Alfred Lord Tennyson (1809 – 1892), one of the greatest English poets, has written one of the clearest descriptions of the Self-realisation that results from the awakening of the kundalini. The passage is found in a very early poem of his called “Armageddon”, written when he was only fifteen years old. The passage starts with his encounter with a beautiful angel (seraph) who tells him that his senses are “clogg’d with dull mortality” and his “spirit [is] fetter’d with the bond of clay”. Following this, the seraph commands, “Open thine eyes and see!” and in that instant he achieves his Self-realisation. He could then feel the unimaginable glory that lies within all of us: “I felt my soul grow godlike”. As “each failing sense … grew thrillingly distinct and keen” the world around him was transformed into a thing of wonder and beauty. “All sense of Time and Being and Place [were] swallowed up and lost”. He had achieved yoga (union with God): “I was a part of the Unchangeable”.
Here is this beautiful poem in full:
The rustling of white wings! The bright descent
Of a young seraph! and he stood beside me
In the wide foldings of his argent robes
There on the ridge, and look’d into my face
With his unutterable shining eyes,
So that with hasty motion I did veil
My vision with both hands, and saw before me
Such coloured spots as dance before the eyes
Of those that gaze upon the noonday sun.
“0 Son of Man, why stand you here alone
Upon the mountain, knowing not the things
Which will be, and the gathering of the nations
Unto the mighty battle of the Lord?
Thy sense is clogg’d with dull Mortality,
Thy spirit fetter’d with the bond of clay
Open thine eyes and see!”
I look’d, but not
Upon his face, for it was wonderful
With its exceeding brightness, and the light
Of the great Angel Mind that look’d from out
The starry glowing of his restless eyes.
I felt my soul grow godlike, and my spirit
With supernatural excitation bound
Within me, and my mental eye grew large
With such a vast circumference of thought,
That, in my vanity, I seem’d to stand
Upon the outward verge and bound alone
Of God’s omniscience. Each failing sense,
As with a momentary flash of light,
Grew thrillingly distinct and keen. I saw
The smallest grain that dappled the dark Earth,
The indistinctest atom in deep air,
The Moon’s white cities, and the opal width
Of her small, glowing lakes, her silver heights
Unvisited with dew of vagrant cloud,
And the unsounded, undescended depth
Of her black hollows. Nay the hum of men
Or other things talking in unknown tongues,
And notes of busy Life, in distant worlds,
Beat, like a far wave, on my anxious ear.
I wondered with deep wonder at myself:
My mind seem’d wing’d with knowledge and the strength
Of holy musings and immense Ideas,
Even to Infinitude. All sense of Time
And Being and Place was swallowed up and lost
Within a victory of boundless thought.
I was a part of the Unchangeable,
A scintillation of Eternal Mind,
Remix’d and burning with its parent fire.
Yea! in that hour I could have fallen down
Before my own strong soul and worshipp’d it ….
Alfred Lord Tennyson (excerpt from “Armageddon”)