Kundalini

From Anthroposophy

Kundalini corresponds to the budhi or refined etheric body, a stage in the process of Man's transformation and spiritualization. It can mean both the etheric energies, as in kundaline fire and kundalini light (see Discussion area below), as the corresponding life-spirit bodily principle. The latter, once achieved, requires a refined astral body transformed into spirit-self, and developed lotus flowers with corresponding clairvoyant faculties.

According to Blavatsky (see below), kundalini corresponds to budhi, and the awakening of kundalini is the result of the activation of buddhi which takes place in the heart. This awakening of spiritual consciousness in the heart leads to the opening of the third eye.

Rudolf Steiner (in 1908-01-07-GA266/1)

When a person meditates, this awakens forces in and develops the hypophysis (pituitary gland), it begins to to shine brighter and brighter, sends forth rays, and gradually with its rays it encompasses the pineal gland lying in front of it, and stimulates it. This process organizes the organic formation of the astral body, from the chaos of feelings and sensations, into spirit-self or manas. When the pituitary gland causes golden threads to flow around the pineal gland, then the time has come when [the transformation of the astral body into spirit-self, into manas], has progressed far enough ... for the etheric body to be transformed into buddhi.

The above statements are to be combined with an understanding of the process of the Etherization of blood as part of the process of Man's transformation and spiritualization.

More general and in popular culture

The term Kundalini has become popular in new age writings through the book 'The Serpent Power' by John Woodroffe (or Arthur Avalon) in the context of 'kundalini awakening', where the term 'spontaneous kundalini awakening' may be used for all kinds of non-understood spiritual and bodily experiences. Much of these writings can be summarized as follows.

In Man's base chakra lies a reservoir of spiritual energy, and under given conditions this energy can be awakened, causing it to shoot through Man's spine upto the crown chakra. Certain sources add it is when the two main nadi channels ida and pingala are balanced, and the chakras have been opened from the top down, that this burst of energy can then happen through the central sushumna channel.

See Schema FMC00.096 on Development of the chakras, and the description by Titus Burckhardt below.

Illustrations

Schema FMC00.326 depicts a most relevant Rudolf Steiner notebook entry, see references below.

FMC00.326.jpg

Schema FMC00.353 is a study schema on Man's new organ, that positions the physiological process underlying the study of spiritual science and initiation exercises, through the use of the newly developing organ in the brain called the pituitary gland and the process working on the etheric and astral bodies.

Regarding the drawing with arrows on the lower left, see the quotes by Blavatsky who writes that (freely rephrased) "once kundalini is active in the heart, that power rises to the sixth region in the brain and the place between the eyes, this is the opening of the third eye".

Compare with Schema FMC00.044 on Etherization of blood.

FMC00.353.jpg

Schema FMC00.354 is a meta study schema, using other schemas as infographics to show a broader scope and the relationship between related aspects. Not all schema or lecture references are given, these can be found on the various pages such as Etherization of blood, Ganganda Greida, and related pages. Central theme is the symbolism of the Holy Grail, with on the one hand the grail cup and the bloody lance, and on the other hand the pituitary and pineal gland. The diagram relates the physiological and spiritual processes taking place in Man, with the central role of the blood as the carrier of the Human 'I', and the human heart.

FMC00.354.jpg

Lecture coverage and references

Helena Blavatsky in 'The Voice of Silence'

Kundalini is called the 'serpentine' or the annular power on account on its spiral-like working or progress in the body of the ascetic developing the power in himself.

...

Let not thy 'Heaven-born', merged in the sea of maya, break from the Universal Parent (soul), but let the fiery power retire into the inmost chamber, the chamber of the heart and the abode of the World's Mother.

...

Then [once kundalini is active in the heart] from the heart that power shall rise into the sixth, the middle region, the place between thine eyes, when it becomes the breath of the One-Soul, the voice which filleth all, thy Master’s voice.

In a footnote on the second extract above, she adds:

The 'power' and 'world-mother' are names given to kundalini, one of the mystic yogi powers. It is Buddhi considered as an active instead of a passive principle (which it is generally, when regarded only as the vehicle, or casket of the supreme spirit atma). It is an electro-spiritual force, a creative power which when aroused into action can as easily kill as it can create.

Helena Blavatsky in 'Collected Writings Vol. XII' (1980 edition, p 694-697)

The heart is the centre of the spiritual consciousness, as the brain is the centre of intellectual consciousness. But this spiritual consciousness cannot be guided by a person, nor can its energy be directed by him, until he is completely united with buddhi-manas.

...

If the heart could, in its turn, become positive and impress the brain, the spiritual consciousness would reach the lower consciousness. . . This is the 'memory of the heart' and the capacity to impress it on the brain, so that it becomes part of its consciousness, is the 'opening of the third eye'.

...

There are seven cavities in the Brain. ...

The sixth cavity is the pineal gland, also hollow and empty during life; the granules are precipitated after death. The pineal gland corresponds with manas until it is touched by the vibrating light of kundalini, which proceeds from buddhi, and then it becomes buddhi-manas. ...

The fires are always playing round the pineal gland; but when kundalini illuminates them for a brief instant, the whole universe is seen.

1903-12-29-GA088 describes the fine thread that connects the astral body with the physical body, without using the language of the higher ethers.

what connects the astral body with the physical body and its organs, and what leads them back together again?

There exists a kind of band, a connection that is an in-between-matter be­tween astral and physical matter. This is called kundalini fire. If you observe a sleeping person, then you can always follow the astral body in astral space. There is a luminous band leading to where the astral body is. The location can always be found. When the astral body separates, then to the same extent the kundalini fire becomes thinner and thinner. It becomes an increasingly thin track; it becomes more and more a thin mist. Now when you look carefully at this kundalini fire you will see that it does not always have the same form. In some places it is brighter and thicker; those are the places that lead the astral back again to the physical body. The optic nerve is therefore connected to an astral nerve through a thicker kundalini fire.

... The astral body with its kundalini fire cannot be completely lifted out of the physical body. Should it happen that someone actually decides not to return, the kundalini fire would continually draw him back to the body. It is as if he still belonged to the physical body. Such a per­son would follow the track of the kundalini fire. When the life forces are not yet exhausted, it is very difficult to lift the astral body out of the physical body. It is very difficult when someone is attached to a physical body that he can no longer make use of.

In this sense the destiny of a suicide and that of an accident victim are not that very different from one another.

...

The physical body is permeated by the nervous system. Every nerve center is connected to an astral center; for example, the optic nerve is surrounded by, is enveloped by an astral optic nerve, by an astral substance belonging to the optic nerve.

1908-01-07-GA266/1 is also on the Human 'I' topic page record A

When a soul begins to meditate this way

-         an organ in the physical body begins to develop: the mucous gland.

The mucous gland is

-         in an average person, an organ behind the pineal gland hardly as large as a cherry pit

-         However, it contains disproportionately powerful forces.

-         It regulates the proper composition of the body with respect to size.

When a [person] begins to work on him- or herself,

-         forces in the mucous gland are awakened.

The organic forma­tion of the astral body out of the chaos of feelings and sensations .. takes place from out of the mucous gland.

When the mucous gland causes golden threads to flow around the pineal gland,

then the time has come

when [the transformation of the astral body into spirit-self, into manas], has progressed far enough for the etheric body to be transformed into buddhi.

record B

And as our astral body is ordered and organized

-         it has a special effect on the mucous gland or brain hypophysis (a small organ hardly the size of a cherry pit, which is, to begin with, associated with the growth of the body)

Through such organization of the astral body

-         the mucous gland begins to shine brighter and brighter.

-         It sends forth rays

-         .. and grad­ually with its rays it encompasses the pineal gland lying in front of it and stimulates it.

As a result the effects spread to the astral body and begin to impress and reorganize it.

Rephrased from both records A and B:

When a person meditates, this awakens forces in and develops the hypophysis, it “begins to to shine brighter and brighter, sends forth rays, and gradually with its rays it encompasses the pineal gland lying in front of it, and stimulates it.”

This process organizes the organic formation of the astral body, from the chaos of feelings and sensations, into spirit-self or manas.

When the hypophysis causes golden threads to flow around the pineal gland,

then the time has come

when [the transformation of the astral body into spirit-self, into manas], has progressed far enough ... for the etheric body to be transformed into buddhi.

1908-07-04-GA266/1

The etheric body is loosened, lifted out of the physical body through the Christ Impulse.

The etheric body is permeated by the Holy Spirit through the Christ Impulse.

And the Holy Spirit - our higher 'I' - causes forces to stream to us from outside.

NB105 - see Schema FMC00.326 above, has a transcript contained in GA267 (published in 1997, EN in 2014)

In the astral body itself we have to distinguish a second half: [see Schema FMC00.326] .. like the other pole in a magnet.

In Man the second astral body is feminine, in woman it is masculine, in other words: the astral body is hermaphrodite.

The kundalini fire is the activity stimulated in the second astral body, which is initially warmth and light.

As long as the kundalini fire is not stimulated, we feel our way between objects and beings of the higher world, as in the night between physical objects. Once the kundaline fire is present, we ourselves illumine these objects.

Titus Burckhardt also describes the process of Kundalini in 'Alchemy: science of the cosmos, science of the soul' (1960), describing the equivalences with alchemical terminology and processes:

When the immutable divine act,which governs the cos­mos, is symbolically represented by a motionless vertical axis, the 'course' of nature, in relation to it, is like a spiral, which winds itself around this axis, so that with each encirclement it realizes a new plane or degree of existence. This is the primordial symbol of the serpent or dragon, which winds itself round the axis of the tree of the world.

Almost all the symbols of nature proceed from the spiral or the circle. The rhythm of the successive 'unrollings' and 'rollings' of nature, of the alchemical solve et coagula is represented by the double spiral: whose form also lies at the basis of the zoomorphic representations of the Shakti. Also related to this is the representation of two serpents or dragons winding themselves in contrary directions round a staff or tree. These correspond to the two complementary phases of nature or the two funda­mental forces.

In lava yoga, a spiritual method belonging to the realm of tantrism, whose name signifies union (yoga) achieved through solution (laya), the awakening of the Shakti within the human microcosm is compared with the awakening of a serpent (kundalini), which until then had remained coiled up in the subtle centre known as muladhara.

According to a certain correspondence between the subtle and corporeal orders this centre is located at the lower end of the vertebral column. Kundalini is awakened by certain exercises in spiritual concentration, by means of which it gradually ascends, in spiral fashion, the spiritual axis of Man, bringing into play even wider and higher states of consciousness, until it finally restores the plenitude of consciousness in the supraformal spirit.

In this repre­sentation, which must not be conceived literally, but as a symbolical - though logical and consequential - descrip­tion of inward processes, one will again recognize the image of nature or Shakti twining round the world-axis. That the developing power should come 'from below' is in keeping with the fact that potency (potentia) - like materia prima - in its passivity represents the 'base' of the cosmos, and not the summit.

In the Hermetic tradition, universal nature in her latent condition is likewise represented as a coiled up reptile. This is the dragon uroboros which, curling into a circle, bites its own tail. Nature in her dynamic phase, on the other hand, is portrayed by means of the two serpents or dragons, which, in the form of the well-known model of the staff of Hermes or caduceus, wind themselves round an axis - that of the world or of man - in opposing directions. This duplication of the primordial serpent has also its counterpart in laya-yoga, for Kundalini is likewise divided into two subtle forces, Ida and Pingala, which in opposite directions wind themselves round Merudanda, the microcosmic prolonga­tion of the world-axis.

At the beginning of the spiritual work, the Shakti is present in this divided form, and only after the two forces are activated alternately by means of a form of concentration based on breathing, does Kundalini awake from its sleep and start to ascend. As soon as it has reached the highest threshold of I-consciousness, the two opposing forces become completely dissolved in it.

For alchemy the two forces represented as serpents or dragons are Sulphur and Quicksilver. Their macrocosmic prototype is the two phases - increasing and decreasing ­of the sun's annual course, separated from one another by the winter and summer solstices.

The connection between the tantric and alchemical symbolisms is obvious: of the two forces Pingala and Ida, which wind themselves round the Merudanda,

  • the first [Pingala] is described as being hot and dry, characterized by the colour red, and, like alchemical Sulphur, compared with the sun.
  • the second force, Ida, is regarded as being cold and humid, and in its silvery pallor is associated with the moon.

In his book On the Hieroglyphic Figures Nicolas Flamel writes of the mutual relationship of Sulphur and Quick­silver: . . . these are the two serpents which are fixed around the caduceus, or Staff of Mercury, and by means of which Mercury wields his great power and transforms himself as he wills.

See also: The two etheric streams and Alchemy

.

Manly P. Hall is an author who seems to put or hide hints in his huge volume of work, and not always where one would look for them. In full chapters on Kundalini and Pineal Gland in 'Man: grand symbol of the mysteries' (1932) not much of great interest is said on this, but then for example in The Secret Teachings of All Ages (1928), in 'The Hiramic Legend'

Sufficient similarity exists between the Masonic CHiram and the Kundalini of Hindu mysticism to warrant the assumption that CHiram may be considered a symbol also of the Spirit Fire moving through the sixth ventricle of the spinal column. The exact science of human regeneration is the Lost Key of Masonry, for when the Spirit Fire is lifted up through the thirty-three degrees, or segments of the spinal column, and enters into the domed chamber of the human skull, it finally passes into the pituitary body (Isis), where it invokes Ra (the pineal gland) and demands the Sacred Name.

Operative Masonry, in the fullest meaning of that term, signifies the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened. E. A. Wallis Budge has noted that in some of the papyri illustrating the entrance of the souls of the dead into the judgment hall of Osiris the deceased person has a pine cone attached to the crown of his head. The Greek mystics also carried a symbolic staff, the upper end being in the form of a pine cone, which was called the thyrsus of Bacchus.

In the human brain there is a tiny gland called the pineal body, which is the sacred eye of the ancients, and corresponds to the third eye of the Cyclops. Little is known concerning the function of the pineal body, which Descartes suggested (more wisely than he knew) might be the abode of the spirit of man. As its name signifies, the pineal gland is the sacred pine cone in man--the eye single, which cannot be opened until CHiram (the Spirit Fire) is raised through the sacred seals which are called the Seven Churches in Asia.

which we can rewrite into a condensed statement (SWCC) to see the parallels with Blavatsky's statements:

when the Spirit Fire (which moves through the sixth ventricle of the spinal column) is lifted up through the thirty-three segments of the spinal column, and enters into the domed chamber of the human skull, it finally passes into the pituitary body (Isis), where it invokes Ra (the pineal gland) and demands the Sacred Name. Operative Masonry, in the fullest meaning of that term, signifies the process by which the Eye of Horus is opened.

Discussion

[1] - Commentary on Schema FMC00.326

1/ The transcript of the drawing in GA267 is not complete. The original text in German, though some words are hardly readable, also says that the Kundalini fire contains two streams:

  • one stream from 4, 6 and 10 petalled lotus flowers up to the heart
  • another stream from the heart

and between the two lies something that is also not part of the transcript.

At the height of the heart chakra, behind it, lies what is annotated as 'here lies the source to the kundalini fire'. As if a fifth chamber of the heart.

2/ The drawing sketches that the auric egg or the Human aura of the Human astral body consists of two parts, like poles of a magnet.

The kundalini fire is the activity stimulated in the second astral body, which is initially warmth and light.

The drawing does not directly correspond to FMC00.134 on Human astral body, which was however made from a description that could also be drawn in the same way.

Regarding 'warmth and light' also see also Schema FMC00.051 on The two etheric streams

3/ Regarding Schema .. and the illumination of the pineal gland, the Blavatsky quote below

The pineal gland corresponds with manas until it is touched by the vibrating light of kundalini, which proceeds from buddhi, and then it becomes buddhi-manas. ... The fires are always playing round the pineal gland; but when kundalini illuminates them for a brief instant, the whole universe is seen.

[2] - Links regarding the third eye and pituitary gland

  • See 1905-05-05-GA266 on Christ Module 15 - Study of Spiritual Science and the Mystery of Golgotha, it points to the development of a new organ for spiritual science to affect the etheric body in the Michael age. An organ newly developed in Man's brain by archangel Gabriel. The organ will deteriorate and degenerate when not used.
  • See also 1908-08-09-GA266 on Ahrimanic influence on Man also states that when Man does not stimulate the newly acquired organ, that degenerates and Man falls prey to Mammon (or Ahriman).
  • this can be coupled to what is described under Commentary [1] in the Discussion area on Contemporary worldview war

[3] - The process of illumination

This is yet another trail to make clear the insight that comes from connecting a number of elements or threads, it may therefore well overlap with ao [1] above or other pages.

The goal is to gain an understanding of what is meant by Christ Impulse, by developing insight about a reality described in different languages from different perspectives. The first three sections (3.1 to 3.3) are an introduction based on what is above on this page already, the main section 3.4 is where more links are offered.

3.1 - Esoteric Christianity terminology

See the lecture extract of 1908-05-31-GA103 on: Q00.007 - How to understand 'the ether body draws out of the cosmic I'. Please read it there first.

This describes how, when purified astral body (also called 'virgin Sophia'), the result of initiation exercices (such as meditation and concentration) can, at a certain moment, 'encounter' or 'be approached' by a 'power which in esoteric Christianity is called the Holy Spirit'. Specifically the process is described as 'surrounded by light, by spiritual light'

When the Virgin Sophia encounters the Cosmic Universal I which causes illumination, the pupil is surrounded by light, spiritual light. This second power that approaches the Virgin Sophia, is called in esoteric Christianity, the 'Holy Spirit.

Another extract from an esoteric lesson on 1908-07-04-GA266/1

The etheric body is loosened, lifted out of the physical body through the Christ Impulse. The etheric body is permeated by the Holy Spirit through the Christ Impulse. And the Holy Spirit - our higher 'I' - causes forces to stream to us from outside.

Also it is described in the first lecture that once the Holy Spirit descends, that one speaks in another way .. one speaks the truth at a level above voices of opinions or languages.

Other lectures describe this in another way, as clairvoyant capabilities and seeing Christ in the etheric.

3.2 - Theosophical terminology

The references on this page by Blavatsky describe the same process 'from manas to budhi', that is: the moment when the spark crosses over and the life-spirit principle in Man starts to be activated and developed consciously (currently Man is working the spirit-self manas bodily principle).

According to Blavatsky, kundalini corresponds to budhi, and the awakening of kundalini is the result of the activation of buddhi which takes place in the heart, and this awakening of spiritual consciousness in the heart leads to the opening of the third eye. The link with clairvoyant capabilities is explained. Again to quote Blavatsky quote

The pineal gland corresponds with manas until it is touched by the vibrating light of kundalini, which proceeds from buddhi, and then it becomes buddhi-manas. ... The fires are always playing round the pineal gland; but when kundalini illuminates them for a brief instant, the whole universe is seen.

and what preceedes this, is the quote that refers to what Steiner describes as the Etherization of blood, the process between the heart and brain.

Then [,once kundalini is active in the heart, then] from the heart that power shall rise into the sixth [chakra, in] the middle region,[in] the place between thine eyes, when it becomes the breath of the One-Soul, the voice which filleth all, thy Master’s voice.

3.3 - Rudolf Steiner's more physiological descriptions

There are two eye-opening quotes:

  • The second sentence in the quote from the esoteric lesson 1908-01-07-GA266/1

When a person meditates, this awakens forces in and develops the pituitary gland, it begins to to shine brighter and brighter, sends forth rays, and gradually with its rays it encompasses the pineal gland lying in front of it, and stimulates it. This process organizes the organic formation of the astral body, from the chaos of feelings and sensations, into spirit-self or manas. When the pituitary gland causes golden threads to flow around the pineal gland, then the time has come when [the transformation of the astral body into spirit-self, into manas], has progressed far enough ... for the etheric body to be transformed into buddhi.

  • the information in Schema FMC00.326 explained above, points to the process by which all this happens. It describes two etheric-astral streams that meet up in the heart.

Kundalini fire contains two streams:

  • one stream from 4, 6 and 10 petalled lotus flowers up to the heart
  • another stream from the heart

Then the drawing sketching the human aura shows two parts, and reads

The kundalini fire is the activity stimulated in the second astral body, which is initially warmth and light.

3.4 - Putting things together

Consider some pieces of a puzzle. At first one doesn't see the image they contain. They have to be put together. In a certain way. And one or two pieces may be missing for the image to appear and be completed.

This is also the process that is followed here. The aim being to convey an 'insight', by letting the image appear as you have done the soul work as part of this study and meditation and contemplating, feeling yourself into the contents or information offered.

So the last quote (in 3.3 above, about Schema FMC00.326) mentions 'two astral bodies' (see FMC00.134 on Human astral body), and 'warmth and light'.

Now see Schema FMC00.084 on Spectrum of elements and ethers. Warm and light ethers work on Earth. The two higher ethers left with the Separation of Sun in the Hyperborean epoch. (see 1909-09-21-GA114 on Christ Module 11 - A new physics#The fall and the blinders on).

The Christ brought back these higher ethers to Earth and with the MoG connected them to mankind by becoming the spirit of the Earth.

Here too, see Christ Module 11 - A new physics#The forces of the higher ethers and for background to that: Schema FMC00.090 on Christ Module 2 - Nature of the Christ being.

Now see the right part of Schema FMC00.051 on The two etheric streams. The warmth and light is one stream, the other stream from the Earth upwards are the chemical and life ethers. This page explains the process of materialization (from etheric astral streams), in other words: what is underlying the world of maya we perceive, our physical body, our heart, etc. The opposite of this is the etherization, the working of the lower bodies into the higher spiritual bodies. In the future Man will leave his lower bodies behind and become a spiritual being again.

Now go to the Etherization of blood page, and what is mentioned as 'key paragraph' in the 1910-10-01-GA130 lecture extract. A 'pointer' has been added to facilitate the ease of reference of this important key: FMCR00.001 for CI-EB, Christ Impulse and Etherization of Blood).

This section explains that the Christ works through the higher ethers and combines with the regular processes that are taking place, but now this stream of budhi, which corresponds - as a principle - to selfless love .. is flowing all the time, for all people on Earth. And these people have a seed in them, the life-spirit budhi principle, see Man's higher triad.

What is meant with 'not me, but the Christ in me'? The first 'me' is the lower self, the reflection we believe or take for our 'I'. The second is the true spiritual 'I'. And that seed we have inside is waiting to be fructified by the higher etheric streams that carry this divine impulse, so the seed can blossom and open up to a flower.

This fructification, like the sunlight that gently strokes the bud of the flower, is the 'subterranean' current of the Christ Impulse .. subterranean literally as it works from Earth, but also because Man is unconscious of it all, as it requires spiritual vision and understanding of the higher ethers to realize what is it all about.

On the image of the flower fructifcation, see the left image on: File:Fructification 01.jpg

So this what happened with the Mystery of Golgotha: File:Fructification 02.jpg

Now see Schema FMC00.190 in Epochs in Earth physical round. This picture also shows an included picture below, because it includes the deeper reasons underlying Schema FMC00.185 on that same page, which falls into place (but it would carry us too far here to go into this).

This is just one aspect regarding MoG, one can continue, with this subject there 'always more'. Again back to the two etheric streams. They meet in the heart. But there is not just the physical heart, also the etheric and astral heart. Consider the heart's two blood circuits, as in Schema FMC00.034 on The heart's two blood circuits. What do these two circuits carry? The lower one the metabolic system en what takes place, see Transmutation. The higher one contains all our thoughts and sense impressions, our soul work. Now read and study the Ganganda Greida page.

The link is made here with the holy grail, see eg File:FMC00.116.jpg

Man breathes in his 'I' in terms of finer breathing of the higher ethers (see eg FMC00.015 on Human breath, and with that added to the above it becomes clear that "the Christ mystery is the revelation of the miracle that takes place between the heart and the lungs, and the secret of the MoG lives in Man between the heart and the lungs", for the original see RS 1925 quote on Between heart and brain

But why is there always this talking about the importance of the blood of Christ? one can also go into the true nature of the blood

and this connects to statements on the blood of Francis of Assisi or Christ at the cross, Wagner's statements about the link between blood and suffering, and much more see eg Christ Module 4 - Mystery of the Blood

The above till does not explain many things, like .. why Christ Jesus had to become Man, or .. how to understand that the Earth began to shine and the astral atmosphere changed at the moment of the MoG. These two questions too can be answered in a way similar as above.

Related pages

References and further reading

  • Kundalini page on theosophy.wiki
  • John Woodroffe or Arthur Avalon: 'The Serpent Power' (the secrets of tantric and shaktic yoga) (1918)
  • Dietrich Boie: 'Das erste Auge : ein Bild des Zirbelorgans aus Naturwissenschaft, Anthroposophie, Geschichte und Medizin' (1968)