The term “KUNDALINĪ” is based on several words, and therefore has several meanings.
The word-ending “ī” indicates that it relates to the feminine principle and deals with a form of SHAKTI (energy) and PRAKRITI (nature).
- KUNDA is a hole or well into which all debris and rubbish is thrown. In time the rubbish loses its original form and disintegrates into a formless mush in which the individual components are no longer recognisable. In a similar way our impressions from earlier lives lie like an amorphous substance deep in the unconscious (Mūlādhāra Chakra).
- KUNDALA means ring (generally earring). A ring or a circle has neither a beginning nor an end. It is infinite and that is why it is a symbol of creation. Cosmic energy is circling constantly; we do not know when the Universe began and how long it will last.
Two other roots of “KUNDALINĪ” are KUNDALIN, serpent, and KĀLA, time or death. What is the connection between these terms? The symbol of the snake has many meanings: ignorance, energy, unhappiness or happiness, death, time and change. In Indian mythology Lord Vishnu rests on a thousand-headed snake and sends out the first vibration (Sphurna), from which the entire Universe evolves.
The symbol of the snake also refers to the poison and danger that lies in ignorance. Ignorance is as poisonous and deadly as a cobra. But poison can also heal and even have a life saving influence. Knowledge about its correct application and dosage is the important thing. So just as the power to heal is contained in poison, supreme knowledge lies dormant in the “ignorance” of the unconscious. Just as a snakebite can suddenly change our life, when the Kundalinī awakens our consciousness changes fundamentally and we reach another dimension of time and space.
At this point I would like to correct one common misconception about the so-called “rising of the Kundalinī”. The translation “serpent power” gives rise to a frequent misunderstanding. The concept that a feeling like a snake crawling along the spinal column comes with the awakening of the Kundalinī is totally false.
Rather, THE “AWAKENING OF THE KUNDALINĪ” MEANS THE AWAKENING OF INNER KNOWLEDGE. The path of the Kundalinī proceeds from the Mūlādhāra Chakra at the lower end of the spinal column up to the Sahasrāra Chakra at the top of the head. But its awakening is not a physical occurrence; it consists exclusively of a development in consciousness. This becomes more noticeable as our perceptions of cosmic vibrations and radiant energy (Tattvas) become more sensitive, and our understanding of the connections and laws within the Universe deepens.
We need to gain experience in order to acquire knowledge. Each experience, whether good or bad, increases our understanding. Clarity arises through knowledge. With the awakening of the Kundalinī our consciousness expands and we become aware of the truth. Its awakening brings with it pure joy, pure knowledge and pure love. An enlightened one, a person whose Kundalinī has awakened, radiates such an all-embracing love, purity, power and goodness that everybody feels drawn to such a person.
Occasionally in Yoga literature Kundalinī is connected with Tantra and occult powers and is considered as something dangerous.
Like every other form of energy one must also learn to understand spiritual energy. From childhood onwards we learn how to deal with internal and external energies. Whenever we run into something new and unknown we always need some time, as well as practice and proper instruction, before we are able to deal with it. And so it is with the power of the Kundalinī. In order to be able to integrate this spiritual energy, careful purification and strengthening of the body and nervous system are required beforehand.
Sometimes an ambitious aspirant may force the rising of this energy through excessive and vigorous practices without being properly prepared for it. Instead of “enlightenment” such an impatient person more often than not brings about considerable psychic disturbances and, at times, even permanent mental damage. However, do not blame the “Kundalinī” but blame stupidity or incorrect techniques. Whoever faithfully follows the path the Master has given will certainly not suffer such problems.
“Kundalinī is the divine Mother. A true mother never causes harm or does anything bad to her children.”
Kundalinī Yoga is a pure, spiritual science that leads to enlightenment and God-Realisation under the guidance of a spiritual Master. Those people who write about the supposed danger of this path either do not have a master, or do not follow his instructions. So if a person expresses negative views about Kundalinī, ask that person about his relationship with his Master. Often it will be found that the cause of the problem lies in the fact that he has acted without appropriate guidance or has ignored the advice of his Master.
Therefore do not allow such voices to create uncertainty, and confidently follow the advice of your Master. It is important to be patient and moderate, not to force and not to cling onto ideas such as how ‘it’ will be, or how ‘it’ should be. When ‘it’ happens perhaps you will not even know how and when it has taken place, because the spiritual power within you has unfolded so naturally and imperceptibly.