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Awakening of Inner Consciousness

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In this new feature of our website, we present every week a new selection of the teachings of Vedanta, taken from a variety of sources – lectures and writings of Swami Adiswarananda, Ramakrishna-Vivekananda Literature, and other spiritual texts.










Following the eightfold practice of the Yoga system, consciousness of the mind is raised upward. In this regard, the Yoga system speaks of the six centers of consciousness. The awakened kundalini (spiritual energy dormant in every person) rises and passes through centers of consciousness located in the vicinity of the spinal column. For ordinary persons, the spiritual energy is un-channeled and squandered. Through the practice of Yoga disciplines, this dormant energy is converted into spiritual energy (ojas). The six centers of consciousness range from the lowest plane of gross impulses to the highest plane of pure bliss. The first center is called muladhara (root support). Dwelling on this level of consciousness, a human individual is guided by gross, subconscious desires. The second center is svadhisthana (own abode). Remaining at this center, an individual is constantly swayed by gross impulses, imagination, and animal propensities. The third center is manipura (city of jewels), which controls the senses of perception, especially sight. As clouds obstruct the vision of the sun, so do the clouds of emotions and impulses obstruct the clear vision of the Self. Raising the mind to the fourth center, anahata (unobstructed), a spiritual seeker for the first time gets a glimpse of the divine Self. The fifth center is called visuddha (pure), and existence at this center is marked by complete purity. The sixth center is known as ajna (command). By reaching this center of consciousness, a seeker attains the vision of absolute truth.

Through the practice of meditation, the inner consciousness becomes awakened. The awakening of the first center activates the memories of our past; the second, gross impulses; and the third, a sense of individuality. The awakening of the fourth center brings spiritual experiences and visions; the fifth, partial spiritual absorption; and the sixth, deep spiritual absorption. For most persons, the mind is forced to travel between the three lower centers. At these centers, a person’s mind constantly broods over the cravings of lust and greed; eating, sleeping, and procreation are a person’s dominant preoccupations. But when the mind reaches the fourth center, seekers experience spiritual awakening. New vistas open up before them—they see the same world but in its fine and spiritual form; they see light all around and visualize the individual soul as a flame. When their minds reach the fifth center, they want to talk and hear only about God and do not enjoy anything else. Reaching the sixth center, their minds are taken over by a deep spiritual absorption, and they see the Self as living and real. They lose all outer consciousness and no longer want to come back to the level of body-consciousness.

(To be continued)

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