Kundalini and Chakras
Kundalini is the sleeping dormant energy in human beings situated at the base
of the spinal column. In most of us Kundalini resides as a static or potential
energy. However, using various yogic techniques it can be made dynamic or
A piece of wood has inherent energy of fire. That means wood already has
static energy. If you ignite it this static energy gets converted to another
form i.e. it becomes dynamic. Similar thing can be said about water. Water has
inherent potential of steam energy. We need to supply required temperature and
this transformation happens. In case of Kundalini this transformation is brought
by means of various yogic practices.
The word Kundalini literally means “the one who is coiled”. There is another
meaning of the word Kundalini that refers to “the one who sleeps in a pit or
In most of us the Kundalini is sleeping at the base of spine in a region
called Mooladhara Chakra. Through Yogic techniques the Kundalini is made to
ascend through Sushumna nadi piercing all the six chakras. When the Kundalini
reaches Sahasrara Samadhi is attained. Thus for practitioner of Kundalini yoga
taking the Kundalini in the Sahasrara is the key goal.
It is often believed that Kundalini energy can be used only for spiritual
purposes. It is true that spiritual enlightenment is the prime purpose of
Kundalini yoga. However, the same energy can be used to achieve balance in every
sphere of life. Personal improvement, professional relationships and stress free
life to name just a few.
Kundalini is often equated with serpent. However, this is to be understood
symbolically. Ascend of the Kundalini can be symbolized in the form of moving
serpent. Serpent also sleeps by coiling its body. Hence, Kundalini is symbolized
in the form of a serpent. Kundalini is energy. It can’t be seen with naked eyes.
Hence for the purpose of visualization this symbolism proves to be useful.
Kundalini and Siddhis
Kundalini is often talked in relation to Siddhis or supernatural powers. In
ancient texts it is often mentioned that as chakras start awakening such powers
come to the practitioner. I will not go into the debate whether such Siddhis are
real or not. I would only say that one should focus on the ultimate goal of
self-realization rather than such intermediate experiences. Siddhis might be
lucrative but they can’t take you to liberation. In fact they can create
obstacles in your spiritual progress.
The Sushumna nadi runs through the spinal column. Along the way it has six
energy centers often called as Chakras or lotuses. The six chakras are named as
Mooladhara, Swadhisthana, Manipura, Anahata, Vishuddhi and Ajna. There is one
more important area that lies in the brain. It is called as Sahasrara. Sahasrara
is not actually a Chakra by itself but rather the final destination. Let’s see
in brief the significance of each of these Chakras.
It is the first chakra. The word Mooladhara means root or foundation. It is
this chakra where Kundalini resides in sleeping state. In males, it is located
inside the perineum region whereas in females it is located at the base of
uterus. It controls sexual, excretory and urinary functions of human body. In
ordinary people this chakra represents ignorance, inertia and animal
consciousness. However, for spiritual development it must be activated so that
the sleeping Kundalini is awakened. This chakra gets activated by red color. Its
Bija mantra is Lam. This chakra is related to earth element. The way earth
provides solid foundation to other structures it provides foundation and
firmness to all the spiritual practices.
It is the second chakra and literally means “home of self”. It is located in
the region of tailbone opposite to genital organs. It controls sexual and
urinary functions of human body. Swadhisthana represents store house of all
experiences and tendencies. All our experiences get recorded here. It gets
activated by orange color and its Bija mantra is Vam. It is associated with
water element. The way water shows fluidity and flexibility this chakra helps us
to develop fluidity and flexibility needed to cope up with external world.
Swadhisthana is related to Apana.
It is the third chakra. Manipura refers to “city of jewels”. It is located
directly opposite to navel on the spine. It is also called as Surya chakra. It
performs important function of digestion and temperature control. It provides
energy, will and power to perform all the activities. Bright yellow color
activates this chakra. Its Bija mantra is Ram. It is related to Fire element.
The way fire provides energy in the form of heat and light it provides energy to
the entire body. It is considered as store house of Prana. Manipura chakra is
associated with Samana.
It is the forth centre and located opposite to the center of the chest. The
word Anahata means “un-struck”. This chakra produces un-struck sound. It
controls heart and lung operations. It represents love, harmony, creativity and
compassion. It gets activated by blue color. Its Bija mantra is Yam. The wind
element relates to this chakra. Wind has qualities of freedom, expansion and
subtleness. Similarly this chakra frees you from worldly bondage and expands
your consciousness. Anahata chakra is associated with Prana.
It is the fifth chakra. It is located in throat region. Vishuddhi means
“centre of purification”. It controls thyroid operations. It also stimulates
secretion of mystical “Bindu” which is supposed to be nourishing and
rejuvenating the body. Discrimination and consumption of dualities in life are
provided by this chakra. It gets activated by violet color. Its bija mantra is
Ham. It corresponds to Space element. The prana and kosha related to Vishuddhi
chakra are Udana.
It is the sixth chakra. It is extremely important energy center. Ajna means
“command”. It is located in the brain opposite to eyebrow center. It controls
function of pineal gland. Spiritual commands are received from this center. It
is considered as the seat of mind and thus controls all the mind activities.
Intuition, will power, control are provided by this center. Here at Ajna chakra
all the three nadis (Ida, Pingala and Sushumna) unite and go to the highest
center – Sahasrara. It gets activated by white color and its mantra is Om. Vyana.
Sahasrara is not actually a chakra but the destination of Kundalini. The word
sahasrara means “one thousand”. It is located just above the top of the head.
The ascend of Kundalini finally stops when it reaches sahasrara. It is believed
that sahasrara is the seat of Lord Shiva or the supreme consciousness. The
Kundalini or Shakti unites with Shiva and Samadhi is attained. It is colorless
and its mantra is Om.
In addition to the chakras mentioned above there are three Granthis or knots
that must be pierced so that Kundalini can flow through Sushumna easily. These
Granthis are – Bramha Granthi, Vishnu Granthi and Rudra Granthi. The Bramha
Granthi is located in Mooladhara. Vishu Granthi in Anahata and Rudra Granthi is
located in Ajna chakra. These three Granthis hinder the spiritual progress of an
aspirant and try to bind him to the material world. The Bramha Granthi binds you
to the material pleasure. The Vishnu Granthi binds you with emotional feelings
and Rudra Granthi binds you with the desire to subdue and overpower others.
Colors, Petals and Mantras
The Kriya Yoga practices open up the Chakras and Granthis and make
Kundalini flow through Sushumna. When the Chakras are opened you start
experiencing a new level of consciousness. It is often said that Kundalini "pierces" the chakras and granthis. What you mean by piercing? Certainly it is
not a physical activity of piercing any bodily part. Piercing simply means that
your level of consciousness goes up or evolves. You break the barrior of limited
consciousness and go to a higher state.
As per classic Yogic texts each chakra is described as a "lotus". Each lotus
has certain color and number of petals. Each chakra also has a Bija Mantra.
Though there are no physical lotuses in our body these lotuses aid in
visualization and focusing your awareness. We know that colors influence our
mind. For example, colors such as blue and green induce calmness in our mind.
Similarly, white color induces feeling of peace. The petals of each chakra
actually correspond to the nadis carrying prana in that region.
Various chakras (Mooladhara to Sahasrara numbered from 1 to 7 respectively) and their locations are shown below: