Serpent Power

Reference: Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy by Sadhguru

The following is an excerpt from the above book by Sadhguru:


Serpent Power

The word kundalini literally means “energy.” It refers to a certain type of energy within every human being which is largely latent and unmanifest. The kundalini has always been symbolized in the yogic tradition as a coiled cobra.

A coiled cobra knows stillness of a very high quality. When the snake is motionless, it is so absolutely still that even if it is lying in your way, you will miss it. Only when it moves do you see it. But these coils hold a hidden volatile dynamism within themselves. So kundalini is referred to as a coiled cobra because this tremendous energy exists within each and every human being, but until it moves, you never realize it is there.

To live a full-fledged physical life, a minuscule amount of this physical energy is adequate. Only when the need to transcend physicality happens do you need a burst of energy which will launch you beyond this reality. It is like the difference in the quantum of energy required in air travel and in a rocket launch. Flying within the atmosphere is one thing and breaking the atmospheric barrier for space travel is quite another. Similarly, transcending physicality requires another dimension of energy altogether.

There is not a single Indian temple where there is no image of a snake. This is not because this is a culture of serpent worshippers. It signifies that a sacred space holds the possibility of arousing the unmanifest energies in you.

Snakes are known to be highly perceptive creatures. (Part of the reason for this of course is that they are stone deaf and perceive only reverberation.) The snake is particularly drawn to a person who is meditative. In the tradition, it is always said that if a yogi is meditating in a place, there will be a snake somewhere nearby. If your energies become still, the snake is naturally drawn to you.

Though physically there is a world of a difference between a snake and a human being, it is very close in terms of its energy system. If you encounter a cobra in the wild, you might find it coming into your hands without any resistance because its energies and yours are so akin to each other. Unless your chemistry shows alarm which it interprets as danger, the snake has no intention of giving up its venom, which is its wealth, the medicinal properties of which are being increasingly acknowledged in the world today.

Historically, of course, the snake has received much bad press because of the biblical story of Adam and Eve. But if you examine the tale closely, you’ll see it is the snake that initiated life on this planet. Otherwise there was just a dumb couple who didn’t know what to do with themselves. You and I wouldn’t have been here without that wonderful serpent!

Ultimately, the rising of the kundalini energy sets the basis for a much larger perception of life. Traditional images of Adiyogi, or Shiva, depict a snake with him to indicate that his perception is at its peak. Only if energy rises to a certain level of intensity and volume can reality be perceived in its utmost purity. Otherwise every other karmic imprint that we have (which goes right back to the single-celled creature that we once were millennia ago) will interfere with the way we perceive reality.

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