Sadhguru talks about the connection between mysticism and snakes, and the power and energy of this mysterious creature.
Sadhguru: Mysticism and snakes cannot be separated. Wherever there was an exploration or experience of mysticism in the ancient cultures of Mesopotamia, Crete, Egypt, Cambodia, Vietnam, and of course India, snakes were always there. There is no Indian temple without a snake. One aspect of it is symbolism, because in yoga, a coiled up snake symbolises kundalini. But the reason for this symbolic status is because when celestial beings–those who are in consciousness and capability superior to human nature–entered this dimension of existence, they always took the form of a snake. This finds mention in every mythology on the planet. In India, there are innumerable stories, starting from Shiva being a Naga Bhooshana.
Mysticism is a certain dimension of perception and the snake has come endowed with that capability. That is why the highest form of perception, which is the opening of the third eye in Shiva’s forehead, is punctuated by the presence of the snake. A reptile would usually be crawling on the ground, but Shiva has it over his head to indicate that, “In some ways, he is even better than me.” Every culture has recognised this in one way or the other. There are a number of stories of snakes and the role they play in our culture.
In mythology, there are Naga Lokas in the netherworld–a whole society of not just snakes, but human beings who belong to the snake clan. They are known as Nagas, and they played a very important role in shaping the consciousness of this nation and many other cultures. Historically, we know that the great temples of Angkor in Cambodia were built by Naga descendants. They went from India, intermarried with the indigenous people, and established a kingdom. Nagas were ruled by queens, not kings, as they were matriarchal families. Later on, Kaundinya, a Brahmin king from India went and defeated the Naga queen.
Human beings who are very deeply associated with snakes exist even today. I am one of them–not a Naga, but my life and snakes cannot be separated. Every significant event in my life is always punctuated by the presence of a snake.
An ear to the ground
If one becomes very meditative, the first creature which is drawn towards that is a snake. This is the reason why you always see images of sages and seers with snakes around. It has such a sense of perception that it can perceive certain dimensions which human beings are longing and desperate to know.
During the Dhyanalinga consecration, when we were consecrating the Vishuddhi Chakra, over 400 people had gathered, but one snake would somehow creep through the crowd and come to us.
The snake is the first creature which will know even the slightest fundamental change that happens on this planet, because his whole body is in touch with the ground.
Sadhguru is a yogi, mystic and founder of Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation dedicated to addressing all aspects of human wellbeing through yoga programmes, and social and environmental initiatives.