Ancient Secrets of Chakras: A Beginners Guide, Part 1 demystified the yogic terms of kundalini, chakras, and nadis and explored the seven main chakras, and their associated elements and emotions. Part 2 dives deeper to explain the connection and significance of petals and flowers in depicting the chakras. We also share words of caution from Sri Sri Ravi Shankar on awakening kundalini energy.
Significance of the Petals and Flower
Explaining the relation between forms of flowers and corresponding chakras, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar adds that the Rishis (sages) also depicted each of the seven chakras in the forms of a lotus or different flowers. This is because when you go deeper into meditation, the consciousness becomes very subtle, and your mind becomes fresh like a flower. It becomes fresh, alive, and soft. In such a delicate state of consciousness, you experience the rise of energy in the system.
Lightness is connected with subtlety. Grossness is connected with inertia and negative sensations. When you are negative, when you are rude or rough in your behavior, there is a certain inertia, a certain heaviness in the system. When you feel all the positive sensations, you feel a sense of lightness. When the energy moves upwards, then from inertia it transforms into enthusiasm, then creativity. From creativity wells up joy. When you are happy, you are naturally generous. Then the energy moves up further into the heart chakra where you only feel love for everybody around you. When you feel so much love, you feel so much gratitude and from gratitude comes alertness. It brings total awareness, and this awareness leads you to bliss.
The Mythological Understanding
The different numbered petals of lotus flowers associated with different chakras is only depicted as an example, as a means of symbolism. In the olden times, one of the names of the Lord used to be Kamala-Nayana—means having eyes (nayana) like a blossomed lotus (kamala). When we say that there is a lotus flower within us, it means that when the mind blossoms and becomes soft and supple, when the mind becomes refined, only then can we experience the subtle consciousness (kundalini) in us. When the mind is stuck in inertia, then we cannot experience any energy or power in us.
In the same way, the energy has been symbolically compared to a serpent. In the mythological stories, it is said that the Mother Earth rests upon the hoods of the serpent—Shesha Naag. It symbolizes the centripetal force and the centrifugal force. Our Earth is supported by two kinds of forces. These forces do not act in a linear direction. These forces act in a circular fashion. A snake also never travels in a straight line. A snake coils in a nearly circular manner as it moves forward. The movement of the serpent is propelled by centripetal and centrifugal forces.
The Shesha Naag symbolizes the two forces that support the Earth. It does not literally mean that the Earth is resting upon the hood of some giant serpent. This is a symbolic story. The Shesha Naag here is not some actual living being, it is actually a giant supportive force or power. No one today can refute the fact that these two kinds of forces, centripetal and centrifugal forces, exist. It is these two forces that sustain the Earth in its revolution around the Sun. This same truth was expressed in the ancient days by our wise ancestors using such symbolism, and through the example of the Shesha Naag. This is a really important and unique aspect of our ancient scriptures, that they explained everything symbolically.
Words of Caution
Whenever you meditate, you find that scintillating energy flowing all over your being. This is what Kundalin is. The awakening of the kundalini energy happens very naturally through proper guidance.
—Gurudev Sri Sri Ravi Shankar
Sri Sri Ravi Shankar further cautions practitioners not to try searching for some snake or some kind of flower during meditation. These are actually subtle sensations in the body when the consciousness manifests at certain points. People make so much effort to find or imagine something or the other to achieve this, and they go crazy in doing so.
Do not try awakening your kundalini by force. Let it be a natural phenomenon. The energy should be awakened very naturally and effortlessly. When energy rises naturally and through the proper technique, one experiences so much enthusiasm, joy, total belongingness. All these are signs of a true awakening of shakti (energy). You can meditate only when your kundalini is awakened. Whenever you meditate, you find that scintillating energy flowing all over your being. That is what kundalini is. The awakening of energy happens very naturally during Sudarshan Kriya™. When you do the Sudarshan Kriya, every cell becomes naturally awake and alive.
If someone approaches you and tells you, “I will help you awaken your kundalini shakti,” simply thank them with respect and move away. See, when a banana ripens on its own without any outward force, then it is naturally sweet. If someone forcefully tries to ripen the banana, then it no longer remains fit for eating. So if someone tries to awaken the kundalini shakti by force, there are high chances that one may lose their mental balance. Only those who have years and years of practice of yoga and deep knowledge about this are able to really practice these techniques properly without any side effects.
If you use force and wrong techniques, you may lose your mind; you may lose your sleep. Such people are no longer able to function properly in society. We should not do such things at all. It is like how the fuse blows up inside a bulb (due to excess and unchecked surge of energy). When you do wrong practices without proper authenticity, or by just reading books and other materials, then even the voluntary and involuntary systems get messed up. So, you should be careful about this and learn with proper guidance.
Only with proper guidance about the techniques, diet, and rest, does the body become tuned and conducive to experiencing this subtle phenomenon.