Friday, June 8, 2018

The Serpent Power As Consciousness

The Serpent Power by Sir John Woodroffe (pen name Arthur Avalon) published in Madras in 1918 is one of the earliest authoritative texts on Kundalini in English. It consists of translations of the Sat-Chakra-Nirupana Tantra and the "Fivefold Footstool," the Paduka-Pancala Tantra, plus a long and complex attempt to explain Kundalini in terms of the scientific knowledge of the early twentieth century (pre-quantum mechanics) in terms of latent energy and its setting in motion. 

Sir John Woodroffe, Arthur AvalonThere are many interesting references which are helpful, and sometimes baffling, in regard to more modern accounts of Kundalini. For instance, there are descriptions (and black and white photos) of yogins demonstrating the various asanas. One thing that puzzles me is that in these, more traditional, Indian Kundalini awakenings the body is said to become extremely cold, that investigators touching the practitioner will feel a physical chill similar to that of a corpse, with only a small area of heat (life force) remaining at the very crown of the head. This is, of course, a literal embodiment of Kundalini as being a death, or near-death state. The practitioner is in the "turiya" state of coma that is beyond deep sleep. This contrasts with modern accounts, and my own experience, of extreme heat throughout the body. There’s another interesting footnote, about sex in a Kundalini awakening, which is worth quoting in full (p. 189 Dover edition): “…the yogin must resist women… there is a connection between semen, mind and life. In the early stages of Hatha yoga the heat goes upwards, the penis shrinks, and sexual power is largely lost. Coition with emission of semen at this stage is likely to prove fatal. But a Siddha regains his sexual prowess and can exercise it if there is control of ejaculation…” This is more in line with modern practitioners’ experience, though perhaps the threat of death is poetic overstatement.

What impresses me about this quotation, and The Serpent Power in general, is its insistence on Kundalini as mind, and not just as a physical phenomenon. I think it’s important, in these extreme "turiya" states, when the world drops away, that consciousness is maintained, and that one has some sort of inner resilience that keeps consciousness going, even when consciousness has no object. Otherwise, the experience could be dangerous. This, I know, precludes an ultimate scientific and empirical examination of Kundalini, simply because consciousness comes before analysis and therefore can never be fully analyzed and explained.

Nevertheless, it's important to insist (as Sir John Woodroffe does in The Serpent Power) that Kundalini is essential consciousness. This insistence protects the precious value of Kundalini from criticisms like the following: I was recently reading a Christian Pentecostal writer attacking the practices of an extreme Pentecostal minister, Rodney Howard-Browne, at whose meetings worshipers "filled with the Holy Spirit" laugh hysterically, roll around on the floor, become physically overheated, speak in "tongues" and generally behave as if intoxicated. This so-called "Toronto Blessing" is a clear case of mass hysteria stirred up by a manipulative orator. The rational, and clear-headed critic of these excesses whom I was reading, (arguing the proper Christian doctrine that faith does not demand "signs" and "wonders"), witheringly compared them to Kundalini arousal, the New Age antics of overexcited heathens. This is, of course, absurd, but one needs to keep in mind that Kundalini is the awakening of a higher consciousness, not a lower, purely physical one, in order to rebut such charges.


  1. I remember important though from this book " Serpent Power" by sir Avalon. It was' If possible absolutely happienes? In Yoga the answer is Yes." But we must questioned or develop the subject. I'm tired. Nobody should belive in my kundalini expieriences. The truth is community, or union of expierience. But for me? I have this higher consciousnes, and still ride a bicycle. I can't be public person, psychiatry destroy my enlightenment. In USA antypsychiatry is non dead movement. My grandmother is dying. She is 83 and in hospital give her psychotropic treatment. After this her face hasn't contact with reality. She doesn't get to know environment. Only I see deepper couse I love, She's not here.

  2. Okay, this all very interesting. You’re basically saying that The Kundalini Activation is the peak experience a human can hope to experience. And that Kundalini is the source of life. If I were looking for a road map to my consciousness, this would be a good one. You have devoted your life to it and that is a very respectable mission. I only know the Kundalini, because it has been a part of my evolutionary experience. Looking forward to further research and perhaps working together in the future

  3. I think I get it, now.. What you describe as Kundalini, I describe as Source Energy. What you describe as your kundalini activation, I describe as my Ascension process. Two different descriptions for the same experience

  4. JJ.. Upon further investigation, t have discovered that You are my new best friend. You have in one linear day, filled in a great deal of the spaces in between.

  5. March 26, 2017, I was clinically dead for an undetermined period of time, I remained in a coma for 12 days afterward

  6. Psychiatry's diagnosis of my condition is: endogenous dereism :)
    I repeated quotes couse My understanding kundalini is from second hand, but expieriences is my own. Thanks god turija is the last state of consciousnes. but now I'm somewhere when i don't want to be. For me Turija state is like the day that's never end. allover shine.
    Some master said: nothing can't stop yogin couse his condition( consciousnes) has not have a borders.

    Brain is empty, has ether Thoughts isn't material. Psychotropic drugs change the nervous system and in a result makes another handicup complex and I must live with it.