Did Jung experience a Kundalini awakening? (To Read: The Seven Sermons) - India and the return to Gnosticism
According to Fowler McCormick (Jung’s friend who accompanied him during his trip to India in 1937), Jung experienced vivid dreams of red, emulating the Kundalini chakra colours in Calcutta in The Psychology of Kundalini Yoga (1999(.
“As we would go through temples of Kali, which were numerous at almost every Hindu city, we saw the evidence of animal sacrifice: the places were filthy dirty—dried blood on the floor and lots of remains of red betelnut all around, so that the colour red was associated with destructiveness. Concurrently in Calcutta Jung began to have a series of dreams in which the colour red was stressed. It wasn’t long before dysentery overcame Dr. Jung and I had to take him to the English hospital at Calcutta. . . . A more lasting effect of this impression of the destructiveness of Kali was the emotional foundation it gave him for the conviction that evil was not a negative thing but a positive thing. . . . The influence of that experience in India, to my mind, was very great on Jung in his later years”.
Similarly, this account replicates the protagonist Honda’s experience after visiting the temple of Kali in Calcutta in the post-war Japanese fiction novel The Temple of Dawn (1970) by Yukio Mishima:
“Honda left word that he would be leaving before dawn the next morning, and fell asleep with the help of a nightcap. Legions of phantasmagoria cluttered his dreams. His dream fingers brushed a keyboard they had never touched before, producing strange sounds. They examined like an engineer all corners of the structured universe so far known to him. The limpid Mount Miwa suddenly appeared, then the Offing Rock, reclining rock of horror on the peak of which dwelt the gods; blood spouted from a crevice and the goddess Kali emerged, her red tongue protruding. A burned corpse rose in the form of a beautiful youth, his hair and loins covered with the brilliantly pure leaves of the sacred Sakaki tree.”- The Temple of Dawn, pg. 68.
Biographer Deirdre Bair also mentions Jung’s illness and state of mind after his trip in Jung: A Biography (2003):
“Still, impressions from his Indian illness continued to interrupt, permeating these visions as if with an underlying imagery that determined their content. In one, he saw a dark block of stone as big as his Küsnacht house floating next to him in space. He remembered seeing such rocks off the coast of the Bay of Bengal, into which temples had been carved. Inside the visionary rock was a ‘completely black Indian in a white robe in a lotus position,’, seated in such silent repose that Jung knew the man was waiting for him.”- Page 497
Lastly, Jung talks about his return to Christianity after this incident in Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1961):
“Imperiously, the dream wiped away all the intense impressions of India and swept me back to the too-long-neglected concerns of the Occident, which had formerly been expressed in the quest for the Holy Grail as well as in the search for the philosophers’’ stone. I was taken out of India, and reminded that India was not my task, but only a part of the way.”- Page 332.