Readers may recall that nearly 8 years earlier, my Qigong Grandmaster, who was on his first visit here from Ningxia, China, had told me that he had dreamt of me and that he was instructed to teach and guide me. After having learned Islamic Qigong from him, I went on to learn Guolin Qigong, Xianggong and Shaolin Qigong. Several years later, I helped found the Guolin Qigong Association of Malaysia, and became its first President.
I was in the midst of teaching and promoting Qigong when Swamiji instructed me that I am to also learn Kundalini. But he did say that I need to do so only after the year 2000. In the meantime, I did my best to promote Qigong to Malaysians in all the states and in many towns, first through the Guolin Qigong Association, and now on my own. But most of all, I must acknowledge this column as the main avenue that has allowed me to share my knowledge about Qi and Qigong ( and other health matters ) to many Malaysians, and even to readers across the globe.
I have used my medical knowledge and experience to modify certain Qigong exercises and have also created my own that I have found to be beneficial to the students ( and patients ). I have compiled a series of Qigong exercises that, if practised regularly, should maintain good health and help prevent the most common major diseases like cancers, heart disease, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, back problems, and many others. The awareness about Qigong is now much higher than when I started over a decade ago, and there are also many other masters and many Qigong associations spreading and teaching this invaluable art. To understand and appreciate Qigong, I was forced to learn whatever I could about Chinese Medical Theory, which incorporates Qi and Qigong.
After meeting Swamiji, I was also forced to study about Yoga, though I must admit that my emphasis had been much more on Qigong. It is interesting that I am required to learn both these energy/healing exercises/philosophies that came from two of the richest civilizations in history.
Whilst I concentrated mainly on the health-enhancing exercises of Qigong, without going much into its philosophy and spirituality, my involvement in Kundalini Yoga is different, because Kundalini Yoga is a spiritual practice. However, my Sufi training helped.
In the decade prior to meeting Swamiji, I had received guidance from three Sufi masters. One was from Cyprus, another residing in KL, and the third from New York. They had prepared me for the Spiritual Path. So when Swamiji proclaimed that one day I am to lead his flock of Kundalini Yoga practitioners, I took it in stride, although until now I am still wondering how a Muslim Sufi is going to lead 10,000 non-Muslims ( mostly Hindus ). But like the first Sai Baba ( of Shridi ), Swamiji’s own Guru ( and founder of the movement ) was also a Muslim. Looks like history will repeat itself.
Incidentally, exactly one year after meeting Swamiji, I was approached by Mother Mangalam, President of The Pure Life Society ( in Jalan Puchong, KL ) to lead INSAF, which stands for Interfaith Spiritual Fellowship. So for the last 5 years, with the help of INSAF committee members and interfaith activists from various religious groups, I have been actively bringing the peoples of different faiths closer together.
The Pure Life Society itself is a spiritual charitable organization started by the late Swami Satyananda over 50 years ago. He was a spiritual visionary who saw that our future lies in strengthening our friendship and brotherhood in spite of our different faiths. He was also world-renowned for teaching meditation, and among his disciples were followers of other faiths, including Christian priests.
In the course of my interfaith activities, I also had the privilege of meeting the late Yogi Bhajan, a Sikh spiritual leader based in USA, and also a world-famous Kundalini Yoga Grandmaster.
Perhaps now is the right time for me to start sharing my knowledge about Yoga Philosophy and the power of Kundalini.
Although most of us are familiar with the postures and breathing associated with Yoga, these are only the most basic components of what is actually an entire philosophy aimed at uniting the self with God ( or the Universal Power or Consciousness ). This union is not possible if the self does not first unite and harmonize its physical, mental and spiritual components into one purpose. Thus the physical exercises of Yoga ( combined with controlled breathing and mental discipline ) were originally aimed at achieving this basic union. This is the basis of Hatha Yoga. All the other main Yoga practices are actually different paths of attaining spiritual upliftment. For example, Jnana Yoga is the path of Wisdom, Bhakti Yoga is the path of Devotion, Karma Yoga is the path of Selfless Service, and Raya Yoga is the path of Self-control and Meditation. All aim to reach Samadhi, or self-realization.
In modern times, Yoga masters have developed named many styles of Hatha Yoga. Western practitioners have also gradually taken the lead in popularizing the art.
Kundalini is about energy. In its basal form, it is a dormant feminine energy and resides at the base of the spine. Through correct training, it can become immense and can be unleashed to energize the body, mind and spirit. Wrongly harnessed, it can cause terrible consequences.
In the deeper sense, however, it is also about philosophy and spirituality. And, like many other Eastern phenomena, it has also been adapted and re-packaged into a New Age concept by some modern practitioners.
Kundalini is a subtle yet powerful creative and curative force. It is Qi or Prana at its most powerful expression. It is the Life Force of higher states of consciousness. It is the driving force of Spiritual power.
When the Sufis talk about the different strengths of energy ( Latifa ) that operate at the various stations of the Soul, they are referring to a similar phenomenon. Whilst Qi or Prana is stored in the chakras and traverses the meridians ( or nadis ) through breathing, exercise and thought-commands, Kundalini also resides in the chakras, but can be excited only through meditative and spiritual means.
Through Yoga practice and spiritual elevation, the Kundalini energy is awaken and rises up the central energy pathway ( sushumna nadi ) to the next higher chakra. Each chakra defines a spiritual station. As in other spiritual paths, the journey to enlightenment can take many years, with ups and downs.
With spiritual progression, the Yogi may be empowered with supernatural abilities ( siddhis ) like telepathy and healing.
So, whilst you can practise other forms of Yoga to get the health benefits, you cannot experience the full Kundalini power without spiritual training. Many spiritual gurus and swamis who practised Kundalini Yoga have experienced and shared with us what Kundalini power is all about.
Some described Kundalini as the primordial evolutionary force that exists in us all. Others described it as a magical, supernatural power capable of awesome manifestations. Yet where is this strange force hiding, since most of us do not feel it, nor know anything about it? I have reported that many Qigong students are frustrated when they cannot feel the Qi. Trying to know, understand, and feel Kundalini power will be more frustrating as even many seasoned Qigong ( or TaiChi or Yoga ) practitioners do not experience it.
QIGONG & KUNDALINI YOGA
Combining Qigong and Kundalini Yoga/Meditation is a formidable exercise. It is only natural that since I am entrusted to learn both, I often combine them. It will be very interesting to experience the power of this synergy right in the Energy Pyramid of Lucky Valley, when I return there in mid-September. Those who wish to try it out can come along with me. The last time I went into the Energy Pyramid, I spun like a helicopter. I wonder what will happen this time.