(The Non-sectarian Breath Technique)
By Swami Nityananda Giri
Mahakali is perhaps the first Goddess human civilization ever started worshiping, so it is natural that there are many myths and misconceptions regarding the principle, tatva, mode of worshiping, rites and rituals involved there in. It is unfortunate that among all these the principle of spiritual practice is masked and in the medieval era it gave rise to many false beliefs and blind practices and now it is the time the spiritual world should know the reality and we believe it is doing so since the Kriya-yoga tradition started afresh from Yogiraj Shyamacharan Lahiri Mahasaya and enriched by the work of Swami Sriyukteswar Giri Maharaj and propagated by Paramahansa Yogananda.
Mahakali, the Mother Divine is the symbol of prana, the Life Force. The lord of death is named Kala,kala means time. When ‘ee-kara’ is added to Kala then it is Kali; ‘ee-kara’ is energy, shakti, so Kali is the power of time. And Mahakala is the Great Time, beyond the time; the power of Mahakala is Mahakali. When we remain in our mind, in thoughts either we are in past or in future. So we are in time subjected to death. But if we remain in our prana, for simple understanding in breath, then we are not in time, not in death; we are in the great time, beyond the time and we are only with life. We are not subjected to delusion. That Life Force is called Mahakali, the cosmic energy. Mahakali is standing on Shiva, the Mahakala because she is the power, shakti, of Shiva.
But in prayer we say that She is shabaruddha, means standing on dead body. Here the meaning is our body is dead without life force. So it is life force which is standing on this dead body that is why this dead body is working, with life force or prana it is Shiva and without life force it is dead body. Shiva is also called Mahadeva, the Great God and the power of the Great God is Mahadevi, the Great Goddess i.e. Mahakali. Who are then devas or gods? In our body the sense organs and mind are gods since we have our knowledge through them. But their existence is subjected to the existence of prana. So prana or life force is the Great God, this is also the Great Goddess. This is both masculine and feminine, so Lord Shiva is called ardhanariswara, half male and half female. If we look into the image of Mother Divine we shall find one foot of Mother Divine is on the chest of Lord Shiva another out. This means inhalation and exhalation are two feet of prana, inhalation entering and exhalation out. The Mother Divine is naked, because energy is always naked; there is nothing that can cover energy. The garland of heads symbolizes fifty basic sounds (the Sanskrit alphabets) that are root to creation. In one hand Mother Divine is holding a sword that has an eye; this is discriminating intellect, the knowledge sword. In another hand She is holding a cut head, discriminating intellect cut the manifestations, samsara, the manifestation of desires. If we remain in our prana whose feet are our breath then we will develop discriminating intellect to cut our desires. Then the other two hands of the Mother are showing us fearlessness and boons. We will not be afraid of death; we will develop creativity. The emerging tongue symbolizes the taste, water element and life. The third eye symbolizes realization, wisdom. All these are possible if we worship Mahakali. This is not a sectarian one since She is the life force, our own prana. She is the sum total of all life forces in individual bodies. To worship her we have to hold her two feet, the inhalation and exhalation, it is our breath. This is non-sectarian Kriya-yoga meditation technique.