Yogi Bhajan Lecture Archive
Lecture by :
Siri Singh Sahib Bhai Sahib Harbhajan Singh Khalsa Yogi Ji
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Lecture on: 01/01/1976
Category: Class Lectures
Location: Unknown

Prana, Vayus, Nadis & Kundalini


PRANA IS THE LIFE FORCE INTERPENETRATING EVERY ATOM of your form and indeed the universe. Apana refers to the eliminative functions of the body. These functions operate at all levels, both gross and subtle to expel negative energy and waste. For the pur­pose of raising kundalini, let us describe prana as the “vital air” above the navel, and apana as the “vital air” below the navel.
There are 72,000 currents or nadis which emanate from the Navel Point and end in the hands and feet. It is through these that the prana is carried to all the parts of the body. Of these 72,000 nadis there are three which are most important: the ida, the pingala, and the sushmuna. The ida and pingala travel the distance between the nostrils (ida, left, and pingala, right) and the base of the spine. The sushmuna originates from the base of the spine where the three nadis meet, and travels up the center of the spine to the top of the head. This center at the base of the spine is called the seat of the kundalini and is the place where the kundalini ener­gy lies dormant. The ida represents the negatively charged energy (apana) or lunar energy which eliminates body wastes and has a calming, cooling and restorative effect upon the body and mind. The pingala carries the positively charged energy (prana) which has an energizing and heat producing effect on the body and mind.
The kundalini will not awaken and rise until these two energies—prana (positive) and apana (negative)—are integrated and balanced in the Root Chakra. This pressure is required to raise the kundalini and cause its ascendance through sushmuna, also called the Silver Cord.
Thus, through inhalation and retention, prana is directed down to the Navel Chakra, while the apana, through exhalation and retention, is drawn upward from the Root Chakra to the Navel Point. The meeting and uniting of the two forces in the pranic cav­ity creates tremendous heat in the Navel Chakra—not hot heat, but white heat. The combined energies are often described as energiz­ing the filament of sushmuna, meaning that sushmuna lights up like the filament in a light globe suddenly plugged into its source of electric power.
Responding to breath control and mental direction, the inte­grated energies depart the Navel Chakra and descend to the Root Chakra where they stimulate the kundalini. Further breath and the application of the will causes the kundalini energy to rise, charging the higher centers of consciousness. In this way the lower forms of energy can be transmuted into higher forms.
The first law of thermodynamics is that energy can neither be created nor destroyed, but rather, it can be changed from one form to another. In order for this energy to flow, certain blockages and impurities in the nerves have to be removed and the channels must be cleansed. This is most effectively done through the power of the breath and mantra in conjunction with various postures and locks.
Kundalini Yoga teaches that to raise the energy through the sushmuna, the student can apply hydraulic locks, which implies the conscious application of pressure. It requires such pressure to raise kundalini and the prana-apana of the lower chakras and send them ascending up the sushmuna. Pressure in the Root Chakra sends apana-ida force up to the Navel Chakra. Applying the hydraulic lock in the diaphragm sends it further upwards to the Throat Chakra. From there, the Neck Lock takes it into the brain to complete its journey.
In order to stimulate the pineal gland, or the seat of the soul, the Tenth Gate or Crown Chakra at the top of the head must be “unsealed.” Under normal circumstances the gate remains sealed. But when kundalini heat rises, the pineal begins to transmit a beam of radiation and project it toward the pituitary. The pituitary, in turn, projects impulsations, and something like a “cosmic color vi­sion.” When both the pituitary and pineal are aroused and unite in their mystic marriage union in the third ventricle, the majestic Third Eye, the gate to the Crown Chakra opens."

(Beads of Truth, No. 4, 1980)

Questions & Answers with the Master

Question: What is the kundalini? What is it like when the kundalini energy rises? Is kundalini like electricity?
Answer: What is kundalini? It is the whole energy of the cosmos in the individual and beyond the individual. It is the energy of consciousness. Without the constant flow of that energy, you could not live. With a large flow, your mind begins to flow and awaken. You stop living in imaginary realities and become very dutiful to the tasks and joys of life. You experience it when the energy of the glandular system combines with the nervous system to create such a sensitivity that the brain in its totality receives sig­nals and integrates them. A new clarity accompanies your percep­tion, thought, and intuition. Normally you use a small portion of the brain’s potential. When kundalini awakens, one understands the effect and impact of an action at the beginning of a sequence of action and reaction. He has the choice to take an action or not. In other words, a person becomes totally and wholly aware. That is why it is called "the yoga of awareness." Just as all rivers end up in the ocean, all yoga ends up raising the kundalini.
The kundalini is the creative potential of the human being. To get this experience of the kundalini, technology and science is needed. After the eighth year of life, the pineal gland does not secrete fully. Some people think it is functionless in the human structure. Kundalini Yoga activates its dormant potentials in the brain. It needs to tap the reserve energy that is stored near your Navel Point. There is a pure source of energy at the navel area that is known, perceived, and understood by the yogis. It is that pure energy that guides and develops your shape and connects you to this Earth. That connection and that pure energy is still there. It is part of your subtle structure as a human being. All you have to do is uncoil that energy and make a functional connection with your pineal gland. Once that master gland, the channel of the soul, has started secreting, it will give you the power to reach your self-realization in relationship to the total universal awareness.
This is what must accompany the awakening of Kundalini. I mean it scientifically. This mechanism happens but I realize that some people are still ignorant of these processes. If I would have talked a hundred years ago about atomic energy people would have said, "It is frightening. It is impossible. Who wants to do that? That can’t be inside each substance." They didn’t know about the atom, its internal structure, and its potentials. We still have that same ignorance of the internal nature and structure of human con­sciousness and its potentials. People want it but they are fright­ened, they make up stories when they lack experience, and they base their belief on rumor and misinformation. This is a human problem, not the problem of an individual. Without knowing any­thing about what something is or what something actually means, we settle for opinions and get opinionated. That is why I encour­age you to ask questions, learn, and experience.
Occasionally you will see certain people who may not be prac­ticing Kundalini Yoga but who are known to have a sixth sense. They have a unique awareness and inborn capacities. They have an intuitive power which tells them that the consequences of certain actions will be disastrous in the end. They have an inner radar which warns them of danger and guides them toward effective actions. If you have this intuitive relationship between your indi­vidual consciousness and the universal consciousness, you can compute what someone is trying to say before they say it. What they actually say is unimportant. You will know what they intend and what they mean behind the words. This is not very difficult.
Most people are not aware that they have this ability in them. With a little mental work, it can be activated and achieved. This intuitive capacity is natural. The real action behind it is that you become sensitive to the auric radiance of the other person. That radiance comes from the subtle bodies that compose the unseen human structure. All you have to do is compute the signal of the aura as it comes to you. You will know what that person really wants. If a person comes to you, you immediately know his pro­jection. Before he even talks, you just say, "You have come with many stories, but you are ultimately going to ask me for a hundred dollars. Friend, I don’t have it to give to you." I used to speak that bluntly to people, but word started to spread that I am a great psy­chic. People would seek me out for predictions and for their ego. That is not a good reputation for a simple man of God, so now I am very restrained about showing it.

Question: I have a friend who is a psychotherapist. He teach­es Hatha Yoga as a part of his therapy. He told me that Kundalini Yoga is an extremely dangerous form of yoga and that it can lead to insanity if not handled right. Is this true?
Answer: It is very unfortunate that some people talk that way. First of all, they do not know what they are talking about. Is money dan­gerous? It is just an energy. Kundalini is a latent energy that can be used for total consciousness. The only dangerous thing is the per­son whose Kundalini is raised properly. That person is totally con­scious. He cannot be lied to or cheated or politically swayed. The kundalini is essential. As long as you practice a total discipline or a complete and balanced kriya, there is no difficulty. In Kundalini Yoga, you will notice that every meditation and kriya has some form of mantra in it. This insures the channelization of the energy.
Second, they don’t have any real experience of it. The truth is Kundalini Yoga produces whole human beings, teachers, and yogis. A yogi is one who has a union with the supreme consciousness. Some people teach yoga as if it is a bunch of dumb exercises, but they have no right to call themselves yogis. To teach this yoga you must have authentic experience and practical knowledge of the technology. There is never a problem with Kundalini Yoga taught as the original sacred science.

Question: What about great visions, psychic experiences, or jerk­ing and trembling after meditation? Is this the kundalini rising?
Answer: This is glitter at the bottom of the ladder. These hallucina­tions, psychism, and nerve weaknesses mean nothing. If a student practicing Kundalini Yoga is very blocked up in the spine and pran­ic nadis, he may have a one time experience when the channels are cleared. But that is one time, brief, and does not disrupt anything. These things may happen when someone's nervous system has not been properly prepared, or if they do not use the mantra or breathing technique properly. The real measure of kundalini rising is your consciousness from breath to breath and courage you bring to your life. These momentary flashes brought on by weakness have nothing to do with kundalini.

Question: Is the goal for the yoga student to bring all the energy into the brain?
Answer: No! The energy of kundalini releases from the navel cen­ter, then rises to the top of the head. When it descends to com­plete its cycle of energy, the chakras open fully. By chakras open­ing I mean the talents of each chakra are consolidated into the character and behavior of that person. It does no good at all to fill a person with energy that he cannot integrate.

Question: Most Kundalini Yoga students let their hair grow. Is this necessary?
Answer: No. You can practice with any length hair, but the hair was the first technique to raise the kundalini energy. When the hair is at its natural full length and coiled over the anterior fontanel for men or the posterior fontanel for women, it draws pranic energy into the spine. The force of this downward positive energy causes the Kundalini energy to rise for balance. This is why you always find grace and calmness in a person with uncut hair from birth if they keep it well. Actually the hair was so important that the word for consciousness, kundalini, actually derives from kundal which means “a coil of the beloved's hair.”
Question: You referred to the chakras as centers of con­sciousness. Would you describe the qualities each gives?
Answer: There are seven centers in the body. They are all in the spine. They each have a projected center or chakra. First is the rec­tum. Second projected center is the sex organ. Third is the navel cen­ter. When you pull the rectum and sex organ together, the energy projects to the third center of consciousness. Fourth is the center between the two nipples, the heart center. Fifth is the neck. Sixth is between the two eyes at the top of the nose. And the seventh is the last at the top of the head, corresponding to the pineal gland.
Do these centers have some correlation with the human? Yes. A person whose consciousness dwells in the rectum will never have a normal, direct sexual relationship. One whose center of con­sciousness is the second center will define themself in terms of sex, may even use pain or other forms of intense stimulation as an approach to pleasure in sex. At the third center of consciousness a person can't overcome greediness. He may try his level best. Somehow he will like to get others' things. They may be useful to him or not. The fourth center of consciousness is the heart center where the nipples and throat form a triangle. Here a person gets knowledge. The fifth center of consciousness is at the throat. He may talk without flowery English, but his words will have that weight that goes right into the heart. At the sixth center of con­sciousness, a person can know everything around him. He may use the knowledge or not. The pituitary gland gives him the greatest intuition. At the last center of consciousness, which is the highest center, a person becomes most humble. He has extreme humility. In the highest center the ego becomes universal ego, so that per­son has no pain and no pleasure. What he says happens. That is the highest center of consciousness. In a long deep meditation, you can know where your consciousness is. It can be seen and judged by assessing what your environments are and what are the most important needs in your life. You can know which chakras you are operating from.
Now, knowing does not make any difference. Can you pull it up and change gears in such a way that you can come out of it?

Question: Is it possible for a teacher to raise the kundalini of his students just by his presence?
Answer: The kundalini can be stimulated directly by a teacher. But that teacher is not much of a teacher! The students should be pre­pared, then given a technology to raise it themselves. Why should they wait at the feet of a teacher like puppies? They should go through the experience, then share the techniques with others.
Question: Does a student of Kundalini Yoga have to be celibate?
Answer: The student should be a householder, raise a family and fulfill the obligations of a spiritual society. Celibacy actually means to be by yourself without abusing your sexual and regenerative abil­ities. A married person is by himself, for both people are merged as one. Even in marriage the sexual energy is respected and built up. A normal couple will find a frequency of one time a month com­pletely satisfying if approached correctly. If you want to be celibate without ever having sex, remember to practice Sat Kriya each day so you can utilize the energy and not go nutty.

Question: When the kundalini rises, do you go into trance or become rigid?
Answer: A raised kundalini will give you grace of motion. Life fills every cell so you are able to move smoothly with an awareness of the rhythm and music of all your environments. The kundalini makes you alive and graceful, not rigid like some kind of death.
Question: Why are these teachings being shared so openly now?
Answer: The techniques belong to those who practice them. They are the heritage of humanity. I am just a postman with a lot of let­ters to deliver. You can open them and use them or not—that is your problem. But the world is going through changes. Your future generations will need these techniques to stay mentally healthy and physically strong. These teachings will help humanity as it awak­ens from adolescence. I am sharing these teachings to create a sci­ence of the total self.

From an 1976 interview with Yogi Bhajan
© YB Teachings, LLC 1976
Above Article Copyright © Yogi Bhajan 2002. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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