Sample from the Fall 2004 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine
By Prahaladan Mandelkorn
Recently, Prahaladan Mandelkorn and Rabbi David Shneyer offered at Yogaville what may have been the first Yoga and Kabbalah workshop. Here are some themes from these overlapping spiritual pathways.
The Goddess The base chakra, Muladhara in Yoga, where the kundalini goddess of serpentine power lies sleeping, is what the Kabbalists call Malkhut, the kingdom and majesty of God. It is none other than this very world we live in, and it’s blessed with a divine feminine presence, Shekhina, the presence of divinity in the here and now.
“Behold me both as the one and the many,” teaches the Bhagavad Gita, “and wherever you look, you will see my face.” This is Malkhut. Among it’s many signs are the moon and the sea, grace, the Sabbath day, Jupiter, the bride of God, and the holy city entered by the holy king, and the promised land.
As the spiritual seeker ascends, climbing the tree to the next sefira, the kundalini rises to the next chakra, swadhishthana in the reproductive area. In Kabbalah this infinite depth is called Yesod, the Foundation, Union or the Illumined Sage. Other signs of Yesod are maturity, wholeness, peace, the balanced self, the West, Saturn and the rectifier who sets straight the course.
Above Yesod are Netzah and Hod, Victory and Glory, who in combination express the yang and yin aspects of the powerful navel chakra, Manipura. Think of the disciplined figure skater practicing again and again and again. That persevering strength is Netzakh–Victory. When she stands on the winner’s dais showered with honor and acclaim, that prakash or sparkling energy is Hod, Divine Glory.
In the Heart is Your Beloved
Anahata, the heart chakra, in Kabbalah is called Tiferet, the fullness of faith and the perfection of beauty, whose archetypes in the Hebrew cosmology are the illumined ones, Jacob and Hannah. For Christian devotees, Jesus and Mary are in the heart center; and in Hindu imagery it’s Krishna and Radha (or Ram and Sita). Other signs of Tiferet are the sun, the East, the perfection of humanity, Sri Ram, the Sun King, Atman personified (our higher Self, YisraEl), children, and the Elder giving blessings in the world. Who is really in the heart chakra? It is you and your beloved.
Just above the heart are the infinite depths of Hesed and Gevurah, Compassion and Courage, who when combined may be experienced at the throat chakra, Vishuddha, which some Yogis say is the base of one’s will power. Kabbalists teach that Hesed is the infinite depth of loving kindness and mercy. Hesed has several other connotations: grace, bounteous love, the South, wisdom and gold. Gevurah is often expressed as awe, strength, judgment (karma), power, definition, silver, the North and wealth.
“The awe we feel before the majesty and magnificence of this cosmos” writes Rabbi Art Green. This is Gevurah. These qualities are also describing refinements of awareness at different chakras, in this case, Vishuddha, near the base of the throat.
A Personal Vision
H. H. Sri Swami Sivananda of Rishikesh writes: “As this energy rises from center to center through the chakras [and sefirot], supersensual visions appear to the aspirant. New worlds with indescribable wonders and charms unfold. The practitioner gets divine knowledge, power and bliss, ascends another rung, and reads from the Divine book. When this energy reaches the sixth, Ajna chakra, the seeker is blessed with a personal vision of God.”
Geographically and anatomically situated at the level of the eyebrows in the center of the head is the Ajna chakra combining the infinite depths of Hokhmah and Binah, Revelation and Comprehension. Hokhmah is also seen as primordial wisdom, the first utterance, the Omkar, Ganesha, and the beginning. It’s mate is Binah, contemplation and understanding…
Read the rest of this article in the Fall 2004 issue of Integral Yoga Magazine.