by Marinus Jan Marijs
The term kundalini in Indian philosophy refers to an energy which has traditionally been described as “coiled” at the base of the spine. When the kundalini is activated, it rises through the main nadis (subtle channels) into the head. The traditional texts do not explain the origin of kundalini or what this energy embodies.
The Kosmos consists of a stratification of different levels. Next to the physical level, there are several levels composed of different kinds of subtle energies. These are not spatially separated realms, but different dimensional levels which fully pervade each other.
Humans have multiple fields of highly-activated subtle energies, that surround and pervade the physical body. These are called the aura(s). Normally only the aura fields connected with the levels of vitality, emotion, representational thinking, concrete operational, rational and, in some cases, the pluralistic and the integral/holistic level are activated in humans.
With mystical development, even higher forms of subtle energies are activated, that are more energetic and much more powerful than those subtle energies which are normally activated. These highly energetic subtle energies are drawn into the chakras, after which they are divided into different kinds of streams (of different colors), into different kinds of nadis (subtle channels), as shown in the drawings of the spleen chakra (see figure 18).
Each of these drawings shows a ring at the center of the spleen chakra.
Connected with this ring are the nadis (9 mm across). The top left-hand drawing shows all the nadis at once, and how they are connected to the central ring. However if one has the ability to actually see these nadis, one sees only one kind of nadis of the same color at the same time, as shown in the seven other drawings.
When I first saw these nadis, at the age of 26, it baffled me that when I saw the blue nadis I didn’t see nadis of any other color, when I saw yellow nadis, I saw only yellow nadis, and so on. This is dramatically different to the visual perception of the colors of the aura field, which are always visible as multi-colored fields.
By this, I mean that one sees only one aura field at one level at the same time, but that each of these fields consists of substructures of different colors, all of which are seen at the same time. (see..aura afbeelding) This is why it baffled me that I was unable to see the different colored nadis simultaneously.
Finally I realized that this was because after the subtle energy fields are drawn into the chakras, they are divided into several different ‘vertical’ sublevels. (This means that each of the 12 levels has several different ‘vertical’ sublevels, not to confuse with the 12 ontological levels, or the 4 lateral levels, or the spatial vertical subtle energy layers in the aura fields).
So when the subtle energies of a higher, ‘mystical’ level are drawn into the chakras, they become highly concentrated and are divided into different streams on different ‘vertical’ sublevels (see figure 18). It is these different streams of highly-concentrated subtle energies that form the kundalini force. (see figure 37).
Kundalini in different cultures
As we have seen, the term kundalini in Indian philosophy denotes an energy located at the base of the spine. When this energy is activated it ascends through the spinal column and with this ascent, a higher form of consciousness is accomplished. Kundalini energy, when permanently activated, can totally transform the yogi and bring him or her to higher levels of consciousness.
We find a similar concept in Taoism: “the circulation of light”. Here also we have an energy, an inner fire, that begins at the base of the spine and rises to the brain. The Taoist practitioner regulates the chi, harmonizes Yin and Yang, and attains mystic consciousness.
In his classic work “The Serpent Power” from Sir John Woodroffe (Dover Publications, INC. New York, 1974. page:3) Sir John Woodroffe writes:
“I am told that correspondences are discoverable between the Indian (Asiatic) Śāstra and the American-Indian Maya Scriptures of the Zunis called the Popul Vuh. My informant tells me that their “air-tube” is the Sushumna. Their “twofold air-tube” the Nadis Ida and Pingala. “Hurakan” or Lightning, is Kundalini, and the centers are depicted by animal glyphs.”
See figure 37
In Northwest Botswana live the !Kung bushmen of the Kalahari desert. Richard Katz, a member of the Harvard Kalahari Research Group, gave an account of the N/um Tchai, the ceremonial dance of the !Kung bushmen. He noted that N/um is similar to the Kundalini:
“The !Kung dance for many hours to heat up the N/um, a spiritual energy within themselves, so that the !Kia state can be attained. !Kia is a transcendental state.
N/um resides in the stomach, as it warms up, it rises from the base of the spine to the skull where the !Kia state is attained.
___,You dance, dance, dance, dance. Then n/um lifts you in your belly and lifts you in your back, and then you start to shiver. N/um makes you tremble; it is hot. Your eyes are open but you don’t look around; you hold your eyes still and look straight ahead. But when you get into !Kia, you’re looking around because you see everything, because you see what’s troubling everybody.___ then N/um enters every part of your body, right to the tip of your feet and even your hair ___
___in your backbone you feel a pointed something, and it works its way up. Then the base of your spine is tingling, tingling, tingling, tingling, tingling, tingling, tingling, and makes your thoughts nothing in your head
___the N/um explodes in the brain ___
Katz; R. 1973 “Education for Transcendence: Lessons from the !Kung Zhu Twasi”. Journal of Transpersonal Psychology (November 2).
Katz; R. 1982. Boiling energy: Community Healing among the Kalahari Kung, Cambridge, Mass. Harvard University Press;”
Rasmussen, the Danish ethnologist and arctic explorer did extensive research on the Inuit/Eskimo culture. Mircea Eliade refers to Rasmussen’s research in his book: “Yoga; Immortality and Freedom” (Mircea Eliade; p. 334; London 1958), about what the Eskimo call qaumaneq which corresponds to Kundalini:
But the inner light constitutes the decisive experience of Eskimo shamanism. We can even say that obtaining it is equivalent to an initiatory ordeal. For the candidate obtains this “illumination” –qaumaneq- after long hours of meditation and in perfect solitude.
According to the shamans whom Rasmussen questioned (Rasmussen, Knud; “Intellectual Culture of the Iglulik Eskimos”. Copenhagen. 1929), the qaumaneq consists:
“of a mysterious light which the shaman suddenly feels in his body, inside his head, within the brain, an inexplicable searchlight, a luminous fire. Which enables him to see in the dark, both literally and metaphorically speaking, for he can now, even with closed eyes, see through darkness and perceive things and coming events which are hidden from others; thus they look into the future and into the secrets of other. When the candidate experiences this “illumination” for the first time, “it is as if the house in which he is suddenly rises, he sees far ahead of him, through mountains, exactly as if the earth were one great plain, and his eyes could reach to the end of the earth. Nothing is hidden from him any longer.”
Tibetan Buddhism has the concept of Tummo. This is described as an intense feeling of heat within the body, a mystic fire which is similar to Kundalini, (however Tummo as a psychic fire should not be confused with the ability to increase one’s body temperature, which is a biological phenomenon and not a kundalini process).
In Christianity we find the potamoi, (which means rivers or streams in Greek).
“Whoever believes in me, as scripture says, rivers (potamoi) of living water will flow from within him “- John 7:38.
The kundalini energy flows through the main nadis, which means rivers or streams in Sanskrit. The intensity of the kundalini energy when activated is so strong that one feels streams of energy flowing within the body and even some flows outside the body.
Another reference to the kundalini energy is in the biblical description of the day of Pentecost:
“And suddenly a sound came from heaven like the rush of a mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And thereappeared to them tongues as of fire, distributed and resting on each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy spirit”- Acts 2:2-4.
The flames on the heads of the apostles are a reference to the kundalini ascending to the crown chakra (see the painting here below ↓ ). The flame on the head of the Buddha, as depicted in paintings and statues, refers to the same energy. The activation of this energy may be extremely rare, but is clearly described in many different cultures.
The iconography of kundalini
In Greek mythology the Caduceus was carried by Hermes (figure), and in Roman mythology by Mercury. The wings symbolize the ability to reach a higher level of consciousness.
The Caduceus is thought by many to be an ancient symbolic representation of kundalini energy.
Kundalini is called the serpent power. The staff itself represents the Sushumna, the subtle energy channel within the spine, and the snakes represent the subtle energy channels the Ida and the Pingala.
Homer’s Odyssey mentions the Caduceus, by which Hermes opened and closed the eyes of mortals. In some contexts this means the inner eye. Another such staff is that of Asclepius, encircled by a single serpent.
Both the Caduceus and the staff of Asclepius are used to symbolize the medical profession.
Besides the Greco-Roman culture, the snake staff is found in other cultures. A vase excavated from the ancient Mesopotamian city of Lagash, now known as Tell al-Hiba in Iraq (east of Uruk), has a figure of two entwined snakes on a rod. It dates from about 2120 BC and can now be viewed in the Louvre Museum.
A similar symbol is mentioned in the Bible: the Nehushtan.
“And the Lord said unto Moses, make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass that every one that is bitten (by a serpent), when he looketh upon it, shall Live.” – Numbers 21: 8.
The fiery serpent is also a name for kundalini.
Christ himself referred to the Nehushtan:
“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up” – John 3:14–15.
In Exodus 7:10-12, the staff of Aaron changes into a snake.
They had a god called Quetzalcoatl, which means feathered snake.
The symbol of the World Medical Association.
The functioning of the kundalini within a human being is exceptionally rare. It is remarkable that this deeply hidden process has its iconography so visible throughout the world, over thousands of years and in so many different cultures.
The awakening of kundalini energy starts a new type of activity within the physical body of the human being. One can feel movements of energy: Pulsating, moving streams in the spine and an undulation of energies is also felt in the other main (9 mm) channels. Circulatory movements are felt just outside the body. These are felt at the base of the spine, in front of the spleen, the navel, the heart, the throat, the forehead or on top of the head (relating to the chakras).
One can feel a physical pressure: in the spine, in the chest, inside the head. The suddenly emerging exhaustion.
There can be a feeling of heat: Intense heat in the spine, currents of fire, warmth or heat at the center of one or more chakras, or a feeling of heat all over the body (Kundalini fever).
The seeing of non-physical light: Seeing the aura’s liquid light, a luminous glow, seeing subtle energies, colored movement patterns, seeing light within and without the physical body, pulsating lights, waves of light.
Tasting of nectar: A stream of nectar, a flame-like energy in the throat, which one can taste (this has no physiological equivalent).
The hearing of inner sounds. Some hear roaring sounds, high pitched whistling, the roaring of waterfalls, inner sounds like popping, tearing, crunching, cracking or snapping noises, bee-like buzzing inside the body, gong-like sounds and the pealing of bells, flutes or drums. Others hear ringing, roaring and whooshing.
Further. Other physical aspects:
- A suddenly emerging exhaustion, deep breathing, because the brains need more oxygen.
- Effects on the nervous system causing your muscles to contract.
- A withdrawn feeling (feeling that you are ‘out of touch’ with your environment)
- The different impressions of the energy flows of the five main groups:
- Red= heat,
- Green=air like
- Blue = mercury-like
With kundalini activation, clusters and complexes come up from the subconscious.
Kundalini and Neuroplasticity
There is a possible link between an activated Kundalini and an enhanced neuroplasticity.
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections throughout life. Neuroplasticity allows the neurons (nerve cells) in the brain to compensate for injury and disease and to adjust their activities in response to new situations or to changes in their environment.
Several studies relating to mystical development, indicate that after these experiences took place, with many mystics there was enhanced mental functioning.
Richard Bucke in “Cosmic consciousness”: So when a person who was self conscious only, enters into cosmic consciousness–
- He knows without learning (from the mere fact of illumination) certain things, as, for instance:
(1) that the universe is not a dead machine but a living presence; (2) that in its essence and tendency
it is infinitely good; (3) that individual existence is continuous beyond what is called death. At the
- He takes on enormously greater capacity both for learning and initiating.
Bucke in his classic study states the marks of the Cosmic Sense. They are among others:
The moral elevation.
The intellectual illumination.
The biographies of mystics show that after an intense spiritual transformation, they suddenly developed higher level cognitive and higher level moral functioning, and other forms of talent.
An example is Bertrand Russell:
In 1901 Russell had a mystical experience, in his own words:” Suddenly the ground seemed to give way beneath me, and I found myself in quite another region. Within five minutes I went through some such reflections as following: the loneliness of the human soul is unendurable; nothing can penetrate it except the highest intensity of the sort of love that religious teachers have preached….
At the end of those five minutes , I had become a completely different person.
Having been an imperialist, I became a pacifist.”
This shift from being an imperialist to a pacifist shows a strong moral elevation
This mystical experience eliminates and transcends conditioned patterns