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What Really is “the Kundalini”?
Why is it called "the serpent power"?

According to the yogic teachings found in Hinduism, there is an energy at the base of the spine called “the kundalini” (in Sanskrit that means “coiled snake”). Yogi Bhajan, the promoter of Kundalini Yoga in the west, called it “the dormant power of infinity.”[1] It is considered the impersonal essence of the Divine, resident within every human being. Strangely and eerily, it is also called the “serpent power”—because it supposedly ‘uncoils’ and rises (in serpentine fashion) through the spinal column (the seven energy centers called “chakras) to lift a person up to higher levels of spiritual awareness. Upon arriving at the seventh chakra, metaphorically, the serpent strikes, and God-consciousness is achieved (a conscious awareness that the soul—called atman—is actually a manifestation of the impersonal Oversoul—called Brahman). In other words, this supernatural revelation empowers the practitioner to boldly declare, “I am God!”—which is the absolute opposite of the truth, blasphemy against the Creator, and an echo of the original lie to Eve in the Garden.

Hindus and New Agers who believe in “the kundalini” claim it is a manifestation of the goddess Shakti (also spelled Sakti). Theoretically, when it passes through the sixth chakra (the third eye) and finally reaches the seventh chakra at the top of the head, the goddess Shakti comes into union with the god Shiva (the god of destruction in Hinduism) so there are subtle, sexual overtones (which overflow into Tantric Yoga). That’s when consciousness expands exponentially. It is described as “the dissolution (laya) of the ordinary self into its eternal essence…This experience is also understood as the primordial union of the male and female cosmic principles…It is thus simultaneously a microcosmic, bodily occurrence and a universal one.”[2]

Rabi Maharaj, author of a wonderful book titled The Death of a Guru, is a follower of Jesus. However, he was once a very devoted yoga practitioner. In his book, he commented, “When aroused…[the kundalini] rages like a vicious serpent inside a person with a force that is impossible to resist. It is said that without proper control, the kundalini will produce supernatural psychic powers having their source in demonic beings and will lead ultimately to moral, spiritual, and physical destruction. Nevertheless, it is this kundalini power that meditation and yoga are designed to arouse.”[3]

A very popular guru in the 70s, Swami Muktananda, was known for his ability to perform something called “shaktipat” (the transference of a kundalini awakening through just a touch, a look, a word, or even just a thought). He related his own experience with the ‘awakening of the kundalini.’ He encountered a naked ascetic blissfully meditating on top of a pile of human excreta (if you’re thinking, “That’s weird,” I concur—but it was probably his way of trying to overcome maya, the delusion of this natural world). This Hindu ‘holy man’ invited him to come sit on his lap and lick his head. The ascetic then proceeded to initiate Muktananda into Kundalini Yoga. Later that day he explained, “My mind seemed deluded…I felt I would soon become insane…My entire body started aching and …the tongue began to move down the throat, and all attempts to pull it out failed…My fear grew…I felt severe pain in the knot (manipur chakra) below the navel. I tried to shout but could not even articulate…Next I saw ugly and dreadful demon-like figures. I thought them to be evil spirits…Suddenly I saw a large ball of light approaching me from the front…It merged into my head…I was terrified by that powerfully dazzling light.”[4]

Though not all stories dealing with the ‘awakening of the kundalini’ match the bizarre aspects of this account, still, it should be blatantly apparent that there is a supernatural power involved in this process that is not of God. If the “awakening of the kundalini” was something good, there should never be concurrent manifestations that are evidently dark, troubling, and evil.

Four Observations About “the Kundalini”

  1. The serpent symbol—Many New Age groups relate to the serpent as a symbol of esoteric wisdom, partially because, according to that perspective, the serpent did not entrap Eve, but rather, revealed to her the secret to discovering her own divinity. However, biblically, a serpent primarily is a symbol of Satan and his demonic subordinates. In Revelation 12:9, the Devil is referred to as a “great dragon…that ancient serpent…who deceives the whole world.” A venomous serpent is an agent of death, just as Prince of darkness, who comes to “to steal, and to kill, and to destroy” (John 10:10). In representing our authority to subdue the demonic, Jesus said, “I give you power to tread on serpents” (Luke 10:19 KJV). He never would have said that if the “serpent” was truly symbolic of the essence of God within us.
  2. Opposite Spiritual Perspective—The approach in New Age circles and Far Eastern religions is to look within in order to find God, then to awaken this “serpent power” through various means (yoga, pranayama, meditation, chanting mantras, etc.). They believe that this “coiled energy” is a divine essence that all human beings already possess, but it must be discovered. In stark contrast, the Bible teaches that our sins have separated us from God, that He is external, that we are in a fallen state, and that true salvation happens when the presence of God enters into us from without. That happens the moment that we are cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus, and we are born again. These two views cannot coexist.
  3. Dangerous Side Effects— Most gurus and yoga teachers warn their students about the danger of a premature arousal of the kundalini because of the possible negative side effects. Even the “Yoga Journal” cautions, “For some, the experience can be blissful and filled with feelings of love and a sense of the interconnectedness of all things. For others, it can feel more like a bad drug trip, or even a psychotic break, where practitioners go through altered sleep cycles, changes in identity, or depression.”[5] In contrast, there is absolutely no account in the Bible of the Spirit of God moving on a person to their detriment. No repentant person, receiving Jesus into his or her heart, has the kind of weird and frightful encounters that Muktananda described, to the point of even feeling insane. Only good, healthy, enriching things result from contacting the real Creator. There is no lurking danger present when communing with the Lord of glory. No person filled with the Holy Spirit in the Bible lamented the experience because it resulted in a manifestation of evil, psychic powers. The true power of God saves, heals, delivers, and grants soundness of mind. Therefore, the source of this ‘serpent power’ could not be God, but rather, the evil one who masquerades as “an angel of light” and his subordinate demons—who have crafted this experience as a substitute for, and a counterfeit of, the real experience of God (2 Corinthians 11:14). Those who yield to this dark demonic influence are, at times, granted supernatural experiences that can seem beautiful, enlightening and ecstatic, to woo them away from the true Source of eternal life. Remember, as already quoted, Jesus warned that Satan comes “to kill, and to destroy,” but He added the promise, “I am come that they may have life, and that they might have it more abundantly” (John 10:10). The word translated “life” is zoe, which means divine life, the life of God’s Spirit. Until Jesus comes in our hearts, contrary to the eastern perspective, we are devoid of this divine essence, “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1).
  4. Chakras—The whole idea of the “kundalini” is interwoven with a belief in chakras. The existence of these supposed swirling energy centers in the body has never been proven scientifically. Furthermore, quite often, the idea of chakras is based on the belief that God is an impersonal force on which to meditate, not a personal God with whom to commune. Yoga advocates believe to be “energy centers in the body.” Each chakra is “associated with a specific color, shape, sense organ, natural element, deity and mantra.”[6] Though advocating this concept as being true, strangely, Yogi Bhajan insisted chakras are “imaginary and nothing else.”[7] Furthermore, each chakra is associated with a specific deity in the Hindu pantheon—so people into “Christian yoga” who say they also believe in the chakras (and yet are unaware of this connection) are unknowingly guilty of breaking the first commandment (“I am the LORD your God…you shall have no other gods before Me.” / Exodus 20:2-3). I concluded shortly after I found Jesus, that the chakras are just, as Yogi Bhajan admitted, a figment of the imagination. However, evil spirits use that occult imagery to infiltrate the souls of those who meditate or do yoga, in order to grant false spiritual experiences, and prevent them from encountering the true God and true salvation.

My Personal Journey

In 1970, I was a teacher of Kundalini Yoga at four universities and running a yoga ashram in Tampa, Florida. If you haven’t read the account of my conversion to becoming a follower of Jesus, I encourage you to download the mini-book offered on the home page of this website: The Highest Adventure: Encountering God.

I spent a long season of my life, totally devoted to yoga and meditation, seeking to ‘arouse’ the kundalini—and I succeeded to a certain degree, when I had experiences of astral projection and was finally lifted out of my body into the experience of ‘white light.’ However, those experiences pale in comparison to the wonderful, soul-fulfilling outpouring of the love of God that came with being “born again”—when the Lord Jesus came to dwell within my heart. I understand now why the Bible says we become a “new creation in Christ Jesus” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Contact me:

If you have never had this experience of the Savior who truly loves you with an everlasting love, contact us and we will help you. If you are having spontaneous kundalini awakenings and want deliverance, contact us and we will pray deliverance for you. Just send an email through the “Contact” page on this website.

[1] Yogi Bhajan, The Teachings of Yogi Bhajan, The Power of the Spoken Word, p. 182, #733.

[2] “Kundalini,” Miriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions (Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, Incorporated, 1999) p. 651.

[3] Rabi R. Maharaj, The Death of a Guru, p. 203.

[4] Amma, Swami Muktananda Paramhamsa, (Ganeshpuri, 1971) p. 32ff.; quoted in Vishal Mangalwadi, Yoga: Five Ways of Salvation in Hinduism (unpublished manuscript, 2001) pp. 11-12.

[5] www.yogajournal.com/yoga-101/kundalini-awakening/ from the article “Is a Kundalini Awakening Safe?” / Accessed 3/22/22.

[6] “Chakra,” Miriam-Webster’s Encyclopedia of World Religions, p. 193.

[7] Shakti Parwha Kaur Khalsa, Kundalini Yoga, The Flow of Eternal Power (New York: The Berkley Publishing Group, 1996) p. 61

Copyright © Mike Shreve 2022




Leave a reply

  • A brilliant expose, thanks so much for your work Mike, and for speaking truth to these deceptions. I too was deceived by the promise of “divine consciousness” through the practice of yoga – including kundalini yoga – until I was saved by our God.

  • Thank you so much, Pastor Mike Shreve. I’d like to ask if there’s some natural explanation for the experience of Kundalini. Surely the fallen angels are behind all of that, but on the physiological level there could be lack of oxigen in the brain or hormonal imbalance due to strange types of diets, unnatural poses of the body, who knows?

    • Marisa, there has never been a sound scientific study that proves the existence of the chakras and the kundalini—-because they do not exist except in the mind of the practitioners who actually open themselves up to deceptive demonic influence through their attempt to penetrate the supernatural. Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

      • Thank you very much for your response. I’m thinking, what about hypnosis? Demonic influence, yes – but how does it work? It produces measurable effects. Is it something like Hitler’s speeches that produced horrible effects of mass hypnosis with all the tragic consequences of his Indo-Aryan ideology?

        • I am not an expert on what happens during hypnosis or how individuals or media can produce that kind of “hypnotic effect,” however, I believe many in this world, to one degree or another, are under that kind of coercive influence.

  • Dear Pastor Shreve,
    I follow your weekly podcasts which are so rich in information and I particularly like your approach in the way you respectfully deal with other religious practices and thought, while still presenting the absolute truth that is Our Lord Jesus Christ and Him alone.

    I live in South Africa, and have been trying to find your book “In search of the true light.”
    Unfortunately this is only available on Amazon, which is quite costly especially when wanting to purchase many books, which I would like to give as gifts to my Hindu/New Age colleagues, friends and family. Of course, I am also eager to read the book myself to pick up on valuable information from your own experiences and study, which could help me in my approach to witnessing to many people around me who practice and follow these far eastern concepts and beliefs.

    Praying that at least one Christian bookshop in South Africa will start stocking your book.

    Thank you for your dedication to the Lord and your continuous work in revealing His True Light.
    Be blessed.

    • Hello Rakhee, thank you so much for your kind words. I have asked my assistant to check into this for you. We are supposed to have an agreement/provision with Amazon where they will print whatever orders they receive in areas they serve. She will let you know what she discovers. Of course, you can always purchase the e-book version, if you desire. Of course, anyone can download the digital version of my smaller booklet titled, “The Highest Adventure: Encountering God” for free on this site.

Written by Mike Shreve