What does the coiled serpent mean in Yoga?
Dr. Reagan and I on our ministry’s television show Christ in Prophecy had the pleasure of asking this question of our special guest Caryl Matrisciana. Caryl is a best selling author and filmmaker and is a recognized expert on Eastern religions, contemporary cults, paganism and the occult. She has been involved in the production of more than 60 documentaries over the past 30 years. Her biographical testimony Out of India explains how she grew up under Hinduism in India and lived it in England and the U.S. as a New Ager before accepted Christ as Savior. She joined us warn us of the dangers of equating Yoga with Christianity.
The God Within
Nathan Jones: Caryl, can you tell us why you are an expert on Yoga?
Caryl Matrisciana: Well, I was actually born and raised in India for the first 20 years of my life, so I saw the practice of Yoga. I wasn’t involved in it during my early years because I equated it was Hinduism.
In fact, in Hindu teaching it is known that there is no Yoga without Hinduism and there is no Hinduism without Yoga. The two cannot be separated. They cannot be separated into physical and spiritual exercises, because the very point of Yoga which was designed in the Bhagavad Gita which is the Hindu holy scriptures by the actual god or deity from there, it designed Yoga for the individual to connect to his god consciousness.
In Hinduism, they don’t believe that you are a sinner. They believe that you are ignorant of your divinity, so the spark within you has to be ignited through Yoga discipline.
Another interesting fact about Yoga is that it is believed that there is a lying, coiled serpent asleep in each person waiting to be awakened through Yoga disciplines. The serpent is known as wisdom, power, and knowledge. It is brought up through the chakras which are psychic energy centers. This is metaphysics and it’s not true. Metaphysics is not scientific and certainly not biblical. So, the snake is brought up through self-hypnosis and through going within oneself through breathing and waking it up through other disciplines such as repetitive chanting. In Yoga you say the names of the deities again and again through repetitive chantings called Mantras which are repetitive prayers. Through breathing the serpent is pushed up until eventually it comes to the third eye which is the sixth chakra and then comes into the mind and consciousness. That’s when you realize that you are divinity and you can connect to all divinity.
Divinity within Hinduism is understood that divinity is in everything. God is in everything and everything is divine, whether it is the rat on the street, the cow in the street, the monkeys in the trees, even you. In fact, before every Yoga class you say, “Namaste,” that means in Hindi, “the god within me bows to the god within you.” That is an integral part to the spiritual discipline of Yoga.
Brahman is understood to be a god consciousness, and not a person like Jehovah God. So, when you say that you become god in the Western world, well we think of the God of the Bible. The Creator God to us is a person and Jesus Christ is His Son and there is the Holy Spirit. God to us is three persons in one — the triune God. That is not the case in Hinduism. In Hinduism God is a consciousness. It’s a force. It’s a thinking that you need to connect into. So, to understand the god of Yoga you’re required to alter your worldview.
Dr. Reagan: Did you ever become a practitioner of Yoga?
Caryl Matrisciana: Yes, I did.
Dr. Reagan: So, you have experienced it first hand and not just by observing it?
Caryl Matrisciana: As I grew up in India I observed it being practiced, but when I was about 19 or 20 my parents returned to England. I got involved in the New Age which I didn’t realize at the time was a religious mechanism to change our worldview into an Eastern mystical worldview. The New Age that I saw in the West was a completely polished, cleaned up, appealing, manipulative enticement into a different worldview.
Altered State of Consciousness
Dr. Reagan: Did the Yoga work for you in the sense that it really can bring you into an altered state of consciousness?
Caryl Matrisciana: Oh, absolutely, it is a powerful spiritualism!
Dr. Reagan: What’s wrong with going into an altered state of consciousness?
Caryl Matrisciana: First of all, you give up your mind, but you don’t realize you are giving up your mind. Remember that the First Commandment says that we need to love the Lord our God with all our heart and our mind. We are not allowed to put our mind into neutral within the biblical mandate. In fact, David talks about how we need to meditate on God’s law day and night. The Lord tells us to bind His law on our heads. So, biblical meditation is a mental rumination on the Word. This is quite different in the practice of Yoga, for in Yoga you meditate on an experience so that you go into yourself and you imagine and you have subjective emotions about what you feel. It’s very, very powerful.
Dr. Reagan: Wouldn’t this open you up to demon possession, or at least demonic attack?
Caryl Matrisciana: I didn’t know that at the time because I wasn’t a Bible believing Christian. What I was really getting involved in was opening doorways into the occult which opens doorways to demons.
Unmasking the Serpent
Nathan Jones: Is that what that snake is? Is it a demonic spirit?
Caryl Matrisciana: The snake is the master of all demonic spirits. It was the snake in Ezekiel and Isaiah and other Bible stories where we are told Satan says, “I will be like the most high.” The Serpent acknowledges that there is a Most High. Satan’s described as a serpent. Lucifer the snake knows there is a monotheistic God, and he claims he will be like the Most High. To accomplish this he introduces polytheism which is many gods, and the idea that we can all be gods ourselves. And, why not? In the Bible we’re told that we are children of God and that we are created in His image. But, we are not children of God until we come through Jesus Christ through repentance.
So, Yoga is a counterfeit way through experiencing creative manipulation of falling for Satan’s lie when he claimed he would be like the Most High and so could we. Satan created in his imagination a reality that doesn’t exist. He could never be the Most High, and neither can we.
In the next part of this series “Christian Yoga” with guest Caryl Matrisciana, she’ll explain the varieties of Yoga and how they’re all intricately tied to the Hindu god Brahman.