From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kundalini, chakras, and nadis

Kundalini (Sanskrit: कुण्डलिनी kuṇḍalinī, About this soundpronunciation , "coiled one"), in Hinduism is a form of divine energy (or shakti) supposedly located at the base of the spine (muladhara). It was originally an important concept in Śaiva Tantra, where it was seen as a force or power associated with the divine feminine, which when cultivated and awakened through tantric practice, was thought to lead to spiritual liberation. Kuṇḍalinī is associated with Paradevi or Adi Parashakti, the supreme being in Shaktism, as well as with the goddesses Bhairavi and Kubjika.[1][2] The term along with practices associated with it, was adopted into Hatha yoga in the 11th century[3] and other forms of Hinduism as well as modern spirituality and New age thought.

Kuṇḍalinī awakenings are described as happening through a variety of methods. Many systems of yoga focus on awakening Kuṇḍalinī through: meditation; pranayama breathing; the practice of asana and chanting of mantras.[4] Kundalini Yoga is influenced by Shaktism and Tantra schools of Hinduism. It derives its name through a focus on awakening kundalini energy through regular practice of Mantra, Tantra, Yantra, Asanas or Meditation.[4][5] The Kuṇḍalinī experience is frequently reported to be a distinct feeling of electric current running along the spine.[6][7][8]


The concept of Kuṇḍalinī is mentioned in the Upanishads (9th – 3rd centuries BCE).[9][verification needed] The Sanskrit adjective kuṇḍalin means "circular, annular". It is mentioned as a noun for "snake" (in the sense of "coiled") in the 12th-century Rajatarangini chronicle (I.2). Kuṇḍa (a noun meaning "bowl, water-pot" is found as the name of a Nāga (serpent deity) in Mahabharata 1.4828). The 8th-century Tantrasadbhava Tantra uses the term kundalī ("ring, bracelet; coil (of a rope)").[10]:230[clarification needed]

The use of kuṇḍalī as a name for Goddess Durga (a form of Shakti) appears often in Tantrism and Shaktism from as early as the 11th century in the Śaradatilaka.[11] It was adopted as a technical term in Hatha yoga during the 15th century, and became widely used in the Yoga Upanishads by the 16th century. Eknath Easwaran has paraphrased the term as "the coiled power", a force which ordinarily rests at the base of the spine, described as being "coiled there like a serpent".[12]

In Śaiva Tantra[edit]

Statues of Shiva and Shakti at Kamakhya temple, one of the oldest Shakti Peethas, important shrines in Shaktism, the goddess-focused Hindu tradition

Kuṇḍalinī arose as a central concept in Śaiva Tantra, especially among the Śākta cults like the Kaula. In these Tantric traditions, Kuṇḍalinī is "the innate intelligence of embodied Consciousness".[13] The first possible mention of the term is in the Tantrasadbhāva-tantra (8th century), though other earlier tantras mention the visualization of Śākti in the central channel and the upward movement of prana or vital force (which is often associated with Kuṇḍalinī in later works).[14] According to David Gordon White, this feminine spiritual force is also termed boghavati, which has a double meaning of "enjoyment" and "coiled" and signifies her strong connection to bliss and pleasure, both mundane physical pleasure and the bliss of spiritual liberation (moksha), which is the enjoyment of Shiva's creative activity and sexual union with the Goddess.[15]

In the influential Śākta tradition called Kaula, Kuṇḍalinī is seen as a "latent innate spiritual power", associated with the Goddess Kubjika (lit. "the crooked one"), who is the supreme Goddess (Paradevi). She is also pure bliss and power (Śākti), the source of all mantras, and resides in the six chakras along the central channel. In Śaiva Tantra, various practices like pranayama, bandhas, mantra recitation and tantric ritual were used in order to awaken this spiritual power and create a state of bliss and spiritual liberation.[2][15]

According to Abhinavagupta, the great tantric scholar and master of the Kaula and Trika lineages, there are two main forms of Kuṇḍalinī, an upward moving Kuṇḍalinī (urdhva) associated with expansion, and a downward moving Kuṇḍalinī (adha) associated with contraction.[14] According to Gavin Flood, Abhinavagupta links Kuṇḍalinī with "the power that brings into manifestation the body, breath, and experiences of pleasure and pain", with "the power of sexuality as the source of reproduction" and with:

"the force of the syllable ha in the mantra and the concept of aham, the supreme subjectivity as the source of all, with a as the initial movement of consciousness and m its final withdrawal. Thus we have an elaborate series of associations, all conveying the central conception of the cosmos as a manifestation of consciousness, of pure subjectivity, with Kuṇḍalinī understood as the force inseparable from consciousness, who animates creation and who, in her particularised form in the body, causes liberation through her upward, illusion-shattering movement."[14]


When awakened, Kundalini is described as rising up from the muladhara chakra, through the central nadi (called sushumna) inside or alongside the spine reaching the top of the head. The progress of Kundalini through the different chakras is believed to achieve different levels of awakening and a mystical experience, until Kundalini finally reaches the top of the head, Sahasrara or crown chakra, producing an extremely profound transformation of consciousness.[6]:5–6

Swami Sivananda Saraswati of the Divine Life Society stated in his book Kundalini Yoga that "Supersensual visions appear before the mental eye of the aspirant, new worlds with indescribable wonders and charms unfold themselves before the Yogi, planes after planes reveal their existence and grandeur to the practitioner and the Yogi gets divine knowledge, power and bliss, in increasing degrees, when Kundalini passes through Chakra after Chakra, making them to bloom in all their glory..."[16]

There are many physical effects taken as signs of a Kundalini awakening, though some consider them as signs rather of chakra awakening.[17] The following are either common signs of an awakened Kundalini or symptoms of a problem associated with an awakening Kundalini:

  • Enlightenment
  • Bliss, feelings of infinite love and universal connectivity, transcendent awareness, seeing truth (third eye opening), euphoria
  • Awakened sense of smell, hearing, taste
  • No longer controlled by desire/cravings
  • Sound heard in the pineal gland (pleasurable/enjoyable)
  • Change in the thyroid, sudden ability to sing in perfect pitch, change in voice
  • Change in the sex organs
  • Change in breathing
  • Energy rushes or feelings of electricity circulating the body. This tingly feeling, at first, might be mistaken for a "shiver."
  • Involuntary jerks, tremors, shaking, itching, tingling, and crawling sensations, especially in the arms and legs
  • Intense heat (sweating) or cold, especially as energy is experienced passing through the chakras
  • Spontaneous pranayama, asanas, mudras and bandhas
  • Visions or sounds at times associated with a particular chakra
  • Diminished or control over sexual desire
  • Emotional upheavals or surfacing of unwanted and repressed feelings or thoughts with certain repressed emotions becoming dominant in the conscious mind for short or long periods of time.[18]
  • Headache, migraine, or pressure inside the skull. Relief of this pressure during an awakening may be felt as a "popping," depending on the person and their body at the time the awakening begins to occur.
  • Pains in different areas of the body, especially back and neck
  • Sensitivity to light, sound, and touch
  • Trance-like and altered states of consciousness
  • Disrupted sleep pattern (periods of insomnia or oversleeping)
  • Vegetarianism or veganism
  • Change in body odor (sweetness/natural/healthy)

Reports about the Sahaja Yoga technique of Kundalini awakening state that the practice can result in a cool breeze felt on the fingertips as well as the fontanel bone area.[19][20] One study has measured a drop in temperature on the palms of the hands.[21]

In his article on Kundalini in the Yoga Journal, David Eastman narrates two personal experiences. One man said that he felt an activity at the base of his spine starting to flow, so he relaxed and allowed it to happen. A feeling of surging energy began traveling up his back. At each chakra, he felt an orgasmic electric feeling like every nerve trunk on his spine beginning to fire. A second man describes a similar experience but accompanied by a wave of euphoria and happiness softly permeating his being. He described the surging energy as being like electricity but hot, traveling from the base of his spine to the top of his head. He said the more he analyzed the experience, the less it occurred.[18]

In his book Building a Noble World, Shiv R. Jhawar describes his Kundalini awakening experience at Muktananda's public program at Lake Point Tower in Chicago on September 16, 1974, as follows:

"Baba Swami Muktananda had just begun delivering his discourse with his opening statement: 'Today's subject is meditation. The crux of the question is: What do we meditate upon?' Continuing his talk, Baba said: 'Kundalini starts dancing when one repeats Om Namah Shivaya.' Hearing this, I mentally repeated the mantra. I noticed that my breathing was getting heavier. Suddenly, I felt a great impact of a rising force within me. The intensity of this rising kundalini force was so tremendous that my body lifted up a little and fell flat into the aisle; my eyeglasses flew off. As I lay there with my eyes closed, I could see a continuous fountain of dazzling white lights erupting within me. In brilliance, these lights were brighter than the sun but possessed no heat at all. I was experiencing the thought-free state of "I am," realizing that "I" have always been, and will continue to be, eternal. I was fully conscious and completely aware while I was experiencing the pure "I am," a state of supreme bliss. Outwardly, at that precise moment, Baba delightfully shouted from his platform...mene kuch nahi kiya; kisiko shakti ne pakda (I didn't do anything. The Energy has caught someone.)' Baba noticed that the dramatic awakening of kundalini in me frightened some people in the audience. Therefore, he said, 'Do not be frightened. Sometimes kundalini gets awakened in this way, depending upon a person's type.'[22]

Kundalini experiences[edit]

Invoking Kundalini experiences[edit]

Yogis such as Muktananda consider that Kundalini can be awakened by shaktipat (spiritual transmission by a Guru or teacher), or by spiritual practices such as yoga or meditation.[23]

There are two broad approaches to Kundalini awakening: active and passive. The active approach involves systematic physical exercises and techniques of concentration, visualization, pranayama (breath practice) and meditation under the guidance of a competent teacher. These techniques come from any of the four main branches of yoga, and some forms of yoga, such as Kriya yoga, Kundalini yoga and Sahaja yoga.

The passive approach is instead a path of surrender where one lets go of all the impediments to the awakening rather than trying to actively awaken Kundalini. A chief part of the passive approach is shaktipat where one individual's Kundalini is awakened by another who already has the experience. Shaktipat only raises Kundalini temporarily but gives the student an experience to use as a basis.[18]

Gopi Krishna reports having experienced his first kundalini awakening at age 34. In his book Kundalini: Questions and Answers he writes that while meditating upon a lotus in full bloom his attention was drawn towards the crown of his head. He began to experience a sensation of light as if it was entering his brain which was at first distracting but soon began to acquire an enrapturing condition. He felt it "like liquid light through all my nervous system, in my stomach, in my heart, in my lungs, in my throat, in my head, and taking control of the whole body. That was a most marvelous experience for me, as if a new life energy had now taken possession of my body."[citation needed]

He subsequently came to believe "As the ancient writers have said, it is the vital force or prana which is spread over both the macrocosm, the entire Universe, and the microcosm, the human body... The atom is contained in both of these. Prana is life-energy responsible for the phenomena of terrestrial life and for life on other planets in the universe. Prana in its universal aspect is immaterial. But in the human body, Prana creates a fine biochemical substance which works in the whole organism and is the main agent of activity in the nervous system and in the brain. The brain is alive only because of Prana...[24]

...The most important psychological changes in the character of an enlightened person would be that he or she would be compassionate and more detached. There would be less ego, without any tendency toward violence or aggression or falsehood. The awakened life energy is the mother of morality, because all morality springs from this awakened energy. Since the very beginning, it has been this evolutionary energy that has created the concept of morals in human beings.

The American comparative religions scholar Joseph Campbell describes the concept of Kundalini as "the figure of a coiled female serpent—a serpent goddess not of "gross" but "subtle" substance—which is to be thought of as residing in a torpid, slumbering state in a subtle center, the first of the seven, near the base of the spine: the aim of the yoga then being to rouse this serpent, lift her head, and bring her up a subtle nerve or channel of the spine to the so-called "thousand-petaled lotus" (Sahasrara) at the crown of the head...She, rising from the lowest to the highest lotus center will pass through and wake the five between, and with each waking, the psychology and personality of the practitioner will be altogether and fundamentally transformed."[25]

Hatha yoga[edit]

Mode of action of mudras, serving to trap prana and helping to unblock the central sushumna channel, allowing kundalini to rise

According to the Goraksasataka, or "Hundred Verses of Goraksa", hatha yoga practices such as mula bandha, uddiyana bandha, jalandhara bandha and kumbhaka can awaken Kundalini.[26] Another hathayoga text, the Khecarīvidyā, states that khechari mudra enables one to raise Kundalini and access various stores of amrita in the head, which subsequently flood the body.[27]


The spiritual teacher Meher Baba emphasized the need for a master when actively trying to awaken Kundalini:

Kundalini is a latent power in the higher body. When awakened, it pierces through six chakras or functional centers and activates them. Without a master, the awakening of the kundalini cannot take anyone very far on the Path; and such indiscriminate or premature awakening is fraught with dangers of self-deception as well as the misuse of powers. The kundalini enables man to consciously cross the lower planes and it ultimately merges into the universal cosmic power of which it is a part, and which also is at times described as kundalini ... The important point is that the awakened kundalini is helpful only up to a certain degree, after which it cannot ensure further progress. It cannot dispense with the need for the grace of a Perfect Master.[28]

Kundalini awakening while prepared or unprepared[edit]

The experience of Kundalini awakening can happen when one is either prepared or unprepared.[18]

According to Hindu tradition, in order to be able to integrate this spiritual energy, a period of careful purification and strengthening of the body and nervous system is usually required beforehand.[17] Yoga and Tantra propose that Kundalini can be awakened by a guru (teacher), but body and spirit must be prepared by yogic austerities, such as pranayama, or breath control, physical exercises, visualization, and chanting. The student is advised to follow the path in an open-hearted manner.[18]

Traditionally, people would visit ashrams in India to awaken their dormant kundalini energy. Typical activities would include regular meditation, mantra chanting, spiritual studies as well as a physical asana practice such as kundalini yoga.

Religious interpretations[edit]

Indian interpretations[edit]

Kundalini is considered to occur in the chakra and nadis of the subtle body. Each chakra is said to contain special characteristics[29] and with proper training, moving Kundalini through these chakras can help express or open these characteristics.

Kundalini is described as a sleeping, dormant potential force in the human organism.[30] It is one of the components of an esoteric description of the "subtle body", which consists of nadis (energy channels), chakras (psychic centres), prana (subtle energy), and bindu (drops of essence).

Kundalini is described as being coiled up at the base of the spine. The description of the location can vary slightly, from the rectum to the navel.[10]:229–231 Kundalini is said to reside in the triangular shaped sacrum bone in three and a half coils.[19]

Ramana Maharshi mentioned that Kundalini is nothing but the natural energy of the Self, where Self is the universal consciousness (Paramatma) present in every being and that the individual mind of thoughts cloaks this natural energy from unadulterated expression. Advaita teaches self-realization, enlightenment, God-consciousness, and nirvana. But initial Kundalini awakening is just the beginning of the actual spiritual experience. Self-inquiry meditation is considered a very natural and simple means of reaching this goal.[citation needed]

Swami Vivekananda describes Kundalini briefly in his book Raja Yoga as follows:[31]

According to the Yogis, there are two nerve currents in the spinal column, called Pingalâ and Idâ, and a hollow canal called Sushumnâ running through the spinal cord. At the lower end of the hollow canal is what the Yogis call the "Lotus of the Kundalini". They describe it as triangular in a form in which, in the symbolical language of the Yogis, there is a power called the Kundalini, coiled up. When that Kundalini awakens, it tries to force a passage through this hollow canal, and as it rises step by step, as it were, layer after layer of the mind becomes open and all the different visions and wonderful powers come to the Yogi. When it reaches the brain, the Yogi is perfectly detached from the body and mind; the soul finds itself free. We know that the spinal cord is composed in a peculiar manner. If we take the figure eight horizontally (∞), there are two parts which are connected in the middle. Suppose you add eight after eight, piled one on top of the other, that will represent the spinal cord. The left is the Ida, the right Pingala, and that hollow canal which runs through the center of the spinal cord is the Sushumna. Where the spinal cord ends in some of the lumbar vertebrae, a fine fiber issues downwards, and the canal runs up even within that fiber, only much finer. The canal is closed at the lower end, which is situated near what is called the sacral plexus, which, according to modern physiology, is triangular in form. The different plexuses that have their centers in the spinal canal can very well stand for the different "lotuses" of the Yogi.

When Kundalini Shakti is conceived as a goddess, then, when it rises to the head, it unites itself with the Supreme Being of (Lord Shiva). The aspirant then becomes engrossed in deep meditation and infinite bliss. Paramahansa Yogananda in his book God Talks with Arjuna: The Bhagavad Gita states:[32]

At the command of the yogi in deep meditation, this creative force turns inward and flows back to its source in the thousand-petaled lotus, revealing the resplendent inner world of the divine forces and consciousness of the soul and spirit. Yoga refers to this power flowing from the coccyx to spirit as the awakened kundalini.

Paramahansa Yogananda also states:

The yogi reverses the searchlights of intelligence, mind and life force inward through a secret astral passage, the coiled way of the kundalini in the coccygeal plexus, and upward through the sacral, the lumbar, and the higher dorsal, cervical, and medullary plexuses, and the spiritual eye at the point between the eyebrows, to reveal finally the soul's presence in the highest center (Sahasrara) in the brain.[32]

Osho, Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, gave detailed talks on the journey of the kundalini through the seven chakras and the relation of the seven chakras to the esoteric map of the `seven bodies`, or planes of human existence. Rajneesh defined the seven bodies as 1.The physical 2. The Etheric 3. The Astral 4. The Mental, or physic 5. The Spiritual. 6. The Cosmic(or Brahman). 7. The Nirvanic (or Void). The fifth, sixth and seventh bodies were, according to Rajneesh, related to the three stages of enlightenment.[33][34][35]

Western significance[edit]

Sir John Woodroffe (1865–1936) – also known by his pseudonym Arthur Avalon – was a British Orientalist whose published works stimulated a far-reaching interest in Hindu philosophy and Yogic practices. While serving as a High Court Judge in Calcutta, he studied Sanskrit and Hindu Philosophy, particularly as it related to Hindu Tantra. He translated numerous original Sanskrit texts and lectured on Indian Philosophy, Yoga and Tantra. His book, The Serpent Power: The Secrets of Tantric and Shaktic Yoga became a major source for many modern Western adaptations of Kundalini yoga practice. It presents an academically and philosophically sophisticated translation of, and commentary on, two key Eastern texts: Shatchakranirūpana (Description and Investigation into the Six Bodily Centers) written by Tantrik Pūrnānanda Svāmī (1526) and the Paduka-Pancakā from the Sanskrit of a commentary by Kālīcharana (Five-fold Footstool of the Guru). The Sanskrit term "Kundali Shakti" translates as "Serpent Power". Kundalini is thought to be an energy released within an individual using specific meditation techniques. It is represented symbolically as a serpent coiled at the base of the spine.

In his preface to The Serpent Power Woodroffe clarifies the concept of Kundalini:[36]

Vivified by the 'Serpent Fire'( Kundalini) they (chakras) become gates of connection between the physical and “astral” bodies. When the astral awakening of these centers first took place, this was not known to the physical consciousness. But the sense body can now “be brought to share all these advantages by repeating that process of awakening with the etheric centers. This is done by the arousing through will-force of the “Serpent Fire,” which exists clothed in “etheric matter in the physical plane, and sleeps in the corresponding etheric center—that at the base of the spine. When this is done, it vivifies the higher centers, with the effect that it brings into the physical consciousness the powers which are aroused by the development of their corresponding astral centers. . . There mere rousing of the Serpent Power does not, from the spiritual Yoga standpoint, amount too much. Nothing, however, of real moment, from the higher Yogi’s point of view, is achieved until the Ajna Cakra is reached. Here, again, it is said that the Sadhaka whose Atma is nothing but a meditation on the lotus “becomes the creator, preserver and destroyer of the three worlds”…It is not until the Tattvas of this center are also absorbed, and complete knowledge of the Sahasrara is gained, that the Yogi attains that which is both his aim and the motive of his labor, cessation from rebirth which follows on the control and concentration of the Citta on the Siva-sthanam, the Abode of Bliss.

In his book Artistic Form and Yoga in the Sacred Images of India, Heinrich Zimmer spoke highly of Woodroffe's works:[37]

The values of the Hindu tradition were disclosed to me through the enormous life-work of Sir John Woodroffe, alias Arthur Avalon, a pioneer and a classic author in Indie studies, second to none, who, for the first time, by many publications and books made available the extensive and complex treasure of late Hindu tradition: the Tantras, a period as grand and rich as the Vedas, the Epic, Puranas, etc.; the latest crystallization of Indian wisdom, the indispensable closing link of a chain, affording keys to countless problems in the history of Buddhism and Hinduism, in mythology and symbolism.

When Woodroffe later commented upon the reception of his work he clarified his objective, "All the world (I speak of course of those interested in such subjects) is beginning to speak of Kundalinî Shakti." He described his intention as follows: "We, who are foreigners, must place ourselves in the skin of the Hindu, and must look at their doctrine and ritual through their eyes and not our own."[38]

Western awareness of kundalini was strengthened by the interest of Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst Dr. Carl Jung (1875–1961). Jung's seminar on Kundalini yoga presented to the Psychological Club in Zurich in 1932 was widely regarded as a milestone in the psychological understanding of Eastern thought and of the symbolic transformations of inner experience. Kundalini yoga presented Jung with a model for the developmental phases of higher consciousness, and he interpreted its symbols in terms of the process of individuation, with sensitivity towards a new generation's interest in alternative religions and psychological exploration.[39]

In the introduction to Jung's book The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga, Sonu Shamdasani puts forth "The emergence of depth psychology was historically paralleled by the translation and widespread dissemination of the texts of yoga... for the depth psychologies sought to liberate themselves from the stultifying limitations of Western thought to develop maps of inner experience grounded in the transformative potential of therapeutic practices. A similar alignment of "theory" and "practice" seemed to be embodied in the yogic texts that moreover had developed independently of the bindings of Western thought. Further, the initiatory structure adopted by institutions of psychotherapy brought its social organization into proximity with that of yoga. Hence, an opportunity for a new form of comparative psychology opened up."[38]:xviii-xix

The American writer William Buhlman, began to conduct an international survey of out-of-body experiences in 1969 in order to gather information about symptoms: sounds, vibrations and other phenomena, that commonly occur at the time of the OBE event. His primary interest was to compare the findings with reports made by yogis, such as Gopi Krishna (yogi) who have made reference to similar phenomenon, such as the 'vibrational state' as components of their kundalini-related spiritual experience. He explains:

There are numerous reports of full Kundalini experiences culminating with a transcendental out-of-body state of consciousness. In fact, many people consider this experience to be the ultimate path to enlightenment. The basic premise is to encourage the flow of Kundalini energy up the spine and toward the top of the head—the crown chakra—thus projecting your awareness into the higher heavenly dimensions of the universe. The result is an indescribable expansion of consciousness into spiritual realms beyond form and thought.[40]

George King (1919–1997), founder of the Aetherius Society, describes the concept of Kundalini throughout his works and claimed to have experienced this energy many times throughout his life while in a "positive samadhic yogic trance state".[41]

According to King,

It should always be remembered that despite appearances to the contrary, the complete control of Kundalini through the spinal column is man's only reason for being on Earth, for when this is accomplished, the lessons in this classroom and the mystical examination is passed.[42]

In his lecture entitled The Psychic Centers – Their Significance and Development, he describes the theory behind the raising of Kundalini and how this might be done safely in the context of a balanced life devoted to selfless service.[43]

Sri Aurobindo was the other great authority scholar on Kundalini parallel to Woodroffe with a somewhat different viewpoint, according to Mary Scott (who is herself a latter-day scholar on Kundalini and its physical basis) and was a member of the Theosophical Society.[44]

Other well-known spiritual teachers who have made use of the idea of Kundalini include Aleister Crowley, whose Gnostic Mass symbolically incorporates the concept via various means including the entrance procession ('circumambulation') of the Priest and Priestess; Albert Rudolph (Rudi), Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (Osho), George Gurdjieff, Paramahansa Yogananda, Sivananda Radha Saraswati, who produced an English language guide to Kundalini yoga methods, Muktananda, Bhagawan Nityananda, Yogi Bhajan, Nirmala Srivastava, Samael Aun Weor.[citation needed]

New Age[edit]

Kundalini references may be found in a number of New Age presentations, and is a word that has been adopted by many new religious movements.[45]


According to Carl Jung "... the concept of Kundalini has for us only one use, that is, to describe our own experiences with the unconscious ..."[46] Jung used the Kundalini system symbolically as a means of understanding the dynamic movement between conscious and unconscious processes. He cautioned that all forms of yoga, when used by Westerners, can be attempts at domination of the body and unconscious through the ideal of ascending into higher chakras.[47][page needed]

According to Shamdasani, Jung claimed that the symbolism of Kundalini yoga suggested that the bizarre symptomatology that patients at times presented, actually resulted from the awakening of the Kundalini. He argued that knowledge of such symbolism enabled much that would otherwise be seen as the meaningless by-products of a disease process to be understood as meaningful symbolic processes, and explicated the often peculiar physical localizations of symptoms.[47]:xxvi

The popularization of eastern spiritual practices has been associated with psychological problems in the west. Psychiatric literature notes that "since the influx of eastern spiritual practices and the rising popularity of meditation starting in the 1960s, many people have experienced a variety of psychological difficulties, either while engaged in intensive spiritual practice or spontaneously".[48] Among the psychological difficulties associated with intensive spiritual practice we find "Kundalini awakening", "a complex physio-psychospiritual transformative process described in the yogic tradition".[48] Researchers in the fields of Transpersonal psychology,[29] and Near-death studies[49] have described a complex pattern of sensory, motor, mental and affective symptoms associated with the concept of Kundalini, sometimes called the Kundalini syndrome.[50]

The differentiation between spiritual emergency associated with Kundalini awakening may be viewed as an acute psychotic episode by psychiatrists who are not conversant with the culture. The biological changes of increased P300 amplitudes that occurs with certain yogic practices may lead to acute psychosis. Biological alterations by Yogic techniques may be used to warn people against such reactions.[51]

Some modern experimental research seeks to establish links between Kundalini practice and the ideas of Wilhelm Reich and his followers.[52]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ David Frawley, Inner Tantric Yoga, Lotus Press, 2008, page 163-164
  2. ^ a b Dyczkowski, Mark S. G. The Canon of the Saivagama and the Kubjika Tantras of the Western Kaula Tradition, Motilal Banarsidass Publ., 1989, pp. 60, 89.
  3. ^ Mallinson, James. "Śāktism and Haṭhayoga." In: Goddess Traditions in Tantric Hinduism: History, Practice and Doctrine, edited by Bjarne Wernicke-Olesen London: Routledge, 2016. pp. 109-140.
  4. ^ a b "Spotlight on Kundalini Yoga". Yoga Journal. Retrieved 8 October 2013.
  5. ^ Swami Sivananda Radha, 2004, pp. 13, 15
  6. ^ a b Saraswati, Swami Satyananda (1984). Kundalini Tantra (2nd ed.). Munger, Bihar, India: Bihar School of Yoga. pp. 34–36. ISBN 978-8185787152.
  7. ^ Judith, Anodea (2004). Eastern Body, Western Mind: Psychology and the Chakra System as a Path to the Self (Revised ed.). Berkeley, California: Celestial Arts. pp. 451–454. ISBN 978-1-58761-225-1.
  8. ^ Paulson, Genevieve Lewis (1998). Kundalini and the Chakras: A Practical Manual--evolution in this Lifetime (1st ed.). St. Paul, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications. pp. 7–10, 194. ISBN 978-0-87542-592-4.
  9. ^ Dale, Cyndi (2011). Kundalini: Divine Energy, Divine Life (1st ed.). Woodbury, Minnesota: Llewellyn Publications. ISBN 978-0-7387-2863-6.
  10. ^ a b White, David Gordon (2004). Kiss of the Yogini: "Tantric Sex" in its South Asian Contexts (Paperback ed.). The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-89483-6.
  11. ^ Saivism, Kashmir Saivism (1990). Vac: The Concept of the Word in Selected Hindu Tantras. Sri Satguru Publications. pp. 124–136. ISBN 978-1-4384-1532-1.
  12. ^ Morrison, Diana (1977). A Glossary of Sanskrit from the Spiritual Tradition of India. Nilgiri Press. p. 5. ISBN 978-0-915132-11-9.
  13. ^ Wallis, Christopher, Recognition Sutras: Illuminating a 1,000-Year-Old Spiritual Masterpiece, Mattamayura Press, Oct 6, 2017, Introduction.
  14. ^ a b c Flood, Gavin, The Tantric Body: The Secret Tradition of Hindu Religion, I.B.Tauris, Jan 5, 2006, pp. 160-161.
  15. ^ a b White, David Gordon, The Alchemical Body: Siddha Traditions in Medieval India, University of Chicago Press, 1998, pp. 219-220.
  16. ^ Saraswati, Sri Swami Sivananda (2010). Kundalini Yoga (14th ed.). Himalayas, India: The Divine Life Trust Society. p. 27. ISBN 81-7052-052-5.
  17. ^ a b Maheshwarananda, Paramhans Swami (2004). The Hidden Power in Humans: Chakras and Kundalini. Ibera Verlag. pp. 47–48. ISBN 978-3-85052-197-0.
  18. ^ a b c d e Eastman, David T. (September 1985). "Kundalini Demystified". Yoga Journal: 37–43.
  19. ^ a b Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi Srivastava (1997). Meta Modern Era (3rd ed.). Vishwa Nirmala Dharma. pp. 233–248. ISBN 9788186650059.
  20. ^ Coney, Judith (1999). Sahaja Yoga: Socializing Processes in a South Asian New Religious Movement. Richmond, Surrey: Curzon. pp. 55–56. ISBN 978-0-7007-1061-4.
  21. ^ Manocha, Ramesh (March 2010). "Changing Definitions of Meditation- Is there a Physiological Corollary? Skin temperature changes of a mental silence orientated form of meditation compared to rest". Journal of International Society of Life Information Science. 28: 23. Retrieved 3 November 2018. Throughout the meditation period mean ST of the SYM group decreased while that of the Rest group increased. After ten minutes of meditation, 13 of the 16 meditators manifested a reduction in ST compared to baseline whereas 7 of the 10 participants in the control group manifested an increase compared to baseline. Chi-Square tests showed that the difference between the two groups was significant (p=.003).
  22. ^ Jhawar, Shiv R. (2004). Building a Noble World. Noble World Foundation. p. 85. ISBN 978-0-9749197-0-6.
  23. ^ Muktananda, Swami (1978). Play of Consciousness. Siddha Yoga Publications. ISBN 0-911307-81-8.
  24. ^ Krishna, Gopti (1995). Kundalini Questions and Answers (Smashwords ed.). The Institute for Consciousness Studies. pp. 6–8. ISBN 978-0-9938316-6-9.
  25. ^ Campbell, Joseph (2011). A Joseph Campbell Companion: Reflections on the Art of Living. San Anselmo, California: Joseph Campbell Foundation. p. 117. ISBN 978-1-61178-006-2.
  26. ^ White, David Gordon (2012). Yoga in Practice. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. pp. 2, 268–270. ISBN 978-0-691-14085-8.
  27. ^ Mallinson, James (2007). The Khecarividya of Adinatha: A Critical Edition and Annotated Translation of an Early Text of Hathayoga. London: Routledge. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-415-39115-3.
  28. ^ Baba, Meher (1958). Beams from Meher Baba on the Spiritual Panorama (PDF). San Francisco: Sufism Reoriented. pp. 13–14. Retrieved 14 January 2017.
  29. ^ a b Scotton, Bruce W. (1999). Textbook of Transpersonal Psychiatry and Psychology. New York: Basic Books. p. 261. ISBN 978-0-465-09530-8.
  30. ^ Swami Satyananda Saraswati. Kundalini Tantra. Bihar School of Yoga, 2006. ISBN 978-8185787152
  31. ^ Vivekananda, Swami (1995). Raja Yoga: Conquering the Internal Nature. Calcutta: Advaita Ashrama. pp. 48–49. ISBN 978-8185301167.
  32. ^ a b Yogananda, Paramahansa (1995). The Bhagavad Gita: God Talks with Arjuna: Royal Science of God Realization: the Immortal Dialogue Between Soul and Spirit: a New Translation and Commentary (1st ed.). Los Angeles: Self Realization Fellowship. p. 18. ISBN 978-0-87612-030-9.
  33. ^ Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree. "In Search of the Miracolous".
  34. ^ Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree. "In Search of the Miraculous Chapter 20".
  35. ^ Rajneesh, Bhagwan Shree. "The Psychology of the Esoteric chapter 6".
  36. ^ Woodroffe, Sir John (1950). The Serpent Power (Fourth ed.). AdyarMadras: Ganesh & Co. (MADRAS) LTD. The Theosophical Society. p. Preface.
  37. ^ Zimmer, Heinrich (1984). Artistic Form and Yoga in the Sacred Images of India. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. 254. ISBN 978-0-691-02060-0.
  38. ^ a b Jung, Carl Gustav (1996). The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1932 by C.G. Jung. Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press. p. xvi. ISBN 978-0-691-02127-0.
  39. ^ Nichol, Davi (1999). "Psychoanalytic Books". A Quarterly Journal of Reviews.
  40. ^ Buhlman, William (2011). The Secret of the Soul: Using Out-of-Body Experiences to Understand Our True Nature (1st ed.). San Francisco: HarperCollins. p. 191. ISBN 978-0-06-196808-2.
  41. ^ "Dr. George King – The Nine Freedoms 50th Anniversary". theninefreedoms.org. Retrieved 14 August 2018. Where trance was adopted, the trance state was a positive samadhic yogic trance state, induced by the raising of kundalini.
  42. ^ King, George (1998). The Nine Freedoms: An authoritative Metaphysical treatise on the progress through Ascension to Cosmic Existence (3rd ed.). Aetherius Society. p. 79. ISBN 978-0-937249-04-8.
  43. ^ King, George. "The Psychic Centers – Their Significance and Development". audio lecture. aetherius.org. Retrieved 24 June 2012.
  44. ^ Scott, Mary (1983). Kundalini in the Physical World. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. pp. 259–263. ISBN 978-0-7100-9417-9.
  45. ^ "Yoga Journal" (63). Active Interest Media, Inc. July – August 1985: 42. ISSN 0191-0965. Retrieved 5 January 2017. I just wanted to talk to someone who would understand about kundalini and wouldn't think I was crazy ...
  46. ^ Hayman, Ronald (2001). A Life of Jung. New York: W. W. Norton. p. 304. ISBN 978-0-393-32322-1. Retrieved 5 January 2017. the concept of Kundalini has for us only one use ...
  47. ^ a b Shamdasani, Sonu (2012). The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga: Notes of the Seminar Given in 1932 by C.G. Jung (New ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-2191-4.
  48. ^ a b Turner, R. P.; Lukoff, D.; Barnhouse, R. T.; Lu, F. G. (July 1995). "Religious or spiritual problem. A culturally sensitive diagnostic category in the DSM-IV". The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease. 183 (7): 435–444. doi:10.1097/00005053-199507000-00003. ISSN 0022-3018. PMID 7623015.
  49. ^ Kason, Yvonne (2008). Farther Shores: Exploring How Near-Death, Kundalini and Mystical Experiences Can Transform Ordinary Lives (Revised ed.). Bloomington, New York: Author's Choice Press. ISBN 978-0-595-53396-1.
  50. ^ Greyson, Bruce (1993). "Near-death experiences and the physio-kundalini syndrome". Journal of Religion & Health. 32 (4): 277–290. doi:10.1007/BF00990954. PMID 24271550.
  51. ^ Bharadwaj, Balaji (2012). "Proof-of-concept studies in Yoga and mental health". International Journal of Yoga. 5 (1): 74. doi:10.4103/0973-6131.91719. PMC 3276938. PMID 22346071.
  52. ^ Rudra. Kundalini, die Energie der Natur, die Natur der Energie im Menschen körperliche und psychische Begleiterscheinungen bei Erweckung der Energie im Körper (Worpswede, Germany: Wild Dragon Connections, 1993) ISBN 978-3980256018 (in German)

Further reading[edit]

Osho(Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh) , spoke about kundalini and its passage through the seven chakras extensively , and the journey of the kundalini through the `seven bodies`, from the muludhara chakra(first body) to the sahasha,(the seventh body. This included his description of the higher chakras and the three stages of enlightenment, from the fifth body(atman), the sixth body(cosmic) , and finally the seventh body(Nirvanic, or Void).

External links[edit]