My Personal Journey into the Chakras

I first studied chakra and kundalini kriya meditations between 1974 and 1975, when I lived with my guru Swami Satyananda at the Bihar School of Yoga in India.

I continued to live with him until 1985, writing and editing books for the Bihar School of Yoga, teaching students, and practicing yoga therapy with thousands of patients.

During the years living in the ashram with my guru, I experienced the pure power of the chakras and kundalini activation.

My Personal Journey into the Chakras
Swami Shankardev, Swami Satyananda 1976
My Personal Journey into the Chakras
Dr Swami Shankardev at Bihar School of Yoga

Practicing and teaching the kundalini kriyas enabled me to experience the chakras, and the channels connecting them, called nadis, as powerful vortices and currents of living vital energy within the physical and psychic bodies (sheaths, koshas).

I learned that meditation on the chakras and their connecting nadis forms the basis for an esoteric science aimed at the total transformation of body, mind, and consciousness.

I found that my study of the chakras and their associated meditations formed the backbone for my studies into more advanced yoga-tantra meditations that revealed many of the mysteries of the body and mind. And they continue to inform my spiritual practice and my medical psychotherapy practice today.

My Personal Journey into the Chakras
Dr Swami Shankardev Saraswati teaching

Having taught these practices to thousands of students and patients, I have found that working on the chakras is extremely beneficial for physical, psychological, and spiritual health. The practices are powerfully transformative when learned and practiced properly according to your individual needs, nature, and circumstances (karma).

My experience of transmission of knowledge from Swami Satyananda

My Personal Journey into the Chakras
Dr Swami Shankardev, Swami Hariprem, Swami Anandananda studying chakras in India

Having graduated from medical school at Sydney University I had the opportunity to write several books on Yoga Therapy under the guidance of Swami Satyananda.

While writing these books I had several powerful experiences. One of the most profound was the experience of direct transmission from my guru. Swami Satyananda instructed me to look after his library and to write books on various medical and yoga therapy topics, along with editing many of the early books from the Bihar School of Yoga.

It was while writing the books that I would often fall into a trance and feel a kind of dissociation. I felt knowledge streaming into my brain, like a current or flow of understanding that I could translate into words in my mind and transmit onto paper. At the same time, I could see my pen writing the words onto paper (there were no computers in those days) but it was as if I was reading them for the first time as I wrote them. I believe that this was a direct transmission from Swami Satyananda via third eye chakra activation.

One of the books I had the blessing to be part of was his masterpiece Kundalini Tantra, which collated Swami Satyananda’s masterwork on the subject of the chakras and kundalini yoga. I was part of the team that edited his transcripts and took oral instructions from him on what he wanted to communicate regarding his direct experiences plus his own extensive studies of tantric texts. I was invited to write a section on medical and scientific research into the physical and psychological effects of chakra and kundalini yoga techniques.

Applying chakra meditation to life

Living in the ashram and training to become a swami (a master of oneself) was difficult. We lived in extremely austere conditions as part of our training to become a swami, a master of oneself.

We had given away all of our belongings to join the ashram and had only 2 pieces of cloth and only a few personal items. We had to adjust to extremes of climate, from the intense heat of summer to extreme monsoon humidity, and then to the relative cold of the winter. We woke early and were exposed to the elements, with cold water in winter and hot water in summer as our water supply was exposed to the elements and the intense heat of the Indian sun.

All this hardship tested my mind and resolve. When everything was stripped away from me, could I use meditation to maintain equanimity and build inner strength? Could I access the inner powers contained within the chakras to maintain physical, mental, and emotional equilibrium? Could I maintain a connection to the guru via the third eye to access understanding of the purpose of our austerity and intuit creative ways to cope and adapt?

As I progressed through my training, I found that I had relied on the externals of life rather than what was inside me for most of my life up to that point. What was hidden and previously beyond my awareness lay within each chakra. Many times, I fell into despair and thought of leaving, however, as I journeyed further within, I found greater strength and resolve, and each time I fell and rose up a new door opened within me. It was then that I had a powerful inner awakening.

A transformative healing and awakening experience

At one stage I developed severe digestive problems. I had diarrhea for more than 12 months along with stomach pain and psychological issues that I found difficult to manage. No cause was found, and I tried various treatments but none of them worked. I now feel that these were intense purification experiences resulting from the activation of my chakras and that this was a natural reaction to living in the highly charged environment of an ashram, under the guidance of an enlightened master. The experience was so intense that at one point I felt I simply could not cope anymore and had to get out.

I went to see Swami Satyananda. I was angry, frustrated, in pain and although my mind had been in a fog for some time, I had prepared exactly what I was going to say to him and was determined to return to Australia. I knocked on his door and he told me to come in. I sat down and he said, “What do you want?” … At that moment, I felt a powerful, beautiful, warm glow spreading through my belly. All the pain disappeared and there was an open, light, spacious feeling in my mind.

“What do you want?” he asked again. All I could do was smile and say, “Nothing, Swamiji.” And so I left. My mind was completely empty, silent, and peaceful and all pain had gone from my body. The shock of this transformation was powerful.

I walked out of the door, and the pain came back, the fog started to descend once more, but I knew that I would stay. I realized that the training was purifying my body, mind, and spirit from previous karmas. I sensed that Swami Satyananda had given me a glimpse of what might lie beyond the pain; what might be possible if I made a deeper commitment to this inner study.

Inspired, I stayed and went deeper into the texts, learning a body of techniques that allowed me to access my own experiences and to more fully understand what the chakras are and the role they play in supporting consciousness. I have been able to use that experience to help thousands of my students and patients, suffering both medically and psychologically, to access their own capacity for healing and growth.

The process involves supporting people to turn and look within, to cognize the great power that lies within them. Then using both willpower and common sense, they can begin to develop that inner power so that they form a more resilient core with which to face the slaps and blows of life.

Big Shakti is running a 9-month Light on the Chakras and Kundalini Course starting on March 1st, 2022. For more details see below.

My Personal Journey into the Chakras