As the Lord of Serpents is the upholder of the Earth with its mountains, jungles and forests, so all the Tantras rely on Kundalini. — Hatha Yoga Pradipika, chapter 3, verse 1.
Take a peek into some of my notes on this verse from an old notebook (on which I have minimally expanded), and some commentary from Kripalu.
° ° ° ° °
The Lord of Serpents is Lord Shiva
Lord = someone who has access to their power; authority; a master. A master is someone who cannot be mastered by the thing mastered.
Shiva = the True Self
Serpents = desires, plural.
Lord Shiva = one who has mastered desires.
Upholder of the Earth:
Earth = physical world = body. Upholder = supporter, sustainer, maintainer, protector.
Lord Shiva as Upholder of the Earth:
Mastery over desire upholds the Earth, the body, and supports, maintains and protects it … even from death? … yup. So desire is what kills you? … yup.
The true Self (Shiva) allows for mastery over desire by being beyond desire Itself. By “knowing” the true Self, which is by its very nature complete satisfaction, a desireless state is inevitable.
Conclusion: Anyone who does not cheat death, is not completely desireless.
Lord Shiva is the King of Yogis
King of Yogis = Raja Yoga master:
King = Raja
Yogis = those who have achieved union (yoga)
Tantras & Kundalini
Tantras = practices for attaining yoga (union)
Kundalini = “little coiled one”, DNA, caduceus.
It is kundalini that brings about mudra (seal). A mudra is not visible, though mudras may be accompanied by kriyas and asanas that are. A mudra occurs automatically in Surrender Meditation, to seal prana in, and to seal impurities out.
Mudra is the advanced form of pranayama. Mudra lasts longer than pranayama, and is completely spontaneous, allowing for kundalini to do Her job.
The full awakening of Kundalini is Her upward flow when it lasts for at least twelve days with no will, not even subconscious will. It is mudra that makes this possible. Once this is in effect, Kundalini can penetrate and evolve the three granthis (tangles) of the three worlds (lokas).
Will = The product of desire. It is desire that motivates one to try to make something happen (attraction) or stop something from happening (aversion) = will.
Being of nature Herself, it is nature that Kundalini evolves. Kundalini doesn’t evolve you because you are not nature, you are YOU, an already perfect, divine individual. Kundalini doesn’t need our help, She does it all on Her own. In fact, trying to help Her will only interfere and cause trouble.
Swami Kripalu’s comment on this same verse from Revealing the Secret
My notes will be indented from here on.
Ancient seers and wisemen, yoga teachers of the middle ages, and great yogis of the present age, have experienced kundalini, and so will yogis to come, for kundalini is necessary for the attainment of yoga [union].
Because the evolutionary force has coils (kundala), it is called kundalini ‘the little coiled one’. Some say kundalini has two coils, some three coils, and others say it has eight coils. Various seers describe it according to their own viewpoint [their own experience] in different terms, yet all their teachings are true.
The two channels, Ida and Pingala, originating from the gonads, are the two coils. The three coils are the three conditions of Nature: purity (sattvas), passionateness (rajas), and inertia (tamas). The eight coils are earth, water, fire, air, space, mind, buddhi (discernment), and ego (ahamkara), the eight main principles of apara prakriti [lower nature].
My notes . . .
The number of coils also refers to the number of passes kundalini makes over the period of one’s sadhana.
Back to Swami Kripalu:
Kundalini is the basis of all yoga practices and principles, i.e., the cessation of mental activity (citta vritti nirodha), and the union of the living person (jiva) and God (Shiva).
My notes . . .
You as who you think you are, i.e., a body and personality, is jiva. You as a Divine Individual are Shiva. The union of these two, is yoga. Union of the self with the Self. Samadhi is synonymous with yoga.
Direct experience of Truth occurs through ‘union’, a kind of samadhi, which is only possible through kundalini. Kundalini has shot up and fallen back down in a sixteenth of a second, but you’ve had a taste of Reality, an “enlightenment experience”.
Yoga Tantra – Kripalu continues…
The word yoga means ‘union’ and refers to the equanimity of that state. The word tantra means ‘a way of doing something’. So the way of doing yoga is yoga tantra. Yoga refers to the yoga mentioned in the Vedas (the ancient knowledge of North India), and the word tantra refers to the yoga taught in the Tantra (the ancient knowledge of South India). By the word yogatantra, two different traditions of yoga are suggested. The Vedic teachings, called nigama (to sit near’), are handed down knowledge. The Tantra teachings, called agama (coming near), are given knowledge. In ancient times, there were many divisions of the Tantra. Shaiva Tantra (the teachings of Shiva), and Bauddha Tantra (the teachings of Buddha), were some of the main ones. The followers of Tantra do not recognize the Vedic teachings on yoga (union).