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Kundalini (Serpent Power)

by Swami Satyananda Saraswati

It is asleep. It is silent. It has encoiled itself. Its 'bedroom' is called Muladhara Cakra. This center is triangular in shape. Its aspect is gross. Its element is Prithivi (earth) Tattva. Tamoguna is its covering. It lies encoiling itself. It is called Kundalini. In Sahasrara Cakra it joins with Shiva. The power then manifests itself. It is like a hidden fire which can only be kindled by the force of spiritual power.

As the inner mind becomes concentrated and one-pointed, the power begins to awaken itself. As long as the inner mind remains gross or externalized, it sleeps.

It can be awakened by soul force or by will. But this is not the only means. It may be regarded as one of the methods.

It can be awakened by Hatha Yoga, but neither is that the only method. You can call it one form of scientific method.

It can also be awakened by practicing Samyama on the centers and realizing in experience their colour, elements, nature, Guna and the Bija. Nor is this the only method; you may just call it a good method.

To awaken the Kundalini

  • For purifying the nervous system, practice Hatha Yoga, take moderate food and avoid excitements.
  • For purifying the Prana, Pranayama and cleaning of Vasana-s will be practiced.
  • For purity of inner being, practice Yama-s and Niyama-s.
  • For purity of Samskara-s, dispassion and a detached attitude of a witness will have to be cultivated.
  • For purity of desires, Vairagya will have to be developed.
  • Vairagya will have to be cultivated also for purifying attachment.
  • For purifying the mental plane, thoughts will have to be silenced through Ajapa.
  • For purifying the intellect, keep ypur determination pure, firm and steady.
  • Center your memory on only one object in order to achieve purity of the Citta.
  • Purify the ego by transforming the objective of sleep.
  • Purify the inner errors such as desire, anger , jealousy and the like , by Viveka.
  • Conquer sloth by love for the ultimate objective.
  • Conquer sleep by any means.
  • Purify inner errors like pessimism, defeatism and doubt by cultivating patience.
  • Purify your beliefs and assumptions by liberal thought.
  • Purify the Rudra Granthi by means of two-fold Trataka and Samyama.
  • Divert the tendency of the sex nerves.
  • Change also the tendencies of the sensory nerves.
  • Purify the digestive system.
  • Purify the veins carring the blood.
  • Purify your defects of perception.
  • Purify distruction of thoughts.
  • Purify your physical distractions.
  • Purify your distractions of memory.
  • Purify distractions about the ultimate objective.
  • Remove distractions from your nature and make it pure.
  • Purify your distracted sentiments.
  • End the distractions and influences of the Vasana-s.

Forms of Kundalini

It is in this body. Its form is physical but its powers are superphysical. It is lying encoiled in teh triangle at Muladhara Chakra like the fine cotton thread, like a snake. If somehow it is awakened it straightens itself and becomes stiff. It fits its mouth in the opening of teh Sushumna. When the awakened power sharply contacts the mouth of the Sushumna, all the centers become active. When they become active, all the divine powers which form their base or which are installed in them begin to manifest themselves; the 'third eye' becomes active. The spiritual being becomes full of life and awareness of light is experienced.

Just as there is mental power in the body, likewise there is this power. The spinal column is the way it traverses on awakening. Sushumna is the medium and Sahasrara Chakra is the goal.

In persons living only on the gross plane, it remains covered by Tamoguna; it begins to stir in those who live on the subtle plane; it straightens itself in persons who have developed a transcedental attitude.

If the consciousness is on the lower plane and the inner being is distracted then it sleeps; if the consciousness dwells within, the inner being concentrated, then it starts moving. When there is no external consciousness, it is awakened. When it is aroused, one then experiences sudden tremours, heat, rising of thought currents and indifference to the external surroundings, and other things.

When it begins to tremble and move, the Sadhaka develops detachment towards material things and his mind centers on the subtle; his conduct and thought processes reflect their unworldliness and he gradually begins to remain in a state of absorption.

When it stirs automatically, he sees the form, the colour, the Bija, the deity, the nature, the element and the Guna of the first center. Likewise, as it begins to shake, the Sadhaka begins to experience celestial parfumes or to see the subtle form of Ishta.

The original form of the serpent power is coved by ignorance. In a slightly active state the Kundalini expresses itself in zeal, patience, and so on, and its aspect is full of Rajoguna. Its awakened state is full of divine power. Its final aspect is fully saturated with highest Sattva, knowledge, light and purity.

In the first stage of awakening the individual self is in an inert or a dense state; during its first elementary movements, it alternates between steadiness and distractions; when it straightens, the self experiences a state of deep concentration. When the Kundalini is attached to Sushumna it attains Samprajnata samadhi. When Sushumna is activated, then it acquires divine powers according to its course through the centers. When the Kundalini merges in the Sahasrara Chakra, it remains steadfast in itself.

Time of awakening

The serpent power is filled with divine powers (Siddhi-s) at the time of awakening; when aroused it remains in an angry mood; in its waking, the state of the individual self is suppressed; in that state, the force moves unobstructed. At the time of its awakening, visions of gods are seen; visions of spirits are seen; the past is seen, impurities are visualized. Other beings attack the Jiva. Enjoyment in a disembodied state are experienced; greed and attachment become strong. At the time of awakening, the Ishta assumes a form during the three states and the Sadhaka experiences the intensity of the power. He works as if possessed by some force; he speaks, works, hears unconsciously; he still remains active in an unconscious state.

When Kundalini merges in Sahasrara Chakra

Great peace and contentment are experienced, the Sadhaka feels full within; no desires remain; no actions remain; no attachment. no sentiments. There is no Savikalpa consciousness, no sense of duality, no threefold planes remain; there is no object; the senses work in their own nature, so also does Prakriti. The seer turns his face away, Actions are performed but he does not do them. Thoughts come but he does not think. Success comes, but he does not know it; people are benefited but he is not aware of it. This Aparokshanubhuti or the state of intuitive experience is itself experienced.

(from the book 'Taming the Kundalini' by Swami Satyananda Saraswati (of Deoghar)