises, including Pranayama, control of breath and energy in the channels called Ida and Pingala that run on either side of the Sushumna. However, according to Gurbani, cleansing of mind, as a result of following Guru?s teaching leads to the knowledge and opening of the energy channels naturally (SGGS 974:6).

http://www.sikhnet.com/sggs/translation/0974.html

Gurbani does not dwell upon this subject because, rising of Kundalini is a manifestation of enlightenment, while, enlightenment is not a result of raising the Kundalini. Producing a symptom artificially does not lead to a particular condition. The same way, Kundalini cannot be raised to the Sahasrara (the highest) Chakra without enlightenment. Gurbani does not place the cart before the horse. A Sikh, therefore, seeks enlightenment rather than being busy raising the Kundalini. This is discussed at the end of "Sidh Gosht" (SGGS 944-6). We could say that the Sikh way of raising the Kundalini is the "pull" method (Kundalini rising naturally through pull of Gurbani) rather than the "push" method (desperate personal efforts) of a Yogi.

Kundalini is simply a way of describing the phenomena that occur in the body and, at the finer energy levels during our spiritual advancement. Even though certain exercises may help concentrate the energy in Sushumna, doing so by itself can not lead to enlightenment and the ultimate aim of Yoga is not fulfilled (SGGS 946:5). In fact energy directed to higher Chakras without proper direction and Bhakti under the guidance of Guru, leads to erratic and sometimes disastrous consequences. For instance, the earliest consequence of rising Kundalini would be intensified desire for sex, to release the pent-up energy. If Bhakti is not strong enough to subdue this urge for the higher aim, you can imagine how far one can advance spiritually.

A fruit that is ripened slowly and naturally, on the branch is much sweeter than the one that is plucked early and forced to ripen artificially (SGGS 1109:2). The same way, when Prana is controlled and channeled properly as a natural consequence of Naam Simran and following Guru's teaching, the results are much sweeter. This is one reason that Guru Ji did not dwell upon controlling the Prana. As stated in the beginning, Kundalini rises spontaneously when we are in Sat Sangat. The animal desires are controlled easier through Sat Sangat also, and this results is success.

A common problem is that we do not know how to be in Sat Sangat. Mere sitting in a Gurudwara or Singing Gurbani is not Sat Sangat. We believe, and we claim a lot based upon what Gurbani says about the greatness of Sat Sangat, but this activity has little influence upon us. We have very little to show and to prove, the benefits and an uplifting of our own personality by Sat Sangat. This shows that something is missing. We need to learn how to be in Sat Sangat.

Humbly
Yuktanand Singh
 
As the post said: Gurbani does not oppose the practice of correct Yoga that is suited for the modern people of this age. Practice of, correct conduct (Yama), correct diet (Part of Niyama), correct posture (Asana), correct breathing (Prananyama), control of the senses (Pratyahara), mental concentration (Dharana), and meditation (Dhyana), to name just a few, are natural elements of a truly devoted Sikh's daily lifestyle.

While reading this post, I tend to take Swara Vidya (about Breathing) as a built-in step towards Yoga and Kundalini. Or do you think otherwise?

Thanks.
 
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