If we contemplate a great oak tree, we infer that its roots are very well-developed: if they were like those of a small plant, the tree would succumb to the first autumn breeze. Though concealed, the roots are vital to its vertical support.
This reminds me of when my family emigrated from Chile, our homeland. My father used to complain, saying that when it is young, a transplanted tree adapts relatively easily, but for an old tree like my father, changing the language and culture was very difficult. This comparison of a human and a tree was deeply etched in me: Just as the roots’ strength establishes the might and beauty of the tree, so in the spiritual process, it’s the depth of our evolution that will determine our spiritual elevation.
Just as the tree roots are proportional to its size, the degree of our internal development corresponds to our spiritual level. We flourish insofar as we are able to take root in the depth of existence. We rise higher inasmuch as we go deeper into our interior. Heaven is sought in the depths; not by flying it is reached, but by digging.
Gaining height is nothing but an increase on the level of form; we can grow upwards, but we only mature inwards. Involution does not take place on the surface; only as we make our way into the depth do we discover our eternity.
Kuṇḍalinī-yoga leads us to unveil the very secret of creation, which lies hidden in the core of our human nature; to awaken the divine potential and express it through involution, until all sense of higher and lower, inside and outside, disappear. However, this path does not advise undervaluing the dimension of time and space, or propose isolation from others; because deep in every moment, the eternal hides; within each place, the infinite lies; and innate in every human being, God abides.
The Self, or transcendental Consciousness is expressed, is manifested, through its creative power, just as the sage Kṣemarāja states in his Pratyabhijñā-hṛdayam (1):
citiḥ sva-tantrā viśva-siddhi-hetuḥ
“Of its own will, the universal independent consciousness is the cause of the manifestation, maintenance, and dissolution of the universe.”
Consciousness does not create directly but through the śakti, or its creative power. The kuṇḍalinī-śakti, also called citi, is the aspect of creative cosmic energy which rests in every human being in a potential state. It is a mysterious bhedābheda power; it is the universal seated in the individual. It is the formless which lies at the same time at the base of the form, the divine universal śakti individualized in the human being.
In the privacy of his home, each person draws water from his own tap and drinks from his own individual glass. However, the precious liquid is provided from a common reservoir shared by all. Similarly, the process of awakening the kuṇḍalinī begins in the individual, but in revealing our oceanic aspect, it leads us to our common origin and universal source.
Since this power is not material, it is not comparable with any type of known energy. The kuṇḍalinī-śakti sleeps in the first center, as is noted in the Śiva-saṁhitā (5. 57, 58 y 59)
paścimābhimukhīḥ yoniṛ gudameḍhrāntarālagā
tatra kandaṁ samākhyātaṁ tatrāste kuṇḍalī sadā
saṁveṣṭya sakalāṁ nāḍīḥ sārddhatrikuṭilākṛtiḥ
mukhe niveśya sā pucchaṁ suṣumṇāvivare sthitā
“In this space is the Yoni having its face towards the back; that space is called the root; there dwells the goddess Kuṇḍalinī. It surrounds all the Nāḍīs, and has three coils and a half; and holding its tail in its own mouth, it rests in the hole of suṣumṇā.”
suptā nāgopamā hyeṣā sphurantī prabhayā svayā
ahivat sandhisaṁsthānā vāgdevī bījasañjñikā
“It sleeps there like a serpent, and is luminous by its own light. Like a serpent it lives between the joints; it is the goddess of speech, and is called the seed (Bīja).”
jñeyā śaktir iyaṁ viṣṇor nirbharā svarṇabhāsvarā
sattvaṁ rajas tamaś ceti guṇatrayaprasūtikā
“Full of energy, and like burning gold, know this Kuṇḍalinī to be the power (Śakti) of Viṣṇu; it is the mother of the three qualities Sattva, Rajas and Tamas.”
When we analyze the word kuṇḍalinī etymologically, we can understand it relationship to different aspects of the serpentine power. The word kuṇḍa means “pit” or “cavity”, which indicates its location, since it is in a cavity of the sacrum where there is lying this sacred force. It lies rolled at the base of the vertebral column near the svayambhū Liṅga. Therefore its name is derived from the word kuṇḍala that means ‘rolled’ or ‘spiral’, in such a way that the meaning of the word kuṇḍalinī is ‘the coiled energy.’
Its three and a half coils symbolize the three different manifestations of the kundalini, namely: para kuṇḍalinī, chit kuṇḍalinī and prana kundalini, which correspond respectively to the iccha, jnana and kriya shaktis. Prana kundalini refers to the aspect of the kuṇḍalinī as vital energy, which is especially expressed on the astral and physical plane. Chit kuṇḍalinī is that aspect that sustains the feelings, the emotions and in general, our psychological aspect. Para kuṇḍalinī is the universal or cosmic aspect of the kundalini. When we refer to the energy that lies in the first center we are speaking exclusively of para kundalini, the power of the Self. An awakening at the level of prana kuṇḍalinī is expressed as an increase in our vitality. An awakening at the level of chit kuṇḍalinī manifests as an expansion of our possibilities and cognitive aptitudes. Finally we say that the awakening of the para kuṇḍalinī is the awakening to reality of our authentic nature. When we mention the awakening of the kuṇḍalinī-sakti in the muladhara chakra, we are referring only to the awakening of the para kuṇḍalinī. After awakening, it rises in a ascending spiral movement producing a hissing sound, similar to that of a snake. For this reason, the enlightened masters and the scriptures generally refer to her allegorically like a sleeping serpent or like “the serpentine power”. She lives in the mūlādhāra-cakra, in the very base of the vertebral column and when she is awakened, she ascends passing through each one of the respective energetic centers to culminate her ascent in the sahasrāra-cakra in the final fusion of Śiva and Śakti.
This divine energy is felt in the human being as the awakening of the deep desire to return home, to our source, to God. Because the blessing of awakening of the kuṇḍalinī marks the beginning of the involutive process in which diversity is reabsorbed in the original unity.
bhitvā liṅga-trayaṁ tat parama-rasa-śive sūkṣma-dhāmni pradīpe
sā devī śuddha-sattvā taḍid ivavilasat-tantu-rūpa-svarūpā
brahmākhyāyāḥ sirāyāḥ sakala-sarasijaṁ prāpya dedīpyate tan
mokṣākhyānanda-rūpaṁ ghaṭayati sahasā sūkṣma tālakṣaṇena
“The Devī which is śuddha-sattva pierces the three liṅgas, and, having reached all the lotuses which are known as the brahma-nāḍī lotuses, shines therein in the fullness of Her lustre. Thereafter, in Her subtle state, lustrous as lightning and fine as the lotus fibre, She goes to the gleaming flame like Śiva, the Supreme Bliss and of a sudden produces the bliss of liberation”. From Swami Pūrṇānanda’s Ṣaṭ-cakra-nirūpaṇa(51)