Nath Siddha Yoga and the Sikh Spiritual Cultivation Techniques
These quotes come from The Elite Doctrine of Siddha Yoga (Paramhansa Pranavadarshan, Pranava, 2001, pp. 61-73), which is based on Mahayogi Gorakhnath's teachings. Gorakhnath was one of the Nine Nath Siddhas, the Nath tradition having had a tremendous influence on countless spiritual schools. Gorakhnath was one of the greatest teachers of this school and the Gurkhas of Nepal are said to be a tribe of descendents.
These verses have never been in English print before until now, and are some of the teachings for how to realize a direct, transcendent experience of Ultimate Reality, which Western religions call "God." What do they deal with? Some of the body transformations necessary on the spiritual path before one can achieve samadhi and then enlightenment (if one works hard enough and has enough merit to do so).
"Ida (the name of a nadi in the body) is indeed the goddess Ganga; Pingala (another nadi in our body) is the goddess Yamuna; in between them is this Kundalini."
As with many esoteric schools, the Nath Yoga school mentions the left, right and central chi channel, called sushumna. When these open because of spiritual practices, only then can one attain spiritual states, namely samadhi. Samadhi is not the Tao, but only a way to lay the foundation to realizing the Tao (enlightenment). Only those who cultivate and open the chi channels can become saints, sages, prophets, gurus, etc.
No cultivation = no spiritual progress, regardless of your intellectual knowledge or merit stores. That's what people never realize. They attend ceremonies and services and memorize this and that but just keep bobbing up and down endless lives of reincarnation because they never learn how to free themselves from the process by realizing the original nature of everything. You can only realize it through experience, an experience that does not involves thoughts or mentation but detaches from every type of form and phenomena, including thoughts.
So why are all these people listening to preachers or rabbis or mullahs or monks or priests or whomever and never practicing? Because they don't know anything about the true dharma, true practice, the true stages of cultivation, the true non-denominational way that doesn't depend on ceremonies or dogmas. But those from ANY religion who do accomplish something substantial on the spiritual path do so because they DO practice cultivation correctly to free themselves from thought and thus achieve the same stages of transcendental progress. And then they always describe the very same things, of which the scholars have no clue.
"When, by the grace of Guru, the Kundalini wakes up, then all the lotuses (in the body) as well as the mystic knots also open up eventually."
If you can activate your kundalini, or REAL chi, through meditation or other cultivation practices, it will open up your chakras and clear out the obstructions in your chi channels. Just as our arteries and veins fill up with cholesterol and plaque and other gook, our chi channels fill up with their esoteric gobbely-gook equivalents, and only when the chi arises and pushes through it can they clean out. This clearing then enables activation or "enlivening" or enervation of the chakras, and the clear chi channels and unobstructed chi circulation throughout the body leads to clear mind as well as chi superpowers and supranormal mental abilities. But none of this is the Tao, it's just kung-fu (gong-fu).
"Then one shall see these magic: the vital breath occupying the emptiness on the major path; then the consciousness becomes absolutely free and then the time is forfeited/baffled."
After the chi channels open up, and the chi reaches the brain and circulates freely, you can attain a stage of emptiness or mental silence. In realizing a state absent of discriminative thought, consciousness becomes free -- as large as the universe or as the Zen school says, "10,000 miles of empty sky." Various schools use different terms to describe emptiness (Judaism uses "ayin" or nothingness, Christianity says silence) but it's ALL the same thing, just as water is called by different names in different languages ("shui" in Chinese, "wasser" in German, etc.)
"By Kumbaka one can wake Kundalini up; by the awakening of Kundalini, the (passage to) Susumna becomes obstacle-free and by this, Hatha-siddhi is also possible."
A variety of breath retention exercises, such as the 9-bottled wind we teach on the site and in our "Beautiful Skin" ebook, or pranayama exercises found in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, can force the chi to arise and clear out the chi channels. This is a yin kundalini awakening that burns, because it is forced. A yang kundalini awakening, which arises through emptiness meditation, is more blissful than the fierce fire awakening typical of the yoga and esoteric schools that use forced techniques to ignite the force.
"For the Yogis the complete and total absorption happens when the inhale and exhale stops, attachment to sense-objects is cut off, and, a mind-free and change-free state is established."
As other stated on the site and in our books -- whether we borrow from Chinese Taoism, Western alchemy, Buddhism, Tantra, the esoteric School and so on... because they all say the same thing since this is non-denominational spiritual progress -- when the breath stops you can reach samadhi. Go read the samadhi chapter from Measuring Meditation on the site to find out more about this. You can use mantra practice, visualization, vipassana, watching thoughts, watching the breath, and all sorts of other cultivation methods to calm the mind, calm your breath, open your chi channels and thus enter into this initial state of spiritual transformation.
Now how does this tie in with the Sikh tradition? Mahayogi Gorakhnath is said to have inspired great sages such as Kabir and Guru Nanak, who founded the Sikh religion. So the stages of transformation are recognized by the Sikhs as well.
Most people know little to nothing about the Sikhs of India. As a sort history lesson, the Sikhs were founded by Guru Nanak in India because upon his enlightenment, he realized that his time and place called for an alternative to Hinduism and Islam. Neither could be rejuvenated at the time. Guru Nanak, in providing teachings that eventually became the Sikh religion, would say, " I am neither a Hindu nor Musalman."
During Guru Nanak's day, Hinduism had degraded somewhat because Pandits were making the people waste their earnings in a viscous cycle of rituals and ceremonies that only caused to feed the priests. He felt that no seeker needed the intervention of priestly wisdom to obtain a divine experience, which is correct. He was also critical of the wandering Hindu beggars who cut themselves off from their culture and became as if parasites since they did not contribute to the welfare of their nation and fellow man. Hinduism had developed many excesses and tumors over the years, as all religions and organizations do with the march of time.
In terms of the Islam of his time, the Moslem rulers were especially cruel to the Hindu inhabitants of India, and the Sikhs believed one should be humble, but not accept injustice. Also, the caste system of Hinduism had penetrated into Muslim society, which was something Guru Nanak opposed.
Guru Nanak, like Buddha, Confucius, Tsong Khapa and Socrates, therefore looked around upon his enlightenment and taught in a manner that was a remedy appropiate for his times. He taught the coalescing of the two societies of Moslem and Hindu and would frequently say, "There is no Hindu, there is no Musalman." He rejected dialogue in Sanskrit or Persian for the dialects of the people, and thus helped to heal a widening gulf that was growing in the land. He taught people how to become a "gurmurkh," which was a man of Tao who lived in the world yet remained unaffected by it. All cultures have a different name for a man of Tao, but it is the same principle nonetheless.
So Guru Nanak, who was actually a great Bodhisattva, had the same target as other enlightened sages, yet simply framed the message skillfully according to the needs of the times. Were he born in a different time and place, the method he chose would be different once again. It's very important that you learn that lesson.
This type of teaching or functioning according to the circumstances is called "skillful means," and I always advise people to read "The Lotus Sutra" of Buddhism if they want to know how enlightened people operate. If telling people there is a single God will help them and the other higher lessons of the Tao would be unacceptable, he will do so. If sweeping away this idea will help the people, he will do so. If the people need to learn to defend themselves, he will teach that. If they argue too much intellectually but never cultivate, he will stress cultivation.
What a man of Tao teaches and how he teaches is not absolute, but changes according to the times. If people cannot lift 10 pound weights, he will give them lighter weights they can carry. Of course, people always take religious books as absolutes "from God" and don't realize they are just teachings created by this or that master dispensing the best remedy they can think of for their times, according to their wisdom. What they can teach is all a function of the people's wisdom and merit. Only rarely can a man of Tao teach the whole dharma openly and freely, such as with a Shakyamuni Buddha or Zen master Ma Tse.
The cultivation practice of the Sikhs is primarily mantra practice, or japa. The Sikhs rely on the traditional three stages of japa practice. First, chanting externally out loud. Next, mental repetition by chanting within your mind. Third, outward silence but and automatic mindfulness or chanting in the heart, which causes the chi to open up the heart chakra just as reciting the Prayer of Jesus in the region does so (which is why it's recommended by the Eastern Orthodox Church, and has resulted in producing many saints). When the practice becomes yet deeper, the adherent's breath ceases, and they can achieve samadhi.
In other words, just as Chinese Taoism states, if you cultivate hard enough, eventually your breath will halt and the mind will empty out or cease, and then you can attain a religious or holy or spiritual state -- however you wish to word it.
In Taoism the state is called "hsi" and that's when the real kundalini activates and arises. In this case, the method of practice is mantra repetition to light the flame or "spark the fie," so-to-speak. In Christianity the primary method is prayer repetition to do so. In Tibetan Buddhism it is mantra plus visualization practice.
In the Siddha Yoga methods described, it is pranayama exercises. We could go on and on with all sorts of sects and methods of practice. Naturally, a wise practitioner usually combines various methods together to make spiritual progress, but the point is that once again you can see:
1) The same kung-fu stages of the path
2) Similar cultivation techniques used across religious schools
3) The target is the same end point
And with the Sikh religion, you also have the common injunction to do good deeds, perform charity for the community, and live a clean, ethical life. This is the Stage of Wisdom and Merit Accumulation, or Study and Moral Provisioning we find as the basis or ground stage of most religions, wherein lie 99.9999% of all the people in the world since they're not cultivating meditation.
Naturally we could speak more about the Sikhs and Nath Yoga, but the main point is to show a different school (two in fact) that are once again using the same cultivation methods, wrapped with different dogma, to reach the same common stages of attainment, the same types of kung-fu (gong-fu), for the same end target, and stressing the same need for morality, ethics, and merit on the path.
Didn't I tell you it was non-denominational, non-sectarian?
As another example of the unioversal nature of the path,
you must know that Taoism's description of the three elixir fields within the human body, which is the equivalent to the chi channels and chakas, was discovered by an entirely different WESTERN cultivation school. Which one? It would be EXTREMELY difficult for you to find these ancient translations unless you were a university scholar, so I'll be treating you in another article with excerpts from... Irish Paganism which say the same thing! Yes, Celtic Paganism. Free of any imposed dogma, these ancients cultivated, looked within and said, "Hey, there are three elixir fields inside" after they reached the stage of chi cultivation.
Also, did you know that the Socratics and ancient Greek cultivation describe the high level stages of path in such a way that agree with the descriptions of Buddhism. Yes, Buddhism! Greek cultivation also speaks of imageless meditation, stages of no-thought and so forth. How could it be anything different?
As I always tell you, it's all the same thing, all the same thing.
It's just that you were never told this or showed this. As you grew up, you were stamped with a certain worldview created and imposed by a particular culture and religion, and naturally it was limited. It's not the whole truth or necessarily the truth, just as it's not necessarily the truth that there are "weapons of mass destruction in Iraq." When you do the research and read what the GENUINE realized saints and sages of each religion say and describe (the realized masters, not the intellectual people like Luther, Calvin, etc.), and when you cultivate yourself to start climbing the spiritual ladder yourself, you always find the same thing. You always bump into the same spiritual states and kung-fu transformations, which different paths describe differently so as to emphasize certain features because of the remedies needed for that time and condition.
You won't normally find these practice paths to liberation in the ORGANIZED religions as they are structured today, but you always find it in the paths that stress spiritual practice and personal experience and aren't controlled by a central authority. That's why they are able to survive.