Pitfalls on the Spiritual Road

by Marja S

In Swedish please!

"Nothing ought to appear in print which might give even the slightest assistance in the development of a power which destroys ruthlessly when it is sought to be awakened before its due time.", writes George Arundale in his book "Kundalini - an Occult Experience."

George Arundale (1878-1945) was an English theosophist and the president of the Theosophical Society in 1934 after Annie Besant. He lived in the circle of Krishnamurti, the chosen "World teacher" of the theosophists. Together with his Indian wife and other chosen people, he used methods to awaken the force of kundalini, and took one initiation after another. He thinks that all statements about kundalini should be taken with the utmost caution, since it depends on how the person, who experiments, relates to these things, and the force affects different people in different ways. He writes: :

"Before anyone seeks to arouse kundalini let him know much about it, especially of its dangers..... A little knowledge may incline him to foolishness."

And more:

"The path of occultism, it is said, is strewn with wrecks. I venture to think that the path of the arousing of kundalini, even if only in the first stages, is strewn with even more wrecks."

Kundalini is the fire of life and therefore it flows through everything. With an increasing vitality, kundalini flows in the mineral kingdom, the plant kingdom, the animal kingdom and the human kingdom, but - in exceptional circumstances - as a mildly fertilizing stream of fire, which in a way refreshes the entire body. But every time there is a definite and definitive progress in spiritual growth, an intensification of the kundalini force occurs. The awakening of this force is, according to Arundale, connected with the utmost danger. It can become a furious river, and destroy everything in its path. It will be a big misfortune to those who have not reached higher levels on the spiritual ladder of development, and which, he says, the majority of mankind have not. Kundalini, which consequently releases the fire of life in the individual, demands royalty, that is, a balanced mentality and good health. The individual must be able to bear a "burden of fire", that he normally is not used to, and the stimulation of the fire will be more that he can endure, if he does not possess a strong self control. But it is not only fire or heat that is experienced but also cold, often in the heart region. Arundale writes:

"It becomes apparent that Kundalini may well be compared with electricity as to the uses to which it can be put. Continuous consciousness, remembrance of events during the night, and so on, are only certain fruits of the arousing of Kundalini. Even more important is the directly added power it gives for work in the outer world."

There will be a stimulation of all existing senses, and Arundale thinks that we have only begun to understand this force.

"Mercifully, the world is preserved from the discovery by science of the Kundalini Ray, or annihilation would ensue. When we read of the so-called " Death Rays " and other highly destructive emanations from great centres of Force, we may think of Kundalini as more powerful than all of them put together, and we shall be glad to leave it alone until it is necessary that we should learn to use it. It turns in boomerang fashion with terrible effect upon those who misuse it, upon those who do not reverence it, upon those who use it to selfish ends."

The dangers of kundalini are, according to Arundale, among other things::

  • Increased sexual activity and expression, which leads to loss of vitality. All sexual desires are states of tension that demand an outlet.
  • Mental confusion, if one does not have a strong self-restraint, calm and clear thinking, and is not free from lower thought climates. Even if one gets help to awaken the force, it is completely up to the individual what the outcome will be. The ability to see if an individual is mature enough to awaken the kundalini, depends completely on the intuition, and it is undeveloped in mankind of today. (Intuition is immediate knowledge about higher truths without previous analysis.)
  • Man has also psychic bodies, that have to be developed and be able to bear the force.
  • There is great danger in disturbing the natural physical and psychic rhythm and balance, through uncontrolled stimulation of the different centers of the body. The risk is that the heart and the nervous system will be damaged and the individual will be chronically disabled, with a general deterioration of the brain, which gets overstrained. The result will be that the system collapses.

It is, then, the brain that must be able to endure an enormous pressure. A person in whom kundalini is starting to move, lives in all respects under high pressure. Arundale writes that it is a concentration of power, which is the drop that makes the beaker flow over, and hurl the unfortunate one into a horrible darkness, if he is not a spiritual athlete. He considers that on our present level of development, there are without doubt already channels between the inner worlds and man, who mainly lives in the outer world.

"But such channels are not likely to be deep, and if suddenly a rush of force whirls through one or another of them, or directly into a physical organ, they may well 'burst,' and bring about catastrophe."

Kundalini breaks down all barriers according to Arundale, that is, it opens the lock gates wide, the gates that until now have opened slowly and gradually and still are very small. Little by little, through development, an expansion of consciousness naturally takes place. The physical and psychic bodies become more and more sensitive and susceptible. The brain cells, which have to carry most of the enormous voltage, must have been adapted, and be able to mould themselves to the current. Arundale's definite point of view is that the wise leave kundalini alone. Experiments performed in ignorance, do not only constitute a misfortune to the experimenter himself, but also to his surroundings. And nobody has the right to impose that on others. Our weaknesses, imbalances and our incomplete sides, are the great dangers, and we are not even ourselves always aware of them.

"In nine cases out of ten, it is pride which precedes the fall, and pride never knows itself as pride, or it would very properly commit suicide, as indeed it does in the case of common-sense people."

C. G. Jung also had experiences of eastern methods. He used yoga and altered states of consciousness when he explored the unconscious. He was aware that he endangered both his health and his mind, and he writes as follows in his book "Memories, Dreams, Reflections":

"To be able to grasp the fantasies that, so to speak, from the underground set me in motion, I had to let myself sink down into them. Not only did this go against the grain, but it also filled me with pure agony. I feared loosing my self control and becoming a prey to the unconscious, and what this meant I knew, as a psychiatrist, only too well." (All quotes are freely translated from the Swedish book.)

He explored the "spiritual world" and became psychotic. He heard voices, was visited by "the dead", and spoke to them. He behaved in a completely confused manner, and was unsure if he would be able to come through this state sane. Only with the greatest effort was he able to find his way out of the maze, and he has described it as "...glad to have escaped death."

Jung has written a psychological comment to "Tibetan Book of the Dead ". He considers the text to be a "process of initiation" - if one reads the book in reversed order, from the end to the beginning. When he comes to the "Chönyid-state", which he means is equal to a deliberately triggered psychosis, Jung writes:

"One often hears and reads about the dangers of Yoga, particularly of the ill-reputed Kundalini Yoga. The deliberately induced psychotic state, which in certain unstable individuals might easily lead to a real psychosis, is a danger that needs to be taken very seriously indeed. These things really are dangerous and ought not to be meddled with in our typically Western way. It is a meddling with Fate, which strikes at the very roots of human existence and can let loose a flood of sufferings of which no sane person ever dreamed. These sufferings correspond to the hellish torments of the chönyid state... "

The one who cares about his or her mental health can read about this dreadful state on their own in the book! Now, not only Kundalini yoga can trigger psychoses. There have proven to be risks also in other methods such as TM and other forms of meditation, Rebirthing and other breathwork, Qi-gong, Reiki, healing, automatic writing, dowsing, channeling etc. All methods, that have the raising of consciousness as a purpose, or where one in some way lets go of control, have proven to have risks.
We shall not let go of our control! We shall be "masters in our own house"!

We all have an invisible envelope, our aura, which is a radiation of our thoughts, i.e. our consciousness. It is our protection. Jung continues to describe the real nature of this danger:

"It means a dissolution of the unity of the 'bardo-body', which is a kind of 'subtle' body, building up the visible envelope around the psychic I in the state after death. Psychologically, this mutilation corresponds to psychic dissolution. In its most pernicious form it is equal to schizophrenia (split personality). This, the most usual of all mental illnesses, consists mainly of a pronounced 'abaissement du niveau mental', which breaks down the normal control mechanisms forced upon us by our conscious thinking, which thereby gives the unconscious 'dominants' total freedom....It means that you sacrifice the stability of the I, which capitulates to the utmost incertitude in something that can only appear as a chaotic mess of fantasmagorias. "

According to Jung, latent psychoses are difficult to discover, he calls them "the black sheep" of the therapists, and it is even worse for laymen. These conversations with "the dead" were preceded by what Jung calls "loss of the soul".

"A short time before this experience, I had written down a fantasy of how the soul had left me. The soul, anima (animus by women) mediates the relation to the unconscious. To a certain extent this also means a relation to the "collective of the dead", because the unconscious corresponds to the mythical kingdom of death, the land of the ancestors. If, then, one has a fantasy where the soul takes off, this means that it has submerged into the unconscious, or 'the land of the dead'... From that day, the dead have become more and more clear to me, like voices from the unanswered, the unsolved and unmanifested; for since the questions and demands that my destiny demanded answers for, did not come from the outer world, they came precisely from the inner world. In this way these conversations with the dead were a kind of prelude to everything concering the unconscious which I would inform the age in which I lived; a kind of pattern of order and interpretation of the general contents of the unconscious...My science was my means and my only possibility to free myself from this chaos. Otherwise the material would stick to me as burdocks and marsh plants... Sometimes the contents of the unconscious brought me close to loosing my senses and reason."

The few eastern gurus, who themselves have managed, through different sorts of efforts and methods, to experience a glimpse of higher spiritual worlds, KNOW that one has to pass the astral level, i.e. "the zone of the dead", on the way. If one then does not have competent guidance, there is a big risk that you get stuck there and attract "energies", from whom it can be very hard to free oneself. They can stick to our aura and the effect of that, every sensible person can figure out for herself. This is the reason why the eastern spiritual exercises have been a secret for thousands of years. The ignorance and the mistakes are already showing. Deep down the eastern methods is a question of how to become freed from sufferings and from life on earth. In the West we have heard almost for the last two thousand years: "Take your cross and follow me!" We are, then, to bear our sufferings, for it is a divine education in the law of sowing and harvest. What I do to my neighbour always comes back, sooner or later.


This law is completely just, and has to be seen in the light of reincarnation as described by Martinus (1890-1981). He was Dane and gained cosmic consciousness through a "baptism of fire".
In an article "The Christmas Star" (Kosmos 96/12) he writes the following:

It is in the hands of the individual to liberate itself from the fight that is going on around it. If you create neutrality within yourselves and by means of your will practice seeing things in an impartial light, your mind will be far more harmonious than is perhaps now the case. I myself experience living daily life in a light that makes it possible for me to understand everyone. This experience of mine will gradually be attained by everyone. This state in which the consciousness is adjusted so as to be in harmony with the law of existence is called cosmic consciousness, a state of consciousness that everyone will reach. Since it is so strongly desired there are people who seek to attain it by artificial means, through various exercises and so on, but this can lead to terrible states, so I cannot recommend this.
On the other hand there is a road to cosmic consciousness that you ought to follow. It goes via a natural appropriation of the knowledge on which this state of consciousness depends. It is true that these analyses can be difficult or hard to grasp, but through this indirect experience of the spiritual states you will gradually be prepared for the direct experience. If one receives these energies directly without having organs that are developed for the purpose, one can easily meet with the terrible anguish of mental illness.
But if one prepares oneself to acquire the ability to forgive, to never be offended and hot-tempered then one will begin to get some of the strength that one needs in order to be able to tolerate the influx of these high energies into one's brain.
But the more of these energies that flow into your consciousness the more dangerous it is for you to be hot-tempered. Many people have become mentally ill by coming into contact with these energies too early. Others have become fanatics with violent desires to assert themselves and a raging intolerance of others. Still others have got into states in which the spiritual energies have completely taken control at the expense of the material energies, and they live in imaginary states that make them quite unfit for life here.
The fact that there are such dangerous pitfalls connected to these high energies is the very reason why I have made it a principle to teach exclusively the only natural way to this high consciousness, the training of oneself to love one's neighbour, which is the foundation of the real human kingdom. The neighbourly love is not completed by one patting one another on the cheek, saying beautiful things or filling one's mind with sentimentality. All of this can be very nice and beautiful, but one has to love one another in a sensible way.
(Martinus' quote translated by Mary McGovern)

Copyright Marja S 1997. All rights reserved.

Arundale, G.S.: Kundalini - an Occult Experience. Publishing House Theosophias. Copenhagen MCMXLII
C.G Jung : My Llife, Memories, Dreams, Thoughts. Wahlström&Widstrand 1979
Evans-Wentz, W.Y: The Tibetan Book of the Dead. Publishing House Berghs 1988
Martinus: Livets Bog I-VII, Meditation, Cosmic Glimpses, Cosmic Consciousness, The Road to Initiation, What is Truth?, etc.
Världsbilds Publishing House, Vasav. 9 18142 Lidingö, Tel 08-767381708-7673817

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