Importance of Badrinath Temple. It is a shakti sthala
Sri Badrinath temple, sometimes even called Badrinarayan temple, is situated along Alaknanda river and is nestled between two high mountains Nar and Narayan in the Himalayas. I have visited Sri Badrinath temple many times, the last time about six months ago. It is a temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu and there are also other accompanying deities residing there. It is the only temple where the idol of Lord Vishnu is depicted in a sitting position in a meditative pose, the lotus posture. And those of you who have also had the privilege of seeing this temple must have noticed that the exterior structural design of this ancient temple, which is mentioned even in the ancient Vedas is of surprisingly Buddhist architecture. Its architecture, a brightly painted facade typical of Buddhists resembles a Buddhist vihara. Adi Shankaracharya, the great saint and philosopher of 8th century re-instated and re-installed the self manifested black granite stone idol of Lord Vishnu about 1,200 years ago. He recovered the idol by diving in the waters of the fast flowing river Alaknanda. The idol was thrown in the water by some miscreants and Buddhist tantriks. Tantriks are perverts. They mislead people for their own interests. Adi Shankaracharya reorganized the whole system according to Vedic rites and systems after sanctifying the precinct. The present temple has also been renovated and re-constructed a number of times damaged by earthquakes, landslides and avalanches by the ruling kings after Adi Shankaracharya.
(My visit to Badrinath in 2005)
Badrinath temple is a shakti sthala, a powerful site. Scores of devotees visit this temple in the season, almost all of them come to ask for something and wish to satisfy their all possible desires. Many years back in the past, this powerfully spiritual and holy site was raided, despoiled and defiled by the Buddhist tantriks who looted it and converted it into a Buddhist monastery. The locals there have many stories to tell you how some nearby villages are now re-named after Chinese names today proving that indeed intrusion took place some years ago.
Misuse of Tantra Practices The Buddhist tantriks from Tibet infiltrated into India from across the border stealthily through the mountainous passes and forcefully took charge of the temple from the Hindu priests at that time. They did this horrific act so that they could become powerful and attain siddhis, supernatural powers by performing specific secretive practices in a dynamic spiritually powerful site. They also took away many ancient manuscripts with them. Since time immemorial, tantra powers have been misused by so many unscrupulous people. They try to acquire these natural forces to satisfy personal desires and wants, satisfy lust and passions and also to fulfill similar desires of their disciples and followers. Such people do not understand the temporary nature of desire and that all desires and passions are passing and impermanent in nature, yet they claim themselves to be knowledgeable and become gurus.
About Tantra Yoga Tantra in Sanskrit means tantu or the smallest element. The other meaning of Tantra is taar or wire. It means transmission through mental connections. It is arousal of dormant feminine energies in a practitioner to enhance his or her yogic powers to reach upper most domains of astral world. Tantra Yoga was first practiced by Shiva and Parvati but to realize God in its benevolent form. Since then the holy science became derogatory with passage of time because man’s mind became corrupt. It is now become synonymous with arousing energies to gain momentary gains.
Electromagnetic waves or electricity travels in our body through very subtle carriers called nadis or nerve channels. The vital force or prana which is present in our body can be further acquired, disseminated and broadcasted through the transmitters or nerves from the ever present infinite Cosmic energy. The science of transmuting the Universal Force from the Cosmos for arousing the dormant energies in humans and expanding our present human consciousness to Cosmic Consciousness through the channels of transmitters or nadis is Tantra Yoga. It is an ancient science invented and developed by Lord Shiva, the Adi Guru in India in pre -Vedic times. In the holy scriptures of India, the pranic energy flowing within us is considered as feminine and depicted as Parvati or Mother Goddess and Shiva as Purush, Chetna or Cosmic Consciousness. So we have two types of forces within us -the feminine force which is gentle, moving yet soft and the other masculine which has more power and gravity. The feminine energy has creative powers while the masculine energy is robust and immutable.
There is a special chapter and mention of Kundalini Shakti in Tantra Yoga called Kundalini Yoga. Adi Guru (first guru) Sadashiv Shankar Bhagwan or Lord Shiva through conjugal love transferred his own creative primordial energies to awaken his beloved consort Parvati and merely to speed up and revive her divine nature and give her atma darshan, or self realization. They both were recipients of divine bliss and Cosmic Consciousness. This is how Tantra Yoga originated in India to start with long, long time ago. When the pranic shakti, the life force is used for a very pious purpose and as a means to directly tap and connect to the one and only Universal Force, it serves a superior purpose. But in those days, man was pure and saatvik in nature, while today’s man is not as pure in mind and heart. His mind is putrefied and forever restless because of so many desires breeding inside. People use the primordial energy located at the base for basal instincts and not just as a tool for swift transformation and enlightenment with the will of God.
Difference between Tantra Yoga and Raja Yoga
There is a difference of approach in Kundalini Yoga when compared to Raja Yoga. In Tantra Yoga vital energy from muladhar is promptly lifted straight to sahasrar chakra after practicing yoga for a considerable time, while in Rajayoga the energy is roused from agya chakra to sahasrar chakra. The unprincipled practitioners practice Kundalini Yoga and wish to take a shortcut without considering the fact that the purification of the lower chakras is yet to be done. All the forces in the nature are first to be invoked, worshiped and at the behest of God be used for a specific purpose keeping its sanctity and piousness intact. What we see around us today in the name of Yoga like Tantra Yoga, Kundalini Yoga is much afar from reality and its pious purposes.
Who should transmit and supply the power of awakening this dormant force?
The awakening and transmission of Kundalini Shakti should only be initiated by an expert and a proficient Guru who also possess a very strong character. He should be generous, desireless and should transmit his own energies for the welfare of his disciples. It is only after the awakening of the Kundalini Shakti that the crown chakra, sahasrar chakra is tapped open and becomes functional for spiritual enlightenment.
The main purpose of awakening the primordial force called Kundalini Shakti in shastras is opening the crown chakra and the rest of the benefits come as by products.
Why is this force dormant? When Brahma (Spirit) becomes jeeeva (individual soul), the divine force first enters the physical body through an opening or aperture in the forehead at the midpoint between the two eyebrows called bhrikuti in Sanskrit or kutastha in yoga and spreads in all the parts of the body after that.
(Reference- How to increase the power of your will?)
That explains why this is the place of concentration and meditation. Some part of the remaining stream of this primal force accumulates at the navel for future course of action about which the human being is obviously not aware of. When the shakti is established, the soul is conscious of it as well as of his own identity with divinity and remembers it for quite a long time. This information of shakti instating in him is stored in the memory of humans called smriti.
Our mind is like a recorder, a CD which records everything. Smriti is memory, the faculty in the brain where all life experiences, feelings and perceptions are recorded.
There is a centre in the human brain where the images, feelings and memories of all past lives are recorded and stored. All the sensory perceptions, feelings, emotions are condensed, crystallized in memory. This becomes man’s consciousness from which he operates. And thus starts the beginning of man’s long journey of evolution with incarnations and innumerable lives ahead of him.
As man creates countless new karmas and also reaps the fruit or consequences of his actions, with passage of time and lapse of memory, he slowly forgets his true nature of divinity from the mind by losing track. And as he bears the consequences of new karmas, the tendencies or sanskaras or remnants of those karmas are imprinted in his or her mind. And man gets so involved in maya by becoming indulgent and falls by being a victim of vices like ego, jealousy, anger, hatred, selfishness, infidelity, lust, greed etc. Many wrongdoings or sins are produced in him because of which he moves far from truthfulness, honesty, sincerity, compassion, goodness, devotion, faith, kindness, satisfaction, love and other such great virtues.
The complete forgetting of God’s presence and light in oneself is called vismriti. It is forgetfulness, total forgetfulness.
Arousing from deep slumber or vismriti
After living many incarnations, during some life the man transforms and asks himself who is he? What should he be doing? Am I doing the right thing? With these thoughts he begins to change to become positive in attitude by repenting and he starts doing many types of sadhana , means of attaining by improving his sanskaras , imprints of tendencies of past karmas to purify himself. When he does tapas, penance with God’s mercy he finds a true omnipresent guru who shows him the right direction to self realization and after purifying him from the sludge of the unwanted karmic tendencies, the Guru prepares him for realizing who is he and what is God.
God realization is not easy as man is prone to slip and has an unpredictable nature. To avoid such a situation, the Guru while taking several precautions, hastens the whole process of complete transformation, makes use of that hidden, unknown and dormant power already buried right at the inception for so very long , lying unused at the lower region of the body called Kundalin Shakti. The same power is used as a dynamo to accelerate the transformation process in us by first opening the crown chakra at the upper head which is the receiving station of divine rays and illumination. Once this is opened, the rest of the refinement of the soul goes on slowly and steadily with time.
And then for the sadhak, a stage is arrived on advancement little later on with God and Guru’s compassion, when the mind never becomes deluded in Maya anymore, because the soul remembers God so convincingly, vehemently and consciously. It does so by repeatedly meditating on Him, remembering Him in all the ways that are possible. By this time the soul does not ever forget at all that the real power in him and this world is of God. His ego dissolves completely in presence of Divine Light and purity. Therefore, he does not perform actions which are detrimental in nature and prefers to dive in divine bliss instead of fleeting pleasures of impermanent physical world. This is what is meant by Self Realization!
Many a times the devoted disciple is not even aware of the awakening of Kundalini Shakti in him while the compassionate Guru does his job silently. Ramakrishna Paramhansa of Dakshineshwar was in samadhi or continued divine bliss for a long time being unaware of his own blissful state. It was later on when a female saint, a bhairavi, a tantra practitioner announced to the troubling crowd there not to harass him as he was not a mad man but a great yogi in ecstatic bliss!!
Conclusion and lesson for us
With only Guru’s will and grace, activation of sahasrar chakra by rousing Kundalini Shakti should be initiated and not by one’s own whim or fancy for supernatural powers or siddhis. Kundalini Shakti is a feminine energy, a soft and supple energy for some specific purposes for human development and spiritual enhancement. It should not be abused or misused for petty gains or for satisfying one’s passions or greed.
(P.S. Param Pujya means most respected and worshiped in Hindi)
(To be continued)