Kundalini Yoga

The word Kundalini means the “coiled-up one,” and it refers to the spiritual energy which is regarded as coiled up on itself in most of us most of the time, at a seat at the bottom of the body, actually, right at the anus.  The goal of this yoga is to employ breath control and meditation to uncoil that Kundalini so that it comes up a channel in the spine known as Sushamna.  And as it does, it passes through the different organic levels of psychological commitment: the genitals, which are the center of sex; the navel, which is aggression; and the heart, which is the opening of its capacity for compassion; the throat, which is of ascetic austerity; the mind, which is of the beholding of the image of God.  The throat is the verbal center, and is related to the let side of the brain, just as the image center is associated with the right side of the brain. 

So there must be something peculiar in you, a leading spark, some incentive, that forces you on through the water and toward the next center.  And that is the Kundalini, something absolutely unrecognizable, which can show, say, as fear, as a neurosis, or apparently also as vivid interest; but it must be something which is superior to your will.  Otherwise you don't go through it.  You will turn back when you meet the first obstacle; as soon as you see the leviathan you will run away.  But if that living spark, that urge, that need, gets you by the neck, then you cannot turn back; you have to face the music.

The Chakras










So there must be something peculiar in you, a leading spark, some incentive, that forces you on through the water and toward the next center.  And that is the Kundalini, something absolutely unrecognizable, which can show, say, as fear, as a neurosis, or apparently also as vivid interest; but it must be something which is superior to your will.  Otherwise you don't go through it.  You will turn back when you meet the first obstacle; as soon as you see the leviathan you will run away.  But if that living spark, that urge, that need, gets you by the neck, then you cannot turn back; you have to face the music.

Now, according to tantric teaching, there is an urge to produce a personality, something that is centered, and divided from other beings, and that would be the klésa of discrimination.  It is what one would describe in Western philosophical terms as an urge or instinct of individuation. 

Cont’d … The instinct of individuation is found everywhere in life, for there is no life on earth that is not individual. 

An innate urge of life is to produce an individual as complete as possible. 

So the entelechia, the urge of realization, naturally pushes man to be himself.  Given a chance to be himself, he would most certainly grow into his own form, if there were not obstacles and inhibitions of many descriptions that hinder him from becoming what he is really meant to be.  So the klésa that contains the germ of personality can be called just as well the klésa of individuation, because what we call personality is an aspect of individuation.  Even if you don’t become a complete realization of yourself, you become at least a person; you have a certain conscious form.  Of course, it is not a totality; it is only a part, perhaps, and your true individuality is still behind the screen – yet what is manifested on the surface is surely a unit. 

As most people, no matter how much they think of themselves, are egos, yet at the same time they are individuals, almost as if they were individuated.  For they are in a way individuated from the very beginning of their lives, yet they are not conscious of it.  Individuation only takes place when you are conscious of it, but individuality is always there from the beginning of your existence. 

Hatred is the thing that divides, the force which discriminates.  It is so when two people fall in love; they are at first almost identical.  There is a great deal of participation mystique, so they need hatred in order to separate themselves.  After a while the whole thing turns into a wild hatred; they get resistances against one another in order to force each other off – otherwise they remain in a common unconsciousness which they simply cannot stand. 

(fear)  Phobos separates more than hatred, because fear causes one to run away, to remove oneself from the place of danger. 

There has been, and is still, more participation mystique in India than in Greece, and the West has certainly a more discriminating mind than the East.  Therefore, as our civilization largely depends upon the Greek genius, with us it would be fear not hatred. 

Our idea of heredity would be similar to the idea of samskara, as well as our hypothesis of the collective unconscious.  For the mind in a child is by no means tabula rasa.  The unconscious mind is full of a rich world of archetypal images.  The archetypes are conditions, laws or categories of creative fantasy, and therefore the psychological equivalent of samskara.  But mind you, in the Eastern mind the doctrine of samskara is so different from that definition that perhaps a Hindu would object to my attempt at comparison.  But the archetypal images are really the nearest thing we can see. 

(symbols)   For these symbols have a terribly clinging tendency.  They catch the unconscious somehow and cling to us.  But they are a foreign body in our system – corpus alienum – and they inhibit the natural growth and development of our own psychology.  It is almost like a secondary growth or a poison.  Therefore one has to make almost heroic attempts to master these things, to do something against those symbols in order to deprive them of their influence.

Now, here we have to speak of Kundalini and what she is, or how she can be awakened.   You remember that Professor Hauer said that some instigation from above arouses Kundalini, and he also said one must have a purified buddhi.(def – TpoKY20) or a purified spirit, in order to arouse her.  So the progress into the second cakra is possible only if you have aroused the serpent, and the serpent can only be aroused by the right attitude.  Expressed in psychological terms, that would mean that you can approach the unconscious in only one way, namely, by a purified mind, by a right attitude, and by the grace of heaven, which is the Kundalini.  Something in you, an urge in you, must lead you to it. 

If that does not exist, then it is only artificial.  So there must be something peculiar in you, a leading spark, some incentive, that forces you on through the water and toward the next center.  And that is the Kundalini, something absolutely unrecognizable, which can show, say, as fear, as a neurosis, or apparently also as vivid interest; but it must be something which is superior to your will.  Otherwise you don’t go through it.  You will turn back when you meet the first obstacle; as soon as you see the leviathan you will run away.  But if that living spark, that urge, that need, gets you by the neck, then you cannot turn back; you have to face the music. 

You see, the Kundalini in psychological terms is that which makes you go on the greatest adventures.  I say, “Oh, damn, why did I ever try such a thing?  But if I turn back, then the whole adventure goes out of my life, and my life is nothing any longer; it has lost its flavor.  It is this quest that makes life livable, and this is Kundalini; this is the divine urge.  For instance, when a knight in the Middle Ages did marvelous works, like the great labors of Hercules, when he fought dragons and liberated virgins, it was all for his Lady – she was Kundalini. 

And when Leo and Holly go to Africa to seek She, and She urges them on to the most incredible adventures, that is Kundalini. 

Mrs Crowley:  The anima?

Dr. Jung:  Yes, the anima is the Kundalini.  That is the very reason why I hold that this second center, despite the Hindu interpretation of the crescent being male, is intensely female, for the water is the womb of rebirth, the baptismal fount.  The moon is of course a female symbol; and, moreover, I have a Tibetan picture at home in which Siva is depicted in the female form, dancing on the corpses in the burial ground. 

For when you are just one with a thing you are completely identical – you cannot compare it, you cannot discriminate, you cannot recognize it.  You must always have a point outside if you want to understand.  So people who have problematic natures with many conflicts are the people who can produce the greatest understanding, because from their own problematical natures they are enabled to see other sides and to judge by comparison.  We could not possibly judge this world if we had not also a standpoint outside, and that is given by the symbolism of religious experiences. 

Now, if the yogin or the Western person succeeds in awakening Kundalini, what starts is not in any way a personal development … What starts are the impersonal happenings with which you should not identify.  If you do, you will soon feel obnoxious consequences – you will get an inflation, you will get all wrong.  That is one of the great difficulties in experiencing the unconscious – that one identifies with it and becomes a fool.  You must not identify with the unconscious; you must keep outside, detached, and observe objectively what happens.  But you then see that all the events that happen in the impersonal, nonhuman order of things have the very disagreeable quality that they cling to us, or we cling to them.  It is as if the Kundalini in its movement upward were pulling us up with it, as if we were part of that movement, particularly in the beginning. 

It is true that we are a part, because we are then that which contains the gods; they are germs in us, germs in the muladhara, and when they begin to move they have the effect of an earthquake which naturally shakes us, and even shakes our houses down.  When that upheaval comes, we are carried with it, and naturally we might think we were moving upward.  But it makes, of course, a tremendous difference whether one flies, or whether it is a wave or a great wind that lifts one.  For to fly is one’s own activity, and one can safely come down again, but when one is carried upward, it is not under one’s control, and one will be put down after a while in a most disagreeable way – then it means a catastrophe.  So, you see, it is wise not to identify with these experiences but to handle them as if they were outside the human realm.  That is the safest thing to do – and really absolutely necessary.  Otherwise you get an inflation, and inflation is just a minor form of lunacy, a mitigated term for it.  And if you get so absolutely inflated that you burst, it is schizophrenia. 

The real secrets are secrets because nobody understands them.  One cannot even talk about them, and of such a kind are the experiences of the Kundalini yoga.  That tendency to keep things secret is merely a natural consequence when the experience is of such a peculiar kind that you had better not talk about it, for you expose yourself to the greatest misunderstanding and misinterpretation. 

(born again)   The Hindus have an extremely interesting theory about that.  I am not strong on metaphysics, but I must admit that in metaphysics there is a great deal of psychology.  You see, it is utterly important that one should be in this world, that one really fulfills one’s entelechia, the germ of life which one is.  Otherwise you can never start Kundalini; you can never detach.  You simply are thrown back, and nothing has happened; it is an absolutely valueless experience.  You must believe in this world, make roots, do the best you can, even if you have to believe in the most absurd things – to believe, for instance, that this world is very definite, that it matters absolutely whether such-and-such a treaty is made or not.  It may be completely futile, but you have to believe in it, have to make it almost a religious conviction, merely for the purpose of putting your signature under the treaty, so that trace is left of you.  For you should leave some trace in this world which notifies that you have been here, that something has happened.  If nothing happens of this kind you have not realized yourself; the germ of life has fallen, say, into a thick layer of air that kept it suspended.  It never touched the ground, and so never could produce the plant.  But if you touch the reality in which you live, and stay for several decades if you leave your trace, then the impersonal process can begin.  You see, the shoot must come out of the ground, nothing will come out of it; no linga or Kundalini will be there, because you are still staying in the infinity that was before. 

Now if, as I say, you succeed in completing your entelechia, that shoot will come up from the ground; namely, that possibility of a detachment from this world – from the world of Maya, as the Hindu would say – which is a sort of depersonalization.  For in Muladhara we are just identical.  We are entangled in the roots, and we ourselves are the roots.  We make roots, we cause roots to be, we are rooted in the soil, and there is no getting away for us, because we must be there as long as we live.  That idea, that we can sublimate ourselves and become entirely spiritual and no hair left is an inflation.

You know, in India they do not say “personal” and “impersonal,” “subjective” and “objective,” “ego” and “non-ego.”  They speak of buddhi, personal consciousness, and Kundalini, which is the other thing; and they never dream of identifying the two.  They never think, “I myself am Kundalini.”  Quite the contrary, they can experience the divine because they are so deeply conscious of the utter difference of God and man. 

The cakra symbolism has the same meaning that is expressed in our metaphors of the night sea-journey, or climbing a sacred mountain, or initiation.  It is really a continuous development .  It is not leaping up and down, for what you have arrived at is never lost.  Say you have been in muladhara and then you reach the water center, and afterward you return apparently.  But you do not return; it is an illusion that you return – you have left something of yourself in the unconscious.  Nobody touches the unconscious without leaving something of himself there.  You may forget or repress it, but then you are no longer whole. 

When you have learned that two times two makes four, it will be so in all eternity – it will never be five.  Only those people return who thought they touched it but were only full of illusions about it.  If you have really experienced it, you cannot lose this experience.  It is as if so much of your substance had remained, so much of your blood and weight.  You can return to the previous condition, forgetting that you have lost a leg, but your leg has been bitten off by the leviathan.  Many people who got into the water say, “Never shall I go there again!”  But they left something, something has stayed there.  And if you get through the water and into the fire of passion, you never can really turn back, because you cannot lose the connection with your passion that you have gained in manipura.

As I told you in (the West’s) actual historical psychological development we have about reached anahata and from there we can experience muladhara, and all the subsequent centers of the past, by knowledge of records, and tradition, and also through our unconscious. 

Suppose somebody reached the ajna center, the state of complete consciousness, not only self-consciousness.  That would be an exceedingly extended consciousness which includes everything – energy itself – a consciousness which knows not only “That is Thou” but more than that – every tree, every stone, every breath of air, every rat’s tail – all that is yourself; there is nothing that is not yourself.  In such an extended consciousness all the cakras would be simultaneously experienced, because it is the highest state of consciousness, and it would not be the highest if it did not include all the former experiences. 

(sidebar)  We are confronted with a paradox: for us consciousness is located high up, in the ajna cakra, so to speak, and yet muladhara, our reality, lies in the lowest cakra.  TPoKY 60

(?)  So, too, the cakras are symbols.  They symbolize highly complex psychic facts which at the present moment we could not possibly express except in images.  The cakras are therefore of great value to us because they represent a real effort to give a symbolic theory of the psyche. 

Con’td … The psyche is something so highly complicated, so vast in extent, and so rich in elements unknown to us, and its aspects overlap and interweave with one another in such an amazing degree, that we always turn to symbols in order to try to represent what we know about it.  Any theory about it would be premature because it would become entangled in particularities and would lose sight of the totality we set out to envisage. 

The goal of this yoga is to make the mind stand still.  Why should you want to do that?  We’re coming to a basic idea in this perennial philosophy – namely, that everything is experienced through the mind.  This is maya.  The mind is in an active state.  The image is given of a pond rippled by a wind.  The rippling pond with its waves reflects images that are broken.  They come and go, come and go, come and go.  In the Book of Genesis, the wind, the breath, the spirit of God blew over the waters.  That’s the creation of the world.  You start this excitement going.   Now comes the point.  What we do is identify ourselves with one of those broken images, one of those broken reflections on the surface of the pond.  Here I come: There I go.  That links us to the temporal flow, time and space – maya.  Make the pond stand still, one image.  What was broken and reflected is now seen in its still perfection, and that’s your true being.  But that’s everybody else’s true being also.  This is the goal of yoga, to find that reality of consciousness which is of you and of everybody else.  TMTT 133

You can’t bring kundalini up the center until you have recognized that these are simply two aspects of the one consciousness.  The light of the moon is the reflection of the sun. 

The light of your body, the consciousness of your body, is immortal, eternal consciousness in you.  Consciousness first, then you.  You represent the specification of the consciousness in time and place.  Through the specifications of your personal life you are to abstract the immortal.  To experience your eternity through the vicissitudes of your mortality, that’s the total goal.  TMTT 142

The goal of the yoga is to wake that coiled-up energy and bring it up the spine.  It’s pictured as a serpent, a little female serpent, because, again, the energy is female.  It’s a little female serpent called the kundalini, an coiled-up female serpent, pictured about as thick as the hair of a boar, white, and coiled three and a half times around a symbolic lingam, a symbolic male organ which is there as the base of the body also.  This is all “subtle” substance.  You won’t find it on the operating table.  TMTT 134

As that serpent power enters the field of those sequential centers, the whole psychology of the individual is transformed.  TMTT 134


From 2000 B.C. we have an Indian stamp seal showing a figure in yoga posture.  There are two ida and pingala serpents.  So we have four thousand years of interior exploration in India which we’re going to find out a little bit about in following the Kundalini.  Now, this is important, and it’s of the same date, 2000 B.C.  It is a libation cup of King Gudea of Lagash in Mesopotamia.  Lagash was one of the important cities of Sumer during the Sumerian renaissance.  Two lion birds, these are later known as cherubim, open the portals of a shrine.  Within the shrine are one, two, three, four, five, six, seven centers formed from two interlocking serpents.  This is the earliest appearance in the world, as far as we know, of the caduceus of Hermes/Mercury – the guide of souls to knowledge of immortal life.     The cherubim who guard the gate of Paradise, the two cherubim that God placed at the gate to keep man away from the tree of immortal life, are now opening the portal.  So you can go in, and there is the tree of life, under which the Buddha sat.  And where is that tree?  It’s right in every one of us.  So you don’t have to go to Bodh-Gaya.  However, if you are interpreting this whole thing materially (hyperlink symbols concrete), not spiritually, you will go to Bodh-Gaya.   TMTT 143

(KUNDALINI – PICTURE ON TMTT 227!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

   Ireland had not been invaded by the Germanic people and was a stand of the old Christian traditions.  Nonetheless, towers of refuge were built throughout Ireland during the ninth century.  Here is a tenth-century stone cross from northeast Ireland.  On its side is a symbolic design that suggests Chakras 4, 5, 6, and 7 of the Kundalini and the two serpents of ida and pingala.  So underlying this tradition that we’re talking about are these esoteric traditions. 

Navaho Pollen Path