A blog on the Transpersonal Psychology of Indian Yoga and the Spiritual Genius of India (another blog of the same author – http://integralmusings.aurosociety.org)
Much has been said and written on this subject. A large part of these expositions available in the market are popular trash; some of them are just learned interpretations; only a few are authentic writings which comes from living experience or deep insight. The great problem here in our attempt to understand the psychology of Kundalini yoga is to disengage the essential psychological experience from the enchanting poetic imagery used in tantric texts. For this task, we have to base our examination on the few authentic writing of accomplished yogis who had this experience or those who had a deep insight into the subject. To this category belong the teachings or writings of Sri Aurobindo, Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, Gopikrishna, Sir John Woodroffe and Swami Satyananda Saraswathy of Bihar School of Yoga. Most of the popular expositions of kundalini yoga confuse the symbolic and poetic imagery used in tantric texts with the truth of inner experience. So in order to grasp the truth behind this poetic imagery we have to first understand that the imagery are symbols of some psychological and spiritual truths and experiences. The same truth and experience can be expressed in an entirely different set of symbolism. But at the same time we should also keep in mind that the imagery used in the tantras are living symbols revealed to the inner vision of yogis and not allegories or poetic fancies manufactured by the human mind. So these symbolic imagery have evocative power.
What is this essential experience behind the kundalini yoga? It is the release or awakening of a current of energy potential or latent in the lowest abdominal energy-center Muladhara, of the human being. This current of energy raises upward piercing the various energy-centers in the human being, finally unites with the eternal Being in the highest energy-center on the top of the head, Sahasradal. As this raising current of energy pierces each higher energy-center, chakras, it awakens certain psychological powers and faculties corresponding to that center and which are until now latent or dormant. These are the so-called sidhis a “supernatural powers”. In fact there is nothing “supernatural” here; what happens is that when the chakras are activated some of the natural powers of the inner and deeper subliminal layers of the consciousness of our physical, vital and mental being, of which we are until now not conscious and therefore latent, becomes conscious and active. The other effect of the awakening of the chakras is universalization of the consciousness at each level of our being. For each energy-center corresponds to a part of our psycho-physical organism – like physical, emotional, vital, or mental – and linked with the corresponding cosmic planes of the Mahakundalini. So as the kundalini in the individual awakens and pierces each center, he becomes conscious not only of subliminal layers of the consciousness of his own self corresponding to that center, but also the corresponding subliminal worlds of the cosmic energy, Mahakundalini is consciousness spreads into the universal and he becomes conscious of the universal forces of that plane. And if he has the inclination and the capacity he can study and understand the laws and process and method of working, tantra, of these universal forces and acquire knowledge and mastery over these forces. Thus as the Kundalini awakens and raises upwards piercing the different chakras, the consciousness of the Sadhaka expands in all dimension, inward and upward, horizontally and vertically, spreading into the cosmic consciousness in all the levels of his being-physical, vital, mental. Finally as the kundalini reaches the Sahasradal and unites with the divine Being there, the consciousness of the sadhaka shoots beyond the subliminal and the cosmic into the superconscience and transcendent.
Thus the sadhaka of kundalini yoga, as he ascends the ladder of being, assimilates and embraces the cosmos into himself before raising beyond into the supra-cosmic Reality, towards the Great Liberation. These are the broad outlines of the inner experience behind the kundalini yoga. The actual development of the experience may vary considerably from person to person. But the essential nature of the experience may be more or less the same. Flowers, petals, colours and goddess-figures are living expressive symbols of the different aspects of this experience.