You may have heard about Chakras. A Yogi is supposed to pierce chakras and go up from Muladhara to Agna and then finally to Sahasrara. What is the reason a yogi has to do this?
What is the meaning of the Chakras? To understand this one has to take a look at how human consciousness operates. According to Hindu scripture our material mind has neural correlates. (Hindu scripture says that our material mind is not a by product of our brain but is associated with it. Our mind is a part of our linga sarira or subtle body.) This connection between our normal mind and brain means that when our brain dies, our mind can no longer connect with the brain and hence we fall into a swoon like state. It only ends when we take physical birth again. A Yogi by piercing chakras brings into being a spiritual mind which is present in every human being in a seed form. This spiritual mind is independent of the brain. A yogi who has succeeded in activating fully his spiritual mind can operate even when his brain dies.
I had an interesting discussion about the Chakras and Yoga. I am presenting below parts of the discussion.
R, a Taoist practicioner, asked me the following questions:
[[[Nice explanation G! . How does this relate to Kundalini awakening? Is the Spiritual mind "born" only after the Kundalini energy is raised from the mula to the sahasrara?
How does this work with practitioners of pure Advaita (eg: those that follow Ramana Maharishi's teachings or Nisargadatta Maharaj -- the jnana yoga practitioners)? Will this arise spontaneously for those or does one have to systematically arouse Kundalini as the Raja Yoga practitioners or Tantrikas do?
Interestingly, the Taoists have a similar concept called "birthing the spiritual embryo" which follows the process of gaining Inner stillness (quieting the mind) and re-integrating the physical and energy bodies.]]]
[[[How does this relate to Kundalini awakening? Is the Spiritual mind "born" only after the Kundalini energy is raised from the muladhara to the sahasrara?]]]
Those who do mantra japa will find their Kundalini starting from the appropriate Chakra, usually the Muladhara. The starting Chakra might be a higher one if that person has made some progress in her previous life. The Yogi would have to raise the Kundalini Shakti to Sahasrara and would have to activate the Sahasrara Chakra in order to have this spiritual mind. Merely visiting the Sahasrara is not enough. This is because all the other 6 Chakras are strongly coupled to the physical body and only Sahasrara extends out of the body.
[[[How does this work with practitioners of pure Advaita (eg: those that follow Ramana Maharishi's teachings or Nisargadatta Maharaj -- the jnana yoga practitioners)? ]]]
Basically you are asking about the Ajatavadis. They try to by pass all the lower 6 Chakras and try to activate the Sahasrara directly. This is not the only difference. They also try to go beyond the spiritual mind. Why is this so? The reason is that the spiritual mind comes with a spiritualized ego. A Jnana Yogi wants to go beyond this ego and thus wants to go beyond the spiritual mind. This is the reason why one can not describe Brahman or talk about the experience of Nirvikalpa Samadhi.
[[[Will this arise spontaneously for those or does one have to systematically arouse Kundalini as the Raja Yoga practitioners or Tantrikas do?]]]
The Sahasrara can be activated directly by Jnana Yogis. However, the path is difficultt. This is the reason why people use Raja Yoga and ascend the Chakra system step by step. You should remeber that activating Sahasrara is very difficult even for Raja Yoga practicioners since Guru's help stops after the Ajna Chakra has been attained. After Ajna Chakra a Yogi of whatever persuasion is on her own and can not expect any help from anybody.