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Yoga-Kundalini Upanishad

Translated by K. Narayanasvami Aiyar

Om ! May He protect us both together; may He nourish us both together;

May we work conjointly with great energy,

May our study be vigorous and effective;

May we not mutually dispute (or may we not hate any).

Om ! Let there be Peace in me !

Let there be Peace in my environment !

Let there be Peace in the forces that act on me !


1. Chitta has two causes, Vasanas and (Prana) Vayu. If one of them is controlled, then both are controlled.

2. Of these two, a person should control (Prana) Vayu always through moderate food, postures and thirdly Sakti-Chala.

3-4. I shall explain the nature of these. Listen to it, O Gautama. One should take a sweet and nutritious food, leaving a fourth (of his stomach) unfilled, in order to please Shiva (the patron of Yogins). This is called moderate food. Posture herein required is of two kinds, Padma and Vajra.

5. Placing the two heels over the two opposite thighs (respectively) is the Padma (posture) which is the destroyer of all sins.

6. Placing one heel below the Mulakanda and the other over it and sitting with the neck, body and head erect is the Vajra posture.

7. The Sakti (mentioned above) is only Kundalini. A wise man should take it up from its place (Viz., the navel, upwards) to the middle of the eyebrows. This is called Sakti-Chala.

8. In practising it, two things are necessary, Sarasvati-Chalana and the restraint of Prana (breath). Then through practice, Kundalini (which is spiral) becomes straightened.

9-10(a). Of these two, I shall explain to you first Sarasvati-Chalana. It is said by the wise of old that Sarasvati is no other than Arundhati. It is only by rousing her up that Kundalini is roused.

10(b)-11(a). When Prana breath is passing through (one’s) Ida (left nostril), he should assume firmly Padma-posture and should lengthen (inwards) 4 digits the Akasa of 12 digits.

11(b)-13(a). Then the wise man should bind the (Sarasvati) Nadi by means of this lengthened (breath) and holding firmly together (both his ribs near the navel) by means of the forefingers and thumbs of both hands, (one hand on each side) should stir up
Kundalini with all his might from right to left often and often; for a period of two Muhurtas (48 minutes), he should be stirring it up fearlessly.

13(b)-14. Then he should draw up a little when Kundalini enters Susumna. By this means, Kundalini enters the mouth of Susumna. Prana (also) having left (that place) enters of itself the Susumna (along with Kundalini).

15. By compressing the neck, one should also expand the navel. Then by shaking Sarasvati, Prana goes above (to) the chest.

16-17. Through the contraction of the neck, Prana goes above from the chest. Sarasvati who has sound in her womb should be shaken (or thrown into vibration) each day. Therefore by merely shaking it, one is cured of diseases.

18. Gulma (a splenetic disease), Jalodara (dropsy), Pliha (a splenetic disease) and all other diseases arising within the belly, are undoubtedly destroyed by shaking this Sakti.

19. I shall now briefly describe to you Pranayama. Prana is the Vayu that moves in the body and its restraint within is known as Kumbhaka.

20. It is of two kinds, Sahita and Kevala. One should practise Sahita till he gets Kevala.

21. There are four Bhedas (lit., piercings or divisions) viz., Surya, Ujjayi, Sitali and Bhastri. The Kumbhaka associated with these four is called Sahita Kumbhaka.

22-23. Being seated in the Padma posture upon a pure and pleasant seat which gives ease and is neither too high nor too low, and in a place which is pure, lovely and free from pebbles, etc., and which for the length of a bow is free from cold, fire and water, one should shake (or throw into vibration) Sarasvati;

24. Slowly inhaling the breath from outside, as long as he desires, through the right nostril, he should exhale it through the left

25. He should exhale it after purifying his skull (by forcing the breath up). This destroys the four kinds of evils caused by Vayu as also by intestinal worms.

26(a). This should be done often and it is this which is spoken of as Surya-Bheda.

26(b)-27. Closing the mouth and drawing up slowly the breath as before with the nose through both the Nadis (or nostrils) and retaining it in the space between the heart and the neck, one should exhale it through the left nostril.

28. This destroys the heat caused in the head as well as the phlegm in the throat. It removes all diseases, purifies his body and increases the (gastric) fire within.

29. It removes also the evils arising in the Nadis, Jalodara (waterbelly or dropsy) and Dhatus. This Kumbhaka is called Ujjayi and may be practised (even) when walking or standing.

30. Drawing up the breath as before through the tongue with (the hissing sound of) ‘Sa’ and retaining it as before, the wise man should slowly exhale it through (both) the nostrils.

31. This is called Sitali Kumbhaka and destroys diseases, such as Gulma, Pitha, consumption, bile, fever, thirst and poison.

32. Seated in the Padma posture with belly and neck erect, the wise man should close the mouth and exhale with care through the

33. Then he should inhale a little with speed up to the heart, so that the breath may fill the space with noise between the neck and

34-35. Then he should exhale in the same way and inhale often and often. Just as the bellows of a smith are moved (viz., stuffed with air within and then the air is let out), so he should move the air within his body. If the body gets tired, then he should inhale
through the right nostril.

36-37(a). If his belly is full of Vayu, then he should press well his nostrils with all his fingers except his forefinger and performing Kumbhaka as before, should exhale through the left nostril.

37(b)-38. This frees one from diseases of fire in (or inflammation of) the throat, increases the gastric fire within, enables one to know the Kundalini, produces purity removing sins, gives happiness and pleasure and destroys phlegm which is the bolt (or obstacle) to the door at the mouth of Brahma-Nadi (viz., Susumna).

39. It pierces also the three Granthis (or knots) differentiated through the three Gunas. This Kumbhaka is known as Bhastri and should especially be performed.

40. Through these four ways when Kumbhaka is near (or is about to be performed), the sinless Yogin should practise the three Bandhas.

41. The first is called Mulabandha. The second is called Uddiyana and the third is Jalandhara. Their nature will be thus described.

42. Apana (breath) which has a downward tendency is forced up by one bending down. This process is called Mulabandha.

43. When Apana is raised up and reaches the sphere of Agni (fire), then the flame of Agni grows long, being blown about by Vayu.

44-45(a). Then Agni and Apana come to (or commingle with) Prana in a heated state. Through this Agni which is very fiery, there arises in the body the flaming (or the fire) which rouses the sleeping Kundalini through its heat.

45(b)-46. Then this Kundalini makes a hissing noise, becomes erect like a serpent beaten with stick and enters the hole of Brahmanadi (Susumna). Therefore Yogins should daily practise Mulabandha often.

47-48(a). Uddiyana should be performed at the end of Kumbhaka and at the beginning of expiration. Because Prana Uddiyate (viz.,
goes up) the Susumna in this Bandha, therefore is called Uddiyana by the Yogins.

48(b)-49(a). Being seated in the Vajra posture and holding firmly the two toes by the two hands, he should press at the Kanda and at the place near the two ankles.

49(b)-50. Then he should gradually upbear the Tana (thread or Nadi) which is on the western side first to Udara (the upper part of the abdomen above the navel), then to the heart and then to the neck. When Prana reaches the Sandhi (junction) of navel, slowly it removes the impurities (or diseases) in the navel. Therefore this should be frequently practised.

51. The Bandha called Jalandhara should be practised at the end of Kumbhaka. This Jalandhara is of the form of the contraction of the neck and is an impediment to the passage of Vayu (upwards).

52. When the neck is contracted at once by bending downwards (so that the chin may touch the breast), Prana goes through Brahmanadi on the western Tana in the middle.

53. Assuming the seat as mentioned before, one should stir up Sarasvati and control Prana.

54. On the first day Kumbhaka should be done four times; on the second day it should be done ten times and then five times

55. On the third day, twenty times will do and afterwards Kumbhaka should be performed with the three Bandhas and with an
increase of five times each day.

56-57. Diseases are generated in one’s body through the following causes, viz., sleeping in daytime, late vigils over night, excess of sexual intercourse, moving in crowd, the checking of the discharge of urine and faeces, the evil of unwholesome food and laborious mental operation with Prana.

58. If a Yogin is afraid of such diseases (when attacked by them), he says, “my diseases have arisen from my practice of Yoga”. Then he will discontinue this practice. This is said to be the first obstacle to Yoga.

59. The second (obstacle) is doubt; the third is carelessness; the fourth, laziness; the fifth, sleep;

60. The sixth, the not leaving of objects (of sense); the seventh, erroneous perception; the eighth, sensual objects; the ninth, want of faith;

61. And the tenth, the failure to attain the truth of Yoga. A wise man should abandon these ten obstacles after great deliberation.

62. The practice of Pranayama should be performed daily with the mind firmly fixed on Truth. Then Chitta is absorbed in Susumna
and Prana (therefore) never moves.

63. When the impurities (of Chitta) are thus removed and Prana is absorbed in Susumna, he becomes a (true) Yogin.

64. Apana, which has a downward tendency should be raised up with effort by the contraction (of the anus) and this is spoken of as Mulabandha.

65. Apana thus raised up mixes with Agni and then they go up quickly to the seat of Prana. Then Prana and Apana uniting with one another go to Kundalini, which is coiled up and asleep.

66-67. Kundalini being heated by Agni and stirred up by Vayu, extends her body in the mouth of Susumna, pierces the Brahmagranthi formed of rajas and flashes at once like lightning at the mouth of Susumna.

68-69(a). Then it goes up at once through Vishnugranthi to the heart. Then it goes up through Rudragranthi and above it to the middle of the eyebrows; having pierced this place, it goes up to the Mandala (sphere) of the moon.

69(b)-70(a). It dries up the moisture produced by the moon in the Anahata-Chakra having sixteen petals.

70(b)-71. When the blood is agitated through the speed of Prana, it becomes bile from its contact with the sun, after which it goes to the sphere of the moon where it becomes of the nature of the flow of pure phlegm. How does it (blood) which is very cold become hot when it flows there ?

72. (Since) at the same time the intense white form of moon is speedily heated. Then being agitated, it goes up.

73. Through taking in this, Chitta which was moving amidst sensual objects externally, is restrained there. The novice enjoying this high state attains peace and becomes devoted to Atman.

74. Kundalini assumes the eight forms of Prakriti (matter) and attains Shiva by encircling him and dissolves itself in Shiva.

75. Thus Rajas-Sukla (seminal fluid) which rises up goes to Shiva along with Marut (Vayu); Prana and Apana which are always produced become equal.

76. Pranas flow in all things, great and small, describable, or indescribable, as fire in gold.

77. Then this body which is Adhibhautika (composed of elements) becomes Adhidaivata (relating to a tutelar deity) and is thus purified. Then it attains the stage of Ativahika.

78. Then the body being freed from the inert state becomes stainless and of the nature of Chit. In it, the Ativahika becomes the chief of all, being of the nature of That.

79. Like the conception of the snake in a rope, so the idea of the release from life and Samsara is the delusion of time.

80. Whatever appears is unreal. Whatever is absorbed is unreal. Like the illusory conception of silver in the mother-of-pearl, so is the idea of man and woman.

81. The microcosm and the macrocosm are one and the same; so also the Linga and Sutratman, Svabhava (substance) and form and the self-resplendent light and Chidatma.

82. The Sakti named Kundalini, which is like a thread in the lotus and is resplendent, is biting with the upper end of its hood (namely, mouth) at the root of the lotus the Mulakanda.

83-84. Taking hold of its tail with its mouth, it is in contact with the hole of Brahmarandhra (of Susumna). If a person seated in the Padma posture and having accustomed himself to the contraction of his anus makes his Vayu go upward with the mind intent on
Kumbhaka, then Agni comes to Svadhisthana flaming, owing to the blowing of Vayu.

85. From the blowing of Vayu and Agni, the chief (Kundalini) pierces open the Brahmagranthi and then Vishnugranthi.

86. Then it pierces Rudragranthi, after that, (all) the six lotuses (or plexuses). Then Sakti is happy with Shiva in Sahasrara Kamala (1000 lotuses seat or pineal gland). This should be known as the highest Avastha (state) and it alone is the giver of final beatitude.

Thus ends the first chapter.

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