It is always of interest when psycho-spiritual descriptions provided by one Yoga practitioner match up with those given by a practitioner of another system of Yoga. In the Gospel of Ramakrishna, Ramakrishna Paramahansa briefly mentions five ways in which the Kundalini rises. In his book Kashmir Shaivism, Swami Lakshman Joo discusses six ways in which the Kundalini rises. It is possible to identify some correspondence between their descriptions.
This is the excerpt from the Gospel of Ramakrishna where Ramakrishna discusses the five ways in which the Kundalini (spiritual current) rises.
“A sadhu from Rishikesh visited here. He said to me (Ramakrishna), ‘How wonderful! I have seen five kinds of samadhi in you.’
- Monkey: The spiritual current jumps like a monkey in the tree of the body, from one branch to another, leading to samadhi.
- Fish: Just as a fish swims swiftly in water, the spiritual current moves up inside the body and brings about samadhi.
- Bird: Like a bird it is sometimes on this branch of the tree of the body and sometimes it hops to another branch.
- Ant: The spiritual current creeps up slowly within like an ant. When it reaches the Sahasrara (the thousand-petalled lotus in the top of the head), one attains samadhi.
- Snake: In other words, the spiritual current moves in a wriggling motion like a snake and brings about samadhi when it reaches the Sahasrara.”
And this is an excerpt from Sri Lakshman Joo‘s book Kashmir Shaivism. His descriptions of the Ant and the Snake/Cobra match those given by Sri Ramakrishna. There may be some match between the other ways discussed by both but it is difficult to say which is which right now.
There are variations in the rise of prana kundalini from muladhara cakra depending on the desires and longings of the aspirant.
When a yogin has an intense desire and longing for achieving the recognition of Supreme “I” through the mantra ‘aham”: “I am,” then, because of this desire and longing, his breath becomes full of bliss, joy, and ecstasy. Automatically this blissful force of breath penetrates muladhara cakra in the form of this mantra. He feels simultaneously that he is the existence of, and one with, this rise of kundalini. This sensation then moves and rises with the penetrating force of blissful breath from muladhara cakra to penetrate nabhi cakra, which is found in the navel, from the navel to penetrate hrit cakra, which is found in the heart, from the heart to penetrate kantha cakra, which is found in the throat, and finally from the throat to penetrate bhrumadhya cakra, which is found between the eyebrows. This particular kind of penetration, brought about by the force of the mantra ‘aham’, ‘I am” is called mantra vedha in our Saivism.
A different type of rising takes place when a yogin desires to uplift people. This yogin possesses this particular intensity of desire and feels that he is doing his practice just for the benefit of mankind. He does not want to help himself, he wants to help others. For him, the rise of prana kundalini begins with the blissful force of breath touching muladhara cakra which then begins to move. Simultaneously the blissful force of breath is transformed into nada. Here nada means, “I am meant for the upliftment of mankind.” Literally the word ‘nada’ means “sound.” It is called nada because this yogin wants to explain the Universal Reality to others. This sensation continues as prana kundalini rises to penetrate the navel, then the heart, then the throat, and finally the eyebrows. This particular type of penetration is called nada vedha.
The next variation in the rise of prana kundalini takes place when a yogin is attached to ease, comfort, happiness, and joy. He wants peace of mind and nothing else. In this case when the blissful force of breath in the form of prana kundalini penetrates muladhara cakra and then rises to penetrate the navel, heart, throat, and eyebrows, it is transformed into a fountain of semen. He feels that it is a fountain of semen which is rising from muladhara cakra to brahmarandhra and spreading throughout his body. It rises with tremendous force just like a fountain. How joyful and happy he becomes. Sexual joy is nothing in comparison. Due to the intensity of joy inherent in this particular rise of prana kundalini he loses all taste for worldly pleasures at once. This kind of penetration is called bindu vedha.
Another variation in the rise of prana kundalini takes place when a yogin has the desire to become strong and to maintain his strength. He would like to maintain himself in perfect condition. He would like to be able to teach others concerning his internal feelings without experiencing any fatigue. In this person, when the blissful force of breath penetrates muladhara cakra and then rises to penetrate the navel, heart, throat, and eyebrows, it rises in the form of an ant(my note: similar to Ramakrishna). This is because the blissful force of breath is transformed into energy. This is the rise of energy in prana kundalini. He feels that energy is being developed and that he is becoming the embodiment of energy. This particular type of penetration in prana kundalini is called sakta vedha.
The fifth variation in the rise of prana kundalini takes place when a yogin has the impression that the form and reality of kundalini is actually serpent power. When the yogin has this impression then the rise of that blissful force of breath in the form of prana kundalini takes place in the form of a cobra. He actually experiences that it is a cobra which is rising (my note: similar to Ramakrishna) with its tail remaining in and touching muladhara cakra and stretching to penetrate all of the cakras up to and including brahmarandhra. This kind of penetration is called bhujanga vedha.
The sixth and last variation in the rise of prana kundalini takes place when the yogin acquires, in the course of his practice, the desire to secretly initiate a few of his disciples without anyone knowing. For this yogin, when the blissful force of breath penetrates muladhara cakra and rises from muladhara cakra to penetrate the navel, heart, throat, and eyebrows, it rises in the form of the buzzing of a black bee. He experiences the sound of a black bee and he also experiences the intense bliss associated with this rise. This type of penetration is called bhramara vedha.
[Swami Lakshman Jee, Kashmir Shaivism The Secret Supreme, pp 127-129]