“Sound arises in the inner sky of pure consciousness, the heart-space in the head, the sky of the heart. What manifests is Life-Power, the One.” (Sutra 37)
Each individual reflects the structure of the universe. Whatever Divine Consciousness manifests in the universe, individuated consciousness manifests in the form of the human body. Nityananda used the words Omkar or Shakti when discussing the vitality of the Absolute. As this energy moves out from the source, it becomes distinct but not separate from the source. And as the essence of the individual Jivatman, it is called kundalini.
“Similarly, the life-force—Shakti, kundalini—is the same in all creatures, mobile and immobile. The sun and the moon also are the same life-force.” (Sutra 11)
Kundalini is the all-encompassing energy of Life Itself. In the individual human being, this single dynamic event manifests on three levels: biological, subtle or psychic, and purely spiritual. The energy of our biological existence is prana-kundalini. The energy that supports the intellectual and emotional manifestation of our being is chitta-kundalini, the mind. The third aspect, para-kundalini, is the condensed manifestation of pure consciousness; it is the same as Shakti, the same as Omkar. These aspects relate to different stages or states of consciousness. While they each manifest differently, their essence is the same paramatman. Awareness of this essence is liberation.
“Awaken the kundalini-shakti through the breath; for when it is roused, liberation is possible.” (Sutra 20)
Prana-kundalini, or simply prana, is the driving force of our psycho-physical mechanism. It is the breath within the breath, the “breath of life.” Not the same as physical breath, prana is more accurately called the link between the mental and the physical. Thus, mind (manas) plays an important role in the unfoldment and expansion of the inner vision—because mind and breath are intimately related. The thoughts and feelings that arise and subside in the mind do so on the movement of this subtle breath of life. The practice of pranayama uses the mind to control prana while simultaneously using prana to control the mind. The aim of this practice is to bring the flow of subtle energy into the awareness and control of the individual.
“The three primary channels through which conscious creative energy circulates in the subtle body are the ida, the pingala, and the sushumna. Sushumna is the seat of kundalini.” (Sutra 85)
This flow of energy takes place within a structure that is sometimes called the subtle body, with prana corresponding to the subtle breath. In the sutras, Nityananda speaks of the three primary nerves or nadis: the ida, the pingala, and the sushumna. They serve as channels in the subtle body for the flow of conscious energy and are arranged like the familiar medical symbol of the caduceus: a straight central (sushumna) flanked by two side channels (ida and pingala) that crisscross over the center like a loose braid. At each crossover point are centers called chakras, illustrated in the diagram.
“The subtle is in the chakras. In the subtle channels is the kundalini shakti—together they are Om. Realize and know the subtle.” (Sutra 47)
A chakra is a point in time and space where various flows of energy interact and create a resonance that is uniquely different from the resonance of the individual energies that originally combined to make it. From these centers of vibration a human being’s mental, emotional and physical characteristics are determined and expressed.
“Just as seven chakras begin with the muladhara at the base of the spine…” (Sutra 118)
There are seven major chakras, each corresponding to an area in the physical body: the base of the spine, the base of the sex organs, the navel, the heart, the throat, a point between the eyebrows, and the top of the head. Kundalini energy is said to lie dormant in the muladhara, the chakra at the base of the spine; the nadis also originate in the muladhara. In addition to the muladhara, Nityananda specifically refers to the ajna chakra between the eyebrows and the sahasra chakra at the top of the head. The goal of yogic practice is to rouse the sleeping kundalini, allowing it to rise through the nadis and chakras, finally to merge with the Absolute in the sahasra chakra.
“The seat of such discrimination is in the sky of the heart. When the kundalini rises to this place in the head, then the breath is single and the universe is in one’s Self. All is in the Self…” (Sutra 42)
The sahasra chakra at the top of the head is the seat of Self-realization. It is the junction point between the individual and the Divine, that point in a human being wherein lies the dynamic stillness that is the union of Shiva and Shakti. It is the only part of the psychobiological mechanism that is still, just as the hub of a wheel is still while the spokes and rim move around it. It is the place from which all of the spiritual forces that make up a human being are extended, the place the breath comes from, the place the chakras come from, the place the physical body comes from.
“The Self is there before you and it is there after you; even before you were born, there was creation. Only you are unaware.” (Sutra 6)
A human being, then is really an extension of a spiritual force. The dormant kundalini represents the furthest extension of that energy. As long as it is crystallized in this extension, the person is a limited being and sees things in terms of distinction. When, through shaktipat (the transmission of energy from a teacher), the kundalini begins to rise, this crystallization is loosened up. As the energy begins to flow again, it is reabsorbed into itself as the Divine.
“When the individual spirit leads the inner Shiva-Shakti upward to the Brahmarandhra at the top of the head, the individual becomes one with the Indivisible. This is liberation, indivisible liberation.” (Sutra 16)
“Creation is nothing but energy released or projected from God. Entering back into it is dissolution. Identifying with the body is the cause of creation—as one sees it. Real dissolution takes place when the individual Self merges and dissolves in the Universal.” (Sutra 25)
For Nityananda, the sahasra chakra is synonymous with the Brahmarandhra, the point of dynamic stillness that equals the union of Shiva and Shakti. When the individual creative energy, in the form of kundalini, is re-awakened and merged into that point through the various yogic practices, the individual consciousness dissolves into universal consciousness. What manifests then is a complete state known as the divine inner Self. This is the state of universal consciousness and awareness of the Self as the source of the whole universe. Chidakasha and hridayakasha refer to the awareness that arises in the state of divine consciousness. In that state we experience the inner as vast, maybe more vast than the whole external universe. Hridayakasha means “heart-space”: the heart referred to is the essence or the heart of the whole universe. Chidakasha is consciousness-space, the sky of consciousness, or “the sky of the heart.” The heart-space in the head, the sky of the heart, the Brahmarandhra—these all refer to the same experience of infinite expansiveness.
“The source of liberation is Shiva. The linga in the head is Shiva. It is all Om.” (Sutra 13)
This Brahmarandhra is also referred to in Nityananda’s sutras as the linga in the head, which is the symbol of Shiva. In Indian temples, the linga is a stone or metal object said to have a masculine quality, to be completely passive, and to contain the whole universe within itself. It arose as a symbol of Shiva because the linga in the head is the abode of Shiva—the source of all that is.