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There are many paths in sanathan dharma to get enlightenment.

Is it true that every path has kundalini awakening? Or is there any path, in which an aspirant gets enlightened without any kundalini awakening?

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    no enlightenment occurs without kundalini awakening. – Swami Vishwananda Mar 15 at 4:32
  • As far as I know, Shankara does not mention kundalini for enlightenment. In fact in the commentary of the Brihadaranyaka upanishad, he says that yoga is not the means of enlightenment. Shankara only emphasizes knowledge of Self for enlightenment. No doubt that some upanishads and yoga vasistha etc. mention kundalini but I do not see where it is mentioned that enlightenment will not occur without kundalini awakening. – GIRIBLR Mar 15 at 4:53
  • Isn't the concept of Chakras, Kundalini,and its subsequent awakening leading to Enlightenment, a concept, more closely related or maybe completely related with shakta and/or Shaiva based tantras and philosophy systems only? – Palpatine Mar 15 at 7:50
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    @Vivikta That;s what I think. Though Ramana Maharshi and Ramakrishna Paramahamsa have mentioned Kundalini. In advaitic tradition, as far I know, only knowledge is essential for self-realisation/enlightenment. – GIRIBLR Mar 15 at 10:51
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    @GIRIBLR , it really becomes a mashup, Several Schools and cults, but some concepts of one cult might totally be alien to the other. Yes, advaitic is totally related with clearance of the factual material error of avidya and thus leading to jnan and thus liberation finally. – Palpatine Mar 15 at 11:08
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As far as I know, Shankara does not mention kundalini for enlightenment. In fact in the commentary of the Brihadaranyaka upanishad, he says that yoga is not the means of enlightenment. Shankara only emphasizes knowledge of Self for enlightenment. No doubt that some upanishads and yoga vasistha etc. mention kundalini but I do not see where it is mentioned that enlightenment will not occur without kundalini awakening.

In fact, in Atma Bodha, Adi Shankara states

बोधोऽन्यसाधनेभ्यो हि साक्षान्मोक्षैकसाधनम् । पाकस्य वह्निवज्ज्ञानं विना मोक्षो न सिध्यति ॥ २॥

Though other articles such as rice, vegetables, water and pots are necessary, to cook a meal at is fire that actually cooks the meal. As fire is thus the direct cause of cooking, Knowledge of the Atma and not any other form of discipline i.e., practice of austerities and rituals, is the sole direct means to attain moksha or liberation. The purpose of [other] austerities is purification [of mind'] to aid one's spiritual growth and render it fit for pursuing the path of knowledge (jnana marga) to attain moksha.

The Nyaya Sutras were written by Gautama, the Vaisheshika Sutras by Kanada, the Sankhya Karika by Iswara Krishna, the Yoga Sutras by Patanjali, Mimamsa Sutras by Jaimini and Vedanta Sutras by Badarayana. I don't think any of these sutras explicitly mention Kundalini

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I think of it this way:

Enlightenment, kundalini, etc are more than concepts. They are experiences. Like Love. Stuff happens in the brain - like the feel good hormones oxytocin, endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, etc. And beyond - stuff yet to be discovered. Its something that affects the very being of the person experiencing it.

btw Enlightenement is a permanent transformation - a state of being - not just when kundalini has "risen" to the sahasrara

Perhaps a crude analogy expresses my view better.

If thoroughly enjoying a certain food preparation is akin to enlightenment, kundalini is the energy that made the experience possible - the stuff behind the senses of taste, smell, looks, feel, etc.

How would a Yogi enjoy such a preparation ? a Jnaani ? Bhakta ? Karma yogi ? child ? btw, these are not exclusive classifications when one is "enlightened" ... meaning a Yogi is also a Jnaani is also a Bhakta and a Karma yogi and is child-"like"

A yogi's process and experience would be akin to a recipe and experiences of the cook. The tools and techniques of Ashtanga yoga are akin to the tools of a cook. A yogi[ni] is aware of the progression of the kundalini thru the chakras just as the cook is of how the juices behave in the preparation to the final product.

A bhakta's experience would be in a different domain. The oneness with the divine is sufficient. The bhakta may not even be paying attention to or be aware of the kundalini rising but the end result experience is the same.

Same for a Jnaani, karma yogi.

So, the kundalini is rising for all, no matter the path - some are aware, others are not. The ending physiological stuff [discovered or not] is the outward expression of the inner experience of Samadhi / Enlightenment / Realization / Bhagavat Anubhava / etc

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I dont think we would find a very direct verse saying "without awakening of Kundalini, there is no enlightenment". Whatsoever let's start,

We have the three perspectives: The yogic, the tantric and rest. Ultimately, it's the perspective that leads to discriptions. The question itself is very deep, thus then this answer only serves as a rough idea.

From Nila-Saraswati Tantra,

परमानन्देन संयुक्तो मुक्तियास्यति निश्चिता । इति सत्य पुनः सत्यं सत्यं वच्मि वरानने ॥

'Mukti' arrives after achiving the ParamAnanda, This is truth! This is Truth! This is the only Truth!

कुलवारे कुलीनस्तु कुलधर्मकुलब्रतम्‌ । आश्रयेत्‌ परमानन्दः परमानन्दमेव च॥ न कुलीने परा बुद्धिन कुलीने परां गतिः। न कुलीने परा मुक्तिन कुलीने परा क्रिया ॥

For the aim of ParamAnanada, Kulin during the time of KulaVar incorporate the KulaDharma and KulaVrata and obtain the ParamAnanad. There is nothing Greater than the Intelligence of a Kulin, also nothing greater than the KulaVara.

योगी स्यान्नहि भोगी स्याद्‌ भोगी स्यान्नहि योगवान्‌ । योगभोगात्मक॑ कौल तस्मात्‌ कौल॑ समर्चयेत्‌ ॥

A Yogi cannot become a Bhogi. And a Bhogi cannot become a Yogi. However a Kaul (kulachari) are both Yogi as well as Bhogi.

Yogis Achive the ParamAnanda due to Awakening of Kundalini.


The Knowledge

ज्ञानातू परतरं नास्ति नास्ति चंव वरानने !। ज्ञानादेव च देवेशि ! मुच्यते भवबन्धनात्‌ ॥

There is nothing greater than Knowledge, knowledge is the only means of getting free and achive Moksha.

सोऽहं सोऽहं पुनः सोऽहं सोहहमित्येव जायते । तदेव चिरकालेन सोऽहं ज्ञानं प्रजायते ॥ २१॥ नानात्वबुद्धि त्यक्त्वा वै सात्त्विकी परमात्मिकाम्‌ गृहीत्वा च वरारोहे जायते परमार्थवित्‌ ॥ २२॥

When the knowledge of Soham, Soham, Soham rises, one has to reject the knowledge of various forms and incorporate the sattvik intelligence. Then and then only, one can understand that ParamArtha!

From the Preface of Sarswati Tantra, S.N.Khandelwal

The Sarswati Tantra is a text which is like a manual to understand other tantras. One cannot achieve the 'siddhi' of it. Sarswati tantra describes Japa, Mantras and its components

Taking the corresponding matrika from the current chakra to next upper chakra is the sarswati tantra. The whole procedure rests on 'Sushumna Nadi'. The result of it is, the 'PranRasa- हंसः (HanSa)' transforms to the 'AtmaRasa- सोऽहं (SoHam)'.

From the Sarvollāsatantram,

नारायणि तंत्र- स्थूल-ध्यानं हंस-बीजं भेद-ज्ञानाच्च लभ्यते । सोऽहं ज्ञानादू भवेल्लभ्यं ज्योतिर्ध्यानं सुनिर्मलम्‌ ॥

The Sthool Dhyana (Sthool=Gross) is wonderful than the knowledge of diffrentiation (Bhed Buddhi) that one obtains due to the 'HanSa beej' (हंसः). By the knowledge of 'SoHam' one archives Sūkṣma (सूक्ष्म) Dhyana. (Sūkṣma= Subtle)

महानिर्वाणतत्रे- स्थूलध्यानान्महादेवस्तेजोध्यानाद्धि शङ्करी । सूक्ष्म-ध्यानाद्‌ भवेन्मुक्तिरोङ्करं तत्र सम्भवम्‌॥

One obtains 'Shankara' (in form of Bhava) from the Sthool Dhyana (Gross), From 'Tejo (तेजो) Dhyana' one obtains 'Shankari'. While from 'Sūkṣma' Dhyana one obtains 'Mukti'. This is where the 'Omkara- ॐ' takes its Birth.

कुण्डलिन्यङ्कूशाकारा बिन्दुरूप: सदाशिव: । अङ्कमात्रं महादेवि शिव-शक्ति-प्रबोधकम्‌ ॥ ८ ॥

The 'Pranav- ॐ' is itself pictured (अंकुशाकृति) as the Kundalini ! Sadashiva is BinduRoopi (point), Shiva and Shakti are themself just the body parts.


However deep one goes, Tantras always recognizes the transformation of Jiva into Shiva due to the Awakening of Kundalini. The meaning Yoga is diffrent for different sects. Shardatilak tantra describes them. For agamas it's this transformation. Thus as far as concerned, a given perspective might completely neglect the awakening of Kundalini. Instead there is some equivalent available.

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