I have taken the time to put this extensive material together because of what I (and many others) perceive to be an increasingly brazen invasion of the House of God by these occultic techniques.  They have no place among us.  Ignorance of their origins cannot remain an excuse for tolerating them.  The following descriptive and testimonial writings are almost entirely from non-Christian, pro-kundalini believers.  The information they provide is more than sufficient to caution every Jesus Christ-confessing and practising Christian to seriously avoid any contact with this (still) growing stream of spiritual activity tolerated (and in some places, greatly encouraged) within large sections of the wider (so-called 'Christian' church).  Brian Rensford  

So, this resource file is not all Christianised discussion, but rather an objective look at what Kundalini is as defined by followers of this yogic practice, plus some analysis of its frightening similarities to Toronto Blessing practices.  The webpage is divided into;

Donning International Encyclopaedic Psychic Dictionary,

June G. Beltzer, Ph.D. Note by Ed Tarkowski (a Christian)

KUNDALINI - (Sanskrit kund, "to burn"; kunda, "to coil or to spiral") a concentrated field of intelligent, cosmic invisible energy absolutely vital to life; beginning in the base of the spine as a man or woman begins to evolve in their first incarnation; fed by the chakras along the spine and by the cosmic energy entering through the feet from the earth; as wisdom is earned in each incarnation, this electromagnetic, ultrapotent energy moves slowly upward through the spine; it is directed by the speed of the soul mind as the soul-mind meets the requirements of each chakra, according to the needs and thinking of the individual; eventually this energy is unspiralled through the medulla oblongata, pituary gland, pineal gland and through the crown chakra to unite with the silver cord; one will ascend to the higher realms to finish evolutionary cycle; kundalini is feminine polarity in nature. Syn. Coiled Serpent, Cosmic Fire, Chi, Bioplasma, Holy Spirit [cf. Appendix 5 Kundalini].

The Holy Spirit is often spoken of as an invisible "IT" who is experienced as energy. The release of the energy, the "anointing," the healing toward a person is announced to the one being prayed with words such as, "There it is! Take it!" The current revival is evolutionary, built on the doctrine that the Church can now be brought to maturity after 2000 years of God's work in it.

WHAT IS KUNDALINI? (from SpiritWeb site)

"Kundalini" literally means coiling, like a snake. In the classical literature of hatha yoga kundalini is described as a coiled serpent at the base of the spine. The image of coiling, like a spring, conveys the sense of untapped potential energy. Perhaps more meaningfully kundalini can be described as a great reservoir of creative energy at the base of the spine. It's not useful to sit with our consciousness fixed in our head and think of kundalini as a foreign force running up and down our spine. Unfortunately the serpent image may serve to accentuate this alien nature of the image. It's more useful to think of kundalini energy as the very foundation of our consciousness so that when kundalini moves through our bodies our consciousness necessarily changes with it.

The concept of kundalini can also be examined from a strictly psychological perspective. From this perspective kundalini can be thought of as a rich source of psychic or libidinous energy in our unconscious. In the classical literature of Kashmir Shaivism kundalini is described in three different manifestations. The first of these is as the universal energy or para-kundalini. The second of these is as the energising function of the body-mind complex or prana-kundalini. The third of these is as consciousness or shakti-kundalini which simultaneously subsumes and intermediates between these two. Ultimately these three forms are the same but understanding these three different forms will help to understand the different manifestations of kundalini. top of page

THE FOLLOWING FAQ'S ARE Extracts from SpiritWeb website of psychic / occult practices.

If kundalini is universal, why do some kundalini yogins seem to have more kundalini-energy than others ??

It's an intriguing question. If an individual's kundalini is viewed as simply a personal reservoir of a cosmic energy then why would one person appear to have more of a reservoir of kundalini energy than another? Nevertheless, this does appear to be the case. This is probably another advantage of the viewpoint that prana (or qi) is the same as kundalini. Some Chinese texts distinguish between ``innate qi'' or ``pre-natal qi'' that one is born with and ``cultivated qi'' that can be developed. Clearly some people simply have more ``innate qi.'' This manifests as a stronger more resilient body and greater general vitality.

Through training those that have relatively weak ``innate qi'' may surpass those who have strong ``innate qi'' but do not train. There are many stories in the Chinese literature of Qi Gong about people who took up Qi Gong in order to improve their poor health became powerful martial artists or great qi gong masters. Of course those that have strong ``innate qi'' and also train their qi may develop the strongest qi of all.

Are there any other traditions that show awareness of kundalini?

If you believe that kundalini is at the basis of spiritual progress then every valid spiritual tradition must have some awareness of kundalini. Christianity (especially Quakerism and Pentecostalism), Sufism, Qabalistic mysticism, alchemy and magick all have literature which demonstrates some awareness of the kundalini process but these traditions are not, to this author's awareness, so open in their exposition of the techniques and so it is hard to judge the depth of understanding latent in these traditions. Nevertheless, the imagery is so unmistakable in these traditions that each must have, at least at one time, been conversant with the movement of kundalini.

So how do I awaken kundalini?

Indirectly kundalini can be awakened by devotion, by selfless service, or by intellectual enquiry. In these paths the blocks to the awakening of kundalini are slowly removed. Occasionally, individuals on these paths will experience a sudden awakening of kundalini but generally because the blocks are slowly and gently removed kundalini-like experiences evolve slowly in these paths.

Broadly speaking there are two radically different direct approaches to awakening kundalini. One approach requires initiation by a guru and relies upon a technique called shaktipat, or ``descent of shakti.'' It is variously called: Siddha Mahayoga, Kundalini Mahayoga or Sahaja Yoga (Spontaneous Yoga). These approaches are treated in the Siddha Mahayoga FAQ. The other approach uses intentional yogic techniques . The styles using intentional techniques include Mantra Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Laya Yoga or Kriya Yoga. These approaches are treated in the Kundalini Yogas FAQ .

Fundamentally the approach of Siddha Mahayoga and the Kundalini Yogas are different. In Siddha Mahayoga the guru awakens the kundalini and after that the core of the practice is the inactive and non-wilful surrender to kundalini. In Kundalini Yogas the will is used to awaken the kundalini and to guide its progress. Clearly these are different approaches. Nevertheless, elements of the each approach occur in the practices of the other. Siddha Mahayogins may use asanas, pranayamas and other hatha yoga practices. On the other hand gurus in Kundalini Yoga may give infusions of shakti to their students to help them at particular points in their practice.

What are the signs of an awakened kundalini?

Briefly, according to classical literature the signs of an awakened kundalini can be grouped into: mental signs, vocal signs and physical signs. Mental signs can include visions that range from ecstatically blissful to terrifyingly frightful. Vocal signs can include spontaneous vocal expressions that range from singing or reciting mantras to make various animals sounds such as growling or chirping. Physical signs include trembling, shaking and spontaneously performing hatha yoga postures and pranayamas.

From a more subjective perspective the more pleasant experiences associated with a kundalini awakening may include: waves of bliss, periods of elation, glimpses of transcendental consciousness. The less pleasant experiences associated with a kundalini awakening may include: trembling, sharp aches in areas associated with the chakras, periods of irrational anxiety, sudden flashes of heat.

Are these methods of awakening kundalini dangerous? What about Gopi Krishna's books?

If we take the psychological perspective and view kundalini as the power latent in our unconscious then it is easy to understand that awakening this force is going to bring a greater amount of unconscious material into our consciousness. Even in the best of circumstances this is likely to be uncomfortable and if an individual is barely coping with his unconscious even under normal circumstances then awakening kundalini may push the individual over into psychosis. This phenomenon has been documented many times.

Forceful methods of awakening kundalini pose additional dangers. Because quite forceful methods can be used to awaken kundalini these techniques themselves are potentially physically and mentally disruptive. An individual named Gopi Krishna awakened his kundalini by doing unguided meditation on his crown chakra. His life after awakening was both blessed by ecstatic bliss and tormented by physical and mental discomfort. Eventually his experience stabilised. He wrote down his experiences in a recently re-released autobiography entitled ``Living with Kundalini.'' Gopi Krishna's autobiography appears to be an honest representation of his experiences but it is only one extreme datapoint in the panorama of experience on kundalini yoga. It represents dangers in forceful unguided practice but it is not representative of a typical practitioner's experience.

But even if kundalini is dangerous, isn't it a faster way to enlightenment?

First of all it may be useful to observe that there is no technique currently known on earth that appears to be rapidly catapulting large number of individuals toward enlightenment. Because kundalini yogas deal so directly with a powerful enlightening force it seems natural that they would be ``faster'', but there appears to be a lot of tortoise and hare phenomena at work with newbie kundalini yogins. Many people begin kundalini yogas, have strong initial experiences and then become frightened. Many who persevere through this initial phase become distracted by the energy and focus on temporal and phenomenal applications of the energy.

What is shaktipat?

``Shakti'' is another word for kundalini and ``pat'' means to descend. Shaktipat is a method by which an individual's kundalini is awakened by the direct intervention of a guru. There are several varieties of shaktipat depending on the facility of the guru and the receptiveness of the disciple.

It is probably not useful to try to resurrect the nine or more classifications of shaktipat used in the classical literature here. Practically speaking shaktipat is known by its results: the awakening of the student's kundalini.

There are also a variety of mechanisms for conveying shaktipat. These include: by glance, by word or mantra, by touch or simply by intention.

How does shaktipat work? If kundalini awakening is so important how can someone else do it for you? How could a guru overcome my karma?

There is a rich literature exploring this point but a couple analogies may help more. In the classical literature, such as the works of tantric scholar Abhinavagupta, shaktipat is seen as able to occur when one's positive and negative karmas reach a sort of equilibrium.

Regarding the question as to how a guru is able to overcome the karma of a disciple, the Indian scholar Abhinavagupta argues that the ability to receive shaktipat is the result of something of a neutralisation of positive and negative karmas. He also investigates the common phenomena that some individuals experience shaktipat more deeply than others. One might naturally further ask: ``If shaktipat is a manifestation of grace then why would anyone person experience shaktipat more deeply than another?''

These questions deserve deeper enquiry but I personally find a couple analogies helpful. Ordinarily it takes a long time to create a fire by rubbing sticks together but if someone else already has a fire then that fire can be used to ignite another fire. Similarly to make a magnet naturally may require thousands of years but if one already has a magnet then a metal can easily be magnetised using the magnet.

Who can give shaktipat?

To continue the analogy, in theory ``anyone on fire'' can give shaktipat, i.e. anyone who's kundalini is already awakened. The more relevant question is: ``Who should give shaktipat?'' There are many opinions on this but at the very least the conveyer of shaktipat should be aware of the movements of shakti in his own body and in the body of the disciple. Giving shaktipat is a science and it is helpful, if not essential, to be instructed in that science. The classical works of Abhinavagupta and the living oral tradition of contemporary masters, such as Swami Shivom Tirth, both indicate that improperly practiced shaktipat initiation can be dangerous both to the disciple to the guru and to the disciple. Using the analogy again, it is easier to light a fire than to light it in such a way that it has a carefully managed burning.

Therefore, it is desirable that the guru be empowered to give shaktipat by his own guru and has been trained in an unbroken lineage back to a great master who was fully aware of the science of shaktipat. In this way some quality control is maintained.

Who can receive shaktipat?

There are even more opinions on this. Some gurus take an attitude of: ``Initiate them all and let shakti sort them out.'' Traditionally teachers were quite selective about who received shaktipat. Sometimes shaktipat was only given to one or two disciples in a generation. Among gurus these days you can see these two extremes of opinion and many other gradations in between. What is clear that some people who have received shaktipat from well-known gurus have apparently only manifested greater neuroses and unhappiness in their lives as a result. See the questions regarding kriyas below.

Are all shaktipat initiations the same?

There are many ways of classifying shaktipat initiations but a method used by Swami Vishnu Tirth is very simple and clear. In shaktopaya initiations the kundalini shakti of the disciple is awakened by the guru. In shambhavopaya initiations the kundalini shakti of the disciple is awakened and led up through the bodies energy centres bringing a glimpse of the highest realisation. Due to the current state of disciples, and contemporary gurus, almost all initiations can be termed shaktopaya initiations.

Some contemporary yoga teachers and gurus lump a wide variety of phenomenon under the term ``shaktipat.'' For example, I have seen teachers of Kriya Yoga infuse their students with their shakti at various stages of the student's practice with the purpose of eliminating blocks in the student's channels. These teachers called this practice ``shaktipat initiation.'' According to the tradition of Siddha Mahayoga such infusions are not considered ``shaktipat initiations'' because neither their aim or their result is to awaken kundalini. Moreover, the resulting practices are not Siddha Mahayoga because after these infusions of shakti the student returns to their original practice, such as Kriya Yoga.

Can one receive shaktipat just by being in the presence of those with awakened shakti?

There is no doubt that shakti is contagious. The mere presence of a single being whose shakti is strongly active can awaken the shakti of those around him. Similarly being in the presence of many people whose shakti is awakened to some degree can awaken one's own shakti.

So what happens after shaktipat? What's the practice of Siddha Mahayoga?

The unique perspective of Siddha Mahayoga is that because kundalini is an intelligent force it will, upon awakening, naturally direct the practice of the student. All that is required is that the student completely surrender to this force. As a result of kundalini's unfoldment spontaneous purifying movements, called kriyas will occur. In addition the practices of Hatha, Laya and Raja Yoga will naturally manifest. Because all other yogas naturally manifest as a result of kundalini awakening this yoga is called ``Mahayoga'' or ``great yoga.'' Because the kundalini awakening is induced by a perfected individual or ``Siddha'' this yoga is called ``Siddha Mahayoga.'' Because all other yogas and their results occur spontaneously (``sahaja'') and without effort this yoga is also called ``Sahaja Yoga.''

Even to reach the point of simply surrendering to shakti takes some practice for people. Some aids in cultivating surrender are chanting and selfless service. These practices open the heart and make one more susceptible to the influence of shakti.

What are kriyas?

Kriyas, literally ``activities'', are spontaneous movements that occur after kundalini awakening. These include bodily activities such as trembling, shaking and spontaneous yoga postures; vocal activities such as yelling, or spontaneous chanting and mental activities such as visions. These kriyas eliminate the blocks to kundalini rising within the spine or central channel.

How do kriyas purify one's consciousness?

Blocks, known as samskaras or impressions, do not just obstruct kundalini, but they embody attachments, conceptions and other mental afflictions that limit the freedom of our consciousness. Left unattended these attachments lead to actions which only reinforce the attachment. For example if we have impressions of anger then we will manifest anger in our activities which only reinforce our impressions. As kundalini rises it will purify the anger and as a result of the purification process the kriyas will occur. Speaking of kundalini as an intelligent force which manifests its intelligence in particular activities, such as spontaneous yoga postures, to purify the blocks to its progress may sound a little mystical but there is a less mystical way of understanding what that means.

In our common language there are many colloquial phrases which allude to the natural state of our body-mind as being ``straight'' or ``upright'' and the unnatural state being ``kinky'' or ``entangled.'' We say positively: ``He's an upright individual.'' ``She's as straight as an arrow.'' We say negatively: ``He's too kinky. He's all tangled up in himself.'' ``She's tangled up in knots.'' There seems to be some subtle awareness of the value of straightness. So it seems to be a good metaphor to view our mind-body continuum as a garden hose and the kundalini as water running through it. If you have a moderately tangled garden house a simple way of making it straight is to increase the pressure of water through it. As you do so the hose will naturally flip around to straighten itself. To an observer it might seem as though the hose itself were intelligent in the way it straightens itself and in fact because the motion of the hose is governed by physical laws it does reflect a deep intelligence.

In the same way we don't need to think of the kundalini as an independent autonomous force cogitating as to what asana, pranayama or verbal activity might purify a block inside us. It seems more useful to think of kundalini as a natural intelligent force whose natural movement untangles the knots which limit its expression.

The garden hose analogy makes another point clear as well. Imagine what happens if the hose is very tangled. Turning up the water pressure may be a very dramatic and perhaps even counter-productive process. This seems to be what is happening in a number of cases where individuals, after receiving shaktipat, may have severe mental breakdowns. Thus it does seem to be important for individuals to have a certain level of stability and preparation before receiving shaktipat initiation.

Are these kriyas some sort of self-hypnosis or New Age phenomenon?

This yoga is at least 1000 years old and is documented in the Kularnava Tantra and in the works of the great Tantric scholar Abhinvagupta and particular forms of kriyas can be found there. Some popular yogis and scholars have doubted the authenticity of this path but none who have done so show any familiarity with the classical literature of this tradition. This approach has gone under many names such as siddha yoga, sahaja yoga, mahayoga or siddha mahayoga. Similar phenomena to kriyas also occur among some Qi Gong students. Spontaneous trembling, shaking, verbal noises, and body movements are common there as well.

Nevertheless gatherings of siddha mahayoga practitioners share many of the same characteristics of any other group gathering. Some people will try to fit in by emulating the behavior of those around them. There is no doubt that some people may feel the need to affect kriyas and others will accentuate kriyas that they have. This may not even be conscious behavior. Gurus of this yoga must try to maintain a balance between interfering with the activity of the kundalini as manifested in the kriyas and encouraging the affectation of kriyas because kriyas are seen as ``progress.'' Ultimately the validity of any spiritual tradition rests in its ability to transform the beings of its followers. The real value of siddha mahayoga is in transforming the minds of those who practice it.

Haven't a number of well-known teachers criticized kriyas? Don't they say that kundalini is a force that needs control?

Some teachers do speak that way. For example the well known kundalini yoga teacher, Yogi Bhajan, apparently called the process of experiencing kriyas ``jerk yoga.'' Tibetan practitioners of gTummo yoga, Indian practitioners of kriya yoga and other noted authorities on the kundalini yoga process have clearly emphasized to me the importance of carefully controlling the kundalini process and not allowing the kundalini to act uncontrollably. Their sincere words cast doubt on my practice for many years.

So why do these teachers say these things? To be an adept of kundalini yoga practices does not imply that you are omniscient. All the information that people like Yogi Bhajan are really conveying is that in their experience in their style of practicing kundalini yoga the kundalini is controlled. I do not believe that they have special insight into other alternative ways of approaching the practice of kundalini yoga. Some people have quite frightening movements in meditation and without prior experience of kriyas the natural reaction is that such a person will almost certainly become physically or mentally unstable. Experienced masters of Siddha Mahayoga, such as Swami Shivom Tirth, have seen it all before and their simple counsel is: ``Do not resist kriyas in any way.''

For the individual who does surrender to the kriyas of kundalini shakti the perspective is radically different from the view espoused by teachers such as Yogi Bhajan. For the individual who spontaneously and effortlessly performs kriyas such as intricate pranayamas, asanas and bandhas during their meditation the intentional exercises of the Hatha yogin are a merely a clumsy mockery of the subtle activity of kundalini. In fact some claim that the entire corpus of Hatha yoga, as well as many of the Qi Gong exercises are simply imitations and classifications of the spontaneous movements of the Siddha Mahayogin.

What is the precise role of the guru in Siddha Mahayoga?

The role of the guru is laid out in the text the Shiva Sutras where it says ``gururupaya''; the guru is the means. Because it is the guru who awakens your kundalini the guru is given great reverence in this tradition. The awakening of kundalini that many people struggle, with effort and danger, to accomplish in a lifetime a true guru can accomplish in a few seconds. Nevertheless the role of a guru is to awaken the kundalini within you; then the practice takes place between you and your kundalini. The guru is a facilitator in the process of awakening kundalini not an ongoing intermediary between the disciple and kundalini.

With respect to the guru the classical Shaivist literature takes an especially pragmatic attitude. Classical literature of Shaivism, such as the Shiva Purana, states that if after one year the disciple has not arrived at some direct inner experience through the agency of the guru then there is no fault in seeking another guru. What I read from this is that this path is not one of years of wondering : ``Is something happening?'' but a practical approach in which one should, through the grace of the guru, be brought into direct experience of kundalini.. top of page --

KUNDALINI AWAKENING Account by Ruth Trimble

About the Author; I was born in England and came to the United States in the 70's, living in Dallas, getting married and ending up in Hawaii. In England I had lived a very quiet, rural life, wandering in meadows of cowslips and bluebells, writing poetry and having mystical experiences. I had always been close to Jesus. When I was 13 I begged for enlightenment and He appeared to me as a light from my eye, and said He would come for me again, and I should not worry. Twenty years later in a Muktananda meditation center in Hawaii, I was given shakipat by Muktananda. Although I did not understand what had happened to me then, I came to understand that I had been initiated into a privileged group with the opportunity of enlightenment. I felt that Jesus kept his promise. I am truly grateful to my teachers for their care, love and continued presences in my life. I offer all you read here to my teachers as some small repayment for the inestimable gift given to me.

When Rob told me my Kundalini had been awakened, I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. The awakening of Kundalini is a spiritual awakening, a major step towards realisation of the divine. It is, in fact, a great boon, a great blessing and a magical gift. According to Swami Prajananda, "The main purpose of its awakening in a seeker is to enable him to attain Godhood" (Muktananda, Kundalini 9). Just after my awakening that night, I certainly knew something divine had happened to me. This bliss was to become the beginning of a transformation process that was very dramatic for the two years which followed; it continues to this day in a much more subtle manner.

It is apparent now according to Lee Sannella, a psychiatrist who has written a seminal work on what he calls "a form of psycho-spiritual energy" ( 8) the Kundalini Shakti, that the phenomena of the process of psycho-spiritual transformation...are constant and universal, transcending personal and cultural differences" (23). I was participating in a universal human experience of transcendence which took over my life at this time. According to his research Kundalini is integral to the teachings of "Tibetan Buddhism, Chinese Taoism," some "American Indian tribes, and ...even of the Bushmen of Africa." It was "most carefully studied and conceptually elaborated" in Hindu India (8).

Although the word Kundalini may appear strange for many readers and the concept of it even incomprehensible to the Western mind, in fact it is closer to each person than his own heart. Kundalini is closer than the breath in the body for it is the breather and the breath. In its dormant form it is the very essence of all life. Kundalini is also a Goddess of immense power, often called Kundalini Shakti. It is She who is the manifest universe, and when She wakens, She will sweep one up in Her tremendous passion to reunite with Her Lord, Shiva--the unmanifest --in order to dance once again in his arms.

Fortunately, there is a familiar symbol of it in Western culture. The symbol for medicine and a common logo on ambulances is the caduceus, the rod with two snakes coiled around it in spirals. At the top are two wings. Images of Mercury or Hermes show him with this in his hand. That is the symbolic representation of Kundalini. The caduceus is a symbol of healing, health and transformation.

The caduceus' central rod represents the central column akin to the spine in the physical body called sushumna (a Sanskrit word with no equivalent word in English). No surgeon will find this sushumna as it is part of the subtle body. Irving states the "kundalini process occurs in what is sometimes called the etheric, or subtle (non-physical) body...comprised of nerve fibres not visible to the naked eye"(10). The sushumna, our caduceus' rod, parallels the spinal column from the base of the body to the base of the skull. Just as the spinal column is a hollow structure that protects the spinal cord of the central nervous system, so the sushumna is a hollow structure that offers an ascending tube for the Kundalini, or light force and within it are three channels.

Encarta item - Caduceus, symbolic staff surmounted by two wings and entwined with two snakes. Among the ancient Greeks the caduceus was carried by heralds and ambassadors as a badge of office and a mark of personal inviolability, because it was the symbol of Hermes, the messenger of the gods. According to Book IV of Virgil's Aeneid, the Greek god Apollo gave the staff to Hermes in return for the lyre. In Roman mythology the symbol is associated with the god Mercury. The staff of Asclepius, the Greek god of healing, which was entwined by a single snake, was also called a caduceus. The caduceus has been adopted as a symbol by the medical profession; it is also the emblem of the medical branches of the United States Army and Navy.

BGR Note - the connection between the kundalini symbol and Hermes, the (prophetic) messenger of the gods needs to be more adequately explored. This seems, at first sight, to have a strong parallel between the prophetic intertwining with the (fire) Toronto Blessing / Kundalini power emphasis.

The sushumna is identified with the planet Mercury and the qualities of liquid mercury, quicksilver, and volatility perhaps because the Kundalini within the sushumna appears like liquid light and has characteristics of lightning. People who meditate, yogis, mystics and those who study the Oriental martial arts based upon Chi or Ki, are able to see this light. The great yoga masters were able to assist their chelas, disciples, with the ascent of the Kundalini because they could see where it was blocked or stuck, and send their own psychic power to aid in releasing it. Thus the importance of an enlightened master during this experience.

The caduceus' two snake-like tubes, which spiral three and a half times each around the central rod, meet and cross at the sushumna in their ascent. They represent two side channels of the flow of the awakened Kundalini energy, called ida and pingala (no English equivalent). The channel, ida, is identified with the left side, negatively charged, feminine side of the body, ending above the right nostril and has characteristics of coolness related to the moon; whereas, pingala, is identified with the right side, positively charged, masculine side and ends above the left nostril and has characteristics of heat related to the sun (Avalon 110-112).

The two channels are also seen as connected to the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems which enervate the organs of the body (Beattie, "Alchemy" 27-29), and they also have a connection to the breath (Muktananda, Kundalini 28). When the Kundalini rises through only one of these channels and not through both, madness can easily result. The story of Gopi Krishna in his autobiography "Living with Kundalini" is grim testimony to this painful experience. His awakening Kundalini travelled only through the pingala, the fire channel, in its ascent, causing him to suffer interminably. It was only when,. after enormous suffering, he was able to open the ida channel, the cooling side, that he was restored physically and mentally.

According to Muktananda, the Kundalini has two aspects: one manifests the world as we know it, the outer form or physical and is pervasive. In China they call this outer cosmic energy, Chi, in Japan Ki, in India it is Prana, and the nearest to it in the West is Holy Spirit (Muktandanda, Kundalini 13). We have a limited form of Kundalini energy running through our bodies the moment we are conceived or we should not be able to move our bodies or live - it is indeed the "life force." It is this outer energy we see in the energetic meridians that are used in acupuncture. It is this energy that pervades and enervates the world as we see it.

The hidden, or inner form of Kundalini is usually asleep in a small "bulb" of energy that is stored at the base of the spine. According to Bonnie Greenwell, (Energies of Transformation): ".. after Kundalini enters the foetus and activates the pranic system the residual energy coils 3 1/2 times at the base of the spine, and goes into a dormant state. The mind becomes engaged in the process of living, and we identify with our bodies, our genetic heritage and our mental, sensate and emotional processes, separating from any awareness of the Self, or the Soul or the source of our existence, however one wishes to identify it. "(22)

So when the inner Kundalini is awake it turns us inward to our soul and to our source - the Divine. It offers an opportunity to uncover who we are, where we come from and where our home is. It is "the beginning of the spiritual journey" that enables us to "experience the inner, spiritual world" (Muktandanda, Kundalini 8). As Gopi Krishna, the foremost writer on the subject, states: "There is a mechanism in the human body--psycho physiological mechanism, known as kundalini, which is the source from which inspiration, revelation and psychic gifts originate. Every person who is psychic, a genius, or an enlightened sage, has an awakened kundalini to a greater or lesser extent" (Irving 179).

How this awakening takes place is mysterious and much sought after by yogis. According to Muktananda, the most frequent place of awakening is the base or root of the spine (18). As the inner Kundalini is awakened, it uncoils and ascends like a snake, so that is why often it is called "serpent power." This bulb of Kundalini energy can be awakened through intense devotion to God, repetition of mantra and various yogic practices and, in my case, shaktipat, the Guru's touch (Muktananda, Kundalini 18).

So as I sat in that meditation center a happy confluence of circumstances occurred to give me this awakening. I was karmically ready, and I had reached a state of "inner maturation" by choosing a moral high road that suppressed the wild spirit within, so I had to release Mercury, "the barbaric spirit" (Mindell, Working 59). I was chanting a mantra, a classic device for bringing the two sides of the brain into alignment. I was in a meditation center where Muktananda's teachings were put into practice and his spirit was invoked. It was July 13, 1979, always my lucky number.

According to Swami Vishnu Tirtha in Devatma Shakti (Kundalini): Divine Power, "The astral force [Kundalini] can also be roused by the magnetic influence of other persons. Such great personalities have their prana and mind on a higher potentiality and when approached they tend to raise the prana of others from a lower potentiality to a higher one. The process may be compared with the flow of an electric current... [that] depends wholly on the will of the master mind. "(77).

I was ready for initiation by a realized being into the realms of my inner and higher self. Muktananda explains initiation thus: "The tradition of initiation exists in every path and in every sect. However, the true initiation is Shaktipat, the inner awakening by which the disciple can have a super conscious vision of the Absolute, and through which, in time, he comes to experience his identity with God. "(19)

Swami Vishnu Tirtha says that Shaktipat is "the process of spiritualising a man with the charge of psychic force....not to be confused with mesmerism or hypnotism" because it is "everlasting and elevating" (77). I was fortunate to be the recipient of shaktipat by Swami Muktananda, a "Satguru" from India who toured the United States and the world in the 70's. This set me on a path of Siddha Yoga, the yoga that "can be acquired only through the favour of a perfect master (Siddha Guru) without any effort on the part of the initiated" (Tirtha 79).

No more would I be creating karma, and spinning on the wheel of constant incarnations. Swami Vishnu Tirtha explains the awakening Kundalini as the "dynamic life-principle" that is the true evolution of man. Until awakening, man is in a state of involution, rather than evolution. He views involution as a static process of reincarnating again and again where there is gradual psychological development. The true meaning of evolution for him is when man is transmuted into his full God self(26).

"It is the human body wherein the dynamic life-principle after the involuntary process has been worked out, rests asleep as residual power known to the yogins as kundalini and possesses full potentiality of evolving or uncoiling the folds of involution step by step and finally merging into the Absolute. When this evolutionary turn is taken, the coiled serpent power is said to have awakened... Then before long even within the span of this very life complete emancipation is possible"(26).

When the Kundalini awakens it is a dramatic transformational force, a white, quicksilver, fluid light that flows through the nadis, nerve channels of the body, rising up from the base of the spine through the sushumna and spinning chakras or energy centres as it rises. Those who are very sensitive can actually feel and even see the light force rising in the body. At times the experience is blissful and erotic, at other times it can bring up latent anger or rage. The chakras are intersections, like relay stations, which control the nerves in their respective sections of the body and each have psychologically distinctive characteristics . Major chakras control the nerves related to the five different sections of the spine: (1) coccyx - muladhara; (2) sacrum svadhistana, (3) lumbar- manipura, (4) dorsal - anahata and (5) cervical vishuddha (Avalon 104). Above the throat chakra, vishuddha, is the ajna chakra at the third eye, or point between the eyebrows, and the sahasrara at the crown of the head.

There are seven clearly defined chakras in most diagrams of the chakra system although there are other minor ones and some outside of the body. Each lower chakra forms a portal to energies of the next highest one. In the sacred literature, there are many varying features such as gods, goddesses, symbols, syllables, mantras, colours and characteristics of each chakra related to a level of spiritual attainment. Barbara Ann Brennan in Hands of Light includes clear visual diagrams of where the chakras are located, what they look like, their colours, and a good description of how they operate psychologically.

As the mercurial fluid of light spins these chakra wheels in the body it cleans out the old impressions (samskaras) of past lives, the Kundalini ascends the sushumna, creating varying experiences of past and present life traumas.

"Within the sushumna is a subtle nadi called chitrini which is the channel for the movement of the Kundalini.... Whatever thoughts one has come from this central nadi, and all one's karmas and impressions from many lives are lodged here". (Muktananda, Kundalini 29).

As the shining Kundalini moves up the central channel it cleanses out "blocks" in the emotional mental, and subtle body. How this works is explained by Barbara Brennan: "As a human being matures and the chakras develop, each represents the psychological patterns evolving in the individual's life. Most of us react to unpleasant experiences by blocking our feelings and stopping a great deal of our natural energy flow. This affects the development and maturation of the chakras, resulting in inhibition of a fully balanced psychological function....Eventually, a physical problem will very likely result....The chakras become "blocked," or clogged with stagnated energy, spin irregularly, or backwards (counterclockwise) and even, in the case of disease, become severely distorted or torn"(71).

Thus this cleansing, divine light snakes its way up through the subtle nerve threads of the body and expels the darkness of the past, unknotting any traumas that are caught in the memory of the body, so that a person ceases to be limited by past life, present life traumas or old thought forms. The Kundalini expels the ghouls and fears of the subconscious, as past life agonies and griefs appear briefly, taking a last turn on the stage of opposites before the Kundalini transmutes them into light. It is an opportunity to become new or reborn. The gift the genie gave to the student in Grimm's Fairy Tale of changing iron into silver is this ability to change the sorrow and evil of past existences into light and transcendence. It is the philosopher's stone, the alchemical process in man.

It would appear to be an event for celebration. However, the nature of the cleansing process creates strange behavior that might make the person weep and laugh within minutes, might make him leap over a tall fence, go spinning wildly to unknown music, or leave his comfortable life for the forest; the newly awakened person can appear insane to others. Where the Kundalini energy encounters a "block" (a resistance to flow) strange body movements or emotions called kriyas occur . It is these kriyas which cause most of the problems of the awakening.

The awakened soul needs a guide who himself has travelled the same road and emerged out of it to the state of advancement. This is no path for the unaided. The progress of the ascent can be self-modulated to some extent, but when the enthusiasm for transcendence is intense, sometimes the cleansing experiences come too fast. This then becomes a "spiritual emergency," a crisis of overload: too much, too fast. The logical mind and other parts of the personality cannot process the experiences, and falls into a state of confusion. The process can be gravely misunderstood both by the person experiencing it and caretakers.

Other problems can be caused when the person raises Kundalini accidentally, such as in childbirth. The Kundalini may rise through the wrong channels. It may rise not through the sushumna, but through either the pingala or the ida channels creating imbalances in the person experiencing these. An account of such an event can be found in Gopi Krishna's biography, "Living with Kundalini." As he so clearly recounts, there is no one to ask for help. No one can understand the incredible pain and confusion which can take place as the constructs of the ego, the defences and conditionings are burned away. For no person is the ascent easy since all the latent fears, agonies, hatreds and such of all ones' past lives are caught in our tissues and these will be eased out by this flowing light (Kundalini) in order that one become "new" - literally reborn. 'Swami Muktananda gives very dramatic evidence of his awakening process in "Play of Consciousness" and many other saints and beings have reported their process.

The Kundalini is all powerful, unstoppable, erotic, terrifying yet most beautiful. Her love is "tough" love, without sentimentality or mercy. She is our fierce mother Goddess. I cannot say I love Her for that implies a duality, that I am separate from Her. The Goddess IS me so closely that I do not even feel her as an entity. She is the movement of my fingers on the keys of my computer and the thought that comes into my mind. I have no need to seek her. She is ever present. She loves truth and only responds to it. She melts my ego into a vapour which can be agony, yet if I surrender to Her, She always brings me great peace. She dissolves the world. She is my creativity. She is the beauty in my eyes. She is the breath that breathes me. She is the presence of the cosmic One within me. And She cannot be defined in words. She is an experience only. top of page --

ADDITIONAL FAQ'S FROM SPIRITWEB SITE

Can I use kundalini yoga simply to improve my health?

Yoga exercises which were traditionally used to purify the body in preparation for awakening the kundalini can also be used simply to improve the health. To practice techniques aimed at actively awakening kundalini with the goal of simply improving your health seems to be a misuse of these powerful techniques.

There are those that teach kundalini yoga principally emphasizing its benefits on health without much discussion of the spiritual benefits. This is how hatha yoga has been taught in the west for some time. The affect of this approach depends on the attitude of the student. There is certainly nothing wrong with trying to improve your health but there is a tension between awakening an energy that will ultimately burn up the ego and trying to shape that energy to simply fulfil an ego-oriented motive.

Is Chinese qi gong a kind of kundalini yoga?

If there is any contemporary teaching that is even more diverse in approach than kundalini yoga it must be qi gong. As a result it is hard to compare kundalini yoga to qi gong. From my limited exposure to qi gong it is clear there are many qi gong practices that are identical to kundalini yoga practices. What is also clear is that may qi gong practitioners have reported experiences that are identical to those of kundalini yogins. In so far as each of these practices aims at eliminating blocks to the qi/prana energy then they share a common ground.

There have been many scandals among kundalini yoga teachers - particularly sexual scandals. Is there a correlation between sexual scandals and kundalini yoga practice?

There have been scandals regarding the teachers of many paths, both spiritual and non-spiritual ; however, it is probably fair to say that kundalini yogins have had more than their share. Since the first publication of these frequently-asked-questions in 1994 more than one well-known kundalini yoga teacher has been implicated in having clandestine affairs with students and has been asked to step down from his position as spiritual leader as a result.

An advanced kundalini yogin is typically a powerful charismatic individual who has the ability to directly influence the minds of others. Westerners often mistake this power as a sign of enlightenment and allow such teachers liberties as a result.

In addition it is quite common for kundalini yoga to temporarily accentuate the sex drive. This period requires extra discipline. Finally, kundalini yoga is closely associated with tantrism and sex is often used in conjunction with tantric practice. Where sex is used there is of course the opportunity for misuse or abuse.

If my kundalini is awakened will I need to change my lifestyle?

It's hard to have your cake and eat it too. If you awaken kundalini in order to change and enrich your life it's reasonable to expect you may need to change your lifestyle as a result. The recommendations of both classical literature and experience is that sleep and diet will need to be moderated otherwise severe discomfort may arise. Furthermore without moderating sexual activity and physical work it will be hard to experience much success with kundalini. The extent that these elements of your life need to change depends on the nature of the individual. While genuine mental imbalances arising from kundalini are rare nearly every kundalini yogin will find periods when one needs to be especially sensitive to needs for sleep, quiet and diet.

What is the difference between prana and kundalini? What is the difference between qi (or chi) and kundalini?

First let us try to relate to concepts from the same tradition - prana and kundalini. Prana has been translated as the ``vital breath'' and ``bio-energetic motility''; it is associated with maintaining the functioning of the mind and body. Kundalini, in its form as prana-kundalini, is identical to prana ; however, Kundalini also has a manifestations as consciousness and a as a unifying cosmic energy. One could ascribe these same aspects to prana as well so past a certain point these become distinctions without differences.

From the subjective standpoint of an individual actually experiencing the awakening of kundalini I have found three completely different opinions:

The first opinion is that a pranic awakening is only a prelude to a full kundalini awakening. Tibetan yogins that I have encountered consider the activation of prana (Tibetan: rlung) as merely a prerequisite for the activation of kundalini (Tibetan: gTummo). What's attractive about this viewpoint is that it explains the difference between the experience of simply having pleasant sensations in the spine and the much more powerful experience of having a ``freight-train''-like full kundalini experience. -

The second opinion, espoused by Swami Shivom Tirth for example, is that prana and kundalini are absolutely equivalent and that it is not meaningful in any way to describe a difference between kundalini rising and prana rising. When posed with question as to how to distinguish between pleasant sensations that show some pranic-activity in the spine and the much more powerful experience Swami Shivom Tirth said that the difference is not in the nature of the activity but in the consciousness that observes it. If the consciousness that experiences the pranic activity is seated within the spine (or more correctly, the central channel, known as the sushumna), then the experience is felt much more powerfully.

The third opinion, espoused by the modern hatha yogin, Desikaran, is that pranic awakening is the true experience to be aimed for and kundalini is actually an obstruction. Desikaran sees the kundalini as a block in the central channel and thus the kundalini must be ``killed'' to make way for the prana. This is the most unusual view of the three.

The Chinese concept of qi (or chi) can be safely identified with the Indian concept of prana. If all this seems confusing - don't worry, you're in good company. My conclusion is that these are all different terminologies for dealing with a common set of experiences. Any one of these viewpoints is adequate for describing the full range of experiences. What is probably more relevant is to distinguish two different experiences which are often confused. In one an individual experiences some pleasant energising electric energy running along the spine. This experience itself brings about a wide range of experiences and results in vitality and sensitivity. Another very distinct experience is the experience of kundalini entering the sushumna and rising up the spine. As soon as kundalini enters the sushumna this experience will completely overwhelm ordinary waking consciousness. From the moment that kundalini enters the sushumna there will no longer be a distinction between the subjective consciousness which experiences and the object of experience. This experience much more profoundly transfigures consciousness.

What does kundalini have to do with spiritual enlightenment? What is the goal of kundalini yoga?

First we need a few concepts: In yogic anatomy the sushumna is the central channel and conduit for the kundalini energy that runs along our spine and up to the crown of our head. Along this channel are placed additional channel networks called chakras. These chakras are associated with major aspects of our anatomy - for example our throat, heart, solar plexus, and in turn these aspects of our anatomy are related to aspects of our human nature. According to the literature of kundalini yoga our experience of these centres is limited due to knots which restrict the flow of energy into these centres. Three knots are particularly important. The knot of Brahma which restricts the center at the base of the spine. The knot of Vishnu which restricts the heart center and the knot of Rudra which restricts the center between the eyebrows. These knots form an important framework in yogic thinking and the stages toward enlightenment are articulated in terms of breaking through these knots in the yogic classic the Hatha Yoga Pradipika as well as in some of the yoga upanishads. Specifically, four stages of progress are described: arambha, ghata, parichaya and nishpatti.

Arambha is associated with breaking the knot of Brahma and the awakening of kundalini. Ghata is associated with breaking the knot of Vishnu and with internal absorption. Parichaya the absorption deepens and in nishpatti the knot of Rudra is pierced and the kundalini may ascend to the center at the crown of the head. In this state transcendence is integrated and, according to the yogic literature, the yogi has nothing more to attain.

Putting these elaborate physiological descriptions aside, the goal of kundalini yoga is the same as the goal of any legitimate spiritual practice: To be liberated from the limited bounds of the self-centered and alienated ego. In kundalini yoga this is associated with internal manifestations of the kundalini but the external manifestations should be similar to any other legitimate spiritual practice.

The advantages and disadvantages of using effort, in kundalini yogas, as opposed to the grace of the guru, in siddha mahayoga, to awaken kundalini?

Since every practitioner brings his own unique inclinations and obstacles to the practice of yoga it is very hard to generalise on this point. In terms of actually awakening kundalini gurus of Siddha Mahayoga claim that the kundalini is more easily and reliably awakened by the grace of the guru than by individual effort. In my limited experience I would agree. with this assertion. While not every long-term student of either practice necessarily shows signs of kundalini awakening it is amazing how many people have had instant awakenings of kundalini through initiation from siddha gurus.

In terms of encountering difficulties along the path the siddha gurus would also claim that fewer problems due to kundalini awakening, such as mental imbalance, are encountered by students of Siddha Mahayoga. Here I think the results are mixed. It seems to me that the guidance of the teacher in either Siddha Mahayoga or Kundalini Yoga is more a determining factor than which style of kundalini practice is employed.

Generally speaking each style of practice has its strengths and weakness. The strength of Siddha Mahayoga is the ease with which it awakens the kundalini. The weakness is that because the kundalini is so easily awakened by the guru students of Siddha Mahayoga often have completely undisciplined personal meditation practices. Time is spent instead to trying to recreate some of their initial experiences by following the guru around hoping for his or her grace Some people spend 20 or more years in this manner without ever developing an inner core of practice or experience.

The strength of the family of Kundalini Yogas is that the progress is at least apparently more under the control of the student of the yoga. These students seem more likely to have disciplined personal practices and more of an understanding of how the practice relates to their own experience. Unfortunately for some students this leads to a fairly egotistical approach to their practice and ultimately the kundalini energy is used to bolster the ego rather than to merge the ego in bliss. top of page --

COMPARISON BETWEEN KUNDALINI PRACTICE AND THE TORONTO BLESSING

Written by Antti Huima in August 1996 (http://www.niksula.cs.hut.fi/~ahuima/toronto/), based on the Kundalini FAQ, the Siddha Mahayoga FAQ, and general knowledge about the so-called Toronto Blessing movement. The Kundalini FAQ's are found from http://www.spiritweb.org.

Abstract. The occult practice of Kundalini [energy] and the Toronto Blessing experience are compared. It is disturbing to note how the at least 1000-years old Kundalini and the contemporary Toronto movement are almost identical in at least the following aspects:

  1. the both involve the very same bodily manifestations

  2. the both are distributed in the very same way, namely by a touch or by some other method from one already ``in fire'', the phenomena being very contagious.

  3. the reason for the bodily manifestations is explained in the both to be the very same. Also the genuineness of the experience is based on identical proofs.

  4. the both require the same initial mental etc. conditions for one receiving the power

  5. the both consider the transfer of the power to be a central issue and subject to scientific considerations

Purpose. The sole purpose of this document is to warn the individual believers and to encourage them to seek for spiritual wisdom to make a distinction between what is from God and what is not.

As Christians, we must not accept ``spiritual'' experiences and teachings that are not from Bible but from occultic traditions.

It is clear that the Devil tries to mimic the genuine works of God. However, God does not try to mimic the works of the Devil. If there are experiences and practices that are not supported by the God but are common in non-Christian spiritual traditions we should reject them as they are certainly counterfeits.

Note. This document is laid in two columns. The leftmost column contains quotes from the documents describing Kundalini. The rightmost column contains the comments of the author, pointing to the indifference between the Kundalini and Toronto Blessing experiences.

Kundalini is at least 1000 years old occult practice. It involves bodily manifestations as a consequence for the ``awakening of an individual's kundalini'' and is related to, for example, Qi Gong (a Chinese occultic tradition).

KUNDALINI TORONTO BLESSING

Briefly, according to classical literature the signs of an awakened kundalini can be grouped into: mental signs, vocal signs and physical signs. Mental signs can include visions that range from ecstatically blissful to terrifyingly frightful. Vocal signs can include spontaneous vocal expressions that range from singing or reciting mantras to make various animals sounds such as growling or chirping. Physical signs include trembling, shaking and spontaneously performing hatha yoga postures and pranayamas.

From a more subjective perspective the more pleasant experiences associated with a kundalini awakening may include: waves of bliss, periods of elation, glimpses of transcendental consciousness. The less pleasant experiences associated with a kundalini awakening may include: trembling, sharp aches in areas associated with the chakras, periods of irrational anxiety, sudden flashes of heat.

[Kundalini FAQ: What are the signs of an awakened kundalini?]

The Kundalini FAQ mentions the following manifestations: singing, reciting mantras, animal sounds, trembling, shaking, yoga postures, waves of bliss, elation, altered consciousness, aches, anxiety, and feeling of heat flashes.

The counterparts of these manifestations in the Toronto Blessing are found in the table below:

The Similarity of the Outward Manifestations
singing inspired singing in the spirit
reciting mantras other inspired utterances. It is conceivable that while yogists recite mantras, the Christians manifest something more typical to them
animal sounds animal sounds
trembling, shaking trembling, shaking
yoga postures strange (or prophetical) postures in general; compulsory movements
waves of bliss, elation inward joy; laughter, euphoria
altered consciousness prophetical glimpses; reception of inward understanding of spiritual issues
aches pain
anxiety weeping; crying; anxiety because of the childhood traumas now being healed [sic]
feeling of heat flashes feelings of heat or cold in the body

Note immediately that every manifestation mentioned to happen in Kundalini does happen in TB also.

The Similarity of the Outward Method

Broadly speaking there are two radically different direct approaches to awakening kundalini. One approach requires initiation by a guru and relies upon a technique called shaktipat, or ``descent of shakti.'' It is variously called: Siddha Mahayoga, Kundalini Mahayoga or Sahaja Yoga (Spontaneous Yoga)...

While not every long-term student ... necessarily shows signs of kundalini awakening it is amazing how many people have had instant awakenings of kundalini through initiation from siddha gurus...

[Kundalini FAQ: So how do I awaken kundalini? and the next section]

Shaktipat means ``the descent of power (literally: kundalini)''. The most common form of shaktipat is a touch by the guru on the individual's forehead. This is exactly the method that is used greatly to impart the ``anointing'', for example by Rodney Howard-Browne. This is also the most common way to receive the power.

The Contagiousness of the Phenomena

There is no doubt that shakti is contagious. The mere presence of a single being whose shakti is strongly active can awaken the shakti of those around him. Similarly being in the presence of many people whose shakti is awakened to some degree can awaken one's own shakti.

[Siddha Mahayoga FAQ: Can one receive shaktipat just by being in the presence of those with awakened shakti?]

The ``anointing'' is known to be contagious by nature and easily transferred from one to another. John Arnott compared it to a ``spiritual virus''.

It also spreads from men to men in macro scale (between towns) and occasionally regionally even in smaller scale (in the midst of a meeting, for example when the members of a group of people touching others by hand fall simultaneously).

The Similarity of the Proofs for Validity

Ultimately the validity of any spiritual tradition rests in its ability to transform the beings of its followers. The real value of siddha mahayoga is in transforming the minds of those who practice it.

[Siddha Mahayoga FAQ: Are these kriyas some sort of self-hypnosis or some sort of New Age phenomenon?]

The Toronto Blessing advocates say that they cannot understand why these phenomena are happening. They continue by saying that, however, that the phenomena belong to a genuine work of the Spirit is clear because of the transformations appearing as a result in the minds of the believers.

So we see that the experience is justified by the same means.

The Distributors of the Power

To continue the analogy, in theory ``anyone on fire'' can give shaktipat, i.e. anyone who's kundalini is already awakened. The more relevant question is: ``Who should give shaktipat?''...

Giving shaktipat is a science and it is helpful, if not essential, to be instructed in that science...

Therefore, it is desirable that the guru be empowered to give shaktipat by his own guru and has been trained in an unbroken lineage back to a great master who was fully aware of the science of shaktipat. In this way some quality control is maintained.

[Siddha Mahayoga FAQ: Who can give shaktipat?]

In general, TB is known to be easily transferred further from anybody ``already on fire''. However, usually short courses are held to direct intercessors before they go on to minister people.

The method for distributing the TB anointing is different from the traditional view of Christian intercession. When in the traditional intercession focus is on God and His work needs no control, surveillance or intervention from people, in TB the intercessors are instructed to watch people and their bodily manifestations to know what the spirit is doing. In this way, TB ministry resembles science more than the traditional intercession.

In Toronto meetings, usually only appointed ministers are allowed to pray for people. This is because of some quality control. In a sound Christian assembly, all are required and allowed to pray for others, not just appointed ministers.

The Similarity of the Goal

Kriyas, literally ``activities'', are spontaneous movements that occur after kundalini awakening. These include bodily activities such as trembling, shaking and spontaneous yoga postures; vocal activities such as yelling, or spontaneous chanting and mental activities such as visions. These kriyas eliminate the blocks to kundalini rising within the spine or central channel.

[Siddha Mahayoga FAQ: What are kriyas?]

Blocks, known as samskaras or impressions, do not just obstruct kundalini, but they embody attachments, conceptions and other mental afflictions that limit the freedom of our consciousness. Left unattended these attachments lead to actions which only reinforce the attachment. For example if we have impressions of anger then we will manifest anger in our activities which only reinforce our impressions. As kundalini rises it will purify the anger and as a result of the purification process the kriyas will occur...

It seems more useful to think of kundalini as a natural intelligent force whose natural movement untangles the knots which limit its expression. The garden hose analogy makes another point clear as well. Imagine what happens if the hose is very tangled. Turning up the water pressure may be a very dramatic and perhaps even counter-productive process.

[Siddha Mahayoga FAQ: How do kriyas purify one's consciousness?]

The common explanation for the ``kriyas'' happening in TB meetings is that the God is doing some inward work on the people's lives and that it results in the outward manifestations.

Also, more generally, that the touch of the power from God results in the manifestations.

Also, one alleged purpose of the manifestations is to remove blocks from people's lives (such that pride, self-control etc.) that sustain the Spirit from moving freely in one's life.

So we see that the supposed purpose and reason for the manifestations is -- below the surface of religious terms -- exactly the same.

The Similarity of the Requirements for a Receiver

The unique perspective of Siddha Mahayoga is that because kundalini is an intelligent force it will, upon awakening, naturally direct the practice of the student. All that is required is that the student completely surrender to this force. As a result of kundalini's unfoldment spontaneous purifying movements, called kriyas will occur...

Even to reach the point of simply surrendering to shakti takes some practice for people. Some aids in cultivating surrender are chanting and selfless service. These practices open the heart and make one more susceptible to the influence of shakti.

[Siddha Mahayoga FAQ: So what happens after shaktipat? What's the practice of Siddha Mahayoga?]

In Toronto Blessing the receiver is asked to surrender to the ``power of the Holy Spirit'' and to receive the good work (``purifying kriyas'') of Him without questioning. So this is exactly the same initial condition that is required for the awakening of kundalini.

Also, chanting spiritual songs is done abundantly in Toronto meetings. This is supposedly to pray to God, but at least as a side-effect it moves people to light trance (this is widely known in the psychology) and so enables one to receive counterfeit spiritual experiences. top of page --

ADDITIONAL RESOURCE SITES

Additional Material Accessible on http://www.bible.ca/tongues-kundalini-shakers-charismastics.htm (this site makes the same sweeping assumptions that many of the anti-Toronto Blessing sites do; they assume all Pentecostals and Charismatics are into the "Blessing" and leave no room for non Toronto Blessing Pentecostals.

return to Toronto Blessing Article