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Experiences of Siddha Yogi and Four Stages of Siddha Yoga
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Topics: Experiences of Siddha Yogi

Siddha Yoga Kundalini initiation
Once sadhak is initiated into Siddha Yoga by a Siddha Guru, the Kundalini shakti begins the process of spiritual purification which eventually leads to Self Realization on the path of Siddha yoga. This can happen only with consistent efforts (meditation and purification of Karma and Trigunas) by the sadhak on the path of Siddha yoga (the process of purification of the subtle body and removing the past Karma samskaras-impressions takes at least several decades to several lives)

The initiate’s dormant Kundalini Shakti is awakened by the Siddha Guru during initiation (Deeksha), and depending on the accumulated impressions of his past Karma impressions and the diligence with which he practices meditation (Sadhana) he will likely have amazing spiritual experiences on his way to Self Realization (at the same time I would like to underplay the importance of the experiences Siddha yogi goes through because experiences themselves are just the sign of the presence of the God on the path of Siddha yoga. Experiences themselves are not the Divine or the realization of the Divine and the divine experience should be ignored by Sadhak). Throughout this journey, although the Siddha Guru will always be there for specific guidance, the initiate will be guided automatically by his own awakened Kundalini energy (kundalini is an intelligent cosmic energy that knows about the Siddha yoga sadhak more then the sadhak), especially during the conduct of his siddha sadhan. Consistent and diligent practice of meditation will gradually result in the opening and cleansing of the spiritual pathways (Nadis) needed for the Kundalini to eventually find its way to the Sahastrara Chakra (spiritual center in the brain) resulting in the Siddha yoga aspirant’s awareness merging with the Chaitanya, i.e. the siddha sadhak achieving Self-Realization, and eventually, liberation. This is the attainment of the God – that is The Divine Awareness (or the salvation or The Bliss, Sat-Chit-Ananda, Chaitanya, Moksha, Supreme Awareness, Supreme Consciousness or Super-Soul) that brings eternal bliss to the siddha yoga sadhak.

While no two initiations will have the same set of spiritual experiences on the road to Self Realization, most aspirants will go through four stages. While each stage has unique characteristics that define it, the transitions between consecutive stages are not distinct or abrupt, with one stage gradually blending into the next one.

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1) Initial Stage of Siddha yoga (Arambha-avastha):
Arambha-avastha of Siddha yoga means the beginning state. In this Initial Stage, the Kundalini energy begins her work with physical movements and sensations, which an aspirant will experience involuntarily during his Sadhana. These might include Yogic Asanas (physical postures), Bandhas (locking of limbs/abdomen to prevent the movement of breath), Pranayam (breath-control/rhythmic breathing), etc., which help to regularize flow of the Kundalini (Prana Shakti) throughout the body. Yogic Asanas will bring the needed steadiness to the body while the Bandhas and Pranayam will bring on a feeling of lightness in the body.

During this stage the initiate is also likely to experience during Sadhan some of the characteristic symptoms of the awakened Kundalini. These might include, but not be limited to, these illustrative experiences (kriyas):

  • Sensations of throbbing at the base of the spine (Mooladhara chakra), the Kundalini energy (Prana) rising from the Mooladhara to the cerebrum (Sahasrara) and movement of Prana in different parts of the body, leading to a feeling of ecstasy. 
  • Yogic posture becoming steady resulting in a loss of body-awareness and an immersion into a trance-like state. 
  • Feeling that the Kundalini Shakti has taken control of the body and is making the initiate perform various Asanas, Bandhas and Pranayams. 
  • Seeing divine visions, hearing divine sounds, experiencing divine tastes, touch, etc. 
  • Sight getting attracted to the space between the eyebrows during meditation, breathing stops temporarily and it becomes difficult to open one’s eyes, while feeling a sense of bliss. 
  • Body begins to shake as soon as the initiate sits for meditation, followed by a sense of happiness. 
  • Feeling a sensation of intoxication (without having taken any intoxicant) like being drunk on Divinity.

read more at Symptoms of Kundalini Awakening
watch Kundalini awakening videos

Each aspirant’s experience during this stage will be unique, and will depend to a large extent on his Karma and the diligence with which he sits for Sadhan. There is a tendency at this initial stage for aspirants to dwell on what experiences they are having and which ones they aren’t, and being concerned that they are not making appropriate progress if they are not experiencing all the ones they have read about or have heard their co-aspirants talk about. This is a very counter-productive exercise because it is not at all necessary for an initiate to get all or any of the experiences stated above. These experiences are not ends in themselves but are only the means to achieve the specific type of spiritual purification needed by each aspirant at this stage.

The sole purpose of divine experiences is cleaning of physical body (Sthula Sharira) and subtle body (Linga Sharira) and cleaning of past Karma impressions (Sanchita Karma) from the Casual body (Karan Sharira). Therefore, all experiences will entirely depend on the "spiritual status" (combination of Sanchita Karma, Samskaras and Tri-gunas) of the Sadhaka. That also means, if Sadhakas "spiritual body" is relatively clean (or too clogged) he WILL have less experiences than others. 

Therefore, the initiate experiences ONLY those activities/feelings/sensations that are uniquely essential to his spiritual progress and they are different for each Sadhaka. Focusing on the experiences themselves will only lead to enhancing one’s ego or to an unnecessary feeling of despair, both of which will distract from making further spiritual progress. It is important at this stage to be aware of what one is experiencing, enjoy those experiences that are pleasant or blissful, but not dwell too much on the experiences. Rest assured that if the aspirant is diligent in sitting for Sadhan regularly, the awakened Kundalini Shakti will be doing her job of spiritual purification with great diligence. When Kundalini Shakti moves freely and regularly throughout the Sadhak’s body and he begins to feel its divine presence in him, the Kundalini Shakti will have helped him achieve the results of the initial stage (Arambha-avastha).

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2) Second Stage of Siddha yoga (Ghata-avastha):
In this second stage of siddha yoga, which usually overlaps with the first, the aspirant gradually begins to lose interest in material desires and begins to develop a sense of detachment from worldly attractions. This does not mean that he has to, or will, give up on material things (Samsaric). He may continue to live in the material world, if he so chooses, but he will begin to develop a sense of non-attachment to material things.

As his sense of non-attachment to the material world begins to develop, the aspirant will gradually find himself becoming more and more immersed in the Divine energy (Kundalini). He will begin to observe presence of Divine in everything he sees with his eyes. He will feel Prana in everything he touches with his skin. He will get a whiff of Prana in everything he smells with his nose. He will sense Prana in everything he tastes with his tongue. And he will hear the sound of Prana in everything he hears with his ears. In other words, he will begin to sense the entire material universe as manifestations of Prana Shakti. While the First Stage results in the aspirant feeling Prana within himself, the Second Stage leads the aspirant to sense Prana in everything. It is at this stage that he truly experiences the all-pervading universality of the Divine.

It is important for the aspirant to continue to practice meditation (Sadhana) during the Second Stage. As the first two stages overlap to some extent, the aspirant may continue to experience during Sadhana some of the kriyas described in the First Stage. However, by this time, many of the physical experiences will have been diminished and the aspirant will find himself sensing Prana within and outside himself, not just during Sadhan but at all times. The spiritual path for the Kundalini Shakti to find its way toward the Sahastrara Chakra (spiritual center in the brain) will have been opened and cleansed, and as a result it will be able to move freely along this path. This will result in the aspirant gaining control over the flow of Prana within himself and achieving a certain stability of mind.

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3) Third Stage of Siddha yoga (Parichaya-avastha):
Having opened and cleansed the spiritual pathways during the Second Stage of siddha yoga for the Kundalini energy to move freely within the aspirant, during the Third Stage the Kundalini Shakti moves to his Sahasrara Chakra (spiritual center in the brain) and merges with it. This results in the aspirant’s Awareness merging with the Chaitanya, or the Kundalini, and the aspirant begins to achieve complete serenity of mind. His perspective of the universe changes to where he constantly sees the universe as nothing but a manifestation of Prana. He sees that oneness in everyone and everything.

At this stage not only does the aspirant experience the universality of Prana but he is also able to begin to exert control over it. He develops an ability to exhaust all the accumulated Karma of his previous lives without having the necessity to be reborn again and again. As a result he reaches the status of Siddha which enables him to gain extraordinary powers (Siddhis) including the ability to awaken the dormant Kundalini Shakti in others. He achieves his goal of Self-Realization, and having done so, can choose to continue to live in this world as long as he desires or to liberate himself from it at will. He is no longer an “aspirant” but is now a true “Yogi”. Some yogis choose to dwell in this state for extended periods with the goal of helping others achieve Self-Realization. Others move on to the next stage of Liberation (Mukti).

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4) Fourth Stage of Siddha yoga (Nishpatti-avastha):
This is the forth and the final stage of siddha yoga, where the siddha yogi, having achieved Self-Realization liberates himself from the cycle of birth and death. He achieves a state of bliss (Samadhi) where he is completely beyond the physical confines of this universe. He feels neither hunger nor thirst, nor heat nor cold. His Awareness no longer dwells in the material, but constantly resides in Prana. When he chooses to depart from his body he does not need to be reborn and his Awareness stays merged with the Chaitanya forever.

This is the attainment of the God – that is The Divine Awareness (The Nirvana or the salvation or The Bliss, Sat-Chit-Ananda, Chaitanya, Moksha, Supreme Awareness, Supreme Consciousness or Super-Soul) that brings eternal bliss to the siddha yoga sadhak.

This is the same state of Nirvana or Moksha (union with the Divine) as explained by Lord Sri Krishna in Bhagavad Gita (which is the final result of all the yoga paths - Karma yoga (yoga of action without attachment) or Bhakti yoga (yoga of love for the Divine) or Gyan yoga (yoga of knowledge and awareness), Siddha or Kundalini yoga (yoga of divine consciousness), Hatha yoga (purification of the body and mind through Asanas and Pranayama), Laya yoga (yoga of meditating on interior energy centers), Mantra yoga (yoga of Divine or Sacred words, phrases, or syllables) Raja Yoga (Royal yoga or royal union, also known as Classical Yoga and Ashtanga Yoga)

Lord Krishna with Arjuna at Battlefield

Bhagavad Gita: Chapter 3, Verse 19

The highest ideal for every Sadhak is `Siddha-Avasthaa' i.e. state of perfection or `Moksha' i.e. release from the cycle of multiple births and deaths. As a result of the knowledge of the Self, a Yogi has nothing left in balance, which is yet to be acquired for anyone including himself. It is all the same to him whether he performs an action or does not perform it. If such a Yogi has nothing to do gain or lose from others then as per the modern principle of `the path of the least action', his logical choice must be inaction and not action; as he has nothing to achieve for himself as well as for others.....In the rhythm of incessantly beating of heart, a Sadhak carries out various mundane worldly activities without even noticing every single beat of his heart. Absence of attachment leads to pacification of mind; thus work and rest go on as if reflex actions. Mind made calm in this way becomes capable of grasping the Self. Calmness of mind is the essential pre-requisite for the knowledge of the Self.

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State of a Yogi (The Liberated one – The Self-Realized one) - What a Yogi Experiences?
Once liberated from the Samsara (cycle of birth and death) what does a yogi experience?

Purpose of the life of the Yogi is achieved. The entire circle of birth and death is over for him. He has realized the perfect bliss of the Atman – state of Chaitanya. He is free, He is perfect, He is Absolute, He is Divine, He is Brahman. He is enjoying the bliss of the immortal soul. He is brimful of perennial joy. Bright light burning in his heart he is free from any doubt, free from any delusion. He has broken all illusory relationships (Maya - of sensual objects and the mind).

He has destroyed his mind, He has destroyed his Karma. He has destroyed his Samskaras. He has no relative or friend. Everyone and everything is God for him at the same time everything is nothing for him. Everything is Bliss, everything is blissful energy. It is all one homogeneous essence and experience of the bliss.

He does not need to study the scriptures or Vedas. He rests in his own essential nature – Self (the Atma-swaroop). Now, where is the need for meditation? Where is the necessity for samadhi for him? He is continuously experiencing the satisfaction which results from samadhi. He enjoys the joy eternal, the joy unspeakable, the joy supreme, the joy unbounded. He knows nothing but joy limitless and unbounded.

He has risen above ignorance. He has risen above his knowledge of this seeming universe. He acts just like any other human being. He sleeps, he eats, he works, he talks and yet, he does not perform any action at all, he is not bound by his actions. As a result of the knowledge of the Self, he has nothing left in balance, which is yet to be acquired for anyone including himself.

Yogi is the Divine! Yogi is the Absolute! Yogi is the Universe! Yogi is the GOD!

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Yoga is an exact science. It aims at the harmonious development of body, mind and soul. Everyone should follow one Yoga as their primary Yoga (based on their character). Then we must combine Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga and Gyan Yoga. This “Yoga Synthesis” will lead one to the God.
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Kundalini Yoga is also known by the names: Siddha Yoga, Sahaj Yoga, Shaktipat Yoga, Maha Yoga, Shakti Yoga or Kriya Yoga