Ch. 3, v. 2, guru, kuṇḍalī, Spirit, knots, lotus

Ch. 3, v. 2,            Haṭhayogapradīpika      guru, kuṇḍalī, Spirit, knots, lotus

“When this sleeping kuṇḍalī is awakened by the gift (prasādena) of the guru, then all the lotuses (padma) are opened, and the knots (granthi) too.”

सुप्तागुर-परसादेन यदा जागर्ति कुण्डली |

ßतदा सर्वाणि पद्मानि भिद्यन्ते गरन्थयो|अपि छ || २ ||

suptā guruprasādena yadā jāgrati kuṇḍalī |

tadā sarvāṇi padmāni bhidyante granthayo api cha || 2 ||

Rev. Dr John Dupuche is a Catholic priest, and Yogi Matsyendranath is from the Nath Yoga tradition. Father John and Yogi present teachings from their contrasting traditions, using as their starting point verses from the Haṭha-Yoga-Pradīpika.

‘the gift of the guru’

The kuṇḍalī is awakened not only by yogic practices but also by the gift (prasādena) of the guru. Energy comes from him and is given freely to the disciples. They have discovered the authentic guru and by the power of the grace that is already in them have recognized the guru and his grace. Grace is perceived by grace; grace is given to grace, grace upon grace. Grace awakens grace. Grace leads to grace.

This means in turn that the disciples are a grace to each other. If it is not received individually it cannot be shared out. If it is not naturally generous of itself it is not true grace.

What is the manner of the guru’s giving? It can be face to face by words and actions and initiations; it can also be by a look or even supremely in absence, for the authentic guru is never absent but fills the whole world.

In the Christian dispensation, Jesus gives the grace visibly to the disciples on Easter day when he breathes the Spirit on them, but he continues to do so even now. Though ascended to heaven and seemingly absent – indeed because he is ascended to heaven and seated at the right hand of the Father – he is able to bestow grace universally. The grace of Christ cannot be contained by a look or a touch, but occurs in the depths of the spirit and throughout the breadth of the universe.
The guru does not impose his grace, but like every grace, it is surprising. It is not earned or merited by the disciple; it is not his due; it is not a payment; it does not cease to be a gift.

“sleeping kuṇḍalī”


In principle, the kuṇḍalī is fully awakened in the guru. Out of love for the disciple, the guru awakens the kuṇḍalī in the disciple.

While the guru has the ability to bestow the grace even to the doubting disciple, it more readily comes to the disciple who believes in the guru, who has been enabled to see the light and the truth of the guru.

Why is the kuṇḍalī asleep in the disciple? This is a matter of observation.

The kuṇḍalī can be compared to the Spirit in the Christian viewpoint, for both are power. The Spirit is latent, hovering over the waters of the deep at the very beginning (Gen 1:2) The Spirit is brought fully to the earth by the sacrifice of Christ. The disciple is obedient, waiting for the Spirit who is waiting for the disciple. The Spirit will not awaken without the work of the guru. The Spirit also requires the disciple to do his part. The Spirit / kuṇḍalī is demanding, and must be.

“then all the lotuses … are opened”

The kuṇḍalī, the Spirit, begins to stir and to have its effect, starting from the lowest level, the deepest, most mysterious, at the very heart. This is experienced in the human body at the lowest part of the spine till it reaches the highest level of the top of the head. The body is marvelously constructed; it is a system, an organ, a ‘mandala’. The lower faculties are awakened and lead to the awakening of the higher faculties. There is a process. If the lower faculties are not awakened, the order is disturbed and the results will not be so powerful. If the lower elements are disregarded in favour of the higher elements, because of some prejudice and false teaching that despises the lower chakras, the higher faculties will be unbalanced and exaggerated. The lower faculties will, so to speak, claim their due.

The image of the lotus is carefully chosen. The lotus flower, which lies on the surface of the pond remains closed during the dark of night but at the arrival of dawn opens and reveals its beauty. So too the faculties, which are enlightened by the Spirit, begin to function and show their splendour.

The movement is in an upward direction. If it is downward, with the progressive closing of the faculties, the situation ends up worse than if the Spirit had not started to move at all. That is why the work of sin is so destructive, more than if there had been complete ignorance.

“and the knots too”

Not only are the lotuses opened, but also the knots (granthi) are cut. For there are knots too, not just unopened lotuses. These are the ‘ties that bind’, namely the traumas, the inherited sin, the accumulated effects of error, one’s own mistakes or those of others. The disciple needs to be freed from these too. The Spirit is the Spirit of freedom.

About interfaithashram

Rev. Dr. John Dupuche is a Roman Catholic Priest, a senior lecturer at MCD University of Divinity, and Honorary Fellow at Australian Catholic University. His doctorate is in Sanskrit in the field of Kashmir Shaivism. He is chair of the Catholic Interfaith Committee of the Archdiocese of Melbourne and has established a pastoral relationship with the parishes of Lilydale and Healesville. He is the author of 'Abhinavagupta: the Kula Ritual as elaborated in chapter 29 of the Tantraloka', 2003; 'Jesus, the Mantra of God', 2005; 'Vers un tantra chrétien' in 2009; translated as 'Towards a Christian Tantra' in 2009. He has written many articles. He travels to India each year. He lives in an interfaith ashram.
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