Tabulation of chakra characteristics (continued)

The necessity of gradual awakening In the yogic paths such as karma yoga, bhakti yoga or jnana yoga the chakras are only opened up when the time is right. That is, the cbakras awaken only when the individual has reached a certain degree of mental equanimity. This is generally such a smooth process that the chakras are not felt when they manifest. In the methods of kundalini yoga the awakening can be much faster. Because of this, great care has to be taken. If there is too much force, or excessive willpower, then the chakras can open prematurely. They can open before the mind of the individual is sufficiently harmonized. This can cause severe mental disturbances, for the individual can be suddenly confronted with the most negative aspects of his subconscious mind. Possibly illness, physical and/or mental can result. One may become very angry and then very happy within a short space of time. One moment there may be optimism, the next moment pessimism. This occurs in the lower chakras. But don’t worry: premature awakening is very rare because it requires very strong willpower and unceasing practice (though the chakras can also be prematurely opened by other methods, such as drugs). For most people the chakras are gradually opened over a period of time. This confrontation with one’s deeper mental problems is absolutely necessary for those on the spiritual path wbo want to awaken the chakras and the potential of the mind. Sometimes it can be a little unpleasant, but it is the process whereby the mind is purged of all accumulated suppressions and neuroses. All the mental blocks, problems and conditioning are recognized and removed so that the mind becomes a progressively more refined instrument. But the process should be slow so that there is gradual adjustment between one’s inner realization and the relationships with the outer world.

In summary premature awakening of the chakras, that is, premature ascent of the kundalini, can cause great unhappiness because one is suddenly confronted with the negative samskaras (mental impressions) that have not been worked out and neutralized. Imbalance of the body and mind can easily result. Though this is a rare occurrence we strongly advise you not to use excessive force or to be in too much of a hurry. The way is to aspire, to practise, but not to be impatient and expect instant results. Let things take their natural course through your diligent efforts.

The remodelling of the mind-body The awakening of the kundalini, the awakening of the chakras, must be slow since the whole mind-body complex has to be gradually remodelled to take and withstand the new surge of power and pranic activity associated with expanded states of awareness. A common analogy given to illustrate this point is a light bulb and its electricity supply. Most people have a body that is comparable to a low or zero watt light bulb. Through yoga practices the flow of prana in the body increases. This brings states of illumination, but simultaneously the wattage of the light bulb – the strength and purity of the mind-body – has to be increased to withstand this extra flow of prana. If the electric power is too high for a bulb, then the bulb will blow. In the same way, if the prana flow is too great in the body-mind, then injury can easily arise. Therefore, we again emphasize that progress in tantra-yoga must be slow. Don’t expect instant results. Let the body be gradually reformed in accordance with the ascent of the kundalini. Give the body time to open up and create new pranic pathways to channel the greater How of prana. And this is an amazing process; as awareness expands and the kundalini rises, so the incredible intelligence of the pranic body constructs new pathways (nadis) in the same way that the River Ganges creates new channels and gullies during the flood season. This process must occur, but it takes time. Don’t be in a hurry. Progress slowly but surely. This is important.

General summary

We have just about exhausted the subject of the chakras and the kundalini. The most important thing is to awaken them. This is the purpose of kriya yoga. Until we begin to introduce the actual kriya yoga techniques in Book III, we suggest that you practise the techniques that we are giving regularly and sincerely to locate the chakra points. This will ensure that you are fully prepared to gain the most out of the system of kriya yoga.

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