Without Shakti, there is no Shiva.An Aghori Perspective
Without Shiva, there is no Shakti.
“While Kundalini sleeps in Muladhara chakra at the base of the spine, you are awake to the world and asleep to reality. When She awakes to unite with Her Shiva in your brain then you wake up to reality; you’fall asleep’ to the world. An ignorant person believes that he is the world; his Kundalini self-identifies with the poison of Maya. A jnani, one who knows, says rather, ‘The world is in me,’ because his Kundalini self-identifies with Shiva.
We say that Kundalini is sleeping because She, the ego, is self-identifying with the ego’s limited personality. Because of this self-identification, She accepts its limits as Her limits. In Her pure form, the ego is the purest of Shaktis, but as long as She self-identifies with the body, She lies under three coverings which prevent Her from knowing who She is and where She belongs. These three coverings are the Three Gunas (Sattva, Rajas & Tamas), the Six Tastes (sweet, sour, salty, bitter, pungent or spicy and astringent) and the Five Great Elements (Earth, Fire, Water, Air and Ether).
The Gunas control our minds, the Elements shape our bodies and the world around us, and the Tastes control our internal chemistry, which links our minds and bodies together. Together with the ten senses, the five we all know, plus the tongue, hands, feet, anus and genitals, there are twenty-four limitations which distort the human consciousness.
Externally the Universal Self is covered by Maha Maya (the Great Maya); internally Maya appears as these twenty-four limitations. The first step in Tantric Spirituality is to work on the individual scale to uncover the ego and make Her reunite with Shiva, the True Self. Numerologically twenty-four means 2+4=6, the Six Chakras. The six chakras are also manifestations of these twenty-four limitations, which means that only when you go beyond the chakras do you go beyond these limitations and vice versa. Both are ultimately identical; it is all a question of perspective, of point of view.
Now what is the meaning of the word Kundalini? Kundala means a coiled earring, so Kundalini means ‘the Goddess with a Kundala’. Here the coil is at the tip of the spinal cord; the ego is coiled because it is rightly constricted by the three coverings. So long as Kundalini lies sleeping in the Muladhara Chakra She is coiled up. Once She enters the Ajna Chakra, though, She completely loses the coils and becomes straight and, unencumbered by the three coverings, She can express Herself fully. Conditioned knowledge is always slightly distorted; only unconditioned knowledge is truly straight.
In Kundalini Yoga we usually begin with Bhuta Shuddhi, the purification of the Five Elements, to allow Kundalini to travel upwards through the chakras. Bhuta Shuddhi is really the essence of Tantra. The force of Her motion, if it is unimpeded, lifts the other coverings and eventually produces simple or ordinary spiritual wisdom: jnana.
Jnana is the knowledge that the entire cosmos is really One Great Being, in spite of the fact that we see multiplicity in the world: All-in-One, One-in-All. When you progress from ordinary jnana to the ability to influence the placement or the removal of these coverings on the cosmic scale – creation, preservation, destruction – you have practical spiritual knowledge, a higher stage which is called vijnana. The ‘vi’ in vijnana means ‘vishesha’ (special, extraordinary). You are then a Siddha, an immortal, because your own ego has become absolutely purified. Only Siddhas, and higher beings like Rishis, can possess this sort of practical or specialized knowledge; a vijnani is something quite different from an ordinary jnani.
After the three coverings are removed from Kundalini your perception becomes quite different. It is the difference between capital ‘I’ and e-y-e ‘eye’. The eye is symbolic of the world of sense objects. As long as the ego is covered, it knows nothing but the senses and their objects and is contented with them. But they are external, and therefore impermanent. The ego must be made to realize the capital ‘I’, the Self, which lies within, and therefore the first thing to be cultivated is interiority, withdrawal of the mind from external objects. Love, including orgasm, is internal. If you look for love externally, as most Westerners do, you will either become bored and perverted, or frustrated and desperate. Only interiority can give you bliss.
Once you develop interiority your mind will gradually become quiet and perception will develop. Eventually you will realize that effect, instrument and action are all gone. You will see yourself in the goat being slaughtered, in the act of slaughtering, and in the one who slaughters. When you can see yourself in the butchered, the butchering and the butcher, you will see that all are mere manifestations of the Self. All is His play, capital ‘H’. When you see yourself everywhere, where is there any possibility of pity? This is jnana, ordinary spiritual knowledge.
To go beyond this to vijnana you must go beyond the body, and to do that, you must first understand the relationship between the body and the ego. The nerves of the body are the probes, the feelers of the ego. This is what Krishna meant when He talks in the Bhagavad Gita about the tree whose roots are above and whose branches are below: the roots of the nerves are in the brain, and the nerves themselves branch out to cover the whole body.” (Vimalananda: Aghora p.63)
…is a Saiva Tantrika, Gyana Yogi and founder of Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda. David has an MA in Semiotics, lives in Japan with his family and works as a coach in L & D, devoting his time to developing science-based tools and programs that help people reach the fullest potential of the human condition.