Originating from India, Kobra was a cult operating within an under-reported part of the world until a member of the cult had a prophecy that one day a leader would rise and lead them to greatness. Hunting around the world for their "chosen one", Kobra found two candidates in a set of siamese twins; selecting one of the twins at random, the cult took the child (named Jeffrey Burr) and raised him to be a formidable warrior and criminal mastermind. As the child reached adulthood, he took control of the cult and was awarded the title "Naja-Naja"; the binomial name for the Indian Cobra.
Under Burr, the cult began using cutting-edge science and technology to fulfil its goal of bringing about the Kali Yuga. However, unknown to the cult, he had a psychic link to his brother, Jason Burr, where one felt what the other felt, including pain. Because of this, Jason was recruited by an international agency to help them combat Kobra. At first, Jeffrey was unable to hurt his brother due to the psychic link; eventually, however, he created a device that "shut off" the link and he killed Jason and destroyed the agency that had recruited him.
In subsequent years, Kobra would clash with assorted superheroes as Jeffrey sought to expand his influence, including Batman, whom they first encountered over a Lazarus Pit of their own creation.
A short while later his various Strike Force Kobra teams would fight two different incarnations of The Outsiders, the Flash (Wally West), the Suicide Squad, Checkmate, and Captain Atom, amongst others.
During a battle between the Outsiders and Strike Force Kobra, the cult split into two factions, one led by Burr and the other led by his ex-lover, Eve.
In an attempt to take control of the world's telecommunications with the powers of the retired hero Air Wave, Jeffrey forces an airliner to crash as a demonstration of his power. While the Justice Society of America managed to foil his scheme, Terri Rothstein, the mother of JSA member Atom Smasher, had been killed in the plane crash.
During his trial, Jeffrey shrugs off claims of terrorism; claiming instead to simply be an enlightened soul (a bodhisattva) trying to free other souls from their karmic debt through random acts of violence. Following this, his followers appear and threaten to kill the media amassed outside the courthouse with suicide bombs unless he is freed.
Unable to stop the threat, the JSA allow Jeffrey to walk free. Enraged by this, both Black Adam and Atom Smasher quit the JSA and amass a team of their own to track Jeffrey to his headquarters in the Himalaya Mountains and assassinate the cult leader; ripping his heart out of his body.
In the wake of their leader's death, Kobra underwent an internal struggle as the cult sought out new leaders such as King Snake (Edmund Dorrance), and (unwillingly) a school friend of Timothy Drake who apparently fit the prophecy. The struggle was eventually settled as a new leader emerged. After a few years, however, the ruling body of Kobra came to a conclusion that the initial prophecy was accurate, but they had kidnapped the wrong child. Unearthing Jason Burr's remains and reanimated him in a Lazarus Pit. Though initially murderous towards the group, he eventually took control and, seeing Kobra's current form as inefficient, he decided to remake the organization.
Initiating a terror campaign, he simultaneously tied up Checkmate and the American authorities with catching old Kobra sleeper agents while acquiring Lexcorp's Everyman Program biotech, Saul Erdel's teleportation technology, and a piece of stone taken from the Statue of Hatred in the Rock of Eternity. With these, in addition to the magic of the Bestowed, Burr was able to move invisibly from place to place, using magic to speed-indoctrinate whole cells of snakemen, creating infrastructure out of nothing.