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Updated: Mar 5, 2023

This is a very confusing and misunderstood word and event in the evolution of mankind and many people often have asked me questions on the subject of kundalini but I have been apprehensive to respond because of the magnitude of the answer. Here is my attempt to shed some light on the subject.

A Universal Event

The seat of kundalini is a small gland at the base of the spinal cord. With the evolution of the natural forces in man, this gland has now come to a point where man can explode it. Quite a number of people have awakened this supernatural force and they have been called rishis, prophets, yogis, siddhas and various other names according to the time, tradition and culture. In India, the entire cultural setup was once organized to facilitate this internal explosion, but today things are a little different because materialism and the connection to opposites is a very powerful force, it can actually boggle the mind just to ruminate on it.

For the awakening of kundalini, not only are the practices of yoga required, but if this awakening is to become a universal event, then the entire social structure has to be reorganized and millions of people all over the world have to be told the purpose of their existence. I know this seems kind of a big deal, but it is a big deal and the awakening of any individual Kundalini effects all of humanity! You will see how even the instinctive and emotional interaction between man and woman must be relooked so that it can lead us not away from, but towards, this ultimate awakening. This reorientation has to be undertaken with the purpose of expanding the mind and opening new doors of experience.

I write this with caution because there is a tendency to chase after this experience and this is where there is a misunderstanding, this should not be something one searches for but rather something that happens because of the life you live and the choices you have made over lifetimes.

Today we are living in a world where everyone is more or less satisfied. Mankind has all the comforts and everything it needs and does not need. There may be a time when man will be prepared to throw off these comforts. Releasing opposites that weaken the will and keep man under constant hypnosis. Alcohol and drugs are not as dangerous as man's total slavery to luxury, comfort, and beauty. Mankind cannot pull himself away from them. It is impossible unless he has become aware of something more than what his parents and society could give him.

Years ago there were only a few seekers of knowledge, but now millions and millions of people in the world are searching for a higher experience, this is a slippery slope so I again warn you not to chase after this experience but to allow it to unfold naturally. This higher experience is known as knowledge or jnana. Through yoga and meditation, the awakening of kundalini takes place, a process of metamorphosis occurs in the realm of nature and in the realm of spirit, this event is monumental and is experienced on levels that will impact all humanity. The elements of the physical body change and the elements of the mental body do also.

It may be difficult for people to understand the whole concept, but matter will become unnecessary and insignificant, and possessions and even your body will become obsolete. Behind the matter and behind the mind there is energy and there is an experience of that energy.

Proceed slowly, sensibly and systematically!! Or just be open and allow yourself to evolve naturally.

Many of you know that I try not to discuss this event often since I do not want to encourage the chasing of it, but now I believe that it is best to explain it as simply as possible to help guide and educate you before even contemplating this.

You should not try to realize and experience these things abruptly. I will try to explain the gradual preparation of your mind and body for the awakening of kundalini, and advise precautions to be observed in order to avoid unnecessary risks and obstacles. Do not try to influence your mind directly, because the mind is nothing but an extension of the illusion of the body. Start systematically with the body, the prana, the nadis and chakras. Then see how you evolve. This is done while studying the Astanga 8 Limbs of Yoga.

Many people, encouraged by this type of philosophy take drugs, chemicals, and other things they consider to be speedy alternatives, but there is no fast track and drugs ultimately impede the process. You will only be thwarting your efforts. In the final evolution of mind, matter, and mankind, you cannot ignore either the body or the mind. You cannot even ignore the nose, the stomach, or the digestive system. That is why this transcendental philosophy begins with the basic considerations of diet and yogic physiology that I often discuss. I know that this may not seem what you want to hear but it is where we begin.

The discovery of this great energy (kundalini) began with matter (physical body). Where does the experience generate from? From heaven? From the sanctum sanctorum? No, from this body and this nervous system. That is how you should be practical and sensible.


When I was about 6 I had a spontaneous spiritual experience during which I became completely unaware of my body for quite a long time. Again, when I was in my late 20s, the same thing happened, but this time I was old enough to think and rationalize, and I was able to explore the meaning of it. At first, I did not understand what had happened and I wanted to keep it a secret for the fear of what someone may say. I was afraid of being diagnosed with some mental imbalance, so I kept it to myself.

I had begun reading the vedas and many ancient Hindu texts to gain information on what was happening to me. Through my readings and meditations, I realized that I had a spiritual experience and that it may have been the beginning of a spiritual life. I had no teacher to guide me so I relied on the ancient writings and books.

In Hinduism there are two traditions, one believes in the worship of idols, and the other that God is formless. Many people belong to the latter, but I often looked at the pictures of all the different deities and wondered at them. Durga was mounted on a lion; Saraswati on a swan; Vishnu lay sleeping on a huge cobra; Kali was completely naked, standing on the body of Shiva; Tara too was naked and Shiva was drinking milk from her breast. I could not understand what it all meant. Why did Shiva ride on a bull and have so many snakes wrapped around him; how could the Ganga flow from his hair; why was Ganesha, with his enormous elephantine head and pot belly, riding on a small rat? I thought that there must be some symbolic meaning behind all this, but I only began to understand it through kundalini studies, which I started self-teaching at the age of 30.

Around this time I had another experience. I was sitting quietly when suddenly, without any effort, my mind turned inwards. I immediately saw visions of the world around me and events that appeared as if they would take place but they hadn't until they did. This really made me begin to wonder. How could I have seen this future event symbolically in meditation? This has happened many times since.

A new life begins

By the time I was seventeen, I was asking questions that nobody could answer. I wondered about things like the difference between perception and experience. I talked a lot about topics that many people had no interest in, and it was very hard to find answers from any teacher that I knew so I continued to study from books and in meditation.

I stumbled along some writings and lessons from Swami Sivananda, I remember his writings on how to experience the highest consciousness. So I entered into a space within myself to find answers through his readings but still, none came. I was puzzled about the purpose of my existence. I felt that mankind were seekers, yet I really did not know what I was seeking and was often left with the terrifying question that man asks himself regarding death. This became even a greater thought after having children.

The awakening of my kundalini

Sometime later I had another experience while sitting in meditation. I was thinking of some mundane things when my mind spontaneously started going in and in. Suddenly I felt as if the earth was slipping from under me and the sky was expanding and receding. A moment later I experienced a terrible force springing from the base of my body like an atomic explosion. I felt that I was vibrating very fast, the light currents were terrific. I experienced the supreme bliss, like the climax of all human kinds desires, and it continued for a long time. My whole body was contracting until the feeling of pleasure became quite unbearable and I lost complete awareness of my body. This was the third time it had happened.

After returning to consciousness I was out of it for many days. I could not eat, sleep or move. I saw everything but nothing registered. The bliss was a living thing within me and I knew that if I moved, this wonderful feeling would cease; I would lose the intensity of it all. How could I move when bells were ringing inside? This was the awakening of my kundalini.

After a week or so I returned to normal and then I started to study meditation and yoga very seriously. At first, I was still a bit weak and sick, so I practiced gentle yoga. . Then I began to explore the fantastic science of kundalini yoga. What is this power which awakens in mooladhara chakra? My interest was great and thus began my journey to understanding this amazing energy.

With the awakening of kundalini, the greater intelligence is awakened from its sleep and you can give birth to a new range of creative thoughts. When kundalini awakens, not only are you blessed with visions and psychic experiences, you could become anything you desire. This is where prophets, saints, artists or musicians, brilliant writers or poets, clairvoyants, or even messiahs stemmed from. You could also be inspired to become a speaker or teacher of meditation or yoga. The awakening of kundalini affects the whole area of the human mind and behavior.

Kundalini is not a myth or an illusion. It is not a hypothesis or a hypnotic suggestion. Kundalini is a biological substance that exists within the framework of the body. Its awakening generates electrical impulses throughout the whole body and these impulses can be detected by modern scientific instruments and machines. Each of us should consider the importance and the benefits of awakening kundalini, and we should make a resolve to awaken this great shakti. But again!! I say this with caution! There is plenty of time to reach here, it is the life you live that is most important.

What is Kundalini?

Everybody should know something about kundalini as it represents the coming consciousness of mankind. Kundalini is the name of a sleeping dormant potential force in the human organism and it is situated at the root of the spinal column. In the masculine body, it is in the perineum, between the urinary and excretory organs. In the female body, its location is at the root of the uterus, in the cervix. This center is known as mooladhara chakra and it is actually a physical structure. It is a small gland that you can even take out and press. However, kundalini is a dormant energy, and even if you press it, it will not explode like a bomb. To awaken kundalini you must prepare yourself through yogic techniques. You must practice asanas, pranayama, kriya yoga, and meditation. Then, when you are able to force your prana into the seat of kundalini, the energy wakes up and makes its way through sushumna nadi or your energetic spinal column, the central nervous canal, to the brain. As kundalini ascends, it passes through each of the chakras which are interconnected with the different silent areas of the brain. With the awakening of kundalini there is an explosion in the brain as the dormant or sleeping areas start blossoming like flowers. Therefore, kundalini can be equated with the awakening of the silent areas of the brain.

Although kundalini is said to reside in mooladhara chakra, we are all at different stages of evolution, and in some of us, kundalini may have already reached swadhisthana, manipura or anahata chakra. If this is so, whatever sadhana you do now might start an awakening in anahata or some other chakra. However, awakening of kundalini in mooladhara chakra is one thing, and awakening in sahasrara, the highest center of the brain, is another. Once the multipetalled lotus of sahasrara blossoms, a new consciousness dawns. Our present consciousness is not independent, as the mind depends on the information supplied by the senses. If you have no eyes, you can never see; if you are deaf, you will never hear. However, when the superconsciousness emerges, experience becomes completely independent and knowledge also becomes completely independent.

Kundalini, Kali and Durga

When kundalini has just awakened and you are not able to handle it, it is called Kali. When you can handle it and are able to use it for beneficial purposes and you become powerful on account of it, it is called Durga.

In Hindu mythology, the awakening of Kali has been described in great detail. When Kali rises in red anger, all the gods and demons are stunned and everybody keeps quiet. They do not know what she is going to do. They ask Lord Shiva to pacify her, but Kali roars ferociously, throwing him down and standing on his chest with her mouth wide open, thirsty for flesh and blood. When the devas hold prayers to pacify Kali, she becomes calm and there is the emergence of Durga, the higher, more refined, and benign symbol of the unconscious. Durga is a beautiful goddess seated on a tiger. She has 8 hands representing the eightfold elements of man. Durga is the remover of all evil consequences of life and the giver of power and peace that is released from mooladhara.

According to yoga philosophy, Kali, the first manifestation of the unconscious kundalini is a terrible power; it completely subdues the individual soul, represented by her standing on Lord Shiva. It sometimes happens that by mental instability some people get in contact with their unconscious body and see inauspicious, ferocious elements - ghosts, monsters, etc. When Kali, the unconscious power of man, is awakened she goes up to meet the further manifestation, being Durga, the superconscious, bestowing glory and beauty.

Symbolic representation of kundalini

Kundalini is conceived of as the primal power or energy. In terms of modern psychology, it can be called the unconscious in man. In Hindu mythology, kundalini corresponds with the concept of Kali. In the philosophy of Shaivism, the concept of kundalini is represented by the shivalingam, the oval-shaped stone or pillar with a snake coiled around it.

More commonly, kundalini is illustrated as a sleeping serpent coiled three and a half times. Of course, there is no serpent residing in mooladhara, sahasrara or any other chakra, but the serpent has always been a symbol for efficient consciousness. In all the oldest mystic cults of the world, you find the serpent, and if you have seen any pictures or images of Lord Shiva, you will have noticed serpents girdling his waist, neck, and arms. Kali is also adorned with serpents and Lord Vishnu eternally reposes on a large coiled serpent. This serpent power symbolizes the unconscious in man.

In the traditional descriptions of kundalini awakening, it is said that kundalini resides in mooladhara in the form of a coiled snake and when the snake awakens it uncoils and shoots up through sushumna (the psychic passage in the center of the spinal cord), opening the other chakras as it goes.

Brahmachari Swami Vyasdev, in his book Science of the Soul, describes the awakening of kundalini in the following way:

"Sadhakas have seen the sushumna in the form of a luminous rod or pillar, a golden yellow snake, or sometimes as a shining black snake about ten inches long with blood redeyes like smouldering charcoal, the front part of the tongue vibrating and shining like lightning, ascending the spinal column."

The meaning of the 3 1/2 coils of the serpent is as follows: The 3 coils represent the 3 matras of Om, which relate to past, present and future; to the 3 gunas: tamas, rajas and sattva; to the 3 states of consciousness: waking, sleeping and dreaming; and to the 3 types of experience: subjective experience, sensual experience and absence of experience. The 1/2 coil represents the state of transcendence, where there is neither waking, sleeping nor dreaming. So, the 3 1/2 coils signify the total experience of the universe and the experience of transcendence.

Who can awaken kundalini?

There are many people who have awakened their kundalini. Not only saints and sadhus, but poets, painters, warriors, writers, anyone can awaken their kundalini. With the awakening of kundalini, not only visions of God take place, there is a dawning of creative intelligence and an awakening of super-mental faculties. By activating kundalini you may become anything in life, which seems like a crazy thought but it's true, you have a stronger ability to direct your energy and be the creator of your own life! Although this may take a few lifetimes to achieve, at least you will be on your way.

The energy of kundalini is one energy, but it expresses itself differently through the individual chakras - first in gross instinctive ways and then in progressively more subtle ways.

Kundalini is the creative energy; it is the energy of self-expression. Just as in reproduction a new life is created, in the same way, someone like Einstein uses that same energy in a different, more subtle realm, to create a theory like relativity. It is the same energy that is expressed when someone composes or plays beautiful music. It is the same energy that is expressed in all parts of life, whether it is building up a business, fulfilling the family duties, or reaching whatever goal you aspire for. These are all expressions of the same creative energy.

Everybody, whether you are a parent or sannyasin, must remember that awakening of kundalini is the prime purpose of human incarnation.

With the awakening of kundalini, a transformation takes place in life. It has little to do with one's moral, religious or ethical life. It has more to do with the quality of our experiences and perceptions. When kundalini wakes up your mind changes and your priorities and attachments also change. All your karmas undergo a process of integration.

It is very simple to understand. When you were a child you loved toys, but why don't you love them now? Because your mind has changed and consequently, your attachments have also changed. So, with the awakening of kundalini, a metamorphosis takes place. There is even the possibility of restructuring the entire physical body.

When kundalini awakens, the physical body actually undergoes many changes. Generally, they are positive, but if you are not careful, they can be negative also. When the shakti wakes up, the cells in the body are completely charged and a process of rejuvenation also starts. The voice changes, the smell of the body changes and the hormonal secretions also change. In fact, the transformation of cells in the body and brain takes place at a much higher rate than normal.

By means of kundalini awakening, you are compensating with the laws of nature and speeding up the pace of your physical, mental, and spiritual evolution. Once the great shakti awakens, man is no longer a gross physical body operating with a lower mind and low prana. Instead, every cell of his body is charged with the high energy of prana. And when total awakening occurs, man becomes a junior god, an embodiment of divinity.

I hope I have shed some light on this subject and have been able to answer some questions rather than create new ones. Just bear in mind that this is a monumental event and you only have one awakening in all the lifetimes you have had and will have. There is no point in chasing after it but if it seems to be coming to you then please practice this awareness with patience and commitment and you will soon see the road you are on shines a little brighter!

Hari Om Tat Sat


Sources come from various writings of Yogananda

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