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THE SERPENT POWER 



BY THE SAME AUTHOR 


Principles of Tantra 
Shakti and Shakta 
The World As Power : 

Reality 

Life 

Mind 

Matter 

Causality and Continuity 
Consciousness 
Garland of Letters 

(Studies in Mantra Shastra) 
The Great Liberation 

( Mahdnirvdna Tantra) 

Wave of Bliss 
[Anandalaharl) 

Greatness of Shiva 
(Mahimnastava) 

Hymns to the Goddess 
Isha Upanishad 





PLATE Ii 


The Centres or Lotoses 


Front is pie 


THE SERPENT POWER 


BEING THE 

8HAT-CHAKRA-NIR0PANA AND 
PADUKA-PANCHAKA 


TWO WORKS ON BAY A YOGA, TRANSLATED FROM THE 
SANSKRIT, WITn INTRODUCTION AND COMMENTARY 


BY 

ARTHUR AVALON 

(SIR JOHN WOODROFPE) 


(Fourth Edition) 


Publishers : 

GANESH & Co. (MADRAS) Ltd. 
1950 



Printed by C. Subbarayudu, at the Vasanta Press, 
The Theosophical Society, Adyar, Madras 



PREFACE 


In my work “ Shakti and Shakta ” 1 outlined for the first 
time the principles of “ Kundali-Yoga ” so much discussed 
in some quarters, but of which so little was known. 

This work is a description and explanation in fuller 
detail of the Serpent Power (Kundall Shakti), and the 
Yoga effected through it, a subject occupying a pre-eminent 
place in the Tantra Shastra. It consists of a translation 
of two Sanskrit works published some years ago in the 
second volume of my series of Tantrik Texts, but hitherto 
untranslated. The first, entitled “ Shatchakranirupana ” 
(“ Description of and Investigation into the Six Bodily 
Centres ”), has as its author the celebrated Tantrik Purna- 
nanda Svarnl, a short note on whose life is given later. It 
forms the sixth chapter of his extensive and unpublished 
work on Tantrik Ritual entitled “ Shrltattvaehintamanl ”. 
This has been the subject of commentaries by among others 
Shangk|ira and Vishvanatha cited in Volume II of the 
Tantrik Texts, and used in the making of the present 
translation. The commentary here translated from the 
Sanskrit is by Kallcharana. 

The second text, called “ Paduka-Panchaka ” (“ Five- 
fold Footstool of the Guru ”, deals with one of the Lotuses 
described in the larger work. To it is appended a transla- 
tion from the Sanskrit of a commentary by Kalicharana. To 
the translation of both works I have added some further 
explanatory notes of my own. As the works translated 
are of a highly recondite character, and by themselves 
unintelligible to the English reader, I have prefaced the 



VI 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


translation by a general Introduction in which I have 
endeavoured to give (within the limits both of a work of 
this kind and my knowledge) a description and explanation 
of this form of Yoga. I have also included some plates of 
the Centres, which have been drawn and painted according 
to the description of them as given in the first of these 
Sanskrit Texts. 

It has not been possible in the Introduction to do more 
than give a general and summary statement of the prin- 
ciples upon which Yoga, and this particular form of it, rests. 
Those who wish to pursue the subject in greater detail 
are referred to my other published books on the Tantra 
Shastra. In Principles of Tantra will be found general 
Introductions to the Shastra and (in connection with the 
present subjeot) valuable chapters on Shakti and Mantras. 
In my recent work, Shakti and Shdkta (the second edition 
of which is as I write reprinting), I have shortly summarised 
the teaching of the Shakta Tantras and their rituals. In 
my Studies in the Mantra Shastra, the first three parts of 
which have been reprinted from the “ Vedanta Kesarl,” in 
which they first appeared, will be found more detailed des- 
criptions of such technical terms as Tattva, Causal Shaktis, 
Kala, Nada, Bindu, and so forth, which are referred to in 
the present book. Other works published by me on the 
Tantra, including the “Wave of Bliss,” will be found in 
the page of advertisements. 

The following account of Purnananda, the celebrated 
Tantrika Sadhaka of Bengal, afid author of the “ Shat- 
chakranirupana,” has been collected from the descendants 
of his eldest son, two of whom are connected with the 
work of the Yarendra Research Sooiety, Rajshahi, to whose 
Director, Sj. Akshaya Kumara Maitra, and Secretary, 
Sj. Radha Govinda Baisak, I am indebted for the following 
details : 



PREFACE 


Vll 


Purnananda was a Rahri Brahmana of the Kashyapa 
Gotra, whose ancestors belonged to the village of Pakrashi, 
which has not as yet been identified. His seventh ancestor 
Anantacharya is said to have migrated from Baranagara, 
in the district of Murshidabad, to Kaitali, in the district 
of Mymensingh. In his family were born two celebrated 
Tantrika Sadhakas — namely, Sarvananda and Ptirnananda. 
The descendants of Sarvananda reside at Mehar, while 
those of Purnananda reside mostly in the district of My- 
mensingh. Little is known about the worldly life of 
Purnananda, except that he bore the name of Jagadananda, 
and copied a manuscript of the Vishnupuranam in the 
Shaka year 1448 (a.d. 152(5). This manuscript, now in the 
possession of one of his descendants named Pandit Hari 
Kishore Bhattacharya, of Raitali, is still in a fair state of 
preservation. It was brought for inspection by Pandit 
Satis Chandra Siddhantabhiishana of the Varendra Research 
Society. The colophon states that Jagadananda Sharma 
wrote the Purana in the Shaka year 1448. 

This Jagadananda assumed the name of Purnananda 
when he obtained his Dlksha (Initiation) from Brahma- 
nanda and went to Kamarupa (Assam), in which province 
he is believed to have obtained his “ Siddhi ” or state of 
spiritual perfection in the Ashrama, which still goes by 
the name of Vashishthashrama, situated at a distance of 
about seven miles from the town of Gauhati (Assam). 
Purnananda never returned home, but led the life of a 
Paramahangsa and cohipiled several Tantrika works, of 
which the Shiitattvachintamani, composed in the Shaka 
year 1499 (a.d. 1577), Shyamarahasya, Shaktakrama, Tattva- 
nandataranginl, and Yogasara are known.} His commentary 
on the Kallkakarakuta hymn is well-known. The Shat- 
chakranirupana, here translated, is not, however an inde- 
pendent work, but a part of the sixth Patala of the 



viii THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

ShrltattvaohintaiDanl.i According to a genealogical table of 
the family of this Tantrika Acharya and Virachara Sadhaka, 
given by one of his descendants, Purnananda is removed 
from his present descendants by about ten generations. 

This work has been on hand some five years, but 
both the difficulties of the subject and those created by 
the war have delayed its publication. I had hoped to 
include some other plates of original paintings and draw- 
ings in my possession bearing on the subject, but present 
conditions do not allow of this, and I have therefore 
thought it better to publish the book as it stands rather 
than risk further delay. 

Arthur Avalon 

Ranchi 

September 20, 1918 



NOTE TO SECOND EDITION 


Considering the recondite nature of the subject, the first 
edition published by Messrs. Luzac & Co., London has 
had a more rapid sale than was expected, and a call for a 
second edition has enable^ me to revise the whole work and 
to make several corrections and additions both in the 
Introduction and Text. To this second edition has been 
added the Sanskrit Text of the works here translated which 
formerly appeared as Yol. 2 of the Tantrik Texts and which 
has since gone out of print. This edition also contains in 
addition to the original coloured plates of the Chakras, a 
number of half-tone plates taken from Life, showing some 
positions in KundalinI Yoga. 

The Introduction deals in a general way with the 
subject-matter of the Texts translated. T take however 
this opportunity to say again that it has not been possible 
to give here a full explanation of such matters, and refer my 
reader . to my other works dealing with the Tantras and 
their Ritual,* namely, Principles of Tantra, a work of 
peculiar value in that it is a translation of the work of a 
Bengali Pandit himself a Shakta unacquainted with the 
English language but an inheritor of the old traditions ; as 
also the second edition of my Shakti and Shakta dealing 
with ritual, published since the date of my first Preface. 
The Studies in Mantra Shastra referred to therein has 
also recently been published under the title of Garland of 
Letters. All such technical terms as Bindu, Nada and 
the like used in the works translated have been fully ex- 
plained therein as also the general principles of Mantra. It 



X THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

is necessary also to know with accuracy the exact meaning 
of the terms Consciousness, Mind, Life, Matter and so forth 
as used in Vedanta and these have been given in the series 
of little works under the general caption The World as 
Power. It is not possible to understand the rationale of 
Yoga without an accurate understanding of these funda- 
mental terms. It has been rightly said that “ the practical 
portion of all Yoga, specially of Raja Yoga, is concerned 
with mental practices. It is therefore absolutely necessary 
that the student of Y T oga should know what his mind is and 
how it works {Raja Yoga, by Swanil Dayanand, p. 9). I 
have given a short account of Sarvananda and his life in 
the Hjndusthan Review. Other works by me on the Shastra 
are noted in the advertisement sheet at the end of the book. 


Les Andelys Eure 
October, 1922 


A. Avalon 



“ We pray to the Paradevata united with Shiva, whose 
s.ubstance is the pure nectar of bliss, red like unto vermilion, 
the young flower of the hibiscus, and the sunset sky ; who, 
having cleft Her way through the mass of sound issuing from 
the clashing and the dashing of the two winds in the midst of 
Sushumna, rises to that brilliant Energy which glitters with 
the lustre of ton million lightnings. May She, KundalinI, who 
quickly goes to and returns from Shiva, grant us the fruit of 
Yoga ! She being awakened is the Cow of Plenty to Kaulas, and 
the Kalpa Creeper of all things desired for those who worship 
Her .” — Sharada Tilaka , xxv, 70. 




CONTENTS 


PAGE 

Preface ....... v 

Note to Second Edition - . ix 

Introduction : . 

I. Introductory .... 1 

II. Bodiless Consciousness ... 25 

III. Embodied Consciousness (Jivatma) . . 49 

IV. Mantra ..... 83 

V. The Centres or Lotuses (Chakra, Padma) . 103 

VI. Practice (Yoga: Laya-Krama) . . 181 

VII. Theoretical Bases of this Yoga . . 257 

Text (Translation) : 

Description of the Six Centres (Shat- 

chakra Nirupana) .... 317 

. The Fivefold Footstool (Padukapanchaka) . 489 

Text (Sanskrit) ...... i — 144 




ILLUSTRATIONS 


PLATE 



PAGE 

I. 

The Centres or Lotuses . . . Frontispiece 

II. 

Muladhara Chakra . . . .to 

face 

356 

III. 

Svadhishthana ,, 

99 

365 

IV. 

Manipuraka „ 

99 

370 

V. 

Anahata „ 

99 

382 

VI. 

Visuddha ... 

99 

392 

VII. 

Ajna „ 

99 

414 

VIIT. 

Sahasrara „ 

99 

430 


YOGASANA ILLUSTRATIONS 



IX. 

Mahabedha according to Hathayogapradlpika 




and Yamala .... 

99 

432 

X. 

Padmasana with Lauliki 

99 

440 

XI. 

Uddiyana Bandha in Siddhasana — 1st Stage 

99 

448 

XII. 

Uddiyana Bandha in Siddhasana — 2nd Stage 

99 

456 

XIII. 

'Mahabandha ..... 

99 

464 

XIV. 

Mulabandha in Siddhasana . 

99 

472 

XV. 

Yoni Mudra in Siddhasana . 

99 

480 

XVI. 

Mahamudra ..... 

99 

488 

XVII. 

Baddha-Padmasand .... 

99 

496 




THE SIX CENTRES AND THE 
SERPENT POWER 

i 

INTRODUCTION 

The two Sanskrit works here translated — Shat-chakra- 
nirupana (“ Description of the Six Centres, or Chakras ”) 
and Pad nka- Panchaka (“ Fivefold Footstool ”) — deal with a 
particular form of Tantrik Yoga named KundalinI Yoga, or, 
as some works call it, Bhuta-shuddhi. These names refer to 
the KundalinI Shakti, or Supreme Power in the human body 
by the arousing of which the Yoga is achieved, and to the 
purification of tile Elements of the body (Bhuta-shuddhi) 
which takes place upon that event. This Yoga is effected 
by a process technically known as Sliat-cliakra-bheda, or 
piercing of the six Centres or Regions (Chakra) or Lotuses 
(Padma) of khe body (which the work describes) by the 
agency of KundalinI Shakti, which, in order to give it an 
English name, I have here called the Serpent Power . 1 
Kundala means coiled. The power is the Goddess (Devi) 
KundalinI, or that whidh is coiled ; for Her form is that of 
a coiled and sleeping serpent in the lowest bodily centre, 
at the base of the spinal column, until by the means 
described She is aroused in that Yoga which is named 
after Her. KundalinI is the Divine Cosmic Energy in 


' One of the names of this Devi is Bhujangl, or the Serpent. 



2 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


bodies ( v . post). The Saptabhumi, or seven regions (Lokas), 1 
are, as popularly understood, an exoteric presentment of 
the inner Tantrik teaching regarding the seven centres. 2 

The Yoga is called Tantrik for a twofold reason. It 
will be found mentioned in the Yoga Upanishads which 
refer to the Centres, or Chakras, and in some of the 
Puranas. The treatises on Hathayoga also deal with the 
subject. We find even similar notions in systems other 
than the Indian, from which possibly in some cases they 
have been borrowed. Thus, in the Risala-i-haq-numa, by 
Prince Mahomed Dara Shikoh, 3 a description is given of the 
three centres “Mother of Brain,” or “Spherical heart” 
(Dil-i-muddawar) ; the “ Cedar heart ” (Dil-i-sanowbari) ; 
and the Dil-i-nilofari, or “ Lily heart Other references 
may be found in the works of the Mahomedan Sufis. So 
some of the Sufi fraternities (as the Naqshbandi) are said 5 
to have devised, or rather borrowed, from the Indian Yogis' 5 
the KundalinI method as a means to realization. 7 1 am 

told that correspondences are discoverable between the 

• 

1 The seven “ worlds " Bhuh, Bliuvali, Svali, Maliah, Jana, Tapah, 
Satya. See my “Wave of Bliss " (Comm, to v. 85). Lokas are what 
are seen (lokyante) — that is, attained — and are hence the fruits of 
Karma in the form of particular re-birth. Satyananda’s “ Comm, on 
Isha Up.," Mantra 2. See p. 258. 

3 That is, the six Chakras and the upper cerebral tent re, or Sahas- 
r&ra. As to Upanishads and Puranas, see iiost. 

8 “ The Compass of Truth.” The author was the eldest son of the 
Emperor Shah-i-Jekan, and died in A. D. 1659. Its teaching is alleged 
to be that of the secret doctrine of the “ Apostle of God." 

4 Chapter I on Alam-i-nasut : the physical plane, or what the 
Hindus call the Jagrat state. Ed. Rai Bahadur Srisha Chandra Vasu. 

5 See “ The Development of Metaphysics in Persia," by Shaikh 
Muhammad Iqbal, p. 110. 

6 Al-Biruni is said to have translated Patanjali’s works, as also the 
S&nkhya Sutras, into Arabic at the beginning of the eleventh century. 

7 The author cited, however, says : “ Such methods of contempla- 
tion are quite unislamic in character, and the higher Sufis do not attach 
any importance to them." 



INTRODUCTION 


3 


Indian (Asiatic) Shastra and the American-Indian Maya 
Scripture of the Zunis called the Popul Vuh . 1 My informant 
tells me that their “air-tube” is the Sushumna; their 
“ twofold air-tube ” the Nadls Ida and Pingala. “ Hura- 
lian,” or lightning, is Kundalini, and the centres arc depict- 
ed by animal glyphs. Similar notions have been reported 
to me as being held in the secret teaching of other com- 
munities. That the doctrine and practice should be 
widespread, we might expect, if it has a foundation on fact. 
This form of Yoga is, however, in particular associated with 
the Tantras or Againas, firstly, because these Scriptures are 
largely concerned therewith. In fact, such orderly descrip- 
tions in practical full detail as have been written are to be 
found chiefly in the Hathayoga works and Tantras which 
are the manuals, not only of Hindu worship, but of its 
occultism. Next, Yoga through action on the lowest centre 
seems characteristic of the Tantrik system, the adepts of 
which are the custodians of the practical knowledge where- 
by the general directions in the books may be practically 
applied. The system is of a Tantrik character also in 
respect of its selection of the chief centre of consciousness. 
Various people have in antiquity assigned to various parts 
of the body the seat of the “ soul ” or life, such as the 
blood , 2 the heart and the breath. Generally the brain was 
not so regarded. The Vaidik system posits the heart as 
the chief centre of Consciousness — a relic of which notion 
we also still preserve in such phrases as “ take it to heart ” 
and to “ learn by heart ”, Sadhaka, which is one of the 
five functions of Pitta ,' 1 and which is situated in the heart, 

1 A translation was, I am told, begun and not finished by the 
occultist James iTyse in Lucifer, the old Theosophical journal, which I 
have not seen. 

* Cf. the Biblical saying, " The blood is the life ”. 

* See p. 12 of the Introduction to the third volume of mv Tantrik 
^ Texts (Prapanchasara Tantra). 



4 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


indirectly assists in the performance of cognitive functions 
by keeping up the rhythmic cardiac contractions, and it has 
been suggested 1 that it was perhaps this view of the heart’s 
construction which predisposed Indian physiologists to 
hold it to be the seat of cognition. According to the 
Tantras, however, the chief centres of consciousness arc to 
be found in the Chakras of the corebro-spinal system and in 
the upper brain (Sahasrara), which they describe, though 
the heart is also recognized as a seat of the Jlvatma, or 
embodied spirit, in its aspect as vital principle or Prana . 2 
It is for the reasons mentioned that the lirst verse of the 
Shat-chakra-nirupana here translated speaks of the Yoga 
which is to be achieved “ according to the Tantras ” 
(Tantranusarena) — that is, as Kallcharana, its Commenta- 
tor, says, “ following the authority of the Tantras ”. 

Recently some attention has been given to the subject 
in Western literature of an occult kind. Generally its 
authors and others have purported to give what they under- 
stood to be the Hindu theory of the matter, but with con- 
siderable inaccuracies. These are not limited to works of 
the character mentioned. Thus, to take but two instances 
of these respective classes, we find in a well-known Sanskrit 
dictionary 3 that the Chakras are defined to be “ circles or 
depressions (sic) of the body for mystical or chiromantic pur- 
poses,” and their location has in almost every particular been 


1 Kaviraja Kunjalala Bhishagaratna in liis edition of the Susliruta 
Samhita. Another explanation, however may be given — namely, that 
during man’s history the importance of the various perceptive centres 
has in fact varied. 

* According to some Indian views, the brain is the centre of the 
mind and senses, and the heart that of life. Charaka says that the heart 
is the root from which spring all other parts of the body, and is the 
centre of some of the functions or organs. According to Sushruta, the 
heart is the seat of sensations. 

' Professor Monier Williams’ Sanskrit Dictionary, sub voce 
“Chakra”. 



INTRODUCTION 


5 


wrongly given. The Muladhara is inaccurately described 
as being “ above the pubis N®r is the Svadhishth&na 
the umbilical region. Anahata is not the root of the nose, but 
is the spinal centre in the region of the heart ; Vishuddha 
is not “ the hollow between the frontal sinuses,” but is the 
spinal centre in the region of the throat. Ajna is not the 
fontanelle or union of the coronal and sagittal sutures, 
which are said to be the Brahmarandhra , 1 but is in the 
position allotted to the third eye, or Jnanachakshu. Others, 
avoiding such gross errors, are not free from lesser in- 
accuracies. Thus, an author who, I am informed, had 
considerable knowledge of things occult, speaks of the 
Sushumna as a “ force ” which “ cannot be energised until 
Ida and Pin gala have preceded it,” which “ passes to the 
accompaniment of violent shock through each section of 
the spinal marrow,” and which, on the awakening of the 
sacral plexus, passes along the spinal cord and impinges 
on the brain, with the result that the neopyhte finds 
“ himself to be an unembodied soul alone in the black 
abyss of empty space, struggling against dread and terror 
unutterable ”. He also writes that the “ current ” of 
KundalinI is called Nadi ; that the Sushumna extends as 
a nerve to the Brahmarandhra ; that the Tattvas are seven 
in number ; and other matters which are inaccurate. The 
Sushumna is not a “ force,” 2 and does not pass and impinge 
upon anything, but is the outer of the three Nadls, which 
form the conduit for the force which is the arousing of 
the Devi called Kundalihl, the Cosmic Power in bodies, 
which force is not itself a Nadi, but passes through the 
innermost, of Chitrini Nadi, which terminates at the 

1 A term which is also employed to denote the Brahmanfull, in that 
the latter is the passage whereby the Brahmarandhra in the cerebrum 
is attained. 

Except in the sense that everything is a manifestation of power. 



6 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


twelve-petalled lotus below the Sahasrara, from which ascent 
is made to the Brahmanandhra. It would be easy to point 
out other mistakes in writers who have referred to the 
subject. It will be more profitable if I make as correct a 
statement as my knowledge admits of this mode of Yoga. 
But I desire to add that some modern Indian writers have 
also helped to diffuse erroneous notions about the Chakras 
by describing them from what is merely a materialistic or 
physiological standpoint. To do so is not merely to mis- 
represent the case, but to give it away ; for physiology does 
not know the Chakras as they exist in themselves — that is, 
as centres of consciousness — and of the activity of Siikslima 
Prana-vayu or subtle vital force ; though it does deal with 
the gross body which is related to them. Those who ap- 
peal to physiology only are likely to return non-suited. 

We may here notice the account of a well-known 
“ Theosophical ” author 1 regarding what he calls the “ Force 
centres ” and the “ Serpent Fire,” of which he writes that 
he has had personal experience. Though its author also 
refers to the Yoga Shastra, it may perhaps exclude error 
if we here point out that his account does not profess to 
be a representation of the teaching of the Indian Yogis 
(whose competence for their own Yoga the author some- 
what disparages), but that it is put forward as the Author’s 
own original explanation (fortified, as he conceives, by certain 
portions of Indian teaching) of the personal experience which 
(he writes) he himself has had. This experience appears 
to consist in the conscious arousihg of the “Serpent Fire,” a 
with the enhanced “ astral ” and mental vision which he 

1 “ The Inner Life, ” by C. W. Leadbeater, pp. 448-478, First Series. 

* This and the following notes compare his and the Indian theory. 
The Devi or Goddess is called Bhujangi or Serpent because at the 
lowest centre (Muladhara) She lies “ coiled ” round the Linga. “ Coiled ” 
= at rest. The Cosmic Power in bodies is here at rest ; when roused it 
is felt as inten.se heat. 



INTRODUCTION 


7 


believes has shown him what he tells us. 1 The centres, or 
Chakras, of the human body are described to be vortices of 
“etheric” matter" into which rush from the “astral” 3 
world, and at right angles to the plane of the whirling disc, 
the sevenfold force of the Logos bringing “ divine life ” into 
the physical body. Though all these seven forces operate 
on all the centres, in each of them one form of the force is 
greatly predominant. These inrushing forces are alleged to 
set up on the surface of the “ etheric double ” 4 secondary 
forces at right angles to themselves. The primary force on 
entrance into the vortex radiates again in straight lines, 
but at right angles. The number of these radiations of the 
primal force is said to determine the number of “ petals ” ’ 
(as the Hindus call them) which the “ Lotus " or vortex 
exhibits. The secondary force rushing round the vortex 
produces, it is said, the appearance of the petals of a flower, 
or, “ perhaps more accurately, saucers or shallow vases of 
wavy iridescent glass ”. In this way — that is, by the sup- 
position of an etheric vortex subject to an incoming force of 
the Logos — both' the “ Lotuses ” described in the Hindu 
books and the number of their petals is accounted for by 
the author, who substitutes for the Svadhishthana centre a 
six-petalled lotus at the spleen, 4 and corrects the number 
of petals of .the lotus in the head, which he says is not a 
thousand, as the books of this Yoga say, “ but exactly AGO ’7’ 
The “ etheric ” centre which keeps alive the physical vehicle 

1 Certain Siddhis or occult powers are acquired at each centre as 
the practitioner works his way upwards. 

The petals of the lotus are Prana -shakti manifested by Prana - 
vayu or vital force. Each lotus is a centre of a different form of 
matter” (Bhuta) there predominant. — A.A. 

* This is a Western term. — A.A. 

* Not mentioned in the account here given. — A.A. 

' See last note but three. 

So little attention seems to be given to exactitude in this matter 
that one of the letters is dropped in order to make 1,000 petals — that is, 
50X20. “Thousand ” is, here, only symbolic of magnitude. — A.A. 



8 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


is said to correspond with an “ astral ” centre of four dimen- 
sions, but between them is a closely woven sheath or web 
composed of a single compressed layer of physical atoms, 
which prevents a premature opening up of communication 
between the planes. There is a way, it is said, in which these 
may be properly opened or developed so as to bring more 
through this channel from the higher planes than ordinarily 
passes thereby. Each of these “ astral ” centres has certain 
functions : at the navel, a simple power of feeling ; at the 
spleen, “ conscious travel ” in the astral body ; at the heart, 
“ a power to comprehend and sympathise with the vibra- 
tions of other astral entities ” ; at the throat, power of 
hearing on the astral plane ; between the eyebrows, “ astral 
sight ” ; at the “ top of the head,” perfection of all faculties 
of the astral life. 1 These centres are therefore said to take the 
place to some extent of sense organs for the astral body. In 
the first centre, “ at th6 base of the spine,” is the “ Serpent 
Fire,” or Kundalini, which exists in seven layers or seven 
degrees of force. 51 This is the manifestation in etheric matter, 
on the physical plane, of one of the great world forces, one of 
the powers of the Logos of which vitality and electricity are 
examples. It is not, it is said, the same as Prana, or vitality. 1 ’ 
The “ etheric centres ” when fully aroused by the “ Serpent 
Fire ” bring down, it is alleged, into physical consciousness 
whatever may be the quality inherent in the astral centre 
which corresponds to it. When vivified by the “ Serpent 
Fire ” they become gates of connection between the physical 

1 Certain Siddhis are said to be gained at each centre. But the top 
of the head is far beyond the “ astral ” life. There Samadhi, or union 
with the Supreme Consciousness, is had. — A.A. 

a Parashabda which is Kundalini in Her aspect as cause of all sound 
has seven aspects from Kundall to Bindu. — A.A. 

5 Kundall is Shabdabrahman or the “ Word (Vak) ” in bodies, and 
is in Her own form (Svarflpa) Pure Consciousness, and is all Powers 
(Sarvashaktimayl). Kundalini is in fact the cosmic energy in bodies 
and as such the cause of all and though manifesting as, is not confined 
to, any of Her products.- A.A. 



INTRODUCTION 


9 


and “ astral ” bodies. When the astral awakening of these 
centres first took place, this was not known to the physical 
consciousness. But the sense body can now “ be brought 
to share all these advantages by repeating that process of 
awakening with the etheric centres ”. This is done by the 
arousing through will-force of the “ Serpent Fire,” which 
exists clothed in “ etheric matter in the physical plane, and 
sleeps 1 in the corresponding etheric centre — that at the 
base of the spine ”. When this is done, it vivifies the higher 
centres, with the effect that it brings into the physical con- 
sciousness the powers which were aroused by the develop- 
ment of their corresponding astral centres. In short, one 
begins to live on the astral plane, which is not altogether 
an advantage, were it not that entry into the heaven world 
is said to be achieved at the close of life on this plane . 2 
Thus, at the second centre, one is conscious in the physical 
body “ of all kinds of astral influences, vaguely feeling that 
some of them are friendly and some hostile without in the 
least knowing why ”. At the third centre one is enabled to 
remember “ only partially ” vague astral journeys, with 
sometimes half-remembrance of a blissful sensation of flying 
through the air. At the fourth centre man is instinctively 
aware of the joys and sorrows of others, sometimes repro- 
ducing in hinaself their physical aches and pains. At the 
arousing of the fifth centre he hears voices “ which make all 
kinds of suggestions to him ”. Sometimes he hears music 

“ or other less pleasant sounds ’’. 3 Full development secures 
« 

1 Kundalim is called the Serpent (Bhujangi). She sleeps in the 
Muladhara. As to what She is, see last note. She sleeps because She 
is at rest. Then man’s consciousness is awake to the world, Her 
creation, in which She is immanent. When She awakes and Yoga is 
completed man sleeps to the world and enjoys super- worldly experience. 

4 en d of Kundall Yoga is beyond all Heaven worlds. No Yogi 
seeks Heaven ” but union with that which is the source of all worlds. 

According to the text translated, the sound of the Shabdabrahman 
is heard at the Anahata, or fourth centre. — A. A. 



10 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


clairaudienee in* the “ astral ” plane. The arousing of the 
sixth centre secures results which are at first of a trivial 
character, such as “ half seeing landscapes and clouds of 
colour,” but subsequently amount to clairvoyance. Here 
it is said there is a power of magnification by means of an 
“ etheric ” flexible tube which resembles “ the microscopic 
snake on the head-dress of the Pharaohs The Power to 
expand or control the eye of this “ microscopic snake ” is 
stated to be the meaning of the statement, in ancient books, 
of the capacity to make oneself large or small at will . 1 
When the pituitary body is brought into working order, it 
forms a link with the astral vehicle, and when the Fire 
reaches the sixth centre, and fully vivifies it, the voice of 
the “ Master ” (which in this case means the higher self in 
its various stages) is heard . 2 The awakening of the seventh 
centre enables one to leave the body in full consciousness. 
“ When the fire has thus passed through all these centres in 
a certain order (which varies for different types of people), 
the consciousness becomes continuous up to the entry into 
the heaften world 5 at the end of the life on the astral plane.” 
x/There are some resemblances between this account and 
the teaching of the Yoga Shastra, with which in a general 
way the author cited appears to have some acquaintance, 
and which may have suggested to him somo features of his 
account. There are firstly seven centres, which with one 
exception correspond with the Chakras described. The 
author says that there are three other lower centres, but 
that concentration on them is full of danger. What these 
are is not stated. There is no centre lower, that I am aware 

* There is no mention of such a “ snake ”. The Siddliis Amina, etc., 
do not depend on it. It is consciousness which identifies itself with the 
small or the great. — A.A. 

2 As the text here translated says, the Ajna is so called because 
here is received the command of the Guru from above. — A.A. 

a See note 2, page 9 ante . 



INTRODUCTION 


11 


of, than the Mfiladhara (as the name “ rOot-centre ” itself 
implies), and the only centre near to it which is excluded, 
in the above-mentioned account, is the Apas Tattva centre, 
or Svadhishthana. Next there is the Force, “the Serpent 
Fire,” which the Hindus call Kundalinl, in the lowest 
centre, the Mftladhara. Lastly, the effect of the rousing 
of this force, which is accomplished by will power (Yoga- 
bala),' is said to exalt the physical consciousness through 
the ascending planes to the “ heaven world To use the 
Hindu expression, the object and aim of Shat-chakra-bheda 
is Yoga. This is ultimately union with the Supreme Self 
or Paramatma ; but it is obvious that, as the body in its 
natural state is already, though unconsciously, in Yoga, 
otherwise it would not exist, each conscious step upwards 
is Yoga, and there are many stages of such before complete 
or Kaivalya Mukti is attained. This and, indeed, many 
of the preceding stages are far beyond the “heaven world” 
of which the author speaks. Yogis are not concerned with 
the “heaven world,” but seek to surpass it; otherwise 
they are not Yogis at all. What, according to this theory, 
manifested force apparently does is this : it enhances the 
mental and moral qualities of the self-operator as they 
existed at the time of its discovery. But if this be so, 
such enhancement may be as little desirable as the original 
state. Apart from the necessity for the possession of health 
and strength, the thought, will and morality, which it is 
proposed to subject to its influence must be first purified 
and strengthened before they are intensified by theVivifying 
influence of the aroused force. Further, as I have else- 
where pointed out, 2 the Yogis say that the piercing of the 

1 With the aid of bodily purification, certain Asanas and Mudriis 
O', post). 

° In the first edition of my Mahanirvana Tantra, CXXIY. 



12 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Brahmagranthi or “ knot ” 1 sometimes involves considerable 
pain, physical disorder, and even disease, as is not unlikely 
to follow from concentration on such a centre as the navel 
(Nabhipadma). 

To use Hindu terms, the Sadhaka must be competent 
(Adhikarl), a matter to be determined by his Guru, from 
whom alone the actual method of Yoga can be learned. 
The incidental dangers, however, stated by the author, go 
beyonid— any mentioned to_ nm hy d-udjans t hem selves, who 
seem to be in general unaware of the subject of “phallic 
sorcery,” to which reference is made by the author, who 
speaks of Schools of (apparently Western) “ Black Magic ’’ 
which are said to use KundalinI for the purpose of stimulat- 
ing the sexual centre. Another author says : 2 3 “ The 

mere dabbler in the pseudo-occult will only degrade his 
intellect with the puerilities of psychism, become the prey 
of the evil influence of the phantasmal world, or ruin his 
soul by the foul practices of phallic sorcery — as thousands 
of misguided people are doing even in this age.” Is this 
so ? It is possible that perverse or misguided concentration 
on sexual and connected centres may have the effect alluded 
to. And it may be that the Commentator Lakshmldhara 
alludes to this when he speaks of Uttara Kaulas who arouse 
KundalinI in the Miiladhara to satisfy their desire for 
world-enjoyment and do not attempt to lead Her upwards 
to the Highest Centre which is the object of Yoga seeking 
super- worldly bliss. Of such, a Sanskrit verse runs “ they 
are the true prostitutes ”. I have, however, never heard 
Indians refer to this matter, probably because it does not 
belong to Yoga in its ordinary sense, as also by reason of 
the antecedent discipline required of those who would 

1 There are three “knots” which have to be pierced or centres 

where the force of Mayft is particularly strong. 

3 “ The Apocalypse Unsealed, ” p. 62. 



INTRODUCTION 


18 


undertake this Yoga, the nature of their practice, and the 
aim they have in view, such a possibility does not come 
under consideration. The Indian who practises this or 
any other kind of spiritual Yoga ordinarily does so not on 
account of a curious interest in occultism or with a desire 
to gain “ astral ” or similar experiences. 1 His attitude in 
this as in all other matters is essentially a religious one, 
based on a firm faith in Brahman (Sthiranishtha), and in- 
spired by a desire for union with It, which is Liberation.!^""" 
What is competency for Tantra (Tantrashastradhikara) 
is described in the second chapter of the Gandharva Tantra 
as follows : The aspirant must be intelligent (Daksha), with 
senses controlled (Jitendriya), abstaining from injury to all 
beings (Sarvahimsavinirmukta), ever doing good to all 
(Sarvapranihite ratah), pure (Shuchi) ; a believer in Veda 
(Astika), whose faith and refuge is in Brahman (Brahmish- 
thah, BrahmavadI, Brahml, Brahmaparayana), and who is a 
non-dualist (Dvaitahlna). “ Such an one is competent in 
this Scripture, otherwise he is no Sadhaka ”. (So’smin 
shastre, dhikaii syat tadanyatra na sadhakah.) With such 
an attitude it is possible that, as pointed out by an Indian 
writer (Ch. VII post), concentration on the lower centres \ 
associated with the passions may, so far from rousing, quiet j 
them. It is quite possible, on the other hand, that another 
attitude, practice, and purpose, may produce another result. 
To speak, however, of concentration on the sexual centre isi 
itself misleading, for the Chakras are not in the gross body,) 
and concentration is don’e upon the subtle centre, with its 
presiding Consciousness, even though such centres may have 
ultimate relation with gross physical function. Doubtless, 

1 Those who do practise magic of the kind mentioned, work only 
in the lowest centre, have recourse to the Prayoga, which leads to 
Nayika Siddhi, whereby commerce is had with female spirits and the 
like. The process in this work described is one upon the path of 
Liberation and has nothing to do with sexual black magic. 



14 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


also, there is a' relationship and correspondence between 
(the Shaktis of the mental and sexual centres, and the force 
|of the latter, if directed upwards, extraordinarily heightens 
a ll me ntal and physical functioning - . 1 In fact those who 
are “ centred ” know how to make all their forces converge 
upon the object of their will, and train and then use all 
such forces and neglect none. The experienced followers 
of this method, however, as I have stated, allow that this 
method is liable to be accompanied by certain inconveni- 
ences or dangers, and it is therefore considered inadvisable 
except for the fully competent (Adhikiiri). 

There are, on the other hand, many substantial points 
of difference between the account which has been sum- 
marized and the theory which underlies the form of Yoga 
with which this work deals. The terminology and classi- 
fication adopted by that account may be termed “ Theo- 
sophical ” 2 ; and though it may be possible for those who 
arc familiar both with this and the Indian terminology to 
establish points of correspondence between the two systems, 
it must by no means be assumed that the connotation even 
in such eases is always exactly the same. For though 
“ Theosophical ” teaching is largely inspired by Indian ideas, 
the meaning which it attributes to the Indian terms which 
it employs is not always that given to these terms by Indians 
themselves. This is sometimes confusing and misleading, 
a result which would have been avoided had the writers of 
this school adopted in all cases their own nomenclature and 

Mind, Breath and Sexual function are interconnected. The aim 
iof the Yogi is to carry “ his seed high ” to be Crddhvaretas as it is 
called. For this purpose the Viparlta Mudriis are designed. 

2 I am aware that the Theosophical Society has no official doctrine. 
What I call “ Theosophical ” are the theories put forward by its leading 
exponents and largely accepted by its members. I put the word in 
inverted commas to denote doctrine so taught and held by this Society, 
with which doctrines, Theosophy, in its general sense, is not necessarily 
wholly identified. 



INTRODUCTION 


15 


definitions. 1 Though for the visualization’ of our concep- 
tions the term “ planes ” is a convenient one, and may be 
so employed, the division by “ principles ” more nearly 
adumbrates the truth. It is not easy for me to correlate 
with complete accuracy the Indian and Theosophical 
theories as to man’s principles. It has, however, been 
^stated 2 that the physical body has two divisions, the 
t‘ dense ” and “ etheric ” body ; that these correspond to the 
Annamaya and Pranamaya Koshas, and that the “ astral ” 
ibody corresponds to the Karnik or desire side of the Mano- 
/mayakosa or mental sheath. Assuming for argument the 
alleged correspondence, then the “etheric centres” or 
Chakras, according to this account, appear to be centres of 
energy of the Prana-vayu or Vital Force. The lotuses are 
also this and centres of the universal consciousness. 
jKundalini is the static form of the creative energy in bodies 
iwhich is the source of all energies, including Prana. Accord- 
ing to this author’s theory, KundalinI is some force which 
is distinct from Prana, understanding this term to mean 
vitality or the life-principle, which on entrance into the 
body shows itself in various manifestations of life which 
are the minor Pranas, of which inspiration is called by the 
general name of the force itself (Prana). Verses 10 and 11 
say of Kundalini : “ It is She who maintains all the beings 
(that is, Jlva, Jlvatma) of the world by means of inspiration 
and expiration.” She is thus the Prana Devatii, but, as 
She is (Comm., vv. 10 and 11) Sftshti-sthiti-layatmika, all 


1 Thus, the Theosophical Sanskrit is t Srlsha Chandra Va.su, in his 
“ Introduction to Yoga Philosophy,’’ calls the Linga Sharlra “ the 
ethereal duplicate ” (p. 85). According to the ordinary Indian use of 
that term the Linga Sharlra is the subtle body — that is, the Antah- 
karana and Indriyas — vehicled by the Tanmatras, or according to ano- 
ther account, the five Prftnas. Elsewhere (p. 51) it is called the 
" Astral ” body, and some statements are made as to the Chakras which 
are not in accordance with the texts with which I am acquainted. 

* “ Ancient Wisdom," p. 176, by Dr. A. Besant. 



16 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


forces therefore are in Her. She is, in fact, the Shabda- 
brahman or “Word” in bodies. The theory discussed 
appears to diverge from that of the Yogis when we consider 
the nature of the Chakras and the question of their vivifi- 
cation. According to the English author’s account, the 
Chakras are all vortices of “ etheric matter,” apparently of 
the same kind and subject to the same external influence 
of the inrushing sevenfold force of the “ Logos ” but differ- 
ing in this, that in each of the Chakras one or other of their 
sevenfold forces is predominant. Again, if, as has been 
stated, the astral body corresponds with the Manomaya- 
kosa, then the vivification of the Chakras appears to be, 
according to this account, a rousing of the Kamik side of 
the mental sheath. According to the Hindu doctrine, these 
Chakras are differing centres of consciousness, vitality and; 
Tattvik energy. Each of the five lower Chakras is the 1 
centre of energy of a gross Tattva — that is, of that form of 
Tattvik activity or Tanmatra which manifests the Malia- 
bhuta or sensible matter. The sixth is the centre of the 
subtle mental Tattva, and the Sahasrara is not called a 
Chakra at all. Nor, as stated, is the splenic centre included 
among the six Chakras which are dealt with here, 
t In the Indian system the total number of the petals 
corresponds with the number of the letters of the Sanskrit 
Alphabet , 1 and the number of the petals of any specific 
lotus is determined by the disposition of the subtile 
“ nerves ” or Nadls around it. These petals, further, bear 
subtile sound-powers, and are fifty 1 in number, as are the 
letters of the Sanskrit Alphabet. 

This Sanskrit work also describes certain things which 
are gained by contemplation on each of the Chakras. Somet 
of them are of a general character, such as long life, freedom 
from desire and sin, control of the senses, knowledge, powerj 


‘ Which are sometimes given as 50 and sometimes as.Sl. 



INTRODUCTION 


17 


of speech and fame. Some of these and other qualities arei 
results common to concentration on more than one Chakra. I 
Others are stated in connection with the contemplation 
upon one centre only. Such statements seem to be made, 
not necessarily with the intention of accurately recording 
the specific result, if any, which follows upon concentration 
upon a particular centre, but by way of praise for increased 
self-control, or Stuti-vada ; as where it is said in v. 21 that 
contemplation on the Nabhi-padma gains for the Yogi 
power to destroy and create the world. 

It is also said that mastery of the centres may produce 
various Siddliis or powers in respect of the predominating 
elements there. And this is, in fact, alleged. 1 2 Pandit \ 
Ananta Shastrl says : s “ We can meet with several persons 
every day elbowing us in the streets or bazaars who in all 
sincerity attempted to reach the highest plane of bliss, but 
fell victims on the way to the illusions of the psychic 
world, and stopped at one or the other of the six Chakras. 
They are of varying degrees of attainment, and are seen to 
possess some power which is not found even in the best 
intellectuals of the ordinary run of mankind. That this 
school of practical psychology was working very well in 
India at one time is evident from these living instances 
(not to speak of the numberless treatises on the subject) of 
men roaming about in all parts of the country.” The mere 
rousing of the Serpent power does not, from the spiritual 
Yoga standpoint, amount to mjjch. Nothing, however, of 
real moment, from the higher Yogi’s point of view, is 
achieved until the Ajna Chakra is reached. Here, again, it 
is said that the Sadhaka whose Atma is nothing but a 

1 See Yogatattva Upanishad, where contemplation on the Earth 
centre secures mastery over earth, etc. At the same time it points out 
that these “ powers ” are obstacles to Liberation. 

2 Anandalaharl, p. 35. 

2 



18 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


meditation on this lotus “becomes the creator, preserver 
and destroyer of the three worlds ” ; and yet, as the com- 
mentator points out (v. 84), “This is but the highest 
Prashamsa-vada or Stutiv&da, that is, complement — which in 
Sanskrit literature is as often void of reality as it is in our 
ordinary life. Though much is here gained, it is not until 
the Tattvas of this centre are also absorbed, and complete 
knowledge 1 of the Sahasrara is gained, that the Yogi attains 
that which is both his aim and the motive of his labour, 
cessation from rebirth which follows on the control and 
concentration of the Chitta on the Shivasthanam, the 
Abode of Bliss. It is not to be supposed that simply 
because the Serpent Fire has been aroused that one has 
thereby become a Yogi or achieved the end of Yoga. 
There are other points of difference which the reader will 
discover for himself, but into which I do not enter, as 
my object in comparing the two accounts has been to 
establish a general contrast between this modern account 
and that of the Indian schools. I may, however, add that 
the differences are not only as to details. The style of 
thought differs in a way not easy shortly to describe, but 
which will be quiokly recognized by those who have some 
familiarity with the Indian Scriptures and mode of thought. 
The latter is ever disposed to interpret all processes and 
their results from a subjective standpoint, though for the 
purposes of Sadhana the objective aspect is not ignored. The 
Indian theory is highly philosophical. Thus, to take but one 
instance, whilst the Rt. Rev. Leadbeater attributes the 


' This, it is obvious, comes only after long effort, and following on 
less complete experiences and results. According to Indian notions, 
success (Siddhi) in Yoga may be the fruit of experiences of many pre- 
ceding lives. KundalinI must be gradually raised from one centre to 
another until she reaches the Lotus in the cerebrum. The length of 
time required varies in the individual — it may be years ordinarily or 
in exceptional cases months. 



INTRODUCTION 


19 


power of becoming large or small-at will (Anima and Mahimft 
Siddhi) to a flexible tube or “ microscopic snake ” in the 
forehead, the Hindu says that all powers (Siddhi) are the 
attributes (Aishvarya) of the Lord Ishvara, or Creative Con- 
sciousness, and that in the degree that the Jiva realizes 
that consciousness 1 he shares the powers inherent in the 
degree of his attainment. 

That which is the general characteristic of the Indian 
systems, and that which constitutes their real profundity, 
is the paramount importance attaohed to Consciousness 
and its states. It is these states which create, sustain and 
destroy the worlds. Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva are the < 
names for functions of the one Universal Consciousness I 
operating in ourselves. And whatever be the means em-j 
ployed, it is the transformation of the “ lower ” into' 
“ higher ” states of consciousness which is the process and i 
fruit of Yoga and the cause of all its experiences. In this 
and other matters, however, we must distinguish both 
practice and experience from theory. A similar experience 
may possibly be gained by various modes of practice, 
and an experience may be in fact a true one, though 
the theory which may be given to account for it is 
incorrect. 

The following sections will enable the reader to pursue 
the comparison for himself. 

As regards practice I am told that Kundalini cannot 
be roused except in the MuladStra and by the means here 
indicated, though this may take place by accident when 
by chance a person has hit upon the necessary positions and 
conditions, but not otherwise. Thus the story is told of a 


' As this is by the Devi’s grace, She is called “ the giver of the 
eight Siddhis ” (Ishitv&dyashtasiddhidS). See Trishati, II. 47. She gives 
^Aishvarya. 



20 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

knan being found whose body was as cold as a corpse, though 
jche top of the head was slightly warm. ( This is the state 
jju Kundall-yoga, Samadhi.) He was massaged with ghee 
(clarified butter), when the head got gradually warmer. TheJj 
warmth descended to the neck, when the whole body re-j( 
gained its heat with a rush. The man came to conscious- 
ness, and then told the story of his condition. He said he f 
had been going through some antics, imitating the posture] 
.of a Yogi, when suddenly “ sleep ” had come over him. It 
was surmised that his breath must have stopped, and that, 
jeing in the right position and conditions, he had un- 
wittingly roused Kundall, who had ascended to Her cerebral 
/centre. Not, however, being a Yogi he could not bring her 
down again. This, further, can only be done when the 
Nadis (v. post ) are pure. I told the Pandit (who gave me 
this story, who was learned in this Yoga, and whose brother 
practised it) of the case of a European friend of mine who 
was not acquainted with the Yoga processes here described, 
though he had read something about Kundall in translation 
of Sanskrit works, and who, nevertheless, believed he had 
roused Kundall by meditative processes alone. In fact, as 
he wrote me, it was useless for him as a European to go 
into the minutiae of Eastern Yoga. He, however, saw the 
“ nerves ” Ida and Pingala (v. post), and the “ central fire ” 
with a trembling aura of rosy light, and blue or azure light, 
and a white fire whioh rose up into the brain and flamed 
out in a winged radiance on either side of the head. Fire 
was seen flashing from centre to centre with such rapidity 
that he could see little of the vision, and movements of 
forces were seen in the bodies of others. The radiance or 
aura round Ida was seen as moonlike — that is, palest azure 
— and Pingala red or rather pale rosy opalescence. Kundall 
appeared in vision as of intense golden-like white fire rather 
burled spirally. Taking the centres, Sushumna, Ida aUd 



INTRODUCTION 


21 


Pingalft, to be symbolized by the Caduceus of Mercury,' the 
little ball at the top of the rod was identified with the Sahas* 
rata or pineal gland , 1 2 and the wings as the flaming of auras on 
each side of the centre when the fire strikes it. One night, 
being abnormally free from the infection of bodily desires, 
he felt the serpent uncoil, and it ran up, and he was “ in 
« fountain of fire,” and felt, as he said, “ the flames spread- 
ing wingwise about my head, and there was a musical 
clashing as of cymbals, whilst some of these flames, like 
emanations, seemed to expand and meet like gathered 
wings over my head. I felt a rocking motion. I realy felt 
frightened, as the Power seemed something which could 
consume me.” My friend wrote me that in his agitation 
he forgot to fix his mind on the Supreme, and so missed a 
divine adventure. Perhaps it was on this account that he 
said he did not regard the awakening of this power as a 
very high spiritual experience or on a level with other states 
of consciousness he experienced. The experience, however, \ 
convinced him that there was a real science and magic in 
the Indian books which treat of occult physiology. 

The Pandit’s observations on this experience were as 
follows : If the breath is stopped and the mind is carried 
downwards, heat is felt. It is possible to “ see ” Kundalini 
with the mental eye, and in this way to experience Her 
without actually arousing Her and bringing Her up, which 
can only be effected by the Yoga methods prescribed. 
Kundalini may have thus bee^ seen as Light in the basal 
centre (Muladhara). It was the mind (Buddhi) (v. post) 
which perceived Her, but as the experiencer had not been 

1 In which the rod is the central channel (Sushumna), which is inter- 
laced by the Ida and Pingala sympathetics, the points of section beingat 
the centres. The two wings at the top are the two lobes or petals of 
the Ajna Chakra. 

’ Here I differ. The Sahasrara is at the top of the skull or upper 
brain. The pineal gland is much lower in the region of the Ajnfi, Chakra. 



32 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


taught the praotice he got oonfused. There is one simple 
teat whether the Shakti is aotually’ aroused. When she 
ia aroused intense heat is felt at that spot but when she' 
leaves a particular centre the part so left becomes as cold 
and apparently lifeless as a corpse. The progress upwards 
may thus be externally verified by others. When the 
Shakti (Power) has reached the upper brain (Sahasrara) the 
whole body is oold and corpse-like ; except the top of the*, 
skull, where some warmth is felt, this being the place where* 
the statio and kinetic aspects of Consciousness unite. 

The present work is issued, not with the object of 
establishing the truth or expediency of the principles and: 
methods of this form of Yoga, a matter which each will 
determine for himself, but as a first endeavour to supply, 


more particularly for those interested in occultism and 
mysticism, a fuller, more acourate and rational presentation 
of the subjeot. 

An understanding of the recondite matters in the 
treatise here translated is, however, only possible if we first 
shortly summarize some of the philosophical and religious 
doctrines which underlie this work, and a knowledge of 
which in his reader is assumed by its author. 

The following sections, therefore, of this Introduction 
will deal firstly with the concepts of Consciousness 1 and 
of the unoonscious, as Mind, Matter and Life and with their 
association in the Embodied Spirit or Jlvatma. Nextly the 
kinetic aspeot of Spirit, or Shakti, is considered ; its creative 
ideation and manifestation in the evolved Macrocosm and in 
the human body or Miorocosm (Kshudra-brahm&nda), which 
is a replioa on a small scale of the greater world. For as is 
said in the Vishvas&ra Tantra, “ What is here is elsewhere. 


* For the meaning of this term as here used, see my “ Shakti and 
Shftkta". 



INTRODUCTION 


28 

What is not here is nowwhere ” (Yad ih&sti tad anyatra 
yannehfisti na tat kvachit). After an account of the “ Word” 
and the letters of speech, I conclude with the method of in- 
volution or Yoga. The latter will not be understood unless 
the subject of the preceding sections has been mastered. 

It is necessary to explain’ and understand the theory 
of world-evolution even in the practical matters with whioh 
this work is concerned. For as the Commentator says in 
v. 89, when dealing with the practice of Yoga, the rule is 
that things dissolve into that from which they originate, 
and the Yoga process here described is such dissolution 
(Lflya). This return or dissolution process (Nivritti) in 
Yoga will not be understood unless the forward or creative 
(Bravritti) process is understood. Similar considerations 
apply to other matters here dealt with. 

So also will a short analysis of the Shakta doctrine of 
Power be of value. 

All that is manifest is Power (Shakti) as Mind, Life 
and Matter. Power implies a Power- Holder (Shaktiman)j 
There is no Power-Holder without Power, or Power with-\ 
out Power-Holder. The Power-Holder is Shiva. Power is 
Shakti, the Great Mother of the Universe. There is no 
Shiva without Shakti, or Shakti without Shiva. The two 
as they are in themselves are one. They are each Being, 
Consciousness and Bliss. These three terms are chosen to 
denote ultimate Reality, because Being or ‘ Is-ness ’, as 
distinguished from particular ^rms of Being, cannot be 
thought away. ‘To be ’ again is “ to be conscious ” and 
lastly perfect Being-Consoiousness is the Whole, and un- 
limited unconstrained Being is Bliss. These three terms 
stand for the ultimate creative Reality as it is in itself. 
By the imposition upon these terms of Name (N&ma) and 
Form (RUpa) or Mind and Matter, we have the limited 
Being-ConsciouBness and Bliss which is the Universe. 



24 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

What then • of Power when there is no Universe ? It 
fis then Power to Be, to self -conserve and resist ohange. In 
(evolution it is Power to become and to change, and in its 
{manifestation as forms it is as material cause, the changeful 
(Becoming of Worlds. Becoming does not = God, for it is finite 
form and He is the formless infinite. But the essence' of 
these forms is infinite Power which = infinite Power-Holder. 
It is He who puts forth Power and creates the Universe. 

Rest implies Activity, and Activity implies Rest. 
Behind all activity there is a static background. Shiva 
represents the static aspect of Reality and Shakti the 
moving aspect. The two, as they are ib themselves, are 
one. 1 All is Real, both Changeless and Changeful. Maya 
tie not in this system “illusion”, but is in the concise 
I words of the Shakta Sadhaka Kamalakanta ‘ the Form of 
]the Formless ’ (Shu nvasva akara iti Maya). The world is 
\ts form and these forms are therefore Real. 

I Man is then as to his essence the static Power-Holder, 
0r Shiva who is pure Consciousness ; and, as Mind and 
Body, he is the manifestation of Shiva’s Power, or Shakti 
or Mother. He is thus Shiva- Shakti. He is as he stands 
an expression of Power. The object of Sadhana or Worship 
and Yoga is to raise this Power to its perfect expression, 
which is perfect in the sense of unlimited experience. One 
mode of so doing is the Yoga here described, whereby man 
exchanges his limited or worldly experience for that which 
is the unlimited Whole (Ptirna) or Perfect Bliss. 


1 See as to Power, Chhand. Up., 6-2-1 ; 6-8-4 ; 6-8-6; 7-26-1 ; 6-2-8. 
Taitt. Up. Sveta. Up., 1-8 ; 6-8. Rigveda 8., 10-129-2 ; 10-129-5. Taitt. Br., 
8-8; 17-8. Yajurveda, 7-8-14-1. Mund. Up., 1-9. Karma Porftna, 1-12-28. 



II 


BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 

1 The bases of this Yoga are of a highly metaphysical and 
■scientific character. For its understanding there is required 

i 

a full acquaintance with Indian philosophy, religious doc- 
trine, and ritual in general, and in particular with that 
presentment of these three matters which is given in the 
Shakta and Monistic (Advaita) 1 Shaiva Tantras. It would 
need more than a bulky volume to describe and explain in 
any detail the nature and meaning of this Yoga, and the 
bases on which it rests. I must, therefore, assume in the 
reader either this general knowledge or a desire to acquire 
it, and confine myself to such an exposition of general 
principles and leading facts as will supply the key by which 
the doors leading to a theoretical knowledge of the subject 
may be opened by those desirous of passing through and 
beyond thqm, and as will thus facilitate the understanding 
of the difficult texts here translated. For on the practical 
side I can merely reproduce the directions given in the 
books together with such explanations of them as I have 
received orally. Those who wj^h to go farther, and to put 
into actual process this Yoga, must first satisfy themselves 
of the value and suitability of this Yoga and then learn 
directly of a Guru who has himself been through it (Siddha). 
His experience alone will say whether the aspirant is capable 
of success. It is said that of those who attempt it, one out 

l As to the Advaita of Shakta Tantra, see “ Shakti and Shakta,’ 
8rd Edition. 



26 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


of a thousand nlay have success. If the latter enters upon 
the path, the Guru alone can save him from attendant risks, 
moulding and guiding the practice as he will according to 
the particular capacities and needs of his disciple. Whilst, 
therefore, on this heading it is possible to explain some 
general principles, their application is dependent on the 
oirohmstances of each particular case. 

The ultimate or irreducible reality is * Spirit ’ in the 
sense of Pure Consciousness (Chit, Samvit) from out of 
which as and by its Power (Shakti), Mind and Matter 
proceed. Spirit 1 is one. There are no degrees or differen- 1 
ces in Spirit. The Spirit whioh is in man is the one Spirit 
which is in everything and which, as the object of worship, j 
is the Lord (Ishvara) or God. Mind and Matter are many 
and of many degrees and qualities. Atma or Spirit as such 
is the Whole (Parna) without section (Akhanda). Mind! 
and Matter are parts in that Whole. They are the not- 
whole (Apflrna) and are the section (Khanda). Spirit is 
infinite (Aparichchhinna) and formless (Arupa). Mind and 
\ Matter are finite (Pariohohhinna) and with form (Rtipa). 

^ Atma is unchanged and inactive. Its Power (Shakti) is 
active and changes in the form of Mind and Matter. Pure 
Consciousness is Chit or Samvit. Matt er as^such is the 
unoqnscious. And Mind too is .unconscious according to 
Vedanta. For all that is not the consciojas self^is the un- 
conscious object. This does not mean that it is unconscious 
in itself. On the contrary all is essentially consciousness, 
but that it is unoonscious because it is the object of 
the consoious self. mind limits Consciousness so 

as to enable man to have finite experience. There is no 
Mind without consciousness as its background, though! 

j 1 Spirit is Atmft which manifests as the Self. Its vehicles are Mind 
lor Antahkarana working with Manas and the Senses or Indriyas, and 
matter, namely, the five kinds of BhCita or sensible matter. 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 


27 


isupreme^QonsoiousneBS is Mindless (Amanah). Where there 
) is no mind (Amanah), there is no limitation. Conscious- 
ness remaining in one aspect unchanged ohanges in its other 
jaspeot as aotive Power which manifests as Mind and Body. 
Man then is Pure Consciousness (Chit) vehicled by its 
; Power as Mind and Body. 

In Theology this Pure Consciousness is Shiva, and His 
Power (Shakti) who as She is in Her formless self is one 
with Him. She is the great Devi, the Mother of the Universe 
who as the Life-Force resides in man’s body in its lowest 
centre at the base of the spine just as Shiva is realized in 
the highest brain centre, the cerebrum or Sahasrara Padma. 
'Completed Yoga is the Union of Her and Him in the body 
of the Sadhaka. This is Laya or dissolution, the reverse of 
Srishti or involution of Spirit in Mind and Matter. 

Some worship predominantly the masculine or right 
side of the conjoint male and female figure (Ardhan&rlsh- 
vara). Some, the Shaktas, predominantly worship the left, 
and call Her Mother, for She is the Great Mother (Magna 
Mater), the MahadevI who conceives, bears, and nourishes 
the universe sprung from Her womb (Yoni). This is so 
because She is the active aspect 1 of Consciousness, imagin- 
ing (Srishtikalpana ) 8 the world to be, according to the 

1 The quiescent Shiva-aspect is by its definition inert . It is because 
of this that the Devi is in the Tantras symbolically represented as 
being above the body of Shiva, who lies under Her like a corpse (Shava). 
As the Kubjika Tantra, Ch. I, states, it is not Brahma, Vishnu and 
Rudra, who create, maintain and destroy, but their Shaktis, Brahmani, 
Vaishnjiil,. Rudran l. See Pranatoshirm 9. Activity is tho nature of 
Prakriti (Samkhya. Pravachana Sutra, III. G6). For tho same reason 
the femaie form is represented in sexual union as being above (Viparlta) 
the male. When the Devi stands above Shiva, the symbolism also 
denotes (particularly in the case of Kali) the liberating aspect of the 
Mother. See “ Principles of Tantra,” I. 828. 

* The world is called an imagination (Kalpana), for it is creative 
ideation on the recalled memory of the past universe. As the Yoginl- 
hridaya Tantra says, “ the picture of the world is designed by her own 
will ” (Svechohhavishvamayollekhakhaohitam), “ seeing which Bhagavftn 
was very pleased ”. 



28 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


impressions (Samskara) derived from enjoyment and suffer- 
ing in former worlds. It is held natural to worship Her as 

Mother. The first Mantra into which all men are initiated 

» 

is the word Ma (Mother). It is their first word and generally 
their last. The father is a mere helper (Sahakari-matra) 
of the Mother. 1 * * The whole world of the five elements also 
Wrings from the Active Consciousness or Shakti, and is 
Mer manifestation (Pftrna-vikasha). Therefore men worship 
jthe Mother, 8 than whom is none more tender, 8 saluting Her 
fsmiling beauty as the rosy Tripurasundari, the source of 
the universe, and Her awe-inspiring grandeur as Kali, who 
takes it back into Herself. Here we are concerned with 
Yoga which is the realization of the union of the Mother 
and Lord aspects in that state of consciousness which is 
the Absolute. 

Veda says: “All this (that is, the manifold world) is j 
. (the one) Brahman” (§arvam khalvidam Brahma). 4 How* 1 
' the many can be the one 5 * * is variously explained by the 
i different schools. The interpretation here given is that 

1 The Supreme Father gives His illumination (Prakasha). She, the 
Vimarshashakti, produces, but not alone. (Vimarshashakti prakash&t- 
manCL paramashivena samarasya-vishvam srijati na tu kevalfi. — Yogim- 
hridaya Tantra). 

In Matri-bhava, according to the Sanskrit term. Philosophically 
also this is sound, for all that man knows (outside ecstasy of Samadhi)- 
is the Mother in Her form as the world. The Supreme Shakti, who is 
not different from Shiva (Parashaktishivftbhinn&), is embodied in every 
order of thing (Sarvakiamasharlrim — Yoginlhridaya Tantra). 

* It is said that “ there is nothing more tender than Prakriti,” who 
serves Purusha in every way in his enjoyment, finally giving Mukti or 
Liberation by retiring from Him when He no longer serves Her. 

4 This, as the Mah&nirv&na Tantra says (VII. 98), is the end and 
aim of Tantrika Kul&chara, the realization of which saying the 
Prapanchas&ra Tantra calls the fifth or supreme State (Ch. XIX, 
Vol. Ill, “ Tantrik Texts ”). 

5 Thus it is said of Devi that She is in the form of one and many 

(Ek&nekftkshar&kritih). Ekam=ekam ajnanam or Maya. Anekani=the 

several Ajnanas— that is, Avidya. She is both as Upadhi of Ishvara 

and Jiva (TrishatT, II. 28). 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 


29 


contained in the Shakta Tantras or Aganias. In the first 
plaoe, w hat is the one Reality which appears as many? 
jWhat is the nature of Brahman as it is in itself (Svarttpa) ? 
fThe answer is Sat--Chit-Ananda — that is, Being-Consoious- 
ness-Bliss. Consciousness or feeling, as such (Chit or 
Samvit), is identical with Being as such. Though in 
ordinary experience the two are essentially bound up to- 
gether, they still diverge or seem to diverge from each 
other. Man by his constitution inveterately believes in 
an objective existence beyond and independent of himself. 
An d there is such objectivity as long as, being embodied 
Spirit (Jlvatma), his consciousness is veiled or contracted 1 
by Maya. But in the ultimate basis of experience, which 
is the Supreme Spirit (Paramatma), the divergence has 
gone, for in it lie, in undifferentiated mass, experience!’, 
experience, and the experienced. When, however, we speak 
of Chit as Feeling-Consciousness we must remember that 
what we know and observe as such is only *a limited 
changing manifestation of Chit, which is in itself the 
infinite changeless principle, which is the background of 
all experience. This Being Consciousness is absolute Bliss 
(Ananda), which is defined as “ resting in the self ” (Sva- 
rupa- vishranti). It is Bliss because, being the infinite All 
(Purna), it can be in want of nothing. This blissful con- 
sciousness is the ultimate or irreducible nature or Svarupa 
or own form of the one Reality which is both the Whole 
as the irreducible Real and R^rt as the reducible Real. 
Svarupa is the nature of anything as it is in itself, as 
distinguished from what it may appear to be. Supreme 
Consciousness is the Supreme Shiva-Shakti (Parashiva 
Parashakti) whioh never changes, but eternally endures the 
same throughout all change effected in its creative aspect 

1 Samkocha. Fullness or wholeness is “ veiled ” in order that the 
part or particular may be experienced. 



80 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

as Shiva- Shakti. All manifestation is associated with ap- 
parent unconsciousness. The mind is evidently not a pure, 
but a limited consciousness. What limits it must be| 
something either in itself unconscious or, if conscious,! 
capable of producing the appearance of consciousness. 1 In 
the phenomenal world there is nothing absolutely conscious 
nor absolutely unconsoious. Consciousness and unconsci- 
ousness are always intermingled. Some things, however, 
appear to be more conscious, and some more unconscious 
than others. This is due to the fact that Chit, which is 
never absent in anything, yet manifests itself in various 
ways and degrees. The degree of this manifestation is / 
determined by the nature and development of the min(U 
and body in which it is enshrined. Spirit remains the 
same ; the mind and body change. The manifestation of 
consciousness is more or less limited as ascent is made 
from the mineral to man. In the mineral world Chit mani-j 
fests as the lowest form of sentiency evidenced by reflex 
response to stimuli, and that physical consciousness which! 
is oalled in the West atomic memory. The sentiency of 
plants is more developed, though it is, as Chakrapilni says, 
in the Bhanumatl, a dormant consciousness. This is 
further manifested in those micro-organisms which are 
intermediate stages between the vegetable and animal 
worlds, and have a psychic life of their own. In the 
animal world consciousness becomes more centralized and 
oomplex, reaching its fullest development in man, who 
possesses allthe psychic functions such aa cognition, percep- 
tinn^Jfeflling. j!nd -Will. Behind all these particular changing 
forms nLaentiency. or consciousness is the one iormless, 
changeless Chit as it is in itself (Svarflpal. that is, as 
distinguished from the particular forms of its manifestation. 

1 The alternative is given to meet the differing views of Mayav&da 
and Sbaktiv&da. 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 


81 


As Chit throughout all these stages of’ life remains the 
same it is not in itself really developed. The appearanoe of 
development is due to the faot that It is now more and 
now less veiled or oontraoted by Mind and Matter. It is 
this veiling by the power of Consciousness (Shakti) which 
creates the world. What is it, then, whioh veils conscious- 1 
ness and thus produces world-experience ? 

yhe a nswer is Power or Shakti as Mayft. Maya Shakti 
ps that which seemingly makes the JffiholaiPpraa) into the 
jnot-whole (Apurna), the infinite into the finite, the formless 
(into forms and the like. It is a power whioh thus cuts 
down, veils and negates. Negates what ? Perfect conscious- 
ness. Is Shakti in itself the same as or different from 
Shiva or Chit ? It must be the same, for otherwise all 
could not be one Brahman. But if it is the same it must 
be also Chit or Consciousness. Therefor e it is Sachchida- 
nandamayi 1 and Chidruplnl. 2 

And yet there is, at least in appearance, some distinc- 
tion. Shakti, which comes from the root Shah, “ to have 
power ”, “to be able,” means power. As She is one with 
Shiva as Power-holder (Shaktiman), She as suoh Power is 
the power of Shiva or Consciousness. There is no differ- 
ence between Shiva as the possessor of power (Shaktiman) 
and Power as It is in Itself. The power of Consciousness 
is Consciousness in its active aspect. Whilst, therefore, 
both Shiva and Shakti are Consciousness, the former is the 
changeless static aspect of Consciousness, and Shakti is the 
kine tic active aspect of the same Consciousness. The 
particular power whereby the dualistic world is brought into 

1 That is, its substance is Sat, Chit, Ananda. The suffixes May! 
and RupinI indicate a subtle distinction — namely, that She is in Her- 
self, Chit, and yet by appearance the effect of the Power something 
different from it. 

’ In the form or nature of Chit. As the Kubjika Tantra says, the 
ParamS Kala is both Chit (Chidrflpa) and Nada (Nfidarflpa). 



32 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


being is Maya 'Shakti, which is both a veiling (Avarana) 
and projecting (Vikshepa) Shakti. Consciousness veils 
itself to itself, and projects from the store of its previous 
experiences (Samskara) the notion of a world is which it 
suffers and enjoys. The universe is thus the creative 
imaginati.Qji.JSri.shtikalpana, as it is called) of the. Supreme,- 
World-t hinker (Ishyara). Maya is that power by which 
things are “ measured ” — that is, formed and made known 
(Mlyate anaya iti maya). It is the sense of difference 
(Bhedabuddhi), or that which makes man see the world, 
and all things and persons therein, as different from him- 
self, when in essence he and they are the one Self. It is 
that which establishes a dichotomy in what would other- 
wise be a unitary experience, and is the cause of the 
dualism inherent in all phenomenal experience. Shakti 
as action veils consciousness by negating in various degrees 
Herself as Consciousness. 

Before the manifestation of the universe, infinite Being 
Consciousness-Bliss alone was — that is, Shiva-Shakti as 
Chit and ChidrupinI respectively . 1 

This is the Experience- whole (Purna) in which as the 
Upanishad says, “ The Self knows and loves the Self.” 
It is this Love which is Bliss or “ resting in the self,” for, 
as it is elsewhere said, “ Supreme love is bliss ” (Nira- 
tishayapremaspadatvam anandatvam). This is Parashiva, 
who in the scheme of the Thirty-six Tattvas , 8 is known as 

’ Aham praki'itirupa chet chidananda-parayana (Kulachud&mani 
Nigama, Ch. I, vv. 16-24, Vol. IV, “ Tantrik Texts ")• 

* B&ghava Bhatta says Ya an&dirupa chaitanyadhyasena mahapra- 
laye sukshmtl sthita (Comm, on Sharada Tilaka, Ch. I). 

See as to the Kashmir School, and its Philosophy of the Tattvas 
J. C. Chatterji’s work on “ Kashmir Shaivism ”. 

This is Paramashiva, or Nirguna (attributeless), or Nishkala (devoid 
of manifested Shakti), Shiva, or Parabrahman, as contrasted with 
Saguna (with attribute), or Sakala (with parts or Shakti), Shiva, or 
Shabdabrahinan (Brahman as the source of “ sound,” v. post.) 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 


33 


Parasamvit. This Monism posits a dual aspect of the single 
Consciousness — one the transcendental changeless aspect 
(Parasamvit), and the other the creative changing aspect, 
which is called Shiva-Shakti Tattva. In Parasamvit the 
“ I ” (Aham) and the “ This ” (Idam), or universe of objects, 
are indistinguishably mingled in the supreme unitary ex- 
perience . 1 

In Shiva-Shakti Tattva, Shakti, which is the negative 
aspect of the former, Her function being negation (Nishedha- 
vyapara-rupa Shaktih), negates Herself as the object .of 
experience, leaving the Shiva consciousness as a mere “ I,” 
“ not looking towards another ” (Ananyonmukhah aham- 
pratyayah). This is a state of mere subjective illumination 
(Prakasha-matra ) 2 to which Shakti, who is called Vimarsha , 3 
again presents Herself, but now with a distinction of “ I ” 
and “This” as yet held together as part of one self. At 
this point, the first incipient stage of dualism, there is the 
first transformation of consciousness, known as Sadashiva 
or Sadakhya Tattva, which is followed by the second or 
Ishvara Tattva, and then by the third or Shuddavidya 
Tattva. In the first emphasis is laid on the “ This ”, in 
the second on the “ I,” and in the third on both equally. 
Then Maya severs the united consciousness so that the 
object is seen as other than the self and then as split up 
into the multitudinous objects of the universe. 

1 As the Yoginlhridaya Tantra says : The Para Devi is Prakasha- 
vimarshasamarasyarupinl. This is t hW Nirvikalpajndna state in which 
there is no distinction of “ This ” and “ That ”, of “ I ” and “ This In 
Vikalpajnana there is subject and object. 

* Paramashiva has two aspects — Prakasha and Vimarsha, or 
Kameshvara and Kameshvarl the Paralinga. Prakasha “asphutasphutl- 
kara, or manifestation of what is not manifest. 

* This word comes from the root ?nrish= to touch, to affect, to 
cogitate. It is that which is pounded or handled by thought, that is, 
object of reflective thought. Pradhana and Prakriti also involve the 
meaning “ placing in front ” ; that which is so placed is object. All 
three terms denote the principle of objectivity. 

• s 



84 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

In the Mantra side of the Tantra Shastra, dealing with 
Mantra and its origin, these two Tattvas emanating from 
Shakti are from the sound side known as Nada and Bindu. 
Parashiva and Parashakti are motionless (Nihspanda) and 
soundless (Nihshabda). 

Nada is the first produoed movement in the ideating 
eosmio consciousness leading up to the Sound-Brahman 
(Shabda-brahman), whence all ideas, the language in which 
they are expressed (Shabda), and the objects (Artha) which 
they denote, are derived. 

Bindu literally means a point and the dot (Anusvara), 
whioh denotes 1 in Sanskrit the nasal breathing (°). It is 1 
placed in the Chandrabindu nasal breathing above Nada (°). 
In its technical Mantra sense it denotes that state of active 
Consciousness or Shakti in which the “ I ” or illuminating 
aspect of Consciousness identifies itself with the total 
“ This ”. 2 It subjectifies the “ This,” thereby becoming a 
point (Bindu) of consciousness with it. When Conscious- 
ness apprehends an object as different from Itself, It sees 
that object as extended in space. But when that object is 
completely subjectified, it is experienced as an unextended 
point. This is the universe-experience of the Lord-ex- 
periencer as Bindu . 3 

Where does the Universe go at dissolution ? It is with- 
drawn into that Shakti which projected it. It collapses, so 
to speak, into a mathematical point without any magnitude 


* Lit. What goes with (anu) with vowel sound (Svftra or Svara). 

* For until the operation of Maya at a later stage the “ This ” is 
still experienced as part of the “ I ". Therefore there is no manifesta- 
tion or dualism. 

1 For the same reason Bhakti is then said to be Ghanibhuta, which 
Is literally {passive or condensed. It is that state of gathered- up power 

Whioh immediately precedes the burgeoning forth (Sphurana) of the 

universe. 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 


86 


whatever . 1 This is the Shivabindu, which again is with- 
drawn into the Shiva- Shakti-Tattva which produced it. 
It is conoeived that round the Shiva Bindu there is ooiled 
Shakti, just as in the earth centre called Muladhara Chakra 
in the human body a serpent clings round the self-produc- 
ed Phallus ( Svayambhulinga). This coiled Shakti may be 
conceived as a mathematical line, also without magnitude, 
which, being everywhere in contact with the point round 
which it is coiled, is compressed together with it, and forms 
therefore also one and the same point. There is one indivisi- 
ble unity of dual aspect which is figured also in the Tantras 2 3 
as a grain of gram (Chanaka), whioh has two deeds so 
closely joined as to look as one surrounded by an outer 
sheath . 1 

To revert to the former simile, the Shakti coiled round 
Shiva, making one point (Bindu) with it, is Kundalinl 
Shakti. This word comes from the word Eundala or “ a 
coil ”, “ a bangle ”. She is spoken of as coiled, because She 
is likened to a serpent (Bhujangl), which, when resting and 
sleeping, lies coiled ; and because the nature of Her power 
is spiraline, manifesting itself as such in the worlds — the 
spheroids or “ eggs of Brahma ” (Brahmanda), and in their 
circular or revolving orbits and in other ways. Thus the 
Tantras speak of the development of the straight line, 
(Rijurekha.) from the point which, when it has gone its 
length as a point, is turned (Vakrarekha amkushaka'ra) by 
the force of the spiraline sacfi^of Maya in which it works 

1 The imagery, like all of its kind, is necessarily imperfect ; for 
such a point, though it has no magnitude, is assumed to have si posi- 
tion. Here there is none, or we are in spacelessness. 

a See the Commentary, post. 

3 The two seeds are Shiva and Shakti, and the sheath is M&yii. 
When they come apart there is “ creation ”. Again the imagery is 
faulty, in that there are two seeds, whereas Shiva and Shakti are the 
One with dual aspect. 



86 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

so as to form a' figure of two dimensions, which again is 
turned upon itself, ascending as a straight line into the 
plane of the tjbird dimension, thus forming the triangular 
or pyramidal figure called Shringataka . 1 In other words, 
this Kun dall Shakti is that which, wh on it moves to 
manifest itself, app ears at the universe. To say that it is 
“ coiled” is tcTsay that it is at rest — that is, in the form 
of static potential energy. This Shakti coiled round the 
Supreme Shiva is called Mahakundall (“ The great coiled 
power ”), to distinguish it from the same power which exists 
in individual bodies, and which is called Kundalini . 8 It is 
with and through the last power that this Yoga is effected. 
When it is accomplished the individual Shakti (Kundall) 
is united with the great cosmic Shakti (Maha-Kundall),. 
and She with Shiva, with whom She is essentially one. 
Kundalini is an aspect of the eternal Brahman (Brahmarupa 
San&tani), and is both attributeless and with attribute 
(Nirguna and Saguna). In Her Nirguna aspect She is pure 
Consciousness (Chaitanyarupinl) and Bliss itself (Ananda- 
rQpinl, and in creation Brahmanandaprakashinl). As 
Saguna She it is by whose power all creatures are displayed 
(SarvabhUtaprakashinl).* Kundall Shakti in individual 
bodies is power at rest, or the static centre round which 
every from of existence as moving power revolves. In the 
universe there is always in and behind every form of activity 
a static background. The one Consciousness is polarized 
into statio (Shiva) and kinetic (Shakti) aspects for the 
purpose of “ creation This Yoga is the resolution of this 
duality into unity again. 

* The shape of the Singftra water-nut, which grows freely in the 
lakes of Kashmir. Here I may observe that Yantras, though drawn on 
the flat, must be conceived of in the solid mass. The flat drawing 
is a mere suggestion of the three-dimensional figure which the Yantra is.. 

‘Because She is thus bent, the Devi is called Kubjika (hunchback).. 

* Kubjika Tantra, Oh. I, PranatoshinT, p. 8. ■ 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 


87 


The Indian Scriptures say, in the words of Herbert 
Spencer in his “First Principles,” that the universe is an 
unfoldment (Srishti) from the homogeneous (Mulaprakriti) 
to the heterogeneous (Vikriti), and back to the homogeneous 
again (Pralaya or Dissolution). There are thus alternate 
states of evolution and dissolution, manifestation taking 
place after a period of rest. So also Professor Huxley, in 
his “ Evolution and Ethics”, speaks of the manifestation 
of cosmic energy (Maya Shakti) alternating between phases 
of potentiality (Pralaya) and phases of explication (Shrishti). 
“It may be,” he says, “as Kant suggests, every cosmic 
magma predestined to evolve into a new world has been 
the no less predestined end of a vanished predecessor.” This 
the Indian Shastra affirms in its doctrine that there is no 
such thing as an absolutely first creation, the present uni- 
verse being but one of a series of worlds which are past 
and are yet to be. 

At the time of Dissolution (Pralaya) there is in Con- 
sciousness as Mahakundali, though undistinguishable from 
its general mass, the potentiality or seed of the universe to 
be. Maya, as the world, potentially exists as Mahakundali, 
who is Herself one with Consciousness or Shiva. This 
Maya contains, and is in fact constituted by, the collective 
Samskara or Yasana — that is, the mental impressions and 
tendencies produced by Karma accomplished in previously 
existing worlds. These constitute the mass of the potential 
ignorance (Avidya) by which#Consciousness veils itself. 
They were produced by desire for worldly enjoyment, and 
themselves produce such desire. The worlds exist because 
they, in their totality, will to exist. Each individual exists 
because his will desires worldy life. This seed is therefore 
the collective or cosmic will towards manifested life — that is, 
the life of form and enjoyment. At the end of the period of 
rest, which is Dissolution, this seed ripens in Consciousness. 



as 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Consciousness has thus a twin aspect; its liberation 
(Mukti) or formless aspect, in which it is as mere Conscious* 
ness-Bliss; and a universe or form aspect, in which it 
becomes the world of enjoyment (Bhukti). One of the 
oardinal principles of the Shakta Tantra is to secure by its 
S&dhana both Liberation (Mukti) and Enjoyment (Bhukti ). 1 
This is possible by the identification of the self when in 
enjoyment with the soul of the world. When . this seed 
ripens, Shiva is said to put forth His Shakti. As this 
Shakti is Himself, it is He in his Shiva-Shakti aspect who 
comes forth (Prasarati) and endows Himself with all the 
forms of worldly life. In the pure, perfect, formless Con- 
sciousness there springs up the desire to manifest in the 
world of forms — the desire for enjoyment of and as form.. 
This takes plaoe as a limited stress in the ultimated un- 
moving surface of pure Consciousness, which is Nishkala 
Shiva, but without affecting the latter. There is thus 
change in ohangelessness and ohangelessness in change. 
Shiva in His transcendent aspect does not ohange, but Shiva 
(Sakala) in His immanent aspect as Shakti does. As creat- 
ive will arises, Shakti thrills as Nada , 2 and assumes the 
form of Bindu, which is Ishvara Tattva, whence all the 
worlds derive. It is for their creation that Kundali uncoils. 
When Karma ripens, the Devi, in the words of the Nigama^ 
“ becomes desirous of oreation, and covers Herself with Her 


1 Bhogena moksham upnoti bhogena kulasftdhanam 
Tasmad yatn&d bhogayukto bhaved vlravarah sudhib. 

(Kularnava Samhita, v. 210.) 

“ By world-experience (Bhoga Bhukti) he gains Liberation or World 
experience is the means for the attainment of Kula. Therefore, the 
wise and good Vlra should carefully be united with world-experience.” 

* Literally “ sound,” that initial activity which is the first source 
of the subsequently manifested Shabda (sound) which is the Word to 
which corresponds the Artha or Object. 

1 Kulachad&mani, Vol. IV, “ Tftntrik Texts,” Ch. I, vv. 16-24. 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 89 

own Maya”. Again, the “ Devi, joyful in the mad delight 
of Her union with the Supreme Akula , 1 2 becomes Yikarinl ” * 
— that is, the Vikaras or Tattvas of Mind and Matter, 
which constitute the universe, appear. 

The Shastras have dealt with the stages of creation in 
great detail both from the subjective and objective view- 
points as changes in the limited consciousness or as move- 
ment (Spanda), form, and “ sound ” (Shabda). Both 
Shaivas and Shaktas equally accept the Thirty-Six cate- 
gories or Tattvas, the Kalas, the Shaktis UnmanI and the 
rest in the Tattvas, the Shadadhva, the Mantra concepts 
of Nada, Bindu', Kamakala, and so forth . 3 Authors of the 
Northern Shaiva School, of which a leading Shastra is the 
Malinlvijaya Tantra, have described with great profundity 
these Tattvas. General conclusions only are, however, here 
summarized. These thirty-six Tattvas are in the Tantras 
divided into three groups, called Atma, Vidya and Shiva 
Tattvas. The first group includes all the Tattvas, from 
the lowest Prithivi (“ earth ”) to Prakriti, which are known 
as the impure categories (Ashuddha Tattva) ; the second 
includes Maya, the Kanchukas , 4 and Purusha, called the 
pure impure categories (Shuddha-ashuddha Tattva) ; and 


1 Akula is a Tantrik name for Shiva, Shakti being called Kula, 
which is Matri, Mana, Meya. In the Yoginlhridaya Tantra it is said 
(Ch. I) : Kulam meyamftnamatrilakshanam, kaulastatsamastih. These 
three are Knower, Knowing, known, for that is Consciousness as Shakti. 

2 Kulachudamani, Vol. IV, “ Tantrik Texts ” Ch. I, vv. 16-24. 

2 See as to these terms the author’s “ Garland of Letters 

4 Forms of Shakti whereby the natural perfections of Conscious- 
ness are limited. Thus from all-knowing it becomes little-knowing ; 
from being almighty, it becomes a little-doer, etc. See “ Garland of 
Letters ”. 

The term Samkocha (contraction) expresses the same idea. The 
Devi is Samkuchadrupa through Mfttrl, Mana, Meya, and therefore so 
also is Shiva as Jlva (tatha shivo’pi samkuchadrupah). — Yoginlhridaya 
Tantra. 



40 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

the third includes the five highest Tattvas called the pure 
Tattvas (Shuddha Tattva), from Shiva Tattva to Shuddha- 
vidyft. As already stated, the supreme changeless state 
(Par&samvit ) 1 is the unitary experience in which the “ I ” 
and “ This ” coalesce in unity. 

In the kinetic or Shakti aspect, as presented by the 
pure categories, experience recognizes an “ I ” and “ This,” 
but the latter is regarded, not as something opposed to and 
outside the “ I,” but as part of a one self with has two 
sides — an “ I ” (Aham) and “ This ” (Idam). The emphasis 
varies from insistence on the “ I ” to insistence on the 
“ This,” and then to equality of emphasis on the “ I ” and 
“ This ” as a preparation for the dichotomy in consciousness 
which follows. 

The pure-impure categories are intermediate between 
the pure and the impure. The essential characteristic of 
experience constituted by the impure categories is its 
dualism effected through Maya — and its limitations — the 
result of the operation of the Kanchukas. Here the “ This ” 
is not seen as part of the Self, but as opposed to and with- 
out it as an object seen outside. Each consciousness thus 
became mutually exclusive the one of the other. The states 
thus described are threefold : a transcendent mingled “ I ” 
and “ This ” in which these elements of experience are as 
such not evolved ; and a pure form of experience inter- 
mediate between the first and last, in which both the “ I ” 
and the “This” are experienced as part of the one iself ; 
and, thirdly, the state of manifestation proper, when there 
is a complete cleavage between the “ I ” and the “ This.” 
in which an outer object is presented to the consciousness 
of a knower which is other than the' subject. This last 
stage is itself twofold. In the first the Purusha experiences 

1 This is not counted as a Tattva, being Tattvfttltft. 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 


41 


a, homogeneous universe, though different* from himself as 
Prakriti ; in the second Prakriti is split up into its effects 
{Vikriti), which are Mind and Matter, and the multitudinous 
beings of the universe which these compose. Shakti as 
Prakriti first evolves mind (Buddhi, Ahamkara, Manas) 
and senses (Indriya), and then sensible matter (Bhuta) of 
fivefold form (“ether,” “air,” “fire,” “water,” “earth ”) 1 
derived from the supersensible generals of the sense- 
particulars called Tanmatra. When Shakti has entered 
the last and grossest Tattva (“ earth ”) — that is, solid 
matter — there is nothing further for Her to do. Her crea- 
tive activity then ceases, and She rests. She rests in Her 
last emanation, the “ earth ” principle. She is again coiled 
and sleeps. She is now Kundall Shakti, whose abode in 
the human body is the Earth centre or Miiladhara Chakra. 
As in the supreme state She lay coiled as the Mahakundali 
round the Supreme Shiva, so here She coils round the Sva- 
yambhu Linga in the Muladhara. This last centre or 
Chakra and the four above it are centres of the five forms 
of Matter. The sixth centre is that of Mind. Conscious- 
ness and its processes through Shakti prior to the 
appearance of Maya are realized ' in the seventh lotus 
(Sahasrara-padma) and centres intermediate between it and 
the sixth or Ajna Mind centre. 

The mantra evolution, which must be known if the 
Text is to be understood, is set forth with great clarity in 
the Sharada Tilaka, wherein it is^aid that from the Sakala 
Shiva (Shiva Tattva), who is Sat-Chit-Ananda, issued 
Shakti (Shakti Tattva) ; from the latter Nada (Sadakhya 


1 These terms have not the ordinary English meaning, but denote 
the ethereal, gaseous, igneous, liquid, and solid states of matter. In 
worship (Puja) they are symbolized by the following ingredients 
(Upachara) : Pushpa (flower), ether ; Dhupa (incense), air ; Dlpa (light), 
fire ; Naivedya (food-offering), water ; Chandana (sandal), earth. 



42 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Tattva) ; and from Nada evolved Bindu (Ishvara Tattva),' 
which, to distinguish it from the Bindu which follows, is 
called the Supreme Bindu (Para-Bindu). Nada and Bindu 
are, like all else, aspects of Power or Shakti, being those 
states of Her which are the proper conditions for (Upayoga- 
vastha) and in which She is prone to (Uchchhunavastha) 
“ creation In those Tattvas the germ of action (Kriyft 
Shakti) sprouts towards its full manifestation. 

The Tantras, in so far as they are Mantra Shatras, are 
oonoerned with Shabda or “ Sound ” a term later explained. 
Mantra is manifested Shabda. Nada, which also literally 
means “ sound,” is the first of the produced intermediate 
oausal bodies of manifested Shabda. Bindu, which has 
previously been explained, is described as the state of the 
letter Ma before manifestation, consisting of the Shiva- 
Shakti Tattva enveloped by Maya or Parama Kundalini. It 
implies both the void (Shunya) — that is, the Brahman 
state (Brahmapada) — in the empty space within the circle 
of the Bindu ; as also the Gunas which are implicitly con- 
tained in it, since it is in indissoluble union with Shakti, 
in whom the Gunas or factors constituting the material 
source of all things are contained . 1 2 The Parabindu is called 
the Ghanavastha or massive state of Shakti. It is Chid- 
ghana or massive consciousness — that is, Chit associated 
with undifferentiated (that is, Chidrupinl) Shakti, in which 
lie potentially in a mass (Ghana), though undistinguishable 
the one from the other, all the worlds and beings to be 
created. This is Parama Shiva, in whom are all the 
Devatas. It is this Bindu who is the Lord (Ishvara) whom 


1 Sachchidananda-vibhavat sakalat parameshvarat 
Aslchohhaktis tato nado n&dad bindu-samudbhavah 

(Oh. I.) 

8 See yv. 4, 87*49, S. N., post ; Todala Tantra, Ch. IV ; and Kama- 
kal&mftlinl Tantra, cited in v. 48. 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 


4ft 


some Pauranikas call Mahavishnu and others the Brahma- 
purusha . 1 As the Commentator says, it does not matter 
what He is called. He is the Lord (Ishvara) who is wor- 
shipped in secret by all Devas,* and is pointed to in different 
phases of the Chandrabindu, or Nada, Bindu, Shakti and 
Shanta of the Om and other Blja Mantras. Its abode is 
Satyaloka, whioh within the human body exists in the 
pericarp of the thousand-petalled lotus (Sahasrftra) in the 
highest cerebral centre. The Sharada 3 then says that this 
Parabindu, whose substance is Supreme Shakti, divides 
itself into three — that is, appears under a threefold aspeot. 
There are thus three Bindus, the first of which is oalled 
Bindu , 4 and the others Nada and Blja. Bindu is in the 
nature of Shiva and Blja of Shakti . 5 Nada is Shiva- Shakti 
— that is, their mutual relation or interaction (Mithah 
samavayah) * or Yoga (union), as the Prayogasara calls it . 7 

' S. N., v. 49. 

2 lb., v. 41. 

5 Ch. I. 

4 Karya, or produced, Bindu, to distinguish it from the casual 
(Karana) Bindu or Parabindu. 

" In the case of the Mantras, Blja (according to the Kulachud&mani, 
v, 58) is the first letter of a Kuta or group and what follows is Shakti. 
Thus in the Mantra “ Krim,” K is Blja and R and I are Shakti. By the 
Bija form is made (Bljena murtikalpana). 

c Parashaktimayah sakshat tridhasau bliidyate punali 
Bindur nado bijam iti tasya bhedah samlritah 
Binduh shivatmako bijam shaktir nadas tayor mithah 
Samavayah samakhy&tah sarvagamavisharadaih (Ch, I). 

This (Bindu) which is both Shiva and Shakti divides itself again 
into three parts. Bindu, Nada and Blja are its three parts. Bindu is 
Shivatmaka ( i.e Shiva), Bija is Shakti and Nada is said to be the mutual 
relation between them by all who are versed in the Agamas.” 

The first word of the third line reads better as Binduh shivatmako 
than as Bindur nad&trnako, as some MSS., such as that from which I 
Quoted in Introduction to the Mahanirvana. The Commentary to v. 40, 
also speaks of Bindu as being Nadatmaka, but explains that that 
means Shivatmaka. See also to the same effect Kriyasara. 

7 See Raghava Bhatta’s Comm, on Ch. I, v. 8 of Sharada : 

Nirgunah sagunash cheti shivo jneyah sanfitanah 



44 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


The threefold Hindu (Tribindu) is supreme (Para), subtle 
(SHkshma) and gross (Sthula). 1 Nada is thus the union of 
these two in creation. As the Text says (v. 40), it is by 
this division of Shiva and Shakti that there arises creative 
ideation (Srishti-kalpana). The causal Bindu is from the 
Shakti aspect undifferentiated Shakti (AbhedarQpa Shakti) 
with all powers (Sarvashaktimaya) ; from the Prakriti aspect 
Trigunamayl Mulaprakriti ; from the Devata aspect the un- 
manifest (Avyakta) ; from the Devi aspect Shanta. The 
three Bindus separately indicate the operations of the three 
powers of Will (Ichchha), Knowledge (Jnana), and Action 
(Kriya), and the three Gunas (Rajas, Sattva, Tamas) ; also 
the manifestation of the three Devls (Vama, Jyeshtha, 


Nirgunachchaiva samjata bindavas traya eva cha 
Brahmabindur vishnubindu rudrabindur maheshvari. 

“ The eternal Shiva is to be known both as Nirguna (without attri : 
butes) and Saguna (with attributes). From the attributeless (Nirguna), 
O Mahesvari, originated the three Bindus which are Brahma-bindu, 
Vishnu-bindu and Rudra-bindu.” 

The verse as cited in Pranatoshinl (p. 18) reads in sound line 
Nirgunashchaiva ; but this must be a mistake for Nirgunachchaiva, for 
the Bindus themselves are not Nirguna, but spring from it. 

1 Asmach cha karanabindoh sakashat kramena karyabindus tato 
nadas tato bijam iti trayam utpannam tad idam parasukshmasthula- 
padaih kathyate (Lalita-Sahasranama, Comm.). 

From this Causal (Karana) Bindu again there originated Karya 
(Effect) Bindu, and thereafter Nada and thereafter Blja — these three. 
These are spoken of as Para (transcendent), Sukshma (subtle) and 
Sthfila (gross). 

These represent the Chit, Chidachit, Achit aspects of nature. 
Chidamshah chidachinmishrah achidamshahscha tesham rupani (Bhas- 
kararaya ; Comm. Lalita). 

Kalena bhidyamanastu sa bindur bhavati tridha, 
Sthulasiikshmaparatvena tasya traividhyamishyate, 

Sa bindunadabljatva bhedena cha nigadyate. 

Ete cha karanabindvada 3 r ash chatvara adhidaivatam avyaktesh- 
varahiranyagarbhaviratsvarupah shaiitavanajyeshtharaudnrupa ambi- 
kechchhajnanakriyarapash cha (i6.). Adhibhutantu kamarupapurnagiri- 
jalandharaudy&napitharupilh. Pitharupa iti tu nityahridaye spashtam 
(i6). Citing Rahasyagama. 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 45 

Raudrl) and the three Devatas (Brahma, Vishnu, Rudra) 
who spring from them . 1 It is said in the Prayogasara and 
Sharada that Raudrl issued from Bindu, Jyeshtha from 
Nada, and Varna from Blja. From these came Rudra, 
Vishnu, Brahma, which are in the nature of Jnana, Kriya, 
Ichchha, and Moon, Sun and Fire . 2 The three Blndus are 
known as Sun (Ravi), Moon (Chandra), and Fire (Agni), 
terms constantly appearing in the works here translated. 

In Sun there are Fire and Moon . 3 It is known as 
Mishra Bindu, and in the form of such is not different ' 
from Paramasliiva, and is Kamakala . 4 Kamakala is the 


1 Ichchha, Rajas, Varna, Brahma, PashyantTshabda, 

Jnana, Sattva, Jyeshtha, Vishnu, Madhyam&shabda , 

Kriya, Tamas, Raudrl, Rudra, Vaikharlshabda. 

See Comm. 22 Shloka, Kamakalavilasa, Samketa, I, Yoginlhri- 
daya Tantra, and Saubhagya-sudhodaya, cited in Samketa 2 of the last 
Tantra. As the Rudra Yamala says (II. 2), the three Devas are aspects 
of the One. 

Eka murtistrayo devil brahmavishnumaheshvarah 
Mama vigrahasamklipta srijaty avati hanti cha. 

But see next note. 

8 Cited in Pranatoshim, p. 8. 

Raudrl bindos tato nadaj jyeshtha bljad ajSyata 
Varna tabhyah samutpannah rudra-brahma-ramadhipah 
Te jnanechehha-kriyatmano vahmndvarka-svarupinah. 

Ichchha kriya tatha jnanam gaurl brahmlti vaishnavl 
Tridha shaktih sthita yatra tatparam jyotir om iti. 

As the author of the Pranatoshini (p. 9) says, the names are not 
to be read in the order of words (Pratishabdam), otherwise Jnana 
would he associated with Vaishnavl, but according to the facts (Yatha- 
sambhavam) as stated in the next. According to this account it would 
seem that Jnana Sattva, and Kriya Tamas in note I, should be 
transposed. 

* It is Agnishomamayah. See Tlka, vv. 6, 7, of Kamakalavilasa. 
See my “ Garland of betters ", 

4 That is, Kamayukta Kala, Kala with creative will (here its 
manifestation). 

Mahabindu = Paramashiva = Mishrabindu == Ravi= Kamakala. 
Ravl-paramashivabhiima mishrabindurupa Kamakala. 



46 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Triangle of Divine Desire formed by the three Bindus — 
that is, their collectivity (Samashtirupa ). 1 This Kamakalfi. 
is the root (Mala) of all Mantra. Moon (Soma, Chandra) 
is Shiva Bindu, and white (Sita Bindu) ; Fire (Agni) is 
Shaktibindu, and red (Shonabindu) ; Sun is a mixture of 
the two. Fire, Moon and Sun are the Ichchha, Jnana, 
Kriya Shaktis (Will, Knowledge, Action). On the material 
plane the white Bindu assumes the form of semen (Shukra), 
and the red Bindu of menstrual fluid (Rajasphala, Shonita). 
' Mahabindu is the state before the manifestation of Prakriti . 3 
All three Bindus — that is, the Kamakala — are Shakti, 
though one may indicate predominantly the Shiva, the 
other the Shakti aspect. Sometimes Mishra Bindu is called 
Shakti Tattva, to denote the supremacy of Shakti, and 
sometimes Shiva Tattva, to denote the supremacy of the 
possessor of power (Shaktiman). It is of coupled form 
(Yamalarupa). There is no Shiva without Shakti, nor 
Shakti without Shiva . 3 To separate ‘.them is as impossible 
as to separate the moving wind from the steadfast ether 
in which it blows. In the one Shiva- Shakti there is a 
union (Maithuna ), 5 the thrill of which is Nada, whence 
Mahabindu is born, which itself becomes threefold 

' As Ravi or Surya (Sun) Bindu is in the form of Parashiva, and 
in it are the other two Bindus, it is the Samashtirupa of them, and is 
thus called Kamakala. 

4 This, which is 0, becomes f t — that is, Chandra, Ravi and Ra 
(lire). 

3 Tayor yad yamalam rupam sa sanghatta iti smritah 

Anandashaktih saivokta yato vishvam visrijyati 
Na Shivah Shaktirahito na Shaktih Shivavarjita. 

(Tantnlloka-Ahnika, 8.) 

“ The coupled form of these two (Shiva-Shakti) is called junction. 
That is called the blissful Shakti from which creation arises. There 
is no Shiva without Shakti, nor Shakti without Shiva.” 

4 16., 8 Ahn. 

‘ On the physical plane this word* denotes sexual union. 



BODILESS CONSCIOUSNESS 


47 


(Tribindu), which is KamakalaJ It is said in the Sharada- , 
Tilaka that on the “ bursting” or differentiation of 
the Supreme Bindu there was unmanifested “ sound ” 
(Shabda ). 2 This unmanifested Shabda is through action 
(Kriya Shakti) the source of the manifested Shabda and 
Artha described later . 3 The Brahman as the source of 
language (Shabda) and ideas on one hand, and the objects 
(Artha) they denote on the other, is called Shabdabrahman^ 
or, to use a Western term, the Logos . 4 From this differ- 
entiating Bindu in the form of Prakriti are evolved the 
Tattvas of Mind and Matter in all their various forms, as 
also the Lords of the Tattvas (Tattvesha) — that is, their 
directing intelligences — Shambhu.’ the presiding Devata 

1 In the Shrlchakra this is in the region of Baindava Chakra, the 
highest, followed by the triangular Chakra, which is KameshvarT, 
BhagamalinI and Vajreshvarl. See further as to Kamakala, post . 

2 Bhidyamanat parad bindor avyaktatmaravo’ bhavat 
ShabdabrahmetT tam prahuh sarvagamavisharadah. 

(Sharada Tilaka, Ch. I.) 

It will be observed that in this verse the first Bindu is called 
Para and to make this clear the author of the Pranatoshini adds the 
following note : 

Paradbindor ityanena shaktyavastharupo yah prathamo bindus 
tasmat (By Parabindu is meant the first Bindu, which is a state of 
Shakti.) See “ Garland of Letters 

* See Raghava Bhatta, Comm. Ch. I, v. 12, Sharada, and the same. 
Kriy&shaktipradhanayah shabda-shabdarthakarauam 
Prakriter bindurupinyah shabdabrahma, bhavat param. 

As the Kularnava Tantra (Khanda 5, Ullasa I) says, the one 
Brahman has twofold aspects as Parambrahman (transcendent) 
and Shabdabrahman (immanent). Shabdabrahmaparambrahmabhedena 
brahmanor dvaivfdhyam uktam. (And see also Shrlmad Bhagavata, 6 
Skandha, 16 Ch.) Tena shabd&rtharupavishishtasya shabdabrahmatvam 
avadharitam (Pranatoshini, 10). 

4 It is said in the Pranatoshini, p. 22, that Shambhu is the “ asso- 
ciate of time’* (Kalabandhu), because Kala in the form of Nada assists 
in giving birth to Him and the other Devatas. 

6 Atha bindvatmanah Shambhoh kalabandhoh kalatmanah 
Ajayata. jagat-sakshl sarvavyapl Sadashivah 
Sadashivat bhaved Ishas tato Rudrasamudbhavah 
Tato Vishnus tato Brahma tesham evam samudbhavah t 

(Sharada, Ch. I, vv. 15, 16.) 



48 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


over the Ajn&‘ Chakra, the centre of the mental faculties j 
and Sad&shiva, Isha, Rudra, Vishnu, Brahma, the Devatas 
of the five forms of Matter, concluding with Prithivi 
(“ earth ”) in the Muladhara centre, wherein the oreative 
Shakti, having finished Her work, again rests, and is called 
Kundalinl. 

Just as the atom consists of a static centre round which 
moving forces revolve, so in the human body Kundalinl 
in the “ Earth-Chakra ” is the statio centre (Kendra) round 
which She in kinetic aspect as the forces of the body works. 
The whole-body as Shakti is in ceaselss movement. Kundalinl 
Shakti is the immobile support of all these operations. 
When She is aroused and Herself moves upwards, She 
withdraws with and into Herself these moving Shaktis, 
and then unites with Shiva in the Sahasrara Lotus. The 
process upward (evolution) is the reverse of the involution 
above described. The Worlds are dissolved (Laya) from 
time to time for all beings. The perfected Yogi dissolves 
the Universe for all time for himself. Yoga is thus Laya. 

Before proceeding to a description of the Chakras it is, 
firstly, necessary to describe more fully the constituents of 
the body — that is, Power manifest as the Tattvas men- 
tioned, extending from Prakriti to Prithivi. It is of these 
Tattvas that the Chakras are centres. Secondly, an ex- 
planation is required of the doctrine of “ Sound ” (Shabda), 
which exists in the body in the three inner states (Para, 
Pashyanti, Madhyama) and is expressed in uttered speech 
(Vaikharl). This will help the reader to an understanding 
of the meaning of Mantra or manifested Shabda, and of 
the “ Garland of Letters ” which is distributed throughout 
the six bodily centres. 

Here they are mentioned in connection with the form creation 
(Arthasrishti). The PrSnatoshinl : Atra arthasrishtau punah rudra, - 
dln&m utpattistu artharflpena. Parvam teshfim utpattih shabdarupena, 
ato na p&unarnktyam iti kalS. may a tadatmanas tadutpannatvfit. 



Ill 


EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (JlVATMA) 

Consciousness as one with dual aspect is Transcendent 
and Immanent. The Transcendental Consciousness is 
called the Paramatma. The consciousness which is embo- 
died in Mind and Matter is the Jlvatma. In the first ease 
Consciousness is formless and in the second it is with form. 
Form is derivable from Consciousness as Power (Shakti). 
One of these powers is Prakriti Shakti — that is, the 
immediate source of Mind and Matter. The corresponding 
static aspect is called Purusha. This term is sometimes 
applied to the Supreme, as in the name Brahmapurusha , 1 
Here is meant a centre of limited consciousness — limited 
by the associated Prakriti and its products of Mind and 
Matter. Popularly by Purusha, as by Jiva, is meant 
sentient being with body and senses — that is, organic life.* 
Man is a microcosm (Kshudrahmanda ). 3 The world is the 
maorocosm (Brahmanda). There are numberless worlds, 
each of which is governed by its own Lords, though there 
is but one great Mother of all whom these Lords themselves 

1 So it is said Purushan na param kincliit sa kashthft sil para gatih. 

* Dehendriyadiyuktah chetano jivah. The Kularnava Tantra, I. 
7-9, describes the Jlvas as parts of Shiva enveloped in Maya (which 
thus constitutes them as separate entities), like sparks issuing from 
fire — an old Vedftntic idea. As, however, Jiva in M&yftv&dfi Vedanta 
is really Brahman (Jlvo brahmaiva naparah) there is according to such 
doctrine in reality no independent category called Jiva (Nahi jlvo n&ma 
kashchit svatantrah padarthah). Atma is called_ Jiva when with 
Upadhi — that is, body, etc. Philosophically, all Atma with Upadhi 
(attribute) is Jiva. 

* “ Little egg (spheroid) of Brahma.’’ 



50 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

worship, placing* on their heads the dust of Her feet. In 
everything there is all that is in anything else. There is 
thus nothing in the universe which is not in the human 
body. There is no need to throw one’s eyes into the 
heavens to find God. He is within, being known as the 
“ Ruler within ” (Antaryamin) or “Inner self ” (Antaratma). 1 
All else is His power as Mind and Matter. Whatever of 
Mind or Matter exists in the universe exists in some form 
or manner in the human body. So as already stated it is 
said in the Vishvasara Tantra : “ What is here is there. 
What is not here is nowhere.’’ 2 In the body there are the 
Supreme Shiva- Shakti who pervade all things. In the 
body is Prakriti Shakti and all Her products. In fact, the 
body is a vast magazine of Power (Shakti). The object 
of the Tantrik rituals is to raise these various forms of 
power to their full expression. This is the work of 
Sadhana. The Tantras say that it is in the power of man 
to accomplish all he wishes if he centres his will thereon. 
And this must, according to their doctrine, be so, for man 
is in his essence one with the Supreme Lord (Ishvara) and 
Mother (Ishvarl) and the more he manifests Spirit the 
greater is he endowed with its powers. The centre and 
root of all his powers as Jlva is KundalinI Shakti. The 
centre in which the quiescent consciousness is realized 
is the upper brain or Sahasrara, whence in the case of 
the Yogi, the Prana escapes through the fissure called 
Brahmarandhra at death. (See Plate VIII.) T he Mind 

1 The Jn&n&rnava Tantra (XXI. 10) says that “ antah ” implies 
secret and subtle, for the Atma, fine like an atom, is within everything. 
This is the bird Hamsah which disports in the Lake of Ignorance. On 
dissolution, when it is Samh&rarupf, Atma is revealed. The Mother is 
the Antaryftmin of the Devatfts also, such as the five Shivas, Brahma, 
etc., for She is Parabrahm&nandarup&, Paraprakasharttpft, Sadrupa and 
Chidrtipa and thus directs them (Trishatl, II. 47). 

* Yad ih&sti tad anyatra yan neh&sti na tat kvachit — an Indian ver- 
sion of the Hermetic maxim, “ As above, so below ”. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMA) 61 

and Body are e ffects of Prakriti. Both having the same 
origin, each as suoh, whether as Mind or Matter, are 
“ material ” things — that is, they are of the nature of 
forces , 1 and limited instruments through which Spirit or 
Consciousness functions, and thus, though itself unlimited, 
appears to be limited. The light in a lantern is unaffected, 
but its manifestation to those without is affected by the 
material through which the light shines. Prakriti. how- 
ever, is _ not scientific Matter. The latter is on ly i ts 
grosse st Product, and has as such no lasting existence. 
Prakriti is the ultimate “ material ” cause of both Mind 
and Matter, and the whole universe which they compose. 
It is the mysterious fructescent womb (Yoni) whence 
all is born . 2 Wha t She is in Herself cannot be realized. 
She js only known by Her effects . 3 * * * * Though Mulapra- 
kriti is the material cause of the world from which it 


1 So Herbert Spencer holds, in conformity with Indian doctrine, 
that the universe, whether physical or psychical, is a play of force 
which in the case of matter we as the self or mind experience as object. 
As to Mind and Matter see my volumes so entitled. 

8 The word has been said to be derived from Kri and the affix A 'tin, 
which is added to express bhciva , or the abstract idea, and sometimes 
the Karma, or object of the action, corresponding with the Greek affix 
sis. Ktin inflected in the nominative becomes tih, tis. Prakriti there- 
fore has been said to correspond with <j>vcrt,s> (nature) of the Greeks 
(Banerjee, “ Dialogues on Hindu philosophy,” 24). It is also called 

Pradh&na. Pra+dha-banat 8 * Pradhatte sarvam atmani, or that which 
contains all things in itself, the source and receptacle of all matter and 
form. Pradhana also literally means “ chief ” (substance), for accord- 
ing to Samkhya it is the real creator. 

* See the splendid Hymn to Prakriti in Prapanchasara Tantra, Vol. 

Ill, “ Tantrik Texts What can be seen by the eyes can be defined, 

but not She. “ It cannot be seen by the eyes.” Kena Up., 1-6 : “ Yat 
chakshusha na pashyati.” She is beyond the senses. Hence the 
Trishati addresses the Devi (II. 44) as tdrigityavinirdeshya (who is 
not to be particularly pointed out as being this or that). See Sharada 
Tilaka, Vamakeshvara, and Vishvasara Tantras, cited in Pranatoshini, 
p. 24. She is ineffable and inconceivable : with form (Yikriti), yet 
Herself (Mulaprakriti) formless. Mahanirv&na Tantra, IV. 33-85. 

Thus Sayana (Rig-Veda, X. 129, 2) says that, whilst Maya is Anirvachya 

(indefinable), since it is neither Sat nor Asat, Chit is definable as Sat. 



62 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


arises , 1 ultimately, as it is in itself (Svarupa), Prakriti 
Shakti, like all else, is Consciousness, for Consciousness 
as Power and static Consciousness are one . 2 Conscious- 
ness, however, assumes the rdle of Prakriti — that is, 
creative power — when evolving the universe. Her sub- 
stance consists of the Gunas or modes of this natural 
principle which are called Sattva, Rajas, Tamas . 5 The 
general action of Shakti is to veil or contract consciousness* 
Prakriti, in fact, is a finitising principle. To all seeming, 
it finitises and makes form in the infinite formless Con- 
sciousness . 4 So do all the Gunas. But one does it less- 
and another more. The first is Sattvaguna the function of 
which, relative to the other Gunas, is to reveal conscious- 
ness. The greater the presence or power of Sattvaguna, 
the greater the approach to the condition of Pure Con- 
sciousness. Similarly, the function of Tamas Guna is to 
suppress or veil consciousness. The function of Rajas 
Guna is to make active — that is, it works on Tamas to 
suppress Sattva, or on Sattva to suppress Tamas . 5 The 

' Kriteh prarambho yasyah. That is, by which creation (Srishti), 
maintenance (Sthiti), and dissolution (Laya) are done (Prakriyate 
k&ry&dikam anayft). 

* See Sadflnanda’s Comm, on 4th Mantra of Isha Up. “ The 
changeless Brahman which is consciousness appears in creation as 
Mfty& which is Brahman (Brahmamayi) consciousness (Chidrupinl), 
holding in Herself unbeginning (Anadi) Karmik tendencies (Karma- 
samskftra) in the form of the three Gunas. Hence She is Gunamayl 
despite being Chinmayl. And as there is no second principle these 
Gunas are Chit-Shakti.” 

* The three Gunas are Prakriti. The Devi, as in the form of Pra- 
kriti, is called Trigunatmikft (who is composed of the three Gunas). All 
nature which issues from Her, the Great Cause (Mahtik&nmas var upa) , 
is also composed of the same Gunas in different states of relation. 

4 See an article of mine in the Indian Philosophical Review, 
“ Shakti and Mftyft,” reproduced in 8rd Ed. of “ Shakti and Shakta 

4 In the words of Professor P. Mukhyopadhyaya, dealing with the 
matter monistically, these are the three elements of the Life Stress 
on the surface of pure Consciousness — namely, presentation (Sattva), 
movement (Bajas), and veiling (Tamas), which are the three elements 
of creative evolution (“ The Patent Wonder,” p. 19). 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMl) 


53 


object and the effect of evolution, as it is ©f all Sadhana, is 
to develop Sattvaguna. , The Gun^s always co-exist in every- 
thing, but variously predominate. The lower descent is 
made in the scale of nature the more Tamas Guna prevails, 
as in so-called “ brute substance,” which has been supposed 
to be altogether inert. The higher the ascent is made the 
more Sattva prevails. The truly Sattvik man is a divine 
man, his temperament being called in the Tantras Divya- 
bhava . 1 Through Sattvaguna passage is made to Sat, 
which is Chit or pure Consciousness, by the SiddhayogI, 
who is identified with Pure Spirit. 

Prakriti exists in two states, in one of which (so far as 
any effect is concerned ) 2 She is quiescent. The Gunas are 
then in stable equilibrium, and not affecting one another. 
There is no manifestation. This is the unmanifest (Avyakta), 
the potentiality of natural power (natura naturans ). 3 When, 
however, owing to the ripening of Karma, the time for 
creation takes place, there is a stirring of the Gunas (Guna- 
kshoba) and an initial vibration (Spandana), known in the 
Mantra Shastra as Cosmic Sound (Sabdabrahman). The 
Gunas affect one another, and the universe made of these 
three Gunas is created. The products of Prakriti thus 
evolved are called Vikara or Vikriti . 4 Vikriti is manifest 


’ Those in whom Rajas Guna is predominant, and who work that 
Guna to suppress Tamas, are Vlra (hero), and the man in whom the 
Tamas Guna prevails is a Pashu (animal). ' 

s The three Gunas are essentially changeful. Naparinamya 
kshanamapyavatishthante gunah (the gunas do not remain for a 
moment without movement). Vachaspati Misra : Siimkhya-Tattva- 
Kaumudi, 16th Kftrika. The movement is twofold : (a) Sarupaparinama 
or Sadrishatarinama in disolution, and ( b ) Virupaparinama in evolution. 

3 This is, in fact the definition of Prakriti as opposed to Vikriti, 
Sattvarajastamasam samyavastha prakritih. Samkhya-KanmudI Karika : 
3 ; Samkhya-Pravachana, I. 61. 

4 Vikara or Vikriti is something which is really changed, as milk 
into curd. The latter is a Vikriti of the former. Vivarta is apparent 



54 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


(Vyakta) Prakriti (natura naturata). In the infinite_ and 
formless Prakriti there appears ja strai n or stress a ppearing 
*as~Torm. On the relaxation of this strain in dissolution 
forms disappear in formless Prakriti, who as manifested 
jpower (Shakti) re-enters the Brahman-Cousciousness;- 
These Yikritis are the Tattvas issuing from Prakriti , 1 the 
Avidya Shakti — namely, the different categories of Mind, 
Senses and Matter. 

The bodies are threefold : causal (Karanasharlra, or 
Parasharira, as the Shaivas call it), subtle (Sukshmasharira), 
and gross (Sthulashaiira) These bodies in which the Atma 
is enshrined are evolved from Prakriti Shakti, and are con- 
stituted of its various productions. They form the taber- 
nacle of the Spirit (Atma), which as the Lord is “ in all 
beings, and who from within all beings controls them 
The body of the Lord (Ishvara) is pure Sattvaguna (Shud- 
dhasattvagunapradhana ). 3 This is the aggregate Prakriti 

but unreal change, such as the appearance of what was and is a rope 
as a snake. The Vedantasara thus musically defines the two terms : 
Satattvato’ nyathftpratha vikara ityudlritah 
Atattvato’ nyathapratha vivarta ityudlritah. 

Under Y. 40 of the Shatchakra the commentator speaks of Vikriti 
as a reflection (Pratibimbata) of Prakriti. It is Prakriti modified. 

1 As already explained, there are Tattvas which precede the 
Purusha-Prakriti Tattvas. Etymologically Tattva is an abstract deriva- 
tion from pronoun “ Tat ’’ (that), or Thatness, and may, it has been 
pointed out, be compared with the Htecceitas of Duns Scotus. The 
Tattva in a general sense is Truth or Brahman. But in the Samkhya 
it has a technical sense, being employed as a concrete term to denote 
the eight “ producers,” the sixteen “ productions,” and the twenty-fifth 
Tattva or Purusha. 

* Yah sarveshu bhuteshu tishthan ; yah sarvani bhutany antaro 
'yamayati (Brih. Up., iii. 7, 15). The Jjva is in Mayav&da thus 
Chaitanyarupa with the Upadhi ajnfma and its effects, mind and body, 
• and which is Abhimanin, or attributor to itself, of the waking, dream- 
. ing and slumber states. 

8 Shamkara’s Bhashya, II. 8-45. The Jlva is Chaitanya distinguish- 
ed by Upftdhi. The latter term means distinguishing property, attri- 
bute, body, etc., and here body (Deha), senses (Indriya), mind (Manas, 
Buddhi), etc. (ib., I. 2-6). 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMA.) 


55 


or Maya of Him or Her as the Creator-Creatrix of all things. 
Jiva, as the Kularnava Tantra 1 says, is bound by the bonds 
(Pasha) ; Sadashiva is free of them . 2 The former is Pa shu, 
and the latter Pash upat i, or Lord of Pashu s (Jlvas ). That 
is, Ishvarl 3 is not affected by Her own Maya. She 'is all- 
seeing, all-know ing, all-powerful. Ishvara thus rules Maya, 
Jiva is ruled by. it. From this standpoint the Mother and 
Her child the Jiva are not, thus, the same. For the latter 
is a limited consciousness subject to error, and governed by 
that Maya-shakti of Hers which makes the world seem to 
be different from what it in its essence is. The body of 
Jiva is therefore' known as the individual Prakriti or Avid ya, 
in w hic h t here is impure Sattva, and Rajas and Tamag. 
(Malinasattvagunapradhana). But in the Mother are all 
creatures. And so in the Trishatl 1 the Devi is called “ in 
the form of one and many letters ” (Ekanekaksharakriti). 
As Eka She is the Ajnana which is pure Sattva and attri- 
bute (Upadhi) of Ishvara ; as Aneka She is Upadhi or 
vehicle of Jiva. Whilst Ishvara is one, Jlvas are many , 5 
according to the diversity in the nature of the individual 
Prakriti caused by the appearance of Rajas and Tamas in 
it in differing proportions. The Atma appears as Jiva in the 
various forms of the vegetable, animal, and human worlds. 

The first or Causal Body of any particular Jiva, there- 
fore, is that Prakriti (Avidya Shakti) which is the cause 
of the subtle and gross bodies of this Jiva which are 
evolved from it. This body lasts until Liberation, when 

' Tantrik Texts, Vol. V. 

4 Pashabaddho bhavoj jlvah pasliamuktah sadaskivah (Kularnava 
Tantra, IX. 48), upon which the author of the PranatoshinI, who cites 
this passage, says: “Thus the identity of Shiva and Jiva is shown ” 
(iti shivajlvayor aikyam uktam). 

3 Feminine of Ishvara. Some worship Shiva, some Devi. Both 
are one. 

' Comm, by Shamkara on v. 28. 

' According to another VedRntic view there is only one Jiva. 



66 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

the Jlvatma ceases to be such and is the Paramatma or 
bodiless Spirit (Videha-mukti). The Jlva exists in this 
body during dreamless sleep (Sushupti). 

The second and third bodies are the differentiations 
through evolution of the causal body, from which first 
proceeds the subtle body, and from the latter is produced 
the gross body. 

The Subtle Body, which is also called Linga Sharira 
or Puryashtaka, is constituted of the first evolutes (Yikriti) 
from the causal Prakritic body — namely, the Mind (Antah- 
karana), the internal instrument, together with the external 
instruments (Bahyakarana), or the Senses (Indriya), and 
their supersensible objects (Tanmatra). 

The third or Gross Body is the body of “ matter ” 
which is the gi’oss particular object of the senses 1 derived 
from the supersensibles. 

Shortly, the subtle body may be described as the 
Mental Body, as that which succeeds is called the gross 
body of Matter. Mind is abstractedly considered by itself, 
that is, as dissociated from Consciousness which is never 
the case, an unconscious force which breaks up into parti- 
culars the Experience-Whole which is Chit. It is called 
the “ working within ” or “ internal instrument ” (Antah- 
karana), and is one only, but is given different names to 
denote the diversity of its functions . 2 The Samkhya thus 
speaks of Buddhi, Ahamkara, Manas, to which the Vedanta 
adds Chitta, being different aspects or attributes (Dharma) 
of Mind as displayed in the psychical processes by which 
the Jlva knows, feels and wills. 

These may be considered from the point of view of 
evolution — that is, according to the sequence in which the 

1 The definition of a Bhata (sensible matter) is that which can be 
seen by the outer organ, such as the eye, ear, and so forth. 

* Sftmkhya-Pravachana-Satra, II. 16. See my vol. on “ Mind ”. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMl) 


57 


limited experience of the Jlva is evolved— or from that in 
which they are regarded after creation, when the experience 
of concrete sense objects has been had. According to the 
former aspect, Buddhi or Mahat Tattva is the state of mere 
presentation ; consciousness of being only, without thought 
of “ I ” (Ahamkara), and unaffected by sensations of parti- 
cular objects (Manas and Indriyas). It is thus the im- 
personal Jlva Consciousness. Ahamkara, of which Buddhi 
is the basis, is the personal consciousness which realizes 
itself as a particular “ I,” the experience! - . The Jlva, in the 
order of creation, first experiences in a vague general way 
without consciousness of the self, like the experience which 
is had immediately on waking after sleep. It then refers 
this experience to the limited self, and has the conscious- 
ness “ I am So-and-so ”. 

Manas is the desire which follows on such experience, 
-and the Senses (Indriya) and their objects are the means 
whereby that enjoyment is had which is the end of all will 
to life. Whilst, however, in the order of evolution Buddhi 
is the first principle, in the actual working of the Antah- 
karana after creation has taken place, it comes last. 

It is more convenient, therefore, to commence with the 
sense-objects and the sensations they evoke. The experi- 
eneer is affected by Matter in five different ways, giving 
rise in him to the sensations of hearing, touch and feel , 1 * * * * * * 
colour and form a and sight, taste, and smell . 8 But sensible 

1 See post : also my volume on “ Matter 

* Rupa is primarily colour. By means of colour form is perceived, 

for a perfectly colourless thing is not perceivable by the gross senses. 

J The other objects of the senses are the speakable, prehensible, 

approachable, excitable (that which is within the genitals), and excret- 
able. “ Each sense is suited to a particular class of influences — touch 
to solid pressure, hearing to aerial pressure, taste to liquid, light to 

luminous rays.” (Bain : “ Mind and body,” p. 22, 1892.) 

See S&mkhya-Pravachana-Sutra, II. 26-28, 40 ; Samkhya-Tattva- 

KaumudT, 27 K&rikft. 



58 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


perception exists only in respect of particular objects and 
is thus perceived in its variations only. But there exist 
also general elements of the particulars of sense-perception. 
That general ideas may be formed of particular sense- 
objects, indicates, it is said , 1 their existence in some parts 
of the Jiva’s nature as facts of experience ; otherwise the 
generals could not be formed from the particulars given by 
the senses as the physical facts of experience. This general 
is called a Tanmatra, which means the “ mere thatness,” 
or abstract quality, of an object. Thus, the Tanmatra of 
a sound (Shabdatanmatra) is not any particular sensible 
form of it, but the “thatness ” of that sound — that is, that 
sound apart from any of its particular variations stated. 
The Tanmatras have, therefore, aptly been called the 
“generals of the sense particulars” 2 — that is, the general 
elements of sense perception. These necessarily come into 
existence when the senses (Indriya) are produced ; for a sense 
necessitates something which can be the object of sensation. 
These Sukshma (subtle) Bhiitas, as they are also called, are 
not ordinarily themselves perceived, for they are supersen- 
sible (Atindriya). Their existence is only mediately perceived 
through the gross particular objects of which they are the 
generals, and which proceed from them. They can be the 
objects of immediate (Pratyksha) perception only to Yogis . 3 
They are, like the gross sense-objects derived from them, 
five in number namely, sound (Shabdatanmatra), touch and 
feel 4 (Sparshatanmatra), colour and form (Rupatanmatra), 
flavour (Rasatanmatra), and odour (Gandhatanmatra) as 


1 See for this in greater detail J. C. Chatterji’s “ Kashmir 
Shaivaism,” 125. 

* Ib„ see post. 

* So it is said T&ni vastuni tanmStr&dlni pratyaksha-vishayftni 
(that is, to Yogis). 

* Whereby the thermal quality of things is perceived. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jTvXTMA) 59 

universals. Each of these evolves from that which pre- 
cedes it . 1 

Sensations aroused by sense-objects are experienced 
by means of the outer instruments (Bahyakarana) of the 
Lord of the body, or senses (Indriya), which are the gateways 
through which the Jlva receives worldly experience. These 
are ten in number, and are of two classes : viz., the five 
organs of sensation or perception (Jnanendriya), or ear 
(hearing), skin (feeling by touch), eye (sight), tongue (taste), 
and nose (smell) ; and the five organs of action (Karmendri- 
ya), which are the reactive response which the self makes to 
sensation — namely, mouth, hands, legs, anus, and genitals, 
whereby speaking, grasping, walking, excretion, and procrea- 
tion are performed, and through which effect is given to the 
Jlva’s desires. These are afferent and efferent impulses 
respectively. 

The Indriya, or sense, is not the physical organ, but 
the faculty of mind operating through that organ as its 
instrument. The outward sense-organs are the usual means 
whereby on the physical plane the functions of hearing and 
so forth, are accomplished. But as they are mere instru- 
ments and their power is derived from the mind, a Yogi 
may accomplish by the mind only all that may be done by 
means of these physical organs without the use of the latter. 

With reference to their physical manifestations, but 
not as they are in themselves, the classes into which the 
Indriyas are divided may be described as the sensory and 
motor nervous systems. As the Indriyas are not the physi- 
cal organs, such as ear, eye, and so forth, but faculties of 
the Jlva desiring to know and act by their aid, the Yogi 
claims to accomplish without the use of the latter all that 

1 In a general way the last four correspond with the Vaisheshika 
Param&nus. There are differences, however. Thus, the latter are 
eternal (Nitya) and do not proceed from one another. 



60 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


is ordinarily done by their means. So a hypnotized subject 
can perceive things, even when no use of the special physi- 
cal organs ordinarily necessary for the purpose is made . 1 
The fact of there being a variety of actions does not neces- 
sarily involve the same number of Indriyas. An act of 
“ going ” done by means of the hand (as by a cripple) is to be 
regarded really as an operation of the Indriya of feet (Paden- 
driya), even though the hand is the seat of the Indriya for 
handling . 2 By the instrumentality of these Indriyas things 
are perceived and action is taken with reference to them. 
The Indriyas are not, however, sufficient in themselves for 
this purpose. In the first place, unless attention (Alochana) 
co-operates there is no sensation at all. To be “ absent- 
minded ” is not to know what is happening . 3 Attention 
must therefore co-operate with the senses before the latter 
can “ give ” the experiencer anything at all . 4 Nextly, at one 
and the same moment the experiencer is subject to receive 
a countless number of sensations which come to and press 
upon him from all sides. If any of these is to be brought into 
the field of consciousness, it must be selected to the exclusion 
of others. The process of experience is the selection of a special 
section from out of a general whole, and then being engaged 
on it, so as to make it one’s own, either as a particular object 
of thought or a particular field of operation . 3 Lastly, as 
Western psychology holds, the senses give not a completed 
whole, but a manifold — the manifold of ' sense. These 

1 See “ Kashmir Shaivaism,” by J. C. Chatterji, p. 120. Thus Pro- 

fessor Lombroso records the case of a woman who, being blind, read 
with the tip of her ear, tasted with her knees, and smelt with her toes. 

3 TantrasSra Ahnika, 8. 

3 See “ Kashmir Shaivaism,” p. 112. 

* So in the Brihad&ranayaka Upanishad, I. 3-27, it is said : “ My 
Manas (mind) was diverted elsewhere. Therefore I did not hear.” 

3 So, lh the Text here translated post, Manas is spoken of as a door- 
keeper who lets some enter, and keeps others outside. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIViTMl) 


61 


“ points of sensation ” must be gathered together and made 
into a whole. These three functions of attention, selection, 
and synthesizing the discrete manifold of the senses, are 
those belonging to that aspect of the mental body, the in- 
ternal agent (Antahkarana), called Manas . 1 Just as Manas 
is necessary to the senses (Indriya), the latter are necessary 
for Manas. For the latter is the seat of desire, and cannot 
exist by itself. It is the desire to perceive or act, and 
therefore exists in association with the Indriyas. 

Manas is thus the leading Indriya, of which the senses 
are powers. For without the aid and attention of Manas 
the other Indriyas are incapable of performing their respect- 
ive offices ; and as these Indriyas are those of perception 
and action, Manas, which co-operates with both, is said to 
partake of the character of both cognition and action. 

Manas, through association with the eye or other sense, 
becomes manifold, being particularized or differentiated by 
its co-operation with that particular instrument, which 
cannot fulfil its functions except in conjunction with Manas. 

Its function is said to be Samkalpa-Vikalpa, that is, 
selection and rejection from the material provided by the 
Jnanendriya. When, after having been brought into con- 
tact with the sense-objects, it selects the sensation which 
is to be presented to the other faculties of the mind, there 
is Samkalpa. The activity of Manas, however, is itself 
neither intelligent result nor moving feelings of pleasure or 
pain. It has not an independent power to reveal itself to 
the experiencer. Before- things can be so revealed and 
realized as objects of perception, they must be made subject 
to the operation of Ahamkara and Buddhi, without whose 
intelligent light they would be dark forms unseen and 

1 See “ Kashmir Shaivaism,” pp. 94-114. This is the Samkhyan 
and Vedantic definition. According to the Vaisheshika, Manas is that 
which gives knowledge of pleasure, pain, and Jlvatmft (I am So-and-so). 



62 


THE 8IX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


unknown by the experience!, and the efforts of Manas but 
blind gropings in the dark. Nor can the images built up 
by Manas affect of themselves the experience! so as to move 
him in any way until and unless the experience! identifies 
himself with them by Ahamkara — that is, by making them 
his own in feeling and experience. Manas, being thus an 
experience of activity in the dark, unseen and unrevealed by 
the light of Buddhi and not moving the experience!* until 
he identifies himself with it in feeling, is one in which the 
dark veiling quality (Tamas guna) of Shakti Prakriti is the 
most manifest . 1 This Guna also prevails in the Indriyas 
and the subtle objects of their operation (Tanmatra). 

Ahamkara the “ I-maker ” is self-arrogation 53 — that is, 
the realization of oneself as the personal “ I ” or self-con- 
sciousness of worldly experience in which the Jlva thinks 
of himself as a particular person who is in relation with 
the objects of his experience. It is the power of self- 
arrogation whereby all that constitutes man is welded into 
One Ego, and the percept or concept is referred to that 
particular thinking subject and becomes part of its experi- 
ence. When, therfore, a sensation is perceived by Manas 
and determined by Buddhi, Ahamkara says : “ It is I who 
perceive it.” 

This is the “ I ” of phenomenal consciousness as distin- 
guished from “ this ” the known. Buddhi functions with 
its support . 3 Buddhi considered with relation to the other 
faculties of experience is that aspect of the Antahkarana 


1 See “ Kashmir Shaivaism,” p. 116, where the author cites the 
dictum of Kant that perceptions (Anschauung) without conceptions 
are blind. 

1 Abhim&na. Abhimano’hamkftrah. See Samkhya-Tattva-Kaumudi, 
24 K fi r ika, and Bk. II, Sutra 16, Sftmkhya-Pravachana-Sutra. 

? Tam ahamk&ram upajlvya hi buddhir adhyavasyati (Samkhya- 
Tattva-Kaumudr, supra. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMl) 63 

which determines (Adhyavasayatmika buddhih ). 1 “ A man 
is said to determine (Adhyavasyati) who, having perceived 
(Manas), and thought, ‘I am concerned in this matter 
(Ahamkara) ’ and thus having self-arrogated, comes to the 
determination, ‘ This must be done by me ’ (Kartavyam etat 
Maya).” 2 “ Must be done ” here does not refer to exterior 

action only, but to mental action (ManasI kriya) also, such 
as any determination by way of the forming of concepts 
and percepts (“ It is so ”) and resolutions (“ It must be 
done ”). Buddhi pervades all effects whatever other than 
itself. It is the principal Tattva because it pervades all 
the instruments (Indriya), is the receptacle of all the 
Samskaras or Karmic tendencies, and is in Samkhya the 
seat of memory . 3 It is the thinking principle which 
forms concepts or general ideas acting through the instru- 
mentality of Ahamkara, Manas and the Indriyas. In the 
operations of the senses Manas is the principal ; in the 
operation of Manas Ahamkara is the principal; and in 
the operation of Ahamkara Buddhi is the principal. 
With the instrumentality of all of these Buddhi acts, 
modifications taking place in Buddhi through the instru- 
mentality of the sense functions . 4 It is Buddhi which 
is the basis of all cognition, sensation, and resolves, and 
makes over objects to Purusha that is, Consciousness. 
And so it is said that Buddhi, whose characteristic is deter- 
mination, is the charioteer ; Manas, whose characteristic is 
Samkalpavikalpa, is the reins ; and the Senses are the horses. 
Jlva is the Enjoyer (Bhokta) that is, Atma conjoined with 

1 Samkhya-Pravaehana, II. 18. The Sutra has Adhyavas&yo 
buddhih ; but, the Commentator points out that Buddhi is not to be 
identified with its functions. Buddhi is thus called Nishehayakarinl. 

* Sftmkhya-Tattva-Kaumudi, 28rd Karika : Sarvo vyavaharttil alo- 
chya mattvil aham atr&dhikrita ityabhimatya kartavyam etat maya iti 
adhyavasyati. 

* Samkhya-Pravaehana, II. 40-44. 

4 Samkhya-Pravaehana, II. 45, 89. 



64 ,THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

body, senses, Manas and Buddhi . 1 * In Buddhi Sattvaguna 
predominates; in Ahamkara, Rajas, in Manas and the 
Indriyas and their objects, Tamas. ^ ' 

Chitta 8 in its special sense is that faculty (Vritti) by 
which the Mind first recalls to memory (Smaranam) that ; 
of which there has been previously Anubhava or pratyaksha 
Jnana — that is, immediate cognition. This Smaranam exists 
only to the extent of actual Anubhava. For remembrance 
is the equivalent of, and neither more nor less than, what 
has been previously known ; 3 remembrance being the calling 
up of that. Chinta, again, is that faculty whereby the 
current of thought dwells, thinks and contemplates upon 
(Chinta ) 4 * the subject so recalled by Smaranam, and previ- 
ously known and determined by Buddhi. For such medita- 
tion (Dhyana) is done through the recall and fixing the 
mind upon past percepts and concepts. According to 
Vedanta, Buddhi determines but once only, and the further 
recall and thought upon the mental object so determined 
is the faculty of the separate mental category called Chitta. 
Samkhya, on the principle of economy of categories, regards 
Smaranam and Chinta to be functions of Buddhi . 6 * In the 
works here translated and elsewhere Chitta is, however, 
currently used as a general term for the working mind — 
that is, as a synonym for the Antahkarana . 0 

i Shamkara’s Commentary on Kathopanishad, 3rd Valli, 4th 
Mantra : Atmendriyamanoyuktam bhoktetyahur manTshinah ; and see 
Sftmkhya-Pravachana, II. 47. 

* Chetati anena iti chittam. 

* So the Patanjala Sutra says : Anubutavishayftsampramoshah 
smritih (Nothing is taken away from the object perceived). 

4 Anusandhftnatmikft antahkarana- vrittir iti vedantah. (It is the 

faoulty of the Antahkarana which investigates in the Vedanta.) 

6 Samkhyashastre cha chintavrittikasya chittasya, buddhavevantar- 
bhavah (In the Samkhya Shastra, Chitta, the function of which is 
Chinta, is included in Buddhi, I. 64). 

* Chittam antahkarana-samanyam (Chitta is the Antahkarana in 

general) : Samkhya- Pravachana-Bhashya. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMl) 


65 


To sum up the functions of the subtle body : the sense- 
objects (Bhuta, derived from Tanm&tra) affect the senses ' 
(Indriya) and are perceived by Manas, are referred to the 
self by Ahamkara, and are determined by Buddhi. -The 
latter in its turn is illumined by the light of Consciousness 
(Chit), which is the Purusha ; all the principles (Tattva) 
up to and including Buddhi being modifications of appa- 
rently unconscious Prakriti. Thus all the Tattvas work 
for the enjoyment of the Self or Purusha. They are not 
to be regarded as things existing independently by them- 
selves, but as endowments of the Spirit (Atma). They do 
not work arbitrarily as they will, but represent an organized 
co-operative effort in the service of the Enjoyer, the Experi- 
encer or Purusha. 

The subtle body is thus composed of what are called 
the “ 17,” viz., Buddhi (in which Ahamkara is included), 
Manas, the ten senses (Indriya), and the five Tanmatras. 
No special mention is made of Prana or Vital Principle by 
the Samkhya, by which it is regarded as a modification of 
the Antahkarana, and as such is implicity included. The 
Mayavadins insert the Prana pentad* instead of the 
Tanmatra. 1 

The Jlva lives in his subtle or mental body alone when 
in the dreaming (Svapna) state. For the outside world 
of objects (Mahabhuta) is then shut out and the conscious- 
ness wanders in the world of ideas. The subtle body or 
soul is imperishable until Liberation is attained, when the 
Jlvatma or seemingly conditioned consciousness ceases 
to be such and is the Supreme Consciousness or Para- 
matma, Nirguna Shiva. The subtle body thus survives the 
dissolution of the gross body of matter, from which it goes 


1 Samkhya-Pravachana- Sutra, III. 9. See my volume on " Life ” 
(Pr&na-Shakti). 
s 



66 THE 8IX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

forth (Utkramana), and “reincarnates ” 1 (to use an English 
term) until Liberation (Mukti). The Lingashar'ira is not 
all-pervading (Vibhu), for in that case it would be eternal 
(Nitya) and could not act (Kriya). But it moves and goes 
(Gati). Since it is not Vibhu, it must be limited (Parich- 
chhinna) and of atomic dimension (Anuparimana). It is 
indirectly dependent on food. For though the material 
body is the food-body (Annamaya), Mind is dependent on it 
when associated with the gross body. Mind in the subtle 
body bears the Samskaras which are the result of past 
actions. This subtle body is the cause of the third or 
gross body. 

The whole process of evolution is due to the presence 
of the will to life and enjoyment, which is a result of 
Vasana, or world-desire, carried from life to life in the 
Samskaras, or impressions made on the subtle body by 
Karma, which is guided by Xshvara. In its reaching forth 
to the world, the Self is not only endowed with the faculties 
of the subtle body, but with the gross objects of enjoyment 
on whioh those faculties feed. There, therefore, comes into 
being, as a projection of the Power (Shakti) of Conscious- 
ness, the gross body of matter called Sthula Shartra. 

The word Sharlra comes from the root “ Shri,” to 
decay ; for the gross body is at every moment undergoing 
molecular birth and death until Prana, or vitality, leaves 
the organism, whioh, as such, is dissolved. The Soul 
(Jlvatma) is, when it leaves the body, no longer concerned 
therewith. There is no such thing as the resurrection of 
the same body. It returns to dust and the Jlva when it 

x This is transmigration or pretyabh&va, which means “ the arising 
again and again ” — punarutpattih pretya bhavah, as Gautama says. 
Rretya== having died, and Bh&va=“the becoming (born into the world) 
again ". “ Again ” implies habitualness : birth, then death, then birth, 
tod so on, until final emancipation which is Moksha, or Apavarga 
(release), as the Ny&ya calls it. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMA) 


67 


reincarnates does so in a new body, which is nevertheless, 
like the last, suited to give effect to its Karma. 

The Sthula Sharira, with its three Doshas, six Koshas, 
seven Dhatus, ten Fires, and so forth , 1 is the perishable 
body composed of compounds of five forms of gross sensible 
matter (Mahabhuta), which is ever decaying, and is at the 
end dissolved into its constituents at death . 2 This is the 
Vedantik body of food (Annamaya Kosha), so called because 
it is maintained by food which is converted into chyle 
(Rasa); blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow and seed-components 
of the gross organism. The Jiva lives in this body when in 
the tvaking (Jagrat) state. 

The human, physical, or gross body is, according to 
Western science, composed of certain compounds of which 
the chief are water, gelatine, fat, phosphate of lime, albumen, 
and flbrine, and of these water constitutes some two-thirds 
of the total weight. These substances are composed of 
simpler non-metallic and metallic elements, of which the 
chief are oxygen (to the extent of about two-thirds), 
hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus. Again, 
to go one step farther back, though the alleged indestructi- 
bility of the elements and their atoms is still said by some 
to present the character of a “ practical truth,” well-known 
recent experiments go to re-establish the ancient hypothesis 
of a single Primordial Substance to which these various 
forms of matter may be reduced, with the resultant of the 
possible and hitherto derided transmutation of one element 
into another ; since each is but one of the plural manifesta- 
tions of the same underlying unity. 


1 See Introduction to my edition of Prapanchasara Tantra, Vol. Ill, 
“ T&ntrik Texts ”. 

2 Decay and death are two of the six Urmis which, with hunger 
and thirst, grief and ignorance, are characteristics of the body (Deha- 
dharma) ; Prapanchasara Tantra, II. 



68 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Recent scientific research has shown that this original 
substance Cannot be scientific “ matter ’’-’‘-that is, that 
which has mass, weight and inertia. Matter has been 
dematerialized and reduced, according to current hypotheses* 
to Something which differs profoundly from “ matter ” as 
known by the senses. This ultimate substance is stated to 
be Ether in a state of motion. The present scientific 
hypothesis would appear to be as follows : The ultimate 
and simplest physical factor from which the universe has 
arisen is motion of and in a substance called “ Ether,” 
which is not scientific “ matter The motions of this 
substance give i;ise from the realistic point of view to the 
notion of “ matter ”. Matter is thus at base one, notwith- 
standing the diversity of its forms. Its ultimate element is 
on the final analysis of one kind, and the differences in the 
various kinds of matter depend on the various movements 
of the ultimate particle and its succeeding combinations. 
Given such unity of base, it is possible that one form of 
matter may pass into another. The Indian theory here 
described agrees with the Western speculations to which 
we have referred, that what the latter calls scientific or 
ponderable matter does not permanently exist, but says 
that there are certain motions or forces (five in number) 
which produce solid matter, and which are ultimately 
reducible to ether (Akasha). Akasha, however, and scientific 
“ Ether ” are not in all respects the same. The latter is an 
ultimate substance, not “ matter,” having vibratory move- 
ments and affording the medium for the transmission of 
light. Akasha is one of the gross forces into which the 
Primordial Power (Prakriti-Shakti) differentiates itself. 
Objectively considered it is a vibration 1 in and of the 

1 It is Spandanashila (vibratory), according to S&mkhya ; for the 
prodnots share the character of the original vibrating Prakriti, and 
these prodnots are not, like Prakriti itself, all-pervading (Vibhn). The- 
Yaisheshika Sutrakara regards it as a motionless, colourless (Nirfipa) 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMl) 69 

substance of Prakriti of which it is a transformation in which 
the other forces are observed to be operating. Lastly, 
Akasha is not an ultimate, but is itself derived from the 
supersensible Tanmatra, with its quality (Guna) whereby 
Akasha affects the senses ; and this Tanmatra is itself der- 
ived from the mental I-making principle (Ahamkara), or 
personal consciousness produced from the superpersonal 
Jlva-eousciousness as such (Buddhi), emanating from the 
root-energy, or Prakriti- Shakti, the cause and basis of all 
forms, of “ material ” force or substance, At the back of 
both “ matter ” and mind, there is the creative energy 
(Shakti) of the Supreme who is the cause of the universe 
and Consciousness itself. 

Matter affects the Jlva in live different ways, giving 
rise in him to the sensations of smell, taste, sight, touch 
and feel, and hearing. 

As already explained, the Tanmatras are supersensible, 
being abstract qualities, whilst the senses perceive their 
variations in particular objects only. These sense parti- 
culars are produced from the generals or Universals. 

From the Shabda Tanmatra and from the combinations 
•of the latter with the other Tanmatras are produced the 
gross Bhiitas (Mahabhuta), which as things of physical 
magnitude perceivable by the senses approach the Western 
definition of discrete sensible “ matter These five Maha- 
bhutas are Akasha (Ether), Vayu (Air), Tejas (Fire), Apas 
(Water) and PrithivI (Earth). Their development takes 
place from the Tanmatra, from one unit of that which is 
known in sensible matter as mass (Tamas), charged with 
energy (Rajas) by the gradual accretion of mass and re- 
distribution of energy. The result of this is that each 

continuum (Sarvavyapi). It is not an effect and is Vibhu, therefore it 
cannot vibrate (Gatikriya). The Commentators argue that, as it is 
a Dravya or thing, it must possess the general quality (Dharma) of 
Jlravya or Kriya— that is, action. See my volume on “ Matter ”. 



70 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Bhota is more gross than that which precedes it until 
“ Earth ” is reached. These five Bhutas have no connection 
with the English “ elements ” so called, nor, indeed, are 
they elements at all, being derived from the Tanmatras. 
Dynamically and objectively considered they are (proceeding 
from Akasha) said to be five forms of motion, into which 
Prakriti differentiates itself : viz., non-obstructive, all- 
directed motion radiating lines of force in all directions^ 
symbolized as the “Hairs of Shiva ” 1 * affording the space 
(Akasha) in which the other forces operate ; transverse 
motion a and locomotion in space (Vayu) ; upward motion 
giving rise to expansion (Tejas) ; downward motion giving 
rise to contraction (Apas) ; and that motion which produces 
cohesion, its characteristic of obstruction being the opposite 
of the non-obstructive ether in which it exists and from 
which it and the other Tattvas spring. The first is sensed 
by hearing through its quality (Guna) of sound (Shabda ) ; 3 
the second by touch through resistance and feeling ; 4 the 
third by sight as colour ; 5 the fourth by taste through 
flavour ; and the fifth by the sense of smell through its 
odour, which is produced by matter only in so far as it 
partakes of the solid state . 6 


1 “ Kashmir Shaivaism,” p. 132, where it is suggested that the 
lines of the magnetic field are connected with the lines of Dik (direc- 
tion) as the lines of ethereal energy. 

* Vftyu, as the Prapanchasara Tantra says, is characterized by 
motion (Chalanapara). The Sanskrit root Va = to move. See Sushruta, 
Vol. II, p. 2, ed. Kaviraj Kunja Lala Bhiphagratna. 

3 According to Western notions, it is the air which is thejcause of 
sound. .According to Indian notions, Ether is the substratum (Ashraya) 
of sound, and Air (Vayu) is a helper (Sahakarl) in its manifestation. 

4 Touch is not here used in the sense of all forms of contact, for 
form and solidity are not yet developed, but such particular contact as 
that by which is realized the thermal quality of things. 

5 Fire is the name or that action which builds and destroys shapes. 

6 All matter in the solid state (P&rthiva) giving rise to smell is in 
the state of earth — e.g., metals, flowers, etc. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMA.) 


71 


The hard and stable obstructive “ earth ” is that which 
is smelt, tasted, seen, and touched, and which exists in 
space which is known by hearing — that is, the sounds in 
it. The smooth “water” is that which is tasted, seen, 
and touched in space. “ Fire ” is what is seen and touched 
— that is, felt as temperature— in space. “ Air ” is what 
is so felt in space. And sound which is heard is that by 
which the existence of the “ Ether ” is known. These 
Bhutas when compounded make up the material universe. 
Each thing therein being thus made of all the Bhutas, we 
find in the Tantras that form, colour and sound, are related, 
a truth which is' of deep ritual significane. Thus, each of 
the sounds of speech or music has a corresponding form, 
which have now been made visible to the eye by the Phono- 
scope . 1 Thus the deaf may perceive sounds by the eye 
just as, by the Optophone the blind may read by means 
of the ear. 

In the same Shastra various colours and figures (Man- 
dalas) are assigned to the Tattvas to denote them.. Akasha 
is represented by a transparent white circular diagram in 
which, according to some accounts, there are dots (Chhidra 
= hole), thus displaying the interstices which Akasha 
produces ; for Akasha, which is all-pervading, inter- 
venes between each of the Tattvas which are evolved 
from it. 

Yayu is denoted by a smoky grey, six-cornered dia- 
gram ; 2 Tejas, red, triangular diagram ; Apas, white, cres- 
cent-shaped diagram ; and PrithivI, yellow, quardrangular 


1 When words are spoken or sung into a small trumpet attached to 
the instrument, a revolving disk appears to break up into a number of 
patterns, which varj’ with the variations in sound. 

2 See as to this and other diagrams the coloured plates of the 
Chakras. 



72 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


diagram which; as the superficial presentation of the cube, 
Well denotes the notion of solidity. 

Similarly, to each Devata also there is assigned a Yan- 
tra, or diagram, which is a suggestion of the form assumed 
by the evolving Prakriti or body of that particular Consci- 
ousness. 

The gross' body is, then, a combination of the com- 
pounds of those Mahabhtltas, derivable from the Akasha 
(“ Ether ”) Tattva. 

The Bhutas and the Tanmatras, as parts of these com- 
pounds, pervade the body, but particular Bhtltas are said 
to have centres of force in particular regions. Thus the 
centres (Chakra) of “Earth” and “Water” are the two 
lower ones in the trunk of the body. “Fire ” predominates 
in the central abdominal region, and “ Air ” and “ Ether ” 
in the two higher centres in the heart and throat. These 
five Tanmatras, five Bhutas, and the ten senses (Indriyas) 
which perceive them, are known as the twenty gross Tattvas 
which are absorbed in Yoga in the centres of the bodily 
trunk. The remaining four subtle mental Tattvas (Buddhi, 
Ahamk&ra, Manas) and Prakriti have their special centres 
of aotivity in the head. Again, the Bhutas may be specially 
displayed in other portions of the bodily organism. Thus* 
PrithivI displays itself as bone or muscles ; Apas as urine 
and saliva ; Tejas as hunger and thirst ; Vayu in grasping 
and walking. Fire is manifold, its great mystery being 
saluted by many names. So Tejas manifests both as light 
and heat, for, as Helmholtz says, the same object may 
effect the senses in different ways. The same ray of sun- 
shine, which is called light when it falls on the eyes, is 
called heat when it falls on the skin. Agni manifests in 
the household and umbilical fires; as Kamagni in the 
MftlSdhara centre ; in Vadava or submarine fire and in the 
“Lightning” of the Sushumna in the spinal column. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMi) 


78 


Matter thus exists in the five states etheric , 1 aerial , 3 
fiery , 3 fluid , 4 and solid . 4 PrithivI does not denote merely 
what is popularly called “ Earth All solid (Parthiva) 
odorous substance is in the PrithivI state. All substance 
in the fluid (Apya) state is in the Apas state, as every- 
thing which has cohesive resistance is in that of PrithivI. 
This latter, therefore, is the cohesive vibration, the cause 
of solidity, of which the common earth is a gross com- 
pounded form. All matter in the aerial (Vayava) condition 
is in the Vayu state. These are all primary differentiations 
of cosmic matter into a universe of subtly fine motion. 
The Tattvas regarded objectively evoke in the Indriyas 
smell, taste, sight, touch and hearing. 

The gross body is thus a combination of the com- 
pounds of these Mahabhutas, derivable ultimately from 
Ether (Akasha), itself evolved in manner described. 

The gross and subtle bodies above described are vital- 
ized and held together as an organism by Prana, which is 
evolved from the active energy (Kriya Shakti) of the Linga 
SharTra. Prana, or the vital principle, is the special rela- 
tion of the Atma with a certain form of matter which by 
this relation the Atma organizes and builds up as a means 
of having experience . 0 This special relation constitutes the 

* All-pervading (Sarvavyapi), though relatively so in Samkhya, and 
colourless (NirupaJ. As to vibration, v. ante. 

* With movements which are not straight (Tiryag-gamana-shlla). 

3 Illuminating (Prakasha) and heating (Tilpa). 

4 Liquid (Tarala), moving (Chalanashila). It has the quality of 
Sneha, whereby things can be rolled up into a lump (Pinda), as moistened 
flour or earth. Some solid things become liquid for a time through 
heat ; and others become solids, the Jati (species) of which, is still 
water (Jalatva). 

’Without hollow, dense (Ghana), firm (Dridha), combined (San- 
ghata), and hard (Kathina), 

" “Hindu Realism,” p. 84. See may volume on “Life”. 



74 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

individual Prana in the individual body. The cosmic all- 
pervading Prana is not Prana in this gross sense, but is 
a name for the Brahman as the author of the individual 
Prana. The individual Prana is limited to the particular 
body which it vitalizes, and is a manifestation in all breath- 
ing creatures (Prani) of the creative and sustaining activity 
of the Brahman, who is represented in individual bodies by 
the Devi Kundalinl. 

All beings, whether Devatas, men, or animals, exist 
only so long as the Prana is within the body. It is the 
life-duration of all . 1 What life is has been the subject of 
dispute in India as elsewhere . 2 The materialists of the 
Lokayata school considered life to be the result of the 
chemical combinations of the elements, in the same manner 
as the intoxicating property of spirituous liquors results 
from the fermentation of unintoxicating rice and molasses, 
or as spontaneous generation was supposed to occur under 
the influence of gentle warmth. This is denied by the 
Samkhya. Though Prana and its fivefold functions are 
called Vayu, Life, according to this school, is not a Vayu 
in the sense of a mere biomechanical force, nor any 
mere mechanical motion resulting from the impulsion of 
such Vayu. 

According to the view of this school, Prana, or vitality, 
is the oommon function of the mind and all the senses, 
both sensory (Jnanendriya) and motor (Karmendriya), which 
result in the bodily motion. Just as several birds when 
confined in one cage cause that cage to move, by themselves 
moving, so the mind and senses cause the body to move 
while they are engaged in their respective activities. Life 
is, then,' a resultant of the various concurrent activities of 
other principles or forces in the organism. 

1 Kaushltakl U pan i shad, 8-2. 

9 See my volume on “ Life 



EMBOI^IED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMA.) 75 

The Vedantists agree in the view that the Prana is 
neither Vayu nor its operation, but deny that it is the 
mere resultant of the concomitant activities of the organ- 
ism, and hold that it is a separate independent principle 
and “ material ” form assumed by the universal Conscious- 
ness. Life is therefore a subtle principle pervading the 
whole organism which is not gross Vayu, but is all the 
same a subtle kind of apparently unconscious force, since 
everything which is not the Atma or Purusha is, according 
to Mayavada Vedanta and Samkhya, unconscious or, in 
Western parlance “ material ” (Jada).' The gross outer 
body is heterogeneous (Parichchhinna) or made up of 
distinct or well-defined parts. On the other hand, the 
Pranamaya self which lies within the Annamaya self is a 
homogeneous undivided whole (Sadharana) permeating the 
whole physical body (Sarvapindavyapin). it is not cut 
off into distinct regions (Asadharana) as is the Pinda, or 
microeosmic physical body. Unlike the latter, it has no 
specialized organs each discharging a specific function. It 
is a homogeneous unity (Sadharana) present in every part 
of the body, which it ensouls as its inner self. Vayu 8 which 
courses through the body is the manifestation, self-be- 
gotten, the subtle, invisible, all-pervading, divine energy of 
eternal life. It is so called from the fact of its coursing 
throughout the universe. Invisible in itself, yet its opera- 
tions are manifest. For it determines the birth, growth and 
decay of all animated organisms, and as such it receives the 


1 See Commentary on Taittirlya Upanishad, edited by Mahadeva 
Shftstri, and Appendix C, by Dr. Brojendra Nath Seal, to Professor 
B. K. Sarkar’s “ The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology,” where 
some further authorities are given. By unconscious in Vedanta is 
meant that thing is an object of consciousness, not that it is unconsci- 
ous in itself for all is essentially consciousness. 

* In the sense of Prana. The Sanskrit root va=to move. See 
Sushruta, Vol. II, p. 2, ed. by Kaviraj Kunja Lala Bishagratna. 



76 THE 8IX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

homage of all created being. As vital Vayu it is instan- 
taneous in action, radiating as nerve force through the 
organism in constant currents. In its normal condition 
it maintains a state of equilibrium between the different 
Doshas 1 and Dhatus , 1 or root principles of the body. The 
bodily Vayu is divided, as are the principles called Pitta 1 
and Kapha , 1 into five chief divisions according to the dif- 
ferences in location and function. Vayu, known in its 
bodily aspect as Prana* the universal force of vital activity, 
on entry into each individual is divided into tenfold func- 
tions (Vritti) of which five are ohief. The first or breath- 
ing, bear the same name (Prana) as that given to the force 
considered in its totality — the function whereby atmos- 
pheric air with its pervading vitality, which has been 
first drawn from without into the bodily system, is 
expired . 2 

On the physical plane Prana manifests in the animal 
body as breath through inspiration (Sa), or Shakti, and 
expiration (Ha), or Shiva. Breathing is itself a Mantra, 
known as the Mantra which is not recited (Ajapa-mantra), 
for it is said without volition.* 

The divine current is the motion of Ha and Sa. This 
motion, which exists on all the planes of life, is for the 


See Introduction to third volume of “ Tantrik Texts,” where these 
terms are explained. The Devatas of these Dhatus are Dakin! and the 
other Shaktis in the Chakras. See my volume on “ Life ”. 

a The Vayus have other functions than those mentioned. The 
matter is here stated only in a general way. See Sushruta Samhita, 
cited ante, Prana is not the physical breath, which is a gross thing, 
but that function of vital force which exhibits itself in respiration. 

3 Thus the Niruttara Tantra (Chapter IV) says : 

Ham-karena vahir yati sah-karena vishet punah 
Hamseti paramam mantram jlvo japati sarvada. 

(By Hamkara it goes out, and by Sahkara it comes in again. A jlva 
always recites the Supreme Mantra Hamsah.) See also Dhyanabindu Dp. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (J1VS.TMS.) 


77 


earth plane (Bhurloka) created and sustained by the Sun, 
the solar breath of which is the cause of human breath with 
its centrifugal and centripetal movements, the counterpart 
in man of the cosmic movement of the Hamsah or Shiva- 
Shakti Tattvas, which are the soul of the Universe. The 
Sun is not only the centre and upholder of the solar system , 1 
but the source of all available energy and of all physical 
life on earth. Accompanying the sunshine ther& proceeds 
from the orb a vast invisible radiation, the pre-requisite of 
all vegetable and animal life. It is these invisible rays 
which, according to science, sustain the mystery of all 
physical life. The' Sun as the great luminary is the body of 
the Solar God, a great manifestation of the Inner Spiritual 
Sun . 2 

Apana, the downward “ breath ” which pulls against 
Prana, governs the excretory functions ; Sarnana kindles 
the bodily fire and governs the processes of digestion and 
assimilation ; Vyana, or diffused “ breathing,” is present 
throughout the body, effecting division and diffusion, resist- 
ing disintegration, and holding the body together in all its 
parts ; and Udana, the ascending Vavu, is the so-called 
“ upward breathing ”. Prana is in the heart ; Apana in the 
anus ; Sarnana in the navel ; Udana in the throat ; and 
Vyana pervades the whole body . 3 By the words “ navel ” 
and so forth it is not meant that the Vayu is in the navel 


1 The Sun is said to hold the vast bulk of the total matter of the 
solar system, while it only carries about 2 per cent of its moment of 
momentum. 

a The Yoga works speak of the Moon-chit (Chichchandra). It is this 
spiritual moon which is shown on the cover of this book, embraced by 
the Serpent Kundalini. 

3 Amritanada Upanishad, vv. 84, 85 — Anandashrama Edition. 

Vol. XXIX, p. 48 ; Shandilya Up., Ch. I. See also, as to Prana, Ch. II, 
Prapanchas&ra Tantra. It is also said that Prana is at the tip of the 
nostrils (Nasftgravarttl), and others are also said to be elsewhere. These 
localities denote special seats of function. See my volume on “ Life 



78 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


itself but in tliat region of the body so designated — the 
abdominal region and its centre the Manipura Chakra. The 
five minor Vayus are Naga, Karma, Krikara, Devadatta, and 
Dhananjaya, which manifest in hiccup, closing and open- 
ing the eyes, digestion , 1 yawning, and in that Vayu “ which 
leaves not even the corpse The functions of Prana may 
be scientifically defined as follows : Appropriation (Prana), 

Rejection (Apana), Assimilation (Samana), Distribution 
(Vyana), and Utterance (Udana). The Prana represents the 
involuntary reflex action of the organism and the Indriyas 
one aspect of its voluntary activity. 

In the case of the individualized Prana, or principle 
which vitalizes the animal organism during its earth life, it 
may be said, when regarded as an independent principle, to 
be a force more subtle than that which manifests as terres- 
trial matter which it vitalizes. In other words, according 
to this theory, the Atma gives life to the earth organisms 
through the medium of terrestrial Prana, whioh is one of 
the manifestations of that Energy which issues from and is 
at base the all-pervading Atma, as Shakti. 

Atma as such has no states, but in worldly parlance we 
speak of such. So the Mandukya Upanishad 2 speaks of 
the four aspects (Pada) of the Brahman. 

Chaitanya, or Consciousness in bodies, is immanent in 
the individual and collective gross, subtle, and causal bodies, 
and transcends them. One and the same Chit pervades and 
transcends all things, but is given different names to mark 
its different aspects in the Jlva. Chit, being immutable, 
has itself no states ; for states can only exist in the products 
of the changing Prakriti- Shakti. From, however, the aspect 

* Kshudhakara ; lit., “ appetite-maker 

1 This Upanishad gives an analysis of the states of Consciousness 
on all planes, and should be studied in connection with Gaudapada’s 
K&rikfi. on the same subject with Shamkarfich&rya’s Commentary on the 
latter. 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMA) 


79 


of Jiva several states exist, whioh, though informed by the 
same Chit, may from this aspect be called states of con- 
sciousness . 1 

In the manifested world, Consciousness appears in three 
states (Avastha), viz . 2 : waking (Jagrat), dreaming (Svapna), 
and dreamless slumber (Sushupti). In the waking state the 
Jiva is conscious of external objects (Bahihprajna), and is 
the gross enjoyer of these objects through the senses 
(Sthulabhuk ). 3 The Jiva in this state is called Jagarl — 
that is, he who takes upon himself the gross body called 
Vishva. Here the Jiva consciousness is in the gross body. 

In dreaming (Svapna) the Jiva is conscious of inner 
objects (Antahprajna), and the enjoyer of what is subtle 
(Praviviktabhuk) — that is, impressions left on the mind by 
objects sensed in the waking state. The objects of dreams 
have only an external reality for the dreamer, whereas the 
objects perceived when awake have such reality for all who 
are in that state. The mind ceases to record fresh impres- 
sions, and works on that which has been registered in the 
waking state. 

The first (Jagrat) state is that of sense perception. 
Here the ego lives in a mental world of ideas, and the Jiva 
consciousness is in the subtle body. Both these states are 
states of duality in which multiplicity is experienced . 1 

1 Described in detail post. 

J See Mandukya Upanishad (where these are analysed) with Gauda- 
pfida’s Karika and Shamkaracharya’s Commentary on the same. 

3 Mandukya Up., Mantra 8. Prapanchasara Tantra : Svairindriyair 

yadatma bhungte bhogan sa jagaro bhavati (Ch. XIX, T&ntrik Texts, 
Vol. III). See Ishvarapratyabhijna : Sarvakshagocharatvena ya tu 

vahyataya sthita (cited by Bhaskararaya in Comm, to v. 62 of Lalita). 

4 See Mandukya Up., Mantra 4. Ishvarapratyabhijna: 

Manomatrapathe’ dhyakshavishayatvena vibhramat 
Spastavabasabhavanam srishtih svapnapadam matam. 

(Cited in Lalita, under v. 118.) 

Prapanchasara Tantra : Samjnarabitair api tail* asyanubhavo 

bhavet punah svapnah. 



80 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


The third ‘state, or that of dreamless sleep (Sushupti), 
is defined as that which is neither waking nor dreaming, 
and in which the varied experiences of the two former states 
are merged into a simple experience (Eklbhata), as the 
variety of the day is lost in night without extinction of such 
variety. Consciousness is not objective (Bahihprajna) nor 
subjective (Antahprajna), but a simple undifferenced con- 
sciousness without an object other than itself (Prajna- 
naghana). In waking the Jlva consciousness is associated 
with mind and senses ; in dreaming the senses are with- 
drawn ; in dreamless slumber mind also is withdrawn. The 
Jlva, called Prajna, is for the time being merged in his 
causal body — that is, Prakriti inseparably associated with 
Consciousness — that is, with that state of Consciousness 
which is the seed from which the subtle and gross bodies 
grow. The state is one of bliss. The Jlva is not conscious 
of anything , 1 * * * * * * but on awakening preserves only the notion, 
“ Happy I slept ; J was not conscious of anything.” ' This 
state is accordingly that which has as its objects the sense 
of nothingness . 8 Whilst the two former states enjoy the 
gross and subtle objects respectively, this is the enjoyer of 
bliss only (Anandabhuk) — that is, simble bliss without an 
object. The Lord is always the enjoyer of bliss, but in the 
first two states He enjoys bliss through objects. Here He 
enjoys bliss itself free from both subject and object. In 
this way the Sushupti state approaches the Brahman Con- 
sciousness. But it is not that in its purity, because it, as 
the other two states are both associated with ignorance 


1 This state, when nothing in dreamt, is rarer than is generally 

supposed. 

’See P&tanjala Yoga-Sutra: Sukham aham asvftpsam na kinchid 

avedisham iti smaranat. 

* Abh&vapratyayalambanavrittir nidra. See also Prapanchasara 

Tantra : Atmanirudyuktatayft nairakulyam bhavet sushuptir api 

(Ch. XIX. Vol. Ill, of Tantrik Texts). 



EMBODIED CONSCIOUSNESS (jIVATMA) 


81 


(Avidya) the first two with Yikriti, and ’ the last with 
Prakriti. Beyond, therefore, the state there is the “ fourth ” 
(Turlya). Here the pure experience called Shuddhavidya 
is acquired through Samadhiyoga. Jlva in the Sushupti 
state is said to be in the causal (Karana) body, and Jlva in 
the Turlya state is said to be in the great causal (Maha- 
karana) body . 1 

Beyond this there is, some say, a fifth state, “ beyond 
the fourth ” (Turlyatlta), which is attained through firmness 
in the fourth. Here the Ishvara Tattva is attained. This 
is the Unmesha® state of consciousness, of which the 
Sadakhya Tattva is the Nimesha . 2 Passing beyond “ the 
spotless one attains the highest equality,” and is merged 
in the Supreme Shiva. 

The above divisions — Vishva, Taijasa, and Prajna — are 
those of the individual Jlva. But there is also the collective 
or cosmic Jlva, which is the aggregate of the individual Jlvas 
of each particular state . 3 In the macrocosm these collect- 
ive 4 * 6 Jlvas are called Yaishvanara (corresponding to the 


1 Bhaskararftya in his Comm, on Lalita says : Ata eva sushupti- 
dashapannajivopadheh karanasharl rat vena turiyadashapannajivop&dhhe 
mahakaranashariratvena vyavahiirah. 

Inasmuch as the Jlva in the Sushupti state is possessed of the 
K&ranasharira (causal body) the same Jlva in the Turlya state is under- 
stood to be possessed of the Great Causal Body (Mahakaranashariratvena 
vyavaharah). 

8 Opening and closing of the eyes (of consciousness). The latter is 
the last stage before the perfect Shiva-consciousness is gained. 

* Accounts vary in detail according as a greater or less number of 
stages of ascent are enumerated. Thus Nirvana Tantra, cited in Comm, 
to v. 48 post, says the Paramatma is the Devata In the Turlya state ; 
and Prapanchasara Tantra (Ch. XIX) says Jagrat is Blja, Svapna is 
Bindu, Sushupti is Nada, Turlya is Shakti, and the Laya beyond is Shanta. 

4 The nature of the collectivity is not merely a summation of units, 

but a collectivity the units of which are related to one another as parts 
of an organized whole. Thus Hiranyagarbha is he who has the con- 
sciousness of being all the Jlvas. SamashtyabhimanI Hiranyagarbhfit- 
makah (Bhaskararaya, op. cit., v. 61). He is the aggregate of these Jlvas, 

6 



82 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


individual Vishva body), Hiranyagarbha, and Sfltr&tma 1 
(corresponding to the individual Taijasa body) ; and Ishvara 
is the name of the collective form of the Jlvas described as 
Prajna. Cosmically, these are the conscious Lords of the 
objective, subjective, and causal worlds, beyond which there 
is the Supreme Consciousness. 

Supreme Yoga-experience and Liberation is attained by 
passing beyond the first three states of ordinary experience. 

The Yoga-process is a return-movement to the Source 
which is the reverse of the creative movement therefrom. 
The order of production is as follows : Buddhi, then Aham- 
kara, from the latter the Manas, Indriya and Tanmatra and 
from the last the Bhuta. As the seat of the Source is in 
the human body the cerebrum in which there is the great- 
est display of Consciousness, the seat of Mind is between 
the eyebrows and the seats of Matter in the five centres from 
the throat to the base of the spine. Commencement of the 
return movement is made here and the various kinds of 
Matter are dissolved into one another, and then into Mind 
and Mind into Consciousness as described later in Chapter 
V. To the question whether man can here and now attain 
the supreme state of Bliss, the answer in Yoga is “ yes ”. 


1 There is said to be this distinction between the two, that the 
Param&tmA manifested as the collective Antahkarana is Hiranyagarbha, 
as the collective PrAna it is called SatrAtma. When manifest through 
these two vehicles without differentiation it iB Antaryftmin. See 
BhAskararAya, ioc. cit. 



IV 


MANTRA 

Reference is made in the Text and in this Introduction 
to Shabda, Varna, Mantra. It is said that the letters 
(Varna) of the alphabet are distributed throughout the 
bodily centres on the petals of the lotuses, as is shown on 
Plates II-VII. In each of the lotuses there is also a Seed- 
Mantra (Bija) of the Tattva of the centre. Kundalini is 
both Light (Jyotirmayl) and Mantra (Mantramayl), 1 and 
Mantra is used in the process of rousing Her. 

There is perhaps no subject in the Indian Shastra which 
is less understood than Mantra. The subject is so important 
a part of the Tantra-Shastra that its other title is Mantra- 
Shastra. Commonly Orientalists and others describe 
Mantra as“ prayer,” “ formulse of worship,” “ mystic sylla- 
bles,” and so forth. Mantra science may be well founded or 
not, but even in the latter case it is not the absurdity which 
some suppose it to be. Those who think so might except 
Mantras which are prayers, and the meaning of whioh they 
understand, for with prayer they are familiar. But such 
appreciation itself shows a lack of understanding. There is 
nothing necessarily holy or prayerful about a Mantra. 
Mantra is a power (Mantrashakti) which lends itself im- 
partially to any use. A man may be injured or killed by 
Mantra; 3 by Mantra a kind of union with the physical 

' The first is the subtle, the second the gross form. See as regards 
the subject-matter of this Chapter the Author’s “ Garland of Letters ”. 

3 As in M&ranam and other of the Shatkarma. To quote an example 
which I have read in an account of an author nowise “ suspect ” as an 



84 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Shakti is by some said to be effected ; 1 by Mantra in the 
initiation oalled Vedhadlgsha there is such a transference of 
power from the Guru to the disciple that the latter swoons 
under the impuse of it ; 8 by Mantra the Homa fire may and, 
according to ideal conditions, should be lighted ; 3 by Mantra 
man is saved, and so forth. Mantra, in short, is a power 
(Shakti) ; power in the form of Sound. The root “ man ” 
means “ to think ”. 

The creative power of thought is now receiving increas- 
ing acceptance in the West. Thought-reading, thought- 
transference, hypnotic suggestion, magical projections (Mok- 
shana), and shields (Grahana ), 4 * * are becoming known and 
practised, not always with good results. The doctrine is 
ancient in India, and underlies the practices to be found in 
the Tantras, some of which are kept in general concealed to 


Occultist, Theosophist, etc. — General J. T. Harris noticed a scorpion 
close to the foot of a Sadhu. “ Don’t move,” he said ; “ there is a 
scorpion by your foot.” The Sadhu leaned over, and when he saw the 
scorpion he pointed at it with his fingers, on which the animal immedi- 
ately and in the presence of the General shrivelled up and died. “ You 
seem to have some powers already,” the General said ; but the Sadhu 
simply waived the matter aside as being of no importance (“ China 
Jim ” : “ Incidents in the Life of a Mutiny Veteran,” by Major-General 
J. T. Harris, p. 74. Heinemann). 

1 An extraordinary use to which it is put, I am informed by some 
worshippers of the Bhairava Mantra. The man projects the Mantra on 
to the woman, who then experiences the sensation of a physical union. 
The Vishnu Purana speaks of generation by will power. 

1 As the Kularnava Tantra says, and as may be readily understood, 
suoh a Guru is hard to get. The disciple who receives this initiation gets 
all the powers of his initiator. It is said that there are Gurus who can 
at. once make their disciples fit for the highest aims. 

* As is stated to have actually happended lately in the house of a 
friend of a collaborator of mine. A man is alleged to have lit the fuel 
in Kushandika Homa simply by Mantra and the Bija of fire (“ Rn.™ ”) 
without recourse to light or match. 

4 This Sanskrit term expresses not so much a “ fence ” to which 

use a Kavacha is put, but the knowledge of how a man may “ catch ” a 

Mantra projected at him. 



MANTRA 


85 


prevent misuse . 1 What, however, is not understood in the 
West is the particular form of Thought-science which is 
Mantravidya. Those familiar with Western presentment 
of similar subjects will more readily understand * when I 
say that, according to the Indian doctrine here described, 
thought (like mind, of which it is the operation) is a Power 
or Shakti. It is, therefore, as real, as outer material objects. 
Both are projections of the creative thought of the World- 
thinker. The root “ man," which means ‘ to think ’, is also 
the root of the Sanskrit word for “ Man,” who alone of all 
creation is properly a thinker. Mantra is the manifested 
Shabdabrahman. 

But what is Shabda or “ sound ” ? Here the Shakta- 
Tantra Shastra follows the Mlmamsa doctrine of Shabda, 
with such modifications as are necessary to adapt it to its 
doctrine of Shakti. Sound (Shabda), which is a quality 
(Guna) of ether (Akasha), and is sensed by hearing, is two- 
fold — namely, lettered (Varnatmaka shabda) and unlettered, 
or Dhvani (Dhvanyatmaka shabda ). 3 The latter is caused 
by the striking of two things together, and is meaningless. 
Shabda, on the contrary, which is Anahata (a term applied 
to the Heart Lotus), is that Brahman sound which is not 
caused by the striking of two things together. Lettered 
sound is composed of sentences (Vakya), words (Pada), and 

1 In the Samhita called Kularnava (not the Tantra of that name) 
Shiva, after referring to some terrible rites with the flesh of black cats, 
bats, and other animals, the soiled linen of a Chandala woman, the 
shroud of a corpse, and so forth, says : “ Oh, Parvati, my head and 
limbs tremble, my mouth is dried ” (Hridayam kampate mama, gatrani 
mama kampante, mukham shushyate Parvati), adding : “ One must not 
speak of it, one must not speak, one must not speak, again and again I 
say it must not be spoken of ” (Na vaktavyam na vaktavyam na 
vaktavyam punah punah). 

a It is because the Orientalist and missionary know nothing of 
occultism, and regard it as superstition, that their presentment of 
Indian teaching is so often ignorant and absurd. 

<( 3 This Dhvani is the gross body of the Mantra. See the Author’s 

garland of Letters ”. 



86 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

letters (Varna). Such sound has a meaning . 1 * Shabda 
manifesting as speeoh is said to be eternal.® This the 
Naiy&yikas deny, saying that it is transitory. A word is 
uttered, and it is gone. This opinion the Mimamsa denies, 
saying that the perception of lettered sound must be 
distinguished from lettered sound itself . 3 Perception is 
due to Dhvani caused by the striking of the air in oontaot 
with the vocal organs — namely, the throat, palate and 
tongue. Before there is Dhvani there must be the striking 
of one thing against another. It is not the mere striking 
whioh is the lettered Shabda. This manifests it. The 
lettered sound is produced by the formation of the vocal 
organs in contact with air, which formation is in response 
to the mental movement or idea, which by the will thus 
seeks outward expression in audible sound . 4 It is this 
perception which is transitory, for the Dhvani which mani- 
fests ideas in language .is such. But lettered sound, as it 
is in itself — is eternal. It was not produced at the moment 
it was perceived. It was only manifested by the Dhvani. It 
existed before, as it exists after, such manifestation, just as 
a jar in a dark room which is revealed by a flash of lightning 
is not then produoed, nor does it cease to exist on its ceasing 
to be perceived through the disappearance of its manifester, 
the lightning. The air in contact with the voice organs 
reveals sound in the form of the letters of the alphabet, and 

1 When the word “ Ghata ” is uttered, then there arises in the 
mind the idea of a jar. When the Mantra of a Divinity is uttered there 
arises the idea of the Deity whose name it is. 

1 Not as audible sounds (Dhvani), but as that which finds auditory 
expression in audible sounds. The sensible expressions are transient. 
Behind them is the eternal Logos (Shabdabrahman), whose manifesta- 
tion they are. 

* Samantu tatra darshanam (“ But alike is the perception thereof ”)• 

* This iB only one form in which letters find sensible expression. 
Thus writing gives visual expression, and to the blind perforated dots 
give tactual expression. 



MANTRA 


87 


their combinations in words and sentences. The letters 
are produced for hearing by the effort of the person desiring 
to speak, and become audible to the ear of others through 
the operation of unlettered sound or Dhvani. The latter 
being a manifester only, lettered Shabda is something other 
than its manifester. 

Before describing the nature of Shabda in its different 
forms of development it is necessary to understand the 
Indian psychology of perception. At each moment the 
Jiva is subject to innumerable influences which from all 
quarters of the universe pour upon him. Only those reach 
his Consciousness which attract his attention, and are thus 
selected by his Manas. The latter attends to one or other 
of these sense impressions, and conveys it to the Buddhi. 
When an object (Artha) is presented to the mind and 
perceived, the latter is formed into the shape of the object 
perceived. This is called a mental Yritti (modification), 
which it is the object of Yoga to suppress. The mind as 
a Vritti is thus a representation of the outer object. But 
in so far as it is such representation it is as much an object 
as the outer one. The latter — that is, the physical objeot — 
is called the gross objeot (Sthula artha), and the former or 
mental impression is called the subtle object (Sukshma 
artha). But besides the object there is the mind which 
perceives it. It follows that the mind has two aspects, in 
one of whioh it is the perceiver and in the other the 
perceived in the form of the mental formation (Yritti) which 
in creation precedes its outer projection, and after the 
creation follows as the impression produced in the mind 
by the sensing of a gross physical object. The mental 
impression and the physical object exactly correspond, for 
the physical objeot is, in fact, but a projection of the 
cosmic imagination, though it has the same reality as the 
mind has ; no more and no less. The mind is thus both 



88 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


oognizer (Grahaka) and cognized (Grahya), revealer (Praka* 
shaka) and revealed (Prakashya), denoter (V&ehaka) and 
denoted (Vachya). When the mind perceives an object it 
is transformed into the shape of that object. So the mind 
which thinks of the Divinity which it worships (Ishta- 
devata) is at length, through continued devotion, trans- 
formed into the likeness of that Devata. By allowing the 
Devata thus to occupy the mind for long it becomes as 
pure as the Devata. This is a fundamental principle of 
Tantrik S&dhana or religious practice. The object perceived 
is called Artha, a term which comes from the root “ Ri,” 
which means to get, to know, to enjoy. Artha is that which 
is known, and which therefore is an object of enjoyment. 
The mind as Artha — that is, in the form of the mental 
impression — is a reflection of the outer objeot or gross 
Artha. As the outer object is Artha, so is the interior 
subtle mental form which corresponds to it. That aspect 
of the mind which cognizes is called Shabda or Nama 
(name), and that aspect in which it is its own object or 
cognized is called Artha or Rapa (form). The outer physical 
object of which the latter is, in the individual, an im- 
pression is also Artha or Rapa, and spoken speech is the 
outer Shabda. Subject and object are thus from the Mantra 
aspect Shabda and Artha — terms corresponding to the 
Vedantio Nam a and Rupa, or concepts and concepts ob- 
jectified. As the Vedanta says, the whole creation is Nama 
and Rapa. Mind is the power (Shakti), the function of 
which is to distinguish and identify (Bhedasamsargavritti 
Shakti). 

Just as the body is causal, subtle and gross, so is Shabda, 
of whioh there are four states (Bhava), called Para, Pash- 
yantl, Madhyama and Vaikhar! — terms further explained in 
Seotion V of this Introduction. Para sound is that which 
exists on the differentiation of the Mahabindu before actual 



MANTRA 


89 


manifestation. This is motionless causal Shabda in Kunda- 
lini in the Mul&dhara centre of the body. That aspect of it 
in which it commences to move with a general — that is, 
non-particularized — motion (Samanya-spanda) is PashyantI, 
whose place is from the Muladhara to the Manipura Chakra, 
the next centre. It is here associated with Manas. These 
represent the motionless and first moving Ishvara aspect of 
Shabda. Madhyama sound is associated with Buddhi. It 
is Hiranyagarbha Shabda (Hiranyagarbharupa) extending 
from PashyantI to the heart. Both Madhyama sound, which 
is the inner “ naming ” by the cognitive aspect of mental 
movement, as also its Artha or subtle (Sukshma) object 
(Artha), belong to the mental or subtle body (Sukshma or 
Linga shaiira). Perception is dependent on distinguishing 
and identification. In the perception of an object that part 
of the mind which identifies and distinguishes, or the cogniz- 
ing part, is subtle Shabda, and that part of it which takes 
the shape of the object (a shape which corresponds with the 
outer thing) is subtle Artha. The perception of an object is 
thus consequent on the simultaneous functioning of the mind 
in its twofold aspect as Shabda and Artha, which are in 
indissoluble relation with one another as cognizer (Grahaka) 
and cognized (Grahya). Both belong to the subtle body. 
In creation Madhyama Shabda first appeared. At that 
moment there was no outer Artha. Then the cosmic mind 
projected this inner Madhyama Artha into the world of 
sensual experience, and named it in spoken speech (V aikharl 
Shabda). The last or Vaikhaii Shabda is uttered speech 
developed in the throat issuing from the mouth. This is 
Virat Shabda. Vaikhari Shabda is therefore language or 
gross lettered sound. Its corresponding Artha is the physical 
or gross object which language denotes. This belongs to the 
gross body (Sthula sharlra). Madhyama Shabda is mental 
movement or ideation in its cognitive aspect, and Madhyama 



90 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Artha is the mental impression of the gross object. The inner 
thought-movement in its aspect as Shabdartha, and con- 
sidered both in its knowing aspect (Shabda) and as the subtle 
known object (Artha), belong to the subtle body (Sukshma 
sharlra). The cause of these two is the first general move- 
ment towards particular ideation (Pashyantl) from the 
motionless cause, Parashabda, or Supreme Speech. Two 
forms of inner or hidden speech, causal and subtle, accom- 
panying mind movement, thus precede and lead up to spoken 
language. The inner forms of ideating movement constitute 
the subtle, and the uttered sound the gross, aspect of 
Mantra, which is the manifested Shabdabrahman. 

The gross Shabda, called Vaikharl or uttered speech, 
and the gross Artha, or the physical object denoted by that 
speech, are the projection of the subtle Shabda and Artha 
through the initial activity of the Shabdabrahman into the 
world of gross sensual perception. Therefore in the gross 
physical world Shabda means language — that is, sentences, 
words and letters, which are the expression of ideas and 
are Mantra. In the subtle or mental world Madhyama 
Shabda is the mind which “ names ” in its aspect as cognizer, 
and Artha is the same mind in its aspect as the mental object 
of its cognition. It is defined to be the outer in the form of 
the mind. It is thus similar to the state of dreams (Svapna) : 
as Parashabda is the causal dreamless (Sushupti) and Vai- 
kharl the waking (Jagrat) state. Mental Artha is a Sam- 
skara, an impression left on the subtle body by previous ex- 
perience, whioh is recalled when the Jlva re-awakes to world 
experience and recollects the experience temporarily lost in 
the cosmic dreamless state (Sushupti) which is dissolution 
(Mahapralaya). What is it which arouses this Samskara ? 
As an effect (Karya) it must have a cause (Karana). This 
K&rana is the Shabda or name (Nam a), subtle or gross, 
corresponding to that particular Artha. When the word 



MANTBA 


91 


“ Ghata ” is uttered this evokes in the mind the image of an 
objeot — a jar— ^just as the presentation of that object does. 
In the Hiranyagarbha state Shabda as Samskara worked to 
evoke mental images. The whole world is thuB Shabda and 
Artha — that is, name and form (Nama Rupa). Those two 
are inseparably associated. There is no Shabda without 
Artha or Artha without Shabda. The Greek word Logos 
also means thought and word combined. There is thus a 
double line of creation, Shabda and Artha, ideas and langu- 
age together with their objects. Speech, as that which is 
heard, or the outer manifestation of Shabda, stands for the 
Shabda creation. The Artha creation are the inner and 
outer objects seem by the mental or physical vision. From 
the cosmic creative standpoint the mind comes first, and 
from it is evolved the physical world according to the 
ripened Samskaras, which led to the existence of the parti- 
cular existing universe. Therefore the mental Artha precedes 
the physical Artha, which is an evolution in gross matter of 
the former. This mental state corresponds to that of dreams 
(Svapna) when man lives in the mental world only. After 
creation, which is the waking (Jagrat) state, there is for the 
individual an already existing parallelism of names and 
objects. 

Uttered speech is a manifestation of the inner naming 
or thought. This thought-movement is similar in men of 
all races. When an Englishman or an Indian thinks of an 
object, the image is to both the same, whether evoked by 
the object itself or by the utterance of its name. Perhaps 
for this reason a thought-reader whose cerebral centre is 
en rapport with that of another may read the hidden 
“ speech ” — that is, the thought of one whose spoken speech 
he cannot understand. Thus, whilst the thought-movement 
is similar in all men, the expression of it as Yaikharl 
Shabda differs. According to tradition, there was onoe a 



92 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


universal language. According to the Biblioal account, 
this was so before the oonfusion of tongues at the Tower 
of Babel. Nor is this unlikely when we consider that 
difference in gross speeoh is due to difference of races 
evolved in the course of time. If the instruments by, and 
conditions under, which thought is revealed in speech were 
the same for all men, then there would be but one language. 
But now this is not so. Racial characteristics and physical 
conditions, such as the nature of the vocal organs, climate, 
inherited impressions, and so forth, differ. Therefore, so 
also does language. But for each particular man speaking 
any particular language the uttered name of any object is 
the gross expression of his inner thought-movement. It 
evokes that movement and again expresses it. It evokes 
the idea and the idea is Consciousness as mental operation. 
That operation can be so intensified as to be itself creative. 
This is Mantra-chaitanya. 

From the above account it will be understood that, 
when it is said that the “ letters ” are in the six bodily 
Chakras, it is not to be supposed that it is intended to 
absurdly affirm that the letters as written shapes, or as the 
uttered sounds which are heard by the ear, are there. The 
letters in this sense — that is, as gross things — are manifested 
only in speech and writing. This muoh is clear. But the 
precise significance of this statement is a matter of great 
difficulty. There is, in fact, no subject which presents more 
difficulties than Mantravidya, whether considered generally 
or in relation to the particular matter in hand. In the first 
place, one must be constantly on guard against falling into 
a possible trap — namely, the taking of prescribed methods 
of realization for actualities in the common sense of that 
term. The former are conventional, the latter are real. 
Doubts on this matter are increased by some variations in the 
descriptive acoounts. Thus in some Ganesha is the Devata 



MANTRA 


93 


of the MQladhftra. In the Text here translated it is Brahma. 
Similarly this Text gives Dakin! in the Muladhara as the 
Devata of the Asthi Dh&tu (bony substance). When sitting 
in the prescribed Asana (posture), the bones are gathered up 
around this Chakra, and, moreover, from it as the centre of 
the body the bones run up and downwards. Another ac- 
count, however, given to me places Devi ShakinI here . 1 
Mistakes have also to be reckoned with, and can only be 
ascertained and rectified by a comparison of several MSS . 9 
Again, four letters are said to be on the petals of the 
Muladhara Lotus — namely, Ya, Sha, Sha, and Sa. Why 
are these said to be there ? Various statements have been 
made to me. As there are certain letters which are ascribed 
to each form of sensible matter (Bhuta), it seems obvious 
to suggest that the Earth letters (Parthiva varna) are in 
the Earth centre. But an examination on this basis does 
not bear the suggestion out. Next, it is said that the letters 
have colours, and the letters of a particular colour are allo- 
cated to the lotuses of the same colour. The Text does 
not support this theory. It has been said that certain 
letters derive from certain Devatas. But the letters pro- 
duce the Devata, for these are the Artha of Mantra as 
Shabda. I have been also told that the letters are placed 
according to their seat of pronunciation (Uckcharana). But 

* This account, which may be compared with that of the Text, is 
as follows : 

Bone (Asthidhatu) : Muladhara chakra : Devi ShakinI. 

Fat (Medadhatu) : Svadhishth&na chakra ; Devi Kakinl. 

Flesh (Mamsadhatu) : Manipura chakra ; Devi Lakinl. 

Blood (Raktadhatu) : Anahata chakra ; Devi Rakinl. 

Skin (Tvakdhatu) : Vishuddha chakra ; Devi Dakinl. 

Marrow (Majjadhatu) : Ajna chakra ; Devi Hakinl. 

In the Sahasrara Padma are all Dhatus beginning with Shukra 
(semen). 

9 Thus in the text given me, from which I quote, the four letters 
of the Muladhara are given as Va, Sha, Sha and La. The latter should, 
.according to other accounts, be Sa. 



94 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

it is replied that the Muladhara is the common source of 
this (UchcharanasthSna) for all. 1 * Again, it is said that 
the letters on the petals are Bijas or seed-mantras of all 
activities (Kriya) connected with the Tattva of the centre, 
each letter undergoing variations according to the vowels.* 
All beings in PrithivI (Earth) Tattva, should be meditated 
upon in the Muladhara. Here are therefore (as we might 
expect), the organs of feet (Padendriya), the action of 
walking (Gamanakriya), smell (Gandha), the quality of 
PrithivI, the sense of smell (Ghrana), Nivritti Kala, 3 and 
Brahma (Lord of the Tattva). But we are also told that 
the letters Ya, Sha, Sha, and Sa are the Atma and Bijas 
of the four Vedas, 4 of the four Yugas, 5 of the four oceans, 6 
which are therefore called Chaturvarnatmaka, or in the 
self of the four letters. It is true that the four Vedas are 
in, and issue from, Parashabda, the seat of which is the 
Muladhara. For Veda in its primary sense is the world 
as idea in the mind of the creative Brahman, portions of 
which have been revealed to the Rishis (seers) and embodied 
in the four Vedas. But why should Va be the seed of the 
Rigveda, Sha of the Yajurveda, and so forth ? The ritual 
explanation, as given in the Rudrayamala (xiv. 73, xv. 2, 
xvi. 1, 2) is that the petal Va is Brahma (Rajoguna), 
and is the Blja of Rik ; Sha is Vishnu (Sattvaguna), and 

1 This is true, but nevertheless there may be special seats of pro- 
nunciation for each letter or class of letters. As apparently supporting 
this suggestion it may be noted that the vowel sounds are placed in the 
throat centre, and Ha and Ksha above. 

* I am informed that the subject is dealt with in detail in the 
Kundalinlkalpataru, and in particular in the Adhyfttmasagara, neither 
of which MSS. have I yet seen. 

s See . Author’s “ Studies in the Mantra Shastra ” (KalAs of the 
Shaktis). SamSna Vayu is also located here. 

4 Va of Rik, Sha of Yajus, Sha of Sama and Sa of Atharva Veda. 

6 The four ages — Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali, 

* Of Sugarcane juice, wine, ghee (Ghrita), milk. 



MANTRA 


95 


Sha, being Pundarlkatma, is the Blja of Yajus ; Sha is 
Rudra (Tamoguna), and is the Blja of Sama, Sa is the Blja 
of Atharva, as it is the Blja of Shakti . 1 These four are in 
Parashabda in Muladhara. It seems to me (so far as my 
studies in the Shastra have yet carried me) that the details 
of the descriptions of the centres are of two kinds. There 
are, firstly, certain facts of objective and universal reality. 
Thus, for example, there are certain centres (Chakra) in the 
spinal column. The principle of solidity (PrithivI Tattva) 
is in the lowest of such centres, which as the centre of the 
body contains the static or potential energy called Kunda- 
linl Shakti. The centre as a lotus is said to have four 
petals, because of the formation and distribution of the 
Yoga-nerves 2 (Nadi) at that particular point. Solidity is 
denoted aptly by a cube, which is the diagram (Yantra) of 
that centre. The consciousness of that centre as Devata 
is also aptly borne on an elephant, the massive solidity of 
which is emblematical of the solid earth principle (Prithivi). 
The forces which go to the making of solid matter may, by 
the Yogi, be seen as yellow. It may be that particular 
substances (Dhatu) of the body and particular Yritti quali- 
ties) are connected with particular Chakras, and so forth. 

There are, however, another class of details which have 
possibly only symbolical reality, and which are placed be- 
fore the Sadhaka for the purposes of instruction and 
meditation only . 3 The letters as we know them — that is, 
as outer speech — are manifested only after passing through 

1 See Rudrayamala XVII, where priority is given to Atharva as 
dealing with Achara of Shakti. From Atharva arose Sama, from Sama, 
Yajus, and from the latter Rik. 

* The term “ nerve ” is used for default of another equivalent. 
These NadTs, called Yoga-Nadis, are not, like the Nadls of physiology, 
gross things, but subtle channels along which the life-force works in 
bodies. 

* See the Demchog Tantra, published as the seventh volume of 
“.Tantrik Texts ”, 



96 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

the throat. They cannot therefore exist as such in the 
Chakras. But they are said to be there. They are there, 
not in their gross, but in their subtle and causal forms. It 
is these subtle forms which are called Matrika. But as 
such forms they are Shabda of and as ideating movements, 
or are the cause thereof. Consciousness, which is itself 
(SvarGpa) soundless (Nih shabda), in its supreme form 
(Para-shabda) assumes a general undifferentiated movement 
(Sflm&nya-spanda), then a differentiated movement (Vishe- 
sha-spanda), issuing in clearly articulate speech (Spashta- 
tara-spanda). The inner movement has outer correspondence 
with that issuing from the lips by the aid of Dhvani. This 
is but the Mantra way of saying that Consciousness moves 
as Shakti, and appears as subject (Shabda) and object 
(Artha) at first in the subtle form of Mind and its contents 
generated by the Samskaras, and then in the gross form 
of language as the expression of ideas and of physical 
objects (Artha), which the creative or Cosmic Mind projects 
into the world of sensual experience to be the source of 
impressions to the individual experiencer therein. It is true 
that in this sense the letters, as hidden speech or the seed 
of outer speech, are in the Chakras, but the allocation of 
particular letters to particular Chakras is a matter which, 
if it has a real and not merely symbolical significance, must 
repeive the explanation given in my “ Shakti and Shakta ”. 

In each of the Chakras there is also a Blja (seed) Mantra 
of each of the Tattvas therein. They are the seed of the 
Tattva, for the latter springs from and re-enters the form- 
er. The Natural Name of anything is the sound Which 
is produced by the action of the moving foroes which con- 
stitute it. He therefore, it is said, who mentally and vocally 
utters with creative force the natural name of anything, 
brings into being the thing which bears that name. Thus 
“ Bam ” is the Blja of fire in the Manipilra Chakra, This 



MANTRA 


97 


Mantra “ Ram ” is said to be the expression in gross sound 
(Vaikharl Shabda) of the subtle sound produced by the forces 
constituting fire. The same explanation is given as regards 
“ Lam ” in the Muladhara, and the other Bljas in the other 
Chakras. The mere utterance , 1 * however, of “ Ram ” or 
any other Mantra is nothing but a movement of the lips. 
When, however, the Mantra is “ awakened ” 8 (Prabudha) — 
that is, when there is Mantra-chaitanya (Mantra-conscious- 
ness) — then the Sadhaka can make the Mantra work. Thus 
in the case cited the Vaikhari Shabda, through its vehicle 
Dhvani, is the body of a power of Consciousness which 
enables the Mantrin to become the Lord of Fire . 3 * * * 7 How- 
ever this may be, in all cases it is the oreative thought 
which ensouls the uttered sound which works now in man’s 
small “magic,” just as it first worked in the “grand 
magical display ” of the World creator. His thought was 
the aggregate, with creative power, of all thought. Each 
man is Shiva, and can attain His power to the degree of 
his ability to consciously realize himself as such. For 
various purposes the Devatas are invoked. Mantra and 
Devata are one and the same. A Mantra- Devata is Shabda 
and Artha, the former being the name, and the latter the 
Devata whose name it is. By practice (Japa) with the 


1 The mind must in worship with form (Sakftra) be centred on the 
Deity of Worship (Ishtadevata) ; and in Yoga on the light form (Jyotir- 
mayarupa). It is said, however, that mere repetition of a Mantra with- 
out knowing its meaning will produce some benefit or that which arises 
from devotion. The subject of natural Name is dealt with in the 
author’s “ Garland of Letters ”. 

* Thought is not then only in the outer husk, but is vitalized 
through its Conscious centre. 

s Some attain these powers through worship (Upasana) of Agni 
Vetala, a Devayoni ; some of Agni Himself. The former process, which 

requires 12,000 Japa, is given in Shavara-tantra. In the same way 

objects are said to be moved, though at a distance from the operator, 

by the worship of MadhumatT DevT. A higher state of development 
dispenses with all outer agents. 

7 



98 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Mantra the presence of the Devata is invoked. Japa or 
repetition of Mantra is compared to the aotion of a man 
shaking a sleeper to wake him up. The two lips are Shiva 
and Shakti. Their movement is the coition (Maithuna) 
of the two. Shabda which issues therefrom is in the 
nature of Seed or Bindu. The Devata thus produced is, 
as it were, the “ son ” of the Sadhaka. It is not the 
Supreme Devata (for it is actionless) who appears, but in 
all cases an emanation produced by the Sadhaka for his 
benefit only . 1 In the case of worshippers of Shiva a Boy- 
Shiva (Bala Shiva) appears, who is then made strong by 
the nurture which the Sadhaka gives to his creation. The 
occultist will understand all such symbolism to mean that 
the Devata is a form of the consciousness of the Sadhaka 
which the latter arouses and strengthens, and gains good 
thereby. It is his consciousness which becomes the boy 
Shiva, and when strengthened the full-grown Divine power 
itself. All Mantras are in the body as forms of conscious- 
ness (Vijnana-rupa). When the Mantra is fully practised it 
enlivens the Samskara, and the Artha appears to the mind. 
Mantras are thus a form of the Samskara of Jlvas, the 
Artha of whioh becomes manifest to the consciousness 
whioh is fit to perceive it. The essence of all this is — 
concentrate and vitalise thought and will power. But for 
suoh a purpose a method is necessary — namely, language 
and determined varieties of practice 'according to the end 
sought. These, Mantravidya (whioh explains what Mantra 
is) also enjoins. 

The causal state of Shabda is called Shabdabrahman — 
that is, the Brahman as the cause of Shabda and Artha. 
The unmanifest (Avyakta) power or Shabda, whioh is the 


1 If Sftrya (Sun-God) be invoked, it is an emanation which comes 
and then goes back to the sun. 



MANTRA 


99 


cause of manifested .Shabda and Artha, uprises on the differ- 
entiation of the Supreme Bindu from Prakriti in the form 
of Bindu through the prevalence of Kriyft 1 Shakti. Avyakta 
Rava or Shabda (un manifested sound) is the principle of 
sound as such (Nada-matra) that is, undifferentiated sound 
not specialized in the form of letters, but which is, through 
creative activity, the oause of manifested Shabda and 
Artha . 2 It is the Brahman considered as all-pervading 
Shabda, undivided, unmanifested, whose substance is Nada 
and Bindu, the proximate creative impulse in Parashiva 
and proximate cause of manifested Shabda and Artha . 3 It 
is the eternal partless Sphota 4 which is not distinguished 
into Shabda and Artha, but is the Power by which both 
exist and are known. Shabda-brahman is thus the kinetic 
ideating aspect of the undifferentiated Supreme Conscious- 
ness of philosophy, and the Saguna Brahman of religion. 
It is Chit-shakti vehicled by undifferentiated Prakriti- 
shakti — that is, the creative aspect of the one Brahman who 
is both transcendent and formless (Nirguna), and immanent 


1 See, v. 12 : Sharada. 

Kriy&shaktipradhanay&h shabdashabd&rtha-karanam 
Prakriter bindurupinyab shabdabrahmabhavat param. 

In plain English this means, in effect, that increasing activity in 
the Consciousness about to create (Bindu) produces that state in which 
it is the cause of subject and object, as mind and matter. 

* Tena shabdartharupa-vishishtasya shabda-brahmatvam avadhft- 
ritam (Pr&natoshini, 18). 

5 See Priinatoshini, p. 10 ; Raghava Bhatta, Comm. v. 12, Ch. I, 
Sharada. 

Srishtyunmukha-paramashiva-prathamollasamatram akhando vyak- 
to nadabindumaya eva vyapako brahmatmakah shabdab. 

4 Sphota, which is derived from Sphut, to open (as a bud does), is 
that by which the particular meaning of words is reveiJed. The letters 
singly, and therefore also in combination, are non- significant. A word 
is not the thing, but that through which, when uttered, there is cogni- 
tion of the thing thereby denoted. That which denotes the thing 
denoted is a disclosure (Sphota) other than these letters. This Sphota 
is eternal Shabda. 



100 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


and with form (Saguna). 1 * As the Hathayogapradlpika 
says : * “ Whatever is heard in the form of sound is Shakti. 
The abs orbed state ( Laya) of the T a ttvas ( evalntes of 
^akriti).ia.that in which no form exists. 3 So lon g as there 
is the notion of Ether, so long is sound heard.. .Thejannnd* 
less is cafle5 Parabrahman or Paramatma.” 4 Shabdabrah- 
ma^^us^projects itself for the purpose of creation into 
two sets of movement — namely, firstly, the Shabda (with 
mental vibrations of cognition) which, passing through the 
vocal organs, become articulate sound ; and, secondly, 
Artha movements denoted by Shabda in the form of all 
things constituting the content of mind and the objective 
world. These two are emanations from the same Conscious 
Aotivity (Shakti) which is the Word (Vak or “ Logos ”), 
and are in consequence essentially the same. Hence the 
connection between the two is permanent. It is in the 
above sense that the universe is said to be composed of the 
letters. It is the fifty 5 letters of the Sanskrit alphabet 
which are denoted by the garland of severed human heads 
which the naked 6 Mother, Kali, dark like a threatening rain- 
cloud, wears as She stands amidst bones and carrion beasts 


1 It is to be noted that of five Bhutas, Akasha and Vayu belonging 
to the formless division (Amurtta), and the remaining three to the form 
division (Mftrtta). The first is sensed by hearing. Shabda is vibration 
for the ear as name. Agni, the head of the second division, is sensed as 
form (Rfipa). Artha is vibration to the eye (mental or physical) as form. 

* Ch. IV, vv. 101, 102. 

* Yatkinohin nfidarupena Shruyate shaktir eva sa 
Yas tattvftnto nirakarah sa eva parameshvarah. 

4 T&vad ak&shasamkalpo yavachchhabdah pravartate 
Nihshabdam tatparam brahma param&tmeti glyate. 

4 Sometimes given as fifty-one. 

8 She is so pictured because She is beyond Maya (Mayatlta). She is 
the “ Bewilderer of all ” by Her Maya, but is Herself unaffected thereby. 
This Kali symbolism is explained in the Svarupa-vyakhya of the “ Hymn 
to Kali ” (Karp&radi Stotra) which I have published as Vol. IX of 
Tftntrik Texts, 




MANTRA 


101 


and birds in the burning-ground on the white eorpse-like 
(Shavarflpa) body of Shiva. For it is She who “ slaughters ” 
— that is, withdraws all speech and its objects into Herself 
at the time of the dissolution of all things (Mahapralaya ). 1 
Shabdabrahman is the Consciousness (Chaitanya) in all crea- 
tures. It assumes the form of Kundall, and abides in the 
body of all breathing creatures (Prani), manifesting itself by 
letters in the form of prose and verse . 2 In the sexual 
symbolism of the Shakta Tantras, seed (Bindu ) 3 issued 
upon the reversed union 4 of Mahakala and Mahakal!, which 
seed, ripening in the womb of Prakriti, issued as Kundall 
in the form of the letters (Akshara). Kundall as Maha- 
matrikasundarl has fifty-one coils, which are the Matrikas or 
subtle forms of the gross letters or Varna which is the 
Vaikharl form of the Shabda at the centres. Kundall when 
with one coil is Bindu ; with two, Prakriti-Purusha ; with 
three, the three Shaktis (Ichchha, Jnana, Kriya) and three 
Gunas (Sattva, Rajas, Tamas) ; with the three and a half 
She is then actually creative with Vikriti ; with four She 
is the Devi Ekajata, and so on to Shrimatrikotpattisundari 
with fifty-one coils . 5 In the body, unmanifested Parashabda 
is in Kundali Shakti. That which first issues from it is in 
the lowest Chakra, and extends upwards through the rest 
as Pashyanti, Madhyama and Vaikharl Shabda. When 

1 The same symbolism is given in the description of the Heruka in 
the Buddhist Demchog Tantra. 

* Chaitanyam sarvabhutilnam shabdabrahmeti me matih 
Tat prapya kundallrupam praninftm dehamadhyagam 
Varnatmanftvirbhavati gadyapadyadi-bhedatah. (SharadA Tilaka, 
Ch. I.) 

3 The term Bindu also means a drop as of semen. 

4 Viparlta maithuna. Shakti is above Shiva, and moving on and in 
coition with Him because She is the active and He the inert Conscious- 
ness. 

° Shaktisamgama Tantra, first Ullftsa tJtpattikhanda. When with 
the ten coils She is the well-known Dashamah&vidy&. 



102 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Shakti first “ sees ” 1 She is Parama Kala s in the mother-form 
(Ambik&rupa), whioh is supreme speech (Para vak) and 
supreme peace (Parama shanta). She “ sees ” the manifest- 
ed Shabda from Pashyanti to Vaikhari. The PashyantI 3 
state of Shabda is that in which Ichchha Shakti (Will) in the 
form of a goad 4 (Amkushakara) is about to display the uni- 
verse, then in seed (Blja) form. This is the Shakti Varna . 6 
Madhyama Vak, which is Jnana (knowledge), and in form 
of a straight line (Rijurekha), is Jyeshtha Shakti. Here 
there is the first assumption of form as the Matrika (Matri- 
katvam upapanna), for here is particular motion (Vishesha- 
spanda). The Vaikhari state is that of Kriya Shakti, 
who is the Devi RaudrI, whose form is triangular 6 and 
that of the universe. As the former Shakti produces the 
subtle letters of Matrika which are the Vasana , 7 so this 
last is the Shakti of the gross letters of words and their 
objeots . 8 These letters are the Garland of the Mother issuing 
from Her in Her form as KundalinI Shakti, and absorbed 
by Her in the Kundalinl-yoga here described. 


1 The first movement in creation, called Ikshana (“ seeing ”) in 
Veda. To see is to ideate. 

* Param&=® supreme or first. Kala= Vimarsha- Shakti of Atmti. 
She is, as such, the first cause of all the letters. 

8 Pashyanti = She who “ sees ” (Ikshana). 

4 Here the crooked line (Vakrarekha) comes first, and the straight 
seoond. Possibly this may be the line rising to form the triangular 
pyramid. 

6 So called because she “ vomits forth ” the universe (Vamanat 
vamft iti). 

* Shringataka — that is, a triangular pyramidal figure of three 
dimensions. 

7 That is, SamskAra or revived impression, which is the seed of the 
ideating Gosmio Consciousness. 

8 Yoginlhridaya Tantra. Samketa I. 



V 


THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 

At this stage we are in a position to pass to a consideration 
of the Chakras, which may shortly be described as subtle 
centres of operation in the body of the Shaktis or Powers 
of the various Tattvas or Principles which constitute the 
bodily sheaths. Thus the five lower Chakras from Mula- 
dhara to Yishuddha are centres of the Bhutas, or five forms 
of sensible matter. The Aj nil and other Chakras in the 
region between it and the Sahasrara are centres of the Tattvas 
constituting the mental sheaths, whilst, the Sahasrara or 
thousand-petalled lotus at the top of the brain, is the bliss- 
ful abode of Parama Shiva- Shakti which is the state of pure 
Consciousness. 

A description of the Chakras involves, in the first place, 
an account of the Western anatomy and physiology of the 
central and sympathetic nervous systems ; secondly, an 
account of the Tantrik nervous system and Chakras ; and, 
lastly, the correlation, so far as that is possible, of the two 
systems on the anatomical and physiological side, for the 
rest is in general peculiar to Tantrik occultism. 

The Tantrik theory regarding the Chakras and Sahas- 
rara is concerned on the physiological side, or Bhogayatana 
aspeot, with the central spinal system, comprising the brain 
or enoephalon, contained within the skull, and the spinal 
cord, contained within the vertebral column (Merudanda). 
It is to be noted that, just as there are five centres (Chakras) 
hereinafter described, the vertebral column itself is divided 



104 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


into five regions, which, commencing from the lowest, are the 
coooygeal, consisting of four imperfect vertebrae, often united 
together into one bone called the coccyx ; the sacral region, 
consisting of five vertebrae united together to form a single 
bone, the sacrum; the lumbar region, or region of the loins, 
consisting of five vertebrae ; the dorsal region, or region of the 
back, consisting of twelve vertebrae ; and the cervical region, 
or region of the neck, consisting of seven vertebrae. As 
exhibited by segments, the cord shows different characteris- 
tics in different regions. Roughly speaking, these corres- 
pond to the regions which are assigned to the governing 
control of the Muladhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Ana- 
hata and Yishuddha oentres, or Chakras or Lotuses (Padma). 
The central system has relation with the periphery through 
the thirty-one spinal and twelve cranial nerves, which are 
both afferent and efferent or sensory and motor, arousing 
sensation or stimulating action. Of the cranial nerves, the 
last six arise from the spinal bulb (medulla), and the other 
six, exoept the olfaotory and optic nerves, from the parts of 
the brain just in front of the bulb. Writers of the Yoga and 
Tantra sohools use the term Nadi, by preference, for nerves. 
They also, it has been said, mean cranial nerves when they 
speak of Shiras, never using the latter for arteries, as is done 
in the medical literature . 1 It must, however, be noted that 
the Yoga Nadls are not the ordinary material nerves, but 
subtler lines of direction along which the vital forces go. 
The spinal nerves, after their exit from the intervertebral 
foramina, enter into communication with the gangliated 
oords of the sympathetic nervous system, which lie on each 
side of the vertebral column. The spinal cord extends in 

1 Dr. Brojendranath Seal, p. 887, Appendix to Professor Benoy 
Kumar Sarkar’s “Positive Background of Hindu Sociology”. The 
word DhamanI is also used for nerve. It is to be noted, however, that 
the present work uses Shiras for other than cranial nerves, for in v. I 
it calls Ida and PingalA Nadls or Shiras. 



the centres or lotuses (chakra, padma) 106 

the case of man from the upper border of the atlas, below 
the cerebellum, passing into the medulla, and finally opening 
into the fourth ventricle of the brain, and descends to the 
second lumbar vertebra, where it tapers to a point, called 
the filum terminate. I am told that microscopic investi- 
gations by Dr. Cunningham have disclosed the existence of 
highly sensitive grey matter in the filum terminate which 
was hitherto thought to be mere fibrous cord. This is of 
importance, having regard to the position assigned to the 
Mfiladhara and the Serpent Power. It is continued in this 
for a variable distance, and there ends blindly. Within 
the bony covering is the cord, which is a compound of 
grey and white brain matter, the grey being the inner of 
the two, the reverse of the position on the encephalon. The 
cord is divided into two symmetrical halves, which are 
connected together by a commissure in the centre of which 
there is a minute canal called the central spinal canal 
(wherein is the Brahmanadi), which is said to be the 
remnant of the hollow tube from which the cord and brain 
were developed . 1 This canal contains cerebro-spinal fluid. 
The grey matter viewed longitudinally forms a column 
extending through the whole length of the cord, but the 
width is not uniform. There are special enlargements in 
the lumbar and cervical regions which are due mainly to 
the greater amount of grey matter in these situations. 
But throughout the whole cord the grey matter is specially 
abundant at the junctions of the spinal nerves, so that a 
necklace arrangement is visible, which is more apparent in 
the lower vertebrates, corresponding to the ventral gang- 
lionic chain of the invertebrates . 2 The white matter 
consists of traots or columns of nerve fibres. At the upper 
border of th e atlas, or first cervical vertebra, the spinal' 

1 See Ferrier’s “ Functions of the Brain ”. 

” lb., 7. 



106 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

cord passes into the medulla oblongata below the cerebellum. 
The centre canal opens into the fourth ventricle of the 
brain. The cerebellum is a development of the posterior 
wall of the hindermost of the three primary dilatations of 
the embryonic cerebro- spinal tube, the fourth ventricle 
constituting the remnant of the original cavity. Above 
this is the cerebrum, which with the parts below it is an 
enlarged and greatly modified upper part of the cerebro- 
spinal nervous axis. The spinal cord is not merely a 
conductor between the periphery and the centres of sensa- 
tion and volition, but is also an independent centre or 
group of centres. There are various centres in the spinal 
cord which, though to a considerable extent autonomous, is 
connected together with the higher centres by the associat- 
ing and longitudinal tracts of the spinal cord . 1 All the 
functions which are ascribed primarily to the spinal centres 
belong also in an ultimate sense to the cerebral centres. 
Similarly, all the “ Letters ” which exist distributed on the 
petals of the lotuses exist in the Sahasrara. The centres 
influence not only the muscular combinations concerned 
in volitional movements, but also the functions of vascular 
innervation, secretion, and the like, which have their 
proximate centres in the spinal cord. The cerebral centres 
are said, however, to control these functions only in relation 
with the manifestations of volition, feeling, and emotion ; 
whereas the spinal centres with the subordinate sympathetic 
system are said to constitute the mechanism of unconsoious 
adaptation, in accordance with the varying conditions of 
of stimuli whioh are essential to the continued existence 
of the organism. The medulla, again, is also both 
a path of communication between the higher centres 
and the periphery and an independent centre regulating 
functions of the greatest importance in the system. 

1 See Ferrier’s “ Functions of the Brain,” p. 80. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 107 

It is to be noted that the nerve fibres which carry motor 
impulses descending from the brain to the spinal cord cross 
over rather suddenly from one side to the other on their 
way through the spinal bulb (medulla), a fact which has 
been noted in the Tantras in the description of the Mukta 
Trivenl. The latter is connected by numerous afferent and 
efferent tracts with the cerebellum and cerebral ganglia. 
Above the cerebellum is the cerebrum, the activity of which 
is ordinarily associated with conscious volition and ideation 
and the origination of voluntary movements. The notion 
of Consciousness, which is the introspective subject-matter 
of psychology, must not, however, be confused with that of 
physiological function. There is therefore no organ of con- 
sciousness, simply because “ Consciousness ” is not an 
organic conception, and has nothing to do with the physio- 
logical conception of energy, whose inner introspective side 
it presents. 1 Consciousness in itself is the Atma. Both 
mind and body, of which latter the brain is a part, are 
veiled expressions of Consciousness, which in the case of 
matter is so veiled that it has the appearance of uncon- 
sciousness. The living brain is constituted of grpss sensible 
matter (Mahabhuta) infused by Prana or the life-principle. 
Its material has been worked up so as to constitute a suit- 
able vehicle for the expression of Consciousness in the form 
of Mind (Antahkarana). As Consciousness is not a property 
of the body, neither is it a mere function of the brain. The 
fact that mental consciousness is affected or disappears 
with disorder of the brain proves the necessity of the latter 
for the expression of such consciousness, and not that con- 
sciousness is inherent alone in brain or that it is the 
property of the same. On each side of the vertebral column 
there is a chain of ganglia connected with nerve fibre, called 


1 Auguste Porel’s “ Hygiene of Nerves and Mind,” p. 95. 



108 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

the sympathetic cord (Ida and Pingala), extending all the 
way from the base of the skull to the coccyx. This is in 
communication with the spinal cord. It is noteworthy that 
there is in the thoracic and lumbar regions a ganglion of 
each chain corresponding with great regularity to each 
spinal nerve, though in the cervical region many of them 
appear to be missing ; and that extra large clusters of ner- 
vous structure are to be found in the region of the heart, 
stomach and lungs, the regions governed by the Anahata, 
Manipura, and Vishuddha, respectively, the three upper of 
the five Chakras hereinafter described. From the sym- 
pathetic chain on each side nerve fibres pass to the viscera 
of the abdomen and thorax. From these, nerves are also 
given off which pass back into the spinal nerves, and others 
which pass into some of the cranial nerves ; these are thus 
distributed to the blood-vessels of the limbs, trunk, and 
other parts to which the spinal or cranial nerves go. The 
sympathetic nerves chiefly carry impulses which govern the 
muscular tissue of the viscera and the muscular coat of 
the small arteries of the various tissues. It is through the 
sympathetic that the tone of the blood vessels is kept up 
by the action of the vaso-motor centre in the spinal bulb. 
The sympathetic, however, derives the impulses which it 
distributes from the central nervous system ; these do not 
arise in the sympathetic itself. The impulses issue from 
the spinal cord by the anterior roots of the spinal nerves, 
and pass through * short branches into the sympathetic 
ohains. The work of the sympathetic systems controls and 
influences the circulation, digestion and respiration . 1 

The anatomical arrangement of the central nervous 
system is excessively intricate, and the events which take 
place in that tangle of fibre, cell and fibril, are, on the other 

* See Foster and Shore’s " Physiology,” pp. 206, 207. 



, THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 109 

hand, even now almost unknown . 1 2 And so it has been 
admitted that in the description of the physiology of the 
central nervous system we can as yet do little more than 
trace the paths by which impulses may pass between one 
portion of the system and another, and from the anatomical 
connections deduce, with more or less probability, the nature 
of the physiological nexus which its parts form with eaoh 
other and the rest of the body.* In a general way, however, 
there may (it is said) be reasons to suppose that there are 
nervous centres in the central system related in a special 
way to special mechanisms, sensory, secretory, or motor, 
and that centres, such as the alleged genito-spinal centre, 
for a given physiological action exist in a definite portion of 
the spinal cord. It is the subtle aspect of such centres as 
expressions of Consciousness (Chaitanya) embodied in 
various forms of Maya Shakti which is here called Chakra. 
These are related through intermediate conductors with the 
gross organs of generation, micturition, digestion, cardiac 
action, and respiration in ultimate relation with the Mula- 
dhara, Svadhishthana, Manipura, Anahata, and Vishuddha 
Chakras respectively, just as tracts have been assigned in 
the higher centres as being in special, even if not exclusive, 
relation with various perceptive, volitional, and ideative 
processes. 

With this short preliminary in terms of modern Western 
physiology and anatomy, I pass to a description of the 
Chakras and Nadls (nerves), and will then endeavour to 
correlate tfhe two systems. 

The conduits of Pranik or vital force are the nerves 
called Nadi, which are reckoned to exist in thousands in the 
body. “ As in the leaf of the Ashvattha tree ( Ficus religiosa), 

1 “Manual of Physiology," by G.N. Stewart, 5th edition, p. 657 (1906). 

2 Ibid. 



110 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


there are minute fibres, so is the body permeated by Nadls .” 1 
Nadi is said in v. 2 to be derived from the root nad, or motion. 
For here the Prana or Life Principle moves. The Bhtita- 
shuddi Tantra speaks of 72,000, the Prapanehasara Tantra 
of 300,000, and the Shiva Samhita of 350,000 ; but of these, 
whatever be their total extent, only a limited number are of 
importance. Some are gross Nadls, such as the physical 
nerves, veins and arteries, known to medical science. But 
they are not all of this gross or physical and visible character. 
They exist, like all else, in subtle forms, and are known as 
Yoga Nadls. The latter may be described as subtle channels 
(Vivara) of Pranik or vital energy. The Nadls are, as stated, 
the conduits of Prana. Through them its solar and lunar 
currents run. Could we see them, the body would present 
the appearance of those maps which delineate the various 
ocean currents. They are the paths along which Pranashakti 
goes. They therefore belong to the vital science as life- 
element, and not to the medical Shastra (Vaidyashastra). 
Hence the importance of the Sadhana, which consists of the 
physical purification of the body and its Nadls. Purity of 
body is necessary if purity of mind is to be gained in its 
extended Hindu sense. Purification of the Nadls is perhaps 
the chief factor in the preliminary stages of this Yoga ; for 
just as their impurity impedes the ascent of Kundall Shakti, 
their purity facilitates it. This is the work of Pranayama 
(v. post). 

Of these Nadls, the principal are fourteen, and of these 
fourteen Ida, Pingala, and Sushumna are the •'chief. Of 
these three, again, Sushumna is the greatest, and to it all 
others are subordinate ; for by the power of Yoga (Yogabala) 
Prana is made to go through it, and, passing the Chakras, 

1 Sh&ndilya Up., Ch. I, where the Nadls are given and their purifica- 
tion spoken of; Dhyanabindu Up.; and as to Sushumna see Mandala- 
brahmana Up., First Brahmana. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 111 


leave the body through the Brahmarandhra. ‘ It is situate 
in the interior of the cerebro- spinal axis, the Merudanda, or 
spinal column, in the position assigned to its interior canal, 
and extends from the basic plexus, the Tattvik centre called 
the Muladhara, to the twelve-petalled lotus in the pericarp 
of the Sahasrara Padma, or thousand-petalled lotus. With- 
in the fiery red Tamasik Sushumna is the lustrous Rajasik 
Vajra or Vajrini Nadi, and within the latter the pale nectar- 
dropping Sattvik Chitra or Chitrinl. The interior of the 
latter is called the Brahma Nadi. The first is said to be 
fire-like (Yahnisvarupa), the second sun-like (Suryasvarupa), 
and the third moon-like (ChandrasvarQpa)J These are the 
threefold aspect of the Shabdabrahman. The opening at 
the end of the Chitrinl Nadi is called the door of Brahman 
(Brahmadvara), for through it the Devi Kundall enters to 
ascend . 1 2 * * * * * 8 It is along this last-mentioned Nadi, known as 
the Kula Marga and the “ Royal Road,” that the Shakti 
KundalinI is led in the process hereafter described. 

Outside this nerve are the two Nadls, the pale Ida or 
Shashi (Moon) and the red Pingala or Mihira (Sun), which 
are connected with the alternate breathing from the right 
to the left nostril and vice versa* The first, which is 
“ feminine ” (Shaktirupa) and the embodiment of nectar 
(Amritavigraha), is on the left ; and the second, which is 

1 Hence She is called in the Lalita-Sahasranama (v. 106) Muladha- 

rambujarudha. Fire, Sun and Moon are aspects of the differentiated 

Parabindu or Kamakala (v. ante). See the Chapter on Sun, Moon and 

Fire in “ Garland of Letters ”. 

* The sun generally represents poison, and the moon nectar 

(Shandilya Up., Ch. I). Both were obtained at the churning of the 

ocean, and represent the upbuilding and destructive forces of Nature. 

8 The Hindus have long known that breathing is done through one 
nostril for a period of time and then through the other. In Prana- 
yama to make the breathing change one nostril is closed. But the 
skilled Yogi can shift the breathing at his will without closing a nostril 
with his fingers. At the moment of death breathing is through both 
nostrils at one and the same time. 



112 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


“ masculine ” as being in the nature of Rudra (Raudrftmika), 
is on the right. They both indicate Time or Kala, and 
Sushumnft devours Kala. For on that path entry is made 
into timelessness. The three are also known as Ganga 
(Ida), Yamuna (Pingala) and Sarasvatl (Sushumna), after 
the names of the three sacred rivers of India. The Mulft- 
dhara is the meeting-place of the three “ rivers,” and hence 
is called Yuktatrivenl. Proceeding from the Adhara lotus, 
they alternate from right to left and left to right, thus going 
round the lotuses. According to another account, their 
position is that of two bows on either side of the spinal 
cord. An Indian medical friend tells me that these are not 
discrepant accounts, but represent different positions 
according as Ida and Pingala exist inside or outside the 
spinal cord. When they reach the space between the eye- 
brows known as the Ajna Chakra, they enter the Sushumna, 
making a plaited knot of three called Muktatriveni. The 
three “ Rivers,” which are again united at this point, flow 
separately therefrom, and for this reason the Ajna Chakra 
is called Muktatriveni. After separation, the Nadi which 
proceeded from the right testicle goes to the left nostril, 
and that from the left testicle to the right nostril. It 
has been said that the distinction made between the heat- 
ing “ Sun ” and cooling “ Moon ” is that which exists be- 
tween the positive and negative phases of the same subject- 
matter, positive and negative forces being present in every 
form of activity. Pingala is thus, according to this view, 
the conduit of the positive solar ourrent, and Ida of the 
negative lunar current. There are also, as we have seen, 
interior solar and lunar Nadls in the fiery Sushumna where 
the two ourrents meet . 1 These are all but microcosmic 

1 Similarly, there are three Nadls which in Latasadhana are wor- 
shipped in the Madanagara — viz., Chandrl, Saurf, Agneyl, representing 
the son, moon and fire. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 113 


instances of the vaster system of cosmio matter, every 
portion of which is composed of three Gunas (Trigunatmaka) 
and the threefold Bindus, which are Sun, Moon, and Fire. 

As regards nerve cords and fibres, oranial and spinal 
nerves, and the oonneoted sympathetic nerves, Dr. Bro- 
jendranath Seal says : “ With the writers on the Yoga, all 
the Shiras, and such of the Dhamanls as are not vehicles 
of vital current, metabolic fluid, lymph, chyle, or blood, are 
cranial nerves, and proceed from the heart through the 
spinal cord to the cranium. These cranial nerves include 
pairs for the larynx and the tongue, for the understanding 
and use of speech, for the raising and lowering of the 
eyelids, for weeping, for the sensations of the special senses, 
etc., a confused and unintelligent reproduction of Sushruta’s 
classification. But the enumeration of the spinal nerves 
with the connected sympathetic chain and ganglia is a 
distinct improvement on the old anatomists.” 1 

He then continues : “ The Sushumna is the central cord 
in the vertebral Column (Brahmadanda or Meru). The 
two chains of sympathetic ganglia on the left and right are 
named Ida and Pingala respectively. The sympathetic 
nerves have their main connection with Sushumna at the 
solar plexus (Nabhi chakra). Of the seven hundred nerve 
cords of the sympathetic spinal system (see Sangltaratna- 
kara), the fourteen most important are : 2 

“ 1. Sushumna, in the central channel of the spinal 
cord. 2. Ida, the left sympathetic chain, stretching from 
under the left nostril to below the left kidney in the form 
of a bent bow. 3. Pingala, the corresponding chain on 

P. 840, Appendix to Professor Sarkar’s ‘‘(Positive Background 
of Hindu Sociology,” subsequently published in his “ Positive Sciences 
of the Hindus ”, The author annexes a plan which attempts to give 
a rough idea of the relative position of the principal nerves of the 
sympathetic spinal system. 

* Some of these are referred to in the present work : see v. 1, 

8 



114 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

the right. 4. -Kuhn, the pudio nerve of the sacral plexus, 
to the left of the spinal cord. 5. Gandhari, to the back 
of the left sympathetic chain, supposed to stretch from 
below the corner of the left eye to the left leg. It was evi- 
dently supposed that some nerves of the cervical plexus 
came down through the spinal cord and joined on to the 
great sciatic nerve of the sacral plexus. 6. Hastijihva, to 
the front of the left sympathetic chain, stretching from 
below the corner of the left eye to the great toe of the left 
foot, on the same supposition as before. Pathological facts 
were believed to point to a special nerve connection between 
the eyes and the toes. 7. Sarasvatl, to the right of Su- 
shumna, stretching up to the tongue (the hypoglossal nerves 
of the cervical plexus). 8. Pusha, to the back of the right 
sympathetic chain, stretching from below the corner of the 
right eye to the abdomen (a connected chain of cervical and 
lumbar nerves). 9. PayasvinI, between Pusha and Saras- 
vatl, auricular branch of the cervical plexus on the left. 
10. SankhinI, between Gandhari and Sarasvatl, auricular 
branch of the cervical plexus on the left. 11. YashasvinI, 
to the front of the right sympathetic chain, stretching from 
the right thumb to the left leg (the radial nerve of the bra- 
chial plexus continued on to certain branches of the great 
sciatic). 12. Varuna, the nerves of the sacral plexus, 
between Kuhu and YashasvinI, ramifying over the lower 
trunk and limbs. 13. Vishvodara, the nerves of the lumbar 
plexus, between Kuhu and Hastijihva, ramifying over the 
lower trunk and limbs. 14. Alambusha, the coccygeal 
nerves, proceeding from the sacral vertebrae to the urino- 
genitary organs.” 1 


1 Citing Sangltaratn&kara, Shlokas 144-166 ; also the Yog&rnava 
Tantra. This account has in parts been criticized by an Indian medical 
friend, who tells me that it is in those parts influenced too much 
by Western physiology. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 115 


The Tattvas in the body pervaded by Prana have 
certain special centres of predominance and influence 
therein, which are the Chakras (centres or circles or regions) 
or Padmas (lotuses) of which this work is a description. 

Inside the Meru, or spinal column, are the six main 
centres of Tattvik operation, called Chakras or Padmas, 
which are the seats of Shakti, as the Sahasrara above is the 
abode of Shiva . 1 These are the Maladhara, Svadhishthana, 
Manipura, Anahata, Yishuddha and Ajna, which in the 
physical body are said to have their correspondences in the 
principal nerve plexuses and organs, commencing from 
what is possibly the sacro-coccygeal plexus to the “ space 
between the eyebrows,” which some identify with the pineal 
gland, the centre of the third or spiritual eye, and others 
with the cerebellum. The Chakras 2 themselves are, how- 
ever, as explained later, centres of Consciousness (Chaitanya) 
as extremely subtle force (Shakti) ; but the gross regions 
which are built up by their coarsened vibrations, which 
are subject to their influence, and with which loosely and 
inaccurately they are sometimes identified, have been said 
to be various plexuses in the trunk of the body and the 
lower cerebral centres mentioned. In the portion of the 
body below the Muladhara are the seven lower worlds, 
Patala and others, together with the Shaktis which support 
all in the universe. 

The first centre, or Maladhara Chakra, which is so 
called from its being the root of Sushumna where Kundall 
rests,® is at the place of meeting of the Kanda (root of all 
the Nadls) and the Sushumna Nadi, and is in the region 
midway between the genitals and the anus. It is thus the 

1 Varftha Up., Ch. V. 

2 See Ch. V, Varaha Up. and Dhyanabindu Up. and Ch, III, 
Yogakundall Up. 

* Derived from Mala (root) and Adhara (support). 



116 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

oentre of the body for men . 1 By this and similar state- 
ments made as regards the other lotuses, it is not meant 
that the Chakra proper is in the region of the gross body 
described, but that it is the subtle centre of that gross 
region, suoh centre existing in the spinal column which 
forms its axis. The reader must bear this observation in 
mind in the descriptions of the Chakras, or an erroneous 
notion will be formed of them. This orimson Maladhara 
lotus 2 is described as one of four petals, the Yrittis of which 
are the four forms of bliss known as Paramananda, Sahaja- 
nanda, Yogananda and Vlrftnanda . 3 On these four petals 
are the golden letters Van (w). Sham (si), STmm ('?), and Sam 
(h ). 4 Each letter in its Yaikharl form is a gross manifesta- 
tion of inner or subtle Shabda. On the petals are figured 
the letters, which are each a Mantra, and as such a Devata. 
The petals are configurations made by the position of the 
Nadls at any particular centre, and are in themselves 
Pranashakti manifested by Pranavayu in the living body. 
When that Yayu departs they oease to be manifest. Each 
letter is thus a particular Shabda or Shakti and a surround- 
ing (Avarana) Devata of the Principal Devata and its 
Shakti of the particular Chakra. As Shakti they are 
manifestations of Kundali and in their totality consti- 
tute Her Mantra body, for Kundali is both light (Jyotir- 
mayl) and Mantra (Mantramayl). The latter is the gross 
or Sthtlla aspeot of whieh Japa is done. The former is 

1 Sh&ndilya Up., Ch. I, where also the centres for birds and other 
animals are given. In some diagrams (Kashmir “ Nftdlchakra ”) Kundali 
is represented above the position given in the Text. 

* This and other lotuses hang head downwards except when Kundali 
passes through them, when they turn upwards. 

* These Vrittis or qualities (see post) denoting four forms of bliss 
are not given in the text here translated, but in Tarkalankara’s Com- 
mentary to the Mah&nirv&na Tantra. 

* In this and other oases meditation is done from the right (Dak- 
sbinftvartena). See v. Shat-chakra-nirflpana cited as S.N. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 117 

the Sukshma or subtil aspect whioh is led up to iu Yoga. 
Their specific enumeration and allocation denote the differ- 
entiation in the body of the total Shabda. This Lotus 
is the centre of the yellow PrithivI, or “Barth ” Tattva, with 
its quadrangular Mandala, the Bija or Mantra of whioh 
Tattva is Lam («).' 

At this centre is the PrithivI Tattva, the Bija of whioh 
is “ La,’’ with Bindu or the Brahma-consoiousness presiding 
over this centre or “ Lam ” which is said to be the expression 
in gross (Vaikharl) sound of the subtle sound made by the 
vibration of the forces of this centre. So, again, the subtle 
Tejas Tattva and its Bija Ram is in the Manipura Chakra, 
and the gross fire known as Vaishvanara is in the physical 
belly, which the subtle centre governs. This Bija represents 
in terms of Mantra the Tattva regnant at this centre, and its 
essential activity. With the symbolism used throughout 
this work, Bija is said to be seated on the elephant Airavata, 
whioh is here located. This and the other animals figured in 
the Chakras are intended to denote the qualities of the Tattvas 
there regnant. Thus, the elephant is emblematic of the 
strength, firmness, and solidity, of this Tattva of “ Earth 
They are, further, the vehicles (Vahana) of the Devatas 
there. Thus in this Chakra there is the seed-mantra (Bija) 
of Indra, whose vehicle is the elephant Airavata. The 
Devata of this oentre is, according to the Text, the creative 
Brahma, whose Shakti is Savitrl . 2 There also is the Shakti 
known as DakinI , 3 who, as also the other Shaktis, LakinI and 
the rest, which follow, are the Shaktis of the Dhatus or bodily 


' The DhyAnabindu Up. associates the Bljas with the five Pranas. 
Thus “ Lam ” is associated with Vyftna. 

3 The Creator is called Savita because He creates. 

* Who, according to Sammohana Tantra, Ch. II, acts as keeper of 
the door. 



118 THE Six CENtEfiS ANb THE SERPENT POWER 

substances 1 assigned to this and the other oentres. Here 
is the “ female ” triangle or Yoni known as Traipura, which 
is the Shaktipitha, in which is set the “ male ” Shivalinga 
known as Svayambhu, of the shape and colour of a young 
leaf, representing, as do all Devls and Devas, the Maya- 
Shakti and Chit-Shakti, aspects of the Brahman as mani- 
fested in the particular centres (vv. 4-14). The Lingas are 
four — Svayambhu, Bana, Itara, Para. According to the 
Yoginlhridaya Tantra 2 (Ch. I), they are so called because 
they lead to Chit. They are the Pithas, Kamarupa and the 
rest because they reflect Chit (Chitsphurattadharatvat). 
They are Yrittis of Manas, Ahamkara, Buddhi, Chitta. To 
the first three are assigned certain forms and colours — 
namely, yellow, red, white, triangular, circular ; as also 
certain letters — namely, the sixteen vowels, the consonants 
Ka to Ta (soft), and Tha to Sa. Para is formless, colourless 
and letterless, being the collectivity (Samashti) of all letters 
in the form of bliss. The Traipura is the counterpart in the 
Jlva of the Kamakala of the Sahasrara. The Devi Kunda- 
linl, luminous as lightning, shining in the hollow of this lotus 
like a chain of brilliant lights, the World-bewilderer who 
maintains all breathing creatures, 3 lies asleep coiled three 
and a half times 4 round the Linga, covering with Her head 
the Brahmadvara. 6 

The Svadhisthana Chakra is the second lotus proceeding 
upwards, and is, according to the commentary, so called 
after Sva or the Param Lingam. 6 It is a vermilion lotus 

1 Viz., chyle, blood, flesh, fat, bone, marrow, seed. 

* Yoginlhridaya Tantra, Ch. I. 

* See v. 49, S. N. 

4 These correspond with the three and a half fiindus of whioh the 
Kubjika Tantra speaks. See ante. 

6 Entrance to the SushumnS. 

‘ •For another definition see Dhyanabindu Up., where all the Chakras 
are named. Another derivation is “ own abode” (of Shakti). 



THE! CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 119 

of six petals placed in the spinal centre of the region at the 
root of the genitals. On these petals are the letters like 
lightning : Bam (*), Bham (*i), Mam (*i). Yam (4), Ram (i), 
Lam (®). “Water” (Ap) is the Tattva of this Chakra, 
which is known as the white region of Yaruna. The Tattvik 
Mandala is in the shape of a crescent moon 1 (Ardhendurupa- 
lasitam). The Blja of water (Yaruna) is “ Vam ”, This, 
the Yaruna Blja, is seated on a white Makar a 2 with a noose 
in his hand. Hari (Vishnu) and Rakini Shakti of furious 
aspect, showing Her teeth fiercely, are here (vv. 14 — 18). 

Above it, at the centre of the region of the navel, is 
the lotus Manipura (Nabhipadma), so called, according to 
the Gautamiya Tantra, because, owing to the presence of 
the fiery Tejas, it is lustrous as a gem (Mani). 3 It is a lotus 
of ten petals on which are the letters Dam (s), Dham (%)> 
Nam (®i), Tam (?r), Tham (*?), Dam (i), Dham (n), Nam (% 
Pam (4), Pham ('t). This is the triangular region of the 
Tejas Tattva. The triangle has three Svastikas. The red 
Blja of fire, “Ram” is seated on a ram, the carrier of 
Agni, the Lord of Fire. Here is the old red Rudra smeared 
with white ashes, and the Shakti Lakini who as the Devata 
of this digestive centre is said to be “ fond of animal food, 
and whose breasts are ruddy with the blood and fat which 
drop from Her mouth”. Lakini and the other special 
Shaktis of the centres here named are the Shaktis of the 
Yogi himself — that is, Shaktis of the Dhatus assigned to 


1 The diagrams or mandalas symbolic of the elements are also 
given, as here stated, in the first chapter of the Sh&rada Tilaka and in 
the Vishvasara Tantra, cited at p. 25 of the Pr&natoshinI, with the 
exception that, according to the Vishbas&ra Tantra, the Mandala of 
water is not a crescent, but eight-cornered (Ashtasra). Different 
Tantras give different descriptions. See Sh&rada, Ch. 1. 

2 An animal like an alligator. See Plate 3. 

1 For another derivation, derived from Samaya worship, see Com- 
mentary on the Lalita-Sahasranama, vv. 88, 89, 



iiO THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

saoh of his bodily oentres, and concentration on this centre 
may involve the satisfaction of the appetites of this Devata. 
The Shaktis of the higher centres are not meat-eaters. From 
these three centres the gross Virat, waking body, is evolved 
(vv. 19— 21). 

Next above the navel lotus (Nabhipadma) is the An&- 
hata, in the region of the heart, which is red like a Ban- 
dhflka flower, and is so called because it is in this place that 
Munis or Sages hear that “sound (Anahata shabda) which 
comes without the striking of any two things together,” or 
the “sound” of the Shabdabrahman, which is here the 
Pulse of Life. For it is here that the Purusha (Jlvatmft) 
dwells. This lotus is to be distinguished from the Heart 
Lotus of eight petals, which is represented in the place 
below it, where in mental worship the Patron Deity 
(Ishtadevata) is meditated upon. (See Plate V.) Here is 
the Tree whioh grants all desires (Kalpataru) and the 
jewelled Altar (Manipltha) beneath it. As the Vishvasara 
Tantra cited in the Pranatoshini says : “ Shabdabrahman is 
said to be Deva Sadashiva. That Shabda is said to be in the 
An&hataohakra. Anahata is the great Chakra in the heart 
of all beings. Orhkara is said to be there in association with 
the three Gunas.” 1 The Mah&svachchhandra Tantra says : 2 
“ The great ones deolare that Thy blissful form, 0 Queen, 
manifests in Anahata, and is experienced by* the mind 
invard-turned of the Blessed Ones, whose hairs stand on 
end and whose eyes weep with joy.” This is a lotus of ten 


* P. 10. 

Sbabdabrahmeti tam prftba a&kshad devah ead&shivab 
Anahateshu chakreebu sa shabdah pariklrttnate 
Anahatam mahachakram hridaye sarvajantusbu 
Tatra omkara ityukto gunatraya-samanvitah. 

1 Cited by Bhaskararaya’s Comm, on Lalita, v. 121, on the title of 
the Devi as Nadarftpa ; and in v. 218, where she is described as Nada- 

rftpinl, referring also to Yoginlhridaya Tantra. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 121 


petals with the vermilion letters Kam («), Kham (wt), Gam 
(*i), Gham (n), Ngam (*•), Cham (^t), Chham (a), Jam (si), Jham 
(H), Nyam («i), Tam (£), Tham (a). This is the centre of the 
Vayu Tattva. According to v. 22, the region of Vayu is 
six-cornered (that is formed by two triangles, of which one 
is inverted), and its colour that of smoke by reason of its 
being surrounded by masses of vapour. 1 Its Blja “ Yam ” 
is seated on a black antelope which is noted for its fleetness, 
and is the Vahana of “ Air ” (Vayu), with its property of 
motion. Here are Isha, the Overlord of the first three 
Chakras ; the Shakti KakinI garlanded with human bones, 
whose “ heart is softened by the drinking of nectar ” ; and 
the Shakti in the form of an inverted triangle (Trikona), 
wherein is the golden Bana Linga, joyous with a rush of 
desire ” (Kamodgamollasita), and the Hamsa as Jlvatma, 
like “ the steady flame of a lamp in a windless place ” 
(vv. 22 — 27). The Atma is so described because, just as the 
flame is undisturbed by the wind, so the Atma is in itself 
unaffected by the motions of the world.® 

The seventeenth verse of the Amanda- Lahari mentions 
that the Devatas Vashini and others are to be worshipped 
in the two last-mentioned Chakras. Vashini and others are 
eight in number. 3 

(1) Vashini, (2) Kameshvarl, (3) ModinI, (4) Vimala, 
(5) Aruna, (6) JayinI, (7) Sarveshvaii, and (8) Kali or 
Kaulinl. These are respectively the Presiding Deities of 
the following eight groups of letters ; (1) to 16 letters ; 

1 According to the Sh£trad&, Ch. I (and to the same effeot Prapan- 
chasara Tantra), the colours of the Bhutas are as follows : Akftsha 
(ether) is transparent (Svachchha) : Vayu (air) is black (Krishna) ; Agni 
(fire) is red (Bakta) ; Ap (water) is white (Sveta) ; and Prithivi (earth) 
is yellow (Pita). 

* This steady, still, state is that of the Atma as such. See Mandala- 
br&hmana Up., Br&hmanas II, III. 

9 Pandit Ananta Shastri’s Ananda-Laharl, pp. 47, 48 and translation 
of same by A- Avalon, “ Wave of Bliss ", 



122 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


(2) *5 to *, 6 letters ; (3) ^ to 5 letters ; (4) z to w, 5 letters ; 
(5) R to 5 letters ; (6) 1 to R, 5 letters ; (7) to S, 4 letters ; 
(8) *r to 3T or ®, 6 letters. 

The other beings in v. 17 of Ananda-Lahari refer to the 
twelve Yoginis, who are (1) Vldyayoginl, (2) Rechika, (3) 
Mochika, (4) Amrita, (5) Dipika, (6) Jnana, (7) Apyayani, 
(8) Yyapini, (9) Medha, (10) VyomarGpa, (11) SiddhirGpa, 
and (12) Lakshmlyoginl. 

These twenty Deities (eight Vashinis and twelve Yogi- 
nis) are to be worshipped in Manipura and Anahata oentres. 
In respect of this, the Commentator quotes a verse from the 
Tftittiriyaranyaka, and gives a description of these Deities, 
their respective colours, place, and so forth. 

At the spinal centre of the region at the base of the 
throat (Kantha-mula) is the Vishuddha Chakra or Bha- 
ratlsthana,' with sixteen petals of a smoky purple hue, 
on which are the sixteen vowels with Bindu thereon — 
that is, Am (si), Am (sit), Im (i), Im (I), Um (^), Um (ai), 
Rim (^i), Rim (^), Lrim (3), Lrlm (?t), Em 00, Aim $,) Om (aif), 
Aum (si?), and the two breathings Am (si), Ah (s?:). According 
to the Devlbhagavata (VII. 35), the Chakra is so called 
because the Jlva is made pure (Vishuddha) by seeing the 
Hamsa. Here is the centre of the white circular Akasha 
or Ether Tattva, the Blja of which is “ Ham ”. Akasha 
is dressed in white and mounted on a white elephant. Its 
Mandala is in the form of a cirle. 2 Here is Sadashiva in 
his androgyne or Arddhanarlshvara Marti, in which half 
the body is white and the other half gold. Here also is the 
white Shakti Sh&kinI, whose form is light (JyotihsvarGpa). 
Here, too, is the lunar region, “ the gateway of the great 

1 That is, abode of the Devi of speech. 

* This is sometimes represented as a circle with a number of dots 
in it, for, as the Prapanchas&ra Tantra says, Akasha has innumerable 
Sushira— that is, Chhidra, or spaces between its substance. It is be- 
cause of its interstitial character that things exist in space. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, RADMA) 128 


Liberation It is at this place that the Jnanl “ sees the 
three forms of time ” (TrikaladarshI). As all things are 
in the Atma, the Jnani who has realized the Atma has seen 
them (vv. 28-81). Above the Vishuddha, at the root of the 
palate, is a minor Chakra called Lalana, or in some Tantras 
Kala Chakra, which is not mentioned in the works h'ere 
translated. It is a red lotus with twelve petals bearing the 
following Vritti or qualities : Shraddha (faith), Santosha 
(contentment), Aparadha (sense of error), Dama (self- 
command), Mana (anger), 1 Sneha (affection), 2 Shuddhata- 
(purity), Arati (detachment), Sambhrama (agitation), 3 
Ur mi (appetite). 4 (V. post.) 

Before summarising the previous description, it is to 
be here observed that the Commentator Kallcharana states 
the principle of this Yoga to be that that which is grosser is 
merged into that which is more subtle (Sthulanam sUkshme 
layah). The grosser are lower in the body than the more 
subtle. The gross which are in and below the Muladhara or 
connected with it are — (1) the Prithivi Tanmatra ; (2) the 
Prithivi Mahabhuta ; (3) the nostrils with their sense of 
smell, which is the grossest of the senses of knowledge 
(Jnanendriya), and whioh is the quality (Guna) of the Prithivi 
Tanmatra; and (4) the feet, which are the grossest of the 
senses of action (Karmendriya), and “ which have Prithivi 
(earth) for their support ”. Here the nostrils are classified as 
the grossest of the Jnanendriyas, because therein is the sense 
whioh peroeives the quality (Guna) of smell of the grossest 
Tanmatra (Gandha), from which is derived the Prithivi 
Sthfila Bhuta. Thus the Jnanendriyas have a relation with 

' This term is generally applied to cases arising between two persons 
who are attached to one another, as man and wife. 

* Usually understood as affection towards those younger or lower 
than oneself. 

3 Through reverence or respect. 

4 Or it may refer to the six which are technically called urmmi— 
that is, hunger, thirst, sorrow, ignorance (moha), decay, and death. 



124 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POtyfiE 


the Tanm&tras through their Gunas (qualities), for the 
peroeption of which these senses exist. In the case, how- 
ever, of the senses of action (Karmendriya), no suoh relation 
appears to exist between them and the Tanmatras. In the 
order of successive merging or Laya, the feet ocour in the 
same grade as earth, hands in the same grade as water, 
anus in the same grade as fire, penis in the same grade as 
air, and mouth in the same grade as ether ; not, apparently, 
beoause there is any direct relation between earth and feet, 
water and hands, fire and anus, and so forth, but beoause 
these organs are in the same order of comparative subtlety 
as earth, water, and fire, and so forth. Hands are supposed 
to be subtler agents than feet ; the anus 1 a subtler agent 
than the hands ; the penis a subtler agent than the anus ; 
and the mouth a subtler agent than the penis. This is 

also the order in which these agents are situated in the 

body, the hands coming second because they find their place 
between the feet and the anus when the arms are given 
their natural vertioal positions. It is to be remembered in 
this connection that the Tantras here follow the Samkhya, 
and state the scheme of creation as it occurs also in the 
Puranas, according to which the Jnanendriyas and Kar- 
mendriyas and the Tanmatras issue from different aspects 
of the threefold Ahamkara. There is a relation between 
the senses and the Tanmatras in the created Jlva, according 
to the Vedanta, for the senses are related to the Tanmatras, 

but the order, in that oase, in which the senses ooour is 

different from that given in this work. For, according to 
the Ved&ntik soheme, earth is related to the sense of smell 
and penis ; water to the sense of taste and anus ; fire 
to the sense of sight and feet; air to the sense of 
touoh and hands ; and ether to the sense of hearing 
1 At first sight this might appear not to be so, hut the importance 
of the anus is well known tp medical experts, its sensitivity having even 
given rise to what has been called a “ Psychology of the anus ". 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 125 

and mouth. Another explanation, seemingly artificial, how- 
ever, whioh has been given, is as follows : The feet are asso- 
ciated with “ Earth ” beoause the latter alone has the power 
of support, and the feet rest on it. “ Water ” is associated 
with the hands because in drinking water the hand is used. 
The word Pani, which means hands, is derived from the 
root Pa, to drink (Plyate anena iti pani). “ Fire ” is 
associated with the anus because what is eaten is consumed 
by fire in the stomach, and the residue is passed out through 
the anus, whereby the body becomes pure. “ Air ” is asso- 
ciated with the penis because in procreation the Jlvatma as 
Prana Vayu throws itself out through the penis. And so the 
Shruti says : “ Atm& itself is reborn in the son ” (Atmavai 
jayate putrah). “ Ether ” is associated with the mouth 
because by the mouth sound is uttered, which is the Guna 
(quality) of ether (Akasha). 

Hitherto we have dealt with the comparatively gross 
Tattvas. According to this work, the twenty grosser 
Tattvas are associated (4X5) as in the following table : 

Centre in which dissolved Grosser Tattvas 

1. Mftl&dhara ... Gandha (smell) Tanmatra; Prithivi Tattva 

(earth) ; the Jnanendriya of smell ; ' the 
Karmendriya of feet. 

2. Svadhishthana ... Rasa (taste) Tanmatra ; Ap Tattva (water); 

the Jnanendriya of taste ; the Karmen- 
driya of hands. 

8. Manipura ... Rupa (sight) Tanmatra; Tejas Tattva 

(fire) ; the Jnanendriya of sight ; the 
Karmendriya of anus. 

4. Anahata ... Sparsha (touch) Tanmatra ; Vayu Tattva 

(air) ; the Jnanendriya of touch ; the 
Karmendriya of penis. 

5. Vishuddha ... Shabda (sound) Tanmatra ; Akasha Tattva 

(ether) ; the Jnanendriya of hearing ; 
_____ the Karmendriya of mouth. 

1 The nose is a centre at which sexual exoitement may be aroused 
or subdued. Though the reproductive organ is higher up than the 
Mul&dh&ra the sexual force ultimately proceeds from the lattey, 1 



126 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

It will be observed that with each of the elements is 
associated an organ of sensation (Jnanendriya) and action 
(Karmendriya). In Chapter II of the Prapanchasara Tantra 
it is said : “ Ether is in the ears, air in the skin, fire in the 
eye, water in the tongue, and earth in the nostrils.” The 
Karmendriyas are possibly so arranged because the Tattvas 
of the respective centres in which they are placed are, as 
above stated, of similar grades of subtlety and grossness. 
As explained below, eaoh class of Tattvas is dissolved in 
the next higher class, commencing from the lowest and 
grossest centre, the Mtlladh&ra. So far the Tattvas have 
been those of the “ matter ” side of creation. 

Progress is next made to the last or Ajna Chakra, in 
which are the subtle Tattva s of Mind and Prakrit i. The 
Chakra is so called because it is here that the command 
(Ajna) of the Guru is received from above. It is a lotus of 
two white petals between the eyebrows, on which are the 
white letters Ham (?), and Ksham (st). This exhausts the 
fifty letters. It will have been observed that there are fifty 
petals and fifty letters in the six Chakras. In the pericarp 
is the great Mantra “ Om ”. Each Lotus has either two or 
four more petals than the one immediately below it, and 
the number of the petals in the Yishuddha Chakra is the 
sum of the preceding differences. Here are Paramashiva 
in the form of Hamsa (Hamsa-rupa), Siddhakali, the white 
HakinI Shakti “ elated by draughts of ambrosia,” the in- 
verted triangle or Yoni (Trikona), and the Itara Linga, 
shining like lightning, which is set in it. The three 
Lingas are thus in the Muladhara, Anahata, and Ajna Chakras 
respectively ; for here at these three ‘ Knots ’ or Brahma- 
granthis the force of Maya Shakti is in great strength. And 
this is the point at which each of the three groups of Tattvas 
associated with Fire, Sun, and Moon, converge. 1 The 


* V. post. 



TPE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 127 

phrase “ opening the doors ” refers to passage through these 
Granthis. Here in the Ajna is the seat of the subtle Tat- 
tvas, Mahat and Prakriti. The former is the Antahkarana 
with Gunas — namely, Buddhi, Chitta, Ahamkara and its 
product Manas (Sasamkalpavikalpaka). Commonly and 
shortly it is said that Manas is the Tattva of the Ajna 
Chakra. As, however, it is the mental centre, it includes 
all the aspects of mind above stated, and the Prakriti whence 
they derive, as also the Atma in the form of the Pranava 
(Orh) its Blja. Here the Atma (Antaratma) shines lustrous 
like a flame. The light of this region makes visible all which 
is between the Mula and the Brahmarandhra. The Yogi 
by contemplation of this lotus gains further powers (Siddhi), 
and becomes Advaitacharavadl N (Monist). In connection 
with this Padma, the text (S. N., v. 36) explains how detach- 
ment is gained through the Yoni Mudra. It is here that 
the Yogi at the time of death places his Prana, and then 
enters the supreme primordial Deva, the Purana (ancient) 
Purusha, “ who was before the three worlds, and is known 
by the Vedanta”. The same verse describes the method 
(Pranaropanaprakara). From the last centre and the causal 
Prakriti is evolved the subtle body which individually is 
known as Taijasa,and collectively (that is, the Ishvara aspect) 
as Hiranyagarbha. The latter term is applied to the mani- 
festation of the Paramatma in the Antahkarana; as displayed 
in Prana it is Sutratma ; and when manifested through these 
two vehicles without differentiation it is known as the Antar- 
yamin. The Chakras are the bodily centres of the world of 
differentiated manifestation, with its gross and subtle bodies 
arising from their causal body, and its threefold planes of 
consciousness in waking, sleeping, and dreamless slumber. 

Above the Ajna-chakra (vv. 32 — 39) there are the minor 
Chakras called Manas and Soma, not mentioned in the texts 
here translated. The Manas Chakra is a lotus of six petals, 



128 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

on the petals of whioh are (that is, whioh is the seat of) 
the sensations of hearing, touoh, sight, smell, taste, and 
centrally initiated sensations in dream and hallucination. 
Above this, again, is the Soma Chakra, a lotus of sixteen 
petals, with certain Yrittis which are detailed later. 1 In 
this region are “the house without support” (Niralamba- 
purl), “where Yogis see the radiant Ishvara,” the seven, 
causal bodies (v. 39) which are intermediate aspects of 
Adya Shakti, the white twelve-petalled lotus by the pericarp 
of the Sahasrara (vv. 32 — 39), in which twelve-petalled 
lotus is the A-ka-tha triangle, which surrounds the jewelled 
altar (Manipltha) on the isle of gems (Manidvlpa), set in 
the Ocean of Nectar, 2 with Bindu above and Nada below, 
and the Kamakala triangle and the Guru of all, or Parama- 
shiva. Above this, again, in the pericarp, are the Sttrya 
and Chandra Mandalas, the Parabindu surrounded by the 
sixteenth and seventeenth digits of the moon circle. In the 
Chandra Manda la there is a triangle. Above the Moon is Maha- 
vayu, and then the Brahmarandhra with Mahashamkhinl. 

The twelve-petalled lotus and that which is connected 
with it is the special subject of the short book Paduk&pan- 
ohaka Stotra here translated, whioh is a hymn by Shiva in 
praise of the “ Fivefold Footstool ”, with a commentary by 
Shrl Kallcharana. The footstools are variously classified 
as follows : Aooording to the first classification they are — 
(1) The white twelve-petalled lotus in the pericarp of the 
Sahasrara lotus. Here there is (2) the inverted Triangle 
the abode of Shakti called “ A-ka-tha ”. (3) The region of 

the altar (Manipltha), on each side of which are Nada and 


‘ V. post. 

9 In mental worship the jewelled altar of the Ishtadevata is in the 
eight-petalled lotus'below An&hata (see Plate V). The Isle of Oems is a 
supreme state of Consciousness, and the Ocean of Nectar is the infinite 
Consciousness Itself. As to the causal bodies, see “ Garland of Letters ” 
oy Studies in the Mantra Sh&stra. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 12$ 

Bindu. The eternal Guru, .“white like a mountain of ; 
silver,” should be meditated upon, as on the Jewelled Altar 
(Manipltha). (4) The fourth Paduka is the Hamsa below 
the Antaratma; and (5) the Triangle on the Pitha. The; 
differences between this and the second classification are 
explained in the notes to v. 7 of the Paduka. According to 
this latter classification they are counted as follows : (1) The 
twelve-petalled lotus ; (2) the triangle called A-ka-tha ; (3) 
Nada-Bindu ; (4) the Manipltha-Mandala ; and (5) the 

Hamsa, which makes the triangular Kamakala. This 
Triangle, the Supreme Tattva, is formed by the three Bindus 
which the text calls Chandra (Moon), Surya (Sun), and 
Vahni (Fire) Bindus, which are also known as Prakasha, 
Vimarsha, 1 and Mishra Bindu. This is the Hamsa known 
as the triangular Kamakala, the embodiment of Purusha- 
Prakriti. The former is the Bindu Hamkara at the apex of 
the triangle, and the two other Bindus called Visarga or Sa 
are Prakriti. This Kamakala is the Mula (root) of Mantra. 

The Shabdabrahman with its threefold aspect and 
energies is represented in the Tantras by this Kamakala, 
which is the abode of Shakti (Abalalayam). This is the 
Supreme Triangle, which, like all Yoniplthas, is inverted. 
It may be here noted that Shakti is denoted by a triangle 
because of its threefold manifestation as Will, Action, and 
Knowledge (Iehchha, Kriya, Jnana). So, on the material 
plane, if there are three forces, there is no other way in 
which they can be brought to interact except in the form 
of a triangle in which, while they are each separate and dis- 
tinct from one another, they are yet related to each other 
and form part of one whole. At the corners of the Triangle 
there are two Bindus, and at the apex a single Bindu. These 
are the Bindus of Fire (Yahnibindu), Moon (Chandrabindu), 

1 As to this term see “ Mahfimftya ” and K&makalavil&sa in “ T&ntrik 
Texts ”, Ed. A, Avalon. 

9 



180 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


and Sun (Soryabindu). 1 Three Shaktis emanate from 
these Bindus, denoted by the lines joining the Bind us and 
thus forming a triangle. These lines are the line of the 
Shakti Varna, the line of the Shakti Jyeshtha, and the line 
of the Shakti RaudrI. These Shaktis are Volition (Ichchha) 
Action (Kriya), and Cognition (Jnana). With them are 
Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra, associated with the Gunas, 
Rajas, Sattva, and Tamas. 

The lines of the triangle emanating from the three 
Bindus or Hamsah are formed by forty-eight letters of the 
alphabet. The sixteen vowels beginning with A form one 
line ; the sixteen consonants beginning with Ka form the 
second line ; and the following sixteen letters beginning 
with Tha form the third line. Hence the triangle is known 
as the A-ka-tha triangle. In the inner three corners of 
the triangle are the remaining letters Ha, Lla, Ksha. The 
Yftmala thus speaks of this abode, “ I now speak of Kama- 
kala,” and, proceeding, says : “ She is the eternal One 
who is the three Bindus, the three Shaktis, and the three 
Forms (Trimurti).” The Brihat-Shrl-krama, in dealing 
with Kamakala, says : “ From the Bindu (that is, the Para- 
bindu) She has assumed the form of letters (Varna 
vayavarupinl).” The Kali Urdhvamnaya says : “ The 

threefold Bindu (Tribindu) is the supreme Tattva, and 
embodies in itself Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva.” 2 The 
triangle which is composed of the letters has emanated 
from the Bindu. These letters are known as the Matrika 


1 The Kftmakal&vilasa says : “ Bindu-trayamayas tejas-tritayah ’’ 
(three Bindus and three fires). “ Tripurasundarl sits in the Chakra 
which is composed of Bindus (Bindumaye chakre), Her abode being the 
lap of Kftmeshvara, whose forehead is adorned by the crescent moon. 
She has three eyes, which are Sun, Moon, and Fire.” 

* The M&hesvarl Samhitft says: " Surya, Chandra, and Vahni, are the 
three Bindus ; and Brahma, Vishnu, and Shambhu are the three lines.” 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 181 

Varna. These from the body of Kulakundalinl 1 the Shabda- 
brahman, being in their Vaikhari state various manifesta- 
tions of the primal unmanifested “ sound ” (Avyaktanada). 

They appear as manifested Shabda on the self-division 
of the Parabindu ; for this self-division marks the appear- 
ance of the differentiated Prakriti. 

The commentary on the Padukapanchaka (v. 8) says 
that the Bindu is Parashakti itself, and its variations are 
called Bindu, Nada, and Blja, or Sun, Moon, and Fire ; 
Bindu, the sun, being red, and Nada, the moon, being 
white. 2 These form the Chinmaya or Anandamayakosha or 
sheaths of consciousness and bliss (Padukapanchaka, v. 8). 
The two Bindus making the base of the triangle are the 
Visarga (ib., v. 4). In the Agamakalpadruma it is said : 
“ Hamkara is Bindu or Purusha, and Visarga is Sah or 
Prakriti. Hamsah is the union of the male and female, 
and the universe is Hamsah.” The triangular Kamakala 
is thus formed by Hamsah (ib.). The Hamsa-pltha is 
composed of Mantras (ib., v. 0). 

As this subject is of great importance, some further 
authorities than those referred to in the work here tran- 
slated are given. In his commentary to v. 124 of the 
I^alita, in which the Devi is addressed as being in the form 
of Kamakala (Kamakalarupa), Bhaskararaya says : “ There 
are three Bindus and the Hardhakala. 3 Of these Bindus 
the first is called Kama, and the Hakarardha is named 
Kala,.” 4 He adds that the nature of Kamakala is set forth 

1 The Kamakalavilasa says : “ Ekapanchashadaksharfttma ” (She is 
in the foim of the 51 letters). See A. Avalon’s edition and translation 
of this text, Vol. 9, “ Tftntrik Texts ”. 

9 This appears to be in conflict with the previous statement of 
BAghava Bhatta, that Bindu is Moon and Nada the Sun. 

5 Also called Hakarardha — that is, half the letter Ha (5). 

4 Bindu-trayam hardhakala oha ityatra prathamo binduh kamA- 
khyash CharamA kala cha iti prat yah Aranyayena kAmakaletyuchyate. 



132 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


in the Kamakalavilasa in the verses commencing “ Supreme 
Shakti (Para Shakti) is the manifested union of Shiva and 
Shakti in the form of seed and sprout,” and ending with 
the lines “ Kama (means) desire, and Kala the same. 
The two Bindus are said to be the Fire and Moon.” 1 
Kama, or creative Will, is both Shiva and Devi, and Kala 
is their manifestation. Hence it is called Kamakala. This 
is explained in the Tripurasiddhanta : “ 0, Parvati, Kala is 
the manifestation of Kameshvara and KameshvarL Hence 
She is known as Kamakala.” 2 Or She is the manifestation 
(Kala) of desire (Kama) 3 that is, of Ichchha. The Kalika 
Purana says : “ Devi is called Kama because She came to 
the secret place on the blue peak of the great mountain 
(Kailasa) along with Me for the sake of desire (Kama) : thus 
Devi is called Kama. As She is also the giver or fulfiller 
of desire, desiring, desirable, beautiful, restoring the body 
of Kama (Manmatha) and destroying the body of Kama, 
hence She is called Kama.” 4 After Shiva (with whom She 
is one) had destroyed Kama, when he sought by the in- 
stilment of passion to destroy His Yoga; so She (with 
whom He is one) afterwards gave a new body to the 
“ Bodiless One ” (Ananga). They destroy the worlds and 
take them to themselves through the cosmic Yoga path, 


1 Tasy&h svarupam sphutashivashaktl-samagamabljamkurarupini 
para shaktirityarabhya kamah kamanlyataya kala cha dahanendu- 
yigrahan bindu ityantena nirmtam kamakalavilase tadrupetyarthaha (ib). 

2 K&mayoh kaleti va, taduktam, tripurasiddhante : 

Tasya kamesbvarakhyasya kameshvaryash cha parvvati 
. Kalakhya sallla sa cha khyata kamakaleti s&. 

8 Kftmash ch&sau kalarupa cheti va. 

4 Kamapadamatra-v&chyatayah Kallpurane pratipadanat. 
Kamartham agata yasman may a sardham mahagirau 
Kamakhya proohyate devi nilakutarahogata 
Kamada kaminl kamya kanta kamangadayinT 
KamanganashinT yasmat kamakhya tena kathyate 
Iti shadaksharamidam nama {ib.). 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 133 


#nd again by Their desire and will (Ichchha) reoreate them. 
These Bindus and Kala are referred to in the celebrated 
Hymn “ Waves of Bliss ” (Anandalahari). 1 

This Devi is the great TripurasundarL Bhaskara- 
raya’s Guru Nrisimhanandanatha wrote the following 
verse, on which the disciple commentates : “ I hymn 

Tripura, the treasure of Kula, 2 who is red of beauty ; Her 
limbs like unto those of Kamaraja, who is adored by the 
three Devatas 3 of the three Gunas ; who is the desire (or 
will) of Shiva; 4 who dwells in the Bindu and who mani- 
fests the universe.” She is called (says the commentator 
43ited) 5 Tripura, as She has three (Tri) Puras (lit., cities), 
but, here meaning Bindus, angles, lines, syllables, etc. 
The Kalika Purana says : “ She has three angles (in the 

triangular Yoni) as well as three circles (the three Bindus), 
and her Bhupura 0 has three lines. Her Mantra is said to 


1 Mukham bindum kritva kuchayugam adhas tasya tadadho 
Hakarardham dhyayet haramahishi te manmathakalam (v. 19). 

(Let him contemplate on the first Bindu as the face of the Devi, 
and on the other two Bindus as Her two breasts, and below that on 
the half Ha.) Half Ha is the Yoni, the womb, and origin of all. See 
Lalita, v. 206. 

2 Kulanidhi, In its literal ordinary sense Kula means race or 
family, but has a number of other meanings : Shakti (Akula is Shiva), 
the spiritual hierarchy of Gurus, the Muladhara, the doctrine of the 
Kaula Tantriks, etc. 

3 Vishnu, Brahma and Rudra of the Sattva, Rajas and Tamas quali- 
ties respectively. 

4 This is the Commentator’s meaning of Bkam tam. Eka — a+i^e. 
According to the Vishva Dictionary, “ A ” has among other meanings 
that of Isha or Shiva, and, according to the Anekarthadhvanimanjari 
Lexicon, I=Manmatha — that is, Kama, or desire. Eka is therefore the 
spouse or Shiva, or Shivakama, the desire or will of Shiva. 

A Introduction to Lalita. 

* The portion of the Yantra which is of common form and which 
encloses the particular design in its centre. Reference may, however, 
^180 be here made to the three outer lines of the Shrlchakra. 



184 THE BIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


be of three syllables , 1 and She has three aspects. The 
EundalinI energy is also threefold, in order that She may 
create the three Gods (Brahma* Vishnu, Rudra). Thus, 
since She the supreme energy is everywhere triple, She is 
Called TripurasundarL ,, 2 These syllables are said by the 
oommentator last cited 3 to be the three Bijas of the three 
divisions (of the Panchadashi) — viz., Vagbhava, Kamaraja, 
and Shakti, which according to the Vamakeshvara Tantra 
are the Jnanashakti which confers salvation, and the Kriya 
and Ichchha Shaktis. 

Three “ Pada ” are also spoken of as Tripura — white, 
red, and mixed . 4 Elsewhere, as in the Varaha Purana, the 
Devi is said to have assumed three forms — white, red, and 
black ; that is, the Supreme energy endowed with the 
Sattvik, Rajasik, and Tamasik qualities . 5 The one Shakti 
becomes three to produce effects. 


1 V \ post. The Kama Blja is Klim. Klimkara is Shivakama. Here 
Im means the Kamakala in the Turlya state through which Moksha is 
gained, and hence the meaning of the saying (ib., v. 176) that he who 
hears the Blja without Ka and La does not reach the place of good 
actions — that is, he does not go to the region attained by good actions, 
but to that attainable by knowledge alone (see ib ., v. 189, citing Vama- 
keshvara Tantra). 

a Other instances may be given, such as the Tripurarnava, which 
says that the Devi is called v Tripura because She dwells in the three 
Nadis (Sushumnfi, Pingala, and Ida ; v. post) and in Buddhi Manas 
Chitta ( v . post). 

* V. 177. 

4 According to a note of R. Anantakrishna Shastri, translator of the 
Lalita, p. 218, the three “ feet ” are explained in another work of Bhas- 
kararaya as follows : White, the pure samvit (Consciousness) untainted 
by any Upadhis ; red, the ParAhanta (Supreme Individuality), the first 
Vritti (modification) from the Samvit ; and the mixed — the above-men- 
tioned as one inseparable modification (the Vritti) of “ I ”. These are 
known as the “three feet” (Charana-tritaya), or Indu (white), Agni 
(red)*, Ravi (mixed). 

§ , 

6 So also the Devi Bhagavata Pr, says : “ The Shambhavi is white ; 
Shrlvidj'a, red; and Shyama, black.” The Yantra of ShrTvidya is the’ 
Shrlchakra mentioned. ; 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 185 


In the Kamakala meditation (Dhyana) the three Bindus 
and H&rdhakala are thought of as being the body of the 
Devi Tripurasundarl. The Commentator on the verse of 
the Anandalahari cited says : 1 “In the fifth sacrifice 
(Yajna) let the Sadhaka think of his Atma as in no wise 
different from, but as the one only Shiva ; and of the subtle 
thread-like Kundalinl which is all Shaktis, extending from 
the Adhara lotus to Paramashiva. Let him think of the 
- three Bindus as being in Her body (Tripurasundarl), which 
Bindus indicate Ichchha, Kriya, Jnana — Moon, Fire, and 
Sun ; Rajas, Tamas, Sattva ; Brahma, Rudra, Vishnu ; 
and then let him meditate on the Chitkala who is Shakti 
below it .” 2 * 

The Bindu which is the “ face ” indicates Virinchi * 
(Brahma) associated with the Rajas Guna. The two Bindus 
which are the “ breasts,” and upon which meditation should 
be done in the heart, indicate Hari 4 * (Vishnu) and Hara 8 
(Rudra) associated with the Sattva and Tamas Gunas. 
Below them meditate in the Yoni upon the subtle Chitkala, 
which indicates all three Gunas, and which is all these three 
Devatas . 6 * The meditation given in the YoginI Tantra is as 


1 Shankaracharyagranthavali (Vol. II), ed. Shrl Prasanna KumAra 
Shastrl. The editor’s notes are based on the Commentary of Achyutft- 
nanda Sv&nu. 

8 Atha panchamayage abhedabuddhya atmanam shivarupam ekat- 
manam vibhavya adharat paramashivantam sutrarupam sukshmam 
kundalinlm sarvashaktirupam vibhavya sattvarajastamogunasuchakam 
brahmavishnushivashaktyatmakam suryagnichandrarupam bindutrayam 
tasyaange vibhavya adhash chitkalam dhyayet (Comm, to v. 19). 

J That is, He who creates, from Vi -\- rich. 

4 He who takes away or destroys (harati) all grief and sin. 

8 The same. 

b Mukhair bindum kritva rajogunasilchakam virinchyfttmakam bin- 

dum mukham kritva, tasyadho hridayasthane sattvatamogunasfiehakam 

hariharatmakam bindudvayam kuchayugam kritva, tasy&dhah yoniguna- 
trayasuchikam hariharavirinchyatmikam sflkshmam chitkalam hakarair- 
dham kritva yonyantargata-trikonakritim kritva dhyayet (ib.). 



186 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


follows : “ Think of three Bindus above Kala, and then 
that from these a young girl sixteen years old springs forth, 
shining with the light of millions of rising suns, illuminat- 
ing every quarter of the firmament. Think of Her body 
from crown to throat as springing from the upper Bindu, 
and that her body from throat to middle, with its two 
breasts and three belly lines of beauty (Trivall), arise from 
the two lower Bindus. Then imagine that the rest of Her 
body from genitals to feet is born from Kama. Thus form- 
ed, She is adorned with all manner of ornaments and dress, 
and is adored by Brahma, Isha, and Vishnu. Then let the 
Sadhaka think of his own body as such Kamakala.” 1 The 
Shrltattvarnava says : “ The glorious men who worship in 
that body in Samarasya 2 are freed from the waves of poison 
in the untraversable sea of the world (Samsara).” 1 

To the same effect are the Tantrik works the Shrlkrama 3 
and Bhavachudamani 4 cited in the Commentary to the 
Anandalaharl. The first says : “ Of the three Bindus, O 
Mistress of the Devas, let him contemplate the first as the 
mouth and in the heart the two Bindus as the two breasts. 
Then let him meditate upon the subtle Kala Hakarardha in 

1 See p. 199, et seq., Nityapujapaddhati, by Jaganmohana Tarkft- 
lamk&ra. 

4 That is equal, feeling ; or being one with ; union of Shiva and 
Shakti. 

* Tathft cha Shrlkrame : 

Bindutrayasya deveshi prathamam devi vaktrakam 
Bindudvayam stanadvandvam hridi ethane niyojayet. 
Hakarardham kalam sukshmam yonimadhye vichintayet. 

4 Taduktam Bhavachudamanau : f 

Mukham binduvadakaram 
Tadadhah kuchayugmakam 
Tadadhashcha hakarardham 
Suparishkritamandalam. 

The third line of this verse is also printed Tadadhah saparardham 
cha. But this means the same thing. Sapara is Hakara, as Ha follows 
Sa. For further Dhyanas and mode of meditation, see p. 199 of the 
Nityapujapaddhati of Jaganmohana Tarkalamkara. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 137 


the Yoni.” And the second says : “ The face in the form 
of Bindu, and below twin breasts, and below them the 
beauteous form of the Hakarardha.” The three Devatas 
Brahma, Vishnu, and Rudra, with their Shaktis, are said 
to take birth from the letters A, U, M, of the Omkara or 
Pranava. 1 Ma, as the Prapanchasara Tantra ' says, is the 
Sun or Atma among the letters, for it is Bindu. From each 
of these ten Kalas arise. 

Verse 8 of the first work translated says that in the 
Muladhara centre there is the Triangle (Trikona) known as 
Traipura, which is an adjective of Tripura. It is so called 
because of the presence of the Devi Tripura within the Ka 
inside the triangle. This Ka is the chief letter of the Kama 
Blja, and Kam 3 is the Blja of KaminI, the aspect of Tri- 
purasundarl in the Muladhara. Here also, as the same 
verse says, there are the three lines Varna, Jyeshtha, and 
RaudrI and, as the Shatchakra-vivriti adds, Ichchha, Jnana, 
and Kriya. 4 Thus the Traipura Trikona is the gross or 
Sthula aspect of that subtle (Sukshma) Shakti which is 
below the Sahasrara, and is called Kamakala. It is to this 
KaminI that in worship the essence of Japa (Tejorupajapa) 
is offered, the external Japa being ottered to the Devata 
worshipped in order that the Sadhaka may retain the fruits 
of his worship. 5 There are also two other Lingas and 

* PhetkarinI Tantra, Ch. I : 

Tebhya eva samutpann& varna ye vishnu-shulinoh 
Murtayah shaktisa.myuktii uchyante tfth kramena tu. 

And so also Vishvasara Tantra (see PranatoshinI, 10) : 

Shivo bnihma tatha vishnuronkkare cha pratishthitah 
Akarash cha bhaved brahma ukarah sachchidatinakah 
Makaro rudra ityukta iti tasyarthakalpana. 

s Ch. III. 

3 Nityapujapaddhati, p. 80, by Jaganmohana Tarkalamkara. 

4 See p. 117, Vol. II, of Tantrik Tests, where that Commentary 
is printed. 

’’ Nityapujapaddhati, loe. c it. 



138 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Trikonas at the Anahata and AjnS. centres, whioh are two 
of the Knots or Granthis, and which are so called beoause 
Maya is strong at these points of obstruction, at which 
eaoh of the three groups converge. The Traipura Trikona 
is that, however, in the Muladhara which is the grosser 
correspondence of the Kamakala, which is the root (Mula) 
of all Mantras below the Sahasrara, and which, again, is the 
correspondence in Jlva of the Tribindu of Ishvara. 

Before, however, dealing in detail with the Sahasrara, 
the reader will find it convenient to refer to the tables on 
pp. 141 and 142, which summarises some of the details above 
given up to and including the Sahasrara. 

In the description of the Chakras given in this work, 
no mention is made of the moral and other qualities and 
things (Vritti) which are associated with the Lotuses in 
other books, such as the Adhyatmaviveka, 1 commencing with 
the root-lotus and ending with the Soma Chakra. Thus, the 
Vrittis, Prashraya, Avishvasa, Avajna, Murchha, Sarva 
nasha, Krurata, 2 are assigned to Svadhishthana ; Lajja, 
Pishunata, Irsha, Trishna, Sushupti, Vishada, Kash&ya, 
Moha, Ghrina, Bhaya, 3 to the Manipura ; Asha, Chinta, 
Cheshta, Mamata, Dambha, Vikalata, Ahamkara, Yiveka, 
Lolata, Kapatata, Vitarka, Anutapa 4 ; Kripa, Mriduta, 
Dhairya, Vairagya, Dhriti, Sampat, Hasya, Romancha, Vin- 
aya, Dhyana, Susthirata, Gambhlrya, Udyama, Akshobha, 


1 Quoted in the Dlpiku to v. 7 of the Hhmsopanishad. 

* Credulity, suspicion, disdain, delusion (or disinclination), false 
knowledge (lit., destruction of everything which false knowledge leads 
to), pitilessness. 

3 Shame, treachery, jealousy, desire, supineness, sadness, world- 
liness, ignorance, aversion (or disgust), fear. 

4 Hope, care or anxiety, endeavour, mineness (resulting in attach- 
ment), arrogance or hypocrisy, sense of languor, egoism or self-conceit, 
discrimination, covetousness, duplicity, indecision, regret. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 189 


Audarya, Ekagrata , 1 to the secret Somachakra; and so 
forth. In the Muladhara, which has been described as the 
“ source of a massive pleasurable sesthesia,” there are the 
four forms :of bliss already mentioned ; in the Yishuddha 
the seven subtle “tones,” Nishada, Rishaba, Gandhara, 
Shadja, Madhyama, Dhaivata, Panchama ; certain Bijas, 
Hum, Phat, Vaushat, Yashat, Svadha, Svaha, Namah ; in 
the eight petal “ venom,” and in the sixteenth “nectar” ; 2 
and in the petals and pericarp of the Ajna the three Gunas 
and in the former the Bijas, Ham and Ksham ; and in the 
six-petal led Manas Chakra above the Ajna are Shabdajnana, 
Sparshajnana, Rupajnana, Aghranopaiabdhi, Rasopabhoga* 
and Svapna, with their opposites, denoting the sensations 
of the sensorium — hearing, touch, sight, smell, taste, and 
centrally initiated sensations in dream and hallucination- 
It is stated that particular Yrittis are assigned to a particular 
lotus, because of a connection between such Vritti and the 
operation of the Shaktis of the Tattva at the centre to which 
it is assigned. That they exist at any particular Chakra is 
said to be shown by their disappearance when Kundall 
ascends through the Chakra. Thus the bad Vrittis of the 
lower Chakras pass away in the Yogi who raises Kundall 
above them. 

Moral qualities (Vritti) appear in some of the lower 
Chakras in the secret twelve-petalled lotus called the Lalana 
(and in some Tantras Kala) Chakra, situate above the 
Yishuddha, at the root of the palate (Talumula), as also in 
the sixteen-petalled lotus above the Manas Chakra, and 


1 Mercy, gentleness, patience or composure, dispassion, constancy, 
prosperity, (spiritual) cheerfulness, rapture or thrill, humility or sensb 
of propriety, meditativeness, quietude or restfulness, gravity (of demea- 
nour), enterprise or effort, emotionlessness (being undisturbed by 
emotion), magnanimity, concentration. 

* Both were extracted at the churning of the ocean, and, as so spoken 
of, represent the destructive and upbuilding forces of the world. 



140 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

known as the Soma Chakra. It is noteworthy that the 
Yritti of the two lower Chakras (Svadhishthana and Mani- 
ptlra) are all bad ; those of the Anahata centre are mixed , 1 * 
those of the Lalana Chakra are predominantly good, and 
those of the Soma Chakra wholly so ; thus indicative of an 
advance as we proceed from the lower to the higher centres, 
and this must be so as the Jlva approaches or lives in his 
higher principles. In the twelve-petalled white lotus in the 
pericarp of the Sahasrara is the abode of Shakti, called the 
Kamakala, already described. 

Between Ajna and Sahasrara, at the seat of the Karana 
Sharlra of Jiva, are the Varnavalirupa Viloma Shaktis, des- 
cending from Unman! to Bindu. Just as in the Ishvara or 
cosmic creation there are seven creative Shaktis from Sakala 
Parameshvara to Bindu ; and in the microcosmic or Jlva 
creation seven creative Shaktis from KundalinI, who is in 
the Muladhara, to Bindu, both of which belong to what is 
called the Anuloma order : 8 so in the region between the 
Ajna Chakra and Sahasrara, which is the seat of the causal 
body (Karana Sharlra) of Jlva, there are seven Shaktis , 3 * 
which, commencing with the lowest, are Bindu (which is in 
Ishvara Tattva), Bodhini, Nada, Mahanada or Nadanta (in 
Sadakhya Tattva), Vyapika, SamanI (in Shakti Tattva), and 
Unman! (in Shiva Tattva). Though these latter Shaktis 
have a cosmic creative aspect, they are not here co-extensive 
with and present a different aspect, from the latter. They 

1 E.g., with Dambha (arrogance), Lolata (covetousness), Kapatatfi, 
(duplicity), we find Asha (hope), Cheshta (endeavour), Viveka (discrimi- 
nation). 

* That is, the ordinary as opposed to the reversed (viloma) order. 
Thus, to read the alphabet as A to Z is anumola ; to read it backwards, 
Z to A, is viloma. In the above matter, therefore anuloma is evolution 
(srishti) or the forward movement, and viloma (nivritti) the path of 
return. 

3 See Garland of Letters or Studies in Mantra Sh&stra, Chapter on 

“ Causal Shaktis of the Pranava ”. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 141 


Chakra 

Situation 

Number 

of 

Petals 

Letters 

on 

Same 

Regnant Tattva 
AND ITS 
Qualities 

Colour 

of 

Tattva 

i 

Malsdhsra 

Spinal centre of 
region below 
genitals 

4 

va, sha, 
ska,, sa 

PrithivI ; cohesion, 
stimulating sense 
of smell 

Yellow 

Svadhish- 

thana 

Spinal centre of 
region above 
the genitals 

6 

ba, bha, 
ma, ya, 
ra, la 

Ap ; contraction, 
stimulating sense 
of taste 

White 

Manipura 

Spinal centre of 
region of the 
navel 

10 

da, dha, 
na, ta, 
tha, da, 
dha, na, 
pa, plia 

Tejas ; expansion, 
producing heat 
and stimulating 
sight-sense of col- 
our and form 

Red 

Anahata 

Spinal centre of 
region of the 
heart 

12 

ka, kha, 
ga, gha, 
nga, ch*, 
chha, ja, 
jha, nya, 
ta, tfha 

Vayu ; general 
movement, sti- 
mulating sense of 
touch 

Smoky 

Vishuddha 

Spinal centre of 
region of the 
throat 

16 

the vowels 
a, a, i, I, 
u,u,ri,rl, 
lri, lrl, e, 
ai, o, au, 
am, all 

Akasha ; space- 
giving, stimula- 
ting sense of 
hearing 

White 

Ajna 

Centre of region 
between the 
eyebrows 

2 

ha and* 
ksha 

Manas (mental 

faculties) 

... 


Above the Ajna is the causal region and the Lotus of a thousand petals, 
with all the letters, wherein is the abode of the Supreme Bindu Parashiva. 



142 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Shape 

op 

Mandala 

BTja and its 

VAHANA 

(Carrier) 

DEVATX 
AND ITS 
VaHANA 

SHAKTI 
OP THE 

Dhatu 

LINGA 

AND 

YONI 

Other Tattvas 

HERE 

Dissolved 

Square 

Lang on the 
A i r a v ata 
elephant 

Brahma 

on 

Hamsa 

Bakin! 

Svayam- 
bhu and 
Traipura 
Trikona 

Gandha (smell) Tattva ; 
smell (organ of sensa- 
tion) ; feet (organ of 
action) 

Crescent 

Vang on 
Makara 

Vishnu 

on 

Garuda 

! 

Bakin! 

... 

Basa (taste) Tattva ; 
taste (organ of sensa- 
tion) ; hand (organ of 
action) 

Triangle 

Bang on a 
rani 

Budra on 
a bull 

Lakini 

... 

Rupa (form & colour ; 
sight) Tattva ; sight 
(organ of sensation) ; 
anus (organ of action) 

Six-pointed 

hexagon 

Yang on an 
antelope 

! 

Isha 

# 

Kakini 

Bana and 
Trikona 

Sparsha (touch and 
feel) Tattva ; touch 
(organ of sensation) ; 
penis (organ of action) 

Circle 

1 

j 

i Hang on a 
white ele- 
phant 

Sad a- 
shiva 

Shakin! 

i 


Sliabda (sound) Tattva ; 
hearing (organ of sen- 
sation) ; mouth (organ 
of action) 


Om 

Shambhu 

Hakinl 

Itara and 
Trikona 

i 

Mahat, the Sukshma 
Prakriti called Hir- 
anyagarbha (v. 52) 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 143 

are not co-extensive, because the last -mentioned Shaktis are, 
as here mentioned, Shaktis of the Jiva. Hamsa, Jiva or 
Eundall is but an infinitesimal part of the Parabindu. The 
latter is in the Sahasrara, or thousand-petalled lotus, the 
abode of Ishvara, who is Shiva- Shakti and is the seat of the 
aggregate Kundali or Jiva. And hence it is said that all the 
letters are here twentyfold (50 x 20 = 1,000). In the Sahasrara 
are Parabindu the supreme Nirvana Shakti, Nirvana Kala, 
Amakala, 1 and the fire of Nibodhika. In the Parabindu is the 
empty void (Shunya) which is the supreme Nirguna Shiva. 

Another difference is to be found in the aspect of the 
Shaktis. Whilst the cosmic creative Shaktis are looking 
outwards and forwards (Uninukhl), the Shaktis above the 
Ajna, are, in Yoga, looking backwards towards dissolution. 
The Ishvara of the Sahasrara is not then the creative aspect 
of Ishvara. There He is in the Nirvana mood, and the 
Shaktis leading up to Nirvana Shakti are “ upward mov- 
ing ” that is, liberating Shaktis of the Jiva. 

These seven states or aspects of Bindumayaparashakti 
(S. N., v. 40) leading up to Unman!, which are described 
in this and other Tantrik books, are called causal forms 
(Karanarupa). The commentary to the Lalita 2 apparently 
enumerates eight, but this seems to be due to a mistake, 
Shakti and Vyapika being regarded as distinct Shaktis in- 
stead of differing names for the third of this series of 
Shaktis. 

Below Visarga (which is the upper part of the Brahma- 
raSdhra, in the situation of the fontenelle) and the exit 
of ShamkhinI Nadi is the Supreme White (or, as some call 
it, variegated) Lotus of a thousand petals (S. N., vv. 40 — 49) 
known as the Sahasrara, on which are all the letters of the 
Sanskrit alphabet, omitting according to some the cerebral 

1 See Garland of Letters, Chapter on “ Kal&s of the Shaktis ”. 

* Y. 121, Lalita- SahasranAma. 



144 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Lakara, and according to others Ksha. These are repeated 
twenty times to make the 1,000, and are read from beginning 
to end (Anuloma), going round the Lotus from right to left. 
Here is Mahavayu and the Chandramandala, in which is the 
Supreme Bindu (0), “ which is served in secret by all the 
Devas Bindu implies Guna, but it also means the void of 
space, and in its application to the Supreme Light, which is 
formless, is symbolical of its decaylessness. The subtle 
Shflnya (Void), which is the Atma of all being (Sarvatma), is 
spoken of in S. N., vv. 42 — 49. Here in the region of the 
Supreme Lotus is the Guru, the Supreme Shiva Himself. 
Hence the Shaivas call it Shivasthana, the abode of bliss 
where the Atma is realised. Here, too, is the Supreme 
Nirvana Shakti, the Shakti in the Parabindu, and the 
Mother of all the three worlds. He who has truly and fully 
known the Sahasra is not reborn in the Samsara, for he 
has by such knowledge broken all the bonds which held 
him to it. His earthly stay is limited to the working out 
of the Karma already commenced and not exhausted. He 
is the possessor of all Siddhi, is liberated though living 
(Jlvanmukta), and attains bodiless liberation (Moksha), or 
Videha Kaivalya, on the dissolution of his physical body. 

In the fourteenth verse and commentary thereon of the 
Anandalahari the Deity in the Sahasrara is described. 1 

“ She is above all the Tattvas. Every one of the six 
oentres represents a Tattva. Every Tattva has a definite 
number of rays. The six centres, or Chakras, are divided 
into three groups. Each of these groups has a knot or apex 
where converge the Chakras that constitute that group. 
The names of the groups are derived from those of the Pre- 
siding Deities. The following table clearly puts the above : 

1 See Pandit R. Ananta Shastrl’s Anandalahari, p. 42 et seq. The 
passage within quotation marks is taken from that work. 

See “Wave of Bliss,” by A. Avalon. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 145 


No. 

Name op 
Chakra 

Name 

OF 

Tattva 

No. OF 

Rays 

OF 

Tattva 

Name of 
Group j 

| Name 
i of Con- 1 

: VERGING 

Point 
_ > 

Remarks 

1 

! 

Mulsdhara ; 

1 

Bhu 

56} 

Agni 

j 7 

Rudra- 

In BahasrSra the 

2 

Svadhish- 

thana 

Agni 

62 ) 

Khanda 

granthi 

1 

rays are number- 
less, eternal and 
unlimited by 
space. 

3 

: 

ManipQra i 

Apas 

52} 

Burya 

Vishnu- 

There is another 

4 

Anahata 

Vayu 

54 S 

^ranthi 

Chandra here 
whose rays are 
countless and 
over- shining. 

5 

6 

Vishuddlii 

Ajna 

All ash a 
Manas 

? 2 \ 
64 S 

360 

Chandra 

Brahma- 
gran th i ! 

j 

{ 


“ Lakshmidhara quotes the Taittirlyaranyaka in support 
of his commentary, from which we have taken the notes 
above given. The extracts which he makes from ‘ Bhairava 
Yamala ’ ai'e very valuable. In discoursing about Chandra, 
Shiva addresses (vv. 1 — 17, Chandrajnanavidyaprakarana) 
Parvati, his consort, thus : 

“ ‘ Welcome, O Beauty of the three worlds, welcome 
is Thy question. This knowledge (which I am about to dis- 
close) is the secret of secrets, and I have not imparted it to 
anyone till now. (But I shall now tell thee the grand secret. 
Listen, then, with attention :) ’ 

“ ‘ Shiichakra (in the Sahasrara) is the form of Para- 
shakti. In the middle of this Chakra is a place called Bain- 
dava, where She, who is above all Tattvas, rests united with 
Her Lord Sadashiva. O Supreme One, the whole Cosmos is a 
Shrlchakra formed of the twenty-five Tattvas — 5 elements 
+5 Tanmatras+10 Indriyas-f Mind + Maya, Shuddhavidya 
Mahesha, and Sadashiva.’ Just as it is in Sahasrara, so 


1 Maya to Sadashiva are the Shiva Tattvas described in “ Garland 
of Letters 
10 


146 THE BIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

cosmically, also, Baindava is above all Tattvas. Devi, the 
cause of the creation, protection, and destruction, of the 
universe, rests there ever united with Sadashiva, who as well 
is above all Tattvas and ever-shining. Uncountable are the 
rays that issue forth from Her body ; 0 good one, they 
emanate in thousands, lakhs — nay, crores. But for this light 
there would be no light at all in the universe. . . 360 of 
these rays illumine the world in the form of Fire, Sun, and 
Moon. These 360 rays are made up as follows : Agni (Fire) 
118, Sun 106, Moon 136. O Shankari, these thi*ee luminaries 
enlighten the macrocosm as well as the microcosm, and give 
rise to the calculation of time —the Sun for the day, the 
Moon for the night, Agni (Fire) occupying a mean position 
between the two.’ 1 

“ Hence they constitute (or are called) Kala (time), and 
the 360 days (rays) make a year. The Veda says : ‘ The 
year itself is a form of the Lord. The Lord of time, the 
Maker of the world, first created Marlchi (rays), etc., the 
Munis, the protectors of the world. Everything has come 
to exist by the command of ParameshvarL’ 

“ Dindima takes a quite different view of this verse. 
He interprets it as meaning that, having already described 
the Antaryaga (inner worship), the author recommends here 
the worship of the Avarana Devatas i.e., Deities residing in 
each of the Chakras or centres without propitiating whom 
it is impossible for the practitioner to lead the KundalinI 
through these Chakras. He enumerates all the 360 Deities 
and describes the mode of worshipping each of them. 

“ There are other commentators who understand the 
360 rays esoterically, and oonnect the same with the 360 
days of the year, and also with the human body. Every 
commentator quotes the Taittariyaranyaka, first chapter, to 


' See “ Wave of Bliss," ed. A. Avalon. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 147 


support his views. Thus it seems that Taittariyaranyaka 
contains much esoteric matter for the mystic to digest. The 
first chapter of the Aranyaka referred to is chanted in wor- 
shipping the Sun. It is called Arunam because it treats of 
Aruna (red-coloured Devi ).” 1 

An Indian physician and Sanskritist has expressed the 
opinion that better anatomy is given in the Tantras than 
in the purely medical works of the Hindus . 2 It is easier, 
however, to give a statement of the present and ancient 
physiology than to correlate them. Indeed, this is for the 
present a difficult matter. In the first place, the material 
as regards the latter is insufficiently available and known 
to us, and those native scholars and Siidhakas (now-a-days, 
probably not numerous) who are acquainted with the 
subject are not conversant with Western physiology, with 
which it is to be compared. It is, further, possible to be 
practically acquainted with this Yoga without knowing its 
physiological relations. Working in what is an unexplored 
field, I can only here put forward, on the lines of the Text 
and such information as I have gathered, explanations and 
suggestions which must in some cases be of a tentative 
character, in the hope that they may be followed up and 
tested by others. 

It is clear that the Merudanda is the vertebral column, 
which as the axis of the body is supposed to bear the same 
relation to it as does Mount Meru to the earth. It extends 
from the Mula (root) or Muladhara to the neck. It and the 
connected upper tracts, spinal bulb, cerebellum, and the 
like, contain what has been described as the central system 
of spinal nerves (Nadi) and cranial nerves (Shiro-nadi). 

1 Pp. 42 — 46 of Pandit Ananta Shastri’s Anandalaharl. 

* Dr. B. D. Basu, of the Indian Medical Service, in his Prize Essay 
on the Hindu System of Medicine, published in the Guy’s Hospital 
Gazette (1889), cited in Vol. XVI, “ Sacred Books of the Hindus,” by 
Professor Benoy Kumar Sarkar. 



148 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT ‘POWER 


The Sushumna, which is undoubtedly a Nadi within the* 
vertebral column, and as such is well described by the 
books as the principal of all the Nadis, runs along the 
length of the Merudanda, as does the spinal cord of West- 
ern physiology, if we include therewith the filum terminale. 
If we include the filum, and take the Kanda to be between 
the anus and penis, it starts from practically the same 
(sacro-coccygeal) region, the Muladhara, and is spoken of as 
extending to the region of the Brahmarandhra, 1 or to a 
point below the twelve-petalled lotus (v. 1) — that is, at a 
spot below but close to the Sahasrara, or cerebellum, where 
the nerve ChitrinI also ends. The position of the Kanda is- 
that stated in this work (v. 1). It is to be noted, however, 
that according to the Hathayogapradlpika the Kanda is 
higher up, between the penis and the navel. 2 The place of 
the union of Sushumna and Kanda is known as the “ Knot ” 
(Granthisthana), and the petals of the Mtila lotus are on 
four sides of this (v. 4). It is in this Sushumna (whatever 
for the moment we take it to be) that there are the centres 
of Prana Shakti or vital power which are called Chakras or 
Lotuses. The spinal cord ends blindly in the filum terminale, 
and is apparently closed there. The Sushumna is said to 
be closed at its base, called the “gate of Brahman” 
(Brahmadvara), until, by Yoga, Kundall makes its way 
through it. The highest of the six centres called Chakra 
in the Sushumna is the Ajna, a position which corres- 
ponds frontally with the space between the eyebrows 
(Bhrumadhya), and at the back with the pineal gland, the 
pituitary body, and the top of the cerebellum. Close by 
it is the Chakra called Lalana, and in some Tantras Kala 
Chakra which is situate at the root of — that is, just above — 

1 Sammohana Tantra, II, 7, or, according to the Tripurasara- 
samuehchaya, cited in v. 1, from the head to the Adhfira. 

* V. post. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHARRA, PADMA) 149 

the palate (Talumula). Its position as well as the nature of 
the Ajna would indicate that it is slightly below the latter. 1 
The Sushumna passes into the ventricles of the brain, as 
does the spinal cord, which enters the fourth ventricle. 

Above the Lalana are the Ajna Chakra with its two 
lobes and the Manas Chakra with its six lobes, which it 
has been suggested are represented in the physical body by 
the Cerebellum and Sensorium respectively. The Soma 
Chakra above this, with its sixteen “petals”, has been 
said to comprise the centres in the middle of the Cerebrum 
above the Sensorium. Lastly, the thousand-petalled locus 
Sahasrara corresponds to the upper Cerebrum of the physi- 
cal body, with its cortical convolutions, which will be 
suggested to the reader on an examination of the Plate 
VIII, here given of that centre. Just as all powers exist 

in the seat of voluntary action, so it is said that all the 

fifty “ letters ” which are distributed throughout the spinal 
centres of the Sushumna exist here in multiplied form — 
that is, 50x20. The nectar-rayed moon 2 is possibly the 
under part of the brain, the convolutions or lobes of which, 
reserfibling half-moons, are called Chandrakala, and the 
mystic mount Kailasa is undoubtedly the upper brain. 
The ventricle connected with the spinal cord is also semi- 
lunar in shape. 

As above stated, there is no doubt that the Sushumna 
is situated in the spinal column, and it has been said that 

it represents the central canal. It is probable that its 

genera] position is that of the central canal. But a query 
may be raised if it is meant that the canal alone is the 
Sushumna. For the latter Nadi, according to this work, 

1 And not, as I wrote in the Introduction to the first edition of 
Mahamrvftna Tantra, p. lxii, above it. On further consideration, I 
think the position as stated in the text is correct, though in any case 
the two are very close together. 

" See Shiva- Samhitft, II, 6. 



160 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

contains within it two others — namely, VajrinI and Chitrinl. 
There is thus a threefold division. It has been suggested 
that the Sushumna when not considered with its inner 
Nadls as a collective unit, but as distinguished from them, 
is the white nervous matter of the spinal cord, VajrinI the 
grey matter, and Chitrinl the central canal, the inner Nadi 
of which is known as the BrahmanadI, and, in the Shiva- 
samhita, Brahmarandhra. 1 But as against such suggestion 
it is to be noted that v. 2 of this work describes Chitrinl 
as hping as fine as a spider’s thread (Luta-tantupameya), 
and the grey matter cannot be so described, but is a gross 
thing. We must therefore discard this suggestion, and 
hold to the opinion either that the central canal is the 
Sushumna or that the latter is in the canal, and that 
within or part of it are two still more subtle and im- 
perceptible channels of energy, called VajrinI and Chitrinl. 
I incline to the latter view. The true nature of the 
Chitrinl Nadi is said in v. 3 to be pure intelligence 
(Shuddha-bodha-svabhava) as a force of Consciousness. As 
v. 1 says, the three form one, but considered separately 
they are distinct. They are threefold in the sense that 
Sushumna, “ who is tremulous like a woman in passion,” 
is as a whole composed of “Sun,” “Moon,” and “Fire,” and 
the three Gunas. It is noteworthy in this connection that 
the Kshurika Upanishad, 2 which speaks of the Sushumna, 
directs the Sadhaka “ to get into the white and' very 
subtle Nadi, and to drive Pranavayu through it.” These 
three, Sushumna, VajrinI, and Chitrinl, and the central canal, 
or BrahmanadI, through which, in the Yoga here des- 
cribed, KundalinI, passes, are all, in any case, part of the 

1 Ch. II, v. 18. 

9 Ed. Anand&shrama Series XXIX, p. 145. Prana does not here 
mean gross breath, but that which in the respiratory centres appears 
as such and which appears in other forms in other functions and parts 
of the body. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 151 

spinal cord. And, as the Shivasamhita and all other Yoga 
works say, the rest of the body is dependent on Sushumna, 
as being the chief spinal representative of the central 
nervous system. There seems also to be some ground to 
hold that the Nadis, Ida and Pingala, or “ moon ” and 
“ sun,” are the left and right sympathetic cords respectively 
on each side of the “ fiery ” Sushumna. It is to be noted 
that, according to one and a common notion reproduced in 
this work, these Nadis, which are described as being pale 
and ruddy respectively (v. 1), do not lie merely on one side 
of the cord, but cross it alternating from one side to the 
other (see v. 1), thus forming with the Sushumna and the 
two petals of the Ajna Chakra the figure of the Caduceus of 
Mercury, which according to some represents them. Else- 
where (v. 1), however, it is said that they are shaped like 
bows. That is, one is united with Sushumna and connect- 
ed with the left scrotum. It goes up to a position near the 
left shoulder, bending as it passes the heart, crosses over to 
the right shoulder, and then proceeds to the right nostril. 
Similarly, the other Nadi connected with the right scrotum 
passes to the left nostril. It has been suggested to me that 
Ida and Pingala are blood-vessels representing the Inferior 
Vena Cava and Aorta. But the works and the Yoga process 
itself indicate not arteries, but nerves. Ida and Pingala 
when they reach the space between the eyebrows make 
with the Sushumna a plaited threefold knot called TrivenI 
and proceed to the nostrils. This, it has been said, is the 
spot in the medulla where the sympathetic cords join to- 
gether or whence they take their origin. 

There remains to be considered the position of the 
Chakras. Though this work speaks of six, there are, accord- 
ing to some, others. This is stated by Vishvanatha in his 
Shatohakra-Vivriti. Thus we have mentioned Lalana, 
Manas, and Soma Chakras. The six here given are the 



182 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


principal ones. Indeed, a very long list exists of Chakras 
or Adh&ras, as some call them. In a modem Sanskrit work 
called “ Advaitamartanda ” thei author 1 gives twenty, 
numbering them as follows: (1) Adhdra, (2) Kuladlpa, (3) 
Vajra or JYajna, (4) Svadhishthana, (5) Raudra, (0) Karala, 
(7) Gahvara, (8) Vidyaprada, (9) Trimukha, (10) Tripada, 
(11) Kaladandaka, (12) Ukara, (13) Kaladvara, (14) Karam- 
gaka, (15) Dlpaka, (16) Anandalalita, (17) Manipiiraka, (18) 
Nakula, (19) Kalabhedana, (20) Mahotsaha. Then for no 
apparent reason, many others are given without numbers, 
a circumstance, as well as defective printing, which makes 
it difficult in some cases to say whether the Sanskrit should 
be read as one word or two. 2 They are apparently Parama, 
Padukam, Padam (or Padakampadam), Kalpajala, Poshaka, 
Lolama, Nadavarta, Triputa, Kamkalaka, Putabhedana, 
Mahagranthiviraka, Bandhajvalana (printed as Bandhe- 
jvalana), Andliata, Yantraputa (printed Yatra), Vyoma- 
ohakra, Bodhana, Dhruva, Kalakandalaka, Kraunchabhe- 
rundavibhava, Damara, Kulaphlthaka, Kulakolahala, Hala- 
varta, Mahadbhaya, Ghorabhairava, Vishuddhi, Kantliam, 
Uttamam {queer e Vishuddhikantham or Kanthamuttamam), 
Purnakam, Ajnd, Kakaputtam, Shringatam, Kamarupa, 
Purnagiri, Mahavyoma, Shaktirupa. But, as the author 
says, in the Yedas (that is, YogachudamanI, Yogashiklaa 
Upanishads, and others) we read of only six Chakras — 
namely, those italicised in the above list, and described in 

\Brahmananda Svaml, a native of Palghat, in the Madras Presi- 
dency, late Guru of H. H. the late Maharaja of Kashinir. The work 
is printed at Jummoo. 

8 1 am not sure that the author himself was aware of this in all 
cases. He may have been quoting himself from some lists without 
other knowledge on the subject. The list has, to my eyes, in some 
respects an uncritical aspect — e.g., apart from bracketed notes in the 
text, Kamarupa and Purnagiri are Pithas, the others, J&landhara and 
AuddlyUna, not being mentioned. The last quotation he makes draws 
a distinction between the Chakras and Adharas. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 158 


the works here translated — and so it is said : “ How can 
there be any Siddhi for a man who knows not the six 
Adhvas, the sixteen Adharas, the three Lingas and the five 
(elements) the first of which is Ether ? ” 1 * 

I have already pointed out that the positions of the 
Chakras generally correspond to spinal centres of the 
anatomical divisions of the vertebra? into five regions, and 
it has been stated that the Padmas or Chakras correspond 
with various plexuses which exist in the body surrounding 
those regions. Various suggestions have been here made. 
The Author of the work cited ! identifies (commencing with 
the Muladhara and going upwards) the Chakras with the 
sacral, prostatic, epigastric, cardiac, laryngeal (or pharyn- 
geal), and cavernos plexuses, and the Sahas) ara with the 
Medulla. In passing it may be noted that the last sugges- 
tion cannot in any event be correct. It is apparently based 
on verse 120 of chapter V of the Shiva Samhita. 3 But this 
work does not in my opinion support the suggestion. 
Elsewhere the Author cited rightly identifies Mount 
Kailasa with the Sahasrara, which is undoubtedly the upper 
cerebrum. The anatomical position of the Medulla is be- 
low that assigned to the Ajnil Chakra. Professor Sarkar’s 
work contains some valuable appendices by Dr. Brojendra- 
nath Seal on, amongst others, Hindu ideas concerning plant 

1 The six Adhvas are Varna, Pada, Kalii, Tattva, Bhuvana and 
Mantra. The sixteen Adharas are named in the commentary to verse 
■88 of the text, the elements are also described in the text. The three 
Lingas are Svayambhu, Vilna and Itara also dealt with in the text. 

8 “ The Positive Background of Hindu Sociology,” by Professor 
Benoy Kumar Sarkar. 

3 P. 54 of the translation of SrTsha Chandra Vasu, to which I refer 
because the .author cited does so. The rendering, however, does not do 
justice to the text, and liberties have been taken with it. Thus, a 
large portion has been omitted without word or warning, and at p. 14 
it is said, that Kundalinl is “ of the form of electricity ”. There is no 
warrant fpr this in the text, and Kundalint is not, according to the 
Shastm, mere electricity. 



154 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


and animal life, physiology, and biology, including accounts 
of the nervous system in Charaka and in the Tantras. 1 * * * * * * * 
After pointing out that the cerebo-spinal axis with the 
connected sympathetic system contains a number of 
ganglionic centres and plexuses (Chakras, Padmas), from 
which nerves (Nadi, Shira, and Dhamanl) radiate over 
the head, trunk, and limbs, the latter says, as regards the 
ganglionic! centres and plexuses consisting the sympathetic 
spinal system ; 

“ Beginning with the lower extremity, the centres and 
plexuses of the connected spinal and sympathetic systems 
may be described as follows : 

“ (1) The Adhara Chakra, the sacro-coccygeal plexus 
with four branches, nine Angulis (about six inches and a 
half) below the solar plexus (Kanda, Brahmagranthi) ; the 
source of a massive pleasurable sesthesia ; voluminous orga- 
nic sensations of repose. An inch and a half above it, and 
the same distance below the membrum virile (Mehana), is a 
minor centre called the Agni-sikha. (2) The Svadhishthana 
Chakra, the sacral plexus, with six branches (Dalani — petals) 
concerned in the excitation of sexual feelings, with the ac- 
companiments of lassitude, stupor, cruelty, suspicion, con- 
tempt. 9 (3) The Nabhikanda (corresponding to the solar 
plexus, Blianubhavanam), which forms the great junction of 
the right and left sympathetic chains (Pingala and Ida) with 
the cerebro-spinal axis. Connected with this is the Mani- 
puraka, the lumbar plexus, with connected sympathetic 

1 Both the work of Professor Sarkar and the Appendices of Dr. 

Seal are of interest and value, and gather together a considerable 

number of facts of importance on Indian Geography, Ethnology, Minera- 

logy, Zoology, Botany and Hindu Physiology, Mechanics, and Acoustics. 

These Appendices have since been republished separately as a work 

entitled “ Positive Sciences of the Hindus ". 

a These and other Vrittis, as they are called, are enumerated in the 

Introduction to my first edition of the MahSnirvftna Tantra. (Trans- 

lation.) 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 165 

nerves, the ten branches 1 of which are concerned in the pro- 
duction of sleep and thirst, and the expressions of passions 
like jealousy, shame, fear, stupefaction. (4) The Anahata 
Chakra, possibly the cardiac plexus of the sympathetic chain 
with twelve branches, connected with the heart, the seat of 
the egoistic sentiments, hope, anxiety, doubt, remorse, con- 
ceit, egoism, etc. (6) The Bharatlsthana, 2 the junction of 
the spinal cord with the medulla oblongata, which, by means 
of nerves like the pneumogastric, etc., regulate the larynx and 
other organs of articulation. (6) The Lalana Chakra, opposite 
the uvula, which has twelve leaves (or lobes), supposed to be 
the tract affected in the production of ego-altruistic senti- 
ments and affections, like self-regard, pride, affection, grief, 
regret, respect, reverence, contentment, etc. (7) The sensori- 
motor tract, comprising two Chakras : (a) the Ajna Chakra 
(lit., the circle of command over movements) with its two 
lobes (the cerebellum) ; and ( b ) the Manas Chakra, the 
sensorium, with its six lobes (five special sensory for 
peripherally initiated sensations, and one common sensory 
for centrally initiated sensations, as in dreams and halluci- 
nations). The Ajnavaha Nadls, efferent or motor nerves, 
communicate motor impulses to the periphery from this 
Ajna Chakra, this centre of command over movements ; 
and the afferent or sensory nerves of the special senses* 
in pairs, the Gandhavaha Nadi (olfactory sensory), the 
Rupavaha Nadi (optic), the Shabdavaha Nadi (auditory), 
the Rasavaha Nadi (gustatory), and the Sparshavaha Nadi 
(tactile), come from the periphery (the peripheral organs of 
the special senses) to this Manaschakra, the sensory traot 
at the base of the brain. The Manaschakra also receives 
the Manovaha Nadi, a generic name for the channels 

1 That is, petals. 

3 This is a name for the Vishuddha Chakra as abode of the Goddess 
of Speech (Bharatl). 



156 THE six centres and the serpent power 


along which centrally initiated presentations (as in dream- 
ing or hallucination) come to the sixth lobe of the Manas 
Chakra. (8) The Soma Chakra, a sixteen-lobed ganglion, 
comprising the centres in the middle of the cerebrum, 
above the sensorium ; the seat of the altruistic sentiments and 
volitional control — e.g., compassion, gentleness, patience, 
renunciation, meditativeness, gravity, earnestness, resolu- 
tion, determination, magnanimity, etc. And lastly, (9) the 
Sahasrara Chakra, thousand-lobed, the upper cerebrum with 
its lobes and convolutions, the special and highest seat of 
the Jlva, the soul.” ' 

Then, dealing with the cerebro-spinal axis and the heart, 
and their respective relations to the conscious life, the 
Author cited says : 

“ Vijnanabhikshu, in the passage just quoted, identifies 
the Manovaha Nadi (vehicle of consciousness) with the 
cerebro-spinal axis and its ramifications, and compares the 
figure to an inverted gourd with a thousand-branched stem 
hanging down. The Sushumna, the central passage of the 
spinal cord, is the stem of this gourd (or a single branch). 
The writers on the Yoga (including the authors of the various 
Tantrik systems), use the term somewhat differently. On 
this view, the Manovaha Nadi is the channel of the commu- 
nication of the Jlva (soul) with the Manas Chakra (sensorium) 
at the base of the brain. The sensory currents are brought 
to the sensory ganglia along afferent nerves of the special 
senses. But this is not sufficient for them to rise to the 
level of discriminative consciousness. A communication 
must now be established between the Jlva (in the Sahas- 
rara Chakra, upper cerebrum) and the sensory currents 
received at the sensorium, and this is done by means of the 

1 The author cited refers to the Juana SamkalinT Tantra, Samhita- 
ratnftkara. and for functions of Ajnavalia Nadi and Manovaha Nadi to 
Shankara Mishra’s Upaskiira. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 157 

Manovahft Nadi. When sensations are centrally initiated, 
as in dreams and hallucinations, a special Nadi (Svapnavaha 
Nadi), which appears to be only a branch of the Manovaha 
Nadi, serves as the channel of communication from the Jlva 
(soul) to the sensorium. In the same way, the Ajnavaha 
Nadi brings down the messages of the Soul from the Sahas- 
rara (upper cerebrum) to the Ajna Chakra (motor tract at 
the base of the brain), messages which are thence carried 
farther down, along efferent nerves, to various paxffs of the 
periphery. 1 may add that the special sensory nerves, 
together with tne Manovaha Nadi, are sometimes generally 
termed Jnanavaha Nad! — lit., channel of presentative know- 
ledge. There is no difficulty so far. The Manovaha Nadi 
and the Ajnavaha Nadi connect the sensori -motor tract at 
the base of the brain (Manas Chakra and Ajna Chakra) with 
the highest (and special) seat of the soul (Jlva) in the upper 
cerebrum (Sahasrara), the one being the channel for carrying 
up the sensory and the other for bringing down the motor 
messages. But efforts of the will (Ajna, Prayatna) are con- 
scious presentations, and the Manovaha Nadi must therefore 
co-operate with the Ajnavaha in producing the conscious- 
ness of effort. Indeed, attention, the characteristic function 
of Manas, by which it raises sense-presentations to the level 
of discriminative consciousness, implies effort (Prayatna) 
on the part of the soul (Atma, Jlva), an effort of which we 
are conscious through the channel of the Manovaha Nadi. 
But how to explain the presentation of effort in the motor 
nerves ? Shankara Mishra, the author of the Upaskara on 
Kanada’s Sutras, argues that the Nadls (even the volitional 
or motor nerves) are themselves sensitive, and their affec- 
tions are oonveyed to the sensorium by means of the nerves 
of the (inner) sense of touch (which are interspersed in 
minute fibrillse among them). The consciousness of effort, 
then, in any motor nerve, whether Ajnavaha (volitional 



158 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

motor) or Pranavaha (automatic motor), depends on the tactile 
nerves or nerves of organic sensation) mixed up with it. Thus 
the assimilation of food and drink by the automatic activity 
of the Pranas implies an (automatic) effort (Prayatna) 
accompanied by a vague organic consciousness, which is 
due to the fact that minute fibres of the inner touch-sense 
are interspersed with the machinery of the automatic nerves 
(the Pranavaha Nadls).” 

To a certain extent the localizations here made must 
be tentative. It must, for instance, be a matter of opinion 
whether the throat centre corresponds with the carotid, 
laryngeal, or pharyngeal, or all three ; whether the navel 
centre corresponds with the epigastric, solar, or lumbar, the 
Ajna with the cavernous plexus, pineal gland, pituitary 
body, cerebellum, and so forth. For all that is known to 
the contrary each centre may have more than one of such 
correspondences. All that can be said with any degree of 
certainty is that the four centres, above the Muladhara, 
which is the seat of the presiding energy, have relation to 
the genito-excretory, digestive, cardiac, and respiratory func- 
tions, and that the two upper centres (Ajna and Sahasrara) 
denote various forms of cerebral activity, ending in the 
Repose of pure Consciousness. The uncertainty which 
prevails as regards some of those matters is indicated in the 
Text itself, which shows that on various of the subjects 
here debated differing opinions have been expressed as 
individual constructions of statements to be found in tha 
Tantras and other Shastras. 

There are, however, if I read them correctly, state- 
ments in the above -cited accounts with which, though not 
uncommonly accepted, I disagree. It is said, for instance, 
that the Adhara Chakra is the sacro -coccygeal plexus, and 
that the Svadhishthana is the sacral plexus, and so forth. 
This work, however, not to mention others, makes it plain 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 159 

that the Chakras are in the Sushumna. Verse 1 speaks of 
the “ Lotuses inside the Meru (spinal column) ; and as the 
Sushumna supports these (that is, the lotuses) She must 
needs be within the Meru.” This is said in answer to 
those who, on the strength of. a passage in the Tantra- 
chudamani, erroneously suppose that Sushumna is outside 
the Meru. In the same way the Commentator refutes the 
error of those who, relying on the Nigamatattvasara, sup- 
pose that not only Sushumna, but Ida, and Pingala, are 
inside the Meru. Verse 2 says that inside Vajra (which 
is itself within Sushumna) is ChitrinI, on which the lotuses 
are strung as it were gems, and who like a spider’s thread 
pierces all the lotuses which are within the backbone. The 
Author in the same place combats the view, based on the 
Kalpa Sutra, that the lotuses are within ChitrinI. These 
lotuses are in the Sushumna ; and as ChitrinI is within the 
latter, she pierces but does not contain them. Some 
confusion is raised by the statement in v. 51, that the 
lotuses are in or on the Brahmanadl. But by this is meant 
appertaining to this Nadi, for they are in Sushumna, of 
which the Brahmanadl is the central channel. The com- 
mentator Vishvanatha, quoting from the Maya Tantra, 
says that all the six lotuses are attached to the ChitrinI 
Nadi (ChitrinI- grathitam). One conclusion emerges clearly 
from all this namely, that the Lotuses are in the verte- 
bral column in Sushumna, and not in the nerve plexuses 
which surround it. There in the spinal column they exist 
as extremely subtle vital centres of Pranashakti and centres 
of consciousness. In this connection I may cite an extract 
from an article on the “ Physical Errors of Hinduism,” 1 
for which I am indebted to Professor Sarkar’s work : “ It 
would indeed excite the surprise of our readers to hear that 
the Hindus, who would not even touch a dead body, much 

1 Published in Vol. XI, pp. 486 — 440, of the Calcutta Revieio, 



160 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


less dissect it, should possess any anatomical knowledge 
at all. ... It is the Tantras that furnish us with 
some extraordinary pieces of information concerning the 
human body. . . . But of all the Hindu Shastras ex- 
tant, the Tantras lie in the greatest obscurity. . . . » 

The Tantrik theory, on which the well-known Yoga called 
‘ Shatchakrabheda ’ is founded, supposes the existence of 
six main internal organs, called Chakras or Padmas, all 
bearing a special resemblance to that famous flower, the 
lotus. These are placed one above the other, and connect- 
ed by three imaginary chains, the emblems of the Ganges, 
the Yamuna, and the Saraswatl. . . . Such is the 

obstinacy with which the Hindus adhere to these erroneous 
notions, that, even when we show them by actual dissec- 
tion the non-existence of the imaginary Chakras in the 
human body, they will rather have recourse to excuses 
revolting to common sense than acknowledge the evidence 
of their own eyes. They say, with a shamelessness un- 
paralleled, that these Padmas exist as long as a man lives, 
but disappear the moment he dies.” 1 This, however, is 
nevertheless quite correct, for conscious and vital centres 
cannot exist in a body when the organism which they hold 
together dies. A contraiy conclusion might indeed be de- 
scribed as “ shameless” stupidity. 2 

The Author of the work from which this citation is 
made says that, though these Chakras cannot be satis- 
factorily identified, the Tantriks must nevertheless have 
obtained their knowledge of them by dissection. By this he 
must refer to the physical regions which correspond on the 
gross plane to, and are governed by, the Chakras proper, 

1 “ Physical Errors of Hinduism,” Calcutta Review , Vol XI, pp. 486 

— 440 . 

4 This reminds one of the story of a materialistic doctor who said 
he had done hundreds of post-mortem examinations, but had never yet 
discovered the trace of a soul. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 161 

which as subtle, vital, and conscious centres in the spinal 
cord are invisible to any but a Yogi’s vision , 1 11 existing when 
the body is alive and disappearing when vitality (Prana) 
leaves the body as part of the Lingasharlra. 

It is a mistake, therefore, in my opinion, to identify 
the Chakras with the physical plexuses mentioned. These 
latter are things of the gross body, whereas the Chakras 
are extremely subtle vital centres of various T&ttvik 
operations. In a sense we can connect with these subtle 
centres the gross bodily parts visible to the eyes as plexuses 
and ganglia. But to connect or correlate and to identify 
are different things. Indian thought and the Sanskrit 
language, which is its expression, have a peculiarly pene- 
trative and comprehensive quality which enables one to 
explain many ideas for which, except by paraphrase, 
there is no equivalent meaning in English. It is by the 
Power or Shakti of the Atma or Consciousness that the 
body exists. It is the collective Prana which holds it to- 
gether as an individual human unit, just as it supports 
the different Principles and Elements (Tattva) of which it 
is composed. These Tattvas, though they pervade the 
body, have yet various special centres of operation. These 
centres, as one might otherwise suppose, lie along the 
axis, and are the Sukshma Rupa, or subtle forms of that 
which exists in gross form (Sthula Rupa) in the physi- 
cal body which is gathered around it. They are manifes- 
tations of Pranashakti or Vital Force. In other words, 
from an objective standpoint the subtle centres, or Chakras, 
vitalize and control the gross bodily tracts which are indi- 
cated by the various regions of the vertebral column and 

1 So it is said : Tani vastuni tanmatradlni pratyakshavishayani 
(Such things as the Tanmatra and others are subject to immediate per- 
ception by Yogins only). A Yogi “ sees ” the Chakras with his mental 
eye (Ajna). In the case of others they are' the ^matter of inference 
(Anumana). 

11 



182 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

the ganglia, plexuses, nerves, arteries, and organs, situate 
in these respective regions. It is only therefore (if at all) 
in the sense of being the gross outer representatives of the 
spinal centres that we can connect the plexuses and so 
forth with the Chakras spoken of in the Yoga books. In 
this sense only the whole tract, which extends from the 
subtle centre to the periphery, with its corresponding bodily 
elements, may be regarded as the Chakra. As the gross and 
subtle are thus connected, mental operation on the one will 
affect the other. Certain forces are concentrated in these 
Chakras, and therefore and by reference to their function 
they are regarded as separate and independent centres. 
There are thus six subtle centres in the cord with gros- 
ser embodiments within the cord itself, with still grosser 
sheaths in the region pervaded by the sympathetics Ida and 
Pingala, and other Nadis. Out of all this and the gross 
compounded elements of the body are fashioned the organs 
of life, the vital heart of which is the subtle Chakra by 
which they are vivified and controlled. The subtle aspects 
of the six centres according to Tantrik doctrine must not 
be overlooked whilst attention is paid to the gross or physio- 
logical aspect of the body. As previously and in the Com- 
mentary to the thirty-fifth verse of the Anandalaharl 
explained, there are six Devas — viz., Shambhu, Sadashiva, 
Ishvara, Vishnu, Rudra, Brahma — whose abodes are the 
six Lokas or regions : viz., Maharloka, Tapoloka, Janaloka, 
Svarloka, Bhuvarloka, and BhQrloka (the Earth). It is 
these Divinities who are the forms of Consciousness presid- 
ing over the Shatchakra. In other words, Consciousness 
(Chit), as the ultimate experiencing principle, pervades and 
is at base all being. Every cell of the body has a conscious- 
ness of its own. The various organic parts of the body 
which the cells build have not only particular cell-conscious- 
pess, but the consciousness of the particular organic part 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 163 

which is other than the mere oollectivity of the conscious- 
ness of its units. Thus there may be an abdominal con- 
sciousness. And the consciousness of such bodily region is 
its Devata — that is, that aspect of Chit which is associated 
with and informs that region. Lastly, the organism as a 
whole has its consciousness, which is the individual Jlva. 
Then there is the subtle form or body of these Devat&s, in 
the shape of Mind — supersensible “ matter ” (Tanmatra) ; 
and sensible “ matter ” — namely, ether, air, fire, water 
earth, with their centres at the Ajna, Vishuddha, Anahata, 
Maniptira, Svadhishthana and Mflladhara. Of these six 
Tattvas, not only the gross human body, but the vast 
macrocosm, is composed. The six Chakras are therefore 
the divine subtle centres of the corresponding physical 
and psychical sheaths. The seventh or supreme centre of 
Consciousness is Paramashiva, whose abode is Satyaloka, 
the Cosmic aspect of the Sahasrara in the human body. 
The Supreme, therefore, descends through its manifesta- 
tions from the subtle to the gross as the six Devas and 
Shaktis in their six abodes in the world-axis, and as the 
six centres in the body-axis or spinal column. The special 
operation of each of the Tattvas is located at its individual 
centre in the miorocosm. But, notwithstanding all such 
subtle and gross transformations of and by Kula-KundalinI, 
She ever remains in Her Brahman or Svarupa aspect the 
One, Sat, Chit, and^fnanda, as is realized by the Yogi when 
drawing the Devi from Her world-abode in the earth centre 
(Muladhara) he unites Her with Paramashiva in the Saha- 
srara in that blissful union which is the Supreme Love 
(Ananda). 

In a similar manner other statements as regards these 
Chakras should be dealt with, as, for instance, those con- 
nected with the existence of the “ Petals ”, the number of 
which in each 'case has. been said to be determined by 



164 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


characteristics of the gross region which the particular 
Chakra governs. The oentres are said to be composed of petals 
designated by certain letters, Professor Sarkar 1 expresses 
the opinion that these petals point to either the nerves 
which go to form a ganglion or plexus, or the nerves distri- 
buted from such ganglion or plexus. I have been told that 
the disposition of the Nadls at the particular Chakra in 
question determines the number of its petals. 2 In the five 
lower Chakras their characteristics are displayed in the 
number and position of the Nadls or by the lobes and sensory 
and motor tracts of the higher portions of the cerebro-spinal 
system. As I have already explained, the Chakra is not to 
be identified with the physical ganglia and plexuses, though 
it is connected with, and in a gross sense represented by, 
them. The lotuses with these petals are within the Sushum- 
na and they are there represented as blooming upon the 
passage through them of Kundall. The letters are on the 
petals. 

The letters in the six Chakras are fifty in number — 
namely, the letters of the Sanskrit alphabet less Ksha, 
according to the KamkalamalinI Tantra cited in v. 40, or the 
second or cerebral La ( ib .). All these letters multiplied by 
20 exist potentially in the Sahasrara, where they therefore 
number 1,000, giving that Lotus its name. There are, on 
the other hand, 72,000 Nadls which rise from the Kanda. 
Further, that these letters in the Chakr«#are not gross things 
is shown by vv. 28 and 29, which say that the vowels of the 
Yishuddha are visible to the enlightened mind (Dlptabuddhi) 
only — that is, the Buddhi which is free of impurity resulting 

1 Op. cit., p. 292. 

* See my Mah&nirv&na Tantra (first Edition), p. lvii. My reference 
there to the lotus as a plexus of N&dis is to the gross sheath of the 
subtle centre,? which gross sheath is said to contain the determinant, 
though in another sense it is the effect, of the characteristics of the 
subtle centre. 



UHE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 165 

from worldly pursuits, as the effect of the constant practioe 
of Yoga. Verse 19 and other verses speak of the letters 
there mentioned as being ooloured. Each object of percep- 
tion, whether gross or subtle, has an aspect which corres- 
ponds to each of the senses. It is for this reason that the 
Tantra correlates sound, form and colour. Sound produces 
form, and form is associated with colour. Kundall is a form 
of the Supreme Shakti who maintains all breathing creatures. 
She is the source from which all sound or energy, whether 
as ideas or speech, manifests. That sound or Matrika when 
uttered in human speech assumes the form of letters and 
prose and verse, which is made of their combinations. And 
sound (Shabda) has its meaning — that is, the objects denoted 
by the ideas which are expressed by sound or words. By 
the impulse of Ichchha Shakti acting through the Pranav&yu 
(vital force) of the Atma is produced in the Maladhara the 
sound power called Para, which in its ascending movement 
through other Chakras takes on other characteristics and 
names (PashyantI and Madhyama), and when uttered by 
the mouth appears as Vaikharl in the form of the spoken 
letters which are the gross aspect of the sound in the Chakras 
themselves (see vv. 10 and 11). Letters when spoken are, 
then, the manifested aspect in gross speech of the subtle 
energy of the Shabdabrahman as Kundall. The same energy 
which produces these letters manifesting as Mantras produ- 
ces the gross universe. In the Chakras is subtle Shabda in 
its states as Para, PashyantI, or Madhyama Shakti, which 
when translated to the vocal organ assumes the audible 
sound form (Dhvani) which is any particular letter. Parti* 
cular forms of energy of Kundall are said to be resident at 
particular Chakras, all such energies existing in magnified 
form in the Sahasrara. Eaoh manifested letter is a Mantra, 
and a Mantra is the body of a Devata. There are therefore 
as many Devatas in a Chakra as there are petals which are 



166 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

surrounding (Avarana) Devat&s or Shaktis of the Devatft of 
the Chakra and the subtle element of which He is the presid- 
ing Consciousness. Thus, Brahma is the presiding Consci- 
ousness of the Milladhara lotus, indicated by the Bindu of 
the Blja La (Lam), which is the body of the earth Devata ; 
and around and associated with these are the subtle forms 
of the Mantras, which constitute the petals and the bodies 
of associated energies. The whole human body is in fact a 
Mantra, and is composed of Mantras. These sound powers 
vitalize, regulate, and control, the corresponding gross mani- 
festations in the regions surrounding them. 

Why, however, particular letters are assigned to parti- 
cular Chakras is the next question. Why, for instance, 
should Ha be in the Ajna and La in the Muladhara ? It is 
true that in some places in the Tantras certain letters are 
assigned to particular elements. Thus, there are certain 
letters which are called Vayava Varna, or letters pertaining 
to the Vayu Tattva ; but an examination of the case on this 
basis fails to account for the position of the letters as letters 
which are assigned to one element may be found in a Chakra 
the predominant Tattva of which is some other element. 
It has been said that in the utterance of particular letters 
the centres at which they are situated are brought into play, 
and that this is the solution of the question why those 
particular letters were at their particular centre. A prob- 
able solution is that given by me in my “ Shakti and Shakta 
Apart from this one can only say that it is either Svabhava 
or the nature of the thing, which in that case is as little 
susceptible of ultimate explanation as the disposition in the 
body of the gross organs themselves ; or the arrangement 
may be an artificial one for the purpose of meditation, in 
which case no further explanation is necessary. 

! Third Edition. See Chapter on Kundallyoga, 



THE} CEtfTREiS OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 16 ? 

The four Bhavas, or states of sound, in the human body 
are so called as being states in which sound or movement is 
prdouced or becomes, evolving from Para Shakti in the body 
of Ishvara to the gross Yaikhaii Shakti in the body of Jlva. 
As already stated, in the bodily aspect (Adhyatma) the 
Karana Bindu resides in the Muladhara centre, and is there 
known as the Shakti Pinda 1 or Kundalinl . 2 Kundall is a 
name for Shabdabrahman in human bodies. The Acharya, 
speaking of Kundalinl, says : “ There is a Shakti called 
Kundalinl who is ever engaged in the work of creating the 
universe. He who has known Her never again enters the 
mother’s womb as a child or suffers old age.'’ That is, he no 
longer enters the Samsara of world of transmigration . 3 
This Karana Bindu exists in a non-differentiated condition . 4 5 

The body of Kundall is composed of the fifty letters 
or sound-powers. Just as there is an apparent evolution 6 


1 She is so called because all the Shaktis are collected or “ rolled 
into one mass ” in Her. Here is the Kendra (centre) of all the Shaktis. 
The Svachchhanda as also the Sharada say : 

Pindam Kundalinl-shaktih 
Padam hamsah praklrtitah 
Rupam bindur iti khyatam 
Rup&tltas tu chinmayah. 

[Kundalinl Shakti is Pinda ; Hamsah is Pada ; Bindu is Rupa, but 
Chinmaya (Chit) is formless.] The first, as potentiality of all manifested 
power, is in the Muladhara Chakra : the second, as Jlvatma, is in 
Anahata, where the heart beats, the life-pulse. Bindu, the causal form 
body, as Supreme Shakti, is in Ajna, and the formless Consciousness 
passing through Bindu Tattva manifesting as Hamsa, and again resting 
as Kundalinl, is in the Brahmarandhra (see Tika of first Samketa of 
Yoginlhridaya Tantra). 

* Adhyatmantu karanabinduh shaktipindakundaly&dishabdavachyo 
muladharasthah (Bhaskararaya, Comm. Lalita, v. 132). 

8 ** Shaktih kundalinlti vishvajananavyaparabaddhodyamam 

Jnatva ittham na punar vishanti jananlgarbhe ’rbhakatvam 
narah ” ityadirltyacharyair vyavahritah ( ib . ). 

4 So'yam avibhagavasthah karanabinduh (ib.). 

5 Vikara or Vikriti is something which is really changed, as curd 

from milk. The former is a Vikriti of the latter. Vivarta is apparent 



108 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

in the oosmio body of Ishvara, represented in the seven 
states preoeding from Sakala Parameshvara to Bindu, so 
there is a similar development in the human body in Kundall 
who is the Ishvari, therein. There are evolved the following 
states, corresponding with the cosmic development — viz., 
Shakti, Dhvani, Nada, Nirodhika, Ardhendu, Bindu. These 
are all states of Kundall Herself in the Muladhara, and are 
known as Para sound. Each one of the letters composing 
the body of Kundall exists in four states as Para Shakti, or in 
the succeeding states of sound, PashyantI, Madhyama, and 
Vaikharl, to which reference is later made. The first is a 
state of undifferentiated sound, which exists in the body of 
Ishvara ; the second and third as existing in the body of Jlva 
are stages towards that complete manifestation of differen- 
tiated sound in human speech which is called Vaikharl 
Bhava. In the cosmic aspect these four states are Avyakta, 
Ishvara, Hiranyagarbha, and Virat. The Arthasrishti (ob- 
jeot creation) of KundalinI are the Kalas, which arise from 
the letters such as the Rudra and Vishnu Murtis and their 
Shaktis, the Kamas and Ganeshas and their Shaktis, and the 
like. In the Sakala Parameshvara or Shabdabrahman in 
bodies — that is, KundalinI Shakti — the latter is called Chit 
Shakti or Shakti simply, “ when Sattva enters ” — a state 
known as the Paramakashavastha. When She into whom 
Sattva has entered is next “ pierced ” by Rajas, She is oalled 
Dhvani, which is the Aksharavastha. When She is again 
“ pierced ” by Tamas, she is called Nada. This is the 
Avyaktavastha, the Avyakta Nada which is the Parabindu. 
Again, She in whom Tamas abounds is, as Raghava Bhatta 
says, called Nirodhika; She in whom Sattva abounds is 

but unreal change, such as the appearance of what was and is a rope as 
a snake. The Vedantas&ra thus musically defines the two terms : 

Satattvato ’nyathftpratha vik&ra ityudlritah 

Atattvato ’nyath&prath& vivarta ityudahritah. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, RADMA) 169 


called Ardhendu ; and the combination of the two (Ichchha 
and Jnana) in which Rajas as Kriya Shakti works is called 
Bindu. Thus it has been said : “ Drawn by the force of 
Ichchha Shakti (will), illumined by Jnana Shakti (knowledge), 
Shakti the Lord appearing as male creates (Kriya Shakti, or 
action).” 

When the Karana Bindu “ sprouts ” in order to create 
the three (Bindu, Nada, and Blja) there arises that unmani- 
fested Brahman-word or Sound called the Shabdabrahman 
(Sound Brahman ). 1 It is said : “ From the differentiation 
of the Karana Bindu arises the unmanifested ‘ Sound ’ which 
is called Shabdabrahman by those learned in Shruti.” 8 It 
is this Shabdabrahman which is the immediate cause of the 
universe, which is sound and movement manifesting as idea 
and language. This sound, which is one with the Karana 
Bindu, and is therefore all-pervading, yet first appears in 
man’s body in the Muladhara. “ It is said in the Muladhara 
in the body the ‘ air ’ (Pranavayu) first appears. That ‘ air ’ 
acted upon by the effort of a person desiring to speak, mani- 
fests the all-pervading Shabdabrahman .” 3 The Shabda- 
brahman which is in the form of the Karana Bindu when it 

1 Ayam eva cha yada karyabindvaditrayajananonmukho bhidyate 
taddashayam avyaktah shabdabrahmabhidheyo ravas tatrotpadyate ( ib .). 

When this (K&rana-bindu) inclines to produce the three Bindus the 
first of which is Karyabindu and bursts or divides itself (Bhidyate, then 
at that stage there arises the indistinct (Avyakta) sound (Rava) which 
is called Shabdabrahman. 

a Tadapyuktam : 

Bindos tasmad bhidyaman&d avyaktatma ravo ’bhavat, 

Sa ravah shrutisampannaih shabdabrahmeti glyate (ib.)* 

So it has been said : — Prom the bursting Bindu there arises the in* 
distinct sound which is called Shabdabrahman by those versed in Shruti. 

3 So’yam ravah karanabindutadatmyapannatv&t sarvagato’pi vyan* 
jakayatnasamskritapavanavashat pranin&m muladhara eva abhivyajyate. 
Taduktam : 

Dehe’pi maladhare'smin samudeti samlranah, 

Vivakshorichchhayotthena prayatnena susamskritah. 

Sa vyanjayati tatraiva shabdabrahm&pi sarvagam (ib.). 

This sound again being one with the K&ranabindu and, therefore, 
everywhere, manifests itself in the Miiladhara of animals, being led 



i?0 THE stx CENTRES ANi> THE SERTENT TOWER 


remains motionless (Nishpanda) in its own place (that is, in 
Kundall, who is Herself in the Muladhara) is called Para 
Shakti or speeoh. The same Shabdabrahman manifested 
by the same “ air ” proceeding as far as the navel, united 
with the Manas, possessing the nature of the manifested 
Karya Bindu with general (Samanyaspanda) motion, is 
named PashyantI speech . 1 PashyantI, which is described as 
Jnanatmaka and Bindv&tmaka (in the nature of Chit and 
Bindu), extends from the Muladhara -to the navel, or, ac- 
cording to some accounts, the Svadishthana. 

Next, the Shabdabrahman manifested by the same 
“ air ” proceeding as far as the heart, united with the Buddhi, 
possessing the nature of the manifested Nada and endowed 
with special motion (Yisheshaspanda) is called Madhyama 
speech . 2 This is Hiranyagarbha sound, extending from 
the region of PashyantI to the heart. Next,* the same 

there by the air purified by the effort made by the maker of the sound. 
So it is said : — In the body also in the Muladh&ra air arises ; this (air) is 
purified by the effort and will of the person wishing to speak and mani- 
fests the Shabda which is everywhere. 

1 Tad idam karanabindvatmakam abhivyaktam shabdabrahma- 
svapratishthataya nishpandam tadeva cha para vag ityuchyate. Atha 
tadeva n&bhiparyantamagachchhata tena pavanenabhivyaktam vimarsha- 
rupena manasa yuktam s&manyaspandaprakasharupakarya-bindumayam 
sat pashyantl vag uchyate ( ib .). 

This evolved Shabda-brahman which is one with the Karanabindu 
when it is in itself and vibrationless (motionless) is called Para Vak ; 
when that again is, by the same air going up to the navel, further 
evolved and united with mind, which is Vimarsha then it becomes 
Karyabindu slightly vibrating and manifest. It is there called Pash- 
yantI Vak. 

2 Atha tad eva shabdabrahma tenaiva vayuna hridayaparyanta- 
mabhivyajyaraanam nishchayatmikaya buddhya yuktam visheshaspanda- 
prakasharapanftdamayam sat madhyamavagity uchyate (zb.). 

Thereafter the same Shabdabrahman as .it is led by the same air 
to the heart is in a state of manifestation and united with Buddhi 
which never errs and becomes possessed of Nada whose vibration is 
perceptible. It is called Madhyama Vak. 

* Atha tad eva vadanaparyantam tenaiva vayuna kanthadistha- 
neshvabhivyajyamanam akar&divarnarupam parasbrotrft-grahanayog- 
yam spashtataraprakasharapabljatmakam sat vaikhari vag uchyate (ib.)# 



THiS CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 17i 

Shabdabrahman manifested by the same air proceeding as 
far as the mouth, developed in the throat, etc., articulated 
and capable of being heard by the ears of others, possessing 
the nature of the manifested Blja with quite distinct articu- 
late (Spashtatara) motion, is called Vaikharl speech . 1 This 
is the Virat state of sound, so called because it “ comes 
out ”. 

This matter is thus explained by the Acharya : “ That 
sound which first arises in the Muladhara is called Para ; 
next PashyantI ; next, when it goes as far as the heart and 
is joined to the Buddhi, it is called ‘ Madhyama This 
name is derived from the fact that She abides “ in the 
midst ”. She is neither like Pashyanti nor does She proceed 
outward like Vaikharl, with articulation fully developed. 
But She is in the middle between these two. 

The full manifestation is Vaikharl of the man wishing 
to cry out. In this way articulated sound is produced by 
air . 2 The Nitya Tantra also says : “ The Para form rises- 
in the Muladhara produced by ‘ air ’ ; the same ‘ air rising 
upwards, manifested in the Svadhishthana, attains the 

Thereafter the same (Shabdabrahman) when led by the same air to 
the mouth is in a state of manifestation, in the throat and other places 
and becomes capable of hearing by others, being more manifest as the 
letters A and others. It is then called Vaikharl Vak. 

1 That is, Shabda in its physical form. Bhaskarar&ya, in the com- 
mentary to the same verse (182) of the Lalitft, gives the following 
derivations: Vi = much ; khara = hard. According to the Saubhagya 
Sudhodaya, Vai = certainly ; kha = cavity (of the ear) ; ra= to go or enter. 
But according to the Yoga Shastras, the Devi who is in the form of 
Vaikharl (Vaikharirupa) is so called because she was produced by the 
Prana called Vikhara. ■ 

* Taduktamftcharyaih : 

Muladharat prathamam udito yash cha bhavah parakhyah, 
Pashchat pashyanty atha hridayago buddhiyug madhyamakhyab, 
Vaktre vaikhary atha rurudishor asya jantoh sushumna, 
Baddhas tasmat bhavati pavanaprerita varnasamjna (Bhaskara- 
raya, op. cit.). 

So it has been said by the great teacher (Shamkara : PrapanchasAra 
II. 44) : — When the child wishes to cry the first state of sound attached 



172 tHB Slfc OtsfcTRftS Afcb THfi SERfcfcNi: ROWfik 


PashyantI 1 state. The same slowly rising upwards and 
manifested in the Anahata united with the understanding 
(Buddhi), is Madhyamft. Again rising upwards, and ap- 
pearing in the Yishuddha, it issues from the throat as 
Vaikharl .” 2 As the Yogakundall Upanishad 3 says : “ That 
Vftk (power of speech) which sprouts in Para gives forth 
leaves in PashyantI, buds forth in Madhyama, and blossoms 
in Vaikharl. By reversing the above order sound is ab- 
sorbed. Whosoever realizes the great Lord of Speech (Yak) 
the undifferentiated illuminating Self is unaffected by any 
word, be it what it may.” 

Thus, though there are four kinds of speech, gross- 
minded men (Manushyah sthttladrishah ) 4 who do not 


to the SushumnA as it arises in the MuladhAra is called Para, driven 
(upward) by air, it next becomes PashyantI and in the heart united 
with Buddhi it gets the name of Madhyama and in the mouth it be- 
comes Vaikharl and from this arise the letters of the alphabet. 

1 BhAskararAya cites Her other name, Uttlrna (risen up) and the 
SaubhAgya-Sudhodaya, which says : “ As She sees all in Herself, and 
as She rises (Uttlrna) above the path of action, this Mother is called 
PashyantI and Uttlrna.’* 

2 Nityatantre’pi : 

MulAdhAre samutpannah parAkhyo nAdasambhavah. 

Sa evordhvam tayA nltah svadhisthane vijrimbhitah, 
PashyantyAkhyam avapnoti tathaivordhvam shanaih shanaih, 
AnAhate buddhi-tattvasameto madhyamabhidhah, 

Tatha tayordhvam nunnah san vishuddhau kanthadeshatah 
VaikharyAkhya ityAdi (BhAskararAya, op. cit .). 

The NityAtantra also says : — From the MuladhAra first arises sound 
which is called ParA. The same led upwards becomes manifest in the 
SvAdhishthAna and gets the name of PashyantI. Gently led upward 
again in the same manner to the Anahata (in the heart) it becomes 
united with Buddhitattva and is called Madhyama and led up in the 
same manner to the Vishuddhi in the region of the throat it gets the 
name of Vaikharl and so forth. 

See also Ch. II, PrapanchasAra Tantra, Vol. Ill of TAntrik Texts, 
ed. A. Avalon. 

8 Oh. III. 

4 That is, men who see and accept only the gross aspect of things* 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSE8 (CHAKRA, PADMA) 173 


understand the first three (Para, etc.), think speech to 
be Yaikharl alone , 1 just as they take the gross body 
to be the Self, in ignorance of its subtler principles. Shruti 
says : “ Hence men think that alone to be speech which is 
imperfect ” — that is, imperfect in so far as it does'not possess 
the first three forms . 2 Shruti also says : 3 “ Four are the 
grades of speech — those Brahmanas who are wise know 
them : three are hidden and motionless ; men speak the 
fourth.” The Stlta Samhita also says : “ Apada (the motion- 
less Brahman) becomes Pada (the four forms of speech), 
and Pada may become Apada. He who knows the distinc- 
tion between Pada 1 and Apada, he really sees ( i.e ., himself 
becomes) Brahman.” 5 

Thus, the conclusions of Shruti and Smriti are that 
the “ That ” (Tat) in the human body has four divisions 
(Para etc.). But even in the Para form the word Tat only 
denotes the Avyakta with three Gunas, the cause of Para, 
and not the unconditioned Brahman who is above Avyakta. 
The word “ Tat ” which occurs in the transcendental say- 
ings means the Shabdabrahman, or Ishvara endowed with 
the work of creation, maintenance, and “ destruction ”, of 
the Universe. The same word also indicates indirectly 

1 Ittham chaturvidhasu matrikasu paraditrayam ajananto manu- 
shyah sthuladrisho vaikharlm eva vacham manvate (Bhaskararaya, ib.). 

2 Tatha cha shrutih : Tasmad yadvacho’ naptam tanmanushya 
upajivanti iti, anaptam apurnam tisribhir virahitam ityartha iti veda- 
bhashye. 

3 Shrutyantare’pi r 

Chatvari vakparimita padani tani vidur brahmana ye manlshinah. 

Guha trlni nibita nemgayanti, turlyam vacho manushya vadanti (ib.). 

4 The Pada, or word, is that which has a termination. Panini says 
(Sutra I, iv, 14) : “ That which ends in Sup (nominal endings) and in 
Tin (verbal terminations) is called Pada." Again, the Sup (termination) 
has five divisions. 

5 Bhaskararaya, loc. eit, 



174 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

(Lakshanayfi) the unconditioned of supreme Brahman who 
is without attributes. The relation between the two 
Brahmans is that of sameness (Tadatmya). Thus, the Devi 
or Shakti is the one consoiousness-bliss (Chidekarasartlpinl) 
— that is, She is ever inseparate from Chit. The relation 
of the two Brahmans is possible, as the two are one and the 
same. Though they appear as different (by attributes), yet 
at the same time they are one. 

The commentator cited then asks, How can the word 
Tat in the Yaikharl form indicate Brahman ? and replies 
that it only does so indirectly. For sound in the physical 
form of speech (Vaikharl) only expresses or is identified with 
the physical form of Brahman (the Virat), and not the pure 
Supreme Brahman. 

The following will serve as a summary of correspond- 
ences noted in this and the previous Chapter. There is 
iirst the Nirguna Brahman, which in its creative aspect is 
Saguna Shabdabrahman, and assumes the form of Para- 
bindu, and then of the threefold (Tribindu) ; and is the four 
who are represented in the sense above stated by the four 
forms of speech, sound are state (Bhava). 

The causal (Karan a) or Supreme Bindu (Parabindu) is 
unmanifest (Avyakta), undifferentiated Shiva-Shakti, whose 
powers are not yet displayed, but are about to be displayed 
from out the then undifferentiated state of Mfilaprakriti. 
This is the state of Supreme Speech (Para Yak), the Supreme 
Word or Logos, the seat of which in the individual body is 
the Mtll&dhSra Chakra. So much is clear. There is, however, 
some, difficulty in co-ordinating the accounts of the threefold 
powers manifesting upon the differentiation of the Great 
Bindu (Mahftbindu). This is due in part to the fact that the 
verses in which the accounts appear are not always to 
be read in the order of the words (Shabda-krama), but 
according to the aotua.1 order in fact, whatever that may be 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 1?6 

( Yathftsambhavam) . 1 * * * N extly , there is some apparent variance 
in the commentaries. Apart from names and technical details, 
the gist of the matter is simple and in accordance with other 
systems. There is first the unmanifested Point (Bindu), as 
to which symbol St. Clement of Alexandria says * that if 
from a body abstraction be made of its properties, depth, 
breadth, and length, that which remains is a point having 
position, from which, if abstraction be made of position, 5 
there is the state of primordial unity. There is one Spirit, 
which appears three-fold as a Trinity of Manifested Power 
(Shakti). As so manifesting, the one (Shiva- Shakti) becomes 
twofold, Shiva and Shakti, and the relation (Nada) of these 
two (Tayor mithah samavayah) makes the threefold Trinity 
common to so many religions. The One first moves as the 
Great Will (Ichchha), then as the Knowledge or Wisdom 
(Jnana) according to which Will acts, and then as Action 
(Kriya). This is the order of Shaktis in Ishvara. So, ac- 
cording to the Pauranik account, at the commencement of 
creation Brahma wakes. The Samskaras then arise in His 
mind. There arises the Desire to create (Ichchha Shakti) ; 
then the Knowledge (Jnana Shakti) of what He is about to 
create ; and, lastly, the Action (Kriya) of creation. In the 
case of Jiva the order is Jnana, Iohchha, Kriya. For He first 
considers or knows something. Informed by such knowledge, 

1 As pointed out by the author of PrSnatoshini, p. 2 when citing 
the verse from the Goraksha Samhita : 

Ichchha kriya tatha jnanam gaurl hrahml tu vaishnavT 
Tridha shaktih sthita yatra tatparam jyotir Om iti. 

According to this account of the Devas of different Adh liras of 
Pranashakti upasana the order is (according to sequence of words) : 
Ichchha = Gaurl ; Kriya = Br&hmI ; Jnana “Vaishnavi. 

1 Stromata, Book V, Ch. II, in Vol. IV, Antenicene Library. So 
also in “ Les My stores de la Croix,” an eighteenth-century mystical 
work, we read : “ Ante omina punctum exstitit ; non mathematicum sed 
diffusivum.” 

5 See “ Garland of Letters ” or Studies in the Mantrashastra, 



176 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

He wills and then acts. The three powers are, though coun- 
ted and spoken of as arising separately, inseparable and 
indivisible aspects of the One. Wherever there is one there 
is the other, though men think of each separately and as 
coming into being — that is, manifested in time — separately. 

According to one nomenclature the Supreme Bindu 
becomes three-fold as Bindu (Karya), Blja, Nada. Though 
Shiva is never separate from Shakti, nor Shakti from Shiva, 
a manifestation may predominantly signify one or another. 
So it is said that Bindu is in the nature of Shiva (Shivatmaka) 
and Blja of Shakti (Shaktyatmaka), and Nada is the combi- 
nation of the two (Tayor mithah samavayah). These are also 
called Mahabindu (Parabindu), Sitabindu (White Bindu), 
Shonabindu (Red Bindu), and Mishrabindu (Mixed Bindu). 
These are supreme (Para), subtle (Sukshma), gross (Sthula). 
There is another nomenclature — viz., Sun, Fire, and Moon. 
There is no question but that Blja is Moon, that from Blja 
issues the Shakti Varna, from whom comes Brahma, who are 
in the nature of the Moon and Will-Power (Ichchha Shakti ). 1 
Ichohha Shakti in terms of the Gunas of Prakriti is Rajas 
Guna, which impels Sattva to self-display. This is Pash- 
yanti Shabda, the seat of which is in the Svadhishthana 
Chakra. From Nada similarly issue Jyeshtha Shakti and 
Vishnu, and from Bindu RaudrI and Rudra, which are 
Madhyama and Vaikharl Shabda, the seats of which are the 
Anahata and Vishuddha Chakras respectively. According to 
one acoount 2 Bindu is “ Fire ” and Kriya Shakti (action), 
and Nfida is “ Sun ” and Jnana Shakti, whioh in terms of the 


1 RaudrI bindos tato nftdftj jyeshtha bljftd ajayata 
Vama tabhyah samutpanna rudrabrahmaramadhipfth 
Sarbjnanechchhakriyatmano vahnlndvarka-svariipinah. 

(Sharada Tilaka, Ch. I.) 

1 Yoginlhridaya Tantra ; Commentary already cited referring to 
SaubhAgyasodhodaya and Tattvasandoha. See also Tantr&loka, Ch. VI, 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 177 

Gunas are Tamas and Sattva respectively . 1 Raghavabhatta, 
however, in his Commentary on the Sharada, says that the 
Sun is Kriya because, like that luminary, it makes all things 
visible, and Jnana is Fire because knowledge burns up all 
oreation. When Jlva through Jnana knows itself to be 
Brahman it ceases to act, so as to accumulate Karma, and 
attains Liberation (Moksha). It may be that this refers to 
the Jlva, as the former represents the creation of Ishvara. 

In the Yoginihridaya Tantra it is said that Varna and 
Ichchha Shakti are in the PashyantI body ; Jnana and 
Jyeshtha are called Madhyama ; Kriya Shakti is Raudii ; 
and Vaikhari is in the form of the universe . 2 The evolution 
of the Bhavas is given in the Sharada Tilaka 3 as follows : 
the all-pervading Shabdabrahman or Kundall emanates 
Shakti, and then follow Dhvani, Nada, Nirodhika, Ardhendu, 
Bindu. Shakti is Chit with Sattva (Paramakashavastha) ; 
Dhvani is Chit with Sattva and Rajas (Aksharavastha) ; 
Nada is Chit with Sattva, Rajas, Tamas (Avyaktavastha) ; 
Nirodhika is the same with abundance of Tamas (Tamah- 
prachuryat) ; Ardhendu the same with abundance of Sattva ; 
and Bindu the combination of the two. This Bindu is 
oalled by the different names of Para and the rest, accord- 
ing as it is in the different centres, Muladhara and the 
rest. In this way Kundall, who is Ichchha, Jnana, Kriya, 
who is both in the form of consciousness (Tejorupa) and 

1 The following shows the correspondence according to the texts cited: 

Blja I Shakti, Moon, Varna, Brahma, Bharati, Ichchha, Rajas, 
Shonabindu l PashyantI, SvadhishthAna. 

Nada f Shiva-Shakti, Sun, Jyeshtha, Vishnu, Vishvambhara, 
Mishrabindu \ Jnana, Sattva, Madhyama, Anahata. 

Bindu f Shiva, Fire, RaudrI, Rudra, RudranI, Kriya, Tamas, 
Sitabindu \ Vaikhari, Vishuddha. 

* Ichchhashaktis tatha Varna pashyantlvapusha sthita 
Jnanashaktis tatha Jyeshtha madhyama vag udlrita 
Kriyashaktis tu Raudrlyam vaikhari vishvavigraha. 

(Cited under v. 22, Comm. Kamakalavilasa.) 

3 Chap. I. 

12 



178 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


composed of the Gunas (Gunatmika), creates the Garland 
of Letters (Varnamala). 

The four Bhavas have been dealt with as coming under 
Nada, itself one of the following nine manifestations of Devi. 

Pandit Ananta Shastri, referring to Lakshmidhara’s 
commentary on v. 34 of Anandalahail, says : 1 

“ ‘ Bhagavatl is the word used in the text to denote 
Devi. One that possesses Bhaga is called a Bhagavatl 
(feminine). Bhaga signifies the knowledge of (1) the crea- 
tion, (2) destruction of the universe, (3) the origin of beings, 
(4) the end of beings, (5) real knowledge or divine truth, 
and (6) Avidya, or ignorance. He that knows all these six 
items is qualified for the title Bhagavan. Again, Bha = 9. 
“ Bhagavatl ” refers to the nine-angled Yantra (figure) which 
is used in the Chandrakalavidya.’ 

“ According to the Agamas, Devi has nine manifesta- 
tions which are : 

“ 1. Kala group — lasting from the twinkling of an 
eye to the Pralayat ime. The sun and moon are included 
in this group. Time. 

“ 2. Kula group — consists of things which have form 
and colour. Form. 

“ 3. Nama group — consists of things which have 
name. Name. 

“4. Jnana group — Intelligence. It is divided into 
two branches : Savikalpa (mixed and subject to change, 
and Nirvikalpa (pure and unchanging). Chit. 

“ 5. Chitta group — consists of (1) Ahamkara (egoism), 
(2) Chitta, (3) Buddhi, (4) Manas, and (5) Unmanas. Mind. 

“6. Nada group — consists of (1) Raga (desire), 2 (2) 
Ichchha (desire 2 strengthened, or developed desire), (3) 

1 Ananta Shastri, op . cit., p. 72, 

3 Raga should be translated as “interest,” as in R&ga-kanchuka. 
Ichchha is the will towards action (Kriya) in conformity therewith. 
Desire is a gross thing which comes in with the material world. 



THE CENTRES OR LOTUSES (CHAKRA, PADMA) 179 

Kriti (action, or active form of desire), and (4) Prayatna 
(attempt made to achieve the object desired). These corres- 
pond, in order, to (1) Para (the first stage of sound, ema- 
nating from Muladhara), (2) Pashyanti (the second stage), 
(3) Madhyama (the third stage), and (4) Vaikhaii (the fourth 
stage of sound as coming out of the mouth). Sound. 

“ 7. Bindu group— consists of, the six Chakras from 
Muladhara to Ajna. Psychic Essence, the Spiritual Germ. 1 

“ 8. Kala group — consists of fifty letters from Mula- 
dhara to Ajna. Keynotes. 2 

“ 9. Jiva group — consists of souls in the bondage of 
matter. 

“ The Presiding Deities or Tattvas of the four con- 
stituent parts of Nada are Maya, Shuddhavidya, Mahesha, 
and Sadashiva. The Commentator deals with this subject 
fully, quoting extracts from occult works. The following 
is a translation of a few lines from Namakalilvidya. 3 a 
work on phonetics, which will be of interest to the reader : 

“ ‘ Para is Eka (without duality) ; its opposite is the 
next one (Pashyanti) ; Madhyama is divided into two, 
gross and subtle forms ; the gross form consists of the nine 
groups of letters ; and the subtle form is the sound which 
differentiates the nine letters. . • • One is the cause, and 
the other the effect ; and so there is no material difference 
between the sound and its gross forms.’ 

“ Com. ‘ Eka ’ : When the three Gunas, Sattva, Rajas, 
and Tamas, are in a state of equilibrium (Samya), that 

1 I cite the passage as written, but these terms are not clear to me. 

a I do not know what the Pandit means by this term. 

3 " This work is not easily available to Pandits or scholars ; we do 
not find this name in any of the catalogues prepared by European or 
Indian scholars. The make-secret policy has spoiled all such books. 
Even now, if we find any MS. dealing with occult matters in the houses 
of any ancient Pandits, we will not be allowed even to see the book ; 
and actually these works have for a long time become food for worms 
and white ants ” (Ananta Shastrl). 



180 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

state is called Para. PashyantI is the state when the 
three Gunas become unequal (and consequently produce 
sound). The next stage is called Madhyama ; the subtle 
form of this is called Stikshmamadhyama, and the second 
and gross form is called Sthulamadhyama, which produces 
nine distinot forms of sound represented by nine groups of 
letters : viz., sf (and all the other vowels), $ (Kavarga, 6- 
in number), ^ (Chavarga, 5), a (Tavarga, 5), a (Tavarga, 5), 
*» (Pavarga, 5), (Ya, Ra, La and Ya), $r (Sha, Sha, Sa and 
Ha), and t? (Ksha). These letters do not in reality exist, 
but represent only the ideas of men. Thus all the forms 
and letters originate from Para, and Para is nothing but 
Chaitanya (Consciousness). 

“ The nine groups or Vyuhas (manifestations of Devi) 
above enumerated are, again, classed under the following 
three heads : (1) Bhokta (enjoyer) — comprises No. 9, Jlva- 
vyuha. (2) Bhogya (objects of enjoyment) — comprises, 
groups Nos. 1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 8. (3) Bhoga (enjoyment) 
— comprises No. 4, Jnanavyuha. 

“ The above is the substance of the philosophy of the 
Kaulas as expounded by Shri Shankaracharya in this shloka 
of Anandalaharl (No. 34). In commenting on this, Laksh- 
mldhara quotes several verses from the Kaula Agamas, of 
which the following is one : 

“ ‘ The blissful Lord is of nine forms. This God is 
called Bhairava. It is he that confers enjoyment (bliss) 
and liberates the souls (from bondage). His consort is 
Anandabhairavl, the ever-blissful consciousness (Chaitanya). 
When these two unite in harmony, the universe comes into 
existence.’ 

“ The Commentator remarks here that the power of 
Devi predominates in creation, and that of Shiva in dis- 
solution.” v 



VI 


PRACTICE (YOGA: LAYA-KRAMA) 

Yoga is sometimes understood as meaning the result and 
not the process which leads to it. According to this mean- 
ing of the term, and from the standpoint of natural dualism, 
Yoga has been described to be the union of the individual 
spirit with God. 

But if Jlva and Paramatma are really one, there can be 
no such thing in a dualistic system as union, which term is 
strictly applicable to the case of the coming together of two 
distinct beings. Samadhi (ecstasy) consists in the realization 
that the Jlvatma is Paramatma ; and Yoga means, not this 
realization, but the means by which it is attained. Yoga is 
thus a term for those physical and psychical processes which 
are used to discover man’s inner essence, which is the 
Supreme. 

It is thus not a result, but the process, method, or 
practice, by which this result is attained. This result is 
possible, according to Advaita Vedanta, because pure Chit, 
as the essential being of every Jlva, is not in itself fettered, 
but appears to be so. Where Atma as such not truly free, 
Liberation (Moksha) would not be possible. Liberation or 
Moksha therefore is potentially in the possession of every 
Jlva. His identity with Paramatma exists now as then, 
but is not realized owing to the veil of Maya, through which 
Jlvatma and Paramatma appear as separate. As ignorance 
of the identity of the Jlvatma and Paramatma is due to 



182 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Avidya, the realization of such identity is attained by Vidya 
or Jnana. 

The latter alone can immediately produce Liberation 
(Sadyomukti). Jnana is used in a twofold sense — namely, 
Svarupa Jnana and Kriya Jnana. The first is Pure Con- 
sciousness, which is the end and aim of Yoga ; the second 
is those intellective processes which are the means taken 
to acquire the first. Jnana considered as means or mental 
action (ManasI Kriya) is an intellective process that is the 
discrimination between what is and what is no£ Brahman ; 
the right understanding of what is meant by Brahman, 
and the fixing of the mind on what is thus understood until 
the Brahman wholly and permanently occupies the mind to 
the displacement of all else. Mind is then absorbed into 
Brahman as pure Consciousness, which alone remains ; this 
is realization or the attainment of the state of pure conscious- 
ness, which is Jnana in its Svarupa sense. Liberating Yoga 
short of perfect Jnana effects what is called Kramamukti — 
that is, the Yogi attains Sayujya or union with Brahman in 
Satya-loka, which is thence perfected into complete Mukti 
through the Devata with whom he is thus united. What 
the Siddha (complete) Jnanayog! or Jlvanmukta himself 
accomplishes in this life is thereafter attained as the sequel 
to Brahmasayujya. But man is not only intellect. He has 
feeling and devotion. He is not only these, but has a body. 
Other processes (Yogas) are therefore associated with and in 
aid of it, such as those belonging to worship (Upasana) and 
the gross (Sthula Kriya) and subtle processes (Sukshma 
Kriya) of Hathyoga. 

Mind and body are the instruments whereby the ordi- 
nary separatist worldly experience is had. As long, how- 
ever, as they are so used they are impediments in the way of 
attainment of the state of pure Consciousness (Chit). For 
suoh attainment all screenings (Avarana) of Chit must, 



PRACTICE (YOGA! LAYA-KRAMA) 


183 


be cleared away. Yoga therefore is the method whereby 
mental intellection and feeling (Chittavritti) and Prana 
are first controlled and then stayed . 1 When the Chitta, 
Vritti, and Prana are stilled, then Chit or Paramatma 
stands revealed. It supervenes without further effort on 
the absorption of matter and mind into the primordial 
Power (Shakti) whence they sprang, of whom they are 
manifested forms, and who is Herself as Shiva one with 
Him who is Shiva or Consciousness. Yoga thus works 
towards a positive state of pure consciousness by the nega- 
tion of the operation of the principle of unconsciousness 
which stands in the way of its uprising. This pruning action 
is well illustrated by the names of a Shakti which in this 
work is variously described as Nibodhika and Nirodhika. 
The first means the Giver of Knowledge, and the second 
That which obstructs — that is, obstructs the affectation of 
the mind by the objective world through the senses. It is 
by the prohibition of such impressions that the state of 
pure consciousness arises. The arising of such state is 
called Samadhi — that is, the ecstatic condition in which 
the “ equality ” that is identity of Jlvatma and Paramatma 
is realized. The experience is achieved after the absorption 
(Laya) of Prana and Manas and the cessation of all ideation 
(Samkalpa). An unmodified state (Samarasatvam) is thus 
produced which is the natural state (Sahajavastha) of the 
Atma. Until then there is that fluctuation and modifica- 
tion (Vritti) which is the mark of the conditioned consci- 
ousness, with its self-diremption of “ I ” and “ Thou ”, 
The state of Samadhi is “ like that of a grain of salt, which 
mingled in water becomes one with it ”. 2 It is, in the 

1 The Tattva (Reality) is revealed when all thought is gone (Kul&r- 
nava Tantra, IX, 10). 

* HathayogapradTpikft, IV, 5 — 7. The same simile is used in the 
Buddhist Deinchog Tantra. See Vol. VII Tantrik Texts. 



184 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

words of the Kularnava Tantra, “ that form of contempla- 
tion (Dhyana) in which there is neither ‘ here ’ nor ‘ not 
here,’ in* which there is illumination and stillness as of some 
great ocean, and which is the Void Itself.” 1 

The all-knowing and venerable Teacher has said, “ One 
who has attained complete knowledge of the Atma reposes 
like the still waters of the deep ” (v. 31). The Maya Tantra 
defines Yoga as the unity of Jiva and Paramatma (v. 51) ; 
that by which oneness is attained with the Supreme (Para- 
matma), and Samadhi, or ecstasy, is this unity of Jiva and 
Atma (ib.). 2 Others define it as the knowledge of the 
identity of Shiva and Atma. The Agamavadls proclaim 
that the knowledge of Shakti (Shaktyatmakam jnanam) is 
Yoga. Other wise men say that the knowledge of the 
“ Eternal Purusha ” (Purana Purusha) is Yoga, and others, 
again, the Prakritivadls, declare that the knowledge of the 
union of Shiva and Shakti is Yoga (i ib .). All such defini- 
tions refer to one and the same thing— the realization by 
the human spirit that it is in essence the Great Spirit, the 
Brahman, who as the Ruler of the worlds is known as God. 
As the Hathayogapradlpika says : 3 “ Rajayoga, Samadhi, 
UnmanI, 4 Manonmanl, 4 Amaratvam (Immortality), Shun- 
yashunya (void yet non-void), 5 Paramapada 6 (the Supreme 
State), Amanaska (without Manas — suspended operation 
of mental functioning), 7 Advaita (non-dual), Niralamba 

' IX, 9. 

s As water poured into water the two are undistinguishable (Kular- 
nava Tantra, IX, 15). 

* Ch. IV, vv. 8, 4. 

* State of mindlessness. See Nadabindu Up. 

See Hathayogapradlpika, IV, v. 87. The Yogi, like the Conscious- 
ness with which he is one, is beyond both. 

' The root pad = “ to go to,” and Padam therefore is that to which 
one has acoess (Comm, on v. 1, Ch. IV, of Hathayogapradlpika). 

7 See MandalabrAhmana Up., II, III. * 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


185 


(without support — i.e., detachment of the Manas from the 
external world), 1 Niranjana (stainless), 8 Jlvanmukti (libera- 
tion in the body), Sahajavastha (natural state of the Atma), 
and Turlya (Fourth State), all mean one and the same thing 
— that is, the cessation of both mental functioning (Chitta) 
and action (Karma), on which there arises freedom from 
alternating joy and sorrow and a changeless (Nirvikara) 
state. This on the dissolution of the body is followed by 
bodiless (Videhakaivalya) or supreme Liberation (Parama- 
mukti), which is the permanent state (Svarupavasthanam). 
Whilst the aim and the end of Yoga is the same, the methods 
by which it is attained vary. 

There are, it is commonly said, four fo rms of Yo ga .' 
^called Mantrayoga, Hathayoga, Layayoga, and Rajayoga. 1 
These are all various modes of practice (Sadhana) whereby 
the feelings and intellectual activities of the mind (Chitta- 
vritti) are brought into control and the Brahman is in 
various ways realized (Brahmasakshatakara). Each of these 
forms has the same eight subservients, which are called the 
height limbs” (Ashtarhga). Each of these has the same 
aim — namely, the experience which is realization of Brah- 
tnan ; they differ, however, as to the means employed and, 
It is said, in degree of result. The Samadhi of the first has , 
been described as Mahabhava, of the seco nd a s Mahab odha, 


1 This is the Niralambapurf referred to in the Text. 

‘ A n j a n a Mayopiidhi (the Upildhi, or apparently limiting condition 
produced by Maya, or appearance) ; therefore Niranjana' destitute of 
that (Tadrahitam, or Shuddham (pure) — that is, the Brahman. Comm. 
Hathayogapradlpika, IV, v. 1. 

. ’ Varaha Upanishad, Ch. V, II ; Yogatattva Up. A useful analysis 
of Yoga will he found in Rajendra Ghose’s “ Shangkara and Ramanuja ”. 
Mention is also made of a threefold division corresponding to the three 
Vaidik Kandas, viz.. Karma Yoga (Karma Kanda), Bhakti Yoga (Upasanft 
Kanda) , Jnana or Raja Yoga (Jn&na Kanda). Karma Yoga is good action 
without desire for its fruit. Bhakti Yoga is devotion to God. 



186 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


of the third as Mahalava, and by Rajayoga a nd JnSiiayogs* 
it is said, the liberation called Kaiva^ 

"TT'is'W^e'Tadted, however, that in the estimation ofi 
the praotitioners of Kundall Yoga it is the highest Yoga! 
in which a perfect Samadhi is gained by the union witW 
Shiva of both mind and body, as hereafter described. In 
Raja and Jnana Yoga intellective processes are the pre- 
dominant where they are not the sole means employed. In 
Mantra Yoga, worship and devotion predominate. In Hatha- 
yoga there is more stress on physical methods, such as 
breathing. Each, however, of these Yogas employs some 
methods of the others. Thus, in Hatha Layayoga there is 
Kriyajnana. But whereas the Jnana Yogi attains Svarupa 
Jnana by his mental efforts without rousing KundalinI, the 
HathayogI gets this Jnana through KundalinI Herself. For 
Her union with Shiva in the Sahasrara brings, and in fact 
is, Svarupa Jnana. 

It will be convenient, therefore, to deal with the general 
subservients (Ashtamga) which are common to all forms of 
Yoga, and then follow with an account of Mantra and the 
lower Hathayogas as a preliminary to that form of Laya- 
yoga which is the subject of this work, and includes within 
itself elements to be found both in Mantra and such 
Hathayogas. 

j The pre-requisites of all Yoga are the eight limbs or 
jparts, Yama, Niyama, and others. Morality, religious dis- 
| position and practice, and discipline (Sadhana), are essential 
; pre-requisites of all Yoga which has as its aim the attain- 
; ment of the Supreme Experience . 1 Morality (Dharma) is the 
expression of the true nature of being. The word Dharma, 

1 There are forms of Yoga, such as that with the elements giving 
“ powers ” (Siddhi) over them, to which different considerations apply. 
.This is a part of Magic, and not of religion. So the uniting of Prana 
Iwith the Tejas Tattva in the navel (Agneyldharanft mudra) is said to 
fsecure immunity from fire. 



practice (yoga : laya-krama) 


187 


which inoludes both ethics and religion, but has also a wider 
jcontext, comes from the root dhri, to sustain, and is there- 
fore both the sustainer and the act of sustaining. The Unii 
verse is sustained (Dharyate) by Dharma, and the Lord who) 
is its Supreme Sustainer is embodied in the eternal law and is • 
the Bliss which its fulfilment secures. Dharma is thus the 
law governing the universal evolution, or the path of out- 
going (Pravritti), and involution, or the path of return 
(Nivritti ). 1 And only those can attain the libei'ation to 
which the latter path leads who by adherence to Dharma 
co-operate in the carrying out of the universal scheme. For 
this reason it is finely said, “ Doing good to others is the 
Supreme Duty ” (Paropakaro hi paramo dharmah). 

In this scheme the Jlva passes from Shabdavidya, with 
its Tapas involving egoism and fruit attained through the 
“ Path of the Gods, ” its Karma (rites), which are either 
Sakama (with desire for fruit) or Nishkama (disinterested), 
to Brahmavidya (knowledge of the Brahman) or Theosophy 
as taught by the Upanishads. This transition is made 
through Nishkama Karma. By Sakama Karma is attained 
the “ Path of the Fathers ” (Pitri), Dharma, Artha (wealth), 
Kajna (desire and its fulfilment). But Nishkama Karma') 
produces that purity of mind (Chitta-shuddhi) which makes) 
man competent for Brahmavidya, or Theosophy, which leads 
to, and in its completest sense is, Liberation (Moksha). 

It is obvious that before the pure blissful state of the 
Atma can be attained the Jlva must first live that ordered 
life which is its proper expression on this plane. 


\This grand concept, therefore, is a name for all those laws (of which 
“ religion ” is but one) which hold the universe together. It is the in- 
herent law of all manifested beingh It is thus tlie Law of Form, the 
essence of which is beyond both Dhtfrma or Adharnia. As pain follows 
wrong-doing, ($ie Vaisheshika Darshana describes Dharma as “ that by 
which happiness is attained in this and the next world, and birth and 
suffering are brought to an end (Mokshadharma) 'j 



188 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


To use theological language, only those who follow 
Dharma can go to its Lord. The diso r der of an immoral 
life is not a foundatio n on which suoh a Yoga oan be Itased. . 
I do not use the term “ immorality ” in the absurdly limited 
meaning whioh ordinary English parlance gives it, but as 
the i nfri n ge ment of. all forms of moral law. All such in- 
fringements are founded on selfishness. As the object of 
Yoga is the surpassing of the limited self even in its more 
ordered manifestation, its doctrines clearly presuppose the 
absence of a state governed by the selfishness which is the 
grossest obstaole to its attainment. The aim of Yoga is thej 
achievement of complete detachment from the finite worlds 
and realization of its essence. In a life governed by Dharma, 
there is that natural attachment to worldly objects and 
sense of separateness even in acts of merit which must exist 
until by the absorption of Manas the Unman! or mindless 
state is attained. Where, however, there .is unrighteousness 
(Adharma), attachment (Raga) exists in its worst and most 
injurious form, and the sense of separateness (Dvaitabhava) 
which Yoga seeks to overcome is predominantly present in 
sin. (The body is poisoned by the secretion of passions’ 
poisons, and vitality or Prana is lessened and injured.) The 
mind under the influence of anger, 1 lust, malice, and other 
passions, is first distracted, and then, on the principle what a 
man thinks that he “ becomes,” is centred on, and is perma- 
nently moulded into and^becomes, the expression of Adharma 
(unrighteousness) itsely In such a case the Ji'va is not 
merely bound to the world by the Maya which affects both 
him and the virtuous Sakama Sadhaka, but suffers Hell 
(Naraka), and “ goes down ” in the scale of Being. 

Dharma in its devotional aspect is also necessary. 
Desire to achieve the highest aim of Yoga can only spring 


' According to Indian notions, anger is the worst of sins. 



practice (yoga : laya-krama) 


189 


from a religious disposition, and such a disposition and 
praotice (Sadhana) furthers the acquisition of those quali- 
ties which Yoga requires. Indeed, by persevering devotion 
to the Mother, Samadhi may be achieved. 

Therefore is it that the Commentator in v. 50 of the 
first of these works says : 

“He alone whose nature has been purified by the 
practice of Yama and Niyama and the like (referring to 
the Sadhana hereinafter described) will learn from the 
mouth of the Guru the means whereby the way to the 
great Liberation is discovered.” 

He adds, however, that the practice of Yama and the 
/ like is only necessary for those whose minds are disturbed 
by anger, lust, and other evil propensities. If, however, 
a man through merit acquired in previous births is by 
good fortune of a nature which is free of these and other 
vices, then he is competent for Yoga without this prelimi- 
nary preparation. 

All forms of Yoga, whether Mantra, Hatha, or Raja, 
have the same eight limbs (Ashtamga) or preparatory sub- 
servients : Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, 
Dharana, Dhyana, and Samadhi. 1 Yama is of ten kinds : 
avoidance of injury to all living creatures (Ahimsa) ; truth- 
fulness (Satyam) ; restraint from taking what belongs to 
another, or covetousness (Asteyam) ; sexuaJL continence in 
mind, speech, or body (Brahmacharya) ; 2 forbearance, the 

1 Varaha Up., Ch. V. The preliminaries are necessaryonly for those 
who have not attained. For those who have, Niyama, Asana, and the 
like, are needless. Kularnava Tantra, XI, 28, 29. 

2 As the Hathayogapradlpika says: “He who knows Yoga should I 
preserve his semen. For the expenditure of the latter tends to death,} 
but there is life for him who preserves it.” 

Evam samrakshayet bindum mrityum jayati yogavit 
ilSIaranam bindup&tena jlvanam bindudharan&t. 

See also Yogatattva Up., which says that Hathayoga secures. j&ohl 
P^&pal...bfiaafa^ will desire him, bpi they 1 



190 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


(bearing patiently of all things pleasant or unpleasant 
^Kshama) iortitude in happiness or unhappiness (Dhriti) ; 
mercy, kindliness (Daya) ; simplicity (Arjavam); modera- 
tion 1 in and regulation 2 of diet (Mltahara) ; suited to the 
development of the Sattvaguna ; and purity of body and 
mind (Shaucham). The first form of purity is the external 
cleansing of the body, particularly dealt with by Hathayoga 
(v. post ) ; and the second is gained through the science of 
the Self (Adhyatmavidya ). 3 4 

Niyama is also of ten kinds : .Austerities, such as fasts 
and the like, in the nature of purifactory actions (Tapali) ; 
contentment with that which one has unasked (Santosha) ; 
belief in Veda (Astikyam) ; charity (Danam) — that is gifts 
to the deserving of what one has lawfully acquired ; worship 
of the Lord or Mother (Ishvarapujanam) according to His or 
Her various forms ; hearing of Shastric conclusion, as by 
study of the Vedanta (Siddhantavakyashravanam) ; modesty 
and shame felt in the doing of wrong actions (Hrl) ; a mind 
rightly directed towards knowledge revealed and practice en- 
joined by the Shastra (Mati) ; recitation of Mantra (Japa ) ; 1 


mujt be .resisted- And see also v. 90, which shows the connection 
between semen, mind, and life. In the early stages of Hathayoga\ 
S&dhan& the heat goes upwards, tEe penis shrinks, and sexual powe^ 

! Are largely lost. Coition with emission of semen at this stage is likely 
to^pTove fatal. But a Siddha regains his sexual power and can exercise \ 
it. For if as is said fire and the other elements cannot hurt him, what i 
can a \V5man do ? Presumably, however, the dictum cited applies, for ; 
— tic^nce roust in all cases tend to strength and longevity. It may, j 
irever, be that the physical perfection assumed negatives the ill/ 
cts observed in ordinary men. 

1 Yogiyftjnavalkya (Ch. I) says : “32 mouthfuls for householder, 1G 
for a forest recluse, and 8 for a ~ 

9 For foods detrimental to Yoga, see Yogatattva Up., Yoga- 
kundall Up- 

3 Shandilya Up., Ch. I ; see also Mandalabrahmana Up. 

4 Which is either spoken (which, again, is loud or soft) or mental 
(Sh&ndilya Up.). 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


191 


and Homa sacrifice (Hutam) 1 — that is, religious observances 
in general (Yrata). The Patanjala Sutra mentions only five 
Yamas — the first four and freedom from covetousness 
(Parigraha). Ahimsa is the root of those which follows. 
Shaucham, or cleanliness, is included among the Niyama. 
Five of the latter are stated — namely, cleanliness (Shaucham), 
contentment (Santosha), purificatory action (Tapah), study 
of the Scriptures leading to liberation (Svadhyaya), and 
devotion to the Lord (Ishvarapranidhana). 2 

The statement of such obvious truths would hardly? 
be necessary were it not that there are still some who see! 
in all Yoga mere “ Shamanism,” feats of breathing, “ acro-j 
batic posturing,” and so forth. On the contrary, no country 
since the Middle Ages and until our own has laid greater 
stress on the necessity of the association of morality and' 
religion with all forms of human activity, than India has ! 
done. 8 

The practice of Yama and Niyama leads to renuncia- 
tion of, and detachment from, the things of this world and 
of the next, 4 * * * arising from the knowledge of the permanent 


1 See Ch. I, vv. 16, 17, Hathayogapradlpika, and p. 138, 2nd vol. of 
Tantrik Texts, ed. A. Avalon. The Shandilya Up., Ch. I, gives Yrata as 
the last, which is described as the observance of actions enjoined and 
refraining from actions prohibited. See also Ch. V, Varaha Up. 

* Patanjali’s Yoga Sutra, Ch. II, 30, 32. 

* So, as was the case in our Mediaeval guilds, religion inspires Indian 
Art ; and Indian speculation is associated with religion as was the Western 
scholastic philosophy. In modern times in the West, the relevancy of 
religion in these matters has not been generally considered to be apparent, 
craftsmanship in the one case and intelligence in the other being usually 
thought to be sufficient. 

4 Such as the Sudha (nectar) which is gained in the heavens (Hatha* 

yogapradipika, Comm, to v. 9, Ch. I). Renunciation may doubtless be\ 

practised by giv ing up what one wants , buFrenunciation or abandonment) 

(TyagaThere means the want of desire oTlnboyment ,(Tyagah= bhogech- 

chhabh&vah) (ib.). Those who seek the joys of any heaven can never 
attain the end of mqnisffc Ybga: — — 



192 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


and impermanent, and intense desire for and incessant 
striving after jemancipation, which characterises him who 
is Mumukshu, or longs for Liberation. 

Yama and Niyama are the first two of the eight acces- 
sories of Yoga (Ashtamgayoga). These accessories or limbs 
may be divided into five exterior methods 1 (Bahiranga), 
chiefly concerned with the subjugation of the body, and 
three inner methods 2 (Antaranga), or states affecting the 
development of the mind. 

Attention is paid to the physical body, which is the 
vehiole of the Jlva’s existence and activity. Purity of mindf 
is not possible without purity of the body in which it func-j 
tions and by which it is affeoted. Purity of mind is here 
used in the Hindu sense. According to English parlance,? 
such purity merely connotes absence of irregular sexual- 
imaginations. This, though creditable, particularly in a 
civilization which almost seems designed to fan every desire, 
is yet obviously insufficient for the purpose in hand. Proper 
thought and conduct in all its forms is but the alphabet of a 
school in which they are merely the first step to the conquest 
of greater difficulties to follow. What is here meant is that 
state of the mind or approach thereto which is the result of 
good functioning, clear thinking, detachment, and concen- 
tration. By these the Manas is freed of all those mental 
modifications (Yritti) which enshroud the Atma from Itself. 
It is turned inward on the Buddhi which becomes dissolved 
(Laya) in Prakriti, and the Atmatattva or Brahman. 

Provision therefore is made in respect both of Asana 
i(posture) and Pranayama or breath development, both of 
Iwhich are shortly dealt with later in connection with Hatha- 
yoga, of which they are particular processes. Pratyahara 

‘ Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara. 

* Dhy&na, Dharana, Samadhi which is both incomplete (Savikalpa or 
Samprajnata) and complete (Nirvikalpa or Asamprajnata). 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


193 


is the restraint of and subjection of the senses to the mind, 
whioh is thereby steadied . 1 * The mind is withdrawn from 
the objects of the senses. The mind is by nature unsteady, 
for it is at every moment being affected by the sight, sounds, 
and so forth, of external objects which Manas through the 
agency of the senses (Indriyas) perceives. It must therefore 
be detached from the objects of the senses, withdrawn from 
whatsoever direction it may happen to tend, freed from all 
distraction, and kept under the control of the dominant 
self. Steadiness (Dhairya) therefore is the aim and result of 
Pratyahara . 3 The three processes known as the “ inner 
limbs ” (Antaranga) — namely, Dharana, Dhyana, and Savi- 
kalpa Samadhi — complete the psychic and mental discipline. 
These are concentration of the mind on an object ; unity of 
the mind with its object by contemplation ; resulting in the 
last or consciousness of the object only. The first is the 
“ holding by ” — that is, fixing the Chitta, or thinking princi- 
ple, on — a particular object of thought or concentration 
(Dharana). The mind, having been drawn away from the 
objects of the senses by Pratyahara, is fixed on one objeot, 
such as the Devatas of the Bhutas, alone. Uniform contem- 
plation on the subject which the Chitta holds in Dharana is 
Dhyana (meditation). Dhyana has been defined to be the 
state of the Antahkarana (mind) of those whose Chai- 
tanya holds to and is occupied by the thought of one 
object, having first cast away thought of all other 


1 See Gheranda Samhita, Fourth Upadesha ; Shandilya Up., Ch. I ; 
Amritan&da Up. ; Mandalabrahmana Up., First Brahmana. The Sharada 
Tilaka defines Pratyahara as “ the forcible obstruction of the senses 
wandering over their objects” (Indriyanam vicharatam vishayeshu 
balad aharanam tebhyah pratyaharah vidhlyate). The Shandilya Up. 
(loc. cit.) speaks of five kinds of Pratyahara, the last of which is 
Dharana on eighteen important points of the body. 

* Shandilya Up., Ch. I ; Amritanada Up. ; Mandalabrahmana Up., 
First Brahmana. 

13 



194 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

objectB . 1 Through Dhyana is acquired the quality of mental 
realization (Pratyaksha). It is of two kinds: Saguna, or 
meditation of a form (Murti) ; and Nirguna, in which the 
self is its own object . 2 

r Samadhi or ecstasy has been defined to be the ident- 
ification of Manas and Atma as salt in water , 3 that state in 
which all is known as one (equal ) 1 and the “nectar of 
equality’’ (oneness ). 5 Complete Samadhi is thus the state 
of Parasamvit or Pure Consciousness. Of Samadhi there 
are two degrees, in the first of which (Savikalpa) the mind 
in a lesser degree, and in the second (Nirvikalpa) in a com- 
plete degree, continuously and to the exclusion of all other 
fobjects, assumes the nature and becomes one with the 
| subject of its contemplation. 

There are in Advaita Vedanta three states (Bhumika) 
of Samprajnata (Savikalpa) Samadhi — namely, Ritambhara, 
Prajnaloka, Prashantavahita . 6 In the first the content of 
the mental Vritti is Sachchidananda. There is still a sepa- 
rate knower. The second is that in which every kind of 
/Avarana (screening) is cast away, and there is Sakshatkara 
jBrahmajnana passing into the third state of Peace in which 
| the mind is void of all Vritti and the self exists as the Brah- 
^man alone ; 7 “ On which being known everything is known ’| 

1 Vijfttlyapratyayatiraskarapurvaka-sajatiyavrittikabhih nirantara 
(vy&pti)-vishaylkritachaitanyam yasya, tat tadrisham chittam antah- 
karanam yesham (Comm, on v. *35 of the Trishatl, on the title of the 
Devi as Ek&grachittanirdhyilta). 

Those from whose Chitta or Antahkarana (inner sense) have been 
removed all impressions of a conflicting nature and are constantly 
realizing or experiencing Chaitanya. 

a Sh&ndilya Up., Ch., I; Mandalabrahmana Up., First Brahmana. 

s Varaha Up.. Ch. II. 

4 Amritanada Up. 

4 Yogakundall Up., Ch. III. 

6 Comm. v. 85 of Trishatl. 

7 Comm, ibid., Manaso vrittishunyasya brahmakarataya sthibih. 
The mind has always Vritti (modifications) — that is, Ouna. If the Jlva’s 
mind is freed of these, he is Brahman. 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


195 


(Yasmin vijnate sarvam idam vijnatam bhavati). Entrance 
is here made into Nirvikalpa Samadhi by Rajayoga. 

These three — Dharana, Dhyana, Savikalpa Samadhi — 
called Samyama, are merely stages in the mental effort of 
concentration, though, as later stated, according to the 
Hathayoga aspect, they are progressions in Pranayama, 
each stage being a longer period of retention of Prana. 1 , 
Thus by Yama, Niyama, Asana, the body is controlled ; by 
these and Pranayama the Prana is controlled ; by these and 
Pratyahara the senses (Indriyas) are brought under subjec- 
tion. Then through the operation of Dharana, Dhyana and 
the lesser Samadhi (Savikalpa or Samprajnata), the modifi- 
cations (Vritti) of the Manas cease and Buddhi alone 
functions. By the further and long practice of dispassion 
or indifference to both joy and sorrow (Vairagya) Buddhi 
^ itself becomes Laya, and the Yogi attains the true unmodi- 
fied state of the Atma, in which the Jiva who is then pure 
Buddhi is merged in Prakriti and the Brahman, as salt in 
the waters of ocean and as camphor in the flame. 

Passing then to the processes 2 peculiar to the different 
Yogas, Mantrayoga comprises all those forms of Sadhana 
in which the mind is controlled by the means of its own 
object — that is, the manifold objects of the world of name 
and form (Namarupa). The whole universe is made up of 
names and forms (Namarupatmaka) which are the objects 
(Vishaya) of the mind. The mind is itself modified into 
the form of that which it perceives. These modifications 
are called its Vritti, and the mind is not for one moment 
devoid of ideas and feelings. It is the feeling or intention 

1 See Yogatattva Upanishad. 

a See two publications by the Shrt Bharatadharmamahamandala 
—Mantrayoga and Hathayoga in the Dharma Prachara Series. 
(Benares.) The latter in a short compass explain the main essentials- 
of each of the four systems. 



196 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

(that is, Bhava) with which an act is done which deter- 
mines its moral worth. It is on this Bhava that both 
character and the whole outlook on life depend. It is 
sought therefore to render the Bhava pure. As a man 
who falls on the ground raises himself by means of the 
same ground, so to break worldly bonds the first and easiest 
method is to use those bonds as the means of their own 
undoing . 1 The mind is distracted by Namarupa, but this 
Namarupa may be utilized as the first means of escape 
therefrom. In Mantrayoga, therefore, a particular form 
of Namarupa, productive of pure Bhava, is given as the 
object of contemplation. This is called Sthula or Saguna 
Dhyana of the five Devatas, devised to meet the require- 
ments of different natures. Besides the ordinary “ eight 
limbs ” (Ashtarhga ) 2 common to all forms of Yoga, certain 
modes of training and worship are prescribed. In the latter 
material media are utilized as the first steps whereby the 
formless One is by Jnanayoga attained — such as images 
(Murti ), 3 emblems (Linga, Shalagrama), pictures (Chitra), 
mural markings (Bhittirekha), Mandalas and Yantras (dia- 
grams ), 4 Mudras , 5 Nyasa . 6 With this the prescribed Mantra 
is said (Japa) either aloud or softly only. The source of all 
Blja-Mantras (Seed-Mantra), the Pranava (Om), or Brah- 
man, is the articulate equivalent of that primal “ Sound ” 

* This is an essentially Tantrik principle. See Kularnava, Ch. II, 

a Vide ante, p. 192. 

fi “ The Deva of the unawakened (Aprabuddha) is in Images ; of the 
Vipras in Fire ; of the wise in the Heart. The Deva of those who know 
the Atm& is everywhere ” (Kularnava Tantra, IX, 44). “ O Beautiful- 
Eyed 1 Not in Kailftsa, Meru, or Mandara, do I dwell. I am there where 
the knowers of the Kula doctrine are ” (ib., v. 94). 

4 See Introduction, Mah&nirvana Tantra. 

5 Ib. These ritual Mudras are not to be confused with the Yoga 
Mudrfts later described. 

* See Introduction. Mahanirvfina Tantra. 



practice (yoga : laya-krama) 


197 


which issued from the first vibration of the Gunas of Mxila- 
prakriti, and the other Blja-Mantras are the same equiva- 
lents of the various Saguna forms, Devas and De vis, which 
thereafter appeared when Prakriti entered the Vaishamya- 
vastha state. In Mantrayoga the state of Samadhi is called 
Mahabhava. This is the simplest form of Yoga practice, 
suited for those whose powers and capacities are not such 
as to qualify them for either of the other methods. 

I Hathayoga comprises those Sadhanas, or prescribed 
(methods of exercise and practice, which are concerned 
(primarily with the gross or physical body (Sthfila Sharlra). 
As the latter is connected with the superphysical or subtle 
body (Sukshma Sharlra), of which it is the outer sheath, 
control of the gross body affects the subtle body with its 
intellection, feelings, and passions. In fact, the Sthula 
Sharlra is expressly designed to enable the Sukshma Sharlra 
to work out the Karma it has incurred. As the former is 
constructed according to the nature of the latter, and both 
are united and interdependent, it follows that operation in 
and upon the gross body affects the subtle body ; the physical 
processes of this Yoga have been prescribed for particular 
temperaments, in order that, that physical body being first 
mastered, the subtle body with its mental functioning may 
be brought under control . 1 These merely physical processes 
are auxiliary ' to others. As the Kularnava Tantra says : 2 3 
“ Neither the lotus seat nor fixing the gaze on the tip of the 
.nose are Yoga. It is the identity of Jlvatma and Paramatma, 
which is Yoga.” The special features of this Yoga may be 
first contrasted with Mantra Yoga. In the latter there is 
concern with things outside the physical body, and special 
attention is given to outward observances of ceremonials. 

1 See the short summary of the Hathayoga Samhita given in the 

Dharma Prachara Series (Shrl Bharatadharmamahiimandala, Benares). 

3 IX, SO. 



198 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

t 

Due regard must be paid to the laws of the caste and stages 
of life (V arnashrama Dharma), and the respective duties of 
men and women (Kula Dharma). So the Mantra which is 
given to the male initiate may not be given to a woman. 
Nor is the Mantra given to a Brahmana suitable for a 
Shudra. The objects of contemplation are Devas and Devls 
in their various manifestations and concrete symbols, and 
the Samadhi called Mahabhava is attained by contemplation 
of and by means of Namarupa. vln Hathayoga, on the other 
hand, the question of the fitness or otherwise of a novice is 
determined from the physical point of view, and rules are 
prescribed to procure and increase health and to free the 
body of disease. In Hathayoga, contemplation is on the 
“ Light,” and the Samadhi called Mahabodha is attained by 
the aid of control of breath and other vital Vayus (Prana- 
yama), whereby the mind is also controlled. As already 
'observed, Asana and Pranayama, which are parts of Hatha- 
jyoga, are also parts of Mantrayoga. Those who practise the 
I latter will derive benefit from taking advantage of some of 
the other exercises of Hathayoga, just as the followers of the 
latter system will be helped by the exercises of Mantrayoga. 

^The word Hatha is composed of the syllables Ha and 
Tha, which mean the “ Sun ” and “ Moon ” — that is, the 
"Parana and ^Apana Vayus. In v. 8 of the Shatchakraniru- 
jana it is said that the Prana (which dwells in the heart) 
Iraws Apana (which dwells in the Muladhara), and Apana 
Iraws Prana, just as a falcon attached by a string is drawn 
jack again when he attempts to fly away. These two by 
their disagreement prevent each other from leaving the 
body, but when they are in accord they leave it. Both 
their union or Yoga in the Sushumna and the process leading 
thereto is called Pranayama. Hathayoga or Hathavidya 
is therefore the science of the Life-Principle, 1 using that 
1 See my volume on “ Power as Life ” (Pr&na-Shakti). 



PRACTICE (YOGA: LAYA-KRAMA) 


199 


word in the sense of the various forms of vital Vayu into 
which Prana is divided. Prana in the body of the indivi- 
dual is a part of the Universal Breath (Prana), or the “ Great 
Breath An attempt, therefore, is first made to harmonize 
the individual breath, known as Pinda or Vyashti Prana, 
with the cosmic or collective breath, or the Brahmanda or 
Samashti Prana. Strength and health are thereby attained. 
The regulation of the harmonized breath helps to the regu- 
lation and steadiness of mind, and therefore concentration. 

. In correspondence with the threefold division Adhy- 
fatma, Adhibhuta, Adhidaiva, Mind (Manas), Prana (vital- 
ity), and Vlrya (semen), are one. Therefore the subjection 
of Manas causes the subjection of Prana or Vayu and Vlrya. 
Si milarly, by controlling Prana, Manas and Vlrya are auto- 
matically controlled. Again, if the Virya is controlled, and 
the substance which under the influence of sexual desire 
develops into gross seed , 1 is made to flow upwards (Urdh- / 
varetas), control is had over both Manas and Prana. With j 
Pranayama the semen (Shukra) dries up. The seminal f 
force ascends and comes back as the nectar (Amrita) of 
Shiva- Shakti. 

Pranayama is recognized as, one of the “ limbs ” of all 
the (Ashtarhga) forms of Yoga. But whereas it is used 
in Mantra, Laya and Raja Yoga, as an auxiliary, the Hatha- 
yogi as such regards this regulation and Yoga of breath as 
the chief means productive of that result (Moksha), which 
is the common end of all schools of Yoga. This school, 
proceeding on the basis that the Vritti or modification of 

1 According to Hindu ideas semen (Shukra) exists in a subtle form 
throughout the whole body. Under the influence of the sexual will it 
is withdrawn and elaborated into a gross form in the sexual organs! 
To be urdhvaretas is not merely to prevent the emission of gross semenl 
already formed but to prevent its formation as gross seed, and its? 
absorption in the general system. The body of a man who is truly) 
urdhvaretas has the scent of a lotus. A chaste man where gross semen 1 
has formed may, on the other hand, smell like a buck goat. 



200 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

the mind always follows Prana , 1 and on the sufficiency of 
that faot, held that by the aid of the union of Ha and Tha 
in the Sushumna, and the leading of the combined Pranas 
therein to the Brahmarandhra, Samadhi was attained. 
Though the reciprocal action of matter and mind is com- 
mon knowledge, and bodily states influence psychic or 
mental states as the latter the former, the Hathayga 
method is perponderantly a physical one, though the gross 
physical acts of the preparatory stages of this Yoga are 
succeeded by Kriyajnana and subtle vital processes which 
have Prana as their subject. 

Under the heading of gross physical training come pro- 
visions as to the place of residence, mode of life as regards 
eating, drinking, sexual function, exercise, and so forth. 

The practice and exercises connected with Hathayoga 
are divided into seven parts or stages— namely, cleansing! 
(Shodhana) by the six processes (Shatkarma) ; the attain! 
ment of strength or firmness (Dridhata) by bodily postures 
(Asana) ; of fortitude (Sthirata) by bodily positions (Mudra) •} 
of steadiness of mind (Dhairya) by restraint of the senses* 
(Pratyahara) ; of lightness (Laghava) by Pranayama ; of 
realization (Pratyaksha) by meditation (Dhyana) ; and of 
detachment (Nirliptatva) in Samadhi. 

( Those who suffer from inequality of the three “hu- 
mours ” 2 are required to practise the “six acts” (Shatkarma) 
which purify the body and facilitate Pranayama. For 
others who are free from these defects they are not 
necessary in such case, and according to some teachers the 
practice of Pranayama alone is sufficient. These form the 
first steps in the Hathayoga. On this cleansing (Shodhana) 

| 1 Chitta has two causes-^Vasan&aad Enina. If one is controlled, 

1 then both are controlled (Yoga Kundall Up., Ch. I). 

a Vata, Kapha and Pitta. These will be found described in my 
Introdnction to the Prapanchasara Tantra, Vol. Ill of Tantrik Texts, 
and in my volume on “ Power as Life ”. 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


201 


of the body and Nadis, health is gained, the internal fire is| 
rendered more active, and restraint of breath (Kumbhaka)J 
is facilitated. Recourse is also had, if necessary, to Oshadhi- 
yoga, in which herbal preparations are administered to cure 
defective health. , 

Cleansing (Shodhana) is effected by the six processes 
known as the Shatkarma. Of these, the first is Dhauti, or 
washing, which is fourfold, or inward washing (Antar- 
dhauti), cleansing of the teeth, etc. (Dantadhauti), of the 
“ heart,” that is, throat and chest (Hriddhauti), and of the 
anus (Muladhauti). Antardhauti is also fourfold — namely, 
Vatasara, by which air is drawn into the belly and then ex- 
pelled; Varisara, by which the body is filled with water, 
which is then evacuated by the anus 1 ; Vahnisara, in which 
the Nabhigranthi is made to touch the spinal column 
(Meru) ; and Vahishkrita, in which the belly is by Kakinl- 
mudra 2 filled with air, which is retained half a Yama , 3 and 
then sent downward. Dantadhauti is fourfold, consisting 
in the cleansing of the root of the teeth and tongue, the 
ears, and the “ hollow of the skull ” (Kapalarandhra). By 
Hriddhauti phlegm and bile are removed. This is done by 
a stick (Dandadhauti) or cloth (Vasodhauti) pushed into the 
throat, or swallowed, or by vomiting (Vamanadhauti). 
Muladhauti is done to cleanse the exit of the Apanavayu, 


‘ The intestines are depleted of air and then by the action of the! 
anal muscles water is sucked in. It naturally flows in to fill the void \ 
created by the depletion of air in the intestines. Another feat which I 
have seen is the drawing in of air and fluid into the urethra, and out j 
again. Apart from its suggested medical value as a lavement of the I 
bladder it is a mudra used in sexual connection whereby the Hathayogi/ 
sucks into himself the forces of the woman without ejecting any of hisl 
force or substance — a practice which (apart from any other ground) is I 
to be condemned as injurious to the woman who “ withers ” under such* 

^ treatment. 

* Gheranda Samhitft, Third Upadesha (v. 8G) ; see also Hathayoga- 
pradlpika, II. 21 — 88. 

3 A Yama is three hours. 



202 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


either with the middle finger and water or the stalk of a 
turmeric plant. 

Vasti, the second of the Shatkarma, is twofold, and is 
either of the dry (Shushka) or watery (Jala) kind. In the 
second form the Yogi sits in the Utkatasana 1 posture in 
water up to the navel, and th e a nus is contracted and ex- 
panded h y AahvinI Mudra; or the same is done in the 
Pashchimottanasana, 2 and the abdomen below the navel is 
gently moved. In Neti the nostrils are cleansed with a 
piece of string. Laulik! is the whirling of the belly from 
side to side (see Plate X). In Trataka the Yogi, without 
winking, gazes at some minute object until the tears start 
from his eyes. By this the “ celestial vision ” (Divya 
Drishti) so often referred to in the Tantrik Upasana is 
acquired. Kapalabhati is a process for the removal of 
phlegm, and is threefold: Vatakrama, by inhalation and 
exhalation ; Vyutkrama, by water drawn through the 
nostrils and ejected through the mouth ; and Shitkrama, 
the reverse process. 

These are the various processes by which the body is 
cleansed and made pure for the Yoga practice to follow. 

Asana, or posture, is the next, and when the Shatkarma 
are dispensed with, is the first stage of Hathayoga. 

Dridhata, or strength or firmness, the acquisition of/ 
which is the second of the above-mentioned processes, id[ 
attained by Asana. 

The Asanas are postures of the body. The term is 
generally described as modes of seating the body. But 


1 Gheranda Samhita, Second Upadesha (v. 28). That is, squatting 
resting on the toes, the heels off the ground, and buttocks resting on 
heels. A HathayogI can, it is said, give himself a natural enema by 
sitting in water and drawing it up through the anus. The sphincter 
muscles are opened and shut, and suction established. 

2 Ibid., v. 20. 



practice (yoga : laya-krama) 


203 


the posture is not necessarily a sitting one ; for some 
Asanas are done on the belly, back, hands, etc. It is said 1 
that the Asanas are as numerous as living beings, andjbhat 
the re ar e 8JLQ0.0QQ .of these ; 1.600 ar e declared to he excel- 

lent, and out of these thirty-two are auspicious for men, 
which are described in detail. Two of the commonest 
of_ these are Muktapadmasana 2 (the loosened lotus se at), 
the ordinary position for worship, and Baddhapadmasana. 3 
Kundallyoga is ordinarily done in an Asana and Mudra in 
which the feet press upon the region of the genital centre 
and close the anal aperture, the hands closing the others — 
nostrils, eyes, ears, mouth (Yonimudra). The right heel is 
pressed against the anus and the left against the region of 
the genital centre and in order to close the aperture of the 
penis, it is contracted and withdrawn into the pubic arch 
so that it is no longer seen. 4 The tongue is turned back 
in Khecharl Mudra so as to close the throat also wherej 
these two Mudras are combined. 

There are certain other Asanas which are peculiar to 
the Tantras, such as T y[und asa na, Chitasana, and Shavasana, 


1 Gheranda Samhita, Second Upadesha. In the Shiva Samhita 
(Ch. Ill, vv. 84 — 91) eighty-four postures are mentioned, of which four 
are recommended — viz., Siddh asana, Ugrasana, Svastikasana and 
Padmasana. Another account given me added four more — Baddhapad- 
masana, Trikonasana, May uras ana, Bhujangasana. 

\ 2 The right foot is placed on the left thigh, the left foot on the 

right thigh, and the hands are crossed and placed similarly on the 
thighs ; the chin is placed on the breast, and the gaze fixed on the tip 
pf the nose (see also Shiva Samhita, Ch. I, v. 52). 

3 The same, except that the hands are passed behind the back, and 
the right hand holds the right toe and the left hand the left toe. By 
this, increased pressure is placed on the Muladhara, and the nerves 
are braced with the tightening of the body. The position is figured 
in Plate XVII. 

/ 4 Some Yogis can make both the penis and testes disappear in the 

|pubie arch so that the body has the appearance of that of a woman. 



204 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


in which skulls, the funeral pyre, and a corpse , 1 respectively, 
form the seat of the Sadhaka. These, though they have 
jother ritual and magical objects, also form part of the dis- 
icipline for the conquest of fear and the attainment of in- 
jdifference, which is the quality of a Yogi. And so the 
Tantras prescribe as the scene of such rites the solitary 1 
imountain-top, the lonely empty house and riverside, and) 
Ibhe cremation ground. The interior cremation ground is 
there where the Kamik or desire body and its passions are 
consumed in the fire of knowledge . 2 

Patanjali, on the subject of Asana, merely points out 
what are good conditions, leaving each one to settle the 
details for himself according to his own requirements. 

. Asan a is an aid to clear and correct thought. The test 
! of suitability of Asana is that which is steady and pleasant, 
[a matter which each will settle for himself. Posture be- 
comes perfect when effort to that end ceases, so that there is 
i no m ore movement of the body/ The Rajas Guna, the action 
of which produces fickleness of mind, is restrained. A suit- 
able steady Asana produces mental equilibrium. Hathayoga, 

(j 1 In successful Shavasana the Devi, it is said, appears to the 
Sadhaka. In Sliavasadhana the Sadhaka sits astride on the back of 
a corpse (heading the north), on which he draws a Yantra and then 
does Japa of Mantra with Shodhanyasa and Puja on its head. A corpse 
is selected as being a pure form of organized matter, since the Devata 
which is invoked into it is the Maliavidya whose Svarupa is Nirguna- 
brahman, and by such invocation becomes Saguna. The corpse is free 
from sin or desire. The only Vayu in it is the Dhananjaya, “ which 
leaves not even a corpse ”. The Devata materializes by means of the 
corpse. There is a possession of it (Avesha) — that is, entry of the 
Devatft into the dead body. At the conclusion of a successful rite, 
it is said, that the head of the corpse turns round, and, facing the 
Sadhaka, ' speaks, bidding him name his boon, which may be spiritual 
or worldly advancement as he wishes. This is part of Nila Sadhana 
done by the “ Hero ” (Ylra), for it and Shavasana are attended by 
many terrors. 

’ As the Yogakundall Upanishad says (Ch. Ill), the outer burning 
is no burning at all. 

5 Patanjala Yogasutra, 46, 47 (Sthirasukham ftsanam). 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


205 


however, prescribes a very large number of Asanas, to each 
of which a peculiar effect is ascribed. These are more in 
the nature of a gymnastic than an Asana in its sense of a 
seated posture. Some forms of this gymnastic are done 
seated, but others are not so, but standing upright, bending, 
lying down, and standing on the head. This latter is Vrik- 
shasana. Thus, again, in Chakrasana the Yogi stands and 
bends and touches his feet with his hand, a familiar exercise, 
as is also Vamadakshinapadasana, a kind of goose step, in 
which, however, the legs are brought up to right angles with 
the body. These exercises secure a fine physical condition 
and freedom from disease. 1 They also bring different por- 
tions of the body into such a position as to establish a direct 
contact of Prana-vayu between them. They are also said to 
assist in Pranayama, and to help to effect its object, includ- 
ing the rousing of Kundalini. The author of the work last 
cited says ?*that as among the Niyamas the most important 
is Ahimsa, and among Yamas Mitahara, or a moderate diet 
(a significant choice), sq is Siddhasana (in which the Mala-' 
dhara is firmly pressed by the heel and the Svadhishthana 
region by the other foot) among the Asanas. (See Plates 
iTT.'lCil). Mastery of this helps to secure the UnmanI 
Avastha, -and the three Bandhas (v. post) are achieved with- 
out difficulty. \(/ 

Sthirata, or fortitude, is acquired by the praotice of the 
Mudras. 3 The Mudra dealt with in works of Hathayoga 
are positions of the body. 4 They are gymnastic, health-1 
giving, and destructive of disease and of death, such as thej 

• l See Ch. II of Gheranda Samhita, and Hathayogapradipika, I, 
vv. 19 — 86 ; Shandilya Upanishad, Ch. I. 

* Ch. I, v. 89. 

* According to the Commentary on the Hathayogapradipika (Ch. IV, 
v. 87), Mudrft is so called because it removes pain and sorrow (Mudrayati 
klesham iti mudra). See Ch. Ill of Gheranda Samhita. 

4 Gheranda Samhita, Third TJpadesha. 



206 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Jalandhara 1 and other Mudras. They also preserve from 
injury by fire, water, or air. . Bodily action and the health 
resulting therefrom react upon the mind, and by the union 
of a perfect mind and body, Siddhi is by their means attain- 
ed. The Mudra is also described as the key for opening of 
the door of Kundalini Shakti. It is not (as I understand it) 
that all keys are necessarily to be employed in each case, 
but only such as are necessary to accomplish the purpose in 
that particular case ; what is necessary in one case may not 
be necessary in another. The Gheranda Samhita describes 
a number of Mudras, of which (with the eight Asanas men- 
tioned at p. 205) ten are said to be of importance in Kundali 
Yoga, of which Khechari is the chief as Siddhasana is chief 
amongst Asanas. In Yo nimudra, the Yogi in Siddhasana 
stops with his fingers the ears, eyes, nostrils, and mouth, so 
as to shut out all external impressions. As already stated he 
j presses with his heel the Slvanl or centre of the perinteum 
jthus closing the anal aperture and withdrawing the penis 
/into the pubic arch. See Plate XV.) He inhales Pranavayu 
by Kakinlmudra, 2 and unites it with Apanavayu. Meditat- 
ing their order upon the six Chakras, he arouses the sleep- 
ing Kulakundalinl by the Mantra “ Hum Hamsah ” 3 . With 


' Ibid., y. 12. 

a Th§ lips are formed to resemble the beak of a crow, and the air 
gently drawn in (Gheranda Samhita, III. 86, 87). 

3 Ham is called Kurcha Blja. Hum is Kavacha Bija==“ M^v I be 
protected.” Hum stands for Kama (desire) and Krodha (anger). Kama 
*B^e means creative will (Srishti), and Krodha its reverse, or dissolution 
(Laya). So-called “ angry ” Devatas are not angry in the ordinary sense, 
but are then in that aspect in which they are Lords of Dissolution^ an 
aspect which seems angry or terrible to the worldly minded. It is said 
of the T&r&mantra that the Hum in it is the sound of the wind as it 
blew with force on the Chola lake to the west of Meru what time She 
manifested. Hamsah ==Prakriti (Sah) and Purusha (Ham) or Jlvatma. 
This Mantra is used in taking Kundalini up, and So’ham (He I am) in 
bringing Her down. Ham also=Sun (Surya), and Sah=Moon (Indu)= 
Kama^Ichchha. 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


207 


“ Ham,” or the Sun, heat is produced, and this heat is made 
to play on Kundall Shakti. By “ Sah ” the Kama or will 
(Iohchha). is made active. The vital air (Vayu) in the 
Muladhara is in the form of both Moon and Sun (Soma- 
suryarupl). With “ Hamsah ” She is roused, Ham rousing 
Her with his heat* and Sah lifting Her upwards. He raises 
Her to the Sahasrara ; then deeming himself pervaded with 
the Shakti, and in blissful union (Sangama) with Shiva, he 
meditates upon himself as, by reason of that union, Bliss 
Itself and the Brahman . 1 Ashvinimudra consists of the 
repeated contraction and expansion of the anus for the 
purpose of Shodhana, or of contraction to restrain the 
Apanavayu in Shatchakrabheda. Shaktichalana employs 
the latter Mudra, which is repeated until Vayu manifests in 
the Sushumna. (Shaktichalana is the movement of the. 
abdominal muscle from left to right and right to left ; the ■ 
object being to arouse Kundalini by this spiraline move- j 
ment. The process is accompanied by inhalation and the 
union of Prana and Apana whilst in Siddhasana . 2 

Yoni Mudra is accompanied by Shaktichalana Mudra , 3 
which should be well practised first before the Yoni Mudra 
is done. The rectal muscle is contracted by AshvinI Mudra 
until the Vayu enters the Sushumna, a fact which is indi- 
cated by a peouliar sound which is heard there . 4 And with 
the Kumbhaka the Serpent goes upwards to the Sahasrara 
roused by the Mantra “ Hum Hamsah ”. The Yogi should 
then think himself to be pervaded with Shakti and in a 
state of blissful union (Sangama) with Shiva. He then 


1 Gheranda Samhita, Third Upadesha. 

* Ibid., vv. 87, 49, 82. 

' Ibid., Ill, vv. 49 — 61. 

4 Hathayogapradlpikft, Commentary to Ch. II, v. 72. 



208 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

contemplates : “ I am the Bliss Itself, ” “ I am the Brah- 
man ”. 1 Mahamudra 2 * and Mahavedha are done in conjunc- 
tion with Mahabandha, already described, ^n the first the* 
Yogi presses the Yoni (Muladhara) with the left heel, and] 
stretching out the right leg, takes hold of the two feet withf 
both hands^ (See Plate XYI.) Jalandhara Bandha is then 
done. When KundalinI is awakened, the Prana enters the 
Sushumna, and Ida and Pingala, now that Prana has left 
them, become lifeless. Expiration should be done slowly, 
and the Mudra should be practised an equal number of 
times on the left and right side of the body. This Mudra, 
like other Hathayoga Mudras, is said to ward off death and 
disease. In Mahavedha :i the Yogi assumes the Mahabandha 
posture, and, concentrating his mind, stops by methods 
already described the upward and downward course of the 
Prana. Then, placing the palms of his hands on the ground, 
he taps the ground with his buttocks (Sphich ), 4 and the 
“ Moon,” “ Sun,” and “ Fire ” — that is, Ida, Pingala, and 
Sushumna — become united upon the entry of the Prana 
into the latter Nadi. Then the body assumes a death-like 
aspect, which disappears with the slow expiration which 
follows. According to another mode of rousing KundalinI, 
the Yogi seated in Vajrasana takes firm hold of his feet a 
little above the ankles, and slowly taps the Kanda ( v . post) 
with them. Bhastra Kumbhaka is done and the abdomen 
is contracted . 5 

1 The Mantra Hamsah is the breath held in Kumbhaka. * 

* Gheranda Samhita, III. 87 — 42. The Yoni Mudra “ which detaches 
the Manas from the objective world,” is described in the Com. to v. 86 
of work here first translated, post. 

* Ib„ v. 26. et seq. 

* See as to this tapping Plate IX which shows the position off the 
ground before or after it has been tapped. 

s Gheranda Samhitft, Ch. Ill, v. 114 et seq. 



PRACTICE (YOGA : LAYA-KRAMA) 


209 


The Khecharl Mudra,’ which, as well as the Yoni 
Mudra, is referred to in the text translated, is the lengthen- 
ing of the tongue until it reaches the space between the 
eyebrows. It - is then turned back in the throat, and closes 
the exit of the breath previously inspired. The mind is 
fixed in the Ajna 2 until with Siddhi this “ path. of the up- 
ward Kundall ” (Urdhvakundalinl) conquers the whole uni- 
verse, which is realized in the Yogi’s body as not different 
from Atma . 3 It is said that sometimes the frcenum is cut 
but others can do the Mudra without doing a physical 
injury which interferes with the putting out and withdraw- 
ing the tongue without manual help. In Shambhavi 
Mudra is the mind kept. free from Vritti or functioning in 
Siddhasana. 

The term Mudra also includes 4 what are called Bandha 
(bindings), certain physical methods of controlling Prana. 
Three important ones which are referred to in the texts 
here translated are Uddlyana, Mula and Jalandhara . 4 (See 
Plates XI, XII, XIY.) In the first, the lungs are emptied 


1 So called, according to the Dhyanabindu Up., because Chitta 
moves in Kha (Akasha), and the tongue through this Mudra enters Kha. 

a Gheranda SamhitA, Ch. Ill, vv. 25 — 27. Suspension of breath 
and insensibility result, so that the Yogi may be buried in the ground 
without air, food, or drink, as in the case of the Yogi spoken of in the 
accounts of Dr. McGregor and Lieut. A. H. Boileau, cited in N. C. 
Paul’s “ Treatise on the Yoga Philosophy,” p. 46. In Ch. IV, v. 80, of 
the HathayogapradlpikA, it is said that concentration between the 
eyebrows is the easiest and quickest way of attainment of Unman! 
Avastha. See ShAndilya Up., Ch. I ; Dhyanabindu Up. 

J Yogakundall Up., Ch. II. 

4 lb., Ch. Ill, vv. 55 — 76. There is also the Mahabandha. (See 
Plate XIII.), Ch. II, v. 45, says that jAlandhara should be done at the 
end of Puraka ; and Uddlyana Bandha at the end of Kumbhaka and 
beginning of Rechaka. See also Yogakundall Up., Ch. I. Ib., Ch. Ill, 
v. 57 ; Yogatattva Up., Dhyanabindu Up. The Varaha Up., Ch. V, says 
that as PrAna is always flying up (Uddlyana), so this Bandha, by which 
its flight is arrested, is called UddlyAnabandlia. Yogakundall Up., 
Ch. I, says, because PrAnah uddiyate (goes up the SushumnA) in this 
Bandha, it is called UddlyAna. 
u 



210 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


by a strong expiration, and drawn against the upper part 
of the thorax, carrying the diaphragm along with them, and 
Prana is made to rise and enter the Sushumna. Through 
Mulabandha (see Plate XIV) the Prana and Apana unite 1 
■and go into the Sushumna. Then the inner “ sounds ” are 
heard, that is, a vibration is felt, and Prana and Apana, 
uniting with Nada of the cardiac Anahata Chakra, go to the 
heart, and are thereafter united with Bindu in the Ajna. 
In Mulabandha the perinatal region (Yoni) is pressed with 
the foot, the rectal muscle contracted (by AshvinI Mudra), 
and the Apana drawn up . 8 The natural course of the Apana 
is downwards, but by contraction at the Mxlladhara it is 
made to go upwards through the Sushumna when it meets 
Prana. When the latter Vayu reaches the region of fire 
below the navel , 3 the fire becomes bright and strong, being 
fanned by Apana. The heat in the body then becomes 
very powerful, and KundalinI, feeling it, awakes from Her 
sleep “ just as a serpent struck by a stick hisses and 
straightens itself ”. Then it enters the Sushumna. Jalan- 
dhara Bandha is done by deep inspiration and then con- 
traction of the thoracic region (wherein is situated the 
Vishuddha Chakra), the chin being held firmly pressed 
against the root of the neck at a distance of about four 
fingers (Anguli) from the heart. This is said to bind 
the sixteen Adharas , 4 or vital centres, and the nectar 
(Piyusha) which flows from the cavity above the palate , 8 
and is also used to cause the breath to become Laya 

1 The Shandilya Up., Ch. I, defines PrAnayama to be the union of 
Prana and Apana. Noda and Bindu are thus united. 

3 See Agamakalpadruma, cited in notes to S. N., v. 50, post, comm., 
and Dhyftnabindu Up., The Yogakundali Up., Ch. I, says that the down- 
ward tendency of Apana is forced up by bending down. 

5 Vahner mandalam trikonam nabher adhobhage (Hathayogapra- 
dlpika, ib., v. 66). 

. 4 See Commentary, post, v. 88. 

5 The “ Moon ” is situate in_the palatal region near the Ajna. Here 
is the Somaohakra under the Ajna, and from the Somachakra comes a 



PRACTICE (YOGA: LAYA-KRAMa) 


211 


in the Sushumna. If the thoracic and perinseal regions are 
simultaneously contracted, and Prana is forced downward 
and Apana upward, the Vayu enters the Sushumna. 1 This 
union of the three Nadls, Ida, Pingala and Sushumna, may 
be also effected by the Mahabandha, 2 which also aids the 
fixation of the mind in the Ajna. Pressure is done on the 
perinatal region between the anus and penis with the left 
heel, the right foot being placed on the left thigh. Breath is 
inspired and the chin placed firmly on the root of the neck 
that is top of the breast-bone as in Jalandhara (see position 
in Plate XYI) or alternatively the tongue is pressed firmly 
against the base of the front teeth ; and while the mind is 
centered on the Sushumna the Vayu is contracted. After 
the breath has been restrained as long as possible, it should 
be expired slowly. The breath exercise should be done first 
on the left and then on the right side. The effect of this 
Bandha is to stop the upward course of the breath through 
all the Nadls except the Sushumna. 

As the Dhyanabindu Upanishad says, the Jiva oscil- 
lates up and down under the influence of Prilna and Apana 
and is never at rest, just as a ball which is hit to the earth 
with the palm of the hand uprises again, or like a bird which, 
tied to its perch by a string, flies away and is drawn back 
again. These movements, like all other dualities, are stayed 
by Yoga, which unites the Pranas. 

stream of nectar which, according to some, has its origin above. It 
descends to the “ Sun ” near the navel, which swallows it. By the pro- 
cess of Viparitakarana these are made to change positions, and the 
internal fire (Jatbaragni) is increased. In the Viparrta position the 
Yogi stands on his head. 

1 Hathayogapradlpika, II, vv. 46, 47 ; Yogatattva Up., Dhyanabindu 
Up. Yogakundall Up. (Ch. I) says that the contraction of the upper part 
of the body is an impediment to the passage of the Vayu upwards. 

* Dhyanabindu Up., ib., Ill, v. 19, done in conjunction with MahS*> 
mudra and Mah&vedha, described post', ib., v. 25, and Yogatattva 
Upanishad. 



21 % THE SIX ( CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


When the physical body has been purified and con-i 
trolled, there follows Pratyahara to secure steadiness (Dhair- 
ya), as already described. With this the Yogi passes from 
the physical plane, and seeks to acquire the equipose of, and, 
control' over, the subtle body. It is an advanced stage in 
which control is acquired over both mind and body. 

From the fifth or Pranayama arises lightness (Laghava) 
—that is, the levitation or lightening of the body. 

The air which is breathed through the mouth and 
nostrils is material air (Sthula Vayu). The breathing is a 
manifestation of a vitalizing force called Prana Vayu. By 
control over the Sthula Vayu the Prana Vayu (Sukshma 
Vayu. or subtle air) is controlled ; the process concerned with 
this is called Pranayama. 

Pranayama is frequently translated “ breath control ”. 
Having regard to the processes employed, the term is not 
altogether inappropriate if it is understood that “ breath ” 
means not only the Sthula but the Sukshma Vayu. But 
the word does not come from Prana (breath) and Yama 
(control), but from Prana and Ayama, which latter term, 
according to the Amarakosha, means length, rising, ex^ 
tensity, expansion ; 1 in other words, it is the process where- 
by the ordinary and comparatively slight manifestation of 
Prana is lengthened and strengthened and developed. This 
takes place firstly in the Prana as it courses in Ida and 
Pingala, and then by its transference to the Sushumna, 
when it is said to bloom (Sphurati ) 2 or to display itself in 
its fulness. When the body has been purified by constant 
praotice, Prana forces its way with ease through Sushumna 


1 Dairghyam ayama arohah parinaho vishalata (Amarakosha 
Dictionary). 


* Comm. Hathayogapradlpika, III, v. 27. 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


213 


in their middle . 1 From being the small path of , daily 
.'experience, it becomes the “ Royal Road ” 2 which is the 
Sushumna. Thus, Siiryabheda Kumbhaka is practised until 
Prana is felt to pervade the whole of the body from head 
to toe; Ujjayl until the breath, fills the body from throat 
to heart ; and in Bhastra the breath is inhaled and exhaled 
'again and again rapidly, as the blacksmith works his bel- 
lows. The breath is controlled only in the sense that it is 
made the subject of certain initial process. These processes, 
however, do not control in the sense of confine, but expand. 
The most appropriate term, therefore, for Pranayama is 
u breath control and development,” leading to the union of 
Prana and Apana. Pranayama is first practised with a 
view to control and develop the Prana. The latter is then 
moved into Sushumna by the stirring of Kundalini, who 
blocks the entry (Brahmadvara) thereto. With the disap- 
pearance of Prana therefrom, Ida and Pingala “die ,” 3 and 
the Prana in Sushumna by means of the Shakti Kundalini 
pierces the six Chakras which block the passage in the 
Brahmanadi, and eventually becomes Laya in the Great 
Breath which is the final end and aim of this process. 

Pranayama 4 should be practised according to the in- 
fractions laid down by the Guru, the Sadhaka living on a 
nutritious but moderate diet, with his senses under control. 
As already stated, mind and breath react upon one another, 


1 Shandilya Up., Ch. I. 

* Pranasya shunyapadavltatha riljapathityate (ib„ vv. 2, 8). 

8 That is, they are relaxed and devitalized, as every part of the 
body is from which the Prana Shakti is withdrawn. 

* The Shandilya Up., Ch. I, says : “ As lions, elephants and tigers j 
are gradually tamed, so also the breath when rightly managed comes/ 
under control ; else it kills the practitioner.” It should not, therefore, 
toe attempted without instruction. Many have injured themselves and 
some have died through mistakes made in the processes, which must 
he adapted to the needs of each person. Hence the necessity for an 
■experienced Guru. 



214 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

and when the latter is regulated so is the mind, and there- 
fore rhythmic breathing is sought. This Pranayama iB 
said to be successful only when the Nadls are purified, for 
unless this is so the Prana does not enter the Sushumna .. 1 * * 4 
/The Yogi, assuming the Padmasana posture, inhales (Puraka) 
and exhales (Rechaka) alternately through the left (Ida) and 
right (Pingala) nostrils, retaining the breath meanwhile 
(Kumbhaka) for gradually increasing periods.) The Devatas 
of these elements of Pranayama are Brahma, Rudra, and 
Vishnu.® The Prana enters Sushumna, and if retained 
sufficiently long goes, after the piercing of the chakras, to the 
Brahmarandhra. The Yoga manuals speak of various forms 
of Pranayama according as commencement is made with 
Rechaka or Puraka, and according as the breath is suddenly 
stopped without Puraka and Rechaka. There are also 
various forms of Kumbhaka, such as Sahita Kumbhaka, 
which resembles the first two above mentioned, and which 
should be practised until the Prana enters the Sushumna ; 
and Kevala, in which the breath is restrained without 
Puraka and Rechaka . 3 Then there are others which cure 
excess of Vata, Pitta, and Kapha , 4 and the diseases arising 
therefrom ; and Bhastra, which is an important Kumbhaka, 
as it operates in the case of all three Doshas , 4 and aids the 


1 Hathayogapradipika, Ch. II, vv. 1 — 6. 

' Dhyftnabindu Up., and see Amritanada Up., Varaha Up., Ch. V, 
Mandalabr&hmana Up. 

* The Shftndilya Up., Ch. I, says that by Kevala the knowledge of 
Knndn.lT arises, and man becomes Crdhvaretas— that is, his seminal 
energy goes upward instead of developing into the gross seed which 
is thrown by Apftna downwards. Bindu (seminal energy) must be con- 
quered, or the Yoga fails. As to the Bhedas associated with Sahita, 
see Ch. I, Yogakundall Upanishad. 

4 See Introduction to Prapanchasara Tantra, Tantrik Texts,. 
Vol. Ill, p. 11, et seq. 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


215 


Prana to break through the three Granthis, which are firmly 
placed in the Sushumna. 1 

It will be observed that all the methods previously and 
subsequently described practically subserve one object, the 
making the Prana enter Sushumna, and then become 
Laya in the Sahasrara after the Prana Devata Kundalinl 
has pierced the intervening Chakras ; for when Prana flows 
through the Sushumna the mind becomes steady. When 
Chit is absorbed in Sushumna, Prana is motionless. 2 This 
object colours also the methods Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhya- 
na, and Samadlii; for whereas in the Raj ay oga aspect they 
are various mental processes and states, from the Hathayoga 
point of view, which is concerned with “ breathing ” they 
are progressions in Pranayama. Therefore it is that some 
works describe them differently to harmonize them with 
the Hatha theory and practice, and explain them as degrees 
of Kumbhaka varying according to the length of its dura- 
tion. 3 Thus, if the Prana is retained for a particular time 
it is called Pratyahara, if for a longer time it is called Dha- 
rana, and so on until Sam ad hi is attained, which is equiva- 
lent to its retention for the longest period. 4 

All beings say the Ajapa Gayatri,” which is the expul- 
sion of the breath by Ham-kara, and its inspiration by 
Sah-kara, 21,600 times a day. Ordinarily the breath goes 
forth a distance of 12 fingers’ breadth, but in singing, eating, 
walking, sleeping, coition, the distances are 16, 20, 24, 30, 
and 36 breadths, respectively. In violent exercise these dis- 
tances are exceeded, the greatest distance being 96 breadths. 

* Hathayogapradlpika, II, 44 — 75. 

3 Yogakundall Up., Ch. I. 

3 See Yoga Sutra, ed. Manilal Nabhubhai Dvivedi, Ap. VI. 

4 See Comm, to Hathayogapradlpika, Ch. II, v. 12. 

5 This is the Mantra Hamsah manifested by Prana. See Dhyana- 
bindu Up. Hamsah is Jivatmft, and Paramahamsa is Paramatmft, See 
Hamsa Upanishad. 



216 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Where th e breathing is under the normal distance, life is 
prolonged. Where it is above that, it is shortened. Puraka 
is inspiration, and Rechaka expiration. Kumbhaka is the 
retention of breath between these two movements. Kum- 
bhaka is, according to the Gheranda Samhita, of eight 
kinds : Sahita, Suryabheda, Ujjayl, Shi tall, Bhastrika, 
Bhramarl, Murchchha, and Kevali. Pranayama similarly 
varies. Pranayama awakens Shakti, frees from disease, pro- 
duces detachment from the world, and bliss. It is of varying 
values, viz., best (Uttama), middling (Madhyama), and 
inferior (Adhama). The value is measured by the length of 
the Puraka, Kumbhaka, and Rechaka. In Adhama Prana- 
yama it is 4, 16, and 8 respectively— 28. In Madhyama it 
is double of that, viz., 8, 82, 16=56. In Uttama it is double 
of the last, viz., 16, 64, 32 respectively=112. The number 
given is that of the recitations of the Pranava Mantra. The 
Sadhaka passes through three different stages in his Sadhana 
which are similarly named. In Adhama perspiration is 
produced, in Madhyama tremor, and Uttama done for a 100 
times is said to result in levitation. 

, It is necessary that the Nadi should be cleansed, for 
air does not enter those which are impure. Months or ' 
years may be spent in the preliminary process of cleansing 
the Nadls. The cleansing of the Nadi (Nadlshuddhi) is 
either Samanu or Nirmanu — that is, with or without the 
use of Blja Mantra. According to the first form, the Yogi in 
Padmasana does Gurunyasa according to the directions of 
the Guru. Meditating in “ Yam ”, he does Japa through 
Ida of the Blja 16 times, Kumbhaka with Japa of Blja 64 
times, and then exhalation through the solar Nadi and 
Japa of Blja 82 times. Fire is raised from Manipura and 
united with Prithivl. Then follows inhalation by the solar 
Nadr with the Vahni Blja 16 times, Kumbhaka with 64 
Japa of the Blja, followed by exhalation through the lunar 



practice (yoga : laya-krama) 


217 


Nadi and Japa of the Bija 32 times. He then meditates on 
the lunar brilliance, gazing at the tip of the nose, and inhales 
by Ida with Japa of the Bija “ Tham ” 16 times. Kum- 
bhaka is done with the Bija Vam 64 times. He then thinks 
of himself as flooded by nectar, and considers that the Nadis 
have been washed. He exhales by Pingala with 32 Japa of 
the Bija Lam, and considers himself thereby as strengthened. 
He then takes his seat on a mat of Kusha grass, a deerskin, 
■etc., and, facing east or north, does Pranayama. For its 
exercise there must be, in addition to Nadi Shuddi (purifica- 
tion of “ nerves ”), consideration of proper place, time, and 
food. {Thus, the place should not be so distant as to induce 
anxiety, nor in an unprotected place, such as a forest, nor in a 
city or crowded locality, which induces distraction. The food 
should be pure and of a vegetarian character. It should notj 
be too hot or too cold, pungent, sour, salt, or bitter. Fasting,; 
the taking of one meal a day and the like are prohibited. On,- 
the contrary, the Yogi should not remain without food foil 
more than one Yama (three hours). The food taken should! 
be light and strengthening. Long walks and other violent I 
exercise should be avoided, as also — certainly in the case of/j 
beginners — sexual intercourse. The stomach should only be 
half filled. Yoga should be commenced, it is said, in spring 
or autumil./vAs stated, the forms of Pranayama vary. 
Thus, Sahita, which is either with (Sagarbha) or without 
(Nirgarbha) Bija, is, according to the former form, as follows : 
The Sadhaka meditates on Yidhi (Brahma), who is full of 
Rajoguna, red in colour, and the image of A-kara. He inhales 
by Ida, in six measures (Matra). Before Kumbhaka he does 
the Uddiyanabandha Mudra. Meditating on Hari (Vishnu) 
as Sattvamaya and the black BijaU-kara, he does Kumbhaka 
’vyith 64 Japa of the Bija; then, meditating on Shiva as 
Tamomaya and his white Bija Ma-kara, he exhales through 
Pingala with 32 Japa of the Bija ; then, inhaling by Pingala 



218 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

he does Kumbhaka, and exhales by Ida with the same Blja. 
The process is repeated in the normal and reversed order. 

^//Dhyana, or meditation, is, according to the Gheranda 
Sanihita, of three kinds : (1) Sthula, or gross ; (2) Jyotili ; 
(3) Sukshma, or subtle. 1 In the first form the Devatil 
is brought before the mind. One form of Dhyana for this 
^purpose is as follows : Let the Sadhaka think of the great 
Ocean of nectar in his heart. In the middle of that Ocean 
'is the Island of Gems, the shores of which are made of 
powdered gems. The island is clothed with a Kadamba 
■forest in yellow blossom. This forest is surrounded by 
Malati, Charnpaka, Parijata, and other fragrant trees. In 
the midst of the Kadamba forest there rises the beautiful 
Kalpa tree laden with fresh blossom and fruit. Amidst its 
leaves the black bees hum and the Koel birds make love. 
Its four branches are the four Vedas. Under the tree there 
is a great Mandapa of precious stones, and within it a 
beautiful couch, on which let him picture to himself his 
Ishtadevata. The Guru will direct him as to the form, 
raiment, Vahana, and the title of the Devata. 

Jyotirdhyana is the infusion of fire and life (Tejas) 
into the form so imagined. In the Miiladhara lies the 
snake-like Kundalinl. There the Jlvatma, as it were the 
tapering flame of a candle, dwells. The Sadhaka then 
meditates upon the Tejomaya (Light) Brahman, or, alter- 
natively, between the eyebrows on the Pranavatmaka flame 
(the light which is Om) emitting its lustre. 


’ Gheranda Sanihita, Sixth Upadesha. It is said by Bhaskararaya. 
in the LalitA (v. 53), that there are three forms of the Devi which 
equally partake of both the Prakasha and Viiharsha aspects — viz., the 
physical (Sthula), the subtle (Sftkshma), and the supreme (Para) The 
physical form has hands, feet, etc., the subtle consists of Mantra, and 
the supreme is the Vfisanfi, or, in the technical sense of the Mantra 
Shftstra, own form. The Kulflrnava Tantra divides Dhyana into Sthula 
and Sukshma (IX, 8) beyond which, it says, is Samftdhi. 



practice (yoga': laya-krama) 


219 


Sflkshmadhyana is meditation on KundalinI with 
Shambhavl Mudra after She has been roused. By this 
Yoga ( vide post) the atma is revealed (Atmasakshatkflra). 

Lastly, through Samadhi the quality of Nirliptatva, or 
detachment, and thereafter Mukti (Liberation) is attained. 

This Samadhi Yoga is, according to the Gheranda 
Samhita, of six kinds : 1 (1) Dhyanayogasamadhi, attained 
by Shambhavi Mudra, 2 in which, after meditation on the 
Bindu-Brahman and realization of the Atma (Atmaprat- 
yaksha), the latter is resolved into the Mahakasha or the 
Great Ether. (2) Nadayoga, attained by Khechaii Mudra, 1 
in which the tongue is lengthened until it reaches the space 
between the eyebrows, and is then introduced in a reversed 
position into the mouth. This may be done with or with- 
out cutting of the freeman. (8) Rasanandayoga, attained by 
Kumbhaka, 4 in which the Sadhaka in a silent place closes 
both ears and does Puraka and Kumbhaka until he hears 
Nada in sounds varying in strength from that of the cricket’s 
chirp to that of the large kettledrum. By daily practice the 
Anahata sound is heard, and the Light (Jyotih) with the 
Manas therein is seen, which is ultimately dissolved in the 
supreme Vishnu. (4) Layasiddhiyoga accomplished by the 
celebrated Yonimudra already described.’ The Sadhaka, 
thinking of himself as Sliakti and the Paramatma as Purusha, 
feels himself in union (Sangama) with Shiva,' and enjoys 
with Him the bliss which is Shringararasa, 8 and becomes 

1 Seventh Upadesha. 

* Ibid., Third Upadesha, v. 65 et set/. 

3 Ibid., v. 25 et seq. 

4 Ibid., Fifth Upadesha, v. 77 et seq. 

5 In the Lalita (v. 198) the Devi is addressed as Layakarl — the 
cause of Laya or absorption. 

6 Shringara is the love sentiment or sexual passion and sexual union. 
Here Shringararasa is the cosmic root of that. The first of the eight 
or nine Rasa (sentiments) — viz., Shringara, Vlra (heroism), Karuna 
(compassion), Adbhuta (wondering), Hasya (humour),) Bhayanaka (fear), 



220 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Bliss itself, or the Brahman. (5) Bhakti Yoga, in whioh 
meditation is made on the Ishtadevata with devotion 
(Bhflkti) until, with tears flowing from the excess of bliss, 
the ecstatic condition is attained. (6) Rajayoga, accom- 
plished by aid of the Manomurchchha Kumbhaka. 1 Here the 
Manas, detached from all worldly objects, is fixed between 
the eyebrows in the Ajnachakra, and Kumbhaka is done. 
By the union of the Manas with the Atma, in which the 
JnanI sees all things, Rajayogasamadhi is attained. 

The Hathayogapradlpika says that on perfection being 
attained in Hatha the body becomes lean and healthy, the 
eyes are bright, the semen is concentrated, the Nadls are 
purified, the internal fire is increased, and the Nada 
sounds above-mentioned are heard. 2 These sounds (Nada) 
issue from Anahata Chakra in the cardiac region, for it is 
here that the Shabdabrahman manifested by Vayu and in 
association with Buddhi, and of the nature of manifested 
Nada endowed with a special motion (Visliesha Spanda), 
exists as Madhyama speech. Though sound (Shabda) is 
not distinct and heard by the gross senses until it issues in 
the form of Vaikharl speech, the Yogi is said to hear this 
subtle Nada when, through the various Bandhas and 
Mudras described, Prana and Apana have united in the 
Sushumna. This combined Prana and Nada proceed up- 
wards and unite with Bindu. 

There is a particular method by which Laya (absorp- 
tion) is said to be attained by hearing the various bodily 
sounds. 3 The Yogi in Muktasana and with Shambhavl 

Blbhatsa (disgust), Raudra (wrath), to which Mammathabhatta, author 
of the K&vyaprakasha, adds Shanti (peace). What the Yogi enjoys is 
that supersensual bliss which manifests on the earthly plane as material 
Shringara. 

1 Ibid., Fifth Upadesha, v. 82. 

* Ch. II, v. 78. 

3 As the Nadabindu Up. says, the sound controls the mind which 
roves in the pleasure-garden of the, senses. 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) ' 221 

Mudra concentrates on the sounds heard in the right ear ; 
then after closing the sense apertures by Shanmukhl Mudra 
and after Pranayama a sound is heard in the Sushumna. 
In this Yoga there are four stages. When the Brahma- 
granthi has been pierced, the sweet tinkling sound of orna- 
ments is heard in the ethereal void (Shunya) of the heart ; 
in the second stage the Prana united with Nada pierces the 
Yishnugranthi. In this, the further void (Atishunya) of 
the thoracic region, sounds are heard like those of a kettle- 
drum. In the third stage a drum-like sound (Mardala) is 
heard in the Ajna or Mahashunya, the seat of all powers 
(Siddhis). Then the Prana, having forced the Rudragranthi 
or Ajna, goes to the abode of Ishvara. On the insetting of 
the fourth stage, when the Prana goes to Brahmarandhra, 
the fourth or Nishpatti state occurs. During the initial 
stages the sounds are loud, and gradually become very subtle. 
The mind is kept off all external objects, and is centred first 
on the loud and then on the subtle sounds. The mind thus 
becomes one with Nada, on which it is fixed. Nada is thus 
like a snare for catching a deer, for like a hunter it kills the 
mind. It first attracts it and then slays it. The mind 
absorbed in Nada is freed from Vrittis . 1 The Antahkarana, 
like a deer, is attracted to the sound of the bells, and, re- 
maining immovable, the Yogi like a skilful archer kills 
it by directing his breath to the Brahmarandhra through 
the Sushumna, which becomes one with that at which it is 
aimed. Chit exists within these sounds, which are its 
Shaktis, and by union with Nada the self-effulgent Chaitanya 
(Consciousness) is said to be attained. As long as sound 
is heard the Atma is with Shakti. The Laya state is 


1 As the Amritan&da Upanishad says (v. 24), the Akshara (im- 
perishable) is that which is Aghosha (without sound), which is neither 
vowel nor ^consonant and isjnot uttered. 



222 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


soundless . 1 There are also other methods 2 by which Laya is 
achieved, such as Mantrayoga, or the recitation of Mantras 
according to a particular method. 

Layayoga is the third and higher form of Hathayoga, 
which, in connection with other auxiliary Hatha processes, 
is the subject-matter of the works here translated. Both 
Saohchidananda or Shiva and Sachchidananda or Shaktl 
are present in the body, and Layayoga consists in the control 
of Chittavritti by merging the Prakriti Shakti in the Purusha 
Shakti according to the laws which govern the Pinda (indi- 
vidual — Vyashti) and Brahmanda (cosmic — Samashti) bodies 
and thereby gaining Liberation (Moksha). 

As in the case of the preceding systems, Layayoga has 
special features of its own . 3 Speaking in a general way, ordi- 
nary Hathayoga is specially, though not exclusively, concern- 
ed with the physical body, its power and functions ; and 
affects the subtle body through the gross body, Mantrayoga is 
specially, though not exclusively, concerned with the forces 
and powers at work outside, though affecting the body. Laya- 
yoga deals with the supersensible Pithas (seats or centres) 
and the supersensible forces and functions of the inner world 
of the body. These Pithas, or seats of the Devatas, are the 
Chakras already described, ranging from the Sahasrara, the 
abode of the unattached (Nirlipta) Sachchidanandamaya 
Paramatma to the Muladhara, the seat of Prakriti- Shakti, 
called KulakundalinJ in the Yoga Shastras. The object of 
this Yoga is therefore to take and merge this Shakti in 
Purusha when Samadhi is attained. In Hathayoga the 
contemplation of “ Light ” is in particular prescribed, 

3 Hathayogapradlpika, Ch. IV, vv. 65—102. 

3 Amritan&da Upanishad, Ch. IV, v. 66. says that Shiva has given 
out a quarter of a crore (2,500,000) of ways for the attainment of Laya, 
though Nftda is the best of them all. 

3 See Dharma Praehara Series, 9. 



practice (yoga : laya*krama) 


223 


though, as already stated, its Dhyana is threefold. In 
Mantrayoga the material forms in which Spirit clothes 
Itself are contemplated. After Prakriti-Shakti in the form 
of KulakundalinI has, according to this method of Layayoga, 
been roused by constant practice, its reflection is manifested 
as a Light between the eyebrows, which when it is fixed by 
practice and contemplation becomes the subject of Bindu- 
dhyana. Kundall is aroused by various Hatha and other 
processes hereafter described. Methods are followed which 
are common to all the systems, such as Yama, Niyama, 
Asana, though only a limited number of these and of the 
Mudras of Hathayoga are used. These belong to the physi- 
cal processes (Sthfila Kriya), and are followed by Prana- 
yama , 1 Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana (on Bindu), which are 
super-physical exercises (Sukshma Kriya). In addition to 
these are certain features peculiar to this Yoga. There are > 
besides those already noted, Svarodaya, or the science relat- 
ing to the Nadls ; Panchatattva Chakra, Sukshmaprana, 
and the like inner forces of nature ; and the Layakriya, 
leading through Nada and Bindu to the Samadhi, which is 
called Mahalaya. 

The hearing of the Nada sounds is included under 
Pratyahara, and under Dharana the rousing of Kundall. As 
Japa, or recitation of Mantra, is the chief element in Mantra- 
yoga, and Pranayama in the ordinary Hathayoga, so 
Dharana is, with the last as a preliminary, the most im- 
portant part of Layayoga. It is to be observed, however, 
that Pranayama is only a preliminary method to secure 
mastery of the breath. It is the lower door at which the 
already perfect in this matter need not enter. Some process- 
es described are for practice' (Sadhana) only. An expert 


1 Of the several forms of Pranayama given in Hathayoga, it is said, 
that only two are employed in Layayoga. 



224 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

(Siddha) can, it is said, raise and lower Eundall Shakti 
within an hour. 

^It' is said that as Ananta, the Lord of Serpents, sup- 
ports the whole universe, so is KundalinI, “ by whom the 
body is supported,” 1 * the support of all Yoga practice/ and 
that “as one forces open a door with a key,” so the Yogi 
should force open the door of liberation (Moksha), by the aid 
of KundalinI 3 (the coiled one), who is known by various 
names, such as the Shakti, Ishvarl (Sovereign Lady), Kuti- 
langl (the crooked one), Bhujangi (serpent), Arundhatl 
(unstayable helper to good action ). 3 This Shakti is the 
Supreme Shakti (Parashakti) in the human body, embody- 
ing all powers and assuming all forms. Thus the sexual 
force is one of such powers and is utilized. Instead, how- 
ever, of descending into gross seminal fluid, it is conserved 
as a form of subtle energy, and rises to Shiva along with 
Prana. It is thus made a source of spiritual life instead of 
one of the causes of physical death. With the extinction 
of sexual desire, mind is released of its most powerful bond . 1 

She the “ Serpent Power ” sleeps coiled up in the Mula- 
dhara, closing with Her mouth the entry to the Sushumna 
called the “ door of Brahman ” (Bralimadvara). She sleeps 
above what is called the Kanda or Kandayoni, which is four 
fingers in length and breadth, and is covered by a “ soft 

1 Yarftha Upanishad, Ch. V. 

3 Hathayogapradipika, Ch. Ill, v. 1 : Sarvesham yogatantr&nam 
tathadhara hi Kundali. 

3 Hathayogapradipika, Ch. Ill, v. 105 : * 

Udghatayet kapAtan tu yatha kunchikaya hathat. 

KundalinyA tatha yogi mokshadvaram vibhedayet. 

The same verse occurs in Ch. Ill, v. 5, of the Gheranda Samhita. 

The Yogakundall Up., Ch. I, calls Sarasvatl Arundhatl, saying that 
it is by arousing Her that Kundali is aroused. When Kundali wishes 
to go up nothing can stop Her. Therefore She is called Arundhatl, 
which is also the name of a Nadi. 

* Yogakundall Upanishad, Ch, I. 



PRACTICE (YOGA: LAYA-KRAMA) 


225 


white cloth ” — that is, membrane like the egg of a bird. It 
is generally described as being two fingers (Anguli) above 
the anus (Guda) and two fingers below the penis (Medhra). 1 
From this Kanda spring the 72,000 Nadls which here both 
unite and separate. KulakundalinI is the Shabdabrahman, 
and all Mantras are Her manifestation (Svarupavibhuti). 
For this reason one of the names of this, the Mantradevata, 
whose substance is “ letters ” is Matrika — that is, the 
Genetrix of all the universes. She is Matrika, for She is the 
Mother of all and not the child of any. She is the World- 
consciousness (Jagachchaitanya), the Yirat consciousness of 
the world as whole. 2 Just as in space sound is produced by 
movements of air, so also in the ether within the Jiva’s body 
currents flow, owing to the movements of the vital air 
(Pranavayu), and its inward and outward passage as inhala- 
tion and exhalation. Verse 12 describes KundalinI as the 
revered supreme Parameshvarl (Sovereign Lady), the Omni- 
potent Kala 3 in the form of Nadashakti. She, the subtlest 
of the subtle, holds within Herself the mystery of creation, 4 5 
and the stream of Ambrosia which flows from the attribute- 
less Brahman. By Her radiance the universe is illumined, 
and by it eternal consciousness is awakened * — that is. 
She both binds as Creatrix (Avidya Shakti) and is the means 


1 As given by Yajnavalkya, cited in Commentary to v. 118, Ch. Ill, 
of Hathayogapradlpika, which also refers to tho Gorakshashataka. The 
verse itself appears to fix its position as between the penis and navel 
(Nabhi), twelve fingers (Vitasti) above the Mulasthana. Kanda is also 
applied to the seat of Prana, the heart (see Shatcbakranirupana, v. 8). 

9 See Vol. II, “ Principles of Tantra,” Ch. XI, XII, et seq. It is 
because She is Mantradevata that She is roused by Mantra. 

3 See “ Garland of Letters ” as to the Kal&s. 

4 She is creation itself (Srishtirupa), vv. 10, 11, post, in Her are 
creation, maintenance, and dissolution (Srishtisthitilayatmika), ib. 

5 For She is also beyond the universe (Vishvatits), and is Conscious- 
ness itself (Jnftnarupft), ib. As such She is thought of as going up- 
wards, as in descending She creates and binds. 

15 



226 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

aB Vidya Shakfci whereby Liberation may be attained. For 
this reason it is said in the Hathayogapradipika that She 
gives liberation to Yogis and bondage to the ignorant. For 
he who knows Her knows Yoga, and those who are ignorant 
of Yoga are kept in the bondage of this worldly life. As vv. 10 
and 11 of the Shatchakranirupana say : “ She the World- 
charmer is lustrous as lightning ; Her sweet murmur is like 
the indistinct hum of swarms of love-mad bees. 1 She is the 
source of all Speech. It is She who maintains all the beings 
of the world by means of inspiration and expiration, 2 and 
shines in the hollow 7 of the Mula lotus like a chain of 
brilliant lights.” Mantras are in all cases manifestations 
(Vibhuti) of KulakundalinI Herself, for She is all letters and 
Dhvani 3 and the Paramatma Itself. Hence Mantras are 
used in the rousing of Kundalinl. The substance of Mantras 
is the Eternal Shabda or Consciousness, though their 
appearance and expression is in words. Words in themselves 
seem lifeless (Jada), but the Mantra power which they em- 
body is Siddha — that is, the truth and capable of teaching 
it, because it is a manifestation of Chaitanya, which is 
Satya Itself. So Veda, whieh is the formless (Amurti) 
Brahman in Veda-form (Vedamurti), is the self-illumined 
Principle of Experience 4 (Chit) itself, and is displayed in 
words (Siddhashabda) which are without human authorship 


Vishvanatha the Commentator says that She makes this sound 
when awakened. According to the Commentator Shankara, this indi- 
cates the Vaikharl state of Kundalinl. 

, Thus, Prana and Apana are declared to be the maintainers of 
animate being (v. 8, post). 

5 See “ Principles of Tantra,” Vol. II, Ch. XI and XII. 

Veda is one with Chaitanya. As Shankara says (comm. Trishatl 
v. 19), dealing With the Panohadashi Mantra: Sarve veda yatra ekam 
bhavanti, etc. Shrutya vedasya atmabhedena svaprakashataya. 



PRACTICE (yoga : laya-krama) 


m 


(Apaurusheya), 1 incessantly revealing knowledge * of the 
nature of Brahman, or Pure Being, and of Dharma, 8 or 
those principles and laws, physical and psychical and spirit- 
ual, by which the universe is sustained (Dharyate). And 
so the Divine Mother is said to be Brahman-knowledge 
(Brahmavidya) in the form of that immediate experience 4 
which is the fruit of the realization of the great Vedantic 
sayings (Mahavakya). 5 As, notwithstanding the existence 
of feeling-consciousness in all things, it does not manifest 
without particular processes, so, although the substance of 
Mantras is feeling-consciousness, that feeling-consciousness 
is not perceptible without the union of the Sadhaka’s 
Shakti (derived from Sadliana) with Mantrashakti. Hence 
it has been said in the Sharada Tilaka : “ Although Kula- 
kundalinl whose substance is Mantras, shines brilliant as 
lightning in the Muladhara of every Jlva, yet it is only in 
the lotuses of the hearts of Yogis that She reveals Herself 
and dances in Her own joy. (In other cases, though exist- 
ing in subtle form), She does not reveal Herself. Her 
substance is all Vedas, all Mantras, and all Tattvas. She is 
the Mother of the three forms of energy, ‘ Sun,’ ‘ Moon,’ and 
4 Fire,’ and Shabdabrahman Itself.” KundalinI is therefore 
the mightiest manifestation of creative power in the human 

1 And because it is without such authorship and is “ heard ” only, it 
is called Shruti (“ what is heard ”) : Shruyate eva na tu kena chit 
kriyate (Vachaspati Misra in Sankhya Tattva Kaumudl) ; and see the 
Yamala cited in Prfinaf oshinT, 19 : “ Veda is Brahman ; it came out as 
His breathing.” 

* The term Veda is derived from the root vid, to know. 

* Veda, according to Vedanta, is that word without human author- 
ship which tells of Brahman and Dharma : Dharmabrahmapratipadakam 
apaurusheyam vakyam. 

4 Sakshatkara — that is, Nirvana Experience (Aparoksha-jnana) 
as opposed to indirect (paroksha) or merely intellectual knowledge. 

5 Vedanta- mahavakyajanya-sakshatkararupa-brahmavidya (Shanka- 
ra’s Comm, on TrishatT, v. 8). The Vedanta here means Upanishad, 
and not any particular philosophy so called. ’ 



228 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

body. Kundall is the Shabdabrahman — that is, Atma as 
manifested Shakti — in bodies, and in every power, person, 
and thing. The Six Centres and all evolved therefrom are 
Her manifestation. Shiva “ dwells ” in the Sahasrara. The 
latter is the upper Shiichakra, as the six centres are the 
lower. Yet Shakti and Shiva are one. Therefore the body 
of KundalinI Shakti consists of eight parts (Angas) — namely, 
the six centres of psychic and physical force, Shakti, and 
Sadashiva Her Lord . 1 In the Sahasrara Kundall is merged 
in the Supreme Atma- Shakti. KundalinI is the great 
Pranadevata or Lord of Life which is Nadatma, and if 
Prana is to be drawn up through the “ middle path,” the 
Sushumna, towards the Brahmarandhra, it must of necessity 
pierce the lotuses or Chakras which bar the way therein. 
KundalinI being Pranashakti, if She is moved Prana is 
moved. 

The Asanas, Kumbhakas, Bandhas, and Mudras, are 
used to rouse KundalinI, so that the Prana withdrawn from 
Ida and Pingala may by the power of its Shakti, after entry 
into the Sushumna or void (Shunya), go upwards towards 
the Brahmarandhra 2 . The Yogi is then said to be free of 
the active Karma, and attains the natural state , 3 The ob- 
ject, then, is to devitalize the rest of the body by getting the 
Prana from Ida and Pingala into Sushumna, which is for 
this reason regarded as the most important of all the Nadls 
and “ the delight of the Yogi,” and then to make it ascend 
through the lotuses which “ bloom ” on its approach. The 
body on each side of the spinal column is devitalized, and 
the whole current of Prana thrown into that column. The 

1 See Lakshmldhara’s Comm, on v. 9, Anandalaharl. Dindima on 
v. 86, ib., says that the eight forms are the six (Mind to “ Earth ”), the 
Sun and Moon. 

* HathayogapradTpika, Ch. IV, v. 10. 

* Ib., y. 11 ; upon what follows refer also to Ch. IV, ib. passim. 



practice (yoga : laya-krama) 


229 


Manonmani state is said to arise with the dissolution 
(Laya) of prana, for on this ensues Laya of Manas. By daily 
practising restraint of Prana in Sushumna the natural effort 
•of the Prana along its ordinary channels is weakened and the 
mind is steadied. For when there is movement (Pari- 
spanda) of Prana there is movement of mind ; that is, it feeds 
upon the objects (Vishaya) of the objective world. 

But when Prana is in Sushumna “ there is neither day 
nor night,” for “ Sushumna devours time ”. 1 When there 
is movement of Prana (Pranaspanda), there is no cessation 
of Vritti (mind functioning). And, as the Yogavashishtha 
says, so long as Prana does not cease to exist there is 
neither Tattvajnana nor destruction of Vasana, the subtle 
cause of the will towards life which is the cause of rebirth. 
For Tattvajnana, or supreme knowledge, is the destruction 
of both Chitta and Vasana . 2 Restraint of breath also ren- 
ders the semen firm. For the semen fluctuates as long as 
Prana does so. And when the semen is not steady the 
mind is not steady . 3 The mind thus trained detaches itself 
from the world. These various results are said to be 
achieved by rousing KundalinI, and by the subsequent pro- 
cesses for which She is the “ key “ As one forces open;) 
a door with a key, so the Yogi should force open the door 
of Liberation by Kundalini.” 4 For it is She who sleeps in 
the Muladhara, closing with Her mouth the channel 
(Sushumna) by which ascent may be made to the Brahma- 
randhra. This must be opened when the Prana naturally 
enters into it. “ She, the ‘ young widow’, is to be despoiled 

1 lb., vv. 16 and 17, Commentary thereto. 

* lb., vv. 19—21, and Commentary (Tattvajnanam mano-nasho 
vasanakshaya eva cha). 

3 See ante, and Varaha Up., Ch. V. 

4 lb., Ch. Ill, v. 106. See Bhutashuddhi Tantra cited under v. 50, 

post. 



280 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

foroibly.” It is prescribed that there shall be daily practioe, 
with a view to acquiring power to manipulate this Shakti . 1 

sfj It generally takes years from the commencement of the- 
practice to lead the Shakti to the Sahasrara, though in 
exceptional oases it may be done in a short time . 2 At first 
She can only be led to a certain point, and then gradually 
higher. He who has led Her to a particular centre can 
reach the same centre more easily at the next attempt. But 
to go higher requires further effort. At each centre a parti- 
cular kind of bliss (Ananda) is experienced, and particular 
powers, suoh as the conquest of the elementary forms of 
sensible matter (Bhuta) are, it is said, gained, until at the 
Ajna centre the whole universe is experienced. In the 
earlier stages, moreover, there is a natural tendency of the 
Shakti to return. In the continued practice facility and 
greater control are gained. Where the Nadls are pure it is 
easy to lead Her down even from the Sahasrara. In the' 
perfection of practice the Yogi can stay as long as he will 
in the Sahasrara, where the bliss is the same as that ex- 
perienced in Liberation (subject in this case to return), or 
he may transfer himself into another body, a practice known 
to both the Indian and Tibetan Tantras, in the latter of ’ 
which it is called Phowa. 

The principle of all the methods to attain Samadhi 
is to get the Prana out of Ida and Pingala. When this 
is achieved these Nadls become “ dead,” because vitality 
has gone out of them. The Prana then enters the SushumufL 
and, after piercing by the aid of KundalinI, the six Chakras 
in the Sushumna becomes Laya or absorbed in the Sahas- 
rara. The means to this end, when operating from the 
Maladhara, seem to vary in detail, but embody a common 

1 Ib„ Ch. Ill, v. 112 et seq. 

* As related by a Yogi from a Girnar speaking of his own case. 




practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


281 


principle — namely, the forcing of Prana downward and 
Apana upwards 1 (that is, the reverse of their natural direc* 
tions) by the Jalandhara and Mula Bandha, or otherwise, 
when by their union the internal fire is increased. The 
position seems to be thus similar to a hollow tube in which 
a piston is working at both ends without escape of the 
central air, which thus becomes heated. Then the Serpent 
Force, KundalinI, aroused by the heat thus generated, is 
aroused from Her potential state called' “ sleep,” in which 
She lies curled up ; She then hisses and straightens Her- 
self, and enters the Brahmadvara, or enters into the 
Sushumna, when by further repeated efforts the Chakras 
in the Sushumna are pierced. This is a gradual process 
which is accompanied by special difficulties at the three 
knots (Granthis) where Mayashakti is powerful, particularly 
the abdominal knot, the piercing of which may, it is 
admitted, involve considerable pain, physical disorder, and 
even disease. As already explained, these “ knots ” at’e 
the points at which converge the Chakras of each of the 
three groups. Some of the above-mentioned processes are 
described in the present work, to which we now proceed, and 
which on this matter may be summarised as follows : 

The preliminary verse (and in the reference to the verses 
I include the Commentary) says that only those who are 
acquainted with the Six Lotuses can deal with them ; and 
the first verse says that Yoga by means of the method 
here described cannot be achieved without knowledge of 
the Chakras and Nadls. The first verse says that the Brah- 
man will be realized. The next question is, How is this 
effected ? The Commentator in the preliminary verse says 
that the very merciful Purnananda SvamI, being wishful to 
rescue the world sunk in the mire of misery, has undertaken 
the task firstly of instructing it as regards the union of the 
1 See Varilha Upanisliad, Cb. III. 



232 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Shakti EundalinI with the vital centres, or Chakras, and 
seeondly of imparting that knowledge of Brahman (Tattva- 
jnana) which leads to Liberation. The former — that is, 
knowledge concerning the Chakras, and so forth — is the 
“ first shoot ” of the Yoga plant. Brahman, as the Com- 
mentator says, is the Supreme Consciousness which arises 
upon the acquisition of knowledge. The first cause of such 
knowledge is an acquaintance with and practice of the 
Tantrik Yoga Sadhana which is concerned with the Chakras, 
Nadls, and KundalinI ; the next cause is the realization of 
that Sadhana by the rousing of KundalinI ; and the final 
result is experience as Brahman, which is the effect of the 
action of KundalinI, who is the Shakti or power of Will 
(Ichchha), Action (Kriya), and Knowledge (Jnana), and exists 
in forms both subtle and gross. Mind is as much one of the 
forms of Kundall as is that which is called “ matter ”. Both 
are equally products of Prakriti-shakti, which is a grosser 
form of the Nadamayl Shakti. Kundall takes the form of 
the eight Prakritls . 1 The Power which is aroused is in it- 
self (Svarupa) Consciousness, and when aroused and taken 
to the upper cerebral centre is the giver of true knowledge 
‘(Svarupa Jnana), which is the Supreme Consciousness, '{j 

The arousing of this force is achieved both by will and 
mind power (Yogabala), accompanied by suitable physical 
action. The Sadhaka 2 sits himself in the prescribed Asana 
and steadies his mind by the Khecharl Mudra, in which 
concentration is between the eyebrows. Air is inhaled 
(Pftraka) and then retained (Kumbhaka). The upper part 
of the body is then contracted by Jalandharabandha,* 
so that the upward breath (Prana) is checked. By this 

1 Sh&ndilya Upanishad, Ch. I ; Yogakundall Up., Ch. I. 

* The account here given follows and amplifies the text. See Com- 
mentary to v. 60, post. 

* Vide ante and Dhyftnabindu Up. 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


238 


contraction the air so inhaled is prevented from escape. The 
air so checked tends downwards. When the Yogi feels that 
the air within him, from the throat to the belly, is tending 
downwards through the channels in the Nadls, the escape 
•of Vayu as Apana is again checked by the Mulabandha and 
AshvinI Mudra, in which the anal muscle is contracted. 
The air (Vayu) thus stored becomes an instrument by which, 
under the direction of mind and will, the potentialities of 
the vital force in the Muladhara may be forced to realiza- 
tion. The process of mental concentration on this centre 
is described as follows : With mental Japa of the Mantra 
prescribed and acquisition thereby of Mantrashakti, Jivatma 
(individual Consciousness), which is thought of as being in 
the shape of the tapering flame of a lamp, is brought from 
the region of the heart to the Miiladhara. Jivatma here 
spoken of is the Atma of the subtle body — that is, the 
Antahkarana or mind as Buddhi (including therein Aham- 
kara) and Manas, the faculties of sense (Indriya) or mind 
operating to receive impression through the sense organs, 
and Prana ; l the constituents of the second, third, and fourth 
bodily sheaths. Following such concentration and impact 
•of the retained Vayu on this centre, the Vayu is again raised 
with the Blja “Yam”. A revolution from left to right is 
given to the “air of Kama” or Kandarpa (Kamavayu.) 2 
This is a form of Ichchha Shakti. This, the pressure of 
the Prana and Apana held in Kumbhaka, the natural heat 
arising therefrom, and the Vahni Blja (Fire Mantra) “ Ram ”, 
kindle the fire of Kama (Kamagni). The fire encircles and 
arouses the slumbering serpent KundalinI, who is then, in 
the language of the Shastra, seized with the passion of 
^desire ” for Her Spouse, the Parahamsah or Paramashiva. 

1 According to the Vedantik definition ; or the five Tanmatras, 
according to Sankhya. The Chitta (mind) therefore enters Sushumna 
along with Pr&na (Yogatattva Upanishad and Dhyanabindu Up.). 

A form of Ap&na Vayu. 



236 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

i is the Shakti of the mental and psychic or subtle body 
l(Hiranyagarbha), and in the region of the Sahasrara She 
jis the Shakti of the “ spiritual ” plane (Ishvara), which, 
though itself in its Shiva aspect undifferentiated, contains in 
its Power-aspect all lower planes in a concealed potential 
state. The Maya Tantra (see v. 61, post ) says that the four 
sound-producing Shaktis — namely, Para, PashyantI, Madh- 
yama, and Vaikhari — are Kundall Herself (Kundalinya- 
bhedarupa). Hence, when Kundall starts to go to Sahasrara, 
She in Her form as Vaikhari bewitches Svayambhu Linga ; 
She then similarly bewitches Bana Linga in the heart as 
Madhyama and Itara Linga in the eyebrows as PashyantI. 
Then, when She reaches the stage of Parabindu, She attains 
the state of Para (Parabhava). V/ 

'0 The upward movement is from the gross to the more 
subtle, and the order of dissolution of the Tattvas is as 
follows : PrithivI with the Indriyas (smell and feet), the 
latter of which have PrithivI (the earth as ground) as their 
support, is dissolved into Gandha Tattva, or Tanmatra of 
smell, which is in the Miiladhara ; Gandha Tattva is then 
taken to the Svadhishthana, and it, Ap, and its connected 
Indriyas (taste and hands), are dissolved in Rasa (Taste) 
Tanmatra ; the latter is taken to the Manipura and there 
Rasa Tattva, Tejas, and its connected Indriyas (sight and 
anus), are dissolved into Rupa (Sight) Tanmatra ; then the 
latter is taken into the Anahata, and it, Vayu, and the con- 
nected Indriyas (touch and penis), are dissolved in Sparsha 
(Touch) Tanmatra ; the latter is taken to the Vishuddha, 
and there it, Akasha, and associated Indriyas (hearing and 
mouth), are dissolved in the Shabda (Sound) Tanmatra ; the 
latter is then taken to the Ajna, and, there and beyond, it 
Manas are dissolved in Mahat, Mahat in Sukshma Prakriti, 
and the latter is united with Parabindu in the Sahasrara. 
In the case of the latter merger there are various stages 



practice (yoga : laya-krama) 


237 


which are mentioned in the text (v. 52), as of Nada into 
Nadanta, Nadanta into Vyapika, Vyapika into SamanI, 
SamanI into Unman!, and the latter into Vishnnvaktra or 
Pumbindu, which is also Paramaslxiva. 1 When all the 
letters have been thus dissolved, all the six Chakras are dis- 
solved as the petals of the lotuses bear the letters. 

On this upward movement, Brahma, Savitrl, Dakin!, 
the Devas, Matrikas, and Vrittis, of the Mfiladhara, are 
absorbed in KundalinI, as is also the Mahlmandala or Pri- 
thivi, and the PrithivI Blja “ Lam ” into which it passes. 
For these Bljas, or sound powers, express the subtle Mantra 
aspect of that which is dissolved in them. Thus “ earth ” 
springs from and is dissolved in its seed (Blja), which is 
that particular aspect of the creative consciousness, which 
propelled it. The uttered Mantra (Vaikhaii Shabda) or 
“ Lam ” is the expression in gross sound of that. 

When the Dev! leaves the Muladhara, that lotus, which 
by reason of the awakening of KundalinI and the vivifying 
intensity of the Pranik current had opened and turned its 
flower upwards, again closes and hangs its head downwards. 
As KundalinI reaches the Svadhishthana, that lotus 
opens out and lifts its flower upwards. Upon Her entrance. 
Vishnu, Lakshml, Sarasvatl, Rakini, Matrikas and Vritti, 
Vaikunthadhama, Goloka, and the Deva and Dev! residing 
therein, are dissolved in the body of KundalinI. The 
PrithivI or Earth Blja “ Lam ” is dissolved in the Tattva 
water, and water converted into its Blja “ Vam ” remains 
the body of KundalinI. When the Devi reaches the Mani- 
Pura Chakra or Brahmagranthi, all that is in that Chakra 
merges in Her. The Varuna Blja “Vam” is dissolved 
in fire, which remains in Her body as the Blja “ Ram 
The Shakti next reaches the Anahata Chakra, which is 
known as the Knot of Vishnu (Vishnugranthi), where also 

1 See as to all these Shaktis of the Pranava, the “Garland of Letters’*. 



288 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

t 

all whioh is therein is merged in Her. The Bija of Fire 
“ Ram ” is sublimed in air, and air converted into its Bija 
“ Yam ” is absorbed in Kundalinl. She then ascends to the 
abode of Bharatl or Sarasvatl, the Vishuddha Chakra. 
Upon Her entrance, Ardhanaiishvara Shiva, ShakinI, the 16 
vowels, Mantra, etc., are dissolved in Her. The Bija of Air 
“ Yam ” is dissolved in ether, which, itself being transform- 
ed into the Bija “ Ham,” is merged in the body of Kundalinl 
Piercing the concealed Lalana Chakra, the Devi reaches the 
Ajna known as the “ Knot of Rudra ” (Rudragranthi), where 
Paramashiva, Siddhakall, the Devas, and all else therein, 
are dissolved in Her. At length the Bija of Yyoma (ether) 
or “ Ham ” is absorbed into the subtle Tattvas of the Ajna, 
and then into the Devi. After passing through the Rudra- 
granthi, Kundalinl unites with Paramashiva. As She pro- 
ceeds upwards from the two-petalled lotus, the Niralamba- 
purl, Pranava, Nada, and so forth, are merged in the Devi. 
She has thus in Her progress upwards absorbed in Herself 
the twenty-three Tattvas, commencing with the gross ele- 
ments, and then remaining Herself Shakti as Consciousness, 
the cause of all Shaktis, unites with Paramashiva whose 
nature is one with Hers. 

By this method of mental concentration, aided by the 
physical and other processes described, the gross is absorb- 
ed into the subtle, each dissolving into its immediate cause 
and all into the Chidatma or the Atma which is Chit. In 
language borrowed from the world of human passion, which 
is itself but a gross reflection on the physical plane of cor- 
responding, though more subtle, supersensual activities 
and bliss, the Shakti Kundalinl who has been seized by 
desire for Her Lord is said to make swift way to Him, and, 
kissing the lotus mouth of Shiva, enjoys Him (S. N., v. 51). 
By the term Samarasya is meant the sense of enjoyment 
arising from the union (Samarasya) of male and female. 



PRACTICE (YOGA : LAYA-KRAMA) 


239 


This is the most intense form of'physical delight represent- 
ing on the worldly plane the Supreme Bliss arising from 
the union of Shiva and Shakti on the “ spiritual ” plane. 
So Daksha, the Dharmashastrakara, says : “ The Brahman 
is to be known by Itself alone, and to know It is as the 
bliss of knowing a virgin.” 1 Similarly, the Sadhaka in Laya- 
siddhiyoga, thinking of himself as Shakti and the Para- 
inatma as Purusha, feels himself in union (Sangama) with 
Shiva, and enjoys with him the bliss which is Shringararasa, 
the first of the nine Rasas, or the love sentiment and bliss. 
This Adirasa (Shringara) which is aroused by Sattvaguna 3 
is impartite (Akjianda), self-illuminating (Svaprakasha), 
bliss (Ananda) whose substance is Chit (Chinmaya ). 3 It 
is so intense and all-exclusive as to render the lover un- 
conscious of all other objects of knowledge (Vedyantara- 
sparsha-shunyah), and the own brother 4 of Brahma-bliss 
(Brahmasvadasahodara)/’ But as the Bralima-bliss is 
known only to the Yogi, so, as the Alamkara Shastra last 
cited observes, even the true love-bliss of the mortal world 
“is known to a few knowers only” (Jneyah kaishchit 
pramatribhih), such as poets and others. Sexual as well 
as other forms of love are reflections or fragments of the 

Brahman-bliss, v/ 

j 

1 Svasamvedyam etad brahma kuin&rl-strl-sukham yatka, cited in 
Commentary to v. 15 of Ch. I of the Hathayogapradlpika. 

2 So all the eight Bhavas commencing with Sveda. Stambha, includ- 
ing the well-known Romancha or thrill in which the hair stands on 
end (Pulaka), the choking voice (Svarabhanga), pallor (Vaivarnaya), and 
so forth, are all Sattvik. The objection of an Indian friend, that these 
Bhavas jcould not be Sattvik inasmuch as Sattva was “ spiritual,” is an 
apt instance of the disassociation from Indian thought effected by 
English education and the danger of rendering the terms of Sanskrit 
into English. 

3 It is not a TSmasik thing such as dream or madness, etc. 

4 Sahodara — that is, brothers born of the same mother. Sexual- 
bliss is the reflection (faint comparatively though it be) of forraless- 
Brahman bliss of Which it is a form. 

3 Sahitya Darpana, Ch. III. 



240 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

^This union of the Sbakti KundalinI with Shiva in the 
body of the Sadhaka is that coition (Maithuna) of the Sat- 
tvika Panchatattva which the Yoginl Tantra says is “ the 
best of all unions for those who have already controlled 
their passions,” and are thus Yati. 1 Of this the Brihat 
Shrikrama {vide S. N., v. 51, post) says : “ They with the 
eye of knowledge see the stainless Kala united with Chida- 
nanda on Nada. He is the Mahadeva, white like a pure 
crystal, and is the effulgent Cause (Vimbarupanidana), and 
She is the lovely woman of beauteous limbs which are list- 
less by reason of Her great passion.” On their union nectar 
(Amrita) flows, which in ambrosial stream runs from the 
Brahmarandhra to the Muladhara, flooding the Kshudra- 
brahmanda, or microcosm, and satisfying the Devatas of its 
Chakras. It is then that the Sadhaka, forgetful of all in 
this world, is immersed in ineffable bliss. Refreshment, 
increased power and enjoyment, follows upon each visit to 
the Well of Life. 

In the Chintamanistava, attributed to Shri Shankara- 
oharya, it is said : “ This family woman ( i.c ., KundalinI), 
entering the royal road (i.e., Sushumna), taking rest at 
intervals in the sacred places (i.e., Chakras), embraces the 
Supreme Husband (Parashiva) and makes nectar to flow 
(i.e., from the Sahasrara).” 

The Guru’s instructions are to go above the Ajna 
Chakra, but no special directions are given : for after this 
Chakra has been pierced, the Sadhaka can, and indeed 
must, reach the Brahmasthana, or abode of Brahman, 
unaided by his own effort. Above the Ajna the relationship 
of Guru and Shishya (Master and disciple) ceases. Kunda- 
linI having pierced the fourteen “ Knots ” (Granthis) — viz., 

1 Ch. VI : 

Sahasrsiropari bindau kundalya melanam shive. 

Maithunam paramam dravyam yatlnSm pariklrtitam. 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


241 


-three Lingas, six Chakras, and the five Shivas whioh they 
contain, and then Herself drunk of the nectar which issues 
from Parashiva, returns along the path whence She came to 
Her own abode (Mfiladhara). 1 As She returns She pours 
from Herself into the Chakras all that She had previously 
absorbed therefrom. In other words, as Her passage up- 
wards was Layakrama, causing all things in the Chakras to 
pass into the Laya state (dissolution), so Her return is 
Srishtikrama, as She “ recreates ” or makes them manifest. 
In this manner She again l’eaches the Muladhara, when all 
that has been already described to be in the Chakras appears 
in the positions which they occupied before Her awakening. 
In fact, the descending Jivatma makes for himself the 
idea of that separated multiple and individualized world 
which passed from him as he ascended to and became one 
with the Cause. She as Consciousness absorbs what She as 
conscious Power projected. In short, the return of Kunda : 
linl is the setting again of the Jivatma in the phenomenal 
world of the lowest plane of being after he had been raised 
therefrom in a state of ecstasis, or Samadhi. The Yogi 
thus knows (because he experiences) the nature and state 
of Spirit and its pathway to and -from the; M&yik and 
Embodied world. In this Yoga there is. a gradual process of 
involution of the gross world with its elements into its 
Cause. Each, gross element (Mahabhfxta), together with 
the subtle element (Tanmatra) from which it proceeds and 
the connected organ of sense (Indriya), is dissolved into the 
next above it until the last element, ether, with the Tan- 
matra sound and Manas, are dissolved in Egoism (Aham- 
kara), of which they are Yikritis. Ahamkara is merged in 
Mahat, the first manifestation of creative ideation, and the 
latter into Bindu, which is the Supreme Being, Conscious- 
ness, and Bliss as the creative Brahman. Kundall when 

‘ As to the Samaya practice, v. post, p. 220 et s eq. 

16 



242 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


aroused is felt as intense heat. As KundalinI ascends, the 
lower limbs become as inert and cold as a corpse ; so also 
does every part of the body when She has passed through 
and leaves it. This is due to the fact that She as the 
Power which supports the body as an organic whole is 
leaving Her centre. On the contrary, the upper part of the 
head becomes “ lustrous,” by which is not meant any 
external lustre (Prabha), but brightness, warmth, and ani- 
mation. When the Yoga is complete, the Yogi sits rigid 
in the posture selected, and the only trace of warmth to be 
found in the whole body is at the crown of the head, where 
the Shakti is united with Shiva. Those, therefore, who are 
sceptical can easily verify some of the facts should they be 
fortunate enough to find a successful Yogi who will let 
them see him at work. They may observe his ecstasis and 
the coldness of the body, which is not present in the case 
of what is called the Dhyana Yogi, or a Yogi operating by 
meditation only, and not rousing KundalinI. This cold is 
an external and easily perceptible sign. Its progression 
may be seen, obviously denoting the passing away of some- 
thing which supplied the previous heat. The body seems 
lifeless, indicating that its supporting power has (though 
not entirely) left it. The downward return of the Shakti 
thus moved is, on the other hand, indicated by the reappear- 
ance of warmth, vitality, and the normal consciousness. 
The return process is one of evolution from the highest 
state of attainment to the point of departure, y 

Though not dealt with in this work, reference may here 
be made to the Sadhana accompanying the return of Kunda- 
linI to Her resting-place in the ritual practice called Bhuta- 
shuddhi, where the ascent and descent are imagined only. 

The Sadhaka thinking of the Vayu Blja “ Yam ” as 
being in the left nostril, inhales through Ida, making Japa 
of the Blja sixteen times. Then, closing both nostrils, he 



practice (yoga: laya-krama) 248 

makes Japa of the Bija sixty-four times. He then thinks 
of the “black man of sin’’ (Papapurusha) 1 in the left. 2 
cavity of the abdomen as being dried up (by the air), and so 
thinking he exhales through the right nostril Pingala, mak- 
ing Japa of the Bija thirty-two times. The Sadhaka then, 
meditating upon the red-coloured Bija “ Ram ” in the Mani- 
pura, inhales, making sixteen Japa of the Bija, and then 
closes the nostrils, making sixteen Japa. Whilst making 
Japa he thinks that the body of the “man of sin ’’ is being 
burnt and reduced to ashes (by the fire). He then inhales 
through the right nostril with thirty-two Japa, and then 
meditates upon the white Chandrabija “ Tham ”. He next 
inhales through Ida, making Japa of the Bija sixteen times, 
closes both nostrils with Japa done sixty-four times, and 
exhales through Pingala with thirty-two Japa. During 
inhalation, holding of breath, and exhalation, he should 
consider that a new celestial body is being formed by the 
nectar (composed of all the Matrika- varna, or sound-powers, 
embodied in their Vaikharl form as lettered sound) dropping 
from the “ Moon ”. In a similar way with the Bija of 
water “ Yam ” the formation of the body is continued, and 
with the Bija “ Lam ” of the cohesive PrithivI Tattva it is^ 
completed and strengthened. Lastly, with the Mantra 
“So’ham” (“He I am”) the Sadhaka leads the Jlvatma 
into its place in the heart. Some forms of meditation are 
given in v. 51. 

Kundall does not at first stay long in Sahasrara. The 
length of stay depends on the strength of the Yogi’s 
practice. There is then a natural tendency (Samskara) 
on the part of Kundall to return. The Yogi will use all 
effort at his disposal to retain Her above, for the longer 

1 See Mahanirvana Tantra Ullasa, Ch. V, vv. 98, 99, where the 
Bhutashucldhi process is shortly described. Also DevT-Bhagavata, cited, 

pout. 

2 The worse or weaker side. 



244 THE six: centres and the serpent power 

this is done the nearer approaoh is made to the time when 
She can be in a permanent manner retained there . 1 For 
it is to be observed that liberation is not gained by merely 
leading Kundall to the Sahasrara, and of course still less 
is it gained by stirring it up in the Muladhara or fixing it 
in any of the lower centres. Liberation is gained only when 
Kundall takes up Her permanent abode in the Sahasrara, 
so that She only returns by the will of the Sadhaka. It is 
said that after staying in Sahasrara for a time, some Yogins 
lead the KundalinI back to Hridaya (heart), and worship 
Her there. This is done by those who are unable to stay long 
in Sahasrara. If they take the KundalinI lower than Hridaya 
— i.e.y worship Her in the three Chakras below Anahata 
they no longer, it is said, belong to the Samaya group . 2 

Thus, when by the preliminary Sadhana purity of 
physical and mental function is gained, the Sadhaka learns 
how to open the entrance of the Sushumna, which is ordi- 
narily closed at the base. This is the meaning of the state- 
ment that the Serpent with its coil closes the gate of Brahma. 
At the base of the Sushumna Nadi and in the Adhara lotus 
the Shakti KundalinI lies slumbering coiled round the Linga, 
the Shiva or Purusha aspect in that centre of the Shabda- 
Brahman, of which She is the Prakriti aspect. Kundall in 
the form of Her creative emanations as mind and matter is 
the whole moving body, but She Herself exists at the Mula- 
dhara or earth centre as a gross aspect of Shakti in its sleep- 
ing form. This is the normal abode of the Shakti who is the 
Shabdabrahman. For having so completely manifested 
Herself She rests or sleeps in what is her grossest and con- 
cluding manifestation. The “residual” vital forc^ in this 
Centre there exists in a latent and potential state. If its aid 

1 Great Power (Siddhi) is had by the man who can keep Kundall 
Shakti in the Sahasrara three days and three nights. 

* Lakshmldhara, cited by Ananta Sh&strl, op. tit., p. 71. 



PRACTICE (YOGA: LAYA-KRAMA) 


245 


towards Yoga is sought, the first process must be that by 
which the Serpent is aroused from its slumber. In other 
words, this force is raised from its latent potential state to 
one of activity, and there reunited with Itself in its other 
aspect as the Static Light which shines 1 * in the cerebral 
centre. 

Kundall Shakti is Chit, or Consciousness, in its creative 
aspect as Power. As Shakti it is through Her activity that 
the world and all beings therein exist. Prakriti Shakti is 
in the Muladhara in a state of sleep (Prasupta) — that is, 
latent activity looking outivards (Bahirmukhl). It is be- 
cause She is in this state of latent activity that through 
Her all the outer material world functions of life are being 
performed by man. And it is for this reason that man is 
engrossed in the world, and under the lure of Maya takes 
liis body and egoism to be the real Self, and thus goes round 
the wheel of life in its unending cycle of births and deaths* 
When the Jiva thinks the world to be different from himself 
and the Brahman, it is through the influence of KundalinI 
who dwells within him. Her sleep in the Muladhara, is, 
therefore, for the bondage of the ignorant.® As long as She 
remains in the Muladhara lotus — namely, in that state of 
Hers which is the concomitant of the cosmic appearance — 
so long must that appearance endure. In short, when She 
is asleep, man is in the waking state (Jagrat). Hence it is 
said 3 that the Shakti of the initiate is awake, that of the 
Pashu asleep. She is therefore aroused from sleep, and when 
awake returns to Her Lord, who is but Herself in another 
aspect ; Her return is, in fact, the withdrawal of that activity 


1 For this reason the Sahasrara is also called Bhaloka (from the 
root bha, “ to shine ”)• 

* Shandilya Upani&had, Oh. I. 

3 Kularnava Tantra, Ch. V. MandalabrAbmana Up. Tamas is des- 
troyed there. 



246 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

of Hers which produces the world of appearances, and which 
with suoh withdrawal disappears. For on Her upward Path 
She absorbs into Herself all the Tattvas which had emanat- 
ed from Her. The individual consciousness of the Yogi r 
the JivS-tma, being united with the world-consciousness in 
Her, or Kundali, then becomes the universal consciousness 
or Paramatma, from which it appeared to be different only 
by reason of the world-creating activity of Kundali which 
is thus withdrawn. The establishment through Her of the 
pure state of Being-Consciousness-Bliss is Samadhi. 

In short, Kundali is the individual bodily representa- 
tive of the great Cosmic Power (Shakti) which creates and 
sustains the universe. When this individual Shakti mani- 
festing as the individual consciousness (Jiva) is merged in 
the consciousness of the Supreme Shiva, the world is for 
such Jiva dissolved, and Liberation (Mukti) is obtained. 
Under, however, the influence of the Cosmic Shakti, the 
universe continues for those who are not liberated until the 
Great Dissolution (Mahapralaya), at the close of which the 
universe again evolves into those Jlvas whose Karma has not 
been exhausted, and who have therefore not been liberated^ 
The rousing and stirring up of Kundali or Kundali Yoga is 
thus a form of that merger of the individual into the univer- 
sal consciousness or union of the two which is the end of 
every system of Indian Yoga. </ 

Pandit R. Ananta Shastri says 1 * that “ The Samaya 
method of worshipping Shakti, called the Samayachara , 3 is 
dealt with in five treatises whose reputed authors are the 
great sages Sanaka, Sananda, Sanatkumara, Vashishtha, 


1 Anandalahari, p. 8. 

1 This term is apparently of varying significance. It seems to be- 
used here in a sense opposed to, some forms at least of, Kul&chara, and 

is yet used in the Kaula Shfistras to denote their worship with the 
Panchatattva. 



PRACTICE (YOGA : LAYA-KRAMA) 


247 


and Shuka. The following is a summary of the teachings 
contained in these Samaya Agamas, each of which goes 
after the name of its author : 

“ The Shakti or energy, the development of which is 
the subject of these treatises, is called the Kundalinl. The 
place where it resides is called the Mfiladhara (original 
abode). By a successful development and working of this 
Shakti, the liberation of the soul is attained. In the ordin- 
ary condition Kundalinl sleeps quietly at the Muladhara. 
The first purpose of the practitioners is to awaken this 
sleeping snake, and this is effected in two ways : 

“ (I) By Tapas. Here Tapas refers to the process of 
Pranayama, which means the regulation of the breath and 
holding it for stated periods of time. This is also the course 
advocated by the Yoga Shastras. 

“ (2) By Mantras. The pupil is initiated in the chant- 
ing of certain Mantras which he has to repeat a fixed num- 
ber of times at particular hours of the day, all the while 
having before his mind’s eye the figure of the Murti or God 
connoted by the Mantra he chants. The most important 
of these Mantras is said to be the Panchadashl. 

“ When it is thus roused up, the Kundalinl ascends 
from (1) Muladhara, where it was sleeping, to the next 
higher centre, called the (2) Svadhishthana (own place). 
Thence with great effort this Shakti is carried to the follow- 
ing centres in regular ascending order : (3) Manipura (full 
of rays) ; (4) Anahata (sound, not emanating from the colli- 
sion of bodies) — the Shakti here is transformed into sound; 
(5) Vishuddhi (place of purity) — here it becomes a pure 
Sattvic element ; and (6) Ajna (a-jna, a little knowledge). 
At this stage the practitioner may be said to have so far 
been successful in securing a command over this Shakti, 
which now appears to him, though only for a moment, in 
the form of a sharp flash of lightning. 



248 , THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

l, 

V“The passage of the Kundalini from the Mtll&dh&ra 
through the above centres of energy up to Ajn& constitutes 
the first part of the ascent. The disciple who takes to this 
practice has to undergo a course of Upasana (contemplation 
and worship of the prescribed Deity) and Mantra Japa 
(chanting of incantations), 1 into which he will be initiated 
by his Guru (teacher and guide). The six centres of energy 
above enumerated from Mdladhara to Ajna, joined together 
by imaginary straight lines, form a double-faced triangle — 
a hexagon, the six-pointed star — which is called the Shrl- 
chakra in Sanskrit. The Anahata centre (the heart) 
is the critical point in the course of this ascent, and 
hence much is found written in the Agamas about this 
centre. 

“ These centres in the body of man (Pindanda) have 
their correspondence in the cosmic planes, and each of these 
has its own quality, or Guna, and a Presiding Deity. When 
the disciple ascends centre by centre, he passes through the 
corresponding Lokas, or cosmic planes. The following table 
gives the correspondences, Guna, and Presiding Deity : 


No. 

Psychic Centre in 

Loka, or Cosmic 

Guna, or 

1 Presiding 

Man’s Body 

« Plane 

Quality 

Deity 

1 

Muladhara at the stage 

* ~ / 

Bhuvarloka 'I 

1 




when Shakti is roused 

.. > * * • 


* 

up 

}■ 

1 

Tamrts y-j 

*Agni (Fire) 

♦2 

Svadhishthana 

Svarloka J 


. f. 

8 

4 

ManipGra 

Anahata 

Maharloka > 
J analoka j 

Rajas 

Sun 

8 

6 ' 

I Vishuddhi 
Xjna 

Tapoloka 
Satyaloka ) 

Sattva 

| Moon 


1 In this and other citations from the Pandit the English equival- 
ents of Sanskrit term's are unsuitable, as might be expected in one to 
whom English is not his own tongue. 


practice (yoga: laya-krama) 


249 


“ If one should die after attaining any of these stages, 
he is born again having all the advantages of the stages 
gained ; thus, a man dies after leading the Shakti to the 
Anahata ; in his next birth he begins where he has last left, 
and leads the Shakti onwards from the Anahata. 

“ This aspiration to unify one’s soul with the Eternal 
One has been held by some to be an attempt of a Tamasa 
origin to rid itself of all Tamas and Rajas in it. Therefore 
the aspirant in the first and second stages is said to have 
more Tamas than in the succeeding stages, and to be there- 
fore in the Tamasic stage, which is presided ovei‘ by Agni. 
In the next two stages he is similarly said to be in the 
Rajasic stage, presided over by the Sun. In the next two 
he is in the Sattvic stage, presided over by the Moon, the 
Deity which is assigned a higher plane than the Sun and 
Agni. But it is to be noticed that the aspirant does not get 
at pure Sattva until he passes on to the Sahasrara, and that 
Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva, referred to in the above table, 
are but relative, and bear no comparison with their common 
acceptation v 

“ KundalinI is the grossest form of the Chit, the twenty- 
fourth Tattva, which lives in the Muladhara ; later on we 
shall have to speak of it in detail in our treatment of the 
second part of the aspirant’s ascent. This KundalinI, as 
soon as it is awakened, is in the Kumarl (girl) stage. On 
reaching the Anahata, it attains the Yoshit stage (woman- 
hood). Hence the indication that it is the most difficult and 
important step in the ascent. The next stage is in the 
Sahasrara, of which we shall speak hereafter, and the Shakti 
in that stage is called Pativrata (devoted to husband). See 
Taittirlyaranyaka, I. 27. 12. 

“ The second part of the ascent of KundalinI consists 
of only one step ; the Shakti should be taken into the Sahas- 
rara from the Ajna, where we left her. The Sahasrara (lit., a 



‘250 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


thousand-petalled lotus) forms in itself a Shiiohakra. The 
description of this place in Sanskrit is too difficult to be 
rendered satisfactorily into English. In the Sahasrara there 
is a certain place of lustre known as Chandra Loka (a world 
of nectar). In this place live in union the Sat (Sadashiva) 
and the Chit, the twenty-fifth and the twenty-fourth Tattvas. 
The Chit, or Shuddha Vidya, is also called Sadakhya, the 
16th Kala of the moon. These two Tattvas are always in 
union, and this union itself is taken to be the twenty-sixth 
Tattva. It is this union of Sat and Chit that is the goal of 
the aspirant. The KundalinI which has been led all the 
way to the Sahasrara should be merged into this union ; 
this is the end of the aspirant’s journey ; he now enjoys 
beatitude itself (Paramananda). 

, “ But this KundalinI does not stay in the Sahasrara 

for a long time. It always tends to return, and does return 
to its original position. The process should again and again 
be repeated by the aspirant several times, until the Shakti 
makes a permanent stay with her Pati (husband) — namely, 
Sadashiva, or until the union of Sadashiva and Chit is 
complete, and becomes Pativrata, as already mentioned. 
The aspirant is then a Jlvan-mukta, or pure Sattva. He 
is not conscious of this material limitation of the soul. He 
is all joy, and is the Eternal itself./. See vv. 9 and 10. So 
much of Samayachara. 

“ Now to the other methods of Shakta worship ; the 
Kaulas worship the KundalinI without rousing her from 
her sleep 1 in the Muladhara, which is called Kula ; and 
hence Kaulas (Sans. Ku = earth, PrithivI ; so Muladhara). 

A statement by the same author at p. 86 is in apparent contradic- 
tion with this. He there says, citing Lakshmldhara ; The Kaulas who 
worship KundalinI in the MQl&dh&ra have no other aim than awakening 
it from its sleep. When this is done, they think that they have attained 
their object, and there they stop. In their own words, the Kaulas hdve 
Nirvftna always near at hand. , 



practice (yoga : laya-krama) 


251 


Beyond the Muladhara they do not rise ; they follow the 
Yamachara or black magic, 1 and gain their temporal objects 
and enjoy ; they are not liberated from birth and death 
they do not go beyond this earth. Nay, more, the Kaulas 
are now so far degraded that they have left off altogether 
the worship of the KundalinI in the Muladhara, and have 
betaken themselves to practices most inhuman, which are 
far from being divine. 2 The Mishras are far above the Kaulas. 
They perform all Karinas, worship the Devi or Shakti in 
the elements, such as the sun, air, etc., and do Upasana with 
Yantras made of gold or other metals. They worship the 
KundalinI, awake her, and attempt to lead her on. Some of 
the Mishra worshippers rise even as far as the Anahata. 

“ We learn from the Commentators that this whole 
subject of Shakti-worsliip is treated of in detail in the 
‘ Taittirlya Aranyaka ’ (1st chapter). Some of them even 
quote from that ‘ Aranyaka ’ in support of their explana- 
tions. This subject is vast and a very difficult one. It is 
not possible for one to go into the intricacies of the subject 
unless one be a great Guru of vast learning and much per- 
sonal experience ; great works have been written on even 

1 Yamachara is not “ black magic,” the nearest Sanskrit equivalent 
for which is Abhichara. There may have been, as the Mahak&la 
Samhita says (Ullasa II), some Kaulas who, like the Vaidikas, sought 
enjoyment in this and the next world, and not Liberation (Aihikartham 
kamayanti amrite ratim na kurvanti). But to state baldly that Kaulas 
as a whole do not rouse KundalinI and lead her to the Sahasrara is 
incorrect. Purnananda SvamI, the author of the text (S.N.) here 
translated, was himself a Kaula, and the whole object of the work is to 
secure Liberation (Moksha). 

“ The Pandit here apparently adopts the opinion of Lakshmidhara, 
a follower of the so-called Samaya School, and an opponent of the 
Kaulas. If (as is .probably the case) “inhuman ” is the Pandit’s phrase- 
ology, it is inapt. But there have been different communities with 
very differing views and practice, e.ff., a Brahma Kaula and a Kapalika. 
See as to the rituals to which the Pandit refers “ Shakti and Sh&kta ” 
(Secret Name). 

8 Here I whole-heartedly agree with my distinguished friend 
the Pandit. 



262 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


single points in the ascent of the aspirant up the psychic 
centres.” 1 

“ The followers of the Samaya group are prohibited from 
worshipping Devi in the Macrocosm. They should worship 
Her in any of the Chakras in the human body, choosing 
that centre which their practice and ability permits them 
to reach. They should contemplate on Devi and Her Lord 
Shiva as (1) having the same abode (Adhishthanasamya), 
(2) occupying the same position (Avasthanasamya), (3) per- 
forming the same functions (Anushthanasamya), (4) having 
the same form (Rupa), and (5) as having the same name 
(Nama). Thus, in worshipping Devi in the Adharachakra, 
Shiva and Shakti (1) have Muladhara for their seat, (2) 
both of them occupy the position of dancers, (3) both 
together perform the function of creating the universe, 
(4) both are red in colour, (5) Shiva is called Bhairava, and 
Shakti Bhairavi. 

“ Similarly for other Chakras mentioned in the pre- 
ceding Shlokas. This is the way how beginners have to 
practise. Advanced students worship Devi in the Sahasrara. 
and not in the lower centres. How is the worship to be 
carried on in Sahasrara ? 

“ The worshipper should fix his attention on Baindava, 
which is the locality where the ever : existing 26th Tattva — 
the union of Shiva and Shakti — resides. It lies above all 
the 25 Tattvas, and is situated in Chandramandala (the 
sphere of the moon) in Sahasrara. He should contemplate 
on the said union and identify himself with it. This shows 
that those who carry on Bahya Puja, or worship in the 
external world, do not belong to the Samaya School. As 
regards the identification of oneself with the union of Shiva 
and Shakti at Baindava just spoken of, there are two ways 
of realizing it ; one is known as the fourfold path, and the 

1 See his edition, Anandalahari. pp. 8 — 18. 



practice (yoga : laya-krama) 253 

other the sixfold path. These should be learnt from the 
Guru. 

“ A novitiate in the Samaya School has to go the fol- 
lowing course : 

“ (1) He should cherish the utmost regard for and con- 
fidence in his Guru. (2) He should receive the Panchadashl 
Mantra from his Guru, and chant (repeat) the same accord- 
ing to instructions, with a knowledge of its seer (Rishi), 
metre (Chhandas), and the Deity (Devata). 1 (3) On the 
eighth day in the bright fortnight of Ashvayuja month, 
MahanavamI, he should at midnight prostrate himself at 
his Guru’s feet, when the latter will be pleased to initiate 
him in some Mantra and the real nature of the six Chakras 
and of the sixfold path of identification. 

“ After he is thus qualified, Lord Mahadeva * gives him 

the knowledge or capacity to see his inner soul Then 

the Kundalini awakes, and, going up suddenly to Manipura, 
becomes visible to the devotee-practitioner. Thence he has 
to take Her slowly to the higher Chakras one after another, 
and there performs the prescribed worship, and She will 
appear to him more and more clearly. When the Ajnachakra 
is crossed, the Kundalini quickly darts away like a flash of 
lightning to Sahasrara, and enters the Island of Gems 
surrounded by the Kalpa trees in the Ocean of Nectar, unites 
with Sadashiva there, and enjoys with Him. 

“ The praotitioner should now wait outside the veil 3 
until Kundalini returns to Her own place, and on Her return 

1 The Rishi of the Mantra is he to whom it was first revealed ; the 
metre is that in which it' was first uttered by Shiva ; and the Devata is 
the Artha of the Mantra as Shabda. The Artha is fivefold as Devata, 
Adhidevata. Pratyadhidevata, Varnadhidevata, Mantradhidevata. 

2 Shiva initiates him in the knowledge of Brahman. Thus, Shiva 
is considered the Teacher of the Spiritual Gurus (Adinatha). 

3 This, as well as some other details of this description, I do not 
follow. Who is waiting outside the veil ? The Jlva is, on the case 
stated, within, if there be a veil, and what is it ? 



254 THE SIX CENTRES ANt> THE SERPENT POWER 

continue the process until She is joined for ever with Sadft- 
shiva in the Sahasrara, and never returns. 

“ The process heretofore described and others of a 
similar nature are always kept secret ; yet the commentator 
says he has, out of compassion towards his disciples, given 
here an outline of the method. 

“ Even in the mere expectation of the return of Kunda- 
lini from Sahasrara, the aspirant feels Brahmananda (Brahma 
bliss). He who has once taken KundalinI to Sahasrara is 
led to desfre nothing but Moksha (Liberation), if he has no 
other expectation. Even if any of the Samaya practitioners 
have some worldly expectations, they must still worship in 
the microcosm only. 

“ ‘ Subhagodaya ’ and other famous works on Shiividya 
say that the practitioner should concentrate his mind on 
Devi who resides in Suryamandala (the suii’s disc), and so 
on. This statement is not at variance with the teaching 
contained in this book, for the Suryamandala referred to 
applies to the Pindanda (microcosm), and not to Brahmanda 
(macrocosm). Similarly, all the verses advocating outer 
worship are to be applied to the corresponding objects in 
the Pindanda.” 1 

The last, highest and most difficult form of Yoga is 
Raja Yoga. By means of Mantra, Hatha and Laya Yoga 
the practitioner by gradual attainment of purity becomes 
fit for Savikalpa Samadhi. It is through Raja Yoga alone 
that he can attain to Nirvikalpa Samadhi. The former 
Samadhi or Ecstasy is one in which, unless it perfects into 
the second kind, there is a return to the world and its ex- 
perience. This is not so in the Samadhi of Raja Yoga 
in which there is not the slightest seed of attachment to 

‘ Comm. QJft Anandalaharl, ed. by Pandit R. Ananta Sh&stri, p. 85 
et aeq who adds : “ For full particulars of these principles vide 1 Shuka 
Samhitft,* one of the five Samhit&s of the Samaya group.” 



PRACTICE (YOGA : LAYA-KRAMA) 


255 


the world and in which therefore there is no return thereto 
but eternal unity with Brahman. The first three kinds of 
Yoga prepare the way for the fourth . 1 In the Samadhi of 
Mantra Yoga the state of Mahabbava is attained marked 
by immobility and speechlessness. In the Samadhi of 
Hatha Yoga respiration ceases and to outward experience 
the Yogi is without sign of animation and like a corpse. 
In the Samadhi of Laya Yoga described in this book the 
Yogi has no outer consciousness and is also immersed in the 
Ocean of Bliss. The Samadhi of Raja Yoga is complete 
(Chit-svarupa-bhava) and final (Nirvikalpa) Liberation . 2 
There are, it is said, four states of detachment (Vairagya) 
from the world 3 corresponding to the four Yogas, the mildest 
form of Vairagya being the mark of the first or Mantra Yoga 
and the greatest degree of detachment being the mark of the 
highest Yoga or Raja Yoga. Another mark of distinction is 
the prominence given to the mental side. All Yoga is con- 
cerned with mental practices but this is more specially so of 
Raja Yoga which has been described 4 as the discrimination 
of the real from the unreal, that is the infinite and enduring 
from the finite and transient by reasoning with the help of 
the Upanishads and the recognized systems of Philosophy. 

The English reader must not however identify it with 
mere philosophising. It is the exercise of Reason by the 
morally pure and intellectually great under the conditions 
and subject to the discipline above described with Vairagya 
or Renunciation. In the man of Knowledge (Jnanl), Buddhi 

1 Raja-Yoga, by Swami Dayananda, published by Shrl Bharata 
Dharma Mahamandala, Benares. 

* Ibid., 19, 20. 

3 Mridu (intermittent, vague and weak), Madhyama (middling), 
Adhim&tra (high degree when worldly enjoyment even becomes a source 
of pain), Para (highest when the mind is turned completely from worldly 
objeots and cannot be brought back to them under any circumstances). 

1 Ibid., 5. 



256 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

or Reason holds full sway. Raja Yoga comprises sixteen 
divisions. There are seyen varieties of Vichara (reasoning) 
in seven plahes of knowledge (Bhumika) called Jnanadft, 
Sannyasada, Yogada, Lllonmukti, Satpada, Anandapada 
and Paratpara . 1 By exercise therein the Raja-Yogi gradu- 
ally effectively practises the two kinds of Dharana , 2 viz., 
Prakrityashraya and Brahmashraya dependent on Nature 
or Brahinan respectively. There are three kinds of Dhyana 
whereby the power of self-realization (Atmapratyaksha) is 
produced. There are four forms of Samadhi. There are 
three aspects of Brahman, viz., Its gross aspect as immanent 
in the universe known as the Virat Purusha, its subtle aspect 
as the creator, preserver and dissolver of all this as the Lord 
(Ishvara) and the supreme aspect beyond that is Sachchi- 
dananda. Raja Yoga lays down different modes of Dhyana 
for the three aspects . 3 Of the four Samadhis won by these 
exercises, in the two first or Savichara, there is still a subtle 
connection with the conscious working or the power of 
Vichara (reasoning, discernment), but the last two are with- 
out this or Nirvichara. On reaching this fourth state the 
Raja-Yogi attains Liberation even when living in the body 
(Jlvanmukta) and is severed from the Kainutshaya . 4 In 
the general view it is only by Raja Yoga that this Nirvikalpa 
Samadhi is attained. 


1 Similarly there are seven Bhumikas or planes of Karma, vis., 
Vividisha or Shubhechchha, Vicharana, Tanumanasa, Satt&patti,’ 
Asamsakti, PadarthabhavinI, Turyaga and also seven planes of Worship 
(Upasana Bhumika), viz., Namapara, Rupapara, Vibh&tipara, Shaktipara, 
Gunapara, Bhavapara, Svarupapara. 

! See p. 207, ante. 

* Raja-Yoga, by Dayananda SwamI, 19. 

4 The mass of Karma Samskaras in their seed (Blja) state;. 



YII 


THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 

This Yoga has been widely affirmed. The following review 
does not profess to be exhaustive, for the literature relating 
to KundalinI and Laya Yoga is very great, but includes 
merely a short reference to some of the Upanishads and 
Puranas which have come under my notice, and of which 
I kept a note, whilst engaged in this work . 1 It will, how- 
ever, clearly establish that this doctrine concerning the 
Chakras, or portions of it, is to be found in other Shastras 
than the Tantras, though the references in some cases are 
so curt that it is not always possible to say whether they 
are dealing with the matter in the same Yoga-sense as the 
work here translated or as forms of worship (Upasana). It 
is to be noted in this connection that Bhutashuddhi is a rite 
which is considered to be a necessary preliminary to the 
worship of a Deva . 2 It is obvious that if we understand 
the Bhutashuddhi to here mean the Yoga practice described, 
then, with the exception of the Yogi expert in this Yoga, 
no one would be competent for worship at all. For it is 
only the accomplished (Siddha) Yogi who can really take 
KundalinI to the Sahasrara. In the ordinary daily Bhfita- 
shuddhi, therefore, the process is purely a mental or imagi- 
nary one, and therefore forms part of worship or. Upasana, 
and not Yoga. Further, as a form of worship the Sadhaka 

1 There are many others. Some references kindly supplied to me 
by Mahamahop&dhy&ya Adityarfima Bhatt&charya arrived too late for 
insertion in the First Edition and have since been inserted. 

* See Taranga I of the Mantramahodadhi : Devarcha-yogyatapraptyai 
bhatashuddbim sam&oharet. 

17 



268 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

may, and does, adore his Ishtadevata in varions parts of his 
body*. This, again, is a part of Up&sana. Some of the 
Shastras however, next mentioned, clearly refer to the 
Yoga process, and others appear to do so. 

In what are called the earliest Upanishads, 1 mention is 
made of certain matters which are more explicitly described 
in such as are said by Western orientalists to be of later 
date. Thus, we find reference to the four states of con- 
sciousness, waking, and so forth ; the four sheaths ; and to 
the oavity of the heart as a “soul ” centre. 

As already stated, in the Indian Schools the heart was 
considered to be the seat of the waking consciousness. The 
heart expands during waking, and contracts in sleep. Into 
it, during dreaming sleep (Svapna), the external senses are 
withdrawn, though the representative faculty is awake; 
until in dreamless sleep (Sushupti), it also is withdrawn. 
Reference is also made to the 72,000 Nadls; the entry and 
exit of the Prana through the Brahmarandhra (above the 
foramen of Monro and the middle commissure) ; and “ up- 
breathing” through one of these Nadls. These to some 
extent probably involve the acceptance of other elements 
of doctrine not expressly stated. Thus, the reference to 
the Brahmarandhra and the “ one nerve ” imply the cerebro- 
spinal axis with its Sushumna, through which alone the 
Pr&na passes to the Brahmarandhra; for which reason, 
apparently, the Sushumna itself is referred to in the Shiva- 
samhita as the Brahmarandhra. Liberation is finally effect- 
ed by “ knowledge ”, which, as the ancient Aitareya Aran- 
yaka says,® “is Brahman”. 

1 For some references from the older Upanishads, see an article by 
Professor Rhys Davids in J.R.A.S., p. 71 (January, 1899), “ Theory of 
Soul in Upanishads See also Vol. I of my “ Principles of Tantra,” 
referring amongst others to Prashna Upanishad, III. 6, 7. 

* P^ 286 (edited by Arthur Berriedale Keith) of “Anecdota 
Oxoniensia ”. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 25# 

The Hamsa Upanishad ’ opens with the statement that 
the knowledge therein contained should be communicated 
only to the Brahmacharl of peaceful mind (Sh&nta), self- 
controlled (Danta) and devoted to the Guru (Gurubhakta). 
N&rayana, the Commentator, who cites amongst other works 
the Tantrik Compendium the Sharada Tilaka, describes 
himself as “ one whose sole support is Shruti ” * (Narayanena 
shrutimfitropajlvinS,). The Upanishad (§ 4) mentions by 
their names the six Chakras, as also the method of raising 
of Vayu from the Muladhara — that is, the EundalinI Yoga. 
The Hamsa (that is, Jlva) is stated to be in the eight-petalled 
lotus below Anahata 1 * 3 (§ 7) where the Ishtadevata is wor- 
shipped. There are eight petals, with whioh are associated 
certain Yrittis. With the Eastern petal is associated virtu- 
ous inclination (Punye matih) ; with the South-Eastern, 
sleep (Nidra) and laziness (Alasya) ; with the Southern, 
badness or cruelty (Krura mati) ; with the South-Western, 
sinful inclination (Pape manlsha) ; with the Western, vari- 
ous inferior or bad qualities (Krlda) ; with the North-Western, 
intention in movement or action (Gamanadau buddhih); 
with the Northern, attachment and pleasurable contentment 
(Rati and Priti) ; and with the North-Eastern petal, manual 
appropriation of things (Dravyagrahana). 4 In the centre 
of this lotus is dispassion (Yairagya). In the filaments is the 
waking state (Jagrad-avastha) ; in the pericarp the sleeping 


1 Upanishad&m Samuchchayah : Anandiishrama Series, Vol. XXIX, 
p. 698. 

* The Tantra, like every other Indian Shastra, claims to be based 
on Veda. 

s This lotus is commonly confused with the Anahata. The latter is 
a Chakra in the spinal column ; the eight-petalled lotus is in the region 
of the heart (Hrid) in the body. 

• * Lit., “ taking of things The translation of this and some of the 
other Vrittis is tentative. It is not easy in every case to understand 
the precise meaning or to find an English equivalent. 



260 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

state (Syapna) ; in the stalk the state of dreamless slumber 
(Sushupti). Above the lotus is “the plaoe without support ” 
(Niralamba pradesha), which is the Turlya state. The 
Commentator Narayana says that the Yritti of the petals 
are given in the ' Adhyatm avi veka whioh assigns them to 
the various lotuses. In the passage oited from the Hams» 
opanishad, they, or a number of these, appear to be collected 
in the centre of meditation upon the Ishtadevata. In 
§ 9 ten kinds of sound (Nada) are mentioned which have 
definite physical effects, such as perspiration, shaking, and 
the like, and by the practice of the tenth kind of Nada the 
Brahmapada is said to be attained. 

The Brahma Upanishad 1 * * mentions in v. 2 the navel 
(Nabhi), heart (Hridaya), throat (Kantha), and head (Mur- 
dha), as places (Sthana) “ where the four quarters of the 
Brahman shine ”. The Commentator Narayana says that 
the Brahmopanishad, by the mention of these four, indicates 
that they are the centres from which the Brahman may 
(according to the method there prescribed) be attained. 4 
Reference is made to the lotuses at these four places, and 
the mind is spoken of as the “ tenth door ”, the other nine 
apertures being the eyes, ears, nostrils, and so forth. 

The Dhyanabindu Upanishad* refers to the hearing of 
the An&hata sounds by the Yogi (v. 3). The Upanishad 
directs that with Pflraka meditation should be done in the 
navel on the Great Powerful One (Mahavlra) with four 
arms and of the colour of the hemp flower (i.e., Vishnu) ; 
with Kumbhaka meditate in the heart on the red Brahma 
seated on a lotus ; and with Rechaka think of the three- 
eyed one (Rudra) in the forehead. The lowest of these 

1 An and&shrama Series, Vol. XXIX, p. 825. 

* It will be observed that the two lower Tfimasio centres are not 

here mentioned. 

4 Ibid., p. 262. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA • 26l 

lotuses has eight petals ; the second has its head down- 
wards; and the third, which is compounded of all the 
Devatas (Sarvadevamaya), is like a plantain flower (vv. 9-12). 
In v. 13, meditation is directed on a hundered lotuses with 
a hundred petals each, and then on Sun, Moon, and Fire. 
It is Atma which rouses the lotus, and, taking the Blja 
from it, goes to Moon, Fire, and Sun. 

The Amritanada Upanishad 1 refers to the five elements 
and above them Ardhamatra — that is, Ajna (vv. 30, 31). 
The elements here are those in the Chakras, for v. 26 speaks 
of the heart entrance as the aerial entrance (for the Vayu 
Tattva is here). Above this, it is said, is the gate of 
Liberation (Mokshadvara). It is stated in v. 25 that Prana 
and Manas go along the way the Yogi sees (Pashyati), which 
the Commentator says refers to the way Prana enters (and 
departs from) Muladhara, and so forth. He also gives some 
Hatha processes. 

The Kshurika Upanishad 2 speaks of the 72,000 Nadls, 
and of Ida, Pingala and Sushumna (vv. 14, 15). All these, 
with the exception of Sushumna, can “ be served by Dhyana 
Yoga ” (ib.). Verse 8 directs the Sadhaka “ to get into the 
white and very subtle Nada (Queer e Nadi) and to drive 
Prana Vayu through it ” ; and Puraka, Rechaka, Kumbhaka, 
and Hatha processes are referred to. The Commentator 
Narayana on v. 8, remarks that Kundall should be heated 
by the internal fire and then placed inside the Brahmanadf, 
for which purpose the Jalandhara Bandha should be 
employed. 

The N risimhapurvatapanlya Upanishad 3 in Ch. V, v. 2, 
speaks of the Sudarshana (which is apparently here the 
Muladhara) changing into lotuses of six, eight, twelve, 

1 Op. cit., 48. The Amritabindu Upanishad at p. 71 deals generally 
with Yoga. 

* Ibid., Yol. XXIX, p. 145. 

‘ Anandfishrama Edition, Vol. XXX, p. 61. 



262 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

sixteen* and thirty-two petals respectively. This corres- 
ponds with the number of petals as given in this work 
except as to the seoond. For, taking this to be the Sva- 
dhishthana, the seoond lotus should be one of ten petals. 
Apparently this divergence is due to the fact that this is 
the number of letters in the Mantra assigned to this lotus. 
For in the six-petalled lotus is the six- lettered Mantra of 
Sudarshana ; in the eight-petalled lotus the eight-lettered 
Mantra of Narftyana ; and in the twelve-petalled lotus the 
twelve-lettered Mantra of Vasudeva. As is the case ordi- 
narily, in the sixteen-petalled lotus are the sixteen Kalas 
(here vowels) sounded with Bindu or Anusvara. The 
thirty- two-petalled lotus (Ajna) is really two-petalled be- 
cause there are two Mantras here (each of sixteen letters) 
of Nrisimha and His Shakti. 

The sixth chapter of the Maitrl Upanishad 1 speaks of 
the Nadls ; and in particular of the Sushumna ; the pierc- 
ing of the Mandalas Sun, Moon, and Fire (each of these 
being within the other, Sattva in Fire, and in Sattva 
Achyuta); and of Amana, which is another name for 
Unmanl. 

Both the Yogatattva Upanishad. 8 and Yogashikha Upa- 
nishad 3 refer to Hathayoga, and the latter speaks of the 
dosing of the “ inner door ”, the opening of the gateway 
of SushumnS, (that is, by Kundalini entering the Brahma- 
dvfira), and the piercing of the Sun. The B&mat&panlya 
Upanishad 4 refers to various Yoga and Tantrik processes, 
such as Asana, DvS-rapUja, Plthapuja, and expressly men- 
tions Bhfttashuddhi, whioh, as above explained, is the 

1 Yol. XXIX of same edition, p. 845; see pp. 441, 450, 451, 458, and 

460. 

* Same edition, Yol. XXIX, p. 477. 

* Ibid., p. 488 ; and as to the passage of Kundalini through the- 
Brahmadv&ra, see p. 485. 

4 Anandftshrama Edition, Yol. XXIX, p. 580. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 268 

purification of the elements in the Chakras, either as an 
imaginative or real prooess, by the aid of Kundalinl. 

I have already cited in the Notes numerous passages 
on this Yoga from the Shandilya Upanishad of the Atharva- 
veda, the Varaha and Yogaljundall Upanishads of the 
Krishna Yajurveda, the Mandalabrahmana Uhanishad of 
the Shukla Yajurveda, and the Nadabindu Upanishad of 
the Rigveda. 1 

The great Devibhagavata Purana (VII. 35, XI. 8) men- 
tions in a full account the six Chakras or Lotuses ; the 
rousing of Kundalinl (who is called the Paradevata) in the 
Muladhara by the manner here described, uniting Jiva 
therewith by the Hamgsa Mantra ; Bhutashuddhi ; the dis- 
solution of the gross Tattvas into the subtle Tattvas, 
ending with Mahat in Prakriti, Maya in Atma. The Dhara 
mandala is mentioned, and it and the other Mandalas are 
described in the manner here stated. The Bijas of PrithivI 
and other Tattvas are given. Allusion is also made to the 
destruction of the “ man of sin ” (Papapurusha), in terms 
similar to those to be found in the Mahanirvana and other 
Tantras. A remarkable Dhyana of Pranashakti is to be 
found in this chapter, which reads very much like another 
which is given in the Prapanchasara Tantra. 2 

Linga Purana, Part I, Ch. LXXV, mentions the 
Chakras with their different petals, the names of which 
are given by the Commentator. Shiva is Nirguna, it says, 
but for the benefit of men He resides in the body with Uma, 
and Yogis meditate upon Him in the different lotuses. 

Chapter XXIII of the Agni Purana, which is replete 
with T&ntrik rituals, magio, and Mantras, also refers to 


* These Yoga Upanishads have been recently translated as part of 
“ Thirty Minor Upanishads,” by K. N&r&yanasv&mi Aiyar (Theosophical 
Society of Madras, 1914). 

* See Ch. XXXV, Vol. Ill of my “ T&ntrik Texts ”. 



S®4 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

the Bhatashuddhi rite wherein, after meditation with the 
respective Blja Mantras on the navel, heart, and Ajna centres 
the body of the Sadhaka is refreshed by the flow of nectar. 

Finally, an adverse critic of this Yoga whom I cite 
later invokes the authority of the great Shankara, though 
in fact, if tradition be correct, it is against him. Shankara, 
in whose Maths may be found the great Tantrik Yantra 
called the Shrichakra, says in his Commentary on vv. 9 and 
10 of Ch. VIII of the Bhagavad-Glta : “ First the heart 
lotus (Anahata) is brought under control. Then, by con- 
quering Bhumi (Maladhara, etc.) and by the upward going 
Nadi (Sushumna), after having placed Prana between the 
two eyebrows (see v. 38, Shatchakranirupana), the Yogi 
reaches the lustrous light-giving Purusha.” On this the 
Tlka of Anandagirl runs : “ By the Sushumna Nadi between 
Ida and Pingala. The throat is reached by the same way 
— the space between the eyebrows. By conquering earth 
(BhGmi) is meant the process by which the five Bhutas are 
controlled.” Shrldhara SvamI says : “ By the power of 
Yoga (Yogabala) Prana must be led along the Sushumna.” 
And Madhusudana Sarasvatl says : “ The upward-going 
Nadi is Sushumna, and the conquest of Bhumi and the rest 
is done by following the path indicated by the Guru ; and 
by the space between the eyebrows is meant the Ajna 
Chakra. By placing Prana there, it passes out by the 
Brahmarandhra, and the Jlva becomes one with the Puru- 
sha.” The famous hymn called Anandalaharl (“ Wave of 
Bliss ”), which is asoribed to Shankara, deals with this 
Yoga (Shatchakrabheda) ; and in the thirteenth chapter of 
Vidyaranya’s Shankaravijaya the six lotuses are mentioned, 
as also the fruit to be gained by worshipping the Devata in 
each Chakra. 1 

1 See also Anandagirl’s Shankaravijaya and M&dhava’s Shankara* 
vijaya (Oh. XI ; see also ib., where Shrichakra is mentioned). 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


265 


Pandit R. Ananta Shastri says : 1 

“ Many a great man has successfully worked the Kun- 
fialinl to the Sahasrara, and effected her union with the Sat 
and Ghit. Of these stands foremost the great and far- 
famed Shankaracharya, a humble pupil of one of the 
students of Gaudapadacharya, the author of the well-known 
* Subhagpdaya ’ (52 slokas). Having well acquainted him- 
self with the principles contained in this work, Shri 
Shankaracharya received special instructions based upon 
the personal experience of his Guru. And adding his own 
personal experience to the above advantages, he composed 
his famous work on the Mantra-shastra, consisting of 100 
slokas ; the first forty-one of these forming the ‘ Ananda- 
Laharl,’ and the rest forming the ‘ Saundarya-Laharl ’; the 
latter apostrophises the Devi as a being who is beauteous 
from head to foot. 

“ * Ananda-Laharl’ may be said to contain the quint- 
essence of the Samayachara. The? work is all the more 
valuable because the author teaches it from personal experi- 
ence. Lengthy commentaries are written on almost every 
syllable of the text. The value attached to the work may 
be adequately understood by the following theory. Some 
hold that Shiva is the real author of ‘ Ananda-Laharl,’ and 
not Shankaracharya, who was but a Mantradrashta or Rishi 
— i.e., one who realized the process and gave it to the world. 
No less than thirty-and-six commentaries on this work are 
now extant. Among them we find one written by our great 
Appaya Dlkshita. The commentaries are not entirely differ- 
ent, but each has its own peculiar views and theories. 

“ As for the text of * Ananda-Laharl,’ it contains forty- 
and-one slokas. According to some commentators, the 
slokas are 35 in number ; some recognize only 30, and 

. 1 Anandalahan, 14. .1 have translated this hymn under the title 

Wave of Bliss.” 



266 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

,/ 

according to SudhavidyotinI and others only the following 
slokas constitute, the text of ‘ Ananda-Laharl 1 — 2, 8 — 9, 
10—11, 14 — 21, 26 — 27, 31 — 41. In my opinion, also, the last 
statement seems to be correct, as the other slokas treat 
only of Prayogas (applications of Mantras) for worldly 
purposes. 1 Only a few of these Prayogas are recognized by 
all the commentators ; while the rest are passed over as 
being entirely Karmic. 

“ As has been remarked already, ‘ Ananda-Laharl ’ is 
but an enlargement of the work called Subhagodaya by 
Gaudapada, who is the Guru of the author’s Guru. That 
work gives only the main points, without any of the charac- 
teristic admixture of illustrations, eto., above noticed. 

“ Of all the commentaries on ‘ Ananda-Laharl ’ Lak- 
shmldhara’s seems to be the most recent ; yet in spite of 
this it is the most popular, and with reason, too. Other 
commentaries advocate this or that aspect of the various 
philosophical schools ; but Lakshmldhara collates some of 
the views of others, and records them side by side with his 
own. His commentary is in this way the most elaborate. 
He sides with no party ; 2 his views are broad and liberal. 
All schools of philosophers are represented in his com- 
mentaries. Lakshmldhara has also commented on many 
other works on Mantrashastra, and is consequently of 
much high repute. So his commentaries are as valuable 
to both ‘ Ananda-Laharl ’ and ‘ Saundarya-Laharl ’ as 
Sayana’s are to the Vedas. 

“ Lakshmldhara seems to have been an inhabitant of 
Southern India ; the observances and customs he describes 
all point to this conclusion ; the illustrations he adduces 

1 Thus, vv. 18, 18, 19 are said to treat of Madana-prayoga — that is, 
application for the third Purush&rtha or Kama (desire). 

* He seems to be adverse to the Uttara or Northern Kaula School. 
— A.A. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


267 


smack invariably of the South, and even to this day his 
views are more followed in the South than in the North. 
He has also written an elaborate commentary on Gauda- 
pada’s Subhagodaya. The references to that in the com- 
mentary to this work, and the commentator’s apology here 
and there for repeating what he has written on the former 
occasion, lead to the inference that the author had for his 
life-work the commentary on the original book. 

“ Aobyutananda’s commentaries are in Bengali char- 
acters, and are followed as authority in Bengal even to 
this day. 1 Various commentaries are followed in various 
places but few have risen to be universally accepted. 

“ There are only three or four works treating of Prayoga 
(application) ; I have had access to all of them. But here I 
have followed only one of them, as being the most prominent 
and important. It comes from an ancient family in Conjee- 
veram. It contains 100 slokas. The Yantras (figures) for 
the Mantras contained in the slokas, the different postures 
of the worshipper, and similar prescriptions, are clearly de- 
scribed in it to the minutest detail. 

“ There seems to be some mystical connection between 
each sloka and its Bijakshara. 8 But it is not intelligible, 
nor has any of the Prayoga Kartas 3 explained the same. 

“ The following is a list of commentaries written upon 
‘ Ananda-Laharl’ ; some of them include ‘ Saundarya-Laharl ’ 
also : 

“ 1. ‘ Manorama,’ a Commentary. 2. A commentary by 

Appaya Dlkshita (Tan j ore Palace Library). B. ‘ Vishnupakshl.’ 
Perhaps this may be the same as No. 14 given below. 4. By 
Ka viraj asharman — about 8,000 granthas (Deccan College 
Library). 5. ‘ Man j ubhQshanl, ’ by Krishnacharya, the son 

1 1 have followed this commentary also in my 44 Wave of Bliss’*. — A.A» 

* Blja or root-mantra. — A. A. 

3 Those writers who deal with the practical application. — A. A. 



268 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

of V allabhaeharya — slokas about 1,700. He says in his 
Introduction that Sri Shankaracharya praised the Brahma- 
shakti called KundalinI when he was meditating on the 
banks of the Ganges. He gives the purport of this work 
in his first sloka : ‘ I praise constantly the KundalinI, 
who oreates innumerable worlds continuously, though 
She is like a filament of the lotus, and who resides 
at the root of the tree (Muladhara) to be roused and led 
{to Sahasrara).’ This is popular in the Bengal Presidency. 
6. Another Commentary, called ‘ Saubhagyavardhana,’ by 
Kaivalayasharma. The Adyar Library has a copy of it. 
This is popular throughout India, so we can get as many 
MSS. of the same as we require from different places. It 
contains about 2,000 granthas. 7. By Keshavabhatta. 8. 
* Tattvadlpika,’ by Gangahari, a small Commentary based on 
Tantrashastra. 9. By Gangadhara. 10. By Goplramanatar- 
kapravachana — granthas about 1,400. Seems to be of recent 
origin. 11. Gaurikantasarvabhaumabhattacharya — granthas 
about 1,300. Of recent origin. 12. By Jagadlsha. 13. By 
Jagannatha Panchanana. 14. By Narasimha — granthas 
1,500. The chief peculiarity of this commentary is that it 
explains the text in two different ways, each sloka being 
applicable to Devi and Vishnu at the same time. Though 
some commentators have given different meanings to some 
of the verses, yet all of them apply to the different aspects 
of Devi alone, and not to the different Devatas. 15. ‘Bha- 
vftrthadlpa,’ by Brahmananda 1 — granthas about 1,700. 16. 

By Mallabhatta. 17. By Mahadevavidyavaglsha. 18. By 
Madhavavaidya (Deccan College Library). 19. By Rama- 
chandra — granthas about 3,000 (Deccan College Library). 
20. By Ramanandatirtha. 21. Lakshmidhara’s ; which is 

• '’ This is the celebrated Bengali Paramahamsa guru of Purnananda 

Sv&ml, author of the Shatchakranirupana. Brahmananda was the 
author of the celebrated Shftkt&nandataranginT.— A. A. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


269 


well known to the public, and needs no comment. This has 
been brought out excellently in Deva Nagara type by the 
Mysore Government lately. 22. By Yishvambhara. 23. 
By Shrikanthabhatta. 24. By Rama Suri. 26. By Dindima 
(Adyar Library). 26. By Ramachandra Misra — granthas 
about 1,000 (Deccan College Library). 27. By Achyutananda 
(printed in Bengali characters). 28. Sadashiva (Govern- 
ment Oriental Library, Madras). 29. Another nameless 
Commentary (Government Oriental Library, Madras). 30. 
By Shrlrangadasa. 31. By Govinda Tarkavaglsha Bhatta- 
charya. — granthas 600. He seems to give the Yantra also 
for each verse. Further, he says that the god Mahadeva 
specially incarnated as Shankaracharya to promulgate the 
science of Shrlvidya. 32. SudhavidyotinI, by the son of 
Pravarasena. This commentator says that the author of 
this famous hymn was his father, Pravarasena, Prince of the 
Dramidas. He tells us a story in connection with Pravara- 
sena’s birth which is very peculiar. As he was born in an 
inauspicious hour, Dramida, the father of Pravarasena, in 
consultation with his wise Minister, by name Suka, threw 
him out in the forest, lest he (the father) should lose his 
kingdom. . . . The child praised Devi by this hymn, and, 
pleased with it, the Devi fostered and took care of him in the 
forest. The story ends by saying that the boy returned to 
his father’s dominion and became King. By his command, his 
son, the present commentator, wrote SudhavidyotinI, after 
being fully initiated into this mystic Shastra, Shrlvidya. The 
account, however, appears to be rather fantastic. This MS. 
I got from South Malabar with much, difficulty. It gives the 
esoteric meaning of the verses in ‘ Ananda-Laharl,’ and 
seems to be a valuable relic of ocoult literature. 33. The book 
of Yantras with Prayoga. This is very rare and important. 

“ Besides the above commentaries, we do not know how 
many more commentaries there are upon this hymn.” 



270 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


The celebrity of “ Anandalaharl ” and the great number 
of commentaries , upon it are proof of the widespread and 
authoritative character of the Yoga here described. 

To conclude with the words of the Commentator on the 
Trishatl : “ It is well known in Yoga-Shdstras that nectar 

(Amrita) is in the head of all breathing creatures (Prfinl), 
and that on Eundall going there by the Yoga-path which 
is moistened by the current of that nectar Yogins become 
like Ishvara.” 1 

The Chakras, however, mentioned are not always those 
of the body above stated, as would appear from the following 
account, which, it will be observed, is peculiar, and which is 
taken from the Shatchakra Upanishad of the Atharvaveda. 2 
Apparently reference is here made to cosmic centres in the 
worship of the Vishnu Avatara called Nrisimha. 

“ Om. The Devas, coming to Satyaloka, thus spoke to 
Prajapati, saying, ‘Tell us of the Narasimha 3 Chakra’, 
(to which he replied) : There are six Narasimha Chakras. 

The first and second have each four spokes ; the third, five ; 
the fourth, six ; the fifth, seven ; and the sixth, eight spokes. 
These six are the Narasimha Chakras. Now, what are their 
names (that is what you ask). They are Achakra, 4 Suchakra, 4 
Mahachakra, 0 Sakalaloka-rakshana-chakra, 7 Dyuchakra, 8 
Asur§,ntaka-chakra. u These are their respective names. [1] 

’ Sarvesham praninam shirasi amritam asti iti yogamargena kunda- 
linlgamane tatratya tatpravfth&plutena yoginam Ishvarasamyam jayate 
iti yogashftstreshu prasiddham (Comm. v. 1). 

* Bibliotheca Indica, ed. Asiatic Society (1871). The notes’are from 
the Commentary of Narayana. 

3 The man-lion incarnation of Vishnu. 

4 Anandfltmaka ; in the self of Ananda (bliss). 

\Oood, pei feet. 

4 Lustrous (Tejomaya), 

1 The Chakra which by the Shaktis of JnAna and Kriya protects all 
regions (Loka). 

’ The Chakra of the path reached by Yoga. 

9 The Chakra which is the death of all Asuras, or liars. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 271 

“ Now, what ate the three circles (Balaya) ? These are 
inner, middle and outer. 1 The first is Blja ; 2 the second, 
N arasimha-gftyatri ; 3 and the third, or outer, is Mantra. 
Now, what is the inner circle ? There are six such (for each 
Chakra has one); these are the Narasimha, Mahalakshmy a, 
Saras vata, Kamadeva, Pranava, Krodhadaivata (Bijas), 
respectively. 4 These are the six interior circles of the six 
Narasimha Chakras. [2] 

“ Now, what is the middle circle ? There are six such. 
To each of these belong Narasimhaya, Vidmahe, Vajra- 
nakhaya, Dhlmahi, Tannah, Simhah prachodayat, respec- 
tively. 6 These are the six circles of the six Narasimha 
Chakras. Now, what are the six outer circles ? The first 
is Anandatma or Achakra ; the second is Priyatma or 
Suchakra; the third is Jyotiratnia or Mahachakra; the 
fourth is Mayatma or Sakala-loka-rakshana Chakra ; the 
fifth is Yogatma or Dyuchakra ; and the sixth is Samaptatma 
or Asurantakachakra. These are the six outer circles of the 
six Narasimha Chakras. 0 [3] 


1 That is, each Chakra has three divisions — inner, middle, and 
outer ; or Blja, Narasimha Gayatrl, Mantra. 

3 The root Mantra, which in this case or those given in the next 
note but one. 

3 That is, the Mantra. Narasimhaya vidmahe vajranakhaya dhlma- 
hi tannah simhah prachodayat. (May we contemplate on Narasimha, 
may we meditate on his Yajra-like claws. May that man-lion direct us.) 

4 That is, the following Bijas : Kshaum (in Achakra) ; Shrlm, His 
Shakti (in Suchakra) ; Aim (in Mahachakra) ; Klim (in Sakalalokarak- 
shana-chakra) ; Om (in Dyuchakra) ; and Hum (in Asurftntakachakra). 

‘ That is, to each of them is assigned the several parts of the Nara- 
simha-gayatrl above-mentioned. 

* The Atmft as bliss, love, light or energy, Maya, Yoga, and the con- 
cluding Chakra which is the destruction of all Asuras. 



272 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

“ Now, where should these be placed ? 1 Let the first be 
placed in the heart ; 9 the second in the head ; 3 the third at 
the site of the orown-lock 1 (Shikhayam) ; the fourth all over 
the body ; 8 the fifth in all the eyes 6 (Sarveshu netreshu) 
and the sixth in all the regions 7 (Sarveshu desheshu). [4] 

“ He who does Nyasa of these Narasimha Chakras on 
two limbs becomes skilled in Anushtubh, 8 attains the favour 
of Lord Nrisimha, success in all regions and amongst all 
beings, and (at the end) Liberation (Kaivalya). Therefore 
should this Nyasa be done. This Nyasa purifies. By this 
one is made perfect in worship, is pious, and pleases Nara- 
simha. By the omission thereof, on the other hand, the 
favour of Nrisimha is not gained nor is strength, worship, 
nor piety generated. [5] 

“ He who reads this becomes versed in all Vedas, gains 
oapacity to officiate as priest at all sacrifices, becomes like 
one who has bathed in all places of pilgrimage, an adept in 
all Mantras, and pure both within and without. He be- 
comes the destroyer of all Rakshasas, Bhutas, Pishachas, 
Shakinls, Pretas, and Vetalas. 9 He becomes freed of all fear ; 
therefore should it not be spoken of to an unbeliever.” 10 [6] 

‘ That is, how should Nyasa be done ? That is explained in the 
text and following notes where the Nyasa is given. 

2 Kshaum Narasimhaya achakraya anandatmane svaha hriday&ya 
namah. 

8 Shrlm vidmahe suchakraya priyatmanesvaha shirase svaha. 

4 Aim vajranakhaya mahachakraya jyotiratmane svaha shikhayai 
vashat. 

b Klim dhlmahi sakala-loka-rakshana-chakraya mayatmane svaha 
kavachaya hum. 

6 Om tanno dyuchakraya yogatmane svaha netratrayaya vaushat. 

1 Haum nrisimhah prachodayat asurantaka-chakraya satyatmane 
svpiha astraya phat. 

8 That is, he becomes capable of speech — a poet. He knows the 
beginning and end of all things and is able to explain all things. 

9 Various forms of terrifying and malignant spiritual influences. 

19 That is, not to one who is not competent (Adhikarl) to receive 
this knowledge. • Here ends the Atharvanlya S/iatfchakropanis/iat. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


273 


Notwithstanding the universal acceptance of this Yoga, 
it has not escaped some modern criticism. The following 
passage in inverted commas is a summary 1 * * * * * of that passed 
by an English-educated 8 Guru from one of whose disoiples 
I received it. It was elicited by the gift of the Sanskrit 
text of the works here translated : 

“ Yoga as a means to liberation is attained by entry 
through the doors of Jnana (Knowledge) and Karma (Action). 
Yoga is doubtless bliss, for it is the union of the Jlvatma 
with the Brahman who is Bliss (Ananda). But there are 
various forms of Bliss. There is, for instance, physical 
bliss, gross or subtle as it may be. It is a mistake to 
suppose that because a method of Yoga procures bliss it 
therefore secures liberation. In order that we be liberated 
we must secure that particular Bliss which is the Brahman. 
Some centuries ago, however, a band of Atheists {i.e*, the 
Buddhists) discovered the doctrine of the Void (Shunyavada), 
and by a false display of a new kind of Nirvana Mukti locked 
.up these two doors which gave entry to liberation. To-day 
these doors are secured by three padlocks. The first is the 
doctrine that by faith one attains Krishna, but where there 
is argument (Tarka) He is far away. The second is the 
error of the Brahmos, who in Western fashion think that 
they can control the formless, changeless Brahman by shut- 
ting their eyes in church and repeatipg that He is the 
merciful, loving Father who is ever occupied with our good, 
-and that if He be flattered He will be pleased ; for worship 
(Upasana) is flattery. The third is the opinion of those to 
whom all religious acts are nothing but superstition ; to 


1 If my summary, taken from the Bengali, points the piteous acer- 

bities of the original, the critic would, I am sure, not complain. 

4 It is always important to record such a fact, for it generally in- 

fluences the outlook on things. In some cases the mind is so Wester- 

nized that it is unable to correctly appreciate ancient Indian ideas. 

18 



274 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


whom self-interest, is the only good, and whose pleasure it 
is to throw dust into the eyes of others and secure the 
praise of those whom they have thus blinded. Vishnu, in 
order to cause the disappearance of the Vedas in the Kali 
age, manifested as the atheist Buddha, and allowed various 
false doctrines, such as that of the Arhatas, to be proclaimed. 
Rudra was affected by the sin of destroying the head of 
Brahma. Then he began to dance, and a number of Uch- 
chhishta (or low malignant) Rudras whose deeds are never 
good, issued from His body. Vishnu and Shiva asked each 
other, ‘ Can we do these people any good ? ’ Their partial 
manifestations then promulgated Shastras opposed to the 
Vedas, fitted for the atheistic bent of their minds, that they 
might haply thereby rise through them to higher things. 
God fools the wicked with such Scriptures. We must now, 
however, discriminate between Shastras. It is not because 
it iB said in Sanskrit ‘ Shiva says ’ (Shiva uvacha) that we 
should accept all which follows this announcement. All 
that is opposed to Veda and Smirti must be rejected. Of 
the enemies of the Vedas 1 for whom such Shastras were de- 
signed, some became Vaishnavas, and others Shaivas. One 
of such Scriptures was the Tantra with a materialistic Yoga 
system called Shatchakra-Sadhana, which is nothing but a 
trickery on the part of the professional Gurus, who have not 
hesitated also to promulgate forged scriptures. ‘ The very 
mention of Tantrik Shastra fills us with shame.’ The Shat- 
chakra Sadhana is a mere obstruction to spiritual advance- 
ment. The Bliss which is said to be attained by leading 
Kundali to the Sahasrara is not denied, since it is affirmed 
by those who say they have experienced it. But this Bliss 
(Ananda) is merely a momentary superior kind of physical 

1 This no Tantrik would, I think, admit. He would say that it is 
ignorance (Avidya) which sees any differences between Veda and Agama. 
The critic re-echoes some Western criticisms. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


275 


Bliss which disappears with the body, and not the Bliss 
which is Brahman and liberation. Moksha is not to be got 
by entering the Sahasrara, but in leaving it by piercing the 
Brahmarandhra and becoming bodiless . 1 

“ The Tantrik seeks to remain in the body, and thus 
to obtain liberation cheaply, just as the Brahmos and 
Members of the Ary a Samaja have become BrahmajnanJs 
(knowers of the Brahman) at a cheap price. Nectar, too, is 
cheap with the Tantriks. But what is cheap is always 
worthless, and this shows itself when one attempts to earn 
some fruit from one’s endeavours. ‘ And yet all men are 
attracted when they hear of Shatchakra.’ Many are so 
steeped in Tantrik faith that they can find nothing wrong 
with its Shastras. And the Hindu now-a-days has been 
put in such a maze by his Tantrik Gurus that he does not 
know what he wants. For centuries he has been accustomed 
to the Tantrik Dharma , 2 and his eyes are therefore not 
clear enough to see that it is as truly unacceptable to a 
Hindu as it is to a Mussalman. In fact, these persons (for 
whose benefit this Guru makes these remarks) are full of 
Mlechchhata , 3 though, after all, it must be admitted to be 
some advance for such a creature as a Mlechchha to adhere 
even to Tantrik doctrine. For bad as it is, it is better than 
nothing at all. All the same, the Gurus delude them with 


1 It is true that complete Mukti or Kaivalya is bodiless (Videha). 
But there is a Mukti in which the Yogi retains his body (Jlvanmukti). 
In truth, there is no “ leaving ”, for Atma, as Shankara says, does not 
come and go. 

* This, at any rate, attests its wide pervasiveness. 

3 This is a contemptuous term which has descended from the days 
when the stranger was looked on as an object of enmity or contempt. 
Just as the Greeks and Chinese called anyone not a Greek or a Chinese 
a "barbarian,” so Hindus of the Exoteric School call all non-Hindus, 
whether aboriginal tribes or cultivated foreigners, Mlechchhas. Mlech- 
chhata is the state of being a Mlechchha. It is to the credit of the 
Shakta Tantra that it does not encourage such narrow ideas. 



276 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


their fascinating talk about Shatehakra. Like a lot of the 1 
present-day advertisers, they offer to show their so-called 
- Lotuses’ to those who will join them. Men are sent to- 
collect people to bring them to a Dlkshaguru (initiator)- 
In this respect the Tantriks act just like coolie recruiters 
for the tea-gardens. 1 The Tantrik says there are really 
‘ Lotuses - ’ there ; but if the Lotuses are really there, why 
are we not told how we may see them ? 2 And there also are 
supposed to be Devatas, Dakinls, Yoginls, * all ready at 
every moment for inspection \ 3 And, then, how material 
it all is ! They speak of a Parashiva above Shiva, as if there 
was more than one Brahman. 4 * And, then, the nectar is 
said to be of the colour of lac. Well, if so, it is a gross 
(Sthula) and perceptible thing ; and as a doctor can then 
squeeze it out there is no need for a Guru. 6 In short, the 
Tantrik Shatehakra is nothing but ‘ a sweet in the hands 
of a child A child who is wayward is given a sweet to 
keep him quiet. But if he has sense enough to know that 
the sweet is given to distract him, he throws it away, and 
finds the key to the locked doors of Yoga, called Karma 
and Jnana. This process of Yoga was expelled from Hindu 
sooiety centuries ago. For nearly 2,500 years ago Shankara, c 


1 These wander about India persuading the villagers to go and work 
on the tea-gardens, to which they are then conveyed by means which, 
to say the least, are not always admirable. Truth makes it necessary 
to state that the allegation that the Gurus employ agents to secure 
followers is baseless. The Gurus of the, right type as a matter of fact 
are very particular about the competency of the would-be disciple. 

* The books and the Gurus claim to do so. 

* It is not a peep-show open to any. Only those are said to see 
who have mastered the great difficulties in this path. 

4 There is one Brahman with his aspects. 

4 This nectar is in the body. What is perceptible is not always 
such a gross thing as those with which medicine is concerned. 

6 This is the Indian tradition as to the philosopher’s date. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


277 


when destroying atheism, exterminated also Shatchakra- 
yoga. 1 Shankara then showed the worthlessness of the 
Tantras. They are again to-day attempting to enter Hindu 
.society, and must be again destroyed.” 

The writer of the note thus summarized omitted to 
notice or perhaps was unaware that the Chakras are men- 
tioned in the Upanishads, but endeavoured to meet the fact 
that they are also described in the Puranas by the allegation 
that the Pauranik Chakras are in conformity with the Vedas, 
whereas the Tantrik Chakras are not. It is admitted that 
in the Shiva Purana there is an account of the six centres, 
but it is said that they are not there alleged to actually 
exist, nor is anything mentioned of any Sadhana in connec- 
tion with them. They are, it is contended, to be imagined 
only for the purpose of worship. In external worship Devas 
and Devxs are worshipped in similar Lotuses. The Puranas, 
in fact, according to this view, convert what is external 
worship into internal worship. If, according to the Purana, 
one worships an interior lotus, it is not to be supposed that 
there is anything there. One is worshipping merely a 
figment of one’s imagination, though it is curious to note 
that it is said that this figment secures certain advantages 
to the worshipper and the latter must commence, according 
to this critic, with the Chakra which he is qualified to 
worship. It is not obvious how any question of such com-, 
potency arises when each of the Chakras is imagined only. 
Attention is drawn to the fact that in the Linga Purana 
there is nothing about the rousing of Kundali, the piercing 
-of the six centres, the drinking of nectar, and so forth. The 
Purana merely says, “ Meditate on Shiva and Devi in the 

1 When Shankara disputed with the K&palika Krakacha, the latter 
invoked to his aid the fierce form of Shiva called Bhairava. But on 
Shankara’s worshipping the God, the latter said to Krakacha, 4 Thy 
time has come,’ and absorbed His devotee into Himself. See Madhava’a 
Shankaravijaya, Ch. XV. 



278 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


different lotuses.” There is, it is thus contended, a radical 
difference between the two systems. “ In the Pauranik 
description of the Chakras everything is stated clearly ; 
but with the Tantrik all is mystery, or else how indeed* 
except by such mystification, could they dishonestly carry 
on their profession as Gurus ? ” 

Buddhists may dispute this critic’s understanding of 
their Shtinyavada, as Tantriks will contest his account of 
the origin of their Shastra. The -Historian will call in 
question the statement that Shankara 1 abolished the Tantra. 
For, according to the Shankaravijaya, his action was not 
to abolish any of the sects existing at his time, but to 
reform and establish bonds of unity between them, and to 
induce them all through their differing methods to follow 
a common ideal. Thus, even though Krakacha was absor- 
bed into his God, the extreme Tantrik sect of Kapalikas 
which he represented is said to have continued to exist 
with Shankara’s approval, though possibly in a modified 
form, under its leader Vatukanatha. The Brahmos, Arya- 
samaja, Yaishnavas, and Shaivas, may resent this critic’s 
remarks so far as they touch themselves. I am not here 
concerned with this religious faction, but will limit the 
following observations in reply to the subject in hand : 

The criticism, notwithstanding its “pious” acerbity 
against forms of doctrine of which the writer disapproved, 
contains some just observations. I am not however here 
concerned to establish the reality or value of this Yoga 
method, nor is proof on either of these points available 
exoept through actual experiment and experience. From 
a doctrinal and historical point of view, however, some reply 
may be made. It is true that Karma with Jnana are means 
for the attainment of Moksha. These and Bhakti (devotion> 
whioh may partake of the character of the first or the second* 


1 See ante, p. 277. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


279 


according to the nature of its display, 1 are all contained 
in the eight processes of Yoga. Thus, they include Tapas, 
a form of Karma yoga, 2 and Dhyana, a process of Jn&na 
yoga. As has been pointed out, the “ eight-limbed ” Yoga 
(Ashtangayoga) includes Hatha processes, such as Asana 
and Pranayama. What Hathayogls have done is to develop 
the physical or Hatha processes and aspect. The true 
view of Hathavidya recognizes that it is an auxiliary of 
Jnana whereby Moksha is obtained. It is also obviously 
true that all Bliss is not Moksha. Ananda (Bliss) of a 
kind may be secured through drink or drugs, but no one 
supposes that this is liberating Bliss. Similarly, Hatha- 
yoga processes may secure various forms of gross or subtle 
bodily Bliss which are not The Bliss. There is, however, 
a misunderstanding of the system here described when it 
is described as merely materialistic. It has, like other 
forms of Yoga, a material side or Hatha aspect, since man 
is gross, subtle, and spiritual ; but it has a Jnana aspect 
also. In all Yoga there is mental exercise. As the Jiva 
is both material and spiritual, discipline and progress in 
both the aspects is needed. Kundali is aroused by Mantra, 
which is a form of Consciousness (Chaitanya). “ It is 
he whose being is immersed in the Brahman,” who 
arouses the Devi Kundali by the Mantra Humkara (v. 50). 
The Devi is Herself Shuddha Sattva 3 * 5 (v. 51). “ The wise 

and excellent Yogi, wrapt in Samadhi and devoted to the 

1 Thus, the offering of flowers and the like to the Divinity partakes 

of the nature of Karma ; whilst Bhakti in its transcendental aspect, 

in which by love of the Lord the devotee is merged in Him, is a form 

of Samadhi. 

5 When, however, we deal with what are called the three Kandas 
— viz., Karma,- Upasana, and Jnana — Tapas and the like practices form 
part of Upasana Kanda. The above definition is for the purposes of 
Yoga classification only. 

! Sattva, Atisattva, Paramasattva, Shuddhasattva, and Vishuddha. 
sattva, are five different forms of Chaitanya. 



280 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Lotus Feet of his Guru, should lead Kulakundali along 
with Jiva to Her Lord the Parashiva in the abode of 
Liberation within the pure Lotus, and meditate upon Her 
who grants all desires as the Chaitanyarupa Bhagavatl 
(that is, the Devi whose substance is Consciousness itself) ; 
and as he leads Kulakundali he should make all things 
absorb in Her.” Meditation is made on every centre in 
which She operates. In the Ajna centre Manas can only 
un ite with and be absorbed into KundalinI by becoming 
one with the Jnana-shakti which She is, for She is all 
Shaktis. The Laya-yoga is therefore a combination of 
Karma and Jnana. The former mediately and the latter 
directly achieves Moksha. In the Ajna is Manas and Om, 
and on this the Sadhaka meditates (v. 33). The Sadhaka’s 
Atma must be transformed into a meditation on this lotus 
(v. 34). His Atma is the Dhyana of Om, which is the inner 
Atma of those whose Buddhi is pure. He realizes that he 
and the Brahman are one, and that Brahman is alone real 
(Sat) and all else unreal (Asat). He thus becomes an 
AdvaitavadI, or one who realizes the identity of the indi- 
vidual and universal Self ( ib .). The mind (Chetas) by 
-repeated- practice (Abhyasa) is here dissolved, and such 
•practice is mental operation itself (v. 36). For the Yogi 
•meditating on the Mantra whereby he realizes the unity 
of Prana and Manas closes the “ house which hangs with- 
out support ”. That is, he disengages the Manas from all 
contact with the objective world (v. 36), in order to attain 
the UnmanI Avastha. Here is Paramashiva. The Tantrik 
does not suppose that there are several Shivas in the sense 
of several distinot Deities. The Brahman is one. Rudra, 
Shiva, Paramashiva, and so forth, are but names for differ- 
ent manifestations of the One. When it is said that any 
Devata is in any Chakra, it is meant, that that is the seat 
of the operation of the Brahman, which operation in its 



THEOBETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


281 


Daiva aspect is known as Devata. As these operations 
vary, so do the Devatas. The Hamsah of the Sahasrara 
contains in Himself all Devatas (v. 44). It is here in the 
Ajna that the Yogi places at the time of death his Prana 
and . enters the supreme Purusha, “ who was before the 
three worlds, and who is known by the Vedanta ” (v. 38). 
It is true that this action, like others, is accompanied by 
Hatha processes. But these are associated with medita- 
tion. This meditation unites KundalinI and Jivatma with 
the Bindu which is Shiva and Shakti (Shivashaktimaya), 
and the Yogi after such union, piercing the Brahma randhra 
is freed from the body at death and becomes one with 
Brahman ( ib .). The secondary causal body (Karanavantara 
Sharlra) above Ajna and below Sahasrara is to be seen only 
through meditation (v. 39), when perfection has been obtain- 
ed in Yoga practice. V. 40 refers to Samadhi Yoga. 

Passing to the Sahasrara, it is said, “ well concealed 
and attainable only by great effort, is that subtle ‘ Void ’ 
(Shunya) which is the chief root of Liberation ” (v. 42.) In 
Paramashiva are united two forms of Bliss (v- 42) — namely, 
Rasa or Paramananda Rasa (that is, the bliss of Moksha) 
and Virasa (or the bliss which is the product of the union 
of Shiva and Shakti). It is from the latter union that 
there arise the universe and the nectar which floods the 
lesser world (Kshudrabrahmanda), or the body. The ascetic 
(Yati) of pure mind is instructed in the knowledge by which 
he realizes the unity of the Jivatma and Paramatma (v. 43). 
It is “ that most excellent of men who has controlled his 
mind (Niyatanija-chitta) — that is, concentrated the inner 
faculties (Antahkarana) on the Sahasrara, and has known 
it — who is freed from rebirth,” and thus attains Moksha 
{y. 45). He becomes Jlvanmukta, remaining only so long 
in the body as is necessary to work out the Karma, the 
activity of which has already commenced — just as a 



282 T HE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

revolving wheel will yet run a little time after the cause of 
its revolving has ceased. It is the Bhagavatl Nirvana- Kala 
who grants divine liberating knowledge — that is, Tattva- 
jnana, or knowledge of the Brahman (v. 47). Within Her 
is Nityananda, which is “ pure Consciousness itself ” (v. 49) , 
and “ is attainable only by Yogis through pure Jnana ” (ib.). 
It is this Jnana which secures liberation (ib.). The Maya 
Tantra says : “ Those who are learned in Yoga say that it 
is the unity of Jlva and Atma (in Samadhi). According to 
the experience of others, it is the knowledge (Jnana) of the 
identity of Shiva and Atma. The Agamavadls say that 
knowledge (Jnana) of Shakti is Yoga. Other wise men say 
that the knowledge (Jnana) of the Purana Purusha is Yoga 
and others again, the Prakritivadis, declare that the know- 
ledge of the union of Shiva and Shakti is Yoga ” (v. 57). 
“ The Devi, by dissolving KundalinI in the Parabindu, 
effects the liberation of some Sadhakas through their medi- 
tation upon the identity of Shiva and Atma in the Bindu. 
She does so in the case of others by a similar process and 
by meditation (Chintana) on Shakti. In other cases this 
is done by concentration of thought on the Paramapurusha, 
and in other cases by the meditation of the Sadhaka on 
the union of Shiva and Shakti ” (ib.). In fact, the wor- 
shipper of any particular Devata should realize that he is 
one with the object of his worship. In Pranava worship, 
for instance, the worshipper realizes his identity with the 
Omkara. In other forms of worship he realizes his identity 
with KundalinI, who is embodied by the different Mantras 
worshipped by different worshippers. In short, Jnana is 
Kriyajnana and Svartipa jnana. The latter is direct spiritual 
experience. The former are the meditative processes lead- 
ing to it. There is here Kriyajnana, and when KundalinI 
unites with Shiva She gives Jnana (Svartipa), for Her 
nature (Svartipa), as also His, is that. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


288 


After union with Shiva, KundalinI makes Her return 
journey. After She has repeatedly 1 gone to Him, She 
makes a journey from which, at the will of the Yogi, there 
is no return. Then the Sadhaka is Jlvanmukta. His body 
preserved until such time as the active Karma is exhausted, 
when he can achieve bodiless (Yideha) or Kaivalya Mukti 
(supreme Liberation). “ The revered Lord Preceptor ” — 
that is, Shankaracharya — in his celebrated Anandalaharl 
thus hymns Her return (v. 58) : 

“ Kuharini, Thou sprinklest all things with the stream 
of nectar which flows from the tips of Thy two feet ; and 
as Thou returneth to Thine own place, Thou vivifiest and 
makest visible all things that were aforetime invisible; 
and on reaching Thy abode Thou resumest Thy snake- 
like coil and sleepest.” That is, as Her passage upward 
was Layakrama (dissolution of the Tattvas), so Her return 
is Srishtikrama (re-creation of the Tattvas). V. 54 says 
that the Yogi who has practised Yarna and Niyama and the 
like (that is, the other processes of Ashtangayoga, including 
Dhyana with its resulting Samadhl), and whose mind has 
been thus controlled, is never again reborn. Gladdened by 
the constant realization of the Brahman, he is at peace. 

Whether the method above described be or be not 
effectual or desirable, it must be obvious upon a perusal 
of the text, which gives an explanation of it, that the Yoga 
which the author affirms to be the cause of Liberation is not 
merely material, but that it is the arousing of the Power 
(Jlvashakti) of the World-Consciousness (Jagachchaitanya) 
which makes man what he is. The Yogi thus does claim 
to secure the bliss of Liberation by making entry thereto 
through the doors of Karma and Jnanayoga. 

1 This is necessary in order that the aptitude be attained. By 
repetition the act becomes natural, and its result in the end becomes 
permanent. 



284 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


A Brahmo Author 1 who is so little favourable to the 
Tantra as to describe the difference between it and the 
Veda as being “ as great as that which exists between the 
Netherworld (Patala) and Heaven (Svarga) ” 2 does not deny 
the efficiency of the Tantrik Shatchakra Sadhana, but con- 
trasts it with the Vaidika Gayatri Sadhana in an account 
of the two methods which I here summarise in inverted 
commas. 

“ The Chakras (the existence of which is not disputed) 
are placed where the nerves and muscles unite.” 3 The Ajna 
is the place of the Command. This manifests in the opera- 
tion of Buddhi. If the command is followed, the Sadhaka 
becomes pure of disposition (Bhava) and speech. Speech 
displays itself in the throat, the region of the Vishuddha. 
The next lower Chakra is called Anahata because of its con- 
nection with Nada, which is self-produced in the heart. 
The V&yu in Anahata is Pranashakti. Here when free from 
sin one can see the Atma. Here the Yogi realizes ‘ I am He’. 
Fire is at the navel. The seat of desire is at the root of the 
Svadhishthana. In the lowest lotus the Muladhara are the 


1 Gayatrimulaka Shatchakrer vyakhyana o sadhana (Mangala Ganga 
Mission Press). 

* The unorthodox author cited, quoting the saying that “ to attain 
IBiddhi (fruition) in Shruti (study and practice of ordinances of the 
Vedas) the Br&hmana should follow the Tantra,** asks, in conformity 
with his views on the latter Shastra, '* How can those who are divorced 
from Veda get Siddhi in Shruti ? ” This echoes a common reproach, 
that the Tantra is opposed to the Vedas which the Shastra itself denies. 
The Kulfirnava Tantra speaks of it, on the contrary, as Vedatmaka. 
Of course it is one question to claim to be based on Veda and another 
whether a particular Shastra is in fact in accordance with it. On this 
the Indian schools dispute, just as the Christian sects differ as to 
the Bible which all olaim as their basis. 

3 This definition is inaccurate. As explained later, the physical 
ganglia are merely gross correspondences of the subtle vital C hakr as 
which inform them. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


285 


three Shaktis of Jlva — namely, Ichchha, Kriya, and Jnana — 
in an unconscious unenlivened state. The Sadhaka by the 
aid of the Paratma as fire (Agni) and air (Vayu ) 1 awakens 
these three forces (Shaktis) and ultimately by the grace of 
the Paratma he is united, with the Turiya Brahman.” 

“ In days of old Sadhana commenced at the Mfiladhara 
Chakra; that is, those who were not Sadhakas of the 
Gayatrl-Mantra commenced from below at the lowest centre. 
There was a good reason for this, for thereby the senses 
(Indriya) were controlled. Without such control purity 
of disposition (Bhava) cannot be attained. If such purity 
be not gained, then the mind (Chitta) cannot find its place 
in the heart ; and if the Chitta be not in the heart there 
can be no union with the Paratma. The first thing, there- 
fore, which a Sadhaka has to do is to control the senses. 
Those who achieved this without fixing their minds on the 
Lord (Ishvara ) 8 had to go through many difficult and 
painful practices (such as the Mudras, Bandhas, etc., 
mentioned later) which were necessary for the control of 
the Indriyas and of the action of the Gunas. All this is 
unnecessary in the Gayatrl Sadhana or method. It is true 
that the senses should be controlled in the three lower 
centres (Chakras) — this is, cupidity (Lobha) in the Mula- 
dhara, lust (Kama) in the Svadhishthana at the root of 
the genitals, and anger (Krodha) at the navel. These three 
passions are the chief to set the senses in motion, and are 
the main doors to Hell. The way, however in which 
control should be effected is to place the Chitta (mind) on 
Satta (existence) of Paramatma in these Chakras. The 

1 The Author here refers to the processes subsequently described, 
whereby air is indrawn and the internal fires are set ablaze to rouse 
the sleeping serpent. The Paratma is the Supreme Atma. 

* This observation suggests a line of thought which is of value. 
Some pursue the path of devotion (Bhakti), but what of those who have 
it not or in less degree ? 



286 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Ghitta should be taken to each of these three lowest centres 
and controlled, whereby these passions which have their 
respective places at those centres are controlled. When- 
ever, therefore, the senses (Indriya) get out of control fix 
the Chitta (mind) on the Paramatma in the particular 
Chakra.” 

[To give the above an English turn of thought : if, say, 
anger is to be controlled, carry the mind to the navel, and 
there meditate upon the existence of the Supreme One 
(Paramatma) in this centre, not merely as the Supreme 
without the body and within the body, but as embodied in 
that particular part of it ; for that is Its manifestation. The 
result is that the passionate activity of this centre is sub- 
dued ; for its functioning is attuned to the state of the Atma 
which informs it, and both the body and mind attain the 
peace of the Atma on which the self is centred. 1 ] 

“ Having thus controlled the senses, the Gayatrl Sa- 
dhana commences, not at the lowest, but at the highest, of 
the six centres — namely, the Ajna between the eyebrows. 
There is no necessity for the difficult and painful process 
of piercing the Chakras from below . 2 Fix the mind on the 
Lord (Ishvara) in the highest centre. For the ether (Akasha) 
there is the being (Satta) of the Supreme Atma. There 
and in the two lower centres (Vishuddha and Anahata) 
enjoyment is had with Ishvara. The union between Jlva 
and Prakriti is called Honey (Madhu) in the Upanishads. 
By Sadhana of the Ajna centre (Chakra) purity of being 
(Bh&vashuddhi) is attained, and purity and speech follows on 
the attainment of such Bhava. Yoga with the Supreme 
Devatft who is all-knowing is had here. He who is freed 

* The paragraph in brackets is mine.— A.A. 

* This observation appears to show a misunderstanding of the 
specific character of the Yoga. If it is desired to rouse Kundall, the 
operation must, I am told, commence at the lowest centre. There are, 
however, other forms of Yoga in which Kundall is not aroused, — A.A. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


287 


from all disturbing conditions of body and mind roaches the 
state which is beyond the Gunas (Gunatlta), which is that 
of the Supreme Brahman.” 

We may conclude these two criticisms with the true 
Indian saying somewhat inconsistently quoted in the first : 
‘ To dispute the religion (Dharma) of another is the mark 
of a narrow mind. 0 Lord ! O Great Magician ! with what- 
soever faith or feeling we call on Thee, Thou art pleased.” 

Whatsoever difference there has been, or may be, as to 
forms and methods, whether in Upasana or Yoga, yet all 
Indian worshippers of the ancient type seek a common end 
in unity with Light of Consciousness, which is beyond the 
regions of Sun, Moon, and Fire. 

It will now be asked what are the general principles 
which underlie the Yoga practice above described ? How is 
it that the rousing of KundalinI Shakti and Her union with 
Shiva effects the state of ecstatic union (Samadhi) and 
spiritual experience which is alleged ? The reader who has 
understood the general principles recorded in the previous 
sections should, if he has not already divined it, readily 
appreciate the answer here given. 

In the first place, the preceding section will have indicat- 
ed that there are two lines of Yoga — namely, Dhyana or 
Bhavana Yoga, and KundalinI Yoga, the subject of this work 
— and that there is a difference between the two. The First 
class of Yoga is that in which ecstasy (Samadhi) is attained 
by intellective processes (Kriya jnana) of meditation and 
the like with the aid, it may be, in the preliminary stage of 
auxiliary processes of Mantra or Hathayoga 1 (other than 
the rousing of KundalinI Shakti) and by detachment from 
the world ; the second is that Yoga in which, though 
intellective processes are not neglected, the creative and 


Such as Pr&nftyama, Asana. See ante, p. 192. 



288 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


sustaining Shakti of the whole body as KundalinI is ac- 
tually and truly united with the Lord Consciousness so as 
to procure for the Yogi a result which the Jnana-yogI 
directly gains for himself. The Yogi makes Her introduce 
Him to Her Lord, and enjoys the bliss of union through 
Her. Though it is He who arouses Her, it is She who 
gives Jnana, for She is Herself that. The Dhyana-yogI 
gains what acquaintance with the supreme state his own 
meditative powers can give him, and knows not the enjoy- 
ment of union with Shiva in and through his fundamental 
body-power. The two forms of Yoga differ both as to 
method and result. The HathayogI in search of Laya 
regards his Yoga and its fruit as the highest. The Jnana- 
yogI thinks similarly of his own. And in fact Raja Yoga is 
generally regarded as the highest form of Yoga. KundalinI 
is so renowned that many seek to know Her. Having 
studied the theory of this Yoga, I have often been asked 
“ whether one can get on without it ”. The answer of the 
Shastra is : “It depends upon what you are looking for and 
on your powers.” If you want to rouse KundalinI Shakti 
to enjoy the bliss of union of Shiva and Shakti through 
Her, which your capacities do not otherwise allow you to 
have or if you wish to gain the accompanying powers 
(Siddhi),' it is obvious that this end can only be achieved 
by the Yoga here described. But if liberation is sought and 
the Yogi has capacity to attain it without KundalinI, then 
such Yoga is not necessary, for liberation may be obtained 
by pure Jnanayoga through detachment, the exercise, and 
then the stilling, of the mind without any reference to the 
central bodily power at all. Indeed perfect Liberation 
(Nirvikalpa Sam&dhi) can only be obtained in this way by 
Raja Yoga of which KundalinI Yoga is a preliminary 

* Thus, by raising KundalinI Shakti to the Manipura centre, power 
may (it is said) be acquired over fire. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


289 


method . 1 Samadhi may also be attained on the path of 
devotion (Bhakti), as on that of knowledge. Indeed, the 
highest devotion (Parabhakti) is not different from knowl- 
edge. Both are realization. A Dhyana-Yogi should not 
neglect his body, ; knowing that, as he is both mind and 
matter, each reacts the one upon the other. Neglect or 
mere mortification of the body is more apt to produce 
disordered imagination than a true spiritual experience. He 
is not concerned, however, with the body in the sense that 
the Hathayogl is. It is possible to be a successful Dhyana- 
Yogl and yet to be weak in body and health, sick, and 
short-lived. His body, and not he himself, determines when 
he shall die. He cannot die at will. The ecstasis, which 
he calls “ Liberation while yet living ” (Jlvanmukti), is (so 
it was said to me) not a stake like that of real Liberation. 
He may be still subject to a suffering body, from which 
he escapes only at death, when he is liberated. His ecstasy 
is in the nature of a meditation which passes into the Void 
(Bhavana- samadhi) effected through negation of thought 
(Chittavritti) and detachment from the world — a process in 
which the act of raising the central power of ■ the body 
takes no part. By his effort 2 the mind, which is a product 
of Kundalin! as Prakriti Shakti, together with its worldly 
desires, is stilled, so that the veil produced by -mental 
fuctioning is removed from Consciousness. In Layayoga 
KundalinI Herself, when roused by the Yogi (for such 
rousing, is his act and part), achieves for him this illumina- 
tion. But why, it may be asked, should one trouble over 


'Subject to Dharma, lama, Niyama, etc. In any case where the 
end sought is purely “ spiritual ’’ there is Vairagya or renunciation. 

4 This makes Raja Yoga the highest and most difficult of Yogas, 
for mind is made to conquer itself. In Laya Yoga the conquest is 
achieved for the adhaka by KundalinI Shakti. He arouses Her and 
She achieves for him Siddhi. It is easier to arouse KundalinI than to 
win by one’s thought alone Nirvikalpa Samadhi. 

19 



290 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


the body and its oentral power, the more particularly that 
there are unusual risks and difficulties involved? The 
answer has been already given alleged certainty and faoility 
of realization through the agency of the power which is 
Knowledge itself (J nana-rUpa shakti) ; an intermediate 
acquisition of powers (Siddhi) ; and both intermediate and 
final enjoyment. This answer may, however, usefully be de- 
veloped, as a fundamental principle of the Shakta Tantra 
is involved. 

The Shakta Tantra claims to give both enjoyment 1 
(Bhukti) in this and the next world, and Liberation (Mukti) 
from all worlds. This claim is based on a profoundly true 
principle . 2 If the ultimate Reality is one which exists in 
two aspects of quiescent enjoyment of the Self in Libera- 
tion from all form and of active enjoyment of objects — that 
is, as pure ‘ Spirit ’ and ‘ Spirit ’ in matter — then a complete 
union with Reality demands such unity in both of its 
aspects. It must be known both “ here ” (Iha) and “ there ” 
(Amutra). When rightly apprehended and practised, there 
is truth in the doctrine which teaches that man should 
make the best of both worlds . 3 There is no real incom- 
patibility between the two, provided action is taken in 
conformity with the universal law of manifestation. It 


1 As there are persons who always associate with the word “ en- 
joyment ” (Bhoga) “ beer and skittles,” it is necessary to say that that 
is not the necessary implication of the word Bhoga, nor the sense in 
which it is here used. Philosophically, Bhoga is the perception of 
objects upon whioh enjoyment, or it may be suffering, ensues. Here 
any form of sense or intellectual enjoyment is intended. All life in the 
world of form is enjoyment. Bhoga in fact includes suffering. 

* Whioh it is possible to adopt without approval of any particular 
application to whioh it may be put. There are some (to say the least) 
dangerous practices which in hands of inferior persons have led to 
results which have given the Sh&stra in this respect its ill repute. 

1 " Worlds," because that is the English phrase. Here, however, 
the antithesis is between the world (whether as earth or heaven) and 
liberation from all worlds. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


291 


is held to be false teaching that happiness hereafter can 
only be had by neglect to seek it now, or in deliberately 
sought for suffering and mortification. It is the one Shiva 
who is the supreme blissful experience, and who appears 
in the form of man with a life of mingled pleasure and 
pain. Both happiness here and the bliss of liberation here 
and hereafter may be attained if the identity of these 
Shivas be realized in every human act. This will be 
achieved by making every human function, without excep- 
tion, a religious act of sacrifice and worship (Yajna). In 
the ancient Yaidik ritual, enjoyment by way of food and 
drink was preceded and accompanied by ceremonial sacri- 
fice and ritual. Such enjoyment was the fruit of the 
sacrifice and the gift of the Gods. At a higher stage in 
the life of a Sadhaka it is offered to the One from whom 
all gifts come and of whom the Devatas are inferior limited 
forms. But this offering also involves a dualism from 
which the highest Monistic (Advaita) Sadhana of the 
Shakta-Tantra is free. Here the individual life and the 
world-life are known as one. And so the Tantrik Sadhaka, 
when eating or drinking, 1 or fulfilling any other of the 
natural functions of the body, does so, saying and believ- 
ing, Shivo’ham (“I am Shiva”), Bhairavo’ham (“I am 
Bhairava ”), 2 Sa’ham (“ I am She ”) \ It is not merely the 
separate individual who thus acts and enjoys. It is Shiva 
who does so in and through him. Such a one recognizes, 
as has been well said, 4 that his life and the play of all its 
activities are not a thing apart, to be held and pursued 
egotistically for its and his own separate sake, as though 

1 Thus in the Shakta ritual the Sadhaka who takes the wine-cup 
pours the wine as a libation into the mouth of KundalinT Shakti, the 
Shakti appearing in the form of himself. 

’ A name of Shiva. 

3 That is, the Mother of all appearing in the form of Her 
worshipper. 

4 By Sj. Arobindo Ghose in “ Arya. ” 



1292 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

enjoyment was something to be seized from life by his own 
unaided strength and with a sense of separateness ; but his 
life and all its activities are conceived as part of the divine 
action in nature (Shakti) manifesting and operating in the 
form of man. He realizes in the pulsing beat of his heart the 
rhythm which throbs through, and is the sign of, the univer- 
sal life. To neglect or to deny the needs of the body, to 
think of it as something not divine, is to neglect and deny 
that greater life of which it is a part, and to falsify the 
great doctrine of the unity of all and of the ultimate ident- 
ity of, Matter and Spirit. Governed by such a concept, even 
the lowliest physical needs take on a cosmic significance. 
The body is Shakti. Its needs are Shakti’s needs ; when 
man enjoys, it is Shakti who enjoys through him. In all 
he sees and does it is the Mother who looks and acts. His 
eyes and hands are Hers. The whole body and all its 
functions are Her manifestation. To fully realize Her as 
such is to perfect this particular manifestation of Her’s 
which is himself. Man, when seeking to be the master of 
himself, so seeks on all the planes, physical, mental and 
spiritual ; nor can they be severed, for they are all related, 
being but differing aspects of the one all-pervading Consci- 
ousness. Who is the more divine, he who neglects and 
spurns the body or mind that he may attain some fancied 
spiritual superiority, or he who rightly cherishes both as 
forms of the one Spirit which they clothe ? Realization is 
more speedily and truly attained by discerning Spirit in r 
and as, all being and its activities, than by fleeing from and 
oasting these aside as being either unspiritual or illusory 
and impediments in the path . 1 If not rightly conceived, they 
may be impediments and the cause of fall, otherwise they 

1 The first iB the T&ntrik method of applying Ved&ntic truth ; the 
second, the ascetic or M&y&v&din method, with a greatness of its own, 
hut perhaps in less conformity, with the needs of the mass of men. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


293 


•become instruments of attainments ; and what others are 
there to hand ? And so the Kularnava Tantra says : “ By 
what men fall, by that they rise.” When acts are done in 
the right feeling and frame of mind (Bhava), those acts give 
enjoyment (Bhukti) ; and the repeated and prolonged Bhava 
produces at length that divine experience (Tattvajnana) 
which is liberation. When the Mother is seen in all things, 
She is at length realized as She is when beyond them all. 

These general principles have their more frequent ap- 
plication in the life of the world before entrance on the path 
of Yoga proper. The Yoga here described is, however, also 
an application of these same principles in so far as it is 
•claimed that thereby both Bhukti and Mukti are attained. 
Ordinarily it is said that where there is Yoga there is no 
Bhoga (enjoyment), but in Kaula teaching Yoga is Bhoga 
and Bhoga is Yoga, and the world itself becomes the seat of 
liberation (“ Yogo bhogayate, mokshayate samsarah ”). 1 

In Kundalini Yoga enjoyment (Bhoga), and powers 
(Siddhi) may be had at each of the centres to which the 
Central Power is brought and by continuance of the practice 
upward the enjoyment which is Liberation may be had. 

By the lower processes of Hathayoga it is sought to 
attain a perfect physical body which will also be a wholly 
fit instrument by which the mind may function. A perfect 
mind again approaches, and in Samadhi passes into, pure 
Consciousness itself. The HathayogI thus seeks a body 
which shall be as strong as steel, healthy, free from suffering 
and therefore long-lived. Master of the body, he is master 
-of both life and death. His lustrous form enjoys the vitality 
of youth. HB lives as long as he has the will to live and 


1 Yogo bhogayate sakshat dushkritam sukritayate 
Mokshayate hi samsarah kauladharme kuleshvari. 

(Kularnava Tantra.) 



294 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


enjoy in the world of forms. His death is the “ death at 
will,” when making the great and wonderfully expressive 
gesture of dissolution 1 he grandly departs. But it may be 
said the Hathayogls do get sick and die. In the first place, the 
full discipline is one of difficulty and risk, and can only be 
pursued under the guidance of a skilled Guru. As the Gorak- 
sha Samhita says, unaided and unsuccessful practice may 
lead not only to disease, but death. He who seeks to con- 
quer the Lord of Death incurs the risk on failure of a more 
speedy conquest by Him. All who attempt this Yoga do not, 
of course, succeed, or meet with the same measure of success.. 
Those who fail, not only incur the infirmities of ordinary 
men, but others brought on by practices which have been 
ill pursued, or for which they are not fit. Those, again, 
who do succeed, do so in varying degree. One may prolong 
his life to the sacred age of 84, others to 100, others yet 
further. In theory, at least, those who are perfected (Siddha) 
go from this plane when they will. All have not the same cap- 
acity or opportunity through want of will, bodily strength, 
or circumstance. All may not be willing or able to follow 
the strict rules necessary for success. Nor does modern life 
offer in general the opportunities for so complete a physical 
culture. All men may not desire such a life, or may think 
the attainment of it not worth the trouble involved. Some 
may wish to be rid of their body, and that as speedily as 
possible. It is therefore said that it is easier to gain libera- 
tion than deathlessness. The former may be had by unselfish- 
ness, detachment from the world, moral and mental disci- 
pline. But to conquer death is harder than this ; for these 
qualities and aots will not alone avail. He who does so 
conquer holds life in the hollow of one hand, and if he be 


1 Samh&ratnudrfi, the gesture which signifies dissolution, “ Now I 
an? about to die ”. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


295 


a successful (Siddha) Yogi, liberation in the other. He has 
Enjoyment and Liberation. He is the Emperor who is 
master of the world and the possessor of the bliss which is 
beyond all worlds. Therefore it is claimed by the Hathayogl 
that every Sadhana is inferior to Hathayoga. 

The Hathayogl who rouses KundalinI gains various 
occult powers (Siddhi) and enjoyment thereby. At every 
centre to which he leads KundalinI he experiences a special 
form of bliss (Ananda) and gains special powers (Siddhi). 
If he has Vairagya or distaste for these he carries Her to 
the Shiva of his cerebral centre, and enjoys the Supreme 
Bliss, which in its nature is that of Liberation, and which, 
when established in permanence, is Liberation itself on the 
loosening of the spirit and body. She who “ shines like a 
chain of lights ” — a lightning-flash — in the centre of his body 
is the “ Inner Woman ” to whom reference was made when 
it was said, “ What need have I of any outer woman ? I 
have an Inner Woman within myself.” The Vlra (“heroic ”) 1 
Sadhaka, knowing himself as the embodiment of Shiva 
(Shivo’ham), unites with woman as the embodiment of 
Shakti on the physical plane. 2 The Divya (“ divine ”) 
Sadhaka or Yogi unites within himself his own principles, 
femalo and male which are the “ Heart of the Lord ” 
(Hridayam parameshituh) 3 or Shakti, and Her Lord Con- 
sciousness or Shiva. It is their union which is the mystic 

See my “ Shakti and Shakta ’*. 

2 The statement in the Tantras that this union is liberation (Mukti) 
is mere Stuti— that is, praise in the Indian fashion of the subject in 
hand, which goes beyond the actual fact. The European reader who 
takes such statements au pied de la lettre and ridicules them makes him- 
self (to the knowing) ridiculous. What actually happens in such case is 
a fugitive bliss, which, like all bliss, emanates from the Great Bliss, but 
is a pale reflection of it which nowise, in itself, secures immunity from 
future rebirth. It is the bliss of this lower Sadhana, as the union of 
KundalinI Shakti with Shiva is that of the higher. 

8 As the Parapraveshika beautifully calls Her. Yoginlhridaya 
Tantra says, “ She is the heart, for from Her all things issue.** 



296 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


coition (Maithuna) of the Tantras . 1 There are two forms 
of Union (S&marasya) 2 — namely, the first, which is the gross 
(Sthtlla), or the union of the physical embodiments of the 
Supreme Consciousness ; and the second, which is the 
subtle (Sakshma), or the union of the quiescent and active 
principles in Consciousness itself. It is the latter which 
is Liberation. 

Lastly, what in a philosophical sense is the nature of 
the process here described ? Shortly stated, energy (Shakti) 
polarises itself into two forms — namely, static or potential 
and dynamic as Prana, the working forces of the body. 
Behind all activity there is a static background. This static 
centre in the human body is the central Serpent Power in 
the Muladhara (root support). It is the power which is the 
static support (Adhara) of the whole body, and all its moving 
Pranik forces. This centre (Kendra) of power is a gross form 
of Chit or Consciousness — that is, in itself (Svarupa) it is 
Consciousness and by appearance it is a power which, as the 
highest form of force, is a manifestation of it. Just as there 
is a distinction (though identity at base) between the supreme 
quiescent Consciousness and its active power (Shakti), so 
when Consciousness manifests as energy (Shakti), it possesses 
the twin aspects of potential and kinetic energy. In Advaita 
Vedanta there can be no 'partition, in fact, of Reality. To 
the perfect eye of its Siddha the process of becoming is an 
asoription (Adhyasa) to the ultimate Real . 3 To the eye of 

' This, as the Yogini Tantra says, is the coition (Maithuna) of those 
who are Yati (who have controlled their passions). 

9 This term indicates the enjoyment which arises from the union 
of male and female, which may be either of bodies or of their inner 
principles. 

* To the eye of Siddhi, to the spirit who is Udftsina (simple witness 
unmindful of the external world), becoming is Adhyasa and nothing 
real (in the Indian sense of that term, as used by Shankara). Creation 
XShristfi is Vivarta, or apparent and not real evolution (Parinama). 
Adhyasa is attributing to something that which it does not really possess. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


297 


the S&dhaka — that is, the aspirant for Siddhi (perfected 
accomplishment) — to the spirit which is still toiling through 
the lower planes and variously identifying itself with 
them, becoming is tending to appear, and appearance is 
real. The Shakta Tantra is a rendering of Vedantic truth 
from this practical point of view, and represents the world- 
process as a polarization in Consciousness itself. This 
polarity as it exists in, and as, the body, is destroyed by 
Yoga, which disturbs the equilibrium of bodily conscious- ( 
ness which is the result of the maintenance of these two 
poles. In the human body the potential pole of energy, 
which is the supreme power, is stirred to action, on which 
the moving forces (dynamic Shakti) supported by it are 
drawn thereto, and the whole dynamism 1 thus engendered 
moves upward to unite with the quiescent Consciousness 
in the highest Lotus . 2 This matter has been so well put 
by my friend and collaborator Professor Pramathanatha 
Mukhyopadhyaya that I cannot improve on his account , 3 
and therefore cite it in lieu of giving a further description 
of my own : 

“ When you say that Kundall Shakti is the primordial 
Shakti at rest, I am led to think of an analogy (and it may 
be more than an analogy) in modern science. Cosmic 
energy in its physical aspect may be considered either as 
static or as dynamic, the former being a condition of 
equilibrium, the latter a condition of motion or change of 

1 The projecting power of consciousness withdraws its projections 
into the sensuous world, and the power of Consciousness remains as 
Power to Be. * 

* Why here, it may be asked, seeing that Consciousness is all per- 
vading ? True : but there the Tamasik force of Maya is at its lowest 
strength. Therefore Consciousness is reached there. 

3 In a letter to me, in reply to one of mine answering some inquiries 
made by him as regards this Yoga. He wrote that my letter had sug- 
gested certain ideas “ on a subject of supreme interest philosophically 
and practically in the life of a Hindu,” which I reproduce in the text. 
The bracketed translations of the Sanskrit words are mine. 



298 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

relative position. Thus a material thing apparently at rest 
(there being no absolute rest except in pure Consciousness 
or Chit) should be regarded as energy or Shakti equili- 
brated, the various elements of it holding one another in 
check (or, as the mathematicians will say, the algebraic sum 
of the forces being zero). Of course, in any given case the 
equilibrium is relative rather than absolute. The import- 
ant thing to note is this polarization of Shakti into two 
# forms — static and dynamic. 

“ In the tissues of a living body, again, the operative 
energy (whatever the nature of that may be, whether we 
believe in a special ‘ vital force ’ or not) polarizes itself into 
two similar forms — anabolic and katabolic — one tending to 
change and the other to conserve the tissues, the actual 
condition of the tissues being simply the resultant of these 
two co-existent or concurrent activities. 

“ In the mind or experience also this polarization or 
polarity is patent to reflection. In my own writings 1 I 
have constantly urged this polarity between pure Chit and 
the stress which is involved in it : there is a stress or Shakti 
developing the mind through an infinity of forms and 
changes but all these forms and changes are known as 
involved in the pure and unbounded ether of awareness 
(Chid&k&sha). This analysis therefore exhibits the prim- 
ordial Shakti in the same two polar forms as before — static 
and dynamic — and here the polarity is most fundamental 
and approaches absoluteness. 

“ Lastly, let us consider for one moment the atom of 
modern science. The chemical atom has ceased to be an 
atom (indivisible unit of matter). We have instead the 
electron theory. According to this, the so-called atom is a 
miniature universe very much like our own solar system. 

1 “ Approaches to Troth,” “ The Patent Wonder,” valuable pre- 
sentments in modern terms of the ancient Vedantic teaching. 



THEORETICAL BASES OP THIS YOGA 29ft 

At the centre of this atomic system we have a charge of 
positive electricity round which a cloud of negative charges 
(called electrons) is supposed to revolve, just as myriads of 
planets and smaller bodies revolve round the sun. The 
positive and the negative charges hold each other in check, 
so that the atom is a condition of equilibrated energy, and 
does not therefore ordinarily break up, though it may possi- 
bly break up and set free its equilibrated store of energy, as 
probably it does in the emanations of the radium. What 
do we notice here ? The same polarity of Shakti into a static 
and a dynamic partner — viz., the positive charge at rest at 
the centre, and the negative charges in motion round about 
the centre : a most suggestive analogy or illustration, per- 
haps, of the cosmic facts. The illustration may be carried 
into other domains of science and philosophy, but I may as 
well forbear going into details. For the present we may, I 
think, draw this important conclusion : 

“ Shakti, as manifesting itself in the universe, divides 
itself into two polar aspects — static and dynamic — which 
implies that you cannot have it in a dynamic form without 
at the same time having it in a corresponding static form, 
much like the poles of a magnet. In any given sphere of 
activity of force we must have, according to this cosmic 
principle, a static background — Shakti at rest or ‘ coiled 
as the Tantras say. 

“ Before I proceed, let me point out what I conceive to 
be the fundamental significance of our Tantric and Pauranic 
Kali. This figure or Murti is both real and symbolic, as 
indeed every Murti in the so-called Hindu mythology is. 
Now, the Divine Mother Kali is a symbol of the cosmic truth 
just explained. Sadashiva, on whose breast She dances, 
nude and dark, is the static background of pure Chit, white 
and inert (Shavarupa), because pure Chit is in itself Svapra- 
kasha (self-manifest) and Nishkriya (actionless). At the 



300 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

same time, apart from and beyond Consciousness there can 
be nothing — no power or Shakti — hence the Divine Mother 
stands on the bosom of the Divine Father. The Mother 
Herself is all activity and Gunamayl (in Her aspect as Pra- 
krit! composed of the Gunas). Her nakedness means that 
though She encompasses all,* there is nothing to encom- 
pass Herself ; Her darkness means that She is inscrutable 
Avang-manasagochara (beyond the reach of thought and 
speech).. Of course, this is no partition of reality into two 
(there lies the imperfection of the Sankhya doctrine of Puru- 
sha and Prakriti, which is otherwise all right), but merely 
polarization in our experience of an indivisible fact which is 
the primordial (Adya) Shakti itself. Thus Chit is also 
Shakti; Shiva is Shakti and Shakti is Shiva, as the Tantras 
say. It is Gunashraya (support of Gunas) as well as Guna- 
maya (whose substance is Gunas) ; Nirguna (attributeless) 
as well as Saguna (with attribute), as said in a well-known 
passage of the Chandi. 

“ Your suggestive hint 1 makes the nature of the Kun- 
dalinl Shakti rather clear to me. You are quite right, per- 
haps, in saying that the cosmic Shakti is the Samashti (col- 
lectivity) in relation to which the KundalinI in the bodies 
is only the Yyashti (individual) ; it is an illustration, a re- 
production on a miniature scale, a microcosmic plan, of 
the whole. The law or principle of the whole — that of 
macrocosmic Shakti-— should therefore be found in the 
KundalinI. That law we have seen to be the law of polariza- 
tion into static-dynamic or potential-kinetic aspects. In 
the living body, therefore, there must be such polarization. 
Now, the KundalinI coiled three times and a half at the 
Mal&dh&ra is the indispensable and unfailing statio back- 
ground of the dynamic Shakti operative in the whole body, 
carrying on processes and working out changes. The body, 
1 That KundalinI is the static Shakti. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 301 

therefore, may be compared to a magnet with two poles. 
The Muladhara is the static pole in relation to the rest of 
the body, which is dynamic ; the working, the body neces- 
sarily presupposes and finds such a static support, hence 
perhaps 1 the name Muladhara, the fundamental support. 
In one sense, the static Shakti at the Muladhara is neces- 
sarily co-existent with the creating and evolving Shakti of 
the body, because the dynamic aspect or pole can never be 
without its static counterpart. In another sense, it is the 
Shakti left over (you have yourself pointed this out, and the 
italics are yours) after the Prithivi — the last of the Bhutas — 
has been created, a magazine of power to be drawn upon and 
utilized for further activity, if there should arise any need 
for such. Taking the two senses together (yours as well as 
mine), Shakti at the Muladhara is both co-existent with 
every act of creation or manifestation and is the residual 
effect of such act — both cause and effect, in fact — an idea 
which, deeply looked into, shows no real contradiction. 
There is, in fact, what the physicist will describe as a cycle 
or circuit in action. Let us take the impregnated ovum — 
the earliest embryological stage of the living body. In it the 
KundalinI Shakti is already presented in its two polar as- 
pects : the ovum, which the mother-element represents, one 
pole (possibly the static), and the spermatazoon, which is the 
father-element, represents the other (possibly the dynamic).® 
From their fusion proceed those processes which the biologist 
calls differentiation and integration ; but in all this process 
of creation the cycle can be fairly easily traced. Shakti flows 
out of the germinal cell (fertilized ovum), seizes upon foreign 
matter, and assimilates it, and thereby grows in bulk; 
divides and sub-divides itself, and then again co-ordinates 

1 Certainly. 

* The process of fertilization is dealt with in the Matrik&bheda 
Tantra. 



302 THE SIX CENTEES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


all its divided parts into one organic whole. Now in all this 
we have the cycle. Seizing upon foreign matter is an out- 
wardly directed Activity, assimilation is an inwardly 
directed activity or return current ; cell division and multi- 
plication is an outwardly directed operation, co-ordination 
is inwardly directed ; 1 and so on. The force in the germ-cell 
is overflowing, but also continuously it is flowing back 
into itself, the two operations presupposing and sustaining 
each other, as in every circuit. The given stock of force 
in the germ-cell, which is static so long as the fusion of the 
male and female elements does not take place in the womb, 
is the necessary starting-point of all creative activity ; it 
is the primordial cause, therefore, in relation to the body — 
primordial as well as constantly given unceasing. On 
the other hand, the reaction of every creative action, the 
return current or flowing back of every unfolding overflow, 
constantly renews this starting force, changes it without 
changing its general condition of relative equilibrium (and 
this is quite possible, as in the case of any material system) ; 
the force in the germ-cell may therefore be also regarded 
as a perpetual effect, something left over and set against 
the working forces of the body. Many apparently incon- 
sistent ideas enter into this conception and they have to be 
reconciled. 

“ 1. We start with a force in the germ-cell which is 
statioal at first (though, like a dicotyledon seed, or even a 
modern atom, it involves within itself both a statical and a 
dynamical pole ; otherwise, from pure rest, involving no 
possibility of motion, no motion could ever arise). Let this 
be the KundalinI coiled, 

“ 2. Then there is creative impulse arising out of it ; 
this is motion out of rest. By this, the KundalinI becomes 
partly static and partly dynamic, or ejects, so to say, a 
1 This outflow and inflow is a common Tantrik notion. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


308 


dynamic pole out of it in order to evolve the body, but 
remaining a static pole or background itself all along. In 
no part of the process has the KundalinI really uncoiled 
itself altogether, or even curtailed its three coils and a half. 
Without this Muladhara Shakti. remaining intact no evolu- 
tion could be possible at all. It is the hinge upon which 
everything else turns. 

“ 3. Each creative act again reacts on the Muladhara 
Shakti, so that such reaction, without disturbing the relat- 
ive rest of the coiled Shakti, changes its volume or inten- 
sity, but does not curtail or add to the number of coils. 
For instance, every natural act of respiration reacts on the 
coiled Shakti at the Muladhara, but it does not commonly 
make much difference. But Pranayama powerfully reacts 
on it, so much so that it awakes the dormant power and 
sends it piercing through the centres. Now, the common 
description that the KundalinI uncoils Herself then and 
goes up the Sushumna, leaving the Miiladhara, should, I 
think, be admitted with caution. That static background 
can never be absolutely dispensed with. As you have 
yourself rightly observed, ‘ Shakti can never be depleted, 
but this is how to look at it.’ Precisely, the Kundall, when 
powerfully worked upon by Yoga, sends forth an emanation 
or ejection in the likeness of Her own self (like the ‘ ethereal 
double ’ of the Theosophists and Spiritualists) 1 which 
pierces through the various centres until it becomes blended, 
as you point out, with the Mahakundall of Shiva at the 
highest or seventh centre. Thus, while this ‘ethereal 
double ’ or self-ejection of the coiled power at the Muladhara 
ascends the Sushumna, the coiled power itself does not and 
need not stir from its place. It is like a spark given from 
an over-saturated 2 electro-magnetic machine ; or, rather, 
-it is like the emanations of radium which do not sensibly 
* Spiritists. ’ Overcharged. 



304 . THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

detract from the energy contained in it. This last, perhaps, 
is the closest physical parallel of the case that we are trying 
to understand. As a well-known passage in the Upanishad 
has it, ‘ The whole (Pttrna) -is subtracted from the whole, 
and yet the whole remains.’ I think our present case comes 
very near to this. The Kundalini at the Mfiladhara is the 
whole primordial Shakti in monad or germ or latency : 
that is why it is coiled. The Kundalini that mounts up 
the Nadi is also the whole Shakti in a specially dynamic 
form — an eject likeness of the Eternal Serpent. The result 
of the last fusion (there are successive fusions in the 
various centres also) in the Sahasrara is also the Whole, or 
Purna. This is how I look at it. In this conception the 
permanent static background is not really depleted, much 
less is it dispensed with. 

“ 4. When again I say that the volume or intensity 
of the coiled power can be affected (though not its con- 
figuration and relative equilibrium), I do not mean to 
throw up the principle of conservation of energy in relation 
to the Kundalini, which is the embodiment of all energy. 
It is merely the conversion of static (potential) energy 
into dynamic (kinetic) energy in part, the sum remain- 
ing constant. As we have to deal with infinities here, an 
exact physical rendering of this principle is not to be 
expected. The Yogi therefore simply ‘ awakens ’, and never 
creates Shakti. By the way, the germ-cell which evolves 
the body does not, according to modern biology, cease 
to be a germ-cell in any stage of the complicated pro- 
cess. The original germ-cell splits up into two: one 
half gradually develops itself into the body of a plant or 
animal — this is the somatic cell ; the other half remains 
encased within the body practically unchanged, and is trans- 
mitted in the process of reproduction to the offspring— 
that is, the germ-plasm. Now, this germ-plasm is unbroken 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


805 


through the whole line of propagation. This is Weismann’s 
doctrine of * continuity of the germ plasm,’ which has been 
widely accepted, though it is but an hypothesis.” 

In a subsequent postscript the Professor wrote : 

“ 1. Shakti being either static or dynamic, every 
dynamic form necessarily presupposes a static background. 
A purely dynamic activity (which is motion in its physical 
aspect) is impossible without a static support or ground 
(Adhara). Hence the philosophical doctrine of absolute 
motion or change, as taught by old Heraclitus and the 
Buddhists and by modern Bergson, is wrong ; it is based 
neither upon correct logic nor upon clear intuition. The 
constitution of an atom reveals the static-dynamic polari- 
zation of Shakti ; other and more complex forms of exist- 
ence also do the same. In the living body this necessary 
static background is Muladhara, where Shakti is Kundalini 
coiled. All the functional activity of the body, starting 
from the development of the germ-cell, is correlated to, 
and sustained by the Shakti concentrated at, the Muladhara. 
Cosmic creation, too, ending with the evolution of PrithivI 
Tattva (it is, however, an unending process in a different 
sense, and there perhaps Henri Bergson, who claims that 
the creative impulse is ever original and resourceful, is 
right), also presupposes a cosmic statio background (over 
and above Chidakasha — ether of Consciousness), which is 
the Mahakundall Shakti in the Chinmayadeha (body of 
Consciousness) of Parameshvara or Parameshvarl (the 
Supreme Lord in male and female aspect). In the earliest 
stage of creation, when the world arises in Divine Conscious- 
ness, it requires, as the principle or pole of Tat (That), the 
correlate principle or pole of Aham (I) ; in the development 
of the former, the latter serves as the static background. In 
our own experiences, too, * apperception ’ or consciousness 

of self is the sustaining background — a string, so to say, 
20 



306 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


which holds together all the loose beads of our elements of 
feeling. The sustaining ground or Adhara, As the seat of 
static force, therefore is found, in one form or other, in every 
phase and stage of creative evolution. The absolute or 
ultimate form is, of course, Chit-Shakti (Consciousness as 
Power) itself, the unfailing Light of awareness about which 
our Gayatii (Mantra) says : ‘ Which sustains and impels all 
the activities of Buddhi.’ This fact is symbolized by the 
K&ll-murti : not a mere symbol, however. 

“ 2. My remarks about the rising or awakening of the 
Serpent Power at the Muladhara have been, perhaps, almost 
of the nature of a paradox. The coiled power, though 
awakened, uncoiled and rising, never really stirs from its 
place; only a sort of ‘ethereal double ’ or ‘eject ’ is unloosed 
and sent up through the system of centres. Now, in plain 
language, this ethereal double or eject means the dynamic 
equivalent of the static power concentrated at the Mula, or 
root. Whenever by Pranayama of Bljamantra, or any other 
suitable means, the Muladhara becomes, like an electro- 
magnetic machine, over-saturated (though the Kundali 
Shakti at the Mala is infinite and exhaustless, yet the 
capacity of a given finite organism to contain it in a static 
form is limited, and therefore there may be over-saturation), 
a dynamic or operative equivalent of the static power is 
set up, possibly by a law similar to Nature’s law of 
induction, by which the static power itself is not depleted 
or rendered other than static. It is not that static energy 
at the Mula wholly passes over into a dynamic form — the 
coiled KundalinI leaving the Mula, thus making it a void ; 
that cannot be, and, were it so, all dynamic operation in 
the body would cease directly for want of a background. 
The coiled power remains coiled or static, and yet something 
apparently passes out of the Mula — viz., the dynamic equi- 
valent. This paradox can perhaps be explained in two ways : 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOOA 307 

“ (a) One explanation was suggested in my main 
letter. The potential Kundall Shakti becomes partly con- 
verted into kinetic Shakti, and yet, since Shakti, even as 
given in the Mula-centre, is an infinitude, it is not depleted : 
the potential store always remains unexhausted. I referred 
to a passage in the Upanishad about Purna. In this case, 
the dynamic equivalent is a partial conversion of one mode of 
energy into another. In Laya-yoga (here described) it is 
ordinarily so. When, however, the infinite potential be- 
comes an infinite kinetic — when, that is to say, the coiled 
power of the Mula becomes absolutely uncoiled — we have 
necessarily the dissolution of the three bodies (Sthula, 
Linga, and Karana — gross, subtle, causal), and consequently 
Videhamukti (bodiless liberation), because the static back- 
ground in relation to a particular form of existence has now 
wholly given way, according to our hypothesis. But Maha- 
kundall remains ; hence individual Mukti (liberation) need 
not mean dissolution of Samsara (transmigrating worlds) 
itself. Commonly, however, as the Tantra says, ‘ Pltva 
pltva punah pltva,’ etc . 1 

“ (b) The other explanation is suggested by the law 
of induction. Take an electro-magnetic machine ; 2 if a 
suitable substance be placed near it, it will induce in it an 
equivalent and opposite kind of electro-magnetism 2 without 
losing its own stock of energy. In conduction, energy flows 
over into another thing, so that the source loses and the other 
thing gains what it has lost, and its gain is similar in kind to 
the loss. Not so induction. There the source does not lose, 
and the induced energy is equivalent and opposite in kind to 
the inducing energy. Thus a positive charge will induce an 

' “ Having drunk, having drunk, having again drunk," a passage in 
the Kul&rnava Tantra signifying not actual drinking (as some suppose), 
but repeated raising of Hundalinl. 

* We may say “ Take a magnet ” and “ magnetism ”. 



808 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


equivalent negative charge in a neighbouring objeot. Now, 
shall we suppose that the Maladhara, when it becomes over- 
saturated, induces in the neighbouring centre (say, Svftdhis- 
thana) a dynamic (not static) equivalent ? 1 Is this what 
the rise of the Serpent Power really means ? The explana- 
tion, I am tempted to think, is not perhaps altogether 
fantastic.” 

In reply to this highly interesting and illustrative 
account of my friend, I wrote suggesting some difficulties 
in the way of the acceptance of his statement that KundalinI 
Shakti did not, in fact, Herself uncoil and ascend, but pro- 
jected upwards an emanation in the likeness of Her own self. 
The difficulty I felt was this : In the first place, the Yoga 

books, to which full credence must be given in this matter, 
unequivocally affirm that KundalinI Herself does, in fact, 
ascend. This is borne out by some inquiries made of a 
Tantrik Pandit very familiar with his Shastra 2 after the 
receipt of the letter quoted. As the body of the Yog! still 
lives, though in an inert corpse-like condition, when con- 
sciousness of it is lost, I asked him how the body was sus- 
tained when KundalinI left Her oentral abode. His answer 
was that it was maintained by the nectar which flows from 
the union of Shiva and Shakti in the Sahasrara. This nectar 
is an ejeotion of power generated by their union. If Kunda- 
linI does not ascend, but a mere emanative spark of Her, 
how (he further asked) is it that the body becomes cold and 
corpse-like ? Would this follow if the power still remained 
at its centre, and merely sent forth a dynamic equivalent of 


1 Here is the seat of the first moving, or Pashyanti Shabda. 

1 Though not practising himself, his brother, from whom he had 
learnt, was an adept in the Yoga. His statements I have always found 
of peculiar value. It must, however, be remembered that, however 
learned or practised a Pandit or Yogi may be, it is possible for him to be 
ignorant of the scientific implications of his doctrine and practice. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


309 


itself? There were further difficulties in the theory put 
forward by my friend, though it may be that there are also 
difficulties in the acceptance of the statement that the 
Muladhara is entirely depleted of the great power. I 
suggested that Kundall was the static centre of the whole 
body as a complete conscious organism, and that each of 
the parts of the body and their constituent cells must have 
their own static centres, which would uphold such parts 
and cells ; and that the life of the body, as a collection of 
material particles (from which the general organic consci- 
ousness as a whole was withdrawn), was sustained by the 
nectar which flowed from Kundalinl Shakti when in union 
with Shiva in the Sahasrara. In reply, Professor P. Mukh- 
yopadhyaya dealt with the matter as follows : 

“ According to my presentation of the case, something 
— viz., a dynamio equivalent or ‘ operative double ’ — is 
certainly sent forth from the Muladhara, but this basic 
centre or seat is not depleted or rendered void of static energy 
in consequence of that operation. The Mula (root), as the 
seat of static or coiled power, can never be dispensed with. 
It is the sine qua non of all functions of the triple body 
(gross, subtle, causal). It is, so to say , the buffer or base 
against which any activity of the Jlva (embodied conscious- 
ness) must react or recoil, like a naval or any other kind 
of heavy gun against its base or emplacement. Thus while 
the dynamic or uncoiled Shakti ascends the axis, the static 
or coiled Shakti retains- its place at the Mula, and remains 
as the very possibility of the dynamic upheaval. The 
ascending power is simply the dynamic counterpart of the 
static ground. To say that Kundalinl leaves its place and 
ascends is only to say that it ceases to be Kundalinl and 
becomes dynamic. The ascending power is therefore un- 
coiled or non-Kundalinl power ; it is the dynamic expression 
of the Kundalinl power. So far all can agree. But the 



310 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


question is : Is the Mala depleted or deprived of all power 
(espeoially coiled power) when that dynamical expression 
leaves it and ascends the axis ? Is the dynamic expression 
wholly at the expense of the static ground ? Should the 
latter cease in order that the former may commence ? 

“ Here, I think, I must answer in the negative. It is 
a case of Power leaving as well as remaining — leaving as 
dynamic and remaining as static ; it is the case of the 
Kundall being uncoiled in one aspect or pole and remaining 
still coiled in another aspect or pole. A paradox, perhaps, 
but, like most paradoxes, it is likely to be true. 

“ Is scriptural authority, which, by-the-by, I hold in 
utmost reverence, really challenged by this interpretation ? 
The nature of the dynamic equivalent and its relation to- 
the statio background have been indicated in the previous 
two communications, and I need not dilate on them. I 
have claimed throughout that the Muladhara, as the seat 
of static ( i.e ., coiled) power, can never be rendered a vacuum 
in relation to such power except in the circumstances of 
Videhamukti (bodiless liberation), when the triple body 
(gross, subtle, causal) must dissolve. I think, also, that 
the point of view which you have taken can be reconciled 
with this interpretation of the matter. The KundalinI 
Shakti is the static aspect of the life of the whole organized 
body, as you say rightly. The relation between the lives of 
the individual cells and that of the whole organism is not 
dearly understood in science. Is the common life a merely 
mechanical resultant of the lives of the individual cells, or 
are the lives of the individual cells only detailed mani- 
festations of the common life? In other words, is the 
common life cause and the cell-lives effects or vice-versa ? 
Science is not yet settled on this point. As a sub- 
scriber to the Shaktivada (doctrine of Shakti) I am 
inclined, however, to give primacy to the oommon life; 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


311 


in the germ-cell itself the common life is given in 
substance, and the whole development of the Jivadeha (Jiva 
body) is only the detailed carrying out in particulars of what 
has been already given in substance, according to the princi- 
ple of Adrishta (Karma). Nevertheless, I am quite willing to 
concede to the individual cells lives of semi-independence. - 
‘ Semi,’ because they require to be sustained to a consider- 
able degree by the life of the whole. Benefit or injury to the 
life of the whole reacts on the condition of the cells ; the 
death of the whole life is followed by the death of the cells, 
and so on. 

“ Now, in every cell there is, of course, static-dynamic 
polarity ; in the whole organism, also, there is such polarity 
or correlation. In the whole organism the static pole or 
correlate is the coiled power at the Muladhara, and the 
dynamic correlate is the operative power (the five Pranas — 
viz., Prana, Apana, Samana, Udana, and Vyana), which 
actually carries on the various functions of the body. 
Ordinarily, therefore, this dynamic power is distributed over 
the whole body, vitalizing not merely the larger tissues, but 
the microscopic cells. Now. the devitalization (as you say) 
of the body in Kundalini Yoga or Shatchakrabheda is due, I 
venture to think, not to the depletion or privation of the 
static power at the Muladhara, but to the concentration or 
convergence of the dynamic power ordinarily diffused over 
the whole body, so that the dynamic equivalent which is 
set up against the static background or Kundalini Shakti is 
only the diffused fivefold Prana gathered home — withdrawn 
from the other tissues of the body — and concentrated in a 
line along the axis. Thus ordinarily the dynamic equivalent 
is the Prana diffused over all the tissues; in Yoga it is con- 
verged along the axis, the static equivalent or Kundalini 
Shakti enduring in both cases. Thus also the polarity or 
correlation is maintained : in the former case between Shakti 



312 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


at Mttl&dhara and the diffused Prana ; in the latter case 
between Shakti at Mala and the converged Prana along the 
axis. This will perhaps adequately explain coldness, in- 
creased inertia, insensibility, etc., of the rest of the body in 
KundalinI Yoga of whiob you write. Commonly in Yoga 
this withdrawal and convergence of Prana is incomplete ; the 
residual Prana, together with the lives of the cells, keeps the 
body alive, though inert or corpse-like. In the case of com- 
plete withdrawal and focussing, the cells will die and the 
body disintegrate. 

“ On the other hand if the coiled power were simply 
and wholly uncoiled ( i.e ., dynamised) in KundalinI Yoga, 
then there should be an excess rather than a defect of 
vitality all over the body; nothing would be subtracted 
from the already available dynamic energy of the body, but 
something would be added to it on account of the static 
power at the Mula being rendered kinetic, and going up the 
axis and influencing neighbouring tissues. 

“Hence I should venture to conclude that the static 
power at the base of the axis, without itself being depleted 
or rendered other than static, induces or produces a 
dynamic equivalent which is the diffused Prana of the body 
gathered and converged along the axis. The states in the 
process may thus be summarily indicated : 

“ 1. To begin with, there is coiled power at the base 
of the axis and its necessary correlate, the dynamic Prana, 
diffused all over the body in the five forms. 

“ 2. * In KundalinI Yoga some part of the already avail- 
able dynamic Prana is made to act at the base of the axis 
in a suitable manner, by which means the base — or par- 
ticularly the four-petalled Padma (lotus) whioh represents 
this centre— becomes over-saturated, and reacts on the 
whole diffused dynamic power (or Prana) of the body by 
withdrawing it from the tissues and converging it along 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


318 


the line of the axis. In this way the diffused dynamic 
equivalent becomes the converged dynamic equivalent along 
the axis. This is what the rising of the serpent perhaps 
means. 

“ (a) In thus reacting, the coiled power has not lost its 
general equilibrium or static condition. 

“ (&) The modus operandi of this reaction is difficult to 
indioate, but it is probably (as suggested in my previous 
communications) either (i) a partial conversion of the in- 
finite coiled power into the sort of influence that can thus 
gather the diffused Prana, and converge it in its own 
resultant line along the axis, or (ii) an inductive action, 
analogous to electro-magnetic action, by which the Pranas 
are collected and converged. In this latter case there is no 
need for conversion of the static energy. We shall have 
perhaps to choose between, or rather co-ordinate, these two 
explanations in understanding the modus operandi. In 
mathematical language, the diffused Prana is a scalar 
quantity (having magnitude, but no direction), while the 
converged Prana is a vector quantity (having both magni- 
tude and definite direction). 

“ Suppose, lastly, we are witnessing with a Divya- 
chakshu (inner eye) the progress of Kundalini Yoga. There 
something like condensed lightning (Tadit) is rising from 
the Muladhara, and gathering momentum in going up from 
Chakra to Chakra, till the consummation is reached at the 
Paramashivasthana (abode of the Supreme Shiva). But look 
back, and behold the KulakundalinI is also there at the Mula 
coiled three times and a half round the Svayambhu Linga. 
She has left and yet remained or stayed, and is again coming 
back to Herself. Is not this vision supported by scriptural 
authority and the experience of the Yogi ? ” 

Putting aside detail, the main principle appears to be 
that, when “ wakened,” Kundalini Shakti either Herself 



314 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


(or as my friend suggests in Her eject) ceases to be a static 
power which sustains the world-consciousness, the content 
of whioh is held only so long as She “ sleeps,” and, when 
once set in movement, is drawn to that other static centre 
in the thousand-petalled lotus (Sahasrara), which is Herself 
in union with the Shiva-consciousness or the consciousness 
of ecstasy beyond the world of forms. When Kundalini 
“ sleeps ” man is awake to this world. When She “ awakes ” 
he sleeps — that is, loses all consciousness of the world and 
enters his causal body. In Yoga he passes beyond to 
formless Consciousness. 

I have only to add, without further discussion of the 
point, that practitioners of this Yoga claim that it is higher 
than any other ; 1 and that the Samadhi (ecstasy) attained 
thereby is more perfect. The reason which they allege is 
this : In Dhyanayoga ecstasy takes place through detach- 
ment from the world and mental concentration, leading to< 
vacuity of mental operation (Yritti), or the uprising of pure 
Consciousness unhindered by the limitations of the mind . 2 
The degree to which this unveiling of consciousness is effect- 
ed depends upon the meditative powers (Jnanashakti) of the 
Sadhaka and the extent of his detachment from the world. 
On the other hand Kundalini, who is all Shaktis, and who is 
therefore Jnanashakti itself, produces, when awakened by 
the Yogi, full Jnana for him. Secondly, in the Samadhi 
of Dhyana Yoga there is no rousing and union of Kundalini 
Shakti, with the accompanying bliss and acquisition of special 
powers (Siddhi). Further, in Kundalini Yoga there is not 

1 I dS not say either that this is admitted or that it is a fact. Only 
he who has had all Yoga experiences can say. I merely here state the 
facts. 

* What, I believe, the Christian Scientist calls the “ mortal mind ", 
In Indian doctrine mind is a temporal and limited manifestation of the 
unlimited eternal Consciousness. As the states are different, two 
terms are better than one. 



THEORETICAL BASES OF THIS YOGA 


315 


merely a Samadhi through meditation, but through the cent- 
ral power of the Jlva, a power which carries with it the forces 
of both body and mind. The union in that sense is claimed 
to be more complete than that enacted through mental 
methods only. Though in both cases bodily consciousness 
is lost, in Kundalini Yoga not only the mind, but the body 
in so far as it is represented by its central power (or, may 
be, its eject), is actually united with Shiva. This union 
produces an enjoyment (Bhukti) which the DhyanayogI does 
not possess. Whilst both the Divya Yogi and the Vlra 
Sadhaka have enjoyment (Bhukti), that of the former is 
infinitely more intense, being an experience of Bliss itself. 
The enjoyment of the Vlra Sadhaka is but a reflection of it 
on the physical plane, a welling up of the true bliss through 
the deadening coverings and trammels of matter. Again, 
whilst it is said that both have liberation (Mukti), this 
word is used in Vlra Sadhana in a figurative sense only, 
indicating a bliss which is the nearest approach on the 
physical plane to that of Mukti, and a Bhava or feeling of 
momentary union of Shiva and Shakti which ripens in the 
higher Yoga Sadhana into the literal Liberation of the 
Yogi. He, in its fullest and literal sense, has both Enjoy- 
ment (Bhukti) and Liberation (Mukti). Hence its claim 
to be the Emperor of all Yogas. 

However this may be, I leave at this point the subject, 
with the hope that others will continue the inquiry I have 
here initiated. It, and other matters in the Tantra Shastra, 
seem to me (whatever be their inherent value) worthy of an 
investigation which they have not yet received. 


A. A. 




DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


(SffATCHAKRA NIRUPANA) 

Preliminary Verse 

Now I speak of the first sprouting shoot (of the Yoga 
plant) of complete realization of the Brahman, which 
is to be achieved, according to the Tantras, by means of 
the six Chakras and so forth in their proper order. 

Commentary 

“ He alone who has become acquainted with the wealth * 
of the six Lotuses 1 2 * by Maha-yoga is able to explain the inner 
principles s thereof. Not even the most excellent among the 
wise, nor the oldest (in experience), is able, without the mercy 
of the Guru, 4 to explain the inner principles relating to the 
six Lotuses, replete as they are with the greatness of Sha, 8a, 
and Ha,” 5 

Now, the very merciful Purwananda Svami, wishful to 
rescue the world sunk in the mire of misery, takes that task 

1 Pai’ichita-s/tadambhoja- vibhava. 

* Tha t is. the Shut - chakra ; six centres, which are : Muladb&ra, 
Svadhis/ii/tana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddha, and Ajna. 

s Antas-tattva — i.e., relating to the sAai-chakra. 

4 Knpa-nfttha, Lord of Mercy, i.e., the Guru. 

5 Sha, Sa, Ha. SAa— Final Liberation. Sa = Knowledge. Ha=* 
Supreme Spirit ; also Brahma, Vislmu, and Shiva, respectively. 



818 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


upon himself. He does so to guide Sadhakas ; 1 * to impart Tattva- 
jn&na,* which leads to liberation ; and also with the desire of 
speaking of the union of Kundalini 3 with the six Chakras. 4 

“ Now ” (Atha). — The force of this particle is to show the 
connection of the book with the Author’s work entitled Shrl- 
tattva-chintSmani, the first five chapters of which deal with the 
rites and practices preliminary to S/iaf-chakranirupana. 5 In 
this book he speaks of the first shoot of the realization of the 
Brahman. 

Param&nanda (Supreme Bliss) means Brahman, who, 
says Shruti, is “ Eternal (Nityam) and Knowledge (Vijnanam) 
and Bliss (Anandam)”. 

“ Following the Tantras ” (Tantranusarena) — i.e., follow- 
ing the authority of the Tantras. 6 

“ First sprouting shoot ” (Prathamankura) — i.e., the first 
steps which lead to realization of the Brahman. The first 
cause of such realization is achieved by knowledge of the six 
Chakras, the Nadis/ and so forth, which is the Tantrika Yoga 
Sadhana. 

“ Complete realization ” (Nirvaha). — The Sanskrit word 
means “ accomplishment ” ; here, it is the accomplishment of 
the immediate experimental realization of the Brahman. 6 


1 Those who practise Sadhana, or spiritual discipline ; here aspirants 

for Yoga. 

3 Tattva-jnana= Brahma-knowledge or Brahman “knowledge. 

‘The Devi as Shabda Brahman (Shabda-brabma-rupa Kundalini, 

v. 2, post) in the world of the body (Piwdauda), or Ks/mdra-brahmawda 
(microcosm). Verse 10 describes Her as She who maintains all beings 
in the world by inhalation and exhalation. Unmanifested “ sound ” 
assumes the form of Kundali in the animal body (w. 10, 11). 

4 Muladhara, etc. 

* SAaf-chakra-nirflpana. Nirupana= investigation, ascertainment 
into, and of the six Chakras. This forms the sixth chapter of Pumft- 
nand’s Shrl-tattva-chintamani. 

* In which is to be found a detailed description of the process here 
described, known as Sftaf-chakra-bheda, or piercing of the six Chakras. 

1 The “ nerves," or channels of energy (see v. 2). Nadi is derived 
from the root nad, “ motion," and means a channel (Vivara). 

3 Brahma-sAksA&tk&ra-rapa-nis^patti/t. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 319 

“ Achieved by means of the six Chakras, and other things ” 
(Sfcaf-chakradl-kramodgata) — i.e., attained by 1 * meditating on the 
six chakras, viz . : Muladhara, Svadhishf/iana, Manipara, Anahata, 
Yishuddha, and Ajna and other things, 4 viz . : on the Nacils, 3 the 
Lingas/ the five Elements, 5 6 Shiva, Shakti, etc., connected with 
the six Chakras, in their order. 

The order (Krama) is, first, meditation on them, next 
awakening of Kuwdalinl, and Her passage to the Brahma lotus 
and then Her return therefrom ; the union of Shiva and Shakti, 
etc., and so forth. 

“ Order ” (Krama) by which it is attained, and this is the 
same as Yoga practice. 

The Author in substance says : “ I speak of the first step 
(Ankura) of the practice which is the First Cause of the im- 
mediate or experimental realization 5 of the Brahman, brought 
about by a knowledge of the six Chakras, as is laid down in the 
Tantras.” 


1 “ Attained by.” This is IJdgata, which literally means “ sprung 
out of ” or “ sprouted out of ". 

* According to Shankara, by “ other things ” are meant the Sahas- 
rara, etc. This Shankara here and hereafter referred to is a commen- 
tator on this work, and not the philosopher Shankarftcharya. 

* See note 2, p. 5. 

4 In three of the Chakras — viz., Svayambhu, Vana, and Itara. 

5 Vyoma-panchaka. 

6 Brahma-sakstet-kara. 



820 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 1 

In the space outside the Meru . 1 * placed on the left and the 
right, are the two Shiras , 8 * Shashi 6 and Mihira . 4 The Nadi 
SusTiumwa, whose substance is the threefold Gunas , 5 is in 
the middle. She is the form of Moon, Sun, and Fire ; 6 
Her body, a string of blooming Dhustura 7 flowers, extends 
from the middle of the Kanda 8 to the Head, and the Vajra 
inside Her extends, shining, from the Med/tra 3 to the 
Head. 

Commentary 

Now, Yoga like that which is about to be spoken of cannot 
be achieved without a knowledge of the six Chakras and the 
Nadis ; the Author therefore describes the relative Nadis in this 
and the following two verses. 

“ In the space outside ” (Vahya-pradeshe) the two Nadis, 
Shashi and Mihira (Shashi-mihira-shire = the two Nadis or 
Shiras, Shashi and Mihira). Shash!=Chandra (Moon) ; Mihira= 
Surya (Sun). These two Nadis, which are in the nature of the 
Moon and Sun, 10 are the Nadis, Ida and Pingala. 

1 The spinal column. 

* i.e„ Nadis. 

* Moon — that is, the feminine, or Shakti-rupa Nadi Ida, on the left. 

* Sun, or the masculine Nadi Pingala on the right. 

‘ Meaning either (v. post) the Gum as, Sattva, Rajas and the Tamas ; 
or as “ strings," the Nadi Susftumna with the Nadi Vajra inside it, and 
the NadI.Chitri«I within the latter. 

* That is, as Chitrml, Vajrinl and Sus/mmwa. 

1 Dhatura fastuos. 

8 The root of all-the Nadis (v. post). Kanda = Bulb. 

* .Penis . 

lB Chandrasvaruplni and Saryarupa. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


321 


“ Meru — This is the Meru-danda, the backbone or spinal 
column, extending from the Mula (root) or Muladhara to the 
neck. This will be explained later. 

“ Placed on the left and the right ” (Savya-daksfte nishmne ). 

“ These two Nadis .” — “ The Ida is placed on the left, and 
the Pingala on the right of the Meru ” says the Bhuta-shuddhi 
Tantra. The Sammohana Tantra 1 * 3 speaks of their likeness to 
the Sun and Moon as follows : 

4 The Ida Nadi on the left is pale, and is in the nature of 
the Moon a (Chandrasvarupini). She is the Shakti-rupa Devi, 
and the very embodiment of nectar (Amrita-vigraha). On the 
right is the masculine Pingala in the nature of the Sun. She, 
the great Devi, is Rudratmika, 4 and is lustrous red like the 
filaments of the pomegranate flower.” 

These two Nadis go upward singly from the Mula (i.e., Mul&-* 
dhara), and, having reached the Ajna Chakra, proceed to the 
nostrils. 

The Yamala says : “ On its (i.e., the Meru’s) left and right 
are Ida and Pingala. These two go straight up, alternating 
from left to right and right to left, and, having thus gone round 
all the Lotuses, these auspicious ones proceed to the nostrils.” 
The above passage shows the twofold and differing positions 
of the two Nadis. They go upward alternating from left to 
right and right to left, and going round the Lotuses (Padma) 
they form a plait and go to the nostrils. 

Elsewhere they are described as being placed like bows : 
“ Know that the two Nadis Ida and Pingala are shaped like 
bows.” 


1 Ch. iv, 5-6. The seventh verse, which is not quoted by the Com- 
mentator, runs : “ Inside the Meru, she who extends from the Mula to 
the place of Brahman is the fiery Sus/iumna, the very self of all 
knowledge.” 

* Cf. Rudrayamala, Ch. XXVII, v. 51. 

3 Shakti-rupa — the Devi as Shakti or “ female ”. 

4 Rudratmika — that is, of the nature of Rudra or “male 
21 



522 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Also 1 * : “ She who is connected with the left scrotum is 
united with the SusAumna, and, passing near by the right 
shoulder-joint, remains bent like a bow by the heart, and having 
reached the left shoulder-joint passes on to the nose. Similarly, 
She that comes from the right scrotum passes on to the left 
nostril.” 

These two Nikfls which come from the left and right scrotum, 
when they reach the space between the eyebrows, make with 
the SusTramna a plaited knot of three (TrivenI) and proceed to 
the nostrils. 

They are also thus described : “ In the Ida, is the Devi 
YamunS, and in Pingala is Sarasvati, and in Sus/ramna dwells 
Ganga.’ They form a threefold plait 3 4 united at the root of the 
Dhvaja,* they separate at the eyebrows, and hence it is called 
"Trivenl-yoga, and bathing there s yields abundant fruit.” 

“ Whose substance is the threefold Gunas ” (Tritaya-guna- 
mayi). — The compound word here used is capable of different 
interpretations. Beading Guna to mean “ a string,” it would 
mean “ made up of three strings ” — viz., SusTmmna, Vajra and 
Chitrinl.* These three form one, but considered separately they 
are distinct. If Guna be read to mean “ quality,” then it would 
mean “ possessed of the qualities Sattva, Rajas and Tamas 
Now, the substance of Chitrinl is Sattva (Sattvagunamayi), of 
Vajra, Rajas, and of SusTiumna, Tamas. 

1 Passage is from Prapanchas&ra (Vol. Ill, Tftntrik Texts), Ch. I, 
vv. 81, 82. There is a variant reading nadikft for nftsika. 

9 Sammohana Tantra, Ch. II, 18, thus : “ In the Ida is the Devi 
Jahnavl, and Yamuna is in Pingala, and Sarasvati is in Sus/mmna ” — 
all names of Indian sacred rivers. 

* This is also interpreted to mean that the three Nadls conjoin at 
the three Granthis — Brahma-granthi, VisAnu-granthi and Rudra-granthi. 

4 The penis. 

4 By “ bathing there,” etc., in the “ rivers ” is meant, when the 
mind is suffused with a fuy knowledge of this Chakra, great benefit is 
thereby attained. 

* SusAumnft is the outermost sheath, and Chitrinl the innermost, 
and within Chitrinl is Brahman&fr, the channel along which Kun- 
dall goes. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 828 ' 

“ Is in the middle ” (Madhye)— i.e., in the middle or inside 
the -Meru. 

“ She who is inside the Meru from the Mula to the region 
of the Brahmarandhra,” 1 2 etc. 

Tripura-sara-samuchchaya says : “ She who is within the 
hollow of the Danda, extending from the head to the Adhara ” 
(i.e., Muladhara), and so forth. 

Some persons rely on the following passage of the Tantra- 
chiwZamani, and urge that it shows that the Sus/iumwa is outside 
the Meru : “ O Shiva, on the left of Meru is placed the Nadi Ida, 
the Moon-nectar, and on its right the Sun-like Pingala. Outside 
it (Tad-vahye) * and between these two (Tayor madhye) is the 
fiery SusTramwa.” 

But this is merely the opinion of these persons. Our 
Author speaks (in the following verse) of the Lotuses inside the 
Meru ; and as the SusAumna supports these she must needs be 
within the Meru. 

Form of Moon, Sun, and Fire ” (Chandra-suryagni-rupa). — 
ChitrinI is pale, and is the form of the Moon, VajrinI 1 is Sunlike, 
and hence has the lustre of the filaments of the pomegranate 
flower ; SusAumna is fiery, and hence red. The Bhutashuddhi 
Tantra, in describing the ShusAumna, supports these three 
descriptions. Sus/tumwa is the outermost and ChitrinI the 
innermost. 

“ Inside it, at a height of two fingers’ breadth, is Vajra, and 
so is ChitrinI ; hence it is that SusAumna is Triguna ; she is 
tremulous like a passionate woman ; she is the receptacle of the 
three Gunas, Sattva, and others, and the very form of Moon, 
Sun and Fire.” 

1 Sammohana Tantra, II, 7 ; also occurs in Ch, XXVII, v. 52, of 
Rudray&mala. 

2 If Tad-vahye be interpreted to mean outside these two, then this 
apparent contradiction is removed. Tadvabye is formed either by 
Tasya vahye or Tayor vahye ; if the latter, then the meaning would be . 
outside the two. Those who rely upon this passage read Tad-vahye as 
equal to Tasya vahye. 

* Vajrinl = vajra. 



824 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

From the middle of the Kanda to the Head ” (Kanda- 
madhyach chhiraTistha). — Kanda is the root of all the Nadis. It 
is spoken of as follows : “ Two fingers above the anus and two 
fingers below the MedTira 1 * is the Kanda-mula, in shape like a 
bird’s egg, and four fingers’ breadth in extent. The Nadls, 
72,000 in number, emanate from it.” The Nadis come out of 
this Kanda. 

ShiraAstha (placed in the head) : By this is to be under- 
stood that she ends in the middle of the Lotus of twelve petals 
which is near the pericarp of the Sahasrara, hanging downwards 
in the head. See the opening verse of Paduka-panchaka : “ I 
adore the twelve-petalled Lotus that is the crown of the Nadi 
along the channel (Randhra) 5 within which the Kundali 
passes.” 

As the Chitrini ends here, her Container, Sus7tumna, also 
ends here. If it be taken to mean that she exists above the 
Sahasrara, then there will be a contradiction to the description 
in the fortieth verse, where the Sahasrara is spoken of as 
“ shining in vacant space ” (Shunyadeshe prakasham). If 
SusAumna passes over it there can be no vacant space. 

There are some who contend that all the three Nadis — Ida, 
Pingala, and Sus/iumna — are inside the Meru, and quote the 
following as their authority from the Nigama-tattva-sara : “ The 
three Nadis are said to be inside the Meru, in the middle of the 
baok.” But this cannot be ; all the Tantras say that the Ida 
and Pingala are outside the Meru, and on the authority of these 
our Author speaks of their being outside the Meru. Further, if 
they were inside the Meru they could not be bow-shaped and 
touch the hip and shoulder joints. The Nigama-tattva-sara by 
the “ three Nadls ” apparently means SusAumna, Vajra and 
Chitrini, and not Ida, Pingala aud Sus/mmwa. 

The position of the SusAumna from the Mnladhara to the 
head is thus described : “ SusAumna goes forward, clinging like 


1 Medftra®* penis. 

* This channel or passage within Chitrini is Brahmanftdl. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENT R ES 


325 


a Chavya-creeper 1 2 * to the Meru, and reaching the end of the neck, 
-O Beauteous One, she emerges and deflects, and, supporting 
herself on the stalk of the Shankhini,’ goes towards the region 
of Brahman (Brahma-sadana).” 

Also cf. : “ The other two are placed like bows. Sus7ium«5 
is the embodiment of Pranava ;* emerging from the backbone, 
she goes to the forehead. Passing between the eyebrows and 
united with Kundall, 4 she with her mouth 5 approaches the 
Brahma-randhra.” 

By this it becomes apparent that the backbone extends 
to the end of the back of the neck. 

“ Supporting herself on the stalk of ShankinI,’ (Shankhini- 
nalam alambya). Shankhini is thus described : 

Ishvara said : “ Sarasvatl and Kuhu are on either side of 
Sus/iumna ; Gandharl and Hastijihva again are on the right 
and left of Ida.” 

And again : “ Between Gandharl and Sarasvatl is Shan- 
khinT. The Nadi named Shankhini goes to the left ear.” 

1 And also again : “ Shankhini, emerging from the hollow 
of the throat, goes obliquely to the forehead, and then, O 
Ambika, 6 united with and twisted round ChitrinI, she thereafter 
passes to the head.” 

Hence she (Shankhini) starts from Kanda-mula, proceeds 
between Sarasvatl and Gandharl and reaches the throat, and 
then one of her branches proceeds obliquely to the left ear and 
the other goes to the top of the head. 

“ Vajra inside Her” (Madhyame’sya/i) — i.e., inside Sus/iumna. 

1 Tetranthera Apetala (Colebrook’s Amarakosha). 

2 Nadi of that name ; v. post. 

2 Pranavftkriti — the mantra Om. This means that Pranava mani- 
fests as the Sus7tumnfi. 

* Devi KundalinI ; v. ante. 

4 Her mouth has neared the Brahmarandhra. The looative here is 

Samlpye saptaml — that is, locative in sense of proximity. Sus/tumnS, 
does not actually reach Brahmarandhra, but goes near it, ending near 
the twelve-petalled lotus. Cf. v. I, P&dukftpanchaka. 

* “ Mother,” a title of the Devi. 



826 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

There are some who contend that the Meru-dancfa extends 
from the feet to the Brahmarandhra, and quote in support the 
following passage from Nigama-tattva-sara : “ The bony staff 
which goes from the feet 1 to the Brahmarandhra is called the 
Meru-danda of the fourteen Lokas.’’ 

But the backbone is the spinal bone (Meru-dawda). It 
extends from the Mula-kanda to the end of the back of the neck. 
This is self-evident, and no authority can alter things which are 
patent. Moreover, it is impossible for one piece of bone to go 
to the end of the feet, for then the legs could not be bent or 
stretched. The Meru therefore does not go below the Mula 
(Muladhara). The meaning of the passage from the Nigama- 
tattva-sara becomes clear if we read Pada to mean “ leg,” and 
not “ foot ”. “ Beginning of the pada ” (Padadi) would then 

mean “ where the legs begin ”. The sense would then be 
that the bone which controls the whole body from the feet 
right up to the head is the Meru-danda, which is like a stick,, 
and begins from the penis two fingers’ breadth above the Mula- 
kanda. The Bhutashuddhi Tantra says : “ Within it and two 
fingers’ breadth above it are Vajra and Chitrinl.” 


1 Padftdi, lit., beginning of the p£da ; v. post. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


327 


Verse 2 

Inside her 1 is Chitrim, who is lustrous with the lustre of 
the Pranava 2 and attainable in Yoga by Yogis. She 
(Chitrim) is subtle as a spider’s thread, and pierces all the 
Lotuses which are placed within the backbone, and is pure 
intelligence . 3 She (Chitrim) is beautiful by reason of these 
(Lotuses) which are strung on her. Inside her (Chitrim) 
is the Brahma-narfi , 4 which extends from the orifice of the 
mouth of Hara 5 to the place beyond, where Adideva 6 is. 

Commentary 

“ Inside Her ” (Tanmadhye) — i.e., inside Vajra. 

“ Lustrous with the lustre of the Pranava (Pranava- 
vilasita). — She absorbs the luminous character of the Pranava 
in Ajnachakra when she passes through it. Cf. v. 87, post. 

“ Like a spider’s thread ” (Luta-tantupameya). — She is 
fine like the spider’s thread. 

“ She pierces all the Lotuses ,” etc. (Sakala-sarasijan 
merumadhyantara-sthan bhittva dedipyate). — She pierces the 
pericarp of the six Lotuses, and shines like a thread strung 
with gems. 

There is a passage quoted as from the fourth Kanda of the 
Kalpa-Sutra, and explained to mean : “ In the hollow channel 

1 That is, inside Vajra, which is, again, within Sus/»umwa. 

3 The mantra “ Om 

3 Shuddhabodhasvarupft. Prom her is derived Jnana by those who 
are pure (Shankar a). 

* The BrahmanadI is not a Nadi separate from ChitrinI, but the 
channel in the latter. 

5 Shiva : here the Svayambhu-linga. 

° The Parama Bindu : v. ib. The BrahmanadI reaches the proxi- 
mity of, but not the Adi-deva Himself. 



828 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


within Chitrini are six Lotuses, and on the petals of these the 
Mahadevi Bhujangl move about (viharanti).” 

But this text, as it has given a pluralverb to Bhujangi ’ 
in the singular, seems to be incorrect. But if it be said that 
it is the word of Shiva, and that the plural is used as singular, 
it would then have to be understood that the locative in the 
phrase “ in the channel within Chitrin! ” is used as an instru- 
mental, and the correct meaning of the passage would in that 
case be “ that Bhujangi goes along the channel within Chitrini. 
And as She passes in her upward movement She pierces the 
Chakras, and moves about on the petals of the Chakras.” Or it 
may also mean “ that Bhujangi goes along the hollow of the 
Chitrini, and moves about on the petals of the six Lotuses 
within Sus/mmwa, and at length goes to Sahasrara.” 

From the above authority it is not to be concluded that 
the six Lotuses are in the hollow of Chitrini . 1 2 

“ Inside Her ” (Tan-madhye). — Within Chitrini is Brahma- 
nadl. The word Nadi here means a channel (Vivara). It is 
derived from the root Nad, motion. The word BrahmanadI 
means the channel by which KundalinI goes from the Mula- 
dhara to the place of Parama-shiva. KundalinI is a form of the 
Shabda-Brahman . 3 4 From this it is certain that the inside of 
Chitrini is hollow, and there is no other Nadi inside her. 

“ The orifice of the mouth of Hara ” (Hara-mukha-kuhara). 
— The orifice at the top of the Svayambhu-linga in the Mula- 
dhara. Adideva is the supreme Bindu in the pericarp of the 
thousand-petalled Lotus. 

The rest of the verse requires no explanation/ 


1 Lit., “ Serpent," a name of KundalinI. 

, * Vishvan&tha, quoting from Mitya Tantra, says that all the six 

lotuses are attached to the Chitrini (Chitrinl-grathitam). 

. . * Shabda-Brahma-rupa KundalinI. The Shabdabrahman (see Intro- 

duction) is the Chaitanya in all beings. 

4 Shankara reads this verse in a slightly modified form, but the 
jpeauiug is practically the same, the modifications being of a verbal 
character only. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


329 


Verse 3 

She 1 is beautiful like a chain of lightning and fine like a 
(lotus) fibre, and shines in the minds of the sages- She 
is extremely subtle ; the awakener of pure' knowledge ; the 
embodiment of all Bliss, whose true nature is pure Con- 
sciousness . 1 2 The Brahma-dvara 3 4 5 shines in her mouth. 
This place is the entrance to the region sprinkled by 
ambrosia, and is called the Knot, as also the [mouth of 
Sus/ramna. 


Commentary 

By this Shloka she is further described : 

“ Fine like a (lotus) fibre and shines ” (Lasat-tantu-rupa — 
i.e., She is luminous, albeit fine like the fibre in the lotus-stalk ; 
she shines because of the presence of Kundalinl. 

“Embodiment of all bliss ” (Sakala-sukha-mayi). — Sukha is 
here used as the equivalent of Ananda, which means Spiritual 
Bliss. She is the source of all Bliss.' 

Whose true nature is pure consciousness ” (Shuddha-bodha- 
svabhava). — Shuddha-bodha is Tattva-jnana, She whose Nature 3 
is pure Consciousness. 

1 That is, Chitrim, the interior of which is called the Brahraa-nadr # 

2 Shuddha-bodha-svabh&va. 

3 See Commentary. 

4 Because, according to VishvanStha, She drops nectar, and there- 
fore contains all kinds of bliss. Shankara says it is also capable of the 
interpretation. “ It is blissful to all ”. 

5 Sva-bhava is interpreted by Kallcharana to mean one’s nature. 
Shankara interprets the word to mean the Jnana which is the Para- 
matma, or, in other words, divine or spiritual Jnana. According to 
Shankara, the reading is Shuddha-bhava-svabhava. 



330 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


“ Brahma-dvara ” ’ is the entrance and exit of KundalinI 
in her passage to and from Shiva. 

“ Her mouth ” (Tadasye) — the mouth of Brahmanadl, the 
orifice in the mouth of Hara. 

“ This place ” (Tadetat) — i.e., the place near the entrance. 

“ The entrance to the region sprinkled by ambrosia ” 
(Sudhadharagamya-pradesha). — The region which is sprinkled 
by the ambrosia (Sudha) which flows from the union 2 of Parama 
Shiva and Shakti, and which is attained by the help of Shiva 
and Shakti dwelling in the Muladhara. 

“Knot” (Granthi-sthanam). — The place of the union of 
Sus/iumna and Kanda . 8 

“ Is called ” — that is, by those versed in the Agamas. 


' Door of Brahman. 

9 S&marasya, a term which is ordinarily applied to sexual union 
(Strlpumyog&t yat saukyam tat samarasyam)- here and elsewhere, of 
course, used symbolically. 

* The root of all the Nfidls ; see v. I, ante. — 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


831 


Verse 4 

JNow we come to the Adhara Lotus . 1 It is attached to the', 
mouth of the Sus/rauma, and is placed below the genitals/ 
and above the anus. It has four petals of crimson hue. • 
Its head (mouth) hangs downwards. On its petals are the ; 
| four letters from Va to Sa, of the shining colour of gold. 

Commentary 

After having described the Nadls, the Author describes the 
Muladhara Chakra in detail in nine verses beginning with the 
present. 

“ It is attached to the mouth of Sushumna ” (Sus/tumna- 
syalagnam). — The petals 9 are on four sides of the place where, 
the Kanda 1 and Sushumna meet. 

“ Below the genitals and above the anus ” (Dhvajadhogu- 
dorddhvam). — From below the root of the genitals to Sushumna 

“ Four petals of crimson hue ” (Chatuh-shonapatram). — 
The four petals are red in colour. Shona is the crimson colour 
of the red lotus. 

“ Chi its petals are the four lettters from Va to 8a ” 
(Vakaradisantairyutam veda 4 -vamaih). — The four letters are 
Va, Sha (palatal), Sha (cerebral), and Sa.’ On each of the petals 


‘ That is, Muladhara chakra, so called from its being at the root of 
the six Chakras ; see hence to v. 12, post. 

9 See Introduction. 

s V. p. 7, ante. 

* Veda-varna : Veda stands for “ four ”. There are four Vedas, and 
the learned sometimes use the word Veda to mean four — i.e., the 
number of the Vedas. 

b See Introduction. 



382 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


of the six Lotuses the letters of the alphabet are to be meditated 
upon, going round in a circle from the right (DaksMnavartena). 
Cf. Vishvasara Tantra : “ The petals of the Lotuses are known 
to contain the letters of the alphabet, and should be meditated 
upon as written in a circle from the right to the left.” 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


338 


Verse 5 

In this (Lotus) in the square region (Chakra) of PrithivI , 1 
surrounded by eight shining spears . 2 It is of a shining 
yellow colour 3 and beautiful like lightning, as is also the 
Bija of Dhara 1 which is within. 

Commentary 

In the pericarp of this Lotus is the square region of Pnthivi, 
which is described in detail. On the eight sides of the square 
are eight shining spears. The region is of yellow colour. 

Cf. “ O Thou of dulcet speech, in the Muladhara is the four- 
cornered region of Dhara, yellow in colour and surrounded by 
eight spears (Shula) like Kulachalas.” 

Kulachala is by some interpreted to mean the breast of a 
woman. According to this view, the tips of these spears are 
shaped like a woman’s breasts. Others understand by the 
expression the seven Kula Mountains . 5 

1 Earth element, which is that of this Chakra. The form of this 
tattva is a square. 

_ 

The As/itfashula are shown thus : 

8 The colour of the earth element which presides in this Chakra. 
Each Tattva manifests the form, colour, and action, of its particular 
vibration. 

4 That is, the Bija of PrithivI, the earth Tattva or “ Lang ”. See 
Introduction. 

5 Mahendro MalayaA Sahya h Shuktiman Rikshaparvata/z 
Vindhyash cha Paripatrash cha saptaite kulaparvata/a. 

(quoted in Shabdastomamahaiudhi). Some read Pariputra/t in 
place of Paripatra/&. Shankara says that the spears are here because 
the Chakra is inhabited by Dakin! who is one of the great Bhairavls. 



384 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Cf. Nirvana Tantra : “ 0 Devi, the seven Kula Mountains, 
viz., Nilachala, Mandara, Chandra-sekhara, Himalaya, Suvela, 
Malaya, and Suparvata — dwell in the four corners.” According 
to this notion, the eight spears are likened to the seven Hula 
Mountains on Earth. 

“ Within it ” (Tad-anke). — Inside the region of PrithivI 
(Dhara mandala) is the Blja of Earth — viz., “ Lang ”. This Blja 
is also of a yellow colour. The phrase “ shining yellow colour ” 
(Lasat-pita-vama) is descriptive of the Bija also. So it has been 
said : 

“ Inside it is the Aindra Blja (Blja of Indra),' of a yellow 
colour possessed of four arms, holding the thunder in one hand, 
mighty a and seated on the elephant Airavata.” 3 


1 The Bija of Indra and the Blja of Earth are the same. 

’ Maha-bahu, “ possessed of great long arms — sign of prowess. Cf. 
Aj&nu-lambita-bahu (arms reaching the knees). 

* The elephant of Indra. This and other animals figured in the 
Chakras denote both qualities of the Tattva and the Vehicles (Vfihana) 
of the Devata therein. See Introduction. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


335 


Verse 6 

Ornamented with four arms 1 and mounted on the King 
of Elephants , 2 He carries on His lap 3 the ehild Creator, 
resplendent like the young Sun, who has four lustrous 
arms, and the wealth of whose lotus-face is fourfold . 4 

Commentary 

This is the Dhyana of the Dhara Bija. The Blja of Dhara 
or Pn'thivi is identical with that of Indra. 

“ On his lap ” (Tad-anke) — i.e., in the lap of Dhara Blja. 
The sense of this verse is that the Creator Brahma dwells in the 
lap of Dhara Bija. By “ anka ” (lap) is to be understood the 
space within the Bindu or Dhara Blja. Cf. “ In the Muladhara 
is the Dhara Bija, and in its Bindu dwells Brahma, the image 
of a Child, and King of the Immortals 4 is mounted on an 
Elephant.” 

The above quoted passage, it is urged, means “ the King of 
the Immortals is in the lap of Dhara Blja.” But according to 
our view, as the Dhara Bija and the Indra Blja are the same, 
their identity is here spoken of ; for it is also said, “ the letters 
of the Mantra are the Devata ; the Devata is in the form of the 
Mantra (Mantra-rupinI).” 

Also cf. Nirvana Tantra : “ 0 beautiful one, the Indra Blja 
is below the genitals. The very perfect and beautiful dwelling 

1 These two adjectival phrases qualify Dhara Bija.. 

a Airavata. 

* That is, the Bindu of the Bija (Dhara) or “ Lam ”. This is ex- 
plained, P 08 t. 

4 Brahma is represented with four heads. 

6 i.e., Indra Deva. 



836 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

of Brahma is above Nada, and there dwells Brahma the Creator,* 
the Lord of creatures 1 * 3 

By “ above Nada ” in this passage, we must understand that 
the abode of Brahma is within the Bindu which is above Nada. 
Some read “ left of the genitals,” and thus there is a difference 
of opinion. The Sharada says that the Adharas are various 
according to different views. 

“ Four lustrous arms ” (Lasad-veda 3 -bahu). — Some interpret 
the Sanskrit compound word to mean “ in whose arms shine the 
four Vedas, Sanaa and others,” thus thinking of Brahma as being 
possessed of two arms only. But Brahma is nowhere described 
as holding the Vedas in his hands, and that he should be 
meditated upon as having four arms is clear from the following 
passage in Bhuta-shuddhi Tantra : 

“ Know, O Shiva, that in its lap is the four-armed, red- 
coloured child 4 Brahma, who has four faces and is seated on the 
back of a swan.” 5 

“ The wealth of whose lotus-face is fourfold ” (Mukhambho- 
jalaksftmi/i chatur-bhaga-bhedaft). — By this is to be understood 
that Brahma has four faces. 

Some read the passage as “ Chatur-bhagaveda ” ; thus read, 
the meaning practically is the same. If the Sanskrit text is 
read “ Mukhambhoja-laks/^ml-chatur-bliagaveda,” the ^meaning 
would be, ” the four different Vedas enhance the beauty of his 
lotus-faces ”. 6 

As opposed to the opinion that Brahma holds the four 
Vedas in his arms, the Vishva-sara Tantra in the Brahmx- 
dhyana says : “ Meditate on Bralimi (Shakti) as red in colour 


1 Sf'is/^ikartft. 

* Prajfirpati. 

8 Veda is used to mean four, there being four Vedas. 

4 i.e., Hiranya-garbha. 

5 Hamsa, or, as some say, goose or flamingo. See Woodroffe's 
4 ‘ Garland of Letters ”, p. 155. 

6 The allusion is to the belief that the four Vedas came out of the 
four mouths of Brahma. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


337 


and garbed in the skin of the black antelope, and as holding the 
staff, 1 gourd, 2 3 the rosary of Rudraks/m beads, 8 and making the 
gesture dispelling fear.” 4 And in the Saptashatl Stotra 5 6 7 it has 
been said that Shiva and Shakti are to be meditated upon as 
having the same weapons. 

Also c/. Yamala : “ The Adi-Murti G should be meditated 
upon as making the gestures of dispelling fear and granting 
boons/ as also holding the Kundika * and rosary of Rudraksfta 
beads, and adorned with fine ornament.” 

This is how She should be meditated upon. The rest 
requires no explanation. 


1 Dawda. 

2 Kamandalu. 

3 Aks/ia-sutra. 

4 That is, the Abhaya-mudra. The hand is uplifted, the palm being 
shown to the spectator. The four fingers are close together, and the 
thumb crosses the palm to the fourth finger. 

4 M&rkawdeya ChandT. 

6 Brahml Shakti. 

7 That is, the Varadamudra, the hand being held in the 'same 
position as in note 8, p. 19, but with the palm held horizontally instead 
of vertically. 

8 Kamawdalu : a vessel with a gourd -shaped body, and handle at 
the top, used for carrying water, generally by ascetics. 


22 



338 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 7 

Here dwells the Devi DakinI 1 by name ; her four arms 
shine with beauty, and her eyes are brilliant red. She is 
resplendent like the lustre of many Suns rising at one and 
the same time . 2 She is the carrier of the revelation of the 
ever-pure Intelligence . 3 


Commentary 

In this Shloka the Author speaks of the presence of DakinI 
Shakti in the Adhara-padma. The sense of this verse is that in 
this Lotus the Devi DakinI dwells. 

“ She is the Carrier of the revelation of the ever-pure Intelli- 
gence ” 4 (Prakasham vahantl sada-shuddha-buddheA) — that is, 
she, DakinI Shakti, enables the Yogi to acquire knowledge of the 
Tattva (Tattva-jnana). By meditating on her, which is part of 
Yoga practice, one acquires Tattva-jnana. This Devi is the pre- 
siding Divinity of this region. 

Cf. 44 The mouth 5 6 (the lotus) has the letters Va, Sha 
(palatal), Sha, (lingual), and Sa, and is presided over by DakinI.” 


1 DakinI and other Shaktis of this class are in some Tantras called 
the Queens, of the Chakras, and in others the door-keepers thereof. 

* That is, according to Vishvanatha, she is very red. 

* Shuddha-buddhi— i.e„ Tattva-jnana. 

4 If the word “sada” is read separately from “ shuddha-buddhi,” 
it becomes an adverb qualifying “ vahantl ” and the passage would then 
mean that “ she ever carries revelation of Divine Knowledge ”. 

5 Vaktra. This is possibly the transcriber’s mistake for “ Padma ”= 

lotus. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


339 


“ Dakini, Bakini, LakinI, KakinI, as also Shakini and HakinI, 
are the queens of the six respective Lotuses.” 1 * 3 Elsewhere is 
given the Dhyana of Dakini thus : “ Meditate on her, the red, 
the red-eyed Dakini, in the Muladhara, who strikes terror into 
the hearts of Pashus, 4 who holds in her two right hands the 
Spear 1 and the Khatvanga, 4 and in her two left hands the 
Sword 5 and a drinking-cup filled with wine. She is fierce of 
temper and shows her fierce teeth. She crushes the whole host 
of enemies. She is plump of body, and is fond of Payasanna. 6 
It is thus that she should be meditated upon by those who 
desire immortality.” Elsewhere she is described as “ bright 
with a Tilaka 7 of vermillion, her eyes ornamented with colly- 
rium, clad in black (antelope’s skin) and decked with varied 
jewels,” etc. 

On the authority of the above passage, which occurs in a 
Dhyana of Dakini, she should be meditated upon as clad in black 
antelope skin. 

The Devas Brahma and others are to be meditated upon as 
having their faces down or up according to the frame of mind 
(Bhava) of the Sadhaka. 

The Shaktananda-taranginI 8 quotes the following from the 
Maya Tantra : 

“ Parvatl asked : How can they be in the Lotuses which have 
their heads downward bent ? 

1 The Shaktananda-taranginI places them in a different order. See 
P. K. Shastrl’s edition, p. 75. 

* The unillumined. See Introduction to Author’s Mahanirvana. 

3 Shula. 

4 A staff surmounted by a human skull. 

6 Khadga, a kind of sword used in the sacrifice of animals. Some 
read Bhefa. 

6 A kind of milk pudding made of rice boiled in milk with ghee 
and sugar. 

7 Here the mark borne by a woman between the eyebrows showing 
that her husband is living — an auspicious mark. The Saubhagyaratnft- 
kara says that Dakini abides in Tvak Dhatu. 

8 Fourth chapter ; Prasanna Kumara Shastrl’s edition, pp. 78, 79. 
The passage in the text is incompletely quoted. 



340 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


“ Mahadeva said : The Lotuses, 0 Devi, have their heads in 
different directions. In the life of action 1 they should be 
thought of as having their heads downward, but in the path of 
renunciation a they are always meditated upon as having their 
heads upward turned.” 

The rest is clear. 


1 Pravritti-mftrga : the outgoing path as distinguished from the 
Nivritti-marga, or the path of return to the Parabrahman. 

* Nivntti-m&rga. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


341 


Verse 8 

Near the mouth of the Nadi called Vajra, and in the 
pericarp (of the Adhara Lotus), there constantly shines the 
beautifully luminous and soft, lightning-like triangle which 
is Kamarupa , 1 and known as Traipura . 2 There is always 
and everywhere the Vayu called Kandarpa , 3 who is of a 
deeper red than the Bandhujlva flower , 4 5 and is the Lord 
of Beings and resplendent like ten million suns. 

Commentary 

In this Shloka is described the triangle in the pericarp of 
the Mula-Chakra. 

“ Near the mouth of the Nail called Vajra ” (Vajrakhya- 
vaktradeshe). — The mouth of the Vajra is two fingers above that 
of the Sus/tumna and below the base of the genitals. 

“ The triangle known as Traipura ” (Trikowam traipura* 
khyam). — The triangle is so called because of the presence of 
the Devi Tripura within the Ka inside the triangle, and the 
letter Ka is the chief letter of the Kamabija. 6 * * 


1 See Commentary, post. 

a This triangle, says Vishvanatha, citing Gautamlya Tantra is 
Ichchajnanakriyatmaka — that is, the powers of Will, Knowledge and 
Action. See Introduction. 

3 A form of the Apana vayu. Kandarpa is a name of Kama, the 
Deva of Love. 

* Pentapceles Phcenicea. 

5 That is, the Mantra “ Klim ” ; in Tantraraja Shiva speaking to 

Devi says, “ letter Ka is Thy form ". The Nityapujapaddhati, p. 80, 

mentions in this connection 11 Kam,” the Vlja of Kaminl. See 

Introduction. 



842 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Cf. Shaktananda-tarangim 1 : “ Inside dwells the Devi 
Sundarl,‘ the Paradevata.” 

“ Soft ” (Komala) — i.e., oily and smooth. 

“ Kama-rupa ” 3 : that by which Kama is caused to be felt 
— i.e., it is Madanagaratmaka.* 

Cf. “ The triangle should be known as the charming Shakti- 
pitha.” 

This triangle is above the Dhara-vija. Cf. Sammohana 
Tantra, speaking of Dhara-vija : “ Above it (Dhara-vija) are three 
lines — Varna, Jjeshtha, and RaudrI.” 

“ Kandarpa .” — The presence in the Trikona of the Kan- 
darpavayu is here spoken of. It is everywhere (samantat) that 
is extended throughout the triangle. 

“ Lord of Beings ” (Jivesha). — So called because the con- 
tinuance of life depends on Kama or Kandarpa. 

It is said that “ In the Kanda (heart) region dwells Prana ; 
and Apana dwells in the region of the anus.” The air in the 
region of the anus is Apana, and Kandarpa Vayu accordingly 
is a part of Apana Vayu. 3 It is also said that 6 “ Apana draws 
Prana, and Prana draws Apana — just as a falcon attached by 
a string is drawn back again when he flies away ; these two 
by their disagreement prevent each other from leaving the body, 
but when in accord they leave it.” 

The two Vayus Prana and Apana go different ways, pulling 
at one another ; and neither of them, therefore, can leave the 


1 When dealing with the Kakara-tattva, p. 165, Prasanna Kumara 
Shastrl’s edition. 

’ Sundarl — i.e., Tripura-sundarl, a name of the Devi. See Tantrar&ja 
(Tftntrik Texts, VIII, Ch. 4-6). 

3 Shankara defines this as “ the embodiment of the devotee’s desire ” 
(BhaktfLbhil&s/m-svarupam). 

4 Chamber of Madana (Deva of Love) — the Yoni. 

3 Vayn here is a name for a manifestation of Prana, the five most 
important of such manifestations being Prana, Apana, Samana, Vyana, 
Udana. See Introduction. 

4 This is an oft-repeated passage (Shaktananda, p. 5). 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 343 

body, but when the two are in accord — that is, go in the same 
direction — they leave the body. Kandarpa Vayu, being a part 
of Apana also pulls at Prana Vayu, and prevents the latter from 
escaping from the body ; hence Kandarpa Vayu is the Lord 
of Life. 

In v. 10 the Author describes KundalinI as “ She who 
maintains all the beings of the world by Inspiration and Ex- 
piration. n 1 He himself has thus said that Prana and Apana are 
the maintainers of animate being. 


1 The Inspired and Expired breath is Hamsa li. 



344 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 9 

Inside it (the triangle) is Svayambhu 1 in His Linga-form , 2 
beautiful like molten gold, with His head downwards. He 
is revealed by Knowledge 3 and Meditation , 4 and is of the 
shape and colour of a new leaf. As the cool rays of light- 
ning and of the full moon charm, so does His beauty. The 
Deva who resides happily here as in Kashi is in forms like 
a whirlpool . 5 

Commentary 

In this verse he speaks of the presence of the Svayambhu- 
linga in the triangle. 

“ Svayambhu in his Linga-form ” (Linga-rQpi svayambhu), 
i.e., here dwells the Shivalinga whose name is Svayambhu. 

“Beautiful like molten gold ” (Druta-kanaka-kala-komala). 
— His body has the soft lustre of molten gold. 

“ Sis head downwards ” (Pashchimasya). — Cf. Kali-kulam- 
rita : “ There is placed the great Linga Svayam bhu, who is ever 
blissful, his head downward, active when moved of Kama Blja.” 
Revealed by Knowledge and Meditation ” (Jnana-dhyana- 
prakasha). — Whose existence is apprehended by us by Know- 
ledge ( J nana) and Meditation (Dhyana). By Jnana we realize 
the attributelessness and by Dhyana the attributefulness (of the 
Brahman). Such is Svayambhu. 


’“Self-originated." “self-existent,” the Shiva Linga of that name. 
* As the human phallus. 

3 Jnftna. 

4 Dhyana. 

5 This refers to a depression on the top of the Linga. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


345 


“ The shape and colour of new leaves ” (Prathama-kishalaya- 
kara rupa). — By this is conveyed the idea that the shape of the 
Svayambhtilinga is tapering like a new unopened leaf-bud. 
Like the pistil inside the Champaka flower, it is broad at the 
bottom and tapers to a point at the end ; this also shows that 
the Svayambhu-linga is of a blue-green colour (Shyama). 

Cf. Shaktananda-taranginl : “ 0 Maheshani, meditate in- 
side it (the triangle) upon the Svayambhulinga, who holds his 
head with an aperture therein downward — the beautiful and 
blue-green Shiva (Shivam Shyamala-sundaram).” 

In the Yamala occurs the following passage : “ Meditate 
upon the very beautiful celestial triangle (Trikona) in the 
Muladhara ; within its three lines is Kundall, charming like ten 
million lightning flashes in the dark blue 1 clouds.” 

This passage, which describes Kunrfall as “ lightning in 
the dark blue clouds ”, goes to show that the Svayambhulinga 
is also blue ; but Nila (blue) and Shyama (dark green) belong to 
the same category, and hence there is no contradiction. 

“ As cool rays of lightning and of the full moon charm, so 
does His beauty ” (Vidyut-purnendu-bimba-prakarakara 3 -chaya- 
snigdhasantanahasi). — As the strong light of the moon and of 
lightning emits no heat, so is the light which emanates from 
the Svayambhulinga cool and pleasing, bringing gladness into 
the hearts of men. 

“ The Deva who resides happily here as in Kashi ” 8 (Kashl- 
vaslvilasl). — Kashi is the place sacred to Shifa, his favourite 
abode. By these two adjectives it is implied that the Svayam- 
bhu in the Adhara Lotus is happy as He is in His form of 
Vishveshvara in Kashi, and He is as pleased to be hero as 
at Kashi. “ VilasI ” may also mean amorous because it has been 


1 Nila. 

* Vishvanatha for Kara (ray) reads Rasa — that is, the nectar flowing 
from the Moon. 

.* Benares or Baranasl. 



346 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


said above, “ moved by Kama Bija Vilas! is indicative of His 
Lordship of the Universe.' 

“ Like a whirlpool ” (Sarid-avarta-rupa-prakara). — The 
whirling water on its outer edge creates a depression in the 
middle and the centre thereof is raised like the shape of a conch . 1 

This Svayambhu is placed on the Kama-blja. This has 
been said in Kali-Kulamrita : “ Surrounded by the filaments of 
the lotus, is the Shrmgafa 3 and over this is the beautiful Maha- 
linga Svayambhu, with an opening on the top, ever happy, 
holding his head downwards, and active when moved by the 
Kama-blja.” 

Elsewhere the following occurs : “ There, in the pericarp, 
is the above-mentioned Dakin!, and the triangle (Trikona) with- 
in which is a small aperture and the red Kama-blja. There is 
also the Svayambhu Linga, his head downward and of a ruddy 
hue.” This is, however, a different conception. 


1 The Universe is His Vilasa or Lila. 

1 Shankara says that he is so described because of his restless 
motion. 

3 The triangular pyramidical seat of Kama. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


347 


Verses 10 and 11 1 

Over it 2 shines the sleeping KunrfalinI, fine as the fibre of 
the lotus-stalk. She is the world-bewilderer , 3 gently cover- 
ing the mouth of Brahma-dvara 4 by Her own. Like the 
-spiral of the concli-shell, Her shining snake-like form goes 
•three and a half times round Shiva , 5 6 and her lustre is as 
that of a strong flash of young strong lightning. Her sweet 
murmur is like the indistinct hum of swarms of love-mad 
bees. G She produces melodious poetry and Bandha 7 and 
all other compositions in prose or verse in sequence or 
otherwise 8 9 in Sansknta, PrakWta and other languages. It 
is She who maintains all the beings of the world by means 
of inspiration and expiration, <J and shines in the cavity of 
the root (Mula) Lotus like a chain of brilliant lights. 


1 Shankara, unlike Kfillcharana, has annotated the two verses 
separately. 

2 Svayambliu Linga— that is, round It with her body and over It 
with Her head. 

3 KundalinT is the Shakti whereby the Mayik world exists, at rest. 
In the Kurma Purana Shiva says : “ This Supreme Shakti is in me, and 
is Brahman Itself. This Maya is dear to me, by which this world is 
bewildered.” Hence the Devi in the Lalita is called Sarvamohinl ” 
(all-bewildering). 

4 See Commentary. * 

5 Shivopari. 

6 Vishvanatha says She makes this sound when awakened. Accord- 
ing to Shankara, this indicates the Vaikharl state of KuntfalinT. 

7 Is a class of literary composition in which verse is arranged in 
the manner of a diagram or picture. 

8 Bhedakrama and Atibhedakrama. 

9 Vishvanatha quotes Daks/fcm&murti as stating that during day and 
night man breathes in and out 21,600 times, taking both expiration and 
inspiration as the unit. See Introduction. 



348 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Commentary 

In these two verses the author speaks of the presence of 
KundalinI Shakti in the Svayambhu Linga. (it is the Devi 
KundalinI who maintains the existence of individual beings 
(Jlva, Jlvatma) by the functions of inspiration and expiration] 
She places them in individual bodies j She produces the hum- 
ming sound resembling that of a swarm of bees, and is the 
source of Speech and She, as described below, dwells in the 
triangular hollow in the pericarp of the Muladhara Lotus rest- 
ing upon the Svayambhu Linga. 

“ Shines fine as the fibres of The lotus-stalk " (Bisa-tantu- 
sodaral asat - s iiks h mil) — i.e., She is fine like the fibre of the 
lotus-stalk. 

“ World-betoilderer ” (Jagan-moghin!) — i.e., She is Maya in 
this world. 

“ Gently." ' — Madhuram. 

“ The mouth of Brahma-dvdra ” (Brahma-dvara-mukha) — 
the hollow on the head of Svayambhu Linga. 

“ A strong flash of young lightning ” (Navina-chapala-mala- 
vilasaspada) . — Lit., “ possessed of the wealth of a strong flash of 
young lightning.” In youth every thing and person shows the 
characteristic qualities in a state of vigorous perfection. Hence 
a “ young flash of lightning ” means a strong flash. 

/ “ She produces melodious poetry, etc. (Komalakavya-banda- 

rachana-bhedatibheda-krama) . — This shows the mode in which 
words are produced. The soft music produced by a combination 
of soft and melodious words descriptive of beauty, virtue, etc., 
in all its modulations, resulting from perfecting of composition 
and regularity and irregularity in the disposition of words. By 
Bandha is here meant pictorial poetical composition in prose or 
verse arranged to look like a lotus (Padmabandha), a horse 
(Ashvabandha) and so on ; and by Atibheda the author alludes 


Madhuram : this is used as an adjective, according to Shankara, 
and means sweet. He says She is drinking nectar by the Brahmadv&ra ; 
as the nectar is coming through it, the Brahmadvava is sweet. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


349 


to all the words in SanskWta and Prakrita. By using the 
word “ order, sequence,” the author emphasizes the fact that 
these compositions and words come out in the order laid down 
in the Shastras. KundalinI produces, both at random, and in set 
forms. Kundalinl produces words, SanskWta, and Prakrita, dis- 
tinct and indistinct. She is the source from which all sound 
emanates. 

Cf. Sharada 1 : “ Upon the bursting (unfolding) of the sup- 
reme Bindu arose unmanifested Sound 2 (Avyakta-rava). It as- 
sumed the form of Kundall in living bodies, and manifested 
itself in prose and verse by the aid of the letters of the Alphabet 
(lit., the essence of the letters).” 

By “ Prose and Verse ” all forms of speech are meant. 

It has distinctly been said in Kadimata 3 : “ By the action 
of the Ichchha-Shakti of the Atma acting on Prana-vayu there 
is produced in the Muladhara the excellent Nada (Sound) called 
Para . 4 In its ascending movement it is thrown upward and open- 
ing out in the Svadhisft^ana , 5 it receives the name of PashyantI ; 
and again gently led up as before mentioned, it becomes united 
in the Anahata with Buddhi-tattva, and is named Madhyama. 
Going upward again, it reaches the Vishuddha in the throat, where 


1 Ch. I, second line of v. 11 and v. 14, the intermediate verses are 
omitted. These run as follows: “ That sound is called, by those versed 
in the Agamas, Shabdabrahman. Some teachers define Shabdabrahman 
to mean Shabd&rtha, ^others (grammarians) define it to mean Shabda ; 
but neither of them is correct, because both Shabda and Shabdartha are 
Jada (un-conscious things). In jny opinion, Shabdabrahman is the 
Chaitanya of all beings.” The Agama in the text is Shruti ; Raghava 
quotes Shankarficharya in Prapanchasara, which speaks of men versed 
in Shruti. Chaitanya is the Brahman considered as the essence of all 
beings — that is, Chit and Shakti, or Chit in manifestation. 

* That is, the Principle or Cause of Sound. See Introduction. 

3 Tantraraja (Vols. VIII and XII. Tantrik Texts), Ch. XXVI, vv. 5-9. 

4 At pp. 120-122, Vol. II, Tantrik Texts, Vishvanatha speaks of Para, 
PashyantI, and the other Shaktis. The form of Nada, says the 
Manor ama, should be known from the Guru. This Ichchha-Shakti is 
Kalamayl. 

5 PashyantI is sometimes associated with Mampura. See In- 
troduction. 



850 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

it is called Vaikhar! ; and from there it goes on towards the head, 
(upper part of the throat, the palate, the lips, the teeth). It also 
spreads over the tongue from root to tip, and the tip of the nose ; 
and remaining in the throat, the palate, and the lips, produces by 
the throat and the lips the letters of the Alphabet from A to 
Ksfea.” ' 

It is needless to quote more. 

Elsewhere has KuwfZalinl been thus described : “ Meditate 
upon Devi KuwZalinI, who surrounds the Svayambh-Linga, who 
is Shijdma and subtle, who is Creation itself, 1 2 in whom are crea- 
tion, existence, and dissolution, 3 who is beyond the universe, 4 * 
and is consciousness 6 itself. Think of Her as the One who goes 
upwards.” 6 

Also : “ Meditate upon the Devi Kundalinl as your Ishta- 
devata, 7 * as being ever in the form of a damsel of sixteen in the 
full bloom of her first youth, with large and beautifully formed 
breasts, decked with all the varied kinds of jewels, lustrous as 
the full moon, red in colour, with ever restless eyes.” s 

“ Red (Rakta) as regards Sundari ”, so says the Author of 
the Shaktananda-tarangini. Kuwdalini, as a matter of fact, 
should always be meditated upon as red (Rakta) in colour. 9 


1 The sense of this, says the Manorama, is that Nada which has 
four stages ( A vasth iich at u s hf y fit m ak a) does, after passing through the 
different centres mentioned in the Text, assume the form of the 
51 letters. 

* SmAZirupa. 

3 SrisAfi-stithi-layfttmika. 

4 Vishvfitltfi. She is not only immanent, but transcends the 
universe. 

* Jnfina-rupfi. 

4 Crddhvavahini, for Kundalini ascends to the Sahasrfira. 

7 Is&fa-deva-svarfipinl. The Is/tfadevata is the particular Devatfi 
of the Sadhaka’s worship. 

* These in women indicate a passionate nature. 

,* The Shftktftnanda-taranginI says : She is only to be meditated upon 
as red only when the object of worship is Tripura. The text may also 
be read as meaning that “ red ” is an attribute applicable to Shrl 
Sundari — that is, the Devi Tripurasundarl. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


351 


Shyama (which ordinarily denotes “ colour ”) is here meant 
to signify something different. In all Tantras and all Tantrika 
collections KuraMinI is described to be like lightning. “ Shyama 
is the name given to a woman who is warm in winter and cool 
in summer, and the lustre of molten gold.” 1 This is what is 
meant here and colour is not intended. Thus the apparent dis- 
crepancy is removed. 

The Kankala-malini Tantra describes KuwdalinI in the 
Brahmadvara, and before the piercing of the Chakras, thus : 
“ She, the Brahman Itself, resplendent like millions of moons 
rising at the same time, has four arms and three eyes. Her hands 
make the gestures 2 3 of granting boons and dispelling fear, 
and hold a book and a Vina.' 1 She is seated on a lion, and as 
She passes to her own abode 4 the Awe-inspiring One (Bhlma) 
assumes different forms.” 


1 This is a quotation from the Alankara Shastra (Rhetoric). 

2 That is, the Mudras Vara and Abhaya ; v. ante, pp. 19, 20. 

3 The musical instrument of that name, 

* The MfilAdbAra. 



352 THE BIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 12 

f Within it 1 reigns dominant Para , 2 the Shrl Paramesh- 
varl, the Awakener of eternal knowledge. She is the 
Omnipotent Kala 3 who is wonderfully skilful to create, 
and is subtler than the subtlest. She is the receptacle of 
that continuous stream of ambrosia which flows from the 
Eternal Bliss. By Her radiance it is that the whole of 
this Universe and this Cauldron 4 is illumined. 

Commentary 

He is now speaking of the Staff-like Para Shakti, who is 
like a straight thread above KundalinI, who is coiled round 
Svayambhu-Linga. The Shri Parameshvarl, whose radiance 
illumines this Universe 5 and its cauldron, dwells in the Svayam- 
bhu-Linga above where KundalinI is coiled and holds supreme 
sway. 

“ Omnipotent ” (Parama). — She is the Maya who is able to 
do that which is impossible. 6 

1 Svayambhulinga, round which Kundall is coiled. 

* According to Shankara, Para is in Kundalim. She is called 
Brahman! by Vishvanatha who quotes the Svachchhandasangraha. In 
Kundalini is the Para state of Shabda. 

* Vide post, 

4 Katfaha — that is, the lower half of the Brahmanda, and as such 
cauldron-shaped. 

1 Brahmanda— egg of Brahma. 

6 So the Dev! Parana (Ch. XLV), speaking of this power of the 
Supreme, says : 

Vichitra-karyakarana chintitatiphalaprada 
Svapnendrajalaval loke maya tena praklrtita. 

Parama may also mean Param mlyate anaya iti Parama — i.e ., She 
by whom the Supreme “ is measured,” in the sense (for the Supreme is 
immeasurable) that she who is one with the Supreme, is formative 
activity. See Introduction. Vishvanatha, quoting an unnamed Tantra, 
says that this Maya is within KundalinI, and this Parama is Para- 
matmasvarftpa. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 853 

“KaM ” is a form of Nada Shakti (Kal5 Nada-shakti-rfipft) ; 
and is separate from Kundalinl.’ 

The Shftktananda-tarangin! says : “ Kala is Kundalinl, and 
She, Shiva has said, is Nada-shakti.” 1 * 3 

And it has also been elsewhere said : “ Above it, meditate 
in your mind on Chitkala united with I (Laks/imi) who is 
tapering of shape like the flame of a lamp, and who is one 
with Kundall.” 

Cf. Kalika-Shruti : “ Man becomes freed of all sins by medi- 
tating upon KundalinI as within, above, and below the flame, 
as Brahma, as Shiva, as Sura, 3 and as Parameshvara Himself ; 
as Vishnu, as Prana, as Kalagni, 4 and as Chandra.” 5 

By “ within the flame ” is meant the excellent Kala (=Nada* 
rupa) above KundtalinI’s threefold coil. This is what has been 
said by the author of this Lalitarahasya. 

“ She (Para) is wonderfully skilful to create ” (Ati-kushala) 
— i.e., She it is who possesses the wonderful skill and power 
of creation. 

“ She is the receptacle of that continuous stream of ambrosia 
flowing from Eternal Bliss (Brahman) ” (Nityananda-param- 
parativigalat-plyus/ia-dhara-dhara). — By Eternal Bliss (Nitya- 
nanda) is meant the Nirguna or attributeless Brahman. Par a m - 
para means “ connected step by step ”. From Nityananda, which 
is Nirguna Brahman, there arises (in Its aspect as) Saguna 
Brahman ; from Saguna Brahman, Shakti ; from Shakti, N&da, 
from Nada, Bindu ; and from Bindu, Kundalini. 6 Chit-kala is 
another form of Kundalinl. It is thus that the the ambrosia 
comes step by step to Parameshvari, the Chitkala. She is Nitya- 
nandaparampara — that is, She belongs to the chain of emanation 


1 Kundalinyabheda-sharlrinl. 

' Nfida-shakti= Shakti as N&da. See Introduction. 

* Sura=Sitrya, or Sun. 

4 The fire which destroys all things at the time of dissolution 
(pralaya). 

4 Moon. 

* See Introduction, 



354 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


from Nityananda downwards ; and She is Ativigalat -piyQsha- 
dh&radhara — that is, She is the receptacle of the stream of 
ambrosia which flows copiously from Nityananda . 1 

This compound word may be interpreted to mean that She 
holds the copious flow of ambrosia caused by her union with 
the Brahman. From Nityananda this nectar comes to Para- 
Bindu, and passes through the Ajna Chakra, Vishuddha Chakra, 
etc., till it reaches the MuladhSra, and this nectar is that of 
which She is the receptacle. To interpret it to mean this, the 
entire word is read as one. 


1 That is, if the compound be read in two sections— viz., Nityftnanda- 
parampara, and then separately, Ativigalatplyasftadh&ra. The trans- 
lation adopted in the text is that which is referred to in the paragraph 
Which follows, * 



PESCRIPTION OF TIIE SIX CENTRES 


855 


Verse 13 

[By meditating thus on Her who shines within the Mala\ 
Chakra, with the lustre of ten million Suns, a man beoomes 
Lord of speech and King among men, and an Adept in all 
kin® of learning. He becomes ever free from all diseases, 
and his inmost Spirit becomes full of great gladness. Pure 
I of disposition by his deep and musical words, he serves the 
foremost of the Devas. 1 


Commentary 

In this verse the Author speaks of the benefit to be derived 
from meditating on Kundfalini. By Mula ChaJcra is meant the 
Muladhara. “ It is the root of the six Chakras — hence its name,” 

“ Within " (Mula-chakrantara-vivara-lasat-kofi-surya-praka- 
sham). — She shines in the Muladhara Chakra like ten million 
suns shining at one and the same time. 

“ His deep and musical words ” (Vakyaih kavya-paraban- 
dhai/i). — His speech is musical and full of meanings, as in a 
poetical composition. 

“He serves ” (Sevate).’ — He uses his words in hymns of 
praise and for purposes of a like nature. He pleases them by 
words of adoration. 

“ All the foremost of the Devas ” (Sakala-sura-gurun). — The 
word Guru here means excellent, and the Author by Sura-gurfin 
means Brahma, Vis/mu, and Shiva, the principal Devas. Amara 
says that “ adding the words Singha (lion), Shardula (tiger), 
Naga (serpent), eto., to a male name implies excellence.” 

1 That is, Brahma., Vis/mu, Shiva, etc. 

* That is, by his mastery over words he becomes like to Brihaspati, 
Guru of the Devas (Shankara). 



THE SOX 0BNTBB8 AND THE SERPENT POWER 
Summary 

The Muladhftra is Lotus of four petals. The petals are red, 
and have the letters Va, Sha (palatal), Sha (cerebal),_Sa, in 
colours of gold. In the pericarp is the square Dhar&mandala 
surrounded by eight spears, and within it and in the lower part 
is the Dhara-blja 1 who has four arms and is seated on the ele- 
phant Airavata. He is yellow of colour, and holds the thunder- 
bolt * in his hands. Inside the Bindu of the Dhara-blja is the 
Child Brahma, who is red in colour, and has four hands with 
which he holds the staff,* the gourd,* the Rudraks/ia rosary, 
and makes the gesture which dispels fear. 5 He has four faces. 
In the paricarp there is a red lotus on whioh is the presiding 
Divinity of the Chakra (ChakradhisM/mtri), the Shakti Dakinl. 
She is red and has four arms, and in her hands dre Shula, 6 
Khafvanga, 7 8 Kha/Zga,* and ChasTiaka. 9 In the pericarp v there is 
also the lightning-like triangle, inside which are Kama-vayu 
and Kama-bTja, 10 11 both of which are red. Above this is the 
Svayambhu Linga which is Shyama-vama, " and above and 
round this Linga is Kunrfalini coiled three and a half times, and 
above this last upstands, on the top of the Linga, Chit-ka * * la.' 2 

( This is the end of the first section.) “ 


1 " Lam.’’ 

’ Yajra. 

* Dan da. 

* Kamawdalu. 

5 Abhayamudra ; v. 19, ante, n. 8. 

* Spear. 

’ Skull-mounted staff. 

8 Sword. Khadga ia a heavy sacrificial sword. 

8 Drinking-cup. 

10 “ Klim.” 

11 Its colour. 

** Described in v. 12 as another form of Kuwdalini. 

Prakarana. The commentator divides the text and his commen- 
tary into eight sections, 



DESCRIPTION of the six centres 


35fr 


Verse 14 

There is another Lotus’ placed inside the SusTmmna at' 
the root of the genitals, of a beautiful vermilion colour. 
On its six petals are the letters from Ba to Purandara , 9 
with the Bindu 1 * 3 superposed, of the shining colour of 
lightning. 


Commentary 

Having described the Muladhara, he describes the SvadhisA- 
tAana Chakra in five verses beginning with the present. This 
verse says that at the root of the genitals there is, distinct from 
the Muladhara, another Lotus, of a beautiful vermilion colour. 

“ Placed inside the Suahumna ” (SausAum?ia 4 -madhya- 
ghatitam). — The place of this Chakra or Padma is within 
SusAumna. 

“ At the root of the genitals ” (Dhvaja-mQladeshe). 

“ Of a beautiful vermilion colour ” (Sindura-pura-ruchira- 
runa). — This Lotus is of the charming red colour of vermilion. 

“ On its six petals ” (Anga-chhadaiA).— It is surrounded by 
its six petals whioh are the letters . 5 


1 That is, the SvadhisAiAana Chakra. See Introduction. 

* The letter La ; v. post. 

* The Anusvara. 

4 SausAumna ; Shankara reads this word to mean the Brahman&dl 
whioh is within SusAumna, and says that the suffix "in ” by which the 
change is aflEected is used in the sense of “ relating to,” and not 
" placed within ”. 

5 V. ante, Introduction. 



358 THE SIX. CENTRES aNd the sEREEnt POWER 

“ The letters ” (Badyai h savindu-lasitaih PurandarantaiTi) . 
— by Purandara is meant the letter La, it being the Bija of 
Purandara or Indra. Each of these letters from Ba to La is 
on each petal of the lotus. They have the Bindu over them, 
and are of the shining colour of lightning. The above may also 
mean that the lustre of the letter is caused by their union 
with the Bindus placed over them. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


359 


Verse 15 

JWithin it 1 is the white, shining, watery region of Varuna, 
jof the shape of a half-moon, 2 and therein, seated on a 
'Makara/ is the Blja Vam, stainless and white as the 
1 autumnal moon. 


Commentary 

Here the Author speaks of the presence of the watery region 
of Varuna in the pericarp of the Svadhishfhana. This watery 
region (Ambhoja-mandalam) is in shape like the half-moon 
(Ardhendurupalasitam), and is luminously white (Vishadapraka- 
sham). 

The Sharada says : “ The region of water is lotus (shaped), 
that of earth is four-cornered 4 and has the thunderbolt (Vajra) 
and so forth.” Raghava-bhaffa, 4 in describing it, says : “ Draw 
a half-moon, and draw two Lotuses on its two sides.” The 
Great Teacher 6 says that “ the region of water is like the light 
of the Lotus-united Half-moon 

Then he speaks of the Varuna-bija. This Blja is also white, 
and is seated on a Makara, which is the Carrier 7 of Varuna. He 
has the noose in his hand. 

1 Sv&dhis/itMna. 

2 Water is the element of this Chakra, which is represented by the 
crescent. 

* An animal of a legendary form, somewhat like an alligator. See 
Plate 8. 

4 Ch. I, v. 24, Chaturasram ; sed qu, for ordinarily the Mandala is 
semicircular. 

5 The famous commentator on the Sharada-tilaka. 

4 Apparently Shankaracharya, Prapanchasara (Tantrik Texts, 
Vol. Ill), i. 24. 

7 Vahana. 



860 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Of. “ (Meditate) upon the white Blja of Varuna (within 
the Lotus). Varuna is seated on a Makara, and oarries the 
noose (PAsha) . And above him' (that is, in the Bindu) meditate 
on Hari * who is blue of colour (Shyama) and four-armed.” 

The Va in Varuna Bija belongs to the Ya class — i.e., to the 
group Ya, Ra, La, Va. This becomes clear from the arrangement 
of the letters in Kulakula Chakra and in Bhutalipi Mantra. 

The rest is clear. 


1 Tadarddhvam. See Comm, to next verse. 
* Via Ann. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


361 


Verse 16 

May Hari, who is within it , 1 who is in the pride of early 
youth, whose body is of a luminous blue beautiful to be- 
hold, who is dressed in yellow raiment, is four-armed, and 
wears the Shii-vatsa , 2 and the Kaustubha , 3 protect us ! 

Commentary x 

The Author here speaks of the presence of Vishwu in the 
Varuna Blja. 

“ Within it ” (Ankadeshakalita) — i.e., in the Bindu above 
Varuwa Blja, in the same way as Brahma is in the lap of Dhara 
Blja. The same explanation applies by analogy to the descrip- 
tion of the other Lotuses. 

“ Whose body, etc.,” (Nila-prak&sha-ruchira-shriyam). — Lit., 
He possesses the enchanting beauty of blue effulgence ; i.e., his 
body is of a luminous blue beautiful to behold. 

“ Wear 8 Shri-vatsa and Kaustubha .” — The following is his 
Dhyana in the Gautamlya Tantra : “ On his heart is the gem 
Kaustubha, lustrous as ten thousand Suns shining at the same 


1 i.e„ Vishnu is within “ the lap " of the Bindu of Vam. 

* Lit., Favourite of Shrl or Lakshml — an auspicious ourl on the 
breast of Vishnu and his Avatara, Krishna. It is said to symbolically 
represent Prakriti. See Ahirbudhnya Samhita 52, 92, citing also the 
Astrabhushana Adbyftya of Vishnu Pur&na, I, 22. 

* A great gem worn by Vishnu, which is said to symbolically signify 
the souls (see authorities in last note). These are said to be united 
With the Kaustubha of the Lord (Vishnutilaka, II, 100). 



36$ THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT fcOWER 

time, and below it is the garland 1 with the lustre of ten thou- 
sand moons. Above Kaustubha of Shrl-vatsa, which also is 
luminous like ten thousand moons.” 

The Tantrantara speaks of the weapons in the hands of 
Hari : “ (Meditate on) Him who has the noose in His hand, and 
on Hari who is in his lap, and has four arms, and holds the 
Conch,” Discus,* Mace, 4 and Lotus, 5 is dark blue (Shyama) and 
dressed in yellow raiment.” 

By “ who has the noose in his hand ” is meant Yaruna as 
he has been described in the verse preceding the Text quoted. 

Elsewhere he (Hari) is spoken of as “ clad in yellow raiment, 
benign of aspect, and decked with a garland 
' We have seen that, in the Muladhara, Brahma is seated on 
the Hamsa, and we should therefore think of Vis/mu as seated 
on Garuda. 7 


1 Vanam&la : the name for a large garland descending to the knee. 
It is defined as follows : 

AjftnulambinT mala sarvartu-kusumojjvala. 

Madhye sthulakadambadhya vanamaleti kirtita. 

(That is said to be Vanamala which extends down to the knee, 
beauteous with flowers of all seasons with big Kadamba flowers in the 
middle.) This garland is celestial because in it the flowers of all the 
seasons are contained. 

* Shankha. 

* Chakra. 

4 Gada. 

* Padma. 

* The garland symbolizes the elements ; as the club, Mahat ; the 
conch, Sattvika Ahamkara ; the bow, Tamasika Ahamkftra ; the sword, 
knowledge ; its sheath, ignorance ; discus, the mind and the arrows, 
the senses. See authorities cited at p. 48, ante. 

7 The Bird $[ing, Yfthana of Vishnu. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


36 $ 


Verse 17 

It is here that Rakini always dwells . 1 She is of the colour 
of a blue lotus . 2 The beauty of Her body is enhanced by 
Her uplifted arms holding various weapons. She is dressed 
in celestial raiment and ornaments, and Her mind is 
exalted 3 with the drinking of ambrosia. 

Commentary 

In this Shloka the Author speaks of the presence of Rakini 
in the Svadhis/^/mna. 

Cf. Rakinl-dhyana elsewhere : “ Meditate on Rakini, who is 
blue of colour (Shyama). In Her hands are a spear , 4 a lotus, a 
drum 5 and a sharp battle-axe.* She is of furious aspect. Her 
three eyes are red, and her teeth 7 show fiercely. She, the 
Shining Devi of Devas, is seated on a double lotus, and from one 
of her nostrils there flows a streak of blood . 8 She is fond of 
white rice , 9 and grants the wished-for boon.” 

As Rakini is within another lotus 10 in this Lotus, therefore 
should the six Shaktis everywhere be understood to be in a red 
lotus as in the Muladhara. 

1 Dwells (Bhati) ; the Sanskrit word literally means “ shines ” — * 
here ' that is, in the SvadhisM/iana. 

* Of the colour of a blue lotus (Nilambujoddara-sahodarakanti* 
shobha) ; lit.. Her radiant beauty equals the interior of the blue lotus. 

8 Matta-chitta ; for she drinks the nectar which drops from 
Bahasrara. She is exalted with the divine energy which infuses Her. 

4 Shula. 

6 .Damaru. 

6 Tanka. 

1 Damsfttfra — She has long projecting teeth. 

8 Raktadh&raikanasam. The SaubhAgyaratnakara has Raktadh&t- 
Vekan&tham, that is, she who is the Lord of Raktadhatu. 

9 Shuklanna. 

10 There is another smaller Lotus in each of the main lotuses on 
which the Shakti sits. 



864 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 18 

' He who meditates upon this stainless Lotus, which is 
named Svadhis7i£Mna, is freed immediately from all his 
enemies, 1 such as the fault of Ahamkara 2 and so forth. He 
becomes a Lord among Yogis, and is like the Sun illumin- 
ing the dense darkness of ignorance. 3 The wealth of his 
nectar-like words flows in prose and verse in well-reasoned 
discourse. 


Commentary 

In this verse is described the benefit derived from the con- 
templation of the Svadhis/i^ana Lotus. 

“ Svadhiahthana " — “ By Sva is meant the Para-Linga 
(Supreme Linga), and hence the Lotus is called Svadhisfttf/iana.” 4 

‘‘Fault of Aharrikdra and so forth" (Ahamkara-dos/i adi) . — 
By this is implied the six evil inclinations : Kama (lust), Krodha 
(anger), etc. These six, 4 which are the six enemies of Man, are 
destroyed by contemplation on the SvadhisMftana Lotus. By 
contemplation upon it are also destroyed the darkness of Maya, 
and Mohft. 8 and the Sun of knowledge (Jnana) is acquired. The 
rest is dear. 


1 That is, his enemies the six passions. 

* Egoism. See Introduction. 

* Moha. 

4 This is from V. 68 of Ch. XX VII of the Rudra-y&mala. 

4 Viz., Kama (lust), Krodha (anger), Lobha (greed), Moha (delusion), 
Mada (pride), Matsaryya (envy), which all arise from a sense of mine- 
ness (AhamkAra). 

* Ignorance, illusion, infatuation. 





PLATE 111] 


Svadhishthana 


T<> face Page 365 



865 


DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 

S 

Summary of Verses 14 to 18 

The SvadhisM/tana Chakra is of the colour of vermilion, 
and has six petals. On its six petals are the six letters Ba, 
Bha, Ma, Ya, Ra and La, with the Bindu placed thereon. They 
are of the colour of lightning. In the pericarp of this Lotus is 
the region of water in the form of an eight-petalled Lotus, with 
a half -moon in its centre. This region is white. Inside this 
latter is the Varuna Bija “ Vam,” seated on a Makara, with a 
noose^iri his hand. In the lap of the latter (i.e., in the hollow 
of the Bindu) is Vis/mu seated on Garuda. He has four hands, 
and is carrying the Shankha (conch shell), Chakra (discus), 
Gada (mace), and Padma (lotus). He is dressed in yellow 
raiment, wears a long garland (Vana-mala) round his neck, the 
mark Shrivatsa and the gem Kaustubha on his breast, and is 
youthful in appearance. On a red lotus in the pericarp is the 
Shakti Rakini. She is Shyamavama,' and in her four hands she 
holds the Shula (spear or trident), Abja (lotus), Damaru (drum) 
and Tanka (battle-axe). She is three-eyed and has fierce pro- 
jecting fangs,’ and is terrible to behold. She is fond of white 
rice/ and a stream of blood runs from Her nostril. 

(Here ends the second section.) 


1 See note to v. 11. 
* Kutila-damsAtra. 
’ Shukl&nua, 



806 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 19 

Above it , 1 and at the root of the navel, is the shining Lotus 
of ten petals,® of the colour of heavy-laden rain-clouds. 
Within it are the letters Da to Pha, of the colour of the 
blue lotus with the Nada and Bindu above them. Meditate 
there on the region of Fire, triangular in form and shining 
like the rising sun. Outside it are three Svastika marks , 3 
and within, the Blja of Vahni himself . 4 

Commentary 

The Manipura Chakra is described in this and the two 
following verses. 

“ Shining lotus of ten petals ” 4 (Dashadala-lasite) — i.e., the 
Lotus which shines by reason of its ten petals. 

“ Of the colour of heavy rain-clouds ” (Pumamegha-prakashe) 
— i.e., of a dark hue. 

“ Within it are the letters," etc. (Nilambhoja-prakashair 
upahitajafhare dadi-phantaih sachandraiA). 

The ten letters from Da (cerebral) to Pha, with the Bindu 
placed above them, are of the colour of the blue lotus, and are 
each of them on the ten several petals. The letters are Da, 
Dha, Na, Ta, Tha, Da, Dha, Na, Pa, Pha. By Sachandraih which 
qualifies Vamaih is meant that the letters have Bindu and 
N&da over them, for these two go together. 

1 Sv&dhishthfina. 

1 The Manipfira Chakra, the seat of the Element of Fire, the sign 
of which is a triangle, See Introduction. 

* An auspicious mark ; v. post. 

* That is, “ Ram,” the Seed-mantra of Fire. 

1 Shankara reads Dasha-dala-lalite — i.e., the charming lotus of ten 
petals, 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 367 

“ Like the rising Sun ” (Aruna-mihira-samam) — i.e., like 
the young sun. 

“ Svastika Marks." 1 — These three marks or signs are on 
three sides of the triangle. 

Raghava-bhaffa says *: “ A Svastika sign is made by the 
crossing of two straight lines going in four different directions,” 
In this region of Fire is Ram, the Blja of Fire, 


1 i.e., like a cross Hi 

• In the note to V. 28 of Ch, I of the Sharada Tilaka, 



868 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 20 

Meditate upon Him (Fire) seated on a ram, four-armed, 
radiant like the rising Sun. In His lap ever dwells Rudra, 
who is of a pure vermilion hue. He (Rudra) is white with 
'the ashes with which He is smeared ; of an ancient aspect 
1 and there-eyed, His hands are placed in the attitude of 
granting boons and of dispelling fear . 1 He is the destroyer 
of oreation. 


Commentary 

Elsewhere the Dhyana of Vahni is as follows : “ Seated on 
a ram, a Rudraksiia rosary in one hand, and the Shakti * 
in the other.” 

As there are no weapons placed in the other hands it is 
to be inferred that the other two hands are in the attitude of 
granting boons and of dispelling fear ; that is how He is des- 
cribed to be in other Dhyanas of Him. 

Rudra should here be meditated upon as seated on a bull. 

. “ He is white . . . smeared ” (Bhasmaliptanga-bhus/iabha- 
rana-sita-vapufr). — The ashes with which his body is smeared and 
the ornaments he is wearing make him look white (though his 
hue is red). 


1 That is, making Vara and Abhaya Mucfr&s, v. ante, pp. 20, 21. 

' Vahni’s or Fire’s weapon. Bh&skarar&ya says it is the weapon 
whtyb is called in Maharashtra Sftmti. 



description of the six centres 


309 


Verse 21 

Here abides LakinI, the benefactress of all. She is four- 
armed, of radiant body, is dark 1 (of complexion), clothed 
in yellow raiment and decked with various ornaments, and 
exalted with, the drinking of ambrosia . 2 By meditating on 
this 3 Navel Lotus 4 the power to destroy and create (the 
world) is acquired. Van! 5 with all the wealth of knowledge 
ever abides in the lotus of his face. 

Commentary 

“ Decked with various ornaments ” (Vividha-virachana- 
lamkrita). — She who is decorated with gems and pearls arranged 
in varied and beautiful designs. 

Cf. Lakinl-dhyana elsewhere : “ Let the excellent worship- 
per meditate upon the Devi LakinI, who is blue and has three faces, 
and three eyes (to each face), fierce of aspect, and with Her teeth 
protruding. 6 In her right hand She holds the thunderbolt and 
the Shakti , 7 and in the left She makes the gestures 8 of dispelling 
fear and of granting boons. She is in the pericarp of the navel 
lotus, which has ten petals. She is fond of meat (Mamsashl), 9 
and her breast is ruddy with the blood and fat which drop 
from Her mouth.” 

1 Shy&ma ; see ante , note to v. 11. 

* Matta-chitta ; vide ante , p. 44, n. 3. , 

Etat : a variant reading is evam, “ in this manner ”. 

4 Nabhi-Padma. 

* That is, the Devi of Speech, Saras vatl. 

Vishvan&tha quotes a Dhy&na in which She is described as hump- 
backed (Kubjinl) and as carrying a staff. 

7 The weapon of Vahni (Fire). See note 2, page 50. 

8 Mudra. 

9 Some read “ Mamsastham ”*» She who abides in flesh. 

24 



870 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


The # navel lotus is called Mani-pura. The Gautamiya Tantra 
says ’ : “ This Lotus is called Manipura because it is lustrous 
like a gem.” * 


Summary of Verses 19 to 21 

The N&bhi-padma (Navel Lotus) is of the colour of the 
rain-cloud and has ten petals ; on each of its petals are each of 
the ten letters, Da, Dha, Na, Ta, Tha, Da, Dha, Na, Pa, Pha, 
and of a lustrous blue colour, with the Bindu above each of 
them. In the pericarp of this Lotus is the red Region of Fire, 
which is triangular in shape, and outside it, on its three sides, 
are three Svastika signs. Within the triangle is the Blja of 
Fire — “ Ram ”. He (Blja of Fire) is red in colour and is seated 
on a ram, is four-armed, and holds in his hands the Vajra 
(thunderbolt) and the :Shakti weapon, and makes the signs of 
Vara and of Abhaya. 3 In the lap of Vahni Blja is Rudra, red 
of colour, seated on the bull, who, however, appears to be white 
6n account of the ashes which He smears on His body. He is 
old in appearance. On a red lotus in the pericarp of this Lotus 
is the Shakti Lakinl. She is blue, has three faces with three 
eyes in each, is four-armed, and with Her hands holds the 
Vajra and the Shakti weapon, and makes the signs of dispelling 
fear and granting boons. She has fierce projecting teeth, and 
is fond of eating rice and dhal, cooked and mixed with meat 
and blood. 4 

{Here ends the third section) 


1 A VaisAwava Tantra of great authority. The quotation is from 
Ch. 84 of the same. 

* Mani-vad bhinnam. Bhinna here means “ distinguished,” for in 
the ManipOra is the Region of Fire. See also Rudray&mala, Ch. XXVII, 
v. 60. 

* Vara and Abhaya — i.e., the Mudr&s dispelling fear and grant- 
ing boons. 

* Kheohar&nna — that is, meat mixed with rice and dhal, such as 
Eheohar&nna (Ehichri). Pilau, etc. . 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


371 


Verse 22 

Above that, in the heart, is the charming Lotus, 1 of the 
shining colour of the Bandhuka flower, 2 with the twelve 
letters beginning with Ka, of the colour of vermilion, 
placed therein. It is known by its name of Anahata, and 
is like the celestial wishing-tree, 3 bestowing even more 
than (the supplicant’s) desire. The Region of Vayu, 
beautiful and with six corners, 4 whioh is like unto the smoke 
in colour, is here. 


Commentary 

.The Anahata Lotus is described in the six verseS beginning 
with this. 

This Lotus should be meditated upon in the heart ; the 
verb dhydyet is understood. The twelve letters beginning with 
Ka, that is, letters Ka to Th& are on the petals. 

“ It is known by its name Anahata ” (Namna’nahata- 
samjnakam). — “ It is so called by the Munis because it is here 
that the sound of Shabdabrahman is heard, that Shabda or 


1 The Anahata, or heart Lotus, seat of the air element, the sign of 
which is described as hexagonal, is here. See Introduction. 

* Pentapwtes Phoenicia. 

* Kalpa-taru. Shankara says the Kalpa-taru, one of the celestial , 
trees in Indra’s heaven, grants what is asked ; but this gives more, since . 
it leads him to MoksAa. 

* Sh&tkona — that is, interlacing triangles. See Plate V. See In* 
troduction and Rudrayamala. Ch. XXVII, v. 64. 



872 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

sound which issues without the striking of any two things, 
together.” 1 

“ Wishing -tree ” * is the tree in Heaven which grants all 
one asks ; as it is like the Kalpataru so it bestows more than is 
desired. 

“ Region of Vdyu ” (Vayor mandalam). — In the pericarp of 
this Lotus is the Vayu-maweZala. 


* Vishvanfttha quotes (p. 121, Vol. II, T&ntrik Texts) the following r 
“ Within it is "VAna-Linga, lustrous like ten thousand suns, also Sound 
which is Shabda-brahmamaya (whose substance is Brahman), and is 
produced by n6 cause (Ahetuka). Such is the lotus Anahata wherein. 
PurusAa (that is, the Jlvatmft) dwells.” As to Shabdabrahman see' 
Bfigh&vabbatfa’s Comm, on Sh&rad&, Ch. It v, 12. 

* Surataru = Kalpa-taru. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


370 


Verse 23 

’Meditate within it on the sweet and excellent Pavana 
jBlja, 1 grey as a mass of smoke, 2 with four arms, and seated 
on a black antelope. And within it also (meditate) upon 
> the Abode of Mercy, 3 the Stainless Lord who is lustrous 
• like the Sun, 4 and whose two hands 5 6 7 make the gestures 
! which grant boons and dispel the fears of the three worlds. 

Commentary 

In this verse the Author speaks of the presence of the Vayu 
Blja in the Anahat Chakra. 

“ Pavana Blja ” (Pavanaks/iara) — i.e., the Blja Yam. 

“ Grey as a mass of smoke ” (Dhumavall-dhusara). — It has 
the greyish colour of smoke by reason of its being surrounded 
by masses of vapour. 

“ A black antelope ” which is noted for its fleetness, is the 
Vahana (carrier) of Vayu. Vayu carries his weapon, “ Ankusha,” * 
in the same way that Varuna carries his weapon, “ Pasha *7 


1 i.e., Vayu, whose Vija is “ Yam ”. 

3 This smoke, Shankara says, emanates from the Jlv&tm& which 
is in the form of a flame. 

3 Shankara reads “ ocean of mercy ” (Karunavaridhi). 

4 Hamsa, the Sun — a name also of the Supreme. Cf. “ HrTm the 
Supreme Bamsa dwells in the brilliant heaven.” See the Hamsavatl 
Rik of Eigveda IV — 40 quoted in Mahftnirvana Tantra, vv. 196, 197, 
Ch. V. Hamsa is from Han — Gati, or motion. It is called Adifcya because 
it is in perpetual motion (Sayana). Hamsa is also the form of the An- 
tarfiitma, see v. 81, post . This Rik also runs in Yajurveda, X, 24, and 
XII, 14, and in some of the Upanishads. 

5 This shows that the Blja has hands and feet (Shankara). 

6 Goad. - 

7 Noose. ‘ ! 



874 THE pix CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

He next speaks of the presence of Isha in the Vayu Blja. 
Everywhere Shiva is spoken of as having three eyes, 1 hence 
Isha also has three eyes. 

Elsewhere it is said : “ Meditate upon him as wearing a 
jewelled necklet and chain of gems round his neck, and bells 
on his toes, and also clad in silken raiment.” In the same way 
of. him it has also been said : “ The beautiful One possessed of 
tjhe soft radiance of ten million moons, and shining with the 
radiance of his matted hair.” 

Isha, should therefore be thought of as clad in silken 
raiment, etc. 


1 The third eye, situate in the forehead in the region of .the pineal 
gland, is the Eye of Wisdom (Jn&nachaks/tu). 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


375 


Verse 24 

Here dwells Kakinl, who in colour is yellow like unto new 
lightning , 1 exhilarated and auspicious ; three-eyed and the 
benefactress of all. She wears all kinds of ornaments, and 
in Her four hands She carries the noose and the skull, and 
makes the sign of blessing and the sign which dispels fear. 
Her heart is softened with the drinking of nectar. 

Commentary 

In this verse the Author speaks of the presence of the Shakti 
Kakinl. 

“Exhilarated ” a (Matta) — that is, She is not in an ordinary, 
but in a happy, excited mood. 

“ With the drinking of nectar,” etc. (Purna sudha-rasardra- 
hn’daya). — Her heart is softened to benevolence by the drinking 
of nectar ; or it may be interpreted to mean that Her heart is 
softened by the supreme bliss caused by drinking the excellent 
nectar which drops from the Sahasrara. Her heart expands 
with the supreme bliss. Kakinl should be thought of as wearing 
the skin of a black antelope. 

Compare the following Dhyana of Kakinl where She is so 
described : “If thou desirest that the practice of thy Mantra be 


1 Nava-tadit-plta — i.e., where there is more thunder than rain, 
when the lightning shows itself very vividly. Pita is yellow ; Kakinl is 
of a shining yellow colour. 

* Shankara gives unmatta (maddened or exalted) as equivalent of 
Matta. ' 



876 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

crowned with success, mediate on the moon -faced, ever-existent * 
Shakti KakinI, wearing the skin of a black antelope, adorned 
with all ornaments.” * 


1 Nityam. If this is not stutl, possibly the word is nityam, “ always ”, 

' Vishvanfttha, in his commentary on the STiafchakra, gives the 
following Dhy&na of KakinI : “ Meditate on KakinI whose abode is in 
Fat (Meda-samstham), holding in Her hands Pasha (noose), Shula 
(trident), Kapala (Skull), Damaru (drum). She is yellow in colour, 
fond of eating curd and rice (Dadhyanna). Her beautiful body is in a 
slightly bending pose (Svavayavanamita). Her heart is made joyous 
by the draught of rice wine (VArunl).” The Saubhagya-ratnakara cities 
Seven Dhyanas of the Seven Shaktis or Yoginls — Dakin! and others 
which show that each has her abode in one of the seven Dhatus. The 
Seventh Shakti YakabinI is not mentioned in this book. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


377 


Verse 25 

The Shakti whose tender body is like ten million flashes of 
lightning is in the pericarp of this Lotus in the form of a 
triangle (Trikona). Inside the triangle is the Shivalinga 
known by the name of Vana. This Linga is like shining 
gold, and on his head is an orifice minute as that in a gem. 
He is the resplendent abode of Laks/tml. 

Commentary 

In this Shloka is described the triangle Trikona which is 
in the pericarp of this Lotus. 

“ Shakti in the form of a triangle ” (Trikonabhidha Shakti/i). 
— By this we are to understand that the apex of the Triangle is 
downward. 1 

This Trikona is below the Vayu Blja, as has been said 
elsewhere. “ In its lap is Isha. Below it, within the Trikona 
is Vana-Linga.” 

“ On his head,” etc. (Maulau suksTima-vibheda-yung manifo). 
— This is a description of Vana-Linga. The orifice is the little 
space within the Bindu which is within the half-moon which is 
on the head of the Linga. 

Elsewhere we find the following description : “The Vana-' 
Linga within the triangle, decked in jewels made of gold — the 
Deva with the half-moon on his head ; in the middle is an ex- 
cellent red lotus.” 

The red lotus in this quotation is one below the pericarp of 
the heart lotus ; it has its head turned upwards, and has eight 


1 As it is a Trikona Shakti, it must have its apex downwards as in 
the case of the Yoni. 



a7S 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


petals. It is in this lotus that mental worship (Manasapuja) 
should be made. 1 Compare the following : “ Inside is the red 
eight-petalled lotus. There is also the Kalpa-tree and the seat 
of the IsTifa-deva under a beautiful awning (Chandratapa). 
surrounded by trees laden with flowers and fruits and sweet- 
voiced birds. There meditate on the IsMa-deva according to the 
ritual * of the worshipper.” 

“ Orifice minute as .” — He here speaks of the Bindu which 
is the head of the Yana-Linga. As a gem has a minute orifice 
in it (when pierced to be threaded), so has this Linga. 3 By this 
is meant that the Bindu is in the head of Shiva Linga. 

“ The resplendent abode of Lakshmi ." 4 5 — By this one must 
know the great beauty of the Linga, due to a rush of desire. 3 


1 This is not one of the six Chakras, but a lotus known as Ananda- 
kanda, where the Is/itadevata is meditated upon. See Ch. V, v. 182, 
Mah&nirv&na Tantra. 

* Ealpa. Tattat-kalpoktam&rgata/t. That is,, in manner enjoined 
by the respective sampradaya of the s&dhaka. 

3 The Linga itself is not pierced, but it carries the Bindu, which 
has an empty space (ShQnya) within its circle. 

4 That is, here, beauty. 

5 K&modgania. - , r u 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


379 


Verse 26 

( He who meditates on this Heart Lotus becomes (like) the 
'Lord of Speech, and (like) Ishvara he is able to protect 
! and destroy the worlds. This Lotus is like the celestial 
i wishing-tree , 1 * the abode and seat of Sharva.* It is beauti- 
I fied by the Hamsa , 3 which is like unto the steady tapering 
flame of a lamp in a windless place . 4 5 The filaments which 
| surround and adorn its pericarp, illumined by the solar 
region, charm. 

Commentary 

In this and the following verse he speaks of tho good to be 
gained by meditating on the Heart Lotus. 

“ He who meditates on this Lotus in the Heart becomes, like 
the Lord of Speech ” — i.e., Brfhaspati, the Guru of the Devas — 
and able like Ishvara the Creator to protect and destroy the 
worlds. Briefly, he becomes the Creator, Protector and Des- 
troyer of the Worlds. 

He speaks of the presence of the Jivatma which is Hamsa," 
in the pericarp of this Lotus. The Jivatma is like the steady 
flame of a lamp in a windless place, and enhances the beauty of 
this Lotus (Anila-hlna-dipa-kalika-hamsena sam-shobhitam). 
Hamsa is the Jivatma. He also speaks of the presence of the 
Surya-mandala in the pericarp of this Lotus. 


1 Sura-taru = Kalpa-taru. 

5 Maha-deva, Shiva. 

J Here the Jivatma. 

4 See Introduction. 

5 Visbvanatha quotes a verse in which this Hamsa is spoken of as 
Purus/ra. 



880 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

“ The filaments which surround and adorn its pericarp , 
illumined by the solar region, charm ” (BhanormancZala- 
manditantara-lasat kinjalka-shobadharam). — It is beautified by 
reason of the filaments which surround the pericarp being tinged 
by the rays of the Sun. The rays of the Sun beautify the fila- 
ments, and not the space within the pericarp. The filaments of 
the other Lotuses are not so tinged, and it is the distinctive 
feature of this Lotus. By the expression “ the Mawdala of Surya 
(Bhanu)” the reader is to understand that all the filaments in 
the pericarp are beauteous with the rays of the Sun, and not a 
portion of them. 

All over the pericarp is spread the region of Vayu. Above 
it is the Region of Surya ; and above these the Yayu Blja and 
Trikowa etc., should be meditated upon. This is quite con- 
sistent. In mental worship the mantra is “ Mam — salutation to 
the Region of Fire with his ten Kalas,” 1 etc. From texts and 
Mantras like this we therefore see that the regions of Vahni 
(Fire), Arka (Sun), and Chandra (Moon) are placed one above 
the other. 

“ Ishvara ” — i.e., Creator. 

“ Able to protect and destroy the world ” (RaksMvinashe 
ksham&h) — i.e., it is he who protects and destroys. The idea 
meant to be conveyed by these three attributes is that he be- ! 
comes possessed of the power of creating, maintaining and' 
destroying the Universe.’ ‘ 


1 Kala= Digits or portions of Shakti. 

* By reason of his unification with the Brahma-substance. 



DESCRIPTION OP THE SIX CENTRES 


381 


Verse 27 

/Foremost among Yogis, he ever is dearer than the dearest 
I to women,* He is pre-eminently wise and full of noble deeds. 
His senses are completely under control. His mind in, its 
I intense concentration is engrossed in thoughts of the 
Brahman. His inspired speech flows like a stream of 
(clear) water. He is like the Devata who is the beloved of 
Laks/mn 2 and he is able at will to enter another’s body . 3 

Commentary 

“ Dearer than the dearest to women ” (Priyat priyatama/i 
kantakulasya). — i.e., because he is skilful to please them . 4 

“ His senses are completely under control ” (Jitendriya- 
ganaft) — i.e., he is one who should be counted among those that 
have completely subjugated their senses. 

“ i His mind Brahman ” (Dhyanauadhana-ksfoamaft). — 

Dhyana is Brahma-chintana, and Avadhana means steady and 
intense concentration of the mind. The Yog! is capable of both. 

“ His inspired speech flows like a stream of (clear) water ” 
(Kavyambudhara-vaha). — The flow of his speech is compared to 
an uninterrupted flow of water, and it is he from whom it flows. 

“ He is like the Devata who is the beloved of Laksrni ” 
(Laksfam-ranggawa-daivata/i). — He becomes like the Deva who 
is the beloved of Lakshmi. Lakshml, the Devi of Prosperity, is 
the spouse of Vis/mu. This compound word is capable of another 

* Priy&t priyatama/t — more beloved than those that are dear to 
them. 

* According to Shankara’s reading, Laks/tml becomes his family 
Devata — that is, his family is always prosperous. 

3 Parapure ; v. post. 

4 Karmakushalaft. — “ dearer than their husbands ” (Shankara). 



882 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


meaning. It may mean : One who has enjoyed all prosperity 
(Laksbmi) and all good fortune (Ranggana) in this world and 
who goes along the path of liberation. It has therefore been 
said : — “ Having enjoyed in this world the best of pleasures, he 
in the end goes to the abode of Liberation.” 1 

“ Another’s body ” (Para-pura). — He is able at will to enter 
the enemy’s fort or citadel (Diirga), even though guarded and 
rendered difficult of access. And he gains power by which he 
may render himself invisible, fly across the sky, and other 
- similar powers. It may also mean “ another man’s body 

Summary of Verses 22 to 27 

The Heart Lotus is of the colour of the Bandhuka J flower, 
and on its twelve petals are the letters Ka to Tha, with the 
Bindu above them, of the colour of vermilion. In its pericarp 
is the hexagonal 4 V ay u - M and ala, of a smoky colour, and above it 
Surya-Mandala, with the Trikona lustrous as ten million flashes 
of lightning within it. Above it the Vayu Blja, of a smoky hue, 
is seated on a black antelope, four-armed and carrying the goad 
(Ankusha). In his (Vayu-bija’s) lap is three-eyed Isha. Like 
Hamsa (Hamsabha), His two arms extended in the gestures of 
granting boons and dispelling fear. In the pericarp of this 
Lotus, seated on a red lotus, is the Shakti Kakinl. She is four- 
armed, and carries the noose (Pasha), the skull (Kapala), and 
makes the boon (Vara) and fear-dispelling (Abhaya) signs. She 
is of a golden hue, is dressed in yellow raiment, and wears every 
variety of jewel and a garland of bones. Her heart is softened 
by nectar. In the middle of the Trikona is Shiva in the form 
of a VS»a-Linga, with the crescent moon and Bindu on his head. 
He is of a golden colour. 

$ 

1 Iha bhuktva varan bhogftn ante mukti-padam brajet. 

1 The Siddhi by which Yogis transfer themselves into another’s 
body, as Shankarfloharya is said to have done. The latter interpretation 
is preferable, for such an one will not have enemies, or if he have will 
not seek to overcome them. 

* Pentapeetes Phcenica. 

4 .See Introduction. 



description of the six centres 


383 


He looks joyous with a rush of desire . 1 * Below him is the 
Jivatma like Hamsa. It is like the steady tapering flame of a 
lamp.’ Below the pericarp of this Lotus is the red lotus of 
eight petals, with its head upturned. It is in this (red) lotus 
that there are the Kalpa Tree, the jewelled altar surmounted by 
an awning and decorated by flags and the like, which is the 
place of mental worship . 3 

( Here ends the fourth section ) 


1 K&modgamollasita. 

* See Introduction. 

* See Mah&nirv&^a Tantra, Ch. V, w. 129, 180, p. 85, where the 

mantra is given. ~ 



384 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verses 28 and 29 

In the throat is the Lotus called Vishuddha, which is pure 
and of a smoky purple hue. All the (sixteen) shining 
vowels on its (sixteen) petals, of a crimson hue, are distinctly 
visible to him whose mind (Buddhi) is illumined. In the 
pericarp of this lotus there is the Ethereal Region, circular 
in shape, and white like the full Moon. 1 * * On an elephant 
white as snow is seated the Bija a of Ambara, 8 who is white 
of colour. 

Of His four arms, two hold the noose 4 and goad, 6 and 
the other two make the gestures 6 of granting boons and 
dispelling fear. These add to His beauty. In His lap 7 
there ever dwells the great snow-white Deva, three-eyed 
and five-faced, with ten beautiful arms, and clothed in a 
tiger’s skin. His body is united with that of Girija, 8 and 
He is known by what His name, Sada-shiva, 9 signifies. 


1 Ether is the element of this Chakra, the sign (Mawdala) of this 
Tattva being a circle (Vntta-rflpa). See Introduction. 

* Manu® 5 Mantra = (here) “ Ham ”. 

* Ambara = the Ethereal Region ; the word also means “ apparel ” — 
“ VyonmivAsasi ’’ (Amara-kos/ta). On an elephant of the colour of snow 
is seated Ambara, white in colour in his Bija form. The Sanskrit is 
capable of another meaning : “ On an elephant is seated the Bija whose 
raiment is white.” 

* Pasha. 

‘ Ankusha. 

* Mudrft ; v. pp. 20, 21, ante. 

7 Of the Nabhovlja or “ Ham ”. 

* “ Mountain-bora,” a title of the Devi as the daughter of the 
Mountain King (Himavat— Himalaya). The reference is here to the 
Androgyne Shiva-Shakti form. See Commentary. 

* Sada=*ever, Shiva “the Beneficent One. Beneficence. ,, 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 385 

Commentary 

* 

The Vishuddha Chakra is described in four verses beginning 
with these. 

, “ Because by the sight of the Hamsa the Jiva attains j 

^purity, this Padma (Lotus) is therefore called Vishuddha (pure) ' 
Ethereal, Great, and Excellent.” 

“ In the region of the throat is the Lotus called Vishuddha 
— Pure (Amala, without impurity) by reason of its being tejo 7 
maya r (its substance is tejas), and hence free from impurity. 

“ All the vowels ” (Svarai/a sarvai/&) — i.e ., all the vowels 
beginning with A-kara and ending with Visarga — altogether 
sixteen in number. 

“ Shining on the petals ” (Dala-parilasitai/i). — The vowels 
being sixteen in number, the number of petals which this lotus 
possesses is shown by implication to be sixteen also. 

Elsewhere this has been clearly stated : “ Above it (Anahata 
is the Lotus of sixteen petals, of a smoky purple colour ; its 
petals) bear the sixteen vowels, red in colour, with the Bindu 
above them. Its filaments are ruddy, and it is adorned by 
Vyoma-mandala.” a 

“ Distinctly visible ” (Dlpitam). — These letters are lighted 
up, as it were, for the enlightened mind (Dipta-buddhi). 

“ Whose mind (buddhi) is illumined ” refers to the person 
whose buddhi , or intellect, has become free from the impurity 
of worldly pursuits as the result of the constant practice of Yoga. 

“ The Ethereal Region circular in shape , and ivhite like the 
full Moon ” (Purnendu-prathita-tama-nabhoman<2alam vrit- 
tarupam). — The Ethereal Region is circular in shape VWttarupa), 
and its roundness resembles that of the full Moon, and like the 
Moon it is also white. The Sharada says : “ The wise know 
that the Manrfalas participate in the lustre of their peculiar 
elements.” 8 The Mandalas are of the colour of their respective 

T Fire purifies. 

2 The Ethereal Circle. 

*That is, each Mawdala (i.e., square, circle, triangle, etc.) takes 
after the characteristics of its elements. (Vide Sharada-tilaka, I, 24) 

25 



886 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Devat&s and elements : Ether is white, hence its S^andala is 
also white. 

“ In the pericarp of this lotus is the circular Etheral 
Region ” (Nabho-mandalam vritta-rupam). — In the lap of this 
white Ambara (or Ethereal Region) ever dwells Sada-shiva, who 
is spoken of in the second of these two verses. 

“ On an elephant white as snow is seated ” (Hima-chchhaya- 
nagopari lasita-tanu). — This qualifies Ambara. 

Naga here means an Elephant, and not a serpent. The 
Bhutashuddhi clearly says : “ Inside it is the white Blja of 
Vyoma on a snow-white elephant.” Literally, “ His body shows 
resplendent on an elephant,” because He is seated thereon. 

“ The Bija of Ambara ” (Tasya manoh). — Tasya manoA 
means literally “His mantra” which is the Blja of Ether or 
Ham. 1 

“His four arms , ( two of) which hold the Pasha (noose). 
Ankusha (goad), and (the other two) are in the gestures granting 
boons and dispelling fear, add to his beauty ” (Bhujai/i pasha- 
bhityankusha-vara-lasitai/i shobhitamgasya). — The meaning, in 
short, is that in His hands He is carrying the pasha and 
ankusha, and making the gestures of dispelling fear and grant- 
ing boons. 

“ In the lap of his Blja ” (Tasya manor anke). — He is here 
in His Blja form — in the form of Ham which is Akasha-Bija. 
This shows the presence of the Blja of Ether in the pericarp of 
this Lotus, and we are to meditate upon it as here described. 

“ The snow-white Deva whose body is united with (or in- 
separable from) that of Giri-ja ” (Girijabhinna-deha). — By this 
is meant Arddhanarlshvara.* The Deva Arddhanarishvara is of 
a golden colour on the left, and snow-white on the right. He 
dwells in the lap of Nabho-blja. He is described as “the Deva 
Sada-shiva garbed in white raiment. Half His body being 
inseparate from that of Girija, He is both silvern and golden 


1 The Blja of a thiiig is that thing in essence. 
* Hara- Gaur I - murt i (Shankara). 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 887 

He is also spoken of as “ possessed of the down-turned digit 
<Kala) of the Moon which constantly drops nectar ”J 

The Nirvana Tantra, 1 * 3 in dealing with the Yishudda Chakra, 
says : “ Within the Yantra 3 is the Bull, and over it a lion-seat 
(Simhasana). On this is the eternal Gaurl, and on Her right is 
Sada- Shiva. He has five faces, and three eyes to each face: His 
body is smeared with ashes, and He is like a mountain of silver. 
The Deva is wearing the skin of a tiger, and garlands of snakes 
are His ornaments.” 

The Eternal Gauri (Sada Gaurl) is there as half of Shiva’s 
body. She is in the same place spoken of as “ the Gaurl, the 
Mother of the Universe, who is the other half of the body 
of Shiva ”. 

“ With ten beautiful arms ” (Lalita-dasha-bhuja). — The 
Author hero has said nothing of what weapons the Deva has in 
His hands. In a Dhyana elsewhere He is spoken of as carrying 
in His hands the Shula (trident), the Tanka (battle-axe), the 
Tfropana (sword), the Vajra (thunderbolt), Dahana (fire), the 
Nagendra (snake-king), the Ghanfa (bell), the Ankusha (goad), 
Pasha (noose), and making the gesture dispelling fear (Abhiti- 
kara). 4 In meditating on Him, therefore, He should be thought of 
as carrying these implements and substances and making these 
gestures in and by His ten arms. Great (Prasiddha lit. known) 
here well known for his greatness. The rest can be easily 
understood. 


1 This is the Ama Kala. 

* Patala VIII. The text translated is incorrect. In Rasikamohana 
Chatfopadhyaya’s Edition it runs as : “ Within the Yantra is the bull, 
half of whose body is that of a lion.” This is consistent with the 
ArddhanarTshvara, as the bull is the Yah ana (carrier) of Shiva, and the 
lion of the Devi. 

3 That is Sh&t-bona yantra. 

4 This gesture is called also Astra or a weapon which is thrown* 
because it throws goodness on the Sadhata. 



388 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 30 •» 

Purer than the Ocean of Nectar is the Shakti ShakinI who 
dwells in this Lotus. Her raiment is yellow, and in Her 
four lotus-hands She carries the bow, the arrow, the noose, 
and the goad. The whole region of the Moon without the 
mark of the hare 1 is in the pericarp of this Lotus. This 
(region) is the gateway of great Liberation for him who 
desires the wealth of Yoga and whose senses are pure and 
controlled. 

Commentary 

Here the Author speaks of the presence of ShakinI in the 
perioarp of the Vishuddha Lotus. 

“ Purer than the Ocean of Nectar ” (SudhasindhoA *. 
Shuddha). — The Ocean of Nectar is white and cool and makes 
immortal. ShakinI, who is the form of light itself (Jyoti7i- 
syarupa) is white and heatless. 

In the following Dhyana of ShakinI She is described in, 
detail : “ Let the excellent Sadhaka meditate in the throat lotus 
on the Devi ShakinI. She is light itself (J y oti/i -svarupa) : each 
of Her five beautiful faces is shining with three eyes. In Her 


* The “ Man' in the Moon ”. 

; , . . , . i , ' ■ ‘ \ 

a Sudhftsindhu, says Shankkra, is Chandra (Mobn). She is purer 
and whiter than the nectar in the moon 1 . The translation here given 
is according to the construction of Shankara and Vishvan&tha, who read i 
Sudh&sindho/i in the ablative. Kallcharana, however, reading it. in the 
possessive case, gives the meaning “pure like the ocean of Nectar,” 
'which is the innermost ocean of the seven oceans, which surrounds the 
jewelled island (Manidvlpa). 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


389 


lotus hands She carries the noose, the goad, the sign of the book, 
and makes the Jnanamudra. 1 * * 4 She maddens (or distracts) all 
the mass of Pashas, 1 and She has her abode in the bone. 1 
She is fond of milk food, and related with the nectar which 
She has drunk.” 

By the expression “ She is light itself ” in the above 
Dhyana,, it is meant that She is white, whiteness being charac- 
teristic of light. The two Dhyanas differ as regards the weapons 
the Devi has in her hands. This is due to differences in the 
nature of the Sadhaka’s aim. 1 

The Devi is in the lunar region (Chandrama/idala) within 
the pericarp. The Prema-yoga Taramgim says : “ Here dwells 
the Shakti ShakinI in the auspicious region of the Moon.” 

“ In this Lotus ” (Kamale) — i.c., in the pericarp of the 
Vishuddha Chakra. 

“ In this pericarp is the spotless region of the Moon, without 
the mark of a hare ” (Shasha-parirahita), conveys the same 
meaning. The spots on the moon are called “ the sign of the 
hare,” “ the • stain on the moon ”. She is likened to the 
Stainless Moon. 

“ The gateway of great liberation ” (Maha-moksfta-dvara). — 
1 This is attributive of Mawrfala, the lunar region, and is used 
in praise of the MancZala. It is the gateway of Liberation, of 
Nirvawamukti, for those who have purified and conquered their 
senses, among other practices; by meditating on this in the 
' path of Yoga they attain liberation (Mukti). 

“ Who desires the wealth of Yoga ” ( Shriyamabhimata- 
shllasya) — By Shrl is meant “ the wealth of Yoga ”. For him 
who by his very nature desires the wealth of Yoga, that is the 


1 Made by touching the thumb with the first finger of the right 
hand and placed over the heart. 

1 See Introduction to A. Avalon’s Mahanirvawa Tantra. 

i .e., She is the Devata of the Asthi Dhatu. 

4 The nature of the Dhyana (meditation) varies with the aim which 
a Sadhaka wishes by his worship. See Tantraraja. Tantrik Texts, 
Vols. VIII and XII. 



890 THE SIX 0BNTBE8 AND THE SERPENT POWER 

gateway of Liberation. This clearly explains the meaning of 
Shuddhendriya, whose senses are pure and controlled. 

In the pericarp of this Lotus is the Nabho-mawrfala (ethereal 
region) : inside the latter is the triangle (Trikona) ; inside the 
triangle is the Chandra-mandala ; and inside it is the Nabho- 
bija 1 ; and so forth. Cf. “ Think of the full moon in the 
triangle within the pericarp ; there think of the snowy Akasha 
seated on an elephant, and whose raiment is white. There 
is the Deva Sada-Shiva.” “ Whose raiment is white ” quali- 
fies Akasha. 


1 The Blja of Ether— Ham. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


391 


Verse 31 

\He who has attained complete knowledge of the Atma 
(Brahman) becomes by constantly concentrating his mind 
(Chitta) on this Lotus a great Sage , 1 eloquent and wise, 
and enjoys uninterrupted peace of mind . 2 He sees the 
* three periods , 3 and becomes the benefactor of all, free from 
disease and sorrow and long-lived, and, like Hamsa, the ’ 
destroyer of endless dangers. 

Commentary 

In this verse he speaks of the good gained by meditating on 
the Vishuddha Chakra. 

“ Who has attained ,” etc. (Atma-sampurna-yoga). 4 — He whose 
knowledge of the Atman is complete by realisation of the fact 
that It is all-pervading. Atman =Brahman. 

According to another reading (Atta-sampur«a-yoga), the 
meaning would be “ one who has obtained perfection in Yoga 
Hence the venerable Teacher 4 has said : “ One who has attained 
complete knowledge of the Atma reposes like the still waters 
of the deep.” The Sadhaka who fixes his Chitta on this Lotus, 
and thereby acquires a full knowledge of the Brahman, becomes 
a knower (JnanI — i.e., becomes possessed of the knowledge of 
all the Shastras without instruction therein. His Chitta be- 
comes peaceful ; he becomes “ merciful towards all, not looking 
for any return therefor. He is constant, gentle, steady, modest, 

1 Kavi. 

* Shanta-chetAh. Shania, says ShankarAcharya in his AtmAnAtma- 
k viveka, is Antarindriya-nigraha — i.e., subjection of the inner sense. 

3 Past, present, and future. 

4 The word Yoga is here used as equivalent of Jnana. 

‘ ShrimadAchArya, i.e., ShankarAchArya. 



392 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

courageous, forgiving, self-controlled, pure and the like, and free 
from greed, malice and pride.” 1 * 

“ He sees the three periods ” (Tri-kala-darshI) — i.e., by the 
knowledge acquired by Yoga he sees everything in the past, 
present, and future. Some say that the meaning of this is that 
the Yogi has seen the Self (Atma), and, as all objects of know- 
ledge are therein, they become visible to him. 

“ Free from disease and sorrow ” (Rogashokapramuktaft) 3 — 
i.e., by having attained Siddhi in his mantra he becomes free 
from diseases and long-lived, and by reason of his having freed 
himself from the bonds of Maya he feels no sorrow. 

“ Like Hamsa, the destroyer of endless dangers ” (Niravadhi- 
vipadamdhvamsa-hamsa-prakasha7t). — From acts good and evil 
various dangers (Yipat) arise. The Sadhaka becomes like the 
Hamsa which is the Antaratma that dwells by the pericarp of 
the Sahasrara,’ for he can destroy all such dangers and in the 
result open the gate of Liberation (Mok.s7ta). Hamsa is the form 
of the Antaratma. The rest is clear. 

Summary of the Vishuddha Chakra 

At the base of the throat 4 is the Vishuddha Chakra, with 
sixteen petals of smoky purple hue. Its filaments are ruddy, 
and the sixteen vowels, which are red and have the Bindu 
above them, are on the petals. In its pericarp is the ethereal 
region (Nabho-maudala), circular and white. Inside it is the 
Chandra-mamZala, and above it is the Blja Ham. This Bija is 
white and garmented in white, 5 seated on an elephant, and is 


1 The portion within inverted commas is from the Bhagavad-Glta 
XVI, 2, 8. 

* Cf. Sarvarogaharachakra in Shri Yantra. 

’ That is, the Hamsa is in the twelve-petalled Lotus below the 
Sahasrara. Shankara and Vishvanatha call Hamsa the Sun. ' 

4 Kant/ta-mfile. 

5 That is, clothed in space. 




PLATE VI 


V isuddha 


To face Page 392 



description of the six centres 


393 


four armed. In his four hands he holds the Pasha (noose) and 
the Ankusha (goad), and makes the Vara-mudra and the Abhaya- 
mudra. In his lap is Sada- Shiva, seated on a great lion-seat 
which is placed on the back of a bull. He is in his form of 
Arfldhanarlshvara, and as such half his body is the colour of 
snow, and the other half the colour of gold. He has five faces 
and ten arms, and in his hands he holds the Shula (trident), 
the Tamka (battle-axe), the Khadga (sacrificial sword), the Vajra 
(thunderbolt), Dahana, 1 the Nagendra (great snake), the Ghaȣa 
(bell), the Ankusha (goad), the Pasha (noose), and makes the 
Abhaya-mudra. He wears a tiger’s skin, his whole body is 
smeared with ashes, and he has a garland of snakes round his 
neck. The nectar dropping from the down-turned digit of the 
Moon is on his forehead. Within the pericarp, and in the Lunar 
Region and seated on bones, is the Shakti Shakini, white in 
colour, four-armed, five-faced and three-eyed, clothed in yellow, 
and carrying in Her hand a bow, an arrow, a noose, and a goad. 


1 Agneya-astra 



894 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 81a 1 * ' 

The Yogi, his mind constantly fixed on this Lotus, his 
breath controlled by Kumbhaka/ is in his wrath 3 able to 
move all the three worlds. Neither Brahma nor Vis /mu, 
neither Hari-Hara 4 * nor Surya 6 nor Ganapa 6 is able to 
control his power (resist him). 

Commentary 

“ His breath controlled by Kumbhaka ” (Atta-pavana). — 
Literally it means, who has taken the air in, which is done by 
Kumbhaka. 

“ Hari-Hara .” — The Yugala (coupled) form, consisting of 
Vishnu and Shiva combined. 

“ Surya ” (Kha-mani). — This word means the jewel of the 
sky, or Surya. 


( Here ends the fifth section.) 


1 This verse has not been taken into account either by Kallcharawa 
or Shankara. It is given by Bala-deva in his text, and his Commentary 
is also here given. It is in Tripura9ara-samuchchaya, Ch. V, 26. 

a Retention of breath in Pran&yama is Kumbhaka. 

3 This is praise (Stutivada) of his great powers — that is, were he to 
get angry he could move the three worlds. 

1 See Commentary. 

- Sun. See Commentary. 

c Ganesha. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


395 


Verse 32 

j The Lotus named Ajna 1 is like the moon, (beautifully 
white). On its two petals are the letters Ha and Kshn, 
which are also white and enhance its beauty. It shines 
with the glory of Dhyana . 2 Inside it is the Shakti Hakim, 
whose six faces are like so many moons. She has six arms, 
in one of which She holds a book 3 ; two others are lifted up 
in the gestures of dispelling fear and granting boons, and 
with the rest She holds a skull, a small drum , 4 and a 
rosary . 5 Her mind is pure (Shuddha-chitta). 

Commentary 

The Author now describes the Ajna Chakra between the 
eyebrows in the seven verses beginning with this. 

“ Lotus named Ajna ” (Ajna-nama). — “ Ajna of the Guru is 
communicated here, hence it is called Aina.” Here between the 
eyebrows is the Ajna (Command), which is communicated from 
above, hence it is called Ajna. This Lotus which is well known 
is here/ 1 


1 Ajna — command. See Commentary. The Tantrantara Tantra 
calls this Chakra the house of Shiva (Shivageha). 

9 The state of mind which is acquired by meditation (Dhyana). 

3 Vidyam mudram dadhana, i.e ., she is making the gesture of 
Vidya or Pustaka Mudra and those of dispelling fear and granting 
boons. It is not that she is carrying a book in her hand. See j post. 

4 Damaru. 

5 Rosary with which “ Recitation ” (japa) of mantra is done. 

w It is here that Ajna of the Guru is communicated (Gautamlya 
Tantra, cited by Vishvanatha). See Rudrayamala, Ch. XXVII, v. 68, 
which says that the Guru’s Ajna is communicated (Gurorajneti). 



;396 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

This Lotus is between the eyebrows, as the following shows. 
“ Going upwards after entering the throat and palate, the white 
and auspicious Lotus between the eyebrows is reached by 
Kundall. It has two petals on which are the letters Ha and 
KsTia, and it is the place of mind (Manas).” 

The following are descriptions of the Lotus : 

“ Like the Moon, beautifully ivhite ” (Hima-kara-sadnsham). 
•—This comparison with Chandra (Himakara) may also mean 
that this Lotus is cool like the moonbeams (the moon being the 
receptacle of Amritu, or Nectar, whose characteristic is cool- 
ness), and that it is also beautifully white. 

It has been said in “ Ishvara-kartikeya-samvdda ” : 1 “ Ajna 
Chakra is above it ; it is white and has two petals ; the letters 
Ha and Ksha, variegated in colour, also enhance its beauty. It 
is the seat of mind (Manas).” 

“ Two petals ” (Netra-patra). — The petals of the lotus. 

“ The letters Ha and Ksha which are also white ” (Ha-ks/ia- 
bhyam kalabhyam parilasitavapufo su-shubhram). — These two 
letters are by their very nature white, and by their being on 
the white petals the whiteness thereof is made more charming 
by this very excess of whiteness.® The letters are called Kalas 
because they are Bijas of Kalas . 3 

“ It shines with the glory of Dhyana ” (Dhyana-dhama-pra- 
kasham) — that is, its body shines like the glory of Dhyana 
Shakti. 

“ Hakinl.” — He next speaks of the presence of the Shakti 
Hakinl here. The force of the pronoun Sa (She) in addition to 
Her name is that She is the well-known Hakinl. 

“ The gestures' of dispelling fear and granting boons ” 
(Mudra). — This word stands for both Mudras. There should 


1 i.e„ the Sammohana Tantra. 

3 Or the meaning may be that the Ajna Chakra has rays cool like 
the ambrosial rays of the Moon and like the Moon beautifully white. 

3 See Introduction, Prapanchasara Tantra, Vol. Ill, Tantrik Texts, 
ed. A. Avalon. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 397 

be six weapons in Her hands, as She has six hands. There are 
some who read Vidya and Mudra as one word, Vidya-mudra, and 
interpret it to mean Vyakhyamudra — the gesture that conveys 
learning or knowledge — and speak of Her as possessed of four 
arms. Different manuscripts give different readings. Various 
manuscripts read these as two words. The wiser reader should 
judge for himself. 

In a Dhyana in another place She is thus described : 
“ Meditate upon Her, the divine Hakini. She abides in the 
marrow 1 and is white. In Her hands are the Damaru, the 
RudruksAa rosary, the skull, the Vidya (the sign of the book), 
the Mudra (gesture of granting boons and dispelling fear). She 
is fond of food cooked with TurminI, and is elated by drinking 
ambrosia. She is well seated on a white Lotus, and Her mind 
is exalted by the drink of the King of the Devas gathered 
from the Ocean.” 

The rest is clear. 


1 Majjastha. According to another reading (chakrastha) abides ' 
in the chakra. 



398 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 33 

Within this Lotus dwells the subtle mind (Manas). It 
! is well known. Inside the Yoni in the pericarp is the 
! Shiva called Itara, 1 in His phallic form. He here shines 
' like a chain of lightning flashes. The first Bija of the 
Vedas, 2 which is the abode of the most excellent Shakti 
and which by its lustre makes visible the Brahma- sutra, 3 
is also there. The Sadhaka with steady mind should 
meditate upon these according to the order (prescribed). 

Commentary 

He speaks of the presence of Manas in this Lotus. 

“ Subtle ” (SuksTima-rupa). — The Manas is beyond the scope 
of the senses ; that being so, it may be asked, What is the proof 
of its existence ? The answer is, It is well known or universally 
accepted (Prasiddha) and handed down from Anadipurus/ia 
generation after generation as a thing realised, and is hence 
well known. The evidence of the Shastras, also, is that this 
Manas selects and rejects. 4 Here is the place of the Manas. 
The presence of Manas is above the first Bija of the Vedas as 
will appear from what is about to be spoken of. 

“ Phallic form " (Linga-chihna-prakasham).— He next speaks 
of the presence of the Shivalinga 5 in the Yoni which is within 

1 Im, Kftlam tarati iti Itarft/t (Vishvanatha). “ Itara ” is that which 
enables one to cross K&la. Im —that is, the world of wandering. 

* Om. 

3 The Nadi Chitrinl. 

* Samkalpavikalp&tmaka. This is the lower Manas, and not that 
referred to in the Commentary to v. 40, post. As to the mental facul- 
ties, see Introduction. 

s Phallic emblem of Shiva. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


399 


the pericarp. The Itara- Shiva who is there is in His phallic 
form, and within the Yoni. Within the triangle in the pericarp 
dwells Itara-shivapada 1 — i.e., the Shiva known by the name of 
Itara. This Linga is in the phallic form and white. As has 
been said in the Bhuta-shuddhi Tantra : “ Inside it is the Linga 
Itara, crystalline and with three eyes.” This Linga resembles 
continuous streaks of lightning flashes (Vidyun-malavilasam). 

“First Bija of the Vedas ” (Vedanam adibljam). — He then 
speaks of the presence of the Pranava 4 in the pericarp of this 
Lotus. In the pericarp there is also the first Bija — i.e., Pranava . 4 

“ Which is the abode of the most excellent Shakti ” (Parama- 
kulapada). — Kula= Shakti which is here of a triangular form. 
Parama means most excellent, by reason of its resembling light- 
ning and the like luminous substances ; and Pada means place — 
i.e. the triangular space. Hence this Bija — namely, the Pranava 
— we perceive is within the triangle. This is clearly stated in 
the following text : 

/ “ Within the pericarp, and placed in the triangle, is Atma 
in the form of the Pranava, and above it, like the flame of a 
lamp, is the Charming Nada, and Bindu which is Makara, 3 .and 
above it is the abode of Manas.” 

Now, if the Paramakulapada 4 be the container (Adhara) of 
and therefore inseparate from the Pranava, how is it that it is 
separately mentioned as one of the sixteen Adharas spoken of 
in the following passage ? For it has been said that “ the sixteen 
Adharas hard of attainment by the Yogi are Muladhara, Svadhi- 
shth&na, Mani-pura, Anahata, Vishuddha, Ajna-chakra, Bindu, 


1 According to Vishvan&tha, this is an Amsha (part) of the Nirguna 
Para Shiva in the Sahasrara. 

’Om. 

1 The letter Ma ; that is, it is Makararupa or Ma before manifesta- 
tion. 

4 Shankara says that Paramakula = Muladhara Padma, and Parama* 
kulapada— He who has his abode in the Muladhara. 



400 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Kalapada, Nibhodhika, Arddhendu, Nada, Nadanta, Unmanly 
VisTmu-vaktra, Dhruvamandala, 1 and Shiva.” 

The answer is that the second Kalapada is not the one in 
the Ajna Chakra, hut is in the vacant space above Mahanada 
which is spoken of later. This will become clear when dealing 
with the subject of Mahanada. 

“ Which makes manifest the Brahma-sutra ” (Brahma- 
sutraprabodha). — Brahma-sutra=ChitrinI-na<Zi. This Nadi is 
made visible by the lustre of the Pranava. In v. 8 this Nadi has 
been described as “ lustrous with the lustre of the Pranava ”. 

The Sadhaka should with a steady mind meditate upon all 
these — viz., HakinI, Manas, Itara Linga and Pranava — in the 
order prescribed. This is different to the order in which they 
are placed in the text by the author. But the arrangement of 
words according to their import is to be preferred to their posi- 
tions in the text. The order as shown here should prevail. 
Thus, first HakinI in the pericarp ; in the triangle above her 
Itara Linga ; in the triangle above him the Pranava ; and last of 
all, above the Pranava itself, Manas should be meditated upon. 


’ See.Sh9.rada Tilaka, Ch. V, 185, Ch. XII, v, 117 et seq. ; Kularnava 
Tantra, Oh. IY, and Introduction. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


401 


Verse 34 

'The excellent Sadhaka, whose Atma is nothing but a 
'meditation on this Lotus, is able quickly to enter another’s 
body 1 * at will, and becomes the most excellent among Munis, 
I and all-knowing and all-seeing. He becomes the benefactor 
■ of all, and versed in all the Shastras. He realises his unity 
1 with the Brahman and acquires excellent and unknown 
powers . 8 Full of fame and long-lived, he ever becomes the 
Creator, Destroyer, and Preserver, of the three worlds. 

Commentary 

In this verse he speaks of the good to be gained by the 
Dhyana of this Lotus. 

“ Most excellent among Munis ” (Munindra). — A Muni is one 
who is accomplished in Dhyana and Yoga 3 * * and other excellent 
acquirements. The suffix Indra means King or Chieftain, and 
is added to names to signify excellence. 

“ Versed in all the Shastras ” (Sarva-shastrarthavetta). — 
Such an one becomes proficient in the Shastras and in Divine 
knowledge, and thus he becomes all-seeing (Sarva-darshI) — i.e., 
able to look at things from all points by reason of his being 
possessed of wisdom and knowledge which harmonises with 
Shastras, manners, and customs. 


1 Para-pura — may also mean another’s house. See p. 879, ante. 

s Siddhi. 

3 Dhy&nayogSdisampannaA. — The word may also mean one who is 

an adept in Dhyanayoga and other acquirements. 

26 



402 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


“ He realises ,” etc. (Advaitachara-vadi). — He knows that this 
Universe and all material existence is the Brahman, from such 
sayings of Shruti as, “ The worlds are Its Pada (that is Amshas)” ; 
“ All that exists is the Brahman” ; 1 * and “ I am the Deva, and no 
one else ; I am the very Brahman, and sorrow is not my share,” 
He knows that the Brahman alone is the Real (Sat), and every- 
thing else is unreal (Asat), and that they all shine by the light 
of the Brahman . 3 The man who by such knowledge is able to 
realise the identity of the Individual with the Supreme Spirit 4 
(Jlvatma and Pramatma), and preaches it, is an Advaitavadi. 

“ Excellent and unknown powers ” (Paramapurva-siddhi). — 
that is, most exalted and excellent powers. 

“ Full of fame ” (Prasiddha). — i.e., famous by reason of his 
excellence. 

He ever becomes ,” etc., (So’pi karta tribhuvana-bhavane 
samhWtau palane cha). — This is Prasliamsa-vada ; 5 6 or it may 
mean that such Sadhaka becomes absorbed in the Supreme on 
the dissolution of the body, and thus becomes the Source of 
Creation, Preservation, and Destruction. 


1 * Pftdo’sya vishvfi bhiitfinlti.’ ‘ Tadidam sarvain Brahma.’ The 
Chhft. Up. reads (8, 12. 6), ’ Pfido’sya sarva bhutani ’ and (8. 14. l), 
‘ Sarvam khalvidam Brahma ’ — which mean the same things. 

* Aham devo na chitnyo'smi Brahmaivasmi na shokabhak. 

3 Brahmaivaikam sad-vastu tadanyad asat prapancha-samudayastu 

Brahma-bhasataya bhasate. 

* JlvAtma-paramAtmanor aikyachintanam. 

6 *.e., Stnti-vada, or praise; or, as we should say, complement, 
which, while real in the sense of the presence of a desire to praise that 
which is in fact praiseworthy, is unreal so far as regards the actual 
words in which that desire is voiced. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


403 


Verse 35 

Within the triangle in this Chakra ever dwells the combi- 
nation of letters 1 which form the Pranava. It is the inner 
Atma as pure mind (Buddhi), and resembles a flame in its 
radiance. Above it is the half (crescent) moon, and above 
this, again, is Ma-kara , 2 shining in its form of Bindu. Above 
this is Nada, whose witness equals that of Balarama * and 
diffuses the rays of the Moon . 3 

Commentary 

7 The author desires to speak of the presence of the Pranava 
in the Ajna Chakra and says that in this Chakra, and within the 
triangle which has already been spoken of, ever dwells the 
combination of the letters A and U which by the rules of 
Sandhi makes the thirteenth vowel O. This combination of 
letters is Suddha-buddhyantaratma — i.e., the innermost Spirit 
manifesting as pure intelligence (Buddhi). The question may 
be asked if the thirteenth vowel (O) is that. To obviate this the 
author qualifies it by saying “ above it is the half Moon, etc.” It 
is by adding the half Moon (Nada) and Bindu to O that the 
Pranava is formed. 

He next gives its attributes : 

“ Resembles a flame in its radiance ” (Pradipabhaj yotih) . 
— But how can this thirteenth vowel by itself be Shuddha- 
buddhyantaratma ? He therefore says : 

Above it is.the crescent moon ” (Tadurdhve chandrardhaft). 

* That is, a and u, which by Sandhi becomes O, and with anusvAra 
(m) thus form the Pranava, or mantra Om. 

* The letter M in its Bindu form in Chandra-vindu. 

* Shankara reads it as “ Jaladhavala, etc., and explains it by “ white 
like water ”. The last portion may also mean “ smiling whiteness equals 
that of the Moon ”, 



404 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


“ And above this, again, is Ma-kdra, shining in its form of 
Bindu ” (Tad-upari vilasadbindu-rupi Ma-Kara7»). — It is thus 
shown that by the placing of the crescent moon and the Bindu 1 * 
over the thirteenth vowel the Pranava is completely formed. 

“ Above this is Nada ” (Tadurdhve nado’sau) — i.e., above the 
Pranava is the Avan tar a (final or second) Nada, which challenges 
as it were the whiteness of Baladeva and the Moon (Baladhavala- 
sudhadhara-santana-hasl). By this he means to say that it is 
extremely white, excelling in whiteness both Baladeva and the 
rays of the Moon. 9 

Some read Tadadye nado’sau (in the place of Tadurdhve 
nado’sau) and interpret it as, “ Below Bindu-rupi Ma-kara is 
Nada ”. But that is incorrect. The text says, “ Above this, 
again, is Ma-kara, shining in its form of Bindu,” and there is 
Nada below it ; that being so, it is useless to repeat that Nada 
is below. 

Besides, this Nada is beyond the Nada, which forms part of 
the Pranava, and is part of the differentiating (Bhidyamana} 
Parabindu placed above the Pranava. If, however, it be urged 
that it is necessary to state the details in describing the special 
Pranava (Vishis/iia-Pra«ava), and it is asked, “ Why do you say 
a second Nada is inappropriate ? ” then the reading Tadadye 
nUdo’sau may be accepted. 

But read thus it should be interpreted in the manner 
following : “ This Nada shown below the Bindu -rup! Ma-kara is 
Bala-dhavala-sudhadhara-santhana-hasl (v. ante), and the Nada 
first spoken of is also so described. Such repetition is free from 
blame on the authority of the maxim that “ the great are 
subject to no limitations ”. 


1 That is, Anusvftra. 

1 Sudh&dh&rasant&na, Vishvanatha says, means a multitude of moons. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


405 


Verse 36 

When the Yogi closes the house which hangs without 
support , 1 the knowledge whereof he has gained by the 
service of Parama-guru, and when the Chetas 2 by repeated 
practice becomes dissolved in this place which is the abode 
of uninterrupted bliss, he then sees within the middle of 
and in the space above (the triangle) sparks of fire distinct- 
ly shining. 

Commentary 

Having described the Pranava, he now speaks of its union 
(with Chetas), i.c ., Pranavayoga. 

The Yogi should close the house (Puram baddhva) — i.e., he 
should, with his mind set on the act, close the inner house ; or, 
in other words, he should make Yoni-mudra 3 in the manner 
prescribed and thus effectually close the inner house. The use 
of the word Pur used shows that the Yoni-mudra is meant. 
Then, when his Chetas by repeated practice (Abhyasa) or 
meditation on the Pranava becomes dissolved (Lina) in 
this place (the Ajnachakra), he sees, within and in the space 
.above the triangle wherein the Pranava is, sparks of Fire 4 
<Pavana-suhridam kanan), or, to put it plainly, sparks 
of light resembling sparks of fire appear before his mental 
vision above the triangle on which the Pranava rests. It is by 

x Niralamba-purl. Niralamba (v. post) means that which has no 
support — viz., that by which the mind’s connection with the world has 
been removed and* realization of the infinite established. Akasham&msi 
— whose flesh or substance is Akasha (Rajanighantu Diet.) 

* See next page and Introduction. 

3 i.c., closes the avenues of the mind and concentrates it 
within itself. 

4 Pavana-suhrid — “ He whose friend is air "—Fire. When the wind- 
blows, fire spreads. 



406 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Yoni-mudra that the inner self (Anta/i-pur) is restrained and 
detached from the outside world, the region of material sense. The 
Manas cannot be purified and steadied unless it is completely 
detached from the material sphere. It is therefore that the 
mind (Manas) should be completely detached by Yoni-mudra. 

Yoni-mudra, which detaches the Manas from the outside 
world, is thus defined : “ Place the left heel against the anus, 
and the right heel on the left foot, and sit erect with your body 
and neck and head in a straight line. Then, with your lips 
formed to resemble a crow’s back,' draw in air and fill therewith 
your belly. Next 1 close tightly your earholes with the thumbs, 
with your index-fingers the eyes, the nostrils by your middle 
fingers, and your mouth by the remaining fingers. Restrain the 
air 3 within you, and with the senses controlled meditate on the 
Mantra whereby you realize the unity (Ekatvam) of Prawa and 
Manas. 4 This is Yoga, the favourite of Yogis.” 

That steadiness of mind is produced by restraint of breath 
through the help of Mudra, has been said by Shruti. “ The 
inind under the influence of Hamsa 5 * 7 moves to and fro, over 
different subjects ; by restraining Hamsa the mind is restrained.” 

“ Closes the house ” (Puram baddhva). — This may also mean 
Khechail Mudra." This latter also produces steadiness of mind. 

As ha6 been said, “ As by this the Chitta roams in the 
Brahman (Kha), J and has the sound of uttered word " also roams 

3 That is, by Kakl-mudra. Shruti says that when Vftyn is drawn 
in by this Mudril and stopped by Kumbhaka, steadiness of mind is 
produced. 

* These and following verses occur in ShArada Tilaka, Ch. XXV, vv. 
45, 46. The first portion of this passage describes Siddhftsana. 

* That is, by Kumbhaka. 

4 That is, recite the Hamsa or Ajapftmantra, or breathing in 
Kumbhaka. 

* The Jlvatmil manifesting as Prana. 

* One of the Mudrfis of HafAa-yoga. See Introduction. 

7 Kha has three meanings— viz.. Ether, Brahman, and space bet- 
ween eyebrows (Ajnfi), Brahmananda, the commentator of the HafAa- 
ybgapradlpikft, adopts the last meaning in interpreting this verse (Ch. 
Ill, v. 41), and in commenting on v. 55 of the Hatbayogapradlpika gives 
it the meaning of Brahman. 

’ Lit., tongue. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


407 


the Ether (Kha), therefore is Khecharl Mudra honoured by all 
the Siddhas.” 

The Chitta is Khechara 1 when, disunited from Manas and 
devoid of all attachment to all worldly things, it becomes 
Unman!.* 

As has been said , 3 “ the Yog! is united with Unman! ; with- 
out Unman! there is no Yogi.” Niralamba means that which 
has no support — namely, that from which the minds ’ connection 
with the world has been removed. 

“ The knowledge whereof he has gained by the service of his 
Paramaguru ” (Parama-giiru-seva-suviditam). — Parama is ex- 
cellent in the senses that he has attained excellence in Yoga 
practice (by instructions) handed down along a series of spiritual 
preceptors (Gurus), and not the result of book-learning . 1 

“ Serving the Guru” — Such knowledge is obtained from the 
Guru by pleasing him by personal services (Seva). Cf. “ It can 
be attained by the instructions of the Guru, and not by ten 
million of Shastras.” 

“ The abode of uninterrupted bliss ” (Su-sukha-sadana) — i.e., 
this is the place where one enjoys happiness that nothing can 
interrupt. This word qualifies place (Iha-sthane — i.e., Ajna- 
chakra.) 

“ Sparks of fire distinctly shining ” (Pavana-suhWdam 
pravilasitarupan kanan). — These sparks of Fire shine quite 
distinctly. 

Elsewhere it is clearly stated that the Pranava is surround- 
ed by sparks of light : “ Above it is the flame-like Atma, 
auspicious and in shape like the Pranava, on all sides surrounded 
by sparks of light.” 

1 What moves about in the sky or ether. It is Manas which de- 
prives the Chitta of freedom by causing attachment to the world. On 
being disunited from Manas it moves freely in the ether, going its 
own way. 

Q Unman! is there where, to coin a word, the “Manasness” of 
Manas ceases. See note to v. 40. Ut^without, and man! is from 
Manas. 

* This is from Jnanarnava Tantra, Ch. XXIV, v, 87. 

4 Which is well recognized to be insufficient in these matters. 



408 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 37 

He then also sees the Light 1 which is in the form of a 
flaming lamp. It is lustrous like the clearly shining 
morning sun, and glows between the Sky and the Earth . 2 
It is here that the Bhagavan manifests Himself in the 
fulness of His might . 3 He knows no decay, and witnesseth 
all, and is here as He is in the region of Fire, Moon, and 
Sun . 4 

Commentary 

Yogis such as these see other visions beside the sparks of 
light. After seeing the fiery sparks they see the light. 

“ Then ” (Tadanu) — i.e., after seeing the sparks spoken of 
in the preceding Shloka. 

He then describes this Light (Jyoti h). 

“ Glows between the Sky and the Earth ” (Gagana-dharani- 
madhyamilita). — This compound adjective qualifies Jyotih or 
Light. 

Qagana (sky) is the sky or empty space above Shankhini 
N5dl (see verse 40, post), and Dharani (Earth) is the Dhara- 
mandala in the Muladhara. This light also extends from the 
Mfiladhara to the Sahasrara. 


1 JyotiA. 

* See Commentary, post. 

‘Pflrnawibhava, which, however, as Kallcharana points out post 
may be interpreted in various ways. According to . Vishvanatha, the 
second chapter of the Kaivalya-Kalika Tantra contains a verse which 
says that the presence of the all pervading Brahman is realized by His 
action, as we realize the presence of Rahu by his action on the sun 
ana moon. 

See :. T “ &, Wi ‘ hi ” “* 

5 The particle o& in the text is used in an inclusive sense. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


409 


He next speaks of the presence of Parama Shiva in the 
Ajna Chakra. 

“ It is here ” (Iha sthane) — i.e., in the Ajna Chakra ; Parama 
Shiva is here, as in the Sahasrara. Bhagavan is Parama Shiva. 

“ Manifests Himself ” (SaksMd bhavati) — i.e., He is here. 1 * 3 

“ In the fulness of his might ” (Purwa-vibhava). — This com- 
pound word which qualifies Bhagavan is capable of various 
interpretation s. 

Piirna-vibhava may also be interpreted in the following 
different ways : 

(a) Puma may mean complete in Himself, and vibhava 
infinite powers, such as the power of creation, etc. In that case 
the word would mean : “ One who has in Him such powers, who 
is the absolute Creator, Destroyer, and Supporter, of the 
Universe.” 

(b) Vibhava, again, may mean “ the diversified and limitless 
creation,” and puma “ all-spreading In this sense Puma- 
vibhava means “ He from whom this all-spreading and endless 
(vast) creation has emanated.” Of. “ From whom all these 
originated, and in whom having originated they live, to whom 
they go and into whom they enter ” (Shruti).* 

(c) Vibhava, again, may mean : “ omnipresence ”, and Puma 
“ all-spreading ”. It would then mean : “ He who in His omni- 
presence pervades all things.” 

( d ) Puma * may also mean the quality of one whoso wish is 
not moved by the result and is not attached to any object. 
Purna-vibhava would then mean one who is possessed of that 
quality. 

All things except Atma pass away. The omnipresence of 
the ethereal region (Akasha), etc., is not ever-existent. The 

1 He is seen here. 

3 Tait. Up., 8. I. I. 

3 Phalamipahita-vis/iayitanaspadechchhakatvam : He whose wish is 
not moved by the result, and is not attached to any object ; or, in other 
words, He whose ways are inscrutable to us, subject as we are to 
limitations (Mftyii). 



410 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Nirvana Tantra (Ch. IX) speaks of the presence of Parama Shiva 
in the Ajna Chakra in detail. 

“Above this ( i.e Visuddha) Lotus is Jnana Lotus, which 
is very difficult to achieve ; it is the region 1 * of the full moon, 
and has two petals.” Again : “ Inside it, in the form of Hamsah, 
is the Blja of Shambhu ” ; and again : “ Thus is Hamsah in 
Mani+dripa? and in its lap is Parama Shiva, with Siddha Kali 3 
on his left. She is the very self of eternal Bliss.” By lap is 
meant the space within the Bindus which form the Visarga at 
the end of Hamsa/i . 4 * * 

So it has been said in describing the Saliasrara : “ There 
are the two Bindus which make the imperishable Visarga . 0 In 
the space within is Parama Shiva.” As It is in the Sahasrara 
so It is represented here/' 

We are to understand that these two, Shiva and Shakti, are 
here in union (Bandhana) in the form of Parabindu, as the letter 
Ma (Makaratma), and that they are surrounded (Achchadana) 
by Maya . 7 “ She the Eternal One stays here (Ajna Chakra) in 
the form of a grain of gram , 8 9 and creates beings (Bhutani).” 
Here the Parama Shiva as in the form of a gram dwells, and 
according to the Utkaladimata ’ also creates. 


1 Pama-chandrasya mafteZalam. 

9 The isle of gems in the Ocean of Ambrosia. The Rudrayamala 
says that it is in the centre of the Ocean of nectar outside and beyond 
the countless myriads of world systems, and that there is the Supreme 
abode of Shrlvidya. 

3 A form of Shakti. 

4 i.e., the two dots which form the aspirate breathing at the end 
of Hamsah. 

" Imperishable visarga — Visargarupam avyayam. 

b That’ is, the Parabindu is represented in the Ajna by the Bindu of 
the Onk&ra, which is its PratTka. 

7 Bindu is the nasal sound of Ma, which is a male letter. Bindu is 
here the unmanifest Ma. 

8 Chanak&k&ra-rilpim. $ee Introduction. 

9 Apparently a school of that name. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


411 


“ As He is in the region of Fire, Moon and Sun ” (Valin eh 
shashimihirayor manual ami va). — As the presence of Bhagavan in 
these regions is well known, so is He here. Or it may be that the 
author means that as He in the shape of a grain of gram dwells 
in the regions of Fire, Moon, and Sun, in the Sahasrara, so 
does He dwell here also. We shall describe the Arka, Indu, 
and Agni Mandala in the Sahasrara later. In PTfha-puja the 
Puja of Paramatma and Jnanatma should be performed on the 
MamZalas of Sun (Arka), Moon (Indu), and Fire (Agni). By 
Paramatma Parama Shiva is meant, and by Jnanatma Jnana 
Shakti. The Bindu should be meditated upon as like the grain 
of gram, consisting of the inseparable couple 1 — namely, Shiva 
and Shakti. 


1 The grain referred to is divided in two under its encircling sheath. 



412 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 38 

fTHis is the incomparable and delightful abode of Vis/mu. 
iThe excellent Yogi at the time of death joyfully places 
•his vital breath (Prana), 1 here and enters (after death) that 
1 Supreme, Eternal, Birthless, Primeval Deva, the Purus7m, 
who was before the three worlds, and who is known by the 
Vedanta. 


Commentary 

He now speaks of the good to be gained by giving up the 
Prana by Yoga in the Ajna Chakra. 

This verse means : The excellent Yogi (Yogindra) at the 
time of death (Prana-nidhane) joyfully (Pramudita-manaA) places 
his Prana (Pranam samaropya) in the abode of Vishnu in the 
Ajna Chakra (Iha sthane Vishnoh — i.e., in the abode of Bhagavan 
in the Bindu already described), and passes away, and then 
enters the Supreme PurusTta. 

“ At the time of death ” (Prana-nidhane) — i.e., feeling the 
approach of death. 

“ Joyfully ” ( P r a m u d i ta - m a n a /(, ) — Glad in mind in the 

enjoyment of the blissful union with Atma. (Atmanandena 
hns/ifa-chittafc.) 

Vishnu ”= Bh agavan = Par am a Shiva (see previous Shloka). 

“ Here ” (Iha sthane — i.e., in the Bindu in the Ajna Chakra 
spoken of above). 

“ Places the Pr&na here ” (Iha sthane pranam samaropya) — 
i.e., he places it on the Bindu already spoken of. He describes 
PurusTta as Eternal. 


Compare Bhagavad-Gitft, Ch. VIII, V v. 9 and 10, and the com- 
mentary of Shankarftch&rya and Madhusudana Sarasvatl on those 
verses. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


413 


“ Eternal ” (Nityam).— Indestructible (Vinasharahitam). 

“ Birthless ” (Aja). 

“ Primeval ” (Purana). — He is the one known as the Purawa 
Purus 7ta. 1 

“ Deva ” means he whose play is Creation, Existence, and 
Destruction. 

“ Who teas before the three worlds ” (Tri-jagatam adyam). 8 — 
By this the implication is that He is the Cause of all as He 
preceded all. 

“ Known by the Vedanta ” (Vedanta-vidita).' 1 — Vedantas are 
sacred texts dealing with the inquiry concerning the Brahman. 
He is known by a Knowledge (Jnana) of these. 

The way the Prana is placed (Pranaropana-prakara) in the 
place of Vishnu is described below : Knowing that the time for 
the Prana to depart is approaching, and glad that ho is about to 
be absorbed into the Brahman, the Yogi sits in Yogasana and 
restrains his breath by Kumbhaka. He then leads the Jlvatma 
in the heart to the Muladhara, and by contracting the anus 4 and 
following other prescribed process rouses the Kunrfalinl. He 
next meditates upon the lightning-like, blissful Nada which is 
thread-like and whose substance is Kunrfali ( KuneZalinl-maya) . 
He then merges the Hamsa which is the Paramatma in the 
form of Prana ' in the Nada, and leads it along with the Jlva 
through the different Chakras according to the rules of Chakra- 
bheda to Ajna Chakra. He there dissolves all the diverse 
element from the gross to the subtle, beginning with PrithivI, 
in Kundalinl. Last of all, he unifies Her and the Jlvatma with 

1 According to Shankara, it is an adjective, and means “ He who is 
the cause of Creation,” and the like. 

“ That is, the three spheres Bhu/(, Bhuva/i, Sva h, the Vyahriti of 
the Gayatrl. 

s Shankara reads Vedanta-vihita, and explains the expression to 
mean “ this is the teaching of the Vedanta ”. 

4 Gudam akunchya — that is, by AshvinI Mudra. 

4 P r a ? ; a r u p a s li v a s a p a r a m a t m ak a m . See JnunarMava Tantra, Ch. 
XXI, vv. 18-18. 



414 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


the Bindu whose substance is Shiva and Shakti (Shiva- Shakti - 
maya) ; which having done, he pierces the Brahmarandhra and 
leaves the body, and becomes merged in the Brahman. 

Summary of the Ajna Chakra, Verses 32 to 38 

The Ajna Chakras has two petals and is white. The letters 
Ha and K sh&, which are white, 1 2 are on the two petals. The 
presiding Shakti of the Chakra, Hakini, is in the pericarp. She 
is white, has six faces each with three eyes, and six arms, and 
is seated on a white lotus. With Her hands She displays 
Varamudra and Abhaya-mudra, 3 4 and holds a Rudraks/fca rosary, 
a human skull, a small drum, and a book. Above Her, within 
a Trikona, is Itara-Linga, which is lightning-like, and above 
this again, within another Trikona, is the inner Atma (Antar- 
atma), lustrous like a flame. On its four sides, floating in air, 
are sparks surrounding a light which by its own lustre makes 
visible all between Mula and the Brahma-randhra. Above this, 
again, is Manas, and above Manas, in the region of the Moon, 
is Hamsa/i, within whom is Parama Shiva with His Shakti. 

( Here ends the sixth section) 

[Vishvanatha, 3 in the Commentary to the S7m£chakra, gives 
under this verse a description, taken from the Svachchhanda- 
sangraha, of the region beyond the Ajna — that is, beyond the 
SamasMi or collective or cosmic Ajna : “ Within the Bindu is 
a space a hundred million Yojanas 1 is expanse, and bright with 
the brightness of ten million suns. Here is the Lord of the 
State beyond Shanti (Shantyatiteshvara), with five heads and 
ten arms and lustrous as a mass of lightning flashes. On His 
left is Shantyatlta Manonmanl. Surrounding them are Nivritti, 

1 Karbura 33 white, and also means variegated . 

2 V . pp. 885, 880, ante . 

8 The portion in brackets is my note.— A.A. 

4 A Yojana is over eight miles. 






DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


415 


Pratisht/ia, Vidya, and Shanti. 1 Each of these is adorned with 
a moon and has five heads and ten arms. This is Bindu 
Tattava. Above Bindu is Ardhachandra, with the Kalas of the 
latter — namely, Jyotsna, Jyotsnavatl, Kanti, Suprabha, Vimala. 
Above Ardhachandra is Nibodhika, with the Kalas of the latter 
— Bandhatl, Bodhini, Bod ha, Jniinabodha, Tamopaha. Above 
Nibodhika is Nada and its five Kalas — Indhika, Rechika, tJrdh- 
vaga, Trasa, and Parama. On the lotus above this last is 
Ishvara, in extent a hundred million Yojanas, and lustrous as 
as ten thousand moons. He is five-headed, and each head has 
three eyes. His hair is matted, and he holds the trident (Shula). 
He is the one who goeth upwards (Ordhvagani), and in His 
embrace (Utsanga) is the Kala Ordhvagamini.”J 


* See, as to the Kalas, Introduction to Vol. Ill, Tantrik Texts, ed 
A. Avalon. See also Introduction to this volume ; and “ Studies in the 
Mantrash&stra," A. Avalon. 



416 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 30 

When the actions of the Yogi are through the service of 
the Lotus feet of his Guru in all respects good, then he 
will see above it ( i.e ., Ajna-chakra) the form of the Maha- 
nada, and will ever hold in the Lotus of his hand the 
Siddhi of Speech . 1 The Mahanada, which is the place of 
dissolution of Vayu 2 is the half of Shiva, and like the 
plough in shape , 3 is tranquil and grants boons and dispels 
fear, and makes manifest pure Intelligence (Buddhi ). 4 

Commentary 

He now wishes to describe the intermediate causal body 
(Karanavantara-sharlra ) 5 situate above Ajna Chakra and below 
Sahasrara, and says : When the actions of the Yogi are, through 
the service of the Lotus feet of his Guru, in all respects good — 
that is, when he excels by intense concentration of the mind in 


* That is, all powers of speech. 

1 Vayo h layasthanam. Shankara defines it by saying : Etat sthanam 
vayoli virftma-bhutam — this is the place where Vnyu ceases to be. 

3 That is, Shiva is Hakara ; and if the upper part of Ha is removed, 
the remaining portion of the letter has the form of an Indian plough. 

4 Shuddha-buddhi-prak&sha. 

4 Karanavantarasharira, Kara«a= cause ; Avfintara= secondary or 
intermediate or inclusive ; Sharlra^body. Body is so called because 
it wastes and fades. It is derived from the root Shri, to wane. 
Karanavantarasharira would thus mean “ the intermediate Sharlra of 
the Cause ”. The primary cause is the Great Cause. Its effects are 
also intermediate oauses of that which they themselves produce ; they 
are thus secondary or intermediate causal bodies. Taking the Sn.kn.is 
Parameshvara to be the first cause, Mahanfida is one of its effects 
and a Kftran&v&ntarasharlra as regards that which it produces and 
which follows it. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


417 


Yoga practice — he then sees the image of Mahanada above it 
(above Ajna Chakra), and he becomes accomplished in speech 
(Vak-siddha). 

“ Actions in all respects good ” (sushlla). — The good incli-\ 
nation for Yoga practice rendered admirable by strong and! 
undivided application thereto. This result is obtained by serving ' 
the Guru. 

The author then qualifies Nada, and says it is the place of 
dissolution of Vdyu (Vayor laya-sthanam). The Rule is “ things 
dissolve into what they orginate from.” Hence, although in 
Bhuta-shuddi and other practices it has been seen that Vayu 
dissolves into Sparsha-tattva , 1 * and the latter in Vyoma,* Vayu 
dissolves in Nada also. We have the authority of Revelation 
(Shruti) for this : 

“ PrithivI, the possessor of Rasa (Rasa-vati), originated 
from I-kara . 3 From Ka-kara , 3 who is Rasa, the waters and 
Tirthas 4 issued ; from Repha (Ra-kara ) 3 originated Vahni- 
tattva 5 6 7 8 ; from Nada 3 came Vayu 0 which pervades all life (Sarva- 
Pranamaya). From Bindu 3 originated the Void 3 which is empty 
of all things and is the Sound-container. And from all these * 
issued the twenty-five Tattvas which are Guna-maya. All this 
Universe (Vishva), which is the mundane egg of Brahma, is 
pervaded by Kalika.” 

1 The “ touch principle,” also called Tvak-tattva. As to Bljuta- 
shuddhi, see the same described in Author’s Introduction to the 
Mahanirvana Tantra. 

a Ether. 

'The Blja Erin is here being formed, Kakara=KalI; Ra-kara = 
Brahma as fire ; I kara= Mah am ay a. Anusvara or Chandrabindu (Ng) 
is divided into two — viz., Nada, which is Vishvam&ta, or Mother of 
the Universe ; and Bindu, which is Du/ikhahara, or remover of pain 
(Bljakos/ia). 

4 Places of pilgrimage where the devotees bathe. It also means 
sacred waters. 

5 Fire. 

6 Air. 

7 Gagana or Ether. 

8 That is, from Erin as composed of Ka + Ra+I+Ng. 

27 



418 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


We should therefore realize in our mind that at the time 
the letters of the Kali-mantra 1 are merged into that which is 
subtle, Vayu is absorbed in Nada. 

“ Half of Shiva ” (Shivardha). — By this is meant that here 
Shiva is in the form of Arddha-narlshvara. Half is Shakti 
which is Nfida. 

“ Like a plough ” (Sirakara). — The word Sira is spelt here 
with a short i, and in Amara-Kos/ia it is spelt with a long I ; 
but it is clearly the same word, as it begins with a dental s. 

Cf. “ Above it is Mahanada, in form like a plough, and 
lustrous ” (Ishvara-kartikeya-Samvada)/ 

If the text is read as “ Shivakara instead of Sirakara,” then 
the meaning would be that the Nada is Shiva- Shaktimaya.* 

Cf. Prayoga-sara : “ That Shakti which tends towards the 
seat of Liberation 4 is called male (Pumrupa — that is, Bindu) 
when, quickened by Nada, She turns towards Shiva 5 (Shivon- 
mukhi).” It is therefore that Raghava-Bhaffa has said that 
“ Nada and Bindu are the conditions under which She creates 


1 Krln. 

* t.e., Sammohana Tantra. Ed., R M. Chattopfidh&ya. 

3 That is, its substance is Shiva and Shakti. 

4 NirSmaya-padOnmukhi=She who is turned to the place of Libera- 
tion : that is Shakti in the supreme state. 

6 Tending towards, intent on, or with face uplifted to, Shiva, that 
is here tending to creation. That is, the first state is Chit. Nfida is 
the Mithah-samav&ya of Shakti or Bindu. The establishment of this 
relation quickens Her to turn to Shiva for the purpose of creation when 
She appears as male, or Bindu. 

‘Tasya eva shakter nfidabindu sm/tfyupayogyarfcpau (Upayoga is 
capacity or fitness for creation). 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


419 


It has elsewhere been said : “ She is eternal 1 existing as Chit 
(Chinmatra) 9 : when being near the Light She is desirous of 
change, She becomes massive (Ghanl-bhuya) and Bindu.” 

So in the word of the honoured (Shrlmat) Acharya : 3 “ Nada 
becomes massive and the Bindu/’ Now, taking all these into 
consideration, the conclusion is that Shakti manifests Herself 
as Nada-bindu, like gold in ear-rings made of gold . 4 

Nada and Bindu again are one — that is the deduction. 


1 According to another reading this part would mean “ She who is 
the Tattva”. 

a She is there, existing as Chit, with whom she is completely unified. 
She “ measures Chit ” — that is, co-exists with and as Chit, and is also" 
formative activity. The above translation is that of the text, but the 
verse has been quoted elsewhere as if it were Chinmatrajyotis/&a/v 
and not Chinmatra jyotis/&a/&, in which case the translation would be : 
She who when near Jyoti h, which is mere consciousness, becomes 
desirous of change, becomes massive and assumes the form of Bindu.’' 

3 Shankarachafya. 

4 That is, they are both gold in the form of an ear-ring, 

Cf . Chhandogya Up., 6. 1. 4. 

“ O Gentle One, by one lump of clay all things made up of clay are 
known. The variation is in the names given to it when spoken about* 
The clay alone is real.” 



420 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 40 

Above all these, in the vaoant space 1 * wherein is Shankhinl 
Nadi, and below Visarga is the Lotus of a thousand petals . 8 
This Lotus, lustrous and whiter than the full Moon, has its 
head turned downward. It charms. Its clustered filaments 
are tinged with the colour of the young Sun. Its body is 
luminous with the letters beginning with A, and it is the 
absolute bliss . 3 


Commentary 

The Aoharya enjoins that Sadhakas who wish to practise 
Samadhi Toga “ should before such time with every considera- 
tion and effort dissolve all things in their order from the gross 
to the subtle in Chidatma All things, both gross and subtle, 
which make up creation should first be meditated upon. As the 
knowledge thereof is necessary, they are here described in detail. 

The five gross elements — PrithivI 4 * and so forth — have been 
spoken of as being in the five Chakras from Muladhara to 
Vishuddha. In the Bhumawrfala 6 in the Muladhara there are 
the following — viz., feet, sense of smell, and Gandha-tattva, 7 
for this is their place. In the Jala-man^ala,” similarly, are the 

1 This place is called the Supreme Ether (Parama-vyoma) in the 
Svachchhanda-sangraha, cited by Vishvanfttha. Parama-vyoma is the 
name given in the Pancharfttra to the Highest Heaven or Vaikuntfoa. 
See Ahirbhudhnya, 49. 

* The Sahasr&ra is called Akula, according to the Svachchhanda- 
sangraha, cited by Vishvan&tha. 

* Kevalftnanda-rflpam, i.e., Brahman Bliss. 

4 The Atm& considered as Chit. 

6 Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether. 

' * Region of the Earth Element, or Muladhara Chakra. 

7 Smell principle or Tanmatra. 

8 Sv&dhiaAfA&na, which is the region of Water (Jala). 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


421 


hands, sense of taste, and Rasa-tattva . 1 * In the Vahni-marwfala * 
are the anas, the sense of sight, and Rupa-tattva . 3 In the 
Vayumawdala , 4 * are the penis, sense of touch, and Sparsha-tattva . 6 
In the Nabho-mawcfala 6 are speech, the sense of hearing, and 
Shabda-tattva . 7 These make fifteen tattvas. Adding these 
fifteen to Prithivi and so forth we get twenty gross tattvas. 

We next proceed to the subtle forms. In the Ajna Chakra 
the subtle Manas has been spoken of. Others have been spoken 
of in the KankalamalinI Tantra (Ch. II) when dealing with the 
Ajna Chakra : “ Here constantly shines the excellent Manas, 

made beautiful by the presence of the Shakti Hakinl. It is 
lustrous, and has Buddhi , 8 Prakriti , 9 and Ahankara 10 for its 
adornment.” 

From the above the presence of the three subtle forms — 
viz., Buddhi Prakriti, and Ahankara — in this place becomes 
clear. We must, however, know that Ahankara is not placed in 
the order shown in the above quotation. We have seen that 
from the Muladhara upwards the generated is below the genera- 
tor ; that which is dissolved is below what it is dissolved into, 
and we also know that the Shabdakrama is stronger . than 
Pai&akrama . 11 We must remember that Vyoma is dissolved in 
Ahankara, and hence the latter is next above Vyoma. Cf. “ In 
Ahankara Vyoma with sound should be dissolved, and Ahankara 
again in Mahat.” Ahankara, being the place of dissolution, 
comes first above Vyoma, and above it are Buddhi and Praknti. 


I Principle of taste. 

4 Mani-pura, which is the region of Fire (Vahni). 

3 Principle of sight. 

4 Anahata, which is the region of Air (Vayu). 

4 Principle of touch. 

* Vishuddha, which is the region of Ether (Nabhas). 

7 Principle of sound. 

3 See next note. 

0 See Introduction, and post. Commentary. 

M Egoism — self-consciousness. 

II That is, the actual arrangement of things as compared with the 
order in which they are stated. 



423 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


The ShatadS-tilaka (I, 17, 18) speaks of their connection as 
Janya (effect, generated) and Janaka cause, generator). 

“ From the unmanifest (Avyakta) Mula-bhuta, Paravastu * 
%heu Yiknta originated Mahat-tattva, 4 which consists of the 
Gunas and Antah-karawa. From this (Mahat-tattva) originated 
Ahank&ra, which is of three kinds according to its source of 
generation/’ 3 By Vikn'ti which means change is here meant 
reflection or image (Prativimba) 8 of the Paravastu, and as such 
reflection it is Viknti ; but as it is the Prakriti of Mahat-tattva, 
etc., it is also called Praknti. 4 Cf. “ Praknti is the Parama 

1 Mahat-tattva is a Viknti of Prakriti. The Mulabhuta avyakta 
(unmanifested root-being) corresponds with the Sankhyan Mulaprakriti. 
Here, as Raghava Bhataa says, Tattvasris/itfi is indicated (Comm, to 
Ch. I, vv. 17, 18 of Sharada), and interprets (Ch. I. vv. 17, 18) thus : 
Unmanifest Mulabhuta Paravastu may mean either the Bindu or 
Sh&bda Brahman. By Vikrita is meant readiness or proneness to- 
create (Smftfyunmukha). From this Bindu or Shabda Brahman ema- 
nates Mahat-tattva by which is meant the Padartha Mahat : which 
is known as Buddhi-tattva in Shaiva-mata. This Mahat or Buddhi- 
tattva consists of the three Qnnm — Sattva, Rajas and Tamas. That 
is, it includes Manas, Buddhi, Ahankara and Chitta. These four are 
the product (Karya) of the Gu?ias as cause (Karawa), and the cause 
(Kftraraa)_ inheres (Upachara) in the effect (Karya). After quoting the 
words of Ishana-JJhiva, Raghava remarks that Vamakeshvara Tantra also 
says that from the Unmanifest Shabda Brahman originates Buddhi- 
tattvct wherein Sattva Guwa is manifest. He then distinguishes the 
Sankhya view according to which the state of equilibrium of Sattva, 
I^ajas and Tamas is PrakWti, which is also called Pradhana and 
Avyakta. This is the Supreme (Paravastu). From a disturbance in 
the equilibrium of the Gunas arises Mahat. This Mahat consists of 
Gunas and is the cause of the Anta/ikaranas. By Gunas according to 
this are meant the five Tanmatras, Shabda, Sparsha, etc. According 
to this view also from Praknti comes Mahat and from the latter 
Ahank&ra. 

R&ghava thus shows the different ways in which the text of 
Shftradft can be interpreted from the Sh&kta, Shaiva and Sankhya 
points of view. 

* SmAflbheda — that is, one Ahankara is the result of the pre- 
dominance of Sattva, another of Rajas, and a third of Tamas. 

1 That is in the sense of product. In Shaivashaktadarshana,. 
Molaprakriti is itself a product of the Shivashaktitattva, for the Self 
becomes object to itself. 

4 That is, as regarded from the point of view of the Paravastu 
it is an affect, but regarded in relation to that which it produces 
it is a cause. ‘ ^ ' \ v') 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


m 


(Supreme) Shakti, and Vilm'ti is the product thereof,” 1 * It has 
also been shown before that the Prakriti of the Para Br ahman 
is but another aspect of Him (Prativimbasvarupini). 

According to Sharada-tilaka, Mahat-tattva is the same as 
Buddhi. 3 Ishana- Shiva says : “ The objective Prakriti, 3 which 
is evolved by Shakti, is, when associated with Sattva-guna, 
Buddhi-tattva. It is this Buddhi that is spoken of as Mahat 
in Sankhya.” 

Mahat-tattva consists of the Guwas and the Anta/i-karana. 
The Gunas are Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. The Sharada-tilaka 
says : “ Antaft-karana is the Manas, Buddhi, Ahan-kara, 

and Chitta, of the Atma. 4 * All these are comprised in the term 
Mahat-tattva. 

Now, a question may be raised — namely, if Manas be within 
Mahat-tattva, what of that which has been said in v. 88, where 
Manas has been spoken of as having an independent existence ? 
But the answer to that is, that that Manas is the product of 
Ahankara, and Raghava-BhaWa quotes a text which says : “ In 
so much as the other Manas is the one which selects and rejects 
(Sa-sankalpa-vikalpaka), 3 it is known to be the product of 
Tejas.” 6 Thus it is that, as Manas and other Tattvas in the 
Ajna, Chakra are placed in their order, Ahankara and others 
should be known as being placed above them. In the Ajna 
Chakra are HakinI, Itara-linga, Prawava, Manas, Ahankara, 
Buddhi, and Prakriti placed consecutively one above the other. 
No place being assigned to Chandra-mandala, which has been 
spoken of before, it should be taken to be placed above all 
these. If it be asked, why is it not below all these ? then the 
reply is that it has been said in the Sammohana Tantra : 

1 Vikritib prativimbata — in a mirror one is seen but the image is 
not oneself. 

* Raghavabhaf tfa says that this is so according to Shaiva doctrine. 

3 Boddhavya-laksAawfir — that is, that which can be known (jneya) ; 
the objective or manifested Prakriti. 

4 See Introduction. 

3 As to Sa-aankalpa- vikalpa, see Introduction. 

* That is, Taijasa ahankara, which is the source of the Indriyas. . 



424 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


“ Moon (Indu) is in the forehead, and above it is BodhinI Her- 
self.” Prom this it would appear that Indu and BodhinI are 
above Ajna Chakra, placed one above the other without anything 
intervening between them. BodhinI is above all the rest. 

The Sammohana Tantra speaks of the Cause (Karanarupa) 
as above Ajna Chakra: “Indu (the Moon, here — Hindu) is in 
the region of the forehead, and above it is BodhinI Herself. 
Above BodhinI shines the excellent Nada, in form like the half 
(crescent) moon ; above this is the lustrous Mahanada, in shape 
like a plough ; above this is the Kala called AnjI, the beloved of 
Yogis. Above this last is Unman !, 1 which having reached, one 
does not return.” 

In the above passage, in the words “ above it is BodhinI ”, 
the word “ it ” stands for the forehead or Ajna Chakra. 

The Bhuta-shuddhi Tantra speaks of the existence of the 
Bindu below BodhinI : “ Devi, above Vindu and Matrardha is 
Nada, and above this, again, is Mahanada, which is the place of 
the dissolution of Vayu.” Matrardha is Matrardha Shakti . 3 


1 In this passage AnjI is Samanl. The Bhuta-shuddhi (see post), 
makes a distinction too between AnjI and Samanl. These are the 
AvAntarasharlras of the First Cause enumerated in Layakrama. The 
text quoted from the Sharada gives the Smtai-krama. 

* Matrardha. In the Devi Bhagavata there occurs the expression 
Ardhamatra (which is a name for Nada) in I, 1, v. 55, and III, 5, v. 29, 
and Nllakant/ia defines it to mean Param padam=the supreme state, 
or the Brahman. The expression Ardha-matra also occurs in Chandi, 
I, 55, in practically the same sense. Gopala ChakravartI quotes a 
passage which says : “ Ardhamatra is attributeless (Nirguna), and 
realizable by the Yogi.” He quotes another passage which says : “ Om — 
this is the three Vedas, three Lokas, and after the three Lokas Matrardha 
is the fourth — the Supreme Tattva.” See Chandl “ Tvamudglthe 
ardhamAtrasi ” and DevIbbAgavata, I, 5, v. 55. Shruti says : 11 Thou 
art the Ardhamatra of Pranava, Gayatrl, and Vyahriti.” Here the 
unity of Devi and Brahman is shown. She is Brahman united with 
Maya (MAyAvishis Atfabrah marupinl) . The Nadabindu Upanishad (v. l) 
says : “ A-kAra is the right wing (of Om figured as a bird), U-kAra is the 
Other (left) wing, Ma-kAra the tail, and Ardhamatra the head. Sattva 
is its body, and Rajas and Tamas are its two feet. Dharma is its right 
eye, and Adharma is its left eye. The Bhur-loka is its feet ; the 
Bhuvarloka its knees ; the Svarloka is its middle ; the Maharloka its 
navel ; Janaloka is the heart ; Tapoloka its throat, and Satyaloka the 

place between the eyebrows.* ** See also BrahmavidyA Up., v. 10. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 425 

The following passage from Bnhat-tri-vikrama-samhita 
proves that the Ardha-matra means Shakti : “ Lustrous like the 
young Sun is Aks/iara, which is Bindumat (Bindu itself) ; above 
it is Ardha-matra, associated with the Gandhararaga.” 1 

As both the above passages point to' the same thing, we 
must take it that Ardha-matra and BodhinI are identical. 
Bindu, Bodhini, and Nada, are but different aspects of the 
Bindu-maya-para-shakti. 

The Sharada-tilaka says : “ From the Sakala Parameshvara , 3 
who is Sat, Chit, and Ananda, Shakti emanated ; from Shakti, 
again, emanated Nada ; and Bindu has its origin from Nada. 
He who is Para-Shakti-maya manifests Himself in three differ- 
ent ways. Bindu and Nada and Bija are but His different 
aspects. Bindu is Nadatmak , 3 Bija is Shakti, and Nada, again, 
is the union or relation of the one to the other . 4 This is spoken 
of by all who are versed in the Agamas .” 5 

“ Para-Shakti-maya ” : Para= Shiva ; hence Sbiva-Shakti- 
maya=Bindu. The Bindu who is above the forehead is Nadat- 
maka — that is, Shivatmaka . 6 Bija is Shakti as Bodhini (Bodhini- 
rupam). Nada is the connection between the two whereby 
the one acts upon the other ; hence it is Kriya Shakti. Above 
these three is Mahanada. This has already been shown. 

“ Above this is Kala,” etc. : Kala= Shakti. Anji=a crooked, 
awry, bent, line. This is in shape like a bent or crooked line 
over a letter. This Shakti appeared in the beginning of creation. 
C/. Pancharatra : “ Having thus seen, the Supreme Male in the 

1 The third of the seven primary subtle tones. 

3 Sharada, Ch. I, vv. 7 — 9, Sakala, as opposed to NisAkala, or 
Nirguna, means united with Kala, which according to S&nkhya is 
Sanyavastha of the Guwas which is Prakrzti. According to the Vedant- 
ists (of the Maya Vada), Kala is Avidya, in the Shaiva Tantra Kala is 
Shakti (Raghava-Bhatffa). 

8 Another text has Shivatmaka — that is, Bindu is the Shiva aspect. 

4 Samavaya sss ks/&obhya-ks/&obhaka-sambandha — lit., co nnection 
which is the connection of reciprocity. 

6 See Introduction. 

6 In the Benares edition as also in Rasika Mohana Chattopadhyaya’s 
edition of the Sharada-tilaka the text reads Shivatmaka, as if qualifying 
Bija, which seems erroneous. 



426 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

beginning of creation makes manifest the eternal PraJmti 
who is the embodiment of Sat, Chit, and Ananda, in whom 1 are 
all the Tattvas, and who is the presiding (AdhishfTiatrl) Devi of 
creation. 

Also elsewhere : “ From the unmanifested (Avyakta) Para- 
meshvara, the united Shiva and Shakti, emanated the Adya 
(first) Devi Bhagavatl, who is Tripura- sundarl, the Shakti from 
whom came Nada, and thence came Bindu.” 

“ Above it is UnmanI,” etc. : Cf. “ By going where ‘ Manas- 

ness ’ (Manastva) of Manas ceases to be called UnmanI, the 
attainment of which is the secret teaching of all Tantras.” a 

The state of UnmanI is the Tattva which means the dis- 
pelling of the attachment prompted by Manas towards worldly 
objects. 

UnmanI, again, is of two kinds : (1) Nirvana-kala-rupa 
which also has its place in the Sahasrara 3 ; (2) Vamavali- rupa, 
which also has its place in this region. Cf. Kankala-malini : 
“ In the pericarp of the Sahasrara, placed within the circle of 
the moon, is the seventeenth Kala, devoid of attachment. 4 The 
name of this is UnmanI, which cuts the bond of attachment to 
the world.” 

Cf. also : “ By mental recitation of the Mala-vama (rosary 
of letters) is UnmanI the granter of Liberation (attained).” 
Mala-vama = Vamavall-rupa. 


1 Raghava reads : “ Samastatattvasangkatmaspurtyadhis/t</»atriru- 
pinlm ” — which means “ who is the Devi presiding over or directing the 
evolution or manifestation of all the mass of Tattvas ”. 

* Vishvanatha, quoting Svachchhandasangraha, which speaks of 
UnmanI as above Samana, says that in the UnmanI stage there is no 
cognition of and no distinction is made between Kala and Kala ; there 
is no body, and no Devatas, and no cessation of continuity. It is the 
pure and -sweet mouth of Rudra. Cf. Vnttlnam manaA in the Shiva- 
Samhita, V, 219. 

3 Sahasrar&dhara. See introduction. 

* Sarva-sankalpa-rahita — i.e., who is free from all attachment, not 

prompted by anything in any action. The passages quoted are from 
ch. v, Kankala-malini. i 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


427 


The Bhuta-shuddhi speaks of the Samanl below Unmani. 
44 Next is the Vyapika Shakti (Diffusive Energy) which people 
know as AnjI. Samanl 1 is over this, and Unman! is above all.” 
This (Samanl) also is an intermediate aspect (Avantararupa) of 
Parashakti. 

We now get the following : 

Above Ajna Chakra is the second Bindu — which is Shivk 
(Shiva-svarupa). Above Bindu is the Shakti BodhinI in shape 
like an Ardhamatra ; next is Nada which is the union of Shiva 
and Shakti, in shape like a half (crescent) moon ; next (above 
this) is Mahanada, shaped like a plough ; above Mahanada is the 
Vyapika Shakti, crooked (AnjI) in shape ; above this last is 
Samanl and highest of these all is UnmanL This is the order 
in which the seven causal forms (Karanarupa) are placed. 

There is no need to go into further detail. Let us then 
follow the text. 

Wishing to describe the Sahasrara he speaks of it in ten 
more verses. 

“ Above all these ” (Tadurdlive). — Above every other that has 
been described or spoken before. 

“ Over the head of the Shankini Nadi ” — a sight of which 
has been given to the disciple. 

“ Vacant space ” (Shunya-desha) — that is, the place where 
there are no Narfis ; the implication is that it is above where 
Sus/mnma ends. 

“ Below Visarga is the lotus of a thousand petals." — This 
is the purport of the Shloka. Visarga is in the upper part of 
the Brahmarandhra. Cf. 44 (Meditate) in that aperture on 
Visarga the ever blissful and stainless.” There are other similar 
passages. 

“ Its body is luminous with" etc. (Lalaiadyai/^ vamaiA 
pravilasitavapu/O. — The word Lalaia stands for the first vowel, 
A. By this we are to understand that the second Lakara (L) 

1 Vishvanatha speaks of it as Samana, and says that She is Chida- 
nandasvarftp& (that is, Chit and Ananda), and the cause of all causes 
(Sarvakaranakarawam) . : • ' 1 



428 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


is to be left out in counting the letters of the Alphabet. In 
counting the fifty letters, the second Lakara 1 * is always left out. 

If the text is read as “ Lakaradyai/i varnai/i,” as is done by 
some, we must leave Ks/ia-kara out in counting the letters. The 
fifty-one letters cannot be taken to be in the petals of the Sahas- 
rara. 1 With fifty-one letters repeated twenty times, the number is 
1,020, and repeated nineteen times is 969. By leaving out Ks/ia- 
kara we are freed of this difficulty. By “ Lakaradyai/i ” it is not 
meant that the letters are to be read Viloma. 3 The Kankala- 
malini in the following passage distinctly says that it is to be 
read Anuloma 4 * : “ The Great Lotus Sahasrara is white, and has 
its head downward, and the lustrous letters from A-kara (A), 
ending with the last letter before Ks/takara (KsTia), decorate it.” 
Here it is distinctly stated that the letter Ksha is left out. 

Akaradi-ks/ta-karantai/t : This compound, Ksfta-karanta, if 
formed by Bahu-vrihi-samasa, 4 would mean that Ks/iakara is 
left out of calculation. 

There is nothing said of the colour of the letters, and, as 
the Matrika (letters) are white, they are to be taken as boing 
white on, the Sahasrara petals. These letters go round the 
Sahasrara from right to left. 6 

Some read Pravilasita-tanuTi in place of pravilasita-vapuTi, 
and say that, as the word padtna alternatively becomes masculine 
in gender (vapumsi padmam), therefore the word Tanu, which 
qualifies a word in the masculine gender, is itself masculine. 
That cannot be. The verb Nivasati (=is, dwells) has for its 
nominative Padmam, and, as it ends with the Bindu (m), it is in 
the neuter gender and not masculine. For in that case it would 


1 Vaidika Lakara (La). 

* i.e., fifty-one letters cannot be arranged in the Sahasrara. 

’ i.e., from end to beginning. 

4 From beginning to end. 

4 A form of Sanskrit verbal compound. 

* Daks/iinftvarta — the opposite way to that in which the hands of 
a clock work. 



description of the six centres 


429 


have ended with visarga (i.e., h), and its adjective tanu. would 
also end with a visarga. The word tanu (if their reading is 
accepted) would be in the neuter ; therefore it cannot end with 
a Bindu. And if there is no Bindu the metre becomes defective. 
Therefore the correct reading is Pravilasita-vapu/i. 

The rest is clear. 



430 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 41 

Within it (Sahasrara) is the full Moon, without the mark 
of the hare , 1 resplendent as in a clear sky. It sheds its 
rays in profusion, and is moist and cool like nectar. Inside 
it (Chandra-man^ala), constantly shining like lightning, 
is the Triangle 2 and inside this, again, shines the Great 
Void 3 which is served in secret by all the Suras . 4 

Commentary 

He here speaks of the existence of the Chandra-mandala in 
the pericarp of the Sahasrara. 

“ Resplendent as in a clear sky ” (Shuddha) — seen in a 
cloudless sky nirmalo-daya-visliishta). 

“ Is . moist and cool,” etc . (Parama-rasa-chaya-snigdha- 
santanahasl). — Snigdha which means moist here implies the 
moisture of the nectar. Parama-rasa (Amrita) is free from heat. 
Hence the meaning of this compound word : Its rays are cool 
and moist, and produce a feeling of smiling gladness. 

The Kankala-malinI speaks of the presence of Antaratma, 
etc., in the upper portion of the space below Chandra-mandala. 
In dealing with the Sahasrara, it says : “ In its pericarp, 


1 The man in the moon. 

5 The A-ka-th&di triangle according to Vishvanatha. 

8 ShUnya=Bindu — that is, the Parabindu, or Ishvara, having as its 
centre the abode of Brahman (Brahmapada). In the northern Shaiva 
and Shakta schools Sad&shiva and Ishvara are the NimesAa and 
Unmes/ia aspects of the experience intermediate between Shiva Tattva 
and Shuddhavidya, the former being called Shunyatishfinya. The 
positions of the Sun and Moon circles in the Sahasrara and of the 
twelve-petalled lotus with the Kamakala are given in the Text. 

4 i.e., Devas. 




PLATE VI l L 


Sahasrara 


To faro Page 430 




DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


431 


0 DeveshI, is the Antaratma. Above it is the Guru. The Manrfalas 
of Surya and Chandra are also there. Above this is Mahavayu, 
and then the Brahmarandhra. In this aperture (Randhra) is 
Yisarga, the ever blissful Brahman. Above this (Tadurdhve) 
last is the Devi Shankhini, who creates, maintains, and 
destroys.” 

“ Within Chandra- > nandala constantly shines, like light- 
ning, the triangle ” (Trikonam tasyantah vidyudakararupam). — 
That is, the shining triangle is there. 

“ Inside this shines the Great Void ” (TadantaA shunyam 
sphurati). — That which as a void within is, the body of the 
Parabindu (ParabindusharJram). Within the triangle the 
excellent Bindu (Shunya) shines, or within the triangle the 
Shunya which is the excellent Bindu shines. 

Gf. Todala Tantra, 6th Ullasa : “ The Supreme Light is 
formless (Nirakara), and Bindu is imperishable. Bindu means 
the void (Shunya), and implies Guna also.” 1 

“ Served in secret" (Sevitam chatiguptam) . — The rule is, 
“ Eating (Ahara), evacuation (Nirhara), sexual intercourse 
(Vihara), and Yoga, should be done in secret by him who knows 
the Dharma.” Hence Suras (Devas) serve or worship It 
in secret. 


1 When it assumes the form of Bindu, It is with the operating 
Gunas, for then It is Sakala. 



432 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 42 

IWell concealed, and attainable only by great effort, is 
that subtle Bindu (Shunya) which is the chief root of 
Liberation, and which manifests the pure Nirvana Kala 
with Aina Kala . 1 Here is the Deva who is known to all 
as Parama Shiva. He is the Brahman and the Atma of 
all beings. In Him are united both Rasa and Virasa , 2 
and He is the Sun which destroys the darkness of nesci- 
ence 3 and delusion . 4 

Commentary 

The sense is that the void (Shunya) is very secret and 
subtle, being, as described later, like the ten millionth part 
of the end of a hair. It is attainable only by great effort 
consisting of long and incessant performance of Dhyana and 
like practices. It makes manifest the purity of the sixteenth 
Kala of the moon along with Nirvana Kala — i.e., the void 
(Antak-shunya) along with the Ama Kala and Nirvana Kala 
within the triangle is realized (Prakasham bhavati) by medita- 
tion (Dhyana). It is the source of all the mass of great Bliss, 
which is Liberation. Some, however, read Sakala-shashi-kala- 
shuddha-rupa-prakasham as qualifying the great Void within 
the triangle, and read ‘ salcala ’ to mean with all the sixteen 
kalas and say that the Para Bindu manifests the moon with such 
kalas. This requires consideration. When it was said that the 

* There are seventeen Kalas (digits) of the Moon, but the nectar - 
dropping Ama and the Nirvanakala are only at this stage revealed. 
The other KalSs are mentioned in Skanda Purana Prabhasa Kharada. 

* The Bliss of liberation and that arising from the union of Shiva 
and Shakti : vide post. 

3 Ajn&na. 

4 Moha. This verse occurs in Tripura- sara-samuchchaya, ch. V, 40. 





DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


488 


Trikona (triangle) is within the full moon, the repetition of it 
is useless. Furthermore, in the previous verso we have got 
“ served by the Suras ”. The term “ service ” as applied to a void 
is inappropriate. The object of service is the Bindu within the 
triangle. If it be said that the void should be worshipped by 
reason of the presence of the Para Bindu, then the Para Bindu 
being there present there is no void. 

“ Well concealed ” (Suguptam). — By reason of its being like 
the ten millionth part of a hair. 

“ By great effort ” (Yatnat) — i.e ., by long-continued practice 
of meditation (Dhyana) and so forth. 

“ Chief root ” (Param kandam. 1 )- — Para usually means 
supreme, excellent ; here chief, principal. Kanda=Mula. 

“ Liberation , ” etc., (Atishaya-paramamodasantana-rashi). — 
The compound word means, literally, continuity of all the mass 
of great and supreme bliss, and this is Liberation (Moksha). 

“ Manifests , etc., AmaTcala" (Sakala-shashi-kala-shuddha- 
rupa-prakasham.) — This compound word is to be broken up as 
follows : 

SaTcala^z with the Kala : Kala here meaning Nirvana Kala. 
In the word Shashi-kala the Kala means Amakala, the sixteenth 
Kala, or digit, of the moon. Shuddha=^ure ; the lustre is not 
obscured by anything. 

The sense is that the Parabindu, though subtle and other- 
wise imperceptible, is seen by meditation (Dhyana) with the 
Ama Kala and Nirvana Kala in the Trikona. If Sugopyam be 
read in place of Suguptam, then it would be qualified by Yatnat. 

Some read Sakala-shashi-kala-shuddha-rupa-prakasham to 
qualify Shunya in the previous verse, and say Shunya means 
“ vacant space ” but that is absurd . 2 3 

Next he speaks of the presence of Parama Shiva in the 
pericarp of the Sahasrara. 

1 Kanda means bulb or root. The YoginlbWdaya says that this 
Kanda is the subtle Parananda-kandabindurupa, or the root of supreme 

Bliss in Bindu form (Vishvanatha). 

3 According to the Commentator, it qualifies Kanda. Bindu is the 
circle O, the void is the Brahmapada or space within. 

28 



484 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


“ Pararrut&hiva ” 1 * (Paramashiva-samakhyana-aiddha). — He 
who is known by the name Parama Shiva. 

“ The Brahman ” (Kharupi).*— Kha=Atma, the spirit. 

“ The Itma of all beings ” (Sarvatma). — Sarva=all (beings). 
He is the Jlvatma, but in fact there is no distinction between 
Jlv&tma and Paramatma. The Atma is the Jlva. The Adhyatma 
Ramayana says : “ The Jivatma is merely another name (Paryaya) 
for the Paramatma. When by the instructions of the Acharya 
and the Shastras their oneness is known, then the disciple 
possesses Mulavidya concerning Jlvatma and Paramatma.” 

The Shruti also, when it says “ That thou art ” — Tat tvam 
asi , 3 4 — identifies the Tvam (Thou) with the Tat (That). 

“ Rasa and Virasa” (Rasa-virasamita). — Rasa is Parama- 
nandarasa — i.e., the experience of Supreme Bliss/ Virasa is the 
bliss which is the product of the union of Shiva and Shakti. 
He is both. Or Rasa may mean the natural attachment to 
worldly enjoyment, and Virasa detachment from it. The mean- 
ing would then be : in Him is the Supreme Bliss arising from 
his detachment from worldly enjoyment. 5 

“ The Sun ”=»Hamsa. As the sun dispels darkness, so does 
He dispel nescience (Ajnana) and delusion (Moha). 


1 Vishvanfttha says that this Shiva is the SagunaShiva. 

’ Cf. Shruti “ Kham Brahma” Chhft. 4—10—6 Brah. 5—1 — 1. 

* “ That thou art.” See Introduction. 

4 i.e., Moksfta. 

'* That is, the Rasa in Him has become Virasa. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


435 


Verse 43 

By shedding a constant and profuse stream of nectar-like 
essence , 1 * the Bhagavan 3 instructs the Yati 3 of pure mind 
in the knowledge by which he realizes the oneness of the 
Jlvatma and the Paramatma. He pervades all things as 
their Lord, who is the ever-flowing and spreading current 
of all manner of bliss known by the name of Hamsa/i 
Parama (Parama-hamsa/i). 

Commentary 

“ Constant and profuse ” (Niravadhi atitaram). 

“ By shedding a stream of nectar-like essence ” (Sudha- 
dharasaram vimunchan). — The compound word can be made up 
and interpreted in four different ways : 

1. Shedding a stream of nectar-like essence. 

2. The Adhara (receptacle) of Sudha (nectar) is Sudhadhara, 
by which is meant the Moon ; Asara is what flows therefrom, a 
stream. Now, what flows from the Moon is Nectar, which is 
silvery ; hence the whole word means “ the silvery beams of the 
moon ”. This adjective proves that the qualified noun is white 
or transparent like the moon. Shedding=Vimunchan. 

3. Asara may, again, mean “ what is uttered,” “ word 
Sudhadhara ^receptacle of sweetness, which is a quality of 
nectar ; hence Sudhadharasaram=nectar-like or ambrosial word. 

1 As appears from the Commentary post , this may be variously 
translated as follows : “ By shedding a constant and profuse stream of 
nectar resembling the silvery beams of the Moon,” or “ By unremitting 
and nectar-like words strong for the destruction of the darkness of 
delusion,” or “ By constant repetition of the word which is nectar-like 
in its mercy and contains the essence of the Brahma-mantra.” 

* That is, the Lord as the possessor of the six forms of Aishvarya. 

3 Self-controlled, whose mind is unified with the object of worship. 



436 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


The meaning of Niravadhi would then be “ at all times,” and 
Atitaram would mean “ powerful in destroying the darkness 
ignorance or delusion.” Vimunchan should then mean “ utter- 
ing ”, 

4. Sudha, again, may mean “ nectar of mercy,” and Sara is 
“ essence ” — i.e., the essence of Brahma-mantra ; and Dhara is a 
stream (continuous repetition) of the merciful word containing 
the essence of the Brahma-mantra. 

“ Instructs the Yati ,” etc., (Bhagavan nirmala-mater yatefe 
svatmajnanam dishati). 

“ Yati." — He whose mind intently rests upon the Devata of 
his worship. 

Knowledge by which, etc., Paramatma, (Svatma-jnana) : 
Svam = Jivatma and Atma = Paramatma ; and Jnana 1 that by 
which one knows — namely, the Taraka-brahma-mantra, which 
leads to a knowledge of the Paramatma, and thereby helps the 
worshipper to realise the oneness of the Jivatma and Paramatma. 
Dishati = Upadishati (instructs). The above qualifying expres- 
sions imply that the qualified noun is the Guru, as instructions 
regarding Taraka-brahma-mantra proceed from Him. So it 
qualifies “ Parama-shiva ” in the preceding verse, as He is the 
Guru. Cf. Guru-tattva-nirupana in Lalita-rahasya. 

After describing Guru as “ the well-known and excellent 
Purus fra who is ever fond *t of enjoyment with the Self (Atma- 
rati-priya),” it goes on to say : “ His beloved is the lustrous One 
who may be gained with difficulty by the Brahma-vartma 
(Brahman road). The Parama Brahman is but the effulgence of 
Her lotus feet.” 

By the above passage is meant that the great beauty of Her 
lotus feet overspreads the heart-lotus of Parama Shiva who is 
Para Brahman. The place for the feet of the lustrous (Tejo- 
rupa) Beloved (Shakti) of the Guru is on the breast of the Guru, 3 

1 Jn&na is spiritual knowledge or wisdom, and Vijn&na is the know- 
ledge of the material world (science). 

* i.e., who is engrossed in. 

3 This is in praise of Shakti, without whom Shiva is Shava (a 
corpse) and unable to move. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 437 

and not on that of any other Purusfoa. Hence Parama Shiva 
and the Guru are one and the same. 

The Nirvana Tantra also says 1 : “ In the Lotus in the head 
is Mahadeva— the Parama Guru : there is in the three worlds 
no one, O Deveshi, who is so deserving of worship as He. O 
Devi, meditate on His form, 8 which includes all the four Gurus.” * 

This Parama Shiva is outside the triangle in the pericarp, 
and above the Hamsa/fc of which we speak below. 

The Kamkala-malinI Tantra 4 says : “ In the pericarp of this 
Lotus, O Deveshi, is the Antaratma, and above it the Guru. 
The Mandalas of Sun and Moon are also there.” And after 
having spoken of the presence of different things in their order 
up to Maha-shamkhinI, it then proceeds : “ Below it, O Deveshi, 
is the Trikona (triangle), placed in the Mandala of Moon ; and 
having meditated there on the undecaying Kala, (one should 

1 This passage occurs in the 3rd Pafala of the Nirvana Tantra 
(Rasika Mohana Cha££opadhyaya’s Edition, p. 8), and is in answer to 
the following question of the Devi : “ The Deva who is in the Turlya- 
dhama (the fourth state) is unquestionably the Paramatma : if he be 
placed in the Lotus in the head, how can obeisance be made to him 
outwardly ? ” That is, How can the Sadhaka bow to him who is -in the 
head which is itself bowed ? 

8 The passage as quoted by the Commentator reads “ Tadamsham ” 
(his part) ; in R. M. Cha^opadhyaya’s Edition it reads “ Tadrupam *• 
^his form), which reading is here adopted. 

3 i.e., Guru, Paramaguru, Paraparaguru, and Parames/if/uguru. 

4 This passage occurs in Patfala II (p. 8 of R. M. Chaffop&dhy&ya’s 
Edition), which in its entirety runs thus : “ In it (Sahasrara), 0 Deveshi, 
is the Antaratma, and above it Vayu, and above Mahanada is Brahma- 
randhra. In the Brahmarandhra is Yisarga, which is Eternal Peace 
•and Bliss. (Peace — Niranjana, which also means stainless, free from 
delusion). Above it is the Devi ShamkhinI, the Creatrix, Maintainer, 
and Destructress. Having meditated on the Triangle placed below, 
He thinks that Kail&sa (the paradise of Shiva) is there. O Mahadeyl, 
by placing the undisturbed Chetas (heart or mind) here one lives in 
bliss to the full ‘term of one’s life (Jlva-jlvl) free from all ills, and for 
such a one there is no rebirth. Here constantly shines Ama Kala 
which knows neither increase nor decay, and within it, again, is the 
seventeenth digit, known as Nirvana Kala. Within Nirvana Kala is the 
fiery Nibodhika. Above it is unmanifested Nada, effulgent as ten 
million suns. It is the excellent Nirvana Shakti, the cause of all. In 
this Shakti it should be known that Shiva who is changeless and free 
from illusion abides." 



488 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


meditate) within upon the seventeenth Kala, by name Nirvana,, 
which is like a crescent ” (Ku(ila). 1 * 

The above passage speaks ol the presence of Ama Kala, 
and so forth, within the triangle in the Chandra Marafala. The 
Guru therefore is below them and above Antaratma. Now, if 
it be asked how it is that, the Kamkala-malini having placed 
the Guru over the Antaratma, the Guru is spoken of as placed 
above Hamsaft ? the answer is that the Antaratma and the 
Hamsa/i are one and the same. 

Cf. Guru-dhyana in Kamkala-malini * : “ Meditate on your 
Guru seated on a shining throne (Simhasana) placed on the 
excellent Antaratma between Nada and Bindu,” etc. Also 
elsewhere : “ Meditate on your Guru, who is the image of Shiva 
Himself, as seated on the HamsapIfAa which is Mantramaya.” 
Also cf. the Annada-kalpa Tantra 3 : “ Meditate on your Guru in 
the white Lotus of a thousand petals in the head ; He is Parama 
Shiva seated on the Hamsa among the filaments.” 

On a careful consideration of the above authorities, the 
identity of Hamsa with Antaratma becomes clear. By the 
expression , “ one’s own Guru, who is Parama Shiva,” it is to be 
understood that Parama Shiva Himself is the Guru. 

The following passage, which relates to the Sahasrara, shows 
that Parama Shiva is in the triangle : “ Within (or near) it 
(Sahasrara) is the lightning-like Triangle, and within the 
Triangle are the two Bindus which make the imperishable 
Visarga. There in the empty void is Parama Shiva.” 

These conflicting views lead to the conclusion that the 
Guru is within the triangle in the pericarp of the upturned Lotus 
of twelve petals, below the pericarp of the Sahasrara and in- 
separable from it. This has been made clear in the Paduka- 
panchaka Stotra. 4 From these passages it is not to be inferred 

1 See Jn&n&raava Tantra, XXIV, 86. 

* Paiala III. 

* This quotation is not traceable in Prasannakumara Shastrl’s 
Edition of this Tantra. 

* See notes to v. 7 of the P&duka-Panchaka. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


430 


that the Guru is within the triangle in the perioarp of the 
Sahasrara. The triangular Hamsa is below the middle triangle ; 
otherwise it would conflict with the authority of the Kamkala- 
malinl Tantra. 

“ He pervades all things as their Lord ” — (Samaate sarve- 
sh&h) — i.e., in this pericarp dwells He who is the Lord of All. 
Now, by saying that Parama Shiva is there, it has been said 
that Ishvara (Lord) is there ; then why this repetition ? But 
there is an object in so doing, as the following qualifying expres- 
sions will show. The Sarvesha (Lord of All) is the Hamsa— i.e., 
He is the Mantra “ Ham-SaTt 

Cf. Prapancha-sara : “ She whose name is Tattva is Chin- 
matra 1 * * : when by proximity to the Light she wishes to create,* 
She becomes massive (Ghanlbhuya) and assumes the form of 
Bindu. Then in time She divides Herself in two : the one on the 
right is Bindu, and that on the left side is Visarga. The right 
and left are respectively distinguished as male and female. Ham 
is the Bindu, and Sa/t is the Visarga ; Bindu is Purus/ta, and 
Visarga is PrakWti ; Hamsa h is the union of Pralmti and 
Purus/ia, who pervade the Universe.” 

The Mahakall Tantra speaks clearly on the subject 
(Pafala I) : “In the empty space 8 in the Chandra Mandala 4 * * 
which is within the Sahasrara, adorned with a celestial gateway, 
are the letters Ham and Sa h, over which (meditate on) Him 
who is pure like rock crystal and dressed in pure white silken 
raiment, and so forth.” Here the letters Ham and Sa h are 
explictly spoken of. 

Or if Hamsa and Parama be read separately as Hamsa and 
Parama it would mean “ He who is known as Hamsa and Parama”. 


1 Vide ante, v. 89. The text quoted here differs from that of the 
edition published by me (See ch. I, vv. 41 — 44, Tantrik Texts, Vol. III). 

* Vichikirs/iu — “wishes to distort herself.” Here “ distortion, ” or 
stress, is creation. See Introduction. Vide ante, p. 99. 

* Shunya. The Shunya is the empty space within the Bindu. 

4 The locative is to be read Samipyesaptann — that is, the space is 

not in, but near, the Chandra Mandala ; otherwise there appears to be 

a contradiction. 



440 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


The Author himself speaks of Him as Hamsa in the forty-ninth 
verse. Or if the two words be read together, then the meaning 
would be “ He who is known by the name of Parama-hamsa,” 
by one of the exceptional rules of Karmadharaya Samasa this 
word having been formed, the word ‘ anta/i ’ being omitted. 
Gf. Agama-kalpa-druma : He is called Parama-hamsa^, pervading 
all that is moving and motionless.” 

“ Who is the ever following ,” etc. (Sakala-sukha-santana- 
lahari-parivaha( — i.e., in Him becomes manifest in every possible 
way all kinds of imperishable and increasing happiness ; that is, 
He is, as it were, an interminable chain of happiness. 

It has previously been said that this Hamsa is below 
Parama Shiva. 





DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


441 


Verse 44 

The Shaivas call it the abode of Shiva 1 ; the Vais/mavas 
call it Parama PurusAa 2 ; others again, call it the place of 
Hari-Hara . 3 Those who are filled with a passion for the 
Lotus feet of the Devi 4 call it the excellent abode of the 
Devi ; and other great sages (Munis) call it the pure place 
of Prakriti-Purus/m . 5 * 


Commentary 

A 

As Hamsa/i, who has in Him all the Devatas (Sarvadeva- 
tamaya), and others, are in this pericarp, it is the place of the 
Devatas of worship of all classes of worshippers, such as Shaivas, 
Shaktas, etc. 

“ The Shaivas ” — i.e ., the worshippers of Shiva— call It the 
place of Shiva. 

“ The Vai&hnavas* call it Parama Purusha ” — i.e., the place 
of the Parama Purus/ia, or Vishnu. 

“ Others , again ” (Kechid aparo) — i.e., others who are wor- 
shippers of Hari-Hara, or, in other words, United Vishnu and 
Shiva and not of Shiva alone or Vis/mu alone — call it the place 
of Hari-Hara. 7 They do not call it either the place of Hari 
(Vi$7mu) or of Shiva (Hara) but the place of their united selves. 

1 Shiva-sthanam. 

2 i.e. t the place of Parama Purus/ia — Vis /mu. 

J Vis/mu and Shiva. 

4 Shakti, or the Goddess. 

r> Shakti -Shiva. 

Worshippers of Vis/mu. 

7 Hari-Hara-padam. 



442 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


“ Other great sages 1 ” (Munindra apyanye). — By this the 
author here means the worshippers of the “ HamsaTi ” Mantra 
who call it the pure place of Prakriti-Purusha. Hamsah is 
the union of Prakriti and Purus fra,’ hence it is the place of 
Prakn'ti and Purusfta. 

The above shows that, as this Lotus is the dwelling-place 
of the Para Bindu, in which are all the Devatas, each wor- 
shipper calls it the place of the Devata of his own separate 
worship. 


Muni means knower and whose Mind is therefore always in 
a state of Meditation. 

* Hamsasya praknti-purusAobhayarupatvSt. Ham is the Purus/m, 
and Sa h is Prakriti. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


443 


Verse 45 

That most excellent of men who has controlled his mind 1 
and known this place is never again born in the Wander- 
ing/ as there is nothing in the three worlds which binds 
him. His mind being controlled and his aim achieved, he, 
possesses complete power to do all which he wishes, andj 
to prevent that which is contrary to his will. He ever 
moves towards the Brahman/ His speech, whether in 
prose or verse, is ever pure and sweet. 

Commentary 

In this verse he speaks of the fruit of a complete knowledge 
of the Sahasrara. The idea sought to be conveyed is that a 
knowledge of this place should be gained as a whole and in detail. 

“ Who has controlled his mind ” (Niyata-nija-chitta) — i.e., 
he who has controlled and concentrated the inner faculties 
on this place. Such an one becomes free from Samsara, or, 
in other words, he is released from bondage, as there is nothing 
to bind or attract him in these worlds. By bondage is meant 
the Mayik bonds of virtue (Puwya) and sin (Papa). 

The Bhagavata says : “ If the action which is the product 
of the operation of the Guwas is attributed to the self, then 
such (false) attribution is bondage and Samsara and servitude.” 


1 Chitta. 

a Samsara, the world of birth and rebirth to which men are impell- 
ed by their Karma. 

* The interpretation of Vishvanatha is here adopted, according 
to which Kha= Brahman. As the term also means the ‘ air” or 
“ether,” the text is capable of translation as “He is able to roam 
the sky”. 



444 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

Also cf. Bhagavad-Gita : “ 0 Son of KuntI, Man is bound by 
action which is the product of his own nature (Sva-bhava).” 1 * 

To inhabit this body for the purpose of undergoing Papa 
(sin) and Puwya (virtue) is bondage. In heaven one enjoys (the 
fruit of) Punya, and in the nether world (Patala) one suffers 
sorrow, and on earth man is subject to both Papa and Punya. 
For the Tattva-jnani (him who knows the truth) there is neither 
Punya nor Papa, which are the causes of bondage ; his accu- 
mulated (Sanchita) Karma of merit (Punya) and demerit (Papa) 
is also destroyed. He is in consequence under no bondage 
whether in heaven (Svarga), earth (Martya), or nether world 
(Patala), and he is not truly embodied. 1 Such a one stays on 
earth so long only as he has not worked out what he has begun. 
He is liberated though living (Jlvanmukta), and attains com- 
plete Liberation on the dissolution of the body. 

The Kulamava Tantra says : “ Those who have the Brah- 

f. 

man in the heart can acquire neither merit by performing 
a hundred horse sacrifices, nor demerit by killing a hundred 
Brahmanas.” The Gita (III, 18) also says : “ For him there is 
nothing in this world that should or should not be done. For 
such a one there is no dependence on any being.” 3 

The SubodhinI 4 interprets this verse to mean that the 
“ knower ” (Tattvajnani) acquires no merit by the performance 
of actions nor demerit by the omission thereof. 

Shruti 5 speaks of the destruction of accumulated (Sanchita) 
Punya and Papa : “ When Manas, which is now selecting and 
now rejecting, is dissolved in That ; when Papa and Punya are 
destroyed (lit., burnt), Sadashiva, who is Shakti and Atma 


1 Ch. XVIII, v. 60. 

* Na sharlrl bhavati — though he has a body, he is not of it. 

* Telang’s Translation : “ He has no interest at all in what is done, 
and none whatever in what is not done, in this world ; nor is any 
interest of his dependent on any being ” (p. 54, Sacred Books of the 
East, Vol. VIII). 

4 That is, Shrldhara-sv&ml’s Commentary on the Gita. 

4 The text quoted is from Hamsa Upanis/iad but differs slightly 
from the published texts of that Upanis/md. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 445 

(cf. H&msah, ante), is Shanta .” 1 Cf. Bhagavad-Glta : “ And 
so the fire of knowledge destroys all actions .” 2 

“ Complete power ” (Samagra shakti/i) — i.e., power which 
enables him to do everything. By power, or Shakti, is meant 
ability to do all he desires to do s and counteract all harm, to 
fly across the air , 4 and to become possessed of great powers of 
speech and of poetic composition. 


1 That is, peace and quietude like the still surface of an ocean 
characteristic of tfie Supreme State. 

3 IV, 37. 

3 Such an one may have such a power but will not wrongly exer- 
cise it. 

4 Khagati ; this is K&llcharana’s interpretation ; as to Vishvan&tha, 
see p. 438, n. 3, ante , 



446 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 46 

Here is the excellent (supreme) sixteenth Kala of the 
Moon. She is pure, and resembles (in colour) the young 
Sun. She is as thin as the hundredth part of a fibre in 
the stalk of a lotus. She is lustrous 1 and soft like ten 
million lightning flashes, and is down-turned. From Her, 
whose source is the Brahman, flows copiously the con- 
tinuous stream of nectar 2 (or, She is the receptacle of the 
stream of excellent nectar which comes ifrom the blissful 
union of Para and Para ). 3 

Commentary 

Verses 41 and 42 speak of the presence of Ama-kala, Nirvawa- 
k^la, and Para Bindu, within the triangle in the pericarp of the 
Sahasrara. He now desires to describe them by their distinctive 
attributes, and speaks in this verse of the distinctive features of 
Ama-kala. 

“ Excellent or supreme ” (Para) — i.e., She is Chit Shakti. 
In the Prabhasa-khanda occurs the following passage : “ The 
excellent Maya who maintains the bodies of all that have 
bodies.” This is attributive of Ama. 


1 Kallcharana reads “ Vidyotita,” but Shankara reads “ Nityodita,” 
“ constantly shining 

’Alternative reading of Commentator: Nityananda-parampara- 
tivigalatpIyftsAa-dhara-dhara. Parampara may mean “ in a continuous 
course,” or Param may mean Shiva and Para, Shakti. This difference 
in meaning is due to the different ways in which these words may 
be read. 

’Para, according to Shankara, may mean Para, PashyantI, 
Madhyama, and VaikharT collectively. Para and Para are the Bindurupa 
Shiva and Shakti. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


447 


“The sixteenth Kala of the Moon" (Chandrasya sfoorfashi). 
— By this we are to understand that he is speaking of Ama-kala . 1 

“ Pure ” (Shuddha) — i.e., stainless. 

“ She resembles,” etc. (Shishu-surya-sodara-kala).— By this 
the redness of this Kala is indicated. 

“ Thin as the hundredth part of a fibre in the stalk of the 
lotus ” (Nirajasuksftma-tantu-shatadha-bhagaika-rupa). — Thin like 
a hundredth part of the fibre in the lotus-stalk split length-wise. 

“ Whose source is the Brahman ” (Nityananda-parampara). — 
Nityananda=Pumananda= Brahman. 

“ Flows,” etc. (Ativigalat-piyusfra-dhara-dhara). — If the last 
two compound words be read as one long compound word, as 
follows, Purnananda-paramparativigalat-plyus/ja-dhara-dhara, the 
meaning of it will be as given within brackets at the end of the 
verse. Ananda will then mean the joy of union, and Param- 
Para will then mean Shiva and Shakti. 

Para=Bindurupa, Shiva, Para=Prakriti, Shakti. Ananda 
is the joy which arises from the union of the two, and from 
such union flows the nectar of which Ama-kala is the receptacle. 


1 Vishvan&tha says that this Ami-kalii is Urddhvashaktirupft, or the 
upward (towards the Brahman) moving Shakti. 



448 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 47 

Inside it (Ama-kala) is Nirvawa-kala, more excellent than 
the excellent. She is as subtle as the thousandth part of 
the end of a hair, and of the shape of the crescent moon. 
She is the ever-existent Bhagavatl, who is the Devata who 
pervades all beings. She grants divine knowledge, and 
is as lustrous as the light of all the suns shining at one 
and the same time. 


Commentary 

In this verse the Nirvana-kala is described. 

“ Inside it ” (Tadantargata) — i.e., placed in the lap 1 of 
Ama-kala. The Kala has already been described 5 as the “ cres- 
cent seventeenth Kala placed within Ama, and known by the 
name of Nirvana-kala.” 

11 More excellent than the excellent" ( Para paratara). — The 
Ama-kala is excellent ; this is more excellent than Ama. If 
“ Paratparatara ” be accepted for ‘ Para paratara then the 
meaning will be that She is the most excellent. 

“ She is as subtle . . hair ” (Keshagrasya sahasradha 
vibhajitasyaikamsha-rupa). — She is equal in dimension to the 
thousandth part of the end of a hair, so very subtle is She. 

Of the shape of the crescent Moon ” (Chandrardhanga- 
samanabhanguravatl) — like Ama-kala she is in shape like the 
crescent. 


1 That is, within the curve of AmA-kala. Vishvan&tha says, not 
within Amfi-kalA, but within the Chandra Mandala, of which the Ama- 
kala is one of the digits, Nirvana-kala is, he says, Vy&pinltattva. 

* See p. 428, ante. 







DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 440 

“ That Devata, who pervades all beings ” (Bhutiinam adhi- 
daivatam). — Adhi-daivatam^Hardda-chaitanyam, 1 and this Kala 
is Harddachaitanya-svarupa of all beings. 

“ She grants divine knowledge ” (Nitya-prabodhodaya). — i.e., 
She grants Tattva-jnana, or knowledge of the Brahman. 

“ And is lustrous," etc. (Sarvarka-tulya-prabha). — There 
are twelve suns (Dvadashaditya). “ When all the twelve suns 
are shining ” — such is Her lustre. This adjective also implies 
that She is red. 


1 Hardda-chaitanyam. Amara defines Hardda to mean Prema; 
Sneha — i.e., affection, love. That is, the IsMadevata worshipped in 
the heart ; the Shakti who is Herself the heart of the Lord. The word 
is derived from hrid = heart. The Devata also exists as what is called 
the Harddakalii. See Introduction. 

29 



450 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 48 

Within its middle space ( i.e ., middle of the Nirvawa-kala) 
shines the Supreme and Primordial Nirvana Shakti 1 * ; She 
is lustrous like ten million suns, and is the Mother of the 
three worlds. She is extremely subtle, and like unto the 
ten-millionth part of the end of a hair. She oontains 
within Her the constantly flowing stream of gladness,® and 
is the life of all beings. She graciously carries the know- 
ledge of the Truth (Tattva ) 3 to the mind of the sages. 

Commentary 

He now speaks of the Para-Bindu. 

“ Its ” (EtasyaA) — i.e., of the Nirvana-kala. 

“ Middle ” (Madhya-deshe). — Within the lap . 4 

The Supreme and Primordial Nirvana Shakti ” (Parama- 
purva nirvara-shaktih— p a r a m a apurva-nirvana-shaktifr). — 
Parama 4 — i.e., the Supreme Brahman as Shakti. Apurva — i.e.. 
She before whom there was nothing, She having appeared at 
the beginning of creation. 


1 This is, according to Vishvan&tha, the Samanapoda or SamanT 
Shakti. This state is not free from the multitude of bonds (Pashajala). 

* Prema. See notes, post. 

* This word “ Tattva ” has by Vishvanatha been said to be 
Shivftbhedajn&nam — i.e., the non-distinction between Shiva and ShivA. 

4 That is, within the crescent. According to' Vishvanatha the 
locative indicates proximity and means near the middle but slightly 
above it. 

* 4 This word has been defined by Shankara to mean “ She who is as 
great as the Para or Supreme Vishvanatha says it means 44 She who 
measures futurity (Para=Uttarakfila)” — that is, all future time is in 
Her control. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 401 

“ Shines ” (Vilasati parama) 1 — i.e., dwells resplendent. 

“ Mother of the three worlds ” (Tri-bhuvana-janani)— i.e., 
She is the origin of the Universe which comprises Svarga, 
Martya, and Patala and the like.* 

“ She is extremely subtle, like unto the ten-millionth part of 
the end of a hair ” (Keshagrasya kofi-bhagaikarupa’tisukshma).— 
As She is like the ten -millionth part of the end of a hair, She 
is extremely subtle. 

“ She contains within Her the constantly flowing stream of 
gladness ” (Niravadhi-vigalati-prema-dhara-dhara). — Prema is the 
tenderness of mind produced by feeling of gladness ; that is, She 
holds within Her the stream of excellent nectar which has its 
origin in the blissful union of Shiva and Shakti, and which 
flows incessantly. 

“ Is the life of all beings ” (Sarves/iam jlva-bhuta) — i.e., 
animated being is but a part of Her. 

Cf. “ O Devi, as sparks fly forth from a flame, so does the 
Parabindu (as Jlva) issue from Her (Nirvana Shakti), and 
becomes knowing 1 * 3 when it touches the Earth.” * 

By “Her ” is meant the Shakti who is in the Parabindu, 
who is both Shiva and Shakti ; and from Her emanates the 
Jlva. 

Nirvana Shakti is situated below Nirvana-kala, and over 
Nibodhika , 5 which is Nada-rupa . 6 Cf. “ Placed within Nirvana 


1 Paramtl — She who is co-existent or of equal degree with the 
Supreme (Para) or she who knows the Supreme. This is as applied 
to Maya. 

* Heaven, Earth, and Netherworld. 

3 Samjnayuktah, i.e., Jlva-consciousness. It may also mean 4 be- 
comes endowed with a name \ Name and form characterise the world 
as Sat, Chit and Ananda do Brahman. 

Cf. Asti bhati priyam rupam nama chetyamsha-panchakam 
Adyam trayam Brahma-rupam jagadrupam tato dvayam. 

4 Yadft bhumau patati tad& samjnayukto bhavati. The creation of 
Jlva is here spoken of. The Text quoted is from Nirvanatantra I. 

5 See Introduction, and note to v. 40, particularly the portion 
dealing with Nada, Bodhinr and Bindu. 

€ That is Shakti, as Nada. 



452 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


(Kal5) is the fiery (Vahnirupa) Nibodhika, who is unmanifested 
Nfcda 1 ; above it is the supreme Nirvana- Shakti, who is the 
cause of all and is possessed of the lustre of ten million suns. 
It is in Her that there is the Brahmau’ who is the changeless 
Shiva* ; it is here that Kundall Shakti enjoys with Paramatma.” 
Nibodhika is a phase of Avyakta-nada (Avyakta-nadatmika), 
and is fire-like. Raghava-bhaffa says : “ Nada exists in three 
states. When Tamo-guna is dominant, it is merely sound un- 
manifest (Avyakta-nada) 4 in the nature of Dhvani ; when Rajo- 
guna is more dominant, there is sound in which there is some- 
what of a placing of the letters 5 ; when the Sattva-guna prepon- 
derates, Nada assumes the form of Bindu.” 6 Hence Nada, Bindu, 
and Nibodhika, are respectively the Sun, the Moon, and Fire/ 
and their activities are Jnana, Ichchha, and Kriya,. Jnana, again. 
iB Fire, Ichchha the Moon, and Kriya the Sun. This has been 


1 Avyakta-nada — unmanifested sound. 

* Niranjana. This word may either be equal to Nift-4*anjana (i.e., 
stainless) or Ni/i-j-anjana (unaffected by pleasure or pain, unmoved). 
It is one of the aspects of the Brahman. 

* Nirvik&ra. Some read Nirvikalpa, or of unconditioned conscious- 
ness. Nirvikalpa is also the last stage of Samadhi, in which there are 
no (Nir) specific distinctions (Vikalpa) : and no “ this ” and “ that ”. 

4 Tamo-gunadhikyena kevaladhvanyatniako’vyaktanada/i. 

1 Raja adhikyena kinchidvarwa-baddha-nyasatmaka/*. The sense 
appears to be that the letters exist anyhow together in massive un- 
differentiated form. 

* SattvAdhikyena vindu-rupa/t. 

7 Tatash cha nSda-vindu-nibodhika arkend u - vahn i - rupfiA. Jnana 
is Fire, because it burns up all actions. When the result of action is 
realized, action ceases (see note to v. 45). Ichchha is the Moon, because 
Ichchha is the precursor of creation and is eternal. The Moon contains 
the AmA-kal&, which knows neither increase nor decay. Kriya is the 
Sun, because like the Sun it makes everything visible. Unless there 
is striving there cannot be realization and manifestation. Cf. “ As 
one Sun makes manifest all the Lokas ” (Gita). 

The Text will be made clearer if an arrangement be made in 
the following groups : (1) Nada, Sun, Kriya ; (2) Bindu, Moon, Ichchha ; 
(8) Nibodhika, Fire, Jnana. But see Introduction. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 4£f8 

said in the Sharada. Therefore, insomuch as it has been said 
that Nirvana Shakti is above the fiery (Vahnirupa,) NibodhikS 
the wise should conclude that Nirvana-Shakti is placed above' 
vthe Manilas of the Sun, the Moon, and Fire. 

This has been clearly stated in the Kulamava Tantra in 
the Para-Brahma-dhyana, which begins, “ The Bindu-rupa Para 
Brahma in the Sahasrara,” and ends, “ Beautified by the three 
Mantfalas within the triangle in the pericarp.” By three 
Mandates are meant the Mandates of Sun, Moon, and Fire. We 
shall show that the Nirvana-Shakti is in the form of Para-bindu 
(Para-bindu-rupa). 



464 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 49 

Within Her is the everlasting place called the abode of 
Shiva , 1 * which is free from Maya, attainable only by Yogis, 
and known by the name of Nityananda. It is replete with 
every form of bliss , 1 and is pure Knowledge itself . 3 Some 
call it the Brahman ; others call it the Hamsa. Wise men 
describe it as the abode of Vis/mu, and righteous men* 
speak of it as the ineffable place of knowledge of the Atma, 
or the place of Liberation. 

Commentary 

He speaks of the Para-Brahma-stkana (place of Para Brahma) 
in the Void within Nirvana Shakti. 

“ Within Her ” (Tasya h madhyantarale) — i.e., within 
Nirvana 4 Shakti in Her form of Param Bindu, i.e., the empty 
space within the Bindu. 


1 Shiva-padam or state of Shiva. This, Vishvanatha says, is the 
UnmanI state of Shakti •where there is neither Kala nor Kala, time nor 
space. It is the body of Shiva (Shivatanu). It is then said Unmanyante 
Parashiva/t. The following verse which occurs in Padma Parana 
(Uttara Khanda, ch. 78, v. 48) puts the idea in a more popular form. 
It says ; 

ShaivA/t SaurAsb cha GAnesha/t Vais/mavA/t Shaktipujaka/t 

M&meva prRpnuvanti hi varsAambhah sogaram yatha. 

" Shaivas, Sauras, Ganeshas, Vais/mavas and Shaktas, all verily 
come to me like rain water to the ocean." 

* Sakalasukhamayam . Vishvanatha reads here Paramakulapadam,. 
which he interprets as Param Akula-padam, or the abode of the Supreme 
Shiva, who is known as Akula, as Hula is Shakti. It is so called because 
it is here that the universe finds its rest. 

3 Shuddha-bodha-svarupam. 

4 Sukritinah. 

* Vishvanatha says Samana. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 455 

“Abode of Shiva” (Shivapadam).— This is the plaoe of the 
Brahman. 

Free from YLayd (Amalam) i.e., free the impurity of 
Maya. 

“ Called ” — i.e., called by those who know the Tattva. 

“ Attainable only by Yogis ” (Yogi-gamyam). — On account 
of its extreme subtlety, it is beyond the scope of word and mind, 
is attainable by Yogis by pure Jnana 1 * only. 

“ Some call it ” — i.e., the Vedantists (Vaidantikas) call it. 

“ Ineffable ” (Kimapi) — i.e., wonder-inspiring. 

“ Place of the Jcnoivledge of the Atmd ” (Atma-prabodham). 
— The place where the Atma is seen or realized. 

“ Liberation ” (Mok$7«a) — i.e., where one is liberated from 
Maja by which one is surrounded. 

Now be good enough to mark the following : the Parabindu 
which is Prakriti and Purus/ia is surrounded* by Maya, and is 
within the triangle in the pericarp of the Lotus of a thousand 
petals. So it has been said : 

“ In the Satya-loka is the formless and lustrous One ; She 
has surrounded Herself by Maya, and is like a grain of gram ; 
devoid of hands, feet, and the like. She is Moon, Sun, and Fire. 
When casting off (Utsrijya) the covering (Bandhana) of Maya, 
She becomes of two-fold aspect (Dvidha bhitvS) and UnmukhI, 3 
then on the division or separation of Shiva and Shakti 4 arises 
creative ideation.” ’* 


1 Spiritual knowledge, as it is said : Moks/ie dhlr jnanam anyatra 
vijnanam shilpashastrayo/^. The knowledge which gains Mok»/m 
(Liberation) is called Jnana, other forms of knowledge, such as fine 
arts, and the Shastras being Vijnana. 

a Mayabandhanachchh&dita-prakWti-purus/jatmaka-para-vindu/j. 

3 By UnmukhI is meant that She becomes intent on creation! 

4 Shiva-Shakti-vibh&gena. By division or separation is not meant 
that Shiva is really divided or separated from Shakti — for the two are 
ever one and the same — but that Shakti, who exists latently as one 
with the Brahman in dissolution, appears to issue from It on creation 
as the manifested universe. 

3 Sns/iti-kalpana. That is, the subject knows itself as object. 



466 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

The word “Satya-loka” in the above passage means 
Sahasrara. 

Also cf. “ The attributeless Bindu is without doubt the 
Cause (of the attainment) of Siddhis. Some say that the Peva 
who is ope, stainless (Niranjana), all-embracing (Mahapuma) and 
united with the primordial Shakti as in the form of a grain of 
g¥dm ' is Brahma, and by some, again, He is called Vis/mu : by 
others, again, He is called the Deva Rudra.” 

The luminous empty space within the Nirvana Shakti ( i.c ., 
the outer circle of the Parabindu), which is more minute than 
the ten -millionth part of the end of a hair, is according to the 
author, the abode of Brahman (Brahmapada). Cf. “ Within it * 
is Para-bindu, whose nature it is to create, maintain, and 
destroy. The space within is Shiva Himself and Bindu 5 is 
Parama-kundali . ’ ’ 

Also : “ The circumference (VWtta) is the KnmfalinI- Shakti, 
and She possesses the three Gunas. The space within, O Belov- 
ed Maheshani is both Shiva and Shakti.” * 

This Bindu is, according to some, Ishvara, the Cause of 
All. Some Pauranikas call Him Maha-Vishnu ; others call Him 
Brahma Purus lia. 

Cf. “ There was neither day nor night, neither the firmament 
nor the earth, neither darkness nor any other light ; there was 
That, the Brahma-Male, 1 * * 4 imperceptible to hearing, and the other 
sources of knowledge united with Pradhana.” 6 

The Sharada 7 says : “ The eternal Shiva should be known 
both as Nirguna (attributeless) and Saguna (possessed of attri- 
butes). He is Nirguna when (considered as) disassociated from 

1 Cbanaka, which under its outward sheath contains two undivided 
halves. 

* Apparently Nirv&na-kal&. 

5 That is, the circumference as opposed to the inner space. 

4 Jn&n&rnava Tantra, XXIV, 21. 

4 Pr&dhanikam Brahma-pum&n. 

* Kalikfi, Pur&na, XXIV, v. 125. 

' Ch. I. 





DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


457 


the workings of Prakriti, but when Sakala (i.e., so associated 
with Prakriti) He is Saguna.’ 1 * 

This shows that the Bindu is Saguna Brahman. We should 
know that Saguna Brahman is in reality but one, though He 
is called by different names according to the inclinations of 
men. There is no need to go into further details. 

Summary of Verses 41 to 49 

Above (the end) of the Sus/iumna Nikii is the Lotus of a 
thouand petals ; it is white and has its head downward turned ; 
its filaments are red. The fifty letters of the Alphabet from A 
to La, which are also white, go round and round its thousand 
petals twenty times. On its pericarp is Hamsa/f, and above it 
is the Guru who is Parama- Shiva Himself. Above the Guru 
are the Surya and Chandra Mandalas, and above them Mahavayu. 
Over the latter is placed Brahmarandhra, and above it Maha- 
shankhini. In the Mandala of the Moon is the lightning-like 
triangle within which is the sixteenth Kala 3 of the Moon, which 
is as fine as the hundredth part of the lotus-fibre, and of a red 
colour, with its mouth downward turned. In the lap of this 
Kala is the Nirvawa-Kala, subtle like the thousandth part of the 
end of a hair, also red and with the mouth downward turned. 
Below Nirvana-Kala is the Pire called Nibodhika which is a form 
of Avyaktanada. 8 Above it (Nibodhika), and within Nirvana- 
kala, is Para Bindu, which is both Shiva and Shakti. The 
Shakti of this Para Bindu is the Nirvana Shakti, who is Light 
(Tejas) and exists in the form of HamsaTt (Hamsarupa), and is 
subtle like the ten-millionth part of the end of a hair. That 
HamsaA is Jlva. Within the Bindu is the void (Shfinya) which 
is the Brahmapada (place of the Brahman). 


1 And so, also, the ShaktanandataramginI (Ch. I) says of the Devi 
that Mahatnaya without Maya is Nirguna, and with Maya Saguna. 

* That is, Ama-kalft. 

3 Avyakta-n&datmaka-nibodhikakhya-vahni. 



458 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


According to the view expressed in the fifth chapter of the 
Agama-kalpa-druma and other works, the triangle A-Ka-Tha ’ 
is in the pericarp of the Sahasrara. At its three corners are 
three Bindus : the lower Bindu at the apex of the triangle is 
Ha-kara,’ and is male (PurusAa) ; and the two Bindus at the 
corners constitute the Yisarga in the form Sa 1 * 3 and represent 
Prakriti. Hamsa/» which is PurusAa and Prakrtti thus shows 
itself in the form of three Bindus. In its middle is Amakala, 
and in Her lap is Nirvana- Shakti, and the vacant space within 
Nirvana- Shakti is Parabrahman. It has been said : “ Within 
the Mandala of the moon in the white Lotus of a thousand 
petals shines like lightning the triangle A-Ka-Tha united with 
Ha-La-KsAa. 4 Within it, is the excellent (Para) Bindu (Shunya), 
placed below Yisarga. In this region is the downward-turned 
sixteenth Kala, of the colour of the rising sun, in shape like the 
Crescent moon who discharges a stream of nectar, and within 
Her is Para Shakti, possessing the effulgence of ten million 
suns. She is as subtle as the thousandth part of the Lotus 
fibre, and is Chidatmika. 5 Within Her is Bindu who is the 
Niranjana Purus7ta, who is beyond mind and speech and -is 
Sachckidananda, and Visarga (who is also there) is Prakriti. 
Hamsa who is both Pum 6 and Prakriti shines by His own efful- 
gence.” 

Those who follow this view, place Sa-kara over the Bindu, 
and place the Guru above Yisarga 7 and Bindu which together 


1 That is, the letters arranged in the form of the triangle referred 
to in v. 4 of Paduka-panchaka. The Devi is Matnka-mayl. 

a Viz., Ham representing the “ Male ” Bindu. 

’ That is, literally “ standing Sa,” or Visarga in the form Sa. The 
letter Sa, or more strictly Sa without the vowel, changes into VisargaA ; 
thus, Tejas becomes TejaA, Rajas RajaA. 

4 These Varnas are inside the triangle A-Ka-Tha. 

6 Of the nature of Chit. Cf. definition of MayA-Shakti in Tattva 
Sandoha 14. 

* The Male, PurusAa. 

7 Lit. Generator of VisargaA (see note 5, ante, p. 450), for from 
Sa Yisarga comes. 



description of the six centres 459 

make Hamsa/i. But this cannot be right. The Nirvana Tantra 
speaks of the Guru as worshipping the Para Bindu-rupa-Shakti, 
and as being close to Her and in the act of worshipping Her. 
The worshipper should always sit at a level lower than, and in 
front of the object of worship, and never at a higher level than, 
and behind the object of worship. Cf. Nirvana ' : “ Meditate upon 
the Niranjana Devi within the Satyaloka in the Chintamani- 
griha 8 9 as placed on the jewelled throne or lion-seat (Simhasana), 
and on your Guru as being near Her and worshipping Her.” 

The Mahakali Tantra, moreover, speaks explicitly of the 
presence of the Guru over the two letters Ham and Sa hf It 
is to be understood that if there be any texts which differ from, 
or add to those here adopted, then they must be taken to refer 
to different methods and opinions. 

This is the end of seventh section. 


1 Nirvana Tantra, Ch. X. 

* The room made of Chintamani stone which grants all desires, 
described in tile Rudrayamala and Brahmanda Purana. The Lalita 
refers to it as being the place or origin of all those Mantras which 
bestow all desired objects (Chintita). 

8 In the Jnanarnava Tantra (I, v. 18) it is said : “ P&rvatl, in Ha- 

k&ra with Bindu (Ham) is Brahma and, 0 Maheshvarl, the two Bindus 
of Visarga (Sa/;) are Hari and Myself. By reason of this inseparable 
connection men in this world speak of Hari-Hara.” 



460 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 50 

He whose nature is purified by the practice of Yam a, 
Niyama, and the like , 1 * learns from the mouth of his Guru 
the process which opens the way to the discovery of the 
great Liberation. He whose whole being is immersed in 
the Brahman then rouses the Devi by Hum-kara, pierces 
the centre of the Linga, the mouth of which is closed, and 
is therefore invisible, and by means of the Air and Fire 
(within him) places Her within the Brahmadvara." 

Commentary 

Having described the Chakras ending with the Sahasrara, 
he now wishes to speak of the union of Kuwdalini, and prelimi- 
nary to that he refers to the mode of rousing Kundalinl . 3 

The sense conveyed by this verse is that the man who has 
attained success in Yoga learns from his Guru the process, 
which consists of contracting the heart, rousing Kundalinl by 
the power of the air and fire, and so forth 4 ; and having learned 
it from the mouth of his Guru, he rouses KuwdalinI, attacking 
Her with air and fire, and by uttering the Kurchcha “ Hum ” 
and piercing the mouth of the Svayambhu Linga places Kim- 
dalinl within Brahmadvara, or, in other words, within the 
mouth of the Nadi Chitrim. 


1 See Introduction. 

* That is, within ChitrmT-Nfidi. 

s In the Yoga-process known as S/taichakrabheda, generally describ- 
ed in the Introduction, but which practically must be learned of 
the Guru. 

4 The Commentator Shankara, citing Goraks/m Samhitft, says that 
air makes the fire go upwards, and the fire awakens KundalinI and She 
also goes upwards. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


461 


“ He whose nature is purified ” (Sushlla)— i.c., the man who 
regularly practises Yama and so forth, and has trained himself. 

“ By practising Yama, Niyama," etc. (Yama-niyama sama- 
bhyasashila). — It must be observed that it is not merely by the 
practice of Yama and Niyama that perfection in the preliminary 
Yoga practices 1 is attained. But the Sadhaka has by practice 
to destroy such inclinations as lust, anger, and the like which 
interfere with Yoga, and cultivate others, such as controlling 
the inner air, steadiness of mind, and so forth, which are help- 
ful in Yoga practice. It is because of this that in v. 54 the 
Author has used the word “ Yamadyai/j ” in the plural. Practis- 
ing Yama and the like is necessary, however, for those whose 
minds are disturbed by lust and other propensities. If, however, 
a man by reason of merit and good fortune acquired in a previous 
birth, and by his nature, is free from anger, lust, and other 
passions, then he is capable of real Yoga without the preliminary 
practices. This must bo well understood. 

“ From the mouth of his Guru ” (Shrl-natha-vaktrat). — The 
process cannot be learnt without the instructions of the Guru. 
Hence it has been said : “ It can be learnt from the Guru alone, 
and not from ten million Shastras.” 

“ Process ” (Krama). — Steps, order. 

“ Which opens the way to the discovery of the great Libera- 
tion ” (MahSmoks/ia-vartma-prakasha). — By this is meant the 
‘ process ’ by which the entrance into the channel of the Nadi 
Chitrira is opened out. ‘ Way of Liberation ’ (Moksha-vartma) 
is the way through the channel within Chitrinl. The ‘ dis- 
covery ’ (Prakaslia) is made of this by making one’s way 
through it. 

“ He ” -(Sa h) — i.e., the man who has distinguished himself 
by, his success in Yoga practices. 

“ Whose whole being is immersed in the Brahman ” 
(Shuddha-buddhi-svabhava 2 ). — Shuddha-buddhi means the 

1 Anga-yoga. See Introduction, and Vishvanatha citing Gautamlya 
Tantra (Tantrik Texts, Vol. II, p. 188, ed. A. Avalon). 

8 Shankara reads prabhftva, and renders the passage as “ He whose 
power is due to the purity of the Buddhi ”. 



462 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Brahman, and he whose Svabhava (own being) is in Him. This 
compound word may also mean “ He whose being (Bliava) by 
reason of the purity of his mind (Shuddha-buddhi) is immersed 
in the Spirit (Sva=Atma).” 

“ Rouses the Devi by Hum-kara ” (Hum-karenaiva Devim). — 
The Agama-kalpa-druma says : “ Then having mentally recited 
Hamsa, gently contract the anus.” 1 * * It therefore follows that in 
moving Kundalini the Hamsa Mantra should be uttered. The 
Author of the Lalitarahasya, following this, says that in moving 
Kundalini the Mantra “ Hum HamsaA ” should be employed. 
But from the fact that the part is to be contracted after the 
Hamsa Mantra is recited, the intention appears to be that the 
Jivatma, which is of the shape of the flame of a lamp, should by 
the recitation of the Hamsa Mantra be brought from the heart 
to the Muladhara, and then moved along with Kunrfalinl. 

The Agama-kalpa-druma in a subsequent passage says : 
“ Raising and again raising the Shakti with the Atma from the 
abode of Brahma, 9 the excellent Sadhaka should (and so forth).” 
This shows that She should :be led away along with Atma or 
Jivatma. The Kali-Kulanmta has : “ Having led Jiva from the 
heart .by tbe Hamsa Mantra to the Mula Lotus, 9 and having 
roused the Paradevata Kundalini by Hum-kara.” The Kankala- 
malini says : “ O daughter of the King of Mountains, having 
drawn the Jivatma l^y the Pranava, let the Sadhaka move Prana 
and Gandha 4 with KundalinI by the aid of the ‘ So’ham ’ 
Mantra, and make the Devi enter the Svadhis/it/iana.” 

The wise should, from the above texts, understand that the 
Jivatma should be brought from the heart by the aid of either 
the Pranava or Hamsa Mantra, and then Kundalini should be 
roused by the Kurchchablja alone. 


1 Shanair akunchayed gudam — that is, by Ashvini-mudra. 

* Brahma is in Muladhara. 

•* Mukh&mbhuja. This may be a mis-script for Mulambuja. 

* i.e., Pritbivi. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 463 

“ The mouth of which is closed ,” etc. (Guptam).— This word 
may be read either as an adjective qualifying Linga, and mean 
unmanifested by reason of its mouth being closed , 1 * or may be 
read as an adverb qualifying “ places ” and then the word would 
mean “ imperceptibly 

In the Agama-kalpa-druma, Panchamashakha, the mode of 
rousing the KundalinI is described in detail thus : “ Having 
seated oneself in the Padmasana posture, the two hands should 
be placed in the lap. Thereafter, having mentally recited the 
Hamsa Mantra, the anus should be gently contracted. One 
should then repeatedly raise the air by the same way®, and 
having raised it let him pierce the Chakra. I now speak of its 
process. In the Muladhara Lotus is a very beautiful triangle. 
Inside it is Kama 3 (lustrous) like ten million young suns . 
above Him (Kama) and surrounding Svayambhu-Linga, is 
KundalinI Shakti.” Also cf. As the result of excitation by the 
Kamagni and the action of the Kurchcha-mantra on Her, She 
is seized with desire for Para Hamsa.” 4 

The Bhuta-shuddhi 5 * also says : “ O Shiva, the Sadhaka 
should contract the chest (lit., heart), letting his breath remain 
there,* and he should control the base of the throat and? other 
parts of the body , 7 and then suddenly opening the door by 


1 On the top of the Linga is N&dabindu — i.e# Chandra Bindu. The 
mouth is the Bindu which Kuwdalinl pierces. 

* Tena vartmana — that by which KundalinI is to go. 

a The Kftmavayu, or Air of Kama. 

4 Param Hamsabhilfus/tml — i.e., passion is excited in Her, and 
She is impelled by the fire of Kama towards the Param Hamsa in the 
Sahasrara. 

5 This passage is obscure, and cannot be traced in the only published 
edition of the Tantra, but is similar to certain passages in the Hai/jayoga- 
pradipika which deads with Bhutashuddbi. It seems to contain passages 
from various texts to illustrate the process of Bhutashuddhi. The 
Commentator has, however, more clearly described the process in his 
own words. 

* He thus closes the passage of the upward breath. ' 

7 That is, the chest and the anus, thus closing the passage of the 
upward and downward airs. 



464 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


means of a key-like motion (Kunchika ) 1 and (the fire of desire) 
should be kindled, O'Parameshvarl, by mean's of the air (Pavana).” 
“ Then the Serpent,* who is sleeping on the Linga in the Mula- 
dhara and who is stung by the heat of the fire, should be 
awakened in the Linga at the mouth of the Yoni and by the 
iibat (of her desire) be led forcibly upwards.” -1 “ Move the air 
into the Nadi according to the rules of Kumbhaka (retention 
of breath) and the method shown by the Guru. Let the Jiva 
thus controlled be led by the concealed passage, and by the 
upward breath make all the Lotuses turn their heads upwards. 
Having fully awakened Her, let the wise one lead Her to Bhanu 
(the Sun) at the summit of the Meru ( i.e ., the Sahasrara).” 

Now pay attention to the procedure established by a careful 
consideration of the above texts 4 : The Yogi should sit in the 
proper posture and place his two hands with palms upwards 
in his lap, and steady his mind (Ghitta) by the KhecharT 
Mudra. He should next fill the interior of his body with air and 
hold it in by Kumbhaka , 5 and contract the heart/’ By so doing 
the escape of the upward breath is stopped. Then, when he 
feels . fjhat. the air within him from the belly to the throat is 
tending downward through the channels in the NSdis, he Should 
contract the anus and stop the downward air (Apana) ; then, 
again having raised the air, let him give the Kama 7 within the 
triangle in the pericarp of the Muladhara Lotus a turn from 


1 That is, the motion of the Kamav&yu spoken of post. 

* Nagini, one of the names of Kundalinl. 

3 That is, the Trikona in the Muladhara which surrounds the 
Svayambhu Linga. 

4 The passages in quotation marks are here cited from different 
books on Hatf/iayoga. 

6 Retention of breath in Pranayama. 

* Hridayam akunchayet — that is, by Jalandhara Bandha, etc. See 
Introduction. 

7 Kama-vftyu. 






dbscbiption or the six centres 465 

the left to the right (Vamavartena) ; by so doing the fire of 
gama, there is kindled, and KuncZalinI get# heated (excited) 
thereby. He should then pierce the mouth of the Svayambhu 
Linga, and through its aperture with the aid of the “ Hum ” 
Bija, lead Her who desires union 1 with Parama- Shiva, within 
the mouth of the Chitrim-Nadi. This is the clear sense of texts. 


' Saraa-rasya, a term used on the material plane to denote sexual 
union. 


80 



466 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


Verse 51 

The Devi who is Shuddha-sattva 1 * * pierces the three Lingas, 
and, having reached all the lotuses which are known as the 
Brahma-nadi lotuses, shines therein in the fulness of Her 
lustre. Thereafter in Her subtle state, lustrous like light- 
ning and fine like the lotus fibre, She goes to the gleaming 
flame-like Shiva the Supreme Bliss and of a sudden pro- 
duces the bliss of Liberation. 

Commentary 

Now he speaks of the mode of the Union of KundalinI (with 
Shiva). The meaning of this verse, in brief, is that the Devi 
KundalinI pierces the three Lingas — viz., Svayambhu, Bana, 
and Itara ’ — and by so doing makes a passage for Herself ; and 
when she reaches the lotuses in (or appertaining to) the Nadi 
called Brahma-nadi she shines in the fulness of Her lustre in 
these lotuses. Then, when in Her subtle form, fine like the 
lotus fibre. She approaches Shiva, who is Supreme Bliss’ Itself, 
and who is in His Bindu form in the pericarp of the Sahasrara, 
She brings to the Sadhaka the Bliss of eternal Liberation 4 
when that is least expected. 

“ Pierces ” (Bheda) means making a passage through that 
which is obstructed. 

“ Shuddha-satvcL.” — Sattva, Ati-sattva, Parama-sattva, Sud- 
dha-sattva, and Vi shuddha-sattva are the five different degrees 


1 A form of embodied Chaitanya. See Commentary, post. 

* In the Mulftdhftra, An&hata and AjnS Chakras respectively. 

’ Paramarasa— Param&nanda. 

4 Mokshakhy&nandarupam =Nityanandarupa-muktim. 



DESCRIPTION- OP THE SIX CENTRES 


467 


of Chaitanya pervading the body.' Shuddha-sattva is therefore 
the fourth (Turlya) stage. By Brahmanadl is meant Chitrinl. 
The Lotuses are the six Lotuses which are strung upon Chitrinl. 

“ The three Lingas ” (Linga-trayam). — The three Lingas 
already described. By this we , are to understand that the six 
Chakras and five Shivas are included. She pierces all these, 
which altogether make fourteen knots (Granthi). 

The Shaktananda-taranginl speaks of “ Her who goes along 
the Channel of Brahman* having pierced the fourteen knots.” J 
The Svatantra Tantra speaks of the distinctive features of 
Linga and Shiva. 

“ The Devi goes to Brahman (Nis/ikala)' after having 
pierced the Shivas placed in the six Chakras. As She reaches 
each of the different Chakras, She acquires the beauty charac- 
teristic of each and bewitches Maheshana 5 ; and having there 
repeatedly enjoyed Him who is filled with joy, She reaches the 
Eternal One (Shashvata). He is said to be transpierced 
(Bhinna), as He is bewitched by Para.” 

The Maya Tantra says : “ The Devi goes along the Shakti- 
marga, piercing the three Lingas in the Chakras in each of. Her 
different forms 6 (Tattadrupena), and having attained union (in 
the Sahasrara) with Nis/ikala (Brahman) She is satisfied.” 
Tattadrupena — i.e., in the forms Vaikharl, Madhyama, and 
Pashyantl. 


1 Shariravachchhinna-chaitanya. 

* Brahma-randhra, the channel within Chitrira is called Brah- 
manadl and Brahma-randhra. 

J That is, 8 Lingas, 6 Chakras, and the 5 Shivas — vis., Brahma and 
the rest — in the 5 Chakras. 

4 The supreme or Nirguna Brahman. 

5 That is, the Shiva in the particular Chakra. 

6 That is, She unites, in Her passage along the Nadi, with ea>ch of 
the Lingas in that form of Hers which is appropriate to such union. 



468 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


It has been said that 1 * * “ The first state (Bhava) is Vaik- 
harl, and Madhyama is placed in the heart ; between th© 
eyebrows is the Pashyanti state, and the Para state is in 
the Bindu.”* The meaning of the above quotation is that 
the four sound-producing (Shabdotpadika) Shaktis — viz., Para, 
Pashyanti, Madhyama, and Vaikharl — are identical with Kunda- 
linl (Kundalinyabheda-rupa). Hence at the time when 
Kundalini starts to go to Sahasrara She in Her form of 
Yaikhari bewitches Svayambhu Linga ; She then similarly 
bewitches Vana-Linga in the heart as Madhyama, and Itara 
Linga between the eyebrows as Pashyanti, and then when she 
reaches Para Bindu She attains the stage of Para;(Parabhava). 

The Method of Chakra-bheda is thus described : “ O 
Parameshvari, let the Sadhaka carry along with Her the Lotuses 
which are on the Chitrini, and which have their origin in the 
mud of blood and fat. 5 6 Let him 4 enter the channel (Nala) 5 on 
the left, from below, and in this way Chakra-bheda (piercing the 
Chakra) is effected. After having thus pierced the six Chakras, 
She along with Jiva should be led as the rider guides a trained 
mare by the reins.” 

Also cf. “ The Devi should be led by the Hamsa Mantra to 
the Sahasrara through the points of union of the six Chakras 
(with the Nadi along the road of Sus/mmna.” 

“ Gleaming flame-like ” (Suks/ima-dhammi-pradlpe). — The 
gleam is the Hamsa, which is the luminous energy (Tejas) of 
the Para Bindu, in its aspect as Nirvana Shakti (Nirvanashak- 
tyatmaka). The Parama Shiva shines with it. 


1 See Commentary on v. 11, ante. 

* According to v. 11, Para is in Muladh&ra, Pashyanti in Svadhis/t- 
th& na, Madhyama in Anahata and Vaikharl in the mouth. What is, 
however, here described is Layakrama. 

5 Lotuses grow in the mud, and these Lotuses grow in the blood 
and fat of the body. The process described is Kundalini-yoga, or, as it 
is called in the Tippani of Shankara, Bhfita-shuddhi. 

4 As the Sadhaka, who has taken the Jivatma from the heart to 
the MulAdhAra, and thus identifies himself with Kundalinl, it is h© 

who enters. 

6 That is, the Nddl. 



DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


469 


We now describe how the joy of Liberation is brought about. 

The Devi by dissolving Kundalim in the Para-Bindu effects 
the Liberation of some Sadhakas through their meditation upon 
the identity of Shiva and Atma in the Bindu. She does so in 
the case of others by a similar process, and by their meditation 
on Shakti. 1 In other cases, again, this is done by the concentra- 
tion of thought on the Parama Purus/m, and in other case by 
the meditation of the Sadhaka on the bliss of union in the 
Bindu of Shiva and Shakti. 

The Maya Tantra says 2 : “ Those who are learned in Yoga 
say that it is the union of Jlva and Atma. According to others 
( i.e ., Shaivas) it is the experience of the identity of Shiva and 
Atma. The Agamavadis proclaim that Yoga 3 is the knowledge 
(Jnana) relating to Shakti. Otherwise men say that the know- 
ledge of the Purana Purus/m is Yoga, and others, again the 
PrakWtI-vadls, declare that the bliss of union of Shiva and 
Shakti is Yoga.” 4 By “ union of Jlva and Atma ” is meant 
Samadhi. By Yoga is meant that by which oneness is attained 
with the Paramatma. Having spoken of Samadhi, he then deals 
with the different kinds of Yoga in Dhyana. By “ bliss of. union 
(Samarasya) of Shiva and Shakti ” is meant the sense of enjoy- 
ment arising from the union of male aud female. 6 


1 Shaktyatmakachintana ; or it may mean meditation on the union 
of Shiva and Shakti. 

a These verses also^ occur in Ch. XXV, vv. 1, 2, of Sharada Tilaka. By 
“ union of Jlva and Atma " is meant the realization of the identity of 
the individual with the supreme spirit as indicated in the Mah&vakya 
“ Tat tvam asi (That thou art).** By Purana Purus/ta the Purus/ia in 
Sankhya Darshana is meant ; the Vais/mavas understand by it Narayana 
(collective humanity). By “ knowledge of Shakti ” is meant the Know- 
ledge that Shakti is inseparate from Shiva. 

3 Shaktyatmakajnana. 

4 Samarasyatmakam jnaman. Tantrantara says that Samarasya is 
the Dhyana of a KulayogL 

6 Strlpumyogat yat saukhyam samarasyam praklrtitam. In other 
words, the bliss of Union of Shiva and Shakti, of which sexual union is 
the material type. 



470 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


The Bnhat Shrlkrama speaks of the manner in which this 
is to be meditated upon : “ They with the eye of knowledge 1 see 
the stainless Kala, who is united with Chidananda* on Nada. 
He is the Mahadeva, white like pure crystal, and is the effulgent 
First Cause (Vimba-rupa-nidana), 8 and She is Para the lovely 
woman of beauteous body * whose limbs are listless by reason of 
Her great passion.” 6 

By Kala in the above is meant Kundalini. Vimba-rupa- 
nidana qualifies Para-shiva or Chidananda. Chidananda is the 
Bindu-rupa Shiva or Para Shiva. 

It has also been said 'elsewhere : “ Having united Kuwrfall 
with the Shunya-rupa 6 Parashiva, and having caused the Devi 
so united to drink the excellent nectar from their union, She by 
the same way should be brought back to the Kula cavity.” 7 

“ Having brought them together and meditated upon Their 
union,* let the Deha-devata 9 be satisfied with the nectar which 
flows from such a union.” 

The Gandharva-malika speaks of a different process : “ The 
Sahasrara is the beautiful and auspicious place of Sadashiva. It 
is free from sorrow and divinely beautiful with trees which 
always bear and are adorned by flowers and fruits. The Kalpa 
Tree M adds to its beauty. This tree contains all the five 
“ elements,” and is possessed of the three Guwas. The four 
Yedas are its four branches. It is laden with beautiful unfading 

' Jnana-chaks/m/i. 

9 Chidananda is Consciousness Bliss. 

* A variant reading is Bindu-rupa-nidfina, the First Cause in the- 
Bindu form. 

4 Vamoru— lit., beautiful thighs, the part being' selected as an 
example of the whole. 

4 Madalasa-vapu/i. 

* Shunya-rupa. Shunya means “ the void ” or space within the 
Bindu — the Shiva who is That, the Supreme Shiva. 

7 Kula-gahvara : the Muladhara. 

8 S&marasya : v. ante. 

‘ That is, the body of the Sadhaka considered as Devata. 

18 A celestial wishing-tree which grants all fruit. , 



I 


DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


471 


flowers which are yellow, white, black, red, green, and of varie- 
gated colour. Having meditated on the Kalpa Tree in this 
manner, then meditate upon the jewelled altar below it. O 
Beauteous One, on it is a beautiful bed adorned with various 
kinds of cloth and Mandara flowers, and scented with many 
kinds of scents. It is there that Mahadeva constantly stays. 
Meditate upon Sadashiva, who is like the purest crystal, adorned 
with all kinds of gems, long-armed , 1 * and of enchanting beauty. 
He is ever gracious and smiling. In His ears are ear-rings, and 
a chain of gems goes round His neck. A garland of a thousand 
lotuses resting on His neck adorns His body. He has eight 
arms and three eyes like the petals of the lotus. On His two 
feet He wears twinkling toe-ornaments, and His body is Shabda- 
Brahma (Shabda-Brahma-maya). O Lotus-eyed One, meditate 
thus on His Gross Body (Sthula-vapu/i). He is the quiescent, 
corpse-like * Deva within the Lotus who is void of all action.” 
Also : “ Meditate upon the Devi KundalinI who encircles the 
Svayambhu Linga. Lead the Devi, with the aid of the Hamsa 
Mantra to the Sahasrara, where, O Parameshvari, is the great 
Deva Sadashiva. And then place there the beautiful KuwdalinI, 
who is excited by Her desire. KunrfalinI, O Beloved, then wakes 
up and kisses the lotus-mouth of Shiva, who is gladdened by the 
scent of Her lotus-like mouth, and O DeveshI, She then enjoys 
Sadashiva but a very little while when immediately, O Devi, O 
Parameshvari, there issues nectar. This nectar issuing from 
their union is of the colour of lac . 3 With this nectar, O DeveshI, 
should the Para Devata 4 be satisfied. Having thus satisfied the 
Devatas in the six Chakras with that ambrosial stream, the wise 
one should by the same way bring Her back to Muladhara. The 
mind should in this process of going and coming be dissolved 


1 Associated with the idea of strength. 

' Shiva without Shakti is Shava (corpse) : Devibliagavatam, and 
v. 1 of the Anandalaharl. — 

3 Bed, which is the colour of lac, is also that of the Bajas guna. 

4 Kundalinl. 1 



472 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


there.’ O Parvati, he who practises this Yoga day by day is 
freed from deoay and death, and is liberated from, the bondage 
of this world.” 

Other similar processes should be looked for in other 
Tantras. 


1 In the Shivasthftnam. 





DESCRIPTION OF THE SIX CENTRES 


473 


Verse 52 ' 

The wise and excellent Yogi rapt in eotasy , 1 and devoted 
to the Lotus feet of his Guru, should lead Kula-kuwdall 
along with Jlva to Her Lord the Parashiva in the abode 
of Liberation within the pure Lotus, and meditate upon 
Her who grants all desires as the Chaitanyarupa Bha- 
gavati . 2 When he thus leads Kula-KuwZalinl, he should 
make all things absorb into Her. 

Commentary 

Having spoken of the Dhyana-yoga of Kuw/alinI, he now 
speaks of the Samadhiyoga of Kundalinl. The substance of this 
verse is that the wise (Sudhi) and excellent Yogi (Yogindra) 
intent on the attainment of Samadhi should first of all lead Her 
who has been roused, who then, taking with Her .Jiva, reaches 
the Brahmadvara, causing the absorption into Herself of every- 
thing as She moves along. When She who is the Is/ifadevata 
and the giver of all good fruits is led up to Her Lord and is 
united with Him, tb© Para Bindu, She should be meditated 
upon as the Supreme (Para, i.e., Para Bindu, Parambindusvaru- 
pam). When She has been led to Her Lord Shiva, the Para- 
Bindu, and has been united with Him, She should be meditated 
upon as the Is/ifadevata who grants good fruit. 

He should there (in the Sahasrara) dissolve the Para-Bindu 
in the Chidatma, 3 4 which is in the void within the Bindu, and 
should meditate upon Her (KuncialinI) as Shuddhachaitanyarupa. 

1 Samadhi. Vide Introduction, and pout, Commentary. 

* The Devi who is the Chit in all bodies. 

'' The Brahman as Chit. 

4 Pure Chit. 



474 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


He thus realizes the identity of Jlva and Atma, being conscious 
within himself that “ I am He ” (So’ham) ; and having dissolved 
the Ghitta he remains unmoved, by reason of his full and all- 
pervading Knowledge. 

The Revered Preceptor (Shrlmat Acharya) 1 * has said : “ The 
wise one should absorb the Karawa 9 Ma-kara into the Chidatma, 
and realize: ‘I am Chidatma, I am eternal, pure (Shuddha), 
enlightened (Buddha), liberated (Mukta) ; I am That which 
alone is (Sat), without a second (Advaya) ; I am Supreme Bliss 
wherein is all bliss and Vasudeva’s very self, I am — Om.’ 3 Having 
realized that the mind (Chitta) is the discriminator, he absorbs 
it into its witness. 4 5 Let not the mind (Chitta) be distracted 
when it is absorbed into Chidatma. Let him (the Sadhaka) rest 
in the fulness of his Illumination like a deep and motionless 
ocean.” 

“ Ma-kara ” 6 * : This is said for those who are Sadhakas of 
x tfie Pranava. By Karana is here meant Para-Bindu. By “ I am 
Vasudeva ” (Vasudevo’ham) the Vais/mavas are alluded to { vide 
ante , vv. 44, 49). 

Wo thus see that the worshipper of any particular Devata 
should realize that Kundalinl is one with the object of his 
worship. In Prawava worship, for instance, the worshipper 
realizes his identity with the Omkara ; in other forms of worship 
he realizes his identity with Kundalim, who is embodied by all 
the Mantras of different worshippers. / 

The Tantrantara says : “ The King among Yogis becomes 
full of Brahma-bliss by making his mind the abode of the great 
void which is set in the light of the Sun, Moon, and Fire.” 6 

1 That is, Shankaracharya. 

3 That is, the Bindu is Ma-k&ra. It is the Kara?ta or Cause of all. 

8 Chid&tm&ham nitya-shuddha-buddha-mukta-sadadvayaft 

Param&nanda sandoho’ham vasudevo’ham om it i. 

4 That is, the Atma, of which it is said Atma saks/w chetaft kevalo 
nirgusiashcha. 

5 The Bindu is the Ma-kara. 

6 That is, in the region of the Sahasrara. See v. 4. of the Paduka- 

panchaka. 



description of the six centres 


475 


“ Lead KunAall along with Jiva ” (Jivena sarddham nitva). — 
The Jlvatma which is the Hamsa, in form like the tapering 
flame of a light, should be brought to the Mulajhara from its 
place in the heart, and then led along with Kundalinl. 

“ Abode of Liberation ” (Moksha dhamani). — This qualifies 
Pure Lotus (Shuddhapadma). 1 It is here that Liberation is 
attained. 

“ Devoted to the two Lotus feet of his Guru ” (Guru-pada« 
padma-yugalalambi). — This qualifies Yogindra (excellent yogi). 
The Author means that Siddhi can only be attained by the 
instructions of the Guru. The Sadhaka should therefore seek 
shelter at his feet. 

“ Rapt in ecstasy ” (Samadhau yataTi). — The Kulamava 
Tantra (ix, 9) defines Samadhi thus : “ Samadhi is that kind of 
contemplation 2 in which there is neither ‘ here ’ nor ‘ not here ’ 
which is illumination and is still like the ocean, and which is 
the Void Itself.” 3 

Also elsewhere : “ The Munis declare that the constant 
realization of the identity of the Jlvatma with the Paramatma 
is Samadhi, which is one of the eight limbs (Anga) of Yoga.” 4 
Patanjali defines “ Yoga to be the control of the modifications 
(or functions) of Chitta (Yogash-chittavWttinirodha/i).” 

Rapt (Yataft) — i.e., he who constantly and with undivided 
attention practises it. 

“ When he leads Kula-Kundalini he should make all things 
absorb into her ” (Laya-vashat-nitva). 3 — Below is shown the 
process of absorption : 

“ O DeveshI, the Lam-kara 6 should next be meditated upon 
in the Triangle ; there should also Brahma and then Kama- 
deva be contemplated. Having fixed Jiva there with the utte- 
rance of the Prawava, let him lead the Woman, who is longing 

1 Shankara reads it as Shuklapadma, white lotus. 

a Dhyana. 

3 Svarupa-shunya. 

* This is from Sh&rada Tilaka, Ch. XXV, v. 26. 

J VishvanStha reads it as Naya-vashat. 

6 Blja of Prithivl. 



476 


THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 


for the satisfaction of Her passion, 1 to the place of Her husband, 
O Queen of the Devas. O Great Queen, 0 beloved of my life, 
let him think of Ghrana (PrithivI) and meditate on the adorable 
Shakti Hakim. O Daughter of the Mountain, 0 Queen of the 
Ganas,* O Mother, all these should be led into Prithivl.” 

Also : 44 Then, O Great Queen, the blessed PrithivI should be 
absorbed into Gandha, and then, O Daughter of the Mountain 
J£ing, the Jlvatma should be drawn (from the heart) with the 
Pranava (Mantra), and the Sadhaka should lead Prana, 4 Gandha, 5 
and Kundalinl, into Svadhis7i£/iana with the Mantra So’ham.” 

And also : 44 In its (Svadhis/i£/iana) pericarp should Varuna 
and Hari 6 be meditated upon. And, O Beauteous One, after 
meditating on RakinI 7 all these and Gandha (smell) should be 
absorbed into Rasa (taste), and Jlvatma, KuneZalinl, and Rasa, 
should be moved into Manipura.” 

And again : “ O thou of beautiful hips 8 (Sushroni), in its 9 
pericarp the Sadhaka should meditate upon Fire, and also on 
Rudra, who is the destroyer of all, as being in company with 
the Shakti Lakini and beautiful to behold. And, O Shiva, let 
him next meditate on the lustrous sense of vision, and absorb 
all these and Rasa (taste) into Rupa (Sight), and thereafter lead 
Jlvatma, Kundalinl, and Rupa, into Anahata.” 

And again : “ Let him meditate in its 10 pericarp on Vayu, 
who dwells in the region of Jiva, as also on the Yoni-MaraZala, 
which is made beauteous by the presence of the Bana-Linga. 
Let him there also meditate on Vayu 11 as united with RakinI 

1 Visarga-nasha-kamini. 

1 That is, the Bindu in Sahasrara. 

3 Attendant (Upadevata) on Shiva, of whom Ganesha is the Lord. 

4 Sic in text : Quaere Ghrana or Prana in sense of Hamsa. 

5 i.e., Gandha Tanm&tra. 

b i.e., Vis/mu. 

7 Purawakarini — one of her names. 

8 i.e., one who has a beautiful figure, the part being selected for 
the whple. 

9 “ Its ” — ix. % of Manipura padma. 

10 “ its ” — i.e., of Anfthata padma. 

u Vayu here is Isha the Lord of Air. 



DESCRIPTION op the six centres 477 

and touch (Tvagindriya or Sparsha), and there, O Thou who 
purifiest, Jlva, Kuwcfalini, and Rupa, should be placed in Sparsha 
(Touch), and then Jlva Kurtcfalini, and Sparsha, should be 
placed in the Yishuddha.” 

And again. “Let him meditate in its 1 pericarp on the 
Ethereal region, 2 and on Shiva accompanied by Shakini, and 
having placed Speech (Vak), and Hearing (Shrotra), in Ether, 
let him, O Daughter of the Mountain, place all these and 
Sparsha in Shabda (Sound), and place Jlva KundalinI, and 
Shabda, in the Ajna Chakra.” 

The above passages are from KankalamalinI Tantra. 

“ Triangle ” in the above is the Triangle in the Muladhara, 
from which the commencement is made. Lam-kara should be 
meditated upon as within this Triangle. Leading of Jlva with 
the use of the Prawava is a variant practice. “ Visarga-nashaka- 
minl ” : By Yisarga is meant the agitation caused by an access 
of Kama (desire). The compound word means She who is 
striving to satisfy Her desire (Kama). The bringing of Jiva 
by the Hamsa Mantra is, according to the teaching of some, 
“ Place of her husband ” (Patyau pade) : This is the Bindu, the 
Shiva in the Lotus of a thousand petals. Sadhaka should lead 
Her there. 

The Blja Lam, Brahma, Kamadeva, Dakin! -Shakti, and 
the sense of smell (Ghrawendriya)— all these are absorbed into 
PWthivI, and PWthivI is absorbed into the Gandha-tattva. 
Jivatma, KuwcMinI, and Gandha-tattva, are drawn upward by 
the Prawava, and brought into the Svadhisftf/tana by the 
So’ham Mantra. This is the process to be applied right through. 
After leading Jlva, Kuwrfalini, and Shabda-tattva, into Ajna 
Chakra, Shabda-tattva should be absorbed into Ahamkara 
which is there, and Ahamkara into Mahat-tattva, and Mahat- 
tattva into Suks/ima-prakriti, whose name is Hirawva-garbha, 
and Prakriti again into Para-bindu. 


1 Vishuddhapadma. 

s Akasha. 



478 THE SIX CENTRES AND THE SERPENT POWER 

The Mantra-tantra-prakasha says : “ Let Vyoma (Ether) 
be absorbed into Ahamkara, and the latter with Shabda into 
Mahat, and Mahat again, into the unmanifest (Avyakta) supreme 
(Para) Cause (Karana), of all the Shaktis. > Let the Sadhaka 
think attentively that all things beginning with Pnthivi are 
absorbed into VisTmu, 1 the Cause who is Sat, Chit, and Ananda.’’ 

That is, Mahat, which is all Shaktis (Sarvashakti), should 
be absorbed into Sukshma-prakriti, who is known by the name 
of Hiraw/agarbha, and that PrakWti should be absorbed into 
Para, by which is meant the Cause in the form of Parabindu. 
In this connection the Acharya has laid down the rule that the 
gross should be dissolved into the subtle. 2 Cf. : “ It should be 
attentively considered and practised that the gross is absorbed 
into the subtle, and all into Chidatma.” The absorption of 
all things, beginning with PrithivI and ending with Anahata, 3 
takes place in the aforesaid manner ; that being so, the feet 
and the sense of Smell (Ghrawendriya) and all pertaining to 
PWthivI are dissolved in the place of PWthivi, as they inhere 
in Pnthivl. 

Similarly, the hands, the sense of Taste (Rasanendriya), 
an d all that pertains to Water, are dissolved in the region of 
Water, In the region of Fire (Vahni-sthana) are dissolved the 
anus, the sense of Vision (Chakshurindriya), and all that per- 
tains to Fire. In the region of Air (Vayusthana) the genitals, 
the sense of Touch (Tvagindriya), and all that pertains to 
Vayu, are dissolved. In the place of Akasha are dissolved the 
sense of Speech (Yak) and hearing (Shrotrendriya) and all that 
pertains to Akasha (Ether). 

In the Ajna Chakra the dissolution of Ahamkara, Mahat, 
Sukshma-prakriti, and so forth, takes place, each dissolving 
into its own immediate cause. The letters of the alphabet 


1 Vis