Kundalini Splendor

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Kundalini and Tantra of the Great Liberation 

Tantra of the Great Liberation, p. xxvi
Arthur Avalon

"The dual principles of Shiva and Shakti, which are in such dual form the product of the polarity manifested in Parashakti-maya, pervade the whole universe, and are present in man in the Svayamhu-Linga of the muladhara and the Devi Kundalini, who, in serpent form, encircles it.  The Shabda-Brahman assumes in the body of man the form of the Devi Kundalini, and as such is in all prani (breathing creatures), and in the shape of letters appears in prose and verse.  Kundala means coiled.  Hence Kundalini, whose form is that of a coiled serpent, means that which is coiled.  She is the luminous vital energy (jiva-shakti) which manifests as prana,  She sleeps in the muladhara and has three and a half coils corresponding in number with the three and a half vindus of which the Kubjika Tantra speaks."

The above excerpt, from the text as quoted, is from the introduction to this classic text.  Although some of it may be unclear, the gist of it is affirmation of the traditional notions about Kundalini--that it exists at the base of the spine as a coiled serpent who has three and a half coils before she awakens and rises.   The Svayamhu-Linga which is mentioned is the linga (phallic symbol) which rests at the base and is encircled by the feminine Kundalini depicted as a serpent.

This description is often paraphrased in modern texts.  It is reassuring to find passages such as this which illustrate ancient bases for modern notions.

(Of course, today we do not look upon such references to Linga or the coiling serpent as literal, but rather as metaphors for the Kundalini process.  The"serpent " is sleeping because until it is awakened, awareness  of the Kundalini energy rests in the subconscious and only when it comes into conscious mind is it seen to "uncoil.")

"Tantra" here refers simply to a type of ancient Indian text. Arthur Avalon (an English official stationed in India) translated this text into English, and dated his preface as 1913, though the original text was indeed much older.  

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