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There is a story in the Mahabharata of Shiva meeting Arjuna as a kirāta when he awards him his divine arrow. Kunchan Nambiar of Kerala has interpreted the story in the form of an ōṭṭantuḷḷal, a kind of dance-drama. The following extract is from the Kiratham ōṭṭantuḷḷal and describes Arjuna reaching a state of yoga.

ചന്ദ്രക്കലാധാരൻറെ സാന്ദ്രമാം സേവ ചെയ്-വാൻ ചന്ദ്രപ്രതിമൻ വീരൻ സാന്ദ്രപ്രസാദത്തോടെ അന്നുള്ള ചങ്ങലകളഞ്ചും വെവ്വേറെയാക്കി ആറിൽ കടന്നു പിന്നെ ഏഴുള്ള മാർഗ്ഗത്തൂടെ എട്ടുള്ള പെട്ടകങ്ങളെട്ടും തുറന്നുവച്ചു ഒമ്പതാം വാതിലപ്പോൾ ബന്ധനം ചെയ്തു ധീരൻ പത്തുള്ള ദിക്കിൽക്കൂടെ പേർത്തും സഞ്ചാരം ചെയ്തു; ആയിരമിതളുള്ള താമരയിതൾ പല ഭൃംഗം പറന്നു പല ഭൃംഗികളായുള്ളൊരു പിംഗലയിഡതന്നിൽ പിന്നെ സുഷുമ്നതന്നിൽ ഒക്കെക്കടന്നു പിന്നെ ദുർഘടനദികളും ജിഹ്വാഗ്രഖണ്ഡത്തിൻറെ അഗ്രേ കടന്നു വീരൻ; സുര്യൻറെ ദിക്കിൽചെന്നു സൂര്യപ്രതിമൻ ധീരൻ;

Literal translation:

To serve sublimely the moon-wearer, the moon-like braveheart smiled, breaking apart and separating five chains, crossing six through the seven-fold path, opening all the ten boxes and closing the ninth door. He traveled the ten directions; many bees flew around the thousand-petaled lotus and the brown-coloured vessel (iḍa) of peepal trees (bhṛṇgi). Then, the braveheart crossed the suṣumna, violent rivers and a piece (khaṇḍa) of the tip of the tongue (jihvāgra); go to the direction of the sun did verily that sun-like brave-heart.

What on earth does any of this mean?

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  • you can look at kiratarjuniyam, one of the greatest piece of literature in sanskrit. Very beautiful poem Jul 22, 2022 at 16:32
  • This may refer to the fact that one gets in samadhi by touching with tongue the ball of throat Jul 22, 2022 at 16:33

1 Answer 1

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This is the most beautifully put riddle for Kundalini.

The answer here is in two parts, first dealing with an overview and meaning of the subtule terms, and in second part detailed explanation with references from various Upanishads and Bhagavad Gita.

1st - an overview:

Arjun- Unrealized being
Shiva- Realized state
Moon like Braveheart - The one under the control of mind thus, attached.
Breaking the five chains apart - Breaking through Pancha kosha, 5 Karamindriyas, five gyanendriya, panchbhoots.
Crossing six- Winning over torments of the six stages of life, and the six Enemies within oneself.
7 fold path- The path of Kundalini via 7 chakras.
Closing the nine doors- Overcoming the temptations of nine openings in the body.
Opening the ten boxes- Transgressing the last 10 stages veiling the consciousness.
Travelling the 10 directions- Identify oneself with all pervading Brahman.
Thousand Petal lotus- Sahasrara or the blooming consciousness.
Many bees flying- Realised souls
Brown colour vessel- Ida
Peepal tree- Bhringi
Cross Sushumna- Sushumna nadi
Violent rivers- The mind
Piece of the tip of the tongue- Khechari mudra
Go to the direction of the Sun- Control prana.
Sunlike braveheart- Realised person who is one with Brahman.

All put togethar,

To reach the state of conciousness, Arjun the one who was controlled by mind, started the journey, by transgressing panchbhuts, 5 koshas, 5 stages of torments, 5 karmendriyas, 5 Gyanendriyas, overcame the six stages of life and the internal enemies (Shadripu), with the help of Kundalini. He gained control over all his nine opening ( two eyes, 2 nostrils, 2 ears, one mouth, an anus, and a reproductive tract), he transgressed the last ten obstacles (5 of Imperial individual, five limitations of Maya), thus identifying himself with the all-pervading Brahman, and reached the self blooming consciousness where many other realised souls were present. Thus, by performing Nadi Yog with Ida, Sushumna and practicing Khechari mudra with an absolute control over mind and controlling Prana, under the guidance of realised Purush, thus becoming himself completely one with the Parbrahman got realised.

Thus, this explains the journey of an unrealised being of reaching to the consciousness of Shiva. (Shivoham Shivoham)

2nd- Detailed explanation with referances:

Why only the context of Moon wearer is used? The moon is considered as the cause of mind, and the untamed mind is thus, the obstructor in liberation. Here, moon wearer represent the quality of Shiva to control it and make us free from Pashu bhav.

Why one has to attain him?

Svetasvataropanishad,

ते ध्यान योगानुगता अपश्यन् देवात्माशक्तिम् स्वगुणेर्नीगुढाम्।
यः कारणानि निखिलानी तानि कालात्मयुक्तान्यधितिष्ठत्येकह्।।
Practicing the method of meditation, the realised that being who is the god of religion, the self of philosophy and the energy of science, who exist as the self Luminous power in every one and who is a source of the intellect, emotion and will, and who is without a second who presided all the causes enumerated above, beginning with time and ending with individual soul, and who had been incomprehensible due to the limitation of their own intellect.

Svetasvataropanishad,

एको हि रद्रो न द्वितीयाव तस्थुर्य इमाँल्लोकानीशत ईशनीभिह्।
प्रत्यंक जनास्तिष्ठति संचुकोचान्तकाले संसृज्य विश्वा भुवनानि गोपाह्।।
He who protects and controls the world by his own power powers, He-Rudra- is the only one. There is no one besides him that can make him the second. O man, he is present inside the hearts of all beings. After, projecting and maintaining all the world he finally withdraws them into himself.

Breaking 5 chains- Setting free from five senses, five objects of the senses, 5 stages of the life.

Svetasvataropanishad,

पंचस्त्रोतोम्बुम् पंचयोन्यूगवक्राम् पंचप्राणोर्मि पंचबुध्यादिमुलाम्।
पंचावर्तो पंचदुःखौगवेगाम् पंचाशद्भेदाम् पंचपर्वामधिमह्।।
We think of Him (manifestation in the universe) who is like the river that contains the water of five streams, that has five big turnings due to five causes, that have five pranas for the Waves, the mind- the basis for the five fold perception- for the source, and the five fold miseries for its rapids, and has five whirlpools, five branches and innumerable aspects.

Five streams - These represent five senses.
Five causes - this are the five elements are the Pancha bhutas.
Mind.....for the source - the expression indicates that the universe is dependent on the mind, and if it is transcended in Samadhi, the universe disappears.
Five fold miseries - it consists of The Sorrows from the existence in the prenatal womb, those attendant on birth, the miseries of old age, the pains of disease and the sorrow of death.
Five whirlpools - the objects of the 5 senses of sound, color, taste, smell and touch, in which day individual soul generally get drowned.

Svetasvataropanishad,

पंचकोश परित्यागे साक्षीबोधवशेषतः स्व स्वरुपम् सा एव स्यात शुन्यत्वम् तस्य दुर्घटम्।
The dissociation of the five sheaths—the physical, vital, mental, intellectual and causal—from one's own conscious experience will land one in a state of pure featureless transparency of consciousness.

Kaivalyo upanishad,

न भूमिरापो न च वह्निरस्ति न च चानिलो मेsस्ति न चाम्बरं च।
एवं विदित्वा परमात्मारूपं गुहाशयं निषकलमद्वितीयम्।।
For me there is neither Earth, nor water, not fire, nor air, nor Ether. Does realising the nature of Parmatman... the one who is in the cavity of the heart, who is without parts, without a second, the witness of all, beyond both existence and non existence, one attains the very nature of the Parmatma.

As per Svetasvataropanishad, of the 16 extremities of the wheel of Kala. The 5 Bhootas are present, whose evolution leads to Samsara. Thus, they must be transgressed.

Crossing 6- This includes crossing six stages of life and six enemies within the self.

Six stages of life-
Asti Potential (excistence), Jayate (birth) , Vardhate (growth), Viparinamate (metamorphic changes), Apakshiyate (decline or oldage), Vinashyati (destruction or death).
Thus, one must remember,

न जायते, न मृयते ।

Shadripu-

“काम करोधश्च लोभश्च देहे तिष्ठन्ति तस्करः
ज्ञान रत्नो पहराय तस्मात जाग्रत जाग्रत.”
Desire, anger, greed, attachment, pride, jealousy — these dacoits are residing within your own body. To loot you of the Jnana-Ratna, to rob you of the precious gem of spiritual wisdom or atma-jnana, to loot you and deprive you of the precious gem of Self-awareness and make you forget your Self and weep and wail and be in ignorance. Therefore, oh man, oh Sadhak, Beware, beware. In this way, from the submerged level of the chitta or the deep within, various samskaras and vasna are brought into activity.
— Aḍi Shankaracharya

7 fold path - The path of Kundalini via 7 Chakras.

Opening all the 10 boxes- This means overcoming the last ten obstacles before realisation. This includes Prakriti, ahamkara, buddhi, Manas, purusha (the Imperial individual), action, knowing, Desire, time, fate. (Limitations of Maya)

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Closing the ninth door- The nine doors here represent the nine openings in the body, two eyes, two nostrils, two ears, one mouth, the organ of excretion anus and the reproductive organ.

Svetasvataropanishad,

नवद्वारे पुरे देही हंसो लेलायते बहिह्।
वशी सर्वस्य लोकस्य स्थावरस्य चरस्य च।।
It is He who resides in the body the city of nine gates. He is Master of the whole world animate and inanimate.

Bhagwad geeta, 5.31,

The embodied beings who are self-controlled and detached reside happily in the city of nine gates free from thoughts that they are the doers or the cause of anything.

Travel 10 directions- Identifying oneself with PraBrahman, thus pervading in and all 10 directions with consciousness.

Svetasvataropanishad,

एशो ह देवः प्रदिशोsनु सर्वाह् पूर्वो ह जातः स उ गर्भे अंतः।
स एव जातः स जनिष्यमानः मत्यंक जनास्तिष्ठति सर्वतोमुखः।।
This divinity pervades all direction in their entity, He is the first born. He has entered into the womb, he alone is born and is to be born in future, he is inside all persons as the indwelling self facing all directions.

Chandogya upanishad, 7-25-1,

स एवाधस्तात्स उपरिष्टात्स पश्चात्स पुरस्तात्स दक्षिणहतः च उत्तरतः स ऐवदं सर्वमित्यथातोsहंकारादेश एवाहमेवाधस्तादहमुपरिष्टादहं पश्चादहं पुरस्तादहं दक्षिणतोsहमुत्तरतोsहमेवेदं सर्वमिती १
The Bhuma is below, it is above, it is behind, it is in front, it is to the right, it is to the left. All this is Bhuma. Now as regards one's own identity: I am above, I am behind, I am in front, I am to the right, I am to the left and all this is me.

Many bees flew around the 1000 petaled lotus & the brown colured vessel of the pepal tree-
The Lotus is the blooming consciousness or ParBrahma and the bees are the realised souls hovering around it and drinking the nectar of immortality. The bees which are hovering over the brown colour vessel and the peepal tree are those realised souls which helps others in realisation.
The brown colour vessel here is Ida, signifying Nadi yoga, by practicing which under the guidance of Siddha Purush (bees hovering around vessels of the tree) the person gets realised. The peepal tree is equivalent to Bhringi here, because, Bhringi attract an insect, which becomes so entranced that it is eventually transformed into a bhṛngī. Thereby pointing out that these realised souls hovering around the blooming consciousness, make the unrealized person too into a realised being.

Svetasvataropanishad,

स एव काले भुवनस्य गोप्ता विश्वाधिपह् सर्वभूतेषु गूढह्।
यस्मिन् युक्त ब्रह्मर्षयो देवताश्च तमेवं ज्ञात्वा मृत्युपाशांश्छिनतत्तति।।
He alone is a protector of the world at proper time, he is Lord of all universe hidden in all creatures. In him the divine sages and the gods merge themselves realising him thus one cut asunder the feters of death.

Crossed the Shushumna- Following the Nadi yoga, and using the Sushumna to ascend the conciousness.

Viloent river- The mind is equivalent to the violent river because of the force it exerts on the soul, that it forgets its own reality of being Brahman.

Svetasvataropanishad,

त्रिरुन्नतं स्याप्य समं शरीरं ह्रदीन्द्रीयाणि मनसा सन्निवेश्य।
ब्रह्मोडुपेन प्रतरेत विद्वान् स्त्रोतान्सी सर्वाणी भयानकानि।।
Placing the body in a straight poster, holding the chest, throat and neck erect, and drawing the senses and the mind into the heart, the knowing one should cross over all the fearful currents by the means of the raft of Brahman.

(Fearful currents - tendencies of Mind caused by ignorance which drags one into the ocean of birth and death.)

Svetasvataropanishad,

युक्तेन मनसा वयं देवस्य सवितुह् सवे।
सुवर्गेयाय शक्तया।।
With the mind controlled so as to the manifest the self luminous Immanent soul, we shall vigorously endeavour for the attainment of the supreme bliss.

Peice of the tongue- Signifies Khechari mudra, due to which Sudha is released.

Go to the direction of the Sun- Sun is the cause of Prana. It means to gain control over Prana thereby moving forward on the path of realisation.
Sun is related to prana this can be seen Hindi video of Puri Shankaracharya too. click here

Sun like Brave minded- The sun here points out to hiranyagarbha or Parbrahma. Therefore, meaning that the unrealized soul has become one with Parbrahma.

Prasnopanishad, 5,

यः पुनरेतं त्रिमात्रेणोमित्येतेनेवाक्षरेण परं पुरुषमभि-ध्यायीत स तेजसि सूर्ये सम्पन्नः।
.....स एतस्माज्जीवघनात् परातपरं।
If again he meditates on the highest Purush buy this syllable with all its three matras he becomes United with the bright sun..... and from him- the mass of life- he beholds the supreme Purusha residing in his heart.

कालिकार्पणमस्तु ।🌺

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