Clairvoyance and the Serpent Fire - by Geoffrey Hodson
Great value is to be found in this little pamphlet by Mr. Geoffrey Hodson, value in three categories. Firstly, not much information on Kundalini and its inherent awakening power has been openly given to the world, for there are infinite dangers in its misuse and misdirected development. Therefore, this brief treatise affords an interesting introduction to the subject of the nature of the powers underlying true clairvoyance.
Secondly, Mr. Hodson sounds a much needed warning to those who might heedlessly place themselves in danger by attempting to purchase for physical value given and for personal ends, spiritual powers that wise nature has ordained only for those who are prepared beyond revocation to devote those powers, and indeed themselves, irretrievably to the service of mankind.
And thirdly, and beyond all else, this brief paper emphasizes the goal to the attainment of which all powers should he directed. That goal, conscious union with the Supreme, Iies at the end of the road, attainable by effort, on which the first step is utter surrender of the self to the service of others in a recognition of the unity of all men as brothers.
It is as an offering on this road of service, telling of the powers with which he has direct and personal experience, that Mr. Hodson gives this short treatise to the world.
Sidney A.Cook, Past National President of The Theosophical Society in America
Superphysical vision operates under precisely the same laws as those which govern physical vision. All men possess some degree of superphysical vision when out of the physical body during the hours of sleep. Furthermore, our astral and mental selves are constantly receiving vibrations and decoding them into terms of consciousness, quite apart from the activities of our physical bodies and brains. Happily these subjective experiences do not normally enter the brain, which is not constituted to withstand the strain of such intensive activity. It is indeed a merciful dispensation of Providence, that at the present stage of brain development, we are not clairvoyant by nature and that we do not remember our sleep activities and our past lives.
Very special preparation of the brain and nervous system is required, if our response to these incoming superphysical vibrations is safely to be included in our physical waking consciousness, as is the case in clairvoyance.
One reason for the warning which all spiritual neophytes receive against the development of purely psychic faculties as an end in itself -a warning which the author most strongly repeats- is that the value of the results of superphysical vision are rarely comparable in value to the susceptibility to strain and consequent lowering of physical efficiency which added sensitivity inevitably produces.
Clairvoyance adds enormously to the burden of life and renders physical existence infinitely more difficult of endurance. When therefore one sees, especially in America, otherwise worthy students paying large sums of money to self-styled Yogis, who in return offer to open the occult centers, one is filled with dismay. Many of these men take thousands of dollars out of large American cities and often leave behind them a trail of nervous wrecks. Even experienced students are not proof against the lure of occult powers easily acquired and are led away by these will-o'-the-wisps, who thus prostitute the sacred science of Yoga and degrade the great title of Yogi which they arrogantly and unworthily assume.
Union with the Supreme -the only true Yoga- cannot be bought for “thirty pieces of silver”. Its price is life itself, life poured out in service and self-sacrifice. The neophyte of undaunted will, who is ready to pay that price, and to train and discipline his personality, will inevitably reach the goal of Union. If he aspires, as he rightly may, to superphysical vision in order better to understand and to serve, then he may rest assured that in the process of spiritual unfoldment he will quite naturally and safely increase the range of his responsiveness, gradually adding to it octave after octave of vibration beyond our physical spectrum of light.
Superphysical vision depends upon the passage of light energy from the object “seen”, to the surface of one of the superphysical bodies, and presumably also upon a synchronizing of vibrations on the life side. From the surface of the body the light energy is conveyed to the egoic center in the vehicle concerned, this being in the head of the mental or emotional body. If, as in clairvoyance, the results are to be known in the physical brain, then a means must be found of changing the level of their manifestation from the superphysical to the physical.
There is a special mechanism for this process which, as will be seen, is a direct reversal of that performed by the physical parts of the mechanism of physical vision. In this case, the process is one of “stepping down”, to use an electrical term, perhaps not quite accurately, though suggestively, and this is done by head chakrams [Wide “The Chakrams” by C. W. Leadbeater, and “The Science of Seership” by the author. ] and the pituitary and pineal glands, after they have been vivified by Kundalini.
In superphysical vision the cerebro–spinal system operates somewhat on the principle of a broadcasting and receiving set. The pituitary and pineal glands correspond to the amplifying valves or tubes. Kundalini -an occult energy resident in the body- and the two vital airs, Ids and Pingala, to be explained directly, constitute the charge generally drawn from the “mains” or battery, which in this case is the sacral chakram, whilst the solar center in the middle of the earth is the planetary power station.
At this point we must give some consideration to the subject of Kundalini or “The Serpent Fire” as it is sometimes called. If we turn to The Secret Doctrine[Op. cit. by H. P. Blavatsky] -a veritable treasure house of spiritual and occult knowledge- we find the author saying that the three conditions of manifestation of the life-force are Kundalini, prana, and fohat. They are stated to be fundamental and non-interchangeable in, this period of manifestation.
Kundalini is the power of giving or transmitting life; prana - known physically as vitality - is the power of organizing life; and fohat is the power of using and manipulating life. These three cosmic forces, manifestations of the third, second and first aspects of the Logos, respectively, are found on every plane of Nature in varying degrees of manifestation. Speaking of the “descent” of man, the author of The Secret Doctrine says that the primordial triangle (the Monad), as soon as it has reflected itself in the heavenly man (the ego), disappears into silence and darkness. That triangle, which is composed of these three forces, is “shifted in the man of clay below the seven”. She refers to the dense physical body, which she calls the man of clay, in which we find these three forces represented.
Kundalini is in essence creative, and though but comparatively slightly aroused in the dense physical body it manifests itself as the sex urge. It resides coiled up like a serpent, m the sacral chakram at the base of the spine, which in its turn is a relay station for the similarly coiled up energy in the center of the earth.
When awakened, Kundalini flows up an etheric canal called the sushumna nadi in the spinal cord, and passes through each of the force centers or chakrams in its journey. As it passes through the spinal centers in which the chakrams arise, some of its force flows down the axis of the funnel of each, vivifying it occultly and thereby awakening the man to self–conscious existence on the inner planes.
When it touches the spleen center it gives the power of traveling at will whilst out of the body. When it touches and opens the heart center, the power of Buddhic consciousness, if sufficiently unfolded, begins to flow through the neophyte at the physical level and the “mystic rose” to bloom upon his breast; the powers of the Christ-consciousness then begin to manifest themselves in and through the personal vehicles. The throat center, when vivified, bestows the power of clairaudience, or of responding to superphysical sound vibrations as well as to those physical sounds which are beyond the normal range. The brow center, when open, bestows the faculty of clairvoyance, and when the coronal chakram, which is situated at the anterior fontanel, is opened, the interplay between the ego and the brain is marvellously free, so that gradually the neophyte acquires the power of using his higher, spiritual consciousness, simultaneously with that of the physical brain.
The full manifestation of all these powers during waking consciousness demands a long and arduous training; it necessitates the complete vivification of the pituitary and pineal glands by means of Kundalini and its complementary forces. This process renders the glands hyperactive from an occult point of view and capable of responding to and transmitting into the brain -also rendered hypersensitive- superphysical rates of vibration and superphysical consciousness. After that, superphysical vision is largely a matter of the focus of consciousness and of practice.
As stated above Kundalini rises up the sushumna nadi and is accompanied by two complementary forces, one positive and the other negative, which are called respectively, Ids and Pingala. Actually these two terms refer to two canals or passages in the spinal cord, along which akashic energies accompany the flowing serpent fire. These two oppositely polarized akashic forces meet and cross at each of the chakrams as they rise, and finally pass, one into the pituitary and the other into the pineal gland.
Here one recognizes the ancient symbol of the Caduceus. This symbol consists of a rod, round which two serpents are coiled, with their tails at the bottom and their bodies winding in opposite directions up to a winged sphere, which crowns the symbol. The Caduceus is the staff which the god Mercury is said to carry with him in his capacity as messenger of the gods. It is the Grecian symbol of Kundalini flowing up the spinal cord which is the rod. The two serpents represent Ida and Pingala, whilst the winged sphere symbolizes the freed soul of the man who has awakened and learned to use these hidden powers. He does indeed become a Messenger from heaven to earth, for he ranges free in the inner egoic worlds and brings to men the knowledge and wisdom of those lofty realms; technically he is known as a “Walker of the Skies”. (A cosmic interpretation of the Caduceus will be found in The Secret Doctrine, Volume I, page 600, 3rd edition.)
This profoundly occult information is not given to us in order that we should try immediately to awaken Kundalini. On the contrary, we are strongly warned against any such attempt; it is of value, however, to study the subject academically, both to avoid errors arising from misconceptions and to acquire valuable knowledge in readiness for the time when the hidden power is to be aroused.
The story of the Sleeping Beauty may refer to the awakening of Kundalini in man. The princess -the personality- slept through the ages until at last Prince Charming -the ego, or the Master- came and found her in her palace of sleep, signifying the physical plane, and awakened her with a kiss. Prince Charming is the Master, or perhaps the spiritual will by which power alone this force may be awakened in advance of its normal time. The kiss symbolizes the touch of the descending Atma (a Sanskrit term for the highest principle of man, that of spiritual will), which awakens the soul and calls forth its inner powers. The marriage of the hero and heroine at the end of the story corresponds to the union of the higher and lower selves, which occurs when this stage of development has been reached.
The great mass of humanity are as yet asleep from this point of view and must slumber on until the hour of awakening strikes.
Students sometimes find this force arising quite naturally and are prone to be disturbed by the somewhat unusual sensations produced. These are a sense of burning in the spine, a feeling of a rising or even rushing energy flowing up into the head, temporarily confusing the mind, movement, as of an insect walking on the skin of the forehead or scalp, a whirling sensation in the brain, throat, heart or solar plexus, the appearance of colors either in clouds or as flashes of light, and sometimes a curious sense of double consciousness in which one part of the mind is confused or distressed by the strange occurrence and another quite at peace and even in a state of exaltation.
There is nothing to fear in all this. The mind must be kept quiet, all meditative exercises suspended and the new experience observed with detachment until the hyperactivity of the mechanism of consciousness subsides and the first flow of the energy dies down.
It is of the utmost importance that no student of the inner life should ever concentrate upon Kundalini, upon the various centers or specific parts of the body or brain; for in this practice great danger lies.
The purpose of spiritual endeavor is not the development of psychic gifts or magical powers. The goal is union with the Supreme and the power to perceive the one Life amid all the great diversity of forms. Here the Bhagavad-Gita proves to be an unfailing source of guidance and inspiration. The true goal of seership is indicated in the following immortal slokas:
“The Yogi who thus, ever harmonizing the self hath put away sin, he easily enjoyeth the infinite bliss of contact with the Eternal.
“The self, harmonized by yoga, seeth the Self abiding in all beings, all beings in the Self, everywhere he seeth the same.
“He who seeth Me everywhere, and seeth everything in Me, of him will I never lose hold, and he shall never lose hold of Me.
“He who, established in unity, worship Me, abiding in all beings, that Yogi liveth in Me, whatever his mode of living.
“He who, through the likeness of the Self, O Arjuna, seeth equality in everything, whether pleasant or painful, he is considered a perfect Yogi. (Discourse 6, Slokas 28 and 32 inclusive, and Sloka 47.).[0p. cit. Trans. by A. Besant. ]
For this illumination, this fulfillment, the soul of the awakened neophyte is ever athirst. When once that thirst is experienced it gives him no rest. Life after life, a resistless interior impelling power drives him on. A vision of immortal beauty and perfection attracts and calls him; whilst throughout his great quest, the “light that never was on land or sea” shines about him and illumines his pathway to that eternal bliss and peace which he knows awaits him at the end.