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Paramahansa Yogananda and Kundalini

The following quotes by Marswalker108 (Dennis J. Hanish) were posted on the Anthony Thomas Quick Topic board in July, 2001. The messages covered several posts (interspaced) between 1030 and 1170. The numbers of the messages are left for reference.

1030 07-28-2001 03:51 PM ET (US)

Dear All,

I have been reading the discussions about Kundalini. Paramahansa Yogananda has also been mentioned. Although I embrace his Kriya Yoga teachings and believe him to be a jagadguru, my purpose in quoting him is not to promote him, but to compare and contrast his words and actions with SSB. PY has come to be recognized as one of the preeminent spiritual figures of out time. I hope to give indications of his knowledge of Kundalini and how he directly helped to raise the Kundalini of disciples.

Unless otherwise stated, the following quotes of Yogananda are from his translation and commentary, God Talks With Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita, SRF 1995.

P 18: .....Of primary importance is the coccygeal center. All the subtle powers of consciousness and life force at work in the higher centers come into physical manifestation through the channel of the coccygeal center. Matter appears in five varieties ....... as the live force flows outward from the coccyx, creating and sustaining the traits of flesh, bones, blood, and so forth..... At the command of the yogi in deep meditation, this creative force turns inward and flows back to its source in the thousand-petaled lotus .... Yoga refers to this power flowing from the coccyx to Spirit as the AWAKENED KUNDALINI.

1031 Yogananda sometimes mentioned a historical and literal interpretation of the Gita. But he indicated the Gita was very much symbolic.

For example in Chapter 1, verse 6 (p.57): "The strong Yudhamanjar, the valiant Uttamaujas, the son of Subhadra, and the SONS OF DRAUPADI--all lords of great chariots."

p. 78: "Draupadi is the daughter of Drupada (Extreme Dispassion). She represents the spiritual power of feeling of KUNDALINI....... When kundalini is lifted upward, it is "wedded" to the five Pandavas (the creative vibratory elements of consciousness in the fives spinal centers), and thereby gives birth to five sons.

The sons of Draupadi are the manifestations of the five opened or awakened spinal centers....

P 727: "The yogi who in life or at death withdraws his life force from the senses and focuses it in the single eye finds himself in a joyful state of breathlessness. He thrills to see streams of prana rolling backward from the countless cells and ascending the spinal tunnel through the coiled stairway (kundalini), out from the single-eye passage in the forehead into a subtle astral body."

1039 Concerning Chapter 7, Verse 24 (p.740):

"Fire, light, daytime, the bright half of the lunar month, the six months of the northern course of the sun--pursuing this path at the time of departure, the knowers of God go to God."

p. 741: Stanza 24 states that the yogi who attains liberation must follow the path of "fire." Here "fire" means the life energy, the KUNDALINI power. The devotee's first scientific step toward emancipation is to gain control of his life force. In ordinary men the course of prana is downward, "the way of darkness" ......

In the successful yogi, on the other hand, the course of prana is upward, "the way of light," By yoga he reverses the direction of the flow and is able to concentrate the whole of his life force within the brain, in the "Sun" of Cosmic Consciousness. In this way God is revealed........

1040 A small extract will be provided from Yogananda’s comments concerning Chapter X, Verse 28 (p. 791):

"Among weapons, I am thunderbolt; of bovines, I am Kamadhuk (the celestial cow that fulfills all desires). I am Kandarpa (the personified creative consciousness), the cause of childbirths; and I am VASUKI among serpents."

p. 793: The coiled creative force at the base of the astral spine, KUNDALINI, has always been symbolized as a serpent. When this creative force is "asleep" in delusion, it flows down and outward and feeds all the senses, uncontrolled, its stinging venom causes insatiable lusts. But when the pure kundalini force is "awakened" by the yogi, it rises to the brain and is transformed into the bliss of Spirit. This uplifting serpentine current is VASUKI, the supreme force for human liberation."

1105 One page 372 Yogananda talks about the descending and ascending "wheel of life." I want to include an extract here with the secondary purpose of showing that Paramahansa Yogananda did acknowledge other paths to God besides Kriya Yoga.

"The purpose of life is to ascend the six spinal centers, reinforcing the human consciousness progressively with greater and greater lights, until it is able to unite with the all pervading, thousand-rayed brilliance in the highest center in the brain. This ascent of consciousness through the spine may be achieved slowly through right actions and right thoughts. The yogi, however, chooses the quicker and more scientific method of meditation."

p. 373: The internal consciousness of ordinary people operates only from the lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal centers that direct all material sensory perceptions and enjoyments. The divine lovers and celestial poets work from the heart center. The calm unshaken yogi operates from the cervical center. He who can feel his presence in the entire vibratory creation has awakened the medullary and Christ centers. The illumined yogi functions in the cerebral center of Cosmic Consciousness; he may be spoken of as an ascended yogi."

1108 On page 424 we may have a hint of the true meaning of Raja Yoga:

......"Ascension follows in reverse the exact course of descension. In man that course is the inner highway to the infinite, the only route to divine union for followers of all religions in all ages. By whatever bypath of beliefs or practices a being reaches that singular highway, the final ascension from body consciousness to Spirit is the same for everyone; the withdrawal of life and consciousness from the senses upward through the gates of light in the subtle cerebrospinal centers, dissolving the consciousness of matter into life force, life force into mind, mind into soul, and soul into Spirit. The method of ascension is Raja Yoga, the eternal science that has been integral in creation from its inception."

1147 A study will show that a true guru or avatar with a world mission may come with advanced disciples to help him with that mission. Evidence of Yogananda helping advanced disciples raise the kundalini may be given by a talk given by Brother Mokshananda, "Remembrance of the Guru," SRF 1983, Cassette No 2510:

"Yogananda came to America in 1920. One of the disciples he met was Dr. Lewis....Dr. had been blessed in this lifetime to have already experienced the light of the spiritual eye, but he could not find anyone who could tell him about it...Dr. Lewis raised a question. He said, "Sir I see this light sometimes, but no one can explain it to me.....and so the Master Swami Yogananda, as he was called in those days, had Doctor sit on the floor with him on the carpet....They meditated for awhile, then the guru pressed his forehead and Dr. was blessed with not only seeing the Light of the spiritual eye, but the samadhi of perception of the THOUSAND PETALED LOTUS of the brain....

1148 "In Seattle in 1924, Guru met Gyanamata who he often talked of as his most advanced woman disciple at that time.... Then she invited Swamaji to her house... She took him to her second floor meditation room, and he was pleased to see a room that was dedicated to God with a picture of Master and other saints... And then by way of blessing, he touched her on the POINT BETWEEN THE EYEBROWS, and she was blessed to go into ecstasy - to hear the great cosmic OM vibration just from the touch of the Guru's hand. Such was the devotion in her that ever thereafter, she kept that spot sacred in her heart, and she put flowers in a vase at that spot, if it was summertime there would be live flowers, winter time artificial flowers, but there was always flowers at the very spot he gave that ecstasy.

1165 I have talked about how Yogananda may have helped the raising of Kundalini by his touching of the disciple at the POINT BETWEEN THE EYEBROWS. I will now give two examples wherein he may have facilitated the raising of the kundalini at a distance...(from the tape cited above)

"It was in 1931 that our Guru went to Salt Lake City and there our beloved President met our Guru for the first time. She tells how she stepped into the lecture hall and how instantly the breadth was sucked from her lungs - again a samadhi, seeing her Guru for the first time."

"Another great disciple was Tara Mata... She had not intended to go to his lecture... The attitude of Tara Mata was that Swami Yogananda must not be a true master because a true master would not come to this materialistic America..... So Gloria (Tara) went to the lecture. She said, "I had always wanted to go to India, but when I met my Guru, I knew that the best of India had come to me.... She was still attending these public lectures before she had even received the techniques.... One evening she went to her mirror.... She did not see her own countenance, but there was the Master standing in the mirror; and she entered a SAMADHI that lasted for months.

In fact the Master said about her, "I don't let her meditate; otherwise she would be in samadhi all the time....”

1170 I have talked about Yogananda's take on kundalini and given possible examples wherein he influenced the raising of the kundalini in particular disciples.

The Bhagavad Gita certainly wasn't the only holy scripture studied by Yogananda. He was taught in India for many years by a Jnanavatar (Incarnation of Wisdom), Swami Sri Yukteswar.

However, one can study the lives of other venerable saints regarding this subject. You just do NOT find true venerable gurus or holy men expounding the raising of the kundalini in boys by the oiling of their genitals by the guru, kissing the boys on the mouth, and then asking or forcing the boys into oral sex!!! I challenge anyone to find a holy scripture that recommends this.

Paraphrasing Yogananda, The true guru always sets a STANDARD for those on a lower level of spiritual attainment.


Dennis J. Hanish