The source of the human personality is swadhisthana chakra, the energy vortex at the level of the coccyx. Swadhisthana chakra represents the realm of the unconscious that allows us to unravel the mystery of our inherent character and behaviour, the desires and drives that are expressed through our actions. Swadhisthana is also the storehouse of samskaras, the mental impressions embedded within the subtle body. By awakening swadhisthana, we become aware of the unconscious aspects of ourselves, and we learn to accept our karmas and live through them while cultivating an unwavering connection with our divine origins.
In Swadhisthana Chakra, Rishi Nityabodhananda discusses the many facets of this chakra, including its place in kundalini yoga, its influence on the personality, its symbology, and practices to awaken and transcend swadhisthana. Written in an easy style full of wit and humour, the book draws from traditional and modern texts on yoga and tantra, and provides a foundational understanding of this essential energy centre in the scheme of human life.
Rishi Nityabodhananda graduated in Metallurgy from the University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, in 1967. He joined the Bihar School of Yoga in Munger, and on Basant Panchami, 1970, he was initiated into poorna sannyasa by Swami Satyananda.
He currently lives in Australia where he conducts yoga seminars and satsangs, and ruminates on the meaning of life and the source of it all. On the 21st February 1999, he was initiated into rishi sannyasa by Swami Niranjan-ananda.
We will begin with an explanation of kundalini from a historical perspective. Nobody knows from where the idea first came, or who the original kundalini yogi was. Before the creation of language, before people could communicate to each other with words, they would manage with sounds, such as bird sounds, lion sounds or deer sounds, and their sounds had meanings such as, "Watch out, a lion's coming!" or "There's a nice bird over there; we might be able to catch it and eat it." This information comes to us from TV documentaries on anthropological studies relayed to us ordinary, non-experts by science journalists. We don't know if they are right or wrong; their information is evolving, it is theoretical and continues to evolve as each new bit of evidence is dug up. Thousands of years ago, the psychology of man was different. Charles Breaux, a recognized author, psychologist and kundalini adept, and director of the Berkeley Holistic Health Center in the US, writes in his book Journey into Consciousness that ancient people were more focused on intuitive abilities to source their information. For evidence, he points to the shape of ancient skulls indicating an emphasis in rear brain development rather than the modern, frontal lobe and forward thinking emphasis.
Since ancient times, people have been investigating the space within the body using their psychic vision and they have discovered that life is supported by an energy system. When they looked inside, they saw a myriad of sparks which they called ‘prana'. When they looked more carefully at those sparks of prana, they noticed that the prana formed particular paths and was flowing in particular stream-like directions called nadis. These experiences of ancient sages were recorded in texts. Hatha Yoga Pradipika (4:18) and other tantric texts say that there are 72,000 nadis. They did not count this number; they knew it intuitively. The Shiva Samhita states that there are 350,000 nadis, which is five times more than the number mentioned in Hatha Yoga Pradipika. It seems Shiva Samhita considers subsequent branches of nadis, and from these there are an infinite number of subsequent branches. The Kshurikopanishad (17b) also mentions: Dva-saptati-sahasrani pratinadisu taitilam - "In each of the 72,000 nadis there is a material which is like oil."
Many nadis have been named, and their functions are understood to be that of energizing parts of the physical system. This knowledge is not confined to Indian teachings. It is also included in Japanese and Chinese schools where it is incorporated into the practice of acupuncture, which in turn is based on the original Indian schools of marma therapy. All this information is available in fine detail in the ayurvedic shastras. Now, of those thousands of nadis, fourteen are considered important, and of these the three most important are ida, pingala and sushumna.
When adepts looked at these flow lines or nadis inside the body, they noticed that they formed clusters on the spinal column which whirled like wheels and they were termed chakras. At the base of the body between the urinary and excretory passages there is a cluster they called mooladhara chakra; at the lowest tip of the spine there is another cluster called swadhisthana chakra; behind the navel there is a cluster called manipura chakra; in the spine around the middle of the chest there is a cluster called anahata chakra; in the spine behind the throat is another called vishuddhi chakra, and at the top of the spine behind the evebrow centre is another cluster called ajna chakra. All these clusters were seen during meditation.
Looking at the clusters of flowing prana more carefully, the adepts noticed that they created a fantastic pattern of beautiful flowers. At the lowest chakra, at mooladhara, there were four perfect petals created by the flow of prana. These flowers aren't like the flowers in the external world; they don't have a smell, like a rose or a lotus, and they don't have a stamen or pollen. They're not that kind of flowers. These are flowers formed by the flow of energy, and when the energy flows it produces light. At each chakra point it gives a characteristic pattern. Why? It is because God cast an amazingly clear and beautiful mould and every human has these characteristic patterns within.
We can look at it to be part of our makeup, our personal makeup, from which our outer personality comes. This is the basis of our kundalini yoga study. At the lowest level residing in mooladhara chakra is Ma Kundalini, primordial energy having the appearance of a snake and wound into three and a half coils. She's trying to come up. Sometimes Ma Kundalini comes up, looks around, opens her mouth a little, pokes her forked tongue out a little and wants to ascend, but there is no way. It is impossible for her to ascend and she returns to rest in mooladhara. Here we are, aspirants of yoga, and we want to know: Why can't we wake up and move out of mooladhara and ascend to the level of swadhisthana? This is the subject of this discussion.
**Contents and Sample Pages**
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