Kundani, the Basis of Union (Yoga)

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.

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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). 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).

Durga Ma

Remote Shaktipat

Go to the list of posts on KUNDALINI.

Upward Flow

Some powers may be attained early on in one’s sadhana. These are the more worldly powers that can be achieved by a yogi of the pravritti marga (path of the will) or the nirvritti marga (path of surrender) but are a hinderance to any yogi seeking liberation (moksha). A yogi may encounter such powers all or in part earlier and throughout sadhana. Miraculous, or superhuman powers on the other hand, arrive only after the attainment of nirbija samadhi and urdhvareta, spontaneous upward flow, the key to liberation from the cycles of birth and death. 

A liberated yogi is a jivan mukti, liberated by stages while living, or paramukti, fully and finally liberated, overcoming birth and death, the ultimate effect of which is Divine Body and the attainment of the eight super human powers (Yoga Sutras III:45 and 46).

During Hatha Yoga (sun-moon union), Kundalini, seated at the first chakra, tries to become upward-trending in order to bring about Raja Yoga (royal union) and establish Herself at the sixth chakra. Of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, Hatha Yoga involves the third, fourth and fifth limb, and Raja Yoga the sixth, seventh and eighth limb.

During Hatha Yoga (sun-moon union), by means of various purifying actions, holds and seals (kriyas, bandhas and mudras), prana, the life energy whose trend is upward and warming, is attracted downward in order to unite with apana, whose trend is downward and cooling. Their union is the union of sun and moon (prana and apana). Once united, they try to rise up the sushumna nadi (central channel). In the beginning, this is only partially successful but increases over time. Eventually, the energy begins to rise upwards and into the head to produce samadhi. So it could be said that the yogi is practicing Raja Yoga for at least a few minutes during his Hatha Yoga sadhana. Ultimately however, Raja Yoga, the union of the soul with God, becomes established when Kundalini is established at the sixth chakra, and nirbija samadhi and urdhvareta (upward flow) are achieved, the nectar of immortality is drunk, and the body begins its transformation…..

Not a mental imagining or fantasy, not a dream, not an altered state of consciousness, the physical body undergoes a profound, dynamic event:

In love, longing and crying out for God, Grace descends. Through the tears and sobs of separation comes awareness of the ascent of Kundalini-prana, not as before when rising upward from the basal plexus, but powerfully and intensely sucked upward into the head until it seems the skull must surly burst. It is intolerable. It is ecstasy. It is Divine. There in the head, the energy continues to accumulate, pulled upward by some invisible tractor beam at the top of the head, pressure building until finally it explodes. But even then the pull continues, never stopping, a golden fountain ejecting nectar from the top of the head into the ether and into the body — upward flow is inward flow. On it goes, the crying now a cry of ecstasy. And the body, an electrical sub-station bent on overload, drinks the nectar, not tasting with the tongue but imbibed by the whole body, by every single, individual, joy-filled cell. This goes on for a very long time.

The aftermath is barely different than the event itself. The imbibing of the nectar continues, the current strong and vital, the energy like lightening bolts coursing throughout the body. There is no sleep and no awake. There is the thought, the knowledge, that this could kill the body. There is no resistance to this idea, and on it continues.

Eventually, the pain sets in. There is no resistance to this either. It continues for days and days as the energy goes about the business of attempting to transform base metal into gold, giving tapas (burning, melting) a whole new meaning: the body is on fire. It trembles. The mind stops thinking. There is no resistance to any of this. And on it goes. It is intolerable. It is ecstasy. It is Divine.

And as if once were not enough, this event is repeated two more times in the space of two weeks, each time upping the amps, the voltage, the pressure, the trembling, the fire, the weak-in-the-knees, the agony and the ecstasy, the mind a drop-out from the think-tank with which it was once so familiar. Still, there is no resistance. On it goes.

How can I write this with no functional mind? I can’t. The pain, pressure, burning, is too great. Divine Mother has written it, and having done so has granted a release from the body’s anguish; I can breathe normally for now, but I will never be the same again.

Does this suggest that the writer of this event is in the process of developing Divine Body? Perhaps, perhaps not. But this is certainly trying to happen.

In our present-day western culture, obtaining the proper conditions for sadhana as stated in the scriptures is difficult if not impossible. Without the ability to come by these conditions, one finds that impurities inevitably continue to enter the body giving it more to have to pass through at this point in sadhana, causing pain and other intolerable sensations. The impurities must be removed or transformed, an uncomfortable process, and one that could be too much for the body to handle. Nevertheless, at this juncture, sadhana will continue due to the devotion and commitment of the the one seeking final liberation. To this person, there is simply nothing left to want or to do that isn’t upstaged by this aim.

I encourage all of my initiates of any age on this journey to immediately begin to prepare for early retirement, get all your ducks in a row and sequester a buffer fund so that everything is arranged in the event that this stage is reached and you choose to go on with it. Because one is prepared in practical matters involving money, investments, and where the body might live, one can go on with the sadhana if one wishes. If one is not prepared though, the option to do so can easily disappear and leave one feeling out on a limb, alone, helpless and without purpose. Whatever happens, if you have prepared for it, even if you decide not to go forward with the sadhana at this turning-point, think how nicely you have prepared for a sweet life empowered by conscious choice.

Durga Ma

__________ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ __________

Hatha Yoga Pradipika 18 — Things to Avoid

This entry follows “The Duration of Sun-Moon Practice” from chapter one.

My input amidst verses is in [brackets] and in color when commenting.

The following is a rendering of verses 59 to 63 approximately—I find that verses are numbered differently in different editions:

A chaste, moderate eating, renounced, engrossed-in-yoga aspirant becomes accomplished within one year; there is not the least possibility of a doubt about this. 

Chaste (brahmacharya) refers to one whose sexual “seed” has been sublimated, elevated and not lost. (I have put the word “seed” in quotes so that we females may consider this concept according to our own anatomy.)  

Moderate eating is addressed in Hatha Yoga Pradipika 15 – Suitable Food. There is more on this subject coming up below.

Renounced does not refer to sacrifice, but to being on the verge of true detachment—neutrality—naturally. Because of this detached state, the yogi is able to remain continuously engrossed in yoga.

Accomplished refers to having achieved sun-moon union. Accomplishing sun-moon union does not necessarily mean that it is finished, but that one has gotten there.

Moderate eating, or appropriate ingesting, is the consuming of ‘food’ that is naturally tasty, sweet, minus one fourth portion, and eaten to please Lord Shiva.

Yogis consider the following foods to be unsuitable: Bitter, sour, hot [spicy-hot], very salty, unripe vegetables, fermented foods, sesame oil, sesame seed, intoxicating drink, fish, meat, curds, buttermilk, jujube, oil cake, asafoetida, garlic, onion, etc. Reheated, stale, excessively salty, and food turned sour or spoiled, is to be abandoned altogether. 

Remember that what is being sought concerning what one ingests should be tranquil in nature, sattvas. In this verse, the foods listed as unsuitable or to be avoided are of the quality of tamas (inert or lifeless) and rajas (overstimulating). So as we are to understand from Suitable Foods, we are to avoid food, people, situations and environments that are overstimulating or are oppressive, dark or depressive. In other words, avoid anything and everyone unfavorable to the easy-going, moderate and tranquil quality of sattvas. 

Keep in mind that this instruction applies during sun-moon yogaand that some practitioners of yoga have not reached the stage of sun-moon yoga and others have gone beyond it to royal yoga. However, for one wishing to attain to sun-moon yoga, it only makes sense to apply these instructions (and the ones that follow) to one’s own sadhana anyway. 

During the period of continued practice of sun-moon yoga, the aspirant should not tend the fire, associate with women, or go on journeys, etc. Nor should he associate with base, evil-minded people, bathe early in the morning, or fast, and should avoid all laborious and strenuous physical activities.

Should not tend the fire – One should not stoke passion, i.e., seek sexual pleasure.

Should not associate with women – Read “men” if you are a woman, or read whichever gender is sexually attractive to you.

Should not go on journeys – It is in one’s best interest not to move around a lot during Hatha Yoga as this interferes with one’s practice routine and exposes one to unfavorable conditions. This includes wandering as a mendicant as well as moving house over and over again.

Should not associate with base, evil-minded people – It is taught that, when seeking Truth, one should associate only with those persons who have achieved it, or those who also sincerely seek it, particularly those on the same path as you so as to avoid confusion. 

Should not bathe early in the morning – The purpose of this is to avoid cold baths (bathing would have taken place in rivers and streams in the days of the original text).

Should not fast – Fasting is popular in some circles, but it is not recommended during Hatha Yoga.

Should avoid all laborious and strenuous physical activities – Contrary to popular opinion, excesses of all kinds, including exercise and hard work, are discouraged during sun-moon practice. Sun-moon practice will take care of any such needs on the part of the body. 

Durga Ma

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