What really is "the kundalini"?
Echoing the sentiments of my teachers, as a yoga teacher,
I often referred to an inward 'spark of divine nature' that all human
beings possess. Yogi Bhajan called this inner divine essence "the
kundalini," explaining it to be "the dormant power of
infinity," a coiled energy at the base of the spine that must be
Many swamis, yogis and gurus strangely refer to this
dormant energy as the 'serpent power.' They also claim this coiled
energy is a manifestation of the goddess Sakti (also spelled Shakti).
Theoretically, when this 'awakening' of the kundlini takes place, it
travels up the spinal column through five chakras (spiritual energy
centers), then through the sixth chakra (the third eye), finally reaching
the seventh chakra at the top of the head (called the crown chakra). At that
point, within a person's inner being, the goddess Sakti comes into union
with the god Shiva. This experience is supposed to bring enlightenment or
God-consciousness. It is "the dissolution (laya) of the ordinary
self into its eternal essence... This experience is also understood as the
primordial union of the male and female cosmic principles... It is thus
simultaneously a microcosmic, bodily occurrence and a universal one."2
Rabi Maharaj recalls from his past experience as a guru,
"When aroused without proper control, it [the kundalini] rages like a
vicious serpent inside a person with a force that is impossible to resist.
It is said that without proper control, the kundalini will produce
supernatural psychic powers having their source in demonic beings and will
lead ultimately to moral, spiritual, and physical destruction. Nevertheless
it is this kundalini power that meditation and yoga are designed to arouse...&"3
The world renowned Swami Muktananda recounted his
experience with the 'awakening of the kundalini.' He encountered a naked
ascetic blissfully meditating on top of a pile of human excreta. This Hindu
'holy man' invited him to come sit on his lap and lick his head. The
ascetic then proceeded to initiate Muktananda into Kundalini Yoga. Later
that day he explained, "My mind seemed deluded...I felt I would soon
become insane... My entire body started aching and ...the tongue began to
move down the throat, and all attempts to pull it out failed...My fear grew...I
felt severe pain in the knot (manipur chakra) below the navel. I
tried to shout but could not even articulate... Next I saw ugly and dreadful
demon-like figures. I thought them to be evil spirits... Suddenly I saw a
large ball of light approaching me from the front... It merged into my head...I
was terrified by that powerfully dazzling light..."4
Though not all stories dealing with the 'awakening of
the kundalini' match the bizarre aspects of this account, still, my
concerns are very grave when it comes to this subject. I spent many hours in
meditation seeking to 'arouse' the kundalini—and I succeeded, when I
was finally lifted out of my body into the experience of 'white light.'
However, after becoming a Christian I had a very profound, spiritual
encounter that proved to me the dark, negative source of this power. The
following points need to be emphasized concerning "the kundalini":
• Serpent Symbol—Though many New Age
groups relate to the serpent as a symbol of esoteric wisdom, biblically, it
primarily represents that which is satanic and blatantly evil. A venomous
serpent is an agent of death. How could this creature be symbolic of that
which leads to goodness, life and the experience of God? (See Genesis 3:1–15,
• Sexual Overtones—The experience of 'enlightenment'
is compared to a supernatural 'union' between a god and goddess, so
there are sexual overtones. Possibly because of this, some fringe
sects, especially those involved in what has been termed the 'left-handed'
form of Tantric Yoga, have made ritual sex (especially with socially
forbidden partners) an aid to developing higher consciousness. Some gurus
even include the handling of the genitals in the so-called 'awakening'
process. Yet the Bible clearly commands that we abstain from sexual
Regardless of how it is wrapped spiritually, any
doctrinal package containing this suggested approach is of darkness and
deception. Of course, there are many Hindu ascetics, Buddhist monks and
other Far Eastern mystics who live pure lives. They would be appalled at the
thought of these immoral practices going on in the name of achieving
• Dangerous Side Effects—The majority of
those who believe in the 'kundalini power' do not pursue its 'awakening'
by indulging in illicit or occult sexual practices. Most are sincerely
seeking an experience of Ultimate Reality. However, most do agree in the
danger of its 'unguided or premature arousal.' I was even cautioned as a
yoga student to be extremely careful, because there were instances of some
seekers becoming 'locked' in a catatonic-like, meditative state, even
for years. In contrast, there is absolutely no account in the Bible
of the Spirit of God moving on a person to their detriment. No prophet ever
had an encounter with the Most High that caused him to be demonized, or to
feel nearly insane (as Swami Muktananda admitted). Only good, healthy,
enriching things result from contacting the real Creator. There is no
lurking danger present when communing with the Lord of glory. No person
filled with the Holy Spirit in the Bible lamented the experience because it
resulted in a manifestation of evil, psychic powers.
The true power of God saves, heals, delivers, forgives—but
it never destroys (mentally, emotionally, physically or in any way).
Therefore, the source of this 'serpent power' could not be God. It must
be the Prince of darkness and his subordinate demons. Those who yield to
this dark influence are often granted false supernatural encounters that
seem beautiful, enlightening and ecstatic in order to successfully draw them
away from the true Source of eternal life. I am well aware of this type of
religious deception, having experienced it myself. Remember, Jesus warned
that Satan comes to "steal, and to kill, and to destroy" but he
promised concerning himself, "I am come that they may have life...more
abundantly." (John 10:10)
• Chakras—The whole idea of the "kundalini"
is interwoven with a belief in chakras. These are believed to be
"energy centers in the body"—"focal points where psychic
forces and bodily functions merge and interact with each other." Each
chakra is "associated with a specific color, shape, sense organ,
natural element, deity and mantra."5 Though advocating this
concept as being true, strangely, Yogi Bhajan insists chakras are
"imaginary and nothing else."6 There are at least six
reasons why I no longer espouse the existence of these psychic centers:
(1) Many teachers who believe in chakras cannot agree
on the correct number. Some yogic models include seven, eight, nine and
twelve chakras. In Buddhism there are four chakras; in Tibetan Buddhism
(Vajrayana) there are five. If there really are rotating, internal
energy centers in man, those who 'discover' them should agree on how
many actually exist.
(2) Each chakra (in Hinduism) is identified with a
different Hindu god. I firmly believe these gods are mere man-made
myths, full of human-like frailties, essentially unreal. So it is only
logical to deduce that the chakras with which these gods are associated
are also essentially unreal.
(3) The concept of chakras is inextricably connected
to the concept of the kundalini (the serpent power) rising up through
these 'energy centers' to bring a seeker to new levels of consciousness.
Because the kundalini power is NOT the true power of God, but a demonic
counterfeit, then the whole idea of chakras is absolutely unnecessary.
The experience of God-consciousness (conscious awareness of the reality
of God) comes through the entrance of Jesus Christ into the heart of
man. This has nothing to do with the supposed 'opening up' of
internal energy centers.
(4) The concept of chakras is based on the idea that
God is an internal, impersonal, energy force that can be controlled by
the right incantation, mantra or ritualistic practice. Yet God communes
with His people; he is not controlled by them. He is a
personal God and he responds to prayer offered to him in a heartfelt,
personal way. He is not impressed or motivated by numerous, repetitious
utterances or magical rites.
(5) Certain gurus have made sweeping claims about the
power of meditating on certain chakras. For instance, Sivananda taught
that meditating on the first chakra causes all sins to be wiped away;
meditating on the second chakra frees a person from desire, wrath, greed
and deception; and meditating on the sixth chakra (the third eye) wipes
out all karma from previous lives. If these things are true then we do
not need the crucifixion of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins, nor the
Holy Spirit entering and regenerating our hearts for a character change
(which are both absolute necessities). Furthermore, the consequences of
our past sins are taken out of God's hands and placed in ours.
(6) The concept of chakras cannot be found in the
Bible or the teachings of Jesus.
For more information on the "kundalini" please
1 Yogi Bhajan, The Teachings of Yogi
Bhajan, The Power of the Spoken Word, p. 182, #733.
2 "Kundalini," Miriam-Webster’s
Encyclopedia of World Religions (Springfield, Massachusetts:
Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 1999) p. 651.
3 Rabi R. Maharaj, The Death of a Guru,
4 Amma, Swami Muktananda Paramhamsa,
(Ganeshpuri, 1971) p. 32ff.; quoted in Vishal Mangalwadi, Yoga: Five Ways
of Salvation in Hinduism (unpublished manuscript, 2001) pp. 11-12.
5 "Chakra," Miriam-Webster’s
Encyclopedia of World Religions, p. 193.
6 Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa, Kundalini Yoga, The Flow
of Eternal Power (New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 1996) p. 61.