PS is practicing yoga since the age of 11. Her yoga retreats in India have helped her gain deep insights into self-awareness.
Sahasrara is the last chakra and the highest point in human evolution. It is more than just a vital point, though. From Mooladhara to Ajna, all the chakras work within the domain of psyche. Your consciousness changes with the awakening of chakras.
Sahasrara is not under the influence of anything, yet it is influenced by all. This center is beyond the limitless, yet it is present right within you. It is the pinnacle of all the chakras. It is the golden crown of the highest consciousness.
Chakras don’t have any power of their own, they rather act as switches for the power stored in Sahasrara. The real potential lies here.
Sahasrara is a Sanskrit word that means ‘one thousand’. That’s why it is symbolized by one thousand-petalled lotus. Its petals are visualized as red, golden, or multicolored.
On the other hand, Tantra says the lotus of Sahasrara has an infinite number of petals because of its unlimited significance and magnitude. The infinite number of petals also means that the awakening of this chakra fills you with the knowledge of infinite.
Sahasrara is Akara (form) and Nirakara (formless) at the same time. Still, it is beyond everything and thus, untouched by all forms. It lives in the void (Shoonya) of absolute. It surpasses logic because logic is an invention of human ordinary consciousness. It is the merging of supreme consciousness with vital force. Whatever words we use to describe Sahasrara, limits its true potential. It is inexpressible yet expressible sometimes.
Union of Shiva with Shakti and the state of euphoria
As per ancient Hindu texts of Tantra, Upanishads, and Purana, Sahasrara is considered to be the abode of Lord Shiva i.e. the higher consciousness. When kundalini shakti finally ascends here, the union of Shiva and Shakti finally happens. This union isn’t the end, but the beginning of the new experience. Your experience of self-realization or samadhi commences from here. Your ordinary consciousness dies along with the name and form.
Your ego has fully surrendered. You don’t look at people with any sort of differences. You have surpassed the duality, now only single awareness resides within you. Your Shakti (energy) is merged with Shiva (consciousness), they become one and now, it’s impossible to judge them as two different forces.
Every religion and tradition you can think of have their own way of explaining this experience. It is called nirvana, enlightenment, samadhi, liberation, euphoria, and so on. There is plenty of discussion about Sahasrara in different mystical and religious poems and stories. They refer to this state with different symbols and terms.
Awakening of Sahasrara and samadhi are one and the same thing
The word ‘kundalini’ doesn’t exist in the renowned text of Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. The text is not directly related to the practice of kundalini yoga. Many ancient saints, masters, and rishis haven’t mention kundalini in any of their practices. It is because it is exclusively related to Tantra and there was a time when certain groups of people misused the gifts they gained from kundalini Tantra. It led Tantra to have a bad reputation in India. That’s why, this subject was completely suppressed and to maintain the existence of this important field, an entirely new language was used to reframe it.
The raja yoga of Patanjali lays emphasis on reaching the state of samadhi. Samadhi is the state of supreme consciousness. The basic one is sensual consciousness, then comes the mental and finally, there’s supreme consciousness. This is the realization of your own self.
- The sensual awareness is about the awareness gained through senses such as sounds, smell, taste, touch, and forms.
- Mental awareness is about the awareness of time, space, and object.
- The supreme awareness is not a specific point of experience, it is rather a series of experiences. For example, childhood and adulthood refer to the phase of time and correspond with ranges of experience. Similarly, samadhi also has a sequence of experiences that progress from one state to another.
Patanjali says samadhi has three different phases:
- Savikalpa Samadhi: It is the state of samadhi but with fluctuations. It has Vitarka, Vichara, Ananda, and Asmita as four stages.
- Asamprajnata Samadhi: It is the state of samadhi with no awareness.
- Nirvikalpa Samadhi: It is the state of samadhi with no fluctuation.
These phases depict your state of mind during your ongoing experience of samadhi. Clearly, the elimination of mental awareness doesn’t happen instantly. When one sort of awareness declines, another one starts to develop proportionally. Your normal consciousness gradually reduces and your mind enters into the higher consciousness.
There is no hard line marked to figure out the end of one phase and the beginning of another. Just the way you can’t decide the end of youth and beginning of old age. The end of Savikalpa and the beginning of Asamprajnata is a continuous process. Each phase fuses into another and transforms by itself.
Tantra says the ascending of kundalini through the chakras may not give you divine experience. But the change is visible through your evolving consciousness. This is the phase of Savikalpa Samadhi. It is sometimes bright and sometimes dark.
When your kundalini approaches Ajna chakra, your awareness goes beyond your ego. Your ego shatters down into pieces and your individuality drastically transforms. At this stage, your Savikalpa ends and the phase of Asamprajnata begins. Your energy starts to fuse with the higher realm. You open the gates to Sahasrara, reaching the phase of enlightenment. The ultimate phase of enlightenment is the state of Nirvikalpa samadhi.
Sahasrara is the highest awareness according to Tantra, and Nirvikalpa samadhi is the highest awareness according to the raja yoga of Patanjali. When you compare these two terms, you’ll know these are the different names for the same phase. They even refer to the same type of practice.
The basic and the only difference between Tantra and raja yoga is:
- Tantra involves the method of emotions and expressions.
- Raja yoga involves the method of philosophy and mental awareness.
It doesn’t matter whom and which religion or practice you follow, each of them talks about the same state of higher consciousness, but make use of different terminology and symbology.
© 2020 Prachi Sharma