the generation and distribution of certain forms of prana within the nervous system.
Of such is the psychic/physiological system of these tenuous organs within the human body.
In Pranayma, the practice of the correct rhythmic breathing, there is set into action the forces of the sushumna and its associated chakras in the direction of arousing, releasing, and directing the kundalini or "serpent power." Thus by the oriental system of rhythmic breathing the magician releases and directs the potent kundalini according to his will, and in this process produces the power for his performance of the real magic of India.
Every person is the possessor of these psychic/physiological organs of power, and, as such, is a potential magician, but in the average individual the sushumna channel is almost entirely closed. It is in the degree of the psychic or occult development of the individual that this channel is opened, and, in direct ratio to that opening, is measured the magical abilities of the person. Despite some repetition, so important is this to your developing skill as a magician that I want you to have a description of this important psychic process in the actual words of the Hindu Sage, Sadhu Parimal Bandhu, exactly as I recorded them:
"In the lotus of the kundalini, there is the power of the kundalini coiled up. When that kundalini awakes, it tries to force a passage through that hollow canal running through the spinal cord called the sushumna. As it ascends the sushumna, the kundalini rises step by step, and, as it were, layer after layer of the mind becomes opened, and all the different powers of Yoga become manifested. When it reaches the brain, the Yogi becomes the master of mind and body. He finds himself free, and filled with power.
"In the rhythmic breathing of Pranayama comes a tendency of all the molecules of the body to flow in the same direction. And when mind changes into will, these currents change into a motion similar to that of electricity in exact manner that the nerves show polarity under the action of electric currents. For your understanding, this shows that will evokes within the nerve currents an action very similar to electricity. Indeed, it is intimately related to electricity.
"When all the motions of the body have become perfectly rhythmical, the body will have become, as it were, a gigantic battery of will. This is the true "will power." This tremendous will is exactly what the Yogi wants. In this is the physical explanation of the importance of the breathing exercises of the Yogis. They bring about a rhythmic action in the body, and help us, through the respiratory centers, to control other centers. Thus the aim of Pranayma here is to arouse the coiled-up power in the muladhara, which is called the kundalini.
"All the sensations and motions of the body are being sent to the brain, and sent out of it through the wires of the nerve fibres. The column of sensory and motor fibres in the spinal cord are the ida and pingala of the Yogis. They are the main channels through which the afferent and efferent currents are traveling. But why should not the mind send the news without any wires? Taking the analogy of electricity, we find that man can send a current only along a wire; but nature requires no wires to send her tremendous currents. Indeed, your western science will eventually find the means of transmitting electricity without wires. Mind can do it now. This proves only that the wire is not really necessary, but
The renowned Rameshvaram Temple at Rameswaram. The sacred town is built on an island in the Palk Straits and is about 420 miles from Madras. It is one of the mostfamous temples in all of India.
Interior view of the Rameshvaram Temple. The temple is especially noted for these long perambulatory corridors that aggregate to a length offour thousand feet.
that only our inability to dispense with it compels us to use it. The Yogis say that if the mind can send the news without the wires of the nerve fibres, then one has removed the bondage of matter.
"If you can make the current pass through the sushumna, you have worked the problem. The mind has made the network of the nervous system, and has to break it, so that no wires will be required to work through. Then alone will all knowledge come to us and there will be no more bondage of body; that is why it is so important to get control of the sushumna. If you can send the mental current through that hollow canal, without any nerve fibres to act as wires, the Adepts acclaim you have solved the problem, and it is also spoken that it can be done.
"The sushumna in average persons is closed up at its lower extremity, thus no action comes through it. The Yogis propose a practice by which it can be opened, and the nerve currents made to travel through it. The center where the residual sensation are, as it were, stored up, is called the muladhara which is the root receptacle within which is the coiled-up energe of 'the serpent power (kundalini)' ready for action when it is aroused. Now, if this coiled-up energy is aroused and made active, and then consciously by will made to travel up the sushumna canal, as it acts upon center after center (the chakras), a tremendous reaction will set in. And when it reaches the metropolis of all sensations, the brain, the whole brain will react, and the result is the full blaze of illumination.
"Whenever there has appeared any manifestation of supernormal power, magic, or wisdom, such inevitably must have been the result of some current (even if in small amounts) of the kundalini having found its way into the sushumna, for such is the power of all magic no matter what its form. Many such practices set free a minute portion of the coiled-up energy of the kundalini purely through happenstance. Only in the practices of the East Indian Masters in Yoga is the true potential realized."
As I have pointed out to you in this consideration of the science of Pranayama, the arousal of "the serpent power" is the great aim of the Yogis. Thus aroused, the kundalini ascends and mounts in spiral movement like the wriggling of a snake, upward along the channel of the sushumna. Until aroused, the kundalini is a sleeping serpent which remains coiled-up and inert. It is not dead, however, but merely sleeping or hibernating like a snake during winter. It remains static until aroused into dynamic action by the proper methods or stimuli.
There are several reasons for the kundalini being called "the serpent power" by the Hindus. In the first place, the "coiled-up" position of the inactive kundalini is akin to that of the serpent. Again, the "wriggling motion" of the ascending kundalini, in its spiral mounting of the sushumna, closely resembles that of the moving serpent. In its dormant, sleeping state, the kundalini is sometimes represented by the familiar occult symbol of the serpent holding its tail in its mouth, or having swallowed its tail.
In this symbolic representation, however, the Hindus have no intention of ascribing an evil character to the power in showing it as a serpent. On the contrary, they employ the serpent as a symbol of wisdom and power, and it is abundantly active in high states of consciousness, or, as it has been called by esoteric scholars in the West, cosmic consciousness. This is why the kundalini power is used in meditation. The art of meditation was presented in depth in volume two of this trilogy, Religious Mysteries of the Orient.
There is wisdom and knowledge expressed in the phrase of antiquity, "Be ye wise as the serpent."
In the next chapter, I will instruct you in Pranayamic methods of oriental rhythmic breathing which will stir the kundalini, and advance you up the road to mastery.
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