Kundalini and Meditation
Ma was asked why and how meditation in particular interacts with or stimulates the kundalini compared with mantra repetition, chanting, or other practices. Her response follows:
Kundalini can be activated through any of the yoga practices, including mantra repetition, meditation and even hatha yoga. However, awakening the kundalini is one thing; taking it to the deeper levels is where meditation comes in.
The path of yoga is said to be the eightfold path. The first two are the yamas and niyamas, which are guidelines given by the yogis to help a person prepare for that final state and experience. They tell how one should live, basically, how the mind should be, how our interactions should be. In meditation, you don’t want to be distracted in any external way, because the external mind is not going to give the inner experience. The whole point of the process is to go inward. The mind and the senses, therefore, need to be pulled in for deep concentration. The yamas and niyamas tell us how to feel satisfied in life, how to eat in moderation, and other steps that lead to a stronger physical body and a stronger and purer mind, because it is only a strong-willed person and a pure mind that can concentrate.
Having this basic foundation, the next step is asana—that is, hatha yoga, the physical postures to strengthen the physical body—because it is through the tool of the physical body that we interact in the world, and it is also through the physical body that the mind works. The soul is inside the body but working through the mind, and therefore, the physical body is an essential part of that process of being strong.
The next step is pranayama, deep breathing exercises, which help to strengthen the mind. That is the process where the mind, which has a tendency to run around, is slowly but surely taken inward.
Once you are able to stop the mind from running around, the next step is what is known as pratyahara, the state where your senses are pulled within. The senses want to pull the mind outward, and you want to stop that process and pull within.
The next step is dharana, or deep concentration, followed by dhyana, which is meditation. It is meditation that leads to the state of samadhi, or self-realization, the eighth limb of yoga.
No matter what practice is used, at some point that level of concentration must come and that concentration must lead to the state of meditation. Therefore, meditation becomes the key practice. Everything before that is external, but when that outward practice brings you to the state where the experience becomes internal, then you are beginning to see the fruits of that practice. You may be chanting a mantra, but when you chant it or repeat it with such concentration that the mantra is dissolved and you are taken to your true state within, then you are beginning to meditate.
Meditation is the most profound practice, because it will take you to that inner state. Spirituality occurs within, and only meditation will take the mind internally and finally to the level of the soul.
If you are hungry, you might go to the kitchen and prepare a meal but just preparing the meal will not satisfy the hunger. You have to sit down and eat. Meditation is that state of eating, so to speak. It is what brings the experience of the taste and the satisfaction of the hunger. No matter what practice may be done externally, at some point that external quality needs to dissolve and become internal, and that’s meditation.
Public programs are the perfect place to hear Shri Anandi Ma speak on kundalini, meditation, and other aspects of yoga. In addition to Ma’s teachings, programs always include meditation, a question & answer session, and an opportunity to meet her personally. For a listing of the 2013 Public Program schedule, click here.