Krishnamacharya on Kundalini - The Origins and Coherence of his Position - Simon Atkinson

Krishnamacharya on Kundalini - The Origins and Coherence of his Position - Simon Atkinson

The Symbolism of Serpents

Krishnamacharya on Kundalini - The Origins and Coherence of his Position - Simon Atkinson

Simon Atkinson [+-]
scholar-practitioner
Simon Atkinson has been practising and studying yoga in the broad tradition following Krishnamacharya since the 1990s and has been learning Sanskrit since 2001. He teaches academic English and academic skills at the University of Cambridge.

Description

Chapter 5 critically analyses and evaluates claims from two prominent teachers in the tradition, A.G. Mohan and Kausthub Desikachar (Krishnamacharya’s grandson), who both attempted to validate Krishnamacharya’s teachings about the serpent of kuṇḍalinī by putting it into a wider cultural context. Building upon the theoretical framework of Laurie Cozad (2004), this chapter will be the first published work showing how snakes are used in South Asian texts to represent something to be overcome: māyā (illusion / magic), avidyā (nescience / spiritual ignorance), ajñāna (nescience / spiritual ignorance), ahaṁkāra (ego), ahaṁmāna (egotism), abhimāna (erroneous self- conception), māna (pride), and moha (delusion) – the deadly poison of saṁsāra (rebirth). The chapter shows that this stream of South Asian thought, in which snakes represent something to be overcome, is consistent with Krishnamacharya’s use of the term kuṇḍalinī to represent a blockage to prāṇa. However, even when writers use snakes to represent something to be overcome in some contexts, it does not necessarily follow that they use kuṇḍalinī in the same way.

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Citation

Atkinson, Simon. The Symbolism of Serpents. Krishnamacharya on Kundalini - The Origins and Coherence of his Position. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 84-128 May 2022. ISBN 9781800501522. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=42726. Date accessed: 21 Feb 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.42726. May 2022

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