Mūla = Root, Origin, Essence
Ādhāra = Basis, Foundation
Just as the womb of the mother creates the basic requirement for the growth of the embryo, the Mūlādhāra Chakra forms the basis and the starting point for our spiritual development. It is the foundation from which we climb the ladder of the Chakras; the root from which we receive the nourishment for our spiritual development. For this reason, and because it lies at the lowest point of the spinal column below the Coccyx, it also bears the name “Root Chakra”.
Everyone admires the leaves and flowers of a plant, but hardly anyone takes any notice of the roots that lie hidden in the darkness of the earth. But the roots form the basis of the vegetation. From the sustenance received from the roots the sprout gains the power to penetrate the dark soil, grow upwards towards the sun and produce flowers, fruit and seeds.
Kundalinī Shakti (spiritual energy) has its roots in the Mūlādhāra Chakra, but it is in a deep, motionless sleep. When we awaken this slumbering potential that lies within the Mūlādhāra Chakra we are able to work our way towards the light of knowledge and attain the fruit of Self-Realisation.
Srī Mahāprabhujī described the process of the development of consciousness from the Mūlādhāra Chakra to Supreme Consciousness in a Bhajan. In this Bhajan he mentions a Yoga technique through which we can awaken the Kundalinī Shakti in the Mūlādhāra Chakra. This Yoga technique is known as “Yoga Nidrā”, the conscious “sleep of the Yogi” , which is able to give us deep and beautiful experiences at a higher level of consciousness. It is also practised as a deep relaxation technique.
Only a few know the secret of Yoga Nidrā
For, with this sleep that is conscious, the sun rises in the night!
Directing the gaze inwards you rest in Shūnya, white emptiness, detached completely from the body.
The downward-facing blossom opens and your words come from your heart.
The suspended ribbon of consciousness is tied with Turīya
And the unattainable becomes attainable.
Countless suns are shining in the emptiness;
The power of Divine Nature awakens in the reversed blossom and grows into super-consciousness.
When his consciousness merges with super-consciousness the Yogi experiences the eternal Self.
He hears the soundless sound of the Divine Name.
The moment his consciousness unites with the Supreme he gains knowledge of the Tattvas – the elements.
Now his consciousness has returned to its Divine homeland
Here there is only pure consciousness – there are no visions.
Beforehand his words lacked certainty
He was standing on the shore conjecturing about what it would be like on the other side.
Now he is Purusha – complete.
Now his words bear witness to what lies on the other side.
The Omniscient Shiva revealed to us the science of Yoga
Srī Krishna explains it in the Gītā
Many Saints and Yogis have spoken about it, but only a few have attained perfection.
Srī Alakh Purījī, the true Sannyāsin , has realised all levels
Srī Devapurījī, the Lord of Yogis, showed to me that formless world.
Only few know the way of Yoga Nidrā.
Those who master it can understand what Guru means.
Swāmī Dīp says: The true heroes are those who have awoken the eternal consciousness within their consciousness.
The Karmas of our past lives rest in the Mūlādhāra Chakra, and from these arise the happiness or unhappiness experienced in this current life (Prārabdha Karma). From every act that we perform or have performed a seed is sown in the Mūlādhāra Chakra that will sooner or later rise into the light; and these seeds determine our fortune. In each lifetime we have planted innumerable seeds that continue to grow and multiply until a dense, impenetrable jungle has arisen.
The Mūlādhāra Chakra is the seat of the unconscious. It is like a dark, locked cellar whose hidden contents we have only a vague idea about. Perhaps there are precious stones, or perhaps poisonous scorpions or snakes. When a snake is sleeping, therefore in an unconscious state, it appears to be peaceful and harmless, but in a wakeful state it can be extremely menacing and dangerous. When the Mūlādhāra Chakra becomes active qualities that we had not suspected were within us, such as destructive rage, all-consuming passion, excessive desires or deep-seated anger, can surface and astound us. Or, on the other hand, we can also experience wonderful feelings of freedom, joy, harmony and closeness to God.
All these experiences await us when we open the door of the unconscious and illuminate it with the light of knowledge. When we recognise our reality within the Mūlādhāra Chakra our entire perspective of the world can change instantaneously.
One question that is often raised is whether it would be better to allow the unconscious to remain buried rather than to stir it up. The answer is that we can only attain freedom when everything that we have carried with us since the beginning of our existence is brought up into the light. Further spiritual development is only possible when everything we have amassed has been processed and purified, and all obstacles from the past removed; it is only when our vision is clear that we are able to recognise the path that will lead us towards realisation.
We are not only responsible for what we do, but also for what we do not do. At times during our life opportunities are presented whereby we can decide whether to work on and rid ourselves of the contents of our unconscious or continue to remain a captive in the wheel of destiny. Yoga is the best method of taking the decisive step to work through the contents of our unconscious with complete awareness. The guidance of a Realised Master who has already successfully dealt with this process is essential. He knows the dangers and obstacles on the spiritual path, and also understands our feelings and is aware of our condition. He can make us attentive, advise and help us when we still do not know which way to go. Confidence in the Master (Shraddhā) is an essential requirement for success. At this stage of our spiritual development we are like tender little plants that must be supported and protected from the rigours of the weather. The Master gives us the necessary support, for he is as unshakeable and firm as the Himalayas.
The main symbol of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is an ELEPHANT WITH SEVEN TRUNKS. Generally the elephant represents prosperity and wisdom, and in Indian mythology the elephant is the carrier of Brahmā, the creator, who brought forth knowledge and creation. The elephant is a valuable animal that brings wealth to its owner, and it is said that in the brain of the fully-grown male elephant a brilliant pearl of unsurpassed value is to be found. This symbolises the treasure house of wisdom that is hidden in the Mūlādhāra Chakra and should be raised into the light of consciousness.
The seven trunks of the elephant represent the seven basic materials of the body , as well as the SAPTDHĀTUS, the seven minerals and the seven precious gems that are found in the earth . The Saptdhātus also symbolise the seven levels of consciousness: Unconsciousness, subconsciousness, dream consciousness, waking consciousness, astral consciousness, supreme consciousness and cosmic consciousness.
Dreaming of a white elephant is a lucky omen, especially if you are riding on the elephant in the dream. This large and mighty animal, whose power surpasses that of a human by far, can be tamed and led by a comparatively tiny goad or thorn (Ankusha). The mind (Manas) and senses (Indriyas) are also compared with a wild elephant and should be kept under control by the Ankusha of Mantra and discipline (Sādhana).
The Bīja Mantra (Seed Mantra) of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is LĀM, the sound of spiritual awakening. It releases tensions and removes blockages in this Chakra and activates its energy. And so the process of awakening the dormant powers within us and raising them into consciousness begins. Beautiful and healing experiences together with happy moments emerge from the past giving us strength and inspiration to continue on our path. But together with the pleasant experiences, we can also go through painful feelings in the Mūlādhāra Chakra. Buried hurts and disappointments that were deeply etched into our consciousness come to the surface so they can finally be healed and resolved.
Disappointment is not necessarily something negative. It means a transition, a step in our development, a teaching. Every learning step in our life is accompanied by the correction of a false idea, by “dis-illusionment”. The Mūlādhāra Chakra is often full to the brim with painful disillusionments. But, when we work our way through these misfortunes with wisdom they are transformed into valuable experiences and opportunities for development.
For as long as we live we will be confronted with problems. The ignorant take them merely as a nuisance and misfortune, but the wise regard them as valuable and beneficial experiences. When we learn from them and begin to work on ourselves we progress in our spiritual development. If we do not do this we remain stuck in the suffering and continue to replay the painful lessons.
Here the Āgyā Chakra offers invaluable assistance by helping us to clarify the true situation and assess what is required. The awakening of the Chakras does not proceed in rigid, isolated steps, but takes place on all levels of consciousness simultaneously. The Āgyā Chakra transmits the response of the inner Self with regard to the internal and external experiences and situations that we meet on the spiritual path.
The “tools” that help us are:
- MANANA – To think about, to reflect
- SANKALPA – To have the right intentions, to make positive resolutions
- VIKALPA – To remove doubts and discard false ideas
- ĀTMA CHINTANA – To be conscious of the Divine Self (Ātmā) at all times
The more clarity we gain, the more conscious we become of our own weaknesses. Self-reproach and feelings of inferiority do not help us, but only rob us of our energy. When we learn from our mistakes and continue on our path with faith in God we gain in strength and therefore constantly become better at being able to cope with our inner experiences. It is important that we give up all of our well-worn “thought programmes” that have the effect of hindering and harming us, and instead develop and cultivate positive and beneficial ways of thinking.
The Lotus blossom of the Mūla Kamala has four petals depicting the four points of the compass. They represent the four fundamental psychic functions of mind, intellect, consciousness and ego - whose roots also lie in the Mūlādhāra Chakra.
Life is consciousness, and consciousness strives for evolution. The four petals also symbolise the four stages of development of life on this planet: Vegetation; simple life-forms such as bacteria and single-celled organisms; egg-laying animals such as fish, reptiles and birds; mammals; and finally humans .
The divinity of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is Shiva in the form of PASHUPATI MAHĀDEVA (Lord of the animal world). Lord Shiva represents consciousness and liberation. Liberation can also mean the elimination and destruction of anything negative and harmful. Just as a doctor must remove a cancerous growth to save the life of a patient Shiva destroys all negative tendencies. On his forehead Shiva has a third eye (which is why he is also known as “the Third-Eyed One”) and, whenever he opens this eye, whatever he gazes upon is burnt to ashes immediately.
As “Lord of the Animals” Lord Shiva keeps the animal forces under control. The Mūlādhāra Chakra forms the boundary between animal and human consciousness, and it is here that the transition from the sleeping to the awakened, creative consciousness takes place. Therefore, it is the first “Human Chakra”. Spiritual evolution begins from the Mūlādhāra Chakra.
At Shiva’s side there are two female divinities. Their names are ĀSURĪ SHAKTI and DEVĪ SHAKTI. Āsurī Shakti represents the destructive, divisive energy within us, and Devī Shakti the positive, constructive and uniting power. Through a positive lifestyle, confident attitude to life, keeping spiritual company (Satsang), good thoughts, understanding, forgiveness, helping and giving, Āsurī Shakti is gradually transformed into Devī Shakti.
Shiva and Shakti are the primal principles of creation. Other terms for this are: Purusha (Self) and Prakriti (Nature), Yin and Yang, masculine and feminine principles.
An important symbol in the Mūlādhāra Chakra is the SHIVA LINGAM, an astral symbol for creativity, creative power and consciousness. In this symbol a snake winds around the Shiva Lingam three and a half times. The three rotations of the serpent represent the first three levels of consciousness - unconscious, subconscious and conscious; and the half turn refers to the awakened super-consciousness. As the head of the snake is pointing downwards this is an indication that the evolutionary process can also again go downwards. Wisdom does not develop by itself; it needs constant, conscious effort to purify the thoughts and steer the actions towards the good.
The evolution of consciousness is connected with time, and the snake is also known as KĀLA (time, past or death). Therefore, the winding of the snake around the Shiva Lingam can also represent time – past, present and future.
Another symbol of the Mūlādhāra Chakra is an inverted triangle. The tip pointing downwards indicates that we are at the beginning of our spiritual development; and the sides that spread upwards and outwards show the direction of the developing consciousness.
The Mūlādhāra Chakra is affiliated with the SENSE OF SMELL. The awakening of the Mūlādhāra Chakra can lead to a heightening of sensory perceptions, especially the refinement of the senses of smell and hearing, so that we become aware of aromas and sounds that are not perceptible to others. Some people can see auras or feel the thoughts and moods of others.
The colour assigned to the Mūlādhāra Chakra is RED. The colour red means energy and vitality. It indicates the existence of a strong, dense energy and is connected to the earth. Our existence has its roots in the earth and therefore the EARTH element (Tattva) is assigned to the Mūlādhāra Chakra.
The Earth is our Mother. Our body is formed from her elements and she supports and nourishes us. We should always be grateful to our Mother Earth and demonstrate our respect by protecting and caring for her.
In line with the Divine plan we humans should be protectors of the earth, not its destroyers. Our duty is to develop sympathy and love for nature and all living things. Those who are unable to empathise with others or to feel the pain of other living things will remain at a lower level of consciousness within the animal spheres, far below the Mūlādhāra Chakra.
The manifestation and development of human consciousness begins in the Mūlādhāra Chakra and continues upwards toward the “thousand-petalled Lotus” of the Sahasrāra Chakra.
The Mūlādhāra Chakra is the mother who nourishes and raises us. It is the seat of our dormant wisdom, the stronghold of our hidden spiritual powers and abilities. By awakening this Chakra – under the care of the spiritual Master – we accomplish the first step on our path towards a fully developed human consciousness, and beyond to God-Realisation.