Kundalini In West

madan_gautam's picture

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Sir John Woodroffe (pen name Arthur Avalon) was one of the first to bring the notion of Kundalini to the West. A High Court Judge in Calcutta, he became interested in Shaktism and Hindu Tantra. His translation of and commentary on two key texts was published as The Serpent Power. Woodroffe rendered Kundalini as "Serpent Power".

Western awareness of the idea of Kundalini was strengthened by the Theosophical Society and the interest of the psychoanalyst Carl Jung (1875-1961). "Jung's seminar on Kundalini yoga, presented to the Psychological Club in Zurich in 1932, has been widely regarded as a milestone in the psychological understanding of Eastern thought. Kundalini yoga presented Jung with a model for the development of higher consciousness, and he interpreted its symbols in terms of the process of individuation".

In the early '30s two Italian scholars, Tommaso Palamidessi and Julius Evola, published several books with the intent of re-interpreting alchemy with reference to yoga. Those works had an impact on modern interpretations of Alchemy as a mystical science. In those works, Kundalini is called an Igneous Power or Serpentine Fire.

Another popularizer of the concept of Kundalini among Western readers was Gopi Krishna. His autobiography is entitled Kundalini—The Evolutionary Energy in Man. According to June McDaniel, his writings have influenced Western interest in kundalini yoga. Swami Sivananda produced an English language manual of Kundalini Yoga methods. Other well-known spiritual teachers who have made use of the idea of kundalini include Osho, George Gurdjieff, Paramahansa Yogananda, Rudi (Swami Rudrananda), Yogi Bhajan and Nirmala Srivastava.

Kundalini references may commonly be found at present in a wide variety of derivative "New Age" presentations, and is a catchword that has been adopted by many new religious movements. However, some commentators, such as transpersonal psychologist Stuart Sovatsky, thinks that the association of Yogic sanskrit terminology (chakras, kundalini, mantras, etc.) with the superficiality of new-age rhetoric, has been unfortunate .

Recently, there has been a growing interest within the medical community to study the physiological effects of meditation, and some of these studies have applied the discipline of Kundalini Yoga to their clinical settings . Their findings are not all positive. Some modern experimental research seeks to establish links between Kundalini practice and the ideas of Wilhelm Reich and his followers.

However. Intensive spiritual practices, associated with Asian traditions, are not unproblematic. 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". Among the psychological difficulties associated with intensive spiritual practice we find "kundalini awakening","a complex physio-psychospiritual transformative process described in the yogic tradition" . Also, researchers in the fields of Transpersonal psychology, and Near-death studies describe a complex pattern of sensory, motor, mental and affective symptoms associated with the concept of Kundalini, sometimes called the Kundalini Syndrome.


donnaapple's picture

Namaste Do you have any


Do you have any recommendations on overcoming problematic psycho-physiological complications that can arise? or is it just how the will of the divine will work with that individual? for some reason i have trust and faith that i will be eventually positively transformed via the shaktipat and siddha yoga experience. although there may be experiences like "lightning bathed in love" ... my words to describe possible "earthquakes"

eventually siddha yoga takes the individual toward self realization?

i appreciate your thoughts and insights on this.

donnaapple | Wed, 08/12/2009 - 18:18
madan_gautam's picture

Siddha Yoga

As I have said earlier that one has to be under guidance of a GURU in case of Kundalini Shaktipat or Kundalini Awakening.
Some time Kundalini Awakening happens due to Divine grace or due to past birth Karmas or even due to taking drugs but to give it right direction and to control It in that seeker it is very much necessary if even though it is not creating any physiological problem right now,but it may lead to that in due course as This Divine Energy is very powerful and a seeker itself can not control It and has to have GURU/Master.
Or It may not give Its proper results and may struck in between at any chakra and then it will lead problems.
The purpose is to awaken It and to take it to crown chakra with full awakening of all other lower chakra and at last full awakening of even crown chakra then only IT matters otherwise It creates troubles.
Thats why most of them who struck in this process blame Kundalini but do not see that they never surrendered to a proper Guru and tried in their ego itself to go on path alone.
Awakening of Kundalini is dangerous without proper Guru,even though it awakens due to any reason one should take refuge of a GURU.Thats why so many misconception are there and here about Kundalini,and it is due to half knowledge about This Divine Energy.

madan_gautam | Wed, 08/12/2009 - 18:44