What I went through in the past five days was fever and sleepless nights. This fever didn't seem like fever in physiological terms (only). Its was quite psychological too. One may argue that the latter happens in times of fever, but I'd rather attribute it to regular spiritual readings since a long time and a lot of involvement of continuous thinking since what must have been atleast a few months now!
A few blogs earlier, I'd mentioned that Kundalini, as a part of Raja yoga, does bring in a stint of madness along with it (so, I'm not going to blabber much about that). This is what Gopi Krishna underwent and there have been quite a few others. There is a huge amount of risk involved in playing with Kundalini, without a proper initiation and a guru to guide who takes you forward. Whilst this is taken as true, it should be well understood that the other paths of Jnana, Bhakti and Karma yoga-s have their bits of madness too, but only at a certain stage! Whether these have something to do with the Kundalini loosened is a question I do not have an answer to, but what I do know is that madness piggybacks them.
In Jnana yoga, trying to follow scriptures such as Upanishads and Gita and contemplating on the readings itself is a herculean task. If you think you've understood something, you are wrong. Think over again. Its bound to happen; in your repeated reading, you'll find how the earlier understanding was wrong. Moreover, most of what you read will have linkages to some other Shruti vAkya, that you should refer to, and on and on. Once all this looping through is read, one tries to assimilate. This is where the fun starts; the logic fails you. Most of what you've *learnt* in modern terms is found as being a limited set of tools that in quite a few cases leads you nowhere! But the mind goes on in its various stages of work or dream/sleep to try to assimilate to prove its learning's worth. At other times, its just plain simple happiness of understanding something that goes overboard and into the areas unknown. At still other times, you're convinced to *throw* your modern knowledge and beliefs that have lived with you since times unknown (atleast your birth) or rather, they've lived you instead. This, however, seems an impossible task or of such herculean difficulty that you decide to either give up or get into endless depression that you're not capable of assimilating higher truths! All this is mind-boggling stuff that well qualifies as madness in your routine.
Now, consider Bhakti yoga thats supposedly the best for the Kali yuga. It starts off very simple and you're quite happy about it that you're doing your bit of sAdhana. All is going well. Suddenly, or gradually over a period of time, you are at some other plane. You'd just started talking in terms of "By the grace of God (or whoever is the IshTa devatA for you)..." and such, but now you see things happening so! You're beginning to see God, not only in dreams, but as soon as you close your eyes, they appear. Maybe just idols, but you're able to see not one, not two, but lots and lots of them; one by one they appear and you lose sleep. This, later, you may end up carrying in your waking state too. You start crying at the mention of the name of the Lord. You're losing sleep, health gives way... where are you headed? You're basically on your way to madness, in regular worldly perspective. You considered you'd be safe by the grace of God. You're *factually* safe, but you start believing that you're going bonkers.
Well then, the safest is Karma yoga. Ah! You'd almost have me believe that too. You just say I'll do my regular stuff, living my regular day-to-day life and I'll consider myself not to be the doer and expect none of the results while keeping my patience still. Wonderful! No doubt amazing, can be made practical. You start living it, by simple offerings of food, etc. Some day, you've reached a barrier and unknowingly crossed it! Gone are the days you were practical; you end up doing bad things and attribute that to God. You say I'm not the doer. You claim no authorship. Fairly, you don't claim ownership of the good things too, but at times you've enjoyed the results. Inasmuch, the anger and greed has unknowingly got you at times and taken a decision that you attribute not belonging to you. Here lies the problem. If you'd any interest whatsoever and you did it in your subconscious, then it does belong to you, because you've thought of it earlier! This thinking is equivalent to your acting and thats how it has happened, no matter how much you renounce the results or partake none of the happiness, it has happened due to your willing and all that. Hah! you're trapped again :)
Worldly people would like to tell you that there's no way out; forget all that and live your life, blah blah blah. But just to be sure, the best way is *your* path that you've picked from above. Just watch your step if you've not submitted whole-heartedly and fully. The madness that comes along has to be rejoiced, but that too is a trap. Know it so, it won't harm you. Don't desire for that madness too, since that too will give pleasure. Don't run away from it in desiring not to have the madness. Be yourself. Let not modern worldly thoughts guide you. And most of all, whatever dharma you follow... no matter what, unless your guru tells you otherwise, do *not* give it up. The teaching *dharmo rakshati rakshitah* must not be undermined.
All of the above happened to me in the past five days of sickness and I do not know what is a result of what! :)
om tat sat