A lady visited me at the ashram. She was a mind-therapist and a healer (whatever that means) by profession, and was well acquainted with the concept of chakras. She believed in vastu, feng shui, and tarot. These were, in fact, the tools of her trade, so to speak. She was a little worried that day because a famous ‘chakras-expert’ told her that the spin of her chakras was not right and it was affecting her work.
“Come again,” I said, “What’s not right about your chakras?”
“The spin,” she replied, “The spin of my chakras is not right.”
“What are you?” I chuckled, “A motor car that has gone out of spin?”
Not sure if I was serious or joking, she smiled a bit uncomfortably. I wasn’t kidding, even though I laughed quietly for a few seconds. In fact, I felt sorry for her, like I do for all those seekers who are misguided by the ‘chakra-experts’.
“So, what else did he tell you?” I asked.
“He asked me to wear a chakra pendant and light special incense.”
“Right, and what happens then?”
“It’ll balance my chakras,” and she pulled out a pendant. It looked pretty expensive. On beautiful four lotus petals made from white gold, there was a solitaire in the middle and the petals were studded with emerald, ruby, opal and topaz. “It’s supposed to touch my heart,” she said.
“It’s touching your heart alright, but it’s not doing much for the rest of you, now is it?”
All expression disappeared from her face but her lips that curled slightly downwards.
“Why is that so, Swami? I have spent so much money on this thing.”
“Veena,” I said, “This is a load of rubbish.” (name changed).
She looked downcast, and angry, as if someone handed her a crystal for the price of a diamond.
“But I thought chakras were real.”
“Of course chakras are real, Veena!”
“I meant that this whole business of balancing the chakras and all that gobbledygook are simply tricks to fool people. The only way to awaken the kundalini is by meditating over a prolonged period, that’s all.”
“So this chakra pendant won’t make it faster for me?”
“If you can make nine ladies pregnant and deliver the baby in a month,” I said, “then I suppose you could quickly awaken your kundalini too.”
“Is it possible, Swami?” she asked me, most seriously.
I burst out laughing. It’s amazing what all we are willing to believe, I thought.
Veena’s is not an isolated case. I meet scores of gullible seekers all the time who want quick solutions. I’m amused when people walk into a nicely done up place, where there is this amorous kind of dim lighting, a small but expensive and antique-looking idol of Buddha or Shiva sits in a corner elegantly illuminated by the flame of a tea light. An oil burner is slowly diffusing scent in the air, nice music is playing in the background, plush couches, mahogany furniture, and they ask me, “Oh, do you feel the energy in this place, Swami?” I generally smile and let go of it, but which energy are they talking about, I haven’t got the foggiest idea.
Yes, you feel nice, you feel good, but it’s got nothing to do with chakras or energies. It’s just the ambience. Personally, you’d be better off spending your time in a nice Ayurvedic spa, where at least you get the value for money, where they treat you and serve you as a customer and not milk you like a poor, ignorant, mislaid cow that has accidentally stepped into someone else’s farm.
Chakra bracelets, pendants, incense, mats, rugs, clothes, wall hangings, chakra music, chakra programming and other attractive paraphernalia have absolutely no connection with the real sadhana of chakras. Anyone who claims to awaken your kundalini by touching you on your forehead (or wherever) is lying to you, no matter how genuine and charismatic that person might sound or appear.
Then there are those people who claim to see or read your chakras. They too are taking you for a ride. Seeing anyone’s chakras has nothing to do with clairvoyance. There’s nothing to see or read when it comes to chakras. Your chakras are not some chapters from a book that someone could just read. People talk about opening or closing chakras as if they were a jar of cookies with a lid that you could remove any time or put back on. The feeling of a snake-like sensation moving up your spine is not the awakening of the kundalini. If it persists, please check with a neurologist instead.
You may have heard how each chakra has a certain number of petals and different letters, various presiding deities, many attendant deities, different shapes and so on. Let me tell you, these are unnecessary complications. Understanding the real truth of chakras is a completely different ball game.
na rūpam asyeha tathopalabhyate
nānto na cādir na ca sampratiṣṭhā
aśvattham enaḿ su-virūḍha-mūlam
asańga-śastreṇa dṛḍhena chittvā
tataḥ padaḿ tat parimārgitavyaḿ
yasmin gatā na nivartanti bhūyaḥ
tam eva cādyaḿ puruṣaḿ prapadye
yataḥ pravṛttiḥ prasṛtā purāṇī
(Bhagavad Gita, 15.3,4)
Upon attainment one finds that the truth is not what it had been made out to be. The real form of the tree of life is imperceptible; it has neither beginning nor end. The one, who cuts it from the roots with great detachment, reaches an irreversible state of tranquility. He reaches a shore from where there is no return. He returns to his source.
This is also the truth of the kundalini, the reality of the chakras. Whatever you may have seen, heard or read about it so far is not the truth, at least not the complete truth. The day you actually experience the piercing of the chakras or awakening of the kundalini, you will reach an irreversible state of bliss, a point of no return.
Milk once churned into butter cannot transform back to being milk again. Similarly, once you discover your true nature, no matter what happens, your old tendencies, your negative emotions leave you completely. A selfless concern for the welfare of all sentient beings arises in you naturally. You grow out of your own shoes. It’s not that you won’t feel the pain if someone were to hit you. Of course, you will feel the pain. But, unlike your older self, the transformed-you won’t get angry at the one who is hurting you.
Awakening of the kundalini is reaching your innermost state of bliss and joy. This state is covered with ten layers –desire, anger, greed, attachment, ego, passion, jealousy, hatred, fear and self-concern. As you elevate spiritually, you start shedding these layers. These avarana, layers, veil the true you. The real you that is beyond the duality of pain and grief, good and bad, moral and immoral. Awakening is a steady and gradual process on the path of kundalini sadhana. It is not an instant realization. It builds up, it grows on you. With each level of awakening, you discover bit more about the new you and you shed bit more of the old you.
The science of the kundalini is an ancient vidya that has been passed through an oral tradition in strict disciplic succession to worthy recipients. The science remains just as intact today. All it requires is for one to walk the path with great determination and tenacity.
Let me take you to the source, for what is found in the roots can never be understood from the leaves. Let the boughs not baffle you. Let the fruits not distract you. You just have to nurture the roots and the whole tree will belong to you.
This is the preface from my upcoming book, Kundalini — An Untold Story. You can order the paperback on Amazon India (here) or on Amazon.com (here) if overseas. Kindle edition is not yet available in India but overseas only (here).
I’ll be launching this book in New Delhi on 26-Apr-2016. 6pm – 8pm. You are welcome to join me for the launch where I’ll be reading a sample chapter, taking questions and signing copies. Go here for details.
P.S. I write for a living. If you read my book(s), I hope you’ll be kind enough to leave a review on Amazon. Reviews help. Gratitude.