Three Types of
In Tantra Yoga, kundalini shakti is divided into three types according to the three fundamental levels of consciousness and existence—Shiva (absolute consciousness), Shakti (universal energy), and nara (the limited human being identified with his/her personality). The three corresponding aspects of kundalini are known as para kundalini, chit kundalini, and prana kundalini.
According to Kashmir Shaivism, para kundalini is the supreme kundalini, representing the state of absolute unity. Para refers to the Supreme. It constitutes the absolute freedom and will of Shiva. At a metaphysical level, it represents the essential nature of the Absolute. Upon manifesting, para kundalini transforms herself into a sleeping snake, and this aspect is known as the shakti kundalini. It is as shakti kundalini that para kundalini is said to be prakasha (the source of the light of consciousness), the power by which consciousness reveals itself as well as that upon which its light falls.
Para kundalini, because of her transcendence, is not experienced as long as the laws of the body bind us. At the time of physical death we can perceive para kundalini, experienced as the revelation of ourselves as being one with the Universe.
What differentiates the experience of para kundalini from that of chit kundalini and prana kundalini is that, upon the arousal of kundalini, the energy of the breath that enters sushumna nadi does not touch the six chakras that are along the spine. Instead, it goes upwards without any impediment. In the case of chit kundalini or prana kundalini, the energy of the breath (prana shakti) has to penetrate the six chakras so that the path may be cleared of all obstructions.
Chit Kundalini or Cit Kundalini
Chit kundalini is the aspect of shakti (energy) that makes beings conscious. Chit means “Pure Awareness.” In such a kundalini awakening, it is not the energetic sensation in the spine that is emphasized, but the state of pure neutrality, the balance between polar energies expressed as the revelation of madhyama (the center), the unimpeded freedom of the Absolute.
Prana kundalini is the aspect related to the breath. In prana kundalini, the emphasis is on prana (energy), not on awareness (even though, of course, awareness is still present). In Kashmir Shaivism, it represents the lower form of kundalini and it is the one to which kundalini experiences most often refer.
Speaking about the difference between chit kundalini and prana kundalini, Swami Lakshmanjoo affirmed: “Whether you experience the rise of kundalini as chit kundalini or as prana kundalini depends on your attachments. If you have longing for spirituality and also attachment for worldly pleasures, then the rise of kundalini takes place in the form of prana kundalini. If you do not have attachments for worldly pleasures and are only longing for spirituality, then the rise of kundalini takes place in the form of chit kundalini. There is nothing you can do to determine how the rise of kundalini will take place. It rises in its own way, depending on your attachments.”
Learn more about kundalini in the Hridaya Yoga Retreat: Module 1 Intensive.