The first chakra is of paramount importance to spiritual development. It is associated with the realm of creativity (brahma loka), the awakening of kundalini (evolution), and the root-lock seal (mulabandha mudra).
The First Chakra is called muladhara. Muladhara means “root-holder”. It is not a very popular chakra. How often do we hear anyone get excited about an experience they associate with chakra number one: “Wow, my kundalini is awake and my first chakra is open!” We are much more likely to hear about the heart chakra (the fourth), or the eyebrow center (the sixth), or even the crown chakra at the top of the head.
We don’t mean to fool ourselves, but we are sincerely interested in spiritual development and we want to believe that we are making progress. We don’t realize that it can’t be kundalini causing phenomena in a higher chakra if the ones below it have not already been pierced and developed to some degree. This is because kundalini processes the chakras sequentially as she travels through the central energy channel (sushumna nadi) upon which they are strung, like pearls on a thread.
This does not happen in one blow. First a chakra must be pierced, activated and opened, developed and purified, and then evolved out of existence as a separate partition limiting the upward course of prana-kundalini through the sushumna. This takes time and devoted commitment to one’s sadhana (spiritual practices). Even then, there may be any number of obstacles along the way.
It may surprise you to learn just how important the first chakra really is. It is the main chakra associated with hatha yoga sadhana (sun-moon union practice), and this doesn’t change for a very long time, as this is the place kundalini calls home until sufficient development, purification and evolution has taken place with the first five chakras. At that point, she moves house to chakra number six and calls Herself Maruti. But that is a difficult thing, and is rarely achieved in a single lifetime.
Up-and-inward-flowing life energy is called prana, and down-and-outward flowing life energy is called apana. Apana moves impurities out of the body, and is not often mentioned because of its association with the unpopular first chakra. But the removal of impurities from the body is a primary function of sadhana for a long time. Of these two forms of life energy, prana and apana, one is not better than the other. Each has an equally important function.
“You can’t have yoga (union) without bhoga (the downward-flow of apana).”
— Swami Kripalu
So what is causing the phenomena at upper chakras? Are we just deluding ourselves? No. The phenomena may be genuinely real, but this is prana operating outside the sushumna, rather than kundalini operating inside the sushumna. Prana, life energy, is shakti in a body. This energy can cause phenomena and sensations anywhere in the body. But we get fixated on kundalini and on chakras and probably miss many of the other good things that are going on, or mistake these events as something being ‘wrong’, or to be feared, when in fact they are not wrong, but are the effects of Prana doing its job and working for our benefit.
To be continued . . .
Jaya Bhagavan (Victory to God!),