The Third Chakra

The third chakra is called manipura, which means ‘jewel city’. With a name like that, it must be very valuable! 

The third chakra is located at the navel, has ten petals, ten vibrational frequencies identified by the sounds of specific Sanskrit syllables, and is associated with digestion. Its mystical diagram is the triangle, the color is yellow-gold (or green), the sense organ is the eyes, the sense faculty is sight, the element is fire, the elemental color is blood-red.

The third chakra is called the manipura, which means ‘jewel city’. A jewel is something precious, valuable, and difficult to destroy. A city is a place where many paths converge, where many people and many things come together in one place.

At your navel, you were connected to a life in this world, and to the one who brought you into it, to the one who provided you with nourishment and sustenance while your body developed sufficiently to enter into life. Perhaps it is you that is precious and valuable.

The element associated with the third chakra is fire, the fire of the sun, or prana, the Life Energy. The sun makes life possible and sustains it. Into this sacrificial fire is thrown all the things of which we wish to free ourselves. Here we offer things like resentment, possessiveness and gluttony. By making the offering through surrender to the Divine, we are purified by this fire and our wellbeing is increased. Through these sacrifices, our surrender deepens and the Life Energy gains more freedom to do its job of sustaining and maintaining life and wellbeing. Now Kundalini can get on with Her job of evolving us to our natural, divine state.

The business of the third chakra is digestion. Think about digestion, what that is, how it works, and apply this to other things besides food. Digestion involves change, transformation. It is the process of treating something by means of heat in order to extract essentials. Here we are reminded of the principle of tapas, or purification by fire. Where purification by water takes care of impurities through elimination, tapas purifies by melting things down in order to separate them, leaving only the good stuff—like separating the gold from the dross (remember how we defined purification?). Prana wants to keep only what has value in order to make way for Kundalini to evolve you to your natural, divine state.

The Brahmagranthi

At this chakra a metropolis of energy channels in the body converge in a tangle, called a granthi. This particular granthi is called the Brahma-granthi. When this granthi is pierced and resolved by Kundalini, one achieves mastery of brahmacharya. Most never reach this point, and very few ever master it.

When kundalini has evolved your third chakra, you become a giver of happiness to others. You attain mastery over desire and sorrow, and all diseases are destroyed. You can cheat death, and you can enter into the body of another.

The third chakra is very difficult—fire not only purifies and sustains life, but it can also take it. When we consider what has to be accomplished in order to pass beyond this chakra, not to mention master the brahmagranthi, we are humbled (and we thought the second chakra was difficult!). We have to concede that our kundalini has not reached those most popular chakras at the eyebrow center and the crown center, that all those experiences we had that we thought were kundalini were really prana producing wonders while doing its job. Well, that’s not so bad now is it? It just goes to show that God, in any form, will never let you down.

About Brahmacharya

Brahmacharya is the practice of chastity, and is the name of the first ashrama, or stage of life, the student stage. During this stage, the first twenty-five years, one maintains chastity. This is not just a moral injunction, but the means of allowing kundalini to maintain some degree of freedom to evolve the individual to a high degree of intelligence, even genius, thus insuring that wealth (artha), pleasure (kama), and freedom (moksha) can be successfully achieved in the stages of life that follow.

When the word brahmacharya is broken down, depending upon the spelling, we have:

brahma (God, Absolute, impersonal), and charya (movement, conduct, or practice) = God-action, God-conduct, God-practice.

OR we have …

brahmaa (God, Absolute, personal), and either charya (moving), acharya (not moving), or aacharya (arrived at, done) = God-action, God-nonaction, or God-realized/mastered/arrived at.

To complicate things further, though not commonly spelled with a long ‘a’ (brahmaacharya), brahmaa is also used as the name for God as Creator, which gives us = Creator God-action, Creator God-nonaction or Creator God-mastery.

The question is, which is it? And what does it mean? This is one of those places where the necessity for oral teachings becomes apparent.

May your tapas increase,
Durga Ma

Phoenix Metaphysical Institute
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Kundalini and the Magic Flute

We each have a tonal center, a certain pitch to which our own bodies are tuned, just like a musical instrument.

Imagine that your sushumna [the central energy channel in the body] is like a bamboo stalk that has been made into a flute.  The finger holes represent the seed sounds of the chakras—seven holes and seven notes in a musical scale.  In deep meditation, when the energy passes through this central channel, heavenly music is playing and can be heard.  It’s not like hearing it in your mind or your imagination.  It’s as real, even more real than if you were to have it performed for you in your own meditation room by an angel.  Hearing this sound is more profound, more beautiful, more joyful, than anything that can be experienced here in our everyday world.  You may have seen pictures of Krishna playing a bamboo flute.  This is one meaning of this scriptural art.  Krishna is an incarnation of Vishnu, the sustainer of life.  It is prana, the incarnation of Vishnu in your body, flowing through the sushumna that creates the music of this magic flute.

Listening to music from external sources can also affect the chakras.   It is not surprising that so many attempts have been made, some with considerable success, to use music therapeutically.   In just what way music affects the chakras depends on the music.

Each component of music has an effect on the body through the chakra system, but it is tone and pitch (the highness or lowness of tone) that are most apparent.  Tone and noise are both the result of vibrations, but the vibrations that create tones are of equal size and distribution, regular and even, whereas the vibrations that create noise are irregular and uneven and haven’t the power to affect the chakras in the same way.

Just as the color white is the crystallization of all the colors of the spectrum, in music, every tone is made up of all pitches organized in specific intervals, becoming subtler as they become higher.  All the pitches that make up a specific tone are not ordinarily distinguishable to the human ear.  They are known as ‘overtones’, or ‘harmonics.’  The formula for the harmonic intervals that make up a tone are the same for each tone.  The only difference between the pitch of one tone and another is the order of the subtle pitches in the harmonic sequence.

The chakra system is based on this system of harmonics.  Comparing the sushumna and the chakras to a flute is suggestive.  Just as vibrations are the cause of sound, vibrations are the effect experienced when energy passes through a chakra.  Just as the movement of air through the flute causes it to sound, the movement of energy through the sushumna causes it to sound.  This sound is heard is deep meditation and is called anahata nada, unstruck sound.  When this Divine Sound is heard in meditation, chakras are being played—opened and refined.  The chakras in the harmonic sequence of the chakra being ‘played,’ also sound.

If you want to see for yourself how this principle works, try an experiment:  If you lift the dampers from the strings of an acoustic piano (push down on the pedal on the right) and play a certain pitch on a violin, or even with your voice, you can hear the strings sounding in the back of the piano that are tuned to that pitch as well as the closest harmonics that make up that pitch.  Another experiment is to silently depress a ‘G’ above middle ‘C’ and hold it down while you strike and release (quickly and loudly) the middle ‘C’.  What you will hear as you continue to hold down the ‘G’, is the ‘G’ and some of its harmonics—even though you never struck the ‘G’.  Similarly, if chakra number one is sounded in meditation, chakra number four will also be vibrated.

From Living the Mysteries, Copyright ©1999,
Durga Ma and Terry Anne Preston, Ph.D.

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Kundalini and the Three Worlds

In your body there are three worlds, the world of the Creator, the world of the Sustainer, and the world of the Transformer. Each chakra calls one of these worlds home. Kundalini passes through them as it ascends.

In the following excerpt from Living the Mysteries, clarifications are in brackets [  ].

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Teachings that discuss a three chakra system are teachings about … three lokas [worlds] and granthis [knots].  This gives us an idea of how a teaching concerning only three chakras can coexist with a teaching of … seven or more chakras.

Each chakra exists in one of these worlds, so think of each chakra in the context of the loka in which it is located and the knot that kundalini tries to unravel there.  I have listed some key words that may help you get a feel for the general characteristics of the three worlds.

The First World, Brahma Loka

The god Brahma is the personification of the creative aspect of the Divine.  Brahma Loka means Brahma’s World, so the granthi, or plexus, of this world is called the Brahma granthi.  Brahma is the creative aspect of the Divine and is associated with the created world.  The first, second and third chakras are in The World of Brahma, so the earth of the first chakra, the water of the second chakra and the fire of the third all exist in the context of the material world.

Each loka is of a different quality, or guna.  The quality of Brahma Loka is rajas, which is passionate, intense or highly active.  This quality is responsible for bondage through attachment to action and the sense of doership.

The difficulties that arise when kundalini is making her way through the world of the first three chakras are material or ‘worldly’ in nature.  They are tangles about the world and your relationship to it that have to come untied.

For the kundalini to pass through this extremely complex and complicated web is extraordinarily difficult.  When this happens, a deep sound is heard, something like a combination of the popping of a cork from a champagne bottle and a deep sounding drum.  It is believed by some that the tabla, a tuned Indian drum, was created to imitate this sound.  This sound seems to come from inside and outside the body at the same time.

The Second World, Vishnu Loka

Once kundalini passes beyond the third chakra, it enters into a different world.  Vishnu Loka means Vishnu’s World.  Vishnu is the aspect of the Divine that sustains and maintains life.  If you recognize this description as the description of the life energy, prana, you have made the connection correctly—the home of prana is in the fourth chakra, the heart, the first chakra in Vishnu Loka.  Vishnu rides the bird Garuda, symbol of the life energy which enters the body primarily through the breath [air].

The fourth and fifth chakras are in this more subtle world of energy associated with the astral body.  The issues and challenges of the Vishnu granthi concern your relationship with others.  Whereas Brahma’s world was the world of matter, Vishnu’s world is the subtler world of the energy.  The quality, or guna, of Vishnu Loka is sattvas, smooth flowing, easy-going, and peaceful.  This quality is responsible for bondage through attachment to happiness and wisdom.

When kundalini finally passes through the Vishnu granthi, the sound of the cork popping out of the champagne bottle may be heard, only this time without the bass drum.  It is followed instead by the sound of the celestial music.  It is believed by some that the vina, an Indian musical instrument, was originally created to imitate this sound.

The Third World, Rudra Loka

Rudra is another name for Shiva, the god of destruction and transformation.  What is destroyed is ignorance of Absolute Truth, the Divine, and death.  What is transformed is your own being.  Shiva in his Rudra aspect, is ‘the scary other.’  The quality of Rudra’s World is tamasTamas is usually considered to be not a very good thing.  It is responsible for bondage through attachment to ignorance, delusion, indulgence and denial.  It’s quality is very slow moving, if it moves at all.  In fact, ‘fixed’ is a good definition of tamas.

The quality of tamas causes one to feel disinclined to be very active.  Before kundalini begins the journey up the sushumna, tamas indicates slowness, ignorance, sloth, impurity, and other horrible things; but when the process of spiritual evolution reaches the realm of Rudra, it’s an asset to stay put.  You become an anchorite.  You become disinterested in anything ‘worldly.’  What remains to be done?  Where is there left to go?  Where is there left for the energy to go?  Here, in Rudra Loka, when desire is no longer an issue, tamas is a blessing, not a curse.

From Living the Mysteries, Copyright ©1999,
Durga Ma and Terry Anne Preston, Ph.D.

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