Lesson 26 | Sahasrara

 

The human mind is no more than a centre of consciousness. The more centred or one-pointed it becomes, the more powerful, blissful and harmonized it becomes. The greater the one-pointedness, the greater the wisdom and knowledge. On the yogic path, the mind has to become like a bindu – infinitesimally concentrated yet with unlimited potential. Kriya yoga brings about this concentration of mind naturally, without force or excessive effort. The secret lies in the simultaneous harmonization of the physical, psychic and mental energies of the human framework. This process automatically concentrates the mind to a perfect bindu. It is then that things start to happen that are beyond the normal comprehension of man. The blind begin to see for the first time. Kriya yoga converges all the energies, gross and subtle, into a point (bindu) in the middle of the mandala of one’s being. This is the gateway to meditation and shoonya.

Swami Satyananda Saraswati

Topic 1 | Sahasrara

The picture we have given of the sahasrara is an attempt to express the inexpressible. It is shoonya – the void; perhaps it should be called shoonya-shoonya – the voidless void, the void of totality. It is Brahman. It is everything and nothing. Everything we say about it must be wrong, as we would be immediately limiting and categorizing it. Even if we say that it is infinite, we are wrong. It transcends all concepts, yet it is the source of all concepts. It is the merging of consciousness and prana. The sahasrara is the culmination of yoga. In fact, it is yoga itself. . . the perfect merging.

The literal meaning of the word sahasrara is one thousand’. For this reason, it is said to be a lotus with one thousand petals. However, the word sahasrara, while literally meaning one thousand, implies that its magnitude and significance is vast. In fact, unlimited. Therefore, sahasrara should more aptly be described as a lotus with an infinite number of petals.

It is both formless (nirakara) and with form akara), yet it is also beyond and therefore untouched by form (nirvikara). It transcends logic, for logic compares one thing with another. The sahasrara is the totality, so what is there to compare it with?

It is the supreme experience, but even this statement is misleading. Experience implies an individual, separated from the experience, who is experiencing the experience. The sahasrara is beyond experience. It implies that the experience, the experienced and the experience!” are one and the same. The seer, seeing and seen are merged as a unified whole. Even this is a misconception, for they have always been merged. In this situation, who is there to experience? These are only words, but words intended to indicate that sahasrara is beyond all definition … beyond description. The picture that we have given is a humble attempt to depict that which cannot be depicted.

Mount Kailash is a famous mountain in the Himalayas. It is said to be the abode of Shiva and Shakti, who live in eternal nuptial bliss. Symbolically, the mountain represents sahasrara, where consciousness and prana (Shiva and Shakti) are unified. Every mystical and religious system throughout the world has its own unique way of symbolizing sahasrara. Experience of sahasrara is called by different names: Buddhists call it nirvana; Hindus call it kaivalya, turiya, nirvikalpa samadhi and so forth; Sufis call it baqua; Christians call it heaven; Kabbalists call it Ain Soph. It is possible to list hundreds of names, all meaning the same thing – sahasrara.

Sahasrara is not a chakra as is often thought. Chakras are within the realms of the psyche. Consciousness manifests at different levels according to the chakra that is predominantly functioning. Sahasrara acts through nothing, and yet again, it acts through everything. It is beyond the beyond (paratparam), and yet it is right here. Sahasrara is the culmination of the progressive ascension through the different chakras. It is the crown of expanded awareness.

Many ancient people worshipped the seven (then known) planets. These represent the six principal chakras and sahasrara. The planets were regarded as living in the sun, for the sun is analogous to white light, which contains the essence of all other colours; it is also the source of the other planets. This symbolizes that the power of the chakras does not reside in the chakras themselves, but in sahasrara. The chakras themselves are only switches. All the potential lies in the sahasrara.

If you want more descriptions of sahasrara, we suggest that you read any of the thousands of mystical and religious scriptures. But do not become attached to intellectual analysis. It will lead you nowhere, except into a bog of misconceptions. It is far better to practise yoga, or any other spiritual system, and raise your own level of awareness.

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