2 November 1932 Kundalini Yoga Seminar LECTURE 4
Dr. Jung: We have here a question from Mr. Allemann:
I do not understand why our daily life should be thought of as taking place solely in Muladhara.
Would not muladhara apply more to the life of animals and primitives who live in complete harmony with nature? Should we not rather consider our cultivated life under the sthula aspect of the higher cakras?
The awakening of the Kundalini
would then be similar to the conscious understanding of the suksma aspect.
That would mean: in order to awaken Kundalini we must go down to the roots of things, to the “mothers,” and first of all understand consciously the suksma aspect of Muladhara, the earth.
Mr. Allemann has brought up a very complicated problem.
I understand his difficulties because they represent the difficulties of our Western standpoint when it is confronted with Eastern ideas.
We are confronted with a paradox: for us consciousness is located high up, in the Ajna cakra, so to speak, and yet Muladhara, our reality, lies in the lowest cakra.
Besides this, another apparent contradiction strikes us: Muladhara is, as we have seen, our world. How can it then be located in the pelvis as it is in the cakra system?
I will try once again to give a general explanation of how we are to understand this, but for the moment we must keep quite separate the symbolism of the cakras and the philosophy of the sthula, sthula-suksma, aspect of things.
The three aspects covered by the terms sthula, suksma, and para are a philosophical way of looking at things.
From the standpoint of theory, each cakra can be regarded from all three aspects.
The cakras however, are symbols.
They bring together in image form complex and manifold ideas of ideas and facts.
The word symbol comes from the Greek word symballein, to throw together.
It has to do, then, with things gathered together, or with a heap of material thrown together, which we, as the expression shows, take as a whole. We could translate the word symbol as “something viewed as a totality,” or as “the vision of things brought into a whole.”
We must always have recourse to a symbol when we are dealing with a great variety of aspects or with a multiplicity of things which form a connected unit and which are so closely woven together in all their separate parts that we cannot separate or take away any parts without destroying the connections and losing the meaning of the totality.
Modern philosophy has formulated this way of looking at things under what is known as Gestalt theory.
A symbol, then, is a living Gestalt, or form—the sum total of a highly complex set of facts which our intellect cannot master conceptually, and which therefore cannot be expressed in any way other than by the use of an image.
Take, for example, the problem of knowledge, which has presented difficulties so great and so manifold as to occupy thinkers from the time when philosophy first developed down to the present moment.
Plato, for instance, never got as far as formulating an adequate theory of the problem of knowledge; he could not go beyond the image of the cave, and had to describe the problem in terms of a vision or concrete image.
Two thousand years had to pass before Kant could formulate a theory of knowledge.
So, too, the cakras are symbols.
They symbolize highly complex psychic facts which at the present moment we could not possibly express except in images.
The cakras are therefore of great value to us because they represent a real effort to give a symbolic theory of the psyche.
The psyche is something so highly complicated, so vast in extent, and so rich in elements unknown to us, and its aspects overlap and interweave with one another in such an amazing degree, that we always turn to symbols in order to try to represent what we know about it.
Any theory about it would be premature because it would become entangled in particularities and would lose sight of the totality we set out to envisage.
You have seen from my attempt at an analysis of the cakras how difficult it is to reach their content, and with what complex conditions we have to deal when we are studying not just consciousness but the totality of the psyche.
The cakras, then, become a valuable guide for us in this obscure field because the East, and India especially, has always tried to understand the psyche as a whole.
It has an intuition of the self, and therefore it sees the ego and consciousness as only more or less unessential parts of the self.
All this seems very strange to us: it appears to us as though India were fascinated by the background of consciousness, because we ourselves are entirely identified with our foreground, with the conscious.
But now, among us, too, the background, or hinterland, of the psyche has come to life, and since it is so obscure and so difficult to access, we are at first forced to represent it symbolically.
Thus, for example, there comes to our notice the paradoxical situation in which Muladhara is localized in the pelvis and at the same time represents our world, and this paradox can be expressed only by a symbol.
It is the same with the apparent contradiction contained in the fact that we think of consciousness as located in our heads, and nonetheless we live in the lowest cakra, in Muladhara.
As we have seen in the first English seminar of this autumn, Muladhara is the symbol of our present psychic situation, because we live entangled in earthly causalities.
It represents the entanglement and dependence of our conscious life as it actually is.
Muladhara is not just the outer world as we live in it; it is our total consciousness of all outer and inner personal experiences.
In our conscious life of everyday we are like highly developed animals, tied down by our environment and entangled and conditioned by it.
But our Western consciousness does not look at it this way at all. In our world, on the contrary, we are living in the upper centers.
Our consciousness is localized in the head; we feel it to be there; we think and will in our heads.
We are the lords of nature, and we have command over the environmental conditions and the blind laws that bind primitive man hand and foot.
In our consciousness we sit enthroned on high and look down upon nature and animals.
To us archaic man is Neanderthal man, little better than an animal.
We do not see in the very least that God appears as an animal also.
To us animal means “bestial.”
What should really seem above us seems to be below us and is taken as something regressive and degraded.
Therefore we “go down into” Svadhisthana or “fall into” the emotionality of manipura.
Because we are identified with the consciousness we talk about the subconscious.
When we go into the unconscious we descend to a lower level.
Therefore we can say that humanity in general has reached the level of the anahata
cakra insofar as it feels itself bound by the suprapersonal values of anahata.
All culture creates suprapersonal values.
A thinker whose ideas show an activity that is independent of the events of daily life could say that he is in the visuddha, or almost in the Ajna center.
But all that is only the sthula aspect of the problem.
The sthula aspect is the personal aspect.
To us personally, it seems as if we were in the higher centers.
We think that because our consciousness and the collective suprapersonal culture in which we live are in the anahata center, we are there in all respects.
Being identified with the conscious, we do not see that there exists something outside it and that this something is not above but below.
But by means of psychology or tantric philosophy we can achieve a standpoint from which we can observe that suprapersonal events do take place within our own psyche.
To look at things from a suprapersonal standpoint is to arrive at the suksma aspect.
We can attain this standpoint because inasmuch as we create culture, we create suprapersonal values, and when we do this, we begin to see the suksma aspect.
Through culture we get an intuition of the other than personal psychological possibilities
because the suprapersonal appears in it.
The cakra system manifests itself in culture, and culture can therefore be divided into various levels such as that of the belly, heart, and head centers.
Therefore we can experience and demonstrate the various centers as they appear in the life of the individual, or in the evolution of humanity.
We begin in the head; we identify with our eyes and our consciousness: quite detached and objective, we survey the world. That is Ajna.
But we cannot linger forever in the pure spheres of detached observation, we must bring our thoughts into reality.
We voice them and so trust them to the air.
When we clothe our knowledge in words, we are in the region of visuddha, or the throat center.
But as soon as we say something that is especially difficult, or that causes us positive or negative feelings, we have a throbbing of the heart, and then the anahata center begins to be activated.
And still another step further, when for example a dispute with someone starts up, when we have become irritable and angry and get beside ourselves, then we are in manipura.
If we go lower still, the situation becomes impossible, because then the body begins to speak.
For this reason, in England, everything below the diaphragm is taboo.
Germans always go a little below it and hence easily become emotional.
Russians live altogether below the diaphragm—they consist of emotions.
French and Italians behave as if they were below it but they know perfectly well, and so does everyone else, that they are not.
It is a rather delicate and painful matter to speak of what happens in Svadhistvana.
When for example, an emotion reaches a point of great intensity, it no longer expresses itself in words, but in a physiological way.
It does not leave the body by way of the mouth, but in other ways—as, for instance, the bladder.
Svadhisthana represents the level where psychic life may be said to begin.
Only when this level became activated did mankind awaken from the sleep of Muladhara and learn the first rules of bodily decency.
The beginning of moral education consisted in attending to our needs in the places suitable for them, just as still happens in the education of a small child.
Dogs too have learned this; they are already living in Svadhistvana inasmuch as they deposit their visiting cards at trees and corners.
The dogs that come after read the messages and know from them how the land lies, whether the preceding dog was fed or empty, whether it was a large or a small dog—an important difference in the breeding season.
Thus dogs can give all sorts of news about one another and can direct themselves accordingly.
This first and lowest means of expressing psychic life is also still used by human beings, for instance by very primitive criminals.
You know what is meant by grumus merdae (mound of excrement).
The thief deposits his excrement in the place he has looted and says in this way: “This is my signature; this belongs to me; woe to him who crosses my path.”
Thus it becomes a sort of apotropaic charm—a relic of archaic times.
For in primitive conditions this sign language actually has a great, even a vital, importance.
A person can tell by it whether dangerous or useful animals have made a given track and whether the track is fresh or not.
Naturally the same thing is true of human tracks; if hostile tribes are in the neighborhood, fresh human excrement is a sign of alarm.
The more primitive the conditions of life, the more valuable the psychic manifestations of this level.
We could say it is the first speech of nature.
Psychic manifestations belonging to Svadhistvana are therefore often present in our dreams, and certain witticisms and the broad jokes of the Middle Ages are full of them.
As to Muladhara, we know nothing about it because at this level psychic life is dormant.
Mr. Allemann is therefore quite correct in saying that Muladhara is the life of animals and primitives who live in complete harmony with nature.
Our cultivated life, on the other hand, is to be looked at as the sthula aspect of the higher cakras.
The awakening of Kundalini would then be similar to the conscious understanding of the suksma aspect.
That is quite true.
But what must we do in order to understand consciously the suksma aspect of Muladhara, or of the earth?
Here we meet again the great paradox.
In consciousness we are in Ajna, and yet we actually live in Muladhara.
That is the sthula aspect. But can we win another aspect?
As we know, we cannot understand a thing if we are still immersed in it and identified with it.
Only when we reach a standpoint that is “outside” the experience in question, can we wholly understand what we were experiencing before.
Thus, for example, we can form an objective judgment of the nation, race, or continent to which we belong only when we have lived for a time in a foreign country and so are able to look at our own country from without.
How, then, can we put aside our personal standpoint, which represents the sthula aspect, and take another, a suprapersonal one which will show us where we actually are in this world? How can we find out that we are in Muladhara?
Muladhara is a condition of psychic sleep, we have said; we have then no consciousness there and can say nothing about it.
I began by saying that by means of culture we create suprapersonal values and that by this means we can get an inkling of other psychological possibilities and can reach another state of mind.
In the creation of suprapersonal values we begin with the suksma aspect.
We see things from the suksma aspect when we create symbols.
We can also see our psyche under the suksma aspect, and this is just what the symbols of the cakras are.
Nor can I describe this standpoint to you in any way except by means of a symbol.
It is as if we viewed our psychology and the psychology of mankind from the standpoint of a fourth dimension, unlimited by space or time.
The cakra system is created from this standpoint.
It is a standpoint that transcends time and the individual.
The spiritual point of view of India in general is a standpoint of this sort.
Hindus do not begin as we do to explain the world by taking the hydrogen atom as the starting point, nor do they describe the evolution of mankind or of the individual from lower to higher, from deep unconsciousness to the highest consciousness.
They do not see humanity under the sthula aspect.
They speak only of the suksma aspect and therefore say: “In the beginning was the one brahman without a second. It is the one indubitable reality, being and not-being.”
They begin in Sahasrara; they speak the language of the gods and think of man from above down, taking him from the suksma or para aspect.
Inner experience is to them revelation; they would never say about this experience “I thought it.”
Naturally we see the East quite differently.
In comparison with our conscious anahata culture, we can truthfully say that the collective culture of India is in Muladhara.
For proof of this we need only think of the actual conditions of life in India, its poverty, its dirt, its lack of hygiene, its ignorance of scientific and technical achievements.
Looked at from the sthula aspect the collective culture of India really is in Muladhara, whereas ours has reached anahata.
But the Indian concept of life understands humanity under the suksma aspect, and looked at from that standpoint everything becomes completely reversed.
Our personal consciousness can indeed be located in anahata or even in ajna, but nonetheless our psychic situation as a whole is undoubtedly in Muladhara.
Suppose we begin to explain the world in terms of Sahasrara and started off a lecture, for instance, with the words of the Vedanta: “This world in the beginning was brahman solely; since brahman was alone it was not unfolded. It knew itself only, and it realized: I am brahman. In this way it became the universe.”
We would rightly be taken for mad, or at least it would be thought that we were holding a revival meeting.
So if we are wise and live in reality, when we want to describe something we always begin with everyday banal events, and with the practical and concrete.
In a word, we begin with the sthula aspect.
To us the things that are real beyond question are our professions, the places where we live, our bank accounts, our families and our social connections.
We are forced to take these realities as our premises if we want to live at all.
Without personal life, without the here and now, we cannot attain to the suprapersonal.
Personal life must first be fulfilled in order that the process of the suprapersonal side of the psyche can be introduced.
What is suprapersonal in us is shown us again and again in the visions of our seminar: it is an event outside of the ego and of consciousness.
In the fantasies of our patient we are always dealing with symbols and experiences which have nothing to do with her as Mrs. So-and-So but which arise from the collective human soul in her and which are therefore collective contents.
In analysis the suprapersonal process can begin only when all the personal life has been assimilated to consciousness.
In this way psychology opens up a standpoint and types of experience that lie beyond ego consciousness. (The same thing happens in tantric philosophy, but with this difference: there the ego plays no role at all.)
This standpoint and this experience answer the question as to how we can free ourselves from the overwhelming realities of the world, that is, how to disentangle our consciousness from the world.
You remember, for example, the symbol of water and fire, a picture in which the patient stood in flames.
That represents the diving down into the unconscious, into the baptismal font of Svadhistvana and the suffering of the fire of manipura.
We now understand that the diving into the water and the enduring of the flames is not a descent, not a fall into the lower levels, but an ascent.
It is a development beyond the conscious ego, an experience of the personal way into the suprapersonal—a widening of the psychic horizons of the individual so as to include what is common to all mankind.
When we assimilate the collective unconscious we are not dissolving but creating it.
Only after having reached this standpoint—only after having touched the baptismal waters of Svadhistvana —can we realize that our conscious culture, despite all its heights, is still in Muladhara.
We may have reached Ajna in our personal consciousness, our race in general can still be in anahata, but that is all on the personal side still—it is still the sthula aspect, because it is valid only for our consciousness.
And as long as the ego is identified with consciousness, it is caught up in this world, the world of the Muladhara cakra.
But we see that it is so only when we have an experience and achieve a standpoint that transcends consciousness.
Only when we have become acquainted with the wide extent of the psyche, and no longer remain inside the confines of the conscious alone, can we know that our consciousness is entangled in Muladhara.
The symbols of the cakra, then, afford us a standpoint that extends beyond the conscious.
They are intuitions about the psyche as a whole, about its various conditions and possibilities.
They symbolize the psyche from a cosmic standpoint.
It is as if a super consciousness, an all-embracing divine consciousness, surveyed the psyche from above.
Looked at from the angle of this four-dimensional consciousness, we can recognize the fact that we are still living in Muladhara.
That is the suksma aspect.
Observed from that angle we ascend when we go into the unconscious, because it frees us from everyday consciousness.
In the state of ordinary consciousness, we are actually down below, entangled, rooted in the earth under a spell of illusions, dependent—in short, only a little more free than the higher animals.
We have culture, it is true, but our culture is not suprapersonal; it is culture in Muladhara.
We can indeed develop our consciousness until it reaches the Ajna center, but our Ajna is a personal Ajna, and therefore it is in Muladhara. Nonetheless, we do not know that we are in Muladhara, any more than the American Indians know that they are living in America.
Our Ajna is caught in this world.
It is a spark of light, imprisoned in the world, and when we think, we are merely
thinking in terms of this world.
But the Hindu thinks in terms of the great light.
His thinking starts not from a personal but from a cosmic Ajna.
His thinking begins with the brahman, and ours with the ego.
Our thought starts out with the individual and goes out into the general.
The Hindu begins with the general and works down to the individual.
From the suksma aspect everything is reversed.
From this aspect we realize that everywhere we are still enclosed within the world of causality, that in terms of the cakra we are not “high up” but absolutely “down below.”
We are sitting in a hole, in the pelvis of the world, and our anahata center is anahata in muladhara.
Our culture represents the conscious held prisoner in Muladhara.
Looked at from the suksma aspect, everything is still in Muladhara.
Christianity also is based on the suksma aspect.
To it, too, the world is only a preparation for a higher condition, and the here and now, the state of being involved in this world, is error and sin.
The sacraments and rites of the early church all meant freeing man from the merely personal state of mind and allowing him to participate symbolically in a higher condition.
In the mystery of baptism—the plunge into Svadhisthana —the “old Adam” dies and the “spiritual man” is born.
The transfiguration and ascension of Christ is the symbolical representation and anticipation of the desired end, that is, being lifted above the personal and into the suprapersonal.
In the old church Christ represents the leader, and hence the promise of what the mystic or initiate could also contain.
But to non-Christians of the West, the here and now is the only reality.
The sthula aspect, the rootedness in Muladhara, must first be fully lived in order for us to be able to grow beyond it afterward.
Before we get that far, we are not to know that we are caught in Muladhara.
Only in this way can we develop our personal consciousness to the level of the Ajna center, and only in this way can we create culture.
It is indeed only a personal culture, as I have said, but behind the culture stands God, the suprapersonal. And so we attain to the suksma aspect.
Only then do we see that what seemed to us the summit of our endeavor is merely something personal, merely the light-spark of consciousness.
Then we realize that taken from the standpoint of the psyche as a whole, it is only our personal consciousness that has attained Ajna, but that we, from the aspect of the cosmic cakra system, are still in Muladhara.
It is best to understand this by a metaphor.
You can imagine the cosmic cakra system as an immense skyscraper whose foundations go deep down in the earth and contain six cellars, one above the other.
One could then go from the first up to the sixth cellar, but one would still find oneself in the depths of the earth.
This whole cellar system is the cosmic Muladhara, and we still find ourselves in it even after we have reached the sixth cellar—our personal Ajna.
This we have to keep in mind always, otherwise we fall into the mistake made by theosophy and confuse the personal with the cosmic, the individual light-spark with the divine light.
If we do this we get nowhere; we merely undergo a tremendous inflation.
Taken from the standpoint of the cosmic cakra system, then, we can see that we are still very low down, that our culture is a culture in Muladhara, only a personal culture where the gods have not yet awakened from sleep.
Therefore we have to awaken Kundalini in order to make clear to the individual spark of consciousness the light of the gods.
In the thought world and in psychic events we can reach this other state of mind, we can look at ourselves from the suksma aspect, but then everything is reversed.
Then we see that we are sitting in a hole and that we do not go down into the unconscious, but that in gaining a relation to the unconscious we undergo a development upward.
To activate the unconscious means to awaken the divine, the devi, Kundalini—to begin the development of the suprapersonal within the individual in order to kindle the light of the gods.
Kundalini, which is to be awakened in the sleeping Muladhara world, is the suprapersonal, the non-ego, the totality of the psyche through which alone we can attain the higher cakras in a cosmic or metaphysical sense.
For this reason Kundalini is the same principle as the Soter, the Saviour Serpent of the Gnostics.
This way of looking at the world is the suksma aspect.
The suksma aspect is the inner cosmic meaning of events—the “subtle body,” the suprapersonal.
The pari aspect, which Professor Hauer called the metaphysical, is for us a purely theoretical abstraction.
The Western mind can do nothing with it.
To the Indian way of thinking such hypostatized abstractions are much more concrete and substantial.
For example, to the Indian, the brahman or the purusha is the one unquestioned reality; to us it is the final result of extremely bold speculation.
Mrs. Baynes: What does Professor Hauer mean by the metaphysical aspect?
Dr. Jung: That again is the suksma aspect.
We can speak of it only in symbols. Such symbols, for instance, are water and fire, the metabasis into the unconscious.
Mrs. Crowley: Is there a connection between the sastkvra and the creative principle? And is the puer aeternus related to them?7
Dr. Jung: The sastkvra can be compared to Muladhara, for they are the unconscious conditions in which we live.
The sastkvra are inherited germs, we might say—unconscious determinants, preexisting qualities of things to be, life in the roots.
But the puer aeternus is the sprout that buds from the roots, the attempt at synthesis and at a release from Muladhara.
Only by synthesizing the preexisting conditions can we be freed from them.
Dr. Reichstein: Are the sastkvra archetypes?
Dr. Jung: Yes, the first form of our existence is a life in archetypes.
Children live in this form before they can say “I.”
This world of the collective unconscious is so wonderful that children are continually being drawn back into it and can separate themselves from it only with difficulty.
There are children who never lose the memory of this psychic background, so extraordinary are the wonders it holds.
These memories continue to live in symbols.
The Hindus call them the “jewel world” or “mandavara,” the jewel island in the sea of nectar.
With a sudden shock the child passes from this marvelous world of the collective unconscious into the sthula aspect of life or, expressed in another way, a child goes
into Svadhistvana as soon as it notices its body, feels uncomfortable, and cries.
It becomes conscious of its own life, of its own ego, and has then left Muladhara.
Its own life now begins: its consciousness begins to separate itself from the totality of the psyche, and the world of the primordial images, the miraculous world of splendor, lies behind it forever.
Mrs. Crowley: Is there any connection between Citta and Kundalini?
Dr. Jung: Citta is the conscious and unconscious psychic field, collective mentality, the sphere in which the phenomenon of Kundalini takes place.
Citta is simply our organ of knowledge, the empirical ego into whose sphere Kundalini breaks.
Kundalini in essence is quite different from Citta.
Therefore her sudden appearance is the coming-up of an element absolutely strange to Citta.
If she were not entirely different from Citta she could not be perceived.
But we ought not to speculate too much about these concepts, because they belong to a field of thought which is specifically Eastern.
Therefore we have to be very sparing in our use of these concepts.
In general our psychological terms are quite adequate for our use.
It is better for us to make use of the tantric concepts only as technical terms, when our own terminology falls short.
Thus, for instance, we are obliged to borrow the concepts Muladhara, or sthula and suksma aspects, from tantric yoga, because our own language has no expressions for the corresponding psychic facts.
But a concept like Citta we do not need.
Also, the concept of Kundalini has for us only one use, that is, to describe our own
experiences with the unconscious, the experiences that have to do with the initiation of the suprapersonal processes.
As we know from experience, the serpent symbol then occurs very often. ~Carl Jung, Kundalini Yoga Seminar, Page 60-70