Kundalini (Sanskrit: कुण्डलिनी kuṇḍalinī), is an energy or shakti said to be located at the base of the spine. When stimulated through esoteric yogic practices, this force can rise powerfully in a serpentine path; it is called the "Serpent Fire." This process is very dangerous, but can ultimately result in Moksha, or liberation from the cycle of reincarnation. The force is said to be represented in the caduceus or Staff of Hermes that serves as a symbol of healing in the medical profession.
H. P. Blavatsky defined this force as follows:
Kundalini Sakti (Sk.). The power of life; one of the Forces of Nature; that power that generates a certain light in those who sit for spiritual and clairvoyant development. It is a power known only to those who practise concentration and Yoga.
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. It is an electric fiery occult or Fohatic power, the great pristine force, which underlies all organic and inorganic matter.
This "serpentine or spiral force," Blavatsky warned, "if misused can kill."
T. Subba Row, an early Theosophist and Hindu occultist, defined it thus:
Literally the power or force which moves in a serpentine or curved path. It is the universal life-principle which everywhere manifests itself in Nature. This force includes in itself the two great forces of attraction and repulsion. Electricity and magnetism are but manifestations of it. This is the power or force which brings about that “continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations” which is the essence of life according to Herbert Spencer, and that “continuous adjustment of external relations to internal relations” which is the basis of transmigration of souls or punarjanmam (re-birth) according to the doctrines of the ancient Hindu philosophers. A Yogi must thoroughly subjugate this power or force before he can attain moksham. This force is, in fact, the great serpent of the Bible.
In the first fragment of The Voice of the Silence it is stated:
Let not thy "Heaven-born," merged in the sea of Mâyâ, 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.
In a footnote, Mme. Blavatsky adds:
The "Power" and the "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.
Blavatsky does not relate the awakening of this force with the methods followed by Tantric traditions. According to her, the awakening of Kundalini is the result of the activation of Buddhi, which takes place "in the heart." The Heart is regarded by her as the organ of the Spiritual Consciousness." As she wrote:
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.
The Third Eye
The awakening of the spiritual consciousness in the heart leads to the opening of the third eye:
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."
The Voice of the Silence also refers to this:
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.
According to Blavatsky, the third eye corresponds with the pineal gland in the brain, so the latter is affected by the awakening of Kundalini:
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.
- Krishnamurti on Kundalini at Katinkahesselink.net
- Kundalini - An Occult Experience by G. S. Arundale
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Theosophical Glossary (Krotona, CA: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 182.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1992), Glossary, ???.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XI (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1973), 488.
- Tallapragada Subba Row, The Twelve Signs of the Zodiac. See Adyar Pamphlet No. 31.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1992), 9.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1992), 76-77.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 694.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 695.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 696.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, The Voice of the Silence (Adyar, Madras: Theosophical Publishing House, 1992), ???.
- Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, Collected Writings vol. XII (Wheaton, IL: Theosophical Publishing House, 1980), 697.