Enlivening Your Inner Serpent Power
Shiva Nataraja, Lord of the Cosmic Dance
Slumbering deep within you lies a serpent named Bhujagendra coiled 3 1/2 times around the sacral bone at the base of your spine in Muladhara chakra, your inner powerhouse. Awakening this serpent activates your kundalini, giving you powers of higher consciousness, filling your heart, mind, and body with a divine energy that enhances your thoughts, actions, and relationships. Your kundalini can be awakened through a combination of yoga, chanting, and meditation.
Kundalini yoga as developed by Yogi Bhajan is a safe and effective way to start. His organization's website provides an overview.
Andrew Hall has created an excellent series of videos, among them:
- Wake up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QGiHuW7Jino
- Charge up: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzv8jaUWiI4
- Complete Spinal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VUOMNmkzXSw
Guru Rattana is another skilled teacher.
Kundalini chants generate an uplifting resonance in your nervous system. Try listening and chanting along to these, eyes closed, feeling the reverberations:
- Meditative Mind: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEZAIVA970Y
- Nirinjan Kaur: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mY3rReIlA7A
- Nipun Aggarwal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulij4QBS7B4
Sound waves at 55 hertz stimulate kundalini:
- LoveMotives: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F1E3XnNRfIM
- Inner Peace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvMmXL1WEo8
Meditation is essential. The inner sound vibrations of kundalini mantras tune your consciousness to the two Vedic deities who govern kundalini, Shiva and his female side, Durga (also called Parvati). They and all the Vedic deities are omnipresent, pervading the entire creation, including you. Shiva has his seat in your brain and wears Bhujagendra, lord of the serpents, as a garland around his neck. Durga, meaning "fortress", sits on a tiger in the fortress of your sacrum wrapped in her Bhujagendra. From opposite ends of your spine they work together to foster your evolution.
The aspect of Shiva most involved with kundalini is Aja Ekapada, referred to as the lightning deity and the pillar of fire. "Aja" means "self caused, not born", and "Ekapada" means "one foot", a moniker in many cultures for snakes. One of his forms is a fire serpent. Zeus too was originally a fire serpent called "old one foot". You can picture Aja Ekapada as a jagged lightning bolt in the shape of Shiva Nataraja, lord of the cosmic dance, standing with one foot on your head. He shoots etheric energy down your spine through the two channels on either side of the central column.
At the bottom, the channels merge into the head of Durga's Bhujagendra, which is coiled around her, its mouth covering the opening to your central spinal column. Aja Ekapada's charge lights up Bhujagendra's eyes. Seeing this, Durga surges kundalini energy through the tail of her tiger and into the end of the serpent. Stimulated, Bhujagendra sticks its long tongue, now flaming, up your spinal channel, blasting through the karmic blockages of each chakra and embracing Aja Ekapada at the top. Aja Ekapada spurts more etheric energy down the side channels, and the circuit continues.
Another metaphor for this: Shiva impregnates Durga with his lightning bolt, and she delivers their kundalini baby through the central channel and out the thousand-petaled lotus at the top of your head, giving birth to a new, enlightened you.
The mantra that encapsulates all this is "Aja Ekapada Durga Bhuja Namaha". ("Namaha" means "I bow down".) Try chanting it for a few minutes, then internalize it, meditating easily with it for 20 minutes, then rest for a few minutes to integrate the effects into your nervous system.
If you have time, do the wake up and meditation before breakfast and the charge up, complete spinal, and meditation before dinner. You can chant the mantra while doing simple things around the house, and you can enjoy your favorite YouTube sounds after downloading them in MP3 format. You're making a heart connection to the divinity within you, so your attitude in all this should be reverent.
Done regularly, this program will enliven your kundalini, suffusing you with the powers of higher consciousness. Many people report tingling and warmth along the spine, coupled with increased vitality, tranquility, clarity, benevolence, and best of all a real sense of closeness to these two sacred beings who are a part of you, Shiva and Durga, and to their pet snake, Bhujagendra. Some people have quick and dramatic results, others require more time. Patience and persistence pay off. Some notice an initial effect which then fades, but if they stick with it for a few months it returns stronger.
A word of caution, though. A few people have experienced mental and physical breakdowns from a too sudden activation of kundalini. If you are under care for a psychiatric or spinal disorder, you should first discuss this with your doctor. If you do have disturbing sensations or thoughts, stop, lie down and rest, and then try again sometime in the future when it feels right.
The serpent archetype has very different meanings in the Vedic and Biblical traditions. In the Vedic it is ruled by Shakti, the primal creative energy of the Divine Mother who gives birth to the universe and sustains its dynamic activity. She manifests as the goddesses Durga, Lakshmi (male side Vishnu), and Sarasvati (male side Brahma) and manifests in you as kundalini. Vishnu, the maintainer of creation, rests upon the coils of a giant snake in an ocean of milk.
In the Biblical tradition, however, the serpent is ruled by the evil Satan, who turns women into his victim, makes her subordinate to man, and condemns humanity to suffering. In contrast, the Vedas are free of guilt and give the female side of creation equal importance to the male side. Eros and Deus are intertwined. When portrayed together, the deity pairs are often androgynous and almost identical to show they are fundamentally beyond gender and to prevent us from projecting our concepts of femininity and masculinity onto them. Unfortunately Hinduism has in some ways distorted the Vedic tradition and become just as patriarchal as the Western religions. Fortunately women in India are now developing a strong feminist movement to counter this.
About the author
William T. Hathaway's novel of the climate change, Wellsprings: A Fable of Consciousness, tells of an old woman and a young man healing nature through techniques of higher consciousness. Chapters are posted here. His peace novel, Summer Snow, is the story of an American warrior falling in love with a Sufi Muslim and learning from her that higher consciousness is more effective than violence.