The Power of Kundalini
Gurdjieff in Ouspensky′s In Search of the Miraculous:
In so-called ′occult′ literature you have probably
met with the expression ′Kundalini,′ ′the fire of Kundalini,′ or the
′serpent of Kundalini.′ This expression is often used to designate
some kind of strange force which is present in man and which can be
awakened. But none of the known theories gives the right explanation
of the force of Kundalini. Sometimes it is connected with sex, with
sex energy, that is with the idea of the possibility of using sex
energy for other purposes. This latter is entirely wrong because
can be in anything. And above all, Kundalini is not anything
desirable or useful for man′s development. It is very curious how
these occultists have got hold of the word from somewhere but have
completely altered its meaning and from a very dangerous and
terrible thing have made something to be hoped for and to be awaited
as some blessing.
In reality Kundalini is the power of imagination, the power of
fantasy, which takes the place of a real function. When a man dreams
instead of acting, when his dreams take the place of reality, when a
man imagines himself to be an eagle, a lion, or a magician, it is
the force of Kundalini acting in him. Kundalini can act in all
centers and with its help all the centers can be satisfied with the
imaginary instead of the real. A sheep which considers itself a lion
or a magician lives under the power of Kundalini.
Kundalini is a force put into men in order to keep them in
their present state. If men could really see their true position and
could understand all the horror of it, they would be unable to
remain where they are even for one second. They would begin to seek
a way out and they would quickly find it, because there is a way
out; but men fail to see it simply because they are hypnotized.
Kundalini is the force that keeps them in a hypnotic state. ′To
awaken′ for man means to be ′dehypnotized.′ In this lies the chief
difficulty and in this also lies the guarantee of its possibility,
for there is no organic reason for sleep and man can awaken.
Theoretically he can, but practically it is almost impossible
because as soon as a man awakens for a moment and opens his eyes,
all the forces that caused him to fall asleep begin to act upon him
with tenfold energy and he immediately falls asleep again, very
often dreaming that he is awake or is awakening.
There are certain states in ordinary sleep in which a man wants to
awaken but cannot. He tells himself that he is awake but, in
reality, he continues to sleep – and this can happen several times
before he finally awakes. But in ordinary sleep, once he is awake,
he is in a different state; in hypnotic sleep the case is otherwise;
there are no objective characteristics, at any rate not at the
beginning of awakening; a man cannot pinch himself in order to make
sure that he is not asleep. And if, which God forbid, a man has
heard anything about objective characteristics, Kundalini at once
transforms it all into imagination and dreams.
One day while instructing some of his closest initiates, Saint Buddha spoke
in very precise terms about a means for the possible destruction in their nature
of the consequences of the properties of the organ kundabuffer, transmitted to
them by heredity. Among the things he said to them was this:
′One of the best means of rendering ineffective the predisposition in your
nature to crystallize the consequences of the properties of the organ
kundabuffer is "intentional suffering"; and the greatest "intentional suffering"
can be obtained in our presences by compelling ourselves to endure the
displeasing manifestations of others toward ourselves.′
friend has asked:
How was it possible that a man like Gurdjieff,
a man of such great understanding, did not understand the idea of
He called it kundabuffer. He was very much against the idea of
kundalini. He used to say that the worst thing that could happen to
a person in life is the arousal of kundalini. The questioner,
naturally, is bewildered.
But you don′t understand the real meaning of Gurdjieff. He
called it kundabuffer because of the nonsense that theosophists have
created in the world. They talked so much about kundalini, the
serpent power, and it was all gibberish; they knew nothing about it.
They were just fabricating, they were just inventing theories and
ideas. It was all guesswork.
In fact, out of a hundred books that are written about
kundalini, ninety-nine are absolute nonsense. And the people who had
gathered around Gurdjieff had come through theosophical philosophy,
hypotheses, doctrines. He was shattering their knowledge; he was not
saying anything against kundalini. How could he say that? He knew
far better than Blavatsky, Annie Besant, Alcott, Leadbeater - he
knew far better than these people. These people were only experts in
creating doctrines, and really they were great experts. They had
created almost a world movement - about auras and colors and
kundalini...new words from the ancient spiritual lore. And they
created worlds, imaginary worlds, around those words.
Gurdjieff is right to call it kundabuffer. And Gurdjieff is
right in saying that the worst thing that can happen to a man is the
arousal of kundalini. But remember always that he was talking to his
disciples, in a particular context. He was shattering the knowledge
of his disciples about kundalini power - because the first step of a
master is to destroy your knowledge, because your knowledge is
basically false, borrowed.
Before you can be made familiar with the truth, the untrue has
to be taken away. Sometimes the master has to be very merciless, and
sometimes the master has to say things which are not really so.
Kundalini is not a wrong idea, but for ninety-nine percent of
people, Gurdjieff is right.
Now there are again people like Gopi Krishna, who are writing books on
kundalini and the serpent power, and the great genius that comes through it. It
has not even happened to Gopi Krishna! What kind of genius has he? At the most,
the only proof that he has given of his genius is some absolutely worthless
poetry, just like the poetry schoolchildren write. He has been a clerk his whole
life. His poetry smells of his whole life′s clerkship - it stinks! It has no
beauty, it has no grandeur - it has nothing of the superb.
And now he is propounding around the world that when kundalini arises your
latent power of genius becomes manifest. How many yogis have won the Nobel
Prize? And how many yogis have contributed to the world′s scientific knowledge,
art, poetry, painting, sculpture? How many of your people whose so-called
kundalini has arisen have contributed in any way to the world′s richness?
What Gopi Krishna is talking about is not kundalini but kundabuffer. Gurdjieff
would have put him right with a single blow. But he attracts people. People are
very much attracted by mystical nonsense, by occult stupidity, by esoteric
gibberish. Just start talking with people about chakras, centers of energy, and
kundalini passing through them, and they are all-attentive. You just try it!
There is no need to know anything about it - just invent...because Jaina mystics
have not talked about kundalini, Buddhist mystics have not talked about
kundalini, Christian mystics have never known anything about it, Sufis are
absolutely unaware of this energy called kundalini. Only Hindu yoga talks about
There IS something in it, but not exactly the way it is told to people. The
knowledge that is floating around about kundalini is all nonsense, and Gurdjieff
was right to condemn it. He was condemning the whole theosophical movement.
Theosophists were very much against Gurdjieff. They knew nothing, but they
created a great movement. They were more or less political people, scholars,
logic-choppers, but not in any way realized souls.
Gurdjieff shattered many beliefs.