Ramana Maharshi on Kundalini
D.: What part does Kundalini play in bringing about Self-Realisation?
M.: Kundalini rises from any lakshya that you have. Kundalini is
D.: Different deities are said to reside in different chakras. Does
one see them in course of sadhana?
M.: They can be seen if desired.
Mr. T. K. S. Iyer asked Sri Bhagavan about the source of sound.
M.: The general opinion is that para (sound) comes from the Muladhara
(the solar plexus) at the bottom of the spine. All sounds beginning
from vaikhar (thought form) are contained in para which proceeds from
Kundalini; and Kundalini is not different from the Heart. In fact the
whole shadadhara (six-fold centre) is contained in the heart. The
sushumna with its source Kundalini is included in the Heart. (Talk 299)
...(Swami Lokesananda [...asked a...] series of questions).
D.: They say that Kundalini must be roused before Realisation and
that its awakening makes the body feel hot. Is that so?
M.: The yogis call it Kundalini Sakti. It is the same as vritti of
the form of God (Bhagavatakara vritti) of the bhaktas and vritti of
the form of Brahman (Brahmakara vritti) of the jnanis. It must be
preliminary to Realisation. The sensation produced may be said to be
D.: Kundalini is said to be of the shape of a serpent but vrittis
cannot be so.
M.: The Kundalini of jnana marga is said to be the Heart, which is
also described in various ways as a network of nadis, of the shape of
a serpent, of a lotus bud, etc.
D.: Is this Heart the same as the physiological heart?
M.: No, Sri Ramana Gita defines it as the origin of the ‘I-thought’.
D.: But I read that it is on the right of the chest.
M.: It is all meant to help the bhavana (imagery). There are books
dealing with six centres (shadchakra) and many other lakshyas
(centres), internal and external. The description of the Heart is one
among so many lakshyas. But it is not necessary. It is only the
source of the ‘I-thought’. That is the ultimate truth. (Talk 392)
...the seeker’s aim must be to drain away the vasanas from the heart
and let no reflection obstruct the Light of Eternal Consciousness.
This is achieved by the search for the origin of the ego and by
diving into the heart. This is the direct method for Self-
Realisation. One who adopts it need not worry about nadis, the brain,
the Sushumna, the Paranadi, the Kundalini, pranayama or the six
centres. (Talk 616)
D.: How to find the Atman?
M.: There is no investigation into the Atman. The investigation can
only be into the non-self. Elimination of the non-self is alone
possible. The Self being always self evident will shine forth of
itself. The Self is called by different names - Atman, God,
Kundalini, mantra, etc. Hold any one of them and the Self becomes
manifest. God is no other than the Self. Kundalini is now showing
forth as the mind. When the mind is traced to its source it is
Kundalini. Mantra japa leads to elimination of other thoughts and to
concentration on the mantra. The mantra finally merges into the Self
and shines forth as the Self. (Talk 78)
Three or four days ago Mr. Desai, Retired Sub-Judge, asked Bhagavan
(with reference to what is said in Ramana Gita), “How to direct the
prana or life-current into the sushumna nadi, so that as stated in
Ramana Gita we could achieve the severance of the chit-jada granthi?”
Bhagavan said, “By enquiring ‘Who am I?’” “The yogi may be definitely
aiming at rousing the kundalini and sending it up the sushumna. The
jnani may not be having this as his object. But both achieve the same
result, that of sending the Life-force up the sushumna and severing
the chit-jada granthi. Kundalini is only another name for atma or
Self or sakti. We talk of it as being inside the body, because we
conceive ourselves as limited by this body. But it is in reality both
inside and outside, being no other than Self or the sakti of Self.”
Desai: How to churn up the nadis, so that the kundalini may go up the
Bhagavan: Though the yogi may have his methods of breath-control,
pranayama, mudras, etc., for this object, the jnani’s method is only
that of enquiry. When by this method the mind is merged in the Self,
the Self, its sakti or kundalini, rises automatically. (Day by Day -
Kundalini is one name given by the yogic people for what may be
called the atma sakti inside the body. The vichara school calls the
same power jnana. The bhakta calls it love or bhakti. The yogic
school says that this power is dormant in muladhara at the base of
the spinal cord and that it must be roused and taken through the
various chakras on to sahasrara at the top, in the brain, to attain
moksha. The jnanis think this power is centred in the heart, and so
on. (Day by Day - 11-11-45)
When I entered the hall, Bhagavan was telling Balaram, “Different
books and different schools have located the kundalini at different
centres in the body. While the usual centre with which it is
associated is muladhara, there are books which locate it in the
heart, and other books which locate it in the brain.” Thereupon I
asked Bhagavan, “You say different people or schools differ on this
matter. But as Mr. Desai asked Bhagavan yesterday, the difficulty we
feel is this. If people who have mere book or theoretical knowledge
say such contradictory things, we may simply brush them aside. But
when they come from persons whom we regard as saints who have
realised the Self, i.e., those who have had direct or immediate
knowledge of the Self, the doubt assails us, ‘Why such difference of
opinion among saints?’ Yesterday I tried to silence Desai simply by
saying, ‘If others have given opinions different from Bhagavan’s, you
must ask them why they gave such opinions, not Bhagavan. Bhagavan has
told us what is the correct opinion.’ But now, I too want to know why
different saints differ on such important points”. Thereupon Bhagavan
was pleased to say, “They may be Self-realised saints and they may
know the truth. But they have to suit their teaching to those who ask
for it and the differences in the teachings are to be explained by
the differences in the pakva or fitness of those to whom such
teachings are addressed.” (Day by Day - 6-3-46)
The yogi may be definitely aiming at rousing the Kundalini (the
Serpent-power) and sending it up the sushumna (yogic nerve). The
Jnani may not have this as His object, but both achieve the same
result, that of sending the life-force up the sushumna and severing
the chitjadagranthi (the knot binding the sentient and the inert).
Kundalini is another name for Atma or Self, or Sakti. We talk of it
as being inside the body because we conceive ourselves as limited to
the body. But it is in reality both inside and outside, being no
other than the Self, or Sakti. In the jnana marga, when by Self-
enquiry the mind is merged in the Self, the Self, its Sakti or
Kundalini rises automatically. (Gems from Bhagavan - ed. A. Devaraja
Mudaliar; Chapter 13)
[all publications available from Sri Ramanasramam, Tiruvannamalai]