Life itself is One but within this Oneness is Polarity. We call this polarity Heaven and Earth or Male and Female…In Yoga they call it Shiva and Shakti
SHIVA symbolises the pure unchanging consciousness, the masculine
SHAKTI symbolises the cosmic activating power, kundalini energy, the feminine
Shiva and Shakti exist within each of us as the divine masculine and feminine archetypes. They are our root in divinity and eternal life. They are the very seed and basis of consciousness (Shiva) and all forms of matter (Shakti)
Through the splitting of the primordial principle at the beginning of creation the duality of male and female is born with a strong force that is constantly striving to re-unite with the other part.
Shiva resides in the Sahasrāra Crown Chakra and Kundalini Shakti in the Mūlādhāra Chakra at the base of the Spine…This polarity causes an attraction and the Kundalini Shakti energy is moved to rise upwards to unite with Shiva pure consciousness. Its called evolution.
As it moves upwards the Shakti energy awakens the Shiva potential in each of the Chakras and a higher consciousness is awakened. In nature we see it as evolution but yoga has the ability to speed up the process of evolution and cause the Shakti energy to awaken and rise much more quickly towards Shiva at the Crown of the head. So we become more intelligent, more loving and more enlightened the higher we go.
There are seven stages of the human evolution of consciousness with each chakra containing a higher level than the one below it. When Kundalini Shakti finishes her ascent to unite with Shiva at the crown of the head, the individual consciousness merges with the divine mind and we become a pure enlightened and blissful channel.
Shakti is the motherly love of God that surrounds us with warmth, caring and protection.
Shiva is the paternal love of God that gives us consciousness, clarity and knowledge.
Kundalini is known as the serpent power resting or sleeping in mooladhara chakra at the base of the spine. She is Shakti and in advanced yoga practice they are trying to awaken the kundalini force and cause it to rise up through the very subtle meridian called ‘sushumna nadi’ embedded into the spinal column. Sushumna Nadi is the most subtle meridian in the body and it houses and feeds the Chakra system with universal energy called Prana. Sushumna nadi is our umbilical cord to the universal life force which keeps us alive and conscious.
As the kundalini rises upwards it passes through each of the chakras which are connected to dormant areas of the brain. With the awakening of kundalini there is a blissful opening of heart and mind as these dormant parts of the brain start to open and blossom like flowers, releasing the latent capacities inherent in them.
The Bihar school of yoga emphasise a steady systematic form of awakening the kundalini force in four phases to maximise the potential and transformative process of kundalini rising. The first is to purify and balance the ida and pingala nadis and there are specific asanas, pranayamas and dietry procedures that can help the purification process.
The second is the awakening of the chakras, which are like the electrical power stations fed by the nadis. The practice of chakra yoga takes place over a long period of time, where starting from mooladhara we are encouraged to use specific asanas, specific attitudes, points of concentration and pranayamas related to each chakra over a number of weeks, before moving onto the next. This will need to be repeated again and again throughout ones life.
The third and more difficult level is the awakening of the Sushumna central and most subtle channel of all. Once Sushumna channel has been awakened the dormant kundalini power in mooladhara chakra rises up its centre spontaneously, turning on like a switch the fully enlightened nature of each chakra as it passes through them on its upwards journey towards Sahasrara at the crown of the head. At this point in reaching Sahasrara, ancient yogic texts state that the merging of the pure vital life force (kundalini) with pure consciousness there, liberates the mind and every layer of being is unified and illuminated to its highest potential.
In the book Kundalini Tantra, by Swami Satyananada Saraswati, he states that through each level of awakening there are signs, healing reactions and unusual experiences which symbolize the purification process of that chakra or point of evolution and they can be quite alarming if one is not forewarned. The Sushumna being the spiritual channel of cosmic energy can produce powerful experiences and insights, because we are tapping into a level of being beyond the confines of matter, time and normal consciousness. Experiences of ecstasy lasting for long periods can be felt, bliss beyond normal human comprehension, visions of the future and knowledge of previous incarnations have been recorded at this level of cosmic consciousness.
It is said that on reaching this point we are an enlightened being and although remaining in the body and looking normal, our mind is all encompassing and abiding in the deathless state beyond space and time. We may get a glimpse on plant medicines but even if we do get a glimpse, how we manage to maintain such an elevated state in this modern culture is another thing. However nothing has ever stopped the urge to evolve and go beyond the confines of each moment and maybe one day we will all experience the deathless state and complete freedom from suffering; maybe not but nothing will stop us from evolving and trying.