MOSES, Jesus, the Hindu yogis, all knew the secret of scientific spiritual life. They unanimously demonstrated that every person who is yet physically minded must master the art of lifting up the serpent force from sensory body consciousness in order to accomplish the first retracing of the inward steps toward Spirit.
Any saint of any religion who has attained God-consciousness has, in effect, withdrawn his consciousness and life force from the sense regions up through the spinal passage and plexuses to the center of God-consciousness in the brain, and thence into omnipresent Spirit. ….
“And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven. And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life” (John 3:13-15).
This passage is very important, and little understood. Taken literally, the words “lifted up the serpent” are at best a classic scriptural ambiguity. Every symbol has a hidden meaning that must be rightly interpreted. The word “serpent” here refers metaphorically to man’s consciousness and life force in the subtle coiled passageway at the base of the spine, the matterward flow of which is to be reversed for Jesus said that each son of man, each bodily consciousness, must be lifted from the plane of the senses to the astral kingdom by reversing the matterbent outflowing of the life force to ascension through the serpent-like coiled passage at the base of the spine—the son of man is lifted up when this serpentine force is uplifted, “as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness.”*
We must reascend, just as Moses, in the spiritual wilderness of silence in which all his desires were no more, lifted his soul from body consciousness into God-consciousness through the same path by which it had descended.
* Reference: Exodus 4 : 2 – 4
When in the wilderness God spoke to Moses out of the burning bush, Moses asked of God some sign of spiritual authority by which he could be recognized as sent by God to accomplish the tasks to which God had appointed him. “And the Lord said unto him, ‘What is that in thine hand?’ And he said, ‘A rod.’ And He said, ‘Cast it on the ground.’ And he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent….And the Lord said unto Moses, ‘Put forth thine hand, and take it by the tail.’ And he put forth his hand, and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand.”
The “rod” is the spine, in which reside the subtle astral centers of life and consciousness that are the dynamos not only of all physical vitalities, but of all divine powers and spiritual perceptions when awakened by the lifting of the fiery serpent of life force at the base, “tail,” of the spine. The metaphors of the “serpent” and “rod” are variously repeated in the story of Moses, in keeping with scriptural tradition of linking historical events with esoteric symbology.
The rod, or staff, of Moses was the medium through which he demonstrated miraculous powers according to the will of God in carrying out his special dispensation to free the Israelites from thralldom in Egypt—such as the oft-cited parting of the Red Sea; and the saving of the people, in the wilderness, from death by fiery serpents created by their misdeeds, to counteract which the Lord directed Moses: “Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and…every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live” (Numbers 2 1 : 6 – 8 ).
Spiritual death results from the misuse of the animating fiery life force; spiritual life is the blessing bestowed when the life force and consciousness are uplifted to the highest center of divine consciousness in the body at the top of the spinal “pole” in the cerebrum, where God dwells as the soul.
Danda, staff, the symbolic scepter of the soul’s sovereign power over the kingdom of the body
His Holiness Sri Shankaracharya of Puri, India, head of the thousand-year-old monastic Shankaracharya Order of which Self-Realization monastics are a part. Leaning against the wall behind Daya Mataji is “the Jagadguru’s danda (staff), wrapped in a protective cloth cover. The staff is a symbol of Sri Shankaracharya’s status as a sannyasi (monk), and is taken with him wherever he goes…” quote from SRF mag. 1960
A similar analogy exists in the scriptures of India, citing the serpentine life force at the base of the spine, as described in this Discourse, and the spine itself referred to as meru-danda. Mt. Meru is the loftiest of mythological mountains; and danda, “a rod, a staff,” is representative of the spine with its spiritual centers, the crest of which is referred to as the holy Meru, the highest center of divine consciousness. Many yogis honor this symbology by keeping among their sparse ascetic accoutrements a danda, staff, in recognition of the spine as the symbolic scepter of the soul’s sovereign power over the kingdom of the body.
from Paramahansa Yogananda’s The Second Coming of Christ